Video Blog

AAA - Cautions in Extreme Heat

Sep 05, 2017

{?video;480;360;http://www.youtube.com/embed/0t63k66IjSk;http://www.protech-automotive.com/Car-Care-Tips/content/images/AAA_ExtremeHeat.jpg;/video?} With temperatures soaring to record highs around the country, AAA cautions motorists not to underestimate the ways in which extreme heat can wreak havoc on vehicles. With an estimated eight million automobiles in need of AAA’s roadside assistance this summer, heat will take its toll on vehicles and their occupants. “Prolonged exposure to high temperatures is not only a threat to passengers, but a vehicle concern as well,” said John Nielsen, AAA Managing Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Knowing the dangers and preparing your vehicle for extreme heat can help keep your vehicle running smoothly during the hot summer months.” To keep your vehicle running smoothly this summer, AAA recommends motorists address the following common heat-related vehicle problems: Over-Heating Engine Automobile engines work extra hard in the summer, and it is the cooling system’s job to protect the engine from overheating. In addition, additives in the coolant protect the radiator and internal engine components against wear and corrosion. Without proper cooling system maintenance, the odds of long-term engine damage and a summertime boil over definitely increase. Over time, engine coolant becomes contaminated and its protective additives are depleted. That’s why the system should be flushed and the coolant replaced periodically as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Older coolants required changing every two years or 24,000 miles/40,000 km, but most modern formulations are good for at least five years and 50,000 miles/80,000 km, and many do not require replacement until approximately 100,000 miles/160,000 km. See the owner’s manual or maintenance booklet to determine the service interval appropriate for a vehicle. Between flushes, make sure the coolant is filled to the proper levels by checking the overflow reservoir. If necessary, top off the reservoir with a 50/50 mix of water and the coolant type specified by the vehicle manufacturer. CAUTION! Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot; boiling coolant under pressure could cause serious burns. Other fluids help keep vehicles running cool as well. Most vehicle fluids don’t just lubricate, they also serve as coolants by helping carry heat away from critical components. When fluid levels are low, this cooling effect is reduced, and the possibility of overheating increases. Drivers should check all vehicle fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels. If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual. Battery Failure Due to Heat and Vibration Heat and vibration are a battery’s two worst enemies, leading to internal breakdown and eventual failure. While drivers cannot do much about the heat, they can make sure their battery is securely mounted in place to minimize vibration. If a car’s battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested by a trained technician to determine how much longer it will last. This test can be performed while you wait at {?coname?}. Should the battery need replacement, the technician can usually replace it immediately. Blown Tire Driving on underinflated tires not only affects the handling and braking of a vehicle, it also can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high. Tires should be checked when the vehicle has not been driven recently, and they should be inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer—not the number molded into the tire sidewall. Recommended tire pressures can be found in the owner’s manual or on a tire information sticker normally located on the driver’s door jamb. Drivers also should inspect the tire treads for adequate depth and any signs of uneven wear that might indicate a suspension or alignment problem. Air Conditioning Failure During extreme summer heat, a properly operating air conditioning system can be more than just a pleasant convenience. If a car’s air conditioning is not maintaining the interior temperature as well as it did in the past, it may mean the refrigerant level is low or there is another problem. Have the air conditioning system checked by a certified technician. Many automotive climate control systems today are equipped with a cabin filter that prevents outside debris from entering. If present, this filter should be inspected and replaced as needed to ensure maximum airflow and cooling during the summer months. If you think your vehicle is experiencing problems due to the extreme summer heat, have it checked out by a trained automotive technician. The AAA Approved Auto Repair program is a free public service that helps motorists identify high-quality auto repair facilities they can trust to work on their vehicle. AAA Approved Auto Repair shops must meet stringent professional standards and maintain an ongoing customer satisfaction rating of 90 percent or better. To locate a nearby AAA-approved repair shop, visit AAA.com/Repair. As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Serpentine Belt Service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster

Aug 30, 2017

If you've ever heard a squealing sound under your vehicle hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. More importantly, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that's used by your vehicle's electrical systems and also charges the battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead after a short distance.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).

And, on most vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Lancaster vehicles, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.

When they understand what it does, Lancaster drivers realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That's why vehicle manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owner’s manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owner’s manual, come see us at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley.

At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, your professional technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch or couple of centimeters, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny, glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. There's a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there's a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn't slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your vehicle.

All in all, the serpentine belt is very important to the operation of your vehicle. And it's not that expensive to replace at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley – so it's good to do so before it fails.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Automotive Tips from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley: Brake Noise

Aug 20, 2017

Your brake pads are the important parts that rub against the rotor (or disc) to slow and stop your car when driving in Lancaster. They eventually wear down.

