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Archive for March 2011

Fuel Saving Tip: Check Engine Light

Posted March 30, 2011 12:00 PM

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A question for our Anchorage AK motorists: How long have you been enjoying the romantic glow of your check engine light?

Hey, it's not there to create ambiance; it's a warning that something's wrong. When your check engine light comes on get it checked at a capable Anchorage AK service station.

Check Engine Light Many conditions that cause the check engine light to come on affect fuel economy. Some very dramatically.

Always make sure you tighten your gas cap until it clicks. A loose gas cap can cause a false sensor reading that'll make the check engine light come on.

If your date's eyes are smoldering in the reflected glow of the check engine light, try to think of all the gas money you'll save by getting it fixed. Give us a call when you are ready: 907-563-4994



Differential Service

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

When you take a corner in your car, the outside wheels have a slightly longer distance to go than the inside wheels. That means that the outside wheels have to turn a bit faster than the inside. The piece of mechanical wizardry that makes this possible is called the differential.

The differential allows the drive wheels to rotate at different speeds in turns without the wheel binding or hopping. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is on the rear axle. You've seen that bulge in the middle of the axle when you're behind a truck; that's the differential.

If you have a front-wheel drive vehicle, the differential function is handled by your transaxle. Of course, all-wheel drive vehicles have differentials on both axles. They also have a center differential or a transfer case between the front and rear axles to compensate for speed differences between the front and rear.

Because all the power of the engine is transferred through the various differentials, you can imagine that they are very strong and are built last a long time. That's why it's important to keep your differential properly lubricated. Differential fluid cools and protects the gears.

Your Anchorage, AK, service technician will check differential fluid level and top it off if necessary. With low fluid, the differential will run too hot and wear prematurely. Ask your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc (907-563-4994) for when it's recommended to change your differential fluid. Fresh fluid will extend the life of your differential. Your technician will also inspect the u-joints which connect your drive shaft to the differential and may recommend service. Some u-joints can be lubricated as part of a routine lube, oil and filter change as well.

Now, of course differentials eventually wear out and need to be replaced. You might notice a strange noise from you axle area as one of the first warning signs. When the differential shows signs of failing, it's important to repair it. If you leave it too long and it freezes up when you're driving, you could lose control of your vehicle, and other parts like the axle, driveshaft and transmission could be damaged.



Exhaust Service at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



Whenever they hear the term "exhaust service," most Anchorage residents think about exhaust pipes and mufflers. Well, actually, exhaust service at L and M Motors Inc is a lot more comprehensive these days. For example, catalytic converters were mandated in 1976 and on-board emission control computers in 1990. Governmental emissions requirements have forced manufacturers to come up with much more sophisticated ways to comply with environmental regulations.

Exhaust service has really become exhaust and emissions service. High-tech computer controlled emissions devices are now a big part of exhaust service. Because it is so sophisticated, your recommends you have your emission system checked out by a qualified Anchorage exhaust technician regularly to make sure everything is working right - usually every 6 months or 10,000 miles/16,000 kilometers.

If your Check Engine light comes on, especially if it's flashing, get your car looked at right away. Technicians at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage handle emission problems everyday. You might have exhaust or emissions trouble if your car is difficult to start, runs rough, is noisy or smoking. Call L and M Motors Inc at 907-563-4994 to schedule an appointment if you experience these problems.


Let's review the exhaust system. We will start from the top with the exhaust manifold. That is the part that attaches to the engine and collects the exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Exhaust gaskets help seal the connection with the manifold and various other joints along the way. If the manifold is cracked or loose or a gasket is leaking, gases could escape into the passenger compartment where you ride. Carbon monoxide can be deadly, so it is important that your exhaust system doesn't leak. The exhaust pipes connect the various components. They can rust or be damaged by a rock, so they need to be inspected periodically.

Next is the catalytic converter. This part looks like a muffler. It changes chemicals that are dangerous to your health and our Anchorage environment into harmless carbon dioxide and water. It doesn't require any maintenance itself. But eventually they wear out. Anchorage drivers find this out when their car fails an emissions inspection.

Now the muffler. Its main job is to quiet engine noises. Mufflers work by either absorbing or baffling sound. And you can actually customize your car's sound with different mufflers - anything from whisper quiet to bad-boy rumbley. Rusted or road-damaged mufflers can leak and need to be replaced right away. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at L and M Motors Inc .

The exhaust system is attached to the vehicle by a series of hangers and clamps. These fasteners hold the system in place. When hangers come loose or break, hot exhaust components can touch and melt wires, hoses and lines.

Finally, we end at the tailpipe. This is the final outlet for the exhaust. These can be plain-Jane or pretty flashy. Also, the oxygen sensors monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust so the engine control computer can adjust the fuel-to-air mix to keep the car running right.

Exhaust and emissions service at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage covers plain old pipes and high-tech computers. It impacts everything from life-and-death safety due to exhaust leaks to fine-tuning the sound of your ride.

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



Coolant/Antifreeze Service in Anchorage, AK

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Anchorage auto owners may know that most automotive failures in Anchorage, AK, are tire related, but do you know the second most common cause of vehicle failure? Nope, it's not teenagers. It is the coolant system. But if you take good care of your vehicle coolant system, it will take good care of you.

A vehicle's engine creates a lot of heat - so much heat, that if it is not properly cooled, the engine can lock up, resulting in massive damage and repair bills. But when everything is working right, your vehicle engine operates at the proper temperature and all is well. Without antifreeze in your cooling system, the water could freeze and cause vehicle engine damage. This could be very expensive, not to mention inconvenient.

The right mix of water and antifreeze protects the engine against damage from freezing and overheating. Antifreeze also protects the coolant system against corrosion that could cause the system to fail. The thing to remember is this: coolant system failure is very common, but it is also very easy to prevent. Your Anchorage service center knows the manufacturer's recommendations and can tell you when the coolant needs to be changed. At L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage, we can perform a coolant system service.

Anchorage auto owners can add water or antifreeze to the bottle themselves but should be careful. First, you never want to open the radiator pressure cap. The steam could severely burn you. Second, try to get to L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage immediately if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your owner's manual. Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze or you will damage your engine. If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with a service advisor at L and M Motors Inc where they can make necessary corrections. Fourth, not all cars use the same type of antifreeze.

Anchorage technicians will need to check their vehicles owner's manual to make sure they use the right kind. Mixing antifreeze types or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the manufacturer’s warranty on your vehicle cooling system. If you're not sure, ask your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at L and M Motors Inc for guidance.

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



Fuel Filter Replacement

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



Hello Anchorage resident! You would never like to drink a glass of mud, right? Well, your vehicle feels the same way. It needs a steady supply of clean fuel in order to run well and deliver good fuel economy. The fuel filter's job is to clean dirt and rust out of the fuel before it gets to your engine. A clogged fuel filter can actually choke off the engine so that it won't start or run. Some fuel filters have a bypass valve that allows fuel to go around the clogged filter so your vehicle will still run. But, then the contaminated fuel can clog your fuel injectors and allow particles into your engine.

A vehicle with a partially clogged fuel filter might run well around Anchorage, but sputter and strain on the because it's starving for gas. There are two things that affect how often you need to replace the filter. They are: where you drive in AK and the gas you buy. If you drive a lot on dirt or gravel roads in rural AK, your fuel filter will have a harder time keeping the fuel clean.

And, we hate to say it, but buying the cheapest gas from bargain stations sometimes means dirtier fuel that'll clog the filter sooner. Major brands tend to be cleaner and certainly have higher levels of detergent additives.

Of course, manufacturers recommend intervals for changing the fuel filter. But, it's a little more complicated than that for Anchorage residents. Some manufacturers stopped listing recommended intervals for fuel filter replacement or have very long intervals like every five years or 80,000 miles (130,000 kilometers). So you may need to look to other sources for recommendations. Vehicles older than six or seven years are especially at risk because they have had time for dirt and rust to build up in the fuel tank. A clean fuel filter keeps the gas flowing. Even a partially clogged filter puts added strain on the vehicle fuel pump. That can shorten its life and result in repair.

As is often the case, spending a little money now on something as inexpensive as a fuel filter can save money for Anchorage residents down the road by improving and preventing repairs. At L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage, we can check your fuel filter. It is better than fixing a burned-out vehicle fuel pump or ruined fuel injectors.

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



Risk of Extended Oil Change Intervals

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



Nothing in your engine workers harder than your oil. With hundreds of moving parts, and thousands of explosions every minute, it's no wonder that engine oil needs to be changed frequently!

You've probably heard the old rule of thumb: Change your oil every 3,000 miles/ 5,000 kilometers or 3 months, whichever comes first. But some car manufacturers have introduced extended oil change intervals. They figure that a modern vehicle driven under the right conditions can go for 5,000 miles/8000 kilometers or more between an oil change.

The key phrase here is "under the right conditions". If you look at your owner's manual, you'll see two different maintenance schedules: one for "normal" driving conditions and one for "Severe Service". Severe service driving conditions include stop and go, short trips, towing, hauling, hot, cold, and dusty driving. That's why at AutoNetTV we often refer you to the severe service schedule in your owners' manual, because, for most of us AK car owners, that's the way we use our vehicles in everyday life.

Recently, four of the largest auto manufacturers in the world have extended engine warranty coverage for engine damage caused by oil sludge resulting from longer oil change intervals. They found that real-world conditions require more frequent oil changes than the 7,500mi/12,000 km interval they were recommending. They subsequently recommended more frequent oil change intervals and proof of timely oil changes in order to qualify for the extended warranty.

Oil sludge is the culprit. Sludge is oil that has turned to a thick, jelly-like consistency. Sludge can block passages in the engine, preventing oil from lubricating vital engine parts. Parts wear more quickly and may fail prematurely.

Sludge is caused by several factors. The first one is simply - time. The engine oil is contaminated by exhaust gas that eventually leads to sludge. That is where the recommendation to change your oil at least every three months comes from. Sludge can also come from oil that gets contaminated by water from normal condensation. A few minutes of driving at AK freeway speeds allows the oil to heat up enough for the water to evaporate. The problem is we often run errands or take other short trips that don't allow the engine to warm up enough for the water to evaporate. This is especially true in winter. Sludge also forms when the engine gets too hot, causing the oil to breakdown. Stop and go summer driving, towing and hauling are all prime conditions for creating harmful sludge. And every engine has hot spots that create sludge.

Given all of these factors, estimating when to change your oil is pretty complicated. A couple of manufacturers have computer programs built into their vehicles that record the number of cold starts, how many times the cylinders fire, engine temperature and other factors. From that, the computer estimates when you should change your oil and flashes a warning. But what if you do not have a vehicle with this feature? How do you know when to change your oil? We're not sure you really can. Which is why it is better to be safe than sorry. 3,000 mi/5,000 km or three months - whichever comes first - talk with a service advisor at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage and see if that's a good recommendation for the way you drive.



Air Conditioning Service in Anchorage

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



Hey Anchorage! Let's talk about one of our AK summertime must-haves: your car A/C. It's real easy for Anchorage drivers to take their car's air conditioner for granted. Just push the right buttons and out comes cool, dry, clean air. But your air conditioning system needs attention from time to time to help it keep its cool.

Do you hear loud noises under the hood when you turn on your air conditioner? Do you only get cool air sporadically? If so, it is time to get your air conditioner checked at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage. 

When most Anchorage folks hear the words "air conditioning problems." it sends a shiver up their spine. That is because the air conditioning system is fairly complex. It has a lot of parts and when it's broken, it's hard to repair.

What things can Anchorage drivers do to prevent air conditioning breakdowns?

A common cause of air conditioning failure is leaks. Water and air can leak into the system. It doesn't work as well with air in it and water can cause rust that leads to damage of the car A/C components. Also, refrigerant, the stuff that makes the air cold, can leak out, reducing the efficiency of the system and making it work harder to cool the air. Periodically evacuating the air conditioning system and recharging it keeps the proper amount of clean refrigerant in the system so it cools better and lasts longer.

Anchorage drivers should run their air conditioner regularly, even during a AK winter, so that it lubricates itself and keeps the seals from drying out, which leads to leaks. Your owner's manual will have recommendations for how often to service your air conditioner. Of course, if it's not working right, now is the time to get it checked. The team at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage can inspect and test your air conditioning and offer evacuation and recharge services. This helps you avoid repairs.

