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

Brake Service at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA

Brakes really aren’t optional equipment for COSTA MESA motorists. And taking care of them isn’t optional either.

A regular brake inspection is on every CA car’s maintenance schedule. At Costa Mesa Auto Service Center, our team will check your brake system and let you know if there are any essential problems. Of course, if you’re having trouble with your brakes, get your car into your COSTA MESA or Huntington Beach service center right away. And watch out for these problems:

  • Low or spongy brake pedal
  • Hard brake pedal
  • A brake warning light that stays on
  • Constantly squealing or grinding brakes
  • Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes

There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that’s attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle. Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Pads, called shoes, push against the inside of the drum to slow the vehicle.

There are several things that need to be serviced on the brake system. First, the brake pads and shoes wear out with use, and become too thin to really help. If the brake pads wear away completely you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced and that can be costly. But putting it off is dangerous because your sedan won’t stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.

Brake fluid is also essential. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid activates the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid, not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and detrimental brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. COSTA MESA drivers should change the brake fluid when their car maker recommends it.

There are different grades of brake pads sold in the COSTA MESA area. There are regular, metallic and ceramic – higher grades are more pricey, but give better braking performance and smoother operation. It’s OK to upgrade your brake pads. But, never use a grade that’s lower than what the auto maker recommends.

Be sure to properly maintain your brakes because it’s a lot cheaper than paying your nearest Irvine area body shop after an accident.

COSTA MESA Drivers Severe Service Maintenance Schedules

Since driving requirements and lifestyles differ among COSTA MESA car owners, sedan vehicle manufacturers publish two auto maintenance schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. Which schedule should COSTA MESA drivers follow?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Are most of your trips less than four miles around COSTA MESA?
Are most of your trips less than 10 miles in below-zero CA temps?
Are most of your trips off-highway in CA?
Do you drive often in dusty Irvine areas?
Do you regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads around COSTA MESA?
Do you drive in very hot or very cold CA weather?

Think about your typical week. Do you live by your nearest COSTA MESA expressway on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute to Irvine or Huntington Beach? Or, do you drive the neighborhood car pool in stop-and-go traffic on COSTA MESA surface streets?

Let’s suppose your owner’s manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is 3,000 miles and the standard recommendation is 5,000 miles. You know that you need to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. Analyze your driving patterns and COSTA MESA weather and road conditions to determine which end of the spectrum you’re closer to.

Why should COSTA MESA motorists care about this? Normal condensation causes moisture accumulation in the engine oil. Short trips around COSTA MESA or winter driving means that the engine doesn’t heat up enough for the moisture to evaporate. The water in the oil turns to detrimental oil sludge that clogs up your engine and doesn’t let the oil protect it adequately. That’s why CA auto owners need to change their oil more often – to clean the sludge out before it causes problems.

Carrying heavy loads (with or without a trailer) in warm CA summer weather causes your engine and transmission to run at higher temperatures and with more stress. The fluids will break down more quickly. Additives that clean and prevent dangerous corrosion will be depleted sooner. Air pollution and dust cause fluids to get dirty faster. Ditto for filters. All of these things can lead to premature wear and eventual repairs, not to mention your fuel efficiency. If you want some expert advice, talk with your considerate Costa Mesa Auto Service Center advisor. We can help you restore your sedan to good working order and help you know the best schedule to follow.

To learn more, watch our informative AutoNetTV auto video tips at the top of this post.

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

Custom Wheels and Tires For Your COSTA MESA Ride

It seems like everywhere you go in the Irvine area you see custom wheels. Big trucks, little cars, mini-vans – it doesn’t matter, auto owners are expressing themselves with custom wheels. Some CA car owners want smaller tires and wheels – some want larger – and some want them enormous. So where do you start if you want new wheels? At Costa Mesa Auto Service Center, we suggest you start with your budget. We know, that sounds so practical. But if the look you’re after goes beyond just new tires and wheels and enters into the world of suspension modifications, you need to be prepared for the additional cost.

Let’s start with something easy – you want to give your ride a unique look and the stock wheel size is just right for you. One of the concerns you will have is that the new wheels have the same offset as your sedan factory wheels.

