Is Your Car’s AC Blowing Warm Air? AC Maintenance for Tacoma Car Owners

car AC warm, car AC maintenance, car AC malfunction

Summer is winding down; nevertheless, you can still expect a few more weeks of hot weather. You will still need to rely on your AC for the time being. However, many motorists have complained that their car’s AC is blowing warm air. What’s going on with the AC system?

Refrigerant Leak

The AC’s refrigerant may need to be topped off. If the refrigerant level is low, then there is probably a leak. Without enough refrigerant, the AC begins blowing warm air. Unlike other leaks, this does not necessarily manifest in the form of oily puddles under the car. An auto repair technician will need to identify the more subtle signs, such as oil buildup around the AC hose.

Faulty Compressor

The compressor has the all-important task of circulating the refrigerant and shuttling heat from the car’s interior. If the compressor doesn’t operate correctly, the refrigerant can’t do its job. Warm air out of the AC vent is one of the symptoms.

To prevent premature compressor wear, run the AC at least once a month during the off-season. Alternatively, you can simply run the defroster.

Faulty Electrical System

The car’s AC system is far more complex than the average motorist realizes. It has dozens of wires, fuses, and pressure and relay switches. Any of these components can malfunction at any moment due to old age. When this happens, the AC will automatically shut down to prevent further damage. In some instances, it will continue to operate but blow hot and stuffy air. An auto service will need to determine which specific component has worn out.

Car AC Blowing Warm Air? Bring the Car to Us

Bring your car to Jones Automotive Clinic if the AC is failing to cool the cabin. We diagnose and repair AC for all vehicle models, including classic cars and hybrids. The car’s AC blowing warm air is not normal; it’s a sign of a faulty system.

Car Air Conditioning Maintenance

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Engine Overheating Prevention: How to Stop Your Car from Overheating in Tacoma

prevent engine overheating, engine overheating

It’s not just people that feel the brunt of the summer heat. Your car is just as susceptible to a heatwave. So, we see more car breakdowns where the hood seems to be blowing smoke. Preventing engine overheating is crucial for minimizing the chances of a breakdown on a hot summer day. Here’s how:

Check the Coolant and the Radiator

During summer, check the radiator and the coolant reservoir at least once a week. You definitely need to do this before an extended road trip. For the coolant, you don’t even need to remove the cap. Just see whether the fluid is at or above the “full” line.

Switch Off the Air Conditioner

It sounds crazy to switch off the AC inside a hot car cabin. However, this is precisely what you should do if you see the temperature gauge rising above normal levels. This takes some of the load off the engine. You should also turn the blower on full blast. This will suck some of the heat from the engine bay and transfer it into the interior cabin. This will turn the cabin into a sauna, but it will cool the engine a bit.

Pull Over

If the temperature gauge continues to rise, pull over when safe to do so. Open the hood to let out the trapped heat. Keep the hood open for about 20-minutes. When the engine has cooled, pour some water over the radiator.

Even if the car appears to operate normally after this, we suggest that you stop at an auto service. Err on the side of caution with a professional cooling system inspection.

Engine Overheating Prevention Is Crucial This Summer

Bring your car to an auto repair station if you notice the temperature gauge consistently moving up. This applies for all models, from modern to classic cars. Let Jones Automotive Clinic examine your car; engine overheating prevention should include professional diagnosis.

Summer Automotive Inspection

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

How Summer Heat Affects Your Car Battery

car battery heat

People tend to think that the car battery loses its juice during winter. In reality, the battery is prone to dying under any temperature extremes. Today you’ll learn how summer heat affects your car battery, especially how it drains the power.

How Heat Affects a Car Battery

The ideal operating temperature for a battery is about 80-degrees Fahrenheit. The heat from the air helps induce the chemical activity that takes place within the electrolyte solution inside the battery case. Too much heat, however, causes internal corrosion and reduces battery life. It also leads to evaporation of the electrolyte solution.

The effects, though, aren’t immediate, and the battery usually doesn’t die until the following fall. This leads car owners to believe that it’s the cooling temperature that’s responsible. Our auto service sees an uptick of dead batteries in autumn, though we know the damage occurred during the summer heatwave.

