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Keep High-Mileage Volvo Cars Running with These Tips

by All Vovo on 08/01/17

At All Vovo, we see all years and models of Volvo automobiles. Of course, we get quite a few (beautiful) older Volvos that we have the privilege of keeping in service and going strong! It seems Volvo cars last longer and stronger, and although that may be true, it also has a lot to do with HOW you approach taking care of your Volvo.

Really, any car make and model would benefit from proper care and can last longer than expected mileages. One Long Island, New York man (which we actually wrote about on this blog) even reached 3 million miles in his Volvo!

Here are some tips the will give you the best chance of getting your Volvo toward the 200,000 and even 300,000 mile mark:


1. Get Oil Changes and Other Recommended Services On Time

If there's one thing that gives you the best chance of long engine life, it's getting your oil changes on time and replacing the fuel filter at the right time. Your 30K, 60K, 90K, etc. recommended maintenance services are also very important, so you should get into your owner's maintenance manual and double check the recommendations. Regular maintenance keeps problems from developing with your major systems, and regular servicing gives your mechanic a chance to check over all systems and catch ANY problem that may be rearing it's ugly head. Which leads us to our next tip.......


2. Don't Wait to Address Problems

With all cars, and especially as your car becomes "high-mileage", it's very important that issues are handles as soon as they are recognized. It also doesn't hurt to take a few extra measures to listen, look, and feel what your car is doing in order to notice anything out of the ordinary. The mechanic you choose should be thorough and trustworthy, that way they will be able to let you know if anything is giving warning signs of wear or failure. And there's our next point......


3. Keep a Great Relationship with Your Mechanic

Find a good mechanic and keep a good relationship with that person or shop. Listen to the recommendations and have them perform them, or take your car to someone you WILL listen to. It doesn't help you if you think that they are pointing out issues that don't need to be fixed. If you're right, you shouldn't go there. If you're wrong, you're then putting your vehicle at risk.


4. Use High-Quality Replacement Parts

Always choose the quality option in replacement parts, and if you have the option, get factory recommended parts. Keep your Volvo, a Volvo, instead of replacing Volvo parts with something more generic and less compatible with your car.


5. Take it Easy and Drive Gently

Braking sharply, accelerating too quickly, and other bad habits will slowly but surely take the life out of your vehicle. A gently treated vehicle will always last longer and run better.

Our customers love their Volvos, and judging by the large amount of classic Volvo cars that come through, they are doing a great job already. Add to that the fact that they've chosen ALL VOVO to keep those vehicles running well (excellent choice!). We hope these tips remind you to treat your car a little better and you can keep it going a little longer! Thanks for reading and we'd love to see you Seattle area folks at our independent Volvo repair shop in Ballard.

Driving Emergencies: What To Do, How to Prepare, and Your Roadside Kit

by All Vovo on 02/15/17

Many blogs out there have lists for putting together a roadside emergency kit, and heck, we even put one together ourselves---but that was about five years ago. So, we thought we'd put together a slightly different kind of car preparedness list. There really are a couple of different stages of car emergency, and we'd like to help keep it simple rather than put together an extensive list of EVERYTHING that you might need, which could essentially fill up and weigh down your trunk.

We'd like to give you three stages of emergency tips. The first stage, is what you need to do in reaction to a road emergency. Then, what are the most important items and gadgets that can actually get you out of a tough spot all by yourself. Lastly, the main items you should keep in your car in case you're going to have to wait for help to come, flag down help, or make a walk to find help.

First Stage: How should I act when a road emergency occurs?
  • Whether a mysterious car breakdown or a tire blowout happens, you'll want to safely merge onto the shoulder of the highway or side of the road.
  • Set your car's emergency flashers on, and take a second to keep calm.
  • A cell phone is obviously a HUGE HELP, so immediately use it to call for roadside assistance or someone else that can safely come to help.
  • Stay in your car if you can and keep the doors locked, but if you must get out, make sure and exit from the passenger side---especially on busy roads and at night.
  • If someone you don't know stops to help, you can talk to them, but only lower your window two or three inches, so as to keep anyone from reaching through into your car---just to be on the safest side.
Second Stage: What should I prepare to get out of roadside emergencies myself?
  • If a mysterious breakdown occurs, there may not be much you can do besides call for roadside assistance or a tow truck. Please, always keep your cell phone charged, and to prepare, you can purchase a keep a cell phone back-up battery or "power block" in your car with proper cell-charging cable for your phone.
  • If you're going to fix any roadside issue yourself, make sure you keep old-school flares, LED flares, or triangle reflectors on hand. These are also good if you're simply going to flag down someone for help---but keep your distance from strangers.
  • For Tire problems you can purchase a tire inflator and sealant, such as Fix-a-Flat, that can get you driving again to safety. Also, you should have a spare and the tools to change the tire, such as a tire iron and a jack.
  • An automatic tire inflator. These pumps use your car battery to inflate your car's tires. If it's a small hole or leak, you can inflate and drive on to a safer place to replace your tire or get it replaced by a pro.
  • A tire gauge, if the automatic inflator doesn't already include one.
  • A rechargeable lithium-ion battery with jumper cables is a great way to stay prepared. But the biggest problem is that people don't keep them charged regularly. If you can, this is much safer than having a stranger with jumper cables help.
  • Jumper Cables will do if you find reliable help with your dead battery.
  • Carry fluids like a quart of motor oil and a gallon of coolant. Adding coolant to an overheating engine could be all you need to get to help.
  • Doing any fixes at night is going to require light. Even if your cell has a light you should pack some flashlights and batteries so you can work in the dark hours.
  • A general toolkit could also come in handy with screwdrivers, adjustable wrench and such.
Third Stage: What do I need in case I have to wait for or go get help?
  • If your cell phone isn't working or you don't have one, than you'll be glad you packed a "Please Call For Help" windshield banner.
  • If you're waiting for help, you'll also want to have flashlights and not use your phone's battery any more than you have to.
  • Have some work gloves in your kit.
  • Always keep a first aid kit in your car or truck.
  • Keep bottled water in your car to stay hydrated in an emergency.
  • A rain poncho is really handy if you have to be out in bad weather whether fixing something or walking to get help.
  • Fleece blankets are probably one of the most versatile helpers for you. They can be used for warmth, for ground cover, or even shade.
  • Pack some food like granola bars or packaged trail mix that can stay in an emergency pack for a long time without going bad.
  • Duct Tape is a nice thing to have on-hand in SO many situations.
  • An extra winter-coat is a great thing to have in your car. Just put the one you were about to give away in your trunk instead.
Go ahead, look over these lists. Think about if you're going to want to "wait it out" in most cases or if you'd like to be ready to get yourself out of trouble be temporarily fixing the issue. Then, put your kit together. Most of the random items can be put in an old gym back, and the larger tools can be set nicely in the corners of your trunk or in a separate crate or box. We hope you will use these tips to be smart, be safe, and stay out of big trouble. If it makes sense, think about getting on a AAA or other roadside assistance plan, and make sure to read reviews on how they actually perform in tough roadside situations. These can definitely be worth the investment, though.

