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Archive for December 2014

Talk to L and M Motors Inc About New Shoes for Your Vehicle

Posted December 23, 2014 12:00 PM

Custom wheels are one way that Anchorage folks express themselves and personalize their vehicle. But they aren't as cheap and easy as sticking decals on your back window. There are several factors that need to be considered, including cost, the fit of the wheel, modifications that will have to be made to the vehicle, how the new wheels and tires will affect the operation of the vehicle, your driving habits, and, of course, the style of the wheels. Most Anchorage drivers start with the last factor: the style of the wheels. But that should be the last thing we choose.

When considering custom wheels, you should first carefully consider your budget. Some wheels may require adjustments to your vehicle suspension system, brakes, or traction systems. You need to know what you can afford before you start shopping or get your heart set on a particular type of wheel.

There are three basic ways you can change your wheels. First, you choose a wheel that is already the same size as the ones on your vehicle. Second, you can choose larger wheels, and third, you can choose smaller wheels. Mounting wheels that are the same size as the ones already on your car sounds easy enough. But, even though the wheel may be the same diameter as your current wheels, that doesn't mean it will fit your vehicle. Besides diameter, wheels also have an offset. This is the measurement from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on. If your new wheel does not have the same offset as your current wheels, your vehicle tires can rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. This can lead to blowouts, uneven tread wear, and other mechanical problems.

The tire and wheel professionals in Anchorage at L and M Motors Inc on 400 W 53rd Ave can help you select a wheel that has both the correct diameter and offset for your vehicle. Or, if you really want a specific wheel in spite of the offset difference, your technician may be able to install adapters that will make the wheels fit.

Mounting larger wheels is a more involved process. There are several ways of doing this. You can mount larger wheels, but keep the overall tire diameter the same. Or you can “supersize” your tire/wheel combo. Mounting larger wheels while maintaining the same overall tire diameter is the easiest way to increase wheel size. You still need to adjust for offset. Generally, this alteration means that your new tires will be wider than the originals, so you will have to install adapters to keep them from rubbing on the wheel wells. Consult your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc by calling 907-563-4994.

If you want to install larger wheels and increase the overall tire diameter, it is important that the package fits in the wheel well: you may have to do some minor modifications to your suspension. More importantly, you will have to reprogram your vehicle engine's computer to calibrate for the larger tire size. The computer calculates your speed based on the rotation of your tires, so increasing the size of the tires will render it inaccurate. Inaccurate speed calculations can mess up your anti-lock brakes and your stability control systems, as well as your speedometer and odometer.

As you can see, the more modifications you make, the more it becomes important to have your friendly and knowledgeable L and M Motors Inc tire and wheel professional help you with your car care.

If you really want those “super-sized” tires, great: just factor in the issues listed above, plus you may have to have modifications done to your suspension system.

The larger wheels and tires will add weight to your vehicle. This weight is not held up by the suspension system, so is referred to as “unsprung” weight. Adding unsprung weight affects your car differently than just adding loads inside of your car. Unsprung weight can affect acceleration and braking. Putting large wheels on your vehicle may require an upgraded brake system.

Also, you may not get the performance from your vehicle that you've been used to. It may be sluggish when accelerating or harder to handle when turning. You may also find that the ride is bumpier than it was before. Of course, done right at L and M Motors Inc, a good wheel job can sometimes improve a vehicle's ride or performance. It just depends on your vehicle, the type of wheels you choose, and what you are hoping to accomplish.

Now let's suppose you want smaller wheels on your vehicle. That should be easier, right? Not really. You still have to worry about offset, and it is important that your computer be reprogrammed to account for calibration issues. And you may need adjustments to your suspension system.

Remember your budget? All of these scenarios require that you shell out some money. Perhaps now you can see why it is good auto advice for Anchorage drivers to make that consideration first, before setting their heart on a specific type of wheel.

Another consideration should always be your driving habits. Do you do a lot of off-roading on the outskirts of Anchorage? Do you carry heavy loads? Do you tow a trailer on AK roads? All of these factors must be considered when replacing your tires and wheels. Some wheels just may not be up to the work you need them to do.

