Over 30 Years of service to the Anchorage Metro Area!


November 30th, 2018 was quite a day for all Alaskans, and for A&A, The Shop team members it was no different. At 8:07 AM we all experienced a 7.1 level earthquake shaking all of us to our core.

Afterward, it got us thinking about our customers and where they might have been during this scary time. Were they possibly in their car? Driving Somewhere?

Our team has spent a little time reviewing the situation and preparing for those instances where emergencies happen and what should be done to prepare for them. Below you will find a series of links that help guide you through circumstances to prepare. We will be adding to these over the next year, building a complete Preparation Guide. Check back for more!

What to do if you are in your car during an earthquake/emergency

Things to keep in your car for emergencies

FEMA how to prepare for an earthquake:

Alaska Earthquake Center:

Disaster preparedness kit:

Engine oil keeps everything in your Subaru's engine moving smoothly. Keeping your engine oil clean is vital to your engine’s performance. It’s just as important as filling your vehicle with gas because if the oil runs out, your engine won't run and your vehicle can’t get you where you need to go.  Think of oil changes as an investment because regular oil servicing keeps the engine healthy and enables it to provide many miles of trouble-free motoring.

Many vehicle manufacturers used to recommend replacing your oil every 3,000 miles especially in extreme weather environments like Alaska. This has changed in recent years and extended oil changes have become the norm.  While lubricants have become better, especially synthetic oils, we still recommend changing your oil frequently, around 4,000 miles especially in extreme service climates.  Engine oil lubricates and protects your engine’s internal components by reducing friction between the moving parts. It also carries away dirt and metal particles which are trapped in the filter, keeping the engine clean and free from contaminants.

An oil change is particularly important if you have long intervals between each service or if the mileage on your engine is very high. If you notice dirty or extra black oil on your dip stick when you check your oil, or if you are not sure how long it has been since your last oil service, come visit us at A&A The Shop.  Our engine oil experts can recommend the right oil service for your Subaru.

Having a clean oil filter for your engine is just as important as having clean oil. The filter cleans the oil as it passes through, collecting debris and stopping it from slugging up the engine. The filter fills with this sludge and should be changed with every oil change.

At A&A The Shop we ensure your engine will receive the highest quality oil, suited for our Alaskan climate that will help keep your engine running in peak condition. While regular standard engine oil is perfectly adequate for most Subaru’s, synthetic oil is required for some of the later model Subarus and offers many advantages. It is engineered to exceed the capabilities of mineral oil, and the manufacturer’s standards.

For Alaskans, advantages are that synthetic oils remain fluid at lower temperatures, where standard oils thicken when it gets cold.  Synthetic oil can also remain stable at higher temperatures. Standard motor oil starts to break down when it gets very hot, whereas synthetic does not. This means that synthetic oil provides optimum lubrication in a larger temperature range, reducing wear for cleaner and more efficient engine operation for your Subaru.  Ideal for Alaska.

The proper disposal of old engine oil is an ecological responsibility that A&A The Shop takes very seriously. Oil is a necessity in order for your Subaru to work properly but it can also be very harmful to the environment if not handled properly. That means that all of the used oil we collect has to be disposed of responsibly in order to maintain our beautiful state.  A&A The Shop recycles oil to heat our shop facility.  In fact 100% of our shop heat is from used oil.  Any that is left over is recycled. We work with a city-licensed oil collector who processes industrial waste but also uses our oil for state wide projects so that nothing goes to waste. We take our responsibility very seriously and this is just one way we help to protect our environment.  Make sure to visit A&A The Shop regularly for an environmentally safe, professional oil changes.

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Staying Warm in the Alaska Cold

Turning a knob on your dashboard is just the first step of your vehicle's heating system. There's a lot more involved in getting heat inside your vehicle to keep you warm. Before turning your heat on, it is best to allow the engine to warm up first. Once your vehicle's engine has warmed up, the heating components can do their job to provide serious warmth inside.

The Heat Process Starts in the Engine

As a simple explanation, the pistons in your vehicle's engine are designed to allow in a mixture of gasoline and air and then causes an "explosion" in the cylinder. Because the walls of a cylinder are thin and the engine block is mostly hollow these "explosions", with the help of engine friction causes a build-up of heat.

