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!

 

Using the Right Motor Oil Is Imperative

 

Those of us in the automotive service and repair business understand why having oil in a vehicle’s engine is important, but few drivers actually understand the labeling and codes that are found on motor oil packaging. At Certified Auto Specialists we are very conscientious about using the correct oil for each vehicle and there are many different types out there.  Sometimes consumers wonder why the pricing is different on their oil change from car to car…this is the reason why.  Different makes and models require different oils.

The Bare Bones of Oil
Most everyone understands that engine oil keeps the engine parts lubricated in both low and high temperatures and it helps protect the emission system and provides enhanced fuel economy. They have heard for years that engine oil is the lifeblood of a vehicle. Many find out the importance of oil at an early age because they mow lawns.  Additives are added to the oil to make sure seals stay conditioned in older car’s engines or to help aid in better fuel economy. Manufacturers of the most popular makes and models basically deal with three types of motor oil.

Conventional oil, or refined crude oil makes up 75 percent to 80 percent of the mix, and then additives are put into the mix to distinguish one type of conventional motor oil from another. Full synthetic oil is a popular alternative to conventional oil and its purpose is to provide enhanced engine protection. It enables a car’s engine to maintain good viscosity at all temperatures, although it also has characteristics that prevent solidification at lower temperatures. The third type is a blend of synthetic with conventional.

The various additives are necessary to engine performance. These additives include such ingredients as detergents, antioxidants, viscosity index improvers and many more. Their functions do everything from stopping oil oxidation, keeping the oil at the right thickness, to keeping high-temperature surfaces clean. They also collect dirt and contaminants to prevent buildups on engine parts. Additives for older cars are also available and they have special seal conditioning ingredients that rejuvenate internal seals in order to stop internal oil leaks and also help to keep the seals soft enough to be pliable.

The American Petroleum Institute (API)
To avoid confusion about motor the various motor oils, the API has developed a “donut” label that helps certified technicians and shop managers make educated decisions. For example, “API Service GF4” means that the motor oil is approved for use in most gasoline engines by API. The middle of the donut should say “SAE,” and is followed by a code such as 5W-30. SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers, and the number code refers to the motor oil’s viscosity.

Viscosity simply refers to the oil’s flow capability at various temperatures. It also refers to as the motor oil’s weight, or the “W” in the code. The first number shows how well an engine will start in cold weather. The lower the number tells us that this oil will start up in winter weather, and shows us how well engine parts will be lubricated in colder temperatures. The second number indicates the high-temperature viscosity or how much thickness the oil has at high temperatures. The bottom half of the donut indicates that the oil has met or exceeded energy conserving requirements.

Make Sure Your Shop is Certified
How can you know that the motor oil you’re getting from your provider is really intended for use in all vehicles? An ASE Certified Shop knows what oil to use in each vehicle it services. That is why we go to continuing education classes…so we are up to the minute to provide our customers with the right products for their cars, SUV’s and light trucks.  Improvements are being made all the time and we have to stay current in this constantly changing industry we specialize in.

Using the Wrong Oil
If a shop or quick lube uses the wrong oil in your vehicle you probably won’t notice an immediate problem but it will develop if it is repeated time and time again. Metal on metal contact or heat damage is serious and can cause major damage.  It also lowers fuel economy. Our goal is to keep our customers’ cars healthy and running for many miles to come!

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

 

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

For All The Football Fans Out There: Keeping Your Vehicle’s Components in the Game

cartalk

Football season is here again in and even though the staff at Certified Automotive Specialists are not football superstars, we are the superstars of auto service and repair!  Just like a football game where it takes each player doing their job correctly to have a winning team, it takes each component operating in peak efficiency to have a properly running car!

