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Protecting Your Vehicle from Theft in Lancaster, California

Apr 04, 2016



Every car in Lancaster, California, is at risk for theft. So it's up to us to make our cars a less appealing target and more of a challenge – hopefully sending potential thieves to look elsewhere.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends a layered approach to protecting vehicles:

  1. Common sense
  2. Visible and audible devices
  3. Immobilizing devices
  4. Tracking devices

Let's review each of these. One is common sense; you would be surprised how many vehicles are stolen in California where the keys were left in the ignition with the doors unlocked. Always take your keys and lock the doors. In fact, in some places it's against the law to leave a vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition.

And don't leave spare keys in the car or hide them outside – because a thief will find them. Lancaster drivers would be wise to park in well-lit areas that have a lot of foot traffic. If possible, park near the end of a row and near a light. Back your car into a parking space or your driveway to make your car more visible to passersby and harder for a thief to work under the hood without being seen.

People in Lancaster should know that it's important to roll up their windows completely and avoid leaving their car in public lots for a long time. If you park in a lot that has an attendant, only give them the ignition key.

Keep valuables out of sight; purses, wallets, cell phones, clothes and even change are attractive "smash-and-grab" targets. And pay to have your Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, etched into your windows – it makes your car less attractive to a thief who wants to send your car to a chop shop.

There are lots of visible and audible devices available for Lancaster drivers. A steering wheel lock is highly visible and will deter some thieves. Loud alarms can alert you and others that your vehicle is being tampered with. But if your alarm does go off, be careful. Observe what's going on; get descriptions of suspicious people and vehicles, including license plate numbers.

Now, if you catch a thief in the act, call 911 but don't approach the person. Your safety is more important than the car.

And here's a great one - immobilizing devices. They actually shut off your car's electrical or fuel supply. So without a key, or knowing where the hidden switch is located, a thief can't drive your car away.

Finally, drivers can also get a tracking device that allows Lancaster police to track their car down and recover it quickly.

Remember, where you live, work and drive around Lancaster, California, has a great impact on your decisions. If you're in an area with high theft rates, you may want to spend more money on security systems. And check with your auto insurance company to see if they offer discounts for adding any of these items.

Of course, the common sense suggestions from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley don't cost anything and go a long way toward keeping your car safe from thieves.

 The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Considering an Alternative Fuel Vehicle in Los Angeles County?

Feb 23, 2016

There is a clear and vocal demand in Lancaster and nationally for a reduction in air pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. This is what is driving the California market for alternative fuel vehicles. There are a number of these vehicles on Lancaster area roads today, and many more being developed. Yet each of these vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages. Lancaster auto owners should learn what these advantages and disadvantages are before running out and purchasing one of these alternative fuel vehicles at your nearest Lancaster dealership.

Lancaster drivers should carefully research the vehicle care before buying an alternative fuel vehicle, as it may or may not coincide with the standards for gasoline vehicles. You should look at costs as well; these vehicles may help save our environment here in Lancaster, but that might not represent a savings to your wallet. You'll need to decide what you can afford and what will work for your lifestyle. Also, your choice of vehicle may be affected by what fuels are available in your area. Switching to an alternative fuel vehicle is not a bad decision, but it should be a carefully considered one.

Flex Fuel Vehicles
Flex fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on a combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Because of the 85% ethanol content, this fuel is commonly called E85 in California.

Ethanol is made from corn. So flex fuel vehicles lessen our dependency on fossil fuels. But they also raise the price of corn, which is a basic foodstuff in some areas of the world. Whether replacing fossil fuels with corn is a good idea is hotly contested right now.

One piece of The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley auto advice before we move on: do not put E85 into your vehicle unless it has an engine designed for flex fuels. Because of the high ethanol content in E85, engines need special seals and gaskets to function properly on this fuel. Running an ordinary engine with E85 can lead to gas leaks and fires.

Diesel
Diesel engines are nothing new on California freeways, and many get great fuel economy. Diesel fuel can now be made from vegetable oil and other renewable sources. A diesel fuel made from algae will soon be on the market in the Lancaster area.

