We are open and here for you!

Los Altos Auto Repair

Working Time: Mon - Fri: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Allied Auto Works(650) 968-7227

Yearly Archives: 2020

Duke's Fears and Gears (Signs of Automatic Transmission Problems)

dukeGood day, Los Altos, Duke here, and for a big hound dog like me, I do not fear much but when it comes to transmission problems I do fear car owners might not notice when there is a serious problem.  So fear not, I will shift in the right direction.  Let go into manual overdrive and start barkin!

Automatic transmissions rule. The old days of shifting your own gears are a thing of the past for most drivers.  But automatic transmission trouble can be a big inconvenience for any driver if it comes at the wrong time in the wrong place.  Here are some signs to look out for that may mean you are having transmission issues.

When you are driving, your vehicle seems to slip in and out of gear without you touching anything.  That's what some call, not surprisingly, a "slipping transmission." 

When your vehicle shifts from one gear to the next, you hear a loud "clunk." Transmissions are supposed to be nearly silent when they shift, so that noise is telling you something is wrong. 

If you notice there's a puddle of some fluid under your vehicle, your transmission could be leaking fluid.  Try to figure out what color it is (try putting a piece of cardboard underneath to capture some of the fluid).  If it is red or brown, that's a sign it could be transmission fluid. Sometimes you may smell the transmission fluid, too; it has what some consider a "sweet" odor.

You may have a warning light that goes on when your transmission fluid is low (it could be a special transmission symbol or simply the Check Engine light).  That light could also mean the fluid is too hot or has low pressure.

If you shift your vehicle into D (for Drive) and it doesn't move or slowly engages after some delay, you may be seeing the start of a serious problem.

Of course, you don't want a malfunctioning transmission to strand you at some inopportune time. So if your vehicle is showing any of these signs, arrange a time for a technician to check it out.  Not only are broken transmissions an inconvenience, but they can also be a safety hazard, too. 

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

Duke

duke

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

Categories:

Transmission

Cayenne's Cooling Subject "The Water Pump"

cay

Another hot summer California day!  Hi Cayenne here and I thought I would cool you off with knowledge on your water pump.  

Your cooling system is very important. It circulates coolant through the radiator and your engine to protect your vehicle from overheating. There are five main components to the cooling system:

  • the radiator
  • the radiator cap
  • the hoses
  • the thermostat
  • the water pump

The water pump's like the heart of your cooling system, circulating the fluid throughout your vehicle. It's a small pump that's driven by the engine; usually by belt, but sometimes by a chain or gear.

The water pump only operates when the engine's running. Water pump failure is pretty routine. We see it often at Allied Auto Works. Some start failing at around 40,000 miles/64,000 km, but most fail by 100,000 miles/160,000 km. Consult your owner's manual or friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Allied Auto Works to see what's recommended.

Since a water pump either works or it doesn't, you need to change it when it fails. Water pumps fail in one of two ways: the bearings fail or they begin to leak. It's possible to have a leak from a cracked water pump, but it usually leaks at the gasket where it attaches to the engine.

So how can Los Altos drivers tell when the water pump is failing? If you can hear a low-pitched grinding sound coming from the water pump, it's got a problem. If you can see coolant in that area, you've got a leak.

Some water pumps are driven off the timing belt. They might be under a plastic cover so you can't see the water pump. Look for coolant on the driveway. If you see some, have Allied Auto Works check it out.

Most timing belts need to be changed at 60,000 miles/97,000 km – some longer. It's a good idea to change your water pump at the same time if it's one of those that's driven off the timing belt. To start with, 90% of the work's already done with the timing belt change. And if you don't and develop a leak later, you'll have to change the belt again along with the water pump because the belt will have been contaminated by the leaking coolant.

Allied Auto Works can replace a failed water pump with a brand-spankin' new one or with a rebuilt pump. Rebuilt will save you some money, but ask your service advisor at Allied Auto Works what he thinks. Don't feel too bad if your water pump gives out. They will all wear out eventually. We can get you back on the road and on with your life.

