Hello Lancaster, let's talk about brakes. But the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There's also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.
Let's step back. A new vehicle or truck rolls off a local Lancaster showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.
Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles/kilometers start to add up on the vehicle. Lancaster drivers tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads and shoes on drum brakes are called the friction material. That's because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it's not until they are worn so thin as to be out of 'specs' that they lose their ability to stop.
The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over long distances around California, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail - a scary possibility. That's why a regular brake inspection at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley is important for your vehicle and your family's safety. At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.
That leads us to brake fluid service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the vehicle fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.
The tires are what connect the vehicle to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the more quickly you'll stop.
This is especially important on wet Los Angeles County area roads and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. California vehicle owners need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.
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 Guide to Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle
Dec 21, 2012
Today's The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley post focuses on using coolant. If you pour in the wrong kind, it won't protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Check your vehicle owner's manual. Of course, your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor will know the proper coolant for your vehicle.
Brake fluid is confusing for some Lancaster drivers. Back when we opened The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some Lancaster residents mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That's not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the demands of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is designed for your vehicle.
Ditto for transmission fluid. For decades there were two basic types of tranny fluid used at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley: friction modified or not. With the tremendous engineering advances in vehicle automatic transmissions, there have been several new types of fluids developed to protect and lubricate them.
Nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident to The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley professionals than in motor oil. Many new weights and formulations have been created to meet the demands of today's high-tech vehicle engine design. Modern engines have more parts and much tighter tolerances.
That's where the new grades of engine oil come in. They have to be formulated to lubricate, protect and clean all of those vehicle engine parts, big and little. The oil has to be thin enough to get into little passages, yet resistant to vaporization.
At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, we believe that in some ways modern automotive fluids are just as impressive as the new engines. Because weights of oil and types of coolant and transmission fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, make sure you always use the proper fluid if you are topping off at home.
At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley we get a lot of Lancaster drivers asking about vehicle trip preparation. That's a big deal. You could be driving through mountains and deserts in some pretty lonely areas around California, so it's important to know that the vehicle is up to the task and won't leave you stranded.
Smart Lancaster drivers plan ahead for a major road trip – and there are a lot of things to get ready. Where should you start? You could start with the tires. Look them over for tread wear and check to see that they are properly inflated. Take a quick test drive around Lancaster to see if you can feel any vibrations: Are the wheels in balance? Is the car tracking straight? Is the alignment ok? Come to The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for a peace-of-mind trip inspection.
The next thing is a full service oil change to make sure all of your fluids are topped off and you have fresh oil for the trip. And if your car has over 75,000 miles/120,000 km, you may consider putting in the high-mileage formulation to clean harmful sludge deposits in the engine.
How about your transmission and brakes? Have you had your transmission and brakes inspected in the last six months?
How are your wiper blades? There's nothing like not being able to get rid of the bug juice on a long road trip away from Lancaster.
Check your owner's manual for any other recommended services, and have The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster do the multi-point inspection before you head out on your trip.
Consider also having the coolant system serviced at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley – you want to stay within the vehicle manufacture’s recommendations. If you're towing a trailer around California you'll want to be keep in mind that you'll be going a long way under severe conditions.
A lot of Lancaster drivers overlook severe conditions like towing, California summer heat or driving on dirt roads. Plan ahead for your next road trip – The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley wants you to get there and back.
How to Know When to Change Your Oil at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
Dec 06, 2012
Today in the The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley auto care blog, we're going to talk to Lancaster drivers about oil change intervals. It seems that as engine technology advances, oil change intervals become longer for The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley customers. For example, recently four of the world's largest vehicle manufacturer's shortened the published intervals for several of their engine models. They originally published intervals that extended out to a much as 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers).
In real world Lancaster driving, the oil started to sludge up before the recommended change interval. Oil sludge is a thick jelly-like substance: quite literally petroleum jelly – like Vaseline. This goop was clogging vehicle small engine passages so the oil wouldn't flow to some parts of the engine. This resulted in engine damage. We see it too often at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster.
The vehicle manufacturers began to offer an extended warranty to cover sludge damage. But there was a catch: the vehicle owner had to follow a new, lower service interval and provide proof of oil changes in order to make a warranty claim.
So here's the bottom line for Lancaster vehicle owners: with longer oil change intervals, it's essential to follow them closely. Back in the day of 3 months or 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers), if you went an extra month or an extra thousand miles or couple of thousand kilometers, your oil was still fresh enough that it didn't have time to build up much sludge.
But if your recommended interval is 6,500 miles (10,000 kilometers) and you go over another thousand miles or couple of thousands of kilometers, you're getting into heavy sludge territory. You absolutely need to follow mileage intervals very closely. And don't forget your severe service schedule. If you do a lot of stop and go driving in California, short trips, drive in dusty or polluted Lancaster conditions, hot or cold weather or haul heavy loads, you're driving in severe service conditions. Your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor can help you determine which schedule to follow.
So check your vehicle owner's manual or talk with your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor about where and how you drive in Lancaster. Should you change your oil closer to the regular schedule, or the severe service schedule? You need to make the call.
Let me give you an example of this. Some newer vehicles have an oil change indicator. It has a sophisticated computer algorithm that tracks number of cold starts, engine temperature, RPMs, mileage and many more variables to come up with a recommendation for when to change the oil.
Depending on driving conditions, the indicator in one test vehicle came on at anywhere from 2,500 miles (4,000 km) to almost 7,000 miles (11,000 km). It's typically just over 4,000 miles (6,500 km). Sometimes our driving is easy on the vehicle – like a long road trip. Sometimes, our driving is hard on it – like towing a heavy trailer or a lot of around town driving. But, usually, it's a combination of both.
Once again, it's up to you to make the call as to when to change your oil at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley to protect your vehicle engine. Another place where California drivers can go wrong is with the type of oil they use. More and more new cars are coming to Lancaster owners filled with synthetic oil. Without going into a lot of detail right now, let's just say that synthetic oil lasts longer and is very resistant to oil sludge.
But it also costs quite a bit more, so some people are tempted to use conventional oil for their oil changes. Now, it's always best to use the oil recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. Check your owner's manual see if a conventional oil alternative is allowed.
But getting back to the problem, if your vehicle came from the factory with synthetic oil, the recommended oil change interval is for synthetic oil. If you use conventional oil, you can't use the synthetic interval. You need to shorten it.