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

Mission Viejo Road Trip Preparation

People from Mission Viejo CA love their cars. And nothing goes with cars better than a CA 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 you can’t always avoid problems, but you can take steps to reduce the probability of getting sidelined on your trip.

Heading out on a CA road trip? Stop by Autobahn West before you head out to make sure everything is in good repair.
25800 Jeronimo Rd. #200, Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Call us at 949.525.9730

Let’s look at some of the auto maintenance related problems you might encounter on a road trip and what you might do to avoid them.

It all starts with a thorough trip inspection by your Mission Viejo CA service professionals at Autobahn West. Let’s talk about some of the items on the trip inspection checklist.

The most common vehicle component to fail is the tires. Of course, you can’t always avoid a road hazard that leads to a flat, but you may be able to head off some maintenance-connected tire problems.

A good tire inspection will start with looking over the condition of the tire itself. Are there signs of uneven tire wear? Are the tires properly inflated? Is the tread worn to the point that the tire should be replaced? The answers to these questions may lead to a recommendation to balance or rotate your tires. It may also be time to have an alignment service.

Your brakes should be inspected for function as well as to determine how much life is left in your brake pads. You’ll also want to know if it’s time to service your brake fluid. Over time water and contaminants make their way into your brake fluid and the system needs to be flushed, cleaned and filled with fresh fluid.

While looking under your car, your Mission Viejo auto technician should also inspect your suspension system for worn or damaged parts. If you need new shocks or struts, you’ll really notice the difference on your trip once you have them replaced.

Now the second most common vehicle failure is the cooling system. It may be time for a coolant exchange or flush. These services remove old fluid that has become corrosive and replaces it with fresh, clean fluid that restores the effectiveness of your cooling system.

The cooling system inspection will reveal leaks and weakened hoses. Replacing worn parts, like the radiator cap or water pump may be indicated. Even though cooling system failure is fairly common, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to prevent with proper maintenance.

Another thing people often overlook their transmission service. This is very important before a road trip because transmission problems tend to take some time and money to get fixed. Not the way you want to spend your vacation.

Your technician will inspect your belts to see if they should be replaced. A failed belt is at best an inconvenience. He’ll also give your exhaust system the once over to make sure there aren’t any dangerous leaks that could harm you and your passengers.

Of course, there are the usual things as well. An oil change, engine air filter, fuel system cleaning, a tune up. If you need any of these things, get them done today at Autobahn West – the improved fuel economy will be appreciated on your road trip.

If your heater or air conditioning isn’t working as well as you’d like, let your Mission Viejo CA service consultant know at Autobahn West.

Some important items that are often overlooked are power steering service, differential service and timing belt replacement. If these things don’t ring a bell, have your service consultant check to see if they’re due.

Now while you’re out seeing the sights, you’ll want to make sure you can see the sights. Replace your windshield wipers if they aren’t working well. And don’t forget your headlamps. They gradually lose their brightness and you don’t even realize it. Many people replace their lamps once or twice a year.

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 come into focus as you plan for your trip. They’ll always save you money in the long run and may prevent inconvenient delays on your trip. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss the world’s largest ball of string, would you?

Helping Mission Viejo Drivers Get the Right Tires

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Every Mission Viejo vehicle owner has to purchase tires at some time or another, so it’s a good idea to understand what the choices are. The best seasonal performance is achieved by purchasing tires to match the season you are driving in. Summer tires are designed for hot temperatures. The tread is engineered for good traction on dry or rainy CA roads. But the rubber compound in summer tires gets stiff when temperatures drop below 45°F, and snow and mud can pack into the tread, reducing the traction of the tire.

Winter tires are designed for good traction on snowy surfaces. The tread actually throws snow off of the tire as the wheel turns. The rubber compound in a winter tire is soft so that it will remain flexible at Irvine temperatures below 45°F. At higher temperatures, however, the softer rubber wears down rapidly.

All-season tires sacrifice some of the extreme performance of summer or winter tires, but they maintain adequate traction in either type of Mission Viejo weather.

So your first consideration when buying a tire is where you live in CA and where you usually drive. If you require maximum summer and winter performance you can go with dedicated summer and winter tires; you would just need to change out your tires each spring and fall.

For serious winter driving in CA, look for tires with a severe snow rating. These tires are labeled with a mountain-and-snowflake logo.

Your second essential consideration is the quality of tire to purchase. Summer, winter and all-season tires come in a variety of grades and styles at CA tire stores. Mission Viejo drivers will want to purchase a tire that will give them good wear and that will handle their driving style and road conditions. Your Autobahn West tire professional can give you auto advice as to which type of tire will best fit your needs.

Mission Viejo auto owners who drive off-road around CA may want to look at a high-grade tire that is designed for off-road use. These tires are designed to handle the extra wear of off-roading while still giving good performance on Mission Viejo streets and expressways. There are a number of options to choose from so that you can find the right tire whether you are only an occasional off-road explorer or a serious rock climber.

New wheels can be purchased in Mission Viejo as a statement of style or to add personality to your pickup. There are almost unlimited options. If you change the size of the wheels on your pickup, however, you will need to get some professional help to make your vehicle compatible with its new wheels. Talk to your Autobahn West service advisor for more information about tires.

