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

June 2019

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Let Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson Help You Extend the Life of Your Car

Posted: Jun 30, 2019

If you haven't shopped in the Tucson area for a new vehicle recently, you're likely to experience some sticker shock. It seems everything is costing more these days. And when you consider the price of auto financing in Tucson, and insurance, the idea of hanging on to your old vehicle for a few more years gets even more attractive.

On the plus side, vehicles these days are engineered to last for 150,000 miles (250,000 km) or more. So why don't they? Usually it's because Tucson drivers don't stay on top of preventive maintenance. Good vehicle care at professional automotive service centers like Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson in Tucson is the key to getting the most mileage out of your vehicle.

Too often, Tucson vehicle owners are inclined to wait until their vehicles develop an obvious problem and take them in for repairs instead of maintenance. Repairs can be expensive, but allowing routine vehicle maintenance to slide also has the invisible cost in shorter life expectancy for a vehicle.

For example, the fluid in your coolant system becomes corrosive over time and should be replaced periodically. If not, it can damage the radiator and other engine parts. Talk to our pros at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson. Over time, this damage can build up until these parts have to be replaced.

The same goes for the power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning refrigerant, differential fluid and transmission fluid. All of these fluids need to be replaced on schedule or you risk causing serious damage to your vehicle and shortening its life span.

If oil is not replaced on schedule, your engine can build up oil sludge, which can also lead to serious engine damage. Insufficient oil can also eventually cause your engine to seize. Brake pads should be replaced before they are completely worn down. This prevents expensive damage to rotors and/or drums. Again, your Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson pros can advise you.

Belts and hoses should all be inspected regularly. If they are showing signs of wear, they need to be replaced. If belts break or hoses begin to leak, the results can be repair bills. Again, this can significantly reduce the life expectancy of your vehicle.

Most Tucson drivers recognize the wisdom of keeping up with preventive maintenance. But we also have a lot of other responsibilities on our plate. Vehicle care just doesn't get to the top of our list until it becomes an emergency. Unfortunately, that emergency usually means repair bills, which always seem to add up to more than the preventive maintenance at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson would have cost us.

So take some good auto advice and develop a relationship with a certified service center located near your Tucson area neighborhood. At Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson, we value the relationships we have established with our clients. We keep track of our customers' vehicle needs and help them keep its maintenance on schedule. We know you have a lot of other things to keep track of.

As far as car care goes, the old adage “a stitch in time saves nine” holds true. At Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson, we rephrase it as “a dollar now saves $10 later.” Or $20. Or $100. Or more.

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: Timing Belt Overview

Posted: Jun 23, 2019

In your engine, valves over each combustion chamber open to allow fresh air in, close during the combustion event, and then other valves open to let out the exhaust. All of this happens over and over thousands of times a minute when you are driving around Tucson. The timing belt’s important job is to make sure that all of this happens as it should – at precisely the right time. If the timing is off, your engine won’t run efficiently or maybe not at all – so a good timing belt is important. If it should break, you could end up at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson with expensive engine damage.

Ask your friendly and professional Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson service advisor when your timing belt is scheduled for replacement.

Give us a call.

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


Sniffing Out a Problem

Posted: Jun 16, 2019

Your parents probably taught you to have common sense. When it comes to your vehicle, common scents can also come in handy. Different smells may tell you about some conditions in your vehicle that need attention.

For example, you know what rotten eggs smell like.  If you smell them around your vehicle, it means sulfur can't be far away. Here's a surprising fact: Gasoline has a little sulfur in it.  There's a device in your exhaust system that's supposed to convert it to something that doesn't pollute the atmosphere. That device is a catalytic converter.  If you are smelling rotten eggs, maybe your catalytic converter is wearing out.  But it could also be a problem with your fuel injectors.  Either way, something's rotten that should be repaired.

Ever smell something sweet around your vehicle, maybe a little like pancake syrup? If you sniff out a little sweetness just when your engine is warming up or after you shut off your engine, you might be smelling some coolant (anti-freeze).  If it's leaking, then you may be getting a whiff of ethylene glycol, one of the coolant's components.  If the odor is strong inside the car, it could be a leaky heater core. This is important to get checked out because a leak in your vehicle's cooling system can eventually cause expensive damage.

How about that distinctive smell of gasoline? You could have a leak in your gas tank, a hose that vents your gas tank or a leak in a fuel injector line.  A gasoline leak needs to be tracked down since it could catch fire.  It can also be bad for your health if you breathe it in all the time.

When you step hard on the brakes, ever smell something like a rug's in fire? That could mean you've just overheated your brake pads.  If you detect that smell just driving around town, one of the brake calipers could be stuck.  To figure out which wheel has the problem, get out of your vehicle and smell each wheel.  It will likely be obvious where the problem is.

