No matter how well they’re made, cars are bound to have problems with their design or manufacturing. Think of all the moving parts. When the government thinks a problem is really serious, they require the car maker to issue recall notices to Denver residents and to fix the affected cars free of charge. The auto manufacturer then tries to contact all Denver auto owners who own that type of car so they can have it taken care of at their Denver service center.
To find out if your car has any recall issues, give us a call: Elder Auto 5555 East Evans Ave Denver, CO 80222 303.756.2886
These recalls always affect safety, so Denver drivers would be wise to take them seriously. It’s really easy to find out if a vehicle is being recalled. For links to government sites, look in the AutoNetTV website.
Other website include: carfax.com; autobytel.com; and dmv.org. All of these sites have free recall searches.
Recalls are pretty serious for Denver auto owners and don’t happen all that often. But sometimes cars have less serious problems that Denver auto owners still might want to know about. For these less serious cases, manufacturers issue what is known as a Technical Service Bulletin – or TSB. These bulletins tell Denver service centers (including Elder Auto) how to repair a problem that occurs frequently or is especially difficult.
Your Denver tech receives updated information through subscription plans, which are sometimes available in consumer versions too. Denver car owners can buy access to these for an annual fee.
Whatever your source, pay attention to Denver vehicle recalls to keep you and your passengers safe.
Many Denver motorists have found themselves in the following situation: they go to get their oil changed and their considerate Elder Auto service specialist recommends a new engine air filter. They say yes, but don’t know what an air filter is or what it does.
If this has happened to you, rest assured that you did the right thing by getting a new one. But you should never be too embarrassed to ask your Elder Auto service advisor for more information. It’s your cash and you have a right to understand what you’re paying for.
Air is the focus of this discussion. What is the air like outside in Denver right now? Can you see any smog? Is it full of pollen? How about dust? Anyone in CO with hay fever can tell you that there’s plenty in the air that you can’t see. Well, the engine air filter’s critical job is to clean that air before it goes into your minivan engine, to mix with the fuel and be burned. Without an engine air filter, the inside of your minivan engine would be extremely dirty from all the gunk that was burned in the cylinders.
In fact, for every gallon of gas you burn, your minivan engine needs 12,000 gallons of air. That little filter does a very big job. It’s no wonder that the air filter gets dirty and needs to be replaced. Think about a vacuum cleaner. When the bag gets full of dust and dirt, the vacuum doesn’t clean as well. It can’t move enough air to create good suction. A clogged engine air filter is the same way – the minivan engine can’t get enough air to burn the fuel efficiently. That means less power and reduced fuel efficiency.
That’s why your auto manufacturer has recommended that you change your filter at regular intervals. Of course the Denver conditions you drive in will affect how quickly the filter gets dirty. If you drive in CO where it’s very dusty or where there’s lots of pollen or pollution, you may need to change the filter sooner. The filter is easy to check visually, so your considerate Elder Auto tech can quickly make the call. He might recommend immediate replacement, or simply let you know that it is getting close and that you’ll need to replace it soon – like at your next oil change.
Because a severely dirty minivan air filter hurts your gas mileage, many Denver car owners find that a new air filter pays for itself in better fuel efficiency before the next oil change. They also make premium air filters that have been proven to increase your horsepower and torque. If more power is important to you, a high performance air filter is some of the cheapest horsepower you can buy.
The better your car breathes, the better it runs – kind of like Denver people. And don’t worry – if you have a question or don’t understand a recommendation just ask your Elder Auto technician.
A. A filter for your Denver house? B. A fresh, piney scent? C. A filter for the passenger compartment of your car?
Clever you, it’s C.
A cabin air filter cleans the outside air before it comes into the passenger compartment of your minivan. It filters out common Denver air particles like dust, pollen, spores, bacteria, pollutants, exhaust gas, odors and even sparrows.
These high tech filters can block particles larger than 3 microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.
