Gene’s Car Tips

Let’s Talk Lights

The daylight hours are getting shorter now and we depend on our lights more and more. I have noticed people driving around with one headlight out or brake light and one can only assume a turn signal (though some people just don’t bother to use them for some strange reason!). It is a good idea to test your lights! You can have someone assist you, ask us to check or check them out yourself by pulling up to a building and shining your lights or even do it in your garage. Seeing well while driving is very important, and it is also important that others see you!

If your headlights seem yellowed, we can fix that! Just contact us and we’ll tell you how we do this (no, it isn’t magic!).

When Your Lights Go Dim

Your vehicle’s alternator keeps the battery charged. The alternator replaced the generator of the past. If your car fails to start as quickly as it used to (hard or slow cranking) or your lights seem dimmer it could be a sign that your alternator needs to be replaced. If you are used to dashboard lights telling you of a problem and you didn’t see the “alt,” “bat,” or “gen” light come on to alert you, keep in mind that the alternator is responsible for those dashboard lights! If it isn’t working then the lights will not illuminate.

When an alternator fails it usually does so in stages so pay attention when things start functioning abnormally. The signs are often subtle such as dimmer lights. You may be using all the bells and whistles at once such as the television, wipers, air conditioning, and the navigation system and they seem sluggish. When you stop using one or more of the functions the remaining ones work better. The dashboard lights may start flickering.

When you take your vehicle to your car care provider they will:

  • Perform a “load test” to check the voltage readings (measure the voltage at the alternator connector and the battery)
  • Check the belts to determine if they are old and cracked or slipping
  • Listen as an experienced mechanic can tell from clanging or rattling noise that something is not as it should be

Alternators work long and hard for us but occasionally even the best can fail. The battery will still run many miles on reserve power so this usually saves you from being towed in. As always, if things aren’t working as well as they normally do it is best to have it checked out before it becomes a serious problem. This always saves you time and money!

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 contact us through our website!

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

It’s Kind Of Like That!

In many ways, our vehicle’s health system is a lot like our human makeup! Seriously!

Clogged Filters – When your filter gets full of debris, it can’t do its job. It is how a person with asthma must feel! Most of us know we need to change the filters in our homes but some might not realize that they also need to change the filter in their cars. In vehicles built in 2007 and later you will find 80 percent of them have a cabin air filter and its function is to protect drivers and their passengers from contaminants such as pollen, mold spores, dust, and other small and annoying particles.

Sludge – This is similar to clogged arteries! It is actually a gooey, tar-like substance that deposits itself inside your car’s engine. One of the roles of motor oil is to keep your engine cool so it has to be able to take the heat…when it fails to do so these deposits form in the engine. Some vehicles’ engines have more trouble than others due to poor design. Their passages are smaller and they actually bake the oil inside the engine.

Smoke – We all know by now how bad smoking is for human health. When your car has a smoking issue, it is literally telling you to pay attention…it needs help!

Black exhaust smoke means the engine is burning too much fuel. The first thing you should check is your air-filter and other intake components like sensors, fuel injectors, and the fuel-pressure regulator.

Blue smoke is a clear sign that the engine is burning oil. What happens is that the valve guide seals or piston rings are worn out, and oil is leaking past from where it should be lubricating the moving parts, to the combustion chamber where it’s being burned up with the fuel.

Gray smoke can mean that the car is burning oil or suffering from a bad turbocharger. It can also be an issue with your automatic transmission fluid getting burned up in the engine or could mean a stuck PCV valve.

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!

This Valentine’s Day…and Every Day…Show That You Care

Each time a driver starts their engine and gets on the highway that car, truck or SUV needs the driver’s full attention and the vehicle needs to be well maintained in order to protect the driver, their passengers and those they share the road with.

Here are a few of the ways Certified Auto Specialists can help make sure the vehicle you drive is good to go!

  1. We use the proper oil and filter for your make and model every time we change the oil.
  2. We check your tires because they need to be properly inflated and rotated to keep them and you going for miles.
  3. We always check your vehicle’s fluids and top off as needed.
  4. We check all your vehicle’s filters because only a clean filter can perform properly to capture impurities.
  5. We check your wiper blades to make sure they function properly.
  6. We inspect the belts and hoses to make sure they aren’t cracked or frayed.
  7. We inspect the brakes so you can stop when you need to!
  8. We inspect the exhaust system to make sure it is working properly.
  9. We inspect the battery to make sure it is fully charged and ready to go!
  10. At Certified Auto Specialists we make sure all systems are ready to roll!

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!

WORKING IN A CAR CARE WONDERLAND

We love cars, are you listening?
To keep them serviced is so thrilling.
A beautiful sight, a car working just right,
Working in a car care wonderland.

We raise cars up on lifts,
Keeping them like new is our gift.
We service them well, and enjoy it, you can tell,
We love working in a car care wonderland.

In the shop bay we can fix cars’ problems,
And you will know that we fixed it right.
You’ll say can you set an appointment for the next time,
And we’ll say yes we will and have a good night.

Serving you well is our pleasure,
As each customer we all treasure,
We work very hard to please one and all,
Working in a car care wonderland.

We enjoy changing oil and rotating tires,
We can do brakes and mufflers, belts and hoses too!
We exchange fluids, and new filters and batteries,
And yes it’s true we like very much what we do.

