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Hello Los Altos, let's talk about brakes. But the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There's also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.Let's step back. A new vehicle or truck rolls off a local Los Altos showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles/kilometers start to add up on the vehicle. Los Altos drivers tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads and shoes on drum brakes are called the friction material. That's because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it's not until they are worn so thin as to be out of 'specs' that they lose their ability to stop.The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over long distances around CA, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail - a scary possibility. That's why a regular brake inspection at Allied Auto Works is important for your vehicle and your family's safety. At Allied Auto Works we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.That leads us to brake fluid service at Allied Auto Works. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the vehicle fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at Allied Auto Works cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.The tires are what connect the vehicle to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the more quickly you'll stop.This is especially important on wet Los Altos area roads and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. CA vehicle owners need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.
Allied Auto Works2073 Grant RoadLos Altos, CA 94024650.968.7227http://alliedautoworks.autotipsvideo.com
A lot of us drivers are asking ourselves the same question lately: how can we save on fuel? Los Altos area residents are all cutting back, if not in fuel consumption, then in other areas of our lives.
Preventive maintenance is an important way people in Los Altos can conserve fuel by improving fuel economy. And one of the easiest and most effective ways to do that is to keep the oil in our vehicle adequate and clean.Oil lubricates your vehicle engine and keeps it running smoothly. If you're running low, there is increased friction in your engine. Friction creates drag, which means it takes more fuel to keep the vehicle motor running. This all translates to lower fuel economy.Check your oil to make sure the engine is getting all it needs. Your owner's manual and service advisor at Allied Auto Works will tell you the proper weight and type of oil for your vehicle.
Responsible Car Care
Dirty oil grits up your engine, which also increases friction. So even if there's enough oil, you're still getting that extra drag that reduces your fuel economy. That's why your owner's manual recommends getting your oil changed regularly. It's good auto advice.While you're checking your oil, you should take a quick look at your transmission fluid as well. Your transmission also needs clean, adequate fluid to work efficiently. An inefficient transmission also translates into lower fuel economy.Your service advisor at Allied Auto Works will be able to check your oil and other fluids, top you off or change your oil if necessary.Your owner's manual will have recommendations on how often you should check your oil and transmission fluid. But you can also consult with the pros at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos. The types of roads you drive on in CA, the climate where you live and the air quality in your area can all affect how often you should change your oil.And don't forget that this will improve our environment here in Los Altos as well. Improved efficiency translates to fewer emissions. Changing your oil as scheduled doesn't just help your vehicle (and your pocketbook), it helps keep the air clean as well.
Allied Auto Works 2073 Grant Road Los Altos, CA 94024 650.968.7227 http://www.alliedautoworks.com
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Every Los Altos vehicle owner has to purchase tires at some time or another, so it's a good idea to understand what the choices are. The best seasonal performance is achieved by purchasing tires to match the season you are driving in. Summer tires are designed for hot temperatures. The tread is engineered for good traction on dry or rainy CA roads. But the rubber compound in summer tires gets stiff when temperatures drop below 45°F (7°C), and snow and mud can pack into the tread, reducing the traction of the tire.Winter tires are designed for good traction on snowy surfaces. The tread actually throws snow off of the tire as the wheel turns. The rubber compound in a winter tire is soft so that it will remain flexible at temperatures below 45°F (7°C). At higher temperatures, however, the softer rubber wears down rapidly.All-season tires sacrifice some of the extreme performance of summer or winter tires, but they maintain adequate traction in either type of Los Altos weather.So your first consideration when buying a tire is where you live in CA, and where you usually drive. If you require maximum summer and winter performance you can go with dedicated summer and winter tires; you would just need to change out your tires each spring and fall.For serious winter driving in CA, look for tires with a severe snow rating. These tires are labeled with a mountain-and-snowflake logo.Your second consideration is the quality of tire to purchase. Summer, winter and all-season tires come in a variety of grades and styles at CA tire stores. Los Altos drivers will want to purchase a tire that will give them good wear and that will handle their driving style and road conditions. Your Allied Auto Works tire professional can give you auto advice as to which type of tire will best fit your needs.Los Altos vehicle owners who drive off-road around CA may want to look at a high-grade tire that is designed for off-road use. These tires are designed to handle the extra wear of off-roading while still giving good performance on Los Altos streets and roads. There are a number of options to choose from so that you can find the right tire whether you are only an occasional off-road explorer or a serious rock climber.New wheels can be purchased in the South Bay as a statement of style or to add personality to your vehicle. There are almost unlimited options. If you change the size of the wheels on your vehicle, however, you will need to get some professional help to make your vehicle compatible with its new wheels. Talk to your Allied Auto Works for more information about tires.
