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Make Your Vehicle Last

We live in such a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days Oregon folks were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough – they had to do without. Most Medford auto owners couldn’t afford new cars very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.

It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days for Medford car owners. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us Oregon penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us Medford car owners making sure we follow the auto maker’s recommended maintenance schedules.

Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and clog passages. Then some Car parts don’t get properly lubricated and they start to wear out faster. Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. Same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.

It is probably even more important for older Cars. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they are a bit more stressed anyway. But it is never too late to get back on track with your auto maintenance and to hold off further damage.

And it really does start with the oil change. When you get a full service oil change in Medford at Medford Automotive, we top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. It’s like your safety net. Go in for an oil change on time, and let your honest Medford Automotive tech help you keep track of the rest.

Some things are going to wear out along the way, things like alternators, water pumps, etc. But fixing those at Medford Automotive is cheaper than a a costly new car payment for Medford drivers. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to mess with other things. It is like having high cholesterol – you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?

In our auto video today we’ll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that “modern cars are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free”.

Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Medford Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn’t so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.

Here are some examples for our friends in Medford.

  • Some cars in Medford no longer require chassis lubrication. They’re made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There’s literally is no way to grease those joints.

-Chalk one up for the myth.

On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts up in the valve train that didn’t even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.

  • So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.

-A point to maintenance.

  • Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.

-Myth gets a point.

  • Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.

-Point for maintenance.

I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they’ve always been.

So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Medford if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there’ll always be a check list.

Let me mention a couple of items on modern vehicles that folks need to be aware of. One of the most of the most important is timing belt replacement. Used to be that all engines had timing chains – you know, metal chains. They rarely broke.

It’s cheaper to make engines with timing belts rather than chains, so replacing the timing belt is on most engines’ maintenance list. The money the manufacturer saves by using a belt is more than off-set by what the vehicle owner has to pay to replace the belt. And it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing the damage if the timing belt breaks.

So make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced. You don’t want to miss that. If you have 60,000 miles or more, break out your owner’s manual or ask your Medford service advisor at Medford Automotive to check on the recommendation right away.

Another is sealed wheel bearing assemblies on some vehicles. As you might have guessed, it’s cheaper to make a sealed unit than one that has access to inspect or service the wheel bearings. The problem is that when the bearings fail, you have to replace the entire unit, not just the bearings. That’ll cost 5 or 6 times as much.

For our friends in Medford, we hope this has underscored the importance of knowing and following your maintenance schedule. Come in and see us at Medford Automotive. You’ll find us at 4642 Table Rock Rd. in Medford, Oregon 97502. Just give us a call at 541-664-3860.

Keeping Your Car Young in Medford

As Medford consumers, we live in a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away.

New stuff comes out so fast in Oregon, and much of it is fairly cheap, so we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids in Medford, our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff – especially parents who grew up in the Depression. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough, we had to do without. 

Medford drivers couldn’t afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us Medford penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles with proper care. The engineering’s there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the car maker’s maintenance schedules.

Is it really that bad for Medford motorists to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes, you’ve created an opportunity for detrimental sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don’t get oiled and they start to wear out faster. 

Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.

It’s also even more important for older vehicles in the Medford area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they’re working harder anyway. But it’s never too late for Medford drivers to get back on track with vital maintenance and to hold off further costly damage.

It’s just another example of our parents knowing what’s best. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That’s like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let your tech at Medford Automotive in Medford help you keep track of the rest.

Of course, it is inevitable for Medford auto owners that some things are going to wear out along the way – important stuff like alternators, water pumps and such – they don’t last forever. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It’s like having high cholesterol; you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

Medford Automotive
4642 Table Rock Rd.
Medford, Oregon 97502
541-664-3860

Medford Automotive: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?

Just as our bodies need clean air to function properly, your Car engine needs clean air to operate efficiently. Let’s go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving on Oregon freeways, twenty pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce twenty pounds of carbon dioxide?

The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about twelve thousand gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your Car needs a lot of air to keep going in Central Point. A lot of clean air is best.

Medford Automotive: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?You’ve seen the pictures of people in Japan wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your Car also works better when its internals are clean. When your Car air filter’s dirty, it simply can’t trap any more dirt, so the pollutants just pass through into your air intake system. From there it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the motor itself. Not surprisingly, burning dust and pollen in your Car engine does you no good.

So, we’re talking potential damage for Medford drivers. But another big thing is wasted fuel. Your Car engine management computer tries to mix the correct amount of air in with the fuel. If the filter’s clogged, there isn’t enough air for the optimal fuel to air mix and that really messes with fuel efficiency.

