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

Watching Your Check Engine Light

Did you know that most of the cars driving around COSTA MESA, CA carry more computer power than the Apollo 121 Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969?

New cars sold in the Irvine area have as many as twelve networked computers and over five miles (eight kilometers) of wiring. In fact, for the last decade or so, auto computers have been controlling about 85 percent of your vehicle’s functions.

Cars have sensors for manifold air temperature, coolant temperature, manifold air pressure, airflow, throttle position, vehicle speed and oxygen content. All of this electronic wizardry is pretty complicated. So how do COSTA MESA drivers know when there is a problem?

It’s simple; the Check Engine light comes on. The computer monitors all the sensors and uses that information to decide what to adjust such as the fuel mix, spark timing and idle speed. In addition, the computer monitors its own circuits. When it finds a fault, it turns on the Check Engine light and stores a trouble code in the computer.

It can be pretty disturbing for COSTA MESA car owners when the Check Engine light comes on. We wonder just how urgent it is. Generally speaking, it is not critical like a temperature or oil pressure light. When you get one of those it means STOP NOW! When the Check Engine light shows up, you should come in to Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA to find out what the matter is as soon as possible.

Since 1996, there has been a strong emissions control component to the Check Engine diagnostic. But if your Check Engine light flashes on and off, you know that it is more urgent and you need to get it checked immediately to prevent damage. You should slow down and avoid towing or heavy loads until you can get it checked out.

Your considerate Costa Mesa Auto Service Center technician has special diagnostic equipment that will retrieve the trouble code from the computer and help him determine what is wrong. From there, we can fix it and get you back on the road.

Stop by if you’re check engine light is on.

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

Shocks and Struts For COSTA MESA Bumps and Bounces

If you’re like most of us COSTA MESA drivers, you want your car to handle well. That’s the job of your suspension system.

There are different types of suspension systems, but they all work on the same basic principles. First, there are the springs, which bear the weight of the car. The most common springs are coil or leaf – although we see air springs and torsion bars more often. The springs do most of the work.

Visit our COSTA MESA location for an inspection of your suspension.
Costa Mesa Auto Service Center
1749 Anaheim Avenue
COSTA MESA, CA 92627
949.645.7878

But if all you had were springs, your sedan would be bouncing around like a bobble head. That’s where the shocks come in. They control the rebound of the springs and smooth out the up and down motions. They also keep the tires on the road, and you in control. Some sedans use struts. Struts are a combination of shocks and springs, together in a more compact system.

Shocks wear out slowly over time, so it’s hard to notice when they get badly worn. One way to tell is to look for an uneven, cupping wear on your tires. If the shock or strut is leaking fluid, it needs to be replaced. If your sedan feels floaty in turns or if the front end dips a lot when you stop, it is time to get your shocks checked at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA.

When you replace shocks in COSTA MESA, be sure to replace all four. Then your sedan will have an even suspension and will handle much better. Talk with your considerate Costa Mesa Auto Service Center service specialist about how you drive. No, not your traffic violations, but how often you carry heavy loads, tow a trailer around COSTA MESA or drive in rough CA backcountry terrain. If you do a bunch of that, you’ll need a heavy duty shock.

Regular shocks use hydraulic fluid and air as their dampening system. Premium quality shocks and struts use compressed nitrogen gas instead of air. Gas shocks don’t get air bubbles that affect the performance of regular shocks. If you do a lot of high performance driving, CA off-roading or just want added comfort and control, think about getting premium gas shocks or struts.

Replacing your struts may take your car out of alignment, so be sure to get an alignment at the same time. stop by Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA. So, to smooth out the bumps on the road of life, change your shocks and struts when they need it.

 

Costa Mesa Auto Service Center Guide To Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

Today’s Costa Mesa Auto Service Center post focuses on using the proper fluids for your vehicle. Significant advancements in automotive technology have lead to the development of high-tech fluids to keep modern cars operating at peak performance. This is due to both engineering advances and new high-tech materials used to build sedan automotive systems.

A simple example of this is the cooling system. For decades it was primarily made out of iron, steel and rubber hoses. There was one kind of coolant that protected these components from corrosion.

Now cooling system components are made with various metal alloys and plastics. These materials require different additives to protect them from corrosion. Since the materials used vary among sedan car makers, we now have a number of different kinds of coolant.

It’s essential for Huntington Beach car owners to use the right coolant. Costa Mesa Auto Service Center Guide To Using the Correct Fluids in Your VehicleIf you pour in the wrong kind, it won’t protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Check your sedan owner’s manual. Of course, your Costa Mesa Auto Service Center automotive advisor will know the proper coolant for your vehicle.

