Posted by & filed under Fuel Economy.

Most Kent auto owners are all talking MPG right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. WA folks want to save the environment and our pocketbooks.

And we Kent car owners all know — or should know — that preventive maintenance will help maintain maximum fuel efficiency. But is there something more we can do? After all, some of us Kent car owners can’t cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of MPG. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from Kent to Federal Way to Burton. And that means buying more gas and producing more emissions.

Of course, your vehicle’s weight isn’t negotiable. And you can’t do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn’t an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your car. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around Kent? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your Kent neighborhood? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don’t. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your SUV: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don’t.

Clean out your vehicle. You’d be surprised how much weight you’re lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food, and regular old dirt. Even if it’s not a lot of weight, you’ll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don’t toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire — the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in the car when you go on a longer trip, but you don’t have to lug it around Kent all the time.

After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some income
.

Posted by & filed under Engine, Maintenance.

Just as our bodies need clean air to function properly, your SUV engine needs a clean air filter to operate efficiently. Let’s go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving on WA interstates, twenty pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce twenty pounds of carbon dioxide?

The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about twelve thousand gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your SUV needs a lot of air to keep going. A lot of clean air is best.

You’ve seen the pictures of people in Japan wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your SUV also works better when its internals are clean. When your SUV air filter is dirty, it simply can’t trap any more dirt, so the pollutants just pass through into your air intake system. From there, it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the motor itself. Not surprisingly, burning dust and pollen in your SUV engine does you no good.

engine air filter

Photo Credit: aperture_lag via Compfight cc

 

So, we’re talking potential damage for SUV drivers, but another big thing is wasted fuel. Your SUV engine management computer tries to mix the correct amount of air in with the fuel. If the filter’s clogged, there isn’t enough air for the optimal fuel to air mix, and that really messes with fuel efficiency.

In fact, replacing a dirty air filter at Central Avenue Automotive can improve your fuel economy by up to ten percent. At today’s fuel prices, you should be able to pay for a new air filter before your next oil change.

The verdict: When your SUV engine air filter needs to be replaced, it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on the level of air pollution where you drive. A simple visual inspection at Central Avenue Automotive will tell you when you need a new engine filter.

When you look at the filter on your furnace at home and see it’s all clogged up with dust and dirt, you don’t hesitate to replace it. When your Central Avenue Automotive service advisor shows you your nasty engine air filter, you now know why you should go ahead and replace it.

Posted by & filed under Safety.

Car care is a critical part of auto safety in Kent. But the most important thing we can do to improve safety on WA roads is to drive safely.

Defensive driving is safe driving. And defensive driving is all about attitude. You have to decide that you will be a safe driver in WA, no matter what anyone else is doing.

Kent car owners can start with awareness. Always maintain awareness of your surroundings, the road conditions, other vehicles on the Kent road or interstate and road hazards. Have you ever suddenly realized that you have arrived somewhere, but you don’t really remember driving there? That is unsafe driving.

Never assume that other Kent auto owners are paying attention. You be the one on alert. You be the one to take initiative to stay out of the way of other WA drivers. And don’t let familiarity dull your alertness. Remind yourself to pay as close attention while driving on the roads near your Kent home as you would in unfamiliar territory around WA.

Prepare your SUV so you can give the road your full attention. Secure passengers and pets before leaving the driveway. Secure loose items in your SUV so they can’t become projectiles if you have to brake suddenly. If children or pets become a distraction while driving, pull over and take care of the problem before re-entering traffic. Unclutter your windows. Take down the danglies from your rearview mirror. And don’t use your SUV dashboard as an office. Move distractions and clutter to the backseat. Keep your windshield clear.

Properly maintain your SUV. Preventive maintenance doesn’t just prevent repairs; it prevents unsafe vehicles. Make sure your tires, lights, brakes, suspension, alignment and steering get regular check-ups at Central Avenue Automotive. Also, listen to your considerate Central Avenue Automotive service advisor when he gives you auto advice about other systems in your SUV. Knowing about the wear and tear on your SUV can help you avoid dangerous situations.

Avoid driving when you are sleepy or angry. Get a good night’s sleep before a road trip in WA, and learn to set aside relationship, job or other issues while you are in a vehicle. Again, you have to take charge of your own safety. Don’t daydream in your vehicle. Also, talking to passengers can be a distraction. Keep your mind on the road. Conversations may keep you from daydreaming or excessive boredom on a long trip, but always keep your driving foremost in your mind.

