Archive for January 22, 2014

Protecting Your sedan From Theft In Mission Viejo California

Every car in Mission Viejo California is at risk for theft. So it’s up to us to make our cars a less appealing target and more of a challenge – hopefully sending potential thieves to look elsewhere.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends a layered approach to protecting vehicles:

  1. Common sense
  2. Visible and audible devices
  3. Immobilizing devices
  4. Tracking devices

Let’s review each of these. First, common sense: you would be surprised how many vehicles are stolen from Mission Viejo California where the keys were left in the ignition with the doors unlocked. Always take your keys, and lock the doors. In fact, in some places it’s against the law to leave a vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition.

And don’t leave spare keys in the car or hide them outside – because a thief will find them. Try to park in well-lit areas that have a lot of foot traffic. If possible, park near the end of a row and near a light. Back your car into a parking space or your driveway to make your car more visible to passersby and harder for a thief to work under the hood without being seen.

Remember to roll up your windows completely and avoid leaving your car in public lots for a long time. If you park in a lot that has an attendant, only give them the ignition key.

Keep valuables out of sight: purses, wallets, cell phones, clothes and even change are attractive “smash-and-grab” targets. And pay to have your Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, etched into your windows – it makes your car less attractive to a thief who wants to send your car to a chop shop.

There are lots of visible and audible devices available. A steering wheel lock is highly visible and will deter some thieves. Loud alarms can alert you and others that your vehicle is being tampered with. But if your alarm does go off, be careful. Observe what’s going on; get descriptions of suspicious people and vehicles, including license plate numbers.

Now, if you catch a thief in the act, call 911 but don’t approach the person. Your safety is more important than the car.

And here’s a great one – immobilizing devices. They actually shut off your car’s electrical or fuel supply. So without a key, or knowing where the hidden switch is located, a thief can’t drive your car away.

Finally, you can also get a tracking device that allows police to track your car down and recover it quickly.

Remember, where you live, work and drive around Mission Viejo California has a great impact on your decisions. If you’re in an area with high theft rates, you may want to spend more money on security systems. And check with your Mission Viejo California auto insurance company to see if they offer discounts for adding any of these items.

Of course, the common sense suggestions from Elite Motors don’t cost anything and go a long way toward keeping your car safe from thieves. Take a look at the attached video auto tip from AutoNetTV.

Come see us for practical advice on keeping your sedan safe.
Elite Motors
23725 Via Fabricante # F, Mission Viejo, California 92691
Call us at (949) 243-7956

TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring For Your Mission Viejo Auto

Mission Viejo motorists may know that all 2008 model year and newer cars, mini-vans and light trucks in Mission Viejo come with a tire pressure monitoring system. Many slightly older vehicles around Laguna Niguel have these systems as well. A tire pressure monitoring system – called TPMS – consists of sensors on each wheel that measure tire pressure.

If tire pressure drops 25 percent below the car maker’s recommended pressure, the sensor sends a signal to a monitoring unit that causes a warning to light up on the dashboard. When Laguna Niguel car owners see the warning light, they know it’s time to put some air in the tires.

There are many benefits to driving with properly inflated tires around Mission Viejo. First is cost savings. Running at the correct air pressure improves gas mileage. Driving on under-inflated tires is like driving through sand – it drags down your fuel gas mileage. You’ll also see longer, more even tread wear so your tires’ll last longer.

Another important benefit of properly inflated tires is increased safety. Under-inflated tires become hotter and that heat can actually lead to tire failure – possibly resulting in an accident. Your car and the tires themselves will just perform better and more safely around Mission Viejo with properly inflated tires.

Local Mission Viejo consumer groups, law-makers and auto makers advocate TPMS systems hoping that they will save lives, property damage and inconvenience. While you can’t put a value on saving a life, Mission Viejo motorists should keep in mind that TPMS systems aren’t free.

The systems themselves are added into the price of the car. The batteries in the sensors will have to be replaced from time to time. Parts will break and need to be replaced. In colder climates around California, ice and salt are frequent causes of failure.

In addition, there are other behind-the-scenes costs to be aware of. Every time a tire is replaced, repaired, rotated or balanced, the tire technician has to deal with the TPMS system.

Mission Viejo service centers such as Elite Motors must purchase equipment used to scan and reactivate the TPMS system after every tire service. Because older tire change equipment can damage TPMS sensors, your Laguna Niguel service center may need to buy expensive, new tire changers.

Since there is no uniformity among auto manufacturers, technicians need to be trained on several TPMS systems. These behind-the-scenes costs are very real to Mission Viejo service center managers like Ron Vrooman at Elite Motors.

That’s why the team at Elite Motors is anxious for Laguna Niguel auto owners to understand the financial impact of TPMS systems. In the past, we’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide tire services, and then pass the low cost on to Laguna Niguel customers as an expression of our good will. But now even these simple jobs take much longer and require expensive equipment.

Sensors will need to be removed and reinstalled. Even a tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed.

So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up in California, please keep in mind that it’s because of this new safety equipment. The team at Elite Motors just wants to keep you safely on the road – and we’re committed to doing it at a fair price.

