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

Clean Air for Your Engine: Engine Air Filters In Orange

Every Orange car owner who has taken their car in for an oil change has been told that their engine air filter’s dirty.

Here’s what goes into the determination of when to change the filter: First, your SUV owner’s manual will have a recommendation of when to change the filter. Second, a visual inspection by your Orange technician may determine that your filter it is visibly dirty and needs to be changed.

Clean Air for Your Engine Orange Engine Air Filter

So between your owner’s manual and your Buena Park technician’s inspection there’s really no guesswork involved for Orange car owners.

Now, most air filters purchased in Orange, La Habra, Stanton, or Irvine don’t cost a lot to replace. It’s just that CA people hate getting caught with an unexpected expense. On the plus side, though, changing a dirty air filter at Auto Care Plus can often save enough on gas to pay for itself before your next oil change in Orange.

Think about a dirty furnace filter in your Orange home. When it’s all clogged up, enough clean air can’t get through. In your SUV, that means that your engine can’t get as much air as it needs to burn the fuel efficiently. So it makes do with less air and has to use more expensive CA gas to move your vehicle around Buena Park roads.

Your SUV actually needs about 12,000 gallons of air for every gallon of gas it burns. Engine air filters don’t cost much in Orange at Auto Care Plus. When it’s time to change yours, just get it done. You’ll get better fuel efficiency, have better performance and protect your SUV engine.

Orange Customer Detective Work

One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician at Auto Care Plus in Orange CA is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed.

Cars are made up of a bunch of complex systems. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. So it’s challenging to track down the actual cause of the problem. And it can be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money to get to the bottom of a problem. If it’s not something obvious, it’s easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.

Let us introduce you to something we’ll call Customer Detective Work – that is helping your Orange CA technician find clues to what’s wrong.

We start with the detective basics: What, Where and When. Play along with me. You come in to Auto Care Plus and your car is making a funny sound.

  • Q: Where’s the sound?
  • A: Around the right front wheel.
  • Q: What kind of sound?
  • A: Kind of a clunk, clunk sound.
  • Q: When do you hear the sound?
  • A: When I turn and accelerate.
  • Q: Right and left? Forwards and back?…

Do you see where we’re going? You’re gathering additional information to help your Orange CA technician know where to start. Based on your car and the tech’s experience, he’ll know where to look and can start with the obvious suspects.

You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says “making a funny noise”.

When you think you need to bring a vehicle in, make some notes about the problem. Rather than just saying “it’s leaking”, tell the tech the color of the fluid, and approximately where under the car you see the puddle.

Things like ‘the car is stalling or sputtering’ are often very hard to diagnose because they’re intermittent. They may not happen every time you drive and usually aren’t happening when you actually bring the car in. So, it is a big help for you to describe what’s happening in as much detail as possible.

Your Orange CA technician at Auto Care Plus will need to be able to duplicate the problem if possible so he needs to know details, like ‘it stalls after it’s been driven for about 20 minutes and I go over 50 miles an hour’.

If the tech can experience the problem personally, he’s better able to make a diagnosis and repair. And, then test to see if the repair solved the problem.

Coolant Service at Auto Care Plus

Orange auto owners’ cars have to operate in a wide range of CA temperatures which requires our engine coolant to be able to perform ‘no matter what’. Think for a moment about the environment where the coolant does its thing. Very hot, high pressure, corrosive…

And all the while, it has to protect the components of the cooling system from corrosion. These components are made from steel and aluminum, plastics and rubber. The coolant has to be formulated to protect against corrosion for all of these different materials. That’s why auto makers recommend different types of anti-freeze for our Orange, CA vehicles.

There are several different ‘families’ of anti-freeze available to us here in Orange, CA. Your owners’ manual will tell you what kind you should use. Of course, the automotive professionals at  Auto Care Plus will know the right kind for your car.

It’s critical to stay on top of this because coolant system failure is the most common mechanical problem people have here in Orange, CA. Regular service at Auto Care Plus needs to be done to avoid failures and also to keep your warranty in place.

While the specifics of the service required may vary from vehicle to vehicle, your friendly Auto Care Plus technician will know what to do. You’ll be advised to replace the coolant at specified intervals.

Some vehicle manufacturers recommend periodic coolant system flushes. A flush adds a cleaning step to the fluid replacement process. Again, check to see what your Orange technician recommends.

Someday, you may have to deal with an overheating problem, so you need to know what to do if your coolant temperature warning light comes on or your temperature gauge is in the hot zone.

Now, overheating can be very expensive. Orange car owners can literally melt down their engine and have to replace the whole thing. So don’t ignore warning signs.

