Considering an Alternative Fuel Vehicle In Monument?
There is a clear and vocal demand in Colorado Springs and nationally for a reduction in air pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. This is what is driving the Colorado market for alternative fuel vehicles. There are a number of these vehicles on Monument area roads today, and many more being developed. Yet each of these vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages. Colorado Springs auto owners should learn what these advantages and disadvantages are before running out and purchasing one of these alternative fuel vehicles at your nearest Monument dealership.
Monument motorists should carefully research the car care before buying an alternative vehicle, as it may or may not coincide with the standards for gasoline vehicles. You should look at costs and fuel economy as well: these vehicles may help save our environment here in Colorado Springs, but that might not represent a savings to your wallet. You’ll need to decide what you can afford, and what will work for your lifestyle. Also, your choice of vehicle may be affected by what fuels are available in your Monument area. Switching to an alternative fuel vehicle is not a bad decision, but it should be a carefully considered one.
Flex Fuel Vehicles
Flex fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on a combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Because of the 85% ethanol content, this fuel is commonly called E85 in Colorado.
Ethanol is made from corn. So flex fuel vehicles lessen our dependency on fossil fuels. But they also raise the price of corn, which is a basic foodstuff in some areas of the world. Whether replacing fossil fuels with corn is a good idea is hotly contested right now.
Flex fuel vehicles do have lower harmful exhaust emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles. And in Monument, E85 is usually lower in cost than regular gasoline. When gasoline prices fall in Colorado, however, they can drop below the price of E85. This is to Colorado Springs auto owners’ advantage, since the vehicle can run on either fuel, but it negates the benefits of lowered exhaust emissions and lower consumption of fossil fuels.
One piece of Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine auto advice before we move on: do not put E85 into your SUV unless it has an engine designed for flex fuels. Because of the high ethanol content in E85, engines need special seals and gaskets to function properly on this fuel. Running an ordinary engine with E85 can lead to gas leaks and fires.
Diesel engines are nothing new on Colorado highways, and many get great MPG. Diesel fuel can now be made from vegetable oil and other renewable sources. A diesel fuel made from algae will soon be on the market in Monument.
Natural gas is less expensive than gasoline in Colorado Springs and burns more cleanly. Also, gasoline engines can be adapted to run on compressed natural gas, and many natural gas vehicles are already on Manitou Springs roads. You can even install a special pump in your home gas line to use to fuel your vehicle. If you are interested in converting your gasoline engine to run on CNG in Colorado Springs, ask your Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine service specialist about it.
On the other hand, an engine running on natural gas is not as powerful as one running on gasoline, and it will get lower fuel economy. Also, the tank you need to store natural gas is large—it takes up nearly the entire trunk of your car. Further, refueling stations are still few and far between in some Colorado areas, or even unavailable, in many parts of the country.
Another alternative fuel that has enjoyed a lot of hype in Monument is the hydrogen cell. The natural appeal is that the only exhaust is water vapor. In other words, hydrogen represents a truly clean-burning fuel. But hydrogen vehicles won’t come into widespread use until refueling stations become widely available here in Colorado Springs and around the country.
Electric vehicles were all the rage in Colorado some years ago. But their limitations were quickly realized by Colorado Springs drivers. These vehicles won’t come into their own until we find ways to improve their batteries. Currently, the cars have a short range before their power runs out, and can only be realistically used close to home. However, they are easy to recharge, since they can be plugged in at home, and there are many researchers working on improving the battery technology in these vehicles. They may yet be the vehicles of the future.
Hybrids have been one of the most successful alternative fuel vehicles here in Colorado Springs and throughout the county. A hybrid gets its name because it has both a gas or diesel engine and an electric motor.
There are two types of hybrids. The full-hybrid relies on the electric motor for power, but the gas (or diesel) engine generates power for the battery. Thus, while still consuming fossil fuels, it uses less of them than a standard automobile, and also reduces harmful pollutants. Also, it overcomes the range problem of the strictly electric vehicle.
In a mild hybrid, the electric motor assists the gas or diesel engine in powering the car. Thus, it uses more gasoline or diesel than full hybrids and has higher emissions. But mild hybrids are available in larger body models like full-size pickups and SUV’s.
A Note of Caution about Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
One last note before we leave the subject of alternative fuel vehicles. The battery in an electric or hybrid vehicle is not as tame as the one in a standard vehicle. They carry enough voltage to kill you. These are not do-it-yourself vehicles when it comes to preventive maintenance or car care. Only a trained technician should work under their hoods.
