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Category Archives: What Customers Should Know

Duke's Alert "When Your Air Bag Light Comes On (Illuminated Air Bag Light)"

duke

Hey Duke here and there are some dashboard lights you should pay more attention to than others.  One is the airbag light.  If it's on and your vehicle is in an accident, your airbags probably won't do their job.  So today we will bark about the importance of the AIRBAG Light, it will save your life.  So let's get barkin" on this important subject!

Automakers began installing airbags in the late 1990s since they were mandatory in the United States, and manufacturers have included them in Canadian vehicles as well.  Safety experts say using a seat belt with an airbag gives passengers the best chance of surviving a crash and minimizing serious injury.

The airbag warning light takes a few different forms.  Some look like a picture of a belted passenger with an inflated airbag from a side view.  Or there may be a warning light that says something like "Air Bag," "SRS" (for supplemental restraint system), "Airbag Deactivated" or "Air Bag Off."

Different things cause the airbag light to come on.  Your vehicle may have been in an accident during which, while the airbags didn't inflate, crash sensors were activated.  Some of them may be connected to your vehicle's seat belts.  A technician can reset the airbag if this has happened.

Fuses can also blow, which will cause the airbag light to come on.  Another possible cause? A sensor that tells the vehicle's computer whether or not there is someone riding in the passenger front seat may be malfunctioning. 

Airbags are not for the do-it-yourselfer.  They are sophisticated systems that require specialized training and equipment to diagnose and repair.  If an airbag light is on, take it to a qualified service repair facility.  One more thing: remember that safety experts have designed airbags to work in conjunction with seat belts for maximum protection in accidents.  So always wear your seat belt.  

.....and remember, Safety never takes a day off

Duke

 

 

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

Duke's Daily Grind (Grinding Noise)

duke

Hey Duke here, and you know I love the grinding sound when I enjoy one of the Wagu Rib Eye steak bones I get once in a while, what a beautiful sound and tastes good too.  But what if your vehicle makes a grinding sound when you turn the steering wheel, it's speaking to you and that is not a good sound.   So listen to what it's saying and you could avoid a much more costly repair down the road.  So let's grind our way into this important noisy subject and get barkin'!

A grinding sound coming from the front of your vehicle when you are turning can offer some very informative clues as to what's going on.  One cause could be that there's a problem with the mechanical linkage that enables you to turn the wheels.  Another is that the hydraulic system that makes turning the steering wheel easier may have its own problems. 

Think of it.  Hydraulic power steering has many components that need to work in tandem.  The power steering fluid may be too old and contaminated.  Or its level may be low. That may be caused by a leak somewhere in the system. A technician can check things over to find out exactly what's happening.

Other causes of grinding while turning can be problems with the suspension in the front.  You may have a failing CV (constant velocity) joint.  It could be your brakes are partially engaging while you are turning.  That metal-on-metal sound is never a sign that things are working just the way they're supposed to.

To a technician looking to pinpoint the problem with your vehicle, it's not a daily grind at all.  Experience and training will help her or him zero in on what's causing the noise and get you back on the road. Maybe you can enjoy your sound system more after that distracting background noise has disappeared!

And me, well I go back to enjoying my Wagu Ribeye bone and the lovely sound it makes

Duke

 

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

Duke's Advice "Before You Buy that Used Vehicle (Having a Used Car Inspected Before Buying)"

duke

Duke here and did you decide this year it was time for a new car and finding out that inventory is still low at the dealer?  Well, used cars have been a hot item these past 2 years and the price on them is close to that of a new car.   So today I am here to bark to you about what to do before closing the deal on the used car.  Get a Used Car Inspection! I cannot bark enough about this and how important it is to have a neutral party take a look at that used car and make sure it is worth the money you are paying for it.  So let's get barkin' on this hot topic today?

Let's face it.  New vehicles are expensive, so finding a good used one can save drivers a lot of money.  It's tempting to look through ads, find a private seller who has what you're looking for, and pay a price you think is a great deal.  But when you go over to look at a used car, do you really know what to look for to uncover potential problems with it?

The answer is probably no.  Used cars can look great on the outside, maybe even have lustrous paint and a super clean interior. But is it possible that the vehicle's been in an accident? Does it have electrical problems you can't detect easily? Is any fluid leaking that you don't know about?

Think about it.  You are about to spend thousands of dollars on a complex machine and you're considering judging its condition without much expertise.  That's why it makes sense to have a qualified technician inspect any used vehicle you're considering buying.

Many vehicle repair facilities will do it for around $100-$200.  They'll check to see what's working right and what's not working.  They'll check for leaks and how strong the battery is; they'll look for signs it's been in an accident or has been painted. They'll look in places you'd find inaccessible, and they'll take it for a test drive to see what noises, vibrations, and smells might give clues to any major problems.  An inspection usually takes about an hour.

