Recent Blog Posts

“Traction Tires Advised” What does that mean to me??

Well it’s time to head out to the mountains and start skiing and snowboarding.  What traction devices do I need?  What preparations should I make for winter driving conditions?  These are important questions to ask yourself now BEFORE the rush for winter traction products hits and you have trouble finding what you need at the last minute. First – There is always a question  – What does it mean when they say “Traction Tires Advised/Required” when your looking at the pass reports or looking at the local news? What is the definition of a traction tire? An approved traction tire, whether on a four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicle or a standard vehicle, must have at least an eighth of an inch (4/32″) of tread and be labeled M&S, All Season, or have a Mountain/Snowflake symbol. A tire with this little tread depth is far from an effective traction tire in  professionals circles.  A tire at this level is severely worn and should be removed from service. When you install approved chains, any tire becomes a traction tire. For more information on  your specific vehicle and its traction tire options, contact a tire professional at Courtesy Auto Service and Tire. Second – When and why do I need chains?  I have a 4WD/AWD vehicle so why do I need them and what do I buy? When you see this sign on the pass or hear this warning “Tire chains required” What it means is –  except four/all wheel drive. In extreme weather conditions, the advisory may indicate chains are required on all wheel drive vehicles. If you are driving an All Wheel... read more

Auto Repair Expert in Tacoma’s Transmission Tips for Cold Weather

 Winter weather surprised most of the United States this past month. It’s been a long time since cold weather and snow came so early. It probably caught you unprepared where your car is concerned. Making sure your transmission is working at its peak efficiency is particularly important once winter sets in. You don’t want to find you or your loved ones stuck on the side of the road in freezing weather. Your transmission fluid and filters need to be replaced after the first 30,000 miles and each 30,000 mile interval thereafter. It’s a simple thing that can save you serious cash. In some areas, transmission repairs can run from $1,600.00 to $2,000.00. So troubleshooting instead of repairing is the better investment. And, since few own the expensive diagnostic equipment required to make the correct recommendations, you will need to take your car to a full-service auto mechanic. You can do some things in the interim, the simplest being checking for leaks. Each time you pull out of the driveway or a parking space, take a look at where your car sat. If there’s a puddle of fluid, pause to determine what type of fluid it may be. Those few moments could save you a load of cash. If your car slips gears on turns or doesn’t engage quickly when starting out, simply checking the level of fluid in your transmission could give you a clue. Older cars will have a dip stick with instructions on how to verify the level. Newer cars no longer include this and will need to be taken in to have the level verified. Not... read more

Coolant Antifreeze Service In Tacoma WA

You may know that most automotive failures in Tacoma WA are tire related, but do you know the second most common cause for vehicle failure? Nope, it’s not teenagers. It is the coolant system. But, if you take good care of your coolant system, it will take good care of you. A car’s engine creates a lot of heat – so much heat, that if it is not properly cooled, the engine can lock up, resulting in massive damage and repair bills. But when everything is working right, your engine operates at the proper temperature and all is well. Without antifreeze in your cooling system, the water could freeze and cause engine damage. This could be very expensive, not to mention inconvenient. The right mix of water and antifreeze protects the engine against damage from freezing and overheating. Antifreeze also protects the coolant system against corrosion that could cause the system to fail. The thing to remember is this: coolant system failure is very common, but it is also very easy to prevent. Your Tacoma service center knows the manufacturers’ recommendations, and can tell you when the coolant needs to be changed. They can also perform a coolant system service. Give us a call or stop by for a coolant service or checkup. Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma 4502 S Steele St #701 Tacoma, WA 98409 (253) 473-5556 Even the best antifreeze cannot completely protect the coolant system from harmful deposits forever. The anti-corrosion additives are used up over time, so the coolant must be replaced. A coolant service cleans out the system and replaces the old... read more

