This is something really amazing: For every gallon of gas your Apple Valley car burns, it uses 12,000 gallons of air. All of that air has to be filtered to keep your engine clean.
That’s like a hundred gallons of air every block! The engine air filter is just another example of a very inexpensive part that has to do a tremendous amount of work. And when it works, everything goes well. But, when it doesn’t, well, it can lead to costly problems. Of course, your manufacturer recommends intervals for changing your air filter. But like most service intervals, where and how you drive your car affects when your filter needs to be changed.
Dusty conditions in and around Apple Valley or polluted city driving means you’ll need to change your filter more often. Your Valley Auto Care technician can check your filter for you. In fact, it’s often a routine part of an oil change.
When you think about it, a clogged air filter won’t allow as much air through as a clean filter. Your car needs this air to efficiently burn its fuel, giving you better fuel economy and performance.
Dirtier filters don’t work as well as clean ones. A filter can only hold so much, after that, it allows dirt to pass right into your engine. Air filters come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different grades. There are high performance air filters available for most cars. These high performance filters cost a little more, but they increase horsepower and may improve fuel economy to boot.
So have your air filter checked. If it needs replacing, it doesn’t cost very much and it should easily pay for itself in better fuel economy before your next oil change.
Stop by Valley Auto Care at 7125 151st St. West, Suite 105, Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124, and we'll take a look at your air filter for you. Feel free to give us a call at 952-431-2700 to make an appointment.
Auto Service Resources.
Videos and articles designed to help you diagnose and maintain your vehicle.
Keep Your Apple Valley Car Breathing Free: Engine Air Filter
Date: May 17, 2013 12:40 PM - Category: Maintenance
Differential Service At Valley Auto Care: Vive ala Difference
Date: May 10, 2013 3:11 PM - Category: Differential Service
Every car on Minnesota interstates has a differential, and it is critical to the proper operation of the vehicle, but most Apple Valley auto owners don’t have a clue what it is.
The differential compensates for differing wheel speeds. For example, when you turn, the inside tire on the turn travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel. So the inside wheel of the car must move at a slower speed than the outside wheel. Without a differential, the wheels would hop and scrape while turning.
Have you ever seen the large bugle-shaped object in the middle of the rear axle of a truck? That’s the differential. In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located on the back axle. Four-wheel drive vehicles and SUV’s have differentials on both the front and the rear axle.
You might expect that the differential is located on the front axle of a front-wheel drive vehicle. You’d be right. But the differential is called a transaxle on a front-wheel drive vehicle because its location allows it to be combined with the transmission.
In an all-wheel drive vehicle, an additional differential or transfer case is located between the front and rear axles. Differentials are strong: They have to be because of the critical job they do. But those tough parts need proper lubrication. You don’t want your differential to seize up. That results in costly damage to your car.
So you need to have your car differential serviced regularly. It’s not a complicated job. At Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley we've been servicing differentials for 25 years. The used lubricating fluid is simply drained and then replaced. Some vehicles require specific additives in the differential fluid; your Apple Valley service center will ensure you are getting what your car needs.
The intervals in time or mileage for servicing your differential vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. Check with your owner’s manual or Valley Auto Care to find out how often your car differential needs to be serviced.
Generally, however, front-wheel drive vehicles need their differential serviced more often than rear-wheel drive vehicles. Also, if you spend a lot of time off-road or on Apple Valley area dirt or gravel roads, or if you drive through water, you will need to service your differential more often than the standard recommendation – check with your experienced Valley Auto Care service professional.
Preventive maintenance for your differential is good car care that can spare you costly repair bills. Knowing what your differential is and how it operates is critical and will help you understand why this is good auto advice. Remember, take care of your car, and it will take care of you.
Steer Right In Apple Valley
Date: May 2, 2013 10:49 AM - Category: Steering
Virtually all vehicles come with power steering so many Apple Valley motorists have never driven a car or truck without it. Power steering assists you when you turn your car steering wheel. Without it, it would be very hard to steer.
Now this power assist comes in a couple of forms. In recent years, a lot of Apple Valley vehicles have an electric motor that reduces steering effort and helps improve fuel economy.
The other kind of power steering is hydraulic. This is the kind most older Minnesota vehicles, and a lot of newer ones, have. Power steering fluid is pressurized by a pump and is used to assist steering. Of course, Apple Valley motorists need the right amount of fluid in the system. If it’s too low your steering is affected and you could damage your car pump.
Also, power steering fluid can become corrosive over time and damage the pump, hoses and connectors; leading to leaks and repairs. Power steering service at Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley includes removing the contaminated fluid and replacing it with fresh fluid.
A word about power steering pumps: Some are powered by an electric motor. Others are driven by the serpentine belt. A worn serpentine belt stresses all of the car components it drives, including the power steering pump, so replace the belt at Valley Auto Care as advised to avoid undue repairs.