For example, if you mount large rims on your vehicle, then add low-profile tires to avoid major adjustments to other systems, they won't be able to handle off-roading as well as larger tires. There won't be enough sidewall on the tires to absorb the impact from off-roading. You could end up with dented or broken rims.

At the end of the day, Anchorage drivers should always put safety ahead of appearance. That's why you shouldn't add custom wheels to your vehicle without consulting with your L and M Motors Inc tire and wheel professional. Cutting corners when installing custom wheels by not making necessary adjustments to all of the systems impacted by the change can result in dangerous operating conditions as well as repairs down the road.

The friendly and knowledgeable auto professionals at L and M Motors Inc want to remind Anchorage drivers of the basics of vehicle safety: preventive maintenance, emergency preparedness and professional repairs. Stay safe, and stay on the road.

L and M Motors Inc
400 W 53rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99518
907-563-4994



L and M Motors Inc Service for Your Exhaust System

Posted December 17, 2014 12:00 PM

Your vehicle's exhaust system is more than just a tailpipe and a muffler. In fact, it is one of the most complex systems on your vehicle.

The manifold is attached to the vehicle engine. It collects exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Gaskets seal the connection of the manifold to the engine and to other joints. A cracked or loose manifold or a leaking or damaged gasket can allow dangerous gases to enter the passenger compartment of a vehicle. One of these gases is carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless and deadly. For this reason, it is important Elmendorf Afb residents keep their exhaust system in good repair.


The pipes that connect the various parts of the exhaust system can rust or be damaged by rocks or other road debris. Such damage can cause dangerous gases to leak into the air.

The catalytic converter is the next component of your vehicle exhaust system. It sort of looks like a muffler. Its job is to change dangerous gases into harmless carbon dioxide and water. The catalytic converter doesn't require any regular maintenance, but it can wear out. If it fails, you will need a new catalytic converter to pass an emissions test in AK. Call L and M Motors Inc at 907-563-4994 if you suspect a problem with your catalytic converter.

Oxygen sensors in the exhaust pipe monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust. This helps the vehicle engine's computer keep the fuel-to-air mixture at optimal levels.

The muffler is also part of your vehicle exhaust system, but it deals with a different kind of emission. It keeps your vehicle from emitting bad sounds. Mufflers act like finely tuned musical instruments. They create a feedback of sound waves to absorb or decrease the noises made by your engine. Different mufflers can create different sound waves, so you can actually “tune” your car to produce a particular sound, anything from whisper to rumble.

It is important for damaged mufflers be replaced immediately at your Anchorage automotive service center, especially if they are leaking. Not only will the extra noise annoy your Anchorage neighbors, a leaky muffler could be serious.

The entire exhaust system is attached to your vehicle by hangers and clamps. These fasteners can rust, come loose or break. The components of the exhaust system can get very hot, so when the hangers or clamps fail, these hot components can come into contact with other parts such as wires and hoses. These can melt, causing serious and damage to your vehicle. Good car care requires that you have your exhaust system inspected regularly.

Caring for your vehicle exhaust system at L and M Motors Inc yields cosmetic benefits like quieting your engine sounds, but also may impact your health and safety. Your life, or the life of a loved one, may actually be on the line.

L and M Motors Inc
400 W 53rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99518
907-563-4994

 



Considering an Alternative Fuel Vehicle in Elmendorf Afb?

Posted December 9, 2014 12:00 PM

There is a clear and vocal demand in Anchorage and nationally for a reduction in air pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. This is what is driving the AK market for alternative fuel vehicles. There are a number of these vehicles on Anchorage area roads today, and many more being developed. Yet each of these vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages. Anchorage auto owners should learn what these advantages and disadvantages are before running out and purchasing one of these alternative fuel vehicles at your nearest Anchorage dealership.

