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Duke and Cayenne’s Automotive Corner

"Welcome to Duke and Cayenne’s Automotive Education Blog. Each week, Duke and Cayenne open their book of knowledge to bark with you. Check back often to see how they can teach an old dog new tricks. Never stop learning!"

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Articles:

Cayenne's Battery Basics For Los Altos

Los Altos Battery Service

cay

Good Afternoon, Cayenne here and today we are leanring the basics of batteries.

It's important for Los Altos drivers to know battery basics. First, let’s talk about which is harder on a battery – hot or cold CA weather. Most Los Altos drivers think it’s cold weather because that’s when we call on our batteries to have enough power to start a cold sedan engine.

However, heat does more damage to a battery than cold. Truth is, our batteries start to die a little from day one. Keeping a full charge slows the process, which is hard with short Los Altos trips because the alternator doesn’t have time to fully recharge the battery from starting the engine. Los Altos drivers can top off the charge with a computer controlled battery charger – say, once a month in the CA summer and every three months during the winter.

As far as how long a battery will last, statistics show that 70% have given up the ghost within four years. By that time, they aren’t capable of taking a full charge like they used to, and your sedan alternator has to work overtime to keep up. This causes your alternator to wear out early.

If you’re pushing 4 to 5 years on your battery, see your personal and trust Allied Auto Works tech for a battery test to see if it’s recommended to replace it. Not only can you avoid getting stranded with a dead battery, but you’ll save unnecessary wear and tear on your sedan alternator.

Give us a call

Allied Auto Works
650.968.7227 or 650.947.7228
2073 Grant Road & 1540 Miramonte Ave.

Los Altos, CA 94024


See you soon!

Cayenne 

Categories:

Battery

Cayenne's Fuel Injection Basics For Los Altos

cay

Happy Holidays, Cayenne here and today we will be discussing fuel injection systems.      All modern Los Altos vehicles come with fuel injection systems, so it’s a topic Los Altos motorists need to know something about. The mighty fuel injector is a valve that delivers the gas or diesel fuel to the right place, in the right amount, at the right time; to be mixed with air and burned in the engine.

So how many fuel injectors does your car have? There’s one for each cylinder. So four, six or eight for most folks in Los Altos, CA. Some vehicles have 10 or 12 cylinders. The engine control computer makes adjustments to the fuel injector as it monitors the engine and other sensors. Fuel injectors are a pretty high-tech.

Allied Auto Works can help Los Altos motorists with a fuel injector cleaning service. What’s the benefit? In order to work right, the fuel injectors have to deliver the fuel at a precise pressure at a very precise time. It's important that the fuel is sprayed in a particular pattern as determined by the engine design.

Over time, varnish can start to build up in the fuel injectors, effecting the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel charge. The result is that the fuel doesn’t get burned as efficiently as it could. That robs performance and hurts fuel efficiency.

What about dirty fuel – how does that affect the fuel injectors? The fuel injectors are the last stop in the fuel system. It starts at the fuel tank. Frankly, the best way to keep your fuel injectors working well is to use high quality fuel. It's tempting to shop for bargains in  Los Altos with fuel prices as high as they are, but major brands in the Los Altos, CA area have better detergents and additives and deliver consistent quality.

What about a good fuel filter? The fuel filter is a vital component of the fuel system. Its job is to filter out the dirt and rust that collect in the fuel tank. If it’s clogged up, the dirt will bypass the filter and head upstream to the fuel injectors.

It’s vital to replace the fuel filter when your automobile manufacturer recommends it. That’s part of a comprehensive fuel system cleaning.

There are different kinds of fuel injection systems. Port fuel injection systems, the kind most gasoline engines have, operate at 60 pounds per square inch. The injectors for the new gas direct injection engines Los Altos drivers are starting to see require 10 to 30 times as much pressure. And some diesel engines for passenger vehicles have injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch. There’s no room for dirt and gum in a precision part like that.

There are a lot of good products available in Los Altos, CA that can clean fuel injectors. They’re best used by Los Altos car owners to prevent fouling in the fuel injectors. Many can’t clean a seriously gummed up injector – that requires a professional deep cleaning, like those we offer at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos. But putting the cleaner in the fuel tank after you’ve had Allied Auto Works take a look at your fuel system will help keep it clean. Be sure to read the label for directions.

Give us a call if you think your sedan may be ready for a fuel injector cleaning.

