Gene’s Car Tips

Drips and Puddles

Those annoying under-the-car drips can leave your driveway and garage floor a mess…in fact, everywhere you park becomes a victim to this mess. They are also a sign that something is wrong and needs to be taken care of. The only drip you don’t need to be concerned with is the condensation from your air conditioner. Everything else is a signal that there is a problem. The small drips are giving you a fair warning that if ignored, serious problems are in your future. Here are a few examples:

drips-and-puddles
  • A reddish-brown drip may mean one of three things; leaking transmission, an over-tightened pan gasket, or a leaking front seal.
  • A green or orange-red drip suggests a cooling system problem such as leaking hose or radiator.
  • A brown to brownish-black drip that is thick in consistency is more than likely engine oil. This is not a huge problem if it is slight but when it grows to puddle size it is a sign of something serious and if not kept under control could mean severe engine trouble.
  • A leak that looks like tea and feels oily is brake fluid. This type of drip or leak is always serious!

If you notice a puddle three inches or larger under your car don’t ignore it. Get it to the professionals as soon as possible. A puddle between one and two inches isn’t as serious…yet…unless it is brake fluid. Don’t put off having it looked at too long though…it could become a much more serious problem.

It is a good practice not to ignore drips because if left unchecked those drips will turn into puddles that get bigger and bigger until you no longer have a small problem, you have a major problem. Make an appointment with us today, and your car’s health care professional at Certified Automotive Specialists will stop the drips. Remember, minor problems come with minor price tags…major problems come with major price tags…maybe even the cost of a new engine!

Prevention is always the best medicine for your vehicle.

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, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Monitors And Drive Cycles

Recent repairs to your vehicle’s “Check Engine Light” have included a reset of the On Board Diagnostic (OBD) system. This process has also reset the OBD readiness monitoring system. The readiness monitors now need to re-test the computer system before verifying that all systems are functioning as designed and working properly.

WHAT DO I DO NOW?

Car speedometer dashboard. Speed meter panel with odometer, miles counter and urgency dial isolated vector concept

Drive the car normally. All OBD systems self-test the computer while you are driving, and you will never know it. Depending on the manufacturer of the vehicle, there are 5 to 10 readiness monitors that need to be tested.

To allow your vehicle’s readiness monitors to perform their tests and reset the OBD system to a “ready” state, and to determine that all systems are working properly, your vehicle will have to be driven through a drive cycle.

(Who knew my car had to pass a test to work properly?)

Your vehicle’s specific drive cycle can depend on the vehicle’s make and model. A normal drive cycle is 5 miles of city, stop and go driving and 5 miles of steady 60 MPH of freeway driving in the same key cycle.

Keep in mind that repairing a check engine light for one system or code may unlock another hidden pending code of another system while the drive cycle tests are being performed.

If the Check Engine Light illuminates on the dash again, don’t be alarmed. It means the system failed the test. This may happen because when the original check engine light was on, all OBD monitoring stops. Just stop in and we will re-check the system.

NOTE: A flashing check engine light should be corrected immediately.

Thank you for your trust in us and please ask if you are not clear on the computer readiness monitoring system. We will be glad to help you.

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, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

On Board Diagnostics

Recent repairs to your vehicle’s “Check Engine Light” have included a reset of the On Board Diagnostic (OBD) system. This process has also reset the OBD readiness monitoring system. The readiness monitors now need to re-test the computer system before verifying that all systems are functioning as designed and working properly.

WHAT DO I DO NOW?

Drive the car normally. All OBD systems self-test the computer while you’re driving and you will never know it. Depending on the manufacturer of the vehicle, there are 5 to 10 readiness monitors that need to be tested.

To allow your vehicle’s readiness monitors to perform their tests and reset the OBD system to a “ready” state, and to determine that all systems are working properly, your vehicle will have to be driven through a drive cycle.

(Who knew my car had to pass a test to work properly?)

Your vehicle’s specific drive cycle can depend on the vehicle’s make and model. A normal drive cycle is 5 miles of the city, stop and go driving, and 5 miles of steady 60 MPH of freeway driving in the same key cycle.

Keep in mind that repairing a check engine light for one system or code may unlock another hidden pending code of another system while the drive cycle tests are being performed.

So, if the Check Engine Light illuminates on the dash again, don’t be alarmed. It means the system failed the test. This may happen because when the original check engine light was on, all OBD monitoring stops. Just stop in and we will re-check the system.

NOTE: A flashing check engine light should be corrected immediately.

Thank you for your trust in us and please ask if you are not clear on the computer readiness monitoring system. We will be glad to help you.

Car Batteries and New Technology

car battery

I was talking to someone from out of state the other day, and they had just bought a new SUV. One weekend, their vehicle just would not start when they were at a store. They called their son to come and jump the battery and it started right up. The same thing happened a few days later. The son suggested they go to a parts store next door and have them check it. The parts store employee happily tested it and informed them that they had a bad battery. They said it does happen, even in a new vehicle. They also said that unfortunately, they could not put a new one in as it was hard to get to, and the vehicle would have to be reprogramed; something they could not do at this time.

What??

New technology is great, but it can have its drawbacks. Today’s electrical systems in vehicles are extraordinarily complex and trying to jump the battery can, in fact, be dangerous, depending on the car. If correct procedures and tools are not used, it can also cost a lot of money to repair.

