There are so many tire choices in the Denver, Englewood, and Littleton area, selecting the right one can be a bit overwhelming for Aurora drivers. And even though it’s kind of fun to have new tires on your minivan, they’re a significant investment for most Aurora folks so you want do it right.
Tip: talk with your considerate Elder Auto tire professional. He’ll help you sort through the choices.
Here are some of the important issues you’ll talk about: One is size – you know, all those numbers on the side of the tire. The right size is critical. All new vehicles are required to have stability control which, along with other important safety systems, is calibrated to work with specific tire sizes. Your Denver tire professional can help stay within manufacturers’ specifications or program a different tire size into your minivan’s computer.
And you’ll want to discuss how and where you drive in Aurora to determine the type of tire you need: summer, winter, all season tires or all-terrain. There are tires for every Denver auto owner’s needs.
Like we said, tires are a big investment, so you want to get a good value on tires. Now that doesn’t always mean the cheapest tire. A top tier tire from Elder Auto will last a long time and give Denver motorists good performance throughout its life. Tires sold in Denver bargain tire shops may not live up to that promise. Again, your considerate Elder Auto tire professional can give you options that offer the best long-term value within your immediate budget.
Last, with a 2-wheel drive vehicle, it’s important to always replace both tires on an axle. Modern sensors and computer safety systems for minivan brakes, stability and traction control need both tires to have the same amount of wear to work properly. And always put the new tires on the rear so you don’t fishtail in a turn. With all-wheel drive you should replace all four tires at the same time.
Schedule a tire inspection at Elder Auto to see how much life is left in your minivan tires and seek the help of a professional when choosing new shoes for your vehicle.
Give us a call
5555 East Evans Ave
Denver, CO 80222
One Denver automotive service issue that doesn’t get much attention is driveline service. Drivelines don’t get talked about very much around Aurora, but they’re very essential. First let’s define what the driveline is:
Taking a small step back, the power plant is comprised of the engine and transmission. The driveline starts there and includes all of the components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels.
That’s not really a lot of components, but they handle the full force of the engine. Without the driveline you’re not moving. So Denver car owners need to take good care of it. The driveline components differ depending on whether your vehicle has front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, all wheel drive or four wheel drive. For purposes of our discussion, we’re going to have to oversimplify a bit.
If you are ready to have your drive train looked at, give us a call: Elder Auto
5555 East Evans Ave
Denver, CO 80222 Call Us at 303.756.2886
Let’s start with front wheel drive. The point where the transmission stops and the driveline begins is a little blurred with front wheel drive because the transaxle houses both the transmission function and the differential function. The half shafts that send power to each front wheel, come out of the transaxle. The shaft is connected to the wheel by a constant velocity, or CV, joint. The CV joint is protected from dirt and water by an airtight, flexible rubber boot.
So, Elder Auto driveline service would include properly servicing the transaxle and inspecting the cv boot to see if it’s torn or loose. If it is, it needs to be replaced and the CV joint inspected for damage. Repairs may be in order. Besides visual damage to the airtight CV boot, you might hear a clicking noise when turning. Recommended maintenance for the transaxle and CV joints will be spelled out in your owner’s manual or check with your considerate Elder Auto service professional.
On to rear wheel drive. The driveline for a rear wheel drive vehicle starts with the driveshaft – that long tube that connects the transmission with the differential on the rear axle. Some vehicles in Denver have a two piece drive shaft. The shafts are connected to the transmission and the differential with big universal joints. Most Denver auto owners have probably heard the term ‘u-joints‘. These joints can wear out, just like the CV joints in front wheel drive vehicles. You may hear some clunking or feel a jolt when shifting into drive or reverse – if you do, get your driveline inspected at Elder Auto in Denver.
The differential on the rear axle sends power out to each rear wheel through half shafts in the axle. The differential fluid needs to be drained periodically and replaced with clean fluid. When the seal on the end of the axle is damaged or leaks, the axle will need to be serviced. The routine maintenance item here is differential service. Be sure to check your owner’s manual or Denver service advisor for intervals.
Now let’s go on to all wheel drive. Remember that the difference between all wheel drive and four wheel drive is that an all wheel drive vehicle is essentially providing power to all of the wheels all of the time. The minivan may be able to shift more of the power to the front or to the back depending on where you need traction. All wheel drive vehicles are designed to work well on dry pavement. Even some high-end sports cars from makers like Lamborghini and Porsche have all wheel drive.
