Many Lancaster drivers probably don't think of their shock absorbers as an important safety system; but that's just what shocks and struts are. They're all about ride control – keeping your vehicle tires in contact with the road and managing body motion.
Every time you hit a bump or pothole on a Lancaster road, your tire wants to bounce up. The bigger the bump, the higher the bounce. Your shocks or struts push down on the tire to maintain the traction you need to start, stop and turn.
If you've ever ridden in a vehicle with bad shocks, you know how it wallows on corners. The front end dives when you hit the brakes and the rear end squats when you accelerate. It's not only uncomfortable, it is difficult to handle.
You may have heard vehicles described as having “flat cornering." That means that when you take a corner, the body doesn't roll very much. When shocks start to get worn, your vehicle will roll more on corners. The weight of your vehicle's body shifts and tosses your vehicle to the outside of the turn, making it harder to control.
With good shocks, you can turn corners with confidence. When the shocks are bad, the body rolls too much and you need to slow down to maintain the same level of control. When you have to combine brake dive with body roll, you can quickly end up with an unsafe handling situation.
Shocks can break or start to leak, but they usually just wear out. After all, your vehicle shocks will move up and down over 75 million times in 50,000 miles/80,000 km. If you replace shocks at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, it will restore your vehicle's original ride control and quality. You can even upgrade shocks and struts if you want better handling or towing capacity on California roads.
Shocks are an important safety system: don't wait until they are completely shot, perhaps risking your safety or damaging other suspension components. At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley we can help you with quality shocks and struts as advised in your owner's manual, usually at around 50,000 miles/80,000 km, for a comfortable, safe handling ride in Lancaster.
Keep Your Cool in Lancaster: Air Conditioning Service
Oct 25, 2016
Most Lancaster drivers don't even think about their air conditioner.
Now here's a tip for Lancaster vehicle owners: Run your air conditioner every so often during California winters. This circulates the lubricant to help keep the seals from drying out.
The air conditioner actually removes some of the moisture in the air. So if you have trouble with fogging on your vehicle windshield during California winters or during a rain storm, running the A/C on the defrost setting should help. Now on some Lancaster cars you can't run the A/C at the same time as the defroster. Don't ask me why, but I suspect lawyers were involved.
Also, air and water can get into the A/C system. That can reduce the efficiency of the system and also lead to corrosion that causes damage. Lancaster drivers should periodically purge the system and replace the refrigerant to remove the air and water.
California drivers would be wise to learn the early warning signs of A/C trouble: 1) The air's not as cold as it used to be. 2) It makes unusual noises when the A/C cycles on. Those are signs to get your vehicle into The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster before the damage gets worse.
By following the recommended service intervals in your vehicle owner's manual, you can help prevent mechanical failure of your air conditioning system. Your A/C system contains some components like the compressor, condenser, dryer, etc. Anything Lancaster car owners can do to lengthen the life of their A/C is well worth it.
Shopping for tires in Lancaster can be bewildering because there are many choices. Let's simplify. There are four main classifications of tires, each designed for different purposes.
First off, there are summer tires. Those who buy summer tires in Lancaster are looking for maximum summertime performance. The rubber is a little softer to help stick to the road on fast corners on California roads. The tread has wide blocks at the shoulder to stiffen the tire in turns. The tread design can handle rain but really isn't set up for snow and ice.
Next comes winter tires. Lancaster people buy winter tires because they still like performance driving when it's cold and slippery on California roads, so they need a tread design that'll really bite into ice and snow. The rubber compound is formulated to stay pliable when temperatures drop below 45 degrees F/7 degrees C so they get great traction even on dry roads. On the other end of the winter tire spectrum are tires designed to handle well in severe ice and snow conditions.
The third category is all-season tires. Most new cars in Lancaster showrooms come with all-season tires. This is a tire that is designed to be used all year round. The tread design and rubber compound is a compromise that won't give you the extreme capabilities of summer or winter tires; but if you're driving and weather conditions aren't at the extreme ends of the range, all-season tires might suit you just fine.
