Greeley area residents may remember when the U.S. government's “Cash for Clunkers” program made a splash on the news scene. People were offered incentives to trade in old vehicles for new, in the interest of better and improved air quality from reduced emissions.But a lot of Greeley drivers want to hang onto their old clunkers. They're dependable and they're paid for. Owners would love to see the odometers on those vehicles turn past 200,000 miles (320,000 km), as long as the repair bills don't get too expensive.There are a lot of vehicles on Colorado roads that have run past the 200,000 mile (320,000 km) odometer reading. Is there something that their owners are doing that keeps these vehicles on the road? Or did they just win the “lemon lottery,” and luck out by getting a particularly good vehicle? Not surprisingly, most of these owners have something in common. They never skip an oil change. Can keeping a vehicle on the road for 200,000 miles (320,000 km) really be that easy for Greeley drivers?Actually, it makes sense. Oil is the lifeblood of a vehicle. Clean oil ensures that the engine will run efficiently and staves off the build-up of sludge that can eventually damage engine parts. Oil changes remove dirty oil and replace dirty oil filters, keeping an engine clean and running smoothly, just like eating right keeps our hearts healthy by preventing build-up in our arteries.But there's another reason why not skipping an oil change can result in a longer life for your car. When you bring your car in to Phil's Pro Auto Service for an oil change, all of the fluid levels are checked and topped off. If these fluids are depleted, dirty or low, they can damage the engine.If a fluid is significantly low, it usually indicates a leak somewhere, leading to an inspection of relevant parts. This inspection and the replacement of the worn part can prevent repair bills and maintain the health of the engine.At an oil change, your technician at Phil's Pro Auto Service will also do a quick check for worn belts or hoses, uneven tread wear, leaking shock absorbers and other signs of wear and tear. This advance notice allows the owner to replace parts before they break down and possibly damage your vehicle.The oil change is also a good time to review any other service that the vehicle might need. Many car owners rely on their pros at Phil's Pro Auto Service for good auto advice on check-ups and follow-up vehicle care that will keep older cars running well.Parts wear out on older vehicles. There's no avoiding it. As the odometer chugs upward toward 200,000 miles (320,000 km), the vehicle will need several batteries, a couple of alternators and water pumps, a new set of shocks and possibly some brake rotors. But these items—all together—add up to far less than the cost of a new vehicle.Good vehicle care and preventive maintenance are the hallmark of Greeley drivers who have kept their vehicles on the road and running past the age when most of us have given up and headed back to a car lot. We can learn from their wisdom.So treat your car right: Take good care of it and don't skip the check-ups at Phil's Pro Auto Service in Greeley.
Phil's Pro Auto Service 707 12th Street Greeley, Colorado 80631 970-353-2739 http://www.philsproauto.com
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Today we're going to be talking about serpentine belts for our Greeley, Colorado, customers. Let's start by talking about the accessories that are driven by the serpentine belt. First is the alternator. That's the device that makes electricity to power the vehicle and recharge the battery. Then there's the air conditioning compressor that makes cool air for you while you're driving around Colorado in the summer.The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in most Greeley residents' vehicles. Those pumps provide pressure that assists your steering and braking.In many vehicles, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt. The water pump is what circulates the coolant that protects your engine. In some cars around Greeley, Colorado, the water pump is driven by the timing belt.The radiator cooling fans on some vehicles are also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors. That's really a lot of work for one belt.But modern engine design has a single belt that snakes around the front of the engine and drives most, if not all, of these accessories. Serpentine belts do a lot of work, but they're tough and can last for a long time.Just how long will they last? That'll vary for each individual car in the Greeley area. Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it could need it sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection at Phil's Pro Auto Service can detect a belt that's getting close to failing.Your friendly and knowledgeable Phil's Pro Auto Service service advisor can look at the belt: if it has more than three or four cracks per inch, it needs to be replaced. A deep crack that's more than half the depth of the belt - replace. Frayed, missing pieces, a shiny glazed look? Toss it. Come see us.
Phil's Pro Auto Service707 12th StreetGreeley, Colorado 80631970-353-2739http://www.philsproauto.com
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We live in such a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days, Colorado folks were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough - they had to do without. Most Greeley drivers couldn't afford new vehicles very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.It's a good thing that vehicles are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us Colorado penny pinchers is that a modern vehicle can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us Greeley vehicle owners making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedules.Every time you go a little farther between recommended oil changes, you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and for clogged passages. Then some vehicle parts don't get properly lubricated and they start to wear out faster. Skip a cooling system service and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted; the radiator starts being damaged - one step closer to a failure. Same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning - really everything on your schedule.It is probably even more important for older vehicles. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they are a bit more stressed anyway. But it is never too late to get back on track with your auto maintenance and to hold off further damage.And it really does start with the oil change. When you get a full service oil change in Greeley at Phil's Pro Auto Service, we top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. It's like your safety net. Go in for an oil change on time, and let your service advisor at Phil's Pro Auto Service help you keep track of the rest.Some things are going to wear out along the way, things like alternators, water pumps, etc. But fixing those at Phil's Pro Auto Service is cheaper than a new car payment for Greeley drivers. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to mess with other things. It is like having high cholesterol - you don't want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.
