‘Car Advice’ Category

When Should I Have My Car Towed?

Friday, January 13th, 2012

One of the saddest things we see are vehicles that should have been towed but the driver decided to make it “just a little farther.” We hear things like “It was only a half mile away” or “The exit was just right up there.” These scenarios can cause a three hundred dollar job to turn into a several thousand dollar repair bill.

So, how do you know when you should have your car towed? ANY overheating issue should be towed rather than driven. This is the number one increased damage scenario we see. Anything that has turned on a red warning light is a good candidate for a tow call. A yellow warning light indicates you should seek service as soon as practical but it usually will not require a tow.

Any time a brake pedal fades to the floor suddenly the vehicle should be towed. Any loss of oil pressure is the same, tow it, do not drive it.

If the transmission is slipping badly, a tow is usually in order. Any large fluid leaks should end up in a tow call to avoid damage to internally lubricated components or damage caused by slipping or overheating.

Probably the best rule of thumb is, when in doubt, tow it!

Accurate Towing has fast service and professional drivers that can handle any situation for you. Just call 928-783-9309 for the finest tow service in Yuma. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How to prevent breaking down?

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

This could be your worst nightmare – breaking down on I-8 in the middle of the desert without any water in your car. How do you prevent your car from breaking down? The first way is to follow your manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance plan. For all car manufacturers, the engineers that design the vehicle and parts for the vehicle will test the vehicle and determine on average how long parts and fluids last. They also look at the make up of the component and, based off the years of historical data for their brand, they develop a recommended maintenance schedule which must be followed to maintain your warranty and to give you the best value for your automotive investment.

Manufacturer maintenance schedules allow a professional technician at Accurate Automotive to look at your vehicle and identify its maintenance needs based on the mileage and other factors. We follow the manufacturer’s checklist for which parts and systems need inspection and servicing. Also, this is the time that certain fluids need replaced to prevent damage to crucial systems in your car such as transmission and brake fluids. Scheduled maintenance will have each system of your car inspected from your battery to your brakes. Come into Accurate Automotive the next time your “Check Engine Light” or “Maintenance Service” light comes on. We have three convenient locations to help prevent you from breaking down in the middle of the desert (or anywhere else) and that it always gets you to where you want to go.

Express Auto RV Car Wash Video

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Saving Gas and Driving Green

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Driving green helps the environment and your budget. Here are some tips from EcoDriving.com.

Read Your Owner’s Manual

Tip #1: Your glove compartment holds one of the most important sources of fuel economy information, and it is customized for your model and engine. Your owner’s manual may even have a special section on fuel economy. Typically your owner’s manual will provide a recommended service schedule to keep your vehicle operating efficiently. Today’s automobile is designed to operate for well over 120,000 miles, and many vehicles run much further with proper care.

Use the Recommended Motor Oil

Tip #2: Your vehicle’s engine was designed to use a certain oil quality and viscosity, so check your owner’s manual for the recommended type of motor oil. According to the U.S. EPA, you can improve your fuel economy by 1-2% by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” contains friction-reducing additives that can provide additional benefits. Get more information from you service provider. Also, make sure you change the oil regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, because degraded motor oil will degrade fuel economy.

Schedule Periodic Engine Tune-ups

Tip #3: To keep your vehicle running at peak performance, visit your auto shop on a regular schedule. Today’s automobile has been called a computer on wheels, and auto mechanics use computer diagnostics to check motor timing, fuel injection, valves, spark plugs and more. Typically, a tune up can improve gas mileage by an average of 4%, but bigger gains could be seen.

Replace Air Filters Regularly

Tip #4: On today’s automobiles, air flow sensors constantly monitor the amount of air ingested by the engine, and fuel is metered accordingly. An air filter that is clogged with dirt or debris can require more fuel to pump air through the filter. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a clogged air filter can increase your mileage by 10%. How often should you change your air filter? As a general rule, if you can see light through your air filter, you don’t need a new one. But it is always best to consult your owner’s manual to determine the replacement schedule that will produce optimum results for your model of vehicle.

Check Your Tire Pressure Monthly

Tip #5:The Department of Energy estimates that 1.2 billion gallons of fuel were wasted in 2005 as a result of driving on underinflated tires. Tires can deflate naturally, by as much as 1.5 PSI (pounds per square inch) a month. Experts estimate that 25% of automobiles are running on tires with lower than recommended pressure. Fuel efficiency is reduced by 1% for every 3 PSI that tires are under-inflated. So, keeping your tires properly inflated translates into a free tank of gas a year and reduces CO2 emissions too. Check tire pressure at least once a month. The correct tire pressure in PSI can be found on the tire label, usually found on the edge of your door, the door frame or sill. If everyone properly inflated and aligned their tires, we’d save 300 million gallons of gas a year in California alone according to the California Energy Commission.

