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The L and M Motors Inc Guide to Saving Fuel: Car Weight

Posted August 27, 2014 12:00 PM

The team at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage, and AK car owners are all talking right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. Anchorage drivers want to save the environment and their pocketbooks.

And we all know—or should know—that preventive maintenance will help maximize fuel economy. But is there something more people in Anchorage can do? After all, some of us folks can't cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of fuel economy. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from point A to point B. And that means buying more gas in Anchorage and producing more emissions.

Of course, your vehicle's weight isn't negotiable. And you can't do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn't an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your vehicle. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your home? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don't. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your car: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don't.

Clean out your trunk. You'd be surprised how much weight you're lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food and regular old dirt. Even if it's not a lot of weight, you'll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don't toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire—the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in your vehicle when you go on a longer trip, but you don't have to lug it around all the time. After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some money in Anchorage.

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

 



Gear Up: Transmission Service at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage

Posted August 26, 2014 12:00 PM

The transmission system in your vehicle allows you to change gears. Lower gears are power gears. They get your vehicle moving and get it up hills. Higher gears get the vehicle up to speed and get it rolling faster. If you have a standard transmission, then you have to do the work of shifting gears yourself. But with an automatic transmission, the vehicle shifts gears on its own. It automatically starts out in low gear and automatically shifts to high gears as it gets rolling. Again, it will automatically shift to a lower gear to climb hills or when you need a burst of speed.

How does it know when to change gears? Today's automatic transmissions are computer-controlled. The computer gathers information about what the vehicle is doing and changes the gears as needed.

Automatic transmissions are becoming more sophisticated all the time. More gears, or “speeds,” are being added. Almost all vehicles have at least four speeds. Five or six is common. Some are even increasing to seven or eight – up to ten. Adding gears has a lot of advantages for Anchorage vehicle owners: it improves fuel economy and increases performance.

But there is a drawback for drivers in Anchorage: more gears equal more parts and a more complex transmission system. Plus, all those parts need to fit into the same space as older, less complex transmissions. This means that today's transmissions are engineered to much tighter tolerances. In other words, they demand meticulous care from Anchorage drivers. Transmissions are designed for durability. But that durability can be compromised if they aren't given proper care.

That's why changing transmission fluid is such an important part of preventive maintenance for vehicles in Anchorage. Transmission fluid lubricates the transmission and keeps it in good working order. But if the fluid runs low, transmission parts will wear out quickly or suffer damage due to increased friction. The transmission can even fail.

Dirty transmission fluid can clog the small passageways in the transmission, blocking lubricant from reaching all of its parts. Again, this can lead to increased wear, damage or failure.

New transmissions aren't cheap. Repairing them isn't cheap either. But changing transmission fluid is fairly inexpensive at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage. That's why responsible car care includes maintenance on the transmission system at L and M Motors Inc. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that periodic fluid changes aren't just good auto advice, they actually pay for themselves by preventing transmission repairs.

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



Line ‘Em Up: Wheel Alignment Service At L and M Motors Inc

Posted August 15, 2014 12:00 PM

Hello Anchorage car owners! Let's talk about alignment. One of the most important parts of preventive maintenance for your vehicle is keeping the wheels in alignment. Poor alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly, which can significantly reduce their lifespan. This means you will have to replace them more often, which can be costly in Anchorage.

It can even damage your suspension system, which is a steep repair. But even more importantly, uneven tread wear can lead to blowouts on the road, a dangerous and potentially deadly safety risk for Anchorage motorists and their passengers.

It may not take an accident or bad driving habits to “knock” your tires out of alignment. Tires can go out of alignment with just everyday AK driving. Anchorage road hazards, pot holes, uneven or gravel roads, even the bumps and bounces of normal Elmendorf Afb freeways and surface streets can gradually put your family car tires out of alignment.

So it’s good auto advice to have your family car's alignment inspected periodically. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will have recommendations on how often you should get an alignment check: usually every year or two. But if you think your family car tires might be out of alignment, you should take your family car into L and M Motors Inc now.

When you take your family car in for an alignment in Anchorage, your friendly L and M Motors Inc service advisor will start by inspecting the steering and suspension systems. If something is broken or damaged there, it will need to be fixed in order to get good alignment of the wheels.

If all looks good in the steering and suspension departments, the family car will then be put on an alignment rack where an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels can then be aligned to the auto maker’s specifications. The ideal alignment for any vehicle is set by its engineers and may vary from vehicle to vehicle.

There are three types of essential adjustments that may have to be made to correctly align a vehicle’s tires. The first is called “toe.” This refers to tires that are out of alignment because they point inward or outward at the front of the tire. Think of a person who is pigeon-toed or splay-footed, and you get the idea.

