How’s The View?

12 07 2018

Dale BertramHow is the view from your windshield?  It is interesting that 80 percent of vehicle accidents are contributed to poor visibility and yet the average driver gets their wipers replaced every two and a half years.  They should be replaced every six months or at most every year.  Think of what your windshield encounters!

 

  • Rain
  • Insects coming to a messy end
  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Bird droppings

All these need to be cleared from your windshield when you are driving. If your wipers are worn and you turn them on to clear buildup you could end up with an even smearier blur instead of clear glass.

Most wiper blades are made with rubber that breakdown over time just like your belts and hoses.  The ozone oxidizes the rubber causing cracks to form on the surface.  Hot summer days are hard on wipers too because a windshield can get very hot.  This makes the rubber lose flexibility and crack.  All of this causes the chattering and smearing when you turn them on to clear the windshield.  What is this telling you? “This is a sign…please replace us!” They even make blades now that tell you when they need to be replaced!  If you are a procrastinator in this department they might be worth checking out! If you have a rear wiper blade don’t forget to replace that too!

Hopefully this has convinced you that good wiper blades are a must.  Keep in mind though those wiper blades don’t function by themselves.  If the nozzle isn’t squirting fluid properly onto the windshield (I’ve seen some squirt the car behind them or beside them!) the nozzle may need adjusting.  If it doesn’t squirt fluid out at all it either needs fluid added or the nozzle is clogged.  I’ve also seen weak washer pumps.

If your vision isn’t as clear as it should be, please make it a priority to get it taken care of sooner rather than later.

 

 

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Independence From Summer’s Heat Starts Here!

28 06 2018

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 www.fairwayautorepair.com.  Fairway Auto Repair wants to make sure you keep your cool all year long!

 

 





Misconceptions

17 05 2018

Dale BertramHere are some of the most common misconceptions that I hear on a regular basis:

Misconception # 1: Your car manufacturer specifies regular maintenance schedules just to get you back into their shop and make more money off of you.

Although manufacturers are making cars that last longer and require less overall maintenance, they do require preventive maintenance. If maintained properly, you can expect your car to go well over 100,000 miles without major repairs. For instance, most engines have timing belts that must be replaced (as maintenance) before they break and cause expensive damage.

Misconception # 2: A shop can give you an accurate price quote over the phone without seeing your car.

You can waste your time calling 20 different shops and get 20 different prices and chances are every one of them will be wrong. Unless the shop has had a chance to examine or test drive the car in person, there is no way to accurately diagnose your problem and give you an accurate price quote. Beware of any shop that is willing to give you a quote over the phone without seeing the car. Most likely they will tell you a real low price just to get you to set up an appointment. Then they may hit you with a much higher price once you get there.

Misconception # 3: Most repair shops will recommend extra work just to get you to spend more money.

The fact is that any shop that does not look for potential problems is actually doing you a great disservice. Quality repair shops road test every car and want to uncover wear and tear before they cause expensive problems and breakdowns. Something as simple as discovering and changing a worn belt can save you the danger (and embarrassment) of breaking down on a busy highway and an expensive towing charge.

Misconception # 4: All repair shops are the same.

There can be a huge difference between repair shops. New car technology requires constant training to keep current with all the changes. It also requires having the latest diagnostic equipment available.

 

 

 





Never Assume

26 04 2018

Dale BertramIn a recent study of several hundred people, the question was asked, “Does the auto shop where you take your vehicle employ certified technicians?” The vast majority answered that they assumed that they were certified.

Sadly, this is not the case! Someone who cuts hair or does manicures is required to be state certified and take continuing education classes, but a mechanic, who works on tires, engines or brakes doesn’t need a single day of training nor are they required to have the proper tools.

The only certification system we have in the automotive repair industry is strictly voluntary and is administered by Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) which offers a series of written tests that a technician can take to be certified in many different areas of the car. All tests are voluntary, not required. At Fairway Auto Repair, I require all the staff to be ASE certified and I know many other shops do as well.

I recommend using an AAA Approved auto shop because they require ASE certified technicians and those technicians must have a minimum set of tools for the cars they work on. AAA approved shops have tough standards and you, the consumer, have a voice through the arbitration system if you feel something went wrong with your car repair.

In these uncertain times, saving a few dollars is always something to consider, but don’t get so caught up with a low price that you get poor service/repair.  This 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 for that year, make & model.

 

 





Unnecessary Service

29 03 2018

Dale BertramI hear the phrase unnecessary service and wonder what that means. We visit the doctor for physicals, we visit the dentist for cleanings, we have our home air-conditioning unit cleaned and checked, a yearly eye exam and of course, the car needs a checkup too.

All of these professionals recommend some kind of service or checks to keep everything working properly. Most shops recommend services on cars that come in to their bays using the guidelines set out by the manufacturers or from the shops’ experience of early component failures. Sometimes there are a few recommendations and sometimes there are many service recommendations.

