Posted on 12/12/2013
Nice to see you again,
Today I am going to school you on Headlights!
Like everything on the Los Altos automotive market, there have been great strides in headlight technology in recent years. CA car owners can be safer at night because of it. Good headlights improve visibility on Los Altos interstates, enabling you to see farther. They also improve your peripheral vision, helping you to see the sides more clearly. The more you can see, the quicker you can react to road conditions. This is vital because nearly half of traffic fatalities take place at night. And as Los Altos's population ages, everything that helps older eyes is welcome.
Most new sedans sold in Los Altos come with halogen headlamps. A decade ago, halogens were exotic and expensive. Now that they are standard equipment, the price has come way down. Many luxury cars are equipped with high intensity discharge, or HID, headlamps. You have probably seen them on Los Altos highways, they're very bright and have a bluish tint.
From behind the wheel, there is no doubt that HID headlamps are the best thing going. However, many Los Altos auto owners complain about HID lights in oncoming traffic or when they approach from behind. In fact, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called for public comment, they received a record number of complaints about HIDs. This has lead to several studies - your tax dollars at work. Some expect future regulation of HID lamps.
All halogen headlamps dim over time. Experts recommend that they be changed out once a year. AutoNetTV suggests you replace your headlamps in the fall at the end of Daylight Savings Time. It's easy to remember - when you change your clock, change your headlamps. Remember to replace all headlamps at the same time - then all your lights will be equally bright. You will appreciate it during those long CA winter nights.
If you have an older sedan with old-school headlamps, you might be able to get a halogen replacement. You'll be amazed at the difference this upgrade will make.
In addition to regular halogen lamps, you can upgrade to premium lamps that filter some of the yellow light, making a bright white light that's more like natural sunlight. This light's easier on the eyes and should improve reaction time.
Now, you may be able to step up to HID headlamps, depending on the kind of car you drive. These lamps should last the life of your car, but cost several hundred dollars a pair. If you want other Los Altos motorists to think you're running HID lamps, you can even buy regular halogens that have a bluish tint. Does she or doesn't she? Only her Allied Auto Works service specialist knows for sure.
Over time, plastic headlight covers can get cloudy or yellowed. In fact, AAA reports that nine out of ten headlights are dirty or yellowed, greatly reducing vision. In addition to helping you replace your headlamps, many service centers such as Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, CA can restore headlight covers. Headlights can be restored at a fraction of the cost of replacing.
Well I hope you learned alot and how important those headlights are. I will be seeing you soon,
Posted on 12/4/2013
Yes it's me again, Cayenne and this week bumps and bounces, that means shocks and struts.
If you're like most of us in Los Altos, you want your car to handle well. That's the job of your suspension system.
There are different types of suspension systems, but they all work on the same basic principles. First, there are the springs, which bear the weight of the car. The most common springs are coil or leaf - although we see air springs and torsion bars more often. The springs do most of the work.
Visit our Los Altos locations for an inspection of your suspension.
Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road & 1540 Miramonte Ave.
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.947.7228 - Miramonte
But if all you had were springs, your vehicle would be bouncing around like a bobble head. That's where the shocks come in. They control the rebound of the springs and smooth out the up and down motions. They also keep the tires on the road, and you in control. Some sedans use struts. Struts are a combination of shocks and springs, together in a more compact system.
Shocks wear out slowly over time, so it's hard to notice when they get badly worn. One way to tell is to look for an uneven, cupping wear on your tires. If the shock or strut is leaking fluid, it needs to be replaced. If your car feels floaty in turns or if the front end dips a lot when you stop, it is time to get your shocks checked. Your owners' manual will tell you when your shocks should be changed - it's usually between 15,000 and 30,000 miles or 24,000 and 50,000 kilometers .
When you replace a shock, be sure to replace all four. Then your car will have an even suspension and will handle much better. Talk with your service advisor either Matt or Travis at Allied Auto Works about how you drive. No, not your traffic violations, but how often you carry heavy loads, tow a trailer or drive in rough terrain. If you do a bunch of that, you'll need a heavy duty shock.
Regular shocks use hydraulic fluid and air as their dampening system. Premium quality shocks and struts use compressed nitrogen gas instead of air. Gas shocks don't get air bubbles that affect the performance of regular shocks. If you do a lot of high performance driving, off-roading or just want added comfort and control, think about getting premium gas shocks or struts.
Replacing your struts may take your car out of alignment, so be sure to get an alignment at the same time. So, to smooth out the bumps on the road of life, change your shocks and struts when they need it.
Remember us Dogs love smooth rides!