The second adjustment is the camber. This adjustment affects the angle at which the tires meet the road. Think of a solid building in contrast to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The last adjustment is the castor. This adjustment measures the angle of the tire in relation to the front axles. So, a piece of auto advice that just might be good for life as well: keep everything in alignment, and you’ll be able to steer where you want to go in Elmendorf Afb. Drive safely.



Easy Miles – Do Anchorage Driving Conditions Affect Service Intervals?

Posted August 13, 2014 12:00 PM

Have you ever noticed that your vehicle has a schedule in your owner's manual for what is called “severe service” maintenance? Let's define what severe driving conditions aren't: The easiest driving a vehicle experiences is traveling on the interstate for 20 miles (32 kilometers) or more at a constant rate of 65 miles per hour (105 kilometers per hour) in 75°F (24°C) weather with only passengers on board. Change any one of those parameters and you are adding stress to your engine. Change them significantly and you are driving under severe conditions.

Let's look at the parameters one a time. First, the length of the trip. Short trips around Anchorage are harder on an engine than longer ones. As your engine cools down, water in the air condenses onto the engine. When you heat the engine again, the water evaporates off. This is healthy. But on short trips, the engine doesn't stay hot enough long enough for all of the water to evaporate. So it starts to build up in the engine oil leading to sludge, which can clog up your engine and lead to serious engine damage. If most or all of your trips around the Anchorage area are less than four miles, you should be using the severe service maintenance schedule. Changing your oil more frequently at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage will help prevent the formation of sludge.

Most of us Anchorage drivers think of severe AK weather conditions when we think of severe driving conditions. And we're right. Cold AK weather takes its toll on the oil in your vehicle. Remember how water has to evaporate out of the oil to keep your engine healthy? It can take up to ten miles of driving for an engine to get hot enough to get rid of moisture in the oil when the weather is cold.

Hot Anchorage weather is also bad for vehicles. When an engine runs, it gets hot. The longer it runs, the hotter it gets. If it gets too hot, it breaks down. So it has to be constantly cooled to keep running. Hot AK weather means your cooling system has to work harder to keep your engine from getting too hot.

So, in the end, most of us Anchorage auto owners drive under severe conditions some of the time. Smart Anchorage residents will ask themselves the question: "Should I follow the severe service maintenance schedule?" An honest evaluation of our driving habits is the best way to determine which schedule to follow.

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

 



Put on the Brakes: Brake Service at L and M Motors Inc

Posted August 6, 2014 12:00 PM

When it comes to preventive maintenance and vehicle care, most Anchorage drivers know how important it is to check their brakes. But brakes are more than just brake pads and shoes. There are a lot of components in the brake system, and they all need to be in good working order.

The pads and shoes are known as the friction materials in the brake system. They push together, providing friction which stops the vehicle. It's no wonder they have to be checked regularly for wear, and brake pads and shoes need to be replaced periodically.

Brake pads/shoes gradually wear out, but that doesn't mean your braking gradually becomes less effective. The pads are engineered so that they maintain good braking until they wear too thin to provide adequate friction. At this point, they need to be replaced.

But your braking system also has mechanical parts. These pistons and springs can also gradually wear out or get gummed up by oil, dirt and other road spatter. A brake inspection at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage  includes a check of these parts as well as the pads and shoes. Your friendly and knowledgeable pros at L and M Motors Inc can then advise you of any parts that need cleaning or replacement.

The fluid component to the brake system needs a regular check-up at L and M Motors Inc as well. The brake fluid cools and protects your brake system. Protective additives are gradually depleted by the operation of the brake system, and moisture buildup inside the fluid can diminish its effectiveness. When you have your brakes serviced at L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage, the fluid should be checked and, if needed, replaced, which will clean out water, debris and dirt.

It is important to remember that your brake system also includes your tires. No matter how well your brake system is performing, if your vehicle tires are worn, you won't get good stopping power. Traction is the power of your tires gripping to the roadway. Traction is always better on tires with a good tread. Good traction translates to good braking.

This is particularly important on wet Anchorage roads. A good tire will give you good braking on either wet or dry AK roads. But stopping distance increases dramatically when worn tires meet wet roads. Tread on a tire acts to channel away water as the vehicle passes over the wet road, improving  contact between the tire's surface and the road; that maintains traction. But the thinner the tread, the less effective the water channels become, and water can get between the tire and the roadway, reducing friction. A loss of friction means a longer stopping distance and possibly the loss of control.

