Autobahn West

Providing superb car service and repairs to BMW, Mini Cooper, Porsche, Volvo and Mercedes owners since 1976

Autobahn West - Providing superb car service and repairs to BMW, Mini Cooper, Porsche, Volvo and Mercedes owners since 1976

The Fallacy of Cheap Tires

Do you ever shop for shoes in one of our Irvine area shoe stores?
When buying a running shoe, is quality important?
Does durability matter as long as the shoes look fabulous?
Would you rather have one pair of long lasting shoes or two pair of lower quality shoes at the same price?

Is the warranty important when buying tires?

When you choose new tires in Mission Viejo, what’s the most important factor for you?

Give us a call at Autobahn West at 949.525.9730 for tire recommendations.

You know, buying tires in Mission Viejo is a big deal. It’s a big ticket item so you know you’ll be spending a lot. You’re not only concerned about the price, but you want to know that it’ll be a long time before you need to buy new tires again.

And of course there’s the safety aspect as well. The tires do a lot of work – they carry the weight of the vehicle and you and your passengers. They need to be up to the task. You want to be sure they hold the road and provide good traction. If you carry heavy loads or tow a trailer, the tires need a high load rating to be up for the job.

As a tire professional, I think it’s important that people understand the effect of price on a tire’s performance and durability. When I was a kid, my dad had a saying. He said, “Pay twice as much and buy half as many”.

Dad applied that to a lot of things. He thought that one high quality suit would last longer and look better than two cheap suits. The saying really seems to hold true when it comes to shoes and boots, too.

I buy high-quality work shoes because I spend a lot of time on my feet. They’re more comfortable, have important safety features like steel toes and non-slip soles – and they last at least twice as long as cheap shoes. I feel I get very good value for my money.

I apply the same thinking to tires. The major tire brands that you’re familiar with are known as Tier 1 tires. These tires are well-engineered and very high quality. Comparable tires are usually in the same price range from brand to brand.

Stepping down in price you come to private label tires. Some large tire store chains carry tires with the chain’s own brand. It’s important to know that most private label tires are built by the same Tier 1 brands that you are familiar with – so they are a quality product. You can ask your tire professional who makes their private brand.

The lowest priced tires on the market are Tier 3 tires. These tend to be imported from China or South America. Since you get what you pay for, you can’t expect a Tier 3 tire to deliver the same performance and durability as the others.

So let’s say you need new tires. You’ve determined the features you need. So you have several options, including price options. Now, you’ve probably heard the term ‘it’s a 40 thousand mile tire’ or ‘it’s a 60 thousand mile tire’. Simply put, the manufacturer warrantees the tire for ‘X’ number of miles. If that’s important to you, look for the warranty.

What’s the difference in the tires with higher mileage warranties? It’s the rubber compounds and the amount of tread material. As you might expect, you’ll pay more for the longer-lasting tire.

Now the cheapest tires you can find won’t have a manufacturer’s mileage warranty or if it does, it’ll be relatively low. That brings us back to dad’s saying; if you buy the cheapest Tier 3 tire you can, you will likely go through two sets in the time it would take to wear out one set of good quality tires. And the good tires won’t cost twice as much, so you’ll end up paying more per mile driven with the cheap tires.

Hey, I realize that sometimes the budget will only allow for a Tier 3 tire. I make them available for my customers who need them because I would rather see them driving with safe, new tires than pushing their old tires beyond their safety limits. But I always counsel my customers to buy as much tire as they can afford, because it will be much less expensive in the long run.

Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that touch the road. You’re only as safe as your tires are well built.

Buy value – not price.

The Autobahn West Guide for Mission Viejo Drivers: Where Should New Tires Be Placed

When Mission Viejo drivers need to replace tires, they need to know how many they should get, and on which axle they should be placed. Replacing a damaged tire may leave you with three others with significant wear, which could affect your traction control, stability control, and anti-lock brake systems.