Losing your power steering while driving in Apple Valley can be unsettling – just remember that you can still steer, it’ll just be harder. Check with your experienced Valley Auto Care service advisor to see if it’s time to service your car power steering system.
In addition to power steering service, at Valley Auto Care we offer comprehensive automotive services including Head Gasket, Tires and Towing.
Give us a call
Valley Auto Care
7125 151st St. West, Suite 105
Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124
Keep Your Cool In Apple Valley
Date: April 23, 2013 10:02 AM - Category: Cooling System
Apple Valley drivers rely on their car's coolant system to keep their engine cool. Coolant (also called antifreeze) mixed with water flows through your car engine and absorbs heat. The mixture then flows out to the radiator where it’s cooled by air flowing over the radiator. From there the coolant/water mix circulates back through the engine to absorb more heat.
There’s a reason we mix coolant and water. Water alone actually does a good job transferring heat from the engine. The problem is that water boils at a temperature that’s easily reached inside your car's engine, so it can turn to steam which does not conduct heat as well and is harder to contain.
Also, if it’s freezing outside in Apple Valley, the water in your engine could freeze while your vehicle is sitting out in the cold.
So, if you remember your Apple Valley high school chemistry, you’ll know that a mixture has both a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than either component alone.
Coolant, or antifreeze, is specially formulated to keep your engine safe in a wide range of environmental and operating temperatures in and around Apple Valley.
Whenever the car is running, the coolant in the cooling system is working to keep your engine from overheating. When it’s cold outside, the coolant acts as antifreeze to keep the fluid from freezing in your engine.
All that exploding fuel in your engine creates a lot of heat. Without coolant, the metal car engine parts would expand so much that the engine would seize up and stop running. Expensive parts could be broken or warp so badly they would have to be replaced. It could even be so bad that the whole car's engine is ruined and has to be junked.
This is why it is critical that Apple Valley drivers check coolant levels frequently and have their car cooling system inspected for leaks. Also your car manufacturer has a maintenance requirement for draining and replacing your coolant. These recommendations can vary widely, so check your owner’s manual or ask us at Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley.
The reason you need to change the coolant is that it has additives in it to protect the cooling system. As you can imagine, with all the heat, the cooling system’s a pretty harsh environment. The additives keep the fluid from becoming corrosive and damaging the radiator and other car cooling system components. Over time, the additives are depleted and the coolant just has to be replaced.
Many Apple Valley auto owners ask Valley Auto Care why there are different colors of antifreeze. It is very important that you use the correct type of antifreeze. The different types of antifreeze – or coolant – are different colors so you don’t mix them up.
Auto manufacturers use different materials to make the cooling system, and they require different types of antifreeze to protect them.
So check with us at Valley Auto Care or your owner’s manual for the right kind because using the wrong coolant can void the warranty for your car cooling system.
Fuel Saving Tip: Tire Pressure Saves Fuel In Apple Valley
Date: April 17, 2013 12:48 PM - Category: Tires and Wheels
Under-inflated tires waste gas for lots of folks in the Apple Valley area. Think how hard it is to walk in sand – you just have to work harder because of the resistance. When your tires don't have enough air in them, their rolling resistance is dramatically increased and it simply takes more gas to get from Apple Valley to Apple Valley.
Always check your tire pressure when you gas up at one of our local Apple Valley service stations. If they're low – even just a little bit – bring them up to proper pressure. There's a sticker on the inside of your driver's door that gives the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure.
And don't rely on your tire pressure monitoring system to alert you to when you need more air. The TPMS system is set to warn you when pressure drops twenty percent below recommendations. That's severely under inflated and you needed more air a long time ago. And if you have a slow leak – get it fixed right away at Valley Auto Care.
Get some air and save some gas.
Keep Your Cool In Apple Valley: Air Conditioning Service
Date: April 10, 2013 1:42 PM - Category: Air Conditioning
Most Apple Valley car owners don't even think about their car air conditioning system unless it fails. That’s because many Apple Valley and Burnsville motorists don't really understand that automotive air conditioners need periodic service. Let me share some of the reasons why they fail.
First, like every machine, the car air conditioner parts need - you guessed it - lubrication. The lubricant is actually mixed in with the refrigerant (that’s the stuff that makes the air cool). Remember that even if the air conditioner is still blowing out cool air, the oil that lubricates the parts may be used up: and unlubricated parts can fail in all Minnesota cars.
Now here’s a tip for Apple Valley car owners: Run your air conditioner every so often during Minnesota winters. This circulates the lubricant to help keep the seals from drying out.
The air conditioner actually removes some of the moisture in the air. So if you have trouble with fogging on your windshield during Minnesota winters or during a rain storm, running the A/C on the defrost setting should help. Now on some Apple Valley cars you can’t run the A/C at the same time as the defroster. Don’t ask me why, but I suspect lawyers were involved.
