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Mackert Automotive LLC Auto Tips and Videos: Alignment Inspection

Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 in Alignment, Blog | 0 comments

Uneven tire wear, the auto pulling to one side or a steering wheel that is off-center are signs for Gig Harbor drivers that their wheels may be out of alignment.

When doing an alignment inspection, the service advisor will check your tires for uneven wear as well as suspension and steering parts for signs of wear or damage. He’ll also compare your current alignment with the car maker’s settings.

Your vehicle owner’s manual will have a recommendation for when to check alignment. Of course, this recommendation is based on normal driving. If you have been in collision, hit a curb/pothole, frequently drive off-road around Gig Harbor, or notice any symptoms of misalignment, have your Mackert Automotive LLC service professional carry out an essential alignment check.

Give us a call

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

Mackert Automotive LLC Auto Tips and Car Care: When to Replace a Damaged Tire

Posted by on Nov 17, 2015 in Blog, Tires and Wheels | 0 comments

Repair or Replace? That’s a question Gig Harbor car owners ask when they have tire damage. Some punctures cannot be repaired because of their size or location. Punctures larger than a quarter of an inch are considered too large to be safely repaired. Punctures in the sidewall or near the shoulders may not be able to be repaired. And sometimes there is internal damage revealed on inspection that indicates the tire should not be repaired.

Run flat tires should not be fixed. Repairing high performance tires may make them unsuitable for motorsports. Your friendly and courteous Mackert Automotive LLC service advisor can check your damaged tire and tell you if it can be safely repaired or if it should be replaced – and then help you get back on the road.

Give us a call

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

Smart Gig Harbor Drivers Protect Against Overheating

Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in Blog, Cooling System | 0 comments

Engines get hot when they run. This heat can build up and damage vital engine parts, so engines need a cooling system to keep them running. Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles. This is unfortunate, because these failures are usually easy for Gig Harbor motorists to prevent.

The radiator is the best-known and most recognizable part of the cooling system. Hoses filled with coolant (also known as antifreeze) connect the radiator to the engine. The coolant draws heat from the engine, and then flows to the radiator. Air passing through cooling fins on the radiator cools the coolant. The coolant then cycles back into the engine to start the process over again.

The most critical component of the cooling system, however, is the coolant itself. A mixture of water and coolant/antifreeze helps keep it both from freezing and from boiling away. Either can result in serious engine damage.

Different engines require different types of coolant/antifreeze. The owner’s manual will list what kind a vehicle requires. Using the wrong type or mixing different types of may void the warranty on the cooling system and may damage it as well.

Insufficient coolant can lead to engine failure. Coolant levels need to be checked regularly and topped off as necessary. If coolant levels drop quickly or consistently, the cooling system should be inspected for leaks. Coolant/antifreeze contains additives that protect the radiator and other coolant components from rust, scale and corrosion. Over time, these additives are depleted, so it is necessary for Gig Harbor auto owners to replace coolant at specified intervals. Changing coolant should be part of routine preventive maintenance for any vehicle.

This service is often ignored, though, since old coolant still cools the engine. Vehicle owners don’t realize there is a problem until the system fails. They are left with major repairs and possibly a damaged engine, which could have been prevented with a cooling system service at Mackert Automotive LLC in Gig Harbor.

If your car, truck, SUV sends a warning message to check its coolant or if the temperature gauge is reading in the red or hot zone, then the cooling system needs an inspection. This service is critical and should not be put off since the potential for damage is high.

In an emergency situation, water or antifreeze can be added to your car, truck, SUV so that it can be driven to a service center for proper car care. For this reason, owner’s manual contains instructions for how to top off insufficient coolant – allow 45 minutes for the engine to cool before attempting to add coolant or water. However, the fluid should be added to the coolant overflow bottle, not to the radiator itself. Removing the radiator pressure cap can result in severe burns.

Topping off in an emergency, however, does not fix the problem. The vehicle should immediately be taken to your Gig Harbor service center or Mackert Automotive LLC where they can inspect the cooling system, repair any leaks, and clean it if necessary. They can identify what caused the emergency situation in the first place and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Regular maintenance of a vehicle’s cooling system is just good auto advice for Gig Harbor car owners. Cooling system service is relatively inexpensive and doesn’t take long at Mackert Automotive LLC. Lack of it, however, can put a vehicle in the scrap heap.