How to Preserve Battery Life

Heat affects the battery whether the car is in motion or sitting in the driveway. A few simple modifications will preserve your battery for the long haul.

  • Limit the time the car is parked outdoors or park in the shade whenever possible.
  • Consider investing in a carport if you don’t have a garage. You may need permission from your city to install one on your property.
  • Regularly bring your car to an auto repair station. This is especially the case for older or classic cars. These may have batteries that need to be topped off with fluids.
  • Check the battery for corrosion buildup on the terminals. If corrosion is present, remove it using a towel or brush.

We Check and Service Vehicle Batteries

Heat leads to accelerated wear of certain car parts. Bring your vehicle to Jones Automotive Clinic this summer to check the health of your battery. Heat affects  your car battery in ways that can be detrimental to any automobile model.

Car Battery Checkup and Replacement

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Driving on an Empty Gas Tank in Tacoma: Is It Safe?

Driving with the fuel light on is a no-no. Yet, thousands of motorists find themselves in this situation every year. Why is driving on an empty gas tank dangerous and how does this affect your car? 

empty gas tank

Why People Drive on an Empty Gas Tank

According to one survey, two million drivers indicated they regularly drive with the low-fuel warning light on. The reason? They refrain from stopping at a gas station, hoping the price will go down if they wait a little longer. However, by constantly letting the gas run precariously low, they are causing damage to their car. Ultimately, they end up spending far more for an auto repair shop. 

We advise filling up whenever the fuel gauge reaches the 1/4th mark. Also, don’t solely rely on the fuel gauge to determine fuel levels. Your driving habits determine how many more miles the car can travel. When you reach the point where you need to refuel, we suggest using your smartphone to look for the cheapest gas near your location.

The Dangers of Driving on an Empty Gas Tank

First, you run the risk of running out of fuel in a very inconvenient place, such as the fast lane of the freeway. Secondly, running low on fuel can also be bad for your car. How so? Fuel acts like a coolant by keeping the electric fuel pump motor cool. When gas is low, the pump ends up sucking more air, which creates heat and leads to premature wear.

The gas tank may also contain sediment that sinks to the bottom of the tank. When fuel is low, the pump sucks up the sediment which clogs the fuel filter.

Be Mindful of Fuel Levels

Avoid costly auto service by keeping your fuel level at least 1/4th full. Bring your vehicle to Jones Automotive Clinic for Subaru and Toyota repairs or service of any residential vehicle. Driving on an empty gas tank may cause unnecessary damage.

Residential and Classic Car Maintenance

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Know Your Automotive Repair Rights in Tacoma

automotive repair rights

Chances are that you know less about cars than your local mechanic. With auto repair shops, we know people may have doubts regarding the mechanic’s integrity. Fortunately, automotive repair rights do exist in the state of Washington that shield you from unethical practices.

What Are Your Automotive Repair Rights?

Not every state has such a law in place. Washington has the Auto Repair Act, outlined under the official Washington State Office of the Attorney General. Here are some of the provisions.

Estimates: For in-person services where repairs are expected to surpass $100, you are entitled to a written repair estimate. The technician cannot charge you more than 10% above the estimate without your approval.

Invoicing: The invoice must include a description of the service, along with parts provided. The technician must indicate whether each part is new, used, or a rebuild. The invoice must also include the price of each individual part, along with labor fees for installation.

All automotive-related shops must follow these guidelines. This includes collision repair centers, windshield installers, tire repair services, etc.

The Rights of the Auto Shop

The Auto Repair Act goes both ways, meaning it also grants certain protections to the auto service. The repair shop has the right, for example, to put a lien on your vehicle. In other words, they can legally hold your car until you pay your bill. 

However, even this right is limited. The technician cannot hold your car if charges exceeded 110% of the written estimate. The same is true if the shop failed to post a sign outlining your customer rights.

We Respect Your Rights

At Jones Automotive Clinic, we operate with integrity. This holds true for all repair types, from residential vehicle servicing to classic car repairs. We will never violate your automotive repair rights because we value your trust and patronage.