Now go chill,

Cayenne   cay

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

Categories:

Cooling System

Duke Answers The Question, "Why Is My Check Engine Light On?"

duke

Duke here and today we will decode the mystery of "Why is My Check Engine Light On?"  Let's get barkin' and unravel its' mystery.

The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some Los Altos drivers and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most people.


Let's get the urgency issues out of the way first. If your Check Engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause engine damage. Naturally, you need to get that taken care of right away. If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn't drive at high speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to your Los Altos service center.

Why

If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn't go off, schedule an appointment with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Allied Auto Works to get it checked out.

Some more information on how the Check Engine light works may be helpful for Los Altos drivers. Most of your engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition, and even the way you drive.

In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range, the computer runs some tests and may turn on the vehicle's Check Engine light.

A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The computer doesn't know if it's a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine light.

Now when you tighten up the gas cap, the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since a bad reading didn't come up again, it turns off the Check Engine light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it'll then turn off the Check Engine light.

If the problem can't be resolved then the light will remain on, and you should get your vehicle looked at. Your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Allied Auto Works will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.

 

Mystery Solved,

Duke

duke

 

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

Cayenne Reminds You It Is Time to Check Your Intervals

cay

What a Beautiful Summer day here in Los Altos!  Hi, Cayenne here and today we will bark about making time to check for your service intervals just like you make time to have your teeth cleaned or a physical done during the year to keep healthy and for maintenance.  Your car works the same way so let's get barkin'.

Part of the engineering that goes into designing a vehicle is testing the components to ensure that they meet durability and safety standards. Because of this, manufacturers have a good idea as to how long the parts in your vehicle will last under normal driving conditions. For this reason, they give us guidelines to follow regarding how often to inspect the various parts and systems on our vehicles.

Vehicular components are required to meet certain standards. The government mandates some of these standards. Others are set by the auto industry. Recommended car maintenance schedules are designed to help Los Altos vehicle owners maintain these standards. Disregarding routine maintenance or procrastinating preventive maintenance will result in lowered performance and reduced safety for a vehicle.

Maintenance schedules are designed to ensure three areas of automotive performance for Los Altos drivers: protection of the vehicle itself, efficiency, and safety.

Protection

Your vehicle's components need protection from dirt, road damage, rust, corrosion, fuel, and combustion by-products. Protective components include filters and fluids.

Most of the fluids in your vehicle are there to keep the vehicle running smoothly and to protect the vehicle from corrosion, damage, or harmful contaminants. These fluids need to be changed regularly in order to continue protecting your vehicle.

For example, motor oil lubricates your engine; that keeps it running well, but it also contains detergents and other additives that clean your engine and protect it from corrosion. Your vehicle's engine was engineered for the best performance with a specific weight and type of motor oil. Los Altos drivers should always be careful to use the right motor oil for their engine.

Over time, the additives in motor oil are depleted, and the oil becomes contaminated by dirt, water, and waste gases from combustion. So in order to keep your engine clean and to continue to protect it from corrosion, the oil has to be changed periodically.

Efficiency

Over time, your vehicle's systems will get dirty and parts will wear down. Cleaning dirty systems and replacing worn parts will improve the efficiency of your vehicle, which is usually measured in terms of and power output.

For example, your fuel system components gradually get clogged up with gum and varnish from gasoline. This restricts fuel flow, which lowers your engine's efficiency. Gas mileage drops as a result. Cleaning your fuel system will restore and improve gas mileage.

Safety

Some of your vehicle's systems must be maintained for safety reasons. Your brakes are a prime example of this. Brake pads and brake fluid need to be replaced in order to ensure good braking power. Poorly maintained brakes lead to accidents.

Your owner's manual is your first resource when it comes to knowing when and how to maintain your vehicle. Of course, you can consult with your Allied Auto Works service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on how to adjust your service schedule to account for climate, local road conditions, and driving distances.

