Los Altos Auto Repair

Working Time: Mon - Fri: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Allied Auto Works(650) 968-7227

TO VIEW VIDEOS CLICK ON TITLE OF ARTICLE.

Articles:

Cayenne Has All Her Ducks Lined Up (Alignment Inspection)

cay

When I go out in the duck blinds, I love when all my ducks all lined up.  It makes my job easier.  Well, when your car is all lined up, it makes driving a pleasure.  So today, we will bark about alignment and making sure your car is all lined up.  So let's get barkin' and walk the line.

When you head down a straight road, does your vehicle pull to one side?  Do you feel a vibration in any of the wheels? If you've noticed any of these things, it's probably time for you to get your wheel alignment checked.

When your vehicle left the factory, its wheels were parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground.  That maximizes traction for good steering and braking. Every time you take your vehicle on the road, normal wear and tear will affect your alignment. Hit a bump, a pothole or a curb, and all those little knocks will add up

Bad alignment not only can cause your steering wheel to pull unevenly, it can also wear your tires out a lot faster than they should. In fact, if you look at your tires and see one side of the tread is a lot smoother than the other, it could be another sign of bad alignment.

Since different problems can cause similar symptoms, the first thing our trained technician will do is test drive your vehicle. Then, they'll check the front end and steering linkage as well as look for tire wear.  Then, the technician will put your vehicle on a lift and use computerized diagnostic equipment to measure alignment angles so they can precisely align your vehicle's components.

There are different kinds of alignments.  One is a front-end alignment that aligns components of the vehicle's front axle.  Another is a thrust alignment that makes sure the front wheels are lined up with the direction the rear wheels are pointed.  A third type is four-wheel alignment which is usually used on all-wheel drive and  4-wheel drive vehicles.  It's also recommended for front-wheel drive vehicles that have independent rear suspensions.  It makes sure the angles of all the wheels are where they should be relative to each other and also the vehicle's body or frame.

Your steering wheel should be perfectly centered if you are heading straight down the road, so the technician will adjust it so it is. Finally, they'll take your vehicle back on the road for a final test drive to ensure it's performing the way engineers intended.

Your service adviser can recommend how often you should have your alignment inspection since it depends on the type of vehicle you drive (SUV, sporty car, etc.) and your driving environment.  Properly aligned wheels can help your vehicle perform better and save you from expensive repairs down the road.

"An object in motion tends to remain in motion along a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force." ~ Isaac Newton
 Cayenne

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

Categories:

Alignment

Duke Says Just In Case Your Wondering? (Transfer Case Exchange)

duke

Hey Duke here and just in case your wondering what we are going to bark about today........It's the Transfer Case.  

Ever wonder how all-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive vehicles get the power from the engine to the front and rear wheels? The magic happens in what's called a transfer case.  In some all-wheel-drive vehicles, it's sometimes called a power take-off unit or PTU.

Inside the transfer case is a set of gears.  To keep those gears meshing smoothly, they must be lubricated and kept cool.  What kind of fluid does my vehicle use? Depending on your vehicle's type of transfer case, it is filled with either an automatic transmission fluid, a gear oil that's a bit thicker, or a transfer case fluid designed to be used for your transfer case.

As with all lubricating fluids, the transfer case fluid has things that break down the older they get.  They have corrosion inhibitors, detergents, and anti-foaming agents that keep the lubricant from getting air bubbles in it. Transfer cases don't have filters in them to clean out impurities.

If you don't have your transfer case fluid exchanged for fresh, you risk damage to the case, and that can run into thousands of dollars.  So the wise driver makes sure the fluid is changed according to the manufacturer's recommendations.  For many vehicles, that is every 30,000 mi/50,000 km, but some require it more frequently.   Your vehicle service facility can advise you on what your vehicle's optimal interval is.

During the fluid exchange, any metal filings that may have come off are cleaned off the drain and fill plugs that are usually magnetized to catch the stray metal pieces.

If you hear grinding noises coming from under your vehicle or if it is having trouble shifting gears or going in and out of 4-wheel-drive, those could be signs your transfer case needs service. In that case, have our technicians check it out.  The best plan of action?  Keep your transfer case fluid maintained and it should keep you heading down the road for years to come.

 

Now in case you are wondering who invented the 1st automatic transmission here it is:  

The 1904 Sturtevant "horseless carriage gearbox" is often considered the first automatic transmission for motor vehicles. Developed in Boston in the United States, this transmission had two forward gear ratios and engine-driven flyweights which controlled the gear selection.

