What Do Wiper Blades Have to do With Your Driving Safety?

Windshield wiper blades live outside of your vehicle, exposed to heat and sun which causes them to get dry, brittle and torn.

Think of wipers as part of an important safety system that keeps our windshields clear so we can see where we are driving.

Our vision is important to us and we protect our eyes. If we need contacts or glasses, we take care of them too. Think of wipers blades as also critical to our vision when we drive.

We should think about maintaining safety not just responding when our wiper blades stop doing their job. Have you ever been caught off-guard by a storm and had to drive with a streaky windshield you could barely see through? Or with no washer fluid?

You may not realize it at the time but failed wipers can be very dangerous. Imagine you are driving at night and it starts raining. You turn on your wiper blades and they are worn so the blades just smear all of the crud on your windshield and it becomes a big blur. Scary, right? Well, you can avoid this.

We recommend changing wiper blades twice a year – before they become too damaged to work properly. Replacing blades during one of your spring and fall oil changes, will ensure you should always have wiper blades that can get the job done.

AAMCO of Bonita Springs will let you know if your windshield wipers need to be replaced when you come in for your routine oil change.

AAMCO of Bonita Springs is a NAPA Auto and Truck Service Center! Car and truck services include: Car care, undercar, heating and cooling, electrical, transmission, electronic, internal engine and heavy duty (engine replacement and maintenance).

Do You Know What Can Happen if Your Vehicle’s Cabin Air Filter is Dirty – What? You Didn’t Know You Had One?

Most vehicles built after 2000 are equipped with a cabin air filter. Now, you may have heard of an oil filter and an engine air filter but the job of your cabin air filter is to keep debris from entering the cabin of your vehicle so that you are not exposed to or breathe them in.

These debris can include pollen, mold spores, rodent droppings, leaves, dust, smog and other airborne materials.

If you notice allergy like symptoms bothering you when riding in your car or you smell something weird, it could be that your air filter needs to be changed.

Here are some common cabin air filter questions and answers:

Q:  What is a cabin air filter?

A:  A cabin air filter cleans the air entering your vehicle’s passenger cabin via its HVAC system. Cabin air filters filter out pollutants, mold, mildew, road dust, fumes and allergens.

Q:  Is a cabin air filter different than an air filter?

A:  Yes, an air filter filters air going into your vehicle’s engine. A cabin air filter filters air coming into the passenger cabin. A vehicle’s passenger compartment unfiltered inside air
can be up to 6 times dirtier than outside air.

Q:  How do I know if my vehicle has a cabin air filter?

A:  First, check your vehicle’s owner manual. If you are still not sure, ask your professional service person.

Q:  What about unpleasant odors in my vehicle?

A:  Eventually, a cabin air filter starts to lose its effectiveness as it gets dirty with use. This may result in unpleasant odors and decreased air conditioning and heating performance
caused by restricted air-flow.

Q:  So, when should I change my cabin air filter?

A:  Most car experts and filter manufacturers recommend changing a cabin air filter every 12,000 miles or every 12 months. However, depending on your driving conditions, twice a year may
prove necessary for maximum benefit.

AAMCO Of Bonita Springs can tell you if your vehicle needs a new cabin air filter plus they can handle all other maintenance or repair/s your car or truck may need.

With AAMCO of Bonita Springs you can enjoy their NAPA AutoCare Peace of Mind Warranty. 24 Months, 24,000 Miles Nationwide Warranty It’s a written warranty that is honored at more than
14,000 locations nationwide – more than any other automotive repair brand.

So, no matter where your travels take you – if you ever experience a problem with a covered repair, you can count on a NAPA AutoCare Center being nearby. Covers Parts and Labor on Qualifying Repairs and Services for 24 Months/24,000 Miles.

Schedule an appointment today!

Taking a Summer Road Trip? Avoid a Breakdown with this Vehicle Checklist!

June 21st 2015 is the first day of summer and many of you have planned a summer vacation or weekend getaway. You may be counting down the days until your much needed upcoming trip but if your vacation will consist of a road trip, planning ahead could save you problems along the way.

Make sure the vehicle you will be driving has had a recent oil change, tune up and tires have been rotated to help avoid a breakdown.

You may not be aware that your vehicle needs repair due to a safety recall but you can check your vehicle for recalls here: https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/

Even if your vehicle has had recent maintenance, use our vehicle safety checklist to help ensure your road  trip goes well without unwanted or dangerous incidents.

