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What Should I Check Before a Road Trip Tempe Arizona

WOO HOO! Road Trip! It’s getting to that time of year here in Arizona when the weather is getting warmer but it’s not going to be so hot that’ll you’ll melt into a puddle of sweat. Time to take a road trip! Visit the Grand Canyon! See the Painted Desert! Go hiking in the Kiabab! Yeah! But what about your car? Have you checked it out to make sure it’s up to the job and won’t leave you as a tourist in Tuba City? Standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona might be a good line in a song but it would sure be a bummer way to end a road trip.

All Tune & Lube Total Car Care Tempe wants to make sure you have fun and don’t have to spend your vacation money repairing your car on the road. Here’s what you need to check:

Take a good look at your tires. They’re the most common item to fail on a trip. Road hazards happen and there’s no predicting those but you may be able to head off some maintenance related tire problems. A good tire inspection will start with looking over the condition of each tire itself. Are there signs of uneven tire wear? Are the tires properly inflated? Is the tread worn to the point that the tire should be replaced? The answers to these questions may lead to a recommendation to balance or rotate your tires. It may also be time to have an alignment service.Inspect your brake pads and shoes. If you have any less than about 20% of the brake material remaining you should probably have them replaced. You’ll also want to know if it’s time to service your brake fluid. Over time water and contaminants make their way into your brake fluid and the system needs to be flushed, cleaned and filled with fresh fluid.

While looking under your car, your auto technician should also inspect your suspension system for worn or damaged parts. If you need new shocks or struts, you’ll really notice the difference on your trip once you have them replaced.

Now the second most common vehicle failure is the cooling system. Check the condition of the coolant and have it exchanged if needed. If the radiator cap isn’t fairly new just replace it proactively. It’s cheap insurance. Take a close look at the radiator hoses, heater hoses and belts. If the hoses are leaking, swollen or soft, replace them. If you see any cracks in the belt, replace them too. If your water pump shows any signs of leaking, get a new one. Even though cooling system failure is fairly common, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to prevent with proper maintenance.

Another thing people often overlook is their transmission service. This is very important before a road trip because transmission problems tend to take some time and a lot of money to get fixed. Not the way you want to spend your vacation.

If your heater or air conditioning isn’t working as well as you’d like, get those taken care of. It may not be too cold or too hot now but who knows?

Of course, there are the usual things as well. An oil change, engine air filter, fuel system cleaning, and a routine tune up. If you need any of these things, get them done today – the improved fuel economy will be well appreciated on your road trip with less money spent on gas.

Some important items that are often overlooked are differential service and timing belt replacement. If these things don’t ring a bell, find out if they’re due and if they are get them done.
Now while you’re out seeing the sights, you’ll want to make sure you can see the sights. Replace your windshield wipers if they aren’t working well. And don’t forget all your lights; headlights, turn signals and markers.

These are all kinda normal service items so if you’re already taking your vehicle to All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe you’re probably good to go.

Thanks! From your local mechanics, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe. Complete auto repair and maintenance.

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Do I need a Brake Fluid Flush? Tempe

Brake fluid reservoir 2-19-15You know, it’s really nice to be able to go, but it’s vital to be able to stop! Be smart, take good care of your brakes. You’ll replace the pads and resurface the rotors as needed. Still, when your mechanic recommends that you get your brake system flushed, do you think you should you do it or save the cash?
Do it.

This is one of those services you do need on a regular basis. Braking systems aren’t indestructible. Moisture gets in to the system. Parts, like the rubber in the valves in the master cylinder, calipers and wheel cylinders deteriorate. All the nasty little bits that flake off end up in your brake fluid. Plus, the fluid itself can get old and worn out. That leads to rust, which leads to more nasty bits in your brake fluid. All this adds up to a brake system with compromised effectiveness and decreased stopping power.

