Los Altos Auto Repair

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Yearly Archives: 2023

Duke's Good Service at Allied Auto Works Equals Good Fuel Economy in Los Altos

duke

Hi Duke here, and in the last few months, drivers in CA have started to see our gas prices come down from $7.00/gallon to about $4.89/gallon, but still, we are higher than the rest of the country and with the price of food now also, we could all probably use a little help in saving some money where ever we can.

Whether we're trying to save money, save gas or save the environment, most of us Los Altos drivers have an interest in decreasing fuel consumption. We've all heard about ways to save money on gas in CA, but does it really add up to much? How much can we boost our fuel economy through preventive maintenance and more courteous driving?

The US government has a website that actually answers that question. Let's look at some of the data and find out if any of these fuel-saving ideas are really worth the effort. We've all heard that a tune-up can improve gas mileage. It turns out that it can save us 4% at the pump. At $3.50 a gallon, that's 14¢ per gallon in savings, and at $4.00 a gallon, that's a 16¢ per gallon savings.

Other common repair items can also save you at the pump. For example, if your oxygen sensor is faulty, it's not delivering the information to your engine's computer that allows it to calculate the right fuel-to-air ratio. The result? The fuel doesn't burn efficiently. Replacing that faulty sensor can save you 40% at the pump. That's certainly a reason to improve your car care and have the automotive professionals at Allied Auto Works inspect things once in a while.

A faulty oxygen sensor will activate the check engine light. So will a lot of other problems that are big fuel wasters. Finding out why your light is on and fixing the problem will also improve your fuel economy. Bring your car into Allied Auto Works in Los Altos and we will take care of it for you.

What about tires? Los Altos drivers have all heard that keeping them inflated will improve our gas mileage. True? Yep. It's a 3% savings for that one. And even small drops in tire pressure can start to add up, so a weekly tire check is in order.

Using the correct weight in motor oil is another way you can save at Los Altos area gas pumps. It adds up to a 2% savings.

What about that courteous driving? That doesn't cost us anything and doesn't require our Los Altos service center to implement anything. Is it worth the bother?

Again, the answer is yes. Sudden acceleration, such as charging away from stoplights, sudden stops and quick lane changes all add up in lowered fuel economy. Taking it easy when you drive on CA roads amounts to a 5% savings around town and a whopping 33% savings on the freeway. Is it worth your time to slow down? How much do you get paid?

Speeding is another way we ding ourselves at the gas pump. We've all heard that it's okay to drive five miles over the speed limit, but that actually hurts our wallets. Eventually, it could add up to more than a speeding ticket. An extra five miles over the speed limit ends up costing us 7% per gallon. Fifteen miles over? 23% Now there's a reason to slow down.

Another thing Los Altos vehicle owners can do to improve that costs nothing is to toss the junk out of our trunks. In other words, clean out the car and stop hauling around non-essentials. Don't treat your vehicle like a storage locker. Dumping one hundred pounds of extra weight adds up to a 2% savings at the pump.

So when you tell someone you were going somewhere anyway and they're welcome to come along, that's okay. But if someone tells you they need to come along and it's no harm to you since you were going anyway—well, now you can tell them, “Sorry, dude, but you're an extra fifteen cents a gallon!”

All joking aside, let's all do ourselves a favor and fatten up our wallets by practicing good car care and better driving habits in CA.

Duke 

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

Categories:

Fuel Economy

Cayenne Is A Non-Starter (Alternator Problems in Cold Weather)

cayBrrrr Cayenne here and it has been cold the last few mornings. It's hard to get moving and started on the day.  Maybe your car is having the same the problem......getting started.  So you guessed it, we are going to bark about a non-starter with alternator problems in cold weather.

As the temperatures dip, we all know there could be problems starting our vehicles. After all, batteries can grow old and not hold a charge as well as when they were newer. Or starters can go bad.  But there's one more component to keep an especially sharp eye on during winter: your alternator.

The alternator is sort of like a small generator. It sends power out to various parts in your vehicle that need electricity.  That includes the battery, which needs charging to keep its power topped off.  The alternator creates electricity by taking mechanical energy from the engine and turning it into electricity.  It is connected to the engine by belts and pulleys. 

In cold weather, the material the belt is made from is less flexible than it is in warm weather.  That means it may not be turning the pulleys as effectively since it doesn't have the same grip. Also, when it's colder, lubricants, including the engine oil, are a little stiffer; parts just don't move like they do when the weather's warmer.  With that extra strain, sometimes it takes the alternator longer to recharge the battery. That, in turn, may leave the battery with a little less power to start the engine when it's cold.

You may have a warning light on your instrument panel that looks like a battery.  If it lights up or if you notice your headlights flickering or not shining quite as brightly as they usually do, it could mean a weak alternator. But it also could be an aging battery, corroded battery terminals, a loose belt, or another charging system part. Yes, it's complicated. 

