Buying a Used Trailer For Your ATV

Looking to buy a used trailer

Looking to buy a new or used trailer for your off-road vehicle?  Its winter in Lake Havasu City, which means it’s time to hit the desert hard with your off road toys and perhaps your trailer from last year just isn’t going to get you through another year. You’re going to want to save some money so let’s put the new trailer on the back burner for another year.  If you’re going towards the used trailer then you’ll have to put in some time with research and inspection to make your buy the best deal for you.

What it takes to get the best deal

By not taking some time and making the best, most informed decision you may end up spending as much as a new trailer. A well-researched purchase on a used trailer can get you much less, even half, of the sticker price of a new one.  So provided you diligent with the research you can end up with a smoking deal that you are very satisfied with.

You’ll want to start by allocating a budget and a firm top price that you’ll pay.  Then make a list of all the qualities you want your used trailer to have.  What needs should be met?  Do you want electricity?  What should the wheel size be?

Here’s a good checklist

Check the title: A trailer’s title must be “clean.”  This means there are no liens against it.  It also means that the trailer has never been salvaged or damage claims against it.   Even if the seller has the papers for it, it may have been stolen.   If the seller is hesitant to show you the original title this should be a big red flag.

You can run the VIN of the trailer thru the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS).   The NMVTIS is a national consumer protection database that provides title information from states across the country.  You can access this information online from several sources.  You can even check on your phone while you’re out looking at the trailers. Knowledge is power!

“The NMVTIS database gives you the vehicle’s title history, which includes whether the vehicle was ever in the possession of a junk or salvage yard or declared a “total loss” by an insurance company.”  Texas DMV

Trailer floor: Your inspection of the vehicle must start from below. Check out the trailer floor for to ensure that it is not rusting and is solid and stable and not rusting.  Looking underneath is important because this is where the problems with the chassis can begin.  Don’t be afraid to get in the dirt and look things over.

Tires: You don’t want to see any cracks or plugged holes.  Nor should there be any bulges in the tire or dry rot.

Bearings: Make sure that the wheel bearings are seated properly and that they are well lubricated..  There should be no up and down or side to side movement with the bearings.

Hitch:  The latch on the hitch open and close properly with no missing parts!

Brakes: Are the axles’ brakes working well?  Inspect the brake pads, shoes, drums, rotors, and magnets. Do not hesistate to question your seller on any of these items if you see something you don’t like or question.

Suspension: Check the springs and spring hangers for cracks, breaks, and repairs.

Also examine the frames and electricals before you purchase.  If you have any questions you can bring your trailer to Britton before you buy and we will help inspect it for you.  Call us with any questions at (928) 768-9825

Boat Trailer Maintenance

Trailer Maintenance: What to know

A to-do list for boat trailer maintenance can be quite lengthy. Britton’s has put together a few items to get you started. We want to be sure you are safe in your travels.

Check before you leave

In Lake Havasu gets visitors from all over the country. We get boats towed from California and even Alaska to get on the lake and enjoy our winter sunshine. Whether you are hauling on the highway or taking the scenic route with country roads, your trailer can take a beating. Be sure to always inspect and maintain your boat trailer maintenance before a big road trip. You should even check if you are making a small journey into a secluded area because you don’t want to get stranded out of cell phone range.

Keep Your Tires Inflated

If you ignore your tires, your next adventure could be ruined.   As with any vehicle, the correct tire inflation (PSI) is essential. Also, the PSI is usually on the side of the tire. Also, most trailers have a sticker plate that lists the proper size tire that your trailer needs. Both size and PSI are crucial for good tire life.

If a tire’s PSI is too low, you will get an uneven amount of wear on the edges. If it’s over-inflated, the exact opposite will happen. The tire will wear in the center of the tread. To avoid either of these issues follow the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.

More tips for your tires.

In the desert, the sun can be brutal. For this reason, you will want to cover your tires if your trailer will be sitting for long periods of times.
Also, examine the tire stems periodically.

Check for tread depth, always. The trusted method of taking a penny and placing it in the tread is a good determiner. To do this, take a penny and place in the tread. If you can see the head of the figure on the coin, tire tread is worn. Here’s a video to show you what to do.

