23
Aug
Summer's End Is The Perfect Time For Car Care

Summer’s End Is The Perfect Time For Car Care

Summer’s End Is The Perfect Time For Car Care

Summer’s end is a perfect time for car care to assure you and your family of worry-free driving this fall and winter.

The vacations are over and the kids are going back to school. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) suggests you take advantage of this lull to prepare your vehicle for the seasons ahead.  Breakdowns are never convenient and the following tips from ASE should give parents and students a preventative maintenance road map:

Recommended Service Schedules

We suggest you follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules which can be found in your owner’s manual.  Or contact one of DRIVE AutoCare‘s Service Managers who have complete access to this information.

Engine Performance

Have engine problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected soon as colder weather will make the existing problems much worse.  We also recommend you replace any dirty filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.)

Fuel

If you are planning on driving to the mountains this winter, we suggest you put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank monthly to help keep moisture from freezing the fuel line.  Also, refuel at half a tank  to prevent moisture from forming in the first place.

Oil

Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual more often (every 3,000 miles or so).

Cooling System

The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically.  The tightness and condition of belts, clamps, and hoses should be also be checked.

Heater/Defroster

The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility.

Windshield Wipers

Replace old blades and stock up on windshield washer solvent… you’ll be surprised how much you use.

Battery

Stop by DRIVE AutoCare for a battery test, it’s only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment.  We also suggest you have corrosion removed from posts and cable connections and all surfaces.

Lights

Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses with a moistened cloth or towel. If your lenses are yellowed, we can professionally restore them.

Exhaust System

Exhaust fumes can be deadly.  Have your vehicle placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks;  the trunk and floorboards should be inspected for small holes.

Tires

Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressure once a month,and rotate as recommended:   Discount Tire Company will do it for free. Don’t forget your spare and be sure the jack is in good condition.

Emergency Equipment

Carry blankets, flares, flashlight and a few “high-energy” snacks.

16
Aug

Check Engine Light Rancho Santa Fe Solana Beach Del Mar Encinitas

Check Engine Light Rancho Santa Fe Solana Beach Del Mar Encinitas

Check Engine Light Rancho Santa Fe Solana Beach Del Mar Encinitas

The Check Engine Light Rancho Santa Fe Solana Beach Del Mar Encinitas, according to Consumer Reports, is the most misunderstood indicator on your dashboard.  This warning light means many different things, from a loose gas cap to a seriously misfiring engine.  While you don’t have to pull the car over immediately, you should get the car checked out as soon as possible.  By ignoring the warning you might seriously damage expensive components.  Additionally, this light is a sign that your car is getting poor mileage and emitting higher pollutant levels.  The check engine light is part of your car’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) system. When there’s a problem that the system can’t correct, the computer illuminates a yellow warning indicator  and simultaneously stores a “trouble code” in its memory to identifies the source of the problem when scanned by a service technician.

In 1996, under OBD II regulations, car manufacturers were required to install a much more sophisticated system that essentially acts like a built-in emissions testing station. The computer monitors and adjusts dozens of components and processes. For example, it continually samples exhaust emissions as they leave the engine and again as they leave the catalytic converter (a device that removes pollutants from the exhaust). The system also monitors the fuel system to ensure gasoline vapors are not escaping into the atmosphere. If a problem occurs, the computer will wait to see if it corrects itself before turning on the light.

What To Do?

When the check engine light illuminates, it will either blink or remain constant, depending on the problem. Either way, you should have the vehicle checked, although a blinking light or a red light indicates a problem that needs immediate attention. In late-model cars, a blinking light usually indicates an engine misfire so severe that unburned fuel is being dumped into the exhaust system, where it can quickly damage the catalytic converter, requiring an expensive repair. If that happens, you should reduce power and have the vehicle looked at as soon as possible. If the light is steady, the problem is not an emergency but you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Smog Inspections

Finally, when the check engine light comes on, do not go for a smog inspection. An illuminated warning light is an automatic failure, even if the problem is nothing more than a loose gas cap. And don’t bother trying to fool the inspection station by disconnecting the battery or using any other method to erase the trouble code. Your vehicle’s computer will let the inspection station know that its codes have been erased, and you’ll just have to go back again.

 

28
Jun

Summer Road Trip Checklist

Summer Road Trip Checklist

Summer Road Trip Checklist

Summer Road Trip Checklist: AAA reports that 4 of 10 drivers are unprepared for vehicle breakdowns which can take the joy out of your trip.  The Car Care Council recommends taking the following steps before you leave home:

  • Check the battery:  Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.  Excessive heat and overcharging shortens the life of a battery.  Replacing an old battery is an inexpensive insurance policy.
  • Check the tires:  Be sure to check the tire pressure and tread including the spare. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  • Check the air conditioning:  Proper cooling performance is critical for interior comfort.
  • Check all fluids:  Check the engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  • Check the wipers and lighting:  Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.
  • Check the emergency kit:  Purchase one if you don’t have one or restock, if necessary.

