Los Altos Auto Repair

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Yearly Archives: 2018

Cayenne Asks: Is It Time to Replace Your PCV Valve?

 

 

cayWhat time is it?  Maybe it's time for your PCV Valve to be replaced.    Cayenne here and today we will bark about when is it time to replace the PCV Valve.  So let's watch the video below.

The crankcase is the lower part of the engine where the crankshaft is housed and where the engine oil lives. The crankshaft is connected to the pistons that power the engine.


When you are diving around Los Altos, fuel is burned in your vehicle engine, it pushes the pistons down and the crankshaft rotates and sends power to the transmission. Some of the explosive gases from combustion squeeze past the pistons and down into the crankcase.

Now this gas is about 70% unburned fuel. If it were allowed to remain in the crankcase, it would contaminate the oil and quickly turn it to sludge. Sludge is like Vaseline and clogs passages in the engine, leading to damage.

Also, the pressure build up would blow out seals and gaskets. So in the old days, there was just a hose that vented the crankcase out into the air. Obviously, not good for our air quality in Los Altos, CA.

Enter the PCV valve. It's a small, one-way valve that lets out the gases from the crankcase and routes them back into the air intake system where they are re-burned in the engine. Fresh air comes into the crankcase through a breather tube. This makes for good circulation in the crankcase. And that gets the air out. As you can imagine, however, the valve gets gummed up over time.

Your vehicle manufacturer usually recommends they be changed somewhere between 20,000 to 50,000 miles/30,000 to 80,000 kilometers. Unfortunately, PCV valve replacement is left out of some vehicle owner's manuals, but your friendly service advisor Matt or Travis at Allied Auto Works, we will make sure your PVC is replaced if needed.

Happy Motoring

Cayenne           cay

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

Categories:

Parts

Duke's Question Of The Week: "What is a TSB?" (Technical Service Bulletins)

dukeDuke here and do you know what TSB stands for?  No, it's not for Tasty Sirloin Bone even though that sounds good to me!  TSB is short Technical Service Bulletins and today we will bark on what this can mean for you and car, so let's get that barkin' going.

If your vehicle had something in its design or production that the manufacturer had figured out had an unanticipated problem, you'd want to know about it. And you'd want it fixed. There is something that can help drivers with just such a scenario. It's called a Technical Service Bulletin, or TSB.

Here's what a TSB is. Vehicle design and manufacturing is a very complex process. Aftrer every vehicle is introduced, the more units there are on the road, the more likely weaknesses in parts or design will start to show up.

Automakers gather data on the issues and how best to fix them. Then they send out TSBs (usually in the first year of the new model) so technicians will know to look for those problems and what to do about them. There may be more than one cause of a problem with a vehicle so there may be more than one TSB for an issue.

A TSB can be issued for anything from failing water pumps to strange noises to smelly headliners. A TSB and a recall aren't the same thing. A recall is issued if there's a problem that could cause harm to people or if it creates illegal emissions. The manufacturer pays for a safety defect to be fixed, and the repair is usually performed at a dealership.

But when a Technical Service Bulletin is issued, it's because there's a pattern of some system not working the way it should. If a vehicle is under warranty and the problem can be diagnosed in a specific vehicle, the manufacturer will probably pay for the repair. But there may be limits. Take one case with certain models of a minivan. Some wheel bearings were failing prematurely, so the manufacturer extended the warranty on them to 5 years or 90,000 miles/145,000 km. After that, the owner bore the cost. In some cases, a manufacturer will reimburse owners for a repair already done at an independent service facility.

You may have a vehicle that is no longer covered by a warranty but a TSB has been issued for a certain problem. In that case, any service facility can perform the service. At Allied Auto Works, your service advisor will have access to TSBs that have been issued for your vehicle's year and model. They will help the technician diagnose it if your vehicle has the issue. The TSB will also have advice for the best repair procedure to get your vehicle working the way it should.

Now I am off the the TSB  Cafe for Dogs and yes that does stand for Tasty Sirloin Bone!  

