Don't want us to touch your steering wheel? You may be able to drive your car into the service bay yourself. Click here for details.
Auto Repair & Tires Blog
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.
Do other members of your family drive your car?
Do you let a friend borrow your vehicle now and then?
Do you share carpooling duties a few times each week?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, your car could be full of germs from different sources.
Oh, and don’t forget about the bacteria and other microscopic chums that even you spread throughout your vehicle!
All of this means that you have a good reason to clean your car’s interior at least once a day.
In the era of coronavirus and COVID-19, you may already be vigilant about wiping down counters and phones at home and work, but the passenger cabin of your car can also be a breeding ground for contagious trouble.
In fact, a study by CarRentals.com found that steering wheels are four times germier than a public toilet seat! If you eat in your car, that tidbit might be especially disturbing.
Other hot spots include the gear shift, parking brake and door handles, window cranks, seat belt buckles, and all those buttons and knobs on the dashboard.
Stay away, though, from harsher cleaning chemicals, like bleach and hydrogen peroxide, as well as the ammonia that’s found in many glass cleaners. They can damage vinyl surfaces and upholstery.
Yes, it’s an effort, but a little extra attention each day can help to keep you, your family and your friends healthier now and down the road.
As an essential business, all Mountain View Tire and Auto Service locations are open to continue serving you and your loved ones throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
You need your vehicle to get to work, to get food for your family, to get to the doctor’s office. And if that vehicle requires emergency service or even some type of protective maintenance like an oil change, you can count on us to help. (See how putting off required vehicle service can cost you money.)
If you'd don't want anyone else to touch your steering wheel, you may be able to drive into one of our service bays yourself. (For the safety of our customers and employees, we reserve the right to limit that offer.) If we need to test drive your vehicle after repairing it, we will wipe down the surfaces we touched as thoroughly as possible.
We have reduced our hours slightly. Temporarily, we're open Monday through Saturday 8am to 5pm. Our Sunday hours will stay the same: 8am to 4pm. (Our Murrieta store at 41590 Date Street and our Fontana store at 17040 South Highland Avenue are still closed on Sundays.)
Please know that we’re wiping down surfaces more than usual, replacing handshakes with friendly waves, and asking our team members to stay home if they notice any symptoms.
And while you’re here, we urge you to use our hand sanitizer, push open doors with your forearm, and keep a little distance between yourself and everyone else in the room. That’s just safe behavior these days.
Thank you in advance for your help in shutting down coronavirus. And thank you for allowing us to serve you. We appreciate that opportunity and your trust.
The bad news: adding a teenage driver to your auto insurance policy will raise your premiums.
The good news: there are steps you and your young driver can take to lower not only the risk of accidents, but the cost of car insurance.
Here are some ideas from Insurance.com.
Take a defensive driving course - Teenagers cost more to insure because they’re more likely to have accidents. If your teen makes the formal effort of taking additional driver’s training, he statistically becomes less of a risk. Many insurance companies will reduce your premium when you pass an approved defensive driving course.
Earn the good student discount - With insurance rates, it all boils down to the stats and, according to the numbers, teens who maintain a B average or better in school are less likely to make a claim. So, if your young driver needs more encouragement to hit the books, tell her about the average 10% discount she might enjoy on car insurance with good grades. Check with your provider for more details.
Drive a slower, safer vehicle - It may not be as sexy as a new sports car, but an older sedan will likely prove to be a safer ride for your teen. As a result, it will cost less to insure.
According to Insurance.com, adding a 16-year-old male driver to your auto policy will bump your premiums by 160%. Adding a female of the same age will cost 125% more. So, anything you can do to reduce your financial liability will likely be worth the effort.
You're sitting in traffic when you notice your car's temperature gauge. The needle is moving to the right, which means your engine is getting hotter.
Vehicles typically overheat in hot weather or while in stop-and-go traffic for long periods, but your engine can run hot anywhere and any time of the year if your coolant level is low or because of electrical problems or a faulty thermostat. Knowing how to react properly to overheating can help you avoid expensive repairs and may even save your engine.
A Few Tips
1) When your air conditioning is on and your car begins to overheat, roll down the windows and turn off the A.C. You'll immediately reduce the load on your engine and help it to cool.
2) If you're stuck in traffic, put your transmission into neutral or park and gently rev the engine. That will force more water and air through the cooling system and help some of the engine heat to dissipate.
3) Turn on your heater and fan to blow heat away from the engine. It may make you a bit uncomfortable, but it will protect your engine.
4) If the engine starts to boil over, pull off the road as soon as it's safe to do so. Then, shut down the vehicle.
5) Never open the hood if you see steam. Let your car cool down for at least 30 minutes before attempting any work under the hood. Use a cloth when removing the radiator cap. And remember that hot coolant is highly pressurized. If you open the radiator cap too soon, fluid will spray out, putting you and others at risk for serious burns.
6) Finally, never add cold water or coolant to a hot engine; it can crack the engine block.
It's important to see us as quickly as possible so we can determine the cause of the overheating and correct the problem. Make an online appointment or visit any of the Mountain View locations in Southern California.
Many people aren't aware of their warranty's expiration date, or how much mileage they can have on their vehicle before the warranty becomes null and void - until it's too late. Here are a few smart tips.
Read, read, read. We can't stress this enough: read your warranty. It usually comes with your owner's manual, which can be a daunting collection of information itself. But take the time to understand at least the basics of your warranty. It includes important information, such as the mileage expiration, the ins and outs of parts coverage, and the recommended service intervals. If you've misplaced your vehicle warranty, check for a copy online.
