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

July 2016

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Exhaust Service at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson: Passing the Smell Test

Posted: Jul 31, 2016

The exhaust system on a vehicle is more complex than most Tucson residents realize. It contains everything from old-fashioned pipes and clamps to sophisticated computers and sensors. All AZ folks know a properly functioning exhaust system is good for the environment, but sometimes we forget that a damaged exhaust system can be deadly. That's why preventive maintenance on your exhaust system is so important. We can help you with that at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson in Tucson.

The exhaust manifold is the first component in your exhaust system. The manifold is attached to the engine. It collects the gases that are produced by the engine and directs them into the exhaust pipes. At this point, these gases are both hot and chemically dangerous.

One of the gases produced in your engine is carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless and odorless. Breathing it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness. Continue breathing it and you will die.

To keep this gas and others from entering your vehicle passenger compartment, the connections from the manifold to the engine and from the manifold to the exhaust pipes are sealed with gaskets. These connections should be routinely inspected at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson for cracks and to check if they have come loose.

The exhaust pipes can also get damaged, allowing dangerous gases to leak into your passenger compartment. These pipes can rust or be dented or broken by rocks and other roadway debris, so they need to be inspected regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next component in your vehicle exhaust system. You can breathe a sigh of relief now, because this is where the dangerous engine gases are converted into carbon dioxide and water, greatly reducing the amount of harmful emissions in your exhaust. You'll also be happy to know that your catalytic converter doesn't require maintenance. However, it will wear out. If you fail an emissions inspection because of a faulty catalytic converter, you need to replace it.

The muffler's job is far less critical, but far more noticeable, than the catalytic converter's. It dampens or absorbs the noise from the engine. Most Tucson residents don't realize that we can actually customize the noise our car makes with a custom muffler. You can upgrade to a muffler that will make your car sleuth-quiet, or you can advertise your presence in Tucson with a sassy rumble.

Mufflers can also rust or be damaged by road debris. But just because their main function is to dampen out engine noise doesn't mean they can be ignored. If your muffler is leaking, you need to get it replaced quickly. Exhaust fumes need to exit through your tailpipe, not your muffler.

The exhaust pipe contains at least one oxygen sensor. The sensor monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust, which allows it to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio in the engine. This keeps your vehicle engine running smoothly and maintains good fuel economy. So, besides keeping you and the environment healthy, a well-maintained exhaust system also keeps your vehicle healthy. The tailpipe itself can rust or get damaged by road debris, so it needs a quick inspection once in a while, too.

The whole exhaust system is mounted on the vehicle with clamps and hangers. These clamps and hangers can come loose, rust or get dinged up by road debris. Remember that the gases in your exhaust system are hot, so the exhaust system itself gets hot. The clamps and hangers keep the exhaust system attached to the vehicle, but they also prevent the heated components from touching things they shouldn't. If you don't inspect and replace broken, loose or damaged clamps, you may end up with melted wires, hoses or lines. And that can spell some expensive repairs.

You should schedule an exhaust system inspection as recommended in your vehicle owner's manual. Because this system is critical to your health and the health of your car, and because of its sophistication and complexity, you need to have the work done at a qualified service center such as Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson in Tucson.

Maintaining your emissions and exhaust system is not just good auto advice: it's good health advice for all Tucson residents and their families.

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


Used Cars: Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson Advice on What to Do After You Buy

Posted: Jul 24, 2016

Used vehicles are certainly an economical choice for budget-conscious Tucson drivers. But how can we know we're getting a good used vehicle and not just inheriting someone else's problems?

There are good used vehicles for sale in the Tucson area. Vehicles are sold when families upsize, when families downsize or even when someone just wants a new ride. So the used vehicle may be just fine. But some Tucson used vehicle owners sell them because they don't want to deal with developing or existing problems.

When you're considering buying a used vehicle in Tucson, ask for service records. Check to see if the recommended schedules for preventive maintenance have been followed. If so, you probably have a great used vehicle on your hands. If there aren't any service records, then assume the worst.

Check the vehicle for obvious signs of problems. Kick the tires if you want to but definitely check them for uneven tread wear. This can indicate alignment problems, worn shocks or suspension issues. Listen to the engine for unusual sounds and pay attention to unexpected odors. Take the vehicle for a test drive and make a list of any concerns you might have.

If the used vehicle you're looking at is a late model vehicle with under 35,000 miles/55,000 km on it, take it to Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson for an inspection. This inspection will reveal many basic or developing problems. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson about concerns you had on the test drive. Get a heads-up on needed repairs or maintenance.