This is the Duke    duke nose

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

Cayenne's Automotive Tips: When to Replace Your Wiper Blades

cay Hi Cayenne here and today I am going to keep it short and sweep,  yes I said sweep as in your wiper blades and when to replace them now that we are entering in Fall.  So before you yawn, let's get barkin'!

There are several important factors that go into how often Los Altos drivers should replace their wiper blades. Of course, the more you use your wipers, the faster the blades will wear out – especially if you use them on an icy windshield. Whether it’s a lot of bugs and road grime from CA freeway driving or lots of wet weather – your blades get a work out and start to wear.

But your wiper blades break down even when they aren’t used frequently. They are damaged by sunlight and temperature changes as well. The rubber in the blades can dry out and crack and eventually fall apart. Check your wipers: If they’re not doing their important job, have them replaced at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos.

Talk to your Allied Auto Works service advisors, Matt and Travis about how you drive - we can counsel you on the optimal blades for your needs.

May you see everything clearly now,

Cayenne     cayy


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

Duke's Positive Crankcase Ventilation - PCV Valve Service at Allied Auto Works

duke

Hello Los Altos!    Duke here and did you know that the first federally-mandated emissions control device was introduced in the 1960's? The Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve, or PCV valve, has been installed in CA vehicles since 1964 and represents the first legislation by the United States government to regulate harmful emissions as well as to improve performance in the country's vehicles.  So today we will bark PCV and what it means for you and your vehicle.  So let's get barkin'!



The PCV valve, as you can probably guess, is located on the crankcase. The crankcase is the lowest part of a vehicle's engine. It houses the crankshaft and the engine oil. The crankshaft connects to the pistons that power the engine.

Pistons are pushed down when fuel is burned in an engine. This causes the crankshaft to rotate, which sends power to the transmission.  It ultimately turns the axles and causes the vehicle to move. Some of the gases released by the burning fuel squeeze around the pistons and down into the crankcase.

If the escaped gases mix with the engine oil in the crankcase, oil sludge develops. This sludge has the consistency of petroleum jelly and can cause damage by clogging up passageways in the engine. Further, escaped gases can build up pressure inside the crankcase that can blow out seals and gaskets.

Before 1964, a hose was attached to the crankcase that vented escaped gases out into the air. These gases contained about 70% unburned fuel as well as harmful emissions. The PCV valve was designed to curb these harmful emissions as well as recapture unburned fuel.

The PCV valve is a small, one-way valve that allows escaped gases to exit the crankcase. The gases are then routed into the intake system so they can be re-burned in the engine. Fresh air enters the crankcase through a breather tube to facilitate this circulation and keep the air in the crankcase clean.

The PCV valve, like most working parts on a vehicle, will wear out over time. Usually it simply gets gummed up. Preventive maintenance, including routine oil changes at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, will extend the life of the valve, but eventually it will have to be replaced. A sticking PCV valve won't allow gases to circulate properly, which can increase pressure in the crankcase. Over time, that pressure will lead to oil leaks.

Your vehicle manufacturer recommends that a PCV valve be replaced every 20,000 to 50,000 miles (32,000 to 80,000 kilometers), depending on the vehicle and Los Altos driving conditions. It's an inexpensive repair but may not be included in the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual.  So if you're looking for auto advice about the PCV valve, you may have to ask our pros at Allied Auto Works.

duke

Taking care of our PCV valve protects the environment in CA and improves vehicle performance. It's just part of good vehicle care for Los Altos drivers and a way all of us can do our part to improve the world we live in.

Duke

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

Categories:

Exhaust

Cayenne Asks, " Hey Los Altos, How Many Miles Are on Your Car?"

cayCayenne here and do sometimes you feel you have put on a lot of miles for the week just doing your daily routine, well how about your car.  Have you checked recently how many miles you put on your vehicle in just a week.  It gets tired too so we need to make sure we are taking care of our vehicles to keep us going through the week so let's get barkin' on this mile long subject!

