Your radiator protects your engine and air conditioning condenser from overheating. It also plays another important role. In today’s computercontrolled engines, a radiator coolant temperature sensor actually tells your car’s computer and other sensors how to adjust your fuel mixture and timing. So, the efficiency of your radiator directly effects the efficiency of your engine.
That’s why we recommend flushing your cooling system and pH balancing your antifreeze at least once every two years. More importantly, we recommend having this service performed by a knowledgeable repair shop with the right equipment.
Our Cooling System Power Flush continuously forces coolant under pressure through the engine, radiator and heater core in both directions at different times. Simultaneously, it forces the coolant through 25 and 5micron filters to remove contaminates.
While the coolant is circulating, we add water or antifreeze, whichever is needed. The molecules in water are spaced far apart, so water easily absorbs heat from the engine, but water can freeze and corrode metal. The molecules in antifreeze are packed tightly together, so antifreeze does not absorb heat from the engine as efficiently as water, but its ethylene glycol silicone base keeps the water from freezing, protects your radiator from corrosion and lubricates the moving parts in your cooling system. When our coolant temperature reading indicates 35 degrees throughout the system, we know that we have achieved the correct 5050 balance of water and antifreeze.
We also add a special concentrate to achieve the correct pH level of 10.5 throughout the cooling system. Without this, the 7.0 7.2 pH of water would combine with the 10.5 pH of antifreeze to create an 8.75 pH mixture so acidic that the resulting electrochemical degradation would deteriorate your radiator, heater core, water pump, head gaskets, freeze plugs, radiator and heater hoses.
Finally, we pressure test your cooling system for leaks, clean the recovery bottle and test the radiator cap to be sure that it holds the proper pressure.
Once your cooling system service is completed, the radiator coolant should stay in the safe pH range of between 9.8 and 10.5 for about 2 years or 30,000 miles.
The term “tuneup” dates to the time when Henry Ford was working on his first automobile prototype.
In Ford’s simple ignition system, there was one ignition coil for each spark plug. If there were four spark plugs, there were four ignition coils, which needed to be adjusted to provide the same spark intensity for better idle and acceleration. As these ignition coils worked, they made a buzzing sound, and when they were adjusted properly, they all buzzed in “tune.” The term “tuneup” stuck and became associated with replacing spark plugs and correcting rough idle problems effecting engine performance.
Once the distributor was developed, the term “tuneup” had no meaning, but the consumer who was used to hearing this term around a garage still associated poor running quality with the need for a “tuneup.”
Today’s automobiles do not require “tuneups.” The term indicates the need for routine maintenance and should not be associated with poor performance. Automobile manufacturers have developed recommended routine maintenance schedules, which specify intervals for replacing spark plugs, PCV valves, fuel filters, etc. These schedules also specify intervals for checking or adjusting ignition timing, idle speed and other items related to engine operation, as well as emission control related devices.
If you experience any operating or performance problems between maintenance, let us perform an engine analysis. Make an appointment today!
Q: Do you know how much it costs you to drive from Point A to Point B?
Consider this when you need to spend $1,000 in maintenance or repairs to prolong the useful life of your vehicle:
- The average new car now costs around $23,500+, so financing that car at 8% interest over 4 years runs $573.70 per month.
- The average fullcoverage insurance policy costs around $95.00 per month.
- Most people drive an average of 15,000 miles per year, which comes to 60,000 miles over 4 years. That mileage requires an average of $1,616 in maintenance over 4 years, which comes to $34 per month.
- Based on these averages, driving costs you $702.70 per month, or $8,432.40 per year, not counting tires or gas! (And that’s after paying $1,175 in sales tax!)
A: Driving from Point A to Point B costs you $33,729.60* over 4 years!!!
*May vary depending on your individual transportation requirements. If you have more than one vehicle, multiply the above accordingly.
n 1970, the average car had only $25 worth of electronics. By 1981 the average car contained over $1,000 in electronics, and by 1996 it included over $3,500 in electronics! That figure is still rising.
Today, vehicles’ computers operate everything from air conditioning, radios, air bags, alarm systems, antilock braking systems, traction control, ride control and cruise control to electronic digital and analog instrument panels, automatic transmissions and emission and engine controls. These computers can cost from $250 to as much as $1,500, depending on what they control!
However, instead of using proper diagnostic procedures, some doityourselfers and socalled professionals resort to trialanderror parts swapping when they don’t know how to fix a computer or performance problem. Since car dealers and parts suppliers refuse to allow returns on electronic components (due to possible damage), that may leave you, the consumer, with expensive parts you didn’t need. In fact, the major manufacturers have reported that as many as 80% of all computers brought in for repair were found to be OK!