Problems with Suspension Solved at Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine in Colorado Springs
A vehicle’s suspension system is tough. It can last for years and tens of thousands of miles for Colorado Springs motorists. But it can be damaged quickly by hitting a pothole, curb or rock, and it can wear more quickly if you frequently drive off-road or on bumpy roads. A workhorse vehicle — one that hauls heavy loads — is also going to be hard on its suspension system.
Because the useful life of your suspension system contains these elements of unpredictability, it is important for Colorado Springs auto owners to have them inspected periodically. Worn, broken and missing parts can be identified during an automotive analysis. An ineffective suspension system will cut down the driver’s control over a vehicle, so when it is damaged it frequently leads to the worst kind of vehicular damage — dangerous and costly accidents.
The suspension system is composed of springs and shock absorbers (or shocks). Springs suspend the weight of the vehicle above its axles. They allow the vehicle to “bounce” over bumps, which reduces the force of the impact on the vehicle. Shocks impair the rebound of the “bounce,” smoothing out the ride of the vehicle. They also force the tires to retain constant contact with the road. Shocks are responsible for “handling performance,” or the ease with which the driver controls the vehicle.
The springs in the suspension system are heavy-duty and rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers are tough, too, but they will wear out.
Your SUV might be equipped with struts. Struts are a combination spring and shock absorber. Struts, like shocks, have a limited life span.
Inspecting shocks or struts for damage and wear should be part of your preventive maintenance routine. Since a good suspension system is ultimately a key safety feature of your vehicle, it’s always better to be proactive about its care. In this case, good car care can prevent accidents.
There are some signs that will warn you that your suspension system may be in need of vital attention. One of the signs might be a cupped wear pattern on your tires. This is caused by the shocks bouncing unevenly. Other important signs of bad shocks manifest themselves in the handling performance of your vehicle. You may notice a drifting sensation when cornering, often referred to as a “floaty” feeling. If the front of your vehicle dips significantly when you brake or if it rocks back and forth after stopping, it’s time for new shocks. Your Professional Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine tech will check your shocks visually. If they’re leaking, they need to be replaced.
Any of these symptoms warrants a diagnostic examination of the suspension system. You should also get your suspension system inspected if you are involved in an accident involving one of your wheels. Colorado Springs motorists should never put off suspension repairs. If you actually experience suspension system failure, it can cause a serious accident. If one of your shocks needs to be replaced, then replace all four of them. This allows for even handling of the vehicle. Replacing just one of the shocks is rarely good auto advice.
When you replace your shocks or struts, use parts that are equivalent to or better than the original shocks on the SUV. The original equipment was developed for the weight and expected use of the vehicle, and Colorado Springs drivers should never downgrade.
Upgrading, however, is another matter for Colorado Springs motorists. If your suspension system gets a workout or you just want to improve your SUV’s handling performance, then you should consider upgrading to a better shock. If you haul heavy loads around Colorado Springs or tow a trailer, then you should definitely look at getting heavy-duty shocks.
Most Colorado Springs drivers are not likely to show off their suspension system to anyone admiring their SUV, but it’s essential just the same. In the end, it’s something all of us Colorado Springs motorists can be dedicated to.
Helping Colorado Springs Drivers Get the Right Tires
Every Colorado Springs vehicle owner has to purchase tires at some time or another, so it’s a good idea to understand what the choices are. The best seasonal performance is achieved by purchasing tires to match the season you are driving in. Summer tires are designed for hot temperatures. The tread is engineered for good traction on dry or rainy Colorado roads. But the rubber compound in summer tires gets stiff when temperatures drop below 45°F, and snow and mud can pack into the tread, reducing the traction of the tire.
Winter tires are designed for good traction on snowy surfaces. The tread actually throws snow off of the tire as the wheel turns. The rubber compound in a winter tire is soft so that it will remain flexible at Monument temperatures below 45°F. At higher temperatures, however, the softer rubber wears down rapidly.
All-season tires sacrifice some of the extreme performance of summer or winter tires, but they maintain adequate traction in either type of Colorado Springs weather.
So your first consideration when buying a tire is where you live in Colorado and where you usually drive. If you require maximum summer and winter performance you can go with dedicated summer and winter tires; you would just need to change out your tires each spring and fall.
For serious winter driving in Colorado, look for tires with a severe snow rating. These tires are labeled with a mountain-and-snowflake logo.
Your second critical consideration is the quality of tire to purchase. Summer, winter and all-season tires come in a variety of grades and styles at Colorado tire stores. Colorado Springs auto owners will want to purchase a tire that will give them good wear and that will handle their driving style and road conditions. Your Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine tire professional can give you auto advice as to which type of tire will best fit your needs.
