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Tire Safety: Washington vs. Lincoln

Welcome to the blog. Today, let's talk about the effect of tire tread depth on braking. When talking about stopping power, most of us drivers tend to focus on our brakes. But our tires are where the rubber meets the road. So having good brakes isn't enough. Safe drivers need to have tires with enough traction to translate braking power into stopping power. Let's focus on stopping in wet conditions. In order for a tire to have good contact with the road, it has to move the water out of the way. If it can't move the water, the tire will actually ride on top of a thin film of water. That's called hydroplaning. If it's really bad, drivers can actually spin out of control. At best, you won't stop as fast. So how does a tire move water? It has channels for water to flow through. Look at your tire and you'll see channels: channels that run around the tire and channels that flow across the tire. They're ... read more

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Fuel Filter Service in Gig Harbor, WA

There are a surprising number of small, inexpensive parts that can lead to expensive engine damage when they fail. It doesn't seem right. Fortunately a lot of those things can be taken care of in routine maintenance. They may not be easy to remember, because it is a long list, but Mackert Automotive can help you know what's scheduled to be taken care of. Some of us in really don't look forward to going in for an oil change and then getting a list of the other things the manufacturer recommends. But automotive maintenance is all about prevention, and addressing small problems before they get big. Let's take the fuel filter for example. You may not know this but the median age for private vehicles on our roads is over nine years. When cars get older, five years or so, they've accumulated a lot of dirt and rust in their gas tanks. If that dirt gets into the engine it can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. So somewhere betw ... read more

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Often Asked About: Premium vs. Regular Gas?

People in often ask the question: "Will using premium gas make my car run better?" The answer is simple. But first, let's talk about what exactly premium gasoline is. Different grades of gasoline have different octane ratings. Regular gasoline has the lowest octane rating and premium the highest. Most gas stations around also carry a mid-grade that falls in between the two. The octane range for the different grades of gas varies by region due to altitude differences. Engines require different octane ratings because of design differences. For example, turbocharged engines usually require premium gas. There's a sticker on your gas tank filler lid that tells you the minimum octane rating your manufacturer recommends. Read your owner's manual carefully to see if it's acceptable to use lower grades. With some cars in it is; the engine control computer can adapt. You'll lose some performance, but won't do damage. With oth ... read more

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Keep Your Car Breathing Free: Engine Air Filter

This is something really amazing: For every gallon of gas your car burns, it uses 12,000 gallons of air. All of that air has to be filtered to keep your engine clean. That's like a hundred gallons of air every block! The engine air filter is just another example of a very inexpensive part that has to do a tremendous amount of work. And when it works, everything goes well. But, when it doesn't, well, it can lead to costly problems. Of course, your manufacturer recommends intervals for changing your air filter. But like most service intervals, where and how you drive your car affects when your filter needs to be changed. Dusty conditions in and around or polluted city driving means you'll need to change your filter more often. Your technician can check your filter for you. In fact, it's a routine part of an oil change at Mackert Automotive. When you think about it, a clogged air filter won't allow ... read more

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Fuel Saving Tip: Alignment For Your

Imagine you've left and you're up in the arctic on a dog sled. Your dog team is pulling straight and true. You can cover a lot of ground fast. Now imagine what would happen if one or two of the dogs wanted to go their own way and were pulling off to the side. That would slow you down. You would have to work harder to keep the sled going where you want it. The dogs are all working as hard as before, but you're covering less ground for the same effort. You're wasting kibble. The same is true of your vehicle when the wheels are out of alignment. That wheel that's pulling to the side is dragging down the rest of the car; so you push a little harder on the gas pedal to keep up your speed. You're wasting gas. So have your wheel alignment checked at least once a year. Get it checked right away if you feel the car pulling to one side. Sometimes we bump a curb or hit a pothole and knock our wheels out of alignment. An accident can take the wheels out of align ... read more

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Get Where You're Going With Power Steering Service In Gig Harbor, WA

Today we're going to talk about power steering service in . If you took an informal poll around you'd probably find that most have never heard of power steering service. That's not surprising. Even though power steering is standard on every vehicle, most people in aren't aware that it needs periodic service. If you're younger than a certain age, you've probably never driven a car or truck without power steering. To get an idea of the difference; if you've ever cut a board with a hand saw, you know it's a lot of work. Using a power saw is easy-peasy by comparison. Without power steering, your arms have to do all the work to steer the wheels, and that's hard, especially around downtown . That's why old cars had such big steering wheels; to get enough leverage to steer. Most vehicles in have a hydraulic power steering system. The serpentine belt from the engine powers a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid. This actuates ... read more

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Before You Leave , Get A Trip Inspection

You know, at we get a lot of people asking about how to prepare their car for a trip. That's a big deal. You could be driving through mountains and deserts in some pretty lonely areas outside of so you may be anxious to know that the car is up to the task and won't leave you stranded. You really do need to plan ahead for a major road trip - there are a lot of things to get ready. Where should you start? You could start with the tires. Look them over for tread wear and check to see that they are properly inflated. Take a quick test drive around to see if you can feel any vibrations: are the wheels are in balance? Is the car tracking straight? Is the alignment ok? The next thing is a full service oil change to make sure all of your fluids are topped off and you have fresh oil for the trip. And if your car has over 75,000 miles, you may consider putting in the high-mileage formulation to clean harmful sludge deposits in the engine. You may also need a new PCV ... read more

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Transmission Care at Mackert Automotive

Call to make an appointment to check your transmission at Mackert Automotive. Phone: 253-851-3307 Do you have any plans around for the weekend? Maybe you and some friends and are taking the boat up to the lake. Maybe you'll be having a lot of fun water skiing and doing a little fishing. You got the boat all ready. It's all gassed up. You packed lots of snacks and the cooler's stocked - ready to go. How about your tow vehicle? It has plenty of gas and you've even vacuumed it out, but is your auto maintenance up to date? Stop and think. You'll have some heavy traffic on your way out of town. Hilly terrain as you get to the lake. Some dirt roads - and it may be hot weather. And all the time you're going to be towing around several thousand extra pounds. That all adds up a lot of severe strain on your engine, brakes and transmission. Your transmission's going to be working overtime, spending more time in lower gears. The internal transmission te ... read more

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Tire Replacement

You know you need new tires, but you're not sure what type. You look at a tire to get the size: 225, 50, R, 16, 92, H. All the way to the service center you keep repeating it over and over. You even say it over in your mind while waiting in line. Then you get to the counter and the manager asks what size you need. Then your mind goes blank. Tire size can be confusing. There's so much on the side of the tire, and it's hard to keep straight. Even though there's a lot on a tire - if you know what it all means, it's actually more helpful than confusing. Let's start with the size number. For example, let's say a tire reads: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The 225 part is the width of the tire in millimeters - the width between the sidewalls of an inflated tire with no load. The 50 is the aspect ratio - the ratio of the sidewall height to the tread width. Off-road tires will have a higher number and high performance tires will have a lower number. The R signifies it's a radial ... read more

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Better Service - Better Economy

The hottest news story may be different everyday, but there's one topic that seems to come up over and over again - the price of gas in . But we've found several basic things that any vehicle owner can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the environment. You can really impact your fuel economyby how you drive - but first, here's a review of things you can do for your car that'll save gas no matter how you drive. The first one is keeping your tires properly inflated. That can save two miles per gallon. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand - your car just has to work harder. Most service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask your service advisor at Mackert Automotive. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you get gas in your car. Many gas stations have an air hose you can use for free. Another important item is to keep your air filter clean ... read more

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