Natural Gas
Natural gas is less expensive than gasoline in Lancaster and burns more cleanly. Also, gasoline engines can be adapted to run on compressed natural gas, and many natural gas vehicles are already on Lancaster roads. You can even install a special pump in your home gas line to use to fuel your vehicle. If you are interested in converting your gasoline engine to run on CNG in Lancaster, ask your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor about it.

On the other hand, an engine running on natural gas is not as powerful as one running on gasoline. Also, the tank you need to store natural gas is large—it takes up nearly the entire trunk of your car. Further, refueling stations are still few and far between in some California areas, or even unavailable in many parts of the country.


Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles were all the rage in California some years ago. But their limitations were quickly realized by Lancaster auto owners. These vehicles won't come into their own until we find ways to improve their batteries. Currently, many of these cars have a short range before their power runs out and can only be realistically used close to home. However, they are easy to recharge since they can be plugged in at home, and there are many researchers working on improving the battery technology in these vehicles. They may yet be the vehicles of the future.

Hybrids
Hybrids have been among the most successful alternative fuel vehicles here in Lancaster and throughout the county. A hybrid gets its name because it has both a gas or diesel engine and an electric motor.

There are two types of hybrids. The full-hybrid relies on the electric motor for power, but the gas (or diesel) engine generates power for the battery. Thus, while still consuming fossil fuels, it uses less of them than a standard vehicle and also reduces harmful pollutants. Also, it overcomes the range problem of the strictly electric vehicle.

In a mild hybrid, the electric motor assists the gas or diesel engine in powering the vehicle. Thus, it uses more gasoline or diesel than full hybrids and has higher emissions. But mild hybrids are available in larger body models like full-size pickups and SUV's.

A Note of Caution about Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
One last note before we leave the subject of alternative fuel vehicles. The battery in an electric or hybrid vehicle is not as tame as the one in a standard vehicle. They carry enough voltage to kill you. These are not do-it-yourself vehicles when it comes to preventive maintenance or car care. Only a trained technician should work under their hoods.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Considering an Alternative Fuel Vehicle In Los Angeles County?

Dec 09, 2014

There is a clear and vocal demand in Lancaster and nationally for a reduction in air pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. This is what is driving the California market for alternative fuel vehicles. There are a number of these vehicles on Los Angeles County area roads today, and many more being developed. Yet each of these vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages. Lancaster motorists should learn what these advantages and disadvantages are before running out and purchasing one of these alternative fuel vehicles at your nearest Los Angeles County dealership.

Los Angeles County motorists should carefully research the car care before buying an alternative vehicle, as it may or may not coincide with the standards for gasoline vehicles. You should look at costs and gas mileage as well: these vehicles may help save our environment here in Lancaster, but that might not represent a savings to your wallet. You’ll need to decide what you can afford, and what will work for your lifestyle. Also, your choice of vehicle may be affected by what fuels are available in your Los Angeles County area. Switching to an alternative fuel vehicle is not a bad decision, but it should be a carefully considered one.

Flex Fuel Vehicles
Flex fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on a combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Because of the 85% ethanol content, this fuel is commonly called E85 in California.

Ethanol is made from corn. So flex fuel vehicles lessen our dependency on fossil fuels. But they also raise the price of corn, which is a basic foodstuff in some areas of the world. Whether replacing fossil fuels with corn is a good idea is hotly contested right now.

Flex fuel vehicles do have lower harmful exhaust emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles. And in Los Angeles County, E85 is usually lower in cost than regular gasoline. When gasoline prices fall in California, however, they can drop below the price of E85. This is to Lancaster drivers’ advantage, since the vehicle can run on either fuel, but it negates the benefits of lowered exhaust emissions and lower consumption of fossil fuels.

One piece of Doug Beimler's QH Automotive auto advice before we move on: do not put E85 into your truck unless it has an engine designed for flex fuels. Because of the high ethanol content in E85, engines need special seals and gaskets to function properly on this fuel. Running an ordinary engine with E85 can lead to gas leaks and fires.

