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Is Your Car Summer Ready – A/C?

The weather is changing quickly here in Las Vegas and the temperatures are rising. As long as the temperature stays hot outside and cool inside there shouldn’t be a problem. But what do you do if you get in your car on that first hot day of the year flip on the air conditioning and find out what’s blowing through the vents is just as hot as the air outside? No matter how long you let the A/C blow it doesn’t get any cooler. Perhaps that isn’t your problem though and the air blowing is cool but not cool enough. Whatever the situation may be if your A/C is not blowing cold you have a problem.

The air conditioner in our vehicles is an enclosed system that contains a gas called freon. The gas is circulated throughout the system by the compressor. The expansion valve or orifice tube changes the freon gas to a liquid which makes it get cold. While the cold freon is circulated through the evaporator core, the blower blows air across the core to send cold air into the cabin of the vehicle. This gas is highly pressurized and any leak in the system will cause noticeable side effects. Any higher than usual temperatures coming from the A/C should be looked at right away before the problem gets any worse.

The most expensive A/C fix would be replacing the compressor. If the compressor becomes defective the freon has no way of cooling the air. Sometimes the compressor can leak and when that happens, there is no bandage, it’s a new compressor or no A/C. Most commonly though the leak is usually caused by old hoses. At that point, the hose is replaced, a recharge done, and your A/C will be back to normal.

As to ensure you don’t get stuck in the middle of the summer without A/C it is a good idea to have the system checked in the spring time. Finding a problem before it evolves can often save you from many more expensive repairs. If you have any doubts that your A/C is performing at its peak then have it looked at by a professional. Bob’s Autodynamics has serviced air conditioning systems for 31 years and is ready for another hot Las Vegas summer.

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Hot Summer Days Make For More Expensive Gas

As we move into spring and the hotter months here in Vegas, we start to see an increase in our gas prices. This doesn’t just happen here though, it happens all across the country. It’s a common fallacy that summer gas is more expensive due to higher demand, like more road trips and more gas used to fuel the A/C on those hot days. While demand definitely plays a factor in gas prices, the summer hike-up is due to EPA Regulations.

Between June 1st and September 15th the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, requires oil companies to sell gas that is less likely to evaporate. This is due to the fact that higher temperatures cause more evaporation and smog, which leads to less gasoline in the fuel tank. In cooler months, evaporation is less of a concern and regulations by the EPA are less strict.

In the winter, oil companies are able to use a chemical called Butane. It is the same chemical you find in Bic Lighters. It is cheap to use but evaporates easily which is ideal during the cold. On the downside, Butane contains less energy than other petroleum products which means you get less bang for your buck. This is the reason you probably experience worse fuel mileage in the colder months.

Throughout the entire year, your fuel costs will be relatively the same. Between higher prices in the summer, and having to buy more in the winter, you shouldn’t sweat the extra couple of dollars on the fill-up since it will get you a couple of extra miles.

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Car Brands: What Are You Actually Driving?

Many of the vehicles we drive today come from parent companies of the brand that is actually on our car. Here is a break-down of who-owns-who currently, keep in mind, this is an ever-changing list.

  • BMW, which stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, is part of a shareholder corporation which also owns Mini and Rolls-Royce. BMW also takes #14 on Forbes list of most valuable brands.
  • Fiat, or, Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, is an Italian brand which owns Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati, and all the Chrysler brands including Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and SRT.
  • Ford owns Lincoln and a small stake in Mazda. The company used to own Jaguar and Land Rover but sold to the Indian company Tata Motors in 2008.
  • GM owns Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC. GM is the brand from a few years ago that tried to argue any modifications you do to a vehicle are illegal and break the licensing agreement you signed at purchase. However, this argument is a discussion for another day.
  • Honda owns Acura. These brands are somewhat young compared to some of the other brands – which is interesting due to the fact that Honda is known for its affordability and its reliability, something that takes many brands a long time to achieve.
  • Hyundai partially owns Kia. The first vehicle ever produced by Hyundai was a project with Ford and was called the Cortina.
  • Mazda mostly owns itself, with that small stake from Ford as well.
  • Mercedes is owned by a company called Dalmer AG, who also owns Smart and did own Maybach before the brand was killed off.
  • Mitsubishi is independently owned under the Mitsubishi group umbrella in Japan.
  • Nissan owns Infiniti and the newly revived Datsun which has been reintroduced in Sri Lanka where it was originally first sold. They are also partnered with Renault.
  • Subaru is partly owned by Toyota, which explains the recent partnership to build the European-known Toyota GT86 or the American versions, the Scion FRS and Subaru BRZ.
  • Tesla is partly owned by Toyota and has a partnership with Mercedes.
  • Toyota owns Lexus and the recently discontinued Scion, which Toyota will more than likely absorb and re-brand as their own.
  • Volkswagen owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Porsche. VW also owns the worlds most expensive car – the Lamborghini Veneno that prices at just around $4 Million.
  • Volvo is owned by a company named Geely, and interesting enough, Volvo is the one who invented the seat belt almost 50 years ago.

