Video Blog

Maintaining Your Diesel in Lancaster

Jun 20, 2017

Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven't been as common in the Lancaster area because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more Lancaster diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV's.

Diesels are popular in California because they get better fuel economy than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you're not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.

Diesels don't produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in California as for other vehicles.

Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from cellulosic waste like wood chips and sawdust. In California, we may soon see bio-diesel produced from algae. These fuel sources will lessen Lancaster drivers dependence on fossil fuels and may even become truly renewable and sustainable.

Diesel-powered vehicles also perform as well as other passenger vehicles. Most people don't notice a difference in driving one or the other. If you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer around California, however, the diesel is a definite improvement.

So, you may be asking, if diesels are so great, why don't all Lancaster people drive them? Surely there are disadvantages you haven't told me about. That's true. Diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, and they cost more in California. The better fuel economy of the diesel engine is partially offset by the higher purchase price.

Because of higher fuel prices, diesel engines used to be more expensive to drive in Lancaster. But now, with higher volatility in the prices of both gasoline and diesel fuel in California, that cost difference is less definitive. Whether a diesel or gas engine is more expensive for California drivers depends now on the current price of fuel and how far you drive.

Consider also that diesel-powered vehicles have a high resale value in the Lancaster area, and the costs of owning and operating a diesel vs. a gas-powered vehicle in California becomes a real toss-up.

Preventive auto maintenance for diesel vehicles has also become similar to that of gas-fueled vehicles in recent years. The major difference is that diesels require cleaner fuel, air and oil, so their filters are more expensive than those for gasoline engines. The engine air filter must be changed more frequently as well.

The costs for car care and repairs in Lancaster are similar. You may be thinking, wait:  You just told me that filters are more and have to be changed more regularly. True, but that is offset by the fact that diesel engines have a much longer lifetime than gasoline engines. So if you are the type of owner who prefers to hang on to a vehicle for a long time, you will be more than rewarded with a diesel engine.

So if you have been looking for Lancaster auto advice on whether to switch to a diesel vehicle or stay with a gas-powered one, then we hope this helps. The answer as to which type of vehicle is better is that it depends on the driver and their driving habits. Now that you know the facts, you can make an informed choice based on your own priorities and needs.

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



What You Need to Know from Your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Service Advisor

Jun 11, 2017

Lancaster drivers may feel intimidated when they take their vehicles to a service center. They have questions but aren't sure how to ask. They don't want to feel embarrassed about their lack of knowledge. They don't want to make the service technician feel that they don't trust him.

If your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley uses a term you don't understand, just ask him to explain. Remember, they are the auto service experts. If they came to your place of work, they probably wouldn't understand the jargon, either. When you take your vehicle in to be serviced, make sure you understand the financial issues up front. Ask about payment policies, warranties and, of course, the cost of the work being done.

It helps to understand basic services your vehicle needs. Know the difference between a quick check-up and a thorough inspection, which you are getting and which you are asking for. Understand that diagnosing a problem takes time, and time isn't free. If you have concerns about cost, negotiate your limits before service is done. Don't be afraid to ask your service advisor for auto advice on how to keep your vehicle on the road within your budget. He can help you prioritize your vehicle's needs. Some repairs are for the safety and future health of your vehicle. Others can wait. Your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor can help you set up a plan to get all the work done as you can afford it.

It may be tempting for Lancaster drivers to save money with budget parts. Your service advisor can help you to sort through the options to work within your budget. High-quality parts are always preferable for any auto repair. Your service advisor will make sure the parts used won't compromise the safety of your vehicle.

Don't leave your Lancaster service center without your paperwork, either. Ask about warranties for parts and labor. You may need these for claims or if there is a problem in the future. Get detailed explanations of the work done on your vehicle. These records will help you keep track of repairs, service and warranties.

Those records may also help close a deal when it comes time to sell your vehicle. After all, the biggest concern most people in Lancaster have when buying a used vehicle is that they are inheriting someone else's problems.

Records of repairs and service are a good picture of your vehicle's condition and performance and what problems a new owner can expect. People are always happier to purchase a vehicle they know has been well-maintained. Whenever we climb into a vehicle, we are entrusting our health and safety to it. Perhaps it's time to take our vehicles' health a little more seriously. Open up; ask and learn.

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

 



Distracted Driving

Jun 04, 2017

When asked, most people think they are good at multi-tasking. Scientific studies, however, reveal that only around 2% of the population can truly demonstrate the capacity to effectively multi-task. For the rest of us who are not so biologically wired, no amount of practice can increase our effectiveness at multi-tasking. Turns out, multi-tasking is almost a superpower. Think of fighter pilots: capable of maintaining their orientation in three dimensional space and performing specific and highly complicated functions while accessing life threatening situations and coming up with an appropriate response. Admit it – you can’t do that.

