Los Altos Auto Repair

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Cayenne's Viva La Difference: Differential Service at Allied Auto Works

cay

"Viva La Difference!" Cayenne here, and what does that mean.......long live the difference and in our case today, long live the differential service here at Allied Auto Works.  Let's get barkin'.

Every vehicle on CA roads has a differential, and it is important to the proper operation of the vehicle.  But most Los Altos residents don't have a clue what it is.

The differential compensates for differing wheel speeds. For example, when you turn, the inside tire on the turn travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel. So the inside wheel of the vehicle must move at a slower speed than the outside wheel. Without a differential, the wheels would hop and scrape while turning.

Have you ever seen the large bulge in the middle of the rear axle of a truck? That's the differential. In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located on the back axle. Four-wheel drive vehicles and SUVs have differentials on both the front and the rear axle.

You might expect that the differential is located on the front axle of a front-wheel drive vehicle. You'd be right. But the differential is called a transaxle on a front-wheel drive vehicle because its location allows it to be combined with the transmission.

In an all-wheel drive vehicle, an additional differential or transfer case is located between the front and rear axles. Differentials are strong: They have to be because of the job they do. But those tough parts need proper lubrication. You don't want your differential to seize up. That results in damage to your vehicle.

So you need to have your vehicle differential serviced regularly. It's not a complicated job. At Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, we've been servicing differentials for years. The used lubricating fluid is simply drained and then replaced. Some vehicles require specific additives in the differential fluid; your Los Altos service center will ensure you are getting what your vehicle needs.

The intervals in time or mileage for servicing your differential vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. Check with your owner's manual or Allied Auto Works service advisor to find out how often your vehicle differential needs to be serviced.

......and remember Viva La Difference and experience the difference at Allied Auto Works,

Cayenne

cay



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

Duke's Guide to Proper Fluids for Your Vehicle

 

duke

Hey it's the Duke and today we are going to flow into fluids the proper way.  It's all about the proper fluids for your vehicle so grab your favorite fluid and sit back while we flow into today's subject.

The automotive professionals at Allied Auto Works would like to give Los Altos drivers an update on some of the things happening in automotive fluids. You know, vehicles are becoming more sophisticated every day.  Fluids such as, oil, coolant and transmission fluid are becoming more specialized at about the same pace.

The Los Altos do-it-yourselfer has to be pretty careful so that they do not actually harm their vehicle with the wrong type of fluid. That is why so many CA ] owners rely on the advice of their friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works service advisor to not only get the correct family of fluids, but to suggest the formulation that is best for their vehicle and their driving habits in the Los Altos area.

Let's start with engine oil. Los Altos drivers who have been paying attention will have noticed a number of new oil weights on the CA scene in the last several years. Modern engines are built to much tighter tolerances and have very complicated valve trains. The oil must be thin enough to lubricate complicated parts when the engine is cold. The weight of an oil is expressed in terms like 20-W-50 or 5-W-30. The vehicle manufacturers recommend the weight of oil for each vehicle they make. The recommendation is based on engine design. Your Los Altos service center will know what weight your vehicle manufacturer recommends - and it's important to follow those recommendations. Your service advisor at Allied Auto Works can also offer suggestions for special formulations and can tell you all about conventional and synthetic oils.

Antifreeze, or engine coolant, is another area that has become more complicated. For a long time, vehicle manufacturers only recommended a couple of different types of coolant. Now, several different formulations are needed because of the high-tech materials that vehicle manufacturers are using to build the cooling system. Using the wrong type of coolant in your vehicle can actually void your warranty, so it's important to get that right.

Transmission fluid is becoming specialized for Los Altos vehicles as well. New transmission designs have particular requirements that require specific formulations. Recently, new, somewhat confusing, standards for brake fluid have also been released.

Not too long ago, there was a good chance that all of the vehicles at your house would use many of the same fluids. However, as automotive technology advances, the array of basic automotive fluids CA drivers need will grow. And, some of the formulations will cost a little more for Los Altos drivers. Fortunately, Allied Auto Works will continue to update their training to keep pace with technology so that you'll get the right fluids your vehicle needs. It's all part of the commitment we make to your driving peace of mind.

 

Here is my joke of the day:

Man addicted to drinking brake fluid...

claims he can stop any time he wants.

Bonus

I was gonna tell a time travelling joke but you guys didn't like it.

 

DUKE

 

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

Categories:

Fluids

Cayenne's Advice On A Non-Starter (Alternator Problems in Cold Weather)

cay

Cayenne here, and 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.  So today, we will bark all about alternator problems you might encounter as the weather gets colder.....brrrrr.

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 and 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.

 

What kind of car does an electrician drive? A Volts-wagon.”

Cayenne

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

Categories:

Alternator

Duke's Drive Train Service in Los Altos at Allied Auto Works

duke

Hello, Duke here, and today we are all going to get on board and take the train......Drive Train Service, that is.  So let's get on the right track and start barkin' all about Drive Train Service at Allied Auto Works.

The drive train in your vehicle includes all the components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. Those components differ depending on what type of vehicle you drive: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive. The preventive maintenance your driveshaft needs will also differ by what type of vehicle you drive.

Let's start with front-wheel drive. In this vehicle, the transmission and the differential are combined in one component, the transaxle. The transaxle is connected to two half-shafts (axles), which are then connected to the wheels with a constant velocity (or CV) joint, protected by an airtight rubber boot.

