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Cayenne's Watching Your Check Engine Light

cay

It's another beautiful day here in Los Altos!  Hi Cayenne here and did you know that most of the cars driving around Los Altos, CA, carry more computer power than the Apollo 121 Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969?


New cars sold in the Los Altos area have as many as 12 networked computers and over five miles (eight kilometers) of wiring. In fact, for the last decade or so, auto computers have been controlling about 85 percent of your vehicle's functions.

Cars have sensors for manifold air temperature, coolant temperature, manifold air pressure, airflow, throttle position, vehicle speed, and oxygen content. All of this electronic wizardry is pretty complicated. So how do Los Altos drivers know when there is a problem?

It's simple; the Check Engine light comes on. The computer monitors all the sensors and uses that information to decide what to adjust such as the fuel mix, spark timing, and idle speed. In addition, the computer monitors its own circuits. When it finds a fault, it turns on the Check Engine light and stores a trouble code in the computer.

It can be pretty disturbing for Los Altos drivers when the Check Engine light comes on. We wonder just how urgent it is. Generally speaking, it is not critical like a temperature or oil pressure light. When you get one of those it means STOP NOW! When the Check Engine light shows up, you should come into Allied Auto Works in Los Altos to find out what the matter is as soon as possible.

Since 1996, there has been a strong emissions control component to the Check Engine diagnostic. But if your Check Engine light flashes on and off, you know that it is more urgent and you need to get it checked immediately to prevent damage. You should slow down and avoid towing or heavy loads until you can get it checked out.

Your friendly and knowledgeable technicians at Allied Auto Works have special diagnostic equipment that will retrieve the trouble code from the computer and help him determine what is wrong. From there, we can fix it and get you back on the road.

Stop by if you're Check Engine light is on and tell them Cayenne sent ya!

cay

 

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

Categories:

Dashboard

Duke's Custom Wheels and Tires for Your South Bay Ride

duke

Duke here and today we are putting the wheels in motion.  Custom wheels and tires for your ride in the South Bay.  Now that most businesses are back open, the wheels are on the move on your vehicle.  Maybe it's time you spruce your vehicle up with something eye-catching as you roll on down the road. 

It seems like everywhere you go in the Los Altos area you see custom wheels. Big trucks, little cars, mini-vans - it doesn't matter - are expressing themselves with custom wheels. Some CA auto owners want smaller tires and wheels - some want larger - and some want them enormous. So where do you start if you want new wheels? At Allied Auto Works, we suggest you start with your budget. We know, that sounds so practical. But if the look you're after goes beyond just new tires and wheels and enters into the world of suspension modifications, you need to be prepared for the additional cost.

Let's start with something easy - you want to give your ride a unique look and the stock wheel size is just right for you. One of the concerns you will have is that the new wheels have the same offset as your vehicle factory wheels.

Your tire and wheel professional at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos can help you find the right size wheel or install adapters to make your new wheels fit. All you have to do is pick from the hundreds of styles available.

So, what about South Bay drivers who want to upsize? Well, if you want bigger wheels, but you want to keep the same overall tire diameter, that's pretty easy for the team at Allied Auto Works. The same offset concerns apply. You need to know that the tires will likely be a little bit wider than the originals and you don't want them to rub when you make sharp turns. Advice from  Allied Auto Works in Los Altos will help you avoid this.

Heading the other direction, some vehicle owners in the South Bay area like to run smaller than standard wheels and lower the suspension. All of the same fitment issues still apply as well as calibration issues. Don't think that vehicle suspension modifications are a bad thing. Many systems actually improve ride, function, and performance over the stock set-up.

Regardless of your budget, you want your vehicle to continue to do all the things you need it to do. Some of those show cars and trucks you see on TV and South Bay showrooms look good but have been modified in ways that may not suit your needs. For example, if you put large rims on your SUV with low profile tires, you may be in for busted rims if you go off-roading a lot around the Bay area. There just isn't enough sidewall to absorb the impact of thumping over rocks.

Some stuff the largest tires and wheels possible in their vehicles but have to severely restrict suspension travel so that the tires aren't rubbing all day. That can lead to a very harsh ride around CA. Again, talk with your Allied Auto Works wheel professional about all of these things: how you drive in Los Altos, what look you are going for, your budget, and what compromises you are willing to make.

At the end of the day, you're going to be rollin' out of Allied Auto Works with one sweet ride.

Duke

duke

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

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Cayenne Is Hitting The Brakes In Cupertino, Los Altos Or Where Ever You Live

 

cay

 

STOP, WHOA AND PUT THOSE BRAKES ON!  Cayenne here and today we are hitting the brakes in Cupertino, Los Altos or where ever you live.  So ease up on the brake and let's roll into this.

