Los Altos Auto Repair

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Duke and Cayenne | Allied Auto Works Grant Road

Duke and Cayenne’s Automotive Corner

"Welcome to Duke and Cayenne’s Automotive Education Blog. Each week, Duke and Cayenne open their book of knowledge to bark with you. Check back often to see how they can teach an old dog new tricks. Never stop learning!"

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Articles:

Duke Says Give me a Brake (Light)!

duke

Duke here. You have heard people say, "Give me a break!" but today, I will give you a Brake—brake lights, that is. If that little brake warning light pops up on your dash, do you know what it means? Well, if you said no, you wouldn't be alone. You know it has something to do with your brakes, but exactly what? You're not sure. One of the reasons is that it could mean many different things.

It could be something simple, like putting your parking brake on and forgetting to take it off. This is an easy fix; you'll be on the road in seconds.

Or, it could mean there's something wrong with your anti-lock brake system. That is a pretty complex symphony of speed sensors, computers and wiring, and sometimes things get a little out of whack. You could have a defective sensor or some wiring may have gotten damaged or come loose. A trained technician at Allied Auto Works with special equipment can sort it all out.

It's also possible you have low brake fluid. That could be caused by a number of things. One simple reason is that your brake pads have worn down. Replacing them could solve the problem. Another possibility is that you have a leak in your brake system. That could be serious. If your brake fluid level gets really low, your stopping power goes down along with it, and a vehicle that can't stop is a safety hazard to you and others on the road.

Of all the warning lights on your instrument panel, pay attention to the brake warning light. If it comes on, come on over to Allied Auto Works very, very soon. A vehicle is great when it's moving. But if it can't stop, well, that is a disaster waiting to happen.

We’d love to hear from you. Let us know if you have any questions.

I leave you with this breaking and entering joke from my favorite Looney Tunes friends,

Elmer Fudd and Daffy break into a distillery.

Daffy turns to Elmer and says, “ Is this whiskey?”

Elmer says: “yeah, but not as whiskey as wobbing a bank.”
 
Duke

duke

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
http://alliedautoworks.com

Categories:

Brakes

Cayenne's Fuel Injection: It Keeps Getting Better for Los Altos Drivers

cay

Hello California on this beautiful Summer day!  Cayenne here and today I am going to inject with some schooling on fuel injection.  So let's get barkin' on this fuel-burning subject!

Los Altos residents know that engines need to burn fuel to operate. Fuel is pumped from your fuel tank to your vehicle engine, where it is squirted—or injected—into your engine's cylinders. This is the function of the fuel injectors.

There are two ways to inject fuel into an engine. Fuel needs air to burn, so in the first method, fuel is injected into a port and allowed to mix with air before it is drawn into the cylinders. In the second method, fuel is injected directly into the cylinders and mixes with air after it enters the vehicle engine.

Direct injection engines burn fuel more efficiently than conventional vehicle engines. Some models can deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.

For example, in one family of engines, the conventional version (a V6) delivers about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version delivers over 300 horsepower and gets about the same gas mileage. The turbocharged version delivers 350 horsepower.

Why the big difference in power? Direct injection systems allow fuel to be squirted into the vehicle engine at hundreds of times the pressure of a conventional engine. This atomizes the fuel better (breaks it down into tinier droplets), which means more of it gets burned, which translates to more power for your engine. It also results in cleaner emissions.

Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver the right amount of fuel at exactly the time the vehicle engine needs it. They are also engineered to inject fuel with a specific spray pattern. This spray pattern allows for maximum fuel efficiency and proper atomization. Direct injection engines require a much higher degree of precision than conventional engines. For this reason, they are equipped with more sophisticated computers.

When fuel injectors get dirty, their precision drops off. The spray pattern won't be precise, and the timing of fuel delivery may be off. This decreases fuel efficiency and fuel economy as well as delivering less power to the engine.

Los Altos residents should understand that fuel injectors are not cheap to replace. Direct injection fuel injectors are even more. And we're talking about a mortgage payment to buy a set of new fuel injectors for a diesel engine.

