Los Altos Auto Repair

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

 

cay

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



Los Altos drivers may have an alignment problem if their car drifts or pulls to one side, the steering wheel's off center, they notice uneven tire wear or the car doesn't feel like it handles right as they drive down Los Altos, CA, streets and roads.

When all of a vehicle's wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Running into potholes, smacking a curb or other objects around Los Altos are great ways to knock a car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels start pulling in a slightly different direction, and the problems begin.

The team at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos wants you to know that driving for an extended time when your car is out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. Sometimes the tire can be worn so badly that it will fail.

At the very least, those who drive with wheels out of alignment will have to replace their tires sooner. You could end up with premature wear to your suspension system, which can be expensive. The front wheel alignment is adjustable on all vehicles, and the back wheels are also adjustable on some cars.

Now, let's discuss some alignment basics. Wheels are adjustable for toe, caster, and camber. The ideal alignment for your car was designed by its engineers.

So, what is involved in an alignment check at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos? First, there's an inspection of the steering and suspension to see if anything is bent or broken. Tire condition will also be evaluated.  Next, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack, and we take an initial alignment reading.

If all four wheels are adjustable, they are lined up perfectly parallel with the vehicle's centerline. If the back wheels aren't adjustable, the direction they push is determined, and the front wheels are aligned to match.

Like most things, vehicle manufacturers have recommended a mileage interval to check alignment. But if you run into a curb, pothole, or something else that's given you a big jolt, pay attention to whether your vehicle is pulling to one side when you drive around the Los Altos area. It's better for vehicle owners to have their alignment checked before waiting to see if there is uneven tire tread wear; by then, the damage is done.

Getting your alignment checked at Allied Auto Works when necessary is a great way to extend the life of your tires and suspension parts. It also ensures that your tire meets the road properly for maximum performance and safety in CA.

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

"Ever driven a car with no steering wheel?

It's pretty straight forward."
 
Cayenne

 

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

Categories:

Alignment

Duke's Guide to Vehicle Diagnosis

duke

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

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

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

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

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

Give us a call and tell them Duke sent ya.

Here is my diagnosis joke of the day for laughs,

I've just been diagnosed with Sausagephobia...

...I fear the Wurst.

DUKE



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

Categories:

Diagnostics

Cayenne's Automotive Tips : Signs of an Alignment Problem

cay

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

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

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

Give us a call.

I leave you with this positive thought for the day,

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

Cayenne



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

 

Categories:

Alignment

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

duke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I leave you with my tire joke of the day,

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

Duke

 

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

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

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

cay

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


When I was a kid, my dad always made sure he took the cars in for Spring and Fall checkups. I was telling a friend that it's about time to get into Allied Auto Works for a checkup and he said that he read on the internet that modern cars don't need seasonal service.

My friend is (technically) right about some things, but from a practical standpoint, a seasonal check-up still makes sense.

Back when my dad was teaching me about how to take care of the family vehicle, most of them used a different weight of oil in the winter and in the summer. But most of today's modern engines run the same oil year round. High-tech engines and high-tech motor oils are better able to handle the seasonal changes.

Your owner's manual or Los Altos service advisor at Allied Auto Works can tell you the right oil to use.

Of course, you're concerned about the coolant or antifreeze. You don't want to overheat in the CA summer or freeze up in the winter. Your engine cooling system protects against both of these things. And modern coolant  'antifreeze' as it's sometimes called — is up to doing both very well. It's designed to last for longer distances than most people drive in a year or two.

So how does a Spring and Fall check-up fit in? Let's start with Spring. Summer is coming. That means heat, more driving, and road trips. It just makes sense to check your fluid levels and do a visual inspection to see that everything is up to snuff.

You may not be scheduled to drain and replace the coolant for some time, but you need to make sure you have enough coolant and that you don't have any leaks or hoses that are about to fail.

That's pretty practical: a check-up to see if there are any problems or emerging conditions that could later become a problem, like a cracked belt.

