Videos and articles designed to help you diagnose and maintain your vehicle.
Archive for October 2011
10 Overlooked Services In Apple Valley
Date: October 25, 2011 10:03 AM - Category: Maintenance
We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over Apple Valley. Some days it’s all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That’s why you’ve gotta be organized. Lists, PDA, calendar- we have to keep track of it all.
So let’s talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.
We have a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked. They’re all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.
1. Power Steering Service Be honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your power steering parts are protected from corrosion. Ask your service advisor if it’s time for a power steering check-up.
2. Wheel Alignment When your wheels are out of alignment your car pulls to one side. It’s pretty annoying, but it’s also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out really fast; which is expensive! Most owners’ manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.
3. Differential Service Okay, did you even know you had a differential? Well you do. One, two or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they’re part of the drive-train that transfers power from the engine to your wheels. They don’t need service that often, but you can’t just ignore them. Check with your service advisor.
4. Cabin Air Filter More and more Apple Valley cars these days have cabin air filters to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they’re clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies.
5. Timing Belt Replacement Most cars and some vans and trucks around the Apple Valley area have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say that your car won’t run without it – period. And if it breaks while you’re driving it can do thousands of dollars worth of engine damage. Check your owners’ manual or with your service advisor. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles; absolutely look into it right away.
6. Transmission Service Transmission service is very basic, but it’s often forgotten. Your transmission needs clean fluid from time to time to keep running efficiently and avoid costly repairs. And it can improve your fuel economy too.
7. Air Conditioning Service Most of us don’t think about our air conditioning until it doesn’t work. Then if you’re lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you’re not, some of the components may have been ruined. Those components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.
8. Brake Service No we’re not talking about squealing, grinding brakes here. We’re talking brake fluid. Over time the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your service advisor for recommendations.
9. Coolant System Another thing that’s so easy to forget about: When you don’t change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the pH balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can actually eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you’re stranded.
10. Fuel System Cleaning In times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is so important. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors get gunked up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule will really help your fuel economy.
And there we have it; 10 services that are often overlooked. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn’t been performed? Based on our busy lives, we’re not surprised.
We know it takes some thought and effort to actually maintain your vehicle; but it not only saves money in the long run – it saves time too. And we can all use a little more time.
Valley Auto Care can help with any of these services. Give us a all at 952-431-2700.
Fuel System Cleaning At Valley Auto Care
Date: October 20, 2011 1:01 PM - Category: Fuel System
Is your car sometimes hard to start on an early Apple Valley morning? When you turn the key, does it hesitate or stutter? If so, the problem could be the result of a dirty fuel system. Your car's fuel system starts with the air filter and ends in the top of your engine. Over time, different parts of the system get dirty, which robs you of performance and hurts your fuel economy.
Valley Auto Care 7125 151st St. West, Suite 105 Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124 952-431-2700
Most of our car in Apple Valley have fuel injectors, rather than a carburetor. Fuel injection systems have fewer problems and require less adjustment. But they still need to be properly maintained. This is why your owner's manual has a schedule for cleaning your fuel injectors and other parts of your fuel system.
Some people are interested in buying fuel system cleaners that you can pour into your gas tank. You can do that - and there are lots of great products available that can help maintain an already clean fuel system - but these products cannot do a major cleaning. For that, you need to see your service center at Valley Auto Care. Valley Auto Care has the professional tools and chemicals to really do a complete service.
Your service center at Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley Minnesota uses a process that gives your car a deep, professional fuel system cleaning. You need to remove particles, gum and varnish from your fuel system and get those injectors running cleanly and efficiently. After a professional fuel system cleaning, you'll notice more power, better fuel economy and reduced exhaust emissions.
The cleaners also help prevent rust and corrosion in your fuel system and lubricate vital engine parts.
Fuel system cleaning is just one of those recommended service items that helps keep your vehicle running strong. As with all maintenance, it can help avoid costly repairs that often result from not taking the right preventive steps. And you will notice the difference in how well your car runs. Check with your service advisor at Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley Minnesota to see when your car is scheduled for a fuel system cleaning.
An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.
Upsizing Wheels and Tires With Valley Auto Care
Date: October 12, 2011 2:56 PM - Category: Tires and Wheels
At AutoNetTV we love doughnuts. So let's pretend you have three doughnuts right in front of your for our discussion of upsizing wheels and tires. Hey, don't eat them now - your going to need them later.
