Dipsticks – They are Disappearing

Dipsticks – They are Disappearing

I remember when we checked engine oil and transmission fluid by pulling the dipstick out, wiping it clean, putting it back in, and pulling it back out.  That simple process enabled us to check the fluid level.  We could tell many things by that dipstick, but today it isn’t that simple. Many new models don’t even come equipped with an engine oil or transmission dipstick!

Modern automobiles have become marvels of precision and durability over the years. Many transmissions have 5, 6, 7 or even 8 speeds and do not have a dipstick to allow checking or adding to the fluid level or inspecting the fluid condition, unless you have specialty tools to do so.  Some engines are following suit by removing the dipstick as well. These cars rely on the engine computer to check oil level and condition. Not sure about you, but that scares me.

Vehicles with dipstick-less engines and transmissions came about to keep people from adding incorrect fluid. A person or non-qualified shop would add or change the fluid using the incorrect type. The engine and/or transmission would fail prematurely because the less-expensive fluid did not lubricate properly, and failure was eminent. The consumer might put the fault on a poorly designed or defective car. This is happening more and more.

Some of these engines and transmissions are filled with what the manufacturer says is “long life” fluid, claiming it does not require changing for many miles. I recommend you find a trust worthy service center and use the manufacturer recommendations along with your service advisor recommendations to make the final decision on when to service your car.

With rules regulating the automotive manufacturers that mandate fuel mileage be increased every year, vehicles require very specific synthetic fluids. The cost of today’s fluids can be staggering, ranging from $6.00 to $26.00 per quart. Adding the wrong fluid will damage the internally lubricated parts over time.

Please do your homework when having any service performed; it can be devastating if the wrong fluid or incorrect fill procedure is performed.

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Hyundai Car Warranty May Be Illegal

Do you drive a Hyundai? If so, you’re probably familiar with one of their major selling points – the “America’s Best” warranty, which is one of the best in the industry. It offers drivers 10-year, 100,000 mile warranties, which is almost unheard of from any other make. However, there’s a catch. According to the fine print, to keep the warranty intact, Hyundai owners must use only Hyundai parts.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, this is illegal. Based on previous precedent and current law, a company can’t force consumers to only purchase and use their own proprietary products in order to keep a warranty intact without permission, or without offering those products free of charge. This stipulation is in place to prevent monopolizing the system. A company can’t directly tie a consumer to their products in this way without any wiggle room or prevent them from seeking auto care from a third party if they choose.

Hyundai Car Warranty May Be Illegal

The FTC has sent Hyundai a warning, along with several other companies who had similar policies. This is a disreputable practice that has only one goal – make the parent company more money by keeping repairs in house. There’s a reason we disapprove of this practice. In a free market, consumers need to be able to choose how they spend their money and which businesses they want to frequent. It’s not acceptable and is, in fact, illegal to offer a benefit like a warranty but only with the stipulation that your company is the only option.

Other companies who received a similar warning are ASUS, HTC, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. Much like Hyundai, they also had practices that required consumers to use only their parts to maintain a warranty, as well as other stipulations. This sort of behavior is damaging to competitors and smaller third-party businesses that are trying to eke out a living in a highly competitive industry. For a healthy consumer economy to exist, people need to have access to options. Warrantees like these limit or completely eliminate those options.

If you have any questions about whether you can have your car looked at by an independent auto shop or have specific parts placed in your car without voiding your warranty, feel free to come see us. We’ll be able to advise you on how to protect yourself and your car’s warranty. We can be reached by phone at 626-541-2149 with questions or to schedule an appointment.

Are You Driving with Recalled Takata Airbags?

Takata airbags are a specific type of airbag manufactured by the Takata Corporation and they’ve been subject to recall for about ten years. However, millions of people are still driving around with these defective airbags in their car. Are you one of them?

To date, fifteen people have died from injuries sustained from these defective airbags and many more have been injured, sometimes after very minor collisions. Takata airbags have been known to explode, sending shrapnel at drivers and causing serious and sometimes deadly injuries. Millions of the airbags have been recalled, but only a small fraction of drivers have had theirs replaced. Even people who have been informed of the recall may not realize their car is affected.

Are You Driving with Recalled Takata Airbags?

These airbags are used in dozens of makes and models of car, including both economy and luxury makes. Among the brands affected are Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Subaru, Lexus, Jeep, Jaguar, Honda, Acura, Ferrari, and many more. The years most frequently affected are 2006-2013, although cars made earlier or later may also contain the airbags. Some models from as early as 2001 or as late as 2016 may also be affected.

Is your car one of those subject to the Takata airbag recall? There’s a simple way to tell. Visit the website safercar.gov and input your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into their recall look-up search. Also make sure to take a close look at all your mail before you toss out “junk” because there may be a recall notice that you’ve missed included in there somewhere.