Posted on 11/27/2013
Hello Cayenne here again, today we are going to talk tires and wheels,
Some of us just love tires. All those little rubber hairs on new tires and the smell is wonderful and dogs love to chew on them too. We live in a great time for tires. No matter how you drive, where you want to go or the look you're after; there is a tire for you or your dog.
The same is true about wheels. The hardest part is choosing from the thousands of wheels available.
I may not be able to help with that, but I can help you get some things in mind before you consult with your Los Altos tire professional. Let's start with function and think about how you drive.
For example, maybe you have a large SUV but you don't drive off-road, so an off-road tread isn't important. Also, because you are not out bouncing over rocks in the CA backcountry, you don't need a high profile tire to protect your rims. So that means you can probably go with the low-wide look.
If you have a winter season with rain and snow or if you find you need better ice and snow performance, they make great, high-performance snow tires that won't make it look like you are driving a tractor.
There really are a lot of options for any given vehicle. You will find it very helpful to have a discussion like this with your Los Altos tire pro when you need new tires. You can find the best solutions for your driving needs and to make improvements in ride or handling.
Picking a wheel that is the same size as what you are now running is pretty simple. But, it gets trickier if you want to upsize. Just get some help when you go bigger. All that tire and wheel still needs to fit in the available space. You do not want your tires to rub when you turn or hit a bump. You also need to make sure your brakes and suspension bits will fit with your wheel of choice. It doesn't matter how great your car looks if it's not drivable.
Taller, wider wheels and tires probably weigh more than your stock shoes. And it's "unsprung" weight - that has a big impact on brake performance. The upsized shoes increase rotational inertia - if you go too big you may need to upgrade your brakes to compensate.
Another possible problem is an inaccurate speedometer. This happens because the number of rotations can change with the new wheels. Fortunately, speedometers and odometers are all controlled by the engine computer; so it is simple to get it reprogrammed and compensate for the bigger tires.
No matter what you are after: low cost, long life, high performance, traction or stunning good looks, your wheel and tire professional at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, CA can help you identify your needs and give you a custom fit. With all the options available, you don't have to compromise. There is a tire out there with your name on it! Dog gonit!
Til Next Week,
Posted on 11/21/2013
Hi Cayenne here and this time we are going to learn about Suspension Systems. Suspension systems function effectively for many years and tens of thousands of miles. Eventually, however, sedan suspension components do wear out, but how long that takes depends a lot on how you drive around Los Altos and Sunnyvale looking for the dog park or the new organic kibble that just came out for us dogs. Anyhow.....
As you can imagine, if most of your driving is on smooth CA highways, your shock absorbers will last a lot longer than if you do most of your driving on bumpy Los Altos roads or haul heavy loads. In addition to just wearing out, sedan suspension components can be damaged in an accident or by a hard impact – like a pothole, hitting a curb or a rock in the road. Because the life span of shocks can vary so widely, sedan manufacturers recommend periodic inspections.
During an inspection at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, your personal and trust automotive service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts. These guys are great as a dog on the know.
Here's a quick rundown of suspension system components:
First there are the springs which hold the weight of your sedan. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are obviously heavy duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort.
You’ve probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your sedan dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you've stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it’s definitely time to replace them at Allied Auto Works.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit Allied Auto Works for a suspension inspection. Same if you’ve been in an accident that involved one of your wheels. If your sedan suspension actually fails, it could lead to a serious accident, so don't put it off.
When you replace your shocks, it’s usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. That’ll give you more even handling. Talk with your Allied Auto Works technician because you don’t want a big difference between the performance of your shocks from wheel to wheel, and replacing all may be the safest bet.
There are different grades of shocks and struts. You always want to use a replacement shock or strut that equals the one that came as original equipment when your sedan was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of Sunnyvale people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.
For example, if you want increased handling performance, your personal and trust Allied Auto Works advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut specially designed for improved handling. If you haul heavy loads or trailers, we can recommend some heavy duty shock absorbers.
Well hope you learn alot this time and I look forward to our next visit,
Posted on 11/14/2013
Hello it's Cayenne again and today we're going to talk about power steering service in Los Altos. If you took an informal poll around Los Altos you'd probably find that most have never heard of power steering service. That's not surprising. Even though power steering is standard on every vehicle, most people in Los Altos aren't aware that it needs periodic service.
If you're younger than a certain age, you've probably never driven a car or truck without power steering. To get an idea of the difference; if you've ever cut a bone with a hand saw, you know it's a lot of work. Using a power saw is easy-peasy by comparison.