Braking depends on two things: the weight of your vehicle and the speed of the vehicle. The heavier the vehicle or the faster the vehicle, the more braking power it requires. Thus, brake systems vary from vehicle to vehicle. For example, a pickup that is designed for heavy loads has a more powerful braking system than a compact car. Sports cars also have higher-grade braking systems than minivans.

Regardless of what kind of car you drive in Anchorage, it is always good auto advice to keep your brake system in good repair, and that means ALL of your brake system. Just one more way to keep your travels accident- and worry-free.

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



Straight and True in Anchorage: Wheel Alignment

Posted August 5, 2014 12:00 PM

Most Anchorage folks worry about running out of gas or having a breakdown on the side of the road. That is why we practice preventive maintenance on our vehicles — that and to keep our repair bills down. But one important part of preventive maintenance that may get overlooked by drivers in Anchorage is a periodic alignment inspection.

Poor alignment causes tires to wear rapidly, unevenly or both. This means they will have to be replaced early, and new tires are more expensive than an alignment check in Anchorage. Bad alignment can also cause damage to suspension and steering systems, which can be expensive to repair in Anchorage.

Tire wear on misaligned wheels can also lead to blowouts, which are dangerous, can lead to serious accidents and can seriously damage your vehicle. Also, poor alignment itself can be the cause of an accident since the vehicle may not steer properly.

One or more wheels on your vehicle can be knocked out of alignment by running over a curb or a pothole on a bumpy Anchorage street. An accident —  even a minor one — that involves a wheel on your car can lead to misalignment. The small bumps and bangs of everyday driving can also gradually put your wheels out of alignment.

If you have had wheel damage to your vehicle, or if you suspect that your wheels are out of alignment, you should get your alignment checked NOW. Any service center will give you that piece of auto advice. But good vehicle care suggests that you also get your alignment inspected on a regular basis. At L and M Motors Inc in Anchorage, we can take care of that for you.

Your owner's manual or L and M Motors Inc can give you a suggestion on how often your alignment should be checked. If it doesn't, then once a year is a good rule of thumb. However, if you drive a lot — and especially if you drive on rough surfaces a lot — then you may want to consider alignment more often. Ask the pros at L and M Motors Inc for a recommendation.

If your vehicle is out of alignment, one or more of the wheels is not tracking correctly and will “pull” against the others. Thus, one sign of poor alignment is that your vehicle pulls to one side when you drive around Anchorage. Also, if you are driving a straight path and your steering wheel is off-center, that usually indicates an alignment problem.

Anchorage drivers should also check the wear on their tires. If they seem to be wearing out too quickly, or if you notice that a tire is wearing on one side more than the other, you should get your alignment checked.

When you get an alignment inspection, your vehicle will be put on a rack and all the parts of the steering and suspension systems will be inspected for wear or damage. The alignment of the tires will be charted and compared to the original factory settings. If no repairs are needed on the steering or suspension systems, the wheels will then be adjusted to bring them back into alignment.

This may seem like a lot of bother for drivers, but it's a lot less trouble than a blowout or an accident. The old adage is good auto advice for all Anchorage residents: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

So keep on driving, and keep all four tires on the road.

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

 



How Much is Enough for Anchorage Auto Owners? Tire Tread Depth

Posted August 5, 2014 12:00 PM

Most Anchorage drivers know that tires wear out and that the wear has to do with tread depth. Most of us have heard that “bald” tires are dangerous, but most of us picture a tire with no tread at all when we think of a bald tire. And when we take our vehicles in for preventive maintenance, the technician tells us they're need to be replaced long before all the tread is worn off. Just how much tire tread wear is too much? And how can you tell? Tires are and their condition is important to the safe handling of a vehicle, so it's for Anchorage vehicle owners to know the answers to these questions.

First of all, it's important to understand that there may be a legal limit to tread wear. If your tires are worn past this limit, you have to replace them to be in compliance with AK auto safety laws. That's why measuring your tread wear is part of a vehicle safety inspection.

In some jurisdictions, tread must be at least 1.6 millimeters or 2/32 of an inch thick. This standard has been in effect since 1968. But this standard has recently been called into question, and some AK professionals are arguing that it be changed.

The safety issue that has brought this standard under scrutiny is the ability of a vehicle to stop on a wet surface. When a vehicle has trouble stopping, most Anchorage drivers immediately look at the brakes as the source of the problem. But tires are crucial to safe stopping distances because they provide the traction required in a stop.

