October is officially here and with it bring National Car Care Month! Two months out of the year are dedicated to bring attention to the importance of car care and preventative maintenance. In conjunction with the Car Care Council and the ASE we've put together a list of "to-do's" for you or your trusty mechanic (aka The Dyno Shop!) to complete while the weather is mild.
In our previous blog post we touched on few areas of your vehicle that should be inspected for proper condition. We listed tire condition, wipers & washer fluid, and antifreeze. Below is the rest of the list that we find very important to give attention to:
Inspection of Hoses & Belts: Make sure that they are not cracked, loose, frayed, brittle, or showing signs of excessive wear.
Inspect ALL Fluids: In addition to the condition of antifreeze, the oil, power steering, brake and transmission fluids should all be checked for level and condition.
Inspect Exhaust System: Visually look for any leaks, damaged or broken supports or hangers. Exhaust leaks are bit trickier to detect, but that's why you have us! These can be dangerous and should be addressed immediately.
Check the Battery: Ensure that the connections are clean, tight and corrosion free. Check the date to make sure it's not expired.
Brake System Inspection: This should be done annually. So if you didn't have it done in April, now is the time.
Inspect the Steering and Suspension System: This includes shock absorbers, struts, ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
Check the HVAC system: This is the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system. Proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and safety (hello foggy window!).
Engine Performance Inspection: We want your vehicle to be performing at it's best. This includes having the proper balance between power and fuel economy.
Many of these you will be able to do at home. The Dyno Shop is here for the rest (or all!). Give us a call if you would like our trained technicians to inspect 1 or all of the checklist above!
The cooler season is finally upon us! Although here in San Diego we do not feel the drastic weather changes like other states, but there are still a few road conditions that your vehicle should be ready for. While safety is important year round, there are certainly come maintenance jobs and safety checks that are specific to chilled air and winter driving conditions.
To prevent turning into a participant on the road slip-n-slide or having your holiday budget blown on unexpected repairs, we suggest inspecting your vehicle to make sure that parts are in proper condition.
Below are our suggestions:
Visually Inspect Tires: check for tread depth using the penny test and proper inflation for the cooler temperatures. You'll find the factory recommended inflation on a sticker on your driver's door or door frame.
Inspect antifreeze: Your antifreeze (coolant) is an essential part of your vehicle's cold weather protection. Check the level is full (when the engine is cold!)
Inspect/replace windshield wipers: Having a clean, rain drop free windshield is essential to your safety! The summer sun and warm temperatures can wreck havoc on wiper blades. Check their condition and replace with new one's if they are torn, cracked or just not doing their job!
Check the washer fluid: Driving behind lifted trucks or 18 wheelers will leave your windshield a total mess. If the rain has stopped for the day your wiper blades are going to need the liquid to get your windshield clean.
Scheduled maintenance: It's a good time to have your oil changed, and a more in depth check over if you've gone all summer without having it done. If you have us complete our 55-pt inspection with a lube, oil and filter change now, you could save that much more $$$ for the holidays that are just a few months away!
We are here to help. Our qualified technicians can check all of this for you! Give us a call today to schedule your appointment!
The Dyno Shop
We love laboring over the vehicles of our clients (you!). It is both an honor and privilege to serve our clients with outstanding automotive repair services.
This Labor Day we are celebrating a new labor to offer all of you. The Dyno Shop is now offering DMV registration services! Your time is valuable and the DMV lines are long. We can handle all of your registration needs right from our office for a nominal fee. Need a smog and want to pay your DMV fees? No problem, we can do both the same day! Plus you'll receive your sticker right away!
On Labor Day, we honor the American worker who has contributed so much to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. At The Dyno Shop, we're grateful to earn a living doing what we LOVE — taking care of you and keeping your vehicle running in tip-top shape.
It's that time of year again! Summer has come to an end and the start of school is around the corner. Do you have a son or daughter headed off to college? Driving to and from high school? Is your carpool schedule filling up, with your kids in the car and a few extra? Complete our Back-To-School checklist to ensure that your vehicle is in tip-top shape! It is always our recommendation to make sure all maintenance and safety items are checked and ready to go, as to not leave you stranded or late to school.
We know that you are very busy and getting to everyone's daily driver can sometimes get pushed to the side. The Dyno Shop is here for you! Our 55-pt inspection will cover everything on the list above and more! We are here Monday through Saturday to help you with your needs. Give us a call today 619-562-3933!!
An ABS warning light means the ABS system has been deactivated because of a self-diagnosed fault. Normal braking should remain. The vehicle should be safe to drive provided the driver does not have to call on his ABS system when panic braking on a wet or slick surface.
An ABS warning light may also indicate a loss of power-assist if the vehicle has an ABS system relying on an electric pump and pressure accumulator pump rather than a conventional vacuum booster.
