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

Tire Tread Depth for COSTA MESA, CA Drivers




Driving on bald tires is like playing roulette. Though you may be fine today, eventually your luck is going to run out.

The Feds don’t have any laws for tread depth, but 42 of the states, and all of Canada, do have regulations. They consider two-thirty-seconds of an inch to be the minimum legal tread depth. Two other states, including California, consider one-thirty-second to be the minimum and six states have no standards at all. Call us at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center; (just call 949.645.7878) to find out what your requirements are in the COSTA MESA, CA area.

Since 1968, U.S. law has required that a raised bar be molded across all tires. When tires are worn enough that this bar becomes visible, there’s just 2/32” of tread left. But does that older standard give COSTA MESA car owners enough safety?

Consider this: Consumer Reports recommends tire replacement when tread reaches 4/32”. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies. Now before we go into the studies, you need to know that the critical issue is braking on wet surfaces.

We tend to think of the brakes doing all the stopping, but COSTA MESA car owners also need to have effective tires to actually stop the car. When it’s wet or snowy in COSTA MESA CA, the tread of the tire is critical to stopping power.

Picture this: you’re driving in COSTA MESA over a water-covered stretch of road. Your tires actually need to be in contact with the road in order to stop. That means the tire has to channel the water away so the tire is actually contacting the road and not floating on a thin film of water – a harmful condition known as hydroplaning. When there’s not enough tread depth on a tire, it can’t move the water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.

This is where the studies come in. We think COSTA MESA auto owners will be surprised. A section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime flat on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to submerge it. 

A car and a full-sized pick-up truck were brought up to 70 mph and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths. First, they tested new tires. Then tires worn to legal limits. And finally, tires with 4/32” of tread were tested (the depth suggested by Consumer Reports.)

When the car with the legally worn tires had braked for the distance required to stop the car with new tires, it was still going 55 mph. The stopping distance was nearly doubled. That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, then you would hit the car in front of you at 55 mph with the worn tires.

Now with the partially worn tires – at the depth recommended by Consumer Reports – the car was still going at 45 mph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. That’s a big improvement – you can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.

Now without going into all the details, let us tell you that stopping the truck with worn tires needed almost 1/10 of a mile of clear road ahead to come to a safe stop. How many COSTA MESA drivers follow that far behind the sedan ahead? Obviously, this is an important safety issue.

The tests were conducted with the same vehicles, but with different sets of tires. The brakes were the same, so the only variable was the tires.

How do COSTA MESA auto owners know when their tires are at 4/32”? Well, it’s pretty easy. Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Now you may remember doing that with pennies. But a penny gives you 2/32” of an inch to Abraham Lincoln’s head. The quarter is the new standard – 4/32”.

Tires are a big ticket item and most drivers in COSTA MESA, CA want to get thousands of miles out of them. Just remember: driving on bald tires is like playing roulette.

Have Mr. Washington look at your tires today. If he recommends a new set, come see us at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA.

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

Clean Fuel Makes a Happy Engine In COSTA MESA, CA

 




If the fuel system in your sedan is dirty, you will be hurting your fuel economy and losing performance as you drive around COSTA MESA, CA.

Unless they drive a vintage car, COSTA MESA car owners have fuel injectors which need to be properly maintained. That is why your sedan owner’s manual has a schedule for cleaning your fuel injectors and other parts of your fuel system.

Your considerate service advisor at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA has the tools and chemicals to do the job right. Costa Mesa Auto Service Center uses a process that gives your car a deep, professional fuel system cleaning. The particles, gum and varnish that build up in your fuel system are removed so that it can run cleanly and efficiently.

After a professional fuel system cleaning at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center, you’ll notice more power, improved fuel efficiency and reduced exhaust emissions. AutoNetTV strongly recommends you follow your vehicle manufacturers fuel system cleaning service recommendations to keep your sedan running strong.

COSTA MESA car owners don’t need the added expense of replacing a fuel injector that’s been damaged by neglect. Check with your considerate Costa Mesa Auto Service Center service advisor and see when your car is scheduled for a key fuel system cleaning.

Timing Belt Replacement in COSTA MESA

Today we want to talk to COSTA MESA drivers about timing belts. They’re something that many COSTA MESA drivers don’t know much about and yet your vehicle won’t run if it’s broken – and it could cause many thousands of dollars damage if it does break. A broken timing belt is usually a tale of woe. Even though timing belt replacement is scheduled in the owner’s manual, it’s not the kind of thing that most Irvine car owners remember because it’s not well understood.

Let’s review what a timing belt does. As most COSTA MESA auto owners know, the engine’s power is generated in the cylinders. A piston rides up and down in the cylinder. During the first down stroke, an intake valve at the top of the cylinder opens and air and fuel is drawn into the cylinder. Then the piston returns to the top, compressing the fuel and air mix. At the top, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel pushing the piston down in the power stroke. As the piston once again returns up in the final stroke of the cycle, an exhaust valve opens at the top of the cylinder and the exhaust is pushed out. The timing belt is what coordinates the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. It’s called a timing belt because the valves have to open and close at just the right time.

