Wheels to Prosper 2016 Winners Announced!!!

On Saturday, July 23, we announced the winners of our 2016 Wheels to Prosper Car Giveaway! This year, two vehicles were donated from the Amarillo community, and Channel 10 News was on hand to document the event. Thank you to everyone who participated and attended. We couldn’t do it without you!!!

 

wtp-winners-2016-KeshanaMeet Keshana, Winner of a Mercury Sable

Keshana Darling is the winner of the 1998 Mercury Sable! She is a sophomore in college, and she plans to pursue a career in engineering once she graduates. Last year, she was unable to join her family for the holidays because she didn’t have a car to drive home. This year, she’ll have her own wheels, and be able to get where she needs to go, whether for school, work, or family. Thank you Keshana for helping others, and being a valuable member of our community! We know you’ll do great things with your car and with your life.

 

wtp-winners-2016-LarissaMeet Larissa, Winner of a Ford Taurus Wagon

Larissa is a single mom with two boys, an 8-year-old and a 4-year-old. Needless to say she has her hands full, and she’s is an EMT, who must always be ready to respond to those in need. Her goal is to advance in her career and become a paramedic, but doing all she needs and wants without a car was nearly impossible. Now she’ll be able to get herself and her boys where they need to go, and pursue her dreams for the future. Thank you Larissa for making a career out of helping others. You deserve a hand up!

Congrats to two very hardworking and deserving people!

 

More on Wheels to Prosper

For us at Aardvark Automotive, one of the highlights of every year is our Wheels to Prosper Car Giveaway in July. The program was started by a group of auto shop owners actively engaged in improving the reputation and quality of service in the auto repair industry. The concept is to use our skills (repairing and maintaining cars) to improve a deserving individual’s life. Our winners are nominated by their family members, friends, and peers because they selflessly help others even when they are in need themselves.

From selecting the right vehicle (or vehicles) for the giveaway to fine-tuning the condition to getting to know our nominees, Wheels to Prosper is always a humbling and extremely rewarding experience. If you’re interested in being involved in our next Wheels to Prosper giveaway, please give us a call or contact us online. We welcome any inquiries and contributions.

Don’t Sweat it this Summer… Take Care of Your A/C!

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It’s hot! In Amarillo, we’re expected to reach 100° this weekend, and it’s probably going to be in the 90s through all of August and possibly September, too. If your car’s A/C isn’t working, just admit it, you’re going to be miserable! But don’t worry—Aardvark Automotive can help. We’ll pinpoint exactly what is wrong with your air conditioning, and as you’ll see from this article, it could be a few different things. You want to make sure your cooling system gets the right fix to work properly, with the least cost and inconvenience for you.

Don’t Ignore Weak Airflow from Your A/C

One of the first signs of a compromised A/C system is weak airflow from your vents. The main causes of weak airflow are mold or mildew in the evaporator core, a loose hose, non-functioning ventilation fan, and worn out seals. Just having one these issues can not only cause weak airflow, it can lead to much more significant problems, so it’s best to have your air conditioning checked out before further damage occurs. With A/C, it’s literally cooler not to procrastinate.

When Your A/C Just Isn’t What It Used to Be…

Some vehicles have Driver Information Centers (DIC) to let you know how your car’s systems are faring, but many do not, so you may not realize your A/C is failing until it starts blowing less-than-cold air. The lack of crisp, cold air in your vehicle could be caused by:

  • Failed compressor or compressor clutch
  • Failed blower motor or blower motor resistor
  • Clogged expansion tube or refrigerant charging hose
  • Failed o-ring, seal, hose, or another A/C system component causing a Freon leak
  • Failed switch, fuse, relay, control module, blend door or solenoid
  • Damaged or failed condenser or evaporator
  • Vacuum leaks

If your car develops an A/C leak, letting it go for too long can spell major trouble for your cooling system. On the other hand, if you (or we) find the leak early, the repair you need will likely be small and much less expensive than if the leak has been affecting your air conditioning for a while. With long-time leaks, moisture will most likely enter your cooling system and damage vital and expensive parts.

When it’s this hot, don’t risk your comfort and safety with a poorly functioning A/C system. Bring your vehicle to Aardvark Automotive, and we’ll make sure your air conditioning is in top condition!

Optimum Summer Car Care

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Summer’s almost here!

Summer is coming. While it’s arguably the most fun season of the year, with barbecues and pool parties aplenty, it is also one of the roughest seasons on your car. With summer temperatures in Amarillo running in the upper 80s to 90s, your car or truck will be subjected to a beating from hood to tires.

