Frequently Asked Questions
For answers to some of the more common questions we receive, please browse the FAQ section below. If the answer you seek is not there:

Table of Contents

GENERAL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Before any repairs begin, you should be given a price for that repair. However, no technician can accurately diagnose a problem over the phone. Anyone who tells you how much a repair will cost before even looking at the vehicle is doing a severe dis-service to their potential customer. All vehicles experiencing some type of problem should first be inspected by a trained and certified professional. Once the problem and necessary repair is identified then you should be provided an estimate before any repairs are started.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is widely known for its industry certification program for automotive professionals. It was founded in 1972 as a non-profit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through voluntary testing and certification of automobile technicians.

ASE voluntary certification is a means by which technicians can prove their abilities not only to themselves and their employers, but also to you – the consumer. ASE certification is recognized internationally throughout the automotive repair industry as the most valuable credential technicians can earn. And because ASE certification is voluntary, it means technicians wearing the ASE logo on their shirts have made the time, investment, and effort to earn certification, which means they can be counted on to have a strong sense of pride in accomplishment and commitment to excellence in their profession. ASE certification means that a person has passed tough, industry developed, exams.

AASTRO Transmission is open 5 1/2 days a week. Our ASE certified technicians are available to offer you full service repairs on your vehicle during all hours of operation.

Repair shops that advertise longer hours or open on Sundays may have limited services available since they do not have all their technicians working. Additionally, most parts departments and/or after market parts stores are not open during these ‘extended hours’. As a result, your vehicle may be tied up waiting for technician or parts availability.

That’s a great question…and here’s why. There are too many good shops in the Tucson area to run the risk of one that’s only been in business for a short time. Although time isn’t the only measure of a good business, but longevity can give you the expectation that they will be around ‘tomorrow’ to take care of you. By the way, we’ve been in business, with many of the same employees, since 1987.

A shop supply represents the additional cost for miscellaneous parts and labor that are used for servicing and repairing customer’s vehicles. These costs are not itemized because they cannot be purchased on a job-by-job basis. A few examples of shop supplies are: solvents, cleaners, the paper floor mats that are used to protect in interior of customer’s cars from getting dirty, shop towels, oil dry, grease, etc.

At AASTRO we are committed to maintaining our environment. We do this in many ways like all of our mop water, waste oil, engine coolant, scrap metal and paper are all recycled. Shop towels are cleaned as opposed to disposable, the uniforms we wear, when laundered, the water is recycled, etc.

A diagnostic service is a process that a technician must perform to determine the root cause of a problem a customer is experiencing with their vehicle. This requires the use of various sophisticated diagnostic equipment, which also require specialized training. The labor time the technician uses during the diagnostic process are mutually exclusive of the labor time required to actually fix the problem.

Diagnostics are also specific to the problem a customer is experiencing with their vehicle. Example, if a customer were experiencing a problem with the vehicle hesitating at a specific speed, the diagnostic service would not uncover a problem with the air conditioning not working.

An electronic diagnosis, as explained above, may point to a particular problem but it may require test(s) to confirm or eliminate a particular component or area for repair. For example the electronic diagnosis of the on board computer may indicate a possibility of an engine related problem. The engine may need to have a compression test run to determine if the rings are bad.

Some inspections require very little technician time, like to remove the wheels from the car and visually check the brake parts. The cost of the inspection may be waived because the labor to do the inspection has reduced the time to do the actual repair.

However, with transmissions, transaxles, differentials, clutches and sometimes engines they may require a removal, disassembly and a detailed inspection to determine the actual internal damage and its associated cost to repair. There is no way to determine these repair costs without this type of inspection. Otherwise, you may have the whole component replaced, unnecessarily, and with a much higher cost.

AASTRO Transmission uses either OEM or after market parts
that meets or exceeds the manufacturer’s specifications.

 

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) parts are the same parts that were supplied to the manufacturer, based on their specifications, during assembly of the vehicle. “After Market” parts are made by companies that may or may not have supplied the manufacturer. Some after market parts are actually better than the OEM part. These parts meet or exceed the OEM design and usually carry a longer warranty period. There are also after market parts that are lower in quality which are sold at a lower price and have a lower service life expectancy.

