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Changes in vehicle design and manufacture have resulted in changed fluid requirements for our vehicles. With the sophistication of engines, transmissions, differentials, etc., it's best for Los Altos residents to always use the proper type of fluid for their vehicle. Using incorrect fluids can actually damage your engine.As engines have become more sophisticated, new weights (or grades) of engine oil have been introduced. Today, there is a much wider range of weights for engine oil as well as a variety of formulations for different types of engines.Transmission fluid, brake fluid and coolant/anti-freeze have changed because the materials that go into making the systems they protect have changed. The fluids in our vehicles generally have two jobs: to lubricate and to prevent corrosion. The fluids formulated for your vehicle are specifically designed to protect the materials that make up its engine parts. Using the wrong fluid may leave some parts vulnerable to corrosion. Further, using the wrong fluids can also void your vehicle's warranty. So Allied Auto Works recommends Los Altos drivers follow the fluid recommendations in their owner's manuals.Vehicle fluids, including engine oil, are also designed in special formulas for higher mileage vehicles. These formulas contain additives that help clean older engines and transmissions as well as recondition older seals and gaskets. These fluids are perfectly okay for your vehicle as long as you match the original fluid recommendations in your owner's manual. In other words, a high-mileage oil is fine as long as it is the same weight as the oil recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.Good vehicle care always includes proper attention to your vehicle's fluids. Understanding and using correct fluids will keep your vehicle running well and will help prevent early corrosion and wear of vital engine parts.Talk to your Allied Auto Works service advisors, Matt and Travis for more information.
Allied Auto Works2073 Grant RoadLos Altos, CA 94024650.968.7227http://www.alliedautoworks.com
Ask any Los Altos man or woman if they've taken their vehicle in for preventive maintenance lately, and the answer may well be “no.” Surveys indicate that over 80% of vehicles on the road today are in need of some kind of repair or maintenance. Now, ask that same person why he hasn't taken his car in for care. The answer will probably be that he forgot or that he just didn't think about it. Most Los Altos residents seem to have a hard time remembering about scheduled maintenance for their vehicles.Funny, because most of us in Los Altos have no trouble remembering to wash our clothes, mow our lawns or brush our teeth. It isn't that we can't remember to take our vehicles for service; it's a matter of making it a priority.When it comes to our vehicles, Los Altos drivers like myself, need to be a little more maintenance-minded. The fact is, we can choose to do it, or we might find ourselves being compelled to do it.For example, when we consistently forget to brush our teeth, a major consequence usually follows. The pain of that experience usually compels us to be more mindful of our teeth and take better care of them.The same goes for our vehicles. If we ignore them long enough, a painful experience is sure to follow—painful for our pocketbooks, that is. People in Los Altos who have gone through that experience are usually more conscientious about proper car care.So, if you're not a fan of the school of hard knocks, at least when it comes to vehicle maintenance, remind yourself to look after your car. Pay attention to the little oil change tag on your windshield. When it's time take your car in, do it. But don't just change the oil. Get a full-service oil change at Allied Auto Works. Your technician will then check all of your fluids. He can advise you if any of them need to be changed or if any of them are low.Low fluid levels can indicate leaks or a worn hose or seal, so they can check those for you as well. Other signs of wear are also immediately evident when you get a full-service oil change, such as a cracked serpentine belt or corroded battery cable. Your Allied Auto Works technician will also check the vehicle manufacturer's service recommendations for your vehicle and advise you of any other routine service that is coming due.It's like a one-stop shop for auto advice that will keep you on top of your vehicle's maintenance.If there is more to be done than the budget allows, you can get a picture of what needs to be done. Then, create a plan with your Allied Auto Works service advisor and budget for it during the coming months. It's a whole lot less painful than unexpected car repairs.Vehicles are more reliable than they ever have been. They can take a lot of abuse and neglect. But they're also expensive and complicated machines. Los Altos drivers can't expect them to run forever without proper fluids and filters. Preventive maintenance at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos will improve the reliability and life expectancy of your vehicle, as well as ensuring your safety on the road in CA.
In that sense, your wiper blades are an important safety system. Most Los Altos drivers will wait until their wipers have failed before they replace them. Then they find themselves in a driving situation around CA when they really need forward visibility only to discover that their wipers are worn or maybe even torn and can’t clear snow or rain from the windshield.
As an important safety system, wiper blades should be replaced BEFORE they fail. Test your wipers at least once a month. If they are not doing the job, your friendly and professional Allied Auto Works service advisor can replace them for you.Give Allied Auto Works a call today and tell them Duke helped you see the light.
