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.
Smooth Shifting in Lancaster, California: Transmission Service
May 20, 2010
So you have some exciting plans for the weekend. You're going to take some of your friends out on the boat for some water skiing. Of course, you've gotten the boat all ready. And you haven't forgotten about your tow vehicle. You've gassed it up and even vacuumed it out. However, there is something even more important than the cleanliness of the interior: you want to make sure that your vehicle maintenance is up to date.
Think about it – heavy traffic on the way out of Lancaster. There's hilly terrain as you get to the lake. Some dirt roads – and it's going to be pretty hot in California this weekend. And all the time you'll be towing around a lot of extra weight. That all adds up a lot of severe strain on your engine, brakes and transmission.
Let's just consider the transmission. It's going to be working overtime, spending more time in lower gears. The internal transmission temperature is going to be much higher than normal. A fun little blast to the local California lake for you is really severe duty for your transmission.
It's important to have enough transmission fluid. If it runs low, the transmission will run hotter and won't have the protection it needs to cope with the added stress of towing. Transmission fluid breaks down and gets dirty over time. Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, it's important for Lancaster drivers to have it serviced by automotive professionals like the team at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley to make sure it runs efficiently.
An automatic transmission contains a maze of passages through which the fluid must pass to keep it shifting smoothly. Lancaster drivers who neglect regularly scheduled transmission service risk the passages clogging up and starting to have problems.
Those who neglect their transmission for too long will eventually experience transmission failure. You really don't want to pay for a major transmission repair.
This reminds us of how much of our driving around Lancaster, California, is under severe conditions. Towing or hauling a big load is obvious, but there are lots of other things that constitute severe driving conditions — things like short trips and driving in very hot or very cold California weather. Dusty roads and city driving around Lancaster add to the strain. Basically, any driving that's not at highway speeds or under ideal conditions can be considered severe conditions.
While you have your vehicle in, ask for a trip inspection. Your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will check your belts and hoses and let you know if your brakes are in good shape.
We live in a disposable society. Everything from elaborate packaging to our clothing. Even cell phones are disposable. When replacement is cheaper than repair, the term "built to last" goes by the wayside. An exception is our vehicles. They're still a very big investment and Lancaster drivers want to make them last as long as possible. We also want to make keeping them running as cheap as possible. When talking vehicles, it's all about preventive maintenance. There is an old saying that says, "A stitch in time saves nine," and that is really true when it comes to taking care of your vehicle. A great example is coolant service in Lancaster.
Your coolant not only protects your engine from overheating and freezing, it must also protect cooling system components from corrosion. Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. That's why you need to have your cooling system serviced on a regular schedule.
The same is true for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. And of course, Lancaster vehicle owners shouldn't forget those oil changes right on schedule. Skipping even one change can start the build up of harmful oil sludge.
Our engines are full of gaskets and seals. Fresh fluids condition those gaskets and seals to keep them from drying out and leaking. Automotive fluids contain additives that help clean and lubricate the various systems they protect. Over time, the additives are used up and the fluid just does not provide the protection it did when it was fresh. And don't forget the mechanical systems. Changing brake pads before they are worn to the point that they cause damage to rotors is a great way to keep your operating costs down.
Replacing serpentine belts and timing belts on schedule is much cheaper for Lancaster drivers than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure. Also, air filters, fuel filters, PCV valves and batteries are all important. Regular wheel alignments, tire rotation and balancing will make your tires last longer. And don't forget to replace your shocks and struts when they wear out. Your fuel system needs regular cleaning to keep running well, prevent mechanical damage and improve fuel economy.
Now this is a lot to remember for Lancaster drivers - too much, really. But it is your Lancaster automotive technician's job to keep on top of this stuff. At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley we can tell you what your manufacturer recommends and help you with a plan to take care of it. We can advise you about which maintenance schedule you should use - the regular schedule or the severe service schedule - depending on the kind of driving you do. We also know the right fluids for your vehicle and may even suggest higher mileage formulations for your older vehicle.
Bottom line - take care of this stuff on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent damage and maintain your warranty coverage.
Of course, you want your vehicle to look as good as it runs. Regular washing will prevent rust and protect your finish. Take advantage of cleaners, waxes and protectants for your interior and tires. Your vehicle will look great and you'll be proud to drive it longer.
Most of us in Lancaster can't afford to throw away our car when it breaks down. By budgeting for regular preventive maintenance, we can prevent many inconvenient - and expensive - problems down the road, and can keep driving "old faithful" for years to come.
Some of us Lancaster drivers just love tires. All those little rubber hairs on new tires and the smell is wonderful. We live in a great time for tires. No matter how you drive around California, where you want to go or the look you're after; there is a tire for you.
The same is true about wheels. The hardest part is choosing from the thousands of wheels available at California tire shops.
The team at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can help you get some things in mind before you make a purchase. Let's start with function and think about how you drive.
For example, maybe you have a large SUV but you don't drive off-road around California, so an off-road tread isn't important. Also, because you are not out bouncing over rocks in the California backcountry, you don't need a high profile tire to protect your rims. So that means you can probably go with the low-wide look.
If you have a winter season with rain and snow or if you find you need better ice and snow performance, they make great, high-performance snow tires that won't make it look like you are driving a tractor.
There really are a lot of options for any given vehicle. Lancaster drivers will find it very helpful to have a discussion like this with their Lancaster tire pro or the tire experts at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley when they need new tires. You can find the best solutions for your driving needs and to make improvements in ride or handling.
Picking a wheel that is the same size as what you are now running on is important and pretty simple. But, it gets trickier if you want to upsize. Just get some help when you go bigger. All that tire and wheel still needs to fit in the available space. You do not want your tires to rub when you turn or hit a bump. Lancaster drivers also need to make sure their brakes and suspension bits will fit with their wheel of choice. It doesn't matter how great your car looks if it's not drivable.
Taller, wider wheels and tires probably weigh more than your stock shoes. And it's "unsprung" weight that has a big impact on brake performance. The upsized shoes increase rotational inertia; if you go too big you may need to upgrade your brakes to compensate.
Another possible problem is an inaccurate speedometer. This happens because the number of rotations can change with the new wheels. Fortunately, speedometers and odometers are all controlled by the engine computer; so they need to get reprogrammed at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley to compensate for the bigger tires.
No matter what you are after: low cost, long life, high performance, traction or stunning good looks, your wheel and tire professional at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, California, can help identify your needs and give you a custom fit. With all the options available, you don't have to compromise. There is a tire out there with your name on it!