The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Advice: Don't Overlook These 10 Automotive Services
Aug 29, 2016
Organization is the key to managing a busy life in California. So setting up an annual calendar for vehicle care can keep Lancaster residents on top of preventive maintenance. But you can't just write “oil change” every few months on the calendar. Modern vehicles have many systems that are vital to the safe operation of a vehicle, and they all need to be inspected. Lancaster residents can't afford to overlook any of them.
The following is a list of preventive maintenance services that are often overlooked by vehicle owners in the Lancaster area. They are not presented in any particular order.
1. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Power Steering Service. Moisture gradually builds up in your power steering fluid, which can lead to corrosion in your steering system. The fluid also gets dirty, which can gum up your steering system. The fluid needs to be replaced periodically.
2. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Wheel Alignment. Wheels that are out of alignment will cause a vehicle to pull to one side. This is dangerous for Lancaster residents and can lead to accidents. Also, it causes uneven and rapid tire wear, which means tires must be replaced more often.
3. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Differential Service. They are part of the drive train system that transfers power from the engine to the wheels. Damage or wear in this system can make a vehicle undriveable.
4. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Cabin Air Filter. Your vehicle may or may not be equipped with a cabin air filter. Its job is to remove dust and pollen from the air that enters the passenger compartment of the vehicle. If this filter clogs, it can stink. So check your owner's manual to find out if your vehicle has a cabin air filter. If so, come visit us at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley and get it changed according to the recommended schedule.
5. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Timing Belt Replacement. Most passenger cars and some vans and trucks have timing belts. Lancaster residents can check their owner's manual to find out if their vehicle has one. If so, you can't drive without it. And if it breaks while on the road, you may be looking at thousands of dollars of repairs. So it is important to inspect it occasionally. If your vehicle has close to 60,000 miles/100,000 kilometers or more on it and you haven't had your timing belt replaced, then you need to find out the recommended replacement interval NOW.
6. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Transmission Service.Transmission fluid gets dirty and has to be replaced. If not, you risk repairs.
7. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Air Conditioning Service. The refrigerant in your air conditioner needs to be replaced periodically. This fluid doesn't just refrigerate air; it provides lubrication to the air conditioning system and conditions seals. Lack of fluid can damage components.
8. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Brake Service. Even if your brakes are quiet and working well, the brake fluid still might need to be changed. Over time, moisture builds up in brake fluid. Water has a different viscosity than brake fluid, so the brakes can't compress properly when there's too much moisture in the fluid — and you shouldn't need to be told how it is to drive with brakes that are compromised. Moisture in your brake fluid can also corrode parts in your brake system, causing it to fail altogether.
9.The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Coolant System Service. Antifreeze is another fluid that needs to be changed regularly. If not, it actually becomes corrosive and begins to damage your cooling system. Eventually it can eat holes in your radiator.
10. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Fuel System Cleaning. Over time, your fuel system just gets gummed up, which can interfere with the flow of fuel in a number of ways.
Of course, your next question should be: How often do I need to get all of this done? Well, the answer varies depending on which service we're talking about, the make and model of your vehicle, the climate where you live in California, your usual driving conditions and your driving habits.
But don't lose heart. Your owner's manual will give you a recommended service schedule for most of the service items listed. And you can get quality auto advice from your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisors to help you meet the service intervals that suit your vehicle.
Automotive Tips from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley: Knowing When Your Timing Belt Should Be Replaced
Aug 21, 2016
The timing belt in your engine controls the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. Lancaster drivers need to replace it on a schedule to avoid failure.
Timing belts are very difficult to get to, requiring quite a bit of labor to access. Timing belt replacement is one of the more expensive maintenance services, but the cost at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley to correct an engine damaged by a broken timing belt is much, much more.
The timing belt has a tensioner to help maintain proper belt tension. The tensioner should be replaced along with the timing belt and any idler pulleys at the vehicle manufacturer’s specified service interval. Your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor can help you with the timing belt.
Automotive Tips from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley: Timing Belt Overview
Aug 15, 2016
In your engine, valves over each combustion chamber open to allow fresh air in, close during the combustion event, and then other valves open to let out the exhaust. All of this happens over and over thousands of times a minute when you are driving around Lancaster. The timing belt’s important job is to make sure that all of this happens as it should – at precisely the right time. If the timing is off, your engine won’t run efficiently or maybe not at all – so a good timing belt is important. If it should break, you could end up at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley with expensive engine damage.
