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Tag: vehicle repair services albuquerque

3 Unique Foreign Vehicle Engine Repair Problems

Foreign vehicles have gained in popularity for their innovative designs, cutting-edge technology, and superior performance. European luxury cars, Japanese sports vehicles, and Korean compact cars all come with an allure and thrill to driving them.

However, like any mechanical system, foreign vehicle engines are not immune to needing repairs. Foreign automobiles experience unique problems that may not be as common in domestic engines. Some of the most likely problems include:

  • Direct injection carbon buildup
  • Variable valve timing system issues
  • High-pressure fuel pump failure

No matter which issue plagues your foreign vehicle’s engine, we can help. Give us a call to set up an appointment for diagnostic services and engine repair in Albuquerque.

A speedometer in the dash of a foreign vehicle.

1 – Direct Injection Carbon Buildup

Many foreign vehicle engines use direct injection technology. It’s favored for its ability to provide higher fuel efficiency, more power, and fewer emissions. Unfortunately, the many benefits come with a few drawbacks, including the threat of carbon buildup in the intake valves.

Detergent and other cleaning agents added to fuel don’t clean the port and valve in foreign vehicles as well as they perform in domestic model engines. Once your foreign auto’s engine hits between 30,000 and 60,000 miles on the odometer, you may start to experience the tell-tale signs of direct injection carbon buildup.

Some of the warnings include:

  • Cold stalling
  • Engine misfires
  • Loss of power at higher speeds
  • Rough idling
  • Poor acceleration
  • Reduced fuel efficiency

If you start to notice any of these things happening with your foreign model vehicle, visit a trusted mechanic who specializes in foreign engine repair in Albuquerque.

A mechanic examines the solenoid component in a foreign vehicle.

2 – Variable Valve Timing System Issues

Some foreign engines incorporate complex variable valve timing systems (VVT) that adjust valve timing for optimal performance. Foreign vehicle owners are blissfully unaware of this feature – until something goes wrong with it, that is.

What causes the VVT system to go wonky in a foreign engine?

  • Age. The older your engine gets, the more likely the VVT system will fail. Normal wear and tear lead to decreased performance over time.
  • Engine sludge or debris. One of the most common reasons VVT systems fail is due to the buildup of debris or sludge in the engine. Over time, oils and other fluids accumulate, clogging your VVT system. Engine noise increases as your vehicle’s performance decreases.
  • Faulty solenoid. Solenoids control the flow of oil through the VVT system. The VVT can get stuck in one position if the solenoid malfunctions, causing engine noise and decreased performance.

Ticking and tapping sounds coming from the engine when your car is accelerating or idling are among the most common warning signs of VVT failure.

The best way to protect against VVT problems is with regular engine oil changes and inspections by a qualified mechanic skilled in foreign engine diagnostics and repair.

A mechanic holds a fuel pump for a vehicle in his hands.

3 – High-Pressure Fuel Pump Failure

While not technically an engine issue, high-pressure fuel pump (HPFP) failure can cause your engine to misfire, perform poorly, or refuse to start. HPFP systems are common in many foreign vehicles because normal low-pressure fuel pumps lack adequate pressure to pump fuel efficiently in some models.

HPFPs allow more fuel to flow to the engine, providing superior performance.

Among the things that can go wrong with a high-pressure fuel pump include:

  • Contamination in the low-pressure system
  • External mechanical damage
  • Fuel leaks
  • Internal mechanical damage to the drive, roller tappet, or pump
  • Poor lubrication

If you notice your engine behaving erratically, a lack of power in the upper-speed range, and stalling, it’s time to call a trusted mechanic who specializes in foreign engine repair in Albuquerque. It’s in your best interest to get the problem diagnosed quickly before it damages your engine, leading to more costly repairs.

How to Spot Common Engine Problems

Your vehicle may send you subtle signs that it needs engine repair in Albuquerque. Weird sounds, rough idling, and overheating are all warnings your engine needs a little TLC from your trusted mechanic.

Ignore these cries for help, and you might find yourself on the business end of some expensive engine repairs. Worse yet, you might end up stranded along the side of a busy highway, waiting for a tow truck to rescue you.

Before you need engine repair in Albuquerque, learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of 5 of the most common engine problems.

1 – Engine Misfire

Engine misfires happen when one or more cylinders fail to ignite the air-fuel mixture properly. There are several reasons why engine misfiring happens.

