Archive for June 27, 2013

Are There Blind Spots In Mission Viejo California?

Everyone in Mission Viejo California has blind spots – and no, I’m not talking about the fact that you really don’t sing like Jessica Simpson. 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 our blind spots by properly adjusting our mirrors to give the widest coverage possible. Make the adjustments in your sedan before you start to drive.

First, adjust your rear view mirror to give the best possible view directly to the rear of your car. You don’t need it to get a better view of either side of the car, the kids in the back seat or your dazzling smile. The rear view mirror should look to 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.

Elite Motors
We’re on 23725 Via Fabricante # F in Mission Viejo, California (92691)
Call us to make an appointment at (949) 243-7956.

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.

With your mirrors adjusted this way, you’ll have maximum coverage. Of course driving is a dynamic process – things change every second. So it’s wise to take a quick look to the side when passing to make sure that another vehicle hasn’t moved into an area you couldn’t see in your mirrors.

Depending on the kind of vehicle you drive (sedan?), 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 around our Mission Viejo streets!

As you drive around the Laguna Niguel area, avoid staying in other diver’s blind spots. You can’t count on them to be watching their mirrors and looking out for you.

Let’s talk about safely sharing the road with heavy trucks and buses. In crashes involving a truck and car, the car causes 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 pays 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 sedan or other type of car. You need to keep wide margins when driving around one of these big rigs.

Here are some tips for passing a heavy vehicle in the Laguna Niguel area:

  • Avoid the blind spots. If you can’t see the driver’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 California two way 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 belts while driving anywhere around Mission Viejo, even 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. Don’t cut it short or slow quickly when you pull in front of a truck.
  • Be careful passing a truck at an intersection. Trucks need to turn wide to maneuver through city streets. Squeezing between a truck and the curb could put your car in the Mission Viejo body shop. Look for the truck’s turn signals.

We at Elite Motors want you to watch those blind spots – but feel free to sing in the shower all you want.

Maintenance Free Myth

Sometimes we hear people say, “What’s up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don’t break down.” While it is true that today’s cars and trucks are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most folks don’t realize how high tech automotive fluids have become. Fluids like, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.

Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today’s automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle’s components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and miles march on for all of our cars. Please don’t think we’re using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance – but here are some personal stories from AutoNetTV staff members to emphasize the importance of getting things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and budget. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.

The first comes from a staffer who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on the highway and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been exchanged – just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundred of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.

Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. Our staffer took his SUV in for the California safety inspection to renew his registration. At the inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the $45 bucks. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind – over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a few bucks on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story: don’t skip your annual inspections. The irony is that many Mission Viejo service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.

Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy’s little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn’t get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire – so it was hard enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later – and then an alignment.

Situation: son and wife with cars from the same manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son’s maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done – it cost several hundred dollars. His wife’s car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed and the entire head was shredded and had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the maintenance schedule? You bet he does – every time he passes a big-screen TV.

We’re talking about taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, your car runs better and is more economical to operate. Remember to save those maintenance records. It’ll show potential buyers that you’ve taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren’t any, assume that the maintenance hasn’t been done and take it to your San Clemente or Lake Forest service center for an inspection. Take care of unperformed maintenance sooner rather than later.

Recommended Service Intervals At Elite Motors

Most people in the Laguna Niguel area are aware that automotive manufacturers have recommended service intervals. Following recommended service intervals is very important. The engineers that design our vehicles have tested the various systems and components to meet durability and safety standards. Some of these standards are self-imposed and others, like those for emissions components, are government mandated for the areas around Laguna Beach, San Clemente and Lake Forest in California.

The maintenance schedules are designed to achieve the standards. Think of the benefits of following recommended intervals as falling into three general categories: Protection, Efficiency and Safety.

Protection. Let’s start with motor oil. First of all, the engineers recommend a particular weight and type of motor oil for your sedan. All of their oil change recommendations assume using the proper motor oil. Motor oil contains detergents and other additives that clean the engine and provide corrosion resistance. Over time, the additives are depleted. The oil also becomes contaminated by water, dirt and combustion gases.

Extending your interval beyond the recommendation means that your sedan engine will be operating without the full protection of fresh motor oil. It also means that sludge can form in contaminated oil and clog up passages in the engine, starving parts from needed lubrication.

Efficiency. Some services are designed to keep automotive systems operating efficiently. For example, the fuel system gets clogged up with gum and varnish from the fuel. Fuel doesn’t flow efficiently which reduces fuel economy. A fuel system cleaning restores the fuel system’s efficiency and increases your gas mileage.

Safety. Your brakes are obviously one of the most important safety systems on your sedan. The manufacturer has scheduled brake pad replacement as well as power brake fluid drain and replacement intervals. Because brakes are so important, a brake inspection is also on the schedule to head off problems before they result in an accident.

Check your owner’s manual for recommended service schedules or talk with your Mission Viejo service advisor at Elite Motors by calling (949) 243-7956. You’ll find our shop located at 23725 Via Fabricante # F in Mission Viejo, California 92691.

You may be surprised to learn that various inspections may be on your list of factory recommendations for your sedan. These inspections are usually at major intervals like fifteen or thirty thousand miles. They’re designed to uncover important parts that may be close to failing.

Your sedan owner’s manual can tell you when to change your oil, but it can’t tell you that you have a radiator hose that’s bulging and about to burst. For that you need a trained auto technician. These scheduled inspections are in addition to the multi-point inspections done with a full-service oil change.

Keep it Flowing With A Fuel Filter Replacement At Elite Motors

The function of the fuel filter is pretty self-explanatory. It filters your fuel. The fuel filter is in the fuel line somewhere in between the fuel tank and the engine. Both gas and diesel vehicles around Mission Viejo California use fuel filters.

For more information about your fuel filter, visit Elite Motors or come by our shop located at 23725 Via Fabricante # F in Mission Viejo, California 92691.
Please call (949) 243-7956 to make an appointment.

Generally speaking there’s not a lot of dirt in our Mission Viejo California auto fuel supply, but there is enough that you want to screen it out. The problem actually gets worse the older your vehicle becomes. That’s because dirt, rust and other contaminants will settle out of the fuel and onto the bottom of the fuel tank. After your sedan is five years or older, it can actually have a fair amount of sediment built up.

That just means that the fuel filter has to work harder as your sedan ages. It’ll get clogged sooner and need to be replaced more often.

A symptom of a clogged fuel filter is that the engine sputters at highway speeds or under hard acceleration. That’s because enough fuel is getting through around town, but when you need more fuel for speed, enough just can’t get through the filter. Obviously, that could be dangerous if your car or truck can’t get enough power to get you out of harm’s way.

For just that reason, fuel filters have a bypass valve. When the filter is severely clogged, some fuel can bypass the filter all together. Of course that means that dirty, unfiltered fuel is getting through to be burned in the engine.

This dirt can then clog and damage your fuel injectors. Now injectors are not cheap to replace, so you don’t want to cause them damage just because you didn’t spend a few bucks to replace a fuel filter.

You know, in a way, the fuel filter can be the poster child for preventive maintenance. It’s a little part, it’s simple and it’s cheap to take care of. But if it’s neglected, it could lead to thousands of dollars of repair bills.

Those auto service schedules in your owner’s manual are there for a reason. If ever you don’t understand a recommended service, just ask your Mission Viejo service advisor at Elite Motors. We’ll be happy to explain.