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!

 

 





The Light…What Does It Mean?

15 06 2017

Understanding your service reminder Light

Dale BertramMost of us don’t read the owner’s manual, if you even have one anymore. Many car manuals can only be found online now. Carmakers have come up with service reminders in the form of a warning indicator light, that appears on the gauge cluster (near the speedometer). Often, it comes on well before the service is required to give you time to schedule the appointment.

There are several types of warning systems:

  1. Set mileage system. The light comes on every time you have driven a set number of miles and an oil change is needed. This varies among different carmakers, but it is roughly every 5,000 miles. In some systems, you can set the interval yourself.
  2. Oil sensor system. An onboard computer analyzes how the car is being driven, and the light comes on when an oil change is required. Driving only short trips will trigger the light sooner; highway driving means you can go many more miles between service visits.
  3. Oil Level or Low System. This light should not be ignored! It means the oil level is low and needs immediate attention. You should visit your trusted shop for advice or check and add the correct type of oil for your vehicle. Using incorrect oil is not recommended unless it is an emergency and you have no choice.

Servicing your car is a choice made by you. I recommend finding a trusted maintenance shop and consulting with them for service intervals. The random statement of changing oil every 7,500 miles does not apply to every car. Some manufacturers have issued service bulletins to rescind the extended oil change interval due to excessive engine sludge build up

New technology, the direct fuel injection, the 0W20 oil, the higher system temperatures and the smaller engines creating more power is great for fuel economy, but makes servicing your car on time a must. Ignoring your fluid changes will cost you big time in the future.

 

 





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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Fairway Auto Repair





Going To Granny’s…

22 12 2016

Dale BertramAre you planning a trip to Granny’s for Christmas or Hanukkah or another destination for the holidays?  Will you be out and about on New Year’s Eve? Your vehicle may not be feeling up to the trip.  Instead of letting it chug along with the old “I think I can, I think I can,” listen to what it is trying to tell you. You don’t speak car?  No problem, I’ll translate for you!

Q:  What does a squealing or a scraping sound indicate when you apply the brakes?

A:  Most likely your brake pads are worn. This allows their wear indicators or sensor to touch the disc brake rotor. When this occurs, the sensor emits that high pitch noise to warn you that, “Hey, my brakes need attention!” It is best to have them checked out sooner rather than later before expensive damage or brake failure occurs.

Q:  Your car makes a knocking or pinging noise when you accelerate or climb a hill.

A:  This is a sign that the gas and air mixture in your car’s cylinders isn’t burning properly. The sound you hear is the result of the fuel and air mixture combusting unevenly in the cylinder. Yep, your car is announcing that it has indigestion! Pinging or knocking does reduce the efficiency of your engine and over a very long period of time it can cause damage.

Q:  Your van makes a chirping sound.

A:  A cyclic chirping sound from the vicinity of a wheel often indicates a wheel bearing or axle bearing that is failing. Your car says, “No, I did not swallow the canary…I need attention! Usually the noise will change with the speed of the vehicle. It may come and go at various speeds. This noise should not be ignored, because if the bearing fails, it may cause the wheel to lockup or come loose from your car!

Q: What is that hissing sound coming from under the hood?

A:  If you hear a hissing sound while driving or after turning the engine off accompanied by a sweet, sickly odor, it may mean your engine is overheating and/or leaking coolant from the cooling system. Your vehicle is telling you, “I’m getting very hot under the collar here!  Pay attention or I might just blow my top!” The temperature gauge or temperature warning light should also indicate an overheating condition. Steam may also rise from under the hood. Stop driving as severe overheating can damage your engine. Carefully open the hood. Look for any evidence of coolant leaking from the engine, radiator or heater hoses. If you see steam or smell a sweet odor, it is antifreeze leaking from the cooling system. DO NOT open the radiator or coolant reservoir cap or add coolant until the engine has cooled. Get this checked out right away.

Q:  What is that clicking or tapping noise from the engine?

A:  A metallic tapping or clicking sound means your engine may be low on oil, or is not developing normal oil pressure. Your car says, “You have blood pressure problems…I have oil pressure problems! This is serious stuff here!” The clicking noise is coming from the valve train. If the oil pressure is low due to low oil level in the crankcase or there is a problem with the oil pump, the hydraulic lifters that open and close the valves may collapse creating an increase in valve lash. This creates the clicking or tapping noise. Stop the engine, let it sit a few minutes (so the oil can run back down into the crankcase), then check the oil level on the dipstick. If low, add oil as needed to bring the level back up to the full mark. If the noise does not go away, and/or the oil pressure gauge or warning light indicates low oil pressure, it’s not a good idea to keep driving your vehicle. Loss of oil pressure can cause extensive and expensive engine damage.

