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Cayenne's Serpentine Belt Service At Allied Auto Works In Los Altos

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Cayenne here and as your friendly educational auto dog, don't you hate it when you hear that squeal from under the hood when you're zipping down a busy Los Altos interstate? It usually means there is a problem with the serpentine belt.  

The serpentine belt powers a lot of engine accessories. It runs the alternator - which charges the battery; the water pump - which cools the engine; the air conditioning and the power steering pump. All pretty critical parts. It is called a serpentine belt because it snakes around a bunch of engine components.

Serpentine belts are amazingly tough. They can last for years and go for tens of thousands of miles. Like all essential moving parts, however, they eventually wear out. If your belt breaks while you are driving around Los Altos, everything will come to a halt within minutes. You need to stop the sedan immediately or it will overheat, potentially causing expensive engine damage. You can be sure that it won't happen at a convenient time or place. (As if there was a convenient time or place!) You might even need to get your sedan towed to Allied Auto Works. It's no wonder that manufacturers recommend a belt replacement on schedule. It's one of those "have-to's."

Los Altos motorists who hear a squeal when accelerating or a slow, slapping sound at idle, should have their serpentine belt looked at. Your service professional at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos will visually inspect your belt to see if it needs to be changed sooner than scheduled. If the belt has more than three or four cracks an inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

Serpentine belt replacement is relatively inexpensive, especially compared with the cost and inconvenience of being stranded or getting a disabled sedan back to Allied Auto Works for vital repairs.

You're mom was right: an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure, or as my mom barked, a pound of cured bones.

Visit us and me, Cayenne at:

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227

Categories:

Parts

Cayenne Times It Right WithTiming Belts

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Well it's time that we talked about Timing Belts, Cayenne here and well let's no waste any more time,

Ever heard the sad tale of a staggeringly pricey repair bill from a broken timing belt? Bad news. Let's Los Altos car owners take a lesson from their woes and remember to think about our critical timing belt.

First, let's review what a timing belt does. The top part of the engine, over the cylinders is called the cylinder head. The head contains the valves. There's at least one valve that lets the fresh air into the cylinder. This air, mixed with fuel, burns to create power. Then another valve or two open to allow the exhaust out of the engine. Each cylinder has 2 to 4 valves - that's 12 to 24 valves for a V-6, up to 32 values on a V-8. The opening and closing of the valves is done by a camshaft. The timing belt uses the rotation of the engine to drive the camshaft which opens and close the valves. It's called a timing belt because it has to be adjusted to rotate the camshaft to keep proper time with the engine so that everything's in sync.

The timing belt is a toothed rubber belt . But some cars use a timing chain or timing gears instead of a belt. Timing chains and gears are much more durable, but auto manufacturers are using belts more because they are quieter - and cheaper. If you have a small or mid-sized passenger car, crossover or mini-van, chances are you have a timing belt.

Unfortunately, timing belts fail without any warning. That shuts Los Altos motorists down right away. Your Allied Auto Works service advisor can inspect your timing belt and look for cracks and looseness. But getting to the belt to take a look can be almost as much work as changing it on some cars. That's why automakers recommend replacing the belt from time to time. For most vehicles it's from 60,000 to 90,000 miles or 95,000 to a 145,000 kilometers. If your owners' manual doesn't specify an interval ask your personal and trust Allied Auto Works service advisor.

One AutoNetTV producer has had two timing belts fail. The first was while he was waiting at a stop light - that pricey repair cost several thousand dollars. The second was while driving on the highway - that one cost more than twice as much. Both had the cars out in the shop for three weeks. His cars had what we call "interference engines", meaning that the valves and pistons are very close to each other. If the timing belt slips even one notch, the pistons will slam into the open valves. That's why our friend's highway failure was so much more expensive - his engine was traveling so fast that the valves were smashed and they chewed up the cylinder head.

A non-interference engine will just shut down if the timing belt breaks. You're stranded, but the engine doesn't suffer permanent damage. In both cases, our hapless friend was just a couple oil changes past the recommended interval for changing the timing belt. This is one of those things that Los Altos car owners just cannot put off. Now replacing a timing belt is not cheap - but repairs for a broken belt can be far more costly.

