Los Altos Auto Repair

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Allied Auto Works(650) 968-7227

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Go Straight: Wheel Alignment for Los Altos Automobiles



Los Altos drivers may have an alignment problem if their car drifts or pulls to one side, the steering wheel's off center, they notice uneven tire wear or the car doesn't feel like it handles right as they drive down Los Altos, CA, streets and roads.

When all of a vehicle's wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Running into potholes, smacking a curb or other objects around Los Altos are great ways to knock a car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels start pulling in a slightly different direction and the problems begin.

The team at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos wants you to know that driving for an extended time when your car is out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. Sometimes the tire can be worn so badly that it will fail.

At the very least, those who drive with wheels out of alignment will have to replace their tires sooner. You could end up with premature wear to your suspension system, which can be expensive. The front wheel alignment is adjustable on all vehicles, and the back wheels are also adjustable on some cars.

Now, let's discuss some alignment basics. Wheels are adjustable for toe, caster and camber. The ideal alignment for your car was designed by its engineers.

So, what is involved in an alignment check at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos? First, there's an inspection of the steering and suspension to see if anything is bent or broken. Tire condition will also be evaluated.  Next, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and we take an initial alignment reading.

If all four wheels are adjustable, they are lined up perfectly parallel with the vehicle's centerline. If the back wheels aren't adjustable, the direction they push is determined and the front wheels are aligned to match.

Like most things, vehicle manufacturers have recommended a mileage interval for having alignment checked. But if you run into a curb, pothole or something else that's given you a big jolt, pay attention to whether your vehicle is pulling to one side when you drive around the Los Altos area. It's better for vehicle owners to have their alignment checked before waiting to see if there is uneven tire tread wear; by then, the damage is done.

Getting your alignment checked at Allied Auto Works when necessary is a great way to extend the life of your tires and suspension parts. It also makes sure that your tire meets the road properly for maximum performance and safety in CA.

Come see us at  for more information about your tire alignment. We look forward to serving you.

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

Categories:

Alignment

Duke's Automotive Tips: Making a Battery Last Longer

duke

Yes you guessed it, Duke here and we are keeping it short and sweet today but it will give you a surge of energy.  My tips are making a battery last longer.  So let's plugin on my tips!

One thing all Los Altos drivers can do to extend the life of their battery is to keep it clean. A greasy, dirty battery holds in damaging heat. Same goes for removing corrosion from the terminals. Allied Auto Works can help maintain your battery.

Allowing your battery to be deeply depleted – like from using your headlights when the engine is off – is very harmful to your battery. Most automotive batteries can only take that about 10 times before they are ruined.

Also, make sure you have a full charge every month or so extends battery life. Either an extended drive at freeway speeds around the Los Altos are or using a battery charger will preserve your battery’s ability to hold a full charge.

Give us a call and tell them The Duke charged you in the right direction.   

dukeDUKE

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

Categories:

Battery

Cayenne Asks You, "Does Your Choice in Oil Affect Change Intervals?"

cayCayenne here and did you know that oil changes are probably the most recognized service on a vehicle?   Almost all Los Altos residents know about them. But do we know enough?  Today we will bark about what happens when you choose an oil for your car, be it the right one or wrong one.  What happens?????   Let's get barkin' on this slippery question.

 


Several decades ago, oil changes were fairly standard: every three months or 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. But recent advances in both engine technology and oil quality have led to longer oil change intervals.

Delayed or skipped oil changes are a problem for Los Altos residents because they lead to the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Oil sludge forms when engine oil breaks down, which happens with both time and miles. Obviously, driving will take its toll on engine oil, but the oil also breaks down even as the vehicle just sits in the garage. This is why oil change intervals are listed in both time and distance traveled, and the phrase “whichever comes first” is applicable.

Oil sludge is essentially petroleum jelly. Imagine this stuff squishing around in your vehicle engine, pushing into small engine passageways and blocking the passage of oil to vital engine parts, shortening your engine's life expectancy.

To prevent sludge, you have to get your oil changed regularly, as often as the manufacturer recommends. Check your owner's manual for every vehicle you own to know the interval for each one. Don't assume they will be the same.

If you tow a trailer, haul heavy loads, make a lot of short trips around Los Altos, usually engage in stop-and-go (or around-the-town) driving, drive in cold or hot CA weather, or drive in polluted or dusty conditions, you may need to change your oil more frequently. Check your vehicle's owner's manual for a “severe service” recommendation.