Duke Allied Auto Works2073 Grant RoadLos Altos, CA 94024650.968.7227http://www.alliedautoworks.com
When an accident occurs, you should always stop. Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a crime in CA, even if it's not your fault. And hit-and-run penalties are fairly severe, possibly resulting in steep fines, loss of your driver's license or even jail time in our local Los Altos lockup.Most places, including CA, require that you try to help someone who is injured by calling for help or performing first aid if you are able.Warn other Los Altos motorists by putting out flares, using your flashers or lifting your hood.Call 911 as soon as possible. Tell the operator if medical or fire help is needed.Always file a police report. It's tempting to skip this if everything seems to be ok. But without a police report, the other guy can say whatever he wants about the accident later, and you won't have an objective report to help defend yourself.Discuss the accident only with the police. Emotions are strong after an accident and we naturally want to talk about it – don't. Never admit fault or guilt to anyone, including the police officer. Sometimes we may feel at fault, but in the eyes of CA law, the other guy may be responsible.Truthfully give the officer the facts: such as, "I was going 35 miles per hour," or, "I was going 55 kilometers per hour," not, "I wasn't speeding." Remember, anything you say to the officer or anyone else can be used against you.Also get the officer's name and badge number and ask where you can get a copy of the accident report.Get the facts on the driver and owner of the other vehicle:
Also take a picture with your cell phone or write down a description of the other vehicle, license plate and vehicle identification number (VIN). Most insurance companies don't record license plate numbers, so the VIN is the best way to track the vehicle.Ask witnesses, including passengers, to wait for the police. If they can't wait, ask for contact information and request that they write a brief description of what they saw. If someone refuses to leave their name, write down their license plate number so the police can track them down later if necessary.Always call your insurance agent or your CA auto insurance company's 800 number.Call or see your local Los Altos physician if you think you may have been injured.
Allied Auto Works 2073 Grant Road Los Altos, CA 94024 650.968.7227 http://www.alliedautoworks.com
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With front-wheel drive being so common these days in Los Altos, CA, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Los Altos drivers don't even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don't need to be serviced for years, so it's understandable that it's not something on the top of Los Altos customers' minds. It's not uncommon for drivers to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.
Call Allied Auto Works in Los Altos at 650.968.7227 for information about differential service, or stop by our Los Altos, CA, auto center at 2073 Grant Road, 94024.
To better understand what a differential does, think about our local Los Altos high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That's to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.It's a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars in the Los Altos, CA area weigh between 3,000 and 6,000 pounds (1,400 and 2,800 kg) – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.That's a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool.The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that break down over time. So vehicle manufacturers recommend intervals for replacing your differential fluid.The professionals at Allied Auto Works will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. Then they’ll replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.Your Allied Auto Works service advisors,Matt and Travis can look up the vehicle manufacture's recommended service interval or you can check your owner's manual. Give us a call at 650.968.7227 for more information about your differential service.
The do-it-yourselfer has to be pretty careful so that they do not actually harm their vehicle with the wrong type of fluid. That is why so many CA car owners rely on the advice of their service consultant to not only get the correct family of fluids, but to suggest the formulation that is best for their car and the way they drive.Let's start with engine oil. If you have been paying attention, you will have noticed a number of new oil weights on the scene in the last several years. Modern engines are built to much tighter tolerances and have very complicated valve trains. The oil must be thin enough to lubricate complicated parts when the engine is cold. The weight of an oil is expressed in terms like 20-W-50 or 5-W-30. Manufacturers recommend the weight of oil for each vehicle they make. The recommendation is based on engine design. Your Los Altos service center will know what weight your manufacturer recommends - and it's important to follow those recommendations. A service adviser at Allied Auto Works can also offer suggestions for special formulations and can explain conventional and synthetic oils.Antifreeze, or engine coolant, is another area that has become more complicated. For a long time, manufacturers only called for a couple of different types of coolant. Now there are several different formulations that are needed because of the different materials that manufacturers are using to build the cooling system. Using the wrong type of coolant can actually void your warranty, so you want to get that right.Transmission fluid is beginning to be specialized as well. New transmission designs have particular requirements that mandate the use of specific formulations. Recently, new, somewhat confusing, standards for brake fluid have also been released.Not too long ago, there was a good chance that all of the vehicles at your house would use many of the same fluids. However, as automotive technology advances, the array of basic automotive fluids you need will grow. And, some of the formulations will cost a little more. Fortunately, your La Honda service center will continue to update their training to keep pace with technology so that you'll get the right fluids your car needs. It's all part of the commitment Allied Auto Works makes to your driving peace of mind.
At Allied Auto Works we hear from a lot of people who are excited about the new diesel engines that will soon be available in passenger cars and SUV's. But our CA friends are often curious about the preventive maintenance requirements. People may not know that diesel engines have long been used extensively in Europe and Asia. In fact, in some markets, there're nearly as many diesel powered passenger cars as there are gasoline.Here's who's announced or is expected to announce new diesels for North America: BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and Subaru. Of course, the US auto makers will be expanding their diesel offerings as well. Diesels will become a very big deal here in CA.You may ask, why has it taken so long getting to CA and North America? There are a bunch of reasons like fuel tax policies and such, but the biggest hurtle was that CA diesel fuel had a high sulfur content – too high for the latest generation of highly refined diesel engines. Recent government mandates to remove sulfur now opens up CA to the engines the rest of the world's been enjoying for a long time.Why are diesels so popular worldwide? Well, for starters, diesels get up to 30% better fuel economy than gas engines. And they last a lot longer. And modern diesel engines are refined, quiet and powerful – and there's none of that black smoke we used to see.Some people may think that diesels create more pollution. But, you need to rethink diesels. Environmental pollution standards for diesel cars and light trucks are scheduled to be as strict as they are for gasoline vehicles. A modern diesel engine is as clean as a gas engine.Repair costs are similar to vehicles with gas engines. As with gasoline engines, proper maintenance is the key to long engine life and to avoiding repairs. So pretty much what we have come to expect with gas vehicles; coolant system service, transmission service, power brakes, power steering, differential, filters, fuel system and so on. And the payoff for you, if you're the kind that likes to keep your vehicles for a long time, is that a properly maintained diesel engine can last for many, many years.
