Readying Your Car for Summer

Readying Your Car for Summer - Ace Auto Repair in Kearns, Utah

With summer on its way, it’s time to start thinking about readying your car for the heat and all its glorious travel opportunities. With a little preparation, you can be ready for a spur of the moment weekend getaway, and have the confidence that your car will get you there and back safely.

Keep Tires in Great Shape for Hot Pavement Grip

Winter weather can be hard on tires. This is a good time of the year to do a quick check on your tires. This should include inspecting the tread and verifying proper inflation. Poorly inflated tires impact grip which makes driving feel more erratic, can reduce your overall miles per gallon, and can even lead to a tire blowout. Always check tire pressure with a calibrated tire pressure gauge.

If you live in an area that permits snow tires, now is a good time to change them out for your standard warm weather tires. Also, check up on your spare. Make sure one is present, the correct spare for your ride, and that you have the tools to put it in should a tire blow.  Nothing is quite as awful as discovering a missing jack at 3 am with a blown tire in the middle of nowhere.

Lubrication Keeps Pistons Pumping

Oil is another area that sometimes gets overlooked. Check the oil and adjust to suit the needs of your car. Your owner’s manual for your car will list recommendations for your climate. Warm oil is thin oil, and oil that is not thick enough won’t provide the lubrication necessary to keep your engine in good working order. If a dealership or garage does your oil change, ask after the viscosity of oil they are using to double check it’s the right version for your needs.

Keep Your Engine Cool in the Hot Sun

Overheating is a primary cause for summertime breakdowns. One great method to reduce the risk of this is to keep on top of your coolant maintenance. Your radiator should be flushed completely and refilled every other year and you should check the level, general condition, and concentration of the coolant once in a while between replacements. If you do the flushing yourself, dispose of the old coolant properly; it has a sweet taste that dogs love and it is highly toxic.

Transmission Fluid Keeps You Shifting Smoothly

You want to keep an eye on your transmission fluid levels as well. Too much or too little, and you will run into problems that can, over time, lead to costly repairs. Further, make sure you read your manual to determine the correct mix of transmission fluid for your car. The SAE number found there will determine the right ATF mix.

Signs of too much transmission fluid:

  • Rough shifting. It will feel harder to jump from gear to gear.
  • Slippage. The engine will rev but your car won’t respond.
  • Erratic behavior while shifting.

Signs of too little transmission fluid:

  • Failure to engage. The car will act like it’s permanently in neutral.
  • Slow shifting. A sluggish response between gears.
  • Lurching and surging. Picking up speed rapidly then dropping back down while switching gears.

Enjoy a Frosty Interior on a Blistering Day

On a swelteringly hot day, you want your A/C in good working order. If it’s not blowing a nice frigid blast through your car, you likely are in need of additional refrigerant. Ace Auto Repair can help charge your A/C if it’s not keeping you nice and cool.

Summertime Tune-up Kearns, Utah

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t get stranded this summer on the side of the road with a smoking car. Bring your car into Ace Auto Repair in Kearns, Utah for a summertime inspection, and we will check every element of auto maintenance listed above.  Avoid summertime sadness and give your ride the basic service it requires to keep you on the road.

What You Need to Know About Transmission Slipping and Your Car

Slipping-transmission-mechanic-kearns-utah

A slipping transmission is a sign that your vehicle needs maintenance or repair. It is not always a sign that the transmission is failing, but a slipping transmission should never be ignored. We’ve compiled some basic signs and symptoms of a transmission slip, as well as what to do if your transmission is slipping.

What Does a Car’s Transmission Do?

To figure out if your transmission is slipping, it helps to understand the purpose of a car’s transmission and a little bit about how it works. The transmission transfers the energy produced by the car’s engine to the wheels. The internal combustion engine of your vehicle creates power and the transmission converts that power into torque, or rotational energy. The torque is then conveyed to the axles and rotates the wheels.

What is a Slipping Transmission?

When a transmission slips, it is not properly transferring the energy from the engine to the wheels. It may feel like the vehicle is slow to respond, or does not respond at all when you press the gas pedal. Or it could feel like your car changes gears suddenly without any apparent reason.

