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Battery Maintenance Tips From Mackert Automotive LLC

When it comes to your vehicle, it all starts with the battery. Proper battery maintenance is important for two reasons:First, your vehicle won't start or run without it. Second, it is the key to the long life of your auto electrical system. If your battery isn't working efficiently, your alternator has to work overtime to make up for it, and other electrical components can suffer as well.A number of years ago sealed batteries were introduced to the local GIG HARBOR, WA, market. They were hailed as being 'maintenance-free batteries.' While it is true that you can't get in and adjust the electrolyte levels of a sealed battery, it is by no means maintenance free.Batteries are very sensitive to changes in the weather around WA. Temperature really affects auto battery performance. A battery inspection is an important part of your spring and fall checkups. Next time you're under your hood, take a look at your battery. Is it clean and free of residue? A dirty battery will drain. Is there co ... read more

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Battery

Objects in the Mirror (Rearview Mirror Safety and Maintenance)

You may remember a song that went, "Objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are." While that was a song about life's lessons, there are a few things we should all know about how important rearview mirrors are to safe driving. While new electronic devices are helping drivers be aware of surrounding traffic in high-tech ways, the good old rearview mirror is still a dependable way of letting you know what's around you.  There are usually 3 on each vehicle, 1 attached to the windshield inside and 2 attached outside on each of the front doors. It's important that they be adjusted properly before you start driving (not while you're driving). Experts say the windshield rearview mirror should cover the area behind the vehicle while the outside mirrors should not simply duplicate that view but extend it to the sides, where blind spots normally are. Your rearview mirrors must be able to hold the positions they're adjusted in; it there's play in them or they move around, y ... read more

Keeping Your Cool (Water Pump Replacement)

No matter what the temperature is outside, it's important for your vehicle's engine to remain cool, calm, and collected.  Well, cool, anyway. If your vehicle has a gasoline engine, it's powered by a bunch of explosions involving spark plugs, pistons, gasoline, and air.  And the by-product of all those things working together? HEAT. There's a whole cooling system to keep everything at a tolerable temperature for your engine's parts, and a key part of that is the water pump.  Technically, it's pumping more than water. It should actually be called the "coolant" pump since the liquid that circulates through the system is a mixture of water and coolant.  Basically, the water pump keeps this coolant moving through your engine, where it picks up the engine heat, and then is pumped into the radiator where it gets rid of that heat.  When a water pump fails, the engine heat can build up.  When you get a warning light on the dash (either a gauge or a light) that show ... read more

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Water Pump

Suspension Service at Mackert Automotive LLC in GIG HARBOR

During an inspection at Mackert Automotive LLC in GIG HARBOR, your friendly and knowledgeable automotive service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts. Here's a quick rundown of suspension system components: There are the springs which hold the weight of your vehicle. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are heavy duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort. You've probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your vehicle dives excessively when sto ... read more

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Shocks & Struts

Positive and Negative (Battery Care)

You notice when your smartphone's battery starts to go weak on you.  It runs out of juice faster than it did when it was new.  Bet you pay attention to that pretty closely. Unfortunately, many of us don't pay the same attention to the battery in our vehicles. If your battery got you through the cold-weather months, you might be thinking you're all set until next winter. But you might be surprised to learn this: Hot weather is harder on a battery than cold weather.  (Note: we're talking about a conventional vehicle here, not an all-electric, plug-in one.) The way your vehicle's battery holds a charge is that it has chemicals inside it, and they react with each other to produce electricity.  A vehicle battery discharges electricity and then needs to be recharged.  Unlike your smartphone that you plug in each night to charge, the way a vehicle's battery gets recharged is by using the mechanical energy of the engine.  It's a pretty cool system that's been arou ... read more

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Battery

The Mackert Automotive LLC Guide to Vehicle Diagnosis

Modern GIG HARBOR vehicles have several computers on board that control all kinds of things like engine functions, transmission shifts, traction control, anti-lock brakes, stability control, emissions – and on some vehicles, even steering, braking and the throttle.Think about that for a minute – things that used to be controlled by simple mechanical connections now have electronic controls that rely on computers, software and sensors. It's no wonder that when something goes wrong with their vehicle it can be pretty complicated for GIG HARBOR drivers to track down the source of the problem.To help your service advisor at Mackert Automotive LLC figure out what's wrong, your vehicle is equipped with on-board diagnostics. The Check Engine light comes on to tell you there's a problem and the engine management computer stores a trouble code. Your friendly and knowledgeable Macke ... read more

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Diagnostics

Fuel Filter Replacement

Hello GIG HARBOR resident! You would never like to drink a glass of mud, right? Well, your vehicle feels the same way. It needs a steady supply of clean fuel in order to run well and deliver good fuel economy. The fuel filter's job is to clean dirt and rust out of the fuel before it gets to your engine. A clogged fuel filter can actually choke off the engine so that it won't start or run. Some fuel filters have a bypass valve that allows fuel to go around the clogged filter so your vehicle will still run. But, then the contaminated fuel can clog your fuel injectors and allow particles into your engine.A vehicle with a partially clogged fuel filter might run well around GIG HARBOR, but sputter and strain on the because it's starving for gas. There are two things that affect how often you need to replace the filter. They are: where you drive in WA and the gas you buy. If you drive a lot on dirt or gravel roads in rural WA, your ... read more

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Fuel System

Transmission Service at Mackert Automotive LLC in GIG HARBOR

Let's talk about transmission service. It can be easy for GIG HARBOR drivers to forget about getting their transmission serviced because it doesn't need it very often. It's easier for people in WA to remember to change the engine oil - you know, every 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. But proper transmission servicing keeps your vehicle running smoothly and helps you avoid repairs down the road.The transmission undergoes a lot of stress. The grit you can 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 much higher than engine temperatures. Those high temperatures eventually cause the transmission fluid to start to break down and lose efficiency.As the fluid gets older, it gets gritty and doesn't lubricate and cool the vehicle transmission as well - leading to even more wear. The fluid can actually get sludgy and plug up the maze of fluid ... read more

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Transmission

Growing Old Together (Maintaining an Older Vehicle)

More and more of us are hanging on to our vehicles longer.  A company by the name of HIS Markit recently released a report that shows the average age of light vehicles in the U.S. is now 11.8 years.  Light vehicles are cars, SUVs (sport utility vehicles) and CUVs (compact utility vehicles).  In Canada, the average life expectancy of a vehicle there is around 13 years, and in the U.S., it's around 15.  Vehicles are lasting longer these days, and there are several reasons for that. One expert cites better technology and overall quality improvements.  While in past years, vehicles were made mainly of heavier steel components, more modern vehicles contain lighter magnesium and aluminum alloys, high-strength steel, polymers and carbon fiber.  They last longer and reduce the overall vehicle weight, and that can contribute to better fuel economy. Modern internal combustion engine designs have been improved, and since they use more computers, they are more efficie ... read more

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Older Vehicles

GIG HARBOR Customer Detective Work

One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician at Mackert Automotive LLC is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed.Cars are made up of a bunch of complex systems. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. So, it's challenging to track down the actual cause of the problem. And it can be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money to get to the bottom of a problem. If it's not something obvious, it's easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.Let us at Mackert Automotive LLC introduce you to something we'll call 'Customer Detective Work' –  helping your technician find clues to what's wrong.We start with the detective basics: What, Where and When. Play along with me; You come in to Mackert Automotive LLC and your car is making a funny sound... Q: Where's the sound? A: Around the right front wheel. Q: What kind of sound? A: Kind of a clunk, clu ... read more

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