TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring For Your Berthoud Auto

Berthoud drivers may know that all 2008 model year and newer cars, mini-vans and light trucks in Berthoud come with a tire pressure monitoring system. Many slightly older vehicles around Ft. Collins have these systems as well. A tire pressure monitoring system – called TPMS – consists of sensors on each wheel that measure tire pressure.

If tire pressure drops 25 percent below the car maker’s recommended pressure, the sensor sends a signal to a monitoring unit that causes a warning to light up on the dashboard. When Ft. Collins drivers see the warning light, they know it’s time to put some air in the tires.

There are many benefits to Berthoud auto owners who drive with properly inflated tires around Berthoud. First is cost savings. Running at the correct air pressure improves fuel economy. Driving on under-inflated tires is like driving through sand – it drags down your fuel economy. Berthoud drivers will also see longer, more even tread wear so your tires’ll last longer.

Another important benefit of properly inflated tires is increased safety for Berthoud motorists. Under-inflated tires become hotter and that heat can actually lead to tire failure – possibly resulting in an accident. Your car and the tires themselves will just perform better and more safely around Berthoud with properly inflated tires.

Local Berthoud consumer groups, law-makers and auto makers advocate TPMS systems hoping that they will save lives, property damage and inconvenience. While you can’t put a value on saving a life, Berthoud motorists should keep in mind that TPMS systems aren’t free.

The systems themselves are added into the price of the car. The batteries in the sensors will have to be replaced from time to time. Parts will break and need to be replaced. In colder climates around Colorado, ice and salt are frequent causes of failure.

In addition, there are other behind-the-scenes costs we want Berthoud car owners to be aware of. Every time a tire is replaced, repaired, rotated or balanced, the tire technician has to deal with the TPMS system.

Berthoud service centers such as B-Town Automotive must purchase expensive equipment used to scan and reactivate the TPMS system after every tire service. Because older tire change equipment can damage TPMS sensors, your Ft. Collins service center may need to buy expensive, new tire changers.

Since there is no uniformity among auto makers, techs need to be trained on several TPMS systems. These behind-the-scenes costs are very real to Berthoud service center managers like Jim Fate at B-Town Automotive.

That’s why the team at B-Town Automotive is anxious for Ft. Collins drivers to understand the critical financial impact of TPMS systems. In the past, we’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide tire services to auto owners, and then pass the low cost on to Ft. Collins customers as an expression of our good will. But now even these simple jobs take much longer and require pricey equipment.

Sensors will need to be removed and reinstalled. Even a tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed.

So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up in Colorado, please keep in mind that it’s because of this critical new safety equipment. The team at B-Town Automotive just wants to keep you safely on the road – and we’re committed to doing it at a fair price.

It’s essential to remember that the TPMS warning only comes on when a tire is severely under-inflated. You’ll still want to check your tire pressure regularly. At every fill-up is best, but you should check pressure at least once a month. Here’s wishing you safe travels.

Contact B-Town Automotive for more essential information about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems.

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What’s Up With Diesels in Berthoud?

Would you be surprised to learn that about half of the passenger cars in Europe have diesel engines? You might also be surprised to learn that most vehicle manufacturers produce a variety of diesel-fueled cars for purchase abroad.

Diesel-fueled vehicles haven’t been as popular in the North American markets like Colorado. But that won’t be true for long. North Americans are seeing a lot more diesel-fueled vehicles on the road. And we’re not talking about buses and trucks. These vehicles will be passenger cars, pick-ups and SUV’s.

There are two reasons for this. The first is a recent change in environmental laws that have upgraded emissions standards for diesel fuel in North America. Diesel fuel in North America used to have higher sulfur content than European fuel, meaning that it was a dirtier fuel to burn. That was okay for larger vehicles, but the lighter-weight engines in passenger vehicles just couldn’t tolerate it.

But that high sulfur content is now a thing of the past. Fuel producers are now required to sell cleaner diesel fuel in Berthoud. That opens the North American market to more diesel-powered vehicles. The second reason we’re going to see more of these vehicles in Berthoud is that they’re more fuel-efficient than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Diesel fuel has higher energy density than gasoline. That translates to more power per barrel of fuel. In your tank, that translates to better engine performance and about 20% more miles per gallon.

