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Category Archives: Maintenance

Your Vehicle is NOT Maintenance Free, Boise Car Owners

A generation ago, Boise drivers seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle’s preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Having your sedan in to your Boise shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.

For example, almost everyone in Boise used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the sedan was in for a tune-up at Napa AutoCare Boise, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.

Today’s engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our sedans don’t experience a huge performance drop when they’re ready for some car care. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.

Modern Boise motorists need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner’s manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, your Boise service center can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At Napa AutoCare Boise in Boise, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you’ll get better engine performance and MPG. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”

Modern sedan engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they’re more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of critical parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the sedan isn’t driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your car on the road.

As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your sedan engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and actually damage the sedan engine parts it was designed to protect. It can actually eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this expensive damage, and it’s a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.

Timely oil changes are more critical for Boise drivers than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to essential engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.

One word of warning to anyone in Boise who purchases used automobiles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. Boise folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don’t want to be bothered with maintenance or car care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.

Boise car owners can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better MPG, and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.

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Budget For Maintenance in Boise

Sometimes busy Boise 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 Boise 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 Boise 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 Boise motorists would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Boise motorists 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 Boise area auto service centers.

Boise drivers 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 Boise is simply more pricey than it used to be. So if you think about it, Idaho motorists can avoid many costly sedan 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. Boise 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 Boise drivers know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your sedan 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 pricey than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.

Just a bit of auto advice from Napa AutoCare Boise: 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 Idaho auto insurance with an older Boise vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for essential preventive maintenance in Idaho, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less expensive!

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Keep Your Boise Car Breathing Free: Engine Air Filter


Hey Boise drivers – this is something really amazing: For every gallon of gas your sedan burns, it uses 12,000 gallons of air. All of that air has to be filtered to keep your engine clean.

That’s like a hundred gallons of air every block! The engine air filter is just another example of a very essential but inexpensive part that has to do a tremendous amount of work. And when it works, everything goes well. But, when it doesn’t, well, it can lead to pricey problems. Of course, your auto manufacturer recommends how often to change your air filter. But like most service intervals, where and how you drive your car in Idaho affects when your filter needs to be changed.

Dusty conditions around Boise or polluted city driving means you’ll need to change your filter more often. Your fr Napa AutoCare Boise tech can check your filter for you. In fact, it’s often a routine part of an oil change.

When you think about it, a clogged air filter won’t allow as much air through as a clean filter. Your sedan needs this air to efficiently burn its fuel, giving you better fuel efficiency and performance.

Dirtier filters don’t work as well as clean ones. A filter can only hold so much, after that, it allows dirt to pass right into your engine. Air filters come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different grades. There are high performance air filters available for most cars. These high performance filters are a little more pricey in Boise, but they increase horsepower and may improve gas mileage to boot.

So it’s important for Boise auto owners to have their air filter checked. If it needs replacing, it doesn’t cost very much at Napa AutoCare Boise in Boise and it should easily pay for itself in better fuel efficiency before your next oil change.

Stop by Napa AutoCare Boise at 4338 W. Chinden Blvd, Boise, Idaho 83714, and we’ll take a look at your air filter for you. Feel free to give us a call at 208-323-9292 to make an appointment.

Napa AutoCare Boise
4338 W. Chinden Blvd
Boise, Idaho 83714
208-323-9292

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Serpentine Belt Service At Napa AutoCare Boise In Boise

If you’ve ever heard a squealing sound under your sedan hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems in your sedan. Let’s go over them.

First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Boise.

Serpentine Belt Service At Napa AutoCare Boise In BoiseMore importantly, the belt powers the alternator
. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your sedan’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).

And, on most sedans, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Boise cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.

When they understand what it does, Boise drivers realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why vehicle manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owners manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owners manual, come see us at Napa AutoCare Boise.

At Napa AutoCare Boise in Boise, your fr service professional can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your fr service advisor at Napa AutoCare Boise. There’s a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Napa AutoCare Boise, we recommend Boise drivers that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your sedan.

All in all, the serpentine belt’s is essential to the operation of your sedan. And it’s not that pricey to replace at Napa AutoCare Boise – so it’s good to do so before it fails.

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Technician Training at Napa AutoCare Boise

Your car is important to you and keeping it running properly is critical to your Boise lifestyle. That’s why you’re smart to have it serviced regularly at Napa AutoCare Boise in Boise. And even though it may just be routine maintenance, you want it done right by automotive professionals.

It’s also very important to your Boise service center to keep you happy and on the road. You might be surprised at the amount of money our Boise auto service center spends annually to make sure our fr service specialists are properly trained.

  Napa AutoCare Boise offers a variety of automotive services for many kinds of vehicles. We need to be current on the latest techniques and parts so that we can give you quality service. Our Boise centers subscribe to data services that list the high quality parts and fluids recommended by your manufacturer.

And each service has a checklist of standard procedures. Napa AutoCare Boise technicians follow these procedures so they can safely deliver a consistent level of high-quality service.

