Lease Or Buy?

Lease? Or buy? These are the options for It's always a tough question for Kalispell motorists. But here is some info that'll help you make an informed decision.

If you buy, you'll pay the full cost of the car, with maybe an initial down payment, then monthly payments on the balance that pays down the loan principal, and the finance charge.

Kalispell auto owners who lease, finance the portion of the cost of the car that's used up during the term of the lease. You'll pay some money up front; fees, security deposit, first month's payment and maybe a capital reduction. The monthly payments include a depreciation cost and a finance charge. When the lease is up, you return the car to your local Kalispell area dealership.

So how do Kalispell car owners decide?

First, how much do you have for a down payment? A lease usually requires a smaller down.

How much monthly payment can you afford? Again, lease payments will be much lower for any given down payment.

A lease needs requires better credit, so that's a factor.

How long will you keep the car? Kalispell motorists who keep their cars around for a while will pay less if they buy. But just two or three years? Then leasing is the way to go.

Loren's Auto Repair
1309 US Hwy 2 West
Kalispell, MT 59901
406-755-7757

If your car might suffer a ding or two, like, say a work truck would, then buying's better. The Kalispell auto leasing company will want their vehicle back at the lease end in tip top shape, and if repairs are needed, you'll pay.

How many miles do you drive in and around the Whitefish area? Important to consider because leases have a mileage limit, and if you go over, you pay a hefty charge per mile when the lease is up. So high mileage MT car owners should definitely buy.

Will the car be used in your Kalispell business? Check with your Kalispell accountant, but both financing options have different tax benefits, depending on your circumstances.

Over the short term, leasing is much cheaper for Kalispell motorists. Medium term, leasing and buying costs are about the same. Over the long haul, leasing always costs more in MT.

Leases may sound a bit complicated, and the typical lease decision weighs more on the monthly payment, rather than price. So sometimes Kalispell leasers may pay on a higher purchase price than a buyer would.

Here is a tip: If the Kalispell salesman asks if you'll be leasing or buying, say you're not sure yet. Make your best deal, then look at your Kalispell financing options.

Here's another: With a buy or a lease, if you total the car, you'll owe the full amount of the loan, or the balance of the lease payments, and usually, it's less than the car's fair Kalispell market value  – and that's all your MT auto insurance company will pay. But ask your Kalispell agent about gap insurance, which pays the difference between fair market value and what you owe. Big consideration for a lease.

Remember, you have to return your leased vehicle in excellent condition, and may need to do all the vehicle manufacturer's recommended service and maintenance, or face penalties. So see your local technician at your Kalispell auto repair shop  or Loren's Auto Repair on a regular basis, get the required work done and save the service records. It's well worth it.

Viva la Differential At Loren's Auto Repair In Kalispell

There are a lot of Kalispell people who are due for a differential service, but had never heard of a differential before. With front-wheel drive being so common in MT these days, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Kalispell folks don’t even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don’t need to be serviced for years, so it’s understandable that it’s not something on the top of mind. So it’s not uncommon for Kalispell people to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.

To better understand what a differential does, think about a track at any MT high school. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That’s to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside Subaru wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It’s a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a Subaru moving goes through the differential. Most cars weigh between three and six thousand pounds – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That’s a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool. The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that break down over time. So manufacturers recommend intervals for when to replace your differential fluid.

Your professional and courteous Loren's Auto Repair service technician will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. He’ll then replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Your Loren's Auto Repair service advisor can look up the Subaru manufacturer’s recommended service interval or you can check your owner’s manual.

At Loren's Auto Repair, we've been providing quality automotive service for our valued Kalispell customers for 27 years. If you need to schedule differential maintenance, or any other automotive service, give us a call at 406-755-7757.

Line Them Up: Wheel Alignment Service At Loren's Auto Repair

Hello Kalispell drivers! Let's talk about alignment. One of the most important parts of preventive maintenance for your vehicle is keeping the wheels in alignment. Poor alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly, which can significantly reduce their lifespan. This means you will have to replace them more often, which can be costly in Kalispell.

It can even damage your suspension system, which is a steep repair. But even more importantly, uneven tread wear can lead to blowouts on the road, a dangerous and potentially deadly safety risk for Kalispell auto owners and their passengers.

It may not take an accident or bad driving habits to “knock” your tires out of alignment. Tires can go out of alignment with just everyday MT driving. Kalispell road hazards, pot holes, uneven or gravel roads, even the bumps and bounces of normal Kalispell expressways and surface streets can gradually put your Subaru tires out of alignment.

