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: October 2023

Duke Keeps Your Tires Well Rounded in Los Altos: Tire Rotation and Wheel Balancing at Allied Auto Works

duke

Good day, Duke here and taking care of our tires is part of vehicle care for Los Altos drivers. We know they have to be replaced when they wear out, but tires also require some preventive maintenance. This maintenance will improve and extend the life of the tires, so it's well worth the effort and expense for Los Altos drivers to get it done. Tire maintenance includes keeping tires properly inflated, rotating tires and balancing wheels. 

The recommended tire pressure for a vehicle's tires is printed on a sticker on the inside of the driver's side doorjamb. A lot of engineering goes into calculating the correct pressure, so it's an important number for Los Altos vehicle owners to know. Not following this recommendation can throw off the suspension system and can lead to tire damage. Underinflated tires wear out more quickly than properly inflated tires. Vehicles also get better traction and handling on properly inflated tires. Check your tire pressure at least once a week and add air if necessary.

Don't be tempted to add a bit of extra air to your tires when you fill them. Overinflated tires will cause the center tread to wear unevenly because of improper contact with the road. It will also affect the handling performance of your vehicle.

Rotating tires allows all four tires on a vehicle to wear evenly. Front tires get more wear than rear tires because they do most of the work on turns. Tire rotation allows all of the tires to spend time on the front of the car so they all experience extra wear.

For most vehicles, tire rotation is simply a matter of moving the front tires to the rear and vice versa. Some vehicles, however, recommend a cross-rotational pattern. Other vehicles use asymmetrical tires, which means the right tires have to stay on the right side of the vehicle and the left tires on the left. Some vehicles use differently sized wheels on the front and back of the car and should not have their tires rotated.

What kind of rotation do you need? Check your owner's manual or talk to your service advisor at Allied Auto Works. Your owner's manual will have information about how to rotate your vehicle's tires as well as letting you know how often you should get it done. For most vehicles, that's usually every 5,000 miles or 8,000 kilometers. Your friendly and knowledgeable Allied Auto Works professionals can also offer auto advice about tire rotation. A quick tire inspection can also indicate whether or not your tires are due to be rotated.

When it comes to tire maintenance for Los Altos drivers, wheel balancing is usually what we know least about. Balancing a wheel is necessary to keep it in constant contact with the road. If a tire is not balanced properly, it actually hops along the roadway. You can feel this hopping as a vibration in your steering wheel if the unbalanced tire is a front tire. You'll feel the vibration through your seat if a rear tire is unbalanced. Properly balancing your tires is important and will extend their life span, improve handling and improve the safety of your vehicle. When you replace your tires, the new tires need to be balanced.

Never use different-sized tires on the same axle of a vehicle. In other words, your front tires need to be the same size and your rear tires need to be the same size. Mixing sizes can lead to some serious handling problems for Los Altos drivers.

If you have an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle, all four tires need to be the same size. If your tires are wearing out, you can sometimes make a new tire purchase fit within your budget by only buying two tires at a time. When you do this, the new tires should be installed on the rear of the vehicle. Rear tires are more in need of traction than your front tires to avoid spinning out on slippery surfaces. If you drive a vehicle around Los Altos, you need tires, so you need to know how to care for them. The safety of your vehicle can depend on the condition of your tires.

I leave you with a motivational quote for the week,

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty." — Winston Churchill

Duke

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

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Cayenne Asks "Are You Clueless On Getting the Most Out of a Service Visit?"

cay

Hey Cayenne here, and are you sometimes "clueless" when it comes to your auto service visit?  When you head to the doctor or vet, you probably have it in your mind what you're going to say about why you don't feel good or why your favorite canine is feeling well.  That way, your doctor or vet can use that information to diagnose your problem. You might want to think of that same approach when you take your vehicle in for a repair. 

Experts say what will help the service advisor most is for you to bring in some well-organized descriptions about your vehicle's issues.  You might even want to write them down so you don't forget.  Is there an unusual smell?  What does it smell like?  Does the problem happen first thing after starting out? If there's an odd sound you hear, is it dependent on speed?  Does it change when you turn a corner?  

Keep your expectations realistic.  Some conditions may take a long time to diagnose and repair.  If you go thinking you'll be in and out in no time, you might be disappointed when you're told there are other customers ahead of you and you may have to come back tomorrow.  If you can make alternate plans to have someone pick you up and take you back when the vehicle is finished, that way, you won't feel like you've wasted your time. 

Most importantly, be available for any communication from the service advisor.  If they have your cell phone and they have a question or need approval for a repair, the sooner they reach you, the sooner things can move forward. 

The service facility wants your experience with them to be good, just as you do.  With a little help from you, they'll get your vehicle back on the road and you'll have a smile on your face.

I leave you with a joke about being clueless.

My wife didn't speak to me for 3 days last week and I haven't got a clue what I did to cause it.

Which is a shame because I'd like to do it again next week.
 
Cayenne

 

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

Duke's Having a Ball! Know your Ball Joints

duke

Did someone say ball?  Where's the ball?  There's the ball......ball joints, that is.  Hi Duke here, and I love chasing after balls and have a ball doing it, but loose ball joints on your car are not so much fun.   So today, we are going to roll into ball joints and the importance of maintaining them.  So let's get barkin'!

We all have joints in our own skeletal system, but did you know your vehicle has some joints of its own? One of the most important is called a ball joint.

One of the interesting things is that it's somewhat similar to the ball and socket joints we have in our hips and shoulders.  A ball joint allows two parts to join together to move in more than one direction at the same time.