Berthoud auto owners may associate diesel engines with black smoke, noise and a definite “shake, rattle and roll.” That’s also a thing of the past. Modern diesel engines are smooth and quiet and produce cleaner emissions than gasoline engines. Also, forget that three-second wait behind a diesel vehicle at a stoplight. Modern diesels are just as quick to accelerate as other vehicles on Berthoud roads.

Diesel engines have other advantages over gasoline engines. Diesel engines are heavier than gasoline engines because they require more heavy-duty parts, but that means the engines are more durable and can last longer than gasoline engines. Also, diesel engines may be the engines of the future since they can burn many of the new bio-fuels.

Bio-diesel can be manufactured from vegetable oils, including used cooking oil from Berthoud restaurants. Just think, one day you could fuel your vehicle on stuff that was once considered waste—one step closer to a cleaner environment here in Colorado. And if you think hybrid cars are environmentally sound, consider what a diesel-electric hybrid could mean. They will soon be available for
Berthoud auto owners.

Berthoud drivers who are considering buying a diesel-fueled vehicle, should know that important preventive maintenance and inspection schedules are different for a diesel engine than a gasoline engine. Diesel fuel is harder on emissions systems than gasoline, so the filters and other devices have to be changed and checked more often. Also, the fuel injection system operates at much higher pressures for diesel than for gasoline, so keeping it clean becomes a higher priority.

When you switch from a gas vehicle to a diesel, you’ll have to learn some new rules of car care. But you won’t be alone. Most
Berthoud service centers are aware that diesels are coming to North America and are already prepared to provide service for diesel engines. At B-Town Automotive, we are well-versed in diesel technology. You can rely on our team of automotive professionals to provide quality service for diesel powered vehicles.

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Hey Berthoud Drivers; What Is The Most Distracting Food?

So what is the most distracting food to have in the car while driving around Berthoud?

Is it:

  1. A Hamburger;
  2. Coffee;
  3. A Soft Drink, or
  4. Gummy Bears?

Well, you may be surprised to learn that all but the gummy bears are in the top ten most distracting foods when you are driving, but if you chose ‘coffee’, then give yourself an extra two points; coffee is the number one food distraction for drivers in Berthoud and around the country.

Food distractions cause 25 percent of all car accidents; over a million and a half each year!

You’ll notice that all of the top ten distracting food items are messy. Messy foods are the type of food you might spill (very distracting!), then try to clean up (a safe-driving impossibility!). If you gotta eat on the run, take five-then drive. You’ll thank yourself later for two reasons, one being that you can actually relax for just a moment in our fast-paced world, and the other is that you won’t have to worry about getting that cinnamon roll frosting out of your dashboard after that near miss.

Keep drinks in spill-proof containers, too, so you can keep your eyes on the Berthoud road without worrying about where that spill is headed.

So; taking a food break… Or filling out accident reports. We don’t have to ask you which you prefer: It’s a no brainer.

B-Town Automotive, along with AutoNetTV, wants you to keep both eyes on the road. Please eat safely and keep your eyes on the road.

B-Town Automotive
912 2nd Street, Unit A
Berthoud, Colorado 80513
Give us a call at: 970-532-2009

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Keep Your Tires Well Rounded in Berthoud: Tire Rotation and Wheel Balancing at B-Town Automotive

Taking care of our tires is an important part of car care for Berthoud drivers. We know they have to be replaced when they wear out, but tires also require some important preventive maintenance. This maintenance will improve fuel economy and extend the life of the tires, so it’s well worth the effort and expense for Berthoud motorists to get it done. Tire maintenance includes keeping tires properly inflated, rotating tires and balancing wheels.

The recommended tire pressure for a vehicle’s tires is printed on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s side doorjamb. A lot of engineering goes into calculating the correct pressure, so it’s an essential number for Berthoud drivers to know. Not following this recommendation can throw off the suspension system and can lead to pricey tire damage. Underinflated tires wear out more quickly than properly inflated tires. Vehicles also get better traction, handling and fuel economy on properly inflated tires. Check your tire pressure at least once a week and add air if necessary.