 

  • Fluids – just like you, your car must have fluids to be healthy.  We offer products that give you the home field advantage each and every time.
  • Filters –just like in football when the players block the defense from getting to the ball carrier, filters block contaminants from entering your car’s operating systems.
  • Battery & Charging System – If this system fumbles you aren’t going anywhere.  We will keep it charged and ready to go when you are!
  • Belts and Hoses – One snap or break and you are stranded and you will be calling personal foul!
  • Lights – Your lights keep you from getting picked off in the dark because others can’t see you coming or going!
  • Wipers – If your wipers aren’t working in the rain and snow and morning condensation, you risk getting sacked!
  • Tires – Proper inflation and tread keep your car rolling along in a rush.
  • Suspension – Steers your car going in the right direction so you have a complete pass.
  • Brakes – Stopping when you need and want to is a very good thing and keeps you from getting tackled by trees or other vehicles!
  • Exhaust System – If you don’t want to be put on the sidelines these systems need to operate properly. Keeps your car pleasant and safe for you and others to be around.

 

This is just a small example of all the systems that keep your car running properly.  Most mechanical failures can be traced to neglected maintenance.  Just like a football team, if each player does their job well they all benefit and run like a well-oiled machine.  Touchdown!

 

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

 

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

 

How Much to Budget

gene-car-guru

AAA estimates maintenance costs at around 4 cents per mile driven, which means you should set aside $50-60/month for this line item. Sadly, many put off service/maintenance and they end up having an expensive repair that could have been avoided. I then thought…maybe they don’t realize how much it costs to maintain their vehicle annually.  With that thought in mind I’ve decided to share with you something in print so you can fill in the blanks for yourself.  Granted…this is just an overall average but hopefully you will find it very helpful!

 

If you have a new car expect to pay $200 to $350 each year on preventive maintenance until your vehicle is three years of age. After that, a good rule of thumb is to plan to pay $600 to $1200 annually and this includes tires. Preventive maintenance is the best way to keep your car from having to undergo repair.  As it ages, certain parts will need to be replaced, of course.

 

Those old sayings, “prevention is the best medicine” and “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, have stood the test of time for a reason.  They are true!  Take a moment, if you will, and figure out the annual cost of vehicle ownership.  You might be surprised at how it adds up!

 

Annual vehicle payment                     [           ]

Annual finance charge on loan           [           ]

Annual gasoline costs                         [           ]

Annual car insurance                          [           ]

Annual maintenance/repair                 [           ]

Annual license fee and other fees       [           ]

Total                                                    [           ] Annually

Total Divided by 12                            [           ] Monthly

 

This is how much it costs you to drive each year/month. I just think knowing the facts helps you plan a little better.

 

Remember:

  • Keeping current with oil and filter changes prevents the need for a new engine.
  • Keeping current with tire rotations and alignments prevents buying new tires less often.
  • Keeping current with brake fluid and/or brake pads prevents replacing brakes as often.
  • Replacing filters and fluids keeps your vehicle going longer for less.
  • Preventive maintenance reduces your expenses going forward.

 

I think this gives you the idea.  Keep your vehicle healthy and it will be good to you and your bank account!

 

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

 

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

 

Important Auto Repair Tips Continued

auto-repair-glendora

 

When The Oil Pressure Light Illuminates

You will almost always see your oil pressure warning light illuminate briefly when you first start your car.  It goes off almost immediately.  If it doesn’t you need to turn off your car and check the engine oil level.  If it is low, add some oil then turn the car back on.  If the light goes off and stays off you are good to go.  If it is still illuminated do not drive the vehicle, turn it off immediately and call us as soon as possible.  This may require a tow.

 

When The Temperature Light Illuminates

A temperature warning light is telling you that your engine is overheating.  Pull over and turn your car off immediately! Do not check anything yourself until the engine has sat for at least half an hour.  Attempting to remove the radiator cap before then can result in serious steam and water burns.  If you know what you are doing you can remove the cap and check the coolant mixture level when it is safe to do so and add the appropriate 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water. Also be sure to check for leaks.  Internal leaks can only be checked by pressure testing. Unless you are experienced in this area of car repair, it is best to call us!  We will arrange a tow to our shop and get this fixed for you!

 

When The Brake Light Illuminates

The brake warning light comes on and stays on when you engage the parking or emergency brake.  Check that first!  If you disengage the parking brake and the light goes off, you are fine. It can also mean you have a fluid leak.  This causes your brakes to fail or veer to one side when applied. Get your brake fluid checked as soon as possible. (If you have an ABS or the antilock brake light illuminates and remains on it is telling you there is a problem within this system.)  Though you can drive with this situation, get it checked out as soon as you can because this is a critical system in an emergency or on slick roads. If both the ABS and brake warning light are on and stay on at the same time do not drive the vehicle until it has been looked at by us.

