Power Steering Service At L and M Motors Inc In Anchorage
Posted March 28, 2012 12:49 PM
Many Anchorage drivers have been hearing about new advances in power steering technology, specifically, electric power steering. Some very high-end cars have been featuring electric power steering for a few years. An electric motor directly provides the power assist to make steering easier. Undoubtedly we’ll see much more of this in Anchorage as full electric cars and electric hybrids become more common.
The vast majority of cars and trucks serviced at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage use a hydraulic power boost system. With hydraulics, fluid is pressurized by a pump which actuates a hydraulic cylinder to reduce steering effort. Some of these pumps are powered by an electric motor. Most pumps are powered by the serpentine belt driven by the engine.
Power steering fluid has the necessary hydraulic properties and the ability to lubricate the internal parts. The power steering fluid also protects family car components from rust and corrosion. Anchorage car owners should be aware that manufacturers recommend that the fluid be replaced on schedule. At L and M Motors Inc, the old fluid is drained and the system cleaned thoroughly. Fresh fluid is then installed.
Unfortunately, many Anchorage people don’t realize how important it is to service their power steering, or even that it should be done at all. A neglected power steering system can develop leaks and the pump won’t last as long.
Signs that you may be having problems with your power steering include the need to constantly add power steering fluid, a loud whining from the pump, erratic power assist or high steering effort. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, have your power steering checked out at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage.
In addition to the pump and hydraulic system, there are mechanical parts in the steering system. The rods, arms, joints and knuckles that actually turn the wheels can become worn or damaged. A standard alignment service includes an inspection of steering components.
If you notice any play in the steering wheel, that the steering wheel is off center, or a noise coming from your front wheels, especially when turning, have your L and M Motors Inc advisor do an inspection so the problem can be corrected. Waiting too long could cause uneven tire wear and may even lead to steering failure. Call L and M Motors Inc today at 907-563-4994.
Posted in the Alignment category
Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last At L and M Motors Inc
Posted March 21, 2012 9:37 AM
A while back, the Cash for Clunkers program was all over the news. Anchorage people could trade in their old vehicle for a new one that got better fuel economy and receive a government rebate.
A lot of Anchorage motorists had so-called clunkers that they wanted to keep. They’re good commuters, grocery getters or toy haulers. They enjoy that fact that they’re paid off, or soon will be. They would gladly like to keep their family cars for 200,000 miles or more – as long as it’s economical to do so.
There are plenty of Anchorage drivers whose vehicles are running after 150,000 or 200,000 miles. We can learn from what they’re doing to keep our own family cars on the road in AK.
Anchorage drivers of high-mileage cars often report a common denominator of never skipping an oil change.That may sound a bit unsophisticated, but it’s really not. First off, oil is the life blood of your family car's engine and it needs to be clean to properly lubricate. Skipping oil changes leads to clogged oil filters and sludge that can damage your engine.
There’s another reason why the scheduled oil change is so important for Anchorage car owners. It’s simple – a L and M Motors Inc professional is going to be looking at your car. All of your fluid levels will be inspected and topped off so they won’t get so low that damage can be done. If there is a significant fluid loss, let’s use brake fluid as an example, your L and M Motors Inc technician can look for the cause of the loss and find the problem before it leads to an accident or costly repair.
Your L and M Motors Inc advisor will also visually inspect your family car for worn belts and hoses, uneven tire wear, leaking shock absorbers and more. Problems get addressed before they lead to repairs that cost more than the car’s worth.
And your L and M Motors Inc advisor will be able to remind you of other services that the factory recommends you get done. Just think of that oil change the same way as you do about going to your Anchorage dentist for your six month cleaning and checkup. Don’t skip it.
Realistically, things are going to wear out as your family car gets older. On the way to 200,000 miles you’ll go through several batteries, probably a couple of alternators and water pumps, a set of shocks and likely some brake rotors.