First, what is offset? The wheel bolts onto the hub on the sedan’s axle. The distance from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on, is the offset. If the new wheel has a different offset from the factory, the tires may rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. That could lead to catastrophic and (costly)  tire failure.

Your tire and wheel professional at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA can help you find the right size wheel – or install adapters to make your new wheels fit. All you have to do is pick from the hundreds of styles available.

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

So, what about COSTA MESA auto owners who want to upsize? Well, if you pick bigger wheels, but you want to keep the same overall tire diameter, that’s pretty easy for the team at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center. The same offset concerns apply. You need to know that the tires will likely be a little bit wider than the originals and you don’t want them to rub when you make sharp turns. Your tire professional at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA will help you avoid this.

It is also important to keep the same overall tire diameter because changing the rolling diameter can mess with your sedan anti-lock brakes and stability control systems. Are you starting to see why you want to meet with your considerate Costa Mesa Auto Service Center tire and wheel expert at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA? Is “super-size me” your motto? If it is, you are going to have to lift your vehicle to make room for those huge tires. A mild lift doesn’t require extensive modifications. An extreme lift means a lot of new hardware under the vehicle. It also means a lot of stock electronic systems need to be recalibrated to the new tire size. For example, your speedometer and odometer will give false readings if they aren’t recalibrated. (You don’t want to risk getting speeding tickets on CA expressways because your speedometer shows a lower-than-actual speed.)

COSTA MESA drivers who want to upsize should also be aware of possible performance issues. Bigger tires and wheels weigh more. CA automotive experts refer to this as unsprung weight because it isn’t held up by your sedan suspension system. Increased unsprung weight affects performance in different ways than an equivalent amount of groceries or little soccer players in the sedan passenger compartment. Acceleration is negatively affected. Stopping distances may also be increased – sometimes significantly. COSTA MESA auto owners who want really big tires and wheels, might need to upgrade their brakes to compensate.

Heading the other direction, some motorists in the Irvine area like to run smaller than standard wheels and lower the suspension. All of the same fitment issues still apply as well as calibration issues. Don’t think that sedan suspension modifications are a bad thing. Many systems actually improve ride, function and performance over the stock set-up.

Regardless of your budget, you want your sedan to continue to do all the things you need it to do. Some of those show cars and trucks you see on TV and COSTA MESA showrooms  look terrific, but have been modified in ways that may not suit your needs. For example, if you put large rims on your SUV with low profile tires, you may be in for busted rims if you go off-roading a lot around Irvine. There just isn’t enough sidewall to absorb the impact of thumping over rocks.

Some drivers stuff the largest tires and wheels possible in their vehicles but have to severely restrict suspension travel so that the tires aren’t rubbing all day. That can lead to a very harsh ride around CA. Again, talk with your Costa Mesa Auto Service Center wheel professional about all of these things: how you drive in COSTA MESA, what look you are going for, your budget and what compromises you are willing to make.

At the end of the day, you’re going to be rollin’ out of Costa Mesa Auto Service Center with one sweet ride.

What Is A Differential And Do You Have One?

With front-wheel drive being so common these days in COSTA MESA, CA, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most COSTA MESA car owners don’t even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don’t need to be serviced for years, so it’s understandable that it’s not something on the top of mind for our COSTA MESA customers. So it’s not uncommon for motorists to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.

Call Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA at 949.645.7878 for information about differential service, or stop by our COSTA MESA, CA auto center at 1749 Anaheim Avenue 92627.

To better understand what a differential does, think about our local COSTA MESA high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That’s to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It’s a very important function for us COSTA MESA drivers. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars in the COSTA MESA, CA area weigh between three and six thousand pounds – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That’s a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those essential parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool.

The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that breakdown over time. So auto makers recommend intervals for replacing your differential fluid.

Your considerate Costa Mesa Auto Service Center technician will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. Then he’ll replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Your Costa Mesa Auto Service Center service advisor can look up the automobile manufacturer’s recommended service interval or you can check your owner’s manual. Give us a call at 949.645.7878 for more information about your differential service.