Our Current Blog Articles
June 13, 2017
How to Buy a Hybrid Car
At All Around Auto Care in Westminster, customers often want to know more about how to buy a hybrid car before they purchase one. Maybe you’re considering one because it will save you money on gas or, maybe you want one because it is better for the environment. Whatever your motivation, buying a hybrid car might be the perfect step for you, but there is more information you might want to consider first.
As you likely know, hybrid cars have become a staple in the American mass market for cars. Though they have become more popular and visible, people can still be hesitant when it comes to purchasing one. Let’s break down everything you need to know.
How Does a Hybrid Car Work?
Hybrid cars are generally cars that use more than one form of power for both propulsion and energy. The majority of hybrid cars use an internal combustion engine and a battery power motor. Usually, a hybrid car primarily uses the electric system. This is what gives hybrid cars better gas mileage than a standard gas-powered vehicle. When the vehicle is accelerating, the batteries discharge extra power and it recharges the power while the car decelerates or stops.
Why Does a Hybrid Need a Gas-Powered Engine?
Hybrid cars use the gas-powered engine as a generator for recharging the batteries. The gas-powered engine also helps power the car as it’s accelerating and also helps it maintain cruising speed. Not every hybrid is calibrated exactly the same, so there are actually several classifications that differentiate the different calibrations.
Hybrid Car Types
- Mini hybrid: This type of car is also called an “eAssist system” and is not often marketed as a hybrid because it only uses a little bit of electricity to help the car stop and start.
- Mild hybrid: This hybrid only uses the electric system when the car needs more power such as during acceleration. This means the car mainly uses its gas-powered engine.
- Strong hybrid: This type of hybrid is also referred to as a pure hybrid. This system works as generally explained originally above and is one of the systems that saves more fuel.
- Plug-in hybrid: This type of hybrid runs mostly on electricity. The gas-powered engine can be accessed for longer drives, giving it a longer available distance. Generally, this is the kind of hybrid that will save you the most in fuel costs.
How Does a Hybrid Car Battery Charge?
In a hybrid, there is a generator, which is powered by the engine. The hybrid car battery gets its energy both from this generator and from the brake system, which is regenerative. Generally, as the car’s brakes are applied, electricity is generated by friction. When the car is coasting, such as when it travels downhill, the process captures some of the energy produced by the momentum.
Will I Need to Replace the Battery Frequently?
Generally, a hybrid car battery should last for at least 80,000 miles and many will last for over 100,000 miles.
Will I Have to Plug in My Car?
Unless your hybrid is a plug-in model, you will not have to plug in your car.
Are Hybrid MPGs the Same for City and Highway Driving?
Typically, the MPG for hybrids vary, by make and model. The EPA indicates that overall, a hybrid will get better MPG in the city, than it will on the highway. The frequent stop and start driving that occurs in the city is the primary reason that the gas mileage is better than on the highway. Additionally, hybrid cars use their electricity more at slower driving speeds, which occurs more often in city driving.
Are Hybrids Only Available in a Few Models?
When it comes to how to buy a hybrid car, here’s where things parallel standard cars the most. Hybrid cars are available in compact cars, sedans, coupes, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and even trucks. With every passing year, the options for hybrids expand further allowing drivers to choose the kind of hybrid that fits their needs and style.
Hybrid Car Benefits
The best benefit to a hybrid car is it fuel efficiency. Hybrids can get up to 50 MPG and that is a huge advantage both your bank account and the environment. Speaking of environment, the hybrid car produces fewer emission and fewer greenhouse gases (though hybrids are not without environmental concerns). Hybrid cars also offer a better resale value than gas-only cars. They can be hard to find as a used vehicle because they have great reliability over time, which increases their used-car value.
Hybrid Car Disadvantages
No car is perfect, not even a hybrid. One of the frequent complaints about a hybrid is that there is not as much room available. The larger battery packs require more space, cutting into the available internal space as well as limiting the trunk space. Another disadvantage is that most hybrid cars ride lower to the ground and this can be problematic if you frequent dirt roads or live in an area with infrequent road maintenance.
Plus, hybrids can be a little more expensive to repair since they sometimes require specialized parts, and you can’t just go to any mechanic. You’ll need to bring your hybrid to your dealership or find a certified shop specializing in hybrid and electric vehicles. Luckily, All Around Auto Care in Westminster is conveniently located and experienced in all things hybrid.
What to Choose
If you want a hybrid, consider the differences in the available types to figure out which hybrid would serve your needs best. Be aware of the overall advantages and disadvantages while you are searching. Aside from that, choosing a hybrid is not that much different than selecting a gas-powered model. Look at any available reports on the hybrid car you are considering. As with any car, the more you know, the better armed you will be when you visit a dealer.
At All Around Auto Care in Westminster, we want you to know more about how to buy a hybrid car before you purchase one to make your selection process a little easier. We hope this helps you choose the perfect fit, whether that’s a Prius, Camry hybrid, Chevy Volt or other vehicle.
