Duke and Cayenne | Allied Auto Works Grant Road

Duke and Cayenne’s Automotive Corner

"Welcome to Duke and Cayenne’s Automotive Education Blog. Each week, Duke and Cayenne open their book of knowledge to bark with you. Check back often to see how they can teach an old dog new tricks. Never stop learning!"

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Monthly Archives: November 2023

Duke's Keeping His Cool (Water Pump Replacement)

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Hello, Duke here on this beautiful fall day.  You know just a few months ago we were heating up, 95 degrees or so and I keep my cool by running in the sprinklers, jumping in the lake, or inside the house with A/C on.  But what about your car?  How does it keep its cool?  Well, today we will bark about keeping it cool with water pump replacement.  Let's get barkin'.

No matter what the temperature is outside, it's important for your vehicle's engine to remain cool, calm, and collected.  Well, cool, anyway. If your vehicle has a gasoline engine, it's powered by a bunch of explosions involving spark plugs, pistons, gasoline, and air.  And the by-product of all those things working together? HEAT.

There's a whole cooling system to keep everything at a tolerable temperature for your engine's parts, and a key part of that is the water pump.  Technically, it's pumping more than water. It should actually be called the "coolant" pump since the liquid that circulates through the system is a mixture of water and coolant. 

Basically, the water pump keeps this coolant moving through your engine, where it picks up the engine heat and then is pumped into the radiator where it gets rid of that heat.  When a water pump fails, the engine heat can build up.  When you get a warning light on the dash (either a gauge or a light) that shows the temperature is too high, it could mean a bad water pump. 

They can fail for many reasons. They have bearings in them that wear out, as does the seal between the pump and the engine. They're often driven by a belt or chain that can go bad.  Corrosion can spell the end of a water pump, too. 

If a technician determines your water pump has failed, it's time to replace it. In addition, other components of the cooling system will be inspected.  The best way to avoid a water pump failure is regular maintenance of your cooling system which includes regular draining and flushing of the coolant. 

Just like it's important for you to keep your cool, the same goes for your vehicle's engine.

I leave you with quote of thought for this week,

1/2 the trouble in this world is caused by saying Yes too quick and the other 1/2 by not saying No quicker. ~Josh Billings, revised by H. Montague, 1913

Duke

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

Categories:

Water Pump

Cayenne's Recommended Los Altos Service Intervals

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Cayenne here, and everyone in Los Altos, CA, knows we are advised to visit our dentist twice a year.  Oral-conscious Los Altos residents have a teeth-cleaning and examination. Once a year, we get X-rays to look for problems that can't be seen with the naked eye. When our dentist is done, he/she tells us what was found – "Everything's fine, see you in six months." Or "You've got a small cavity starting; let's schedule an appointment to take care of it." By the time you leave, you have a plan for addressing any necessary issues.

This system works so much better than waiting for a painful problem before going to the dentist. Minor problems are fixed before they turn into big problems. And you avoid those huge bills.

If Los Altos folks understand the wisdom of using this system for handling dental care, why do many resist when facing the same system for our vehicle maintenance?

Following the vehicle manufacturer's recommended intervals can be confusing. First, there are recommendations for so many things: oil changes, transmission, coolant, air conditioning, power steering, brakes, fuel system, filters, belts, hoses, alignment, rotation, balancing ...you get the point.

Every item has a recommended interval, and it's hard for Los Altos drivers to keep it all straight – even if you're part of the 1% of CA drivers that read their owners' manual.

And if you have more than one vehicle, the complexity is multiplied. You'd need a computer to keep track of everything. Well, that's how your service center does it. For example, Allied Auto Works subscribes to automotive databases with your vehicle's recommended intervals. You may have wondered how they know what else to recommend when you take your car in for an oil change – it's all in the database.

Well, it's not all in the computer. Other variables can't be accounted for in the schedule: Los Altos weather conditions, altitude, and where and how you drive in CA. Talk about these things with your service advisor at Allied Auto Works, and you may decide that the severe service schedule in your owner's manual is more appropriate.

Since anything that's not driving in moderate weather is considered severe, and most of us do at least some of that around Los Altos, CA, it should be taken into account.

Let's take your basic oil change as an example. What issues are involved? The oil you put in your vehicle blends base oil and special additives. There are detergents and corrosion inhibitors to clean the inside of your vehicle engine. A good quality motor oil will lubricate your engine and help it stay clean inside and run cooler.

Now, these additives deplete with use and time. That's why most vehicle manufacturers' maintenance recommendations include both a time and mileage element – like 3 months or 3,000 miles/5,000 km, whichever comes first.

It's easy for Los Altos drivers to think, "Gee, I've only driven 2,000 miles/3,200 km in the last 3 months. I can wait on that oil change." But you need to remember that the inside of your engine is an environment. The oil is contaminated with combustion by-products, degrading its effectiveness even when sitting there.

Many people in Los Altos don't realize how harmful it is to skip an oil change. There are a lot of metal parts moving around in your engine. Small bits of metal wear off and are floating around in your oil. They can be carried to more delicate engine areas where they cause damage. Your oil filter is designed to trap metal particles and other dirt, but if it's clogged up because you haven't changed it, it can't trap anymore.