If the manual doesn't give you the advice you need, talk to your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works service advisors, Matt or Travis. They will be able to answer any questions about preventive maintenance or vehicle care that you may have, including how often to change your oil.

Los Altos residents need to get the right weight and type of oil recommended for their vehicles. More and more are using synthetic oil in their vehicles. Synthetic oil typically lasts longer and is more resistant to sludge formation than conventional motor oil. But it is also more expensive. So it can be tempting for Los Altos residents to ask for conventional oil, but if you replace synthetic oil with conventional oil, you will have to change your oil more often to prevent sludge build-up. In the end, you're probably not saving money at all.

Also, your engine may not be designed for conventional oil. Check your owner's manual before replacing synthetic oil with conventional.

Talk to your Allied Auto Works service advisors for more information and tell them Cayenne sent ya!

Cayenne    cay

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

Categories:

Fluids

Let Duke Help You Extend the Life of Your Car

dukeDuke here and today we will bark about how to extend the life of your car.  So let's start barking and see how I can help you and car help long life.

 If you haven't shopped in the Los Altos area for a new vehicle recently, you're likely to experience some sticker shock. It seems everything is costing more these days. And when you consider the price of auto financing in Los Altos and insurance, the idea of hanging on to your old vehicle for a few more years gets even more attractive.

On the plus side, vehicles these days are engineered to last for 150,000 miles (250,000 km) or more. So why don't they? Usually, it's because Los Altos drivers don't stay on top of preventive maintenance. Good vehicle care at professional automotive service centers like Allied Auto Works in Los Altos is the key to getting the most mileage out of your vehicle.

Too often, Los Altos vehicle owners are inclined to wait until their vehicles develop an obvious problem and take them in for repairs instead of maintenance. Repairs can be expensive, but allowing routine vehicle maintenance to slide also has the invisible cost in shorter life expectancy for a vehicle.

For example, the fluid in your coolant system becomes corrosive over time and should be replaced periodically. If not, it can damage the radiator and other engine parts. Talk to our pros at Allied Auto Works. Over time, this damage can build up until these parts have to be replaced.

The same goes for the power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning refrigerant, differential fluid, and transmission fluid. All of these fluids need to be replaced on schedule or you risk causing serious damage to your vehicle and shortening its life span.

If the oil is not replaced on schedule, your engine can build up oil sludge, which can also lead to serious engine damage. Insufficient oil can also eventually cause your engine to seize. Brake pads should be replaced before they are completely worn down. This prevents expensive damage to rotors and/or drums. Again, your Allied Auto Works pros can advise you.

Belts and hoses should all be inspected regularly. If they are showing signs of wear, they need to be replaced. If belts break or hoses begin to leak, the results can be repair bills. Again, this can significantly reduce the life expectancy of your vehicle.

Most Los Altos drivers recognize the wisdom of keeping up with preventive maintenance. But we also have a lot of other responsibilities on our plate. Vehicle care just doesn't get to the top of our list until it becomes an emergency. Unfortunately, that emergency usually means repair bills, which always seem to add up to more than the preventive maintenance at Allied Auto Works would have cost us.

So take some good auto advice and develop a relationship with a certified service center located near your Los Altos area neighborhood. At Allied Auto Works, we value the relationships we have established with our clients. We keep track of our customers' vehicle needs and help them keep its maintenance on schedule. We know you have a lot of other things to keep track of.

As far as car care goes, the old adage “a stitch in time saves nine” holds true. At Allied Auto Works, we rephrase it as “a dollar now saves $10 later.” Or $20. Or $100. Or more.

Just think how much fatter your wallet will be,

Duke    duke

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

Cayenne's Advice On Battery Replacement for Your vehicle

cayCayenne here, great to be back after my much-deserved vacation with Duke.  I hope to get a charge out of you today by barking about battery replacement.   So let's get barkin' by watching my short video on this electrifying subject!

 

Modern vehicles in and around Los Altos run on 12 volt electrical systems. 12 volts is enough to get the job done for Los Altos drivers without having so much power that there is danger of electrocution. But today's vehicles have more electrical components and do-dads than ever before. This really strains your electrical system, making it hard for the battery to keep up. Think about it: electric seats, seat heaters, power locks windows and sunroofs. And then us-CA drivers have all the power outlets for our cell phones, computers, and DVD players.

