Boise Auto Blog

Updates on cars, transportation and related subjects in Boise and Ada County.

Category Archives: Automobile Maintenance

New diagnostic reader adds capabilities

New diagnostic reader adds capabilities

We're constantly investing in new equipment. Our latest upgrade is a Snap-On MODIS Edge diagnostic scanner. When you bring your car in with the "check engine" like, we hook it up to a scanner; this technology has been around for about 30 years. The scanner "talks" to your car's onboard computer, which tells the scanner what's ailing your car. Advanced, state-of-the-art scanners like the MODIS can take advantage of the software capabilities of a modern vehicle. The MODIS allows us to turn off any number of engine cylinders, for example, so we can ferret out an ignition or timing problem. Plantation Tune Tech auto technician Tom Lenan diagnoses a car with our new Snap-on MODIS scanner

To idle or not to idle?

One of the surest ways to get people arguging about cars is to ask: Should you let your car idle for brief periods? Like many things with cars, there's no simple answer. Things to consider are: How long, what's the temperature outside, and what's more important? For example, starting your car uses a jolt of gasoline, about the same amount of gas you'd use by idling for 30 seconds. So, by that reasoning, if you're going to be idling for more than 30 seconds, you'd save more gas by turning your engine off. On the other hand, you're only going to get a certain number of starts out of your starter motor - typically, 6,000 to 10,000 starts, depending on vehicle condition, climate and size of engine. After that, you'll need to replace your starter motor, which is about $500. So, one way of looking at this is: It costs between 5 and 8 cents each time your start your car. You have to factor that against the gas you'd save. Another factor to consider is the weather. If it's extr ... read more

New hoist allows us to work on large SUVs, work trucks

New hoist allows us to work on large SUVs, work trucks


We’re proud of our new hoist, which will allow us to lift SUVs and work trucks up to 10,000 pounds. At Plantation Tune Tune, we're constantly reinvesting in new equipment to stay current. Today, we just installed a $3,000 lift to raise vehicles up to 10,000 pounds. It's our third hoist - our other two can lift up to 7,000 and 9,000 pounds. This larger lift fills a need for servicing heavier vehicles. With this hoist, we will be able to lift up the heaviest SUVs, as well as many diesel work trucks and 1-ton trucks such as the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD, the Dodge Ram 3500 and Ford Super Duty F-350. Modern lifts are totally above-ground. The old-style lifts, which had a large post that came up out of the ground, are no longer permissible. The EPA has banned them because they tended to leak oil into the ground and the new style is much more environmentally friendly. Plus
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Computers an essential part of modern car work

Computers an essential part of modern car work

We frequently use computers to diagnose and repair cars. Just today, one of our auto repair technicians used a laptop to reinstall the operating system for a car's onboard computer. Another shop installed a new alternator and shortly afterward the customer came to us with a computer problem, which was causing the battery light to stay on. After testing, we discovered we had to replace the computer hardware and reprogram it. Like other jobs, ours is becoming very technology-oriented and troubleshooting, diagnosing and repair of automobile computers is crucial. Our repair staff has received specialized training on car computer systems from ASE Certifications and several are Master Technicians. ... read more

Servicing commercial vehicles

Servicing commercial vehicles

Commercial cars and trucks are different At Plantation Tune Tech, we are proud to take care of many commercial vehicles. We maintain work trucks for Wright Brothers Construction, the City of Eagle, St. Vincent De Paul, Budget Truck Rental and the U.S. Forest Service. Commercial vehicles tend to get harder use, like a Forest Service truck that is called to help with fire duty on steep mountain terrain, in hot temperatures and around lots of dirt and dust. They require regular inspections and maintenance that must be documented. Urban delivery trucks and municipal cars also get hard use, carrying heavy loads in start-and-stop traffic. We understand that commercial vehicles are very important to businesses. If your delivery van or maintenance truck isn't working, that's lost money and disappointed customers, both bad for business. If you have a local business and rely on your vehicles, consider Plantation Tune Tech for your maintenance needs ... read more

Don't ignore that squealing engine belt!