  • Air-fuel mixture issues. Air-fuel mixtures must be at the correct ratio for efficient combustion. Too much air reduces the amount of fuel your engine receives, causing it to malfunction. Conversely, if your engine receives too much fuel and not enough air, it can idle roughly. Air-fuel mixture issues are often caused by a faulty mass airflow (MAF) sensor, oxygen sensor, or a problem with the fuel injection system.
  • Engine mechanical problems. Some mechanical issues such worn-out piston rings, damaged valves, and blown head gaskets, disrupt the combustion process. Timing chain or belt issues can affect the synchronization of engine components.
  • Fuel system problems. Poorly functioning fuel systems cause engine misfires. Clogged or dirty fuel injectors, malfunctioning fuel pumps, faulty fuel pressure regulators, and restricted air filters can interfere with the fuel system.  

It’s easy to identify engine misfire issues in your vehicle. Some of the warning signs include:

  • Frequent jerking during acceleration.
  • Increased fuel consumption.
  • Loss of power.
  • Rough idling.
A woman stands facing her car with the hood up as smoke billows from underneath the hood because she needs engine repairs in Albuquerque.

2 – Overheating

Overheating happens when the engine temperature rises beyond safe operating limits. Living in the extreme summer temperatures in New Mexico can stress any engine occasionally. However, repeated overheating is almost always a sign of serious engine damage that requires engine repair in Albuquerque.

Most modern vehicles have a sensor that alerts you to an overheating engine. Even before the warning light comes on, your engine sends other signals that it’s having trouble regulating its internal temperature, including:

  • Coolant leaks
  • Engine stalling
  • Unpleasant odors

Learning to identify the symptoms of overheating can save you on expensive engine repairs later. Some of the signals your vehicle might send include:

  • A rising temperature gauge. One of the most obvious signs of an overheating engine is a temperature gauge that regularly hovers above the normal range.
  • Excessive fan noise. When your engine overheats, a cooling fan kicks on. The fan runs more frequently and at a higher setting when overheating becomes a recurrent issue. The fan may sound louder than usual when this happens.
  • Loss of engine power. Your engine can stall and completely shut down to protect itself from further damage. If you notice a lack of responsiveness when you try to accelerate, it may be time for an engine checkup.
  • Steam or smoke under the hood. Like a rising temperature gauge, steam, or smoke from under the hood is an obvious sign of engine trouble. A burnt or sweet smell may accompany the steam or smoke, which is from coolant overheating inside the radiator.
A man checks his engine oil in his car to determine if he has a leak that requires engine repairs in Albuquerque.

3 – Oil Leaks

Think of oil as a bodyguard for your vehicle’s engine. It forms a protective barrier between the piston rings and cylinder walls to maintain proper compression and prevent gases from leaking out. Additionally, the additives in oil provide a protective coating on metal surfaces, preventing corrosion and rust formation.

If your engine begins leaking oil, it can affect its performance and longevity. Oil leaks are usually easy to spot if you know the signs.

  • Oil puddles and stains. One of the most obvious signs of an oil leak is finding puddles or stains under your vehicle. It may be a small leak, so it can be easy to miss until a few drops pile up.
  • Burning oil smell. When oil leaks while your engine is running, you may notice a burning oil smell inside or outside your vehicle. Burning oil is a fire hazard, so if you suspect an oil leak, get it checked out right away.
  • Low oil levels. Regularly checking your oil is a good idea regardless of whether you drive a newer or older vehicle. If you notice your oil is low, it can signal a leak.
  • Blue smoke from the exhaust. When your exhaust regularly emits bluish-gray smoke from the exhaust pipe while the engine is running, it’s a sign that oil is entering the combustion chamber. When this happens, it’ll burn right along with the fuel.

Shops that specialize in engine repair in Albuquerque can run diagnostic tests to determine the source of the leak.

4 – Malfunctioning Fuel System

When your vehicle’s fuel system malfunctions, it affects engine performance. You may have difficulty starting your vehicle. Engine hesitation, reduced power, and rough idling are other warning signs your fuel system isn’t operating as intended.

Your trusted mechanic uses a variety of diagnostic techniques to determine if a faulty fuel system is to blame. They can scan for codes from your onboard computer system, check fuel pressure, examine fuel injectors for clogs or leaks, and inspect the fuel pump.

A low fuel light comes on in a vehicle dash which shows the fuel guage at nearly empty.

5 – Ignition System Problems

Ignition system problems prevent your engine from properly combusting the air-fuel mixture it needs to run smoothly. Some of the symptoms this is happening include:

  • Decreased fuel efficiency
  • Difficulty starting
  • Engine misfires
  • Poor acceleration
  • Rough idling

If you suspect an ignition system issue, your mechanic uses several techniques to confirm your suspicions. They may scan your computer system for diagnostic codes, inspect spark plugs and wires, examine ignition coils, and test the ignition control module.

