Auto Service Resources.

Videos and articles designed to help you diagnose and maintain your vehicle.

Cool Running In Apple Valley

Date: October 23, 2014 10:33 AM - Category: Cooling System

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 car engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the freeway in Apple Valley waiting for your car engine to cool down.

When you service your cooling system at Valley Auto Care, your tech 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 car owner’s manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.

If your engine overheated, your experienced service advisor will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the car 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 automotive analysis regularly. They can and do wear out.

The water pump is a critical component of your car 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 car 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 advisor will know which kind your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at Valley Auto Care is always a good source for auto advice. We've been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Apple Valley for 25 years.

Keeping your cooling system in good repair will help keep your engine running well, and keep you out of the Apple Valley 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 Minnesota.

At Valley Auto Care, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.

Budget For Maintenance in Apple Valley

Date: October 16, 2014 3:08 PM - Category: Maintenance

Sometimes busy Apple Valley residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Apple Valley in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Apple Valley car owners spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.

Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Apple Valley motorists would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Apple Valley car owners didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Apple Valley area auto service centers.

Apple Valley car owners should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in Apple Valley is simply more costly than it used to be. So if you think about it, Minnesota auto owners can avoid many expensive car repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.

Edmunds.com has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Apple Valley auto owners can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.

These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Apple Valley car owners know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your car will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.

Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):

Yr. 1 Yr. 2  
Yr. 3 
3-Yr. Total  
Maintenance 748    
225      
794     
1767  
Repairs 352      
409 476 1237  
                           Total 1,100 634 1,270 3,004  
Monthly Average 92 53 106 83  

According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more expensive than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.

Just a bit of auto advice from Valley Auto Care: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and Minnesota auto insurance with an older Apple Valley vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for vital preventive maintenance in Minnesota, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less pricey!

Valley Auto Care Engine Air Filter Replacement

Date: October 7, 2014 10:13 AM - Category: Engine Air Filter

When your experienced Valley Auto Care service professional technician changes your oil, he will also inspect your air filter. You shouldn’t need a new filter at every oil change, but you will need to change it regularly. Heed your technician’s auto advice if they tell you to change your filter. It’s not expensive, and it makes a big difference to your car.

An air filter does what its name implies: it filters stuff out of the air. Air is drawn into your engine through the filter because your engine needs air to burn fuel. If the filter weren’t there, a lot of dust and debris would come into the car engine with the air. That dust and debris would get hot, burn, and produce all kinds of ash and gumminess that would eventually clog up your engine.

Drop in an air filter and voilá! Problem solved.

But air filters themselves get clogged up with all the junk they clean out of the Apple Valley air. This doesn’t allow the junk into the car engine, but it does block up the airflow. A blocked airflow will reduce engine efficiency.

An engine needs about 12,000 gallons of air to burn just one gallon of gasoline. Think of a runner. If he is breathing well, he can run well. But if he has a lung condition, he won’t be able to generate the oxygen necessary to keep his cells powered up. He won’t be able to run at peak efficiency.

Or consider a vacuum cleaner. Even without the light, you can tell when the vacuum bag is full because the machine just doesn’t clean anymore. Change the bag and its efficiency immediately improves.

So keep your car breathing well by keeping its air filter clean. That’s good car care.

Apple Valley auto owners who get a charge out of the feeling of power in their engine might consider upgrading their air filter. Talk to your experienced Valley Auto Care technician. Premium air filters have been proven to increase horsepower and torque. So with the cost of a premium air filter, you can increase the horsepower in your engine — there’s no cheaper way to do that!

It’s also one of the least costly and simplest elements of essential routine preventive maintenance – and protects against damage to expensive car electronic systems. No Apple Valley resident should have an excuse to drive around Apple Valley roads and expressways with a dirty air filter.

Exhaust Service at Valley Auto Care: Passing the Smell Test

Date: October 1, 2014 1:39 PM - Category: Exhaust

The exhaust system on a vehicle is more complex than most Apple Valley drivers realize. It contains everything from old-fashioned pipes and clamps to sophisticated computers and sensors. All Minnesota folks know a properly functioning exhaust system is good for the environment, but sometimes we forget that a damaged exhaust system can be deadly. That’s why preventive maintenance on your exhaust system is so important. We can help you with that at Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley.