Ask any Greeley man or woman if they've taken their vehicle in for preventive maintenance lately, and the answer may well be “no.” Surveys indicate that over 80% of vehicles on the road today are in need of some kind of repair or maintenance. Now, ask that same person why he hasn't taken his car in for care. The answer will probably be that he forgot or that he just didn't think about it. Most Greeley residents seem to have a hard time remembering about scheduled maintenance for their vehicles.Funny, because most of us in Greeley have no trouble remembering to wash our clothes, mow our lawns or brush our teeth. It isn't that we can't remember to take our vehicles for service; it's a matter of making it a priority.When it comes to our vehicles, Greeley drivers like myself, need to be a little more maintenance-minded. The fact is, we can choose to do it, or we might find ourselves being compelled to do it.For example, when we consistently forget to brush our teeth, a major consequence usually follows. The pain of that experience usually compels us to be more mindful of our teeth and take better care of them.The same goes for our vehicles. If we ignore them long enough, a painful experience is sure to follow—painful for our pocketbooks, that is. People in Greeley who have gone through that experience are usually more conscientious about proper car care.So, if you're not a fan of the school of hard knocks, at least when it comes to vehicle maintenance, remind yourself to look after your car. Pay attention to the little oil change tag on your windshield. When it's time take your car in, do it. But don't just change the oil. Get a full-service oil change at Phil's Pro Auto Service. Your technician will then check all of your fluids. He can advise you if any of them need to be changed or if any of them are low.Low fluid levels can indicate leaks or a worn hose or seal, so they can check those for you as well. Other signs of wear are also immediately evident when you get a full-service oil change, such as a cracked serpentine belt or corroded battery cable. Your Phil's Pro Auto Service technician will also check the vehicle manufacturer's service recommendations for your vehicle and advise you of any other routine service that is coming due.It's like a one-stop shop for auto advice that will keep you on top of your vehicle's maintenance.If there is more to be done than the budget allows, you can get a picture of what needs to be done. Then, create a plan with your Phil's Pro Auto Service service advisor and budget for it during the coming months. It's a whole lot less painful than unexpected car repairs.Vehicles are more reliable than they ever have been. They can take a lot of abuse and neglect. But they're also expensive and complicated machines. Greeley drivers can't expect them to run forever without proper fluids and filters. Preventive maintenance at Phil's Pro Auto Service in Greeley will improve the reliability and life expectancy of your vehicle, as well as ensuring your safety on the road in Colorado.
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Today's Phil's Pro Auto Service article focuses on severe service maintenance. Many Greeley drivers are not aware of them and yet there are also very vocal advocates in Colorado who think that severe service schedules apply to everyone. Somewhere between a complete lack of awareness and the dire blanket statements lies a reasonable approach to severe service maintenance at Phil's Pro Auto Service.To back up a little, vehicle owner's manuals have schedules for preventive maintenance: things like oil changes, transmission service and so on. They say you should change your oil after a certain distanced traveled or after so many months. Greeley drivers understand this very well. What they may not know is that there are actually two service schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. The mileage and time intervals are lower on the severe service schedule.Now when you hear 'severe service,' you may think it doesn't apply to you because you don't feel your driving conditions are severe or extreme – it's just normal everyday driving in the Greeley area. So let's list some of the conditions that classify as severe so that you can make the judgment on your own driving.Before we start the list, here's a point of contrast that definitely is not severe driving. Driving down your nearest Colorado interstate at the highway speed limit on a 75 degree F/24 degree C day loaded only with your passengers. This is an easy trip for your vehicle: your engine is loafing along at low RPMs, no heavy loads to pull and moderate Greeley temperatures. Now let's look at some severe service driving conditions.Most trips around Greeley are less than four miles/six and a half kilometers. When your vehicle engine cools down, moisture condenses in the engine. This water in the oil doesn't get a chance to evaporate on short trips because the oil doesn't get hot enough. A lot of short trips in your vehicle means a lot of water build up. And water in the oil leads to the creation of sludge which can damage the engine. Changing the oil more frequently keeps sludge from building up. By contrast, highway driving warms the engine up and gets the water burned off.