Think of it this way: You wouldn’t skip changing your car’s engine oil, right? It’s the lifeblood of your engine, and when it gets contaminated by impurities, you put the entire engine at risk. It’s the same with brake fluid only you’re gambling with more than the vehicle. Let the brake fluid get dirty or contaminated and you won’t be able to stop as well. So while it may not seem like a big deal when you’re standing at the service desk and the mechanic asks if you want him to flush your brakes, when you’re dealing with a panic stop on the Valley freeways it’ll seem a lot more important.

A good rule of thumb is to have your brakes flushed about every 30,000 miles (48,280 kilometers) or so. Brake flushing and bleeding the brakes are two different procedures. Brake flushing involves removing all the brake fluid from the system and getting all-new, clean fluid inside. Brake bleeding just means removing enough brake fluid to get air bubbles out of the brake lines. So, make sure you get your brakes flushed regularly.

This from your Local Mechanic, All Tune & Lube Total Car Care Tempe. Complete auto repair and maintenance.

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Do I need a Transmission Service Tempe Arizona

Automatic TransmissionDo I need a Transmission Service?

YES! Though how often varies by manufacturer and vehicle, and it’s open to some debate.
The manufacturer’s maintenance schedule for many automatic transmissions doesn’t call for fresh fluid until 100,000 miles or, with some Ford transmissions, even 150,000 miles, some call for a service to be done every 30,000 miles, others at 15,000 miles and some don’t recommend a transmission service at all. The only thing for sure is that it depends on how the vehicle is being used. A lot of good honest technicians say that the 100,000 mile service interval is too long and it should be done at least every 50,000 miles. Manual transmissions are a different animal, so it’s best to consult the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual.

Like other vital automotive fluids, transmission fluid deteriorates over time. Hard use – such as frequent stop-and-go city driving, hauling heavy loads, trailer towing – will accelerate the deterioration. That kind of driving raises the operating temperature of the transmission, and heat puts more strain on the transmission and the fluid, which, along with lubricating the moving parts, facilitates gear shifts and cools the transmission.

If you do a lot of “hard use” driving, you should check the transmission level more often and have a repair shop check the condition of the fluid. Transmission fluid often is typically red but can come in other colors, and as it deteriorates it tends to turn darker. It may also acquire a burned odor that would indicate it needs to be changed or that the transmission is developing mechanical problems. Another indication it needs changing is dirt or other debris in the fluid though when that happens there may be bigger problems.

If you have never changed the transmission fluid in your vehicle and have more than 100,000 miles on the odometer, should you change it now? All Tune & Lube Tempe has seen mixed opinions on this, with some mechanics suggesting you should just leave well alone if you aren’t having shifting problems. Adding fuel to this theory are stories about older transmissions failing shortly after they finally got fresh fluid. We have a hard time accepting that fresh fluid causes transmission failure, so our inclination would be to have it done if you’re planning on keeping the vehicle a few years or longer. However, fresh fluid is not a cure for gears slipping, rough shifting or other mechanical problems, so don’t expect a fluid change to be a magic elixir.

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

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Fuel Injection Service Tempe Arizona

The very first time your engine is started carbon deposits and varnishes are formed in your vehicle’s fuel systems, on the intake valves, and in the combustion chamber areas. This is particularly true if you’re using an economy fuel. To prevent buildup in your fuel system, check your owner’s manual for recommended service intervals and have your fuel system cleaned by a professional service center. All Tune and Lube Total Car Care in Tempe recommends this service with each tune up, usually at 60,000 or 100,000 miles.

Here are some symptoms that can be caused by carbon buildup:

  • Engine pinging.
  • Poor acceleration.
  • Hesitation or lurching.
  • Lack of or poor performance.
  • Repeated stalling.
  • Rough idle.
  • Poor fuel mileage.