It makes sense as to why so many different brands have such similar vehicles. Many, like Nissan and Infiniti, make essentially the same car, but one in a standard class and one in a luxury class. We will most likely continue to see car makers buy and sell other brands and continue to revolutionize the vehicles we know today.

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Is Your Car Full of Hot Air ?

Air…….it is everywhere. Used for just about everything. Most importantly breathing. Like all living creatures the engines in our vehicles need air to breathe. Human and mechanical filtering systems serve the same purpose they keep dirt, dust and contaminates out. It can take as much as 10,000 gallons of air for every gallon of fuel an engine uses to operate. Humans have “natural” filters. The engines in our vehicles use artificial filters. A vehicles air filter working properly can improve power, economy and performance up to 10 percent. That is why checking and replacing a dirty air filter is important. A good basic rule would be to replace an air filter every 15,000 to 20,000 miles during average conditions. Average conditions means clean roads and moderate temperatures. In Las Vegas the roads along with dusty conditions require more frequent air filter replacement. The air filter should be checked with every oil change. Happy Motoring and Be Safe.

 

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Everything Needs a Battery

Used to be the only time you really needed batteries was at Christmas time. Now they are needed for just about everything especially electronic devices. Even our vehicles have always needed batteries and now some vehicles run on batteries only. Just like our various gadgets car batteries need attention in order to keep vehicles functioning properly. Car batteries store the electrical energy required to start and run our vehicles. Car batteries are not going to stop functioning in your driveway. They will pick the most inconvenient place possible. Car batteries have a lifespan of 2 to 3 years. Depending on climate conditions batteries 3 years old or older will experience failure. While a battery tends to last longer in a cold climate extreme cold and heat will also deteriorate a batteries functioning ability. Routine maintenance can help your battery function properly. Regular checking of cables for cracking or fraying, battery connection for corrosion and in some cases the water level inside. Batteries should be tested every three to six months. Some warning signs are; lights will dim when air conditioning or heat is on or corrosion on battery cables. Has the battery needed a jump start or external charge? Is the battery past the warranty date ? These are all indicators that you may need to get a new battery. So as we enjoy our battery powered electronic devices we should also make sure our vehicle battery is maintained in order for it to function at its peak. Happy motoring and be safe.

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Women Taking Control of Their Car Services and Repairs

When I opened Bob’s Autodynamics way back in 1986 almost everyone we dealt with was a man. Back in the day men were in charge of taking care of the family car needs. They would make the decisions of what should be done or not done. In some cases I’m sure the woman may be helping with those decisions but we still always seemed to be dealing with the man of the house. Fast forward to today and boy have times changed. In todays world I would say that women represent over 50% of the customers we deal with. I must say sometimes change is good. It’s a pleasure to help women with their car needs. Women tend to be better listeners when we are explaining or educating them on anything they may not understand about their car and why they need the services or repairs suggested. Sorry guys I think with some men their egos get in the way and they don’t want to admit what little they know about todays cars. Just to be fair todays cars are very complex compared to the old days before everything (not just cars) came equipped with a some type of computer. I’m glad to see that todays women take on their car needs with confidence. They know that taking care of the second biggest or the biggest investment in their lives will pay off and pay off big. We a Bob’s Autodynamics take great pride in being able to help anyone understand and educate them on how their car works or why is it broken. If you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask just stop by or give us a call and we will be glad to help you.
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Relationships With Your Mechanic

Do you go to the same doctor for checkups? Do you go to same dentist for cleaning or checkups? Most people do because they like to have the same people taking care of them and having their medical history. It’s all about building relationships with the people you trust to take care of you. If you own a home your car will be the second biggest investment in your life. If you don’t own a home your car will be the biggest investment in your life. Just like we need to take care of our teeth with maintenance by flossing, brushing and regular checkups you should be maintaining your car. Regular checkups and maintenance is going to keep your car healthy. It’s to your advantage to find a good repair shop and stick with them. Just like your doctor a good shop will keep all the maintenance records for your car. They will help you stay on top of everything your car needs based on your personal driving habits. From how often you should change your oil and filter to letting you know when it’s time for other maintenance like cooling system flushes, transmission services and cabin filter replacement. They will know if you are the type of person that uses their brakes with a heavy foot or the type that is light on their brakes. Guess what type of person does more brake jobs? At Bob’s Autodynamics we build relationships with our clients. After 28 years in business we have 3 generations of families coming to our shop. It’s really fun watching our clients children grow up and start driving their parents car or maybe if they are lucky their own car. We enjoy helping those young drivers learn how to take care of their car just like their parents and grandparents. Yes it’s all about relationships.

