Los Altos Auto Repair

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Monthly Archives: May 2022

Duke's Differential Service at Allied Auto Works: Viva la Difference

duke

 

Hey it's Duke did you know every vehicle on CA roads has a differential, and it is important to the proper operation of the vehicle.  But most Los Altos residents don't have a clue what it is.  So today we will bark Viva la Difference on differential service.  So let's get the wheels spinning on the subject!


The differential compensates for differing wheel speeds. For example, when you turn, the inside tire on the turn travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel. So the inside wheel of the vehicle must move at a slower speed than the outside wheel. Without a differential, the wheels would hop and scrape while turning.

Have you ever seen the large bulge in the middle of the rear axle of a truck? That's the differential. In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located on the back axle. Four-wheel drive vehicles and SUV's have differentials on both the front and the rear axle.

You might expect that the differential is located on the front axle of a front-wheel drive vehicle. You'd be right. But the differential is called a transaxle on a front-wheel drive vehicle because its location allows it to be combined with the transmission.

In an all-wheel drive vehicle, an additional differential or transfer case is located between the front and rear axles. Differentials are strong: They have to be because of the job they do. But those tough parts need proper lubrication. You don't want your differential to seize up. That results in damage to your vehicle.

So you need to have your vehicle differential serviced regularly. It's not a complicated job. At Allied Auto Works in Los Altos, we've been servicing differentials for years. The used lubricating fluid is simply drained and then replaced. Some vehicles require specific additives in the differential fluid; your Los Altos service center will ensure you are getting what your vehicle needs.

The intervals in time or mileage for servicing your differential vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. Check with your owner's manual or Allied Auto Works service advisor to find out how often your vehicle differential needs to be serviced.

I leave you with this,

Your car has a differential...

...if you drive in reverse, does it become an integral?

Duke

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

Cayenne Barks "It's Brake Time (Brake Calipers)!"

cay

Whoa, stop, put the brakes on!   Cayenne here and yes we are puttin' all the stops here and barkin' about brakes and brake calipers today so let's get started.

Race car drivers have demonstrated the advantages of disc brakes, so most modern vehicles use them.  Sometimes just the front wheels have disc brakes, but many vehicles now have them all the way around. 

A major component of the disc brake is called a caliper.  It works by squeezing brake pads against the disc or rotor, kind of like a bicycle hand brake.  The brake pads themselves are what contact the rotor, causing friction to build and the wheel to slow down, but it's the calipers that apply the pressure to the pads.

Caliper design has evolved over the years, and there are two common types.  One is called a floating caliper.  It has one or two pistons on one side of the disc. When you push down the brake pedal, the piston or pistons in your caliper put pressure on that one side.  A mechanism connected on the other side of the disc applies pressure as well, squeezing your disc so the vehicle stops.  Floating calipers are less expensive since they have fewer parts.

The other type is called a fixed caliper.  They use pistons on both sides of the disc, sometimes several.  They are often used in more high-performance or heavy-duty vehicles.

Calipers can have rubber seals to keep out dirt, debris and moisture, but when that rubber wears out, sometimes the calipers can get contaminated.  They can stick or start leaking; they can even rust.  Then your caliper can get stuck applying that "squeeze" when you are not pressing on the brake pedal.  Or they can get stuck in the other position, not applying stopping power when you press the pedal.

When this happens, it's not unusual to feel your vehicle pull to one side when you brake.  You might notice a burning smell from the constant friction if the caliper is stuck on, plus you may feel the heat from the wheel after you park and get out of your vehicle.  Sometimes you'll hear a high-pitched sound or clunk if your calipers are binding up. 

That's your cue to have them checked out at your vehicle service center.  If your calipers aren't working correctly, it can be a safety hazard.  Sticking calipers can affect your ability to steer and stop; this is the kind of "brake time" you need so you can get them back on track and working properly.

I leave you with my joke of the day,

What part of the car is the laziest?
The wheels, because they are always tired!

Cayenne

cay

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

Categories:

Brakes

Duke's Easy Way to Save Cash in Los Altos

duke

Cash.......did someone say cash?  Hey, Duke here, and I am going to bark my easy way for you to save some dough, cash that is......money, money, money.  These days I'm sure all of us want to know how to do that.  Do you know the average price for a nice dog bone is $10? I say let's get spend some time on this subject now and save some cash$$$$$!

