Los Altos Auto Repair

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Duke's Good Service at Allied Auto Works Equals Good Fuel Economy in Los Altos

duke

Hi Duke here, and in the last few months, drivers in CA have started to see our gas prices come down from $7.00/gallon to about $4.89/gallon, but still, we are higher than the rest of the country and with the price of food now also, we could all probably use a little help in saving some money where ever we can.

Whether we're trying to save money, save gas or save the environment, most of us Los Altos drivers have an interest in decreasing fuel consumption. We've all heard about ways to save money on gas in CA, but does it really add up to much? How much can we boost our fuel economy through preventive maintenance and more courteous driving?

The US government has a website that actually answers that question. Let's look at some of the data and find out if any of these fuel-saving ideas are really worth the effort. We've all heard that a tune-up can improve gas mileage. It turns out that it can save us 4% at the pump. At $3.50 a gallon, that's 14¢ per gallon in savings, and at $4.00 a gallon, that's a 16¢ per gallon savings.

Other common repair items can also save you at the pump. For example, if your oxygen sensor is faulty, it's not delivering the information to your engine's computer that allows it to calculate the right fuel-to-air ratio. The result? The fuel doesn't burn efficiently. Replacing that faulty sensor can save you 40% at the pump. That's certainly a reason to improve your car care and have the automotive professionals at Allied Auto Works inspect things once in a while.

A faulty oxygen sensor will activate the check engine light. So will a lot of other problems that are big fuel wasters. Finding out why your light is on and fixing the problem will also improve your fuel economy. Bring your car into Allied Auto Works in Los Altos and we will take care of it for you.

What about tires? Los Altos drivers have all heard that keeping them inflated will improve our gas mileage. True? Yep. It's a 3% savings for that one. And even small drops in tire pressure can start to add up, so a weekly tire check is in order.

Using the correct weight in motor oil is another way you can save at Los Altos area gas pumps. It adds up to a 2% savings.

What about that courteous driving? That doesn't cost us anything and doesn't require our Los Altos service center to implement anything. Is it worth the bother?

Again, the answer is yes. Sudden acceleration, such as charging away from stoplights, sudden stops and quick lane changes all add up in lowered fuel economy. Taking it easy when you drive on CA roads amounts to a 5% savings around town and a whopping 33% savings on the freeway. Is it worth your time to slow down? How much do you get paid?

Speeding is another way we ding ourselves at the gas pump. We've all heard that it's okay to drive five miles over the speed limit, but that actually hurts our wallets. Eventually, it could add up to more than a speeding ticket. An extra five miles over the speed limit ends up costing us 7% per gallon. Fifteen miles over? 23% Now there's a reason to slow down.

Another thing Los Altos vehicle owners can do to improve that costs nothing is to toss the junk out of our trunks. In other words, clean out the car and stop hauling around non-essentials. Don't treat your vehicle like a storage locker. Dumping one hundred pounds of extra weight adds up to a 2% savings at the pump.

So when you tell someone you were going somewhere anyway and they're welcome to come along, that's okay. But if someone tells you they need to come along and it's no harm to you since you were going anyway—well, now you can tell them, “Sorry, dude, but you're an extra fifteen cents a gallon!”

All joking aside, let's all do ourselves a favor and fatten up our wallets by practicing good car care and better driving habits in CA.

Duke 

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

Categories:

Fuel Economy

Cayenne Is A Non-Starter (Alternator Problems in Cold Weather)

cayBrrrr Cayenne here and it has been cold the last few mornings. It's hard to get moving and started on the day.  Maybe your car is having the same the problem......getting started.  So you guessed it, we are going to bark about a non-starter with alternator problems in cold weather.

As the temperatures dip, we all know there could be problems starting our vehicles. After all, batteries can grow old and not hold a charge as well as when they were newer. Or starters can go bad.  But there's one more component to keep an especially sharp eye on during winter: your alternator.

