Auto Care Plus

Serving Orange and the surrounding area for over 40 years

Auto Care Plus - Serving Orange and the surrounding area for over 40 years

Keeping Your Car Young In Orange

As Orange consumers, we live in a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away.

New stuff comes out so fast, and much of it is fairly cheap, so we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids in Buena Park, our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff – especially parents who grew up in the Depression. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough, we had to do without.

Orange car owners couldn’t afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us Orange penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles with proper care. The engineering’s there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the auto maker’s maintenance schedules.

Is it really that bad for Stanton motorists to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes, you’ve created an opportunity for sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don’t get oiled and they start to wear out faster.

Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.

It’s also even more important for older vehicles in the Orange area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they’re working harder anyway. But it’s never too late to get back on track with your maintenance and to hold off further damage.

It’s just another example of our parents knowing what’s best. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That’s like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let your tech at Auto Care Plus in Orange help you keep track of the rest.

Of course, it is inevitable that some things are going to wear out along the way – stuff like alternators, water pumps and such – they don’t last forever. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It’s like having high cholesterol; you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

Auto Care Plus
1432 N Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92867
(714) 771-7587

Timing Belt Replacement in Orange

Today we want to talk about timing belts. They’re something that many Orange drivers don’t know much about and yet your vehicle won’t run if it’s broken – and it could cause many thousands of dollars damage if it does break. A broken timing belt is usually a tale of woe. Even though timing belt replacement is scheduled in the owner’s manual, it’s not the kind of thing that most Buena Park car owners remember because it’s not well understood.

Let’s review what a timing belt does. As you know, the engine’s power is generated in the cylinders. A piston rides up and down in the cylinder. During the first down stroke, an intake valve at the top of the cylinder opens and air and fuel is drawn into the cylinder. Then the piston returns to the top, compressing the fuel and air mix. At the top, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel pushing the piston down in the power stroke. As the piston once again returns up in the final stroke of the cycle, an exhaust valve opens at the top of the cylinder and the exhaust is pushed out. The timing belt is what coordinates the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. It’s called a timing belt because the valves have to open and close at just the right time.

Now, not all La Habra and Stanton vehicles have timing belts. Some have timing chains. Like the name implies, they use a chain rather than a belt to perform the function. It used to be that most engines used timing chains, which are extremely durable. Manufacturers started using belts rather than chains to save money in the manufacturing process. So now we’re left with a component that can break. They sort of shifted the problem to us. There are two broad categories of engine design: interference and non-interference. If the timing belt on a non-interference engine breaks, the engine simply stops running. That could be very dangerous depending on where you are at the time, but it causes no internal engine damage.

Interference engines, on the other hand, will get real messed up when the timing belt breaks, because the valves will actually fall down into the path of the pistons. Things get chewed up when that happens and it’ll cost thousands to repair the engine.

So, what are the warning signs? Unfortunately, there really aren’t any. There aren’t tell-tale sounds. In some vehicles, a technician from Auto Care Plus may be able to see part of the belt for a visual inspection, but many have a cover that’s in the way. The reality is that if the belt slips even one notch, it might as well be broken for all the damage it’ll cause. There’s no middle ground.

So how can we avoid these problems? Simply replace the timing belt when your owner’s manual calls for it. It can be 60,000 miles; it might be 90,000 or 100,000 miles. The point is, if you have 60,000 or more miles, ask your Auto Care Plus service advisor right away if your manufacturer requires a timing belt replacement.

Contact Auto Care Plus to learn more about your car’s Timing Belt
You can find us at:
1432 N Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92867
Or call us at (714) 771-7587

Sometimes you can go quite a while without a failure, but we’ve seen them happen within a couple of oil changes of being due. It’s not worth the risk.

What does it cost to replace a timing belt in Stanton or Irvine? Well, that really depends on what kind of car you have. I can tell you that it’s usually not very easy to get to the timing belt – you often have to remove some accessories to get at it. It isn’t a cheap procedure, but it’s a fraction of what it could cost to repair the damage caused by a failure.

