Car Care Education – What Am I?

3 08 2017
  1. We thrive on pressure.
  2. When I get hot and steamy and have a sweet sickly odor you need to pull over right away.
  3. I’m the only fluid you don’t have to be concerned with when I puddle under your car.
  4. I keep you breathing easy in your car.
  5. Over time, heat causes us to get brittle and frayed.
  6. Heat takes its toll on me!
  7. If we are not checked often, we may spring a leak!
  8. I’m often called the “life blood” of your vehicle.
  9. I’m whitish in color and you can often find me sitting on top of your battery, causing it to be less efficient.
  10. I’m the book that lives in your glove box. I have many answers but am seldom read.

This is just a little quiz for Phoenix drivers.  To find out more about your vehicle’s needs, visit our website at http://www.fairwayautorepair.com!

 

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School Time in Phoenix

27 07 2017

Dale BertramIt doesn’t seem to matter whether you have school-aged children or not, back-to-school time seems to affect most of us.  The lighter traffic we enjoyed during our morning commute comes to an abrupt end.  We have to be more aware than ever of young people waiting for the bus in the early morning darkness.  We have to remember to slow down in school zones and be more aware of children as they dash here and there.  We have to allow time for extra cars and buses on the highway.

If you do have children going back to school, are a teacher or work for the school system in some capacity, your life gets more hectic than ever.  There is the long list of school supplies to purchase, sports and other after school events, homework to squeeze in among all the other activities and meet the teacher nights.

Then you have me, your car care provider reminding the childless, the empty-nesters and those with children to get your car serviced for back-to-school.  Why do I do this?  Because I know when life gets more hectic it is easy to forget our vehicles’ needs.  Unfortunately, when we let servicing our cars slide the car breaks down. Sadly, when this happens our carefully staged work-life balance comes crashing down.  We realize at that moment just how important our vehicles are to us and how living without them is near impossible.

Back-to-school really does affect us all one way or the other so this is just my friendly reminder that in the back ground, that wonderfully engineered vehicle you take for granted as always being ready to go when you are, needs care too.  I also do this because I know that maintaining your vehicle on a quarterly basis saves you money, too! Call today for an appointment!

To find out more about caring for your car, visit us at http://www.fairwayautorepair.com!

Happy Back To School Everyone!

 

 





Here are some of the most common misconceptions that I hear on a regular basis:

21 07 2017

Dale BertramMisconception # 1: Your car manufacturer specifies regular maintenance schedules just to get you back into their shop and make more money off of you.

Although manufacturers are making cars that last longer and require less overall maintenance, they do require preventive maintenance. If maintained properly, you can expect your car to go well over 100,000 miles without major repairs. For instance, most engines have timing belts that must be replaced (as maintenance) before they break and cause expensive damage.

Misconception # 2: A shop can give you an accurate price quote over the phone without seeing your car.

You can waste your time calling 20 different shops and get 20 different prices and chances are every one of them will be wrong. Unless the shop has had a chance to examine or test drive the car in person, there is no way to accurately diagnose your problem and give you an accurate price quote. Beware of any shop that is willing to give you a quote over the phone without seeing the car. Most likely they will tell you a real low price just to get you to set up an appointment. Then they may hit you with a much higher price once you get there.

Misconception # 3: Most repair shops will recommend extra work just to get you to spend more money.

The fact is that any shop that does not look for potential problems is actually doing you a great disservice. Quality repair shops road test every car and want to uncover wear and tear before they cause expensive problems and breakdowns. Something as simple as discovering and changing a worn belt can save you the danger (and embarrassment) of breaking down on a busy highway and an expensive towing charge.

Misconception # 4: All repair shops are the same.

There can be a huge difference between repair shops. New car technology requires constant training to keep current with all the changes. It also requires having the latest diagnostic equipment available.

 

 





Arizona Driving

13 07 2017

Dale BertramI am often asked how can drivers keep their cars running well during the extreme hot Phoenix weather?  Ask any technician at Fairway Auto Repair and we will tell you that getting your car serviced regularly and keeping your tires rotated goes a long way.  Arizona driving does require special help due to our extreme heat with triple-digit temperatures from late May through September.

Here is what we do when you bring your car to Fairway Auto Repair:

  • We inspect your tires’ tread and pressure –  Over or under-inflated tires increase the risk of losing traction or having a blowout. Typically, tire pressure needs to be adjusted seasonally as hot weather causes the air inside tires to expand and increases the pressure inside the tire.
  • We inspect your battery frequently –  While batteries may have guaranteed life time warranties elsewhere, in Arizona the life expectancy of even the best batteries tops out at about three years. Heat is very hard on batteries because the battery contains liquid and heat causes the fluids to evaporate. Low fluid levels will damage the internal structure of the battery causing it to die.
  • We inspect engine components – We always check belts, hoses and other engine components. Anything made of rubber suffers in Arizona’s extreme summers with hoses and belts becoming brittle, dry and prone to break or burst. While owner’s manuals make recommendations for typical wear and tear, keep in mind that Arizona’s climate is not considered typical and more frequent replacement of belts and hoses is a must.
  • We inspect and replace air filters frequently. In Arizona we drive through dust storms and that doesn’t do a car’s interior any favors. Thankfully we have air filters to stop all that dirt, dust, pollen and other debris from getting into the engine where it could damage the combustion chamber. Signs of a dirty filter include reduced mileage and reduced engine performance. You don’t want to drive with a dirty filter as it can no longer protect your engine from debris.