Inspect your wheel bearings

Another step for proper trailer maintenance is taking a look at the wheel bearings.  Wheel bearings should be resealed/repacked once a year. Trailer bearings allow the wheel to spin with minimum friction and a constant supply of grease is necessary. As a result, the bearings will overheat without grease.  Additionally, this heat can destroy the bearings and wheels.

Hearing squeaks or grinding noises?  These kinds of noises could mean you need to replace your wheel bearings. Check if your wheels are spinning freely, this could also be of concern. If in question see a professional mechanic.

Check the lights

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), boat trailers are required to have stop lights, tail lights, turn signals, and reflectors. Trailers that are 80 inches wide or over 30 feet long need additional lights and reflectors.
When checking your trailer lights, you will want to look out for burnt-out bulbs that need replacement. Also look for damaged wires and make sure that all electrical is appropriately connected.

Britton’s Auto, Truck and RV Center want to make sure you are safe on your journeys.  Call us if you need any repairs or yearly maintenance for your boat trailer.  In addition, we also work on all kinds of trailers.  (928) 505-3535

What Your Diesel Mechanic Must Know!

skills for a diesel mechanic

Does your diesel mechanic have the mad skills to get the job done?

Diesel mechanic jobs require specific skills, not just an idea that anyone can do it.  If you want to check with the person working on your diesel truck here are some ideas of what to look for and what to ask.

Communication Skills

When your mechanic finds a problem can they tell you what the problem is and how to repair it in such a way that you can understand? Are they using complicated jargon with crazy prices? If your mechanic can’t explain things to you in layman’s terms, then you may need to find someone else who can.  There is nothing wrong with expecting to have your diesel mechanic tell you what is wrong and how to fix it in everyday language.

Comfort with Technology

Diesel mechanics are having to deal with changing technology all the time.  They must stay comfortable with using new ideas and keep up with the changes.  Talk to your mechanic to see if there’s anything new in the industry and how they best utilize these changes and innovations to best do their jobs. Also, you can ask if they are taking courses and training programs in diesel mechanics.

Electronic Skills

As technology continues to change, the amount of electronic equipment in the modern diesel engine is astounding. The contemporary diesel mechanic must be able to work with electrical components and even computer programs that monitor and run the engines on the machines they repair.

To excel as a diesel technician, they will need to know how to use diagnostic equipment for electronic systems. In addition, You will also need to know how to diagnose electrical problems and how to interpret the data for electronic diagnostic equipment.

Analytical and Math Skills

Strong analytic skills are needed to diagnose the problem with the diesel systems. Some mechanics think that the electrical diagnostics tools eliminate this need, but this is not true. Analytics is still vital because the diagnostic equipment sometimes gives a starting point.

Also, heavy equipment technicians do use math every single day. Mental math is helping your technician work more quickly as you calculate mileage and measurements. Being comfortable working with fractions, decimals, and necessary number calculations are crucial

Troubleshooting

All of the above skills go a long way with troubleshooting skills and helping mechanics repair engines and diagnose problems. Mechanics need to be able to look at the evidence, find the problem, and prepare and execute a solution.  Of course, adjusting the changes when the first line of thinking does not work.

The diesel mechanics at Britton’s in Lake Havasu City know how to repair and maintain your diesel car or truck.  Call to make an appointment. (928) 505-3535

Diesel Fuel and the Diesel Engine

History of Diesel Fuel

The history of diesel fuel

Developed in the 1890s by inventor Rudolph Diesel, the diesel engine has become the leading choice worldwide for power, reliability, and high fuel economy. Besides that, early experimenters on vegetable oil fuels included the French government and Dr. Diesel himself.

Dr. Diesel envisioned that pure vegetable oils could power diesel engines. Modern biodiesel fuel, which is made by converting vegetable oils into compounds called fatty acid methyl esters.  This would help with agriculture in remote areas of the world, where petroleum was not available at the time. This research has its roots in 1930s Belgium but was not established in Europe until the late 1980s.

In the late 1800s, there was a desire to improve upon inefficient and dangerous steam engines.  Above all, this desire led to the development of the diesel engine. The diesel engine works on the principle of compression ignition. The fuel injectors force the fuel into the engine’s cylinder after compressing the air out. As the fuel enters the cylinder, it self-ignites and burns rapidly.  As a result, this forcing the piston back down and converting the chemical energy in the fuel into mechanical energy. Most noteworthy, Dr. Diesel holds the first patent for the compression ignition engine, issued in 1893. Diesel became known worldwide for his innovative engine which could use a variety of fuels.