How to find engine repair in Albuquerque

When you need engine repair in Albuquerque, don’t trust just anyone. Rio Grande Automotive is committed to finding your engine issues and resolving them quickly. You can trust us with your engine maintenance and repair service needs.

Give us a call or stop by our shop on Griegos Road NW to schedule an engine check-up or repair service.

5 Signs You Need Radiator Repair Services

Signs are an important part of responsible driving in and around Albuquerque. They tell you when to stop or go, whether you need to yield to oncoming traffic, and if you’ve taken the correct exit to get to your destination.

Another kind of sign drivers can experience behind the wheel are the cries for help from their vehicle. While they may not be as obvious as street signs, they can provide ample warning that you need to get your automobile to a mechanic ASAP.

It’s never a good idea to ignore these subtle signals, especially if they’re about the health of your vehicle’s radiator.

In this blog, we reveal 5 of the tell-tale signs you need radiator repair in Albuquerque.

A large puddle of green antifreeze lays on the ground near where a vehicle that was leaking coolant was previously parked.
A stream of antifreeze lays on the ground where a vehicle was parked that was leaking the coolant.

1 – Coolant Leaks

Noticeable coolant leaks are a clear indication your radiator needs attention. Puddles of coolant drip beneath your vehicle when it’s parked in the same location for an extended period.

Fresh antifreeze is brightly-colored and is usually blue, green, orange, pink, or yellow. If you’re not sure which color coolant your vehicle takes, check the owner’s manual.

Not sure how to tell if that fluid you see beneath your car or truck is radiator coolant? Here are some tips for verifying what you’re seeing.

  • Color. While radiator coolant comes in different colors, you can verify if what you’re seeing on the ground matches your coolant by examining the liquid still inside the radiator. To do this, remove the coolant reservoir cap and look inside. If what you see inside the radiator doesn’t match puddles under your vehicle, it’s unlikely they’re radiator fluid.
  • Smell. Coolant has a distinctive sweet smell. It’s one of the reasons animals are attracted to it and can die from drinking it. Take a whiff of the pooled liquid to see how it smells. Never inhale it directly because it’s toxic.

2 – Low Coolant Levels

Do you find yourself frequently adding coolant to your vehicle’s reservoir? A healthy radiator should retain coolant within the system until it is flushed and refilled. If you’re radiator always needs topping off, it’s time to visit a mechanic that performs radiator repair in Albuquerque.

If you’re not sure whether your vehicle’s coolant levels are low, here are some steps for monitoring it.

  • Step 1 – Park your car and turn off the engine. You should never open your radiator while the engine is running.
  • Step 2 – Locate the radiator. If you’re unsure where it’s found under the hood, refer to your owner’s manual.
  • Step 3 – Identify the coolant reservoir. Most modern vehicles have a separate coolant reservoir, sometimes called an overflow tank. It’s connected to the radiator and usually consists of translucent plastic with markings to indicate minimum and maximum coolant levels.
  • Step 4 – Check the coolant reservoir. Look at the markings on the side of the reservoir to determine its current levels. Ideally, the coolant level should be somewhere between the minimum and maximum markers.
  • Step 5 – Inspect the radiator cap. Some vehicles have the coolant fill cap on the radiator, while others put it on the coolant reservoir. You can check the coolant directly from the cap. However, never open the radiator when it’s hot unless you have no other choice. Use a towel to carefully remove it when ready.
  • Step 6 – Add coolant if necessary. If your coolant levels are below the recommended minimum, slowly pour in fresh coolant until you hit that sweet spot between the minimum and maximum fill lines. Make sure you replace the cap tightly when finished.

If you had to add radiator fluid, follow up with a visit to a trusted mechanic who offers radiator repair in Albuquerque and can identify and address any underlying issues.

A temperature gauge in a vehicle's dashboard with the needle in the red zone to indicate it's time to visit a radiator repair technician in Albuquerque.
If your temperature reading consistently inches toward the red zone on the gauge, it’s time to have your radiator checked by a repair technician.

3 – Overheating Engine

A vehicle’s engine overheats for a few reasons. A malfunctioning radiator is one of them. If your automobile’s engine frequently runs hotter than normal or overheats, get yourself – and your car or truck – to a trusted mechanic and request a radiator inspection.

The primary job of a radiator is to cool down the engine. When it fails to function as intended, your engine can overheat, causing other, more expensive damage to your vehicle.

Signs your engine is overheating include:

  • High engine temperature gauge reading. Every vehicle comes with a gauge that measures the engine’s temperature. You’ll see a normal operating range and a “red zone” that indicates your engine is having trouble cooling down.
  • Steam or smoking from the engine bay. This is usually a final warning that your engine has overheated from a faulty radiator. When it happens, the coolant boils and evaporates due to excessive heat.
Two radiator caps sit side by side. The one on the left is shiny and new. The one on the right shows corrosion.
Radiator caps are one of the first parts that can corrode. If you notice corrosion, consult a radiator repair technician immediately.

