We feel pretty comfortable breaking this to our valued customers: you may be spending more time and money with your friendly neighborhood Auto Service Mesa professionals than needed.
We aren’t suggesting that Desert Heat Auto or any other Auto Repair Mesa business in the Phoenix metro area is inherently or habitually taking customers for a ride. Far from it. We’re simply aware of a few frequently paid-for services that could probably be minimized or avoided entirely with just the right awareness of a vehicle’s warning signs.
While we may be just fine with living up to our reputation as a trustworthy Auto Repair Mesa facility with every vehicle that enters and exits our bays, part of that trust means helping save Phoenix automobile owners money and providing the resources to help them better understand their cars and trucks.
MIND THE OXYGEN SENSOR
Laying out an average $246.39 might feel like pricey replacement just to address a defect that isn’t necessarily a vehicle-breaking issue. That perception might change upon understanding how an accurate oxygen sensor maintains an automobile’s fuel efficiency throughout its lifespan.
A defective sensor won’t catch oxygen-intake imbalances and appropriately regulate the fuel mixture via the engine’s computer when an excess of gasoline creates too rich a mixture or when the engine isn’t receiving enough.
Don’t take that monitoring function lightly — as much as 40% of your vehicle’s fuel efficiency may be at stake if you keep blindly running with a faulty sensor. In the far worse case scenarios, spark plugs and catalytic converters can malfunction easily and the resulting loss of power can set off a chain reaction that includes a noticeable loss of acceleration. To bring that $246.39 full-circle into perspective, a new catalytic converter alone can run upward of $3,500 based on the various precious metals required in fabrication.
DON’T IGNORE WINDSHIELD DAMAGE
Any auto body or Auto Service Mesa facility will tell you, windshield repairs can be needlessly expensive.
To put a finer point on it, new windshields first become costly when vehicle owners decide to let those seemingly inconsequential star-shaped dings from errant pebbles and the like slide because they don’t immediately impair visibility. Trouble is, those minute blemishes might as well be classified as living things, because the natural expansion and contraction effects of rising and falling temperatures cause them to grow with lives of their own.
The great tragedy of many a shattered windshield is that a great deal of them never have to reach that terminal point. Among all Auto Service Mesa businesses, auto glass repair services are among the most convenient and accommodating, with almost all companies being willing and able to travel to your vehicle and install on the spot. As opposed to shelling out upward of $500 to replace a shattered windshield, the same professional that handled the swap could’ve probably filled in a crack with some reparative epoxy for $100 or less.
STICK WITH FRESH SPARK PLUGS
If your vehicle begins idling roughly, surging or hesitating, swapping out your spark plugs could potentially save you thousands in stiff repair costs for under $500.
When fouled or worn-out plugs don’t ignite the fuel mixture inside your combustion chamber with ideal timing, lost power and acceleration are just the first things to suffer. Drive around long enough for the faulty plugs to eventually blow out, and the raw gas that ends up wastefully pouring into your catalytic converter can lead to failed pollution tests and eventually terminal damage to the converter itself.
Compared with the thousands of dollars it can cost to replace the converter, new plugs and wires should cost about $300 or so.
KEEP TIRES BALANCED
A noticeably less comfortable ride should be your earliest warning sign that your tires need attention before an imbalance sets off an expensive chain reaction of wear and tear.
By the time uneven wear on unbalanced tires wears the set down to the point of making a $400 replacement necessary, the damage to your vehicle may already have reached a severe stage. That awkward “shimmying” ride likely means that the imbalanced tires have already begun wearing down your suspension system’s shocks and struts. By comparison, having your tires balanced and rotated when still in fine working order should cost under $100.
PCV HOSE AND VALVE
This isn’t necessarily something easily diagnosed on the fly the way that an uneven or rocky ride signals unbalanced tires. It is one more good reason to see an Auto Service Mesa center promptly when gas mileage declines, acceleration tapers off, power becomes sluggish, or your vehicle develops a rough idle or begins to stall out entirely.
When the PCV valve can’t properly route escaping gasoline fumes into the combustion system as designed, where burning the fuel cuts off pollution and affords your car the most efficient mileage possible, the build-up of crankcase pressure forces oil through the engine’s seals and gaskets. Trust us, you’re better off paying the $100 to replace the PCV hose and valve than experiencing what happens when that escaping oil pours into your engine and fails to keep vital moving parts lubricated.
Here’s another component that’s relatively inexpensive to replace early on, especially compared with the consequences of putting it off.
A faulty thermostat can’t maintain the balance between keeping the engine hot enough to properly burn fuel and maintain oil flow but cool enough by regulating coolant-flow that it doesn’t over-expand.
Whatever your trusted Auto Service Mesa location of choice quotes you, assume that it’s far less than the cost of your faulty thermostat giving way to cracked heads or blown head gaskets. Either can easily mean the death of your engine.
EVAP VACUUM HOSES
When your vehicle’s engine is engaged, the evaporative emissions system (EVAP, for short) maxes out gas mileage and curtails pollution by gathering escaping gas fumes in a network of hoses that guides them into the intake manifold. When the EVAP vacuum malfunctions and the EVAP can’t burn off the vapors as intended, the engine can begin to stall, hesitate and idle roughly as its gas mileage begins to decrease.
Maintaining your vehicle’s performance is worth paying the average $95.83 replacement cost soon after spotting the red indicator light.
WATCH THE ENGINE COOLANT TEMPERATURE SENSOR
As we mentioned above, any engine’s ideal operation conditions have it maintaining a steady temperature hot enough to burn fuel efficiently but not so hot that it over-expands. A faulty engine coolant temperature sensor means that one-half of components most responsible for maintaining that optimal condition isn’t passing along the data that the power train control module (PCM) needs.
When the sensor goes on the blink, the PCM can’t adapt the combustion chamber’s air-gas composition in proportion to the engine’s internal temperature, precision-time spark plug ignition, moderate the fan, or otherwise keep the engine ticking steady as a clock.
Consequently, when the PCM assumes a cool engine, the unnecessarily enriched fuel mixture overworks the catalytic converter while diminishing gas mileage.
Just pay the $150.62 and preserve your vehicle’s peak performance.
Have some experience — good or bad — with any of the above repairs and their impact on an automobile’s long-term performance? Let us know! Did we miss some underrated and inexpensive repairs that can prolong a vehicle’s life? Feel free to share. Cars are our passion, and we’re always thrilled to chat with our loyal Mesa customers.