Got a Quarter? Take this Test!

Inflation! You have probably noticed the cost of goods and services rising. We have, too. We spend a lot of energy doing everything in our power to keep the cost of taking care of your car down, but we do make one exception.

For years, the traditional auto industry recommendation has been to check the tread on tires using a penny. With Abe Lincoln facing you upside-down, place the penny in one of the grooves. If you can see honest Abe’s whole head, then, no lie, you need new tires. This test tells you that you only have 1/16” of tire tread left.

Automotive specialists have been rethinking the 1/16” of tread rule. It just isn’t enough in the most critical situations. If you have to come to a sudden stop on a rainy day on slick asphalt, you need more grip on the road.  Recent research by Tire Rack showed that brand new tires stop you the fastest. If you have 1/8” of an inch of tread you stop within 300 feet. But if you have just 1/16” of an inch, you might not stop until it is too late!

The Quarter Is The Way To Go

That’s why we no longer advise you to use a penny. It’ll cost you a quarter now! Let George Washington tell you the truth about whether your tires need swapping out. While running the same test with a quarter, if our first president’s whole head is visible you have less than 1/8 of an inch and we strongly suggest you get your tires replaced.

Of course, we are happy to give you some great options if you need new tires—and some more advice about inflation. Once you get your new tires, be sure to keep them properly inflated! Also, don’t forget to bring them in for rotation every 5,000 to 6,000 miles. We will keep you and your tires rolling smoothly and safely down the road!

Car Maintenance Tips Part 1

Car Talk

Belts – They Keep Us Moving

What causes failure in belts?  They do over 35 million revolutions a year, are exposed to heat, vibration and contamination.  They twist, and turn, bend and flex.  This produces heat that hardens the rubber that causes the belts to loosen and slip. The rubber then cracks and frays and the internal cords will become brittle and weak. This happens from the inside out so it isn’t visible. Car manufacturers recommend replacing belts every 36,000 miles.

Hoses

What causes failure in hoses?  Tiny cracks develop in the rubber causing the hoses to split, blister and/or leak.  Contamination from oil and atmospheric ozone can accelerate the process.  Hoses deteriorate on the inside as much as the outside.  They can even look fine on the outside and be totally ruined on the inside.  Small cracks and pinhole leaks weaken hose fibers.  If you squeeze the hose near the clamps or connectors and the ends feel soft and mushy, the hose has been contaminated and needs replacing. Manufacturers recommend replacing hoses every 48,000 miles.

Anti-Aging For Your Car

We seem to be an “anti-aging” society.  Everywhere you look there is some commercial for an anti-aging herb or cream.  They all promise to keep us looking and feeling years younger. Many consumers are proving it is more than possible not only with themselves but their cars too!  They are keeping their cars going 200,000 miles and longer!  How?  By getting their vehicle’s serviced regularly.  Ask us how to keep your car’s youth!

Best Value or Just Cheap?

In today’s economy there are many businesses offering ‘cheap’ prices to get a consumer in the door.  To me, these businesses aren’t offering ‘value.’  Value is when you want to provide the best possible solution for your customers.  Now the best doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive, but it doesn’t always mean the cheapest either.  For example, when you have to replace a part on your vehicle, you want it to be a part that has good quality and a good warranty and you want that part to last you more than a month or two.  We promise value each and every time!

Buyer Beware

By now most of us have had a strange telephone call telling us our “extended auto warranty” is about to expire.  If you are on a no call list at home, they may have reached you on your mobile phone. Some have been very puzzled because they knew they didn’t have an extended warranty.  Some though, assumed it was a call from their dealership, incorrectly as it turned out. Consumer Reports states that whether a service plan is offered by a broker, car dealer, or manufacturer, they recommend skipping it. These ads promoting extended auto warranty may sound good but if they don’t deliver consumers’ have wasted their money.  Don’t become a victim. If you really want an extended warranty plan, read the fine print, do your research and don’t be pressured by a fast-talking salesperson.

Does Your Ride Have A Mind Of Its Own?

We get calls from consumers complaining that their car seems to have a mind of its own.  It wants to bounce and rock and drift and sway.  We know exactly what the problem is when we hear these complaints.  It is either your vehicle’s shocks or struts.  Usually they wear out slowly and you don’t notice that they are aging, then suddenly, it seems like you can’t keep your tires on the road! 

How Are Your Wiper Blades Holding Up?

Wiper blades are one of the most neglected components on vehicles today. Many blades are cracked, split, torn, brittle, worn or otherwise in obvious need of replacement. Others may look okay, but does a lousy job of wiping when put to the test. Ninety percent of all driving decisions are based on a clear unobstructed view of the road, which means good visibility is absolutely essential.  All wiper blade materials fall victim to environmental factors. Exposure to sunlight and ozone causes the rubber to age, even if the wipers aren’t used much. Then when the wipers are needed, they streak and chatter because they’ve taken a set and won’t follow the curvature of the windshield. It can be very annoying as well as dangerous. Wiper blades should be replaced every six months to a year so you are always prepared when you need them.