Thanks for reading the All Vovo blog. These are great tips to share with anyone, not just Volvo owners!

Volvo Owners' Most Common Concerns and Complaints

by All Vovo on 11/18/16

We've been an independent Volvo repair shop for over 30 years. There is a vast array of issues that we solve on a weekly basis and with various areas of these Volvo cars, but there are a few of the most common issues that tend to come up. Here are four of the most common complaints and what you can do about them TOGETHER with your Volvo mechanic.

"My tail lights and/or headlights burn out too quickly"
You should start to get a grip on this situation by checking your lights every week or so. Go through and check, so that you know exactly now long they are lasting or going out. It could be just one of the lights or multiple. You'd be wise to also carry some extra bulbs in your Volvo at all times. In some of the older models of Volvo, there is a tendency to have problems with fuses. Your Volvo mechanic can remove these and check for corrosion, plus cleaning the terminals may help. After following these steps, if an issue remains, you may need a larger examination with an electrical system check.

"My Volvo's transmission has a hard time shifting."
Some Volvo models are a little more notorious for transmission problems and it usually shows up most often when shifting gears. The best way to handle this is to have your transmission serviced regularly and to have your transmission fluid changed as often as makes sense. This is your best bet to protect against mechanical failures in the transmission.

"The dashboard warning lights and "check engine" light keep coming on. What do I do?"
These warning lights are there to protect you and your car against serious malfunction and damage. It's unfortunate though, that the very sensor that is supposed to alert you, can also be faulty, which means there is no BIG PROBLEM, just a sensor that needs to be replaced. Your only two steps here are: (1) to make sure you check all your fluid levels and top them off, and get your oil pressure, emergency brake, and airbag checked when you come in for service; and (2) to never hesitate and bring your car to your Volvo repair shop if a light comes on at all. Your regular maintenance will help put your mind at ease, but there is no way to know if you actually have an issue or a bad sensor. Play it safe and bring the car in to your trusted Volvo mechanic.

"My Volvo is idling very rough and is clunky when I put it into gear"
We hear this one a bit too. Motor mount failure is somewhat common with Volvos, especially the ones located on the top of the engine. It's a good idea to ask if your Volvo repair shop will inspect the all of your motor mounts at each regular service. The best way to handle it is to catch the problem early and avoid more expensive repairs.

You can see a pattern here that having a Volvo repair shop and a specialist you can trust is really important. You want to find a shop that you can communicate with and voice your concerns. We encourage the drivers who come to us, to be aware and check on many of the car's systems as often as they can. If you happen to be reading this and happen to be looking for a Volvo Repair Shop in Seattle WA, well then we'd love see you and your Volvo. Our aim is to keep your Volvo running for longer and as cost-effectively as possible. If you live elsewhere, we hope you enjoyed this informative post, and we encourage you to use an expert Volvo mechanic for your special vehicle.

Independent Volvo Service has it's advantages over the Volvo dealership

by All Vovo on 08/10/16

When you choose to purchase a Volvo you are getting safety, reliability, and longevity. These cars are quality made and are constructed to stand the test of time. To preserve the life of your Volvo and keep your car on the road you will want to find professional Volvo repair specialists that will provide the proper maintenance, and repairs when necessary.

You will want to ensure the job is done correctly with genuine Volvo factory parts; and if you are also looking for affordability without sacrificing specific Volvo expertise, you may want to look beyond the dealership to an independent Volvo service shop- like All Vovo.

With using an independent Volvo shop, you get all the Volvo repair experience (at a fraction of dealership pricing) WITHOUT VOIDING YOUR WARRANTY. According to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 the owner of the vehicle can choose where to get repair work completed. The consumer has the absolute right to keep to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule at any qualified, professional repair shop. A specific Volvo service shop has been trained in all maintenance and repairs that are needed on Volvos and also will use original manufacturer replacement parts.

When you choose an independent Volvo service shop you will be choosing convenience, and service to go along with your cost savings. With independent auto shops, like All Vovo, you get care and a partnership. When you go independent you get conveniently located, quick to serve shops and work directly with the mechanics--instead of just service managers, like most dealerships have. Along with warrantied services at cost-effective prices you are also choosing to invest locally.

At All Vovo we have been solely focused on Volvo repair in Seattle and the surrounding areas since 1982. The All Vovo team offers to not only fix your car right but stand behind our work with exceptional service, prompt scheduling, shuttle service, loaner cars, and a two-year warranty on all of our parts. We are the local Volvo experts that Seattle has come to rely on for over thirty years. If you have a question or need to schedule repair for your Volvo- give us a call!

Tire Checks and Tire Safety: How to make sure your tires are safe for the road

by All Vovo on 04/04/16

As spring and summer rolls around you may be thinking of those road trips that you are planning in the good weather. Since the winter months can be hard on your vehicle before you head out in your car you will may want to do a spring evaluation of your car—and this includes inspecting your tires. Regular tire checks and awareness of tire safety is important- especially as the seasons change.

At All Vovo we handle almost everything you need for your Volvo, and we'll be glad to check your tires when you bring in your Volvo to us but if you would like to do a quick inspection yourself here are some things to do:

1) Check your tire pressure in each tire and inflate, if necessary. Having properly inflated tires will help your car perform better and also save your money on gas. It will also keep your tires’ edges from waring prematurely. Also continued low tire pressure in one tire will give you an indication that your tire may have a slow leak.