Diesel
Diesel engines are nothing new on California freeways, and many get great MPG. Diesel fuel can now be made from vegetable oil and other renewable sources. A diesel fuel made from algae will soon be on the market in Los Angeles County.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is less expensive than gasoline in Lancaster and burns more cleanly. Also, gasoline engines can be adapted to run on compressed natural gas, and many natural gas vehicles are already on Antelope Valley roads. You can even install a special pump in your home gas line to use to fuel your vehicle. If you are interested in converting your gasoline engine to run on CNG in Lancaster, ask your Doug Beimler's QH Automotive tech about it.

On the other hand, an engine running on natural gas is not as powerful as one running on gasoline, and it will get lower MPG. Also, the tank you need to store natural gas is large—it takes up nearly the entire trunk of your car. Further, refueling stations are still few and far between in some California areas, or even unavailable, in many parts of the country.

Hydrogen
Another alternative fuel that has enjoyed a lot of hype in Los Angeles County is the hydrogen cell. The natural appeal is that the only exhaust is water vapor. In other words, hydrogen represents a truly clean-burning fuel. But hydrogen vehicles won’t come into widespread use until refueling stations become widely available here in Lancaster and around the country.

Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles were all the rage in California some years ago. But their limitations were quickly realized by Lancaster drivers. These vehicles won’t come into their own until we find ways to improve their batteries. Currently, the cars have a short range before their power runs out, and can only be realistically used close to home. However, they are easy to recharge, since they can be plugged in at home, and there are many researchers working on improving the battery technology in these vehicles. They may yet be the vehicles of the future.

Hybrids
Hybrids have been one of the most successful alternative fuel vehicles here in Lancaster and throughout the county. A hybrid gets its name because it has both a gas or diesel engine and an electric motor.

There are two types of hybrids. The full-hybrid relies on the electric motor for power, but the gas (or diesel) engine generates power for the battery. Thus, while still consuming fossil fuels, it uses less of them than a standard automobile, and also reduces harmful pollutants. Also, it overcomes the range problem of the strictly electric vehicle.

In a mild hybrid, the electric motor assists the gas or diesel engine in powering the car. Thus, it uses more gasoline or diesel than full hybrids and has higher emissions. But mild hybrids are available in larger body models like full-size pickups and SUV’s.

A Note of Caution about Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
One last note before we leave the subject of alternative fuel vehicles. The battery in an electric or hybrid vehicle is not as tame as the one in a standard vehicle. They carry enough voltage to kill you. These are not do-it-yourself vehicles when it comes to preventive maintenance or car care. Only a trained technician should work under their hoods.



Protecting Your truck From Theft In Lancaster California

Jul 02, 2013



Every car in Lancaster California is at risk for theft. So it's up to us to make our cars a less appealing target and more of a challenge – hopefully sending potential thieves to look elsewhere.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends a layered approach to protecting vehicles:

  1. Common sense
  2. Visible and audible devices
  3. Immobilizing devices
  4. Tracking devices

Let's review each of these. First, common sense: you would be surprised how many vehicles are stolen from Lancaster California where the keys were left in the ignition with the doors unlocked. Always take your keys, and lock the doors. In fact, in some places it's against the law to leave a vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition.

And don't leave spare keys in the car or hide them outside – because a thief will find them. Try to park in well-lit areas that have a lot of foot traffic. If possible, park near the end of a row and near a light. Back your car into a parking space or your driveway to make your car more visible to passersby and harder for a thief to work under the hood without being seen.

Remember to roll up your windows completely and avoid leaving your car in public lots for a long time. If you park in a lot that has an attendant, only give them the ignition key.

Keep valuables out of sight: purses, wallets, cell phones, clothes and even change are attractive "smash-and-grab" targets. And pay to have your Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, etched into your windows – it makes your car less attractive to a thief who wants to send your car to a chop shop.

There are lots of visible and audible devices available. A steering wheel lock is highly visible and will deter some thieves. Loud alarms can alert you and others that your vehicle is being tampered with. But if your alarm does go off, be careful. Observe what's going on; get descriptions of suspicious people and vehicles, including license plate numbers.

Now, if you catch a thief in the act, call 911 but don't approach the person. Your safety is more important than the car.

And here's a great one - immobilizing devices. They actually shut off your car's electrical or fuel supply. So without a key, or knowing where the hidden switch is located, a thief can't drive your car away.