4 – Rust or Corrosion

Make it a regular practice to inspect your radiator for signs of corrosion, mineral deposits, and rust. All three can build up over time, blocking the flow of coolant. When coolant can’t freely move throughout the radiator, your vehicle’s engine can overheat.

Some parts of the radiator are more prone to corrosion than others. They include:

  • Connectors, fittings, and hose clamps. Your radiator has many of these, all of which attach to the cooling system to enable proper flow. Because they’re made from metal, they’re more susceptible to corrosion than other parts of the radiator. Ignoring the corrosion of these parts can lead to coolant leaks.
  • Core tubes. Typically made of metal, these tubes can corrode (and leak) when coolant isn’t properly maintained or contains contaminants.
  • Fins. These thick, delicate metal pieces help dissipate heat from the coolant. They can corrode over time due to exposure to moisture, road debris, and other contaminants in the air. Once that happens, they become inefficient at cooling the engine.

5 – Sludge

When you perform your regular coolant checks, keep a watchful eye out for any debris floating in it or a sludge-like appearance. Neither is good for the radiator, and both signal a serious problem that needs addressing immediately.

Debris and sludge can clog the radiator, making it difficult for it to circulate the coolant effectively. Your engine eventually overheats. If ignored long enough, you can end up with expensive repairs to the radiator and engine.

Radiator Repair in Albuquerque

Don’t trust the care of your vehicle’s radiator to anyone. The skilled mechanics at Rio Grande Automotive know the ins and outs of radiator inspection and repair for domestic and foreign models.

The next time you need radiator repair in Albuquerque, give us a call or stop by the shop to schedule an appointment.

Synthetic vs. Conventional Oil: The Best Option

Synthetic versus conventional oil is a choice most vehicle owners must make when getting their oil changed. Most mechanics in Albuquerque offer the choice but always recommend the option that works best for your model of vehicle.

While synthetic oils work in any engine – including those in classic models – it’s not recommended to switch back and forth between conventional and synthetic oil blends.

This blog explores the pros and cons of synthetic and conventional motor oils to help vehicle owners decide which is the best option. Some of the questions we answer include:

What is conventional oil?

Conventional oil is a petroleum-based lubricant used in engines for decades. It’s made from crude oil refined to remove impurities and blended with additives to improve its performance.

As a lubricant, conventional oil has some limitations. First and most important, it doesn’t offer your engine the same level of protection as synthetic oil because its performance in extreme temperatures (hot or cold) is inconsistent.

Conventional oil also has a shorter lifespan than synthetic oil, which means more frequent oil changes. It’s also more susceptible to breakdown and chemical reactions than synthetic oil, affecting how well it lubricates your engine.

One of the biggest advantages of a conventional oil is it’s less expensive. It’s also compatible with most engines and is available at most automotive retailers.

A bottle of synthetic oil is poured into an engine following an oil change in Albuquerque.
A synthetic blend of oil is added to an engine after an oil change.

What is synthetic oil?

Synthetic oil is a manmade lubricant designed to improve performance and protect your engine against damage. A variety of chemical compounds are blended together to create a uniform and consistent synthetic oil.

The biggest advantages of synthetic oil are its ability to perform in extreme temperatures and better engine protection overall than conventional oil. It also has a longer lifespan, meaning fewer oil changes each year. Other benefits include:

  • Greater resistance to breakdown and chemical reactions to preserve viscosity and lubricating properties.
  • Improved fuel efficiency by reducing engine friction.

On the flip side, synthetic oil costs more than conventional oil. Some older engines may not be compatible with synthetic oil, so you should check with your mechanic before you get an oil change in Albuquerque.

What is the difference between a synthetic blend and full synthetic oil?

Synthetic blend oil and full synthetic oil have some key differences. Both serve as a substitute for conventional oil but contain slightly different ingredients.

Synthetic blend oil is a blend of traditional mineral-based oil combined with synthetic oil. Typically, it contains around 30% synthetic oil and 70% mineral oil. It’s designed to offer some of the benefits of fully synthetic oil at a lesser price.

Compared with conventional oil, synthetic blends provide improved performance and protection, particularly in high-temperature and high-stress driving conditions. However, it has a shorter life span than full synthetic oil.