Some all wheel drive vehicles are designed to work well off-road in Denver, but all hard-core rock crawlers are four wheel drive. These guys thrive in mud, sand, rocks and hills – but they don’t work well on dry pavement when they’re in four wheel drive. So they have the option to shift to rear wheel drive only on dry pavement.
Most all-wheel drive vehicles are very similar to front wheel drive when it comes to the front end. They also have a center differential that transfers power to the rear differential. Connecting it all is a shaft from the transaxle to the center differential and another from the center differential to the rear differential. So all of the normal front wheel drive service is vital as well as service to the center and rear differentials.
Four wheel drive can be thought of as a rear wheel drive vehicle that can also send power to the front axle. There’s a transfer case in the middle of the vehicle that can be shifted to send power through a drive shaft to a differential on the front axle. So Denver car owners need differential service for the front and rear differentials and for the transfer case as well.
The bottom line for Denver auto owners is that the maintenance schedules are in your owner’s manual. Your Denver service advisor can answer any questions you’ve got. If this is the first time you’ve heard some of this stuff – it’s time to ask someone at Elder Auto if any of it needs to be done now.
Improved fuel economy has two benefits for Denver car owners: less fuel is necessary and fewer emissions are released. Littleton cars and trucks run cleaner than ever. Denver auto owners may not realize that the first federally mandated pollution control device came out almost fifty years ago.
CO car owners that were around in the early 60’s may remember that the PCV Valve came out on 1964 model cars. PCV stand for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. The crankcase is the lower part of the engine where the crankshaft is housed and where the engine oil lives. The crankshaft is connected to the pistons that power the engine.
When fuel is burned in the minivan engine, it pushes the pistons down and the crankshaft rotates and sends power to the transmission. Some of the explosive gases from combustion squeeze past the pistons and down into the crankcase.
Now this gas is about 70% unburned fuel. If it were allowed to remain in the crankcase, it would contaminate the oil and quickly turn it to dangerous sludge. Sludge is like Vaseline and clogs passages in the engine leading to damage.
Also, the pressure build up would blow out seals and gaskets. So in the old days, there was just a hose that vented the crankcase out into the air. Obviously, not good for our air quality in Denver.
Enter the PCV valve. It’s a small, one-way valve that lets out the detrimental gases from the crankcase, and routes them back into the air intake system where they are re-burned in the engine. Fresh air comes into the crankcase through a breather tube. This makes for good circulation in the crankcase. And that gets the harmful air out. As you can imagine, however, the valve gets gummed up over time.
Littleton drivers that skip oil changes now and then will notice that the PCV valve gets gummed up even faster. If the PCV valve is sticking in your minivan, the gases won’t circulate as well, leading to increased pressure in the crankcase. That, in turn, can lead to oil leaks. Fortunately, the PCV valve is very inexpensive to replace at Elder Auto in Denver. Some can even be checked by your considerate Elder Auto advisor.
Your minivan car makers usually recommend they be changed somewhere between twenty and fifty thousand miles. Unfortunately, PCV valve replacement is left out of some minivan owner’s manuals, but at Elder Auto, we will make sure your PVC is replaced if needed.
All of us Littleton car owners can do our part for the environment. Watch that lead foot, stay on top of our critical automotive maintenance and don’t forget to replace our PCV valve.
With the recent focus in Littleton on improving fuel efficiency, we’ve been told how important it is to maintain our tire pressure.
Denver drivers know that tires wear out, but we want to make them last as long as possible because they’re not cheap to replace. In addition to saving gas, properly inflated tires last longer. Under-inflated tires will wear out more quickly.
Some Littleton drivers wonder if they should add a few extra pounds of pressure when they fill up their tires. Bad idea. In fact, there are very good reasons not to over-inflate your tires. For one, the middle of the tread will wear unevenly because the full tread is not contacting the road properly. That also adversely affects your handling.
Stop by Elder Auto to see about tire maintenance for your Denver, CO vehicle.
5555 East Evans Ave
Denver, CO 80222
Every vehicle in the Littleton area has a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb that tells you the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure. This recommendation is an integral part of the vehicle’s suspension tuning. A lot of engineering actually goes into the recommended tire pressure, so it’s important for Littleton auto owners to follow it.
What else do Denver drivers need to know about tire maintenance? Tire rotation and balancing are very important. Let’s start with rotation. Because the front tires handle the brunt of turning forces, the shoulders of the front tires wear more quickly than the rear tires. At Elder Auto in Denver, we rotate the tires so that they all get to do some duty on the front and they’ll all wear evenly over their life.
