Duke and Cayenne | Allied Auto Works Grant Road

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 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/

Duke's Vivacious Vernal Vehicle (Preparing Vehicle for Spring)

duke

Hello, Duke here on this beautiful spring day.  Most of us look forward to spring because the days are longer, the weather's warmer and we can finally get our vehicles into warm weather mode.  Here are a few things that will breathe fresh energy into anyone's car, SUV, truck or van.  Remember, dogs love car rides, so let make sure they are spring ready. 

The first thing is a good cleaning, especially underneath. If you live where salt and brine are used on the roads, it's important to get that off.  One thing to note… if you hose off your undercarriage, be careful not to get your spark plugs/wires wet.  You could notice your vehicle running rough, plus the Check Engine light may come on. It usually dries out quickly, but if the engine light stays on for more than a couple of days, have your service facility check it out.

Next, replace your windshield wipers.  They've taken a beating through the winter. New ones will have fresh rubber and you'll see clearly (and safely) out your windshield again.

Have your brakes inspected.  That salt doesn't do your brake's metal components any good.  Have a technician make sure your pads and rotors are clean and properly lubricated so they can stop you when you ask them to.

Speaking of wheels, it's a good time to have your tires checked, too.  Road debris and potholes can take a toll on tread and sidewalls. It may also be a good idea to have a technician check your alignment since you likely have hit something pretty hard on a patch of rough road at some time during the winter.

Make sure your tire pressure is appropriate for the rising temperatures. As the outside air warms up, your tire pressure climbs without you adding any air.  Make sure it's what the manufacturer recommends.

Finally, treat your vehicle's interior to a thorough refresh.  Those floor mats and carpets may be white with salt; clean 'em up.  Get rid of wrappers, drink lids, empty water bottles and anything else that's fallen down.  And if you need to, have your upholstery cleaned so it looks and smells new. A clean exterior is nice, but since you spend your time inside your vehicle, it'll feel even better when your cabin is sparkling fresh.

Ever wonder why us dogs love car rides so much?  Well, Dogs love a good car ride because it feeds into their sense of adventure and love of a good hunt. It mimics their instinctual roots of riding in a pack, which brings them comfort and even a type of euphoric high. Riding in the car allows a dog to explore new sites, sounds and smells.

Duke

 


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

Categories:

Inspection

Cayenne Gets You Where You Going with Power Steering Service in Los Altos

cay

Cayenne here and today I am going to steer you in the right direction with power steering service.  So don't turn left or right but steer straight ahead and get barkin'!


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 vehicle owners 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 vehicle without power steering. To get an idea of the difference; if you've ever cut a board 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.

 

Here is my joke of the week steering related of course,

A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel in his pants...

The bartender says "Hey, you have a steering wheel in your pants". The pirate replies, "Aye, it's driving me nuts".
 
Cayenne

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

Categories:

Steering

Duke's Fuel Filter Service in Los Altos, CA

duke

Good day, Duke here and today we are going to filter through a very important part; the Fuel Filter.  There are a surprising number of small, inexpensive parts that can lead to expensive engine damage when they fail. It doesn't seem right.



Fortunately, a lot of those things can be taken care of in routine maintenance. They may not be easy to remember because it is a long list, but your service center at Allied Auto Works can help you know what's scheduled to be taken care of.

Some of us in Los Altos, CA, really don't look forward to going in for an oil change and then getting a list of the other things the manufacturer recommends.

But automotive maintenance is all about prevention and addressing small problems before they get big. Let's take the fuel filter, for example.

You may not know this but the median age for private vehicles on our Los Altos, CA, roads is over nine years. When vehicles get older, five years or so, they've accumulated a lot of dirt and rust in their gas tanks. If that dirt gets into the engine, it can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. So somewhere between that dirty gas tank and the price of a great vacation is the lowly fuel filter: a very inexpensive part that doesn't cost too much to replace. And your vehicle will just run better too.

A clogged fuel filter can't let enough fuel through. You might notice at first that your vehicle is running fine around town but struggles or sputters on the Los Altos, CA, freeway or when you accelerate. Enough fuel can't get through to meet the demands of higher speed. If it gets bad enough, your engine might just shut off or not start at all, which could be dangerous.

Some fuel filters have a bypass. When they get clogged, they allow dirty fuel to move around the filter element, so dirt ends up in the engine. We've already talked about how expensive that can be.