Don’t be tempted to add a bit of extra air to your tires when you fill them. Overinflated tires will cause the center tread to wear unevenly because of improper contact with the road. It will also diminish the handling performance of your vehicle.

Rotating tires allows all four tires on a vehicle to wear evenly. Front tires get more wear than rear tires because they do most of the work on turns. Tire rotation allows all of the tires to spend time on the front of the car so they all experience the extra wear.

For most vehicles, tire rotation is simply a matter of moving the front tires to the rear and vice versa. Some vehicles, however, recommend a cross-rotational pattern. Other vehicles use asymmetrical tires, which means the right tires have to stay on the right side of the car and the left tires on the left. Some vehicles use differently sized wheels on the front and back of the car and should not have their tires rotated.

What kind of rotation do you need? Check your owner’s manual or talk to your trustworthy B-Town Automotive tech. Your owner’s manual will have information about how to rotate your vehicle’s tires as well as letting you know how often you should get it done. For most vehicles, that’s usually every 5,000 miles. Your trustworthy B-Town Automotive technician can also offer auto advice about tire rotation. A quick tire inspection can also indicate whether or not your tires are due to be rotated.

When it comes to tire maintenance for Berthoud motorists, wheel balancing is usually what we know least about. Balancing a wheel is necessary to keep it in constant contact with the road. If a tire is not balanced properly, it actually hops along the roadway. You can feel this hopping as a vibration in your steering wheel if the unbalanced tire is a front tire. You’ll feel the vibration through your seat if a rear tire is unbalance. Properly balancing your tires is essential and will extend their life span, improve handling and improve the safety of your vehicle. When you replace your tires, the new tires need to be balanced.

Never use different sized tires on the same axle of a vehicle. In other words, your front tires need to be the same size and your rear tires need to be the same size. Mixing sizes can lead to some serious handling problems for Berthoud auto owners.

If you have an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle all four tires need to be the same size. If your tires are wearing out, you can sometimes make a new tire purchase fit within your budget by only buying two tires at a time. When you do this, the new tires should be installed on the rear of the vehicle. Rear tires are more in need of the traction than your front tires to avoid spinning out on slippery surfaces. If you drive a vehicle around Ft. Collins, you need tires, so Berthoud motorists need to know how to care for them. The safety of your SUV can depend on the condition of your tires.

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All About Your TPMS In Berthoud

Berthoud car owners know that under-inflated tires wear out more quickly. Under-inflation is also a major cause of tire failure for Colorado auto owners. More flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances are all results of under-inflated tires.

It’s hard for many Berthoud drivers to tell when a radial tire is under-inflated. If your vehicle manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your tire is considered significantly under-inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

Uncle Sam to the rescue! A recent federal law required manufacturers to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System – or TPMS system – in all vehicles. The system is a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25 % below the automobile manufacturer’s pressure recommendations.

The law covers all passenger cars, SUVs, mini vans and pick-up trucks. The system must also indicate if it has a malfunction. This technology has been used in race cars for years. They are able to head off problems from under-inflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It’s up to your car’s auto maker to determine which of many TPMS systems available they use to comply with the law.

Obviously, all of this doesn’t come free for Berthoud car owners. Government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases. The net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100.

The costs are partially offset by savings in fuel and tread wear. There is also a saving in property damage and travel delay. Also, the government predicts fewer fatal accidents. They estimate there will be between $3,000,000 to $9,000,000 for every life saved.

Your safety is our priority at B-Town Automotive. We want you on the road and accident free. We’ve traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes to Berthoud motorists at a very low cost. We’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service, and we pass the low cost on to our valued Berthoud clients as an expression of our good will. That’s why we’re concerned about how you perceive the changes that this new law has required.

