Los Altos Auto Repair

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Duke's Automotive Tips: Diagnostic Service

duke

Hey, it's Duke, and imagine waking up one morning with a stomach ache, may one too many bones the night before.  So pick up the phone, call the doctor’s office and say, “I’ve got a really bad tummy ache. How much will it cost to make me feel better?” Of course you wouldn’t do that. You know that there could be a lot of reasons for your symptoms and that the doctor will have to examine you, ask some questions and probably run some tests before she can tell you what’s wrong and give you treatment options.

This same scenario plays out every day at CA auto repair facilities. When the cause of the concern isn’t obvious, the car will need to undergo a diagnostic examination. The typical car has about 30,000 parts, including several networked computers and miles of wiring. Finding exactly what is wrong can be very complicated and take some time. The most experienced technicians at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos are the ones who tackle the difficult diagnostic jobs. Once they have determined the cause of the trouble, they can work out the plan for how to fix it and tell you how much it will cost.

When you think about it this way, it makes perfect sense that, 1) the Allied Auto Works service advisor cannot provide an estimate before the diagnosis is done, and 2) there is a charge for auto diagnostic services in Los Altos. You expect to pay for an office visit to the doctor and for any necessary tests before you can be presented with your treatment options and costs; same goes for your vehicle.

We know it can be frustrating for Los Altos drivers when something is wrong with your car and you aren’t sure what is going to be involved in getting it fixed. We are passionate about helping you through the process, communicating with you at each step along the way. We have highly trained diagnostic technicians and technologically-advanced diagnostic equipment to uncover the cause of your trouble. We use quality replacement parts to help make sure you stay on the road after the repair is done. That’s our prescription for automotive peace of mind.


Give Allied Auto Works a call and tell them Duke sent ya and I leave you with a little bit of humor,

"Not sure if the problem just suddenly fixed itself or the check engine light stopped working too."

Duke

 

duke

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

Categories:

Exhaust

Cayenne Wants a New Vehicle. Or Do I? (Vehicle Maintenance Payoffs)

cay SHOPPING......what gal does not like to go shopping for new dog toys, leash some new sweaters?   Hi Cayenne here and lately I been thinking that maybe it's time for my owner to get a new vehicle.  I mean us dogs love our car rides and the smell of new leather but do I really need a new vehicle or is the one I have depended on these past few years still in good shape.  Well we are going to dig into this a little further today to make sure we are making the best choice in this matter.  Let's get barkin' 

 

Spring is a peak season for vehicle sales; companies aggressively market new models and offer all sorts of incentives.  So you may be tempted to buy a shiny new beauty.  But should you?

If you've regularly maintained the vehicle you're driving now, you probably don't NEED a new one.  Even if your current one needs some repairs, how do those costs compare to what you'd spend on a new vehicle?

A brand new vehicle starts to depreciate the second you drive it off the lot. How much? Experts say you'll lose half of its value during the first 5 years of owning a new vehicle. So if you pay $30,000 for a new one, you'll lose $15,000 in 5 years.  That's a lot.

If you have paid off your current vehicle, think of having to start making car payments again.  Let's say your new payment would be $350 a month.  Bet you can think of a lot of things you can buy with an extra $350 a month.

Many considering a new vehicle don't factor in how much their insurance and license tag fees will increase.  You may save yourself hundreds of dollars in insurance and license tag fees every year if you keep your old vehicle.

That gets us back to the original question.  Do you need a new vehicle? The reliability and durability of most models have made dramatic improvements in the last couple of decades.  It's not unusual for a vehicle to reliably reach the 200,000 miles/325,000 km mark these days.  That's due to new engineering in powertrains, corrosion protection, and lubricants. 

The best bet to keeping a vehicle on the road longer is scheduled regular maintenance and inspection.  Replacing parts before they fail is often cheaper than waiting till they do fail; frequently that prevents a damaging domino effect that affects other systems in the vehicle. Finding a service facility you can trust and developing a relationship with that facility ensures your scheduled service and maintenance will be done correctly, minimizing breakdowns. 

Sure, at some point you may find you need a big repair that will cost more than your vehicle is worth, or rust will destroy vital components. But it's wise to use reason rather than emotion when you're making any decision about your vehicle, and sticking with your current one could be the most sensible choice.

Old things are better than new things because they've got stories in them,

Cayenne

 

cay


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

Categories:

Inspection

Duke Answers The Question: "Why Do I Need to Change My Serpentine Belt?"

duke

Duke here and I have a lot of customers lately asking me lately "Why do I need to change my Serpentine Belt?"  Well, today I am going to bark about this so let's get started!

Any Los Altos driver who understands preventive maintenance knows that “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” is bad auto advice. Replacing a part before it breaks is much less costly for Los Altos residents than repairing the engine damage that comes after a part breaks or fails. A good example of this is the serpentine belt.