Early Work

The early diesel engines had complex injection systems. Therefore, the design intent was to have the engine run on many different fuels, from kerosene to coal dust. In addition, someone recognized that, because of their high energy content, vegetable oils would make excellent fuel. The first public demonstration of vegetable oil-based diesel fuel was at the 1900 World’s Fair when the French government commissioned the Otto company to build a diesel engine to run on peanut oil. The French government was interested in vegetable oils as a domestic fuel for their African colonies.

Rudolph Diesel later did extensive work on vegetable oil fuels and became a leading proponent of such a concept, believing that farmers could benefit from providing their fuel. However, it would take almost a century before such an idea became a popular reality. Shortly after Dr. Diesel’s death in 1913 petroleum became widely available in a variety of forms, including the class of fuel we know today as “diesel fuel.”

The mechanics at Britton’s in Lake Havasu City know how to repair and maintain your diesel car or truck.  Call to make an appointment. (928) 505-3535

Diesel Truck Oil Changes & Maintenance

The importance of changing your oil on a diesel engine

Maintaining your diesel

So, you just purchased a new diesel truck! What maintenance is required to keep your diesel running reliably? Luckily, the best plan of action is written down in one place. The manufacturer’s maintenance schedule found in your glove box. Here we give you some of the highlights.

Today’s types of diesel are more complex than ever. The demands of modern emissions standards, increased horsepower, torque, and the technology required to keep them running optimally, the maintenance required has increased and is very important. Filters and critical fluids must be in good condition and at adequate levels.

Schedule your diesel truck oil changes!

Regular maintenance of the fluids and filters may seem expensive, but in the end, abiding by the schedule from the manufacturer and keeping up with this routine diesel truck maintenance can save you thousands of dollars in costly repairs. You should schedule your oil every 7500 miles or every 700 hours of operation. This is an industry standard since many types of diesel (think work trucks or ambulances) often sit and idle while someone is working. Just because these bigger vehicles hold, more oil does not mean they can go longer between oil changes.  (This is just a suggestion.  You may need to change your oil sooner!  Make sure to periodically check your oil to see the quality and if it needs to be changed sooner.)

In addition, changing the engine oil more frequently is good for all the seals inside the engine, as they are costly to replace once they begin to leak. Fresh oil changes help to keep seals soft and pliable and doing what they are intended to do. Oil that hasn’t been changed on time and becomes abrasive and can damage moving parts inside the engine.

Fuel filters and injectors

Changing the fuel filters on a diesel is one major service that is overlooked. It is critical that the fuel going to the injectors is clean and has no water or contaminants in it. One injector can cost anywhere from $200-800 since each diesel can have from four to eight injectors. Injectors are very difficult to access to the labor involved can be expensive.

Frequently changing your oil can have a significant impact on the life of the injectors. Old, broken down oil can destroy the injector or cause them to stick and not run optimally. There are also fuel/water separators on diesel engines and some of them can be drained, but it just depends on the make and model.

Since there are many considerations when doing routine maintenance on diesel, it is essential to have an experienced diesel technician you can talk to and that you trust. The mechanics at Britton’s will help you stay up to date on your diesel truck maintenance!

 

How Does a Diesel Engine Differ from a Gas Engine

diesel vs gas engines

If you have ever wondered how different diesel engine and gas engines are, we have put together some information on how the two differ and how they are the same.  First of all, diesel gets great mileage. Diesel cars usually deliver 25 to 30 percent better fuel economy than similarly performing gasoline engines. Diesel also can provide as much or more fuel economy than traditional gasoline-electric hybrids, depending on the models involved.

Cost for diesel vs. gasoline

Although diesel fuel used to be less expensive than gas, it now often costs the same amount or more. However, even if there is an increase in price, diesel fuel would have to be at least 25 percent more expensive than gas to erase the cost-advantage of a diesel engine’s fuel efficiency.

One of the most efficient fuels available today is diesel fuel. Because it contains more usable power than gasoline, it delivers better fuel economy. Although diesel fuel is more efficient because it converts heat into energy rather than sending the weather out the tailpipe as gas-powered vehicles do, it does not result in high-speed performance.

How do diesel and gas engines work

Modern car engines work on the standard principle of four simple strokes: intake, compression, power, and exhaust. Whether powered by gasoline or diesel, the engine strokes are the same. However, there are critical variances as to how the strokes perform.

