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February 24, 2017

What is My Car’s TPMS system?

What is My Car’s TPMS system?Good tires that are inflated correctly are vital for your safety. If you have a newer car, you’re in luck because it probably has a tire pressure monitoring system or what is known as a TPMS. You might wonder what is my car’s TPMS system? A TPMS is an electronic system located inside your tire that actually monitors the air pressure in your tires. Our Sundance Automotive technicians in Lakewood can make sure your tires are inflated correctly because having the correct tire pressure is important for braking, gripping the road, and the longevity of your tires.

If your tires are incorrectly inflated, the TPMS will send an alert with a warning light on your car’s dashboard. If there is a steady warning light, you need to get your tire pressure checked, but if the warning light is flashing, it means your TPMS may not be working right.

According to a Popular Mechanics article, a Department of Transportation study from 2001 reports that 60 to 80 percent of cars on the road are driving with tires that are under-inflated by as much as 10 percent. It also reports that 20 to 50 percent of cars have tires that may be under-inflated by as much as 20 percent. But here’s what you want to consider, your TPMS warning light will only go on when your tire pressure is less than 25 percent. And that may be too late. When it gets to that level, it will reduce your car’s fuel economy, not be able to grip the road (particularly in wet conditions), and the tires may run hotter. So even if your car has TPMS, you should bring it to our auto technicians to make sure the tires are inflated correctly.

The Popular Mechanics article also explains how your vehicle may have either a direct-reading or an indirect TPMS. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.

Indirect TPMS

An indirect TPMS system uses software and readouts given by the car’s wheel-speed sensors from the vehicle’s antilock brake system. If all of the tires are inflated properly, they will rotate the same number of revolutions. However, if one tire rotates more, then the sensor knows it has a shorter rolling radius because of low tire pressure. This system is cheaper because it just has a display on the dash and some extra code in the operating system.

This can be a concern if your tires are unevenly worn, or if you replace only two tires instead of all four tires. You can try to reset the system to allow for wear when all the tire pressures are correct. TPMS warning lights can be triggered after a normal tire rotation, or if you're replacing tires of a different size from the previous ones.

The TPMS senders are generally attached to the valve stem or the wheel's drop center. The metal stem of the sender is usually made of aluminum which can strip the threads if its overtightened. So, bring your vehicle into our trained auto technicians so the senders don’t get damaged from tire mounting machines.

Direct-Reading TPMS

This type of TPMS comes from a more expensive technology that is used to monitor tire pressure, however, it is usually more effective.

These battery-powered sensors are mounted inside the tire and communicate with the TPMS through small antennas in each wheel well. They receive a tire pressure reading and transfer the message to the in-car display. The individual senders have a unique serial number that transmits it to the vehicle so it reads the right tires. Some vehicles even have a sender on the spare tire.

You should resynchronize the TPMS if you rotate the tires or you get a flat. You will need a special tool to communicate with the vehicle and the senders. That’s another reason why it’s important to let us do it for you.

Want to know about maintaining proper tire pressure and driving safely? Bring your car in and our Sundance Automotive technicians in Lakewood can answer your questions about what is my car’s TPMS system more fully and examine your tires to make sure they are inflated correctly. It’s an important safety check that shouldn’t be forgotten.

February 4, 2017

4 Important Winter Automotive Maintenance Tips

4 Important Winter Automotive Maintenance TipsIt’s February, but don’t think Colorado’s winter weather is over yet. In fact, March and April are some of the snowiest months of the year. So, our technicians at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood suggest following these 4 important winter automotive maintenance tips so your car can handle the driving conditions and you can stay safe no matter how bad the weather.

Battery

It’s a really cold night. You put the key in the ignition and your car doesn’t start. Now, that’s a nightmare. Don’t let that happen and wait until you're stranded! The moment your car takes longer to turn over than usual, come in for an inspection of your battery, starter, and alternator. You should get a new battery every five to seven years. If it’s been that long or you aren’t getting the battery performance you need, let us install a new battery. It will save you trouble on a very cold night.