Questions To Ask Your Mission Viejo Service Advisor

We find that a lot of Mission Viejo service and repair at Autobahn West are a little tentative when they talk with their automotive advisors. They want to ask questions, but don’t want to be embarrassed or to seem pushy. Cars are very complicated and there’s more to know about them than most of us have the time to learn. Maybe it’s because cars have become so much more reliable that the average person just doesn’t need to know as much to keep their vehicle on the road.

You know, your local hospital has a Patient’s Bill of Rights that they post throughout the hospital. We think our Mission Viejo automotive service customers also have a right to ask any question they need to understand what is wrong with their car and what it will take to fix it. They need to feel free to ask the cost and benefits of recommended services. And they certainly have a right to understand the financial end of the transaction.

It’s all about the communication. It’s a little harder when you’re trying to find the right service center in Mission Viejo. But once you’ve developed a relationship, the communication should come easier.

What are some of the barriers to communication? Well, let’s go back to the medical example. When your doctor’s explaining something to you, it’s something that she understands very well and is very familiar with. So she may use jargon you don’t understand or that you don’t have the education and training that’s foundational to understanding what she’s trying to explain.

So you fall behind and get frustrated.

It can be the same with your Mission Viejo automotive service advisors. Most of them are very busy trying to service and fix cars to get their customers back on the road. So, just ask when you feel you need more information.

Financial related issues seem to be most frustrating to customers. If you’re not sure, ask what the payment policies are. For example, there’s a big difference between giving your car a quick once over and doing a thorough inspection. Diagnosing a problem may take quite a while. Make sure you know what’s done as a courtesy and what has a fee. Remember, you still have to pay for the office visit even if the doctor says you only have a cold.

Communication is a two way street. If you have some real budget concerns, ask your Mission Viejo service advisor what he can do. He can give you priorities and options. He can tell you what needs to be taken care of right away for safety or financial reasons. Then you can work out a plan for when to get the rest done. He can also help you with options on the parts. The preference is to always use a high-quality part with a reputation for reliability. But if money is real tight, he might be able to find a rebuilt part or a used part. He should tell you the difference in the guarantee for the part so you can make a good decision.

Ask about warranties for parts and labor. Be sure to get all the paperwork you need to make a possible claim in the future. Your service center and its technicians stand behind their work and want you to understand precisely what that means.

Be sure to ask for and keep a detailed explanation of all the work that’s done on your vehicle. These records will help you keep track of service, warranties and document the good care your vehicle has received when the time comes to sell it.

Call Autobahn West to make an appointment.
25800 Jeronimo Rd. #200
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
949.525.9730

Selecting New Tires and Wheels

Some of us Mission Viejo auto owners just love tires. All those little rubber hairs on new tires and the smell is wonderful. Mission Viejo auto owners live in a great time for tires. No matter how you drive between Mission Viejo and Irvine, where you want to go or the look you’re after; there is a tire for you.

The same is true about wheels. The hardest part for Mission Viejo motorists is choosing from the thousands of wheels available at CA tire shops.

The team at Autobahn West may not be able to help with that, but we can help you get some things in mind before you consult with your Mission Viejo tire professional. Let’s start with function and think about how you drive.

For example, maybe you have a large SUV but you don’t drive off-road around Mission Viejo, so an off-road tread isn’t important. Also, because you are not out bouncing over rocks in the CA backcountry, you don’t need a high profile tire to protect your rims. So that means you can probably go with the low-wide look.

If you have a winter season with rain and snow or if you find you need better ice and snow performance, they make great, high-performance snow tires that won’t make it look like you are driving a tractor.

There really are a lot of options for any given vehicle. Mission Viejo car owners will find it very helpful to have a discussion like this with their Mission Viejo tire pro or the tire experts at Autobahn West when they need new tires. You can find the best solutions for your driving needs and to make improvements in ride or handling.

Picking a wheel that is the same size as what you are now running is critical and pretty simple. But, it gets trickier if you want to upsize. Just get some help when you go bigger. All that tire and wheel still needs to fit in the available space. You do not want your tires to rub when you turn or hit a bump. Mission Viejo car owners also need to make sure their brakes and suspension bits will fit with their wheel of choice. It doesn’t matter how great your car looks if it’s not drivable.

Taller, wider wheels and tires probably weigh more than your stock shoes. And it’s “unsprung” weight – that has a big impact on brake performance. The upsized shoes increase rotational inertia – if you go too big you may need to upgrade your brakes to compensate.

Another possible problem is an inaccurate speedometer. This happens because the number of rotations can change with the new wheels. Fortunately, speedometers and odometers are all controlled by the engine computer; so it is simple to get it reprogrammed at Autobahn West to compensate for the bigger tires.

No matter what you are after: low cost, long life, high performance, traction or stunning good looks, your wheel and tire professional at Autobahn West in Mission Viejo, CA can help you identify your needs and give you a custom fit. With all the options available, you don’t have to compromise. There is a tire out there with your name on it!