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

All Lined Up: Wheel Alignment Service At Auto Care Plus

When all of your vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving in Orange can cause your SUV’s wheels to be out of alignment.

Driving for an extended time in Orange when your wheels are out of alignment results in uneven tire wear. This is dangerous … and expensive. Worst case scenario, you have a blowout on a crowded CA highway. It can also cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive to repair. At the very least, you may have to replace your tires years too early.

Here are some alignment basics from Auto Care Plus:

The first adjustment is called toe or do the wheels point in towards each other or away from each other at the front of the tire.
The next adjustment is called camber or do the wheels tip in or out at the top.
And finally, there is castor. Castor measures the angle where the front axles attach to the vehicle.

The ideal alignment for your SUV was designed by its engineers. Alignment service at Auto Care Plus starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension – to see if anything’s bent or broken. Then your friendly Auto Care Plus technician will look at tire condition.

From there, the SUV is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels are then aligned to SUV car makers’s specifications.

Your SUV owner’s manual probably has a recommendation for how often your alignment should be checked – usually every couple of years. If you suspect an alignment problem, get it checked at Auto Care Plus before you suffer expensive tire or suspension damage.

Brake Service at Auto Care Plus in Orange

Brakes really aren’t optional equipment for Orange car owners. And taking care of them isn’t optional either.

A regular brake inspection is on every CA car’s maintenance schedule. At Auto Care Plus, our team will check your brake system and let you know if there are any important problems. Of course, if you’re having trouble with your brakes, get your car into your Orange or La Habra service center right away. And watch out for these problems:

  • 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

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. Pads, called shoes, push against the inside of the drum to slow the vehicle.

There are several things that need to be serviced on the brake system. First, the brake pads and shoes wear out with use, and become too thin to really help. 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 and that can be expensive. But putting it off is dangerous because your SUV won’t stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.

Brake fluid is also essential. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid activates the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid, not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and dangerous brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. Orange car owners should change the brake fluid when their automobile manufacturer recommends it.

There are different grades of brake pads sold in the Orange area. There are regular, metallic and ceramic – higher grades are more costly, 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 auto manufacturer recommends.

Be sure to properly maintain your brakes because it’s a lot cheaper than paying your nearest Buena Park area body shop after an accident.

How Do You Save Gas In Orange CA?

No one in Orange, CA likes to spend a chunk of change at Buena Park gas pumps. Rising CA fuel prices, however, have spurred Orange drivers to focus on how to improve their fuel economy. North Americans literally drive billions of miles less each month during times of high fuel prices. But we still need to drive (we are car-loving Americans, after all!), so it makes sense to try and increase our fuel economy however we can.

Let’s look at a real life example of one of our AutoNetTV producers. He has one of those really big SUVs. Lots of kids and horses to haul around, you know. His family was planning a four day camping trip. Here’s what he did to cut his fuel costs:

First, he installed a new, high flow engine air filter. Then he had his Orange service center change his oil, flush his cooling system and service his front and rear differentials along with the transfer case. He also had a fuel system cleaning, replaced his PCV valve and breather element. He also made sure his tires were up to the recommended pressure.

Now this cost several hundred dollars. But keep in mind, it all needed to be done anyway – it was all scheduled, and some of the work was overdue.

So he headed out, loaded with nine people and pulling a ton of trailer with everything needed for four days of camping. When the trip was over, he tallied his gas mileage.  Turns out, he got the best fuel economy on that vehicle up to that point. It had improved 25 percent! He saved $48.00 on that trip alone. And the savings keep on coming every day.

Here’s a quick summary of what you can do to save fuel in Orange, CA. First get caught up on your key routine maintenance. Nearly every scheduled service item can boost fuel economy. If it’s time for a tune-up, git’er done at Auto Care Plus. That’s a big item.

If your check engine light is on, have your friendly Auto Care Plus service advisor figure out why and fix it. Check engine problems can be real gas wasters.

Proper tire pressure and wheel alignment can really help Orange auto owners as well. Try not to carry around a bunch of stuff. An extra hundred pounds can cost a mile per gallon.

Now you may not want to hear this, but the single biggest fuel waster for most Buena Park folks is their right foot. Zooming away from stop lights and hot rod lane changes really waste fuel. Take it easy on CA highways and Orange streets: don’t speed and plan ahead.

Finally, you may have noticed that we haven’t mentioned any magic pills or devices that will double your mileage. That’s because there aren’t any. Some may help a bit, but there are a lot of “miracle fuel saver” scams in CA. Don’t shell out any bucks to swindlers, you need it to buy gas!

Do some research and check with your technician at Auto Care Plus in Orange before spending your hard earned cash.

On Board Diagnostics For Orange Motorists

Some Orange auto owners wonder why Auto Care Plus and other Orange auto repair shops charge a fee for diagnostic services.

Think about it: When you hire a local Buena Park HVAC technician to check out a problem with your air conditioner you’ll probably pay a diagnostic fee. When you visit your La Habra doctor for a health problem, you pay the physician to diagnose the ailment and of course for the tests that go along with it.

On Board Diagnostics For Orange Motorists

So receiving a diagnostic charge at Auto Care Plus for a tricky automotive problem shouldn’t be a surprise. In the Buena Park area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your SUV brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy CA freeway, you pull off the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you’re having an intermittent problem with your SUV engine, however, Auto Care Plus diagnosis may be much more involved.

Much of the Buena Park motorists’s confusion comes when the problem involves the check engine light. The check engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.

There’s a common misconception among La Habra, Stanton, and Irvine drivers that the trouble code tells the Auto Care Plus technician exactly what’s wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge – because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.

In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that’s out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the check engine light.

The SUV computer’s trouble code just tells the Auto Care Plus technician what engine parameter is out of range – not what’s causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that’s causing the malfunction.

There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for Auto Care Plus customers. The Auto Care Plus service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.

Buena Park service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These critical databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.

Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming, and difficult. Of course Auto Care Plus wants to figure out what’s wrong with your SUV and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.