2) Look at your tire’s tread wear. For each tire you can visually inspect the tread- a heavily worn tire can be dangerous on the road and is a strong indicator that you may need a new tire/s.

3) Inspect and identify any cracks or inconsistencies in your tires. The tires on your car should not have bulges, cracks or other irregularities. Variations in the tire can signify a problem with the tire and should be checked out to avoid a blowout.

4) Listen for strange noises coming from the tires. When you are driving and hear thumping, whistling or other noises coming from the tires you may have a problem. From this point you will want to bring in your car and have an alignment inspection as this is a sign that you may need an alignment, new shocks or new tires.

5) Pay attention to vibrations. If you are feeling pulsations originating from the rear tires you may have tires that are out of balance and need correction.

Having tires that are too worn for safety on the road can present a serious safety hazard. Check your tires, find a good tire place to get new ones on your care. If you notice that your Volvo is in need of any other services, bring in your car to All Vovo today- we are ready to help!

6 Simple Ways to be a Good Defensive Driver

by All Vovo on 12/07/15

As the cold weather rolls in, it can be increasingly hazardous to be on the road. It can be difficult to drive in the Greater Seattle area even during the best driving conditions, but when you are dealing with the normal traffic along with adverse weather, such as hail, darkness, ice, and extreme rain, it is important to drive defensively. Below are some defensive driving tips that we all should review periodically that may keep you safe on the road this winter.

1) Do not follow too closely to the car in front of you. Especially during the winter, when the roads can be slippery, you will want to keep a safe driving distance of at least 3-4 seconds. Keeping a safe distance will increase the time you have to react in case of a road hazard. Reacting to problems early will also tip off the car behind you that there is an issue and give them more time to react as well.

2) Decrease and rid yourself of distractions whenever possible. We have all heard this but it is important to pay complete attention to the road to give you time to react to potential problems. Texting, talking on the phone, playing with the radio may take your focus away from making quick, safe driving decisions, and can lead to crashes and fatalities.

3) Stay away from “bad” drivers. Look for cars that are changing lanes quickly, driving above the speed limit, are tailgating or are on their cell phone-- and keep a safe distance away. When drivers make unsafe decisions while on the road they leave those cars around them with less reaction time to avoid hazards.

4) Keep aware of what is going on around you. Keep your eye on what is happening on the road ahead of you and note potential problems- this involves more than just focusing on the car directly in front of you. Knowing what is happening on the road will give you additional time to slow down, change lanes or swerve (if necessary).

5) Follow road signs. Road signs can be helpful when advising you of changes and possible dangers during driving. Signs are placed to help a driver know what to do and what is going on. If the sign indicates to stop make sure that you fully stop and look at both sides of the road before proceeding. Pay close attention when a sign is indicate road or lane closure or merging.

Stay safe on the road this season by being (or becoming) a defensive driver which will help you navigate the driving conditions and the drivers on the road. We hope you have a great holiday season and if you have any questions about ways that you can stay safe on the road give us a call today. All Vovo is ready to make your Volvo car ready as it can be for the winter conditions. Call on us for brake repair, alignment, oil changes, maintenance, and anything else that could keep you and your Volvo safer this Winter season.

Car Maintenance Tips: The Simplest and Most Basic Things to Check On!

by All Vovo on 08/12/15

When you own a car of any make, model, or year it is important to take care of it so that you can extend the life of your vehicle, and navigate away from the more costly repairs and overhauls. What are the most important car care tips? It all comes down to preventative maintenance and regular checks- fixing a small problem before it effects that major systems in your car. Below is the most basic, quick maintenance tips that will help keep your car on the road and your car’s systems running smoothly. 

1) Take the time to inspect your vehicle regularly. 
This involves opening the hood of the car and looking at the engine, inspecting the tires for proper inflation, and checking to make sure that your car is not leaking any fluids. You will also want to be aware if any of your car’s warning lights are on or if there is excess or colored smoke being emitted from your vehicle while running. Also look for ware on your radiator and make sure that there are no loose wires coming from your vehicle.

2) Every 3,000 miles get your oil changed and your fluid levels checked.
Changing your oil will help keep your car running at its best and get rid of junk around your engine. Also your oil lubricates the parts in your engine- over time oil thickens and loses its effectiveness and will begin to damage your engine. Also ensuring you have proper fluid levels will keep your car from overheating and make sure the major systems in your car can run.

3) Have your belts and hoses inspected every six months. 
Timing belts will need to be changed every 60-90k miles. Replacing damaged or worn belts and hoses before they break will save you time, money and other major repairs.

4) Make sure you follow your car’s care manual and have service check-ups at 30k, 60k, and 90k miles. Your vehicle’s manufacturer may have specific repair instructions- it is important to know what the recommended auto services are for your vehicle.

5) To preserve the life of your tires have them rotated and inspected every 7,000 miles and try to buy only tires that include “Road Hazard Coverage”. 

When you give your car simple preventative maintenance you are saving money by avoiding major repairs and keeping your car on the road for longer. You will also keep yourself and your passengers safer by following these guidelines. All Vovo is always ready to inspect and repair anything your car needs- if you have any questions about additional car care tips or if you need any routine maintenance give us a call today!

Volvo Tips: How to extend the life of your vehicle

by All Vovo on 04/02/15

When you choose to drive a Volvo, we know that you are already choosing quality-- but to get the most out of your vehicle, there are a few tricks that you can use to expand the life of your Volvo. Really, these tips are basic, but can extend the life of ANY make of vehicle to its fullest potential!

One of the easiest things you can do on a daily basis is a visual inspection of your vehicle. Look for colored fluid leaking, low air in the tires or any excessive or dark smoke coming from your car. These could be indicators of a problem that should be fixed before they lead to a total vehicle breakdown. It also helps to take the time to regularly hose off dirty water and road grime from your Volvo. 

The next simple tip to keeping your car on the road for a long time is replace your car’s fluids as recommended by your owner’s manual. Your car’s oil should be changed every 3,000 miles. This will help keep the engine running efficiently and will minimize sludge. We also recommend using quality oil; it may be more expensive in the short term but it will help protect your engine. Also, remember to get your cooling system flushed and your brake fluid replaced once a year. To protect your Volvo’s transmission remember to the transmission fluids changed every 25,000-30,000 miles. 

