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

Gas Savings In Mission Viejo: Sharpen Your Pencil

High gas prices in Mission Viejo increase the cost of living for CA car owners. You’ve probably budgeted a certain amount for vehicle related expenses. Increased fuel costs now consume a larger portion of our incomes, causing some Mission Viejo 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 Mission Viejo: Sharpen Your PencilIn this area, we can take a lesson from professional Mission Viejo vehicle owners. I’m talking about fleet owners and operators. You know, Mission Viejo 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 fuel efficiency may put their Irvine business in the red.

So what does this mean to Mission Viejo drivers? Well, there’s a ninety percent chance that you’re missing some service that would improve your fuel efficiency. 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 Mission Viejo drivers 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 Autobahn West. Figure that they combine to improve your fuel economy by fifteen percent. What would that mean to your pocketbook?

Well, the average personal vehicle in Mission Viejo is driven about twelve thousand miles a year. If you get twenty miles per gallon in your pickup, 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 Mission Viejo for work or recreation – or want a large SUV for family needs. A fifteen percent improvement in fuel efficiency can generate huge savings – six hundred and sixty dollars a year if gas is four fifty a gallon in Mission Viejo. 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 Autobahn West. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you’ll save a lot of money at Mission Viejo gas pumps this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.

 

 

Fuel Injection Keeps Getting Better For Mission Viejo Motorists

Mission Viejo drivers know that engines burn fuel to operate. Fuel is pumped from your fuel tank to your engine where it is squirted—or injected—into your engine’s cylinders. This is the function of the fuel injectors.

There are two ways to inject fuel into an engine. Fuel needs air to burn, so in the first method, fuel is injected into a port and allowed to mix with air and before it is drawn into the cylinders. In the second method, fuel is injected directly into the cylinders and mixes with air after it enters the engine.

Direct injection engines burn fuel more efficiently than conventional engines. Some models can deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.

For example, in one family of engines, the conventional version (a V6) delivers about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version delivers over 300 horsepower and gets about the same fuel efficiency. The turbocharged version delivers 350 horsepower.

Why the big difference in power? Direct injection systems allow fuel to be squirted into the engine at hundreds of times the pressure of a conventional engine. This atomizes the fuel better (breaks it down into tinier droplets), which means more of it gets burned, which translates to more power for your engine. It also results in cleaner emissions and improved fuel economy.

Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver the right amount of fuel at exactly the time the engine needs it. They are also engineered to inject fuel with a specific spray pattern. This spray pattern allows for maximum fuel efficiency and proper atomization.

Direct injection engines require a much higher degree of precision than conventional engines. For this reason, they are equipped with more sophisticated computers.

When fuel injectors get dirty, their precision drops off. The spray pattern won’t be precise, and the timing of fuel delivery may be off. This decreases fuel efficiency and gas mileage for Mission Viejo drivers as well as delivering less power to the engine.

Fuel injectors are not cheap to replace. Direct injection fuel injectors are even more expensive. And we’re talking a mortgage payment to buy a set of new fuel injectors for a diesel engine.

So keeping your fuel injectors clean is just good auto advice for Mission Viejo drivers. The best way to do this is to change your air and fuel filters regularly and practice other habits of good car care and preventive maintenance at Autobahn West in Mission Viejo. Cleaning additives in your fuel can also help.

If you do end up with gum or varnish in your fuel system, you’ll need a professional fuel system cleaning. This will clean out your whole system, including the injectors. The good news is that with proper maintenance, your fuel injectors will last for a long time.

TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring For Your Mission Viejo Auto

Mission Viejo auto owners may know that all 2008 model year and newer cars, mini-vans and light trucks in Mission Viejo come with a tire pressure monitoring system. Many slightly older vehicles around Irvine have these systems as well. A tire pressure monitoring system – called TPMS – consists of sensors on each wheel that measure tire pressure.

If tire pressure drops 25 percent below the auto maker’s recommended pressure, the sensor sends a signal to a monitoring unit that causes a warning to light up on the dashboard. When Irvine auto owners see the warning light, they know it’s time to put some air in the tires.

There are many benefits to Mission Viejo auto owners who drive with properly inflated tires around Mission Viejo. First is cost savings. Running at the correct air pressure improves fuel efficiency. Driving on under-inflated tires is like driving through sand – it drags down your fuel efficiency. Mission Viejo car owners will also see longer, more even tread wear so your tires’ll last longer.

Another important benefit of properly inflated tires is increased safety for Mission Viejo auto owners. Under-inflated tires become hotter and that heat can actually lead to tire failure – possibly resulting in an accident. Your car and the tires themselves will just perform better and more safely around Mission Viejo with properly inflated tires.

Local Mission Viejo consumer groups, law-makers and auto manufacturers advocate TPMS systems hoping that they will save lives, property damage and inconvenience. While you can’t put a value on saving a life, Mission Viejo car owners should keep in mind that TPMS systems aren’t free.

The systems themselves are added into the price of the car. The batteries in the sensors will have to be replaced from time to time. Parts will break and need to be replaced. In colder climates around CA, ice and salt are frequent causes of failure.

In addition, there are other behind-the-scenes costs we want Mission Viejo motorists to be aware of. Every time a tire is replaced, repaired, rotated or balanced, the tire technician has to deal with the TPMS system.