The exhaust manifold is the first component in your exhaust system. The manifold is attached to the engine. It collects the gases that are produced by the engine and directs them into the exhaust pipes. At this point, these gases are both hot and chemically dangerous.

One of the gases produced in your engine is carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless and odorless. Breathing it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness. Continue breathing it, and you will die.

To keep this gas, and others, from entering your car passenger compartment, the connections from the manifold to the engine and from the manifold to the exhaust pipes are sealed with gaskets. These connections should be routinely inspected at Valley Auto Care for cracks and to check if they have come loose.

The exhaust pipes can also get damaged, allowing dangerous gases to leak into your passenger compartment. These pipes can rust or be dented or broken by rocks and other Apple Valley roadway debris, so they need to be inspected regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next component in your car exhaust system. You can breathe a sigh of relief now, because this is where the dangerous engine gases are converted into carbon dioxide and water, greatly reducing the amount of harmful emissions in your exhaust. You’ll also be happy to know that your catalytic converter doesn’t require maintenance. However, it will wear out. If you fail an emissions inspection because of a faulty catalytic converter, you need to replace it.

The muffler’s job is far less critical, but far more noticeable, than the catalytic converter’s. It dampens or absorbs the noise from the engine. Most Apple Valley auto owners don’t realize that we can actually customize the noise our car makes with a custom muffler. You can upgrade to a muffler that will make your car sleuth-quiet, or you can advertise your presence in Apple Valley with a sassy rumble.

Mufflers can also rust or be damaged by road debris. But just because their main function is to dampen out engine noise doesn’t mean they can be ignored. If your muffler is leaking, you need to get it replaced quickly. Exhaust fumes need to exit through your tailpipe, not your muffler.

The exhaust pipe contains at least one oxygen sensor. The sensor monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust, which allows it to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio in the engine. This keeps your car engine running smoothly and maintains good gas mileage. So, besides keeping you and the environment healthy, a well-maintained exhaust system also keeps your car healthy. The tailpipe itself can rust or get damaged by road debris, so it needs a quick inspection once in a while, too.

The whole exhaust system is mounted on the vehicle with clamps and hangers. These clamps and hangers can come loose, rust or get dinged up by road debris. Remember that the gases in your exhaust system are hot, so the exhaust system itself gets hot. The clamps and hangers keep the exhaust system attached to the car, but they also prevent the heated components from touching things they shouldn’t. If you don’t inspect and replace broken, loose or damaged clamps, you may end up with melted wires, hoses or lines. And that can spell some expensive repairs.

You should schedule an exhaust system inspection as recommended in your car owner’s manual. Because this system is critical to your health and the health of your car, and because of its sophistication and complexity, you need to have the work done at a qualified service center such as Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley.

Maintaining your emissions and exhaust system is not just good auto advice: it’s good health advice for all Apple Valley drivers and their families.

Valley Auto Care Service For Your Exhaust System

Date: September 23, 2014 3:14 PM - Category: Exhaust

Your car’s exhaust system is more than just a tailpipe and a muffler. In fact, it is one of the most complex systems on your car. Maintaining it is good Valley Auto Care auto advice for Apple Valley car owners, but it’s also good health advice and good environmental advice.

The exhaust system includes your emissions system. Because this system may affect your health and the health of our Apple Valley area environment, it is subject to strict government regulations. Satisfying these regulations demands some high-tech, computer-controlled equipment, which means that the emissions system is a lot more sophisticated than it was thirty years ago. Most manufacturers recommend that you have your car exhaust and emissions systems checked by a qualified service professional at regular intervals.

The exhaust system starts with the exhaust manifold. Valley Auto Care Service For Your Exhaust SystemThe manifold is attached to the car engine. It collects exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Gaskets seal the connection of the manifold to the engine and to other joints. A cracked or loose manifold or a leaking or damaged gasket can allow dangerous gases to enter the passenger compartment of a vehicle. One of these gases is carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless and deadly. For this reason, it is important that Apple Valley drivers keep their exhaust system in good repair.

The pipes that connect the various parts of the exhaust system can rust or be damaged by rocks or other road debris. Such damage can cause dangerous gases to leak into the air. So it is vital that exhaust pipes get a diagnostic examination regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next vital component of your car exhaust system. It sort of looks like a muffler. Its job is to change dangerous gases into harmless carbon dioxide and water. The catalytic converter doesn’t require any regular maintenance, but it can wear out. If it fails, you will need a new catalytic converter to pass an emissions test in Minnesota. Call Valley Auto Care at 952-431-2700 if you suspect a problem with your catalytic converter.

