Hi-Line Autocare

Servicing Mercedes Benz car owners in Orange for over 25 years

Hi-Line Autocare - Servicing Mercedes Benz car owners in Orange for over 25 years

Orange Customer Detective Work

One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician at Hi-Line Autocare in Orange CA is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed.

Cars are made up of a bunch of complex systems. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. So it’s challenging to track down the actual cause of the problem. And it can be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money to get to the bottom of a problem. If it’s not something obvious, it’s easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.

Let us introduce you to something we’ll call Customer Detective Work – that is helping your Orange CA technician find clues to what’s wrong.

We start with the detective basics: What, Where and When. Play along with me. You come in to Hi-Line Autocare and your car is making a funny sound.

  • Q: Where’s the sound?
  • A: Around the right front wheel.
  • Q: What kind of sound?
  • A: Kind of a clunk, clunk sound.
  • Q: When do you hear the sound?
  • A: When I turn and accelerate.
  • Q: Right and left? Forwards and back?…

Do you see where we’re going? You’re gathering additional information to help your Orange CA technician know where to start. Based on your car and the tech’s experience, he’ll know where to look and can start with the obvious suspects.

You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says “making a funny noise”.

When you think you need to bring a vehicle in, make some notes about the problem. Rather than just saying “it’s leaking”, tell the tech the color of the fluid, and approximately where under the car you see the puddle.

Things like ‘the car is stalling or sputtering’ are often very hard to diagnose because they’re intermittent. They may not happen every time you drive and usually aren’t happening when you actually bring the car in. So, it is a big help for you to describe what’s happening in as much detail as possible.

Your Orange CA technician at Hi-Line Autocare will need to be able to duplicate the problem if possible so he needs to know details, like ‘it stalls after it’s been driven for about 20 minutes and I go over 50 miles an hour’.

If the tech can experience the problem personally, he’s better able to make a diagnosis and repair. And, then test to see if the repair solved the problem.

On Board Diagnostics For Your sedan

Make an appointment with Hi-Line Autocare to have your on board diagnostics analyzed.
134 Rancho Santiago
Orange, CA 92869
(714) 602-1896

Today we’re going to talk about on-board diagnostics and the questions we hear from folks around Orange CA who need answers about diagnostic services. They want to know what diagnostics are, what’s involved and what the benefits are. They really want to understand the value of diagnostic scans by a trained technician in Orange CA.

These are valid concerns. If you don’t understand something it’s really hard to know its value. Let’s start with some history.

Since 1996, all cars and light trucks in Orange CA have been required to use a standardized diagnostic system to help repair technicians determine what’s wrong with your vehicle. The diagnostic system works with the vehicle’s Engine Control Module – the computer that controls many engine functions.

The computer monitors dozens of components and processes. Depending on what the sensors read, the computer will make adjustments to compensate for conditions and minor problems. When there is a condition that it can’t adjust for, the computer will turn on the check engine light.

It is also called the ‘service engine soon’ light on some vehicles. The warning light signals you to get into your Orange CA service center so that the trouble code can be read and the problem can be fixed. Your service center will have a scan tool and powerful software that will help the technician diagnose the problem.

If you’ve searched for check engine light on the internet, you may have seen that you can buy an inexpensive scanner or go to an auto parts store to have the trouble code read to tell you exactly what’s wrong.

That’s a common myth. The code itself doesn’t tell you what’s broken. It starts you looking in the right place. It tells you what engine parameter is out of range – but it won’t tell you what’s wrong or how to fix it.

Let’s say you think your daughter has a fever. You take her temperature and it reads one 102 degrees. You’ve confirmed a fever, but you don’t know what’s causing it. Is it a 24 hour flu, an infection, appendicitis or leukemia? A fever is a symptom of all of these medical problems, but it takes a skilled physician’s examination and additional diagnostic tests to find out what is actually causing the fever.

An example of a trouble code could be: P0133, which reads ‘Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response’. This means that the front oxygen sensor has a slow response time to changes in the air-fuel mix. If that’s all you knew about cars, you would think your oxygen sensor was broken and would replace it. Now, it could be the oxygen sensor – but it could also be a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, exhaust leak, electrical problem, an intake manifold leak or any of a number of other things.

You can imagine a lot of oxygen sensors have been replaced because of that code. So the on-board diagnostics point the way to where the trouble lies, but it takes some skill and high-tech equipment to actually pinpoint the problem. The cheap scan tools that a consumer can buy do not have the ability to retrieve some of the operating history that’s stored in the engine control computer. That history’s very helpful in diagnosing the problem. Service centers like Hi-Line Autocare invest a lot of money in high-end diagnostic tools to help solve the mystery and get you back on the road as soon as possible without replacing a lot of parts that don’t need replacing.

So, on-board diagnostics provide a powerful starting place for a highly-trained, well-equipped technician to get to the bottom of your problem. When your check engine light comes on, get it checked at Hi-Line Autocare. If the light burns steady – don’t panic. Get in to Hi-Line Autocare soon to have the engine scanned. A flashing check engine light means that there is a severe engine problem. Get in as soon as you can – waiting too long can lead to very expensive damage.

And try to not drive at high speed or tow or haul heavy loads with a flashing check engine light.