The alternator is sort of like a small generator. It sends power out to various parts in your vehicle that need electricity.  That includes the battery, which needs charging to keep its power topped off.  The alternator creates electricity by taking mechanical energy from the engine and turning it into electricity.  It is connected to the engine by belts and pulleys. 

In cold weather, the material the belt is made from is less flexible than it is in warm weather.  That means it may not be turning the pulleys as effectively since it doesn't have the same grip. Also, when it's colder, lubricants, including the engine oil, are a little stiffer; parts just don't move like they do when the weather's warmer.  With that extra strain, sometimes it takes the alternator longer to recharge the battery. That, in turn, may leave the battery with a little less power to start the engine when it's cold.

You may have a warning light on your instrument panel that looks like a battery.  If it lights up or if you notice your headlights flickering or not shining quite as brightly as they usually do, it could mean a weak alternator. But it also could be an aging battery, corroded battery terminals, a loose belt, or another charging system part. Yes, it's complicated. 

Pinpointing the cause involves testing the battery and charging system with diagnostic equipment.  If it does turn out to be an alternator, there are options besides replacing it with a brand-new, original equipment part.  Ask your service advisor for recommendations. Obviously, you want your vehicle to start reliably, especially in cold weather.  Take care of your charging system and it will take care of you.

Here is my car joke of the day.

"The car won't start," said a wife to her husband. "I think there's water in the carburetor."
"How do you know?" said the husband scornfully. "You don't even know what the carburetor is."
"I'm telling you," repeated the wife, "I'm sure there's water in the carburetor."
"We'll see," mocked the husband. "Let me check it out. Where's the car?"
.
"IN THE SWIMMING POOL !!!!!!"

Cayenne

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

Categories:

Alternator

Ask Duke About the Importance of Service Intervals

duke

Hi Duke here and today in Duke & Cayenne's weekly blog, we're going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your vehicle isn't the only aspect of your life with recommended intervals: What about six-month dental cleanings and regular physical exams for your favorite canine? Then there's laundry, mowing the lawn, paying your electric bill, changing your furnace filter, oh, getting my supply of weekly beef bones - you get the idea.



Now, what would happen if you didn't follow these intervals? For one thing, your teeth may get more cavities. You might not discover health issues that benefit from early detection and treatment. And you'd have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your overgrown lawn and have your power shut off.

We all realize there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don't, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life diminishes and it inevitably costs more money.

Have you ever wondered, "How often should I bring my car in for scheduled maintenance?" You can let your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works technician remind you of the manufacturer's recommendations. He has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your vehicle. Rely on Allied Auto Works professionals to help you make good car care decisions, that's our job.

For those in Los Altos who want to be more proactive with their vehicle care, here are some simple ways to remember what has a maintenance interval:

First: fluids. If it's liquid, it's got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.
Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you're thinking tires, think brakes and shocks.
And what makes your car go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning.

Of course there are more items, but if you remember to take your vehicle into Allied Auto Works for these things, your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor will help you with the rest.

Here is my car joke of the day,

 "With the rise of self-driving vehicles, it's only a matter of time before we get a country song where a guy's truck leaves him too."

Duke

duke

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

Cayenne's Battery Replacement at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos

cay

Hello Cayenne here, welcome to Duke & Cayenne's Education Corner here at Allied Auto Works.  If this is your first time here, get ready to be schooled by two hounds who can teach any dog some new tricks on a weekly visit.  So as Duke and I always say "Let's get barkin!"

Today's focus is 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. 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 real cold.

And as we enter into the New Year 2023, I leave you with my quote of the week,

"Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits." ~Author unknown

Cayenne

 



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

 

Categories:

Battery

Duke Helps You Save Fuel by Watching Your Weight

duke

Happy New Year! Duke here and now that we are at the start of the new year, we are going to bark about weight.  This is not the weight you are thinking about even though I must say I need to lose a few dog pounds since the holidays.  I am talking about saving fuel by watching your weight on your vehicle.  So let's step on scale and roll into it. 

Most Los Altos drivers are all talking right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. CA folks want to save the environment and our pocketbooks.