When customers come in, it’s so thrilling,
We love cars, so we’re willing,
To us it’s all in a day, the technician way,
Working in a car care wonderland!

Happy Holidays From All of Us!

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!

What is a Cabin Air Filter?

Clean and dirty cabin pollen air filter for a car

Have you had your favorite repair shop or other service person recommend a cabin air filter and wonder what he or she was talking about? Most vehicles built after 2005 are equipped with a cabin air filter, and it is designed to filter the air you breathe inside the cabin of the vehicle.

Most cabin air filters are designed to filter pollen and dust from the vehicle air conditioning and heating system. Some even have a carbon filter for bacteria and odor. These filters are very similar to the filter you would change every spring and fall in your homes heating and air conditioning system. Everyone that has seen or changed these filters see the contaminants that are stuck on these filters when replaced.

Normal driving conditions through dust, caused by the wind and the smog and exhaust of daily driving, will cause some cabin air filters to get very clogged with pollutants and cause your vehicle’s ventilation system to run very inefficiently. You might even notice the air flow out the vents to be sluggish and/or have a sour smell. This is an alert that you need a checkup or a new cabin air filter.

This filter will not leave you stuck on the side of the road, but it will add comfort and reduce allergens, which is especially important if you suffer from allergies. To find out if your vehicle is equipped with a cabin air filter check with your owner’s manual or talk with our service professional about having your cabin air filter changed.

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!

Thanks For Being Our Customer!

We always find time to be thankful for our wonderful customers! We wish each and every one of you a safe, enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Make It A Happy Thanksgiving!

Whether you are going on an extended road trip, driving to the airport or just plan to get groceries or do some Black Friday shopping, it will probably involve your car! Here are what the road-side assistant companies suggest you have checked out before the holiday to make sure your vehicle is safe and your Thanksgiving less stressful!

  • Tires: Make sure your tires are properly inflated. If they have bad tread wear and need to be replaced, it is better to do it before you are in a breakdown situation.
  • Wiper Blades: Many an accident could be avoided if drivers could see where they are going! Make sure your wiper blades are up to the challenge!
  • Battery: A dead battery can be avoided! A simple test will make sure it is up to par.

The best thing you can do before any road trip is to make an appointment with us and let us do a vehicle inspection. It will give you peace of mind! Don’t let your car be a “road side assistance” Thanksgiving statistic this year! We sure don’t want our customers sitting on the side of the road!

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 contact us through our website.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

The Life Of A Car Battery

The two main reasons for shortened battery life are:

  • Excessive heat – Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, damaging the internal structure of the battery.
  • Overcharging – A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate, resulting in a slow battery death.
Close up hand of auto mechanic are using measuring equipment tool for checking car battery. Concepts of car fix repair and service maintenance.

To get the most out of your battery:

  • Have your battery and its connections checked at every oil change.
  • Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate. Overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.
  • Always have the battery replaced with one that’s rated at least as high as the one originally specified.
  • Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow.

Batteries do not always give warning signs before they fail. If your battery is more than three years old, it is probably wise to have it replaced.

Your car care provider can determine the health of your battery so you know how much life it has left.

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 contact us through our website!.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

AIR CONDITIONING… TO SEAL OR NOT TO SEAL? THAT IS THE QUESTION

I wanted to share with you a situation that happened at our shop recently. One of our customers, we’ll call him Bob, had a situation with his air conditioning system. It was not cooling but that is not an unusual situation during this hot weather. Even systems that are in good condition can lose up to 4 ounces of Freon a year. He shopped around looking for an inexpensive option and ended up taking his car to another repair facility to fix it. They added the Freon but within a day or so it was still not cooling. This shop did a thorough examination and found that the condenser had a leak. They gave Bob an estimate of $650 to replace and recharge it.

Bob decided to try other options that he had heard about and researched online. He had read about sealers and decided to try it. He chose one for $200. He wasn’t sure it would work but felt it was worth it if he saved $450. Sadly, it didn’t work.

He then brought the car to us to see what we could do. When he told us the scenario we were concerned because we had seen the results of other quick fixes with sealant in the past. We checked out the vehicle and found the problem. He had used an extreme overdose of sealer. Many do-it-yourselfers feel that more is better when using a sealant but actually, it is just the opposite. The sealer is designed to become a solid when it comes in contact with air and that is why only a small amount is needed. When too much sealer is used, the results, as with this vehicle, is damage to every part of the air conditioning system.

Instead of replacing the original condenser as the first shop advised, it now needed the condenser plus a compressor, expansion valve, switches, and most of the hoses. That $650 estimate is now a cost of more than $2500!

Most of the time when your A/C isn’t cooling it is just a case of adding Freon. That is the good news. When it involves more though, A/C failures are one of the most expensive automotive repairs because it is challenging to find small leaks. Only large leaks can be found with a visual inspection.

We truly understand why Bob tried to fix the leak(s) himself. He hoped to save money but I will tell you that when it comes to this type of repair, we don’t recommend you try it on your own unless you have a lot of automotive experience. If you do decide to try it yourself though, please proceed with caution and don’t overdo the sealer. Too much can be a very costly mistake.

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!