Los Altos Auto Repair

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Duke's Byte Stuff (Your Vehicle's Computers)

duke

Duke here and do I love to take a bite out of a nice juicy steak but today we are going to take a BYTE from our vehicle's computer.  So let's get barkin'!

Nobody has to tell you that computers are a part of so many things in our lives.  Smartphones, kitchen appliances, vacuum cleaners, televisions.  You name it—it has a computer in it.  And your vehicle is no exception.

The earliest cars relied on the technology of their time, and there was no such thing as a computer.  But now, it's not unusual for a vehicle to have as many as 150 computers in it.

They perform a variety of functions. An important one is diagnosing your vehicle's problems.  There are various sensors throughout modern vehicles that measure thousands of data points.  When something is not working correctly, they send a signal to another computer that stores that information. The data can be read by someone who has a special computer that plugs into a port in your car.  It displays certain codes that help technicians track down the culprit. 

But it's not just the diagnostics that are computerized.  Everything from your vehicle's fuel injection to anti-lock brakes is.  Convenience features such as power windows, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a wi-fi-hot spot, streaming video and navigation are all sophisticated computers.  Then there are the safety features; airbags, traction control, automatic emergency braking and a host of others are all dependent on computers.

It is important that those computers work correctly because they interface with many of the other computers on board.  To properly diagnose problems with those computers requires training and special equipment. Your service facility has invested considerable resources into both, and they are equipped to properly evaluate and repair and/or replace malfunctioning components. 

Some lament the days when backyard mechanics could pull out their tools and do their own repairs.  Those days are fast disappearing with the computerization of vehicles.  But look at the bright side.  Your vehicle does so much more, has so many more features and travels far more safely than those past generations drove.  And they're bound to get better and more sophisticated down the road.

 

My thought for the day, "When my computer overheats, why does it freeze?"  Hmmmm Byte for thought

Duke

duke

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

Cayenne Follows the Bouncing Vehicle (Bad Struts and Shocks)

cay

I love to chase bouncing balls but bouncing vehicles; not so much fun!  Cayenne here and today we will bounce around a little bit and talk about bad struts and shocks ruining your smooth ride down the road.  So let's get barkin'!

If you hit a bump in the road and your vehicle just keeps bouncing up and down for a lot longer time than it used to, you may have bad struts and shocks.  They're the things that help to keep your vehicle's wheels and tires planted to the road surface.

But they don't last forever.  With care and depending on where and how you drive, shocks and struts should be replaced at intervals ranging from 50,000 miles/80,000 km to 100,000 miles/160,000 km.  If you drive on bumpy roads with a lot of potholes, that interval will likely be shorter. Rough surfaces can take their toll.

But how do you know if your shocks and struts are doing their job properly? The best way is to have your vehicle checked by a technician.  He or she can inspect the shock absorbers and struts for leaks, corrosion and damage.  Mounts and bushings can also go bad and they should be evaluated as well.  A thorough examination by a technician will also include looking at other suspension parts. Some may contribute to making your vehicle behave the same way if they're broken, corroded, worn or bent.     

If you need new shocks and struts, your service advisor will make sure that you get those that meet the manufacturer's specifications.  That's important because they want to make sure you're getting the handling and performance engineers designed your vehicle to have.

Now throw me a ball so I can catch the bouncing ball,

Cayenne

 

cay

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

Categories:

Shocks & Struts

Duke Gets You Ready For Fall and Spring Inspection at Allied Auto Works

duke

 

Hey it Duke and I know it's just the start of Winter but before you know it Spring will be right around the corner and Fall blows in.  So today I am getting you prepared for Fall and Spring Inspections so you know what today once those beautiful spring blooms well, start blooming and you want to take a beautiful drive.  I know taking a drive is what we dogs love!  So, let's get barkin" on Fall and Spring Inspections!

Good vehicle care for us Los Altos residents has always meant taking our vehicles in every spring and fall for a check-up. Vehicles needed routine maintenance to prepare them for the changes in weather. Today's vehicles aren't quite as sensitive to seasonal changes. Older vehicles required different weights of oil for summer and winter. But today's engines can run on the same oil all year. Both the engines and the oils have been improved.

Antifreeze—or coolant as it's also called—protects the engine from both freezing and hot temperatures and thus is required by the engine year-round. Modern coolants don't have to be changed as often as they did in the past, but your owner's manual has a recommendation for when it should be replaced to extend cooling system life.

Getting a spring and fall checkup at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos for your vehicle is still good auto advice.

