Video Blog

Know Your Towing Limits in Lancaster

Dec 25, 2016

Some Lancaster drivers figure that anything they can attach to their trailer hitch can be towed by their vehicle. Nope. If you're going to do any towing around Lancaster, you should be aware of safety issues, California towing laws and potential liability.

Understanding tow ratings is important for safe towing. A tow rating is the weight limit that your vehicle can safely tow. They calculate the tow rating for every vehicle, but different options on the vehicle can affect that rating. Lancaster drivers need to read the towing section in their owner's manual to get the specific tow rating for the vehicle they own.

Your trailer hitch also has a weight limit, and it may not match the tow rating for your vehicle. Your vehicle may be rated for 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg), but if you have a 2,000-pound (900 kg) hitch limit, you shouldn't be towing more than 2,000 pounds (900 kg). If you tow a 10,000-pound (4,500 kg) trailer on that hitch, it could break free and you would be liable for any resulting damages.

Another example, one popular pick-up truck has a tow rating of 10,300 pounds (4,600kg). But in the owner's manual, it specifies that a sway control device be used for trailers weighing over 2,000 pounds (900 kg) and that a weight-distributing hitch is required for trailers over 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg). If the vehicle owner tows a 6,000-pound (2700 kg) trailer without a weight-distributing hitch and ends up in an accident, the owner will be held liable for not complying with the towing requirements in California.

Lancaster auto owners also need to keep in mind that tow weights include the weight of passengers and cargo inside the tow vehicle. So if your tow rating is 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg), and you're carrying 700 pounds (320 kg) of passengers and cargo, you can only tow a trailer weighing up to 6,300 pounds (2,880 kg).

Two numbers that Lancaster drivers should be aware of are the GVWR and the GCWR. These codes are usually imprinted on the inside of the driver's side door. GVWR stands for gross vehicle weight rating. Take GVWR and subtract the total weight of the vehicle, and you have the maximum weight the vehicle can safely carry in passengers and cargo. GCWR stands for Gross Combined Weight Rating. Take that number, subtract the weight of the tow vehicle and the trailer, and you have the maximum weight of passengers and cargo that the tow vehicle and trailer together can safely carry.

This may seem a bit complicated, but you ignore these ratings at your own peril. If you haul or tow loads over the maximum ratings around California, you become liable in event of an accident.

Local Lancaster laws require that safety chains be attached when towing a trailer. Some California jurisdictions may require trailer brakes as well. Others mandate trailer brakes only in certain situations. If you are going to tow a trailer, you should find out the local Lancaster laws regarding trailer brakes and hitches, as well as weight and length restrictions.

To tow safely, California drivers also need the proper tires on the tow vehicle. Tires need to be in good condition with adequate tread, and they need to have a load rating high enough to handle the weight of the trailer. Your trained The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley tire professional can help you select the right tire to use when towing around Lancaster.

Your 's owner's manual is your primary source for auto advice regarding towing since it is specific to your vehicle. Be sure to read it carefully before doing any towing. And as always, keep your preventive maintenance up-to-date, and practice good car care to ensure the safety of your vehicle on the road—especially when pulling a trailer.

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



Will Proper Auto Maintenance at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Really Save Gas?

Dec 19, 2016

Have you ever thought about all the little things we do to keep our lives running smoothly - like vacuuming? It makes a room feel fresher and more comfortable. We may not consider that we're also prolonging the life of the carpet by keeping it clean. But Lancaster drivers don't always extend those good habits into the garage. Our vehicles need regular maintenance just like our rugs need vacuuming. We may not notice a difference in the feel or appearance of the vehicle, but just as cleaning a carpet carries the hidden reward of prolonging its life, maintaining our vehicles incurs a hidden reward that becomes noticeable at Lancaster gas stations.

When it comes to reduced fuel economy, there are two culprits: increased friction and inefficient fuel combustion. That means that anything Lancaster drivers can do to decrease friction and increase the efficiency of their engines will translate to savings on fuel. Friction increases the amount of energy it takes to move something. So if we can reduce friction, we can decrease the amount of fuel it takes to run our vehicles. Engine oil is usually at the heart of friction problems in an engine. Too little oil means parts are not getting lubricated, which increases friction; dirty oil doesn't lubricate as well as clean oil. So one secret to good fuel efficiency is to stay on top of oil changes. Don't skip them and don't procrastinate. The same auto advice applies to transmission fluid. Keep it full and keep it clean, and your vehicle will run with less friction and better fuel economy.

If your tires are underinflated, it increases the friction between the tire and the road. Again, there is increased drag, and it takes more fuel to move your vehicle. Lancaster drivers should check their tire pressure every month and keep their tires properly inflated.

