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Duke Is Too Hot to Handle (Vehicle Overheating)

duke

Duke here and I consider myself a handsome dog or as the ladies tell me I am one "Hot Dog".  Seriously though, some things can be too hot to handle and vehicle overheating is one of those HOT topics.  So today we will bark about Vehicle Overheating and make you feel, well more cool about it.  Let's get barkin'!

In the hot weather, seeing steam coming from the engine compartment is something we all dread.  No one wants that to happen to them. But if you know the signs of overheating and how to deal with it, you may be able to reduce the risk of damage to your vehicle, maybe even prevent getting stranded on the road.

Besides the steam coming out of the engine compartment, here are a few signs of overheating.  Your vehicle has a heat gauge that may have a needle that can go into a red zone or up to the "H" (for High) position.  You may smell odors, perhaps a burning (could be hot oil) or a sweet smell (engine coolant leaking). 

When you encounter any of those signs, you know you have to do something to keep the engine as cool as possible to avoid potentially catastrophic damage.  Turn off the air conditioning and turn up the heat.  While that last part may sound odd, it helps draw heat out of the engine. 

If you can do it safely, pull off the road to a spot away from traffic.  Turn off the engine so it can cool down for a few minutes.  You may want to call for help at this point, then switch on the key to "accessory" position to see if the engine has cooled down to the normal range.  You may have to have your car towed to a service facility or, if there's one nearby, you may be able to slowly drive to it.  But keep your eye on the heat gauge and immediately stop if it starts to overheat again. 

The best hedge against engine overheating is regular maintenance.  When the cooling system and other engine components are working like they should, your chances of an overheated engine are drastically reduced.  Your service facility will keep their eyes open for leaking hoses, cracked belts, rusted pipes and other things so they don't fail at the most inopportune time.

I leave you with my HOT joke for this week,

It’s so hot the cows are producing evaporated milk.

Duke

 

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

Categories:

Cooling System

Cayenne Knows Your Towing Limits in Los Altos

cay

 

Hello, Cayenne here on a beautiful June day here in  Los Altos.  You know, some Los Altos drivers figure that anything they can attach to their trailer hitch can be towed by their vehicle, including my oversized t-bones. Well, that is not the case. If you're going to do any towing around Los Altos, you should be aware of safety issues, CA towing laws and potential liability.  So you probably already figured it out, we are going to bark about towing limits around town.  So let's get barkin'!

Understanding tow ratings is important for safe towing. A tow rating is the weight limit that your vehicle can safely tow. They calculate the tow rating for every vehicle, but different options on the vehicle can affect that rating. Los Altos drivers need to read the towing section in their owner's manual to get the specific tow rating for the vehicle they own.

Your trailer hitch also has a weight limit, and it may not match the tow rating for your vehicle. Your vehicle may be rated for 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg), but if you have a 2,000-pound (900 kg) hitch limit, you shouldn't be towing more than 2,000 pounds (900 kg). If you tow a 10,000-pound (4,500 kg) trailer on that hitch, it could break free and you would be liable for any resulting damages.

Another example is one popular pick-up truck that has a tow rating of 10,300 pounds (4,600kg). But the owner's manual specifies that a sway control device be used for trailers weighing over 2,000 pounds (900 kg) and that a weight-distributing hitch is required for trailers over 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg). If the vehicle owner tows a 6,000-pound (2700 kg) trailer without a weight-distributing hitch and ends up in an accident, the owner will be held liable for not complying with the towing requirements in CA.

Los Altos auto owners also need to keep in mind that tow weights include the weight of passengers and cargo inside the tow vehicle. So if your tow rating is 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg), and you're carrying 700 pounds (320 kg) of passengers and cargo, you can only tow a trailer weighing up to 6,300 pounds (2,880 kg).

Two numbers that Los Altos drivers should be aware of are the GVWR and the GCWR. These codes are usually imprinted on the inside of the driver's side door. GVWR stands for gross vehicle weight rating. Take GVWR and subtract the total weight of the vehicle, and you have the maximum weight the vehicle can safely carry in passengers and cargo. GCWR stands for Gross Combined Weight Rating. Take that number, subtract the weight of the tow vehicle and the trailer, and you have the maximum weight of passengers and cargo that the tow vehicle and trailer together can safely carry.

This may seem a bit complicated, but you ignore these ratings at your own peril. If you haul or tow loads over the maximum ratings around CA, you become liable in the event of an accident.

