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Yearly Archives: 2022

Singing a Different Tune (Up) (Tune Ups)

Engines required a lot more maintenance in earlier times.  You'd have to have your spark plugs, wires, rotors, caps, distributor points, fuel and air filters changed periodically.  There were mechanical adjustments of a vehicle's timing, dwell, spark gap and idle mixture, too. Unless you like to tinker with old cars, a lot of those terms won't mean much to you.  That service was called a "tune up" back then, and you can see why.  But now, computers have reduced the number of maintenance items, and a tune up is a whole lot different than it used to be.  In fact, in some vehicle service facilities, that term is also a thing of the past.  A tune up of today would more accurately be called simply periodic maintenance. Now, most vehicles still have spark plugs and wires, fuel filters, air filters and PCV valves, and they should be inspected tested and/or replaced at regular intervals.  Your vehicle's manufacturer has made recommendations on how often that ... read more

Your Vehicle Is NOT Maintenance Free, GIG HARBOR Car Owners

A generation ago, GIG HARBOR drivers seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle's preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Taking your vehicle in to your GIG HARBOR shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.For example, almost everyone in GIG HARBOR used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the vehicle was in for a tune-up at Mackert Automotive LLC, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.Today's engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles/160,000 km. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys repor ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

Don't be Fuelish (Signs Fuel Pump is Failing)

A driver of a large SUV loaded with equipment was heading on a 7-hour work trip when he stopped at a gas station to refuel.  When he went to restart his SUV, it turned over but wouldn't catch.  Try as he might, he was never able to get it started again.  Of course there are many things that can cause those symptoms, but the next day he had his SUV towed to a service repair facility.  Using their test equipment, they were able to pinpoint the problem.  His fuel pump had failed.  The pump, which was located in the fuel tank, had to be replaced, and after awhile he was back on the road, delayed, but happy to be up and running again.  What had happened is that the pump was not strong enough to deliver adequate  fuel to his engine, vital to being able to start it.  It had delivered just enough pressure in the morning to get it started the first time, but it was on its last legs.  He had been having trouble starting his SUV in the days leadin ... read more

Categories:

Fuel System

Stopping "Brake" Downs (Brake Pad Replacement)

If someone tells you to put the brakes on something, you know it means stop.  And stopping is one of the most important safety maneuvers you can do in any vehicle.  That means your brakes have to work properly.  Let's face it.  You stop dozens of times every time you drive.  And over time, that takes its toll on your brakes.  Friction is what stops your vehicle.  Most newer vehicles have disc brakes, and the parts that wear out the fastest are those that rub against each other every time you stop, the rotors and the pads. The rotors are discs that rotate with the wheels, and the pads are removable surfaces that make contact with the rotors to slow or stop your vehicle.  Bits of both wear off each time you stop, and when enough of either (or both) lose too much material, your brakes become unable to safely slow or stop your vehicle.  The pads usually are the parts that wear out first.  Signs that your brakes might be getting worn are: Y ... read more

Categories:

Brake Service , Brakes

Maintenance on My Mind

Ask any GIG HARBOR man or woman if they've taken their vehicle in for preventive maintenance lately, and the answer may well be “no.” Surveys indicate that over 80% of vehicles on the road today are in need of some kind of repair or maintenance. Now, ask that same person why he hasn't taken his car in for care. The answer will probably be that he forgot or that he just didn't think about it. Most GIG HARBOR residents seem to have a hard time remembering about scheduled maintenance for their vehicles.Funny, because most of us in GIG HARBOR have no trouble remembering to wash our clothes, mow our lawns or brush our teeth. It isn't that we can't remember to take our vehicles for service; it's a matter of making it a priority.When it comes to our vehicles, GIG HARBOR drivers like myself, need to be a little more maintenance-minded. The fact is, we can choose to do it, or we might find ourselves being compelled to do it.For example, when we cons ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

Considering an Alternative Fuel Vehicle in GIG HARBOR?

