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Mackert Automotive LLC Car Care Advice for Gig Harbor Motorists: Serpentine Belt System Wear

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Blog, Serpentine Belt | 0 comments

The primary job of the serpentine belt is to provide critical traction to spin the accessories. As the belt wears it loses some of its grip and the accessories may not spin at prime speeds. For example, if your alternator doesn’t spin fast enough, the battery will not completely recharge while you’re driving and you could end up stranded with a dead battery.

In short, a worn serpentine belt will stress all of the accessories it powers leading to premature wear and possible early replacement. When as little as 5% of belt material is lost, the serpentine belt cannot provide the proper traction for the accessories. Your friendly and courteous Mackert Automotive LLC service professional can check your belt for excessive wear and replace your serpentine belt system if it’s excessively worn.

Give us a call

Mackert Automotive LLC
253-851-3307
3416-B 57th ST CT NW
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335

Automotive Tips from Mackert Automotive LLC: A Broken or Damaged Timing Belt

Posted by on Jan 6, 2016 in Blog, Timing Belt | 0 comments

The timing belt rotates the cam shafts which open and close the valves that allow air, fuel, and exhaust to flow through the engine as it powers your vehicle.

An old timing belt can lose a “tooth” in the belt allowing it to slip. The engine could stop or misfire. Timing belt slip – or a broken timing belt – can be disastrous on some engines. In “interference” engines, open valves can get in the way of the piston when the timing belt breaks or slips. When that happens one or more valves can be bent requiring expensive engine repairs.

It is critical for Gig Harbor auto owners to replace their timing belts as recommended in their owner’s manual to avoid unnecessary breakdowns. Ask the team of professionals at Mackert Automotive LLC in Gig Harbor if it’s time for your timing belt to be replaced.

Give us a call

Mackert Automotive LLC
253-851-3307
3416-B 57th ST CT NW
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335

I Can See Clearly Now: Wiper Blade Replacement In Gig Harbor

Posted by on Dec 30, 2015 in Blog, Maintenance | 0 comments

About 90% of our driving decisions in Gig Harbor are based solely on what we see. So having a good pair of windshield wipers is extremely essential.

Most Gig Harbor car owners have experienced the frustration and fear of not being able to see clearly during a storm, or when our car, truck, SUV 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 Gig Harbor drivers need them the most. If that sounds like you, you’ve got plenty of company in the Gig Harbor area. 78% of auto owners only change their wiper blades after the blades function so poorly that they become a safety hazard.

Gig Harbor drivers need to change their thinking. Instead of blades being something to replace when they fail, we need to consider wiper blades as a critical car, truck, SUV safety component. Then we’ll stay ahead of the storm.

Gig Harbor motorists really ought to replace wiper blades twice a year; in the spring and the fall. If you live in the colder parts of Washington, you may even want to get special winter blades in the fall.

Winter blades are made to resist freezing. Speaking of winter and freezing Gig Harbor conditions, if your car, truck, SUV 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 Gig Harbor sun. Over time, they become hard and brittle, and then tear. They also lose their flexibility and just don’t clear the car, truck, SUV windshield effectively. Worn wiper blades aren’t just a safety hazard for Gig Harbor drivers; they can also scratch their windshield. That may require replacing the entire car, truck, SUV windshield – that’s an expensive consequence for neglecting such a small part.

AutoNetTV and Mackert Automotive LLC recommend Gig Harbor drivers replace worn blades right away. Your Gig Harbor service center can provide you with a quality replacement blade. At Mackert Automotive LLC, 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 critical work. Even though Mackert Automotive LLC will top off the washer fluid with a full service oil change, it is a good idea to have some extra fluid at home. Bring 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 eye on the road.

Find us at:

Mackert Automotive LLC
3416-B 57th ST CT NW
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335
253-851-3307

10 Services Gig Harbor motorists Often Overlook

Posted by on Dec 29, 2015 in Blog, Maintenance | 0 comments

We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over Gig Harbor. Some days it’s all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That’s why you’ve gotta be organized. Smartphones, calendar apps – we have to keep track of it all.

So let’s talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the critical scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.

Here is a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked by Gig Harbor car owners. They’re all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.

1. Power Steering Service
Be honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your essential power steering parts are protected from dangerous corrosion. Next time you’re in for an oil change, ask your Gig Harbor service advisor if it’s time for a power steering check-up.

