Video Blog

 

The Vivacious Vernal Vehicle (Preparing Vehicle for Spring)

May 30, 2021

Most of us look forward to spring because the days are longer, the weather's warmer and we can finally get our vehicles into warm weather mode.  Here are a few things that will breathe fresh energy into anyone's car, SUV, truck or van.

First thing is a good cleaning, especially underneath. If you live where salt and brine are used on the roads, it's important to get that off.  One thing to note… if you hose off your undercarriage, be careful not to get your spark plugs/wires wet.  You could notice your vehicle running rough plus the Check Engine light may come on. It usually dries out quickly, but if the engine light stays on for more than a couple of days, have your service facility check it out.

Next, replace your windshield wipers.  They've taken a beating through the winter. New ones will have fresh rubber and you'll see clearly (and safely) out your windshield again.

Have your brakes inspected.  That salt doesn't do your brake's metal components any good.  Have a technician make sure your pads and rotors are clean and properly lubricated so they can stop you when you ask them to.

Speaking of wheels, it's a good time to have your tires checked, too.  Road debris and potholes can take a toll on tread and sidewalls. It may also be a good idea to have a technician check your alignment since you likely have hit something pretty hard on a patch of rough road at some time during the winter.

Make sure your tire pressure is appropriate for the rising temperatures. As the outside air warms up, your tire pressure climbs without you adding any air.  Make sure it's what the manufacturer recommends.

Finally, treat your vehicle's interior to a thorough refresh.  Those floor mats and carpets may be white with salt; clean 'em up.  Get rid of wrappers, drink lids, empty water bottles and anything else that's fallen down.  And if you need to, have your upholstery cleaned so it looks and smells new. A clean exterior is nice, but since you spend your time inside your vehicle, it'll feel even better when your cabin is sparkling fresh.


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



A Real "Pane" (Window Maintenance and Repair)

May 23, 2021

It's pretty frustrating when your driver's window won't work.  You can't get your food at the drive-thru without opening the door, have a tough time using the ATM from your vehicle, can't have that fresh breeze blowing through your hair as you listen to your favorite road tunes.

Plus, there's a safety factor.  Your windows provide an escape route in case you need to get out and the doors won't work.  Let's take a look at what's going on when your window won't operate.

Most vehicles these days have power windows.  They have an electric motor in each power window and sometimes those fail.  They often give you a warning that they're on their last legs by making a noise or hesitating, so if you get a sign like that, have a technician check it out. Loss of power can also be due to a blown fuse, a bad switch or faulty wiring.

All windows have something called a regulator that moves the glass up and down.  They have a lot of moving parts in them which can break, become bent, rust or get out of alignment. The glass moves along a window track guide.  Sometimes if the glass gets out of the track, it won't move up and down the way it's designed to do.

When you take your vehicle over to a repair facility, a technician can pinpoint the cause of your malfunctioning window.  Often it involves having to remove the door panel to gain access to the components inside.  But when everything's working right, you'll be able to throw that annoying inconvenience right out the window.

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



Greeted by a Screech (Loud Noise when Starting Vehicle)

May 16, 2021

No one likes to be greeted in the morning by having someone screech at you.  The same goes for a loud, high-pitched noise your vehicle greets you with every time you start the engine.  If you're wondering if that's normal, no, it isn't.  And it is worth getting checked out.  The good news is that it might be nothing serious.  Then again, it may be.

The first things to suspect any time you hear a high-pitched sound coming from the engine are belts.  They have tension on them and they're trying to turn lots of different pulleys, pumps and other equipment the engine needs to work properly.  The noise could come from the belts starting to wear out and dry out. If one of those belts breaks at an inopportune time, not only can it strand you somewhere, the damage to the engine could be very expensive to fix.

Other things that will cause a high-pitched sound are the pulleys and tensioners.  The tensioners keep the right amount of pressure on the belts and some pulleys contain rubber that dampens engine vibrations.  The rubber in the pulleys can crack or deform with age, which prevents them from working correctly and may cause your belts to wear out.

A technician will check to see if the belts are worn or cracked.  He or she will also check the tension on the belts, the condition of the pulleys and whether all  components are aligned the way they should be.

Sometimes, the noise is nothing major to worry about, but it's still worthwhile to rule out any problems that have cropped up now or may appear in the future.  You'll have a properly running vehicle that sounds like its engineers intended… quiet and smooth.


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



I Want a New Vehicle. Or Do I? (Vehicle Maintenance Payoffs)

May 09, 2021

Spring is a peak season for vehicle sales; companies aggressively market new models and offer all sorts of incentives.  So you may be tempted to buy a shiny new beauty.  But should you?

If you've regularly maintained the vehicle you're driving now, you probably don't NEED a new one.  Even if your current one needs some repairs, how do those costs compare to what you'd spend on a new vehicle?

A brand new vehicle starts to depreciate the second you drive it off the lot. How much? Experts say you'll lose half of its value during the first 5 years of owning a new vehicle. So if you pay $30,000 for a new one, you'll lose $15,000 in 5 years.  That's a lot.

If you have paid off your current vehicle, think of having to start making car payments again.  Let's say your new payment would be $350 a month.  Bet you can think of a lot of things you can buy with an extra $350 a month.

Many considering a new vehicle don't factor how much their insurance and license tag fees will increase.  You may save yourself hundreds of dollars in insurance and license tag fees every year if you keep your old vehicle.

That gets us back to the original question.  Do you need a new vehicle? Reliability and durability of most models have made dramatic improvements in the last couple of decades.  It's not unusual for a vehicle to reliably reach the 200,000 mile/325,000 km mark these days.  That's due to new engineering in powertrains, corrosion protection and lubricants. 

The best bet to keeping a vehicle on the road longer is scheduled, regular maintenance and inspection.  Replacing parts before they fail is often cheaper than waiting till they do fail; frequently that prevents a damaging domino effect that affects other systems in the vehicle. Finding a service facility you can trust and developing a relationship with that facility ensures your scheduled service and maintenance will be done correctly, minimizing breakdowns. 

Sure, at some point you may find you need a big repair that will cost more than your vehicle is worth, or rust will destroy vital components. But it's wise to use reason rather than emotion when you're making any decision about your vehicle, and sticking with your current one could be the most sensible choice.


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



Do you have a Clue (Get the Most Out of a Service Visit)

May 02, 2021

When you head to the doctor, you probably have it in your mind what you're going to say about why you don't feel good.  That way your doctor can use that information to diagnose your problem. You might want to think of that same approach when you take your vehicle in for a repair.

Experts say what will help the service advisor most is for you to bring in some well-organized descriptions about your vehicle's issues.  You might even want to write them down so you don't forget.  Is there an unusual smell?  What does it smell like?  Does the problem happen first thing after starting out? If there's an odd sound you hear, is it dependent on speed?  Does it change when you turn a corner?  

Keep your expectations realistic.  Some conditions may take a long time to diagnose and repair.  If you go thinking you'll be in and out in no time, you might be disappointed when you're told there are other customers ahead of you and you may have to come back tomorrow.  If you can make alternate plans to have someone pick you up and take you back when the vehicle is finished, that way you won't feel like you've wasted your time. 

Most importantly, be available for any communication from the service advisor.  If they have your cell phone and they have a question or need an approval for a repair, the sooner they reach you, the sooner things can move forward. 

The service facility wants your experience with them to be good just as you do.  With a little help from you, they'll get your vehicle back on the road and you'll have a smile on your face.

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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