The team at Allied Auto Works recommends Los Altos motorists check their owners' manual ASAP - especially if you have more than a 60,000 miles or 95,000 kilometers. You may need to get that belt replaced right away. And on many cars, the timing belt drives the water pump. So, it may be a good idea to replace the water pump while you're at it because 90% of the work required for the new pump is already done with the belt change. Doing both at the same time saves you a lot of money because as they say, "timing's everything".

 

Well that's all the time we have today, Cayenne

Categories:

Parts

Cayenne's Fuel Saving Tip: Slow Down Around Los Altos

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There's not much we can do about the price of gas in Los Altos CA, but we do quite a bit about how much we use as we're driving on our Los Altos streets. Hi it is Cayenne again and today we are talking about Fuel Saving Tips!

Our driving habits can dramatically affect our fuel economy.

Slow Down In Los Altos for Fuel Economy The first thing we can do is watch the 'go-pedal'. Hard acceleration just sucks the gas. Gently leave stop lights and plan lane changes so you don't need to floor it. That can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Go a little slower on the freeway to Los Altos. Once you're going more than sixty-five miles an hour your fuel economy starts to drop dramatically. Leave early so you don't need to rush to be on time. And cruise control is your friend – steady speed uses less gas.

Plan errands ahead. Make fewer trips by combining errands.

Hey at current gas prices, a lead-foot might as well be a gold foot.

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227
Here's to saving at the Pump  ~ Cayenne

Categories:

Fuel System

Cayenne Is Keeping Your Engine Cool In Los Altos, CA

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Hot summer sun, got to love it but sometimes your car does not, Cayenne here and today we want it COOL.

The cooling system keeps CA drivers's engines from overheating while they are driving around Los Altos, Mt. View and Sunnyvale. Its job is to move heat away from the engine. Let's talk about the various components of the system and how they make this happen.

The radiator is the part most Los Altos car owners associate with the cooling system. Coolant flows through the radiator which has fine cooling fins that draw the heat out of the coolant and dissipate it into the air. To make sure there's enough airflow over the radiator, a fan pulls air over the cooling fins even when the sedan is idling.

In some sedans, the fan is powered by the serpentine belt. On others, an electric motor runs the fan. Electric fans turn on and off as needed. You may have heard the fan kick on shortly after you turn your sedan off. The sensor has determined that the engine needs a little help cooling down to a safe temperature.

Los Altos CA Radiator A hose connects the radiator to the water pump. The water pump pushes the water into the sedan engine block. Now the engine block and cylinder heads have passages for the coolant to pass through without getting into the oil or the combustion chamber. In the automotive community, these passages are referred to as the "water jacket".

While the coolant is passing through the water jacket, it absorbs heat from the sedan engine on its way to the radiator for cooling. Between the engine and the radiator is a gatekeeper called the thermostat. The thermostat's job is to regulate the temperature of the engine just like your home thermostat regulates the temperature in your Los Altos house. It gets your engine up to the correct operating temperature and then keeps it from overheating.

When you first start the engine, it's very cold and needs to warm up. So the thermostat blocks the flow of coolant to the radiator. As the engine warms up, the thermostat starts to let coolant flow through the system.

The final component the team at Allied Auto Works wants to point out is the overflow reservoir. This bottle is designed to hold some of the coolant. It'll have a mark that indicates whether or not you have enough coolant. This is where you should add coolant if you just need to top it off.

Caution: never open the reservoir or the radiator cap when the car's hot. The cooling system is pressurized and opening them while it's hot can cause hot coolant and steam to escape resulting in serious burns.

Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles around Los Altos, CA. At Allied Auto Works, we can do a periodic inspection of the components for harmful leaks, loose connections and weakening hoses.

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227

Your vehicle manufacturer has also specified a cooling system service interval. With a cooling system service at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, the old coolant is replaced with correct clean fluid that contains the additives required to prevent corrosion. The additives are depleted over time and you need fresh fluid for adequate protection. Your radiator pressure cap should be replaced at this service as well.

Now I know I just heard the ice cream man,  I need to go run him down and keep it COOL!

Cayenne

Categories:

Cooling System

Cayennes' Drives Easy Miles-How About You?

cay

 

Aaahhh Summer and driving easy on a beautiful day, Cayenne here and today we are driving easy  but are you?????