First of all, there is a lot of preventive auto maintenance involved in properly caring for a vehicle. Dropping your vehicle off twice a year at Allied Auto Works for a quick inspection and routine maintenance is still part of good vehicle care. The changes in the CA seasons can provide a good reminder that it's time to get the vehicle serviced, just as they remind us that it's time to take care of the furnace or air conditioner, purchase school clothes or bathing suits, drag out or put away the coats and boots.

There are other advantages to spring and fall maintenance for Los Altos residents. Springtime signals the advent of warmer weather. Although modern coolant is designed to last longer than one season, it's a good idea to check it regularly to ensure you have enough. While you're at it, your vehicle should also be checked for leaks and worn hoses in the cooling system.

Summer is the time when most of us Los Altos residents take vacations or go on road trips. So a spring check-up for our vehicles can lead to a stress-free summer and better memories on the road.

Fall, of course, signals the advent of colder weather in the Los Altos area. This is a good time for a routine battery check. The hot weather of summer takes a toll on battery life – then comes winter. Cranking up a cold engine takes a lot more battery power than starting a warm one. So before that cold weather hits, it's a good idea to check your battery and replace it if necessary. But your tires aren't completely adapted to changing weather conditions. If you live where temperatures drop below 45°F (7°C) in the winter, or if your commute frequently takes you through snow or ice, you may want to consider changing to winter tires in the fall.

A fall check-up at Allied Auto Works, just like a spring check-up, can keep you on the road no matter what CA weather brings. Consider how much a worry-free summer vacation and a less stressful Los Altos winter commute are worth to you. Then, spring and fall, reset your clocks, change the batteries in your smoke detectors and take your vehicle in for a check-up.

 

"A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye."  ~ author unknown

Duke

 

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

Categories:

Maintenance

Cayenne Is Not Getting Good Vibe (Driveshaft Failure)

cay

Good morning on this chilly California day, Cayenne here and you know one of my favorite songs is "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys on the car radio but Bad Vibrations is another matter especially if it is coming from your car.  So yes, you guessed it, I will be barking about those vibrations you might be getting from your and what does it all mean.  Let get shakin' into this subject.

When you feel your vehicle vibrating as you're driving down the road, one cause could be something you may not have ever seen: your driveshaft.  It is underneath the vehicle and most drivers don't climb under there to take a look very often.  The driveshaft is a cylindrical part that helps conduct the rotational power from your engine to your drive wheels.  If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you may have two driveshafts. 

The drive shaft has bushings, and when they wear out, that's a likely source of the vibrations.  When the bushings are in good condition, they prevent the driveshaft from vibrating.  And if you don't get your vehicle repaired fairly soon after discovering vibrations, they'll continue to get worse and cause other components of the drivetrain to wear out.

The driveshaft is, of course, only one part of the drivetrain.  It includes other parts such as axles, transmission, differentials and joints.  They all work together and need to be maintained properly.  When a driveshaft fails, there can be symptoms other than vibrations.  They include difficulty turning, rattles, clunks and squeaks coming from underneath your vehicle. You may even feel a shudder when you accelerate from a stop.

Driveshafts can fail when they get corroded or damaged by rough roads, curbs and debris. A trained technician with experience working on drivetrains uses specialized equipment that doesn't further damage the drivetrain's other parts.  Sometimes the entire driveshaft will have to be replaced; sometimes the problems can be fixed by replacing individual components. 

Your vehicle's drivetrain was engineered to propel you smoothly down the road.  When time and distance begin to take their toll, have your vehicle looked at by your service facility. They'll know how to properly pinpoint what's causing your problems and restore your vehicle to the reliable, smooth, safe machine its designers worked hard to create.

Gotta keep those lovin' good vibrations a-happenin'

Cayenne

cay

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

Categories:

Drive Train

Duke's Recommendations For Service Intervals at Allied Auto Works

duke

Hi, Duke here most people in the South Bay area are aware that automotive manufacturers have recommended service intervals. Following recommended service intervals is very important. The engineers that design our vehicles have tested the various systems and components to meet durability and safety standards. Some of these standards are self-imposed and others, like those for emissions components, are government mandated for areas in CA.  So today I will bark at you my recommendations for service intervals for your vehicle.  Let's get barkin'!


The maintenance schedules are designed to achieve the standards. Think of the benefits of the following recommended intervals as falling into three general categories: Protection, Efficiency and Safety.

Protection. Let's start with motor oil. First of all, the engineers recommend a particular weight and type of motor oil for your vehicle. All of their oil change recommendations assume using the proper motor oil. Motor oil contains detergents and other additives that clean the engine and provide corrosion resistance. Over time, the additives are depleted. The oil also becomes contaminated by water, dirt and combustion gases.