Alignment and brake problems can also increase friction. Besides saving fuel, keeping these systems in good repair has the added benefit of saving you on tires and brake pads. These items wear out more quickly when the alignment is off or when the brake system isn't in good working order. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley.

The second culprit that stealthily steals our gas is inefficient fuel combustion. It depends on the engine getting the right amount of clean fuel to the right place with the right pressure at the right time in the right pattern. The key to peak engine performance is to keep the fuel system clean. Varnish and gum can build up in a fuel system, which will interfere with the fuel injectors. The fuel injectors are responsible for all those “rights” we spoke of. If they're dirty, amounts, timing, pressure and spray patterns can all get out of whack. The result? Reduced fuel efficiency. A fuel system cleaning at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster can get your injectors back on track, improving performance and efficiency.

There are a few other maintenance items that can improve your fuel economy. One is to replace your PCV valve when it gets sticky. This valve allows unburned fuel in your engine exhaust to return to the engine. Lancaster drivers can also replace worn spark plugs and dirty fuel filters. A well-maintained vehicle will require fewer repairs and save at Lancaster gas pumps.

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: Wiper Blades – Signs of Wear

Dec 11, 2016

90% of our driving decisions are based on vision. Anything that impedes your vision can affect your driving safety – including a dirty windshield. In that sense, your wiper blades are an important safety system. Most Lancaster drivers will wait until their wipers have failed before they replace them. Then they find themselves in a driving situation around California when they really need forward visibility only to discover that their wipers are worn or maybe even torn and can’t clear snow or rain from the windshield.

As an important safety system, wiper blades should be replaced BEFORE they fail. Test your wipers at least once a month. If they are not doing the job, your friendly and professional The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor can replace them for you.

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



Relax When the Wind Blows in California: Winter Car Prep for Lancaster Drivers

Dec 06, 2016

When autumn comes around in Lancaster, leaves fall, nights get longer and there's a definite nip in the air. Time to unpack the boots and gloves and fold some extra blankets onto the beds. It's also time for Lancaster drivers to winterize their vehicles.

Here is some expert auto advice for Lancaster drivers on what vehicles need to keep everyone safe and rolling throughout the California winter months.

1. Check your antifreeze. Top it off or change it if necessary. You don't want your radiator, engine or hoses freezing up. If your vehicle isn't generating enough heat to keep you warm, your antifreeze might be low, or you might have a thermostat problem. Either way, you should get it checked out before the full force of California winter sets in. If you are due for a cooling system service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, get that done as well.

2. Check your brakes. The slushy wet conditions of winter increase stopping distances. Ice exacerbates the problem. Your first concern, of course, is to make sure you adapt your driving habits to winter weather: slow down, and give yourself plenty of room to stop. Get your brakes checked at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley and replace any worn pads or other parts. Check your brake fluid. It can accumulate moisture and decrease your stopping power.

3. Test your battery. A battery's cranking power drops in the cold, so if your battery is already weak, the onset of winter will do it in. The last thing you want is to be on a snowy California road in the dark and cold with a dead battery.

4. Pack emergency supplies. Toss a blanket into the trunk. If you do find yourself stranded, your first concern will be to stay warm. If you're traveling away from California population centers, then pack some emergency food and water as well. Also, it's a good idea to top off your tank in winter. That way, if you get stuck, you'll have some fuel to burn to stay warm, and it'll keep your gas lines from freezing up.

5. Check your wiper blades. They may be able to handle a light Lancaster summer rain shower, but they might not be up to the ice and snow that collect on a windshield in winter. If you experience particularly harsh winters or really wet ones, you can purchase special blades that resist freezing. And don't forget to top off your wiper fluid.

6. Check your tires. Tires lose pressure over time, but they lose pressure fast when it's cold outside in Lancaster. Tires lose about one pound of pressure every six to eight weeks; they also lose one pound of pressure for every 10°F/5.6°C drop in temperature. If the last time you checked your tires it was 80°F/26.7°C outside and it's 40°F/4.4°C now, your tires could be down five pounds in pressure — and that's serious. It's a safety issue and cuts down on your fuel economy.

7. Driving conditions in the Lancaster area may warrant special winter tires. Check with your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley tire professional to get the right tires for your area and for your driving habits. If you are getting winter tires, it's always best to get them for all four wheels. But if you're only going to get two, put them on the rear wheels, even if you drive a front-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle. Traction is more important on the rear of a vehicle if you want to prevent sliding or fish-tailing on slick surfaces.

So there you have it: a quick checklist to winterize your car in California. When it comes to car care, preventive maintenance is always the best practice for Lancaster drivers, especially when it comes to winter weather. None of us want to be caught out in the winter cold.

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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