Let's talk about air conditioning service and repair issues. Most of us we don't give our air conditioning a second thought as long as it's making cold air. But it's a complex and expensive system that we should think about before it starts blowing hot air in the summer months.
You've probably noticed a bunch of warning lights on your dash when you start your engine. They flash on to test the circuits and then go off if everything's OK. One of the warning lights looks like a car battery. Its job is to tell you if your battery's not charging properly.
When driving around town, your family car engine needs clean air to burn the fuel – and it needs a lot. In fact, a typical vehicle needs about 216,000 gallons of air for every tank of gas.
All that air passes through a filter that catches the dust and dirt. Eventually the filter gets completely full. Because the filter can only hold so much, dirt starts getting through. This dirty air passes through the mass airflow sensor, and starts to accumulate on the delicate sensor element. The mass air flow sensor measures how much air is getting into your engine. When the airflow reading is incorrect, your family car engine doesn’t get the proper amount of fuel. It runs rough and doesn’t perform as well as it should.
Most auto owners come to the shop with specific services in mind and an idea of how much they’ll be spending. Sometimes, a courtesy car inspection and a review of your service history will uncover additional items that require attention. How should you react to that?
Here’s some advice: It’s not as if your service advisor is saying “Do you want fries with that?” or “Supersize for 59 cents more.” We are not recommending something extra or something you don’t need. Recommendations are either based on the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule or on a problem uncovered during an automotive analysis.
Most people may not know much about transfer cases on their vehicles, but if you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, you’ve got one. It makes sure you have power available for both the front and rear axles.
For example, if you have a rear-wheel drive SUV, power goes to the rear wheels until you need 4-wheel drive. That’s when the transfer case steps in and transfers some of the power to the front wheels as well. You might use a shift lever to go into 4-wheel drive, or it could be a button on the dash or it might even go into 4-wheel drive automatically, depending on your vehicle.
We do our best to budget for scheduled vehicle maintenance and it is hard to plan for unexpected family car repairs. The truth is that our vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before with proper maintenance. That’s because of improved vehicle design and manufacturing quality. But some of those same improvements also lead to higher repairs costs for every family car or vehicle.
There’s a tool that can be found on Edmunds.com that you can use to prepare your service and repair budget. Let’s suppose you have a used Toyota Camry – a very popular car in the area…