We also have navigation systems and powerful stereos. Plus there are all the engine and transmission computers, traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, sensors and on and on. Even the security system is running off the battery while the car is turned off.

Fortunately, battery technology has given Los Altos drivers resilient batteries that are able to meet these strenuous requirements. But the fact is, batteries just wear out over time. Eventually, every battery gets to the point where it cannot hold enough of a charge to start your vehicle. Sometimes batteries need to be replaced because they have just worn out. Or, in other cases, they have developed a leak which makes it even more important to get it replaced.

Special safety precautions are taken when working with batteries at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, CA. These precautions also apply to anyone who is poking around the battery. Batteries contain sulfuric acid that can damage your eyes and burn your skin, so safety glasses and rubber gloves are a must for any Los Altos resident working with their battery. Be careful to not spill acid on your clothes or the vehicle's paint. Of course, avoid short-circuiting the battery as well.

Sometimes there is quite a price range in Los Altos auto part stores for batteries that will work in a particular car. Think of it as "good," "better" and "best." More expensive batteries have a longer warranty and are guaranteed to last longer. As with most things, paying a little more upfront saves in the long run for Los Altos drivers.

Well, I hope you are charged with information on battery replacement and have a wonderful day!

Cayenne

cay

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

 

Categories:

Parts

Duke's Question of the Week " What Happens When a Serpentine Belt Breaks?"

dukeHey, it's Duke and Cayenne and I have been on vacation the past week so today is our first day back on the blog.   Today I will bark about the serpentine belt.  What is that you ask.  The serpentine belt is aptly named since it snakes around under your hood. It may lack its namesake's fangs, but it sure packs a wallop when it breaks.  So let's slither our way and watch my video below first!

 


The serpentine belt powers a lot of engine systems. It runs the alternator, which charges the battery; the water pump (on some vehicles), which cools the engine; the air conditioning, which cools the driver and passengers; and the power steering pump, which allows for easier steering. When the belt breaks, all of these systems shut down.

Okay, so maybe you can live without air conditioning and power steering for a while, but your battery can't live very long without an alternator, and when the cooling system goes down, your vehicle engine will overheat. That's why Los Altos drivers should never wait to get a serpentine belt replaced.

Serpentine belts are fairly inexpensive at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos. And they look downright cheap when you compare them to the cost of an overheated vehicle engine, a tow truck, time lost on the road, inconvenience, and the potential safety consequences of being stranded.

Good car care means never putting off preventive maintenance. Do yourself a favor. Ask your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works technician to glance under your hood and give that serpentine belt a quick look-over.

Til next time with Cayenne, this is The Duke!

duke

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

Categories:

Timing Belt

Cayenne Reminds You It's About Time: Following Service Intervals at Allied Auto Works

CAYCayenne here and it is another beautiful sunny day here in Los Altos.    Did you know that I have regular check-ups?  They are sort of my service intervals for me to make sure everything is running smooth.  Well, today we will bark about following  Service Intervals for your vehicle so it can keep running smoothly.  Watch my video below first!

There are a lot of things in life that Los Altos residents have to do on a regular basis. We wash dishes every day, do our laundry and mow our lawns every week, and pay the bills every month. We should go to our Los Altos dentist twice a year and see our doctor for a check-up once a year. When we don't stay on schedule with these routines, it can lead to embarrassing, painful or expensive consequences.

Scheduled maintenance is also part of good vehicle care. Los Altos drivers should take their vehicles in regularly for a good check-up. But many folks struggle to remember or actually even ignore this auto advice. When it comes to our vehicles, we're more likely to listen to, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it,” than, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yet it is the second adage that is the more applicable one.

Regular brushing treatments prevent cavities. Filling a cavity prevents a more painful and more expensive root canal. In the same way, replacing coolant/antifreeze in your vehicle can prevent cooling system leaks. Repairing leaks can prevent engine failure. So why do we procrastinate?

One reason might be that “ignorance is bliss.” We can see dirty dishes on the counter and how long our grass is getting. We can smell how dirty our clothes are. But we don't notice how dirty our transmission fluid is getting. However, trouble in our vehicles is like trouble in our bodies — ignorance is not bliss. High blood pressure can lead to heart damage, and inadequate coolant can lead to engine damage. However, we can't know about either one unless we take the time for a diagnostic check-up at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos.

