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

10 Services COSTA MESA motorists Often Overlook

We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over COSTA MESA. Some days it’s all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That’s why you’ve gotta be organized. Smartphones, calendar apps – we have to keep track of it all.

So let’s talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the essential scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.

Here is a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked by COSTA MESA auto owners. They’re all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.

1. Power Steering Service
Be honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your critical power steering parts are protected from harmful corrosion. Next time you’re in for an oil change, ask your COSTA MESA service advisor if it’s time for a power steering check-up.

2. Wheel Alignment
When your wheels are out of alignment your sedan pulls to one side. It’s pretty annoying, but it’s also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out really fast; which is an unneccessary expense! Most auto makers owners manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.

3. Differential Service
Did you even know you had a differential? Well, you do – one, two or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they’re part of the drive-train that transfers power from your sedan engine to your wheels. They don’t need service that often, but you can’t completely forget them. Check with your considerate Costa Mesa Auto Service Center tech.

4. Cabin Air Filter
More and more COSTA MESA cars these days have cabin air filters (a great feature, in my opinion) to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they’re clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies.

5. Timing Belt Replacement
Most cars and some vans and trucks driven around the COSTA MESA area have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say that your car won’t run without it – period. And if it breaks while you’re driving it can do thousands of dollars worth of expensive engine damage. Check your owners’ manual or with your COSTA MESA service advisor. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles; definitely look into it right away.

6. Transmission Service
Transmission serviceis very basic, but it’s often forgotten by COSTA MESA motorists. Your sedan transmission needs clean fluid from time to time to keep operating efficiently and avoid pricey repairs. And it can also improve your fuel economy.

7. Air Conditioning Service
Most of us COSTA MESA auto owners don’t think about our air conditioning until it fails on a hot day in COSTA MESA. If you’re lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you’re not, some of the components may have been ruined. Of course, these components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.

8. Brake Service
No we’re not talking about squealing, grinding brakes here. We’re talking brake fluid. Over time the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your Costa Mesa Auto Service Center technician for recommendations.

9. Coolant System
Another thing that’s so easy for COSTA MESA drivers to forget about: When you don’t change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the pH balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can actually eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you’re stranded – bummer.

10. Fuel System Cleaning
In these times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is vital. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors also get gunked up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center will really help your fuel economy.

There you have it; 10 services that are often overlooked. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn’t been performed? Considering our busy lives, we’re not surprised.

COSTA MESA car owners know it takes some thought and effort to actually maintain a vehicle; but it not only saves money in the long run – it saves time too. And we can all use a little more time.

Costa Mesa Auto Service Center can help with any of these services. Give us a call at 949.645.7878.

Getting the Right Tires And Wheels In COSTA MESA

A lot of people get custom wheels in COSTA MESA. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you’re not careful. Sometimes, once they’re mounted, they just don’t fit right. The tires rub in turns or on bumps. You don’t want that.

Consulting your Costa Mesa Auto Service Center tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First he’ll ask you a series of questions about your COSTA MESA driving needs and what you want in your new wheels. Now, not every wheel can go on every car. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside so the tires rub.

If you don’t want to make any modifications to your sedan, you would need to focus on the wheels that would fit. With trucks, some COSTA MESA people like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.

Also, most COSTA MESA drivers don’t realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – that’s, like the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your sedan anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.

The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn’t know what changes you made so it can’t tell how fast you’re going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong speed. If you go with a different rolling diameter, your sedan engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.

Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from in CA. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with your considerate Costa Mesa Auto Service Center tire professional about how big the wheel should be – and how to select the right tire for your sedan. Your Costa Mesa Auto Service Center service advisor will help you find the best tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs in COSTA MESA.

Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In Huntington Beach

There’s a segment of the Huntington Beach population that’s not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the CA area over time. Many Huntington Beach motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.

Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, Huntington Beach drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.

Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.

Costa Mesa The Maintenance-Free MythNow, the ignition system in your sedan is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So tune-ups used to force you in to Costa Mesa Auto Service Center for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.

Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new cars in Huntington Beach have been leased. These folks plan on turning the car in after two or three years, so they haven’t focused on the maintenance that helps your car last longer.

Given all that, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your sedan will perform better and return better fuel economy.

Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren’t just repairs that are a long ways off. Modern sedan engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.

And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.

For example, your sedan engine coolant could actually become so corrosive that it eats holes in your radiator or other cooling system parts. Of course, that could lead to massive engine damage, all for the want of replacing the coolant on schedule.

Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At Costa Mesa Auto Service Center, we have been taking care of all those little things for 20 years. Your sedan still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Huntington Beach did not go away.

Defensive Driving In COSTA MESA CA

There was a man in Irvine who learned that most car accidents occur within a mile of home – so he moved. (Just Kidding!)

When we think of defensive driving, we often focus on our local CA highway situations. The fact of the matter is we need to be just as careful close to home in COSTA MESA, because that’s where we do most of our driving. We can’t let our familiar surroundings keep us from driving defensively.

Defensive driving begins with the proper attitude. Have in mind that you won’t let anyone take your safety away from you. You’ll be aware of your surroundings, road conditions, other vehicles and hazards. And the first person to be concerned with is you: start with your own environment.

