Automotion Reno

Servicing Northern Nevada Car Owners since 1975

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Wheel Bearings

Why are wheel bearings essential for Reno car owners? It’s simple: your wheel bearings keep the wheels on your vehicle. In today’s Automotion post, we’ll discuss more about wheel bearings and how you can make sure they can do their very important job while you drive around Hidden Valley, Nevada.

Come see us at: 225 Telegraph Street Reno, Nevada 89502

Wheel bearings are pretty simple parts. They’re made of high quality steel and are engineered to last 100,000 miles or more if properly cared for. The bearings do two important jobs: First, they allow the wheel to freely rotate with as little friction as possible. Second, they support the weight of the vehicle. For example, if your car weighs 3,600 pounds, each wheel has to support approximately 900 pounds. That’s a lot of heavy lifting over many, many thousands of miles.

Even though wheel bearings are pretty simple parts, they need to be in near perfect condition to do their job. The bearings are packed with heavy grease to lubricate and protect them. A seal keeps the grease in and water and dirt out. It’s when the seal starts to leak that problems begin. The grease can become contaminated; causing the wheel bearings to overheat and ultimately fail.

The first sign that your wheel bearings are in trouble is an unusual noise coming from a wheel. It could be a chirping, growling, rumbling or a cyclic sound. The noise could get louder or even disappear at certain speeds. Your service advisor at Automotion can inspect for bearing wear by lifting the vehicle and checking for play in the wheel.

Now some wheel bearing assemblies are factory sealed. That means that they cannot be serviced – they can only be replaced. Those that aren’t sealed can be serviced on schedule. The bearings are removed, cleaned and inspected. If the bearings are still good, they’re re-installed – if not, they’re replaced. They are then packed in grease and a new seal is installed.

If your vehicle has a factory sealed wheel bearing assembly, the entire assembly needs to be replaced when trouble arises. Unfortunately, the parts are pretty costly – but they usually last about 150,000 miles as long as the seals hold up.

Now, even a good seal cannot keep out water that’s exerting pressure on the seal. So if you’ve driven through hub deep water your bearings should be cleaned and repacked if they’re serviceable. If you have factory sealed bearings, you just need to watch for signs of premature failure. If your wheel bearings can be serviced, your owner’s manual will recommend an interval, usually around 30,000 miles.

If you have any sort of trailer, don’t forget its wheel bearings. They probably need to be serviced even more frequently. This is especially true for boat trailers that are used to launch the boat by backing it into the water. These should be serviced every year, usually at the end of the season so that the bearings don’t have the opportunity to rust all winter.

So what happens if wheel bearings fail? Well, the wheel can literally fall off the vehicle. I don’t need to tell you how bad that could be. So check with your service professional at Automotion and see if your vehicle’s wheel bearings can be serviced and when it’s recommended. Listen for warning signs. If you’ve been fording streams or puddle surfing after rainstorms, be especially vigilant.

Visit the automotive professionals at Automotion for a wheel bearing inspection, or for factory scheduled maintenance. Call (775) 624-5152 for an appointment.

ICE – In Case Of Emergency In Reno Nevada

Sometimes the unthinkable happens in Reno Nevada. A terrible accident and those involved aren’t able to provide rescuers with emergency contact information.

You have people in the Reno Nevada area who you’ll want to be contacted to arrange help, give consent to treatment, and inform paramedics of medical conditions, allergies or medications.

Too often, our Nevada police and rescue workers must sift through pockets, glove compartments, wallets, purses and cell phone directories for clues – often wasting precious time.

A brilliantly simple solution is now spreading around the globe: ICE. ICE – standing for In Case of Emergency, is a way to identify emergency contacts in your cell phone directory.

Simply put ‘ICE’ before a contact name in your cell phone, like ‘ICE – Dad’, ‘ICE – Nancy’, or ‘ICE – Doctor Roberts’. Rescuers will be able to quickly identify your emergency contacts, saving valuable time.

Bob Brotchie, a Cambridge, England paramedic came up with the idea and started a promotional campaign in England in 2005. This powerful idea is now being heavily promoted in Reno Nevada and in other countries. Rescue workers all know of how many times they are unable to find a wallet or purse on an accident victim, yet they are seldom without their cell phone.

There are national and worldwide disaster databases, but participation can cost up to two hundred dollars a year. ‘ICE’ is free to the 276 million cell phone users in the U.S.

It is easy and just takes a few minutes to designate some ICE contacts in your cell phone. Remember to keep the listings current.

Please join Automotion in getting the word out. Help us put Reno Nevada on ICE!

10 Services Reno drivers Often Overlook

We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over Reno. Some days it’s all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That’s why you’ve gotta be organized. Smartphones, calendar apps – we have to keep track of it all.

So let’s talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.

Here is a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked by Reno motorists. They’re all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.

1. Power Steering Service
Be honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your power steering parts are protected from corrosion. Next time you’re in for an oil change, ask your Reno service advisor if it’s time for a power steering check-up.

2. Wheel Alignment
When your wheels are out of alignment your sedan pulls to one side. It’s pretty annoying, but it’s also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out really fast; which is an unneccessary expense! Most manufacturers owners manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.

3. Differential Service
Did you even know you had a differential? Well, you do – one, two or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they’re part of the drive-train that transfers power from your sedan engine to your wheels. They don’t need service that often, but you can’t completely forget them. Check with your Automotion service advisor.

4. Cabin Air Filter
More and more Reno cars these days have cabin air filters (a great feature, in my opinion) to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they’re clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies.

