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Auto Repair & Tires Blog
Interesting fact: the motor oil in your car can be re-used over and over again.
That doesn't mean you don't need to have your oil changed on a regular basis. It means that once we drain the old oil from your vehicle, we collect it for recycling. Then, it's cleaned and re-used in other vehicles.
That's very good news for two main reasons:
1) Oil recycling conserves a natural resource.
All Mountain View Tire and Auto Service locations are Certified Oil Collection Centers. So, each time you allow us to change your oil, you're making a wise choice for the environment.
Does your business generate small amounts of used oil? Call our nearest location to see if we have the capacity to accept your oil.
Certified used oil centers cannot accept oil that's contaminated with other fluids, such as gasoline, antifreeze, solvents or water. We can, however, suggest collection options for you.
Do you know what your car’s “recirculation” button does? It’s okay if you don’t. Lots of people are stumped by it.
The feature is most helpful during the warmest months of the year. When the button is pushed or the recirculation option is chosen, the cooler, air-conditioned air already in your cabin will be re-used and cooled again by your vehicle’s AC system.
When the recirculation option is not in use, fresh air will continually be drawn in from outside of the vehicle. Of course, that outside air will be hot. That means your air conditioning system will need to work harder to keep cooling the warmer air. And when your AC is working harder, your car uses more fuel and you put more stress on your AC compressor.
So, to keep the air inside the cabin cooled as efficiently as possible, choose recirculation. If you drive a newer model, sensors in the vehicle may make the choice for you, switching between fresh and recirculated air when appropriate.
If you have questions or need help with your car's air conditioning system, pull into any Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location.
There’s no shortage of auto service providers in this area. With so many choices, though, how do you know which one to trust with your vehicle and your family’s safety?
The California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) provides valuable advice with an online resource called A Consumer’s Guide to Automotive Repair in California.
The content includes this promise: “By following these tips, you can keep your vehicle in good condition and ensure a good working relationship with your auto repair shop.”
Chris Mitsos agrees. He’s a Vice President of Mountain View Tire and Auto Service. “The information in this guide is spot on,” says Chris. “These are the exact procedures we teach our team to follow.”
Here are a few of the key takeaways.
Read your owner’s manual - You’ll find your vehicle’s maintenance schedule and learn what the warning lights mean. The manual can even provide valuable insight if you’re questioning whether a recommended repair is right for your vehicle or if it may invalidate your warranty.
Choose your repair shop before you need it - Have you just moved to the area? Are you a first-time driver? Or maybe you’re not happy with your current service provider. Start looking for your new auto care team now to avoid a frantic search when you need a quick repair. Visit several facilities near your home and workplace. Let each manager know you’re trying to find a new shop and you’d like to know “why should it be this one?”
Ask yourself these questions about each location:
Estimates, invoices and other paperwork - A written service or repair estimate must include the total cost of all parts and labor, along with an itemized list of the parts that will be required. If the shop needs to change any portion of your signed estimate, they must secure your permission first.
Once the job is done, you should receive an invoice that includes a list of all work performed, even if the part or repair was under warranty and you weren’t charged for it.
Guarantees are not required by law, but, if provided, the written document must include details on what is covered, how long the guarantee is in effect, any exclusions, whether the protection is prorated or transferable, and information on what you must do to make a claim under the guarantee.
BAR’s online repair guide also provides details on how to file a complaint against an auto repair facility. Visit the site here.
During Southern California summers your car’s air conditioner is just about as important as its steering wheel.
But when the cool air blowing from the vents is less than fresh, the smell can make taking the bus seem like a more pleasant alternative.
To treat the problem, we perform an AC deodorizer service using a product called BG Frigi-Fresh. It safely eliminates any foul odors by killing their sources - mold, mildew and fungi - and keeps your vehicle’s interior smelling fresh without the need to manually clean your AC system.
BG Frigi-Fresh is an EPA and USDA-accepted disinfectant, deodorant and sanitizer.
Does your vehicle have an automatic transmission? If so, it requires transmission fluid to operate properly. Also known as ATF, that fluid prevents the transmission from running too hot, especially when your vehicle is towing a trailer, climbing steep hills, or operating under any other severe conditions.
Like all automotive fluids, transmission fluid will break down and become less effective as it ages. When it gets too hot, the fluid will oxidize, turn brown and start to smell like burnt toast. Intense heat will also affect the fluid's ability to do its job. Varnish will form on the valve body and other internal parts, which will affect the transmission's functionality.
If the temperature climbs too high, the rubber seals within the transmission will harden and break, allowing leaks and a loss of pressure. And if the clutches burn out the only option is a complete overhaul, which can get pricey.
Your transmission is your vehicle's most complex system. Repairing or replacing it can be expensive. That's why it pays to take good care of it. So, have your transmission fluid and filter checked every 30,000 miles. The fluid may only need to be changed every 60,000 to 100,000 miles, though. If you put your car or truck through more stress than the average driver, have the transmission inspected and serviced more often to prevent it from overheating.
1) Do you know why tires are black? The rubber used to make them contains carbon black, a material that's also used to create the black pigment of mascara, as well as printing ink and toner.