Braking News: Keep Your Stopping Power

Richard Petty once told me,  “You’ve gotta have good brakes. If you’ve got good brakes you can keep yourself out of a lotta trouble.” That’s why a regular brake inspection is on every Tacoma car’s maintenance schedule. An inspection at Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma will check your brake system and let you know if there are any problems. Of course, if you’re having trouble with your brakes, get your car into Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma right away. Here are some symptoms to watch for: Low or spongy brake pedal Hard brake pedal A brake warning light that stays on Constantly squealing or grinding brakes Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes If you are experiencing any of these, it’s time to get your brakes checked. There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that’s attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle. Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Both types have pads or shoes that press against the brakes and slow the vehicle. Brake pads and shoes are made out of very tough material to withstand the heat and force generated when stopping your car. Eventually, they wear out with use, and become too thin and need to be replaced. If the brake pads wear away completely, you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced. That’s not only expensive, but also dangerous because your vehicle won’t stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors... read more

Saving Lives In Tacoma With Tire Pressure

All new passenger vehicles on our Tacoma WA roads now have tire pressure monitoring systems – TPMS for short. They are designed to alert you if your tires are under inflated. Since they are fairly new, a lot of people have questions about TPMS. First off, the most important thing is that you still need to check your tire pressure every week – or at least every time you gas up. The TPMS system alert comes in when your tire is twenty percent below the factory recommendation. So if the recommended pressure is thirty five pounds per square inch, the TPMS warning won’t come on until the pressure is at twenty eight pounds. That’s significantly under-inflated. Enough to raise safety concerns. The worst is tire failure. A severely under inflated tire can overheat and fail. Also, handling degrades to the point that you may not be able to steer out of trouble. Also under-inflated tires wear out faster and they waste fuel. So it’s costly to not stay on top of proper inflation. What’s the practical value of the TPMS system? Well, it’s twofold. First, it can alert you when your tire is losing pressure due to a puncture or a bent rim. That’s an important warning that you might not have gotten until next time you gassed up. The second is that we all occasionally forget to check our tire pressure. So it’s a failsafe system to let you know there’s a problem brewing. Other things can cause your TPMS system to go off. The system also monitors itself. The sensors that are mounted in the wheels have... read more

Should I Get Winter Tires?

Should I Get Winter Tires? Even if you have traction control or a four-wheel drive car, truck or SUV, you should consider winter tires if you encounter snow or ice on a seasonal basis. Four-wheel drive vehicles can provide a false sense of security in winter conditions. Your vehicle’s starting, stopping and turning abilities ultimately come down to the amount of traction your tires can provide on snow-covered or icy road surfaces. Another reason you might want to consider purchasing winter tires is if the temperature in your area regularly drops below 45 degrees. Winter tires feature a specialized tread compound that remains soft for enhanced traction in cold conditions. So check to make sure your tires are up to the job in winter. The Sign Of Confidence The Mountain Snowflake Symbol located on the sidewall of a tire indicates that the tire meets specific winter traction performance requirements. This symbol is reserved for winter tires that are best suited for severe winter driving conditions. Winter Tire Fact: Four winter tires should always be installed for equal traction. Installing only two winter tires can upset the balance of traction and handling of your vehicle. Winter Driving Tips Whether you drive with or without winter tires, the following tips can help make your winter travels a little less stressful. Try to avoid unplowed roads where you can get stuck. Plan your route on well-maintained main roads. Allow a greater distance for stopping just in case you encounter an icy patch of road. Take turns with extra caution. Slow your speed and avoid using your brakes too abruptly. Beware of inexperienced... read more

Getting Your Car Serviced in the Real World of Tacoma

We get a lot of questions about servicing your car at Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma. One that we get asked the most is: Do you have to take your car to the nearest Tacoma dealer for service and repair? We’ve all asked ourselves that at one time or another. Of course, any new car dealer in Tacoma would like to have your service business, but there are a lot of reasons to turn to the automotive aftermarket for routine maintenance services as well as repairs. First, let’s get some terms straight. New car dealers and manufacturers are referred to as Original Equipment – or OE providers. Everybody else is in the automotive Aftermarket. That includes auto parts stores, quick lubes, tire and service, and repair centers. It’s important to know how the automotive industry works. Most car manufacturers don’t actually make their own parts and none of them make all of the parts they use. Instead, there are over 5,000 manufacturers that make the parts used to build new cars as well as to repair used cars. We get a little steamed when a new car dealer pushes the myth that you need to go to them to get “genuine parts”. The fact is that your independent service center (Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma) can install the exact same original equipment parts from the same parts manufacturer that supplies the dealer. One of the advantages of the aftermarket is that they’re free to innovate and improve. The aftermarket is quick to step in and fix design problems in Original Equipment parts. They’re also able... read more

