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Battery Basics for TUCSON

It's important for TUCSON drivers to know battery basics. First, let's talk about which is harder on a battery – hot or cold AZ weather. Most TUCSON area drivers think it's cold weather because that's when we call on our batteries to have enough power to start a cold vehicle engine.

However, heat does more damage to a battery than cold. Truth is, our batteries start to die a little from day one. Keeping a full charge slows the process, which is hard with short TUCSON trips because the alternator doesn't have time to fully recharge the battery from starting the engine. TUCSON drivers can top off the charge with a computer controlled battery charger – say, once a month in the summer and every three months during the winter.

As far as how long a battery will last, statistics show that 70% have given up the ghost within four years. By that time, they aren't capable of taking a full charge like they used to, and your vehicle alternator has to work overtime to keep up. This causes your alternator to wear out early.

If you're pushing 4 to 5 years on your battery, see your friendly and knowledgeable All Makes & Models Auto Repair service assistant for a battery test to see if it's recommended to replace it. Not only can you avoid getting stranded with a dead battery on a AZ road, but you'll save unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle alternator.

Give us a call.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

 

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Breathe Deep With Your Cabin Air Filter

Bad air quality while you're driving around TUCSON is nothing to sneeze at. But seriously, more and more vehicles these days come equipped with a cabin air filter. Since they're fairly new on the scene, a lot of folks don't know about them yet.

These filters clean the air in the passenger compartment, or cabin, of your car or truck. They do the same job as the furnace filter you have at home. They can filter out particles as small as three microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.

So your cabin air filter can clean out dust, pollution, pollen and spores to keep the air in your car nice and clean. And just like your furnace filter, they need to be replaced when they get dirty. Check your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at All Makes & Models Auto Repair, but they typically need to be replaced at around 12,000 to 15,000 miles (19,000-24,000 kilometers).

The filter is usually either under the hood or under the dashboard. Some are a little tricky to get to, so you'll want to have All Makes & Models Auto Repair take care of replacing them.

As we said, many people don't realize they have a cabin air filter and go to their shop complaining about a funky smell in the ventilation system. It turned out to be a cabin air filter that was long overdue for replacement – really dirty and starting to smell. A quick replacement and they were on their way and smelling fine.

TUCSON residents who are allergy sensitive can really benefit from a cabin air filter, as it keeps allergens to a minimum. If you're one of them, you'll want to stay on top of your filter replacement schedule.

Of course if you do a lot of driving around the TUCSON area in dusty or polluted conditions, you'll need to change your cabin air filter more often.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

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Hitting The Brakes In Lehi

Hello TUCSON, let's talk about brakes. Hitting But the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There's also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.

Let's step back. A new vehicle or truck rolls off a local TUCSON showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.

Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles/kilometers start to add up on the vehicle. TUCSON drivers tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads and shoes on drum brakes are called the friction material. That's because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it's not until they are worn so thin as to be out of 'specs'  that they lose their ability to stop.

The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over long distances around AZ, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail - a scary possibility. That's why a regular brake inspection at All Makes & Models Auto Repair is important for your vehicle and your family's safety. At All Makes & Models Auto Repair we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.

That leads us to brake fluid service at All Makes & Models Auto Repair. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the vehicle fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at All Makes & Models Auto Repair cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.

The tires are what connect the vehicle to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the more quickly you'll stop.

This is especially important on wet American Fork area roads and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. AZ vehicle owners need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://allmakesautorepair.autotipsblog.com

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All Makes & Models Auto Repair Brake Service for Safe Stopping in TUCSON

Let's talk about something critical for all TUCSON drivers: your brakes. Your vehicle is heavy, and it takes a lot of muscle to bring it and your passengers to a safe stop – so everything needs to be in good working order.

Here's an explanation on how your disc brakes work:

The wheel hub keeps your wheel attached to your vehicle. The brake disc – or rotor – is attached to the hub and rotates with the wheel as you drive around TUCSON. Your brake pads clamp onto the rotor to slow the wheel.

The brake caliper straddles the rotor and squeezes the rotor to slow it down. The calipers contain brake pads which press on the rotor when you put your foot on the brake. The brake piston causes the calipers to squeeze and release as you use your vehicle brakes.