 

Hello Los Altos, let's talk about brakes. HittingBut the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There's also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.

Let's step back. A new vehicle or truck rolls off a local Los Altos showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.

Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles/kilometers start to add up on the vehicle. Los Altos drivers tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads and shoes on drum brakes are called the friction material. That's because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it's not until they are worn so thin as to be out of 'specs'  that they lose their ability to stop.

The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over long distances around CA, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail - a scary possibility. That's why a regular brake inspection at Allied Auto Works is important for your vehicle and your family's safety. At Allied Auto Works we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.

That leads us to brake fluid service at Allied Auto Works. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the vehicle fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at Allied Auto Works cleans out deposits, water, and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.

The tires are what connect the vehicle to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the more quickly you'll stop.

This is especially important on wet Los Altos area roads and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. CA vehicle owners need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.

So I am glad you took a BRAKE to read my blog today and found it helpful.  See you next week with Duke,

Cayenne

CAY

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

Categories:

Brakes

Duke Asks: What Happens When a Serpentine Belt Breaks?

 

duke

Duke here and today we are going to snake around the question, "What happens a serpentine belt breaks?"  Let sliver into this subject!

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.

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.

Duke

 

duke

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

Categories:

Timing Belt

Cayenne Helps You Budget for Maintenance in Los Altos

cay

Hi Cayenne here and today we will bark about how you need to budget the maintenance you need in your car so it doesn't break the bank and since money does not grow on trees, we could all use some help.

Sometimes busy Los Altos residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around CA in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today's automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Los Altos residents spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today's vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.

Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today's Los Altos drivers would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience, and it's likely that yesterday's Los Altos drivers didn't care much for it, either. So on today's vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Los Altos area auto service centers.

Los Altos drivers certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Vehicle care in CA  simply costs more than it used to. So if you think about it, Los Altos drivers can avoid many vehicle repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.

Just a bit of auto advice from Allied Auto Works: If you like new vehicles and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new vehicle every few years because you're afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and CA auto insurance with an older vehicle and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for preventive maintenance you have done at Allied Auto Works, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less!

“The simplest definition of a budget is "telling your money where to go.”

Cayenne

cay

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

Categories:

Maintenance

Duke Asks: "Why Do I Need to Change My Serpentine Belt?"

duke

Happy Memorial Day on this hot California day.  Duke here and today I ask you this, "Why do you need to change your serpentine belt? "  Let's investigate this a little further before you answer.

Any Los Altos driver who understands preventive maintenance knows that “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” is bad auto advice. Replacing a part before it breaks is much less costly for Los Altos residents than repairing the engine damage that comes after a part breaks or fails. A good example of this is the serpentine belt.

The serpentine belt gets its name because of its circuitous path around the engine. The serpentine belt is driven by the engine and powers a number of systems, as follows:

1. The serpentine belt spins the compressor that generates the cool air for the air conditioning system.
2. The serpentine belt powers the alternator. The alternator generates electricity for use in the vehicle's electrical systems and to charge the battery. Without the alternator, the battery wouldn't last more than a few miles.
3. In many Los Altos residents' vehicles, the serpentine belt runs the pumps for both the power steering and the power brakes. In other vehicles, the power steering pump may be electric and the power brakes may use a vacuum boost.
4. On many vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump keeps coolant circulating through to maintain appropriate operating temperatures. In some CA vehicles, a timing belt runs the water pump.

When a serpentine belt fails, all of these systems fail as well, which can lead to engine impact.

Replacing parts before they break saves money for Los Altos residents by preventing more repairs and the frustration of having your vehicle in the shop for an extended period of time. If you're looking for an adage to apply to good car care, you might remember the old story of how “for want of a nail, the kingdom was lost.”

Stay Safe and Healthy,

Duke

duke

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

Categories:

Timing Belt

Cayenne's Guide to Saving Fuel: Get Rid of Dirty Oil

cayCayenne here and it is another dog day with shelter-in-place and today I thought since most of us are trying to watch how much we spend during this period, that saving fuel would be a good place to start.  I know you might not be driving a lot right now and the price of fuel has gotten cheaper even though still here in California it is still one of most expensive per gallon in the United States.   So with all the extra time we have at home probably keeping our homes clean you might have forgotten about how dirty you car's oils can get which can cause fuel consumption.  So let's get barkin' on this dirty subject and clean house!

A lot of us drivers are asking ourselves the same question lately: how can we save on fuel? Los Altos area residents are all cutting back, if not in fuel consumption, then in other areas of our lives.

Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is an important way people in Los Altos can conserve fuel by improving fuel economy. And one of the easiest and most effective ways to do that is to keep the oil in our vehicle adequate and clean.

Oil lubricates your vehicle engine and keeps it running smoothly. If you're running low, there is increased friction in your engine. Friction creates drag, which means it takes more fuel to keep the vehicle motor running. This all translates to lower fuel economy.

Check your oil to make sure the engine is getting all it needs. Your owner's manual and service advisor at Allied Auto Works will tell you the proper weight and type of oil for your vehicle.

Responsible Car Care

Dirty oil grits up your engine, which also increases friction. So even if there's enough oil, you're still getting that extra drag that reduces your fuel economy. That's why your owner's manual recommends getting your oil changed regularly. It's good auto advice.

While you're checking your oil, you should take a quick look at your transmission fluid as well. Your transmission also needs clean, adequate fluid to work efficiently. An inefficient transmission also translates into lower fuel economy.

Your service advisor at Allied Auto Works will be able to check your oil and other fluids, top you off or change your oil if necessary.
Your owner's manual will have recommendations on how often you should check your oil and transmission fluid. But you can also consult with the pros at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos. The types of roads you drive on in CA, the climate where you live and the air quality in your area can all affect how often you should change your oil.

And don't forget that this will improve our environment here in Los Altos as well. Improved efficiency translates to fewer emissions. Changing your oil as scheduled doesn't just help your vehicle (and your pocketbook), it helps keep the air clean as well.

Well till next week with Duke, Stay Safe, Practice Social Distancing and Keep that Car Clean,

Cayenne

 

cay

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

Categories:

Fuel System

Duke's Easy Way to Save $$$ in the South Bay

duke

Duke here and with everything that is going on with COV-19 from health, safety, and to our economy, I thought today I would give you some advice on how to save some cash with your car.  Everyone is money conscientious right now even me with the price of beef bones and still have not seen my dog- stimulus check yet I am here to help you.  Let's get barkin' because as they say money does not grow on trees.

The hottest CA news story may be different every day, but there's one topic that seems to come up over and over again – the price of gas in the South Bay. If you feel like most of your paycheck goes into your gas tank, this post is for you. Here are several basic things people in Los Altos, Cupertino, San Jose and Sunnyvale can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the environment. You can really improve your fuel economy by how you drive – but first, here's a review of things you can do for your vehicle that'll save gas no matter how you drive.

The first one for Santa Clara County drivers is keeping tires properly inflated. That can save 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand – your car just has to work harder. Most South Bay service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask Allied Auto Works in Los Altos. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you fill-up. Many gas stations have an air hose, but I believe that is not free.  

Another important item is to keep your air filter clean. An air filter all clogged up with dirt and bugs doesn't let enough clean air through to efficiently burn fuel. Using a dirty air filter will cost you almost 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter in reduced fuel economy. And worn spark plugs can cost about the same. A spark plug can fire as many as 3,000,000 times for every 1,000 miles/1,600 km driven. Check the vehicle owner's manual for replacement recommendations.

The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that's messed up it can cost vehicles up to 3 miles per gallon/1.3 km per liter. And of course, there's dirty or substandard oil. Dirty oil causes extra drag. The wrong grade may be too thick. That's another .4 miles per gallon/.17 km per liter right there.

One item Los Altos residents seldom think about is their gas cap. A worn, loose or missing gas cap can cost another 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter. Adding up all of these worn, missing, or sub-par items leads to a total of almost 11.4 miles per gallon/4.85 km per liter in reduced fuel economy! And with current gas prices in the San Jose area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save drivers at the pump. 

Now, most vehicles aren't missing on all of these items, but think about which ones might affect you right now! And don't forget tune-ups, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, fuel system cleaning, wheels out of alignment, PCV valve, fuel filter, and other services spelled out in your owner's manual.

Allied Auto Works knows all this stuff and can tell you when you're scheduled to take care of each item. Create a system of your own to track your service schedules, or just use the computer system at Allied Auto Works – which may also be updated with recall notices and maintenance schedule items from your vehicle manufacturer.