Beyond routine maintenance, your vehicle also requires regular inspections. These inspections are usually recommended at specific mileage intervals, like 15,000 or 20.000 miles (24,000 km or 32,000 km). The interval is based on the known life expectancy for particular components in your vehicle. Regular inspections will identify vehicular components that need to be repaired or replaced before damage is done to the vehicle or safety is compromised. They are also designed to safeguard the efficiency and performance of your vehicle.

The multi-point inspection that comes with a full-service oil change does not cover all of the regular inspections your vehicle needs for peak performance and safety. Check with the automotive professionals at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos to find out what additional inspections your vehicle needs and how often. 

Good car care requires regular and consistent maintenance. But good maintenance pays for itself in better and fewer repairs. It may even save your life. 

 Cayenne

 

cay

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

Categories:

Inspection

Duke Wonders Why People in Los Altos and the South Bay Hesitate to Get Their Vehicle Serviced

duke

Duke here and I have to wonder why would you hesitate to get your vehicle serviced especially if it could save you money in the long run,  take care safety issues down the road and keep your resale value and today with every going on with our  California state COV-19 guidelines to stay safe, the last thing you would want is a car you can't rely on.  So let's get barkin' on this without any hesitation!


A recent report stated that over 80 percent of the vehicles on Los Altos, Cupertino, and Sunnyvale, roads have one or more service or repair that's needed but hasn't been taken care of. Now that's a lot of undone service. That translates into something over 160 million vehicles in North America alone. Some of the neglected items are minor. Others are serious safety concerns.

There are several reasons we hesitate to take care of recommended services, especially services that our Los Altos automotive advisor recommends when we're in for something else, like an oil change.

The first issue boils down to comfort with car care. We don't always feel we know enough to make good decisions. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that vehicles are so reliable these days. They almost become an appliance. Of course, you love your vehicle, but if you don't have to worry about it breaking down all the time, you're not forced to think as much about preventive maintenance.

Perhaps your dad knew a lot about cars and always made sure they were taken care of. He was very comfortable dealing with his local Los Altos service center. People who don't know as much about cars hesitate to ask questions because they don't want to look ignorant.

It's human nature. But there's so much to know in this world, and we can't all be experts in everything. So we specialize. It's very important to ask questions of any specialist, whether it's your doctor, financial advisor or your automotive technician in Los Altos, CA.

Your service advisors, Matt and Travis at Allied Auto Works wants to answer your questions. We want you to understand the recommendation and why it needs to be done.

That brings us to the next issue; people say that they don't always know if they really need the service or if they are just being sold something.

At the heart, it speaks to trust. Do you trust your Los Altos service center and your service advisor? Trust has to be earned, and that takes time and experience. But you can shortcut the process when you realize that most of the recommendations are based on the manufacturer's maintenance schedules.

In other words, "You don't have to trust me, you can trust your owner's manual."

Your Los Altos service center has computer databases that contain the manufacturer's recommendations for almost all vehicles, so they don't need to rummage through your glove box to look for your owner's manual to know what to do.

Basically, the engineers who designed the car say, "Here's when you need to have it serviced." That's who makes the recommendation, not the technician. He's just reminding you.

Now you do need to trust your Los Altos technician's experience and judgment from time to time. When he inspects your vehicle, he may find problems or concerns. He will explain things so that you can prioritize the concerns and make a good decision about whether or not to have something done.

That brings us to the third issue; money. Often the concern is about spending the money to take care of a recommended service. Our money has many places it needs to go. And we have another list of places we want it to go. Auto maintenance isn't usually on either of those lists.

Look, everyone who works at Allied Auto Works has a family budget, too. They can relate. Maybe a little look behind the scenes would be helpful.

Service centers like Allied Auto Works invest heavily in training, diagnostic equipment, and tools so that they can make repairs and perform services as efficiently as possible. And like any other business, they have labor costs, insurance, rent, utilities, shop and office supplies, taxes, and so on.