The serpentine belt gets its name because of its circuitous path around the engine. The serpentine belt is driven by the engine and powers a number of systems, as follows:

1. The serpentine belt spins the compressor that generates the cool air for the air conditioning system.
2. The serpentine belt powers the alternator. The alternator generates electricity for use in the vehicle's electrical systems and to charge the battery. Without the alternator, the battery wouldn't last more than a few miles.
3. In many Los Altos residents' vehicles, the serpentine belt runs the pumps for both the power steering and the power brakes. In other vehicles, the power steering pump may be electric and the power brakes may use a vacuum boost.
4. On many vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump keeps coolant circulating through to maintain appropriate operating temperatures. In some CA vehicles, a timing belt runs the water pump.

When a serpentine belt fails, all of these systems fail as well, which can lead to engine impact.

Replacing parts before they break saves money for Los Altos residents by preventing more repairs and the frustration of having your vehicle in the shop for an extended period of time. If you're looking for an adage to apply to good car care, you might remember the old story of how “for want of a nail, the kingdom was lost.”

Duke

 

duke

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

Categories:

Timing Belt

Cayenne's A Cold Day in Los Altos ??? ? Air Conditioning Service at Allied Auto Works

cay

Hello it's Cayenne and even though Spring is around the corner, the mornings are still chilly and most people are not even thinking about their A/C at this time.  Guess what, I here to bark to you that it's important now more than ever to make sure your A/C is in tip-top condition when those warmer California days come.  So let's chill and get barkin' on Air Conditioning Service with Allied Auto Works. 

Most Los Altos drivers worry about a breakdown or a tire blowout on a busy CA highway but don't worry too much about the failure of their air conditioning system. A breakdown on the side of the road can be a miserable and dangerous affair during Los Altos rush hour, but so can a long ride in a hot vehicle.

A lot of Los Altos drivers judge their vehicles' air conditioning systems as “non-essential” and so may neglect them in favor of repairs and maintenance that keep the vehicle running. But preventive maintenance of an air conditioning system is simple and inexpensive, while auto a/c repair can be very expensive.

Los Altos drivers should have the refrigerant in their air conditioning system checked regularly to ensure it is adequate and clean. Air conditioning systems often fail because air and water have contaminated the refrigerant. Air reduces the efficiency of the refrigerant, and water can cause rusting of the system's components. If your refrigerant is contaminated, the system should be evacuated and recharged. This will actually extend the life of your air conditioning system, preventing repairs, and keep it at peak performance.

At Allied Auto Works, we advise our Los Altos customers to run their air conditioner periodically in the winter. This will keep the seals from drying out and cracking, saving them the inconvenience of this relatively minor repair.

Check with your vehicle owner's manual or with your friendly service advisor, Matt at Allied Auto Works for information about how often your vehicle air conditioning system should be serviced.

 

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. ~Proverb

Cayenne

cay

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

Categories:

Air Conditioning

Duke's Severe Service Requirements

duke

Duke here and can you believe it; March has finally arrived and restrictions are lifting during this challenging time which also means you will be driving more.  A lot of my dog friends have asked me if their owners should be using their severe service maintenance schedule, which is in the owner's vehicle manual. It can be somewhat confusing, so I decided to consult an expert, Cricket Killingsworth.......so let's get barkin' with her today!

Cricket Killingsworth is from QMI/Heartland, a manufacturer of automotive products and fluids. She's been in the automotive business for over 30 years and is a speaker, a trainer, and a writer.

Cricket says there's so much confusion on this topic because "Most owner's manuals actually have two maintenance schedules. Sometimes these are called 'regular service' and 'severe service.' Sometimes they're simply called Schedule 1 and Schedule 2. A severe service schedule recommends that things like an oil change, air filter replacement, and transmission service be done more often: either in fewer miles or in less time."

Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers create a specific schedule for each vehicle they manufacture. So there isn't one generic schedule that applies to all vehicles. In addition to your owner's manual, Los Altos automotive repair centers (including Allied Auto Works) subscribe to information services that provide the auto maintenance schedules for every vehicle - so they can help Los Altos drivers know when to take care of needed services. Below is a typical definition of severe service.

  • Most trips are less than four miles/six and a half kilometers
  • Most trips are less than 10 miles/16 km and outside temperatures are below freezing
  • You drive regularly in very hot CA weather
  • The engine is at low speed most of the time (not on the freeway)
  • Stop and go driving
  • You drive in dusty or muddy conditions
  • You routinely tow a trailer, haul heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier around Los Altos

It's common sense for Los Altos drivers: Just a few minutes at higher speeds allows the moisture in the oil to evaporate. Very short trips, or trips of less than 10 miles when it's very cold, don't allow the engine to heat up enough to get rid of the water. And water in the oil leads to damaging sludge. Also, towing and heavy loads raise operating temperatures and cause fluids to break down faster. Dusty and muddy driving around Los Altos means that more dirt will get past the air filter to contaminate the fuel system and engine oil.

