Los Altos Auto Repair

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Cayenne Meets Metal With Metal (Wheel Bearings)

cay

Hi, Cayenne here and today were are talking metal meeting metal and I do not mean Heavy Metal.  We will bark about what happens when metal meets metal on our wheel bearings and what can happen.  So let's get barkin!

 

What part of your vehicle has little metal balls inside that are lubricated and allow you to cruise on down the road?  They are wheel bearings, and automotive designers might argue they are human beings' second greatest invention of all time (the first is, of course, the wheel!).

You have a wheel bearing at each wheel.  They allow your wheels to turn freely, minimizing friction that would ordinarily slow you down when metal meets metal.  When one of your wheel bearings starts to go bad, it lets you know. A wheel bearing does its work quietly when it's in good health but starts getting noisy when it isn't.  People describe the noise differently.  Sometimes it sounds like road noise, a pulsating, rhythmic, sound.  That pulse speeds up when your vehicle speeds up. 

Here's what's happening when you hear that sound.  As mentioned, the bearing has these little metal balls inside a ring.  They have a lubricant inside to reduce friction between the balls; modern wheel bearings are sealed and they're intended to do their job without any maintenance. 

Wheel bearings take a beating; you hit some rough potholes or go over some uneven railroad tracks. Sometimes water can get into a bearing and reduce the ability of the lubricant to do its job.  Time starts to take its toll, too. When the lubricant isn't reducing friction like it should, the bearing can heat up. One of those little balls can start shedding pieces of metal and soon those shards start grinding up the other balls.  Friction takes over and soon your wheel isn't turning smoothly. That's what's causing the sound.  If a wheel bearing is not fixed, it could eventually seize up completely, and you can be stranded.

It's a lot easier if you heed the early warning signals, that pulsating noise.  Now, sometimes a similar noise can be caused by a bad tire, but in either case, it's important to have it checked out. Our Allied Auto Works technicians will be able to tell you fairly quickly what the problem is and offer a solution.

Wheel bearings generally don't fail often and usually last from 85,000-100,000 miles/140,000km to 160,000km. But consider them a long-term maintenance item that, once fixed, will keep you heading smoothly to the next destination including through the woods to grandmother's house where she is baking my favorites

Cayenne

cay

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

Categories:

Wheel Bearings

Duke's Serious Note: Dashboard's a Funny Name (Instrumental Panel Warning Lights)

dukeI have my serious hat on today, hey it is Duke, and today we are going to bark about something funny well not really funny but the name is DASHBOARD or a more serious name Instrumental Panel Warning Lights.  This all sounds silly to me but what do I know, I just a dog with a hat on.  Let's get started!

Every day you drive, you're sitting behind the dashboard. But how in the world did it get that name? Back in the days of the horse-drawn carriage, horses would kick up dirt and mud on the driver and passengers, "dashing" debris against the carriage. So those who built carriages began installing a board to protect them. So, dash-board. Dashboard.

The dashboard is still there, though changed quite a bit from the early days. Now its main purpose is to house the controls and instruments for your vehicle's systems.

Of course, you have the speedometer, tachometer and gas gauge. But there are four warning lights you need to pay attention to on your dashboard and instrument panel. Some of these may even be gauges, depending on your model of vehicle. Regardless, paying attention to them is a good idea if you want your vehicle to keep going as long as possible.

Oil pressure—The oil pressure light will come on if your engine doesn't have enough pressure in its system. Low oil pressure means engine parts aren't getting lubricated properly. This can cause really serious damage and do it quickly. If your oil light goes on, call your Allied Auto Works service advisor immediately if you can. Even driving a short distance may ruin your engine.

Check Engine light—If a light that looks like an engine comes on, it's not necessarily signaling a catastrophe. But it means one or more sensors in your vehicle have detected an abnormal situation. Have your vehicle checked soon. There will be a code stored in your vehicle that a technician can read and use it as an extra clue as to what's going on.