 

When The Alternator Light Illuminates

If your alternator warning light is on it is most likely telling you that your charging system is not working properly.  You need to get this taken care of sooner rather than later as your battery will die. It could be indicating another problem such as a slipping drive belt but either way, it needs to be checked out as soon as you can.

 

When The Check Engine Light Illuminates

That orange light used to put fear in the hearts of drivers but now it seems drivers are more than capable of ignoring it mile after mile.  This is because most of the time it is just telling you your gas cap isn’t on tight enough or some other small item.  Of course this small item causes you to waste fuel and pollute the environment so it really isn’t insignificant.  It is always best to have your vehicle looked at as the check engine light means something is wrong and a diagnosis is definitely called for. Whenever a light on your dash illuminates and doesn’t go off after a few seconds you can also refer to your owner’s manual. It generally explains the meaning behind the illumination and if it is safe to continue driving until you can get your vehicle serviced or repaired.  You can always call us at any time as well.  We are here to help!

When Thermostats Go Bad

The vehicles we drive these days are very high tech so when I mentioned that the thermostat is basically operated by the heating and cooling of wax people are shocked.  Thermostats rarely give us problems so I guess most people just don’t think about them.  Its function is to keep the car warm but cool the engine block. Thermostats seldom go bad but when they do, look out!  This occurs when the wax stops working so the valve doesn’t open.  This can happen when:

  • It was damaged in a prior overheating experience
  • Corrosion sets in
  • It just gets old

When one or all of these things happen your vehicle will overheat. Should the valve fail to close, stick in the open position, due to a piece of debris or the breaking of the return spring you have another problem.  This allows coolant to keep flowing through the thermostat.  It will not reach the proper operating temperature when this happens and you might notice the gauge reading lower than normal or the heater not as hot as it used to be.  If the thermostat does stick open you will notice because of poor driveability during cooler weather, you will use more fuel as much as 2 to 3MPG more and the car will spew out more pollutants out the tailpipe than designed.

 

Why A Vehicle Inspection Is Important

In the automotive service and repair industry we as owners and our staff do our best to keep our customers’ vehicles in excellent condition.  Not only do we want to keep you safe on the highways, we want to keep the others you share the road with safe as well. The majority of our customers want to know that everything is in proper working order.  Every now and then we hear stories about consumers who think inspections or a “laundry list” as they call it, was done in order to make a bigger sale.  This is not the case in most shops and those that practice selling services that aren’t needed don’t stay in business very long! We feel it is our duty to point out any potential hazards because our customers rely on us, as the experts in automotive maintenance, to tell them if their vehicle needs work. You can count on us!

 

A Little TLC Keeps Your Beloved Vehicle Going and Going and Going…

Many of you love your car!  You pamper it, you keep it clean inside and out and you want it to live a good long life.  The newness may have worn off a few years ago but that doesn’t matter…you’ve bonded with this vehicle. Some people keep their vehicles a very long time…over 200,000 miles and counting.  If you love your car and you want to keep it longer, don’t fret.  It is very possible.  All it takes is some tender, loving care!

Throughout our many years of experience we have learned that taking certain preventive measures, such as timely oil changes and multi-point inspections, enable you to keep your car going and going. Call us today…together we can keep it going!

 

Don’t Worry…Your Warranty Is Safe

When choosing to have your vehicle serviced by an independent, you may feel your warranty could be in jeopardy. There is no need to be concerned about the validity of your warranty or quality service.  Many consumers don’t realize that it is actually a law (Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act) that an independent repair shop can service your car and you will not be jeopardizing your warranty in any way.  Just like you have to do with the dealership, you need to keep records of services and have them done as recommended in your owner’s manual. Most independent shop owners, such as ours, can provide you with the same excellent service you have been receiving from your dealership.  Independents, like the dealerships, have ASE certified technicians, quality parts and service, state-of-the-art tools and equipment, dedication to customer service, and on-going training to keep current with the latest vehicle innovations. So stop worrying!  We’ve got you covered!

