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Did You Know Your Car Battery is Affected by the Heat Too?

Posted on 14, June, 2014 car battery light 300x282 Did You Know Your Car Battery is Affected by the Heat Too?

If the heat of summer is wearing you down, it is likely taking its toll on your car battery too. Contrary to popular belief, summer highs rather than winter lows pose the greater threat to battery life, according to Palo Alto Shell.

Sooner or later all batteries have to be replaced. Excessive heat and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, thus damaging the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate, leading to slow death for a battery.

Most motorists think of dead batteries that cause starting failure, they think of severe winter weather, but summer heat is the real culprit. Many battery problems start long before the temperatures drop. Heat, more than cold, shortens battery life.

Colder temperatures increase the thickness of the engine oil, making the engine harder to turn over, causing the battery to have to work more. These factors lead to harder starting.

To get the most life out of a battery, Palo Alto Shell suggests the following simple steps:

  • Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.
  • If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it regularly, especially in hot weather. Add distilled water when necessary.
  • Always replace a battery with one that’s rated at least as high as the one originally specified.
  • Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow.

Driving habits such as frequent engine on/off cycles will cause more wear on the starter than a simple back and forth to work. Other factors include driving and weather conditions, mileage, vehicle age and excessive electrical draws like in-vehicle entertainment systems. Check the battery if you notice headlights and interior lights dim, accessories that fail to operate, or the “check engine” and/or battery light illuminated.

Simple Vehicle Maintenance Can Improve Your Fuel Economy

Posted on 17, May, 2014

With fluctuating fuel prices soaring higher each day, we will do almost anything to save money on transportation especially when it comes to conserving fuel. However, traditional tips such as turning off the air conditioning and driving slowly are not the only ways to conserve gas mileage. In fact there are many simple, painless steps any vehicle owner can take to ensure their car is operating as efficiently as possible with minimal effort. Taking these steps to conserve gas mileage will not only save money, but also build healthy habits for your vehicle to ensure safety and maintain quality of the vehicle.

fuel economy 300x165 Simple Vehicle Maintenance Can Improve Your Fuel Economy

Be conscientious of your tire pressure. Most vehicle owners underestimate the importance of properly inflated tires. When inflated properly, you can save nearly 4% on gas mileage. Under-inflated tires can cause a mileage loss of near .5% for every 1 psi drop in pressure for all four tires. Not only will this save fuel economy, but greatly improve the performance and safety of your vehicle as well as increasing the life of your tires.

Schedule routine tune-ups and do not deviate from that schedule. Keeping your engine in proper working order will allow it to perform at peak condition and ensure fuel is not wasted performing extraneous tasks.

Replacing clogged air filters and keeping a prompt oil changing routine can also save a combined 4% on fuel economy. It is important to use the correct oil and filters as recommended by the manufacturer to ensure accuracy of parts. Taking time to go above and beyond when doing simple tasks such as these will make all the difference in the future longevity of your vehicle. Understanding what repairs and parts a vehicle needs is an important job for any car owner, not only to ensure the standard of workmanship a dealer will provide you, but more importantly to know when a vehicle needs servicing.

If needed, addressing serious preexisting issues is the most important tip to improve fuel economy. The engine of a vehicle cannot perform at any acceptable standard if major auto repair is needed, thus wasting fuel overworking can cause serious losses in gas mileage.

It is easy to compare our vehicles to ourselves. You need fuel each day to survive, without proper nutrients you will likely be tired or weak. If you are sick you need more food and every task is a struggle. Similar to you, when your vehicle is worn down or needs repair it cannot function correctly, using more fuel and lacking in performance, having a properly maintained motor is the lifeline of a vehicle.

However, not all fuel economy is saved from inside the engine with preventative measures. Naturally, modifying your driving habits can improve fuel economy equally to any other precaution. Making effort to stop and start carefully, while observing speed limits can greatly improve fuel efficiency.

There is a direct positive correlation between routine auto repair and gas mileage consumption, meaning any customer can fight against rising gas prices and improve fuel economy to save money. These simple steps can help your wallet stretch further and also give you great peace of mind for the road ahead.

Now that you have read through this helpful information, make an appointment now with Palo Alto Shell’s Certified Auto Technicians and make sure your vehicle is running in prime condition!

Are Car Tune Ups Necessary in Today’s Vehicles.

Posted on 08, May, 2014

You’ve been told your vehicle needs a tune up. But you may have read that newer cars no longer require a tune up. So what’s the deal? Cars no longer have any of the components left in them that were part of the traditional car tube up. Today’s advanced automobile technology requires meeting emissions standards put in place since at least 1996. And even though a tune up is not the same today as it was yesterday, many mechanics will still refer to a “tune-up” to let you know your vehicle is due for recommended services.

Car Tune Up Palo Alto CA Are Car Tune Ups Necessary in Todays Vehicles.

So, what is a car tune up today?

  • Fuel Injection Systems replaced carburetors—These systems use electronics to measure the fuel added to the intake.
  • Electronic Ignition Systems replaced distributers and points.
  • Coil/plug Ignition Systems replaced high voltage wires. This means that the high voltage is created at the spark plug.
  • Spark Plugs are typically buried underneath the overhead cams which makes them hard to replace. Accordingly, platinum tipped spark plugs which are good for 100,000 miles or longer are used in many cars and trucks.

Thanks to advances in technology, a regular “tune up,” as we remember it, is no longer required. However, it is still important to follow the recommended service intervals for your vehicle. Not only does this honor the vehicle’s warranty, but most importantly, it will ensure that your car performs at optimum efficiency.