The fuel filter is even very important for newer vehicles. The fuel is still dirty even if there isn't rust in the tank. It's just that the fuel filter will need to be changed more frequently as the vehicle gets older.

How often should you change your fuel filter? Check your owner's manual. Your Los Altos, CA, service advisor at Allied Auto Works can tell you as well. It's usually around 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometers) or so. Ask if it's time for a full fuel system cleaning as well. They often go hand in hand.

It's good to know that your Los Altos, CA, service center has your back. When you're motivated to maintain your vehicle's performance and to reduce operating costs, you'll think of Allied Auto Works as your ally - and maybe even your memory.

I leave you with my car joke of the week ,

The Google car won't use any fuel

It will run on a search engine

Duke

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

Categories:

Fuel System

Cayenne Radiates Cool (Radiator Care)

cay

Hi, Cayenne here and spring is in the air; soon the days will get warmer.   There's nothing that radiates cool like a vehicle radiator that's helping to keep your engine running at the proper temperature.  You don't have to baby it, but you can't simply ignore it, either.   Let's take a quick dive under the hood to let you know what the radiator is doing. 

It takes the heat your engine produces and moves that heat outside.  It's not an easy job and heat is an engine's number one enemy.  Now that you're thinking how nice you want to be to your radiator, we have a couple of ideas how you can take care of it.

The easiest thing is to pay attention to your vehicle's temperature gauge. If it gets in the "too hot" or "not hot enough" range, have it checked out soon.  Make sure your coolant is kept at the correct level and if you see a trend that you have to add coolant more than a couple of times a year, you might have a leak.

Even if there are no obvious problems, every couple of years or so, consider taking your vehicle in for radiator maintenance.  A technician can run a pressure check for leaks and ensure that the thermostat and radiator cap are working correctly.  The technician will check that fans are running like they should so they can move air over the radiator and heat away from the coolant inside.

Ask your service advisor when you should have your radiator flushed and coolant replaced according to the manufacturer's recommended intervals.  In addition to cooling, coolant has corrosion inhibitors which stop working after a while.  Without those corrosion inhibitors, the inside of your radiator can literally start rotting away.  Keep in mind that the coolant level must be kept at manufacturer's specifications since if those corrosion-preventing chemicals aren't touching the metal, they're not preventing corrosion. 

Different vehicles use different coolants, so your service facility will make sure yours is getting the correct one.  

Keep your coolant system happy and one day, maybe you can order up a custom license plate, "RAY-D-8."

Cayenne

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

Categories:

Cooling System

Duke's Daily Grind (Grinding Noise)

duke

Hey Duke here, and you know I love the grinding sound when I enjoy one of the Wagu Rib Eye steak bones I get once in a while, what a beautiful sound and tastes good too.  But what if your vehicle makes a grinding sound when you turn the steering wheel, it's speaking to you and that is not a good sound.   So listen to what it's saying and you could avoid a much more costly repair down the road.  So let's grind our way into this important noisy subject and get barkin'!

If your vehicle makes a grinding sound when you turn the steering wheel, it's speaking to you.  No, really, it is.  So listen to what it's saying and you could avoid a much more costly repair down the road.  A grinding sound coming from the front of your vehicle when you are turning can offer some very informative clues as to what's going on.  One cause could be that there's a problem with the mechanical linkage that enables you to turn the wheels.  Another is that the hydraulic system that makes turning the steering wheel easier may have its own problems. 

Think of it.  Hydraulic power steering has many components that need to work in tandem.  The power steering fluid may be too old and contaminated.  Or its level may be low. That may be caused by a leak somewhere in the system. A technician can check things over to find out exactly what's happening.

Other causes of grinding while turning can be problems with the suspension in the front.  You may have a failing CV (constant velocity) joint.  It could be your brakes are partially engaging while you are turning.  That metal-on-metal sound is never a sign that things are working just the way they're supposed to.

To a technician looking to pinpoint the problem with your vehicle, it's not a daily grind at all.  Experience and training will help her or him zero in on what's causing the noise and get you back on the road. Maybe you can enjoy your sound system more after that distracting background noise has disappeared!

My noise quote of the week,

"The loudiest noise in the world is silence"  ~ Thelonious Monk

Duke

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

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