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AC DELCO

GENERAL MAINTENANCE

It's Time for the 21st Century Tune-up

Times are changing...cars are changing. One of the biggest changes in today's automotive industry is the perception of a "tune-up." Ask 10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up and chances are there'll be 10 different answers. The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs; today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels.

The tune-up was historically associated with the routine replacement of key ignition system parts like spark plugs and ignition points, along with some basic adjustments to help "tune" the engine. Mounting pressure for increased fuel economy and lower emissions drove the car manufacturers to adopt electronics and to do away with ignition points in the '70s, along with the carburetor in the middle '80s. This eliminated the need for the replacement and adjustment of a growing number of ignition and fuel system parts.

As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions. Things that were once handled mechanically are now controlled electronically through the widespread use of onboard computer technology.

Because vehicles have changed so much over the years, the Car Care Council has introduced the 21st Century Tune-up. This program is designed to help re-define and educate motorists as to what a tune-up should consist of on today's modern vehicles.

"There is a misconception that today's modern vehicles don't need tune-ups because they never break down, but that simply is not true," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "If you're at work and your computer goes down, you can't get any more work done. It's the same with your vehicle. If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go."

As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected:

  • Battery, charging and starting
  • Engine mechanical
  • Powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks)
  • Fuel
  • Ignition
  • Emissions

Vehicle owners ask for tune-ups for a variety of reasons, including improving performance, maintaining reliability, planning a vacation, preparing for winter/summer or because they're giving the car to a friend or family member.

To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle from every aspect. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Mechanical failure—an inconvenience anytime it occurs--can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. Besides, a well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.

Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.

  • Engine Performance - Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters-air, fuel, etc.
  • Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual—more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
  • Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent-you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.
  • Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.
  • Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
  • Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
  • Carry emergency gear: gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer

Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. . . Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too!

Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.

  • Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.
  • Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual-more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
  • Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended-more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
  • Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
  • Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
  • Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Emergencies - Carry some basic tools-ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.

Keeping Your Vehicle in Tune with the Environment

Car care is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer-up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians. The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

  • Keep your engine tuned. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%. Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
  • Check your tires for proper inflation. Under inflation wastes fuel-your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle. Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed.
  • Keep your air conditioner in top condition and have it serviced only by a technician certified competent to handle/recycle refrigerants. Air conditioners contain CFCs-gases that have been implicated in the depletion of the ozone layer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost one third of the CFCs released into the atmosphere come from mobile air conditioners; some simply leaks out, but the majority escapes during service and repair-so it's important to choose a qualified technician.
  • Do-it-yourselfers: dispose of used motor oil, anti-freeze/coolant, tires, and old batteries properly. Many repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local municipal or county government for recycling sites. Never dump used oil or anti-freeze on the ground or in open streams.
  • Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply above 55 mph.
  • Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go's. Use cruise-control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family. Today's vehicles are designed to "warm up" fast, so forget about those five-minute warm ups on cold winter mornings.
  • Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage. Store luggage/ cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
  • Plan trips. Consolidate your daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving. Try to travel when traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions. Join a car pool.

Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts, and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.

ASSOCIATIONS

  • ACDelco
  • AAA (American Automobile Association)
  • ASE (Automotive Service Excellence)
  • AAA Approved Auto Repair
  • ASE Master Technician
  • MechanicNet
  • Car Care Aware

Testimonials

  • Two of the hardest things to find when you move to a new place: a barber & a mechanic. I finally found this place after months of looking and man am I happy I did. The guys here are friendly and professional with comparable prices to any other mechanic or jiffy lube or whatever. Do be warned that there is a fee to diagnose what's wrong with the car - a thing that was foreign to me and a little jarring at the beginning. Having said that, I highly recommend this place.
    -Alex K.

  • Great place, great people! Dropped in, changed oil and fixed tire pressure in a jiffy at great rate. Highly recommended!
    -William L.

  • Where I go to change my engine oil I started coming hear with a invitation from a friend that works there,and I pretty much know what to expect. Engine lights are frustrating so when it came on I came in. Diagnostic check was made and the shop made repairs along with and oil and filter change( it just happened I was ready for that). They are committed to inspections to insure the vehicle is safe ! so I do maintenance along with oil changes to ensure the vitality of my vehicle twice a year and my vehicle has not let me down. parts do wear out and its better to sit in a shop and maintain your vehicle apposed to being stranded on the side of the road. Take care
    -James R.

  • I recently visited Ed's Automotive Center to have some repairs done on my 2001 Tacoma. The experience and service was nothing short of 5 stars! The friendly and knowledgeable staff answered all of my questions and even pointed out something about a recent repair I had done at another shop. The price for my repair was far lower than I had been quoted at another shop. Needless to say, I was very happy with everything during my recent appointment. If you need any automotive repairs, diagnosis, consultation, reach out to Ed and his friendly staff!!
    -Juan C.

