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P0128 Tempe Arizona

Check Engine LightA P0128 Coolant Temperature Below Thermostat Regulating Temperature code is something we see on a fairly regular basis here at All Tune and Lube Tempe. This and a P0125 is saying that your engines’ computer believes that the coolant isn’t getting up to the temperature required for your engine to run most efficiently within a certain time. As a result the computer will stay in “Open Loop”. This means that your car is running rich (too much fuel). That makes for poor fuel economy and performance and excessive vehicle emissions. Over time this could damage your catalytic converter and will wear your spark plugs out faster.

Usually this code means that you’ll need a new thermostat. That’s the device that regulates the coolant moving through your engine. If the thermostat is stuck slightly open then the engine isn’t able to warm up in the time the computer thinks it should.

I said “usually means” the thermostat but it could be a couple other things too. First check the coolant level. If there isn’t enough coolant in the engine then the engine coolant temperature sensor (ECT) can be in an air pocket and not getting proper readings. Next it could be a bad ECT. To check this item you need to have a scanner that can see the signal the ECT is sending to the computer. Sometimes the engines’ cooling fans are on all the time, keeping the coolant too cold. In some rare cases a P0128 can be caused by a bad gasket at the thermostat housing that’s allowing coolant to bypass the thermostat.

Whatever it is this code is typically simple to diagnose and not frighteningly expensive to repair. So bring it on in to All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe. Complete auto repair and maintenance!

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P0420 Code Tempe Arizona

Here at All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe customers commonly come in with a Check Engine Light (CEL or MIL Malfunction Indicator Light) and ask us what it means. Very often it’s nothing much, a bad or loose gas cap, maybe a thermostat but from time to time we’ll see the DREADED P0420 CATALYST EFFICIENCY BELOW THRESHOLD code. Oh No! OK, it can get pricey but it’s not necessarily your cat. Here’s the run-down.

A P0420 code is a trouble code on OBD-II equipped vehicles. If your car has multiple trouble codes (DTC’s), a mechanic is going to want to fix them in the order they come up on the code reader. For example, if you have these codes – P0300 (random misfire), P0420 (cat efficiency), P0171 (system lean), then we’ll want to tackle the P0300 Random Misfire code first, and then tackle the P0420 code and so on. The reason for that is that the first code could be causing further DTCs to be set.

So what’s a P0420 all about anyway? This code refers to a problem with the bank 1 cat and that’s all you’ll have if you have an inline 4, 5 or 6 cylinder engine. If you have a V6 or V8 or a Subaru you’ll also have a bank 2 cat but for the sake of simplicity we’ll just assume an inline engine. The catalyst system being referred to is your three-way catalytic converter; a device that looks a lot like a muffler in your exhaust system but performs an entirely different function. The cats’ function is to reduce pollutants coming from your engine. So the catalytic converter is not working properly, it’s not efficient.

A failing cat isn’t going to change the way your car feels, it’ll seem to run just fine. A P0420 code will cause no symptoms aside from the MIL. The reality is there’s still something wrong and your car needs attention in order to be in excellent running condition. A poorly maintained car will run less efficiently, burn more gas, and cost you more money in the long run. Plus, if your CEL is on for a P0420 code and you decide not to fix it, another more serious code could be triggered and you’d never know. The MIL lights up whether you have one code or ten!

There are a number of things that could be causing this P0420 code. The most common thing is the catalytic converter itself is no longer functioning properly. The other likely thing is the rear O2 (oxygen) sensor is no longer working properly. Other items could include exhaust leaks, damaged exhaust pipes or damaged O2 sensor wiring.

So our customer decides to have us diagnose the fault, what do we check? The first thing to do first is a visual check of things. Visually inspect the exhaust system for leaks, check the catalytic converter for dents, holes, severe discoloration, and check for a rattle inside. Then we’ll check for what should be a substantial increase in temperature from the front to the rear of the cat. If any of those symptoms are there, the converter likely needs replacement. If all that checks out, we’ll check the operation of the O2 sensor. To do that we plug in to your cars’ computer with a scan tool and check the wave form on the two oxygen sensors.

OK, the oxygen sensors are performing as they should and there are no exhaust leaks. Sorry, you’ll need a cat. Now, emissions related equipment on most vehicles has a longer warranty than the rest of the car so we’ll check with the dealer to see if the cat’s covered. If it’s not then the customer has a couple options: OEM direct replacement is the best, highest quality part made to fit your car but it’s expensive. Next is a high quality direct replacement aftermarket part. Those will save you some money and usually have a 5-year warranty. The last one we’ll suggest is a high quality weld-in cat. With those we have to cut your old cat out and weld the new unit in its’ place. These cats also typically come with a 5-year warranty. There are cheaper parts but we won’t install them.
Hope this helps!