Rebuilt is the process of restoring a part to its previous state, before failure, by replacing the faulty or damaged parts of the component as well as those parts that are severely worn. The term ‘remanufactured’ is sometimes used interchangeably with rebuilt. To remanufacture means to replace the parts that are worn or damaged as well as re-designing parts or components. The purpose of which would be to provide more longevity or higher performance than the original design. However, there is no industry standard in place that clearly defines a difference between remanufactured versus rebuilt. So be leery when someone has a price difference between rebuilt and remanufactured.

Some people believe in waiting until something is “broken” before replacement. With belts and hoses especially, always follow your manufacturer’s replacement recommendations (found in your owner’s manual). Replacing these items at the recommended intervals serves to avoid not just the inconvenience associated with a breakdown but in most instances, there is collateral damage with their failure. Breakdowns always come with additional costs of time and money.

Always follow your manufacturer’s recommendations as outlined in the owner’s manual. Typically the cooling system should be flushed out at least once every two years or 30,000 miles. The best time to have this service performed is in the spring or fall.

If you experience an overheating problem it needs to be diagnosed to determine the cause. Normally, if a cooling system component (radiator, water pump, etc.) needs to be replaced, a coolant flush is recommended. This is done to clean the entire cooling system and provide a coolant mixture that has the proper anti foaming agents, rust inhibitors and water pump lubricants.

The transmission industry recommends that in the Southwest, the transmission should be serviced every 12 months or 12,000 miles. This is due to the extreme under-hood temperatures common in Arizona’s extreme heat and driving conditions. All manufacturers state that this type of service include a road test of the vehicle, remove and clean transmission fluid pan, remove and replace filter, remove and replace pan gasket and fill with the appropriate automatic transmission fluid.

The answer is, “maybe-maybe not”. Because the check engine light/service engine soon light illuminates for many different reasons (I.E. A bad sensor, or a bad computer, or a vacuum leak, or a bad fuel pump, or a bad spark plug, or a plugged fuel filter or a broken, pinched or disconnected wire, or a loose gas cap, engine overheating, etc.). To determine what caused the trouble light to illuminate, a trained and experienced technician must recheck the vehicle. Make sure your service advisor provides you a printout of the “codes” or other findings that indicated the need for the associated repairs when the check engine light came on. This way you will know, if the light comes on again, if it is related to the previous repair or is it a completely new problem with the vehicle.

If the smoke is gray or black in color it typically means the vehicle is running rich (too much gas and not enough air). If you only have experienced this when the car is started it is typically an issue with the settings of the fuel injection system. If you get black smoke all the time, there are additional problems with the fuel injections system that need to be checked. For example, oxygen sensors, map sensors, fuel injectors, fuel pressure regulators, air filter, etc. If this condition is allowed to continue, it could cause damage to the catalytic converter as well.

If the smoke is blue in color it means the vehicle is burning oil. This can be caused by bad pistons and rings, damaged cylinder walls, or other internal engine damage. If the smoke is white in color it is a sign of a coolant leak or coolant being forced into the cylinders and being burned. Typical causes of white smoke are faulty head gaskets, a cracked head or broken cylinder wall. These, of course, are generalities and can only be accurately diagnosed by a trained auto technician.

(NOTE: Newer vehicles may not have these same ignition parts.)

 

Spark plugs, wires, distributor caps and rotors break down and fail over time due to exposure moisture, oil, grease and under hood temperatures that can reach as much as 550 to 700 degrees.

Worn spark plugs cause higher voltage requirements, forcing the ignition module and coil to produce higher and higher voltages to over come the resistance. The higher voltage breaks do the spark plug wires’ insulation, creating an easier path to ground. This causes the ignition module and coil to produce even more voltage, creating even higher current temperatures within them, higher than normal resistance weakens transistors and electrical insulation within modules, coils and computers, resulting in intermittent and premature failure.

If your vehicle has over 60,000 miles and you haven’t replaced your spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, you may experience a variety of drivability problems that are often difficult and very costly to diagnose and repair.