Brakes

Really, is there anything more important than brakes in the snow and ice? It’s hard enough to stop when it’s icy, but without good brakes, it could be disastrous. If your brakes squeal or you notice it takes longer to stop, come on in for service today. We can check your brakes and make sure they will work when you need them. If you need new brake pads or rotors we can take care of it for you.

Alignment

Don’t forget to check to make sure your car or truck has the proper alignment. You need to have complete control of your vehicle, particularly on those icy winter roads. Have you noticed uneven tire wear on your tire treads? Do you feel your steering wheel shimmy when you are driving at higher speeds? Does your car drift to one side? Come in today for a computerized wheel alignment and system check before you have to drive those treacherous Colorado winter highways.

Wiper Blades

When the rain, snow, and ice comes, you need to have good wiper blades. There’s nothing more frightening than to be blinded by the slush from another car thrown up on your windshield and your wipers can’t clear it off with your old, ineffective wiper blades. Get new wipers now, so when you need them, they can clean your windshield. We can install new wiper blades for your car, truck or SUV today, so when the winter precipitation comes, you have nothing to worry about.

At Sundance Automotive in Lakewood, we’ve been providing comprehensive auto repair and maintenance services since 2000. Our goal is to always give the best service at affordable prices to get you safely back on the road in no time. Our ASE-certified automotive technicians can help you take care of these 4 important winter automotive maintenance tips that will help keep you safe in bad weather driving. So don’t forget as we enter the snowiest months of the year in Colorado, have your wiper blades, battery, alignment, and brakes in good working order before you venture out on icy roads.

January 11, 2017

How a Radiator Flush Helps Your Engine’s Cooling System

How a Radiator Flush Helps Your Engine’s Cooling SystemToday, Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood wants to share with you how a radiator flush helps your engine’s cooling system. If you didn’t know, cooling systems fail more often than any other mechanical system and it’s usually because of neglect. Lucky for you, our ASE-certified technicians have the knowledge, experience, and proper cooling system equipment to quickly diagnose and repair your vehicle’s cooling system problems.

Why do you need to maintain your cooling system?

Your cooling system is not maintenance-free. In many vehicles, when coolant breaks down, it can cause rust. These rust particles can then become electrically charged and cause the coolant to become highly corrosive. This sometimes results in major damage to the engine and cooling system. To avoid such a catastrophic issue, your system needs to be flushed.

Why are antifreeze leaks bad?

If you notice an antifreeze leak, you need to pay attention. If you’re parked on the street or your driveway the leaking antifreeze could get into the storm drain and make its way into your town’s water supply. In addition to the health and environmental problems, a leaking radiator can also cause a cooling system failure. If it’s the radiator that has a leak, it can burst open and spew the rest of the coolant. If it’s a hose leak, it may cause the hose to blow out. Our technicians’ advice is to fix the leak early to prevent dealing with a bigger, more expensive problem down the line.

What do you do when you see your car is overheating?

Cooling an engine involves coolant flow and airflow across the radiator. So instead of pulling over and turning off the engine if your car overheats, you should increase your car’s speed to allow more coolant flow and more airflow. Believe it or not, another thing you can do if your car overheats is to turn your heater on full-blast. Yes, it really works, because the heater is basically a cooling coil that dumps heat from the engine inside the cabin of the vehicle.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on antifreeze.

You should always check your vehicle manufacturer’s warranty because sometimes your warranty is void if you don’t use the recommended antifreeze. It also needs to be filled to the correct specifications. If you live in a cold weather location, your antifreeze can actually freeze if it gets cold enough. One solution is to mix the antifreeze with water. This actually lowers the risk of your coolant freezing. You should also keep the coolant level full.

Because your coolant will eventually break down you will need to put a coolant flush on your maintenance schedule. Our Sundance Automotive Repair specialists can help you.

