Albert Lea Auto Repair

Albert Lea Auto Repair

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Articles:

Why Should I Replace All of My Tires at the Same Time?

There is no way to sugar coat it anymore.  Tires are expensive.  Sometimes it can be hard to justify purchasing 4 or more new tires at the same time.  It can be tempting to “save money” and only purchase tires 2 at a time.  Before you head down this road it is important to take into consideration some key reasons why this may not be the best choice for you and your car.  In the grand scheme of things, it is usually better to replace all of the tires on the vehicle at the same time.  The tires and their traction with the road, are the only thing between you and certain destruction.  Taking a moment to consider that will ensure you make the best and safest choice for you and your loved ones. Uniformity. Replacing all the tires ensures uniformity in brand, model, size, age, and tread pattern, which promotes balanced performance across all wheels.  In contrast, replacing only a pair of tires can result in mismatched trea ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Car Buying Tips

Car Buying Tips

Car Buying Tips So, you are in the market for a new or “new to you” car. Here are some tips to help you make the best choice for you and your family. With a little preplanning and research, you can find just the right vehicle for your needs without spending too much money. Follow these steps to get the right vehicle for the right price every time. Budget- Before you start looking for a “new” vehicle, determine what budget you will have to work with. Set a realistic number that you can afford. Remember to include tax and titling costs and possible increased insurance costs. Do you have the funds to buy it outright or do you have a down payment or trade-in? A trade-in will decrease your tax requirement, but many dealers will give you less for a trade-in than you could sell it private party for. In some situations, it is safer and easier to just trade it in for your next vehicle and sometimes it is worth the effort to sell your old vehicle yourself. If you ... read more

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General

What do I need to know about Interval Service of my vehicle?

What do I need to know about Interval Service of my vehicle?

What do I need to know about Interval Service of my vehicle? Interval Service is what vehicle manufacturers call their maintenance schedules for their vehicles. The maintenance schedules are different for every manufacturer and can vary from model to model. The maintenance schedule for your vehicle is in the owner’s manual. I know, who looks at an owner’s manual anyway? Well, if you would like to get the maximum life from your vehicle investment, it would be a good idea. Here are a few key points to know before digging out your seldom/never used owner’s manual. The first thing to determine is how is your vehicle used. Is it considered “normal use” or “severe use”? You might be tempted to say, “I drive my car nice” or “I only drive to the store or work”. I must be a “normal use” driver, right? Most vehicles operated in the United States would be considered “severe use”. Read on to find out why ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

Should I warm my vehicle up in cold weather

Should I warm my vehicle up in cold weather

Should I warm my vehicle up in cold weather? Warming up a vehicle before driving it in cold weather has been a topic of debate for a long time. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this. The determining factors have also changed a bit with modern vehicle designs. Let’s explore this topic and see what the correct answer is for your situation. The first question we should ask is, what is considered cold weather? For the sake of this discussion, we will call cold weather anything below 32°F or freezing. Very cold will be any temperature in the single digits or below. Properly maintained vehicles with multi-port or direct fuel injection systems start much better in cold and very cold conditions. As the temperature decreases, the fuel does not mix with the air as efficiently. Fuel injectors are better at getting fuel to atomize (mix) with the air than carbureted systems. Carbureted vehicles require a much longer warm-up period in cold weather due to this fact ... read more

Categories:

General

Vehicle Maintenance Tips for Beginners

Vehicle Maintenance Tips for Beginners

So, you purchased your first vehicle or are new to maintaining a vehicle. What do you need to know about keeping your vehicle reliable and on the road? What are the vital steps to take to make sure you can count on your vehicle when you need it most? Waiting until you are broke down on the side of the road is by far the most expensive way to maintain your vehicle. Here are some great ways to prevent that situation! 1. Get to know your vehicle. Each vehicle has its own quirks and peculiarities. Almost like a personality. Get to know the personality of your vehicle. Learn how to operate the systems that your vehicle is equipped with. It may have many creature comforts, but do you know how to use them? Your owner’s manual will have more details about each system related to your specific vehicle. Headlights. Know how to manually turn them on and off if the automatic function quits. Door Locks. It may seem silly but with most vehicles using power ... read more

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Maintenance

Tire Pressure Monitor Systems (TPMS)

