Automotion Reno

Servicing Northern Nevada Car Owners since 1975

Higher Mileage Service Intervals For Reno

Reno drivers have probably noticed that the government mandates a lot of equipment on cars: emission devices and control computers; safety equipment like airbags; and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the motoring public in Sparks but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car in Nevada.

Because new cars are more expensive, Reno residents are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. 68% of vehicles on the road have more than 75,000 miles/120,000 kilometers. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today’s cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on going.

Some owner’s manuals don’t outline service requirements and schedules at higher mileage. Of course, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be done. In fact, it’s more important than ever for Reno car owners to stay on top of routine auto maintenance for cars with more than 120,000 miles/190,000 kilometers. Just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that’s recommended every 24,000 miles/38,000 kilometers should be performed at 24,000 mi/38,000 km; 48,000 mi/77,000 km; 72,000mi/116,000 km, 96,000 mi/154,000 km; and on and on.

Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule may be more appropriate than the regular schedule. Watch for leaks – seals and gaskets dry out over time and do not hold the fluids as well as they used to. If you don’t already have one, it is more important than ever to get a good service advisor, like any one of the automotive professionals on our team at Automotion. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put some clicks on the odometer, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course.

Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints for Reno motorists that trouble is brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into a costly repair. Regular wash and wax will help maintain your car’s appearance. One of the things Reno motorists can do to really help a high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, transmission fluids and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have higher mileage.

High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older sedan engines are dirtier inside – and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better fuel efficiency and excellent wear protection. Come into Automotion in Reno for a checkup.

Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high kilometer vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 mi/80,000 km, consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. The fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids in Reno because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold for Reno drivers in terms of preventing expensive repair costs down the road.

It does cost more for motorists to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle in Reno – but it’s much cheaper than a new car payment!

Coolant Service at Automotion

Reno motorists’ cars have to operate in a wide range of Nevada temperatures which requires our engine coolant to be able to perform ‘no matter what’. Think for a moment about the environment where the coolant does its thing. Very hot, high pressure, corrosive…

And all the while, it has to protect the components of the cooling system from corrosion. These components are made from steel and aluminum, plastics and rubber. The coolant has to be formulated to protect against corrosion for all of these different materials. That’s why auto manufacturers recommend different types of anti-freeze for our Reno, Nevada vehicles.

There are several different ‘families’ of anti-freeze available to us here in Reno, Nevada. Your owners’ manual will tell you what kind you should use. Of course, the automotive professionals at  Automotion will know the right kind for your car.

It’s critical to stay on top of this because coolant system failure is the most common mechanical problem people have here in Reno, Nevada. Regular service at Automotion needs to be done to avoid failures and also to keep your warranty in place.

While the specifics of the service required may vary from vehicle to vehicle, your friendly Automotion service advisor will know what to do. You’ll be advised to replace the coolant at specified intervals.

Some auto manufacturers recommend periodic coolant system flushes. A flush adds a cleaning step to the fluid replacement process. Again, check to see what your Reno service advisor recommends.

Someday, you may have to deal with an overheating problem, so you need to know what to do if your coolant temperature warning light comes on or your temperature gauge is in the hot zone.

Now, overheating can be very pricey. Reno motorists can literally melt down their engine and have to replace the whole thing. So don’t ignore warning signs.

First turn off the air conditioner. This will lower engine temperature right away. Next, crank up your heater to maximum heat and run the fan at high speed. You might need to roll down the windows, but this will take a lot of heat off the engine.

Pull over as soon as you can safely do so
, especially if you are stuck in slow-moving traffic, and shut the car off. It may take as much as 45 minutes for the engine to cool to the point that it’s safe to operate the car again.

If you need to add water or antifreeze, be sure to wait until the car cools down. Opening the radiator cap or even the overflow bottle when the coolant is hot and under pressure may result in serious burns.

After the engine has cooled for 45 minutes or so, look to see if the coolant is low in the overflow tank. If so, you can cover the overflow tank cap with a large cloth and open the lid. Then start the engine and pour in some water or antifreeze. Pouring it in when the car is running will circulate the new, cool fluid with the warmer fluid in the engine and avoid engine damage.

Of course, overheating is a serious problem and you need to get it fixed right away. Automotion can make sure the coolant is right before you drive home.

Those spring and winter inspections really come in handy when they head off a cooling system problem. And don’t forget that severe service driving conditions, like towing or hot, dusty driving around Reno, Nevada, mean that you’ll need to service your coolant more frequently.

At AutoNetTV, we suggest that you have Automotion inspect your coolant system to find small problems before they become big, and to change belts and hoses before they fail. After all, we don’t want you to lose your cool out there in Reno, Nevada.

On Board Diagnostics For Reno Motorists

Some Reno car owners wonder why Automotion and other Reno auto repair shops charge a fee for diagnostic services.

Think about it: When you hire a local Sparks HVAC technician to check out a problem with your air conditioner you’ll probably pay a diagnostic fee. When you visit your Hidden Valley doctor for a health problem, you pay the physician to diagnose the ailment and of course for the tests that go along with it.

On Board Diagnostics For Reno Motorists

So receiving a diagnostic charge at Automotion for a tricky automotive problem shouldn’t be a surprise. In the Sparks area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your sedan brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy Nevada expressway, you pull off the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you’re having an intermittent problem with your sedan engine, however, Automotion diagnosis may be much more involved.

Much of the Sparks car owners’s confusion comes when the problem involves the check engine light. The check engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.

There’s a common misconception among Hidden Valley, Sun Valley, and Spanish Springs drivers that the trouble code tells the Automotion technician exactly what’s wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge – because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.

In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that’s out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the check engine light.

The sedan computer’s trouble code just tells the Automotion technician what engine parameter is out of range – not what’s causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that’s causing the malfunction.

There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for Automotion customers. The Automotion service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.

Sparks service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These important databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.

Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming, and difficult. Of course Automotion wants to figure out what’s wrong with your sedan and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

Automotion: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?

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Just as our bodies need clean air to function properly, your sedan engine needs clean air to operate efficiently. Let’s go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving on Nevada freeways, twenty pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce twenty pounds of carbon dioxide?

The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about twelve thousand gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your sedan needs a lot of air to keep going in Hidden Valley. A lot of clean air is best.

Automotion: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?You’ve seen the pictures of people in Japan wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your sedan also works better when its internals are clean. When your sedan air filter’s dirty, it simply can’t trap any more dirt, so the pollutants just pass through into your air intake system. From there it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the motor itself. Not surprisingly, burning dust and pollen in your sedan engine does you no good.

So, we’re talking potential damage for Sparks drivers. But another big thing is wasted fuel. Your sedan engine management computer tries to mix the correct amount of air in with the fuel. If the filter’s clogged, there isn’t enough air for the optimal fuel to air mix and that really messes with fuel efficiency.

In fact, replacing a dirty air filter at Automotion in Reno can improve your fuel economy by up to ten percent. At today’s Hidden Valley fuel prices, you should be able to pay for a new air filter before your next oil change.

The verdict: When your sedan engine air filter needs to be replaced; it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on the level of air pollution where you drive in Nevada. A simple visual inspection at Automotion will tell you when you need a new engine air filter.

When you look at the air filter on your furnace at home and see it’s all clogged up with dust and dirt, you don’t hesitate to replace it. When your Automotion service advisor shows you your nasty engine air filter, you now know why you should go ahead and replace it.