  • From my experience bringing my girlfriend's 2009 Ford Fusion as well as my 2013 Dodge Dart to Ed's, they are honest, priced fairly, timely and friendly. I took my girlfriend's car to another shop first and they tried to tell her and me that her belts were frayed. They were not frayed. They also had her sign a sheet to do the inspection and she didn't read it all the way and it included a $75 oil change, even though the oil was changed on her car not more than a thousand miles previously. We left the other shop, out $75 but took it over to Ed's. They are ASE certified (the other shop wasn't) and they quickly found the source of the problem (and it was not frayed belts). We left the car there and I believe it was done by the end of the day. I also brought my Dart in to get part of the front air dam/close-out panel installed. They had quoted me $30 a few weeks prior and when I finally brought it in, it turned out to require more work than we had thought it would but they still only charged me $30. As long as Ed's Automotive Center is around, we'll be loyal customers.
    -Drew R.

  • I bought a 2007 Honda CRV with a salvaged title. My insurance company needs a form completed by a mechanic. I stopped by my favorite auto body shop, LA Street Customs, the owner Julian said go see Ed's Automotive. I am happy I did. They said come at 8:30 AM and took me in right away. They did everything I expected and more. I got an excellent inspection at an excellent price. They also removed an aftermarket engine kill system that was a problem FOR FREE. Thank you to Ed's for excellent service, great prices and fast turnaround.
    -Bob T.

  • My car wouldn't stay running so made a bad choice to have my car towed to Mt. View auto on laurel canyon. Big mistake. After a new set of fuel injectors and a bill of $1.400 it ran worst than ever. My car stopped running a second time again towed it back to Mt. View auto. Told my car was high mileage and couldn't run any better. Took it to Ed's auto repair like I had done a year ago for smog test and other repair. Told Ed my issues. From Mt.View wanting me to let them do an engine rebuild for $6.000 and that I did not agree with their conclusion. Ed agreed and within a week figured out the issue got the part and my car is running great again. My stupidly of not going out of my way and getting it to Ed's cost me a lot of wasted time and money, and aggravating salespeople trying to convince me to spend more money on something there mechanics couldn't figure out. A good honest mechanic is hard to find here is a terrific one, go to Ed's Automotive Center to have your car repaired honestly.
    -Steve G.

  • This garage deserves the ratings it gets - even though my car was beyond repair, "Ed" was honest and helpful. He went above and beyond, explaining and showing me the damage, what it meant, and how the repairs would be done if requested. Additionally, he gave me recommendations about how to proceed with my car, options for replacement, and assured me he would check over any used car I was considering buying. This is a professional, comfortable, knowledgeable business. I'm far from my home and family, and I feel very fortunate coming across such a helpful shop in my time of need.
    -Asari S.

  • From my experience bringing my girlfriend's 2009 Ford Fusion as well as my 2013 Dodge Dart to Ed's, they are honest, priced fairly, timely and friendly. I took my girlfriend's car to another shop first and they tried to tell her and me that her belts were frayed. They were not frayed. They also had her sign a sheet to do the inspection and she didn't read it all the way and it included a $75 oil change, even though the oil was changed on her car not more than a thousand miles previously. We left the other shop, out $75 but took it over to Ed's. They are ASE certified (the other shop wasn't) and they quickly found the source of the problem (and it was not frayed belts). We left the car there and I believe it was done by the end of the day. I also brought my Dart in to get part of the front air dam/close-out panel installed. They had quoted me $30 a few weeks prior and when I finally brought it in, it turned out to require more work than we had thought it would but they still only charged me $30. As long as Ed's Automotive Center is around, we'll be loyal customers.
    -Andrew M.

  • I was very pleased with the service I received at Ed's. I will definitely return to Ed's when my car needs service.
    -Mary - Sherman Oaks, CA

  • I had a very positive experience with Ed and his team. They were extremely professional; kept me constantly up to date on my car, its issues, and what they were doing to fix it; asked frequently about things they would have to do that would cost me money; and came in under the price they quoted me. Their professionalism and workmanship was exceptional!
    -Patrick P.

  • That poor problem child of a Ranger wouldn't stay on the road without your magical intervention. This time was a little more conventional to figure out. Thanks again for keeping it running.
    -Richard S.

  • I'm so relieved to have brought my new (to me) Scion in. I feel such calm knowing Danny went over it thoroughly and told me the things that were wrong with it (minimal-yeah!). This is the third car I've had at Ed's, they are trustworthy, genuinely communicative and always helpful!
    -Ross K.

  • TAKE YOUR CAR HERE! This place is amazing! Very helpful, friendly, great services and very good prices! From now on this is my favorite place! My car likes Ed's Automotive Center & Auto Repair!
    -Raciu D.

  • If I could give more than 5 stars I would. Amazing customer service. I came in with an 86 toyota that had a do it yourself previous owner and they where able to diagnose and fix the problem in no time at all. The cost of the repairs was also extremely fair. Hands down the best mechanics I have found in a very long time. Thank you Dan and Ed for a great experience.
    -Brett B.