Category Archives: Tips

Maintenance or Payments?

Making the decision to keep your vehicle long term can be a wise one.

After your vehicle is paid off it can give you a return on your investment that is not available to consumers who simply trade their vehicles off. Not having a car payment can open the door to some new monthly revenue that was previously going out the door. This new-found money could be a lasting resource if you make the right decision to preventatively maintain your vehicle. This means that giving a little money back will keep your vehicle in dependable and eye-pleasing condition.

The common pitfall for many consumers who pay off their vehicles is that they forget to invest any money into their automobile. This scenario will certainly result in a major breakdown or a vehicle that is not eye-pleasing or comfortable. In these cases the owner usually trades the vehicle off and starts on a new payment book. There is no capital to be gained in this case.

It is a well known fact that most automobiles can be maintained at a very dependable level to over two hundred thousand miles. An approximate cost to maintain the average vehicle is about $1,200 to $1,400 per year. These figures can vary depending on the present condition of your vehicle. Doing preventative maintenance should result in 3 to 4 visits to a professional repair facility. Yes, this is a commitment but if you do the math it is well worth it.

To take the guesswork out of preventative maintenance, Factory Maintenance Schedules are available for your vehicle at our service counter, free of charge!

Vehicle Inspections

For most auto buyers, purchasing a used vehicle can feel like entering a Black Hole. One wrong move and there will be no “Return On Investment.”

We offer a comprehensive used vehicle inspection that will ward off even the deepest of Black Holes! The problem that we have found with vehicle inspections is that many people will not take the time to bring in a used vehicle for proper pre-purchase inspections. We are also aware that many purchases develop very quickly.

In an effort to give consumers some piece of mind we have a do-it-yourself used vehicle inspection form. Our form will allow you to ask the right questions and quickly inspect the critical areas of a used vehicle before purchasing it. This form will not take the place of our comprehensive inspections but it will allow you to hit all of the hot spots and make a much more informed decision to buy.

We have seen too many consumers go into the used vehicle Black Hole without any protection. The result can be a devastating automobile budget blow. Don’t let this happen to you: Stop by and pick up our inspection form, or call to have one faxed.

Fuel Miser? Be Wiser!

Tips on choosing the right octane for your vehicle duty.

The cost of gasoline is on the rise again. Why you ask? We won’t go into that, but what we will go into is fuel octane versus vehicle duty. With the rising cost of fuel many consumer are switching back to lower octane fuel to help offset the price. This is a more economical way to get you from point A to point B but can lead to costly repairs in some cases.

Higher octane fuels have more additives in them for cleaning and providing your engine with the potential to make more power. A more even and controllable flame front in your engines combustion chamber is what enables it to produce power well beyond the limits of standard unleaded fuel.

Before you fill you gas tank with low grade fuel the vehicle and the conditions under which it will be driven should be considered. Heavy duty towing vehicles should always use a higher grade fuel, without it costly internal engine damage can occur when the engine is under load. Light duty trucks and passenger cars should use a higher grade fuel whenever they are used under load conditions. Extra weight in the vehicle and steeper road grades can put a tremendous power demand on the engine, which makes it vulnerable to internal damage.

Here are some driving tips to help with your fuel economy:

[Actual fuel mileage is best determined by calculating the fuel consumed and mileage driven over three tanks of fuel or more.]

  • Fill your tank fully each time, get your fuel at the same station each time (if possible) and use your normal driving habits.
  • Cold weather and the use of oxygenated fuel will increase your vehicleÕs fuel consumption on a seasonal basis.
  • Taking short trips of three miles or less will decrease your fuel mileage.
  • Prolonged engine warm up periods and excessive engine idling will increase fuel use.
  • Stop & go city driving will decrease fuel mileage appx. 17% below freeway driving.
  • Freeway driving over the posted speed limit will decrease average fuel consumption by appx. 2.4 MPG for every 10 MPH increased above 40 MPH.
  • Loading down your vehicle with extra passengers or weight will decrease fuel mileage, especially if you are driving on hilly terrain.
  • Increasing the frontal area of your vehicle with even a light load will increase wind resistance, which will decrease fuel mileage accordingly.
  • Installing bug deflectors and other add-on items increases wind resistance and decreases fuel mileage by approximately 1 to 2 MPG. Faster speeds have a greater effect on mileage when these components are installed.
  • Driving your vehicle with the Check Engine Light in the instrument panel illuminated will cause poor fuel mileage and driveability issues.
  • Driving with your left foot resting on the brake pedal even lightly will cause decreased fuel mileage and premature brake lining wear.
  • Under-inflated tires will increase rolling resistance and cause a loss of up to one mile per gallon.
  • Tires should always be inflated to manufacturer’s specifications.

Remember, with the high price of fuel even a small change for the positive in your driving habits could make a significant difference in your fuel bill each month.

Defrost Can Cost.

Did you know? When defrost mode is selected, your air conditioning compressor is actively operating.

On cold mornings it is essential to operate your vehicle´s heater system in the defrost mode to clear the windows inside and out. In defrost mode the heating system should rapidly clear your windows for safe driving. If your vehicle has air conditioning it is important to know that when the defrost mode is selected the air conditioning compressor is engaged.

There are two reasons for running the air conditioning compressor in defrost mode. The primary reason for running incoming defroster air through the air conditioning system is the fact that it dries the moisture from the air and allows the windows to be cleared in a fraction of the time it takes a non air conditioned vehicle which must wait for the engine to warm first. The second reason is that running the air conditioning system allows the compressor and A/C components to lubricate throughout the year. This way the A/C system is ready in hot or cold weather with a minimum of corrosion-related breakdowns.