The car will still brake, but will not have the usual power assist. This could create an unsafe situation for drivers who have difficulty braking without the power assist.
An antilock warning lamp that comes on when the car starts moving, or antilock braking operation or valve cycling that occurs during normal stops on dry pavement often indicates a problem with one of the wheel speed sensors.
When both warning lamps are on and power assist is present, it may indicate a low brake fluid or loss of hydraulic pressure in one of the brake circuits.
ABS is essentially an add-onto the existing brake system. It only comes into play when traction conditions are marginal or during sudden panic stops. The rest of the time, it has no effect on normal driving or braking.
If brakes are pulling or rubbing during normal braking, it is not an ABS problem. The vehicle has a conventional brake problem needing attention.
A brake warning lamp (not ABS lamp) that remains on or comes on while driving usually signals a problem with the hydraulic system, not the ABS system. There may be a fluid leak or loss of pressure, either of which pose a danger to safe braking. The cause of the brake warning light should be investigated immediately.
We are always here to help! Give us a call today!
With the graduation of our Kindergartners, 6th graders, and High School Seniors summer vacation has arrived! And so starts to count down to your summer vacation road trip! We've put some tips together to help ensure that your road trip vaca is smooth sailing:
1. Check your vehicle: Anywhere from 1 month to a week out from your vacation, we recommend that you check your travel vehicle over. We suggest having a 55-pt inspection performed, but if you're wanting to check things at home we recommend that the fluid levels, brakes, and tires be the main one's on your list.
2. Clean out the vehicle: To keep clutter at a minimum (you will be spending a lot of time in it!), clean out your vehicle before and during the vacation.
3. Have a flexible plan: Delays are the one thing you can count on with a road trip vacation. Try not to over-schedule your road trip, leaving time for unexpected delays. This can also give you time for spontaneous stops which may end up being the high-light of the trip!
4. Anticipate Trouble Spots: While planning when and where you will be on the road, remember to plan for rush hour traffic or high traffic times.
5. Pre-load electronic devices with entertainment!
6. Gather All Documents: Make sure that you have current registration and insurance cards in the vehicle along with a current sticker on the license plate. Nothing will deflate a vacation more than being in trouble with the law!
7. Check out the back roads: Sometimes you can see a lot more if you get off the main highways and venture off into the back roads.
8. Have an escape plan: If you do set off on the back roads, make sure you have a way back to the main roads mapped out.
These are our top suggestions to a successful road trip. We hope that you all have a safe and fun summer vacation. Traveling with kids? Spend a good amount of time preparing entertainment, snacks and a lot of "pee brakes!" :-)
Along with quarterly preventative maintenance, we feel that if followed correctly, these steps can help you save a large amount of money every week on your fuel budget. The information provided here is by no means a comprehensive list, but for seeing large improvements quickly we have attempted to prioritize the most important facts.
#1. Check Your Tire Pressure
The importance of correct tire pressure cannot be overstated. One out of 4 tires being low by even a pound or two of air can easily add a large amount of drag to the vehicle and cause very poor fuel economy. If you don’t know what the pressure should be, consult your owners manual. If you can’t find that, many vehicles have a sticker in the drivers door jam that tells exact tire sizes and pressures, for maximum efficiency. Most quality repair shops, and even some ‘quick lube’ places will check your tire pressure for you, and set it correctly.
#2. Wheel Alignment
Wheel alignment is often the simplest cause of poor fuel economy, but also the most overlooked. It’s not something that can be see with the naked eye, unless it’s so bad that abnormal tire wear is present. Poor wheel alignment in the simplest terms means that all 4 of the wheels are not pointing in exactly the same place. Many things can affect the alignment of the vehicle. A pothole in the road, bumping a curb, wear and tear to the steering and suspension all can have a substantial affect on alignment. Take you vehicle to an authorized repair facility, and make sure they can a computerized alignment system. A simple alignment check can save you hundreds of dollars in fuel usage.
#3. Keep The Engine tuned
With computerized vehicles, the definition of what a ‘tune up’ is, has changed quite a bit. People don’t realize when their vehicle isn’t performing like it was when it was new. The computer system can compensate for a whole host of small problems, and keep the engine running great. But this doesn’t mean it’s running at maximum efficiency, and often times after a good tune up, people will remark “Wow! It hasn’t run like that in a long time, I never noticed the decline.” Much like changes in your eyesight, small amounts of change over long periods of time go unnoticed until you put on new glasses, and can see the difference. Replacing a dirty air filter, installing a new fuel filter, cleaning the pcv system, replacing work spark plugs and ignition wires and changing your engine oil all add up. Small changes that together make a big difference. If you haven’t had a ‘tune up’ check in 30,000 miles, better ask a professional to take a look, and see what your manufacturer recommends. A well tuned engine carries the additional benefit of long, trouble free operation as well as maximum fuel economy.
