Here's a travel tip that'll I'll bet you didn't know, and it might keep you safer...The average American commuter in CA spends two and a half hours daily in their vehicle.The government says 100,000 auto accidents yearly are caused by drivers who fall asleep at the wheel. (Aggressive driving is the number one traffic safety concern.)So what does this have to do with how your vehicle smells while you're driving around Los Altos?Well, which scent did you think makes drivers more alert?
It's C. Drivers are more alert and have less fatigue with pine scent in the vehicle, according to AroMetrics.And, drivers were less angry with overall improved driving performance with strawberry and pine scents.And you thought they just smelled nice.
Allied Auto Works2073 Grant RoadLos Altos, CA 94024650.968.7227http://www.alliedautoworks.com
Things we don't expect happen to our vehicles. And let's face, no one really wants to spend money on an unexpected repair. But if you are putting off going to your vehicle repair facility because you're dreading bad news, you might just be putting off some good news.
There was one minivan driver who'd had the same van for years and never had a problem with the power sliding doors. Then one day, the electrical switches in the door pillars stopped working. The key fob would still open them, but the door switches wouldn't do a thing.
Of course, the van driver feared the worst: an electrical problem, a major computer failure, mice chewing up the wires. So, he put off going into the repair facility for a couple of months. One day, it was time for his regular oil change and the service advisor asked him if there was anything else going on with the van. The owner mentioned the door problem but said he didn't want to spend a fortune on it.
He waited for his van, and it wasn't long before the service advisor came out with good news. The doors weren't working because a switch on the overhead console had been turned off. (It was a safety feature to allow parents to disable them.) The owner had accidentally switched it when he was unloading the van. It was the first thing the technician had checked. Flip the switch back and all was working as usual.
Another example? A mother was driving a minivan with her two kids inside on a hot day when she felt the front end shaking violently as she drove down the road. Fearing something major had broken in the van (and fearing for the safety of her kids), she pulled into a fast-food restaurant parking lot and started to look underneath to see if it was anything obvious she could see.
She couldn't see any broken parts, but she also didn't feel safe getting back in the van with her kids. So, she called her local service facility and asked if they could send someone to look at it. When the technician arrived, he took it for a test drive on the same road on which she'd described having the trouble. Then he put her van up on the lift. His conclusion? Nothing was wrong with her van. It was the street she was driving on. Crews repairing it had left the surface full of potholes, and that was causing her rough ride.
Ultimately, what these two drivers feared would be an expensive trip to the shop resulted in each driver getting different news than they had expected. One learned something new about his vehicle. The other? Well, the technician saw that her tires were badly worn and convinced her to get them replaced, perhaps preventing an accident and giving peace of mind for a mom with two kids.
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Want to know what diagnostics are, what's involved and what the benefits are? Our clients really want to understand the value of diagnostic scans by a trained technician in the bay area.These are valid concerns. If you don't understand something it's really hard to know its value. Let's start with some history.Since 1996, all cars and light trucks in South bay, have been required to use a standardized diagnostic system to help repair technicians determine what's wrong with your vehicle. The diagnostic system works with the vehicle's Engine Control Module – the computer that controls many engine functions.The computer monitors dozens of components and processes. Depending on what the sensors read, the computer will make adjustments to compensate for conditions and minor problems. When there is a condition that it can't adjust for, the computer will turn on the Check Engine light.It is also called the 'service engine soon' light on some vehicles. The warning light signals you to get into your local service center so that the trouble code can be read and the problem can be fixed. Your service center will have a scan tool and powerful software that will help the technician diagnose the problem.If you've searched for Check Engine light on the internet, you may have seen that you can buy an inexpensive scanner or go to an auto parts store to have the trouble code read to tell you exactly what's wrong.That's a common myth. The code itself doesn't tell you what's broken. It starts you looking in the right place. It tells you what engine parameter is out of range – but it won't tell you what's wrong or how to fix it.Let's say you think your daughter has a fever. You take her temperature and it reads 102 degrees F/38.9 degrees C. You've confirmed a fever, but you don't know what's causing it. Is it a 24 hour flu, an infection, appendicitis or leukemia? A fever is a symptom of all of these medical problems, but it takes a