Managers: Matt Ahern & Travis Damberger
Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road & 1540 Miramonte Ave
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227 (Grant- Matt) 650.947.7228 (Miramonte-Travis)

Have a joyous holiday,  Cayenne

 

Categories:

Fuel System

Cayenne's Advice On Why Wheel Balancing and Tire Rotation Save You Money On Tires

cay

Cayenne here again and Los Altos car owners want their tires to last as long as possible. Two ways to extend tire life are wheel balancing and tire rotation.

When wheels are out of balance, they wobble and vibrate. That makes the tires wear in a cupping pattern. If a front wheel is out of balance you’ll feel it in the steering wheel. If it’s a rear wheel you’ll feel it through your seat. To fix this, your tech at Allied Auto Works puts weights on your wheels to balance them out.

That brings us to tire rotation. The front tires on a sedan wear out faster than the rear tires. As they push through turns from Los Altos to Mt. View, the shoulders of the front tires wear down. So rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate over the life of the tire.

Proper tire inflation will also help Los Altos folks' tires last longer. Under-inflated tires wear more on the shoulder and may even overheat. This could cause tire damage or a blow out. Over-inflated tires wear too fast in the middle.

Four wheel drive trucks and SUV’s tend to wear their tires more unevenly so rotation is even more important with them. Give Allied Auto Works a call to get our recommendation for your sedan.

See your owner’s manual or ask your service specialist at Allied Auto Works for your recommended tire rotation schedule. It’s usually every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

Tires are pricey and they are one of the most critical safety components on your vehicle. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road & 1540 Miramonte Ave
Los Altos, CA 94024
650.968.7227 (Grant)  650.947.7227 (Miramonte)

Have a great week,

Cayenne

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Cayenne's Wheel Balancing at Allied Auto Works

cay

Hi Cayenne here and today we are talking balance. So you love your job, your dog, and your family life is great. Congratulations! You have achieved balance. But can you say the same for your wheels? Los Altos auto owners can tell if their tires are out of balance by vibrations at higher speeds on CA highways. If one of the front tires is out, you feel the vibration in the steering wheel. If it's a back tire, you'll feel the vibration in your seat.

Tires and wheels are pretty heavy. When a tire is mounted on a wheel at Allied Auto Works, it is usually not perfectly balanced. So the service professional will spin the tire on a machine to determine where it's too heavy. He will then place weights on the wheels in strategic locations to balance it out. When a tire is out of balance, it actually bounces down the road instead of rolling smoothly. Since the average size tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 MPH, it is actually slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That's where you get your vibration.

Most Los Altos drivers are surprised at how smoothly their car rides after balancing all four wheels.

Most high-quality tires sold in Los Altos hold their balance pretty well for auto owners. They just get out of balance gradually with normal wear and tear. If you suddenly feel a vibration, it is probably because you lost a wheel balancing weight along the way. Definitely get a balance at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos if you feel a vibration, change your rims or have a flat repaired. Putting off a needed balance job leads to excessive and harmful tire wear, wear to your shocks, struts, steering and suspension parts. Wheel balancing not only improves your ride and handling, but also can save you some costly repair bills and possibly an accident. Additionally, you will get better gas mileage.

Some Los Altos motorists have their tires balanced at every rotation. Others do it every other time. Check your owners' manual for your requirements, or ask your personal and trust Allied Auto Works service professional. Doing this will put you on the path to mechanical wheel balance.

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Cayenne Asks, What Is A Differential And Do You Have One?

cay

Hello Cayenne here and with front-wheel drive being so common these days in Los Altos, CA, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Los Altos motorists don't even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don't need to be serviced for years, so it's understandable that it's not something on the top of mind for our Los Altos customers. So it's not uncommon for drivers to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.

Call Allied Auto Works in Los Altos at 650.968.7227 or 650.947.7228 for information about differential service, or stop by our Los Altos, CA auto center at 2073 Grant Road 94024 or 1540 Miramonte Ave.

To better understand what a differential does, think about our local Los Altos high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That's to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It's a very important function for us Los Altos auto owners. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars in the Los Altos, CA area weigh between three and six thousand pounds – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That's a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those critical parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool.

The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that breakdown over time. So auto makers recommend intervals for replacing your differential fluid.

Your personal and trust Allied Auto Works service professional will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. Then he'll replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Your Allied Auto Works service advisor can look up the auto maker's recommended service interval or you can check your owner's manual. Give us a call at 650.968.7227 or 650. 947.7228 for more information about your differential service.