Not all Aurora motorists have cabin air filters. They are fairly new on the scene in CO. Last check, about forty percent of new vehicles sold in Denver come with cabin air filters, but the number is growing every year.
Cabin air filters make driving a lot more pleasant for Denver motorists. Your minivan can be a haven during our Denver allergy season with very little dust and pollen getting into the cabin. Of course, like all filters, the cabin air filter eventually gets clogged. When this happens, your heating and air conditioning flow can become restricted. The filter can even get kind of smelly.
Check your owner’s manual for replacement guidelines. If your minivan owner’s manual doesn’t mention your cabin air filter, ask your considerate tech at Elder Auto for a recommendation. It’s usually every year or 12,000 miles / 19,000 kilometers. Change it sooner if you drive in dusty conditions around the Denver area, or if you start to notice a funky smell coming from your vents.
The team at Elder Auto urges Denver car owners to keep their cabin air filter cleans. It may not help with your brother-in-law in the backseat, but it will make your driving experience around Denver more enjoyable.
Come by Elder Auto in Denver and we’ll take a look at your cabin air filter for you.
Service to a vehicle’s power steering system is an essential part of preventive maintenance for wise Denver car owners. This system provides power to the steering wheel so you can turn it with ease. Without power steering, all of the power to turn your minivan’s wheels would have to come from you.
The central element of most power steering systems is a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid, and it is this pressure that provides auxiliary steering power. A belt connected to the engine usually powers the pump, although some systems use an electric pump. Some newer minivans have an electric motor that directly provides the power steering boost.
Pressurized fluid moves from the pump to the steering gear through a high-pressure hose. A low-pressure hose returns fluid to the pump. Power steering fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the system.
Denver auto owners should remember that fluid levels in the power steering system should be checked at every oil change. Low fluid levels can damage the pump, which can be expensive to repair. Low fluid levels may also indicate a leaky hose in the power steering system, so it is a good idea to inspect the hoses, especially if your fluid levels are low.
Power steering fluid breaks down over time, losing its effectiveness. It also gradually collects moisture, which can lead to corrosion in the steering system. So the fluid needs to be replaced occasionally. You should check with your owner’s manual or ask your considerate Elder Auto service professional to learn how often this fluid should be replaced.
When your fluid is replaced, your considerate Elder Auto service advisor will remove the old fluid and replace it with new. Power steering fluids are not all created equal; the fluid has to be compatible with your hoses and seals. Your Elder Auto technician can ensure that you get the right fluid for your vehicle, or you can consult your owner’s manual.
Signs that your power steering system is in trouble can include the following: a steering wheel that is hard to turn, auxiliary steering power that cuts in and out, or a whining sound coming from the pump. Also, Denver auto owners who are not topping off the power steering fluid on schedule may hear squealing coming from the engine belts.
To protect your steering system should never hold the steering wheel in the far right or far left position for more than a few seconds at a time. This can wear out your pump in a hurry.
Preventive maintenance for your steering system primarily involves the power steering components, but your steering system has other parts that can wear out or be damaged by rough CO driving conditions. Such parts include the ball-joint, idler arm, steering gear, steering-knuckle and tie rod. Signs that they are in need of attention include play in the steering wheel, a vehicle that wanders, uneven tire wear and a steering wheel that is off-center. Denver motorists should have their alignment checked annually. This check-up can reveal bent or damaged steering components.
For answers to other questions about your steering system, or for auto advice on any type of vehicle maintenance, check with the team at Elder Auto. We can steer you in the right direction when it comes to quality car care.
Today we’re going to be talking about serpentine belts for our Denver, CO customers. Let’s start by talking about the accessories that are driven by the serpentine belt. First is the alternator. That’s the vital device that makes electricity to power the minivan and recharge the battery. Then there’s the air conditioning compressor that makes cool air for you while you’re driving around CO in the summer.
The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in most Denver drivers’ vehicles. Those pumps provide critical pressure that assists your steering and braking.