Some services at Napa AutoCare Boise require the use of specialized equipment. Napa AutoCare Boise technicians are trained extensively on this equipment so that they can service your car quickly and efficiently.

Classroom, video and hands-on training is provided by the company and outside trainers. It’s not only important that fr service advisors be able to perform a given task, they also need to be thoroughly trained in inspection and diagnostic techniques. One of the great services they perform is to detect potential problems before they become serious (and pricey).

The automotive service industry has standards for classifying and communicating problems to drivers. For example, it’s one thing to learn that your manufacturer recommends that you change your serpentine belt every 30,000 miles and another to learn that the belt is on the verge of failure. These standards help you understand the urgency of recommendations, letting you make better automotive service decisions.

Idaho folks may be interested to know that service technicians (including those at Napa AutoCare Boise) are trained in compliance with federal and local Boise laws and regulations, including environmental regulations regarding the disposal of used parts and fluids.

It’s the goal of Napa AutoCare Boise to provide fast, courteous service. You should feel free to ask your frservice advisor or one of the managers about your service or for more information about their recommendations.

At Napa AutoCare Boise, well-trained service providers, established procedures, industry standards, and, of course, AutoNetTV, combine to give you the best auto service in Boise.

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Looking Down the Road – Headlamps

If you’ve ever been driving around Boise and had a headlamp go out, you’ve probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won’t have the same brightness which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.

To have your headlights inspected, visit us at Napa AutoCare Boise. We’re at 4338 W. Chinden Blvd in Boise, Idaho 83714. Or give us a call at 208-323-9292

Experts in Boise recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It’s easy to remember if you do it when daylight savings time changes in the fall. That way you’ll have bright headlamps for those long Boise winter nights.

There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can’t believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and give a very white light that’s a lot like daylight.

You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they’ll last for the life of your car. If you want your Boise friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint – no one needs to know.

Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can’t react to what you can’t see. You need headlamps that’ll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. And your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and also, to keep your lights from shining off into on-coming traffic.

You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That’s because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Boise service centers offer a service to restore the lens that’s a lot cheaper.

You can’t drive if you can’t see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don’t forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.

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Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last At Napa AutoCare Boise

A while back, the Cash for Clunkers program was all over the Idaho news. Boise people could trade in their old vehicle for a new one that got better fuel efficiency and receive a government rebate.

A lot of Boise motorists had so-called clunkers that they wanted to keep. They’re good commuters, Boise grocery getters or toy haulers. They enjoy that fact that they’re paid off, or soon will be. They would gladly like to keep their sedans for 200,000 miles or more – as long as it’s economical to do so.

There are plenty of Boise drivers whose vehicles are running after 150,000 or 200,000 miles. We can learn from what they’re doing to keep our own sedans on the road in Idaho.

The bright Boise car owners of high-mileage cars often report a common denominator of never skipping an oil change.

Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last At Napa AutoCare BoiseThat may sound a bit unsophisticated, but it’s really not. First off, oil is the life blood of your sedan’s engine and it needs to be clean to properly lubricate. Skipping oil changes leads to clogged oil filters and sludge that is harmful for your engine.

There’s another vital reason why the scheduled oil change is so important for Boise car owners. It’s simple – a Napa AutoCare Boise professional is going to be looking at your car. All of your fluid levels will be inspected and topped off so they won’t get so low that damage can be done. If there is a significant fluid loss, let’s use brake fluid as an example, your Napa AutoCare Boise technician can look for the cause of the loss and find the problem before it leads to an accident or pricey repair.

Your fr Napa AutoCare Boise service specialist will also visually inspect your sedan for worn belts and hoses, uneven tire wear, leaking shock absorbers and more. Problems get addressed before they lead to repairs that cost more than the car’s worth.

And your Napa AutoCare Boise advisor will be able to remind you of other key services that the factory recommends you get done. Just think of that oil change the same way as you do about going to your Boise dentist for your six month cleaning and checkup. Don’t skip it.

Realistically, things are going to wear out as your sedan gets older. On the way to 200,000 miles you’ll go through several batteries, probably a couple of alternators and water pumps, a set of shocks and likely some brake rotors.

Of course, these things cost some cash, but they are less costly than new sedan payments in Boise. With proper service at Napa AutoCare Boise in Boise and regular inspections, you’ll keep surprise repairs to a minimum and more money in your wallet.

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The Importance Of Boise Drivers Following Service Intervals

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Today in our Napa AutoCare Boise blog, we’re going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your sedan isn’t the only aspect of your life in Boise with recommended intervals: Let’s start with twice yearly dental check-ups and regular physical exams. How about laundry, watering the lawn and paying the bills?

Now, what would happen if you didn’t follow these intervals? Well, you’d get more cavities. You’d may not discover health conditions that could be more effectively treated with early detection. And you’d have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your brown lawn and have your utilities shut off.

The Importance Of Boise Drivers Following Service IntervalsClearly, there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don’t, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life in Boise takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.