If your vehicle fails the Arizona Emissions test, AASTRO has full staff of highly skilled and Certified Emissions Technicians ready to serve you. All you need to do is bring the test results you were provided by the person at the test station to any of our AASTRO locations. We then inspect your vehicle and perform our emission diagnostic service, which may include one or more of the following to determine the cause of test failure.

1. On-board computer analysis.
2. Analysis of primary and secondary ignition systems.
3. Fuel delivery system analysis.
4. Drive evaluation.
5. EGR system evaluation.
6. Data stream analysis.
7. Exhaust Gas Analysis.

This testing will determine what repair or service you need. We will discuss these results, inform you of the problems we found and recommend the repair that will bring your vehicle’s emission to acceptable levels.

CHECK ENGINE AND WARNING LIGHTS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

An Anti-Lock Braking System or ABS warning light on your dash indicates something in your car’s ABS needs to be checked out by a qualified mechanic. Your ABS is one of your most important safety systems. Do not ignore this warning light. Common issues are:

  1. Malfunctioning ABS module
  2. Low levels in the brake fluid reservoir
  3. Broken speed sensor
  4. The ABS system is not receiving power

If a low coolant warning light is on do not continue to drive and go directly to the auto repair shop. It is simple and often inexpensive to fix at AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair. Waiting to get the problem resolved can result in high-cost engine repairs. If the low coolant warning light continues to flash on, then there is a leak in the car’s cooling system. Coolant fluid can leak in several ways. First, external leaks from radiator hoses, second, connections between hoses, or lastly, from the radiator itself. Your car’s radiator cap may leak due to a faulty seal on the cap which can be easily resolved by a specialist at our shop in Tucson.

Normally, when the traction control light comes on while driving it indicates the car’s traction control lost grip or traction going around a sharp curve or while driving on wet pavement. However, sometimes the traction control warning light will come on and stay on.

The best way to determine whether it was just a fluke or a real issue is to shut your vehicle off and turn it back on. If the light is off, then it was likely a temporary malfunction. If the light does not reset, come by AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair in Tucson and let us fix it.

The five main issues are:

  • Irregular or dangerous unintended acceleration
  • Intermittent loss of throttle control
  • Sudden drop in fuel economy
  • Hesitation or stumbling when accelerating.
  • Engine stuck unable to accelerate beyond a fast idle.

The connection between the gas pedal and acceleration is controlled by your car’s throttle. The amount of acceleration or throttle control is governed by a sophisticated computer system. Any disruption of the electrical signals will affect your vehicle’s acceleration and cause the throttle control warning light to come on. If your throttle control light comes on go directly to AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair in Tucson.

No, unwanted acceleration may occur and cause an accident. Go straight to the repair shop. There can be many different causes for the throttle control warning light, many are simple fixes.

Come by AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair and we can diagnose the reasons for a check engine light turning on. It can range from something serious like a faulty catalytic converter or potential engine failure to something simple like a loose gas cap or the need for a simple 50K or 100K mile manufacturer maintenance check.

The short answer, “No.” The longer explanation is the light may indicate a serious engine failure and continuing to use your car as if nothing is wrong could result in a very expensive repair bill. The check engine light means you should stop driving and have your car looked at as soon as possible by a professional at AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair in Tucson.

A loose gas cap is the most common cause of a check engine light coming on. But the best method to determine why the check engine light is on is to have a professional at AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair read the diagnostic code in the car’s internal OBD computer.

A steady check engine light indicates a non-emergency issue. Come by AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair and we can help.

Flashing check engine lights warn of severe situations requiring immediate attention. Get your vehicle to an auto repair shop as quickly as possible or get it safely parked and call a tow truck to take it to your preferred auto repair shop.

It is a very bad idea to try to resolve a check engine light yourself. The DIY method to turn off a check engine light without a scanner is disconnect the battery cables, wait 1 minute, and reconnect the battery cables. If the underlying issue has been resolved, the light should go off. But modern automobiles rely on battery power to maintain important systems such as the O2 sensor and ADAS systems. By disconnecting the battery, you run the risk of damaging these delicate and expensive to replace computer-driven components. If your check engine light is on come by AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair in Tucson. Turning off a check engine light is often inexpensive and simple.

