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How do I best prepare my vehicle for fall?

There are two important parts of your vehicle to check as leaves fall and temperatures drop. Gary Jaffarian prepares you for fall driving including trips to fairs, local events and leaf peeping.

brake rotorsFall appears to be here and there are two important parts of your vehicle to make sure are ready for the colder temperatures: In last week’s Ask Gary Blog we wrote about the importance of ensuring your brakes are in good working order to prevent hydroplaning. If you missed that blog, I suggest you check it out, as the fall can be tricky for driving on wet leaves. You can learn more about brakes on our web site.

uneven tire wearThe second key part of your vehicle to check out now is your tires. Now is the time to check for wear and tear so you are safe and confident that your tires are in good shape for fall and winter driving. So how do you know if you need new tires?

 

1. Watch our Jaffarian video on our You Tube Channel to help you with an easy tip to check your tire treads.

2. Are you hearing a thumping noise as you drive?
Often that sound indicates an uneven wear and the tires may need to be replaced.

3. If you are unsure, bring your vehicle to a reputable service department to have them checked. At Jaffarian, we assess all critical elements of your vehicle as part of our complementary services to provide you a report of the status of your tires. Ask for that information so you can make an informed decision as to whether or not you need to replace tires. Remember, it is recommended you replace two tires together in the rear according to Popular Mechanics, rear tires provide stability, and without stability, steering or braking on a wet or even damp surface might cause a spin, unless your mechanic recommends changing a front and rear on the same side due to uneven wear. They may also rotate the tires or suggest an alignment. Tires are so important — but they are often taken for granted or misunderstood for their importance as part of the vehicle’s safety system.

If you need tires, how do you make an informed decision of the best tire for your vehicle and where you go to buy the tires?

First, it’s very important that you “compare apples to apples.” This is more thanapples-to-apples comparing only the brand name. It is important you compare the actual same tire. Some places offer a brand name tire but the actual model is of lesser quality. Do your homework before you make a decision. Remember, your safety and the safety of others is literally riding on your tires!

Some of you may have seen the news story of tire warehouses selling tires that had old expiration dates. Not all tires are created equal. It is truly a product where you get what you pay for. If you are unsure, check your owner’s manual and speak to a service advisor whom you trust.

tiresale_event_360At Jaffarian, we have a large tire department and are here to help you make an informed decision to get you the tires that are best for your vehicle, your driving needs and your budget. For Scion and Toyota owners, now is the time to buy as we are offering buy 3 tires and get the 4th tire for only a $1! For your peace of mind and safety, have your tires checked. Make an appointment or come by the Jaffarian Service Department. And be sure to check out our online coupon specials including brakes, an alignment, fall services and the Toyota tire special of buy 3 tires, and get the 4th for $1 at Jaffarian!

We are committed to protecting your wallet and your safety. Enjoy fall driving!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

 

 

 

Gary Jaffarian

What do I do to replace a lost key and how do I know it will only work on my car?

Volvo keyGary Jaffarian explains how most keys can be replaced the same day or next and what owners need to know to safely replace a key.

The Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Parts Department can order a key for you and get it the next day, however, some can be made the same day, depending on year, make and model. Out of curiosity, I did a web search on replacement keys and there are hundreds of places to order from. Why not just buy your replacement key online? Certain keys are on a different radio frequency and cannot be programmed for your vehicle. People also sell dead keys online that cannot be programmed.

Keys for vehicles manufactured before 2001 have no vehicle engine immbolizer, which is your vehicle’s security device, and do not need to be programmed. Keys made for vehicles from 2001 and newer need to be programmed and that works in accordance with your VIN (vehicle identification number) and engine immobilizer. I wouldn’t suggest giving out a VIN number on line. You run the risk of being hacked. YouTube also doesn’t provide the answer. While the online services claim to be less costly than the dealership, they also come with risks in terms of ability to program.

To protect our customers’ security when requesting a replacement key, we ask for name, address, VIN number, year, make and model. Even if you cannot get into the vehicle, the VIN is generally visible from the outside driver’s side dashboard. It may also be located on a rear wheel well or the front of the engine block, or on the frame of the car between the carburetor and windshield washer. You can also call your insurance company to get the VIN.

Types of Keys:

Traditional key—They are usually found in use for vehicles prior to 2001 and before 1981. They can simply be cut from a standard key blank like a house key.

Encoded key—These contain a programmed chip and must be programmed properly to work.

Smart key—It is a programmable device that allows the owner to open the door with a key and start the engine with a button.

Detached key fobs—This is a separate device from the key that starts the engine. It can unlock the doors and control the vehicle’s alarm.