Extending your interval beyond the recommendation means that your vehicle engine will be operating without the full protection of fresh motor oil. It also means that sludge can form in contaminated oil and clog up passages in the engine, starving parts from needed lubrication.

Efficiency. Some services are designed to keep automotive systems operating efficiently. For example, the fuel system gets clogged up with gum and varnish from the fuel. Fuel doesn't flow efficiently which reduces fuel economy. A fuel system cleaning restores the fuel system's efficiency and increases your gas mileage.

Safety. Your brakes are a component of one of the most important safety systems on your vehicle. The manufacturer has scheduled brake pad replacement as well as power brake fluid drain and replacement intervals. Because brakes are so important, a brake inspection is also on the schedule to head off problems before they result in an accident.

Check your owner's manual for recommended service schedules or talk with your Los Altos service advisor at Allied Auto Works by calling 650.968.7227.

You may be surprised to learn that various inspections may be on your list of factory recommendations for your vehicle. These inspections are usually at major intervals like 15,000 or 30,000 miles/24,000 or 48,000 km. They're designed to uncover important parts that may be close to failing.

Your vehicle owner's manual can tell you when to change your oil, but it can't tell you that you have a radiator hose that's bulging and about to burst. For that you need a trained auto technician. These scheduled inspections are in addition to the multi-point inspections done with a full-service oil change.

 

My quote of the day, "Behind every successful dog is a substantial amount of dog BONES, or COFFEE if you are a human."  ~Duke

duke

 

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

Cayenne Upgrades Shocks for Better Handling

cay

 

Hi Cayenne here and many Los Altos drivers probably don't think of their shock absorbers as an important safety system; but that's just what shocks and struts are. They're all about ride control – keeping your vehicle tires in contact with the road and managing body motion.


Every time you hit a bump or pothole on a Los Altos road, your tire wants to bounce up. The bigger the bump, the higher the bounce. Your shocks or struts push down on the tire to maintain the traction you need to start, stop and turn.

If you've ever ridden in a vehicle with bad shocks, you know how it wallows on corners. The front end dives when you hit the brakes and the rear end squats when you accelerate. It's not only uncomfortable, it is difficult to handle.

You may have heard vehicles described as having “flat cornering." That means that when you take a corner, the body doesn't roll very much. When shocks start to get worn, your vehicle will roll more on corners. The weight of your vehicle's body shifts and tosses your vehicle to the outside of the turn, making it harder to control.

With good shocks, you can turn corners with confidence. When the shocks are bad, the body rolls too much and you need to slow down to maintain the same level of control. When you have to combine brake dive with body roll, you can quickly end up with an unsafe handling situation.

Shocks can break or start to leak, but they usually just wear out. After all, your vehicle shocks will move up and down over 75 million times in 50,000 miles/80,000 km. If you replace shocks at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, it will restore your vehicle's original ride control and quality. You can even upgrade shocks and struts if you want better handling or towing capacity on CA roads.

Shocks are an important safety system: don't wait until they are completely shot, perhaps risking your safety or damaging other suspension components. At Allied Auto Works we can help you with quality shocks and struts as advised in your owner's manual, usually at around 50,000 miles/80,000 km, for a comfortable, safe handling ride in Los Altos.

Give Allied Auto Works a call and tell them Cayenne sent you.

Cayenne

cay

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

Categories:

Shocks & Struts

Duke Wonders "Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?"

duke

Hey, it's the Duke and did you ever wonder if today's modern vehicles are maintenance-free with all the latest technology they have, they practically take care of themselves.    Do they?????  Let's get barkin'! 

In our auto video today we'll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that "modern vehicles are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance-free."

Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Los Altos Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn't so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.

Here are some examples for our friends in Los Altos.

  • Some vehicles in Los Altos no longer require chassis lubrication. They're made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There's literally no way to grease those joints.

-Chalk one up for the myth.

On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts are up in the valve train that didn't even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.

  • So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.

-A point to maintenance.

  • Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.

-Myth gets a point.

  • Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.

-Point for maintenance.

I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they've always been.

So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Los Altos if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there'll always be a checklist. Your friendly and professional service advisor at Allied Auto Works can answer any questions you have about your vehicle's maintenance schedule.