Every time a tire is changed: taken off to fix a flat, a new tire installed, or a snow tire mounted, the service specialist now has to deal with the TPMS system. Sensors need to be removed and reinstalled. The sensors have to be reactivated after the change. And, unfortunately, the very act of changing the tire damages some sensor parts from time to time – it’s inevitable and can’t be avoided.

Even a simple tire rotation requires that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system needs to be reprogrammed. TPMS sensor batteries must be replaced periodically along with failed parts.

Berthoud service centers have purchased new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and updated expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems.

Colorado service professionals have been trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to the service center to perform what was once a very inexpensive service. So if you’ve noticed the cost of flat repairs, tire changes, and rotations going up, please keep in mind that it’s because of government mandated safety equipment. Your Berthoud service center just wants to keep you safely on the road – and it’s committed to do so at a fair price. Rememer, this change will help you avoid the most common vehicle failure, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

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The B-Town Automotive Guide for Berthoud Drivers: Brake Noise

Your brake pads are the essential parts that rub against the rotor (or disc) to slow and stop your auto. They eventually wear down.

When your pads are worn too much, they won’t stop your vehicle as well. When the friction material is worn away, metal parts of the pad are exposed and you’ll hear a squeal or grinding sound.

That’s when Berthoud auto owners should replace their brake pads. Not only will new pads restore your stopping power, but replacing them on time will prevent damage to the rotor.

If your brakes are making noise, ask your B-Town Automotive technician to inspect your brakes. Addressing issues early will restore your safety and prevent expensive brake damage.

Give us a call

B-Town Automotive
970-532-2009
912 2nd Street, Unit A
Berthoud, Colorado 80513

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Gear Up: Transmission Service at B-Town Automotive in Berthoud

The transmission system in your vehicle allows you to change gears. Lower gears are power gears. They get your vehicle moving and get it up hills. Higher gears get the vehicle up to speed and get it rolling faster. If you have a standard transmission, then you have to do the work of shifting gears yourself. But with an automatic transmission, the vehicle shifts gears on its own. It automatically starts out in low gear and automatically shifts to high gears as it gets rolling. Again, it will automatically shift to a lower gear to climb hills or when you need a burst of speed.

How does it know when to change gears? Today’s automatic transmissions are computer-controlled. The computer gathers information about what the vehicle is doing, and changes the gears as needed.

Automatic transmissions are becoming more sophisticated all the time. More gears, or “speeds” are being added. Almost all vehicles have four at least speeds. Five or six is common. Some auto manufacturers are even increasing to seven or eight – up to ten. Adding gears has a lot of advantages for Berthoud car owners: it improves MPG and increases performance.

But there is a drawback for Berthoud auto owners: more gears equals more parts and a more complex transmission system. Plus, all those parts need to fit into the same space as older, less complex transmissions. This means that today’s transmissions are engineered to much tighter tolerances. In other words, they demand meticulous care from Berthoud drivers. Transmissions are designed for durability. But that durability can be compromised if they aren’t given proper care.

That’s why changing transmission fluid is such an important part of preventive maintenance for Berthoud car owners. Transmission fluid lubricates the transmission and keeps it in good working order. But if the fluid runs low, transmission parts will wear out quickly or suffer expensive damage due to increased friction. The transmission can even fail.

Dirty transmission fluid can clog the small passageways in the transmission, blocking lubricant from reaching all of its parts. Again, this can lead to increased wear, damage or failure.

New transmissions aren’t cheap. Repairing them isn’t cheap either. But changing transmission fluid is fairly inexpensive for Berthoud car owners at B-Town Automotive. That’s why responsible car care includes maintenance on the transmission system at B-Town Automotive. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that periodic fluid changes aren’t just good auto advice, they actually pay for themselves by preventing pricey transmission repairs.

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Deep Clean Your Fuel System At B-Town Automotive

Having trouble with your fuel system? Bring your SUV into B-Town Automotive for a check up.

912 2nd Street, Unit A
Berthoud, Colorado 80513
970-532-2009

In today’s B-Town Automotive auto post, we’re talking about fuel system cleaning. The first thing to know is how essential it is to have a clean fuel system. Berthoud motorists need fuel to go, and the cleaner the fuel system, the more efficiently the fuel will burn. That means more power and better gas mileage.