And the same principle applies for getting ready for winter. Cold weather means lots of failed batteries. It takes more power to crank up a cold engine, and cold also decreases the available cranking power the battery has available.

So a battery test in the Fall could tell you if you've got a battery that is running on its last legs. And of course, if you live where winter temperatures get below 45 degrees F (7 degrees C) or you have ice and snow, you'll want to consider changing to winter tires.

So Spring and Fall auto checkups at Allied Auto Works are practical reminders to get ready for the demands of the hot and cold seasons to come.

And odds are that you have one or more routine services that are due anyway. Like a transmission service, brake or power steering fluid, differential service stuff like that. Are your wiper blades still good? Are your headlamps starting to dim?

So Spring and Fall, change your clocks, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and get a check-up for your cars.

See, dad was right again (Cayenne too)

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

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

Cayenne

cay

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

Categories:

Maintenance

Duke's Daily Grind (Grinding Noise)

duke

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

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

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

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

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

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

Duke

 

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

Cayenne Is Wired! (Battery Cable Service)

cay

Hi it's your crazy hound dog Cayenne and you know sometimes I get that burst of energy in me like I am WIRED or you get it when you have your cup of JOE but how about your car?  Well, it needs to be WIRED with its Battery Cables.  So today we are going to a jolt out of Battery Cable Service.

Colder weather brings out the worst in a vehicle's battery.  On a very cold day, you may have experienced that your engine cranks slowly when starting.  But while it may be the battery itself, it may also be the parts that transfer the power to other the other electrical components, the battery cables.  After all, you have to have some way to get the current out of the battery and out to where it needs to go.

Battery cables have a couple of enemies: corrosion and age.  You may have looked under the hood and noticed a light-colored powder or crust around the terminals.  That's what happens when acids corrode the ends of the battery terminals.  Corrosion inhibits the connection and may reduce the amount of power getting to the electrical accessories to the point where they are not working correctly, if at all.

Here are some symptoms of problems with your battery cables. You might notice a clicking sound when you turn the key, some of your vehicle's electrical parts (like the sound system or the horn) don't work or, in some cases, the vehicle won't start at all.

When you take your vehicle to a repair facility, the technician will use instruments to check voltages to see how much current is getting to what location. That includes a starter draw test during which the battery's voltage is checked when the starter is cranked.  The technician will also visually inspect the cables and the charging system. To make sure the alternator is putting out the right voltage, the technician will measure that as well. 

If the problem is found to be the battery cable assembly, the entire set may have to be replaced. Sometimes they can be repaired. 

During the colder months, it's vital that your vehicle has the proper power going to its electrical components.  Having a vehicle that won't start or run smoothly is not something you want to battle with when you're already up against challenging weather.  Keep your electrons flowing… and your vehicle moving.

I leave you with my joke of the day 

"What kind of car does an electrician drive?

A Volts-wagon"

Cayenne

 

cay


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

Categories:

Battery

Duke's Automotive Tips: Diagnostic Service

duke

Hi Duke here and imagine waking up one morning with a stomach ache. 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 for a laugh I leave with this:

"Chocolate is good for fighting flu-like symptoms, right?" ~Keith Wynn

Dr. Duke

 



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

Categories:

Exhaust

Cayenne's Tips: Giving Your Car Another Couple of Years of Life

cay

It's your favorite hound dog Cayenne.  As the price of used cars has skyrocketed and the availability of new cars has been lean, a lot of people are holding to their tried and true older cars.  Well, I here today to bark to you how to get a few more good years out of your good friend and make them last as long as possible.  So let's get on the road and start barkin'!

A while back, the Cash for Clunkers program was all over the CA news. Los Altos people could trade in their old vehicle for a new one that got better gas mileage and receive a government rebate.

A lot of Los Alto's motorists had so-called clunkers that they wanted to keep. They're good commuters, grocery getters or toy haulers. They enjoy the fact that they're paid off, or soon will be. They would gladly like to keep their vehicles for 200,000 miles (320,000 kilometers) or more – as long as it's economical to do so.