Until next week, this Cayenne

Categories:

Drive Train

Following Service Intervals at Allied Auto Works with Cayenne

cay

Cayenne knows there are a lot of things in life that Los Altos residents have to do on a regular basis. We wash dishes every day, do our laundry, give our dogs a bath and mow our lawns every week, and pay the bills every month. We should go to our Los Altos dentist twice a year and see our doctor for a check-up once a year. When we don’t stay on schedule with these routines, it can lead to embarrassing, painful or expensive consequences.

Scheduled maintenance is also part of good car care. Los Altos drivers should take their sedans in regularly for a good check-up. But many Los Altos folks struggle to remember, or actually even ignore, this auto advice. When it comes to our cars, we’re more likely to listen to “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” than “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yet it is the second adage that is the more applicable one.

Regular brushing treatments prevent cavities. Filling a cavity prevents a more painful and more expensive root canal. In the same way, replacing coolant/antifreeze, for example, vehicle can prevent cooling system leaks. Repairing leaks can prevent engine failure. So why do we procrastinate?

One reason might be that “ignorance is bliss.” We can see dirty dishes on the counter and how long our grass is getting; we can smell how dirty our clothes are; but we don’t notice how dirty our transmission fluid is getting. However, trouble in our sedans is like trouble in our bodies—ignorance is not bliss. High blood pressure can lead to heart damage, and inadequate coolant can lead to engine damage. However, we can’t know about either one unless we take the time for a diagnostic check-up at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos.

Another reason us Los Altos drivers put off scheduled maintenance for our vehicles may be that we are simply intimidated by automotive care. After all, we understand how to take care of clothing, dishes, lawns, etc. Most of us have a basic working knowledge of our bodies and feel qualified to explain how we feel. But our vehicles? What exactly does routine, preventive maintenance involve? Most Los Altos drivers don’t know.

Of course, our sedans come with owner’s manuals that do a good job of explaining what routine maintenance is and how often our vehicles need it. But how many Los Altos car owners actually read them?

The good news is that all Los Altos drivers have to do is remember to take our vehicles to a reputable, service center like Allied Auto Works in Los Altos. Like a good doctor, your personal and trust Allied Auto Works service advisor will be able to tell you what maintenance and service your car needs and when. The service center can track your car’s maintenance records—just as a doctor maintains your health records—so that your vehicle is getting the service it needs in a timely manner.

Here are some guidelines to help Los Altos auto owners understand the basics of preventive maintenance: Fluids. If it’s a liquid, it has to be replaced regularly. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often. Liquids include oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and differential fluid. There may be others. Check with your owner’s manual or your service center for specifics on your vehicle.

Tires. They need routine, scheduled care to wear well. Primarily, they need air. But they also need to be rotated, balanced and aligned.

Brakes. Brakes and shock absorbers wear out. There’s no way to avoid it. Worn parts need to be replaced.

Fuel. Obviously your sedan needs gas on a regular basis. But the fuel system also needs periodic maintenance. Air filters and fuel filters get dirty and need to be replaced. The fuel system needs to be kept clean.

These are the basics of car maintenance. Of course, there are other parts of your car that need to be inspected regularly, such as the battery, exhaust system, belts, etc. These parts have longer life cycles than your fluids, tires, brakes and filters, and so don’t need to be replaced as often.

If you are taking your sedan in for the basics, then your Los Altos service center will let you know when it is time for an inspection of these other things. Or they may notice a problem when doing routine maintenance and let you know. Either way, you’ll get a heads-up when your vehicle needs more attention.

If you’re not convinced yet that your sedan needs regular service, consider this: not doing so will cost you in decreased fuel economy, lower performance and compromised safety. These could lead to costly repair bills and costly accidents.

Just like a good dental check-up, a good auto check-up at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos can save you from experiencing embarrassing, costly and painful situations.

So remember to take care of that car and it will take you far, this is Cayenne.

 

Categories:

Inspection

Cayenne Asks "Getting New Tires In Los Altos?"

best tire shops in Los Altos

Cay

 

Hi Cayenne here and we are talking one of my favorite things, rubber, I mean the rubber found on tires.

There are so many tire choices in the Los Altos, Sunnyvale, and Mt. View area, selecting the right one can be a bit overwhelming for Los Altos drivers. And even though it’s kind of fun to have new tires on your sedan, they’re a significant investment for most Los Altos folks so you want do it right.