Colorado Springs motorists who drive off-road around Colorado may want to look at a high-grade tire that is designed for off-road use. These tires are designed to handle the extra wear of off-roading while still giving good performance on Colorado Springs streets and freeways. There are a number of options to choose from so that you can find the right tire whether you are only an occasional off-road explorer or a serious rock climber.
New wheels can be purchased in Colorado Springs as a statement of style or to add personality to your SUV. There are almost unlimited options. If you change the size of the wheels on your SUV, however, you will need to get some professional help to make your vehicle compatible with its new wheels. Talk to your Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine service advisor for more information about tires.
The Right Automotive Fluids For Monument Drivers
All those automotive fluids can be confusing for Monument auto owners. Recent years have brought new grades of engine oil, types of transmission fluid, coolant, and brake fluid. The right fluid protects your vehicle and helps it perform at its best. The wrong fluid won’t work as well for Colorado Springs motorists and could even cause damage.
In addition to new grades of engine oil, many SUVs now leave the factory with synthetic oil. Colorado Springs drivers should always use the grade recommended by their auto manufacturer and type of oil in their engine.
All coolant, also called antifreeze, used to be green. Now there are several other colors of coolant sold at Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine in Colorado Springs. Each type is designed to protect the cooling system components that are particular to your vehicle. The wrong stuff can void your SUV cooling system warranty and could even cause engine damage.
Most passenger vehicles on Colorado Springs roads today use either DOT 3, DOT 4 or DOT 5 brake fluid. Your SUV power brake system is specifically designed to use ONE of these types – you need the right one. Higher numbers do not necessarily mean a higher, upgraded fluid.
Now, the important thing is knowing that your vehicle requires specific grades and types of fluids and that using the right fluids is good and using the wrong ones is bad. Once you’ve got that down, it’s easy to remember to check with your Professional Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine tech or SUV owner’s manual to find out which automotive fluids to use.
Give us a call
Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine
3655 Galley Rd.
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909
Wipe Out! New Wiper Blades For Colorado Springs Drivers
When Colorado Springs motorists talk about vehicle safety, they think of tires and brakes. But do we think about our windshields? Isn’t the ability to see a prime safety factor when it comes to driving around Colorado? Yet we often don’t even notice our windshields until we can’t see through them, or until our wiper blades fail.
It’s estimated that around 46 million people are driving with wipers that won’t keep their windshields clear during a storm — that’s 46 million people with impaired vision during a storm. For safety’s sake, Colorado Springs auto owners need to change the way they think about wiper blades. Most of us, 78% in fact, only change our wiper blades after they fail. In other words, we don’t get new ones until the old ones become a harmful safety hazard. Instead, we Colorado Springs auto owners need to make wiper blades a vital part of our preventive maintenance routine.
Wiper blades should be changed twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. In Colorado areas that experience harsh winter weather, special blades are available that prevent ice and snow from collecting on the wiper. Ask your Professional Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine technician about wiper blades that repel ice and snow.
No matter what blades you use on your vehicle in the winter, don’t expect them to clear the ice and snow from your windshield after your vehicle has been parked for a while. Using your wipers will shred your blades and may even damage your wiper motor. And don’t drive on Colorado Springs roads with a frosted windshield. That’s a serious safety hazard. It can cause accidents, and you could be held liable.
Wiper blades are subjected to harsh conditions in Colorado Springs. They’re out in the Monument sun and in the cold. Over time, they become hard and brittle and lose their flexibility. Then they start to tear. Without flexibility, wipers just can’t clear a windshield of water or snow. And torn wipers can actually scratch your windshield. Then the entire windshield has to be replaced — along with the wiper blades. It’s a prime example of how preventive maintenance could have saved you an expensive repair bill.
Colorado Springs motorists can purchase new wiper blades at an auto service center or at any Colorado Springs auto parts store. They cost about the same. But the auto service center will throw in the installation.
Once you have good wipers installed, don’t forget to top off your windshield washer fluid. If you take your vehicle in for a full-service oil change at Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine in Colorado Springs, your washer fluid will get topped off then. But it’s good auto advice to purchase a jug of washer fluid to keep at home — just in case. And pack it in the car when you go on long trips.
While we’re on the subject, Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine advises Colorado Springs drivers to always fill their washer fluid reservoir with window washer fluid. Don’t ever use water. Water can freeze in the reservoir, which can damage it. It can also freeze onto your windshield. Besides, plain water just can’t get a windshield clean. Think about it. Do you use plain water to clean your bathroom mirrors? And a bathroom mirror doesn’t get exposed to anything near the gunk that can end up on your windshield. Windshield washer fluid was designed to do one thing — to clean windshields. Let it do its important job.
A clean windshield is not just good car care for Colorado Springs motorists — it’s an essential safety feature. Let’s keep it that way.