Avoid unnecessary repair and parts costs! We have the latest computerized diagnostic equipment, a computerized information system, and experienced ASE Certified Technicians who are trained to properly care for your car. Our complete computerized engine analysis can save you money by correctly diagnosing your vehicle’s problems right from the start. Make an appointment today!
Your car’s manufacturer specifies carefully calculated adjustments and precise settings for wheel alignment that will reward you with maximum vehicle performance, optimum driving enjoyment and cost savings.
Improper wheel alignment will result in difficult handling, greatly accelerated tire wear, poor fuel economy and excessive wear on your car’s suspension system.
Steering or handling problems may include offcenter steering wheel, steering pull, unsteady steering, loose steering or hard steering. You may also notice a change in steering direction after hitting bumps.
Unusual or accelerated tire wear may take the form of edge wear, diagonal wear or cupping wear that, if left unattended, will require premature tire replacement.
Failing to maintain proper wheel alignment will make it impossible to maintain factory-specified suspension settings that control the quality of your ride.
Protect your investment in your vehicle by keeping your wheels properly aligned. If you bump a curb or hit a pot hole hard, have the alignment checked. If you have new tires installed or worn suspension parts replaced, be sure to have these repairs accompanied by a wheel alignment. And when you bring in your vehicle for routine annual maintenance, let us check your wheel alignment.
Remember proper wheel alignment will optimize your vehicle’s ride, handling and steering capabilities. It will make your car safer and easier to drive. What’s more, it will save you money by significantly extending the life of your tires and suspension!
Manufacturers know that a properly maintained vehicle will be more dependable, safer, last longer and increase your satisfaction with their product. Car manufacturers and owners also have a responsibility to make sure emission controls receive regular service and are functioning properly. Regular maintenance helps accomplish these goals by keeping your engine running efficiently and eliminating potential problems that may leave you stranded.
What’s In It For You?
- Saves you money!
- A more dependable vehicle
- A vehicle that retains more “new vehicle feel”
- Less chance of a costly breakdown
- A safer vehicle for you and your family
- Doing your part for cleaner air
- A car that is worth more at trade in or sale
- An intact warranty
Manufacturer’s Maintenance Schedules
Manufacturers create detailed maintenance schedules outlining specific operations to be performed on various components and systems. These services are done at different mileage intervals to ensure proper operation and prevent premature wear. Manufacturers also indicate specific services that must be done to maintain the factory warranty and extended warranty.
Why Mike Howe’s Automotive?
We have ASE Master Certified Technicians and the latest computerized diagnostic equipment. Furthermore, our computerized automotive information system provides detailed data for your vehicles by year, make and model to ensure that your vehicle repairs and maintenance are in complete compliance with your manufacturer’s warranty. Other data includes lists of “hightech” specialty lubricants required for your particular vehicle, the latest service procedures, diagnostic information and factory issued Technical Service Bulletins. The bottom line is efficient, dependable and cost effective service for you!
At one time or another, most drivers encounter a power steering problem with their car anything from fluid leaks or noise to stiff steering or hard turning after first starting the car. Normal driving eventually causes your power steering fluid to suffer from heat, friction and electrochemical degradation. The high pressure created when you hold hard turns is especially damaging.
Your power steering fluid, which starts out clear, eventually turns dark with age. Sludge and varnish deposits build up in your power steering system and prevent the easy turning and responsive handling you expect from your vehicle.
TOur Power Steering Fluid Flush safely removes varnish and sludge deposits. It is also the best way to remove wear metals that slowly grind away your power steering’s internal components, including the power steering hoses, power steering pump, rack and pinion and/or gear box. Our Power Steering Fluid Flush thoroughly cleans your vehicle’s steering system and protects it with fresh power steering fluid and conditioners that revitalize the seals and 0rings.
If your vehicle’s power steering system is showing any signs of contaminated fluid, try this service before major and expensive repair work becomes necessary. Let our ASE certified technicians perform a Power Steering Fluid Flush for you today.
CONSUMER WARNING: UNDER NO CONDITION IS AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FLUID (ATF) TO BE USED IN POWER STEERING SYSTEMS. DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO SUBSTITUTE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FLUID FOR POWER STEERING FLUID IN YOUR CAR UNLESS SPECIFIED BY YOUR VEHICLE’S MANUFACTURER! The pressure in a power steering system during hard turns is much higher than that in an automatic transmission under load. The ATF will become very hot under pressure and break down much faster than power steering fluid. Once this electrochemical degradation begins, your power steering pump, rack and pinion will be subject to leaks, stiffness or complete power steering system failure.
