Los Altos Auto Repair

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Articles:

Cayenne's Sticky Brake Situation (Parking Brake Service and Maintenance)

cay

Hi, Cayenne here on this beautiful California day.  Today I got myself into a sticky situation well I mean sticky brake situation.  We've all been there.  You park your vehicle on a steeper than usual hill and worry about it rolling down while you're running your errands.  So you decide you'll use the parking brake.  When you get back, you release the parking brake, hit the ignition, put it in gear, and—uh, oh—you can feel the parking brake is still on.  It's stuck.  What do you do now?

Welcome to the world of infrequently-used parking brakes.  Yes, they do stick for several reasons. It's common for components to corrode and get locked up.  Sometimes if you have applied it extra hard, it can jam.  Could be a rusty cable, could be a spring that doesn't return the brake to its disengaged position.  Some pieces just break when they're stressed for the first time in a while. A caliper or the pivot arm it's on can also stick.

There are a few things you can try to unstick it.  Carefully rock your vehicle by putting it first in drive and then reverse.  You have to be careful doing that, though, because sometimes you can damage the transmission.  You can try working the parking brake control a few times to see if that will loosen the corrosion.  If you can't unstick it, you can try driving slowly a short distance to a repair facility near you.  Sometimes it won't cause damage to the brakes but it depends on how tightly the parking brake was applied and what was stuck.  You may also have to have your vehicle towed to a repair facility.

In any case, once you've seen these symptoms, have your vehicle brakes looked at by a professional who can fix the root of the problem.  Better yet, don't let your vehicle get in this condition; regular maintenance and inspections by a trained technician should prevent you from getting in a jam somewhere thanks to a stuck parking brake.  

You could use a "brake" like that.

Cayenne

cay

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

Categories:

Brakes

Duke Steers To The Right or Left? Power Steering Service With The Duke

duke

Duke here and when I go on a big adventure without a set agenda, I wonder if I should go the right or left, sometimes my nose drives in the direction I should go, and well I just go.  When you drive your car and want to go to the right or the left you depend on that smooth turn from guess what......the power steering.  So today we are going to turn right into the power steering service and how important it is so you can make those important turn decisions.  So let's get steering in the right direction.

Have you ever driven a vehicle without power steering? If you have, then you probably appreciate how much easier it is to drive today's modern vehicles. Before power steering, all of the force to turn a vehicle had to come from the driver's arms. That's why old cars had such large steering wheels: they needed plenty of leverage to steer. There were some Los Altos folks who had difficulty driving because they just weren't strong enough.

Power steering is now standard on all vehicles, but there are several ways that power can be delivered. Most vehicles use a hydraulic power steering system. In this system, a serpentine belt from the engine powers a pump that pressurizes the power steering fluid. The pressure activates hydraulics that provides steering power.

Other vehicles use an electric pump to pressurize the power steering fluid rather than the belt-driven pump. Some newer vehicles actually have electric motors that provide steering power and don't use steering fluid at all, especially in the increasingly popular hybrid and electric vehicles.

Los Altos drivers who own a vehicle that uses power steering fluid need to have it changed regularly. Over time, moisture accumulates in the power steering fluid, which affects steering performance and can corrode steering components. Dirt and other contaminants can also accumulate in the power steering fluid, which will also negatively affect steering performance. A good power steering service at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos will flush out the old fluid and get rid of dirt and other deposits in the system. Clean fluid will then be added. Fresh fluid provides lubricants that help protect the steering system as well as prevent corrosion.

For recommendations on how often your power steering fluid should be replaced, consult your owner's manual. It varies by vehicle model and manufacturer. For more auto advice on steering fluid changes—and other preventive maintenance—you can talk with your service advisor at Allied Auto Works. You may need to change your fluid more often depending on the driving and weather conditions in your area.

Los Altos drivers who believe in good vehicle care will add power steering service to their preventive maintenance schedule. This will prevent damage to your steering system and extend its working life. The old days of double-handed cranking on a huge steering wheel may be over, but our new comfort and convenience are not maintenance-free. Do yourself and your vehicle a favor. Keep the power steering fluid clean.

