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

Drive Train – What You Need to Know In COSTA MESA

One COSTA MESA automotive service issue that doesn’t get much attention is driveline service. Drivelines don’t get talked about very much around Irvine, but they’re very critical. First let’s define what the driveline is:

Taking a small step back, the power plant is comprised of the engine and transmission. The driveline starts there and includes all of the components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels.

That’s not really a lot of components, but they handle the full force of the engine. Without the driveline you’re not moving. So COSTA MESA auto owners need to take good care of it. The driveline components differ depending on whether your vehicle has front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, all wheel drive or four wheel drive. For purposes of our discussion, we’re going to have to oversimplify a bit.

If you are ready to have your drive train looked at, give us a call:
Costa Mesa Auto Service Center
1749 Anaheim Avenue
COSTA MESA, CA 92627
Call Us at 949.645.7878

Let’s start with front wheel drive. The point where the transmission stops and the driveline begins is a little blurred with front wheel drive because the transaxle houses both the transmission function and the differential function. The half shafts that send power to each front wheel, come out of the transaxle. The shaft is connected to the wheel by a constant velocity, or CV, joint. The CV joint is protected from dirt and water by an airtight, flexible rubber boot.

So, Costa Mesa Auto Service Center driveline service would include properly servicing the transaxle and inspecting the cv boot to see if it’s torn or loose. If it is, it needs to be replaced and the CV joint inspected for damage. Repairs may be in order. Besides visual damage to the airtight CV boot, you might hear a clicking noise when turning. Recommended maintenance for the transaxle and CV joints will be spelled out in your owner’s manual or check with your considerate Costa Mesa Auto Service Center service advisor.

On to rear wheel drive. The driveline for a rear wheel drive vehicle starts with the driveshaft – that long tube that connects the transmission with the differential on the rear axle. Some vehicles in COSTA MESA have a two piece drive shaft. The shafts are connected to the transmission and the differential with big universal joints. Most COSTA MESA motorists have probably heard the term ‘u-joints‘. These joints can wear out, just like the CV joints in front wheel drive vehicles. You may hear some clunking or feel a jolt when shifting into drive or reverse – if you do, get your driveline inspected at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA.

The differential on the rear axle sends power out to each rear wheel through half shafts in the axle. The differential fluid needs to be drained periodically and replaced with clean fluid. When the seal on the end of the axle is damaged or leaks, the axle will need to be serviced. The routine maintenance item here is differential service. Be sure to check your owner’s manual or COSTA MESA service advisor for intervals.

Now let’s go on to all wheel drive. Remember that the difference between all wheel drive and four wheel drive is that an all wheel drive vehicle is essentially providing power to all of the wheels all of the time. The sedan may be able to shift more of the power to the front or to the back depending on where you need traction. All wheel drive vehicles are designed to work well on dry pavement. Even some high-end sports cars from makers like Lamborghini and Porsche have all wheel drive.

Some all wheel drive vehicles are designed to work well off-road in COSTA MESA, but all hard-core rock crawlers are four wheel drive. These guys thrive in mud, sand, rocks and hills – but they don’t work well on dry pavement when they’re in four wheel drive. So they have the option to shift to rear wheel drive only on dry pavement.

Most all-wheel drive vehicles are very similar to front wheel drive when it comes to the front end. They also have a center differential that transfers power to the rear differential. Connecting it all is a shaft from the transaxle to the center differential and another from the center differential to the rear differential. So all of the normal front wheel drive service is critical as well as service to the center and rear differentials.

Four wheel drive can be thought of as a rear wheel drive vehicle that can also send power to the front axle. There’s a transfer case in the middle of the vehicle that can be shifted to send power through a drive shaft to a differential on the front axle. So COSTA MESA car owners need differential service for the front and rear differentials and for the transfer case as well.

The bottom line for COSTA MESA auto owners is that the maintenance schedules are in your owner’s manual. Your COSTA MESA service advisor can answer any questions you’ve got. If this is the first time you’ve heard some of this stuff – it’s time to ask someone at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center if any of it needs to be done now.

Watch our auto tips video from AutoNetTV

Straight And True In COSTA MESA: Wheel Alignment

Most Irvine folks worry about running out of gas or having a breakdown on the side of the road. That is why we practice preventive maintenance on our vehicles — that and to keep our repair bills down. But one important part of preventive maintenance that may get overlooked by COSTA MESA motorists is a periodic alignment inspection.