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



Battery Replacement for Your vehicle

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Modern vehicles in and around Anchorage run on 12 volt electrical systems. 12 volts is enough to get the job done for Anchorage drivers without having so much power that there is danger of electrocution. But today's vehicles have more electrical components and do-dads than ever before. This really strains your electrical system, making it hard for the battery to keep up. Think about it: electric seats, seat heaters, power locks windows and sun roofs. And then us AK drivers have all the power outlets for our cell phones, computers and DVD players.

We also have navigation systems and powerful stereos. Plus there are all the engine and transmission computers, traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, sensors and on and on. Even the security system is running off the battery while the car is turned off.

Fortunately, battery technology has given Anchorage drivers resilient batteries that are able to meet these strenuous requirements. But the fact is, batteries just wear out over time. Eventually, every battery gets to the point where it cannot hold enough of a charge to start your vehicle. Sometimes batteries need to be replaced because they have just worn out. Or, in other cases, they have developed a leak which makes it even more important to get it replaced.

Special safety precautions are taken when working with batteries at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage, AK. These precautions also apply to anyone who is poking around the battery. Batteries contain sulfuric acid that can damage your eyes and burn your skin, so safety glasses and rubber gloves are a must for any Anchorage resident working with their battery. Be careful to not spill acid on your clothes or the vehicle's paint. Of course, avoid short circuiting the battery as well.

Sometimes there is quite a price range in Anchorage auto part stores for batteries that will work in a particular car. Think of it as "good," "better" and "best." More expensive batteries have a longer warranty and are guaranteed to last longer. As with most things, paying a little more up front saves in the long run for Anchorage drivers.

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

 



OE vs. Aftermarket

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



AK new car dealerships are happy to leave you with the impression that you should have all of your scheduled automotive maintenance performed at the dealership during the warranty period. Some go so far as to imply that your warranty protection depends on it. In fact, nothing is further from the truth. Federal laws in both the United States and Canada specify that you do not have to have your vehicle serviced at a dealership to maintain warranty protection. The laws further state that a vehicle manufacturer cannot mandate that you use their particular brand of replacement parts or fluids. This certainly means you have many more service options, but what about quality?

First off, it is important to know that vehicle manufacturers do not make all of their own parts. They look to thousands of independent suppliers to manufacture the parts that go into your car or truck. Many of these same manufacturers that make the parts that are original equipment for a new vehicle, also supply parts for the automotive aftermarket. That means that your local service center such as L and M Motors Inc has access to quality parts that meet or exceed auto makers' specifications. Your service consultant can offer a range of parts solutions that give you the option to save some money or to upgrade to a higher performance part.

While TV commercials for auto dealerships will tout "genuine" parts, your Anchorage service center has the option to not only use that same part, but to help you choose one that better meets your driving needs. Dealership ads often promote the notion that only their technicians are up to the task of servicing their particular make of vehicle. That may be true if you drive a Ferrari, but for the rest of us, the training that your local service technicians receive is transferable to any vehicle.

Today's service databases enable your Fort Richardson or Indian service provider to get the right parts and to follow the right procedures to take care of your car. The diagnostic technology and equipment your service center uses enables them to get you back on the road as economically as possible. Speaking of economics, aftermarket labor rates are nearly twenty percent lower than dealership rates.

So there you have it. Your local Elmendorf Afb area service centers are more convenient than auto dealerships, are more economical and provide high quality parts and products. And, your warranty is protected unless the manufacturer can demonstrate that a particular part lead to a warranty failure. In addition, you have more options as to where you have your vehicle serviced or repaired and you can take advantage of innovations and improvements that aren't available at the dealership.



Maintenance Free Myth

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



Sometimes we hear people say, "What's up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don't break down." While it is true that today's cars and trucks are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most folks don't realize how high tech automotive fluids have become. Fluids like, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.

Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today's automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle's components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and miles march on for all of our cars. Please don't think we're using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance - but here are some personal stories from AutoNetTV staff members to emphasize the importance of getting things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and budget. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.

The first comes from a staffer who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on the highway and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been exchanged - just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundred of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.

Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. Our staffer took his SUV in for the AK safety inspection to renew his registration. At the inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the $45 bucks. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind - over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a few bucks on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story: don't skip your annual inspections. The irony is that many Anchorage service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.

Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy's little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn't get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire - so it was hard enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later - and then an alignment.

Situation: son and wife with cars from the same manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son's maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done - it cost several hundred dollars. His wife's car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed and the entire head was shredded and had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the maintenance schedule? You bet he does - every time he passes a big-screen TV.

We're talking about taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, your car runs better and is more economical to operate. Remember to save those maintenance records. It'll show potential buyers that you've taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren't any, assume that the maintenance hasn't been done and take it to your Indian or Eagle River service center for an inspection. Take care of unperformed maintenance sooner rather than later.



Check Engine Light

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

When your Check Engine light comes on, you may be torn between utter panic and just wanting to ignore it and hope it goes away. That's perfectly understandable. That same Check Engine light could come on for anything from a serious engine or transmission problem all the way down to a loose gas cap.

There's a very common misconception that the trouble codes stored in your engine computer when your check engine light comes on will specifically identify a problem. It's really more like pointing to the symptoms of a problem.

Call L and M Motors Inc at 907-563-4994 for help with your Check Engine light.

Think of taking your temperature. Say it's 101°. Your heat sensor – the thermometer – tells you that your temperature is out of the normal range. But it doesn't tell you why you have a fever. Is it the flu or a sinus infection? You need more information, more tests.

For any given trouble code, there could be a number of causes. So your trained technician takes the trouble code as a starting point and begins a diagnostic process to determine the cause of the problem. And some problems take longer to solve than others.

When your engine management system logs a problem and illuminates the check engine light, your Anchorage service technician at L and M Motors Inc will plug in a scanner, download the trouble codes and go to work tracing the cause of the problem.

That's just the first step. That's when our L and M Motors Inc technician's training, equipment, databases and skill get put to work diagnosing the problem and fixing it.

If your check engine light is flashing, it means that the problem could lead to serious damage. You should get to L and M Motors Inc as soon as possible to get the problem solved. If it's on but not flashing, you have some time to get in at your convenience.

 

 

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

 

At L and M Motors Inc we install quality NAPA replacement parts.



Fuel Injectors

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



The last new American vehicles sold in Anchorage with a carburetor rolled out of the AK dealerships in 1990. Since then, all new vehicles here in Anchorage, and nationally, have had fuel injectors. In very simple terms, a fuel injector is a valve that squirts fuel into your engine. Your engine control computer tells the fuel injector how much gas to deliver as well as the precise time it should be delivered. Of course this happens thousands of times a minute. Fuel injectors deliver fuel far more precisely than carburetors. That translates into better fuel economy and more power for Anchorage drivers. Virtually all fuel injectors for gas engines are known as port fuel injectors because they deliver the fuel to a port just outside the cylinder. Port fuel injectors operate at about 40 to 80 pounds per square inch of pressure.

A few vehicle manufacturers have introduced gas direct injection systems on some engines recently. These systems inject the gas directly into the cylinders under very high pressure - hundreds of times the pressure of port injection systems. Although more complicated, direct injection technology promises greater power with improved fuel economy, so AK drivers can expect to see more of it in the future.

As Anchorage residents can see, the level of precision required of fuel injectors is very high. It's important that they operate properly in order for your vehicle to run right.

High temperatures under your hood and variations in Anchorage gas quality cause fuel injectors to become fouled with wax, dirt and carbon. Injectors can become partially clogged, preventing them from delivering the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure. The design of each engine requires a specific spray pattern from the fuel injector that might be altered when the injector is dirty. When injectors are dirty, the fuel doesn't burn as efficiently, resulting in poor fuel economy and loss of power. So it is important to keep your vehicle fuel injectors clean.

Skilled service technicians at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage can perform a fuel system service for you. That is a fuel system service - not just fuel injector cleaning. That is because the fuel has a lot of ways to become dirty or contaminated between the Anchorage gas pump and your fuel injectors. A fuel system service at L and M Motors Inc starts with a fuel filter replacement. This filter cleans the gas as it leaves the tank. The various parts of the fuel intake system need to be cleaned from time to time to remove harmful gum deposits and varnish. Finally, the fuel injectors are cleaned so that they operate properly for you and deliver the right amount of fuel at the right time.


Our pros at L and M Motors Inc use a process for cleaning your vehicle fuel system that includes state-of-the-art cleaning chemicals as well as some old fashioned scrubbing. Proper maintenance of your fuel system means that you will enjoy strong performance and prevent repairs down the road.

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



Power Steering Service in Anchorage

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



Most Anchorage drivers are too young to remember life before power steering - cranking those great big steering wheels! It was a pretty good workout. Now power steering is standard. Let's look at how it works. The heart of any power steering system is its pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid that provides assist for steering. Most pumps are driven by a belt that is run by the engine; a few are electrically powered. A high-pressure hose passes fluid from the pump to the steering gear. A low pressure hose returns the fluid back to the pump.

These hoses can develop leaks, so it is a good idea for Anchorage drivers to have them inspected at every oil change. Low fluid can damage the power steering pump. That is why power steering fluid level is on the checklist for a full-service oil change. The fluid needs to be compatible with the hoses and seals, so check your owner's manual for the right type - or just ask your friendly and knowledgeable pros at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage.

The fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the power steering system. It breaks down as the years go by and collects unwanted moisture, so Anchorage drivers need to replace it from time to time. Many vehicle manufacturers specify power steering service intervals. Unfortunately, this important service is sometimes left off the car maintenance schedule for many of us. So, when in doubt, every 25,000 miles/40,000 km or two years is a good fallback. Your technician at L and M Motors Inc will use a detergent to clean the system, flush out the old fluid and replace it with the good stuff.

Here are some  warning signs of trouble with your power steering: It's harder to turn the wheel, there's erratic power assist, you hear loud whining coming from the pump (which may be difficult to hear over the loud whining coming from the backseat), you have to top-off the fluid frequently, or you hear squealing belts. Remember to never hold the steering wheel to the far right or left for more than a few seconds at a time. That will wear out your power steering pump quickly.

Other steering components can be bent or damaged from wear or hard knocks: ball-joint, idler-arm, steering-gear, steering-knuckle and tie rod to name a few. Warning signs here are steering play, wandering, uneven tire wear and an off-center steering wheel. An annual alignment check at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage will reveal bent or damaged steering components.

Most SUV's, pick-ups and rear-wheel-drive cars need regular front-wheel-bearing service.

The bearings should be cleaned and inspected. If they are excessively worn, they need to be replaced. The bearings are then repacked in clean grease. The team at L and M Motors Inc also recommends the wheel-seal be replaced when the bearings are serviced. Like everything else, check your owners' manual maintenance schedule. It's usually required around every two years or 40,000 miles/64,000 km. If you drive through water in the Anchorage area, the bearings will need service more often.

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

 



Cabin Air Filter

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Let's talk about cabin air filters. There seems to be some confusion about them in Elmendorf Afb that we should be able to clear up. Much of the confusion starts because cabin air filters are relatively new. Not all vehicles in Elmendorf Afb have them, so some people confuse their cabin air filter with the engine air filter.

Every vehicle in AK has an engine air filter that cleans the air going into the engine. But not all have a cabin air filter that cleans the air going into the passenger compartment. It's easy to get mixed up.

The cabin air filter cleans out dust, pollen, spores and other pollutants. To give a point of comparison, a grain of sand is about 200 microns across. A cabin air filter can stop particles that are just 3 microns in size. It really does make the passenger cabin a much more pleasant environment.

When the cabin air filter gets dirty, you just need to replace it. Your owner's manual may have a recommended interval for changing it. If not, we can inspect it. You know, it's ironic that many people who don't realize they even have a cabin air filter first find out they do when it starts to get smelly.

Some cabin air filters are very easy to access when it's time to replace them. Others, not so much. We may have to get behind the dashboard and it takes some time.

A clean cabin air filter keeps out smog, allergens and other harmful pollutants. If it's time, get it changed right away.

 

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

 

At L and M Motors Inc we install quality NAPA replacement parts.



Proper Fluids for Your Vehicle

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



We would like to give you an update on some of the things happening in automotive fluids. You know, cars are becoming more sophisticated everyday - and fluids such as, oil, coolant and transmission fluid are becoming more specialized at about the same pace.

The do-it-yourselfer has to be pretty careful so that they do not actually harm their vehicle with the wrong type of fluid. That is why so many AK car owners rely on the advice of their service consultant to not only get the correct family of fluids, but to suggest the formulation that is best for their car and the way they drive.

