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How Can I Tell if my Clutch Master Cylinder is Bad? Tempe Arizona

Clutch Hydraulics 4-16-15We don’t see a lot of manual transmissions anymore here at All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe but there are still a number out there. While clutches last longer now than they ever have the hydraulics that operate most manual system still give customers grief from time to time. The clutch master cylinder is a part of any modern car with a manual transmission, it provides the hydraulic pressure to release the clutch. If you start to feel or hear something unusual when you shift gears or push the clutch pedal down, pay attention because it may signal a problem with your master cylinder. If you have a bad clutch master cylinder then you’ll notice a few symptoms. Some of these symptoms can be the result of other transmission issues too but hydraulics are the first things we’d check out.

A Soft Pedal
A “soft” pedal is when you can feel with your foot that the pedal has lost some its normal resistance as you press it down. This is typically because of a leak in the master cylinder or the slave cylinder.

Hard to Shift
Here’s one that could be related to your transmission as well. A bad master cylinder will often make it tough to shift when the car’s stopped but you might not notice anything once you’re moving again.

Pedal Stuck to the Floor
Unless you have some major rust problems this is pretty much a sure sign. If the clutch pedal won’t come off the floor then the clutch hydraulics aren’t working at all. You can’t drive the car like this. Duh.

Low Fluid
If the clutch master cylinder fluid is low and you have to refill it more often than normal then you have a leak in hydraulics someplace.

Fluid Rise in the Reservoir
Here’s a test you can do yourself with a little help. Have your buddy press down on the clutch while you look to see if the fluid in the reservoir rises when the clutch is down and then rises again when the clutch is released. If it does then you have a bad master cylinder.

Oil on the Cylinder
Open the hood and check the master cylinder. If the bottom of the cylinder feels wet and is oily then the leak is probably coming from the master cylinder.

A failing clutch master cylinder will lose its power to maintain the hydraulic pressure needed for the clutch to function. Taking care of repairs to the cylinder will protect you from damaging your whole transmission and keep you from introducing yourself to your garage door or the car in front of you or. Be sure to have it repaired right away.

From your Local Mechanic, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance

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How Can I Tell if My Clutch is Going Out? Tempe Arizona

All of you die-hard manual transmission fans out there know that at some point, you’ll probably have clutch problems. We all learn not to ride the clutch when we learn to drive a stick, but unfortunately, most people still do it – and that leads to a worn out clutch.

So how do you know when your clutch is worn out or failing? Replacing your clutch isn’t like changing your oil; there isn’t any mileage or length of time guidelines for switching it out. The wear and tear on your clutch depends on your personal driving style and your driving environment. You clutch could last anywhere from 20,000 to 150,000 miles. Here are a few helpful tips to help determine if your clutch is at the end of its life.

Your Clutch Feels Spongy
A soft or “spongy” clutch is an early sign that your clutch is failing. Drive your car around the block and pay close attention to the feel of your clutch and how far you let the clutch out before the gear catches. If you have to let your clutch out most of the way, that is also a sign of a worn clutch.

Your Clutch Causes a Burning Smell
When your clutch is failing, it is commonly accompanied by a burning smell. The smell comes from the friction of your slipping clutch.

You Have Trouble Shifting
If you notice that when you shift, your car does not engage smoothly and shakes, this is a good sign that you’ve got a bad clutch. Shifting problems are most apparent in first gear and reverse.

You Have Visible Damage to Your Clutch
If you’re mechanically savvy, you can remove the inspection cover at the bottom of the bell housing to see your clutch. If your clutch is going bad, you’ll notice obvious visible damage. If you notice a fine black dust around your clutch, this is normal wear – look for damage to the actual clutch itself.

Do A Road Test
If you’re still not sure if your clutch is going out, the next time you’re on the highway, rev your engine while in first, then pop directly into fifth. If your engine continues to whine and rev high, the gear has not caught and the clutch is going out. If your car shakes from being in too high a gear and is slow to pick up speed, the clutch is fine. This test works well on hills too.

From Your Local Mechanic, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.

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The Most Basic Engine Performance Formulas Tempe Arizona

Fast Car 4-07-15The very most basic engine performance formulas!

C.I.D = BHP (Cubic Inch Displacement Equals Brake Horsepower)
Delta AT =BHP (Change in Absolute Temperature Equals Brake Horsepower)
RPM=BHP (Revolutions Per Minute Equals Brake Horsepower)

So here’s what you do if you wanna go real fast: Get the biggest engine you can, get the intake air as cold as possible and the exhaust gasses as hot as possible and make it happen a whole lotta times per minute and you’ll be the fastest. Who says building an engine is hard?

From your Local Mechanic, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.

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Where can I Dispose of Used Motor Oil? Tempe Arizona

Used Motor Oil 4-14-15You know, years ago I lived in a small town on a dirt road. A couple times every summer my dad would go down to the local auto repair shop and pick up a 55-gallon drum of used motor oil and spread it on the road in front of our house to keep the dust down. Turns out you can’t do that anymore! In fact the state and the EPA take a really dim view of that sort of thing now. There are a number of items in that old motor oil that are not very healthy for children and other living things. That being the case it’s important that waste motor oil, among other things, be disposed of properly.