 

How To Have A Lean Mean Driving Machine

Cars are built better than ever these days and give us miles of service.  Keeping them healthy is important and extends their life.  Oil is their lifeblood.  Dirty oil makes it harder for your engine to turn over and causes premature engine wear.  Belts and hoses are made of very durable material with relatively long lives but they do deteriorate over time. Leaks are not normal except for condensation from your air conditioner.  11 different fluids keep your car running; brake fluid, antifreeze, engine oil, power steering fluid, air conditioner refrigerant, shock absorber fluid, battery electrolyte, windshield washer solvent, rear axle or CV boot lubricant and fuel.  If any of these leaks, they need to be fixed right away.  Tires need to be kept properly inflated and rotated to save gas and tire wear. Coolant, when neglected can corrode and leave sediment throughout your cooling system causing clogging that results in damaging hot spots than can harm your engine. The battery needs to have the cables securely attached and free of corrosion in order to get power to the starter and accessories so the alternator receives a charge.

Keep your care lean and mean by getting it serviced regularly.

 

My Vehicle…How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways!

I love thee enough to take thee regularly for automotive servicing! Okay…I just felt the need for a little humor.  Seriously though…and I am a very serious person when it comes to vehicle care…you need to love your car!  Think of all it does for you each and every day.  Think how lost you feel without it when it breaks down.  Think of the pain of paying for a high repair cost because you neglected to have it serviced.  I want you to drive safely and I want you to pay for servicing your car rather than paying the much higher cost of repairing it.  I want to think of you getting from point A to point B safely.  I don’t want to see you with your vehicle broken down on the side of the road. I don’t want to see your vehicle dangling from a tow truck when it could all have been prevented.  I prefer to see you save your hard-earned dollars by having regular preventive maintenance instead of costly repair.  If you have been putting off servicing, now is the time to show your vehicle some love!

 

Speak To Me!

Do you ever wish your car could just tell you when something is wrong with it? In its own way it does speak to you.  When it suddenly is acting, smelling, sounding, or dripping differently than it usually does it is telling you it isn’t feeling well.

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. Regular vehicle checkups prevent these symptoms from happening and keep your vehicle healthy.  If your vehicle is trying to speak to you, listen and call for an appointment today.

 

The Hazards of Running on Fumes

When your car beeps a warning about low fuel, listen to it! Put gas in as soon as you can because that reserve fuel keeps your fuel pump from taking in the “bottom of the barrel” fuel which is full of debris. This sediment in the bottom of the fuel tank can also clog the fuel filter, fuel injectors as well as the pump pickup. I generally don’t let my tank get below 1/4 tank for this reason. Sure…it doesn’t have the same challenge as driving on fumes, but when it comes to your vehicle, it is always wise to consider damage control…both to your car and your wallet!

 

The Importance of Flushing

Your vehicle needs fluids to remain healthy.  Overtime, these fluids get contaminated and cause corrosion. Flushing those out and refilling with clean, fresh fluid keeps your car safe and running smoothly. Think of it this way, when it comes to fluids, our cars’ needs are similar to the human body. We need to keep our systems flushed with water to keep our bodies running well, keep them lubricated while at the same time flushing out harmful toxins.  Water keeps us hydrated and running well. Fluids do the same for your vehicle!  Call today for an appointment.

 

These Come Between You and the Highway

Tires keep us and our car off the highway.  It has been that way since Henry Ford’s Model A. Tires are, after all, the only part of the car that actually touches the road.  That is a good reason to keep them as healthy as possible. Tire rotations and proper inflation should be part of your regular preventive maintenance routine. This seemingly simple act of swapping the tires around plus proper inflation keeps them from having extensive wear and tear and prolongs their life.  Call today to give your tires a long and healthy life!

When The Odometer Reads 100,000 Miles

gene-car-guru

 

Back in the day it pretty much meant you needed to go shopping for a brand new car when the odometer turned over to 100,000 miles.  The components would be completely worn out and the body would more than likely be the worse for wear too. Today’s cars are designed to keep going and going…as long as you take good care of them!

