If you aren’t currently using synthetic motor oil in your Mission Viejo vehicle, maybe now’s the time to consider it. Need more information? Well, synthetic motor oil is a substitute for petroleum based oil.
Synthetic oil doesn’t gel or gum-up like petroleum based oil and it doesn’t vaporize as easily. It protects better in severe driving conditions like stop and go driving around Mission Viejo, as well as in very hot or very cold conditions. More and more new vehicles are being delivered with full synthetic motor oil; with the recommendation to use synthetic for the life of the vehicle.
Why is this? Synthetic motor oil maximizes engine power and fuel economy. To see why; we’d need a microscope, so we’ll have to settle for using our imaginations.
The molecules of conventional motor oil are long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, has uniform, round molecules. Which is more slippery, a pile of pencils or a pile of marbles?
Synthetic motor oil lubricates better because there’s less friction. That means better wear protection, cooler operating temperatures, more power and better fuel economy. And synthetic oil doesn’t sludge up like conventional oil, so it prevents those small oil passages from clogging up.
Some manufacturers are extending oil change intervals. The added protection of synthetic oil covers you for these longer intervals. Talk with your service advisor about how you drive and see if he thinks you can benefit from synthetic oil. Also ask about the appropriate oil change interval for synthetic, because it may very well be longer than for conventional oil.
Most of us here in Mission Viejo have a busy life and might occasionally miss an oil change; go ahead admit it. Since we’re not perfect, doesn’t it make sense to use a motor oil that’s got your back?
Now synthetic oil costs more. But it lasts longer, protects better and increases fuel economy. You’ll likely save money in the long run. If you’re serious about making your car last longer, start using synthetic motor oil right away.
A recent report stated that over 80 percent of the vehicles on our Mission Viejo CA roads have one or more service or repair that’s needed, but hasn’t been taken care of. Now that’s a lot of undone service. That translates into something over 160 million vehicles in the U.S. alone. Some of the neglected items are minor. Others are serious safety concerns.
There are several reasons why we hesitate to take care of recommended services; especially services that our Mission Viejo CA automotive advisor recommends when we’re in for something else, like an oil change.
The first issue boils down to comfort with car care. We don’t always feel we know enough to make good decisions. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that vehicles are so reliable these days. They almost become an appliance. Of course you love your pickup, but if you don’t have to worry about it breaking down all the time, you’re not forced to think as much about preventive maintenance.
Perhaps your dad knew a lot about cars and always made sure they were taken care of. He was very comfortable dealing with his local Mission Viejo CA service advisor. People who don’t know as much about cars hesitate to ask questions because they don’t want to look ignorant.
It’s human nature. But, there’s so much to know in this world, we can’t all be experts in everything. So we specialize. It’s very important to ask questions of any specialist, whether it’s your doctor, financial advisor or your automotive technician in Mission Viejo, CA.
Your auto technician at Autobahn West wants your questions. We want you to understand the recommendation and why it needs to be done.
That brings us to the next issue; people say that they don’t always know if they really need the service or if they are just being sold something.
At the heart, it speaks to trust. Do you trust your Mission Viejo service center and your service advisor? Trust has to be earned and that takes time and experience. But you can shortcut the process when you realize that most of the recommendations are based on manufacturer’s maintenance schedules.
In other words, “you don’t have to trust me, you can trust your owner’s manual”.
Your Mission Viejo service center has computer databases that contain the manufacturer’s recommendations for almost all vehicles, so they don’t need to rummage through your glove box to look for your owner’s manual to know what to do.
Basically, the engineers who designed the car say “here’s when you need to have it serviced”. That’s who makes the recommendation, not the technician. He’s just reminding you.
Now you do need to trust your Mission Viejo technician’s experience and judgment from time to time. When he inspects your vehicle, he may find problems or concerns. He will explain things so that you can prioritize the concern and make a good decision about whether or not to have something done.
That brings us to the third issue; money. Often the concern is about spending the money to take care of a recommended service. Our money has many places it needs to go. And we have another list of places we want it to go. Auto maintenance isn’t usually on either of those lists.