May 23, 2017
If You’re Looking for a Hybrid Repair Shop
If you’re looking for a hybrid repair shop, All Around Auto Care in Westminster wants you to find the right team for your car’s needs. Because hybrids are new, some owners assume that going to the dealership is their only option. Your hybrid car dealer is often a perfectly acceptable choice for repair, but there are other alternatives that will likely save you money and give you the same or better quality of workmanship.
Let’s get to a few tips that can help you find the right hybrid repair shop for you and your car.
First, and foremost, it is important to know that most components in a hybrid car do not require specialized training to be repaired and getting them fixed at an independent shop will usually not void your warranty. As for repairs, owners should pay special attention if work is needed on the electrical system, the drive train, and the brakes. These components of hybrid cars require specific, additional training.
Also, owners should know that one of the most expensive hybrid components to fix is the battery. Such a repair can cost $3,000 to $5,000 through a dealership. Though the battery does involve the electrical system, it is something that can be accomplished with a reconditioned battery for far less and often can be done by an independent technician with the right training. Here at All Around Auto Care in Westminster, our technicians achieve rigorous and detailed training to handle all of your hybrid vehicle needs and we offer reconditioned batteries should you be faced with such a situation.
Second, if you're looking for a hybrid repair shop, it is important to find an appropriately trained technician in advance of needing repairs, particularly for those sensitive hybrid components. Compare the level of certification that a technician has. All technicians should be ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified but should have additional hybrid specific training. Some independent shops may not have the same level of training that the dealership has.
At All Around Auto Care, we to make sure our technicians have completed the specialized training needed to complete all hybrid repairs with the highest quality and commitment. We pride ourselves on being the only certified independent dealership alternative for hybrid and electric vehicle drivers in Westminster and the Denver metro areas.
Finally, like any other car, routine maintenance is a must for your hybrid. It will lengthen the life of many vehicle components and will often save you time and costly last minute repairs in the long run. Additionally, it will preserve the overall value of your car. Be sure to rotate your tires regularly, charge your battery properly (if your hybrid is a plug-in), and stay on top of warranty requirements specified by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
If you’re looking for a hybrid repair shop, feel free to contact us here at All Around Auto Care in Westminster for any of your hybrid needs. We can help keep your hybrid running smooth and safe on the road. Request an appointment, or feel free to stop by!
May 4, 2017
The Importance of Check Engine Light Repair
At All Around Auto Care in Westminster know the importance of check engine light repair. The light could mean something simple, like the need to replace a gas cap or it could be an indicator of something far more serious, such as a problem with your catalytic converter. Because there are hundreds of potential problems, the check engine light should prompt immediate attention to avoid incurring higher repair costs that can come from ignoring some of the more serious problems that could be involved.
Common Reasons for the Check Engine Light
One of the most common reasons the check engine light comes on is very simple and the fix can be free. Often, the gas cap was not put back on securely or in some instances, it has been forgotten entirely. The lack of a tight seal causes the check engine light to illuminate.
First, remove the gas cap and then put it back on securely. You will need to start and drive the car up to several times for the light to turn off. Don’t drive very far though—just in case the problem is not so simple. If the light remains on, replace the gas cap with a new one and start and drive the car (up to several times again) to see if this will turn the light off. If the light remains on, you could call us here at All Around Auto Care in Westminster and we will get your car in to run a diagnostic and get a clear picture of what your light means.
Another frequent reason for check engine light repair turns on is a faulty oxygen sensor. Your car needs a certain oxygen to fuel ratio to run properly. If there is not enough oxygen, there will be fuel left over in the combustion process. If there is too much oxygen, you may notice poor engine performance that can do serious damage to your engine if left unchecked. The oxygen sensor is responsible for regulating and adjusting the air/fuel ratio. If this is the reason for your light, the oxygen sensor will need to be replaced. If this problem is ignored you could experience a loss of engine power and the catalytic converter could be damaged as a result.
When the check engine light comes on, you may notice some jolting or hesitation when you accelerate. This can be a sign that your spark plugs and wires may be worn out and need to be replaced. At All Around Auto Care, we recommend replacing them at the mileage listed in your owner’s manual as part of the routine care for your car.
The mass airflow sensor is also a common cause for your check engine light to turn on. This sensor measures the amount of air flowing through the air filter. It communicates with your car’s computer to adjust and regulate this flow. If the sensor is faulty or damaged, your gas mileage will decline and your vehicle may even stall as a result. Left uncorrected, this can damage the oxygen sensor, the spark plugs, and even the catalytic converter (which is very costly to replace).
If your check engine light comes on and you have eliminated the gas cap as a potential cause, contact us here at All Around Auto Care in Westminster. We understand the importance of check engine light repair and will take excellent care of your vehicle.
April 20, 2017
How to Find a Quality Auto Repair Shop
Our technicians at All Around Auto Care in Westminster understand that knowing how to find a quality auto repair shop is important. An article from The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the non-profit organization that tests and certifies the competence of individual automotive repair technicians, gives advice on the best way to select a repair facility.
