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 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.

Autobahn West Auto Maintenance Videos: Serpentine Belt Tensioner

The serpentine belt tensioner applies pressure to the serpentine belt, maintaining best tension to drive the accessories like the alternator and A/C compressor. The service life of the belt tensioner is the same as the belt itself, so they should always be replaced together. A worn tensioner impedes the accessories from spinning properly, leading to premature wear and noise.

Your vehicle manufacturer has a recommended mileage interval for serpentine belt replacement. A complete accessory drive system service replaces the serpentine belt, the belt tensioner and any idler pulleys your car might have. Your understanding Autobahn West service specialist can survey your system and let you know if it’s time for a replacement.

Give us a call

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

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

The Importance Of Mission Viejo Drivers Following Service Intervals

Today in our Autobahn West blog, we’re going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your pickup isn’t the only aspect of your life in Mission Viejo 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 Mission Viejo 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 Mission Viejo takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.

So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our pickups? Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don’t seem that urgent. All our Mission Viejo 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, Mission Viejo people don’t need to memorize their pickup owner’s manuals. You can let your Autobahn West advisor remind you of the guidelines established by manufacturers: he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your pickup. You really can rely on Autobahn West professionals to help you make good automotive decisions.

For Mission Viejo drivers who want to be more proactive with their pickup care, here are some simple ways for Mission Viejo drivers 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 pickup go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if Mission Viejo car owners remember to take their car or truck in to Autobahn West for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.

And if you don’t follow recommended service intervals? You get lousy gas mileage, your pickup 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.

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.

All Lined Up: Wheel Alignment Service At Autobahn West

When all of your vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving in Mission Viejo can cause your pickup’s wheels to be out of alignment.

Driving for an extended time in Mission Viejo when your wheels are out of alignment results in uneven tire wear. This is dangerous … and expensive. Worst case scenario, you have a blowout on a crowded CA expressway. It can also cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive to repair. At the very least, you may have to replace your tires years too early.

Here are some alignment basics from Autobahn West:

The first adjustment is called toe or do the wheels point in towards each other or away from each other at the front of the tire.
The next adjustment is called camber or do the wheels tip in or out at the top.
And finally, there is castor. Castor measures the angle where the front axles attach to the vehicle.

The ideal alignment for your pickup was designed by its engineers. Alignment service at Autobahn West starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension – to see if anything’s bent or broken. Then your understanding Autobahn West technician will look at tire condition.

From there, the pickup is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels are then aligned to pickup manufacturers’s specifications.

Your pickup owner’s manual probably has a recommendation for how often your alignment should be checked – usually every couple of years. If you suspect an alignment problem, get it checked at Autobahn West before you suffer expensive tire or suspension damage.