Without power steering, your arms have to do all the work to steer the wheels, and that's hard, especially around downtown Los Altos. That's why old cars had such big steering wheels; to get enough leverage to steer.
Most vehicles in Los Altos have a hydraulic power steering system. The serpentine belt from the engine powers a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid. This actuates a hydraulic cylinder that provides power to help steer.
Some vehicles in Los Altos use an electric pump to pressurize the fluid rather than a belt driven pump. We're also seeing vehicles with electric motors providing the power assist, not using power steering fluid at all. We'll see a lot more electric systems as more hybrids and electric vehicles hit the market.
At least for now, the vast majority of power steering systems use power steering fluid that needs to be serviced. The fluid needs to be changed for a couple of reasons. For one, it attracts moisture. Water has different hydraulic qualities than power steering fluid, and that makes a difference in steering performance. Water is also corrosive and can damage power steering components. The fluid also just gets dirty and needs to be changed. Removing the old fluid and flushing out the system gets rid of dirt and deposits. The clean, fresh fluid lubricates and provides better corrosion protection.
So ask your Los Altos service advisor at Allied Auto Works or check your owner's manual to see when power steering service is recommended. It'll extend the life of your power steering components. Tell them Cayenne sent you!
See you next time,
Posted on 11/6/2013
When winter approaches in Los Altos CA, we break out the dog sweaters, coats, boots and mittens. We want to be ready for winter conditions. Your vehicle needs to be ready for winter as well. The last thing you want is to get stranded out in the cold. You need your vehicle to be safe and reliable. It's a good idea to get caught up on any neglected maintenance items anytime - but the stakes are higher in the winter.
There are some specific things that we need to do in Los Altos CA to have our vehicle ready for winter. The most obvious is having the antifreeze checked. If the antifreeze level is too low, it can't properly protect your engine, radiator and hoses from freezing. If your car does not seem to be making enough heat to keep you warm, your antifreeze level may be low or you could have a thermostat problem. Get it checked out. If you are due for a cooling system service, now is a perfect time to have it done.
In the cold months around Los Altos we always worry about being able to stop in time when it's slick out. The first thing to remember is to slow down and allow yourself plenty of room to stop. Of course, you want your brakes to be working properly. A thorough brake inspection will reveal if the pads or any other parts need replacing. Check with your service consultant to see if it is time to replace your brake fluid. It accumulates water over time which really messes with your stopping power.
It is a really good idea to have your battery tested. A battery's cranking power really drops with the temperature. If your battery is weak in the fall, it may not be up to winter. There is nothing like a dead battery in a snow storm.
Which leads us to an emergency kit. You should always have a blanket or something to keep you and your passengers warm and extra dog biscuits if you and your dog get stranded. If you will be venturing away from civilization, pack more items such as food and water to help you survive and and extra dog leash. Keeping at least half a tank of gas is a good precaution if you get stuck and need to run the car to keep warm and it will help keep your gas lines from freezing up.
Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road & 1540 Miramonte Ave
Los Altos, CA 94024
Winter in Los Altos CA always makes us think of our windshield wiper blades - usually during that first storm when they aren't working right. That's why it's a really good idea to replace your blades in the fall before the winter storms. If you live where there's a lot of snow and ice, you might want a special winter blade that resists freezing up. And be sure to have enough windshield washer fluid.
The final thing to consider is your tires. Any tire can lose pressure over time - up to one pound every six or eight weeks. For every 10 degrees the temperature drops you lose another pound of pressure. So if it was 80 degrees outside when you checked your tire pressure two months ago and now it's 40 degrees out, you could be down 5 pounds of pressure. That's enough to be a real safety issue and it wastes gas too. You may need special winter tires as well. Your tire professional can help you find the right tire design for your expected road conditions.
If you're getting winter tires, it is always best to put them on all four wheels. If you are only getting two, have them put on the rear - even if you have a front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle.
This is a very important safety measure recommended by tire manufacturers. Sliding or fish-tailing on ice and snow is a matter of not having enough traction at the rear end. That is why your newest tires should always be on the rear.
Well that is all for now, so gear and get ready for winter and tell Allied Auto Works, Cayenne sent you!
Posted on 10/29/2013
Hi from Cayenne and Allied Auto Works,
If you aren’t currently using synthetic motor oil in your Los Altos vehicle, maybe now’s the time to consider it. Need more information? Well, synthetic motor oil is a substitute for petroleum based oil says Cayenne.
Cayenne knows synthetic oil doesn’t gel or gum-up like petroleum based oil and it doesn’t vaporize as easily. "It protects better in severe driving conditions like stop and go driving around Los Altos, as well as in very hot or very cold conditions. More and more new vehicles are being delivered with full synthetic motor oil; with the recommendation to use synthetic for the life of the vehicle." says Cayenne.