Because 90% of our driving decisions are based on visual information, unobscured vision is paramount. Which brings us to the topic of today's Allied Auto Works article: wiper blades. While this isn't the most exciting automotive subject, it's important. You wouldn't drive at night in Los Altos with your headlights off, but a dirty or streaked vehicle windshield can catch the glare of the sun or on-coming headlights and make it just as difficult to see.Most of us in Los Altos replace our wiper blades when they no longer do the job. They are so worn, hard or brittle that they can't clean the windshield. They may even be falling apart. In other words, we deal with our wiper blades from a failure perspective. We address them when they no longer function. The theory, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," doesn't apply here. Instead, we should think about wipers blades as an important safety system that we should maintain rather than repair.CA automotive experts recommend that we change our wiper blades twice a year, in the spring and fall. That way you have functional blades for those Los Altos spring showers and winter storms.When we use our wipers a lot, they get worn from the Los Altos road grime and bug juice. Even if we don't use them very often, they're exposed to the sun, heat and cold, and air which cause them to dry out, become brittle and break.And of course, you need a good windshield washer fluid in your vehicle to help the wipers do their job. Always use washer fluid because plain water doesn't work as well and it can freeze in the reservoir. If you're driving where there are a lot of bugs in CA, you can pay a little more and get fluid that does a better job of clearing them. If you live where you have extremely cold winters, you can get fluid that resists freezing.Like everything else in the automotive world, there've been some big advancements in wiper blades, both in terms of the design and the materials from which the blade is made. If you are a local Los Altos driver that has a need for better than average windshield wipers, you can pay some more for an upgraded wiper. And if you live where there's a lot of snow and ice in CA, they make special winter blades that don't clog up and freeze like standard blades.At one of your fall and spring oil changes, ask your Allied Auto Works service advisor which is best wiper blade for your driving conditions. Replace your blades on schedule so you never have to struggle with your vision when you switch on your wipers.
Allied Auto Works2073 Grant RoadLos Altos, CA 94024650.968.7227http://www.alliedautoworks.com
Fortunately, with the current state of automotive engineering and manufacturing, there's no reason a modern vehicle can't be made to last for a 150,000 miles (250,000 kilometers) or more for smart Los Altos drivers.The old adage: 'a stitch in time saves nine' is really true for Los Altos residents when it comes to car maintenance. A great example is coolant service.Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. Smart Los Altos drivers have their cooling system service taken care of right on schedule at Allied Auto Works.Ditto for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. Of course, oil changes should be done right on schedule to avoid the build-up of harmful oil sludge.Don't let your brake pads go too long before they are worn to the point that your rotors are at risk. Preventative auto maintenance at Allied Auto Works is a great way to keep your operating costs down.Replacing belts and hoses is much cheaper than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure.We know that this is a lot for busy Los Altos area drivers to remember. Let the team of automotive professionals at Allied Auto Works keep on top of this stuff for you. We can tell you what your vehicle manufacturer recommends and help you develop an affordable plan to take care of it.Bottom line – do routine maintenance on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent repairs and maintain your warranty coverage.Let us take good care of your car at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, and it'll take good care of you.
When we Los Altos, Cupertino, Sunnyvale or Mountain View residents get a car repair bill, we really shouldn't be surprised to find “diagnostic fees” as one of the line items. When we get a computer fixed, there is usually a charge for the time it takes to diagnose the problem. When we go to a medical doctor, most of his fee is for his ability to diagnose what's wrong. It's no different with our vehicles.Some diagnoses are fairly simple. Brake repairs at Allied Auto Works usually require only a visual inspection, for instance. But other problems are much more difficult to diagnose. An intermittent engine problem, for example, takes time and expertise to pinpoint.Modern vehicles have multiple computers that monitor a variety of sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of those sensors has a reading that is higher or lower than the standard parameters, the computer turns on the Check Engine light. Technicians at a service center such as Allied Auto Works in Los Altos can scan the engine's computer for a trouble code. This code tells the technician which reading is too high or too low.That's where some South Bay residents get confused. They think that this reading concludes the diagnosis, and they don't understand why the diagnostic fee is as much as it is when all the technician did was to scan the computer. But the truth is the trouble code is only the beginning of the diagnostic procedure.Remember, the trouble code only tells which reading is out of parameter. It doesn't say what is causing the reading to be too high or too low. Your Allied Auto Works service technician still has to find the underlying problem. It's a lot like going to the doctor. He can take your temperature and discover that you have a fever, but that doesn't tell him what is causing your fever.Automotive diagnostic technology can cut down the time it takes to figure out what's wrong with a vehicle that isn't running right. But it doesn't do away with the need for your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works service technician to make a proper diagnosis. Car care, like medical care, still requires the human touch.
