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

September 2018

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The Edible Engine

Posted: Sep 30, 2018

You may have had a friend whose vehicle was the victim of hungry rodents.  After all, mice, rats and squirrels—even rabbits—have been known to gnaw on wires in engine compartments, causing vehicle electrical systems to go haywire.  They can disable a vehicle completely and be very expensive to fix.

In 2017, some drivers noticed their vehicle's wiring was being chewed and found out the automaker was using a relatively new material for covering their wires: soy.  Many of the repairs to their new vehicles weren't covered under warranty by the manufacturer when it was discovered rodents were eating the wiring.  So the owners filed a class action suit, saying the soy covering was essentially baiting the critters. 

The automakers tell a different story, saying mice, rats and squirrels have been chewing through wire insulation long before it was made out of soy. 

Regardless of what the insulation is made of, vehicle owners should make sure rodents aren't chowing down and creating a problem in the engine compartment.  They can have their repair facility check for these signs:  Little bits of acorns, leaves, chewed up plastic and animal droppings in the engine's nooks and crannies.  Using a black light, your technician can detect animal urine, a sure sign that they've been using your engine compartment as a warm apartment, a nest and a dining room. 

You can take steps to prevent rodents from chomping your vehicle's parts.  Honda—one of the vehicle manufacturers that uses soy-based wiring covering—makes a rodent tape.  It contains a spice called capsaicin that rodents find too hot to handle.  Other preventative measures include installing metal mesh around wiring harnesses or spraying the engine compartment with special rodent-repellants. 

Rodent damage can cost one vehicle owner thousands of dollars to fix, not the kind of bite anyone wants taken out of their bank account. 

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

Clean Fuel Equals Clean Performance for Tucson Drivers

Posted: Sep 23, 2018

Hello, Tucson residents. Let's talk fuel filters. Fuel filters clean the dirt, dust and debris out of your fuel. Both gasoline and diesel-powered engines have them. The fuel filter is located in the fuel line between the fuel tank and the engine.

Tucson auto owners don't need to filter their fuel because it has lots of grit in it; they need to filter it because it has some grit it in. Any dirt is bad for your engine. The cleaner the fuel, the better your vehicle engine will run.

Over time, the small amounts of rust, dirt and contaminants in your fuel settle out inside the fuel tank. After about five years, this can amount to a quite a bit of sediment. This means that as your vehicle ages, your fuel filter has to work harder to screen your fuel: more sediment in your tank means more potential for grit in your fuel.

The harder your fuel filter works, the more often it needs to be replaced. Check with your owner's manual to find out how often it should be serviced and how long you can expect it to last. Tucson drivers should change it before it becomes clogged. Your friendly and knowledgeable Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson service advisor can help you with recommended fuel filter replacement schedules.

Good vehicle care means following recommended schedules for preventive maintenance, including changing your fuel filters. Take the auto advice offered in every owner's manual and have your vehicle regularly inspected at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson. It may save Tucson auto owners money by preventing costly repairs, but it will also repay them in improved safety and peace of mind.

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


What is a TSB? (Technical Service Bulletins)

Posted: Sep 16, 2018

If your vehicle had something in its design or production that the manufacturer had figured out had an unanticipated problem, you'd want to know about it. And you'd want it fixed. There is something that can help drivers with just such a scenario. It's called a Technical Service Bulletin, or TSB.

Here's what a TSB is. Vehicle design and manufacturing is a very complex process. Aftrer every vehicle is introduced, the more units there are on the road, the more likely weaknesses in parts or design will start to show up.

Automakers gather data on the issues and how best to fix them. Then they send out TSBs (usually in the first year of the new model) so technicians will know to look for those problems and what to do about them. There may be more than one cause of a problem with a vehicle so there may be more than one TSB for an issue.

A TSB can be issued for anything from failing water pumps to strange noises to smelly headliners. A TSB and a recall aren't the same thing. A recall is issued if there's a problem that could cause harm to people or if it creates illegal emissions. The manufacturer pays for a safety defect to be fixed, and the repair is usually performed at a dealership.

