Author Archives: Erica Nguyen


A car is a personal or commercial motor vehicle that is used for transportation purposes by elite and middle class alike. However, as people think, vehicles aren’t designed to run continuously deprived of their periodic maintenance. If you don’t give proper attention to the maintenance and wait till problems start to appear, you will end up damaging the vehicle even more and as a result paying additional for the maintenance. However, with periodic car maintenance, you can easily save yourself from unexpected problems.

Here are some tips about car maintenance that will not only increase the value and life of your car; they will also improve its performance:

  • Timely Oil Change

Every individual who purchases a new vehicle plans that he or she will change the oil as soon a milestone has been reached. But as time passes, people don’t consider timely oil change as a significant thing and don’t give it proper attention. Changing the oil in a timely manner is strongly recommended by every manufacturing company. For most of the famous vehicles that milestone is 3,750 miles but you should not rely on such information; you have to consult with the company and ask them their recommended distance on which you should change the oil without waiting for another mile. Always remember that oil is responsible for the proper lubrication of engine parts which otherwise can break due to the continuous friction.

  • Periodic Radiator Check-Ups

Before going to a drive, especially on a long distance, make sure that radiator is full with the water. However, it would be good if you have a professional check at least once in every three months in order to check the anti-freeze level in your cooling system because if your car overheats, it may cause substantial damage to the engine. You can easily avoid potential damages to your car engine and other parts by getting your radiator checked by professionals periodically.

  • General Inspection

It is recommended that you should at least have a thorough inspection of your vehicle every three months. You can take your car to a dealership or an experienced motor mechanic for this purpose. An experienced motor mechanic will sit with you and go for a test drive in order to find out if every system is working at its best. Your motor mechanic will check for:

  • engine
  • suspension
  • breaks
  • electrical system
  • heating and cooling
  • clutch
  • wheels
  • tyres
  • battery
  • oil, coolant, and other fluids
  • lights
  • wipers

If you quick car checkup uncovers some potential problems, your motor mechanic will note them down and will share the final results with you. He/she will also explain the reasons behind the issue and the cost/time associated with repairing them. Sometimes it may require a simple replacement, other times your motor mechanic may have to do some repairs to solve the issue. In both cases, makes sure you follow the expert advice shared by your motor mechanic.

Knowing When You Need to Replace Your Catalytic Converter

The emissions control system of your vehicle depends on the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter reduces toxic air into emissions that are less harmful, such as water, nitrogen, carbon dioxide. If you suspect a there is a malfunction with your catalytic converter, you should schedule a trip to your local car shop.

There are several ways to tell if your catalytic converter is failing. The first is when you cannot accelerate your car by stepping on your gas pedal. Your catalytic converter works with the emissions control devices in your vehicle, including the powertrain control module, or PCM. Therefore, you will start having problems with the emissions system of your car when the catalytic converter doesn’t work properly.

If your car will not start, or if it shuts off after a few minutes, you may have problems with your catalytic converter. Your local service shop will have to test to see if you have a faulty one or not.

Many times, your check engine light will come on if your catalytic converter is faulty. If this happens, it is best to take your car into the shop to have a professional evaluated. The catalytic converter is only one potential problem you could be having.

If the fuel efficiency of your car drops suddenly, there is a good chance your catalytic converter may be faulty. You will find yourself filling up at the gas station more often than you previously did.

Your vehicle must have a yearly emissions test to stay on the road. If your vehicle fails the emissions test, it may be because of the catalytic converter. This is how many people discover their catalytic converter has become faulty. The purpose of the annual car inspection is to keep the roads safe and to deal with any problems before they become worse.

Most times, the catalytic converter fails because of the cars age. Over time, it becomes clogged and the exhaust gas is unable to flow out of the car through the muffler. When the exhaust cannot exit the rear, it comes to the front and smothers out the engine. If you are having problems with your catalytic converter, visit your local car shop immediately.

Finding the Right Battery

If you have ever had to shop for a car battery, you may have been overwhelmed with the variety available. It can be hard to determine which battery you should purchase for your vehicle, especially since every driver and every car require certain things.