Full synthetic oil consists entirely of synthetic base oils with specially formulated additives. It’s the best of the best when compared to conventional oil and synthetic blend oil. When you choose full synthetic oil, you get:

  • Longer oil life
  • Improved fuel efficiency
  • Superior engine protection
A man lays under a car to drain the oil pan before doing an oil change with either conventional or synthetic oil.
How often you change your oil depends on how often you drive and the driving conditions.

How often should you change your oil?

When it’s time to schedule an oil change in Albuquerque, you’ll want to consider what type of oil you want the mechanic to use in your vehicle.  How often you change your oil depends on the make and model of your vehicle, your driving habits, and the type of oil you use.

Most automobile manufacturers recommend changing your oil every 5,000 to 7,500 miles or every six months (whichever comes first). You can refer to your driver’s manual or check with your Albuquerque auto mechanic if you have questions.

If you regularly drive in extreme heat or cold, or in dusty environments, you may need to get an oil change in Albuquerque more frequently. Most newer vehicles come equipped with an advanced oil life monitoring system that signals you when it’s time to change the oil.

Which type of oil is best for your vehicle?

Ultimately, the best type of oil for your vehicle depends on your driving habits, the age and condition of your engine, and your budget. New, high-performance engines thrive on synthetic oils, which provide better protection. For older engines and tight budgets, conventional oil is a better option.

No matter which type of oil you choose, regular oil changes are an important part of maintaining your vehicle. Schedule your next oil change in Albuquerque by giving us a call at 505-242-3401.

4 Ways Cutting-Edge Technology Improves Automotive Services

Gone are the days when automotive repairs and maintenance required nothing more than a toolbox. Advancements in technology have given mechanics in Albuquerque cutting-edge equipment to provide top-notch automotive services.

In this blog post, we’ll learn about the types of cutting-edge technology mechanics in Albuquerque use and how it benefits customers by extending the life of your vehicle.

Auto mechanics use a car's computer system to analyze problems that need repair.
Today’s vehicles include a lot of built-in technology that requires advanced technology to diagnose and repair.

1 – Efficiency and Precision

Using cutting-edge technology, mechanics in Albuquerque can diagnose and repair issues with your commercial or passenger vehicle more efficiently and with greater precision.

They use advanced computer systems to analyze data from your vehicle’s sensors to determine what is causing a specific problem. When problems are pinpointed with laser precision, it ensures the right repairs are made with fewer mistakes and a quicker turnaround time.

One example of how mechanics use technology to diagnose and repair issues is through diagnostic scanners and code readers. These tools connect to your vehicle’s computer system and retrieve error codes indicating problems with the engine, emissions system, or transmission.  Mechanics save time and money by avoiding extensive manual troubleshooting.

2 – Improved Customer Experience

Advanced technology improves the customer experience. Mechanics in Albuquerque use digital systems to keep track of appointments, send reminders, and provide updates to their customers.

Some of the other ways auto repair shops use technology include:

  • Digital inspections. Some auto repair shops offer digital inspections using a tablet or smartphone to take photos of the vehicle’s condition and any issues that need addressing. The mechanic then sends the information to the customer via email or text message, along with an estimate for repairs. Using technology this way improves the customer experience by offering transparency and building trust between you and your mechanic.
  • Electronic payment. Many auto repair shops offer electronic payment options including paying online and using mobile apps. Providing these alternatives to traditional payment methods makes it easier and more convenient for customers to pay for services.
  • Online appointment booking. No more waiting on hold to speak with someone during business hours. Auto repair shops that use online booking systems for their customers make it easier for them to schedule appointments when it’s convenient.
  • Real-time communication. You don’t have to sit and wait for mechanics to finish your repairs with real-time communication tools at your auto mechanic’s disposal. They can send a text alert with updates on the repairs and when your vehicle is ready for pickup.
An mechanic in Albuquerque installs a backup camera in a vehicle showing the space behind a car to improve safety.
Backup cameras enhance the safety of your vehicle. Auto mechanics in Albuquerque can add them to your vehicle.

3 – Enhanced Safety Features

Another advantage of using cutting-edge technology in automotive services is the ability to enhance safety features in your vehicle. Mechanics in Albuquerque can install advanced safety features like:

  • Automatic emergency braking. Using sensors to detect when a collision is imminent, these systems automatically apply the brakes to avoid or reduce the severity of a crash.
  • Back-up cameras. Most newer vehicles come with this added safety feature. If yours doesn’t have it, your mechanic easily can add it to prevent you from backing into objects or people by showing you all angles at your vehicle’s rear. Backup cameras prevent up to 16% of all accidents and are the most beneficial to drivers over the age of 70.
  • Blind-spot monitoring. Detecting vehicles in your blind spot while driving can mean the difference between avoiding an accident and having one. Mechanics can install blind-spot monitoring systems that detect vehicles in the blind spot and alert drivers with lights or sounds.
  • Lane-departure warning. It’s easy to accidentally drift into another lane of traffic, especially if you’re distracted by something behind the wheel. Lane departure warning technology uses cameras and sensors to detect when your vehicle is drifting out of its lane. It sends a warning using lights or sounds.