The last category is what you might have on your SUV or pickup. All-terrain or off-road tires are designed for both highway and off-road use – a tire that gets good traction in the dirt and on off-road obstacles, but still performs well on paved Lancaster roads.
Choosing the right tire is important for Lancaster car owners. Talk with your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley tire professional about your driving requirements and receive valuable guidance on tires that will meet your needs.
Virtually all vehicles come with power steering, so many Lancaster drivers have never driven a car or truck without it. Power steering assists you when you turn your vehicle steering wheel. Without it, it would be very hard to steer.
Now this power assist comes in a couple of forms. In recent years, a lot of vehicles have an electric motor that reduces steering effort and helps improve performance and handling.
The other kind of power steering is hydraulic. This is the kind most older California vehicles — and a lot of newer ones — have. Power steering fluid is pressurized by a pump and is used to assist steering. Of course, vehicles need the right amount of fluid in the system. If it's too low, your steering is affected and you could damage your vehicle pump.
Also, power steering fluid can become corrosive over time and damage the pump, hoses and connectors, leading to leaks and repairs. Power steering service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster includes removing the contaminated fluid and replacing it with fresh fluid.
A word for Lancaster drivers about power steering pumps: Some are powered by an electric motor. Others are driven by the serpentine belt. A worn serpentine belt stresses all of the vehicle components it drives, including the power steering pump, so replace the belt at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley as advised to avoid undue repairs.
Losing your power steering while driving in Lancaster can be unsettling – just remember that you can still steer, it'll just be harder. Check with your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley to see if it's time to service your vehicle's power steering system.
In addition to power steering service, at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley we offer comprehensive automotive services.
Fall and Spring Inspection at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
Oct 03, 2016
Good vehicle care for us Lancaster residents has always meant taking our vehicles in every spring and fall for a check-up. Vehicles needed routine maintenance to prepare them for the changes in weather. Today's vehicles aren't quite as sensitive to seasonal changes. Older vehicles required different weights of oil for summer and winter. But today's engines can run on the same oil all year. Both the engines and the oils have been improved.
Antifreeze—or coolant as it's also called—protects the engine from both freezing and hot temperatures and thus is required by the engine year-round. Modern coolants don't have to be changed as often as they did in the past, but your owner's manual has a recommendation for when it should be replaced to extend cooling system life.
Getting a spring and fall checkup at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster for your vehicle is still good auto advice.
First of all, there is a lot of preventive auto maintenance involved in properly caring for a vehicle. Dropping your vehicle off twice a year at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for a quick inspection and routine maintenance is still part of good vehicle care. The changes in the California seasons can provide a good reminder that it's time to get the vehicle serviced, just as they remind us that it's time to take care of the furnace or air conditioner, purchase school clothes or bathing suits, drag out or put away the coats and boots.
There are other advantages to spring and fall maintenance for Lancaster residents. Springtime signals the advent of warmer weather. Although modern coolant is designed to last longer than one season, it's a good idea to check it regularly to ensure you have enough. While you're at it, your vehicle should also be checked for leaks and worn hoses in the cooling system.
Summer is the time when most of us Lancaster residents take vacations or go on road trips. So a spring check-up for our vehicles can lead to a stress-free summer and better memories on the road.
Fall, of course, signals the advent of colder weather in the Lancaster area. This is a good time for a routine battery check. The hot weather of summer takes a toll on battery life – then comes winter. Cranking up a cold engine takes a lot more battery power than starting a warm one. So before that cold weather hits, it's a good idea to check your battery and replace it if necessary. But your tires aren't completely adapted to changing weather conditions. If you live where temperatures drop below 45°F (7°C) in the winter, or if your commute frequently takes you through snow or ice, you may want to consider changing to winter tires in the fall.
A fall check-up at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, just like a spring check-up, can keep you on the road no matter what California weather brings. Consider how much a worry-free summer vacation and a less stressful Lancaster winter commute are worth to you. Then, spring and fall, reset your clocks, change the batteries in your smoke detectors and take your vehicle in for a check-up.