But when a Technical Service Bulletin is issued, it's because there's a pattern of some system not working the way it should. If a vehicle is under warranty and the problem can be diagnosed in a specific vehicle, the manufacturer will probably pay for the repair. But there may be limits. Take one case with certain models of a minivan. Some wheel bearings were failing prematurely, so the manufacturer extended the warranty on them to 5 years or 90,000 miles/145,000 km. After that, the owner bore the cost. In some cases, a manufacturer will reimburse owners for a repair already done at an independent service facility.

You may have a vehicle that is no longer covered by a warranty but a TSB has been issued for a certain problem. In that case, any service facility can perform the service. At Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson, your service advisor will have access to TSBs that have been issued for your vehicle's year and model. They will help the technician diagnose it if your vehicle has the issue. The TSB will also have advice for the best repair procedure to get your vehicle working the way it should.

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


Keeping Your Car Young in Tucson

Posted: Sep 09, 2018



As Tucson consumers, we live in a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away.

New stuff comes out so fast in AZ, and much of it is fairly cheap, so we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff - especially parents who grew up in the Depression. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough; we had to do without. 

We couldn't afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It's a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us Tucson penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles (320,000 km) with proper care. The engineering's there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer's maintenance schedules.

Is it really that bad for Tucson motorists to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a little longer than the recommended interval  between oil changes, you've created an opportunity for  sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don't get oiled and they start to wear out faster. 

Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted; the radiator starts being damaged, one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.

It's also even more important for older vehicles in the Tucson area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they're working harder anyway. But it's never too late for Tucson drivers to get back on track with maintenance and to hold off further damage.

It's just another example of our parents knowing what's best. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That's like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let the pros at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson in Tucson help you keep track of the rest.

Of course, it is inevitable for vehicles that some things are going to wear out along the way, like alternators, water pumps and such; they don't last forever. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It's like having high cholesterol; you don't want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

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


 


PCV Valve: What Is It?

Posted: Sep 02, 2018

Most Tucson drivers know something about preventive maintenance on a vehicle. We know we should routinely replace the oil and wiper blades and other fluids. But have you heard of a PCV valve ? This little car part needs to be replaced regularly or it can cause some serious problems in your vehicle engine.

PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. The crankcase holds your motor oil and is located at the bottom of your engine.

When fuel is burned in your engine, it produces waste gases that are mostly vented out through your exhaust system. But some of these gases push their way past the pistons and into the crankcase. There, these gases can mix with motor oil to produce oil sludge, which can damage vehicle engine parts through corrosion and by clogging engine passages. Tucson vehicle owners should be advised that if the engine is running at high speeds, these gases can also cause pressure inside the crankcase to build up. This pressure, in turn, can blow gaskets and damage seals, leading to oil leaks.

The waste gases that leave the engine are comprised of about 70% unburned fuel. They used to be vented off the crankcase into the atmosphere. But starting in 1964, laws mandated that these gases be recaptured. Manufacturers began installing PCV systems, which recycled the gases into the air intake system where they could be mixed with fuel and sent to the engine to be burned.

The PCV valve is a one-way valve attached to the crankcase. Waste gases exit the crankcase through the valve but cannot enter.

Over time, the waste gases leave deposits on the PCV valve that can gum it up. So it needs to be replaced occasionally. This is an inexpensive part of preventive maintenance that is often overlooked, but which can have very expensive consequences. It's good auto advice to keep this little valve clean and working well.

In order to maintain efficient circulation, the PCV system also has a breather tube that allows clean air to enter the crankcase. This air is usually filtered through the engine air filter. But some vehicles have a separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. If this is the case with your vehicle, proper maintenance of the PCV will include replacing this element. To find out whether your vehicle has this type of PCV system, check your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson.

The PCV system reduces harmful vehicle emissions. The maintenance it requires is simple and inexpensive at Advantage Auto Repair & Transmisson. A fouled or damaged PCV system can lead to serious engine damage for Tucson drivers.

Let's all learn to practice good car care. It's good for our wallets, and it's good for our AZ environment.

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


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