The hottest CA news story may be different every day, but there's one topic that seems to come up over and over again – the price of gas in Los Altos. If you feel like most of your paycheck goes into your gas tank, this post is for you. Here are several basic things people in Los Altos can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the environment. You can really improve your fuel economy by how you drive – but first, here's a review of things you can do for your vehicle that'll save gas no matter how you drive.

The first one for Los Altos drivers is keeping tires properly inflated. That can save 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand – your car just has to work harder. Most Los Altos service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask Allied Auto Works. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you fill up. Many Los Altos gas stations have an air hose you can use for free.

Another important item is to keep your air filter clean. An air filter all clogged up with dirt and bugs doesn't let enough clean air through to efficiently burn fuel. Using a dirty air filter will cost you almost 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter in reduced fuel economy. And worn spark plugs can cost about the same. A spark plug can fire as many as 3,000,000 times for every 1,000 miles/1,600 km driven. Check the vehicle owner's manual for replacement recommendations.

The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with the information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that's messed up it can cost Los Altos vehicles up to 3 miles per gallon/1.3 km per liter. And of course, there's dirty or substandard oil. Dirty oil causes extra drag. The wrong grade may be too thick. That's another .4 miles per gallon/.17 km per liter right there.

One item Los Altos residents seldom think about is their gas cap. A worn, loose, or missing gas cap can cost another 2 miles per gallon/.85 km per liter. Adding up all of these worn, missing, or sub-par items leads to a total of almost 11.4 miles per gallon/4.85 km per liter in reduced fuel economy! And with current gas prices in the Los Altos area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save Los Altos drivers at the pump. 

Now, most vehicles aren't missing on all of these items, but think about which ones might affect you right now! And don't forget tune-ups, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, fuel system cleaning, wheels out of alignment, PCV valve, fuel filter, and other services spelled out in your owner's manual.

Allied Auto Works knows all this stuff and can tell you when you're scheduled to take care of each item. Create a system of your own to track your service schedules, or just use the computer system at Allied Auto Works – which may also be updated with recall notices and maintenance schedule items from your vehicle manufacturer.

I leave you with this conversation that I barked with the President,

"President Biden ever since you came into office, things are already looking up," Duke said in his remarks. "Gas is up, rent is up, food is up."

The Duke

duke

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

Categories:

Maintenance

Cayenne Is Wired! (Battery Cable Service)

cay

Hi it's your crazy hound dog Cayenne and you know sometimes I get that burst of energy in me like I am WIRED or you get it when you have your cup of JOE but how about your car?  Well, it needs to be WIRED with its Battery Cables.  So today we are going to a jolt out of Battery Cable Service.

Colder weather brings out the worst in a vehicle's battery.  On a very cold day, you may have experienced that your engine cranks slowly when starting.  But while it may be the battery itself, it may also be the parts that transfer the power to other the other electrical components, the battery cables.  After all, you have to have some way to get the current out of the battery and out to where it needs to go.

Battery cables have a couple of enemies: corrosion and age.  You may have looked under the hood and noticed a light-colored powder or crust around the terminals.  That's what happens when acids corrode the ends of the battery terminals.  Corrosion inhibits the connection and may reduce the amount of power getting to the electrical accessories to the point where they are not working correctly, if at all.

Here are some symptoms of problems with your battery cables. You might notice a clicking sound when you turn the key, some of your vehicle's electrical parts (like the sound system or the horn) don't work or, in some cases, the vehicle won't start at all.

When you take your vehicle to a repair facility, the technician will use instruments to check voltages to see how much current is getting to what location. That includes a starter draw test during which the battery's voltage is checked when the starter is cranked.  The technician will also visually inspect the cables and the charging system. To make sure the alternator is putting out the right voltage, the technician will measure that as well. 

If the problem is found to be the battery cable assembly, the entire set may have to be replaced. Sometimes they can be repaired. 

During the colder months, it's vital that your vehicle has the proper power going to its electrical components.  Having a vehicle that won't start or run smoothly is not something you want to battle with when you're already up against challenging weather.  Keep your electrons flowing… and your vehicle moving.

I leave you with my joke of the day 

"What kind of car does an electrician drive?

A Volts-wagon"

Cayenne

 

cay


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

Categories:

Battery
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