Good Service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Equals Good Fuel Economy in Lancaster
Jan 31, 2017
Whether we're trying to save money, save gas or save the environment, most of us Lancaster drivers have an interest in decreasing fuel consumption. We've all heard about ways to save money on gas in California, but does it really add up to much? How much can we boost our fuel economy through preventive maintenance and more courteous driving?
The US government has a website that actually answers that question. Let's look at some of the data and find out if any of these fuel-saving ideas are really worth the effort. We've all heard that a tune-up can improve gas mileage. It turns out that it can save us 4% at the pump. At $3.50 a gallon, that's 14¢ per gallon in savings, and at $4.00 a gallon, that's a 16¢ per gallon savings.
Other common repair items can also save you at the pump. For example, if your oxygen sensor is faulty, it's not delivering the information to your engine's computer that allows it to calculate the right fuel-to-air ratio. The result? The fuel doesn't burn efficiently. Replacing that faulty sensor can save you 40% at the pump. That's certainly a reason to improve your car care and have the automotive professionals at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley inspect things once in a while.
A faulty oxygen sensor will activate the check engine light. So will a lot of other problems that are big fuel wasters. Finding out why your light is on and fixing the problem will also improve your fuel economy. Bring your car into The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster and we will take care of it for you.
What about tires? Lancaster drivers have all heard that keeping them inflated will improve our gas mileage. True? Yep. It's a 3% savings for that one. And even small drops in tire pressure can start to add up, so a weekly tire check is in order.
Using the correct weight in motor oil is another way you can save at Lancaster area gas pumps. It adds up to a 2% savings.
What about that courteous driving? That doesn't cost us anything and doesn't require our Lancaster service center to implement anything. Is it worth the bother?
Again, the answer is yes. Sudden acceleration, such as charging away from stoplights, sudden stops and quick lane changes all add up in lowered fuel economy. Taking it easy when you drive on California roads amounts to a 5% savings around town and a whopping 33% savings on the freeway. Is it worth your time to slow down? How much do you get paid?
Speeding is another way we ding ourselves at the gas pump. We've all heard that it's okay to drive five miles over the speed limit, but that actually hurts our wallets. Eventually it could add up to more than a speeding ticket. An extra five miles over the speed limit ends up costing us 7% per gallon. Fifteen miles over? 23% Now there's a reason to slow down.
Another thing Lancaster vehicle owners can do to improve that costs nothing is to toss the junk out of our trunks. In other words, clean out the car and stop hauling around non-essentials. Don't treat your vehicle like a storage locker. Dumping one hundred pounds of extra weight adds up to a 2% savings at the pump.
So when you tell someone you were going somewhere anyway and they're welcome to come along, that's okay. But if someone tells you they need to come along and it's no harm to you since you were going anyway—well, now you can tell them, “Sorry, dude, but you're an extra fifteen cents a gallon!”
All joking aside, let's all do ourselves a favor and fatten up our wallets by practicing good car care and better driving habits in California.
Automotive Tips from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley: Alignment Inspection
Jan 22, 2017
Uneven tire wear, the car pulling to one side or a steering wheel that is off-center are signs for Lancaster drivers that their wheels may be out of alignment.
When doing an alignment inspection, the service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will inspect your tires for uneven wear as well as suspension and steering parts for signs of wear or damage. He’ll also compare your current alignment with the vehicle manufacturer’s settings.
Your vehicle owner’s manual will have a recommendation for when to check alignment. Of course, this recommendation is based on normal driving. If you have been in a crash, hit a curb/pothole, frequently drive off-road around Lancaster, or notice any symptoms of misalignment, have your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor perform an important alignment check.
By the Numbers: Tire Replacement at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster
Jan 15, 2017
Ever notice that your tire is covered with writing? It's like some hieroglyphic art form. Of course, Lancaster drivers know that it's not just graffiti, but to most of us, it might as well be. Would you like to know what all those codes on your tire mean? It won't lead you to buried treasure, but it could help you make a better tire purchase at your local Lancaster tire store.
Prominently featured on your tire is a set of numbers and letters that looks something like this: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The first number is the width of the tire in millimeters, or the width between the sidewalls of the tire when it is fully inflated and not carrying a load. When Lancaster drivers replace tires, they need to match this width number, or the tires won't fit properly in the wheel wells.
The 50 is the aspect ratio of the tire, which is measured by taking the height of the sidewalls and dividing it by the tread width. If you drive off-road around the Lancaster area, it should have a high aspect ratio. For high performance on the road, you want a lower aspect ratio.
The R simply means this is a radial tire.
The 92 is the load rating index, or in other words, a rating of how much load a tire can safely carry. If you frequently haul heavy loads around Lancaster, you will want a tire with a high load rating.
The last letter in our “code” sequence is the speed rating on the tire. Not all tires have this rating. In general, the closer the letter is to the end of the alphabet, the higher the speed rating. In other words, Z is the highest rating and A is the lowest. One exception: H comes between U and V. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.