Talk to your Mackert Automotive LLC service advisor for more information.

A Cool and Smooth Transmission in Gig Harbor

Posted by on Oct 29, 2015 in Blog, Transmission | 0 comments

When it comes to preventive maintenance on our vehicles, most of us Gig Harbor motorists remember to get our oil changed. But Mackert Automotive LLC services that occur at longer intervals — like transmission service — sometimes get overlooked. Yet transmission service is a vital part of car care for Gig Harbor drivers. A poorly maintained transmission will cut down gas mileage and lead to expensive repairs.

The transmission transfers power from the engine to the drive wheels. When it’s clean and well – lubricated, it gives maximum fuel efficiency. But when it gets dirty or worn down, your fuel efficiency will suffer. Your transmission relies on transmission fluid to keep everything running well.

Transmission fluid has two jobs: to cool and lubricate the transmission. The transmission operates at high temperatures. It can get 100-150°F degrees hotter inside your transmission than inside your engine. Transmission fluid transfers some of the heat away from the transmission. Transmissions work hard. Their parts need constant lubrication to prevent excessive wear and keep them running smoothly for Gig Harbor car owners.

The constant shifting and movement of gears inside the transmission cause bits of the gears and clutch material to wear off. These bits of dangerous grit get into the transmission fluid. This grit increases friction inside the transmission and causes even more wear – it’s like liquid sandpaper. Also, the high temperatures inside the transmission cause the transmission fluid to break down over time, making it a less effective lubricant. The fluid can actually become sludgy, which can gradually plug up the maze of passages inside the transmission. Gradually, the transmission loses efficiency and stops operating smoothly. Eventually, the transmission will be damaged or fail altogether.

This is why the transmission fluid must be changed periodically. Your owner’s manual will give you a recommended time schedule for this essential service. Or, you can speak with your friendly and courteous Mackert Automotive LLC technician. Generally, the interval is around 35,000 miles (55,000 km) or every two years. But the interval for your car, truck, SUV may be shorter or longer.

Of course, if you give your transmission a real workout, you’re going to have to change the fluid more often than the auto maker recommends. If you drive in hot, dusty Washington conditions, if you tow a trailer around Gig Harbor, if you haul heavy loads or if you do a lot of stop-and-go Gig Harbor driving, then you need to change transmission fluid more often. Also, if you demand frequent bursts of speed from your engine — especially shooting away from stops — your transmission is working harder and will need more frequent care. Check your owner’s manual for the “severe conditions” service interval.

Transmission fluids vary from vehicle to vehicle, so you’ll also need to check your owner’s manual to know what kind your car, truck, SUV needs, or talk to your friendly and courteous Mackert Automotive LLC tech.

At Mackert Automotive LLC in Gig Harbor, transmission fluid can usually be changed while you wait and is simple and not particularly costly. Compared to the cost of pricey transmission repairs or a new transmission, it’s downright cheap! So take some good auto advice from the team at Mackert Automotive LLC and take care of your transmission. It will pay you back in improved gas mileage and a longer, smoother ride.

Keep Your Tires Well Rounded in Gig Harbor: Tire Rotation and Wheel Balancing at Mackert Automotive LLC

Posted by on Oct 22, 2015 in Blog, Tires and Wheels | 0 comments

Taking care of our tires is a key part of car care for Gig Harbor drivers. We know they have to be replaced when they wear out, but tires also require some essential preventive maintenance. This maintenance will improve fuel efficiency and extend the life of the tires, so it’s well worth the effort and expense for Gig Harbor drivers to get it done. Tire maintenance includes keeping tires properly inflated, rotating tires and balancing wheels.

The recommended tire pressure for a vehicle’s tires is printed on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s side doorjamb. A lot of engineering goes into calculating the correct pressure, so it’s a vital number for Gig Harbor drivers to know. Not following this recommendation can throw off the suspension system and can lead to costly tire damage. Underinflated tires wear out more quickly than properly inflated tires. Vehicles also get better traction, handling and gas mileage on properly inflated tires. Check your tire pressure at least once a week and add air if necessary.

Don’t be tempted to add a bit of extra air to your tires when you fill them. Overinflated tires will cause the center tread to wear unevenly because of improper contact with the road. It will also cut down the handling performance of your vehicle.

