Archive for February 28, 2014

Economics of Maintenance For Mission Viejo Auto Owners

Buying a new car in Mission Viejo is always a big financial decision. The allure of that new car smell is powerful, to be sure. But what if your current car is still in good shape? How do you decide?

People in Mission Viejo who’ve been used to driving a new car every three to five years may be having second thoughts in this economy. For many, the question is, how does the certainty of a new car payment stack up against uncertain repairs for a car that may be out of warranty?

For purposes of our discussion, let’s assume you live right here in Mission Viejo and have a five year old vehicle. It’s now paid off. If you keep it, you fear that there’ll be some repairs over the next five years, but you really don’t know what to expect. For help we turned to Edmunds.com.

Edmunds.com has compiled maintenance and repair information for cars and trucks. With this data, they project likely service and repair costs for a particular make and model. They’re able to use manufacturer’s maintenance schedules and repair histories for the projections.

Of course, these projections can’t predict what will happen to your vehicle in Mission Viejo, but they do give you information to use in your decision.

Let’s look at the numbers for a five year old Toyota Camry V-6. In this example, the combined maintenance and repairs for the five year period is $5,748. This works out to an average of $96 a month. The year-by-year averages range from a low of $49 a month to $124 a month.

So compare $96 a month with a new car payment. And it’s actually better news than that; you would still have maintenance expenses with a new car, so the repair element could be less than half that figure.

Here are numbers for some other five year old vehicles from around Mission Viejo:

  • Ford Escape – $116 a month
  • Chevy Silverado – $131 a month
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee – $138 a month
  • Hyundai Accent – $85 a month.

Now, if your vehicle is older than five years, have a chat with your Mission Viejo service advisor at Elite Motors. We see hundreds of vehicles through our bays every month and we know your car. See if there’s any particular problem common with your vehicle that you might see over the next couple of years.

And of course, the best way to keep future repair costs down is to take care of all your scheduled maintenance. This is especially important in older vehicles that have had time to accumulate some deposits.

There are special motor oil formulations that help clean older engines and protect and recondition their seals and gaskets.

We hope this eliminates some of the unknowns in the decision to keep or trade.

Give us a call if you have any questions:
Elite Motors
23725 Via Fabricante # F
Mission Viejo, California 92691
(949) 243-7956

Battery Replacement For Your sedan

Modern cars and trucks in and around Mission Viejo run on 12 volt electrical systems. 12 volts is enough to get the job done for Mission Viejo car owners without having so much power that there is danger of electrocution. But today’s vehicles have more electrical components and do-dads than ever before. This really strains your electrical system, making it hard for the battery to keep up. Think about it: electric seats, seat heaters, power locks, windows and sun roofs. And then us California drivers have all the power outlets for our cell phones, computers, and DVD players.

We also have navigation systems and powerful stereos. Plus there are all the engine and transmission computers, traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, sensors and on and on. Even the security system is running off the battery while the car is turned off.

Fortunately, battery technology has given Mission Viejo drivers resilient batteries that are able to meet these strenuous requirements. But the fact is, batteries just wear out over time. Eventually, every battery gets to the point where it cannot hold enough of a charge to start your sedan. Sometimes batteries need to be replaced because they have just worn out. Or, in other cases, they have developed a leak which makes it even more essential to get it replaced.

Special safety precautions are taken when working with batteries in the shop at Elite Motors in Mission Viejo, California. These precautions also apply to anyone who is poking around the battery. Batteries contain sulfuric acid that can damage your eyes and burn your skin, so safety glasses and rubber gloves are a must for any Mission Viejo car owners working with their battery. Be careful to not spill acid on your clothes or the sedan’s paint. Of course, avoid short circuiting the battery as well.

Replacement car batteries come in all shapes and sizes. Some cars have limited space that requires a specially shaped battery to fit. Larger engines require more powerful batteries to get them started. If you live where it gets cold in California you will need a more powerful battery because engines are harder to start when it is cold.

Sometimes there is quite a price range in Mission Viejo auto part stores for batteries that will work in a particular car. Think of it as “good”, “better” and “best”. More expensive batteries have a longer warranty and are guaranteed to last longer. As with most things, paying a little more up front saves bucks in the long run for Mission Viejo motorists.

Elite Motors
23725 Via Fabricante # F
Mission Viejo, California 92691
(949) 243-7956

Battery Replacement At Elite Motors In Mission Viejo

Hello, welcome to Elite Motors. Today’s focus is batteries. It seems like everything in Mission Viejo runs on batteries. Of course, the batteries we’re most concerned with here at Elite Motors are those in our customer’s vehicles. Just like the batteries in our smoke detectors or TV remote, car batteries wear out and need to be replaced. There are a couple of things Mission Viejo drivers should know when looking for a new battery.

Look for two measurements that come into play: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity.