There are plenty of Los Altos drivers whose vehicles are running after 150,000 or 200,000 miles (240,000 or 320,000 kilometers). We can learn from what they're doing to keep our own vehicles on the road in CA.

The Los Altos drivers of high-mileage cars often report a common denominator of never skipping an oil change.

That may sound a bit unsophisticated, but it's really not. First, oil is the lifeblood of your engine's engine and needs to be clean to properly lubricate. Skipping oil changes leads to clogged oil filters and sludge that is bad for your engine.

Another reason the scheduled oil change is so vital for Los Altos car owners. It's simple – an Allied Auto Works professional is going to be looking at your car. Your fluid levels will be inspected and topped off so they won't get so low that damage can be done. If there is a significant fluid loss, let's use brake fluid as an example, your Allied Auto Works technician can look for the cause of the loss and find the problem before it leads to an accident or repair.

Your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works service advisor will also visually inspect your vehicle for worn belts and hoses, uneven tire wear, leaking shock absorbers and more. Problems get addressed before they lead to repairs that cost more than the car's worth.

Realistically, things are going to wear out as your vehicle gets older. On the way to 200,000 miles (320,000 kilometers), you'll go through several batteries, probably a couple of alternators and water pumps, a set of shocks and likely some brake rotors.

Of course, these things cost some money, but they are less than new vehicle payments in Los Altos. With proper service at Allied Auto Works and regular inspections, you'll keep surprise repairs to a minimum and more money in your wallet.

I leave you with this,

"Why is it a penny for your thoughts but you have to put your two cents in? Somebody's making a penny." ~Steven Wright

Cayenne

 

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

Categories:

Maintenance

Cayenne Says It's Time for Differential Service at Allied Auto Works

cay

What time is it?  Cayenne here and for me it's always food or sleep time but your vehicle it could differential service time right here at Allied Auto Works.  So why you go check to see the last time you had that differential service we are going to bark about right now before we run out of time.  So let's get barkin'!

Hello Los Altos - let's talk differentials. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, your differential is on the back axle. With front-wheel-drive cars, the differential is upfront. All-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles have three differentials - front, rear and in the middle. So you see, you've got a differential (or two or three) and it needs service now and then.

What does your vehicle differential do? Well, it compensates for the differences in speed between your outer and inner wheels in a turn. Using the dimensions of a typical car, let's compare the distance the wheels travel from the start of a turn through to the completion of the turn.

The inside wheel travels about 12.6 feet/3.8 meters. How much farther does the outside wheel travel? About 18.8 feet/5.7 meters – over 6 feet/1.9 meters more. This means the outer tire has to rotate 9 times in the same amount of time that the inner tire has to rotate only 6 times - so the outer tire has to spin faster in order to keep up. The differential makes this possible.

The gears in the differential are cooled and lubricated by differential fluid. It's this fluid that needs to be serviced. Small bits of the gears break off and are suspended in the differential fluid. The dirtier the fluid, the faster the gears wear.

So your Allied Auto Works technician drains the old fluid out and replaces it with fresh fluid. Some differentials also need a special additive that is put in at this time.

So when should you have your vehicle differential serviced? Intervals vary from vehicle to vehicle – and may be as short as 15,000 miles/24,000 km – so check your vehicle owner's manual or ask us at Allied Auto Works. If you frequently drive with heavy loads, tow a trailer or drive in hot CA conditions, you may need to change differential fluid more often. Servicing your differential on schedule at Allied Auto Works can save a pricey replacement down the road.

I am going to leave you with my positive quote for the day:  

"Believe in your best, think your best, study your best, have a goal for your best, never be satisfied with less than your best, try your best-and in the long run, things will work out for the best."
~Henry Ford

Cayenne

 



Give us a call.

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

Categories:

Drive Train
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