We're going to be talking about the ethics of automotive repair. It seems like news outlets really like hit-and-run reporting; they hit everyone from groceries stores to retail to physicians. And the Lancaster automotive service and repair industry hasn't been given a pass either.
Unfortunately, every profession in Lancaster has some bad actors that hurt the reputation of everyone else. On the automotive side, industry associations and professional licensing organizations are very committed to high ethical standards.
Yet some people remain uncomfortable with Lancaster automotive service and repair. It may start with the fact that our vehicles are a big investment and we rely on them for so much in our lives. That alone guarantees our attention. And how well we understand the recommendations really impacts our comfort level.
If we understand what's recommended and the benefits of taking care of the work – and the pitfalls of putting it off – we'll have more trust in the recommendation. So communication is key. It's like going to the doctor; If she's using medical jargon and takes a lot of basic medical knowledge for granted, we have a hard time following her train of thought. It can be like that with your Lancaster service advisor too. He's so familiar with all things automotive, he may forget you don't know a PCV from an EGT.
If you don't understand what your doctor's talking about: ask some questions. If you don't understand what your Lancaster automotive advisor's talking about: ask some questions.
Let's go back to those ethical standards; when we hear a repair recommendation, we always ask ourselves, "Is this really necessary?" Well, here's the industry standard:
If a technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:
The part no longer performs its intended purpose
The part does not meet a design specification
The part is missing
For example, it you take your car in for a grinding noise when you step on the brakes, you may just think you need new brake pads. After the inspection, the technician at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley says that you have a cracked rotor and need to replace it.
If you tried to get him to simply put new pads on, he would say that if you didn't want to replace the rotor; The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley would ethically have to refuse the repair.
To just put pads on a cracked rotor would have been very wrong. The brakes could've failed at anytime and needed to be repaired – not just have a band-aid slapped on them.
Now, looking at something not so serious, the technician may suggest repair or replacement if:
The part is close to the end of its useful life – just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
To address a customer need or request – like for better ride or increased performance
To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer
Based on the technician's informed experience
Of course, the technician has the burden of making ethical recommendations and properly educating their customers. For the customer, if you are uncomfortable with a recommendation, ask some questions. More information is always a good thing.
If you've ever been driving around Lancaster and had a headlamp go out, you've probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won't have the same brightness, which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.
To have your headlights inspected, visit us at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. We're at 226 West Avenue I in Lancaster, California 93534. Or give us a call at 661-949-8484.
Experts at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It's easy to remember if you do it when Daylight Saving Time changes in the fall. That way you'll have bright headlamps for those long California winter nights.
There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can't believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and gives a very white light that's a lot like daylight.
You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they'll last for the life of your car. If you want your friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint - no one needs to know.
Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can't react to what you can't see. You need headlamps that'll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. Your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and to keep your lights from shining off into oncoming traffic.
You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That's because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Lancaster service centers offer a service to restore the lens that's a lot cheaper.
You can't drive if you can't see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don't forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.
Buying the Right Tires and Wheels in Lancaster, California
Jul 17, 2012
Everyone in Lancaster, California eventually replaces their tires, whether it's because they're worn out or they're just looking for something different. There are so many great tire choices in Lancaster, it can be difficult to sort them out. Let's group the broad spectrum into several categories that will help in the selection process.
One category is often referred to as "summer tires". Summer tires are designed to be driven on the road when temperatures are generally above 45 degrees F (7 degrees C). Their tread design is optimized for traction on dry roads around California and they're also able to effectively displace water on rainy roads.
So if you live where its summer all year round, these tires will work well for you. If you like maximum performance in warm weather, but still live where it gets cold and snowy, you'll want to change your summer tires for winter tires as the weather starts to change.
There's a range of tires within the winter tire category. If you live where there's a lot of snow and ice, look for the mountain and snowflake icon that signifies a severe snow rating. If you have milder winters and still want a performance component, they make a winter tire for you as well.
For many people, an all-season tire is the answer. You will give up some of the performance at the extreme ends of the summer tire/ winter tire spectrum, but you will find a long wearing tire that gives both good highway performance and winter traction on our Lancaster, California, roads.
Within the all-season category, there are many choices that your tire advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can help you evaluate.
Suspension Service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster
Jul 12, 2012
During an inspection at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, your friendly and knowledgeable automotive service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts.
Here's a quick rundown of suspension system components:
There are the springs which hold the weight of your vehicle. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are heavy duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort.
You've probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your vehicle dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you've stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it's definitely time to replace them at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for a suspension inspection. Same applies if you've been in an accident that involved one of your wheels. If your vehicle suspension actually fails, it could lead to a serious accident, so don't put it off.
When you replace your shocks, it's usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. That'll give you more even handling. Talk with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley because you don't want a big difference between the performance of your shocks from wheel to wheel, and replacing all may be the safest bet.
There are different grades of shocks and struts. You always want to use a replacement shock or strut that equals the one that came as original equipment when your vehicle was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of Lancaster people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.
For example, if you want increased handling performance, your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut specially designed for improved handling. If you haul heavy loads or trailers in Lancaster, we can recommend some heavy duty shock absorbers.
Hello Lancaster resident! You would never like to drink a glass of mud, right? Well, your vehicle feels the same way. It needs a steady supply of clean fuel in order to run well and deliver good fuel economy. The fuel filter's job is to clean dirt and rust out of the fuel before it gets to your engine. A clogged fuel filter can actually choke off the engine so that it won't start or run. Some fuel filters have a bypass valve that allows fuel to go around the clogged filter so your vehicle will still run. But, then the contaminated fuel can clog your fuel injectors and allow particles into your engine.
A vehicle with a partially clogged fuel filter might run well around Lancaster, but sputter and strain on the because it's starving for gas. There are two things that affect how often you need to replace the filter. They are: where you drive in California and the gas you buy. If you drive a lot on dirt or gravel roads in rural California, your fuel filter will have a harder time keeping the fuel clean.
And, we hate to say it, but buying the cheapest gas from bargain stations sometimes means dirtier fuel that'll clog the filter sooner. Major brands tend to be cleaner and certainly have higher levels of detergent additives.
Of course, manufacturers recommend intervals for changing the fuel filter. But, it's a little more complicated than that for Lancaster residents. Some manufacturers stopped listing recommended intervals for fuel filter replacement or have very long intervals like every five years or 80,000 miles (130,000 kilometers). So you may need to look to other sources for recommendations. Vehicles older than six or seven years are especially at risk because they have had time for dirt and rust to build up in the fuel tank. A clean fuel filter keeps the gas flowing. Even a partially clogged filter puts added strain on the vehicle fuel pump. That can shorten its life and result in repair.
As is often the case, spending a little money now on something as inexpensive as a fuel filter can save money for Lancaster residents down the road by improving and preventing repairs. At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, we can check your fuel filter. It is better than fixing a burned-out vehicle fuel pump or ruined fuel injectors.