Study Reveals Benefits of Synthetic Oil over Conventional Oil

A recent AAA study was published that revealed how much better synthetic oil is for a car’s overall health than conventional oil is.  This might surprise a lot of average car owners who have always gone with conventional oil because of its affordability and the fact that it has passed minimum standards.  The study backed up what car enthusiasts already know: that premium oil is better for long term engine health and will not cause as much dirt to damage the internal structure of the vehicle.

AAA Is An Impartial Agency

Opinions about the merits of synthetic vs conventional oil had, up until now, only existed in the realm of informed opinion.  There were those who said synthetic was way better but had no conclusive scientific research to back it up.  Until now, that is.  The organizers of the study, AAA, are a reputable automotive agency that offers insurance for emergency car pick up and repair anywhere in North America.  Their merits are not to be questioned because they are relatively impartial, which is to say that they have no incentive to sway the evidence one way or another.  It would be a different story if a giant oil company (that just happened to produce conventional oil) published research and claimed “conclusively” that conventional oil is fine for cars.

Structure Of The Study Was Quite Comprehensive

The insurance agency conducted a thorough analysis on the effects of each oil by picking five brands at random and testing their impacts.  They checked for the impact that temperature and other variables had on viscosity (thickness of the oil).  They assessed the relative volatility of the oil, which affects how much evaporates and the kind of deposit it leaves in the tank.

Synthetic Oil Performed Much Better

Synthetic oil performed much better in all areas than conventional oil.  It is able to remain viscous in a variety of different temperatures and is also less volatile (meaning it is cleaner).  This conclusive information should be taken seriously by car owners across America because it shows that investing in higher quality oil will save money on engine repair and general car care over the long-term.  There is no question that the buildup of deposits causes a lot of unnecessary damage to a vehicle that winds up costing more than would be saved if synthetic oil was used from the beginning.

Car owners in the Longmont area should consider switching to synthetic oil because it will save them money over the long term and free up extra savings to deal with emergencies like alignment issues or a busted AC system.  There are a number of different brands of synthetic oil on the market so all it takes is a little bit of digging to find the best deal.

 

Independant Garages Are More Popular Than Franchised Locations

A new study conducted by consumer reports found that car owners are overwhelmingly more satisfied with services at an independant garage as compared to a franchised new car dealership.  A lot of new car owners (especially of the luxury brands like Buick and Lincoln) have the option of buying parts and getting serviced at a dealership.  The research was pulled from a questionnaire given to 121,000 car owners: 80,000 from franchised locations and 40,000 from independant garages.  According to this study, the kinds of work being done at dealerships is not as satisfactory as independant garages.

Dealerships Are Just More Expensive

The study took into account general satisfaction, price, quality of the work, and friendliness of the staff.  Independant dealers scored better on all these fronts, which is a great sign for independant mechanics across the country.  Car owners understand and appreciate the time and attention to detail that independant mechanics are known for.  Above all, though, car owners like how affordable they are.  The study highlighted that the costliness of a dealership is the main reason why people don’t like them—scores on quality of work and ability to consistently meet deadlines were pretty high for mechanics at franchised locations.  It really comes down to a matter of cost and convenience.

Costs for car repair certainly add up, especially if the vehicle is over 10 years old.  Independant mechanics know this fact, and are usually quite willing to match the needs of their customers.  This kind of bargaining is not possible at a dealership.  Even better than a friendly discount is the fact that independant mechanics will try and cut costs every step of the way.  Forming a trustworthy bond with a car mechanic will save money and lots of heartache because if something needs to get done, they will do it.  They will not say it’s time for an oil change if it’s only been three months, for example, which cannot be said for mechanics at a dealership that are looking to maximize their profits.  Most independant car mechanics know that the satisfaction of recurring customers is the bread and butter of their business.

Negotiate Over Repair Work

An independant car mechanic will not be offended to negotiate a price.  It’s a part of the business transaction that shows the mechanic the customer knows what they are talking about and wants a fair deal.  It would be best for a customer only to begin negotiating once they have become comfortable with the required terms to be convincing.  In Longmont, independant car mechanics are known to give discounts on air conditioning service and oil changes.  Anything more serious than this will probably have to be paid in full.