Your transmission’s vital parts get clogged with sludge and varnish deposits because, just like the oil in your car’s engine, automatic transmission fluid (ATF) suffers from heat, friction and electrochemical degradation. In fact, nearly nine out of ten transmission failures are due to overheating and fluid contamination.*
However, unlike oil, which can be completely drained from your car’s engine, most of the transmission fluid cannot be drained. Instead it stays in the torque converter, valve body and transmission cooler lines, making a complete fluid drain impossible.
Typical transmission service removes and replaces only 25% of your car’s contaminated automatic transmission fluid. Adding new fluid to the remaining contaminated fluid can actually cause sludge and varnish deposits to clog filters and further restrict flow. This can result in a serious malfunction or even complete failure of your automatic transmission.
Now you have an option. Our Transmission Fluid Exchange safely removes most, if not all, of the old, contaminated fluid, as well as varnish and sludge deposits. It also cleans the transmission cooler, valve body and torque converter to remove worn metals that slowly grind away your transmission’s internal components. Our Transmission Fluid Exchange thoroughly cleans your car’s transmission and protects it with fresh ATF and conditioners that revitalize the seals and 0rings .
If your vehicle’s transmission is showing any of the typical signs of contaminated transmission fluid slippage or rough or hard shifting try this service. It may help you avoid the cost of major repair work or even prevent the need for a new transmission.
* According to the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association
Oil Changes Are Not Enough
While oil filters remove particulate over 25 microns, sludge, tar, varnish and wear metals less than 25 microns continue to circulate within the engine and accumulate in the passageways, oil pump and oil pan. These contaminates cause engine wear, higher operating temperatures, and reduced lubrication.
Past Procedures Compound the Problem
Simply pouring chemical flush additives into the crankcase is ineffective. Dissolved sludge, particulate and accumulated debris continue to circulate causing significant engine wear.
Bilstein R-2000™ Engine Flush System
This environmentally safe system thoroughly cleans your engine by using patented adaptors and specially formulated solutions to dissolve accumulations of sludge, tar, varnish and wear metals.
The process is performed with the engine off. Using pulsating pressures, the Bilstein R-2000 circulates a heated petroleum distillate solution through the oil pump passage ways and reservoir to dissolve sludge.
A perfectly clean engine means better performance, superior fuel economy and longer engine life.
This service consists of the following:
- Heated Bilstein R-2000 Engine Flush solution is pumped through the oil filter port at 42 PSI.
- R-2000 Engine Flush solution flows through the engine’s lubrication system dissolving sludge and varnish.
- R-2000 Engine Flush solution back flushes the oil pump pickup screen. Dissolved sludge, varnish and debris flow to the oil pan where it is vacuum extracted to the BILSTEIN R-2000 Engine Flush Machine. Particulates over 3 microns are removed through three stages of ultra-fine filtration.
Restore Engine Efficiency with Total Safety
The Bilstein R-2000 Engine Flush System will not harm your engine, ring seating, valve guides or seals. All residual oil and cleaning solutions are evacuated leaving a light mineral oil on critical wear surfaces.
Periodic Engine Cleaning Extends Engine Life
Tests have shown that periodic sludge removal restores operational efficiencies and reduces harmful exhaust emissions. By reducing wear metals and corrosive contaminates a longer engine life can be expected.
Bilstein – Quality and Reliability
Over the decades, Bilstein has established a solid reputation for quality and reliability. Bilstein products are marketed worldwide only after extensive research and testing.
A steady supply of current is crucial to operating the highly sophisticated electronics in today’s vehicles. Lack of current or fluctuations in the supply of current can:
- cause the “Check Engine” light to come on
- cause poor engine performance or stalling
- result in malfunctions of the computers that operate your vehicle’s climate control, ride control and ABS brakes.
To maintain a steady supply of voltage, the electrical system in your vehicle is comprised of two systems: a starting system and a charging system.
The starting system, which gets your vehicle’s engine going, is comprised of a starter motor, starter solenoid, starter relay, neutral safety switch and ignition switch. The starter solenoids and relays can be part of the starter or mounted on it; some may be mounted in other locations, so, if your vehicle doesn’t “crank,” the problem may or may not be caused by your starter
Diagnosing the starter system requires several different tests. A “starter draw test” determines if the starter is drawing more amperage than is needed to turn over the engine. A “circuit test” determines if all the other components are working properly and if voltage is present when and where it is needed.