Poor alignment causes tires to wear rapidly, unevenly or both. This means they will have to be replaced early, and new tires are more expensive than an alignment check in COSTA MESA. Bad alignment can also cause damage to suspension and steering systems, which can be expensive to repair in Irvine.

Tire wear on misaligned wheels can also lead to blowouts, which are dangerous, can lead to serious accidents, and can seriously damage your sedan. Also, poor alignment itself can be the cause of an accident, since the sedan may not steer properly.

One or more wheels on your sedan can be knocked out of alignment by running over a curb or a pothole on a bumpy COSTA MESA street. An accident, even a minor one, that involves a wheel on your car can lead to misalignment. The small bumps and bangs of everyday Costa Mesa driving can also gradually put your wheels out of alignment.

If you have had wheel damage to your sedan, or if you suspect that your wheels are out of alignment, you should get your alignment checked NOW. Any Costa Mesa Auto Service Center technician will give you that piece of auto advice. But good car care suggests that you also get your alignment inspected on a regular basis. At Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA, we can take care of that for you.

Your owner’s manual or Costa Mesa Auto Service Center tech can give you a suggestion on how often your alignment should be checked. If it doesn’t, then once a year is a good rule of thumb. However, if you drive a lot and especially if you drive on rough surfaces a lot, then you may want to consider a diagnostic examination more often. Ask your considerate service specialist for a recommendation.

If your sedan is out of alignment, one or more of the wheels is not tracking correctly and will “pull” against the others. Thus, one sign of poor alignment is that your sedan pulls to one side when you drive around Irvine. Also, if you are driving a straight path and your steering wheel is off-center, that usually indicates an alignment problem.

COSTA MESA drivers should also check the wear on their tires. If they seem to be wearing out too quickly, or if you notice that a tire is wearing on one side more than the other, you should get your alignment checked.

When you get a diagnostic examination, your vehicle will be put on a rack and all the parts of the steering and suspension systems will be inspected for wear or damage. The alignment of the tires will be charted and compared to the original factory settings. If no repairs are needed on the steering or suspension systems, the wheels will then be adjusted to bring them back into alignment.

This may seem like a lot of bother for Corona Del Mar drivers, but it’s a lot less trouble than a blowout or an accident. The old adage is good auto advice for all COSTA MESA residents: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

So keep on driving, and keep all four tires on the road.

Coolant/Antifreeze Service At Costa Mesa Auto Service Center

Anyone that drives a car in COSTA MESA knows that engines get hot when they run. But did you know that engines need to be cooled to keep running? Heat inside an engine can cause the metal parts to expand, which can seize up an engine and make it stop running. It can even ruin the entire engine! Good car care requires keeping your sedan cooling system in good condition.

A vehicle’s cooling system circulates water and antifreeze (coolant) through the engine where it absorbs heat. It then flows to the radiator where the water and antifreeze are cooled by the air that flows over the radiator. Then it circulates back into the sedan’s engine to absorb more heat.

Why shouldn’t Corona Del Mar motorists just use water? Because water boils at temperatures that are often reached inside of an engine. Steam won’t cool your sedan engine and is hard to contain within the cooling system. The antifreeze keeps the water from boiling.

So why do we call it antifreeze? Shouldn’t it be antiboil? Truth is, the antifreeze performs another critical task. Water freezes in cold CA weather. That would spell disaster for your sedan’s engine. So antifreeze also keeps the water in your cooling system from freezing in all but the most extreme cold. Pretty neat stuff!

Taking care of your cooling system is part of good preventive maintenance for your sedan. Irvine motorists should check coolant level often and regularly inspect your cooling system for leaks.

That is just good auto advice. Your sedan’s manufacturer has maintenance requirements for draining and replacing engine coolant. Consult your owner’s manual or ask your considerate Costa Mesa Auto Service Center service professional for these recommendations, as they vary widely from among auto manufacturers.

Changing your coolant is also part of good preventive maintenance. Water is great at collecting all kinds of dissolved substances, especially when it’s hot. Water circulating through an engine picks up dirt, debris, pollutants, and other stuff. It actually becomes corrosive over time. This can damage engine parts and your radiator.