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

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Goin’ to do Ajax this Sunday! Tempe

Payette Draw 2-24-15Oh Yeah! The weather and work load has cooperated and this weekend your friends at All Tune and Lube Total Car CareTempe are going to escape to Florence and go wheelin’! Here’s a link to a YouTube video that shows what this little trail is like. These aren’t our trucks but you’ll get the idea anyway.

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

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Original Equipment or Aftermarket Parts? Tempe

Car Engine_0From time to time our customers at All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe will ask if we use aftermarket or original equipment manufacturer parts. The answer is that we use both because there are advantages and disadvantages, pluses and minuses to each. Here’s our reasoning:

An aftermarket part is any part for a vehicle that is not sourced from the car’s maker. If the parts are direct replacement parts, they won’t affect your car’s warranty. A number of companies make parts designed to function the same, or in some cases even better than the original.

Aftermarket parts are typically less expensive, how much you save varies by brand. We shop around to find the best price and warranty. OEM parts usually have a 12-month 12,000 mile warranty while many aftermarket parts come with a lifetime warranty. In many cases quality can be equal to or greater than OEM. For example, when an automaker designs its brake pads, it has to strike a balance between cost, durability, noise levels and performance. If you want better performance and don’t mind some extra brake noise (some brake pads squeak even though they are stopping the car effectively), an aftermarket pad may be your best choice.

There are hundreds of companies that make aftermarket parts. Some specialize in specific parts, and other companies, like your corner parts store, have sources for almost any part you can think of. More variety means greater selection and a wider range of prices.

Out of all the parts suppliers in town, at least one is bound to have a part that fits the car we’re working on. This gives us more options on where to get repair parts. Very often the OEM part is no longer available or needs to be special ordered and that leads to delays.

On the downside, quality varies greatly. Over the years we’ve learned to sort out the bad apples and know where to source high quality parts. Even a part as simple as a spark plug can be made by dozens of different companies and comes in numerous variations. The saying “you get what you pay for” rings true here. Some aftermarket parts are inferior because of the use of lower-quality materials. We stick with aftermarket brands we’re familiar with, even if these parts cost a bit more.

OEM parts are made by the vehicle’s manufacturer. These match the parts that came with your vehicle when it rolled off the assembly line. If you go to the parts counter at a dealership and ask for any part, you’ll usually get one type. You don’t have to worry about assessing the quality of different brands and prices. The OEM part should work exactly as the one we are replacing. It is what the vehicle was manufactured with and provides peace of mind in its familiarity and performance.

OEM parts will usually cost more than an aftermarket part. That being said, dealers are now trying to compete with aftermarket part suppliers and the prices on some parts are coming down.

We purchase most of our OEM parts from a dealership. The dealerships often take longer to deliver parts than the aftermarket suppliers. You can request OEM parts, but it may take longer to get your vehicle repaired.

You pay the extra money for an OEM part, hoping that it’s better than an aftermarket part. But that may not always be the case. As mentioned earlier, some aftermarket parts are equal to or in some cases better than OEM parts. So you might be paying extra just for the name.

When Should You Request OEM Parts?

When it comes to collision repairs, make sure you are getting OEM parts, since aftermarket body panels may not fit properly or have proper crumple zones for crash safety.

Hope this helps! From your local mechanic, All Tune & Lube Total Car Care Tempe. Complete auto repair and maintenance.

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How to Spot a Dishonest Auto Repair Shop

Car DoctorWe’ve all heard lots of stories about dishonest auto repair shops. My customers here at All Tune and Lube Tempe have told me enough of them about other shops. It’s not too hard to understand since most people don’t know a lot about how their car works or what it takes to do the repairs. The good news is that the vast majority of independent auto repair shops are honest and want to provide their customers with value for their service. But there are crooks in every business. Here are some ways to protect yourself and spot the rotten apple.

Few dishonest businesses last long. Once word gets out that shady, shoddy or unnecessary work is being done that’s pretty much the end unless they have an outsized advertizing budget! If the shop has been in business for more than a couple years and is still busy you can bet they’re doing something right.

Check reviews! You can’t fool the internet.

Professionalism shows. Crooks aren’t proud of themselves, an honest businessman is. Is the shop and customer area clean and well ordered? Are they associated with the BBB or ASE?

Make sure the service writer explains to you in detail what the problem is and what it’s likely to take to make the repairs. Also, they should be pleased to take you to your car and show you what they’ve found. Ask for your old parts to make sure they were actually replaced. Get an estimate of repairs before the work starts.