skilled physician's examination and additional diagnostic tests to find out what is actually causing the fever.An example of a trouble code could be: P0133, which reads 'Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response.' This means that the front oxygen sensor has a slow response time to changes in the air-fuel mix. If that's all you knew about cars, you would think your oxygen sensor was broken and would replace it. Now, it could be the oxygen sensor – but it could also be a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, exhaust leak, electrical problem, an intake manifold leak or any of a number of other things.You can imagine a lot of oxygen sensors have been replaced because of that code. So the on-board diagnostics point the way to where the trouble lies, but it takes some skill and high-tech equipment to actually pinpoint the problem. The cheap scan tools that a consumer can buy do not have the ability to retrieve some of the operating history that's stored in the engine control computer. That history's very helpful in diagnosing the problem. Service centers like Allied Auto Works invest a lot of money in high-end diagnostic tools to help solve the mystery and get you back on the road as soon as possible without replacing a lot of parts that don't need replacing.So, on-board diagnostics provide a powerful starting place for a highly-trained, well-equipped technician to get to the bottom of your problem. When your Check Engine light comes on, get it checked at Allied Auto Works. If the light burns steadily – don't panic. Get in to Allied Auto Works soon to have the engine scanned. A flashing Check Engine light means that there is a severe engine problem. Get in as soon as you can – waiting too long can lead to very expensive damage.And try to not drive at high speed or tow or haul heavy loads with a flashing Check Engine light.
Make an appointment with Allied Auto Works to have your on board diagnostics analyzed.
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Nowadays, Los Altos drivers are paying more at CA gas pumps. For some families it adds up to several hundred dollars every month. That's got to come out of the budget somewhere. This is one of the reasons many CA drivers are putting off buying a new car. They plan on keeping their old vehicle for a year or two longer than before.Even now, 2/3 of the personal vehicles on our local Los Altos, CA, roads have over 75,000 miles (120,000 kilometers) on them. The average age of vehicles is over nine years. And most people in the Los Altos area can't afford to be stranded or inconvenienced by a breakdown. So following a regular maintenance schedule, like personal diet and exercise plans, is actually critical to preserving your investment.Determining what to do for a higher-mileage vehicle can be challenging because many owner's manuals don't publish service intervals after 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers). Thus, Los Altos drivers need to be better at keeping records and planning for preventive maintenance.You can start by figuring that services with a recommended interval should still be performed on that interval, even after you're past the tables in your service manual. For example, a service might be recommended every 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers). Well, just keep doing it every 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers) for as long as you have your car.Now higher mileage engines operate under more stress. Some CA automotive experts suggest that the severe service schedule is more appropriate and that routine service should be performed at shorter intervals. Check with your owners' manual or service advisors Matt and Travis at Allied Auto Works to see if the severe service schedule is right for your vehicle.
And keeping current with your full-service oil change schedule is important for a couple of reasons. First, older engines have had more time to build up oil sludge. Skipping an oil change here and there can really compound the problem for your vehicle.
Another equally important reason is that your other fluids are routinely checked and topped off. Power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant and transmission fluid can be kept at optimal levels even though the older seals and gaskets are leaking more than when they were new.And speaking of older seals and gaskets: they start to dry out and become more brittle with age. You may want to consider using high mileage formulation oil and fluids. These products contain additives to condition seals and gaskets to keep them from leaking. The high mileage formulations cost more than standard products, but they are well worth it in terms of preventing serious repair bills down the road.Older vehicles in the Los Altos, CA, area need repairs and replacements that newer ones don't: things like timing belts, radiator hoses, suspension work, anti-lock brakes, air bags, water pumps, alternators and batteries. That may seem like a lot of stuff to have done, but it works out to be cheaper than new car payments.With a high-mileage vehicle, a couple of relationships will become pretty important to Los Altos drivers. The first is with your service advisor at Allied Auto Works. You need someone you trust to take care of your car and be mindful of your needs. Ask for help to develop a plan to keep your vehicle road-worthy that works within your budget and for the Los Altos, CA, area driving conditions.