Tip: talk with your personal and trust Allied Auto Works tire professional. He’ll help you sort through the choices.

Here are some of the essential issues you’ll talk about: One is size – you know, all those numbers on the side of the tire. The right size is vital. All new vehicles are required to have stability control which, along with other important safety systems, is calibrated to work with specific tire sizes. Your Los Altos tire professional can help stay within auto makers' specifications or program a different tire size into your sedan’s computer.

And you’ll want to discuss how and where you drive in Los Altos to determine the type of tire you need: summer, winter,  all season tires or all-terrain. There are tires for every Los Altos auto owner's needs.

Like we said, tires are a big investment, so you want to get a good value on tires. Now that doesn’t always mean the cheapest tire. A top tier tire from Allied Auto Works will last a long time and give Los Altos motorists good performance throughout its life. Tires sold in Los Altos bargain tire shops may not live up to that promise. Again, your personal and trust Allied Auto Works tire professional can give you options that offer the best long-term value within your immediate budget.

Last, with a 2-wheel drive vehicle, it's essential to always replace both tires on an axle. Modern sensors and computer safety systems for sedan brakes, stability and traction control need both tires to have the same amount of wear to work properly. And always put the new tires on the rear so you don’t fishtail in a turn. With all-wheel drive you should replace all four tires at the same time.

Schedule a tire inspection at Allied Auto Works to see how much life is left in your sedan tires and seek the help of a professional when choosing new shoes for your vehicle.

Give us a call and tell them Cayenne sent you,

Allied Auto Works
650.968.7227 & 650.947.7228
2073 Grant Road & 1540 Miramonte Ave.
Los Altos, CA 94024

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Cayenne Knows Service Center Standard and Procedures

Cay

Hi Cayenne here and today it will be about standards and procedures for service centers. 

All CA pilots have checklists for every aspect of flying. They always use their checklists even if they only have two steps on them. They do this simply because a checklist is a great way to not forget vital steps. It is also how they can assure a predictable outcome.

That is why Cupertino and Sunnyvale automotive service centers including Allied Auto Works have procedural standards for each service they perform. Allied Auto Works techs are trained step by step. And they perform the procedures step by step, the same way each time. By training to procedural standards, CA centers can assure a quality outcome. The job is done right every time and Los Altos drivers leave happy with how their sedan performs.

Each company trains its technicians to standards. The CA automotive industry as a whole is very committed to standards of excellence and encourages individual CA service center operators including Brian Aberg (manager at Allied Auto Works) to apply them to every vehicle they service.

An example is how Allied Auto Works techs grade problems and communicate their recommendations. If your service professional tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:

The part no longer performs its intended purpose
The part does not meet a design specification
The part is missing


The tech may suggest repair or replacement if:

The part is close to the end of its useful life - just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
To address a customer need or request - like for better ride or increased performance
To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle manufacturer
Based on the technician's informed experience


Here are some examples:

An exhaust pipe has rusted through and is leaking. Replacement is vital because the part has failed. If the pipe were rusted, corroded or weak, but not leaking, the service specialist may suggest it be replaced because it is near the end of its useful life and replacing it now may be more convenient for the Los Altos client.

Suppose a customer wants to improve his car's handling, but his shocks haven't failed. The service specialist may suggest replacement of the shocks to satisfy the customer's wishes.

Under these guidelines the Los Altos car repair shop must refuse partial service of a required repair if the repair creates or continues an unsafe condition.

Let's say a customer has a cracked brake rotor. This is a dangerous condition that must be repaired. If the customer does not want to replace the rotor, but instead just wants new brake pads installed, the shop must ethically refuse the partial repair. That can be an upsetting conversation, but understanding that Los Altos service centers operate under service standards and procedures is comforting. You want your service to be done right and to have confidence in your technician's recommendations.

The CA automotive service industry, Cayenne, and Allied Auto Works want the best for you and for you to keep coming back. AutoNetTV is committed to providing automotive maintenance information to help you be confident in your service decisions.

Cayenne's Check Engine Light Diagnosis At Allied Auto Works

cayenne

Hello it's Cayene to all of my  Los Altos car owners. Have you ever had your check engine light come on? Did you panic? Or just scowl and ignore it? What should you do? Pull to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or just keep driving? What does that little light really mean for Los Altos auto owners?

First of all, the Check Engine or Service Engine light does indicate that something is wrong. That’s why it is called a warning light. But the something that is wrong might be a loose gas cap, or it might be serious sedan engine trouble. That’s why Los Altos drivers often don’t know how to respond to it.