Oxygen sensors in the exhaust pipe monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust. This helps the car engine’s computer keep the fuel-to-air mixture at optimal levels.

The muffler is also part of your car exhaust system, but it deals with a different kind of emission. It keeps your car from emitting bad sounds. Mufflers act like finely tuned musical instruments. They create a feedback of sound waves to absorb or decrease the noises made by your engine. Different mufflers can create different sound waves, so you can actually “tune” your car to produce a particular sound, anything from whisper to rumble.

It is important for damaged mufflers be replaced immediately at your Apple Valley automotive service center, especially if they are leaking. Not only will the extra noise annoy your Apple Valley neighbors, a leaky muffler could be serious.

The entire exhaust system is attached to your car by hangers and clamps. These fasteners can rust, come loose or break. The critical components of the exhaust system can get very hot, so when the hangers or clamps fail, these hot components can come into contact with other parts such as wires and hoses. These can melt, causing serious and costly damage to your vehicle. Good car care requires that you have your exhaust system inspected regularly.

Let’s not forget the tailpipe. It’s the last essential piece in the exhaust system — and of your car, for that matter. Exhaust fumes exit your car through the tailpipe.

If your car has any of the following symptoms, it may have a problem with the exhaust system: it’s hard to start, it runs rough, it’s noisy, it’s smoking. Also, if your “check engine” light comes on, especially if it’s flashing, it is important to get your car to Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley right away. Often, the “check engine” light indicates a problem with the emissions system.

Caring for your car exhaust system yields cosmetic benefits like quieting your engine sounds, but also may impact your health and safety. Your life, or the life of a loved one, may actually be on the line.

Easy Miles

Date: September 17, 2014 11:08 AM - Category: Service Intervals

 

Have you ever noticed that your auto maker has a schedule in your owner’s manual for what is called “severe service” maintenance? Let’s define what severe driving conditions aren’t: The easiest driving a vehicle experiences is traveling on the interstate for twenty miles or more at a constant rate of 65 miles per hour in 75°F weather with only passengers on board. Change any one of those parameters and you are adding stress to your engine. Change them significantly, and you are driving under severe conditions.

Let’s look at the vital parameters one a time. First, the length of the trip. Short trips around Apple Valley are harder on an engine than longer ones. As your engine cools down, water in the air condenses onto the engine. When you heat the engine again, the water evaporates off. This is healthy. But on short trips, the engine doesn’t stay hot enough long enough for all of the water to evaporate so it starts to build up in the engine oil leading to sludge, which can clog up your engine and lead to serious engine damage. If most or all of your trips around Apple Valley are less than four miles, you should reflect on using the severe service maintenance schedule. Changing your oil more frequently at Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley will help prevent the formation of sludge.

Each car engine has a “power band,” or the range of RPM’s in which it runs most efficiently. Generally this power band falls in the range of Minnesota highway speed driving. So if you’re driving around town in Apple Valley all the time, your engine has to work harder. That’s why fuel efficiency ratings are so much better on the freeway than in the city. Again, this type of driving is considered severe and requires more frequent maintenance for your transmission, cooling system and brake fluid.

Most of us Apple Valley motorists think of severe Minnesota weather conditions when we think of severe driving conditions. And we’re right. Cold Apple Valley area weather takes its toll on the oil in your vehicle. Remember how water has to evaporate out of the oil to keep your engine healthy? It can take up to ten miles of driving for an engine to get hot enough to get rid of moisture in the oil when the weather is cold.

Hot Apple Valley weather is also dangerous for cars. When an engine runs, it gets hot. The longer it runs, the hotter it gets. If it gets too hot, it breaks down. So it has to be constantly cooled to keep running. Hot Minnesota weather means your cooling system has to work harder to keep your engine from getting too hot.

Another important element of severe driving is the conditions we drive through. Dusty, polluted Apple Valley areas are dangerous to your filters. Dirt, dust and contaminants will also get into your fluids, and they’ll get dirty faster, so they’ll need to be changed more often as well. Finally, when you’re pulling a trailer around Apple Valley, carrying heavy loads or using a car-top carrier, you are putting more stress on your engine. The engine, transmission and brakes are all working harder to handle the extra load.