2. Wheel Alignment
When your wheels are out of alignment your car, truck, SUV pulls to one side. It’s pretty annoying, but it’s also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out really fast; which is an unneccessary expense! Most auto makers owners manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.

3. Differential Service
Did you even know you had a differential? Well, you do – one, two or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they’re part of the drive-train that transfers power from your car, truck, SUV engine to your wheels. They don’t need service that often, but you can’t completely forget them. Check with your friendly and courteous Mackert Automotive LLC tech.

4. Cabin Air Filter
More and more Gig Harbor cars these days have cabin air filters (a great feature, in my opinion) to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they’re clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies.

5. Timing Belt Replacement
Most cars and some vans and trucks driven around the Gig Harbor area have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say that your car won’t run without it – period. And if it breaks while you’re driving it can do thousands of dollars worth of expensive engine damage. Check your owners’ manual or with your Gig Harbor service advisor. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles; definitely look into it right away.

6. Transmission Service
Transmission serviceis very basic, but it’s often forgotten by Gig Harbor car owners. Your car, truck, SUV transmission needs clean fluid from time to time to keep operating efficiently and avoid pricey repairs. And it can also improve your MPG.

7. Air Conditioning Service
Most of us Gig Harbor car owners don’t think about our air conditioning until it fails on a hot day in Gig Harbor. If you’re lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you’re not, some of the components may have been ruined. Of course, these components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service at Mackert Automotive LLC in Gig Harbor adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.

8. Brake Service
No we’re not talking about squealing, grinding brakes here. We’re talking brake fluid. Over time the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your Mackert Automotive LLC technician for recommendations.

9. Coolant System
Another thing that’s so easy for Gig Harbor auto owners to forget about: When you don’t change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the pH balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can actually eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you’re stranded – bummer.

10. Fuel System Cleaning
In these times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is important. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning at Mackert Automotive LLC in Gig Harbor will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors also get gunked up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule at Mackert Automotive LLC will really help your fuel economy.

There you have it; 10 services that are often overlooked. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn’t been performed? Considering our busy lives, we’re not surprised.

Gig Harbor drivers know it takes some thought and effort to actually maintain a vehicle; but it not only saves cash in the long run – it saves time too. And we can all use a little more time.

Mackert Automotive LLC can help with any of these services. Give us a call at 253-851-3307.

Gig Harbor Alignment Service

Posted by on Dec 29, 2015 in Alignment, Blog | 0 comments

Your car might have an alignment problem if: it drifts or pulls to one side, your steering wheel is off center, you have uneven tire wear or your car doesn’t feel like it handles right. When all of a vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Running into potholes, smacking a curb or other object are great ways to knock your car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels starts pulling in a slightly different direction and the problems begin.

Driving for an extended time when you’re out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. This can be dangerous and expensive. You’ll have to replace your tires sooner, but even worse – you may cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive.

The front wheel alignment is adjustable on all vehicles, and the back wheels are also adjustable on some cars. The adjustment can go three different ways. The first adjustment is called toe. The next adjustment is called camber. And finally, there is castor. The engineers who designed your vehicle determined the alignment settings that will give you the best handling and safety.

There are several things involved in an alignment check. First, there’s an inspection of the steering and suspension – it should be checked to see if anything’s bent or broken. Then the tire condition needs to be inspected. From there, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. If all four wheels are adjustable, they are lined up perfectly parallel with the vehicle’s center line. If the back wheels aren’t adjustable, a technician at Mackert Automotive LLC can determine the direction they push and then aligns the front wheels to match.

Mackert Automotive LLC
3416-B 57th ST CT NW
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335
253-851-3307

Like most things, your manufacturer has suggested a mileage interval for having your alignment checked. But if you run into a curb, pothole or something else that’s given you a big jolt, pay attention to whether your vehicle is pulling to one side when you drive. It’s better to have your alignment checked before waiting to see if there is uneven tire tread wear – by then, the damage is done.

Getting your alignment checked when needed is a great way to extend the life of your tires and suspension parts. It also makes sure that your tire meets the road properly for maximum performance and safety.

Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last With Help From Mackert Automotive LLC

Posted by on Dec 24, 2015 in Blog, Maintenance | 0 comments

A while back, the Cash for Clunkers program was all over the Washington news. Gig Harbor people could trade in their old vehicle for a new one that got better fuel economy and receive a government rebate.