Engines get hot when they run. This heat can build up and damage vital engine parts, so engines need a cooling system to keep them running. Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles. This is unfortunate, because these failures are usually easy for Los Altos drivers to prevent. The radiator is the best-known and most recognizable part of the cooling system. Hoses filled with coolant (also known as antifreeze) connect the radiator to the engine. The coolant draws heat from the engine and then flows to the radiator. Air passing through cooling fans on the radiator cools the coolant. The coolant then cycles back into the engine to start the process over again. The most critical component of the cooling system, however, is the coolant itself. A mixture of water and coolant/antifreeze helps keep it both from freezing and from boiling away. Either can result in serious engine damage. Different engines require different types of coolant/antifreeze. The owner's manual will list what kind a vehicle requires. Using the wrong type or mixing different types of coolant/antifreeze may void the warranty on the cooling system and may damage it as well. Insufficient coolant can lead to engine failure. Coolant levels need to be checked regularly and topped off as necessary. If coolant levels drop quickly or consistently, the cooling system should be inspected for leaks. Coolant/antifreeze contains additives that protect the radiator and other coolant components from rust, scale and corrosion. Over time, these additives are depleted, so it is necessary for Los Altos drivers to replace coolant at specified intervals. Changing coolant should be part of routine preventive maintenance for any vehicle. This service is often ignored, though, since old coolant still cools the engine. Vehicle owners don't realize there is a problem until the system fails. They are left with major repairs and possibly a damaged engine, which could have been prevented with a cooling system service at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos. If your vehicle sends a warning message to check its coolant or if the temperature gauge is reading in the red or hot zone, then the cooling system needs serviced. This service is critical and should not be put off since the potential for damage is high. In an emergency situation, water or antifreeze can be added to your vehicle so that it can be driven to a service center for proper car care. For this reason, your owner's manual contains instructions for how to top off insufficient coolant – allow 45 minutes for the engine to cool before attempting to add coolant or water. However, the fluid should be added to the coolant overflow bottle, not to the radiator itself. Removing the radiator pressure cap can result in severe burns. Topping off in an emergency, however, does not fix the problem. The vehicle should immediately be taken to Allied Auto Works in Los Altos where they can inspect the cooling system, repair any leaks and clean it if necessary. They can identify what caused the emergency situation in first place and ensure it doesn't happen again. Regular maintenance of a vehicle's cooling system is just good auto advice for Los Altos drivers. Cooling system service is relatively inexpensive and doesn't take long at Allied Auto Works. Lack of it, however, can put a vehicle in the scrap heap. Talk to our service advisors Matt and Travis at Allied Auto Works for more information.
Myths passed around our Los Altos, CA community start with a grain of evidence and are then built up with a lot of imagination and very elastic logic. And the internet is a breeding ground for automotive myths. Some bloggers recall the vehicles of yesteryear and declare their modern decedents to be virtually maintenance free and that anyone who says otherwise is out to rip you off.
To get the truth about auto myths you hear around the Los Altos area, come over to Allied Auto Works.
Let's examine a couple of the more popular rants and look at the truth behind them.The first one is that the chassis no longer needs lubrication for suspension, steering and the driveline. They declare that anyone who has charged you for lubrication is a charlatan.The truth on which this myth is based is that many new vehicles come from the factory with sealed joints and cannot be greased. However, there are still some grease points on many cars around Los Altos. A grease fitting may have been installed in conjunction with a repair. And most trucks and truck-based SUVs driving in Los Altos still require chassis lubrication. This is because they are more heavy duty and proper greasing is still required to keep them going.Another common rant you'll hear around Los Altos is that modern vehicles don't need tune-ups. That depends on your definition of a 'tune-up', which has changed as technology has progressed. Before engine control computers, electronic ignition and fuel injection, a tune up meant replacing mechanical parts that wore out. Service technicians at Allied Auto Works would manually adjust fuel and air mix and timing. When these adjustments were off, spark plugs would foul and need to be replaced.This definition just doesn't apply to modern vehicles. Service centers like Allied Auto Works generally consider a tune-up to be the major service visit, recommended by your manufacturer, every 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometers) or so.Of course you can't lubricate a sealed joint. Of course you can't adjust a carburetor if your car doesn't have one. You probably don't need to change spark plugs every year if your manufacturer says they can go 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometers). What are these bloggers getting so worked up about?The danger with these modern-day myths is they prevent people in our local Los Altos community from taking care of the routine preventive auto maintenance that manufactures recommend. Check out this partial list of things you still need to do to take care of your car. How many of them are really any different today than they were 20 or 30 years ago?
