Articles:

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

The Maintenance Mindset

We generally accept that many things in life require regular maintenance but just may have not applied it to our vehicles. For example, we water and mow the lawn every week. And weed the flower beds and rake the leaves. We go to our Gilbert dentist twice a year, take our clothes to the dry cleaner. Flu shots. Taking the kids for a checkup before school starts. So people in AZ really are maintenance minded. They just have to learn to apply that mindset to their vehicles. I mean, if you never brush your teeth or go to the dentist, you'll become painfully aware of your neglect when you get a big cavity. Once the damage is done, we learn our lesson and start to take better care of things. Unfortunately, Gilbert drivers too often learn the hard automotive lesson when they have to take their vehicle to their Gilbert auto center on a tow truck. So many times, a little routine maintenance would have prevented a breakdown. Here's something that will help: The ke ... read more

SOME LIKE IT COLD!

SOME LIKE IT COLD!

IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR!   Time to get ready for the summer! The month of May is around the corner and sooner than later it'll be 100F outside. If your vehicle A/C system is not blowing very cold air you might just need a quick Freon recharge. It's an inexpensive service but it has to be done correctly. Don't get tempted by the DYI stuff that you'll find at the store because the wrong amount (or product) could cause some serious and costly damage to your system. We have the latest and greatest A/C machine that measures and puts the right amount and the right product in the system. As a bonus we also add dye to the product this way if there's a leak we'll see where it's coming from. Of course we're running a $79.99 special - see below.   Also it's also a good idea to check your cabin air filter if the air flow coming out of the vents is weak. It's usually located behind the glove compartment ... read more

Time to talk air conditioning

Let's talk about air conditioning service and repair issues. Most of us in Gilbert don't give our air conditioning a second thought as long as it's making cold air. But it's a complex and expensive system that we should think about before it starts blowing hot air. The refrigerant in the air conditioner contains a special oil that lubricates and cools the A/C parts. When enough refrigerant leaks out, your air conditioner still makes cold air, but the parts don't have enough oil to protect them and they wear out faster than they should. So it's important to service the air conditioner as recommended by your service center. Replacing old refrigerant has another benefit: refrigerant tends to gather moisture and become corrosive. That causes leaks in the system which can be expensive to repair. Fresh refrigerant protects the air conditioning components and keeps the system operating at peak efficiency so it doesn't have to wor ... read more

The cost of repairs explained

Full-service automotive service center, profit margins are a lot narrower than many people imagine. Cars are far more complex, thus the tools and diagnostic equipment are also more complicated and . Diagnosing why your Check Engine light is on may require a machine that costs $18k. Ask a senior technician how much he/she has invested in tools, initial education and ongoing training. For example, a carburetor used to be a pretty simple part to maintain and repair. Nowadays, an electronic fuel system repair in Gilbert requires a technician to have a higher level of knowledge and expensive diagnostic equipment to read and interpret the numerous trouble codes. And it doesn't end there. Shops must pay subscription fees for database services to locate and order the right parts. Buying or leasing shop space has risen along with other commercial real estate prices in Gilbert. All the technology that makes today's cars safer, more reliable, more fuel-efficient, more comfortable, more ... read more

A bad situation but it could have been worse...

Spectrum Car Care Center Tech Question: I was driving on the freeway in AZ and my vehicle engine started to get hot. I turned off my air conditioner and was able to drive the short distance to my meeting and then found a shop in Gilbert. It turns out that my water pump was leaking. It cost me many hundreds of dollars to get it fixed. What could I have done to avoid this? Spectrum Car Care Center Answer: This guy's story really did have a happy ending. When you continue driving when your engine's overheating you risk a catastrophic engine failure. It really is a good idea to pull over and let your vehicle engine cool down before driving again. If you add water or coolant, be sure your engine is cool or you risk serious burns. Now there's no way for Gilbert drivers to predict when their water pump will fail – they just wear out. This fellow's water pump ... read more

Like a (less painfull) dentist Visit

It's comforting for Gilbert drivers to know that Spectrum Car Care Center has exacting standards and procedures for taking care of your car. There are inspection procedures and auto service procedures. When Gilbert drivers come in for a routine service like an oil change, our technicians will give things the once over. They look to see if parts need to be replaced, such as your windshield wipers or air filter. They'll check what your owner's manual recommends be done at your mileage. They'll come to you with suggestions for things to be taken care of, along with a prioritization, so you'll know if there's anything urgent. They will also let you know of things that will need attention in the coming months. Look, it's really like going to the dentist for regular check-ups. No one wants to hear that they need dental work done – it's unpleasant and costs money. Same thing with your car or truck ... read more

What are the signs that I need a brake job?

Signs of brake problems often fall into one of two categories for Gilbert : making noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal. Let's start with the noise. Most brake pads have an audible brake wear indicator. This is a small piece of metal that rubs on your brake rotor when the brake pads are worn to the point they should be replaced. The noise is a chirp or soft squeal. This noise gives Gilbert drivers enough warning to get their brakes serviced while there is still enough brake pad left to enable you to stop safely. Gilbert residents who ignore the chirp find that the sound changes to a grinding noise. That is more serious. It means that the friction material on your brake pad is worn away and metal parts of the brake are grinding against the rotor when you press on the brakes. Obviously, this metal-on-metal means that your brakes aren't stopping very well. It also means that your rotor is being ... read more

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