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  • Five Tips: Be Good to Your A/C so Your A/C will be Good to You

    Air conditioning during Houston’s summer is a necessity for most of us, and it is one of the most expensive systems to repair.  So literally an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    Tip 1: Act Fast When Your A/C Isn't Cooling

    Most importantly don't postpone repairs to your A/C system once you notice the air isn’t cold.  Most modern systems have less than two pounds of refrigerant.  If your system holds 32 ounces, 10% is 3.2 ounces; that’s not even a half cup.  And the manufacturers tell us if the system is 1.6 ounces low, your compressor is being damaged. 

    Many people may not be aware that there is a refrigerant oil that lubricates the air conditioner’s metal moving parts.  When your refrigerant is low so is the refrigerant oil.  Running your system on empty is like running the engine without motor oil.  So, our recommendation is to have your refrigerant checked every two years or as it seems not to be cooling well in the passenger compartment. 

    Tip 2:  Cooling Off Quickly

    Our next tip is about how to cool your car quickly as possible to get the AC system working efficiently. First, roll down your windows on a hot summer day for just a minute. Then use your outside air setting first because at this point the outside air is cooler than your inside air which could be as high as 140 degrees.  Finally, after running the outside air for a minute or two, change your AC setting to recirculate so it is cooling your inside cabin air.

    Tip 3: Fan Speed Settings

    Tip number three, use the third fan setting if your AC has four speeds - in most models the most efficient setting for your AC System. The blower motor, also called a fan motor, only has one speed. Resistors are used to reduce the air speed on the lower settings.  So, if you are constantly using a low fan speed, you are shortening the life span of the resistors. The resistors are like brakes, and fan motors while not as costly as AC compressors, are not cheap either.

    Tip 4: Cabin Air Filter Changes

    Change your cabin air filter every 30,000 miles or so. It is the filter between your evaporator core and passenger cabin and keep the air in the passenger cabin fresh.  Over time the filters can clog up and even become moldy if the evaporator core has a leak.  Please note that some cars do not have a cabin air filter.  

    Tip 5: Dealing with Mold

    If you have a bad smell in your car, we use a product that can clean the mold out of your AC system’s evaporator core.  It’s a great way to freshen the air in the passenger cabin and it is good for your AC system as well. This service runs about $120. If you have a smoker in the car you may want to consider doing this on a regular basis.

    Our Thoughts

    With the sweltering temperature of Houston’s summer, we hope that our tips on taking care of your car’s air conditioner are helpful.  When you have questions, please call us.  We’re here to help you.

    Thank you for your trust and loyalty.  We appreciate you.

    Kathryn & Sybren
    ​ We can fix anything.  We just happen to fix cars. 
    Friendly & Expert Service Since ‘46

    Adolf Hoepfl Garage
    4610 N. Shepherd
    Houston, TX 77018
    713.695.5071

    Have some questions?  We’re collecting questions from our friends and customers for our blog topic Chat with Us.  Please let us know what’s on your mind.   Email us -[email protected]

  • We Just Earned the Blue Seal of Excellence!

    And we’re so excited!  What does that mean for our customers and friends?  The Blue Seal of Excellence Recognition is earned through voluntary testing and certification for automotive repair and service professionals by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of vehicle repair and service.

    Eligibility

    To be eligible for this recognition, 75% of our automotive professionals are ASE certified.  We’ve gone beyond these requirements and 100% of our technicians are ASE certified.  In addition, we have a certified technician in each area of service offered.  We also renew each year and confirm our professionals’ certification status.

    Our ASE certified technicians use high tech equipment to test and inspect your auto.  The modern automobile is a complex machine requiring knowledgeable and skillful technicians to maintain and make proper repairs as needed.  We will always explain exactly what repairs are required and why before we proceed with any work on your vehicle.  When the job is done, we explain the charges thoroughly.

    ASE Comments

    “Businesses that have earned the ASE Blue Seal of Excellence Recognition have gone the extra mile in support of their customers.  Employing ASE-certified professionals is an important element in their overall customer satisfaction program.  We salute those businesses who achieve this goal and thank them for helping promote quality automotive repair and service.” says Timothy Zilke, ASE President.

    Our Thoughts

    Over 70% of our business comes from long-standing customers who return for all their motoring needs.  We believe that by clarifying and living up to our customers’ expectations we will earn their loyalty.  We know a well-maintained vehicle runs better, lasts longer, has a high resale value, and saves you money in the long run.  Studies show that $1 spent on maintaining your vehicle will save between $17 and $22 on unnecessary repairs and replacement costs.

    Thank you for your trust and loyalty.  We appreciate you.

    Kathryn & Sybren
     We can fix anything.  We just happen to fix cars.
    Friendly & Expert Service Since ‘46

    Adolf Hoepfl Garage 
    4610 N. Shepherd 
    Houston, TX 77018
    713.695.5071
    www.adolfhoepfl.com

    Have some questions?  We’re collecting questions from our friends and customers for our blog topic Chat with Us.  Please let us know what’s on your mind.   Email us - [email protected]

  • Now Entering Tire Blow-out Season

    Summer is when the outside temperature is the hottest, and when motorists are driving farther, and faster, in more heavily loaded vehicles. The combination can push a neglected or injured tire beyond its breaking point.

    Under inflation is the easiest way to kill a tire. After all, air is what allows a tire to carry the weight of a vehicle and its cargo. Without proper air pressure, the internal components of the tire—fabric, steel, rubber, and composites—flex beyond their designed limits. 

    Tire Safety Tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    The NHTSA has some great tips for taking care of your tires.  Click here to see their infographic. 

    Here are 3 things to do regularly.

    1. Check Tire Pressure

    Maintaining proper tire pressure is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the safety of your vehicle. Check the tag on the frame of the driver’s door for the proper air pressure for your tires.  Having your very own tire gauge is a great idea, too.