Remember to Stay Safe and Spend Wisely During These Times,

Duke

duke

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

Categories:

Maintenance

Cayenne's Advice On Why Alignment Matters (Vehicle Alignment Maintenance)

cay

Good Day Everyone, Cayenne here and today we are taking the bumpy road on alignment and why it matters.  It's one of those things that can happen on a multi-day road adventure or a quick trip to the grocery store.  You hit a pothole, go too fast over a speed bump, nail a curb.  When it happens, you think, "I wonder if that was hard enough to do any damage?"  But things seem ok and you continue on your way

Keep in mind that any blow to your vehicle's suspension can throw it out of alignment.  It can be a hard knock from the road or from another vehicle, such as being involved in a minor accident.  When your suspension is out of alignment, it means that the wheels aren't all pointing where they should.  And after a while, it can make your tires wear unevenly and cause problems with steering and handling.

Let's go back to that pothole or curb you hit hard.  Even though you think there was no damage done, if you wait until you see tire wear, you may need to replace all four tires, not an inexpensive proposition.

That's why it's a good idea to make sure your alignment is regularly checked by a qualified technician. If you get regular oil changes (a MUST!), consider having an alignment check while your vehicle is in.  That's especially important if you drive roads that resemble the lunar surface.  If you buy new tires, it's also strongly recommended that you have your alignment checked. 

You can have your front wheels aligned or all four, and if your vehicle is newer, it's not a bad idea to spend a little extra for the four-wheel alignment check.  Good alignment pays off with better steering and handling, less tire wear, and—BONUS—better fuel economy since aligned wheels offer less resistance when they roll on the road.

Here is too smooth driving on the path to adventure.......we will back to normal soon, stay safe

Cayenne

 

cay

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

Categories:

Alignment

Duke's Future Road Trips: Be Ready for Anything with a Trip Inspection at Allied Auto Works-We Will Be Back To Normal

duke

Duke here and what a beautiful day in my dog-shelter in place.  I would love to go for a car ride but I know now is not the time.  But one day we will be taking those road trips and you better make sure your vehicle is ready.  So let's bark about it.

Road trip, anyone? Nothing spoils a great vacation faster than ending up stranded on the side of the road or spending a week in a rundown motel while our vehicle sits in the shop. Long days on the road can bring out the worst in your vehicle, so before you leave, prepare it for the journey by getting a trip inspection at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos. After all, you wouldn't travel without clean socks, why ask your vehicle to travel with a load of dirty oil?

The first step in a trip inspection at Allied Auto Works is to look at your travel plans. What kinds of roads will you be driving on? Will you be in the CA backcountry or on the freeway? Will you be crossing mountains? Off-roading? What will the weather be like? How far away from Los Altos will you be traveling? How much are you hauling? Will you be towing a trailer or lugging a rooftop carrier? Will you encounter dust, mud, snow, or sea salt? All of these questions can help determine which services are most needed. And don't hesitate to ask your Allied Auto Works service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on what trip conditions are hardest on what systems of your vehicle and what kinds of services it realistically needs. Start with the tires and check them for tread wear and proper inflation. Replace or rotate them as needed. If you need to change them out for winter tires, then do so.

Then look at your shocks or struts for wear. Replace them if needed. You'll want that extra comfort on your trip. Be sure to check your alignment as well. Steering a vehicle that is out of alignment is tiring, and dangerous. Don't overlook your brakes. With extra passengers and baggage, your brakes are going to get a workout. You want them in top condition.

In addition, inspect belts and hoses. If any of them are close to wearing out, have them replaced before your long trip does them in.

Change your engine air filter if it needs it, or if it's close to needing it. Your car's air filter processes 12,000 times as much air as the amount of fuel it burns. A clean air filter will protect electronic sensors that affect how your engine runs.

Get an oil change at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos if it's coming due. Make it a full-service oil change while you're at it. That way, all of your fluids will get checked and topped off. Change any dirty or old fluids. Los Altos drivers don't want to overstress their cooling systems or transmissions with dirty fluid during a long trip.

Does your vehicle smell? Check the cabin air filter. The bad smell could also indicate an exhaust leak, which can be fatal on a long trip. So don't ignore bad odors; check them out.

If your air conditioning hasn't been up to snuff, then give it an overhaul. You want your vacation to be relaxed and pleasant, and that means keeping the passenger compartment comfortable.

And be sure to check your wiper blades and your headlamps. You may find yourself driving in unfamiliar territory at night after a long day. You'll want to be able to see as much as possible.

Of course, almost everything listed here is just part of preventive maintenance for smart driving. If you keep up with your vehicle care on a regular basis, a trip inspection will be a breeze at Allied Auto Works.

Taking care of your vehicle before you leave for a road trip will pay you back in safety, peace of mind, improved comfort, and better fuel economy. It will also help your vacation go as planned by keeping you on the road and headed for that next great adventure. 

Just don't forget to pack your socks and might as well take those gloves and face masks too. 

Stay Safe,

Duke

duke

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

Categories:

Inspection
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