Check the Weather, then Check Your Tires

Tip #6: Tire pressure changes an average of 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit change in air temperature. So, a sudden cold snap or heat wave may mean it is time to check your tires. Properly inflated tires run cooler, last longer and improve fuel economy. The U.S. EPA estimates that gas mileage can improve by about 3% by keeping tires properly inflated.

Invest in a Tire Pressure Gauge

Tip #7: New autos are now on sale with tire pressure monitoring systems, including a new warning light on your dashboard. These systems will indicate when your tires are under-inflated by 25%, but it is always advisable to check your tires with a tire pressure gauge before you see the warning light. Tire pressure increases when driving, so to get an accurate reading, check your pressure when you haven’t driven for three or more hours.

Reduce Aerodynamic Drag

Tip #8: Remember the tail fins on circa 1950 vehicles? They were beautiful but not very aerodynamic. At highway speeds, about 50% of engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag, according to Consumer Reports. Wind resistance can reduce mileage, so you can maximize your mileage by removing luggage racks, roof-top carriers, and ski racks when they are not needed. Experts at Edmunds.com say that even keeping your car washed and waxed improves aerodynamics. (We recommend Express Auto for this of course!)

Tighten Your Gas Cap

Tip #9: Gasoline evaporates relatively easily, so today’s automobiles have been engineered to significantly reduce evaporative emissions compared to vehicles from the past. But a loose cap can be a quick escape route for gasoline. As much as 30 gallons of gasoline could be lost annually to evaporation when the fuel cap is not fully tightened. Loose, damaged or missing gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate each year, according to the Car Care Council. Your owner’s manual may have good advice because some manufacturers urge drivers to turn their gas caps until they click.

Remove Excess Weight from Your Vehicle

Tip #10: Pull those golf clubs out when not needed. Every pound of extra weight requires your automobile to work harder to move it, and that effort uses fuel. While it is convenient to leave items in your vehicle, weight affects fuel economy and CO2 emissions. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk typically reduces mileage by about 2%.

Maintain Your Air Conditioning System – Professionally

Tip #11: Air conditioning refrigerants can have high global warming potential. Insist on professional service with recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released to the atmosphere. As the refrigerant level decreases, so does the efficiency of the air conditioner. Similarly, too much refrigerant decreases efficiency. Having a professional maintain your air conditioner will maintain optimum performance.

More tips for saving the environment and your budget can be downloaded at www.ecodrivingusa.com, or click here for their Quick Tips.

Counterfeit Parts Warning

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Most of us know that cheap parts manufactured overseas have flooded our markets here in the U.S. We know that using these parts are not in our client’s best interest, or the company’s for that matter. The parts failure rates are high and quality is low. Some parts do not even make it out of the service bay before they fail to perform. There is no cost saving that offsets high failure rates and loss of confidence by our clients so we choose not to purchase and install parts of questionable origin or quality. There is another problem with parts in the service and repair industry however. That problem is counterfeit parts. Go here for a look at the issue first hand, the pictures and captions will astonish you. Click Here

So how do we prevent installing such counterfeit parts on our client’s vehicles? It’s not that hard actually, we purchase through only trusted suppliers. Large suppliers have too much to lose by buying parts from questionable sources so we trust them to buy only directly from the manufacturers of quality parts. We receive phone calls from time to time from folks who offer us amazing deals on “name brand” parts. Usually they are touted as having come from a “large distributor” who either bough too much product by mistake or has closed their doors. As you can see from the photos on the web link, it is difficult or even impossible to tell counterfeit parts from real ones. Because of that, we always refuse the offers and simply hang up. There are no cost savings that are worth compromising our standards or the safety of our clients. We appreciate that our clients place their trust in us and we will always strive to provide the highest in quality of both parts and service that we can.

There may be times that we are able to offer our clients two, or even three levels of parts quality, but even those are from trusted sources. Prime examples of such parts are new vs. remanufactured, brake pads, or shocks and struts. These parts are manufactured with differing quality and service levels but are always up to manufacturers specifications. Some will simply perform better than others but always without compromising safety. If you have any questions on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact us, it will be our pleasure to assist you.

The Hidden Dangers of Ethanol Fuel

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

There is a hidden danger in the use of E-85 fuel (fuel that is 85% ethanol) that has not been publicized and will become a serious issue in the future as its use spreads. That is that ethanol mixes easily with water, environmentally conscious consumers will fill their tanks with E-85 in vehicles not properly equipped, and an ethanol fire cannot be extinguished with the foam normally used by firefighters to extinguish gasoline fires. These issues are destined to weigh heavily in the future.