Common Signs of a Slipping Transmission

It is not always easy to diagnose a slipping transmission. There are a few common signs that you should definitely not ignore. Some of the more commons signs of a slipping transmission include:

  • Engine revving, specifically RPMs (revolutions per minute) that exceed 3,000-3,500
  • A high-pitched whistling noise from the engine with grinding sounds
  • Delayed acceleration
  • Delay when shifting from park to drive or reverse
  • Car shifting at unexpected times
  • Loss of engine power

How to Fix a Slipping Transmission?

A transmission can slip for several different reasons and some of the causes are far easier to fix that others. For example, a clogged transmission filter, low transmission fluid, or even burnt transmission fluid can all cause a transmission to slip and are not that difficult to fix. You’re looking at a more severe problem however if the transmission slips as a result of worn or broken transmission gears or bands.

Since low or ineffective transmission fluid is a likely cause of a slipping transmission, it can make a world of difference to do a transmission flush. This is when an ASE-certified technician flushes the transmission with fresh transmission fluid and cleans the entire system. Any burnt or ineffective fluid is flushed out. A transmission flush can also get rid of any contaminants that may have been preventing the proper flow of transmission fluid.

There are transmission fluid additives available that can help, to an extent, with some transmission slipping. These additives can help to improve friction or remove varnish buildup in the transmission. They cannot repair damaged gears or other internal parts of your transmission. Additionally, you should not use any transmission additive that contains solvents. Solvents can cause the seals in your transmission to wear more quickly by lowering your transmission fluid’s lubrication.

If you have had a transmission flush and tried an additive to no avail, you may have a serious transmission problem. The clutch may need to be adjusted or replaced. The bands may need adjustment or replacement. The gears themselves may even need to be replaced. In any of the instances, the transmission must be dismantled to perform these repairs.

Slipping Transmissions in Kearns, Utah

If you think your transmission is slipping, it is better to deal with it now than to wait until later. A transmission slip that can be resolved with a transmission flush today may require more costly repairs in the very near future. If you are around Kearns, UT and have any signs of a slipping transmission, contact Ace Auto Repair today. We’ll help get you and your vehicle back in gear.

ASE Certified Mechanic in Kearns, UT
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6 Ways the Cold Affects Your Car (and what to do about it)

How the Cold Affects Your Car

The cold weather is harsh on your car. In order to avoid expensive repairs – and dangerous accidents – check out what the sub-zero temperature can do to your car, and what you can do to help prevent problems.

Tires Harden and Lose Pressure

A couple different things can go wrong with tires when cold weather strikes. First, tire pressure will vary according to temperature. A drop in temperature can cause your tires to quickly deflate – this is noticeable even when driving at night compared to driving during the day. Check your recommended tire pressure when the weather starts to get chilly. Also keep in mind that many tires are still made with rubber materials, and these materials will harden when the weather gets cold. This can cause tread and gripping problems in all-season tires. Winter tread tries are designed to resist this problem with alternative materials – another good reason to consider switching to winter tires.

Battery Troubles

When the weather gets seriously cold, your battery may struggle to operate correctly. This is caused by low temperatures interfering with the way that a battery operates and in some cases actually leeching away voltage, reduce the charge that a battery has to get a car started. The last thing you want in the middle of winter is to go out and find your car has a dead battery. There are several ways to avoid this problem. In the coldest areas, consider using available car heats. Make sure your battery is not too old – most batteries are in their peak condition for around 3 years. When the temperature starts dropping below zero, try to keep your car in a garage as often as possible.

Engine Fluids Thicken When Cold

While most of the fluids in your car have additives to keep them from freezing, this doesn’t mean they aren’t affected by freezing temperatures. When the weather gets cold fluids grow sluggish, thickening and moving more slowly. This is most dangerous when it comes to transmission fluid, which needs to move effectively to manage car performance. However, sluggish brake fluid can also be disastrous. Even oil can thicken and struggle to perform. Check your fluids and replace or top off as needed.

Click here to read 5 Cold Weather Car Myths

Heaters Delay Engine Warm Up

Your engine really doesn’t like cold weather. It will struggle to run efficiently when the temperature drops below zero, using a lot of gasoline very quickly to keep itself from stalling. Not only does this lower efficiency, but it also causes the build-up of water vapor. This is especially noticeable if you only run your engine for half an hour or so at a time. Try leaving your car running to stabilize your engine and get rid of accumulated water vapor. Heaters will also sap heat away from your engine, so avoid immediately turning on your heater when starting your car.