4 – Increased Sustainability

Cutting-edge technology for your vehicles doesn’t have to negatively impact the environment. Mechanics in Albuquerque incorporate technology that’s environmentally friendly into their work that improves your experience as a customer.

Some of the ways they practice responsible sustainability through technology include:

  • Installing electric vehicle charging stations at their shops for customer use.
  • Recycling old parts and vehicle fluids responsibly.
  • Using eco-friendly car products if they provide complimentary vehicle washes with service.

Enjoy the advantages of technology

Using cutting-edge technology in automotive services provides numerous advantages. Increased efficiency and precision, improved customer experience, enhanced safety features, and increased sustainability are among the ways mechanics in Albuquerque use technology advancements to provide top-notch service to their customers.

If you need automotive services, consider a mechanic using these and other technologies for a superior experience.

4 Benefits of Pro Mechanics in Albuquerque

When it comes to automobile maintenance and repair, finding reliable and professional mechanics in Albuquerque is a must. Not only are they responsible for fixing your vehicle’s issues, but they also maintain their critical components to help it last longer.

In this article, we’ll review the top 4 benefits of finding the right pro mechanics in Albuquerque to service your vehicle.

An auto mechnic in Albuquerque checks the air pressure of a car's tire as part of routine maintenance.
Checking your car’s tires for appropriate levels of inflation is an important part of performing regular maintenance. Improperly inflated tires cause car handling issues and can lead to abnormal wear and tear.

One – Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is one of the most important reasons why you need professional mechanics in Albuquerque. You can prevent major issues from happening and prolong the life of your vehicle with regular maintenance.

Professional mechanics have the expertise and experience to identify problems and address them before they turn into costly repairs. Whether you drive a domestic or foreign model, choose a mechanic familiar with your automobile to assure quality service.

Common maintenance services

Every vehicle comes with a manual that outlines a recommended maintenance schedule. You can learn when it’s best to change oil and filters, flush radiators and transmissions, and other critical care to keep your car or truck humming along.

Among the regular maintenance items for domestic and foreign vehicles:

  • Air filter replacement. Air filters prevent dirt, dust, and other debris from entering the engine. Over time, the filters become clogged and need replacing. Most automobile manufacturers recommend changing out air filters every 15,000 to 30,000 miles.
  • Battery check. Regularly checking your car’s battery can prevent unexpected breakdowns. You should have a professional mechanic check it every six months.
  • Brake inspection. Regular brake inspections identify issues early to prevent brake failure. You should have your brakes inspected every 6,000 miles.
  • Fluid level check. Brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid help your vehicle operate as intended. Checking levels every 3,000 to 5,000 miles is recommended.
  • Oil change. Changing your engine oil removes debris and dirt that can cause engine damage over time. Depending on the make and model of your car, you’ll need an oil change every 5,000 to 7,500 miles or every 6 months, whichever comes first.
  • Spark plug replacement. Spark plugs play an important role in igniting the fuel in the engine. They should be replaced every 30,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on the type of plug and how often you drive your vehicle.
  • Tire rotation. Rotating your tires extends their lifespan by preventing uneven wear and tear. Most mechanics recommend rotating tires when you have an oil change.

Two – Emergency Repairs

Breaking down along the side is the road – especially late at night – is no fun. No matter how well you maintain your vehicle, emergencies can still happen. A professional mechanic in Albuquerque can provide emergency repairs when needed.

These experts have the right tools and knowledge to fix your automobile’s issues quickly and efficiently. They also have access to high-quality replacement parts to ensure compatibility with your car or truck.

Common types of emergency repairs

Emergency repairs may become necessary if you have an accident or other unexpected issue with your vehicle. Some of the most common types of emergency repairs include:

  • Brake failure.
  • Dead battery.
  • Engine overheating.
  • Flat tire.
  • Fuel system issues.
  • Ignition failure.
  • Transmission failure.
A mechanic in Albuquerque checks a vehicle's exhaust system for needed repairs.
Exhaust upgrades can improve your vehicle’s overall performance.

Three – Improved Performance

Professional mechanics in Albuquerque can improve your car’s performance by identifying and fixing any problems before they cause lasting damage. They can tune up your engine, replace worn-out parts, and address any other problems that may be causing your car or truck to behave abnormally.

Common techniques for improving performance

Increasing fuel efficiency and saving you money on more costly repairs in the future are just two of the benefits of regular visits to your trusted mechanic.

