Drips and Puddles

19 07 2018

Dale BertramThose annoying under the car drips can leave your driveway and garage floor a mess…in fact everywhere you park becomes a victim to this mess.  They are also a sign that something is wrong and needs to be taken care of. The only drip you don’t need to be concerned with is the condensation from your air conditioner.  Everything else is a signal that there is a problem. The small drips are giving you fair warning that if ignored, serious problems are in your future. Here are a few examples:

  • A reddish brown drip may mean one of three things; leaking transmission, over tightened pan gasket or a leaking front seal.
  • A green or orange-red drip suggests a cooling system problem such as leaking hose or radiator.
  • A brown to brownish-black drip that is thick in consistency is more than likely engine oil.  This is not a huge problem if it is slight but when it grows to puddle size it is a sign of something serious and if not kept under control could mean severe engine trouble.
  • A leak that looks like tea and feels oily is brake fluid.  This type of drip or leak is always serious!

If you notice a puddle three inches or larger under your car don’t ignore it.  Get it to the professionals as soon as possible. A puddle between one and two inches isn’t as serious…yet…unless it is brake fluid.  Don’t put off having it looked at too long though…it could become a much more serious problem.

It is a good practice not to ignore drips because if left unchecked those drips will turn into puddles that get bigger and bigger until you no longer have a small problem, you have a major problem.  Make an appointment with us today, and your car’s health care professional at Fairway Auto Repair will stop the drips.  Remember, minor problems come with minor price tags…major problems come with major price tags…maybe even the cost of a new engine!

Prevention is always the best medicine for your vehicle.

 

 

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Longevity

31 05 2018

Dale BertramPreventive maintenance is the key to longevity for your vehicle. It is made up of several moving parts that need to be properly lubricated to limit friction and degradation of parts. Fairway Auto Repair has been urging our customers for years to save money by having their vehicles serviced regularly.  One of the vital ingredients to give your car long life is the use of proper lubricants.

I’m sure most all the drivers in Phoenix know that replacing a car’s engine or transmission is very costly.  We hope you never have to find out. To prevent that, the oil needs to be changed regularly as do other fluids. Our technicians at Fairway Auto Repair can be relied on to use quality fluids to ensure your car’s health.

Oil lubricates all the moving parts of your vehicle while you are driving it. This keeps every part moving smoothly and prevents jamming which leads to part failures.  Oil that isn’t changed regularly gets dirty and the buildup of contaminates can also lead to the failure of parts. Clean oil is essential.

If you aren’t sure how often your particular car’s oil needs to be replaced, we can help.  It depends on your driving habits and other factors like our weather here in Phoenix. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to oil changes.

We can help Phoenix drivers’ vehicles’ have a healthy and extended life.  To find out more about us and your vehicle, visit us at http://www.fairwayautorepair.com.

 

 





Protecting Your Vehicle from Predators!

24 08 2017

Dale BertramIn an effort to be “greener”, plant-based biodegradable materials are being used in cars today.  This is great for the economy as it reduces waste.  It turns out though, that what is good for the earth is also enjoyed by four-legged creatures.  Yes…rodents are using their sharp, little teeth to chew right through wiring, hoses, and anything plastic.  They make themselves cozy little nests to live in.

You might wonder why your car is leaking fluid, or has some other problem, when it was just checked out.  It could be a rodent invasion.  Chewing through components or adding such things as acorns and seeds to your vehicle is bound to cause issues.

What can you do?  Here are a few suggestions we found when reviewing this problem:

  • Paint wires with hot sauce
  • Cover components with metal mesh (and any place they might build a nest)
  • Use electrical tape treated with capsaicin (think super-hot chili)

The best deterrent is probably finding a solution to keep them out of your garage entirely.  If you can think of other solutions, please, let us know so we can pass it along to others who have found their vehicle invaded by the furry menaces.

 

 

 





Taxi Moms and Dads (and Grandparents, Too!)

10 08 2017

Dale BertramHey, Phoenix drivers, is this you? On a daily basis are you running children to pre-school, school, after school extra curricular events, and doctor/dentist/orthodontist appointments?  Do your resolutions to prepare healthy meals end when after a day of dropping this child off and picking this child up finds you too tired to cook?  You berate yourself as you drive through McDonalds…again but find yourself whispering a silent “thank goodness for Micky D’s?” You tell yourself you will do better on the weekends but then you start those off sitting on the bleachers at football games cheering your child on or watching your child, the cheerleader.  On Saturday and Sundays can you be found sitting in lawn chairs watching your child(ren) playing soccer?  If you answered yes to any of the above, you are a shuttle service.  Hey…many grandparents I know are operating shuttle services too!

You probably realize the gas tank is getting close to empty more frequently but you may be overlooking another important fact.  Most of this sort of driving is short trips but it does add up and takes a lot out of your vehicle.  This is what we refer to as “severe” driving.

  • Frequent short trips of less than 10 miles.
  • Multiple short trips

Severe driving conditions lead to more rapid sludge formation. Sludge is that thick, sticky substance that forms inside the engine through a combination of oil oxidation residue, carbon and water. Water condenses as a result of a hot engine cooling down. The oil mixes with the water and makes this thick sludge that sticks to the engine parts. Frequent cold starts and short trips cause this condition because it does not allow the engine oil to heat up enough to vaporize and remove the water. Sludge clogs oil passages such as oil drain-back holes and, in some cases, block the oil pick-up screen in the oil pan, causing the engine not to get enough oil.

Checking your motor oil tells us a lot about your driving habits and if you fall into the category of “severe driving” we can show you what it looks like next time you are in for an oil change.  Keeping the engine oil flowing correctly is the single most important thing you can do to give your vehicle long life.  If you are a severe driver you don’t need to stress over it.  Engine oils and additives have come a long way to break down the sludge and help keep it from forming.  We can recommend the best products and suggest how often you should come in for a complete oil change.

The technicians at Fairway Auto Repair are here for our shuttle services, taxi moms and dads and yes…the grandparents who provide these services as well. Together, we’ll get you through it so you don’t miss a moment of your children or grandchildren’s special moments.

Visit us at www.fairwayautorepair.com to find out more!

 

 





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.

 

 





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.