Easy! Here at All Tune and Lube Total Car Care we’ll take your old motor oil, oil filters, transmission fluid and coolant. Won’t cost you anything either.

From your Local Mechanic, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.

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What is a Car Air Conditioner Service? Tempe Arizona

Cold CarWhat does an air conditioning service for your car mean? What are you paying for anyway? Well, let me tell you.

Here at All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe we see a lot of car air conditioners that don’t work for one reason or another. More often than not the refrigerant has leaked out and the system needs to be recharged. This basic recharge is what we call an air conditioning service, but it isn’t a matter of just pumping the system full of refrigerant and sending it down the road. We use some sophisticated equipment to evacuate your cars’ AC system, measuring how much refrigerant we remove, clean out any moisture that could harm the system, test the system for leaks under vacuum then again under pressure when the system is recharged. Also, when we recharge your AC we inject a little bit of dye that helps us find any leaks. Your cars’ AC system needs to operate at very specific pressures in order to work as it should so we check those pressures as well.

Once this process is complete we’ll make any recommendations for repair, if needed. If we weren’t able to locate any leaks during the service we’ll ask that you come back in a week or so in order to see if any of the dye we put in during the service has leaked out. This second visit doesn’t cost anything, it’s part of the service.

Hope this helps out a bit. Feel free to call if you have any questions, we’ll be glad to answer them!

From your Local Mechanic, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.

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How Do I get my Car Ready for Summer? Tempe Arizona

broke down car 3-16-15You live in Tempe where the summer months get hot. Freekin’ hot. Stupid hot. When summer rolls around there are a few things you want to take into consideration regarding your vehicle. For example, your cooling system has to work harder to keep the engine from overheating, tires have to perform under hotter conditions, and if you have a breakdown, you should be prepared to deal with the heat until help arrives or you’re able to repair the vehicle yourself.

Check the tire pressure. Tire pressure is always important but it’s particularly critical in the heat. Just rolling down the road your tires create friction that causes heat. An under-inflated tire make a lot of excess heat. When the road surface itself starts pushing 160 degrees plus your tires have a hard time cooling down. Read your owner’s manual to find the correct tire pressures. Properly inflated tires will also last longer and improve gas mileage.
Because of summertime’s higher temperatures, the air pressure in a warm tire rises. Why? Because air is a gas, and gas expands when it heats up. Keep this in mind if you are checking tire pressures. The given tire pressure specifications are for when the tires are cold, therefore the pressure should be checked when the tires are cold.
Change the engine oil and adjust the viscosity grade. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil. For example, maple syrup has a higher viscosity than water. Engine oils are sold with different levels of viscosity. Generally speaking, the warmer the oil is, the thinner it will be. If the oil is too thin, the engine might not get the proper lubrication. To solve this summertime issue, you can change your vehicle’s engine oil to one that is a little thicker. Even when the thicker oil is cold, it is still not too thick for proper engine lubrication.

Determining what type of oil your car should have during the summer is easy. Simply read your vehicle’s owner’s manual. The manual will list the manufacturer’s oil recommendations for different climates. If you have a dealership or local garage perform the oil change, you can ask the manager what type and viscosity of oil they are putting into your vehicle. Most modern cars have recommended oil grades of 5W-30, 10W-30 or 10W-40 which are all multi-viscosity grades.

Inspect the belts and hoses. The belts and hoses in modern cars last a long time. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to fail. If you see cracks starting to form on the belt, replace it, but some belts never show any cracks even though they’re worn out. Before summer begins, have the belts and hoses inspected on your vehicle. And if you’re not sure when they were last replaced, consider having them changed, especially before commencing a long road trip.

Inspect the wipers and wiper fluid. Visibility is always important and our summer storms can be pretty severe. They say your wipers should last a year but our experience is that the sun dries them out in a couple months. A set of wipers is cheap, less than the cost of a tank of gas, so what we suggest is that you keep a spare set with you. Also check and fill your wiper fluid reservoir. A summertime thunderstorm isn’t the best time to run out of wiper fluid or to discover your blades aren’t performing properly.

Check the battery. A battery gives little warning before it goes dead and the heat is harder on a battery than the cold. If your vehicle battery is more than three years old, have it tested at a certified automotive repair facility. Also, make sure the posts and connections are clean and free of corrosion. Have the battery tested next time you get your car serviced. It doesn’t cost anything and it could help you avoid an inconvenient failed break down.

Check coolant/antifreeze mixture and your radiator cap. The ideal mixture of coolant and water inside your vehicle’s radiator is 50:50. If the mixture deviates from this norm, then hot-weather performance (and cold) can be compromised. The mixture of water with an equal amount of antifreeze boils at a much higher temperature than straight water. The radiator cap pressurizes the cooling system to raise the boiling point still higher. Ask the technician to check your coolant mixture when you have your car serviced. If the mixture’s balance is off, it can be adjusted by adding either coolant or water.