Pinpointing the cause involves testing the battery and charging system with diagnostic equipment.  If it does turn out to be an alternator, there are options besides replacing it with a brand-new, original equipment part.  Ask your service advisor for recommendations. Obviously, you want your vehicle to start reliably, especially in cold weather.  Take care of your charging system and it will take care of you.

Here is my car joke of the day.

"The car won't start," said a wife to her husband. "I think there's water in the carburetor."
"How do you know?" said the husband scornfully. "You don't even know what the carburetor is."
"I'm telling you," repeated the wife, "I'm sure there's water in the carburetor."
"We'll see," mocked the husband. "Let me check it out. Where's the car?"
.
"IN THE SWIMMING POOL !!!!!!"

Cayenne

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

Categories:

Alternator

Ask Duke About the Importance of Service Intervals

duke

Hi Duke here and today in Duke & Cayenne's weekly blog, we're going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your vehicle isn't the only aspect of your life with recommended intervals: What about six-month dental cleanings and regular physical exams for your favorite canine? Then there's laundry, mowing the lawn, paying your electric bill, changing your furnace filter, oh, getting my supply of weekly beef bones - you get the idea.



Now, what would happen if you didn't follow these intervals? For one thing, your teeth may get more cavities. You might not discover health issues that benefit from early detection and treatment. And you'd have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your overgrown lawn and have your power shut off.

We all realize there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don't, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life diminishes and it inevitably costs more money.

Have you ever wondered, "How often should I bring my car in for scheduled maintenance?" You can let your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works technician remind you of the manufacturer's recommendations. He has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your vehicle. Rely on Allied Auto Works professionals to help you make good car care decisions, that's our job.

For those in Los Altos who want to be more proactive with their vehicle care, here are some simple ways to remember what has a maintenance interval:

First: fluids. If it's liquid, it's got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.
Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you're thinking tires, think brakes and shocks.
And what makes your car go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning.

Of course there are more items, but if you remember to take your vehicle into Allied Auto Works for these things, your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor will help you with the rest.

Here is my car joke of the day,

 "With the rise of self-driving vehicles, it's only a matter of time before we get a country song where a guy's truck leaves him too."

Duke

duke

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

Cayenne's Battery Replacement at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos

cay

Hello Cayenne here, welcome to Duke & Cayenne's Education Corner here at Allied Auto Works.  If this is your first time here, get ready to be schooled by two hounds who can teach any dog some new tricks on a weekly visit.  So as Duke and I always say "Let's get barkin!"

Today's focus is batteries. It seems like everything in Los Altos runs on batteries. Of course, the batteries we're most concerned with here at Allied Auto Works are those in our customer's vehicles. Just like the batteries in our smoke detectors or TV remote, Battery they wear out and need to be replaced . This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold vehicle engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live in CA, specifically how cold it is. (Many Los Altos drivers have first-hand experience trying to start their car on a cold winter morning.) The two factors are that the colder your vehicle's engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with.

The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient when the temperature dips. Let's say it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees C) in Los Altos. At that temperature, 100% of the battery's power is available. At freezing, only 65% of battery power is available, but it requires 155% as much power to start the engine as it did at 80 degrees F (27 degrees C).

As you can see, the colder it gets, more power is needed, but the available power drops.

So if you live where it's cold in CA, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it's moderate or hot. The battery that originally came with your vehicle was based on averages. At Allied Auto Works, we like to remind Los Altos drivers that they should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as their vehicle manufacturer recommends but may want to upgrade if they live where it gets real cold.

And as we enter into the New Year 2023, I leave you with my quote of the week,

"Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits." ~Author unknown

Cayenne

 



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

 

Categories:

Battery

Duke Helps You Save Fuel by Watching Your Weight

duke

Happy New Year! Duke here and now that we are at the start of the new year, we are going to bark about weight.  This is not the weight you are thinking about even though I must say I need to lose a few dog pounds since the holidays.  I am talking about saving fuel by watching your weight on your vehicle.  So let's step on scale and roll into it. 

Most Los Altos drivers are all talking right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. CA folks want to save the environment and our pocketbooks.

And we Los Altos drivers all know — or should know — that preventive maintenance will help maintain maximum fuel efficiency. But is there something more we can do? After all, some of us Los Altos road warriors can't cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of fuel economy. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get around Los Altos. And that means buying more gas and producing more emissions.

Of course, your vehicle's weight isn't negotiable. And you can't do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn't an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your car. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight while driving around Los Altos? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your neighborhood? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don't. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your vehicle: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing: whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it, store it when you don't.

Clean out your vehicle. You'd be surprised how much weight you're lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food and regular old dirt. Even if it's not a lot of weight, you'll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don't toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire — the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in the car when you go on a longer trip; but you don't have to lug it around all the time.


After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some money.

Duke

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

Categories:

Fuel Economy
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