For the same reason that batteries tend to struggle in cold weather, spark plugs may also be in danger. Electricity simply does not fare well in cold, dry condition, and older spark plugs will only make conditions worse. So, before the coldest weather starts, check out your spark plugs for any sign of corrosion or age and replace them if necessary.

Windshield and Wipers Vulnerable to Damage

Windshields are very durable in modern cars, but some windshields may still be in danger of cracking, especially when mistreated in cold weather. Use the right kind of coolant, never wash with hot water in cold weather, and take special care of your wipe blade so that they don’t freeze to your windshield. This can be aggravated if other cars are kicking up a lot of slurry into your windshield, especially slurry made with rock salt or similar components.

Engine Block Vulnerable to Cracking

Older or more delicate engines may also be in danger of cracking if the engine block is vulnerable to sub-zero temperatures and your coolant is contaminated or inferior. Keep that coolant topped off and use the recommended formula!

ASE Certified Mechanic in West Jordan, UT cbbb-badge-horz aaa-approved-auto-repair


Auto Mechanic West Jordan, Utah

Ace Auto Repair knows how the cold affects vehicles, and are conveniently located in West Jordan, Utah, and serves the surrounding areas. If you are need of engine repair or need a diagnosis, contact Ace Auto Repair today! We work on all makes and models of cars, trucks and SUV’s. We are family owned company, and pride ourselves on being honest auto repair professionals.

 

Check-engine-light-on

You might be driving at full speed on the highway or cruising through town when you notice the check engine light in your dash has come on. The car seems fine and you might be tempted to ignore the warning light. What is the check engine light? Why does the check engine light come on?

What is the Check Engine Light?

The Check Engine light, formally known as the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL), is a signal from the car’s engine computer that something is wrong. A federal government mandated on-board diagnostics (OBD) for all passenger cars sold in the United States, a check engine light is different than “service required” light which simply means it’s time for an oil change or air filter check. While increases in repair costs might cause consumers to postpone vehicle repairs, doing so is a bad idea. The reasons your check engine light is on range from a damaged gas cap to a bad sensor. The repairs may not be as costly as you fear.

Loose or Damaged Gas Cap – Average repair: $5.00

A loose or damaged gas cap is the least expensive, yet very common, problem that can cause your service engine soon light to come on. Loose or damaged gas caps result in millions of gallons of evaporated fuel each year across the nation. If you notice the check engine light going on and off, try tightening or even replacing the gas cap. The low average repair costs show that simply tightening the cap usually solves the problem.

Oxygen (O2) Sensor – Average repair: $150.00check engine light meme

A failed O2 sensor is the most common cause of a flashing check engine light. The O2 sensor is a critical part of the exhaust system, monitoring how much unburned oxygen is exiting the engine in the exhaust. The sensor sends messages back to the engine to adjust the mix of oxygen and fuel being used. A faulty O2 sensor will result in reduced fuel economy and can take a toll on the catalytic convertor. Replacing the O2 sensor will protect critical engine systems and keep your vehicle running at peak fuel efficiency.

Catalytic Converter – Average repair: $900.00 – $1,154.00

The catalytic converter is a rugged component of the overall exhaust system. Generally, catalytic converter repair is a secondary underlying program that is ignored for too long, such as a failed spark plug. A more costly repair because of the precious metals used in its construction, replacing catalytic converters represented just 6.1% of repairs in 2013.

Mass Air Flow Sensor – Average repair: $250.00 – $450.00

The mass air flow sensor calculates the amount of fuel needed to mix efficiently with the oxygen in the engine. A malfunctioning sensor will lower fuel economy up to 25 percent. Having it replaced by your mechanic will cost an average of $423.00 but will make it up to you in savings at the pump.

Replace Spark Plugs and Wires – Average repair: $100.00 – $200.00

Can spark plugs cause check engine light to flash? Absolutely! A fouled spark plug can cause the engine to misfire. Replacing the spark plugs in a timely manner will be a relatively small expense. The cost to replace spark plugs varies significantly based on the type of car you have and where you take your car.  Cars have differing numbers of spark plugs and the accessibility of the spark plugs will affect the labor rate as some cars may be designed in a way that makes the spark plugs harder to reach. Cars like a BMW will be on the higher end, and cars like a Toyota Corolla will be on the lower end. If the problem is ignored, the damage can spread to the spark plug wires, catalytic converter, or ignition coils causing a more costly repair.