So it’s good auto advice to have your Subaru's alignment inspected periodically. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will have recommendations on how often you should get an alignment check: usually every year or two. But if you think your Subaru tires might be out of alignment, you should take your Subaru into Loren's Auto Repair now.

When you take your Subaru in for an alignment in Kalispell, your professional and courteous Loren's Auto Repair technician will start by inspecting the steering and suspension systems. If something is broken or damaged there, it will need to be corrected in order to get good alignment of the wheels.

If all looks good in the steering and suspension departments, the Subaru will then be put on an alignment rack where an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels can then be aligned to the auto maker’s specifications. The ideal alignment for any vehicle is set by its engineers and may vary from vehicle to vehicle.

There are three types of critical adjustments that may have to be made to correctly align a vehicle’s tires. The first is called “toe.” This refers to tires that are out of alignment because they point inward or outward at the front of the tire. Think of a person who is pigeon-toed or splay-footed, and you get the idea.

The second adjustment is the camber. This adjustment affects the angle at which the tires meet the road. Think of a solid building in contrast to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The last adjustment is the castor. This adjustment measures the angle of the tire in relation to the front axles. So, a piece of auto advice that just might be good for life as well: keep everything in alignment, and you’ll be able to steer where you want to go in Kalispell. Drive safely.

Keep Your Cool In Kalispell: Air Conditioning Service

Most Kalispell motorists don't even think about their car air conditioning system unless it fails. That’s because many Kalispell and Columbia Falls motorists don't really understand that auto A/Cs need periodic service. Let me share some of the reasons why they fail.

First, like every machine, the Subaru air conditioner parts need - you guessed it - lubrication. The lubricant is actually mixed in with the refrigerant (that’s the stuff that makes the air cool). Remember that even if the air conditioner is still blowing out cool air, the oil that lubricates the parts may be used up: and unlubricated parts can fail in all MT cars.

Keep Your Cool In Kalispell: Air Conditioning Service

Now here’s a tip for Kalispell motorists: Run your air conditioner every so often during MT winters. This circulates the lubricant to help keep the seals from drying out.

The air conditioner actually removes some of the moisture in the air. So if you have trouble with fogging on your Subaru windshield during MT winters or during a rain storm, running the A/C on the defrost setting should help. Now on some Kalispell cars you can’t run the A/C at the same time as the defroster. Don’t ask me why, but I suspect lawyers were involved.

Also, air and water can get into the A/C system. That can reduce the efficiency of the system and also lead to corrosion that causes damage. Kalispell motorists should periodically purge the system and replace the refrigerant to remove the air and water.

Kalispell drivers would be wise to learn the important early warning signs of A/C trouble: 1) The air’s not as cold as it used to be. 2) Unusual noises when the A/C cycles on. Those are signs to get your vehicle into Loren's Auto Repair in Kalispell before the damage gets worse.

By following the recommended service intervals in your Subaru owner’s manual, you can help prevent mechanical failure of your air conditioning system. Your A/C system contains some expensive components like the compressor, condenser, dryer, etc. Anything Whitefish and Columbia Falls car owners can do to lengthen the life of their A/C is well worth it.

Fuel Saving Tip: Slow Down Around Kalispell

There's not much we can do about the price of gas in Kalispell MT, but we do quite a bit about how much we use as we're driving on our Kalispell streets.

Our driving habits can dramatically affect our fuel economy.

Slow Down In Kalispell for Fuel Economy The first thing we can do is watch the 'go-pedal'. Hard acceleration just sucks the gas. Gently leave stop lights and plan lane changes so you don't need to floor it. That can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Go a little slower on the freeway to Kalispell. Once you're going more than sixty-five miles an hour your fuel economy starts to drop dramatically. Leave early so you don't need to rush to be on time. And cruise control is your friend – steady speed uses less gas.

Plan errands ahead. Make fewer trips by combining errands.

Hey at current gas prices, a lead-foot might as well be a gold foot.

Loren's Auto Repair
1309 US Hwy 2 West
Kalispell, MT 59901
406-755-7757

Automotive Detective Work In Kalispell

There’s a reason we use the word “diagnose” when we talk about fixing cars in Kalispell. Figuring out what’s wrong with your Subaru has a lot of similarities to figuring out what’s wrong with someone who is ill. Vehicles are a mass of complex systems that can produce a variety of symptoms when something goes wrong. As with human diagnoses, a specific symptom may be indicative of a number of problems, and figuring out the specific cause takes training and experience.

