When your car breaks down in the Apple Valley Minnesota area, or just needs some routine service, it can make you a little nervous. Because your car’s so important to your life, you need to be back on the road as soon as possible. And, with the problem fixed right the first time.
We’ve been checking into some of the training our Apple Valley Minnesota technicians receive, and we’re very impressed. It’s amazing how much knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. So it’s not like when your uncle worked on his hot rod over weekend.
Today there are four cylinder engines that make more power than the V-8’s in luxury cars 20 years ago. A new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket’s Ferrari in a race to 60 mph.
Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up. And they’re so reliable. This is all due to engineering. But the advances come at the price of simplicity. Modern cars are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin.
Then there’s the electronics. Some cars in the local Apple Valley Minnesota area have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle functions as well. We take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks.
It’s a real challenge for your local Apple Valley Minnesota technicians to keep up. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the auto technician and the service center as well. In addition to the training, there’s the financial commitment to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools as well.
So where do Apple Valley Minnesota technicians go for training? There’re many sources. It’s usually a combination of formal classroom training, training provided in the service center by parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses. There are many independent certifications available all the way up to Master Technician.
And AutoNetTV produces monthly training for service centers called The Pro Channel. If you were to watch the Pro Channel segment on re-flashing the engine control computer, you’d be amazed at how much is involved: special software, hardware interfaces and a tremendous amount of knowledge and skill.
Service centers in Apple Valley Minnesota have a lot of other resources available as well. No one can know everything, so service centers like Valley Auto Care subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line communities that can help them with 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. As consumers we want everything to be simple, straight forward and cheap – and sometimes it just isn’t.
So, be more relaxed next time you take your car in. You really should trust your service advisor at Valley Auto Care. You’re in good hands. The more you know, the more comfortable you can be with your automotive service decisions. Visit AutoNetTV.com to see more great auto tips videos about many service topics.
Auto Service Resources.
Videos and articles designed to help you diagnose and maintain your vehicle.
Archive for August 2012
Training Received by Technicians In Apple Valley Minnesota
Date: August 28, 2012 9:20 AM - Category: Maintenance
Service Intervals for High Mileage Vehicles in Apple Valley Minnesota
Date: August 21, 2012 1:00 PM - Category: Service Intervals
Nowadays, everyone in Apple Valley, Minnesota is paying more at the gas pump. For some families in the greater Apple Valley area, it adds up to several hundred dollars every month. That’s got to come out of the budget somewhere. Throughout North America, people are putting off buying a new car. They plan on keeping their old vehicle for a year or two longer than before.
Even now, 2/3 of the personal vehicles on our local Apple Valley, Minnesota roads have over 75,000 miles on them. The average age of vehicles is over nine years. And most people in Apple Valley can’t afford to be stranded or inconvenienced by a break down. So following a regular maintenance schedule, like our personal diet and exercise plans, is actually critical to preserving your investment.
Knowing what to do for a higher-mileage vehicle can be challenging because many owners’ manuals don’t publish service intervals after 60,000 miles. It just means that you need to be better at keeping records and planning your preventive maintenance.
You can start by figuring that services with a recommended interval should still be performed on that interval, even after you’re past the tables in your service manual. For example, a service might be recommended every 15,000 miles. Well, just keep doing it every 15,000 miles for as long as you have your car.
Now higher mileage engines operate under more stress. Some experts suggest that the severe service schedule is more appropriate and that routine service should be performed at shorter intervals. Check with your owners’ manual or service advisor at Valley Auto Care to see if the severe service schedule is right for your vehicle.
And keeping up with your full-service oil change schedule is important for a couple of reasons. First, older engines have had more time to build up oil sludge. Skipping an oil change here and there can really compound the problem for your car.
The second benefit is that your other fluids are routinely checked and topped off. Power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant and transmission fluid can be kept at optimal levels even though the older seals and gaskets are leaking more than when they were new.
And speaking of older seals and gaskets: they start to dry-out and become more brittle with age. You may want to consider using high mileage formulation oil and fluids. These products contain special additives to condition seals and gaskets to keep them from leaking. The high mileage formulations cost more than standard products, but they are well worth it in terms of preventing serious repair bills down the road.
Older vehicles in the Apple Valley, Minnesota area need repairs and replacements that newer ones don’t. Things like timing belts, radiator hoses, suspension work, anti-lock brakes, air bags, water pumps, alternators and batteries. That may seem like a lot of stuff to have done, but it works out to be cheaper than new car payments.
With a high-mileage vehicle, a couple of relationships will become pretty important. The first is with your service advisor at Valley Auto Care. You need someone you trust to take care of your car and be mindful of your needs. Ask for help to develop a plan to keep your vehicle road-worthy that works within your budget, and for the Apple Valley, Minnesota area driving conditions.
The next relationship is with your vehicle itself. We’re not talking about naming your car or tucking it in at night. We just mean - pay attention and get to know your vehicle. Notice unusual sounds, smells, vibrations, etc. Then you can describe the changes to your service advisor at Valley Auto Care and head off problems. We can’t do anything about the price of gas, but we can properly maintain Old Faithful to keep it safely and economically on the local Apple Valley, Minnesota roads.