Allied Auto Works' service for this type of driveline includes servicing the transaxle and inspecting the CV boot. If the boot is damaged, the CV joint will need to be inspected, and the boot will need to be replaced. If you hear a clicking noise in your wheel wells when you turn, you may have a damaged CV joint. A damaged CV joint should be replaced.

Rear-wheel drive vehicles generally have a transmission in the front of the car and a differential in the back. A driveshaft (it looks like a long tube) connects the transmission to the differential. Some vehicles may have a two-piece driveshaft connected to the differential with universal joints or U-joints. Again, the differential is connected to two half-shafts that go out to the wheels.

Allied Auto Works service on the drive train on a rear-wheel drive vehicle starts with servicing the differential. It will need its fluid drained and replaced regularly. The seals on the axles should also be inspected for wear or leaks. Leaking or damaged seals may mean the axle needs to be serviced. Also, U-joints can wear out. If you hear clunking or feel a jolt when you shift into drive or into reverse, it could indicate a driveline problem.

All-wheel drive vehicles provide power from the transmission to all wheels, instead of just to the front or rear. The advantage is that the vehicle can adapt to different driving conditions and transfer more power to the front or back wheels as needed. The disadvantages are that the driveline is more complicated, and the vehicle weighs slightly more.

Many all-wheel drive vehicles are based on a front-wheel drive setup. They also have a differential in the rear and one in the center of the vehicle, allowing power to transfer to the front and rear. A shaft runs from the transfer case to the center differential, and another from the center differential to the rear differential.

An all-wheel drive at Allied Auto Works involves servicing ALL of the differentials and inspecting the joints and seals for wear, leaks, or damage.

Four-wheel drive vehicles are rear-wheel drive vehicles that have the option to transfer power to the front wheels. In other words, they can be either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. These vehicles are specifically designed for the harsh driving conditions Los Altos drivers encounter off-road. The driveline in a four-wheel drive vehicle is similar to that of an all-wheel drive vehicle. The center differential, however, is a transfer case. Maintenance requires servicing the differentials and the transfer case and an inspection of the joints and seals.

Los Altos auto owners would be wise to check with their owner's manual for recommendations on how often to service their vehicle drive train. It's also good auto advice to check with your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works service advisor. You may live in an area in CA where weather or driving conditions require more frequent servicing of the drive train.

Good car care at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos always includes taking care of your driveline. Without it, your vehicle becomes a very large paperweight.

Duke



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

Categories:

Drive Train

Cayenne's Automotive Tips from Allied Auto Works: Serpentine Belt Tensioner

cay

Hi, Cayenne here, and today I have some tips for you regarding your Serpentine Belt Tensioner, so let's buckle up and bark into this subject now.

The serpentine belt tensioner applies pressure to the serpentine belt, maintaining optimal tension to drive the accessories like the alternator and A/C compressor. At Allied Auto Works, we know that the service life of the belt tensioner is the same as the belt itself, so they should always be replaced together. A worn tensioner prevents the accessories from spinning properly, leading to premature wear and noise for Los Altos drivers.

Your vehicle manufacturer has a recommended mileage interval for serpentine belt replacement. A complete accessory drive system service replaces the serpentine belt, the belt tensioner, and any idler pulleys your car might have. Your friendly and professional Allied Auto Works service advisor can inspect your system and let you know if it’s time for a replacement.

Give us a call today and tell them Cayenne sent you.

I leave you with my belt joke of the day,

"What do you call a belt made of $100 bills?   A waist of money"

Cayenne



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

 

Categories:

Serpentine Belt

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's Alert "When Your Air Bag Light Comes On (Illuminated Air Bag Light)"

duke

Hey Duke here and there are some dashboard lights you should pay more attention to than others.  One is the airbag light.  If it's on and your vehicle is in an accident, your airbags probably won't do their job.  So today we will bark about the importance of the AIRBAG Light, it will save your life.  So let's get barkin" on this important subject!

Automakers began installing airbags in the late 1990s since they were mandatory in the United States, and manufacturers have included them in Canadian vehicles as well.  Safety experts say using a seat belt with an airbag gives passengers the best chance of surviving a crash and minimizing serious injury.

The airbag warning light takes a few different forms.  Some look like a picture of a belted passenger with an inflated airbag from a side view.  Or there may be a warning light that says something like "Air Bag," "SRS" (for supplemental restraint system), "Airbag Deactivated" or "Air Bag Off."

Different things cause the airbag light to come on.  Your vehicle may have been in an accident during which, while the airbags didn't inflate, crash sensors were activated.  Some of them may be connected to your vehicle's seat belts.  A technician can reset the airbag if this has happened.

Fuses can also blow, which will cause the airbag light to come on.  Another possible cause? A sensor that tells the vehicle's computer whether or not there is someone riding in the passenger front seat may be malfunctioning. 

Airbags are not for the do-it-yourselfer.  They are sophisticated systems that require specialized training and equipment to diagnose and repair.  If an airbag light is on, take it to a qualified service repair facility.  One more thing: remember that safety experts have designed airbags to work in conjunction with seat belts for maximum protection in accidents.  So always wear your seat belt.  

.....and remember, Safety never takes a day off

Duke

 

 

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

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
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