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Commitment to Make Your vehicle Last at All Makes & Models Auto Repair

These days many people in the TUCSON area are really committed to making their cars last a long time. First thing: you've got to start with what you've got. It'd be ideal if people started with a brand new car, never missed a scheduled service item, paid attention to the severe service maintenance schedule and had regular inspections. But if you've had the vehicle for a while or bought it used, its maintenance history is what it is; and that's where you start.

Go through the maintenance schedule for your vehicle and see what's been done and when. Have your TUCSON service advisor at All Makes & Models Auto Repair do an inspection and come up with a list of stuff that needs to be done. Review the list and prioritize the work, talk about budget and make a plan to get caught up.

Making a plan is so important. Suppose you go in for an oil change and learn you need your cooling system serviced, a transmission service and are coming up on a timing belt replacement in the next 5,000 miles/8,000 kilometers. You might be pretty overwhelmed.

To make it even more stressful, these are all very important systems that are expensive to repair if there's a failure. In a consultation with your All Makes & Models Auto Repair service advisor, you might decide to take care of the transmission on this visit, set an appointment for the cooling system service next month and get an estimate for the timing belt replacement so you'll be prepared for it in a few months.

Having a plan for taking care of these important services will set your mind at ease.

For advice on how to make your vehicle last longer, visit us at All Makes & Models Auto Repair.


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

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Hold the Oil! (Oil Pan Gasket Replacement)

You've likely heard how important oil is to your vehicle's engine. Did you know that there's one part that's responsible for holding that oil so you can use it every day? It's called the oil pan, and it sits at the bottom of the engine.

The oil pan is a vital, though simple, part of your engine's lubrication system. Oil circulates through parts of your engine to keep them lubricated. It reduces friction so everything works smoothly. Without oil, friction would quickly destroy your engine. The oil pan keeps that oil contained in the lubrication system, so it's important that the oil doesn't leak out. Since it's a metal part attached to another metal part, there is a gasket between the oil pan and the part of the engine it attaches to.

Various things can put stress on the oil pan and gasket, including weather extremes, the speed you're traveling and the condition of the oil. You may drive over a couple of bad roads and kick up debris onto your oil pan. All this wear and tear, heat and time can take their toll. So after a while, the gasket can just wear out and start leaking. It usually starts pretty slowly. If you see oil visible under your vehicle where you park it, that might be a sign of a leaky oil pan gasket. Another sign? You smell burning oil coming from your engine. If the leak is bad and your engine has lost a lot of oil, you may eventually see the oil light go on.

Let your service advisor know if you are experiencing any of these things. Driving with insufficient oil can badly damage your engine. And it can do it quickly. A All Makes & Models Auto Repair trained technician will check to find the source of the leak. It may just be a gasket, but it also could be the oil pan is damaged and needs replacing as well.

This is a repair you should get taken care of. Your engine needs its lubrication system intact to provide you many years of service.

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

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How Your Check Engine Light Works



Have you ever had an experience like this in TUCSON, AZ? You drive through the one of those automatic car washes. When you get to the end, where the dryer is blowing, your Check Engine light starts flashing!

You fear the worst, but within a block or two, the light stops flashing, but stays on. By the next day, the light is off.

You wonder; "What was going on?" Well, it's actually a good lesson in how the Check Engine light works.

Your air intake system has a sensor that measures how much air is coming through it. When you went under the high-speed dryer, all that air was blasting past the sensor. Your engine computer was saying, there shouldn't be that much air when the engine is just idling. Something's wrong. Whatever's wrong could cause some serious engine damage.

Warning, warning! It flashes the Check Engine light to alert you to take immediate action.

It stopped flashing because once you were out from under the dryer, the airflow returned to normal. Now the engine control computer says the danger is past, but I'm still concerned, I'll keep this light on for now.

Then the Check Engine light goes off in a day or two.

The condition never did recur, so the computer says whatever it was, it's gone now. The danger is past, I'll turn that light off.

Now a flashing Check Engine light is serious. You need to get it into All Makes & Models Auto Repair as soon as possible. But if it stops flashing you can wait a few days, so you have time to see if the problem will clear itself or if you need to get it checked. How does the computer know when to clear itself?

