AUTONET TV


Archive for December 2021

Don't Miss a Beat (Importance of Regular Maintenance)

Posted December 26, 2021 10:02 AM

In many places, license plates have to be renewed every year or else you can't drive your vehicle legally.  Usually, you'll get a reminder from the agency that issues the plates.

That kind of regular attention needs to be paid to your vehicle as well.  Its manufacturer has determined a schedule of service items that need to be done regularly, just like renewing your plates.

Some depend on time, others depend on distance.  A perfect example is oil changes.  It's the most important scheduled maintenance you can have done to give your engine its longest life possible.  The manufacturer recommends the oil filter be changed at the same time.

Here are some more items.  Your engine air filter gets dirty and needs adequate air to run most efficiently.  The manufacturer recommends an interval for replacing that.  Also tires, brake pads, timing belt, oxygen sensor and other items require regular replacement. 

This is one of the reasons to find a service facility that you like and keep going there.  Many will keep records of what's been done to your vehicle and send you reminders of when it's time to schedule service items.  Some do it by mail, others by email.  Still others might text you or give you a phone call.  Remember, they base those reminders on the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations. 

We all have a lot going on in our lives, so these reminders can help you avoid missing important service items that are important to your vehicle's durability and safety.  So if you move or change phone numbers or email addresses, make sure your vehicle service facility gets the word.  Otherwise you won't get the reminders and your service advisor will wonder what's happened to you!

At the same time, you might want to let your vehicle manufacturer know when you've changed your address, phone number or email address.  If there is a safety recall or your manufacturer is offering an extended warranty on some of your vehicle's systems, they'll need to reach you.   


AutoSurgeonInc
1820 E Kalamazoo St
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-374-8940



How Much Does It Cost? (Variations in Vehicle Repair Costs)

Posted December 19, 2021 9:24 AM

Ever wonder why it costs so much more to fix a similar problem in two different vehicles? Let's say you now own an SUV and before that, you owned a car.  Your SUV's air conditioning system needs a new evaporator, but the cost for the new one is way more than you remember it was for your car.  How can there be that big of a difference?

There are many reasons.  For one thing, vehicles aren't all the same.  Yes, they have engines and steering wheels and suspensions, but engineering and design can vary widely among different styles and brands. 

In the case of replacing the evaporator, the one in your former car may have been located in a spot where the technician could get to it easily.  Plus, the part may have been less complicated and, therefore, cheaper.  Your SUV may require the entire dashboard to be removed with special tools to detach the a/c lines from the evaporator.  Plus, since it is supplying cool air to a bigger cabin, it may be more complicated; the part itself may cost quite a bit more.

But you're not an expert, so how do you know the price is fair? This is where it helps to establish a good, long-lasting relationship with a reputable service repair facility.  They know you, they know your vehicle and they value keeping you as a customer. A facility that doesn't care about repeat business may try to suggest more repairs than are needed or inflate their prices.  But those shops are unlikely to stay in business very long since their reputation gets around. 

If you've been taking your vehicles to the same shop for several years, you've had experience with them and know their policy on labor costs and parts prices.  At some point you may wonder if it's worth it to keep putting money into your vehicle, and if you know your service advisor, you have developed a trust for his or her advice. 

Keep this in mind, too.  Vehicle designers and engineers have made significant progress in things like powertrain technology and rust prevention.  That means today's vehicles are meant to last longer.  One study in a major consumer magazine shows that if you can keep your vehicle on the road for 200,000 miles/320,000 km, an average of 15 years, some vehicles can save you up to $30,000 or more. Investing in repairs can make a lot of sense. 

AutoSurgeonInc
1820 E Kalamazoo St
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-374-8940



Take Charge! (Battery Testing)

Posted December 12, 2021 10:30 AM

OK, so you probably take your vehicle's battery for granted.  Turn the key or push a button and it starts right up.  During times of warmer weather, you probably think your battery can take it easy.  But it may surprise you to learn that hot weather can be much harder on a vehicle's battery than cold.  So it's wise to know what condition your battery is in BEFORE you find out the hard way—being stranded by a dead battery.