Richard Petty once told me and AutoNetTV, “You’ve gotta have good brakes. If you’ve got good brakes you can keep yourself out of a lotta trouble.” That’s why a regular brake inspection is on every Los Altos car’s maintenance schedule. An inspection at Allied Auto Works will check your brake system and let you know if there are any problems. Of course, if you’re having trouble with your brakes, get your car into Allied Auto Works right away. Here are some symptoms to watch for:
Low or spongy brake pedal
Hard brake pedal
A brake warning light that stays on
Constantly squealing or grinding brakes
Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes
If you are experiencing any of these, it’s time to get your brakes checked. There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that’s attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle. Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Both types have pads or shoes that press against the brakes and slow the vehicle. Brake pads and shoes are made out of very tough material to withstand the heat and force generated when stopping your car. Eventually, they wear out with use, and become too thin and need to be replaced. If the brake pads wear away completely, you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced. That’s not only expensive, but also dangerous because your vehicle won’t stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced. Brake service will also include a check of your brake fluid. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid actives the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid means not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. You should change the brake fluid when your manufacturer recommends to avoid these problems. There are different grades of brake pads; good, better and best. Higher grades cost more, but give better braking performance and smoother operation. It’s OK to upgrade your brake pads. But, never use a grade that’s lower than what the manufacturer recommends. So, be sure to properly maintain your brakes, because it’s a lot cheaper than paying the body shop after an accident. Come in to Allied Auto Works for an brake inspection before damage occurs. You can call ahead for an appointment by calling 650.968.7227.
And tell them Cayenne put the brakes on you, Till next week, this is your helpful automotive blogger
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If you've ever been driving around Los Altos and had a headlamp go out, you've probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won't have the same brightness, which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.To have your headlights inspected, visit us at Allied Auto Works. We're at 2073 Grant Road in Los Altos, CA 94024. Or give us a call at 650.968.7227.Experts at Allied Auto Works recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It's easy to remember if you do it when Daylight Saving Time changes in the fall. That way you'll have bright headlamps for those long CA winter nights.There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can't believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and gives a very white light that's a lot like daylight.You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they'll last for the life of your car. If you want your friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint - no one needs to know.Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can't react to what you can't see. You need headlamps that'll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. Your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and to keep your lights from shining off into oncoming traffic.You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That's because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Los Altos service centers offer a service to restore the lens that's a lot cheaper.You can't drive if you can't see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don't forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.
Most drivers in Los Altos, Cupertino and Mt. View know something about preventive maintenance on a vehicle. We know we should routinely replace the oil and wiper blades and other fluids. But have you heard of a PCV valve ? This little car part needs to be replaced regularly or it can cause some serious problems in your vehicle engine.PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. The crankcase holds your motor oil and is located at the bottom of your engine.When fuel is burned in your engine, it produces waste gases that are mostly vented out through your exhaust system. But some of these gases push their way past the pistons and into the crankcase. There, these gases can mix with motor oil to produce oil sludge, which can damage vehicle engine parts through corrosion and by clogging engine passages. Los Altos vehicle owners should be advised that if the engine is running at high speeds, these gases can also cause pressure inside the crankcase to build up. This pressure, in turn, can blow gaskets and damage seals, leading to oil leaks.The waste gases that leave the engine are comprised of about 70% unburned fuel. They used to be vented off the crankcase into the atmosphere. But starting in 1964, laws mandated that these gases be recaptured. Manufacturers began installing PCV systems, which recycled the gases into the air intake system where they could be mixed with fuel and sent to the engine to be burned.The PCV valve is a one-way valve attached to the crankcase. Waste gases exit the crankcase through the valve but cannot enter.Over time, the waste gases leave deposits on the PCV valve that can gum it up. So it needs to be replaced occasionally. This is an inexpensive part of preventive maintenance that is often overlooked, but which can have very expensive consequences. It's good auto advice to keep this little valve clean and working well.In order to maintain efficient circulation, the PCV system also has a breather tube that allows clean air to enter the crankcase. This air is usually filtered through the engine air filter. But some vehicles have a separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. If this is the case with your vehicle, proper maintenance of the PCV will include replacing this element. To find out whether your vehicle has this type of PCV system, check your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at Allied Auto Works.The PCV system reduces harmful vehicle emissions. The maintenance it requires is simple and inexpensive at Allied Auto Works. A fouled or damaged PCV system can lead to serious engine damage for Los Altos drivers.