A lot of Gig Harbor motorists had so-called clunkers that they wanted to keep. They’re good commuters, Gig Harbor grocery getters or toy haulers. They enjoy that fact that they’re paid off, or soon will be. They would gladly like to keep their car, truck, SUVs for 200,000 miles or more – as long as it’s economical to do so.

There are plenty of Gig Harbor drivers whose vehicles are running after 150,000 or 200,000 miles. We can learn from what they’re doing to keep our own car, truck, SUVs on the road in Washington.

The wise Gig Harbor motorists of high-mileage cars often report a common denominator of never skipping an oil change.

Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last At Mackert Automotive LLCThat may sound a bit unsophisticated, but it’s really not. First off, oil is the life blood of your car, truck, SUV’s engine and it needs to be clean to properly lubricate. Skipping oil changes leads to clogged oil filters and sludge that is detrimental for your engine.

There’s another critical reason why the scheduled oil change is so important for Gig Harbor car owners. It’s simple – a Mackert Automotive LLC professional is going to be looking at your car. All of your fluid levels will be inspected and topped off so they won’t get so low that damage can be done. If there is a significant fluid loss, let’s use brake fluid as an example, your Mackert Automotive LLC technician can look for the cause of the loss and find the problem before it leads to an accident or costly repair.

Your friendly and courteous Mackert Automotive LLC tech will also visually inspect your car, truck, SUV for worn belts and hoses, uneven tire wear, leaking shock absorbers and more. Problems get addressed before they lead to repairs that cost more than the car’s worth.

And your Mackert Automotive LLC advisor will be able to remind you of other essential services that the factory recommends you get done. Just think of that oil change the same way as you do about going to your Gig Harbor dentist for your six month cleaning and checkup. Don’t skip it.

Realistically, things are going to wear out as your car, truck, SUV gets older. On the way to 200,000 miles you’ll go through several batteries, probably a couple of alternators and water pumps, a set of shocks and likely some brake rotors.

Of course, these things cost some money, but they are less costly than new car, truck, SUV payments in Gig Harbor. With proper service at Mackert Automotive LLC in Gig Harbor and regular inspections, you’ll keep surprise repairs to a minimum and more bucks in your wallet.

Straight And True In Gig Harbor: Wheel Alignment

Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Alignment, Blog | 0 comments

Most Gig Harbor folks worry about running out of gas or having a breakdown on the side of the road. That is why we practice preventive maintenance on our vehicles — that and to keep our repair bills down. But one important part of preventive maintenance that may get overlooked by Gig Harbor car owners is a periodic alignment inspection.

Poor alignment causes tires to wear rapidly, unevenly or both. This means they will have to be replaced early, and new tires are more costly than an alignment check in Gig Harbor. Bad alignment can also cause damage to suspension and steering systems, which can be expensive to repair in Gig Harbor.

Tire wear on misaligned wheels can also lead to blowouts, which are dangerous, can lead to serious accidents, and can seriously damage your car, truck, SUV. Also, poor alignment itself can be the cause of an accident, since the car, truck, SUV may not steer properly.

One or more wheels on your car, truck, SUV can be knocked out of alignment by running over a curb or a pothole on a bumpy Gig Harbor street. An accident, even a minor one, that involves a wheel on your car can lead to misalignment. The small bumps and bangs of everyday Gig Harbor driving can also gradually put your wheels out of alignment.

If you have had wheel damage to your car, truck, SUV, or if you suspect that your wheels are out of alignment, you should get your alignment checked NOW. Any Mackert Automotive LLC service advisor will give you that piece of auto advice. But good car care suggests that you also get your alignment inspected on a regular basis. At Mackert Automotive LLC in Gig Harbor, we can take care of that for you.

Your owner’s manual or Mackert Automotive LLC service specialist can give you a suggestion on how often your alignment should be checked. If it doesn’t, then once a year is a good rule of thumb. However, if you drive a lot and especially if you drive on rough surfaces a lot, then you may want to consider an inspection more often. Ask your friendly and courteous service professional for a recommendation.

If your car, truck, SUV is out of alignment, one or more of the wheels is not tracking correctly and will “pull” against the others. Thus, one sign of poor alignment is that your car, truck, SUV pulls to one side when you drive around Gig Harbor. Also, if you are driving a straight path and your steering wheel is off-center, that usually indicates an alignment problem.

Gig Harbor auto owners should also check the wear on their tires. If they seem to be wearing out too quickly, or if you notice that a tire is wearing on one side more than the other, you should get your alignment checked.