  • Check your tires for pressure and wear, if your tires look worn, have them changed before leaving on your trip plus make sure your spare tire is properly inflated.
  • Summer heat helps degrade belts and hoses. Check your vehicle’s belts and hoses for cracks or bulges plus check the connections to make sure they are tight. If you find any defects in your belts and hoses, have them changed before your trip.
  • Make sure your windshield wipers are in excellent condition. If you see any wear and tear on your wipers or they smear your windshield when in use, buy new ones in preparation for your upcoming trip.
  • Check to make sure all of the fluids in your vehicle are full (ie, for windshield wipers, brakes, oil, power steering, automatic transmission or clutch and coolant).
  • Has your cooling system been serviced lately? If not, you may want to have this done before your trip especially if your coolant has particles floating in it, is clear or rusty looking.
  • Inspect all of the lights on your vehicle (headlights, brake lights, interior lights, turning lights, emergency flashers and trailer lights if you will be pulling a trailer) fix or replace any lights not working properly.
  • Is your a/c system running cool? Before heading out on the road for your vacation have your air conditioning system check and serviced.

Other things to consider when taking a road trip:

  • When stopping at a rest stop and leaving your vehicle, make sure all valuables are out of sight to someone who may be walking past your vehicle while you are in the restroom.
  • If you are traveling with small children, make sure you keep them close by at all times because summer heat can quickly build to life threatening temperatures in a vehicle that is closed up or even with windows cracked and no a/c on.

Summer vacation is a time for fun and relaxation so don’t let a broken down vehicle put a damper on your road trip by doing some preliminary checks and needed repairs before taking off.

AAMCO of Bonita Springs will gladly check your vehicle and perform any needed repairs. AAMCO of Bonita Springs provides a 24 Months, 24,000 MilesNationwide Warranty that Covers Parts
and Labor on Qualifying Repairs and Services  plus excellent customer service.

Schedule an appointment today!

Want to Learn More About Your Vehicle’s Oxygen Sensor?

An oxygen sensor is an emission control component that senses the presence of oxygen in the exhaust stream.

Vehicles are one of the leading causes of air pollution in the world. As a result, government legislation has enacted regulation in many parts of the world to reduce vehicle emissions and increase fuel efficiency.

By more closely controlling a vehicle’s air fuel ratio, fuel efficiency can be increased, while tailpipe emissions are reduced.

The oxygen sensor functions as the eyes and ears for the ECU (engine control unit). Its role is to communicate with the ECU whether a vehicle is running rich or lean. The goal is to have the engine run as close to 14.7 parts of air to 1 part of fuel.

14.7:1 is known as the Stoichiometric Point. At this point, optimum combustion under normal conditions occurs and the least amount of harmful gases are produced.

Your vehicle’s oxygen sensor can fail and some common causes are poisoning from substances such as engine coolant,  silicone gasket materials or soot.

If your oxygen sensor is experiencing any of these problems it is usually a sign that there are other mechanical issues with the engine.

Thermal shock from raw fuel or moisture to the exhaust can also cause a sensor heater element to crack.

The root cause of the problem should be addressed along with replacement of the oxygen sensor (if needed).

AAMCO of Bonita Springs is a NAPA Auto and Truck Service Center that specializes in automotive repair and maintenance and offers a Warranty that covers parts and labor on qualifying repairs and services for 24 months/24,000 miles.

It’s a written warranty that is honored at more than 14,000 locations nationwide – more than any other automotive repair brand.

Schedule an appointment today to have your vehicle repaired and/or serviced.

 

It’s All About the Brakes!

Just imagine a car or truck with no brakes, it would be impossible to drive safely as there would be no way to slow down or stop when you wanted or needed to so this makes the braking system a very important part of any vehicle.

Most vehicles today have braking systems that place heavy reliance on the brake pads (A). Brake pads contain friction material and are configured to fit into a brake caliper.

When you press the brake pedal, the brake pad is forced against the brake rotor, bringing the vehicle to a stop. This action creates heat and possibly noise.

Worn or under-designed brake pads should be replaced to assure quiet, effective stopping power.

The brake rotor (B), provides the solid surface for the brake pad when stopping. Brake rotors will wear from repeated braking over time. Brake rotors may warp or crack from overheating. Today, worn rotors may require replacement rather than being “turned” or machined.

Precision engineered rotors, along with quality break pads, are vital for safe quiet stopping.

Some vehicles have brake shoes and brake drums on the rear axle which perform a similar braking function. Most vehicles today have ABS braking systems (Anti-Lock Braking), which help eliminate skidding from locking up the wheels.

The brake system should be routinely inspected every 12 months/12,000 miles.

