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

Which Item is Most Stolen from Vehicles in Orange?

Which item is most often stolen from vehicles in Orange?

Is it:

  1. Stereo
  2. Wheels
  3. Air Bag
  4. DVD System

Well, if you said stereo – you used to be right. But airbags have now surpassed stereos as the biggest target for theft in Orange – approximately 50,000 a year are stolen across the country. New airbags cost about $1,000, but go for $50 to $200 on the black market in Orange.

Stolen airbags are making their way back into cars that have been in an accident. Of course, the danger to the consumer of having a stolen airbag installed is that you can never be sure what may have previously affected them and if they will work right when you need them.

Contact Auto Care Plus for more information about where to get your airbags checked or replaced.
Find us at 1432 N Glassell St., Orange, CA 92867
You can reach us by phone at: (714) 771-7587

There are reports that 1 in 25 airbag replacements are stolen or salvaged airbags – or no airbag is installed at all.

That is definitely one car part you don’t want to take a chance with, so Auto Care Plus recommends following these guidelines:

  • Use a reputable collision repair center that employs ASE certified mechanics (we can offer recommendations at Auto Care Plus).
  • Inspect the invoice to ensure that the repair shop purchased the airbag from a manufacturer, dealer, or recycler. If you can inspect the airbag prior to installation, it should be packaged in a sealed container from the manufacturer.
  • You will see the SRS light (Supplemental Restraint System) when you first start your vehicle up. This tells you that the airbag system is activated. If you do not see the SRS light, there is likely a problem with the airbag system.

For more information, contact Jack at Auto Care Plus by calling (714) 771-7587.

Busting Automotive Myths In Orange CA

Myths passed around our Orange CA community start with a grain of evidence and are then built up with a lot of imagination and very elastic logic. And the internet is a breeding ground for automotive myths. Some bloggers recall the SUVs of yesteryear and declare their modern decedents to be virtually maintenance free and that anyone who says otherwise is out to rip you off.

To get the truth about auto myths you hear around the Orange area, come over to Auto Care Plus.
You’ll find us at 1432 N Glassell St., Orange, CA 92867.
Give us a call at (714) 771-7587 to make an appointment for your next auto service.

Let’s examine a couple of the more popular rants and look at the truth behind them.

The first one is that the chassis no longer needs lubrication for suspension, steering and the driveline. They declare that anyone who has charged you for lubrication is a charlatan.

The truth on which this myth is based is that many new cars come from the factory with sealed joints and cannot be greased. However, there are still some grease points on many cars around Orange. A grease fitting may have been installed in conjunction with a repair. And most trucks and truck-based SUVs driving in Orange still require chassis lubrication. This is because they are more heavy duty and proper greasing is still required to keep them going.

Another common rant you’ll hear around Orange is that modern cars don’t need tune-ups. That depends on your definition of a ‘tune-up’, which has changed as technology has progressed. Before engine control computers, electronic ignition and fuel injection, a tune up meant replacing mechanical parts that wore out. Auto Care Plus would manually adjust fuel and air mix and timing. When these adjustments were off, spark plugs would foul and need to be replaced.

This definition just doesn’t apply to modern vehicles. Service centers like Auto Care Plus generally consider a tune-up to be the major service visit, recommended by your manufacturer, every 30,000 miles or so.

Of course you can’t lubricate a sealed joint. Of course you can’t adjust a carburetor if your car doesn’t have one. You probably don’t need to change spark plugs every year if your manufacturer says they can go 30,000 miles. What are these bloggers getting so worked up about?

The danger with these modern-day myths, is that they prevent people in our local Orange community from taking care of the routine preventive auto maintenance that manufactures recommend. Check out this partial list of things you still need to do to take care of your car. How many of them are really any different today than they were 20 or 30 years ago?