Have you ever noticed that your car maker has a schedule in your owner’s manual for what is called “severe service” maintenance? Let’s define what severe driving conditions aren’t: The easiest driving a vehicle experiences is traveling on the interstate for twenty miles or more at a constant rate of 65 miles per hour in 75°F weather with only passengers on board. Change any one of those parameters and you are adding stress to your engine. Change them significantly, and you are driving under severe conditions.

Let’s look at the essential parameters one a time. First, the length of the trip. Short trips around Los Altos are harder on an engine than longer ones. As your engine cools down, water in the air condenses onto the engine. When you heat the engine again, the water evaporates off. This is healthy. But on short trips, the engine doesn’t stay hot enough long enough for all of the water to evaporate so it starts to build up in the engine oil leading to sludge, which can clog up your engine and lead to serious engine damage. If most or all of your trips around Los Altos are less than four miles, you should reflect on using the severe service maintenance schedule. Changing your oil more frequently at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos will help prevent the formation of sludge.

Each sedan engine has a “power band,” or the range of RPM’s in which it runs most efficiently. Generally this power band falls in the range of CA highway speed driving. So if you’re driving around town in Los Altos all the time, your engine has to work harder. That’s why gas mileage ratings are so much better on the freeway than in the city. Again, this type of driving is considered severe and requires more frequent maintenance for your transmission, cooling system and brake fluid.

Most of us Los Altos auto owners think of severe CA weather conditions when we think of severe driving conditions. And we’re right. Cold Los Altos area weather takes its toll on the oil in your vehicle. Remember how water has to evaporate out of the oil to keep your engine healthy? It can take up to ten miles of driving for an engine to get hot enough to get rid of moisture in the oil when the weather is cold.

Hot Los Altos weather is also dangerous for sedans. When an engine runs, it gets hot. The longer it runs, the hotter it gets. If it gets too hot, it breaks down. So it has to be constantly cooled to keep running. Hot CA weather means your cooling system has to work harder to keep your engine from getting too hot.

Another critical element of severe driving is the conditions we drive through. Dusty, polluted Los Altos areas are dangerous to your filters. Dirt, dust and contaminants will also get into your fluids, and they’ll get dirty faster, so they’ll need to be changed more often as well. Finally, when you’re pulling a trailer around Los Altos, carrying heavy loads or using a car-top carrier, you are putting more stress on your engine. The engine, transmission and brakes are all working harder to handle the extra load.

So, in the end, most of us Los Altos auto owners drive under severe conditions some of the time. Smart Los Altos car owners will ask themselves the question: "Should I follow the severe service maintenance schedule?" An honest evaluation of our driving habits is the best way to determine which schedule to follow.

Here's to long hot summer days,

Cayenne

 

Cayenne & Allied Auto Works Service For Your Exhaust System

cay

Hi Cayenne here and I am just exhausted thinking about the exhaust system but it is important. So here goes!

Your sedan’s exhaust system is more than just a tailpipe and a muffler. In fact, it is one of the most complex systems on your sedan. Maintaining it is good Allied Auto Works auto advice for Los Altos drivers, but it’s also good health advice and good environmental advice.

The exhaust system includes your emissions system. Because this system may affect your health and the health of our Los Altos area environment, it is subject to strict government regulations. Satisfying these regulations demands some high-tech, computer-controlled equipment, which means that the emissions system is a lot more sophisticated than it was thirty years ago. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend that you have your sedan exhaust and emissions systems checked by a qualified technician at regular intervals.

The exhaust system starts with the exhaust manifold. Allied Auto Works Service For Your Exhaust SystemThe manifold is attached to the sedan engine. It collects exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Gaskets seal the connection of the manifold to the engine and to other joints. A cracked or loose manifold or a leaking or damaged gasket can allow dangerous gases to enter the passenger compartment of a vehicle. One of these gases is carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless and deadly. For this reason, it is critical that Los Altos drivers keep their exhaust system in good repair.

The pipes that connect the various parts of the exhaust system can rust or be damaged by rocks or other road debris. Such damage can cause dangerous gases to leak into the air. So it is essential that exhaust pipes get a diagnostic examination regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next vital component of your sedan exhaust system. It sort of looks like a muffler. Its job is to change dangerous gases into harmless carbon dioxide and water. The catalytic converter doesn’t require any regular maintenance, but it can wear out. If it fails, you will need a new catalytic converter to pass an emissions test in CA. Call Allied Auto Works at 650.968.7227 if you suspect a problem with your catalytic converter.