In fact, replacing a dirty air filter at Medford Automotive in Medford can improve your fuel economy by up to ten percent. At today’s Central Point fuel prices, you should be able to pay for a new air filter before your next oil change.

The verdict: When your Car engine air filter needs to be replaced; it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on the level of air pollution where you drive in Oregon. A simple visual inspection at Medford Automotive will tell you when you need a new engine air filter.

When you look at the air filter on your furnace at home and see it’s all clogged up with dust and dirt, you don’t hesitate to replace it. When your Medford Automotive service advisor shows you your nasty engine air filter, you now know why you should go ahead and replace it.

The Easy Way To Save Cash In Medford

The hottest Oregon news story may be different everyday, but there’s one topic that seems to come up over and over again – the price of gas in Medford. If you feel like most of your paycheck goes into your gas tank, this post is for you. Here are several basic things  Medford motorists can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the Medford environment. You can really improve your gas mileage by how you drive – but first, here’s a review of things you can do for your car that’ll save gas no matter how you drive.

The first one for Medford motorists is keeping tires properly inflated. That can save two miles per gallon. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand – your car just has to work harder. Most Medford service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask your Medford Automotiveservice professional. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you fill up. Many Medford gas stations have an air hose you can use for free.

Another important item is to keep your air filter clean. An air filter all clogged up with dirt and bugs doesn’t let enough clean air through to efficiently burn fuel. Using a dirty air filter will cost you almost two miles per gallon in reduced gas mileage. And worn spark plugs can cost another two. A spark plug can fire as many as 3,000,000 times for every thousand miles driven. Check the Car owner’s manual for replacement recommendations.

The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with essential information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that’s messed up it can cost Medford car owners up to three miles per gallon. And of course, there’s detrimental dirty or substandard oil. Dirty oil causes extra drag. The wrong grade may be too thick. That’s another .4 miles per gallon right there.

One item Medford residents seldom think about is their gas cap. A worn, loose or missing gas cap can cost another two miles per gallon. Adding up all of these worn, missing or sub-par items leads to a total of almost 11.4 miles per gallon in reduced fuel efficiency! And with current gas prices in the Medford area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save Medford motorists cash at the pump. 

Now most Medford drivers aren’t missing on all of these items, but think about which ones might affect you right now! And don’t forget tune-ups, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, fuel system cleaning, wheels out of alignment, PCV valve, fuel filter and other essential services spelled out in your owners’ manual.

Medford Automotive knows all this stuff and can tell you when you’re scheduled to take care of each item. Create a system of your own to track your service schedules, or just use the computer system at Medford Automotive – which may also be updated with recall notices and vital maintenance schedule items from your vehicle manufacturer.

Maintaining Your Older Car In Medford Oregon

The government mandates a lot of equipment on cars in Medford Oregon: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the Medford Oregon motoring public, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car.

Because new cars are more expensive, people in the Medford area are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. Two thirds of vehicles on the road in Medford have more than 75,000 miles. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today’s cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on goin’.

Give Medford Automotive a call to schedule your next maintenance.
4642 Table Rock Rd.
Medford, Oregon 97502
541-664-3860

Some owner’s manuals don’t specify service requirements at higher mileage. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be done. In fact, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of routine maintenance for cars with more than 75,000 miles.

First, just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that’s recommended every 15,000 miles should be performed at 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 and 60,000 miles, and so on. Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule is more appropriate than the regular schedule – ask your service advisor. Watch for leaks – seals and gaskets dry out over time and don’t hold the fluids as well as they used to.

It’s also time to make sure you have a good Medford Oregon technician. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put on some clicks, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course. Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints that trouble’s brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into a costly repair.

And a regular wash and wax will help maintain your car’s appearance. One of the things you can do to really help your high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, and transmission and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have a few clicks on the old odometer.

High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older engines are dirtier inside – and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better fuel economy and excellent wear protection.

Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high mileage vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 miles, consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. High mileage fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing repair costs down the road. It does cost more to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle – but it’s way cheaper than a new car payment!

Looking Down the Road – Headlamps

If you’ve ever been driving around Medford and had a headlamp go out, you’ve probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won’t have the same brightness which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.

To have your headlights inspected, visit us at Medford Automotive. We’re at 4642 Table Rock Rd. in Medford, Oregon 97502. Or give us a call at 541-664-3860

Experts in Medford recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It’s easy to remember if you do it when daylight savings time changes in the fall. That way you’ll have bright headlamps for those long Medford winter nights.

There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can’t believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and give a very white light that’s a lot like daylight.

You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they’ll last for the life of your car. If you want your Medford friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint – no one needs to know.

Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can’t react to what you can’t see. You need headlamps that’ll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. And your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and also, to keep your lights from shining off into on-coming traffic.

You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That’s because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Medford service centers offer a service to restore the lens that’s a lot cheaper.

You can’t drive if you can’t see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don’t forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.

Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In Central Point

There’s a segment of the Central Point population that’s not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the Oregon area over time. Many Central Point motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.

Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, Central Point drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.

Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.

Eagle Point The Maintenance-Free MythNow, the ignition system in your Car is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So tune-ups used to force you in to Medford Automotive for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.

Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new cars in Central Point have been leased. These folks plan on turning the car in after two or three years, so they haven’t focused on the maintenance that helps your car last longer.

Given all that, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your Car will perform better and return better fuel economy.

Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren’t just repairs that are a long ways off. Modern Car engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.

And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.

For example, your Car engine coolant could actually become so corrosive that it eats holes in your radiator or other cooling system parts. Of course, that could lead to massive engine damage, all for the want of replacing the coolant on schedule.

Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At Medford Automotive, we have been taking care of all those little things for 7 years. Your Car still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Central Point did not go away.

Budget For Maintenance in Medford

Sometimes busy Medford residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Medford in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Medford drivers spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.

Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Medford auto owners would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Medford motorists didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Medford area auto service centers.

Medford car owners should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in Medford is simply more pricey than it used to be. So if you think about it, Oregon car owners can avoid many expensive Car repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.

Edmunds.com has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Medford motorists can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.

These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Central Point motorists know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your Car will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.

Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):

Yr. 1 Yr. 2  
Yr. 3 
3-Yr. Total  
Maintenance 748    
225      
794     
1767  
Repairs 352      
409 476 1237  
                           Total 1,100 634 1,270 3,004  
Monthly Average 92 53 106 83  

According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more expensive than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.

Just a bit of auto advice from Medford Automotive: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and Oregon auto insurance with an older Medford vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for critical preventive maintenance in Oregon, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less pricey!

Busting Automotive Myths In Medford Oregon

Myths passed around our Medford Oregon community start with a grain of evidence and are then built up with a lot of imagination and very elastic logic. And the internet is a breeding ground for automotive myths. Some bloggers recall the Cars of yesteryear and declare their modern decedents to be virtually maintenance free and that anyone who says otherwise is out to rip you off.

To get the truth about auto myths you hear around the Medford area, come over to Medford Automotive.
You’ll find us at 4642 Table Rock Rd., Medford, Oregon 97502.
Give us a call at 541-664-3860 to make an appointment for your next auto service.

Let’s examine a couple of the more popular rants and look at the truth behind them.

The first one is that the chassis no longer needs lubrication for suspension, steering and the driveline. They declare that anyone who has charged you for lubrication is a charlatan.

The truth on which this myth is based is that many new cars come from the factory with sealed joints and cannot be greased. However, there are still some grease points on many cars around Medford. A grease fitting may have been installed in conjunction with a repair. And most trucks and truck-based SUVs driving in Medford still require chassis lubrication. This is because they are more heavy duty and proper greasing is still required to keep them going.

Another common rant you’ll hear around Medford is that modern cars don’t need tune-ups. That depends on your definition of a ‘tune-up’, which has changed as technology has progressed. Before engine control computers, electronic ignition and fuel injection, a tune up meant replacing mechanical parts that wore out. Medford Automotive would manually adjust fuel and air mix and timing. When these adjustments were off, spark plugs would foul and need to be replaced.

This definition just doesn’t apply to modern vehicles. Service centers like Medford Automotive generally consider a tune-up to be the major service visit, recommended by your manufacturer, every 30,000 miles or so.

Of course you can’t lubricate a sealed joint. Of course you can’t adjust a carburetor if your car doesn’t have one. You probably don’t need to change spark plugs every year if your manufacturer says they can go 30,000 miles. What are these bloggers getting so worked up about?

The danger with these modern-day myths, is that they prevent people in our local Medford community from taking care of the routine preventive auto maintenance that manufactures recommend. Check out this partial list of things you still need to do to take care of your car. How many of them are really any different today than they were 20 or 30 years ago?

Oil change, cooling system service, transmission service, tire balancing, tire rotation, wheel alignment, suspension service, power steering service, proper tire inflation, brake service, differential service, battery maintenance, engine air filer, PCV valve, breather element, fuel filter, belts, hoses, timing belt, windshield wipers . . .

You get the picture. Your Car is still a machine that needs to be maintained. And, hey, your service advisors at Medford Automotive have always adapted to keep pace with automotive technology. Next time you come across an angry voice about your car care, talk to your Medford service advisor at Medford Automotive, or do some research of your own.