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Smooth Shifting in GIG HARBOR, WA: Transmission Service

So you have some exciting plans for the weekend. You're going to take some of your friends out on the boat for some water skiing. Of course, you've gotten the boat all ready. And you haven't forgotten about your tow vehicle. You've gassed it up and even vacuumed it out. However, there is something even more important than the cleanliness of the interior: you want to make sure that your vehicle maintenance is up to date. Think about it – heavy traffic on the way out of GIG HARBOR. There's hilly terrain as you get to the lake. Some dirt roads – and it's going to be pretty hot in WA this weekend. And all the time you'll be towing around a lot of extra weight. That all adds up a lot of severe strain on your engine, brakes and transmission. Let's just consider the transmission. It's going to be working overtime, spending more time in lower gears. The internal transmission temperature is going to be much higher than normal. A fun little blast to the local W ... read more

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Transmission

It's About Time: Following Service Intervals at Mackert Automotive LLC

There are a lot of things in life that GIG HARBOR residents have to do on a regular basis. We wash dishes every day, do our laundry and mow our lawns every week, and pay the bills every month. We should go to our GIG HARBOR dentist twice a year and see our doctor for a check-up once a year. When we don't stay on schedule with these routines, it can lead to embarrassing, painful or expensive consequences. Scheduled maintenance is also part of good vehicle care. GIG HARBOR drivers should take their vehicles in regularly for a good check-up. But many folks struggle to remember or actually even ignore this auto advice. When it comes to our vehicles, we're more likely to listen to, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it,” than, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yet it is the second adage that is the more applicable one.Regular brushing treatments prevent cavities. Filling a cavity prevents a more ... read more

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Inspection

The Mackert Automotive LLC Guide to Tire Specs

You know you need newtires, 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 GIG HARBOR 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 for many GIG HARBOR drivers. 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 for GIG HARBOR tire shoppers. 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 hig ... read more

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Tires and Wheels

PCV Valve Service at Mackert Automotive LLC in GIG HARBOR

Today, we are talking about your PCV valve. Unburnt fuel is forced into the crankcase as your engine runs.  The PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve vents this unburnt fuel and oil vapors from the crankcase and sends it back into the air intake system to be burned in the engine.  A clogged PCV will not allow these vapors to escape. This can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause vehicle engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at Mackert Automotive LLC. At high speeds on WA freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak. Back in the old days, vehicles were simply installed with a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, environmental protection laws required that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the vehicle's engine.This is much better for air qu ... read more

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Parts

A Non-Starter (Alternator Problems in Cold Weather)

As the temperatures dip, we all know there could be problems starting our vehicles. After all, batteries can grow old and not hold a charge as well as when they were newer. Or starters can go bad.  But there's one more component to keep an especially sharp eye on during winter: your alternator. The alternator is sort of like a small generator. It sends power out to various parts in your vehicle that need electricity.  That includes the battery, which needs charging to keep its power topped off.  The alternator creates electricity by taking mechanical energy from the engine and turning it into electricity.  It is connected to the engine by belts and pulleys.  In cold weather, the material the belt is made from is less flexible than it is in warm weather.  That means it may not be turning the pulleys as effectively since it doesn't have the same grip. Also, when it's colder, lubricants, including the engine oil, are a little stiffer and parts just don't move ... read more

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Alternator

Power Steering Service at Mackert Automotive LLC in GIG HARBOR

Many GIG HARBOR drivers have been hearing about technological advances in power steering, specifically electric power steering. Some very high-end cars have been featuring electric power steering. Power steering fluid has the necessary hydraulic properties and the ability to lubricate the internal parts. The power steering fluid also protects vehicle components from rust and corrosion.GIG HARBOR car owners should be aware that vehicle manufacturers recommend that the fluid be replaced on schedule. At Mackert Automotive LLC, the old fluid is drained and the system cleaned thoroughly. Fresh fluid is then installed.Unfortunately, many GIG HARBOR drivers don't realize how important it is to service their power steering, and some may not even know that it's necessary in the first place. A neglected power steering system can develop leaks that will shorten the life of the pump.GIG HARBOR drivers s ... read more

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Alignment

Go Straight: Wheel Alignment for GIG HARBOR Automobiles

GIG HARBOR drivers may have an alignment problem if their car drifts or pulls to one side, the steering wheel's off center, they notice uneven tire wear or the car doesn't feel like it handles right as they drive down GIG HARBOR, WA, streets and roads.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 GIG HARBOR are great ways to knock a car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels start pulling in a slightly different direction and the problems begin.The team at Mackert Automotive LLC in GIG HARBOR wants you to know that 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, those who drive with wheels out of alignment will have to replace their tires sooner. You could end up with premature wear to your suspension system, which ... read more

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Alignment

Taking the Heat (Heater Hose Maintenance/Repair)

If you have an internal combustion vehicle, you know it has a lot of hoses that carry various fluids.  And if you have a heater in your vehicle, you'll have heater hoses. A heater hose connects to and from the engine so some coolant can be circulated through a little radiator called a heater core.  In cold weather, that heater core acts as a heat exchanger to heat up your cabin. Even in the hot weather, the heater hoses can prove problematic.  That's because they may remain pressurized even though you're not running your heater.  Heater hoses are made out of tough materials since they must handle heat and pressure.  But even the durable rubber, plastic and metal they are made out of can crack or leak from years of use.  That means coolant can be sprayed out into the engine compartment or leak onto a driveway or garage floor.  You may be able to see a puddle of coolant under your vehicle or perhaps smell the odor of the coolant under the hood.  So ... read more

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Cooling System

Cool Breeze: Air Conditioning Service at Mackert Automotive LLC in GIG HARBOR

Most WA auto owners know that their vehicles need regular preventive maintenance like changing the oil and filters, rotating the tires and refilling the washer fluid. But did you know that your air conditioning system needs routine maintenance as well? Taking care of your air conditioning system can extend its life and prevent costly repair bills.Why is it important for GIG HARBOR area drivers to get routine maintenance on their air conditioning system? First, the refrigerant contains an added lubricant. As the refrigerant circulates through the air conditioning system, its parts are lubricated. This constant lubrication keeps the parts functioning well. But over time, this lubricant is used up, and without it, the parts will eventually seize up and fail.GIG HARBOR folks should understand, however, that the air conditioner will continue to pump out cool air even without the lubricant, so you won't know the sys ... read more

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Air Conditioning

Getting New Tires in GIG HARBOR?

There are so many tire choices in the GIG HARBOR area that selecting the right one can be a bit overwhelming for drivers. And even though it's kind of fun to have new tires on your vehicle, they're a significant investment for most GIG HARBOR area folks so you want do it right.Tip: talk with your friendly and knowledgeable Mackert Automotive LLC tire professional. He'll help you sort through the choices.Here are some of the issues you'll talk about: One is size – you know, all those numbers on the side of the tire. The right size is . All new vehicles are required to have stability control which, along with other important safety systems, is calibrated to work with specific tire sizes. Your GIG HARBOR tire professional can help stay within manufacturer's specifications or program a different tire size into your vehicle's computer.And you'll want to discuss how and where you drive to determine the type of tire you need: summer, winter,  all s ... read more

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Tires and Wheels
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