Maintain a proper speed. Driving too fast is dangerous on crowded Kent roads, but driving too slowly can cause accidents, too. At night, don’t overdrive your headlights. Your stopping distance needs to be shorter than the distance your headlights are illuminating.

Never drink and drive. Alcohol plays a part in half of all fatal accidents in WA and nationally. Also, don’t drive drugged. Pay attention to the warning labels on any medications you are taking.

Other Burton motorists need to see you and know what you want to do. Use your SUV turn signals, and stay out of other WA drivers’ blind spots.

If you can, avoid driving over debris in the road. You can damage your SUV or end up in an accident. Of course, if swerving to avoid the debris is dangerous, then slow down and navigate as best you can. Do what you can to alert other car owners to the problem. You may want to pull to the side of the Kent road and report the debris or move it to the side of the road, if you can do so safely.

Never follow too closely on Auburn roads or highways. Observe the two-second rule. Choose an object ahead such as a tree or traffic sign. As the car in front of you passes it, start counting: one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand. If you reach the object before you’re done, you’re too close. Back off.

If you are on one of the WA interstates, or if you are hauling a heavy load, or if you are tired, or if in any way you are not the model of the alert and attentive driver, then increase that two-second rule to three seconds. Give yourself an added measure of safety. If the Auburn weather is bad, increase the rule to five seconds.

Inevitably, someone always pulls in front of you when you are trying to follow the “seconds” rules. Don’t get mad. Just back off and leave them to their bad driving habits. Remember, you are not going to give up your safety for anyone else’s cussedness. It’s always a bad trade.

If someone is following you too closely, pull over and let them pass. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. If you’re late, worry about it after you’re there, not while you’re on the road.

If you see a vehicle driving erratically in Kent, stay away. Take the next right or the next exit off the expressway. Notify the Kent police as soon as you are safely stopped.

And of course, don’t be the idiot driver we all complain about in Kent. Don’t contest your right-of-way, don’t race to beat someone to a merge, and don’t cut into someone else’s two seconds of space. Winning these types of ego trips may end up losing you your SUV—or worse, your life or the life of a friend.

The professional automotive team at Central Avenue Automotive wants all Kent auto owners to stay smart and stay safe.

Posted by & filed under Brakes.

Hello Kent, let’s talk about brakes. Braking, as all WA motorists know, is slowing or stopping your vehicle. As you can imagine, brakes are engineered to work well on a particular vehicle application. For example, you would expect more powerful brakes on a heavy-duty pickup that routinely hauls big loads and pulls trailers, than you would on a compact car. And a Corvette that can go over 180 miles per hour would have much different braking needs than the family mini-van you drive around between Kent, Auburn and Kent.

Hitting The Brakes In KentBut the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There’s also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.

Let’s step back. A new SUV or truck rolls off a local Kent showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.

Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles start to add up on the SUV. Kent car owners tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads, and shoes on drum brakes, are called the friction material. That’s because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it’s not until they are worn so thin as to be out of auto manufacturers’ specs that they lose their ability to stop.

The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over many miles around WA, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail – a scary possibility That’s why a regular brake inspection at Central Avenue Automotive is important for your SUV and your family’s safety. At Central Avenue Automotive we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.

That leads us to brake fluid service at Central Avenue Automotive. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the SUV fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at Central Avenue Automotive cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.

The tires are what connect the SUV to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the quicker you’ll stop.

This is especially important on wet Auburn area expressways and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. WA motorists need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.

Posted by & filed under Transmission.

If you think you can skip transmission service before a quick trip, think again. Do you have any plans for the weekend? Maybe you and some friends and are taking the boat up to the lake. Maybe you’ll be having a lot of fun water skiing and doing a little fishing. You got the boat all ready. It’s all gassed up. You packed lots of snacks and the cooler’s stocked – ready to go.

How about your tow vehicle? It has plenty of gas and you’ve even vacuumed it out, but is your auto maintenance up to date?

Stop and think. You’ll have some heavy traffic on your way out of town. Hilly terrain as you get to the lake. Some dirt roads, possibly some hot weather, and all the time you’re going to be towing around several thousand extra pounds.

trip inspection transmission service

Photo Credit: Kamal H. via Compfight cc

 

That all adds up a lot of severe strain on your engine, brakes, and transmission. Your transmission’s going to be working overtime, spending more time in lower gears. The internal transmission temperature is going to be much higher than normal. What’s a fun little blast to the lake for you is really serious work for your car.