Let's start with engine oil. If you have been paying attention, you will have noticed a number of new oil weights on the scene in the last several years. Modern engines are built to much tighter tolerances and have very complicated valve trains. The oil must be thin enough to lubricate complicated parts when the engine is cold. The weight of an oil is expressed in terms like 20-W-50 or 5-W-30. Manufacturers recommend the weight of oil for each vehicle they make. The recommendation is based on engine design. Your Anchorage service center will know what weight your manufacturer recommends - and it's important to follow those recommendations. A service adviser at L and M Motors Inc can also offer suggestions for special formulations and can explain conventional and synthetic oils.

Antifreeze, or engine coolant, is another area that has become more complicated. For a long time, manufacturers only called for a couple of different types of coolant. Now there are several different formulations that are needed because of the different materials that manufacturers are using to build the cooling system. Using the wrong type of coolant can actually void your warranty, so you want to get that right.

Transmission fluid is beginning to be specialized as well. New transmission designs have particular requirements that mandate the use of specific formulations. Recently, new, somewhat confusing, standards for brake fluid have also been released.

Not too long ago, there was a good chance that all of the vehicles at your house would use many of the same fluids. However, as automotive technology advances, the array of basic automotive fluids you need will grow. And, some of the formulations will cost a little more. Fortunately, your Elmendorf Afb service center will continue to update their training to keep pace with technology so that you'll get the right fluids your car needs. It's all part of the commitment your service center makes to your driving peace of mind.



My Dealer In Anchorage Closed: What Do I Do?

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

My Dealer Closed: What Do I Do? New car dealership closings are all over the news. Nearly 800 Chrysler dealerships canceled. About 1,100 GM dealers’ contracts will not be renewed after October 2010. And record numbers are just shutting down because they aren’t selling enough cars and trucks to stay in business.

It’s estimated that some 40,000 dealership service bays could be taken out of service in the next year or so.

Of course, this is a tragedy for those who work at our local Anchorage dealerships and the owners that risk losing much of their life’s work. Our Anchorage communities will lose some of our best corporate citizens. Think of all the youth sports team, service clubs and Anchorage community events that have been sponsored by our local new car dealers.

One question we hear a lot at AutoNetTV is, 'Who will service my car?' Anchorage folks are concerned that they will not get the care and attention they need. They're wondering where they will find trained technicians in the Anchorage area. Will they be able to get quality replacement parts for their vehicles?

Fortunately, the Anchorage automotive aftermarket is ready to fill the need. As one of over 200,000 independent service and repair facilities in North America, L and M Motors Inc is here to help. L and M Motors Inc has been the backbone of the automotive service and repair industry for Anchorage and will continue to provide this vital role.

My Dealer Closed: What Do I Do? L and M Motors Inc has the latest diagnostic and repair equipment, access to parts and repair databases, and a commitment to the highest standards of technician training. The reality is that our independent service center in Anchorage is ready to service all your vehicle’s needs – and we always have been. We don’t have to 'step up' to the task – we're ready now.

Many consumers in Anchorage have known this about the local Anchorage independent service and repair industry and have used it for all their non-warranty work. And they have enjoyed greater convenience and have saved quite a bit of money along the way: The average independent service and repair center in Anchorage costs 34% less than the dealership.

And of course, L and M Motors Inc has access to the very same replacement parts as the dealership as well as a selection of superior parts for greater reliability and enhanced performance. And we can source parts that may help with a tight budget as well.

So in the midst of uncertainty surrounding dealership closings, know you can turn to your local Anchorage independent service center to take care of your family’s safety and to keep your vehicles performing well. You’ll save some money too. And that’s good news in these times.

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



Exhaust And Emissions Service

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



Sometimes when we talk about exhaust service in Anchorage, we think about exhaust pipes and mufflers. And if you can see smoke, or if it’s too loud. But, exhaust service at a place like L and M Motors Inc is really a lot more comprehensive these days.

For example, in the U.S., the federal government mandated catalytic converters for all cars in Anchorage in 1976 and on-board emission control computers in 1990. AK and federal emissions requirements have forced manufacturers to come up with much more sophisticated ways to comply with environmental regulations. Cars sold in Canada follow the same guidelines.

So, exhaust service has really become exhaust and emissions service. High-tech computer-controlled emissions devices are now a big part of that. And because it’s so sophisticated, your vehicle manufacturer recommends having your emission system checked out by a qualified technician, like the ones we have at L and M Motors Inc, regularly to make sure everything’s working right – which is usually every six months or 6,000 miles.

If your 'check engine light' comes on while you are driving around the Elmendorf Afb area, especially if it’s flashing, then you need to get your car looked at right away. Chances are it’s an emission related problem. You might have exhaust or emissions trouble if your car is hard to start, runs rough, or if it’s noisy or smoking.

So let’s review the exhaust system. Everything starts with the exhaust manifold. That’s the part that attaches to the engine and collects the exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe.

The exhaust gaskets help seal the connection with the manifold and other joints along the way. Now, if the manifold is cracked or loose, or a gasket is leaking, then dangerous gases could escape into the passenger compartment, where you ride. Carbon monoxide can be deadly, so it’s important that your exhaust system doesn’t leak.

The exhaust pipes connect the various components. They can rust or be damaged by a rock, so they need to be inspected periodically.

Next comes the catalytic converter. This part actually looks like a muffler. It changes chemicals that are dangerous to your health, and to the local AK environment, into harmless carbon dioxide and water. Now it doesn’t require any maintenance itself. But eventually they wear out. If it has, you’ll probably find out when your car fails an emissions inspection.

Now the muffler. Its main job is to quiet engine noises. Mufflers work by either absorbing or baffling sound. And you can actually customize your car’s sound with different mufflers – which is pretty cool because you can change the look of your car, and the way it sounds.

Rusted or road-damaged mufflers can actually leak and they need to be replaced right away. The exhaust system is attached to the car by a series of hangers and clamps that hold the system in place. And when these hangers come loose or break then hot exhaust components can touch and melt wires, hoses and lines. Just think of the damage a hot curling iron can do – but worse. It’s not good to have that waving around.

And finally, we end at the tailpipe. Appropriate name. This is the final outlet for the exhaust. And one other component is the oxygen sensor. It monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust so the engine-control computer can adjust the fuel-to-air mix to keep the car running right.

We hope this hasn’t been too 'exhausting' of a discussion, but these things impact everything from life and death safety due to exhaust leaks, to just fine-tuning the sound of your ride. And talk with your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc if you feel you need any of these items inspected on your vehicle, because a quick look can sure save a lot of pain down the road.

Auto Tips Videos provided for L and M Motors Inc by AutoNetTV



What to Do After You Buy a Used Vehicle in Anchorage

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

So you've bought a used vehicle in the Anchorage area. Do you know what you're getting? It is hard to know what you're getting because people in the Anchorage area sell vehicles for different reasons. Think about why you've sold vehicles. Did you just want something new or were there problems that you wanted to run away from? Maybe it was a little of both.

Used vehicles in AK with 25,000 to 35,000 miles/40,000 to 55,000 km on them are often lease returns, corporate program cars or rental fleet vehicles. Most Anchorage buyers feel pretty confident about these because they're newer and may still be under warranty. But how well have they been maintained?

Anchorage drivers who are planning to own a vehicle for a long time will keep up on auto maintenance so that they can avoid repairs down the road. But, if you know you're only going to have the vehicle for two or three years, you may not be so committed to maintenance. It would be easy to think that skipping an oil change here and there wouldn't ruin a brand new engine. Then it'll be someone else's problem when it comes time to pay for the damage.

It is very tempting for Anchorage drivers to skip the 30,000 mile/50,000 km service if they know they'll be turning in their leased vehicle in a couple of months.

If the vehicle didn't come with maintenance records, Anchorage used vehicle buyers need to assume the worst. Most likely the coolant system and transmission have never been serviced. The cabin air filter has probably not been changed and a fuel system cleaning at L and M Motors Inc may be in order.

You'll want L and M Motors Inc to check the A/C, battery, engine air filter, serpentine belt and hoses. A used vehicle inspection at L and M Motors Inc is well worth the cost.

And if your “new” used vehicle has been driven an even longer distance, an inspection is even more important. Check your owner's manual or talk with your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc about what should have been done. Please don't forget the timing belt; that can be very expensive if it fails.

L and M Motors Inc will help you with a plan to take care of services and get the rest caught up. If your budget won't allow you to take care of everything right away, we can help you prioritize your needs and get it taken care of over the next several months. And remember to keep your maintenance records. They'll help you get top dollar on the AK used vehicle market when it's time for you to sell.

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



Braking News: Keep Your Stopping Power

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Richard Petty once told AutoNetTV, “You've gotta have good brakes. If you've got good brakes you can keep yourself out of a lotta trouble.”

That's why a regular brake inspection is on every Anchorage driver's maintenance schedule. An inspection by your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc will check your brake system and let you know if there are any problems.

Of course, if you're having trouble with your brakes, get your car into L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage right away. Here are some symptoms for Anchorage drivers to watch for:

  • Low or spongy brake pedal
  • Hard brake pedal
  • A brake warning light that stays on
  • Constantly squealing or grinding brakes
  • Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes

If you are experiencing any of these, it's time to get your brakes checked. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at L and M Motors Inc .

There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that's attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle.

Drum brakes are most common on back wheels. Both types have pads or shoes that press against the brakes and slow the vehicle. Brake pads and shoes are made out of very tough material to withstand the heat and force generated when stopping your vehicle. Eventually, they wear out with use and become too thin and need to be replaced at L and M Motors Inc. 

If the brake pads wear away completely, you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced. That's not only expensive but also dangerous because your vehicle won't stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.

A brake service at L and M Motors Inc will also include a check of your brake fluid. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid activates the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid means not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. Anchorage  drivers should change the brake fluid when their  vehicle manufacturer recommends to avoid these problems.

Come in to L and M Motors Inc for an brake inspection before damage occurs. You can call ahead for an appointment by calling 907-563-4994.

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



Trip Inspection at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Anchorage area drivers love their vehicles. And one of the most enjoyable things about them is taking a road trip. Freedom from daily schedules, new sights and the open road – it's great! But there's nothing like vehicle trouble to bring the fun to a grinding halt.

Now Anchorage drivers can't always avoid problems, but you can take steps to reduce the probability of getting sidelined on your trip. The first step is to look at your trip plan from your vehicle's perspective. What kind of roads will you be traveling – winding AK byways? Purple mountain majesties or fruited plains? What weather conditions are you likely to encounter? How far will you travel each day? How much weight will you be hauling – passengers and luggage? Pulling a trailer, roof top carrier or ATVs? Will it be dusty?

Prepared with answers to these questions, you can schedule a trip inspection at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage to help you prepare your vehicle for your big adventure. A lot of our Anchorage customers prefer to go through this exercise with their friendly and knowledgeable service advisor to get their input and make sure they haven't overlooked anything.

A great place for Anchorage drivers to start is with the tires. Inspect them for tread wear and proper inflation. Is it time to rotate your tires? Replace them? Are they up to the job? You wouldn't want to drive regular highway tires on a muddy off-road adventure on AK rock-crawling trails. 

Shocks and struts play a major role in both driving comfort and safety. If they need to be replaced, you'll really be glad you did once you hit the road. Is it time for a wheel alignment? Fighting a car that's pulling to one side all day can be tiring and dangerous. 

And don't forget your brakes. Any strange noises, grabbing, soft or hard peddle feel? If there is any doubt, get a brake inspection at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage before you leave.

Moving under the hood, have a belts and hoses inspection. If something is excessively worn or near failure, the stress of a long road trip might just be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Talk to your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc.

Your engine air filter will be inspected. Your car's air filter will process 12,000 times as much air as the fuel burned by the engine. If the filter needs to be changed, you'll notice improvements on your trip.

How close are you to your next oil change? Will you be able to complete your trip before it's due? If not, just get it taken care of before you go so that you don't need to interrupt your trip. In fact, a full service oil change at L and M Motors Inc is a great idea because they will top off all your fluids and check to see if any other maintenance items are due, such as transmission or cooling system service.

Do you notice any unusual odors in your vehicle? If so, it could be as harmless as a dirty cabin air filter. But if it's an exhaust leak, it could be fatal for Anchorage drivers and their passengers on a long trip. Of course you'll want to be comfortable, so get an air conditioning service if you aren't getting the cold air you’re used to. 

Are your wiper blades still working well? If not, that is a quick and inexpensive fix for Anchorage drivers. Headlamps are often overlooked when planning for a trip. If you haven't changed the bulb in six months or so, replacement bulbs will really light up the night on your trip and provide the necessary after-sundown visibility.

