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GENERAL MAINTENANCE

It's Time for the 21st Century Tune-up

Times are changing...cars are changing. 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.

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 handled mechanically are now controlled electronically through the widespread use of onboard computer technology.

Because vehicles have changed so much over the years, the Car Care Council has introduced the 21st Century Tune-up. This program is designed to help re-define and educate motorists as to what a tune-up should consist of on today's modern vehicles.

"There is a misconception that today's modern vehicles don't need tune-ups because they never break down, but that simply is not true," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "If you're at work and your computer goes down, you can't get any more work done. It's the same with your vehicle. If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go."

As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected:

  • Battery, charging and starting
  • Engine mechanical
  • Powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks)
  • Fuel
  • Ignition
  • Emissions

Vehicle owners ask for tune-ups for a variety of reasons, including improving performance, maintaining reliability, planning a vacation, preparing for winter/summer or because they're giving the car to a friend or family member.

To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle from every aspect. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Mechanical failure—an inconvenience anytime it occurs--can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. Besides, a well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.

Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.

  • Engine Performance - Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters-air, fuel, etc.
  • Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual—more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
  • Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent-you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.
  • Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.
  • Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
  • Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
  • Carry emergency gear: gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer

Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. . . Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too!

Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.

  • Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.
  • Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual-more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
  • Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended-more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
  • Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
  • Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
  • Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Emergencies - Carry some basic tools-ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.

Keeping Your Vehicle in Tune with the Environment

Car care is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer-up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians. The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

  • Keep your engine tuned. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%. Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
  • Check your tires for proper inflation. Under inflation wastes fuel-your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle. Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed.
  • Keep your air conditioner in top condition and have it serviced only by a technician certified competent to handle/recycle refrigerants. Air conditioners contain CFCs-gases that have been implicated in the depletion of the ozone layer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost one third of the CFCs released into the atmosphere come from mobile air conditioners; some simply leaks out, but the majority escapes during service and repair-so it's important to choose a qualified technician.
  • Do-it-yourselfers: dispose of used motor oil, anti-freeze/coolant, tires, and old batteries properly. Many repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local municipal or county government for recycling sites. Never dump used oil or anti-freeze on the ground or in open streams.
  • Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply above 55 mph.
  • Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go's. Use cruise-control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family. Today's vehicles are designed to "warm up" fast, so forget about those five-minute warm ups on cold winter mornings.
  • Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage. Store luggage/ cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
  • Plan trips. Consolidate your daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving. Try to travel when traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions. Join a car pool.

Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts, and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.


What Our Customers Are Saying

I rolled in off the street without an appointment needing a SMOG check. Dirk greeted me with "We can squeeze you in" and less than 30 minutes later I was out the door. Friendly, courteous and reliable ... I will definitely give them return business and referrals. Thanks, Dirk!


-JIM BELL

The people here have been very friendly and upfront about my car repairs. I have worked mostly with Brian and I keep coming back because I trust Poway's Accurate Automotive to give me honesty about my car and great service when repairing it. They are also fairly priced, which helps a lot.


-BRITTANY V

Super fast smog check. In and out in about 15 minutes. Best price in town too. This is my second great experience here. I will definitely be back again.


-NATHAN R/ AMANDA B

Thank you, Brian, Ronny and Dwayne for taking such good care of our vehicles and getting us out of the shop on time! A blessing upon your heads!


-ROBIN & KEITH D

Great place will continue to do business with them would recommend to anyone.


-PAUL T

Excellent Service but most importantly I appreciate your honesty. It is sooo difficult to find an Automotive Repair place that you fully trust to give an honest assessment of what is wrong AND NOT WRONG with your car. Poway's Accurate Automotive has done this with us enough times to of won our continued business.