Replacing your coolant regularly keeps the sedan cooling system functioning well and doesn’t allow it to sneakily become the cancer that wipes out your engine.

But don’t just slop any antifreeze into your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual or ask your Costa Mesa Auto Service Center service advisor if you don’t know what is the right type of antifreeze for your vehicle. Using the wrong kind can void the warranty on your sedan cooling system.

You may have noticed that different types of antifreeze are different colors. Manufacturers tint them different colors to make them harder to mix up. It’s easy to notice that you have purple fluid when you normally use green! That way, you have less chance of damaging your sedan engine by using the wrong antifreeze.

One last word of warning — a little outside the area of car care. Never, ever let anyone or pets drink coolant/antifreeze – it is deathly poisonous.

Take care of your car, and take care of yourself! Just some good car care tips from Costa Mesa Auto Service Center to keep you on the road and help your life in COSTA MESA run more pleasantly.

Keeping Your ‘Old Faithful’ Auto Running

At Costa Mesa Auto Service Center we’ve had a lot of COSTA MESA, Huntington Beach, and Costa Mesa clients asking how they can make their vehicles last longer. These questions are actually a reflection of a trend that’s been building for several years in CA. The median age of personal vehicles is now over nine years. And 33 percent of all vehicles on the road have over 75,000 miles on them. It looks like it’s going to keep heading in that direction for a while. With high fuel prices, a lot of Irvine folks are putting off buying a new car. Thanks to AutoNetTV, we can provide you with a video answer to this essential question.

So let’s say you’re one of the average car owners in the Irvine area; you’ve got a nine year old car with 80,000 miles on the odometer. What can you to do make it last another year or two?

Let’s start with the premise that there’s no reason that a modern car can’t run for 200,000 miles with proper care in COSTA MESA. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there.

Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there’s no reason for a catastrophic meltdown if astute COSTA MESA motorists stay on top of their recommended car maintenance. The maintenance schedule in some car maker’s owner’s manuals runs out at 60,000 miles or so: how do COSTA MESA auto owners know what to do when they’re way past that?

It is a challenge, for example: If a service is recommended every 15,000 miles for the first 60,000 miles you can just keep getting it done at least every 15,000 miles after you hit 60,000 miles. But, it gets more complicated because older engines lose some efficiency, are dirtier inside and are just more stressed. That means it’s very important to not miss any scheduled services. Skipping just one oil change at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA, for example, leaves an opportunity for detrimental sludge to build up. Talk to your considerate Costa Mesa Auto Service Center tech.

So all the usual things like oil changes, transmission service, coolant service, brakes, power steering, fuel system cleaning – all that stuff needs to be maintained. People responsible for fleet vehicles around COSTA MESA are sticklers for scheduled maintenance. They know that money spent on maintenance saves them three ways:

  1. it keeps MPG from decreasing;
  2. it prevents costly repairs, and;
  3. they can postpone purchasing new vehicles.

Having the oil changed may be the most essential thing drivers can do. A full-service oil change at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center means that all of your other fluids get topped off so they are never low enough to cause damage. It also gives your considerate Costa Mesa Auto Service Center service specialist a chance to spot problems in the early stages so that you can fix them before they get costly. And it gives you a touch point with an automotive professional along the way to remind you of things that aren’t scheduled as often – things like differential service and timing belt replacement.

If you live in the COSTA MESA area and have an older vehicle, you may need to follow the severe service maintenance schedule. Check your owner’s manual and talk with your service specialist at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center. Conditions inside an older engine, transmission and cooling system can arguably be considered severe – so shorter intervals could well be called for.

And, the team at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center strongly encourages COSTA MESA auto owners to consider using high mileage formulation fluids. They’re fluids like engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant that are formulated for older engines. They have special additives to clean deposits, and to condition and restore seals and gaskets that dry out with age. Some COSTA MESA auto owners start using higher mileage formulations at around 50,000 miles as a preventive measure.

Of course you also want to still look marvelous in your older car as you drive around Irvine. Salt and road grime wreak havoc on your paint job and can lead to body rust – so regular washing is very important. Also, a good quality waxing is recommended at least twice a year.

Give us a call for more information:

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