First turn off the air conditioner. This will lower engine temperature right away. Next, crank up your heater to maximum heat and run the fan at high speed. You might need to roll down the windows, but this will take a lot of heat off the engine.

Pull over as soon as you can safely do so
, especially if you are stuck in slow-moving traffic, and shut the car off. It may take as much as 45 minutes for the engine to cool to the point that it’s safe to operate the car again.

If you need to add water or antifreeze, be sure to wait until the car cools down. Opening the radiator cap or even the overflow bottle when the coolant is hot and under pressure may result in serious burns.

After the engine has cooled for 45 minutes or so, look to see if the coolant is low in the overflow tank. If so, you can cover the overflow tank cap with a large cloth and open the lid. Then start the engine and pour in some water or antifreeze. Pouring it in when the car is running will circulate the new, cool fluid with the warmer fluid in the engine and avoid engine damage.

Of course, overheating is a serious problem and you need to get it fixed right away. Auto Care Plus can make sure the coolant is right before you drive home.

Those spring and winter inspections really come in handy when they head off a cooling system problem. And don’t forget that severe service driving conditions, like towing or hot, dusty driving around Orange, CA, mean that you’ll need to service your coolant more frequently.

At AutoNetTV, we suggest that you have Auto Care Plus inspect your coolant system to find small problems before they become big, and to change belts and hoses before they fail. After all, we don’t want you to lose your cool out there in Orange, CA.

Maintenance Free Myth


Sometimes we hear Orange car owners say, “What’s up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don’t break down.” While it is true that today’s cars and trucks are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most Orange car owners don’t realize how high tech automotive fluids have become. Fluids like, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.

Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today’s automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle’s components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and miles march on for all of our cars. Please don’t think we’re using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance – but here are some personal stories from AutoNetTV staff members to emphasize and show how important it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and bucks. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.

The first comes from a staffer who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on a highway in CA and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced – just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundred of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.

Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. Our staffer took his SUV in for the CA safety inspection to renew his registration. At the Orange inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the bucks. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind – over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a little cash on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story for Orange auto owners: don’t skip your key annual inspections. The irony is that many Orange service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.

Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy’s little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn’t get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire – so it was vigorous enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later – and then an alignment.

Situation: son and wife with cars from the same auto manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son’s maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done – it cost several hundred dollars. His wife’s car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed and the entire head was shredded and had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule? You bet he does – every time he passes a big-screen TV.

The team at Auto Care Plus in Orange recommends taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better and is more economical to operate in CA. Remember to save those maintenance records. It’ll show potential buyers that you’ve taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren’t any, assume that the maintenance hasn’t been done and take it to your Stanton or Irvine service center or Auto Care Plus in Orange for an inspection. Take care of unperformed critical routine maintenance sooner rather than later.

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

Auto Care Plus Often Asked About Premium vs. Regular Gas

Orange auto owners often ask the question: “Will using premium gas make my car run better?” The answer is simple. But first, let’s talk about what exactly premium gasoline is.

Different grades of gasoline have different octane ratings. Regular gasoline has the lowest octane rating and premium the highest. Most gas stations around Orange, CA also carry a mid-grade that falls in between the two. The octane range for the different grades of gas varies by region due to altitude differences.

Engines require different octane ratings because of design differences. For example, turbocharged engines usually require premium gas.

There’s a sticker on your gas tank filler lid that tells you the minimum octane rating your auto maker recommends.

For help identifying the type of gasoline your engine needs, come by Auto Care Plus in Orange:

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

Orange motorists should read their owner’s manuals carefully to see if it’s acceptable to use lower grades. With some cars in Orange, CA it is; the engine control computer can adapt. Orange car owners will lose some performance, but won’t do damage. With other engines, using a lower grade of fuel could result in serious and expensive damage; so you don’t want to save a couple of bucks at the pump only to pay it out a hundred fold at your Orange repair shop.

Your car will run best on the type of gas recommended by the manufacturer.

Today’s computer controlled vehicles are optimized to run well on the recommended grade of fuel. Using a higher grade than is recommended will not give Orange car owners any additional performance or better fuel economy.

Regulations require detergents for all grades of gasoline, so your engine will have the same protection, regardless of the grade of fuel you use. If you do hear some knocking or pinging from your engine, take it seriously and get your SUV into Auto Care Plus. It may be a sign that you need a tune-up or some other repair.

In times of expensive gas prices, most Orange auto owners are conscious of making their fuel dollar go further as we drive around CA. Be sure to use the right gas for your car. Keep your tires properly inflated and your vehicle well maintained and you will get the best fuel efficiency possible.