If you can’t afford to replace all four tires at once, you should at least replace two on the same axle. New tires should always be put on the rear axle for stability in slippery conditions. Your understanding Autobahn West tire professional can help you know when your worn tires should be replaced, if you can have a damaged tire repaired as well as selecting the right tires for your needs.

Give us a call

Autobahn West
949.525.9730
25800 Jeronimo Rd. #200
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

Wheel Balancing at Autobahn West

So you love your job, and your family life is great. Congratulations! You have achieved balance. But can you say the same for your wheels? Mission Viejo car owners can tell if their tires are out of balance by vibrations at higher speeds on CA highways. If one of the front tires is out, you feel the vibration in the steering wheel. If it’s a back tire, you’ll feel the vibration in your seat.

Tires and wheels are pretty heavy. When a tire is mounted on a wheel at Autobahn West, it is usually not perfectly balanced. So the service advisor will spin the tire on a machine to determine where it’s too heavy. He will then place weights on the wheels in strategic locations to balance it out. When a tire is out of balance, it actually bounces down the road instead of rolling smoothly. Since the average size tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 MPH, it is actually slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s where you get your vibration.

Most Mission Viejo car owners are surprised at how smoothly their car rides after balancing all four wheels.

Most high-quality tires sold in Mission Viejo hold their balance pretty well for car owners. They just get out of balance gradually with normal wear and tear. If you suddenly feel a vibration, it is probably because you lost a wheel balancing weight along the way. Definitely get a balance at Autobahn West in Mission Viejo if you feel a vibration, change your rims or have a flat repaired. Putting off a needed balance job leads to excessive and dangerous tire wear, wear to your shocks, struts, steering and suspension parts. Wheel balancing not only improves your ride and handling, but also can save you some pricey repair bills and possibly an accident. Additionally, you will get better MPG.

Some Irvine auto owners have their tires balanced at every rotation. Others do it every other time. Check your owners’ manual for your requirements, or ask your understanding Autobahn West service professional. Doing this will put you on the path to mechanical wheel balance.

Tire Rotation and Balancing at Autobahn West in Mission Viejo

Tires do a lot of important work for Mission Viejo auto owners. They transfer engine power and braking forces to the road; they handle steering control; and they cushion all those bumps and jolts while driving around Mission Viejo. They also support the entire weight of the vehicle, including you and your passengers. With such critical work to do, you want your tires to do their job well. And since replacing tires is fairly expensive, you want them to last as long as possible.

There are three keys to long, even tire wear for Mission Viejo auto owners:

  • Proper tire inflation
  • Proper wheel alignment
  • Regular tire rotation and balancing

The front tires on a car take the brunt of the steering forces. As they push through turns, the shoulders of the front tires wear down more quickly than the rear tires. Rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate. That’s especially true of front wheel drive vehicles whose front tires steer, and put the power to the road.

SUVs and pick-ups, especially four wheel drives, also tend to wear their tires more unevenly than cars because of their suspension and drivetrain set-up. Your owner’s manual will likely contain a schedule for tire rotation. It’s usually every 5,000 miles or so.

Also, there are different rotation patterns for different vehicles. Autobahn West will know which is right for your vehicle. That brings us to wheel balancing. When wheels are balanced, they spin on the axle evenly. When they are out of balance, they wobble a bit. That makes the tires wear unevenly and may transmit a vibration to the car. Your understanding Autobahn West tech puts weights on your wheels to balance them out so that they turn true and smooth.

Tires are a big investment for Mission Viejo auto owners. They’re vital for keeping you safely on the road in Mission Viejo. The cost for regular rotation and balancing is more than made up in extended tire life. And, can you really put a price on your safety and that of your passengers?