Look, everyone who works at Autobahn West has a family budget, too. They can relate. Maybe a little look behind the scenes would be helpful.
Service centers like Autobahn West invest heavily in training, diagnostic equipment and tools so that they can make repairs and perform services as efficiently as possible. And like any other business, they have labor costs, insurance, rent, utilities, shop and office supplies, taxes and so on.
We work hard to make sure that we diagnose the problem correctly and fix it right the first time. That’s the only way we can maintain our reputation and remain in business. If we’re not satisfying our customers and providing a good value, you won’t come back and the service center won’t be around for long.
When there is a real budget concern, your Mission Viejo service center can help you prioritize the work that needs to be done and come up with a plan for taking care of it that works within your budget.
Let’s say you have a serious problem with your brakes. That’s a safety concern so a technician can’t ethically say, well, let’s put that off for a couple of months. What they can do is take care of the brakes now and address the cabin air filter or transmission service next month.
Under-inflated tires waste gas for lots of folks in the Laguna Niguel area. Think how hard it is to walk in sand – you just have to work harder because of the resistance. When your tires don’t have enough air in them, their rolling resistance is dramatically increased and it simply takes more gas to get from Mission Viejo to Laguna Niguel.
Always check your tire pressure when you gas up at one of our local Laguna Niguel service stations. If they’re low – even just a little bit – bring them up to proper pressure. There’s a sticker on the inside of your driver’s door that gives the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure.
And don’t rely on your tire pressure monitoring system to alert you to when you need more air. The TPMS system is set to warn you when pressure drops twenty percent below recommendations. That’s severely under inflated and you needed more air a long time ago. And if you have a slow leak – get it fixed right away at Autobahn West.
The cooling system keeps CA auto owners’s engines from overheating while they are driving around Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch and El Toro. Its job is to move heat away from the engine. Let’s talk about the various components of the system and how they make this happen.
The radiator is the part most Mission Viejo auto owners associate with the cooling system. Coolant flows through the radiator which has fine cooling fins that draw the heat out of the coolant and dissipate it into the air. To make sure there’s enough airflow over the radiator, a fan pulls air over the cooling fins even when the pickup is idling.
In some pickups, the fan is powered by the serpentine belt. On others, an electric motor runs the fan. Electric fans turn on and off as needed. You may have heard the fan kick on shortly after you turn your pickup off. The sensor has determined that the engine needs a little help cooling down to a safe temperature.
A hose connects the radiator to the water pump. The water pump pushes the water into the pickup engine block. Now the engine block and cylinder heads have passages for the coolant to pass through without getting into the oil or the combustion chamber. In the automotive community, these passages are referred to as the “water jacket”.
While the coolant is passing through the water jacket, it absorbs heat from the pickup engine on its way to the radiator for cooling. Between the engine and the radiator is a gatekeeper called the thermostat. The thermostat’s job is to regulate the temperature of the engine just like your home thermostat regulates the temperature in your Mission Viejo house. It gets your engine up to the correct operating temperature and then keeps it from overheating.
When you first start the engine, it’s very cold and needs to warm up. So the thermostat blocks the flow of coolant to the radiator. As the engine warms up, the thermostat starts to let coolant flow through the system.
The final component the team at Autobahn West wants to point out is the overflow reservoir. This bottle is designed to hold some of the coolant. It’ll have a mark that indicates whether or not you have enough coolant. This is where you should add coolant if you just need to top it off.
Caution: never open the reservoir or the radiator cap when the car’s hot. The cooling system is pressurized and opening them while it’s hot can cause hot coolant and steam to escape resulting in serious burns.
Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles around Mission Viejo, CA. At Autobahn West, we can do a periodic inspection of the components for detrimental leaks, loose connections and weakening hoses.