Ask your friendly and professional The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor when your timing belt is scheduled for replacement.
When You Hear the Crash in Lancaster: What to Do After an Accident
Aug 08, 2016
Motorists in North America drive about 3 trillion miles/4.8 trillion kilometers every year. There are over 250+ million licensed drivers, and approximately 6.2 million accidents happen every year. Unfortunately, if we're going to drive vehicles, there are going to be accidents. Knowing what to do in case of an accident can help reduce the stress and cost of the situation. It can also protect you from false claims, incorrect judgments and unjust liabilities.
Never leave the scene of an accident. This is a crime, even if the accident is not your fault. If you leave the scene, it is referred to as a “hit-and-run,” and the fines are steep in California. You can even lose your driver's license or spend some time in jail. If someone has been injured in the accident, most laws require you to help them. You must call for help. If you can, you must also render first aid.
Call 9-1-1 or get someone else to call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. Tell the operator if there are injuries or any circumstances that require fire services, such as leaking gas, broken utility lines or, of course, flames. Put out flares, turn on your flashers or lift your hood to warn other Lancaster motorists that there's been an accident.
File a police report. This can seem like a hassle when there are no injuries and only minor damage to vehicles. But you'd be surprised at the lawsuits and false claims that can arise from fender benders. You want a police report to protect yourself.
Don't talk about the accident with anyone except the police. After an accident, adrenaline is pumping and emotions are running high, and our first reaction is often to relive and recount our experience. Don't. Again, people can and will use your words against you, and in a highly emotional state, you may not say exactly what you mean. Entire court cases have hinged on the meaning of one misplaced word. Talk to the police. Don't admit guilt or fault, not to the police or to anyone else. People often feel guilt after an accident, but later, when details are analyzed, it turns out not to be their fault. Don't say, “I'm sorry,” but rather, “Can I help? What can I do?” Sympathy has often been misconstrued as an admission of fault. On paper, your words will sound more sterile than at the accident, and they can be used against you.
Collect contact information from everyone involved in the accident. Get the officer's name and badge number. Get the other driver's name, address, phone number, date of birth, driver's license number and expiration and insurance information. Get a description of the other vehicle as well as its license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN). Most insurance companies don't keep records of license plate numbers, so the VIN is the best identifier you have of another vehicle.
This is going to be too much to remember once you're in an accident. So write down or make a note on your phone with the information you need.
Ask witnesses to wait for the police to arrive. If they can't, then get their contact information. Ask them to jot down what they saw. If witnesses refuse to give you their names, write down their license plate numbers. That way the police can find them if necessary.
After the accident, call your insurance company. Also, if you have or think you might have an injury that did not require immediate care at the accident, contact your physician right away.
There's a lot Lancaster drivers can do to prevent accidents. Defensive driving. Good car care and preventive maintenance. But if an accident does happen in the Lancaster area, we should be prepared to handle it well. It will ease the stress of the situation and protect us from potential legal and financial harm. Be prepared. It's good auto advice in every situation. Ask our pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for more safe driving tips the next time you visit.
Ask The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley About the Importance of Service Intervals
Aug 02, 2016
Today in our The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley blog, we're going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your vehicle isn't the only aspect of your life with recommended intervals: What about six-month dental cleanings and regular physical exams? Then there's laundry, mowing the lawn, paying your electric bill, changing your furnace filter - you get the idea.
Now, what would happen if you didn't follow these intervals?For one thing, your teeth may get more cavities. You might not discover health issues that benefit from early detection and treatment. And you'd have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your overgrown lawn and have your power shut off.
We all realize there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don't, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life diminishes and it inevitably costs more money.
Have you ever wondered, "How often should I bring my car in for scheduled maintenance?" You can let your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley technician remind you of the manufacturer's recommendations. He has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your vehicle. Rely on The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley professionals to help you make good car care decisions, that's our job.
For those in Lancaster who want to be more proactive with their vehicle care, here are some simple ways to remember what has a maintenance interval:
First: fluids. If it's liquid, it's got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc. Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you're thinking tires, think brakes and shocks. And what makes your car go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning.
Of course there are more items, but if you remember to take your vehicle into The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for these things, your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor will help you with the rest.