Make sure your AC is working properly

Carry an emergency kit inside your car. Things you might consider carrying include the following:

  • A flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Gloves.
  • Paper towels.
  • Food and water.
  • Basic tools like wrenches, a ratchet and sockets, screwdrivers and pliers or Vise-Grips.
  • Water for sure. You don’t have to be broke down in the desert very long before water becomes an issue.

    From your Local Mechanic, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.

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    Should I Use 94 Octane Gas? Tempe Arizona

    Fast Car 4-07-15Your car either needs a high octane fuel or it doesn’t. The vast majority of cars fall in to the “doesn’t” category. The octane rating is a measure of the ability of fuel to resist “detonation” or exploding in the combustion chamber. Detonation becomes an issue with high performance engines but isn’t a problem with modern commuter car engines. Inside the combustion chambers of your engine the fuel is supposed to burn very rapidly–a sweeping “flame front.” It is not supposed to truly explode. If it should explode or “detonate,” a sound is produced that is known as “pinging.” It will be worst in hot weather and under acceleration. If extreme or constant it’s very bad for the engine and can cause a ton of damage. All kinds of factors promote or discourage this incorrect mode of combustion. These include, but are not limited to: compression ratio, humidity, outside air temperature, ignition timing, engine temperature, engine design and last but NOT least: the octane rating of your fuel. If your car requires high octane fuel it will require it all the time–or at least until the weather changes. Because fuel octane–contrary to myth–is in no way a measure of detergent properties, high octane fuel does not “clean out” your engine and has no residual effect. If your car pings only lightly and rarely on a low octane fuel use the cheap blend and save your money!

    From your Local Mechanic, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.

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    Brake Noise Tempe Arizona

    Brake Rotor_1Brake noise is not at all uncommon and it doesn’t necessarily mean your brakes aren’t safe. That being said, some brake pad manufacturers install little tabs that are intended to make an obnoxious noise when the brake pads get too thin. There is always something rubbing when the brakes are applied, that’s how they work, two un-lubricated surfaces rubbing on one another, the metal rotor or drum and the friction material of the brake pad or shoe. From an engineering standpoint there is nothing more NATURAL than brake squeal, screech and groan. That is why brake noises are a common cause of new car warranty complaints. Vehicle designers and brake component engineers do all sorts of things to limit how much noise your brakes make or at least shift it to a frequency above the range of human hearing. Usually they do a pretty good job. At All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe we make a practice of replacing all the little pieces of anti-squeal hardware and using high quality replacement pads and shoes when we do a brake job and this keeps our noise comebacks lower than those shops–typically the big chains–that rarely do this. Brake noise is unpredictable and effected by dust, humidity, temperature and the phase of the moon.

    From your Local Mechanic, All Tune and Lube Tempe. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.

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    Do I Need New Shocks or Struts? Tempe Arizona

    bouncy car 4-07-15So a customer comes in to All Tune and Lube Total Car Care in Tempe and complains that his car rides rough, he can feel every pebble in the road. He wants a price on new struts. This guy has been a regular here a the shop and we’ve recommended struts to him before just based on the mileage of his car but worn struts don’t usually get stiff or hard, they get loose. When we checked his car out we found that he was running 55 pounds of air pressure in his tires when the manufacturer of the car called for 28 pounds! I bet it road rough! Probably sketchy as heck on the road as well.

    Shocks and struts wear out. But tire pressure makes a bigger difference as far as the way your car “feels” on the road. Check your tires regularly, at least once a month. This means inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations that are posted somewhere in the vehicle. Typically this will be on a door, door pillar or the glove box lid. The tire pressure printed on the tire sidewall is not the pressure you should be using, this number represents the absolute maximum inflation pressure the tire can safely hold. At this maximum pressure the tire is capable of supporting a specified maximum load. The tires that came with your car were built with significant reserve tire capacity and do not require the maximum tire pressure. The proper pressure is based on many factors such as weight, suspension design, height of the center of gravity, etc. etc. etc. The engineers who designed your vehicle should not be second guessed. Now that the tires are known to be properly inflated we can move on to shocks and struts. Struts are merely a variation of shock absorber that doubles as an actual structural member of the suspension. When shocks or struts are worn the most common symptom is not so much harshness on every little impact, but the feeling of piloting a waterbed or boat. The car rocks and sways and does not come to rest immediately after a sudden stop or dip in the road. It will bottom out easily. There are other problems with struts–shocks less so–so after making certain the tires are correct we move on to check the suspension.

    From your Local Mechanic, All Tune and Lube Tempe. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.

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    Why Does My Car Shake? Tempe Arizona

    seperating tire 4-07-15Here’s a problem we see pretty regularly here at All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe. Customer comes in and says his car shakes on the road and the faster he goes the worse it gets. It doesn’t have anything to do with the brakes, the car will typically pull to one side or the other too. One of your front tires is separating and getting ready to blow out, so don’t waste a minute and get to a tire store. Don’t drive at a speed where you couldn’t handle a blowout, it’s that bad. The tire is probably the one on the side that the car is pulling towards and may well look OK in terms of tread depth. If a rear tire is failing the symptoms will be similar except that the pull will be absent and the entire car will shake but not particularly concentrated in the steering wheel.

    From your Local Mechanic, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.

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