Duke

duke

 

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

Cayenne Breathes New Life into Your Engine (MAF sensor replacement)

Good day, Cayenne here, and I love taking a breath of fresh air in the morning and also in the late afternoon when the barbeque is cooking.   Just breathe it in and believe it not your vehicle breathes in fresh air too.  So today we are going to take a deep breath and bark about breathing new life into your engine.  Let's get barkin'!

If you’ve noticed your vehicle is hard to start, stalling, or has lost power, the culprit may be a part with an odd name: the MAF sensor.  You may have never even heard of a MAF sensor, but it’s important that it be working correctly, or you may be experiencing some fairly significant engine issues.

All vehicles bring in air and direct it through an air filter before it goes into your engine, where it mixes with fuel to provide power to get you going. There’s a tube-like device with a sensor inside it that measures how much of that mass of air is passing through. That’s why it’s called a mass air flow sensor, or MAF sensor.  If the MAF sensor isn’t working right, the engine’s computer can’t figure out the right amount of fuel to mix with it, and your engine may hesitate or stall.  Sometimes this will cause your Check Engine Light to come on, and any time it does that, make sure you have your vehicle checked by a professional, so you’ll know what’s going on.

When you take your vehicle into your service facility, a technician will thoroughly check the system to see just where the problems are.  If your air filter is dirty, your MAF sensor may get dirty too, which might be causing the problems.  You may find your fuel economy isn’t what it used to be either.

There are other things that can cause the same symptoms, too, such as a leak in a vacuum hose. It’s also possible that the electrical connector between the MAF sensor and the engine has broken. 

The technician can use electronic diagnostic equipment to help pinpoint the exact problem or problems, replace worn parts, and test drive your vehicle to make sure it’s working correctly.

It’s also a good idea to make sure your air filter is changed regularly. A dirty air filter can contribute to a MAF sensor failure. One of the big benefits of having your vehicle regularly maintained at one facility, is they know your vehicle. So, they keep track of which of your vehicle’s parts should be periodically replaced before problems develop. 

If you keep clean air heading into your engine, it can help your engine work efficiently, and with the power it was engineered to deliver. Isn’t that a breath of fresh air?

I leave you with my quote of the day,

"For breath is life, and if you breathe well, you will live long on earth." ~Sanskrit proverb

Cayenne

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

Categories:

Fuel Economy

Duke's Gets A Charge Out Of Battery Replacement at Allied Auto Works

 

duke

 

Hello Duke here and welcome to Allied Auto Works. Today I thought we would create some energy and focus on batteries. It seems like everything in Los Altos runs on batteries. Of course, the batteries we're most concerned with here at Allied Auto Works are those in our customer's vehicles.  So let's get some static and start barkin' on this electrifying subject!

Just like the batteries in our smoke detectors or TV remote, Battery they wear out and need to be replaced. This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold vehicle engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live in CA, specifically how cold it is. (Many Los Altos drivers have first-hand experience trying to start their car on a cold winter morning.) The two factors are that the colder your vehicle's engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with.

The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient when the temperature dips. Let's say it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees C) in Los Altos. At that temperature, 100% of the battery's power is available. At freezing, only 65% of battery power is available, but it requires 155% as much power to start the engine as it did at 80 degrees F (27 degrees C).

As you can see, the colder it gets, more power is needed, but the available power drops.

So if you live where it's cold in CA, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it's moderate or hot. The battery that originally came with your vehicle was based on averages. At Allied Auto Works, we like to remind Los Altos drivers that they should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as their vehicle manufacturer recommends but may want to upgrade if they live where it gets really cold.

I leave you with my battery joke of the day.  

What did the Battery say on his Blind Date?

I have a lot of energy, and I am a pretty positive guy. But I do have a negative side.

DUKE



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

 

Categories:

Battery

Cayenne Turns Right, Left and Goes Straight: Wheel Alignment For Automobiles

 

cay

Hello California on this hot Summer day, it is 102 degrees today in the shade.  Cayenne here and maybe on these hot summer days you are heading over to the coast, maybe to Santa Cruz or Half Moon Bay to get some heat relief, and as you are driving; you notice your car is pulling to the right or maybe the left, but for sure it is not staying straight.  Well, today I will steer your straight into wheel alignment for your vehicle.  So let's get barkin' and head straight into it.



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 to check alignment. 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 ensures that your tire meets the road properly for maximum performance and safety in CA.

Come see us for more information about your tire alignment. We look forward to serving you and keeping you on the straight and narrow.

"Ever driven a car with no steering wheel?

It's pretty straight forward."
 
