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Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - Auto Repair INSIDER -


John Sciarra, Bernard's GarageWhat’s less fun than getting stuck in a nasty traffic jam? Getting cooked in your car on a hot day.

Summer's right around the corner and your vehicle's air conditioning system will soon be under serious strain.

If your A/C isn't as frosty as it used to be, but it's still blowing, the system may need to be recharged. Manufacturers used to use a type of refrigerant known as Freon. Now, manufacturers use R-134a to keep things cold in the cabin.

Working on a vehicle’s air conditioning system is about as much fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

Unless you are skilled in vehicle maintenance, it’s safest to take the job to a professional.

An AC compressor is usually driven by your vehicle's serpentine belt, and as it spins, it pressurizes the system's refrigerant. It's this change in pressure that cools the air coming into your cabin. The best way to keep your compressor from failing is to have your A/C system serviced once a year.

If your compressor needs replacement, most responsible shops will recommend swapping out a number of peripheral components at the same time.

Bernard’s, which has been in business since 1925, services our clients’ foreign, domestic, hybrid and electric cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles. We offer free pickup and delivery for our customers’ convenience.

Plan ahead and stay cool this season!

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie

503-659-7722

>bernardsgarage.com/

Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -


BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraSummer's imminent arrival means your vehicle's air conditioning system will soon be under serious strain.

If your A/C isn't as frosty as it used to be, but it's still blowing cold, the system may need to be recharged.

Manufacturers used to use a type of refrigerant known as R-12, or Freon, until researchers found it caused ozone depletion. As such, it's illegal to use Freon in vehicles built after 1994. Now, manufacturers use R-134a to keep things cold in the cabin.

Working on an air conditioning system is about as much fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

Unless you are skilled in vehicle maintenance, it’s safest to take the job to a professional.

An AC compressor is usually driven by your vehicle's serpentine belt, and as it spins, it pressurizes the system's refrigerant. It's this change in pressure that cools the air coming into your cabin. The best way to keep your compressor from failing is to have your A/C system serviced once a year.

If your compressor needs replacement, most responsible shops will recommend swapping out a number of periphery components at the same time.

Why? The easy answer is working on an air conditioning system is about as fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

To avoid draining your refrigerant, removing your compressor, installing a new unit and refilling the system with new cool stuff — only to have you come back in a week and say it's still not cold enough — it makes sense to replace the necessary components.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie

503-659-7722

>bernardsgarage.com/

Brought to you by Mike Nielsen of Snap Fitness - FITNESS INSIDER -


SNAP FITNESS - Mike NielsenAs the inspirational saying goes, “Live less out of habit and more out of intent.”

While it’s true that starting a fitness routine can be difficult, I offer the following tips to get you in the gym door and on the road to good health.

Assessment — New SNAP Fitness clients receive a free jump-start session, including consultation with a trainer. The assessment determines the client’s baseline, helps us guide their first steps, and is an opportunity to discuss adding personal training.

Cardio — The national recommendation for exercise for all ages and fitness levels is to get to the gym at least three days per week, and to do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio per visit. Working out with a friend will make it more fun, help you feel more accountable, help you stay at the gym for more months and achieve a higher level of success.

Strength training is key to replacing fat with muscle, becoming leaner, stronger and improving balance. Do two to three sessions of strength training per week.

Nutritional guidelines — Instead of eating three large meals per day, eat five to six small meals. This will fuel your energy throughout the day and avoid post-meal sluggishness. Also drink 96 ounces of water daily.

Online help — SNAP has a complete online nutritional program and training center. Free with membership, it provides a personalized workout plan, sample menus and a complete library of instruction videos.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.

503-353-7627

www.snapfitness.com/gyms/milwaukie-or-97222/1023

Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170

503-656-2580

www.snapfitness.com/gyms/oregoncity-or-97045/400

Brought to you by Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER


Mike Nielsen, Snap FitnessStrength training is an essential part of an exercise program, even for someone who hasn’t been active in a while.

Lifting weights, using weight machines and doing core work increases muscle mass and bone density.

As we age, our muscles deteriorate (called sarcopenia) and bone density decreases.

Research shows that seniors are more susceptible to bone breakage that younger adults. As people age, their metabolism slows down. We are seeing more and more seniors joining gyms.

