Archive for March 24, 2015

Fall and Spring Checkup In Mission Viejo

When I was a kid in Mission Viejo, my dad always made sure he took the cars in for Spring and Fall checkups. I was telling a friend that it’s about time to get into Elite Motors for my checkup and he said that he read on the internet that modern cars don’t need seasonal service.

My friend is (technically) right about some things, but from a practical standpoint, a seasonal check up still makes sense.

Back when my dad was teaching me about how to take care of the family sedan, most cars used a different weight of oil in the winter and in the summer. But most of today’s modern engines run the same oil year round. High-tech engines and high-tech motor oils are better able to handle the seasonal changes.

Your owner’s manual or Mission Viejo service advisor at Elite Motors can tell you the right oil to use.

Of course, you’re concerned about the coolant or antifreeze. You don’t want to overheat in the California summer or freeze up in the winter. Your engine cooling system protects against both of these things. And modern coolant, or as it’s sometimes called; ‘antifreeze’, is up to doing both very well. It’s designed to last for more miles than most people drive in a year or two.

So how does a Spring and Fall check-up fit in? Let’s start with Spring. Summer is coming. That means heat, more miles driven and road trips. It just makes sense to check your fluid levels and do a visual inspection to see that everything is up to snuff.

You may not be scheduled to drain and replace the coolant for some time, but you need to make sure you have enough coolant, and that you don’t have any leaks or hoses that are about to fail.

That’s pretty practical; a check-up to see if there are any problems or emerging conditions that could later become a problem, like a cracked belt.

And the same principle applies for getting ready for winter. Cold weather means lots of failed batteries. It takes more power to crank up a cold engine, and cold also decreases the available cranking power the battery has available.

So a battery test in the Fall could tell you if you’ve got a battery that is running on its last legs. And of course, if you live where winter temperatures get below 45 degrees or you have ice and snow, you’ll want to consider changing to winter tires.

So Spring and Fall auto checkups at Elite Motors are practical reminders to get ready for the demands of the hot and cold seasons to come.

And odds are that you have one or more routine services that are due anyway. Like a transmission service, brake or power steering fluid, differential service – stuff like that. Are your wiper blades still good? Are your headlamps starting to dim?

So Spring and Fall: change your clocks, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors – and get a check-up for your cars.

See, dad was right again.

Come and see us at Elite Motors for your Spring and Fall automotive checkup.
Elite Motors
23725 Via Fabricante # F
Mission Viejo, California 92691
(888) 320-9834

Coolant Service at Elite Motors

Mission Viejo motorists’ cars have to operate in a wide range of California temperatures which requires our engine coolant to be able to perform ‘no matter what’. Think for a moment about the environment where the coolant does its thing. Very hot, high pressure, corrosive…

And all the while, it has to protect the components of the cooling system from corrosion. These components are made from steel and aluminum, plastics and rubber. The coolant has to be formulated to protect against corrosion for all of these different materials. That’s why auto makers recommend different types of anti-freeze for our Mission Viejo, California vehicles.

There are several different ‘families’ of anti-freeze available to us here in Mission Viejo, California. Your owners’ manual will tell you what kind you should use. Of course, the automotive professionals at  Elite Motors will know the right kind for your car.

It’s important to stay on top of this because coolant system failure is the most common mechanical problem people have here in Mission Viejo, California. Regular service at Elite Motors needs to be done to avoid failures and also to keep your warranty in place.

While the specifics of the service required may vary from vehicle to vehicle, your friendly Elite Motors service advisor will know what to do. You’ll be advised to replace the coolant at specified intervals.

Some auto makers recommend periodic coolant system flushes. A flush adds a cleaning step to the fluid replacement process. Again, check to see what your Mission Viejo service professional recommends.

Someday, you may have to deal with an overheating problem, so you need to know what to do if your coolant temperature warning light comes on or your temperature gauge is in the hot zone.

Now, overheating can be very costly. Mission Viejo auto owners can literally melt down their engine and have to replace the whole thing. So don’t ignore warning signs.