Some of the ways your mechanic can improve your vehicle’s performance includes:

  • Air intake and exhaust upgrades improve engine performance by allowing better airflow and boosting horsepower. Installing high-performance air filters, a cold air intake, or upgrading the exhaust system are among the ways mechanics make these improvements.
  • Brake upgrades to improve stopping power and overall safety. Installing new brake pads, calipers, and rotors is part of the process.
  • Computer tuning requires the modification of the software that controls your automobile’s engine. Making these adjustments can increase fuel efficiency, horsepower, and torque.
  • Suspension upgrades include installing new coil springs, shocks, and struts to improve handling.

Four – Warranty Protection

All new cars come with limited warranties from their manufacturers. Most cover critical components like the engine and transmission should they fail because of a manufacturing defect or other issues outside the owner’s control.

Regular maintenance and repairs must be performed by certified professionals as a condition of maintaining warranty coverage. Some of the maintenance requirements outlined in warranty agreements include:

  • Regular inspections.
  • Regular oil changes.
  • Regular tire rotations.

If you attempt to perform these tasks yourself or take your car to uncertified mechanics in Albuquerque, you risk voiding the warranty. By working with a professional mechanic in Albuquerque, you can ensure you’re meeting the terms and conditions of your warranty.

Find a mechanic in Albuquerque

Finding a professional mechanic in Albuquerque is essential for maintaining your car’s health, longevity, and performance. Regular maintenance, emergency repairs, improved performance, and warranty protection are just a few of the benefits of working with these experts.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Give Rio Grande Automotive a call today to schedule your next routine maintenance appointment.

5 Reasons Not to Ignore Alignment Issues

Do you know what happens when you ignore alignment issues in your automobile? You end up with an expensive repair bill, that’s what.

Think about the last time you drove your vehicle. Did it feel like you were in a fight for control with the steering wheel? If so, your automobile might have alignment issues. Ignoring them is never a good idea because prolonged misalignment can cause damage to other critical components in your car.

Before you know it, you’ve racked up expensive repairs you could have avoided if you’d addressed the alignment issues right away.

In this blog we’ll discuss:

A person pointing to uneven tread on a tire, which is what happens when you ignore alignment issues.
Uneven tread wear is a tell-tale sign of what happens if you ignore alignment issues.

What are the warning signs of alignment issues?

Alignment issues are sometimes present in subtle ways. Maybe you notice a slight pulling to one side when driving. You might brush it off because it’s not bothersome enough to convince you to call your mechanic.

Perhaps your tires look like they’re wearing a bit unevenly or make squealing noises when you’re going around a sharp corner.

All these things are your vehicle’s way of signaling that its alignment is off. Don’t wait to find a place to get alignments in Albuquerque. The longer you ignore the tell-tale signs of misalignment, the more expensive your repair bill.

How much does an alignment cost?

The cost for alignments in Albuquerque depends on the type of vehicle you have, the reason for the misalignment, and which auto mechanic you choose.

If you don’t ignore alignment issues and get to your mechanic at the first sign of trouble, you can avoid expensive repair bills that include replacing your tires because of uneven wear and tear.

Once the tread on your tires becomes worn in places, it can lead to damage to your vehicle’s axle, dampers, and springs, which are all part of the suspension system.

Reach out to your auto mechanic to get an accurate estimate on alignment costs, then schedule your appointment right away.

A car is filling up at the gas pump. Poor gas mileage happens when you ignore alignment issues.
Poor gas mileage happens when you ignore alignment issues in your vehicle.

What are 5 reasons not to ignore alignment issues?

You already know that ignoring alignment issues can lead to more expensive repairs down the road. Here are 5 more reasons why you should address misalignment at the first sign.

  1. Fuel Efficiency
    Misaligned wheels affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Higher average gasoline prices in the Greater Albuquerque region are more than enough reason to get alignment issues handled quickly.

    When your wheels aren’t aligned, it forces your car to work harder to move forward, which decreases gas mileage. Keeping your wheels properly aligned improves fuel efficiency and saves you money on gas at the pump.

  2. Handling
    Proper wheel alignment improves your vehicle’s handling. When you’re navigating through challenging road conditions, it’s important to have full control of your vehicle. The last thing you want is to fight with your steering wheel while driving at high speeds on the interstate or cruising through the scenic mountains of New Mexico.

  3. Safety
    You’re not just risking your safety when you continue to drive a misaligned vehicle. Ignoring alignment issues can make your automobile difficult to control, risking the safety and well-being of everyone else on the roadways with you.

    Proper alignment makes sure your car stays on track – even when operating at higher speeds on the interstate or during inclement weather.