Previously leased vehicles are often tempting to used vehicle buyers because they are generally newer models with low mileage and have been factory-cleaned. Be cautious, however. Many Tucson residents who lease vehicles don't bother with preventive maintenance because they know they'll be turning the vehicles in. Again, ask for maintenance records, take the vehicle in for a full-service oil change and consult with the pros at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson about any problems the vehicle may have.

Older used vehicles are even more problematic for Tucson used car buyers. Older vehicles simply come with more maintenance and repair issues than new ones. Take these in for a used vehicle inspection at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson. Usually, a seller will let you do this before you purchase the vehicle. These inspections are very thorough and will help you know what you're getting into. You'll be able to make an informed decision about your purchase. That peace of mind will make the cost of the inspection more than worth your while. It's always good auto advice for Tucson drivers to purchase a Carfax report on any used vehicle. This report will let you know if the vehicle has been in a major accident and will give you a title history. You'd be surprised what used vehicle buyers have learned from those reports. Know before you buy.

Once you purchase a used vehicle, give it some tender loving care. Give it a thorough cleaning, inside and out — and don't forget the engine compartment. A good wax on the outside will make it look and feel “new.” And, of course, stay on top of preventive maintenance. Used vehicles bought in AZ can last a good, long time if they're properly cared for. They're economical to buy and can keep on saving us money if we look after them.

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


Hey Tucson Drivers; What Is the Most Distracting Food?

Posted: Jul 18, 2016



So what is the most distracting food to have in the car while driving around Tucson?

Is it:

  1. A Hamburger;
  2. Coffee;
  3. A Soft Drink, or
  4. Gummy Bears?

Well, you may be surprised to learn that all but the gummy bears are in the top ten most distracting foods when you are driving. But if you chose 'coffee,' then give yourself an extra two points.  Coffee is the number one food distraction for drivers in Tucson and around the country.

Food distractions cause 25 percent of all car accidents; over a million and a half each year!

You'll notice that all of the top ten distracting food items are messy. Messy foods are the types of food you might spill (very distracting!), then try to clean up (a safe-driving impossibility!). If you gotta eat on the run, take five-then drive. You'll thank yourself later for two reasons: one, that you can actually relax for just a moment in our fast-paced world, and two, you won't have to worry about getting that cinnamon roll frosting out of your dashboard after that near miss.

Keep drinks in spill-proof containers, too, so you can keep your eyes on the Tucson road without worrying about where that spill is headed.

So, taking a food break… or filling out accident reports. We don't have to ask you which you prefer; it's a no brainer.

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


Diagnosing Your Vehicle at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson in Tucson

Posted: Jul 10, 2016

When we Tucson residents get a car repair bill, we really shouldn't be surprised to find “diagnostic fees” as one of the line items. When we get a computer fixed, there is usually a charge for the time it takes to diagnose the problem. When we go to a medical doctor, most of his fee is for his ability to diagnose what's wrong. It's no different with our vehicles.

Some diagnoses are fairly simple. Brake repairs at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson usually require only a visual inspection, for instance. But other problems are much more difficult to diagnose. An intermittent engine problem, for example, takes time and expertise to pinpoint.

Modern vehicles have multiple computers that monitor a variety of sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of those sensors has a reading that is higher or lower than the standard parameters, the computer turns on the Check Engine light. Technicians at a service center such as Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson in Tucson can scan the engine's computer for a trouble code. This code tells the technician which reading is too high or too low.

That's where some Tucson residents get confused. They think that this reading concludes the diagnosis, and they don't understand why the diagnostic fee is as much as it is when all the technician did was to scan the computer. But the truth is the trouble code is only the beginning of the diagnostic procedure.

Remember, the trouble code only tells which reading is out of parameter. It doesn't say what is causing the reading to be too high or too low. Your Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson service technician still has to find the underlying problem. It's a lot like going to the doctor. He can take your temperature and discover that you have a fever, but that doesn't tell him what is causing your fever.

Automotive diagnostic technology can cut down the time it takes to figure out what's wrong with a vehicle that isn't running right. But it doesn't do away with the need for your friendly and knowledgeable Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson service technician to make a proper diagnosis. Car care, like medical care, still requires the human touch.

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


Automotive Tips from Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson: Battery Testing

Posted: Jul 03, 2016

The simple fact is that 70% of car batteries fail within 4 years. They just need to be replaced at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson when they are no longer able to hold a full charge.

Batteries are a big ticket item for most Tucson drivers and it’s tempting to put off buying a new one as long as possible. But a battery that cannot hold a full charge requires the alternator to work extra hard, causing it to wear out prematurely.

Your Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson service advisor can test your battery to see if it should be replaced. Testing is a good idea for AZ drivers because a battery might still be good, but become dead because of a bad alternator or even a worn serpentine belt and tensioner.

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

 


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