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

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

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.

Costa Mesa Auto Service Center: Good Service And Good Fuel Economy

Most COSTA MESA and Corona Del Mar auto owners want to save on gas and seek our advice on improving fuel efficiency. At Costa Mesa Auto Service Center, we are frequently asked, however, if it is really worth the extra effort. Just how much money can COSTA MESA car owners actually save?

The US government has a website dedicated to helping us use less fuel. It presents the cost savings in a way COSTA MESA car owners can relate to and is relevant for all vehicles. Let me give you an example: Having your sedan engine properly tuned, can save up to 4%. If you’re paying three-fifty for a gallon of gas in COSTA MESA, you could save fourteen cents a gallon.

Costa Mesa Auto Service Center: Good Service And Good Fuel Economy

In today’s Costa Mesa Auto Service Center article, we’re focusing on the things you can do to improve your sedan MPG driving around CA. We’ll tell you the potential savings per gallon of gas at three dollars and fifty cents, and we’ll show a chart that also shows the savings at three and four dollars.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
TUNE UP 4% .12 .14 .16

The next item is replacing a clogged engine air filter. Your engine needs enough air to burn fuel efficiently for the best fuel efficiency. A clean air filter means you get plenty of air. The fact that the air’s clean protects your engine. That can save you up to ten percent or thirty-five cents a gallon.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.OO $3.50 $4.00
AIR FILTER 10% .30 .35 .40

Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve economy by up to forty percent. That’s a whopping dollar forty in savings per gallon. Bring your car to Costa Mesa Auto Service Center in COSTA MESA and we’ll check your oxygen sensor.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
FAULTY O2 SENSOR 40% 1.20 1.40 1.60

Chances are that if your oxygen sensor is kaput your check engine light will come on. Now, there’s any number of things that could cause your check engine light to come on besides oxygen sensor problems. But if it’s on, get it checked out as soon as you can at Costa Mesa Auto Service Center.

Here’s an easy one for brilliant COSTA MESA car owners. Inflate your tires to the recommended pressure. That could save you three percent or eleven cents a gallon. Even a little drop in pressure will bring down your fuel efficiency, so check your tires every week.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
TIRE INFLATION 3% .09 .11 .12

Your sedan auto maker has recommended a specific weight of motor oil. The recommendation is based on engine design and will give you the best protection. Using a heavier weight could cost one to two percent in reduced fuel efficiency, or up to seven cents a gallon.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
RIGHT GRADE MOTOR OIL 2% .06 .07 .08

Here’s one that’s free for COSTA MESA drivers that  want to save bucks: Take it easy when you drive. Aggressive driving (we’ve all seen this on COSTA MESA roads), rocketing away from stop lights, standing on the brakes, punching it for lane changes – really takes a toll on your fuel efficiency.

Cutting out aggressive driving around COSTA MESA can save five percent or eighteen cents a gallon. Now on the expressway it gets really costly: thirty three percent or a buck sixteen a gallon. Think about that – and leave a little earlier.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
DRIVE AGRESSIVELY – MIN. 5% .15 .18 .20
DRIVE AGGRESSIVELY – MAX. 33$ .99 1.16 1.32

A related item is exceeding the speed limit. For example, if the speed limit is sixty miles per hour on your COSTA MESA interstate,  an additional five miles will cost seven percent or twenty-five cents a gallon. Fifteen miles per hour will cost you upwards of eighty cents a gallon.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
SPEED LIMIT – MIN. 7% .21 .25 .28
SPEED LIMIT – MAX. 23% .69 .81 .92

The last thing we’ll talk about is excess weight. Our sedans tend to accumulate a lot of things and the weight adds up. Clear out the trunk and only haul stuff when you really need it. For every one hundred pounds you can save two percent or seven cents a gallon.

Sorry honey, your brother can’t come with. It’d cost an extra thirty cents a gallon.

Direct Fuel Injection Update From Costa Mesa Auto Service Center

For those of you in COSTA MESA CA who pay attention to these things, you may have been hearing about the new direct injection engines and want to learn more about them. Some deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.

For example, in one family of engines the conventional V6 makes about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version of the same engine makes over 300 horsepower and gets essentially the same gas mileage. The turbocharged version makes over 350 horsepower.

So what are the differences from a conventional engine?

The core difference is in the fuel injection system. The system most vehicles use now is called a port injection system. The fuel injector squirts fuel into a port just outside the cylinder where it’s then drawn into the engine with the air.

With a direct injection system, the injector squirts the fuel directly into the cylinder. The gain in power and economy come because fuel injected directly into the cylinder during the combustion cycle is burned much more efficiently.

First, the fuel is squirted in at hundreds of times more pressure, so it’s atomized much better and burns cleaner and stronger. The other big advance is in electronics. Faster engine management computers can control the additional precision required to manage direct fuel injection.

Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver a precise amount of fuel at exactly the right time. The design of the engine also dictates a particular spray pattern for the fuel. If a fuel injector is dirty or gummed up, it can’t do its job as well. That means less power and worse fuel economy for your sedan and can lead to damaged fuel injectors.

Replacing fuel injectors isn’t cheap. Direct injection injectors are even more expensive because of the extremely high-pressure they use. Same thing for diesel fuel injectors; we’re talking mortgage payment-range to replace a set of diesel injectors.

A professional fuel system cleaning from Costa Mesa Auto Service Center gets out the gum and varnish in the whole system, including the fuel injectors. Keep those injectors clean and they’ll last a long, long time.