So, in the end, most of us Apple Valley motorists drive under severe conditions some of the time. Smart Apple Valley motorists will ask themselves the question: "Should I follow the severe service maintenance schedule?" An honest evaluation of our driving habits is the best way to determine which schedule to follow.

How Much is Enough for Apple Valley Auto Owners? Tire Tread Depth

Date: September 11, 2014 2:12 PM - Category: Tires and Wheels

Most Apple Valley drivers know that tires wear out and that the wear has to do with tread depth. Most of us have heard that “bald” tires are dangerous, but most of us picture a tire with no tread at all when we think of a bald tire. And when we take our vehicles in for preventive maintenance, the technician tells us they’re need to be replaced long before all the tread is worn off. Just how much tire tread wear is too much? And how can you tell? Tires are pricey and their condition is important to the safe handling of a vehicle, so it’s critical for Apple Valley car owners to know the answers to these questions.

First of all, it’s essential to understand that there may be a legal limit to tread wear. If your tires are worn past this limit, you have to replace them to be in compliance with Minnesota auto safety laws. That’s why measuring your tread wear is part of a vehicle safety inspection.

In some jurisdictions, tread must be at least 1.6 millimeters or 2/32 of an inch thick. This standard has been in effect since 1968. But this standard has recently been called into question, and some Apple Valley car owners are arguing that it be changed.

The safety issue that has brought this standard under scrutiny is the ability of a vehicle to stop on a wet surface. When a vehicle has trouble stopping, most Apple Valley motorists immediately look at the brakes as the source of the problem. But tires are crucial to safe stopping distances because they provide the traction required in a stop.

A tire’s contact with the road surface creates traction, which allows for effective braking. On a wet surface, a tire only has traction if it can get to the road’s surface. So tire tread is designed to channel water out from under the tire to allow it to stay in contact with the road. If the tire can’t shift the water, then it starts to “float.” This condition is called hydroplaning. It is very dangerous for Apple Valley auto owners since the vehicle won’t stop no matter how hard the driver presses the brakes. Steering control is also lost.

A recent study tested the stopping ability of a passenger car and a full-sized pick-up on a road surface covered with only a dime’s depth of water (less than a millimeter). The vehicles were traveling at 70 mph (112 kph) when they stopped on the wet surface. At 2/32 tread depth, the stopping distance was double that of a new tire. The passenger car was still traveling at 55 mph when it reached the stopping distance it experienced with new tires.

Let’s suppose that you’re on a busy Apple Valley interstate in a light drizzle and a vehicle stops suddenly in front of you. You just bought new tires and you brake hard, missing the vehicle with only inches to spare. If you hadn’t bought those new tires, you would have crashed into that vehicle at 55 mph. That is a major difference.

What if your tires had a tread depth of 4/32? You would have crashed into that vehicle at 45 mph. Still not a good situation. But it’s better.

Now what if you were driving that pick-up truck? You wouldn’t have missed that vehicle in the first place, and you would have crashed at higher rates of speed in both of the other scenarios. The heavier your vehicle, the longer its stopping distance. It’s a matter of physics.

The results of this test has led Consumer Reports and others to ask that the standard for tread wear from 2/32 to 4/32. The increased standard will improve safety on the road and save lives here in Minnesota and nationally.

Of course, until the standard changes, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll be willing to replace your tires a little sooner.

You can use a quarter to tell if your tread wear is down to 4/32. Place the quarter into the tread with George’s head toward the tire and his neck toward you. If the tread doesn’t cover George’s hairline, you’re under 4/32. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the digits of the year.

You can measure the 2/32 tread wear with a penny. If the tread touches the top of Abe’s head, it’s at 2/32. Tires are an expensive item for Apple Valley auto owners when it comes to car care. But their condition has a major impact on safety. We need to decide whether to sacrifice safety for economy. Keeping our tread wear above 4/32 is good auto advice.

Blind Spot Safety For Apple Valley Driving

Date: September 5, 2014 5:54 PM - Category: Safety

Blind spots may be a good thing when it comes to a spouse’s annoying habits, but when driving an automobile in Apple Valley, they are definitely to be avoided. So, while it’s not good marital advice, it’s good auto advice to minimize your own blind spots and stay out of other Apple Valley auto owners' blind spots, especially when it comes to large, heavy vehicles like trucks and buses.

