Joe's Tech Tips
Although the calendar says that it’s the end of May, and not officially summer yet, the thermometer reads otherwise. For some, that means the end of another school year and possible vacation plans for our families. No doubt you’re probably seeing ads that promote service specials -- everything from home a/c checkups to auto care packages. With the increased temperatures and monsoon season approaching (yes, it’s true, weather has a dramatic impact on our vehicles’ health), it’s important to ensure that your car or light truck is ready to handle the increased demands that these conditions put on your vehicles. The next time you schedule an oil and filter change, have your technician inspect the condition of the engine’s cooling system, the vehicle’s a/c operation, and all belts and hoses. It’s also important to look at the level and condition of the transmission fluid. In addition, and as I’ve stated before, do not ignore simple items like tire pressures and visual inspections of your tire wear, including proper inflation of the spare tire. And finally, because Arizona heat is especially taxing on batteries, be sure to have your battery properly load-tested.
In a future tech tip, I will address typical questions drivers often have about their Check Engine Light; so, stay tuned.
- R.H. ‘Joe’ Lopez
Greetings to our circle of customers, friends, and family! By now, you have probably reached into your closets and dug out your sweaters, coats, and long johns. Amazing, isn't it? ... Where else but in the Sonoran Desert do you go from 100-degree blistering heat to 40-degree chilling cold, in such a short period of time?
But, on to more important matters...
Our business is progressing quite well. The summer months brought in a smorgasbord of air conditioning concerns and a wide array of cooling system complaints. Now we find ourselves replacing radiators and water pumps, and addressing other cooling and heating problems. Because today's vehicles are being produced with lower total weight, materials that are manufactured with different composites tend to react with sudden changes in the weather. Hence, seals contract and various metals expand, thus creating improper sealing characteristics. While you cannot completely prevent these problems from occurring, you can take preventative steps to help keep these conditions from progressing to more expensive and time-consuming repairs. One of the more over-looked items is changing your engine's coolant/anti-freeze on an annual basis. Electrolysis does harmful damage to gaskets and seals, and it leads to major repairs such as cylinder head gasket replacement and even erosion of aluminum intake manifold coolant passages. Be sure and have all of your fluid levels and fluid condition checked when having your oil and filter changed. Ask your tech to check the drive-belt tension and belt tensioner for proper adjustment. Finally, don't forget to have the tires inflated to their proper specification and inspected for weather-cracked or uneven tread wear.
- R.H. ‘Joe’ Lopez
Well folks, it's time to get back on track with our weekly sound bites in the wonderful world of auto repair. By now, most of you have returned home from the Labor Day weekend and settled back to a somewhat normal routine. I spent my day off laboring in our backyard and working hard to get the seasonal monsoon deposits of leaves and dirt, and various assorted debris, swept, raked, and cleaned up. I also removed about 300 lbs. of large overgrown branches and limbs from our extra large mesquite tree. I even made time to straighten out my home office, and that was no small feat.
All soreness aside, let's get back to my last discourse on how we can achieve better gas mileage and maintain our vehicles in good operating condition. There is one thing we can all do that is quite obvious, but seems to be a major challenge based on the driving habits of many motorists I encounter on my daily drive to work. Simply put -- lay off the gas pedal and don't speed. While your speeding may be beneficial for me in providing additional brake and front-end work, it is not going to help you achieve good gas mileage. With gasoline priced at approximately $3.50 per gallon, don't you want to squeeze every drop for maximum efficiency? Another thing you can do that doesn't entail a large investment in money is to add a 12-ounce bottle of fuel injector cleaner every time your oil is changed. This helps to keep your injectors operating properly and helps to remove harmful deposits from forming on the valves and pistons. And lastly, have you checked the tire pressure on your tires lately? Don't laugh; it's important to maintain proper tire pressure in your tires to help fuel economy and save wear and tear on your tires.
Okay, that's all I have for now; I will continue in this series next week with more recommendations on proper car care.
Also, beginning this fall, I plan on starting a monthly car-care clinic for those interested in learning what makes a car tick and to be better educated on the different components that make our cars and trucks run. If this is something you would be interested in attending, send a private message or post a comment here stating your interest.
Thanks for reading!
- R.H. ‘Joe’ Lopez
Today’s tip is on a subject that many of us dread, but in the long run, saves us time and money. I'm talking about your vehicle's manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule and the importance of following it. When I first got started in the automotive repair field, typical maintenance required regular oil changes, changing the spark plugs and adjusting the contact points, and setting the ignition timing. And, up until approximately 1985, most vehicles also had a fuel delivery device referred to as a carburetor, which required adjustments to the air fuel ratio. My, how those days have changed. Emission-control reduction demands from the state and federal government eventually required a more precise manner in which to control exhaust emissions and reduce air pollution. That's where things got very challenging for us in the repair industry. We needed to find a happy medium and be able to provide maintenance service that would satisfy the government, the drivers, and the manufacturers. The three critical areas in maintaining your vehicle ended up revolving around: performance, fuel economy, and reduced emissions. Plus, now we have vehicles that are equipped with multiple on-board computers to regulate transmission shift controls, electronic fuel injection, and variable camshaft operation. Oil technology has also made huge leaps in providing better and longer lasting lubrication protection. I could go on and on, but my main point is this -- we live in a state with a climate that puts heavy demands on our vehicles and thus requires that we care for and maintain them to perform at their peak. Next week I will go further in depth and expound on these points with tips on how to help keep your vehicle in tip top shape.
Happy and safe driving!
- R.H. ‘Joe’ Lopez
For this week's TIP OF THE WEEK, we'd like to share a quote:
"TRUST is the glue that holds an organization together and the lubricant that keeps it moving forward." -Colin Powell
We at Lopez Advanced Automotive can be trusted to always provide you with an honest diagnosis of your vehicle and a fair price for all repairs and service. We appreciate your trust in our abilities and integrity, and thank you for helping us keep our business moving forward.
Monsoon season in Arizona means more dirt and dust floating in the air, which means that your a/c system needs to operate at optimum efficiency. Not only is it important to keep your engine's air filter operating at peak efficiency, but it's also vital to inspect your vehicle's cabin air filter for proper air flow. This filter usually lives under the passenger side of the vehicle's glove box area and is found on many cars and light trucks.
Another area that often gets overlooked is the hidden space that exists between your vehicle's radiator and a/c condenser assembly. This a common final resting place for bugs, leaves, and other debris, which can affect the radiator and a/c condenser's ability to expel heat generated by your engine, as well as the heat that is being removed from the interior of the vehicle.
Have both of these items inspected next time you're in for your oil and filter change.
Happy Friday, all!
- R.H. ‘Joe’ Lopez