Q:  Why is my exhaust system roaring?

A:  If your exhaust system has a leak, you will hear a roar coming from under your vehicle that is loudest when accelerating. Your vehicle is saying, “Listen up here!  I’m trying to save your life!” The noise means your exhaust system needs repairs. The dangerous part is if the leaking exhaust gases, which contain carbon monoxide, get inside the passenger compartment. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent killer. It takes only a small amount of carbon monoxide inside the passenger compartment to affect your alertness, ability to concentrate and react to changing driving conditions. A very small amount can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, and bring on stupor in two hours. A one percent concentration of carbon monoxide can kill a person in less than three minutes!

Q:  Why do my tires make a thumping noise?

A:  You may have a tire out of balance.  Your car is saying, “My feet are killing me!” This causes it to impact with the road in a slapping sort of manner, causing the thumping noise.  Get it looked at as soon as possible, as a neglected tire causes flat spots and eventually ruins your tires.

Now you know what your vehicle is trying to tell you.  Call us today and make an appointment.  We’ll give it an inspection so you can feel confident on the road this holiday season!

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Fairway Auto Repair





Using the Right Motor Oil Is Imperative!

6 10 2016

Dale BertramThose of us in the automotive service and repair business understand why having oil in a vehicle’s engine is important, but few drivers actually understand the labeling and codes that are found on motor oil packaging. At Fairway Auto Repair we are very conscientious about using the correct oil for each vehicle and there are many different types out there.  Sometimes consumers wonder why the pricing is different on their oil change from car to car…this is the reason why.  Different makes and models require different oils.

The Bare Bones of Oil

Most everyone understands that engine oil keeps the engine parts lubricated in both low and high temperatures and it helps protect the emission system and provides enhanced fuel economy. They have heard for years that engine oil is the life blood of a vehicle. Many find out the importance of oil at an early age because they mow lawns.  Additives are added to the oil to make sure seals stay conditioned in older car’s engines or to help aid in better fuel economy. Manufacturers of the most popular makes and models basically deal with three types of motor oil.

Conventional oil, or refined crude oil makes up 75 percent to 80 percent of the mix, and then additives are put in to the mix to distinguish one type of conventional motor oil from another. Full synthetic oil is a popular alternative to conventional oil and its purpose is to provide enhanced engine protection. It enables a car’s engine to maintain good viscosity at all temperatures, although it also has characteristics that prevent solidification at lower temperatures. The third type is a blend of synthetic with conventional.

The various additives are necessary to engine performance. These additives include such ingredients as detergents, antioxidants, viscosity index improvers and many more. Their functions do everything from stopping oil oxidation, keeping the oil at the right thickness, to keeping high-temperature surfaces clean. They also collect dirt and contaminants to prevent buildups on engine parts. Additives for older cars are also available and they have special seal conditioning ingredients that rejuvenate internal seals in order to stop internal oil leaks and also help to keep the seals soft enough to be pliable.

The American Petroleum Institute (API)

To avoid confusion about motor the various motor oils, the API has developed a “donut” label that helps certified technicians and shop managers make educated decisions. For example, “API Service GF4” means that the motor oil is approved for use in most gasoline engines by API. The middle of the donut should say “SAE,” and is followed by a code such as 5W-30. SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers, and the number code refers to the motor oil’s viscosity.

Viscosity simply refers to the oil’s flow capability at various temperatures. It also refers to as the motor oil’s weight, or the “W” in the code. The first number shows how well an engine will start in cold weather. The lower the number tells us that this oil will start up in winter weather, and shows us how well engine parts will be lubricated in colder temperatures. The second number indicates the high-temperature viscosity or how much thickness the oil has at high temperatures. The bottom half of the donut indicates that the oil has met or exceeded energy conserving requirements.

Make Sure Your Shop is Certified

How can you know that the motor oil you’re getting from your provider is really intended for use in all vehicles? An ASE Certified Shop knows what oil to use in each vehicle it services. That is why we go to continuing education classes…so we are up to the minute to provide our customers with the right products for their cars, SUV’s and light trucks.  Improvements are being made all the time and we have to stay current in this constantly changing industry we specialize in.