Of course, these things cost money, but they are far cheaper than new family car payments. With proper service at L and M Motors Inc and regular inspections, you’ll keep surprise repairs to a minimum and more money in your wallet.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Gas Savings In Anchorage: Sharpen Your Pencil
Posted March 16, 2012 10:00 AM
High gas prices in Anchorage have hit most of our budgets. You’ve probably budgeted a certain amount for vehicle related stuff. Increased fuel costs are now consuming a bigger portion of that budget and you may be tempted to skimp in some other areas – like scheduled maintenance.
According to news reports and industry studies, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten personal vehicles on the road have at least one maintenance or repair item that hasn’t been done. Some of these items are serious safety concerns. Others are just more likely to affect the cost of operating your vehicle.
In this area, we can take a lesson from professional Anchorage vehicle owners. I’m talking about fleet owners and operators. You know, Anchorage folks like the trucking companies and delivery services. Because their livelihood depends on it, they have gotten scheduled maintenance down to a science. And the last thing they skimp on is regular maintenance.
Why is that? Well, for one thing they know that routine maintenance prevents expensive repairs and costly breakdowns. They also know that a well-maintained vehicle uses less fuel. For them, even a small decrease in fuel economy may mean not being profitable.
So what does this mean to Anchorage drivers? Well, there’s a ninety percent chance that you’re missing some service that would improve your fuel economy. Here’s a quick reminder list:
Fuel system cleaning, transmission service, differential service, engine air filter, wheel alignment, oil change, tune up. Ring any bells? Can you honestly say that there isn’t at least one thing on the list that hasn’t been done?
Let’s suppose you chose to spend one hundred and fifty dollars and get caught up on some of these services at L and M Motors Inc. Figure that they combine to improve your fuel economy by fifteen percent. What would that mean to your pocketbook?
Well, the average personal vehicle in Anchorage is driven about twelve thousand miles a year. If you get twenty miles per gallon in your family car, over the course of one year you would pay for the hundred and fifty dollars worth of service and save an additional hundred and sixty five dollars if gas is at three dollars and fifty cents. If gas is four fifty, you would save two hundred and fifty-five dollars. And you’d rack up savings of three hundred and forty five dollars with gas at five and a half bucks.
From this you can see that the more fuel costs, the more it pays to take care of your family car. Some of us drive trucks in Anchorage for work or recreation – or want a large SUV for family needs. A fifteen percent improvement in fuel economy can generate huge savings – six hundred and sixty dollars a year if gas is four fifty a gallon in Anchorage. Take a look at this table to see where your savings could lie.
So catch up on those services you’ve been neglecting at L and M Motors Inc. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you’ll save a lot of money at Anchorage gas pumps this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Air Conditioning Maintenance At L and M Motors Inc In Anchorage
Posted March 7, 2012 12:20 PM
Warm weather or cold, Anchorage drivers still need to think about their family car’s air conditioning. Most Anchorage people don’t service their air conditioning until after it fails. At L and M Motors Inc, we can advise you on your vehicle manufacturer's preventive maintenance schedules for air conditioning service, just as we do for transmission service, oil changes and so on.
Maintaining your air conditioning system means that you always have enough refrigerant to properly do the job. Small leaks in the family car's air conditioning system allow the refrigerant to escape and the system can’t cool the air as well. We see that a lot at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage.
The refrigerant also contains a special oil that lubricates air conditioning components, and keeps the seals resilient. Low refrigerant and lubricating oil means that the air conditioning parts will wear out prematurely, and all Anchorage car owners know that air conditioning repairs can be costly. At L and M Motors Inc, we recommended that the air conditioner be run regularly, even during winter months, to keep the parts and seals lubricated.
Corrosion is what leads to many air conditioning system failures for Anchorage motorists. The small leaks mentioned earlier also mean that air and water can leak into the air conditioning system. This can lead to rust and dirt in the internal workings of the air conditioning components. This greatly accelerates wear and, ultimately, failure.