First, minimize your own blind spots. Do this before you pull out of the driveway or parking space. Adjust your rearview mirror so that you see as much of the area behind you as possible. And, no, this doesn’t include the passengers in the back seat. The rearview mirror isn’t designed to be a baby monitor.

Next, lean to the side until your head almost touches the driver’s side window. Now adjust the driver’s side mirror so that it just catches the side of the car. Then, lean to the middle of the car and adjust the passenger’s side mirror in the same way. These adjustments will ensure you the widest possible view behind your vehicle.

Of course, you can’t eliminate blind spots entirely. There is always an area behind any vehicle where the driver just can’t see what’s there. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. Toddlers are just the right size to hide in a pickup’s or SUV’s blind spot. The blind spot on an RV or tractor-trailer can actually hide your crossover! You should always check behind any vehicle before getting in and backing up. And if you sit in the car for a few minutes before backing up, it is critical to get out and check again, especially if you are pulling out of a neighborhood driveway in Apple Valley. No precaution is too extreme if it saves the life of a child.

Once you have taken care of your own blind spots, be aware that other Apple Valley auto owners have them, too. And avoid them. Trucks and buses have large blind spots, and they have blind spots on all four sides, so they should always be given extra room on Rosemount roads. They are also heavy, which means they need more room to stop, and their length means they need a wider area for turns, and their large size makes them less maneuverable than a car.

Trucks may cause about 60% of the accidents involving a truck and a car, but 78% of fatalities in such accidents are with the smaller vehicle. The number of fatalities in Minnesota, as well as the number of crashes, could be cut significantly if Apple Valley motorists learned to properly share Minnesota roads with trucks.

Never follow a truck too closely. If you can’t see the driver’s face in his side mirror, then he can’t see you. If you need to pass a truck, it is essential to make sure you give yourself enough time to pass the rig. Wait for the right opportunity rather than “cutting it close.” On a two-lane Minnesota highway, it’s always a good idea to wait for a passing zone if they are available. A little patience could save your life or the lives of others. Turn on your turn signal so the truck knows what you’re planning, and pass on the left whenever possible. Remember those blind spots? They are much larger on the right side of a truck.

Once you’ve committed to passing the truck, don’t muck about. Pass it quickly and give yourself plenty of room to move back over. It is vital to wait until you can see both headlights in your rearview mirror before pulling back in front of the truck. Once again, use your car turn signals. After you pull in front of the truck, decelerate to the regulated driving speed slowly. Remember that the truck has a long stopping distance, which translates into a long slowing distance. And, since trucks are so big, we often perceive them as traveling more slowly than they really are. Trucks are a lot of weight moving at a high speed, and we need to treat them accordingly.

Never pull to the right of a truck at an intersection unless you are absolutely certain it is not going to turn. Check if its turn signals are on or if it has angled to the left or right. (Trucks often begin a right turn by angling to the left to widen their turning area.) Trucks need a lot of room on city streets, and they probably can’t see you if you pull along their right side. Too many cars have ended up in Apple Valley body shops because the drivers thought they could beat that truck to the right turn, or they only noticed the seemingly open lane, and not the truck angling into a turn.

While learning to share Apple Valley area roads and freeways with trucks and other large vehicles may not seem like preventive auto maintenance, it does, in fact, go hand-in-hand with good Apple Valley car care. Keeping your car out of the body shop can save you big bucks and prevent the stress of a major accident, along with the injuries that could come with it.

The team at Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley urges you to stay safe, and stay on the road!

Breathe Free In Apple Valley: Cabin Air Filter Replacement At Valley Auto Care

Date: August 27, 2014 5:14 PM - Category: Cabin Air Filter

There are a lot of new features, both optional and standard, on Apple Valley motorists' vehicles these days. One you may not have heard of is called a cabin air filter. Simply put, its job is to keep the air in the passenger compartment of your car nice and clean.

A cabin air filter is similar to the filter you use on your furnace at home in Apple Valley. Cabin air filters can catch particles down to three microns. By comparison, a grain of sand is 200 microns. So cabin air filters are effective against dust, dirt, pollen, mold spores and most pollutants in our Apple Valley atmosphere. Good news if you suffer from any types of allergies, or if you live in an area in Apple Valley prone to air pollution.