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It’s Another New Year in Las Vegas

January 10, 2014

Can you believe it’s 2014 and another new year is here. Last year seemed to go buy so fast. Is it because I’m getting up there in years? They say the older you get the faster time goes. I’m starting to believe it but that’s a whole different story. 2013 was another year Las Vegas struggled to pull out of a bad economy. They say our unemployment is about 9% but I think the real number is about double that. It seemed like another year of nothing but bad news with one scandal after another. What is it going to take to get our wonderful country back on track? I better stop there before I really start losing it! On to a positive note let’s all make 2014 a better year for all of us. If we all keep a positive attitude and keep moving forward we the people can overcome the worst Washington has to throw at us. This year started off with the Consumer Electronics Show here in Las Vegas. Everything from computer eyewear to massive 4k TV’s that have a picture 4 times as clear as what we are use to. One of the things that caught my attention being a serious car guy was the self driving cars at the show. I don’t know about you but when it comes to my car I want my hands on the wheel and my foot on the gas as I steer my way down the road. Americans love their cars, they always have and I’m sure you are like me I want the pleasure of driving my car down the road. Now I know it’s no fun being stuck in rush hour traffic on I-15 but how about driving around the Red Rock loop next weekend. Driving through the scenic views rounding the corners maybe a little too fast with no side streets for someone to pull out in front of you can be very exciting. If it’s a nice day the windows are down and the fresh air blowing through your car is something you just have to experience. I just can’t imagine letting my self driving car have all the fun. I think some things should be left to us humans without technology taking over. I know what you’re thinking some people just don’t know how to drive good and may be better off letting the car do it for them. That’s another topic for another day. We will see in the years to come just how the self driving car works out for us Americans who love to drive our cars.

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I Love Las Vegas at Christmas

December 19, 2013

I really do love Las Vegas at Christmas time. Las Vegas may be known as “sin city” to the rest of the country but the locals know just how giving the people that live and work here are. Everyday you hear about an organization or business sponsoring a fund raising event. Some collect food or winter coats while others will collect toys, bikes and other gifts for those in need. I see people from all over the valley come out to these events with very generous donations. Many businesses will make huge donations to give back to the community. The Christmas Holidays really do bring out the best in us. Las Vegas is also a wonderful city to see dazzling light displays. You can go to the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and see their cactus garden all decorated with lights. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway also has a light display. How about taking the kids to Opportunity Village and walk through the magical forest or ride the train with the kids. A couple of years ago Bob’s Autodynamics sponsored a tree in the magical forest. The team at Bob’s Autodynamics got to decorate the tree. The guys at the shop found automotive related ornaments like tools and other car stuff to decorate our little tree. Everyone from the shop had a great time and Cheryl made sure the whole event had a woman’s touch. Unfortunately I (Bob) was home sick with pneumonia at the time but it really felt good to give back to the community. Another nice place to see is the gardens at the Bellagio Hotel that have been decorated with a Christmas theme or just drive around and check out all the lights in your neighborhood. Christmas is such a special time to spend with family and friends. It’s a magical time of year to share and give to others. Just like the old saying “It is better to give than receive”. At Bob’s Autodynamics we are very thankful to all of are clients who have supported us this past year. MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ALL OF US AT BOB’S AUTODYNAMICS. MAY YOU ALL HAVE A BLESSED 2014.

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Las Vegas – Car Service in Winter

October 11, 2013

Winter is coming and even though we live in the desert it gets cold in Las Vegas. Just like in the summer when our cars struggle to survive the 115 plus temperatures when the weather gets cold our cars can have multiple new problems due to the extreme cold. The first big problem will be your battery. Any time the temperature takes a big dip it can send a weak battery over the edge. The second problem you might encounter is all of a sudden you have a coolant leak. A lot of times it’s the water pump leaking. When the cold hits the water pump seal will shrink due to the cold temperature and there you have it a leaking water pump. Today’s radiators are made with plastic tanks and aluminum cores. When the cold hits the plastic tanks can crack and you now have a leaking radiator. Also it’s very important to have the proper amount and type of coolant in your car for both winter and summer. The third thing to watch out for is anything on your car made from rubber. In the extreme cold your tires can crack and go flat. Hoses and belts can crack and break. And of course when your car has a failure it will be at the most inconvenient time possible. You will end up late for work or the kids late for school. I don’t know why that happens but it just seems to work that way. The best advice I can give you is have your vehicle checked out before the cold weather is here. Most trained technicians can inspect your car and make any recommendations necessary to keep you on the road all winter long. At Bob’s Autodynamics we always offer seasonal inspections FREE during an oil and filter service. If it’s winter we will inspect your car for cold weather conditions. If it’s summer we will inspect your car for hot weather conditions. All of the technicians at Bob’s Autodynamics are ASE Master Certified. That means they have been certified in all categories of automobile repair and service. At Bob’s we don’t mess around with car repair and service we take it seriously. That’s why we have excellent ratings on the internet. We take care of our family of car lovers because that’s YOU

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