For gasoline engines, the intake will pull fuel and air into the combustion chamber. A diesel engine, on the other hand, will only be drawing in air. The next stage is compression, and both engine types will squeeze down the air. Gasoline engines will use a spark plug to time and start the power stroke. A diesel engine, on the other hand, only has a pocket full of hot air before the power stroke.

Maintenance and tune-ups

Diesel has no spark plugs or distributors. Therefore, they never need ignition tune-ups. However, you still need to change the oil and the air, oil, and fuel filters.

Diesel engines are more rugged to withstand the harshness of higher compression. Therefore, they usually go much longer than gas-powered vehicles before they require major repairs. In fact, some diesel cars can go hundreds of thousands of miles before needing major repairs.

However, you still need to proper maintenance on a diesel. For instance, if the fuel injection system breaks down, you may have to pay a diesel mechanic more money than you would repair a gasoline system because diesel engines are more technologically advanced.

The mechanics at Britton’s know that diesel engines are different from gasoline-powered engines and know how to repair and maintain your diesel truck. Call us to schedule an appointment. (928) 505-3535

 

ATV vs UTV: Which is Best for You

ATV vs UTV

With the Sand Sports Super Show happening this weekend we thought we could take a look at the difference between an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and a Utility Vehicle (UTV). The cooler weather is approaching for Lake Havasu and the Mohave desert. With this will come more road trips and adventures into the desert.

Location

The first thing that will factor into your decision to get a UTV or ATV is how will you be using it and in what terrain. If you need to be flexible and make quick turns, then the ATV is your best bet. For instance, it’s excellent in wooded areas where tight turns are necessary. The ATV is also great for hauling cargo when you are making lots of stops and need to hop off and back on a lot. On the other hand, the ATV is more physically demanding to steer and drive, and you must balance to control and turn the vehicle.

Also of note, ATVs can be several thousand dollars less than a UTV, so if you’re on a budget, the former would be your best bet. If you’re looking at a used model, we have a blog addressing the issues on how best to shop for an ATV. (this blog can also apply to UTVs!)

Hauling

When it comes to hauling things an ATV can undoubtedly pull a little trailer which can help. The UTV, however, will include a bed which will make the UTV more efficient and more comfortable drive. But, the UTV won’t be able to make the sharp turns and get into the tight spaces that an ATV can.

So, if you decide to the go for the UTV but your trailer to haul it around is made for your shorter ATV, you will need to get a new trailer. Or you can get a toy hauler extension which will add up to 18″ to your current trailer. You can click here for more information.

Britton’s is here to help you with your car, truck, RV, ATV, or UTV.  Call us to get the best repair and maintenance in Lake Havasu City, AZ.  (928) 505-3535

What To Do When Your Car Has a Recall

What to do if you get a recall notice on your car

What does it mean when your car has a recall?

First of all, with a recall, every automaker has issued a recall from time to time. General Motors issued a massive recall of twenty million vehicles back in 2014.

Generally, when the company that made your vehicle issues a recall, you’ll get a notice in the mail. It’s usually a postcard outlining the problem and urging you to take the car to a dealer to get it fixed. If the safety issue is severe, you might also get a phone call.

When you get a recall notice please remember, this may be an issue dealing with the safety of your car. It’s a wise idea to get the car fixed as soon as you can. The time it takes to will vary. A software update might take only minutes, while significant work on the fuel system or the brakes or the could take a few hours. Many dealerships have a comfortable waiting area and some may even offer you a free loaner car.

An example of a recall

Ford Motor currently has a recall for nearly 2 million pickup trucks to fix a seat belt defect that could trigger vehicle fires. This recall covers one of Ford’s best sellers: the F-150 pickup truck. This line of trucks is the best selling model in the US.  However, the

The move came after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation into the matter in early August after receiving reports of five fires due to the defect, including three that engulfed and destroyed the vehicle. – USA Today, Sept. 6, 2018

What will a recall cost me?

More importantly, remember this: the only thing that will cost you is your time. With recalls, automakers are obligated to pay all of the costs of the repairs that are part of the recalls. Recalls are like any other repair job for their service department — except, in this case, the manufacturer will be paying the bill.

For more information on automobile recalls and to see if your vehicle has had one in the last 15 year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a website.

