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

 

 

 

What To Do If You Drive Into A Wildfire

surviving a wildfire in your car

The first thing to do is try to avoid the wildfire and do not enter a zone that is blocked off or where you see flames.

Most importantly, If you have time to leave before the wildfire gets close (from your home, place of work, etc.), do it! You do not want to be caught by it while driving.

If you can shelter in your home or a building, prefer doing so over staying in your car. – Kevin Tolhurst, fire behavior specialist from the University of Melbourne.

First off, when traveling, there are a few safety items to always keep in your car.  Water and a wool blanket are necessary to help protect you in a wildfire.  We’ll tell you why in a moment.

August is a big month for traveling and going on vacation. We hope you never get into the situation of being in a wildfire but If there is no other option but to get into your car.  Remember, this should always be the last option.

Tips that will hopefully keep you safe and get you thru the danger.

Roll up all your car windows and close your vents. Put your air conditioner on but keep it on the recirculate option.
If you can move, do so slowly and keep an eye out for items falling from above, livestock, and people. Use your horn to alert others of your movement.

  • Keep your headlights on and your hazard lights.
  • If you are forced to stop driving then seek out a solid wall and park near that. The massive barrier can help shield you from the radiant heat. If none is available, try to find an open area away from trees and other objects that can fall on top of you.
  • Get down below the windows and use a wool blanket to cover yourself.  Synthetic materials can melt and burn you so wool is the preferred textile to keep yourself covered.
  • If you have water, drink it! Also, you can use a bit of water on a small cloth to breath through.
  • Stay in the vehicle until the main fire passes. Once it has passed, call for help if your cell phone is working. If your car is still working, you should use it to drive away from the fire and avoid driving under trees.

For further information, you can check out this page by Cal Fire.

 

Does your 4×4 need more attention than a regular car?

Maintenance on your 4x4

Is this your first 4×4 / four-wheel-drive? You’re probably wondering if this type of vehicle needs a different schedule of maintenance than your regular car.

There’s a good chance it does have a maintenance schedule that requires different times. The additional maintenance usually involves inspecting and/or replacing fluids, and the service intervals vary widely by car.

With all- or four-wheel drive (which for the purposes of maintenance are the same), more things can go wrong and need repairs, such as transfer cases and differentials, but the routine maintenance schedules (listed in the owner’s manual) aren’t that different.

Maintenance requirements also vary on four-wheel-drive pickup trucks. On Ford F-150s, the transfer case and front differential oil should be changed every 150,000 miles. On the other hand, a Toyota Tacoma 4×4 truck, the same fluid should be replaced every 60,000 miles in regular use.  And every 15,000 miles with frequent towing and/or driving on unpaved roads.

Dealer service departments and other repair shops may advise performing fluid changes more frequently.  The intervals recommended by the manufacturers are all that’s necessary to ensure that the warranty remains in effect.

Cost

RepairPal provides expert full-service repair information for most vehicles. From small to large repairs, know costs in advance with the fair price estimator.

In addition, having a couple more items on the maintenance schedule, all-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive vehicles carry additional costs, both in a higher purchase price (compared with two-wheel-drive versions of the same vehicle) and lower gas mileage, primarily from the extra weight of the four-wheel system.

Moreover, many front-drive vehicles, send power to the rear wheels only when one of the drive wheels slips (loses traction). If one tire gets damaged beyond repair, a tire dealer may recommend that you replace all four tires. Mixing worn tires with one new tire may send the wrong signals to the all-wheel-drive system.  This miscommunication will activate the all-wheel-drive when extra traction isn’t needed.

So, 4x4s can sometimes cost more and will definitely cost more if not properly maintained.  The mechanics at Britton’s know 4x4s and will help you keep yours running great.  Call for more information.  (928) 505-3535

Caring For Your Car’s Battery

Who wants the hassle of replacing a car battery? In order to not have to do that it’s important to know how to take care of your battery and keep it in excellent condition. Here are some suggestions to keep your car and it’s battery in tip-top shape.

What you need to do!