First is the fact that ethanol is water soluble. Ethanol is just like the alcohol that one uses to make an alcoholic beverage. Take a glass of juice and pour alcohol into it and it readily mixes. Take the same juice and pour some gasoline into it and you have a film on top of the liquid that will not mix and can be easily skimmed off. This is an important distinction when it comes to fuel spills into waterways and other standing water such as ponds. The ethanol will simply dissolve into the water and cannot be cleaned up by normal methods of skimming and absorbent pads placed on top of the water. What will emergency crews do? That is yet to be determined but we see no easy answer or solution.

Second and even more importantly is the use of E-85 in vehicles that are not designed for E-85. This is a serious safety hazard. E-85 fuel will eat through the o-rings and gaskets in vehicles not specially equipped for E-85 fuel. A Kansas firefighter training in these issues reports he sat across the street from an E-85 fuel station and watched driver after driver with older vehicles not equipped for E-85 fuel filling their tanks in a misguided effort to be environmentally conscious. The result can be catastrophic fires due to the erosion of o-rings and gaskets that seal high pressure fuel systems from leaking. These fuel systems run very high pressures and a failed o-ring can and often does cause sudden and severe vehicle fires. You can imagine what might happen if that fire starts inside a garage at home, inside a repair facility, or inside a parking garage. The results can not only involve serious property damage but can endanger lives.

Third is the fact that the foam commonly used to fight gasoline fires will not work on ethanol fires. The alcohol breaks down the bubbles in the foam and can cause a regular fire on the ground to create a potentially dangerous explosion. Most fire fighting agencies do not yet have the special foam that is needed because it is thirty percent more expensive than the foam currently used to fight petroleum based fires.

Please keep these facts in mind and be sure that you do not use E-85 fuel in a vehicle that is not specifically designed for its use.

Source: Automotive Body Repair News

Saving on High Fuel Costs

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

High fuel prices are on everyone’s mind these days. We all want to squeeze every mile we can out of each gallon of fuel. How to do so is a question we are asked a lot. Here are some tips on how to do just that.

First, the tires are very important, both inflation and ensuring the alignment is in good condition. Inflate your tires to the maximum inflation as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. This information is located in your owner’s manual and very often on the driver’s door or door post. Check the front tires for wear on the edges. If the tires are wearing unevenly, you are wasting valuable fuel because the rolling friction is increased. Performing an alignment to correct this drag will increase fuel efficiency and save on tire wear as well so you receive a double benefit.

Second, and where you will get a large improvement, is to modify driving habits. Look ahead and anticipate stop lights or stop signs and coast up to them. Just understand, every time you step on the brake, you are wasting the fuel that was used to get up to speed. Knowing that can make it easy to remember to change our driving habits as we approach stop lights and signs. Also, when running errands, carefully plan a route that is the shortest and eliminates back-tracking.

If so equipped, use your cruise control whenever possible at speeds of 45 mph or greater. This is very effective at saving fuel. Also, unload unnecessary items from the interior and the trunk. Every pound of weight requires fuel to move it. While it may seem desirable to run with lower fuel levels, modern vehicles should not run below 1/4 tank very much. This is because the fuel acts as a coolant for the high performance fuel pump and more dirt is run through the pump at lower fuel levels due to slosh factor. Running low fuel levels repeatedly can cost you an expensive fuel pump replacement.

And then, of course, the all important care of your vehicle in general. Regular maintenance will ensure that everything stays in good running order and keeps the engine running at peak efficiency. Dirty air filters and worn spark plugs can rob an engine’s efficiency and cost you in fuel loss. Timing belts need replaced at set intervals to prevent sudden breakdown when the belt breaks and, in the case of some engines, severe engine damage results from such breakage. All in all, routine oil changes and following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance intervals will save you money on repairs, save fuel, and keep your vehicle’s value as high as possible.

Tire Safety

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

We all know that the number one issue with tire safety is maintaining proper tire pressure. It also happens to be the number one issue when it comes to maximizing fuel economy. A new threat to safety relating to tires has recently come to light with the revelation that aged tires are being sold every day in the United States. These aged tires have been responsible for deaths and injury throughout our nation. It is shocking that no standard has yet been set for aged tires and it is time for the industry to test and set standards for the expiration of tire shelf life. There are tires being sold over 12 years after being manufactured. Common sense will tell you that these tires cannot be as safe as they were when they were manufactured since we all know that rubber loses its elasticity as it ages.

