Automotion Reno

Servicing Northern Nevada Car Owners since 1975

Recommended Reno Service Intervals

Everyone in Reno, Nevada knows we are advised to go to our Reno dentist twice a year.  Oral-conscious Reno residents have a teeth-cleaning and examination. Once a year, we get x-rays to look for problems that can’t be seen with the naked eye. When our dentist is done, he/she tells us what was found – “Everything’s fine, see you in six months.” Or “You’ve got a small cavity starting, let’s schedule an appointment to take care of it.” By the time you leave, you have a plan for addressing any necessary issues.

This system works so much better than waiting for a painful problem before going into the dentist. Small problems are fixed before they turn into big problems. And you avoid those huge bills.

If Sparks folks understand the wisdom of using this system for handling dental care, why do many resist when facing the same system for our car maintenance?

Automotion
225 Telegraph Street
Reno, Nevada 89502
(775) 624-5152

Following the automobile manufacturer’s recommended intervals can be confusing. First, there are recommendations for so many things: oil changes, transmission, coolant, air conditioning, power steering, brakes, fuel system, filters, belts, hoses, alignment, rotation, balancing …you get the point.

Every item has a recommended interval and it’s hard to keep it all straight – even if you’re part of the 1% of the Nevada drivers that read their owners’ manual.

And if you have more than one sedan, the complexity is multiplied. You’d need a computer to keep track of everything. Well, that’s how your Reno service center does it. For example, Automotion subscribes to automotive databases that have your vehicle’s recommended intervals. You may have wondered how they know what else to recommend when you take your car in for an oil change – it’s all in the database.

Well, it’s not all in the computer. There are other variables that can’t be accounted for in the schedule. Things like Sparks weather conditions, altitude, and where and how you drive in Nevada. Talk about these things with your friendly Automotion service specialist and you may decide that the severe service schedule in your owner’s manual is more appropriate.

Since anything that’s not expressway driving in moderate Sparks weather is considered severe, most of us do at least some of that around Reno, Nevada and it should be taken into account.

Let’s take your basic oil change as an example – what issues are involved? The oil you put in your car is a blend of base oil and special additives. There are detergents to clean the inside of your engine and corrosion inhibitors. A good quality motor oil will not only lubricate your engine, it will help it stay clean inside and run cooler.

Now, these additives deplete with use and time. That’s why most maintenance recommendations include both a time and mileage element – like 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first.

It’s easy to think, “Gee, I’ve only driven 2,000 miles in the last 3 months. I can wait on that oil change.” But you need to remember that the inside of your engine is a harsh environment. The oil is contaminated with combustion by-products that starts degrading its effectiveness even when it’s just sitting there.

A lot of people in Reno don’t realize how harmful it is to skip an oil change. There are a lot of metal parts moving around in your engine. Small bits of metal wear off and are floating around in your oil. They can be carried to more delicate areas of the engine where they cause damage. Your oil filter is designed to trap metal particles and other dirt, but if it’s clogged up because you haven’t changed it, it can’t trap any more.

Oil sludge is another problem. Sludge is oil that has turned to a gunky jelly – think ‘Vaseline’. Obviously, sludge doesn’t lubricate. It can also clog small oil passages so that all the parts don’t get properly protected by the oil. That’ll lead to premature wear.

If you’ve missed some oil changes, don’t despair. Just talk with your service advisor at Automotion. Fess up – you’ll feel better. And he can help you get back on track. Following recommended intervals is the key to keeping your car on the road and avoiding expensive repairs.

Take a look at the auto tips video in this post for more information.

The Fallacy of Cheap Tires

Do you ever shop for shoes in one of our Sparks area shoe stores?
When buying a running shoe, is quality important?
Does durability matter as long as the shoes look fabulous?
Would you rather have one pair of long lasting shoes or two pair of lower quality shoes at the same price?

Is the warranty important when buying tires?

When you choose new tires in Reno, what’s the most important factor for you?

Give us a call at Automotion at (775) 624-5152 for tire recommendations.