At Auto Care Plus we’re all about trying to prevent costly repairs, keeping you and your passengers safe and increasing your driving enjoyment. Thanks to AutoNetTV for their great auto video tips.

Braking News: Keep Your Stopping Power

Richard Petty once told AutoNetTV, “You’ve gotta have good brakes. If you’ve got good brakes you can keep yourself out of a lotta trouble.”

That’s why a regular brake inspection is on every Orange car’s maintenance schedule. An inspection at Auto Care Plus will check your brake system and let you know if there are any problems.

Of course, if you’re having trouble with your brakes, get your car into Auto Care Plus right away. Here are some symptoms to watch for:

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

If you are experiencing any of these, it’s time to get your brakes checked.

There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that’s attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle.

Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Both types have pads or shoes that press against the brakes and slow the vehicle. Brake pads and shoes are made out of very tough material to withstand the heat and force generated when stopping your car. Eventually, they wear out with use, and become too thin and need to be replaced.

If the brake pads wear away completely, you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced. That’s not only expensive, but also dangerous because your vehicle won’t stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.

Brake service will also include a check of your brake fluid. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid actives the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid means not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. You should change the brake fluid when your manufacturer recommends to avoid these problems.

There are different grades of brake pads; good, better and best. Higher grades cost more, but give better braking performance and smoother operation. It’s OK to upgrade your brake pads. But, never use a grade that’s lower than what the manufacturer recommends.

So, be sure to properly maintain your brakes, because it’s a lot cheaper than paying the body shop after an accident.

Come in to Auto Care Plus for an brake inspection before damage occurs. You can call ahead for an appointment by calling (714) 771-7587.

Cabin Air Filter From Auto Care Plus

What is a cabin air filter?

Is it:

  1. A filter for a house in the middle of the woods?
  2. A fresh, piney scent?
  3. A filter for the passenger compartment of your car?

Clever you, it’s 3.

A cabin air filter cleans the outside air before it comes into the passenger compartment. It filters out dust, pollen, spores, bacteria, pollutants, sparrows, exhaust gas and odors.

These high tech filters can block particles larger than 3 microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.

Now not all vehicles in the Buena Park area have cabin filters. They are fairly new on the scene in CA. About forty percent of new vehicles come with cabin air filters, but the number is growing every year.

Cabin air filters can make for a very nice driving environment for Orange motorists. Your car can be a haven during CA allergy season with very little dust and pollen getting into the cabin. However, like all filters, your cabin air filter eventually gets clogged. When this happens, your heating and air conditioning flow can become restricted. The filter can even get kind of smelly.

Auto Care Plus
1432 N Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92867
(714) 771-7587

Check your owner’s manual for recommended replacement intervals. Often, the owner’s manual forgets about the cabin air filter, so ask your service technician for a recommendation. It’s usually every year or 12,000 miles/ 19,000 kilometers. Change it sooner if you drive in dusty conditions or if you start to notice an odor from your ventilation system.

So keep your cabin air filter clean. It may not help with your brother-in-law in the backseat, but it will make your driving experience more enjoyable.

What To Do After You Buy a Used Vehicle in Orange

So you’ve bought a used car in the Orange area. Do you know what you’re getting? It is hard to know what you’re getting because people in the Orange area sell cars for different reasons. Think about why you’ve sold cars. Did you just want something new or were there problems that you wanted to run away from. Maybe it was a little of both.

Used cars with 25,000 to 35,000 miles on them are often lease returns, Buena Park corporate program cars or rental fleet vehicles. Most Buena Park buyers feel pretty confident about these because they’re newer and may still be under warranty. But how well have they been maintained?

If you plan on owning a car for a long time, you’ll keep up on the auto maintenance so that you can avoid expensive repairs down the road. But, if you know you’re only going to have the car for two or three years, you may not be so committed to maintenance. It would be easy to think that skipping an oil change here and there wouldn’t ruin a brand new engine. Then it’ll be someone else’s problem when it comes time to pay for the damage.

It would be very tempting to skip the 30,000 mile service if you knew you’d be turning in your leased vehicle in a couple of months.