Sometimes the diagnosis of your Subaru’s trouble comes down to a matter of trial-and-error. This can be frustrating for Kalispell auto owners because time and money are on the line. You may feel you should only be paying for repair work. Of course, you only want to pay for the right repair – and a proper diagnosis is part of getting it right. Like at the Kalispell doctor’s office — some of what you pay for is the doctor’s time and effort to figure out what’s wrong with you, not for the actual cure.

The good news is that Kalispell car owners can do a lot to help out their professional and courteous Loren's Auto Repair service professional in figuring out what’s wrong with their Subaru. Again, the medical office is a good analogy. The more information you can give your doctor about where it hurts, when it hurts and how it hurts, the more quickly he will be able to help you. In the same way, the more you can tell your Kalispell service technician about when the problem occurs, what is sounds like, how often it occurs, where it occurs, etc., the more efficiently he will be able to get you back on the road.

Good auto advice: learn how to talk to your Kalispell tech.

If fluid is leaking from your Subaru, you should note the color of the fluid, where under the car the puddles form, and when they form (e.g. only when it’s parked for a while, only if the engine’s hot, when the weather turns cold, etc.). For example, if your Subaru is making an unusual sound, you should indicate where the sound is coming from, what kind of sound it is, and when you hear it (again, be very specific). The more details you can give, the more helpful you will be. “I hear the sound when I turn left” is more helpful than “I hear the sound when I turn.” After a few conversations with your Loren's Auto Repair tech, you should get a feel for the kind of information he needs.

If you drop your car off, leave a detailed note describing information about your Subaru’s problem. A quickly scrawled “Making a funny noise” will only lead to frustration for both your technician and for you. Good communication leads to better car care for Kalispell car owners.

If your Subaru is occasionally stalling or sputtering, you may need a little more patience than with other types of car trouble because these types of problems are intermittent. In order to fix the trouble, your service professional often finds it helpful to reproduce the symptoms. And if the problem is intermittent, it may take a while to do so.

In these cases, specific information can be invaluable, as it can significantly reduce the time it takes for your professional and courteous tech to get your Subaru to misbehave. For example, if you can tell your technician that the vehicle only acts up after it’s been driven for 20 minutes and over 50 mph, it will allow him to quickly reproduce your problem, greatly reducing the time it will take for a car diagnosis in Kalispell and then get it fixed.

Good preventive maintenance goes a long way to keeping your car out of the Kalispell repair shop, but if you need to get it corrected, good communication will get you back on the road quickly.

Fuel Injection Keeps Getting Better For Kalispell Motorists

Kalispell drivers know that engines burn fuel to operate. Fuel is pumped from your fuel tank to your engine where it is squirted—or injected—into your engine’s cylinders. This is the function of the fuel injectors.

There are two ways to inject fuel into an engine. Fuel needs air to burn, so in the first method, fuel is injected into a port and allowed to mix with air and before it is drawn into the cylinders. In the second method, fuel is injected directly into the cylinders and mixes with air after it enters the engine.

Direct injection engines burn fuel more efficiently than conventional engines. Some models can deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.

For example, in one family of engines, the conventional version (a V6) delivers about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version delivers over 300 horsepower and gets about the same gas mileage. The turbocharged version delivers 350 horsepower.

Why the big difference in power? Direct injection systems allow fuel to be squirted into the engine at hundreds of times the pressure of a conventional engine. This atomizes the fuel better (breaks it down into tinier droplets), which means more of it gets burned, which translates to more power for your engine. It also results in cleaner emissions and improved MPG.

Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver the right amount of fuel at exactly the time the engine needs it. They are also engineered to inject fuel with a specific spray pattern. This spray pattern allows for maximum fuel efficiency and proper atomization.

Direct injection engines require a much higher degree of precision than conventional engines. For this reason, they are equipped with more sophisticated computers.

When fuel injectors get dirty, their precision drops off. The spray pattern won’t be precise, and the timing of fuel delivery may be off. This decreases fuel efficiency and gas mileage for Kalispell motorists as well as delivering less power to the engine.

Fuel injectors are not cheap to replace. Direct injection fuel injectors are even more expensive. And we’re talking a mortgage payment to buy a set of new fuel injectors for a diesel engine.

So keeping your fuel injectors clean is just good auto advice for Kalispell drivers. The best way to do this is to change your air and fuel filters regularly and practice other habits of good car care and preventive maintenance at Loren's Auto Repair in Kalispell. Cleaning additives in your fuel can also help.

If you do end up with gum or varnish in your fuel system, you’ll need a professional fuel system cleaning. This will clean out your whole system, including the injectors. The good news is that with proper maintenance, your fuel injectors will last for a long time.