 

Cars aren’t all that much different than us humans!  If you eat right, exercise, take supplements, have regular checks up and get plenty of fluids…they tell us we will be around a lot longer and should lead a long and healthy life.

 

Your car is the same way.  It needs to be given the right fluids on a regular basis (and exchanged periodically), it’s charging and cooling systems checked and the brakes and exhaust system kept in good working order.

 

Today’s cars do go longer between service visits than the previous 3,000 miles that we all adhered to, but you still need to visit your automotive repair shop at least three times a year.  There is a seldom read book in your glove box…take it out and look at it.  Notice that it has recommendations for certain items to be taken care of each time you fill up with gas?  Other items are to be checked monthly?  I can tell you from looking at my customer’s cars that these items do not get checked between visits to my shop!  That is why those that put off service for 1,000 miles or longer are pushing the envelope!

 

Newer vehicles have a friendly built in alert system that tell you when services are due to be taken care of.  This is good because ignoring your car is not as easy as ignoring your owner’s manual or your mailed or emailed service reminder!

 

When your vehicle celebrates 100,000 miles treat it to some major preventive maintenance.  It would be like giving a friend a day at the spa for rejuvenation.  Look at it as a birthday gift for your car.  Even though they are built to go many miles these days…reaching 100,000 miles is still a major milestone and should be treated as such.  Then…wish it 100,000 more miles!

 

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

 

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

 

KEEPING YOUR VEHICLE’S COMPONENTS IN THE GAME!

gene-car-guru

 

Football season is here again and even though we aren’t football superstars, we are the superstars of auto service and repair!  Just like a football game where it takes each player doing their job correctly to have a winning team, it takes each component operating in peak efficiency to have a properly running car!

 

  • Fluids – just like you, your car must have fluids to be healthy.  We offer products that give you the home field advantage each and every time.
  • Filters –just like in football when the players block the defense from getting to the ball carrier, filters block contaminants from entering your car’s operating systems.
  • Battery & Charging System – If this system fumbles you aren’t going anywhere.  We will keep it charged and ready to go when you are!
  • Belts and Hoses – One snap or break and you are stranded and you will be calling personal foul!
  • Lights – Your lights keep you from getting picked off in the dark because others can’t see you coming or going!
  • Wipers – If your wipers aren’t working in the rain and snow and morning condensation, you risk getting sacked!
  • Tires – Proper inflation and tread keep your car rolling along in a rush.
  • Suspension – Steers your car going in the right direction so you have a complete pass.
  • Brakes – Stopping when you need and want to is a very good thing and keeps you from getting tackled by trees or other vehicles!
  • Exhaust System – If you don’t want to be put on the sidelines these systems need to operate properly. Keeps your car pleasant and safe for you and others to be around.

 

This is just a small example of all the systems that keep your car running properly.  Most mechanical failures can be traced to neglected maintenance.  Just like a football team, if each player does their job well they all benefit and run like a well oiled machine.  Touchdown!

 

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

 

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

 

October Car Care

Gene-Car-Talk

Twice a year the Car Care Council, a non-profit organization, celebrates National Car Care Month.  This happens in April and again in October.  The reason they feel the need to spend money on advertising the importance of car care is because so many consumers don’t take care of their vehicles properly.

 

Neglect of this kind causes accidents, expensive breakdowns, pollution, using more fuel than necessary and even lost time at work! The Car Care Council hopes a gentle reminder twice yearly will prevent all this.

 

Here is a check list for safety, dependability and savings!

  • Have all fluids checked
  • Have air filter checked
  • Have battery and charging system checked
  • Have belts and hoses checked
  • Have oil and lubrication service
  • Have all lights checked
  • Have all wipers and fluid checked
  • Have tires checked for proper inflation and tread
  • Have suspension system checked
  • Have brake system checked

 

Many consumers feel a false sense of security today because they have cell phones or On-Star so they are able to call someone for help.  Yes…these are great when you need them but of course avoiding a breakdown or accident due to neglect or not to pollute the air or use more gas than necessary is a better choice.

 

If you have been putting off service or repair; call your car care provider today and not only will you be driving a safer, more eco-friendly vehicle, you will save money in the long run!

 

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

 

Hometown Service You Can Count On!