Tips For Fixing The Parking Brake

Regular brake repair in Longmont, CO is arguably more important than an oil change.  Colorado is a mountainous state with a lot of inclined roads.  To successfully navigate these roads, a driver will need an excellent braking system.  While driving with dirty oil is never recommended in normal circumstances, driving in Colorado does not really constitute normal circumstances.  An oil change will not help keep a car parked on an uphill slope or help the driver navigate a busy street on a steep decline.  An excellent braking system is needed in these circumstances, and drivers should be sure to have their brakes checked regularly so that they can rely on them in times of need.

Fixing The Parking Brake

One of the problems mentioned above is parking on an incline.  A fully functional parking brake is required to leave a car in a safely parked position on a hill.  Though it is not super common, malfunctions in the parking brake do happen from time to time and car owners should be aware of the signs and symptoms before it happens.  The most important sign of wear and tear is when the parking brake will not fully lock into position as high as it used to.  The reason why it slowly weakens over time is quite simple: the brake wires get loose with age and use.

Each car make has a specification for how high the parking brake should be pulled for it to actually lock.  This should be stated in the owner’s manual, and anything less than this height should be taken as cause for alarm.

Fixing The Parking Brake Is Not A DIY Fix

Some ambitious DIY blogs will say it’s possible to repair a parking brake with a few tools and a rudimentary knowledge of cars.  This is advisable for those who fancy themselves adept at mechanical work and have a fair amount of experience to back them up.  Those who have not worked much with cars are far better off taking it to a mechanic for a proper fix.

Electric Parking Brakes Operate The Same Way

Some newer models will have an electric parking brake system instead of the manual system described above.  Electrical parking brakes work in much the same way, the only difference being that it is automated through an electric motor rather than cable-operated.  Most mechanics will have the proper tools to replace or fix electronic parking brakes, so it’s no hassle either way for the car owner.

Getting regular check-ups on the parking brake might not be needed.  They are pretty sturdy components in the car’s braking system and really only need attention when their malfunction is noticeable to the driver.

How To Keep A Healthy Car AC Unit

A car with a busted AC unit in the summer is like driving around in a sauna.  It might be all right with open windows when driving around the neighborhood, but on the highway things will get pretty sticky in no time.  Even though repairing an AC unit should not break the bank, checking on the system to ensure it is functional is always a good idea.  The funny thing with AC units is that they will not give much of a warning sign before plunking out completely.

A conscientious car owner that wants to save some money and some sweaty car rides should regularly check the status of their unit.  It is important to remember that the unit in not simply blowing cold air into the interior of the car.  The AC unit is a circulatory system that works to remove hot air from the interior and replace it with cooler air extracted from outside.  This process involves the coordinated work of an evaporator, condenser, and compressor.  Then there is the refrigerant liquid that turns hot air into cold.  As with all mechanical gear, these pieces will experience normal wear and tear over the years and will require consistent checking and semi-consistent maintenance.

A car owner should do the following things to keep their AC unit healthy:

Run The Unit Regularly – It’s advisable to run the AC unit for a few minutes at a time about once a week.  This should be done all season long regardless of the external temperature.  The purpose of this task is to keep all the tubes, pumps and valves well lubricated.  If these components become too dry they could possibly disconnect or at least become less fluid.

Ask Mechanic About The Refrigerant Levels – At the next general car check-up, have the mechanic check the refrigerant levels.  Not all mechanics in Longmont will consider the AC as part of their general check-up routine, so clarifying before an oil change and regular check up is always helpful.  If the refrigerant levels are low it’s nothing to worry about.  It is sold at Walmart and many other locations.

Might Have Fungus – The older the car, and the damper the climate, the more likely it is for mold or fungus to build up within the AC unit.  Most people will not even recognize the fungus or mold smell in the car.  Those with asthma or allergies will recognize the presence of these unwelcome growths and will most likely experience poor breathing because of it.  This is a rare case, but it can certainly happen if the car is over 10 years old.  Luckily there are some cleaning liquids that can be applied to the AC unit to clear it out.

These are some great tips for car owners to prevent the breakdown of their AC unit in the hot summer months when they need it most.

How To Winterize A Car

Living in colder climates comes with a fair share of challenges.  There is the requirement to live in a house with strong insulation; the extra electricity bills to keep the house warm; the need for an entirely different wardrobe full of turtlenecks, long johns and wool socks; and then all the obligations that come with preparing a vehicle for the winter months.