In many minivans, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt. The water pump is what circulates the coolant that protects your engine. In some cars around Denver, CO, the water pump is driven by the timing belt.
The radiator cooling fans on some minivans are also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors. That’s really a lot of important work for one belt.
But modern engine design has a single belt that snakes around the front of the engine and drives most if not all of these accessories. Serpentine belts do a lot of critical work, but they’re tough and can last Denver car owners for thousands of miles.
Just how long will they last? That’ll vary for each individual car in the Denver, CO area. Your auto manufacturer will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it could need it sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection at Elder Auto can detect a belt that’s getting close to failing.
Your considerate Elder Auto service professional can look at the belt: if it has more than three or four cracks per inch, it needs to be replaced. A deep crack that’s more than half the depth of the belt – replace. Frayed, missing pieces, a shiny glazed look? Toss it.
What’s involved in replacing the belt at Elder Auto? First the old belt is removed. Then a new one is fitted around all the pulleys for the accessories and the drive. There’s a special pulley called a tensioner.
This pulley is mounted to the engine block with a spring loaded arm. Its critical job is to apply the correct amount of tension to the belt to keep it from getting loose and maybe slipping off. Because the spring in the tensioner pulley wears out, AutoNetTV and the automotive professionals at Elder Auto recommend Denver car owners replace them at the same time as the belt. It just makes sense.
What are the warning signs that there’s a problem with the serpentine belt? You may hear a squealing sound from under the hood when accelerating around our Denver streets. A loose belt might give you a slow, slapping sound.
What do you do if your belt breaks? If you’ve actually had that happen on a busy Aurora freeway, it can be a little scary. The first thing Denver motorists usually notice is that they have no power steering or power brakes. Don’t panic – you can still steer and brake, but you’ll have to do the work. It’ll be harder to steer and you’ll need more time and effort to stop, so plan accordingly.
Your dashboard will light up will all kinds of warnings. You’ll see a warning about your cooling system if you have a water pump that’s driven by the serpentine belt. This is vital because without your cooling system working, your engine will overheat. If you don’t stop you’ll have massive engine damage, maybe to the point that you need a new engine. Open your windows and turn the heater on full blast to provide a little engine cooling. Pull over as quickly as you safely can!
The battery light will come on because the alternator isn’t working. If your car’s water pump isn’t driven by the serpentine belt, you’re not in danger of overheating so you can drive a little further if necessary. But the battery will run down to the point where the car will just shut off. You don’t want that to happen while you’re driving in our local Denver, CO traffic.
Remember, Denver drivers can avoid this stressful scenario if they replace their minivan serpentine belt on schedule. Ask your considerate Elder Auto tech to check your belts and hoses from time to time so you can take care of them if they need to be replaced prematurely.
Elder Auto 5555 East Evans Ave Denver, CO 80222 303.756.2886
We live in such a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days CO folks were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough – they had to do without. Most Denver auto owners couldn’t afford new cars very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.
It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days for Denver car owners. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us CO penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us Denver car owners making sure we follow the auto manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedules.
Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and clog passages. Then some minivan parts don’t get properly lubricated and they start to wear out faster. Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. Same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.
It is probably even more important for older minivans. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they are a bit more stressed anyway. But it is never too late to get back on track with your auto maintenance and to hold off further damage.
And it really does start with the oil change. When you get a full service oil change in Denver at Elder Auto, we top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. It’s like your safety net. Go in for an oil change on time, and let your considerate Elder Auto service advisor help you keep track of the rest.
Some things are going to wear out along the way, things like alternators, water pumps, etc. But fixing those at Elder Auto is cheaper than a an expensive new car payment for Denver auto owners. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to mess with other things. It is like having high cholesterol – you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.
Hello Denver, let’s talk about brakes. Braking, as all CO auto owners know,is slowing or stopping your vehicle. As you can imagine, brakes are engineered to work well on a particular vehicle application. For example, you would expect more powerful brakes on a heavy-duty pickup that routinely hauls big loads and pulls trailers, than you would on a compact car. And a Corvette that can go over 180 miles per hour would have much different braking needs than the family mini-van you drive around between Denver, Aurora and Littleton.