Check Engine Light on in Utah? Contact us.

Local parts stores can check engine codes for free, but this will just give you an error code, and it just the beginning of the diagnostic process. You can buy a home diagnostic machine yourself, however, you would need to know how to read it.

We provide free diagnostics with written estimates. Many people ignore warning lights if the car still seems to drive the way it used to, however, a check engine light is a red flag that something in your vehicle is amiss. If you see the check engine light flashing and you don’t take care of it immediately, you are putting your car at risk for costlier future repairs and malfunctions.

To get your check engine light diagnosis or repair, contact the professional mechanics at Ace Auto.

 

preparing car for utah winter

Salt Lake City, Utah is surrounded by the Great Salt Lake and the mountains; this combination makes for a chilly, wet winter. With the temperatures usually below freezing, the roads can become slick quickly. However, the Department of Transportation is also quick about dumping salt and sand on the highways and roads. Unfortunately, for your car, that salt can cause damage your paint or cause rust spots.

It’s important to winterize your vehicle to properly protect you, and you car. How many times have you left work or the grocery store to find a blizzard has arrived or the parking lot has been turned into a skating rink? Winterizing your car is your best defense against Mother Nature’s winter furies.

Let’s take a look at what you need to do to winterize your car for the snow and ice.

Preparing Your Car for Winter

  • Windshield Wiper Blades Inspect and replace front and back wiper blades, and make sure your car has a type of subzero wiper fluid. It’s very difficult to see where you’re driving when your windows have snow or ice on them. The window washer fluid will be beneficial if a car passes you and splatters slush all over your windshield. Windshield washer fluid also helps to melt the ice on the windshields.
  • Check Your Tire Pressure– When the temperatures rise and fall, so does the air pressure in your tires. If your tires are not operating at the correct amount of your air pressure, your traction may not be as stable on snow covered roads, and that could cause you to slide off the road or into another car.
  • Check Belts and Hoses– Your cars belts and hoses can crack during cold weather. If your fan belt or a hose blows, it could result in damage to your engine. Repairing your engine will cost a lot more to repair than it would to replace belts or hoses. In addition, if you’re out on the road when a belt or hose goes you may find yourself stranded.
  • Check Heater and Defrosting Units– If your heater is on the fritz, you are going to be cold while driving to work. If your defrosting units are not working properly, you’re going to have a hard time seeing out your frost covered windshield, which could be hazardous.
  • Check Antifreeze Levels– Antifreeze is your car engine’s coolant. If your car overheats there is a good chance it will break down. You can check the antifreeze yourself in a few easy steps. 1) Always make sure your engine is cold (to prevent severe burns), 2)locate the radiator, 3)remove the cap and look into the whole. Be sure to refer to your owner’s manual to see what type of engine coolant is right for your vehicle.
  • Check Your Oil Level– Cold weather can make your oil thick, so make sure you’re using the correct oil viscosity (check owner’s manual). Use the dipstick to check the oil level. To test your oil levels, first place the oil dipstick in the reservoir and pull it out, then wipe with a paper towel and dip again. Read the dipstick by looking to see that oil is in the area of the dipstick with a hash mark pattern. If you do not see oil on the dipstick, or it is below the hash mark pattern, your car is low on oil. If your oil is low on oil, add a quart or 2 until you can get to an auto repair shop to have a complete oil change performed.

Read Why Oil Changes Are Important Here

  • Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Car– Put the following items in the kit: An extra heavy blanket, gloves, flashlight and extra batteries, road flares, first aid kit, shovel, salt, sand, chains, jumper cables, whistle to get a passerby’s attention or a fluorescent colored flag, water, and protein bars. Place all the items in a large tote, use the blankets as a protective surrounding for all the other items.
  • Protect Your Paint– With all the salt on the roads during the wintertime in Utah, your paint can take a real beating. Be sure to wash your car frequently, and apply a layer of car wax to help make a barrier between the paint and the salt.

Contact a Kearns, Utah Auto Repair Shop Today

If you need help getting your car ready for winter near West Jordan,Utah, Ace Auto Repair is the place to go.

Read 6 Ways the Cold Affects Your Vehicle (and What to Do About It)