Thirty-seven million vehicles have recalled airbags and only about 40% of drivers have actually heeded the recall and brought their car in for a replacement. Airbags are meant to be explosive in nature, expanding quickly to prevent injury to drivers and passengers. In these particular airbags, however, the chemicals causing that explosion are cheap and/or defective, releasing dangerous shrapnel. Please check to see if you need a replacement – it could be a matter of life and death. It’s so sad to hear stories of minor accidents that turned deadly because a recall warning wasn’t heeded.

An airbag replacement procedure is relatively simple for a professional but very dangerous for an inexperienced auto mechanic. Especially in the case of airbags with a known defect that could cause a serious explosion, you’re going to want to bring your car in to a reputable auto service center for replacement. Our technicians are highly trained and able to take all the necessary precautions to prevent damage to themselves and your car while replacing the airbag.

Please don’t leave a potential time bomb in your car because you’re not sure whether it’s part of the Takata recall. Do a quick check or reach out to us and we’ll be able to let you know whether your vehicle is affected. It’s always to better to be safe than sorry! You can reach us at 626-541-2149 with any questions.

Can Your Car Read Your Mind?

Car TalkI was finally sitting down after a long day, hoping to relax a little.  I turned on the news and heard that Nissan was researching technology where your car could read your mind!  Whaaaattttt?  I thought of road-rage drivers, under-the-influence drivers, and those who just aren’t the best drivers!  Scary.  I then started researching to learn more as I couldn’t believe this could ever be a good thing!  Here is what I discovered:

  • The driver would wear a skullcap that measures brainwaves and activity.
  • The autonomous car would analyze this activity in real time.
  • The system would then alter steering, acceleration and braking based on the driver’s brain analysis…basically knowing what you want before you do.
  • This supposedly improves reaction time and increases driving enjoyment.
  • This also enables the car to respond to the driver’s needs to improve the comfort of the drive such as heating/air conditioning. This keeps the driver relaxed.

Why is this important if a car can drive itself without human interference?  According to Nissan, we humans enjoy the driving experience and do not wish to give up that pleasure to “a machine.”

We will see…

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help.

Home Town Service You Can Count On!

Abraham Lincoln and Tire Tread

Car Talk

Customers look at me strangely when I tell them they can use the Abraham Lincoln method to test their tire tread.  Actually we are talking about using a penny.  Place the penny within the tire’s grooves and channels.  Insert the penny so that Abraham Lincoln’s head faces downward. If the tire tread hides his face, your tires don’t need to be replaced.  If you can see all of Abe’s face, it is time to replace your tires!

 

Keeping tires properly inflated increases their service life.  Under-inflated tires lose tread around the outside edges.  Over-inflated tires loose tread near the center.  Your car care provider should rotate the tires every six months to help prevent tread wear.

 

Also with record gas prices, properly inflated tires with save you more than a penny, improper inflation can cause a loss of

1-3% of you fuel economy. Many cars have tire monitoring systems to ensure correct pressure, please don’t ignore them.

 

When it is time to buy new tires, make sure they match the specs listed on the car’s placard that can be found in the glove box, the gas filler door, on a car door edge or on a visor.  All four tires need to be the correct size, all the same size; all have the same construction and speed rating.  All four tires need to be balanced and aligned.  Last note on tires: shop smart and ask questions, less expensive tires can also cost MPG, so explore all your tire brand options.

 

Your car care provider will keep an eye on your tires, most times for free, and know exactly which tires are best for your vehicle when it is time to replace them.

 

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814.

Happy Motoring!

Cars Through The Ages: 1991-2016

Here is our final segment of Cars Through the Ages!  In many ways we have come a long way but it seems we still have more exciting times ahead of us in the car industry.  I wonder when self-driving cars will be common place and what about flying cars?  We live in exiting times!

 

Cars Through The Ages: 1991-2016


1991 – 2000
1991 – The Cadillac comes standard with anti-lock brakes.
1992 – Chrysler minivan line has integrated child safety seats available.
1993 – Fiat buys Maserati
1994 – Volvo has side impact protection airbags.
1995 – Only one state in the USA doesn’t have mandatory seat belt laws.
1996 – The new Jeep Wrangler has coil springs.
1997 – Cadillac offers automatic stability control.
1998 – Dual airbags become standard in passenger cars.
1999 – Ford buys Volvo.
2000Ford buys LandRover.

 

2001 – 2010
2001 – BMW releases the new Mini.
2002 – Rolls-Royce is all BMW and Bentley is all Volkswagen.
2003 – Rolls-Royce Phantom is ready for delivery.
2004 –  Volkswagen’s all-new Golf named Car of the Year
2005 – New car coating -polyurethane film – park car in sun and the scratch will be gone in an hour.
2006 – 30,000th Aston Martin is produced.
2007 – Manufacturers around the world more concerned with building eco-friendly vehicles.
2008 – Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) is required on new cars and light trucks.
2009 – GM announces 2007 losses of $39 billion – the largest ever by a US car manufacturer.
2010 –  Nissan will put a pure EV on the road in the U.S. and Japan in 2010 in small volumes.

