The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Advice on What to Pour into Your Vehicle
Mar 27, 2016
Changes in vehicle design and manufacture have resulted in changed fluid requirements for our vehicles. With the sophistication of engines, transmissions, differentials, etc., it's best for Lancaster residents to always use the proper type of fluid for their vehicle. Using incorrect fluids can actually damage your engine.
As engines have become more sophisticated, new weights (or grades) of engine oil have been introduced. Today, there is a much wider range of weights for engine oil as well as a variety of formulations for different types of engines.
Transmission fluid, brake fluid and coolant/anti-freeze have changed because the materials that go into making the systems they protect have changed. The fluids in our vehicles generally have two jobs: to lubricate and to prevent corrosion. The fluids formulated for your vehicle are specifically designed to protect the materials that make up its engine parts. Using the wrong fluid may leave some parts vulnerable to corrosion. Further, using the wrong fluids can also void your vehicle's warranty. So The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley recommends Lancaster drivers follow the fluid recommendations in their owner's manuals.
Vehicle fluids, including engine oil, are also designed in special formulas for higher mileage vehicles. These formulas contain additives that help clean older engines and transmissions as well as recondition older seals and gaskets. These fluids are perfectly okay for your vehicle as long as you match the original fluid recommendations in your owner's manual. In other words, a high-mileage oil is fine as long as it is the same weight as the oil recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.
Good vehicle care always includes proper attention to your vehicle's fluids. Understanding and using correct fluids will keep your vehicle running well and will help prevent early corrosion and wear of vital engine parts.
Talk to your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor for more information.
Engine Hydration for Lancaster Drivers: Role of Your Water Pump
Mar 20, 2016
The cooling system in an engine has five components: the radiator, the radiator cap, the hoses, the thermostat and the water pump. The water is literally the heart of the system. Just as your own heart keeps your blood circulating through your body, the water pump keeps coolant circulating through your engine.
The water pump is driven by a belt, chain or gear and only operates while the engine is running. It has a limited life span and sooner or later will have to be replaced. You can check your owner's manual to find out how long your water pump should last. Some can fail at only 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers), but almost all of them fail by 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometers).
Water pumps don't gradually wear out; they fail. In other words, they're either working or they're not. A failed water pump has to be replaced.
Water pumps can fail in two ways: they can spring a leak or their bearings fail. Leaks can come from a cracked pump but usually develop at the gasket where the pump attaches to the engine.
If you hear a low-pitched grinding sound coming from the water pump, it's time for a new one. If you see coolant leaking in the area near the pump, it needs to be replaced. Also, coolant on the driveway could indicate water pump failure. Many water pumps aren't visible because they're under a plastic cover, so you may have to take your vehicle to The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley to know if the water pump has failed. If your water pump is run by the timing belt, then it should be replaced when you replace the belt. Most timing belts need to be replaced at around 60,000 to 90,000 miles (100,000 to 150,000 kilometers). The labor for replacing a timing belt is about 90% the same for replacing a water pump, so it's cost-effective to take care of them both at the same time. Also, if your water pump develops a leak (if it's powered by the timing belt), you have to replace the timing belt as well since contamination by coolant fluid damages the belt. It just makes sense for Lancaster residents to replace both of these parts whenever either one needs it.
Replacing a water pump at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley is a vehicle care issue that almost all of us Lancaster residents face eventually. They don't last forever. On the other hand, we can extend the life of most of the components of our vehicle through preventive maintenance. Just as exercise and diet keep our heart healthy, regular check-ups and fluid changes will keep our vehicles healthy. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor.
Combustion Choreography: Timing Belt Replacement at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster
Mar 13, 2016
Have you ever seen a ballet performance? Have you wondered how all of those dancers manage to travel all over the stage jumping and twirling and never crash into each other? That's the job of a choreographer.
Our auto engines are also highly choreographed. Pistons travel up and down inside cylinders. Valves at the tops of the cylinders open to let air and fuel in or exhaust out. These valves have to open and close at precisely the right time or the engine will run poorly if at all. The movement of the valves and pistons must be in harmony with each other. This choreography is the job of the timing belt or timing chain.
