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How to avoid a Check Engine light

How to avoid a “Check Engine” light, #1. Don’t fill your tank to the neck. The Evaporative Emission (EVAP) system on your car handles the vapors from the gas tank and provides a vent for it. It can’t handle liquid. Consistently over-filling your car can damage the EVAP system, setting a “Check Engine” light.

EVAP codes can be some of the most difficult to repair on some cars and often cost a lot of money.

If you’re paying with a credit card, what difference does it make if you click it until you get even money for the purchase?

Slow the flow as the tank gets full and let it click off. Maybe one more to be sure, but stop the pump, already.

Need a “shot of freon?”

A few warm afternoons causing you to think your car AC needs to be serviced?

An AC is a heat exchanger. In order to properly test OR SERVICE IT, the outside air temperature should be 75 deg. F or higher. Hold off getting anything done to it until daytime highs are in that range.

There are plenty of places that will probably take your money and promise to “add a shot” of freon to it. That’s a terrible idea, since the exact right amount can only really be determined by system pressures. These pressures fluctuate with, you guessed it, outside air temperatures.

Sometimes, the lowest cost service is the one who doesn’t always readily take your money. We think doing it right is the most important part of service. Besides, when we do it right, you get the coldest air and that’s what really matters when it gets hot outside.

3 fast, easy checks for pothole damage that you can do.

First, at low speeds of 10 to 15 mph, take your eyes off your texting for a moment 🙂 and watch your steering wheel. If it has a rhythmic wobble, you may have a tire or wheel problem.

Next, look to see if your steering wheel is reasonably centered while driving down a smooth, flat road (if you can find one). 🙂

Then, see if the car wants to go straight with very little correction from you.

If you see any of these issues first, air up the tires. A low tire can cause any of these. If that doesn’t fix it, call us.

You may have a tire failure in the making. We’ll keep you going and make sure you’re safe. Share this with friends. Most cars can take quite a pounding from potholes without any damage. Don’t worry to excess. Get your car into us for regular checks. Twice a year is normally all most cars need to be safe and reliable.

When should a Honda or Toyota timing belt be replaced?

We are frequently asked if we can inspect a timing belt to see how it’s doing. While it seems like a reasonable question, timing belts don’t show their age visibly. A timing belt failure doesn’t predict itself by making noises or changing the way the car drives.

Based on conditions in Lincoln, Nebraska, it seems as though 100,000 miles is a reasonable timing belt life on a Honda or Toyota. Other makes of cars have different expectations, which is one reason we’ve chosen to be experts in only Honda and Toyota.

So, you don’t drive much, how long should you wait? About 6 years is the generally accepted standard for safe timing belt service for most Honda or Toyota products.

What else should be done at that time? The timing belt must be removed on most imports in order to access the water pump, so it only makes sense to replace the water pump with each belt service. The tensioners and idler bearings also are a good idea, as failure of any of those damages the belt.

We’ve found that using premium motor oils allows the engine oil seals to stay soft nearly forever, so we haven’t found the need to change those.

The external drive belts must be removed to do the job, so the package should include those, as well. Done right, this is one job that should last another 6 years or 100,000 miles.

Call us for prices and availability, we’re your best choice for import auto service in Lincoln, NE and surrounding towns.

The future of gas prices

Gas is under 2 bucks now, but one industry expert predicts $5 gas isn’t far away. Moral of the story: Buying a vehicle is a long-term decision, the price of fuel is a short-term value.

One car dealer reported that they were only selling large vehicles and the small, fuel efficient models were languishing on the lot. So, if you want a small one, now might be a good time to buy. If you want a huge vehicle, wait 6 months to a year. Clean, used guzzlers might be plentiful and cheap to acquire.

Toyota sales have been up substantially, while sales of the Prius have dropped. One article compared the upfront cost of buying a Prius to a similarly equipped, gas powered Chevy Cruze. At $2 a gallon, the article concluded that it would take 28 years of driving to break even, compared to the overall costs of the Cruze. Naturally, there are many more things to consider when comparing the two vehicles. But, we digress…

Low priced fuel should be considered a temporary windfall. When it comes to pure economics, keeping the car you have a few more years can pay off big. We help you do just that. Call us today and schedule a “day at the spa” for your car or maybe just an overall objective mechanical inspection.

Why are gas prices dropping?

As unbelievable as this may seem, there is now a surplus of oil in the world market. There are several causes.

First, the United States is now producing more oil than ever. We’re within a kitten whisker of producing as much oil as Saudi Arabia. The Dakotas are rich with new oil. In addition, we’ve also found abundant new sources of natural gas, which can reduce our use of oil.