Autobahn West 25800 Jeronimo Rd. #200 Mission Viejo, CA 92691 949.525.9730
Your car maker has also specified a cooling system service interval. With a cooling system service at Autobahn West in Mission Viejo, the old coolant is replaced with correct clean fluid that contains the additives required to prevent corrosion. The additives are depleted over time and you need fresh fluid for adequate protection. Your radiator pressure cap should be replaced at this service as well.
All Mission Viejo drivers have blind spots – and no, I’m not talking about the fact that you really don’t sing like Adele. I mean the areas of the road that you can’t see when you’re driving around Mission Viejo.
First let’s talk about our own blinds spots, and then we can talk about others…
To begin, we can greatly reduce blind spots by properly adjusting our mirrors to give the widest coverage possible. Make the adjustments in your pickup before you start to drive.
First, Mission Viejo drivers should adjust their rear view mirrors to give the best possible view directly to the rear of their pickup. Irvine folks don’t need it to get a better view of either side of the car, the kids in the back seat or their dazzling smile. It’s pretty uncomplicated, the rear view mirror should reflect the rear.
Next, lean your head until it almost touches the driver’s side window. Adjust your side mirror so that you can just barely see the side of your car. Now, lean your head to the middle of the car and adjust the outside mirror so that you can barely see the right side of the car.
When Mission Viejo drivers adjust their mirrors this way, they’ll have maximum coverage. Of course driving is a dynamic process – things change every second on Irvine roads and busy freeways. So it’s wise to take a quick look to the side when passing to make sure that another pickup hasn’t moved into an area you couldn’t see in your mirrors.
Depending on the kind of vehicle you drive (pickup?), you may still have some blind spots. All vehicles have an area behind them that’s blind when backing up. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. A pick-up or SUV can hide a small child – an RV, bus or tractor-trailer can hide an entire vehicle. So be careful out there on our Irvine streets and in your driveway at your Mission Viejo home!
As you drive around the Irvine area, avoid staying in other motorists’ blind spots. You can’t count on them to be watching their mirrors and looking out for you.
Let’s talk about safely sharing our CA roads with heavy trucks and buses. In crashes involving a truck and car, the driver of the car is to blame for about 40 percent of the accidents. But 78 percent of the fatalities are with the car. The laws of physics are against the smaller vehicle, so it is essential for Mission Viejo drivers to take extra precautions around trucks and buses.
Heavy vehicles have huge blind spots: to the rear, on both sides and up front. They also can’t maneuver like a car. They take twice as long to stop and need twice as much space as you do in your pickup or other type of car. You need to keep wide margins when driving around one of these big rigs on Irvine area interstates.
Here are some tips for passing a heavy vehicle in the Irvine area:
Avoid the blind spots. If you can’t see the Mission Viejo motorists’s face in one of his mirrors or in a window, he cannot see you!
Don’t follow too close. If you can’t see one of the truck’s mirrors, you’re too close.
Make sure there is plenty of room to pass. Trucks are long and take time to get around. If you’re on one of our local Mission Viejo, CA two-lane highways, wait for a passing zone.
Don’t linger when passing. Because the blind spots are so big on the sides, you want to get through them quickly. If you can’t pass quickly, drop back.
Pass on the left whenever possible. A trucks’ blind spot is much larger on the right.
Be attentive and wear your seat belt while driving anywhere around Mission Viejo, even for short drives. Don’t be aggressive when driving around trucks. Because of their size, they appear to be going slower than they really are. Cutting it short around a truck could be disastrous.
Use your turn signals when starting to pass. Once you can see the full truck in your rear view mirror, it’s safe to signal and move over. It’s vital not to cut it short or slow quickly when you pull in front of a truck.
Be careful passing a truck at an intersection in Mission Viejo. Trucks need to turn wide to maneuver through Mission Viejo streets. Squeezing between a truck and the curb could put your car in your Mission Viejo body shop or Autobahn West. Look for the truck’s turn signals.
The team of automotive professionals at Autobahn West want you to watch those blind spots – but feel free to sing in the shower all you want.
Autobahn West We’re on 25800 Jeronimo Rd. #200 in Mission Viejo, CA (92691) Call us to make an appointment at 949.525.9730.