 

With all these factors at play it is no surprise that some people do not prepare their car effectively for winter.  Depending on the climate, this oversight can have grave results.  There is no doubt that a 10 year old car will not do well in frigid temperatures – for one thing, the engine will struggle to start because motor oil will have thickened in the cold.

 

In the interest of helping car owners get through the winter unscathered, here is a list of things to do to winterize a vehicle:

 

●      Winter Tires Are A Must.  All season tires will simply not cut it when black ice is on all the roads.  Winter tires have tread patterns and rubber compounds that are designed to navigate safely over ice.  This traction will certainly come in handy more than once.

●      Check The Battery.  The battery will operate at half power in freezing conditions, so it’s important to make sure it is at full strength.  Check the fluid level in the battery by removing the plastic cap.  If there is any uncertainty about the strength of the battery do not hesitate to have it checked.

●      Use The Right Engine Oil.  As mentioned above, engine oil thickens in the cold.  Today it is normal for cars to use multi-weight oil that operates well in  heat and the cold.  However, it is recommended to switch to a grade of oil that is specifically designed to work in colder temperatures.  If extremely cold temperature is expected, there is always the option to purchase an engine block heater that can be installed in the engine and keeps the oil from expanding or freezing.

●      Double Check The Cooling System. The cooling system relies on rubber tubes to work effectively.  In colder weather these tubes can become brittle, or excessively soft, and stop performing up to par.  Check the hoses manually and replace them if they are either too firm or too soft.  It is wise to have the cooling checked every two years, so contact a garage if it’s been longer than that.  It is normal for carers to have a full check up at the garage once a year.  Mechanic shops in Longmont, CO offer great package deals that include winterizing maintenance with a standard oil change.

●      Let The Engine Warm Up.  Otherwise the oil will not warm up in time!

 

Common Issues With Car Air Conditioning Explained

Getting a regular flow of cold air throughout a car is one of the most enjoyable aspects of owning a vehicle.  In the muggy summer months there is really no replacement for it because opening windows only brings in more of the muggy air.  The funny thing is that you only realize how important a functional A/C unit it is when it stops working.  The car quickly goes from being heat relief to a scorching sauna, and driving suddenly becomes immensely unappealing.

As with all mechanical things, there are a number of different reasons why the A/C in a car stops churning out cold air.  Here is a detailed run-down of the most common issued with air conditioning:

The Black Death?  This ironic reference to the bubonic plague that swept Europe in the 14th century refers to the breakdown of the refrigerant.  The refrigerant is a mixture of coolant and water that is spread throughout the car when the engine is started.  A refrigerant breakdown means that the liquid will have seeped out of where it should be kept and begun damaging the compressor and other parts of the car.  The compressor really is where all the damage emerges from, and soon enough particles of metal will spread through the A/C system and wreak havoc to various parts of the car and block the proper transference of the refrigerant.  For anyone worried about the potential for ‘black death’ in their car it is recommended to book an A/C performance check with a local car mechanic.

Weak Airflow? The air might be cool, but it’s so weak that it makes almost no difference.  There are a few reasons why the airflow is so weak.  The first option is that mildew has built up in the evaporator that prevents thorough air flow.  A second potential option is a loose hose.  Usually this happens to the blower hose that is responsible for supplying air to the blower unit.  A third option is a damaged or broken ventilation fan; while a fourth option are broken seals that would otherwise keep the air pressure strong.

Lack of Cold Air? A lack of cold air is every car owner’s worst nightmare.  The most likely cause of this is failed compressor or damaged condenser.  In some cases, vacuum leaks have developed that bring moisture into parts of the car that should never be exposed to the elements.  This can cause serious and costly damage. The gradual decrease in

The gradual decrease in cold air should be attended to immediately.  Don’t wait for the next oil change to get the A/C unit checked at a garage in Longmont or surrounding areas.

 5 Benefits of Regular Oil Changes

Any car owner will say that changing the oil is important – but do they know why?  What usually ends up happening is that car owners think their oil will just be okay for a while.  They keep telling themselves that until something goes wrong, and then they finally go about fixing it.  It’s a similar attitude that many people have with their health: if nothing is going seriously wrong, why go in for a check-up?