Another reason we put off scheduled maintenance for our vehicles may be that we are simply intimidated by automotive care. After all, we understand how to take care of clothing, dishes, lawns, etc. Most of us have a basic working knowledge of our bodies and feel qualified to explain how we feel. But our vehicles? What exactly does routine, preventive maintenance involve? Most Los Altos residents don't know.

Of course, our vehicles come with owner's manuals that do a good job of explaining what routine maintenance is and how often our vehicles need it. But how many Los Altos vehicle owners actually read them?

The good news is that all we have to do is remember to take our vehicles to a reputable, service center like Allied Auto Works in Los Altos. Like a good doctor, your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Allied Auto Works will be able to tell you what maintenance and service your vehicle needs and when. The service center can track your vehicle's maintenance records—just as a doctor maintains your health records—so that your vehicle is getting the service it needs in a timely manner.

Here are some guidelines to help you understand the basics of preventive maintenance: Fluids. If it's a liquid, it has to be replaced regularly. Your owner's manual will tell you how often. Liquids include oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and differential fluid. There may be others. Check with your owner's manual or your service center for specifics on your vehicle.

Tires. They need routine, scheduled care to wear well. Primarily, they need air. But they also need to be rotated, balanced and aligned.

Brakes. Brakes and shock absorbers wear out. There's no way to avoid it. Worn parts need to be replaced.

Fuel. Obviously, your vehicle needs fuel on a regular basis. But the fuel system also needs periodic maintenance. Air filters and fuel filters get dirty and need to be replaced. The fuel system needs to be kept clean.

These are the basics of vehicle maintenance. Of course, there are other parts of your car that need to be inspected regularly, such as the battery, exhaust system, belts, etc. These parts have longer life cycles than your fluids, tires, brakes, and filters, and so don't need to be replaced as often.

If you are taking your vehicle in for the basics, then your Los Altos service center will let you know when it is time for an inspection of these other things. Or they may notice a problem when doing routine maintenance and let you know. Either way, you'll get a heads-up when your vehicle needs more attention.

If you're not convinced yet that your vehicle needs regular service, consider this: not doing so will cost you in decreased fuel economy, lower performance and compromised safety. These could lead to repair bills and costly accidents.

Just like a good veterinarian check-up, a good auto check-up for your vehicle at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos can save you from experiencing embarrassing, costly and painful situations.

cayCAYENNE

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

Categories:

Inspection

Duke's Lesson on Fuel Injection Basics

dukeHi, Duke here and what a beautiful day here in Los Altos!  Today I will inject you with some basics on the Fuel Injection system.  So watch my short clip below and let's inject into this lesson today!

 



All modern Los Altos vehicles come with fuel injection systems, so it's a topic Los Altos drivers need to know something about. The mighty fuel injector is a valve that delivers the gas or diesel fuel to the right place, in the right amount at the right timeto be mixed with air and burned in the engine.

So how many fuel injectors does your vehicle have? There's one for each cylinder. So four, six or eight for most folks in Los Altos, CA. Some vehicles have 10 or 12 cylinders. The engine control computer makes adjustments to the fuel injector as it monitors the engine and other sensors. Fuel injectors are pretty high-tech.

Allied Auto Works can help Los Altos drivers with a fuel injector cleaning service. What's the benefit? In order to work right, the fuel injectors have to deliver the fuel at a precise pressure at a very precise time. It's important that the fuel is sprayed in a particular pattern as determined by the engine design.

Over time, varnish can start to build up in the fuel injectors, effecting the pressure, pattern, and timing of the fuel charge. The result is that the fuel doesn't get burned as efficiently as it could. That robs performance and hurts fuel economy.

What about dirty fuel? How does that affect the fuel injectors? The fuel injectors are the last stop in the fuel system. It starts at the fuel tank. Frankly, the best way to keep your fuel injectors working well is to use high-quality fuel. It's tempting to shop for bargains in Los Altos with fuel prices as high as they are, but major brands in the Los Altos, CA, area have better detergents and additives and deliver consistent quality.

What about a good fuel filter? The fuel filter is a component of the fuel system. Its job is to filter out the dirt and rust that collect in the fuel tank. If it's clogged up, the dirt will bypass the filter and head upstream to the fuel injectors.

It's important to replace the fuel filter when your manufacturer recommends it. That's part of a comprehensive fuel system cleaning.

There are different kinds of fuel injection systems. Port fuel injection systems, the kind most gasoline engines have, operate at 60 pounds per square inch. The injectors for the new gas direct injection engines Los Altos drivers are starting to see require 10 to 30 times as much pressure. And some diesel engines for passenger vehicles have injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch. There's no room for dirt and gum in a precision part like that.

