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Monthly Archives: January 2021

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

Duke's Automotive Tips: Where Should New Tires Be Placed?

duke

Duke here and sometimes I think I am running in circles.....circles?.....that makes me think of tires.  Do you need to buy new tires now that California is starting to see rainy weather (we need it)?  Where do you put those new tires if you only need 1 or 2?

When Los Altos drivers need to replace tires, they need to know how many they should get and on which axle they should be placed. Replacing a damaged tire may leave you with three others with significant wear, which could affect your traction control, stability control, and anti-lock brake systems.

If you can’t afford to replace all four tires at once, you should at least replace two on the same axle. New tires should always be put on the rear axle for stability in slippery conditions. Your friendly and professional Allied Auto Works tire professional can help you know when your worn tires should be replaced, if you can have a damaged tire repaired as well as selecting the right tires for your needs.

Give us a call and roll right into our shop, we'll make sure you can tread above water,

Duke

duke

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

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Cayenne's Below 45 Degrees in Los Altos: Consider Winter Tires

cay

Brrrrrrr.........Cayenne here and these California mornings can feel cold.  So believe or not, we are going to bark about snow tires.  What? you say, well I guess you will have to plow into my blog today........let's get barkin'!

Remember snow tires? They were basically just regular tires with big, knobby lugs to get them through deep snow. They were loud and rode hard, and Los Altos drivers couldn't wait to get them off the car. Then along came television advertisements for “all-season” radials. CA drivers ran out and bought some and we thought we were done with snow tires forever.

Tires have come a long way since then. Modern winter tires sold in the Los Altos area are much better designed for the wide range of conditions that come with CA winter weather. They are made with a rubber compound that helps them stay flexible in cold weather. Regular tires become hard and stiff at Los Altos temperatures below 45°F (7° C) which reduces their traction. That's a concern in winter, especially with snowy or wet conditions. But it also means that Los Altos drivers are better off with winter tires in cold weather even when it's dry.

The tread design on winter tires has been improved to move snow, slush and water. The lugs and grooves throw packed snow out of the tread as the tire rotates. This means the tread is open and ready to move more snow when it rolls around again. Summer tires can pack up with snow, which makes them more dangerous than a bald tire.

The all-season tire that is popular among Los Altos drivers is a compromise between summer and winter performance. This means they give adequate performance for Los Altos drivers in either season but aren't great in either. Summer tires give great performance in hot weather but lousy performance in winter. Los Altos drivers need to put more thought into their tire choices these days.

If you want the performance that new winter tires can give you, you should have them properly installed by your friendly and professional service advisor at Allied Auto Works. It's best to purchase four snow tires and put them on all the wheels of your vehicle. But if you only want two, you need to put them on the rear of your vehicle, even if you drive a front-wheel drive vehicle. Los Altos drivers always want to put the tires with the best traction on the rear of the vehicle.

For more auto advice about tires for any CA season, ask your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works tire professional. They can help you find the right tire for your area and for your driving needs. For the best performance from your tires, whatever the season, don't forget preventive maintenance. Keep your tires up to pressure for the best durability, safety and performance, but don't overinflate them. Remember, good car care provides the safest road for all of us in Los Altos.

"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."  (and no Mark Twain never quoted this)

Cayenne

cay


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

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Duke's Tire Tread Depth, How Much Is Enough?????

duke

How much is enough?  Depends on what you are referring to.  You can never have enough bones!  Hi, Duke here, and today we will ask how much is enough when it comes to tire tread depth.  

Most Los Altos drivers know that tires wear out and that the wear has to do with tread depth. Most of us have heard that “bald” tires are dangerous, but most of us picture a tire with no tread at all when we think of a bald tire. And when we take our vehicles in for preventive maintenance, the technician tells us they need to be replaced long before all the tread is worn off. Just how much tire tread wear is too much? And how can you tell? Tires are and their condition is important to the safe handling of a vehicle, so it's for Los Altos vehicle owners to know the answers to these questions.

First of all, it's important to understand that there may be a legal limit to tread wear. If your tires are worn past this limit, you have to replace them to be in compliance with CA auto safety laws. That's why measuring your tread wear is part of a vehicle safety inspection.