Why are gas prices dropping

Second, we’re doing a good job of conservation. Fuel economy on vehicles is up, other energy sources are helping, as well.

Third, the world demand for oil has gone down, as other economies soften.

In June, 2014, a barrel of crude sold for about $115. By Dec. 2014, that price had dropped to around $65. There’s some important politics at play. The Saudis have reduced production in the past to prop up prices. Other oil producing countries didn’t do much to help them and the Saudis lost market share as a result. This time, the Saudis have intentionally kept the flow up, possibly to reduce exploration and reduce world supply in order to raise the price back up.

It’s expected that oil prices will stay low for at least 6 months or longer. Use the extra savings on energy to your benefit. Don’t rush out to buy a huge vehicle on a 7-year loan. No way to know how long this will last.

One thing is for sure. At this current rate, we’ll no longer depend on the middle east for our oil. That’s good news.

We’re experts on all aspects of auto repair and service. Educating our customers is one way we help you get the most out of your vehicle. Please feel free to share this blog with your friends.

6 things to check on your car before Holiday travel.

Before you ever start a car, performing a quick underhood check is easy. Check oil, coolant and washer fluid in less than 60 seconds and never mess up your hands.

Pull out the oil dipstick and look at the tip. The dot or line closest to the end indicates a quart low, the next one up is full. Anywhere in between is perfect, if it shows a quart low, put a quart in. The oil filler cap generally shows the proper oil to use.

6 things to check on your car before Holiday travel

Take the cap off the radiator and make sure it’s full to the top. (this must only be done when ice cold, or you’ll get severely burned and then you’ll know why).

Check the washer fluid level. Close the hood (easier to see at highway speeds with it down).

Turn on the lights, make sure you have at least 2 headlights and 2 tail lights working.

Check tire pressure or at least look at the tires for bulges or serious cracks.

Finally, use the windshield washers to see if the wipers work. The area cleaned

If this is just too much for you to do, call us. We have a Vacation Inspection Special for only 29 bucks and we’ll do it all for you, plus much more. Enjoy your trip.

Low Tire Woes

So, you discover a low tire. How far away are you from a place that can fill it up? Can you make it without damaging the tire? How late will that make you? How long will you have to wait for road service to do it for you? Aaack, I want coffee! Ahem. 🙂

Low Tire Woes

Answer: Pull this little compressor out of your trunk, clip the air fitting onto the tire valve (it holds itself in place) and plug the cord into the lighter socket. The gauge shows the pressure and in minutes you’re back on the road. Easy, just a little planning solves the problem.

We sell these for only $39.95 and have a few left. If you buy one, that will virtually ensure that you’ll never need it. 🙂 We prevent auto repair problems.

Air Bag Recall.

Like we don’t already have enough panic and worry in our lives. 🙂 The issue with the air bags in many recent recall actions has come from the effects on the air bags of extreme high heat coupled with extremely high humidity. We don’t have those conditions here in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Some car makers may not even recall cars outside of those southern areas. Here’s a link to a site that will allow you to perform a quick check to see if you might be affected:

All cars get recalled eventually. If you do get a recall notice in the mail, contact any dealer for your vehicle (it’s your choice) and ask them to check to see if there are any other outstanding recalls due on your car. That way, you can get them all done at once. Recalls are free, you shouldn’t have to pay a nickel to get this done.

How to get your vehicle well past 200,000 miles

Over-the-road trucks are expected to last a million miles. That’s right, a million. Part of the reason is that things are serviced and maintained according to a rigorous schedule. The transmission fluid isn’t changed on a whim, like when “it looks dirty”. It’s serviced based on time and miles.

How to get your vehicle well past 200,000 miles

That’s exactly how we service vehicles. Today’s vehicles don’t need much in the way of maintenance at all, if the factory fluids are used and maintenance is performed on a schedule.

We have computer software that tracks 16 individual maintenance items by date and miles. We send you reminder letters to let you know when things are coming up, so you’re not surprised on arrival. This gives you time to review your own situation and make the decisions that are appropriate for you at the time. We never pressure anyone.

How to get your vehicle well past 200,000 miles

Our mission is to help your car last and be reliable for the least possible money. We don’t offer “fluid maintenance”, just to make a buck for ourselves. We offer complete maintenance, to help your money and your car last a long time.

People who trust their cars to us have fewer breakdowns and spend less on repairs. We earn people’s business by providing value. Call us for an appointment.

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