Your brake pads start to wear the first time you step on the brakes. Eventually the pads wear out and need to be replaced. If you don't replace the pads when they're worn out, the metal parts of the brake will grind against the rotor and carve grooves into the surface. We've all heard grinding brakes and it's not a pretty sound.

If a rotor isn't scored significantly, your friendly and knowledgeable All Makes & Models Auto Repair technician can put it on a lathe and smooth it out. If the grooves are too deep or if the rotor is warped or cracked, you need to replace it.

Sometimes brake pistons can stick and must be replaced. Typically it's cheaper to replace the entire caliper at All Makes & Models Auto Repair in TUCSON than to rebuild the piston.

So there you have it – an important lesson on how your disc brakes work. If you replace brake pads on time, it will not only keep your vehicle stopping safely but could save you cash on unnecessary repairs down the road.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

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Odometer Rollback on Your TUCSON, AZ Vehicle

How do TUCSON drivers know if an odometer is telling the truth?

Well, back in '86, Congress passed the Truth-in-Mileage Act to protect AZ consumers against mileage fraud. It says a AZ seller must certify the mileage reported is the actual mileage.

To have your odometer checked in TUCSON, AZ, stop by All Makes & Models Auto Repair:

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714

 

If it isn't, the seller must say why; for example, maybe the odometer is past its mechanical limits. Some older odometers only go to 99,999 and then start over at 0. Or, the odometer has been tampered with, broken or replaced.

If the seller tells you the mileage isn't accurate, there's not much chance of putting a good number to it. And there's the unscrupulous seller who claims the reading is true, but it isn't. What can TUCSON vehicle owners do?

You can go to www.CarFax.com, where, for a small fee, they'll give you a comprehensive vehicle history search on your vehicle, showing local TUCSON, AZ, ownership history, accident reports, total-loss events, manufacturer buybacks, Lemon reports and warranty status.

You can get a mileage history by checking with the local AZ DMV (or wherever you happen to be) and other verified sources looking for inconsistencies in the mileage reported when the car was bought and sold. If there are signs of odometer rollback, now you'll know.

If so, proceed with caution. Or, negotiate a lower price. Or just walk away. There's always another vehicle.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

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The Economy of Maintenance for TUCSON Drivers

Do I keep my old vehicle or buy a new one? It's a question most TUCSON drivers ask themselves at some time or another.

Generally, what it comes down to is the choice between a car payment and the possibility of repair bills. Most of the time, we want to choose the car payment because we don't like the inconvenience and uncertainty of vehicle repairs. But that payment has a detrimental effect on our budget and bank account.

Edmunds.com is a great website to help you with your decision. This site uses repair histories to calculate the average repair bills for specific makes and models of cars. You can plug in the information for your vehicle and get an estimate on what it will probably cost you to continue owning that vehicle.

Now, Edmunds.com isn't a crystal ball. It can't know what will happen to your specific vehicle. But it can guide you in knowing how much money to budget for the repair and maintenance of your vehicle. Ultimately, that can help you in your decision to buy a new vehicle or wait a few years.

For example, a five-year-old Camry V-6 is projected by Edmunds.com to cost about $96 a month, on average, to repair and maintain (at the time of this writing). Remember, maintenance costs are part of vehicle ownership, whether it's a new vehicle or an old one, so the projected cost for repairs on your five-year-old Camry average out to only about $50 a month. That's a whopping lot less than a new car payment.

If your vehicle is older than five years, you should also talk to your friendly and knowledgeable professional at All Makes & Models Auto Repair about its future. They are more familiar with the average cost of repairs for vehicles in your area and of specific problems they commonly see in particular vehicles. More importantly, they know you and they know your car. They can give you a heads-up on what repairs you may be facing in the near future.

Remember, the older your vehicle gets, the more important preventive auto maintenance becomes. Over time, vehicles accumulate wear and debris, and we just have to give them a little more attention. Getting to know your vehicle and its peculiarities is also good auto advice for TUCSON drivers.

If you decide to keep your older vehicle, you may want to talk with your All Makes & Models Auto Repair service advisor about fluids specially formulated for older engines. These motor oils, transmission and other fluids are designed to clean older engines and automotive systems and recondition their seals and gaskets.

