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

Transmission Service

Let’s talk about transmission service. It can be easy for Orange motorists to forget about getting their transmission serviced because it doesn’t need it very often. It’s easier for CA drivers to remember to change the engine oil – you know, every 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. But proper transmission servicing keeps your SUV running smoothly and helps us drivers avoid costly repairs down the road.

The transmission undergoes a lot of stress. The grit Orange car owners see in used transmission fluid is actually bits of metal that wear off the gears in the transmission. In addition to that, the transmission operates at very high temperatures. Usually it’s 100 to 150 degrees higher than engine temperatures. Those high temperatures eventually cause the transmission fluid to start to break down and lose efficiency.

As the fluid gets older, it gets gritty and doesn’t lubricate and cool the SUV transmission as well – leading to even more wear. The fluid can actually get sludgy and plug up the maze of fluid passages inside the transmission. At best, your transmission won’t operate smoothly. At worse, it could lead to pricey damage.

When your transmission is running properly, it transfers more power from your engine to the drive wheels, and improves . That’s why car makers recommend changing your transmission fluid at regular intervals. Your owner’s manual has a schedule for transmission service and, of course, your friendly Auto Care Plus service professional can tell you what your auto manufacturer recommends.

Hot and dusty Orange area conditions; towing, hauling, stop and go driving and jackrabbit starts all increase the load on the transmission and its internal temperature. That means Orange drivers with these types of transmission requirements need to change the fluid more often. A good rule of thumb is every 35,000 miles, 55,000 kilometers or two years. If your auto manufacturer suggests more frequent intervals or if you’re driving under severe service conditions around Buena Park, you will need to change it more often.

Most Orange auto service centers (including Auto Care Plus) have the ability to perform a transmission service while you wait and the cost is quite reasonable. It’s downright cheap when you think about how much a major transmission repair can cost! Your friendly Auto Care Plus service advisor will know the right type of transmission fluid to use. If it’s getting to be time to have your transmission serviced, do your SUV a favor and have it done. If not this time, then on your next service stop.

Service to Improve Fuel Economy


The price of gas in CA has got Orange car owners talking. It seems that Orange folks who need a bigger vehicle to carry family and gear, or provide four wheel drive, are hit especially. That is why we thought it would be good to review some things that anyone can do to improve fuel efficiency.

First let’s start with how we drive in the Buena Park area. Orange motorists may not realize that they can really save money on gas by just changing a few driving habits. One of the biggest is jackrabbit starts – you know, flooring the gas as soon as the light turns green. That really wastes a lot of fuel. Building up your speed at a slower pace uses less fuel and is easier on your engine and drive train. And don’t drive with one foot on the brake. That’s also a drag on fuel efficiency, and it wears out your brakes faster too.

Another thing Orange motorists can do is drive slower – but only when it’s safe. Sometimes on the expressway we drive an extra five … ten . . . twenty … over the speed limit. We do it to save time, but it only saves a few minutes out of maybe an hour long drive, and we may use 10 to 15 % more gas. Just leave Orange a little bit earlier, save some income and arrive more relaxed.

Orange drivers can also try and combine all of their errands for the day into just one trip, rather than several. If you can put off a trip today that can be combined with one tomorrow – you can save some time and income.

Using your cruise control can save money too. Driving in Buena Park at a constant speed really improves fuel efficiency. Be sure to only use your cruise control in CA under safe conditions – you can look in your owner’s manual for some important good tips on using your cruise control.

Did you know that reducing the weight in your SUV saves gas? Clean out the trunk or back seat from time to time so that you are not paying to carry around a lot of stuff around Buena Park you do not need in the car. If you live in CA where there is snow and ice, clear it off your car. They add weight and mess with aerodynamics too.

Another tip is to avoid long idle times, which includes warming it up when you start. Modern engines do not require a long warm up to get going – just take it easy for a couple of miles.

Be sure to get a new gas cap if yours leaks or is worn.

Now, let’s start talking mechanical. Bottom line – the better you maintain your vehicle, the less fuel you will use. It all adds up in a big way. For example, replacing your dirty engine air filter will pay for itself in improved fuel efficiency before your next oil change – and will keep saving you income after that.

A clean, well-maintained fuel system really pays big dividends in fuel economy for Orange car owners. A clogged fuel filter wastes gas. So does a dirty fuel system, grimy fuel injectors and plugged up PCV valves. A fuel system service decreases the gas you use, and increases the power – so Orange auto owners can’t go wrong with that.

Some of us Orange drivers ignore our Check Engine light. But fixing the problem that caused the light to come on will usually save some fuel as well. It may be a bad oxygen sensor that can really rob your fuel economy.