AUTOMOBILE SQUEAKS, SQUEALS AND RATTLES QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The most common reason brakes squeak is that they are worn out. The squeak is the sound of the metal wear indicator on the brake pad coming in contact with the metal rotor. Your brakes are the top safety feature on your vehicle, so come by AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair and get them replaced right away. If you hear a squeaking only when you press the brake pedal the first 2-3 times when you first start driving in the morning it is the result of overnight moisture build up and likely nothing to worry about.

It may be a slipping fan belt. Listen for a few warning signs such as a squeaking or chirping noise. Those noises are usually caused by misalignment of the belt and the pulley. If you come by AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair in Tucson our professional auto repair technicians can realign it to stop the noise and fix it before your fan belt completely breaks.

Yes. Many engine rattles can be fixed quickly and affordably. The most common reason for engine rattling is a collapsed valve lifter. This needs to be repaired quickly or it can cause misfires. Other common causes that need immediate attention are a failing tensioner belt, drive belt or low oil pressure. If the rattle is intermittent, it may be a poor connection between the rod and the crankshaft.

If the noise is loud, it may be a cracked flex plate or rusted heat shield. Higher mileage vehicles may have an engine rattle resulting from an engine hotspot ping, piston slap or degrading sound dampening features such as engine insulation. Sometime what sounds like an engine rattle is not the engine at all but a cracked catalytic converter.

If your car makes strange sounds or clicks when you turn the steering wheel the most common cause is a low steering fluid. Over time the steering fluid decreases and air enters the steering mechanism causing unwanted noises. Come to AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair to top off your fluid reservoir with power steering fluid. The noises should start to go away immediately. If the sound returns quickly your car could be leaking steering fluid. Our professionals in Tucson can help you diagnose and repair leaks quickly and affordably.

A worn out cambelt (also known as a timing belt) will create a loud noise when you start your car’s engine. The noise could range from squealing to hissing or rumbling. This is the sound of a cambelt that is about to break. If a cambelt breaks it can ruin your car’s engine. Come to AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair and get it replaced right away.

The most common reason why your car’s wheels make a chirping or squealing sound, especially during acceleration is a bad wheel bearing. If you notice a grinding or grating noise coming from your wheel this can also be the sound of a wheel bearing beginning to fail. If you are in Tucson, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells, Summit or the surrounding area, come by AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair and we can diagnose the problem quickly.

LEAKING FLUID QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The most common cause is a blocked air conditioning drain hose. This is a simple repair at AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair. There are other possible causes of water dripping on your foot on the driver’s side of the car including a broken door seal or leaking heat exchanger.

If the spill is still wet, cover the stain with clay cat litter, sand, cornmeal, cornstarch or baking soda. This will help absorb the oil before it soaks into the cement. Once the spill has dried, sweep up the absorbent material. Then, wash away the remaining stain with water and soap. A small oil leak on your driveway is an indication that something is wrong with your car. Bring your car to AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair to get the problem diagnosed. Do not ignore an oil leak as it can seriously affect your car’s engine.

If there is a sweet-smelling fluid leaking from your car, the most likely culprit is leaking coolant or antifreeze. A coolant leak can become a serious problem. If your vehicle gets too low on coolant or antifreeze, it will overheat and may cause engine damage.

MOTOR OIL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

There are four basic classes of engine oil used in car maintenance today. Your owner’s manual will explain which type of motor oil your vehicle needs. It is important to always use the correct type of motor oil. The four types of motor oil are:

  • Conventional petroleum-based motor oil – This is the most common type of motor oil used in vehicles.
  • Synthetic motor oil – a lubricant made up of artificial chemical compounds derived by breaking down and rebuilding petroleum molecules.
  • Synthetic blend motor oil – a combination of common petroleum motor oil and synthetic motor oil.
  • High mileage oil – This type of motor oil is most commonly used in commercial vehicles and contains additives and seal enhancers that reduce leaks.
  1. Remove the plug and drain the old engine oil.
  2. Remove the old oil filter.
  3. Replace it with a new oil filter.
  4. Replace the plug and fill with new oil.
  5. Check to ensure that oil levels are correct.

