Your vehicle's suspension system has two jobs: to prevent the passengers from getting tossed around inside the vehicle every time it hits a bump in the road and to keep the tires firmly planted on the road around every corner and over every bump.
To see your suspension system, you'll have to look under your vehicle. Anything that connects the wheels to the vehicle's frame is part of the suspension system. They're heavy-duty parts that work hard while you're driving and take a lot of wear and tear. Because of this, you should have your technician at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley look at them once a year as part of your preventive maintenance routine. A good time for it is every time you get your alignment checked.
If your suspension is in trouble, you often feel it in how your vehicle drives. You should get a check of your suspension system: if the vehicle pulls to one side or wanders, if the steering is erratic, if your ride isn't as smooth as it should be, or if your vehicle handles poorly. Uneven tire wear can also indicate worn parts in your suspension system. If your shocks are leaking oil then they definitely need to be replaced. All in all, if you don't feel in control when you're driving, go get your suspension inspected.
Shocks and struts wear out. Wheel bearings may need to be repacked every few years. Some parts of your suspension may need to be lubricated whenever you change your oil. Preventive maintenance is the key to keeping your vehicle under control. Good care can prevent accidents for Lancaster drivers.
If you are in an accident, even a minor one, it can damage your suspension system or knock your wheels out of alignment. Even hitting a curb, pothole or large rock can damage your suspension. A wheel balancing or alignment won't correct a suspension problem, and after any suspension work, you may need to get an alignment.
At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, we advise Lancaster drivers never to procrastinate on getting their suspension system repaired. A damaged suspension system can lead to loss of control of a vehicle in an emergency situation and serious accidents.
Potholes are unsightly nuisances around Lancaster, but they're also a major cause of suspension damage for Lancaster vehicles. To avoid this, Lancaster drivers should always keep their tires properly inflated. This gives the tires maximum resiliency. When you're driving around the Lancaster area, avoid potholes if possible. If you can't avoid one, then slow down before driving over it. Slower speeds limit pothole damage. But if you're a little late detecting a pothole, don't brake on top of it. This will throw the vehicle's weight forward and increase the damage.
The suspension system may not be pretty to look at, but it provides you with a safe, comfortable ride — as long as you maintain it properly. You don't have to show it off, but you should be proud of it.
Car care is part of auto safety in Lancaster. But the most important thing we can do to improve safety on California roads is to drive safely.
Defensive driving begins with the proper attitude. Have in mind that you won't let anyone take your safety away from you. You'll be aware of your surroundings, road conditions, other vehicles and hazards. And the first person to be concerned with is you: start with your own environment.
Don't leave without securing all occupants including children and pets. Watch for loose items that can become projectiles during evasive maneuvers.
Driving too fast or too slow increases the chance of an accident.
Never drive impaired: Alcohol is a factor in half of all fatal crashes. Never drink and drive.
Other impairments include being sleepy, angry, daydreaming or talking. If you suddenly wonder how you got where you are – you're not paying enough attention.
Keep your windows clean and uncluttered. No fuzzy dice and stickers.
Keep your car in good shape so that it handles properly: Maintain tires, lights, brakes, suspension, wheel alignment and steering.
Always use your turn signals while driving around Lancaster, California. Avoid other vehicles' blind spots.
Don't drive faster than your headlights – if you can't stop within the distance you can see, you're going too fast.
Avoid driving over debris in the road. Even harmless looking items can cause damage or an accident.
Keep your wheels straight when waiting to turn at an intersection in Lancaster . That way if you're hit from behind, your car won't be pushed into on-coming traffic.
My daddy always said that when you drive, you're actually driving five cars: yours, the one in front, the one behind and the ones on either side. You can't trust that other drivers will do the right thing, so you've got to be aware of what they're doing at all times.
If you see another car driving erratically, weaving, crossing lanes, etc., stay back. Take the next right turn if you're downtown Lancaster, or take the next exit on the California highway. Notify the police if you see someone driving dangerously in our Lancaster community.
Never follow too closely. The minimum distance is the two second rule. Pick a landmark ahead, like a tree or road marker. When the car in front of you passes it, start counting: 'one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand.' If you pass the landmark before reaching two-one-thousand, you're following too closely.
Remember that the two second rule is the minimum – it assumes you're alert and aware. Three seconds is safer. Move out to five seconds or more if it's foggy or rainy.
Someone will inevitably move into your forward safety zone – just drop back and keep a safe distance.
If someone follows you too closely, just move over.
Don't play chicken by contesting your right of way or race to beat someone to a merge. Whoever loses that contest has the potential to lose big and you don't want any part of that. So stay alert, constantly scan around your car and arrive safely.
Air quality has certainly become a hot issue in our modern world. We install air filters on our ventilation systems and in our vacuum cleaners. There's a filter that cleans the air going into our vehicle's engine — so why not one for the air in the passenger compartment?
Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers haven't been ignoring the issue. Cabin air filters are becoming a standard feature on newer vehicles. These filters can clean particles out of the air down to three microns, which accounts for pollen, dust and most pollutants. Lancaster residents who suffer from allergies or have a respiratory disorder should be a lot more comfortable. And even if you don't have a medical need for the filter, the cleaner air in your car just might help you breathe better, figuratively as well as literally.
Cabin air filters are still fairly new in the Lancaster area, so you'll have to check your vehicle owner's manual to see if you have one. If you do, your routine car care will have to include changing the filter as part of your preventive maintenance. The owner's manual will give recommendations on how often the filter has to be changed, but if the air where you live in California is particularly dirty or if you're prone to hay fever, you may want to change it more often.
Your friendly service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can also offer suggestions on how often to change your cabin air filter in your Lancaster area. They're the ones who actually see the dirty filters, after all.
There is no standardized location for cabin air filters. Lancaster residents can usually find them in the vehicle engine compartment or under the dashboard, but they might be somewhere else. So the ease of changing the filter will depend on its location. Some are readily accessible, but others make you wonder how they got installed in the first place. Bring your car into The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley and we will locate your cabin air filter for you.
However, if you have a newer vehicle, it's good auto advice to find out if it has a cabin air filter. If it does, you should change the filter regularly. A sure sign that a filter needs to be changed is that the interior of your vehicle will start to smell bad. That smell is exactly how some Lancaster drivers discovered that they had cabin air filters in the first place!
Cabin air filters are just one more way we have to stay safe, stay healthy and stay on the road in California.
The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Service for Your Exhaust System
Apr 10, 2015
Your vehicle's exhaust system is more than just a tailpipe and a muffler. In fact, it is one of the most complex systems on your vehicle.
The manifold is attached to the vehicle engine. It collects exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Gaskets seal the connection of the manifold to the engine and to other joints. A cracked or loose manifold or a leaking or damaged gasket can allow dangerous gases to enter the passenger compartment of a vehicle. One of these gases is carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless and deadly. For this reason, it is important Los Angeles County residents keep their exhaust system in good repair.
The pipes that connect the various parts of the exhaust system can rust or be damaged by rocks or other road debris. Such damage can cause dangerous gases to leak into the air.
The catalytic converter is the next component of your vehicle exhaust system. It sort of looks like a muffler. Its job is to change dangerous gases into harmless carbon dioxide and water. The catalytic converter doesn't require any regular maintenance, but it can wear out. If it fails, you will need a new catalytic converter to pass an emissions test in California. Call The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley at 661-949-8484 if you suspect a problem with your catalytic converter.
Oxygen sensors in the exhaust pipe monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust. This helps the vehicle engine's computer keep the fuel-to-air mixture at optimal levels.
The muffler is also part of your vehicle exhaust system, but it deals with a different kind of emission. It keeps your vehicle from emitting bad sounds. Mufflers act like finely tuned musical instruments. They create a feedback of sound waves to absorb or decrease the noises made by your engine. Different mufflers can create different sound waves, so you can actually “tune” your car to produce a particular sound, anything from whisper to rumble.
It is important that damaged mufflers be replaced immediately at your Lancaster automotive service center, especially if they are leaking. Not only will the extra noise annoy your Lancaster neighbors, a leaky muffler could be serious.
The entire exhaust system is attached to your vehicle by hangers and clamps. These fasteners can rust, come loose or break. The components of the exhaust system can get very hot, so when the hangers or clamps fail, these hot components can come into contact with other parts such as wires and hoses. These can melt, causing serious and damage to your vehicle. Good car care requires that you have your exhaust system inspected regularly.
Caring for your vehicle exhaust system at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley yields cosmetic benefits like quieting your engine sounds, but also may impact your health and safety. Your life, or the life of a loved one, may actually be on the line.