For most vehicles, front tires are rotated to the rear and vice versa. Others recommend a cross rotational pattern. Some vehicles use an asymmetrical tire so those tires need to stay on either the right or left side – it’ll say which on the tire. Some high performance cars have asymmetrical tires and different sizes on the front and rear. These can’t be rotated at all. Your owner’s manual will have details for your car or talk to your considerate Elder Auto technician.
How often should Auroracar owners rotate their tires? Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation. Your considerate Elder Auto tech at Elder Auto in Denver can do a visual inspection to let you know if it looks like it should be done. The interval is typically around 5,000 miles.
You know, some Denver people don’t think new tires need to be balanced. What they aren’t taking into account is the wheel. Between the wheel and the tire – even a new tire – there’s enough variation to require balancing.
When you add the valve stem and tire pressure monitoring sensors required on new cars, balancing is definitely important. When a tire’s out of balance, it’s actually hopping down the road. Denver motorists with tires out of balance will feel the vibration through the steering wheel if a front tire’s out of balance and through the seat if it’s a rear tire.
Proper wheel balance promotes tire life and increases safety for Aurora drivers and their passengers. Historically, lead weights have been attached to the wheel to bring it into balance. Lead gives some environmental concern, so steel weights are starting to be substituted.
The team at Elder Auto also wants to remind you that it is critical to always use the same size tire on an axle. Different size tires on the front or on the back can lead to some real handling problems. And CO tire manufacturers recommend that when you get two new tires, they be installed on the rear because that’s where you need the most traction to avoid spinning-out.
If you’ve ever heard a squealing sound under your minivan hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems in your minivan. Let’s go over them.
First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Denver. More importantly, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your minivan’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.
The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).
And, on most minivans, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Denver cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.
When they understand what it does, Denver car owners realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why car makers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owners manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owners manual, come see us at Elder Auto.
At Elder Auto in Denver, your considerate technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.
If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your considerate service professional at Elder Auto. There’s a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Elder Auto, we recommend Denver auto owners that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.
As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your minivan.
All in all, the serpentine belt’s is essential to the operation of your minivan. And it’s not that expensive to replace at Elder Auto – so it’s good to do so before it fails.
Hey Denver auto owners – this is something really amazing: For every gallon of gas your minivan burns, it uses 12,000 gallons of air. All of that air has to be filtered to keep your engine clean.
That’s like a hundred gallons of air every block! The engine air filter is just another example of a very critical but inexpensive part that has to do a tremendous amount of work. And when it works, everything goes well. But, when it doesn’t, well, it can lead to costly problems. Of course, your automobile manufacturer recommends how often to change your air filter. But like most service intervals, where and how you drive your car in CO affects when your filter needs to be changed.
Dusty conditions around Aurora or polluted city driving means you’ll need to change your filter more often. Your considerate Elder Auto service professional can check your filter for you. In fact, it’s often a routine part of an oil change.
When you think about it, a clogged air filter won’t allow as much air through as a clean filter. Your minivan needs this air to efficiently burn its fuel, giving you better fuel efficiency and performance.
Dirtier filters don’t work as well as clean ones. A filter can only hold so much, after that, it allows dirt to pass right into your engine. Air filters come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different grades. There are high performance air filters available for most cars. These high performance filters are a little more pricey in Denver, but they increase horsepower and may improve fuel economy to boot.
So it’s critical for Denver auto owners to have their air filter checked. If it needs replacing, it doesn’t cost very much at Elder Auto in Denver and it should easily pay for itself in better gas mileage before your next oil change.
Stop by Elder Auto at 5555 East Evans Ave, Denver, CO 80222, and we’ll take a look at your air filter for you. Feel free to give us a call at 303.756.2886 to make an appointment.
5555 East Evans Ave
Denver, CO 80222
Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don’t hear much any more about cars overheating. That’s because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn’t mean you can’t overheat your minivan engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the highway in Denver waiting for your minivan engine to cool down.
When you service your cooling system at Elder Auto, your service specialist will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good car care. Your minivan owner’s manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.
If your engine overheated, your considerate service specialist will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the minivan radiator for cracks and the radiator hoses for leaks. He’ll also check your water pump. They don’t need to be replaced on a regular schedule, but they do need an inspection regularly. They can and do wear out.
The water pump is a critical component of your minivan cooling system. It pumps the coolant to keep it circulating through the engine. The coolant is cooled in the radiator, then it travels through the engine, where it absorbs heat, then it returns to the radiator, where it releases the heat. And so on. But a water pump is something of a misnomer. The fluid pumped through your minivan cooling system is not just water. It also contains coolant, which is actually poisonous. You should never consider your radiator as an emergency water supply.