Oil sludge is another problem for Los Altos vehicles. Sludge is oil that has turned to a gunky jelly – think 'Vaseline.' Obviously, sludge doesn't lubricate. It can also clog small oil passages so that the oil doesn't properly protect all the parts. That'll lead to premature wear.

If you've missed some oil changes, don't despair. Just talk with the pros at Allied Auto Works. Fess up – you'll feel better. And they can help you get back on track. Following recommended intervals is the key to keeping your vehicle on the road and avoiding repairs.

I leave you with this thought for the week,

There is one advantage to having nothing, it never needs repair. ~ Frank Howard Clark

Happy Thanksgiving

Cayenne

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

 

 

Duke Breathes Deep With Your Cabin Air Filter

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Hi, Duke here and nothing like taking a deep breath and taking in the crisp fall air.  But what if the air quality is not good? Now that air doesn't appeal so much, imagine what it is doing to your car's air system.  Well, today we will bark about your vehicle's cabin air filter.  So sit back, take a breath, and let's get started.

Bad air quality while driving around Los Altos is nothing to sneeze at. But seriously, more vehicles these days are equipped with cabin air filters. Many folks don't know about them since they're relatively new on the scene.

These filters clean the air in your car or truck's passenger compartment or cabin. They do the same job as the furnace filter you have at home. They can filter out particles as small as three microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.

So, your cabin air filter can clean out dust, pollution, pollen, and spores to keep the air in your car nice and clean. And just like your furnace filter, they must be replaced when they get dirty. Check your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at Allied Auto Works, but they typically need to be replaced at around 12,000 to 15,000 miles (19,000-24,000 kilometers).

The filter is usually either under the hood or under the dashboard. Some are a little tricky to get to, so you'll want to have Allied Auto Works take care of replacing them.

As we said, many people don't realize they have a cabin air filter and go to their shop complaining about a funky smell in the ventilation system. It turned out to be a cabin air filter that was long overdue for replacement – really dirty and starting to smell. A quick replacement, and they were on their way and smelling fine.

Los Altos allergy-sensitive residents can benefit from a cabin air filter, as it keeps allergens to a minimum. If you're one of them, you'll want to stay on top of your filter replacement schedule.

Of course, if you do a lot of driving around the Los Altos area in dusty or polluted conditions, you'll need to change your cabin air filter more often.

I leave you with this quote,

For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth. ~Sanskrit proverb

Duke

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

Categories:

Cabin Air Filter

Cayenne Goes Right or Left. Allied Auto Works Power Steering Service

cay

Hello, Cayenne here. You know, when I go on my hound dog adventures sniffing at the ground, I wonder, "Should I go right or left?"  Well, my nose always steers me in the right direction, but what do you do if your powering steering in your vehicle can't go right or left?  Well, today we are going to bark about that subject.

Have you ever driven a vehicle without power steering? If you have, you probably appreciate how much easier it is to navigate today's modern vehicles. Before power steering, all of the force to turn a vehicle had to come from the driver's arms. That's why old cars had such large steering wheels: they needed plenty of leverage to steer. Some Los Altos folks had difficulty driving because they weren't strong enough.

Power steering is now standard on all vehicles, but there are several ways that power can be delivered. Most vehicles use a hydraulic power steering system system. In this system, a serpentine belt from the engine powers a pump that pressurizes the power steering fluid. The pressure activates hydraulics that provide steering power.

Other vehicles use an electric pump to pressurize the power steering fluid rather than the belt-driven pump. Some newer vehicles have electric motors that provide steering power and don't use steering fluid, especially in the increasingly popular hybrid and electric vehicles.

Los Altos drivers who own a vehicle that uses power steering fluid need to have it changed regularly. Over time, moisture accumulates in the power steering fluid, which affects steering performance and can corrode steering components. Dirt and other contaminants can also accumulate in the power steering fluid, which will also negatively affect steering performance. A good power steering service at Allied Auto Works in Los Altos will flush out the old fluid and eliminate dirt and other deposits in the system. Clean fluid will then be added. Fresh fluid provides lubricants that help protect the steering system and prevent corrosion.

For recommendations on how often your power steering fluid should be replaced, consult your owner's manual. It varies by vehicle model and manufacturer. For more auto advice on steering fluid changes—and other preventive maintenance—you can talk with your service advisor at Allied Auto Works. You may need to change your fluid more often depending on the driving and weather conditions in your area.

Los Altos drivers who believe in good vehicle care will add power steering service to their preventive maintenance schedule. This will prevent damage to your steering system and extend its working life. The old days of double-handed cranking on a huge steering wheel may be over, but our new comfort and convenience are not maintenance-free. Do yourself and your vehicle a favor. Keep the power steering fluid clean.

My motivation quote for the week.

“We cannot solve problems with the kind of thinking we employed when we came up with them.” — Albert Einstein

Cayenne

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

Categories:

Steering
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