Yet when it comes to driving, we seem to think we are very capable of safely operating a motor vehicle with myriad distractions. 77% of young adults feel somewhat confident that they can safely text and drive while 55% claim it’s easy to text and drive. Can they possibly be right? Let’s look at some statistics.

Nearly 23% of all accidents in the United States involve cell phones. Every day, 11 people are killed and over 900 are injured in texting-related accidents. In fact, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated. Just think back at your own experiences: how many of your “near misses” as a pedestrian or in a vehicle have involved a driver with a cell phone in their hand?

There are three types of driving distractions:

  • Visual (eyes off the road)
  • Manual (reaching for something or manipulating an object)
  • Cognitive (mind off the task of driving)

Of course, texting or using a cell phone involves all three. Eating, applying make-up, arguing and working on-board features like the stereo and navigation system are all very real distractions. You may be interested to know that hands-free cell calls are not substantially safer than using a handheld phone. Any time you glance away from the road (like looking at a text or incoming phone call) your eyes are off task for at least 5 seconds. At 55 miles per hour/90 kph, you will cover the length of a football field in that time. Would you ever consent to strapping on a blindfold and driving off down the road for that distance?

So what do you do? First, accept the fact that you are not part of the 2% of all the people on the planet who can truly multi-task (if you are one of the lucky ones you would know by now because your performance does not degrade no matter how many additional tasks are added). Next, don’t EVER drive distracted. Incoming text: it will wait for later. Juicy hamburger: eat it in the parking lot. No exceptions, ever. And don’t accept anything less from drivers of vehicles in which you are a passenger.

Another way to avoid distractions is to keep on top of scheduled maintenance and necessary repairs so that your vehicle itself doesn’t become a distraction. We can help you with that.

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 Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Automotive Tips: Alternator

May 31, 2017

Your alternator makes electricity to start and run your engine and all of the vital electrical systems in your vehicle. That’s everything from the on-board computers to the turn signals. And of course there is the entertainment system, seat heaters, power windows and everything you plug into the power outlets. After your alternator makes enough electricity to do all that, it recharges your battery with what’s left over.

When Lancaster drivers constantly have a low or dead battery, the alternator is usually a prime suspect. However, the alternator is just one vital component of the starting/charging system, and a problem with any of the other components could be the actual cause.

In addition to the alternator, the charging/starting system includes the battery, starter, serpentine belt system and all of the electrical cables that connect them. Your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor has a systematic process of testing components and connections to get to the source of your trouble. The initial symptoms determine where to begin the diagnostic process, and he follows the procedure until he tracks down the culprit.

For example, diagnostic tests at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley could reveal that the alternator is not generating enough electricity to keep the battery charged. Is the alternator bad? Not necessarily. A worn serpentine belt tensioner could be allowing the belt that spins the alternator to slip. So the perfectly good alternator is not spinning at the proper speed. The solution for Lancaster drivers is to replace the serpentine belt system – not the alternator.

The good news for Lancaster drivers is that our highly-trained technicians at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can properly diagnose all your vehicle troubles and make the necessary repairs to get you back on the road in 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


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



New Life for Your Older Car in Lancaster

May 24, 2017

Isn't it amazing how much of our stuff is disposable these days? Clothes, electronics, housewares, furniture.

Remember the days when Lancaster families mended their clothes, polished their shoes and neatly put away their toys every night? If something was lost or ruined through neglect, your parents just told you to do without, that you should have taken better care of it. They considered the loss a “life lesson.”

But today many Lancaster drivers tend to neglect one of the more expensive and important purchases we make: our vehicles. Vehicles are a lot more reliable today than back when we polished our shoes, and that reliability can sometimes make us take them for granted. Drivers in Lancaster neglect good vehicle care practices and procrastinate when it comes to preventive maintenance. What we're really doing is heading straight for one of those dreaded “life lessons.” Eventually we'll pay for our neglect in repair bills and a shorter life for our vehicle.

Is procrastinating on routine maintenance really so terrible? Consider what happens when you procrastinate on brushing your teeth, washing your clothes or getting the dishes done. Gunk builds up, makes the job harder and ultimately damages your teeth, clothing or dishes. It's the same with your vehicle. Some of the best auto advice out there for Lancaster drivers is to stay on top of routine oil changes by bringing their car into The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. Even a little extra interval between oil changes can result in oil sludge, which can clog passages in your engine. This means oil can't get to some of the engine components, and they'll wear out faster without lubrication. Every time you put off an oil change, the problem gets worse, eventually cutting years off the life of your engine.

