Sometimes it seems in Oshkosh 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. It seems like when we were kids in Oshkosh, our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough, we had to do without.
We couldn't afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It's a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us Oshkosh penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles with proper care. The engineering's there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedules.
Is it really that bad to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes, you've created an opportunity for sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don't get oiled and they start to wear out faster.
Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.
It's also even more important for older vehicles in the Oshkosh area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they're a bit more stressed anyway. But it's never too late to get back on track with your maintenance and to hold off further damage.
It's just another example of our parents being right. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That's like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let your service advisor at The Auto Authority LLC in Oshkosh help you keep track of the rest.
Of course, some things are going to wear out along the way, stuff like alternators, water pumps and such. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It's like having high cholesterol; you don't want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.
TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring for Your Oshkosh Vehicle
Posted December 20, 2011 12:00 PM
Oshkosh drivers may know that all 2008 model year and newer cars, mini-vans and light trucks in Wisconsin come with a tire pressure monitoring system. Many slightly older vehicles around the Oshkosh area have these systems as well. A tire pressure monitoring system – called TPMS – consists of sensors on each wheel that measure tire pressure.
If tire pressure drops 25 percent below the vehicle manufacture’s recommended pressure, the sensor sends a signal to a monitoring unit that causes a warning to light up on the dashboard. When drivers see the warning light, they know it's time to put some air in the tires.
There are many benefits to people in Oshkosh who drive with properly inflated tires. First is cost savings. Running at the correct air pressure improves fuel economy. Driving on underinflated tires is like driving through sand – it drags down your fuel economy. Drivers in Oshkosh will also see longer, more even tread wear so your tires will last longer.
Another important benefit of properly inflated tires is increased safety for Oshkosh vehicles. Underinflated tires become hotter, and that heat can actually lead to tire failure – possibly resulting in an accident. Your vehicle and the tires themselves will just perform better and more safely around Oshkosh with properly inflated tires.
Local Wisconsin consumer groups and law-makers advocate TPMS systems hoping that they will save lives, property damage and inconvenience. While you can't put a value on saving a life, Oshkosh drivers should keep in mind that TPMS systems aren't free.
The systems themselves are added into the price of the vehicle. The batteries in the sensors will have to be replaced from time to time. Parts will break and need to be replaced. In colder climates around Wisconsin, ice and salt are frequent causes of failure.
In addition, there are other behind-the-scenes costs we want you to be aware of. Every time a tire is replaced, repaired, rotated or balanced, the tire technician has to deal with the TPMS system.
Oshkosh service centers such as Auto Authority LLC must purchase equipment used to scan and reactivate the TPMS system after every tire service. Because older tire change equipment can damage TPMS sensors, your Oshkosh area service center may need to buy expensive, new tire changers.
Since there is no uniformity among manufacturers, technicians need to be trained on several TPMS systems. These behind-the-scenes costs are very real to Oshkosh service center managers.
That's why the team at Auto Authority LLC is anxious for people in the Oshkosh area to understand the financial impact of TPMS systems. In the past, we've been able to quickly and cheaply provide tire services and then pass the low cost on to customers as an expression of our good will. But now even these simple jobs take much longer and require equipment.
Sensors will need to be removed and reinstalled. Even a tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a vehicle battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed.
So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up in Wisconsin, please keep in mind that it's because of this new safety equipment. The team at Auto Authority LLC just wants to keep you safely on the road – and we're committed to doing it at a fair price.
It's important to remember that the TPMS warning only comes on when a tire is severely underinflated. You'll still want to check your tire pressure regularly. At every fill-up is best, but you should check pressure at least once a month. Here's wishing you safe travels.
Contact Auto Authority LLC for more information about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems.
There are a surprising number of small, inexpensive parts that can lead to expensive engine damage when they fail. It doesn't seem right.
Fortunately a lot of those things can be taken care of in routine maintenance. They may not be easy to remember because it is a long list, but your service center at Auto Authority LLC can help you know what's scheduled to be taken care of.
Some of us in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, really don't look forward to going in for an oil change and then getting a list of the other things the manufacturer recommends.
But automotive maintenance is all about prevention and addressing small problems before they get big. Let's take the fuel filter for example.
You may not know this but the median age for private vehicles on our Oshkosh, Wisconsin, roads is over nine years. When vehicles get older, five years or so, they've accumulated a lot of dirt and rust in their gas tanks. If that dirt gets into the engine it can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. So somewhere between that dirty gas tank and the price of a great vacation is the lowly fuel filter: a very inexpensive part that doesn't cost too much to replace. And your vehicle will just run better too.
A clogged fuel filter can't let enough fuel through. You might notice at first that your vehicle is running fine around town but struggles or sputters on the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, freeway or when you accelerate. Enough fuel can't get through to meet the demands of higher speed. If it gets bad enough, your engine might just shut off or not start at all, which could be dangerous.
Some fuel filters have a bypass. When they get clogged, they allow dirty fuel to move around the filter element so dirt ends up in the engine. We've already talked about how expensive that can be.
The fuel filter is even very important for newer vehicles. The fuel is still dirty even if there isn't rust in the tank. It's just that the fuel filter will need to be changed more frequently as the vehicle gets older.
How often should you change your fuel filter? Check your owner's manual. Your Oshkosh, Wisconsin, service advisor at Auto Authority LLC can tell you as well. It's usually around 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometers) or so. Ask if it's time for a full fuel system cleaning as well. They often go hand in hand.
It's good to know that your Oshkosh, Wisconsin, service center has your back. When you're motivated to maintain your vehicle's performance and to reduce operating costs, you'll think of Auto Authority LLC as your ally - and maybe even your memory.
At Auto Authority LLC we hear from a lot of people who are excited about the new diesel engines that will soon be available in passenger cars and SUV's. But our Wisconsin friends are often curious about the preventive maintenance requirements. People may not know that diesel engines have long been used extensively in Europe and Asia. In fact, in some markets, there're nearly as many diesel powered passenger cars as there are gasoline.
Here's who's announced or is expected to announce new diesels for North America: BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and Subaru. Of course, the US auto makers will be expanding their diesel offerings as well. Diesels will become a very big deal here in Wisconsin.
You may ask, why has it taken so long getting to Wisconsin and North America? There are a bunch of reasons like fuel tax policies and such, but the biggest hurtle was that Wisconsin diesel fuel had a high sulfur content – too high for the latest generation of highly refined diesel engines. Recent government mandates to remove sulfur now opens up Wisconsin to the engines the rest of the world's been enjoying for a long time.
Why are diesels so popular worldwide? Well, for starters, diesels get up to 30% better fuel economy than gas engines. And they last a lot longer. And modern diesel engines are refined, quiet and powerful – and there's none of that black smoke we used to see.
Some people may think that diesels create more pollution. But, you need to rethink diesels. Environmental pollution standards for diesel cars and light trucks are scheduled to be as strict as they are for gasoline vehicles. A modern diesel engine is as clean as a gas engine.
Repair costs are similar to vehicles with gas engines. As with gasoline engines, proper maintenance is the key to long engine life and to avoiding repairs. So pretty much what we have come to expect with gas vehicles; coolant system service, transmission service, power brakes, power steering, differential, filters, fuel system and so on. And the payoff for you, if you're the kind that likes to keep your vehicles for a long time, is that a properly maintained diesel engine can last for many, many years.