Wiper Blades In WA

If you’re gonna drive around the Tacoma area, you’ve got to be able to see! So having a good pair of windshield wipers is extremely important. We’ve all experienced the frustration and fear of not being able to see clearly during a storm, or when our windshield is just dirty. It seems like your wiper blades are always at their worst when you need them the most. But windshield wipers are like most other vehicle parts– they require regular attention in order to work their best. You really ought to replace your wiper blades twice a year; in the spring and the fall. If it’s going to be a particularly harsh winter in Tacoma, you may even want to get special winter blades in the fall. Winter blades are designed to resist freezing. Speaking of winter and freezing conditions, if your car has been sitting for a long time and the windshield becomes frozen, don’t use your wipers to clear off snow and ice. That’ll just tear up the blades and cause them to wear out more quickly. It may even damage the wiper motor. Over time, wiper blades become hard and brittle, and then tear. They also lose their flexibility and just don’t cover the windshield effectively. Worn wiper blades aren’t just a safety hazard; they can also scratch your windshield. That may require replacing the entire windshield; a big cost for such a little part. Replace worn blades right away. Your local service center can provide you with a quality replacement blade. They cost about the same as they would at the store; but installation is included... read more

Professional Fuel System Cleaning

Getting enough fuel to your engine is very important for performance, fuel economy and safety. In order to accomplish this, your fuel system needs to be clean. Today’s production cars have fuel injectors, rather than a carburetor. The injectors need to be cleaned from time to time in order to deliver the fuel with the correct pressure, spray pattern and volume. You can buy fuel system cleaners that you just pour into your gas tank that can help maintain an already clean fuel system, but can’t do a major cleaning. For that, you need to see Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma. They have the tools and chemicals to do the job right. Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma can remove particles, gum and varnish from your fuel system and get those injectors running cleanly and efficiently. You’ll find Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma at 4502 S Steele St #701 in Tacoma, WA 98409 . Or just give us a call at (253) 473-5556 to schedule an appointment. You’ll enjoy more power, better gas mileage and reduced exhaust emissions. The cleaners also help prevent rust and corrosion in your fuel system and lubricate vital engine parts. And, as with all maintenance, it can help prevent costly repairs that can happen because you didn’t take preventative steps. Check with your service technician at Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma and see when your car is scheduled for a fuel system... read more

What Tacoma Automotive Service Consumers Should Know

There are some things Tacoma consumers should know about Tacoma automotive service and repair. First and foremost, Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma cares about you and your family’s safety. And we really appreciate your business. Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma in Tacoma wants to build a trusting relationship that becomes the foundation for a mutually beneficial experience for years to come. Building on that foundation, there are some things that would help you understand the auto service and repair business better. First, it can be really hard to fix cars. The days of shade tree mechanics are long gone. The majority of automotive systems are computerized. It takes a lot of training and very expensive equipment to diagnose and repair modern vehicles. The technicians that work for Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma need extensive computer training – not just how to run the diagnostic systems, but also searching for the right parts, networking with other technicians to help them with a difficult problem and pulling together a job order that makes sure that each step of the process is addressed. The threshold for getting started as a technician gets higher all the time and there is a huge commitment to on-going training every year. This training takes time and money. It contributes to business overhead. The average Tacoma or . driver may not realize the business and environmental regulations Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma must comply with. Of course that costs money too. Like any business, overhead is a big factor. When you go into a Tacoma restaurant you don’t value... read more

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Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma
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