If you'd just as soon ignore all of the markings on your tire, that's okay. When you need to replace your tires just ask your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley tire professional for his auto advice on the best tires for you and your vehicle. Replacing tires is a standard part of preventive maintenance for Lancaster drivers vehicles. We all have to do it sooner or later. And the better we understand what we're buying, the better our vehicle will perform and the safer we will be on California roads. Good vehicle care is informed vehicle care.
Oil changes are probably the most recognized service on a vehicle. Almost all Lancaster residents know about them. But do we know enough?
Several decades ago, oil changes were fairly standard: every three months or 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. But recent advances in both engine technology and oil quality have led to longer oil change intervals.
Delayed or skipped oil changes are a problem for Lancaster residents because they lead to the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Oil sludge forms when engine oil breaks down, which happens with both time and miles. Obviously, driving will take its toll on engine oil, but the oil also breaks down even as the vehicle just sits in the garage. This is why oil change intervals are listed in both time and distance traveled, and the phrase “whichever comes first” is applicable.
Oil sludge is essentially petroleum jelly. Imagine this stuff squishing around in your vehicle engine, pushing into small engine passageways and blocking passage of oil to vital engine parts, shortening your engine's life expectancy.
To prevent sludge, you have to get your oil changed regularly, as often as the manufacturer recommends. Check your owner's manual for every vehicle you own to know the interval for each one. Don't assume they will be the same.
If you tow a trailer, haul heavy loads, make a lot of short trips around Lancaster, usually engage in stop-and-go (or around-the-town) driving, drive in cold or hot California weather, or drive in polluted or dusty conditions, you may need to change your oil more frequently. Check your vehicle's owner's manual for a “severe service” recommendation.
If the manual doesn't give you the advice you need, talk to your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor. He will be able to answer any questions about preventive maintenance or vehicle care that you may have, including how often to change your oil.
Lancaster residents need to get the right weight and type of oil recommended for their vehicles. More and more are using synthetic oil in their vehicles. Synthetic oil typically lasts longer and is more resistant to sludge formation than conventional motor oil. But it is also more expensive. So it can be tempting for Lancaster residents to ask for conventional oil, but if you replace synthetic oil with conventional oil, you will have to change your oil more often to prevent sludge build-up. In the end, you're probably not saving money at all.
Also, your engine may not be designed for the conventional oil. Check your owner's manual before replacing synthetic oil with conventional.
Talk to your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor for more information.
How Does The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Know What to Recommend?
Jan 01, 2017
When you drop your vehicle off at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, they don't just poke around under your hood looking for stuff to do. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley professionals have lists and procedures they follow for different types of service. First of all, your Lancaster service center will note the mileage on your vehicle. They'll then check to see what inspections and services the vehicle manufacturer recommends for a vehicle of your make, model and mileage. If you are a regular customer, they will also check your vehicle's history.
If the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations go beyond the services you've ordered, they'll let you know. They'll also indicate whether those services are urgent or if you can wait a while to take care of them. The The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley pros won't do work that you don't agree to.
They will, however, perform inspections while they're servicing your vehicle. They'll check belts, filters and fluids. They'll check your windshield wipers for wear. They'll let you know if there's an urgent problem that needs taken care of, and they'll give you a heads-up about problems that might be developing. If repairs or services are in order, you are given options based on driving needs and budget.
You can think of it like a trip to the dentist for a check-up. The dentist will check if you've had x-rays recently. If not, he'll get your permission to take new ones. Then the hygienist will clean your teeth and check your gums. At the end, the dentist comes in and inspects your teeth. You'll be told if you need any work done, about problems that are developing, and if anything is urgent. You'll be given different care options and recommendations on where to get work done that is beyond your dentist's usual purview. Then you'll be sent to the front desk for appointments and paperwork.
These procedures make sure your teeth are in good working order and that you are apprised of any problems. Then you can make a decision as to what work you want done and when. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster operates the same way. They want Lancaster drivers to be able to make informed decisions about their car care.
Preventive auto maintenance is a lot like dental check-ups. Small problems can quickly develop into big ones. A cavity becomes a root canal. A dirty filter becomes engine damage. Skipping check-ups for either your teeth or your vehicle can lead to repairs.
The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley follows industry guidelines. A part is replaced only if it can no longer perform its function, no longer meets its design specifications or is missing – or if you ask for upgraded performance. Your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor will recommend a part be replaced if it is showing signs that it will soon fail.
Dentists often offer services that go beyond routine care, such as teeth whitening. Service centers also offer Lancaster drivers help with upgrades to a vehicle. They'll know what parts are needed and how to perform the work so that safety and performance aren't compromised. You can rely on the pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for good auto advice.
The next time you're headed to the dentist's office, think about the vehicle you're riding in. Is it time for it to get a check-up, too?