You will want to remember to follow the owner’s manual and keep up on other regular maintenance items. This will keep the car running and can help prevent the need for bigger repairs. Have your belts and hoses inspected twice a year. Timing belts will need to be changed every 60-90k miles. Have your power train on a regular lubrication schedule. You should also have your Volvo aligned twice a year and follow a regular tire rotation schedule. 

With proper preventative maintenance you can keep your Volvo going and going for hundreds of thousands of miles.  The three major areas are visual inspections, watching your fluids, and listening to your manual. It can be a lot to keep track of, but as always, the biggest tip is to find a mechanic, or a Volvo mechanic that you can trust.  A good auto repair shop and technician, can make all of this a little easier to track and check upon. 

If you have any questions about preventative services just consult your owner’s manual of your vehicle or give us at All Vovo a call and we will help you out!

Why Your Volvo Heating System Isn't Working (Any Car Heating)

by All Vovo on 11/04/14

We're having very late start to the chill of fall and winter here in the Seattle area this year. So, let me begin by saying, "Yahoooooooooo!"  Okay, now that we're done with that, and now that the cold mornings will continue to gain more and more frost---at least off and on---we need to address the heating portion of your vehicle.

We work on Volvo Autos old and new, but regardless of the make and model of your car, the heating system isn't just there for comfort, it's there for safety too! Sure you don't want to get frostbite in your toes on the morning commute, and you don't want to see your breath while driving, but on top of that, the defog/defrost runs from your heating system. If your windshield and windows are constantly being fogged up and your not able to clear all of the frost from them, then you cannot afford to put off your heating issue.  Your safety and your passengers' safety is at stake.

We'd like to educate you a little bit on what could be wrong with your system. Of course, you can do some investigating on your own, but you ultimately, you should find a pro whom you trust to do the real diagnosis and work for you. 

Your car heater can malfunction due to:
- low antifreeze in the cooling system
- the blower fan ceasing to work
- Contaminated coolant that isn't cycling well
- a broken thermostat
- a broken heater core

You car generates a ton of heat just by running the engine, and thus you have a cooling system with antifreeze coolant, and a radiator to expel that heat.  When you'd like to warm your car or your windshield, your heater core can be used to draw that heat into the cabin of the vehicle.  The hot coolant runs from the engine and then into the heater core and your blower pushes the radiating heat from the heater core and out of your vents.  Pretty cool, right?

So, you can see how the system will cease to give you heat if the anything from the list of issues above is going on.  If the coolant is either low or contaminated, then you won't get that heat moving around to where you need it and away from where you don't need it. A faulty cooling system can also compromise your engine, so you really can't hesitate to get this fixed----and the same goes for the thermostat, which regulates your engine temperature. The cooling system, though, is the most common culprit, and could be due to a leak somewhere.

You could also be experiencing a broken blower, but usually you can tell if you aren't feeling any force of air out of your vents. And, of course, if the heater core isn't allowing the hot coolant to pass through it, then you're not gonna get heat into the cabin of your car. Your auto care professional will make sure which of these is occurring and can get that part or area fixed. 

All good auto mechanics know that paying for your car to be repaired isn't a FUN thing. It's part of owning your own vehicle though, and it's your responsibility to make sure that it is safe to transport you and others, even if you don't care how uncomfortably cold you FEEL in your car. You've got to be concerned with the safety and visibility issues. Let's get you safe and warm. If you're looking for your Volvo heating to be repaired in the Seattle area, we're your guys, but no matter where you live, get your faulty heating system checked out by a pro ASAP!

Four reasons your Volvo needs to be seen more often

by All Vovo on 08/19/14

Of course it's always the auto repair facility that's urging you to bring your car in to the shop more often. The consumer automatically becomes averse, seeing the possibility of spending more money on repairs or fixes that may or may not be necessary. For a trusted and reputable auto mechanic, though, the motivation behind telling you to try and bring your car (or Volvo in this case) in to be seen more often is actually to save YOU money.

A shop like ours, which happens to specialize in Volvo Repair, is dedicated to giving an accurate idea of what is going on with your car. We try to make sure you get your repairs and services done before damage occurs, but not so early as to keep you from getting full "life" out of your current parts and fluids.

Here are four reasons that you should take your Volvo to a mechanic like us MORE often, in order to save yourself money.

1. Oil changes - Oil changes are the reason most folks see a mechanic at all without their being a noticeable problem. Cars vary, but usually, you want to try and get this changed at around every 3,000 miles. Some cars can go further, but you do not want to continue procrastinating. Dirty and worn out oil can significantly harm your engine and the cost of an oil changes is pretty minimal.  Also, bringing your car in for these more often can help you stay on top of the other areas on this list!

2. Brakes - Your brakes have parts that are meant to wear and be replaced over time, like your brake pads. There are also portions, like your rotors, that need servicing less often, but periodically they must be re-surfaced or replaced. If you allow your brake pads to wear down to nothing, your costs increase greatly!  Rotors, calipers, and even your brake hoses can all be worn down quicker and cost you much more money, even the need for all new brakes for your Volvo

At All Vovo, we try to give an accurate depiction of the current brake pad wear, and how much more "life" you can safely get out of them. If we say you need the pads replaced, we are never messing around.  We want to save you the hassle.

3. Timing Belts - Your timing belt needs to be replaced every 50,000 to 90,000 miles (check your owners manual for specifics). You also have to watch out and replace the belt if it is cracked or degraded at all. If this belt were EVER to brake, it wrecks your engine and ends up costing you thousands, instead of only hundreds of dollars. It's a simple check, and even if there are no cracks or visible wear, get this done in the recommended window for your car.

When the replacement occurs, the mechanic should make sure to replace tensioners, sprockets, and seals as part of the procedure---it's the right way to do it. To save you money we recommend taking the opportunity to replace your water pump at the same time (even if it is not yet leaking). 

4. Wheel Alignment - Are you noticing your car pull to one side or are you experiencing uneven wear on your tires? You may need a proper wheel alignment. On average, you should have an alignment check at least every 6 months to a year. Proper wheel alignment is important for getting the most life out of your tires.

