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Dear customer due to the current situation we are all dealing with, Palo Alto Shell is open for business, but we are working on modified hours and days based on appointments and work load. Please call prior to driving in to be sure we are open and if possible call or use our online appointment link to lock in your vehicle repair or service. Thank you for your patronage! Everyone at Palo Alto Shell

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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.

Should I repair my car, or buy a new one?

Posted on 07, March, 2014

I think we’ve all faced this question at some point in our lives, usually following a stressful roadside breakdown or a costly repair estimate from another local Palo Alto auto repair shop.

Once you get past the initial stress of the situation, you might begin to weigh your options, research new and used vehicles, or swear off driving all-together. When it’s all said and done, the decision typically comes down to one major factor…cost.

What may surprise you is:

In most cases it’s more cost effective to get your car repaired than buy a new car.

Should I buy a new car Should I repair my car, or buy a new one?

This is especially true if your current vehicle is paid off. Sometimes people can forget to take into account that even if your initial downpayment on a new car is cheaper than the cost of your repairs, your new car also comes with a whole new set of payments – every month!

Palo Alto Shell’s advice? If your car or truck still fits your needs, keep it. Don’t forget that a new car, even if it’s a used vehicle, will likely come with a brand new set of monthly payments. The occasional costly repair will almost always equate to less money spent yearly, once you calculate in a new car payment along with the regular maintenance is required with even your new vehicles.

Remember that the best way to save money in the long run, whether you choose to purchase a new vehicle or stick with your current one, is to keep up with the monthly maintenance items on your vehicle. This will help you to avoid costly repairs in the future. If you ever find yourself looking for advice or in need of repairs, give us a call. Let us prove to you why Palo Alto Shell is the best choice for auto repair in Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Mountain View!

Ladies and Gentlemen…START YOUR ENGINES!!!

Posted on 21, February, 2014 car ignition 300x276 Ladies and Gentlemen...START YOUR ENGINES!!!

The beginning of racing season is the perfect time of the year to “start your engine” and make sure your ignition system is working properly. Addressing problems that may lead to ignition system failure is essential for dependable vehicle operation so you won’t be left stranded at the starting line.

Many systems on your car work together to keep you on the go, and the most important is the ignition system. Symptoms of ignition problems include dimming of headlights and interior lights, illuminated ‘Check Engine’ and/or battery lights and failure of accessories to operate. It’s a good idea to look into these symptoms immediately to prevent ignition failure from bringing your car to a complete stop.

Driving habits such as frequent engine on/off cycles cause more wear on the starter than a simple trip back and forth to work. Other factors, including driving and weather conditions, mileage, vehicle age and excessive electrical draws like in-vehicle entertainment systems, can impact the ignition system as well. Since the fuel injection system and car battery are linked to the ignition system, a problem can be difficult to diagnose because it may be caused by one of many factors, such as a dead car battery, faulty ignition switch, worn out spark plugs, bad fuel injectors, ignition coil problems, fuel pump failure or starter motor failure.

It is a good idea to include an ignition system check-up to your vehicle maintenance schedule. Having your ignition system checked regularly will ensure that you always reach the finish line.

Show your car some love!

Posted on 14, February, 2014 Show Your Car Some Love Be Car Care Aware 256x300 Show your car some love!

Your car doesn’t want flowers, balloons or candy this Valentine’s Day – it just wants a little love in the form of an oil change, tune-up and basic service. A little extra care now can lead to happily ever after with your car for many years to come!

If you want to add more years to the relationship between you and your car, give it some extra TLC this Valentine’s Day! There is no debating the value of preventive maintenance to keep your car running efficiently. By showing your car a little love now, you’ll avoid the heartbreak and unexpected expense of car trouble down the road.

Palo Alto Shell recommends treating your vehicle to a little extra attention this Valentine’s Day and beyond with these easy steps.

  • Schedule a tune-up annually to optimize your car’s performance. A well-tuned engine delivers the best balance of power and fuel economy, and produces the lowest level of emissions.
  • Change the oil and filter per the owner’s manual. Periodic oil and filter changes keep your engine clean on the inside.
  • Check the tire pressure monthly, including the spare. Your car’s tires affect its ride, handling, traction and safety.
  • Have the alignment checked annually. Potholes and other road conditions, as well as normal wear, can take their toll on your car’s steering and suspension. A wheel alignment reduces tire wear, improves fuel economy and handling, and increases driving enjoyment and safety.
  • Inspect the windshield wipers and lights on the car. Lights and wipers play a major role in safe driving, and they are normal wear items that need periodic replacement.
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