OIL FILTERS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

  • Cellulose media filter – This is the most common type of disposable oil filter found in cars today.
  • Synthetic media filter – Made from high quality synthetic fibers, also catch and remove the smallest particulates and withstand complex chemical reactions better.
  • Micro glass media filters – High-end oil filters that include an extremely fine metal media or micro glass material.

Consult your owner’s manual to determine the maintenance interval for your vehicle’s oil filter. Some manufacturers recommend that the oil filter be replaced every time you get your oil changed while others recommend every other time.

SUSPENSION QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Front-end alignment is a service performed on the front wheels. The process includes adjustments to the camber, toe and casters. Your ‘thrust angle adjustment’ may also need adjustments, to ensure that all four wheels are in alignment.

Experts recommend that shocks be replaced at 50,000-100,000 miles. If you are a more aggressive driver or frequently drive on rough roads, they will wear out faster. Shocks don’t go out all at once, they deteriorate slowly over time. If you are noticing problems with handling, making smooth turns or ride smoothness have one of the professionals at AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair inspect your shocks.

Shock absorber replacement is usually a straightforward job, taking less than an hour of labor, but they should be replaced by a professional. Some models require other components to be removed or replaced before working on the front shocks. Bring your car to AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair in Tucson and we will help you determine what needs to be done and get you back on the road quickly.

Replacing struts is simple and fast for a professional. Replacing your front struts yourself is not recommended, especially if you need a new complete strut assembly kit. When you get your truck’s struts replaced you also need to have the front-end alignment checked. Ask the professionals at AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair to replace your struts and we will complete the work quickly and easily.

Shocks and struts are both parts of a vehicle’s suspension system. However, each has a very specific job. Your vehicle has either shocks or struts. You cannot replace your shocks with struts and vice versa. Shock absorbers are hydraulic components that help minimize movement generated by the vehicle’s springs. These springs absorb some of the jolts you might feel from uneven or damaged roads. Struts are structural components of certain vehicles’ steering and suspension systems. They usually consist of a spring and a shock absorber. Struts are designed to be much stronger than shocks since they are designed for vehicles that carry heavy loads.

AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair recommends performing an alignment anytime shocks, struts or other steering and suspension components are replaced. Getting your vehicle’s alignment within factory specifications ensures optimal tire wear and helps prolong the life of your tires.

If you replace only one shock or strut, it will create poor handling when changing lanes or driving over bumps. If your car is new, replacing only one strut or shock absorber may be ok since the opposite side shock is not worn out yet. Generally, AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair recommends replacing both shocks or struts.

DIFFERENTIAL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Over time, the differential fluid breaks down and becomes dirty and impacts performance. It is necessary to have your car or truck’s differential serviced regularly. It is generally recommended to have the differential fluid changed every 40,000 to 60,000 miles. However, if you are a more aggressive driver you may need to get your front and rear differential fluid changed sooner. If you are in Tucson, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells, Summit or the surrounding area, give us a call and we can help you figure out what makes the most sense for your vehicle.

Differential services performed by one of the professional technicians at AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair usually includes draining the old fluid from the differentials and replacing it with new fluid according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations and specifications. Sometimes other components surrounding the differential may need to be serviced as well.

BRAKES QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

If the brake light indicator appears on your dashboard, it’s either time for regular brake maintenance or an alert to a potential problem. Stop by AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair and let us help you diagnose this issue quickly.

When you purchase a new brake pad, it has a standard thickness of around 8 to 12 mm or about a half inch. Over time, your car’s brake pad will wear away. A brake pad at 3 mm or around one tenth of an inch will take around 40,000 miles of driving to completely wear out. Don’t wait until then to replace your brake pads. Once your brake pads reach 3 mm it is recommended that you schedule an appointment to get them replaced soon.

Grinding noises usually indicate that your car’s brake system is overdue for maintenance. The grinding sound is usually caused by the brake pad being completely worn away or the brake shoe scraping on metal contact points.