Oil change, cooling system service, transmission service, tire balancing, tire rotation, wheel alignment, suspension service, power steering service, proper tire inflation, brake service, differential service, battery maintenance, engine air filer, PCV valve, breather element, fuel filter, belts, hoses, timing belt, windshield wipers . . .
You get the picture. Your vehicle is still a machine that needs to be maintained. And, hey, your service advisors, Matt and Travis at Allied Auto Works have always adapted to keep pace with automotive technology. Next time you come across an angry voice about your car care, talk to your Los Altos service advisor at Allied Auto Works, or do some research of your own.
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As South Bay consumers, we live in a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away.New stuff comes out so fast in CA, and much of it is fairly cheap, so we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff - especially parents who grew up in the Depression. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough; we had to do without.
We couldn't afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It's a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us South Bay penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles (320,000 km) with proper care. The engineering's there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer's maintenance schedules.Is it really that bad for Los Altos motorists to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a little longer than the recommended interval between oil changes, you've created an opportunity for sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don't get oiled and they start to wear out faster.
Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted; the radiator starts being damaged, one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.It's also even more important for older vehicles in the Los Altos, Cupertino, and Sunnyvale area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they're working harder anyway. But it's never too late for South Bay drivers to get back on track with maintenance and to hold off further damage.
It's just another example of our parents knowing what's best. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That's like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let the pros at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos help you keep track of the rest.
Of course, it is inevitable for vehicles that some things are going to wear out along the way, like alternators, water pumps and such; they don't last forever. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It's like having high cholesterol; you don't want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.
Well Prince talking about all this maintenance and staying young, I think I need to schedule my yearly vet appointment. It was great having you here today and Cayenne and I look forward to another visit as I sure our clients do to.
Well everyone, have a wonderful weekend
Duke and Prince
Taking care of our tires is part of vehicle care for Los Altos drivers. We know they have to be replaced when they wear out, but tires also require some preventive maintenance. This maintenance will improve and extend the life of the tires, so it's well worth the effort and expense for Los Altos drivers to get it done. Tire maintenance includes keeping tires properly inflated, rotating tires and balancing wheels.The recommended tire pressure for a vehicle's tires is printed on a sticker on the inside of the driver's side doorjamb. A lot of engineering goes into calculating the correct pressure, so it's an important number for Los Altos vehicle owners to know. Not following this recommendation can throw off the suspension system and can lead to tire damage. Underinflated tires wear out more quickly than properly inflated tires. Vehicles also get better traction and handling on properly inflated tires. Check your tire pressure at least once a week and add air if necessary.Don't be tempted to add a bit of extra air to your tires when you fill them. Overinflated tires will cause the center tread to wear unevenly because of improper contact with the road. It will also affect the handling performance of your vehicle.Rotating tires allows all four tires on a vehicle to wear evenly. Front tires get more wear than rear tires because they do most of the work on turns. Tire rotation allows all of the tires to spend time on the front of the car so they all experience the extra wear.For most vehicles, tire rotation is simply a matter of moving the front tires to the rear and vice versa. Some vehicles, however, recommend a cross-rotational pattern. Other vehicles use asymmetrical tires, which means the right tires have to stay on the right side of the vehicle and the left tires on the left. Some vehicles use differently sized wheels on the front and back of the car and should not have their tires rotated.What kind of rotation do you need? Check your owner's manual or talk to Matt or Travis, your service advisor at Allied Auto Works. Your owner's manual will have information about how to rotate your vehicle's tires as well as letting you know how often you should get it done. For most vehicles, that's usually every 5,000 miles or 8,000 kilometers Your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works professionals can also offer auto advice about tire rotation. A quick tire inspection can also indicate whether or not your tires are due to be rotated.When it comes to tire maintenance for Los Altos drivers, wheel balancing is usually what we know least about. Balancing a wheel is necessary to keep it in constant contact with the road. If a tire is not balanced properly, it actually hops along the roadway. You can feel this hopping as a vibration in your steering wheel if the unbalanced tire is a front tire. You'll feel the vibration through your seat if a rear tire is unbalance. Properly balancing your tires is important and will extend their life span, improve handling and improve the safety of your vehicle. When you replace your tires, the new tires need to be balanced.Never use different sized tires on the same axle of a vehicle. In other words, your front tires need to be the same size and your rear tires need to be the same size. Mixing sizes can lead to some serious handling problems for Los Altos drivers.If you have an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle, all four tires need to be the same size. If your tires are wearing out, you can sometimes make a new tire purchase fit within your budget by only buying two tires at a time. When you do this, the new tires should be installed on the rear of the vehicle. Rear tires are more in need of the traction than your front tires to avoid spinning out on slippery surfaces. If you drive a vehicle around Los Altos, you need tires, so you need to know how to care for them. The safety of your vehicle can depend on the condition of your tires.