First turn off the air conditioner. This will lower engine temperature right away. Next, crank up your heater to maximum heat and run the fan at high speed. You might need to roll down the windows, but this will take a lot of heat off the engine.

Pull over as soon as you can safely do so
, especially if you are stuck in slow-moving traffic, and shut the car off. It may take as much as 45 minutes for the engine to cool to the point that it’s safe to operate the car again.

If you need to add water or antifreeze, be sure to wait until the car cools down. Opening the radiator cap or even the overflow bottle when the coolant is hot and under pressure may result in serious burns.

After the engine has cooled for 45 minutes or so, look to see if the coolant is low in the overflow tank. If so, you can cover the overflow tank cap with a large cloth and open the lid. Then start the engine and pour in some water or antifreeze. Pouring it in when the car is running will circulate the new, cool fluid with the warmer fluid in the engine and avoid engine damage.

Of course, overheating is a serious problem and you need to get it fixed right away. Elite Motors can make sure the coolant is right before you drive home.

Those spring and winter inspections really come in handy when they head off a cooling system problem. And don’t forget that severe service driving conditions, like towing or hot, dusty driving around Mission Viejo, California, mean that you’ll need to service your coolant more frequently.

At AutoNetTV, we suggest that you have Elite Motors inspect your coolant system to find small problems before they become big, and to change belts and hoses before they fail. After all, we don’t want you to lose your cool out there in Mission Viejo, California.

Keep Your Cool In Laguna Niguel: Air Conditioning Service

Most Mission Viejo drivers don’t even think about their car air conditioning system unless it fails. That’s because many Mission Viejo and San Clemente motorists don’t really understand that auto A/Cs need periodic service. Let me share some of the reasons why they fail.

First, like every machine, the sedan air conditioner parts need – you guessed it – lubrication. The lubricant is actually mixed in with the refrigerant (that’s the stuff that makes the air cool). Remember that even if the air conditioner is still blowing out cool air, the oil that lubricates the parts may be used up: and unlubricated parts can fail in all California cars.

Keep Your Cool In Laguna Niguel: Air Conditioning Service

Now here’s a tip for Mission Viejo auto owners: Run your air conditioner every so often during California winters. This circulates the lubricant to help keep the seals from drying out.

The air conditioner actually removes some of the moisture in the air. So if you have trouble with fogging on your sedan windshield during California winters or during a rain storm, running the A/C on the defrost setting should help. Now on some Mission Viejo cars you can’t run the A/C at the same time as the defroster. Don’t ask me why, but I suspect lawyers were involved.

Also, air and water can get into the A/C system. That can reduce the efficiency of the system and also lead to corrosion that causes damage. Laguna Niguel car owners should periodically purge the system and replace the refrigerant to remove the air and water.

Mission Viejo drivers would be wise to learn the vital early warning signs of A/C trouble: 1) The air’s not as cold as it used to be. 2) Unusual noises when the A/C cycles on. Those are signs to get your vehicle into Elite Motors in Mission Viejo before the damage gets worse.

By following the recommended service intervals in your sedan owner’s manual, you can help prevent mechanical failure of your air conditioning system. Your A/C system contains some pricey components like the compressor, condenser, dryer, etc. Anything Laguna Beach and San Clemente car owners can do to lengthen the life of their A/C is well worth it.

Go Big or Go Home: Upsize Your Wheels at Elite Motors

A lot of us Mission Viejo car owners like our vehicles to reflect our personalities. We’re picky about color and body style. We’ll customize anything from floor mats to window tints to license plates. One popular way for California drivers to customize a vehicle is to get new wheels.

Wheels come in thousands of designs. Custom wheels can add personality, style or sass to a vehicle. Many of these customizations involve getting a bigger wheel.

Fifteen or sixteen-inch wheels used to be the factory standard, But today, because a lot of Mission Viejo drivers like the look of larger wheels, many vehicles are available with seventeen or eighteen-inch wheels. Optional wheel packages of twenty inches or more are also available in Mission Viejo.