For all other vehicle maintenance in Lake Havasu City and the surrounding area you can call Britton’s Auto, Truck, and RV Repair Center at
(928) 505-3535

Sands Sport Super Show 2018

Sand Sports Expo

Toys for off-road fun

Over the past 10 years, the  ATV market (all-terrain vehicle) has experienced massive growth, both in the sport and utility segments. The desert is a vast playground for those with off-road vehicles and ATVs. From Lake Havasu City, Arizona down to the Glamis sand dunes, people are taking their families and friends on vacations for day trips as well as extended camping.

Another trend is to take an RV and a toy hauler with them on these excursions. The RV industry has been evolving by using lighter and more durable materials. The new technologies make these homes away from home a comfortable place to live in for days or even weeks at a time. Of particular interest are the toy hauler trailers.  There have been significant advances in this mode of transportation. What started as a simplistic enclosed-car trailer used for taking sand toys, fuel and tools to the desert has morphed into a highly specialized RV that strikes a balance between a travel trailer and cargo carrier.

Making more room for your toys

Above all, there is a great option if you’re looking to keep your toy trailer but need more room.   Toy Hauler Extension has the first available complete bolt on kit! Installs in 1 to 2 days and there are several sizes available!

  • Sizes: 12″, 18″, 24″ & 30″ Available
  • Painted or Powder Coated To Match
  • Adds Additional Cargo Space
  • Completely Removable
  • Structurally Engineered
  • Kits are Fabricated to Accept Patio Set-Ups

All Components are cold rolled steel and fabricated out of 5′ x 10′ sheets of metal
More Options Available – Call (928) 404-3825
All Kits Custom Made to Order.

Sand Sports Super Show 2018

A super way to find out all that’s new in the desert off-road lifestyle is to join us for three days to get a closer view to the latest Sand Rails, UTVs, ATVs, Side x Sides, accessories, apparel and a whole lot more! Take part in the world’s largest sand sports expo!

Driving to Flagstaff for Some R&R

Weekend Getaway: Flagstaff

Ready to get in your car or truck and take off for a mini-vacation?  There are so many places all within a few hours of Lake Havasu that have fun activities and, best of all, have lower temperatures, especially Flagstaff, Arizona.

Arts & Music

The Flagstaff Art’s Council lists some significant events.  Labor Day weekend festivities on Thursday night with the power duo of Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle out at the Pepsi Amphitheatre at Fort Tuthill. They are a perfect blend to team up for a tour of shows. Given their separate backgrounds as singer-songwriters in folk music and more. For another folksy kick of live music, be sure to check out the Honey Dewdrops at the Arboretum at Flagstaff on Saturday.

Of course, it’s also ArtWalk week. First Friday, September 7, downtown Flagstaff will be bustling with new shows by local artists.  There’s lots of live music, vendors and open shops on the streets. It’s the final summer ArtWalk, so don’t miss out! And if you want even more art, check out the Labor Day Weekend Art in the Park fair at Wheeler Park. Also, TheatriKIDS continues its second and final weekend of West Side Story.

County Fair

The most significant event of the weekend is the Coconino County Fair. For four days, August 31 – September 3, Fort Tuthill will be transformed into a celebration of community, exotic fried foods, and carnival rides for both the young and thrill-seeking.

The Fair continues to promote community involvement and interest in horticulture, livestock, household arts, and diverse traditions, as well as many other areas.

Astronomy

Then there’s the Lowell Observatory with daytime and nighttime events!  The Solar Program is held three times a day.  You can view the Sun or other stars through a specially equipped solar telescope. Objects vary seasonally. On cloudy days when we can’t offer solar viewing, attend an indoor program highlighting the features of the Sun, including ‘live’ images.

Other daytime guided tours include The Story of Pluto.  Explore the discovery of Pluto in a 45-minute guided walking tour and learn about the Pluto Discovery Telescope.  There’s also The Lowell Tour where you can explore Lowell Observatory’s past and present research efforts. This tour includes a stop at the renowned 24” Clark Refracting Telescope, built in 1896 and still in use today.

Whatever you do, Britton’s Auto, Truck, and RV Center will help you get your car repaired and well maintained.  We want you to travel safely and make it back to Lake Havasu happy and healthy.  Please set up an appointment today to get your tires, and fluid level checked before hitting the road.  (928) 505-3535