Winter is coming…Wheel Alignment Service at Westgate Auto Repair in Rochester

When all of your vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard in Rochester or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving in MN can cause your wheels to be out of alignment. This can lead to premature tire and suspension wear.

Here are some alignment basics:

The first angle is called toe: Do the wheels point in towards each other or away from each other at the front of the tire?
The next angle is called camber: Do the wheels tip in or out at the top?
And finally, there is castor. Castor measures the angle where the front axles attach to the vehicle.

The ideal alignment for your vehicle was designed by its engineers. Alignment service in Rochester, MN at Westgate Auto Repair starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension to see if anything’s bent, broken or worn out. Then our friendly and knowledgeable repair technician will look at tire condition.

From there, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels are then aligned to manufacturer’s specifications.

Your vehicle’s owner’s manual probably has a recommendation for how often your alignment should be checked – usually every couple of years. If you suspect an alignment problem, get it checked here at Westgate Auto Repair in Rochester, MN before you suffer tire or suspension damage.

Give us a call.

Westgate Auto Repair
3000 Hwy 14 West
Rochester, MN 55901
507.282.3000

 

Napa Service Assist 2016

Summer is Near, So is the Heat

When is it time to add or replace the refrigerant? You could be proactive and have it done before you experience problems.

According to Napa Service Assist, your air conditioning system uses refrigerant to create cold air. The most common reasons Rochester area drivers lose their cold air have to do with the

refrigerant.

The first is not enough refrigerant. Refrigerant is a gas in the system and very small holes in a hose, seal or coupler can allow enough to leak out to prevent the creation of cold air.

Another potential problem for auto owners is contamination. Over time the inside of the rubber hoses can deteriorate and little bits of rubber can clog up various filters and other parts of the

vehicle A/C system, preventing proper circulation of the refrigerant. And a component could also be worn or broken. So the first step for Rochester drivers who can’t cool their vehicle is a thorough air conditioning inspection, looking for leaks and worn parts. In fact, Federal law requires an inspection before adding refrigerant. Some states do not allow topping off a leaking system.

credit: NAPA Service Assist
credit: NAPA Service Assist

Once any repairs are made, refrigerant is added. At the same time, special oil is added to the system. This oil cools and lubricates various components as it circulates along with the refrigerant. If you have a refrigerant leak, you also have an oil leak – and it’s that both be replenished for proper function and protection of your A/C system.

Sometimes overlooked by drivers is the fact that a worn serpentine belt (which drives the A/C compressor) leads to belt slippage which puts additional strain on the compressor. Replacing your serpentine belt and belt tensioner on schedule at Westgate Auto Repair will extend the life of your A/C compressor and other belt driven accessories.

Give us a call

Westgate Auto Repair
3000 Hwy 14 West
Rochester, MN 55901
507.282.3000
http://www.westgateautorepair.com/

At Westgate Auto Repair we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

Auto Repair Ethics in Rochester

We’re going to be talking about the ethics of automotive repair. Unfortunately, every profession has some bad actors that hurt the reputation of everyone else. In the automotive world, including our local Rochester automotive community, industry associations, professional licensing organizations and Westgate Auto Repair are very committed to high ethical standards.

Yet some Rochester drivers are uncomfortable with automotive service and repair. If we understand what’s recommended and the benefits of taking care of the work – and the pitfalls of putting it off – we’ll have more trust in the recommendation. So communication is key. It’s like going to your Rochester doctor. If they are using medical jargon we might have a hard time following there train of thought. It can be like that with your auto too.

If you don’t understand what your doctor’s talking about: ask some questions. If you don’t understand what our automotive techs are talking about: ask some questions.

Let’s go back to those ethical standards. When we hear a repair recommendation, we always ask ourselves, “Is this really necessary?” Well, here’s the industry standard:

If our Westgate auto technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:

(1) The part no longer performs its intended purpose
(2) The part does not meet a design specification
(3) The part is missing

For example, it you take your vehicle in for a grinding noise when you step on the brakes, you may just think you need new brake pads. After the inspection, the technician says that you have a cracked rotor and need to replace it. If you tried to get him to just put new pads on, we would say that if you didn’t want to replace the rotor, we would ethically have to refuse the repair. To just put pads on a cracked rotor would have been very wrong. The brakes could’ve failed at any time: they needed to be repaired – not just have a band-aid slapped on them. Now, looking at something not so serious, we may suggest repair or replacement if:

(1) The part is close to the end of its useful life – just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
(2) To address a customer need or request – like for better ride or increased performance
(3) To comply with maintenance recommended by the
(4) Based on the technician’s informed experience

Of course, the technician has the burden of making ethical recommendations and properly educating our customers. For the customer, if you are uncomfortable with a recommendation, ask some Westgate_guysquestions. More information is always a good thing.

Give us a call

At Westgate Auto Repair we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

 

Courtesy of Napa Service Assist

Alignment – Does Your Car Need It?

Symptoms of Bad Car Alignment

Did you hit a curb or snowbank due to icy roads? Does that mess up your front end? If so, how can you tell? These are common questions we hear at Westgate Auto in Rochester, Minnesota, especially during Minnesota winters. As you slip and slide while driving – you run the risk of hitting curbs and snowbanks, especially at the bottom of hills and corners. And when you do bump against cement or solid snow, this impact can put your car alignment out-of-whack.

Signs your car is out of alignment

Most Minnesota drivers notice two things that indicate your car has bad alignment (e.g. your car tires are rolling at a wrong angle). First, the vehicle pulls to one side when driving. It could be slight or pretty severe. You’ll feel it because steering and suspension components are joined together.  If your car was misaligned for a while, you’ll also start to see uneven tire wear – the shoulder on either the outside or inside of the tire is worn down more than the other. Alignment is affected by general time on the road – or seasonal events like Rochester, Minnesota winter driving. Joints can loosen. You may hit a curb or snowbank. Or, you’ve put on a lot of miles and your tires are worn. To prevent unnecessary wear and tear – which costs more long-term – we recommend getting an alignment check every two years (or in the case of hitting a curb and/or snowbank).

State-of-the-art alignment systemHawkeye Alignment

At Westgate Auto, we want your auto repair to be accurate and the best. For that reason, we now offer alignments using our NEW HawkEye Elite™ state-of-the-art Alignmentalignment system, which gives us results in 90 seconds! HawkEye Elite uses four precision cameras to measure the position and orientation of targets mounted to each wheel using Hunter’s patented QuickGrip™ adaptors. QuickGrip adaptors feature spring-loaded arms that grip the tire, eliminating metal-to-metal contact and subsequent rim damage. Compared to historical alignment setups, Hunter’s HawkEye Elite is faster – saving you and us time.

Come check it out – give us a call – and get aligned.

 

Westgate_guysWestgate Service Center
3000 Hwy 14 West
Rochester, MN 55901
507.282.3000