Stay current with scheduled maintenance. Don't put off regular service, such as oil changes, radiator flushes, air filter replacements, tire pressure checks and others. Most warranties require that you provide evidence of regular upkeep when making a claim, so keep your receipts, too.
Don't be afraid to complain. All aftermarket or recycled parts should be covered under warranties, and they're a common reason why some warranties are initially denied. But under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, it's illegal for companies to deny warranties on that basis, unless the part was defective and caused additional problems in the vehicle.
If the dealership where you bought your vehicle is denying your warranty claim and you know that you meet the coverage requirements (or even if you aren't sure), call the customer service number listed on your warranty.
Disc brakes consist of a disc brake rotor - which is attached to the wheel - and a caliper, which holds the disc brake pads. Hydraulic pressure from the master cylinder under the hood causes the caliper piston to clamp the disc brake rotor between the disc brake pads. That creates friction between the pads and rotor causing your car to slow down or stop.
Drum brake systems are made up of a brake drum attached to the wheel, a wheel cylinder, brake shoes, and brake return springs. Hydraulic pressure from the master cylinder causes the wheel cylinder to press the brake shoes against the brake drum. That creates friction between the shoes and drum to slow or stop your car.
Vehicles also have a secondary braking system known as the emergency brake or parking brake. Emergency brakes are independent of the service brakes, and are not powered by hydraulics. They use cables to mechanically apply the brakes (usually the rear brake).
There are a few different types of emergency brakes, too, including a stick lever located between the driver and passenger seats; a pedal located to the left of the floor pedals; or a push button or handle located somewhere near the steering column. Emergency brakes are most often used as a parking brake to keep the vehicle stationary while parked. And, yes, they can also be used in emergency situations if the service brakes fail.
The computer-controlled anti-lock braking system (ABS) is an important safety feature on most newer vehicles. When brakes are applied suddenly, ABS prevents the wheels from locking up and the tires from skidding. The system monitors the speed of each wheel and automatically pulses the brake pressure on and off rapidly on any wheels that are skidding. That's helpful when driving on wet and slippery roads. ABS works with the service brakes to decrease stopping distance and increase control and stability of the vehicle during hard braking.
When performing a wheel alignment, we use sensitive computerized equipment to adjust the angles of the wheels so they're perfectly parallel to each other and precisely perpendicular to the ground. The end result is a vehicle that rolls down the road easier and uses fuel more efficiently. Proper wheel alignment also will help suspension parts last longer.
Aligning the wheels includes measuring and, if necessary, correcting three types of angles:
Imperfections, blemishes in the rubber, and damage to a tire or rim can throw a wheel "out of balance." That means that one section of the tire or rim is heavier. When that's the case, the tire can wobble or even hop as it rolls down the road. That effect often can be heard, as well as felt in the steering wheel.
To balance a tire, we use computerized equipment that identifies where wheel weights should be applied to the rim. Those weights are used to counter-balance any heavy spots.
Wheel weights can come off when tires make hard contact with a curb or pothole, so it is possible for wheels to fall out of balance at any time. That's why it makes sense to have the balance checked after a hard impact. Also, have your wheels balanced any time your tires are repaired or rotated.
We'll be happy to take care of your wheel alignments and balancing. Find your Mountain View location here.
Is there a new driver in your family? Or maybe you've been behind the wheel for years but would like to feel safer on the road. If so, consider sharing these tips and applying them yourself.
1) Signal before you stop. You already know to use your turn signal before turning or changing lanes, but many people don’t know to signal well before they apply their brakes. A turn signal communicates your intentions to other drivers. When the driver behind you sees your turn signal before your brake lights, he won’t have to guess why you’re stopping or if you’re slowing down to steer clear of road debris that he, too, will need to avoid.
Also, signaling a few seconds before changing lanes gives other drivers enough time to react to your lane change and, if necessary, sound their horn to warn you that they’re nearby.
2) Stay right. Being forced to follow slower drivers who linger in the left lane is one of the most frustrating aspects of driving. California law states, “To drive faster, pass, or turn left, use the left lane. When you choose to drive slowly or enter or turn off the road, use the right lane.”
3) Don't tailgate. It can be stressful for the driver in front of you if you’re following her car too closely. It also puts both of you at risk for a dangerous and/or expensive accident. And if you’re the driver who was tailgating, you will be held responsible for all damages.
4) Keep it quiet. When backing out of a parking space blindly, turn off any music in your vehicle. You need to be able to hear the warnings of car horns and pedestrian voices. You should also keep your music volume low while driving through parking lots, school zones, busy intersections and in any other situation when hearing well will keep you and others safer.
5) Be patient. Don't pull into traffic if doing so will make oncoming drivers apply their brakes to accommodate you. Waiting your turn will lower your risk of an accident and keep traffic flowing. It may keep your fellow drivers from expressing road rage in your direction, too.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests vehicles to determine their crashworthiness - how well they protect occupants in a crash - and crash avoidance - how well the vehicle’s technology helps you avoid a crash or protects you and your passengers from injury.
The IIHS website features a Vehicle Ratings section that gives each new model a rating in the following categories:
• Side impact test results
Accessing the information is easy. Just visit www.iihs.org/ratings/ and enter the make and model of the vehicle you’re considering. (Once you start typing, a drop-down menu will populate, making it easy to find a specific car, truck or SUV.)
And if you're considering a pre-owned vehicle, drive it to the nearest Mountain View Tire location. We'll be happy to inspect it before you buy it.
© 2020 Mountain View Tire & Auto Service