When your pads are worn too much, they won’t stop your vehicle as well. When the friction material is worn away, metal parts of the pad are exposed and you’ll hear a squeal or grinding sound.

That’s when Lancaster drivers should replace their brake pads at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. Not only will new pads restore your stopping power, but replacing them on time will prevent damage to the rotor.

If your brakes are making noise, ask your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor to inspect your brakes. Addressing problems early will restore your safety and prevent expensive brake damage.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Battery Maintenance Tips From The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley

Aug 16, 2017

When it comes to your vehicle, it all starts with the battery. Proper battery maintenance is important for two reasons:

First, your vehicle won't start or run without it. Second, it is the key to the long life of your auto electrical system. If your battery isn't working efficiently, your alternator has to work overtime to make up for it, and other electrical components can suffer as well.

A number of years ago sealed batteries were introduced to the local Lancaster, California, market. They were hailed as being 'maintenance-free batteries.' While it is true that you can't get in and adjust the electrolyte levels of a sealed battery, it is by no means maintenance free.

Batteries are very sensitive to changes in the weather around California. Temperature really affects auto battery performance. A battery inspection is an important part of your spring and fall checkups. Next time you're under your hood, take a look at your battery.

  • Is it clean and free of residue? A dirty battery will drain.
  • Is there corrosion at the terminals where the battery cables attach to the battery? If there is, the corrosion can interfere with how efficiently electricity passes back and forth from the battery.
  • Are the cables loose? Make sure they are tight.
  • Are the cables themselves corroded? Corrosion can actually eat through the battery cables.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisors can inspect and test your battery. If the inspection warrants a cleaning, have it done. If the battery test indicates that replacement of the battery or cables is in order, you will be lucky to have caught the problem before it becomes a major inconvenience.

Your battery will also last longer if you keep your fuel system and ignition system clean. It's all part of your commitment to regular maintenance, to keep your vehicle running on Lancaster streets at its best for a long, long time.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Regular Schedule or Severe Service Schedule at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley?

Jul 30, 2017

Today's The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley article focuses on severe service maintenance. Many Lancaster drivers are not aware of them and yet there are also very vocal advocates in California who think that severe service schedules apply to everyone. Somewhere between a complete lack of awareness and the dire blanket statements lies a reasonable approach to severe service maintenance at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley.

To back up a little, vehicle owner's manuals have schedules for preventive maintenance: things like oil changes, transmission service and so on. They say you should change your oil after a certain distanced traveled or after so many months. Lancaster drivers understand this very well. What they may not know is that there are actually two service schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. The mileage and time intervals are lower on the severe service schedule.

Now when you hear 'severe service,' you may think it doesn't apply to you because you don't feel your driving conditions are severe or extreme – it's just normal everyday driving in the Lancaster area. So let's list some of the conditions that classify as severe so that you can make the judgment on your own driving.

Before we start the list, here's a point of contrast that definitely is not severe driving. Driving down your nearest California interstate at the highway speed limit on a 75 degree F/24 degree C day loaded only with your passengers. This is an easy trip for your vehicle: your engine is loafing along at low RPMs, no heavy loads to pull and moderate Lancaster temperatures. Now let's look at some severe service driving conditions.

Most trips around Lancaster are less than four miles/six and a half kilometers. When your vehicle engine cools down, moisture condenses in the engine. This water in the oil doesn't get a chance to evaporate on short trips because the oil doesn't get hot enough. A lot of short trips in your vehicle means a lot of water build up. And water in the oil leads to the creation of sludge which can damage the engine. Changing the oil more frequently keeps sludge from building up. By contrast, highway driving warms the engine up and gets the water burned off.

Here's another example. Most trips around Lancaster are less than 10 miles/16 km and outside temperatures are below freezing. This is the same reasoning, but in very cold California weather it takes even longer for the oil to get hot enough to evaporate the water, hence 10  miles/16 km as opposed to 4 miles/6.4 km.

Next, you drive in very hot California weather. The hotter it is outside, the more cooling the engine, transmission, brake fluid and so on becomes. The environment in which the fluids reside is more hostile, and the fluids simply break down faster. Therefore, the lower change interval.

Another: driving at low speed most of the time. Every vehicle engine has what's called its power band. This is a range of RPMs in which it's most efficient. Low speed driving doesn't keep the engine in its power band so it's working harder. This is one of the reasons that ratings are worse in downtown than on the highway.