Jaffarian Parts Department to the Rescue!

I was so happy to hear this story from my Parts Department personnel. A senior was at the market and discovered her keys were missing. No one turned them in, and she was frantic. She called us up and was so upset that the Parts Department employee tried toSenior Woman calm her. He asked for all her information, and while she hardly sounded like a criminal, he still asked for all the pertinent information for her own security. They were able to cut and program the key immediately and bring it to the market. She was so grateful that she sent me a beautiful letter complimenting the Parts Department staff for their immediate response and concern!

Let us know if we can help. Our Parts Department is open Monday-Saturday and ready to serve!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

 

 

 

Gary Jaffarian

How do I remove bugs, sap and bird droppings from my shiny, new car?

child wash carGary Jaffarian presents his best tips on how to remove these summer “evils” of sap, bugs and bird droppings from your vehicle’s exterior—if you prefer to do it yourself—rather than treating your vehicle to the Jaffarian Auto Spa.

We usually think of winter as being the toughest season for taking care of our vehicles—but you’re right that summer has its own challenges. The biggest challenge with bugs, bird droppings and sap is that they really stick to the vehicle’s exterior like a sap on windshieldmagnet. Washing them off is much more tricky than your everyday dirt and road debris.

Whenever possible, try to remove these pesky forms of debris as soon as they happen before they dry up. If you have a garage, use it in the summer too as it protects your vehicle from such items as well as limits harmful UV rays that damage the exterior paint. .

Here are the best tips to cleaning your vehicle’s exterior:

1. Soak the bugs, sap or droppings area with a hose. Ideally wash your vehicle in the shade. Don’t blast your car with a high-pressure setting on the hose or a pressure washing nozzle, as this could damage the paint. Soak the troublesome spots thoroughly,man wash car then rinse off the debris. You may need to repeat the process. Apply a generous amount of car wash soap. Combine one part soap with three parts water in a large bucket until it’s sudsy. Dip a soft sponge or absorbent cloth into the soap solution and spread it across the car’s exterior. Preferably use a specialty car wash product, not household soaps or cleaners (Ivory soap is ok). Household soaps may contain ingredients that can damage your vehicle’s paint. It’s a good idea to go ahead and wash your whole car, just in case there are a few spots you’ve missed.

2. Scrub away the sticky gunky debris. Use smooth circular motions on the most difficult part of the mess. Keep wetting the sponge as needed and continue scrubbing until your exterior is spotless. Make sure to check for insects in less noticeable areas, like the grill, headlights, mirrors and the base of the windshield. Baking soda is safe andBugs on Toyota mixed with water can be a good paste to take off bugs and gunk. WD-40 or other oil-based removers are alternate ways to remove sticky gunk. It can also reduce the appearance of scratches in a car’s paint. You may want to purchase a special product for bug and tar removal.

3. Clean the wheels and covers. Use a separate cloth or sponge to clean your wheels and purchase a spray cleaner special for the wheel covers. Be careful not to transfer substances like sand, brake fluid and grease from your wheels to your vehicle’s exterior.

4. Clean the windows carefully with a razor blade or box cutter if sap is stuck to the windows and did not come off easily with soap and water.man-washing-car-windshield-scrubbing-sponge-glass

5. Rinse and dry your vehicle. Once you’ve washed your vehicle, spray it off with the hose to remove any remaining traces of soap or debris. Wipe water off with a microfiber towel or squeegee, then let the vehicle air dry. Don’t skip the final wipe down—especially if your town has hard water, it can leave behind stains that can permanently damage the paint.

6. Wax your vehicle. If you’re really ambitious, wax your vehicle every 2-3 months.

While it requires a lot of time, patience and products to remove these tricky substances from your vehicle, there is a simpler way—bring it to the Jaffarian Auto Spa—and treat your vehicle and yourself to a vehicle that looks like new inside and out! We even have coupon specials online for detail packages.

Enjoy this last month of summer!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

 

 

 

Gary Jaffarian

Do I need to do anything special to prepare for long summer drives?

car overheatingGary Jaffarian explains how to prepare your vehicle with maintenance checks and preparation for comfortable summer driving.

To get ready for summer, Gary Jaffarian recommends you check the following 6 items and carefully choose where you park your vehicle:

1. A/C System—For comfort, the most important aspect of your vehicle is the air-conditioner system. There is nothing worse than a summer drive or being stuck in traffic and the air conditioner system doesn’t work. Now is the time to test your system before it gets too hot. The most common cause of a malfunctioning air conditioner unit is a low level of refrigerant. This could be caused by a leak, loose drive belt or a clogged condenser somewhere in the system. Since modern A/C systems are complicated creatures, it’s best to have a professional check out the problem. Despite what many people think, driving with your air conditioner on is more fuel-efficient than driving with your windows open.