The same is true if you skip cooling system service. Corrosion inhibitors in the fluid become depleted over time, opening the system up to damage. Consistent neglect will lead to holes in your radiator. Talk to your friendly service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for suggestions and feedback.

Neglect of other fluids can also result in engine damage. Brake fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid—all of these need to be serviced on a regular basis. In addition, your fuel system needs periodic cleaning or it can start to break down and cause permanent damage to your engine.

The good news is that it's never too late to get on track and start getting good, regular preventive maintenance for your vehicle at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. You may not be able to reverse damage that's already been done, but you can prevent further damage.

It really does all start with an oil change. With a full-service oil change at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, your fluids will be checked and your car inspected for wear and tear. Our pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can also advise you of other inspections and maintenance items that are coming due. If you're on top of oil changes, your service advisor will keep track of your maintenance schedule and remind you what needs to be done.

Older vehicles are going to need repairs. But with good maintenance, those repairs will involve fairly routine stuff like alternators, water pumps, belts and batteries. The cost of these replacement parts at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley is much cheaper than the repair bills that come with serious engine damage, and they're certainly less than the cost of a new car.

We may not need to polish our shoes anymore, and tossing out that outdated cell phone may not be such a loss. But when it comes to our vehicles, they're just too valuable to be treated as disposable. Let's take a step back, listen to our parents and take care of our stuff. If we don't, we could be on our way to a “life lesson” involving our bank account and a bus pass.

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 Brake Service for Safe Stopping in Lancaster

May 14, 2017

Let's talk about something critical for all Lancaster drivers: your brakes. Your vehicle is heavy, and it takes a lot of muscle to bring it and your passengers to a safe stop – so everything needs to be in good working order.

Here's an explanation on how your disc brakes work:

The wheel hub keeps your wheel attached to your vehicle. The brake disc – or rotor – is attached to the hub and rotates with the wheel as you drive around Lancaster. Your brake pads clamp onto the rotor to slow the wheel.

The brake caliper straddles the rotor and squeezes the rotor to slow it down. The calipers contain brake pads which press on the rotor when you put your foot on the brake. The brake piston causes the calipers to squeeze and release as you use your vehicle brakes.

Your brake pads start to wear the first time you step on the brakes. Eventually the pads wear out and need to be replaced. If you don't replace the pads when they're worn out, the metal parts of the brake will grind against the rotor and carve grooves into the surface. We've all heard grinding brakes and it's not a pretty sound.

If a rotor isn't scored significantly, your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley technician can put it on a lathe and smooth it out. If the grooves are too deep or if the rotor is warped or cracked, you need to replace it.

Sometimes brake pistons can stick and must be replaced. Typically it's cheaper to replace the entire caliper at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster than to rebuild the piston.

So there you have it – an important lesson on how your disc brakes work. If you replace brake pads on time, it will not only keep your vehicle stopping safely but could save you cash on unnecessary repairs down the road.

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



The Economy of Maintenance for Lancaster Drivers

Apr 16, 2017

Do I keep my old vehicle or buy a new one? It's a question most Lancaster drivers ask themselves at some time or another.

Generally, what it comes down to is the choice between a car payment and the possibility of repair bills. Most of the time, we want to choose the car payment because we don't like the inconvenience and uncertainty of vehicle repairs. But that payment has a detrimental effect on our budget and bank account.

Edmunds.com is a great website to help you with your decision. This site uses repair histories to calculate the average repair bills for specific makes and models of cars. You can plug in the information for your vehicle and get an estimate on what it will probably cost you to continue owning that vehicle.

Now, Edmunds.com isn't a crystal ball. It can't know what will happen to your specific vehicle. But it can guide you in knowing how much money to budget for the repair and maintenance of your vehicle. Ultimately, that can help you in your decision to buy a new vehicle or wait a few years.

For example, a five-year-old Camry V-6 is projected by Edmunds.com to cost about $96 a month, on average, to repair and maintain (at the time of this writing). Remember, maintenance costs are part of vehicle ownership, whether it's a new vehicle or an old one, so the projected cost for repairs on your five-year-old Camry average out to only about $50 a month. That's a whopping lot less than a new car payment.

If your vehicle is older than five years, you should also talk to your friendly and knowledgeable professional at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley about its future. They are more familiar with the average cost of repairs for vehicles in your area and of specific problems they commonly see in particular vehicles. More importantly, they know you and they know your car. They can give you a heads-up on what repairs you may be facing in the near future.