All the items mentioned are part of any good vehicle maintenance plan. These are things that you want to take care of anyway, but they all become more important as you plan for your trip.

They will always save you money in the long run and may prevent inconvenient stops and delays on your trip. After all, you wouldn't want to miss the world's largest ball of string, would you?

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



Better Service - Better Economy

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



The hottest Anchorage news story may be different everyday, but there’s one topic that seems to come up over and over again – the price of gas in Anchorage. But we’ve found several basic things that any Anchorage vehicle owner can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the Elmendorf Afb environment. You can really impact your fuel economy by how you drive – but first, here’s a review of things you can do for your car that’ll save gas no matter how you drive.

The first one is keeping your tires properly inflated. That can save two miles per gallon. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand – your car just has to work harder. Most Anchorage service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask your service advisor. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you get gas in your car. Many Anchorage gas stations have an air hose you can use for free.

Another important item is to keep your air filter clean. An air filter all clogged up with dirt and bugs doesn’t let enough clean air through to efficiently burn fuel. Using a dirty air filter will cost you almost two miles per gallon in reduced fuel efficiency. And worn spark plugs can cost another two. A spark plug can fire as many as 3,000,000 times for every thousand miles driven. Check the owner’s manual for replacement recommendations.

The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that’s messed up it can cost up to three miles per gallon. And of course, there’s dirty or substandard oil. Dirty oil causes extra drag. The wrong grade may be too thick. That’s another .4 miles per gallon right there.

One item Anchorage residents seldom think about is their gas cap. A worn, loose or missing gas cap can cost another two miles per gallon. Adding up all of these worn, missing or sub-par items leads to a total of almost 11.4 miles per gallon in reduced fuel efficiency! And with current gas prices in the Anchorage area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save big bucks at the pump.

Now most people aren’t missing on all of these items, but think about which ones might affect you right now! And don’t forget tune-ups, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, fuel system cleaning, wheels out of alignment, PCV valve, fuel filter and other key services spelled out in your owners’ manual.

L and M Motors Inc knows all this stuff and can tell you when you’re scheduled to take care of each item. Create a system of your own to track your service schedules, or just use the computer system at L and M Motors Inc – which may also be updated with recall notices and maintenance schedule items from your manufacturer.



Suspension Service in Anchorage at L and M Motors Inc

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

When they hear the word suspension, many drivers in Anchorage may think back to those energetic days of grade school. Well, your vehicle's suspension is actually a good thing because it keeps your vehicle up off the road and helps provide a comfy ride around Anchorage. Its job is to keep your wheels firmly planted over bumps and through curves. Your suspension system has many parts. If you look under your vehicle, it's basically everything that connects your wheels to the vehicle's frame. These are heavy duty parts that do a lot of work. They need to be inspected for damage and excessive wear at least once a year. A good time for this is when you get your annual alignment service at L and M Motors Inc.

Here are some warning signs of suspension problems:

  • the car pulls to one side
  • it wanders
  • the steering is erratic
  • you see uneven tire wear
  • you experience a poor ride or handling
  • you see oil leaking from shocks

Basically, you just don't feel in control when you're driving.

Some suspension parts just wear out with use. Shocks and struts eventually lose their ability to control your ride. Wheel bearings need to be repacked every couple of years. And some suspension pieces need to be lubricated when you get your oil changed. Your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc can perform an inspection and tell you what problems you may have.

If you're in an accident, your suspension can be damaged or knocked out of alignment. Even a minor accident, like hitting a curb around Anchorage or even a large rock can mess things up for drivers. With a minor accident it's tempting for many to just get an alignment or wheel balance to correct the problem. But if there's damage, a simple alignment won't actually fix the problem, and you'll just have to align it again after the repairs are made. So if you have an accident, get your suspension system inspected right away. Suspension problems are a major safety issue because they can lead to unsafe handling.

One big cause of suspension damage for Anchorage drivers is potholes – those nasty magnets that form in roads in freezing weather. They seem to draw our tires right into them. Here are some tips for avoiding damage from potholes: First, keep your tires at their full air pressure. That gives tires their maximum resiliency and will hopefully keep your wheels or other suspension parts from crunching on a big hole. Next, just pay attention. When you see a hole you can't miss, slow down before you hit it. Driving at a slower speed will limit the damage and may keep your drink from spilling. But avoid the temptation to brake directly over the pothole. That will cause the car's weight to shift forward and add to the potential damage.

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



Higher Mileage Service Intervals for Anchorage

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



Anchorage drivers have probably noticed that the government mandates a lot of equipment on cars: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the motoring public in the Anchorage area, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car.

Because new cars are more expensive, Anchorage residents are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. 68% of vehicles on the road have more than 75,000 miles/120,000 kilometers. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today's cars are up to the challenge - but they need a little help to keep on going.

Some owner's manuals don't outline service requirements and schedules at higher mileage. Of course, that doesn't mean it doesn't have to be done. In fact, it's more important than ever for Anchorage drivers to stay on top of routine auto maintenance for cars with more than 120,000 miles/190,000 kilometers. Just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that's recommended every 24,000 miles/38,000 kilometers should be performed at 24,000 mi/38,000 km; 48,000 mi/77,000 km; 72,000 mi/116,000 km, 96,000 mi/154,000 km; and on and on.

Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule may be more appropriate than the regular schedule. Watch for leaks - seals and gaskets dry out over time and do not hold the fluids as well as they used to. If you don't already have one, it is more important than ever to get a good technician, like any one of the automotive professionals on our team at L and M Motors Inc. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put some clicks on the odometer, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course.

Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints for Anchorage vehicle owners that trouble is brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into repair. Regular wash and wax will help maintain your car's appearance. One of the things Anchorage drivers can do to really help a high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, transmission fluids and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have higher mileage.


High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older vehicle engines are dirtier inside - and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better fuel economy and excellent wear protection. Come into L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage for a checkup.

Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high mileage vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 mi/80,000 km, consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. The fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids in Anchorage because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing repair costs down the road.

It does cost more for  vehicle owner's to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle in Anchorage - but it's much cheaper than a new car payment!

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



Selecting New Tires and Wheels

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



Some of us Anchorage drivers just love tires. All those little rubber hairs on new tires and the smell is wonderful. We live in a great time for tires. No matter how you drive around AK, where you want to go or the look you're after; there is a tire for you.

The same is true about wheels. The hardest part is choosing from the thousands of wheels available at AK tire shops.

The team at L and M Motors Inc can help you get some things in mind before you make a purchase. Let's start with function and think about how you drive.

For example, maybe you have a large SUV but you don't drive off-road around AK, so an off-road tread isn't important. Also, because you are not out bouncing over rocks in the AK backcountry, you don't need a high profile tire to protect your rims. So that means you can probably go with the low-wide look.

If you have a winter season with rain and snow or if you find you need better ice and snow performance, they make great, high-performance snow tires that won't make it look like you are driving a tractor.

There really are a lot of options for any given vehicle. Anchorage drivers will find it very helpful to have a discussion like this with their Anchorage tire pro or the tire experts at L and M Motors Inc when they need new tires. You can find the best solutions for your driving needs and to make improvements in ride or handling.

Picking a wheel that is the same size as what you are now running on is important and pretty simple. But, it gets trickier if you want to upsize. Just get some help when you go bigger. All that tire and wheel still needs to fit in the available space. You do not want your tires to rub when you turn or hit a bump. Anchorage drivers also need to make sure their brakes and suspension bits will fit with their wheel of choice. It doesn't matter how great your car looks if it's not drivable.

Taller, wider wheels and tires probably weigh more than your stock shoes. And it's "unsprung" weight that has a big impact on brake performance. The upsized shoes increase rotational inertia; if you go too big you may need to upgrade your brakes to compensate.

Another possible problem is an inaccurate speedometer. This happens because the number of rotations can change with the new wheels. Fortunately, speedometers and odometers are all controlled by the engine computer; so they need to get reprogrammed at L and M Motors Inc to compensate for the bigger tires.

No matter what you are after: low cost, long life, high performance, traction or stunning good looks, your wheel and tire professional at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage, AK, can help identify your needs and give you a custom fit. With all the options available, you don't have to compromise. There is a tire out there with your name on it!

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



Radiator Service

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



The coolant system is a vital part of your vehicle. It is also the second most common cause for vehicle failures. Even though coolant system failure is fairly common, it is easy to prevent.

The most recognizable part of the coolant system is the radiator. It is connected to the engine with hoses and is filled with coolant. The coolant draws heat off the engine and then goes into the radiator. Air passes through cooling fins to reduce the temperature of the coolant and then it's back to the engine again.

There are several ways for the cooling system to fail. Most common is with the coolant itself. Coolant is a mixture of water and antifreeze. The proper mixture keeps the coolant from either boiling away or freezing. Both of which can result in massive engine damage.

Another very important coolant issue that is often overlooked is the age of the coolant itself. Antifreeze has additives that protect the coolant system from corrosion. As these additives are depleted over time, they can't protect the radiator and other parts from rust, scaling and corrosion. Old coolant may still keep your engine cool, but it won't protect it from corrosion.

If you see a warning message to check the coolant or if the temperature gauge is in the hot zone your cooling system needs to be checked. It's OK to add water or antifreeze yourself. But you need to be cautious. Remember four things.

  • First, you never want to open the radiator pressure cap. You could be severely burned.
  • Second, try to get to a Anchorage service center such as L and M Motors Inc immediately if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your owners manual - it will direct you to only make additions to the coolant overflow bottle.
  • Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze. If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with your service center where they can make necessary corrections.
  • Fourth, not all cars use the same type of antifreeze. You need to check your owners manual to make sure you use the right kind. Mixing antifreeze types or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the manufacturers warranty on your cooling system. Again, another reason to rely on your Anchorage service center to do things right.

Remember, L and M Motors Inc has the equipment to change your coolant quickly and inexpensively. 907-563-4994



Alignment Service

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



Your car might have an alignment problem if: it drifts or pulls to one side, your steering wheel's off center, you have uneven tire wear or your car doesn't feel like it handles right. When all of a vehicle's wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Running into potholes, smacking a curb or other object are great ways to knock your car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels starts pulling in a slightly different direction and the problems begin.

Driving for an extended time when you're out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. This can be dangerous and expensive. You'll have to replace your tires sooner, but even worse - you may cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive.

The front wheel alignment is adjustable on all vehicles, and the back wheels are also adjustable on some cars. The adjustment can go three different ways. The first adjustment is called toe. The next adjustment is called camber. And finally, there is castor. The engineers who designed your vehicle determined the alignment settings that will give you the best handling and safety.

There are several things involved in an alignment check. First, there's an inspection of the steering and suspension - it should be checked to see if anything's bent or broken. Then the tire condition needs to be inspected. From there, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. If all four wheels are adjustable, they are lined up perfectly parallel with the vehicle's center line. If the back wheels aren't adjustable, the technician determines the direction they push and then aligns the front wheels to match.

Like most things, your manufacturer has suggested a mileage interval for having your alignment checked. But if you run into a curb, pothole or something else that's given you a big jolt, pay attention to whether your vehicle is pulling to one side when you drive. It's better to have your alignment checked before waiting to see if there is uneven tire tread wear - by then, the damage is done.

Getting your alignment checked when needed is a great way to extend the life of your tires and suspension parts. It also makes sure that your tire meets the road properly for maximum performance and safety. For more information about alignment, call L and M Motors Inc at 907-563-4994.



Following Recommended Intervals for Your vehicle

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

If you're reading this article in Anchorage, AK, then you probably care about your vehicle and how it runs. Even though you care, there is still that moment of dread when your professional service advisor at L and M Motors Inc tells you the manufacturer recommends some additional service. Your heart beats a little faster, your blood pressure rises. You worry about spending more money than you had planned. And you worry that if you say "no," you might be harming your vehicle or risking your family's safety.

At the risk of sounding like your dad, you really should have done your homework. Service recommendations are in your owner's manual. But it is not like you want to keep your vehicle auto maintenance schedule on your nightstand for bedtime reading.

Vehicles are complicated machines and it takes some effort for Anchorage residents to keep them running well. That is why they have maintenance schedules that explain how to keep your vehicle performing efficiently and prevent breakdowns. In a typical owner's manual you'll find: oil change, brake fluid and pad change, coolant system service, transmission service, battery electrolyte levels, cables and terminals, tire pressure and wear, CV boots, cabin air filter, air conditioning, heater, fuel filter, air filter, belts and hoses, power steering fluid, differential service, fuel system cleaning and wheel alignment. And then there are mechanical service requirements like timing belt changes, valve adjustment, steering function, engine and exhaust leaks - yeah, it is a really long list!