DRIVE AutoCare also recommends inspecting the brake system and performing a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy.

ENJOY THE RIDE!

17
May

Auto Repair Headlights Solana Beach Del Mar Rancho Santa Fe

Auto Repair Headlights Solana Beach Del Mar Rancho Santa FeAuto Repair Headlights Solana Beach Del Mar Rancho Santa Fe

Auto Repair Headlights Solana Beach Del Mar Rancho Santa Fe

Auto Repair Headlights Solana Beach Del Mar Rancho Santa Fe, we recommend replacing headlights in pairs and restoring your lenses as needed.  Replacing just one failed bulb can result in an unbalanced or unpredictable headlight beam which is a potential safety risk.  For the driver, unbalanced headlights means the road ahead will not be properly lit.  For the oncoming driver, it will be harder to see and more difficult to position on the road; he may also be confused with a single headlight vehicle such as a motorcycle.

Many drivers will only replace a bulb that has completely failed, but for maximum driving safety, an aging bulb should replaced before it burns out. As the filament of a halogen headlight bulb ages, the bulb’s light output deteriorates. At the end of their typical service life, headlight bulbs project less light, reducing the driver’s nighttime visibility.  A new headlight bulb that typically projects a 240-foot beam will only be able to deliver a 160-foot beam after three years. That’s a whopping 33% percent less light and a critical safety concern.

Regarding headlight restoration,  the plastic components can yellow and haze with weather, sun and sand, limiting visibility and diminishing the appearance and value of the vehicle.  The dangers in terms of limited visibility are clear as it’s a factor in 2.8 million accidents, 23,000 fatal crashes and 2,300 pedestrian deaths each year (according to the Motor Vehicle Lighting Council). Dim headlight bulbs and hazy plastic headlight lenses or surfaces may lead to this reduced visibility, putting you, your passengers and other cars at risk. The AAIA Car Care Council found that 26 percent of the cars it inspected had issues with their lighting system. Millions of cars on the road today have plastic headlight lenses. The problem increases with the age of the lens, and with the average age of cars on the road about 10 years old, the problem is growing. That is why it is important to correct hazy, dull headlights.

12
May

Rancho Santa Fe Mobil Gas Station and Automotive Repair

Rancho Santa Fe Mobil Gas Station and Automotive Repair

Rancho Santa Fe Mobil Gas Station and Automotive Repair

Rancho Santa Fe Mobil Gas Station and Automotive Repair will be replaced by the newly approved Gateway project in the Rancho Santa Fe village, a 2-story, 27,017-square- foot mixed-use building.

Residents of Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch should be aware that DRIVE AutoCare offers complimentary Concierge Service.  We will pickup your vehicle, make the necessary repairs, and return the vehicle to your home or office — all at no additional cost.  DRIVE AutoCare enhances automotive value, comfort & safety.  Forevermore, we will be obsessive in our quest to exceed the expectations of our community with trustworthy advice and legendary service.

The Gateway project will not have a gas station or an auto repair facility.  It will have a 5,000-square-foot market, more village parking with a three-level, 138-space underground garage, and a more “deserving” entry to the village from the south with a portion of the property preserved as green open space.   According to Robert Green, the retired building commissioner still serving in an advisory role to Rancho Santa Fe, the project “stacks up,” with 13 percent courtyards and 35 percent of the ground floor as leasable market space.

DRIVE AutoCare has 2 locations in Solana Beach, easily accessible to Rancho Santa Fe:  128 N. Cedros Ave (858-793-0560) and 371 N. Highway 101 (858-755-5015).  Online appointments are available at www.driveautocare.com.  DRIVE repairs and maintains foreign, domestic and exotic vehicles.

 

 

 

20
Apr

Check Engine Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar

Check Engine Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar

Check Engine Rancho Santa and Fe Del Mar

One of the most vital signals of an improperly functioning vehicle is the Check Engine Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar which alerts drivers of existing potential problems.  Studies show that the check engine light is on in nearly one out of ten vehicles, according to the Car Care Council.

“When the check engine light comes on, it means that a vehicle system, such as the ignition, fuel injection or emission control, is not operating properly, even if the vehicle appears to be running normally,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A glowing check engine light doesn’t mean you have to immediately pull the car to the side of the road, but it does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible. Ignoring the warning light could result in costly repairs. At the very least, the light could alert you to an engine problem that is negatively impacting fuel economy.”