Brake light—If this lights up, first check if your parking brake is on. If it isn't, you could have serious brake issues. It's a sign you should get the brakes checked soon at Allied Auto Works.

Tire pressure—Tire pressure monitors are built in to newer vehicles. They let you know if any of your tires are over or underinflated. Both conditions need to be checked out. That could prevent a blowout or premature tire wear.

The dashboard isn't what it used to be. In fact, it's much better now… and much more informative. Take advantage of that information and keep your vehicle running the way it's meant to.

 

NOW THIS SILLY, what a nose

DUKE

duke

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

Cayenne Breathes New Life for Your Older Car

cay

Welcome December, hi Cayenne here and today an old dog, that would be me is going to breathe new life into your older car ......and you can teach an old dog new tricks so let's get barkin'!!!!

Isn't it amazing how much of our stuff is disposable these days? Clothes, electronics, housewares, furniture.

Remember the days when Los Altos families mended their clothes, polished their shoes and neatly put away their toys every night? If something was lost or ruined through neglect, your parents just told you to do without, that you should have taken better care of it. They considered the loss a “life lesson.”

But today many Los Altos drivers tend to neglect one of the more expensive and important purchases we make: our vehicles. Vehicles are a lot more reliable today than back when we polished our shoes, and that reliability can sometimes make us take them for granted. Drivers in Los Altos neglect good vehicle care practices and procrastinate when it comes to preventive maintenance. What we're really doing is heading straight for one of those dreaded “life lessons.” Eventually we'll pay for our neglect in repair bills and a shorter life for our vehicle.

Is procrastinating on routine maintenance really so terrible? Consider what happens when you procrastinate on brushing your teeth, washing your clothes or getting the dishes done. Gunk builds up, makes the job harder and ultimately damages your teeth, clothing or dishes. It's the same with your vehicle. Some of the best auto advice out there for Los Altos drivers is to stay on top of routine oil changes by bringing their car into Allied Auto Works. Even a little extra interval between oil changes can result in oil sludge, which can clog passages in your engine. This means oil can't get to some of the engine components, and they'll wear out faster without lubrication. Every time you put off an oil change, the problem gets worse, eventually cutting years off the life of your engine.

The same is true if you skip cooling system service. Corrosion inhibitors in the fluid become depleted over time, opening the system up to damage. Consistent neglect will lead to holes in your radiator. Talk to your friendly service advisor at Allied Auto Works for suggestions and feedback.

Neglect of other fluids can also result in engine damage. Brake fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid—all of these need to be serviced on a regular basis. In addition, your fuel system needs periodic cleaning or it can start to break down and cause permanent damage to your engine.

The good news is that it's never too late to get on track and start getting good, regular preventive maintenance for your vehicle at Allied Auto Works. You may not be able to reverse damage that's already been done, but you can prevent further damage.

It really does all start with an oil change. With a full-service oil change at Allied Auto Works, your fluids will be checked and your car inspected for wear and tear. Our pros at Allied Auto Works can also advise you of other inspections and maintenance items that are coming due. If you're on top of oil changes, your service advisor will keep track of your maintenance schedule and remind you what needs to be done.

Older vehicles are going to need repairs. But with good maintenance, those repairs will involve fairly routine stuff like alternators, water pumps, belts and batteries. The cost of these replacement parts at Allied Auto Works is much cheaper than the repair bills that come with serious engine damage, and they're certainly less than the cost of a new car.

We may not need to polish our shoes anymore, and tossing out that outdated cell phone may not be such a loss. But when it comes to our vehicles, they're just too valuable to be treated as disposable. Let's take a step back, listen to our parents and take care of our stuff. If we don't, we could be on our way to a “life lesson” involving our bank account and a bus pass and let me tell you dogs do not like to ride in buses.