Let’s start with cold cranking amps. Battery Replacement At Elite Motors This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold sedan engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live in California, specifically how cold it is. (Many California car owners have first-hand experience trying to start their car on a cold winter morning.) The two factors are that the colder your sedan’s engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with.

The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient when the temperature dips. At Elite Motors, we consult the table shown below. Let’s say it’s eighty degrees Fahrenheit in Mission Viejo. At that temperature, 100% of the battery’s power is available. At freezing, only 65% of battery power is available, but it requires 155% as much power to start the engine as it did at eighty degrees.

As you can see from the chart, the colder it gets, more power’s needed, but the available power drops.

Percent of Power Available Celsius Fahrenheit Power Required  
100 27 80 100  
65 0 32 155  
40 -22 0 210  
25 -32 20 350  

So if you live where it’s cold in California, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it’s moderate or hot. The battery that originally came with your sedan was based on averages. At Elite Motors, we like to remind Mission Viejo motorists that they should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as their auto makers recommend, but may want to upgrade if they live where it gets real cold.

And the type of engine you have will impact the battery you need: A six-cylinder engine requires more cold cranking amps than a four. An eight cylinder needs even more. And diesel sedans require more than a gasoline engine with the same number of cylinders.

Now on to reserve capacity: It’s a measurement of the number of minutes of reserve power the battery has at a given load. The number is more important to Mission Viejo auto owners these days because of parasitic drain. Parasitic drain is the battery energy that’s used when the key is off in your sedan. So, the power drawn by the security system, the remote start system, even the power the computers require to maintain their memory.

Reserves are also needed when you make very short trips around Mission Viejo. You’re not driving long enough for the battery to recover the energy it used to start the engine. So go with the minimum recommended by your manufacturer or Elite Motors and upgrade if you need more.

Talk with us at Elite Motors about your options. If you need more from your battery, a larger, heavy-duty battery may be called for. At Elite Motors in Mission Viejo, we remind our customers that it’s very important that the new battery fits your sedan: the terminals can’t be touching other parts.

Batteries are a big ticket item for most California car owners, so the warranty gives piece of mind. There’re two kinds of car battery warranties: pro-rated and free replacement. With the pro-rated, you get a credit for a portion of the battery if it fails during the warranty period. With a free replacement warranty, you get just that, a free replacement. Be sure to ask us at Elite Motors about the warranty so you know what you’re getting.

Getting the Right Tires And Wheels In Mission Viejo

A lot of people get custom wheels in Mission Viejo. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you’re not careful. Sometimes, once they’re mounted, they just don’t fit right. The tires rub in turns or on bumps. You don’t want that.

Consulting your Elite Motors tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First he’ll ask you a series of questions about your Mission Viejo driving needs and what you want in your new wheels. Now, not every wheel can go on every car. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside so the tires rub.

If you don’t want to make any modifications to your sedan, you would need to focus on the wheels that would fit. With trucks, some Mission Viejo people like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.

Also, most Mission Viejo drivers don’t realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – that’s, like the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your sedan anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.

The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn’t know what changes you made so it can’t tell how fast you’re going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong speed. If you go with a different rolling diameter, your sedan engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.

Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from in California. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with your friendly Elite Motors tire professional about how big the wheel should be – and how to select the right tire for your sedan. Your Elite Motors service advisor will help you find the best tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs in Mission Viejo.

Which Item is Most Stolen from Vehicles in Mission Viejo?

Which item is most often stolen from vehicles in Mission Viejo?

Is it:

  1. Stereo
  2. Wheels
  3. Air Bag
  4. DVD System

Well, if you said stereo – you used to be right. But airbags have now surpassed stereos as the biggest target for theft in Mission Viejo – approximately 50,000 a year are stolen across the country. New airbags cost about $1,000, but go for $50 to $200 on the black market in Mission Viejo.

Stolen airbags are making their way back into cars that have been in an accident. Of course, the danger to the consumer of having a stolen airbag installed is that you can never be sure what may have previously affected them and if they will work right when you need them.

Contact Elite Motors for more information about where to get your airbags checked or replaced.
Find us at 23725 Via Fabricante # F, Mission Viejo, California 92691
You can reach us by phone at: (949) 243-7956

There are reports that 1 in 25 airbag replacements are stolen or salvaged airbags – or no airbag is installed at all.

That is definitely one car part you don’t want to take a chance with, so Elite Motors recommends following these guidelines:

  • Use a reputable collision repair center that employs ASE certified mechanics (we can offer recommendations at Elite Motors).
  • Inspect the invoice to ensure that the repair shop purchased the airbag from a manufacturer, dealer, or recycler. If you can inspect the airbag prior to installation, it should be packaged in a sealed container from the manufacturer.
  • You will see the SRS light (Supplemental Restraint System) when you first start your vehicle up. This tells you that the airbag system is activated. If you do not see the SRS light, there is likely a problem with the airbag system.

For more information, contact Ron at Elite Motors by calling (949) 243-7956.