A fuel injection cleaning system and de-coke process will remove carbon deposits from your vehicle’s fuel system, injectors, intake valves, and combustion chamber. This cleaning process will not damage your vehicle’s fuel system or engine components. A typical fuel injection service will include the following procedures:

  • Clean fuel injectors.
  • Clean throttle body air intake.
  • Inspect fuel lines and fuel rail.
  • Pressure test fuel pump and system.
  • Inspect pressure regulator, vacuum line, and all connections.
  • Clean intake manifold, intake, and exhaust valves.
  • Remove carbon from combustion chamber and pistons.

The benefits are:

  • Saves you money – improves fuel mileage and heads off costly repairs.
  • Reduces the risk of breakdowns.
  • Contributes to the overall performance of your vehicle.
  • Reduces air pollution.
  • Increases safety and dependability.

From your local mechanics, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe. Complete auto repair and maintenance.

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Oil Change Tempe Arizona

Car DoctorAre you taking your car in for an oil change every 3,000 miles or are you getting serviced? If it didn’t cost any more, which would you rather do? Here at All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe we don’t just change the engine oil and send you down the road with a wink and a prayer, we service your vehicle!

Let me tell you what the difference is. There are any number of places where you can go in and get a quickie oil change. They’ll try to sell you a new air filter, a transmission service and maybe a belt but they haven’t really inspected your car and don’t know what it really needs. When you bring your car or truck in to All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe our ASE Certified Technicians will first inspect the area around the engine bay for fluid leaks, check the condition of all the fluids and top off any that are getting low including your coolant and washer fluid. We’ll check your air filter and recommend one if you need it, check your belts and hoses. If there’s a “Check Engine” light on we’ll read the codes. Then the car is lifted and while the engine oil is draining we’ll inspect the under-car components, things like your brake lines, suspension struts and shock absorbers, exhaust hangers, control arms and bushings, ball joints and brakes. Before the car is lowered we’ll check the condition of your tires and adjust the tire pressure as needed. Finally the car is lowered, filled with engine oil and brought around for pick up.

While the technician is servicing your vehicle the service writer will be looking up the manufacturers recommended services for the mileage on the car. The service writer will then take the technicians’ report and the manufacturers service schedule and make recommendations to you about what needs to be dealt with and when. If there are any important items, the service writer might suggest they be repaired right away, for other work he’ll make suggestions as to when might be best and he’ll also tell you about anything that isn’t a problem now but should be watched.

When you leave All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe you’ll have a written report of what was found, if anything, an idea of when the next service is due and knowledge about the present condition of your car. All that for a typical $29.90 oil change. Tell me that’s not a great deal!

At All Tune and Lube Tempe we’re able to take care of all your vehicle service and repair. There’s no need to go anyplace else!

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Synthetic Motor OIl Tempe

motor oilSynthetic motor oil. Customers will ask us here at All Tune & Lube Total Car Care Tempe if they should use or continue to use synthetic motor oil. First a couple myths that are very common to synthetics: If you’re using conventional motor oil there is absolutely no problem in switching to synthetic oil. The reverse is also true, switching from synthetics to conventional for most cars won’t cause you any problems, you just loose the advantages of the synthetics. The exceptions are engines that use turbo-chargers or that use the engine lubrication for a supercharger. Synthetics won’t give you markedly better fuel economy. Also, synthetics won’t make your car leak. If it was leaking before it sure won’t be any better but it also won’t be any worse.

Synthetic motor oils are better at handling heat. The reason as I understand it is that the molecules that make up synthetic oils are more uniform in length. In conventional oils a percentage of the molecules are short and that makes them volatile, subject to basically evaporating. That “evaporation” is what causes conventional oil to break down and get thicker. Turbo chargers deal with a ton of heat at the bearings and need the special properties of synthetic motor oil in order to stay alive. High performance engines and engines that are working hard for towing or hauling also create a lot of heat and benefit from synthetic motor oils. Additionally, synthetics last longer in your engine and don’t need to be changed as often. That can offset some of the additional cost of synthetics.

