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Drive Train – What You Need to Know In Denver

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.

Watch our auto tips video from AutoNetTV

Keep Your Denver Car Breathing Free: Engine Air Filter


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.

Elder Auto
5555 East Evans Ave
Denver, CO 80222
303.756.2886

Cool Running In Denver

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.

Suspension Service In Denver At Elder Auto

When they hear the word ‘suspension,’ Denver auto owners may think back to those energetic days of grade school. Well, your car’s suspension is actually a good thing because it keeps your car up off the road and helps provide a comfy ride around Aurora. Its job is to keep your wheels firmly planted over bumps and through curves. Your suspension system has many vital parts. If you look under your car, it’s basically everything that connects your wheels to the minivan’s frame. These are heavy duty parts that do a lot of work. They need to be inspected for damage and excessive wear at least once a year. A good time for this is when you get your annual alignment service at Elder Auto.

Here are some warning signs of suspension problems:

  • the car pulls to one side
  • it wanders
  • the steering is erratic
  • you see uneven tire wear
  • you experience a poor ride or handling
  • you see oil leaking from shocks

Basically, you just don’t feel in control when you’re driving.

Some suspension parts just wear out with use. Shocks and struts eventually lose their ability to control your ride. Wheel bearings need to be repacked every couple of years. And some suspension pieces need to be lubricated when you get your oil changed. Your considerate service specialist at Elder Auto can perform an inspection and tell you what problems you may have.

If you’re in an accident, your suspension can be damaged or knocked out of alignment. Even a minor accident, like hitting a curb around Denver or even a large rock can mess things up for Denver drivers. With a minor accident it’s tempting for many Aurora car owners to just get an alignment or wheel balance to correct the problem. But if there’s damage, a simple alignment won’t actually fix the problem, and you’ll just have to align it again after the repairs are made. So if you have an accident, get your suspension system inspected right away. Suspension problems are a major safety issue because they can lead to unsafe handling.

One big cause of suspension damage for Denver drivers is potholes – those nasty magnets that form in Aurora roads in freezing weather. They seem to draw our tires right into them. Here are some tips for avoiding damage from potholes: First, keep your tires at their full air pressure. That gives tires their maximum resiliency and will hopefully keep your wheels or other suspension parts from crunching on a big hole. Next, just pay attention. When you see a hole you can’t miss, slow down before you hit it. Driving at a slower speed will limit the damage, and may keep your drink from spilling. But avoid the temptation to brake directly over the pothole. That will cause the car’s weight to shift forward and add to the potential damage.

Elder Auto
Give us a call today at 303.756.2886
Or stop by at 5555 East Evans Ave, Denver, CO 80222

Cabin Air Filter From Elder Auto

Here is a questions for bright Denver auto owners What is a cabin air filter?

Is it:

  1. A filter for a house in the middle of the woods?
  2. A fresh, piney scent?
  3. A filter for the passenger compartment of your car?

Clever you, it’s 3.

A cabin air filter cleans the outside air before it comes into the passenger compartment. It filters out dust, pollen, spores, bacteria, pollutants, sparrows, detrimental exhaust gas and odors.

These high tech filters can block particles larger than 3 microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.

Now not all vehicles in the Aurora area have cabin filters. They are fairly new on the scene in CO. About forty percent of new vehicles come with cabin air filters, but the number is growing every year.

Cabin air filters can make for a very nice driving environment for Denver motorists. Your car can be a haven during CO allergy season with very little dust and pollen getting into the cabin. However, like all filters, your 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.

Elder Auto
5555 East Evans Ave
Denver, CO 80222
303.756.2886


 

Check your automobile manufacturer’s owner’s manual for recommended replacement intervals. Often, the owner’s manual forgets about the cabin air filter, so ask your considerate Elder Auto service advisor for a recommendation. It’s usually every year or 12,000 miles/ 19,000 kilometers. Change it sooner if you drive in dusty Denver conditions or if you start to notice an odor from your ventilation system.

So, Denver car owners, keep your cabin air filter clean. It may not help with your brother-in-law in the backseat, but it will make your driving experience more enjoyable.

Air Conditioning Service In Denver

Hey Aurora! Let’s talk about one of our CO summertime must-haves: your car A/C. It’s real easy for Denver motorists to take their car’s air conditioner for granted. Just push the right buttons and out comes cool, dry, clean air. But your air conditioning system needs attention from time to time to help it keep its cool.

Do you hear loud noises under the hood when you turn on your air conditioner? Do you only get cool air sporadically? If so, it is time to get your air conditioner checked at Elder Auto in Denver.

When most Aurora folks hear the words “air conditioning problems“, it sends a shiver up their spine. That is because the air conditioning system is fairly complex. It has a lot of parts and when it’s broken, it’s expensive to repair.

What things can Denver and Commerce City drivers do to prevent air conditioning breakdowns?

A common cause of air conditioning failure is leaks. Water and air can leak into the system. It doesn’t work as well with air in it and water can cause rust that leads to damage of the car A/C components. Also, refrigerant, the stuff that makes the air cold, can leak out, reducing the efficiency of the system, making it work harder to cool the air. Periodically evacuating the air conditioning system and recharging it keeps the proper amount of clean refrigerant in the system so it cools better and lasts longer.