Here are some signs you may need new brakes or your brake system checked:

  • You hear a screech like noise when stopping
  • When you press the brake pedal you notice it sinks down more than usual
  • You feel a pulling to one side when pressing the brakes
  • You hear a grinding sound when braking
  • You feel vibration when pressing the brake pedal

It is important to have your brakes inspected on a regular basis to ensure they are functioning properly. Often, if a problem is caught early, the fix will be much less than if you wait until more damage is done.

AAMCO of Bonita Springs is a NAPA Auto and Truck Service Center and offers repair and maintenance services for all vehicles including brake systems.

Schedule your appointment today!

 

Is your Vehicle at Risk for an Engine Oil Sludge Breakdown?

There is one thing just about every vehicle has in common and that is motor engine oil.

Motor oil is responsible for protecting and keeping your vehicle engine parts lubricated so they run smoothly with better performance.

When your motor oil is first changed it looks nice and clean when checked on the dipstick but after driving around over time, the oil starts to darken. This darker color is from particles the oil picks up from doing its job (protecting and lubricating metal surfaces in the engine).

Today, most motor oils contain a detergent additive which keeps these tiny particles suspended so that the particles do not build up and cause engine sludge. Keep in mind that the motor oil in your vehicle can only suspend so many particles before it will stop doing its job.

This is why it is important to have your vehicle’s motor oil changed on a regular basis. One thing that can happen to your engine from not changing your oil is engine sludge.

Sludge starts to form in your engine as the oil oxidizes and breaks down due to high heat.  Engine sludge is a thick gooey tar like substance that can block passages inside of your engine.

Just like clean oil helps keep things in your engine running smoothly, thick dirty oil can cause overheating,  poor mileage and reduced performance.

Here are some usual symptoms of oil deposits in your vehicle’s engine:

  • It is harder than usual for your vehicle to start
  • You feel the engine “jerk” as it is running
  • The check engine light comes on
  • The engine gets too hot
  • Check engine oil light comes on

Skipping or waiting long intervals between oil changes can cause engine parts to wear out prematurely and even cause your engine to break down. Regular oil changes are an important part of overall vehicle maintenance.

AAMCO of Bonita Springs will change your vehicle’s oil and perform any other maintenance or repair service your car or truck needs.

They are a NAPA Car and Truck Service Center and offer a Warranty that Covers Parts and Labor on Qualifying Repairs and Services for 24 Months/24,000 Miles.

It’s a written warranty that is honored at more than 14,000 locations nationwide – more than any other automotive repair brand.

Schedule an appointment today and let AAMCO of Bonita Springs check your engine!

Tips To Avoid Road Trip Drama

When you hear the word “road trip” some things that come to mind are getting away, exotic locations, sight seeing and freedom of the open road.

It is just about that time of year when seasonal residents of Southwest Florida will be returning to their winter homes. Some will fly while others will take the journey with their vehicle.

Although road trips can be fun, there are some things to consider when taking a long road trip.

Depending on your starting point and route, a gas station may not be available when your vehicle’s gas gauge is approaching empty. Don’t wait until you are running out of fuel to re-fill your tank. It is better to fill up when you can rather than when you must.

Try to time yourself so that you are not passing through any major cities during rush hour traffic. If you notice that you will be approaching a major city during rush hour, plan to stop for lunch or take a rest break before getting there to allow time for the rush hour traffic to pass.

It is much more comfortable to spend 2 hours at a roadside restaurant where there is a bathroom and you can walk around than to be sitting for 2 hours in traffic.

Now, you know there are some people whose company you enjoy more than others. Don’t take a long road trip with someone who you cannot tolerate being around for long periods of time.

When you pick traveling companions, just remember you will be cooped up with them in close quarters for hours and it will be more pleasant to travel with people whose company you enjoy or
at least can tolerate without feeling stressed out or wanting to pull off and leave them at the last road stop.

Download a good map app like Google maps to your smart phone but also have a paper map on hand in case there are areas without a cell phone signal so that you can still keep track of your route.

Pack a fully charged smart phone portable charger for your trip. If your phone’s battery dies then you can easily charge it again. This is especially helpful if your car breaks down because if your car isn’t running, the car phone charger isn’t working.

Let someone know your progress. It is a good idea to keep someone informed of your whereabouts as you drive in case anything happens your last location will be known.

Pack drinks and healthy snacks in a cooler so that you will be able to stay hydrated and nourished on your journey.

It is a good idea to put some thought and planning into a road trip especially if it is a long one to help avoid problems and inconvenience.