Brake fluid is confusing for some Huntington Beach drivers. Back when we opened Costa Mesa Auto Service Center 20 years ago, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some COSTA MESA people mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That’s not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the demands of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is designed for your sedan.

Ditto for transmission fluid. For decades there were two basic types of tranny fluid used at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center: friction modified or not. With the tremendous engineering advances in sedan automatic transmissions, there have been several new types of fluids developed to protect and lubricate them.

Nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident to Huntington Beach drivers and Costa Mesa Auto Service Center professionals than in motor oil. Many new weights and formulations have been created to meet the demands of today’s high-tech sedan engine design. Modern engines have more parts and much tighter tolerances. Every year, engines make more power and (thankfully!) get better fuel efficiency. And along with all the complexity and sophistication, they still have to be durable.

That’s where the new grades of engine oil come in. They have to be formulated to lubricate, protect and clean all of those sedan engine parts, big and little. The oil has to be thin enough to get into little passages, yet resistant to vaporization.

At Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA, we believe that in some ways modern automotive fluids are just as impressive as the new engines. Because weights of oil and types of coolant and transmission fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, make sure you always use the proper fluid if you are topping off at home.

Check your sedan owner’s manual or ask your Huntington Beach service technician.
The wrong fluid can cause damage to your sedan engine. If you drive a car or truck around CA with 75,000 miles or more, consider high mileage formulations. These fluids contain extra detergent to clean dirtier older engines as well as additives to condition seals and gaskets. That’ll help prevent leaks. Always be sure that the high mileage fluid is the same weight or type of fluid recommended for your sedan.

Hey COSTA MESA Drivers, How Many Miles Are On Your Car?

Nowadays, COSTA MESA car owners are paying more at Irvine gas pumps. For some families in the greater Irvine area, it adds up to several hundred dollars every month. That’s got to come out of the budget somewhere. This is one of the reasons many CA car owners are putting off buying a new car. They plan on keeping their old vehicle for a year or two longer than before.

Even now, 2/3 of the personal vehicles on our local COSTA MESA, CA interstates have over 75,000 miles on them. The average age of vehicles is over nine years. And most people in Irvine can’t afford to be stranded or inconvenienced by a break down. So following a regular maintenance schedule, like personal diet and exercise plans, is actually critical to preserving your investment.

Determining what to do for a higher-mileage vehicle can be challenging because many auto maker’s manuals don’t publish service intervals after 60,000 miles. Thus, COSTA MESA auto owners need to be better at keeping records and planning for preventive maintenance.

You can start by figuring that services with a recommended interval should still be performed on that interval, even after you’re past the tables in your service manual. For example, a service might be recommended every 15,000 miles. Well, just keep doing it every 15,000 miles for as long as you have your car.

Now higher mileage engines operate under more stress. Some Irvine automotive experts suggest that the severe service schedule is more appropriate and that routine service should be performed at shorter intervals. Check with your owners’ manual or service advisor at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center to see if the severe service schedule is right for your vehicle.

And keeping current with your full-service oil change schedule is important for a couple of reasons. First, older engines have had more time to build up oil sludge. Skipping an oil change here and there can really compound the problem for your sedan.

Another equally important reason is that your other fluids are routinely checked and topped off. Power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant and transmission fluid can be kept at optimal levels even though the older seals and gaskets are leaking more than when they were new.

And speaking of older seals and gaskets: they start to dry out and become more brittle with age. You may want to consider using high mileage formulation oil and fluids. These products contain vital additives to condition seals and gaskets to keep them from leaking. The high mileage formulations cost more than standard products, but they are well worth it in terms of preventing serious repair bills down the road.

Older vehicles in the COSTA MESA, CA area need repairs and replacements that newer ones don’t. Things like timing belts, radiator hoses, suspension work, anti-lock brakes, air bags, water pumps, alternators and batteries. That may seem like a lot of stuff to have done, but it works out to be cheaper than new car payments.

With a high-mileage sedan, a couple of relationships will become pretty important to COSTA MESA motorists. The first is with your service professional at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center. You need someone you trust to take care of your car and be mindful of your needs. Ask for help to develop a plan to keep your vehicle road-worthy that works within your budget, and for the COSTA MESA, CA area driving conditions. 

The next relationship is with your vehicle itself. We’re not talking about naming your car or tucking it in at night. We just mean – pay attention and get to know your vehicle. Notice unusual sounds, smells, vibrations, etc. Then you can describe the changes to yourservice professional at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center and head off problems. We can’t do anything about the price of gas, but we can properly maintain Old Faithful to keep it safely and economically on the local COSTA MESA, CA roads.

Take a look at the attached automotive tips video from AutoNetTV.