Why is this asks Cayenne? Synthetic motor oil maximizes engine power and fuel economy. To see why; we’d need a microscope, so we’ll have to settle for using our imaginations.
The molecules of conventional motor oil are long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, has uniform, round molecules. Which is more slippery, a pile of pencils or a pile of marbles? How about bones? Hmmm I'll have to look into that says Cayenne.
Synthetic motor oil lubricates better because there’s less friction. That means better wear protection, cooler operating temperatures, more power and better fuel economy. And synthetic oil doesn’t sludge up like conventional oil, so it prevents those small oil passages from clogging up.
Some manufacturers are extending oil change intervals. The added protection of synthetic oil covers you for these longer intervals. Talk with your service advisor about how you drive and see if he thinks you can benefit from synthetic oil. Also ask about the appropriate oil change interval for synthetic, because it may very well be longer than for conventional oil.
Most of us here in Los Altos have a busy life taking care of us dogs and might occasionally miss an oil change; go ahead admit it. Since we’re not perfect, doesn’t it make sense to use a motor oil that’s got your back?
Now synthetic oil costs more. But it lasts longer, protects better and increases fuel economy. You’ll likely save money in the long run. If you’re serious about making your car last longer, start using synthetic motor oil right away.
Give us a call at 650.968.7227 to schedule an oil change, or visit us at our Allied Auto Works website and tell them Cayenne sent you.
Till next time,
Posted on 10/22/2013
Having trouble with your fuel system? Bring your sedan into Allied Auto Works for a check up. Tell them Cayenne sent you.
2073 Grant Road or 1540 Miramonte Ave
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227 (Grant) & 650.947.7227 (Miramonte)
In today's Allied Auto Works auto post from Cayenne, she is talking about fuel system cleaning. The first thing to know is how important it is to have a clean fuel system. Los Altos car owners need fuel to go, and the cleaner the fuel system, the more efficiently the fuel will burn. That means more power and better fuel economy.
A clean fuel system saves money at the pump. Cayenne says, it all starts and ends at the pump. One of the most important things Mt. View car owners can do to keep their sedan fuel system clean is to buy good quality gas. Major brands have detergents that keep gum and varnish from rapidly building up in the fuel system.
So buying cheaper gas in Los Altos can actually cost more in the long run. Cayenne knows most cars on CA highways are more than five or six years old. That means they've had time for some dirt and rust to start accumulating in the fuel tank. This junk needs to be filtered out of the fuel before it hits your sedan engine. That's the fuel filter's job.
When the fuel filter is clogged, the dirty fuel will bypass the filter and go on up to the engine where it can clog fuel injectors and get into the cylinders. That could do some damage. So Cupertino auto owners should have their fuel filter changed when recommended. Check your owner's manual or ask your personal and trusted Allied Auto Works technician if your fuel filter is due for replacement.
The fuel then goes up into the throttle body. This is another area where varnish and gum can accumulate. A professional fuel system cleaning at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos will use a combination of special cleaning chemicals and old fashioned swabbing to clean out the throttle body. Now, the fuel injectors are the last stop in the fuel delivery system.
Cayenne wants you keep those fuel injectors clean. The fuel injectors need to deliver a precise amount of fuel, at exactly the right time, in a particular spray pattern. They just can't do that if they're dirty. Dirty fuel injectors really rob power and hurt gas mileage.
It is important for the fuel system proper, but there are a couple other things that will help keep your sedan engine clean as well. Of course, air is mixed with the fuel before it's burned. Dirty air means dirt gets into your engine, so you need to replace your engine air filter when it's dirty.
The PCV value routes unburned fuel that escapes into the lower engine back up into the intake system to be burned. A sticky PCV valve needs to be replaced at Allied Auto Works to make sure that system is working properly and the breather filter needs to be replaced if it's dirty as well.
Do all these things and your sedan engine's air and fuel will be as clean as possible. You'll get much better fuel economy and better power.
Till next week,
Posted on 10/18/2013
Since driving requirements and lifestyles differ among Los Altos motorists, sedan manufacturers publish two auto maintenance schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. Which schedule should you follow?
Here are some questions to ask yourself: Says Cayenne.
Are most of your trips less than four miles? Getting dog biscuits and such.
Are most of your trips less than 10 miles in below-zero CA temps?
Are most of your trips off-highway? Yes full freedom for us dogs to run.
Do you drive often in dusty areas?
Do you regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads around Los Altos?
Do you drive in very hot or very cold CA weather?