The problem with this attitude to car maintenance is that it actually destroys the car at a much faster rate than if oil changes were done regularly.  Most car mechanics in Longmont will say that an oil change is required every 3,000 miles, while an air conditioning service is not as urgent.

 

Here is a list of 5 reasons why a regular oil change will add quality years to the life of a car:

 

  • The Engine Needs Clean Oil.  This is the most important reason to get an oil change.  Imagine a human body that had blood seeping through its veins that gradually became dirty and clogged up.  The body would not operate well if the blood was not flowing everywhere it needed to, right?  This is exactly what happens to a car that has not had an oil change.  The oil picks up debris from the internal organs of the vehicle and drags it around as it tries to reach every compartment of the vehicle.  Naturally, the car will begin to run more poorly and eventually die.
  • The Engine Will Stay Strong.  This debris that collects in oil will cause damage to the engine if left untreated for too long.  Lubrication is integral for the engine to start smoothly and operate without any hitches.  The engine obviously operates at a very hot temperature, and without the proper lubrication, this heat will cause degradation of all component parts.  It goes without saying that engine damage is incredibly costly and should be avoided at all costs.  Changing the oil on a regular basis can literally add years of life to the engine of the car.
  • Better Fuel Efficiency.  The logic of this is quite simple: the cleaner the oil is, the easier it is for the car to run, therefore the less fuel it has to burn just to get to work and back.  This saves money on gas and limits (though only slightly) a number of emissions being sent into the atmosphere.  There is also the practical concern of passing emissions tests to consider.

 

These are only a few of the many reasons why getting an oil change is an integral part of car maintenance.

 

 Car Heating Maintenance Tips

Though it might seem like a challenging endeavor, doing some basic maintenance on a car heater is actually quite straightforward.  The benefit of checking the heating once in awhile is that it will prevent any issues with heating that could bring additional damage to the car.  For example, overheating is a common problem with car heaters that can be avoided by regular maintenance.

Here are a few tips for the regular car owner to follow up on if they want to stay on top of their heater.  If there is any concern at all about the state of the AC or heater, it is important to see a qualified car mechanic immediately.  There are a number of excellent mechanics in the Longmont area that specialize in heater issues, alignment concerns, engine trouble, and so much more.

How To Change The Antifreeze

Changing the antifreeze is the best way to ensure that the heater will continue to operate effectively.  Anyone interested in checking their own car’s antifreeze will need safety goggles, a screwdriver, an antifreeze tester, a clean pan, a hose, and several bottles of fresh antifreeze.

There are a number of steps to changing the antifreeze:

 

  1. Check The Levels.  With the car turned off, unscrew the pressure cap from the radiator.  Make sure to wear safety goggles while performing any tasks with units that are under pressure.  Once the cap has been removed, place the antifreeze tester into the radiator.  It will show the temperature to which the antifreeze is effective.  Those living in colder climates take note: if it gets any colder that what the antifreeze reading is, then it’s time to change the antifreeze.
  2. Draining The Antifreeze. To drain the antifreeze, place the pan underneath the radiator and open the valve on the bottom.  Make sure to wear gloves and a mask during this procedure because antifreeze is toxic.
  3. Change The Thermostat Too. This is to ensure that the reading can always be trusted.  Changing the thermostat requires removing the face of the old thermostat, disconnecting the wires, removing the old mount that held the old thermostat, and connecting a new thermostat.
  4. Put In New Antifreeze. The final step is to put new antifreeze into the radiator.  At this stage, it is important to consider the weather once more because it determines the ratio of antifreeze to water.  In warmer climates, the ratio is 50/50, while in colder climates a 70/30 mix is recommended.

 Car maintenance is not for everyone, and there are many qualified professionals to step in if needed.  Do not hesitate in contacting a garage if the heaters are inconsistent or simply not working.  A professional will be able to fix the problem in a number of hours.

Car Winterizing: 3 Key Steps

Living in a harsh climate with extreme seasonal temperatures and weather conditions can do a number on a car. Winter, especially, with its biting cold, snow and ice, and general unpredictability, can wreak havoc on a vehicle. Owners and drivers should be prepared for the worst that Old Man Winter can throw at them. Winterizing a car, including an oil change in Longmont, CO, can do a lot to keep it running efficiently all season. Read on for more details and 3 key steps.