Noises coming from your brakes do not usually indicate a high-cost auto repair. It could be a foreign object such as a small stone or road debris. It could also be a signal that your brake-pads are wearing out and need replacing. As brake pads wear bits of metal in your brake pad come in contact with the rotor to create a squeaking noise when you apply the brakes.

If your car shakes or vibrates or wobbles when you apply the brakes, it indicates that the thickness of your rotor is uneven. Brake rotors are large, perfectly round, smooth metal discs that sit inside of the wheels. When the disc has become misshapen or unevenly worn it will vibrate or wobble when you hit the brakes. Left uneven, the material will continue to build on the uneven spots, making the problem worse over time. Come to AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair to get the face of your car’s brake rotors resurfaced to fix the problem.

If your car does not stop as quickly as you expect you may be leaking brake fluid. This is a serious problem. An important part of the braking process involves brake fluid, which is used to create hydraulic pressure against the brake caliper. If your vehicle is leaking brake fluid, you won’t be able to stop safely. We recommend taking your vehicle to an auto repair shop as quickly as possible if it is leaking brake fluid.

Overheated brakes cause a noticeable burning chemical smell. Pull over to a safe place and allow the brakes to cool. Ensure you did not accidentally leave the parking brake on. If there’s any smoke coming from a wheel, it may be that the brake caliper is malfunctioning and locked in place. In this case, it may be unsafe to continue driving.

If your car is pulling to one side when braking it may be a bad brake hose or a caliper issue causing one brake to engage while the other is not. This causes a pull on the side where the brake is working properly.

There are three main types of brake pads in use today: non-asbestos organic, ceramic and semi-metallic. Come by AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair or consult your car’s owner’s manual to determine which type is best for your vehicle.

The three most common sounds that indicate you need to replace your brake pads are squeaking, grinding or the dashboard brake indicator light coming on.

TIRES QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Sometimes mixing brands and models on your car is unavoidable, but having a complete matching set is best. If possible, use the same tire on the front or rear wheels. While it’s not usually advised, you can mix different tire brands on the same car, if you follow a few simple guidelines. Those include: never mix winter tires with all-season or summer tires; and to not mix run-flat tires with non-run-flat tires. For guidelines in the Tucson area, give us a call at (520) 201-3500.

Get your tires rotated and get an even amount of tread wear on your tires. Evenly worn tires contribute to a smooth and comfortable ride. Rotating your tires consistently can also extend the life of your tires. It can enhance safety by helping to prevent pulling and an uneven grip between the tire and the pavement.

Experts recommend you rotate your tires every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. While this is a good rule of thumb, your vehicle’s exact interval will depend on its drivetrain and your driving habits. More aggressive drivers in the Tucson area may need to rotate their tires more often. Our experts at AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair can work with you to determine the tire rotation schedule that will work best.

Tire manufacturers know that tire rotation is important for even tread wear. Tire mileage warranties are most often set by the manufacturers with tire rotations included. Failing to rotate your tires may void your tires manufacture warranty.

If you have snow tires check your tire pressure and rotate your winter tires on a regular schedule. Rotating snow and winter tires is important to maintaining even treadwear and preserving maximum traction in icy conditions.

If you hit a curb or pothole your wheel-tire assembly can get out of balance. Everyday wear on tires and wheels can also cause an imbalance. Many experts recommended that you get your tires balanced every 5,000 to 7,500 miles or every 2 years. If you buy a new set of tires, you may find that tire balancing is included in your purchase. At AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair, we can check your tire balance and make any necessary adjustments for you.

First, remove the cap from the air valve on the tire and put it somewhere you won’t lose it. Press the tire gauge against the open valve stem for a second or two. Next, read the air pressure gauge. Compare the number on the gage with the recommended tire pressure from your cars owner’s manual or the sticker that should be next to the driver’s side door opening. Finally, replace the tire’s air valve cap.

Check all of your tires in multiple locations by inserting a penny into the tread groove on your tire with Lincoln’s head facing toward you and the top of his head touching the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tires are worn out and you need new tires. Of course, you can bring your vehicle to AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair in Tucson and our experts can check it for you.