When you bring your car in for almost any service we check tire pressure, check tire wear, and inspect your current alignment via proper testing. We can provide alignment readings that will let us know exactly what to adjust and fix when it comes to the camber, caster, and toe angles. We will get them back to manufacturer specifications and get you back on the road. Getting your vehicle aligned properly get all of your wheels pointing in a straight line, which reduces resistance, vibrations and irregular tire wear, which will increase your car's fuel efficiency.

Ballard's Apex Automotive: Farewell to our quality counterpart.

by All Vovo on 04/30/14

We were recently informed that one of our fellow auto repair facilities here in Ballard (Seattle area) has closed it's doors.  Apex Automotive had a solid reputation here in the area, and they are not located very far from our own shop (There are some great reviews on Apex's Yelp profile page). They did not specialize in Volvo Auto Repair like we do, but we have found that they did service many Volvos.  

It's never good to see a reputable business end their operations. We wish all those involved the best going forward. 

All Vovo has had some of their dedicated customers switch over to using our shop. Of course, we only service Volvo vehicles. If you were an Apex Automotive customer and you happen to own a Volvo, we'd love to earn your business.  We are in the same great neighborhood of Ballard, WA, and our expertise on Volvo could make the switching of shops a nice little silver lining for you.

All Vovo also has a great reputation (you can refer to our Yelp profile as well), and new customers can give us a "like" on our facebook account and use our service coupons (printable from our website).

Farewell to Apex Automotive in Ballard.  We hope all of their customers find great shops to continue their car care with. We thank all of you drivers who have been taking your Volvos to us, we hope to give you the same high-level of service. (Call Kim to schedule your next Volvo repair or Volvo service!)

Seattle Drivers, These are the most basic and important car care tips!

by All Vovo on 02/14/14

How often should any service on your car be performed?  Who would you trust to give you that answer? 

Many people are uninformed about the basic things and most important parts of maintaining your car or in our special case, your Volvo!  Sure, we are a Volvo repair facility and we'd love to have more business, but we feel our first job is to keep folks educated about their cars. If we can help keep your car running well, we've already shown that All Vovo is a company that you can trust!

Here are some of the main things you need to know about the "normal" practices for keeping up things like your belts, hoses, or transmission.  There are no "dumb questions", but here are a few things you won't have to wonder about any longer.

- When you approach your vehicle, get in the habit of looking at your tires. Tires that are low should be re-inflated immediately.

- Change your oil every 3,000 miles. (Some say you can go longer, but aim for 3,000 and it gives you a little bit of a grace period)

- Have belts and hoses inspected twice a year. (We are glad to help and usually check them any time you bring your car to us)

- Rotate and balance your tires every 7,000 miles and inspect tread depth.

- We recommend buying "Road Hazard Coverage" when you purchase new tires.

- Align your vehicle twice a year. (Not every auto repair place does this, but it's important for safety and tire wear)

- Change your transmission fluid every 25,000 to 30,000 miles.

- Timing belts need to be changed anywhere from 60,000 to 90,000 miles.

- When you purchase a used vehicle, have a reputable shop (All Vovo, for instance) check the car out BEFORE you make the purchase. Also, buy the extended warranty. Maintenance schedules are SO important to having long lasting vehicles. If you need any consultation on your vehicle at any time (especially if it's a Volvo---our specialty, please feel free to give us a call at 206-789-0736.

5 Steps for Better Fuel Economy!

by All Vovo on 11/08/13

We will admit that we are re-running this list from our blog nearly two years ago, but we felt it was important to keep this kind of information current with you all.  This leads us to re-racking our Five Easy Steps for Better Fuel Economy!

These days, just about everything in today's cars is computer controlled. The computer takes gets its information from the many "sensors" located on the motor and makes a "calculations" on how much fuel to give the motor. Even with these more "Complex" Fuel Injection systems, the basics of the cars of "yesterday" still apply now, just as they did on the very first cars.

I'd like to share these important tips for improving your gas mileage:

1. Check your vehicle's tire pressure often (at least once a month).

Pretty simple, huh? Remember as a kid trying to push a bike with low tire pressure? Now, think of your 3000 lbs. car with low tire pressure! You can check your owner's manual for the correct settings (If you do not have an owner's manual, I highly suggest you get one because there really is some great information in it that you may need in the future, like how to change a flat tire, etc). Also, remember that auto repair shops, including All Vovo, will check and adjust your tire pressure for free with your oil change or any other Volvo service.  Another good reason to bring your car in regularly.

2. Keep your vehicle "basics" properly tuned and maintained.

Believe it or not, under all those shiny plastic parts, wires, and expensive electronic stuff is a motor that still needs the basics. These basics are good fuel flow, spark, and airflow. A dirty air filter, or worn out tune-up parts will wreak havoc with your fuel economy. It can even lead you toward an "involuntarily" ride to the shop on the back of a tow truck one day. I can't tell you how many expensive fuel pumps we have replaced due to a restricted $30 to $45 fuel filter that should have been changed with a "scheduled service."

3. Make sure you service the Fuel Injection system at least every 30,000 miles.

I know that most of the manufacturers are now claiming that their vehicle can go 100,000 miles before its first tune-up. In my opinion and from past experience, I feel that this is way too long to extend service. In military terms where the equipment has to be "mission ready", the vehicle must be regularly serviced and inspected consistently. This allows them to prevent potentially disastrous breakdowns from occurring. It is much cheaper to maintain a clean fuel injection system, than it is to replace expensive fuel injection parts.

4. Monitor and, if needed, adjust your driving patterns.

If you are a "lead foot", this is bad news for you. You may have heard that the new fuel injection systems are so fuel-efficient that the new cars "sip" gas. This is only true if you drive the vehicle conservatively and accelerate lightly from stop signs. If you are like 80% of us, this is just not realistic. And, if you are that guy that has a hard time realizing that this is not a NASCAR race, then your fuel economy is even worse. When you really put the accelerator down, the fuel injection system makes power a priority, and fuel economy takes a back seat.

The key is to plan ahead and allow yourself more travel time to get to where you want to go and enjoy more of the drive, rather than just rushing back and forth. It may seem corny, but once you start to drive more conservatively, your gas mileage will go UP and your stress level could go down.