-YAMILIS/NORMAN M

Although I have only been to your shop twice, I know that Brian is taking care of me (and our vehicles). TRUST, cannot be bought, borrowed or stolen, it is only earned, through the dedication to doing what is right, even when no one else is watching. I have trust in your shop and I appreciate Brian, and his understanding of what your business needs.


-Jamie F

The service is always over the top! I needed an oil change and they took care of my Ford Escape right away. I'm always greeted with friendly faces and always enjoy interacting with the staff. Will definitely recommend Poway's Accurate Automotive to my friends!


-Anonymous

Great, quick, friendly, quality, reasonably-priced service! These guys were able to fit my car in last minute and were very upfront about the state of my car without being pushy, which is exactly what I want in a repair place. I would feel good about bringing my car to them again.


-BRITTANY V

People were all friendly & helpful! Just like always!


-Dennis H

I had my Tacoma aligned at this shop this past week, I called them up and asked them a couple questions about pricing, a coupon, and making an appointment, Jimmy was exceptionally helpful, professional and made sure I was well taken care of. Once I got there, they took my truck right away and had it done in about 45 minutes. They went above and beyond to make sure things were good and that I was satisfied after telling them about a miscommunication with another store. The professionalism and customer service this time around was unsurpassed, and much appreciated!


-Mike M. - San Diego, CA

I heard so many negative comments about Perry Ford that I looked online and called Poway Accurate Automotive. Jimmy Norman answered the phone with a friendly " how can I help you"... I didn't know if he was a manager or other employee, but he treated me great. I have a Ford F350 diesel, I was worried because my power steering wasn't responding and my breaks were making a whining sound, I also had two warning lights showing. Jimmy told me bring it in, it won't cost you anything for us to check. True to his word, they checked and found easy fixes, did a complete brake check and found I had about 40 % brake pad left which left me a few months to decide my financial options... A package deal better than any I've found so far. Yes, Poway Accurate Automotive will be getting my business...my job gives me a lot of experience investigating truth...Jimmy Norman and this business are the real truth...


-Derek D. - Poway, CA

I highly recommend this shop, it's a shop that you can truly tell cares about each person who walks through the doors. My car was overheating while I was on my way to buy a new car. I pulled over to let my car cool down at the u haul next door. The u haul employee asked what was wrong. He told me to ask the guys next door for help. Jimmy and Derk helped me right away no questions. They sent me on my way with in 20 minutes and I was able to get my new car. He never tried to sell me anything I didn't need or fool me in anyway. Good mechanics are hard to find, I've already been back to the poway accurate auto and will continue to! You can trust these guys!


-Dani R. - San Diego, CA

I had been to the sister shop of this one, precision automotive, and had a good experience. when they were too busy one day, they told me to go here instead. i was just in for an oil change but they found some steering parts that were worn out and an oil leak. again, they actually brought me into the shop to show me what was wrong on my car and were very fair with pricing. it was done when quoted and they never pressured me into getting the work done, but told me what would happen if i let it go. great service and work performed by some good guys. many thanks to the manager brian and the team of mechanics.


-John M. - Encinitas, CA

These guys are great, awesome people and fair price's. You can trust them


-Kevin F. - Escondido, CA

I had an appointment with another smog check center but turned too early off Pomerado road. They were able to take my car almost immediately and had it done in less than half an hour. They also turned out to be cheaper the the original place I was headed! Very friendly, courteous and helpful.


-Sheryl D. - San Diego, CA

This shop is the real deal! Honest, helpful and very skilled professionals who do the right thing. Poway's Accurate Auto team is where I will always go because I know they will be honest, fair and keep my cars in good shape. This place is a great find. Highest recommendation.


-John B. - Poway, CA

Just got an oil change here, great service, very friendly, and very helpful! I will definitely be going back!


-David C. - San Diego, CA

Brian is wonderful & personable! He took care of both my daughter's first cars (used). Two na?ve young women & their mom, like feeling they can trust a car mechanic not to take advantage!


-Juliette B. - San Diego, CA
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