When nothing is going right, go left. - DUKE

duke

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

Categories:

Steering

Cayenne Barks "Hold the Oil!" (Oil Pan Gasket Replacement)

cay

Halt, hold the oil!  Hi Cayenne here and there is nothing like spilled milk, I mean oil for a car that is.  Do you know how important the oil in your car's engine really is.  Well today we will slip into the oil system of your car, so let's get barkin' be we you travel down a slippery slope.....lol

 

You've likely heard how important oil is to your vehicle's engine. Did you know that there's one part that's responsible for holding that oil so you can use it every day? It's called the oil pan, and it sits at the bottom of the engine.

The oil pan is vital, though simple, part of your engine's lubrication system. Oil circulates through parts of your engine to keep them lubricated. It reduces friction so everything works smoothly. Without oil, friction would quickly destroy your engine. The oil pan keeps that oil contained in the lubrication system, so it's important that the oil doesn't leak out. Since it's a metal part attached to another metal part, there is a gasket between the oil pan and the part of the engine it attaches to.

Various things can put stress on the oil pan and gasket, including weather extremes, the speed you're traveling, and the condition of the oil. You may drive over a couple of bad roads and kick up debris onto your oil pan. All this wear and tear, heat, and time can take their toll. So after a while, the gasket can just wear out and start leaking. It usually starts pretty slowly. If you see oil visible under your vehicle where you park it, that might be a sign of a leaky oil pan gasket. Another sign? You smell burning oil coming from your engine. If the leak is bad and your engine has lost a lot of oil, you may eventually see the oil light go on.

Let your service advisor know if you are experiencing any of these things. Driving with insufficient oil can badly damage your engine. And it can do it quickly. An Allied Auto Works trained technician will check to find the source of the leak. It may just be a gasket, but it also could be the oil pan is damaged and needs replacing as well.

This is a repair you should get taken care of. Your engine needs its lubrication system intact to provide you many years of service.

 

"The oil can is mightier than the sword." ~ Everett Dirksen
Cayenne

 

cay

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

Categories:

Maintenance

Duke's "The Easy Way to Save Cash in Los Altos!"

duke

Money, money, money.......Hey, Duke here, and the quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it in your back pocket.  Seriously now we are going to bark about how to save that cash so well maybe you will have some to put in your back pocket or better yet get me some of those t-bones I've had my eye on.  So let's get barkin'!

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 Los Altos. 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 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 Los Altos 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 Los Altos service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask Allied Auto Works. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you fill-up. Many Los Altos gas stations have an air hose you can use for 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 the information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that's messed up it can cost Los Altos 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 Los Altos area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save Los Altos 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.

I leave you with this thought.    

How to get RICH? 1st, make more; 2nd, spend less. ~Josh Billings

Duke

duke

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

Categories:

Maintenance

Cayenne Steers Clear of Power Steering Problems (Power Steering Maintenance)

cay 

Good day Cayenne here and you know we usually take our vehicle's easy steering for granted until something goes wrong.  Power steering is what makes it almost effortless to turn the steering wheel, aiming your vehicle in the direction you want to go. Without the assistance of power from the engine, steering would be a laborious process, so you want to make sure the system is working well.   So obviously you guessed it, we will be barkin' about the power steering today and its maintenance.  So let's get this going in the right direction.

Power steering systems are usually one of two types, hydraulic and electric.  The hydraulic type uses a pump that is driven by either a belt or an electric motor.  This system uses hydraulic fluid to create pressure that gives your steering the power assist.  Since that pump is always working, time and distance traveled eventually take their toll, and these systems need to be periodically inspected.  Also, while that hydraulic fluid can last for years, it should be replaced periodically as it degrades over time. Your vehicle's owners manual contains the manufacturer's recommendations.

A technician can check for leaks in the hoses, pump housing, or reservoir.  Also, the belts should be inspected and so should the pump, as these can fail.  Signs of a failing pump are a groaning noise when you turn the steering wheel, stiff steering, squealing noises when you first start your car, and puddles of a reddish-brown fluid under your vehicle. 

The other type is called EPS, or electric power steering, which is becoming more commonly used in the latest vehicles.  It only delivers power assist when you need it and has an electric motor that supplies that steering help.  It's more efficient, accurate, compact, and clean. And because it has a lot fewer components, it's easier to maintain. 

If you have electric power steering, you may notice sometimes it's hard to turn the wheel or your Check Engine light comes on.  Sometimes the power assist motor fails or there can be problems with electrical connections.  Any time you have symptoms, it's important for your safety and that of drivers around you that you have a technician check them out.

