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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 





Will my engine oil and oil filter go the distance?

9 02 2017

Dale BertramChoosing the right engine oil and oil filter for your vehicle is tougher than ever with all the different products on the market today. Oil and filters today need to lubricate better and filter more particles than ever before, due to the longer change intervals.  Vehicle manufacturers in the 80s and 90s set oil change intervals to 3,000 or 3,500 miles because oils and filters of those days would break down fast as a result of the oil refining process and engine design.

Oils are much better, with synthetic products and are actually required in the majority of cars today with extended service intervals of 7,500 to 15,000 miles; it is more critical than ever to use the correct oil and oil filter. Many oil filters are only designed to filter for up to 5,000 miles, of course these filters will cause engine failure on a 15,000-mile oil change.  Filters not designed to go the distance will clog up and can start bypassing so no oil is being filtered at all. This can be disastrous on today’s high performance engines.

Don’t use just any oil. Our shop has what I call the wall of oil. We carry 20 plus different oils; they are not compatible with each other and don’t let anyone tell you different.  If your car requires a 0w20 oil, that’s what it takes, the engine is designed to work at peak efficiency and emission levels for that specific oil.

The sad thing is some people don’t have all the oils and will use what they have on hand. While the incorrect oil will work and you may never know the difference, it slowly wears out your engine and failure is imminent.  The difference between a car going 100,000 miles and one going 400,000 miles is directly related to the oil and filter you choose and interval change frequency.

Make sure you check your owner’s manual and talk with your service professional to ensure the oil and oil filter they are using on your vehicle will go the distance.

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Listen…Is That Your Car Crying For Help?

19 01 2017

Dale BertramThe car is just a machine that provides freedom to get where we need to go at a moment’s notice. Many of us in Phoenix can still remember when our car “talked to us” when it was not feeling well. What’s that you say? I’m talking about the days before we had modern technology. If the car needed spark plugs, it would idle rough, hiccup or stall. With the modern car, the computer system can mask a concern until it’s too late, resulting in an expensive repair.

Fairway Auto Repair encourages preventive service to make sure our customers don’t wait until the car needs major work. We want to keep our customers safe and their cars from coming to us via the tow truck. This is accomplished when the consumer pays attention to their machine. The driver needs to be aware of their car and the clues it gives when some component is going bad.

  • Check the gauges!
  • Pay attention when the dashboard lights illuminate, even when the car seems to run fine!
  • When you back out of a driveway or parking space, always check for fluid on the ground.

We have a customer that noticed some very small drops of coolant on the ground. This was actually his car’s way of speaking to him. He chose to ignore the cry for help from the car and because the temperature gauge was reading normal, he was not concerned. As a result, the car slowly lost coolant and the computer kept the car going until he felt the second cry for help while driving on the freeway. The car was losing power but again it was ignored until finally the car just stopped running…while he was still on the freeway. Fortunately, the customer was able to coast to the shoulder. This customer’s engine locked and was ruined! Instead of fixing the coolant leak that would have cost a small amount of money, he had to get his entire engine replaced and at a considerable cost!

This scenario is common so when your car cries for help, please don’t ignore it. You will save money, time and aggravation if you have your car serviced regularly.  If you have questions about your vehicle, you can always call us or visit our website at www.fairwayautorepair.com.  Fairway Auto Repair has many helpful articles on our website as a way to help our customers and our neighbors in Phoenix!

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