Cayenne wants you to think about your typical week. Do you live by your nearest Los Altos freeway on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute to Los Altos or Cupertino? Or, do you drive the neighborhood car pool or to your local pet store in stop-and-go traffic on surface streets?
Take a look at your owner's manaual says Cayenne and suppose your owner’s manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is 3,000 miles and the standard recommendation is 5,000 miles. You know that you need to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. Analyze your driving patterns and Los Altos weather and road conditions to determine which end of the spectrum you’re closer to.
Why should Los Altos auto owners care about this? Normal condensation causes moisture accumulation in the engine oil. Short trips around Los Altos or winter driving means that the engine doesn’t heat up enough for the moisture to evaporate. The water in the oil turns to oil sludge that clogs up your engine and doesn’t let the oil protect it adequately. That’s why CA drivers need to change their oil more often – to clean the sludge out before it causes problems.
Carrying heavy loads like dog kibble (with or without a trailer) in nice CA summer weather causes your engine and transmission to run at higher temperatures and with more stress. The fluids will break down more quickly. Additives that clean and prevent corrosion will be depleted sooner. Air pollution and dust cause fluids to get dirty faster. Ditto for filters. All of these things can lead to premature wear and eventual repairs, not to mention your gas mileage. If you want some expert advice,Cayenne suggests you talk with your personal and trusted Allied Auto Works advisor. We can help you restore your sedan to good working order and help you know the best schedule to follow.
To learn more, watch our informative AutoNetTV auto video tips at the top of this post. Thanks again for checking in with me.
Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024
Posted on 10/15/2013
With the recent focus in Mt. View on improving fuel economy, Cayenne's knows how important it is to maintain our tire pressure.
Los Altos auto owners know that tires wear out, but Cayenne's wants to make them last as long as possible because they're not cheap to replace and she does not want you going into her bone money jar. In addition to saving gas, properly inflated tires last longer. Under-inflated tires will wear out more quickly, Cayenne says they could make a good chew toy.
Some Mt. View auto owners wonder if they should add a few extra pounds of pressure when they fill up their tires. Cayenne barks "Bad idea!" In fact, there are very good reasons not to over-inflate your tires. For one, the middle of the tread will wear unevenly because the full tread is not contacting the road properly. That also adversely affects your handling.
Stop by Allied Auto Works to see about tire maintenance for your Los Altos, CA vehicle Cayenne advises.
Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road and 1540 Miramonte Ave.
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227 or 650.947.7228
Every vehicle in the Mt. View area has a sticker on the driver's side door jamb that tells you the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure. This recommendation is an integral part of the vehicle's suspension tuning. A lot of engineering actually goes into the recommended tire pressure, so it's important for Mt. View auto owners to follow it.
What else do Los Altos car owners need to know about tire maintenance? Tire rotation and balancing are very important. Let's start with rotation. Because the front tires handle the brunt of turning forces, the shoulders of the front tires wear more quickly than the rear tires. Cayenne says rotate the tires so that they all get to do some duty on the front and they'll all wear evenly over their life.
For most vehicles, front tires are rotated to the rear and vice versa. Others recommend a cross rotational pattern. Some vehicles use an asymmetrical tire so those tires need to stay on either the right or left side – it'll say which on the tire. Some high performance cars have asymmetrical tires and different sizes on the front and rear. These can't be rotated at all. Your owner's manual will have details for your car. Cayenne says make sure you check that manual.
How often should Los Altos drivers rotate their tires? Your owner's manual will have a recommendation. "My personal and trusted Allied Auto Works tech at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos can do a visual inspection to let you know if it looks like it should be done. The interval is typically around 5,000 miles." barks Cayenne.
Cayenne barks, "You know, some Los Altos people don't think new tires need to be balanced. What they aren't taking into account is the wheel. Between the wheel and the tire – even a new tire – there's enough variation to require balancing."
When you add the valve stem and tire pressure monitoring sensors required on new cars, balancing is definitely in order. When a tire's out of balance, it's actually hopping down the road. You'll feel the vibration through the steering wheel if a front tire's out of balance and through your seat if it's a rear tire.
Proper wheel balance promotes tire life and increases safet y says Cayenne. Historically, lead weights have been attached to the wheel to bring it into balance. Lead gives some environmental concern, so steel weights are starting to be substituted.
Also Cayenne mentions, always use the same size tire on an axle. Different size tires on the front or on the back can lead to some real handling problems. And tire manufacturers recommend that when you get two new tires, they be installed on the rear because that's where you need the most traction to avoid spinning-out. Drive safely and have a great day!
See you next week!