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Used Vehicle Inspection

Used Vehicle Inspection

It’s always exciting to get a new car – even when it’s used. But it can feel like you’re going out on a limb a bit when you buy a used vehicle. I mean, people sell vehicles for a lot of reasons. Maybe they just wanted a new car, maybe there was something wrong with it, and maybe there was something really wrong with it. It’s a great idea to order a report from a vehicle history service. This can uncover title problems and may reveal serious accidents or flood damage as well as any recall notices for the vehicle. Maintenance and repair records are a plus, but most sellers don’t have them. Of course the best thing is to get a professional to perform a used vehicle inspection. The inspection will go much deeper than just how good the vehicle looks and drives. You’ll get a feel for the vehicle’s overall condition, the status of major safety systems and an indication of how well it has been maintained. You’ll get a goo ... read more

What are ball joints?

What are ball joints?

Most drivers in Gilbert, AZ know ball joints are an important part of the suspension system. Visualize a ball attached to a spindle with the ball enclosed in a cup. This allows the joint to move in several directions, kind of like how your hip works. Most vehicles have two or four ball joints on the front, depending on the type of suspension system. The joint allows the wheels to move up and down as the tires go over bumps, as well as allowing the wheels to turn as you steer. The ball joints are continuously working and are subject to normal wear. Most ball joints on modern vehicles are maintenance free, meaning they are sealed and cannot be lubricated. Once the lubricant breaks down or leaks out due to a broken seal, the ball joint will wear more quickly. You may hear a clicking or popping sound from a corner of the vehicle when turning and/or going over bumps as a ball joint is failing. Your steering may begin to feel sloppy or stiff, depending on how the joint is wearing. You may ... read more

Do I Need a New Battery?

Do I Need a New Battery?

Today’s vehicles have more electrical components and do-dads than ever before.  This really strains your electrical system, making it hard for the battery to keep up. Think about it: electric seats, seat heaters, power locks, windows and sunroofs.  And then we have all the power outlets for our cell phones, computers, and DVD players. We also have navigation systems and powerful stereos.  Plus, there are all the engine and transmission computers, traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, sensors and on and on. Even the security system is running off the battery while the car is turned off.  And of course, summer heat can take a real toll on battery life. Fortunately, battery technology has given us resilient batteries that are able to meet these strenuous requirements.  But the fact is; batteries just wear out over time.  Eventually, every battery gets to the point where it cannot hold enough of a charge to start your car. Sometimes bat ... read more

Severe or Normal Driving?

Severe or Normal Driving?

Owner's manuals have schedules for preventive maintenance. Gilbert can check on things like oil changes, transmission service and so on. They say you should change your oil after driving a certain distance or after so many months. Gilbert drivers understand this very well. What they may not know is that there are actually two service schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. The distance and time intervals are lower on the severe service schedule. Now when you hear “severe service”, you may think it doesn't apply to you because you don't feel your driving conditions are severe or extreme – it's just normal everyday driving. So let's list some of the conditions that classify as severe so that Gilbert drivers can make the judgment on their own driving. • Most trips are less than four miles (six kilometers) • Most trips are less than nine miles/fifteen kilometers and outside Gilbert ... read more

Busted Myth: Maintenance Free Vehicle

Busted Myth: Maintenance Free Vehicle

Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.  So, does that mean that modern vehicles have become maintenance free? Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, people were more mindful of routine service.  Now, it’s much easier to put it off.  Take tune-ups for example.  In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years.   If your engine was out of tune, you knew it.  It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy. Now, the ignition system is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer.  Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles.  So, tune-ups used to force you in for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list. So, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance?  Well, your car will perform better and return better fuel economy.&nb ... read more

Question of the day: Item Most Stolen from Vehicles?

Question of the day: Item Most Stolen from Vehicles?

What item is most often stolen from vehicles? Is it: (A) Stereo (B) Wheels (C) Air Bag (D) DVD System Well, if you said stereo – you used to be right. But airbags have now surpassed stereos as the biggest target for theft – approximately 50,000 a year nationally in the United States. New airbags cost about $1,000 for Gilbert but go for $50 to $200 on the black market. Stolen airbags are making their way back into vehicles that have been in an accident in Gilbert. Of course, the danger to the consumer of having a stolen airbag installed is that you can never be sure what may have previously affected them and if they will work right when you need them. There are reports that 1 in 25 airbag replacements are stolen or salvaged airbags – or no airbag is installed at all. That is definitely a part you don't want to take a chance with, so we recommend following the following guidelines: Use a reputable collision repair center like Spectrum Car C ... read more

Suspension Problems?

Suspension systems should continue to operate effectively for many years and tens of thousands of miles/kilometers, holding your tires' foot print on the road. Eventually components do wear out, but how long that takes depends a lot on how you drive. As you can imagine, if most of your driving is on smooth AZ highways, your vehicle shock absorbers will last a lot longer than if you do most of your driving on bumpy Gilbert roads or hauling heavy loads. In addition to just wearing out, upgraded shock suspension components can be damaged in an accident or by a hard impact, like hitting a pothole, a curb or a rock in the road. Because the life span of shocks can vary so widely, your vehicle manufacturer recommends periodic inspections. During a car inspection at Spectrum Car Care Center, your Gilbert service technician will check for worn, broken or missing suspension parts. If the inspection reveals any problems, take care of this important safety a ... read more

The Harm in Skipping an Oil Change

Some new are now recommending much higher oil change intervals than they have in the past. As much as 5,000 to 10,000 miles, or 10,000 to 15,000 kilometers, or more. Following these recommendations is very important to avoid engine damage. When Gilbert drivers go too long between oil changes, oil starts to turn to sludge. This causes small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail. What causes oil sludge? It's a factor of time and mileage. There are hot spots in every vehicle engine that cause oil burn off that leads to sludge. Also, water from normal condensation can build up in the oil. This water also creates sludge. Severe driving conditions in AZ lead to more rapid sludge formation. Severe driving includes short trips around Gilbert or trips in freezing AZ conditions. The engine just doesn't get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate. Severe conditions are at the ... read more

What is an alternator and why do I need one?

Your alternator makes electricity to start and run your engine and all of the electrical systems in your vehicle. That’s everything from the on-board computers to the turn signals. And of course there is the entertainment system, seat heaters, power window, and everything you plug into the power outlets. After your alternator makes enough electricity to do all that, it recharges your battery with what’s left over. When you constantly have a low or dead battery, the alternator is usually a prime suspect. However, the alternator is just one component of the starting/charging system, and a problem with any of the other components could be the actual cause. In addition to the alternator, the charging/starting system includes the battery, starter, serpentine belt system and all of the electrical cables that connect them. Your Spectrum Car Care Center technician has a systematic process of testing components and connections to get to the source of your problem. The initial symp ... read more

Tire Tread Depth

When talking about stopping power, we tend to focus on our brakes. But our tires are where the rubber meets the road. So having good brakes isn't enough: we have to have tires with enough traction to translate braking power into stopping power. Let's focus on stopping in wet conditions. In order for a tire to have good contact with the road, it has to move the water out of the way. If it can't move the water, the tire will actually ride on top of a thin film of water. To move water out of the way, the tire has channels for water to flow through. Look at a tire and you'll see channels that run around and across the tire. They're designed to direct water away from the tire so it can contact the road better. The deeper the channel, the more water it can move. A brand new tire has very deep channels and can easily move a lot of water. As the tire wears down, the channels become shallower and can move less water. When it wears down enough, it can seriously affect your ... read more

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