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

Orange Drivers: Get Fresh Air Inside Your Car

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Let’s talk about air quality in Orange. It’s a global issue, but affects us wherever we are. Many decades ago, Orange car owners began to become aware of how air pollution negatively affects health. But what about the air inside your vehicle?

Cabin air filters are now coming on most new SUVs in Orange. These filters clean the air in the passenger compartment. They can filter particles down to three microns, so that’s good enough to clean out dust, pollen and most pollutants. If you suffer from allergies in Orange, this is very good news. Your car can be a haven during your Orange commute.

Orange Drivers: Get Fresh Air Inside Your CarNow, it’s only been in the last few years that cabin air filters have become common in Orange. You can look in your owner’s manual to see if you have one. If you do, there’ll be a recommendation for replacing it when it gets dirty. If you live in an area of Orange where there’s a lot of dust, pollen or pollution, you may need to change it more often.

You can also ask your friendly Auto Care Plus service professional in Orange. How hard is it to change an air filter on a car? It depends on your vehicle. Some are quite accessible; others take some doing to get to them. They’re usually in the engine compartment or under the dashboard.

Because cabin air filters are so new on the scene, some Orange people haven’t heard of them – even auto owners who have cabin air filters in their SUV. Auto Care Plus service advisors have discovered that many Orange customers who complained about an unpleasant odor in their SUV simply had a dirty cabin air filter.

Serpentine Belt Service At Auto Care Plus In Orange

If you’ve ever heard a squealing sound under your SUV hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems in your SUV. Let’s go over them.

First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Orange.

Serpentine Belt Service At Auto Care Plus In OrangeMore importantly, the belt powers the alternator
. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your SUV’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).

And, on most SUVs, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some Orange cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.

When they understand what it does, Orange motorists realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owners manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owners manual, come see us at Auto Care Plus.

At Auto Care Plus in Orange, your friendly service professional can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your friendly service specialist at Auto Care Plus. There’s a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Auto Care Plus, we recommend Orange auto owners that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your SUV.

All in all, the serpentine belt’s is vital to the operation of your SUV. And it’s not that costly to replace at Auto Care Plus – so it’s good to do so before it fails.

Suspension Service At Auto Care Plus In Orange

Suspension systems function effectively for many years and tens of thousands of miles. Eventually, however, SUV suspension components do wear out, but how long that takes depends a lot on how you drive around Orange and Stanton.

As you can imagine, if most of your driving is on smooth CA highways, your shock absorbers will last a lot longer than if you do most of your driving on bumpy Orange roads or haul heavy loads. In addition to just wearing out, SUV suspension components can be damaged in an accident or by a hard impact – like a pothole, hitting a curb or a rock in the road. Because the life span of shocks can vary so widely, SUV car makers recommend periodic inspections.

Suspension Service At Auto Care PlusDuring an inspection at Auto Care Plus in Orange, your friendly automotive service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts.

Here’s a quick rundown of suspension system components:

First there are the springs which hold the weight of your SUV. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are obviously important heavy duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort.

You’ve probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your SUV dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you’ve stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it’s definitely time to replace them at Auto Care Plus.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit Auto Care Plus for a a critical suspension inspection. Same if you’ve been in an accident that involved one of your wheels. If your SUV suspension actually fails, it could lead to a serious accident, so don’t put it off.

When you replace your shocks, it’s usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. That’ll give you more even handling. Talk with your friendly Auto Care Plus technician because you don’t want a big difference between the performance of your shocks from wheel to wheel, and replacing all may be the safest bet.

There are different grades of shocks and struts. You always want to use a replacement shock or strut that equals the one that came as original equipment when your SUV was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of Stanton people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.

For example, if you want increased handling performance, your friendly Auto Care Plus advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut specially designed for improved handling. If you haul heavy loads or trailers in Orange, we can recommend some heavy duty shock absorbers.

Auto Care Plus Guide To Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

Today’s Auto Care Plus post focuses on using the proper fluids for your vehicle. Significant advancements in automotive technology have lead to the development of high-tech fluids to keep modern cars operating at peak performance. This is due to both engineering advances and new high-tech materials used to build SUV automotive systems.

A simple example of this is the cooling system. For decades it was primarily made out of iron, steel and rubber hoses. There was one kind of coolant that protected these components from corrosion.

Now cooling system components are made with various metal alloys and plastics. These materials require different additives to protect them from corrosion. Since the materials used vary among SUV car makers, we now have a number of different kinds of coolant.

It’s essential for La Habra car owners to use the right coolant. Auto Care Plus Guide To Using the Correct Fluids in Your VehicleIf you pour in the wrong kind, it won’t protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Check your SUV owner’s manual. Of course, your Auto Care Plus automotive advisor will know the proper coolant for your vehicle.

Brake fluid is confusing for some La Habra drivers. Back when we opened Auto Care Plus 9 years ago, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some Orange people mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That’s not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the demands of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is designed for your SUV.

Ditto for transmission fluid. For decades there were two basic types of tranny fluid used at Auto Care Plus: friction modified or not. With the tremendous engineering advances in SUV automatic transmissions, there have been several new types of fluids developed to protect and lubricate them.

Nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident to La Habra car owners and Auto Care Plus professionals than in motor oil. Many new weights and formulations have been created to meet the demands of today’s high-tech SUV engine design. Modern engines have more parts and much tighter tolerances. Every year, engines make more power and (thankfully!) get better fuel economy. And along with all the complexity and sophistication, they still have to be durable.

That’s where the new grades of engine oil come in. They have to be formulated to lubricate, protect and clean all of those SUV engine parts, big and little. The oil has to be thin enough to get into little passages, yet resistant to vaporization.

At Auto Care Plus in Orange, we believe that in some ways modern automotive fluids are just as impressive as the new engines. Because weights of oil and types of coolant and transmission fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, make sure you always use the proper fluid if you are topping off at home.

Check your SUV owner’s manual or ask your La Habra service technician.
The wrong fluid can cause damage to your SUV engine. If you drive a car or truck around CA with 75,000 miles or more, consider high mileage formulations. These fluids contain extra detergent to clean dirtier older engines as well as additives to condition seals and gaskets. That’ll help prevent leaks. Always be sure that the high mileage fluid is the same weight or type of fluid recommended for your SUV.