And we Los Altos drivers all know — or should know — that preventive maintenance will help maintain maximum fuel efficiency. But is there something more we can do? After all, some of us Los Altos road warriors can't cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of fuel economy. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get around Los Altos. And that means buying more gas and producing more emissions.

Of course, your vehicle's weight isn't negotiable. And you can't do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn't an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your car. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight while driving around Los Altos? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your neighborhood? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don't. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your vehicle: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing: whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it, store it when you don't.

Clean out your vehicle. You'd be surprised how much weight you're lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food and regular old dirt. Even if it's not a lot of weight, you'll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don't toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire — the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in the car when you go on a longer trip; but you don't have to lug it around all the time.


After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some money.

Duke

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

Categories:

Fuel Economy

Cayenne Gets It Charged in Los Altos for Extended Battery Life

cay

Hello, Cayenne here, and today you will get a charge out of extended battery life for your vehicle.  So without further ado, let's get barkin' on this electrifying subject!

Here's an interesting statistic for our in Los Altos, CA, drivers: Only 30 percent of car batteries make it to 48 months. And the life expectancy varies by where you live. It ranges from 51 months in extremely cold areas to just 30 months in extremely hot climates.

Why is that? It turns out that it's our modern cars with all their electric accessories that are to blame. Things like, GPS, DVDs and entertainment computers are keeping vehicle batteries from maintaining a full charge. The longer a battery goes with a low charge, the sooner it'll die.

It's clear that you Los Altos drivers need to recharge your batteries. This is the job of the alternator. The problem comes when the car's demand for electricity is high and we are driving in stop-and-go conditions or short trips around Los Altos. The alternator just can't keep up.

The result is shortened battery life. So what can we do to improve our battery's health?

We need to keep the battery as close to a full charge as possible. That can be hard because sitting for just 24 hours in hot weather between charges can be too long. When the weather's cold in Los Altos, sitting for several days will cause discharge.

So some highway driving around CA will help keep a full charge if the battery has not been deeply depleted. Car batteries are not designed to be run down really low or deep cycled, as it's called. So using your headlights or other power accessories when the car is off can deeply deplete your battery. Using the alternator to recharge from a deeply depleted state is also very dangerous to your battery because it charges too fast. In fact, on average, your battery would only last for ten recharges like that.

If you do find yourself with a dead battery or very low battery, use a good-quality battery charger to slowly bring the battery up to full charge. Follow the instructions on the charger or talk to your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Allied Auto Works.

I leave you with my electrical joke for the day, 

"Why did the light bulb fail his math quiz?"  

"He wasn't too bright."

Cayenne

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



Categories:

Battery

Duke's Don't Do It Yourself (Perils of DIY Vehicle Repair)

duke

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, Duke here and with all the traveling you will be doing over the holidays, sometimes we want to be the DIY for our vehicles.  This can be tricky especially with all the computers and technology.  So today we will bark about the perils of trying to DIY on vehicle repair.  

Your vehicle is a complicated machine, and yes, it would be nice if you could take care of all of its problems yourself.  There was a time when vehicles were simpler and it wasn't too hard for a weekend mechanic to replace brakes, adjust a carburetor, or perform a tune-up.  But vehicles are far more complicated these days, with traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, airbags and fuel injection just a small sample of the new technologies. 

Like a lot of things these days, technology changes in leaps and bounds.  Anyone who repairs vehicles has to stay up on the latest computers, sensors, suspensions, steering, electronics, hydraulics and more.  Many power steering, braking and heating and air conditioning systems that used to be mechanical are now being replaced by electronic systems.  Computers are an integral part of much of the latest automotive technology, something you didn't see a lot of until as recently as the 1990s.

Today's most highly-trained technicians are able to keep up with how to perform the latest repairs and services by continuing education about their craft.  When once an auto repairman could do fine with a lift and a good set of tools, now specialized electronic analysis equipment and tools are must-haves when it comes to vehicle repair.