So, keeping your fuel injectors clean is just good auto advice. The best way to do this is to change your air and fuel filters regularly and practice other habits of good vehicle care and preventive maintenance. Cleaning additives in your fuel can also help.

If you do end up with gum or varnish in your fuel system, you'll need a professional fuel system cleaning. This will clean out your whole system, including the injectors. The good news is that with proper maintenance, Los Altos drivers will enjoy better fuel economy and their fuel injectors will last for a long time.

Contact us for more tips to help you improve your performance and safety.

Wishing you all a safe and wonderful 4th of July week, I leave you with quote,

"Fourth of July — it was good enough for George Washington, it's good enough for me." ~W. C. Fields, 1933

Cayenne

cay

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
http://alliedautoworks.com

Categories:

Fuel System

Duke's Distracted Driving

duke

Duke here, and as a hound, when I get on track of a scent, I stay on task and only that task so I don't get distracted.  I have a very high success rate by staying focused on one thing......that squirrel.  When asked, most people think they are good at multitasking. Scientific studies, however, reveal that only around 2% of the population can truly demonstrate the capacity to effectively multi-task. For the rest of us who are not so biologically wired, no amount of practice can increase our effectiveness at multi-tasking. It turns out that multitasking is almost a superpower. Think of fighter pilots: capable of maintaining their orientation in three-dimensional space and performing specific and highly complicated functions while accessing life-threatening situations and coming up with an appropriate response. Admit it – you can’t do that.

Yet, when it comes to driving, we seem to think we are very capable of safely operating a motor vehicle with myriad distractions. 77% of young adults feel somewhat confident that they can safely text and drive, while 55% claim it’s easy to text and drive. Can they possibly be right? Let’s look at some statistics.

Nearly 23% of all accidents in the United States involve cell phones. Every day, 11 people are killed and over 900 are injured in texting-related accidents. In fact, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated. Just think back at your own experiences: how many of your “near misses” as a pedestrian or in a vehicle have involved a driver with a cell phone in their hand?

There are three types of driving distractions:

  • Visual (eyes off the road)
  • Manual (reaching for something or manipulating an object)
  • Cognitive (mind off the task of driving)

Of course, texting or using a cell phone involves all three. Eating, applying make-up, arguing and working on-board features like the stereo and navigation system are all very real distractions. You may be interested to know that hands-free cell calls are not substantially safer than using a handheld phone. Any time you glance away from the road (like looking at a text or incoming phone call), your eyes are off task for at least 5 seconds. At 55 miles per hour/90 kph, you will cover the length of a football field in that time. Would you ever consent to strapping on a blindfold and driving off down the road for that distance?

So what do you do? First, accept the fact that you are not part of the 2% of all the people on the planet who can truly multi-task (if you are one of the lucky ones, you would know by now because your performance does not degrade no matter how many additional tasks are added). Next, don’t EVER drive distracted. Incoming text: it will wait for later. Juicy hamburger: eat it in the parking lot. No exceptions, ever. And don’t accept anything less from drivers of vehicles in which you are a passenger.

Another way to avoid distractions is to keep up with scheduled maintenance and necessary repairs so that your vehicle itself doesn’t become a distraction. We can help you with that.  Give us a call today.

Today, I leave you with this thought,

"The shorter way to do many things is to only do one thing at a time.” – Mozart

Duke

 

duke

 

 

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
http://alliedautoworks.com

Categories:

Auto Safety

Cayenne Breathes Fresh Air Inside Your Car in Los Altos

cay

Some say I have quite a nose for smells.  I must agree!  Hi Cayenne here, and today we are going to bark about air quality inside the car.  So take a deep breath, and let's get barkin'!

Air quality has certainly become a hot issue in our modern world. We install air filters on our ventilation systems and in our vacuum cleaners. There's a filter that cleans the air going into our vehicle's engine, so why not have one for the air in the passenger compartment?

Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers haven't been ignoring the issue. Cabin air filters are becoming a standard feature on newer vehicles. These filters can clean particles out of the air down to three microns, which accounts for pollen, dust and most pollutants. Los Altos residents who suffer from allergies or have respiratory disorders should be a lot more comfortable. And even if you don't have a medical need for the filter, the cleaner air in your car just might help you breathe better, figuratively as well as literally.

