Owing to improved engine technology and higher oil quality, most newer vehicles can go longer between oil changes than their older counterparts.So what is a good time interval for oil changes? How do CA residents know when to change it? And why do we change it in the first place?Oil lubricates a vehicle's engine, which protects it from friction damage. Over time the oil can collect dirt and contaminants that inhibit its performance. But dirty oil isn't the only problem for CA residents. What you really want to avoid is called oil sludge.Oil sludge is caused by moisture in the oil and by hot spots in your engine that burn off oil. This sludge is a gooey gel that can clog engine passageways, which can block lubricants from reaching vital engine parts. The result can be engine wear or even engine failure.Sludge forms rapidly in an engine that is driven under what are termed “severe conditions.” A vehicle's owner's manual includes recommendations for oil change intervals under both normal and severe conditions. Severe conditions include towing a trailer, driving in polluted or dusty conditions, hauling heavy loads or using a car top carrier. Also, extremes in climate such as very hot or very cold temperatures constitute severe conditions for vehicles.Some people may be tempted to overlook the severe conditions preventive maintenance schedule in their 's owner's manual because of the word “severe.” But consider this: the most common form of severe conditions is stop-and-go driving, rush hour commuting or only driving your vehicle on short trips around the area.
When a vehicle only makes trips under four miles/six kilometers, or under 10 miles/16 kilometers in freezing conditions, the engine doesn't get warm enough for condensation in the oil to evaporate. The result? You get oil sludge build-up. If your driving patterns are the same as any of the conditions that count as severe, you should be changing your oil more frequently under the severe conditions schedule. The team at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos can help you understand what type of oil to use in your vehicle and how it can affect your oil change schedule. Some vehicles are filled with synthetic or synthetic-blend oil at the factory. The owner's manual will recommend that this oil continue to be used in the vehicle, and oil change intervals will be based on this type of oil.Also, if your vehicle uses conventional oil, but you have some of those severe driving habits we talked about, you can switch to a premium-grade oil to give your vehicle extra protection. The answer to why we change our oil is fairly simple: to protect our engines and make our vehicles last longer and run better. But the answer to how often to change our oil is more complex: it depends on our vehicle, our driving habits, where we live and what kind of oil we use.
When it comes to oil changes, a little information can go a long way to helping people save money and extend the life of their vehicles. Stay safe, and stay on the road.
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The price of gas and the uncertain economy are both causing CA residents to review their finances. More and more Los Altos drivers are opting to keep their vehicles longer and put off purchasing a newer car. It is estimated that two-thirds of the vehicles on the roads of North America today have over 75,000 miles/120,000 km on them. And the average age of vehicles is now over eleven years. That translates to some car care issues that many Los Altos men and women haven't dealt with in the past.Older vehicles simply have different maintenance requirements than newer ones. Learning those requirements presents a challenge for people in Los Altos because many owner's manuals only publish maintenance schedules up to 60,000 or 90,000 miles (96,000 or 145,000 km). Vehicle owners have to keep good records and be more involved in planning preventive maintenance if they want to keep their vehicles on the road. First of all, any service in your owner's manual that comes with a recommended mileage interval should be continued at that interval.
For example, if it is recommended that you change your oil every 5,000 miles/8,000 km, you should continue to change your oil every 5,000 miles/8,000 km. The owner of an older vehicle has to recognize that his engine is operating under higher stress than a new one. It's just starting to show its age. So many experts suggest that the “severe service schedule” should be followed once a vehicle has racked up some serious road distance. On this schedule, the mileage interval for many services is shortened or should be performed more often. Check with your service advisor at Allied Auto Works.Los Altos drivers who own older vehicles should also be careful not to neglect or postpone oil changes. A full-service oil change is more critical for an older vehicle than for a new one. Older engines have had a lot of time to build up sludge in their oil compartment, so changing the oil at regular intervals is a must. Skipping an oil change compounds the sludge problem. With a full-service oil change, the vehicle's fluids are also checked and topped off. Your service advisor at Allied Auto Works will also let you know if these fluids need to be replaced. Older vehicles have older seals and gaskets, which often develop tiny leaks. Regularly checking fluids will compensate for these leaks and offer a heads-up about any serious ones. So, again, it is important to stay on schedule and not skip or procrastinate a fluid check.Older seals and gaskets begin to dry out and show their age by becoming brittle. High-mileage formulation oils and fluids can help extend the lives of these gaskets and seals. These products contain additives that recondition seals and gaskets and keep them from leaking. High-mileage formulas cost more than standard products, but in the long run they can pay for themselves by preventing more costly repair bills.If a vehicle is getting on in years or mileage, its parts are as well. High-mileage car maintenance requires necessary repairs and replacements. Timing belts, radiator hoses, parts of the suspension system, anti-lock brakes, air bags, water pumps, alternators and batteries will not last forever and will wear out in higher-mileage vehicles. They need to be inspected regularly by your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works service advisor and replaced as necessary.But don't go running for the new car lot just yet. These repairs may sound like a lot, but in total, they're still cheaper for Los Altos drivers than new car payments. And if you stay on top of them and budget for them, they aren't as burdensome as it may appear.If you plan on driving your vehicle into its high-mileage years, there are two relationships you need to develop. The first is with your Los Altos service center. Allied Auto Works can offer you invaluable auto advice and help you develop a service plan that is right for you and your vehicle. Second, you need to develop a relationship with your vehicle itself. You don't need to name it, but you should become familiar with its noises and idiosyncrasies. Pay attention to changes in its habits such as new or unusual sounds, smells, vibrations, etc. Taking note of such things and sharing them with your service advisor can help stave off a lot of big-ticket repair issues.As we get older, keeping up with a diet and exercise plan becomes more and more critical to maintaining good health. It's the same with our vehicles. A preventive maintenance plan and smart vehicle care will keep them on the road and keep them safe for a good many years to come.