Remember, the older your vehicle gets, the more important preventive auto maintenance becomes. Over time, vehicles accumulate wear and debris, and we just have to give them a little more attention. Getting to know your vehicle and its peculiarities is also good auto advice for Lancaster drivers.

If you decide to keep your older vehicle, you may want to talk with your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor about fluids specially formulated for older engines. These motor oils, transmission and other fluids are designed to clean older engines and automotive systems and recondition their seals and gaskets.

Good care at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster will keep your older vehicle on the road in California. And that may be just the boost you need in this uncertain economy. It may even save you enough to be able to afford that new vehicle you've been dreaming about.

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

 



Breathe Deep in Lancaster With a New Cabin Air Filter

Apr 10, 2017

Poor interior air quality is nothing to sneeze at, and Lancaster auto owners might be interested to know that more and more new cars are coming equipped with a cabin air filter. Check your vehicle owner's manual, but they typically need to be replaced at around 12,000 to 15,000 miles (19,000 to 24,000 kilometers).

The filter is usually under the vehicle hood or under the dashboard. Some are a little tricky to get to, so you'll want to have your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor take care of replacing them.

As we said, many Lancaster people don't realize they have a cabin air filter and come to The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley saying "my vents are smelling bad." It usually turns out to be a dirty cabin air filter. A switch out and they're on their way, smelling sweet.

Lancaster residents who suffer from allergies can really benefit from a cabin air filter as it keeps irritants to a minimum. If you're one of them, you'll want to replace your filter regularly.

If you do a lot of driving in dusty or polluted Lancaster conditions, you'll need to change your cabin air filter more often.

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

 



Fuel Saving Tip: Slow Down in Lancaster

Mar 27, 2017

There’s not much Lancaster drivers can do about the price of gas in 
California, but we can control - up to a point - how much we use. Our driving habits can dramatically affect our fuel economy.

The first thing we can do is watch the go-pedal. Hard acceleration just sucks the gas. Gently leave stop lights and plan lane changes so you don’t need to floor it. That can save you hundreds of dollars a year in improved gas mileage.

Go a little slower on California expressways. Lancaster drivers who go more than 65 miles an hour (105 kilometers per hour) will see their gas mileage drop dramatically. Leave early so you don’t need to rush to be on time. And cruise control is your friend – steady speeds use less gas.

Plan errands ahead. Make fewer trips by combining errands around Lancaster.

Hey at current Lancaster gas prices, a lead-foot might as well be a gold foot.

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.



The The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Guide to Proper Fluids for Your Vehicle

Mar 21, 2017

The automotive professionals at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley would like to give Lancaster drivers an update on some of the things happening in automotive fluids. You know, vehicles are becoming more sophisticated every day.  Fluids such as, oil, coolant and transmission fluid are becoming more specialized at about the same pace.

The Lancaster do-it-yourselfer has to be pretty careful so that they do not actually harm their vehicle with the wrong type of fluid. That is why so many California ] owners rely on the advice of their friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor to not only get the correct family of fluids, but to suggest the formulation that is best for their vehicle and their driving habits in the Lancaster area.

Let's start with engine oil. Lancaster drivers who have been paying attention will have noticed a number of new oil weights on the California scene in the last several years. Modern engines are built to much tighter tolerances and have very complicated valve trains. The oil must be thin enough to lubricate complicated parts when the engine is cold. The weight of an oil is expressed in terms like 20-W-50 or 5-W-30. The vehicle manufacturers recommend the weight of oil for each vehicle they make. The recommendation is based on engine design. Your Lancaster service center will know what weight your vehicle manufacturer recommends - and it's important to follow those recommendations. Your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can also offer suggestions for special formulations and can tell you all about conventional and synthetic oils.

Antifreeze, or engine coolant, is another area that has become more complicated. For a long time, vehicle manufacturers only recommended a couple of different types of coolant. Now, several different formulations are needed because of the high-tech materials that vehicle manufacturers are using to build the cooling system. Using the wrong type of coolant in your vehicle can actually void your warranty, so it's important to get that right.

Transmission fluid is becoming specialized for Lancaster vehicles as well. New transmission designs have particular requirements that require specific formulations. Recently, new, somewhat confusing, standards for brake fluid have also been released.

Not too long ago, there was a good chance that all of the vehicles at your house would use many of the same fluids. However, as automotive technology advances, the array of basic automotive fluids California drivers need will grow. And, some of the formulations will cost a little more for Lancaster drivers. Fortunately, The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will continue to update their training to keep pace with technology so that you'll get the right fluids your vehicle needs. It's all part of the commitment we make to your driving peace of mind.

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




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