Cabin air filters are still fairly new in the Los Altos area, so you'll have to check your vehicle owner's manual to see if you have one. If you do, your routine car care must include changing the filter as part of your preventive maintenance. The owner's manual will recommend how often the filter has to be changed, but if the air where you live in CA is particularly dirty or if you're prone to hay fever, you may want to change it more often.


Your friendly service advisor at Allied Auto Works can also offer suggestions on how often to change your cabin air filter in your Los Altos area. They're the ones who actually see the dirty filters, after all.

There is no standardized location for cabin air filters. Los Altos residents can usually find them in the vehicle engine compartment or under the dashboard, but they might be somewhere else. So, the ease of changing the filter will depend on its location. Some are readily accessible, but others make you wonder how they got installed in the first place. Bring your car into Allied Auto Works and we will locate your cabin air filter for you.

However, if you have a newer vehicle, it's good auto advice to find out if it has a cabin air filter. If it does, you should change the filter regularly. A sure sign that a filter needs to be changed is that the interior of your vehicle will start to smell bad. That smell is exactly how some Los Altos drivers discovered that they had cabin air filters in the first place!

Cabin air filters are just one more way we have to stay safe, stay healthy and stay on the road in CA.

I leave you with this quote about breathing,

Breathe and you know that you are alive. ~Annabel Laity

Cayenne

cay

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
http://alliedautoworks.com

Categories:

Cabin Air Filter

Duke's "Current" Affairs (Blown Fuses)

duke

Hello South Bay residents!  What a beautiful day here in California.  Take a nice car ride with the windows down and the wind in my face.  But wait, you may be driving along and find that suddenly your radio stops working.  There are no numbers on the display.  Then, when you get home, you notice the garage door opener doesn't do a thing when you press the button. Hmm, this was working just fine this morning.  Are the two problems somehow related?  Let's start barkin' and find out!

No, your vehicle doesn't need an exorcism. This has all the signs of an electrical issue, and when you experience symptoms like those, you've probably blown a fuse.  Most vehicles have fuses, just like most houses have circuit breakers (some houses still have fuses). They cut the power when it reaches a pre-determined threshold that could cause major damage if it was allowed to continue.  You might say fuses take one for the team.

Most modern automotive fuses are plastic with a thin strip of metal in them designed to melt when a calibrated amount of power passes through.  The philosophy is it's better for an inexpensive fuse to be destroyed than your sound system or your engine's main computer.

It can be tricky to figure out what fuse has blown and why.  Modern vehicles have many computerized electronic components; they can easily be damaged if too much electricity gets to the wrong spot.  At Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, we have technicians trained to trace which fuse has blown and why.

While sometimes a simple fuse replacement will fix the problem, other times, some other electrical components may have failed, causing the circuit to overload. Our technicians have special equipment to track down where the power problems are, get to the root of the problem, and fix it at the source.

Keep in mind that fuses are there to protect your vehicle. When they shut down your radio, garage door opener, vanity mirror, or anything else, just be thankful they're doing their job. They may have saved you from a much more expensive repair. They've sent an important signal to you about your electrical system. That's why it's good to keep up with "current" affairs.

I leave you with this thought today,

“The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits.” - Albert Einstein

Duke

duke

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
http://alliedautoworks.com

Cayenne Barks About Your TPMS in Los Altos

cay

Hello Cayenne here and do you know what TPMS stands for?  No, it's not for Tasty Pork Meat Steak, that does sound good though.  It means Tire Pressure Monitoring System.  Yeah not as tasty sounding to me but important. So today we will bark TPMS and what it means for your vehicle. 

Los Altos drivers know that underinflated tires wear out more quickly. Underinflation is also a major cause of tire failure for CA auto owners. More flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances are all results of underinflated tires.