You can trust your car’s needs to Fairway Auto Repair to make sure it makes it through this heat.  To find out more about us, check out our other articles at www.fairwayautorepair.com.

 

 





The Concern With Obsolete Oil

6 07 2017

Dale BertramThe use of obsolete oil is not something consumers think about when they get an oil change, even if they change their own oil. Lately though, this concern has been brought to our attention.  A lawsuit has been filed against a retailer in New Mexico claiming the oil they sell does not meet specification for newer cars. Modern cars are designed with much tighter internal engine clearances than in years past so using the correct oil is critical.

If your star burst symbol oil label does not specify GF-5 SN it is not suitable for most cars newer than 2011. The labeling on the oil contains “obvious and unambiguous language” regarding its intended and appropriate use. I am sad to report many shops don’t understand the consequences of incorrect oil labeling.

ALL cars have specific oil that needs to be used or damage will occur! This is why some cars’ engines have 200,000, 300,000 or even 400,000 miles on them while others only get half that many miles. The use of incorrect oil can also dramatically lower fuel mileage and cause damage to systems that result in the increased emissions of toxic substances and damage to emission control systems, including catalytic converters and oxygen sensors.

If you have heard the term “sludge” and I hope your never do in relation to your own car, it is caused by two things; waiting too long to change the engine oil or using incorrect oil for that specific application. Be warned also that European cars have even stricter additive packages that if not adhered to, will really wreak havoc on the internal parts of the engine.

Here is a link I hope you will use to educate yourself on engine oils.

http://agriculture.mo.gov/weights/fuel/pdf/MotorOilsandLubricants.pdf

The automotive industry has no standards for servicing your car. Any shop can add any oil with no consequences, so it is truly a consumer beware industry when it comes to fluid standards.

I recommend knowing what oil is recommended for your car and asking questions when you arrive at your trusted automotive shop. Be an informed consumer, not one with a broken car.

 

 





Goodbye Spare Tire?

29 06 2017

Dale BertramRemember when cars had a full size spare tire? Then they went to the small temporary spare tire called the donut.  Now, in order to save weight, many manufacturers are doing away with the spare tire altogether on certain models.  Certainly less weight increases gas mileage.  It is also easier and less expensive to shed weight from a car, than to introduce technology to save fuel. This year about 14 percent of new model cars in the United States have no spare tire.

The tire repair kit which replaces the spare tire, weighs in at about 20 pounds less than a spare tire and a jack assembly and do not take up much room either. But what should you do if you happen to get a flat? The car manufacturers are supplying a quick-fix kit instead.

If you get a major blow out that is larger than a quarter of an inch, or if the puncture is on the side of the tire instead of the bottom, the repair kit won’t do the job and you will need to be towed.  The manufacturers figure that in most cases the repair kit will do the job as it should take care of flats 85 percent of the time.

The manufacturers also feel that TPMS (tire pressure monitoring systems) will alert you in most cases that you have a leak which you can fix before you have a flat. So if the low tire light sends a signal, don’t ignore it. If you buy a new car, you might want to look for the spare tire.

Manufacturers have been mandated by the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards and are scrambling to get better gas mileage (an average of 54.5 miles per gallon) by 2025 and are doing all they can to make it happen. Not every manufacturer is using this method to help their cause but it is something you need to be aware of.  You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere and start looking for a spare that you aren’t going to find.

 

 





Engine Oil Maintenance

22 06 2017

New synthetic engine oils may not break down as quickly but they get just as dirty as conventional oils. Many new vehicles now require expensive synthetic oils and the manufacturers are recommending oil change intervals at or over 7,500 miles. In our experience, this is not a wise practice.

This is a modern engine that requires synthetic fluid and has had its oil replaced every 7,500 miles. The engine was operational for less than 65,000 miles. As you can see it has a lot of sludge and sediment deposits built up throughout the oil passages in the timing case. These deposits are restricting oil flow to all the moving components in the timing chain assemblies. These deposits are also inhibiting the movement of the timing chain tensioners which keep the chains in place. These malfunctions have led to the demise of this engine. If the oil had been changed more frequently this could have been prevented.

The sludge and sediments are byproducts of the combustion process, burning oil, moisture build up and normal engine wear. For now, there is no way to avoid these byproducts so for the time being the only way to prevent them from becoming an issue is to change your engine’s oil.

The above photo shows what your engine oil looks like after every 1,000 miles of normal use. The oil starts getting discolored after 3,000 miles but we don’t see any suspended particles in the fluid. While the discoloration isn’t optimal it is not yet dangerous. In the 6,000-mile vial, we can see that the oil is brown due to suspended particles in the fluid. This is when the deposits form and start to cause issues.

While synthetic oils perform better, they get just as dirty as conventional oils over a given period of time. It is important to change your engine oil between 3,000 and 5,000 miles to keep your engine oil passages as clean as possible and protect your investment.

The most common problem we see with vehicles that come into the shop is low engine oil. Low engine oil can cause lack of lubrication to vital moving parts which can lead to high repair costs. GM has stated that it is not uncommon to burn one quart of engine oil for every 1,000 miles of operation. Most engines require around five quarts of engine oil for normal operations. This means by 3,000 miles your engine has lost over half its capacity which can cause some serious damage. It is very important to regularly check your engine oil level. Your owner’s manual recommends checking every time you fill up with gas and we believe this is a good rule.