Tire Pressure Monitor Systems (TPMS)

Nobody likes to see the “Uh-oh kitty face”. If you live in the Midwest and have a vehicle with TPMS, then you are likely to have experience with these systems. Generally, tire pressures change by 1 PSI for every 10°F in ambient temperature change. When we get hit with temperature swing day of 40-50°F, your tire pressures can vary as much as 5 PSI with the vehicle at rest. Then, as you drive the vehicle, the tires heat up and it can magnify the difference. Generally, a drop of 25% in tire pressure will illuminate the TPMS light. Running over a nail or screw, corroded aluminum wheels, and tire blow outs also affect your tire pressures. All can lead to your TPMS light illuminating. TPMS systems are common on most passenger cars and light trucks. They have been government mandated for all US light duty vehicles produced after September 1, 2007. Some vehicles have been using a version of TPMS since the early 1990s. This mainly developed from the use of run-flat and radia ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Gasoline Direct Fuel Injection (GDI)

Gasoline Direct Fuel Injection (GDI)

We should first start with “What makes direct fuel injection different from other forms of fuel injection?” Fuel injection systems in gasoline engines have evolved over the years due to the constant search for increased fuel economy and reduced exhaust emissions. Many of the improvements coincide with the increased computing power of the Engine Control Module (ECM) aka engine computers. Beginning early in the ‘80s, Throttle Body Fuel Injection (TBI) was introduced as a more precise way to deliver fuel compared to carburation. TBI systems boasted improved cold starting, better throttle response, improved power, and the ability to adapt to different elevations and operating conditions. TBI systems use one to four fuel injectors in a central location in the intake manifold and the fuel is drawn into each cylinder when the intake valves open. The next step in fuel delivery was Port Fuel Injection (PFI), which moves the fuel injectors closer to the intake valve of each cyl ... read more

Categories:

Fuel System

Shocks and Struts

Shocks and Struts

  What do I need to know about shocks and struts?   Most modern vehicles provide the operator with a smooth and comfortable ride, thanks in part to your vehicle’s suspension system.  A critical component of the vehicles suspension system are the shocks and struts.  Often overlooked, these parts play a vital role in ensuring not only your comfort but also your safety on the road.  Let’s explore what you need to know about shocks and struts. The Basics: Shocks vs. Struts Before getting into why you would need to replace either, it is important to understand the difference between shocks and struts. While they provide the same function in a vehicle, to dampen suspension oscillations, how they are incorporated into the vehicle suspension system is very different. Shocks (Shock Absorbers) These are usually hydraulic, and gas filled cylinders that control the bouncing motion of the vehicle tires and ... read more

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Maintenance

ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems)

ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems)

  ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems)   In today's rapidly evolving automotive landscape, technology isn't just about enhancing entertainment and connectivity—it's about saving lives, improving convenience, and revolutionizing the way we drive. One of the most remarkable advancements in this realm is the implementation of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS. These systems are poised to shape the future of transportation, making our roads safer and our journeys more efficient. Understanding ADAS: What Are Advanced Driver Assistance Systems?  ADAS refers to a suite of safety features and technologies integrated into modern vehicles to assist drivers in various ways. These systems use sensors, cameras, radar, and advanced software algorithms to provide real-time feedback, warnings, and, in some cases, autonomous control to enhance driving safety and comfort. Key Components of ADAS: ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

What is the deal with AFM?

What is the deal with AFM?

Active Fuel Management (AFM) is General Motors version of a cylinder deactivation system. Cylinder deactivation is used to increase fuel economy of higher displacement engines while cruising down the highway in light load conditions when the extra power is not needed. During light load conditions the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) can shut down predetermined cylinders by disabling the camshaft lifters and shutting off the fuel injectors. Which prevents those cylinders from consuming incoming air and fuel. Thereby reducing fuel consumption. Think of it this way. First, you give your teenager a soft drink with a large straw. The pop consumption will increase. Now if you give the same kid the soft drink with a tinny tiny coffee straw the pop consumption will decrease. Why not just keep it simple and install small engines in all vehicles? Well, a four-cylinder engine in your pick-up or large SUV would leave you craving additional power when accelerating. Add a trailer to that same vehicl ... read more

Categories:

Fuel System