A clean fuel system saves money for Berthoud motorists at Colorado gas stations. We guess you could say, it all starts and ends at the pump. One of the most important things Berthoud drivers can do to keep their SUV fuel system clean is to buy good quality gas. Major brands have detergents that keep gum and varnish from rapidly building up in the fuel system.

So buying cheaper gas in Colorado can actually be more costly for Berthoud motorists in the long run. Now, most cars on Colorado expressways are more than five or six years old. That means they’ve had time for some dirt and rust to start accumulating in the fuel tank. This junk needs to be filtered out of the fuel before it hits your SUV engine. That’s the fuel filter’s job.

When the fuel filter is clogged, the dirty fuel will bypass the filter and go on up to the engine where it can clog fuel injectors and get into the cylinders. That could be dangerous. So Berthoud car owners should have their fuel filter changed when recommended. Check your owner’s manual or ask your trustworthy B-Town Automotive technician if your fuel filter is due for replacement.

The fuel then goes up into the throttle body. This is another area where varnish and gum can accumulate. A professional fuel system cleaning at B-Town Automotive in Berthoud will use a combination of special cleaning chemicals and old fashioned swabbing to clean out the throttle body. Now, the fuel injectors are the last stop in the fuel delivery system.

It’s essential for Berthoud car owners to keep those fuel injectors clean. The fuel injectors need to deliver a precise amount of fuel, at exactly the right time, in a particular spray pattern. They just can’t do that if they’re dirty. Dirty fuel injectors really rob power and hurt fuel efficiency.

It is important for the fuel system proper, but there are a couple other things that will help keep your SUV engine clean as well. Of course, air is mixed with the fuel before it’s burned. Dirty air means dirt gets into your engine, so you need to replace your engine air filter when it’s dirty.

The PCV value routes unburned fuel that escapes into the lower engine back up into the intake system to be burned. A sticky PCV valve needs to be replaced at B-Town Automotive to make sure that system is working properly for Berthoud car owners and the breather filter needs to be replaced if it’s dirty as well.

Do all these things and your SUV engine’s air and fuel will be as clean as possible. You’ll get much better fuel efficiency and better power.

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B-Town Automotive Car Care Advice for Berthoud Motorists: Signs of An Alignment Problem

When properly aligned, all of your wheels are pointed in the same direction. Your vehicle will track true and handle the way it is designed. Ft. Collins auto owners often associate our wheels being “knocked” out of alignment with an event like an accident, hitting a pothole, curb or some other object.

While these can certainly take your wheels out of alignment, the bumps and bounces of everyday Berthoud driving take their toll on wheel alignment as well.

Additionally, your car  can lose alignment over time with just normal driving. When your wheels are out of alignment, B-Town Automotive in Berthoud can return your wheels to the auto manufacturer factory settings. Most owners’ manuals suggest an alignment check every year or two. 

Give us a call

B-Town Automotive
970-532-2009
912 2nd Street, Unit A
Berthoud, Colorado 80513

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Your Vehicle is NOT Maintenance Free, Berthoud Car Owners

A generation ago, Berthoud auto owners seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle’s preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Having your SUV in to your Berthoud shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.

For example, almost everyone in Berthoud used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the SUV was in for a tune-up at B-Town Automotive, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.

Today’s engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our SUVs don’t experience a huge performance drop when they’re ready for some car care. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.

Modern Berthoud drivers need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner’s manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, your Berthoud service center can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At B-Town Automotive in Berthoud, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you’ll get better engine performance and MPG. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”

Modern SUV engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they’re more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of important parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the SUV isn’t driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your car on the road.

As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your SUV engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and actually damage the SUV engine parts it was designed to protect. It can actually eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this costly damage, and it’s a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.

Timely oil changes are more critical for Berthoud motorists than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to critical engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.

One word of warning to anyone in Ft. Collins who purchases used automobiles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. Berthoud folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don’t want to be bothered with maintenance or car care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.

Berthoud car owners can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better fuel efficiency, and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.

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