Timing belts, or chains, rotate the shafts that control the opening and closing of the valves. Timing chains are metal and durable enough that they may never need to be replaced.
Most vehicles, however, use a timing belt. Timing belts are tough and flexible, and considering the work they do, they last a long time for Lancaster auto owners . But they do wear out. If they break, the consequences for Lancaster drivers can spell disaster.
No matter what kind of engine you have, a broken timing belt will cause the engine to shut down or will lead to major engine damage. But in some engines, the valves protrude down into the cylinders enough that if the timing belt breaks, the pistons can smash the valves, bending or breaking them. If the engine is spinning fast enough, the broken parts can then shred the cylinder head. This adds to thousands of dollars of engine damage.
The only way the damage can be avoided by Lancaster auto owners is by replacing the timing belt on schedule. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing the timing belt at 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers), but others can go as long as 90,000 or 100,000 miles (145,000 to 160,000 kilometers). Check the schedule for preventive maintenance in your owner's manual. If you're due or overdue for a timing belt replacement, don't put it off. Get it done now at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster.
Your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley technicians probably aren't great dancers, but they can offer you some great auto advice on how to keep your engine properly choreographed. Don't hesitate to consult them about replacing your timing belt or any other car care concerns you may have.
Lancaster Drivers: What Is the Risk of High Oil Change Intervals?
Mar 07, 2016
Lancaster residents may have heard that vehicles don't need their oil changed as often as they used to. That's true. But it's not the whole story.
Owing to improved engine technology and higher oil quality, most newer vehicles can go longer between oil changes than their older counterparts.
So what is a good time interval for oil changes? How do Lancaster residents know when to change it? And why do we change it in the first place?
Oil lubricates a vehicle's engine, which protects it from friction damage. Over time the oil can collect dirt and contaminants that inhibit its performance. But dirty oil isn't the only problem for Lancaster residents. What you really want to avoid is called oil sludge.
Oil sludge is caused by moisture in the oil and by hot spots in your engine that burn off oil. This sludge is a gooey gel that can clog engine passageways, which can block lubricants from reaching vital engine parts. The result can be engine wear or even engine failure.
Sludge forms rapidly in an engine that is driven under what are termed “severe conditions.” A vehicle's owner's manual includes recommendations for oil change intervals under both normal and severe conditions. Severe conditions include towing a trailer, driving in polluted or dusty California conditions, hauling heavy loads or using a car top carrier. Also, extremes in climate such as very hot or very cold temperatures constitute severe conditions for Lancaster drivers.
Lancaster residents may be tempted to overlook the severe conditions preventive maintenance schedule in their 's owner's manual because of the word “severe.” But consider this: the most common form of severe conditions is stop-and-go driving, or only driving your vehicle on short trips around Lancaster.
When a vehicle only makes trips under four miles/six kilometers, or under 10 miles/16 kilometers in freezing conditions, the engine doesn't get warm enough for condensation in the oil to evaporate. The result? You get oil sludge build-up. If your driving patterns are the same as any of the conditions that count as severe, you should be changing your oil more frequently under the severe conditions schedule.
The team at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster can help you understand what type of oil to use in your vehicle and how it can affect your oil change schedule. Some vehicles are filled with synthetic or synthetic-blend oil at the factory. The owner's manual will recommend that this oil continue to be used in the vehicle, and oil change intervals will be based on this type of oil.
Also, if your vehicle uses conventional oil, but you have some of those severe driving habits we talked about, you can switch to a premium-grade oil to give your vehicle extra protection. The answer to why we change our oil is fairly simple: to protect our engines and make our vehicles last longer and run better. But the answer to how often to change our oil is more complex: it depends on our vehicle, our driving habits, where we live in California and what kind of oil we use.
When it comes to oil changes, a little information can go a long way to helping Lancaster residents save money and extend the life of their vehicles. Stay safe, and stay on the road.