The Straight and Narrow: Power Steering Service at Loren's Auto Repair

Service to a vehicle’s power steering system is a vital part of preventive maintenance for brilliant Kalispell drivers. This system provides power to the steering wheel so you can turn it with ease. Without power steering, all of the power to turn your Subaru’s wheels would have to come from you.

The central element of most power steering systems is a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid, and it is this pressure that provides auxiliary steering power. A belt connected to the engine usually powers the pump, although some systems use an electric pump. Some newer Subarus have an electric motor that directly provides the power steering boost.

Pressurized fluid moves from the pump to the steering gear through a high-pressure hose. A low-pressure hose returns fluid to the pump. Power steering fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the system.

Kalispell auto owners should remember that fluid levels in the power steering system should be checked at every oil change. Low fluid levels can damage the pump, which can be expensive to repair. Low fluid levels may also indicate a leaky hose in the power steering system, so it is a good idea to inspect the hoses, especially if your fluid levels are low.

Power steering fluid breaks down over time, losing its effectiveness. It also gradually collects moisture, which can lead to corrosion in the steering system. So the fluid needs to be replaced occasionally. You should check with your owner’s manual or ask your professional and courteous Loren's Auto Repair service professional to learn how often this fluid should be replaced.

When your fluid is replaced, your professional and courteous Loren's Auto Repair tech will remove the old fluid and replace it with new. Power steering fluids are not all created equal; the fluid has to be compatible with your hoses and seals. Your Loren's Auto Repair service professional can ensure that you get the right fluid for your vehicle, or you can consult your owner’s manual.

Signs that your power steering system is in trouble can include the following: a steering wheel that is hard to turn, auxiliary steering power that cuts in and out, or a whining sound coming from the pump. Also, Kalispell auto owners who are not topping off the power steering fluid on schedule may hear squealing coming from the engine belts.

To protect your steering system should never hold the steering wheel in the far right or far left position for more than a few seconds at a time. This can wear out your pump in a hurry.

Preventive maintenance for your steering system primarily involves the power steering components, but your steering system has other parts that can wear out or be damaged by rough MT driving conditions. Such parts include the ball-joint, idler arm, steering gear, steering-knuckle and tie rod. Signs that they are in need of attention include play in the steering wheel, a vehicle that wanders, uneven tire wear and a steering wheel that is off-center. Kalispell drivers should have their alignment checked annually. This check-up can reveal bent or damaged steering components.

For answers to other questions about your steering system, or for auto advice on any type of vehicle maintenance, check with the team at Loren's Auto Repair. We can steer you in the right direction when it comes to quality car care.

Check Engine Light Diagnosis At Loren's Auto Repair

Hello Kalispell auto owners. Have you ever had your check engine light come on? Did you panic? Or just scowl and ignore it? What should you do? Pull to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or just keep driving? What does that little light really mean for Kalispell car owners?

First of all, the Check Engine or Service Engine light does indicate that something is wrong. That’s why it is called a warning light. But the something that is wrong might be a loose gas cap, or it might be serious Subaru engine trouble. That’s why Kalispell motorists often don’t know how to respond to it.

The check engine light has two modes: it flashes or it stays on. A flashing light is serious. You need to get your vehicle to Loren's Auto Repair in Kalispell ASAP. No, you don’t need to call a tow truck, but, yes, you can’t wait to get your car serviced. If your check engine light is on and flashing, you should not tow trailers, haul heavy loads or drive at MT expressway speeds. Any of these could lead to serious damage that could result pricey repair bills for Kalispell drivers who ignore it.

A steady check engine light is less serious, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored by Big Fork drivers. You should plan to get your vehicle inspected at your local Kalispell automotive service center the first realistic opportunity. Not the first convenient opportunity, but the first realistic one.

Before you take your Subaru in, however, check the gas cap. A loose gas cap can trigger the check engine light. If it is loose, twist it until it clicks three times. If that was the problem, your Kalispell engine light will reset after several days. However, if it stays on, then you need to schedule an inspection at your Kalispell auto repair center center or Loren's Auto Repair.

Modern automobiles have a computer in the engine that monitors and controls many of the engine functions. When the computer senses something wrong, it first tries to fix the problem itself by adjusting the Subaru engine. If the problem persists, the computer signals the check engine light to come on.

This process stores a trouble code inside the Subaru engine’s computer. Your service advisor scans the computer and reads the code. This does not tell the tech exactly what is wrong with the car, but it gives him a good idea as to where to start looking.

