Costa Mesa Auto Service Center

Servicing Costa Mesa, and all of Orange County since 1999

Costa Mesa Auto Service Center - Servicing Costa Mesa, and all of Orange County since 1999

Make Your Battery Last

Today’s report from Costa Mesa Auto Service Center is on car batteries, why they die and what we can do to lengthen their life. Most of us have had a dead battery at one time or another. In fact, it would be very unusual if you hadn’t. You may be surprised to learn that only 30 percent of COSTA MESA vehicle batteries last for 48 months.

Now that’s an average. How long a battery lasts depends on many factors. You may not know that one of the biggest factors is the temperature where you live and drive around COSTA MESA. You might suppose that cold weather was harder on batteries because it takes more power to crank a cold engine, but the opposite is actually true.

For more information on your battery, please visit us:
Costa Mesa Auto Service Center
1749 Anaheim Avenue
COSTA MESA, CA 92627
949.645.7878

Batteries in very cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months as opposed to 30 months in very warm climates. The reason is simple: batteries are chemically more active when they’re hot than when they’re cold.

A car battery will actually start to discharge on its own within 24 hours in hot weather. It takes several days in cold weather. When batteries are left too long in a state of partial discharge, the discharged portion of the battery plates actually, for the lack of a better word, ‘die’. Recharging the battery will not restore the dead part of the battery plate.

One of the big problems for the way most of us drive in the COSTA MESA area, is that our batteries are often partially discharged. The biggest job the battery does is to start the car. It takes some time for the alternator to recharge the battery after starting. If you’re driving short distances, especially if there are several starts and stops, your battery may not fully recharge.

Another issue is that vehicles are coming equipped with more and more electricity hungry accessories like navigation systems, DVD players, CD and MP3 players, heated seats, heated steering wheels and so on. And we often plug in cell phones, computers and other gadgets. Combine that with short trips and it’s no wonder that our batteries are partially discharged.

Experts say we can extend our battery life by topping off the charge periodically using a good quality battery charger. You may’ve heard these chargers referred to as ‘trickle chargers’. They’re attached to the battery and plugged into a wall outlet to slowly bring the battery up to full charge.

Now there’s some science involved with how fast a battery should be recharged. If you buy a cheap manual charger, you’ll have to tend it. Frankly a learning curve on how to do it right and requires much attention. A computer controlled charger – or smart charger – monitors the process and determines the appropriate rate of charge. And it even stops charging when it’s fully charged. It costs more than the manual charger, but the automatic model is worth it.

The suggestion is to charge once a month in warm weather and once every three months in cold weather.

Another thing to avoid is deeply discharging your battery. Something like running the headlights and stereo with the engine turned off. That’ll take months off the battery life every time you do it.

Now, as we discussed, heat is hard on a battery. A dirty, greasy battery holds more heat. You can wipe off excess dirt with a paper towel or ask your service advisor at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center to clean it for you. Costa Mesa Auto Service Center can even test your battery and tell you if it’s time to replace it.

Batteries are fairly expensive, so taking a few steps to make them last longer is well worth it. Of course, the battery will eventually need to be replaced. Always make sure you get a new battery that meets the factory specifications for your vehicle. If you feel you need more battery capacity than what came with your vehicle, talk with your service advisor at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center about appropriate upgrades.

If you have a dead battery, be careful to inspect it before you jump start it. If the case is bulging, cracked or leaking, do not jump start it. Damaged batteries can explode or catch fire. And deeply discharged batteries can freeze. Do not jump start a frozen battery.

The Right Automotive Fluids For Irvine Drivers

What grade of oil should I use?

All those automotive fluids can be confusing for Irvine motorists. Recent years have brought new grades of engine oil, types of transmission fluid, coolant, and brake fluid. The right fluid protects your vehicle and helps it perform at its best. The wrong fluid won’t work as well for COSTA MESA car owners and could even cause damage.

In addition to new grades of engine oil, many sedans now leave the factory with synthetic oil. Irvine car owners should always use the recommended grade and type of oil in their engine.

All coolant, also called antifreeze, used to be green. Now there are several other colors of coolant sold at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA. Each type is designed to protect the cooling system components that are particular to your vehicle. The wrong stuff can void your sedan cooling system warranty and could even cause engine damage.

Most passenger vehicles on COSTA MESA roads today use either DOT 3, DOT 4 or DOT 5 brake fluid. Your sedan power brake system is specifically designed to use ONE of these types – you need the right one. Higher numbers do not necessarily mean a higher, upgraded fluid.