The next relationship is with your vehicle itself. We're not talking about naming your car or tucking it in at night. We just mean - pay attention and get to know your vehicle. Notice unusual sounds, smells, vibrations, etc. Then you can describe the changes to your service advisor at Allied Auto Works and head off problems. We can't do anything about the price of gas, but we can properly maintain Old Faithful to keep it safely and economically on the local Los Altos roads.
The brake rotor, or disc, is attached to your wheel. The brake pads rub on the rotor to slow your car when you are driving in Los Altos.Rotors can warp, crack or become misaligned. They can also be damaged by worn out brake pads that scratch grooves into the surface. These conditions result in less contact surface for the brake pads, leaving you with reduced braking power.Over time and miles, rotors can also wear down below safe specifications. It is important for Los Altos drivers to know that simply replacing brake pads on a wheel with a bad rotor will not solve the problem. Depending on their condition, rotors may be resurfaced or replaced.Brake noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal are signs of potential brake problems that should be addressed right away. If you have any brake concerns, please have your friendly and professional Allied Auto Works tech perform a thorough inspection.Give Allied Auto Works a call and tell the Duke sent ya! Allied Auto Works2073 Grant RoadLos Altos, CA 94024650.968.7227http://www.alliedautoworks.com
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Have you noticed an increase in price when you get a flat tire fixed in Los Altos, or have your tires rotated? It might be the result of your TPMS, or Tire Pressure Monitoring System.The federal government began requiring a TPMS system on 2008 model year passenger vehicles and light trucks. Some 2006 and 2007 models may have them as well. The system has a warning light that is mounted on the dashboard that will go on if one of the tires becomes severely underinflated.Why the new requirement? Because underinflated tires are the number one cause of tire failure. Tire blowouts cause crashes and sometimes fatal accidents. Underinflated tires also need longer stopping distance and can skid, both of which also present dangers on CA roads. Many flat tires can also be prevented by proper tire inflation, and though this may seem an economic consideration, Los Altos drivers who have changed a flat on the side of the road recognize that this has serious safety concerns as well.Advances in tire technology, specifically the development of radial tires, has made it harder for Los Altos drivers to recognize when a tire is underinflated. At a recommended pressure of 35 psi, a tire is seriously underinflated at 26 psi. But the tire doesn't look low on air until it reaches 20 psi. This raises concerns about vehicle owners being able to tell when their vehicles are a safety hazard on the road. Hence, the TPMS.So, like seatbelts, the TPMS system is expected to save a lot of lives. The technology has been in use in race cars for years, and now it's being mandated for all passenger cars, SUV's, minivans and pick-ups. Besides warning drivers in the Los Altos area when their tires need air, the system is required to indicate when it is malfunctioning.This increased safety won't come without increased costs. Estimates regarding the cost of maintaining the TPMS on your vehicle run from $27 to $100. Also, there will be an added cost for tire repair. Los Altos service centers have had to purchase new scanning equipment to work with TPMS sensors and other equipment to repair tires and wheels equipped with TPMS. The pros at Allied Auto Works have to be trained to use the new equipment. These costs will have to be passed on to Los Altos drivers.Further, whenever a tire is changed, Allied Auto Works will have to deal with the TPMS. Sensors will have to be removed, then re-installed and re-activated. Sometimes the act of changing a tire will damage a sensor, and it will need to be replaced. These extra services will come at an added charge to Los Altos drivers.Tire rotations will require that the TPMS be re-programmed. And whenever a vehicle's battery is disconnected, the TPMS will require re-programming as well.The TPMS itself will require attention – it contains batteries and sensors that will wear out and need to be replaced.So, if you've noticed an increase in the cost for vehicle care at your Los Altos tire center, it may not be the economy. It could be the cost of the TPMS in newer vehicles. Before you dash off an angry letter to Congress, however, stop and consider what you're paying for. If predictions are correct, the TPMS will save lives, and that will be a benefit to all of us.Of course, no warning system will save lives in Los Altos if drivers don't pay attention to it. And remember that the warning doesn't come on until the tire is severely under inflated; you still should check your tire pressure at least once a month. You can prevent accidents and potentially save lives without a warning system by keeping their tires properly inflated.
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A lot of people get custom wheels in Los Altos. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you're not careful. Sometimes, once they're mounted, they just don't fit right. The tires rub in turns or on bumps. You don't want that.
Consulting your Allied Auto Works tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First he'll ask you a series of questions about your Los Altos driving needs and what you want in your new wheels. Now, not every wheel can go on every car. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside so the tires rub.If you don't want to make any modifications to your vehicle, you would need to focus on the wheels that would fit. With trucks, some people in Los Altos like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.Also, most Los Altos drivers don't realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your vehicle's anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn't know what changes you made so it can't tell how fast you're going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong speed. If you go with a different rolling diameter, your vehicle engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from in CA. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works tire professional about how big the wheel should be – and how to select the right tire for your vehicle. Your Allied Auto Works service advisors will help you find the best tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs in Los Altos.
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When I was a pup, 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!
When you drop your vehicle off at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, they don't just poke around under your hood looking for stuff to do. Allied Auto Works professionals have lists and procedures they follow for different types of service. First of all, your Los Altos service center will note the mileage on your vehicle. They'll then check to see what inspections and services the vehicle manufacturer recommends for a vehicle of your make, model and mileage. If you are a regular customer, they will also check your vehicle's history.If the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations go beyond the services you've ordered, they'll let you know. They'll also indicate whether those services are urgent or if you can wait a while to take care of them. The Allied Auto Works pros won't do work that you don't agree to.They will, however, perform inspections while they're servicing your vehicle. They'll check belts, filters and fluids. They'll check your windshield wipers for wear. They'll let you know if there's an urgent problem that needs taken care of, and they'll give you a heads-up about problems that might be developing. If repairs or services are in order, you are given options based on driving needs and budget.
You can think of it like a trip to the dentist for a check-up. The dentist will check if you've had x-rays recently. If not, he'll get your permission to take new ones. Then the hygienist will clean your teeth and check your gums. At the end, the dentist comes in and inspects your teeth. You'll be told if you need any work done, about problems that are developing, and if anything is urgent. You'll be given different care options and recommendations on where to get work done that is beyond your dentist's usual purview. Then you'll be sent to the front desk for appointments and paperwork.These procedures make sure your teeth are in good working order and that you are apprised of any problems. Then you can make a decision as to what work you want done and when. Allied Auto Works in Los Altos operates the same way. They want Los Altos drivers to be able to make informed decisions about their car care.Preventive auto maintenance is a lot like dental check-ups. Small problems can quickly develop into big ones. A cavity becomes a root canal. A dirty filter becomes engine damage. Skipping check-ups for either your teeth or your vehicle can lead to repairs.Allied Auto Works follows industry guidelines. A part is replaced only if it can no longer perform its function, no longer meets its design specifications or is missing – or if you ask for upgraded performance. Your Allied Auto Works service advisor will recommend a part be replaced if it is showing signs that it will soon fail.Dentists often offer services that go beyond routine care, such as teeth whitening. Hmmm...I need to check my teeth. Service centers also offer Los Altos drivers help with upgrades to a vehicle. They'll know what parts are needed and how to perform the work so that safety and performance aren't compromised. You can rely on the pros at Allied Auto Works for good auto advice.The next time you're headed to the dentist's office or the vet for your favorite canine, think about the vehicle you're riding in. Is it time for it to get a check-up, too?
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.
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.