You know, buying tires in Reno is a big deal. It’s a big ticket item so you know you’ll be spending a lot. You’re not only concerned about the price, but you want to know that it’ll be a long time before you need to buy new tires again.

And of course there’s the safety aspect as well. The tires do a lot of work – they carry the weight of the vehicle and you and your passengers. They need to be up to the task. You want to be sure they hold the road and provide good traction. If you carry heavy loads or tow a trailer, the tires need a high load rating to be up for the job.

As a tire professional, I think it’s important that people understand the effect of price on a tire’s performance and durability. When I was a kid, my dad had a saying. He said, “Pay twice as much and buy half as many”.

Dad applied that to a lot of things. He thought that one high quality suit would last longer and look better than two cheap suits. The saying really seems to hold true when it comes to shoes and boots, too.

I buy high-quality work shoes because I spend a lot of time on my feet. They’re more comfortable, have important safety features like steel toes and non-slip soles – and they last at least twice as long as cheap shoes. I feel I get very good value for my money.

I apply the same thinking to tires. The major tire brands that you’re familiar with are known as Tier 1 tires. These tires are well-engineered and very high quality. Comparable tires are usually in the same price range from brand to brand.

Stepping down in price you come to private label tires. Some large tire store chains carry tires with the chain’s own brand. It’s important to know that most private label tires are built by the same Tier 1 brands that you are familiar with – so they are a quality product. You can ask your tire professional who makes their private brand.

The lowest priced tires on the market are Tier 3 tires. These tend to be imported from China or South America. Since you get what you pay for, you can’t expect a Tier 3 tire to deliver the same performance and durability as the others.

So let’s say you need new tires. You’ve determined the features you need. So you have several options, including price options. Now, you’ve probably heard the term ‘it’s a 40 thousand mile tire’ or ‘it’s a 60 thousand mile tire’. Simply put, the manufacturer warrantees the tire for ‘X’ number of miles. If that’s important to you, look for the warranty.

What’s the difference in the tires with higher mileage warranties? It’s the rubber compounds and the amount of tread material. As you might expect, you’ll pay more for the longer-lasting tire.

Now the cheapest tires you can find won’t have a manufacturer’s mileage warranty or if it does, it’ll be relatively low. That brings us back to dad’s saying; if you buy the cheapest Tier 3 tire you can, you will likely go through two sets in the time it would take to wear out one set of good quality tires. And the good tires won’t cost twice as much, so you’ll end up paying more per mile driven with the cheap tires.

Hey, I realize that sometimes the budget will only allow for a Tier 3 tire. I make them available for my customers who need them because I would rather see them driving with safe, new tires than pushing their old tires beyond their safety limits. But I always counsel my customers to buy as much tire as they can afford, because it will be much less expensive in the long run.

Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that touch the road. You’re only as safe as your tires are well built.

Buy value – not price.

Finding Vehicle Recall Information In Reno Nevada

No matter how well they’re made, vehicles in Reno, Nevada will have design or manufacturing problems.

And when the government thinks a problem is really serious for people in Reno, Nevada, they require the manufacturer to issue a recall notice and fix the car free of charge. The manufacturer then tries to contact everyone in Reno, Nevada who owns that type of car to get the recall work done. Perhaps you have received a postcard notifying you of a recall issue on your car.

Because these recalls always affect safety, Sparks drivers should take them seriously. This isn’t difficult to do because it’s easy to see if a vehicle’s being recalled.

Finding Vehicle Recall Information The government has links on its websites, or just visit AutoNetTV for links.

There are many websites with free recall information and searches. There’s CarFax, AutoByTel and the DMV.

Recalls are serious, but not all that common. But sometimes there are less significant issues, and for these, car makers issue a Technical Service Bulletin, or TSB, that tells service centers like Automotion how to repair a frequent or difficult problem.

The pros get updated information through subscription plans, also available in consumer versions for a reasonable cost.

So when car makers recalls occur, get the work done, and keep you and yours safe.

