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I'm Cool With That (AC Exchange)

On a hot day, you want your vehicle's air conditioning to work.  When the air blowing out of your vents isn't cold, it's easy to think, "I'll just take it by the shop and have them top off my refrigerant." But while some people think air conditioning is that simple, it's actually not. If your refrigerant is low, something has to have happened for it to be depleted.  Perhaps there's a leak in the system.  Or some hoses or clamps have failed.  If the system isn't evaluated by someone who knows air conditioning, it's possible that adding refrigerant will just be a band-aid solution. It's also possible that contaminants have gotten into the refrigerant, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, argon, or air.  Some of those gases do not condense like refrigerant does which can increase the pressure inside the system and strain the lines and other components. At that point, the best course of action may be to have the old refrigerant (with its contaminants) bled from the sy ... read more

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Air Conditioning

When Metal Meets Metal (Wheel Bearings)

What part of your vehicle has little metal balls inside that are lubricated and allow you to cruise on down the road?  They are wheel bearings, and automotive designers might argue they are human beings' second greatest invention of all time (the first is, of course, the wheel!). You have a wheel bearing at each wheel.  They allow your wheels to turn freely, minimizing friction that would ordinarily slow you down when metal meets metal.  When one of your wheel bearings starts to go bad, it lets you know. A wheel bearing does its work quietly when it's in good health but starts getting noisy when it isn't.  People describe the noise differently.  Sometimes it sounds like road noise, a pulsating, rhythmic, sound.  That pulse speeds up when your vehicle speeds up.  Here's what's happening when you hear that sound.  As mentioned, the bearing has these little metal balls inside a ring.  They have a lubricant inside to reduce friction between the ... read more

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Wheel Bearings

Air Conditioning Service in GIG HARBOR

Hey GIG HARBOR! Let's talk about one of our WA summertime must-haves: your car A/C. It's real easy for GIG HARBOR drivers to take their car's air conditioner for granted. Just push the right buttons and out comes cool, dry, clean air. But your air conditioning system needs attention from time to time to help it keep its cool. Do you hear loud noises under the hood when you turn on your air conditioner? Do you only get cool air sporadically? If so, it is time to get your air conditioner checked at Mackert Automotive LLC in GIG HARBOR. When most GIG HARBOR folks hear the words "air conditioning problems." it sends a shiver up their spine. That is because the air conditioning system is fairly complex. It has a lot of parts and when it's broken, it's hard to repair.What things can GIG HARBOR drivers do to prevent air conditioning breakdowns?A common cause of air conditioning failure is leaks ... read more

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Air Conditioning

Steer Me Right! (Failing Power Steering Hose)

Most drivers love how easy it is to turn their vehicles, and they have power steering to thank.  Engineers have figured out a way to take some of your engine's power to help you turn. Without it, steering can be quite a chore.  New power systems are electric, but there are still plenty of the older hydraulic power steering systems out there, and it's wise to keep them working the way they should so you don't find yourself stranded without power steering. Those hydraulic power systems use a fluid under pressure that is pumped to a device that helps you turn your wheels more easily.  It's that pressure that presents the challenge.  After your vehicle's seen a few years on the road, you may find your steering isn't quite as easy as it was.  You may hear a groaning or humming sound when you turn.  One component that can fail is the pressure hose that carries that fluid from the power steering pump to that turning assist mechanism.  The hose is made of rub ... read more

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Steering

To Fix or Not To Fix: That Is the Question.

No matter what vehicle you drive, when certain things break, you have to make a decision.  Should I get it fixed now, later or never?  Air conditioning is one of those things.  You can certainly live without air conditioning, but it sure is nice to have on a sweltering day. Let's say your air conditioning breaks in the fall and you live in a climate where it gets quite cold in the winter.  Should you get it fixed now, wait until spring since it won't get warm until then or maybe not get it fixed at all? That can be a tough decision.  There are several reasons air conditioning in vehicles break.  One is fairly simple: It could be an electrical problem, perhaps a relay or solenoid is not turning on the system.  It's also a fairly inexpensive repair and doesn't require hours of labor. Or, the problem is that the coolant has leaked out.  Your service facility can find the leak and replace the parts that are leaking.  With a refrigerant recharge ... read more