5. Timing Belt Replacement
Most cars and some vans and trucks driven around the Reno area have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say that your car won’t run without it – period. And if it breaks while you’re driving it can do thousands of dollars worth of engine damage. Check your owners’ manual or with your Reno service advisor. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles; definitely look into it right away.

6. Transmission Service
Transmission service is very basic, but it’s often forgotten. Your sedan transmission needs clean fluid from time to time to keep operating efficiently and avoid pricey repairs. And it can also improve your gas mileage.

7. Air Conditioning Service
Most of us don’t think about our air conditioning until it fails on a hot day. If you’re lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you’re not, some of the components may have been ruined. Of course, these components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.

8. Brake Service
No we’re not talking about squealing, grinding brakes here. We’re talking brake fluid. Over time the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your Automotion technician for recommendations.

9. Coolant System
Another thing that’s so easy to forget about: When you don’t change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the pH balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can actually eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you’re stranded – bummer.

10. Fuel System Cleaning
In these times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is so important. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors also get gunked up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule at Automotion will really help your fuel economy.

There you have it; 10 services that are often overlooked. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn’t been performed? Considering our busy lives, we’re not surprised.

We know it takes some thought and effort to actually maintain your vehicle; but it not only saves money in the long run – it saves time too. And we can all use a little more time.

Automotion can help with any of these services. Give us a call at (775) 624-5152.

Saving Lives In Reno With Tire Pressure

All new passenger vehicles on our Reno Nevada roads now have tire pressure monitoring systemsTPMS for short. They are designed to alert you if your tires are under inflated. Since they are fairly new, a lot of people have questions about TPMS.

First off, the most important thing is that you still need to check your tire pressure every week – or at least every time you gas up. The TPMS system alert comes in when your tire is twenty percent below the factory recommendation. So if the recommended pressure is thirty five pounds per square inch, the TPMS warning won’t come on until the pressure is at twenty eight pounds. That’s significantly under-inflated. Enough to raise safety concerns.

The worst is tire failure. A severely under inflated tire can overheat and fail. Also, handling degrades to the point that you may not be able to steer out of trouble. Also under-inflated tires wear out faster and they waste fuel. So it’s costly to not stay on top of proper inflation.

What’s the practical value of the TPMS system? Well, it’s twofold. First, it can alert you when your tire is losing pressure due to a puncture or a bent rim. That’s an important warning that you might not have gotten until next time you gassed up.

The second is that we all occasionally forget to check our tire pressure. So it’s a failsafe system to let you know there’s a problem brewing.

Other things can cause your TPMS system to go off. The system also monitors itself. The sensors that are mounted in the wheels have little batteries that send a signal to the monitor. The batteries go dead over time and the TPMS system will let you know. And the sensors could break. Also road salt from our Reno Nevada roads can ruin them.

There’s also a hassle factor that your Reno Nevada tire center has to contend with. For example, when you have your tires rotated in Reno, the TPMS system has to be re-calibrated so that it knows which tire is on which corner of the car. Same is true for when you have new tires or winter tires installed. Flat repairs, as well.

That takes extra time. And it requires the right equipment and training. Special – and expensive – tire change machines need to be used with some sensors. It’s all complicated by the fact that there are a number of different TPMS systems in use so the tire professionals at Automotion need equipment and training for each kind. Tire centers have had to raise the price of some of these basic services to offset their increased costs.

Also if you add custom wheels on your sedan, you need to put in new TPMS sensors if your originals won’t work on the new rims. If you don’t your TPMS light will be on constantly and you won’t have the benefit of the warning system.

All in all, the mandated TPMS systems will save lives, so they’re worth the added hassle and expense.

Fuel Filter Service in Reno Nevada

There are a surprising number of small, inexpensive parts that can lead to expensive engine damage when they fail. It doesn’t seem right.

Fortunately a lot of those things can be taken care of in routine maintenance. They may not be easy to remember, because it is a long list, but your service center at Automotion can help you know what’s scheduled to be taken care of.

Some of us in Reno Nevada really don’t look forward to going in for an oil change and then getting a list of the other things the manufacturer recommends.

But automotive maintenance is all about prevention, and addressing small problems before they get big. Let’s take the fuel filter for example.

You may not know this but the median age for private vehicles on our Reno Nevada roads is over nine years. When cars get older, five years or so, they’ve accumulated a lot of dirt and rust in their gas tanks. If that dirt gets into the engine it can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. So somewhere between that dirty gas tank and the price of a great vacation – is the lowly fuel filter: a very inexpensive part that doesn’t cost too much to replace. And your car’ll just run better too.

A clogged fuel filter can’t let enough fuel through. You might notice at first that your car is running fine around town, but struggles or sputters on the Reno Nevada freeway or when you accelerate. Enough fuel can’t get through to meet the demands of higher speed. If it gets bad enough your engine might just shut off or not start at all, which could be dangerous.

Some fuel filters have a bypass. When they get clogged, they allow dirty fuel to move around the filter element so dirt ends up in the engine. We’ve already talked about how expensive that can be.

The fuel filter is even very important for newer cars. The fuel is still dirty even if there isn’t rust in the tank. It’s just that the fuel filter will need to be changed more frequently as the vehicle gets older.

How often should you change your fuel filter? Check your owner’s manual. Your Reno Nevada service advisor at Automotion can tell you as well. It’s usually around thirty thousand miles or so. Ask if it’s time for a full fuel system cleaning as well. They often go hand in hand.

It’s good to know that your Reno Nevada service center has your back. When you’re motivated to maintain your vehicle’s performance and to reduce operating costs, you’ll think of Automotion as your ally – and maybe even your memory.