Cayenne

 

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

Categories:

Alignment

Duke's Guide to Vehicle Diagnosis

duke

Hey, Duke here and you know going to your auto repair shop is a lot like going to the veterinarian or doctors when you have an issue with your vehicle.  It has to go through diagnostic tests before a solution or repair can be recommended.  So I am going to give you a guide on Vehicle Diagnosis so let's get barkin'.

Modern Los Altos vehicles have several computers on board that control all kinds of things like engine functions, transmission shifts, traction control, anti-lock brakes, stability control, emissions – and on some vehicles, even steering, braking and the throttle.

Think about that for a minute – things that used to be controlled by simple mechanical connections now have electronic controls that rely on computers, software and sensors. It's no wonder that when something goes wrong with their vehicle it can be pretty complicated for Los Altos drivers to track down the source of the problem.

To help your service advisor at Allied Auto Works figure out what's wrong, your vehicle is equipped with onboard diagnostics. The Check Engine light comes on to tell you there's a problem and the engine management computer stores a trouble code. Your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works technician connects a scan tool to your vehicle's diagnostic port and retrieves the trouble codes as well as other important data.

Trouble codes are like clues for the technician to follow as he diagnoses what's wrong with your vehicle. In a way, it's like going to your Los Altos doctor with a problem. She'll run some additional tests and gather the information she needs to make a diagnosis and form a treatment plan. How much a vehicle diagnosis costs at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos depends on how much time it takes to sort out the symptoms and find the underlying problem.

Give us a call and tell them Duke sent ya.

Here is my diagnosis joke of the day for laughs,

I've just been diagnosed with Sausagephobia...

...I fear the Wurst.

DUKE



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

Categories:

Diagnostics

Cayenne's Automotive Tips : Signs of an Alignment Problem

cay

Hi Cayenne here and when my nose is aligned to a scent, I will track it and find it the way I was designed to do.  When properly aligned, all of your wheels are pointed in the same direction. Your vehicle will track true and handle the way it is designed.  So yes today we will bark about the signs of an alignment problem so let's get barkin' and stay on track.

Los Altos drivers often associate our wheels being “knocked” out of alignment with an event like an accident, hitting a pothole, curb, or some other object. While these can certainly take your wheels out of alignment, the bumps and bounces of everyday Los Altos driving take their toll on wheel alignment as well.

In addition, your vehicle can lose alignment over time with just normal driving. When your wheels are out of alignment, Allied Auto Works in Los Altos can return your wheels to the vehicle manufacturer’s factory settings. Most owner's manuals suggest an alignment check every year or two. 

Give us a call.

I leave you with this positive thought for the day,

"Don't watch the clock, just do what it does and keep going." ~ Sam Levenson

Cayenne



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

 

Categories:

Alignment

Duke Asks "How Much is Enough for Los Altos Auto Owners? " Tire Tread Depth

duke

Duke here and with all the driving you must have done during the summer, your tires might need to be checked.  How much is enough tread on your tires?  Well, today we will answer that question as we spin into this subject.

Most Los Altos drivers know that tires wear out and that the wear has to do with tread depth. Most of us have heard that “bald” tires are dangerous, but most of us picture a tire with no tread at all when we think of a bald tire. And when we take our vehicles in for preventive maintenance, the technician tells us they're need to be replaced long before all the tread is worn off. Just how much tire tread wear is too much? And how can you tell? Tires are and their condition is important to the safe handling of a vehicle, so it's for Los Altos vehicle owners to know the answers to these questions.

First of all, it's important to understand that there may be a legal limit to tread wear. If your tires are worn past this limit, you have to replace them to be in compliance with CA auto safety laws. That's why measuring your tread wear is part of a vehicle safety inspection.

In some jurisdictions, tread must be at least 1.6 millimeters or 2/32 of an inch thick. This standard has been in effect since 1968. But this standard has recently been called into question, and some CA professionals are arguing that it be changed.

The safety issue that has brought this standard under scrutiny is the ability of a vehicle to stop on a wet surface. When a vehicle has trouble stopping, most Los Altos drivers immediately look at the brakes as the source of the problem. But tires are crucial to safe stopping distances because they provide the traction required in a stop.

A tire's contact with the road surface creates traction, which allows for effective braking. On a wet surface, a tire only has traction if it can get to the road's surface. So tire tread is designed to channel water out from under the tire to allow it to stay in contact with the road. If the tire can't shift the water, then it starts to “float.” This condition is called hydroplaning. It is very dangerous for Los Altos drivers since the vehicle won't stop no matter how hard the driver presses the brakes. Steering control is also lost.