Take a look at the attached automotive tips video from AutoNetTV
Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?
Date: August 16, 2012 10:56 AM - Category: Maintenance
In our auto video today we'll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that "modern cars are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free".
Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Apple Valley Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn't so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.
Here are some examples for our friends in Apple Valley.
- Some cars in Apple Valley no longer require chassis lubrication. They're made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There's literally is no way to grease those joints.
-Chalk one up for the myth.
On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts up in the valve train that didn't even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.
- So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.
-A point to maintenance.
- Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.
-Myth gets a point.
- Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.
-Point for maintenance.
I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they've always been.
So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Apple Valley if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there'll always be a check list.
Let me mention a couple of items on modern vehicles that folks need to be aware of. One of the most of the most important is timing belt replacement. Used to be that all engines had timing chains – you know, metal chains. They rarely broke.
It's cheaper to make engines with timing belts rather than chains, so replacing the timing belt is on most engines' maintenance list. The money the manufacturer saves by using a belt is more than off-set by what the vehicle owner has to pay to replace the belt. And it's a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing the damage if the timing belt breaks.
So make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced. You don't want to miss that. If you have 60,000 miles or more, break out your owner's manual or ask your Apple Valley service advisor at Valley Auto Care to check on the recommendation right away.
Another is sealed wheel bearing assemblies on some vehicles. As you might have guessed, it's cheaper to make a sealed unit than one that has access to inspect or service the wheel bearings. The problem is that when the bearings fail, you have to replace the entire unit, not just the bearings. That'll cost 5 or 6 times as much.
For our friends in Apple Valley, we hope this has underscored the importance of knowing and following your maintenance schedule. Come in and see us at Valley Auto Care. You'll find us at 7125 151st St. West, Suite 105 in Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124. Just give us a call at 952-431-2700.
Engine Air Filter From Valley Auto Care
Date: August 9, 2012 12:03 PM - Category: Fuel System
You may have found yourself in the following situation: You go to get your oil changed and the service adviser at Valley Auto Care recommends you get a new engine air filter. You say yes, but because you didn't know what an air filter is or what it does, but you were too embarrassed to ask.
First of all, you did the right thing by getting a new one. And, you should never be too embarrassed to ask for more information from any of our Valley Auto Care staff. It's your money and you have a right to understand what you're paying for.
Let's review what an air filter does:
Air is the focus of this discussion. What is the air like outside in Apple Valley right now? Can you see any smog? Is it full of pollen? How about dust? Anyone in Minnesota with hay fever can tell you that there's plenty in the air that you can't see. Well, it's the engine air filter's job to clean that air before it goes into your engine, to mix with the fuel and be burned. Without an engine air filter, the inside of your engine would be extremely dirty from all the gunk that was burned in the cylinders.
Valley Auto Care
7125 151st St. West, Suite 105
Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124
In fact, for every gallon of gas you burn, your engine needs 12,000 gallons of air. That little filter does a very big job. It's no wonder that the air filter gets dirty and needs to be replaced. Think about a vacuum cleaner. When the bag gets full of dust and dirt, the vacuum doesn't clean as well. It can't move enough air to create good suction. A clogged engine air filter is the same way - the engine can't get enough air to burn the fuel efficiently. That means less power and wasted gas.
That's why your manufacturer has recommended that you change your filter at regular intervals. Of course the conditions you drive in will affect how quickly the filter gets dirty. If you drive where it's very dusty or where there's lots of pollen or pollution, you may need to change the filter sooner. The filter is easy to check visually, so your service technician can quickly make the call. He might recommend immediate replacement, or simply let you know that it is getting close and that you'll need to replace it soon - like at your next oil change.
Because a severely dirty air filter hurts your fuel economy, many people find that a new air filter pays for itself in gas savings before the next oil change. They also make premium air filters that have been proven to increase your horsepower and torque. If more power is important to you, a high performance air filter is some of the cheapest horsepower you can buy.
The better your car breathes, the better it runs - kind of like people. And don't worry - if you have a question or don't understand a recommendation just ask.
Odometer Rollback On Your Apple Valley Minnesota Auto
Date: August 1, 2012 12:49 PM - Category: Older Vehicles
How do you know if an odometer is telling the truth?
Well, back in '86, Congress passed the Truth-in-Mileage Act to protect Minnesota consumers against mileage fraud. It says a Minnesota seller must certify the mileage reported is the Actual Mileage.
To have your odometer checked in Apple Valley Minnesota, stop by Valley Auto Care:
Valley Auto Care
7125 151st St. West, Suite 105
Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124
If it isn't, the seller must say why; like maybe the odometer is past its mechanical limits. Some older odometers only go to 99,999 miles 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’s not so. What can you do?
First, you can go to www.CarFax.com, where for a small fee, they’ll give you a comprehensive vehicle history search on your car, showing local Apple Valley Minnesota 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 Apple Valley Minnesota DMV (or wherever you happen to be) and other verified sources looking for inconsistencies in the mileage reported when the car’s bought and sold. If there are signs odometer rollback, now you’ll now.
If so, proceed with caution. Or, negotiate a lower price. Or just walk away. There’s always another.