Many people want to accessorize their car - you know, make it theirs. One of the easiest ways to get a custom look is to get some new wheels. There are thousands of wheel designs out there to get you the look you want. And for many, that look includes bigger wheels. It used to be that cars came from the factory with 15 or 16 inch wheels. Now 16, 17 and even 18 inchers are standard. And the factories are offering optional wheel packages up to 20 inches or more.
Come in to Valley Auto Care to learn more about how you might upsize your wheels or tires. You'll find us at 7125 151st St. West, Suite 105 in Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124.
So let's talk about what to consider when you want to upsize your wheels. It's not exactly a do it yourself project, so you need to know a thing or two before you get started. The most important term to know is rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is simply the overall height of your tire. Unless you want to modify your suspension, you'll want to keep your rolling diameter the same when you upsize your wheels.
Let's think about those three golden doughnuts in front of you. They're all about the same size. So if we pretend they're tires, they would have the same rolling diameter. The doughnut hole is the size of the wheel. Now pretend we've made the hole bigger on some. That's like having a bigger wheel - but the rolling diameter is the same.
It's important to keep the rolling diameter the same for several reasons. First of all, if the tire is bigger, it might not fit in the wheel well. Next the speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brake system are all calibrated for the factory rolling diameter. In order for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, the rolling diameter must stay within 3% of the factory recommendation. If you ignore that, you run the risk that your anti-lock brakes won't work properly.
Some cars today have electronically controlled suspension that will be negatively affected by changing the rolling diameter. Let's think about the doughnuts again. You see, as the size of the wheel gets bigger, the sidewall gets shorter. The tire holds less air, so the sidewalls are made stiffer to compensate.
Low profile tires from top manufacturers use special compounds that give the sidewall the strength it needs without compromising ride quality. As you increase your wheel size, you'll typically get a slightly wider tire. This means that you have a larger contact patch. The contact patch is part of the tire that contacts the road. Because there's more rubber on the road, the vehicle will handle better. And braking distances will be shorter. A lot of people with trucks or SUV's love the extra control.
You do have to watch out that the contact patch isn't so big that the tires rub in turns or over bumps. What we're talking about here is fitment. Your tire professional at Valley Auto Care can help you get this right. He'll install your new wheels, add spacers if needed to make sure your brakes fit inside your new wheels, and get you rolling.
Also, if you drive off-road a lot, you may need a higher profile tire to protect your new rims. And make sure your new tires have the load rating you need if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads. Again, your tire professional at Valley Auto Care knows how to help.
And don't forget about tire pressure. If you have larger rims, your new tires will hold less air and they'll need to run a slightly higher pressure. Forget that and you'll wear your tires out fast. Finally, get an alignment after you get your new shoes. AutoNetTV wants you to safely have the look you want.
Your Well Trained Technician At Valley Auto Care
Date: October 6, 2011 9:43 AM - Category: Service Standards
When your car breaks down, or just needs some routine service, you might get a little nervous. Your car’s so important to your life in Burnsville, you need to back on the road as soon as possible – with the problem fixed right the first time.
If you’ve ever checked into some of the technician training Valley Auto Care professionals receive, you may be surprised at how much knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. Let me give you some perspective. Today there are four cylinder engines that make more power than the V-8’s in luxury cars twenty years ago. I mean a new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket’s Ferrari in a race to sixty.
Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up – even with steep Burnsville gas prices. And they’re so reliable. This is all due to engineering. But the advances come at the price of simplicity. The modern cars driving around Burnsville roads are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin – not to mention the electronics.
Some cars have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle functions as well. Burnsville motorists take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks. It’s a real challenge for Valley Auto Care technicians to keep up, but we work hard to stay ahead of the technology. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the technician and the Burnsville service center as well.
In addition to the training, there’s the financial commitment to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools. Valley Auto Care technicians receive training through a combination of formal classroom training, training provided at Valley Auto Care by parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses.
There are many independent certifications available at Valley Auto Care all the way up to Master Technician. The ability to repair your car requires a strong combination of training and resources. No one can know everything, so Burnsville auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line 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. At Valley Auto Care, we want everything to be simple, straightforward and cheap – but sometimes it just isn’t.
So try to be more relaxed next time you bring us your car. You’re in good hands.
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.