You should have an inspection done by a technician you know and trust.  They'll have your best interests in mind.  And the inspection should be done before you start negotiating a price with the seller.  It's money well spent to either give you peace of mind that you're getting a good vehicle or steer you away from a lemon. 

One sign a used vehicle isn't a good deal? If the buyer refuses to let you have it inspected.  That says just about everything that needs to be said.    

Allied Auto Works can inspect that used car for you to make sure you are getting one fine vehicle to drive down the road.  Give them a call today and tell them The Duke sent ya!

Duke

 

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

Cayenne's Not Fooling On No Fueling! (Fuel Filler Location)

cay

Hey, Cayenne here and have you ever felt silly pulling up to the gas pump and realizing when you got out the gas tank was on the other side of the car.  Well today we will bark about the Fuel Filler location.  I'm not fueling you. 

If you've ever gotten in an unfamiliar vehicle, maybe a rental car, you may have pulled up to the gas pump and wondered, "Which side is the fuel filler on?" Here's a tip for you.  There is usually a little arrow on the instrument panel near the fuel gauge that points to the side where the fuel filler is. 

But why are the fuel fillers not all on the same side, anyway? There are lots of reasons.  At one time, many manufacturers tried putting them in an easy-to-reach spot: in the center of the vehicle's rear end.  Some even hid them behind a hinged license plate door.  Cool place, but it turned out not to be a good idea.  When a vehicle with a fuel filler in the rear was hit by another vehicle from behind, it was much more prone to catch fire and explode.

Safety regulations now dictate that the fuel filler doors be placed within crumple zones and away from where they can drip fuel on hot exhaust pipes or near electrical connections.  But why do manufacturers put them on either side?

Some say it should be on the side away from the road.  That way if you run out of gas and have to add a little from a gas can as your standing at the side of the road, you'll be a little farther away from passing traffic.  So some companies from North America and many European firms with left-hand drive put their fillers on the right side.

Some manufacturers think convenience for the driver is paramount, so they put their fuel fillers on the driver's side.  If you have a vehicle with a cable release for the fuel door inside the cabin, it's usually on the same side as the steering wheel.  As you can see, there's no standardization.

Fuel doors need regular maintenance such as lubrication, and your gas cap (if your vehicle has one) should seal properly.  Have your service facility inspect those regularly. Wherever your fuel filler is, it's obviously important that you can get at it easily because you have to fuel up sometime. Otherwise, you're not going to go too far!

 

My quote of the day 

“Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet.” – African Proverb

Cayenne

 

cay

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

Cayenne's Not-So-Common Sense (Sensor Failures)

cay

Well hello, it's Cayenne, did you know Coonhound breeds are known for being intelligent (yes we have common sense) and loving, known for their inquisitive charm, and can be quite goofy. They are scent hounds and are most noticeable by their long ears and large bays.   This is me except I am not goofy, I let Duke be the goofy one.  Well, today we will bark about the Not-So-Common Sense on our vehicles - sensor failures.

So your vehicle won't start.  What's the first thing that comes to mind?  Battery dead? Starter motor worn out? Out of gas?  Well, those are all reasons that make sense.  But your vehicle may be refusing to start because one of its computers is being warned that to do so might damage it.  Here's how that works.

You have lots of computers in your vehicle.  They need to know the status of things so there are several sensors monitoring various things going on.  These sensors send information to the computers that adjust the fuel and air mixture so you don't waste fuel.  They know when things aren't quite right and prevent you from starting your engine if that's going to damage it. 

Other sensors make sure the coolant is at the right temperature, check to see you are not polluting the air, and make sure other electronic components are performing their tasks correctly.

Here's an example of a sensor doing its job.  Your engine needs oil to lubricate metal components so the friction doesn't damage them.  Your engine has an oil pressure sensor that tells a computer called the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) if things are good to go or if there's something wrong, maybe the oil pressure is too low to keep things lubricated.  If it is, it gives a signal for the vehicle not to start, protecting the engine. 

Of course, the sensors can go bad, too, with some of the same results.  And so someone has to figure out if it's the sensor that's failed or if it really has detected a problem.  That is a challenge for technicians with specialized equipment to decipher the signs.  If a bad sensor is found, it may need to be replaced.  Sometimes a thorough cleaning can do the trick.  In either case, your service facility can track down the problem and get you back on the road.  Makes sense, doesn't it?

Call Allied Auto Works today, it makes common sense, and tell them that beautiful, hight intelligent Coonhound sent you,

Cayenne

 

cay

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

Duke's Takes A Byte (Your Vehicle's Computers)

duke

Duke here and I love to take a good bite out of juicy steak, whoops that's the wrong byte.  Bytes we're talking dog trackers, Alexa, smartphones, kitchen appliances, vacuum cleaners, and televisions.  You name it—it has a computer in it.  And your vehicle is no exception.  Nobody has to tell you that computers are a part of so many things in our lives.  So you guessed it, we will take a bite out of bytes and look at our vehicle's computers.  