Winterizing in Longmont, CO: An Oil Change Can Keep a Car Running

1.    Change the Engine Oil

Changing the oil to a thinner formula will help the engine run better in colder temperatures, especially if it’s below freezing. This is because thicker, more viscous engine oil will thicken further when the thermometer drops, which equals sluggish performance. Switching out the oil during a fall oil change will help the engine turn over better when the mercury plunges.

2.    Use the Right Engine Coolant

Coolant helps protect vehicle engines from corrosion as well as overheating. Every vehicle requires a different ratio of engine coolant to water. In the winter, the right ratio needs to be attended to for optimal protection. This might be different from what is needed in the summer. Some vehicles might require a 60/40 or even a 70/30 ratio – car owners should check the manual or the manufacturer’s specifications, and they should never add coolant if they’re unsure of the correct ratio.

3.    Check the Battery

A car battery’s “cranking power” is the total power the battery is able to use in order to start the engine, according to Cars Direct (also referred to as “cold cranking amps,” as the power is measured in amps, and the performance is determined at a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit). In cold weather, the cranking power of a car battery is reduced. It doesn’t help that freezing temperatures thicken engine oil, which also contributes to how difficult it is for the engine to turn over. To prevent problems, car owners need to make sure their battery is in good working order before the cold weather hits.

Extra Winterizing Tips

There’s not much that’s worse than getting in a frozen car early in the morning, only to find that it won’t start. Car owners can circumvent problems like this by winterizing their cars for maximum performance in cold temperatures and harsh conditions.

Changing the oil to a winter grade formula, using a winter ratio of engine coolant to water, and double-checking that the battery is charged and in good shape are all excellent habits for winter driving prep. Other tips include investing in a set of snow tires, installing a fresh set of windshield wiper blades to help keep vision clear, and warming up the engine before driving. Even a brief amount of idle time can help the oil warm up so it flows better. Follow these tips to keep a vehicle dependable and ready to go even when the mercury plummets.

A person’s vehicle is one of their most prized possessions. Not only do most people appreciate their car for its practicality, getting them to and from wherever they need to go, many people go so far as to love their car. In fact, many people name their cars and care for them as they would a member of their family.

Regardless of the level of devotion a person feels toward their car, it is imperative that they do all they can to get the best services and care for it. High quality maintenance and repair services will do much to keep a car in good working order for years to come. This includes a Longmont air conditioning service company that also focuses on car heating services.

How Longmont Air Conditioning Service Companies ID 4 Common Car Heating Issues

A car’s heating and cooling systems are closely related. This is one of the main reasons why a company will focus on both systems, as opposed to one or the other.

If a person presents their car with a heating issue, how does an air conditioning and heating company determine the exact problem?

  1. Check for Cooling System Leaks

Anti-freeze or coolant is used to reduce corrosion and boost the boiling point within the cooling system and engine. Leaks will not only stop the heater from working efficiently, the engine won’t be able to cool down.

  1. Evaluate the HVAC Door

An HVAC door opens and closes to direct air flow to various vents in the car. This door is typically made of plastic, which can break over time and lead to a vent or vents not working properly.

  1. Look for Water Pump Corrosion

A water pump forces coolant throughout a car’s heating system. Corrosion on the pump will eventually make it impossible for the pump to do its job. This can cause a car’s engine to overheat. In some cases, there is a leaky seal or a failed bearing on the water pump where coolant can seep out and cause the heating system to malfunction.

  1. Assess the Heater Core

Trapped air or clogs in the heater core can prevent the heating and air conditioning system from working properly. A service technician will feel the heater core tubes; one should be warm and the other hot. If one is hot and the other is cold, there is some sort of clog that needs to be addressed. Another problem is a leaking heater core. This is sometimes difficult to fix, so a professional should definitely be consulted. They may be able to repair the leak, or replacement may be the best option.

A Treasured Vehicle Deserves Top-Notch Car Heating and Air Conditioning Services

A person’s car is often more than just a means to get from place to place; it is their pride and joy. Such a beloved possession deserves the best care possible. At the first sign of heating issues, a car should be taken to a top-notch Longmont air condition service company.