Think of it this way. The engine control computer is the brain that can make adjustments to manage the engine. Things like alter the air-to- fuel mix, spark advance and so on. The computer relies on a series of sensors to get the information it needs to make decisions on what to do.

The computer knows what readings are in a normal range for various conditions. Get out of range, and it logs a trouble code and lights up the Check Engine warning.

The computer will then try to make adjustments if it can. If the computer can't compensate for the problem, the Check Engine light stays on.

The computer logs a trouble code. Some people think the code will tell the technician exactly what's wrong.

Actually, the code will tell the technician what sensor reading is out of parameters. It can't really tell him why, because there could be any number of causes.

Let's say you're feeling hot. You get your heat sensor out – a thermometer – put it under our tongue and in a minute or two you learn that you have a fever of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).

You know your symptom – a fever – but you don't know what's causing it. Is it the flu, a sinus infection or appendicitis?

You need more information than just that one sensor reading. But it does give you a place to start and narrows down the possible problems.

There are reports on the internet telling you that you can just go down to an auto parts store and get them to read your trouble code or buy a cheap scan tool to do it yourself.

There are two problems with that. First, the computer stores some trouble codes in short term memory and some in permanent memory. Each manufacturer's computer stores generic trouble codes, but they also store codes that are specific to their brand.

A cheap, generic scan tool, like you can buy online or that the auto parts store uses, doesn't have the ability to retrieve long-term storage or manufacturer specific codes. Your TUCSON, AZ, service center has spent a lot of money on high-end scan tools and software to do a deep retrieval of information from your engine control computer.

The second problem is that once you've got the information, do you know what to do with it? For example, a very common trouble code comes up when the reading on the oxygen sensor is out of whack.

So the common solution is for the auto parts store to sell you a new oxygen sensor — which is not cheap — and send you off on your way. Now your oxygen sensor may indeed have been bad and needed replacing. But the error code could have come from any of a dozen of other problems.

How do you know the right solution? Back to the fever analogy, do you need surgery or an aspirin? Leave it to the pros at All Makes & Models Auto Repair. Give us a call and let us help you resolve your check engine light issue.

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

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Road Trip: Be Ready for Anything with a Trip Inspection at All Makes & Models Auto Repair

Road trip, anyone? Nothing spoils a great vacation faster than ending up stranded on the side of the road or spending a week in a rundown motel while our vehicle sits in the shop. Long days on the road can bring out the worst in your vehicle, so before you leave, prepare it for the journey by getting a trip inspection at All Makes & Models Auto Repair in TUCSON. After all, you wouldn't travel without clean socks, why ask your vehicle to travel with a load of dirty oil?

The first step in a trip inspection at All Makes & Models Auto Repair is to look at your travel plans. What kinds of roads will you be driving on? Will you be in the AZ back country or on the freeway? Will you be crossing mountains? Off-roading? What will the weather be like? How far away from TUCSON will you be traveling? How much are you hauling? Will you be towing a trailer or lugging a rooftop carrier? Will you encounter dust, mud, snow or sea salt? All of these questions can help determine which services are most needed. And don't hesitate to ask your All Makes & Models Auto Repair service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on what trip conditions are hardest on what systems of your vehicle and what kinds of services it realistically needs. Start with the tires and check them for tread wear and proper inflation. Replace or rotate them as needed. If you need to change them out for winter tires, then do so.

Then look at your shocks or struts for wear. Replace them if needed. You'll want that extra comfort on your trip. Be sure to check your alignment as well. Steering a vehicle that is out of alignment is tiring, and dangerous. Don't overlook your brakes. With extra passengers and baggage, your brakes are going to get a workout. You want them in top condition.

In addition, inspect belts and hoses. If any of them are close to wearing out, have them replaced before your long trip does them in.

Change your engine air filter if it needs it, or if it's close to needing it. Your car's air filter processes 12,000 times as much air as the amount of fuel it burns. A clean air filter will protect electronic sensors that affect how your engine runs.