Fortunately, this isn't a test: Anchorage residents don't need to have it memorized. Your friendly advisor at L and M Motors Inc has access to your manufacturer's recommendations. Don't be surprised when your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc reminds you something is due. Your manufacturer has taken great care in putting together your maintenance schedule. Let L and M Motors Inc help you stay on top of maintenance. You can expect them to suggest recommended services and tell you what problems they find under the hood. We'll also explain how urgent these services are so you can work them into your budget.

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



Severe Service Requirements

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

A lot of Anchorage drivers have asked whether or not they should use their severe service maintenance schedule, which is listed in their vehicle's  owner's  manual. It can be somewhat confusing, so we decided to consult an expert. Cricket Killingsworth is from QMI/Heartland, a manufacturer of automotive products and fluids. She's been in the automotive business for over 30 years and is a speaker, a trainer and a writer.

Cricket says there's so much confusion on this topic because, "Most owner's manuals actually have two maintenance schedules. Sometimes these are called 'regular service' and 'severe service.' Sometimes they're simply called Schedule 1 and Schedule 2. A severe service schedule recommends that things like an oil change, air filter replacement and transmission service be done more often: either in fewer miles or in less time."

Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers create a specific schedule for each vehicle they manufacture. So there isn't one generic schedule that applies to all vehicles. In addition to your owner's manual, Anchorage automotive repair centers (including L and M Motors Inc) subscribe to information services that provide the auto maintenance schedules for every vehicle - so they can help Anchorage drivers know when to take care of needed services. Below is a typical definition for severe service.

  • Most trips are less than four miles/six and a half kilometers
  • Most trips are less than 10 miles/16 km and outside temperatures are below freezing
  • You drive regularly in very hot AK weather
  • The engine is at low speed most of the time (not on the freeway)
  • Stop and go driving
  • You drive in in dusty or muddy conditions
  • You routinely tow a trailer, haul heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier around Anchorage

It's common sense for Anchorage drivers: Just a few minutes at higher speeds allows the moisture in the oil to evaporate. Very short trips, or trips of less than 10 miles when it's very cold, don't allow the engine to heat up enough to get rid of the water. And water in the oil leads to damaging sludge. Also, towing and heavy loads raise operating temperatures and cause fluids to break down faster. Dusty and muddy driving around Anchorage means that more dirt will get past the air filter to contaminate the fuel system and engine oil.

The bottom line is that you need to decide for yourself if the regular or severe service schedule is right for you, based on your driving habits. Look at your owner's manual or talk with your L and M Motors Inc service advisor who can help you know which schedule to follow.

Here is what a fleet manager said recently: "Since city miles are generally tougher on vehicles than highway miles, we use the manufacturer's severe service schedule as the basis for our preventative maintenance program. We massage those schedules over time, increasing or decreasing the service intervals so that they make the most sense. There is a little bit of art to go along with the science."

Make an honest evaluation of your driving habits. Unless you do mostly AK highway driving in moderate weather, you'll likely have a fairly good amount of severe service mixed in. Some Anchorage drivers just want to play it safe and follow the severe service recommendations, rather than analyzing how they drive each month.

Ask us for help evaluating your driving and service needs.

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



Shocks and Struts

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Let's talk shocks and struts.

Shock absorbers and struts last a long time for Anchorage drivers and wear out pretty slowly for most vehicles. They're easy to take for granted, but your shocks and struts do a very important job so you need to pay attention to them. They keep your tires on the road; and your tires are what connect your vehicle to the road and allow you to safely handle your car through turns, over bumps and even stop in time.

When your shocks and struts are worn, your tires bounce excessively over bumps. Your vehicle will wallow through corners, your front-end will dive when you stop and your rear-end will squat when you accelerate. All this hurts your ability to control your vehicle. And your ride just isn't as comfortable.

Worn shocks or struts cause excessive tire wear so Anchorage drivers will have to replace their tires sooner than they should. Worn shocks and struts also stress other suspension and steering parts, causing them to wear prematurely. Struts are actually a major structural component of the suspension system; there's a lot riding on them.

Replacing worn shocks and struts saves money in the long run – and of course, you can't really put a price on your safety and that of your passengers. At L and M Motors Inc, we generally recommend replacing shocks and struts at 50,000 miles/80,000 kilometers.

When it's time for new shocks or struts, we've got you covered in Anchorage. At L and M Motors Inc, we can give you back the ride and handling of a new vehicle. And if you have special needs we can help you there too. We have premium shocks and struts that'll improve your performance. We can even help you with upgraded, heavy-duty shocks that'll give you the confidence you need to handle those big towing or hauling jobs.

Anchorage experts recommend replacing all four shocks at the same time so that handling is even at each wheel.

If you need new shocks or struts, let L and M Motors Inc help you take care of this safety service. You'll feel better, and you'll save on tires and other suspension repairs down the road.

Stop by or give us a call.

L and M Motors Inc

400 W 53rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99518
907-563-4994

 At L and M Motors Inc we install quality NAPA replacement parts.



Timing Belt

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Ever heard the sad tale of a staggeringly steep repair bill from a broken timing belt? Bad news. Let's take a lesson from their woes and remember to think about our timing belt.

First, let's review what a timing belt does. The top part of the engine over the cylinders is called the cylinder head. The head contains the valves. There's at least one valve that lets the fresh air into the cylinder. This air, mixed with fuel, burns to create power. Then another valve or two will open to allow the exhaust out of the engine. Each cylinder has 2 to 4 valves - that's 12 to 24 valves for a V-6, up to 32 values on a V-8. The opening and closing of the valves is done by a camshaft. The timing belt uses the rotation of the engine to drive the camshaft which opens and close the valves. It's called a timing belt because it has to be adjusted to rotate the camshaft to keep proper time with the engine so that everything's in sync.

The timing belt is a toothed rubber belt. But some vehicles use a timing chain or timing gears instead of a belt. Timing chains and gears are much more durable, but vehicle manufactures are using belts more because they are quieter - and cheaper. If you have a small or mid-sized passenger car, crossover or mini-van, chances are you have a timing belt.

Unfortunately, timing belts fail without any warning. That shuts your engine down right away. Your pros at L and M Motors Inc can inspect your timing belt and look for cracks and looseness. But getting to the belt to take a look can be almost as much work as changing it on some vehicles. That's why manufacturers recommend replacing the belt from time to time. For most vehicles it's from 60,000 to 90,000 miles or 95,000 to 145,000 kilometers. If your owner's manual doesn't specify an interval, ask your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc.

Someone we know, who shall remain anonymous, has had two timing belts fail. The first was while he was waiting at a stop light - that repair cost several thousand dollars. The second was while driving on the highway - that one cost more than twice as much. Both had the cars out in the shop for three weeks. His cars had what we call "interference engines," meaning that the valves and pistons are very close to each other. If the timing belt slips even one notch, the pistons will slam into the open valves. That's why our friend's highway failure was so much more - his engine was traveling so fast that the valves were smashed and they chewed up the cylinder head.

A non-interference engine will just shut down if the timing belt breaks. You're stranded, but the engine doesn't suffer permanent damage. In both cases, our hapless friend was just a couple oil changes past the recommended interval for changing the timing belt. This is one of those things that Anchorage drivers just cannot put off. Now replacing a timing belt is not cheap - but repairs for a broken belt can be far more expensive.

The team at L and M Motors Inc recommends Anchorage drivers check their owners' manual ASAP - especially if you have more than a 60,000 miles or 95,000 kilometers. You may need to get that belt replaced right away. And on many cars, the timing belt drives the water pump. So, it may be a good idea to replace the water pump while you're at it because 90% of the work required for the new pump is already done with the belt change. Doing both at the same time saves you a lot of money because as they say, "timing's everything."

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

 



Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

All new cars and light trucks in Anchorage, AK, since 2008 have come equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, or 'TPMS'. The TPMS system detects when a tire becomes under-inflated and lights up a warning light on the dash.

So what's the big deal for Anchorage drivers? Well, underinflated tires can be a real safety concern for in AK. First of all, they don't handle properly and that can lead to an accident. Second, underinflated tires can overheat and cause the tire to come apart, which can also lead to an accident.

Government regulations requiring TPMS systems aim to reduce accidents in AK and save lives, a very worthy goal. There are also positive environmental effects because underinflated tires are fuel wasters – lose 1 percent of their fuel economy for every 3 pounds of pressure below ideal. So proper tire inflation can save you a tank of gas a year. And your tires last longer so you won't have to replace them as often.

There are two kinds of TPMS systems. So-called direct systems have a battery powered sensor in each wheel that measures tire pressure. The sensor sends a signal to a receiver that illuminates the warning light if pressure is low on a tire.

Indirect systems use a computer program to detect underinflation by measuring wheel rotation speeds and other data.

Anchorage drivers will have to replace TPMS parts as they wear out. Obviously, the batteries in the sensors will run out someday. Road salt and grime can damage sensors too. The system needs to be reset when you rotate or change your tires.

Because the TPMS system is so important to your safety, you should make the repairs when needed. And remember, TPMS is no substitute for regularly checking your tire pressure – at least once a month.

Ask us for more details.



Tire Replacement: What Anchorage Drivers Need to Know

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Looking at getting some new tires? Maybe the real reason for wanting those off-highway tires is that they look cool. Well there's nothing wrong with that. If you make sure that you've got your functional needs covered with your selection, then you can have some fun with where you go from there.

Let's suppose you zip around Anchorage in a sporty car. You may like to run a high-performance summer tire when the weather's good. When AK weather turns cold, you can put on high-performance winter tires. For the kind of driving you like to do, you want full-on performance tires. All-season tires are naturally a compromise that works well for most Anchorage drivers, but since you have a choice, go for dedicated summer and winter tires.

When it's time for new tires, visit with a knowledgeable L and M Motors Inc tire professional. Describe your needs and wants. He'll come up with some selections for you to discuss. And once you settle on a type of tire, there are options for special needs: like pulling a trailer or carrying heavy loads.

Tires are one of the biggest purchases for Anchorage drivers. With so many choices, you'll be able to get what's best for you. Take your time. And don't worry about what's in stock. If you want something that isn't here at L and M Motors Inc, we can order it. Chances are you'll be rolling on your new tires in a couple of days.

Let us know if you have any other questions!

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

 



Upsizing Wheels and Tires With L and M Motors Inc

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Many Anchorage drivers want to accessorize their vehicle - you know, make it theirs. One of the easiest ways to get a custom look is to get some new wheels. There are thousands of wheel designs at Anchorage area tire shops to get you the look you want. And for many Anchorage drivers, that look includes bigger wheels. It used to be that cars came from the factory with 15 or 16 inch wheels. Now 16, 17 and even 18 inchers are standard. And the factories are offering optional wheel packages up to 20 inches or more.

So let's talk about what to consider when you want to upsize your wheels. It's not exactly a DIY project, so you need to know a thing or two before you get started. The most important term to know is rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is simply the overall height of your tire. Unless you want to modify your vehicle suspension, you'll want to keep your rolling diameter the same when you upsize your wheels.

Let's think about those three golden doughnuts in front of you. They're all about the same size. So if we pretend they're tires, they would have the same rolling diameter. The doughnut hole is the size of the wheel. Now pretend we've made the hole bigger on some. That's like having a bigger wheel - but the rolling diameter is the same.

It's important to keep the rolling diameter the same for several reasons. First of all, if the tire is bigger, it might not fit in the vehicle wheel well. Next the speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brake system are all calibrated for the factory rolling diameter. In order for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, the rolling diameter must stay within 3% of the factory recommendation. If you ignore that, you run the risk that your anti-lock brakes won't work properly.

Some have vehicles with electronically-controlled suspension that will be negatively affected by changing the rolling diameter. Let's think about the doughnuts again. You see, as the size of the wheel gets bigger, the sidewall gets shorter. The tire holds less air, so the sidewalls are made stiffer to compensate.

Low profile tires from top manufacturers use special compounds that give the sidewall the strength it needs without compromising ride quality. As you increase your wheel size, you'll typically get a slightly wider tire. This means that you have a larger contact patch. The contact patch is part of the tire that contacts the road. Because there's more rubber on the road, the vehicle will handle better. And braking distances will be shorter. A lot of Anchorage folks with trucks or SUVs love the extra control.

AK drivers need to watch out that the contact patch isn't so big that the tires rub in turns or over bumps. What we're talking about here is fitment. Your tire professional at L and M Motors Inc can help you get this right. He'll install your new wheels, add spacers if needed to make sure your brakes fit inside your new wheels and get you rolling.

