Archive for April 28, 2015

A Cold Day In Mission Viejo

Most Mission Viejo drivers worry about a breakdown or a tire blowout on a busy California interstate but don’t worry too much about failure of their air conditioning system. A breakdown at the side of the road can be a miserable and dangerous affair during Laguna Niguel rush hour, but so can a long ride in a hot sedan.

A lot of Mission Viejo drivers judge their vehicles’ air conditioning systems as “non-essential” and so may neglect them in favor of repairs and maintenance that keeps the sedan running. But preventive maintenance of an air conditioning system is simple and inexpensive, while auto a/c repair can be very costly in Mission Viejo.

Lake Forest auto owners should have the refrigerant in their air conditioning system checked regularly to ensure it is adequate and clean. Air conditioning systems often fail because air and water have contaminated the refrigerant. Air reduces the efficiency of the refrigerant, and water can cause rusting of the system’s components. If your refrigerant is contaminated, the system should be evacuated and recharged. This will actually extend the life of your air conditioning system, preventing costly repairs, and keep it at peak performance.

Inadequate refrigerant indicates a leak in the air conditioning system. Over time, seals in the system can crack, causing the refrigerant to leak out, reducing the efficiency of the system. Replacing these seals will keep your sedan air conditioning system at its best, and, again, will help you avoid more costly repairs.

At Elite Motors, we advise our Mission Viejo customers to run their air conditioner periodically in the winter. This will keep the seals from drying out and cracking, saving them the inconvenience of this relatively minor repair.

Check with your sedan owner’s manual or with your Mission Viejo technician for information about how often your sedan air conditioning system should be serviced.

Another piece of good auto advice: if your sedan air conditioner isn’t working or is starting to show signs of breakdown, NOW is the time to get it fixed at Elite Motors in Mission Viejo. Waiting will only increase the chances that you are in for major repairs and an expensive repair bill.

On a final note, if you own an older vehicle, you should check into upgrading the air conditioning system. Vehicles manufactured before 1993 often contained a refrigerant known as Freon. The manufacture of Freon was outlawed in 1993, leading to an ever-dwindling supply, which leads to an ever-steeper price for Mission Viejo car owners in California. If your vehicle still uses Freon, you should have it retrofitted to use the new, EPA-approved R134A refrigerant. The retrofit will actually pay for itself by reducing the cost to recharge the refrigerant in your sedan.

Remember, preventive maintenance — of your entire car — will keep you on the road. And, in this case, it will help you keep your cool!

Straight And True In Mission Viejo: Wheel Alignment

Most Laguna Niguel folks worry about running out of gas or having a breakdown on the side of the road. That is why we practice preventive maintenance on our vehicles — that and to keep our repair bills down. But one important part of preventive maintenance that may get overlooked by Mission Viejo motorists is a periodic alignment inspection.

Poor alignment causes tires to wear rapidly, unevenly or both. This means they will have to be replaced early, and new tires are more costly than an alignment check in Mission Viejo. Bad alignment can also cause damage to suspension and steering systems, which can be expensive to repair in Laguna Niguel.

Tire wear on misaligned wheels can also lead to blowouts, which are dangerous, can lead to serious accidents, and can seriously damage your sedan. Also, poor alignment itself can be the cause of an accident, since the sedan may not steer properly.

One or more wheels on your sedan can be knocked out of alignment by running over a curb or a pothole on a bumpy Mission Viejo street. An accident, even a minor one, that involves a wheel on your car can lead to misalignment. The small bumps and bangs of everyday Lake Forest driving can also gradually put your wheels out of alignment.

If you have had wheel damage to your sedan, or if you suspect that your wheels are out of alignment, you should get your alignment checked NOW. Any Elite Motors service advisor will give you that piece of auto advice. But good car care suggests that you also get your alignment inspected on a regular basis. At Elite Motors in Mission Viejo, we can take care of that for you.