In some jurisdictions, tread must be at least 1.6 millimeters or 2/32 of an inch thick. This standard has been in effect since 1968. But this standard has recently been called into question, and some CA professionals are arguing that it be changed.

The safety issue that has brought this standard under scrutiny is the ability of a vehicle to stop on a wet surface. When a vehicle has trouble stopping, most Los Altos drivers immediately look at the brakes as the source of the problem. But tires are crucial to safe stopping distances because they provide the traction required in a stop.

A tire's contact with the road surface creates traction, which allows for effective braking. On a wet surface, a tire only has traction if it can get to the road's surface. So tire tread is designed to channel water out from under the tire to allow it to stay in contact with the road. If the tire can't shift the water, then it starts to “float.” This condition is called hydroplaning. It is very dangerous for Los Altos drivers since the vehicle won't stop no matter how hard the driver presses the brakes. Steering control is also lost.

A recent study tested the stopping ability of a passenger car and a full-sized pick-up on a road surface covered with only a dime's depth of water (less than a millimeter). The vehicles were traveling at 70 mph (112 kph) when they stopped on the wet surface. At 2/32 (1.6 mm) tread depth, the stopping distance was double that of a new tire. The passenger car was still traveling at 55 mph (89 kph) when it reached the stopping distance it experienced with new tires.

Let's suppose that you're on a busy Los Altos road in a light drizzle and a vehicle stops suddenly in front of you. You just bought new tires and you brake hard, missing the vehicle with only inches to spare. If you hadn't bought those new tires, you would have crashed into that vehicle at 55 mph (89 kph). That is a major difference.

What if your tires had a tread depth of 4/32 (3.2 mm)? You would have crashed into that vehicle at 45 mph (72 kph). Still not a good situation. But it's better.

Now, what if you were driving that pick-up truck? You wouldn't have missed that vehicle in the first place, and you would have crashed at higher rates of speed in both of the other scenarios. The heavier your vehicle, the longer its stopping distance. It's a matter of physics.

The results of this test have led Consumer Reports and others to ask that the standard for tread wear be changed from 2/32 (1.6 mm) to 4/32 (3.2 mm). The increased standard will improve safety on the road and save lives here in CA and nationally.

Of course, until the standard changes, you'll have to decide whether you'll be willing to replace your tires a little sooner.

You can use an American quarter to tell if your tread wear is down to 4/32 (3.2 mm). Place the quarter into the tread with George's head toward the tire and his neck toward you. If the tread doesn't cover George's hairline, you're under 4/32 (3.2 mm). With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the digits of the year.

You can measure the 2/32 inch (1.6 mm) treadwear with a penny. If the tread touches the top of Abe's head, it's at 2/32 (1.6 mm). Tires are super important when it comes to vehicle care. But their condition has a major impact on safety. We need to decide whether to sacrifice safety for economy. Keeping our tread wear above 4/32 in (3.2 mm) is good auto advice.

 

A flat tire is like a bad attitude, you can't go anywhere until you change it,

Duke

 

duke

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

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Cayenne's Trip Inspection at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos

cay

Cayenne here and I welcome 2021 and with that in mind taking a trip will be on everyone's mind as we get back to our normal sometime this year.  I am an optimistic hound.  We all love our vehicles, (yes us dogs love car rides) and one of the most enjoyable things about them is taking a road trip. Freedom from daily schedules, new sights and the open road – it's great! But there's nothing like vehicle trouble to bring the fun to a grinding halt.  So let's get barkin' on what you need to do before venturing out this year.

Los Altos area drivers love their vehicles. And one of the most enjoyable

Now Los Altos drivers can't always avoid problems, but you can take steps to reduce the probability of getting sidelined on your trip. The first step is to look at your trip plan from your vehicle's perspective. What kind of roads will you be traveling – winding CA byways? Purple mountain majesties or fruited plains? What weather conditions are you likely to encounter? How far will you travel each day? How much weight will you be hauling – passengers and luggage? Pulling a trailer, roof top carrier or ATVs? Will it be dusty?