Mission Viejo service centers such as Autobahn West must purchase expensive equipment used to scan and reactivate the TPMS system after every tire service. Because older tire change equipment can damage TPMS sensors, your Irvine service center may need to buy expensive, new tire changers.

Since there is no uniformity among car makers, technicians need to be trained on several TPMS systems. These behind-the-scenes costs are very real to Mission Viejo service center managers like Ray Dixon at Autobahn West.

That’s why the team at Autobahn West is anxious for Irvine car owners to understand the critical financial impact of TPMS systems. In the past, we’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide tire services to motorists, and then pass the low cost on to Irvine customers as an expression of our good will. But now even these simple jobs take much longer and require costly equipment.

Sensors will need to be removed and reinstalled. Even a tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed.

So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up in CA, please keep in mind that it’s because of this vital new safety equipment. The team at Autobahn West just wants to keep you safely on the road – and we’re committed to doing it at a fair price.

It’s vital to remember that the TPMS warning only comes on when a tire is severely under-inflated. You’ll still want to check your tire pressure regularly. At every fill-up is best, but you should check pressure at least once a month. Here’s wishing you safe travels.

Contact Autobahn West for more important information about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems.

Keep Your Cool In Irvine: Air Conditioning Service

Most Mission Viejo drivers don’t even think about their car air conditioning system unless it fails. That’s because many Mission Viejo and El Toro motorists don’t really understand that auto A/Cs need periodic service. Let me share some of the reasons why they fail.

First, like every machine, the pickup air conditioner parts need – you guessed it – lubrication. The lubricant is actually mixed in with the refrigerant (that’s the stuff that makes the air cool). Remember that even if the air conditioner is still blowing out cool air, the oil that lubricates the parts may be used up: and unlubricated parts can fail in all CA cars.

Keep Your Cool In Irvine: Air Conditioning Service

Now here’s a tip for Mission Viejo auto owners: Run your air conditioner every so often during CA winters. This circulates the lubricant to help keep the seals from drying out.

The air conditioner actually removes some of the moisture in the air. So if you have trouble with fogging on your pickup windshield during CA winters or during a rain storm, running the A/C on the defrost setting should help. Now on some Mission Viejo cars you can’t run the A/C at the same time as the defroster. Don’t ask me why, but I suspect lawyers were involved.

Also, air and water can get into the A/C system. That can reduce the efficiency of the system and also lead to corrosion that causes damage. Irvine car owners should periodically purge the system and replace the refrigerant to remove the air and water.

Mission Viejo drivers would be wise to learn the critical early warning signs of A/C trouble: 1) The air’s not as cold as it used to be. 2) Unusual noises when the A/C cycles on. Those are signs to get your vehicle into Autobahn West in Mission Viejo before the damage gets worse.

By following the recommended service intervals in your pickup owner’s manual, you can help prevent mechanical failure of your air conditioning system. Your A/C system contains some pricey components like the compressor, condenser, dryer, etc. Anything Laguna Niguel and El Toro car owners can do to lengthen the life of their A/C is well worth it.

Automobile Fluids For Your pickup

If you’ve walked through the automotive fluids of an auto parts store in Irvine, you’ll know how overwhelming the sheer number of products available can be. How do you know what’s right for your vehicle?

As you know, these fluids all serve a function in making your car run as you drive around the Irvine area. Your vehicle manufacturer has specified a particular type of fluid for every system from the motor, to the cooling system, brake fluid and so on. When you realize that not every variation is applicable to your vehicle, the task becomes more manageable.

First let’s talk about why there are so many varieties. Starting with motor oil, we see that manufacturers match the properties of a particular weight or type of oil with the design needs of the engine. For example, engines with sophisticated valve trains often require a thinner weight of oil.

Some vehicles around Irvine come from the factory filled with synthetic oil and the recommendation to use it for life. The safe bet is to always use what the factory recommends. The recommendation is what’s been proven to work in function and durability tests. The recommended oil is also a factor in determining oil change interval schedules.

Mission Viejo CA Auto Fluids A good quality oil has more additives that are engineered to clean and protect the engine. They cost a bit more, but are worth the extra protection. If you buy budget oil, you might want to consider shortening your oil change interval.

Sometimes fluids are developed specifically to meet the needs of a particular family of engines. An example would be coolant. Because of the different materials used to build the cooling system, the coolant has to be formulated to protect those parts, which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, from corrosion. We’ve seen special coolant in Irvine for General Motors, Volkswagen, Chrysler and others.

The same is true of transmission fluid and brake fluid in recent years.

The really good news is that your Irvine service center has databases that tell them the recommended fluids for your vehicle. This takes all the guess work out. If you have some special needs, like a higher mileage engine or want enhanced performance, ask your service advisor for upgrades or additives that’ll meet your needs while being consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Of course, your full-service oil change will top off your fluids. But it’s a good idea to have some of everything at home in case you need to top something off yourself or to take on a trip. Ask your Irvine service advisor at Autobahn West or check your owner’s manual for fluid specifications.

It’s important to know that there are national warranty laws that say that a manufacturer cannot require you to use their brand of fluid to maintain your warranty. That said, there are two things that may affect your warranty.

Using the wrong type of fluid may void the warranty. Going back to radiator coolant, the correct type protects against corrosion and the wrong type will not. So it’s important to be right.

Also some warranty protections are conditioned on taking care of scheduled preventive maintenance. Please review your warranty if you have questions.