Oil change, cooling system service, transmission service, tire balancing, tire rotation, wheel alignment, suspension service, power steering service, proper tire inflation, brake service, differential service, battery maintenance, engine air filer, PCV valve, breather element, fuel filter, belts, hoses, timing belt, windshield wipers . . .

You get the picture. Your SUV is still a machine that needs to be maintained. And, hey, your service advisors at Auto Care Plus have always adapted to keep pace with automotive technology. Next time you come across an angry voice about your car care, talk to your Orange service advisor at Auto Care Plus, or do some research of your own.

The Importance Of Orange Drivers Following Service Intervals

Today in our Auto Care Plus blog, we’re going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your SUV isn’t the only aspect of your life in Orange with recommended intervals: Let’s start with twice yearly dental check-ups and regular physical exams. How about laundry, watering the lawn and paying the bills?

Now, what would happen if you didn’t follow these intervals? Well, you’d get more cavities. You’d may not discover health conditions that could be more effectively treated with early detection. And you’d have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your brown lawn and have your utilities shut off.

The Importance Of Orange Drivers Following Service IntervalsClearly, there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don’t, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life in Orange takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.

So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our SUVs? Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don’t seem that urgent. All our Orange neighbors can see our dead lawn, but no one knows how dirty our transmission fluid is. It’s easy to put off. The other reason is that we’re just not as familiar with automotive maintenance, so it’s a bit intimidating.

From a practical standpoint, Orange people don’t need to memorize their SUV owner’s manuals. You can let your Auto Care Plus advisor remind you of the guidelines established by auto makers: he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your SUV. You really can rely on Auto Care Plus professionals to help you make good automotive decisions.

For Orange drivers who want to be more proactive with their SUV care, here are some simple ways for Orange car owners to remember what has a maintenance interval.

First: Fluids. If it’s liquid, it’s got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.

Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you’re thinking tires, don’t forget brakes and shock absorbers.

And what makes your SUV go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if Orange car owners remember to take their car or truck in to Auto Care Plus for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.

And if you don’t follow recommended service intervals? You get lousy fuel economy, your SUV doesn’t run as well, your safety is compromised and you’ll spend more money in the long run. So it’s the same as everything else: The quality of your motoring life takes a hit and it ends up costing you more.

Reason enough for me to follow recommended service intervals.

Commitment to Make Your SUV Last At Auto Care Plus

For advice on how to make your SUV last longer, visit us at Auto Care Plus
1432 N Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92867
(714) 771-7587

These days many people in the Buena Park area are really committed to making their cars last a long time. First thing: you’ve got to start with what you’ve got. It’d be ideal if people started with a brand new car, never missed a scheduled service item, paid attention to the severe service maintenance schedule and had regular inspections. But if you’ve had the vehicle for a while, or bought it used, its maintenance history is what it is; and that’s where you start.

Go through the maintenance schedule for your SUV and see what’s been done and when. Have your Orange service advisor at Auto Care Plus do an inspection and come up with a list of stuff that needs to be done. Review the list and prioritize the work, talk about budget and make a plan to get caught up.

Making a plan is so important. Suppose you go in for an oil change and learn you need your cooling system serviced, a transmission service and are coming up on a timing belt replacement in the next 5,000 miles. You might be pretty overwhelmed.

To make it even more stressful, these are all very important systems that are expensive to repair if there’s a failure. In consultation with your Orange service advisor, you might decide to take care of the transmission on this visit, set an appointment for the cooling system service next month and get an estimate for the timing belt replacement so you’ll be prepared for it in a few months.

Having a plan for taking care of these important services will set your mind at ease.

Auto Care Plus: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?

Just as our bodies need clean air to function properly, your SUV engine needs clean air to operate efficiently. Let’s go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving on CA expressways, twenty pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce twenty pounds of carbon dioxide?

The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about twelve thousand gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your SUV needs a lot of air to keep going in La Habra. A lot of clean air is best.