 



Nowadays, Los Altos drivers are paying more at CA gas pumps. For some families it adds up to several hundred dollars every month. That's got to come out of the budget somewhere. This is one of the reasons many CA drivers are putting off buying a new car. They plan on keeping their old vehicle for a year or two longer than before.

Even now, 2/3 of the personal vehicles on our local Los Altos, CA, roads have over 75,000 miles (120,000 kilometers) on them. The average age of vehicles is over nine years. And most people in the Los Altos area can't afford to be stranded or inconvenienced by a breakdown. So following a regular maintenance schedule, like personal diet and exercise plans, is actually critical to preserving your investment.

Determining what to do for a higher-mileage vehicle can be challenging because many owner's manuals don't publish service intervals after 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers). Thus, Los Altos drivers need to be better at keeping records and planning for preventive maintenance.

You can start by figuring that services with a recommended interval should still be performed on that interval, even after you're past the tables in your service manual. For example, a service might be recommended every 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers). Well, just keep doing it every 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers) for as long as you have your car.

Now higher mileage engines operate under more stress. Some CA automotive experts suggest that the severe service schedule is more appropriate and that routine service should be performed at shorter intervals. Check with your owners' manual or service advisor at Allied Auto Works to see if the severe service schedule is right for your vehicle.

And keeping current with your full-service oil change schedule is important for a couple of reasons. First, older engines have had more time to build up oil sludge. Skipping an oil change here and there can really compound the problem for your vehicle.

Another equally important reason is that your other fluids are routinely checked and topped off. Power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant and transmission fluid can be kept at optimal levels even though the older seals and gaskets are leaking more than when they were new.

And speaking of older seals and gaskets: they start to dry out and become more brittle with age. You may want to consider using high mileage formulation oil and fluids. These products contain  additives to condition seals and gaskets to keep them from leaking. The high mileage formulations cost more than standard products, but they are well worth it in terms of preventing serious repair bills down the road.

Older vehicles in the Los Altos, CA, area need repairs and replacements that newer ones don't: things like timing belts, radiator hoses, suspension work, anti-lock brakes, air bags, water pumps, alternators and batteries. That may seem like a lot of stuff to have done, but it works out to be cheaper than new car payments.

With a high-mileage vehicle, a couple of relationships will become pretty important to Los Altos drivers. The first is with your service advisor at Allied Auto Works. You need someone you trust to take care of your car and be mindful of your needs. Ask for help to develop a plan to keep your vehicle road-worthy that works within your budget and for the Los Altos, CA, area driving conditions. 


The next relationship is with your vehicle itself. We're not talking about naming your car or tucking it in at night. We just mean - pay attention and get to know your vehicle. Notice unusual sounds, smells, vibrations, etc. Then you can describe the changes to your service advisors Matt and Travis at Allied Auto Works and head off problems. We can't do anything about the price of gas, but we can properly maintain Old Faithful to keep it safely and economically on the local Los Altos roads.

Well I'm off for my mile run today and before I go, I better fuel up on some tasty treats.....now where did I hide those extra bones?

Cayenne     cay

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

Duke's Guide to Vehicle Diagnosis

dukeHey it's Duke and today I am going to guide you about Vehicle Diagnosis the Duke way..... so let's get barkin'!

Modern Los Altos vehicles have several computers on board that control all kinds of things like engine functions, transmission shifts, traction control, anti-lock brakes, stability control, emissions – and on some vehicles, even steering, braking and the throttle.

Think about that for a minute – things that used to be controlled by simple mechanical connections now have electronic controls that rely on computers, software and sensors. It's no wonder that when something goes wrong with their vehicle it can be pretty complicated for Los Altos drivers to track down the source of the problem.

To help your service advisor at Allied Auto Works figure out what's wrong, your vehicle is equipped with on-board diagnostics. The Check Engine light comes on to tell you there's a problem and the engine management computer stores a trouble code. Your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works technician connects a scan tool to your vehicle's diagnostic port and retrieves the trouble codes as well as other important data.