An illuminated check engine light could mean a faulty oxygen sensor, mass air flow sensor, or spark plugs and wires. If the light flashes, the condition is more critical and must be checked immediately to prevent severe damage, which may include catalytic converter damage.  If your check engine light is flashing, call us right away at 858-793-0560.

A Technician working on a vehicle with an illuminated check engine light must be trained and certified in OBDII diagnosis and repair.  At DRIVE AutoCare, our technician will connect your vehicle”s computer system to a diagnostic scan tool, which will provide trouble codes indicating why the check engine light was activated.  While the diagnostic tool is connected, the technician can analyze data streams such as the idle speed, throttle response, engine temperature, fuel system pressure, manifold vacuum, exhaust emission levels and many other key indicators. Once the problem is fixed, the car”s computer is reset to initiate the computer’s release process. The technician should then advise the customer of the proper course of action, potential warranty coverage, further testing if necessary and recommended repairs.

 

23
Mar

Rancho Santa Fe Automotive Repair

Rancho Santa Fe Automotive Repair

Rancho Santa Fe Automotive Repair

Think you can can save money by passing on non-critical Rancho Santa Fe Automotive Repair?  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Making sure your car is well maintained and immediately fixing the small things can mean HUGE savings in the future.  Regular preventative maintenance may prevent a future repair or replacement, which can be very costly. Here are a few simple maintenance items that can help keep that money in your pocket:

Become familiar with the owner’s manual. That is the go-to place to find the information you need to know about appropriate maintenance procedures and intervals. This will also give you information such as the correct fuel octane, the proper tire inflation, etc.

Oil is the life blood of your vehicle so keep it clean and full.  Some places say that a car can go 5,000 to 7,000 miles before you need an oil change. However, since it is so critical to the well-being of your vehicle, we recommend getting it changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles.

Coolant regulates the temperature of the engine and keeps it from overheating or freezing. Look for leakage around the radiator if you notice that your coolant is often low.

Regularly change the filters as they keep out contaminants that can cause component failure. The fuel filter is especially important to keep clean since it keeps the fuel pump free from contaminants. Additionally, make sure that the gas tank doesn’t get too low. The sediment in fuel usually goes to the bottom of the tank and keeping the tank full will help ensure that sediment doesn’t get into the fuel pump.

Bring your car into DRIVE AutoCare and we will have one of our ASE-Certified technicians see what can be done to help you save money, improve gas mileage, and help keep you safely on the road.

23
Mar

Del Mar Car Care and Automotive Repair

Del Mar Car Care and Automotive Repair

Del Mar Car Care and Automotive Repair

Think you can can save money by passing on non-critical Del Mar Car Care and Automotive Repair?  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Making sure your car is well maintained and immediately fixing the small things can mean HUGE savings in the future.  Regular preventative maintenance may prevent a future repair or replacement, which can be very costly. Here are a few simple maintenance items that can help keep that money in your pocket:

Become familiar with the owner’s manual. That is the go-to place to find the information you need to know about appropriate maintenance procedures and intervals. This will also give you information such as the correct fuel octane, the proper tire inflation, etc.

Oil is the life blood of your vehicle so keep it clean and full.  Some places say that a car can go 5,000 to 7,000 miles before you need an oil change. However, since it is so critical to the well-being of your vehicle, we recommend getting it changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles.

Coolant regulates the temperature of the engine and keeps it from overheating or freezing. Look for leakage around the radiator if you notice that your coolant is often low.

Regularly change the filters as they keep out contaminants that can cause component failure. The fuel filter is especially important to keep clean since it keeps the fuel pump free from contaminants. Additionally, make sure that the gas tank doesn’t get too low. The sediment in fuel usually goes to the bottom of the tank and keeping the tank full will help ensure that sediment doesn’t get into the fuel pump.

Bring your car into DRIVE AutoCare and we will have one of our ASE-Certified technicians see what can be done to help you save money, improve gas mileage, and help keep you safely on the road.

16
Mar

Prepare Your Car For Summer in Del Mar Rancho Santa Fe Solana Beach

Prepare Your Car For Summer in Del Mar Rancho Santa Fe Solana Beach

Prepare Your Car For Summer in Del Mar Rancho Santa Fe Solana Beach

Prepare Your Car For Summer in Del Mar Rancho Santa Fe Solana Beach because warmer temperatures can be hard on a vehicle.  With the right precautions, though, you can minimize the toll that heat and sun take on your car.