We work hard to make sure that we diagnose the problem correctly and fix it right the first time. That's the only way we can maintain our reputation and remain in business. If we're not satisfying our customers and providing a good value, you won't come back and the service center won't be around for long.

When there is a real budget concern, your Allied Auto Works service advisor can help you prioritize the work that needs to be done and come up with a plan for taking care of it that works within your budget.

Let's say you have a serious problem with your brakes. That's a safety concern, so a technician can't ethically say, well, let's put that off for a couple of months. What they can do is take care of the brakes now and address the cabin air filter or transmission service next month.

Visit Allied Auto Works today for more information and tell them THE DUKE sent you with no hesitation.

Duke

duke

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

Categories:

Inspection

Cayenne's Watching Your Check Engine Light

cay

It's another beautiful day here in Los Altos!  Hi Cayenne here and did you know that most of the cars driving around Los Altos, CA, carry more computer power than the Apollo 121 Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969?


New cars sold in the Los Altos area have as many as 12 networked computers and over five miles (eight kilometers) of wiring. In fact, for the last decade or so, auto computers have been controlling about 85 percent of your vehicle's functions.

Cars have sensors for manifold air temperature, coolant temperature, manifold air pressure, airflow, throttle position, vehicle speed, and oxygen content. All of this electronic wizardry is pretty complicated. So how do Los Altos drivers know when there is a problem?

It's simple; the Check Engine light comes on. The computer monitors all the sensors and uses that information to decide what to adjust such as the fuel mix, spark timing, and idle speed. In addition, the computer monitors its own circuits. When it finds a fault, it turns on the Check Engine light and stores a trouble code in the computer.

It can be pretty disturbing for Los Altos drivers when the Check Engine light comes on. We wonder just how urgent it is. Generally speaking, it is not critical like a temperature or oil pressure light. When you get one of those it means STOP NOW! When the Check Engine light shows up, you should come into Allied Auto Works in Los Altos to find out what the matter is as soon as possible.

Since 1996, there has been a strong emissions control component to the Check Engine diagnostic. But if your Check Engine light flashes on and off, you know that it is more urgent and you need to get it checked immediately to prevent damage. You should slow down and avoid towing or heavy loads until you can get it checked out.

Your friendly and knowledgeable technicians at Allied Auto Works have special diagnostic equipment that will retrieve the trouble code from the computer and help him determine what is wrong. From there, we can fix it and get you back on the road.

Stop by if you're Check Engine light is on and tell them Cayenne sent ya!

cay

 

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

Categories:

Dashboard

Duke's Custom Wheels and Tires for Your South Bay Ride

duke

Duke here and today we are putting the wheels in motion.  Custom wheels and tires for your ride in the South Bay.  Now that most businesses are back open, the wheels are on the move on your vehicle.  Maybe it's time you spruce your vehicle up with something eye-catching as you roll on down the road. 

It seems like everywhere you go in the Los Altos area you see custom wheels. Big trucks, little cars, mini-vans - it doesn't matter - are expressing themselves with custom wheels. Some CA auto owners want smaller tires and wheels - some want larger - and some want them enormous. So where do you start if you want new wheels? At Allied Auto Works, we suggest you start with your budget. We know, that sounds so practical. But if the look you're after goes beyond just new tires and wheels and enters into the world of suspension modifications, you need to be prepared for the additional cost.

Let's start with something easy - you want to give your ride a unique look and the stock wheel size is just right for you. One of the concerns you will have is that the new wheels have the same offset as your vehicle factory wheels.

Your tire and wheel professional at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos can help you find the right size wheel or install adapters to make your new wheels fit. All you have to do is pick from the hundreds of styles available.

So, what about South Bay drivers who want to upsize? Well, if you want bigger wheels, but you want to keep the same overall tire diameter, that's pretty easy for the team at Allied Auto Works. The same offset concerns apply. You need to know that the tires will likely be a little bit wider than the originals and you don't want them to rub when you make sharp turns. Advice from  Allied Auto Works in Los Altos will help you avoid this.