2. Tire Treads—I discuss tires a great deal, I realize, but they are a key to your safety system, and you can prevent a flat or an accident with the proper checks. At Jaffarian Volvo Toyota, we check the tread on your tires at every service visit, including oil changes. Poor tire treads adversely affect your ability to stop within short distances and impair maneuverability, especially on wet roads.

3. Rotate your tires— and be sure to frequently check air pressure. Big temperature swings— such as from the extreme daytime heat to the relative cool overnight— can cause your tires to lose pressure more quickly. This can lead to inferior performance and coolant leaksreduced gas mileage. Be sure to regularly rotate your tires for optimal tire wear. This is something we can do at your service visits .

4. Engine coolant— It may be necessary to add coolant or perform a flush-and-fill. Summer’s heat makes it more difficult for your engine to keep its cool. Make sure your coolant is at the appropriate level.

5. Water Pump— This circulates coolant throughout the engine to prevent overheating. It’s prone to leaks, tears and leaky seals, so this should be checked in summer also.

6. Belts and Hoses—Those need to be checked for evidence of damage (such as cracks, fraying, leakage or swelling). The heat and humidity of summer will only make these conditions worse and may be the cause of a breakdown.

Park in the shade—(or your garage) to preserve the exterior paint and to protect your vehicle’s interior from potential damage caused by the extreme heat in a closed-up vehicle. Where possible, don’t park under trees. Sap from trees is difficult to remove and tree cover can increase the amount of pollen or bugs on the vehicle. If your vehicle needs a professional wash, try our Jaffarian Auto Spa. There are a lot of specials on our website for detailing and service.

For your convenience, we have an online scheduler; a shuttle van for a trip home or to the office while we’re working on your vehicle; or a comfortable waiting room with WI-FI, TV and free coffee. If parts are needed, we have thousands of Toyota and Volvo parts in stock in our Parts Department, so that means we will get you in and on your way faster. We also sell parts to the “do-it-yourselfers.”

Enjoy the beautiful summer weather forecasted for this weekend! Plan a fun summer drive!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

 

 

 

Gary Jaffarian

How do I replace my windshield wipers and fill the windshield fluid?

Gary Jaffarian will give you a quick lesson on how to replace your windshield wipers and fill your windshield washer fluid and where to go for help.
help-on-windshieldNot having good visibility when driving is  an emergency situation. You want to avoid such situations whenever possible.  With regularly scheduled maintenance (highly recommended), you can have your wiper blades inspected to know in advance if they need to be replaced.
To replace windshield wipers, consult your owner’s manual to confirm the correct wiper blades for your vehicle. You can buy replacement wiper blades at an auto parts store, large retail department store, or Jaffarian Parts Department.
How to change windshield wiper blades:change-blade-demo
• To remove the old wiper, lift the wiper arm away from the windshield and depress the small tab on the underside of the wiper where it meets the wiper arm. When the tab is depressed, slide the wiper blade off the arm by pulling downward.
• To attach the new wiper blade, pull the wiper blade tight onto the arm. You will hear a clicking sound when it locks into place. Simply lower the arm slowly back onto the windshield.
• Test the wipers after installation to be sure they are functioning properly.
How to add windshield washer fluid:
• Open the hood. if you have a new vehicle or infrequently open the hood, be sure you know how to open it from the inside lever as well as the outside lever. Sounds basic, but in the dark you will be glad you are confident knowing how to open the hood.washer-fluid-reservoir
• Find the windshield wiper fluid tank. It’s usually in the front corner of the vehicle and the tank is usually an opaque plastic reservoir with a cap that’s at least an inch and a half wide. The cap usually has a symbol of a windshield, a windshield and wipers, or a spray of water. Remove the cap.
• Fill the tank with replacement windshield wiper fluid until it is near the top. Replace the cap tightly.
• I recommend you keep additional windshield washer in your vehicle this time of year.
removing blade pin.jpgIf you keep up with your oil changes, or other routine maintenance, the service technician will check all fluids. At Jaffarian Volvo Toyota, we’re happy to take care of these things for you. Book an appointment online or stop by our Jaffarian Service Department Monday through Saturday if you’d like to learn how to perform any of these functions, or even better, have us do them for you.
Stay safe on the roads and we look forward to helping you or answering any HOW DO I questions you may have.
Ask Gary Jaffarian
Gary Jaffarian

ASK GARY: How Should I Maintain My Headlights?