Good care at All Makes & Models Auto Repair in TUCSON will keep your older vehicle on the road in AZ. And that may be just the boost you need in this uncertain economy. It may even save you enough to be able to afford that new vehicle you've been dreaming about.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

 

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Check Engine Light Diagnosis at All Makes & Models Auto Repair

Hello TUCSON . Have you ever had your Check Engine light come on? Did you panic? Or just scowl and ignore it? What should you do? Pull to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or just keep driving? What does that little light really mean for TUCSON drivers?

First of all, the Check Engine or Service Engine light does indicate that something is wrong. That's why it is called a warning light. But the something that is wrong might be a loose gas cap, or it might be serious vehicle engine trouble. That's why TUCSON residents often don't know how to respond to it.

The Check Engine light has two modes: it flashes or it stays on. A flashing light is serious. You need to get your vehicle to All Makes & Models Auto Repair in TUCSON ASAP. No, you don't need to call a tow truck, but, yes, you can't wait to get your car serviced. If your Check Engine light is on and flashing, you should not tow trailers, haul heavy loads or drive at AZ freeway speeds. Any of these could lead to serious damage that could result in repair bills for TUCSON drivers who ignore it.

steady Check Engine light is less serious, but that doesn't mean it can be ignored. You should plan to get your vehicle inspected at your local TUCSON automotive service center at the first realistic opportunity. Not the first convenient opportunity, but the first realistic one.

Modern automobiles have a computer in the engine that monitors and controls many of the engine functions. When the computer senses something wrong, it first tries to fix the problem itself by adjusting the vehicle engine. If the problem persists, the computer signals the Check Engine light to come on.

This process stores a trouble code inside the vehicle engine's computer. Your service advisor at All Makes & Models Auto Repair scans the computer and reads the code. This does not tell the technician exactly what is wrong with the car, but it gives him a good idea as to where to start looking.

Of course, the best thing to do is to keep that pesky Check Engine light from coming on in the first place. Good vehicle care and routine preventive maintenance go a long way to keeping your vehicle out of your TUCSON auto repair shop. But, if that light does come on, be smart. Take care of the problem early, and take care of it professionally.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

 

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Synthetic Oil for TUCSON Autos

If you are a driver in TUCSON and you aren't currently using synthetic motor oil in your vehicle, maybe now's the time to consider it. Need more information? Well, synthetic motor oil is a substitute for petroleum based oil.

Synthetic oil doesn't gel or gum-up like petroleum based oil and it doesn't vaporize as easily. It protects better in severe driving conditions like stop and go driving around TUCSON, as well as in very hot or very cold conditions. More and more new vehicles are being delivered with full synthetic motor oil, with the recommendation to use synthetic for the life of the vehicle.

Why is this? Synthetic motor oil maximizes engine power and fuel economy. To see why, we'd need a microscope, so we'll have to settle for using our imaginations.

The molecules of conventional motor oil are long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, has uniform, round molecules. Which is more slippery, a pile of pencils or a pile of marbles?

Synthetic motor oil lubricates better because there's less friction. That means better wear protection, cooler operating temperatures, more power and better fuel economy. And synthetic oil doesn't sludge up like conventional oil, so it prevents those small oil passages from clogging up.

Some manufacturers are extending oil change intervals. The added protection of synthetic oil covers you for these longer intervals. Talk with your service advisor about how you drive and see if he thinks you can benefit from synthetic oil. Also ask about the appropriate oil change interval for synthetic, because it may very well be longer than for conventional oil.

Most of us here in TUCSON have a busy life and might occasionally miss an oil change; go ahead, admit it. Since we're not perfect, doesn't it make sense to use a motor oil that's got your back?

Now synthetic oil costs more. But it lasts longer, protects better and increases fuel economy. You'll likely save money in the long run. If you're serious about making your car last longer, start using synthetic motor oil right away.

Give us a call to schedule an oil change, or visit us at our All Makes & Models Auto Repair website.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

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Exhaust Service at All Makes & Models Auto Repair: Passing the Smell Test

The exhaust system on a vehicle is more complex than most TUCSON residents realize. It contains everything from old-fashioned pipes and clamps to sophisticated computers and sensors. All AZ folks know a properly functioning exhaust system is good for the environment, but sometimes we forget that a damaged exhaust system can be deadly. That's why preventive maintenance on your exhaust system is so important. We can help you with that at All Makes & Models Auto Repair in TUCSON.