You don’t have to pay for repairs you didn’t authorize. It’s not uncommon to find additional issues once the vehicle is on the rack that neither you or the technician were aware of at the start but there is no excuse for a shop to perform repairs you didn’t OK.

In Arizona it’s also not legal for an auto repair shop to hold your vehicle because it needs a repair. If any shop tells you that they can’t release your vehicle to you until some repair has been made they’re misinformed or trying to rob you.

Communication. An honest shop will be in touch with you throughout the repair process.

There really aren’t that many shady shops around but they do exist. Keep an eye on these few things and you should be fine.

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

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Should You use a Dealer or Independent shop in Tempe AZ

Photo of the shop, 8-28-13Sooner or later every car owner will have to ask themselves if they should take their car in to the dealer or to an independent shop and it’s a question folks have asked us at All Tune & Lube Total Car Care. Both can repair your vehicle and do a good job at it but there are advantages and disadvantages to either.

So which is best for you, your car and your bank account? Here’s a look at the pros and the cons of dealer and independent repair shops. Independent repair shops are smaller and less expensive than dealer shops. And many get high marks for customer service.

“People are more satisfied with independent repair shops,” says Robert Krughoff, president of Consumers’ Checkbook, which has been rating auto repair shops since 1976. “And they tend to be less expensive than dealers.”
Independent repair shops, like All Tune and Lube Total Car Care in Tempe Arizona rely on word-of-mouth recommendations and customer referrals for much of their business. So it’s no surprise that many independent garages place a high premium on customer service and satisfaction.

Because independent shops tend to be small, with maybe three to five technicians, you’ll get to know the owner and everyone that works there. You’ll be able to ask questions directly to the mechanic working on your car.
Because of lower prices, a small independent shop is a great place to go for basic maintenance and repairs not covered by a car’s warranty. At the dealership, everything costs more.

It’s a common misconception that you have to take your vehicle in to the dealership for regular services in order to maintain you r warranty. That’s simply not true. The Magnuson-Moss Act of 1975 made it illegal for dealerships to deny warranty claims because normal service work was performed at an independent facility.

And don’t worry that a smaller garage won’t know how to fix your cars’ problem. Thanks to new software programs, today’s independent garages have nearly all the same technical and repair information as dealers.

Manufacturers publish technical service bulletins to assist technicians in diagnosing and repairing problems in cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles and a good independent will have that information.

Still, knowledge is one thing, skill is another. Make sure you choose a shop with ASE Certified technicians.ASE certification is done by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and in order to maintain their certification mechanics must pass comprehensive exams every five years.

While you r vehicle is under warranty you need to have the dealership do any warranty repairs. The dealership is able to recoup the costs of warranty repairs from the manufacturer. If you get the repair done any place else, you’ll have to foot the bill yourself. As good as the price and service may be at a small, independent garage, nothing beats getting a repair for free.

The biggest advantage of taking a car to a dealer shop is its tie to the auto manufacturer. If you have a beef with the service or a particular repair, you can always take it up with the auto manufacturer. Plus, many dealer mechanics receive factory-authorized instruction, so many of the mechanics at a dealership are likely to know their stuff.

As mentioned earlier, any repair covered by a new car warranty must be done at a dealer shop if you want it free.
One thing missing from a dealer shop is the personal touch. You hand your keys over to a service manager or service writer, not a technician or mechanic.

At a dealership you won’t often meet the mechanic working on your car. A large dealership could have 20-30 mechanics working on any given day. You could ask to talk to the tech working on your car but it will probably be a different person each time.

The other downside to taking your car into a dealer shop is the price. You tend to pay more for basic maintenance and repairs at a dealer shop. Once a new car warranty expires, there’s little tying you to a dealer shop.
You may want to compare dealer prices with a local independent garage. Tracking down a lower-priced and reliable independent garage could really trim your auto maintenance bills.

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

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Can I Use Cheap Gas in My Car? Tempe Arizona

gas stationCustomers have asked us at All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe if there’s a difference in fuel between stations and if it’s alright to uses the cheap stuff in their vehicles. There’s a common belief among drivers that gas purchased at some gas stations isn’t the same quality as gas purchased from the big-name gas stations. We’ve even heard rumors in the past that say some gas stations dilute cheap gas with small amounts of water, affecting power and engine efficiency. Neither of these is true. In reality, all gas stations are governed by laws that cover the storage and pumping of gasoline, and independent and no-name gas stations usually buy gasoline from the well-known oil companies anyway. The difference? Cheaper gasoline doesn’t have as much of the additives designed to clean older engines. With today’s modern fuel-injection systems however, that shouldn’t make much difference. So go ahead, use the cheap stuff.

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

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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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