What is really involved in a cooling system flush?

A cooling system flush, or what is sometimes called a radiator flush, completely removes the fluid from the coolant system. If it’s a normal cooling system service, the coolant is drained and then replaced, but this process only removes about 50 percent of the fluid from the radiator. It also doesn’t help clean out the built-up scale deposits and debris.

Your vehicle may need a full flush, which uses specialized flushing equipment to fully clear the system of fluid. This is known as a cooling system transfusion. Any accumulated water and the coolant are flushed out of the system.

During a coolant flush, the built-up contaminants in the coolant system are also removed. This means all the scale deposits, rust, and particulates are completely cleaned out and the entire system is cleaned out with an engine-safe detergent and protective conditioner.

Bottom line, your cooling system is a complex component that ensures your car, truck or SUV runs smoothly. It’s important to keep your cooling system well-maintained and full of high-quality coolant to protect your car against corrosion and future engine damage. It’s also vital to have a coolant flush service completed for true protection and to keep your car running longer.

When you come to Sundance, our automotive technicians will use flushing chemicals to scrub the coolant system clean. Then additives and a conditioner are added to prolong the life of the system and protect against corrosion. Lastly, the system is refilled with fresh, premium coolant.

What are the benefits your vehicle receives from a coolant flush?

The biggest benefit is removing old coolant before it has a chance to become acidic. Coolant breaks down over time. Antifreeze specifically can become acidic if it is not replaced periodically. If not properly serviced, old and broken down coolant can cause other parts of the vehicle to break down, wear prematurely, or cause corrosion.

A coolant flush also helps lengthen the life of your cooling system. The additives and protective lubricants in the coolant are designed to protect the water pump and radiator. As these properties age, they’re less able to do their job. By flushing the system, you’re making sure clean additives are flowing through your engine.

When do you need a cooling system flush?

Check your manufacturer’s recommended service but generally, your cooling system should get a full maintenance service every 30,000-60,000 miles. We will make sure you get a complete cooling system test. Based on those results, we may recommend a complete system flush.

At Sundance Automotive Repair, our goal is to offer the best services available at affordable prices so you stay safe and your car runs well. Our team of experts offers these cooling system services and repairs for foreign and domestics vehicles, cars, trucks, and SUVs:

  • Complete cooling system diagnostic
  • Repair and service cooling systems
  • Replace thermostat
  • Radiator service
  • Cooling system flush
  • Cooling system leak check
  • Replace antifreeze
  • Replace radiator hoses and fan belts

Now you know how a radiator flush helps your engine’s cooling system. So, bring your car, truck, or SUV into Sundance Automotive Repair in Lakewood. Our ASE-certified technicians take care of your cooling system so it can keep working well for the life of your car. Putting in a little bit of maintenance really does go a long way.

December 17, 2016

Synthetic Oil Change For Your Car

Synthetic Oil Change For Your CarIt’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the type of oil and frequency of oil changes in order to keep your car running in prime condition. However, if you’re not sure whether to go with a conventional or synthetic oil change for your car, just visit the experts Sundance Automotive in Lakewood and we’ll point you in the right direction.

Synthetic Oil

Are you wondering what synthetic oil is? Synthetic oil is man-made. Sometimes it uses a petroleum base that's been modified and sometimes it is totally synthesized from other materials (full synthetic oil).

Synthetic oil must pass stringent tests. It is made from chemical compounds that offer better protection and performance for your car’s engine than conventional oil, including less evaporative loss, a higher viscosity index (resistance to thinning as temperature rise is the viscosity index), greater resistance to oxidation thermal breakdown and sludge problems.

Synthetic also offers better performance in extreme temperatures. It flows more freely at freezing temperatures and provides greater chemical stability at high temperatures. It won’t easily evaporate or break down from the heat of your vehicle engine. This allows it to resist turning into sludge, which can cause engine problems.