Cayenne

 

cay

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

Duke's Losing His Spark (Spark Plug Replacement)

duke

WHAT!!!! I'm losing my spark the title says, no way.  I am a handsome hound with a lot of spark....... but spark plug replacement is where we are actually going with this.  So let's light it up and get the spark back in spark plugs!.

When's the last time you thought about spark plugs? You probably don't remember.  That's because spark plugs usually last a long time and don't need much attention.  But they don't last forever, and when they start going bad, they'll send you a few clues.

  • Vehicle is hard to start. 
  • Fuel economy is going down
  • Acceleration isn't what it used to be
  • Engine runs roughly
  • Check Engine light is on

There are many things that can cause those symptoms, so it's wise to head on over to your vehicle repair facility to have them look over your vehicle.  But the problem could be your spark plugs. They do wear out, not producing a strong enough spark to ignite your fuel the way they're designed to.  A closely related problem is failing spark plug wires, and a technician will test for both possibilities… and more. 

Your vehicle's manufacturer recommends changing wires and/or plugs at certain intervals.  Spark plugs are made out of different materials and some last far longer than others.  Ask your service advisor to let you know when yours should be changed.  Badly misfiring plugs can cause expensive damage to a vehicle's catalytic converter, so it's best to take care of them before that happens.  Replacing your spark plugs and/or wires is money well spent to have your vehicle running smoothly, dependably and efficiently.  

As you can see I came shining through for you today with a little bit of bling

Duke

duke

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

Categories:

Spark Plugs

Cayenne's Tire Maintenance in Los Altos

cay

Rollin', rollin', rollin' on to tire maintenance in good old Los Altos!  Hi, Cayenne here, and today I am going to remind you how important tire maintenance on your car is now that we are rolling into the winter months with rain and yes even here in sunny California we can get hail and snow once in a while......the climate is a-changin'.

With the recent focus in the Los Altos area on improving fuel economy, we've been told how important it is to maintain our tire pressure.

Los Altos drivers know that tires wear out, but we want to make them last as long as possible because they're not cheap to replace. In addition to saving gas, properly inflated tires last longer. Underinflated tires will wear out more quickly.

Some people in Los Altos wonder if they should add a few extra pounds of pressure when they fill up their tires. Bad idea. In fact, there are very good reasons not to overinflate 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.

Every vehicle in the Los Altos area has a sticker on the driver's side door jamb that tells you the vehicle manufacture'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 drivers to follow it.

What else do Los Altos drivers 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. At Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, we rotate the tires so that they all get to do some duty on the front, and they'll all wear evenly over their live.

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 vehicle or ask your service advisor at Allied Auto Works.

How often should people near Los Altos rotate their tires? Your owner's manual will have a recommendation. Your technician 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/8,000 km.

You know, some 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 important. When a tire's out of balance, it's actually hopping down the road. Los Altos vehicles with tires out of balance will feel the vibration through the steering wheel if a front tire's out of balance and through the seat if it's a rear tire.

Proper wheel balance promotes tire life and increases safety for Los Altos drivers and their passengers. 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. 

The team at Allied Auto Works also wants to remind you that it is important to 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.

Stop by Allied Auto Works to see about tire maintenance for your vehicle and tell them that beautiful red-head, Cayenne sent ya!

cay

Cayenne

 

Allied Auto Works

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

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Duke's Visibility Disaster! (Windshield Washer Pump Replacement)

dukeDuke here and I know this might seem silly to be talking about cold climates and windshield washer pump replacement but when I woke up this morning.......it was cold in fact yesterday Milipitas had hail and tonight we have a freeze warning here in the South Bay so I guess this is not so silly after all.  Let's get barkin' about this now before your fluid freezes over!

Let's say you live in a cold climate where the snowy, icy weather challenges you to clear the salt and debris tossed up on your windshield.  You push your windshield washer switch expecting a good stream of fluid so the blades can wipe the glass clean. Yet nothing comes out.  Nada, zip.  What's going on? You know you filled up the windshield washer reservoir within the last week or so. 

