Automotion Reno

Servicing Northern Nevada Car Owners since 1975

Battery Basics For Reno

Sparks Battery Service

It’s important for Reno motorists to know battery basics. First, let’s talk about which is harder on a battery – hot or cold Nevada weather. Most Sparks drivers think it’s cold weather because that’s when we call on our batteries to have enough power to start a cold sedan engine.

However, heat does more damage to a battery than cold. Truth is, our batteries start to die a little from day one. Keeping a full charge slows the process, which is hard with short Reno trips because the alternator doesn’t have time to fully recharge the battery from starting the engine. Reno auto owners can top off the charge with a computer controlled battery charger – say, once a month in the summer and every three months during the winter.

As far as how long a battery will last, statistics show that 70% have given up the ghost within four years. By that time, they aren’t capable of taking a full charge like they used to, and your sedan alternator has to work overtime to keep up. This causes your alternator to wear out early.

If you’re pushing 4 to 5 years on your battery, see your friendly Automotion service specialist for a battery test to see if it’s recommended to replace it. Not only can you avoid getting stranded with a dead battery, but you’ll save unnecessary wear and tear on your sedan alternator.

Give us a call

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

Go Straight: Wheel Alignment For Reno Automobiles

Sparks motorists may have an alignment problem if their car drifts or pulls to one side, the steering wheel’s off center, they notice uneven tire wear or the car doesn’t feel like it handles right as they drive down Reno Nevada streets and highways.

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 objects around Reno, Nevada are great ways for Sun Valley motorists to knock their 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 your car is out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. Sometimes the tire can be worn so badly that it will fail.

At the very least, you’ll have to replace your tires sooner. You could end up with premature wear to your suspension system, which can be pricey. The front wheel alignment is adjustable on all vehicles, and the back wheels are also adjustable on some cars.

Now, let’s discuss some alignment basics. Wheels are adjustable for toe, caster and camber. The ideal alignment for your car was designed by its engineers.

So, what is involved in an alignment check at Automotion in Reno? First, there’s an inspection of the steering and suspension to see if anything is bent or broken. Tire condition will also be evaluated.  Next, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and we take an initial alignment reading.

If all four wheels are adjustable, they are lined up perfectly parallel with the vehicle’s centerline. If the back wheels aren’t adjustable, the direction they push is determined and the front wheels are aligned to match.

Like most things, manufacturers have recommended a mileage interval for having 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 around the Sparks area. It’s better for Hidden Valley drivers to have their alignment checked before waiting to see if there is uneven tire tread wear – by then, the damage is done.

Getting your alignment checked at Automotion when necessary 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 in Nevada.

Come see us at Automotion for more information about your tire alignment. We look forward to serving you.

Water Pump

Your cooling system is very important. It circulates coolant through the radiator and your engine to protect your car from overheating. There are five main components to the cooling system:

  • the radiator
  • the radiator cap
  • the hoses
  • the thermostat and
  • the water pump

The water pump’s like the heart of your cooling system, circulating the fluid throughout. It’s a small pump that’s driven by the engine; usually by belt, but sometimes by a chain or gear.

The water pump only operates when the engine’s running. Water pump failure is pretty routine. Some start failing at around 40,000 miles, but most fail by 100,000 miles. Consult your owners’ manual or service technician to see what’s recommended.

Since a water pump either works or it doesn’t, you need to change it when it fails. Water pumps fail in one of two ways: the bearings fail or they begin to leak. It’s possible to have a leak from a cracked water pump, but it usually leaks at the gasket where it attaches to the engine.

So how can you tell when the water pump is failing? If you can hear a low-pitched grinding sound coming from the water pump – it’s got a problem. If you can see coolant in that area, you’ve got a leak.

Some water pumps are driven off the timing belt. They might be under a plastic cover so you can’t see the water pump. Look for coolant on the driveway. If you see some, have your service center check it out.

Most timing belts need to be changed at 60,000 miles – some longer. It’s a good idea to change your water pump at the same time if it’s one of those that’s driven off the timing belt. To start with, 90% of the work’s already done with the timing belt change. And, if you don’t, and develop a leak later, you’ll have to change the belt again along with the water pump because the belt will have been contaminated by the leaking coolant.

You can replace your water pump with a brand spankin’ new one or with a rebuilt pump. Rebuilt will save you some money, but ask your technician what he thinks. Don’t feel too bad if your water pump gives out. They will all wear out eventually. Your service technician can get you back on the road and on with your life.

TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring For Your Reno Auto

Reno drivers may know that all 2008 model year and newer cars, mini-vans and light trucks in Reno come with a tire pressure monitoring system. Many slightly older vehicles around Sparks have these systems as well. A tire pressure monitoring system – called TPMS – consists of sensors on each wheel that measure tire pressure.

If tire pressure drops 25 percent below the auto maker’s recommended pressure, the sensor sends a signal to a monitoring unit that causes a warning to light up on the dashboard. When Sparks drivers see the warning light, they know it’s time to put some air in the tires.

There are many benefits to driving with properly inflated tires around Reno. First is cost savings. Running at the correct air pressure improves gas mileage. Driving on under-inflated tires is like driving through sand – it drags down your fuel fuel efficiency. You’ll also see longer, more even tread wear so your tires’ll last longer.

Another important benefit of properly inflated tires is increased safety. Under-inflated tires become hotter and that heat can actually lead to tire failure – possibly resulting in an accident. Your car and the tires themselves will just perform better and more safely around Reno with properly inflated tires.

Local Reno consumer groups, law-makers and manufacturers advocate TPMS systems hoping that they will save lives, property damage and inconvenience. While you can’t put a value on saving a life, Reno car owners should keep in mind that TPMS systems aren’t free.

The systems themselves are added into the price of the car. The batteries in the sensors will have to be replaced from time to time. Parts will break and need to be replaced. In colder climates around Nevada, ice and salt are frequent causes of failure.

In addition, there are other behind-the-scenes costs to be aware of. Every time a tire is replaced, repaired, rotated or balanced, the tire technician has to deal with the TPMS system.

Reno service centers such as Automotion must purchase equipment used to scan and reactivate the TPMS system after every tire service. Because older tire change equipment can damage TPMS sensors, your Sparks service center may need to buy expensive, new tire changers.

Since there is no uniformity among auto manufacturers, service specialists need to be trained on several TPMS systems. These behind-the-scenes costs are very real to Reno service center managers like Mark Whittaker at Automotion.

That’s why the team at Automotion is anxious for Sparks auto owners to understand the financial impact of TPMS systems. In the past, we’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide tire services, and then pass the low cost on to Sparks customers as an expression of our good will. But now even these simple jobs take much longer and require expensive equipment.

Sensors will need to be removed and reinstalled. Even a tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed.

So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up in Nevada, please keep in mind that it’s because of this new safety equipment. The team at Automotion just wants to keep you safely on the road – and we’re committed to doing it at a fair price.

It’s important to remember that the TPMS warning only comes on when a tire is severely under-inflated. You’ll still want to check your tire pressure regularly. At every fill-up is best, but you should check pressure at least once a month. Here’s wishing you safe travels.

Contact Automotion for more information about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems.