Gene’s Car Tips

Spam Alert – Do Not Be Fooled by Calls About Expiring Auto Warranties

Male hand holding a smartphone with unknown caller displayed on screen. Privacy, fraud, cybercrime and spying concepts

We have all had them… robo calls telling us our vehicle warranty is about to expire! Sadly, once we answer the call, the company who initiated the calls knows your phone number is legitimate and they will keep calling. Even more aggravating, they make big bucks selling your number to other organizations! Even if you block the original number, they will simply use a different caller number next time.

Should you, for whatever reason, engage with a live person on such a call, do not give out any personal information such as social security number, driver’s license number, credit card or bank account numbers. Always protect yourself from fraudulent scammers.

The best course of action is not to answer any phone number you do not recognize. Even though these callers know they are violating telemarketing and robocall rules, they make enough money to take the risk and will simply pay the fine if they are caught.

If you want more information, visit
www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofingand-caller-id. Here are some options if you would like to file a complaint:

Hopefully, together, we can stop these annoying calls!

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!

Gasoline Prices Got You Down?

Here are some tips to save you money with every fill-up!

  • Make sure your gas cap is secure! If you do not tighten it enough, gas can evaporate. You can lose gallons of gas a year this way (this applies to older cars).
  • Do not speed! Just five miles over the limit can cost you 7% in fuel consumption.
  • Go easy on take-off! Jackrabbit starts and slam-on-the brakes stops can cost you 10%.
  • Do not idle your vehicle! We see many cars idling away just because the owners start them remotely. This seriously wastes gas and does not help the environment either.
  • Make sure your air filter is clean. A dirty filter can cost you 10% in gas mileage! (This should be inspected every 15,000 miles.)
  • Combine trips! Plan your errands and save some dollars.
  • Think a higher-octane fuel helps? It does not unless your vehicle calls for it. Otherwise, you are just wasting money.
  • Car maintenance of all fluids and fuel injection cleaning is extremely beneficial to your vehicle…in many ways…but it also helps with fuel consumption.

Try these tips and start gaging your mileage. We think you will be pleasantly surprised at the money saved! Also, less fuel consumed is friendly to our environment.

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!

How Drivers Can Keep Their Car’s Value High!

Hand putting coin into the car as piggy bank-Save money for car concept

Many of our customers at Certified Automotive Specialists plan to keep their car going until it can’t go another mile. If you are in that category, this article is not necessarily for you. If you do plan to sell your car in the near future, or trade it in someday, read on! I was reading an article by AAA and they estimate that a vehicle’s depreciation costs American car owners $3,571 per year, up less than 1 percent from previous years. They went on to give us pointers on how to give our vehicle more value when it is time to part ways!

1. Keep up with regular maintenance
A good technician can always tell if a driver skipped oil changes or other maintenance. When we do a used car inspection at Certified Automotive Specialists for our customers prior to purchase, our technician runs tests that can tell if the fluids have been changed or not. Some leasing companies charge lessees for unperformed maintenance. Make sure you keep receipts to prove you have kept current with your vehicle’s service.

2. Mileage
Keeping your mileagebetween10,000 and 12,000 miles per year gets you more at trade-in. If you’re driving significantly more than 10,000 to 15,000 miles per year – especially if the high mileage pushes the vehicle out of the manufacturer’s warranty – that could lower the car’s value. Many drivers rent a car when they have to travel far distances, for example, to keep the mileage on their vehicle lower.

3. Make Changes That Increase, Not Decrease!
Modifying your car to suit your style might make you feel great…but it might just hurt the value when you want to sell it or trade it in. Keep that in mind before you spend the money to install any feature. Research to see what changes may help…and what changes may hurt. Do not do any changes that will affect the vehicle’s warranty.

4. Color!
I have seen everything under the rainbow when it comes to paint colors on cars. When you have been in the industry as long as I have, nothing will surprise you. Just keep in mind that painting your car an unusual color could deter potential buyers. Stay with a generic color like silver or white because those tend to be the most popular colors.

5. Fresh!
Cigarette or pet smells often linger and could give the impression you haven’t taken the best care of the vehicle. If you smoke in the car, then that smell will remain in there so someone who gets into the car will be able to tell. The smoke can also discolor the ceiling and other areas. Before trading in or selling, you might want to visit an auto parts store and ask what they suggest to remove the smell. Keep pet hair removed. If it is not coming off for you, go to a car wash that does a great inside job as well and explain your predicament. Hopefully, then can help.

