Brake Dust

1 06 2017

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.

 

 





Is Your Vehicle Ready For Summer?

25 05 2017

Dale BertramMemorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer… and that means summer vacations are just around the corner!  Is your vehicle ready to hit the road?

We know we can feel our energy ooze out of us in the summer heat and your car feels it too!  Just imagine sitting there day after day on the hot pavement while the relentless summer sun shines down on you.  Car’s components such as rubber are very sensitive to heat and tend to become brittle and crack.  Here a just a few things we look for when we service your vehicle for summer:

  • Batteries take a beating. Between the car’s vibrations and heat, they usually only last three years.  It is always a good idea to have them tested to determine how much life they have left in them.
  • Cooling systems are very susceptible to summer heat. You will notice more cars sitting on the side of the road with steam pouring out from under the hood during the summer months.  We always check your cooling system thoroughly to make sure the coolant isn’t contaminated.  We also check the rubber components for cracks and frays.  If they are past their prime, we will recommend replacing them so you don’t end up on the side of the road.
  • Tires need the proper inflation to function well. They don’t operate well if they are over-inflated or under-inflated. They need to be just right!
  • Fluids and filters need to be checked and replaced if needed. They do a lot of work to protect our vehicles.
  • Air-conditioning systems need to be looked at so you and your passengers stay comfortable no matter how high the outside temperatures climb. We make sure to check the refrigerant and other components.

A quick inspection will let you know if your vehicle is good to go or if it needs a little service & repair before you head out.  Call today to schedule an appointment!





Vehicle Updates

4 05 2017

Dale BertramThe state of autonomous vehicles and the cybersecurity of connected cars is constantly changing, so I sometimes hesitate to report on the latest and greatest for fear it will be “old news” by the time it is published…but since some of you have been asking…here goes!

  • A company called NuTonomy is testing these vehicles in Boston even though Uber had a crash of its autonomous vehicle in Arizona in March.
  • Legislation has been reintroduced recently dealing with improved cybersecurity for cars (and airplanes). Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal’s proposal hopes to create cybersecurity and privacy standards for today’s connected vehicles, as well as a rating system for cars. Rep. Ted Lieu hopes to prevent attacks on connected cars with his introduction of the Security and Privacy in Your Car Study Act.
  • Intel Corp., wants to dominate technology for self-driving cars with plans to purchase Mobileye NV.
  • Tony Aquila of Solera Holdings is deeply concerned about vehicle owners’ privacy. If not properly protected, the detailed data from technology (including brake sensors) could be used in ways that would not benefit vehicle owners.

Some states are moving ahead with their own rules and regulations hoping that the federal government will start moving forward on such quickly.  The biggest holdup may be the old “who is liable” if things go wrong.

The change is coming… we just don’t know how quickly…





Hot, Hot and Hotter!

20 04 2017

Dale BertramHot days are ahead!  We also drive more in summer months and we need to treat our cars as kindly as we can.  The average American spends 72 minutes a day during the week commuting between work and home…that equals 12 days!  On weekends, holidays and vacations we can pile on even more miles.

Maybe it is because we get more time off in the summer! There is the weekend get-a-ways, vacations, the road trips to see the sights, picnics, getting to the lakes and rivers for boating and fishing, amusement parks, and visits with family and friends at reunions. It is important to make sure your vehicle is ready for the extra wear and tear. We are here to help.  We want you to enjoy your summer without worrying about your car getting you to your destination and back home again.  We’ll make it is ready to go by keeping it well maintained. It is the little things like making sure you keep up with your oil changes, the spark plugs are alive and well, belts and hoses are not cracked or frayed, the charging system is strong, the filters are clean, tires are properly inflated, brakes are able to stop when you need to and the exhaust system is doing its job.

If you take care of your vehicle, it will take care of you!  It will also save you money on vehicle repair as well as save you money at the gas pump.

How do you check gas mileage?

