Videos and articles designed to help you diagnose and maintain your vehicle.
Archive for August 2011
To Save Gas Around Apple Valley: Keep Up with Your Scheduled Service
Date: August 24, 2011 12:51 PM - Category: Fuel System
One topic that hits the news in Apple Valley on a regular basis is the price of gas. The answer for some people in Apple Valley is to buy a more fuel efficient vehicle. For the rest of use, we need to improve our fuel economy anyway we can.
Following recommended service intervals by coming into Valley Auto Care is one of the best ways to keep your car running efficiently. That means better fuel economy. When you give it some thought, it only makes sense. Dirty oil or transmission fluid can’t lubricate or clean. That means more drag which reduces fuel economy.
Dirty engine air filters are another efficiency pirate. They rob your engine of enough air to effectively burn the fuel, so you need more gas to get the job done. Replacing a dirty air filter can pay for itself in fuel savings before the next oil change.
You can imagine what dirty fuel injectors can do to your car as you drive around Apple Valley. If your owner’s manual recommends a fuel system cleaning, come into Valley Auto Care and ask us to get it done for you.
A simple, but very effective way to save gas is to keep your tires properly inflated. Low tires can cost you up to a mile per gallon. Check your tire pressure when you gas up – or at least once a month.
Valley Auto Care 7125 151st St. West, Suite 105 Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124 952-431-2700
Date: August 18, 2011 12:58 PM - Category: Transmission
Let's talk about transmission service. It can be easy to forget about getting your transmission serviced because it doesn't need it very often. It's easy to remember to change the engine oil - you know, every 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. But proper transmission servicing keeps your car running smoothly and helps you avoid costly repairs down the road.
The transmission undergoes a lot of stress. The grit you see in used transmission fluid is actually bits of metal that wear off the gears in the transmission. In addition to that, the transmission operates at very high temperatures. Usually it's 100 to 150 degrees higher than engine temperatures. Those high temperatures eventually cause the transmission fluid to start to break down and loose efficiency.
As the fluid gets older, it gets gritty and doesn't lubricate and cool the transmission as well - leading to even more wear. The fluid can actually get sludgy and plug up the maze of fluid passages inside the transmission. At best, your transmission won't operate smoothly. At worse, it could lead to costly damage.
When your transmission is running properly, it transfers more power from your engine to the drive wheels, and improves fuel economy. That's why manufacturers recommend changing your transmission fluid at regular intervals. Your owner's manual has a schedule for transmission service and, of course, your service center can tell you what the manufacturer recommends.
Hot and dusty conditions; towing, hauling, stop and go conditions and jack rabbit starts all increase the load on the transmission and its internal temperature. That means you need to change the fluid more often. A good rule of thumb is every 35,000 miles, 55,000 kilometers or two years. If your manufacturer suggests more frequent intervals or if you're driving under severe service conditions, you will need to change it more often.
Most service centers have the ability to perform a transmission service while you wait and the cost is quite reasonable. It's downright cheap when you think about how much a major transmission repair can cost! Your service technician will know the right type of transmission fluid to use. If it's getting to be time to have your transmission serviced, do your car a favor and have it done. If not this time, then on your next service stop.
Fuel Filter Replacement
Date: August 9, 2011 2:22 PM - Category: Fuel System
You would never like to drink a glass of mud, right? Well, your car feels the same way. It needs a steady supply of clean fuel in order to run well and deliver good fuel economy. The fuel filter's job is to clean dirt and rust out of the fuel before it gets to your engine. A clogged fuel filter can actually choke off the engine so that it won't start or run. Some fuel filters have a bypass valve that allows fuel to go around the clogged filter so your car will still run. But, then the contaminated fuel can plug your fuel injectors and allow damaging particles into your engine.
A car with a partially clogged fuel filter might run well around town, but sputter and strain on the highway because it's starving for gas. There are two things that affect how often you need to replace the filter. They are: where you drive and the gas you buy. If you drive a lot on dirt or gravel roads in rural Minnesota, your fuel filter will have a harder time keeping the fuel clean.
And, we hate to say it, but buying the cheapest gas from cut-rate Apple Valley area stations sometimes means dirtier fuel that'll clog the filter sooner. Major brands tend to be cleaner and certainly have higher levels of detergent additives.
Of course, your manufacturer recommends intervals for changing the fuel filter. But, it's a little more complicated than that. Some manufacturers stopped listing recommended intervals for fuel filter replacement or have very long intervals like every five years or eighty thousand miles. So you may need to look to other sources for recommendations. Cars older than six or seven years are especially at risk because they have had time for dirt and rust to build up in the fuel tank. A clean fuel filter keeps the gas flowing. Even a partially clogged filter puts added strain on the fuel pump. That can shorten its life and result in a costly repair.
As is often the case, spending a little money now on something as inexpensive as a fuel filter can save money down the road. At Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley, we can check your fuel filter. It is better than fixing a burned out fuel pump or ruined fuel injectors.
OE vs. Aftermarket
Date: August 4, 2011 1:41 PM - Category: Parts
Minnesota new car dealerships are happy to leave you with the impression that you should have all of your scheduled automotive maintenance performed at the dealership during the warranty period. Some go so far as to imply that your warranty protection depends on it. In fact, nothing is further from the truth. Federal laws in both the United States and Canada specify that you do not have to have your vehicle serviced at a dealership to maintain warranty protection. The laws further state that a vehicle manufacturer cannot mandate that you use their particular brand of replacement parts or fluids. This certainly means you have many more service options, but what about quality?
First off, it is important to know that vehicle manufacturers do not make all of their own parts. They look to thousands of independent suppliers to manufacture the parts that go into your car or truck. Many of these same manufacturers that make the parts that are original equipment for a new vehicle, also supply parts for the automotive aftermarket. That means that your local service center such as Valley Auto Care has access to quality parts that meet or exceed auto makers' specifications. Your service consultant can offer a range of parts solutions that give you the option to save some money or to upgrade to a higher performance part.
While TV commercials for auto dealerships will tout "genuine" parts, your Apple Valley service center has the option to not only use that same part, but to help you choose one that better meets your driving needs. Dealership ads often promote the notion that only their technicians are up to the task of servicing their particular make of vehicle. That may be true if you drive a Ferrari, but for the rest of us, the training that your local service technicians receive is transferable to any vehicle.
Today's service databases enable your Burnsville or Burnsville service provider to get the right parts and to follow the right procedures to take care of your car. The diagnostic technology and equipment your service center uses enables them to get you back on the road as economically as possible. Speaking of economics, aftermarket labor rates are nearly twenty percent lower than dealership rates.
So there you have it. Your local Apple Valley area service centers are more convenient than auto dealerships, are more economical and provide high quality parts and products. And, your warranty is protected unless the manufacturer can demonstrate that a particular part lead to a warranty failure. In addition, you have more options as to where you have your vehicle serviced or repaired and you can take advantage of innovations and improvements that aren't available at the dealership.
Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley MN helps people and their vehicles throughout Apple Valley and along Cedar Ave, County Rd. 42, Galaxy Ave, and 160th St. We work on all vehicles including the following manufacturers: Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Ford, Mazda, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn, GMC, Cadillac, Mercury, Lincoln, Infiniti, Acura, Lexus, Buick, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, and Plymouth with most auto service needs including: Tires, Wheels, Brakes, Transmission, Tune-Up, Computer Diagnostics, Engine Codes, Suspension, Shocks, Struts, Alignment, AC, Clutch & more.