E-85 Fuel Safety Advice From Automotion

Today at Automotion we want to talk with you about a very important safety issue. This automotive safety warning is coming from a very unusual source: fire fighting experts. You’ve probably heard of E-85 gasoline being offered in the Sparks area. Some newer vehicle models are specifically built to run on E-85 – the rest are not.

Does your vehicle use E-85 gasoline? Bring it down to Automotion at 225 Telegraph Street in Reno, Nevada 89502 to find out, or give us a call to make an appointment by calling (775) 624-5152.

E-85 gasoline has been developed to fight air pollution and reduce oil consumption. E-85 fuel is a mix of 85% ethanol, a grain-base alcohol, and 15% gasoline. So-called Flex-Fuel vehicles are designed to use either normal gasoline or E-85 gas. The result is lower harmful exhaust emissions to our local Sparks community.

All gas engines can run with up to 10% ethanol and in fact a lot of gasoline sold in the Reno Nevada area does contain some ethanol. The problem comes when well meaning people without Flex Fuel certified vehicles put E-85 into the tank.

At a 15% concentration, the potential for problems arises. Because of the chemical differences between ethanol and gasoline, special seals and gaskets are needed for Flex Fuel vehicles in Reno Nevada. In a normal engine, the ethanol in E-85 gas will eat away important seals and gaskets. This leads to gas and oil leaks.

You can imagine the fire hazard caused by leaking gasoline. Fire fighting experts caution consumers to only use E-85 if they know they vehicle is certified to handle it. They expect vehicle fires to increase because of using the wrong fuel in non-Flex Fuel vehicles.

So are people who don’t have a Flex Fuel vehicle but use E-85 to help the environment actually putting themselves at risk? Yes. In fact, service and repair centers in Reno Nevada are being warned to purchase fire extinguishers that use the special foam needed to extinguish ethanol fires as a precaution in case starting-up an ethanol damaged engine leads to a fire.

Obviously, this isn’t something you want to have in your Reno Nevada garage at home, either. If you have a Flex-Fuel certified vehicle, feel free to protect the environment by using E-85 gasoline. If not – please do not use E-85 in an engine that’s designed to run on unleaded gasoline only. At Automotion we are concerned about your safety. If you have questions or want to find out how to determine if your vehicle can safely use E-85, go to www.e85fuel.com for more resources.

Take a look at our attached auto safety tips video from Auto Tips Videos.

Getting New Tires In Reno?

best tire shops in Reno

There are so many tire choices in the Reno, Sun Valley, and Spanish Springs area, selecting the right one can be a bit overwhelming for Sparks drivers. And even though it’s kind of fun to have new tires on your sedan, they’re a significant investment for most Sparks folks so you want do it right.

Tip: talk with your friendly Automotion tire professional. He’ll help you sort through the choices.

Here are some of the issues you’ll talk about: One is size – you know, all those numbers on the side of the tire. The right size is important. All new vehicles are required to have stability control which, along with other important safety systems, is calibrated to work with specific tire sizes. Your Reno tire professional can help stay within vehicle manufacturers’ specifications or program a different tire size into your sedan’s computer.

And you’ll want to discuss how and where you drive in Sparks to determine the type of tire you need: summer, winter, all-season tires or all-terrain. There are tires for every Sparks auto owner’s needs.

Like we said, tires are a big investment, so you want to get a good value on tires. Now that doesn’t always mean the cheapest tire. A top tier tire from Automotion will last a long time and give Sparks drivers good performance throughout its life. Tires sold in Reno bargain tire shops may not live up to that promise. Again, your friendly Automotion tire professional can give you options that offer the best long-term value within your immediate budget.

Last, with a 2-wheel drive vehicle you should always replace both tires on an axle. Modern sensors and computer safety systems for sedan brakes, stability and traction control need both tires to have the same amount of wear to work properly. And always put the new tires on the rear so you don’t fishtail in a turn. With all-wheel drive you should replace all four tires at the same time.

Schedule a tire inspection at Automotion to see how much life is left in your sedan tires and seek the help of a professional when choosing new shoes for your vehicle.

Give us a call

Automotion
(775) 624-5152
225 Telegraph Street
Reno, Nevada 89502