Costs More

Yes, a synthetic oil change for your car will cost more than conventional oil. It goes through a more involved manufacturing process, which makes the price higher. So if an oil change with conventional oil costs around $20, then an oil change with synthetic oil would cost about $80. But consider that synthetic oil lasts longer, so you don’t need an oil change as often. If your car doesn’t need synthetic oil then conventional oil is fine.

Just be aware that certain manufacturers are using full synthetic oil in their high-tech engines. If your car maker requires you to use it and you don’t, it may risk damage to your engine damage and void your vehicle warranty. Corvettes and many Mercedes vehicles come with synthetic oil as a factory fill.

Synthetic Blend Oil

There is also a synthetic blend oil. This is a blend of synthetic and conventional oils and is between them in price and protection. Synthetic oil is more slippery than conventional oil and that means less friction in your engine. This allows your engine to run cooler, have less wear, and last longer. It can also give you a boost in power. If you do a lot of towing, off-roading, or severe use driving like in heavy traffic, you might want to consider using a synthetic or synthetic blend.

Oil Filter

Don’t forget to get an oil filter specifically built for the longer lasting service life of synthetic oil.

The rule of thumb is to always follow your car manufacturer’s recommendations on what type of oil to use and how often to bring it in for a change. It’s one of the most important things you can do to ensure better vehicle performance and greater longevity. So, when it’s time for a synthetic oil change for your car, come to Sundance Automotive in Lakewood. We’re the oil change experts, whether conventional or synthetic. Call or contact us today for an appointment.

December 7, 2016

Vehicle Winterization Tips

Vehicle Winterization TipsIt’s December and that means cold weather in Colorado. It also means it’s time to bring your car into Sundance Automotive in Lakewood to get it ready for winter if you haven’t already. Our technicians know the best vehicle winterization tips. A DMV.org article offers some suggestions as well, so let’s check those out as well.

It’s Time to Replace and Refill All Fluids

Your car’s fluids are important. We will check them and fill them up or replace them so your vehicle can run it’s best in the cold weather, including oil, coolants, and wiper fluid.

  • Oil: Switching to a thinner oil may be a consideration if you live where the temperature dips below freezing. We can take a look at what kind of car you have and where you live, particularly if you spend any time in the mountains, and make some suggestions for you.
  • Coolant: The right antifreeze will help prevent fluid from freezing in your radiator.
  • Wiper Fluid: When the winter storms hit you will want your freeze resistant wiper fluid to be filled up so you can keep your windshield clear. 
  • De-icing: Sometimes it’s so cold it can freeze car door locks. What if you can’t get the door open or your key breaks off in the lock and you don’t have any warm water to help melt it? You might want to get glycerine to use as a de-icer, just don’t keep it in your car where it can get locked in.

Don’t Forget to Check Your Tires

When it comes to vehicle winterization tips, your tires are very high on our list. You need to make sure your tires are in good shape and possibly replace them with something more conducive to the cold. 

  • Pressure and Tread: When the roads get slick from snow and slush you need to make sure your tires are not too worn out and the air pressure is not too low in order to get the best traction. We will check your PSI and make sure your tires are inflated properly.
  • Snow Tires: You might want to consider getting snow tires if you live in an area of Denver metro that may not see snow plows come through often. Snow tires increase traction in the snow and keep you safer on the road. You could also go with snow tires with studs, just remember to change them when spring comes. We also carry all-season tires that can function in all weather.

Can Your Battery Handle the Cold?

As you know, your car’s battery is very important for starting your car in the winter and battery capacity is reduced when the weather is cold. We’ll take a look at your battery, check the cables for cracks and breaks and make sure the terminals have no loose connections. We’ll also look at the battery fluid level and fill it up if needed. Finally, we’ll test the battery’s level of charge.

For more vehicle winterization tips, as well as last-minute preparations, simply bring your car, truck or SUV to the experts at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood. We’ll provide the right fluids and recommend the right tires. Need any other work or repairs? You got it. Call or contact us today for an appointment.

 

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