2) Rubber isn't the only material used to make tires. In fact, there are more than 200 materials in each tire, including steel wire, cobalt, titanium, sulfur and zinc oxide, plus polyester, rayon and nylon.
3) About 290 million tires are discarded in the U.S. each year. Fortunately, 80% are recycled. Many old tires are re-purposed for use as an industrial fuel source, in asphalt or as a gravel substitute. Old tires can also be shredded and used as garden mulch and wastewater filters.
4) Tires are relatively large compared to your vehicle's other components, but only an area about the size of a postcard touches the road surface at any time.
5) You may already know that NHRA Top Fuel dragsters use a lot of fuel in the 4 or 5 seconds it takes them to drive a quarter-mile (about 23 gallons), but they also go through tires quickly. The giant "racing slicks" as they're called must be changed every four to six runs, which means they're only used for about 2 miles on the track.
6) Tires that are six years old or older are more likely to fail due to tread separation, sidewall bulges or other problems.
7) At 70 miles per hour, tires with 1/32" of tread will take 300 feet - or 18.3 car lengths - to stop on a wet road. That's almost twice as long as it takes new tires to stop under the same conditions.
If you don't keep an eye on your weight, you may develop some dangerous health problems down the road.
The same basic rule applies to the tires on your vehicle. If you don't keep an eye on their condition, they may put you at risk for a serious accident.
National Tire Safety Week 2020 is May 18th through the 24th. The event was created by the Rubber Manufacturers Association to remind drivers how important it is to have their tires checked for low tread, uneven wear, proper pressure, and any signs of damage.
If you don't think a quick tire inspection is worth your time at least once per month, think about how much time you'll spend in a repair shop, in a court room, and maybe even in a hospital if your tire blows out at 70 miles per hour.
Please use the occasion of National Tire Safety Week to pull into a Mountain View Tire and Auto Service location near you or schedule an online appointment. We'll be happy to check your tires for signs of potential problems. Then, stop in once a month and we'll check your tire pressure for you. It's one of the quickest and most effective steps you can take to maximize your safety on the road.
Shock absorbers and struts are essential to the safe, smooth operation of your vehicle.
Here are a few signs you may need new shocks and/or struts.
Dives - If you brake hard to stop quickly the front end of your car dives toward the ground.
Squats - When you accelerate quickly from a dead stop, the back end of the vehicle squats or dips, while the front end rises.
Bounces - After you hit a bump in the road your tires react by bouncing.
Instability - When traveling at higher speeds, your vehicle doesn’t feel stable. The body may move up and down or roll from side to side.
Tires - If your shocks or struts are worn you may notice that the tread on one or more of your tires is cupping or wearing irregularly in some other way.
Fluid - Do you see fluid on your driveway or garage floor near the spots where your tires normally are? If so, the seals on your shocks may be broken and leaking.
New shocks will make a drastic improvement in how your car responds to braking and steering, which is important for the safety of everyone in your vehicle. Stop in for an inspection or make an online appointment.
By the way, you should have your shocks and struts checked regularly. And since each vehicle and driver are different, the parts should be replaced as their condition warrants, never based on mileage alone.
Fuel additives are specially formulated to enhance the effectiveness of the gasoline you put in your vehicle. Some additives are already included in the gas you buy. Others are sold separately and poured directly into the fuel tank.
Many additives claim to increase your vehicle's fuel economy, but there's no solid proof that they deliver on that promise. Fuel additives do offer other benefits, though. They prevent the buildup of sludge and other deposits that can compromise engine performance. They also lubricate the working components of the engine to reduce wear and tear.
Before you use a fuel additive, talk with us about the types that are best for your specific engine and the age of your vehicle.
While additives can help, the best way to prolong the life of your vehicle is to follow your manufacturer's maintenance schedule.
Despite the spread of the coronavirus, you still need to drive at least occasionally. That means your vehicle needs to be serviced or repaired now and then. Even the U.S. government recognizes that, which is why they consider ours an essential business.
Here’s an abridged version of the official word:
“The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has developed an Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce advisory list…to [ensure] continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.”
Among those on the essential workers list: “Employees who repair and maintain vehicles...”
We mention that for two reasons:
1) You have “official permission” to venture out if your vehicle needs to be repaired or serviced.
Here are a few examples.
Two Ways Skipping Oil Changes Can Cost You
Motor oil contains detergents that clean your engine. When the miles add up, those detergents break down, allowing carbon and sludge to accumulate. As a result, a part known as the IVT control solenoid can become plugged. Replacing it costs a lot more than an oil change.
But mileage isn’t the only concern. If too much time passes between oil changes, acids can build up in the oil, which can lead to even more serious engine damage. So, even if you only drive your vehicle a few hundred miles per month, have the oil changed at least once per year.
A Quick Way to Ruin a Tire
Think how you’d feel wearing tight pants on a hot summer day. The word “chaffing” might come to mind. Your tire experiences the same sort of damage if you drive on it too long while it’s underinflated.
Because the air pressure isn’t substantial enough to push the tire outward, the sidewall folds in on itself, which creates more heat and friction than usual. That causes the tire to start rubbing itself away. Evidence of the damage will show up on the inside of the tire as handfuls of rubber pellets or dust.
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