If the vehicle didn’t come with maintenance records, you need to assume the worst. Most likely the coolant system and transmission have never been serviced. The cabin air filter has probably not been changed and a fuel system cleaning may be in order.

You’ll want Auto Care Plus to check the air conditioning, battery, engine air filter, serpentine belt and hoses. A used car inspection at Auto Care Plus is well worth the cost.

And if your “new” used vehicle has more miles on it, an inspection is even more important. Check your owner’s manual or talk with your friendly Auto Care Plus service advisor (call (714) 771-7587) about what should have been done. Please don’t forget the timing belt; that can be very expensive if it fails.

Auto Care Plus will help you with a plan to take care of vital services and get the rest caught up. If your budget won’t allow you to take care of everything right away, we can help you prioritize your needs and get it taken care of over the next several months. And remember to keep your maintenance records. They’ll help you get top dollar on the CA used car market when it’s time for you to sell.

Auto Care Plus
1432 N Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92867
(714) 771-7587

Differential Service At Auto Care Plus

Here at AutoNetTV, we have national viewers, like your neighbors in Orange, who write to us with questions or feedback. One common question we’re asked is: “What is a differential and what does it do?” You may have been told by your Auto Care Plus service specialist that your differential needs service, or seen it as an option up on the service menu. Differential service at Auto Care Plus covers a lot of things, so let’s first talk about what a differential does.

As you drive through a turn, your outside wheels and inside wheels turn at different speeds. Kind of like the cars going around a race track – the ones driving in the outside lanes have a greater distance to travel than the cars in the inside lanes. The differential is what allows the outside and inside drive wheels to rotate at slightly different speeds so that the tires don’t hop or skip while taking corners, or lose traction in dirt or snow on Buena Park highways. Differentials have gears in them that transfer the power from the drive train to your wheels – which is why they’re often referred to as gear boxes. The gears need to be very strong to do this work, and they need to be properly protected so that they’ll last.

All vehicles in Orange have some form of differential. If you have a front-wheel drive car, your differential is sometimes called a transaxle and is located in the front. If you have rear-wheel drive, the differential is in the back of the car. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you will have a differential in the front and the back – and in the middle as well. The center differential adjusts for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.

Differential fluid lubricates and cools the gears. Over time, the fluid can get dirty from bits of the gears grinding off. The additives that keep the fluid clean and protect the differential break down over time. So your automobile manufacturer has scheduled intervals for you to have your differential fluid changed.

Differentials are hard working mechanisms, and, along with the gears in a manual transmission, need to be serviced regularly at Auto Care Plus with high-quality, replacement fluid. Your Buena Park service specialist can give you more information as to when your next differential service is recommended. You can also ask if they have a record of when the service was last completed.

As with most service intervals, if you are driving under more severe conditions in the Buena Park area, you will want to service your differential more frequently. “Severe service” conditions are defined in most owners’ manuals, and include: frequent starts and stops, short trips, cold CA weather, hot weather and towing. All these factors add to the stress of the vehicle and its parts. Also, off-roading in CA can be especially hard on differentials, especially if you cross streams. Proper service at Auto Care Plus will extend the life of your gears and keep them running more smoothly. If you have never had your differential checked, visit http://orangeautocareplus.com/contact.html for more information.

Proper Fluids for Your Vehicle

The automotive professionals at Auto Care Plus would like to give Orange drivers an update on some of the things happening in automotive fluids. You know, cars are becoming more sophisticated everyday – and fluids such as, oil, coolant and transmission fluid are becoming more specialized at about the same pace.

The Buena Park do-it-yourselfer has to be pretty careful so that they do not actually harm their vehicle with the wrong type of fluid. That is why so many CA car owners rely on the advice of their friendly Auto Care Plus service advisor to not only get the correct family of fluids, but to suggest the formulation that is best for their car and their driving habits.