It is likely you will need to replace the battery in your car several times throughout the life of your vehicle. Many times, it is due to the old age of the battery or leaving the lights on unintentionally. If you find you need a new battery for your car, below is a list to help you find what you need.

  • Consult your vehicle’s manual: your owners manual should have the information you need to replace your battery. Otherwise, you need to find a battery fitting guide. It is imperative to find the right size and shape needed for your vehicle since using the wrong size will not give your vehicle the power it needs and may not fit securely.
  • Consider the climate you live in: when purchasing a battery, think about the driving conditions and the typical climate you live in. Since high temperatures where batteries down faster than cold temperatures, those living in hot climates need to purchase a battery that is longer-lasting. You should also consider a long life battery if most of your driving is on short trips. This is because short trips do not give your battery enough time to recharge.
  • Test your battery properly: make sure the battery you choose has a good reserve capacity and cranks well in cold weather. There are many variations when it comes to performance amongst batteries.

When changing your battery, never throw it into a regular trash bin since it contains toxic lead and acid. Most retailers will take the old battery and dispose of it for you. They will likely also waive the core charge typically associated with disposing of the battery when you return the old one to them. Just like when you fix phone screen and have your phone battery replaced the shops can usually sell the old parts to companies that recycle and make money.  So don’t make sure you turn your battery in.

Any time you purchase a new battery, hold on to the receipt. Also, look for the warranty for replacements. Most new batteries will be guaranteed and can be replaced for free if it dies before the end of the warranty.

Inspecting Your Tires in Sixty Seconds

The wheels on your vehicle are one of the most important parts of your car. Because of this, it is crucial to have your tires checked at least monthly to make sure they are in good condition for driving. Below are some simple steps you can take to help find any potential problems with your tires and to help you avoid any dangerous issues on the road.

  • Walk around your vehicle: when there is plenty of light outside to help you see things easily, take a thorough walk around your vehicle.
  • Look for any tread wear that is uneven: it is likely you will need to have your tires rotated if your wheels have treadwear that is uneven. The tread on your tires is dependent on the kind of tires you have mounted. When the tread where is uneven, there are a couple of reasons it could be so. Your tires may have too little or too much air pressure, you may be having balancing or alignment issues, or you can have suspension or steering problems.
  • Look for any bulging or cracking in your sidewalls or treads: these could be due to a weakness in your tire. Bulging and cracking are typically caused by hitting a curb or pothole.
  • Look for anything protruding into your tire: on occasion, you may find thing sticking out of your tire. These things are often dependent on where you live our park your car regularly.
  • Check for tire treads that are worn: use a penny to check your tread. With a penny stuck in the groove, look at Lincoln’s head. If Lincoln’s head is touched by the tread, your tires are okay. If not, you need to purchase new ones soon.

Any of the above problems could cause your tire to blowout.  It’s terrible to lose control – trust me. One day I was driving to my brother’s company, JT’s Tree Service Orange County, and my front tire blew. If you have ever driven in Orange County you know the traffic is terrific at all times of the day.  I luckily was able to regain control and pull over to the side, but my life definitely flashed before me.

Anytime you lose control over your car is a dangerous situation. If you find any of the problems listed above, it is best to schedule a time to go into your local car shop to have your tires professionally checked.

Handling a Tire Blowout

When you have a tire blowout, it can be a struggle to avoid having an accident. Your instincts will kick in and what you do next can make a difference between life and death for you and others around you. Staying calm and controlling your vehicle is the most important thing you can do.

I tire blowout can happen instantly, regardless of how fast you are traveling. When it happens, your vehicle will slow down and pull either to the left or right, depending on which tire blew. Also, if your rear tire blows, you will fill the extra movement in the body of the car or the seat. If the front tire blows out, the force will be felt more in the steering will. Below are some guidelines to help you prepare for what to do if you experience a tire blowout.

  1. Hold your steering wheel firmly.
  2. Never slam on your brakes.
  3. Gradually allow your car to slow down.
  4. Slowly move your vehicle to the side of the road.
  5. Engage your emergency flashers.
  6. Phone for help.

Once your car safely on the side of the road and your flashers are activated, you can get out of your car and complete the following steps.