It’s important that you have enough transmission fluid. If you’re running low, the transmission will run to hot and won’t have the protection it needs to cope with the added stress of towing.

If it’s time for a transmission service, you really should have it done at Central Avenue Automotive before your trip. Transmission fluid breaks down and gets dirty over time. Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, you need to have it serviced on schedule to make sure it runs efficiently.

Automatic transmissions contain a maze of passages that the fluid has to pass through to keep it shifting smoothly. If you neglect transmission service, the passages can get clogged up and you start to have problems. Neglect your transmission for too long, and it can fail. Believe us – you don’t want to pay for a major transmission repair.

You know, most of us in the Kent area do a lot of our driving under severe conditions. Towing or hauling a big load is obvious, but there are lots of other things that constitute severe driving conditions. Things like short trips or driving in very hot or very cold weather. Also, dusty roads, city driving, and most driving that’s not at highway speeds or under ideal conditions is severe driving. We all need to think about whether or not we need to follow the severe service schedule.

So, consider going in for a full service oil change before you leave for the lake to make sure everything has been looked at. Ask for a trip inspection while you’re at it. Your service technician at Central Avenue Automotive can also check your belts and hoses and let you know if your brakes are in good shape.

Don’t forget the sunscreen. To thank your service technician, how about bringing him back a nice trout?

Posted by & filed under Diagnostics.

Okay. You went to your local Kent car wash and while your SUV was under the dryer, the check engine light started flashing. Panic! What did you just do? Something is seriously wrong with the SUV! You head for the nearest Kent service station, but on the way, the check engine light stops flashing, and just glows red. Hmm. Maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem. You decide to wait until payday to take your SUV in to get serviced. In the meantime, the check engine light goes off. What? You decide the light must be faulty, or that when it comes on it doesn’t mean anything, or that it’s just in your SUV as some sort of scam to get you to pay for unnecessary costly repairs. You’re glad you didn’t take your car to the Kent repair shop and resolve to ignore that engine light in the future.

Whoa! Let’s look at what really happened. Your SUV was under an air dryer. Your air intake sensor measured too much air running through the engine. It sent its report to the engine computer, where a warning was triggered: there shouldn’t be that much airflow when the SUV engine is idling. This is a serious problem that could cause permanent engine damage. Warning! The check engine light starts flashing, letting you know you need to take immediate action to prevent that damage.

You drive out from under the dryer, and the air intake sensor sends a new message to the computer. The computer realizes that everything is normal and tells the check engine light to stop flashing. The SUV doesn’t need immediate attention; but there was a problem, and it should be checked out by your service specialist. After a few days the computer senses that the problem is gone, so it turns off the warning light.

You may think this story illustrates the uselessness of a check engine light, but you should remember that a computer can’t think for itself, it can only follow its programming. It doesn’t know the difference between a car wash air dryer and a serious malfunction in your SUV engine. That doesn’t make it useless. It just means you have to be the smart one.

Being smart doesn’t mean ignoring your SUV check engine light. It lets you know when something is wrong, and you can prevent a lot of damage to your vehicle by paying proper attention to it.

Your engine computer is constantly collecting data about what is going on inside your SUV engine. It knows what parameters are normal, and when a reading may indicate a problem. It uses the check engine light to let you know when something isn’t right. It then stores a code in its memory that a service advisor can retrieve that indicates which reading was abnormal.

The service professional uses this code as a starting place to find out what’s wrong with your SUV. It’s like going to the doctor with a fever. The fever is the reading that is abnormal — your temperature is too high — but the doctor still has to figure out what’s causing it. It’s probably an infection, but what kind? Sinus infection? Appendicitis? Flu? The problems and their solutions are quite different. But a fever also tells a doctor what’s NOT wrong with you. Fevers don’t accompany stress headaches, ulcers or arthritis, so there’s no sense in testing for those conditions.

Your Kent tech responds to a trouble code in your SUV’s computer in the same way. The code doesn’t say exactly what’s wrong, but it does give the technician a good indication of where to start looking —and where he/she doesn’t need to look.

Now, you wouldn’t consider diagnosing yourself with a serious medical problem; good medical advice — unless you’re a doctor. So you shouldn’t consider trying to diagnose your vehicle’s troubles by yourself; good auto advice — unless you’re a trained mechanic.