Rotating tires allows all four tires on a vehicle to wear evenly. Front tires get more wear than rear tires because they do most of the work on turns. Tire rotation allows all of the tires to spend time on the front of the car so they all experience the extra wear.

For most vehicles, tire rotation is simply a matter of moving the front tires to the rear and vice versa. Some vehicles, however, recommend a cross-rotational pattern. Other vehicles use asymmetrical tires, which means the right tires have to stay on the right side of the car and the left tires on the left. Some vehicles use differently sized wheels on the front and back of the car and should not have their tires rotated.

What kind of rotation do you need? Check your owner’s manual or talk to your friendly and courteous Mackert Automotive LLC technician. Your owner’s manual will have information about how to rotate your vehicle’s tires as well as letting you know how often you should get it done. For most vehicles, that’s usually every 5,000 miles. Your friendly and courteous Mackert Automotive LLC tech can also offer auto advice about tire rotation. A quick tire inspection can also indicate whether or not your tires are due to be rotated.

When it comes to tire maintenance for Gig Harbor car owners, wheel balancing is usually what we know least about. Balancing a wheel is necessary to keep it in constant contact with the road. If a tire is not balanced properly, it actually hops along the roadway. You can feel this hopping as a vibration in your steering wheel if the unbalanced tire is a front tire. You’ll feel the vibration through your seat if a rear tire is unbalance. Properly balancing your tires is vital and will extend their life span, improve handling and improve the safety of your vehicle. When you replace your tires, the new tires need to be balanced.

Never use different sized tires on the same axle of a vehicle. In other words, your front tires need to be the same size and your rear tires need to be the same size. Mixing sizes can lead to some serious handling problems for Gig Harbor motorists.

If you have an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle all four tires need to be the same size. If your tires are wearing out, you can sometimes make a new tire purchase fit within your budget by only buying two tires at a time. When you do this, the new tires should be installed on the rear of the vehicle. Rear tires are more in need of the traction than your front tires to avoid spinning out on slippery surfaces. If you drive a vehicle around Gig Harbor, you need tires, so Gig Harbor motorists need to know how to care for them. The safety of your car, truck, SUV can depend on the condition of your tires.

Arrive Alive In Gig Harbor

Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in Blog, Service Standards | 0 comments

We’ve all seen Washington motorists do crazy things while driving to or from Gig Harbor. A guy shaving in the rear-view mirror, a woman applying makeup, people talking on their phones, texting or drinking from an enormous coffee mug. It’s a wonder we even dare drive on Washington roads.

The truth is that all of us Gig Harbor auto owners are distracted when we drive. Unfortunately, traffic, road construction and other dangerous external factors are beyond our control. The distractions inside our car, however, are things we can often control.

Here’s some things that’ll give you more control in your car, and help keep your attention on the roads around Gig Harbor, Washington.

  • Gig Harbor drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player.
  • Gig Harbor car owners who are 20 to 29 are more distracted by passengers in the car, including small children.
  • Those over age 65 tend to be more distracted by objects or events that are outside of the vehicle.

Other factors like fatigue, stress and lack of sleep make it harder to pay attention to driving – no matter what age we are. It is always better to pull over and take a quick nap than risk falling asleep at the wheel. Gig Harbor auto owners are also distracted by thinking about relationships, family issues, money and bills. So what can Gig Harbor drivers do to manage these dangerous distractions? Well, the first thing is to eliminate as many as we can.

When you get in your car, make sure you’re belted in; that the seats, steering wheel and mirrors are adjusted; and your radio or CD player is ready.

Secure any loose objects in the car that can fall on the floor and interfere with your driving.

If you have a drink, make sure it’s spill-proof and put in a cup holder. Gig Harbor drivers’ pets should also be contained.

Washington auto owners with kids in the car should make sure they’re clipped in their seat belts or safety seats. You may want to give them some distractions to help keep them quiet and sitting in their seats. Don’t get involved in their arguments while you’re driving. Pull over if you need to find a toy or break up a fight.

If you eat while driving, choose simple finger foods that aren’t messy.

Learning your car’s controls before you drive is another important way to improve your safety. Learn how to work the radio by touch. Controls located on the steering wheel can help Gig Harbor car owners keep their eyes on the road.  The same goes for heating and air conditioning controls.