Let’s start with engine oil. La Habra drivers who have been paying attention, will have noticed a number of new oil weights on the CA scene in the last several years. Modern engines are built to much tighter tolerances and have very complicated valve trains. The oil must be thin enough to lubricate complicated parts when the engine is cold. The weight of an oil is expressed in terms like 20-W-50 or 5-W-30. The auto manufacturers recommend the weight of oil for each vehicle they make. The recommendation is based on engine design. Your Orange service center will know what weight your manufacturer recommends – and it’s important to follow those recommendations. Your service advisor at Auto Care Plus can also offer suggestions for special formulations and can tell you all about conventional and synthetic oils.

Antifreeze,
or engine coolant, is another area that has become more complicated. For a long time, vehicle manufacturers only recommended a couple of different types of coolant. Now, several different formulations are needed because of the high-tech materials that auto manufacturers are using to build the cooling system. Using the wrong type of coolant can actually void your warranty, so you want to get that right.

Transmission fluid is becoming specialized as well. New transmission designs have particular requirements that require specific formulations. Recently, new, somewhat confusing, standards for brake fluid have also been released.

Not too long ago, there was a good chance that all of the vehicles at your Orange house would use many of the same fluids. However, as automotive technology advances, the array of basic automotive fluids you need will grow. And, some of the formulations will cost a little more. Fortunately, Auto Care Plus will continue to update their training to keep pace with technology so that you’ll get the right fluids your car needs. It’s all part of the commitment we make to your driving peace of mind.

PCV Valve Replacement

Hello Orange motorists, let’s talk about your often-unnoticed but extremely important PCV valve. The energy from exploding fuel is what powers your engine. But some of the vapors from the explosions escape into the lower part of the engine, called the crankcase. The crankcase is where your engine oil hangs out. These gases are about 70% unburned fuel. If the gases were allowed to stay in the crankcase, they would quickly contaminate the oil and turn it to sludge. Buena Park folks know that sludge is one of the biggest enemies of your engine, clogging it up, eventually leading to expensive failures. Also, the pressure build up would cause seals and gaskets to blow out. Therefore, these gases need to be vented out.

Pre-1963, gasoline engines had a hose that let the poisonous fumes vent out into the air. In 1963, the federal government required gas engines to have a special one-way valve installed to help reduce dangerous emissions. (Can you imagine how polluted our Buena Park air would be if every car had been releasing those poisonous fumes for the last fifty years?) Diesel engines are not required to have these valves.

The positive crankcase ventilation, or PCV, valve routes crankcase gases through a hose and back into the air intake system where they are re-burned in the engine. Fresh, clean air is brought into the crankcase through a breather tube. It’s really a pretty simple system, but it does the job. The re-circulating air removes moisture and combustion waste from the crankcase, preventing sludge. This extends not only the life of your oil, but the engine as well. The PCV relieves pressure in the crankcase, preventing oil leaks.

Eventually, the PCV valve can get gummed up
. Then it can’t move enough air through the engine to keep it working properly. If the PCV valve is sticking enough, you could have oil leaks, excess oil consumption and a fouled intake system. If you experience hesitation or surging or an oil leak, it may be a sign of PCV valve problems. Your owners’ manual may give a recommendation for when the PCV valve should be replaced – usually between 20,000 mi/32,000 km and 50,000 mi/80,000 km. Unfortunately, some car makers don’t list a recommendation in the manual, so it can be easy to overlook.

Many PCV system problems can be diagnosed with an inspection by your friendly Auto Care Plus tech. Fortunately, PCV valve replacement is both quick and inexpensive at Auto Care Plus. Proper oil changes will greatly extend the life of the PCV valve. Skipping a few recommended oil changes can allow varnish and gum to build up in the valve, reducing its efficiency. So now when your Orange service technician tells you its time to replace your PCV valve, you will know what he’s talking about. If you have had your car for a while and this is the first you’ve ever heard of a PCV value, ask your tech to check yours out or call Auto Care Plus at (714) 771-7587.