Oxygen sensors in the exhaust pipe monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust. This helps the sedan engine’s computer keep the fuel-to-air mixture at optimal levels.

The muffler is also part of your sedan exhaust system, but it deals with a different kind of emission. It keeps your sedan from emitting bad sounds. Mufflers act like finely tuned musical instruments. They create a feedback of sound waves to absorb or decrease the noises made by your engine. Different mufflers can create different sound waves, so you can actually “tune” your car to produce a particular sound, anything from whisper to rumble.

It is critical for damaged mufflers be replaced immediately at your Los Altos automotive service center, especially if they are leaking. Not only will the extra noise annoy your Los Altos neighbors, a leaky muffler could be serious.

The entire exhaust system is attached to your sedan by hangers and clamps. These fasteners can rust, come loose or break. The critical components of the exhaust system can get very hot, so when the hangers or clamps fail, these hot components can come into contact with other parts such as wires and hoses. These can melt, causing serious and expensive damage to your vehicle. Good car care requires that you have your exhaust system inspected regularly.

Let’s not forget the tailpipe. It’s the last vital piece in the exhaust system — and of your sedan, for that matter. Exhaust fumes exit your sedan through the tailpipe.

If your sedan has any of the following symptoms, it may have a problem with the exhaust system: it’s hard to start, it runs rough, it’s noisy, it’s smoking. Also, if your “check engine” light comes on, especially if it’s flashing, it is important to get your sedan to Allied Auto Works in Los Altos right away. Often, the “check engine” light indicates a problem with the emissions system.

Caring for your sedan exhaust system yields cosmetic benefits like quieting your engine sounds, but also may impact your health and safety. Your life, or the life of a loved one, may actually be on the line.

Well go out and get the exhaust system checked today!

 

Cayenne

Categories:

Exhaust

Cayenne Helps You Solve Suspension Problems with Allied Auto Works in Los Altos

cay

Hi Cayenne here and today it might get a little rough or bumpy because it is all about the Suspension!

A vehicle’s suspension system is tough. It can last for years and tens of thousands of miles for Los Altos car owners. But it can be damaged quickly by hitting a pothole, curb or rock, and it can wear more quickly if you frequently drive off-road or on bumpy roads. A workhorse vehicle — one that hauls heavy loads — is also going to be hard on its suspension system.

Because the useful life of your suspension system contains these elements of unpredictability, it is important for Los Altos auto owners to have them inspected periodically. Worn, broken and missing parts can be identified during an inspection. An ineffective suspension system will curtail the driver’s control over a vehicle, so when it is damaged it frequently leads to the worst kind of vehicular damage — dangerous and expensive accidents.

The suspension system is composed of springs and shock absorbers (or shocks). Springs suspend the weight of the vehicle above its axles. They allow the vehicle to “bounce” over bumps, which reduces the force of the impact on the vehicle. Shocks reduce the rebound of the “bounce,” smoothing out the ride of the vehicle. They also force the tires to retain constant contact with the road. Shocks are responsible for “handling performance,” or the ease with which the driver controls the vehicle.

The springs in the suspension system are heavy-duty and rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers are tough, too, but they will wear out.

Your sedan might be equipped with struts. Struts are a combination spring and shock absorber. Struts, like shocks, have a limited life span.

Inspecting shocks or struts for damage and wear should be part of your preventive maintenance routine. Since a good suspension system is ultimately a vital safety feature of your vehicle, it’s always better to be proactive about its care. In this case, good car care can prevent accidents.

There are some signs that will warn you that your suspension system may be in need of vital attention. One of the signs might be a cupped wear pattern on your tires. This is caused by the shocks bouncing unevenly. Other important signs of bad shocks manifest themselves in the handling performance of your vehicle. You may notice a drifting sensation when cornering, often referred to as a “floaty” feeling. If the front of your vehicle dips significantly when you brake or if it rocks back and forth after stopping, it’s time for new shocks. Your personal and trust Allied Auto Works service advisor will check your shocks visually. If they’re leaking, they need to be replaced.