Trouble codes are like clues for the technician to follow as he diagnoses what's wrong with your vehicle. In a way, it's like going to your Los Altos doctor with a problem. She'll run some additional tests and gather the information she needs to make a diagnosis and form a treatment plan. How much a vehicle diagnosis costs at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos depends on how much time it takes to sort out the symptoms and find the underlying problem.

Give Allied Auto Works a call today and tell them The Duke was your guide!  duke


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

Categories:

Diagnostics

Cayenne Schools You On Using Proper Fluids in Your Vehicle

cay

Good day, this is Cayenne and today I am barking about the proper fluids for your vehicle. It's become more complicated with changes in automotive design and manufacturing. It's not that people in Los Altos and that South Bay are confused as much as they don't realize how much things have changed in recent years.  So let's get barkin' on this subject!

 

If you have questions about the fluids in your vehicle, please don't hesitate to stop by Allied Auto Works. You can find us on 2073 Grant Road in Los Altos, CA 94024.
Just give us a call at 650.968.7227.

Let's take engine oil. Twenty or 30 years ago, there were just a handful of different weights of oil. The weight of an oil is a scientific measure of its properties, particularly its viscosity or thickness.

It was common in those days to use a lighter weight oil in the winter when it's cold outside. That way the oil would be able to splash around inside the engine and protect the parts before it was fully warmed up. And a heavier weight oil would be used in the summer. The thicker oil wouldn't thin out too much in the summer heat and vaporize in the engine.

Modern valve trains have become very complicated with more moving parts and small passages than ever before. The valve train is in the top of the engine, so when the vehicle has been turned off for a while, the oil tends to run down to lower areas.  That means the valve train parts are vulnerable at start-up, before the oil starts circulating.

So new weights of oil have been introduced to meet the engineering specifications of these newer engines.

Manufacturers are recommending specific weights of oil. The recommendation is often printed on the oil fill cap. It's certainly in the owner's manual. Of course, Allied Auto Works in Los Altos can look it up for you.

It's more important than ever to have the correct weight of oil. The wrong weight could actually harm the engine.

Other fluids are also becoming more sophisticated. In the last few years new types of transmission, power brake fluid and coolant have all been introduced for some of the same reasons as for engine oil.

In addition, vehicle manufacturers are now using a wider variety of materials in these systems. Looking at the cooling system as an example, it used to be that the parts were all made out of steel or iron and the hoses were rubber. Now, some parts are plastic, aluminum or other materials.

So the anti-corrosion additives contained in the coolant, or anti-freeze, need to be different in order to protect the different materials used to make the cooling system. If you use the wrong coolant that wasn't formulated to protect your plastic cooling system parts, they could become corroded and fail. And if you're using the wrong coolant, your cooling system won't be covered under warranty. So it's important to use the right coolant and to not mix different types.

Your owner's manual or service advisor at Allied Auto Works can make sure you're using the right type. You may have heard of universal coolant. Universal, or global, coolant can be added to other types without harmful reactions. That's OK for an emergency top off, but following your manufacturer's recommendation for your vehicle or other auto type is always a safe bet.

In the area of brake fluid, there are a couple of new formulations. It's important to remember that the new ones aren't better than the old ones. They're just different formulations for different vehicles. So if your vehicle calls for DOT 3, using DOT 4 or DOT 5 is not an upgrade. Use the recommended formula.

There are fluid formulations for vehicles with higher mileage. These are special engine oil, transmission fluid and so on that contain additives to condition and restore seals and gaskets in older engines.

They're fine to use as long as they're a variant of the proper fluid. In other words you can use a high mileage engine oil as long as it's also the correct weight recommended by the manufacturer. Same goes for transmission fluid; as long as it's the right type for your transmission.