You need to keep an eye on the terminals that connect the car battery to the cables. The battery terminals should be tight and free of rust and corrosion. If there is corrosion, you should have the terminals cleaned by your mechanic unless you are confident in your knowledge to handle the battery yourself. When the connection is clean you can dab some petroleum jelly on it to keep the cables clean for a longer period.

Here’s a good “How To” video that shows what is required to clean the connections.

Another area to check for is if the battery is secured in its mounting bracket. If there’s wiggle room your unsecured battery can get damaged and even short circuit.

A maintenance-free battery won’t need to be checked, but all the other types will need to have the water level looked at. Low fluid levels will create problems with the battery working. So, just add some distilled water if it’s low. If it’s empty the battery will need to be replaced.

Extreme heat and car batteries

Any extreme temperature, cold or hot, can be really detrimental to a car’s charging system, particularly the battery. When the heat is over 100, like in Lake Havasu City, AZ, You will want to keep an eye and ear out. Listen to how your car starts. If its slow or sluggish sounding you may want to take it in and get the battery checked. The battery contains liquid and heat causes it to evaporate. Low fluid levels will damage the internal structure of the battery

Next, back to the structure that your battery sits in. You’ll want to keep this case clean because dirt can conduct electricity which in turn will discharge the battery. A solution of baking soda in water and a bristle brush will do the trick to clean out the case.

At Britton’s Auto Repair, we specialize in complete auto repair care with our ASE certified mechanics. We work on most automotive vehicles domestic and import, all the while providing competitive pricing. (928) 505-3535

 

How to Know When to Take Your RV to a Mechanic

when to take your RV to a mechanic

RV Repair and Maintenance

There are several items on your RV repair that you can take a look at and do maintenance on yourself.  Keeping an eye on your RV and trouble-shooting can keep you rolling down the highway and not in the repair shop.

You could get your self a manual that is packed with valuable information, checklists, and photos.  This can include the water system, sanitation system, AC generator, ovens and ranges, exterior and interior care, and accessories.  However, do you know when your problem is beyond your knowledge base and when to seek out a professional?

Here are some crucial signs in areas of your RV that can help you determine if it’s time to bring it to your trusted auto mechanic shop.

Roofing and Flooring Damage

If your RV is used, you must check for damage that can put yourself and your passengers at risk. RVs are meant to be driven for long stretches of time and to run for great distances. Keeping your RV well maintained will keep it running for years and keep your passengers on board comfortable and safe.

The damage on the floor of the RV can further tear and then become significant damage, or create a tripping hazard. You wouldn’t want to get an injury while out in the middle of nowhere.  The small tear can also become a more massive hole that stuff can spill out of or even a person can fall through.

Roof issues can affect the insulation of the vehicle which will make your heater or AC run harder.

In either case, water damage will spread quickly, and mold and mildew will also cover.  If the water damage is left alone, it can compromise the stability of either roof or floor, so it’s best that you get it repaired promptly.

Weak Frame

Another area to get a professional to look at is if you notice any rust or breaks on the RV.  This is absolute to get checked at an RV repair shop! Body damage not only affects your RVs aesthetics, but it can also create conditions that make you and your RV more vulnerable to injury. Rust spots, cracks, and holes, can allow water to get in and cause damage to your RV’s insulation.

These same cracks and holes can also let the elements get inside the vehicle and affect the electrical wiring. So, you’re exposing these systems and creating a fire hazard as well as further damage. Much better to get the hole or crack repaired now before the problem escalates to other areas of your RV.

Tire Quality

The road performance of your RV is crucial.  Good tires and the maintenance of them is just as important as the performance of your RV’s engine. Worn out tires are safety hazards. If you’ve purchased a pre-owned unit, it’s best that you take it to a professional, such as Britton’s Auto, Truck and RV Center so you can get the tires tested. Brand new tires are a must in the event that it is determined the need for replacement.

Always include the care and maintenance of your RV on the checklist before you leave on a trip.  Also, give your RV a checkup a week or two before you leave so that you have plenty of time to fix anything that warrants it.  Taking care of any damage promptly will always cost less.  You want to keep your RV safe for your family.