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

Auto Care Plus Auto Tips and Car Care: Causes of Wheel Misalignment

When properly aligned, all of your wheels are pointed in the same direction. Your vehicle will track true and handle the way it is designed. Orange auto owners often associate our wheels being “knocked” out of alignment with an event like a major collision, hitting a pothole, curb or some other object. While these can certainly take your wheels out of alignment, the bumps and bounces of everyday driving take their toll on wheel alignment as well. Your vehicle can lose alignment over time with just normal driving.

When your wheels are out of alignment, the team of automotive professionals at Auto Care Plus in Orange can return your wheels to the factory settings. Most owners’ manuals suggest a diagnostic examination every year or two.

Give us a call

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

Line Them Up: Wheel Alignment Service At Auto Care Plus

Hello Orange auto owners! Let’s talk about alignment. One of the most important parts of preventive maintenance for your vehicle is keeping the wheels in alignment. Poor alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly, which can significantly reduce their lifespan. This means you will have to replace them more often, which can be costly in Orange.

It can even damage your suspension system, which is a significant repair. But even more importantly, uneven tread wear can lead to blowouts on the road, a dangerous and potentially deadly safety risk for Orange motorists and their passengers.

It may not take an accident or bad driving habits to “knock” your tires out of alignment. Tires can go out of alignment with just everyday CA driving. Orange road hazards, pot holes, uneven or gravel roads, even the bumps and bounces of normal Buena Park highways and surface streets can gradually put your SUV tires out of alignment.

So it’s good auto advice to have your SUV’s alignment inspected periodically. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will have recommendations on how often you should get an alignment check: usually every year or two. But if you think your SUV tires might be out of alignment, you should take your SUV into Auto Care Plus now.

When you take your SUV in for an alignment in Orange, your friendly Auto Care Plus tech will start by inspecting the steering and suspension systems. If something is broken or damaged there, it will need to be fixed in order to get good alignment of the wheels.

If all looks good in the steering and suspension departments, the SUV will then be put on an alignment rack where an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels can then be aligned to the auto maker’s specifications. The ideal alignment for any vehicle is set by its engineers and may vary from vehicle to vehicle.

There are three types of essential adjustments that may have to be made to correctly align a vehicle’s tires. The first is called “toe.” This refers to tires that are out of alignment because they point inward or outward at the front of the tire. Think of a person who is pigeon-toed or splay-footed, and you get the idea.

The second adjustment is the camber. This adjustment affects the angle at which the tires meet the road. Think of a solid building in contrast to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The last adjustment is the castor. This adjustment measures the angle of the tire in relation to the front axles. So, a piece of auto advice that just might be good for life as well: keep everything in alignment, and you’ll be able to steer where you want to go in Buena Park. Drive safely.

Straight And True In Orange: Wheel Alignment

Most Buena Park folks worry about running out of gas or having a breakdown on the side of the road. That is why we practice preventive maintenance on our vehicles — that and to keep our repair bills down. But one important part of preventive maintenance that may get overlooked by Orange motorists is a periodic alignment inspection.

Poor alignment causes tires to wear rapidly, unevenly or both. This means they will have to be replaced early, and new tires are more expensive than an alignment check in Orange. Bad alignment can also cause damage to suspension and steering systems, which can be expensive to repair in Buena Park.

Tire wear on misaligned wheels can also lead to blowouts, which are dangerous, can lead to serious accidents, and can seriously damage your SUV. Also, poor alignment itself can be the cause of an accident, since the SUV may not steer properly.

One or more wheels on your SUV can be knocked out of alignment by running over a curb or a pothole on a bumpy Orange street. An accident, even a minor one, that involves a wheel on your car can lead to misalignment. The small bumps and bangs of everyday Irvine driving can also gradually put your wheels out of alignment.

If you have had wheel damage to your SUV, or if you suspect that your wheels are out of alignment, you should get your alignment checked NOW. Any Auto Care Plus service advisor will give you that piece of auto advice. But good car care suggests that you also get your alignment inspected on a regular basis. At Auto Care Plus in Orange, we can take care of that for you.