Get an oil change at All Makes & Models Auto Repair in TUCSON if it's coming due. Make it a full-service oil change while you're at it. That way, all of your fluids will get checked and topped off. Change any dirty or old fluids. TUCSON drivers don't want to overstress their cooling systems or transmissions with dirty fluid during a long trip.

Does your vehicle smell? Check the cabin air filter. The bad smell could also indicate an exhaust leak, which can be fatal on a long trip. So don't ignore bad odors; check them out.

If your air conditioning hasn't been up to snuff, then give it an overhaul. You want your vacation to be relaxed and pleasant, and that means keeping the passenger compartment comfortable.

And be sure to check your wiper blades and your headlamps. You may find yourself driving in unfamiliar territory at night after a long day. You'll want to be able to see as much as possible.

Of course, almost everything listed here is just part of preventive maintenance for smart driving. If you keep up with your vehicle care on a regular basis, a trip inspection will be a breeze at All Makes & Models Auto Repair.

Taking care of your vehicle before you leave for a road trip will pay you back in safety, peace of mind, improved comfort and better fuel economy. It will also help your vacation go as planned by keeping you on the road and headed for that next great adventure. Just don't forget to pack your socks.

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

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Gas Savings in TUCSON: Sharpen Your Pencil

High gas prices in TUCSON increase the cost of living for AZ drivers. You've probably budgeted a certain amount for vehicle related expenses. Increased fuel costs now consume a larger portion of our incomes, causing some TUCSON vehicle owners to skimp in other areas – like scheduled maintenance.

According to AZ news reports and automotive industry studies, this is becoming increasingly more common. In fact, nine out of ten personal vehicles on the road have at least one maintenance or repair item that hasn't been done. Some of these items pose serious safety risks. Others are just more likely to make it more expensive to drive.

In this area, we can take a lesson from professional TUCSON vehicle owners. I'm talking about fleet owners and operators. You know, TUCSON folks like the trucking companies and delivery services. Because their livelihood depends on it, they have gotten scheduled maintenance down to a science. And the last thing they skimp on is regular maintenance.

Why is that? Well, for one thing they know that routine maintenance prevents expensive repairs and costly breakdowns. They also know that a well-maintained vehicle uses less fuel. For them, even a small decrease in fuel efficiency may put their TUCSON business in the red.

So what does this mean to TUCSON drivers? Well, there's a 90 percent chance that you're missing some service that would improve your fuel economy. Here's a quick reminder list:

Fuel system cleaning, transmission service, differential service, engine air filter, wheel alignment, oil change, tune up.
Ring any bells? Can most TUCSON vehicle owners honestly say that there isn't at least one thing on the list that hasn't been done?

Let's suppose you chose to spend $150 and get caught up on some of these services at All Makes & Models Auto Repair. Figure that they combine to improve your fuel efficiency by 15 percent. What would that mean to your pocketbook?

Well, the average personal vehicle in TUCSON is driven about 12,000 a year. If you get 20 miles per gallon in your vehicle, over the course of one year you would pay for the $150 worth of service and save an additional $165 dollars if gas is at t$3.50. If gas is $4.50, you would save $255. And you'd rack up savings of $345 dollars with gas at $5.50.

GAS PRICE
$3.50
$4.50
$5.50

20 MPG
$165
$255
$345

From this you can see that the more fuel costs, the more it pays to keep up on scheduled maintenance. Some of us drive trucks in TUCSON for work or recreation – or want a large SUV for family needs. A 15 percent improvement in fuel economy can generate huge savings – $650 a year if gas is $4.50 a gallon in TUCSON. Take a look at this table to see where your savings could lie.

 

GAS PRICE

A) $3.50, B) $4.50, C) $5.50

10 MPG: A) $480, B) $660, C) $840

20 MPG: A) $165, B) $255, C) $345

30 MPG: A) $60, B) $120, C) $180

 

So catch up on those services you've been neglecting at All Makes & Models Auto Repair. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you'll save a lot of money at TUCSON gas pumps this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.

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

 

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PCV Valve: What Is It?

Most TUCSON drivers know something about preventive maintenance on a vehicle. We know we should routinely replace the oil and wiper blades and other fluids. But have you heard of a PCV valve ? This little car part needs to be replaced regularly or it can cause some serious problems in your vehicle engine.

PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. The crankcase holds your motor oil and is located at the bottom of your engine.

When fuel is burned in your engine, it produces waste gases that are mostly vented out through your exhaust system. But some of these gases push their way past the pistons and into the crankcase. There, these gases can mix with motor oil to produce oil sludge, which can damage vehicle engine parts through corrosion and by clogging engine passages. TUCSON vehicle owners should be advised that if the engine is running at high speeds, these gases can also cause pressure inside the crankcase to build up. This pressure, in turn, can blow gaskets and damage seals, leading to oil leaks.

The waste gases that leave the engine are comprised of about 70% unburned fuel. They used to be vented off the crankcase into the atmosphere. But starting in 1964, laws mandated that these gases be recaptured. Manufacturers began installing PCV systems, which recycled the gases into the air intake system where they could be mixed with fuel and sent to the engine to be burned.

The PCV valve is a one-way valve attached to the crankcase. Waste gases exit the crankcase through the valve but cannot enter.

Over time, the waste gases leave deposits on the PCV valve that can gum it up. So it needs to be replaced occasionally. This is an inexpensive part of preventive maintenance that is often overlooked, but which can have very expensive consequences. It's good auto advice to keep this little valve clean and working well.

In order to maintain efficient circulation, the PCV system also has a breather tube that allows clean air to enter the crankcase. This air is usually filtered through the engine air filter. But some vehicles have a separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. If this is the case with your vehicle, proper maintenance of the PCV will include replacing this element. To find out whether your vehicle has this type of PCV system, check your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at All Makes & Models Auto Repair.

The PCV system reduces harmful vehicle emissions. The maintenance it requires is simple and inexpensive at All Makes & Models Auto Repair. A fouled or damaged PCV system can lead to serious engine damage for TUCSON drivers.

Let's all learn to practice good car care. It's good for our wallets, and it's good for our AZ environment.

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

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Training Received by Technicians in TUCSON, AZ

When your vehicle breaks down in the TUCSON, AZ, area, or just needs some routine service, it can make you a little nervous. Because your vehicle's so important to your life, you need to be back on the road as soon as possible — with the problem fixed right the first time.

We've been checking into some of the training our TUCSON, AZ, technicians receive, and we're very impressed. It's amazing how much knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern vehicle. So it's not like when your uncle worked on his hot rod over the weekend.

Today there are four-cylinder engines around TUCSON that make more power than the V-8's in luxury cars did 20 years ago. A new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket's Ferrari in a race to 60 mph/97 kph.

Our engines are more and more powerful. And they're so reliable. This is all due to engineering. But the benefits come to TUCSON drivers at the price of simplicity. Modern cars are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin.

Then there are the electronics. Some vehicles on AZ roads have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle functions as well. TUCSON drivers take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks.

It's a real challenge for the pros at All Makes & Models Auto Repair and other TUCSON auto service centers to keep up. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the auto technician and the service center. In addition to the training, there's the financial commitment to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools as well.

So where do TUCSON technicians go for training? There are many sources. It's usually a combination of formal classroom training, training provided in the service center by auto parts and equipment manufacturers, online courses and home study courses. There are many independent certifications available all the way up to Master Technician.

Service centers in TUCSON, AZ, have a lot of other resources available.  No one can know everything, so service centers like All Makes & Models Auto Repair subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even online communities that can help them when they run into a difficult problem.

It's like those medical diagnosis shows on TV. Here are the symptoms. What's the diagnosis and treatment? Diagnosis is every bit as much an art as a science. TUCSON drivers want everything to be simple, straightforward and cheap – and sometimes it just isn't.

So, be more relaxed next time you take your vehicle in. You can trust the professionals at All Makes & Models Auto Repair. You're in good hands. The more you know, the more comfortable you can be with your automotive service decisions at All Makes & Models Auto Repair. 

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

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When "Oh, no!" Turns Into, "All right!"

Things we don't expect happen to our vehicles. And let's face, no one really wants to spend money on an unexpected repair. But if you are putting off going to your vehicle repair facility because you're dreading bad news, you might just be putting off some good news.

