Brake Dust

19 04 2018

Dale BertramI’m sure most of us have experienced this…you drive through an automatic car wash and when you get home you notice the clean shine of your entire vehicle…until you look down at the wheels.  What is that grime on the wheels?  That is brake dust… metallic particles, carbon fibers and adhesive residue from your vehicle’s brake pads that attaches to your wheels.

To keep it from building up it should be removed weekly as it essentially bakes on to the surface of alloy wheels.  It is recommended that you wash the wheels when they are cool to avoid streaking, discoloration and pitting. The adhesive residue in the dust causes it to bond firmly with the wheels and since they are most often acidic it starts a corrosion process.  The metal filings in the dust usually oxidize with the metal of the rims causing galvanic corrosion to occur. If you are removing the dust yourself be careful not to inhale the dust or the vapor from cleaning products especially designed to remove the grime.  This can be toxic and if you are asthmatic, harmful.

If your vehicle seems very prone to brake dust, you might consider having brake dust shields installed.  They come in a variety of colors, are inexpensive and easy to install.

You might also consider higher quality brake pads as poor quality ones produce a lot of dust. Having your brakes checked regularly (quarterly) is recommended as many times an adjustment is needed and this helps stop excessive dust.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Brakes made from organic materials (glass and rubber) wear faster so create more dust than brakes made from semi-metallic and metallic material. Ceramic brake pads have less metal and therefore less dust is created.
  • Brakes installed improperly can cause excessive dust.
  • If you have installed larger diameter wheels to your vehicle the size of the brakes and pads need to be larger as well or they will wear out quickly and increase the amount of dust during the process.
  • If the springs are worn it causes continual rubbing and if the pads are always touching the drums you get an increase in dust.
  • Overloading a vehicle with weight, driving hard, short stop and go trips, and leaving your foot on the brake pedal all increase brake dust.

Now we know that brake dust, though not harmful to your vehicle, is a nuisance and if you feel annoyed by it you are not alone as it is a top complaint among consumers.

 

 

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Late Model Cars Can Be A Challenge To Your Car’s Battery Life

12 04 2018

Dale BertramToday’s newer models have a lot of “bells and whistles” and this puts a lot of demand on battery charging systems.  We all know that climates with excessive heat take their toll, such as our Arizona temperatures.  Our hot weather causes the electrolyte inside the battery to dry out.  The popular maintenance free type battery has a sealed top so it doesn’t even allow water to be added, so its life expectancy in Arizona is low.

Ideally, the battery should be at full charge.  When it starts to lose its charge, sulfate builds up on the plates.  As it sits, the sulfate takes hold and is difficult to loosen once the battery is recharged.  Sadly, it then becomes more difficult to “recharge” and will quit all together.

To keep the “bells and whistles” going strong in modern cars, they need to draw current from your car’s battery even when it is not running.  Here is an example; you use your key fob to gain entry to your vehicle as it is “keyless”, draining power from the battery.  You go on a two-week vacation and leave your vehicle at the airport parking garage.  Even as it sits your car’s battery is still discharging power to these systems.  You may return and find the battery cannot turn over the engine.

Damaged battery cables can also make your battery fail because that causes a faulty electrical connection.  What can you do?

  1. Whenever we install a new battery for you, rest assured that we always check out the cables. Sometimes they just need to be cleaned but other times they need to be replaced.
  2. Manufacturers are starting to use absorbent glass mat batteries in new vehicles because they last longer in cars that have the stop/start systems and other battery draining options. Ford Motor Company says 70 percent of its vehicles will come equipped with this battery this year.

With our heat constantly pulling life from our cars’ batteries in Arizona, have them inspected frequently.  All of us at Fairway Auto Repair are here to keep your car going strong…and to make sure your battery is up to the challenge.

 

 





How’s The Air In There?

5 04 2018

Dale BertramHey, Phoenix drivers, did you know you have a great little device called the cabin air filter and its function is to protect drivers and their passengers from contaminants such as pollen, mold spores, dust and other small and annoying particles?

The cabin air filter is located on the passenger side of the vehicle and is most often, but not always tucked behind the dash around the glove compartment area (don’t you wonder why we still call it glove compartment?  I wonder how many actually contain gloves.).

