We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over Lancaster. Some days it's all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That's why you've gotta be organized. Smartphones, calendar apps - we have to keep track of it all.
So let's talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.
Here is a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked by Lancaster residents. They're all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.
1. Power Steering Service Be honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your power steering parts are protected from corrosion. Next time you're in for an oil change, ask your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor if it's time for a power steering check-up.
2. Wheel Alignment When your wheels are out of alignment your vehicle pulls to one side. It's pretty annoying, but it's also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out really fast, which is an unnecessary expense! Most owner’s manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.
3. Differential Service Did you even know you had a differential? Well, you do - one, two or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they're part of the drive-train that transfers power from your vehicle engine to your wheels. They don't need service that often, but you can't completely forget them. Check with your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor.
4. Cabin Air Filter More and more cars these days have cabin air filters (a great feature, in my opinion) to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they're clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies.
5. Timing Belt Replacement Most cars and some vans and trucks driven around the Lancaster area have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let's just say that your car won't run without it – period. And if it breaks while you're driving, it can do thousands of dollars’ worth of engine damage. Check your owner's manual or speak with your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor. If you're approaching 60,000 miles or 100,000 kilometers; definitely look into it right away.
6. Transmission Service Transmission service is very basic, but it's often forgotten by Lancaster drivers. Your vehicle transmission needs clean fluid from time to time to keep operating efficiently and avoid pricey repairs.
7. Air Conditioning Service Most of us don't think about our air conditioning until it fails on a hot day in Lancaster. If you're lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you're not, some of the components may have been ruined. Of course, these components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.
8. Brake Service No we're not talking about squealing, grinding brakes here. We're talking brake fluid. Over time, the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won't work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley technician for recommendations.
9. Coolant System Another thing that's so easy for Lancaster drivers to forget about: When you don't change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the pH balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can actually eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you're stranded - bummer.
10. Fuel System Cleaning In these times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is vital. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors also get gunked up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will really help your fuel economy.
There you have it: 10 services that are often overlooked by Lancaster residents. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn't been performed? Considering our busy lives, we're not surprised. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can help with any of these services. Give us a call or come see us.
Differential Service in Lancaster, California - What You Need to Know
May 19, 2011
Scratching your head? Don't worry, if you don't know what a differential is – you will in a moment. That fact is that if you drive a car anywhere in Lancaster, California, you have a differential. Whether your vehicle is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, you have a differential. Some Lancaster vehicles might even have two or three.
Not surprisingly, a differential's job is to compensate for differences; specifically, they're the differences in wheel speed when turning. For instance, imagine taking a corner near your Lancaster, California, home. Your inside wheel has a shorter distance to travel than the outside wheel as you turn the corner. That means that your outside wheel has to turn faster to keep pace with the inside wheel.
The differential allows the wheels to turn at different speeds while still providing power to your vehicle. Without a differential, Lancaster residents' tires would scrub and hop along the pavement during turns like the early cars.
Ever noticed the big bulge in the middle of the rear axle on trucks? That's the differential. Rear-wheel drive vehicles have a differential in back. Most four-wheel drive trucks and SUVs will also have a similar differential on the front axle. A front-wheel drive vehicle's differential is called a transaxle because it combines the differential and transmission in one unit. An all-wheel drive vehicle will have a differential or transfer case that adjusts for speed differences between the front and rear drive wheels.
It can seem a little complex to some Lancaster drivers - but you can see that all of the engine's power is routed through your differentials. They're strong enough to handle the work, but- we've said it before - they need to be properly lubricated in order to stay strong. So from time to time, you need to schedule a differential service in Lancaster at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. The used fluid is drained and replaced with clean fluid. Some advise certain differentials to have special additives installed.
Get your differential serviced at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster.
Commitment to Make Your vehicle Last at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
May 11, 2011
These days many people in the Lancaster area are really committed to making their cars last a long time. First thing: you've got to start with what you've got. It'd be ideal if people started with a brand new car, never missed a scheduled service item, paid attention to the severe service maintenance schedule and had regular inspections. But if you've had the vehicle for a while or bought it used, its maintenance history is what it is; and that's where you start.
Go through the maintenance schedule for your vehicle and see what's been done and when. Have your Lancaster service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley do an inspection and come up with a list of stuff that needs to be done. Review the list and prioritize the work, talk about budget and make a plan to get caught up.
Making a plan is so important. Suppose you go in for an oil change and learn you need your cooling system serviced, a transmission service and are coming up on a timing belt replacement in the next 5,000 miles/8,000 kilometers. You might be pretty overwhelmed.
To make it even more stressful, these are all very important systems that are expensive to repair if there's a failure. In a consultation with your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor, you might decide to take care of the transmission on this visit, set an appointment for the cooling system service next month and get an estimate for the timing belt replacement so you'll be prepared for it in a few months.
Having a plan for taking care of these important services will set your mind at ease.
For advice on how to make your vehicle last longer, visit us at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley.
We live in such a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days, California folks were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough - they had to do without. Most Lancaster drivers couldn't afford new vehicles very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.
It's a good thing that vehicles are more reliable these days. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us California penny pinchers is that a modern vehicle can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us Lancaster vehicle owners making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedules.
Every time you go a little farther between recommended oil changes, you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and for clogged passages. Then some vehicle parts don't get properly lubricated and they start to wear out faster. Skip a cooling system service and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted; the radiator starts being damaged - one step closer to a failure. Same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning - really everything on your schedule.
It is probably even more important for older vehicles. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they are a bit more stressed anyway. But it is never too late to get back on track with your auto maintenance and to hold off further damage.
And it really does start with the oil change. When you get a full service oil change in Lancaster at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, we top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. It's like your safety net. Go in for an oil change on time, and let your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley help you keep track of the rest.
Some things are going to wear out along the way, things like alternators, water pumps, etc. But fixing those at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley is cheaper than a new car payment for Lancaster drivers. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to mess with other things. It is like having high cholesterol - you don't want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.