SPARK PLUG QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The most common sign a spark plug needs replacing is the feeling that the car’s engine is hesitating when accelerating, but other signs may include misfiring at start up, rough idling, sluggish acceleration, declining fuel economy and engine knocking.

If you are considering having your vehicle’s spark plugs replaced, there’s a high probability that your spark plug wires need changing as well. Ignition wires become brittle over time. Old ignition wires can break and cause misfires or declining fuel economy.

SERPENTINE BELT QUESTION AND ANSWER

If your serpentine belt is failing, you may notice performance issues with your vehicle. The vehicle may frequently overheat. Your air conditioning or power steering may fail to work or not work properly. You may notice your vehicle battery failing to recharge if the alternator is affected by a bad serpentine belt. If you start to notice any of these issues we encourage you to bring your vehicle to AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair as soon as possible to avoid bigger problems and breakdown.

TRANSMISSION FLUID QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

It’s important to change your transmission fluid, but the type of transmission you have affects your ideal changing interval. Most cars on the road today have an automatic transmission. If you drive a car with an automatic transmission you need to change your transmission fluid every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. If your car has a manual transmission, it’s recommended that you get the transmission fluid changed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

The most obvious sign that it is time to change your transmission fluid is a warning light on the dashboard. Other signs may include the car’s engine revving when you accelerate or go around corners, difficulty shifting, a chattering noise when you start driving, a slight burning smell or a puddle under your car. Like always, if you are uncertain about a noise, leak or feeling, we encourage you to bring your vehicle to us here at AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair in Tucson.

Yes. Changing your car’s transmission fluid regularly is a great way to improve fuel efficiency. Your vehicle’s transmission will run smoother after changing the fluid, which means your engine will perform better.

COOLANT QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Your car’s owner’s manual provides a wealth of information. Follow the recommendations in your car’s owner’s manual to the letter unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer or auto repair professionals. It will tell you what type of coolant is best to use in your vehicle. If you don’t have a copy of your owner’s manual, you can most likely find the information you need on the manufacturer’s website.

Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will recommend getting the coolant flushed about every 30,000 miles or three to five years, whichever comes first. Make sure to consult your owner’s manual as some outline a more specific interval depending on the vehicle’s make and model and your driving habits.

Corrosion within the radiator is the leading cause of a coolant leak. As the radiator tubes get older and weaker, sediment or debris collects inside and causes a leak. The sealing gasket between the tank and the radiator can also wear out, and lead to a leak.

If the dashboard light is red, indicating your car is overheating then you should pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and switch off the engine. If the coolant level is low or there is another problem with your cooling system, you could cause serious damage by continuing to drive.

The engine coolant is overheating if it’s around 240 to 250 degrees. When the coolant gets this hot a light on your dashboard will come on to alert you. Pull over and turn your car off. The coolant is very hot and under extreme pressure. Do not attempt to remove the radiator cap until the car has cooled.

RADIATOR QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Radiator service starts with draining the system. Then we flush the radiator and engine block, inspecting all hoses to make sure they’re not cracked. Next we refill the radiator with fresh coolant and finish by pressure testing the radiator cap and cooling system.

If you replace your radiator you may need to replace three other parts as well – the thermostat, water pump and heater core. An auto repair professional at AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair will let you know what other parts need to be replaced.

Often, radiators will last for the entire life of a car. On average a radiator lasts 8 to 10 years. However, there are a few factors that can reduce a radiator’s working life such as improper maintenance, driving habits and environmental conditions.

The most common reason a car overheats is a lack of coolant or a coolant leak. However, if you have an older vehicle, it may also indicate that it is time to replace your radiator, thermostat, water pump or heater core. If it continues to be a problem that you can’t fix, your best bet is to bring it to our shop in Tucson.

BATTERY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Mixing up negative and positive cables is the most common mistake. When you mix up the negative and positive cable it ruins your car’s alternator. Just remember black to negative and red to positive. Other common mistakes are using cheap cables that don’t conduct properly, letting the cables swing and become detached, touching the clips together, and ignoring cracks in your battery or dirty battery terminals.

