Des Moines Car-X Tire & Auto Dealer wins Dealer of the Year

Des Moines, IA May 02, 2011 – Car-X Service Systems of Chicago recently announced that Mark and Julie Goldner have been named 2010 Regional Dealers of the Year. The Goldner’s own and operate the five Car-X Auto Service Centers in Des Moines and Ames. This is the 3nd year in a row that they have won this award. The prestigious award takes into consideration all aspects of owning and operating an auto service franchise.

Car-X Des Moines Company President, Mark Goldner, recently accepted the award at a meeting held in Chicago, Illinois. Goldner stated, “Winning this award for the second year in a row was an appreciated honor. It motivates me to raise the franchise goals even higher for 2011 and beyond.”

Mark Goldner Owner and Operator
Mr. Goldner started in the Auto Repair business in 1979 with Sears Auto in Des Moines, Iowa, as an ASE Certified Technician. In 1983, Mr. Goldner joined the Midas Auto Group as a Manager.

In 1988, Mr. Goldner partnered with Car-X Auto Service in Des Moines as Store Manager and Inventory Manager. As the business grew, he moved into a Supervisor role, where he helped to grow the business to the current five locations.
Mark and Julie Goldner purchased the business in 2008 and has been operating and building the Car-X Auto Service brand in Des Moines and Ames, Iowa.
Mr. Goldner lives in Ankeny, Iowa and enjoys spending time with his wife, Julie, and two sons, Ezra and Caleb. Most of their spare time is spent watching their sons play Little League baseball, football, and basketball. As a family they also enjoy camping, along with, riding and watching motocross.

About Car-X Des Moines
Car-X Auto Service in Des Moines and Ames Iowa has been locally owned and operated since 1988. There are three Des Moines Car-X locations, 3632 Merle Hay Rd, 4001 E 14th, 3901 SE 14th, one location in Clive Ia. at 1400 NW 86th and a location at 429 S. Duff Ave in Ames Ia.

Muddy but Fun – the CarX Crazy K

How to describe the fun CarX Crazy K race yesterday? Yes, it was fun. Yes, it was a bit challenging. Yes, I fell during the obstacles. Yes, I fell into a big hole of muddy water. Yes, it was hot, hot, hot.

Did I mention it was crazy? I remember thinking exactly that as I ran through the course and its obstacles.

The race proceeds go to local charities, and it’s an event sure to be repeated in future years.

The details – a 5K course that wound through the county fairgrounds – mainly through grassy fields, across creeks, up and down hilly terrain, with the last half mile on the grandstand’s track. The obstacles (and my experience):

  1. Sprinkler alley – refreshing until I almost lost a contact lens while being sprayed directly the face
  2. Plank Walk – walk across logs over a big pit of water. I chose the skinniest log and almost fell off.
  3. CarX Wall – A 4 foot high wall. I strained my left leg going over this thing.
  4. Tirade – a sea of tires. I planned to run these, but I didn’t step carefully into the first tire and fell down. Scott said he would have burst out laughing if he wasn’t “so focused” on the race.
  5. Hurdles – 10 – 2 foot high hurdles. After my tire episode, I knew I had to walk over these. It was a good time to drink some water.
  6. Tunnels – crawl through 3 foot high tunnels. I have a scraped back because I refused to crawl through on my hands and knees.
  7. Muddy Hill Climb – at mile 2.6, this was slippery and steep. I almost fell several times. Caked with mud, my shoes were now 5 pounds heavier.
  8. Hay Maker – Climb over large hay bales. I am way short for this sort of obstacle, but managed to get over it.
  9. Slip-N-Slide Car Wash – This was the most fun – a slip and slide covered with foam. Sure, you landed in a big puddle on the bottom, but it was fun.
  10. Muddy Crawl – The last obstacle – a watery, muddy pit, about 2 feet deep. I slipped at the edge and fell in. I sloshed through and up over the muddy bank and ran to the finish line, shoes full of rocks, water and mud.

