Archive for Services

What You Need to Do To Travel Safe in New Mexico

Driving around town to run errands and being out and about in our vehicles is an everyday occurrence. Our weekend road trips and occasional vacations are always a fun and exciting adventure. We don’t really think much about our vehicles as we live our regular lives – right up until the unexpected roadside emergency interferes with our routine or our fun.

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Alamogordo driver in snow ditchThe emergencies that Alamogordo drivers may encounter can range from a flat tire while driving in town to being stranded in a snowy ravine on the way back from a winter drive to Cloudcroft. So, you may want to consider a basic car emergency kit to keep in your vehicle at all times and a travel kit you can tailor for specific trips.

Your close-to-home in Alamogordo kit should have some basic items to work on your car.

Everything You Need in a Basic Car Emergency Kit

Your basic car emergency kit should contain anything you might need in a roadside emergency.

  • a spare tire,
  • car jack,
  • lug wrench,
  • flashlight with working batteries,
  • road flares,
  • reflective triangles,
  • gloves,
  • wheel wedges,
  • can of tire inflator,
  • a couple quarts of oil,
  • antifreeze,
  • extra windshield washer fluid,
  • water,
  • jumper cables or a booster box.

Hand ToolsYour spare tire is usually located under the floor mat in the trunk. You should check it regularly to ensure that it is properly inflated. That way, when you need it, it will perform ideally for you.

The can of tire inflator is a great temporary fix for minor flats. They typically contain a single-use supply of sealant that seals a puncture and then reinflates the tire with pressurized gas. This provides enough pressure to allow the vehicle to be driven for a short period and at a low speed to reach the auto repair shop.

Additionally, you may wish to include some additional basic hand tools to cover other types of unforeseen fixes.

First Aid Kit / Survival Essentials

For comfort and safety during your travels, keep a first aid kit and some basic survival items in your car as well.

Be sure that your first aid kit includes drinkable water – this is especially important in the Tularosa basin desert climate.

Other items to keep stocked in your first aid kit should be a high-calorie food (like energy bars or trail mix), blankets, a towel, hat, extra shoes, and toilet paper.

Be sure to remember your cell phone, emergency cash, credit card, or at least some spare change.

If you are traveling to areas with frequent severe weather advisories, it’s a great idea to increase your provisions to sustain you for a longer period of time.

For road trips away from Alamogordo, consider the weather and the New Mexico geography as you assemble your emergency auto supplies. Take into consideration your source of light, heat, and protection against the elements. Plan to have adequate food and water for everyone in the car.

It’s always a good idea to tell someone where you are going and have a plan for checking in along your way. Then, if you do run into car trouble or a more drastic emergency, your contact can report your demise sooner rather than later and help can be sent on its way. This also aids in any rescue efforts to be able to narrow any potential search area.

The key to safe travel in New Mexico is to keep your vehicle properly maintained, plan ahead, and let others know your itinerary.

Call Tierra del Sol Automotive for assistance in helping you prepare for your travels.


What Everyone Needs to Know About Synthetic Oil

Motor OilSynthetic motor oil has actually been around for a very long time. Furthermore, an increasing amount of brand-new vehicles are leaving manufacturing facilities with synthetic oil in their engines. However, many motorists don’t truly understand much about it.

Conventional oil is the kind of motor oil that most people are familiar with. Conventional oil is comprised of naturally occurring hydrocarbon chains, which implies its molecules are long, as well as made of various lengths. Think of it as being like a pile of pencils, several of them are brand-new, long, and shiny while others are older, have been sharpened, and used.

Synthetic oil is made by humans. Its molecules are a lot more consistent in shape. Synthetic oil is more similar to a pile of marbles than pencils and they tend to roll off one another and have less surface space to share with the surrounding marbles. Some synthetic oil starts with a petroleum base that’s altered, while others are manufactured entirely from various other substances.

Synthetic motor oil works much better in both cold and hot temperatures. It’s even more chemically stable. Synthetic oil does not evaporate and it withstands the high heat produced inside your car engine. This prevents it from becoming sludge, which can kill engines. Synthetic oil is slipperier than traditional oil which equates to less friction in your engine. Your vehicle engine runs cooler, wears much less and lasts much longer.