Local Los Altos laws require that safety chains be attached when towing a trailer. Some CA jurisdictions may require trailer brakes as well. Others mandate trailer brakes only in certain situations. If you are going to tow a trailer, you should find out the local Los Altos laws regarding trailer brakes and hitches, as well as weight and length restrictions.

To tow safely, CA drivers also need the proper tires on the tow vehicle. Tires need to be in good condition with adequate tread, and they need to have a load rating high enough to handle the weight of the trailer. Your trained Allied Auto Works tire professional can help you select the right tire to use when towing around Los Altos.

Your 's owner's manual is your primary source for auto advice regarding towing since it is specific to your vehicle. Be sure to read it carefully before doing any towing. And as always, keep your preventive maintenance up-to-date, and practice good car care to ensure the safety of your vehicle on the road—especially when pulling a trailer.

Here is my joke of the week, yes, tow related

If there was a film about a car towing a boat, would there be a trailer?

Cayenne

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

Categories:

Safety

Duke Gives Your Engine Clean Fuel with a New Fuel Filter from Allied Auto Works

duke

Duke here, and your vehicle requires plenty of clean fuel to run.  Today we will bark about keeping your vehicle's fuel clean.  So let's filter threw and get barkin" about clean fuel with a new fuel filter!

If your fuel contains contaminants, your fuel injectors will eventually become clogged up. When this happens, your vehicle engine may not get the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure to run at peak performance. This hurts performance as you drive around the Los Altos area. It can also lead to the buildup of harmful deposits on valves and in the combustion chamber.

That's why all vehicles, including vehicles, come equipped with a fuel filter. The job of the filter is to clean out little pieces of dirt and contamination. The filter captures the contaminants and keeps them out of the fuel stream. Of course, like all filters, it will eventually get clogged up and need to be replaced at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos.

If your fuel filter is clogged, the vehicle engine can't get all the fuel it needs, and it may sputter at high speeds or quick acceleration. Many fuel filters have a bypass valve that will allow unfiltered fuel through when they are clogged. This keeps your vehicle engine running but doesn't protect it from contaminated fuel.

Los Altos drivers may find that they need to change their fuel filter at Allied Auto Works more frequently as their vehicle ages. Over the years, additional sediment and rust accumulate in the fuel tank and can be drawn into the fuel system.Your fuel filter stands guard at the gates to your engine to protect parts and maintain performance.  So make sure your filter is doing its job and book an appointment today!

I leave you with a Haitian proverb for the week

To hear does not mean to understand. ~Haitian proverb

Duke

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

Categories:

Fuel System

Cayenne Barks "For Brakes' Sake" (Brake Rotor Service in Los Altos)

cay

For brakes sake, think of how much abuse your brakes take.  Hi Cayenne here and day in and day out, they stop your vehicle when it's going fast and when it's going slow. Maybe your vehicle has been vibrating when you brake, or maybe it seems like your stopping distance is a little bit longer than it used to be. Then it's time to get your brakes checked out.  After all, you have to be able to stop if you want to be safe.  So let's get barkin' for brakes sake!

Nearly all newer vehicles have disc brakes on the front, and many have that type of brake on all four wheels. That makes it likely you'll be getting disc brakes fixed at some time in your vehicle's lifetime.

Knowing how disc brakes work is as easy as riding a bicycle. If your bike had hand brakes, you'll probably remember a mechanism that squeezed a couple of pads on each side of your bicycle wheel when you applied the brakes. Disc brakes are similar; but instead of the bike wheel, there's a metal disc instead. If that disc is warped or has irregularities in it, it's going to vibrate.

It used to be that rotors were thick, and when they warped, a technician could "turn" them to scrape off a layer of metal so their sides were straight again. The latest vehicles are using thinner, lighter rotors with a slightly different construction. Now, it's likely that rotors that are resurfaced this way will not have enough metal left to work safely. In fact, some manufacturers advise only replacing rotors that are worn out.

Newer designs have reduced rotor prices, and in many cases, the labor cost of turning the rotors is higher than buying new. There are times, though, when your rotors can be resurfaced and still meet manufacturer specifications.

If you have a rotor replaced on one side of your vehicle, it might be a good idea to replace rotors on the other side, too.