The check engine light has two modes: it flashes or it stays on. A flashing light is serious. You need to get your vehicle to Allied Auto Works in Los Altos ASAP. No, you don’t need to call a tow truck, but, yes, you can’t wait to get your car serviced. If your check engine light is on and flashing, you should not tow trailers, haul heavy loads or drive at CA interstate speeds. Any of these could lead to serious damage that could result expensive repair bills for Los Altos auto owners who ignore it.

A steady check engine light is less serious, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored by Mt. View motorists. You should plan to get your vehicle inspected at your local Los Altos automotive service center the first realistic opportunity. Not the first convenient opportunity, but the first realistic one.

Before you take your sedan in, however, check the gas cap. A loose gas cap can trigger the check engine light. If it is loose, twist it until it clicks three times. If that was the problem, your Los Altos engine light will reset after several days. However, if it stays on, then you need to schedule an inspection at your Los Altos auto repair center center or Allied Auto Works.

Modern automobiles have a computer in the engine that monitors and controls many of the engine functions. When the computer senses something wrong, it first tries to fix the problem itself by adjusting the sedan engine. If the problem persists, the computer signals the check engine light to come on.

This process stores a trouble code inside the sedan engine’s computer. Your service specialist scans the computer and reads the code. This does not tell the service advisor exactly what is wrong with the car, but it gives him a good idea as to where to start looking.

It is NOT good auto advice to deal with a check engine light by disconnecting the battery. Yes, this makes the light go off, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It’s rather like trying to put out a fire by disconnecting the smoke detector. Also, disconnecting the battery will erase your sedan’s computer memory. An engine’s computer, over time, learns to adjust for peculiarities of the specific sedan engine, for driving conditions in your Sunnyvale area, and for your driving habits. Losing its memory means it has to learn and adjust for these things all over again.

Also, don’t buy a cheap consumer scanner or get a trouble code read at your nearest Los Altos auto parts store, then try to fix a problem yourself — unless, of course, you are a trained Los Altos mechanic. Today’s auto repair equipment is fairly high-tech and knowing a code is only an indication of where a problem might be, not the answer to what is wrong. Trying to save a little money by doing it yourself may end up costing you big in the long run.

Of course, the best thing to do is to keep that pesky check engine light from coming on in the first place. Good car care and routine preventive maintenance go a long way to keeping your sedan out of your Los Altos auto repair shop. But, if that light does come on, be smart. Take care of the problem early, and take care of it professionally.

Cayenne

 

Cayenne Shares PCV Valve Service At Allied Auto Works In Los Altos

cayenne dog

Well today I am barking about your PCV valve. The PCV Valve is a little, inexpensive part that does an essential job for Los Altos car owners. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation.

The crankcase is the bottom area of the engine that holds the oil. When the sedan engine’s running, fuel is burned to generate power. Most of the exhaust from combustion goes out through the exhaust system. But some exhaust blows by the pistons and goes into the lower engine, or crankcase.

These hot gases are about seventy percent unburned fuel.
PCV Valve Service At Allied Auto Works In Los AltosThis can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause sedan engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at Allied Auto Works. At high speeds on Los Altos freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak.

Back in the old days, car makers simply installed a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, environmental protection laws required that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the sedan's engine.

This is much better for air quality and improves fuel economy also. (Budget-conscious Los Altos motorists take note!) The little valve that performs this important function is the PCV valve. The PCV valve lets harmful gases out of the engine, but won’t let anything back in. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won’t work well. That can lead to all of the problems I’ve already described, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and decreased MPG.

Fortunately, it’s very easy to test the PCV Valve at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos and quick and inexpensive to replace. Even so, it’s often overlooked because many Los Altos auto owners don’t know about it. Check your sedan owner’s manual or ask your Allied Auto Works service advisor. If this is the first time you’ve heard of a PCV valve, you might be in line for a replacement.

There’s another aspect to the PCV system. In order for the valve to work correctly, it needs a little clean air to come in. This is done through a breather tube that gets some filtered air from the engine air filter. Now some vehicles have a small separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. That’ll need to be replaced at Allied Auto Works when it gets dirty.

Please ask your personal and trust Los Altos service advisor about your PCV valve. For the price of a couple of burger combo meals in Los Altos, you can avoid some very pricey engine repairs.

This is Cayenne, til next time!


Categories:

Parts
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