There was one minivan driver who'd had the same van for years and never had a problem with the power sliding doors.  Then one day, the electrical switches in the door pillars stopped working.  The key fob would still open them, but the door switches wouldn't do a thing.

Of course, the van driver feared the worst: an electrical problem, a major computer failure, mice chewing up the wires.  So, he put off going into the repair facility for a couple of months.  One day, it was time for his regular oil change and the service advisor asked him if there was anything else going on with the van.  The owner mentioned the door problem but said he didn't want to spend a fortune on it.

He waited for his van, and it wasn't long before the service advisor came out with good news. The doors weren't working because a switch on the overhead console had been turned off.  (It was a safety feature to allow parents to disable them.) The owner had accidentally switched it when he was unloading the van.  It was the first thing the technician had checked. Flip the switch back and all was working as usual.

Another example? A mother was driving a minivan with her two kids inside on a hot day when she felt the front end shaking violently as she drove down the road. Fearing something major had broken in the van (and fearing for the safety of her kids), she pulled into a fast-food restaurant parking lot and started to look underneath to see if it was anything obvious she could see.

She couldn't see any broken parts, but she also didn't feel safe getting back in the van with her kids.  So, she called her local service facility and asked if they could send someone to look at it.  When the technician arrived, he took it for a test drive on the same road on which she'd described having the trouble.  Then he put her van up on the lift.  His conclusion?  Nothing was wrong with her van.  It was the street she was driving on.  Crews repairing it had left the surface full of potholes, and that was causing her rough ride.

Ultimately, what these two drivers feared would be an expensive trip to the shop resulted in each driver getting different news than they had expected.  One learned something new about his vehicle.  The other?  Well, the technician saw that her tires were badly worn and convinced her to get them replaced, perhaps preventing an accident and giving peace of mind for a mom with two kids.

All Makes & Models Auto Repair
1305 E BENSON HWY
TUCSON, AZ 85714
5208077571
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TUCSON Air Conditioning Service

Working up a sweat is a great thing to do in a gym around TUCSON, but not in your vehicle. When TUCSON residents' vehicle AC Systems have a problem, they'll often feel it right away. The question is, how long do you put up with it? You know, the old comfort versus cost dilemma. But a more comfortable drive around AZ has a lot of benefits, and keeping the AC System well maintained can help prevent repairs.

A common cause of AC failure is water and air in the system. The system does not work as well with air in it. And water can cause rust that leads to damage of the A/C components. Also refrigerant, the stuff that makes the air cold, can leak out, reducing the efficiency of the system and making it work harder to try to cool the air. That is why periodically evacuating the air conditioning system and recharging it keeps the proper amount of clean refrigerant in the system for TUCSON residents, so it cools better and lasts longer.

TUCSON drivers should also run the air conditioner regularly, even in the winter, so that it lubricates itself and keeps the seals from drying out. The seals can crack and that leads to leaks. Your vehicle's owner's manual will have recommendations for how often to service your air conditioner. Some service centers also have this information as part of their computer databases. Your friendly and knowledgeable All Makes & Models Auto Repair service advisor can give you more information.

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

 

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Fuel Saving Tip: Slow Down in TUCSON

There’s not much TUCSON drivers can do about the price of gas in 
AZ, but we can control - up to a point - how much we use. Our driving habits can dramatically affect our fuel economy.

The first thing we can do is watch the go-pedal. Hard acceleration just sucks the gas. Gently leave stop lights and plan lane changes so you don’t need to floor it. That can save you hundreds of dollars a year in improved gas mileage.

Go a little slower on AZ expressways. TUCSON drivers who go more than 65 miles an hour (105 kilometers per hour) will see their gas mileage drop dramatically. Leave early so you don’t need to rush to be on time. And cruise control is your friend – steady speeds use less gas.

Plan errands ahead. Make fewer trips by combining errands around TUCSON.

Hey at current TUCSON gas prices, a lead-foot might as well be a gold foot.

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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Phone: (520) 807-7571
Fax:
Address: 1305 East Benson Hwy
Tucson, AZ 85714
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