The bottom line is that you need to decide for yourself if the regular or severe service schedule is right for you, based on your driving habits. Look at your owner's manual or talk with your Allied Auto Works service advisor who can help you know which schedule to follow.

Here is what a fleet manager said recently: "Since city miles are generally tougher on vehicles than highway miles, we use the manufacturer's severe service schedule as the basis for our preventative maintenance program. We massage those schedules over time, increasing or decreasing the service intervals so that they make the most sense. There is a little bit of art to go along with the science."

Make an honest evaluation of your driving habits. Unless you do mostly CA highway driving in moderate weather, you'll likely have a fairly good amount of severe service mixed in. Some Los Altos drivers just want to play it safe and follow the severe service recommendations, rather than analyzing how they drive each month.

Ask us for help evaluating your driving and service needs and tell them Duke sent ya,

Duke

duke

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

Categories:

Maintenance

Cayenne's Tip: Why Synthetic Oil Is Good For Your Vehicles

cay

Hello CA! Cayenne here and today's vehicle care topic is: Synthetic Oil vs. Petroleum Based Oil.  You are probably wondering what is the difference and today we are going to slip into that subject.  So let's get barkin' and slide right in.

 Synthetic motor oil is a substitute for petroleum based oil. If you aren't currently using it, why not? Synthetic motor oil maximizes engine power and fuel economy. To see why, we'd need a microscope, so we'll have to settle for using our imaginations. The molecules of conventional motor oil are long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, has uniform, round molecules. Which is slipperier, a pile of pencils or a pile of marbles?

Synthetic motor oil lubricates better because there's less friction. This results in myriad benefits: better wear protection, cooler operating temperatures, more power and better fuel economy. And synthetic oil doesn't sludge up like conventional oil so it prevents those small oil passages from clogging up. (We see that too often at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos.)

Some manufacturers are extending oil change intervals for many models. The added protection of synthetic oil covers you for these longer intervals. Talk with your Allied Auto Works service advisor about how you drive in and see if he thinks you can benefit from synthetic oil for your vehicle. Also ask about the appropriate oil change interval for synthetic, because it may very well be longer than for conventional oil.

Most of us have a busy life and occasionally miss an oil change; go ahead, admit it. Since we're not perfect, doesn't it make sense to use a motor oil that's got your back?

What about price? Petroleum based oil may appear to win out on this point, but let's consider all the facts. Although synthetic oil costs more, it lasts longer, protects your vehicle engine better and increases fuel economy. You'll likely save money in the long run. If you're serious about making your vehicle last longer, consider using synthetic motor oil.

Give us a call. and remember....  "We aren't addicted to oil, but our cars are." ~ James Woolsey

Cayenne

 

cay

 

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

 

Categories:

Fluids

Duke's Cool and Smooth Transmission at Allied Auto Works

duke

Cool, well that's me, Duke, and smooth that is what you want your transmission to be.  It should shift seamlessly unless you have not been getting the fluid checked and maintained and well that is not cool.  So let's get barkin' on my cool and smooth topic today!

When it comes to preventive maintenance on our vehicles, most of us Los Altos drivers remember to get our oil changed. But services that occur at longer intervals — like transmission service — sometimes get overlooked. Yet transmission service is part of car care. A poorly maintained transmission will fail and lead to repairs.

The transmission transfers power from the engine to the drive wheels. When it's clean and well-lubricated, it gives maximum fuel efficiency. But when it gets dirty or worn down, your transmission will suffer. Your transmission relies on transmission fluid to keep everything running well.

This is why the transmission fluid must be changed periodically. Your owner's manual will give you a recommended time schedule for this service. Or, you can ask your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works service advisor. Generally, the interval is around 35,000 miles (55,000 km) or every two years. But the interval for your vehicle may be shorter or longer.

At Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, transmission fluid can usually be changed while you wait and is simple and not particularly expensive. Compared to the cost of transmission repairs or a new transmission, it's downright cheap! So take some good auto advice from the team at Allied Auto Works and take care of your transmission. It will pay you back in a longer, smoother ride.

and remember.....If you've gotta think about being cool, you ain't cool

Duke

duke

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

Categories:

Transmission

Cayenne's Suspension Service at Allied Auto Works

cay

Hey it's Cayenne and when you hear the word suspension, you may think back to those energetic days of grade school but I'm here to bark to you how important your suspension is to your vehicle and Suspension Service; well that's where my team at Allied Auto Works comes in, so let's get barkin' on Suspension Service and get ready for a bumpy ride.