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Air Conditioning

No Yolk! Rotten Egg Smell (Sulfur Smell Causes)

The pungent smell of rotten eggs can send people running for the hills.  So when that odor is inside your vehicle, yikes!  Yolks!  The good news is that a trained service technician can search the source of that smell and stanch the stench… that comes from another words that begins with S.  Sulfur. Fuel contains small amounts of hydrogen sulfide, but they're enough to stink up a vehicle when it's not properly burned.  You may know that the smell of rotten eggs can often be a sign of a catalytic converter that isn't working the way it should.  That could be due to age, damage or an abundance of oil that's clogging it up.  If a sensor in charge of managing the fuel has failed, the engine can run with too rich of a fuel mixture.  That can overload the catalytic converter and allow some of the byproducts to escape without interruption from the chemical reaction that is supposed to prevent them from going out the tailpipe. There's another possi ... read more

Improve Your Night Vision When Driving in GIG HARBOR

Night driving in GIG HARBOR is not as safe as daylight driving as evidenced by the increased accident rate at night. Much of that is simply because it's dark outside.Visibility is important to safe driving. Ninety percent of our driving decisions are based on what we see. And at night, we just can't see as much as we can during the day. In fact, if you have 20/20 vision during the day, your night vision is only 20/50. To translate, that means that an object you can clearly see 50 feet away during daylight, only becomes visible to you at 20 feet at night.Reaction time is also related to visibility. GIG HARBOR motorists don't react to a situation until they see it. So at night, we're reacting to situations later just because it takes longer to see them. But we don't have to stop driving at night to stay safe. We just need to practice some preventive maintenance and vehicle care that will maximize our night vision.The most crucial item that helps us ... read more

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Headlamps

How to Know When to Change Your Oil at Mackert Automotive LLC

Today in the Mackert Automotive LLC auto care blog, we're going to talk to GIG HARBOR drivers about oil change intervals. It seems that as engine technology advances, oil change intervals become longer for Mackert Automotive LLC customers. For example, recently four of the world's largest vehicle manufacturer's shortened the published intervals for several of their engine models. They originally published intervals that extended out to a much as 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers).In real world GIG HARBOR driving, the oil started to sludge up before the recommended change interval. Oil sludge is a thick jelly-like substance: quite literally petroleum jelly – like Vaseline. This goop was clogging vehicle small engine passages so the oil wouldn't flow to some parts of the engine. This resulted in engine damage. We see it too often at Mackert Automotive LLC in GIG HARBOR.The vehicle manufacturers began to offer an extended warranty to cover sludge damage. But there was ... read more

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Fluids

Road Trip? Check! (Trip Inspection)

After months of postponing travel far away from home, a lot of us can't wait to hit the road and scream "Road Trip!" again.  But how long has it been since the vehicle you're planning on taking has had a thorough inspection? And is it roadworthy for several days on the highway? Time to schedule a professional trip inspection in our service center.  When it comes to long trips, before you go, make sure you can stop.  We can perform a break inspection.  Our technician will visually inspect your brakes for wear and how much life is left in the brake pads and rotors.  They'll also check your brake lines and fluids for fitness and fill. If it's going to be a long trip, it's important that your engine stays lubricated.  The technician will see when the last time you had an oil change, check the levels and inspect the system for leaks.  If you are close to needing an oil change, it's best to have it done before the trip because no one wants to interrupt a va ... read more

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Trip Inspection

Winter Watch List (Winter Maintenance Items)

Don't love winter weather? Here's a list of four things you need to keep a watch on during the winter months. Let's start with coolant levels.  Coolant is as important in cold weather as it is in hot weather.  Think of the term "anti-freeze." Your coolant needs to be adjusted for climate and temperature so the coolant doesn't freeze when the vehicle isn't running. Your service facility will know the right mixture. Next, windshield wiper fluid. Winter weather can be challenging when it comes to visibility, so it's important to have the correct windshield washer fluid.  Some of it is specially formulated for ice and freezing temperatures. And it won't freeze if your vehicle has to sit out in below-freezing temperatures.  And don't forget you can get winter wiper blades that stay clearer in snowy, icy weather than ordinary blades. Don't forget your tire pressure and tread.  After all, tires are what connect your vehicle and the road.  As temperatures go down ... read more

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Winter Prep
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