Whenever you turn on your defroster, air conditioning or heater it captures the debris so it doesn’t get into the cab of your vehicle.  It is a very busy part and needs to be replaced at least once a year.  If you or a passenger has severe allergies you may want to get it replaced more often.  A clean cabin filter also helps prolong the life of your vehicle’s heating and air-conditioning system because it keeps debris and corrosion away from the evaporator core.

At Fairway Auto Repair, we get calls when customers turn on their heater fan on occasion, wanting to know what that annoying rattling noise is from time to time.  It is usually captured leaves or food stuffs left behind by rodents.  Next time you get your cabin air filter changed you might ask to have a look at it.  You will be very amazed about what it has collected and very thankful too that all that debris didn’t circulate into the cab of your vehicle.

Cabin air filters are becoming more sophisticated…some even eliminate odors.  The good news is that it is usually a quick item to replace (depending on where the manufacturer placed it) and it is inexpensive.  It is a very small price to pay to breathe easier! Our technicians at Fairway Auto Repair will be glad to change it for you! Our job is to keep Phoenix drivers safe and aware of all that is going on with their vehicle! Don’t forget to visit our website at www.fairwayautorepair.com to find out more!

 

 





Unnecessary Service

29 03 2018

Dale BertramI hear the phrase unnecessary service and wonder what that means. We visit the doctor for physicals, we visit the dentist for cleanings, we have our home air-conditioning unit cleaned and checked, a yearly eye exam and of course, the car needs a checkup too.

All of these professionals recommend some kind of service or checks to keep everything working properly. Most shops recommend services on cars that come in to their bays using the guidelines set out by the manufacturers or from the shops’ experience of early component failures. Sometimes there are a few recommendations and sometimes there are many service recommendations.

We recommend service to keep your car safe and reliable, just like the dentist tells you about issues developing with your teeth and gums. We know no one likes to spend hard earned dollars on maintenance services, especially when after these services are performed the car seems to run as usual with no noticeable differences.

I have found there is basically two types of philosophy on maintenance. The people who believe in maintaining and those who believe it’s better to wait until it breaks, then fix it. There are at least 30,000 parts on the average new car and over 5,000 of them are moveable parts. All moving parts require a clean source of lubricating oils, coolant or greases along with filters set in place to catch harmful materials. In addition, we have electronic parts that can be affected by poor maintenance habits. The simplest of new cars have more computing power than the Apollo Moon Lander. In fact, you could get to the moon with just 1/10th the computing power found on the modern car! Today’s electronics are so sophisticated that cars may run well even when there are serious failures in progress. The systems have enough authority to mask developing problems. By the time you have a detectable malfunction, one that you can feel or sense, you may have damaged expensive parts. The only outward indication the driver may get is a warning lamp on the dash. Poor maintenance practices can force electronics to work overtime, or carry excess current to compensate for worn out spark plugs, clogged filters, and more. Continuous operation in overtime builds heat in electronic components which leads to what engineers call “exceeding the duty cycle.”

In the end, it’s always the customer’s choice. Preventative maintenance is optional. Some people feel their car is running find and they don’t need the service recommended by the auto service center. We certainly won’t try to talk you into saving money by caring for your car. You can choose to do preventative maintenance on a timetable that you control or you can wait until your car breaks unexpectedly, leaving you stranded without transportation and a potentially large repair bill. Neither philosophy is right or wrong. We are always here to help you either way!

 

 





Is Your Air Conditioner Ready For Warmer Days?

22 03 2018

Dale BertramSpring is in the air in Phoenix and hot summer days are coming our way. Many of our customers’ thoughts are turning to…air conditioning.  At Fairway Auto Repair we get countless calls asking us how much it costs to fix.  There is no one simple answer to this question but I’ll give you some industry-wide estimates so you have something to go on. Generally, if you drive an older vehicle it will cost more to fix because the parts will be harder to find.

Testing the A/C System: A technician must test the system to determine what is wrong with it.  This requires a test for leaks and an inspection of the parts such as the compressor, condenser, hoses, and valves. The most help a consumer can be is to give as much information about when the condition occurred.