Here's one last smell.  Ever had your oil changed and right after you picked up your vehicle it smells like something's burning around the engine? That's because sometimes a little oil leaks onto the metal when the filter is changed or the oil is poured in.  It's a useful smell to know.  Because of you smell burning oil and you haven't had your oil changed recently, that could mean you have a leak in your engine.  It could be a gasket or a seal, but it also could mean the start of more serious issues. 

All of these things are signals that you should discuss with your service advisor to get them checked out.

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

A Fluid Situation (Check Fluid Levels)

Posted: Jun 09, 2019

There's one fluid in your car you are always careful to keep at a certain level: the fuel. If you don't have fuel, you're not going anywhere.  Your vehicle has other fluids which are vitally important to proper and safe operation, too.  So, here's a "level" headed approach to those "other" fluids.

Engine oil.  This one's probably the most important fluid to maintain at the proper level. Without enough oil, you'll wear out your engine prematurely.  Sometimes vehicles have warning lights on the dash that will tell you to get your oil checked.  Don't ignore that one; get it checked immediately.  Certainly don't go on a long trip at high speeds with your oil level low. Oh, and it's not good to have too much oil in, either. Our pros at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson can advise you on oil levels and tell if you if you should be concerned about abnormal fluctuations.

Windshield washer fluid.  OK, this is one you probably know about.  You certainly miss it when it runs out.  You find yourself trying to clean your windshield with the wipers but you need a little liquid help.  Unless you live in an area that requires you to use an awful lot of windshield washer fluid, one fill-up can often last between oil changes.  Modern vehicles have large enough windshield washer fluid reservoirs to keep you going for quite a while.    

Engine Coolant. Here's another fluid you need to keep your engine running properly.  You need it to keep the engine running at the proper temperature.  Plus, you'll need it for heat when the temperature gets chilly outside. 

Power Steering Fluid. If you have a vehicle that uses power steering fluid, it's important to keep the correct amount in your system. Without enough of it, you might find steering difficult.  Plus, if you’re losing power steering fluid, our experts at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson can find out why and perhaps prevent a more expensive repair later.

Brake Fluid.  You may have heard of hydraulic brakes.  Hydraulic refers to the fluid and is one of the key reasons your brakes work.  Levels should be checked regularly and, like power steering fluid, if you're losing brake fluid, a technician needs to find out why so you can get the issue repaired and maintain your stopping ability.

If you have regular preventative maintenance performed at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson, we’ll keep an eye on all of these fluids when you bring your vehicle in for service.

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


The Easy Way to Save Cash in Tucson

Posted: Jun 02, 2019

The hottest AZ news story may be different every day, but there's one topic that seems to come up over and over again – the price of gas in Tucson. If you feel like most of your paycheck goes into your gas tank, this post is for you. Here are several basic things people in Tucson can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the environment. You can really improve your fuel economy by how you drive – but first, here's a review of things you can do for your vehicle that'll save gas no matter how you drive.

The first one for Tucson drivers is keeping tires properly inflated. That can save 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand – your car just has to work harder. Most Tucson service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you fill up. Many Tucson gas stations have an air hose you can use for free.

Another important item is to keep your air filter clean. An air filter all clogged up with dirt and bugs doesn't let enough clean air through to efficiently burn fuel. Using a dirty air filter will cost you almost 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter in reduced fuel economy. And worn spark plugs can cost about the same. A spark plug can fire as many as 3,000,000 times for every 1,000 miles/1,600 km driven. Check the vehicle owner's manual for replacement recommendations.

The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that's messed up it can cost Tucson vehicles up to 3 miles per gallon/1.3 km per liter. And of course, there's dirty or substandard oil. Dirty oil causes extra drag. The wrong grade may be too thick. That's another .4 miles per gallon/.17 km per liter right there.

One item Tucson residents seldom think about is their gas cap. A worn, loose or missing gas cap can cost another 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter. Adding up all of these worn, missing or sub-par items leads to a total of almost 11.4 miles per gallon/4.85 km per liter in reduced fuel economy! And with current gas prices in the Tucson area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save Tucson drivers at the pump. 

Now most vehicles aren't missing on all of these items, but think about which ones might affect you right now! And don't forget tune-ups, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, fuel system cleaning, wheels out of alignment, PCV valve, fuel filter and other services spelled out in your owner's  manual.

Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson knows all this stuff and can tell you when you're scheduled to take care of each item. Create a system of your own to track your service schedules, or just use the computer system at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson – which may also be updated with recall notices and maintenance schedule items from your vehicle manufacturer.

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


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