Mission Viejo CA Winter Prep Service For Your Auto

When winter approaches in CA, Mission Viejo motorists break out the sweaters, coats, boots and mittens. We want to be ready for Irvine area winter conditions. Your pickup needs to be ready for winter as well. The last thing Mission Viejo auto owners want is to get stranded out in the cold. You need your pickup to be safe and reliable. It’s a good idea to get caught up on any neglected maintenance items anytime – but the stakes are higher in cold CA winters.

There are some specific things Mission Viejo car owners we need to do to have their vehicle ready for winter. The most obvious is having the antifreeze checked. If the antifreeze level is too low, it can’t properly protect your engine, radiator and hoses from freezing. If your car does not seem to be making enough heat to keep you warm, your antifreeze level may be low or you could have a thermostat problem. Get it checked out at Autobahn West in Mission Viejo. If you are due for a cooling system service, now is a perfect time to have it done.

In the cold months around Mission Viejo we always worry about being able to stop in time when it’s slick out. The first thing to remember is to slow down and allow yourself plenty of room to stop. Of course, you want your brakes to be working properly. A thorough brake inspection will reveal if the pads or any other parts need replacing. Check with your understanding Autobahn West service professional to see if it is time to replace your brake fluid. It accumulates water over time which really messes with your stopping power.

It is also a really good idea for Mission Viejo motorists to have their battery tested. A battery’s cranking power really drops with the temperature. If your battery is weak in the fall, it may not be up to a CA car owners. There is nothing like a dead battery in a snow storm.

Which leads us to an emergency kit. You should always have a blanket or something to keep you and your passengers warm if you get stranded on a remote CA road. If you will be venturing away from civilization, pack more items such as food and water to help you survive. Keeping at least half a tank of gas is vital if you get stuck and need to run the car to keep warm and it will help keep your gas lines from freezing up.

Autobahn West
25800 Jeronimo Rd. #200
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
949.525.9730

Winter in Mission Viejo, CA always makes auto owners think of their windshield wiper blades – usually during that first storm when they aren’t working right. That’s why it’s a really good idea to replace your blades in the fall before the CA winter storms. If you live where there’s a lot of snow and ice, you might want a special winter blade that resists freezing up. And be sure to have enough windshield washer fluid.

The final thing for Mission Viejo drivers to consider is their tires. Any tire can lose pressure over time – up to one pound every six or eight weeks. For every 10 degrees the temperature drops you lose another pound of pressure. So if it was 80 degrees outside when you checked your tire pressure two months ago and now it’s 40 degrees out, you could be down 5 pounds of pressure. That’s enough to be a real safety issue and it hurts gas mileage too. You may need special winter tires in Mission Viejo as well. Your understanding Autobahn West tire professional can help you find the right tire design for your expected road conditions.

If you’re getting winter tires, it is always best to put them on all four wheels. If you are only getting two, have them put on the rear – even if you have a front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle.

This is a an important safety measure recommended by tire manufacturers. Sliding or fish-tailing on ice and snow on CA s is a matter of not having enough traction at the rear end. That is why your newest tires should always be on the rear.

Getting New Tires In Mission Viejo?

best tire shops in Mission Viejo

There are so many tire choices in the Mission Viejo, El Toro, and Foothill Ranch area, selecting the right one can be a bit overwhelming for Irvine car owners. And even though it’s kind of fun to have new tires on your pickup, they’re a significant investment for most Irvine folks so you want do it right.

Tip: talk with your understanding Autobahn West tire professional. He’ll help you sort through the choices.

Here are some of the important issues you’ll talk about: One is size – you know, all those numbers on the side of the tire. The right size is important. All new vehicles are required to have stability control which, along with other important safety systems, is calibrated to work with specific tire sizes. Your Mission Viejo tire professional can help stay within vehicle manufacturers’ specifications or program a different tire size into your pickup’s computer.

And you’ll want to discuss how and where you drive in Irvine to determine the type of tire you need: summer, winter,  all season tires or all-terrain. There are tires for every Mission Viejo auto owner’s needs.