Lastly, make sure your vehicle has been checked out by a reputable mechanic to help avoid breakdowns.

AAMCO of Bonita Springs will check out your vehicle before departing for a road trip or after returning from a road trip to help you avoid breakdowns and to help your vehicle stay on the
road.

AAMCO of Bonita Springs is a NAPA Autocare Center and NAPA Truck Service Center working on all makes and models. They offer a 24 Months, 24,000 Miles Nationwide Warranty It’s a written
warranty that is honored at more than 14,000 locations nationwide – more than any other automotive repair brand.

So – no matter where your travels take you – if you ever experience a problem with a covered repair, you can count on a NAPA AutoCare Center being nearby.

Schedule your vehicle’s check up today!

How to Stop the Carbon Killer that May Be Lurking in your Vehicle

If you count every part down to the smallest screw, there are about 30,000 components that make up the average car. That’s a lot of parts and just like the human body, if not maintained, many things can go wrong.

One of your vehicle’s hardest working parts is the exhaust system. According to Wikipedia, an exhaust system is usually piping used to guide reaction exhaust gases away from a controlled combustion inside an engine or stove. The entire system conveys burnt gases from the engine and includes one or more exhaust pipes.

The job of the exhaust system is to reduce noise and carry exhaust toxic gas away from passengers in the vehicle.

This toxic gas is mostly carbon monoxide, a very dangerous gas which can cause death if it is inhaled in even moderate doses.

It’s important to have your exhaust system checked for leaks because if there is a leak, the carbon monoxide gas could be entering your vehicle through holes or openings in the floor, rear of the vehicle, or through the vents.

Each year people die from sitting in an older car that is idling (with a leaking exhaust system)  and there have been reported deaths of children riding in pickup trucks under a topper from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Even a small leak can cause elevated carbon monoxide levels in the body and studies show that this will interfere with driving ability.

Carbon monoxide intoxication will impair your ability to operate a vehicle, cause confusion plus slow and/or irrational thinking.

A leaky exhaust system can cause anything from a small ticking noise to a very loud sound so it is not always obvious.

Depending on the the materials used in your vehicle’s exhaust system it can start rusting through in as little as 4 years. It is smart to have your exhaust system checked as it is better to be safe.

AAMCO of Bonita Springs is a Napa Auto and Truck Service Center and would be happy to check out your exhaust system to see if there are any leaks. Just give us a call or request an appointment online.

Symptoms Signaling Brake and Front End Trouble

Many of us use our vehicles daily as a way to get to work, back home, go shopping, for visiting friends and family and the list of places we travel goes on and on.

If your vehicle breaks down, it is usually a big inconvenience. Not only because you don’t have a ride but there is a cost to have a mechanic fix the issue that caused you to break down.

When it comes to your vehicle’s brakes and front end, there are signals that you should pay attention to and have checked as soon as you notice them occurring.

Often, when you notice a new sound or feel something different with your vehicle and you do nothing until your vehicle breaks down, the cost will usually be much more than if you had it checked right away.

Here are signals that can alert you to a possible problem.

Grinding, screeching and rubbing – Brake pads and brake shoes may need to be replaced because if you wait, they can wear through and damage other parts of your brake system. This will cost much more than just replacing brake pads and shoes.

Steering wheel vibrating – This can be caused by metal on metal rubbing of brake rotors and needs to be checked out asap!

Play in or loose feeling steering wheel – Could be any of a number of things including worn tie rod ends.

Fluid leaking – Just like our bodies need fluids to keep us running, your vehicle has fluids it needs to run efficiently. There are many different reasons for fluid to leak from your vehicle but anti freeze/coolant is one of the most common fluids that is found when there is a leak. If you notice any fluid or coolant leaking from your vehicle, take it to an auto shop right away to help avoid your vehicle overheating.

Vehicle leaning to one side when turning – This can be caused by any of a number of reasons the most common include, a binding shock absorber or strut, a bad spring or torsion bar, bent suspension parts or a twisted chassis.

Regular vehicle maintenance will often catch problems in the early stages which will usually cost less to repair than waiting until the problem becomes much worse. Also, you want a safe vehicle to drive and there are parts that if they wear or break, can cause your vehicle to become a safety hazard for you to drive.

AAMCO of Bonita Springs is a NAPA Auto and Truck Service Center. AAMCO of Bonita Springs offers a NAPA nationwide warranty that covers parts and labor on qualifying repairs and services for 24 Months/24,000 Miles.

Quality auto and truck maintenance and repair for your car or truck at reasonable prices. Schedule an appointment.