Well, there could be a few things causing your windshield washing system to fail.  One culprit? The hoses that are supposed to carry that fluid from the washer pump to the spray nozzles may be frozen, or maybe they're cracked and leaking. It could be the nozzles themselves are stopped up, either iced up or jammed full of debris.  Your windshield wiper/washer switch could be worn out or the electrical system may not be conducting power to the washer pump. 

It's important that this system work properly, especially on days when the sun may be in front of you and your windshield is covered with a cloudy, icy mess.  Seeing what's going on in front of you may be like trying to peer through frosted glass, and that's not a safe situation for you or the drivers around you. You need to have this checked out by a technician as soon as you can.

Let's say the technician discovers it's not any of those components.  Turns out it's the electric windshield washer pump itself that's failed. After replacing it, everything is working fine, and you can see again.  As so often is the case with today's complex vehicles, figuring out the root cause of a problem can be tricky. 

Rely on your vehicle service facility, Allied Auto Works since they have the know-how and diagnostic equipment to make sure your view of the road will always be crystal clear.

Duke

duke

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

Cayenne's Brake Service for Safe Stopping

cay

Whoa! Put your brakes on and stop and listen to your favorite hound today; me, Cayenne.  We are going to bark about brake service for safe stopping. So let's get moving as there is no stopping me now!

Let's talk about something critical for all Los Altos drivers: your brakes. Your vehicle is heavy, and it takes a lot of muscle to bring it and your passengers to a safe stop – so everything needs to be in good working order.

Here's an explanation on how your disc brakes work:

The wheel hub keeps your wheel attached to your vehicle. The brake disc – or rotor – is attached to the hub and rotates with the wheel as you drive around Los Altos. Your brake pads clamp onto the rotor to slow the wheel.

The brake caliper straddles the rotor and squeezes the rotor to slow it down. The calipers contain brake pads which press on the rotor when you put your foot on the brake. The brake piston causes the calipers to squeeze and release as you use your vehicle brakes.

Your brake pads start to wear the first time you step on the brakes. Eventually, the pads wear out and need to be replaced. If you don't replace the pads when they're worn out, the metal parts of the brake will grind against the rotor and carve grooves into the surface. We've all heard grinding brakes and it's not a pretty sound.

If a rotor isn't scored significantly, your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works technician can put it on a lathe and smooth it out. If the grooves are too deep or if the rotor is warped or cracked, you need to replace it.

Sometimes brake pistons can stick and must be replaced. Typically it's cheaper to replace the entire caliper at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos than to rebuild the piston.

So there you have it – an important lesson on how your disc brakes work. If you replace brake pads on time, it will not only keep your vehicle stopping safely but could save you cash on unnecessary repairs down the road.

Cayenne   cay

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

Categories:

Brakes

Duke's Bad Vibes

duke

Hi Duke here and today we are going to bark how your car can give you a bad vibe sorta like someone you meet and they give you a bad vibe, it is telling you something.  Well, your vehicle can give off bad vibes too and it is definitely telling you something but in a good way.  So let's dig in and find out why we get these bad vibes.

 

Your vehicle has a way of letting you know when something's wrong. Consider a vibrating steering wheel. It certainly didn't do that when it was new, so that shake is trying to tell you something.

There are a few things that can cause your steering wheel to vibrate as you drive down the road.  One of the most common is out-of-balance tires.  You may not only feel that wobble in your steering wheel, you might also feel it in the tires.  Sometimes it's not there when you're driving at lower speeds through residential areas, and sometimes it starts when you hit highway speeds. 

So what is tire balance anyway?  Well, you have a rubber tire that fits around a metal wheel.  It should have the same weight all the way around.  If it doesn't, it will start getting the shakes.  Ever load your washing machine so that all the clothes are at one side of that drum that spins?  When it hits the spin cycle, it can throw that washer against the wall. 