Properly working brakes are essential for the safe operation of any vehicle.  Stop! And make sure yours are working properly.

Have a great day and enjoy the sun,

Cayenne

 

cay


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

Categories:

Steering

Duke's Automotive Tips from Allied Auto Works: A Broken or Damaged Timing Belt

duke

Hey, it's Duke, and today I am going to give you some tips on a broken or damaged timing belt.   So let's not waste any time and start barkin' on this subject.

The timing belt rotates the camshafts which opens and closes the valves that allow air, fuel, and exhaust to flow through the engine as it powers your car when you drive around Los Altos.

An old timing belt can lose a “tooth” in the belt allowing it to slip. The engine could stop or misfire. Timing belt slips – or a broken timing belt – can be disastrous on some engines. In “interference” engines, open valves can get in the way of the piston when the timing belt breaks or slips. When that happens one or more valves can be bent requiring expensive engine repairs.

It is important for Los Altos drivers to replace their timing belts as recommended in their owner’s manual to avoid unnecessary breakdowns. Ask the team of professionals at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos if it’s time for your timing belt to be replaced.

.....and remember to tell them The Duke sent ya,

Duke

 

duke

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

Categories:

Timing Belt

Cayenne Is Maintaining Your Older Car in Los Altos, CA

cay

Cayenne here and since I am a senior dog I know a little about maintaining my senior dog stamina to keep up with the younger dogs.  So today I thought it would be a good idea to talk about maintaining those older vehicles with new cars being scarce right now because of COV-19 chips for cars and used car prices selling for crazy amounts like new car prices.  If you have that oldie but goodie still in the garage we should talk about how to maintain it for the long haul, like me, I'm around for the long haul and those long drives.  Let's get barkin now!



The government mandates a lot of equipment on cars in Los Altos, CA: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crashworthiness requirements. All of this is great for the Los Altos motoring public, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new vehicle.

Because new vehicles are more expensive, people in the Los Altos area are driving their old vehicles longer. The average vehicle is now over nine years old. Two-thirds of vehicles on the road in CA have more than 75,000 miles (120,000 km) on them. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately, today's cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on goin'.

Give Allied Auto Works a call at 650.968.7227 to schedule your next maintenance.

Some owner's manuals don't specify service requirements at higher mileage. That doesn't mean it doesn't have to be done. In fact, it's more important than ever to stay on top of routine maintenance for cars with more than 75,000 miles (120,000km).

First, just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that's recommended every 15,000 miles (24,000 km) should be performed at 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 and 60,000 miles (24,000, 48,000, 72,000 and 96,000 km) and so on. Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule is more appropriate than the regular schedule; ask your service advisor. Watch for leaks; seals and gaskets dry out over time and don't hold the fluids as well as they used to.

It's also time to make sure you have a good technician, like those here at Allied Auto Works. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put on some clicks, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course. Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints that trouble's brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into a costly repair.

And a regular wash and wax will help maintain your car's appearance. One of the things you can do to really help your high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, and transmission and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have a few clicks on the old odometer.

High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn-off. Older engines are dirtier inside – and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better fuel economy and excellent wear protection.

Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high mileage vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 miles (80,000 km), consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. High mileage fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing repair costs down the road. It does cost more to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle – but it's way cheaper than a new car payment!

"Old age is always fifteen years older than I am." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Cayenne

cay

 

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

Categories:

Maintenance

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

duke

 

Hello Duke here and welcome to Allied Auto Works.   Today we will get a charge out of battery replacement; when and why you need to do it in both cold and hot months.  So let's start barkin about this electrifying subject!

 

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, the 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'm energetic  and quite positive but I also have a negative side

Duke

 

duke

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

 

Categories:

Battery

Cayenne Is Stuck! (Vehicle Door Issues)

cay

Hello, it is Cayenne and has this ever happened to you.  You bury your bone and it keeps popping up in the dirt, what a helpless feeling!  Oh sorry, maybe you can't relate to the bone issue but how about a door that won't stay shut on your car.  Well, today we will shut the door on this subject and bark about vehicle door issues.  Let's get barkin'!

This may have happened to you.  You drive somewhere and get out of your vehicle only to try closing the door and it just won't stay closed!  What a helpless feeling.  You can't lock it; you can't leave it like it is. Or, let's say you head down to your vehicle to head out to work in the morning and you can't open the door.  What are you going to do now?