  1. If you have them, put out reflective triangles or cones.
  2. Find your spare tire. If you don’t know where to look, consult your owner’s manual. The manual should also tell you where the tools you will need are located. Remember, you should not drive on a spare that is not full-sized for long distances.
  3. If you do not know how to change your tire or are in a place where it is unsafe to do so, phone for roadside assistance.

Luckily, with proper upkeep and monitoring your air pressure, tire blowouts can be avoided. Always check your tires every month and before any major road trips to make sure they are properly inflated and do not need to be changed.

Keeping Your Wheels Properly Aligned

When you go to turn your vehicle, the only place it should go is where it is steered then, after the turn, returned back to the center. This is a very simple concept that most of us take for granted. We expect our cars to do this every time, so we occasionally neglect to have our wheels aligned properly until it becomes a problem. If you are having any of the problems below, you need to take your vehicle in and have your wheels properly aligned:

  • When driving on a road that is level, your steering will is in straight.
  • Your suspension system is making unusual noises.
  • Your vehicle swerves from side to side.
  • When driving in a straight line or putting on your brakes, your vehicle drifts.
  • Vibrations can be felt in the steering wheel or in your seat.
  • Your steering wheel feels loose.
  • It has been a long time since you last had your wheels aligned.
  • Your tires squeal on turns.
  • After a turn, your steering wheel does not align itself easily.

Keeping your wheels correctly aligned is critical to the safety of your vehicle, as well as ensuring you have a comfortable ride, extending the life of your tires, and stability while braking. Modern suspension systems are quite complex and require careful measurements and precise adjustments on all four wheels. With this in mind, it is best to always take your vehicle to a professional technician to have your wheels aligned. Unfortunately, many service stations will only align your front wheels. It is best, though, to have a certified technician align all four wheels with their computerized analysis to make sure your vehicle suspension system is completely accurate and aligned.

When having your wheels aligned, it is important to have your front and rear wheels aligned with one another. If you only have your front wheels aligned, it could cause your vehicle to handle poorly and create crooked steering. Because of this, always have your wheels aligned professionally and ensure all four wheels are aligned.

When Your AC Blows Warm Air

When the air conditioner on your car is working right, it’s a wonderful thing. However, when it is brutally hot and the air conditioner doesn’t work, and it blows warm stale air instead, it becomes like a cruel joke. If your car’s air-conditioning unit isn’t working properly or is blowing warm air, you will need to schedule an appointment with your local shop. Below are some of the reasons your air-conditioning may not be working properly.

  • You may be leaking refrigerant: when your refrigerant is no longer under pressure within your A/C system that is a closed loop, it instantly evaporates into a gas. You never need to top off your refrigerant since your A/C system is completely sealed. Therefore, if you have a low level of refrigerant, that means you have a leak somewhere that needs to be taken care of.
  • Your compressor may be worn out: the heart of your air-conditioning system in your vehicle is the compressor. It helps the refrigerant to circulate through the needed stages to remove the heat from the cabin of your vehicle. Compressors can wear out over an extended period of time because of failed parts or contamination in the system.

There are a couple of the reasons that your air-conditioning unit may be on the fritz. The above ones are the most common, though. Working on your air conditioner takes a little more skill than your basic at home mechanic can fix. With that in mind, you should consider taking your vehicle to your local car shop for any repairs you need on your air-conditioning unit. That way, you are sure to get your air-conditioning unit back up to par so you will not have to spend hot days melting from the rays of the sun. If you need help, feel free to give us a call.




Changing Your Antifreeze

Antifreeze, also known as coolant, is imperative for keeping your engine running smoothly. It can keep your engine from overheating and from freezing. It is also able to protect the metal in your engine to keep it from corroding.

Like everything else, though, your antifreeze needs to be changed regularly. Otherwise, it will break down and the corrosion inhibitors will stop working. This will cause the components to no longer work the way they should. Below are some of the maintenance tips to help you keep your antifreeze up to par so they can continue to do the important job in your engine.