Don’t leave without securing all occupants including children and pets. Watch for loose items that can become projectiles during evasive maneuvers.

Driving too fast or too slow increases the chance of an accident.

Never drive impaired: Alcohol is a factor in half of all fatal crashes. Never drink and drive.

Other impairments include being sleepy, angry, daydreaming or talking. If you suddenly wonder how you got where you are – you’re not paying enough attention.

Keep your windows clean and uncluttered. No fuzzy dice and stickers.

Keep your car in good shape so that it handles properly: Maintain tires, lights, brakes, suspension, wheel alignment and steering.

Always use your turn signals while driving around COSTA MESA CA. Avoid other vehicles’ blind spots.

Don’t drive faster than your headlights – if you can’t stop within the distance you can see, you’re going too fast.

Avoid driving over debris in the road. Even harmless looking items can cause damage or an accident.

Keep your wheels straight when waiting to turn at an COSTA MESA CA intersection. That way if you’re hit from behind, your car won’t be pushed into on-coming traffic.

My daddy always said that when you drive, you’re actually driving five cars: yours, the one in front, the one behind and the ones on either side. You can’t trust that other drivers will do the right thing, so you’ve got to be aware of what they’re doing at all times.

If you see another car driving erratically, weaving, crossing lanes, etc., stay back. Take the next right turn if you’re downtown COSTA MESA, or take the next exit on the CA highway. Notify the police if you see someone driving dangerously in our COSTA MESA community.

Never follow too close. The minimum distance is the two second rule. Pick a landmark ahead, like a tree or road marker. When the car in front of you passes it, start counting: ‘one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand’. If you pass the landmark before reaching two-one-thousand, you’re following too close.

Remember that the two second rule is the minimum – it assumes you’re alert and aware. Three seconds is safer. Move out to five seconds or more if it’s foggy or rainy.

Someone will inevitably move into your forward safety zone – just drop back and keep a safe distance.

If someone follows you too closely, just move over.

Don’t play chicken by contesting your right of way or race to beat someone to a merge. Whoever loses that contest has the potential to lose big and you don’t want any part of that. So stay alert, constantly scan around your car and arrive safely.

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

Under Pressure in COSTA MESA: TPMS

Have you noticed an increase in price when you get a flat fixed in COSTA MESA or your tires rotated? It might be the result of your TPMS, or Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

The federal government began requiring a TPMS system on 2008 model year passenger vehicles and light trucks. Some 2006 and 2007 models may have them as well. The system has a warning light that is mounted on the dashboard that will go on if one of the tires becomes severely under inflated.

Why the new requirement? Because underinflated tires are the number one cause of tire failure. Tire blowouts cause detrimental and sometimes fatal accidents. Underinflated tires also need longer stopping distance and can skid, both of which also present dangers on CA roads. Many flat tires can also be prevented by proper tire inflation, and though this may seem an economic consideration, COSTA MESA motorists who have changed a flat on the side of the road recognize that this has serious safety concerns as well.

Advances in tire technology, specifically the development of radial tires has made it harder for COSTA MESA car owners to recognize when a tire is underinflated. At a recommended pressure of 35 psi, a tire is seriously underinflated at 26 psi. But the tire doesn’t look low on air until it reaches 20 psi. This raises concerns about vehicle owners being able to tell when their sedans are a safety hazard on the road. Hence, the TPMS.

So, like seatbelts, the essential TPMS system is expected to save a lot of lives. The technology has been in use in race cars for years, and now it’s being mandated for all passenger cars, SUV’s, mini-vans and pick-ups. Besides warning COSTA MESA motorists when their tires need air, the system is required to indicate when it is malfunctioning.

This increased safety won’t come without increased costs to COSTA MESA motorists. Estimates regarding the cost of maintaining the TPMS on your vehicle run from $27 to $100. Also, there will be an added cost for tire repair. COSTA MESA service centers have had to purchase new scanning equipment to work with TPMS sensors and other vital equipment to repair tires and wheels equipped with TPMS. Costa Mesa Auto Service Center techs have to be trained to use the new equipment. These costs will have to be passed on to COSTA MESA car owners.

Further, whenever a tire is changed, the Costa Mesa Auto Service Center service professional will have to deal with the TPMS. Sensors will have to removed, then re-installed and re-activated. Sometimes the act of changing a tire will damage a sensor, and it will need to be replaced. These extra services will come at an added charge to COSTA MESA car owners.

Tire rotations will require that the TPMS be re-programmed. And whenever a vehicle’s battery is disconnected, the TPMS will require re-programming as well.

The TPMS itself will require attention – it contains batteries and sensors that will wear out and need to be replaced.

So, if you’ve noticed an increase in the cost for car care at your COSTA MESA tire center, it may not be the economy. It could be the cost of the TPMS in newer vehicles. Before you dash off an angry letter to Congress, however, stop and consider what you’re paying for. If predictions are correct, the TPMS will save lives, and that will be a benefit to all of us.

Of course, no warning system will save lives in COSTA MESA if drivers don’t pay attention to it. And remember that the warning doesn’t come on until the tire is severely under inflated – you still should check your tire pressure at least once a month. COSTA MESA car owners can prevent accidents and potentially save lives without a warning system by keeping their tires properly inflated.