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GENERAL MAINTENANCE

It's Time for the 21st Century Tune-up

Times are changing...cars are changing. One of the biggest changes in today's automotive industry is the perception of a "tune-up." Ask 10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up and chances are there'll be 10 different answers. The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs; today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels.

The tune-up was historically associated with the routine replacement of key ignition system parts like spark plugs and ignition points, along with some basic adjustments to help "tune" the engine. Mounting pressure for increased fuel economy and lower emissions drove the car manufacturers to adopt electronics and to do away with ignition points in the '70s, along with the carburetor in the middle '80s. This eliminated the need for the replacement and adjustment of a growing number of ignition and fuel system parts.

As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions. Things that were once handled mechanically are now controlled electronically through the widespread use of onboard computer technology.

Because vehicles have changed so much over the years, the Car Care Council has introduced the 21st Century Tune-up. This program is designed to help re-define and educate motorists as to what a tune-up should consist of on today's modern vehicles.

"There is a misconception that today's modern vehicles don't need tune-ups because they never break down, but that simply is not true," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "If you're at work and your computer goes down, you can't get any more work done. It's the same with your vehicle. If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go."

As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected:

  • Battery, charging and starting
  • Engine mechanical
  • Powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks)
  • Fuel
  • Ignition
  • Emissions

Vehicle owners ask for tune-ups for a variety of reasons, including improving performance, maintaining reliability, planning a vacation, preparing for winter/summer or because they're giving the car to a friend or family member.

To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle from every aspect. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Mechanical failure—an inconvenience anytime it occurs--can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. Besides, a well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.

Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.

  • Engine Performance - Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters-air, fuel, etc.
  • Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual—more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
  • Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent-you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.
  • Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.
  • Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
  • Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
  • Carry emergency gear: gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer

Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. . . Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too!

Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.

  • Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.
  • Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual-more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
  • Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended-more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
  • Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
  • Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
  • Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Emergencies - Carry some basic tools-ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.

Keeping Your Vehicle in Tune with the Environment

Car care is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer-up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians. The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

  • Keep your engine tuned. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%. Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
  • Check your tires for proper inflation. Under inflation wastes fuel-your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle. Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed.
  • Keep your air conditioner in top condition and have it serviced only by a technician certified competent to handle/recycle refrigerants. Air conditioners contain CFCs-gases that have been implicated in the depletion of the ozone layer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost one third of the CFCs released into the atmosphere come from mobile air conditioners; some simply leaks out, but the majority escapes during service and repair-so it's important to choose a qualified technician.
  • Do-it-yourselfers: dispose of used motor oil, anti-freeze/coolant, tires, and old batteries properly. Many repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local municipal or county government for recycling sites. Never dump used oil or anti-freeze on the ground or in open streams.
  • Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply above 55 mph.
  • Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go's. Use cruise-control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family. Today's vehicles are designed to "warm up" fast, so forget about those five-minute warm ups on cold winter mornings.
  • Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage. Store luggage/ cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
  • Plan trips. Consolidate your daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving. Try to travel when traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions. Join a car pool.

Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts, and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.

ASSOCIATIONS

  • ACDelco
  • ASE (Automotive Service Excellence)
  • Auto Value - CSC
  • Motocraft
  • Mopar
  • Bosch
  • Denso
  • Repair Pal Certified
  • Car Care Aware

