Tag Archives: MAINTENANCE

Conventional or synthetic oil?

Conventional or synthetic oil?

Heard of synthetic motor oil but would like to learn more information?  Well, synthetic motor oil is a substitute for conventional oil.  Synthetic doesn’t gel or gum-up like conventional oil and it doesn’t vaporize as easily.  It protects better in severe driving conditions like stop and go driving as well as in very hot or very cold conditions. More and more new vehicles are being delivered with full synthetic motor oil – with the recommendation to use synthetic for the life of the vehicle. Why is this?  Synthetic motor oil maximizes engine power and fuel economy.  To see why we’d need a microscope, so we’ll have to settle for using our imaginations.  The molecules of conventional motor oil are long hydrocarbon chains.  Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, has uniform, round molecules.  Which is slipperier? – A pile of pencils or a pile of marbles? Synthetic motor oil lubricates better because there&rsqu ... read more

Cooling System Service. Keeping your engine cool.

Cooling System Service. Keeping your engine cool.

Gilbert drivers often ask questions about the cooling system, the system that cools your vehicle engine and keeps it at the proper operating temperature. Let’s examine the topic in two areas: first, the coolant itself and second, the parts that make up the cooling system. The coolant is the mix of water and antifreeze that circulates through the engine to draw off heat. First, you need to have the proper amount. If you don’t have enough coolant, it can’t keep your vehicle engine cool. You also need the right kind of coolant. Different makes of vehicles require different coolant formulation to protect against corrosion. Finally, your coolant needs to be fresh. Over time and miles of driving, the anti-corrosion additives in the coolant are depleted, and the coolant can actually start to eat away at the vehicle's cooling system parts. Your owner’s manual and your Spectrum Car Care Center service advisor can help yo ... read more

Fuel Saving Tip: Cleaning your fuel system will save you money!

Fuel Saving Tip: Cleaning your fuel system will save you money!

A lot of gas is wasted in dirty fuel delivery systems.  Let’s start at the tank.  The gas tank gathers of dirt, rust and sediment over the years.  That’s why there’s a fuel filter to clean the fuel after it leaves the tank.  A dirty filter will rob the engine of the clean gas it needs to run efficiently. The fuel intake components get coated with gum and varnish over time.  This results in fuel being delivered inefficiently and some of that gunk getting into the engine.  A fuel system service will leave your intake as clean as a whistle.   The big fuel thief is dirty fuel injectors.  They deliver fuel to the engine at a specified pressure and in a specific spray pattern.  When they’re clogged, the fuel doesn’t get atomized the way it’s supposed to and doesn’t get burned as efficiently. See your owner’s manual or ask your service advisor for when fuel system cleaning is recommended

A/C Not Blowing Hard? Check the Cabin Air Filter

A/C Not Blowing Hard? Check the Cabin Air Filter

Question: My car has a bad odor when I run the heater or air conditioner. My friend said I might need a new cabin air filter – what's that? Spectrum Car Care Center Answer:cabin air filter is a special filter that cleans the air that comes into the Gilbert drivers' passenger compartments – or cabin – of their vehicles. Most new vehicles sold in AZ now have a cabin air filter. A cabin air filter catches dust, pollen, spores and other pollutants before they can get into your cabin. It's kind of like the filter on your furnace in your Gilbert home, cleaning the air you breathe inside your vehicle. As Gilbert drivers can imagine, it eventually gets filled up and can even start to get smelly. So – you just have it replaced. Now some are really easy to access and others are tougher to get to. Your friendly and knowledgeable Spec ... 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

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

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