Vehicle doors take a lot of abuse.  They are opened and closed hundreds of times and we expect them to just keep working perfectly all the time.  They do require a bit of tender loving care.  Let's take a look at two different scenarios of stuck doors.

First: the door that won't close.  It's a security issue.  It's also a safety issue.  You can't really safely drive a vehicle with a door that won't close. What if you or a passenger is tossed out?  Sure, some people try to tie a stuck-open door closed or bungee it, but that's dangerous.  It's best to get that vehicle to the service repair facility as soon as you can, and having it towed is the safest way. 

Second: the door that won't open.  There are many reasons this can happen.  Freezing weather is one, a misaligned door is another.  There could be electrical issues.  Corrosion could have broken apart inside the door.  The possibilities, unfortunately, are numerous.

If you can't get into your vehicle's driver's door, with any luck another door might open and you can climb into the driver's seat and head on to the repair facility.  A lot of people may be tempted to try to fix a stuck door themselves, but many wind up causing more damage to the door and have to have a trained technician step in to repair the mess.

One way to minimize the possibility of having a door stick open or closed is to make sure it gets regular maintenance.  Door locks, hinges, and latches should be lubricated at certain intervals.  Locks should be kept clean.  While many vehicles now have electronic locks, sometimes an electrical failure in the vehicle or key fob can inadvertently lock you out.  Nearly every vehicle has a mechanical key in case that happens; if you don't know how that works, have your service advisor show you how. 

Also, your technician can make sure your doors are properly aligned and aren't sagging. All of these things can help you keep your doors opening and closing the way they were designed to. Your next trip may "hinge" on your doors being in top condition.

My door quote for you.

“Every closed door isn't locked and even if it is...You just might have the key! Search within to unlock a world of possibilities!”
~ Sanjo Jendayi

CAYENNE

 

cay


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

Duke's Selecting New Tires and Wheels

duke

Some of us dogs just love tires. All those little rubber hairs on new tires and the smell is wonderful.  Hey, Duke here and we live in a great time for tires. No matter how you drive around CA, where you want to go or the look you're after; there is a tire for you and well your dogs too.  So let's get the wheels in motion and start barkin' tires and wheels!

The same is true about wheels. The hardest part is choosing from the thousands of wheels available at CA tire shops.

The team at Allied Auto Works can help you get some things in mind before you make a purchase. Let's start with function and think about how you drive.

For example, maybe you have a large SUV but you don't drive off-road around CA, so an off-road tread isn't important. Also, because you are not out bouncing over rocks in the CA backcountry, you don't need a high profile tire to protect your rims. So that means you can probably go with the low-wide look.

If you have a winter season with rain and snow or if you find you need better ice and snow performance, they make great, high-performance snow tires that won't make it look like you are driving a tractor.

There really are a lot of options for any given vehicle. Los Altos drivers will find it very helpful to have a discussion like this with their Los Altos tire pro or the tire experts at Allied Auto Works when they need new tires. You can find the best solutions for your driving needs and to make improvements in ride or handling.

Picking a wheel that is the same size as what you are now running on is important and pretty simple. But, it gets trickier if you want to upsize. Just get some help when you go bigger. All that tire and wheel still needs to fit in the available space. You do not want your tires to rub when you turn or hit a bump. Los Altos drivers also need to make sure their brakes and suspension bits will fit with their wheel of choice. It doesn't matter how great your car looks if it's not drivable.

Taller, wider wheels and tires probably weigh more than your stock shoes. And it's "unsprung" weight that has a big impact on brake performance. The upsized shoes increase rotational inertia; if you go too big you may need to upgrade your brakes to compensate.

Another possible problem is an inaccurate speedometer. This happens because the number of rotations can change with the new wheels. Fortunately, speedometers and odometers are all controlled by the engine computer; so they need to get reprogrammed at Allied Auto Works to compensate for the bigger tires.

No matter what you are after: low cost, long life, high performance, traction, or stunning good looks, your wheel, and tire professional at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, CA, can help identify your needs and give you a custom fit. With all the options available, you don't have to compromise. There is a tire out there with your name on it!

I leave you with a little wheel and tire humor,

"The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot.  The guy who invented the other three, he was a genius" ~ Sid Caesar

Duke

 

duke

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

Categories:

Tires and Wheels
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