Extreme temperatures can fade and crack your paint and dashboard and overheat your battery and tires. And the cooling system gets put on very high demand, so it needs to be in excellent shape. When temps can reach up to 200° inside your vehicle, any malfunction that causes your car to break down can put your health and even your life in jeopardy.

The following simple measures are inexpensive and quick ways to make sure your car is ready to face summer.

Inspect and/or Swap Out Your Tires

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Change your tires if needed.

Remove winter tires as soon as winter is over. Winter tires are softer and wear out faster in normal – and especially hot – driving conditions, so replace them with summer tires if your performance car requires two different sets of tires throughout the year. If you have all-weather tires, you should be fine.

Whatever kind of tires you have, it is necessary to check if they’re inflated properly. Get out your tire-pressure gauge and see if they are inflated to manufacturer-recommended levels specified in your owner’s manual or on the door jamb. Underinflated tires can cause a blowout, while overinflated tires are at a higher risk for hydroplaning. Properly inflated tires can increase fuel efficiency up to 3%. Tip: check your tire pressure when your tires are cool and you haven’t driven yet. Hot weather makes the air inside tires expand.

Don’t forget to check tread depth! The easiest way is to place a penny into several tread grooves across the tire, with Lincoln’s head facing down. If part of Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32” of the tread remaining (legally, you need 2/32” or more of tread depth).

Important: Check the pressure of your spare – you never know when you might need it, and there’s no point in having a spare if it’s in unusable condition.

Change Your Oil and Filters

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Oil changes are essential to keep your car running optimally.

Since summer is road trip season, optimizing fuel economy will help you save money and maintain your engine’s longevity. Heavy driving and extreme temperatures mean you should look at how your oil is doing no matter what.

Oil and filter changes are the most important steps to making your engine last. Oil changes need to occur somewhere between every 3,000 and 7,500 miles, depending on your car’s make, model, and age. Reference your owner’s manual for the recommended oil change schedule.

If you have an older car, you may have to use a thinner oil in the winter (so oil flows more easily when it’s cold) and a thicker one in the summer (since the heat can thin out oil). Newer cars typically run on synthetic oil or oil suited for year-round use.

Get Your A/C in Shape

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The worst way to find out your A/C isn’t working is in the middle of traffic on a hot summer day. Prevent this horrific scene by checking if your A/C can generate and maintain temperatures 50° F lower than the outside temperature. If your air conditioning is not working up to par, the most likely cause is low levels of refrigerant, which could be due to a leak.

Since the air conditioning system is highly complex, if you have an air conditioning problem we recommend you take your car to 2nd-to-None Service, where we can diagnose and fix the problem.

Important: Was your car built before 1994? If so, we’ll need to check out your refrigerant and determine how to appropriately dispose of or recycle it. Older cars tend to need a recharge before summer starts.

Check Your Air Filter

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Dirty air filter? Change it!

Changing your air filter is an inexpensive way to maximize fuel efficiency. Because Albuquerque frequently gets dusty, air filters can get clogged quickly and may need to be changed more than the recommended service schedule of every 12,000 miles.

How do you know if your air filter needs to be replaced? Just take it out for a quick inspection. If it looks grimy then it has to go.

Keep that Battery Fresh

Just like us, batteries have a tendency to overheat in the summer. When temperatures run too hot, chemical reactions speed up, overcharging the battery. This shortens the battery’s lifespan.

Keep your battery running smoothly by detaching the battery cables and wiping off terminals. Secure all connections.

How Long Will My Car Battery Last?

shutterstock_62480023Nobody wants to be stranded with a dead car battery. You can avoid the aggravation and inconvenience by knowing the life of your car batter, and the circumstances that can affect its projected lifespan.

Typical car battery life expectancy is around three years, with higher quality batteries lasting up to five years. Sometimes batteries even last much longer. However, many common occurrences can potentially diminish battery life, and it’s important to be aware of these factors to know if your battery has been compromised.

Factors Affecting Battery Life

One factor affecting car battery life is long standing times, such as not driving your vehicle for a couple of weeks. High temperatures that accelerate corrosion and discharging your battery accidentally (i.e. leaving your lights on) can also contribute to the early retirement of your battery. Temperature extremes are bad, too. Batteries are more likely to die or go flat during very cold periods because it takes more effort to start the motor in low temperatures. (This means that by the time spring rolls around, your battery could be on its last legs.) At the other extreme, very hot weather will also lead to increased battery corrosion and degradation.