Any of these symptoms warrants an inspection of the suspension system. You should also get your suspension system inspected if you are involved in an accident involving one of your wheels. Los Altos car owners should never put off suspension repairs. If you actually experience suspension system failure, it can cause a serious accident. If one of your shocks needs to be replaced, then replace all four of them. This allows for even handling of the vehicle. Replacing just one of the shocks is rarely good auto advice.

When you replace your shocks or struts, use parts that are equivalent to or better than the original shocks on the sedan. The original equipment was developed for the weight and expected use of the vehicle, and Los Altos drivers should never downgrade.

Upgrading, however, is another matter for Los Altos motorists. If your suspension system gets a workout or you just want to improve your sedan’s handling performance, then you should examine upgrading to a better shock. If you haul heavy loads around Los Altos or tow a trailer, then you should definitely reflect on getting heavy-duty shocks.

Most Los Altos car owners are not likely to show off their suspension system to anyone admiring their sedan, but it’s important just the same. In the end, it’s something all of us Los Altos drivers can be zealous about.

Now that's smooth sailing,

Cayenne

 

Categories:

Suspension

Cayenne's Budget Advice For Maintenance in Los Altos

cay

Cayenne here and today were are barking about budgeting for maintenance.

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

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

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

Edmunds.com has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Los Altos drivers can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.

These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Cupertino car owners know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your sedan will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.

Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):

Yr. 1Yr. 2  
Yr. 3 
3-Yr. Total 
Maintenance748    
225      
794     
1767 
Repairs352      
4094761237 
                           Total1,1006341,2703,004 
Monthly Average925310683 

According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more costly than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.

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

The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket. ~ Cayenne

Categories:

Maintenance

Cayenne Barks, "Is Your Los Altos Driving Severe?"

cay

 

Cayenne here and today we are getting severe with our service schedules,

People near Los Altos CA often ask Allied Auto Works how often they should have a particular service done. It's a great thing to ask. You can look at your owner's manual, or have your Los Altos CA service advisor at Allied Auto Works look up your vehicle in a service database. What you find is often a surprise to people – there are actually two service schedules.

One is the regular schedule and the other is the severe service schedule. Service intervals are shorter on the severe service schedule. When asked, most folks in Los Altos CA will say that their driving is normal and that the 'regular' schedule probably applies to them. 'Severe service' sounds pretty extreme – 'I don't drive like that'.

Well, here is what the manufacturers say constitutes severe driving conditions; you can draw your own conclusions.

  • Most of your trips are less than four miles.
  • Most of your trips are less than ten miles and outside temperatures are below freezing.
  • The engine is at low speed most of the time – not on the highway. You operate your vehicle in dusty areas.
  • You regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads.
  • Drive with a car-top carrier.
  • Stop and go driving.
  • Driving in very hot or very cold weather.

If that's severe driving, what constitutes regular driving? Well, it would look something like this: I live somewhere with moderate temperatures all year round – I'm thinking San Diego here. And I live close to a freeway on-ramp. Everywhere I need to go is right off the freeway, at least four miles from my home. I can drive at a steady 60 miles per hour when I'm on the freeway.

I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like my normal driving. It sounds more like ideal conditions. I live where it gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. I run short errands around Los Altos. Occasionally we load up for family trips.

For me, normal driving includes elements of severe service driving. So here's what I tell people: think about how you drive, where you live, where you go and what you are expecting to with your vehicle in the near future.

Picture a line with 'regular' on one end and 'severe' on the other, and make a judgment on where you fall. If your regular oil change recommendation is 5,000 miles and the severe service recommendation is 3,000 – when should you change your oil? For me, it's closer to 3,000 miles. For my wife, it's closer to 5,000 miles. Your Los Altos CA auto service advisor at Allied Auto Works will be happy to have this discussion with you and help you sort it out.

Just a quick word on why severe service intervals are shorter. One has to do with heat. That can either be external heat from the weather or engine and transmission heat from stop and go driving or working extra hard moving heavy loads or towing. The heat causes the fluids like oil and transmission fluid to break down more quickly and then they aren't as effective.

Another factor is water. Moisture naturally collects in fluids as they cool. In your motor oil, for example, if you don't drive long enough for the oil to fully heat up, the water won't evaporate. Water in the oil can lead to the buildup of damaging sludge.

If you live where the air is dusty or polluted, fluids will become contaminated and filters will get dirtier more quickly.