Finally, you can also get a tracking device that allows police to track your car down and recover it quickly.

Remember, where you live, work and drive around Lancaster California has a great impact on your decisions. If you're in an area with high theft rates, you may want to spend more money on security systems. And check with your Lancaster California auto insurance company to see if they offer discounts for adding any of these items.

Of course, the common sense suggestions from Doug Beimler's QH Automotive don't cost anything and go a long way toward keeping your car safe from thieves. Take a look at the attached video auto tip from AutoNetTV.

Come see us for practical advice on keeping your truck safe.
Doug Beimler's QH Automotive
226 West Avenue I, Lancaster, California 93534
Call us at 661-949-8484


Can Car Scent Keep You Safe on California Roads?

Dec 20, 2011

Here's a travel tip that'll I'll bet you didn't know, and it might keep you safer...

The average American commuter in California spends two and a half hours daily in their vehicle.

The government says 100,000 auto accidents yearly are caused by drivers who fall asleep at the wheel. (Aggressive driving is the number one traffic safety concern.)

So what does this have to do with how your vehicle smells while you're driving around Lancaster?

Well, which scent did you think makes drivers more alert?

Is it:

  • A. Strawberry
  • B. New Car
  • C. Pine
  • D. Warm Vanilla Breeze

It's C. Drivers are more alert and have less fatigue with pine scent in the vehicle, according to AroMetrics.

And, drivers were less angry with overall improved driving performance with strawberry and pine scents.

And you thought they just smelled nice.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Lease or Buy?

Jun 07, 2011



Lease? Or buy? These are the options for Lancaster drivers. It's always a tough question for auto owners, but here is some info that'll help you make an informed decision.

If you buy, you'll pay the full cost of the vehicle, maybe an initial down payment, monthly payments on the balance that pays down the loan principal, and the finance charge.

Lancaster drivers who lease finance the portion of the cost of the vehicle that's used up during the term of the lease. You'll pay some money up front: fees, security deposit, first month's payment and maybe a capital reduction. The monthly payments include a depreciation cost and a finance charge. When the lease is up, you return the vehicle to your local Lancaster area dealership. 

So how do Lancaster drivers decide?

First, how much do you have for a down payment? A lease usually requires a smaller down payment.

How much monthly payment can you afford? Again, lease payments will be much lower for any given down payment.

A lease needs requires better credit, so that's a factor.

How long will you keep the vehicle? Lancaster drivers who keep their vehicles around for a while will pay less if they buy. But just two or three years? Then leasing is the way to go.

If your car might suffer a ding or two, like a work truck would, then buying's better. The auto leasing company will want their vehicle back at the lease end in tip top shape, and if repairs are needed, you'll pay.

How far do you drive in and around the Lancaster area? Important to consider because leases have a mileage limit; if you go over, you pay a hefty charge per mile/kilometer when the lease is up. So high mileage California drivers should definitely buy.

Will the car be used in your business? Check with your accountant, but both financing options have different tax benefits, depending on your circumstances.

Over the short term, leasing is much cheaper. Medium term, leasing and buying costs are about the same. Over the long haul, leasing always costs more.

Leases may sound a bit complicated, and the typical lease decision weighs more on the monthly payment rather than price. So sometimes Lancaster leasers may pay on a higher purchase price than a buyer would.

Here is a tip: If the salesman asks if you'll be leasing or buying, say you're not sure yet. Make your best deal, then look at your financing options.

Here's another: With a buy or a lease, if you total the vehicle, you'll owe the full amount of the loan, or the balance of the lease payments. Usually, it's less than the vehicle's fair market value, and that's all your California auto insurance company will pay. But ask your Lancaster agent about gap insurance, which pays the difference between fair market value and what you owe. Big consideration for a lease.

Remember, you have to return your leased vehicle in excellent condition and may need to do all the vehicle manufacturer's recommended service and maintenance or face penalties. So see your local advisor at your Lancaster auto repair shop  or The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley on a regular basis, get the required work done and save the service records. It's well worth it.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



What to Do in Case of an Accident in Lancaster

Sep 09, 2010

Screeching tires, crunching metal – it's an accident! If you've ever been in a car accident in Lancaster, even a minor one, you know how upsetting it can be. It's hard to think straight and know what to do.

