Everyone in Lancaster, California, knows we are advised to go to our Lancaster dentist twice a year. Oral-conscious Lancaster residents have a teeth-cleaning and examination. Once a year, we get x-rays to look for problems that can't be seen with the naked eye. When our dentist is done, he/she tells us what was found – "Everything's fine, see you in six months." Or "You've got a small cavity starting, let's schedule an appointment to take care of it." By the time you leave, you have a plan for addressing any necessary issues.
This system works so much better than waiting for a painful problem before going into the dentist. Small problems are fixed before they turn into big problems. And you avoid those huge bills.
If Lancaster folks understand the wisdom of using this system for handling dental care, why do many resist when facing the same system for our vehicle maintenance?
Following the vehicle manufacturer's recommended intervals can be confusing. First, there are recommendations for so many things: oil changes, transmission, coolant, air conditioning, power steering, brakes, fuel system, filters, belts, hoses, alignment, rotation, balancing ...you get the point.
Every item has a recommended interval and it's hard for Lancaster drivers to keep it all straight – even if you're part of the 1% of California drivers that read their owners' manual.
And if you have more than one vehicle, the complexity is multiplied. You'd need a computer to keep track of everything. Well, that's how your service center does it. For example, The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley subscribes to automotive databases that have your vehicle's recommended intervals. You may have wondered how they know what else to recommend when you take your car in for an oil change – it's all in the database.
Well, it's not all in the computer. There are other variables that can't be accounted for in the schedule: Things like Lancaster weather conditions, altitude, and where and how you drive in California. Talk about these things with your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley and you may decide that the severe service schedule in your owner's manual is more appropriate.
Since anything that's not driving in moderate weather is considered severe and most of us do at least some of that around Lancaster, California, it should be taken into account.
Let's take your basic oil change as an example. What issues are involved? The oil you put in your vehicle is a blend of base oil and special additives. There are detergents to clean the inside of your vehicle engine and corrosion inhibitors. A good quality motor oil will not only lubricate your engine, it will help it stay clean inside and run cooler.
Now, these additives deplete with use and time. That's why most vehicle manufacturer's maintenance recommendations include both a time and mileage element – like 3 months or 3,000 miles/5,000 km, whichever comes first.
It's easy for Lancaster drivers to think, "Gee, I've only driven 2,000 miles/3,200 km in the last 3 months. I can wait on that oil change." But you need to remember that the inside of your engine is a environment. The oil is contaminated with combustion by-products that start degrading its effectiveness even when it's just sitting there.
A lot of people in Lancaster don't realize how harmful it is to skip an oil change. There are a lot of metal parts moving around in your engine. Small bits of metal wear off and are floating around in your oil. They can be carried to more delicate areas of the engine where they cause damage. Your oil filter is designed to trap metal particles and other dirt, but if it's clogged up because you haven't changed it, it can't trap any more.
Oil sludge is another problem for Lancaster vehicles. Sludge is oil that has turned to a gunky jelly – think 'Vaseline.' Obviously, sludge doesn't lubricate. It can also clog small oil passages so that all the parts don't get properly protected by the oil. That'll lead to premature wear.
If you've missed some oil changes, don't despair. Just talk with the pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. Fess up – you'll feel better. And they can help you get back on track. Following recommended intervals is the key to keeping your vehicle on the road and avoiding repairs.
Give Your Engine Clean Fuel with a New Fuel Filter from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
Mar 23, 2012
Your vehicle requires plenty of clean fuel to run. If your fuel contains contaminants, your fuel injectors will eventually become clogged up. When this happens, your vehicle engine may not get the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure to run at peak performance. This hurts performance as you drive around the Lancaster area. It can also lead to the buildup of harmful deposits on valves and in the combustion chamber.
That's why all vehicles, including vehicles, come equipped with a fuel filter. The job of the filter is to clean out little pieces of dirt and contamination. The filter captures the contaminants and keeps them out of the fuel stream. Of course, like all filters, it will eventually get clogged up and need to be replaced at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster.
If your fuel filter is clogged, the vehicle engine can't get all the fuel it needs, and it may sputter at high speeds or quick acceleration. Many fuel filters have a bypass valve that will allow unfiltered fuel through when they are clogged. This keeps your vehicle engine running but doesn't protect it from contaminated fuel.
Lancaster drivers may find that they need to change their fuel filter at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley more frequently as their vehicle ages. Over the years, additional sediment and rust accumulates in the fuel tank and can be drawn into the fuel system. Your fuel filter stands guard at the gates to your engine to protect parts and to maintain performance.
Have you checked out the price of new vehicles at Lancaster car dealers? Ouch! Add financing and insurance and a new ride may not seem so attractive. A lot of Lancaster, California, folks are hoping to make their cars last a lot longer.
Fortunately, with the current state of automotive engineering and manufacturing, there's no reason a modern vehicle can't be made to last for a 150,000 miles (250,000 kilometers) or more for smart Lancaster drivers.
The old adage: 'a stitch in time saves nine' is really true for Lancaster residents when it comes to car maintenance. A great example is coolant service.
Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. Smart Lancaster drivers have their cooling system service taken care of right on schedule at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley.
Ditto for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. Of course, oil changes should be done right on schedule to avoid the build-up of harmful oil sludge.
Don't let your brake pads go too long before they are worn to the point that your rotors are at risk. Preventative auto maintenance at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley is a great way to keep your operating costs down.
Replacing belts and hoses is much cheaper than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure.
We know that this is a lot for busy Lancaster area drivers to remember. Let the team of automotive professionals at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley keep on top of this stuff for you. We can tell you what your vehicle manufacturer recommends and help you develop an affordable plan to take care of it.
Bottom line – do routine maintenance on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent repairs and maintain your warranty coverage.
Let us take good care of your car at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, and it'll take good care of you.
Transmission Service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster
Mar 06, 2012
Let's talk about transmission service. It can be easy for Lancaster drivers to forget about getting their transmission serviced because it doesn't need it very often. It's easier for people in California to remember to change the engine oil - you know, every 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. But proper transmission servicing keeps your vehicle running smoothly and helps you avoid repairs down the road.
The transmission undergoes a lot of stress. The grit you can see in used transmission fluid is actually bits of metal that wear off the gears in the transmission. In addition to that, the transmission operates at very high temperatures. Usually it's much higher than engine temperatures. Those high temperatures eventually cause the transmission fluid to start to break down and lose efficiency.
As the fluid gets older, it gets gritty and doesn't lubricate and cool the vehicle transmission as well - leading to even more wear. The fluid can actually get sludgy and plug up the maze of fluid passages inside the transmission. At best, your transmission won't operate smoothly. At worst, it could lead to damage.
When your transmission is running properly, it transfers more power from your engine to the drive wheels and improves fuel economy. That's why it is recommended to change your transmission fluid at regular intervals. Your owner's manual has a schedule for transmission service and, of course, your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can tell you what is recommended.
Hot and dusty Lancaster area conditions, towing, hauling, stop-and-go driving and jackrabbit starts all begin to increase the load on the transmission and its internal temperature. That means Lancaster vehicles with these types of transmission requirements need to change the fluid more often. A good rule of thumb is every 35,000 miles, 55,000 kilometers or two years. If your owner’s manual suggests more frequent intervals or if you're driving under severe service conditions around the Lancaster area, you will need to change it more often.
Most Lancaster auto service centers (including The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley) have the ability to perform a transmission service while you wait and the cost is quite reasonable. It's downright cheap when you think about how much a major transmission repair can cost! Our pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will know the right type of transmission fluid to use. If it's getting to be time to have your transmission serviced, do your vehicle a favor and have it done.