Knowing how to find a quality auto repair shop will ensure that you only work with mechanics that you can trust with the maintenance and repair of your vehicle. The ASE experts set out some guidelines to help find a shop that fits your needs. At All Around Auto Care, we strive to meet and exceed these ASE guidelines:
- Do your research and select the shop before you need repairs so you can make an informed decision.
- Ask people you know for recommendations.
- Consult local consumer organizations, like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) about the reputation and any complaints against the shop.
- Use the internet to search for business reviews and visit the shop’s Facebook page or website.
- Look for a tidy, well-organized facility, with modern equipment in the service bays, and professionalism from the employees.
- Look beyond just the location convenience.
- Find out if the shop works on your type of vehicle (car, truck, SUV, hybrid) and performs the kinds of repairs you need.
- Check out the competence of the technicians by the displayed diplomas, certificates, and ASE certifications.
- Ask about service awards, plaques for civic involvement, customer service awards, membership in the Better Business Bureau and other consumer groups as examples of their community involvement.
- Talk to the staff and see if they respond politely and professionally to your questions.
- Make sure their labor rates, fees for testing and diagnostic work, guarantees, and methods of payment are posted.
- Get some references of previous customers and call them to ask about their experiences with the shop.
- Take your car in first for a small or minor job, such as an oil change or tire rotation and see how you like it.
ASE Blue Seal
A shop can receive the ASE Blue Seal of Excellence which recognizes the best automotive repair shops. In order to get the Blue Seal, 75 percent of the employees at the automotive repair shop must be ASE certified. We are proud to have earned the ASE Blue Seal of Excellence.
All Around Auto Care has been serving Westminster and the surrounding communities of Denver, Arvada, Thornton, Northglenn, Broomfield, Brighton, and Wheatridge for more than 20 years. That shows our commitment to our customers and our communities.
Our qualified technicians at All Around Auto Care in Westminster recognize it’s important to know how to find a quality auto repair shop. We welcome you to stop by and talk to our staff. We are happy to answer any questions you have about our service, qualifications, training, and pricing. Our goal is to provide you with quality customer service so that we will be your first and only choice when it comes to caring for your vehicle. We’ve been awarded both an A+ rating and Gold Star recognition from the Better Business Bureau, which reflects our dedication to the satisfaction of our customers. Contact us today for an appointment!
April 6, 2017
Basics of Vehicle Repair, Troubleshooting Transmissions
Today, our auto technicians at All Around Auto Care in Westminster want to share the basics of vehicle repair, troubleshooting transmissions. Your vehicle’s transmission is an important and complicated system of hydraulics and computer controlled components that change the gears. And if your transmission has a problem, your car stops working. That’s why it’s so important to take care of your transmission and bring it to our experts at the first sign of trouble.
Your transmission is comprised of numerous interconnected parts that are constantly moving, rubbing, heating up and operating in conjunction with other internal and external components. Because these transmission parts are continually exposed to friction and heat, they naturally experience a lot of wear and tear, eventually leading to issues that require troubleshooting.
At All Around Auto Care, we’ll look for warning signs of a failing transmission so you can avoid a dangerous situation and more expensive repair bills. We always start with the manufacturer’s service information program and any technical service bulletins or service news articles dealing with the transmission for your make and model. Next, we will investigate and inspect your vehicle to determine the exact cause of the failure. Here are some things we look for:
Newer cars have high-tech computer systems with sensors that will automatically notify you if your transmission is having problems. One dashboard light is for the transmission temperature which indicates that the fluid is hot. If this goes on, you should check the fluid and your engine coolant immediately.
The transmission fluid has a sweet or tart odor. If you notice a burning smell, check your transmission because it could mean your transmission is burning and you need to get it taken care of it right away. Transmission fluid keeps the transmission parts lubricated and stops the unit from burning up.
Noises like grinding, whining, buzzing or humming could be signs of transmission problems. With a manual transmission, you may hear a very sudden grinding sound after fully engaging your clutch. With an automatic transmission, you may feel the car shimmy into gear instead of the normal smooth shifting.
If you notice your car is leaking transmission fluid, you probably have transmission problems. This is a closed system that shouldn’t be leaking, and your car needs transmission fluid in order to shift gears. If you find leaked fluid that’s a bright red color and has a sweet or tart smell, it’s more than likely from your transmission.
Some reasons for the leak may include, worn seals or gaskets, damaged bell housings, drive shaft out of balance, worn axles, or worn engine and transmission mounts. Losing transmission fluid can cause damage. Checking your transmission fluid regularly in order to spot a problem with the transmission will help you avoid a worse situation.
If your vehicle doesn’t respond or has a delayed response, it could be a signal that you have transmission trouble. Transmissions help find the correct gear, so if it’s hesitating, something is probably wrong.
Now that you know the basics of vehicle repair, troubleshooting transmissions, give All Around Auto Care in Westminster a call or stop by the shop if you notice any of these warning signs. Remember, fixing your transmission early can keep your car running safely and help you avoid an even more expensive repair job. We look forward to serving you.