Now, the vital thing is knowing that your vehicle requires specific grades and types of fluids and that using the right fluids is good and using the wrong ones is bad. Once you’ve got that down, it’s easy to remember to check with your considerate Costa Mesa Auto Service Center technician or sedan owner’s manual to find out which automotive fluids to use.

Give us a call

Costa Mesa Auto Service Center
949.645.7878
1749 Anaheim Avenue
COSTA MESA, CA 92627

Serpentine Belt Service At Costa Mesa Auto Service Center In COSTA MESA

If you’ve ever heard a squealing sound under your sedan hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems in your sedan. Let’s go over them.

First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in COSTA MESA.

Serpentine Belt Service At Costa Mesa Auto Service Center In COSTA MESAMore importantly, the belt powers the alternator
. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your sedan’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).

And, on most sedans, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some COSTA MESA cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.

When they understand what it does, COSTA MESA drivers realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why auto makers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owners manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owners manual, come see us at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center.

At Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA, your service advisor can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. There’s a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Costa Mesa Auto Service Center, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your sedan.

All in all, the serpentine belt’s is critical to the operation of your sedan. And it’s not that expensive to replace at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center – so it’s good to do so before it fails.

Can Your Car Last Another Year?

Have you checked out the price of new vehicles at COSTA MESA car dealers? Ouch! Add financing and insurance and – well a new ride may not seem so attractive. A lot of COSTA MESA, CA folks are hoping to make their cars last a lot longer.

Fortunately, with the current state of automotive engineering and manufacturing, there’s no reason a modern vehicle can’t be made to last for a 150,000 miles or more.

The old adage: ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ is really true when it comes to car maintenance. A great example is coolant service.

Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. Smart COSTA MESA motorists have their cooling system service taken care of right on schedule.

Ditto for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. Of course, oil changes should be done right on schedule to avoid the build-up of harmful oil sludge.

Don’t let your brake pads go too long before they are worn to the point that your rotors are at risk. Preventive auto maintenance is a great way to keep your operating costs down in COSTA MESA.

Replacing belts and hoses is much cheaper than repairing the expensive damage that can be caused by failure.

We know that this is a lot for busy Irvine area drivers to remember. Let the team of automotive professionals at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center keep on top of this stuff for you. We can tell you what your car maker recommends and help you develop an affordable plan to take care of it.

Bottom line – do routine maintenance on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent expensive repairs and maintain your warranty coverage. Call Costa Mesa Auto Service Center today for an appointment; you can reach us at 949.645.7878.

Let us take good care of your car at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA, and it’ll take good care of you.

Costa Mesa Auto Service Center
Give us a call today at 949.645.7878.
Or stop by at 1749 Anaheim Avenue, COSTA MESA, CA 92627

Go Straight: Wheel Alignment For COSTA MESA Automobiles

Irvine car owners may have an alignment problem if their car drifts or pulls to one side, the steering wheel’s off center, they notice uneven tire wear or the car doesn’t feel like it handles right as they drive down COSTA MESA CA streets and highways.

When all of a vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Running into potholes, smacking a curb or other objects around COSTA MESA, CA are great ways for Corona Del Mar auto owners to knock their car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels starts pulling in a slightly different direction and the problems begin.

Driving for an extended time when your car is out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. Sometimes the tire can be worn so badly that it will fail.

At the very least, you’ll have to replace your tires sooner. You could end up with premature wear to your suspension system, which can be expensive. The front wheel alignment is adjustable on all vehicles, and the back wheels are also adjustable on some cars.

Now, let’s discuss some alignment basics. Wheels are adjustable for toe, caster and camber. The ideal alignment for your car was designed by its engineers.

So, what is involved in an alignment check at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA? First, there’s an inspection of the steering and suspension to see if anything is bent or broken. Tire condition will also be evaluated.  Next, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and we take an initial alignment reading.

If all four wheels are adjustable, they are lined up perfectly parallel with the vehicle’s centerline. If the back wheels aren’t adjustable, the direction they push is determined and the front wheels are aligned to match.

Like most things, vehicle manufacturers have recommended a mileage interval for having alignment checked. But if you run into a curb, pothole or something else that’s given you a big jolt, pay attention to whether your vehicle is pulling to one side when you drive around the Irvine area. It’s better for Huntington Beach auto owners to have their alignment checked before waiting to see if there is uneven tire tread wear – by then, the damage is done.

Getting your alignment checked at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center when necessary is a great way to extend the life of your tires and suspension parts. It also makes sure that your tire meets the road properly for maximum performance and safety in CA.

Come see us at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center for more information about your tire alignment. We look forward to serving you.