Stop and go driving in Lancaster is another severe service condition. You're always accelerating, which works the vehicle engine and transmission harder. Then you're stopping, which works the brake fluid harder, causing it to get very hot. Highway driving, on the other hand, requires far less horsepower to maintain its speed than getting a stationary vehicle from a stop light up to 25 mph/40 kph. A lot of this and you'll need to follow the severe service schedule.

Also on the list is operating your vehicle in dusty, polluted or muddy conditions. Obviously, your engine air filter and cabin air will get dirty faster and need to be changed more frequently as will your breather element. Some of this dust and dirt will make its way into your fluids. They will simple get dirty faster and won't protect the components as well as fresh fluids.

Finally, you're driving under severe conditions in Lancaster when you tow a trailer, regularly carry heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier. This is pretty obvious. You'll spend more time in lower gears so the engine and transmission work much harder and create more heat. Brakes will be more stressed stopping the heavier loads.

Sounds like most of us in Lancaster operate under severe driving conditions at least some of the time. How can Lancaster drivers know which schedule to follow?

Think of it as a spectrum with "always driving under severe conditions" on one end and "never driving under severe conditions" on the other end. Some will be at one extreme or the other, but most of us will fall somewhere in between.

Carefully think about your driving conditions and decide if you should do your preventive maintenance closer to the severe service recommendation or the regular recommendation. Of course, your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor can help you with your decision.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Automotive Tips from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley: When to Replace a Damaged Tire

Jul 24, 2017

Repair or Replace? That’s a question Lancaster drivers ask when they have tire damage. Some punctures cannot be repaired because of their size or location. Punctures larger than a quarter of an inch (6.4 mm) are considered too large to be safely repaired. Punctures in the sidewall or near the shoulders may not be able to be repaired. And sometimes there is internal damage revealed on inspection that indicates the tire should not be repaired.

Run flat tires should not be repaired. Repairing high performance tires may make them unsuitable for motorsports. Your friendly and professional The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor can inspect your damaged tire and tell you if it can be safely repaired or if it should be replaced - and then help you get back on the roads around Lancaster.

Give us a call.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



The The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Guide to Saving Fuel: Get Rid of Dirty Oil

Jul 16, 2017

A lot of us drivers are asking ourselves the same question lately: how can we save on fuel? Lancaster area residents are all cutting back, if not in fuel consumption, then in other areas of our lives.

Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is an important way people in Lancaster can conserve fuel by improving fuel economy. And one of the easiest and most effective ways to do that is to keep the oil in our vehicle adequate and clean.

Oil lubricates your vehicle engine and keeps it running smoothly. If you're running low, there is increased friction in your engine. Friction creates drag, which means it takes more fuel to keep the vehicle motor running. This all translates to lower fuel economy.

Check your oil to make sure the engine is getting all it needs. Your owner's manual and service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will tell you the proper weight and type of oil for your vehicle.

Responsible Car Care

Dirty oil grits up your engine, which also increases friction. So even if there's enough oil, you're still getting that extra drag that reduces your fuel economy. That's why your owner's manual recommends getting your oil changed regularly. It's good auto advice.

While you're checking your oil, you should take a quick look at your transmission fluid as well. Your transmission also needs clean, adequate fluid to work efficiently. An inefficient transmission also translates into lower fuel economy.

Your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will be able to check your oil and other fluids, top you off or change your oil if necessary.
Your owner's manual will have recommendations on how often you should check your oil and transmission fluid. But you can also consult with the pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster. The types of roads you drive on in California, the climate where you live and the air quality in your area can all affect how often you should change your oil.

And don't forget that this will improve our environment here in Lancaster as well. Improved efficiency translates to fewer emissions. Changing your oil as scheduled doesn't just help your vehicle (and your pocketbook), it helps keep the air clean as well.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



How to Get Better Gas Mileage in Lancaster

Jul 10, 2017

There is no escaping it: things work better when you take care of them. Something most of us in Lancaster can relate to is our computers. You've probably noticed how they get slower and slower over time. It takes longer to start up and programs take forever to load. Eventually, many of us just get a new computer at our nearest Lancaster computer store. But computer experts know that there are things you can do to delay the need for a new computer purchase. You can run utilities that clean off temporary files and clean your memory registry. You can optimize your hard drive and a number of other things.

What you're doing is maintaining your computer to make it efficient. It's the same thing with your vehicle. You maintain it to make it more efficient. It works the way it was designed to and that means it uses less fuel while you drive around Lancaster. And you save money.

To help organize our discussion, let's think of things that rob us of fuel economy in two ways: increased friction and inefficient fuel combustion.