The earliest cars relied on the technology of their time, and there was no such thing as a computer.  But now, it's not unusual for a vehicle to have as many as 150 computers in it. They perform a variety of functions. An important one is diagnosing your vehicle's problems.  There are various sensors throughout modern vehicles that measure thousands of data points.  When something is not working correctly, they send a signal to another computer that stores that information. The data can be read by someone who has a special computer that plugs into a port in your car.  It displays certain codes that help technicians track down the culprit. 

But it's not just the diagnostics that are computerized.  Everything from your vehicle's fuel injection to anti-lock brakes is.  Convenience features such as power windows, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a wi-fi-hot spot, streaming video and navigation are all sophisticated computers.  Then there are the safety features; airbags, traction control, automatic emergency braking and a host of others are all dependent on computers.

It is important that those computers work correctly because they interface with many of the other computers on board.  To properly diagnose problems with those computers requires training and special equipment. Your service facility has invested considerable resources into both, and they are equipped to properly evaluate and repair and/or replace malfunctioning components. 

Some lament the days when backyard mechanics could pull out their tools and do their own repairs.  Those days are fast disappearing with the computerization of vehicles.  But look at the bright side.  Your vehicle does so much more, has so many more features and travels far more safely than those past generations drove.  And they're bound to get better and more sophisticated down the road.

"The first computer dates back to Adam and Eve. It was an Apple with limited memory, just one byte. And then everything crashed."  

Duke

 

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

Cayenne's Puzzling Puddle (Leaks Under Vehicle)

cay

Cayenne here and do you love puzzles?  Trying to find the right piece to finish a puzzle or solve a mystery but sometimes your car can leave you a puzzle like a puddle under the car.  Where did that come from?  Puzzling and frustrating.  So today we will bark about how to figure out where that mystery leak is coming from and solve the puzzling puddle (leaks under my vehicle).

Ever notice a little spot of liquid under your vehicle after you've parked in your driveway or garage? It may have been something as simple as water left from air conditioning condensation.  But then again, it could be a sign that there's trouble brewing in one of your vehicle's systems.

You can help your service facility diagnose the problem by getting a little sample of the drip.  At the same time, you may save yourself a tougher clean-up task by preventing the leaky fluid from really messing up the driveway or garage floor.  The first thing is to put something under the vehicle. A flattened-out cardboard box will do fine.  You may also want to slip a little disposable aluminum tray or pan under it to catch a bit of the fluid.  Chroma and consistency can help a technician quickly figure out what kind of fluid you're dealing with.  You can take your sample with you when you go to your service facility.

Also note how much of the substance is there over what period of time, when you started to notice it and its location relative to the vehicle.  Is it on the passenger's or driver's side? Front, middle or back? Vehicles have different designs, so where their equipment is located will depend on the make and model. 

The leaky fluid will have a certain look to it and consistency.  If it's blue, it may be windshield washer fluid and a sign that your washer fluid tank has a leak.  If it's green, it could be antifreeze.  Orange may mean rusty water or transmission fluid.  Brown? Might be oil.

There should be no leaks in your powertrain if things are maintained properly.  A small leak may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes it can get much bigger quickly.  A coolant leak, for example, may suddenly go from pinhole to flood, draining your cooling system and putting your engine in danger of overheating. 

It is a really good idea to have a professional check out your leaks as soon as you notice them.  And the more clues you can provide, the happier the technician will be as the search for the problem gets underway.

 

"For me, the most enjoyable part is the puzzle, the process of solving, not the solution itself."  ~ Erno Rubik.

Cayenne

cay

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

Duke's Byte Stuff (Your Vehicle's Computers)

duke

Duke here and do I love to take a bite out of a nice juicy steak but today we are going to take a BYTE from our vehicle's computer.  So let's get barkin'!

Nobody has to tell you that computers are a part of so many things in our lives.  Smartphones, kitchen appliances, vacuum cleaners, televisions.  You name it—it has a computer in it.  And your vehicle is no exception.

The earliest cars relied on the technology of their time, and there was no such thing as a computer.  But now, it's not unusual for a vehicle to have as many as 150 computers in it.

They perform a variety of functions. An important one is diagnosing your vehicle's problems.  There are various sensors throughout modern vehicles that measure thousands of data points.  When something is not working correctly, they send a signal to another computer that stores that information. The data can be read by someone who has a special computer that plugs into a port in your car.  It displays certain codes that help technicians track down the culprit. 