Air conditioning service at L and M Motors Inc starts with a visual inspection of the components for signs of damage or leaks. The compressor is driven by a belt from the engine, most often the serpentine belt, so it’s inspected for cracks or wear. The air conditioning compressor and other components are checked for proper operation. Then comes the leak test. If a leak is detected, often in a hose or connection, it’s repaired and the system is retested.
Then the old refrigerant is evacuated and the system is recharged with clean, fresh refrigerant. A final test insures that the family car's air conditioner is working, and you’re on your way.
How often this should be done varies from vehicle to vehicle. Your family car owner’s manual will have the manufacturer’s recommendation and, of course, your L and M Motors Inc service advisor can tell you. It’s typically every two years.
If you’re not getting enough cool air you know something’s wrong. Also, if you hear strange sounds when you turn the air on, there might be a problem with the compressor and you should get it checked out at L and M Motors Inc. Replacing a bad A/C clutch in a family car is cheaper than waiting for it to ruin the compressor.
Anchorage drivers need to be aware that there’s one more thing that isn’t directly related to air conditioning service, but does impact the quality of the air in your family car. And that’s your cabin air filter. This filter cleans dust, pollen, pollution and other impurities in the air that comes from the heater and air conditioner. The cabin air filter needs to be replaced when it’s dirty. If you don’t it’ll start to smell. Not all vehicles have one, so ask your L and M Motors Inc service advisor to check your cabin air filter at the same time they’re doing your air conditioning service.
Posted in the Air Conditioning category
L and M Motors Inc Guide To Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle
Posted March 1, 2012 9:36 AM
Today's L and M Motors Inc post focuses on using the proper fluids for your vehicle. Big advances in automotive technology have lead to the development of high-tech fluids to keep pace. Some because of engineering advances and others, advances in the materials used to build family car automotive systems.
A simple example of this is the cooling system. For decades it was primarily made out of iron, steel and rubber hoses. There was one kind of coolant that protected these components from corrosion.
Now cooling system components are made with various metal alloys and plastics. These materials require different additives to protect them from corrosion. Since the materials used vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, we now have a number of different kinds of coolant.
And it’s important that Fort Richardson car owners use the right coolant. If you pour in the wrong kind, it won’t protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Check your family car owner’s manual. Of course, your L and M Motors Inc advisor will know the proper coolant to use.
Brake fluid is confusing for some Fort Richardson drivers. Back when we opened shop 23 years ago, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some Fort Richardson people mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That’s not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the demands of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is recommended for your family car.
Transmission fluid is the same thing. For decades there were two basic types of tranny fluid used at L and M Motors Inc: friction modified or not. With the tremendous engineering advances in family car automatic transmissions, there have been several new types of fluids developed to protect and lubricate them.
Nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident to Fort Richardson motorists and L and M Motors Inc professionals than in motor oil. Many new weights and formulations have been created to meet the demands of today’s modern family car engine design. Modern engines have more parts and much tighter tolerances. Every year, engines make more power and get better fuel economy. And with all the complication and sophistication, they still have to be durable.
That’s where the new grades of engine oil come in. They have to be formulated to lubricate, protect and clean all of those family car engine parts, big and little. The oil has to be thin enough to get into little passages, yet resistant to vaporization.
At L and M Motors Inc, we believe that in some ways modern automotive fluids are just as great feats of engineering as the new engines. Because weights of oil and types of coolant and transmission fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, take care to always use the proper fluid if you are topping off at home. Check your family car owner’s manual or ask your Fort Richardson service advisor. The wrong fluid can cause damage. If you drive a car or truck with 75,000 miles or more, consider high mileage formulations. These fluids contain extra detergent to clean dirtier older engines as well as additives to condition seals and gaskets. That’ll help prevent leaks. Always be sure that the high mileage fluid is the same weight or type of fluid recommended for your vehicle.