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

On Board Diagnostics For Mission Viejo Motorists

Some Mission Viejo drivers wonder why Autobahn West and other Mission Viejo auto repair shops charge a fee for diagnostic services.

Think about it: When you hire a local Irvine HVAC technician to check out a problem with your air conditioner you’ll probably pay a diagnostic fee. When you visit your Laguna Niguel doctor for a health problem, you pay the physician to diagnose the ailment and of course for the tests that go along with it.

On Board Diagnostics For Mission Viejo Motorists

So receiving a diagnostic charge at Autobahn West for a tricky automotive problem shouldn’t be a surprise. In the Irvine area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your pickup brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy CA highway, you pull off the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you’re having an intermittent problem with your pickup engine, however, Autobahn West diagnosis may be much more involved.

Much of the Irvine auto owners’s confusion comes when the problem involves the check engine light. The check engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.

There’s a common misconception among Laguna Niguel, El Toro, and Foothill Ranch drivers that the trouble code tells the Autobahn West technician exactly what’s wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge – because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.

In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that’s out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the check engine light.

The pickup computer’s trouble code just tells the Autobahn West technician what engine parameter is out of range – not what’s causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that’s causing the malfunction.

There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for Autobahn West customers. The Autobahn West service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.

Irvine service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These vital databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.

Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming, and difficult. Of course Autobahn West wants to figure out what’s wrong with your pickup and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

Does Your Car Have A Recall Item?

No matter how well they’re made, cars are bound to have problems with their design or manufacturing. Think of all the moving parts. When the government thinks a problem is really serious, they require the car maker to issue recall notices to Mission Viejo residents and to fix the affected cars free of charge. The vehicle manufacturer then tries to contact all Mission Viejo car owners who own that type of car so they can have it taken care of at their Mission Viejo service center.

To find out if your car has any recall issues, give us a call:
Autobahn West
25800 Jeronimo Rd. #200 Mission Viejo, CA 92691
949.525.9730

These recalls always affect safety, so Mission Viejo auto owners would be wise to take them seriously. It’s really easy to find out if a vehicle is being recalled. For links to government sites, look in the AutoNetTV website.

Other website include: carfax.com; autobytel.com; and dmv.org. All of these sites have free recall searches.

Recalls are pretty serious for Mission Viejo auto owners and don’t happen all that often. But sometimes cars have less serious problems that Mission Viejo motorists still might want to know about. For these less serious cases, manufacturers issue what is known as a Technical Service Bulletin – or TSB. These bulletins tell Mission Viejo service centers (including Autobahn West)  how to repair a problem that occurs frequently or is especially difficult.

Your Mission Viejo service professional receives updated information through subscription plans, which are sometimes available in consumer versions too. Mission Viejo car owners can buy access to these for an annual fee.

Whatever your source, pay attention to Mission Viejo vehicle recalls to keep you and your passengers safe.

To Save Gas Around Mission Viejo: Keep Up with Your Scheduled Service

One topic that hits the news in Mission Viejo on a regular basis is the price of gas. The answer for some CA auto owners is to buy a vehicle that gets better MPG. For those of us Mission Viejo drivers who don’t want to add a car payment to our monthly expenses, we need to improve our fuel economy any way we can.

Following recommended service intervals by coming into Autobahn West is one of the best ways Mission Viejo drivers can keep their family car running efficiently. That means better fuel efficiency. When you give it some thought, it only makes sense. Dirty oil or transmission fluid can’t lubricate or clean. That means more drag which reduces fuel efficiency.

Keeping up with scheduled oil changes and transmission services will save gas for CA motorists.

Dirty engine air filters are another efficiency pirate. They rob your sedan engine of enough air to effectively burn the fuel, so you need more gas to get the job done. Replacing a dirty air filter can pay for itself in fuel savings before the next oil change.

You can imagine what dirty fuel injectors can do to your pickup as you drive around Mission Viejo. If your minivan owner’s manual recommends a fuel system cleaning, come into Autobahn West and ask us to get it done for you.

A simple, but very effective way for Mission Viejo car owners to save gas is to keep their tires properly inflated. Low tires can cost you up to a mile per gallon. Check your tire pressure when you gas up – or at least once a month.