Evacuating & Recharging the A/C System: This is the most common fix of the A/C system. Refrigerant will naturally seep out over 3 to 5 years and will need attention.

Leaking Hose:  We use a leak detection unit to test for leaks.

Compressor Failure:  This is the most complex of all to fix and will be the costliest. The compressor is the pump that keeps the Freon flowing.

Replacing the Complete System: The cost of this is determined by the make and model you drive.   Usually this occurs when someone tries to save money and adds the off the shelf sealer as a quick fix, it always causes grief later.

Working on air conditioning systems is not easy.  The system itself is built in and around your car’s engine making it difficult.  Specialized equipment is required and a technician that is certified in this area is a must.  In some countries it is illegal for a non-authorized technician to work on A/C systems. A non-experienced technician can inadvertently cause problems and contaminate the environment.

These prices are not set in stone but an industry-wide average.  We will have one of our certified technician give you an estimate after they have diagnosed your vehicle.

 

 





How To Be Green For St. Patrick’s Day and Every Day!

15 03 2018

Dale BertramMost of us are concerned with keeping our environment green.  We buy the reusable bags for our shopping trips, combine driving trips to be more fuel efficient and use the new style light bulbs to conserve energy.  All these seemingly little conscious efforts add up to help our earth.

It may surprise you to learn that the automotive service and repair industry has been one of the leaders in keeping our environment clean…even before it was a popular theme with the general public.  We are very careful with waste disposal in every way.  As an example, one gallon of improperly disposed of motor oil can contaminate a million gallons of drinking water!  When consumers bring their car in for regular service it is one of the biggest benefits to cleaner air and the good news is…it saves you money too!  In fact, it saves you money in more ways than one!  It prolongs the life of the car you have, it saves money in fuel, and a regularly maintained vehicle saves you money on expensive repairs!  It is a good deal all around.

  • A regularly maintained car can last 50% longer.
  • A properly tuned car keeps your engine firing properly…one misfiring spark plug can waste 30% in fuel efficiency!
  • Keeping your tires checked and rotated makes them last longer and can help your engine work better and easier.
  • Clean filters make a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

Of course, it also helps not to drive like you are trying out for NASCAR or using it to transport or store heavy objects.  All of this contributes to wear and tear on your vehicle too plus cuts way down on fuel efficiency.

Working together, we can all help our earth be a bit greener…breathe a bit easier…and save ourselves more of our hard-earned cash.

 

 

 

 





Is Your Car Stayin’ Alive?

8 03 2018

Dale BertramIt is no secret that the staff at Fairway Auto Repair in Phoenix know how to keep a car stayin’ alive!

What’s the secret to a car’s longevity?

Team Up With A Great Mechanic – Fairway Auto Repair has great technicians (we feel the best in Phoenix, of course) that you can trust. They will make sure you are aware when it is time for preventive service and when your car starts to age, they will work with you to help it age gracefully.  Following the recommended service schedules in your owner’s manual is a good place to start and using quality parts and fluids is essential.

Pay Attention – No one knows your car better than you do…even if you never lift the hood.  You drive it all the time and you know when it isn’t sounding, smelling or operating the same as usual.  Don’t ignore these changes, no matter how subtle.  It could be the beginning of a major problem so get it taken care of before that happens.  It will be better for your vehicle and your wallet.

Be Prepared – When humans age they start needing a few more things to keep their health maintained such as a prescription or two or more exercise and a better diet or maybe even a knee or hip replacement.  The same thing will happen to your car when it starts to age. Eventually, no matter how well you keep it serviced it will need a replacement part or two in order to keep it safe and going strong.  Consider that purchasing a new car is extremely expensive, especially when you add in insurance costs so repairing an existing vehicle is a sound financial decision.

Keep It Clean – We can help you keep your car mechanically sound, but you need to keep it looking good inside and out.  A clean car protects it and a clean waxed car is even better.

If you want to keep your car “stayin’ alive” call Fairway Auto Repair today! We invite you to visit our website at www.fairwayautorepair.com as well to find out even more ways to help your car stay alive!