Also, if you drive off-road in AK a lot, you may need a higher profile tire to protect your new rims. And make sure your new tires have the load rating you need if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads. Again, your tire professional at L and M Motors Inc knows how to help.

And don't forget about tire pressure. If you have larger rims, your new tires will hold less air and they'll need to run a slightly higher pressure. Forget that and you'll wear your tires out fast. Finally, get an alignment at L and M Motors Inc after you get your new shoes. 

Stop by L and M Motors Inc to learn more about how you might upsize your wheels or tires.

You'll find us at:

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

 



Wheel Balancing at L and M Motors Inc

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

So you love your job, and your family life is great. Congratulations! You have achieved balance. But can you say the same for your wheels? Anchorage drivers can tell if their tires are out of balance by vibrations at higher speeds on AK roads. If one of the front tires is out, you feel the vibration in the steering wheel. If it's a back tire, you'll feel the vibration in your seat.

Tires and wheels are pretty heavy. When a tire is mounted on a wheel at L and M Motors Inc, it is usually not perfectly balanced. So the technician will spin the tire on a machine to determine where it's too heavy. He will then place weights on the wheels in strategic locations to balance it out. When a tire is out of balance, it actually bounces down the road instead of rolling smoothly. Since the average size tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 mph/97 kph, it is actually slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That's where you get your vibration.

Most people in Anchorage are surprised at how smoothly their car rides after balancing all four wheels.

Most high-quality tires sold in Anchorage hold their balance pretty well. They just get out of balance gradually with normal wear and tear. If you suddenly feel a vibration, it is probably because you lost a wheel balancing weight along the way. Definitely get a balance at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage if you feel a vibration, change your rims or have a flat repaired. Putting off a needed balance job leads to excessive and tire wear, wear to your shocks, struts, steering and suspension parts. Wheel balancing not only improves your ride and handling, but also can save you some repair bills and possibly an accident. Additionally, you will get better fuel economy.

Some Anchorage area drivers have their tires balanced at every rotation. Others do it every other time. Check your owner's manual for your requirements, or ask your friendly service advisor at L and M Motors Inc. Doing this will put you on the path to mechanical wheel balance.

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

 



Winter Prep Service at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Every year, your vehicle needs to be ready for our AK winter. The last thing we Anchorage drivers want is to get stranded out in the cold. We need our vehicles to be safe and reliable. It’s a good idea to get caught up on any neglected maintenance items anytime, but the stakes are higher in the winter for AK drivers.

There are some specific and vital things that we need to do to have our vehicle ready for winter. The most obvious is having the antifreeze checked. If the antifreeze protection is not set correctly it can’t properly protect your engine, radiator and hoses from freezing. If your vehicle does not seem to be making enough heat to keep you warm, your antifreeze level may be low or you could have a thermostat problem. Get it checked out at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage. If you are due for a cooling system service, now is a perfect time to have it done.

In the cold months we always worry about being able to stop in time when it’s slick out on AK area roads. The first thing for drivers to remember is to slow down and allow plenty of room to stop. A thorough brake inspection at L and M Motors Inc will reveal if the pads or any other parts need replacing. Check with your L and M Motors Inc service advisor to see if it is time to replace your brake fluid. It accumulates water over time which really messes with your stopping power.

It is also vital to have your battery tested. A battery’s cranking power really drops with the temperature. If your battery is weak in the fall, it may not be up to winter in AK.

You should always have a blanket or something to keep you and your passengers warm if you get stranded when it's cold. If you will be leaving the Anchorage area and venturing away from civilization, pack more items such as food and water to help you survive. Keeping at least half a tank of gas is vital if you get stuck and need to run the car to keep warm and it will help keep your gas lines from freezing up.

It’s a really good idea for Anchorage drivers to replace their wiper blades in the fall before the AK winter storms. If you live where there’s a lot of snow and ice, you might want a special winter blade that resists freezing up. And be sure to have enough windshield washer fluid.

The final thing for Anchorage drivers to consider is their tires. Any tire can lose pressure over time,  up to 1/2 kg every six or eight weeks. For every 5.6 degrees Celsius the temperature drops in Anchorage you lose another 1/2 kg of pressure. So if it was 26.7 degrees outside in Anchorage when you checked your tire pressure two months ago and now it’s 4.4 degrees out, you could be down 2 kg of pressure. That’s enough to be an essential safety issue and it's also hard on your gas mileage. You may need special winter tires as well. Your L and M Motors Inc tire professional can help you find the right tire design for your Anchorage expected road conditions.

If you’re getting winter tires in Anchorage, it is always best to put them on all four wheels. If you are only getting two, it might be best to put them on the rear even if you have a front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle. This is a very important safety measure recommended by tire manufacturers. Sliding or fish-tailing on ice and snow is a matter of not having enough traction at the rear end. That is why your newest tires should probably always be on the rear. Check with your L and M Motors Inc service advisor.

Stop by or give us a call.
907-563-4994


L and M Motors Inc
400 W 53rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99518


At L and M Motors Inc we install quality NAPA replacement parts.



Winter Tires

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

What type of technology do you use? Do you prefer an 8-track tape or an iPod? When it comes to winter tires, much of Anchorage driver's perception dates back to when 8-track was the best way to listen to the Bee Gees.

Twenty years ago in AK, winter tires differed from highway tires only in their tread design. AK drivers called them snow tires back then, and they had big, knobby lugs that were designed to give good traction in deep snow. They had the same rubber compound as regular tires and they weren't very good on ice, packed snow or wet AK roads. They were not even very good on dry roads. They really helped in deep or loose snow, but they did a poor job the rest of the time. They were loud and rode hard. People couldn't wait to get them off in the spring.

Then all-season tires started to appear in Anchorage tire shops. All-season tires are really a compromise between summer and winter performance. They have acceptable hot weather ride and tread life and can get AK drivers through mild winter road conditions OK. But there are some really good reasons to consider winter tires.

Modern winter tires do a terrific job for AK driving in a wide range of winter conditions. First of all, below 45°F/7°C, regular tires become hard and inflexible. That means they don't provide the road grip AK vehicles need. Even if you don't live somewhere in AK with a lot of snow, but it still gets below 45°F/7°C in the winter, you will be safer with winter tires.

In addition, they are specifically designed to more effectively move snow and water. That's the key to traction on ice-packed snow and wet Anchorage area roads. They use a micropore compound that allows the tire to bite into ice and snow. They also use wider grooves that run around the circumference of the tread to expel snow from the tire better. The lugs and grooves on winter tires have a special shape that throws the packed snow out of the tread as the tire turns. The tread is then open when it comes back in contact with the road and can provide good traction for AK drivers.

Winter tires also have a lot of sipes. Sipes are thin slits in the tread. The edge of the sipes grab ice and packed snow to provide tons of traction and to expel water and slush out of the tread. Winter tires have a rounder casing to cut into the snow's surface. The treads on regular summer tires can actually get packed with snow instead and become very slick. Winter tires offer 25% to 50% more traction for AK drivers than all-season tires. And when it comes to stopping power, all-season tires take 42% longer to stop than winter tires. Sometimes that's the difference between getting home safely and spending the night in a snow bank.

Now back when the 8-track was king, AK drivers just put snow tires on the drive wheels. That worked out OK because the rubber compound was essentially the same. Now, winter tires provide so much more traction than all-season or summer tires, that there's a huge difference between the traction at the front and rear ends of the car if you only put winter tires on the drive wheels.

For example: if you take a corner on an icy road and the rear end starts to slide out, essentially the rear is trying to pass the front because it's going faster. If you have high traction winter tires only on the front, they are going to be much more effective at transferring cornering grip and stopping power to the front wheels. This will actually cause the rear end to whip out even more.

That's why tire manufactures instruct their dealers that they must install winter tires on the rear wheels as well whenever they put winter tires on the front end of any vehicle. It's a major safety concern. It's strongly recommended that winter tires be installed on all four wheels on rear wheel drive vehicles as well. The front tires do most of the steering and braking work - it only makes sense that you provide the front end with the best traction you can.

Anchorage drivers often assume that if they have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive they don't need winter tires on all four wheels. Would you intentionally disconnect the four-wheel drive in poor road conditions? Of course you wouldn't, but that's essentially what you do if you only put winter tires on one end. It only makes sense to have the same level of traction and control at all four corners.

The province of Quebec in Canada has issued a law requiring all passenger vehicles, taxis and rental cars with Quebec license plates to install a full set of four winter tires between November 15th and April 1. It's that important.

Many modern cars have traction control and anti-lock brakes so AK drivers may think that they don't need winter tires. But you need traction to accelerate, steer and stop. The tires provide the traction so that the traction control and anti-lock brakes have something to work with.

Look for tires with the symbol of a mountain with a snowflake in it. This means the tire complies with the severe snow standard. All-season tires will have an M&S, for mud and snow, on the sidewall.

So when the Anchorage temperatures drop below 45°F/7°C, be sure you have a set of four winter tires for maximum performance on snow, packed snow, ice, plus wet and dry roads. Your friendly and knowledgeable L and M Motors Inc tire professional can help you find the right winter tire for your vehicle and driving needs.

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



Transmission Service at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Let's talk about transmission service. It can be easy for Anchorage drivers to forget about getting their transmission serviced because it doesn't need it very often. It's easier for people in AK to remember to change the engine oil - you know, every 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. But proper transmission servicing keeps your vehicle running smoothly and helps you avoid repairs down the road.

The transmission undergoes a lot of stress. The grit you can see in used transmission fluid is actually bits of metal that wear off the gears in the transmission. In addition to that, the transmission operates at very high temperatures. Usually it's much higher than engine temperatures. Those high temperatures eventually cause the transmission fluid to start to break down and lose efficiency.

As the fluid gets older, it gets gritty and doesn't lubricate and cool the vehicle transmission as well - leading to even more wear. The fluid can actually get sludgy and plug up the maze of fluid passages inside the transmission. At best, your transmission won't operate smoothly. At worst, it could lead to damage.

When your transmission is running properly, it transfers more power from your engine to the drive wheels and improves fuel economy. That's why it is recommended to change your transmission fluid at regular intervals. Your owner's manual has a schedule for transmission service and, of course, your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc can tell you what is recommended.

Hot and dusty Anchorage area conditions, towing, hauling, stop-and-go driving and jackrabbit starts all begin to increase the load on the transmission and its internal temperature. That means Anchorage vehicles with these types of transmission requirements need to change the fluid more often. A good rule of thumb is every 35,000 miles, 55,000 kilometers or two years. If your owner’s manual suggests more frequent intervals or if you're driving under severe service conditions around the Anchorage area, you will need to change it more often.

Most Anchorage auto service centers (including L and M Motors Inc) have the ability to perform a transmission service while you wait and the cost is quite reasonable. It's downright cheap when you think about how much a major transmission repair can cost! Our pros at L and M Motors Inc will know the right type of transmission fluid to use. If it's getting to be time to have your transmission serviced, do your vehicle a favor and have it done.

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

 



Service to Improve Fuel Economy

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

The price of gas in AK has got people in Anchorage talking. It seems that Anchorage folks who need a bigger vehicle to carry family and gear, or provide four wheel drive, are hit especially hard. That is why we thought it would be good to review some things that anyone can do to improve fuel economy.

First let's start with how we drive around AK. People in Anchorage may not realize that they can really save on gas by just changing a few driving habits. One of the biggest is jackrabbit starts - you know, flooring the gas as soon as the light turns green. That really wastes a lot of fuel. Building up your speed at a slower pace uses less fuel and is easier on your engine and drive train. And don't drive with one foot on the brake. That's also a drag on fuel economy, and it wears out your brakes faster, too.

Another thing Anchorage drivers can do is drive more slowly - but only when it's safe. Sometimes on the freeway we drive an extra five ... ten . . . twenty ... over the speed limit. We do it to save time, but it only saves a few minutes out of maybe an hour long drive, and we may use 10 to 15 % more gas. Just leave a little bit earlier, save some money and arrive more relaxed.

Anchorage drivers can also try and combine all of their errands for the day into just one trip, rather than several. If you can put off a trip today that can be combined with one tomorrow, you can save some time and money.

Using your cruise control can save money too. Driving in AK at a constant speed really improves fuel economy. Be sure to only use your cruise control under safe conditions; you can look in your owner's manual for some good tips on using your cruise control.

Did you know that reducing the weight in your vehicle saves gas? Clean out the trunk or back seat from time to time so that you are not paying to carry a lot of stuff around Anchorage that you do not need in the vehicle. If you live in AK where there is snow and ice, clear it off your vehicle; it adds weight and messes with aerodynamics too.