It's hard for many Los Altos drivers to tell when a radial tire is underinflated. If your owner’s manual recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your tire is considered significantly under-inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

Uncle Sam to the rescue! A recent U.S. federal law required vehicle manufacturer’s to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System - or TPMS system - in all vehicles. Many Canadian vehicles have them as well.  The system is a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25% below its pressure recommendations.

Obviously, all of this doesn't come free for Los Altos car owners. Government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases. The net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100.

CA service centers have purchased new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and updated expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems.

Allied Auto Works service advisors have been trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to the service center to perform what was once a very inexpensive service. So if you've noticed the cost of flat repairs, tire changes, and rotations going up, please keep in mind that it's because of government mandated safety equipment. Your Los Altos service center just wants to keep you safely on the road - and it's committed to do so at a fair price. Remember, this change will help you avoid the most common vehicle failure, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

I leave you with a quote for today,

"There's a book that tells you where you should go on your vacation. It's called your checkbook." ~Author unknown

Cayenne

cayAllied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
http://alliedautoworks.com

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Duke's Most Distracting Food While Driving

duke

Duke here, and you know I love me delicious bone while I'm on a car ride, and I'm sure it can be distracting to other dogs when I drive by, but what do you think is the most distracting food to have in the car while you're driving around Los Altos?

Is it:

  1. A Hamburger;
  2. Coffee;
  3. A Soft Drink or
  4. Gummy Bears?

Well, you may be surprised to learn that all but the gummy bears are in the top ten most distracting foods when you are driving. But if you chose 'coffee,' then give yourself an extra two points.  Coffee is the number one food distraction for drivers in Los Altos and around the country.

Food distractions cause 25 percent of all car accidents, over a million and a half yearly!

You'll notice that all of the top ten distracting food items are messy. Messy foods are the types of food you might spill (very distracting!), then try to clean up (a safe-driving impossibility!). If you gotta eat on the run, take five-then drive. You'll thank yourself later for two reasons: one, that you can actually relax for just a moment in our fast-paced world, and two, you won't have to worry about getting that cinnamon roll frosting out of your dashboard after that near miss.

Keep drinks in spill-proof containers, too, so you can keep your eyes on the Los Altos road without worrying about where that spill is headed.

So, taking a food break… or filling out accident reports. We don't have to ask you which you prefer; it's a no-brainer.


I leave you with this,

If you want to impress me with your car, it better be a food truck

Duke

duke

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
http://alliedautoworks.com

Categories:

Safe Driving

E-85 Fuel Safety Advice from Cayenne

cay
 

Cayenne here, and today at Allied Auto Works, I want to bark with you about a very important safety issue. This automotive safety warning is coming from a very unusual source: firefighting experts. You've probably heard of E-85 gasoline being offered in the Los Altos area. Some newer vehicle models are specifically built to run on E-85 – the rest are not.

Does your vehicle use E-85 gasoline? Bring it down to Allied Auto Works at 2073 Grant Road in Los Altos, CA 94024, to find out, or give us a call to make an appointment by calling 650.968.7227.

E-85 gasoline has been developed to fight air pollution and reduce oil consumption. E-85 fuel is a mix of 85% ethanol, grain-based alcohol, and 15% gasoline. So-called Flex-Fuel vehicles are designed to use either normal gasoline or E-85 gas. The result is lower exhaust emissions to our local Los Altos community.

All gas engines can run with up to 10% ethanol, and in fact, a lot of gasoline sold in the Los Altos, CA area does contain some ethanol. The problem comes when well-meaning residents without Flex Fuel-certified vehicles put E-85 into the tank.

At a 15% concentration, problems can arise. Because of the chemical differences between ethanol and gasoline, special seals and gaskets are needed for Flex Fuel vehicles. In a normal engine, the ethanol in E-85 gas will eat away seals and gaskets, leading to gas and oil leaks.

You Los Altos auto owners can imagine the fire hazard caused by leaking gasoline. CA fire fighting experts caution drivers to only use E-85 if they know their vehicle is certified to handle it. They expect vehicle fires to increase because of using the wrong fuel in non-Flex Fuel vehicles.