5. Cut down on the amount of driving that you do.

This is a pretty funny answer, but think about it. How often can you put a little more effort into planning ahead and combining trips? Figure out the best route to cover several errands in one trip. Or, better yet, try another transportation option if possible: walk, ride your bike, ride the bus, car pool, or just don't go! Pretty simple stuff, but when you drive less, you see the gas stations and repair stations less, and this will save you money in the long run.

Tire Blowouts and Tire Seperation Emergency Driving Tips

by All Vovo on 09/27/13

I found a great list of emergency driving tips provided by edmunds.com (you can read the original article at:  http://www.edmunds.com/driving-tips/how-to-survive-the-top-10-driving-emergencies.html ). It goes over some scenarios that you don't often get expert training on. Many drivers may know how to handle a slide in the snow and ice, but very few know what to do in Tire malfunction situations.  Do you?

The contributor, Mac Demere, mentions that pilots and race car drivers MUST be trained in all emergency situations to be allowed to continue operating, but the drivers we share the road with get little to no such training. We may just go ahead and repost more of their instruction, but for now, I wanted to focus on your tires and what to do to get out of trouble in a surprise scare.

(Most of what is below is taken from the article referenced above. We thank them for their expertise.)

Emergency #1: Tire Blowout

To survive a tire blowout, pretend you're the bad guy in a police chase: Push the gas and drive straight ahead. The shotgun-blast noise of a tire blowout makes most law-abiding drivers do exactly the wrong thing: attempt to slow down quickly and get off the road. With a rear-tire failure, any turning at high speed will likely result in a crash.

I've taught hundreds of drivers how to correctly handle a tire blowout: I sat in the passenger seat and exploded a gaping hole in the tire with plastic explosive. Not one lost control. Here's how they did it.

If a tire blows:

  • Squeeze the gas pedal for a couple of seconds. This puts you in control of the car and directs the car straight down the road. It also prevents you from committing the mortal sins of braking and turning. After a couple of seconds, gently and smoothly release the accelerator pedal. The drag force of a completely flat tire is so potent that pushing the gas will not allow the vehicle to go faster.
  • Most importantly, drive straight down your lane. Keep your feet away from the brake (or clutch).
  • Allow the car to coast down to as slow a speed as is safe (30 mph is good). Engage your turn signal and gently turn toward the shoulder of the road that's on the same side as the blown tire: This lessens your chance of losing control and will make the tire change safer. If the situation requires, you may ever so lightly squeeze the brakes.

Almost all highway blowouts and tread separations occur with the car traveling in a straight line on a very hot day at high speeds with an underinflated tire. The repeated flexing of an underinflated tire causes the failure. Check your tire pressures!

[This is great! We've mentioned the importance of proper tire pressures and checking them often many times. Now you see, it's more than etiquette, and even more than a gas mileage issue. It's a matter of safety for you and your passengers.]


Emergency #2: Tread Separation

Though the recovery techniques are nearly identical, a tread separation is more dangerous than a blowout. This is where the tread rubber and underlying steel belt partially or completely come off the tire. This creates a giant Weed Eater with a blade of steel-backed rubber spinning around at about 1,000 rpm. It'll scythe through the fuel tank, brake lines, inner fender panels, rear seats, side windows and, of course, flesh and bone.

An impending tread separation is usually announced by a consistent thumping noise, which will increase to a slapping sound, and then a metal-tearing jackhammer pounding. Sometimes this process takes days, other times only seconds. If you hear this, immediately slow down and take the tire to a professional for inspection. If you can see damage, put on the spare before proceeding.

If the tread begins to fly off:

  • Squeeze the gas pedal for an instant and gently release it.
  • Drive straight down your lane.
  • Allow the car to coast down as much as is safely possible. You will likely have to apply the brakes lightly in order to reach a safe turning speed.
  • Engage your turn signal and smoothly turn toward the shoulder of the road that's on the same side as the damaged tire.

Another reason why tread separations are more dangerous than blowouts: When the tread leaves the tire, the bad noise stops and some people think the car has magically cured itself. But instead of rolling along on grippy rubber, they're riding on fabric. Polyester will offer little grip when they take that next freeway off-ramp.

This guy really knows his stuff. Both corrections are pretty much the same, but once gain, they also point to the idea that you need to give attention and care to your tires. Our shop provides Volvo Repair Seattle WA recommends and trusts, but it's not just our repair work, it's that we are dedicated to keeping you on the road safely.  This is why we check the tire pressure every time you bring your car to us, and we inflate your tires properly.

Regular Volvo Service at an Independent Volvo Shop

by All Vovo on 08/19/13

We found a great article (and a hilarious one at that), that outlines the Top Ten Car Maintenance Mistakes. The author, Tom Wilson, runs through the ins and outs of what folks often ignore in their vehicle's maintenance. (Find it here: http://editorial.autos.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=463862&page=0 )

I loved the part where Tom reminds us that cars have gotten far easier to maintain, and need about "as much maintenance as a toaster". Funny stuff.  The real funny thing is that it seems to have made us all even MORE complacent about what our cars need and how NOT to procrastinate if a real issue is presenting itself.

Please, read over this comprehensive list! I will also add to this information that all of the tire inflation, brake, and air filter concerns are something that your Volvo specialist (like All Vovo) is pleased to handle for you on every oil change. This is a great list to keep you Volvo drivers aware of the kinds of things to look out for, but don't be intimidated, we are glad to keep you knowledgeable about your own car.  It does, though, require that you bring your vehicle to us---at least for a regular oil change.

More importantly, there are the regular servicing/maintenance schedule that is designated for your Volvo! This is part of the plan for HOW your Volvo can run so long and strong for you.  The catch is that you need to get it in for this regular service ON SCHEDULE!  Generally, it's a 30K, 60K, 90K mileage-type plan, but you MUST consult your owners manual.  When it's time, get it in to us immediately, regardless of whether you've noticed any problems.

Lastly, we want to assure you that All Vovo can take care of this regular servicing at a reasonable price and there is NO REASON why you have to bring a car back to the dealership to maintain the car's warranty. If, for instance, you have a 100,000-mile warranty, and you come due for your service, the dealership holds no special importance over an independent Volvo shop like ours for Volvo Service.  In fact, the only time it makes any difference, is if something brakes that is under warranty.  Then you should take it to the dealership and get the warrantied parts fixed for free!

