Advantage Auto Repair

Complete Auto Repair Services: Tune Up, Brakes, Clutch, Engine, Transmission, AC, Electrical, Emergency & All Repairs, New & Used Tires English Spanish

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Advantage Auto Repair
3155 N. Stone Ave.
(Intersection of Ft. Lowell and Stone Ave.)
Tucson, AZ 85705

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Automotive Repair Blog

January 2014

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The Fallacy of Cheap Tires

Posted: Jan 29, 2014

Do you ever shop for shoes in one of our Mount Lemmon area shoe stores?
When buying a running shoe, is quality important?
Does durability matter as long as the shoes look fabulous?
Would you rather have one pair of long lasting shoes or two pair of lower quality shoes at the same price?

Is the warranty important when buying tires?
When you choose new tires in Tucson, what's the most important factor for you?

Give us a call at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson at 520.807.5555 for tire recommendations.

You know, buying tires in Tucson is a big deal. It's a big ticket item so you know you'll be spending a lot. You're not only concerned about the price, but you want to know that it'll be a long time before you need to buy new tires again.

And of course there's the safety aspect as well. The tires do a lot of work – they carry the weight of the vehicle and you and your passengers. They need to be up to the task. You want to be sure they hold the road and provide good traction. If you carry heavy loads or tow a trailer, the tires need a high load rating to be up for the job.

As a tire professional, I think it's important that people understand the effect of price on a tire's performance and durability. When I was a kid, my dad had a saying, "Pay twice as much and buy half as many."

Dad applied that to a lot of things. He thought that one high quality suit would last longer and look better than two cheap suits. The saying really seems to hold true when it comes to shoes and boots, too.

I buy high-quality work shoes because I spend a lot of time on my feet. They're more comfortable, have important safety features like steel toes and non-slip soles and they last at least twice as long as cheap shoes. I feel I get very good value for my money.

I apply the same thinking to tires. The major tire brands that you're familiar with are known as Tier 1 tires. These tires are well-engineered and very high quality. Comparable tires are usually in the same price range from brand to brand.

Stepping down in price you come to private label tires. Some large tire store chains carry tires with the chain's own brand. It's important to know that most private label tires are built by the same Tier 1 brands that you are familiar with, so they are a quality product. You can ask your tire professional who makes their private brand.

The lowest priced tires on the market are Tier 3 tires. These tend to be imported from China or South America. Since you get what you pay for, you can't expect a Tier 3 tire to deliver the same performance and durability as the others.

So let's say you need new tires. You've determined the features you need. So you have several options, including price options. Now, you've probably heard the term 'it's a 40,000 mile/64,000 km tire' or 'it's a 60,000 mile/97,000 km tire'. Simply put, the manufacturer warrantees the tire for 'X' number of miles/kilometers. If that's important to you, look for the warranty.

What's the difference in the tires with higher mileage warranties? It's the rubber compounds and the amount of tread material. As you might expect, you'll pay more for the longer-lasting tire.

Now the cheapest tires you can find won't have a manufacturer's mileage warranty, or if it does, it'll be relatively low. That brings us back to dad's saying; if you buy the cheapest Tier 3 tire you can, you will likely go through two sets in the time it would take to wear out one set of good quality tires. And the good tires won't cost twice as much, so you'll end up paying more per mile/km driven with the cheap tires.

Hey, I realize that sometimes the budget will only allow for a Tier 3 tire. I make them available for my customers who need them because I would rather see them driving with safe, new tires than pushing their old tires beyond their safety limits. But at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson, we always counsel our customers to buy as much tire as they can afford, because it will be much less expensive in the long run.

Your tires are the only parts of your vehicle that touch the road. You're only as safe as your tires are well built.

Buy value – not price.

Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson
3155 N. Stone Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85705
520.807.5555
http://advantage-auto-repair-transmisson.autotipsvideo.com


How Many Miles Are On Your Car?

Posted: Jan 28, 2014



Nowadays, Tucson auto owners are paying more at Mount Lemmon gas pumps. For some families in the greater Mount Lemmon area, it adds up to several hundred dollars every month. That’s got to come out of the budget somewhere. This is one of the reasons many AZ auto owners 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 Tucson, AZ interstates have over 75,000 miles on them. The average age of vehicles is over nine years. And most people in Mount Lemmon can’t afford to be stranded or inconvenienced by a break down. So following a regular maintenance schedule, like personal diet and exercise plans, is actually critical to preserving your investment.