There are cheap scanners available on the market and some Kent auto parts stores offer to read trouble codes from your SUV engine computer for you, but these are really not good alternatives to taking your vehicle to a qualified service center such as Central Avenue Automotive in Kent. Your engine’s computer has both short-term and long-term memory, and there are some codes that are specific to a particular make of vehicle. Cheap scanners can’t read an engine computer’s long-term memory nor can they interpret manufacturer – specific codes. That’s why manager Blake Walker at Central Avenue Automotive spends a lot of money on high-end diagnostic tools.

It’s as if you had a choice between a doctor who had a tongue depressor and a thermometer and one who had all the latest medical diagnostic equipment on hand. Honestly, which would you choose?

Getting your codes read at your Auburn auto parts store isn’t really a money-saver, either, unless you’re a trained mechanic. You’ll end up with a code that tells you a symptom. What usually happens next is that the Auburn parts store sells you something that directly relates to the symptom. It may or may not fix the problem. It’s actually cheaper to just go to the Central Avenue Automotive in Kent and get things fixed right the first time.

Remember, a fever can indicate a sinus infection or appendicitis. An antibiotic may be okay for that sinus infection, but it won’t help your appendicitis. Is it really wise to wait around to see if the antibiotic helps when you might have appendicitis?

Part of good car care is knowing where you can get a problem fixed, and fixed right. Preventive maintenance goes a long way to keeping you out of the repair shop, but eventually, we will all have a problem that needs fixing. Let’s do it right the first time at Central Avenue Automotive. In the long run, it’s actually the less pricey choice.

Posted by & filed under Exhaust.

Whenever we talk about exhaust service, most people normally think about exhaust pipes and mufflers. Well, actually, exhaust service is a lot more comprehensive these days. For example, catalytic converters were mandated in 1976 and on-board emission control computers in 1990. Governmental emissions requirements have forced manufacturers to come up with much more sophisticated ways to comply with environmental regulations.

Exhaust service has really become exhaust and emissions service. High-tech computer controlled emissions devices are now a big part of the overall service. Because it is so sophisticated, your vehicle manufacturer recommends you have your emission system checked out by a qualified Kent exhaust technician regularly to make sure everything is working right – usually every 6 months or 10,000 miles/16,000 kilometers.

If your Check Engine light comes on, especially if it’s flashing, get your car looked at right away. Technicians at Central Avenue Automotive handle emission problems every day. You might have exhaust or emissions trouble if your car is difficult to start, runs rough, or is noisy or smoking. Call Central Avenue Automotive at 253.854.6762 to schedule an appointment if you experience these problems.

exhaust service

Photo Credit: NiePhotography via Compfight cc

Let’s review the exhaust system. We will start from the top with the exhaust manifold. That is the part that attaches to the engine and collects the exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Exhaust gaskets help seal the connection with the manifold and various other joints along the way. If the manifold is cracked or loose, or a gasket is leaking, dangerous gases could escape into the passenger compartment, where you ride. Carbon monoxide can be deadly, so it is important that your exhaust system doesn’t leak. The exhaust pipes connect the various components. They can rust or be damaged by a rock, so they need to be inspected periodically.

Next is the catalytic converter. This part looks like a muffler. It changes chemicals that are dangerous to your health and the environment into harmless carbon dioxide and water. It doesn’t require any maintenance itself, but eventually they wear out. You will discover this when your car fails an emissions inspection.

Now the muffler. Its main job is to quiet engine noises. Mufflers work by either absorbing or baffling sound, and you can actually customize your car’s sound with different mufflers – anything from whisper quiet to bad-boy rumbley. Rusted or road-damaged mufflers can leak and need to be replaced right away.

The exhaust system is attached to the car by a series of hangers and clamps. These fasteners hold the system in place. When hangers come loose or break, hot exhaust components can touch and melt wires, hoses and lines.

Finally, we end at the tailpipe. This is the final outlet for the exhaust. These can be plain-Jane or pretty flashy. Also, the oxygen sensors monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust so the engine control computer can adjust the fuel-to-air mix to keep the car running right.

Exhaust service covers plain old pipes and high-tech computers. It impacts everything from life and death safety due to exhaust leaks, to fine-tuning the sound of your ride. This is why it’s so important to make sure to have it serviced regularly. If it’s been a while, make an appointment today and come on by!