It is NOT good auto advice to deal with a check engine light by disconnecting the battery. Yes, this makes the light go off, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It’s rather like trying to put out a fire by disconnecting the smoke detector. Also, disconnecting the battery will erase your Subaru’s computer memory. An engine’s computer, over time, learns to adjust for peculiarities of the specific Subaru engine, for driving conditions in your Columbia Falls area, and for your driving habits. Losing its memory means it has to learn and adjust for these things all over again.

Also, don’t buy a cheap consumer scanner or get a trouble code read at your nearest Kalispell auto parts store, then try to fix a problem yourself — unless, of course, you are a trained Kalispell mechanic. Today’s auto repair equipment is fairly high-tech and knowing a code is only an indication of where a problem might be, not the answer to what is wrong. Trying to save a little money by doing it yourself may end up costing you big in the long run.

Of course, the best thing to do is to keep that pesky check engine light from coming on in the first place. Good car care and routine preventive maintenance go a long way to keeping your Subaru out of your Kalispell auto repair shop. But, if that light does come on, be smart. Take care of the problem early, and take care of it professionally.

Loren's Auto Repair Service For Your Exhaust System

Your Subaru’s exhaust system is more than just a tailpipe and a muffler. In fact, it is one of the most complex systems on your Subaru. Maintaining it is good Loren's Auto Repair auto advice for Kalispell auto owners, but it’s also good health advice and good environmental advice.

The exhaust system includes your emissions system. Because this system may affect your health and the health of our Kalispell area environment, it is subject to strict government regulations. Satisfying these regulations demands some high-tech, computer-controlled equipment, which means that the emissions system is a lot more sophisticated than it was thirty years ago. Most auto manufacturers recommend that you have your Subaru exhaust and emissions systems checked by a qualified tech at regular intervals.

The exhaust system starts with the exhaust manifold. Loren's Auto Repair Service For Your Exhaust SystemThe manifold is attached to the Subaru engine. It collects exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Gaskets seal the connection of the manifold to the engine and to other joints. A cracked or loose manifold or a leaking or damaged gasket can allow dangerous gases to enter the passenger compartment of a vehicle. One of these gases is carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless and deadly. For this reason, it is essential that Kalispell auto owners keep their exhaust system in good repair.

The pipes that connect the various parts of the exhaust system can rust or be damaged by rocks or other road debris. Such damage can cause dangerous gases to leak into the air. So it is important that exhaust pipes get an inspection regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next critical component of your Subaru exhaust system. It sort of looks like a muffler. Its job is to change dangerous gases into harmless carbon dioxide and water. The catalytic converter doesn’t require any regular maintenance, but it can wear out. If it fails, you will need a new catalytic converter to pass an emissions test in MT. Call Loren's Auto Repair at 406-755-7757 if you suspect a problem with your catalytic converter.

Oxygen sensors in the exhaust pipe monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust. This helps the Subaru engine’s computer keep the fuel-to-air mixture at optimal levels.

The muffler is also part of your Subaru exhaust system, but it deals with a different kind of emission. It keeps your Subaru from emitting bad sounds. Mufflers act like finely tuned musical instruments. They create a feedback of sound waves to absorb or decrease the noises made by your engine. Different mufflers can create different sound waves, so you can actually “tune” your car to produce a particular sound, anything from whisper to rumble.

It is essential for damaged mufflers be replaced immediately at your Kalispell automotive service center, especially if they are leaking. Not only will the extra noise annoy your Kalispell neighbors, a leaky muffler could be serious.

The entire exhaust system is attached to your Subaru by hangers and clamps. These fasteners can rust, come loose or break. The critical components of the exhaust system can get very hot, so when the hangers or clamps fail, these hot components can come into contact with other parts such as wires and hoses. These can melt, causing serious and pricey damage to your vehicle. Good car care requires that you have your exhaust system inspected regularly.

Let’s not forget the tailpipe. It’s the last essential piece in the exhaust system — and of your Subaru, for that matter. Exhaust fumes exit your Subaru through the tailpipe.

If your Subaru has any of the following symptoms, it may have a problem with the exhaust system: it’s hard to start, it runs rough, it’s noisy, it’s smoking. Also, if your “check engine” light comes on, especially if it’s flashing, it is important to get your Subaru to Loren's Auto Repair in Kalispell right away. Often, the “check engine” light indicates a problem with the emissions system.

Caring for your Subaru exhaust system yields cosmetic benefits like quieting your engine sounds, but also may impact your health and safety. Your life, or the life of a loved one, may actually be on the line.