Well I hope you education on proper fluids is up to speed now, til next week this is Cayenne!

cay

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

 

Categories:

Fluids

Duke Asks "Will Proper Auto Maintenance at Allied Auto Works Really Save Gas?"

dukeHi it's Duke here and have you ever thought about all the little things we do to keep our lives running smoothly like making sure the dog has enough biscuits or like vacuuming? I t makes  us dogs happy and a room feel fresher and more comfortable. We may not consider that we're also prolonging the life of the carpet by keeping it clean  and the dog from destroying the carpet .    But Los Altos drivers don't always extend those good habits into the garage. Our vehicles need regular maintenance just like our rugs need vacuuming and our dogs biscuits. We may not notice a difference in the feel or appearance of the vehicle, but just as cleaning a carpet carries the hidden reward of prolonging its life, maintaining our vehicles incurs a hidden reward that becomes noticeable .

When it comes to reduced fuel economy, there are two culprits: increased friction and inefficient fuel combustion. That means that anything Los Altos drivers can do to decrease friction and increase the efficiency of their engines will translate to savings on fuel. Friction increases the amount of energy it takes to move something. So if we can reduce friction, we can decrease the amount of fuel it takes to run our vehicles. Engine oil is usually at the heart of friction problems in an engine. Too little oil means parts are not getting lubricated, which increases friction; dirty oil doesn't lubricate as well as clean oil. So one secret to good fuel efficiency is to stay on top of oil changes. Don't skip them and don't procrastinate. The same auto advice applies to transmission fluid. Keep it full and keep it clean, and your vehicle will run with less friction and better fuel economy.

If your tires are underinflated, it increases the friction between the tire and the road. Again, there is increased drag, and it takes more fuel to move your vehicle. Los Altos drivers should check their tire pressure every month and keep their tires properly inflated.

Alignment and brake problems can also increase friction. Besides saving fuel, keeping these systems in good repair has the added benefit of saving you on tires and brake pads. These items wear out more quickly when the alignment is off or when the brake system isn't in good working order. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable service advisors' Matt and Travis at Allied Auto Works.

The second culprit that stealthily steals our gas is inefficient fuel combustion. It depends on the engine getting the right amount of clean fuel to the right place with the right pressure at the right time in the right pattern. The key to peak engine performance is to keep the fuel system clean. Varnish and gum can build up in a fuel system, which will interfere with the fuel injectors. The fuel injectors are responsible for all those “rights” we spoke of. If they're dirty, amounts, timing, pressure and spray patterns can all get out of whack. The result? Reduced fuel efficiency. A fuel system cleaning at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos can get your injectors back on track, improving performance and efficiency.

There are a few other maintenance items that can improve your fuel economy. One is to replace your PCV valve when it gets sticky. This valve allows unburned fuel in your engine exhaust to return to the engine. Los Altos drivers can also replace worn spark plugs and dirty fuel filters. A well-maintained vehicle will require fewer repairs and save at Los Altos gas pumps.

and don't forget those BISCUITS!!!!!   DUKE

Duke

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

 

Categories:

Fuel Economy

Cayenne's Advice On Fall and Spring Inspection at Allied Auto Works

cay CAYENNE here and I know it is still Summer but Fall will be here before you know it, I mean look the kids are going back to school already.......what it's not even Labor Day, well that's another story.  So today, I am going to bark to you about Fall and Spring Inspections.   So let's get barkin'!!!!!

Good vehicle care for us Los Altos residents has always meant taking our vehicles in every spring and fall for a check-up. Vehicles needed routine maintenance to prepare them for the changes in weather. Today's vehicles aren't quite as sensitive to seasonal changes. Older vehicles required different weights of oil for summer and winter. But today's engines can run on the same oil all year. Both the engines and the oils have been improved.

Antifreeze—or coolant as it's also called—protects the engine from both freezing and hot temperatures and thus is required by the engine year-round. Modern coolants don't have to be changed as often as they did in the past, but your owner's manual has a recommendation for when it should be replaced to extend cooling system life.

Getting a spring and fall checkup at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos for your vehicle is still good auto advice.