Also, air and water can get into the A/C system. That can reduce the efficiency of the system and also lead to corrosion that causes damage. Apple Valley car owners should periodically purge the system and replace the refrigerant to remove the air and water.
Apple Valley drivers would be wise to learn the early warning signs of A/C trouble: 1) The air’s not as cold as it used to be. 2) Unusual noises when the A/C cycles on. Those are signs to get your vehicle into Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley before the damage gets worse.
By following the recommended service intervals in your car owner’s manual, you can help prevent mechanical failure of your air conditioning system. Your A/C system contains some expensive components like the compressor, condenser, dryer, etc. Anything Apple Valley and Burnsville car owners can do to lengthen the life of their A/C is well worth it.
Service Center Standard and Procedures
Date: April 4, 2013 12:53 PM - Category: Service Standards
All pilots have checklists for every aspect of flying. They always use their checklists even if they only have two steps on them. They do this simply because a checklist is a great way to not forget important steps. It is also how you can assure a predictable outcome.
That is why Apple Valley and Burnsville automotive service centers have procedural standards for each service they perform. Technicians are trained step by step. And they perform the procedures step by step, the same way each time. By training to procedural standards, centers can assure a quality outcome. The job is done right every time and you are happy with how your car performs.
Each company trains its technicians to standards. The industry as a whole is very committed to standards of excellence and encourages individual service center operators to apply them to every vehicle they service.
An example is how service technicians grade problems and communicate their recommendations. If a technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:
- The part no longer performs its intended purpose
- The part does not meet a design specification
- The part is missing
The technician may suggest repair or replacement if:
- The part is close to the end of its useful life - just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
- To address a customer need or request - like for better ride or increased performance
- To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer
- Based on the technician's informed experience
Here are some examples:
An exhaust pipe has rusted through and is leaking. Replacement is required because the part has failed. If the pipe were rusted, corroded or weak, but not leaking, the technician may suggest it be replaced because it is near the end of its useful life and replacing it now may be more convenient for the customer.
Suppose a customer wants to improve his car's handling, but his shocks haven't failed. The technician may suggest replacement of the shocks to satisfy the customer's wishes.
Under these guidelines the service center must refuse partial service of a required repair if the repair creates or continues an unsafe condition. Let's say a customer has a cracked brake rotor. This is a dangerous condition that must be repaired. If the customer does not want to replace the rotor, but instead just wants new brake pads installed, the shop must ethically refuse the partial repair. That can be an upsetting conversation, but understanding that service centers operate under service standards and procedures is comforting. You want your service to be done right and to have confidence in your technician's recommendations.
The automotive service industry and Valley Auto Care want the best for you and for you to keep coming back. AutoNetTV is committed to providing automotive maintenance information to help you be confident in your service decisions.
Date: March 26, 2013 1:54 PM - Category: Tires and Wheels
Let me start by saying that your wheel bearings keep the wheels on your vehicle. Did that get your attention? In this article we’ll discuss more about wheel bearings and how you can keep them doing their very important job while you drive around Apple Valley Minnesota.
Come see us at: 7125 151st St. West, Suite 105 Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124
Wheel bearings are pretty simple parts. They’re made of high quality steel and are engineered to last 100,000 miles or more if properly cared for. The bearings do two very important jobs: First they allow the wheel to freely rotate with as little friction as possible. Second, they support the weight of the vehicle. For example, if your car weighs 3,600 pounds, each wheel has to support approximately 900 pounds. That’s a lot of heavy lifting over many, many thousands of miles.
Even though wheel bearings are relatively simple, they need to be in near perfect condition to do their job. The bearings are packed with heavy grease to lubricate and protect them. A seal keeps the grease in and water and dirt out. It’s when the seal starts to leak that problems begin. The grease can become contaminated; causing the wheel bearings to overheat and ultimately fail.
The first sign that your wheel bearings are in trouble is an unusual noise coming from a wheel. It could be a chirping, growling, rumbling or a cyclic sound. The noise could get louder or even disappear at certain speeds. Your technician at Valley Auto Care can inspect for bearing wear by lifting the vehicle and checking for play in the wheel.
Now some wheel bearing assemblies are factory sealed. That means that they cannot be serviced – they can only be replaced. Those that aren’t sealed can be serviced on schedule. The bearings are removed, cleaned and inspected. If the bearings are still good, they’re re-installed – if not, they’re replaced. They are then packed in grease and a new seal is installed.
If your vehicle has a factory sealed wheel bearing assembly, the entire assembly needs to be replaced when trouble arises. Unfortunately, the parts are pretty pricy – but they usually last about 150,000 miles as long as the seals hold up.