Here's another example. Most trips around Greeley are less than 10 miles/16 km and outside temperatures are below freezing. This is the same reasoning, but in very cold Colorado weather it takes even longer for the oil to get hot enough to evaporate the water, hence 10 miles/16 km as opposed to 4 miles/6.4 km.Next, you drive in very hot Colorado weather. The hotter it is outside, the more cooling the engine, transmission, brake fluid and so on becomes. The environment in which the fluids reside is more hostile, and the fluids simply break down faster. Therefore, the lower change interval.Another: driving at low speed most of the time. Every vehicle engine has what's called its power band. This is a range of RPMs in which it's most efficient. Low speed driving doesn't keep the engine in its power band so it's working harder. This is one of the reasons that ratings are worse in downtown than on the highway.Stop and go driving in Greeley is another severe service condition. You're always accelerating, which works the vehicle engine and transmission harder. Then you're stopping, which works the brake fluid harder, causing it to get very hot. Highway driving, on the other hand, requires far less horsepower to maintain its speed than getting a stationary vehicle from a stop light up to 25 mph/40 kph. A lot of this and you'll need to follow the severe service schedule.Also on the list is operating your vehicle in dusty, polluted or muddy conditions. Obviously, your engine air filter and cabin air will get dirty faster and need to be changed more frequently as will your breather element. Some of this dust and dirt will make its way into your fluids. They will simple get dirty faster and won't protect the components as well as fresh fluids.Finally, you're driving under severe conditions in Greeley when you tow a trailer, regularly carry heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier. This is pretty obvious. You'll spend more time in lower gears so the engine and transmission work much harder and create more heat. Brakes will be more stressed stopping the heavier loads.Sounds like most of us in Greeley operate under severe driving conditions at least some of the time. How can Greeley drivers know which schedule to follow?Think of it as a spectrum with "always driving under severe conditions" on one end and "never driving under severe conditions" on the other end. Some will be at one extreme or the other, but most of us will fall somewhere in between.Carefully think about your driving conditions and decide if you should do your preventive maintenance closer to the severe service recommendation or the regular recommendation. Of course, your Phil's Pro Auto Service service advisor can help you with your decision.
A big part of the service we provide at Phil's Pro Auto Service for our Greeley customers is education. We want you to feel confident with your service decisions.
And we're always open to questions from our valued Greeley area customers. Even though we try to be proactive in our Phil's Pro Auto Service automotive education, we sometimes get busy fixing vehicles and need a reminder. Please, just ask.
We've found our Greeley customers like the service reminders. They've grown to trust that our recommendations are based on the vehicle manufactures’ published maintenance schedules and that Phil's Pro Auto Service is not just pulling them out of the air.
We know that people in Greeley live a busy life with a lot more to think about than wondering if it's time to replace the PCV valve on their vehicle. Part of our Phil's Pro Auto Service service process is checking the vehicle manufacture's schedule to make sure we don't overlook service.
We hope Colorado drivers appreciate their courtesy inspection when they come into our Greeley facility for service. If we find something unexpected, it's good to know, and if we don't find anything wrong, you get a little peace of mind.You know, customer satisfaction is very important to us at Phil's Pro Auto Service. We want to run a professional and friendly Greeley automotive service operation. If we do, you'll keep coming back and recommend us to your friends.Give us a call at 970-353-2739.
The cooling system in an engine has five components: the radiator, the radiator cap, the hoses, the thermostat and the water pump. The water is literally the heart of the system. Just as your own heart keeps your blood circulating through your body, the water pump keeps coolant circulating through your engine.The water pump is driven by a belt, chain or gear and only operates while the engine is running. It has a limited life span and sooner or later will have to be replaced. You can check your owner's manual to find out how long your water pump should last. Some can fail at only 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers), but almost all of them fail by 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometers).Water pumps don't gradually wear out; they fail. In other words, they're either working or they're not. A failed water pump has to be replaced.Water pumps can fail in two ways: they can spring a leak or their bearings fail. Leaks can come from a cracked pump but usually develop at the gasket where the pump attaches to the engine.If you hear a low-pitched grinding sound coming from the water pump, it's time for a new one. If you see coolant leaking in the area near the pump, it needs to be replaced. Also, coolant on the driveway could indicate water pump failure. Many water pumps aren't visible because they're under a plastic cover, so you may have to take your vehicle to Phil's Pro Auto Service to know if the water pump has failed. If your water pump is run by the timing belt, then it should be replaced when you replace the belt. Most timing belts need to be replaced at around 60,000 to 90,000 miles (100,000 to 150,000 kilometers). The labor for replacing a timing belt is about 90% the same for replacing a water pump, so it's cost-effective to take care of them both at the same time. Also, if your water pump develops a leak (if it's powered by the timing belt), you have to replace the timing belt as well since contamination by coolant fluid damages the belt. It just makes sense for Greeley residents to replace both of these parts whenever either one needs it.Replacing a water pump at Phil's Pro Auto Service is a vehicle care issue that almost all of us Greeley residents face eventually. They don't last forever. On the other hand, we can extend the life of most of the components of our vehicle through preventive maintenance. Just as exercise and diet keep our heart healthy, regular check-ups and fluid changes will keep our vehicles healthy. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable Phil's Pro Auto Service service advisor.