And, it may be time for a tune-up. Tune-ups should improve your fuel economy. Don’t overlook the vital routine maintenance items, like scheduled oil changes, transmission and cooling system service. Dirty or low fluids actually use more fuel. Just look at your auto manufacturer’a recommended service intervals in the owner’s manual, or ask your Auto Care Plus service advisor for the schedule.

Don’t forget your tires. Under-inflated tires waste gas. And if your wheels are out of alignment you won’t get the fuel economy you need.

None of these things are very complicated or expensive for Orange drivers to stay on top of. When you maintain your car properly, you save gas today, and prevent pricey repairs tomorrow.

How Much is Enough for Buena Park Auto Owners? Tire Tread Depth

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Most Buena Park motorists know that tires wear out and that the wear has to do with tread depth. Most of us have heard that “bald” tires are dangerous, but most of us picture a tire with no tread at all when we think of a bald tire. And when we take our vehicles in for preventive maintenance, the technician tells us they’re need to be replaced long before all the tread is worn off. Just how much tire tread wear is too much? And how can you tell? Tires are costly and their condition is important to the safe handling of a vehicle, so it’s key for Buena Park motorists to know the answers to these questions.

First of all, it’s important to understand that there may be a legal limit to tread wear. If your tires are worn past this limit, you have to replace them to be in compliance with CA auto safety laws. That’s why measuring your tread wear is part of a vehicle safety inspection.

In some jurisdictions, tread must be at least 1.6 millimeters or 2/32 of an inch thick. This standard has been in effect since 1968. But this standard has recently been called into question, and some Orange motorists are arguing that it be changed.

The safety issue that has brought this standard under scrutiny is the ability of a vehicle to stop on a wet surface. When a vehicle has trouble stopping, most Orange drivers immediately look at the brakes as the source of the problem. But tires are crucial to safe stopping distances because they provide the traction required in a stop.

A tire’s contact with the road surface creates traction, which allows for effective braking. On a wet surface, a tire only has traction if it can get to the road’s surface. So tire tread is designed to channel water out from under the tire to allow it to stay in contact with the road. If the tire can’t shift the water, then it starts to “float.” This condition is called hydroplaning. It is very dangerous for Orange drivers since the vehicle won’t stop no matter how hard the driver presses the brakes. Steering control is also lost.

A recent study tested the stopping ability of a passenger car and a full-sized pick-up on a road surface covered with only a dime’s depth of water (less than a millimeter). The vehicles were traveling at 70 mph (112 kph) when they stopped on the wet surface. At 2/32 tread depth, the stopping distance was double that of a new tire. The passenger car was still traveling at 55 mph when it reached the stopping distance it experienced with new tires.

Let’s suppose that you’re on a busy Buena Park highway in a light drizzle and a vehicle stops suddenly in front of you. You just bought new tires and you brake hard, missing the vehicle with only inches to spare. If you hadn’t bought those new tires, you would have crashed into that vehicle at 55 mph. That is a major difference.

What if your tires had a tread depth of 4/32? You would have crashed into that vehicle at 45 mph. Still not a good situation. But it’s better.

Now what if you were driving that pick-up truck? You wouldn’t have missed that vehicle in the first place, and you would have crashed at higher rates of speed in both of the other scenarios. The heavier your vehicle, the longer its stopping distance. It’s a matter of physics.

The results of this test has led Consumer Reports and others to ask that the standard for tread wear from 2/32 to 4/32. The increased standard will improve safety on the road and save lives here in CA and nationally.

Of course, until the standard changes, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll be willing to replace your tires a little sooner.

You can use a quarter to tell if your tread wear is down to 4/32. Place the quarter into the tread with George’s head toward the tire and his neck toward you. If the tread doesn’t cover George’s hairline, you’re under 4/32. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the digits of the year.

You can measure the 2/32 tread wear with a penny. If the tread touches the top of Abe’s head, it’s at 2/32. Tires are a significant item for Orange drivers when it comes to car care. But their condition has a major impact on safety. We need to decide whether to sacrifice safety for economy. Keeping our tread wear above 4/32 is good auto advice.

When Are Your Tires Worn Out?

Hey Buena Park, are your tires worn out? What is the standard for our CA streets? How can you tell on your SUV?

While there may be legal requirements for the Buena Park area, there are safety concerns that go beyond meeting minimum replacement mandates.

2/32 is the depth of the tire tread wear indicator bars that US law has required to be molded across all tires since August 1, 1968. When tires are worn so that this bar is visible, there’s just 2/32 of an inch – 1.6 millimeters – of tread left. It’s that level of wear that’s been called into question recently.

We’re referring to the Consumer Reports call to consider replacing tires when tread reaches 4/32 of an inch, or 3.2 millimeters. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies.