So, don't hesitate!  Check your owner's manual right now, and get an idea of when you will need to bring your Volvo to a specialist like us.  It will save you a ton of money, just by letting a Seattle Volvo mechanic like us handle the maintenance and get a look at all of the vital systems.  You can sit back, relax, and let professionals keep you safe and help you avoid costly repairs. 

 

Volvo wants to make cars "harder to crash"!

by All Vovo on 07/17/13

The folks at Volvo are at it again! We've posted many times about the history and tradition of Volvo being steeped in safety-consciousness and innovation. A recent post on the Autocar website (read it here: http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/volvo-reveals-new-life-saving-safety-tech  ), refers to recent demonstrations by Volvo on how they can create cars that actually "steer, stop, and avoid obstacles both during the daytime and at night. Volvo is also developing cars that can park themselves and return to an agreed pick-up point at the tap of a smartphone screen."

The article claims that since emission standards in Europe are getting stricter every year, auto-makers have to use lighter and lighter materials for the sake of fuel efficiency. The problem is that lighter materials don't allow for strong protective structures to protect drivers in case of a collision. So, the minds at Volvo decided to "develop cars that are harder to crash, rather than ones that will protect occupants more if you crash," as the article explains.

The technology is already in existence and in use in many of their vehicles---camera, radar, night vision, gps, etc. The technology also should remain a low-cost addition to their vehicles. The development and honing for a precise autonomous experience seems to be 5 or 10 years off.

Volvo is striving to innovate once again, and will likely license this technology to other automakers. Incredible how even though the years, Volvo ends up in the same place in creating safer experiences for drivers.

The idea is to take the driver error out of the safety equation, that likely will eliminate the largest portion of auto-safety issues. Some of the specific aims of this technology are: to have strong animal detection and reaction to possible animals in the roadway; to sense road edges and barriers, and steer away or brake as necessary; create car-to-car communication, protecting you from rear-ending cars that are braking; and to protect pedestrians and cyclists in the dark, by sensing them and avoiding them when necessary.

I realize that many of the folks that come to us for Volvo Repair Seattle are old-time Volvo fans, with cars that are as old as our shop (est. 1982), but new Volvos have just as much of a draw today, as they have continued to keep with the times and the needs of the driver. If you've become a fan of how this company has maintained a quality identity and innovative mindset over the years, then this is just one more reason to remain a fan. Models new or old are welcome at our shop, and we're excited to see the history of Volvo's success every day at All Vovo! Cheers to Volvo and Seattle Volvo owners!

Transmission Fluid and Coolant in your Volvo

by All Vovo on 06/10/13

Nearly two years ago we spent time blogging some very important tips on the fluids in your Volvo. These tips actually could be applied to most any car. As part of a car care informational course here at the shop, we used to train people on all of the areas of concern for understanding and maintaining your Volvo. We didn't want to repeat the information because we know you can look back at it, BUT we realized that newer followers to our blog, or social media, might want to be refreshed on some of that information.

We thought we'd start by going over two major fluids that keep your car running smoothly: The coolant, and the automatic transmission fluid. You can find the original posts here: http://www.allvovo.com/Vovo-Blog.html?entry=checking-your-car-fluids-engine1 and http://www.allvovo.com/Vovo-Blog.html?entry=checking-your-car-fluids-automatic

Checking your Engine Coolant

Radiator fluid, or coolant, is the most important part of your car's cooling system, which protects your engine from overheating. Low coolant can lead to a breakdown and expensive repairs, so it is important to always keep the coolant level full. A low coolant level will cause engine overheating. We will check this when you bring it in to All Vovo for other services, but this is one area where you have to make sure and keep an eye on it yourself.

Here's how to check the engine fluid level:

Check the level of coolant or antifreeze only when the engine is cold. The coolant level should be between "LOW" and "FULL" marks in the coolant overflow tank. If it's lower, you should add some fluid. If there is no coolant in the overflow tank at all, you should add the coolant into the radiator also. But, you must remember: Never open the radiator cap when the engine is hot!

Another pro tip is that you can check the coolant strength with a coolant test strip. The strips change color to indicate how much life is left in the coolant. IF the coolant is brown or rust-colored, you may need a radiator flush and refill. Most people never consider the effectiveness of the fluid.  If  you like, we can go ahead and check/test this for you when you bring your car in to All Vovo.

Checking Your Automatic Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is not something that most drivers work with, but if you are concerened about something with your car's shifting, you can do a quick check on the fluid.  We'll of course, handle this for you if you get the car in to us.  If something isn't right, we'll be able to quickly find out what's going on.

Park your car on a level surface. Start the engine. Set the transmission level to the "P" (Parking) position, and let the engine idle (on some cars this process may differ, check the owner's manual for details). Pull the transmission dipstick and dry it with a lint-free clean rag or tissue. Then, set it back carefully all the way down into its place. Pull the dipstick again and check the fluid level. If the engine is cool, it should be at the upper end of the "cold" mark. If the engine is hot, the level should be at the upper end of the "hot" mark. If it reads lower than these respective marks, you should add some automatic transmission fluid.

Check the fluid condition also. If it is too black and has a burnt smell, then your transmission is not going to last. Normally, it should be clean and transparent. Its color may vary from red to brown. Wipe the dipstick with clean white paper and look at the paper. There should be no black deposits, no medal particals, and no dirt left on the paper. If the condition of the fluid looks bad, get your Volvo to us immediately.

This is how to add the transmission fluid: Check the transmission fluid type in the owners manual. For example, some Chrysler transmissions need only a specific type of fluid and regular fluid, like Dexron 3, can even destroy the transmission. Add a little amount of fluid and wait for a minute to let the fluid flow down. Start the engine then check the level again. Add fluid in small amounts as needed.

News, Bothell Volvo Repair, and Coupons!

by All Vovo on 04/10/13

Well, spring is finally here and Western Washington seems to be getting a bit of an early reprieve from the cold and frost----the groundhog seems to have really gotten it right this time!  It's a really good time to finally get out, wash your Volvo, and start the recovery from the cold winter months. For those who noticed issues with your Heater Core over the winter, we have a special coupon for getting that replaced. Of course there's no rush, but it's best to take care of these things while you're thinking of them.