There are many types of coolant. It varies from vehicle to vehicle, and using the wrong kind could damage your engine. Your service professional will know which kind your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at Elder Auto is always a good source for auto advice. We’ve been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Denver for 16 years.
Keeping your cooling system in good repair will help keep your engine running well, and keep you out of the Aurora repair shop. This means that a regular cooling system inspection should be on your schedule for routine preventive maintenance of your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you need to do this. It varies depending on what kind of car you drive, what type of driving you do and where you live in CO.
At Elder Auto, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.
Sometimes we hear Denver drivers say, “What’s up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don’t break down.” While it is true that today’s cars and trucks are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most Denver auto owners don’t realize how high tech automotive fluids have become. Fluids like, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.
Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today’s automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle’s components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and miles march on for all of our cars. Please don’t think we’re using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance – but here are some personal stories from AutoNetTV staff members to emphasize and show how important it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and bucks. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.
The first comes from a staffer who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on a highway in CO and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced – just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundred of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.
Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. Our staffer took his SUV in for the CO safety inspection to renew his registration. At the Denver inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the income. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind – over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a little cash on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story for Denver drivers: don’t skip your critical annual inspections. The irony is that many Denver service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.
Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy’s little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn’t get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire – so it was powerful enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later – and then an alignment.
Situation: son and wife with cars from the same car maker with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son’s maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done – it cost several hundred dollars. His wife’s car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed and the entire head was shredded and had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule? You bet he does – every time he passes a big-screen TV.
The team at Elder Auto in Denver recommends taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better and is more economical to operate in CO. Remember to save those maintenance records. It’ll show potential buyers that you’ve taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren’t any, assume that the maintenance hasn’t been done and take it to your Englewood or Littleton service center or Elder Auto in Denver for an inspection. Take care of unperformed critical routine maintenance sooner rather than later.
5555 East Evans Ave
Denver, CO 80222
Let’s start at the tank. The gas tank gathers dirt, rust and sediment over the years. That’s why there’s a fuel filter to clean the fuel after it leaves the tank. A dirty filter will rob the engine of the clean gas it needs to run efficiently.
The fuel intake components get coated with gum and varnish over time. This results in fuel being delivered inefficiently and some of that gunk getting into the engine. A fuel system service at Elder Auto will leave your intake as clean as a whistle.
The big fuel thief is dirty fuel injectors. They deliver fuel to the engine at a specified pressure and in a particular spray pattern. When they’re clogged, the fuel doesn’t get atomized the way it’s supposed to and doesn’t get burned as efficiently.
See your owner’s manual or ask your Englewood service advisor at Elder Auto when a fuel system cleaning is recommended.
Denver auto owners often ask the question: “Will using premium gas make my car run better?” The answer is simple. But first, let’s talk about what exactly premium gasoline is.
Different grades of gasoline have different octane ratings. Regular gasoline has the lowest octane rating and premium the highest. Most gas stations around Denver, CO also carry a mid-grade that falls in between the two. The octane range for the different grades of gas varies by region due to altitude differences.
Engines require different octane ratings because of design differences. For example, turbocharged engines usually require premium gas.
There’s a sticker on your gas tank filler lid that tells you the minimum octane rating your automobile manufacturer recommends.
For help identifying the type of gasoline your engine needs, come by Elder Auto in Denver:
5555 East Evans Ave
Denver, CO 80222
Denver car owners should read their owner’s manuals carefully to see if it’s acceptable to use lower grades. With some cars in Denver, CO it is; the engine control computer can adapt. Denver car owners will lose some performance, but won’t do damage. With other engines, using a lower grade of fuel could result in serious and pricey damage; so you don’t want to save a couple of bucks at the pump only to pay it out a hundred fold at your Denver repair shop.
Today’s computer controlled vehicles are optimized to run well on the recommended grade of fuel. Using a higher grade than is recommended will not give Denver car owners any additional performance or better fuel economy.
Regulations require detergents for all grades of gasoline, so your engine will have the same protection, regardless of the grade of fuel you use. If you do hear some knocking or pinging from your engine, take it seriously and get your minivan into Elder Auto. It may be a sign that you need a tune-up or some other repair.
In times of costly gas prices, most Denver auto owners are conscious of making their fuel dollar go further as we drive around CO. Be sure to use the right gas for your car. Keep your tires properly inflated and your vehicle well maintained and you will get the best gas mileage possible.