The issue is braking on wet surfaces in and around Buena Park. Most of us think of our brakes doing most of the work, but if you don’t have enough tread on your tires, the brakes can’t do their job. When it’s wet or snowy, the tread of the tire is even more critical to stopping power.

Picture this: you’re driving over a water covered stretch of road near Buena Park, CA. Your tires must be in contact with the road in order to stop. That means that the tire has to move the water away from the tire so that the tire is actually contacting the road and not floating on a thin film of water.

Floating on the surface of water is called hydroplaning. So if there’s not enough tread depth on a tire, it can’t move the water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.

In the study a section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to cover it.

A car and a full-sized pick-up were brought up to 70 miles per hour, or 112 kilometers an hour and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths:

  • New tire tread depth
  • 4/32 of an inch
  • 2/32 of an inch

So what happened with the 2/32 tires on the car? Get this – when the car had traveled the distance required to stop with new tires, it was still going 55 miles an hour. Stopping distance was nearly doubled to 379 feet and it took 5.9 seconds.

Wow! That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, you would hit the car in front of you at 55 miles an hour with the worn tires.

Now, with the partially worn tires – at 4/32 of an inch – the car was still going at 45 miles an hour at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. It took nearly 100 feet more room to stop and 1.2 seconds longer. That’s a big improvement. We can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.

Of course, stopping distances were greater for the heavier pick-up truck.

How do you know when your tires are at 4/32 of an inch? Easy; just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

You may remember doing that with pennies. A penny gives you 2/32 to Abraham Lincoln’s head. The quarter is the new recommendation – 4/32.

How do people feel about replacing their tires earlier? Well, tires are a big ticket item and most people want to get the most wear out of them that they can. But do you want that much more risk just to run your tires until they are legally worn out?

For us, and we would guess for many, the answer is “no”.

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

Gas Savings In Orange: Sharpen Your Pencil

High gas prices in Orange increase the cost of living for CA motorists. You’ve probably budgeted a certain amount for vehicle related expenses. Increased fuel costs now consume a larger portion of our incomes, causing some Orange vehicle owners to skimp in other areas – like scheduled maintenance.

According to CA news reports and automotive industry studies, this is becoming increasingly more common. In fact, nine out of ten personal vehicles on the road have at least one maintenance or repair item that hasn’t been done. Some of these items pose serious safety risks. Others are just more likely to make it more expensive to drive.

Gas Savings In Orange: Sharpen Your PencilIn this area, we can take a lesson from professional Orange vehicle owners. I’m talking about fleet owners and operators. You know, Orange folks like the trucking companies and delivery services. Because their livelihood depends on it, they have gotten scheduled maintenance down to a science. And the last thing they skimp on is regular maintenance.

Why is that? Well, for one thing they know that routine maintenance prevents expensive repairs and costly breakdowns. They also know that a well-maintained vehicle uses less fuel. For them, even a small decrease in gas mileage may put their Buena Park business in the red.

So what does this mean to Orange drivers? Well, there’s a ninety percent chance that you’re missing some service that would improve your fuel economy. Here’s a quick reminder list:

Fuel system cleaning, transmission service, differential service, engine air filter, wheel alignment, oil change, tune up.
Ring any bells? Can most Orange motorists honestly say that there isn’t at least one thing on the list that hasn’t been done?

Let’s suppose you chose to spend one hundred and fifty dollars and get caught up on some of these services at Auto Care Plus. Figure that they combine to improve your fuel efficiency by fifteen percent. What would that mean to your pocketbook?

Well, the average personal vehicle in Orange is driven about twelve thousand miles a year. If you get twenty miles per gallon in your SUV, over the course of one year you would pay for the hundred and fifty dollars worth of service and save an additional hundred and sixty five dollars if gas is at three dollars and fifty cents. If gas is four fifty, you would save two hundred and fifty-five dollars. And you’d rack up savings of three hundred and forty five dollars with gas at five and a half bucks.

GAS PRICE
$3.50
$4.50
$5.50
20 MPG
$165
$255
$345

From this you can see that the more fuel costs, the more it pays to keep up on scheduled maintenance. Some of us drive trucks in Orange for work or recreation – or want a large SUV for family needs. A fifteen percent improvement in gas mileage can generate huge savings – six hundred and sixty dollars a year if gas is four fifty a gallon in Orange. Take a look at this table to see where your savings could lie.

GAS PRICE $3.50 $4.50 $5.50
10 MPG $480 $660 $840
20 MPG $165 $255 $345
30 MPG $60 $120 $180

 

So catch up on those services you’ve been neglecting at Auto Care Plus. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you’ll save a lot of cash at Orange gas pumps this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.