Maybe you're looking for the new rotors to last longer than the ones that were on there. New technologies can offer a longer lifespan in a premium rotor. Armed with knowing the type of driving you do, you and your Allied Auto Works service advisor can make the best decision on which direction you want to go with your new brakes.

Now that summer is here, I leave you with this quote.

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. ~James Dent, in The Charleston Gazette, as quoted in The Reader's Digest, 1994

Cayenne

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

Categories:

Brakes

Duke Is Beginning to See the Light (Check Engine Light Diagnostics)

duke

Good Day, Duke here and you know we have all heard and maybe said the famous quote, "I'm beginning to see the light." but today, we really are dealing with seeing the light in our vehicle, the Check Engine Light.  So let's start barkin' and venture into the unknown of the Check Engine Light!

It's a light many drivers fear they'll see turn on at the most inopportune time.  It's the one on the dash that says "Check Engine," "Service Engine Soon," or it may be simply an engine-shaped light. Your first instinct may be to pull off to the side of the road and turn off the engine.

The truth is that the Check Engine light can be pointing to problems as simple as a loose gas cap. But it could be as serious as a severely misfiring engine.  Don't ignore it because it's there to help you avoid an expensive repair. It is designed to alert you, to tell you something's not quite right.

Your vehicle has a connected system of computers and sensors constantly checking to see that all systems are working the way they should. If something isn't, the system will turn on the Check Engine light.

If it's flashing, that could be serious. Look at some of the other warning lights or gauges, such as heat or oil pressure. They could be telling you your vehicle's problem should be checked right away. In that case, if you can, safely pull off the road and shut the vehicle down. If your vehicle loses power and the Check Engine light is on, try not to push the demands you are making on the engine, such as towing or accelerating hard.

Simply put, a flashing Check Engine light should be checked out by a professional as soon as possible.

If the Check Engine light is on steadily, manufacturers say it means there's a problem, but it probably doesn't require immediate service.  The system is designed to remember the problem it found and store it (as a code) so it can be retrieved later.

When you do bring your vehicle in to have us see what's behind the Check Engine light coming on, we’ll hook your vehicle up to a diagnostics tool that can reveal the clues the engine's computers have stored.  It takes a trained technician to understand those clues, like a doctor who can interpret a patient's symptoms and come up with the correct diagnosis. Some newer vehicles can even be checked remotely.

Once we figure out the problem and repair it, you'll be back on the road again. It's nice to know the Check Engine light is your sentry, standing by to alert you the next time you begin to "see the light."

"I never cared much for moonlit skies

I never wink back at fireflies

But now that the stars are in your eyes

I'm beginning to see the light" ~Ella Fitzgerald

Duke

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

Cayenne Is Putting on the Brakes: Brake Service at Allied Auto Works

cay

STOP, LISTEN, and LEARN!  I am putting on the brakes.  Hey, it's Cayenne, and I am barkin' about brake service today. So take a break, and let's bark about brake service.

When it comes to preventive maintenance and vehicle care, most Los Altos drivers know how important it is to check their brakes. But brakes are more than just brake pads and shoes. There are a lot of components in the brake system, and they all need to be in good working order.

The pads and shoes are known as the friction materials in the brake system. They push together, providing friction that stops the vehicle. It's no wonder they have to be checked regularly for wear, and brake pads and shoes need to be replaced periodically.

Brake pads/shoes gradually wear out, but that doesn't mean your braking gradually becomes less effective. The pads are engineered so that they maintain good braking until they wear too thin to provide adequate friction. At this point, they need to be replaced.

But your braking system also has mechanical parts. These pistons and springs can also gradually wear out or get gummed up by oil, dirt, and other road spatter. A brake inspection at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos includes a check of these parts as well as the pads and shoes. Your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Allied Auto Works can then advise you of any parts that need cleaning or replacement.

The fluid component to the brake system needs a regular check-up at Allied Auto Works as well. The brake fluid cools and protects your brake system. Protective additives are gradually depleted by the operation of the brake system, and moisture buildup inside the fluid can diminish its effectiveness. When you have your brakes serviced at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, the fluid should be checked and, if needed, replaced, which will clean out water, debris, and dirt.

It is important to remember that your brake system also includes your tires. No matter how well your brake system is performing, if your vehicle tires are worn, you won't get good stopping power. Traction is the power of your tires gripping the roadway. Traction is always better on tires with good tread. Good traction translates to good braking.