Anchorage drivers should carefully research the car care before buying an alternative vehicle, as it may or may not coincide with the standards for gasoline vehicles. You should look at costs and as well: these vehicles may help save our environment here in Anchorage, but that might not represent a savings to your wallet. You'll need to decide what you can afford, and what will work for your lifestyle. Also, your choice of vehicle may be affected by what fuels are available in your area. Switching to an alternative fuel vehicle is not a bad decision, but it should be a carefully considered one.

Flex Fuel Vehicles
Flex fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on a combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Because of the 85% ethanol content, this fuel is commonly called E85 in AK.

Ethanol is made from corn. So flex fuel vehicles lessen our dependency on fossil fuels. But they also raise the price of corn, which is a basic foodstuff in some areas of the world. Whether replacing fossil fuels with corn is a good idea is hotly contested right now.

One piece of L and M Motors Inc auto advice before we move on: do not put E85 into your vehicle unless it has an engine designed for flex fuels. Because of the high ethanol content in E85, engines need special seals and gaskets to function properly on this fuel. Running an ordinary engine with E85 can lead to gas leaks and fires.

Diesel
Diesel engines are nothing new on AK freeways, and many get great gas mileage. Diesel fuel can now be made from vegetable oil and other renewable sources. A diesel fuel made from algae will soon be on the market in the Anchorage area.

Natural Gas
Natural gas is less expensive than gasoline in Anchorage and burns more cleanly. Also, gasoline engines can be adapted to run on compressed natural gas, and many natural gas vehicles are already on Anchorage roads. You can even install a special pump in your home gas line to use to fuel your vehicle. If you are interested in converting your gasoline engine to run on CNG in Anchorage, ask your L and M Motors Inc service advisor about it.

On the other hand, an engine running on natural gas is not as powerful as one running on gasoline. Also, the tank you need to store natural gas is large—it takes up nearly the entire trunk of your car. Further, refueling stations are still few and far between in some AK areas, or even unavailable, in many parts of the country.


Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles were all the rage in AK some years ago. But their limitations were quickly realized by Anchorage auto owners. These vehicles won't come into their own until we find ways to improve their batteries. Currently, the cars have a short range before their power runs out, and can only be realistically used close to home. However, they are easy to recharge, since they can be plugged in at home, and there are many researchers working on improving the battery technology in these vehicles. They may yet be the vehicles of the future.

Hybrids
Hybrids have been one of the most successful alternative fuel vehicles here in Anchorage and throughout the county. A hybrid gets its name because it has both a gas or diesel engine and an electric motor.

There are two types of hybrids. The full-hybrid relies on the electric motor for power, but the gas (or diesel) engine generates power for the battery. Thus, while still consuming fossil fuels, it uses less of them than a standard automobile, and also reduces harmful pollutants. Also, it overcomes the range problem of the strictly electric vehicle.

In a mild hybrid, the electric motor assists the gas or diesel engine in powering the car. Thus, it uses more gasoline or diesel than full hybrids and has higher emissions. But mild hybrids are available in larger body models like full-size pickups and SUV's.

A Note of Caution about Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
One last note before we leave the subject of alternative fuel vehicles. The battery in an electric or hybrid vehicle is not as tame as the one in a standard vehicle. They carry enough voltage to kill you. These are not do-it-yourself vehicles when it comes to preventive maintenance or car care. Only a trained technician should work under their hoods.

L and M Motors Inc
400 W 53rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99518
907-563-4994



Budget for Maintenance in Anchorage

Posted December 3, 2014 12:00 PM

Sometimes busy Anchorage residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around AK in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today's automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Anchorage residents spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today's vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.

Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today's Anchorage drivers would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it's likely that yesterday's Anchorage drivers didn't care much for it, either. So on today's vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Anchorage area auto service centers.

Anchorage drivers should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in AK is simply more  than it used to be. So if you think about it, Anchorage drivers can avoid many vehicle repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.

Just a bit of auto advice from L and M Motors Inc: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you're afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and AK auto insurance with an older vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for preventive maintenance you have done at L and M Motors Inc, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less!

L and M Motors Inc
400 W 53rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99518
907-563-4994



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