Power Steering Service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster
Oct 23, 2012
Many Lancaster drivers have been hearing about technological advances in power steering, specifically electric power steering. Some very high-end cars have been featuring electric power steering. Power steering fluid has the necessary hydraulic properties and the ability to lubricate the internal parts. The power steering fluid also protects vehicle components from rust and corrosion.
Lancaster car owners should be aware that vehicle manufacturers recommend that the fluid be replaced on schedule. At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, the old fluid is drained and the system cleaned thoroughly. Fresh fluid is then installed.
Unfortunately, many Lancaster drivers don't realize how important it is to service their power steering, and some may not even know that it's necessary in the first place. A neglected power steering system can develop leaks that will shorten the life of the pump.
Lancaster drivers should be aware of warnings that indicate possible power steering problems: the need to constantly add power steering fluid, a loud whining from the pump, erratic power assist or high steering effort. If you're experiencing any of these problems, have your power steering checked out at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster.
In addition to the pump and hydraulic system, there are mechanical parts in the steering system. The rods, arms, joints and knuckles that actually turn the wheels can become worn or damaged. A standard alignment service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley includes an inspection of steering components.
See if you notice any of these: play in the steering wheel, the steering wheel is off center, or there's a noise coming from your front wheels, especially when turning. If so, have your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor do an inspection so the problem can be corrected. Waiting too long could cause uneven tire wear and may even lead to steering failure.
Finding Vehicle Recall Information in Lancaster, California
Oct 18, 2012
No matter how well they're made, vehicles in Lancaster, California, will have design or manufacturing problems.
And when the government thinks a problem is really serious for people in Lancaster, California, they require the manufacturer to issue a recall notice and fix the vehicle free of charge. The manufacturer then tries to contact everyone in California who owns that type of vehicle to get the recall work done. Perhaps you have received a postcard notifying you of a recall. The government has links on its websites, or just visit AutoNetTV for links. There are many websites with free recall information and searches. There's CarFax, AutoByTel and the DMV.
Recalls are serious but not all that common. Sometimes there are fewer issues, and for these, manufacturers issue a Technical Service Bulletin, or TSB, that tells service centers like The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley how to repair a frequent or difficult problem.
The pros get updated information through subscription plans, also available in consumer versions for a reasonable cost. So when recalls occur, get the work done, and keep you and yours safe.
People near Lancaster, California, often ask The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley how often they should have a particular service done. It's a great thing to ask. You can look at your owner's manual or have your Lancaster, California, service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley look up your vehicle in a service database. What you find is often a surprise to people – there are actually two service schedules.
One is the regular schedule and the other is the severe service schedule. Service intervals are shorter on the severe service schedule. When asked, most folks in Lancaster will say that their driving is normal and that the 'regular' schedule probably applies to them. 'Severe service' sounds pretty extreme – 'I don't drive like that.'
Well, here is what the manufacturers say constitutes severe driving conditions; you can draw your own conclusions.
Most of your trips are less than four miles (six and a half kilometers).
Most of your trips are less than ten miles (16 km) and outside temperatures are below freezing.
The engine is at low speed most of the time – not on the highway. You operate your vehicle in dusty areas.
You regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads.
You drive with a car-top carrier.
You do a lot of stop-and-go driving.
You drive in very hot or very cold weather.
If that's severe driving, what constitutes regular driving? Well, it would look something like this: I live somewhere with moderate temperatures all year round – I'm thinking San Diego here. And I live close to a freeway on-ramp. Everywhere I need to go is right off the freeway, at least four miles (six and a half km) from my home. I can drive at a steady 60 miles per hour (100 kph) when I'm on the freeway.
I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like my normal driving. It sounds more like ideal conditions. I live where it gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. I run short errands around Lancaster. Occasionally we load up for family trips.
For me, normal driving includes elements of severe service driving. So here's what I tell people: think about how you drive, where you live, where you go and what you are expecting to with your vehicle in the near future.
Picture a line with 'regular' on one end and 'severe' on the other, and make a judgment on where you fall. If your regular oil change recommendation is 5,000 miles (8,000 km) and the severe service recommendation is 3,000 miles (5,000 km), when should you change your oil? For me, it's closer to 3,000 miles (5,000 km). For my wife, it's closer to 5,000 miles (8,000 km). Your Lancaster, California, auto service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will be happy to have this discussion with you and help you sort it out.
Just a quick word on why severe service intervals are shorter. One has to do with heat. That can either be external heat from the weather, engine and transmission heat from stop-and-go driving or working extra hard moving heavy loads or towing. The heat causes the fluids like oil and transmission fluid to break down more quickly, and then they aren't as effective.
Another factor is water. Moisture naturally collects in fluids as they cool. In your motor oil, for example, if you don't drive long enough for the oil to fully heat up, the water won't evaporate. Water in the oil can lead to the buildup of damaging sludge.
If you live where the air is dusty or polluted, fluids will become contaminated and filters will get dirtier more quickly.
So make an honest evaluation of your driving conditions. You've made the commitment to take care of your vehicles, so it only makes sense to follow the right schedule.
We find that a lot of Lancaster drivers are a little tentative when they talk with their automotive advisors. They want to ask questions but don't want to be embarrassed or seem pushy. Vehicles are very complicated and there's more to know about them than most of us have the time to learn. Maybe it's because vehicles have become so much more reliable that the average person just doesn't need to know as much to keep their vehicle on the road.
You know, your local hospital has a Patient's Bill of Rights that they post throughout the hospital. We think our Lancaster automotive service customers also have a right to ask any question they need to understand what is wrong with their car and what it will take to fix it. They need to feel free to ask the cost and benefits of recommended services. And they certainly have a right to understand the financial end of the transaction.
It's all about the communication. It's a little harder when you're trying to find the right service center in Lancaster. But once you've developed a relationship, the communication should come easier.
What are some of the barriers to communication? Well, let's go back to the medical example. When your doctor's explaining something to you, it's something that she understands very well and is very familiar with. So she may use jargon you don't understand or that you don't have the education and training that's foundational to understanding what she's trying to explain.
So you fall behind and get frustrated.
It can be the same with your Lancaster automotive service advisors. Most of them are very busy trying to service and fix cars to get their customers back on the road. So, just ask when you feel you need more information.
Financial related issues seem to be most frustrating to customers. If you're not sure, ask what the payment policies are. For example, there's a big difference between giving your car a quick once over and doing a thorough inspection. Diagnosing a problem may take quite a while. Make sure you know what's done as a courtesy and what has a fee. Remember, you still have to pay for the office visit even if the doctor says you only have a cold.
Communication is a two way street. If you have some real budget concerns, ask your Lancaster service advisor what he can do. He can give you priorities and options. He can tell you what needs to be taken care of right away for safety or financial reasons. Then you can work out a plan for when to get the rest done. He can also help you with options on the parts. The preference is to always use a high-quality part with a reputation for reliability. But if money is tight, he might be able to find a rebuilt or a used part. He should tell you the difference in the guarantee for the part so you can make a good decision.
Ask about warranties for parts and labor. Be sure to get all the paperwork you need to make a possible claim in the future. Your service center and its technicians stand behind their work and want you to understand precisely what that means.
Be sure to ask for and keep a detailed explanation of all the work that's done on your vehicle. These records will help you keep track of service, warranties and document the good care your vehicle has received when the time comes to sell it.