Auto Care Plus: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?You’ve seen the pictures of people in Japan wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your SUV also works better when its internals are clean. When your SUV air filter’s dirty, it simply can’t trap any more dirt, so the pollutants just pass through into your air intake system. From there it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the motor itself. Not surprisingly, burning dust and pollen in your SUV engine does you no good.

So, we’re talking potential damage for Buena Park drivers. But another big thing is wasted fuel. Your SUV engine management computer tries to mix the correct amount of air in with the fuel. If the filter’s clogged, there isn’t enough air for the optimal fuel to air mix and that really messes with gas mileage.

In fact, replacing a dirty air filter at Auto Care Plus in Orange can improve your fuel economy by up to ten percent. At today’s La Habra fuel prices, you should be able to pay for a new air filter before your next oil change.

The verdict: When your SUV engine air filter needs to be replaced; it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on the level of air pollution where you drive in CA. A simple visual inspection at Auto Care Plus will tell you when you need a new engine air filter.

When you look at the air filter on your furnace at home and see it’s all clogged up with dust and dirt, you don’t hesitate to replace it. When your Auto Care Plus service advisor shows you your nasty engine air filter, you now know why you should go ahead and replace it.

Your Vehicle is NOT Maintenance Free, Orange Car Owners

A generation ago, Orange motorists seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle’s preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Having your SUV in to your Orange shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.

For example, almost everyone in Orange used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the SUV was in for a tune-up at Auto Care Plus, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.

Today’s engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our SUVs don’t experience a huge performance drop when they’re ready for some car care. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.

Modern Orange car owners need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner’s manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, your Orange service center can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At Auto Care Plus in Orange, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you’ll get better engine performance and gas mileage. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”

Modern SUV engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they’re more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of essential parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the SUV isn’t driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your car on the road.

As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your SUV engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and actually damage the SUV engine parts it was designed to protect. It can actually eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this costly damage, and it’s a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.

Timely oil changes are more critical for Orange motorists than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to important engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.

One word of warning to anyone in Buena Park who purchases used automobiles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. Orange folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don’t want to be bothered with maintenance or car care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.

Orange motorists can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better MPG, and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.

10 Services Orange motorists Often Overlook

We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over Orange. Some days it’s all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That’s why you’ve gotta be organized. Smartphones, calendar apps – we have to keep track of it all.

So let’s talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the essential scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.

Here is a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked by Orange motorists. They’re all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.

1. Power Steering Service
Be honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your vital power steering parts are protected from harmful corrosion. Next time you’re in for an oil change, ask your Orange service advisor if it’s time for a power steering check-up.

2. Wheel Alignment
When your wheels are out of alignment your SUV pulls to one side. It’s pretty annoying, but it’s also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out really fast; which is an unneccessary expense! Most auto makers owners manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.

3. Differential Service
Did you even know you had a differential? Well, you do – one, two or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they’re part of the drive-train that transfers power from your SUV engine to your wheels. They don’t need service that often, but you can’t completely forget them. Check with your friendly Auto Care Plus service professional.

4. Cabin Air Filter
More and more Orange cars these days have cabin air filters (a great feature, in my opinion) to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they’re clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies.

5. Timing Belt Replacement
Most cars and some vans and trucks driven around the Orange area have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say that your car won’t run without it – period. And if it breaks while you’re driving it can do thousands of dollars worth of pricey engine damage. Check your owners’ manual or with your Orange service advisor. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles; definitely look into it right away.

6. Transmission Service
Transmission serviceis very basic, but it’s often forgotten by Orange drivers. Your SUV transmission needs clean fluid from time to time to keep operating efficiently and avoid pricey repairs. And it can also improve your fuel efficiency.

7. Air Conditioning Service
Most of us Orange car owners don’t think about our air conditioning until it fails on a hot day in Orange. If you’re lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you’re not, some of the components may have been ruined. Of course, these components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service at Auto Care Plus in Orange adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.