If you have to use a cell phone, a hands-free system is best. But remember, the biggest cell phone distraction isn’t the phone itself – it’s the conversation. Keep conversations brief and light, or pull over if you can. Your critical reaction time is much slower when talking and driving, so allow more space between you and the car ahead of you. Know your local Gig Harbor laws – it may be illegal to be on the phone. Never text while driving! This has already caused many deaths and injuries in Washington over the last few years.

And if you really think you have to shave, change your clothes or put on make-up while driving in Gig Harbor – you’re wrong. Just start getting ready earlier so you have enough time to finish those things before you drive around Gig Harbor.

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

It’s critical to remember that driving is probably the most dangerous thing you’ll do all day – so don’t make it any worse. Use these tips to keep you and your loved ones safer behind the wheel in Gig Harbor.

Auto Videos for Gig Harbor Drivers: Where Should New Tires Be Placed

Posted by on Oct 8, 2015 in Blog, Tires and Wheels | 0 comments

When Gig Harbor auto owners need to replace tires, they need to know how many they should get, and on which axle they should be placed. Replacing a damaged tire may leave you with three others with significant wear, which could affect your traction control, stability control, and anti-lock brake systems.

If you can’t afford to replace all four tires at once, you should at least replace two on the same axle. New tires should always be put on the rear axle for stability in slippery conditions. Your friendly and courteous Mackert Automotive LLC tire professional can help you determine when your worn tires should be replaced, if you can have a damaged tire repaired as well as selecting the right tires for your needs.

Give us a call

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

ICE – In Case Of Emergency In Gig Harbor Washington

Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 in Blog, Monitoring System | 0 comments


When accidents occur in Gig Harbor, Washington, the victims’ emergency contacts are extremely important. Too often, those involved aren’t able to provide rescuers with phone numbers and essential medical information.

When Washington police and rescue workers must sift through pockets, glove compartments, wallets, purses and cell phone directories they waste precious time.

In the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident, you have people in the Gig Harbor, Washington area who you’ll want to be contacted to arrange help, give consent to treatment, and inform Gig Harbor paramedics of medical conditions, allergies or medications.

A brilliantly simple solution is now spreading through Gig Harbor and around the globe: ICE. ICE – standing for In Case of Emergency, is a way to identify emergency contacts in your cell phone directory.

Simply put ‘ICE’ before a contact name in your cell phone, like ‘ICE – Dad’, ‘ICE – Nancy’, or ‘ICE – Doctor Roberts’. Rescuers will be able to quickly identify your emergency contacts, saving valuable time.

Bob Brotchie, a Cambridge, England paramedic came up with the idea and designed a promotional campaign in England in 2005. This vigorous idea is gaining attention in Gig Harbor, Washington and in other countries. Gig Harbor rescue workers all know of how many times they are unable to find a wallet or purse on an accident victim, yet most Gig Harbor area folks over fourteen years of age are seldom without their cell phone.

There are national and worldwide disaster databases, but participation can cost up to two hundred dollars a year. ‘ICE’ is free to the 276 million cell phone users in the U.S.

It is easy for Gig Harbor motorists and their families to designate some ICE contacts in their cell phone. Remember to keep the listings current.

Please join Mackert Automotive LLC in getting the word out. Help us put Gig Harbor, Washington on ICE!

Drive Defensively In Washington

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in Blog, Safety | 0 comments

Car care is a vital part of auto safety in Gig Harbor. But the most important thing we can do to improve safety on Washington roads is to drive safely.

Defensive driving is safe driving. And defensive driving is all about attitude. You have to decide that you will be a safe driver in Washington, no matter what anyone else is doing.

Gig Harbor drivers can start with awareness. Always maintain awareness of your surroundings, the road conditions, other vehicles on the Gig Harbor road or freeway and road hazards. Have you ever suddenly realized that you have arrived somewhere, but you don’t really remember driving there? That is unsafe driving.

Never assume that other Gig Harbor drivers are paying attention. You be the one on alert. You be the one to take initiative to stay out of the way of other Washington drivers. And don’t let familiarity dull your alertness. Remind yourself to pay as close attention while driving on the roads near your Gig Harbor home as you would in unfamiliar territory around Washington.