When you fill up your vehicle with gasoline, make a note of the odometer reading.  The next time you fill up, divide the miles driven by the amount of fuel used (gallons).  Read your owner’s manual to find out what gas mileage your vehicle should be getting. If your vehicle isn’t giving you the gas mileage it should, call us and we will have it running at peak performance in no time!  Don’t despair; we are here to help you!





Don’t Assume

13 04 2017

Dale BertramMany people assume that because we live in warm/hot weather conditions we don’t have the same issues that those in colder climates do.  That is mostly true, but don’t assume too much.

Some think that cold weather causes more wear and tear on a battery than warm weather.  Actually, the reverse is true.  Hot weather makes for extremely high temperatures under the hood which is detrimental to a battery’s life. According to the Car Care Council, the average life of a battery is 31/2 years-even shorter in warmer climates. That’s because excessive heat and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which damages the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate. That’s slow death for a battery.

Some customers question the need for anti-freeze.  Anti-freeze is just another name for coolant.  It is only referred to as anti-freeze because in sub-zero temperatures it does not freeze!  All vehicles need coolant, no matter what name you prefer to call it.  Coolant keeps the engine cool and lubricates the water pump.  Overheating is the biggest reason for breakdowns on the highway.  When the coolant gets dirty it loses the ability to clean the different components.  That is why we recommend fluid exchanges every so often.

Snow and ice and heavy rain isn’t the only culprits when it comes to your vehicle’s wiper blades. Wiper blades are one of the most neglected components on vehicles today. Many blades are cracked, split, torn, brittle, worn or otherwise in obvious need of replacement. Others may look okay, but does a lousy job of wiping when put to the test. Ninety percent of all driving decisions are based on a clear unobstructed view of the road, which means good visibility is absolutely essential.  All wiper blade materials fall victim to environmental factors. Exposure to sunlight and ozone causes the rubber to age, even if the wipers aren’t used much. As a set of blades age, they lose much of their flip-over flexibility and they’re less able to wipe cleanly. They may develop a permanent set, called “parked” rubber, or curvature which prevents full contact with the windshield. This tends to be more of a problem on vehicles that are parked outside in the hot sun all day. The sun bakes and hardens the rubber. Then when the wipers are needed, they streak and chatter because they’ve taken a set and won’t follow the curvature of the windshield. It can be very annoying as well as dangerous. Wiper blades should be replaced every six months to a year so you are always prepared when you need them.

Yes…we love not having to deal with snow and ice but let’s not forget that heat has its drawbacks too.

Happy Motoring!





Is Your Air Conditioner Ready For Warmer Days?

30 03 2017

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.





Cars Want To Be Green For St Pat’s Too!

16 03 2017

Dale BertramEven if you don’t own the newest car on the block it can be greener! With a little tender loving care, it can give you a lot more miles and it will make it environmentally friendly…and save you money.  Improving the environment and your bank account at the same time is a win-win situation!

At Fairway Auto Repair, we know exactly what is needed.  Our techs check out your car’s battery, charging and starting systems; engine mechanical; powertrain control, onboard diagnostic check; fuel; ignition; and emissions systems.  This alone can improve gas mileage by four percent!  The oxygen sensor can be checked too, just to be safe.  That can improve gas mileage up to 40%!

Our technicians also look at your vehicle’s filters as a clogged filter can bring down fuel efficiency by as much as 10%…that’s 15 cents a gallon!  Spark plugs need checking too so they are firing properly.  Misfiring wastes fuel!

The cooling system can also cause a car to boil over if it isn’t in top form.  This can leave you sitting on the side of the road with steam coming out from under the hood.  This is bad at any time, but worse during peak driving hours when you can be the cause of a traffic jam! And you know what else…you guessed it…it wastes fuel and raises emissions.

Last but not least, our techs look at the tires.  If they are over-inflated it makes your vehicle less fuel efficient…if they are under-inflated…same scenario.  Tires need to be just right!

Being environmentally friendly is something we all can help with…especially when it comes to your vehicle!