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.
Allied Auto Works 2073 Grant Road Los Altos, CA 94024 650.968.7227 http://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 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.We here at Allied Auto Works hope that you never have to use this information and wish you happy travels on your New Year 2019!
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When I was a kid, my dad always made sure he took the cars in for Spring and Fall checkups. I was telling a friend that it's about time to get into Allied Auto Works for a checkup and he said that he read on the internet that modern cars don't need seasonal service.My friend is (technically) right about some things, but from a practical standpoint, a seasonal check up still makes sense.Back when my dad was teaching me about how to take care of the family vehicle, most of them used a different weight of oil in the winter and in the summer. But most of today's modern engines run the same oil year round. High-tech engines and high-tech motor oils are better able to handle the seasonal changes.Your owner's manual or Los Altos service advisor at Allied Auto Works can tell you the right oil to use.Of course, you're concerned about the coolant or antifreeze. You don't want to overheat in the CA summer or freeze up in the winter. Your engine cooling system protects against both of these things. And modern coolant — 'antifreeze' as it's sometimes called — is up to doing both very well. It's designed to last for longer distances than most people drive in a year or two.So how does a Spring and Fall check-up fit in? Let's start with Spring. Summer is coming. That means heat, more driving and road trips. It just makes sense to check your fluid levels and do a visual inspection to see that everything is up to snuff.You may not be scheduled to drain and replace the coolant for some time, but you need to make sure you have enough coolant and that you don't have any leaks or hoses that are about to fail.That's pretty practical: a check-up to see if there are any problems or emerging conditions that could later become a problem, like a cracked belt.And the same principle applies for getting ready for winter. Cold weather means lots of failed batteries. It takes more power to crank up a cold engine, and cold also decreases the available cranking power the battery has available.So a battery test in the Fall could tell you if you've got a battery that is running on its last legs. And of course, if you live where winter temperatures get below 45 degrees F (7 degrees C) or you have ice and snow, you'll want to consider changing to winter tires.So Spring and Fall auto checkups at Allied Auto Works are practical reminders to get ready for the demands of the hot and cold seasons to come.And odds are that you have one or more routine services that are due anyway. Like a transmission service, brake or power steering fluid, differential service — stuff like that. Are your wiper blades still good? Are your headlamps starting to dim?So Spring and Fall, change your clocks, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and get a check-up for your cars.See, dad was right again.
Come and see us at Allied Auto Works for your Spring and Fall automotive checkup.
Most vehicles have automatic transmissions, yet a lot of Los Altos drivers only have a fuzzy understanding about what a transmission does. Think back to the last time you rode a bike in Los Altos. You started out in a lower gear and shifted to higher gears as you went faster. Down shift for hills, stuff like that. Think of your legs as the engine – there's an ideal speed you can pedal and you change gears to leverage the work you're doing.Lower gears for power on hills or for starting out. Higher gears for more speed. That's what the automatic transmission does – it automatically starts in lower gears and shifts up to higher gears to go faster on CA roads. And it automatically shifts back down to climb Los Altos hills, pass or start up again.Vehicle automatic transmissions have certainly gotten more sophisticated in recent years. They have more speeds than before: the base is four speeds, five is very common.
At Allied Auto Works, we routinely service transmissions with six speeds and several have seven or even eight speeds. As you can imagine, this means more parts. Any they all have to fit into roughly the same space.
Transmissions are computer controlled these days, with some high end transmissions having two or three computers. Transmissions are engineered to last. But they are also engineered to tighter tolerances. If a portion of the transmission is starved for lubrication, it can lead to failure.Not enough fluid can starve the transmission, or dirty transmission fluid can clog small passages in the transmission. Then the lubricant is blocked and can't get to all the parts to protect them, so they wear out prematurely. The technicians at Allied Auto Works see far too many transmissions that needlessly failed due to neglect.And, as you can imagine, repairing one of these new transmissions at any Los Altos service center can be quite costly. That's why owner’s manuals have a schedule for how often you should change the fluid and what type of fluid to use.
It's really important for Los Altos area drivers to carefully follow the manufacturer's transmission service schedule.
At Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, we hope you never become shiftless in Los Altos because you didn't take care of your transmission.