If you want to upsize the wheels on your current vehicle, however, you should know it’s not a do-it-yourself project. There are important factors involved in ensuring your wheel change doesn’t jeopardize the safety of your vehicle.

First of all, it’s vital for California auto owners to understand rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is the overall height of a tire. If you increase the rolling diameter of your tires when you upsize your wheels, you may have to modify your suspension to make sure the larger tires fit in the space and don’t rub in turns or over bumps. If that’s more work than you’re willing to do or pay for, then you need to maintain rolling diameter when you change your wheels.

It’s not as hard for Mission Viejo motorists as it sounds. Imagine a doughnut. That doughnut represents rolling diameter, so you can’t make the doughnut bigger. However, you can increase the size of the doughnut hole. That gives you a bigger wheel. Tires with reduced sidewall on larger wheels will preserve your rolling diameter.

Rolling diameter is vital because your wheels and tires still need to fit inside the wheel well. Also, your speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brakes are all programmed to work with a specific rolling diameter. You’ll throw off the readings on your speedometer and odometer if you change your rolling diameter. And for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, your rolling diameter has to be within 3% of factory recommendations. While some Mission Viejo motorists who upsize may not be concerned about meter readings, throwing off the brake system is a serious safety hazard.

Further, many vehicles in Mission Viejo are now equipped with electronically controlled suspensions. Changing the rolling diameter will negatively affect this system as well, which can lead to a less smooth ride and lower handling performance as well as dangerous safety concerns.

Your friendly Elite Motors tire professional may be able to reprogram your vehicle’s computer to adjust for a larger (or smaller) rolling diameter.

So to maintain rolling diameter, you’ll need tires with a shorter sidewall. These tires will be designed to give the sidewalls the strength they need to maintain ride quality. Consider that doughnut again. As the wheel (the doughnut hole) gets bigger, the sidewall of the tire (the width of remaining doughnut) gets shorter. That means the tire holds less air. The sidewalls have to be made stiffer to compensate for the decreased air capacity.

To improve their strength, the shorter tires will also be slightly wider than your previous tires. But this means you’ll have a larger contact patch, or, in other words, a larger area of tire making contact with the road. This can actually increase your handling performance and decrease braking distances. Many California auto buffs customize their wheels just for this reason—they want the improved performance rather than looks or style. If you drive a truck or an SUV around Mission Viejo, you might be interested in the extra control an upsized wheel can provide.

Now, that larger contact patch still has to fit inside your wheel well without rubbing when cornering or when bouncing over bumps or potholes on Mission Viejo roads. This is termed fitment, and you may need a few essential adjustments so your new wheels will fit properly. You may need spacers so that your brakes will fit inside the new wheels, as well.

Elite Motors tire professionals are experts at mounting, adjusting and customizing wheels. They can give you a lot of good auto advice about wheels and tires and how they affect driving performance and car care. They can help Mission Viejo drivers select wheels and tires that will suit their driving needs and habits.

For example, if you drive off-road around Laguna Niguel, you should consider a higher profile tire. This type of tire will protect your rims from expensive damage while you’re bouncing over rocks. Or, if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads around California, you’ll want a tire with a load rating equal to your demands. Your friendly Elite Motors tire professional can help you with these types of concerns.

Once you’ve got your new wheels, have your friendly Elite Motors service specialist review to see if you need an alignment. You don’t want those new wheels and your higher performance compromised by poor alignment. Get the most out of your investment by getting the work done right at Elite Motors in Mission Viejo.

Last but not least, remember tire pressure. With larger wheels, your new tires will hold less air and they’ll need slightly higher pressure. You’ll need to stay on top of important preventive maintenance and keep them properly inflated. Be sure to inspect their pressure at least once a week. If you don’t keep your tires at their correct pressure, they will wear out really fast. It will also impair your braking and handling performance.

So smile and show off your vehicle around Laguna Niguel. Make it all yours. Bumper stickers, vanity license plates, custom wheels — strut your stuff!