My quote for this week,

Safety never takes a day off

Cayenne

cay

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
http://alliedautoworks.com

 

Categories:

E85 Fuel Safety

Duke Breathes Deep in Los Altos With a New Cabin Air Filter

duke

Hey, it's Duke, and I love taking in all fresh smells on beautiful spring days, but inside a car sometimes, not so much.  So today I am going to bark about checking your cabin air filter to inside air quality smelling fresh.  Let's get barkin'!

Poor interior air quality is nothing to sneeze at, and Los Altos auto owners might be interested to know that more and more new cars are coming equipped with a cabin air filter. Check your vehicle owner's manual, but they typically need to be replaced at around 12,000 to 15,000 miles (19,000 to 24,000 kilometers).

The filter is usually under the vehicle hood or under the dashboard. Some are a little tricky to get to, so you'll want to have your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works service advisor take care of replacing them.

As we said, many Los Altos people don't realize they have a cabin air filter and come to Allied Auto Works saying, "My vents are smelling bad." It usually turns out to be a dirty cabin air filter. A switch out, and they're on their way, smelling sweet.

Los Altos residents who suffer from allergies can really benefit from a cabin air filter as it keeps irritants to a minimum. If you're one of them, you'll want to replace your filter regularly.

If you do a lot of driving in dusty or polluted Los Altos conditions, you'll need to change your cabin air filter more often.

Give us a call to schedule that appointment today.

I leave you with a fresh air quote for this week,

Fresh air is good if you do not take too much of it; most of the achievements and pleasures of life are in bad air.

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Duke 

duke

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
http://alliedautoworks.com

 

Categories:

Cabin Air Filter

Cayenne's Emergency Items for Los Altos

cay

Good day on this beautiful Spring day! Cayenne here, and with my spring bonnet on, I am ready to go for spring car rides and travel. However, you need to make sure your vehicle is ready and prepared for any unexpected emergencies on the road. So, today, we will bark about being prepared for your road travels.

Safe CA travel starts with preventive maintenance and good vehicle care at Allied Auto Works. But there are other things Los Altos residents can do to prepare for emergencies on the road. Here's some auto advice that can help you plan for emergencies, and just may save your life — or someone else's.

First, Los Altos auto owners should consider keeping an auto emergency kit in their vehicle. The kit should contain items that will allow you to deal with common emergencies on the road.

Some items you should carry in your vehicle include jumper cables (or a booster box), flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools. Other useful items include gloves, two quarts of oil, some antifreeze, water and everything you need to change a tire. You might also consider a can of tire inflator, which is a great temporary fix for minor flats.

But taking care of your vehicle is only part of emergency preparedness. It is to take care of the people in the car, too. For this reason, you should carry a first aid kit, drinkable water and blankets. Other items to consider include high-calorie food items (like energy bars), toilet paper, a towel, a hat and boots. And, of course, when you travel in CA and out-of-state, you should always have your cell phone, some emergency cash, and a credit card.

Depending on where you live, you may need to add other items to this list. For example, sunscreen, sunglasses and extra water would be good to have on hand in a hot climate. For the cold and snowy CA season, some salt, a hand shovelemergency blankets and matches might be in order. Also, if your area is prone to severe weather or earthquakes, you should check with your local Red Cross or disaster preparedness office for their recommendations on what to keep on hand in your vehicle for emergencies.

When you travel away from your Los Altos home, you should check the weather forecasts before you leave and pack appropriate emergency supplies. Also, do some research about the areas you will be traveling through so you can be prepared for the climate and terrain. Remember the basics: heat, water, shelter, light and food.

When you travel, it is important to leave your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. Check-in periodically at prearranged checkpoints. That way, if something does happen, someone else will quickly know you are in trouble and will be able to send help. These checkpoints will also help rescuers find you quickly, as they will have a better idea of where you are.

The automotive professionals at Allied Auto Works want Los Altos drivers to be safe. Preventive maintenance, proper planning, and smart communication are the basics of safe travel.

I leave you with a travel thought for this week.

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. ~ Lin Yatang

Cayenne

cay

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
http://alliedautoworks.com

Categories:

Safety
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