A tire's contact with the road surface creates traction, which allows for effective braking. On a wet surface, a tire only has traction if it can get to the road's surface. So tire tread is designed to channel water out from under the tire to allow it to stay in contact with the road. If the tire can't shift the water, then it starts to “float.” This condition is called hydroplaning. It is very dangerous for Anchorage drivers since the vehicle won't stop no matter how hard the driver presses the brakes. Steering control is also lost.

A recent study tested the stopping ability of a passenger car and a full-sized pick-up on a road surface covered with only a dime's depth of water (less than a millimeter). The vehicles were traveling at 70 mph (112 kph) when they stopped on the wet surface. At 2/32 (1.6 mm) tread depth, the stopping distance was double that of a new tire. The passenger car was still traveling at 55 mph (89 kph) when it reached the stopping distance it experienced with new tires.

Let's suppose that you're on a busy Anchorage road in a light drizzle and a vehicle stops suddenly in front of you. You just bought new tires and you brake hard, missing the vehicle with only inches to spare. If you hadn't bought those new tires, you would have crashed into that vehicle at 55 mph (89 kph). That is a major difference.

What if your tires had a tread depth of 4/32 (3.2 mm)? You would have crashed into that vehicle at 45 mph (72 kph). Still not a good situation. But it's better.

Now what if you were driving that pick-up truck? You wouldn't have missed that vehicle in the first place, and you would have crashed at higher rates of speed in both of the other scenarios. The heavier your vehicle, the longer its stopping distance. It's a matter of physics.

The results of this test has led Consumer Reports and others to ask that the standard for tread wear be changed from 2/32 (1.6 mm) to 4/32 (3.2 mm). The increased standard will improve safety on the road and save lives here in AK and nationally.

Of course, until the standard changes, you'll have to decide whether you'll be willing to replace your tires a little sooner.

You can use an American quarter to tell if your tread wear is down to 4/32 (3.2 mm). Place the quarter into the tread with George's head toward the tire and his neck toward you. If the tread doesn't cover George's hairline, you're under 4/32 (3.2 mm). With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the digits of the year.

You can measure the 2/32 inch (1.6 mm) tread wear with a penny. If the tread touches the top of Abe's head, it's at 2/32 (1.6 mm). Tires are super important when it comes to vehicle care. But their condition has a major impact on safety. We need to decide whether to sacrifice safety for economy. Keeping our tread wear above 4/32 in (3.2 mm) is good auto advice.

L and M Motors Inc
400 W 53rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99518
907-563-4994
http://l-and-m-motors-inc.autotipsvideo.com



Maintaining Your Diesel in Anchorage

Posted August 1, 2014 12:00 PM

Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven't been as common in the Anchorage area because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more Anchorage diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV's.

Diesels are popular in AK because they get better fuel economy than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you're not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.

Diesels don't produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in AK as for other vehicles.

Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from cellulosic waste like wood chips and sawdust. In AK, we may soon see bio-diesel produced from algae. These fuel sources will lessen Anchorage drivers dependence on fossil fuels and may even become truly renewable and sustainable.

Diesel-powered vehicles also perform as well as other passenger vehicles. Most people don't notice a difference in driving one or the other. If you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer around AK, however, the diesel is a definite improvement.

So, you may be asking, if diesels are so great, why don't all Anchorage people drive them? Surely there are disadvantages you haven't told me about. That's true. Diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, and they cost more in AK. The better fuel economy of the diesel engine is partially offset by the higher purchase price.

Because of higher fuel prices, diesel engines used to be more expensive to drive in Anchorage. But now, with higher volatility in the prices of both gasoline and diesel fuel in AK, that cost difference is less definitive. Whether a diesel or gas engine is more expensive for AK drivers depends now on the current price of fuel and how far you drive.

Consider also that diesel-powered vehicles have a high resale value in the Anchorage area, and the costs of owning and operating a diesel vs. a gas-powered vehicle in AK becomes a real toss-up.

Preventive auto maintenance for diesel vehicles has also become similar to that of gas-fueled vehicles in recent years. The major difference is that diesels require cleaner fuel, air and oil, so their filters are more expensive than those for gasoline engines. The engine air filter must be changed more frequently as well.

The costs for car care and repairs in Anchorage are similar. You may be thinking, wait:  You just told me that filters are more and have to be changed more regularly. True, but that is offset by the fact that diesel engines have a much longer lifetime than gasoline engines. So if you are the type of owner who prefers to hang on to a vehicle for a long time, you will be more than rewarded with a diesel engine.

So if you have been looking for Anchorage auto advice on whether to switch to a diesel vehicle or stay with a gas-powered one, then we hope this helps. The answer as to which type of vehicle is better is that it depends on the driver and their driving habits. Now that you know the facts, you can make an informed choice based on your own priorities and needs.

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



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