Think about your wheels.  They have to move up and down when there are bumps in the road but in sideways directions when you are making a turn. As you can see, the ball joints are important for your steering and handling to work correctly.

Since ball joints do so much, they can wear out and become loose.  When the ball wears down, or the socket gets worn, there can be too much play in them.  It can get so bad that the ball can come out of the socket, and your wheel can fall off, a dangerous situation.  Ball joints can also seize up.  Some of them are sealed and never require maintenance; others require periodic lubrication.

Here are some signs that your ball joints are going bad:

  • Your vehicle pulls to one side
  • You can hear a clunking noise coming from a wheel area
  • Your tires are wearing unevenly, especially on the inside

The earlier a failing ball joint is discovered, the better. The best way is to have regular inspections by a technician.  Your service facility will periodically check ball joints at intervals recommended by the manufacturer. The cost to replace them can vary widely depending on whether you have a vehicle with a 2-ball or 4-ball configuration.  Also, sometimes just the joints can be replaced, but other times, they are part of a larger control arm assembly that has to have all the parts replaced at the same time. 

Your vehicle's proper steering, handling, and tire wear all contribute to a better, safer driving experience.  Make sure your ball joints are up to the job so you can go have a ball wherever your destination is.

Duke

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

Categories:

Steering

Duke's Transmission Service at Allied Auto Works

duke

It's Duke! Let's bark about transmission service today. It can be easy for Los Altos drivers to forget about getting their transmission serviced because it doesn't need it very often. It's easier for people in CA to remember to change the engine oil - you know, every 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. But proper transmission servicing keeps your vehicle running smoothly and helps you avoid repairs down the road.  Let's dig into this a little deeper.


The transmission undergoes a lot of stress. The grit you can see in used transmission fluid is actually bits of metal that wear off the gears in the transmission. In addition to that, the transmission operates at very high temperatures. Usually, it's much higher than engine temperatures. Those high temperatures eventually cause the transmission fluid to start to break down and lose efficiency.

As the fluid gets older, it gets gritty and doesn't lubricate and cool the vehicle transmission as well - leading to even more wear. The fluid can actually get sludgy and plug up the maze of fluid passages inside the transmission. At best, your transmission won't operate smoothly. At worst, it could lead to damage.

When your transmission is running properly, it transfers more power from your engine to the drive wheels and improves fuel economy. That's why it is recommended to change your transmission fluid at regular intervals. Your owner's manual has a schedule for transmission service and, of course, your service advisor at Allied Auto Works can tell you what is recommended.

Hot and dusty Los Altos area conditions, towing, hauling, stop-and-go driving and jackrabbit starts all begin to increase the load on the transmission and its internal temperature. That means Los Altos vehicles with these types of transmission requirements need to change the fluid more often. A good rule of thumb is every 35,000 miles, 55,000 kilometers or two years. If your owner’s manual suggests more frequent intervals or if you're driving under severe service conditions around the Los Altos area, you will need to change it more often.

Most Los Altos auto service centers (including Allied Auto Works) have the ability to perform a transmission service while you wait and the cost is quite reasonable. It's downright cheap when you think about how much a major transmission repair can cost! Our pros at Allied Auto Works will know the right type of transmission fluid to use. If it's getting to be time to have your transmission serviced, do your vehicle a favor and have it done.

My thought for today.

A year from now you may wish you had started today. --Karen Lamb

Duke

 

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

 

Categories:

Transmission

Cayenne's Synthetic Oil for Los Altos Autos

cay

Hey, it's Cayenne, and you do really know what synthetic oil is and how it can benefit you and your vehicle?  If you are a driver in Los Altos and aren't currently using synthetic motor oil in your vehicle, maybe now's the time to consider it. Need more information? Well, synthetic motor oil is a substitute for petroleum-based oil.

Synthetic oil doesn't gel or gum up like petroleum-based oil, and it doesn't vaporize as easily. It protects better in severe driving conditions like stop-and-go driving around Los Altos, as well as in very hot or very cold conditions. More and more new vehicles are being delivered with full synthetic motor oil, with the recommendation to use synthetic for the life of the vehicle.

Why is this? Synthetic motor oil maximizes engine power and fuel economy. To see why, we'd need a microscope, so we'll have to settle for using our imaginations.

The molecules of conventional motor oil are long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, has uniform, round molecules. Which is more slippery, a pile of pencils or a pile of marbles?

Synthetic motor oil lubricates better because there's less friction. That means better wear protection, cooler operating temperatures, more power, and better fuel economy. Synthetic oil doesn't sludge up like conventional oil, so it prevents those small oil passages from clogging up.

Some manufacturers are extending oil change intervals. The added protection of synthetic oil covers you for these longer intervals. Talk with your service advisor about how you drive and see if he thinks you can benefit from synthetic oil. Also, ask about the appropriate oil change interval for synthetic because it may very well be longer than for conventional oil.

Most of us here in Los Altos have a busy life and might occasionally miss an oil change; go ahead, admit it. Since we're not perfect, doesn't it make sense to use a motor oil that's got your back?

Now, synthetic oil costs more. But it lasts longer, protects better, and increases fuel economy. You'll likely save money in the long run. If you're serious about making your car last longer, start using synthetic motor oil right away.

Give us a call to schedule an oil change, or visit us at our Allied Auto Works website.

A year from now, you may wish you had started today. --Karen Lamb

Cayenne

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

Categories:

Maintenance
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