    2. Visually Inspect Tires

    Visually inspecting your tires is important, easy and only takes a couple minutes. Look for any objects that have penetrated the exterior of your tires, such as nails, rocks or glass. Check your tire’s tread to make sure the wear patterns are normal. Abnormal wear patterns can indicate larger problems, like worn out suspension parts and/or alignment issues.

    3. Rotate Your Tires

    Rotating your tires regularly can help them wear more evenly, since front tires wear differently than back tires. Check your owner’s manual to find out what your vehicle’s manufacturer suggests in terms of how often you should rotate tires. If no recommendation is listed, our experts recommend rotation every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

    Our Thoughts

    Have a great summer traveling the roads of our country.  When you have questions, or need some car care information, please call us 713-695-5071.

    Kathryn and Sybren

    We can fix anything.  We just happen to fix cars.  
    Friendly & Expert Service Since ‘46

    Have some questions?  We’re collecting questions from our friends and customers for our blog topic Chat with Us.  Please let us know what’s on your mind.   Email us -[email protected]

    Adolf Hoepfl Garage 
    4610 N. Shepherd 
    Houston, TX 77018 
    713.695.5071

    Sources: Popular Mechanics, NHTSA

  • Memorial Day History and Things To Do

    For most of us, Memorial Day is the kickoff of summer.  During our celebration of summer, we would like to suggest that we also give a moment to those who have fought and died in the service of our county.  We also thought you might like to hear a bit of history about the day along with some ideas for things to do to this weekend.

    In May 1868, General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veterans’ group known as the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a decree that May 30 should become a nationwide day of commemoration for the more than 620,000 soldiers killed in the recently ended Civil War.

    Decoration Day

    On Decoration Day, as Logan dubbed it, Americans should lay flowers and decorate the graves of the war dead “whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” According to legend, Logan chose May 30 because it was a rare day that didn’t fall on the anniversary of a Civil War battle, though some historians believe the date was selected to ensure that flowers across the country would be in full bloom.

    Federal Holiday Status

    Although the term Memorial Day was used beginning in the 1880s, the holiday was officially known as Decoration Day for more than a century, when it was changed by federal law. Four years later, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 finally went into effect, moving Memorial Day from its traditional observance on May 30 (regardless of the day of the week), to a set day—the last Monday in May.

    What to do during Memorial Day Weekend

    Sunday, May 27, 2018

    PBS Television, 7:00 -8:30PM.  PBS’s National Memorial Day Concert salutes the sacrifice made by the men and women in uniform as well as their families. The free annual concert is held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.  Actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna will host the proceedings, which will feature numerous other celebrity performers. 

    The Woodlands, 4:00 – 9:00PM. The festival pays tribute to all military service men and women who lost their lives while serving the United States, and also honors all veterans who serve as a symbol for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice of life to protect our freedom. Memorial Day Weekend in The Woodlands features live music, children’s activities, strolling entertainers and more at Town Green Park. The evening concludes with a dazzling fireworks display choreographed to a patriotic soundtrack.

    Monday May 28, 2018

    Houston National Cemetery Ceremony -  9:30 am (at Hemicycle) National Cemetery Administration will host Memorial Day ceremonies at VA national cemeteries across the country with the help of local communities. Each cemetery and community will add their own special touch of patriotism and “thanks” during the events.

    Sugar Land Memorial Day Ceremony - 10 am - 1 pm The City of Sugar Land will honor the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces for their selfless service by hosting its 9th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony. This event is free and open to the public. The program includes: patriotic music, educational and commemorative activities, on-site military exhibits, flag ceremony.

    Our Thoughts

    We hope that you will have a few minutes during this holiday weekend to thank those who served and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  Memorial Day is special to us and we fly and array of America flags at our shop in honor of the military of our country.

    Kathryn and Sybren 
    Friendly & Expert Service Since ‘46

    Have some questions?  We’re collecting questions from our friends and customers for our blog topic Chat with Us.  Please let us know what’s on your mind.   Email us [email protected]

    Sources: History.com, PBS

  • Battery Basics

    Corroded Battery

    With all the gadgets we have on cars today, batteries are essential to meeting those needs. More than just cranking the engine, today’s batteries provide power to other electrical components even when the engine isn’t running.  And the battery acts as a voltage stabilizer for the entire electrical system.

    Batteries (12 Volt) fall into two basic categories:

    • Flooded lead acid (FLA), which has been the standard for decades
    • Absorbent glass mat (AGM), a newer design that while more expensive generally lasts longer.

    Both of these types of batteries have the same basic function yet they aren’t interchangeable.  Installing a standard 12-volt lead acid battery when a manufacturer requires an AGM can damage alternators or prevent electrical systems to function properly.

    Be sure to check your owner’s manual when you are looking for a new battery.

    While your car is in for service ask the mechanic to check:

    • Cleanliness of the terminals.  
    • Mounting hardware and hold-downs. Batteries should be tightly secured in place. A bad battery hold-down cause battery failure or failure to start faithfully.
    • Know your battery warranty and be prepared to replace every 2.5 years in our hot, humid climate.

    When you have your battery replaced, the technician should connect a supplementary 12-volt power supply before disconnecting the battery cables to keep onboard computers operating properly.

    Keeping jumper cables in your car is also a great way to avoid being stranded. We recommend 4-gauge wire. We sell adorable lady’s battery cables.

    We invite you to stop by our garage. There is always a cup of coffee waiting for you.

    Kathryn and Sybren​
    ​Friendly & Expert Service Since ‘46

    Have some questions?  We’re collecting questions from our friends and customers for our blog topic Chat with Us.  Please let us know what’s on your mind.  Email us - [email protected]