8. Brake Service
No we’re not talking about squealing, grinding brakes here. We’re talking brake fluid. Over time the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your Auto Care Plus technician for recommendations.

9. Coolant System
Another thing that’s so easy for Orange motorists to forget about: When you don’t change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the pH balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can actually eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you’re stranded – bummer.

10. Fuel System Cleaning
In these times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is important. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning at Auto Care Plus in Orange will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors also get gunked up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule at Auto Care Plus will really help your fuel economy.

There you have it; 10 services that are often overlooked. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn’t been performed? Considering our busy lives, we’re not surprised.

Orange car owners know it takes some thought and effort to actually maintain a vehicle; but it not only saves money in the long run – it saves time too. And we can all use a little more time.

Auto Care Plus can help with any of these services. Give us a call at (714) 771-7587.

Auto Care Plus On Your Serpentine Belt

Today we’re going to be talking about serpentine belts for our Orange, CA customers. Let’s start by talking about the accessories that are driven by the serpentine belt. First is the alternator. That’s the essential device that makes electricity to power the SUV and recharge the battery. Then there’s the air conditioning compressor that makes cool air for you while you’re driving around CA in the summer.

The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in most Orange drivers’ vehicles. Those pumps provide critical pressure that assists your steering and braking.

In many SUVs, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt. The water pump is what circulates the coolant that protects your engine. In some cars around Orange, CA, the water pump is driven by the timing belt.

The radiator cooling fans on some SUVs are also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors. That’s really a lot of essential work for one belt.

But modern engine design has a single belt that snakes around the front of the engine and drives most if not all of these accessories. Serpentine belts do a lot of critical work, but they’re tough and can last Orange drivers for thousands of miles.

Just how long will they last? That’ll vary for each individual car in the Orange, CA area. Your auto maker will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it could need it sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection at Auto Care Plus can detect a belt that’s getting close to failing.

Your friendly Auto Care Plus service specialist can look at the belt: if it has more than three or four cracks per inch, it needs to be replaced. A deep crack that’s more than half the depth of the belt – replace. Frayed, missing pieces, a shiny glazed look? Toss it.

What’s involved in replacing the belt at Auto Care Plus? First the old belt is removed. Then a new one is fitted around all the pulleys for the accessories and the drive. There’s a special pulley called a tensioner.

This pulley is mounted to the engine block with a spring loaded arm. Its important job is to apply the correct amount of tension to the belt to keep it from getting loose and maybe slipping off. Because the spring in the tensioner pulley wears out, AutoNetTV and the automotive professionals at Auto Care Plus recommend Orange drivers replace them at the same time as the belt. It just makes sense.

What are the warning signs that there’s a problem with the serpentine belt? You may hear a squealing sound from under the hood when accelerating around our Orange streets. A loose belt might give you a slow, slapping sound.

What do you do if your belt breaks? If you’ve actually had that happen on a busy Buena Park expressway, it can be a little scary. The first thing Orange drivers usually notice is that they have no power steering or power brakes. Don’t panic – you can still steer and brake, but you’ll have to do the work. It’ll be harder to steer and you’ll need more time and effort to stop, so plan accordingly.

Your dashboard will light up will all kinds of warnings. You’ll see a warning about your cooling system if you have a water pump that’s driven by the serpentine belt. This is essential because without your cooling system working, your engine will overheat. If you don’t stop you’ll have massive engine damage, maybe to the point that you need a new engine. Open your windows and turn the heater on full blast to provide a little engine cooling. Pull over as quickly as you safely can!

The battery light will come on because the alternator isn’t working. If your car’s water pump isn’t driven by the serpentine belt, you’re not in danger of overheating so you can drive a little further if necessary. But the battery will run down to the point where the car will just shut off. You don’t want that to happen while you’re driving in our local Orange, CA traffic.

Remember, Orange car owners can avoid this stressful scenario if they replace their SUV serpentine belt on schedule. Ask your friendly Auto Care Plus service professional to check your belts and hoses from time to time so you can take care of them if they need to be replaced prematurely.