Trustworthy Automotive Repairs

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

What Happens When You Miss an Oil Change in Tacoma?

miss an oil change

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t necessarily have to get an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, you absolutely need to perform a change according to intervals in your vehicle’s user manual. What are the implications for your vehicle’s engine when you miss an oil change?

Why Motor Oil Is Necessary

Most people have never seen an engine in action. Car engines consist of multiple moving parts that often rubbing against each other. This leads to friction and heat, the latter is detrimental to an engine. Oil acts as lubrication between the moving parts.

What Happens When the Oil Dries Out?

Motor oil eventually degrades due to exposure to the accumulation of metal particles. The oil turns to sludge as particulates begin building up. With its lubrication abilities diminished, the engine experiences excess heat. Parts like the camshaft, bearings, and crankshaft accumulate heat as less oil flows in their direction. The end result? Premature damage and an expensive engine replacement or rebuild.

How to Prevent It

Our auto repair center has repaired countless engines whose damage could have been avoided with a timely oil change. 

Consider this: a conventional oil change costs $25 to $55, or up to $70 if using synthetic oil. Do you know how much an engine rebuild costs? Between $600 and $4,000. We think paying $25 to $75 every few months is heck of a lot better than footing a bill for up to $4,000. 

The takeaway? Whether you drive a common model like Toyota or an exotic brand, all models require an oil change, no exceptions. Neglecting this basic service drastically reduces engine lifespan.

Never Miss an Oil Change

Stop by our auto service for your car’s next scheduled oil change. Jones Automotive Clinic will keep your engine running strong. Miss an oil change at your own risk.

Auto Servicing for all Vehicle Brands

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Car Hacking: A Modern Roadside Threat for Tacoma Commuters

car hacking

People take great measures to protect their laptops and mobile devices from viruses and hackers. Why not do the same for your vehicle? With integrated smart technology, car hacking is a greater threat than ever. What can you do to protect yourself?

Car Hacking Is on the Rise

Hackers can exploit a car’s vulnerability points, including its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. Just how vulnerable is your vehicle? In a controlled demonstration, security researchers successfully hacked into a Jeep SUV while it was on the road. They were able to remotely control the car’s dashboard functions, wipers, and air vents.

More alarmingly, they were able to take control of the brakes and transmission, causing the vehicle to crash into a ditch. The researchers gained control via the SUV’s Uconnect infotainment system. 

All modern vehicles are vulnerable, regardless of brand and model. This includes classic cars fitted with modern technology and infotainment system.

Prevention Measures

Auto manufacturers have made tremendous strides in automobile safety technology. Unfortunately, the same strides have not applied to remote hacking prevention. Motorists, however, can take their own preventive measures. Consider the following:

  • Enable automatic software updates
  • Stay up to date with your car’s manufacturer regarding recall of electronic components
  • Shut off the car’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use
  • Scan all USB drives for viruses before inserting them into your vehicle
  • Keep up with regular auto servicing, which should include the car’s ECU.
  • Store your keyless remote in the fridge or a faraday bag. This prevents hackers from amplifying the remote’s signal and tricking it into believing you’re within vicinity of the car.

Protect Yourself from Remote Threats

Cyber risks aren’t our specialty. However, as an auto repair center, Jones Automotive Clinic knows vehicle hacking is becoming increasingly commonplace. Total safety on the road should take into consideration both safe driving practices and car hacking awareness.

Auto Servicing for all Model Types

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Should Tacoma Motorists Switch to Winter Tires?

winter tires

Some motorists stick to all-season tires year-round. We’ll admit winter tires are not absolutely essential in a region like Tacoma. However, making the switch does make handling a bit more manageable on icy roads.

What Are Winter Tires?

As suggested in the name, winter tires are intended for winter use. The treads are deeper with larger gaps, giving them better traction and the ability to move water more easily.

Winter tires are an absolute must in regions that experience a lot snow. While Tacoma winters hardly ever entail snowfall, they do bring rain that causes slippery surfaces. Winter tires are not expensive, and most auto services install them.

Winter Tire Statistics

If you’re unsure about switching to winter tires, here is some data that might be helpful food for thought. The data comes courtesy of Consumer Reports and Michelin.

