2013 Winter Newsletter

2013 Winter Newsletter

Ed MezaLetter from the President

I would like to start with a heart-felt thank you for all the kind thoughts and words from everyone of the loss of my mother. She will truly be missed. This just reinforces my appreciation of all the great customers as well as staff that surround my life.

Ducks and Beavers both had a great year and us Oregon fans had a lot of lung and voice exercise. Way to go teams!

As a business man in these uncertain times, it’s hard to know how best to service our customer base. Prices for almost everything keep going up from building costs, parts, equipment, taxes, utilities and most of all fuel. We have implemented a new pricing structure that we believe will benefit all. We have been on this new structure for at least 6 month now and I have heard great comments from most of everyone that has seen it on their invoices. We have kept our hourly rate on diagnostic and troubleshooting and lowered our regular repair rate (scheduled maintenance as well as regular brake services). Rest assured we will never skimp on the quality of parts we use and will keep honoring our industry leading warranty. We have brought those expenses down to when we first started here back in the late nineties. We hear of the troubled times a lot of you are having. We feel that this is the least we can do to help get through theses hard times. It’s hard to believe how dependent we all have become to our transportation needs. I love hearing the great comments, good or bad, to help keep us in touch with the needs of our client base. We must look like an undernourished, motley crew from all the cookies, donuts, bagels and even pesto we keep receiving. All kidding aside, thank you very much. My staff and I will just need to keep working out a little harder to keep up.

Volvos and Subarus are the meat of our service clientele. The cars, we as owners drive, the new additional lines are starting to join the flock as well. I am very impressed with the Lexus line as well as Toyota. Please remember we can and do service almost anything you drive and will let you know if it’s something that would be better suited to be repaired by someone else. We have seen some interesting things that some of you had asked for us to repair or take a look at, like welding a bead frame or removing a stubborn bolt of a lawn mower. Thank you for breaking up our sometimes day to day work.

From all of us here at Swedish Engineering we wish you a safe and happy new year.
Thank you again for your patronage
Ed Meza 541.685.0830 or ed@swedishwest.com

Tech Tips from Scott White

Scott WhiteHello mid–November and how did it get here so quickly? Only sometimes does it pay to put things off and in this case raking up the leaves in my yard as more of them are blowing in from elsewhere. Putting off getting your car serviced or repaired may not come out so well though. That weak battery may not be up to cranking that cold engine and a set of worn spark plugs only makes it that much less likely to start. A more of a “ticking time bomb” is the timing belt that is a cogged belt that keeps the valves and pistons living in harmony. A failure in this system, whether the belt breaking or a bearing failure results in internal engine damage, that may cost more to repair than the value of the car justifies. Service life of the belt varies from 30 thousand miles to 120 thousand miles depending upon year and model but the age of the belt must not exceed 10 years.
Why such a vast span in mileage intervals? There are several things that have evolved over time since 1992 as far as the aluminum (white) engines. Belt widths increased and belt tensions decreased and dampener and Vvt units on one or both camshafts have cut down on the harmonic vibration stresses on the belt. But in any case I have seen more failure by the bearings and tensioners in the system than actual belt breakage so change those with belts!
With that I leave you with a “warm regards.” Sincerely, Scott

Travel Safely this Winter

Here are some tips drivers can take to ensure they travel safely this winter.
Visibility is Key
Ensure all the lights on your vehicle are working properly and that your headlamps are aimed correctly. Use a quality winter wiper blade and washer fluid to help cut through the snow and ice.
Emergency Kit
In addition to a bag of sand or cat litter, pack an emergency kit to store in your trunk. Blankets, candles, snacks, a charged cellular phone, emergency road flares, booster cables, a flashlight and a tow-strap should all be included.
Eat For Alertness
Avoid heavy meals before longer trips as they can cause drowsiness. Drink plenty of water, and avoid the use of sugary or caffeinated drinks to keep you awake. If you’re tired or dozy, pull over and rest.
Handle a Skid
Steer into the skid? Out of the skid? Hit the brakes? There’s precious little time to make a decision when your vehicle is on the verge of losing control. What’s easier to remember is: Keep the steering wheel and your eyes pointed where you want the car to go. Don’t stare at the tree or rock that you don’t want to hit, but rather look towards the open road where you’re hoping to wind up. Don’t go Hollywood-style with the steering or brakes, either. Gentle, smooth inputs are key to success during winter driving slides. Steadily, gently keep the wheel pointed in your intended direction of travel and lightly, progressively squeeze the brakes as needed.
Getting Unstuck
A bag of cat litter or sand is ideal for traction in case you get stuck this winter. Use a shovel to clear the snow away from your wheels and spread the gritty substance of your choice under and ahead of your drive wheels to help free your ride. Don’t spin the tires excessively, since this can “dig” your ride further into trouble. If a little prod on the throttle doesn’t get you moving, stop the car, clear more snow away, add more grit, and repeat.
Don’t Get Frozen Out
Keep a bottle of lock deicer or WD-40 (with the little red straw) in your purse or briefcase to travel safely this winter. Your favorite parts store probably sells a keychain–sized bottle of either, so you can always have it handy when needed. Note that an occasional spray of either solution into your key hole (when it’s not frozen) will serve as preventative maintenance.
Free Wheeling
Periodically clean out the frozen globs of slush around your front wheels, even if it means a trip to the coin-op pressure washer. In severe cases, these frozen clumps can reduce your ability to steer effectively in an emergency maneuver—not to mention weigh the car down to waste fuel unnecessarily.
Maintenance is Key
Is your vehicle leaking or making a strange sound? Either of these conditions can indicate a problem, so be sure to address the concern as soon as possible. Harsh winter driving conditions tend to aggravate poorly maintained vehicle components, meaning you’re more likely to break down when its 30 below.

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