Replacing a car battery used to be one of the least expensive repairs in all vehicles. This is not the case today as once the new battery is put in on some cars, it must then have the computer reset.

If you are in the market for a new vehicle, it is a good idea to ask about this, so you will not be surprised, as this couple was, when things go wrong.

The good news is that we, and many other repair shops, can test, replace, and recalibrate your car’s battery. You can expect a battery to last three to five years, depending on how you drive and the weather elements you drive in. There is actually a date on all battery cases as well. We suggest having it tested whenever you come in for service.

Do not be afraid of technology, just know that it does change how repairs are done. It is not just a matter of replacing parts these days, it also involves recalibrations of the complex computer in cars. We always say, we are now driving a computer on wheels!

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, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Keeping Your Vehicle Physically Fit!

After the holidays, our television sets and other devices seem to be taken over by ads brought to us by diet and exercise gurus. They tell us that the New Year is the right time to restart our bodies to be at peak efficiency! I suppose during the busy holiday season we can overdo on the food and at the same time have less time to exercise.

car mechanic working on engine

The same can be said of our cars. We often get so busy running here and there (in our cars) during the holidays that we neglect old faithful! Here are a few resolutions to keeping your car fit! We can inspect it and make sure to remind you when it is time to bring it to us in order to:

  • Keep your car’s fluids clean and don’t let them run low.
  • Keep your car’s filters clean.
  • Keep your car’s tires properly inflated.
  • Keep your car’s wipers in good working order.
  • Keep your car’s lights lit.
  • Keep your car’s brakes stopping when they need too.
  • Keep your car’s charging system ready to go.
  • Keep your car’s exhaust system healthy.

A Team of Experts

Your car has many components and it is our pleasure to keep them physically fit for your driving pleasure. If your car has been a little neglected over the holidays, give us a call and we’ll get it back in tip-top shape!

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, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com.

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

Is Your Automotive Service and Repair Shop Certified?
  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: the friendlier and more helpful auto shop! 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!

The Hazards of Running on Fumes

gas station icon

Are you one of those people that wait until a warning beeps or the low fuel light illuminates? Do you feel confident you can go several more miles before actually running out of gas? Do you make a game of “I think I can, I think I can” meaning I think I can get to a gas station on just fumes alone? If so, read on!

I’ve known a few people in my time who enjoy the challenge of pulling up to the gas station on fumes. Sure…they have lost a few times and had to hoof it to the nearest station, buy a gas can and walk back to where their trusty vehicle finally stopped. Some even brag after this experience that now they actually know for sure how many miles they can drive after the fuel warning lights up! I’m happy those people enjoy such games and challenges, but playing that game can have costly, not to mention damaging results for your vehicle.

How Does the Fuel Pump Work?

Most vehicles have an electric fuel pump located inside the fuel tank and are actually submerged in the fuel. The fuel pump is an electric motor that spins at a high rate of speed. Spinning mechanical parts create heat and need lubrication, which is why the pump is at the bottom of the fuel tank completely covered with fuel.

The fuel pump is always spinning as long as the engine is running, which makes it more important not to run low on gas. When your fuel gauge reads below ¼ of a tank, the fuel pump is starting to be exposed to air inside the tank, instead of the cool fuel.

If you put your hands together and rub them back and forth as fast as you can, you will create heat, when you stop, it will take a few minutes for them to cool down. However, if you put them under water they cool down immediately. Maybe not a great analogy, but I think you get the idea.

Overheating fuel pumps is the number one cause of failure. The cost of replacing a fuel pump on most cars is roughly $600 to $1000 and some cost even more.

What Should I Do?

The best thing you can do for your vehicle is fill it up when it gets to a quarter tank. It will save you money in the long run and keep your car running well. 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!

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, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

Monitors And Drive Cycles

Recent repairs to your vehicle’s “Check Engine Light” have included a reset of the On Board Diagnostic (OBD) system. The on-board computer of your vehicle must now perform various self-tests referred to as “monitors” that may take up to a week of driving to complete. (1996 to 2002 cars require more time to complete the checking of monitors by the cars computer system).

WHAT DO I DO NOW?

Glowing Check Engine Light

Drive the car normally. All OBD systems self-test the computer while you’re driving and you will never know it. Depending on the age and make of your vehicle it needs to be driven in various situations such as freeway travel, 10-30 minutes of continuous driving, sitting over night and having various levels of gasoline in the tank.

The original concern that caused the check engine light to come on may have suspended or locked out some of the vehicles other self-tests that it needs to perform. Now that all of the tests are enabled and can complete the cycle, there may be a possibility of hidden issues that may cause the check engine light to come back on. Therefore, a code that did not show up previously may now set indicating a new, hidden, intermittent or remaining problem.

At Certified Automotive Specialists we do as much as we can to ensure that your vehicle is repaired properly, is safe and dependable for our customers. There are some instances that require extensive driving in order to complete tests that we cannot perform here in the shop. Therefore, if the check engine light does come on, please call or return to the shop at your convenience to have the system rechecked at no cost. In most instances, we can retrieve the code within a few minutes. Always use your best discretion if the vehicle is not operating properly. Warning: If the “Check Engine Light” is flashing, this requires immediate action.

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, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

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We Will Pick Up and Deliver Your Vehicle For Service At No Additional Charge Upon Request.*

*Within 10 miles of the shop.