Because of how fast technology changes, access to the latest repair databases and manuals is also important.  Manufacturers require certain service procedures to be performed precisely, and any other way can leave a vehicle compromised when it comes to performance and safety. 

Your vehicle is capable of traveling at high speeds on challenging surfaces with ever-increasing traffic issues and unpredictable obstacles.  You need your vehicle to be working up to its engineered potential.  That's why you should leave repairs and services to professionals.  They work on vehicles every day, and years of experience with hundreds of repairs equip them to deal with the unexpected as well as the routine. 

When you develop a trusting relationship with a reputable service facility, you can have confidence that the maintenance, service and repairs are being done by people who know what they're doing.  Your safety and your vehicle's performance and reliability are well worth it.

Safe travels and Merry Christmas

Duke  

 

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

 

Cayenne Saving Lives in Los Altos with Tire Pressure

cay

Cayenne here and today we are going to bark about TPMS.  What is that you ask?  Tire Pressure Monitoring System, so let's get barkin' and how TPMS can help save lives.


All new passenger vehicles on our Los Altos, CA, roads now have tire pressure monitoring systems – TPMS for short. They are designed to alert you if your tires are underinflated. Since they are fairly new, a lot of people have questions about them.

First off, the most important thing is that you still need to check your tire pressure every week – or at least every time you gas up. The TPMS system alert comes in when your tire is 20 percent below the factory recommendation. So if the recommended pressure is 34 pounds per square inch, the TPMS warning won't come on until the pressure is at 28 pounds. That's significantly underinflated, enough to raise safety concerns.

The worst is tire failure. A severely underinflated tire can overheat and fail. Also, handling degrades to the point that you may not be able to steer out of trouble. Also underinflated tires wear out faster and they waste fuel. So it's costly to not stay on top of proper inflation.

What's the practical value of the TPMS system? Well, it's twofold. First, it can alert you when your tire is losing pressure due to a puncture or a bent rim. That's an important warning that you might not have gotten until next time you gassed up.

The second is that we all occasionally forget to check our tire pressure. So it's a fail-safe system to let you know there's a problem brewing.

Other things can cause your TPMS system to go off. The system also monitors itself. The sensors that are mounted in the wheels have little batteries that send a signal to the monitor. The batteries go dead over time and the TPMS system will let you know. And the sensors could break. Also road salt from our CA roads can ruin them.

There's also a hassle factor that your Los Altos, CA, tire center has to contend with. For example, when you have your tires rotated in Los Altos, the TPMS system has to be re-calibrated so that it knows which tire is on which corner of the car. Same is true for when you have new tires or winter tires installed. Flat repairs, as well.

That takes extra time. And it requires the right equipment and training. Special – and expensive – tire change machines need to be used with some sensors. It's all complicated by the fact that there are a number of different TPMS systems in use so the tire professionals at Allied Auto Works need equipment and training for each kind. Tire centers have had to raise the price of some of these basic services to offset their increased costs.

Also if you add custom wheels on your vehicle, you need to put in new TPMS sensors if your originals won't work on the new rims. If you don't your TPMS light will be on constantly and you won't have the benefit of the warning system.

All in all, the mandated TPMS systems will save lives, so they're worth the added hassle and expense.

My quote for today:  "The question to ask of any day is, "Did I make some complicated thing simple — or did I make some simple thing complicated?" ~Robert Brault"

Cayenne

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

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Cayenne is Positive and Negative (Battery Care)

cay

Well, good day, Cayenne here, and I bet you notice when your smartphone's battery starts to go weak on you.  It runs out of juice faster than it did when it was new.  Bet you pay attention to that pretty closely because we all know what would you do if it went dead????  Well today, we are going to get a jolt out of the positive and negative on battery care for our vehicles.  So spark it up with a bark on this positive and negative subject.

Unfortunately, many of us don't pay the same attention to our vehicles' batteries. If your battery got you through the cold-weather months, you might be thinking you're all set until next winter. But you might be surprised to learn this: Hot weather is harder on a battery than cold weather.  (Note: we're talking about a conventional vehicle here, not an all-electric, plug-in one.)