Heading the other direction, some vehicle owners in the South Bay area like to run smaller than standard wheels and lower the suspension. All of the same fitment issues still apply as well as calibration issues. Don't think that vehicle suspension modifications are a bad thing. Many systems actually improve ride, function, and performance over the stock set-up.

Regardless of your budget, you want your vehicle to continue to do all the things you need it to do. Some of those show cars and trucks you see on TV and South Bay showrooms look good but have been modified in ways that may not suit your needs. For example, if you put large rims on your SUV with low profile tires, you may be in for busted rims if you go off-roading a lot around the Bay area. There just isn't enough sidewall to absorb the impact of thumping over rocks.

Some stuff the largest tires and wheels possible in their vehicles but have to severely restrict suspension travel so that the tires aren't rubbing all day. That can lead to a very harsh ride around CA. Again, talk with your Allied Auto Works wheel professional about all of these things: how you drive in Los Altos, what look you are going for, your budget, and what compromises you are willing to make.

At the end of the day, you're going to be rollin' out of Allied Auto Works with one sweet ride.

Duke

duke

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

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Cayenne Is Hitting The Brakes In Cupertino, Los Altos Or Where Ever You Live

 

cay

 

STOP, WHOA AND PUT THOSE BRAKES ON!  Cayenne here and today we are hitting the brakes in Cupertino, Los Altos or where ever you live.  So ease up on the brake and let's roll into this.

 

Hello Los Altos, let's talk about brakes. HittingBut 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.

So I am glad you took a BRAKE to read my blog today and found it helpful.  See you next week with Duke,

Cayenne

CAY

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

Categories:

Brakes

Duke Asks: What Happens When a Serpentine Belt Breaks?

 

duke

Duke here and today we are going to snake around the question, "What happens a serpentine belt breaks?"  Let sliver into this subject!

The serpentine belt is aptly named since it snakes around under your hood. It may lack its namesake's fangs, but it sure packs a wallop when it breaks.

The serpentine belt powers a lot of engine systems. It runs the alternator, which charges the battery; the water pump (on some vehicles), which cools the engine; the air conditioning, which cools the driver and passengers; and the power steering pump, which allows for easier steering. When the belt breaks, all of these systems shut down.

Okay, so maybe you can live without air conditioning and power steering for a while, but your battery can't live very long without an alternator, and when the cooling system goes down, your vehicle engine will overheat. That's why Los Altos drivers should never wait to get a serpentine belt replaced.

Serpentine belts are fairly inexpensive at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos. And they look downright cheap when you compare them to the cost of an overheated vehicle engine, a tow truck, time lost on the road, inconvenience, and the potential safety consequences of being stranded.

Good car care means never putting off preventive maintenance. Do yourself a favor. Ask your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works technician to glance under your hood and give that serpentine belt a quick look-over.

Duke

 

duke

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

Categories:

Timing Belt

Cayenne Helps You Budget for Maintenance in Los Altos

cay

Hi Cayenne here and today we will bark about how you need to budget the maintenance you need in your car so it doesn't break the bank and since money does not grow on trees, we could all use some help.

Sometimes busy Los Altos residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around CA in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today's automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Los Altos residents spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today's vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.

Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today's Los Altos drivers would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience, and it's likely that yesterday's Los Altos drivers didn't care much for it, either. So on today's vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Los Altos area auto service centers.

Los Altos drivers certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Vehicle care in CA  simply costs more than it used to. So if you think about it, Los Altos drivers can avoid many vehicle repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.

Just a bit of auto advice from Allied Auto Works: If you like new vehicles and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new vehicle every few years because you're afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and CA auto insurance with an older vehicle and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for preventive maintenance you have done at Allied Auto Works, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less!

“The simplest definition of a budget is "telling your money where to go.”

Cayenne

cay

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

Categories:

Maintenance
If You Are Using A Screen Reader And Are Having Problems Using This Website, please call Grant Road near Wooland Acre's - The Highlands (650) 968-7227 For Assistance.