Posted by & filed under Tires and Wheels.

So you love your job, and your family life is great. Congratulations! You have achieved balance. But can you say the same for your wheels? Kent car owners can tell if their tires are out of balance by vibrations at higher speeds on WA freeways. If one of the front tires is out, you feel the vibration in the steering wheel. If it’s a back tire, you’ll feel the vibration in your seat.

Tires and wheels are pretty heavy. When a tire is mounted on a wheel at Central Avenue Automotive, it is usually not perfectly balanced. So the service advisor will spin the tire on a machine to determine where it’s too heavy. He will then place weights on the wheels in strategic locations to balance it out. When a tire is out of balance, it actually bounces down the road instead of rolling smoothly. Since the average size tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 MPH, it is actually slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s where you get your vibration.

Most Kent auto owners are surprised at how smoothly their car rides after balancing all four wheels.

Most high-quality tires sold in Kent hold their balance pretty well for auto owners. They just get out of balance gradually with normal wear and tear. If you suddenly feel a vibration, it is probably because you lost a wheel balancing weight along the way. Definitely get a balance at Central Avenue Automotive in Kent if you feel a vibration, change your rims or have a flat repaired. Putting off a needed balance job leads to excessive and harmful tire wear, wear to your shocks, struts, steering and suspension parts. Wheel balancing not only improves your ride and handling, but also can save you some expensive repair bills and possibly an accident. Additionally, you will get better fuel efficiency.

Some Auburn motorists have their tires balanced at every rotation. Others do it every other time. Check your owners’ manual for your requirements, or ask your considerate Central Avenue Automotive tech. Doing this will put you on the path to mechanical wheel balance.

Posted by & filed under Cooling System.

The coolant system is a vital part of your vehicle. It is also the second most common cause for vehicle failures. Even though coolant system failure is fairly common, it is easy to prevent.

The most recognizable part of the coolant system is the radiator. It is connected to the engine with hoses and is filled with coolant. The coolant draws heat off the engine, and then goes into the radiator. Air passes through cooling fans to reduce the temperature of the coolant, and then it’s back to the engine again.

There are several ways for the cooling system to fail. The most common issue is with the coolant itself. Coolant is a mixture of water and antifreeze. The proper mixture keeps the coolant from either boiling away or freezing, both of which can result in massive engine damage.

coolant system

Photo Credit: Jason OX4 via Compfight cc

Another very important coolant issue that is often overlooked is the age of the coolant. Antifreeze has additives that protect the coolant system from corrosion. As these additives are depleted over time, they can’t protect the radiator and other parts from rust, scaling, and corrosion. Old coolant may still keep your engine cool, but it won’t protect it from corrosion.

If you see a warning message to check the coolant or if the temperature gauge is in the hot zone, your coolant system needs to be checked. It’s OK to add water or antifreeze yourself, but you need to be cautious. Remember four things.

  • First, you never want to open the radiator pressure cap. You could be severely burned.
  • Second, try to get to your Kent service center at Central Avenue Automotive immediately if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your owners manual – it will direct you to only make additions to the coolant overflow bottle.
  • Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze. If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with your local service center where we can make necessary corrections.
  • Fourth, not all cars use the same type of antifreeze. You need to check your owners manual to make sure you use the right kind. Mixing antifreeze types or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the manufacturers warranty on your cooling system. Again, another reason to rely on your Central Avenue Automotive service center to do things right.

Remember, your service center has the equipment to change your coolant quickly and inexpensively. Let us help!

Posted by & filed under Maintenance.

Sometimes busy Kent residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Auburn in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Kent car owners spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.

Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Kent car owners would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Kent drivers didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Kent area auto service centers.

Kent car owners should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in Kent is simply more costly than it used to be. So if you think about it, WA drivers can avoid many expensive SUV repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.

Edmunds.com has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Auburn auto owners can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.

These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Federal Way motorists know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your SUV will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.

Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):

Yr. 1Yr. 2  
Yr. 3 
3-Yr. Total 
Maintenance748    
225      
794     
1767 
Repairs352      
4094761237 
                           Total1,1006341,2703,004 
Monthly Average925310683 

According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more costly than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.

Just a bit of auto advice from Central Avenue Automotive: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and WA auto insurance with an older Kent vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for important preventive maintenance in WA, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less costly!