Like we said, tires are a big investment, so you want to get a good value on tires. Now that doesn’t always mean the cheapest tire. A top tier tire from Autobahn West will last a long time and give Mission Viejo motorists good performance throughout its life. Tires sold in Mission Viejo bargain tire shops may not live up to that promise. Again, your understanding Autobahn West tire professional can give you options that offer the best long-term value within your immediate budget.

Last, with a 2-wheel drive vehicle, it’s essential to always replace both tires on an axle. Modern sensors and computer safety systems for pickup brakes, stability and traction control need both tires to have the same amount of wear to work properly. And always put the new tires on the rear so you don’t fishtail in a turn. With all-wheel drive you should replace all four tires at the same time.

Schedule a tire inspection at Autobahn West to see how much life is left in your pickup tires and seek the help of a professional when choosing new shoes for your vehicle.

Give us a call

Autobahn West
949.525.9730
25800 Jeronimo Rd. #200
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

All About Your TPMS In Mission Viejo

Mission Viejo car owners know that under-inflated tires wear out more quickly. Under-inflation is also a major cause of tire failure for CA auto owners. More flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances are all results of under-inflated tires.

It’s hard for many Mission Viejo car owners to tell when a radial tire is under-inflated. If your automobile manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your tire is considered significantly under-inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

Uncle Sam to the rescue! A recent federal law required auto manufacturers to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System – or TPMS system – in all vehicles. The system is a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25 % below the automobile manufacturer’s pressure recommendations.

The law covers all passenger cars, SUVs, mini vans and pick-up trucks. The system must also indicate if it has a malfunction. This technology has been used in race cars for years. They are able to head off problems from under-inflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It’s up to your car’s auto maker to determine which of many TPMS systems available they use to comply with the law.

Obviously, all of this doesn’t come free for Mission Viejo car owners. Government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases. The net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100.

The costs are partially offset by savings in fuel and tread wear. There is also a saving in property damage and travel delay. Also, the government predicts fewer fatal accidents. They estimate there will be between $3,000,000 to $9,000,000 for every life saved.

Your safety is our priority at Autobahn West. We want you on the road and accident free. We’ve traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes to Mission Viejo drivers at a very low cost. We’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service, and we pass the low cost on to our valued Mission Viejo clients as an expression of our good will. That’s why we’re concerned about how you perceive the changes that this new law has required.

Every time a tire is changed: taken off to fix a flat, a new tire installed, or a snow tire mounted, the service advisor now has to deal with the TPMS system. Sensors need to be removed and reinstalled. The sensors have to be reactivated after the change. And, unfortunately, the very act of changing the tire damages some sensor parts from time to time – it’s inevitable and can’t be avoided.

Even a simple tire rotation requires that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system needs to be reprogrammed. TPMS sensor batteries must be replaced periodically along with failed parts.

Mission Viejo service centers have purchased new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and updated expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems.

CA service professionals have been trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to the service center to perform what was once a very inexpensive service. So if you’ve noticed the cost of flat repairs, tire changes, and rotations going up, please keep in mind that it’s because of government mandated safety equipment. Your Mission Viejo service center just wants to keep you safely on the road – and it’s committed to do so at a fair price. Rememer, this change will help you avoid the most common vehicle failure, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

Upsizing Wheels and Tires With Autobahn West

At AutoNetTV we love doughnuts. So let’s pretend you have three doughnuts right in front of you for today’s discussion about upsizing wheels and tires. Hey, don’t eat them now – your going to need them later.

Many Mission Viejo car owners want to accessorize their car – you know, make it theirs. One of the easiest ways to get a custom look is to get some new wheels. There are thousands of wheel designs at Irvine area tire shops to get you the look you want. And for many Laguna Niguel motorists, that look includes bigger wheels. It used to be that cars came from the factory with 15 or 16 inch wheels. Now 16, 17 and even 18 inchers are standard. And the factories are offering optional wheel packages up to 20 inches or more.