When you get an inspection, your vehicle will be put on a rack and all the parts of the steering and suspension systems will be inspected for wear or damage. The alignment of the tires will be charted and compared to the original factory settings. If no repairs are needed on the steering or suspension systems, the wheels will then be adjusted to bring them back into alignment.

This may seem like a lot of bother for Gig Harbor auto owners, but it’s a lot less trouble than a blowout or an accident. The old adage is good auto advice for all Gig Harbor residents: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

So keep on driving, and keep all four tires on the road.

Servicing High Mileage Vehicles at Mackert Automotive LLC

Posted by on Dec 10, 2015 in Blog, Keys to a long lasting vehicle | 0 comments

The price of gas and the uncertain economy are both causing Washington residents to review their finances. More and more Gig Harbor car owners are opting to keep their vehicles longer and put off purchasing a newer car. It is estimated that two-thirds of the vehicles on the roads of North America today have over 75,000 miles on them. And the average age of vehicles is now over eleven years. That translates to some car care issues that many Gig Harbor men and women haven’t dealt with in the past.

Older vehicles simply have different maintenance requirements than newer ones
. Learning those requirements presents a challenge for Gig Harbor drivers because many owner’s manuals only publish maintenance schedules up to 60,000 or 90,000 miles. Vehicle owners have to keep good records and be more involved in planning preventive maintenance if they want to keep their car, truck, SUVs on the road. First of all, any service in your owner’s manual that comes with a recommended mileage interval should be continued at that interval.

For example, if it is recommended that you change your oil every 5,000 miles, you should continue to change your oil every 5,000 miles. The owner of an older vehicle has to recognize that his engine is operating under higher stress than a new one. It’s just starting to show its age. So many experts suggest that the “severe service schedule” should be followed once a vehicle has racked up some serious miles. On this schedule, the mileage interval for many services is shortened or should be performed more often. Check with your friendly and courteous Mackert Automotive LLC technician.

Gig Harbor motorists who own older vehicles should also be careful not to neglect or postpone oil changes. A full-service oil change is more critical for an older car, truck, SUV than for a new one. Older engines have had a lot of time to build up sludge in their oil compartment, so changing the oil at regular intervals is a must. Skipping an oil change compounds the sludge problem. With a full-service oil change, the vehicle’s fluids are also checked and topped off. Your friendly and courteous Mackert Automotive LLC service specialist will also let you know if these fluids need to be replaced. Older car, truck, SUVs have older seals and gaskets, which often develop tiny leaks. Regularly checking fluids will compensate for these leaks and offer a heads-up about any serious ones. So, again, it is important to stay on schedule and not skip or procrastinate a fluid check.

Older seals and gaskets begin to dry out and show their age by becoming brittle. High-mileage formulation oils and fluids can help extend the lives of these gaskets and seals. These products contain additives that recondition seals and gaskets and keep them from leaking. High-mileage formulas cost more than standard products, but in the long run they can pay for themselves by preventing more costly repair bills.

If a vehicle is getting on in years or mileage, its parts are as well. High-mileage car maintenance requires necessary repairs and replacements. Timing belts, radiator hoses, parts of the suspension system, anti-lock brakes, air bags, water pumps, alternators and batteries will not last forever and will wear out in higher-mileage vehicles. They need to be inspected regularly by your friendly and courteous Mackert Automotive LLC service specialist and replaced as necessary.

But don’t go running for the new car lot just yet. These repairs may sound like a lot, but in total, they’re still cheaper for Gig Harbor drivers than new car payments. And if you stay on top of them and budget for them, they aren’t as burdensome as it may appear.

If you plan on driving your vehicle into its high-mileage years, there are two relationships you need to develop. The first is with your Gig Harbor service center. Your Mackert Automotive LLC service advisor can offer you invaluable auto advice and help you develop a service plan that is right for you and your vehicle. Second, you need to develop a relationship with your car, truck, SUV itself. You don’t need to name it, but you should become familiar with its noises and idiosyncrasies. Pay attention to changes in its habits such as new or unusual sounds, smells, vibrations, etc. Taking note of such things and sharing them with your service advisor can help stave off a lot of big-ticket repair issues.

As we get older, keeping up with a diet and exercise plan becomes more and more critical to maintaining good health. It’s the same with our vehicles. A preventive maintenance plan and smart car care will keep them on the road and keep them safe for a good many years to come.

