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Transmission Service

Let's talk about transmission service. It can be easy to forget about getting your transmission serviced because it doesn't need it very often. It's easy to remember to change the engine oil - you know, every 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. But proper transmission servicing keeps your car running smoothly and helps you avoid costly repairs down the road. The transmission undergoes a lot of stress. The grit you see in used transmission fluid is actually bits of metal that wear off the gears in the transmission. In addition to that, the transmission operates at very high temperatures. Usually it's 100 to 150 degrees higher than engine temperatures. Those high temperatures eventually cause the transmission fluid to start to break down and loose efficiency. As the fluid gets older, it gets gritty and doesn't lubricate and cool the transmission as well - leading to even more wear. The fluid can actually get sludgy and plug up the maze of fluid passages inside the ... read more

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Serpentine Belt Replacement Near the Gig Harbor Area

Don't you hate it when you hear that squeal from under the hood when you're driving aroun ? It usually means there is a problem with the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt powers a lot of engine accessories. It runs the alternator-which charges the battery, the water pump-which cools the engine, the air conditioning and the power steering pump. All pretty important parts. It is called a serpentine belt because it snakes around a bunch of engine components. Serpentine belts are especially tough. They can last for years and go for tens of thousands of miles. But, with time they wear out. If your belt breaks while you are driving, everything will come to a halt within minutes. You have to stop the car or it will overheat, potentially causing major engine damage. And it probably won't be at a convenient time or place. You might even need to get your car towed to a service center. That is why manufacturers recommend a belt replacement on sche ... read more

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Keeping Your Engine Cool In

The cooling system keeps our engine from overheating while you are driving around . Its job is to move heat away from the engine. Let's talk about the various components of the system and how they work to accomplish this. The radiator is the part most everyone associates with the cooling system. Coolant flows through the radiator which has fine cooling fins that draw the heat out of the coolant and dissipate it into the air. To make sure there's enough airflow over the radiator, a fan pulls air over the cooling fins even when the car is idling. In some vehicles, the fan is powered by the serpentine belt. On others, an electric motor runs the fan. Electric fans turn on and off as needed. You may have heard the fan kick on shortly after you turn your car off. The sensor has determined that the engine needs a little help cooling down to a safe temperature. A hose connects the radiator to the water pump. T ... read more

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Cooling System

Air Conditioning Maintenance At Mackert Automotive In Gig Harbor

Warm weather or cold, drivers still need to think about their 's air conditioning. Most people don't service their air conditioning until after it fails. At , we can advise you on your vehicle manufacturer's preventive maintenance schedules for air conditioning service, just as we do for transmission service, oil changes and so on. Maintaining your air conditioning system means that you always have enough refrigerant to properly do the job. Small leaks in the ‘s air conditioning system allow the refrigerant to escape and the system can't cool the air as well. We see that a lot at in . The refrigerant also contains a special oil that lubricates air conditioning components, and keeps the seals resilient. Low refrigerant and lubricating oil means that the air conditioning parts will wear out prematurely, and all car owners know that air conditioning repairs can be costly. At , we recommended that the air conditioner b ... read more

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Air Conditioning

Make Your Battery Last

Make Your Battery Last

Today's report from Mackert Automotive is on car batteries, why they die and what we can do to lengthen their life. Most of us have had a dead battery at one time or another. In fact, it would be very unusual if you hadn't. You may be surprised to learn that only 30 percent of vehicle batteries last for 48 months. Now that's an average. How long a battery lasts depends on many factors. You may not know that one of the biggest factors is the temperature where you live and drive around . You might suppose that cold weather was harder on batteries because it takes more power to crank a cold engine, but the opposite is actually true. Batteries in very cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months as opposed to 30 months in very warm climates. The reason is simple: batteries are chemically more active when they're hot than when they're cold. A car battery will actually start to discharge on its own within 24 hours in hot weather. It takes severa ... read more

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Battery

Timing Belt

Ever heard the sad tale of a staggering repair bill from a broken timing belt? Bad news. Let's take a lesson from their woes and remember to think about our timing belt. First, let's review what a timing belt does. The top part of the engine, over the cylinders is called the cylinder head. The head contains the valves. There's at least one valve that lets the fresh air into the cylinder. This air, mixed with fuel, burns to create power. Then another valve or two open to allow the exhaust out of the engine. Each cylinder has 2 to 4 valves - that's 12 to 24 valves for a V-6, up to 32 values on a V-8. The opening and closing of the valves is done by a camshaft. The timing belt uses the rotation of the engine to drive the camshaft which opens and close the valves. It's called a timing belt because it has to be adjusted to rotate the camshaft to keep proper time with the engine so that everything's in sync. The timing belt is a toothed rubber belt . But some cars use a timing chain or ti ... read more

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Go Straight: Wheel Alignment For Automobiles

You may have an alignment problem if your car drifts or pulls to one side, your steering wheel's off center, you have uneven tire wear or your car doesn't feel like it handles right as you drive down our local streets. 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 objects around , 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 your car is out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. Sometimes the tire can be worn so badly that it will fail. At the very least, you'll have to replace your tires sooner. You could end up with 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 als ... read more

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Alignment

Maintenance for High Mileage Vehicles In Gig Harbor, Washington

Maintenance for High Mileage Vehicles In Gig Harbor, Washington

Before the recession hit, the median age for cars in the 98335 zip code was over nine years. And two-thirds had over 75,000 miles. Atwe hear reports that those numbers continue to rise. Many people in are keeping their vehicles longer. The economy has influenced that, but the fact that modern s are more durable and reliable means that owning a high mileage vehicle doesn't have to be a painful experience. Local car owners in with over 100,000 miles on their vehicles often ask which service intervals they should follow. Let's start with the special needs of the older vehicle… The reality is that time and mileage will take its toll. The engine and transmission will have more sludge. The fuel, steering and brake systems will have gum and varnish built up. There'll be more dirt and contaminants in the fuel tank. Corrosion and deposits in the cooling system. And seals and gaskets will start to dry out. All of this, plus normal wear and tear, m ... read more

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Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In Washington state

There's a segment of the population that's not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the area over time. Many motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before. Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it's much easier to put it off. Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy. Now, the ignition system in your is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for ... read more

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Fuel Injector Cleaning In Gig Harbor, WA

In very simple terms, a fuel injector is a valve that squirts fuel into your engine. Your engine control computer tells the fuel injector how much fuel to deliver as well as the precise time it should be delivered. Of course this happens thousands of times a minute in every single fuel-injected car driving down , , and roads. Most fuel injectors for gas engines are known in the auto industry as port fuel injectors because they deliver the fuel to a port just outside the cylinder. The fuel pump provides pressure needed to squirt the right amount of fuel into the engine. Although more complicated, direct injection technology promises greater power with improved fuel economy for gas-poor , , and commuters. motorists can expect to see more of it in the future.High temperatures under your hood and variations in gas quality cause fuel injectors to be fouled with wax, dirt, water, addi ... read more

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