Cabin air filters are generally located in the engine compartment or under the dashboard. They can be tricky to access and replace, so you’ll probably want to go to your experienced Valley Auto Care technician to get it done. Check your car owner’s manual to find out if your car is equipped with a cabin air filter and how often it should be changed. Recommendations vary, but generally a cabin air filter should be changed every twelve to fifteen thousand miles.

Of course, if you are an allergy sufferer in Apple Valley, you may want to replace it more often. Also, if you do a lot of driving in polluted or dusty areas in Minnesota, you’ll also want to shorten the cabin air filter replacement period. Dirty air filters just don’t work well, and they can exude an unpleasant odor if ignored for too long.

Most Apple Valley folks know that good car care includes keeping your car clean, including the air inside the passenger compartment, so changing your cabin air filter should be part of your routine preventive maintenance. It’s good auto advice as well as good medical advice that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You really shouldn’t wait until the interior of your car starts to smell and your eyes start to water before you change your filter. And trying to cover it up with a dangling green pine tree is not the right answer, either!

Cabin air filters can be a welcome relief to Apple Valley allergy sufferers, but they’re also a great idea for anyone in Apple Valley who just wants to breathe better.

Cool Breeze: Air Conditioning Service At Valley Auto Care In Apple Valley

Date: August 22, 2014 4:34 PM - Category: Air Conditioning

Most Minnesota motorists know that their vehicles need regular preventive maintenance like changing the oil and filters, rotating the tires and refilling the washer fluid. But did you know that your air conditioning system needs routine maintenance as well? Taking care of your air conditioning system can extend its life and prevent costly repair bills.

Why is it vital for Apple Valley auto owners to get routine maintenance on their air conditioning system? First, the refrigerant contains an added lubricant. As the refrigerant circulates through the air conditioning system, its parts are lubricated. This constant lubrication keeps the parts functioning well. But over time, this lubricant is used up, and without it, the parts will eventually seize up and fail.

Apple Valley folks should understand, however, that the air conditioner will continue to pump out cool air even without the lubricant, so you won’t know the system is sick until it actually dies. So good car care includes regularly checking the refrigerant and lubricant in your car air conditioning system and replacing it if needed.

The second reason your air conditioning system needs preventive maintenance is that air and water can get into the system. Air, water and the contaminants they contain will reduce the efficiency of the air conditioning system and can cause corrosion of the system’s parts. Keeping the air conditioning system clean is a vital practice and will extend its life and keep you from losing your cool on hot Apple Valley days.

How often should you get a routine car air conditioner inspection? It varies from vehicle to vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the car maker’s recommendation.

Here’s a good piece of auto advice for Minnesota auto owners that will extend the life of their air conditioning systems: You should run your air conditioner in the winter every once in a while. This circulates the refrigerant, which lubricates the seals. That way, they won’t dry out during cold Apple Valley weather.

Your air conditioning system doesn’t just cool the air in your car; it dries it out as well. So if you have trouble with a foggy windshield, flip on your air conditioning on the defrost setting. You may be surprised at how quickly it takes care of the problem. Of course, some vehicles can’t run the air conditioner and defroster at the same time; you should check your owner’s manual or with the auto maker if you are uncertain whether this feature works in your car or not.

So, after learning about preventive maintenance for your A/C, you might now be wondering if your air conditioner is in trouble. Two early warning signs of a failing air conditioner are (1) the air just isn’t getting as cold as it used to and (2) there’s a strange noise when the air conditioner turns on. If you notice either of these symptoms in your car, you should bring it to Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley as soon as possible.

Just some good auto advice to keep you cool in Apple Valley and keep you on the road!

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Valley Auto Care in Apple Valley MN helps people and their vehicles throughout Apple Valley and along Cedar Ave, County Rd. 42, Galaxy Ave, and 160th St. We work on all vehicles including the following manufacturers: Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Ford, Mazda, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn, GMC, Cadillac, Mercury, Lincoln, Infiniti, Acura, Lexus, Buick, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, and Plymouth with most auto service needs including: Tires, Wheels, Brakes, Transmission, Tune-Up, Computer Diagnostics, Engine Codes, Suspension, Shocks, Struts, Alignment, AC, Clutch & more.

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