Advantage Auto Repair

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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

November 2014

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Selecting New Tires and Wheels

Posted: Nov 25, 2014



Some of us Tucson drivers just love tires. All those little rubber hairs on new tires and the smell is wonderful. We live in a great time for tires. No matter how you drive around AZ, where you want to go or the look you're after; there is a tire for you.

The same is true about wheels. The hardest part is choosing from the thousands of wheels available at AZ tire shops.

The team at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson can help you get some things in mind before you make a purchase. Let's start with function and think about how you drive.

For example, maybe you have a large SUV but you don't drive off-road around AZ, so an off-road tread isn't important. Also, because you are not out bouncing over rocks in the AZ backcountry, you don't need a high profile tire to protect your rims. So that means you can probably go with the low-wide look.

If you have a winter season with rain and snow or if you find you need better ice and snow performance, they make great, high-performance snow tires that won't make it look like you are driving a tractor.

There really are a lot of options for any given vehicle. Tucson drivers will find it very helpful to have a discussion like this with their Tucson tire pro or the tire experts at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson when they need new tires. You can find the best solutions for your driving needs and to make improvements in ride or handling.

Picking a wheel that is the same size as what you are now running on is important and pretty simple. But, it gets trickier if you want to upsize. Just get some help when you go bigger. All that tire and wheel still needs to fit in the available space. You do not want your tires to rub when you turn or hit a bump. Tucson drivers also need to make sure their brakes and suspension bits will fit with their wheel of choice. It doesn't matter how great your car looks if it's not drivable.

Taller, wider wheels and tires probably weigh more than your stock shoes. And it's "unsprung" weight that has a big impact on brake performance. The upsized shoes increase rotational inertia; if you go too big you may need to upgrade your brakes to compensate.

Another possible problem is an inaccurate speedometer. This happens because the number of rotations can change with the new wheels. Fortunately, speedometers and odometers are all controlled by the engine computer; so they need to get reprogrammed at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson to compensate for the bigger tires.

No matter what you are after: low cost, long life, high performance, traction or stunning good looks, your wheel and tire professional at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson in Tucson, AZ, can help identify your needs and give you a custom fit. With all the options available, you don't have to compromise. There is a tire out there with your name on it!

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


Keeping Your 'Old Faithful' Auto Running

Posted: Nov 18, 2014

At Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson we've had a lot of Tucson customers asking how they can make their vehicles last longer. These questions are actually a reflection of a trend that's been building for several years in AZ. The median age of personal vehicles is now over nine years. And 33 percent of all vehicles on the road have over 75,000 miles (120,000 km) on them. It looks like it's going to keep heading in that direction for a while. With high fuel prices, a lot of AZ folks are putting off buying a new car. 

So let's say you're one of the average in the Tucson area; you've got a nine-year-old car with 80,000 miles (130,000 km) on the odometer. What can you do to make it last another year or two?

Let's start with the premise that there's no reason that a modern car can't run for 200,000 miles (320,000 km) with proper care in Tucson. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there.

Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there's no reason for a catastrophic meltdown if Tucson drivers stay on top of their recommended car maintenance. The maintenance schedule in some vehicle manufacturer's owner's manuals runs out at 60,000 miles (100,000 km) or so: how do Tucson vehicle owners know what to do when they're way past that?

It is a challenge, for example: If a service is recommended every 15,000 miles (24,000 km) for the first 60,000 miles (100,000 km), you can just keep getting it done at least every 15,000 miles (24,000 km) after you hit 60,000 miles (100,000 km). But, it gets more complicated because older engines lose some efficiency, are dirtier inside and are just more stressed. That means it's very important to not miss any scheduled services. Skipping just one oil change at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson in Tucson, for example, leaves an opportunity for sludge to build up. Talk to your service advisor at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson for more details.

So all the usual things like oil changes, transmission service, coolant service, brakes, power steering, fuel system cleaning – all that stuff needs to be maintained. People responsible for fleet vehicles around Tucson are sticklers for scheduled maintenance. They know that money spent on maintenance saves them three ways:

  1. it keeps efficiency from decreasing;
  2. it prevents repairs, and;
  3. they can postpone purchasing new vehicles.

Having the oil changed may be the most important thing Tucson drivers can do. A full-service oil change at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson means that all of your other fluids get topped off so they are never low enough to cause damage. It also gives your friendly and knowledgeable Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson service advisor a chance to spot problems in the early stages so that you can fix them before they get worse. And it gives you a touch point with an automotive professional along the way to remind you of things that aren't scheduled as often – things like differential service and timing belt replacement.

If you live in the Tucson area and have an older vehicle, you may need to follow the severe service maintenance schedule. Check your owner's manual and talk with us at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson. Conditions inside an older engine, transmission and cooling system can arguably be considered severe – so shorter intervals could well be called for.

And, the team at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson strongly encourages Tucson drivers to consider using high mileage formulation fluids. They're fluids like engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant that are formulated for older engines. They have special additives to clean deposits, and to condition and restore seals and gaskets that dry out with age. Some Tucson auto owners start using higher mileage formulations at around 50,000 miles (80,000 km) as a preventive measure.