So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our sedans? Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don’t seem that urgent. All our Boise neighbors can see our dead lawn, but no one knows how dirty our transmission fluid is. It’s easy to put off. The other reason is that we’re just not as familiar with automotive maintenance, so it’s a bit intimidating.

From a practical standpoint, Boise people don’t need to memorize their sedan owner’s manuals. You can let your Napa AutoCare Boise advisor remind you of the guidelines established by auto manufacturers: he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your sedan. You really can rely on Napa AutoCare Boise professionals to help you make good automotive decisions.

For Boise drivers who want to be more proactive with their sedan care, here are some simple ways for Boise motorists to remember what has a maintenance interval.

First: Fluids. If it’s liquid, it’s got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.

Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you’re thinking tires, don’t forget brakes and shock absorbers.

And what makes your sedan go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if Boise car owners remember to take their car or truck in to Napa AutoCare Boise for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.

And if you don’t follow recommended service intervals? You get lousy gas mileage, your sedan doesn’t run as well, your safety is compromised and you’ll spend more money in the long run. So it’s the same as everything else: The quality of your motoring life takes a hit and it ends up costing you more.

Reason enough for me to follow recommended service intervals.

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Napa AutoCare Boise And The Maintenance Mindset

When it comes to their vehicles, some Boise motorists don’t have a maintenance mindset. They know they need to take care of their cars, but it just seems really hard to get them to remember to do it. Boise drivers generally accept that many things in life require regular maintenance, but just may have not applied it to their sedans.

For example: the lawn. You water it and mow it every week. And weed the flower beds and rake the leaves. Napa AutoCare Boise And The Maintenance MindsetThere are other things that Boise residents are diligent about. Going to the dentist twice a year. Clothes to the dry cleaner. Flu shots. Taking the kids to your Boise doctor for a checkup before school starts.

So Boise drivers really are maintenance minded. They just have to learn to apply that mindset to cars. I mean, if you never brush your teeth or go to the dentist, you’ll become painfully aware of your neglect when you get a big cavity. Once the damage is done, most of us learn our lesson and shape up.

Unfortunately, Boise auto owners too often learn a hard automotive lesson when they bring their vehicle to Napa AutoCare Boise on a tow truck. So many times a little routine maintenance would have prevented a costly breakdown.

So how can Boise drivers get into the habit of taking care of their sedan? It’s so easy to forget. If you skip cutting the grass, you see it every time you pull in the driveway.

Here’s something that will help: The key to good vehicle maintenance starts with the oil change. Think about it – when you go in for a full-service oil change, your fr Napa AutoCare Boise tech will check all your fluids. If one of them is low, he can look for the reason why. If your serpentine belt is cracked, he’ll see it and let you know. Corroded battery cable – they’ve got you covered. And at Napa AutoCare Boise, we check to see if your sedan car maker has recommended any services at your current mileage.

The oil change becomes kind of a focal point, a way to check in to see what needs to be done.
The fact is that vehicle inspection surveys consistently reveal that over 80% of vehicles have one or more unperformed repair or maintenance service. Vehicles are generally very reliable and can take a lot of abuse and neglect. But, you’ve got to remember that sedans are complicated machines. There are parts and fluids that are critical to their operation. Without them, the sedan won’t run at all.

So when you come in to Napa AutoCare Boise for an oil change, you get an inspection from your fr service advisor and a reminder for recommended services so you can avoid a total failure. And remember that your fr Napa AutoCare Boise service advisor can help you work out a maintenance and repair plan, prioritizing and scheduling the work to make sure you and your family are safe, and helping you avoid expensive breakdowns.

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Clean Air for Your Engine: Engine Air Filters In Boise

Every Boise car owner who has taken their car in for an oil change has been told that their engine air filter’s dirty.

Here’s what goes into the determination of when to change the filter: First, your sedan owner’s manual will have a recommendation of when to change the filter. Second, a visual inspection by your Boise technician may determine that your filter it is visibly dirty and needs to be changed.

Clean Air for Your Engine Boise Engine Air Filter

So between your owner’s manual and your Boise technician’s inspection there’s really no guesswork involved for Boise auto owners.

Now, most air filters purchased in Boise, Boise, Garden City, or Meridian don’t cost a lot to replace. It’s just that Idaho people hate getting caught with an unexpected expense. On the plus side, though, changing a dirty air filter at Napa AutoCare Boise can often save enough on gas to pay for itself before your next oil change in Boise.

Think about a dirty furnace filter in your Boise home. When it’s all clogged up, enough clean air can’t get through. In your sedan, that means that your engine can’t get as much air as it needs to burn the fuel efficiently. So it makes do with less air and has to use more pricey Idaho gas to move your vehicle around Boise roads.

Your sedan actually needs about 12,000 gallons of air for every gallon of gas it burns. Engine air filters don’t cost much in Boise at Napa AutoCare Boise. When it’s time to change yours, just get it done. You’ll get better fuel efficiency, have better performance and protect your sedan engine.

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