 

2011 – 2016
2011 – With a groundbreaking combination of range, room and price, the Nissan Leaf is the first all-electric car for the masses.
2012 – People’s Car Once Again: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Attracting Both Sexes
2013 – Car sales make comeback in 2013
2014 – On December 23, Google announced its first driverless car ready to test on public roads.
2015 –  U.S. vehicle recalls hit an all-time high in 2015
2016 –  Volkswagen reaches $14.7B emissions settlement due to cheating on emissions tests

 

Certified Auto Specialists is always here to help!  Call us today for an appointment or with any questions at 626-963-0814.

 

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

 

Cars Through The Ages: 1931-1960

 

Here is our next segment of our history and fascination with vehicles! Enjoy!

1931 – 1940

1931Mercedes-Benz presents the first modern independent front suspension system.
1932 – Ford redesigns the Model A with a V8 engine and sells over 300,000 the first year.
1933 – Ford drops to third place behind General Motors and Chrysler.
1934 – Citroen Traction Avant is the first successfully mass-produced front-wheel drive car.
1935 – A thermal interrupter switch is used to create flashing turn signals.
1936 – 54% of US families now own cars.
1937 – Buick and Oldsmobile present the Automatic Safety Transmission.
1938 – The Volkswagen goes into production in Nazi Germany (The German People’s Car).
1939 – The first air-conditioning system is added to cars.
1940 – Jeep is designed with more than 360,000 made for the Allied armed forces. It was the workhorse of WWII.

 

1941 – 1950

1941 – 1945 – 700,000 GP (General Purpose Vehicles) were built for WWII through 1945 by Ford and Wyllys-Overland.

GP = Jeep!
1943 – US passenger car production falls to 139 vehicles because war production requirements took over.
1945 – The war ends.  Henry Ford resigns and his grandson, Henry Ford II becomes the president of The Ford Motor Company.
1946 – Michelin patents the Radial-ply tyre.
1947 – Henry Ford dies at the age of 84.
1948 – The American motor industry produces its 100,000,000th car.
1949 – Michelin “X” radial-ply tyres go on sale.
1950 – Ford Motor goes from 3rd place to 2nd place, reducing Chrysler to the 3rd position.

 

1951 – 1960

1951 – Chrysler offer power steering.
1952 – Automatic transmission vehicles in the USA exceed 2 million.
1953 – General Motors introduces the Corvette & Porshe the 550 Spyder race-cars.
1954 – Tubeless tyres are now available for all new American cars.
1955 – American car sales hit a record 7,915,000.
1956Ford introduces seat-belts but it isn’t met with enthusiasm by the public.
1957 – 80% of new cars in USA have a V-8 engine & Chrysler offers in-car record player.
1958Toyotas and Datsuns are imported to the USA.
1959 – Studebaker hopes its new compact car, The Lark, will compete with European imports.
1960 – 80% of US families own at least one car.

 

Certified Auto Specialists is always here to help!  Call us today for an appointment or with any questions at 626-963-0814.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

 

CAN System…Your Car Has One!

cartalk

I have written articles many times about that fact that your car is really a computer on wheels. They have up to 100 million lines of computer code and that is more than many jet fighters!  The most basic of vehicles have a minimum of 30 microprocessor-controlled devices.  We call these ECU’s (electronic control units). Luxury cars can have 100 ECU’s!

These processors make it difficult for the average person to work on their own vehicle but it makes it easier for auto repair shops, such as Certified Automotive Specialists, as they have made an investment in the right equipment and diagnostic tools in order to translate trouble codes and determine what is actually wrong with your vehicle.

What do all these ECU’s do?  They help meet emissions and fuel-economy standards, do diagnostics, simplify design and manufacturing, reduce wiring, provide safety features, comfort and convenience.

Controlling your vehicle’s engine is the most processor-intensive job and the engine control unit is the most powerful computer in your vehicle. It gathers data from dozens of various sensors and knows all that is going on.  It performs millions of calculations per second. The processor in your car runs more efficient code than that in your PC.

Each module communicates problems to a central module.  The problem is stored and then a technician can read the code using an off-board diagnostic tool.  There seems to be more and more technology going into our vehicles each year so more and more computer code will be necessary.  This is all part of keeping our environment cleaner and reducing the amount of accidents.  As we are moving toward the commercialization of the self-driving car we will find this will increase a great deal.

The CAN (Controller Area Network) also known as CAN Bus enables all the electronic control units to communicate with each other…without a host computer.  This lets the vehicle’s electronic components; control units, microcontrollers, devices, sensors, actuators, and many more talk to each other on a single or dual-wire network.

Your engine management electronic control unit is connected to the transmission electronic control unit, which is connected to the anti-lock braking electronic control unit, and so on!  There are essentially two wires involved; a CAN High and a CAN Low. Why is this important?  They act as a backup for each other in case one fails.  This is why your car can continue to run just fine with the check engine light illuminated.

This is also why we tell you not to keep on driving miles and miles with the check engine light on…it really is telling you that your car needs attention.  You are already down to one wire…if the other one fails you have a problem!  Next time your check engine light illuminates, make an appointment and let our diagnostic technicians get your car back to excellent health.

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at www.CertifiedAutoCA.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

 

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