Prepared with answers to these questions, you can schedule a trip inspection at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos to help you prepare your vehicle for your big adventure. A lot of our Los Altos customers prefer to go through this exercise with their friendly and knowledgeable service advisor to get their input and make sure they haven't overlooked anything.

A great place for Los Altos drivers to start is with the tires. Inspect them for tread wear and proper inflation. Is it time to rotate your tires? Replace them? Are they up to the job? You wouldn't want to drive regular highway tires on a muddy off-road adventure on CA rock-crawling trails. 

Shocks and struts play a major role in both driving comfort and safety. If they need to be replaced, you'll really be glad you did once you hit the road. Is it time for a wheel alignment? Fighting a car that's pulling to one side all day can be tiring and dangerous. 

And don't forget your brakes. Any strange noises, grabbing, soft or hard peddle feel? If there is any doubt, get a brake inspection at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos before you leave.

Moving under the hood, have a belts and hoses inspection. If something is excessively worn or near failure, the stress of a long road trip might just be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Talk to your service advisor at Allied Auto Works.

Your engine air filter will be inspected. Your car's air filter will process 12,000 times as much air as the fuel burned by the engine. If the filter needs to be changed, you'll notice improvements on your trip.

How close are you to your next oil change? Will you be able to complete your trip before it's due? If not, just get it taken care of before you go so that you don't need to interrupt your trip. In fact, a full service oil change at Allied Auto Works is a great idea because they will top off all your fluids and check to see if any other maintenance items are due, such as transmission or cooling system service.

Do you notice any unusual odors in your vehicle? If so, it could be as harmless as a dirty cabin air filter. But if it's an exhaust leak, it could be fatal for Los Altos drivers and their passengers on a long trip. Of course you'll want to be comfortable, so get an air conditioning service if you aren't getting the cold air you’re used to. 

Are your wiper blades still working well? If not, that is a quick and inexpensive fix for Los Altos drivers. Headlamps are often overlooked when planning for a trip. If you haven't changed the bulb in six months or so, replacement bulbs will really light up the night on your trip and provide the necessary after-sundown visibility.

All the items mentioned are part of any good vehicle maintenance plan. These are things that you want to take care of anyway, but they all become more important as you plan for your trip.

They will always save you money in the long run and may prevent inconvenient stops and delays on your trip. After all, you wouldn't want to miss the world's largest ball of string, would you?  String???? that sounds like something for a cat.  How about the world's largest bone!  Now your talkin'.

Cayenne

cay

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

Categories:

Alignment

Duke's Maintenance Free Myth

duke

Happy New Year.......Welcome 2021!  Hi Duke here and sometimes we hear people in Los Altos say, "What's up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don't break down." While it is true that today's vehicles are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything.   So let's debunk the myth and starting barkin!  


Most Los Altos drivers don't realize how high tech automotive fluids have become,  fluids such as engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.  Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today's automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle's components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and distances march on for all of our cars. Please don't think we're using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance - but here are some personal stories we've heard to emphasize and show how important it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and money. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.

The first comes from someone who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on a highway in CA and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced - just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundreds of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.

Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. This guy took his SUV in for the CA safety inspection to renew his registration. At the Los Altos inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the money. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind - over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a little on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story for Los Altos drivers: don't skip your annual inspections. The irony is that many Los Altos service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.

Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy's little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn't get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire - so it was enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later - and then an alignment.

Situation: son and wife with cars from the same vehicle manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son's maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done - it cost several hundred dollars. His wife's car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed, the entire head was shredded and it had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule? You bet he does - every time he passes a big-screen TV.

The team at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos recommends taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better.  Plus, it is more economical to operate in CA. Remember to save those maintenance records. It'll show potential buyers that you've taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren't any, assume that the maintenance hasn't been done and take it to Allied Auto Works in Los Altos for an inspection. Take care of unperformed routine maintenance sooner rather than later.

 

I love a great myth. I love a superhero origin story,
Duke  duke

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

Categories:

Maintenance
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