Our team – the couples we visited Vegas with last November (proving we are a motley crew) and another couple, Dave and Anne. I’m waiting on a copy of the group picture a non-running friend took, but here are several of our team walking towards the starting gate:
Heading Into the Arena

Scott finishing the race:
Scott Finishes

Amy and Anne coming out of the Muddy Pit:
Spray Off the Mud

Jeff and Lisa, so cute as they end the race holding hands:
Finishing Hand in Hand

And the ladies from our team – proving we are a strong group to complete the race:

Oh yeah, I wore a costume – an old cave girl costume I’ve had since college. I’ve put it out for sale at the garage sale for the past 5 years. I guess it’s never sold because I was destined to wear it again. Maybe this is a new tradition for me – run the future Crazy 5K wearing the same outfit…..

Reprinted with permission from guest blogger Shirley LeMay

Sunday, August 28, 2011 –  , , , , ,

AC During Summer Months

During the warm summer months a typical driver will reach down and turn on the air conditioning system. Some drivers may be hesitant to do so though because they feel that it wastes more gasoline, which results in them spending more money then they would like to. Many drivers would just rather be a little hotter than have to buy more gas each week. Fortunately, a driver doesn’t necessarily have to choose between saving money and staying cool when it’s hot. A few things, such as a complete AC checkup along with any needed repairs can help reduce the amount of excess fuel used by the air conditioning system.

Proper maintenance and repairs are one of the ways to save fuel while running the air conditioner. A leaky or plugged hose will make the air warm and less effective, which will cause the AC system to work harder. The harder the compressor needs to work, the more gas the vehicle will use turning the compressor. An AC checkup can expose any necessary AC repairs that must be done. For the most part, air conditioning problems are easy to fix and won’t require a lot of money to repair them. The vehicle can normally be fixed within a couple of hours. In the end, drivers will end up with efficient and effective AC systems in their car that don’t eat up as much gas as poorly maintained systems.

In the end, the best way to conserve gas while using the air conditioner is to make sure that the system works properly. That involves getting an AC checkup and then doing any AC repairs that may be needed. Properly maintained AC systems burn much less fuel than an improperly working system. With that in mind, all of this work can be taken care of quickly and for a relatively inexpensive price.


Lastly, drivers should focus on doing some other things to reduce the amount of fuel they burn with the AC system on or not on. Drivers should focus on driving smoothly without any sudden braking moves or excessive use of the gas pedal. Also, using the cruise control can help a car use less fuel. Drivers should use the air conditioner at a low level rather than a high one to save quite a bit of money on fuel costs. Remember the AC system is designed to be used in most newer egg shaped cars, putting down the windows causes more wind resistance then if the windows are up!


What to Do About an Overheated Engine: Prevention and Solution

Perhaps one of the most terrifying scenarios when driving is seeing clouds of steam billow from the hood as the temp gauge needle slams into the red line. Chances are, it happens while you’re alone at night, and without cell phone reception. Fortunately, the cause of engine overheating is preventable as long as you are aware of what causes it.

There are a handful of parts that need to be checked in order to maintain a safe driving environment. First, make sure your coolant is in full supply and of good quality. Check the radiator core to make sure it is not blocked. Have your thermostat tested to make sure it is working properly. Examine the fan blades to see if any are cracked or broken. Check the radiator cap to be sure that it is maintaining sufficient pressure.

Sometimes it seems that engine overheating can occur despite preventative measures. In this case, it is important to pull over to a safe area and turn off your car. Here you can give your vehicle a chance to cool down. It’s important to not lift the hood or unscrew the gas or radiator caps while the car is still hot, as built pressure can cause bodily injuries. Now you can check for the level of coolant, look for holes in hoses, and whether or not the thermometer appears to be working.

If you are unable to solve the issue, drive in short increments until you have arrived to a familiar, public destination.  It’s important to not drive the vehicle over long distances.

Unfortunately, there is a myriad of causes to an overheated engine, so you may have to take your vehicle in to a mechanic. Although this is not an ideal situation, at least you will be familiar with how to prevent it from happening in the future.


Tune in and Tune up

To extend the life of your car, it’s important to give it a preventative maintenance check, also referred to as a “tune-up.” Depending on your vehicle’s user manual, it is recommended to have a tune-up anywhere from 30,000-60,000 miles.