You also acquire an increase of power and quite possibly better gas mileage. Synthetic oil additionally lasts much longer so you change it much less often. This is great news for the environment. With longer intervals between oil changes though, you may also need an oil filter particularly constructed for the longer lifespan of the man-made oil.

Talk with our friendly and well-informed Tierra Del Sol Automotive service adviser concerning synthetic oil and synthetic blends. It’s very likely they can help you determine the best way for you to your improve engine performance and prolong the life of your vehicle.

Call us today.

Best Practices For Automobile Fluid Levels

If you’ve gone through the auto fluids area of your neighborhood Alamogordo vehicle parts store, you’ll know exactly how frustrating the sheer variety of items offered can be. Exactly how can Alamogordo motorists recognize what’s right for their automobile?

As you understand, these fluids all play a part in making your vehicle run. Your automobile has a particular kind of fluid for every system, from the motor to the cooling system, brake liquid and so on. When you recognize that not every variant is applicable to your car, choosing the right fluids becomes a more workable task.

Initially, let’s talk about why there are a lot of varieties. Starting with motor oil, we see some that match the properties of a certain weight or type of oil with the design needs of the engine. For instance, engines with innovative valve trains commonly require a thinner weight of oil.

Some automobiles originate from the manufacturing facility filled with synthetic oil as well as the suggestion to use it permanently. The sure thing for Alamogordo drivers is to always utilize just what the supplier suggests. The recommended product is what’s been verified to work ideally during function and durability examinations. The suggested oil is also a factor in determining your appropriate oil change interval routine.

A top quality oil has more ingredients that are orchestrated to clean as well as safeguard the engine. They cost a bit much more, however, they are worth their cost and provide additional safeguarding. If you purchase inexpensive oil, you may wish to consider reducing your oil change interval time.

Occasionally liquids are created to meet the specific demands of particular parts of engines. An example would be coolant. Due to the different materials used to build the cooling system, the coolant has to be formulated to protect those parts, which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, from corrosion. We have actually seen unique coolant for General Motors, Volkswagen, Chrysler, as well as others.

The exact same holds true of transmission fluid, and recently, also brake fluid. The really good news is that Tierra Del Sol Automotive in Alamogordo has NAPA Service Assistant databases that reveal the suggested liquids for your car. This takes all the uncertainty out of choosing the correct fluids for your vehicle. If you have some special requirements, like an engine with a lot of miles or if you want boosted efficiency, just ask one of our pleasant service advisors for upgrades or additives that’ll meet your demands while following the maker’s suggestions.

Of course, our technicians will top off your fluids with every full-service oil change. But it’s a great idea to keep some extra fluids available in case you need to top something off yourself or to take with you on a vacation. Ask one of our friendly and knowledgeable service advisors what will work best for your vehicle or examine your owner’s manual for your specific fluid needs.

Give us a call. At Tierra Del Sol Automotive we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

This presentation contains images that were used under a Creative Commons License. See the full list of images and attributions.

What Everyone Needs to Know About Air Filter Service

Air flow, and regularly scheduled air filter service appointments are essential to the overall health of your vehicle. When outside air enters your vehicle’s air intake system, it passes through the engine air filter, the mass air sensor and then into the engine.

Today’s vehicle computer systems control a large percentage of engine function. One such function is how much fuel gets delivered to the engine. Your vehicle’s computer system calculates the amount of fuel that’s needed and when to deliver it based on messages it receives from sensors throughout your vehicle. An important part of that calculation is the proper air and fuel mixture that the air flow sensor captures. The air and fuel mixture is based on the volume temperature and the density of the air. The mass air flow sensor measures the temperature and density elements and reports back to the computer.

How Air Filter Service Keeps Your Vehicle Running Optimally

When your air filter is dirty, dust and other contaminants get through the filter and end up on the mass air flow sensor. The result is that the sensor can become contaminated, thus effecting it’s measurements. Remember, your vehicle’s computer is sending out instructions based on readings from the mass air flow sensor. The instructions received can directly effect your vehicle performance. It can effect your vehicle’s catalytic converter, exhaust emissions, trigger a check engine light, or even prevent your engine from running.

With regular air filter service, the messages the computer receives from your mass air flow sensor makes adjustments to keep your engine performing efficiently.

Why Air Filter Service is Important

Should your mass air flow sensor become contaminated, it may be possible to clean it during an air induction cleaning service. If the sensor has been damaged, it needs to be replaced.