  4. Suspension
    New tires are the least of your worries if you ignore alignment issues for too long in your vehicle. When your wheels are misaligned, it puts stress on the suspension system. That extra strain causes damage to components that are costly to repair.

    Extend your vehicle’s lifespan – and save some of your hard-earned cash – by attending to alignment problems quickly.

  5. Tire Wear
    We’ve already mentioned that ignoring alignment issues can cause premature tire wear and tear. Tires with uneven treads can become costly, especially if you drive a 4-wheel vehicle. When one tire goes bad, you must replace them all to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your drivetrain or risk confusing your traction control system.

Where do you go for alignments in Albuquerque?

Proper wheel alignment is essential to the safe operation of your vehicle. Ignoring them can reduce the lifespan of your automobile and lead to more costly repairs.

4 Signs of Alignment Issues in Albuquerque

You’re out for a Sunday drive with your family when you notice your car just feels different. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know it’s not handling the way it usually does.

Alignment issues can creep up on car owners in Albuquerque. Unlike other performance problems, it’s usually easy to spot when your vehicle is out of alignment. There are 4 tell-tale warning signs that it’s time to get your vehicle in for an alignment. Ignore them, and you could end up with costlier repairs down the road.

Alignment issue warning sign #1: pulling to one side

Until self-driving cars become available to the public, you’re stuck navigating your vehicle the old-fashioned way. It’s probably a good thing because difficulty steering is one of the first signs you need to visit a shop that provides alignments in Albuquerque.

Pay attention when you’re driving on a straight stretch of roadway. Does your vehicle feel like it’s pulling hard to one side or the other? If so, it might be time to get an alignment check.

Contrary to popular belief, you should never take your hands completely off the wheel when checking for alignment. It’s an unsafe practice that can get you into trouble on New Mexico’s already dangerous roadways. It also doesn’t accurately measure your car’s alignment because all roadways have some degree of crowning, which can cause slight pulls to one side or the other.

alignment albuquerque penny test
You can check for abnormal wear and tear on your tires by doing the “penny test.”

Alignment issue warning sign #2: abnormal tire wear and tear

Tires can tell you a lot about the safety of your vehicle. It’s one of the reasons why our mechanics check your tires during a scheduled maintenance visit with Rio Grande Automotive.

You don’t have to wait for your mechanic to discover an abnormal wear and tear problem with your tires. Occasionally check yourself, especially if you think your car is handling differently on the roadway. Here’s an easy way to do it.

Insert a standard U.S. penny into the tread, with Lincoln’s head facing down and out. Can you see all of Lincoln’s face? If so, your tread depth is below the recommended level—2/32 of an inch—for safety. Continue checking several places on your tires to see if the tread is evenly worn. If it measures differently on the same tire, then alignment issues can be at play.

Alignment issue warning sign #3: an off-center steering wheel

Look at your steering wheel when you’re not operating your vehicle. Most have the emblem of the automaker etched in the center. Is it centered on the wheel or crooked? If the wheel and the auto manufacturer’s logo are more than 2 to 3 degrees off in either direction, then you need to visit an alignment repair shop in Albuquerque.

alignment albuquerque squealing
Squealing tires when cornering can be another sign of alignment issues in Albuquerque.

Alignment issue warning sign #4: squealing tires

We’ve all seen TV shows or movies where a vehicle’s tires squealed going around a sharp corner. Usually, it’s when there’s a high-speed car chase happening in the plotline. If your vehicle is making a similar sound during normal driving, then misalignment could be the culprit.

Never ignore squealing from your tires when turning. If misalignment is to blame, pretending it’s not an issue can lead to more expensive damage to your vehicle’s entire suspension system.

How alignment issues in Albuquerque happen

Several components contribute to vehicle misalignment. The way you drive your vehicle is among the biggest factors. Hitting speed bumps too fast and jumping curbs when parallel parking are two of the most common ways drivers put their wheels out of alignment in Albuquerque.

Potholes also can do a number on your vehicle if you go over them too quickly. Even the most observant drivers can miss potholes. However, if you notice one, slow down and try to avoid it. If missing it isn’t possible without compromising your safety (and that of other drivers on the roadway), then go over it as slowly as possible.

Lastly, navigating through road construction projects can create the kind of uneven surfaces that mess with your vehicle’s alignment in Albuquerque. Take care with driving too fast through construction zones, especially ones that include metal plates and other uneven surfaces.

Checking for alignment in Albuquerque

Getting an alignment in Albuquerque is easy when you rely on the expertise of the mechanics at Rio Grande Automotive. We can service domestic and foreign vehicles. Call today to schedule an alignment check.

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