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Advice from Your Mechanic

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  • Mon 8:00AM - 5:00PM
    Tue 8:00AM - 5:00PM
  • Wed 8:00AM - 5:00PM
    Thu 8:00AM - 5:00PM
  • Fri 8:00AM - 5:00PM
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  • Sun Closed
    Closed 11:30AM-12:30PM Daily
Questions


Car Care Tips to Keep You On the Road


1. Change the oil at regular intervals.
We can't overstate how important oil is to your engine. Oil lubricates and cools. Oil pressure and flow control many key engine operations. To do its many jobs well, oil needs to be clean. But over time oil gets dirty and degrades. That's why you need to change it regularly. Tiny particles of dirt and metal fragments build up, which can cause engine wear. How? Particles rub like sandpaper on engine parts. Also, oil travels through narrow passages inside the engine and these can clog up, starving the engine of needed lubrication.

Dirty oil can lead to

  • Increased engine wear
  • Shorter engine life
  • Lower gas mileage
  • Poor running
  • Loss of power
Low or insufficient oil can lead to
  • Engine damage
  • A potentially damaging increase in engine heat
  • An engine that smokes
  • Damage to expensive internal engine components
  • Engine failure
Some manufacturers recommend changing the oil every 10,000 or even 15,000 miles, but this is for "ideal driving conditions." If you can find ideal conditions in Colorado, we'd like to see them. In fact, mountain driving is actually considered "extreme."

Given our experience over decades of servicing cars in Colorado, we recommend changing the oil every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Regular, more frequent oil changes will catch problems sooner and extend the life of your engine.

It's important to know that all oil isn't created equal. At Andersen's, we always use the oil specified by the manufacturer for your car. Today's highly tuned engines need oil that's designed to handle specific conditions. Generic oil that doesn't meet your car manufacturer's specs won't do the job.

Our advice: change the oil every 5,000 to 7,500 miles with oil that meets manufacturer's specs.

2. Change the oil filter at regular intervals along with the oil.
Oil is your engine's defense against heat and wear. The oil filter's job is to protect the oil. Conditions inside your engine are hot and dirty. Dirt from the air, byproducts of combustion and even tiny bits of metal as the engine wears work their way inside, accumulating in the oil over time. The oil filter sieves out this muck but it eventually clogs up. A clogged oil filter also impedes oil flow. If you keep driving with a clogged filter, the filter can actually rip apart and pieces of it can get in the engine, causing a whopper of a problem.

Oil filters aren't all the same and a generic filter likely isn't designed to meet your particular car's needs. At Andersen's, we always use the oil filter specified by the manufacturer.

Our advice: change the oil filter using the OEM filter every time you change the oil at intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles.

3. Pay attention to your Check Engine light.
Here's what your mechanic wants you to know about that pesky Check Engine light (aka Service Engine Soon): pay attention to it but don't freak out. Technically, that light is a message to you from your car's emissions control system. It's designed to alert you if the engine exceeds 1.5 times the emissions of the Federal tailpipe standards. There are hundreds of possible factors that will trigger it. If it turns on, more likely than not, you're fine to drive the car and it's not an emergency. But do get it checked out as soon as you can.

Our advice: If your Check Engine light comes on, it's trying to tell you something important. Pay attention to it and get your car in soon.

4. Learn how to read your Check Engine light.
Your 21st-century car is full of computers and computerized sensors. They make things happen and they monitor engine and other systems operations for problems. If your house had a "Check House" light, it might turn on if somebody left the refrigerator door open. You'd want to know if food was spoiling, right? Same with the Check Engine light. It's telling you that something needs attention. Here's how to read its messages:

1) The Check Engine light is flashing. Is the car also running poorly? This could be an "ignition misfire." You can drive your car gently but we recommend you get it in as soon as possible.

2) The Check Engine light came on but went off after a while. The engine computer monitors itself - if the computer gets a reading on an operating parameter it doesn't expect it will turn on the light. If the unusual reading doesn't persist, the computer may decide to turn the light off again. We can tell you what the computer found by reading "the code" for you the next time you're and advise you what to do about it.

3) The light stays on but the car seems to run fine. Again, your car is alerting you to a potential problem but it likely isn't an emergency. Get your car in within a few days when it's convenient and we'll check it out.

Our advice: if your Check Engine comes on, take note of what's happening. Get your car in as soon as you can and we'll get to the bottom of it.

5. Keep an eye on tire condition and tire wear.
It goes without saying that tires are what's between you, your passengers and the road. A flat tire can strand you. A worn tire or one that's too low can actually affect handling. A tire blow-out while you're driving can cause an accident. Avoid tire trouble with a quick walk around now and then. Here are some things to watch for:

  • Is the tread worn? You can perform the "penny" or the "quarter" test to see how your tread is holding up (advice varies). You want to have a good amount of tread and you shouldn't be able to see the top of Lincoln's or Washington's head. Or, look for the "tire wear bars" -- horizontal rubber lines -- in the tread. If the tread is close to the same level as the bars or even with it, you need new tires.
  • Are any tires low? A low tire will actually look flatter than the others and might even bulge out to the sides. Use a tire gauge to check tire pressure (PSI). You can top off the air in your tires but be careful not to overinflate. TIP: manufacturer's PSI numbers for your car are located inside driver's door on the pillar or inside the gas cap flap.
  • Do you see any cracks in the sidewalls? Cracks are signs of a badly worn tire, as are cords or other material showing through where rubber should be. TIP: tires have a date code on the sidewalls (like the "born on" date code for beer). For instance, a tire with a code of 5017 was made in the 50th week of the year 2017. Tires should be replaced at age 7 regardless of appearance.
Our advice: Do a quick walk-around periodically and look at your tires. Top off the air if needed but make sure you follow manufacturer's specs for tire pressure (PSI). If you see signs of wear, get your car in so we can advise you on whether it's time to replace them.