Air filter service appointments to replace the engine air filter regularly is the first line of defense against some pretty expensive repairs.

Air Filters for Air Filter Service

Another air filter issue has to do with the quality of the air filter itself. Filter material from low-lying filters can actually break loose and contaminate the mass air flow sensor.

As a NAPA Auto Care Center, and to help ensure and protect your vehicle from poor air flow effects, Tierra Del Sol Automotive always uses high quality replacement filters when performing and air filter service on your vehicle.

Serpentine Belt Service

Ever wonder exactly what it means when your “Automotive Expert” tells you that your Serpentine Belt needs replacing? Well the answer is very simple. A Serpentine Belt is the belt that connects all the accessories of your car to the engine crankshaft: the heart of the engine. A typical serpentine belt may drive components such as the cooling fan, power steering pump, air conditioner compressor, alternator and in some cases the water pump. When you look under the hood, you will see the belt located behind the radiator [in many car types, but not all] that ties all the accessory components together in synchronous harmony as the engine spins.

Newer belts are constructed mainly of EPDM [ethylene propylene diene M-class rubber] as opposed to older belt construction using neoprene. EPDM constructed belts tend to outlast the older neoprene type by nearly twice the service life of a standard neoprene constructed belt. Neoprene type belts usually last 30,000 to 60,000 miles [at best] while the EPDM constructed belt has been documented to last well over 100,000 miles.

A typical neoprene belt will loose some of it’s tension in as little as 10% of it’s life span. What that relates to in terms we can understand is that in 5,000 to 6,000 miles after replacement, the neoprene belt may begin to loose it’ elasticity and rubber deterioration may begin. Serpentine belts are constantly subjected to hot and cold temperatures which aid in the deterioration process. Symptoms you may experience might be a noticeable squeak or squeal, sometimes referred to as “chirp”.

As the belt further deteriorates, tell-tale signs of problems begin to appear visually. Visual indicators such as “Cracking, Splitting, Glazing, Fraying and/or Pilling” may occur. These are signs requiring attention, which your “Technician” may advise you of when you have routine maintenance performed on your vehicle. Regularly scheduled maintenance is necessary in order to identify problems before they might otherwise occur.

So what’s the big deal about purchasing a really inexpensive “budget” friendly belt instead of the $85.00 [or more] premium manufactured belt that your “Auto Repair Facility” may be suggesting you purchase? Well. the answer may surprise you! Believe it or not, we recommend premium manufactured belts because, quite honestly, we want to save you money, time and provide you the safest belt for your vehicle.We recommend this because when you leave our shop, we want your piece-of-mind knowing that we have provided you with a quality product, professionally installed. Further more, we don’t want you returning to our shop 6,000 to 12,000 miles later with the same issue. Our technicians have plenty of work and to have you come back for a similar repair in such a short period of time creates unnecessary work for them and, frankly, gives our facility a less than desirable reputation.

We work with supply warehouses from across the country. Years of training and experience allow us to choose quality parts for your vehicle. We know which parts are quality made and, likewise, know which of them are problematic. If I sell you an inexpensive, low quality part, you will forever remember the “junk” part/s we sold you and our reputation will be jeopardized.

Safety is of highest consideration when we choose quality parts for your vehicle. We have no clue as to how or where that vehicle will be driven when it leaves our repair facility. For some people, it may be just across town. For others, it may be deep in the back forty! How happy with us would you be if your were 50 miles deep in desert country, off-road with no help for the same amount of miles and your serpentine belt was to fail? One of it’s many duties, such as spinning your water pump, would no longer occur, possibly creating a catastrophic over-heat situation where potential damage may have  begun or already occurred? Not only are you without a functioning vehicle, but you are also stranded in country that is less than ideal to spend an overnight, or worse, several days. Needless to say, you will have less than kind words for me, should you return safely. With that scenario in mind, we ALWAYS install quality lasting parts in your vehicle. There is no compromise when it comes to safety.

Our reputation is established by you, our customer, and we strive to provide top-notch service and sell you quality parts. Please stop by and say “Hello” to us anytime. We are a shop with the highest principals and we believe, you too, will like our courteous and friendly employees. We’d love to hear about your experience at Tierra Del Sol and invite you to leave honest feed-back, either in person, on the phone of via this website.