Thursday, March 31, 2011

April is National Car Care Month

National Car Care Month in April is the time of year to give your car some extra attention. Basic maintenance can go a long way toward improving the safety and dependability of your vehicle, plus it helps avoid costly repairs down the road. 

“Neglected vehicle care almost always means much higher costs down the line in the form of more extensive repairs or lost resale value,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Chances are if you own a car, it needs some work. National Car Care Month in April is the perfect time to focus on your vehicle’s maintenance needs.”

Results of community car care events held throughout the country in 2010 show that most consumers are neglecting their cars, with seven out of 10 vehicles failing at least one component of the vehicle inspection process. (For a complete list of results, visit -

“These results show that the majority of vehicle owners could save money by being more proactive when it comes to their vehicle," White said. “Whether you do it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, make sure your car is ready for the spring and summer travel season."

The Car Care Council recommends 10 basic maintenance procedures to keep your car operating at its best:
  • Check the oil, filters and fluids. Oil should be checked at every fill-up and changed per the owner’s manual recommended intervals. Brake, transmission, power steering, coolant and windshield washer fluids should also be checked regularly. Your car’s filters, including those for the transmission, fuel system and interior ventilation, need regular inspection and replacement.
  • Inspect hoses at each oil change and have them replaced when leaking, brittle, cracked, rusted, swollen or restricted. Check V-belts and serpentine belts for looseness and condition, and have them replaced when cracked, frayed, glazed or showing signs of excessive wear. Typically replace the timing belt between 60,000 and 90,000 miles or the interval specified in the owner’s manual to avoid a breakdown or serious engine damage.
  • Check the engine brake system every year and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
  • Check that the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free. The battery should be securely mounted. If it is three years old or more, the battery should be tested and replaced if necessary.
  • Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
  • Schedule a tune-up that will help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.
  • Check the car’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons, such as defrosting.
  • Inspect the steering and suspension system annually, including shock absorbers and struts, and chassis parts, such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
  • Check the pressure of all tires, including the spare, at least once a month. Check the tread for uneven or irregular wear and cuts and bruises along the sidewalls. Have your car’s alignment checked at least annually to reduce tire wear and improve fuel economy and handling.
  • Test exterior and interior lights and have bulbs that are not working checked immediately. Replace windshield wiper blades every six month or when cracked, cut, torn, streaking or chattering for optimum wiping performance and safety.
Thank you to our friends at Car Care Council for the great information! Check them out on facebook.

Happy Thursday! :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Check Engine Light Diagnosis & Repair in Denver

Does your check engine light or service engine soon light stay on while you are driving? When you start your vehicle, your check engine light or service engine soon light should come on for a moment and shut off. If your check engine light stays on or comes on sometimes, like most car owners, you probably have little idea what the light is trying to tell you or what you should do. It is the most misunderstood signal on your vehicle and can mean many different things. 

Pay attention to your check engine light - it's telling you there is a problem with your vehicle. It's not going to go away on it's own. 

What the Light Means
Although your vehicle may seem to run fine, it is important to have the issue addressed right away to prevent long-term problems or damage to your vehicle. There are many sensors and computerized components that manage your vehicle's engine performance and emissions. When one of the components fail or the computer finds a problem in the electronic-control system that it can't correct, the "check engine" or "service engine soon" or "check powertrain" light is illuminated. The light could also just be a picture of an engine, possibly with the word "check". 

The light could be telling you something as simple as you have a loose gas cap to an engine with serious problems. It can also prevent you from passing an emissions test, even if the light is not on when your car takes the test.  The good news is that the problem typically can be identified by a stored code in your car's computer. 

The light doesn't mean you have to pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and call a tow truck. It does mean you should get your vehicle checked out as soon as possible to determine the issue. Ignore the light and you risk causing major damage to expensive parts of your vehicle. The light can also tell you your is emitting high levels of pollutants or getting poor fuel economy. In most cases, if there is a problem, the computer will wait to see if it corrects itself before turning on the check engine light. 

What to do
Read your owner's manual to learn the function of the check engine light and every other warning indicator and gauge on your vehicle's dashboard. Generally, you can do this by turning your key to the key-on/engine-off position. Replace any bulbs that are no longer working. If the check engine light comes on, it will either blink or stay on. Either way, you should have it checked out by a mechanic, but a blinking light means you should have your vehicle looked at immediately. In late-model cars, the blinking light typically points to an engine misfire so severe that unburned fuel is being dumped into the exhaust system, where it can quickly destroy the catalytic converter, requiring an expensive auto repair. If this happens to your vehicle, reduce power, and have it looked as soon as possible. If the light is on steady, it is not as urgent, but your vehicle should still be checked out as soon as possible. Automotive computers frequently try to compensate when there is a problem with a vehicle. You may not notice any difference or decline in your vehicle's performance, even though your fuel mileage is suffering and your vehicle is emitting pollutants. 

For a quality diagnosis for your check engine light or service engine soon light, call the auto repair professionals in Denver at Mastermind Enterprises AutoCare Center. We are conveniently located off I-25 & 58th Ave at 5770 Clarkson St, Denver, CO 80216. You can call us at 303-297-AUTO (2886).