Prepare your car, truck, SUV so you can give the road your full attention. Secure passengers and pets before leaving the driveway. Secure loose items in your car, truck, SUV so they can’t become projectiles if you have to brake suddenly. If children or pets become a distraction while driving, pull over and take care of the problem before re-entering traffic. Unclutter your windows. Take down the danglies from your rearview mirror. And don’t use your car, truck, SUV dashboard as an office. Move distractions and clutter to the backseat. Keep your windshield clear.

Properly maintain your car, truck, SUV. Preventive maintenance doesn’t just prevent repairs; it prevents unsafe vehicles. Make sure your tires, lights, brakes, suspension, alignment and steering get regular check-ups at Mackert Automotive LLC. Also, listen to your friendly and courteous Mackert Automotive LLC technician when he gives you auto advice about other systems in your car, truck, SUV. Knowing about the wear and tear on your car, truck, SUV can help you avoid dangerous situations.

Avoid driving when you are sleepy or angry. Get a good night’s sleep before a road trip in Washington, and learn to set aside relationship, job or other issues while you are in a vehicle. Again, you have to take charge of your own safety. Don’t daydream in your vehicle. Also, talking to passengers can be a distraction. Keep your mind on the road. Conversations may keep you from daydreaming or excessive boredom on a long trip, but always keep your driving foremost in your mind.

Maintain a proper speed. Driving too fast is dangerous on crowded Gig Harbor roads, but driving too slowly can cause accidents, too. At night, don’t overdrive your headlights. Your stopping distance needs to be shorter than the distance your headlights are illuminating.

Never drink and drive. Alcohol plays a part in half of all fatal accidents in Washington and nationally. Also, don’t drive drugged. Pay attention to the warning labels on any medications you are taking.

Other Gig Harbor motorists need to see you and know what you want to do. Use your car, truck, SUV turn signals, and stay out of other Washington drivers’ blind spots.

If you can, avoid driving over debris in the road. You can damage your car, truck, SUV or end up in an accident. Of course, if swerving to avoid the debris is dangerous, then slow down and navigate as best you can. Do what you can to alert other auto owners to the problem. You may want to pull to the side of the Gig Harbor road and report the debris or move it to the side of the road, if you can do so safely.

Never follow too closely on Gig Harbor roads or highways. Observe the two-second rule. Choose an object ahead such as a tree or traffic sign. As the car in front of you passes it, start counting: one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand. If you reach the object before you’re done, you’re too close. Back off.

If you are on one of the Washington highways, or if you are hauling a heavy load, or if you are tired, or if in any way you are not the model of the alert and attentive driver, then increase that two-second rule to three seconds. Give yourself an added measure of safety. If the Gig Harbor weather is bad, increase the rule to five seconds.

Inevitably, someone always pulls in front of you when you are trying to follow the “seconds” rules. Don’t get mad. Just back off and leave them to their bad driving habits. Remember, you are not going to give up your safety for anyone else’s cussedness. It’s always a bad trade.

If someone is following you too closely, pull over and let them pass. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. If you’re late, worry about it after you’re there, not while you’re on the road.

If you see a vehicle driving erratically in Gig Harbor, stay away. Take the next right or the next exit off the freeway. Notify the Gig Harbor police as soon as you are safely stopped.

And of course, don’t be the idiot driver we all complain about in Gig Harbor. Don’t contest your right-of-way, don’t race to beat someone to a merge, and don’t cut into someone else’s two seconds of space. Winning these types of ego trips may end up losing you your car, truck, SUV—or worse, your life or the life of a friend.

The professional automotive team at Mackert Automotive LLC wants all Gig Harbor auto owners to stay smart and stay safe.

Mackert Automotive LLC Fuel Saving Tip for Gig Harbor: Check Engine Light

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Blog, Fuel System | 0 comments

Here’s a question for Gig Harbor, Washington auto owners: How long have you been enjoying the romantic glow of your check engine light?

Hey, it’s not there to create ambiance; it’s a warning that something’s wrong. (And, by the way, Homer Simpson’s fix of covering it with tape is not a good idea.)

If your check engine light comes on, check your gas cap. A loose gas cap can cause a false sensor reading that’ll make the check engine light turn on.

Check Engine Light Many conditions that trigger the check engine light can hurt your MPG. A lot.

If your date’s eyes are smoldering in the soft glow of the check engine light, try to think of all the gas money you’ll save by getting it fixed. Give Mackert Automotive LLC a call when you are ready: 253-851-3307