All that being said, conventional oils really do a great job. For most vehicles in most circumstances conventional oil is all that’s needed. I personally have two vehicles with over 225,000 miles and one with 175,000 miles that have never used synthetics and still run perfectly. The trick is to change the oil regularly.

Hope that helps. Your local mechanics, All Tune & Lube Total Car Care Tempe. Complete Car Repair and Maintenance.

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When Should I Get Rid of My Car Tempe Arizona

Broke Down Car“I’m worried. Should I just get rid of this car?” That’s a question we hear around the All Tune and Lube Tempe shop from time to time and the answer is usually pretty simple. Hang on to your older car for as long as you can, especially if you don’t owe anything on it. As long as your ride isn’t costing more than your car is worth and is reliable, you’re in good shape. Your insurance will typically be lower on an older vehicle, and you can use the money you’re saving for a down payment when the time does come to make a change.

But there are a few things that should influence your decision. One consideration is how well the car has been maintained over time. A well-maintained vehicle will last a lot longer than one that’s been abused and neglected. Even a car that was sort of “low end” when it was new can last a very long time if it’s well cared for. But if you’re trying to eke 20,000 more miles out of a car that’s started hemorrhaging oil all over your garage, you have to ask yourself if this is just the last in a long line of calamities. If it looks like a major failure is looming, it might be a good idea to consider making a change sooner rather than later.

If, when your car breaks down, you can do the repairs yourself it will probably make sense to hang on to the car longer. But if you have to pay a shop for your repairs, or a breakdown could put you in harm’s way, then maybe you want to upgrade. Also, if you rely on your car for your livelihood. When you’re in sales and you’re cold-calling all over the county, not having a reliable vehicle is more than an inconvenience.
An automobile can represent more than a means of transportation to many people, too. Cars might symbolize status, freedom and other non-transportation related ideals. When those motives become part of the mix, deciding when to sell can get more complicated. If you don’t have a car payment now and you can’t afford one, you’ll just have to weigh the intangible benefits of a nice ride against the real and immediate need to eat regularly.

If you decide to take the plunge and get rid of your car in favor of something newer, do your homework. Trading in your vehicle is the most convenient way to upgrade, but it might cost you. Dealerships typically pay wholesale prices for trade-ins, and you’ll be able to get more for your old car if you sell it yourself instead. Remember, it may be an eyesore and a big disappointment to you, but to someone else, it could be a diamond in the rough.

This from your local mechanics, All Tune & Lube Total Car Care in Tempe Arizona. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.

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Overheating car Tempe Arizona

Summer is coming to Tempe! And this year it’s warming up early. There’s not much as miserable as being stuck in traffic watching your temperature gage slowly creep up towards the red waiting for traffic get moving again so the engine will (hopefully) cool back down. Pretty soon we’ll start seeing overheating cars around the shop on a regular basis. Often enough these cars will have gotten hot enough to do real damage to the engine and what once was a great car is destined for the salvage yard or an expensive repair. Here are the most common reasons why your engine will overheat and a little about what you can do about it.

Low Coolant: THE most common cause for engine overheating is just running low on coolant. Your engine has to have coolant circulating in enough volume to remove all the excess heat the engine generates. If there’s not enough coolant in there to do the job, your engine will overheat. Running the heater might help for a very short while but if you don’t have enough coolant in the system to get that heat out you’ll be in trouble pretty quick. By far, the first thing you should do if your engine seems to be running hot is check your coolant level.