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The last new American vehicles sold in Los Altos with a carburetor rolled out of the CA dealerships in 1990. Since then, all new vehicles here in Los Altos, and nationally, have had fuel injectors. In very simple terms, a fuel injector is a valve that squirts fuel into your engine. Your engine control computer tells the fuel injector how much gas to deliver as well as the precise time it should be delivered. Of course this happens thousands of times a minute. Fuel injectors deliver fuel far more precisely than carburetors. That translates into better fuel economy and more power for Los Altos drivers. Virtually all fuel injectors for gas engines are known as port fuel injectors because they deliver the fuel to a port just outside the cylinder. Port fuel injectors operate at about 40 to 80 pounds per square inch of pressure.A few vehicle manufacturers have introduced gas direct injection systems on some engines recently. These systems inject the gas directly into the cylinders under very high pressure - hundreds of times the pressure of port injection systems. Although more complicated, direct injection technology promises greater power with improved fuel economy, so CA drivers can expect to see more of it in the future.As Los Altos residents can see, the level of precision required of fuel injectors is very high. It's important that they operate properly in order for your vehicle to run right.High temperatures under your hood and variations in Los Altos gas quality cause fuel injectors to become fouled with wax, dirt and carbon. Injectors can become partially clogged, preventing them from delivering the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure. The design of each engine requires a specific spray pattern from the fuel injector that might be altered when the injector is dirty. When injectors are dirty, the fuel doesn't burn as efficiently, resulting in poor fuel economy and loss of power. So it is important to keep your vehicle fuel injectors clean.Skilled service technicians at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos can perform a fuel system service for you. That is a fuel system service - not just fuel injector cleaning. That is because the fuel has a lot of ways to become dirty or contaminated between the Los Altos gas pump and your fuel injectors. A fuel system service at Allied Auto Works starts with a fuel filter replacement. This filter cleans the gas as it leaves the tank. The various parts of the fuel intake system need to be cleaned from time to time to remove harmful gum deposits and varnish. Finally, the fuel injectors are cleaned so that they operate properly for you and deliver the right amount of fuel at the right time.
Our pros at Allied Auto Works use a process for cleaning your vehicle fuel system that includes state-of-the-art cleaning chemicals as well as some old fashioned scrubbing. Proper maintenance of your fuel system means that you will enjoy strong performance and prevent repairs down the road.
Our auto engines are also highly choreographed. Pistons travel up and down inside cylinders. Valves at the tops of the cylinders open to let air and fuel in or exhaust out. These valves have to open and close at precisely the right time or the engine will run poorly if at all. The movement of the valves and pistons must be in harmony with each other. This choreography is the job of the timing belt or timing chain.Timing belts, or chains, rotate the shafts that control the opening and closing of the valves. Timing chains are metal and durable enough that they may never need to be replaced.Most vehicles, however, use a timing belt. Timing belts are tough and flexible, and considering the work they do, they last a long time for Los Altos auto owners . But they do wear out. If they break, the consequences for Los Altos drivers can spell disaster.No matter what kind of engine you have, a broken timing belt will cause the engine to shut down or will lead to major engine damage. But in some engines, the valves protrude down into the cylinders enough that if the timing belt breaks, the pistons can smash the valves, bending or breaking them. If the engine is spinning fast enough, the broken parts can then shred the cylinder head. This adds to thousands of dollars of engine damage.The only way the damage can be avoided by Los Altos auto owners is by replacing the timing belt on schedule. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing the timing belt at 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers), but others can go as long as 90,000 or 100,000 miles (145,000 to 160,000 kilometers). Check the schedule for preventive maintenance in your owner's manual. If you're due or overdue for a timing belt replacement, don't put it off. Get it done now at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos.Your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works technicians probably aren't great dancers, but they can offer you some great auto advice on how to keep your engine properly choreographed. Don't hesitate to consult them about replacing your timing belt or any other car care concerns you may have.
Manufacturers say it doesn't harm the vehicle. They say it's because modern vehicles are made differently from those in the past. Just about all newer vehicles employ fuel injection which uses computers to adjust the amount of gasoline that goes into the cylinders. The engine gets only the fuel it needs, taking conditions into account.
Older vehicles, on the other hand, used to use carburetors. When you started a cold engine, the carburetor wasn't able to adjust the gasoline amount depending on conditions. Some of the gasoline would mix with oil and the pistons wouldn't get the same lubrication as they would with undiluted oil.
So yes, you can warm up your newer vehicle for your own personal comfort. But consider how much fuel you are wasting. That is not only throwing away money, it's a waste of natural resources. And it puts more carbon into the atmosphere.
Automakers have to be mindful of what fuel economy their vehicles can achieve. So the flip side of the remote starts they offer is a "stop-start" feature. When you stop your vehicle, even at a stoplight, your vehicle will turn the engine off. When you take your foot off the brake and step on the accelerator, it starts up right away. That feature can save as much as 10 percent of the fuel your vehicle uses.
Your vehicle may not have that start-stop feature, but you can still save fuel by shutting off your engine manually if you are waiting somewhere, like a parking lot or perhaps sitting outside your child's school waiting to pick him or her up. It saves you money and contributes to a healthier atmosphere for our planet.
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 Work's Service Managers Travis or Matt for more information about tires.