We recommend service to keep your car safe and reliable, just like the dentist tells you about issues developing with your teeth and gums. We know no one likes to spend hard earned dollars on maintenance services, especially when after these services are performed the car seems to run as usual with no noticeable differences.

I have found there is basically two types of philosophy on maintenance. The people who believe in maintaining and those who believe it’s better to wait until it breaks, then fix it. There are at least 30,000 parts on the average new car and over 5,000 of them are moveable parts. All moving parts require a clean source of lubricating oils, coolant or greases along with filters set in place to catch harmful materials. In addition, we have electronic parts that can be affected by poor maintenance habits. The simplest of new cars have more computing power than the Apollo Moon Lander. In fact, you could get to the moon with just 1/10th the computing power found on the modern car! Today’s electronics are so sophisticated that cars may run well even when there are serious failures in progress. The systems have enough authority to mask developing problems. By the time you have a detectable malfunction, one that you can feel or sense, you may have damaged expensive parts. The only outward indication the driver may get is a warning lamp on the dash. Poor maintenance practices can force electronics to work overtime, or carry excess current to compensate for worn out spark plugs, clogged filters, and more. Continuous operation in overtime builds heat in electronic components which leads to what engineers call “exceeding the duty cycle.”

In the end, it’s always the customer’s choice. Preventative maintenance is optional. Some people feel their car is running find and they don’t need the service recommended by the auto service center. We certainly won’t try to talk you into saving money by caring for your car. You can choose to do preventative maintenance on a timetable that you control or you can wait until your car breaks unexpectedly, leaving you stranded without transportation and a potentially large repair bill. Neither philosophy is right or wrong. We are always here to help you either way!

 

 





Is Your Air Conditioner Ready For Warmer Days?

22 03 2018

Dale BertramSpring is in the air in Phoenix and hot summer days are coming our way. Many of our customers’ thoughts are turning to…air conditioning.  At Fairway Auto Repair we get countless calls asking us how much it costs to fix.  There is no one simple answer to this question but I’ll give you some industry-wide estimates so you have something to go on. Generally, if you drive an older vehicle it will cost more to fix because the parts will be harder to find.

Testing the A/C System: A technician must test the system to determine what is wrong with it.  This requires a test for leaks and an inspection of the parts such as the compressor, condenser, hoses, and valves. The most help a consumer can be is to give as much information about when the condition occurred.

Evacuating & Recharging the A/C System: This is the most common fix of the A/C system. Refrigerant will naturally seep out over 3 to 5 years and will need attention.

Leaking Hose:  We use a leak detection unit to test for leaks.

Compressor Failure:  This is the most complex of all to fix and will be the costliest. The compressor is the pump that keeps the Freon flowing.

Replacing the Complete System: The cost of this is determined by the make and model you drive.   Usually this occurs when someone tries to save money and adds the off the shelf sealer as a quick fix, it always causes grief later.

Working on air conditioning systems is not easy.  The system itself is built in and around your car’s engine making it difficult.  Specialized equipment is required and a technician that is certified in this area is a must.  In some countries it is illegal for a non-authorized technician to work on A/C systems. A non-experienced technician can inadvertently cause problems and contaminate the environment.

These prices are not set in stone but an industry-wide average.  We will have one of our certified technician give you an estimate after they have diagnosed your vehicle.

 

 





How To Be Green For St. Patrick’s Day and Every Day!

15 03 2018

Dale BertramMost of us are concerned with keeping our environment green.  We buy the reusable bags for our shopping trips, combine driving trips to be more fuel efficient and use the new style light bulbs to conserve energy.  All these seemingly little conscious efforts add up to help our earth.

It may surprise you to learn that the automotive service and repair industry has been one of the leaders in keeping our environment clean…even before it was a popular theme with the general public.  We are very careful with waste disposal in every way.  As an example, one gallon of improperly disposed of motor oil can contaminate a million gallons of drinking water!  When consumers bring their car in for regular service it is one of the biggest benefits to cleaner air and the good news is…it saves you money too!  In fact, it saves you money in more ways than one!  It prolongs the life of the car you have, it saves money in fuel, and a regularly maintained vehicle saves you money on expensive repairs!  It is a good deal all around.

  • A regularly maintained car can last 50% longer.
  • A properly tuned car keeps your engine firing properly…one misfiring spark plug can waste 30% in fuel efficiency!
  • Keeping your tires checked and rotated makes them last longer and can help your engine work better and easier.
  • Clean filters make a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

Of course, it also helps not to drive like you are trying out for NASCAR or using it to transport or store heavy objects.  All of this contributes to wear and tear on your vehicle too plus cuts way down on fuel efficiency.

Working together, we can all help our earth be a bit greener…breathe a bit easier…and save ourselves more of our hard-earned cash.