Let’s Talk Lights!

20 09 2018

Dale BertramThe daylight hours are getting shorter now and we depend on our lights more and more.  I have noticed people driving around with one headlight out or a brake light and one can only assume a turn signal (though some people just don’t bother to use them for some strange reason!). It is a good idea to test your lights!  You can have someone assist you, ask us to check, or check them out yourself by pulling up to a building and shining your lights, or even do it in your garage.  Seeing well while driving is very important, and it is also important that others see you!

If your headlights seem yellowed, we can fix that!  Just contact us and we’ll tell you how we do this (no, it isn’t magic!).

When Your Lights Go Dim
Your vehicle’s alternator keeps the battery charged.  The alternator replaced the generator of the past.  If your car fails to start as quickly as it used to (hard or slow cranking) or your lights seem dimmer it could be a sign that your alternator needs to be replaced.  If you are used to dashboard lights telling you of a problem and you didn’t see the “alt,” “bat,” or “gen” light come on to alert you, keep in mind that the alternator is responsible for those dashboard lights!  If it isn’t working then the lights will not illuminate.

Today’s vehicles have more and more equipment that is powered by our alternators.  We have stereo systems with multiple speakers, televisions and DVD players, fancy headlights and navigation systems, rear wipers and heat and air conditioning systems.  We take for granted that all this works, but sometimes an alternator simply gets overworked and needs to be replaced. If you have a poor battery it also puts extra stress on the alternator and can even cause it to overheat because it will try to keep the voltage up.

When an alternator fails it usually does so in stages so pay attention when things start functioning abnormally.  The signs are often subtle such as dimmer lights.  You may be using all the bells and whistles at once such as the television, wipers, air conditioning and the navigation system and they seem sluggish.  When you stop using one or more of the functions the remaining ones work better. The dashboard lights may start flickering.

When you take your vehicle to your car care provider they will:

  • Perform a “load test” to check the voltage readings (measure the voltage at the alternator connector and the battery)
  • Check the belts to determine if they are old and cracked or slipping
  • Listen as an experienced mechanic can tell from a clanging or rattling noise that something is not as it should be

Alternators work long and hard for us but occasionally even the best can fail.  The battery will still run many miles on reserve power so this usually saves you from being towed in. As always, if things aren’t working as well as they normally do it is best to have it checked out before it becomes a serious problem.  This always saves you time and money!

 

 

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Ten Good Reasons to Invest in an Annual Car “Physical” and Needed Maintenance

6 09 2018

Dale Bertram

  1. CUT REPAIR COSTS – Discovering a worn component before it creates major problems can save big money.
  2. SAFETY – A poorly maintained vehicle can drive you into a serious accident.
  3. BETTER PERFORMANCE – This translates to improved fuel economy as well as “driveability.”
  4. SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT – Under-maintained vehicles are a serious contributor to air pollution.
  5. IMPROVED TRADE-IN/RESALE VALUE – A well maintained vehicle can be worth two to three times as much as one that has been neglected.
  6. BETTER HANDLING – Incorrect wheel alignment, worn suspension components and/or tires cause poor ride and handling.
  7. ABILITY TO PLAN AHEAD – When a check-up indicates future need for replacement of a part, you can budget accordingly.
  8. DEPENDABILITY – A well-maintained vehicle is less likely to stall, fail, or otherwise leave you stranded.
  9. DRIVING ENJOYMENT – It’s more comfortable and more fun to drive a car that holds the road and rides well.
  10. PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP – It’s said that your car is an extension of our personality. Keep it looking like you care!

 





Listen…Is That Your Car Crying For Help?

23 08 2018

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!

 

 





Being Gentle With Your Vehicle Saves Money

16 08 2018

Dale BertramSome drivers inflict damage to their vehicles just by the way they drive.  If you find you must have repairs more often than most people, you could be personally responsible.

  • Do your brakes seem to wear out fast?
  • Does your transmission need extra attention?
  • Do you need an alignment a few times a year?
  • Do you dash up to a red light or stop sign and push hard on the brake pedal?
  • Do you fly over speed bumps?
  • Do you floor it as soon as the light turns green?
  • Do you hit the curb with your tires?

When you put a lot of stress on your brakes, you are putting a lot of pressure on the braking system components such as the rotors, calipers and pads.  This causes them to wear out faster than normal driving.

Tires that get hit with the curb, are driven with the wrong tire pressure and hit speed bumps at fast speeds are not going to last long…nor is the alignment. It also costs more in fuel.

If you like to floor it as soon as the light turns green you put a lot of stress on your engine, powertrain parts and fuel pump.

We are not trying to tell you how to drive, but we did want to share how you can save money on your vehicle repairs.  If you find yourself getting repairs for your car more often than other people, think about your driving habits.  It really could have a lot to do with it.

 

 





School Time in Phoenix

9 08 2018

Dale BertramIt doesn’t seem to matter whether you have school-aged children or not, back-to-school time affects most of us.  The lighter traffic we enjoyed during our morning commute comes to an abrupt end.  We have to be more aware than ever of young people waiting for the bus in the early morning darkness.  We have to remember to slow down in school zones and be more aware of children as they dash here and there.  We have to allow time for extra cars and buses on the highway.

If you do have children going back to school, you are a teacher or work for the school system in some capacity, your life gets more hectic than ever.  There is the long list of school supplies to purchase, sports and other after school events, homework to squeeze in among all the other activities and meet the teacher nights.

Then you have me, your car care provider reminding the childless, the empty-nesters and those with children to get your car serviced for back-to-school.  Why do I do this?  Because I know when life gets more hectic it is easy to forget our vehicles’ needs.  Unfortunately, when we let servicing our cars slide the car breaks down. When this happens our carefully staged work-life balance comes crashing down.  We realize at that moment just how important our vehicles are to us and how living without them is near impossible.  I also do this because I know that maintaining your vehicle on a quarterly basis saves you money, too! Call today for an appointment!

To find out more about caring for your car, visit us at www.fairwayautorepair.com!

Happy Back To School Everyone!

 

 





Is Your Automotive Service and Repair Shop Certified?

2 08 2018

Dale BertramIn a recent study of several hundred people, the question was asked, “Does the auto shop you use have certified technicians?” The vast majority said they assumed that they were.

The shop you use may have certified people, but the reality is there is no mandatory certification required to own or operate an auto repair shop. This is one part of our industry that I would like to see reviewed. A professional that cuts hair or fingernails is required to be state certified, but a mechanic who works on tires, engines or brakes doesn’t need a single day of training or any tools to do so.

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers a series of tests that a technician can take to be certified in many different areas of the car. All tests are voluntary, not required. At my shop, I require all staff to be ASE certified and I know many other shops do as well. ASE tests are all written tests and it does not necessarily mean a person is competent to work on a car.

AAA Approved auto shops must have ASE certified technicians employed as well as have a minimum set of tools for the cars they work on. I recommend using an AAA approved shop due to their tough standards, and you have a voice through the arbitration system, should you have a concern with the service or repair.

In these uncertain times, saving a few dollars is always something to consider. But don’t get caught up with a low price that will cost you more later. Have a knowledgeable certified technician perform the service or repairs on your car; it will save you time and money in the long run. Before you agree to have any work performed, ask if the technician working on your car is certified. If you wonder sometimes why someone is lower in price than everyone else, there’s usually a reason.

 

 





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.