A recent study tested the stopping ability of a passenger car and a full-sized pick-up on a road surface covered with only a dime's depth of water (less than a millimeter). The vehicles were traveling at 70 mph (112 kph) when they stopped on the wet surface. At 2/32 (1.6 mm) tread depth, the stopping distance was double that of a new tire. The passenger car was still traveling at 55 mph (89 kph) when it reached the stopping distance it experienced with new tires.

Let's suppose that you're on a busy Los Altos road in a light drizzle and a vehicle stops suddenly in front of you. You just bought new tires and you brake hard, missing the vehicle with only inches to spare. If you hadn't bought those new tires, you would have crashed into that vehicle at 55 mph (89 kph). That is a major difference.

What if your tires had a tread depth of 4/32 (3.2 mm)? You would have crashed into that vehicle at 45 mph (72 kph). Still not a good situation. But it's better.

Now what if you were driving that pick-up truck? You wouldn't have missed that vehicle in the first place, and you would have crashed at higher rates of speed in both of the other scenarios. The heavier your vehicle, the longer its stopping distance. It's a matter of physics.

The results of this test has led Consumer Reports and others to ask that the standard for tread wear be changed from 2/32 (1.6 mm) to 4/32 (3.2 mm). The increased standard will improve safety on the road and save lives here in CA and nationally.

Of course, until the standard changes, you'll have to decide whether you'll be willing to replace your tires a little sooner.

You can use an American quarter to tell if your tread wear is down to 4/32 (3.2 mm). Place the quarter into the tread with George's head toward the tire and his neck toward you. If the tread doesn't cover George's hairline, you're under 4/32 (3.2 mm). With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the digits of the year.

You can measure the 2/32 inch (1.6 mm) tread wear with a penny. If the tread touches the top of Abe's head, it's at 2/32 (1.6 mm). Tires are super important when it comes to vehicle care. But their condition has a major impact on safety. We need to decide whether to sacrifice safety for economy. Keeping our tread wear above 4/32 in (3.2 mm) is good auto advice.

I leave you with my tire joke of the day,

 I was struggling with a flat tire, and my mom came and said, "Don't worry, no pressure".

Duke

 

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

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Cayenne's Reminder Fall and Spring Checkup -Fall Is Right Around The Corner

cay

Good day Cayenne here and with school starting up in about 2 weeks, Fall with follow and that means it's time for a seasonal checkup.  I know it is hard to believe that Fall is just around the corner but I thought I would give you a reminder now so your car is ready for all those school field trips now that we are trying to bring school back to what is normal from the last couple of years.  So let's fall and spring into this automotive lesson today and start barkin'!


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 (Cayenne too)

Come and see us at Allied Auto Works for your Spring and Fall automotive checkup.

I leave you with this proverb, "Autumn is the season of change." ~Taoist proverb

Cayenne

cay

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

Categories:

Maintenance

Duke's Daily Grind (Grinding Noise)

duke

Hey Duke here, and you know I love the grinding sound when I enjoy one of the Wagu Rib Eye steak bones I get once in a while, what a beautiful sound and tastes good too.  But what if your vehicle makes a grinding sound when you turn the steering wheel, it's speaking to you and that is not a good sound.   So listen to what it's saying and you could avoid a much more costly repair down the road.  So let's grind our way into this important noisy subject and get barkin'!

A grinding sound coming from the front of your vehicle when you are turning can offer some very informative clues as to what's going on.  One cause could be that there's a problem with the mechanical linkage that enables you to turn the wheels.  Another is that the hydraulic system that makes turning the steering wheel easier may have its own problems. 

Think of it.  Hydraulic power steering has many components that need to work in tandem.  The power steering fluid may be too old and contaminated.  Or its level may be low. That may be caused by a leak somewhere in the system. A technician can check things over to find out exactly what's happening.

Other causes of grinding while turning can be problems with the suspension in the front.  You may have a failing CV (constant velocity) joint.  It could be your brakes are partially engaging while you are turning.  That metal-on-metal sound is never a sign that things are working just the way they're supposed to.

To a technician looking to pinpoint the problem with your vehicle, it's not a daily grind at all.  Experience and training will help her or him zero in on what's causing the noise and get you back on the road. Maybe you can enjoy your sound system more after that distracting background noise has disappeared!

And me, well I go back to enjoying my Wagu Ribeye bone and the lovely sound it makes

Duke

 

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

Allied Auto Works Grant Road is committed to ensuring effective communication and digital accessibility to all users. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone, and apply the relevant accessibility standards to achieve these goals. We welcome your feedback. Please call Grant Road near Wooland Acre's - The Highlands (650) 968-7227 if you have any issues in accessing any area of our website.