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

Maintenance for High Mileage Vehicles In Mission Viejo CA

Before the recession hit, the median age for cars in the Mission Viejo CA area (zip code: 92691) was over nine years. And two-thirds had over 75,000 miles. At Autobahn West we hear reports that those numbers continue to rise.

If you have a high-mileage vehicle in the Irvine area, bring it in for high-mileage maintenance:
Autobahn West
25800 Jeronimo Rd. #200
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
949.525.9730

Many people in Mission Viejo are keeping their vehicles longer. The economy has influenced that, but the fact that modern pickups are more durable and reliable means that owning a high mileage vehicle doesn’t have to be a painful experience.

Local car owners in Mission Viejo with over 100,000 miles on their vehicles often ask which service intervals they should follow. Let’s start with the special needs of the older vehicle…

The reality is that time and mileage will take its toll. The engine and transmission will have more sludge. The fuel, steering and brake systems will have gum and varnish built up. There’ll be more dirt and contaminants in the fuel tank. Corrosion and deposits in the cooling system. And seals and gaskets will start to dry out.

All of this, plus normal wear and tear, means that the engine might not be as strong as new, so it just has to work harder to get the job done.

So we need to compensate. Consider high-mileage formulations for oil changes, transmission service, etc. These special formulations contain additives that condition the seals and gaskets to prevent leaks. They also have more detergents to clean sludge and other deposits. They cost a bit more, but they’re worth it.

In general, if an auto service was recommended every 15,000 miles when the car was new, you should continue to get the service done every 15,000 miles.

Talk with your Mission Viejo service advisor at Autobahn West about the condition of your engine. See if he thinks you should adjust your auto service intervals for oil changes or other auto maintenance to account for the older engine working harder.

Expect the oil filter to get dirty faster. Same goes for the fuel filter. And some leaks are to be expected so you need to keep a closer eye on fluid levels.

If anything, following recommended service intervals for your pickup is more important in a higher mileage vehicle. Skipping oil changes or other services can lead to problems much more quickly than with a newer vehicle.

So, have your Mission Viejo auto service advisor at Autobahn West help you with an assessment of your older car or truck. If you haven’t gotten around to a fuel system cleaning, or replacing power steering or brake fluid, a differential service or transmission service – it’s time to start taking care of those things. It’ll help keep you on the road for many more happy miles.

Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?

In our auto video today we’ll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that “modern cars are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free”.

Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Mission Viejo Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn’t so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.

Here are some examples for our friends in Mission Viejo.

  • Some cars in Mission Viejo no longer require chassis lubrication. They’re made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There’s literally is no way to grease those joints.

-Chalk one up for the myth.

On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts up in the valve train that didn’t even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.

  • So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.

-A point to maintenance.

  • Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.

-Myth gets a point.

  • Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.

-Point for maintenance.

I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they’ve always been.

So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Mission Viejo if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there’ll always be a check list.

Let me mention a couple of items on modern vehicles that folks need to be aware of. One of the most of the most important is timing belt replacement. Used to be that all engines had timing chains – you know, metal chains. They rarely broke.

It’s cheaper to make engines with timing belts rather than chains, so replacing the timing belt is on most engines’ maintenance list. The money the manufacturer saves by using a belt is more than off-set by what the vehicle owner has to pay to replace the belt. And it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing the damage if the timing belt breaks.

So make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced. You don’t want to miss that. If you have 60,000 miles or more, break out your owner’s manual or ask your Mission Viejo service advisor at Autobahn West to check on the recommendation right away.

Another is sealed wheel bearing assemblies on some vehicles. As you might have guessed, it’s cheaper to make a sealed unit than one that has access to inspect or service the wheel bearings. The problem is that when the bearings fail, you have to replace the entire unit, not just the bearings. That’ll cost 5 or 6 times as much.

For our friends in Mission Viejo, we hope this has underscored the importance of knowing and following your maintenance schedule. Come in and see us at Autobahn West. You’ll find us at 25800 Jeronimo Rd. #200 in Mission Viejo, CA 92691. Just give us a call at 949.525.9730.