 Your vehicle's battery holds a charge because it has chemicals inside it, and they react with each other to produce electricity.  A vehicle battery discharges electricity and then needs to be recharged.  Unlike the smartphone that you plug in each night to charge, the way a vehicle's battery gets recharged is by using the engine's mechanical energy.  It's a pretty cool system that's been around for a while.  An alternator changes the mechanical energy into electricity that then charges the battery.  And your vehicle is designed to charge it just the right amount with a voltage regulator. If your battery constantly gets too much voltage, it could stop holding a charge. 

Another way a vehicle battery loses its ability to hold a charge is when it gets hot.  In warmer weather, some fluids in your battery evaporate which can damage some of its internal components.  Then, you've got a dead battery.

Back to your smartphone for a second; it probably has a little indicator or maybe an app showing you how healthy it is or how much charge it holds.  Well, your service repair facility has equipment that can test your vehicle's battery for the same things.  If that test shows you need a new battery, then it's probably time to replace it.

A technician can also check to see if your battery is being charged at the correct rate.  If you have a battery that is not sealed, a technician can check to see it needs more water added to it.  The technician will also make sure dirt or other contaminants aren't acting as electrical conductors and discharging the battery.  Plus, your battery's terminals may need cleaning.

Most people just forget about their vehicle's battery until there's a big problem with it. Here's one rule of thumb: expect a battery's life to be about 5 years. Just like you wouldn't want your smartphone to leave you without making phone calls or sending texts, you wouldn't want your vehicle to leave you stranded with no way to start it, would you?   

When it comes time to make that new battery choice, your service advisor can offer you some good options, considering the climate you drive in, what you use your vehicle for, and your budget.  Hey, your smartphone's battery is all charged up.  How about calling Allied Auto Works and asking for Matt or Roberto for an appointment right now?

Here is my joke of the day, of course battery related,

"What was the reason for the arrest of the energizer bunny?

He was charged with battery!"

Cayenne

Categories:

Battery

Duke's Diagnostic Service Tips At Allied Auto Works

duke

Hey, it's Duke and imagine waking up one morning with a stomach ache from too many steak bones. You pick up the phone, call the doctor's office and say, “I’ve got a really bad tummy ache. How much will it cost to make me feel better?” Of course, you wouldn’t do that. You know that there could be a lot of reasons for your symptoms and that the doctor will have to examine you, ask some questions and probably run some tests before she can tell you what’s wrong and give you treatment options. 

This same scenario plays out every day at CA auto repair facilities. When the cause of the concern isn’t obvious, the car will need to undergo a diagnostic examination. The typical car has about 30,000 parts, including several networked computers and miles of wiring. Finding exactly what is wrong can be very complicated and take some time. The most experienced technicians at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos are the ones who tackle the difficult diagnostic jobs. Once they have determined the cause of the trouble, they can work out the plan for how to fix it and tell you how much it will cost.

When you think about it this way, it makes perfect sense that, 1) the Allied Auto Works service advisor cannot provide an estimate before the diagnosis is done, and 2) there is a charge for auto diagnostic services in Los Altos. You expect to pay for an office visit to the doctor and for any necessary tests before you can be presented with your treatment options and costs; same goes for your vehicle.

We know it can be frustrating for Los Altos drivers when something is wrong with your car and you aren’t sure what is going to be involved in getting it fixed. We are passionate about helping you through the process, communicating with you at each step along the way. We have highly trained diagnostic technicians and technologically-advanced diagnostic equipment to uncover the cause of your trouble. We use quality replacement parts to help make sure you stay on the road after the repair is done. That’s our prescription for automotive peace of mind.


Give us a call and tell them Dr. Duke sent you and I leave you with my doctor joke of the day,

Patient: “Please help me! I can’t stop my hands from shaking.”

Doctor: “Do you drink often?”

Patient: “Not really, I end up spilling most of it.”

Duke



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

Categories:

Exhaust
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