Your owner’s manual or Auto Care Plus service specialist can give you a suggestion on how often your alignment should be checked. If it doesn’t, then once a year is a good rule of thumb. However, if you drive a lot and especially if you drive on rough surfaces a lot, then you may want to consider a diagnostic examination more often. Ask your friendly service specialist for a recommendation.

If your SUV is out of alignment, one or more of the wheels is not tracking correctly and will “pull” against the others. Thus, one sign of poor alignment is that your SUV pulls to one side when you drive around Buena Park. Also, if you are driving a straight path and your steering wheel is off-center, that usually indicates an alignment problem.

Orange motorists should also check the wear on their tires. If they seem to be wearing out too quickly, or if you notice that a tire is wearing on one side more than the other, you should get your alignment checked.

When you get an automotive analysis, your vehicle will be put on a rack and all the parts of the steering and suspension systems will be inspected for wear or damage. The alignment of the tires will be charted and compared to the original factory settings. If no repairs are needed on the steering or suspension systems, the wheels will then be adjusted to bring them back into alignment.

This may seem like a lot of bother for Stanton motorists, but it’s a lot less trouble than a blowout or an accident. The old adage is good auto advice for all Orange residents: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

So keep on driving, and keep all four tires on the road.

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.

Orange Alignment Service

Your car might have an alignment problem if: it drifts or pulls to one side, your steering wheel is off center, you have uneven tire wear or your car doesn’t feel like it handles right. When all of a vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Running into potholes, smacking a curb or other object are great ways to knock your car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels starts pulling in a slightly different direction and the problems begin.

Driving for an extended time when you’re out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. This can be dangerous and expensive. You’ll have to replace your tires sooner, but even worse – you may cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive.

The front wheel alignment is adjustable on all vehicles, and the back wheels are also adjustable on some cars. The adjustment can go three different ways. The first adjustment is called toe. The next adjustment is called camber. And finally, there is castor. The engineers who designed your vehicle determined the alignment settings that will give you the best handling and safety.

There are several things involved in an alignment check. First, there’s an inspection of the steering and suspension – it should be checked to see if anything’s bent or broken. Then the tire condition needs to be inspected. From there, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. If all four wheels are adjustable, they are lined up perfectly parallel with the vehicle’s center line. If the back wheels aren’t adjustable, a technician at Auto Care Plus can determine the direction they push and then aligns the front wheels to match.

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

Like most things, your manufacturer has suggested a mileage interval for having your alignment checked. But if you run into a curb, pothole or something else that’s given you a big jolt, pay attention to whether your vehicle is pulling to one side when you drive. It’s better to have your alignment checked before waiting to see if there is uneven tire tread wear – by then, the damage is done.

Getting your alignment checked when needed is a great way to extend the life of your tires and suspension parts. It also makes sure that your tire meets the road properly for maximum performance and safety.

Power Steering Service At Auto Care Plus In Orange

Many Orange drivers have been hearing about technological advances in power steering, specifically, electric power steering. Some very high-end cars have been featuring electric power steering for a few years now. An electric motor directly provides the power assist to make steering easier. Undoubtedly we’ll see much more of this in Orange as full electric cars and electric hybrids become more common.

The vast majority of cars and trucks serviced at Auto Care Plus in Orange use a hydraulic power boost system. With hydraulics, fluid is pressurized by a pump which actuates a hydraulic cylinder to reduce steering effort. Some of these pumps are powered by an electric motor. Most pumps are powered by the serpentine belt driven by the engine.

Power Steering Service At Auto Care Plus In OrangePower steering fluid has the necessary hydraulic properties and the ability to lubricate the internal parts. The power steering fluid also protects SUV components from rust and corrosion.

Orange car owners should be aware that manufacturers recommend that the fluid be replaced on schedule.
At Auto Care Plus, the old fluid is drained and the system cleaned thoroughly. Fresh fluid is then installed.