So make an honest evaluation of your driving conditions. You've made the commitment to take care of your vehicles, so it only makes sense to follow the right schedule.

Here is to doing it right,

Cayenne

 

Cayenne's Blind Spot Safety For Los Altos Driving

cay

Think You Are Seeing Spots, Blind Spots I Mean, Hi it is Cayenne with my weekly education blog and today it's all about blind spots!                                        

Blind spotsmay be a good thing when it comes to a spouse’s annoying habits, but when driving an automobile in Los Altos, they are definitely to be avoided. So, while it’s not good marital advice, it’s good auto advice to minimize your own blind spots and stay out of other Los Altos motorists' blind spots, especially when it comes to large, heavy vehicles like trucks and buses.

First, minimize your own blind spots. Do this before you pull out of the driveway or parking space. Adjust your rearview mirror so that you see as much of the area behind you as possible. And, no, this doesn’t include the passengers in the back seat. The rearview mirror isn’t designed to be a baby monitor.

Next, lean to the side until your head almost touches the driver’s side window. Now adjust the driver’s side mirror so that it just catches the side of the sedan. Then, lean to the middle of the car and adjust the passenger’s side mirror in the same way. These adjustments will ensure you the widest possible view behind your vehicle.

Of course, you can’t eliminate blind spots entirely. There is always an area behind any vehicle where the driver just can’t see what’s there. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. Toddlers are just the right size to hide in a pickup’s or SUV’s blind spot. The blind spot on an RV or tractor-trailer can actually hide your crossover! You should always check behind any vehicle before getting in and backing up. And if you sit in the sedan for a few minutes before backing up, it is essential to get out and check again, especially if you are pulling out of a neighborhood driveway in Los Altos. No precaution is too extreme if it saves the life of a child.

Once you have taken care of your own blind spots, be aware that other Los Altos auto owners have them, too. And avoid them. Trucks and buses have large blind spots, and they have blind spots on all four sides, so they should always be given extra room on Mt. View roads. They are also heavy, which means they need more room to stop, and their length means they need a wider area for turns, and their large size makes them less maneuverable than a car.

Trucks may cause about 60% of the accidents involving a truck and a car, but 78% of fatalities in such accidents are with the smaller vehicle. The number of fatalities in CA, as well as the number of crashes, could be cut significantly if Los Altos drivers learned to properly share CA roads with trucks.

Never follow a truck too closely. If you can’t see the driver’s face in his side mirror, then he can’t see you. If you need to pass a truck, it is vital to make sure you give yourself enough time to pass the rig. Wait for the right opportunity rather than “cutting it close.” On a two-lane CA highway, it’s always a good idea to wait for a passing zone if they are available. A little patience could save your life or the lives of others. Turn on your turn signal so the truck knows what you’re planning, and pass on the left whenever possible. Remember those blind spots? They are much larger on the right side of a truck.

Once you’ve committed to passing the truck, don’t muck about. Pass it quickly and give yourself plenty of room to move back over. It is critical to wait until you can see both headlights in your rearview mirror before pulling back in front of the truck. Once again, use your sedan turn signals. After you pull in front of the truck, decelerate to the regulated driving speed slowly. Remember that the truck has a long stopping distance, which translates into a long slowing distance. And, since trucks are so big, we often perceive them as traveling more slowly than they really are. Trucks are a lot of weight moving at a high speed, and we need to treat them accordingly.

Never pull to the right of a truck at an intersection unless you are absolutely certain it is not going to turn. Check if its turn signals are on or if it has angled to the left or right. (Trucks often begin a right turn by angling to the left to widen their turning area.) Trucks need a lot of room on city streets, and they probably can’t see you if you pull along their right side. Too many cars have ended up in Los Altos body shops because the motorists thought they could beat that truck to the right turn, or they only noticed the seemingly open lane, and not the truck angling into a turn.

While learning to share Los Altos area roads and highways with trucks and other large vehicles may not seem like preventive auto maintenance, it does, in fact, go hand-in-hand with good Los Altos car care. Keeping your sedan out of the body shop can save you big bucks and prevent the stress of a major accident, along with the injuries that could come with it.

Cayenne and the team at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos urges you to stay safe, and stay on the road!

I will see you next time,

Cayenne

 

Categories:

Safety
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