There are a lot of good products available in Los Altos, CA, that can clean fuel injectors. They're best used to prevent fouling in the fuel injectors. Many can't clean a seriously gummed up injector – that requires professional deep cleaning, like those we offer at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos. But putting the cleaner in the fuel tank after you've had Allied Auto Works take a look at your fuel system will help keep it clean. Be sure to read the label for directions.

Give us a call if you think your vehicle may be ready for a fuel injector cleaning and tell Matt or Travis that the Duke sent ya!  Have a wonderful day

Duke    

duke

 

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

 

Categories:

Fuel System

Cayenne Is Looking Down the Road - Headlamps

cayGood Morning, Cayenne here and did you know that canines can see dogs can see in light five times dimmer than humans can.   Your vehicle's headlamps help you see further down the road that the human eye could see without them.  So today we will bark about headlamps and how important it is that they are both working correctly so you can see what is happening way up and in front of you.  So let's get barking!

 



If you've ever been driving around Los Altos and had a headlamp go out, you've probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won't have the same brightness, which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.

To have your headlights inspected, visit us at Allied Auto Works. We're at 2073 Grant Road in Los Altos, CA 94024. Or give us a call at 650.968.7227.

Experts at Allied Auto Works recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It's easy to remember if you do it when Daylight Saving Time changes in the fall. That way you'll have bright headlamps for those long CA winter nights.

There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can't believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and gives a very white light that's a lot like daylight.

You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high-intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they'll last for the life of your car. If you want your friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint - no one needs to know.

Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can't react to what you can't see. You need headlamps that'll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. Your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and to keep your lights from shining off into oncoming traffic.

You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That's because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Los Altos service centers offer a service to restore the lens that's a lot cheaper.

You can't drive if you can't see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don't forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.

Here's to seeing crystal clear!

Cayenne

 

cay

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

Categories:

Maintenance

Duke's Fluid Situation (Check Fluid Levels)

dukeFLUIDS, we all need fluids like water to keep ourselves hydrated and very healthy and well so does your car.  Hi, Duke here and today we will bark out making sure our vehicles have the right fluid levels so that everything runs smooooooth........so let's get bark' in because I am getting thirsty just barking about it.

There's one fluid in your car you are always careful to keep at a certain level: the fuel. If you don't have fuel, you're not going anywhere.  Your vehicle has other fluids which are vitally important to proper and safe operation, too.  So, here's a "level" headed approach to those "other" fluids.

Engine oil.  This one's probably the most important fluid to maintain at the proper level. Without enough oil, you'll wear out your engine prematurely.  Sometimes vehicles have warning lights on the dash that will tell you to get your oil checked.  Don't ignore that one; get it checked immediately.  Certainly, don't go on a long trip at high speeds with your oil level low. Oh, and it's not good to have too much oil in, either. Our pros at Allied Auto Works can advise you on oil levels and tell if you should be concerned about abnormal fluctuations.

Windshield washer fluid.  OK, this is one you probably know about.  You certainly miss it when it runs out.  You find yourself trying to clean your windshield with the wipers but you need a little liquid help.  Unless you live in an area that requires you to use an awful lot of windshield washer fluid, one fill-up can often last between oil changes.  Modern vehicles have large enough windshield washer fluid reservoirs to keep you going for quite a while.    

Engine Coolant. Here's another fluid you need to keep your engine running properly.  You need it to keep the engine running at the proper temperature.  Plus, you'll need it for heat when the temperature gets chilly outside. 

Power Steering Fluid. If you have a vehicle that uses power steering fluid, it's important to keep the correct amount in your system. Without enough of it, you might find steering difficult.  Plus, if you’re losing power steering fluid, our experts at Allied Auto Works can find out why and perhaps prevent a more expensive repair later.

Brake Fluid.  You may have heard of hydraulic brakes.  Hydraulic refers to the fluid and is one of the key reasons your brakes work.  Levels should be checked regularly and, like power steering fluid, if you're losing brake fluid, a technician needs to find out why so you can get the issue repaired and maintain your stopping ability.

If you have regular preventative maintenance performed at Allied Auto Works, we’ll keep an eye on all of these fluids when you bring your vehicle in for service.

Duke   duke

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

Categories:

Fluids
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