However, if you still drive an older model vehicle, a car tune up will generally include the following:

  • Recalibrate the carburetor: The carburetor creates the air and fuel mixture which was then pulled into the cylinders.
  • Reset or replace the points: The points time the spark to ignite the air and fuel mixture.
  • Replace worn out high voltage wires: These wires connect the distributer and points to the individual spark plugs.
  • Replace spark plugs or reset the gap.

Need a professional car tune up service? Contact our ASE Certified Technicians at Palo Alto Shell Auto Repair today by calling us or go on-line at https://www.paloaltoshell.com/ for more information. Our auto shop serves vehicle owners in Palo Alto, Los Altos, Mountain View and the surrounding areas.

Do You Have Good Brakes?

Posted on 21, March, 2014

There are some things on your vehicle that you should have confidence in and never worry about. Is everyone buckled up? Do I have a full tank of gas? Your vehicle should make you feel safe and secure, and keep you and your loved ones safe throughout your travel. It goes then, without much, saying that you also need to be confident in your brakes. This function is the one thing keeping you out of harm’s way in the event of an accident or road hazard. Think about it, you do not want to find out in the middle of a busy highway when everyone has slammed on their brakes that yours have not been properly maintained or are failing. Knowing that your brakes are in great condition will keep you safe, and prevent a leading cause for many accidents on the road.

brake repair Palo Alto 300x224 Do You Have Good Brakes?

There are several checks that you can do on your brakes, but the best advice is to get your brakes checked frequently. Your mechanic can do this easily with every tire rotation or oil change. Your brakes should be inspected at least once a year, and many states and counties require this as part of your vehicle’s registration requirements. A proper brake check can catch minor problems before they become major fixes, and replacing your worn down brake pads or cuffs sooner than later could save you time, money, and even your life. Be mindful to never ride your brakes, meaning have constant pressure on your brakes while also on the gas pedal, or use them for frequent stopping while in motion, such as traffic jams that you accelerate too fast and have to stop quickly rather than slow down. These factors can reduce the life of your brakes and cause them to wear out prematurely.

Brake Warning signs:

If you experience ANY of the following, get your brakes checked out ASAP by your trusted Automotive Technician or Mechanic.

Grinding - If your brakes grind or growl when you apply pressure or when trying to stop, this is a major warning sign that your brakes have worn down, possibly to the point of major repairs to the rotor(s). Get this checked out immediately and do not wait, your brakes are unsafe at this point.

Squealing - Squealing can be due to a few factors. Brakes that are wearing down will start to squeal, and this is a big sign they need to be replaced. However, added moisture between the tire and brake pads can also cause squealing or squeaking. Pay close attention, if the problem only happens when starting out your drive, it may be an issue with moisture. Once the tires and brakes warm up, if the squealing persists, get them looked at as soon as possible.

Needing Added Pressure - If you have to apply added pressure, slamming on the brakes to get the car to stop, you may have a brake problem. You shouldn’t have to apply more than light pressure to the brakes to get your car to slow down or stop. If you find yourself constantly having to slam on your brakes, they may need to be replaced because the pads have worn down too much or there is a problem within the braking system itself.

Long Stops - If you notice that your vehicle keeps drifting forward after you have applied the brake, it might be because your brakes have worn down to the point of replacement or there is an internal problem within the braking system. Have your entire brake system checked out for worn parts and proper brake pressure.

Pumping - Pumping is a little tougher to determine. This would depend on what kind of braking system you have in your vehicle. If you have ABS (anti-lock brakes) you may have a pumping motion that you feel happen automatically in the event that you quickly slam on the brakes or make a fast stop. If you don’t have this, and it feels as if your brakes ‘pump’ in quick bursts when you apply pressure, you may want to get them checked out for issues, bubbles, or uneven wear and tear that may cause additional damage in the long run.

Your brakes are vital, and the importance of keeping them in good condition must be stressed. Depending on your commute and driving habits, good brakes should last you several years without any issues. Brakes are often pretty simple to check, and quick to replace keeping you on the road and out of the shop. With proper maintenance and awareness, your brakes will keep you safe and ready for whatever your commute will throw at you.

Need a professional car tune up service? Contact our ASE Certified Technicians at Palo Alto Shell Auto Repair today by calling us or go on-line athttps://www.paloaltoshell.com/for more information. Our auto shop serves vehicle owners in Palo Alto, Los Altos, Mountain View and the surrounding areas.

Can your car make your allergies worse?

Posted on 13, March, 2014

Soon spring will be in the air and with it comes pollen, dust and pollutants that are drawn inside vehicles through air conditioning and ventilation systems.

Cabin air filters clean the incoming air, removing allergens, and should be replaced regularly.

Can your car make your allergies worse?

“A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can cause contaminants to become so concentrated in the cabin that passengers actually breathe in more fumes and particles when riding in the car than when walking down the street. With allergy season quickly approaching, replacing the cabin air filter is a simple way for you and your passengers to breathe easier while driving.

A restricted cabin air filter can cause musty odors in the vehicle and impair airflow in the HVAC system, possibly causing interior heating and cooling problems. Over time, the heater and air conditioner may also become damaged by corrosion. In addition to trapping pollen, bacteria, dust and exhaust gases, the cabin air filter prevents leaves, bugs and other debris from entering the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system.

Cabin air filters should not be cleaned and reinstalled. Instead, they should be replaced every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, or per the owner’s manual. Most filters are accessible through an access panel in the HVAC housing, which may be under the hood or in the interior of the car. A Palo Alto Shell automotive service technician can help locate the cabin filter and replace it according to the vehicle’s owner manual. Some filters require basic hand tools to remove and install the replacement filter while others just require your hands.

Need a professional car tune up service? Contact our ASE Certified Technicians at Palo Alto Shell Auto Repair today by calling us or go on-line at https://www.paloaltoshell.com/ for more information. Our auto shop serves vehicle owners in Palo Alto, Los Altos, Mountain View and the surrounding areas.

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