6. Don't overlook the other liquids in your car.
Oil isn't the only liquid in your car that needs attention. There's also transmission oil, coolant (aka antifreeze), power-steering fluid, brake fluid and washer fluid. Unless you're mechanically inclined, the only one we'd recommend dealing with yourself is washer fluid. Stop by any time and we'll be happy to show you how. The other liquids should be checked regularly as part of periodic maintenance by professionals but here are a few things to know:

  • If you see a red or clear oily liquid on your garage floor, it's likely transmission oil. Get your car in right away to fix that leak.
  • Engine oil is gold or black. That's likely another leak you'll want to get fixed right away.
  • Coolant can be bright green, pink or blue and often has a peculiar sweet smell. Insufficient coolant can cause your engine to overheat. Get it checked if you detect it.
  • Transmission oil is highly specialized these days and should only be replaced with oil specified by the manufacturer. Some transmissions have service intervals that include a filter change. Quick lube places aren't really geared up for the procedures required for checking or topping up transmission oil, so we don't recommend them.
  • Manufacturers specify a particular coolant for your car. Chemical makeup of coolant is specific and can affect hoses and seals in the engine. The coolant for some cars, like Volkswagen, can't be mixed with other types. We don't recommend using a "so-called" universal coolant unless it's an emergency.
Our advice: Have all the important fluids in your car checked by professionals as part of your scheduled maintenance. Drips of oily fluids on your garage floor could be signs of a leak. Get those fixed right away.

7. Going somewhere? Do the weekend trip walk-around.
Before you pack the car and head out for a getaway, do yourself and your passengers a favor and give your car a quick once-over:

  • Check the oil level.
  • Check and fill washer fluid.
  • Check the wiper blades.
  • Look at the tires - make sure none are low.
  • Check the spare tire. Make sure there's air in it.
  • Start the car and check the headlights and taillights.
If you're going on a longer road trip, we recommend Andersen's Trip Check. We'll check off the items above and more, top off the fluids and let you know if there's something that needs attention before you go.

Our advice: For a happy trip, make doing the "weekend trip walk-around" part of your pre-trip ritual. Oh, and don't forget to pack some water, the sun screen and some snacks.

What People Say About Us


  • -Kurt Kennedy

    We have taken our Volvo XC90 here for years and have been extremely pleased with their service. The owner, Kurt is great. He never oversells on things that are not needed.


  • -Lori Prince - Garner, NC

    Wonderful customer service!


  • -Samantha W.

    Friendly staff, comfortable waiting room. Competent. I really couldn't ask for much more.


  • -Mike A.

    Family owned car repair and service provider specializing in foreign cars. I prefer Andersen's above dealer shops for my BMW 535XI.


  • -Calvin P.

    Very professional and very honest!


  • -Glenn M.

    Walked right on had my Volkswagen tdi emissions tested. Barely too any time. Nice staff. I'll go back even though it's not the closest.


  • -Ann S.

    We have been customers at Andersen's for over 25 years. I trust them completely. We have taken Volvos and BMWs there without any complaints as to the quality of service received.


  • -Aleise P.

    Kurt is the best!! We have been customers for nearly twenty years and Andersen has serviced our Volvos, Mercedes, BMWs and MINIs, both gas and diesel, for minor and major repairs. It's hard to find an honest shop but Andersen is the real deal! Always timely, reasonably priced and up-front. I will only have my cars serviced here.


  • -Omar C.

    Nice people.


  • -Nate B.

    Fast and friendly diesel emissions testing location. Generally don't have any issue getting an appointment within a week of calling.


  • -Jeremy

    Diesel emissions test is the reason for my yearly visit. The gal that runs it is very knowledgeable.


  • -Warren S.

    Great place to go for diesel emissions.


  • -Danielle W.

    Kurt is awesome!


  • -Gary A.

    They know the ins and outs of German and Swedish cars and attend personally to routine and non-routine issues.


  • -Dean S.

    A few months ago, I discovered a gas leak that appeared to be around the gas tank of my 2005 E55 AMG Mercedes. I ordered this car in 2004...it's my all time favorite car. I had the car towed to Andersen's in Golden. A couple of days later I get a call from Kurt Andersen. They had inspected the car and found the leak. Before proceeding with the work, they checked for any outstanding recalls on my car and, amazingly, found an open recall campaign that had been issued on my car years ago. I had never received any notice of the recall. Kurt called Mercedes of Denver to verify that the recall was valid. To make a long story short, Mercedes covered over $2,000 in parts and labor...Andersen could have easily made the repairs and charged me, but they didn't, they took the extra step for the customer. I sum this all up in one word, INTEGRITY. A rare commodity in many businesses today. Thank you to Andersen's.


  • -Jim B.

    Been going to these guys for years for my old diesel. Tried a different place a while back and quickly returned to Andersen with no regrets. I will echo other comments about it being an honest shop.


  • -D.

    Top notch honest shop.


  • -Maxwell B.

    I really have enjoyed working with the staff at Andersen's. I will normally try to do the repairs myself, but when I can't, I trust that they will do a good job at a good price.


  • -Fredrick R.

    Super friendly and fixed my car quickly and all for a great price. Will go there next time my car has anything wrong!


  • -Jessica H. B.

    They are honest and hard working, not to mention considerate. I would highly recommend Andersen's.

Call us for service: 303-278-8766

Bosch Authorized Service Center
ASE (Automotive Service Excellence)
BBB Accredited Business
ASA (Colorado Automotive Service Association)
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