Here are five tips to prepare your car for summer:

1. Check air pressure in your tires: It’s critical to have properly inflated tires to assure the best possible contact between the tires and the road. An improperly inflated tire can overheat, potentially leading to a blowout on the highway.  Check your owner’s manual or the driver side door jamb to find the correct tire pressure. Check the pressure in the morning when the tires are cold. Properly inflated tires will also last longer and improve gas mileage.

2. Check the A/C system:  Now that it’s warmer, run the A/C for a bit to see if it still blows cold. Pay attention to any strange noises or odors. The system may need cleaning, have a leak or need to be recharged; DRIVE AutoCare can help inspect and recharge your A/C.

3. Inspect the wiper fluid and blades: Visibility is always important. Check the wiper fluid reservoir and top it off if necessary. Take a look at the wiper blades, too. In most cases, we recommend replacing these in the winter, since the heat can dry out the rubber. But if you expect rain this summer, you should consider replacing them now. Run the wipers with the fresh washer fluid and see whether or not they streak the windshield.

4. Perform an under-the-hood inspection: You probably haven’t cracked open the hood all winter, and who can blame you?  Bring your vehicle to DRIVE AutoCare for a complimentary 30 point vehicle inspection.  Here are just a few items we will check as a result of the warmer weather:

Battery: We will check for corrosion on the battery terminals.

Oil: In the past, the conventional wisdom was to switch to a heavier oil in the summer and a lighter oil in the winter. This is outdated advice and doesn’t apply to any car built in the past 10-15 years. Modern cars have very specific oil needs, and the engines are designed to withstand a wide range of temperatures with the factory oil.

Coolant:  We will inspect the coolant in the reservoir, checking both the level and its condition, it should be clear, not cloudy.

Brake fluid: We will inspect your brake fluid, if the reservoir looks low, this is one instance when we wouldn’t top it off. In many cases, the brake fluid will drop to match the wear on the pads. A low level could also be a sign of a leak in the brake system, in which case topping it off is only delaying the inevitable repair. If you’re running low on brake fluid, take the car to your mechanic or dealer for a closer look at the brake system.

5. Wash and wax the car:  The summer is the best time to give your vehicle a detailing.   We recommend Cardiff Valero on Birmingham Street.

 

16
Mar

Automotive Extended Warranties

Automotive Extended Warranties

Automotive Extended Warranties

Automotive Extended Warranties are repair coverages that commence after the manufacturer’s warranty expire. These warranties cover most major breakdowns and can stabilize the cost of repairs.  In most cases you can purchase this warranty any time before the manufacturer warranty expires.  Some warranty companies will allow you to purchase an extended warranty after the manufacturer warranty expires, although the price will be much higher.

Here are some questions to consider when purchasing an automotive extended warranty:

1. Who stands behind the warranty?
Dealerships offer third-party warranties from various companies.  Make sure the warranty is backed by the automaker, not just the dealership or some other company. If you purchase a manufacturer-backed extended warranty, you can use it at any dealership across the country however some third-party warranties might only be good at the dealership that sold it to you.  We suggest a warranty that will also allow you to take your vehicle to an independent repair facility like DRIVE AutoCare.

2. Have you shopped for the best price?
If you are buying the extended at the dealer, be sure to ask the Finance manager if he has shopped around for the best price.  You should also take the time to shop for this coverage yourself.  Your research is best done prior to your dealer visit on the day that you finalize your purchase. If the car purchase is a large budget item for you, then you can shop for a better price after the sale.

 

3. Do you know what’s covered?
An extended warranty isn’t the cure-all that some dealers make it out to be. Many wear items (brakes, belts, etc) are not covered by most vehicle extended warranties.  Many extended warranties come in coverage tiers (silver, gold, platinum, for example), each with its own price and level of coverage. Take the time to read the fine print to determine what is and isn’t covered.  You must also determine who will front the cost for the repair bill. Are the repairs fully covered? Do you have to pay a small deductible? Or do you have to pay for the repairs up front and get reimbursed later?

4. Will you have peace of mind if you don’t buy it?
The answer here is all up to you. If you’re someone who will always have a nagging feeling that you should have bought the warranty, go ahead and get it.  On the other hand, if you are confident that you’ve purchased a reliable vehicle, you can walk away and not give the extended warranty a second thought.

 

5. Have you looked at your repair history?
Consider your own history with vehicle breakdowns. Have your other cars had the kinds of problems that would have been covered by a warranty? If you are considering a road-hazard tire warranty, for example, think about how many times you’ve had a flat tire. If there is a lot of debris on the roads in your area or if you’ve had several flat tires in a short span of time, a road-hazard warranty may be worth looking into. But if you can’t remember the last time you had a flat, you may not need the coverage.

 

 

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