Using the Wrong Oil

If a shop or quick lube uses the wrong oil in your vehicle you probably won’t notice an immediate problem but it will develop if it is repeated time and time again. Metal on metal contact or heat damage is serious and can cause major damage.  It also lowers fuel economy. Our goal is to keep our customers’ cars healthy and running for many miles to come!

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The 30,000 Mile CheckUp

21 07 2016

Dale BertramToday we often refer to this 30,000-mile checkup as a “major service” that needs to be done as a routine job every two years or 30,000 miles to keep a car running at peak efficiency. Many years ago it was referred to as a tune-up! When consumers in Phoenix call around for pricing on this service they are often amazed at the dramatic price differences being quoted.  This is mainly due to the fact that different shops view the “tune-up” or “major service” in a variety of ways.

A tune-up should always include a fuel filter, spark plugs, air filter, PCV filter, distributor ignition rotor and of course, the labor charges.

We let our customers know that:

  • Just replacing the spark plugs is not a true tune up. They are a good indicator of an engine’s condition, however. Changing the plugs prevents them from seizing in the block.  This seizing would cause expensive repairs to occur.
  • The distributor cap and rotor are usually made of plastic and of course plastic cracks over time, allowing moisture in. The metal then corrodes as well and this causes misfiring which costs the consumer more in fuel.
  • The spark plug wire sets need to be tested for proper resistance.
  • Filters, of course, must be changed on a regular basis and may be the single most important key to any vehicle’s longevity.
  • Oil filters prevent unnecessary engine wear as they remove soot, rust and other contaminates from the oil.
  • Air filters remove dirt and protect fuel injectors.
  • The PCV system consists of the breather tube and the PCV valve. The tube connects the crankcase to fresh air, such as the air cleaner body. Clean air flows in to this tube and in to the engine after it has passed through a screen, baffle, or other simple system to prevent an explosive atmosphere within the engine crank case from being ignited. The baffle, filter, or screen also traps oil mist, and keeps it inside the engine.
  • The fuel filter traps contaminants that can clog the injector inlet screens. If not replaced regularly stalling, hard starting and loss of high speed power results.
  • The automatic transmission filter cools and lubricates the moving parts plus transmits energy. If clogged the results are slippage and hesitation.

Drivers should be pleased to note that even if today’s “major service” doesn’t cure or prevent everything, it greatly reduces the need for expensive problems that can occur sooner rather than later.  The “tune-up” has evolved to keep pace with today’s vehicles.

To find out more about mileage and your vehicle, visit our website at www.fairwayautorepair.com.

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Fairway Auto Repair





Vitality

31 03 2016

Dale BertramOur vehicles are so important to us so it is important that we don’t take them for granted!  Here are a few things that Fairway Auto Repair recommends our customers have us check when they bring their cars in for service.

  • Lights – These are often overlooked. Headlights, brake lights, turn signals and taillights are all vital to our safety!
  • Brakes – Brake pads need to be replaced now and then. If they go bad…you don’t stop when you need to!
  • Tire Pressure – Over-inflated or under-inflated damages the tire and shortens their life. Tire pressures need to be just right!  Having a flat tire is not only an inconvenience, it can be dangerous too!
  • Tire Tread – if your tread is worn, or if your tires have lumps or bumps you could slip and slide (no ice needed) and even have a blowout! This could cause an accident!
  • Power Steering Fluid – Trying to drive a car without power steering is almost impossible. To keep your car under your control, this fluid is vital!
  • Transmission Fluid – This fluid needs to be exchanged periodically to keep your car shifting properly and to keep it under your control.
  • Coolant – No one wants to sit on the side of the road with steam pouring out of the hood due to an overheating vehicle. No one needs to if their coolant is kept in great shape and exchanged as needed from time to time!
  • Air Filter – A clean air filter helps in many ways…one being fuel economy. It is an inexpensive fix and only takes a moment to replace. Filters do just what they say…filter out the bad stuff such as dirt and contaminates.  We look at all filters to make sure they are doing their job.
  • Alignment – If your car seems to be pulling you in the wrong direction…an alignment may be the answer! A car out of alignment has a mind of its own!
  • The Oil – Last but not least, this vital fluid truly is the “life blood” of today’s vehicles. Keeping it clean and at the proper level keeps your car going strong.

These are just some of the items that keep the cars on Phoenix roads running well. They also help keep us safer as a well maintained vehicle helps prevent accidents due to mechanical failure.  Fairway Auto Repair is here for you, Phoenix drivers!  To find out more ways to keep your ride safe, or to make an appointment, check us out at www.fairwayautorepair.com.  We are here to help your car keep its vitality!

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