The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and
contrary to some beliefs, today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to
keep them performing at the most efficient levels.
As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions.
If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go. As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected: battery, charging and starting engine, mechanical powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks), fuel ignition, and emissions.
To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.
Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter
Mechanical failure - an inconvenience anytime it occurs - can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. A well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.
Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.
Engine Performance - Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters - air, fuel, etc.
Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.
Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual - more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent - you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.
Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.
Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
Carry emergency gear - gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.
Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer
Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too! Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.
Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.
Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual - more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended - more often in dusty conditions. Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
Emergencies - Carry some basic tools - ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first-aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.
Keeping your vehicle in tune with the environment is definitely a win-win
situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and
operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last
longer - up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master
The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.
Very helpful staff. Shows you the problems and then always lets you know what he thinks should be fixed and what's not worth the money. So glad I found this mechanic!
The owner let me know upfront what the "service your engine" light meant but willing to replace just one of the sensors to see if that being bad made the other one read bad and so far the light hasn't come back on...that saved me $120. He also changed my oil for a reasonable price and rotated my tires for free. I'm pretty sure this shop is a keeper.
I have been taking my car here for years. Even after moving to north county, this is the only place I will take my cars. Why? Fair prices and trustworthy service. Many times - they have told me that I don't need an item fixed that I think is broken. I wish I could give them more stars.
I've been going here for years. My dad works on cars and he's spoken with them about what they work on, always impressed and they know what they're doing. They will never try to rip you off. I feel very lucky to have found a mechanic I can actually trust.
So glad Bob is in charge of this shop. I'm a long time customer from when he was in Kearny Mesa and it's great having him closer to where I live. They have great technicians/mechanics, good prices, and are very customer friendly.
Bob from Kearney Mesa automotive bought this and has moved here...I have had Bob Creager and his employees work on my cars for the last 10 years. Honest, fast, affordable. The best. I'm completely comfortable as a woman with no car knowledge having my car worked on knowing no one is "selling" me something I don't need.
On the advice of Janine Harty, I took my new (new to me) 2004 Chevrolet Conversion Van to Advantec today, as Smitty's Service was booked. In and out same day, all work done as promised, friendly service, reasonable prices. Very pleased.
They're very honest and charge a fair price. You can drop by and easily have your oil changed and have a coffee next door.
I was not disappointed with Advantec. Took my car in for brakes and rotors and a possible motor belt on their last Saturday they were open. Their guys took a close listen and said the belt wasn't the problem-- it was the alternator going bad. They pointed out the failing parts and gave me an approximate time table (which was depressing because of my work schedule). They gave me a quote and said they'd get started. I was expecting it to be done on Monday, but they called at noon that day to say it was finished. Their quote was within a few hundred of the final price, including a courtesy discount. They were fast and polite -- definitely recommend them.