Denver car owners should run their air conditioner regularly, even during CO winter, so that it lubricates itself and keeps the seals from drying out, which leads to leaks. Your owner’s manual will have recommendations for how often to service your air conditioner. Of course, if it’s not working right, now is the time to get it checked. The team at Elder Auto in Denver can inspect and test your air conditioning and offer evacuation and recharge services. This helps you avoid expensive repairs.

New environmental laws have stopped the manufacture of Freon, a refrigerant that was common in cars made before 1993. There is a very limited supply of Freon in  CO so the price is very steep. It may not be worth its weight in gold, but it probably is worth its weight in silver. If you have an older minivan that uses Freon, you may want to consider having it retrofitted to use the new R134-A refrigerant. It will pay for itself in the long run. So, if your A/C is just a lot of hot air, bring it in to Elder Auto in Denver for an inspection.

 

Elder Auto
5555 East Evans Ave
Denver, CO 80222
303.756.2886


At Elder Auto we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

Elder Auto Radiator Service

The coolant system is a vital part of your vehicle. It is also the second most common cause for vehicle failures. Even though coolant system failure is fairly common in Denver, it is easy to prevent.

Elder Auto
5555 East Evans Ave
Denver, CO 80222
303.756.2886
303.756.2886

The most recognizable part of the coolant system to Aurora car owners is the radiator. It is connected to the engine with hoses and is filled with coolant. The coolant draws heat off the engine and then passes into the radiator. Air passes through cooling fins to reduce the temperature of the coolant and then it’s back to the engine again.

There are several ways for the cooling system failure. Most common is with the coolant itself. Coolant is comprised of water and antifreeze. The proper ratio keeps the coolant from either boiling away or freezing. Understandably, either can lead to massive engine damage.

Another vital coolant issue that is often overlooked by Denver drivers is the age of the coolant itself. Antifreeze has additives that protect the coolant system from corrosion. As these additives are depleted over time, they can’t protect the radiator and other parts from rust, scaling and corrosion. That old container of coolant gathering dust in your garage may still keep your engine cool, but it won’t protect it from corrosion.

If get a warning message to check the coolant or if the minivan temperature gauge is in the hot zone, your cooling system needs to be checked. It’s OK to add water or antifreeze yourself. But you need to be cautious. Remember four things:

  • First, you never want to open the radiator pressure cap. You could be severely burned.
  • Second, get to Elder Auto in Denver immediately if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your minivan owners manual – it will direct you to only make additions to the coolant overflow bottle.
  • Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze. If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with your Elder Auto service center where we can make necessary adjustments.
  • Fourth, not all cars use the same type of antifreeze. You need to check your minivan owners manual to make sure you use the right kind. Mixing antifreeze types or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the manufacturers warranty on your cooling system. Again, another reason to depend on your Elder Auto service center in Denver to do things right.

Remember, your Denver service center has the equipment to change your coolant quickly and inexpensively.

PCV Valve Replacement

Hello Denver auto owners, let’s talk about your often-unnoticed but extremely important PCV valve. The energy from exploding fuel is what powers your engine. But some of the vapors from the explosions escape into the lower part of the engine, called the crankcase. The crankcase is where your engine oil hangs out. These gases are about 70% unburned fuel. If the gases were allowed to stay in the crankcase, they would quickly contaminate the oil and turn it to sludge. Aurora folks know that sludge is one of the biggest enemies of your engine, clogging it up, eventually leading to expensive failures. Also, the pressure build up would cause seals and gaskets to blow out. Therefore, these gases need to be vented out.

Pre-1963, gasoline engines had a hose that let the harmful fumes vent out into the air. In 1963, the federal government required gas engines to have a special one-way valve installed to help reduce dangerous emissions. (Can you imagine how polluted our Aurora air would be if every car had been releasing those poisonous fumes for the last fifty years?) Diesel engines are not required to have these valves.

The positive crankcase ventilation, or PCV, valve routes crankcase gases through a hose and back into the air intake system where they are re-burned in the engine. Fresh, clean air is brought into the crankcase through a breather tube. It’s really a pretty simple system, but it does the job. The re-circulating air removes moisture and combustion waste from the crankcase, preventing sludge. This extends not only the life of your oil, but the engine as well. The PCV relieves pressure in the crankcase, preventing dangerous oil leaks.


Eventually, the PCV valve can get gummed up
. Then it can’t move enough air through the engine to keep it working properly for Denver drivers. If the PCV valve is sticking enough, you could have oil leaks, excess oil consumption and a fouled intake system. If you experience hesitation or surging or an oil leak, it may be a sign of PCV valve problems. Your automobile manufacturer’s owners’ manual may give a recommendation for when the PCV valve should be replaced – usually between 20,000 mi/32,000 km and 50,000 mi/80,000 km. Unfortunately, some manufacturers don’t list a recommendation in the manual, so it can be easy to overlook.