Checkups – They Keep Us Healthy

Checkups

Our calendars are filled with important “checkups”.  Just for our health alone we have:

  • Doctor and dentist every 6 months
  • Yearly blood test
  • Vision and hearing test every year
  • Don’t forget your pets’ trips to the vet!

 

Our homes require checkups, too!

  • Smoke alarm batteries need to be changed every 6 months,
  • Fire extinguishers also need a 6-month check!
  • Clean the gutters!
  • Service the furnace/air conditioner systems and don’t forget to have the chimney cleaned!

 

Our vehicles also require a complete semi and/or annual physical checkup.

Many drivers think all that they need to do to keep their car healthy is change the oil.  While that is vitally important, that isn’t all your vehicle needs.  Not only does your car need the fluids and tires checked, it also needs a health scan and an analysis of the “class 2 communication systems” on board your car.

We offer a comprehensive inspection that includes a check of the exterior lighting, mirrors, flashers, interior doors, locks, seat belts, tilt wheel, windows, clock, spare tire/jack, trunk latch, air conditioning and blower motor, heater, defroster, battery and cables, starter, charging system, washer/wipers, power windows, warning lights, horn, complete cooling system performance test, brakes/rotors/calipers/master cylinder/brake lines/fluids/parking brake and engine condition and filters, fluid leaks, exhaust system, mounts, emission systems, transmission condition, steering and suspension, power steering, ball joints, bushings and of course, the tires!

All of these components need to be in peak performance to keep you safe on the road.  A reliable vehicle gives you peace of mind and prevents inconvenient breakdowns!

 

Certified Auto Specialists: the friendlier and more helpful auto shop! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

 

Ten Good Reasons to Invest in an Annual Car “Physical” and Needed Maintenance

Ten Good Reasons to Invest in an Annual Car “Physical” and Needed Maintenance

  1. CUT REPAIR COSTS – Discovering a worn component before it creates major problems can save big money.

 

  1. SAFETY – A poorly maintained vehicle can drive you into a serious accident.

 

  1. BETTER PERFORMANCE – This translates to improved fuel economy as well as “driveability.”

 

  1. SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT – Under-maintained vehicles are a serious contributor to air pollution.

 

  1. IMPROVED TRADE-IN/RESALE VALUE – A well maintained vehicle can be worth two to three times as much as one that has been neglected.

 

  1. BETTER HANDLING – Incorrect wheel alignment, worn suspension components and/or tires cause poor ride and handling.

 

  1. ABILITY TO PLAN AHEAD – When a check-up indicates future need for replacement of a part, you can budget accordingly.

 

  1. DEPENDABILITY – A well-maintained vehicle is less likely to stall, fail, or otherwise leave you stranded.

 

  1. DRIVING ENJOYMENT – It’s more comfortable and more fun to drive a car that holds the road and rides well.

 

  1. PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP – It’s said that your car is an extension of our personality. Keep it looking like you care!

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!

 

The Concern With Obsolete Oil

The use of obsolete oil is not something consumers think about when they get an oil change, even if they change their own oil. Lately though, this concern has been brought to our attention. A lawsuit has been filed against a retailer in New Mexico claiming the oil they sell does not meet specification for newer cars. Modern cars are designed with much tighter internal engine clearances than in years past so using the correct oil is critical.

If your star burst symbol oil label does not specify GF-5 SN it is not suitable for most cars newer than 2011. The labeling on the oil contains “obvious and unambiguous language” regarding its intended and appropriate use. I am sad to report many shops don’t understand the consequences of incorrect oil labeling.

ALL cars have specific oil that needs to be used or damage will occur! This is why some cars’ engines have 200,000, 300,000 or even 400,000 miles on them while others only get half that many miles. The use of incorrect oil can also dramatically lower fuel mileage and cause damage to systems that result in the increased emissions of toxic substances and damage to emission control systems, including catalytic converters and oxygen sensors.

If you have heard the term “sludge” and I hope your never do in relation to your own car, it is caused by two things; waiting too long to change the engine oil or using incorrect oil for that specific application. Be warned also that European cars have even stricter additive packages that if not adhered to, will really wreak havoc on the internal parts of the engine.

Here is a link I hope you will use to educate yourself on engine oils:
Motor Oils and Lubricants

The automotive industry has no standards for servicing your car. Any shop can add any oil with no consequences, so it is truly a consumer beware industry when it comes to fluid standards.

I recommend knowing what oil is recommended for your car and asking questions when you arrive at your trusted automotive shop. AAA shops have to adhere to higher standards and are held accountable for their actions. Be an informed consumer, not one with a broken car.