Let's review what Lancaster drivers should do in case of an accident:

When an accident occurs, you should always stop. Leaving the scene of an accident in Lancaster is considered a crime - even if it's not your fault. And hit and run penalties are fairly severe, possibly resulting in steep fines, loss of your California driver's license or even jail time.

Your jurisdiction may require that you try to help someone who is injured by calling for help or performing first aid if you are able. Warn other motorists by putting out flares, using your flashers or lifting your hood. Call Lancaster emergency services as soon as possible. Tell the operator if medical or fire help is needed.

You should always file a police report. It's tempting to skip this if everything seems to be ok. But without a police report, the other guy can say whatever he wants about the accident later, and you won't have an objective report to help defend yourself. Discuss the accident only with the police. Emotions are strong after an accident and we naturally want to talk about it – don't. Never admit fault or guilt to anyone including the Lancaster police officer. Sometimes we may feel at fault, but in the eyes of the law, the other guy may be responsible.

Truthfully give the officer the facts: such as, "I was going 30 miles an hour," or, "I was going 55 kilometers per hour," not, "I wasn't speeding." Remember, anything you say to the officer or anyone else can be used against you. Also get the officer's name and ID number and ask where you can get a copy of the accident report.

Get the facts on the driver and owner of the other vehicle:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Driver's license number and expiration
  • Insurance information

Also take down a description of the other vehicle, license plate and vehicle identification number (VIN). Most California auto insurance companies don't record license plate numbers, so the VIN is the best way to track a vehicle in California.

Ask witnesses, including passengers, to wait for the police. If they can't wait, ask for contact information and request that they write a brief description of what they saw. If someone refuses to leave their name, write down their license plate number so the police can track them down later if necessary. Always call your insurance agent or your insurance company. Call or see a physician if you think you may have been injured. For vehicle repairs, call The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley at 661-949-8484.

Contact The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley to learn more about what to do in case of an auto accident.
You can find us at:

226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Are There Blind Spots in Lancaster?

May 27, 2010

All Lancaster drivers have blind spots – and no, I'm not talking about the fact that you really don't sing like Adele. I mean the areas of the road that you can't see when you're driving around Lancaster.

First let's talk about our own blinds spots, and then we can talk about others...

To begin, we can greatly reduce blind spots by properly adjusting our mirrors to give the widest coverage possible. Make the adjustments in your vehicle before you start to drive.

First, Lancaster drivers should adjust their rear view mirrors to give the best possible view directly to the rear of their vehicle. Lancaster folks don't need it to get a better view of either side of the car, the kids in the back seat or their dazzling smile. It's pretty obvious, the rear view mirror should reflect the rear.

Next, lean your head until it almost touches the driver's side window. Adjust your side mirror so that you can just barely see the side of your car. Now, lean your head to the middle of the car and adjust the outside mirror so that you can barely see the right side of the car.

When Lancaster drivers adjust their mirrors this way, they'll have maximum coverage. Of course driving is a dynamic process – things change every second on California roads and busy highways. So it's wise to take a quick look to the side when passing to make sure that another vehicle hasn't moved into an area you couldn't see in your mirrors.

As you drive around the Lancaster area, avoid staying in others' blind spots. You can't count on them to be watching their mirrors and looking out for you.

Here are some tips for passing a heavy vehicle on California roads:

Avoid the blind spots. If you can't see the drivers face in one of his mirrors or in a window, he cannot see you!

Don't follow too close. If you can't see one of the truck's mirrors, you're too close.

Make sure there is plenty of room to pass. Trucks are long and take time to get around. If you're on one of our local two-lane highways, wait for a passing zone.

Don't linger when passing. Because the blind spots are so big on the sides, you want to get through them quickly. If you can't pass quickly, drop back.

Pass on the left whenever possible. A trucks' blind spot is much larger on the right.

The team of automotive professionals at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley want you to watch those blind spots – but feel free to sing in the shower all you want.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com




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