Your owner’s manual or Elite Motors service advisor can give you a suggestion on how often your alignment should be checked. If it doesn’t, then once a year is a good rule of thumb. However, if you drive a lot and especially if you drive on rough surfaces a lot, then you may want to consider an inspection more often. Ask your friendly service professional for a recommendation.

If your sedan is out of alignment, one or more of the wheels is not tracking correctly and will “pull” against the others. Thus, one sign of poor alignment is that your sedan pulls to one side when you drive around Laguna Niguel. Also, if you are driving a straight path and your steering wheel is off-center, that usually indicates an alignment problem.

Mission Viejo drivers should also check the wear on their tires. If they seem to be wearing out too quickly, or if you notice that a tire is wearing on one side more than the other, you should get your alignment checked.

When you get an automotive analysis, your vehicle will be put on a rack and all the parts of the steering and suspension systems will be inspected for wear or damage. The alignment of the tires will be charted and compared to the original factory settings. If no repairs are needed on the steering or suspension systems, the wheels will then be adjusted to bring them back into alignment.

This may seem like a lot of bother for San Clemente auto owners, but it’s a lot less trouble than a blowout or an accident. The old adage is good auto advice for all Mission Viejo residents: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

So keep on driving, and keep all four tires on the road.

Check Engine Light Diagnosis At Elite Motors

Hello Mission Viejo auto owners. Have you ever had your check engine light come on? Did you panic? Or just scowl and ignore it? What should you do? Pull to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or just keep driving? What does that little light really mean for Mission Viejo auto owners?

First of all, the Check Engine or Service Engine light does indicate that something is wrong. That’s why it is called a warning light. But the something that is wrong might be a loose gas cap, or it might be serious sedan engine trouble. That’s why Laguna Niguel auto owners often don’t know how to respond to it.

The check engine light has two modes: it flashes or it stays on. A flashing light is serious. You need to get your vehicle to Elite Motors in Mission Viejo ASAP. No, you don’t need to call a tow truck, but, yes, you can’t wait to get your car serviced. If your check engine light is on and flashing, you should not tow trailers, haul heavy loads or drive at California freeway speeds. Any of these could lead to serious damage that could result expensive repair bills for Mission Viejo drivers who ignore it.

A steady check engine light is less serious, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored by Lake Forest drivers. You should plan to get your vehicle inspected at your local Mission Viejo automotive service center the first realistic opportunity. Not the first convenient opportunity, but the first realistic one.

Before you take your sedan in, however, check the gas cap. A loose gas cap can trigger the check engine light. If it is loose, twist it until it clicks three times. If that was the problem, your Mission Viejo engine light will reset after several days. However, if it stays on, then you need to schedule an inspection at your Mission Viejo auto repair center center or Elite Motors.

Modern automobiles have a computer in the engine that monitors and controls many of the engine functions. When the computer senses something wrong, it first tries to fix the problem itself by adjusting the sedan engine. If the problem persists, the computer signals the check engine light to come on.

This process stores a trouble code inside the sedan engine’s computer. Your service advisor scans the computer and reads the code. This does not tell the service specialist exactly what is wrong with the car, but it gives him a good idea as to where to start looking.

It is NOT good auto advice to deal with a check engine light by disconnecting the battery. Yes, this makes the light go off, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It’s rather like trying to put out a fire by disconnecting the smoke detector. Also, disconnecting the battery will erase your sedan’s computer memory. An engine’s computer, over time, learns to adjust for peculiarities of the specific sedan engine, for driving conditions in your San Clemente area, and for your driving habits. Losing its memory means it has to learn and adjust for these things all over again.

Also, don’t buy a cheap consumer scanner or get a trouble code read at your nearest Mission Viejo auto parts store, then try to fix a problem yourself — unless, of course, you are a trained Laguna Niguel mechanic. Today’s auto repair equipment is fairly high-tech and knowing a code is only an indication of where a problem might be, not the answer to what is wrong. Trying to save a little money by doing it yourself may end up costing you big in the long run.