The industry in the U.K. has strongly recommended that tires older than 6 years of age after manufacture not be sold. Why is it that the United States does not have such a standard? It seems to us that common sense dictates that a 6 year standard is reasonable and we encourage you to be aware of this issue and to ensure the tires you purchase are not aged beyond 6 years at the time of purchase. Obviously, we recommend they be as new as possible so shop around if necessary.

How can you tell the age of a tire before you purchase it? There is a code on the tire that tells you the tire’s age. It is at the end of a series of small numbers and letters that, until just last year, were stamped on the inside of the tire, not on the outside as you might expect. The date code is at the end of this series of mysterious numbers and letters. The code reads as follows. Three digits indicate a tire manufactured before 2000. Obviously no tire with three digits should be purchased. Four digits reads like this. The first two numbers denote the week of manufacture. The second two numbers denote the year of manufacture. For instance, the digits 2404 indicate the tire was manufactured in the 24th week of 2004, a safe tire as far as its age. 4602 would mean that the tire was manufactured in the 46th week of 2002. Such a tire would be right at the extreme edge of a safe purchase. For full information you may watch a video report from ABC News at the following link. We encourage you to educate yourself for your safety and the safety of others as well as encourage you to deal with local reputable tire companies for your tire purchases. Please pass this information on to others so that they may be well informed also.

Click here for Video

Room to Live Video – The Importance of Seat Belts

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

We all know that seat belt use saves lives. So much so that states have seen fit to make it the law requiring use of seat belts. Yet so many people still refuse or just forget to use them. When I was younger (late 70′s) I rarely used them as well even after going to “Traffic Survival School” to get points for traffic violations removed from my record. There they showed the infamous movie “Red Asphalt”, a gruesome and bloody film about the aftermath of auto accidents and a couple of others. This really had an effect for only a couple of weeks then it was back to the old habit of forgetting to buckle up.

Somewhere along in the mid 80′s, I found myself once again in “Dum Dum” school due to some traffic violation. Gone were the old gruesome movies and in their place were films showing in car cameras and crashes staged with “crash dummies”. I recall wincing as I watched the in car cameras record the knees of the dummy smashing into the dash at low speed crashes of only 25 MPH. The ferocity of the impact with the dash and steering wheel at just 35 MPH was stunning. That did it. I walked out of that class and buckled up and rarely traveled again without my seat belt buckled. Only rarely is it forgotten today and even then it is only a very short distance before I remember and buckle up.

If you know someone who does not routinely buckle up, I have a gift for you to give them. Watch this video yourself and then get that person to view it. It is my guess they will buckle up and never forget again. It is not gruesome but it is very powerful. It comes from the Montana Department of Transportation. In that state in 2007, 73% of the drivers who died in auto crashes were not wearing a seat belt. This video will convince anyone of the importance of buckling up. If you have teenagers or friends who do, please encourage them to watch this video as well. It could be their life that is saved. Thank you in advance for passing it on.

Click Here for Video

Car Advice for the Yuma Desert Heat

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

The Arizona desert is heating up in Yuma County again. There are several reasons to maintain your car for the Yuma heat. Preventive vehicle maintenance is important for your safety, time, and pocketbook. The desert heat can cause rubber to crack, clamps to loosen, cooling systems to overheat, tires to fail and much more. Auto repairs at Accurate Automotive Attention will save time, money, breakdowns, and make sure you get where you are going safely.

The first reason is to ensure your safety and the safety of the vehicles around you. Tire blowouts are more likely driving in hot weather at high speeds. (http://www.edgarsnyder.com/defectiveproducts/auto/tires/tips.html)

At Accurate Automotive in Yuma, Arizona; we check your tires for free any time your vehicle is in for service. We can check your alignment to ensure even wear on your tires, saving you money on replacement tires.

The second reason is to avoid expensive repairs from failed parts. The desert heat causes additional wear and tear on many of your vehicle’s components. This can lead to many various types of expensive failures that could easily be avoided with routine inspections. A blown hose can end up costing thousands of dollars due to the damage caused by overheating. This does not include towing fees and the loss of your vehicle while it is getting repaired.

The third reason is to extend the life of your vehicle. The average price of a new vehicle in the United States is $28,400, without licensing or tax. (Federal Trade Commission,http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/autos/aut11.shtm) When you add financing on top, your vehicle is well over $30,000. A well maintained vehicle that is driven longer is good for the environment and protects your transportation investment. A well maintained car will last years longer than one not maintained. Regular maintenance will also help protect the re-sale value of your car.

Yuma has great driving weather year round, but you need to take care of your car. We are here to help keep your car running for years to come and ensure you safely go wherever you are driving. Let Accurate Automotive Attention of Yuma, Arizona check your vehicle before you go on long trips and at regularly recommended intervals.

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