It may sound obvious but be sure that you do not drop the battery. Be careful not to let the tools touch both the negative and positive terminals simultaneously, as it could create a spark, cause the battery to short out, or even damage the vehicle’s electrical components.

Make sure to separate the cables to the side so that they don’t touch the battery until it is in place. Attach the negative cable first and then the positive cable. If have any doubts while you are trying to change your battery you should always call in an expert.

Use a car memory saver or other secondary power source. If you don’t own a car memory saver, come to AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair and we can do this process for you. First, make sure to turn off your car before you unplug the battery. Next, plug the car memory saver into the cigarette lighter or the OBD2 connector. Remove the old battery and install the new battery and attach the connectors. Finally, unplug the memory saver from the car.

Your cars’ complex electrical and computer systems rely on the battery. However, for a gas-powered car it is unlikely that you will need to reprogram or reset the electrical system or computer system after replacement. When you get your battery replaced at an auto repair shop, they may use a secondary power source when changing your battery to ensure that your electrical system and vital computer systems do not lose power.

Reprogramming or resetting the electrical and computer systems only needs to be done if your car battery has been dead or disconnected for a long period of time. During a reset your car computers will return to the original manufacturing setting and lose any data it has collected such as information for oxygen to gas ratios during shifting.

If your car lost battery power completely then your car’s computer system may have lost valuable information to regulate engine performance causing it to stall even after you replace the battery.

However, the car’s system will quickly collect new data and engine performance should return to normal. In some case you may need to have the throttle body, or your idle air control valve cleaned out as carbon deposits can build up inside these parts, pushing them beyond the computer’s ability to regulate engine performance.

CAR STARTING QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Place your foot on the brake and turn the wheel in the direction in which it has a little range of motion. This should ease the tension in the steering column and allow you to turn the key. Turning the key unlocks the steering wheel. Do not try to unlock your steering wheel without a key or if the battery is dead. This should only be done by a professional auto repair technician.

This should work for most remotes:

  1. Remove the metal blade key from the remote.
  2. Use a standard (flat head) screwdriver to gently pry open the fob
  3. Remove the battery. It is usually a small round lithium watch battery.
  4. Insert a new battery
  5. Snap the key fob back together
  6. Insert the metal blade key into the fob.

The most common reason why a car will not start is a bad or dead battery. However, there are several other possibilities too. If you are having trouble getting your vehicle started, give AASTRO Transmission & Auto Repair a call at (520) 201-3500. Our auto repair professionals will try to help you diagnose the issue, which could be one of these problems:

  • Failing alternator
  • Starter motor
  • Ignition switch malfunction
  • Bad spark plugs
  • Cracked distributor cap
  • Broken timing belt

LIGHTS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

First, you should make sure both of your headlights are in good working order before driving your car. Headlights must be in use from sunset to sunrise. Headlights are also necessary when you cannot see more than 400 feet in front of you. You should also use your car’s headlights whenever windshield wipers are in use. In addition, some studies have shown that when drivers elect to always drive with their headlights on it can reduce automobile accidents.

Yes, your car uses the same bulb for the front turn signal and parking lights. Side bulbs are located on the inside of the wheel wells. All lights on your car will eventually burn out and need to be replaced.

CAR WARRANTY SCAMS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Yes, there are car warranty scams that try to take advantage of unsuspecting vehicle owners. You may have received calls from scammers that start with automated or pre-recorded prompts to enter basic information and stay on the line. Once the call begins, the scammer pretends to be an auto manufacturer or insurer telling you that your auto warranty or car insurance is about to expire. Then they ask you to provide personal information, which will later be used to defraud you. Sometimes the caller will have actual information about your automobile.

There is no way to get your personal information or money back, but you can reach out to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and file a complaint. You can contest any charges to your bank card through your bank. Consider using a credit monitoring service.

Regulators allege the fake auto warranty calls, which scam customers out of financial and personal information, originate from a ring run by Roy Cox Jr., Aaron Michael Jones and Sumco Panama companies.

If you are afraid your warranty or insurance may have really expired: first hang up with the potential scammer. Next, call your car dealer or insurer and inquire about your policy.

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