So let’s talk about what to consider when you want to upsize your wheels. It’s not exactly a DIY project, so you need to know a thing or two before you get started. The most important term to know is rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is simply the overall height of your tire. Unless you want to modify your pickup suspension, you’ll want to keep your rolling diameter the same when you upsize your wheels.

Let’s think about those three golden doughnuts in front of you. They’re all about the same size. So if we pretend they’re tires, they would have the same rolling diameter. The doughnut hole is the size of the wheel. Now pretend we’ve made the hole bigger on some. That’s like having a bigger wheel – but the rolling diameter is the same.

It’s important to keep the rolling diameter the same for several reasons. First of all, if the tire is bigger, it might not fit in the pickup wheel well. Next the speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brake system are all calibrated for the factory rolling diameter. In order for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, the rolling diameter must stay within 3% of the factory recommendation. If you ignore that, you run the risk that your anti-lock brakes won’t work properly.

Some auto owners have cars with electronically controlled suspension that will be negatively affected by changing the rolling diameter. Let’s think about the doughnuts again. You see, as the size of the wheel gets bigger, the sidewall gets shorter. The tire holds less air, so the sidewalls are made stiffer to compensate.

Low profile tires from top auto makers use special compounds that give the sidewall the strength it needs without compromising ride quality. As you increase your wheel size, you’ll typically get a slightly wider tire. This means that you have a larger contact patch. The contact patch is part of the tire that contacts the road. Because there’s more rubber on the road, the vehicle will handle better. And braking distances will be shorter. A lot of Mission Viejo folks with trucks or SUVs love the extra control.

CA car owners need to watch out that the contact patch isn’t so big that the tires rub in turns or over bumps. What we’re talking about here is fitment. Your tire professional at Autobahn West can help you get this right. He’ll install your new wheels, add spacers if needed to make sure your brakes fit inside your new wheels, and get you rolling.

Also, if you drive off-road in CA a lot, you may need a higher profile tire to protect your new rims. And make sure your new tires have the load rating you need if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads. Again, your tire professional at Autobahn West knows how to help.

And don’t forget about tire pressure. If you have larger rims, your new tires will hold less air and they’ll need to run a slightly higher pressure. Forget that and you’ll wear your tires out fast. Finally, get an alignment at Autobahn West after you get your new shoes. AutoNetTV wants you to safely have the look you want.

Stop by Autobahn West to learn more about how you might upsize your wheels or tires.
You’ll find us at 25800 Jeronimo Rd. #200 in Mission Viejo, CA 92691.

Custom Wheels and Tires For Your Mission Viejo Ride

It seems like everywhere you go in the Irvine area you see custom wheels. Big trucks, little cars, mini-vans – it doesn’t matter, motorists are expressing themselves with custom wheels. Some CA motorists want smaller tires and wheels – some want larger – and some want them enormous. So where do you start if you want new wheels? At Autobahn West, we suggest you start with your budget. We know, that sounds so practical. But if the look you’re after goes beyond just new tires and wheels and enters into the world of suspension modifications, you need to be prepared for the additional cost.

Let’s start with something easy – you want to give your ride a unique look and the stock wheel size is just right for you. One of the concerns you will have is that the new wheels have the same offset as your pickup factory wheels.

First, what is offset? The wheel bolts onto the hub on the pickup’s axle. The distance from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on, is the offset. If the new wheel has a different offset from the factory, the tires may rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. That could lead to catastrophic and (pricey)  tire failure.

Your tire and wheel professional at Autobahn West in Mission Viejo can help you find the right size wheel – or install adapters to make your new wheels fit. All you have to do is pick from the hundreds of styles available.