This is particularly important on wet Los Altos roads. A good tire will give you good braking on either wet or dry CA roads. But stopping distance increases dramatically when worn tires meet wet roads. Tread on a tire acts to channel away water as the vehicle passes over the wet road, improving contact between the tire's surface and the road, which maintains traction. But the thinner the tread, the less effective the water channels become, and water can get between the tire and the roadway, reducing friction. A loss of friction means a longer stopping distance and possibly a loss of control.

Braking depends on two things: the weight of your vehicle and the speed of the vehicle. The heavier the vehicle or, the faster the vehicle, the more braking power it requires. Thus, brake systems vary from vehicle to vehicle. For example, a pickup that is designed for heavy loads has a more powerful braking system than a compact car. Sports cars also have higher-grade braking systems than minivans.

Regardless of what kind of car you drive in Los Altos, it is always good auto advice to keep your brake system in good repair, and that means ALL of your brake system. Just one more way to keep your travels accident- and worry-free.

Here is my brake joke for this week,

My mechanic tried to convince me that my car needs new brakes

But I know that it would just slow me down.

Cayenne

 

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

Categories:

Brakes

Duke's Cooling System Components

duke

Cool Hound Duke here and today we want to talk about a system in our vehicles – the cooling system. It's one of those things that Los Altos auto owners don't give much thought to until it fails and then they're stranded by the side of a road in CA.  So let's stay cool and start barkin'!

Cooling systems fail more often than any other mechanical system – usually because of neglect. Don't you hate it when something breaks, and you could have done something to prevent it?

The good news is that if Los Altos drivers take care of their cooling systems, they can keep working for the life of their car.

Here at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, we emphasize preventive maintenance services like replacing your coolant according to the factory schedule. But the various parts that make up the cooling system need attention too. The major components of the cooling system are the water pump, freeze plugs, thermostat, radiator, cooling fans, heater core, pressure cap, overflow tank, and hoses.

It sounds complicated, but we Los Altos residents don't have to be experts – we can leave that to our friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Allied Auto Works. But, having an overview will help us remember how to take care of your car's cooling system.

Most Los Altos folks would be surprised to know that burning fuel in your engine produces up to 4,500 degrees F/2,500 degrees C of heat. And all that heat has to be dealt with. If the heat can't be drawn off the engine, the pistons will literally weld themselves to the inside of the cylinders – then you just have to throw the engine away and get a new one. That would cost thousands of dollars.

Now the water pump is what forces the coolant through passages in the vehicle engine to absorb heat. The pump is driven by a belt that needs replacement from time to time. And the water pump will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Spending some cash on replacing the belts and water pump is much less than the cost of repairing the extremely massive damage that can be done when an engine seizes.

There's another little-known but important part of the coolant system that protects the engine. It's called a freeze plug. If you remember from high school chemistry, water expands when it freezes. In very cold areas, the coolant can actually freeze when the vehicle is left sitting.

It is hard to believe, but the expanding frozen coolant is enough to actually crack the engine block. The freeze plugs fit into the engine block. They fit tight enough to withstand the pressure of a running engine but can expand or pop out if the coolant freezes. These little things save a lot of engine blocks.

The team at Allied Auto Works can check your cooling system and make any necessary adjustments or repairs. Give them a call and tell Cool Hound Duke sent ya.

Here is my inspirational cool quote for the week,

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.  ~ Dr. Seuss

Duke



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

Categories:

Cooling System

Cayenne Is Exhausted- Service for Your Exhaust System

cay

Cayenne here and today I am a little exhausted; exhaust system, that is. Did you know that your vehicle's exhaust system is more than just a tailpipe and a muffler? In fact, it is one of the most complex systems on your vehicle. So today, we are going to bark about service for your exhaust system.  Let's get the engines started!

The manifold is attached to the vehicle 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 important Los Altos residents 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.

The catalytic converter is the next component of your vehicle 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 vehicle engine's computer keep the fuel-to-air mixture at optimal levels.

The muffler is also part of your vehicle exhaust system, but it deals with a different kind of emission. It keeps your vehicle 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 important that 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, but a leaky muffler could also be serious.

The entire exhaust system is attached to your vehicle by hangers and clamps. These fasteners can rust, come loose, or break. The 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 damage to your vehicle. Good car care requires that you have your exhaust system inspected regularly.

Caring for your vehicle exhaust system at Allied Auto Works 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.