Determining what to do for a higher-mileage vehicle can be challenging because many auto manufacturer's manuals don’t publish service intervals after 60,000 miles. Thus, Tucson car owners need to be better at keeping records and planning for 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 Mount Lemmon automotive 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 Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson to see if the severe service schedule is right for your vehicle.

And keeping current 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 SUV.

Another equally important reason 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 Tucson, AZ 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 Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson. 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 Tucson, AZ 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 Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson 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 Tucson, AZ roads.

Take a look at the attached automotive tips video from AutoNetTV

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Direct Fuel Injection Update from Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson

Posted: Jan 16, 2014

For those of you in Tucson, AZ who pay attention to these things, you may have been hearing about the new direct injection engines and want to learn more about them. Some deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.

For example, in one family of engines the conventional V6 makes about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version of the same engine makes over 300 horsepower and gets essentially the same fuel economy. The turbocharged version makes over 350 horsepower.

So what are the differences from a conventional engine?

The core difference is in the fuel injection system. The system most vehicles use now is called a port injection system. The fuel injector squirts fuel into a port just outside the cylinder where it's then drawn into the engine with the air.

With a direct injection system, the injector squirts the fuel directly into the cylinder. The gain in power and economy come because fuel injected directly into the cylinder during the combustion cycle is burned much more efficiently.

First, the fuel is squirted in at hundreds of times more pressure, so it's atomized much better and burns cleaner and stronger. The other big advance is in electronics. Faster engine management computers can control the additional precision required to manage direct fuel injection.

Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver a precise amount of fuel at exactly the right time. The design of the engine also dictates a particular spray pattern for the fuel. If a fuel injector is dirty or gummed up, it can't do its job as well. That means less power and worse fuel economy for your vehicle and can lead to damaged fuel injectors.

Replacing fuel injectors at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson isn't cheap. Direct injection injectors are even more expensive because of the extremely high-pressure they use. Same thing for diesel fuel injectors; we're talking mortgage payment-range to replace a set of diesel injectors.

A professional fuel system cleaning from Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson gets out the gum and varnish in the whole system, including the fuel injectors. Keep those injectors clean and they'll last a long, long time.

Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson
3155 N. Stone Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85705
520.807.5555
http://www.advantage-autorepair.com


Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson Guide to Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

Posted: Jan 09, 2014

Today's Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson post focuses on using coolant. If you pour in the wrong kind, it won't protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Check your vehicle owner's manual. Of course, your Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson service advisor will know the proper coolant for your vehicle.

Brake fluid is confusing for some Tucson drivers. Back when we opened Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some Tucson residents mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That's not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the demands of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is designed for your vehicle.

Ditto for transmission fluid. For decades there were two basic types of tranny fluid used at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson: friction modified or not. With the tremendous engineering advances in vehicle automatic transmissions, there have been several new types of fluids developed to protect and lubricate them.

Nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident to Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson professionals than in motor oil. Many new weights and formulations have been created to meet the demands of today's high-tech vehicle engine design. Modern engines have more parts and much tighter tolerances.

That's where the new grades of engine oil come in. They have to be formulated to lubricate, protect and clean all of those vehicle engine parts, big and little. The oil has to be thin enough to get into little passages, yet resistant to vaporization.

At Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson in Tucson, we believe that in some ways modern automotive fluids are just as impressive as the new engines. Because weights of oil and types of coolant and transmission fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, make sure you always use the proper fluid if you are topping off at home.

Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson
3155 N. Stone Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85705
520.807.5555
http://www.advantage-autorepair.com



Suspension Service at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson in Tucson

Posted: Jan 02, 2014

During an inspection at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson in Tucson, your friendly and knowledgeable automotive service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts.

Here's a quick rundown of suspension system components:

There are the springs which hold the weight of your vehicle. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are heavy duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort.

You've probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your vehicle dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you've stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it's definitely time to replace them at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson for a suspension inspection. Same applies if you've been in an accident that involved one of your wheels. If your vehicle suspension actually fails, it could lead to a serious accident, so don't put it off.

When you replace your shocks, it's usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. That'll give you more even handling. Talk with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson because you don't want a big difference between the performance of your shocks from wheel to wheel, and replacing all may be the safest bet.

There are different grades of shocks and struts. You always want to use a replacement shock or strut that equals the one that came as original equipment when your vehicle was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of Tucson people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.

For example, if you want increased handling performance, your Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson service advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut specially designed for improved handling. If you haul heavy loads or trailers in Tucson, we can recommend some heavy duty shock absorbers.

Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson
3155 N. Stone Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85705
520.807.5555
http://www.advantage-autorepair.com

 


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