Autobahn West
25800 Jeronimo Rd. #200
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
949.525.9730

So, what about Mission Viejo auto owners who want to upsize? Well, if you pick bigger wheels, but you want to keep the same overall tire diameter, that’s pretty easy for the team at Autobahn West. The same offset concerns apply. You need to know that the tires will likely be a little bit wider than the originals and you don’t want them to rub when you make sharp turns. Your tire professional at Autobahn West in Mission Viejo will help you avoid this.

It is also critical to keep the same overall tire diameter because changing the rolling diameter can mess with your pickup anti-lock brakes and stability control systems. Are you starting to see why you want to meet with your understanding Autobahn West tire and wheel expert at Autobahn West in Mission Viejo? Is “super-size me” your motto? If it is, you are going to have to lift your vehicle to make room for those huge tires. A mild lift doesn’t require extensive modifications. An extreme lift means a lot of new hardware under the vehicle. It also means a lot of stock electronic systems need to be recalibrated to the new tire size. For example, your speedometer and odometer will give false readings if they aren’t recalibrated. (You don’t want to risk getting speeding tickets on CA interstates because your speedometer shows a lower-than-actual speed.)

Mission Viejo auto owners who want to upsize should also be aware of possible performance issues. Bigger tires and wheels weigh more. CA automotive experts refer to this as unsprung weight because it isn’t held up by your pickup suspension system. Increased unsprung weight affects performance in different ways than an equivalent amount of groceries or little soccer players in the pickup passenger compartment. Acceleration is negatively affected. Stopping distances may also be increased – sometimes significantly. Mission Viejo car owners who want really big tires and wheels, might need to upgrade their brakes to compensate.

Heading the other direction, some motorists in the Irvine area like to run smaller than standard wheels and lower the suspension. All of the same fitment issues still apply as well as calibration issues. Don’t think that pickup suspension modifications are a bad thing. Many systems actually improve ride, function and performance over the stock set-up.

Regardless of your budget, you want your pickup to continue to do all the things you need it to do. Some of those show cars and trucks you see on TV and Mission Viejo showrooms  look marvelous, but have been modified in ways that may not suit your needs. For example, if you put large rims on your SUV with low profile tires, you may be in for busted rims if you go off-roading a lot around Irvine. There just isn’t enough sidewall to absorb the impact of thumping over rocks.

Some auto owners stuff the largest tires and wheels possible in their vehicles but have to severely restrict suspension travel so that the tires aren’t rubbing all day. That can lead to a very harsh ride around CA. Again, talk with your Autobahn West wheel professional about all of these things: how you drive in Mission Viejo, what look you are going for, your budget and what compromises you are willing to make.

At the end of the day, you’re going to be rollin’ out of Autobahn West with one sweet ride.

Why Wheel Balancing and Tire Rotation Save You Money On Tires

Irvine car owners want their tires to last as long as possible. Two ways to extend tire life are wheel balancing and tire rotation.

When wheels are out of balance, they wobble and vibrate. That makes the tires wear in a cupping pattern. If a front wheel is out of balance you’ll feel it in the steering wheel. If it’s a rear wheel you’ll feel it through your seat. To fix this, your service advisor at Autobahn West puts weights on your wheels to balance them out.

That brings us to tire rotation. The front tires on a pickup wear out faster than the rear tires. As they push through turns from Mission Viejo to Foothill Ranch, the shoulders of the front tires wear down. So rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate over the life of the tire.

Proper tire inflation will also help Irvine folks’ tires last longer. Under-inflated tires wear more on the shoulder and may even overheat. This could cause tire damage or a blow out. Over-inflated tires wear too fast in the middle.

Four wheel drive trucks and SUV’s tend to wear their tires more unevenly so rotation is even more essential with them. Give Autobahn West a call to get our recommendation for your pickup.

See your owner’s manual or ask your technician at Autobahn West for your recommended tire rotation schedule. It’s usually every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

Tires are costly and they are one of the most important safety components on your vehicle. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

Autobahn West
25800 Jeronimo Rd. #200
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
949.525.9730