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The Part You've Never Seen (Flat Tires and Solutions)

They say your vehicle has one, but you've never seen it.  And you might not even know it if you stumbled on it accidentally. We're talking about the jack, that tool that allows you to lift one corner of the vehicle up so someone can change a flat tire. So you say you'd never try to change a flat anyway, so you don't care where it is.  But one day, you may find yourself in a spot where you're stranded with no cell service and you'll need to at least know the basics of what to do. Well, here's the ironic part.  Many of today's vehicles don't even have jacks and spares!  Recently, manufacturers have been saving weight by supplying another solution for a flat tire, such as an inflator kit that has a tire sealant in it, or a small compressor.  If your vehicle has one of those, it's a good idea to get to know how to use it before you need to use it.  Hopefully you'll be able to call roadside assistance and they can take care of things, but circumstances may prev ... read more

Don't Neglect Your Spare (Spare Tire Care)

If you've ever had a flat tire, then you know welcome it is to have a spare tire that is properly inflated, in good shape and easy to get to.  Problem is many of us don't even give our spare tire (if we even have one) a second thought. If you have an SUV or truck with a spare, it may be mounted outside the vehicle, such as on the tailgate or underneath the vehicle.  All of them, especially those underneath, take the brunt of debris, moisture, salt and dirt from the road surface, a potpourri of corrosion potential.  The hardware that holds these on can rust into a solid mess, making it hard for you or even a roadside assistance service to get off.  If you have one of those, have it checked and maintained at your vehicle repair facility on a regular basis.  They should be lubricated and cleaned periodically, and some recommend doing this service every time you have your tires rotated.  If the spare is the same size as the tires on the vehicle, it may be a go ... read more

Categories:

Tires

The Daily Grind (Grinding Noise)

If your vehicle makes a grinding sound when you turn the steering wheel, it's speaking to you.  No, really, it is.  So listen to what it's saying and you could avoid a much more costly repair down the road. A grinding sound coming from the front of your vehicle when you are turning can offer some very informative clues as to what's going on.  One cause could be that there's a problem with the mechanical linkage that enables you to turn the wheels.  Another is that the hydraulic system that makes turning the steering wheel easier may have its own problems.  Think of it.  Hydraulic power steering has many components that need to work in tandem.  The power steering fluid may be too old and contaminated.  Or its level may be low. That may be caused by a leak somewhere in the system. A technician can check things over to find out exactly what's happening. Other causes of grinding while turning can be problems with the suspension in the front.  Yo ... read more

A Sticky Brake Situation (Parking Brake Service and Maintenance)

We've all been there.  You park your vehicle on a steeper than usual hill and worry about it rolling down while you're running your errands.  So you decide you'll use the parking brake.  When you get back, you release the parking brake, hit the ignition, put it in gear and—uh, oh—you can feel the parking brake is still on.  It's stuck.  What do you do now? Welcome to the world of infrequently-used parking brakes.  Yes, they do stick for several reasons. It's common for components to corrode and get locked up.  Sometimes if you have applied it extra hard, it can jam.  Could be a rusty cable, could be a spring that doesn't return the brake to its disengaged position.  Some pieces just break when they're stressed for the first time in a while. A caliper or the pivot arm it's on can also stick. There are a few things you can try to unstick it.  Carefully rock your vehicle by putting it first in drive and then reverse.  You ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

Muffler: Victim of Winter (Muffler Repair)

So you almost got through the winter until, one day, your muffler started sounding like a dragster, loud and obnoxious.  It's not surprising.  All that road salt and brine can cause rust to punch holes in a muffler, and that should raise a big, red warning flag about the safety of your vehicle. One big concern is carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can drift into your cabin if your muffler is leaking. You've probably heard about people whose home furnaces have leaked carbon monoxide and overcome families inside.  Carbon monoxide can first cause you to feel dizzy and nauseous.  It can even render you  unconscious—even kill you.  So if your vehicle's muffler is leaking that gas, well, it's nothing to mess around with. Oh, and how about that noise? You may get a ticket since many municipalities have laws against noisy exhausts.  Your muffler may be making a clunking or rattling sound when the engine's running or it may be spewing thick exhaust sm ... read more

Arrive Alive in GIG HARBOR

We've all seen drivers 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 WA roads.The truth is that all of us are distracted when we drive. Unfortunately, traffic, road construction and other 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. GIG HARBOR drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player. GIG HARBOR drivers 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 ... read more

To Save Gas Around GIG HARBOR: Keep up with Your Scheduled Service

  One topic that hits the news in WA on a regular basis is the price of gas. The answer for some WA drivers is to buy a vehicle that gets better fuel economy. For those of us in GIG HARBOR who don't want to add a car payment to our monthly expenses, we need to improve our fuel economy any way we can.Following recommended service intervals by coming into Mackert Automotive LLC is one of the best ways people in GIG HARBOR can keep their vehicle running efficiently. That means better fuel economy. When you give it some thought, it only makes sense. Dirty oil or transmission fluid can't lubricate or clean. That means more drag which reduces fuel economy.Keeping up with scheduled oil changes and transmission services will save gas for WA drivers.Dirty engine air filters are another efficiency pirate. They rob your engine of enough air to effectively burn the fuel, so you need more gas to get the job done. Replacing a dirty air filter can pay for itself in fuel savings before the next o ... read more

Categories:

Fuel System

The Mackert Automotive LLC Guide to Saving Fuel: Car Weight

The team at Mackert Automotive LLC in GIG HARBOR, and WA car owners are all talking right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. GIG HARBOR drivers want to save the environment and their pocketbooks.And we all know—or should know—that preventive maintenance will help maximize fuel economy. But is there something more people in GIG HARBOR can do? After all, some of us folks can't cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.Weight is one major enemy of fuel economy. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from point A to point B. And that means buying more gas in GIG HARBOR and producing more emissions.Of course, your vehicle's weight isn't negotiable. And you can't do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn't an article about diet and exercise.But look around your vehicle. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around? Do you really need your golf clubs ever ... read more

Categories:

Fuel System

Time Out: Suspension Problems in GIG HARBOR

Your vehicle's suspension system has two jobs: to prevent the passengers from getting tossed around inside the vehicle every time it hits a bump in the road and to keep the tires firmly planted on the road around every corner and over every bump.To see your suspension system, you'll have to look under your vehicle. Anything that connects the wheels to the vehicle's frame is part of the suspension system. They're heavy-duty parts that work hard while you're driving and take a lot of wear and tear. Because of this, you should have your technician at Mackert Automotive LLC look at them once a year as part of your preventive maintenance routine. A good time for it is every time you get your alignment checked. If your suspension is in trouble, you often feel it in how your vehicle drives. You should get a check of your suspension system: if the vehicle pulls to one side or wanders, if the steering is erratic, if your ride isn't as smoot ... read more

Categories:

Suspension

Fuel Saving Tip: Tire Pressure Saves Fuel in GIG HARBOR

Underinflated tires waste gas for lots of folks in the GIG HARBOR area. Think how hard it is to walk in sand – you just have to work harder because of the resistance. When your tires don't have enough air in them, their rolling resistance is dramatically increased and it simply takes more gas to get from here to there.Always check your tire pressure when you gas up at one of our local GIG HARBOR service stations. If they're low – even just a little bit – bring them up to proper pressure. There's a sticker on the inside of your driver's door that gives the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure.And don't rely on your tire pressure monitoring system to alert you to when you need more air. The TPMS system is set to warn you when pressure drops 20 percent below recommendations. That's severely underinflated and you needed more air a long time ago. And if you have a slow leak – get it fixed right away at Mackert Automotive LLC ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels
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