If you're due for your 30,000, 60,000, 90,000 (etc.)-mile servicing, Spring is a good time to get that out of the way too.  We have a Volvo Coupon for that too! You may be a little early or even a little late for that service milestone, but the summer driving could test you for sure.  It's better to go ahead and get that recommended servicing done now. Remember, Volvo owners tend to get more life out of their cars, but in order to get those results, you CANNOT be tardy on your regular servicng, or maintenance, or repairs for that matter.

Those two Volvo coupons should also help give a little more incentive for you to get in to All Vovo and get those things handled. Both coupons ask that you "Like" us on Facebook for the validity of the coupon, but if you are already following us there, you can feel free to use these and any new coupons that come through, without any further action.  Although it WOULD be nice if you shared our facebook page with friends.

All Vovo, your Volvo Repair Specialist, would also like to make absolutely clear that we are very popular among commuters. We have customers who make the effort to use OUR Volvo Service, though they do not live in Ballard, or even Seattle.  For instance, we have quite a few customers who come our way from Bothell.  Here's an excerpt from our Bothell-specific page:

"We promise, our service is worth the drive from Bothell. Our highly qualified and certified technicians, James Takatsuka, Jose Carrillo, and Jessee Wood take the utmost care in inspecting your Volvo and repairing and servicing your Volvo. They will give you a total picture of your car’s condition and help you to prioritize repairs with your car’s safety and reliability in mind. That's the care of an expert Volvo Mechanic Bothell Volvo drivers can count on."

....and it's the truth. We strive to be "worth the drive" and we even have loaner vehicles (when available) for you to use.  Bothell Volvo drivers, along with Shoreline, Kirkland, Bellevue, West Seattle, and of course, Ballard Volvo drivers will soon become big fans of our Volvo Auto Repair.

In summary, Spring is here, use those coupons, "Like Us" on facebook, and Come on down Bothell drivers!

Five Tips for Making your Commute less of a Drag

by All Vovo on 02/04/13

Many of our Volvo driver friends out there in the Seattle area, come to us from afar, and many have to travel quite a ways just to get into work as well. We are always into keeping drivers safe and "in the know' about their cars on the subject of Volvo Repair. Now, we've compiled some popular ideas, and put together a list of tips that we thought might help make your commute more bearable---even ways to stay healthier.

Here are the list of tips that might help you deal with and even use your commute to your advantage in some ways:

1. Listen to an audiobook, mellow music, or news while you drive.

You can get into a book of fiction that you don't have time to sit down and read, or instead of zoning out on TV news at home, you can get all that news in the car and spend your home-time doing something else. Mellow music might help ease the nerves on frustrating commutes as well. Also, if you haven't tried listening to comedy in the car, try it! It can also help brighten your mood while entertaining you and making you laugh.

2. Call friends and catch up!

Using a hands-free device, of course, you can use the time to call friends that you "never have time" to call. Well, you DO have time, and it may even help you use the time to your advantage! Call your mom, call your old friends, call and make plans for the weekend. Keep it cool and fun and keep your eyes on the road while you do it.

3. Make business calls.

Maybe you can call a few of those folks from the road instead of the office. Might allow you to leave a little earlier and handle some business on the road. It may even help you network and sound more available---good steps toward having and even better career future.

4. Bring healthy snacks.

You can avoid the urge to pick up unhealthy foods, and you can save time in the morning by eating breakfast on the road. Trail mixes are very easy to take with you, as are fruit, and health bars of all types.

5. Take care of planning and brainstorming.

Do you have creative projects that need time for thinking and planning? How about a side business plan? Do you write music? Or poetry? Maybe you like to set goals, or plan weekend physical activities. Well, you can use this valuable "windshield time" to brainstorm and get ideas together. A digital voice recorder (included in most smartphones) will be beneficial, so that you can make notes later.

Volvo auto drivers are usually a bit more "take charge" in their approach to life. That's why many of them choose a vehicle that has so many intelligent benefits to the owner. Hopefully, our commuter friends will see these as tips to "taking charge" of their commute and getting ahead of the game instead of letting the commute drag you down.

Holiday Driving Tips for You and Your Volvo!

by All Vovo on 12/17/12

Holiday Driving Tips for you and your Volvo!

We love keeping safety tips and advice in front of our customers. We've covered most subjects on our blog, including tire inflation, and even pedestrian safety. I thought if I did a little search on the internet, maybe, just maybe I would find a list of tips or ideas that related to the Holidays. Lo and behold, it turns out the Iowa Department of Transportation had just such a list (thank you to them, you can find that document at: http://www.iowadot.gov/tips.pdf )

Okay, it's a lot of the same winter driving and travel tips you've heard from us before. It's possible though, that with all the holiday bustle and the importance of making it out to those family gatherings, we forget to take proper road precautions. This is, at least,  some food for thought (to go along with all of the Holiday food us Americans will be overeating--haha).

Some of the tips we wanted to highlight:

- Before your trip, make sure your vehicle (Volvo) is tuned up and in good shape for travel. This becomes increasingly important in winter driving conditions.

- Be flexible in setting your travel plans. Leave early if you can, to avoid peak traffic hours. How much more important is this if you have to travel through or past Metro Seattle? If snow is in the forecast, or even icy road conditions, consider changing your schedule. Better to reschedule than risk your life.

- Stay fresh and alert when driving. Take plenty of breaks and be realistic about what you can handle. If you get tired, get off the road for a little bit, and get coffee, fresh air, or whatever will get you back to "alert" status. It's even better to rent a motel room for the night, than risking a crash due to falling asleep at the wheel. Many crashes are single-car accidents that occur in the early morning hours, and when they aren't caused by alcohol, they are caused by tired drivers.

- Keep your speed down! And, give yourself plenty of time and distance to react to traffic situations around you.

- If you will be drinking alcohol this holiday season, PLEASE consider using a designated driver to avoid any sticky situations on the road. One way or another it could be VERY costly. Let's be responsible.

Be safe and Happy Holidays from All Vovo! Your Seattle and Bellevue Volvo specialist!

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