How to Extend Car Battery Lifeshutterstock_59384869

So we’ve gone over the bad… Now here are some tips for extending the life of your car battery:

  1. Wrap a heat barrier around your battery to protect it from extreme temperatures.
  2. Don’t add new electrolyte (acid) to your battery.
  3. Don’t disconnect battery cables while the engine is running.
  4. Don’t put off recharging your battery.
  5. Avoid making too many short trips, which don’t give your battery the opportunity to recharge fully.

 

The Times They are a Fuel Filter Changin’

It’s possible you’ve heard changing a fuel filter is an easy job. (“You just need a screwdriver!”) However, any time you are handling raw fuel there is a risk of fire, and modern vehicles have fuel systems that are under a lot of pressure. The truth is changing a fuel filter used to be a relatively simple task. With newer cars it’s is much more difficult, and best left to an experienced mechanic. Read on to learn why.

DIYing a Fuel Filter Change isn’t Worth the Hassle or Hazard

On older vehicles, the fuel filter was located right in the engine compartment, making it easy to access and change. Since the 1980s and 90s, most fuel filters are located under the car on the frame rail, and some are located inside the gas tank. It’s also likely you’ll need more than just a screwdriver to get the job done. Removing a modern fuel filter often requires specific wrench sizes, and a lift makes a huge difference in getting the job done efficiently.shutterstock_330850982

There’s also the danger of handling raw fuel. If you don’t properly relieve built up pressure with the fuel pressure relief valve, when you loosen the fittings, fuel will spray everywhere. To stay safe, you also need to have some type of container to catch any gas that might leak out.

If it’s time to change your vehicle’s fuel filter, come by Aardvark Automotive to get the job done right, with no headaches, hassles, or hazards for you!

High-end Vehicles Getting High Miles

shutterstock_213677011For many car owners, once a vehicle turns over 100,000 on the odometer, the cost of repairs and visible wear and tear may instigate the search for a newer model. But not all cars are ready to retire when they reach six digits. In fact, they may just be getting started. With proper maintenance, a ten year old high-end vehicle can offer the same (or more!) comfort and prestige as a brand new lower-end make.

Serious Engineering Can Mean Serious Distance

Luxury automakers use high quality engineering, technology, parts, and paint. These mechanics and materials last longer than more budget-minded alternatives. Average driving and regular maintenance on a vehicle with superior engineering and parts often means a driver can enjoy a car that runs and looks great many years into the future.

(And maybe we’re bias, but a BMW or Mercedes, even with a few years on it, carries more clout than a lower-end vehicle straight off the showroom floor.)

The Same Goes for Buying a Used Vehicle

For drivers who’ve always wanted a top make car but never thought they could afford one, buying a well-cared-for used luxury vehicle (even with high miles) may be the answer. CARCHEX gives this example: a 2007 Audi A8 with just over 100,000 miles on it generally sells for between $15,000 and $20,000–that’s significantly less than a new model, which costs over $75,000 and less than many less expensive makes.shutterstock_281201798

If a car has high miles, it’s smart to carefully examine the paint and interior. If they look good, it’s a strong indicator that the owner took good care of the vehicle. Then, bring the car to Aardvark Automotive for a pre-purchase inspection. We can determine the condition of the vehicle beyond what meets the eye.

We’re Master Elite!

Lynda & Robert Archer, auto shop owners, with Bob Spitz

Lynda & Robert with Bob Spitz from Management Success!

We’re proud to announce Aardvark Automotive has been honored with the Master Elite of Shop Management award from Management Success!, the premier consulting firm for independent auto repair shops nationwide. We worked very hard to achieve the level of efficiency and productivity required to qualify for Master Elite, and we want to thank all of our new and loyal customers for helping us reach this goal!

Robert and Lynda have gone through numerous training courses on topics such as public relations, shop policy, and operations to ensure the business runs smoothly and continues to grow and appeal to customers. Master Elite also means we’ve reached numerous production benchmarks for efficiency, stability, shop flow, costs, and more.

We received our award during the Management Success! Fall Convention in Glendale, CA, which is always a great time for us, as we meet and mingle with fellow auto shop owners from around the country. Receiving the honor in front of our peers was truly an exciting and emotional experience for us—thank you so much to everyone who helped us get here!

Lynda & Robert Archer with Master Elite Award

Beaming! What a night!