How do Greeley drivers know if an odometer is telling the truth?Well, back in '86, Congress passed the Truth-in-Mileage Act to protect Colorado consumers against mileage fraud. It says a Colorado seller must certify the mileage reported is the actual mileage.To have your odometer checked in Greeley, Colorado, stop by Phil's Pro Auto Service:
Phil's Pro Auto Service 707 12th Street Greeley, Colorado 80631
If it isn't, the seller must say why; for example, maybe the odometer is past its mechanical limits. Some older odometers only go to 99,999 and then start over at 0. Or, the odometer has been tampered with, broken or replaced.If the seller tells you the mileage isn't accurate, there's not much chance of putting a good number to it. And there's the unscrupulous seller who claims the reading is true, but it isn't. What can Greeley vehicle owners do?You can go to www.CarFax.com, where, for a small fee, they'll give you a comprehensive vehicle history search on your vehicle, showing local Greeley, Colorado, ownership history, accident reports, total-loss events, manufacturer buybacks, Lemon reports and warranty status.You can get a mileage history by checking with the local Colorado DMV (or wherever you happen to be) and other verified sources looking for inconsistencies in the mileage reported when the car was bought and sold. If there are signs of odometer rollback, now you'll know.If so, proceed with caution. Or, negotiate a lower price. Or just walk away. There's always another vehicle.
When it comes to your vehicle, it all starts with the battery. Proper battery maintenance is important for two reasons:First, your vehicle won't start or run without it. Second, it is the key to the long life of your auto electrical system. If your battery isn't working efficiently, your alternator has to work overtime to make up for it, and other electrical components can suffer as well.A number of years ago sealed batteries were introduced to the local Greeley, Colorado, market. They were hailed as being 'maintenance-free batteries.' While it is true that you can't get in and adjust the electrolyte levels of a sealed battery, it is by no means maintenance free.Batteries are very sensitive to changes in the weather around Colorado. Temperature really affects auto battery performance. A battery inspection is an important part of your spring and fall checkups. Next time you're under your hood, take a look at your battery.
Phil's Pro Auto Service service advisors can inspect and test your battery. If the inspection warrants a cleaning, have it done. If the battery test indicates that replacement of the battery or cables is in order, you will be lucky to have caught the problem before it becomes a major inconvenience.Your battery will also last longer if you keep your fuel system and ignition system clean. It's all part of your commitment to regular maintenance, to keep your vehicle running on Greeley streets at its best for a long, long time.
Many Greeley residents don't realize that there is more to exhaust system maintenance than just tailpipes and mufflers, if you can see smoke or if it's too loud. Exhaust service at a full-service automotive center like Phil's Pro Auto Service is really a lot more comprehensive these days.For example, in the U.S., the federal government required catalytic converters for all cars in 1976 and on-board emission control computers in 1990. Colorado and federal emissions requirements have forced manufacturers to come up with much more sophisticated ways to comply with environmental laws. This also goes for cars sold in Canada.So, exhaust service has really become exhaust and emissions service. High-tech computer-controlled emissions devices are now necessary. And because it's so sophisticated, we recommend having your emission system checked out by a qualified technician, like the ones we have at Phil's Pro Auto Service, regularly to make sure everything's working right – which is usually every six months or 6,000 miles/10,000 kilometers.If your 'check engine light' comes on while you are driving around the Greeley area, especially if it's flashing, then you need to bring your car into Phil's Pro Auto Service ASAP. Chances are it's an emission related problem. Signs of exhaust or emissions trouble include difficulty starting, engine noise or smoke.We hope this hasn't been too 'exhausting' of a discussion. Remember that a properly functioning exhaust system is for Colorado’s health and safety. Talk with your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Phil's Pro Auto Service in Greeley if you think you might need your exhaust system checked. A quick look can sure save a lot of pain down the road.