First of all, there is a lot of preventive auto maintenance involved in properly caring for a vehicle. Dropping your vehicle off twice a year at Allied Auto Works for a quick inspection and routine maintenance is still part of good vehicle care. The changes in the CA seasons can provide a good reminder that it's time to get the vehicle serviced, just as they remind us that it's time to take care of the furnace or air conditioner, purchase school clothes or bathing suits, drag out or put away the coats and boots.

There are other advantages to spring and fall maintenance for Los Altos residents. Springtime signals the advent of warmer weather. Although modern coolant is designed to last longer than one season, it's a good idea to check it regularly to ensure you have enough. While you're at it, your vehicle should also be checked for leaks and worn hoses in the cooling system.

Summer is the time when most of us Los Altos residents take vacations or go on road trips. So a spring check-up for our vehicles can lead to a stress-free summer and better memories on the road.

Fall, of course, signals the advent of colder weather in the Los Altos area. This is a good time for a routine battery check. The hot weather of summer takes a toll on battery life – then comes winter. Cranking up a cold engine takes a lot more battery power than starting a warm one. So before that cold weather hits, it's a good idea to check your battery and replace it if necessary. But your tires aren't completely adapted to changing weather conditions. If you live where temperatures drop below 45°F (7°C) in the winter, or if your commute frequently takes you through snow or ice, you may want to consider changing to winter tires in the fall.

A fall check-up at Allied Auto Works, just like a spring check-up, can keep you on the road no matter what CA weather brings. Consider how much a worry-free summer vacation and a less stressful Los Altos winter commute are worth to you. Then, spring and fall, reset your clocks, change the batteries in your smoke detectors and take your vehicle in for a check-up.  

Oh, and also make sure you restock on some good dog treats for me, til next week this is Cayenne,

cay

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

Categories:

Maintenance

Duke Helps You Stay Safe in Los Altos by Putting Your Cell Phone on ICE

duke

Hi it's Duke and today I am going to bark to you about  staying safe  with your cell phone on ICE.

 I know we don't want to think about it, but each Los Altos resident who drives or rides in a vehicle is potentially an accident victim. In the worst-case scenario, those people are unconscious and unable to communicate with CA rescue workers.    

Rescue workers and Los Altos police are well aware of this difficulty, even if the rest of us don't stop to think about it. They can all recount stories of searching through glove compartments, pockets, wallets, purses and cell phone directories for a person's name and for contact information for someone who can help them get the person the medical care they need.

This contact information is critical in an accident because Los Altos medical workers need to know about allergies and potential drug interactions. Also, in CA, some medical treatments can't be provided without authorization or consent, and there can be insurance and billing issues if the person's medical care is not properly arranged.

ICE provides a solution for these concerns. ICE stands for In Case of Emergency and is a way for others to quickly identify emergency contacts in your cell phone.

Bob Brotchie, a paramedic from Cambridge, England, developed the idea for ICE in 2005. It soon spread around the globe. The system is simple, affordable and highly functional. Los Altos rescue workers can tell you that they can't always find purses and wallets at the scene of an accident. But these days, almost no one in CA goes anywhere without their phone.

To add ICE to your phone, simply put ICE in front of the names of those people who should be contacted in case you are in an emergency. For example, “ICE-Dad,” or “Ice-Deborah,” or “ICE-Dr. Mitchell.” Los Altos rescuers can quickly identify and access this information, saving valuable time. The only thing Los Altos drivers have to do after that is to keep their contacts current. Every time you change the batteries in your smoke alarm, it is a good idea to double-check your phone and make sure your ICE cell phone numbers are up-to-date. Of course, we'd rather avoid an accident in the first place. It's good advice to keep up with preventive maintenance (we can help you with that at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos) and practice good car care and driving habits. Those can go a long way to keeping you safe on the road. Planning for the unthinkable helps your rescuers find the information they need quickly.

Let's put the world on ICE.

Duke

duke

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

 

 

Categories:

Emergency Items
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