Your vehicle's battery won't last forever; an average battery will last 3-5 years.  When's the last time yours was replaced? You probably have no idea.  Your vehicle will usually give you some hints that it's in need of attention.  See if any of these are familiar:

  • your engine doesn't turn over as quickly as it used to
  • your headlights are a little dimmer
  • your Check Engine or Battery dashboard light is on
  • you hear a click when you try to start your vehicle
  • some electrical equipment in your vehicle isn't behaving the way it used to
  • your engine smells like rotten eggs
  • the terminals on your battery are corroded
  • your battery was made more than 4 years ago

Even if there are no signs your battery is on its last legs, it's a good idea to have it periodically checked at your vehicle service facility, at least once a year. A technician will check the date it was made (it's on the battery's case). They'll inspect your battery, cables and connections, looking for corrosion, bulges in the battery or any other abnormal signs.

Using special diagnostic equipment, the technician can run some tests on your battery and vehicle's electrical systems. They can measure how fully charged your battery is and how much potential it has to hold a charge.  Then, your service advisor will tell you how much more life to expect from your battery or recommend it be replaced. 

It you need a new one, your service advisor can recommend options for you. Important factors include brand, warranty, where the terminals are on the battery, the ability to handle different cranking loads and temperature ranges.  Bet you didn't know vehicle batteries can be that different!

AutoSurgeonInc
1820 E Kalamazoo St
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-374-8940



I NEED All Wheel Drive (Pros and Cons of AWD)

Posted December 5, 2021 9:24 AM

So winter has arrived and you don't feel confident in how your 2-wheel drive vehicle does in the snow and ice.  You envy all those people with all-wheel-drive (AWD) and 4-wheel-drive (4WD) cars, trucks and SUVs.  You start thinking, "I need one of those.  I'll be able to go anywhere without any worries."  The truth is there might be another option for you that you might not have thought of. 

Sure, you've seen the ads that tout the advantages of AWD and 4WD, and some of the videos make it look like they can handle everything Mother Nature can throw their way.  The truth, though, is that vehicles with drive wheels at all four corners can't stop any more quickly than those with 2-wheel-drive.  Yes, AWD and 4WD vehicle have advantages when it comes to acceleration, but when it comes to stopping and handling, they generally don't. 

If you buy a new AWD or 4WD vehicle, you are going to spend thousands of dollars.  Maintenance and upkeep costs are higher due to the vehicle's increased complexity and weight, and you're likely to take a hit in fuel economy.  So, what's the option we mentioned above?  It's simple.  Winter tires. 

If you have a front-wheel-drive (FWD) vehicle with winter tires, you'll notice a tremendous difference in your winter traction and stopping than the all-season tires that are on most vehicles.  One tire company, Michelin, wanted to find out which was better in the snow: an AWD car with all-season tires or a FWD car with winter tires.  And they found while the AWD car could get going a little more easily, in most of the other comparisons, the FWD car with winter tires handled equally or better and stopped in a shorter distance.  The optimal combination would be, of course, AWD or 4WD with winter tires.  But one major consumer testing magazine found that only about 12 percent of their subscribers who drove AWD or 4WD vehicle in the snow for more than 6 days in the previous winter even used winter tires!

So a set of winter tires may give you the handling and stopping you're looking for and for a lot less cash than a new AWD vehicle.  Consult your service advisor for some recommendations.  You may be pleasantly surprised at how you can handle winter roads without having to handle a new, big, fat monthly payment for a new vehicle. 

AutoSurgeonInc
1820 E Kalamazoo St
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-374-8940



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Just a word of thanks for the top notch done to Wema's Carolla and for the thoughtful communication with our Tanzanian exchange student. Not only did you fix her car, but also handled arranging towing, all in a narrow window of time. Wema is delighted to have her car back, running better than ever. Couldn't be more happy with your service! quotes-image
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