First, we will discuss how you can change your radiator fluid. The first tip is to never remove your radiator cap when your engine is hot. Then, follow the instructions below:

  1. Open the drain valve on your radiator to drain the cooling system.
  2. Once the fluids have drained, close the valve and fill it with fresh water, then put the radiator cap back on. Start your engine and turn your heater on high to flush the system for 15 minutes.
  3. Turn off your engine and allow it to cool. Drain the system again then close the drain valve.

If you need to flush the coolant out completely, repeat the steps several times until clear liquid drains from your radiator. Make sure to always follow the local and state regulations to dispose of the old coolant.

Before you do any kind of work on your engine with the anti-freeze, make sure you consult your owner’s manual from the manufacturer. Your particular make and model may be different than others. Typically, the manufacturer will recommend changing your antifreeze every 2 to 3 years, or more if you drive and a lot of miles. Also, if you drive in temperatures that are extremely hot, you may need to change your antifreeze every year. On the other hand, if you drive a newer vehicle, you may not need to change it as much.




Shock Absorbers: When to Replace

There are two primary purposes for your vehicle’s suspension system. These purposes are helping your vehicle hold and handle the road. The shock absorbers on your car are an important part of the suspension system. When they become worn, how your wheels interact with the road is affected. This could compromise how your vehicle holds and handles the road and could cause hydroplaning, dangerous swaying, and more.

Over time, like anything else, your shock absorbers will become worn out and tear, losing their ability to properly function. There are several signs to look for to determine if you need new shocks. Most of the signs are rather noticeable.

  • Stopping distance longer or delayed: when the shock absorbers on your car become worn and old, it will take longer for your vehicle to stop. You should replace your shock absorbers every 50,000 miles to improve your stopping distance up to 10 feet. Doing so can save you from an unfortunate incident.
  • Nosedives and swerving: If your car swerves and dips as you break, you need to check your shock absorbers. Otherwise, the control you have on your vehicle will be decreased and could be potentially dangerous.
  • Vibrations: if you feel vibrations in the steering will while you drive, it is likely your shock absorbers. Shock absorbers are supposed to keep your tires in direct contact with the road so there should never be vibrations.
  • Veering and sliding in your car: if you feel that your vehicle fears and slides even and a mild wind, you need to have them replaced.
  • Rattling and rocking: if your vehicle rocks and rattles over any kind of bump, there’s a good chance your shocks are worn heavily and need to be replaced. Not only does this cause your right to be uncomfortable, but it puts a lot of pressure on other car components.
  • Tread wear is uneven: if you have bald patches on your tires, or notice uneven wear, your tires are not contacting the road optimally. This is often caused by shocks that are worn.

If you have been having any of these problems in your vehicle, make sure you have your shocks replaced soon. Otherwise, you are putting yourself and others at risk.


Having Problems Getting Started

Have you ever went out to your car in the morning and have it not start? If you’re lucky, the problem could be quick to fix. Other times, though, it may require more.

A dead battery is the most common reason for a car not to start. A simple battery tester can let you know the battery strength. You can also simply jump your car. If jumping your car starts it up, you need a new battery. If not, there may be another problem. Below are a few reasons your car may not start when you try to jump it.

If you try to start your car and it only makes a clicking noise, you probably just have a dead battery. If you are unable to jump the battery, look at the wiring that goes to and from the starter to see if there are any loose connections. Also look at the terminal cable connections on the battery. You may need to replace or thoroughly clean your cables if they seem to be corroded.

If your vehicle will not start when it’s raining, check for dampness inside the distributor cap. There is solvent you can use to help dry the dampness from the distributor cap simply. Once you have used the solvent, use a lint-free rag to finish drying the As good as you can, then replace it.

If your engine turns over but won’t start, the issue is probably with your spark plugs. You may need to pull out your spark plugs and have them cleaned or replaced. If that doesn’t help the problem, you may need to have your fuel supply checked.

If you accelerate and your engine hesitates or misses, there are a few things that may be causing this. Three things you need to check are the distributor, the spark plugs, and the accelerator pump. If your engine pings are knocks, it may be due to the fuel you are using or your timing belt.

If you are unable to figure out why your car doesn’t start using the ideas above, feel free to bring your vehicle into the shop. We can help you diagnose and fix your vehicle today.