Fan belts are important to cars. During the colder months, we see (and hear) more squealing fan belts. Wear and tear will eventually loosen all belts but in colder weather, metal engines and parts shrink a bit, causing loosening. A squealing belt is you car's way of warning you of problems and you should come in right away to have it looked it. In the old days, a car three or four fan belts, each one powering the alternator, water pump, air conditioner or power steering. If one belt broke, chances are you could at least make it to the next service station for repairs. Most newer cars just have one belt, called the serpentine belt, that threads through the engine and powers all these things. It's a more efficient system but if that belt breaks, the car will likely fail immediately due to loss of function to multiple systems. In addition to all the noise, a belt about to fail will also show signs of wear ... read more

List of the most reliable cars over the past decade

List of the most reliable cars over the past decade

Here is a great story about the 10 most reliable cars of the past decade. Of course, with proper maintenance, just about any car will give long life and reliable service, and abuse and neglect will kill any car in short order. The Mitsubishi Carisma isn't the hottest-looking car, but it ranks high in reliability and we maintain Japanese and American cars in our Boise auto shop. The 10 most reliable cars according to Warranty Direct: Honda Accord - A classy package, well put together and feels more special than the average family car. Superb engines and value for money. Subaru Forester - Not quite an off roader, much more than an estate with a sporty edge, making it the perfect combination. Great all round buy. Mazda MX-5 - Blueprint for the modern roadster with sweet handling and engines to match. Extremely easy to live with. Mits ... read more

Top 10 Ways To Get Your Car Ready for Spring and Summer

Top 10 Ways To Get Your Car Ready for Spring and Summer

Winter sweaters and boots have been packed away in favor of shorts and sandals. Has your vehicle benefited from the same maintenance you've performed on your closets? Warm weather means long weekend getaways and even longer vacation road trips, and taking the time to perform seasonal maintenance today can help avoid trouble later. Here are 10 tips for spring and summer car care. In some cases, you'll be able to perform these procedures yourself. Others are best done by a mechanic as part of a tune-up. Some will help your vehicle look better. Most will help it perform more efficiently and get better gas mileage. Get rid of road salt on the undercarriage.Road salt can damage your vehicle by eating away at its undercarriage. Use a garden hose with as much water pressure as your system can muster to loosen winter grime and salt. Or, if you have a movable lawn sprinkler that's low enough, set that under the vehicle to wash away what you can't reach. Check the tires.Tire pres ... read more

Americans keeping their cars longer

Interesting story from MSNBC - Americans are keeping their cars longer than ever: "The average age of a vehicle on the road has climbed to a record 10.8 years, according to automotive research firm Polk. Last year the average vehicle on U.S. roads was 10.6 years old, up from 10 years in 2008, Polk said." We can be certain the economy has a lot to do with this. People simply can't afford to buy a new car as often as they used to. At the same time, it's important to maintain your car to get the longest life out of it

Oil change coupon: Get $5 off your next with BG products

Oil change coupon: Get $5 off your next with BG products

Click this coupon and print it for a $5 discount on your next oil change at Plantation Tune Tech An oil change at Plantation Tune Tech is better than another shop’s because we use BG products. In automotive, industrial, and heavy-equipment applications, the products of BG have shown themselves to be innovative, well made, protective of the environment, and attuned to the task at hand. They perform as promised. They do the job. Now save even more with this oil change coupon. An oil change at Plantation Tune Tech is better than another shop's because we use BG products. In automotive, industrial, and heavy-equipment applications, the products of BG have shown themselves to be innovative, well made, protective of the environment, and attuned to the task at hand. They perform as promised. They do the job. Now save even more with this oil change coupon. Plantation Tune Tech uses genuine BG products

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