 

My quote of the day "The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining." ~ John F. Kennedy

Duke

duke

 

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


 

Categories:

Maintenance

Cayenne Maintains Your Diesel in Los Altos

cay

Happy Thanksgiving!  Cayenne here and there is just a few more days before Turkey Day,  one of my favorite holidays.  Today though we are going to bark about maintenance for your Diesel.  Diesel?  I do not have one of those, well soon they will be more common on our road with the passenger vehicle.  So with turkey, mash potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, let's get barkin' on Diesel Maintenance.

Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven't been as common in the Los Altos area because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more Los Altos diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV's.

Diesels are popular in CA because they get better fuel economy than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you're not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.

Diesels don't produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in CA as for other vehicles.

Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from cellulosic waste like wood chips and sawdust. In CA, we may soon see bio-diesel produced from algae. These fuel sources will lessen Los Altos drivers' dependence on fossil fuels and may even become truly renewable and sustainable.

Diesel-powered vehicles also perform as well as other passenger vehicles. Most people don't notice a difference in driving one or the other. If you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer around CA, however, the diesel is a definite improvement.

So, you may be asking, if diesels are so great, why don't all Los Altos people drive them? Surely there are disadvantages you haven't told me about. That's true. Diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, and they cost more in CA. The better fuel economy of the diesel engine is partially offset by the higher purchase price.

Because of higher fuel prices, diesel engines used to be more expensive to drive in Los Altos. But now, with higher volatility in the prices of both gasoline and diesel fuel in CA, that cost difference is less definitive. Whether a diesel or gas engine is more expensive for CA drivers depends now on the current price of fuel and how far you drive.

Consider also that diesel-powered vehicles have a high resale value in the Los Altos area, and the costs of owning and operating a diesel vs. a gas-powered vehicle in CA becomes a real toss-up.

Preventive auto maintenance for diesel vehicles has also become similar to that of gas-fueled vehicles in recent years. The major difference is that diesels require cleaner fuel, air, and oil, so their filters are more expensive than those for gasoline engines. The engine air filter must be changed more frequently as well.

The costs for car care and repairs in Los Altos are similar. You may be thinking, wait:  You just told me that filters are more and have to be changed more regularly. True, but that is offset by the fact that diesel engines have a much longer lifetime than gasoline engines. So if you are the type of owner who prefers to hang on to a vehicle for a long time, you will be more than rewarded with a diesel engine.

So if you have been looking for Los Altos auto advice on whether to switch to a diesel vehicle or stay with a gas-powered one, then we hope this helps. The answer as to which type of vehicle is better is that it depends on the driver and their driving habits. Now that you know the facts, you can make an informed choice based on your own priorities and needs.

My words of wisdom today "There is no ELEVATOR to success.  You have TO TAKE the stairs."  ~ Zig Ziglar

Cayenne

 

cay

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

Categories:

Fuel System

Duke's Fuel Saving Tip: Check Engine Light

duke

Hey Duke here and here's a question for you : How long have you been enjoying the romantic glow of your Check Engine light? 

Hey, it's not there to create ambiance; it's a warning that something's wrong. (And, by the way, Homer Simpson's fix of covering it with tape is not a good idea.)

Many conditions that trigger the Check Engine light can hurt your vehicle. A lot.

If your date's eyes are smoldering in the soft glow of the Check Engine light, try to think of all the gas money you'll save by getting it fixed. Give Allied Auto Works a call when you are ready and tell them Duke sent ya.

Duke  duke

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

Cayenne Gets The Right Tires and Wheels in Los Altos

cay

Good day, Cayenne here and I love wheels and tires. They make the car rides happen and sometimes we want to look good going down that road as our furry head and floppy hound dog ears catch the wind.  Nothing like having some new rim and tires on that vehicle.  So today we will spin our way and learn a little more on this subject.  Let's get barkin'!

A lot of people get custom wheels in Los Altos. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you're not careful. Sometimes, once they're mounted, they just don't fit right. The tires rub in turns or on bumps. You don't want that.

Consulting your Allied Auto Works tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First, he'll ask you a series of questions about your Los Altos driving needs and what you want in your new wheels. Now, not every wheel can go on every car. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside so the tires rub.

If you don't want to make any modifications to your vehicle, you would need to focus on the wheels that would fit. With trucks, some people in Los Altos like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.

Also, most Los Altos drivers don't realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your vehicle's anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.

The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn't know what changes you made so it can't tell how fast you're going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong speed. If you go with a different rolling diameter, your vehicle engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.

Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from in CA. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works tire professional about how big the wheel should be – and how to select the right tire for your vehicle. Your Allied Auto Works service advisor will help you find the best tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs in Los Altos.

My words of wisdom today  "All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them."  ~ Walt Disney

Cayenne  cay

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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