Well, your vehicle's suspension is actually a good thing because it keeps your vehicle up off the road and helps provide a comfy ride around Los Altos. Its job is to keep your wheels firmly planted over bumps and through curves. Your suspension system has many parts. If you look under your vehicle, it's basically everything that connects your wheels to the vehicle's frame. These are heavy-duty parts that do a lot of work. They need to be inspected for damage and excessive wear at least once a year. A good time for this is when you get your annual alignment service at Allied Auto Works.

Here are some warning signs of suspension problems:

  • the car pulls to one side
  • it wanders
  • the steering is erratic
  • you see uneven tire wear
  • you experience a poor ride or handling
  • you see oil leaking from shocks

Basically, you just don't feel in control when you're driving.

Some suspension parts just wear out with use. Shocks and struts eventually lose their ability to control your ride. Wheel bearings need to be repacked every couple of years. And some suspension pieces need to be lubricated when you get your oil changed. Your service advisor at Allied Auto Works can perform an inspection and tell you what problems you may have.

If you're in an accident, your suspension can be damaged or knocked out of alignment. Even a minor accident, like hitting a curb around Los Altos or even a large rock can mess things up for drivers. With a minor accident it's tempting for many to just get an alignment or wheel balance to correct the problem. But if there's damage, a simple alignment won't actually fix the problem, and you'll just have to align it again after the repairs are made. So if you have an accident, get your suspension system inspected right away. Suspension problems are a major safety issue because they can lead to unsafe handling.

One big cause of suspension damage for Los Altos drivers is potholes – those nasty magnets that form in roads in freezing weather. They seem to draw our tires right into them. Here are some tips for avoiding damage from potholes: First, keep your tires at their full air pressure. That gives tires their maximum resiliency and will hopefully keep your wheels or other suspension parts from crunching on a big hole. Next, just pay attention. When you see a hole you can't miss, slow down before you hit it. Driving at a slower speed will limit the damage and may keep your drink from spilling. But avoid the temptation to brake directly over the pothole. That will cause the car's weight to shift forward and add to the potential damage.

Now, aren't you glad I helped smooth over any confusion you had on suspension,

Cayenne

 

cay

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

Categories:

Shocks & Struts

Duke's Fuel Saving Tip: Tune Up Duke Style

duke

It's me Duke and today I am going to bark to the tune about fuel saving. Have you ever gone to listen to an orchestra? The musicians take the stage early and tune their instruments. Each individual instrument must be in tune, but the critical thing is for the entire orchestra to be in tune with each other. That's why they tune up together.


Now this is no surprise; I'm going to relate the orchestra to your vehicle. Your engine has many component systems that each need to be working properly. And the components need to be working in sync, all timed up together in order for the engine to work efficiently.

We call this... (ta-da) a tune-up. When an orchestra's out of tune you get a bad concert. When your vehicle's out of tune you get bad performance and bad fuel economy.

So check your owner's manual for recommended tune-up intervals. Or ask your Los Altos service advisor at Allied Auto Works what he thinks.


...Just be careful not to say you want to make beautiful music together – that kinda makes us uncomfortable.

Duke  duke

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

Categories:

Fuel System

Cayenne Keeps Her Cool: Air Conditioning Service In Winter???? What?

cay

Hey, Cayenne here and I love to keep my cool even in the car during winter by putting on the Air Conditioner.  What???? you say.  Well believe it or not you should run your A/C in the winter.  So let's find out why and get barkin'!

 

Most Los Altos drivers don't even think about their air conditioner.

Now here's a tip for Los Altos vehicle owners: Run your air conditioner every so often during CA winters. This circulates the lubricant to help keep the seals from drying out.

The air conditioner actually removes some of the moisture in the air. So if you have trouble with fogging on your vehicle windshield during CA winters or during a rain storm, running the A/C on the defrost setting should help. Now on some Los Altos cars you can't run the A/C at the same time as the defroster. Don't ask me why, but I suspect lawyers were involved.

Also, air and water can get into the A/C system. That can reduce the efficiency of the system and also lead to corrosion that causes damage. Los Altos drivers should periodically purge the system and replace the refrigerant to remove the air and water.

CA drivers would be wise to learn the early warning signs of A/C trouble: 1) The air's not as cold as it used to be. 2) It makes unusual noises when the A/C cycles on. Those are signs to get your vehicle into Allied Auto Works in Los Altos before the damage gets worse.

By following the recommended service intervals in your vehicle owner's manual, you can help prevent mechanical failure of your air conditioning system. Your A/C system contains some components like the compressor, condenser, dryer, etc. Anything Los Altos car owners can do to lengthen the life of their A/C is well worth it. 

 

I leave you with this wisdom I know:  "You know it's cold outside when you go outside and it's cold."

Cayenne  

cay

 

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

Categories:

Air Conditioning
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