  • Most drivers consider winter tires beneficial whether they drive a front-wheel or four-wheel-drive vehicle.
  • Drivers with snow tires worry less about losing traction than other drivers.
  • 67% of drivers believe winter tires are unnecessary if they have all-season tires. However, road tests from Consumer Reports confirm that winter tires have superior traction.

Can You Use Winter Tires Year-Round?

Some people make the switch to winter tires but never return to all-season tires in the spring. We do not recommend this. Winter tires have more pliable tread rubber. While this increases grip in winter, it also wears more quickly in warmer weather. That means replacing an entire set of tires more frequently.

Most auto repair services will re-install your all-season tires at a low cost.

We Provide and Install Winter Tires

We have winter tires in inventory for most car makes and models. View our gallery to see our crew in action. Bring your car to Jones Automotive Clinic to switch to winter tires; the move will drastically improve your safety on the road.

Tire Repair and Replacement

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

How to Defrost Your Car Windows During a Tacoma Winter

defrost car windows

Tacoma isn’t the coldest region, though it does get cold enough to cause the windows to frost. You need to defrost your car windows. Not doing so greatly limits visibility and is a serious hazard. We’ll go over some simple ways to clear your windshield of morning ice.

1. Pour Warm Water on the Glass

This is a simple hack; pour warm water over the windshield. The key is to use warm but NOT boiling water. The latter can cause the window to crack. Warm water melts the ice enough for you to scrape away using a scraper or a credit card.

Our auto service also recommends a more effective hack. Instead of using plain warm water, use a solution of one-third water and two-thirds rubbing alcohol.

2. Let the Engine Idle

When you start the car, let the engine run for two to three minutes. While running the engine, turn on the defroster. This helps defrost the windows on the sides and rear, which motorists tend to forget to do. You should also roll down the windows a crack. This lets in some dry outdoor air, which mixes with the warm humid interior air and speeds up results.

3. Prevention

Prevention is the best remedy to keep frost at bay. If you park your car outside, then cover the windshield with cardboard. This shields the glass from moisture that causes frost formation once the temperature dips. Similarly, you can wrap the windows with a towel.

Defrost Your Car Windows and Stay Safe on the Road

Winter is also a good time to address auto repairs. This is the season when hidden problems tend to manifest themselves. Bring your car to Jones Automotive Clinic; we work on all car types, especially Subaru and Toyota models. Defrosting your car windows is critical for road visibility.

Winter Vehicle Maintenance

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

How to Spot and Minimize Pothole Damage in Tacoma

pothole damage

Anyone who commutes daily on Tacoma streets can attest to the number of potholes. This is especially problematic during this time of year because most potholes are difficult to detect because leaves and puddling water disguise them. Learning more about potholes will help you minimize pothole damage.

What Causes Potholes to Form?

Water that accumulates on the road during fall and winter seeps into the cracks in the pavement. Then it freezes. Then it thaws. As this process repeats itself, it causes the road to contract and bulge. When cars drive over the bulge, the weight causes it to crack apart and the tires dig out the cracked pieces.

How Do Potholes Cause Damage?

Driving through a pothole causes a sudden shift in air pressure in the tire. In severe instances, this can lead to a blowout. Potholes may also cause a bend or crack where the rim meets the tire. Finally, hitting a pothole may lead to a misaligned suspension or uneven wear. If the vehicle begins veering in one direction, then you have an alignment problem. Bring your car to an auto repair center right away.

How to Avoid a Pothole

Obviously, if you spot a pothole ahead, slow your vehicle to minimize the impact or drive around it if possible. However, not all potholes are clearly visible. Pooling water is often a sign of a pothole. Also, slow down when driving through leaf-strewn roads. You can never be sure what the fallen leaves are concealing.

You should also leave ample space between you and the car ahead. Tailgating minimizes reaction time to a pothole if you spot it at all. 

We Repair Cars from Pothole Damages

Our auto service routinely inspects potential vehicle damage from potholes. See our gallery of our crew members in action. Jones Automotive Clinic advises motorists to be cautious drivers so you can avoid pothole damage

Fall and Winter Auto Maintenance

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston