Your serpentine belt drives essential engine accessories like your alternator, air conditioning compressor, and power steering. In some vehicles it may also power the power brakes or water pump. The serpentine belt is powered by the engine and winds around pulleys and the accessories. Some automobiles have two serpentine belts.
The serpentine belt, the belt tensioner (which maintains the appropriate tension on the belt) and the idler pulleys are together known as the accessory drive system.
Now your serpentine belt and the belt tensioner will just wear out over time – that’s why your vehicle manufacturer has a scheduled belt replacement interval. The team at Hi-Line Autocare in Orange can check your serpentine belt for wear and get it replaced if it’s time.
Give us a call
Hi-Line Autocare (714) 602-1896 134 Rancho Santiago Orange, CA 92869
When it comes to preventive maintenance and car care, most Orange auto owners know how essential it is to check their brakes. But brakes are more than just brake pads and shoes. There are a lot of components in the brake system, and they all need to be in good working order.
The pads and shoes are known as the friction materials in the brake system. They push together, providing friction, which stops the vehicle. It’s no wonder they have to be checked regularly for wear, and that brake pads and shoes need to be replaced periodically.
Brake pads/shoes gradually wear out, but that doesn’t mean your braking gradually becomes less effective. The pads are engineered so that they maintain good braking until they wear too thin to provide adequate friction. At this point, they need to be replaced.
But your braking system also has mechanical parts. These pistons and springs can also gradually wear out or get gummed up by oil, dirt and other road spatter. A brake inspection in Orange at Hi-Line Autocare includes a check of these parts as well as the pads and shoes. Your friendly Hi-Line Autocare service professional can then advise you of any parts that need cleaning or replacement.
The fluid component to the brake system needs a regular check-up at Hi-Line Autocare as well. The brake fluid cools and protects your brake system. Protective additives are gradually depleted by the operation of the brake system, and moisture build-up inside the fluid can diminish its effectiveness. When you have your brakes serviced at Hi-Line Autocare in Orange, the fluid should be checked and, if needed, replaced, which will clean out water, debris and dirt.
It is essential to remember that your brake system also includes your tires. No matter how well your brake system is performing, if your sedan tires are worn, you won’t get good stopping power. Traction is the gripping power of your tires to the roadway. Traction is always better on tires with a good tread. Good traction translates to good braking.
This is particularly critical on wet East Irvine roads. A good tire will give you good braking on either wet CA roads or dry. But stopping distance increases dramatically when worn tires meet wet roads. Tread on a tire acts to channel away water as the sedan passes over the wet road, thus maintaining contact between the tire’s surface and the road, which maintains traction. But the thinner the tread, the less effective the water channels become, and water can get between the tire and the roadway, reducing friction. A loss of friction means a longer stopping distance and possibly the loss of control.
Braking depends on two things: the weight of your sedan and the speed of the vehicle. The heavier the vehicle or the faster the vehicle, the more braking power it requires. Thus, brake systems vary from vehicle to vehicle. For example, a pickup that is designed for heavy loads has a more powerful braking system than a compact car. Sports cars also have higher-grade braking systems than minivans.
Regardless of what kind of car you drive in Orange, it is always good auto advice to keep your brake system in good repair, and that means ALL of your brake system. Just one more way to keep your travels accident and worry-free.
There was a man in Irvine who learned that most car accidents occur within a mile of home – so he moved. (Just Kidding!)
When we think of defensive driving, we often focus on our local CA highway situations. The fact of the matter is we need to be just as careful close to home in Orange, because that’s where we do most of our driving. We can’t let our familiar surroundings keep us from driving defensively.
Defensive driving begins with the proper attitude. Have in mind that you won’t let anyone take your safety away from you. You’ll be aware of your surroundings, road conditions, other vehicles and hazards. And the first person to be concerned with is you: start with your own environment.
Don’t leave without securing all occupants including children and pets. Watch for loose items that can become projectiles during evasive maneuvers.
Driving too fast or too slow increases the chance of an accident.
Never drive impaired: Alcohol is a factor in half of all fatal crashes. Never drink and drive.
Other impairments include being sleepy, angry, daydreaming or talking. If you suddenly wonder how you got where you are – you’re not paying enough attention.
Keep your windows clean and uncluttered. No fuzzy dice and stickers.
Always use your turn signals while driving around Orange CA. Avoid other vehicles’ blind spots.
Don’t drive faster than your headlights – if you can’t stop within the distance you can see, you’re going too fast.
Avoid driving over debris in the road. Even harmless looking items can cause damage or an accident.
Keep your wheels straight when waiting to turn at an Orange CA intersection. That way if you’re hit from behind, your car won’t be pushed into on-coming traffic.
My daddy always said that when you drive, you’re actually driving five cars: yours, the one in front, the one behind and the ones on either side. You can’t trust that other drivers will do the right thing, so you’ve got to be aware of what they’re doing at all times.
If you see another car driving erratically, weaving, crossing lanes, etc., stay back. Take the next right turn if you’re downtown Orange, or take the next exit on the CA highway. Notify the police if you see someone driving dangerously in our Orange community.
Never follow too close. The minimum distance is the two second rule. Pick a landmark ahead, like a tree or road marker. When the car in front of you passes it, start counting: ‘one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand’. If you pass the landmark before reaching two-one-thousand, you’re following too close.
Remember that the two second rule is the minimum – it assumes you’re alert and aware. Three seconds is safer. Move out to five seconds or more if it’s foggy or rainy.
Someone will inevitably move into your forward safety zone – just drop back and keep a safe distance.
If someone follows you too closely, just move over.
Don’t play chicken by contesting your right of way or race to beat someone to a merge. Whoever loses that contest has the potential to lose big and you don’t want any part of that. So stay alert, constantly scan around your car and arrive safely.
Knowing how their engine works can help Orange drivers make informed decisions about car care and prevent costly repairs to their vehicles. This is especially true when it comes to timing belts.
An engine’s power is generated in the cylinders. Inside the cylinder is a piston that moves up and down while the engine is running. Power is generated in a cycle that includes four strokes of the piston. First, the piston drops and a valve at the top of the cylinder opens to let in fuel and air. The piston then rises, which compresses the fuel and air. At this point, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel and pushing the piston down. This downstroke transfers energy to the engine, which provides the power it needs to run. The piston rises again, and a valve opens to release the exhaust.
All of this movement is orchestrated by a timing belt. The timing belt is so named because it keeps the pistons and valves operating in synch with each other, just as a conductor keeps all of the instruments in an orchestra in time with one another. Thus, the timing belt is critical to the proper operation of your engine.
Not all vehicles in the Orange area have timing belts. Some have timing chains. A timing chain is more durable and rarely breaks, but timing belts are cheaper, so many automakers use them to save money.
Timing belts wear out and break, so an essential part of preventive maintenance for Orange auto owners is to replace the timing belt on schedule.
The results of failure of a timing belt depend on the type of engine in your vehicle, but they are always inconvenient and can be very costly for Orange auto owners. If your engine is a non-interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the engine simply stops running. Now that can be an incredibly detrimental situation depending on where you are driving around Orange when it breaks, but it won’t cause any engine damage. On the other hand, if your vehicle has an interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the valves on your cylinders will actually fall into the path of the pistons. Then things start getting chewed up by the motion of the engine and it will cost thousands of dollars to get everything sorted out again. Compounding the problem is that there aren’t any warning signs before a timing belt breaks. A visual inspection of the belt is difficult also. In some vehicles, parts of the belt may be visible, but most vehicles hide the belt under a cover.
The timing belt doesn’t even have to break to cause major engine damage. If it slips, even one notch, the result could be engine damage with repair costs in the thousands of dollars.
Our only car care option is to simply replace the timing belt periodically. You can check your owner’s manual to find out how often your timing belt should be replaced. Many vehicles need a replacement at 60,000 miles, but the recommended replacement mileage could be as high as 90,000 or 100,000 miles. If your owner’s manual recommends replacement at 60,000 miles, however, don’t wait until 65,000 miles to get it done. Remember what you’re risking.
Replacing a timing belt is not a cheap part of preventive maintenance for Orange drivers. The belt is usually difficult to get to and often requires removal of some of the engine accessories. The cost of the replacement, however, is a lot less than the repairs may cost if the timing belt fails.
For more auto advice on timing belts and other engine components, you can always consult with your friendly Hi-Line Autocare service professional. When it comes to car care, ignorance is not bliss. It can end up costing you in a big way.
Orange auto owners live in a disposable society. Everything from elaborate packaging to our clothing. Even cell phones are disposable. When replacement is cheaper than repair, the term “built to last” goes by the wayside. An exception is our vehicles. They’re still a very big investment and Orange drivers want to make them last as long as possible – and we want to make keeping them as cheap as possible. When talking cars, it’s all about preventive maintenance. There is an old saying that says, “a stitch in time saves nine” and that is really true when it comes to taking care of your car. A great example is coolant service in Orange.
Your coolant not only protects your engine from overheating and freezing – it must also protect cooling system components from corrosion. Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. That’s why you need to have your cooling system serviced on a regular schedule.
The same is true for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. And of course, Orange auto owners shouldn’t forget those oil changes right on schedule. Skipping even one change can start the build up of harmful oil sludge.
Our engines are full of gaskets and seals. Fresh fluids condition those gaskets and seals to keep them from drying out and leaking. Automotive fluids contain additives that help clean and lubricate the various systems they protect. Over time, the additives are used up and the fluid just does not provide the protection it did when it was fresh. And don’t forget the mechanical systems. Changing brake pads before they are worn to the point that they cause damage to rotors is a great way to keep your operating costs less pricey.
Replacing serpentine belts and timing belts on schedule is much cheaper for Orange auto owners than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure. Also, air filters, fuel filters, PCV valves and batteries are all important. Regular wheel alignments, tire rotation and balancing will make your tires last longer. And don’t forget to replace your shocks and struts when they wear out. Your fuel system needs regular cleaning to keep running well, prevent pricey mechanical damage and improving gas mileage.
Now this is a lot to remember for Orange auto owners – too much really. But it is your Orange automotive technician’s job to keep on top of this stuff. At Hi-Line Autocare we can tell you what your manufacturer recommends and help you with a plan to take care of it. We can advise you about which maintenance schedule you should use – the regular schedule or the severe service schedule – depending on the kind of driving you do. We also know the right fluids for your vehicle and may even suggest higher mileage formulations for your older sedan.
Bottom line – take care of this stuff on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent costly damage and maintain your warranty coverage.
Of course, you want your car to look as good as it runs. Regular washing will prevent rust and protect your finish. Take advantage of cleaners, waxes and protectants for your interior and tires. Your vehicle will look great and you’ll be proud to drive it longer.
Most of us Orange motorists can’t afford to throw away our car when it breaks down. By budgeting for regular preventive maintenance, we can prevent many inconvenient – and expensive – problems down the road, and can keep driving “old faithful” for years to come.
There is a clear and vocal demand in Orange and nationally for a reduction in air pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. This is what is driving the CA market for alternative fuel vehicles. There are a number of these vehicles on Irvine area roads today, and many more being developed. Yet each of these vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages. Orange drivers should learn what these advantages and disadvantages are before running out and purchasing one of these alternative fuel vehicles at your nearest Irvine dealership.
Irvine car owners should carefully research the car care before buying an alternative vehicle, as it may or may not coincide with the standards for gasoline vehicles. You should look at costs and MPG as well: these vehicles may help save our environment here in Orange, but that might not represent a savings to your wallet. You’ll need to decide what you can afford, and what will work for your lifestyle. Also, your choice of vehicle may be affected by what fuels are available in your Irvine area. Switching to an alternative fuel vehicle is not a bad decision, but it should be a carefully considered one.
Flex Fuel Vehicles Flex fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on a combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Because of the 85% ethanol content, this fuel is commonly called E85 in CA.
Ethanol is made from corn. So flex fuel vehicles lessen our dependency on fossil fuels. But they also raise the price of corn, which is a basic foodstuff in some areas of the world. Whether replacing fossil fuels with corn is a good idea is hotly contested right now.
Flex fuel vehicles do have lower harmful exhaust emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles. And in Irvine, E85 is usually lower in cost than regular gasoline. When gasoline prices fall in CA, however, they can drop below the price of E85. This is to Orange car owners’ advantage, since the vehicle can run on either fuel, but it negates the benefits of lowered exhaust emissions and lower consumption of fossil fuels.
One piece of Hi-Line Autocare auto advice before we move on: do not put E85 into your sedan unless it has an engine designed for flex fuels. Because of the high ethanol content in E85, engines need special seals and gaskets to function properly on this fuel. Running an ordinary engine with E85 can lead to gas leaks and fires.
Diesel Diesel engines are nothing new on CA freeways, and many get great gas mileage. Diesel fuel can now be made from vegetable oil and other renewable sources. A diesel fuel made from algae will soon be on the market in Irvine. Natural Gas Natural gas is less expensive than gasoline in Orange and burns more cleanly. Also, gasoline engines can be adapted to run on compressed natural gas, and many natural gas vehicles are already on Santa Ana roads. You can even install a special pump in your home gas line to use to fuel your vehicle. If you are interested in converting your gasoline engine to run on CNG in Orange, ask your Hi-Line Autocare service advisor about it.
On the other hand, an engine running on natural gas is not as powerful as one running on gasoline, and it will get lower gas mileage. Also, the tank you need to store natural gas is large—it takes up nearly the entire trunk of your car. Further, refueling stations are still few and far between in some CA areas, or even unavailable, in many parts of the country.
Hydrogen Another alternative fuel that has enjoyed a lot of hype in Irvine is the hydrogen cell. The natural appeal is that the only exhaust is water vapor. In other words, hydrogen represents a truly clean-burning fuel. But hydrogen vehicles won’t come into widespread use until refueling stations become widely available here in Orange and around the country.
Electric Vehicles Electric vehicles were all the rage in CA some years ago. But their limitations were quickly realized by Orange drivers. These vehicles won’t come into their own until we find ways to improve their batteries. Currently, the cars have a short range before their power runs out, and can only be realistically used close to home. However, they are easy to recharge, since they can be plugged in at home, and there are many researchers working on improving the battery technology in these vehicles. They may yet be the vehicles of the future.
Hybrids Hybrids have been one of the most successful alternative fuel vehicles here in Orange and throughout the county. A hybrid gets its name because it has both a gas or diesel engine and an electric motor.
There are two types of hybrids. The full-hybrid relies on the electric motor for power, but the gas (or diesel) engine generates power for the battery. Thus, while still consuming fossil fuels, it uses less of them than a standard automobile, and also reduces harmful pollutants. Also, it overcomes the range problem of the strictly electric vehicle.
In a mild hybrid, the electric motor assists the gas or diesel engine in powering the car. Thus, it uses more gasoline or diesel than full hybrids and has higher emissions. But mild hybrids are available in larger body models like full-size pickups and SUV’s.
A Note of Caution about Hybrid and Electric Vehicles One last note before we leave the subject of alternative fuel vehicles. The battery in an electric or hybrid vehicle is not as tame as the one in a standard vehicle. They carry enough voltage to kill you. These are not do-it-yourself vehicles when it comes to preventive maintenance or car care. Only a trained technician should work under their hoods.
When it comes to their vehicles, some Orange car owners don’t have a maintenance mindset. They know they need to take care of their cars, but it just seems really hard to get them to remember to do it. Orange drivers generally accept that many things in life require regular maintenance, but just may have not applied it to their sedans.
For example: the lawn. You water it and mow it every week. And weed the flower beds and rake the leaves. There are other things that Orange residents are diligent about. Going to the dentist twice a year. Clothes to the dry cleaner. Flu shots. Taking the kids to your Orange doctor for a checkup before school starts.
So Orange auto owners really are maintenance minded. They just have to learn to apply that mindset to cars. I mean, if you never brush your teeth or go to the dentist, you’ll become painfully aware of your neglect when you get a big cavity. Once the damage is done, most of us learn our lesson and shape up.
Unfortunately, Orange car owners too often learn a hard automotive lesson when they bring their vehicle to Hi-Line Autocare on a tow truck. So many times a little routine maintenance would have prevented a costly breakdown.
So how can Orange auto owners get into the habit of taking care of their sedan? It’s so easy to forget. If you skip cutting the grass, you see it every time you pull in the driveway.
Here’s something that will help: The key to good vehicle maintenance starts with the oil change. Think about it – when you go in for a full-service oil change, your friendly Hi-Line Autocare service professional will check all your fluids. If one of them is low, he can look for the reason why. If your serpentine belt is cracked, he’ll see it and let you know. Corroded battery cable – they’ve got you covered. And at Hi-Line Autocare, we check to see if your sedan automobile manufacturer has recommended any services at your current mileage. The oil change becomes kind of a focal point, a way to check in to see what needs to be done. The fact is that vehicle inspection surveys consistently reveal that over 80% of vehicles have one or more unperformed repair or maintenance service. Vehicles are generally very reliable and can take a lot of abuse and neglect. But, you’ve got to remember that sedans are complicated machines. There are parts and fluids that are critical to their operation. Without them, the sedan won’t run at all.
So when you come in to Hi-Line Autocare for an oil change, you get a diagnostic examination from your friendly service advisor and a reminder for recommended services so you can avoid a total failure. And remember that your friendly Hi-Line Autocare tech can help you work out a maintenance and repair plan, prioritizing and scheduling the work to make sure you and your family are safe, and helping you avoid expensive breakdowns.
Most automakers recommend an interval for an air conditioning system inspection. The examination uncovers leaks, worn hoses and assesses the condition of the other components.
Environmental laws in some areas require leaks to be fixed before refrigerant can be added. Also some parts manufacturers require other components to be replaced along with certain failed parts in order to maintain the new part warranty. This is because a given failure may be the result of another worn or damaged part that will, if not replaced, prematurely damage the new component.
Hi-Line Autocare in Orange is fully equiped to restore your flow of cool air.
Give us a call
Hi-Line Autocare (714) 602-1896 134 Rancho Santiago Orange, CA 92869
Do you ever shop for shoes in one of our Irvine area shoe stores? When buying a running shoe, is quality important? Does durability matter as long as the shoes look fabulous? Would you rather have one pair of long lasting shoes or two pair of lower quality shoes at the same price?
Is the warranty important when buying tires?
When you choose new tires in Orange, what’s the most important factor for you?
Give us a call at Hi-Line Autocare at (714) 602-1896 for tire recommendations.
You know, buying tires in Orange is a big deal. It’s a big ticket item so you know you’ll be spending a lot. You’re not only concerned about the price, but you want to know that it’ll be a long time before you need to buy new tires again.
And of course there’s the safety aspect as well. The tires do a lot of work – they carry the weight of the vehicle and you and your passengers. They need to be up to the task. You want to be sure they hold the road and provide good traction. If you carry heavy loads or tow a trailer, the tires need a high load rating to be up for the job.
As a tire professional, I think it’s important that people understand the effect of price on a tire’s performance and durability. When I was a kid, my dad had a saying. He said, “Pay twice as much and buy half as many”.
Dad applied that to a lot of things. He thought that one high quality suit would last longer and look better than two cheap suits. The saying really seems to hold true when it comes to shoes and boots, too.
I buy high-quality work shoes because I spend a lot of time on my feet. They’re more comfortable, have important safety features like steel toes and non-slip soles – and they last at least twice as long as cheap shoes. I feel I get very good value for my money.
I apply the same thinking to tires. The major tire brands that you’re familiar with are known as Tier 1 tires. These tires are well-engineered and very high quality. Comparable tires are usually in the same price range from brand to brand.
Stepping down in price you come to private label tires. Some large tire store chains carry tires with the chain’s own brand. It’s important to know that most private label tires are built by the same Tier 1 brands that you are familiar with – so they are a quality product. You can ask your tire professional who makes their private brand.
The lowest priced tires on the market are Tier 3 tires. These tend to be imported from China or South America. Since you get what you pay for, you can’t expect a Tier 3 tire to deliver the same performance and durability as the others.
So let’s say you need new tires. You’ve determined the features you need. So you have several options, including price options. Now, you’ve probably heard the term ‘it’s a 40 thousand mile tire’ or ‘it’s a 60 thousand mile tire’. Simply put, the manufacturer warrantees the tire for ‘X’ number of miles. If that’s important to you, look for the warranty.
What’s the difference in the tires with higher mileage warranties? It’s the rubber compounds and the amount of tread material. As you might expect, you’ll pay more for the longer-lasting tire.
Now the cheapest tires you can find won’t have a manufacturer’s mileage warranty or if it does, it’ll be relatively low. That brings us back to dad’s saying; if you buy the cheapest Tier 3 tire you can, you will likely go through two sets in the time it would take to wear out one set of good quality tires. And the good tires won’t cost twice as much, so you’ll end up paying more per mile driven with the cheap tires.
Hey, I realize that sometimes the budget will only allow for a Tier 3 tire. I make them available for my customers who need them because I would rather see them driving with safe, new tires than pushing their old tires beyond their safety limits. But I always counsel my customers to buy as much tire as they can afford, because it will be much less expensive in the long run.
Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that touch the road. You’re only as safe as your tires are well built.