Many PCV system problems can be diagnosed with a diagnostic examination by your considerate Elder Auto service professional. Fortunately, PCV valve replacement is both quick and inexpensive at Elder Auto. Proper oil changes will greatly extend the life of the PCV valve. Skipping a few recommended oil changes can allow varnish and gum to build up in the valve, reducing its efficiency. So now when your Denver service technician tells you its time to replace your PCV valve, you will know what he’s talking about. If you have had your car for a while and this is the first you’ve ever heard of a PCV value, ask your tech to check yours out or call Elder Auto at 303.756.2886.

Power Steering Service In Denver

Most Denver auto owners are too young to remember life before power steering – cranking those great big steering wheels! It was a pretty good workout. Now power steering is standard. Let’s look at how it works. The heart of any power steering system is its pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid that provides assist for steering. Most pumps are driven by a belt that is run by the engine – a few are electrically powered. A high-pressure hose passes fluid from the pump to the steering gear. A low pressure hose returns the fluid back to the pump.

These hoses can develop leaks, so it is a good idea fir Denver auto owners to have them inspected at every oil change. Low fluid can damage the power steering pump. That is why fluid level is on the checklist for a full-service oil change. The fluid needs to be compatible with the hoses and seals, so check your owners’ manual for the right type – or just ask your considerate service advisor at Elder Auto in Denver.

The fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the power steering system. It breaks down as the years go by and collects unwanted moisture, so Denver drivers need to replace it from time to time. Many auto manufacturers specify power steering service intervals. Unfortunately, this important service is sometimes left off the car maintenance schedule for many of us in Aurora. So, when in doubt, every 25,000 miles/40,000 km or two years is a good fallback. Your considerate Elder Auto technician  will use a detergent to clean the system, flush out the old fluid and replace it with the good stuff.

Here are some essential warning signs of trouble with your power steering: It’s harder to turn the wheel, there’s erratic power assist, you hear loud whining coming from the pump (which may be difficult to hear over the loud whining coming from the backseat), you have to top-off the fluid frequently, or you hear squealing belts. Remember to never hold the steering wheel to the far right or left for more than a few seconds at a time. That will wear out your power steering pump real fast.

Other vital steering components can be bent or damaged from wear or hard knocks. Ball-joint, idler-arm, steering-gear, steering-knuckle and tie rod to name a few. Warning signs here are steering play, wandering, uneven tire wear, and off-center steering wheel. An annual alignment check at Elder Auto in Denver will reveal bent or damaged steering components.

Most SUV’s, pick-ups and rear-wheel-drive cars need regular front-wheel-bearing service.

The bearings should be cleaned and inspected. If they are excessively worn, they need to be replaced. The bearings are then repacked in clean grease. The team at Elder Auto also recommends the wheel-seal be replaced when the bearings are serviced. Like everything else, check your owners’ manual maintenance schedule. It’s usually required around every two years or 40,000 miles/64,000 km. If you drive through water in the Aurora area, the bearings will need service more often.

Elder Auto
5555 East Evans Ave
Denver, CO 80222
303.756.2886


 

The Elder Auto Guide to Proper Fluids for Your Vehicle

The automotive professionals at Elder Auto would like to give Denver auto owners an update on some of the things happening in automotive fluids. You know, cars are becoming more sophisticated everyday – and fluids such as, oil, coolant and transmission fluid are becoming more specialized at about the same pace.

The Aurora do-it-yourselfer has to be pretty careful so that they do not actually harm their minivan with the wrong type of fluid. That is why so many CO car owners rely on the advice of their considerate Elder Auto service specialist to not only get the correct family of fluids, but to suggest the formulation that is best for their car and their driving habits in the Denver area.

Let’s start with engine oil. Commerce City motorists who have been paying attention, will have noticed a number of new oil weights on the CO scene in the last several years. Modern engines are built to much tighter tolerances and have very complicated valve trains. The oil must be thin enough to lubricate complicated parts when the engine is cold. The weight of an oil is expressed in terms like 20-W-50 or 5-W-30. The automobile manufacturers recommend the weight of oil for each vehicle they make. The recommendation is based on engine design. Your Denver service center will know what weight your car maker recommends – and it’s important to follow those recommendations. Your tech at Elder Auto can also offer suggestions for special formulations and can tell you all about conventional and synthetic oils.

Antifreeze,
or engine coolant, is another area that has become more complicated. For a long time, manufacturers only recommended a couple of different types of coolant. Now, several different formulations are needed because of the high-tech materials that auto makers are using to build the cooling system. Using the wrong type of coolant in your minivan or other vehicle can actually void your warranty, so it’s important to get that right.

Transmission fluid is becoming specialized for Denver vehicles as well. New transmission designs have particular requirements that require specific formulations. Recently, new, somewhat confusing, standards for brake fluid have also been released.

Not too long ago, there was a good chance that all of the vehicles at your Denver house would use many of the same fluids. However, as automotive technology advances, the array of basic automotive fluids CO car owners need will grow. And, some of the formulations will cost a little more for Denver drivers. Fortunately, Elder Auto will continue to update their training to keep pace with technology so that you’ll get the right fluids your car needs. It’s all part of the commitment we make to your driving peace of mind.