Electric Cooling Fan Failure: Most modern cars and trucks have electric cooling fans. If the fan isn’t coming on, your engine will overheat. You’ll notice this most often when you’re not moving very fast. The electric cooling fan pulls air over your radiator when your car isn’t going fast enough to ram it through from the front. You can test this by letting your car idle long enough for the engine to heat up. When your engine reaches a certain temperature the fan should come on automatically, you can look under the hood to see if your electric fan is running. If it’s not there are two usual causes to this, a burned out electric fan or a bad cooling fan switch. The best thing you can do is take it to your favorite shop and have them sort it out. While a bad fan motor can be pretty obvious it’s a little more tricky to diagnose a failed engine coolant temperature sensor, relay or sometimes a computer control problem.
The Thermostat Isn’t Opening The most common symptom of a bad thermostat is overheating at highway speeds. Your engine may be able to stay cool at slower speeds when it’s not working that hard but at highway speeds your engine needs lots of coolant flowing through because it’s working harder and making more heat. If the thermostat doesn’t open or isn’t opening enough, there isn’t enough flow to keep things cool

A Broken Fan Belt: We don’t see this as often anymore but there are still a number of engines out there that use a belt to drive the cooling fan. You can replace your fan belt easily if it’s broken.

A Clogged Radiator: If your car has some miles on it, your radiator could start getting gummed up. You can avoid this and other problems associated with old coolant by flushing your radiator on the factory recommended schedule. This problem is very common with some GM cars that use Dexcool coolant that’s been contaminated somehow.

If your engine is running hot you should try to fix the problem as quickly as possible. A hot engine can do damage to itself, even if you aren’t going into a full overheating. Change your oil regularly and check it every other fill-up to be sure you are providing adequate lubrication to your engine, everything you can do to reduce heat buildup helps!

There are a number of other issues that can cause your engine to overheat but these are by far the most common.

Hope this helps!

From your local mechanics, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe Arizona auto repair and maintenance.

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Radiator car All Tune & Lube Tempe Arizona

Check Engine Yup Still ThereA college student drove his ratty, raggedy old car into All Tune and Lube Tempe, needing some repair advice for his jalopy.

The mechanic looked at it for a couple of minutes and said, “What you really need is the radiator cap solution.”

“Oh,” said the student, trying not to sound too confused, “Do you mean the radiator cap isn’t holding enough pressure?”

“That’s part of the problem,” the mechanic said. “You need to lift the radiator cap and drive another car under it. Then you can replace the radiator cap, and it should solve your problem.”

Oh Man! Have we seen a few of those! Your local mechanic, All Tune & Lube Tempe. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.

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Brake vibration Tempe Arizona

Brake RotorHere’s something we see quite a bit at All Tune and Lube Tempe, vibration when the brakes are applied. It’s annoying and can feel disconcerting.

So what’s going on?
Brake vibration is where a shaking occurs when the brakes in your car are applied. You’ll often notice it more when slowing down from high speed, like when you’re getting off the highway. You might get a little shaking to a nasty vibration.

What causes it?
I don’t know how familiar everyone is anymore with vinyl records but if you remember them you’ll also remember how they would warp if you let them get too hot. Your brake rotors are a lot like those old records in that heat will warp them and unlike your records, your brakes have to deal with a lot of heat all the time. When we’re talking about brake rotors that warpage is called “run out” and the vehicle manufacturers have very tight limits as to how much run out is allowed. If your brake rotors have more than the specified limit you’ll get vibration through the steering.

How do I fix it?!
The first thing is to find out if it’s the front or rear rotors that are causing the brake vibration. If you’re getting shaking in the steering wheel itself, it is more than likely the front. If the whole car and shakes, it will probably be the rear but that’s a bit less common. The thing to do is to mount a measuring device, a dial indicator is what I’m familiar with, to the car, spin the rotors and measure the run out. Once you’ve found the offending parts you next measure their thickness to determine if it needs to be replaced because there’s a specified limit there too. If the rotors are thick enough you can have them machined true again, reinstalled and head on out. Don’t let anyone tell you that you necessarily need to replace your brake pads at the same time unless their getting thin.

That’s really about it. Simple problem, simple solution. I hope you’ll bring your car in to your local mechanics, All Tune & Lube Total Car Care in Tempe Arizona. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.

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