But the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There’s also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.
Let’s step back. A new minivan or truck rolls off a local Denver showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.
Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles start to add up on the minivan. Denver car owners tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads, and shoes on drum brakes, are called the friction material. That’s because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it’s not until they are worn so thin as to be out of auto manufacturers’ specs that they lose their ability to stop.
The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over many miles around CO, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail – a scary possibility That’s why a regular brake inspection at Elder Auto is important for your minivan and your family’s safety. At Elder Auto we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.
That leads us to brake fluid service at Elder Auto. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the minivan fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at Elder Auto cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.
The tires are what connect the minivan to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the quicker you’ll stop.
This is especially important on wet Aurora area expressways and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. CO car owners need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.
Most Denver auto owners have experienced a flat tire. You know it’s inconvenient and a pain. Our tires are important. Keeping them in good working order isn’t just a big safety issue for CO drivers – it also has a financial impact. With high Denver gas prices, we’ve all heard about the importance of keeping proper tire pressure to get the best possible MPG. In addition, proper inflation promotes even tread wear so your tires last longer.
There’s another danger to under-inflated tires for Denver auto owners. Low tire pressure puts added stress on the structure of the tire itself, causing it to break down prematurely. Also, under-inflated tires generate more heat which also reduces tire life. So get those slow leaks fixed quickly – don’t just keep airing them up every few days. You want to avoid costly tire damage.
Tires can also be damaged by road hazards in and around Denver. Punctures, cuts and unfortunate encounters with curbs or potholes can also cause damage that could lead to tire failure. Sometimes, it’s something that an inspection would reveal. Try to remember to check your tires when you’re pumping fuel. Look for slashes, missing chunks, nails or screws in the tread or just uneven wear. Of course check the air pressure too.
Now tire damage can be on the inside where Denver motorists can’t see it until it’s removed from the wheel. Such damage could come from a severe impact, driving on a flat around Aurora or even just low pressure. Some punctures can cause internal damage that is too extreme to be repaired. You may see our Elder Auto tire professionals take the time to remove your flat from the rim and inspect the inside before repairing it, which means we’re just following best practices.
Of course, some tires just can’t be repaired at your Denver service center or Elder Auto. A puncture may be too large to plug. Also, the puncture could be in a location that’s not safe to repair like in the sidewall or outer portion of the tread. So called run-flat tires should not be repaired because their design is such that internal damage can’t be detected by a visual inspection by your considerate Elder Auto tech.
Denver car owners should only hire qualified tire professionalsto perform repairs – we have a whole team of them at Elder Auto. Aurora folks can buy self repair kits, but we advise you to save those for emergencies, like when you’re off-roading and need a quick fix so you can hobble back to Denver civilization and get professional help. If you need to use a repair-in-a-can product, remember it’s a temporary measure only and your tire needs to be properly repaired as soon as possible.
Here are some other considerations: A DIY flat repair may void your tire manufacturer’s warranty – just something to keep in mind. Also, if you repair a speed rated tire, you should not use it in any motorsports or operate it above legal speed limits. Your considerate Elder Auto tire specialist will repair your tire whenever it’s safe to do so and he’ll advise you when it’s better to replace it. So watch those curbs and keep the air – on the inside.
Elder Auto 5555 East Evans Ave Denver, CO 80222 303.756.2886
At Elder Auto we install quality NAPA replacement parts.
As Denver consumers, we live in a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away.
New stuff comes out so fast in CO, and much of it is fairly cheap, so we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids in Aurora, our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff – especially parents who grew up in the Depression. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough, we had to do without.
Denver auto owners couldn’t afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us Denver penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles with proper care. The engineering’s there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the automobile manufacturer’s maintenance schedules.