Now, even a good seal cannot keep out water that’s exerting pressure on the seal. So if you’ve driven through hub deep water your bearings should be cleaned and repacked if they’re serviceable. If you have factory sealed bearings, you just need to watch for signs of premature failure.
If your wheel bearings can be serviced, your owner’s manual will recommend an interval, usually around 30,000 miles.
Now, if you have any sort of trailer, don’t forget its wheel bearings. They probably need to be serviced even more frequently. This is especially true for boat trailers that are used to launch the boat by backing it into the water. These should be serviced every year, usually at the end of the season so that the bearings don’t have the opportunity to sit and rust all winter.
So what happens if wheel bearings fail? Well, the wheel can literally fall off the vehicle. I don’t need to tell you how bad that could be. So check with your service advisor at Valley Auto Care and see if your vehicle’s wheel bearings can be serviced and when it’s recommended. Listen for warning signs. If you’ve been fording streams or puddle surfing after rainstorms, be especially vigilant.
Come by Valley Auto Care for a wheel bearing inspection, or for Tires. Call for an appointment at 952-431-2700
Defensive Driving In Apple Valley Minnesota
Date: March 22, 2013 1:21 PM - Category: Steering
There was a man in Apple Valley who learned that most car accidents occur within a mile of home – so he moved. (Just Kidding!)
When we think of defensive driving, we often focus on our local Minnesota highway situations. The fact of the matter is we need to be just as careful close to home in Apple Valley, because that's where we do most of our driving. We can't let our familiar surroundings keep us from driving defensively.
Defensive driving begins with the proper attitude. Have in mind that you won't let anyone take your safety away from you. You'll be aware of your surroundings, road conditions, other vehicles and hazards. And the first person to be concerned with is you: start with your own environment.
Don't leave without securing all occupants including children and pets. Watch for loose items that can become projectiles during evasive maneuvers.
Driving too fast or too slow increases the chance of an accident.
Never drive impaired: Alcohol is a factor in half of all fatal crashes. Never drink and drive.
Other impairments include being sleepy, angry, daydreaming or talking. If you suddenly wonder how you got where you are – you're not paying enough attention.
Keep your windows clean and uncluttered. No fuzzy dice and stickers.
Keep your car in good shape so that it handles properly: Maintain tires, lights, brakes, suspension, wheel alignment and steering.
Always use your turn signals while driving around Apple Valley Minnesota. Avoid other vehicles' blind spots.
Don't drive faster than your headlights – if you can't stop within the distance you can see, you're going too fast.
Avoid driving over debris in the road. Even harmless looking items can cause damage or an accident.
Keep your wheels straight when waiting to turn at an Apple Valley Minnesota intersection. That way if you're hit from behind, your car won't be pushed into on-coming traffic.
My daddy always said that when you drive, you're actually driving five cars: yours, the one in front, the one behind and the ones on either side. You can't trust that other drivers will do the right thing, so you've got to be aware of what they're doing at all times.
If you see another car driving erratically, weaving, crossing lanes, etc., stay back. Take the next right turn if you're downtown Apple Valley, or take the next exit on the Minnesota highway. Notify the police if you see someone driving dangerously in our Apple Valley community.
Never follow too close. The minimum distance is the two second rule. Pick a landmark ahead, like a tree or road marker. When the car in front of you passes it, start counting: 'one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand'. If you pass the landmark before reaching two-one-thousand, you're following too close.
Remember that the two second rule is the minimum – it assumes you're alert and aware. Three seconds is safer. Move out to five seconds or more if it's foggy or rainy.
Someone will inevitably move into your forward safety zone – just drop back and keep a safe distance.
If someone follows you too closely, just move over.
Don't play chicken by contesting your right of way or race to beat someone to a merge. Whoever loses that contest has the potential to lose big and you don't want any part of that. So stay alert, constantly scan around your car and arrive safely.
Valley Auto Care
7125 151st St. West, Suite 105
Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124
Fuel Saving Tip: Fuel System Cleaning Near Burnsville Minnesota
Date: March 13, 2013 12:21 PM - Category: Fuel System
A lot of gas is wasted in the Burnsville area by dirty fuel delivery systems.
Let's start at the tank. The gas tank gathers dirt, rust and sediment over the years. That's why there's a fuel filter to clean the fuel after it leaves the tank. A dirty filter will rob the engine of the clean gas it needs to run efficiently.
The fuel intake components get coated with gum and varnish over time. This results in fuel being delivered inefficiently and some of that gunk getting into the engine. A fuel system service at Valley Auto Care will leave your intake as clean as a whistle.
The big fuel thief is dirty fuel injectors. They deliver fuel to the engine at a specified pressure and in a particular spray pattern. When they're clogged, the fuel doesn't get atomized the way it's supposed to and doesn't get burned as efficiently.
See your owner's manual or ask your Burnsville service advisor at Valley Auto Care when a fuel system cleaning is recommended.