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Archive for June 2016

Serpentine Belt Service at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage

Posted June 27, 2016 2:09 AM

If you've ever heard a squealing sound under your vehicle hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. More importantly, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that's used by your vehicle's electrical systems and also charges the battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead after a short distance.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).

And, on most vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Anchorage vehicles, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.

When they understand what it does, Anchorage drivers realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That's why vehicle manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owner’s manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owner’s manual, come see us at L and M Motors Inc.

At L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage, your professional technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch or couple of centimeters, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny, glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc. There's a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there's a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn't slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At L and M Motors Inc, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your vehicle.

All in all, the serpentine belt is very important to the operation of your vehicle. And it's not that expensive to replace at L and M Motors Inc – so it's good to do so before it fails.

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



TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring for Your Anchorage Vehicle

Posted June 20, 2016 8:47 AM

Anchorage drivers may know that all 2008 model year and newer cars, mini-vans and light trucks in AK come with a tire pressure monitoring system. Many slightly older vehicles around the Anchorage area have these systems as well. A tire pressure monitoring system – called TPMS – consists of sensors on each wheel that measure tire pressure.

If tire pressure drops 25 percent below the vehicle manufacture’s recommended pressure, the sensor sends a signal to a monitoring unit that causes a warning to light up on the dashboard. When drivers see the warning light, they know it's time to put some air in the tires.

There are many benefits to people in Anchorage who drive with properly inflated tires. First is cost savings. Running at the correct air pressure improves fuel economy. Driving on underinflated tires is like driving through sand – it drags down your fuel economy. Drivers in Anchorage will also see longer, more even tread wear so your tires will last longer.

Another important benefit of properly inflated tires is increased safety for Anchorage vehicles. Underinflated tires become hotter, and that heat can actually lead to tire failure – possibly resulting in an accident. Your vehicle and the tires themselves will just perform better and more safely around Anchorage with properly inflated tires.

Local AK consumer groups and law-makers advocate TPMS systems hoping that they will save lives, property damage and inconvenience. While you can't put a value on saving a life, Anchorage drivers should keep in mind that TPMS systems aren't free.

The systems themselves are added into the price of the vehicle. The batteries in the sensors will have to be replaced from time to time. Parts will break and need to be replaced. In colder climates around AK, ice and salt are frequent causes of failure.

In addition, there are other behind-the-scenes costs we want you to be aware of. Every time a tire is replaced, repaired, rotated or balanced, the tire technician has to deal with the TPMS system.

Anchorage service centers such as L and M Motors Inc must purchase equipment used to scan and reactivate the TPMS system after every tire service. Because older tire change equipment can damage TPMS sensors, your Anchorage area service center may need to buy expensive, new tire changers.

Since there is no uniformity among manufacturers, technicians need to be trained on several TPMS systems. These behind-the-scenes costs are very real to Anchorage service center managers.

That's why the team at L and M Motors Inc is anxious for people in the Anchorage area to understand the financial impact of TPMS systems. In the past, we've been able to quickly and cheaply provide tire services and then pass the low cost on to customers as an expression of our good will. But now even these simple jobs take much longer and require equipment.

Sensors will need to be removed and reinstalled. Even a tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a vehicle battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed.

So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up in AK, please keep in mind that it's because of this new safety equipment. The team at L and M Motors Inc just wants to keep you safely on the road – and we're committed to doing it at a fair price.

It's important to remember that the TPMS warning only comes on when a tire is severely underinflated. You'll still want to check your tire pressure regularly. At every fill-up is best, but you should check pressure at least once a month. Here's wishing you safe travels.

Contact L and M Motors Inc for more information about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems.

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



Improve Your Night Vision When Driving in Anchorage

Posted June 14, 2016 4:50 AM

Night driving in Anchorage is not as safe as daylight driving as evidenced by the increased accident rate at night. Much of that is simply because it's dark outside.

Visibility is important to safe driving. Ninety percent of our driving decisions are based on what we see. And at night, we just can't see as much as we can during the day. In fact, if you have 20/20 vision during the day, your night vision is only 20/50. To translate, that means that an object you can clearly see 50 feet away during daylight, only becomes visible to you at 20 feet at night.

Reaction time is also related to visibility. Anchorage motorists don't react to a situation until they see it. So at night, we're reacting to situations later just because it takes longer to see them. But we don't have to stop driving at night to stay safe. We just need to practice some preventive maintenance and vehicle care that will maximize our night vision.

The most crucial item that helps us see while driving at night is, of course, our headlamps. Anchorage drivers should ensure that their headlamps are as bright as they can be. Headlamps dim over time, but they do it so gradually that it's difficult to notice. Because of this, experts recommend replacing headlamps once a year.

That's good auto advice for Anchorage drivers, but it doesn't apply to all headlamps. Some vehicles use HID, or high-intensity discharge, headlamps. These are bright headlamps that are designed to last for the entire life of a vehicle. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to upgrade to HID headlamps. Consult with your friendly service advisor at L and M Motors Inc to learn your options.

Most vehicles use standard or halogen headlamps. If you use standard headlamps, you might want to upgrade to halogen, which offers a brighter headlight. Halogen headlamps come in a variety of grades, so evaluate your options the next time you replace your headlamps and upgrade if you want a better light.

It won't do much good to upgrade or replace your headlamps, however, if your headlight lens is dirty or yellowed. Studies have shown that about 90% of the vehicles on the road have impaired headlights due to dirty or yellowed headlight covers. You should get into the habit of washing your headlights every time you gas up. Simply grab the window washer squeegee, run it over your windows, then swish it across your covers. No cost involved at all.

Plastic headlamp lenses yellow or become hazy over time. If your lenses have this problem, they can be restored with a special polishing process. You may be able to get this done at your Anchorage service center. If not, they should be able to tell you where you can.

Now, what good is a quality headlamp if you can't see through your windshield? Your windshield needs to be clean and streak-free if you plan on driving at night in Anchorage. You should also keep your windshield washer fluid replenished and your wipers in good condition.

Wiper blades should actually be replaced twice a year. The changing of the seasons at spring and fall, or Daylight Saving Time, can be a good reminder to do this. And while you're at it, fall is the perfect time to replace your headlamps. Those long winter nights add up to a lot more night driving for people in Anchorage.

Stay alert. Stay awake. And keep those headlamps burning bright.

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



Automotive Tips from L and M Motors Inc: A Broken or Damaged Timing Belt

Posted June 5, 2016 1:32 AM

The timing belt rotates the cam shafts which open and close the valves that allow air, fuel, and exhaust to flow through the engine as it powers your car when you drive around Anchorage.

An old timing belt can lose a “tooth” in the belt allowing it to slip. The engine could stop or misfire. Timing belt slips – or a broken timing belt – can be disastrous on some engines. In “interference” engines, open valves can get in the way of the piston when the timing belt breaks or slips. When that happens one or more valves can be bent requiring expensive engine repairs.

It is important for Anchorage drivers to replace their timing belts as recommended in their owner’s manual to avoid unnecessary breakdowns. Ask the team of professionals at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage if it’s time for your timing belt to be replaced.

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



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