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




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

11 05 2017

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.

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!

The Heat Is On

14 07 2016

Dale BertramDoes this sound like your driving habits?

  • Frequent stop-and-go
  • Driving in heavy traffic
  • Driving in dusty conditions
  • Driving on steep terrain

This kind of driving takes its toll on transmissions.  Here are some verbal clues that your transmission may be headed towards a breakdown!  Yep…it is trying to tell you something in transmission speak so listen up!

  • Clicks
  • Buzzes
  • Whistles
  • Moans and Groans
  • Squeals and Screeches
  • Hums and Whines
  • Clanks
  • Grates and Rumbles
  • Chatters and Clunks

Do you see a drip under your car?  If it is reddish brown in color it may mean one of three things;   leaking transmission, over tightened pan gasket or a leaking front seal. Do you smell something burning?  It could possibly be your transmission fluid.

At Fairway Auto Repair, we recommend you exchange the fluid every 30,000 miles or on average, every two years. The Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association states that 90% of all transmission failures are caused by overheating. Transmission fluid temperatures should be held at 175 degrees.  When the temperature gets above 250 degrees F the breakdown of the system begins.

  1. Rubber seals begin to harden
  2. Leaks start
  3. Pressure is lost
  4. The transmission begins to slip
  5. Over time the clutches burn out
  6. The transmission burns out

If you suspect your transmission may be experiencing difficulty call your regular car care provider!  They can tell you with just an inspection what is going on.  It may just need a fluid exchange and all will be well.  Many people panic and start price shopping transmission replacements all over town…then go have one put in at the cheapest place when they didn’t even need one to begin with!

We don’t want to see your transmission fail so the best way is to be good to it by keeping its fluid and filter fresh.  It not only saves your transmission, it saves your wallet too!


Fairway Auto Repair

Independence From Summer’s Heat Starts Here!

30 06 2016

Dale BertramWhen I think about those wonderful Patriots who declared our independence back in 1776 I often think about the amazing sacrifices they made. They sacrificed their businesses, their family time, and could all have been hanged for treason.  They also dressed very elegantly but sitting in a building with no air conditioning and walking or riding horses or being driven around in horse drawn carriages wherever they went had to be incredibly hot! Philadelphia, Pennsylvania can be a very hot and humid place in the summer months. I don’t even like to think about how hot it would have been in Phoenix!

Today we enjoy air conditioning and have trouble getting by without it!  Summer temperatures can soar here in Phoenix!  It can test your vehicle’s air conditioning system. Here are some suggestions from Fairway Auto Repair to help you beat the heat this summer!

  1. Roll your car windows down slightly on hot days to keep the heat from building inside your car. Your car’s air-conditioning system works by removing heat, so the cooler the interior is to start with, the easier and faster it can cool down your vehicle.
  2. Before you get in your car, open all the windows and/or doors completely, for a moment to let the hot air leave the interior fast.
  3. When you first turn the air conditioning on, set the controls to “max” or “rec” and use the highest blower speed. This moves the air and re-circulates it for a quicker cool-down. When you feel comfortable, switch the system to “norm” and select a lower fan speed. The lower blower speed produces colder air from the system.
  4. If your cool air smells like “dirty socks” or a gym locker set the system to the “outside” air mode (not “rec”) frequently to help prevent or lessen this problem.
  5. If you have an Automatic Temperature Control system read your owner’s manual to find out exactly how your system works. Usually the quickest cool-down comes by setting the temperature as low as it will go at first, then adjusting it.

If your air-conditioning system isn’t helping you beat the heat, give Fairway Auto a call! We are certified to use Freon properly to keep our environment healthy and you cool and comfortable.  To find out more about your vehicle’s A/C system, visit our website at  Fairway Auto Repair wants to make sure you keep your cool all year long!


Fairway Auto Repair

Phoenix Heat

24 03 2016

Dale BertramThose of us who live in Phoenix obviously can take the heat because we know to drink our fluids and not become overheated.  Our cars can get overheated as well so we have to learn to pay attention to their needs (and it sure beats sitting in the heat waiting for a tow on a hot Phoenix day!). At Fairway Auto Repair it isn’t an unusual sight to see an overheated vehicle being towed into our shop. Before the tow truck picked it up it had been sitting alongside the road with steam pouring from underneath the hood!

If your car starts to overheat, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Pull over as soon as possible so the engine can cool down.
  • Open the hood to allow the steam to disperse.
  • DO NOT open the radiator cap until the engine is cool or you will get a steam burn!
  • Check the coolant tank and fill if needed if you happen to have coolant and water with you and you feel confident that you are doing it correctly.  Some cars don’t have a tank but just the radiator.  If this is the case allow the radiator to completely cool before you check the coolant level.
  • If you were not able to refill the reservoir it is best to get your vehicle towed.  If you feel you must drive it or are close by a repair shop, be sure to drive with the air conditioning turned off and the heater turned on full blast.  This takes the heat away from the engine.  Do not attempt to drive it in stop and go traffic, however.

The best way to handle this situation is not to let it happen.  Preventive maintenance is always so much better than the hassle of repair.  To find out more about overheating vehicles, visit our website at Fairway Auto Repair is always here to help you and keep your vehicle in great shape!


Fairway Auto Repair