There is a clear and vocal demand in GIG HARBOR and nationally for a reduction in air pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. This is what is driving the WA market for alternative fuel vehicles. There are a number of these vehicles on GIG HARBOR area roads today, and many more being developed. Yet each of these vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages. GIG HARBOR auto owners should learn what these advantages and disadvantages are before running out and purchasing one of these alternative fuel vehicles at your nearest GIG HARBOR dealership.GIG HARBOR drivers should carefully research the vehicle care before buying an alternative fuel vehicle, as it may or may not coincide with the standards for gasoline vehicles. You should look at costs as well; these vehicles may help save our environment here in GIG HARBOR, but that might not represent a savings to your wallet. You'll need to decide what you can afford and what wi ... read more

Categories:

Automotive News

H20 No! (Driving Through Standing Water)

In a year marked by unusually heavy flooding in North America, drivers are very aware of the possibility they may find themselves driving where water has come over the road.  It can be a daunting and frightening situation.  Flooding waters can move quickly and unpredictably, so you have to keep your wits about you when you encounter that situation. Here a sample of one vehicle manufacturer's guidelines on what to do.  First, the vehicle is designed to go through some water, but you must be careful.  Never attempt to drive through water deeper than the bottom of your tires. You can get out of your vehicle to check the depth of the water, but you can never be sure that you aren't going to drive into a spot where the road has washed away.  You can't see below the surface of the water, and suddenly you could find yourself in a place where the road drops off unexpectedly.  In swift moving storm runoff, your vehicle could literally be floating away with the curr ... read more

The Cable Guy (Battery Cables and Maintenance)

If you've ever noticed your vehicle's lights are dim or not working at all, the problem could be many things.  But one possibility is your battery cables aren't doing their job.  A power outage in your vehicle is similar to one in your house and needs to be repaired to get things back to normal. Battery cables connect your vehicle's battery to the vehicle itself.  There is a positive cable when provides the power and a negative cable that connects to the vehicle chassis and provides a ground for electrical components.  A failing battery cable may cause your vehicle not to start.  Your starter may turn over very slowly.  Or you may just hear a series of clicks.  One other clue is on your dash—the battery warning light.  There are many things that can cause power issues in a vehicle, but it's important to keep battery cables clean and maintained.  Salt and corrosion are enemies to any power system.  A technician can keep things in t ... read more

Categories:

Battery

The Mackert Automotive LLC Guide to Caring for Your Transmission

Most vehicles have automatic transmissions, yet a lot of GIG HARBOR drivers only have a fuzzy understanding about what a transmission does. Think back to the last time you rode a bike in GIG HARBOR. You started out in a lower gear and shifted to higher gears as you went faster. Down shift for hills, stuff like that. Think of your legs as the engine – there's an ideal speed you can pedal and you change gears to leverage the work you're doing.Lower gears for power on hills or for starting out. Higher gears for more speed. That's what the automatic transmission does – it automatically starts in lower gears and shifts up to higher gears to go faster on WA roads. And it automatically shifts back down to climb GIG HARBOR hills, pass or start up again.Vehicle automatic transmissions have certainly gotten more sophisticated in recent years. They have more speeds than before: the base is four speeds, five is very common. At Mackert Autom ... read more

Categories:

Transmission

Saving Lives in GIG HARBOR with Tire Pressure

All new passenger vehicles on our GIG HARBOR, WA, roads now have tire pressure monitoring systems – TPMS for short. They are designed to alert you if your tires are underinflated. Since they are fairly new, a lot of people have questions about them.First off, the most important thing is that you still need to check your tire pressure every week – or at least every time you gas up. The TPMS system alert comes in when your tire is 20 percent below the factory recommendation. So if the recommended pressure is 34 pounds per square inch, the TPMS warning won't come on until the pressure is at 28 pounds. That's significantly underinflated, enough to raise safety concerns.The worst is tire failure. A severely underinflated tire can overheat and fail. Also, handling degrades to the point that you may not be able to steer out of trouble. Also underinflated tires wear out faster and they waste fuel. So ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels
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