6. Keep it Clean!
Wash your car regularly to maintain its appearance. Try to wash your car once a week and wax it once a month. If the car looks good that will absolutely improve its value and you will feel good driving it as well. “It’s part of proving that the car is well-maintained.” It shows 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!

WHEN YOUR TIRES SHOULD RETIRE

Replacing tires is expensive and the better you take care of them, the longer they will last. Still, tires do have a life expectancy but what that actual life span is, seems to be up for debate. Some seem to think that six years is the magic number even if they haven’t actually been used. When tires sit on a shelf or have been in storage for six years they still age and deteriorate. The Rubber Manufacturer Association says it isn’t as simple as that. Until the experts agree it is up to us in the automotive service and repair industry to keep a good eye on our customers’ tires.

Most consumers may not be aware that the date of manufacture is on the tire sidewall. For example, in a recessed area on a tire, a code such as 8PY0816 stamped on it, the 0816 means it was manufactured in 2016 and in the eighth week of that year. When you do purchase new tires check the date. Some tires sit around for years before being sold as “new” and you don’t want to purchase aging tires! You want to purchase new tires! That is what you are paying for.

Reasons To Be Proactive

It has been determined that over 6,000 accidents a year are caused by tire problems. Under inflation is a major cause, however tire monitoring systems have helped with this issue. Tires should be inspected every 3 to 4 months for inflation, wear, balance, alignment and rotation.

Tires do come with wear bars or flat spots between the tread grooves. When the tread wears to the point it is equal to the flat spots the tire needs to be replaced. When you look at the rubber tire and see cords showing through, or bulges, deep cracks or tread starting to separate, you have a very unsafe tire and should not drive on it.

Tire Inflation

Driver checking air pressure and filling air in the tires close up, safety before trave. Staff filling air in to the tires at gas station.

Tips for tire inflation: some consumers think the tire pressure listed on the tire sidewall is the proper pressure. That is not always the case. The tire pressure listed on the tire is the maximum pressure the tire can hold. The recommended tire inflation pressure can be found in your owner’s manual, or on the vehicle’s door jamb sticker. Keeping your tires at the recommended inflation can save you nine cents per gallon of gas and prevent premature wear.

And when you are thinking about tires, don’t forget the spare! The tire monitor light will light on the dash if the spare is low on air for some models. Hopefully, you won’t have to use it, but it is nice to know it is ready just in case!

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!

Check Engine Light – Ignore It or Fix It?

When Glendora drivers’ years ago first saw their check engine light illuminate they not only paid attention to it, they panicked. Many immediately pulled their car over to the side of the road and called for help. Now many drivers simply ignore it. It may be annoying to see it illuminated all the time but they get by. Some drivers have even chosen to cover it up with a piece of duct or electrical tape (yeah…I’ve seen that!).

When your check engine light illuminates it shouldn’t be ignored. No…you don’t need to panic and call for a tow truck but you do need to get it checked out. It is telling you that one of your vehicle’s systems needs attention! Here are the possible systems:

  • Ignition System
  • Fuel Injector
  • Emission Control
  • Faulty Oxygen Sensor
  • Mass Air Flow Sensor
  • Spark Plugs and Wires

Your car in many ways is a multi-computer system on wheels and when a light of any sort illuminates it is telling you something is not right and that it has done all it can do to correct the problem. When a car is brought in to our shop we connect it to a diagnostic scan tool and our technicians analyze the data streams. These include:

  • Idle Speed
  • Throttle Response
  • Engine Temperature
  • Fuel System Pressure
  • Manifold Vacuum
  • Exhaust Emission Levels
  • Other Key Indicators

The scan tool gives them trouble codes stating why the check engine light illuminated. The technicians at Certified Automotive Specialists can then correct the problem and reset your car’s computer. Ignoring the light can cause serious problems down the road that require an expensive repair and at the very least it plays havoc with your fuel economy.

One word of caution…never ignore a flashing check engine light! This is when you need to pull over immediately and call us for a tow. This indicates a critical problem such as catalytic converter damage.

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!

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.