Is it really that bad for Denver motorists to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes, you’ve created an opportunity for detrimental sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don’t get oiled and they start to wear out faster.
Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.
It’s also even more important for older vehicles in the Denver area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they’re working harder anyway. But it’s never too late for Denver drivers to get back on track with vital maintenance and to hold off further expensive damage.
It’s just another example of our parents knowing what’s best. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That’s like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let your service professional at Elder Auto in Denver help you keep track of the rest.
Of course, it is inevitable for Denver motorists that some things are going to wear out along the way – critical stuff like alternators, water pumps and such – they don’t last forever. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It’s like having high cholesterol; you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.
Elder Auto 5555 East Evans Ave Denver, CO 80222 303.756.2886
Most Denver and Englewood motorists want to save on gas and seek our advice on improving gas mileage. At Elder Auto, we are frequently asked, however, if it is really worth the extra effort. Just how much money can Denver car owners actually save?
The US government has a website dedicated to helping us use less fuel. It presents the cost savings in a way Denver car owners can relate to and is relevant for all vehicles. Let me give you an example: Having your minivan engine properly tuned, can save up to 4%. If you’re paying three-fifty for a gallon of gas in Denver, you could save fourteen cents a gallon.
In today’s Elder Auto article, we’re focusing on the things you can do to improve your minivanfuel efficiency driving around CO. We’ll tell you the potential savings per gallon of gas at three dollars and fifty cents, and we’ll show a chart that also shows the savings at three and four dollars.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
TUNE UP 4%
The next item is replacing a clogged engine air filter. Your engine needs enough air to burn fuel efficiently for the best MPG. A clean air filter means you get plenty of air. The fact that the air’s clean protects your engine. That can save you up to ten percent or thirty-five cents a gallon.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
AIR FILTER 10%
Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve economy by up to forty percent. That’s a whopping dollar forty in savings per gallon. Bring your car to Elder Auto in Denver and we’ll check your oxygen sensor.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
FAULTY O2 SENSOR 40%
Chances are that if your oxygen sensor is kaput your check engine light will come on. Now, there’s any number of things that could cause your check engine light to come on besides oxygen sensor problems. But if it’s on, get it checked out as soon as you can at Elder Auto.
Here’s an easy one for brilliant Denver auto owners. Inflate your tires to the recommended pressure. That could save you three percent or eleven cents a gallon. Even a little drop in pressure will bring down your MPG, so check your tires every week.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
TIRE INFLATION 3%
Your minivan automobile manufacturer has recommended a specific weight of motor oil. The recommendation is based on engine design and will give you the best protection. Using a heavier weight could cost one to two percent in reduced gas mileage, or up to seven cents a gallon.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
RIGHT GRADE MOTOR OIL 2%
Here’s one that’s free for Denver drivers that want to save bucks: Take it easy when you drive. Aggressive driving (we’ve all seen this on Denver roads), rocketing away from stop lights, standing on the brakes, punching it for lane changes – really takes a toll on your MPG.
Cutting out aggressive driving around Denver can save five percent or eighteen cents a gallon. Now on the expressway it gets really costly: thirty three percent or a buck sixteen a gallon. Think about that – and leave a little earlier.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
DRIVE AGRESSIVELY – MIN. 5%
DRIVE AGGRESSIVELY – MAX. 33$
A related item is exceeding the speed limit. For example, if the speed limit is sixty miles per hour on your Denver expressway, an additional five miles will cost seven percent or twenty-five cents a gallon. Fifteen miles per hour will cost you upwards of eighty cents a gallon.
DOLLARS PER GALLON
SPEED LIMIT – MIN. 7%
SPEED LIMIT – MAX. 23%
The last thing we’ll talk about is excess weight. Our minivans tend to accumulate a lot of things and the weight adds up. Clear out the trunk and only haul stuff when you really need it. For every one hundred pounds you can save two percent or seven cents a gallon.
Sorry honey, your brother can’t come with. It’d cost an extra thirty cents a gallon.