The temperatures in an engine combustion chamber can get as high as 4,500 F (2,500 C). Much of this heat goes out through your vehicle's exhaust system. The hollow space inside the cylinder head, and around the valves, is filled with coolant that has been added to your vehicle. If an engine is allowed to run without coolant for very long, the extreme heat will causes serious problems and could even cause the engine to seize up completely.

Coolant Is Needed For Heat

The coolant that is needed in your vehicle for the cooling system is also needed for the heating system. Because engine parts become damaged at high temperatures, the added coolant circulates through the engine, cools it down and then passes that heat on through to the heater core.

The heater core, a small radiator-like unit located under your dashboard or HVAC housing, works like a heat exchanger. The heater core is comprised of numerous coils and has a blower motor. The coolant that was warmed in the cylinder head flows through the heater core and then returns to the pump.

Calling For Heat

When you turn on your vehicle's heater, the system calls for the blower-motor fan to blow over the heater core and then directs that heat into the inside of your automobile.

If your engine has not warmed up sufficiently when the air is especially cold outside, your vehicle's heater could actually blow cold air inside. Allow your engine to heat up as it will help it produce the heat you want and will allow your thermostat to open so your engine's coolant will circulate efficiently. An adequately warmed up engine allows the heater core to build up and retain heat so that when the fan blows over it you get nice warm air.

A& A's ASE Certified Technicians are experts in your vehicle's heater system inspection, diagnosis and repair. If you suspect that something is not right with your heating system give us a call. You can be confident that your vehicle will get professional heating/cooling service at A & A The Shop in Anchorage, AK!

Subaru makes one of the best engineered automobile engines in the world but, A&A the Shop has seen an increasing number of Subaru cars with failing head gaskets. This generally happens around the 100,000 mile mark and needs to be repaired quickly, before even more extensive damage occurs to your car's engine. While Subaru is aware of the problem, they only offered to extend the manufacturer's guarantee on certain 2003 models; it was extended to 8 years or 100,000.

The Subaru Head Gasket Problem

A number of Subaru models are affected, however the most common failures include the 2.5 Liter SOHC engine used in the late 1999-2004, Forester, Impreza, Outback and Legacy.

Signs and symptoms of engine head gasket failure include:

  • Engine overheating
  • Unexplained loss of engine coolant without an obvious sign of leakage
  • Coolant with an odor of engine exhaust or oil
  • Discolored coolant in the coolant recovery container (sooty of black color)

Call A&A The Shop

If a Subaru dealership replaces your head gaskets expect to pay $2,000 or more and have the same part that failed installed again. However, A&A the Shop is Anchorage's alternative to this is a head gasket designed to our specifications that is now being used nationwide. Our service technicians are experienced Subaru mechanics and we always use parts that meet or exceed OEM specifications. Call us at 907-562-3919 to answer any questions you have about your Subaru and its head gaskets or bring your car in for an estimate. We are located at 4617 Old Seward Hwy Anchorage, AK (map). You can email us too!

Replace the Head Gaskets Not the Car

Even though replacing the head gaskets on a Subaru is an expensive repair, the good news is that we at A&A back up all parts and labor with our 24 month/24,000 mile warranty. We have changed the design of the head gasket and the replacement gaskets do the job extremely well. Subaru brand cars are renowned for their durability and most Subaru cars can easily give you an additional 100,000 miles or more following a head gasket replacement.


Replacing the head gaskets gives us the opportunity to make other important needed maintenance while we have your motor disassembled. Seals and gaskets that are subject to wear will be changed out during the replacement of your head gaskets. In addition, the water pump, timing belt and timing belt tensioner pulley can be replaced for far less than normal while the engine is out.


A&A does a thorough inspection of your car before asking you to authorize the work so that if any other potential and costly issues are found you can make an informed decision. Certainly, you would be a bit put out to discover after a major engine repair that you also need a new exhaust system!