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

Economics of Maintenance For Orange Auto Owners

Buying a new car in Orange is always a big financial decision. The allure of that new car smell is powerful, to be sure. But what if your current car is still in good shape? How do you decide?

People in Orange who’ve been used to driving a new car every three to five years may be having second thoughts in this economy. For many, the question is, how does the certainty of a new car payment stack up against uncertain repairs for a car that may be out of warranty?

For purposes of our discussion, let’s assume you live right here in Orange and have a five year old vehicle. It’s now paid off. If you keep it, you fear that there’ll be some repairs over the next five years, but you really don’t know what to expect. For help we turned to Edmunds.com.

Edmunds.com has compiled maintenance and repair information for cars and trucks. With this data, they project likely service and repair costs for a particular make and model. They’re able to use manufacturer’s maintenance schedules and repair histories for the projections.

Of course, these projections can’t predict what will happen to your vehicle in Orange, but they do give you information to use in your decision.

Let’s look at the numbers for a five year old Toyota Camry V-6. In this example, the combined maintenance and repairs for the five year period is $5,748. This works out to an average of $96 a month. The year-by-year averages range from a low of $49 a month to $124 a month.

So compare $96 a month with a new car payment. And it’s actually better news than that; you would still have maintenance expenses with a new car, so the repair element could be less than half that figure.

Here are numbers for some other five year old vehicles from around Orange:

  • Ford Escape – $116 a month
  • Chevy Silverado – $131 a month
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee – $138 a month
  • Hyundai Accent – $85 a month.

Now, if your vehicle is older than five years, have a chat with your Orange service advisor at Auto Care Plus. We see hundreds of vehicles through our bays every month and we know your car. See if there’s any particular problem common with your vehicle that you might see over the next couple of years.

And of course, the best way to keep future repair costs down is to take care of all your scheduled maintenance. This is especially important in older vehicles that have had time to accumulate some deposits.

There are special motor oil formulations that help clean older engines and protect and recondition their seals and gaskets.

We hope this eliminates some of the unknowns in the decision to keep or trade.

Give us a call if you have any questions:
Auto Care Plus
1432 N Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92867
(714) 771-7587

Why A Trip Inspection Is A Good Idea

At Auto Care Plus we get a lot of Orange motorists asking about car trip preparation. That’s a big deal. You could be driving through mountains and deserts in some pretty lonely areas outside of Orange so it’s important to know that the car is up to the task and won’t leave you stranded.

Smart Buena Park car owners plan ahead for a major road trip – there are a lot of things to get ready. Where should you start? You could start with the tires. Look them over for tread wear and check to see that they are properly inflated. Take a quick test drive around Orange to see if you can feel any vibrations: are the wheels in balance? Is the car tracking straight? Is the alignment ok? Come to Auto Care Plus for a peace-of-mind trip inspection.

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

The next thing is a full service oil change to make sure all of your critical fluids are topped off and you have fresh oil for the trip. And if your car has over 75,000 miles, you may consider putting in the high-mileage formulation to clean harmful sludge deposits in the engine. You may also need a new PCV valve and an engine air filter.

How about your transmission and brakes? Have you had your transmission and brakes inspected in the last six months?

How are your wiper blades? There’s nothing like not being able to get rid of the bug juice on a long road trip away from Orange.

Check your owners’ manual for any other critical recommended service and have Auto Care Plus in Orange do the multi-point inspection before you head out in CA.

Consider also having the coolant system serviced at Auto Care Plus – you want to stay within the automobile manufacturer’s recommendations. If you’re towing a trailer in Orange you’ll want to be keep in mind that you’ll be going a long way under severe conditions.

A lot of Orange folks overlook severe conditions like towing, or Orange summer heat, or driving on dirt roads in CA. Plan ahead for your next road trip – Auto Care Plus wants you to get there and back.