If you have a yellow ‘Check Engine’ or ‘Service Engine Soon’ light illuminated then getting that fixed will almost always affect your fuel economy significantly. Many times people will say bah, that light’s been on for years, car runs great”, and their right, it does run fine, but it’s burning 15-20% more fuel than it should. When gas prices are high, that means an awful lot of wasted money.
#4. Clean The Fuel Injection System
Over time small particles and varnish build up inside the engine and fuel injection system. If left unchecked they can hurt fuel economy severely. As an engine runs carbon deposits build up on the intake vales, hurting fuel economy but also performance. If it’s been 30,000 miles since you’ve had your fuel injection system professionally cleaned, then it’s time to have this service done. There are many different methods to this service. Some places just put an additive in the fuel tank. This method does provide some small benefit, but it’s not as good as a full blown professional service. Look for someplace that has a machine to hook up to the vehicle. This will give you the best results, and overall best improvement.
#5. Lay Off The Lead
This is probably the most obvious of these solutions, but also the most effective. When accelerating hard from a stop, an engine burns a minimum of 50% more fuel than if accelerating gradually. Slowing down on the accelerator will make a big difference in the cost of your daily drive.
These are a few good suggestions that can help ease the pain of high fuel prices. Let look at just a few more:
-Let you car warm up before driving – a cold engine requires 30-50% more fuel to produce the same power and smooth operation.
-Carpool – Seems simple, but hey it works.
-Install the correct tires – changing tire sizes almost always adversely affects fuel economy.
-Have the brakes professionally serviced – over time road salt and grime with cause the brakes to stick, even just slightly, causing a huge decline in fuel economy.
-Cut down on the weight you carry – the more weight in a vehicle, the harder the engine must work to provide the same power, cutting fuel efficiency sometimes in half. Empty the junk from the trunk!
-Install a new gas cap – the government did a study and found that nationally 50 million gallons of gas evaporates into the atmosphere every year from loose, missing or broken gas caps.
We hope you have enjoyed these helpful tips. Keep in mind that every little bit helps. Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions or are in need of service. We’d be happy to serve you.
Give us a call today 619-562-3933
There are many reasons why tire inflation is important. Even just a pound or two of under inflation in your tires can be a problem. Here's why:
Fuel Economy: Improper inflation of your tires can add rolling resistance, thus compromising your fuel economy. The loss of gas mileage means more fill-ups, and more fill-ups means more money out of your pocket.
Handling: Low tire pressure may cause poor handling and longer stopping distance. If you are a highway driver, this can be especially hazardous.
Tire Wear: Under inflated tires are under a lot of stress, especially the steel belts. When the steel belts have more pressure on them due to improper inflation, they become hot and are more likely to wear prematurely.
Studies have shown that proper inflation can give you as much as a 3.3 percent increase in fuel economy. It is important to remember that it is difficult to detect low tire pressure just by looking at them until they get really low (say 20 psi or so). At this point, it would be best to have your local tire shop or auto mechanic take a look at the tire to ensure the low pressure is not a faulty tire. As the temperature fluctuates, so will your tire pressure. When the air outside is colder, the air inside the tire shrinks, thus causing a lower pressure. As you drive, the air in the tires will heat and expand, hopefully to proper inflation. With newer vehicles, your PCM will most likely have a Low Tire PSI indicator light that will notify you when your tire pressure is low.
Whether your vehicle is equipped with an indicator light or not, we recommend that you check your tire pressure once a month to ensure proper inflation.
Yep, it is already that time of year again! Can you believe it?! I can't! With the first day of Spring behind us and sunny days ahead, many of us will start our "spring cleaning." Usually this pertains to our homes; cleaning the blinds, vacuuming under appliances and furniture, flipping mattresses, etc. It's also a great time to "spring clean" your vehicle too! Even though we here in San Diego do not see much snow, your vehicle will appreciate a good cleaning. From the exterior body of the car to the floor mats, every nook and cranny needs a good cleaning. Below we have compiled a list of area's you should definitely pay attention too:
10. Clean under the floor mats
9. Wash the headlights and taillights
8. Check tire tread and condition
7. Clean out the trunk/hatch
6. Check under the seats (moving them forward and backward)
5. Wash and wax the vehicles exterior
4. Hit the seats and fabric areas with a vacuum
3. Clean all the mirrors (side mirrors and rear view mirror)
2. Lift up the hood, check for debris and dirt that could lead to problems
1. Clean under the whole car (best way to prevent rust)
Happy Spring from your friendly neighborhood mechanic!