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Is it hard to see at night?

Is it hard to see at night?

Are your headlights illuminating the road properly?  Yes, summer is over and it is starting to get darker earlier, and soon you will be coming home after work and have to use your headlights to see the road. Seeing what is in the road ahead of you is important not only for you but the other drivers on the road too. Headlights are not something people think about unless they don’t work.   But what happens when they work, but not as well as they did when they were new? It is like batteries in a flashlight that are slowly dying. You really don’t notice the light slowly dimming until you almost can’t see. Well, that is a lot like your headlights.  The lenses of most vehicles are made of plastic and as your vehicle ages the sun takes its toll on the plastic components of your vehicle, including the clear headlight lenses. Ever walk through a parking lot and notice some headlights have a yellowish tint ... read more

How often should I drive my vehicle

How often should I drive my vehicle

Vehicles are like us.  If you sit around, things don’t seem to work right. It is important to keep all the moving parts of your vehicle moving, especially here in the northwest. Just starting your engine and letting it idle for 5 minutes every other week is not enough. Keeping the engine moving is essential, but what about all the other moving parts? The brakes need to move otherwise they start to rust up and become seized.  The transmission has lots of moving parts, and moving them around is just as important.  These are just two of the many different systems of the drivetrain.  What about all those little things on the inside or the outside of your vehicle?  Most systems on a vehicle now days are controlled by electricity and a computer. What would happen to your laptop if you left it outside under cover for weeks on end without turning it on, using it or warming it up ... read more

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Wow! The heat wave last month made me appreciate all the cooler temperatures we have in the Pacific Northwest. Your car seemed like a great place to hang out with the A/C blasting at full speed, especially if you don’t have A/C in your house. But what does the heat do to your car?  When your vehicle was new, all the components functioned well, and it was a very well-designed piece of machinery. But as it ages, components will begin to fail and require replacement. Your vehicle can be a cool place for you to be during the sweltering heat.  But what about your car, how is it doing?  Your vehicle is designed to work under extreme heat and still function to be able to give you reliable service and comfort.  Any time your vehicle is running, whether it is in the middle of winter or in an extreme heat wave, your vehicle is running at about 200 degrees. You should try open ... read more

Fluid maintenance and why

Fluid maintenance and why

Fluids will always break down over time from wear and tear, miniscule debris from parts and from heat.  All fluids in your vehicle will eventually need to be serviced.  Fluid maintenance is probably the single most important repair for getting your money's worth out of your car.  My trusty old Corolla had over 345,000 miles when I sold it.  The transmission fluid was still a beautiful red color and worked perfect, because at every oil change, I would drain 2 quarts out and refill it.   I always get a kick out of the car manufactures selling point “life time fluid”, it does not need to be changed. I still have yet to see a fluid that does not break down over time. Take a BMWs transmission, filled with BMWs signature lifetime fluid, do you want to know how many BMW transmissions I have seen fail? When I am asked about BMW’s lifetime fluid, my favorite line ... read more

Everybody loves a clean car

Everybody loves a clean car

Car washes  This seems like a real simple subject. Everyone loves to drive around in a clean car or to look out the window and see a nice shining car in the driveway.  I remember when I was a kid, on a very rare occasion, we would take a trip through the car wash tunnel, watching all of the brushes spin and having the car jerk around.  It was like a small amusement park ride that only lasted for a few minutes but it was a lot of fun when you are a kid. Then when I was a teenager, I bought my first driving car. All the other cars before this didn’t run or I had taken them apart and, well they still didn’t run. That car, a 1983 Toyota Corolla hatchback, didn’t need a wash job, it needed a paint job, but none the less it got washed on a regular basis. It never saw a drive through car wash, I would get out the hose and bucket and go to town. It was my car, and I bought it with my ow ... read more

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Car care

My check engine light came on!

My check engine light came on!

My check engine light came on!    Don’t Panic.  A check engine light is a message from your car telling you that it’s not feeling right and it needs to be checked out to find out what’s wrong.  It is important to find out why that light came on and assess the severity of the issue.  Check engine light diagnosis can lead to extensive repair or a minor quick fix. The first step to getting rid of that pesky check engine light and making your car feel better is retrieving codes from the computer. This is achieved by hooking up a code reader.  You can use a basic reader, but there is a lot more information accessible when you use an actual scan tool.     The best way to explain check engine diagnosis is comparing it to looking at a road map. You are here on bea ... read more

How long will your car last?

How long will your car last?

I was talking to my doctor the other day about what we eat today will affect our health the latter part of our life.  It made me think of our cars and how we maintain them today will affect them as they age. Granted when something breaks on our car we can just replace it but at what cost?  If you look at what is spent on maintenance over the life of a car, you will see there are smaller costs that are fairly spaced out and easy for your buget to handle. Routine maintenance will also bring dependability and a peace of mind knowing you can trust your vehicle and it will get you home safely.  We have vehicles come in for the first time, we open the hood, look around and can see how well the vehicle was maintained. Usually these vehicles need a few repairs immediately to continue running and functioning properly and then prioritize a “to-do ... read more

Changing oil in changing times

Changing oil in changing times

Oil is the life blood of your engine, yet it is one of the most neglected fluids.  In the last article we discussed the importance of using the correct oil and why.  In this article we are going to discuss the importance of changing your engines most vital fluids.  During this past year, people have been driving less and their cars have been racking up less miles.  But your engine’s oil is still degrading over time.  Just because you're driving has decreased, doesn’t mean the oil is fine.  When oil is new, it is designed to keep your engine well lubricated and provide protection to all those internal parts.  As you drive, even if it just a couple of miles a day, your engine oil is slowly becoming contaminated with small fuel and exhaust particles that break down that protection oil provides.  That ... read more

Engine oil

Engine oil

Wow! where to begin? Years ago, the fluids were almost all universal throughout all vehicle makes and models, which made it easy to find and top off fluids anywhere you were. In the shop you could have one type of coolant, a couple different grades of oil, a couple different transmission fluids, some power steering fluid and a bucket of 90 weight gear oil and that would about cover 90% of the cars on the road. With the advancing technology in vehicles since about the 1980s, fluids have been redesigned and modified to function and service the technological advancements in our cars today. Each particular vehicle manufacture has their own specific fluids, most designed for that particular vehicle.  Engine oil has one of the most diverse assortments, it’s like going to our local Thai restaurant and looking at the 6-page menu, what do I order? There are oil grades t ... read more

Quality Is Important

Quality Is Important

Have you ever price shopped?  Looked for the lowest price on an item or some service for your car or house? There are times when price shopping may be worthwhile.  You know you want that 24-volt DeWalt drill and you shop around and find the big box store has a sale on it, but what about replacing the alternator on your car or reroofing your house?  While price shopping makes you feel good that you may have found the lowest price, did you get the best, or at least a good quality repair for what you paid? Not all auto repair shops offer the same quality parts or service. You can almost always find some shop that can replace your alternator for less, but what are you getting for less? Quality parts, proper training to make sure the job was done correctly?  Did you know that on some European vehicles you need to tell the computer&n ... read more

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