Testimonials

  • Once again, my guys at Academy Automotive saved me when I made an urgent drop in on Friday afternoon. Always smiling, these guys are helpful, explaining everything and trustworthy. Oh so helpful. Thank you Jake, Jamie and Gus once again for taking care of me and me and my 'girl' you are the best!
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  • This shops A1. I have an older mercedes and they were on top of things to get it back into tip top shape after I was having major problems with it. It was NOT an easy fix, but their methodical and patient determination got my car to perfection. I give these guys a 6 star rating plus plus... Definitely use them for all my cars.
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  • Easy to get appt, very friendly, and called me a lyft for free to rental car. So far a great experience
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  • Best repair shop around!
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  • I had been putting off an oil change for a few days (weeks). I was driving by on my way to San Luis Obispo when I decided I had to get the oil change right away. I searched for the nearest oil change location on yelp and found this place with amazing reviews. I called and could instantly tell they were lovely. I went in 5 min later and was instantly greeted by the owner, his wife and Jake who I spoke to on the phone. They made a FRESH pot of coffee for me which may sound silly but this is just one example of how they all make you feel at home. This is clearly not a marketing ploy but rather they are just really great people that own a business and doing phenomenal at it. Highly recommend this location for any of your needs. I live in Downtown LA and I will make sure to come here when I'm traveling from here on out.
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  • Great and friendly people! They were straight forward, informative, and provided excellent honest service! Thank you for helping me Academy Automotive 805!!
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  • I can't begin to tell you how great Academy is. They always take great care of my suburban. Never sell me on anything that is not needed, they are extremely honest. And never ridiculous costs on labor and parts. My 20 year old daughter takes her car to Academy for her regular maintenance and oil changes as well, they offer fabulous deals on multiple oil changes at a great price. I know she won t be taken advantage of and nothing but honest work, making sure her car is in tip top condition and safe.
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  • I don't even live in Thousand Oaks anymore and I make sure to go there. Everyone is so nice, and they do an amazing job.
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  • Did great work and was responsive to my needs. Could do better with a written estimate and communication on status - had to have special shocks replaced, engine mounts tightened, and a new radiator. Not a small job and they did a great job!
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  • Good work, friendly.
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  • Great service and good price. I highly recommend Academy Automotive 805. I had a dent and scratched paint in my car, so after researching some body shops on Yelp, I found this gem in Newbury Park. Since I was paying cash, they gave me a fair quote and a cash discount. The damaged are looks like new. The car was ready on time. Jacob and Andrea were nice and pleasant to deal with.
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  • This place is awesome! They fixed my moms car and it came out perfect. She was so happy I told her I would get on Yelp and do a review. It was the best price in town and they did a fantastic job. They fixed the dent on her rear driver side quarter panel, door and rear bumper. Thanks for making my mom happy.
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  • I must thank everyone who had taken the time to review this shop on Yelp! The left fender of my car was dented so I took my car to a few auto body shops in Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village for repair estimates. So very glad that I used Yelp and found this place which has saved me $350 in repair cost! They don't have a full-time staffed front desk personnel, but it helps cut down their overhead cost. There's a white button at the front desk which you can ring and someone would appear right away to take care of you. Jacob, the person that I talked with both on the phone and in person, was a very nice and respectful young man. I appreciated that he tried to help me because I was paying for the repair myself and gave me a good price. Car was done on time and the damage is gone, like nothing ever happened! No compromise in quality. Cost is more than fair, people is kind and reasonable, and quality is very good... yea, highly recommend.
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  • Brought my minivan in for a rattling sound in the exhaust when I accelerated. He put it up on a lift, inspected the exhaust system and found 2 cracked welds. He was honest enough to say that I needed to take it to a muffler shop. So honest that he sent me to get the work done somewhere else. I'm confident they'll treat you right and give you a straight answer without any BS. Thanks!
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  • This shops A1. I have an older mercedes and they were on top of things to get it back into tip top shape after I was having major problems with it. It was NOT an easy fix, but their methodical and patient determination got my car to perfection. I give these guys a 6 star rating plus plus...... definitely use them for all my cars.
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  • After trying countless mechanic repair shops I stumbled upon this gem tucked behind Home Depot. They were the first shop that did not turn me away because of the year make and model of my vehicle and the difficulty that comes with finding parts. They went through the entire truck and found (plus showed) all of the areas that needed to be addressed and explained the repercussions if I did not go forward with fixing them. They fixed everything go thing I needed and did the job perfectly, they were extremely affordable and even offered to drop my truck off since my office is only down the road. Five stars is an understatement when it comes to the shop.
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  • Needed an oil change for my RV, looked on Yelp for local places and found these guys. I called and they said they could do it and to bring it right over. I was very happy with the personal and quick service. Found my new local Newbury Park automotive service place. Good Deal!
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  • These guys are great. I manage a fleet of about 16 cars and they are very prompt and complete with every job. I even take my personal cars here. I highly recommend them for any job, big or small.
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  • Academy Automotive 805 performs top-notch service on a variety of automobiles with an even wider variety of issues. They patiently hunted down a hard-to-find car part for my 1964 Buick Riviera and executed a lasting repair after another local shop tried and failed (twice!). I highly recommend giving them an opportunity to win your business too.
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  • Wonderful service and good price. I really recommend Academy Automotive 805. I had a dent in my car, so after researching for some body shops I found this place. They fixed the dent for a fair price (probably half the price of other body shops) and delivered the car on time. High quality service and fair price, two things that are hard to find nowadays.
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  • Awesome team and I can't thank them enough for taking care of my car's issues!! I appreciate their honesty and integrity and can't say enough nice things about the entire Team...I won't take my car anywhere else!!
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  • These guys are awesome. They know their stuff and get the job done quickly. Honesty and integrity to spare. They'll be doing all of my automotive work in the future.
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  • I had my 1965 Ford F100 completely restored here, they did an excellent job! I will definitely be a frequent customer. Thanks to Jacob as well for answering all of my questions. The paint turned out incredible!
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  • Good place for General automotive repair and Fleet repair service.
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  • From my own experience with Academy Automotive, they deserve more stars than the universe. Pay Academy Automotive a visit with your vehicle, have the oil changed, get a tune up, or have your vehicle serviced - whatever it is, Academy Automotive can handle it!
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