If we take the average adult between the ages of 40 and 50 and do basic strength-training three to four times per week for 90 days, the outcome can be life-changing.

Here’s a myth-buster: Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat! A pound is a pound. 

Muscle is, however, more dense than body fat and takes up less area than fat. If you were to start an exercise program complete with strength training, you would increase your lean body mass and decrease body fat.

The body takes up less space and metabolism speeds up, resulting in a higher BMR (base metabolic rate, the amount of daily caloric intake needed to maintain LBM and weight.) This reverses sarcopenia and increases bone density.   

Not everyone walks into a gym and knows exactly what to do. Snap gives new members an opportunity to meet with a Certified Personal Trainer, who assesses their body and their goals. 

Let’s get started.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.

503-353-7627

www.snapfitness.com/gyms/milwaukie-or-97222/1023

Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170

503-656-2580

www.snapfitness.com/gyms/oregoncity-or-97045/400

Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTO MAINTENANCE INSIDER


John Sciarra, Bernard's GarageRegular maintenance on your car is, quite simply, a good investment.

For example, when you bring your car in for a timing belt — typically needed at 90,000 to 100,000 miles— it costs in the range of $400 to $500. But if it breaks, it might be $1,800 to $2,000.

At our shop, when we do it, we do it right. With the timing belt, we also replace the timing belt tensioner, idler pulleys, camshaft seals, water pump and coolant.

Mileage interval maintenance, which is only done by shops, should be done at 30,000, 60,000 and 90,000 miles.

The ideal scenario is to get the car into the shop about three times per year for inspections, which will find things like rodent damage, which is more common than you might think. It’s mainly squirrels in this area.

An inspection will also uncover leaking coolant or oil, as well as plugged-up air filters. Once a year, you should get a brake inspection.

We do complete automotive repair, including pre-purchase inspections for $150. That’s a comprehensive inspection, which can detect unforeseen problems and save you from buying a compromised vehicle.

Our average cost for an oil change is $38; $58 for a brake inspection.

It’s a small investment. We do it properly and can save you a lot of trouble and expense down the road.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie

503-659-7722

bernardsgarage.com/

Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER


SNAP FITNESS - Mike Nielsen“We are a friendly, success-oriented fitness center,” says Mike Nielsen, vice president and co-owner of Snap Fitness locations in Oregon City, Milwaukie and Canby. “We’re like the ‘Cheers’ of the gym world, where everybody knows your name.”

Nielsen has been a certified fitness coach for 13 years and has been with Snap for eight years. He says being a fitness coach is all about helping individuals achieve the best version of themselves.

“It’s not just something that’s done at the gym, but it’s a lifestyle change,” he said of Snap. “We focus on not only the physical but also the mental and emotional aspects of everyday life, to make sure we are able to achieve long-term success.”

He says Snap gyms have a family feel and a personal touch.

The gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with monitored access for safety. Snap has more than 1,500 locations nationwide.

The fitness centers offer cardio, personal training, weight-loss programs, a health center, strength training and Olympic lifting. An online web page for members offers nutrition counseling and an online training center.

“Our members are our greatest assets,” Nielsen added. “We do all we can to make sure they have not only the best facility and equipment, but a wonderful experience.”

Snap Fitness

www.snapfitness.com/

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.

503-353-7627

Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170

503-656-2580

Canby: 1109 SW 1st Ave.

503-266-5515

Brought to you by John Sciarra - Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -


BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraAfter nearly 100 years of providing excellent full-service automotive repair and maintenance, Bernard’s Garage is a classic Milwaukie institution trusted by generations of customers.

Founded in 1925, old timers and area residents still remember Joe Bernard Sr., who would design and build custom car parts when his customers’ vehicles needed it. Joe Bernard Jr., a former Milwaukie mayor, helped modernize Bernard’s and continued his father’s tradition of excellent customer service.

The current owner, Jim Bernard, another Milwaukie mayor and current Clackamas County commissioner, has computerized Bernard’s—turning his father’s mechanics into today’s technicians.

Besides providing free pickup and delivery, Bernard’s offers DEQ repair and adjustments, check-engine light diagnosis, manufacturer-scheduled maintenance, brakes, steering and suspension repair, timing belt tune-ups, radiator and water pump work, as well as engine, transmission and air conditioning service.

“We are straight shooters and will let you know what the problem is and what the cost is upfront,” Operations Manager John Sciarra says.