Of course you also want to still look marvelous in your older car as you drive around Tucson. Salt and road grime wreak havoc on your paint job and can lead to body rust – so regular washing is very important. Also, a good quality waxing is recommended at least twice a year.

Give us a call for more information:

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


How Do You Save Gas in Tucson, AZ?

Posted: Nov 12, 2014



No one in Tucson, AZ, likes to spend a chunk of change at the gas pump. Rising AZ fuel prices, however, have spurred Tucson drivers to focus on how to improve their fuel economy. North Americans literally drive billions of miles/kilometers less each month during times of high fuel prices. But we still need to drive (we love our vehicles, after all!), so it makes sense to try and increase our fuel economy however we can.

Let's look at a real life example. This man has one of those really big SUVs. Lots of kids and horses to haul around, you know. His family was planning a four day camping trip. Here's what he did to cut his fuel costs:

First, he installed a new, high flow engine air filter. Then he had his service center change his oil, flush his cooling system and service his front and rear differentials along with the transfer case. He also had a fuel system cleaning, replaced his PCV valve and breather element. He also made sure his tires were up to the recommended pressure.

Now this cost several hundred dollars. But keep in mind, it all needed to be done anyway – it was all scheduled, and some of the work was overdue.

So he headed out, loaded with nine people and pulling a trailer with everything needed for four days of camping. When the trip was over, he tallied his costs.  Turns out, he got the best fuel economy on that vehicle up to that point. It had improved 25 percent! He saved $48.00 on that trip alone. And the savings keep on coming every day.

Here's a quick summary of what you can do to save fuel in Tucson, AZ. First get caught up on your routine maintenance. Nearly every scheduled service item can boost fuel efficiency. If it's time for a tune-up, git'er done at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson. That's a big item.

If your Check Engine light is on, have your service advisor at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson figure out why and fix it. Check Engine problems can be real gas wasters.

Proper tire pressure and wheel alignment can really help Tucson drivers as well. Try not to carry around a bunch of stuff. An extra 100 pounds can cost a mile per gallon.

Now you may not want to hear this, but the single biggest fuel waster for most Tucson folks is their right foot. Zooming away from stop lights and hot rod lane changes really waste fuel. Take it easy on AZ roads and Tucson streets: don't speed, and plan ahead.

Finally, you may have noticed that we haven't mentioned any magic pills or devices that will double your mileage. That's because there aren't any. Some may help a bit, but there are a lot of "miracle fuel saver" scams in AZ. Don't shell out any to swindlers; you need it to buy gas!

Do some research and check with your service advisor at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson in Tucson before spending your hard earned cash.

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


I Can See Clearly Now: Wiper Blade Replacement in Tucson

Posted: Nov 05, 2014



About 90% of our driving decisions in the Tucson area are based solely on what we see. So having a good pair of windshield wipers is extremely important.

Most Tucson drivers have experienced the frustration and fear of not being able to see clearly during a storm, or when our vehicle windshield is just dirty. In fact, it's estimated that 46,000,000 drivers across the nation are driving with wipers that can't adequately clear their windshield in a storm.

It seems like our wiper blades are always at their worst when we need them the most. If that sounds like you, you've got plenty of company in the Tucson area. 78% of drivers only change their wiper blades after the blades function so poorly that they become a safety hazard.

Tucson drivers need to change their thinking. Instead of blades being something to replace when they fail, we need to consider wiper blades as vehicle safety component. Then we'll stay ahead of the storm.

Tucson vehicle owners really ought to replace wiper blades twice a year; in the spring and the fall. If you live in the colder parts of AZ, you may even want to get special winter blades in the fall.

Winter blades are made to resist freezing. Speaking of winter and freezing Tucson conditions, if your vehicle has been sitting for a long time and the windshield becomes frozen, don't use your wipers to clear off snow and ice. That can shred your blades and may even damage the wiper motor.

Your wiper blades live outside in the freezing cold and blistering sun. Over time, they become hard and brittle, and then tear. They also lose their flexibility and just don't clear the vehicle windshield effectively. Worn wiper blades aren't just a safety hazard for Tucson drivers; they can also scratch their windshield. That may require replacing the entire vehicle windshield – that's the consequence for neglecting such a small part.

Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson recommends Tucson drivers replace worn blades right away. We can provide you with a quality replacement blade. At Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson, they cost about the same as they would at the store – but installation is included.

Of course you also need washer fluid to help your blades do their work. Even though Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson will top off the washer fluid with a full service oil change, it is a good idea to have some extra fluid at home. Take it with you if you're heading out on a road trip.

Always use windshield washer fluid. Plain water, even that fancy French bottled water, just doesn't cut it. It can freeze in the fluid reservoir or on the windshield itself, making things worse. Besides, water won't clean your windows as well.

So follow these tips to keep your windshield clear and your eyes on the road.

Find us at:

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


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