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, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Is It Hot Enough For You?

How many times do you hear that phrase in the course of the summer? We hear about the importance of taking care of ourselves during hot weather on the news and read about it in various publications. We are told to drink lots of water to keep hydrated, especially when exercising or doing physical labor. I know I sometimes feel a visit to Classic Coffee in the Glendora Village for a famous frozen hot chocolate will hit the spot.

Take a moment and think about your car…it gets hot too! We often take for granted just how hard it does work for us in all kinds of weather. When you see a car sitting on the side of the road with steam rising from the hood, that is an overheated vehicle!

Many things will cause a car to overheat… a hose, radiator, head gasket, thermostat, water pump or even the computer controlled electric fans may not be functioning. With so many critical components that have to work together to keep the engine cool, we recommend an inspection every 3 to 4 months of these items.

I keep repeating this statement and here it is again, it is always less expensive to maintain your car versus waiting for it to break and then fixing it. Most newer cars have a warning system to alert you of a failure. Please don’t ignore these warnings. We have many customers who kept driving after a warning light came on and destroyed the engine.

If you think your car is overheating, get to the side of the road quickly and safely. Turn off your radio and air conditioner, then turn your heater on to high while keeping the engine idling. If no heat comes out, turn the car off as soon as possible, no heat means no coolant in the engine.

It is never wise to try to drive a car with a problem, unless safety is a concern. Most drivers have a roadside assistance program … if you don’t, ask us about our free assistance service with some purchases.

Paying $100 for a hose repair, instead of a $5,000 engine, is always a great call. Please contact us with any questions at 626.963.0814 or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com. Have a great day!

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

How to Be Green Every Day!

Most of us are concerned with keeping our environment green.  We buy the reusable bags for our shopping trips, combine driving trips to be more fuel efficient and use the new style light bulbs to conserve energy.  All these seemingly little conscious efforts add up to help our earth.

 

It may surprise you to learn that the automotive service and repair industry has been one of the leaders in keeping our environment clean…even before it was a popular theme with the general public.  We are very careful with waste disposal in every way.  As an example, one gallon of improperly disposed of motor oil can contaminate a million gallons of drinking water!  When consumers bring their car in for regular service it is one of the biggest benefits to cleaner air and the good news is…it saves you money too!  In fact, it saves you money in more ways than one!  It prolongs the life of the car you have, it saves money in fuel, and a regularly maintained vehicle saves you money on expensive repairs!  It is a good deal all around.

 

  • A regularly maintained car can last 50% longer.
  • A properly tuned car keeps your engine firing properly…one misfiring spark plug can waste 30% in fuel efficiency!
  • Keeping your tires checked and rotated makes them last longer and can help your engine work better and easier.
  • Clean filters make a more fuel efficient vehicle.

 

Of course, it also helps not to drive like you are trying out for NASCAR or using it to transport or store heavy objects.  All of this contributes to wear and tear on your vehicle too plus cuts way down on fuel efficiency.

 

Working together, we can all help our earth be a bit greener… breathe a bit easier… and save ourselves more of our hard-earned cash.

 

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!

If Only…

Car Knowledge

I hear customers’ day in and day out that express a wish that they knew more about cars so they would know exactly what to do if this or that occurred.  They sigh and say, “If only I had just some knowledge….”  I tell them they actually know a lot more than they give themselves credit for!  It is true!  You are more aware of your car’s little quirks.  You know when something isn’t quite right more so than anyone else.

I get calls all the time saying that their car is making a ka-thump noise or a pinging noise or it is knocking or sputtering, whining or screeching.  And you thought you didn’t have knowledge?  Of course you do. You just need to know what these noises mean…so even though I’ve said it before…here is a refresher course!

Screeching usually signifies a brake problem.  The screech is actually the sound of metal scraping.

Thudding or a low metallic thumping noise can be a loose pulley or exhaust pipe or even a worn crank shaft bearing.

A knocking noise signifies loose bolts in the torque converter or a bad connecting rod or even a worn crankshaft main bearing.

Pinging noises seem to very common and your car either needs a tune-up or the fuel octane may be too low for your car’s engine.

Tapping or clicking can be many things such as a bent or loose fan blade, loose hubcap, bad wheel bearing or low level of engine oil.

Clunking can be mean your transmission fluid is low or your car has a bad universal joint or rear differential.

Squealing is usually the result of under-inflated tires, poor wheel alignment, a loose power steering fan or air conditioner compressor belt.

Squeaking noises can be caused by worn suspension bushings, bad drum-brake linings, or a chassis in need of lubrication.

I hope you find this translation helpful.  Regular vehicle checkups prevent these noises from happening and keep your vehicle healthy.  Now, if your vehicle is doing any of these things listed above, call us today!  We will make it all better in no time!

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

Hometown Service You Can Count On!