The main point of this article is to make you aware that if you have a vehicle with air conditioning you should only run it in the defrost mode when it is needed. If you are able to run your heating controls in the economy or normal heating mode and keep the windows clear, do so. This will save wear and tear on your vehicle´s A/C system and could potentially save you a lot of money in fuel cost by not running the horsepower-robbing A/C compressor.

Frosty the Windshield

Have you seen my ice scraper? This phrase is rapidly spreading through local homes as hundreds of Oregonians awake to the realization that a credit card and hair comb are not the most efficient tools for cleaning a frosted windshield. Winter has arrived! Those ice scrapers may never surface, but you can be prepared for the next wave of frosty winter weather.

A Street Automotive and Collision can’t help you find your ice scrapers, but we can offer you a Pre-Winter Service Package to increase your vehicle’s cold weather dependability.

The A Street Automotive Pre-Winter Package offers the following services for light vehicles:

  • Coolant Condition & Freezing Level Test
  • Starter Amperage Draw Test
  • Alternator Output Test
  • Battery Load Test
  • Chassis Lube
  • Oil & Filter Change
  • Check & Fill All Levels
  • Non-Freezing Windshield Water Fluid Added
  • Clean & Protect Battery Terminals
  • 27-point Vehicle Inspection
  • Coolant System Pressure Test
  • Inflate Tires To Proper Pressure
  • Heater Output Test
  • Wiper Blade Replacement

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

What to do when you find tracks left behind by our feline friends on your nice paint job?

It doesn’t take Grizzly Adams to find the tracks left behind cats on a vehicle’s paint job. Claw scratches and dirt scuffs are evident on any vehicle’s paint because cats like to cuddle up to vehicle like it’s a warm fire on a cool night. Short of a big dog we have not yet discovered a sure shot way to keep cats from jumping up on vehicles, but here are some tips for depleting the damaging effects.

  • Keep your vehicle´s paint clean and waxed. This will make the surface slick and the coating is more resistant to damage.
  • Hand glaze is a great alternative to wax. It will create the same results as wax but can be used more often. Too much wax causes a problematic build up.
  • Purchase and use a good quality car cover. This is the ultimate protection but might not be very practical for your daily driven vehicle.

Although claw scratches on your vehicle´s finish are annoying we can remove them using a professional buffing process. Keeping your vehicle´s finish clean and waxed will most likely eliminate the scratches completely.

On another note, cats also like to sleep in the warm engine compartment of vehicles. Many felines have met their maker when the engine is started. An under the hood check is recommended before starting your vehicle if you know that cats have been present.

Don’t Get Burned

Did you know? Your exhaust system can start fires.

When you are on your summer outings, don´t forget that your car’s exhaust system is equipped with a catalytic converter that has internal temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees F. Although it’s well insulated and shielded, it’s still extremely hot externally.

If your exhaust system comes in contact with any combustible material, it will almost certainly catch on fire. Take care not to park anywhere that weeds and tall grass will touch your exhaust system.

A Dab of… Cleaner?

Try one of the new cleaner waxes!

Let’s say that you haven’t gotten around to waxing your car for a while (like years?) and your paint is oxidized or faded. Maybe you feel waxing would be a waste of time. Perhaps there is an alternative for you besides the heart stopping cost of a quality complete paint job! Cleaner wax is a wax that has mild abrasives formulated in to it. Cleaner wax can be found in all popular car care lines.

Meguires or 3M Products are our personal favorite. Using mild abrasives in conjunction with a little elbow grease will remove oxidation and build up which inhibits paint´s shine and clarity. A thorough application of cleaner wax, followed by a coat of premium finish wax can restore some pretty poor looking paint. If cleaner wax does not seem to be doing the trick you can always bring your vehicle by and let us evaluate the paint condition. Buffing or spot painting may be needed in some areas. Our collision repair facility can also do what we call an exterior makeover. This includes a combination of spot paint, touch up painting, buffing and waxing. A makeover can make your vehicle´s exterior look practically new again at a fraction of the cost for a new paint job.

Car Washing 101

A Street Automotive & Collision’s refresher course on how to properly clean your vehicle.

Now that the sun is shining you might want to think about washing your vehicle. We know that is has been a while so the following is a refresher course on how to properly clean your vehicle.

Always begin with the proper tools:

  • A clean 2-5 gallon bucket
  • A soft clean auto wash mitt
  • Auto wash soap (any biodegradable, spot free brand will work)
  • A soft terry cloth towels or a clean chamois

Put a small amount of soap in your wash bucket. [This will minimize water spotting if you choose not to dry your vehicle.] Thoroughly rinse the vehicle, letting the water sheet off (rather than spray off) before washing. This will remove as much dirt as possible to decrease the amount of abrasive materials during the scrubbing process.

Starting on the roof, scrub lightly in line with the vehicle. Working your way down, scrub each panel along its manufactured lines. Scrubbing in line will help blend scratches into the style lines of the vehicle. Be sure to keep your wash mitt soapy and rinse as you go. Do not let the soap dry on your vehicle´s finish as this will cause severe water spotting. It is best to wash when it is cool out to avoid water spotting too. When the washing is finished you can dry your vehicle with soft terry cloth towels or a clean chamois. Do not forget to clean your tools when finished to prepare for the next washing.

Now go enjoy your beautifully clean vehicle!