Of course, the best thing to do is to keep that pesky check engine light from coming on in the first place. Good car care and routine preventive maintenance go a long way to keeping your sedan out of your Mission Viejo auto repair shop. But, if that light does come on, be smart. Take care of the problem early, and take care of it professionally.

The Easy Way To Save Cash In Mission Viejo

The hottest California news story may be different everyday, but there’s one topic that seems to come up over and over again – the price of gas in Mission Viejo. If you feel like most of your paycheck goes into your gas tank, this post is for you. Here are several basic things  Mission Viejo drivers can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the Laguna Niguel environment. You can really improve your MPG by how you drive – but first, here’s a review of things you can do for your car that’ll save gas no matter how you drive.

The first one for Mission Viejo auto owners is keeping tires properly inflated. That can save two miles per gallon. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand – your car just has to work harder. Most Mission Viejo service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask your Elite Motorsservice professional. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you fill up. Many Mission Viejo gas stations have an air hose you can use for free.

Another important item is to keep your air filter clean. An air filter all clogged up with dirt and bugs doesn’t let enough clean air through to efficiently burn fuel. Using a dirty air filter will cost you almost two miles per gallon in reduced gas mileage. And worn spark plugs can cost another two. A spark plug can fire as many as 3,000,000 times for every thousand miles driven. Check the sedan owner’s manual for replacement recommendations.

The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with critical information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that’s messed up it can cost Mission Viejo drivers up to three miles per gallon. And of course, there’s harmful dirty or substandard oil. Dirty oil causes extra drag. The wrong grade may be too thick. That’s another .4 miles per gallon right there.

One item Mission Viejo residents seldom think about is their gas cap. A worn, loose or missing gas cap can cost another two miles per gallon. Adding up all of these worn, missing or sub-par items leads to a total of almost 11.4 miles per gallon in reduced fuel economy! And with current gas prices in the Mission Viejo area, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save Mission Viejo motorists money at the pump. 

Now most Mission Viejo car owners aren’t missing on all of these items, but think about which ones might affect you right now! And don’t forget tune-ups, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, fuel system cleaning, wheels out of alignment, PCV valve, fuel filter and other critical services spelled out in your owners’ manual.

Elite Motors knows all this stuff and can tell you when you’re scheduled to take care of each item. Create a system of your own to track your service schedules, or just use the computer system at Elite Motors – which may also be updated with recall notices and important maintenance schedule items from your car maker.

Does Your Car Have A Recall Item?

No matter how well they’re made, cars are bound to have problems with their design or manufacturing. Think of all the moving parts. When the government thinks a problem is really serious, they require the car maker to issue recall notices to Mission Viejo residents and to fix the affected cars free of charge. The vehicle manufacturer then tries to contact all Mission Viejo auto owners who own that type of car so they can have it taken care of at their Mission Viejo service center.

To find out if your car has any recall issues, give us a call:
Elite Motors
23725 Via Fabricante # F Mission Viejo, California 92691
(888) 320-9834

These recalls always affect safety, so Mission Viejo drivers would be wise to take them seriously. It’s really easy to find out if a vehicle is being recalled. For links to government sites, look in the AutoNetTV website.

Other website include: carfax.com; autobytel.com; and dmv.org. All of these sites have free recall searches.

Recalls are pretty serious for Mission Viejo auto owners and don’t happen all that often. But sometimes cars have less serious problems that Mission Viejo motorists still might want to know about. For these less serious cases, vehicle manufacturers issue what is known as a Technical Service Bulletin – or TSB. These bulletins tell Mission Viejo service centers (including Elite Motors)  how to repair a problem that occurs frequently or is especially difficult.

Your Mission Viejo service specialist receives updated information through subscription plans, which are sometimes available in consumer versions too. Mission Viejo drivers can buy access to these for an annual fee.

Whatever your source, pay attention to Mission Viejo vehicle recalls to keep you and your passengers safe.