That's the same thing that's happening with an out-of-balance tire/wheel combination.  A technician has special equipment to figure out where to put small weights on the wheel to get things back in balance again.  But it could be that you hit a pothole some time ago and bent the rim.  Or your tire isn't as round and even as it once was.  That could be due to age, damage or wear and tear. The technician will know and offer you options.

Another possibility for that vibrating wheel is a faulty brake, such as warped rotors or a sticky caliper.  All of these issues can be evaluated as part of regular, routine maintenance with us.  There are many things that cause vibrations in your wheels.  But you don't want any bad vibes when it comes to your vehicle. 

So if bad vibes are making you uncomfortable with your car, it is time to deal with them and get you vehicle an attitude adjustment and steering back in the right direction,

Duke

 

duke

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

Cayenne Knows The Right Stuff (Choosing Replacement Parts)

cay

Good day on this beautiful California day.  Cayenne here and let's face it, vehicles are complicated machines, each having thousands of parts.  They are subjected to heat, cold, vibrations, bumps, and sometimes that pesky rodent that gets up in your wires and so much more.  Don't let me get started on the rodent though.  These parts wear out and need to be replaced so you got it, we are going to bark about choosing your replacement parts when it is time.  

 

When your service advisor says you need a new part, you may have many options.  Let's say you need a new muffler.  One choice would be to get exactly the same part that was installed when the vehicle was manufactured.  The advantages are that it will perform the same way as the one it's replacing and will likely last about the same amount of time as the original.

Some mufflers are made by the same companies that supplied the automaker when your vehicle was new (they call that an OEM part—Original Equipment Manufacturer).  And often those are the same as the part you'd buy from a dealer. A reputable vehicle service facility will know which ones these are because they replace mufflers all the time and do their homework.

The good news is there are many different mufflers available from several manufacturers.  These are called aftermarket parts. Some of them may use different metals or a different construction technique. Some may sound a little sportier while some may make your engine perform better.  Your service advisor will discuss what your driving habits are and help choose the part that's best for you.

You may be able to get a part that's better than the one originally installed.  Here's an example.  A repair shop discovered one owner's vehicle had developed cracks and leaks in the hoses that attach to the heater core.  They were made of plastic, and heat and pressure had caused the originals to crack.  The service advisor recommended they replace it with an aftermarket part that was made of aluminum instead, one that was more durable than the original part.

Some aftermarket parts cost more, some cost about the same or less.  Depending on how and where you drive and what you want out of your vehicle, you can decide to buy more economical parts which might be the best fit for your needs.  Or you may decide to upgrade to a better, more expensive part.  Either way, check with Allied Auto Works on the best decision for you and your vehicle.

Now where did the rodent go,  til next week with Duke this is 

Cayenne!

 

cay

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

Duke Is Hitting The Brakes In Cupertino, Los Altos and Mt. View

duke

Whoa! Stop, look, and listen!  It is Duke and today I am putting on the brakes in the South Bay so let's get barkin'.

 

Today we talk about brakes. Hitting But the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There's also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.

Let's step back. A new vehicle or truck rolls off a local Los Altos showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.

Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles/kilometers start to add up on the vehicle. Los Altos drivers tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads and shoes on drum brakes are called the friction material. That's because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it's not until they are worn so thin as to be out of 'specs'  that they lose their ability to stop.

The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over long distances around CA, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail - a scary possibility. That's why a regular brake inspection at Allied Auto Works is important for your vehicle and your family's safety. At Allied Auto Works we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.

That leads us to brake fluid service at Allied Auto Works. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the vehicle fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at Allied Auto Works cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.

The tires are what connect the vehicle to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the more quickly you'll stop.

This is especially important on wet Los Altos area roads and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. CA vehicle owners need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.

 

Have a great day nothing is stopping you except your brakes that is,

Duke

 

duke

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

Categories:

Brakes
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