Unfortunately, many Orange drivers don’t realize how critical it is to service their power steering, and some may not even know that it’s necessary in the first place. A neglected power steering system can develop leaks that will shorten the life of the pump.

Orange drivers should be aware of warnings that indicate possible power steering problems: the need to constantly add power steering fluid, a loud whining from the pump, erratic power assist or high steering effort. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, have your power steering checked out at Auto Care Plus in Orange.

In addition to the pump and hydraulic system, there are mechanical parts in the steering system. The rods, arms, joints and knuckles that actually turn the wheels can become worn or damaged. A standard alignment service at Orange includes an inspection of steering components.

If you notice any play in the steering wheel, that the steering wheel is off center, or a noise coming from your front wheels, especially when turning, have your Auto Care Plus advisor do an inspection so the problem can be corrected. Waiting too long could cause uneven tire wear and may even lead to steering failure. Call Auto Care Plus today at (714) 771-7587.

Trip Inspection at Auto Care Plus in Orange

Buena Park drivers love their cars. And one of the most enjoyable things about them is taking a road trip. Freedom from daily schedules, new sights and the open road – it’s great! But there’s nothing like car trouble to bring the fun to a grinding halt.

Now Orange drivers can’t always avoid problems, but you can take steps to reduce the probability of getting sidelined on your trip. The first step is to look at your trip plan from your vehicle’s perspective. What kind of roads will you be traveling – winding byways or expressways? Purple mountain majesties or fruited plains? What weather conditions are you likely to encounter? How many miles will you travel each day? How much weight will you be hauling – passengers and luggage. Pulling a trailer, roof top carrier, or ATVs? Will it be dusty?

Prepared with answers to these questions, you can schedule a trip inspection at Auto Care Plus in Orange to help you prepare your vehicle for your big adventure. A lot of our Orange customers prefer to go through this exercise with their friendly  tech to get their input and make sure they haven’t overlooked anything.

A great place to start is with the tires. Inspect them for tread wear and proper inflation. Is it time to rotate your tires? Replace them? Are they up to the job – you wouldn’t want to drive regular highway tires on a muddy off-road adventure on Orange rock-crawling trails.

Shocks and struts play a major role in both driving comfort and safety. If they need to be replaced, you’ll really be glad you did once you hit the road. Is it time for a wheel alignment? Fighting a car that’s pulling to one side all day can be tiring and dangerous.

And don’t forget your brakes. Any strange noises, grabbing, soft or hard peddle feel? If there is any doubt, get a brake inspection before you leave.

Moving under the hood, have a belts and hoses inspection. If something is excessively worn or near failure, the stress of a long road trip might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Your engine air filter will be important. For every gallon of gas you burn, your car will filter and use 12,000 gallons of air. If the filter needs to be changed, you’ll notice improved gas mileage on your trip.

How close are you to your next oil change? Will you be able to complete your trip before it’s due? If not, just get it taken care of before you go so that you don’t need to interrupt your trip. In fact, a full service oil change is a great idea because they will top off all your fluids and check to see if any other maintenance items are due, such as transmission or cooling system service.

Do you notice any unusual odors in your vehicle? If so, it could as harmless as a dirty cabin air filter. But if it’s an exhaust leak it could be fatal on a long trip. Of course you’ll want to be comfortable, so get an air conditioning service if you aren’t getting the cold air you used to.

Are your wiper blades still working well? If not, that is quick and inexpensive to fix. Headlamps are often overlooked when planning for a trip. If you haven’t changed the bulb in six months or so, replacement bulbs will really light up the night on your trip and provide the necessary after-sundown visibility.

All the items mentioned are part of any good vehicle maintenance plan. These are things that you want to take care of anyway, but they all become more urgent as you plan for your trip.

They will always save you money in the long run and may prevent inconvenient and pricey delays on your trip. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss the world’s largest ball of string, would you?