Another tip is to avoid long idle times, which includes warming it up when you start. Modern engines do not require a long warm up to get going;  just take it easy for a few minutes.

Be sure to get a new gas cap if yours leaks or is worn.

Now, let's start talking mechanical. Bottom line - the better you maintain your vehicle, the less fuel you will use. It all adds up in a big way. For example, replacing your dirty engine air filter will pay for itself in improved fuel economy before your next oil change - and will keep saving you after that.

A clean, well-maintained fuel system really pays big dividends. A clogged fuel filter wastes gas. So does a dirty fuel system, grimy fuel injectors and plugged up PCV valves. A fuel system service decreases the gas you use, and increases the power, so drivers in Anchorage can't go wrong with that.

Some of us ignore our Check Engine light. But fixing the problem that caused the light to come on will usually save some fuel as well. It may be a bad oxygen sensor that can really rob your fuel economy.

And, it may be time for a tune-up. Tune-ups should improve your fuel economy. Don't overlook the routine maintenance items, like scheduled oil changes, transmission and cooling system service. Dirty or low fluids actually use more fuel. Just look at your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended service intervals in the owner's manual, or ask your L and M Motors Inc service advisor for the schedule.

Don't forget your tires. Underinflated tires waste gas. And if your wheels are out of alignment, you won't get the fuel economy you need.

None of these things are very complicated or expensive for people in Anchorage to stay on top of. When you maintain your car properly, you save gas today and prevent repairs tomorrow.

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

 



Service Center Standard and Procedures

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

All AK pilots have checklists for every aspect of flying. They always use their checklists even if they only have two steps on them. They do this simply because a checklist is a great way to not forget steps. It is also how they can assure a predictable outcome.

That is why Anchorage automotive service centers including L and M Motors Inc have procedural standards for each service they perform. L and M Motors Inc technicians are trained step by step. And they perform the procedures step by step, the same way each time. By training to procedural standards, AK service centers can assure a quality outcome. The job is done right every time and Anchorage customers leave happy with how their vehicle performs.

Each company trains its technicians to standards. The AK automotive industry as a whole is very committed to standards of excellence and encourages individual AK service center operators to apply them to every vehicle they service.

An example is how L and M Motors Inc grades problems and communicates their recommendations. If your service advisor tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:

The part no longer performs its intended purpose
The part does not meet a design specification
The part is missing

They may suggest repair or replacement:

If the part is close to the end of its useful life - just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
To address a customer need or request - like for better ride or increased performance
To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle manufacturer
Based on the technician's informed experience

Here are some examples:

An exhaust pipe has rusted through and is leaking. Replacement is recommended because the part has failed. If the pipe were rusted, corroded or weak but not leaking, the technician may suggest it be replaced because it is near the end of its useful life and replacing it now may be more convenient for the customer.

Suppose a customer wants to improve his car's handling, but his shocks haven't failed. The may suggest replacement of the shocks to satisfy the customer's wishes.

Under these guidelines the Anchorage car repair shop must refuse partial service of a required repair if the repair creates or continues an unsafe condition.

Let's say a customer has a cracked brake rotor. This is a dangerous condition that must be repaired. If the customer does not want to replace the rotor but instead just wants new brake pads installed, the shop must ethically refuse the partial repair. That can be an upsetting conversation, but understanding that Anchorage service centers operate under service standards and procedures is comforting. You want your service to be done right and to have confidence in your technician's recommendations.

The AK automotive service industry and L and M Motors Inc want the best for you and for you to keep coming back.

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

 



Brake Service at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Brakes really aren't optional equipment for Anchorage drivers' vehicles. And taking care of them isn't optional either.

A regular brake inspection is on every AK driver's vehicle maintenance schedule. At L and M Motors Inc, our team will check your brake system and let you know if there are any problems. Of course, if you're having trouble with your brakes, get your car into your Anchorage service center right away. And watch out for these problems:

  • Low or spongy brake pedal
  • Hard brake pedal
  • A brake warning light that stays on
  • Constantly squealing or grinding brakes
  • Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes

There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that's attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle. Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Pads, called shoes, push against the inside of the drum to slow the vehicle.

There are several things that need to be serviced on the brake system. First, the brake pads and shoes wear out with use and become too thin to really help. If the brake pads wear away completely you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced, and that can be expensive. But putting it off is dangerous because your vehicle won't stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.

Brake fluid is also important. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid activates the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid, not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. Anchorage  drivers should change the brake fluid when their vehicle manufacturer recommends it.

Be sure to properly maintain your brakes because it's a lot cheaper than paying your nearest Anchorage area body shop after an accident.

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



Custom Wheels and Tires for Your Anchorage Ride

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM


 

It seems like everywhere you go in the Anchorage area you see custom wheels. Big trucks, little cars, mini-vans - it doesn't matter - are expressing themselves with custom wheels. Some AK auto owners want smaller tires and wheels - some want larger - and some want them enormous. So where do you start if you want new wheels? At L and M Motors Inc, we suggest you start with your budget. We know, that sounds so practical. But if the look you're after goes beyond just new tires and wheels and enters into the world of suspension modifications, you need to be prepared for the additional cost.

Let's start with something easy - you want to give your ride a unique look and the stock wheel size is just right for you. One of the concerns you will have is that the new wheels have the same offset as your vehicle factory wheels.

Your tire and wheel professional at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage can help you find the right size wheel or install adapters to make your new wheels fit. All you have to do is pick from the hundreds of styles available.

So, what about Anchorage drivers who want to upsize? Well, if you want bigger wheels, but you want to keep the same overall tire diameter, that's pretty easy for the team at L and M Motors Inc. The same offset concerns apply. You need to know that the tires will likely be a little bit wider than the originals and you don't want them to rub when you make sharp turns. Your tire professional at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage will help you avoid this.

Heading the other direction, some vehicle owners in the Anchorage area like to run smaller than standard wheels and lower the suspension. All of the same fitment issues still apply as well as calibration issues. Don't think that vehicle suspension modifications are a bad thing. Many systems actually improve ride, function and performance over the stock set-up.

Regardless of your budget, you want your vehicle to continue to do all the things you need it to do. Some of those show cars and trucks you see on TV and Anchorage showrooms  look good but have been modified in ways that may not suit your needs. For example, if you put large rims on your SUV with low profile tires, you may be in for busted rims if you go off-roading a lot around the Anchorage area. There just isn't enough sidewall to absorb the impact of thumping over rocks.

Some stuff the largest tires and wheels possible in their vehicles but have to severely restrict suspension travel so that the tires aren't rubbing all day. That can lead to a very harsh ride around AK. Again, talk with your L and M Motors Inc wheel professional about all of these things: how you drive in Anchorage, what look you are going for, your budget and what compromises you are willing to make.

At the end of the day, you're going to be rollin' out of L and M Motors Inc with one sweet ride.

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



Fuel System Cleaning at L and M Motors Inc

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



Is your vehicle sometimes hard to start early in the morning? When you turn the key, does it hesitate or stutter? If so, the problem could be the result of a dirty fuel system. Your vehicle's fuel system starts with the air filter and ends in the top of your engine. Over time, different parts of the system get dirty, which robs you of performance and hurts your fuel economy.

Most Anchorage vehicles have fuel injectors, rather than a carburetor. Fuel injection systems have fewer problems and require less adjustment. But they still need to be properly maintained. This is why your owner's manual has a schedule for cleaning your fuel injectors and other parts of your fuel system.

Some Anchorage residents are interested in buying fuel system cleaners that they can pour into their gas tank. You can do that - and there are lots of great products available that can help maintain an already clean fuel system - but these products cannot do a major cleaning. For that, you need to see L and M Motors Inc. L and M Motors Inc has the professional tools and chemicals to really do a complete service.

L and M Motors Inc uses a process that gives your vehicle a deep, professional fuel system cleaning. You need to remove particles, gum and varnish from your fuel system and get those injectors running cleanly and efficiently. After a professional fuel system cleaning, you'll notice more power, better fuel economy and reduced exhaust emissions.

The cleaners also help prevent rust and corrosion in your fuel system and lubricate engine parts.

Fuel system cleaning is just one of those recommended service items that help keep your vehicle running strong. As with all maintenance, it can help avoid repairs that often result from not taking the right preventive steps. Anchorage residents will notice the difference in how well their vehicle runs. Check with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at L and M Motors Inc to see when your vehicle is scheduled for a fuel system cleaning.

An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure for Anchorage vehicles.

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



Headlamp Replacement And Restoration At L and M Motors Inc In Anchorage

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Way too many accidents happen at night on AK roads. There are a lot of factors, but a big one is simply visibility: if you can't see something, it's hard to avoid hitting it.

There are some things Elmendorf Afb drivers can do to make sure they can see as much as possible when they're driving in the dark. First of all, keep your windshield clean. Glare from oncoming headlights can obscure obstacles in the road. Clean off that film that builds up on the inside of your windshield. And make sure you have good wiper blades and plenty of washer fluid.

Now it could be that your headlights aren't as bright as they used to be. It happens – the bulbs just dim over time. If it's been a couple of years since you replaced your headlamps and they aren't lighting up the road like they used to, get some new ones. They make upgraded headlamps too that give you a brighter light and a larger field of vision so you can see better and further down the road. Check with your friendly and knowledgeable L and M Motors Inc if you want to up your headlamp performance.

Another very common headlamp problem in the Elmendorf Afb area is cloudy or yellowed lenses. These days lenses are plastic and they oxidize and discolor over time. Just look at the cars in the parking lot at your Elmendorf Afb office building – chances are you'll see several with cloudy lenses. This is a huge problem because some of the light coming from your headlamps gets trapped before it can even get out and shine down the road.

Replacing a set of headlight assemblies can run hundreds or even thousands of dollars in Anchorage. There's an alternative that can save Anchorage big bucks: headlight restoration. Your L and M Motors Inc technician can remove the oxidized layer from your lenses. He'll then polish the lenses until they're bright and smooth. When he's all finished, your lenses will be as good as new.

Any accident on AK roads and streets is inconvenient and can be dangerous. And if someone gets hurt, well, that's something you want to avoid at all costs. If you're not confident driving at night in Elmendorf Afb, ask your friendly and knowledgeable L and M Motors Inc about headlamp replacement and headlight restoration Anchorage.

Give us a call.

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



Keys to a Long Lasting Vehicle

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



We live in a disposable society. Everything from elaborate packaging to our clothing. Even cell phones are disposable. When replacement is cheaper than repair, the term "built to last" goes by the wayside. An exception is our vehicles. They're still a very big investment and Anchorage drivers want to make them last as long as possible.  We also want to make keeping them running as cheap as possible. When talking vehicles, it's all about preventive maintenance. There is an old saying that says, "A stitch in time saves nine," and that is really true when it comes to taking care of your vehicle. A great example is coolant service in Anchorage.

Your coolant not only protects your engine from overheating and freezing, it must also protect cooling system components from corrosion. Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. That's why you need to have your cooling system serviced on a regular schedule.

The same is true for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. And of course, Anchorage vehicle owners shouldn't forget those oil changes right on schedule. Skipping even one change can start the build up of harmful oil sludge.

Our engines are full of gaskets and seals. Fresh fluids condition those gaskets and seals to keep them from drying out and leaking. Automotive fluids contain additives that help clean and lubricate the various systems they protect. Over time, the additives are used up and the fluid just does not provide the protection it did when it was fresh. And don't forget the mechanical systems. Changing brake pads before they are worn to the point that they cause damage to rotors is a great way to keep your operating costs down.

Replacing serpentine belts and timing belts on schedule is much cheaper for Anchorage drivers than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure. Also, air filters, fuel filters, PCV valves and batteries are all important. Regular wheel alignments, tire rotation and balancing will make your tires last longer. And don't forget to replace your shocks and struts when they wear out. Your fuel system needs regular cleaning to keep running well, prevent mechanical damage and improve fuel economy.

Now this is a lot to remember for Anchorage drivers - too much, really. But it is your Anchorage automotive technician's job to keep on top of this stuff. At L and M Motors Inc we can tell you what your manufacturer recommends and help you with a plan to take care of it. We can advise you about which  maintenance schedule you should use - the regular schedule or the severe service schedule - depending on the kind of driving you do. We also know the right fluids for your vehicle and may even suggest higher mileage formulations for your older vehicle.

Bottom line - take care of this stuff on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent damage and maintain your warranty coverage.