October is National Headlight Safety Month, and one of the best ways to prepare for the highly unpredictable New England weather is to properly maintain your vehicle’s headlights. It is also one of the easiest ways to stay safe on the road by being able to see and be seen by incoming traffic.

Headlights are one of the most easily overlooked and underappreciated elements of vehicular safety. Most drivers only think about their headlights once they burn out, and while this does not affect the overall performance of the car, this attitude can negatively impact you as the driver.

Studies show that 90% of a driver’s reaction time depends on vision, with proper illumination being crucial to awareness. 49% of accidents occur at night (a startling number given that most driving occurs during the day), with the most dangerous time being the hours between 6 PM and 9 PM. Very often, people fail to notice one of their lights is out –a dangerous and fineable offense. One of my favorite maintenance tricks is to check your vehicle’s reflection when waiting behind someone at a stop to make you can see both lights against his or her bumper. Since lights don’t burn out very often, you only need to remember to do this once or twice a month.

For the astute driver who notices his or her headlights seem dimmer than before, a headlight restoration kit should be used before any plans to replace the bulbs themselves. The casing for the headlights can get steadily caked with dirt, and many do not realize that the average car wash is not enough to clean this off.

If you’re in the market for new bulbs, there are three types to consider: incandescent, halogen, and xenon. Incandescent bulbs are like the run-of-the-mill light bulbs found at home, only much larger. They are less energy efficient, and have the shortest rated life of typical bulbs. Halogen bulbs are a step up in energy efficiency, rated life, and illumination. Finally, we have xenon bulbs, which are lit with a bluish tint. These lights are extremely bright and very energy efficient, but should be installed properly to reduce glare, and to avoid blinding other drivers.

If you need help selecting headlights, contact our parts department or our service department. Feel free to replace the headlights yourself or if you prefer, make an appointment with us.

So remember don’t overlook your headlight maintenance because your visibility on the road is everything!

Safe Travels,

ASK GARY: Should I Use Original Equipment Manufacturer Parts When Repairing My Car?

Ask Gary JaffarianThere’s nothing quite as painful as dealing with car troubles. In these moments, you realize just how dependent you are on your vehicle, and how utterly helpless you are without it. And at the end of the day, there’s often no real choice but to bite the bullet and take your car in for repairs. Choosing between Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts or less expensive aftermarket parts begs the question: is a less expensive part a lower quality part?

Hidden in the term OEM is the fact that you’re buying genuine parts –parts designed for, and meant for, your vehicle. Genuine OEM parts come with the assurance that what you’re buying is truly an authentic replacement for your repair needs.

Maybe it’s about finding a less expensive option or greater selection and availability, but drivers often elect to have their repairs done using aftermarket parts. While these parts are typically cheaper than OEM parts, they often come with a reduction in quality and durability.

For example, replacing brake pads is a very common repair job, and a clear instance of when OEM parts should be favored over aftermarket. Though cheaper, aftermarket parts wear out considerably faster than OEM brake pads. The money saved using aftermarket comes directly from the quality of the components. Aftermarket brake pads are notorious for their inferior construction and poor bonding. This not only means you’ll have to replace your brake pads more frequently, but you also run the increased risk of having your brakes fail at a crucial moment.

Automobile repair can be annoying and expensive (unless you’ve recently purchased a Volvo), where the goal is to fix the problem as quickly and as inexpensively as possible. Dealing with car troubles, however, isn’t just about short term fixes, but more about long term solutions. Inexpensive parts may get you back on the road, but are likely to quickly send you right back to the shop.

While insurance companies often refuse to cover the full cost of OEM parts to cut down on their expenses, the implications of deciding whether to use OEM or aftermarket span beyond the car itself. For instance, using non-OEM parts may partially or completely void your vehicle’s warranty. Repairing a leased vehicle with aftermarket parts may cost you your security deposit –on a similar note, repairs done using aftermarket parts can significantly damage your vehicle’s resale value.

OEM parts typically come with a one year warranty. Because these replacement parts are the same ones currently in your vehicle, they fit better, and therefore incur lower labor costs (often the most expensive part of car repair). And while it is possible to find aftermarket parts equitable to OEM ones, the time spent researching and purchasing these components may not be worth it, considering your vehicle will be sitting useless in the meantime.

Taking your car in for repairs is always stressful, but the best way to care for your vehicle comes from using quality parts. OEM parts come with an assurance of quality, and allow you to preserve the value (and durability) of your vehicle. Though more expensive, these parts will easily make up their cost by allowing you fewer trips to the shop. And isn’t that something you deserve?

Safe Driving!

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