Your vehicle’s battery must maintain enough voltage to turn the starter and overcome the engine’s resistance. That’s where your vehicle’s charging system steps in. The alternator, alternator drive belt and voltage regulator that make up the charging system work together to supply enough voltage to run your vehicle’s accessories and continuously recharge your battery to keep it from going dead.
A battery goes dead because of electrical drain caused by one of the following:
- a short circuit
- undercharging due to a bad drive belt, alternator or voltage regulator overcharging, which can cause serious and expensive damage to highly sensitive computer electronics and your battery.
You need the right equipment and technician to make an accurate diagnosis of your electrical system, without causing possible further damage to sensitive electronic components. A properly performed electrical system analysis can save you money and future headaches by diagnosing the problem right the first time!
Since you purchased your new vehicle, dirt, varnishes and carbon deposits have been forming in the fuel system, on the intake valves and in the combustion areas. These buildups can rob your car of performance, and if left untreated, these buildups may lead to costly engine repairs.
Symptoms related to carbon buildup are:
- engine pinging
- poor acceleration
- lack of power
- repeated stalling or poor performance when cold rough idle and poor fuel economy.
Our Fuel Carbon Cleaning System is a revolutionary new process that will clean your vehicle’s fuel system, including injectors, and remove harmful carbon deposits. Our system utilizes a unique cleaning solution that will not damage your vehicle’s sophisticated engine components.
After our Fuel Carbon Cleaning System cleans your engine, you will notice improved performance, acceleration and increased fuel economy. Make an appointment today! Take care of your vehicle, and your vehicle will take care of you.
Don’t wait until you need your air conditioning in hot weather to find out that your vehicle is low on Freon! You need your A/C even in winter!
Did you know that every time you turn on your defroster, your air conditioning compressor must dry the air before the defroster directs it to your windshield?
Low Freon may indicate a leak. However, it is normal for some Freon to escape, due to the movement of your vehicle’s engine, the expansion and contraction of the materials that make up the A/C system, and variations in the operating speed of your air conditioning compressor due to engine RPM.
Your air conditioning system should be checked for proper operation and Freon charge at least once a year. Insufficient Freon can damage your vehicle’s compressor, expansion valve and seals, resulting in very costly repairs. Maintaining the proper amount of Freon ensures that the refrigerant oil is carried through your air conditioning system to lubricate its moving parts and seals.
We have the most sophisticated air conditioning service and leak detection equipment now available. We are certified by ASE and MACS to handle both R12 and the new R134A refrigerant. Call today to make an appointment!
Spark plugs, wires, distributor caps and rotors break down and fail over time, due to exposure to moisture, oil, grease and under hood temperatures that can reach as much as 550 to 700 degrees.
Here’s what happens:
Worn spark plugs cause higher voltage requirements, forcing the ignition module and coil to produce higher and higher voltages to overcome the resistance. The higher voltage breaks down the spark plug wires’ insulation, creating an easier path to ground. This causes the ignition module and coil to produce even more voltage, creating even higher current temperatures within them. (Remember that higher resistance correlates to higher current temperatures and that electricity always finds the easiest path to ground.) This higher than normal resistance weakens transistors and electrical insulation within modules, coils and computers, resulting in intermittent and premature failure.
What does all this mean to you?
If your vehicle has over 60,000 miles on it and you haven’t replaced your spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, you may experience a variety of drivability problems that are often difficult and very costly to diagnose and repair. In fact, ignition modules and vehicle computers range in price from $200 to $450, plus labor!
That’s why you should replace your spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor after 60,000 miles. (On distributor-less ignition, the spark plug wires should be replaced.) Take care of your vehicle, and your vehicle will take care of you!
Your brake fluid requires regular service because it becomes contaminated by moisture.
How does moisture get into your brake fluid? Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means that it magnetically attracts and absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, usually through the brake master cylinder reservoir and permeable brake hoses.
Moisture contamination lowers the boiling point of your brake fluid, so, even under ordinary driving conditions, it could cause the fluid to boil and release vapor into your brake system. When this vapor compresses inside the system, you may find yourself facing one of the most dreaded driving crises a dangerously low brake pedal or even no brake pedal!
Moisture contamination can also result in very costly repairs into the thousands if you have ABStype brakes! When moisturecontaminated brake fluid reaches very high temperatures as much as 450 to 500 degrees an electrochemical reaction makes the fluid highly acidic. The acid breaks down the steel line and rubber hoses and can cause early failure of the cast iron and aluminum components in your brakes.
Brake fluid contamination has become so much of a concern, some car manufacturers have added brake fluid service to their required maintenance schedules. Let our ASE certified technicians perform this important safety service for you today.