Cool Running In Gig Harbor

Posted by on Dec 3, 2015 in Blog, Cooling System | 0 comments

Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don’t hear much any more about cars overheating. That’s because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn’t mean you can’t overheat your car, truck, SUV engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the interstate in Gig Harbor waiting for your car, truck, SUV engine to cool down.

When you service your cooling system at Mackert Automotive LLC, your service advisor will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good car care. Your car, truck, SUV owner’s manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.

If your engine overheated, your friendly and courteous service professional will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the car, truck, SUV radiator for cracks and the radiator hoses for leaks. He’ll also check your water pump. They don’t need to be replaced on a regular schedule, but they do need an inspection regularly. They can and do wear out.

The water pump is a critical component of your car, truck, SUV cooling system. It pumps the coolant to keep it circulating through the engine. The coolant is cooled in the radiator, then it travels through the engine, where it absorbs heat, then it returns to the radiator, where it releases the heat. And so on. But a water pump is something of a misnomer. The fluid pumped through your car, truck, SUV cooling system is not just water. It also contains coolant, which is actually poisonous. You should never consider your radiator as an emergency water supply.

There are many types of coolant. It varies from vehicle to vehicle, and using the wrong kind could damage your engine. Your service specialist will know which kind your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at Mackert Automotive LLC is always a good source for auto advice. We’ve been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Gig Harbor for 12 years.

Keeping your cooling system in good repair will help keep your engine running well, and keep you out of the Gig Harbor repair shop. This means that a regular cooling system inspection should be on your schedule for routine preventive maintenance of your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you need to do this. It varies depending on what kind of car you drive, what type of driving you do and where you live in Washington.

At Mackert Automotive LLC, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.

Protecting Your car, truck, SUV From Theft In Gig Harbor, Washington

Posted by on Nov 27, 2015 in Automotive News, Blog | 0 comments

Every car in Gig Harbor, Washington is at risk for theft. So it’s up to us Gig Harbor motorists to make our cars a less appealing target and more of a challenge – hopefully sending potential thieves to look elsewhere.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends a layered approach to protecting vehicles:

  1. Common sense
  2. Visible and audible devices
  3. Immobilizing devices
  4. Tracking devices

Let’s review each of these. First, common sense: you would be surprised how many vehicles are stolen in Washington where the keys were left in the ignition with the doors unlocked. Always take your keys and lock the doors. In fact, in some places it’s against the law to leave a vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition.

And don’t leave spare keys in the car or hide them outside – because a thief will find them. Gig Harbor motorists would be wise to park in well-lit areas that have a lot of foot traffic. If possible, park near the end of a row and near a light. Back your car into a parking space or your driveway to make your car more visible to passersby and harder for a thief to work under the hood without being seen.

Gig Harbor motorists should know that it’s critical to roll up their windows completely and avoid leaving their car in public lots for a long time. If you park in a lot that has an attendant, only give them the ignition key.

Keep valuables out of sight: purses, wallets, cell phones, clothes and even change are attractive “smash-and-grab” targets. And pay to have your Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, etched into your windows – it makes your car less attractive to a thief who wants to send your car to a chop shop.

There are lots of important visible and audible devices available for Gig Harbor auto owners. A steering wheel lock is highly visible and will deter some thieves. Loud alarms can alert you and others that your vehicle is being tampered with. But if your alarm does go off, be careful. Observe what’s going on; get descriptions of suspicious people and vehicles, including license plate numbers.

Now, if you catch a thief in the act, call 911 but don’t approach the person. Your safety is more important than the car.

And here’s a great one – immobilizing devices. They actually shut off your car’s electrical or fuel supply. So without a key, or knowing where the hidden switch is located, a thief can’t drive your car away.

Finally, Gig Harbor auto owners can also get a tracking device that allows Gig Harbor police to track their car down and recover it quickly.

Remember, where you live, work and drive around Gig Harbor, Washington has a great impact on your decisions. If you’re in an area with high theft rates, you may want to spend more money on security systems. And check with your Gig Harbor, Washington auto insurance company to see if they offer discounts for adding any of these items.

Of course, the common sense suggestions from Mackert Automotive LLC don’t cost anything and go a long way toward keeping your car safe from thieves. Take a look at the attached video auto tip from AutoNetTV.

Come see us at Mackert Automotive LLC in Gig Harbor for practical advice on keeping your car, truck, SUV safe.