What a tune-up entails is typically a replacement of certain parts, such as the air filter, spark plugs, fuel valve, oxygen sensor, distributer cap, and rotor. These parts might not seem to have a big impact on the overall condition of your vehicle, but they often affect each other’s performance, so neglecting these changes can cost much more in the long run.

During a tune-up, it is also important to check the status of major systems, like the brake, the clutch, and fluid levels.

Being able to fix or spot a problem early can reduce costs long-term. It is suggested that you refer to your car manual to find out what specific parts need to be checked, and when, because later models might contain new and improved parts.

A tune-up will provide you with a well-maintained vehicle and a priceless peace of mind. You deserve to know that your vehicle is performing at its highest potential.


A/C Problems? Don’t Sweat it!


For many people, a significant part of summer is embarking on road trips- whether to a neighboring state or (for the hardcore ones) cross-country. While there are many factors that can cause stress to a long drive (such as… the drive), one major concern is the status of your A/C system. If you’re going to be scrunched in a restricted space for more than a few hours, it’s important to be as comfortable as possible. This means having an A/C system that provides a shield from the scorching heat.

There are two main directions your A/C system can stray: reduced air pressure and warmer air temperature. Either of these requires specific attention, and soon in order to keep the cost to a minimum.

The first thing you should check is the warranty from your dealer, as your vehicle might be eligible for a free fix. Otherwise, check in to an auto shop that offers A/C repair services.

It is extremely important to explain in great detail what the problem is. Does the A/C only produce room-temperature air? Is the air failing to reach the back of your vehicle, even on full volume? Good communication can end up saving you money and time.

The solution could be as simple as recharging the A/C system; however, putting off the problem could result in a complete A/C system fail, which will cost much more to fix.

If your vehicle is currently under warranty, consider taking action if it is showing any signs of A/C problems. It is always better to handle the problem early, rather than waiting.

Once your A/C is properly tuned-up, you will be ready to conquer the roads without breaking a sweat on your summer road trip.


5 Tips for Better Performance

Driving isn’t just about getting from Point A to Point B; it’s also about knowing you’re safe while you get there and enjoying the drive along the way. You want to be confident that your car is performing at its peak, both to keep you safe and to make the ride pleasant.

1. Remember that tires matter.

Good tires grip the road, hug the curves, and handle slick surfaces. But even good tires, out of alignment, will make steering a chore when it should be easy. When you have to fight the steering wheel to keep your car straight, something is off; it may well be that your tires need to be rotated and aligned.

If your tires are old and worn, if you find your car slipping on turns, then it may be time to replace the tires. You’ll see immediate improved performance in steering and handling when you’re driving on good tires in proper alignment.


2. Keep up with basic maintenance items.

We’re talking oil changes, topping off the antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid, and having a regular inspection done so you know things are working the way they should be.

Prevent big problems from happening and you’ll not only save money in the long term, you’ll also drive with confidence knowing that your car has been taken care of by a professional.


3. Use the right fuel and the right oil in the right amount.

Check your car owner’s manual to be sure you know about fuel requirements; if your engine needs premium gasoline and you fill it up with regular, you can cause engine problems later and you’ll definitely affect your car’s performance negatively. If you do oil changes yourself, be sure you’re using the right type of oil for your engine and don’t overfill it, which can cause the engine to smoke.


4. Consider the weather.

Remember that in the winter, with cold temperatures, the engine needs time to warm up. Start your car in the driveway, or in the garage with the door open, a few minutes before you need to leave. That allows time to let the oil get warmed up and flowing where it should. You’ll also get warmer seats and nice hot air blowing out your heater.

Summer requires a different kind of care: car engines can overheat in high temperatures and will also go through fluids faster due to evaporation. Watch your engine temperature gauge, and if it’s going up over the halfway mark, pull over and let your car cool off for a while. Be sure to have your fluids refilled regularly.


5. Get a regular tune-up.

It’s easy to get an oil change every three months and think you’ve covered all the bases, but there is a lot more to a car than oil. Engine parts experience wear and tear all the time, and a tune-up by a professional mechanic will ensure that the worn parts are replaced and everything is tuned to peak performance.

You’ll also be preventing larger problems from occurring later by taking care of worn parts before they break completely.


The last – and most important – part of better car performance is driver performance. Have fun and enjoy your car, but use common sense, be safe, and follow the rules of the road while you drive.

Find an Automotive Brake Specialist in Your Area

Most brake specialists recommend biannual brake inspections. Why so often? Because brakes experience a lot of wear.

No one ever said stopping a moving vehicle was easy. The friction that is created each and every time a driver steps on the brakes will wear brakes down over time.

The good news is that brakes are relatively simple devices. There are really only a few things that can go wrong with them. A trained brake specialist is often able to diagnosis and correct most brake problems in short order. Where do they begin?

Like most automotive problems, brake costs get more expensive when they are ignored. If a driver hears a squeak, squeal, or scrape emanating from the brakes, he should see his brake specialist as soon as humanly possible.

The Rotors

The first thing a brake specialist will check is the brake discs or rotors. If these discs have rough spots or deep grooves on them, they may need to be replaced. Failure to do so could result in complete and total brake failure. New rotors are often affordable at only around a hundred dollars a pair, not including the cost of labor.

The Pads

Brake pads absorb most of the friction and force whenever the brakes are applies. As a result, they tend to wear down quite quickly. If a pad is less than 1/8th of an inch thick, your brake specialist will recommend that you replace it. This is always a good idea. Brake pads are inexpensive and failing to replace them could damage other, more expensive parts of your braking system. Why pay a higher brake cost tomorrow when you can settle it today?  New brake pads not only improve performance, they also eliminate most brake noise.

Brake Lines

If a brake problem is not mechanical, it may have something to do with the brake lines. Because modern braking systems use hydraulics, they rely on fluids to transfer force into pressure. If the fluids are low, the brakes will not work as they should. The most common explanation is a leak in one of the brake lines. If there is a leak, brake fluid and pressure will be lost. In extreme cases, the brake pedal will sink to the floor and the brakes will be more or less useless.

If you experience any of the aforementioned problems, contact Car-X as soon as possible.

What Every Driver Should Know About Car Batteries

An automotive battery is a large rechargeable battery that powers the electrical system of the modern vehicle. Often called SLI batteries by people in the know, they are responsible for starting, lighting, and ignition. Unfortunately, most car owners are not in the know. They believe that car batteries do not require regular maintenance. This is not entirely their fault.

Because of their incredible durability and endurance, some major automotive brands offer maintenance-free car batteries. But as any mechanic will tell you, there is no such thing as a maintenance-free car battery. Yes, they may last for four or five years even if you ignore them. However, if you take proper care of them, they will likely last twice as long! Best of all, they won’t leave you stranded.

When a motorist has a car battery that cannot be jump-started, it is commonly referred to as “dead.” These dead batteries are often the result of neglect. When drivers check the battery posts, cells, cables, and the alternator each year for signs of wear, it is far less likely that their batteries will go dead. More importantly, it is far less likely that they will have to pay a few hundred dollars to have their vehicles towed to the nearest garage.

The good news is that mechanics can check your car battery very quickly. Advanced equipment lets them test the charging system of nearly any vehicle in a matter of minutes. The service charge for these annual checkups is often quite affordable. And if the battery must be replaced, Car-X Auto Service will more than likely have the new battery on hand.

We do not recommend that you change your car battery on your own. Yes, you might be able to save yourself a couple of bucks, but it is not nearly as easy as you might think. It’s not like changing the batteries of the remote control. Car batteries are big and heavy and they must be screwed, snapped, and plugged into place. Not to mention the fact that all batteries must be properly disposed of. They have sulfuric acid in them, so you cannot simply put them out with yesterday’s trash.

It is best to let a trained mechanic do the job for you.  They can replace the battery while you wait and they will dispose of the old one in no time as well. More often than not, you will be back on the road in under an hour with a reasonable bill and a brand-new battery.