But it's not just the diagnostics that are computerized.  Everything from your vehicle's fuel injection to anti-lock brakes is.  Convenience features such as power windows, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a wi-fi-hot spot, streaming video and navigation are all sophisticated computers.  Then there are the safety features; airbags, traction control, automatic emergency braking and a host of others are all dependent on computers.

It is important that those computers work correctly because they interface with many of the other computers on board.  To properly diagnose problems with those computers requires training and special equipment. Your service facility has invested considerable resources into both, and they are equipped to properly evaluate and repair and/or replace malfunctioning components. 

Some lament the days when backyard mechanics could pull out their tools and do their own repairs.  Those days are fast disappearing with the computerization of vehicles.  But look at the bright side.  Your vehicle does so much more, has so many more features and travels far more safely than those past generations drove.  And they're bound to get better and more sophisticated down the road.

 

My thought for the day, "When my computer overheats, why does it freeze?"  Hmmmm Byte for thought

Duke

duke

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

Cayenne Is Stuck! (Vehicle Door Issues)

cay

Hello, it is Cayenne and has this ever happened to you.  You bury your bone and it keeps popping up in the dirt, what a helpless feeling!  Oh sorry, maybe you can't relate to the bone issue but how about a door that won't stay shut on your car.  Well, today we will shut the door on this subject and bark about vehicle door issues.  Let's get barkin'!

This may have happened to you.  You drive somewhere and get out of your vehicle only to try closing the door and it just won't stay closed!  What a helpless feeling.  You can't lock it; you can't leave it like it is. Or, let's say you head down to your vehicle to head out to work in the morning and you can't open the door.  What are you going to do now?

Vehicle doors take a lot of abuse.  They are opened and closed hundreds of times and we expect them to just keep working perfectly all the time.  They do require a bit of tender loving care.  Let's take a look at two different scenarios of stuck doors.

First: the door that won't close.  It's a security issue.  It's also a safety issue.  You can't really safely drive a vehicle with a door that won't close. What if you or a passenger is tossed out?  Sure, some people try to tie a stuck-open door closed or bungee it, but that's dangerous.  It's best to get that vehicle to the service repair facility as soon as you can, and having it towed is the safest way. 

Second: the door that won't open.  There are many reasons this can happen.  Freezing weather is one, a misaligned door is another.  There could be electrical issues.  Corrosion could have broken apart inside the door.  The possibilities, unfortunately, are numerous.

If you can't get into your vehicle's driver's door, with any luck another door might open and you can climb into the driver's seat and head on to the repair facility.  A lot of people may be tempted to try to fix a stuck door themselves, but many wind up causing more damage to the door and have to have a trained technician step in to repair the mess.

One way to minimize the possibility of having a door stick open or closed is to make sure it gets regular maintenance.  Door locks, hinges, and latches should be lubricated at certain intervals.  Locks should be kept clean.  While many vehicles now have electronic locks, sometimes an electrical failure in the vehicle or key fob can inadvertently lock you out.  Nearly every vehicle has a mechanical key in case that happens; if you don't know how that works, have your service advisor show you how. 

Also, your technician can make sure your doors are properly aligned and aren't sagging. All of these things can help you keep your doors opening and closing the way they were designed to. Your next trip may "hinge" on your doors being in top condition.

My door quote for you.

“Every closed door isn't locked and even if it is...You just might have the key! Search within to unlock a world of possibilities!”
~ Sanjo Jendayi

CAYENNE

 

cay


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

Cayenne's Got It Covered! (Timing Cover Maintenance)

cay

Cayenne here and today I got you covered, the nose knows and mine is well BIG!  You may have heard at one time or another about something called a timing belt or timing chain in your engine.  And you may know that if they fail… well, let's just say that there can be some major engine damage.  So obviously, we want our timing belts and chains to be in tip-top shape.  So today we will sniff around the timing belt area and keep you on the right track.  Let's get barkin' on Timing Cover Maintenance!

 

One part that helps keep them running the way they should is the timing cover.  As you can probably guess, it's something that covers the belt or chain.  The timing cover protects both belts and chains from dirt and road debris.  Timing belts also need to be lubricated so their covers allow them to be lubricated as well.  They have a gasket that ensures a good seal for the engine.  If that gasket breaks or develops a leak, then engine oil can escape, and loss of lubrication is never good for an engine component.

Other symptoms of a failed timing cover are leaking coolant, a metallic sound coming from the front of your engine, or your Check Engine light coming on.  You might also notice a drop in power when you're going uphill.

It's important that your timing cover is in good condition and functioning properly.  Your repair facility will check out that part of your engine to make sure gaskets are in good shape and the cover is doing the job it's meant to do.  Catch that leaking or broken timing cover in time and your engine will thank you for avoiding some serious damage and an expensive repair.

Now go out and smell the roses and have a great day!

Cayenne

cay

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

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