Here is my exhaust joke for you this week,

I had a dream last night that I was a muffler...

I woke up exhausted...

Cayenne

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

 

Categories:

Exhaust

Duke Steers Clear of Power Steering Problems (Power Steering Maintenance)

duke

Hey it's the Duke and today we are going to steer clear of power steering problems.  We usually take our vehicle's easy steering for granted until something goes wrong.  Power steering is what makes it almost effortless to turn the steering wheel, aiming your vehicle in the direction you want to go. Without the assistance of power from the engine, steering would be a laborious process, so you want to make sure the system is working well.  Let's set our wheels straight and get barkin'!

Power steering systems are usually one of two types, hydraulic and electric.  The hydraulic type uses a pump that is driven by either a belt or an electric motor.  This system uses hydraulic fluid to create pressure that gives your steering the power assist.  Since that pump is always working, time and distance traveled eventually take their toll, and these systems need to be periodically inspected.  Also, while that hydraulic fluid can last for years, it should be replaced periodically as it degrades over time. Your vehicle's owner's manual contains the manufacturer's recommendations.

A technician can check for leaks in the hoses, pump housing or reservoir.  Also, the belts should be inspected and so should the pump, as these can fail.  Signs of a failing pump are a groaning noise when you turn the steering wheel, stiff steering, squealing noises when you first start your car and puddles of a reddish-brown fluid under your vehicle. 

The other type is called EPS, or electric power steering, which is becoming more commonly used in the latest vehicles.  It only delivers power assist when you need it and has an electric motor that supplies that steering help.  It's more efficient, accurate, compact and clean. And because it has a lot fewer components, it's easier to maintain. 

If you have electric power steering, you may notice sometimes it's hard to turn the wheel or your Check Engine light comes on.  Sometimes the power assist motor fails or there can be problems with electrical connections.  Any time you have symptoms, it's important for your safety and that of drivers around you that you have a technician check them out.

Properly working brakes are essential for the safe operation of any vehicle.  Stop! And make sure yours are working properly.

Here is my joke of the week.

What’s the most dangerous part of a car?

The nut that holds the steering wheel.

Duke


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

Categories:

Steering

Cayenne's Advice On The Light Many Drivers Fear (Check Engine Light)

cay

What do you fear?   I fear running out of bones. Hi Cayenne here and we all fear something, even with our vehicles.  Ask just about any driver about one thing they fear seeing inside their vehicle and they'll say it's the Check Engine light coming on. You know, that little light on your instrument panel that is in the shape of a vehicle engine, often accompanied by the words Check, Check Engine, Check Engine Service, or Service Engine Soon.  So yes, today, we will take the fear out of the Check Engine Light.  Let's get barkin'!

There are so many different reasons that light shows up, from something as simple as a loose gas cap to a more serious problem that requires immediate attention. 

The Check Engine light comes on because a component of your vehicle's onboard diagnostics system is telling you something isn't operating normally. Your vehicle has a lot of sensors built in, all tied together by computers.  When the sensors are showing that things somewhere aren't functioning the way they should be, they alert the vehicle's diagnostic computers and tell you something's amiss.

The simple rule is if the Check Engine light is on steadily, it's something you should have checked soon but it's not urgent.  If it's flashing or has turned red or orange instead of yellow, get your vehicle checked out as soon as possible.  If you don't, you may be facing some costly repairs.

Here are a few problem areas that may trigger your Check Engine Light. 

  • Something's wrong with the emissions equipment.  Maybe too much fuel is getting into the catalytic converter, or the exhaust gas recirculation system isn't working right.  Because some of these components are expensive to replace, it's worthwhile to have a technician look at your vehicle sooner rather than later.
  • Your ignition system isn't working right.  That means spark plugs, coils, and wires.  If your engine is misfiring, that could translate into an illuminated Check Engine light.
  • The transmission isn't behaving the way it should.  The transmission works in tandem with the engine, so if a sensor sees something wrong there, it will tell the vehicle to turn on the Check Engine light.

As you can see, there are many things that can cause the light to come on, and when it does, it really is a good idea to find out why.  When you bring your vehicle in, we have an electronic device that can read a code or multiple codes stored in your vehicle's computers.  That will provide the technician with clues pointing to the cause of the trouble and helps pinpoint where that trouble is. 

I leave you with this thought,

Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is. ~German proverb

Cayenne

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

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