Of course, you want your vehicle to look as good as it runs. Regular washing will prevent rust and protect your finish. Take advantage of cleaners, waxes and protectants for your interior and tires. Your vehicle will look great and you'll be proud to drive it longer.

Most of us in Anchorage can't afford to throw away our car when it breaks down. By budgeting for regular preventive maintenance, we can prevent many inconvenient - and expensive - problems down the road, and can keep driving "old faithful" for years to come.

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



Vehicle Warranties

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



If you own a AK vehicle with a warranty, beware! Many dealers and manufacturers suggest that you need to get your maintenance services at a dealership in order to keep your warranty. That simply isn't true! You can have your vehicle serviced at your trusted, local service center without affecting your warranty. A federal law, called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, prohibits a manufacturer from voiding your warranty just because you got parts or services from a non-dealer. In fact, a manufacturer can't require you to use their brand of oil filters, lubricant, or any other part in order to maintain your warranty protection. This protection is true for aftermarket extended warranties purchased on new or used vehicles. This protection also applies to leased vehicles. There are similar laws in Canada as well.

If a manufacturer can prove that the replacement parts or service lead to a vehicle failure, they can void a portion of the warranty. Of course, L and M Motors Inc uses quality parts and fluids that meet or exceed manufacturers' specifications. (See http://landmmotorsinc.com/contact.php.) A lot of people do not know that service centers subscribe to data services that tell them exactly which parts and fluids meet manufacturers' specifications. These services are updated constantly so that your Elmendorf Afb automotive service center always knows what you need for your car. You can be assured that your vehicle will receive high quality replacement parts that'll keep you safely on the road.

Proper maintenance is so important to safety. It can also prevent costly repairs and save you money over the long haul. Just because you don't have to go to a dealer to get your maintenance service performed doesn't mean that you don't need to have it done at all. In fact, some protections from your warranty require that scheduled maintenance be performed. If you miss having important work done, you may lose some warranty coverage. Refer to your owners' manual and vehicle warranty for more details. And keep good records of the work you've had done.

The protection you receive under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act can save you hundreds of dollars each year. The average hourly labor rate for service is nearly twenty percent lower at independent service centers such as L and M Motors Inc. We are conveniently located at 400 W 53rd Ave in Anchorage. So why go anywhere else?



Make Your Vehicle Last

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



We live in such a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days, AK folks were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough - they had to do without. Most Anchorage drivers couldn't afford new vehicles very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.

It's a good thing that vehicles are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us AK penny pinchers is that a modern vehicle can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us Anchorage vehicle owners making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedules.

Every time you go a little farther between recommended oil changes, you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and for clogged passages. Then some vehicle parts don't get properly lubricated and they start to wear out faster. Skip a cooling system service and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted; the radiator starts being damaged - one step closer to a failure. Same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning - really everything on your schedule.

It is probably even more important for older vehicles. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they are a bit more stressed anyway. But it is never too late to get back on track with your auto maintenance and to hold off further damage.

And it really does start with the oil change. When you get a full service oil change in Anchorage at L and M Motors Inc, we top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. It's like your safety net. Go in for an oil change on time, and let your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc help you keep track of the rest.

Some things are going to wear out along the way, things like alternators, water pumps, etc. But fixing those at L and M Motors Inc is cheaper than a new car  payment for Anchorage drivers. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to mess with other things. It is like having high cholesterol - you don't want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

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



PCV Valve Replacement

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM



Hello Anchorage, let's talk about your often-unnoticed but extremely important PCV valve. The energy from exploding fuel is what powers your engine. But some of the vapors from the explosions escape into the lower part of the engine, called the crankcase. The crankcase is where your engine oil hangs out. These gases are about 70% unburned fuel. If the gases were allowed to stay in the crankcase, they would quickly contaminate the oil and turn it to sludge. Anchorage folks know that sludge is one of the biggest enemies of your engine, clogging it up and eventually leading to expensive failures. Also, the pressure buildup would cause seals and gaskets to blow out. Therefore, these gases need to be vented out.

Pre-1963, gasoline engines had a hose that let the  fumes vent out into the air. In 1963, the federal government required gas engines to have a special one-way valve installed to help reduce dangerous emissions. (Can you imagine how polluted our AK air would be if every car had been releasing those poisonous fumes for the last 50 years?) Diesel engines are not required to have these valves.

The positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve routes crankcase gases through a hose and back into the air intake system where they are re-burned in the engine. Fresh, clean air is brought into the crankcase through a breather tube. It's really a pretty simple system, but it does the job. The re-circulating air removes moisture and combustion waste from the crankcase, preventing sludge. This extends not only the life of your oil but the engine as well. The PCV relieves pressure in the crankcase, preventing  oil leaks.


Eventually, the PCV valve can get gummed up. Then it can't move enough air through the engine to keep it working properly for Anchorage vehicles. If the PCV valve is sticking enough, you could have oil leaks, excess oil consumption and a fouled intake system. If you experience hesitation,  surging or an oil leak, it may be a sign of PCV valve problems. Your vehicle's owner's manual may give a recommendation for when the PCV valve should be replaced - usually between 20,000 mi/32,000 km and 50,000 mi/80,000 km. Unfortunately, some don't list a recommendation in the manual, so it can be easy to overlook.


Many PCV system problems can be diagnosed by our technicians at L and M Motors Inc . Fortunately, PCV valve replacement is both quick and inexpensive at L and M Motors Inc. Proper oil changes will greatly extend the life of the PCV valve. Skipping a few recommended oil changes can allow varnish and gum to build up in the valve, reducing its efficiency. So now when your Anchorage service technician tells you its time to replace your PCV valve, you will know what he's talking about. If you have had your car for a while and this is the first you've ever heard of a PCV valve, ask your technician to check yours out or call L and M Motors Inc at 907-563-4994.

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



Serpentine Belt Replacement At L and M Motors Inc

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Today's L and M Motors Inc article focuses on your serpentine belt. Your Serpentine serpentine belt is driven by the engine as it turns. It powers your alternator, air conditioning compressor and power steering pump. In some vehicles, power steering may have an electric drive and power brakes can be vacuum driven.

And, on many vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump (on some cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt).

Your L and M Motors Inc service technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon.  The technician  will also measure the amount of belt material to make sure there is enough.

Anchorage drivers should be aware that there's a special, spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley and sometimes an extra pulley call the idler pulley. Their job is to make sure there's 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. That's why it's often recommended that the tensioner, and the idler pulley if so equipped, be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

All in all, the serpentine belt's an important part for the function 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

 

At L and M Motors Inc we install quality NAPA replacement parts.



Engine Air Filter

Posted March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Today we want to talk about your engine air filter.

That's the filter that cleans the air before it's burned in your engine. Many people in Anchorage wonder how often they should change their engine air filter. The simple answer is "when it's dirty." That's a function of how much air has passed through the filter, so your vehicle manufacturer will recommend a mileage interval for replacing the air filter. But you can imagine that how dirty the air is would affect how quickly the filter gets filled.

If you drive in Anchorage where there's lots of dust, pollution or pollen, your engine air filter will get dirty more quickly and need to be changed sooner. That's why we check the air filter with every full-service oil change at L and M Motors Inc. We can visually tell if the filter needs to be changed.

Your filter can only hold so much dirt. Once the filter is full, dirt will pass through to the engine. This dirt gums up the combustion chamber, hurts fuel economy and may cause damage. It can also contaminate the Mass Air Flow Sensor which will affect drivability and can be fairly expensive to replace.

A dirty air filter would also restrict the amount of air that gets to the engine, which hurts fuel economy. We can replace your engine air filter with one that matches the factory specifications or you can upgrade your filter for enhanced performance.

So when your Anchorage, AK, service advisor at L and M Motors Inc shows you your dirty air filter, you know how important it is to get it replaced.



Automobile Fluids For Your vehicle

Posted March 15, 2011 2:00 AM


If you've walked through the automotive fluids section of an auto parts store in Anchorage, you'll know how overwhelming the sheer number of products available can be. How do you know what's right for your vehicle?

As you know, these fluids all serve a function in making your car run as you drive around the Anchorage area. Your vehicle manufacturer has specified a particular type of fluid for every system from the motor, to the cooling system, brake fluid and so on. When you realize that not every variation is applicable to your vehicle, the task becomes more manageable.

First let's talk about why there are so many varieties. Starting with motor oil, we see that manufacturers match the properties of a particular weight or type of oil with the design needs of the engine. For example, engines with sophisticated valve trains often require a thinner weight of oil.

Some vehicles around Anchorage come from the factory filled with synthetic oil and the recommendation to use it for life. The safe bet is to always use what the factory recommends. The recommendation is what's been proven to work in function and durability tests. The recommended oil is also a factor in determining oil change interval schedules.

Sometimes fluids are developed specifically to meet the needs of a particular family of engines. An example would be coolant. Because of the different materials used to build the cooling system, the coolant has to be formulated to protect those parts, which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, from corrosion. We've seen special coolant in AK for General Motors, Volkswagen, Chrysler and others.

The same is true of transmission fluid and brake fluid in recent years.

The really good news is that the friendly and professional service advisors at L and M Motors Inc have databases that tell them the recommended fluids for your vehicle. This takes all the guess work out. If you have some special needs, like a higher mileage engine or want enhanced performance, ask your service advisor for upgrades or additives that'll meet your needs while being consistent with the manufacturer's recommendations.

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



Keeping Your Engine Cool in Anchorage, AK

Posted March 9, 2011 11:00 AM



The cooling system keeps AK vehicle's engines from overheating while they are driving around Anchorage. Its job is to move heat away from the engine. Let's talk about the various components of the system and how they make this happen.

The radiator is the part most Anchorage drivers associate with the cooling system. Coolant flows through the radiator which has fine cooling fins that draw the heat out of the coolant and dissipate it into the air. To make sure there's enough airflow over the radiator, a fan pulls air over the cooling fins even when the vehicle is idling.

In some vehicles, the fan is powered by the serpentine belt. On others, an electric motor runs the fan. Electric fans turn on and off as needed. You may have heard the fan kick on shortly after you turn your vehicle off. The sensor has determined that the engine needs a little help cooling down to a safe temperature.

A hose connects the radiator to the water pump. The water pump pushes the water into the vehicle engine block. Now the engine block and cylinder heads have passages for the coolant to pass through without getting into the oil or the combustion chamber. In the automotive community, these passages are referred to as the "water jacket."

While the coolant is passing through the water jacket, it absorbs heat from the vehicle engine on its way to the radiator for cooling. Between the engine and the radiator is a gatekeeper called the thermostat. The thermostat's job is to regulate the temperature of the engine just like your home thermostat regulates the temperature in your house. It gets your engine up to the correct operating temperature and then keeps it from overheating.

When you first start the engine, it's very cold and needs to warm up. So the thermostat blocks the flow of coolant to the radiator. As the engine warms up, the thermostat starts to let coolant flow through the system.

The final component the team at L and M Motors Inc wants to point out is the overflow reservoir. This bottle is designed to hold some of the coolant. It'll have a mark that indicates whether or not you have enough coolant. This is where you should add coolant if you just need to top it off.

Caution: never open the reservoir or the radiator cap when the car's hot. The cooling system is pressurized, and opening those caps while it's hot can cause hot coolant and steam to escape resulting in serious burns.

Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles around Anchorage, AK. At L and M Motors Inc, we can do a periodic inspection of the components for  leaks, loose connections and weakening hoses.

Your vehicle manufacturer has also specified a cooling system service interval. With a cooling system service at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage, the old coolant is replaced with correct clean fluid that contains the additives required to prevent corrosion. The additives are depleted over time and you need fresh fluid for adequate protection. Your radiator pressure cap should be replaced at this service as well.

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



Fuel Saving Tip: Auto Myths Around Anchorage

Posted March 3, 2011 10:00 AM



With high fuel prices in Anchorage, AK, comes lots of gas saving advice. Some of it, like what you hear on  Auto is great.  When you get one of those e-mails that's going around telling you how to save gas, try to think it through.

Does it really make sense? Does it defy the laws of physics?

Do some research on the internet or ask your Anchorage, AK, service advisor at L and M Motors Inc.

There aren't any magic pills you can drop in your gas tank, and the government hasn't suppressed a device you can clamp on your fuel line to make your vehicle run on air. Not even in Anchorage!

So next time you get one of those e-mails, check it out with an automotive professional. You'll get more bang for your buck with an oil change or an engine air filter replacement.

We're here for you at L and M Motors Inc, so give us a call at 907-563-4994 for good honest advice about your vehicle.

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



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