Friction. Anything that increases friction increases drag or load on the vehicle engine. It has to work harder to overcome the drag – and that takes more fuel. The first thing that comes to mind is engine oil. Low oil means there's not enough to fully lubricate the engine so there's more friction. Dirty oil won't lubricate as well as clean oil. The same principles apply to transmission fluid. Getting your oil changed and transmission serviced on schedule at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will reduce friction and help you get better fuel economy.

Another friction related problem is underinflated tires. When your vehicle tires are low on air, it's like driving on California highways through sand – your vehicle has to work harder to move every mile. Check your tire pressure at least once a month.

Wheels out of alignment and dragging brakes also increase friction. And your tires and brake pads will wear out much sooner as well. At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, we provide quality brake and wheel alignment services.

Let's move on to Fuel. You have to get the right amount of clean fuel to the combustion chamber at precisely the right time. A dirty fuel system has varnish and gum interfering, and the fuel injectors may be unable to deliver the correct amount of fuel at the right pressure  and in the spray pattern — that the engineers intended. A vehicle fuel system cleaning at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will get all of that working right and really improve fuel economy.

Replacing your fuel filter on schedule will help keep your fuel clean. Replacing a sticky PCV valve will allow unburned fuel from the engine to be returned to the intake system to be used. Replacing worn spark plugs will burn your fuel as efficiently as possible.

All of these things can help you save money on gas at Lancaster pumps.

Give us a call.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Diagnosing Your Vehicle at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster

Jul 03, 2017

When we Lancaster residents get a car repair bill, we really shouldn't be surprised to find “diagnostic fees” as one of the line items. When we get a computer fixed, there is usually a charge for the time it takes to diagnose the problem. When we go to a medical doctor, most of his fee is for his ability to diagnose what's wrong. It's no different with our vehicles.

Some diagnoses are fairly simple. Brake repairs at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley usually require only a visual inspection, for instance. But other problems are much more difficult to diagnose. An intermittent engine problem, for example, takes time and expertise to pinpoint.

Modern vehicles have multiple computers that monitor a variety of sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of those sensors has a reading that is higher or lower than the standard parameters, the computer turns on the Check Engine light. Technicians at a service center such as The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster can scan the engine's computer for a trouble code. This code tells the technician which reading is too high or too low.

That's where some Lancaster residents get confused. They think that this reading concludes the diagnosis, and they don't understand why the diagnostic fee is as much as it is when all the technician did was to scan the computer. But the truth is the trouble code is only the beginning of the diagnostic procedure.

Remember, the trouble code only tells which reading is out of parameter. It doesn't say what is causing the reading to be too high or too low. Your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service technician still has to find the underlying problem. It's a lot like going to the doctor. He can take your temperature and discover that you have a fever, but that doesn't tell him what is causing your fever.

Automotive diagnostic technology can cut down the time it takes to figure out what's wrong with a vehicle that isn't running right. But it doesn't do away with the need for your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service technician to make a proper diagnosis. Car care, like medical care, still requires the human touch.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Automotive Tips: Diagnostic Service

Jun 26, 2017

Imagine waking up one morning with a stomach ache. You pick up the phone, call the doctor’s office and say, “I’ve got a really bad tummy ache. How much will it cost to make me feel better?” Of course you wouldn’t do that. You know that there could be a lot of reasons for your symptoms and that the doctor will have to examine you, ask some questions and probably run some tests before she can tell you what’s wrong and give you treatment options.

This same scenario plays out every day at California auto repair facilities. When the cause of the concern isn’t obvious, the car will need to undergo a diagnostic examination. The typical car has about 30,000 parts, including several networked computers and miles of wiring. Finding exactly what is wrong can be very complicated and take some time. The most experienced technicians at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster are the ones who tackle the difficult diagnostic jobs. Once they have determined the cause of the trouble, they can work out the plan for how to fix it and tell you how much it will cost.

When you think about it this way, it makes perfect sense that, 1) the The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor cannot provide an estimate before the diagnosis is done, and 2) there is a charge for auto diagnostic services in Lancaster. You expect to pay for an office visit to the doctor and for any necessary tests before you can be presented with your treatment options and costs; same goes for your vehicle.

We know it can be frustrating for Lancaster drivers when something is wrong with your car and you aren’t sure what is going to be involved in getting it fixed. We are passionate about helping you through the process, communicating with you at each step along the way. We have highly trained diagnostic technicians and technologically-advanced diagnostic equipment to uncover the cause of your trouble. We use quality replacement parts to help make sure you stay on the road after the repair is done. That’s our prescription for automotive peace of mind.

Give us a call.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com


At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

 




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