Christensen Automotive | Gardnerville 775.782.2605 , Carson City 775.882.8888, Reno 775.322.8100, South Lake Tahoe 530.544.9940, Fallon 775-423-5455

Summer Battery Care

Extreme temperatures are tough on batteries. Heat causes the water/acid mixture in the battery to evaporate quickly and winter is tough on batteries, for a few reasons: • When the mercury rises, a car battery’s strength goes down. • Extreme heat, like 95 degrees F outside combined with high temperatures under the hood, accelerates corrosion of car batteries • Heat causes the water to evaporate out of battery fluid, breaking down the battery grids. Most batteries these days are considered maintenance free and on average will last you 3-5 years depending on your driving habits. They also come with a warranty so if they completely discharge before they are supposed to you can get them replaced either for free or pro-rated depending on the brand. So how do you know if your battery just needs to be recharged or replaced? If you have accidentally left the car lights on and the battery has died a simple recharge either by jump starting and taking it for a drive and letting the alternator do its job or using a specific car battery recharger may be all you need. However, signs that you need to replace your battery include: • Battery no longer holds a charge regardless of how long you charge the battery for • Damage to the battery casing • Excessive wear and tear • The warranty period has ended • You have taken it to a service professional or auto parts store and had your battery tested and the voltmeter has read less than 12 volts. This simple test can determine whether it is the battery that is at...

Tune-up in the 21st Century

Vehicle owners ask for tune-ups for a variety of reasons, including improving performance (especially when the cost of fuel goes up), maintaining reliability, planning a vacation, preparing for winter/summer or because they’re giving the car to a friend or family member. One of the biggest changes in today’s automotive industry is the perception of a “tune-up.” Ask 10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up and chances are there’ll be 10 different answers. The classic “tune-up” was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs; today’s modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels. This is where the manufacturer’s recommended scheduled service comes into play, found in your owner’s manual, it outlines all of the recommended preventative maintenance services and when parts should be replaced under normal conditions for your particular vehicle. The tune-up was historically associated with the routine replacement of key ignition system parts like spark plugs and ignition points, along with some basic adjustments to help “tune” the engine. Mounting pressure for increased fuel economy and lower emissions drove the car manufacturers to adopt electronics and to do away with ignition points in the ‘70s, along with the carburetor in the middle ‘80s. This eliminated the need for the replacement and adjustment of a growing number of ignition and fuel system parts. As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions. Things that were once...

Summer Driving Checklist

With the official start of summer next week it is a good time to make sure your vehicle is ready to cope with the summer heat and road-trips. Below is a simple checklist to make sure your summer driving is comfortable and stress free: ☑Air Conditioning The air conditioning system can give many hints that something is not right. If your AC makes unusual noises or odors, gives a poor air flow, or blows hot air instead of cold, these are all signs that your AC system needs attention. The typical service involves a thorough inspection, a pressure check to test refrigerant charge and more checks of your outlet temperatures and the compressor’s drive belt for wear, tear and tension. You should have leaks repaired if there is a significant leak or if you are recharging your system every year. ☑Cooling System The primary function of the cooling system is to keep the engine from overheating. The system should be flushed and refilled as recommended by your owner’s manual. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked. If there’s a leak, you should be able to spot — or hear — it. Coolant also has a sweet smell which makes it easy to detect. ☑Tires Check your tire pressure and tread for safety, handling and fuel economy. The recommendations for your car can be found in your owner’s manuals or on the sticker inside the driver’s door. ☑Battery Excessive heat and overcharging shorten the life of a battery. Have checked for corrosion, cracks and dirt and make sure it still operates as designed and then have...

Belts And Hoses

Belts and hoses are vital in keeping your vehicle running. If a belt snaps or hose blows it can result in an overheated engine and cause additional damage to the engine or other components. Belts Whether serpentine, V-belt or fan belt (the belts on the outside of the engine), they all transmit power from the front of the en- gine to accessories that need to be driven, such as the air conditioning, the charging system and fans. Belts can break down with heat, mileage and age and many belts that look as new on the outside have become dangerously weak on the inside and may be on the verge of failure due to weakened inside cords. Replacement belts must have the same width and length as the original. This is especially important with serpentine belts that rely on an automatic belt tensioner to maintain belt tension. Belt tension is critical with both V-belts and serpentine belts. It must be adjusted properly and maintained for good belt per- formance, quiet operation and long life. If a serpentine belt on an engine with an automatic tensioner has failed prematurely or appears to be slipping, the automatic tensioner should be inspected and replaced if it is sticking, frozen or has a broken spring. On applications that do not use an automatic tension- er, belt tension must be adjusted to specifications, and then readjusted after a short break-in period. Hoses Hoses transport the various fluids such as fuel, brake fluid, coolant to and from their destinations. Typical wear and tear is due to vehicle age, mileage, belt tension, electrolytic corrosion, oil contamination, or...

A Breath of Fresh Air- Your Cabin Air Filter

If your vehicle is model year 2000 or newer, there’s a good chance it is equipped with a cabin air filter. You may not have known that such a part existed in your vehicle, much less if it ever needed to be changed. But still, a cabin air filter is an essential part of your car’s ventilation system that removes pollutants from the air before they get inside the passenger compartment. Cabin air filters clean the incoming air and remove allergens – especially beneficial to pregnant women, seniors, children or people who suffer from allergies. Cabin air filters also prevent leaves, dirt, bugs and other debris from entering the HVAC system and negatively impacting the operation of the heater, air conditioner and defroster. During every day use of your vehicle, contaminants, such as pollen, dust, mold spores and smog, can easily enter a vehicle’s passenger compartment through the air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems, making the air in the car six times dirtier than the air outside, according to the Car Care Council. A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can cause containments to become so concentrated in the cabin that passengers actually breathe in more fumes and particles when riding in the car compared to walking down the street. If the cabin air filter is not replaced, it can also cause musty odors in the vehicle, and over time, the heater and air conditioner may become damaged by corrosion. Motorists can protect themselves and their passengers from these containments by replacing the vehicle’s cabin air filter at least every 12,000 to 15,000 miles or at least once a...

Celebrate Earth Day with some Car Care

With April being National Car Care Month and Earth Day on April 22nd, motorists now have the ideal occasion to make sure their vehicles are environmentally friendly and running efficiently to save money at the gas pumps, according to the Car Care Council. “Poor vehicle maintenance directly impacts the environment, with 10 percent of the nation’s automobiles causing 50 percent of the automotive pollution,” says Rich White, Executive Director of the Car Care Council. “With skyrocketing gas prices, people are wasting more money and polluting the environment if their vehicles are not running properly.” The Car Care Council and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) provide these suggestions for practicing earth friendly car habits. • Drive Green – If you have to drive your car on Earth Day, recognize that how your drive has a lot to do with fuel economy. Avoid sudden starts and stops and go the speed limit. Jerky and aggressive driving decreases your miles per gallon (MPG) and increases wear and tear on your vehicle. Minimize unnecessary miles by combining errands in one trip. • Regular Maintenance – Regular maintenance and changing filters (oil, fuel and air filters) will help your car pollute less and burn less gas. Simply changing the car’s air filter can improve efficiency by 10 percent. Follow the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual. • Lighten the Load – Get the junk out of the trunk and the stuff out of your car, with the exception of emergency items such as a spare tire, flares and a first-aid kit. Extra items weigh the vehicle down and cause an...