Suspension Service In Orange At Auto Care Plus

When they hear the word ‘suspension‘, Orange drivers may think back to those energetic days of grade school. Well, your car’s suspension is actually a good thing because it keeps your car up off the road and helps provide a comfy ride around Buena Park. Its job is to keep your wheels firmly planted over bumps and through curves. Your suspension system has many parts. If you look under your car, it’s basically everything that connects your wheels to the car’s frame. These are heavy duty parts that do a lot of work. They need to be inspected for damage and excessive wear at least once a year. A good time for this is when you get your annual alignment service.

Here are some warning signs of suspension problems:

  • the car pulls to one side
  • it wanders
  • the steering is erratic
  • you see uneven tire wear
  • you experience a poor ride or handling
  • you see oil leaking from shocks

Basically, you just don’t feel in control when you’re driving.

Some suspension parts just wear out with use. Shocks and struts eventually lose their ability to control your ride. Wheel bearings need to be repacked every couple of years. And some suspension pieces need to be lubricated when you get your oil changed. Your friendly tech at Auto Care Plus can perform a diagnostic examination and tell you what problems you may have.

If you’re in an accident, your suspension can be damaged or knocked out of alignment. Even a minor accident, like hitting a curb around Orange or even a large rock can mess things up. With a minor accident it’s tempting for many Buena Park drivers to just get an alignment or wheel balance to correct the problem. But if there’s damage, a simple alignment won’t actually fix the problem, and you’ll just have to align it again after the repairs are made. So if you have an accident, get your suspension system inspected right away. Suspension problems are a major safety issue because they can lead to unsafe handling.

One big cause of suspension damage is potholes – those nasty magnets that form in Buena Park roads in freezing weather. They seem to draw our tires right into them. Here are some tips for avoiding damage from potholes: First, keep your tires at their full air pressure. That gives tires their maximum resiliency and will hopefully keep your wheels or other suspension parts from crunching on a big hole. Next, just pay attention. When you see a hole you can’t miss, slow down before you hit it. Driving at a slower speed will limit the damage, and may keep your drink from spilling. But avoid the temptation to brake directly over the pothole. That will cause the car’s weight to shift forward and add to the potential damage.

Auto Care Plus
Give us a call today at (714) 771-7587
Or stop by at 1432 N Glassell St., Orange, CA 92867

Auto Care Plus Radiator Service

The coolant system is a vital part of your vehicle. It is also the second most common cause for vehicle failures. Even though coolant system failure is fairly common in Orange, it is easy to prevent.

Auto Care Plus
1432 N Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92867
(714) 771-7587

The most recognizable part of the coolant system to Buena Park auto owners is the radiator. It is connected to the engine with hoses and is filled with coolant. The coolant draws heat off the engine and then passes into the radiator. Air passes through cooling fins to reduce the temperature of the coolant and then it’s back to the engine again.

There are several ways for the cooling system failure. Most common is with the coolant itself. Coolant is comprised of water and antifreeze. The proper ratio keeps the coolant from either boiling away or freezing. Understandably, either can lead to massive engine damage.

Another vital coolant issue that is often overlooked by Orange drivers is the age of the coolant itself. Antifreeze has additives that protect the coolant system from corrosion. As these additives are depleted over time, they can’t protect the radiator and other parts from rust, scaling and corrosion. That old container of coolant gathering dust in your garage may still keep your engine cool, but it won’t protect it from corrosion.

If get a warning message to check the coolant or if the SUV temperature gauge is in the hot zone, your cooling system needs to be checked. It’s OK to add water or antifreeze yourself. But you need to be cautious. Remember four things:

  • First, you never want to open the radiator pressure cap. You could be severely burned.
  • Second, get to Auto Care Plus in Orange immediately if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your SUV owners manual – it will direct you to only make additions to the coolant overflow bottle.
  • Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze. If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with your Auto Care Plus service center where we can make necessary adjustments.
  • Fourth, not all cars use the same type of antifreeze. You need to check your SUV owners manual to make sure you use the right kind. Mixing antifreeze types or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the manufacturers warranty on your cooling system. Again, another reason to depend on your Auto Care Plus service center in Orange to do things right.

Remember, your Orange service center has the equipment to change your coolant quickly and inexpensively.