Now, not all Huntington Beach and Corona Del Mar vehicles have timing belts. Some have timing chains. Like the name implies, they use a chain rather than a belt to perform the function. It used to be that most engines used timing chains, which are extremely durable. The leading vehicle manufacturers started using belts rather than chains to save money in the manufacturing process. So now COSTA MESA auto owners and Costa Mesa Auto Service Center service advisors are left with a component that can break. They sort of shifted the problem to us. There are two broad categories of auto maker engine design: interference and non-interference. If the timing belt on a non-interference engine breaks, the engine simply stops running. That could be very dangerous for motorists depending on where they are at the time, but it causes no internal engine damage.

Interference sedan engines, on the other hand, will get real messed up when the timing belt breaks, because the valves will actually fall down into the path of the pistons. Things get chewed up when that happens and it’ll cost a chunk of money to repair the sedan engine.

So, what are the warning signs? Unfortunately, there really aren’t any. There aren’t tell-tale sounds. In some vehicles, a technician from Costa Mesa Auto Service Center may be able to see part of the belt for a visual inspection, but many have a cover that’s in the way. The reality is that if the belt slips even one notch, it might as well be broken for all the pricey damage it’ll cause. There’s no middle ground.

So how can we avoid these problems? Simply replace the timing belt when your owner’s manual calls for it. It can be 60,000 miles; it might be 90,000 or 100,000 miles. The point is, if you have 60,000 or more miles, ask your Costa Mesa Auto Service Center service advisor right away if your automobile manufacturer requires a timing belt replacement.

Contact Costa Mesa Auto Service Center to learn more about your car’s Timing Belt
You can find us at:
1749 Anaheim Avenue
COSTA MESA, CA 92627
Or call us at 949.645.7878

Sometimes COSTA MESA motorists can go quite a while without a failure, but we’ve seen them happen within a couple of oil changes of being due. It’s not worth the risk.

What does it cost to replace a timing belt in COSTA MESA or Costa Mesa? Well, that really depends on what kind of car you have. I can tell you that it’s usually not very easy to get to the timing belt – you often have to remove some accessories to get at it. It isn’t a cheap procedure, but it’s a fraction of what it could cost to repair the costly damage caused by a failure.

At Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA we’re all about trying to prevent expensive repairs, keeping you and your passengers safe and increasing your driving enjoyment. Thanks to AutoNetTV for their great auto video tips.

TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring For Your COSTA MESA Auto

COSTA MESA motorists may know that all 2008 model year and newer cars, mini-vans and light trucks in COSTA MESA come with a tire pressure monitoring system. Many slightly older vehicles around Irvine have these systems as well. A tire pressure monitoring system – called TPMS – consists of sensors on each wheel that measure tire pressure.

If tire pressure drops 25 percent below the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure, the sensor sends a signal to a monitoring unit that causes a warning to light up on the dashboard. When Irvine auto owners see the warning light, they know it’s time to put some air in the tires.

There are many benefits to COSTA MESA car owners who drive with properly inflated tires around COSTA MESA. First is cost savings. Running at the correct air pressure improves fuel economy. Driving on under-inflated tires is like driving through sand – it drags down your fuel efficiency. COSTA MESA motorists will also see longer, more even tread wear so your tires’ll last longer.

Another important benefit of properly inflated tires is increased safety for COSTA MESA auto owners. Under-inflated tires become hotter and that heat can actually lead to tire failure – possibly resulting in an accident. Your car and the tires themselves will just perform better and more safely around COSTA MESA with properly inflated tires.

Local COSTA MESA consumer groups, law-makers and vehicle manufacturers advocate TPMS systems hoping that they will save lives, property damage and inconvenience. While you can’t put a value on saving a life, COSTA MESA auto owners should keep in mind that TPMS systems aren’t free.

The systems themselves are added into the price of the car. The batteries in the sensors will have to be replaced from time to time. Parts will break and need to be replaced. In colder climates around CA, ice and salt are frequent causes of failure.

In addition, there are other behind-the-scenes costs we want COSTA MESA auto owners to be aware of. Every time a tire is replaced, repaired, rotated or balanced, the tire technician has to deal with the TPMS system.

COSTA MESA service centers such as Costa Mesa Auto Service Center must purchase expensive equipment used to scan and reactivate the TPMS system after every tire service. Because older tire change equipment can damage TPMS sensors, your Irvine service center may need to buy expensive, new tire changers.

Since there is no uniformity among automobile manufacturers, service specialists need to be trained on several TPMS systems. These behind-the-scenes costs are very real to COSTA MESA service center managers like Anthony Betts at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center.

That’s why the team at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center is anxious for Irvine auto owners to understand the essential financial impact of TPMS systems. In the past, we’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide tire services to motorists, and then pass the low cost on to Irvine customers as an expression of our good will. But now even these simple jobs take much longer and require costly equipment.

Sensors will need to be removed and reinstalled. Even a tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed.

So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up in CA, please keep in mind that it’s because of this vital new safety equipment. The team at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center just wants to keep you safely on the road – and we’re committed to doing it at a fair price.

It’s key to remember that the TPMS warning only comes on when a tire is severely under-inflated. You’ll still want to check your tire pressure regularly. At every fill-up is best, but you should check pressure at least once a month. Here’s wishing you safe travels.

Contact Costa Mesa Auto Service Center for more important information about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems.