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“Elder Care” for Senior Cars

Posted by on in Service

We all get older, and so do our cars and trucks. But if you’d like to give your vehicle the longest, healthiest life possible, here are some things you can do:

Follow the book - Your vehicle almost certainly came with an owner’s manual showing exactly what service the manufacturer recommends at specific intervals. When in doubt, do what the car maker says to do, from transmission flushes and oil changes to brake service. We’re happy to provide our recommendations as well so you can make the most informed decision.

Protect the body - It’s true for boxers, and it’s true for cars: If you want to keep going, guard the body. Countless hours in direct sunlight or under bird-laden trees can do lasting damage to your car’s finish, and letting it sit in a pile of road-salted ice can rust the undercarriage and possibly cause your brake or fuel lines to fail. Washing and waxing can help your car hold together longer.

Watch the gauges - Too many people see a Check Engine light flashing and automatically assume that all they need is a new Check Engine light. While that might be the case, usually your computer throws error messages for a reason, and the gauges are telling you to get the care checked out. Pay attention to them!

Keep doing the simple stuff - Any car, of any age, benefits from normal maintenance tasks such as changing the oil and oil filter, checking fluids and changing or adding fluid as needed, replacing worn tires and checking air pressure, et cetera. You’d be amazed at how much longevity these simple little details can add to your faithful vehicle.

Bring your senior car to Al’s Automotive & Tire. We can provide the loving care necessary to help you enjoy its “golden years.”

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Bottom out one too many pot holes?

Posted by on in Service

Sure, you know that new NAPA Shocks and Struts can give your vehicle a smoother, more comfortable ride. But did you know that they also can improve steering control, braking distance and reduce tire wear? 

Right now Al's Automotive and Tire is offering a special price on NAPA Shocks and Struts.  You can buy four qualifying NAPA Shocks and Struts for the price of three, with installation. 

The shock and strut savings are via mail-in rebate. Plus — with your purchase, you’ll earn a $25 Car Care Cash card to use on your next visit! So save big — and improve your vehicle’s ride and performance! 

Call Al’s Automotive and Tire today to schedule an appointment or book on line now.  

The offer is good September 1 through October 31, 2013.

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Al’s Automotive and Tire Employee Spotlight on Jerry Grither

Posted by on in Service

Owner, Jim Berberich shares some thoughts about September’s Employee Spotlight, “Jerry Grither has been with Al’s Automotive and Tire for nearly two years. Jerry is the kind of guy that loves his work, is extremely thorough and treats every customer’s car as if it were his own. He is an ASE Master Certified Technician with an L-1 and Diesel certifications.

Most importantly, Jerry gets it. He goes the extra mile to take care of his customers, and often times don’t say anything about the little extras he took care of for the customer at no charge.

Jerry didn’t tell us this about himself. He’s a very quiet guy and it’s taken most of his two years to loosen up a little and start to cut up. We told him our story was going to be ‘Jerry is in the witness protection program and therefore we don’t know much about him.’ However, after a couple ice cream drumsticks he opened up and claimed that he sees his primary role as cleaning the bathroom and our loaner cars. On a more serious note, he feels that our industry is getting a bad reputation due to the unethical practices of some businesses."

Jerry's position is to be honest and give high quality work. Jim says without hesitation, "that’s exactly what Jerry does every day. He’s a leader who enjoys his work and enjoys setting a good example to the other technicians.”

Jerry is married and recently became a father to their first baby boy. “We think Jerry is one proud papa but he won’t let on just yet. Jerry was a round track racer for a number of years and still has that competitive spirit in him. We’re blaming Jerry for getting us tossed out of the NASCAR Speed Park but he just “encouraged” us all to get a little crazy. The track people didn’t like that! Next up is an indoor go-cart track for our employee bonding time. We’ll let you know how Jerry does with this adventure.”

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It's Air Conditioning Season -- Is Your Car Up to the Challenge?

Posted by on in Service

The temperature is rising, and so are the odds you’ll be using your car’s air conditioning this summer. But are you sure that cold air will blow into the cabin when you hit the controls? A vehicle air conditioning system must be properly maintained just like any other system, and when it fails it must be repaired, unless you’re prepared to sweat your way through those hot commutes (and the inside of a car can become dangerously hot). That’s where your friends at Al’s Automotive & Tire can help.

First, let’s examine how a car AC works. A special gas known as refrigerant is subject to high pressure by your car’s compressor, causing it to absorb surrounding heat. the heated gas is sent to a condenser, which rapidly cools it from a gas into a liquid and removes the heat. An expansion valve then reduces the pressure, allowing the refrigerant to return to gaseous form. Finally, the cooled low-pressure gas travels to an evaporator in front of the passenger compartment, absorbing ambient heat as it goes. so when the blower pushes air into the cabin, that air is nice and cold! The whole cycle then repeats itself continuously.

As you can see, there are a lot of components in that process that can potentially go bad. You can tell if your blower motor has failed, because no air is moving. If the air moves but feels hot, you could have a failure in your compressor, fan belt (which operates the compressor), condenser, expansion valve, evaporator, or the hoses that connect all this stuff. The best-case scenario is that you’re simply low on refrigerant. But whatever your AC problem is, let us check it out and get that system into good shape for summer. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did!

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Shedding Some Light on your Vehicle's Lighting System

Posted by on in Service

Imagine driving down an unfamiliar, poorly-lit road, with absolutely no way of seeing what’s in the road in front of you or alerting other cars to your presence. Imagine not being able to inform your fellow drivers when you plan to turn or stop. Scary, isn’t it? Well, that’s what nighttime or poor-weather driving would be like without our trusty headlights, taillights and indicator lights. So let’s take a moment and look at issues that afflict these essential safety components of your car.

You may marvel at how long an automobile headlight seems to last, but that’s because you’re only using it when driving. You can expect an incandescent or halogen car headlight to give you anywhere from 600 to 2,000 hours of performance, enough to last most drivers for several years. They do die eventually, however. If one of your headlights has failed while the other is still burning, chances are that headlight has simply reached the end of its operational life and needs to be replaced. If both headlights have failed at the same time, suspect an electrical problem or battery failure. The plastic headlight covers can also become hazy over time, reducing the light output. These covers can sometimes be cleaned up, but many drivers just replace them.

Tail lights and indicator lights don’t have to provide the driver with illumination for viewing, so they can be smaller and cheaper than headlights. It’s essential that you keep an eye on them, though, because they can burn out on you without your ever realizing it, opening the door to possible tragedy on the road. You can check them by driving up (or backing up) to a reflective surface at night. See them burning? If not, come to Al’s Automotive & Tire so we can replace them pronto!

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