The exhaust manifold is the first component in your exhaust system. The manifold is attached to the engine. It collects the gases that are produced by the engine and directs them into the exhaust pipes. At this point, these gases are both hot and chemically dangerous.

One of the gases produced in your engine is carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless and odorless. Breathing it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness. Continue breathing it and you will die.

To keep this gas and others from entering your vehicle passenger compartment, the connections from the manifold to the engine and from the manifold to the exhaust pipes are sealed with gaskets. These connections should be routinely inspected at All Makes & Models Auto Repair for cracks and to check if they have come loose.

The exhaust pipes can also get damaged, allowing dangerous gases to leak into your passenger compartment. These pipes can rust or be dented or broken by rocks and other roadway debris, so they need to be inspected regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next component in your vehicle exhaust system. You can breathe a sigh of relief now, because this is where the dangerous engine gases are converted into carbon dioxide and water, greatly reducing the amount of harmful emissions in your exhaust. You'll also be happy to know that your catalytic converter doesn't require maintenance. However, it will wear out. If you fail an emissions inspection because of a faulty catalytic converter, you need to replace it.

The muffler's job is far less critical, but far more noticeable, than the catalytic converter's. It dampens or absorbs the noise from the engine. Most TUCSON residents don't realize that we can actually customize the noise our car makes with a custom muffler. You can upgrade to a muffler that will make your car sleuth-quiet, or you can advertise your presence in TUCSON with a sassy rumble.

Mufflers can also rust or be damaged by road debris. But just because their main function is to dampen out engine noise doesn't mean they can be ignored. If your muffler is leaking, you need to get it replaced quickly. Exhaust fumes need to exit through your tailpipe, not your muffler.

The exhaust pipe contains at least one oxygen sensor. The sensor monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust, which allows it to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio in the engine. This keeps your vehicle engine running smoothly and maintains good fuel economy. So, besides keeping you and the environment healthy, a well-maintained exhaust system also keeps your vehicle healthy. The tailpipe itself can rust or get damaged by road debris, so it needs a quick inspection once in a while, too.

The whole exhaust system is mounted on the vehicle with clamps and hangers. These clamps and hangers can come loose, rust or get dinged up by road debris. Remember that the gases in your exhaust system are hot, so the exhaust system itself gets hot. The clamps and hangers keep the exhaust system attached to the vehicle, but they also prevent the heated components from touching things they shouldn't. If you don't inspect and replace broken, loose or damaged clamps, you may end up with melted wires, hoses or lines. And that can spell some expensive repairs.

You should schedule an exhaust system inspection as recommended in your vehicle owner's manual. Because this system is critical to your health and the health of your car, and because of its sophistication and complexity, you need to have the work done at a qualified service center such as All Makes & Models Auto Repair in TUCSON.

Maintaining your emissions and exhaust system is not just good auto advice: it's good health advice for all TUCSON residents and their families.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

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Getting the Right Tires and Wheels in TUCSON

A lot of people get custom wheels in TUCSON. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you're not careful. Sometimes, once they're mounted, they just don't fit right. The tires rub in turns or on bumps. You don't want that.

Consulting your All Makes & Models Auto Repair tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First he'll ask you a series of questions about your TUCSON driving needs and what you want in your new wheels. Now, not every wheel can go on every car. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside so the tires rub.

If you don't want to make any modifications to your vehicle, you would need to focus on the wheels that would fit. With trucks, some people in TUCSON like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.

Also, most TUCSON drivers don't realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your vehicle's anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.

The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn't know what changes you made so it can't tell how fast you're going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong speed. If you go with a different rolling diameter, your vehicle engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.

Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from in AZ. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with your friendly and knowledgeable All Makes & Models Auto Repair tire professional about how big the wheel should be – and how to select the right tire for your vehicle. Your All Makes & Models Auto Repair service advisor will help you find the best tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs in TUCSON.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
http://www.allmakesautorepair.com

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Tucson, AZ 85714
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