There is no known way of preventing your head gaskets from failing on your Subaru. However, following proper maintenance schedules and using genuine Subaru parts and fluids will helpto prolong the time of failure. A&A wants you to know that not all cars will fail. That is why when we do your oil change we physically inspect head gaskets to see any early warning signs of failure. Early detection of failed head gaskets is important to prevent other damage to your engine. Once repaired your car will give you thousands of miles of service without the head gasket problem reoccurring. Trust your Subaru to A&A the Shop and get the most professional, affordable, and reliable Subaru head gasket replacement in Anchorage. Call us now at 907-562-3919.

Living in Alaska means keeping you Subaru going in extreme environmental conditions. As temperatures dip down to single or negative digits there are a few things you can do to help your Subaru make it through the cold periods. The key focus would be on the electrical operating system. Batteries are basically an electrical storage bank and when we crank the car over we are draining our bank account. Batteries are rated with Cold Cranking Amps (CCA). It has been our experience at A&A The Shop that whether you drive the Outback, Impreza, Forester, Legacy or Tribeca they come from the factory with batteries rated at 490 cold cranking amps. The bad news is that the temperature affects the cold cranking amps of the battery. If you have a battery rated at 500 cca and it is 0 degrees your battery has lost half of its cold cranking amps and now has the reserve of 250 amps. If you park outside or your Subaru sits out all day you have less starting capacity. Multiply this over an extended period of days and your car will have trouble starting. If you lose enough charge on your battery it will actually freeze and ruin your battery.

Your alternator and a good healthy battery are the best defense against a no start on a cold day. A newer battery can take a charge faster than an older one. Another thing to keep in mind is that when we turn that key to start the engine we are sending as many amps as possible to the starter motor to crank the engine over. That also uses up a lot of the cold cranking amps reserved in the battery.

One of the other major problems we see here at A&A The Shop is starter problems during or after a cold snap. The starter is working a lot harder to crank over your Subaru’s cold engine, and getting less amps to do the job. The starter also has to crank longer when cold to get the engine fired up, causing accelerated wear and tear on the motor and Bendix.

Your alternator is the key component in your Subaru that keeps your electrical system happy and healthy. The alternators main job is to charge up your battery, which then feeds power to the rest of your car. When it gets cold we immediately turn our seat heaters, blower motors, wipers, defroster, lights and etc. When we do this the alternator can’t keep up and we start losing more cold cranking amps out of the battery than the alternator can put in. This is especially enhanced when our commute is only a few miles. Several days of this and our battery freezes and we can‘t start our car.

What can you do to prevent this from happening? At A&A The Shop we have developed a few helpful things that you can do to help your Subaru through the winter. The first thing and the least expensive are to make sure your battery is good to make it through the winter. The second is to equip your Subaru with a block heater and battery blanket. The block heater keeps the engine warm making it easier to turn over and reducing the amount of amps being drawn from the battery. A battery blanket is an electric blanket that is wrapped around the battery keeping it warm. This takes the battery from 250 cold cranking amps back up to 500 amps, which helps the starter crank the engine over more quickly and reduces starter wear. The third thing you can do if you do not have a battery blanket is to drive your Subaru a longer distance every two or three days giving the alternator the opportunity to run at higher rpm ( revolutions per minute) which gives it time to charge up your battery.

Follow our helpful hints and you will reduce the chance of an electrical system failure and prevent wear and tear on your electrical components saving big money on car repairs in the future.

Happy Holidays and stay warm!
A&A The Shop

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Local repair shop owner publishes book for customers to resource.

ANCHORAGE, AK, March 16th, 2015 - Since 1996, Kurt Adler has been providing quality auto repair on Subaru's. After almost twenty year s, Kurt and his team are providing inside tips and hints for Subaru owners to maintain their vehicle and maximize their automotive investment.

The book titled "Taking Care of Your Subaru: The Ultimate Subaru Owner's Guide", is available online at, or can be purchased through one of the A&A, The shop facilities located in Anchorage or Eagle Creek, Alaska. More information can be found by calling the shop, or checking


Contact Information:
A&A, The Shop
4617 Old Seward Hwy, Anchorage, AK 99503
(907) 562-3919

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