Sciarra, an 18 year veteran of Bernard’s, has attained numerous specialty vehicle class certifications. With 26 years in the industry overall, Sciarra is our INSIDER for automotive excellence.

Bernard’s Garage is a 17-year-long supporter of the Milwaukie Farmers Market, a Milwaukie First Friday participant and frequently donates to the Annie Ross House, Milwaukie Senior Center and other local schools and events.

A member of the Clackamas County Chamber of Commerce since 1955, Bernard’s has been named Business of the Year twice since 2000, and has received the BRAG award from the county for practicing responsible recycling and waste management.

Bernard's Garage 

2036 SE Washington St, Milwaukie, OR.

(503) 659-7722

bernardsgarage.com

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Remodeling a home can offer increased equity

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Homeowners have been borrowing against their home’s equity as a standard practice for years, embarking on anything from remodeling projects and vacations to college savings and emergency funds. However, tough economic times witnessed declines in home equity, or worse, many were facing the possibility of losing their homes altogether — creating a general distaste for using equity for borrowing purposes.

Finally we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. With the job and housing market in recovery, interest rates hit historic lows in 2012 and borrowing has been on the rise. Moreover, limited inventory in the housing market is pushing up the values of most homes — making home equity lines a viable option again.

Equity lines are becoming especially attractive to current homeowners who are not finding suitable replacement homes. Improved rates and increased equity enable them to draw a credit line out of their homes — a comfortable route for those that would rather not compete in a bidding war for a new home. The extra funds allow them to embark on remodeling projects, creating their desired home rather than searching for a replacement.

This option makes sense when you consider that a more expensive home provides you with less equity. Using the equity you already have to make your current home fit your needs ultimately increases the value of what is likely your largest investment.

Eventually the funds you put into a project can pay off. “Despite having the highest construction costs in the country, the Pacific region once again led the nation with an average cost-value ratio of 71.2 percent, due mainly to strong resale values,” stated a Remodeling Magazine article regarding 2013 remodeling trends.

Interesting insights from the Remodeling Magazine’s annual cost versus value report (which compares the average cost of popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale) in the Pacific region for 2013 included:

1. Deck additions recouped 96.1 percent of the cost (with an average construction cost of $11,116), adding $10,682 to the resale value, on average.

2. Minor kitchen remodels recouped 90 percent of the cost (with an average construction cost of $21,094), adding $18,985 to the resale value, on average.

3. Major kitchen remodels recouped 81.1 percent of the cost (with an average construction cost of $60,865), adding $49,366 to the resale value, on average.

4. Bathroom remodels recouped 79.6 percent of the cost (with an average construction cost of $18,570), adding $14,791 to the resale value, on average.

5. Bathroom additions recouped 69 percent of the cost (with an average construction cost of $43,852), adding $30,262 to the resale value, on average.

Consumers are taking notice. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), remodeling is on the rise. The Remodeling Market Index (RMI) averages ratings of current remodeling activity with indicators of future remodeling activity. The third quarter of 2013 saw the national RMI rise to its highest reading since the first quarter of 2004, while the western region topped the charts with the highest RMI.

“In addition to existing home sales, which support remodeling activity as owners fix up their homes before and after a move, remodeling has benefitted from rising home values,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “This boosts home equity that owners can tap to finance remodeling projects. We expect existing home sales and house prices to increase, but at a slower rate over the next year, so the demand for remodeling services should also increase, but more gradually over that period.”

The expense of many remodeling projects can pose a problem to those who don’t have cash in hand for financing. Enter the home equity line. Its beauty lies in the fact that you don’t pay on it until you use it. There is a limit that cannot be exceeded, but funds can be pulled from the line whenever necessary and interest is applied to only the amount currently being borrowed. When the funds are paid back, the line still exists for future use or a rainy day.

It goes without saying that the best time to apply for a loan is when you don’t need it. Most people apply when they’ve hit financial hardship. But it is naturally harder to get approved for a loan during those times. Those who are remotely interested in remodeling can apply for a home equity line and use it — or not. At the very least it is available for that dreaded rainy day — whether that is a leak in the roof, a loss of a job or a remodeling project that goes haywire.

Kimo Rosa is the assistant vice president of lending for Clackamas Federal Credit Union.