It’s important to remember that the TPMS warning only comes on when a tire is severely under-inflated. You’ll still want to check your tire pressure regularly. At every fill-up is best, but you should check pressure at least once a month. Here’s wishing you safe travels.

Contact Elite Motors for more information about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems.

Keep Your Cool In Mission Viejo

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Mission Viejo drivers rely on their car’s coolant system to keep their engine cool. Coolant (also called antifreeze) mixed with water flows through your sedan engine and absorbs heat. The mixture then flows out to the radiator where it’s cooled by air flowing over the radiator. From there the coolant/water mix circulates back through the engine to absorb more heat.

There’s a reason we mix coolant and water. Water alone actually does a good job transferring heat from the engine. The problem is that water boils at a temperature that’s easily reached inside your sedan’s engine, so it can turn to steam which does not conduct heat as well and is harder to contain.

Also, if it’s freezing outside in Mission Viejo, the water in your engine could freeze while your vehicle is sitting out in the cold.

So, if you remember your Mission Viejo high school chemistry, you’ll know that a mixture has both a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than either component alone.

Coolant, or antifreeze, is specially formulated to keep your engine safe in a wide range of environmental and operating temperatures in and around Mission Viejo.

Keep Your Cool In Mission Viejo Whenever the sedan is running, the coolant in the cooling system is working to keep your engine from overheating. When it’s cold outside, the coolant acts as antifreeze to keep the fluid from freezing in your engine.

All that exploding fuel in your engine creates a lot of heat. Without coolant, the metal sedan engine parts would expand so much that the engine would seize up and stop running. Expensive parts could be broken or warp so badly they would have to be replaced. It could even be so bad that the whole sedan’s engine is ruined and has to be junked.

This is why it is critical that Mission Viejo drivers check coolant levels frequently and have their sedan cooling system inspected for leaks. Also your sedan manufacturer has a maintenance requirement for draining and replacing your coolant. These recommendations can vary widely, so check your owner’s manual or ask us at Elite Motors in Mission Viejo.

The reason you need to change the coolant is that it has additives in it to protect the cooling system. As you can imagine, with all the heat, the cooling system’s a pretty harsh environment. The additives keep the fluid from becoming corrosive and damaging the radiator and other sedan cooling system components. Over time, the additives are depleted and the coolant just has to be replaced.

Many Mission Viejo auto owners ask Elite Motors why there are different colors of antifreeze. It is very important that you use the correct type of antifreeze. The different types of antifreeze – or coolant – are different colors so you don’t mix them up.

Auto manufacturers use different materials to make the cooling system, and they require different types of antifreeze to protect them.

So check with us at Elite Motors or your owner’s manual for the right kind because using the wrong coolant can void the warranty for your sedan cooling system.

The Elite Motors Guide To Tire Specs

You know you need new tires, but you’re not sure what type. You look at a tire to get the size: 225, 50, R, 16, 92, H. All the way to the Mission Viejo service center you keep repeating it over and over. You even say it over in your mind while waiting in line. Then you get to the counter and the manager asks what size you need. Then your mind goes blank.

Tire size can be confusing for many Mission Viejo car owners. There’s so much on the side of the tire, and it’s hard to keep straight.

Even though there’s a lot on a tire – if you know what it all means, it’s actually more helpful than confusing. Let’s start with the size number.

For example, let’s say a tire reads: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The 225 part is the width of the tire in millimeters – the width between the sidewalls of an inflated tire with no load. The 50 is the aspect ratio – the ratio of the sidewall height to the tread width. Off-road tires will have a higher number and high performance tires will have a lower number.

The R signifies it’s a radial tire. And 16 is the rim or wheel size in inches.

The 92 is the load rating index – it’s the load carrying capacity of a tire. The higher the number, the more it can safely carry. Your empty sedan can be safe with a lower number, but you’ll need a higher rating if you routinely haul heavy loads. The next letter is the speed rating. Not all tires are speed rated. The ratings generally follow the alphabet: the further up the alphabet, the higher the speed rating – with the exception of H – it comes between U and V (don’t ask why).

There’s a lot of fine print that most Laguna Niguel drivers probably need a magnifying glass to read. But there are a couple of other large print items of interest. One is the tread type: highway, mud and snow, all season, severe snow, etc.

And then there’re the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System markings. The first is a tread wear index. 100 is the base line – a lower number is poorer and a higher number is better. All things being equal, a tire rated 200 would wear twice as long, on a government test track, than one rated at 100. These wear grades are only valid within a car maker’s product line – you can’t compare with other manufacturers. And it’s important to note that a lower rating might be just what you want – a high performance, sticky tire has a softer rubber compound and won’t wear as long, but boy, will it take those corners on windy California roads.

The next is a traction grade. This measures the tire’s ability to stop on wet pavement in government tests. A – the best, B – intermediate, C – acceptable.

Temperature grade measures a tire’s resistance to heat build up in government tests. A, B and C – from best to acceptable.

It’s safe to go with the original equipment recommendations that came on your car. But if you want to make adjustments, you’ll now be better equipped to communicate with your friendly Elite Motors tire professional.