Service Center Standard and Procedures


All CA pilots have checklists for every aspect of flying. They always use their checklists even if they only have two steps on them. They do this simply because a checklist is a great way to not forget essential steps. It is also how they can assure a predictable outcome.

That is why East Irvine and Aliso Viejo automotive service centers including Hi-Line Autocare have procedural standards for each service they perform. Hi-Line Autocare service professionals are trained step by step. And they perform the procedures step by step, the same way each time. By training to procedural standards, CA centers can assure a quality outcome. The job is done right every time and Orange drivers leave happy with how their sedan performs.

Each company trains its technicians to standards. The CA automotive industry as a whole is very committed to standards of excellence and encourages individual CA service center operators including Matt Hegwood (manager at Hi-Line Autocare) to apply them to every vehicle they service.

An example is how Hi-Line Autocare techs grade problems and communicate their recommendations. If your service professional tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:

The part no longer performs its intended purpose
The part does not meet a design specification
The part is missing

The service specialist may suggest repair or replacement if:

The part is close to the end of its useful life – just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
To address a customer need or request – like for better ride or increased performance
To comply with maintenance recommended by the auto manufacturer
Based on the service specialist’s informed experience

Here are some examples:

An exhaust pipe has rusted through and is leaking. Replacement is key because the part has failed. If the pipe were rusted, corroded or weak, but not leaking, the service advisor may suggest it be replaced because it is near the end of its useful life and replacing it now may be more convenient for the Orange client.

Suppose a customer wants to improve his car’s handling, but his shocks haven’t failed. The service specialist may suggest replacement of the shocks to satisfy the customer’s wishes.

Under these guidelines the Orange car repair shop must refuse partial service of a required repair if the repair creates or continues an unsafe condition.

Let’s say a customer has a cracked brake rotor. This is a dangerous condition that must be repaired. If the customer does not want to replace the rotor, but instead just wants new brake pads installed, the shop must ethically refuse the partial repair. That can be an upsetting conversation, but understanding that Orange service centers operate under service standards and procedures is comforting. You want your service to be done right and to have confidence in your technician’s recommendations.

The CA automotive service industry and Hi-Line Autocare want the best for you and for you to keep coming back. AutoNetTV is committed to providing automotive maintenance information to help you be confident in your service decisions.

On Board Diagnostics For Orange Motorists

Some Orange car owners wonder why Hi-Line Autocare and other Orange auto repair shops charge a fee for diagnostic services.

Think about it: When you hire a local Irvine HVAC technician to check out a problem with your air conditioner you’ll probably pay a diagnostic fee. When you visit your East Irvine doctor for a health problem, you pay the physician to diagnose the ailment and of course for the tests that go along with it.

On Board Diagnostics For Orange Motorists

So receiving a diagnostic charge at Hi-Line Autocare for a tricky automotive problem shouldn’t be a surprise. In the Irvine area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your sedan brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy CA expressway, you pull off the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you’re having an intermittent problem with your sedan engine, however, Hi-Line Autocare diagnosis may be much more involved.

Much of the Irvine auto owners’s confusion comes when the problem involves the check engine light. The check engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.

There’s a common misconception among East Irvine, Aliso Viejo, and Santa Ana drivers that the trouble code tells the Hi-Line Autocare technician exactly what’s wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge – because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.

In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that’s out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the check engine light.

The sedan computer’s trouble code just tells the Hi-Line Autocare technician what engine parameter is out of range – not what’s causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that’s causing the malfunction.

There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for Hi-Line Autocare customers. The Hi-Line Autocare service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.

Irvine service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.

Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming, and difficult. Of course Hi-Line Autocare wants to figure out what’s wrong with your sedan and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

What Orange Automotive Service Consumers Should Know

There are some things Irvine consumers should know about Orange automotive service and repair. First and foremost, Hi-Line Autocare cares about you and your family’s safety. And we really appreciate your business. Hi-Line Autocare in Orange wants to build a trusting relationship that becomes the foundation for a mutually beneficial experience for years to come.

Building on that foundation, there are some things that would help you understand the auto service and repair business better. First, it can be really hard to fix cars. The days of shade tree mechanics are long gone. The majority of automotive systems are computerized. It takes a lot of training and very expensive equipment to diagnose and repair modern vehicles. The technicians that work for Hi-Line Autocare need extensive computer training – not just how to run the diagnostic systems, but also searching for the right parts, networking with other technicians to help them with a difficult problem and pulling together a job order that makes sure that each step of the process is addressed.

The threshold for getting started as a technician gets higher all the time and there is a huge commitment to on-going training every year. This training takes time and money. It contributes to business overhead. The average East Irvine or Aliso Viejo driver may not realize the business and environmental regulations Hi-Line Autocare must comply with. Of course that costs money too. Like any business, overhead is a big factor.

When you go into a Irvine restaurant you don’t value the meal by what the food would cost at the grocery store. The restaurant has rent, wages, insurance, taxes, utilities, professional fees, equipment, supplies – you get the picture. The restaurant has to charge enough to not only pay for the ingredients, but for all these other things as well while making enough profit to remain in business. If you value the meal and are satisfied with your dining experience, you’ll come back and tell your friends.

It’s the same for Hi-Line Autocare. The value of its service is not the cost of the parts they replace, but in your satisfaction with the results. If they deliver a good product at a fair price, Orange customers are happy to see them succeed as a CA automotive business.

Contact Hi-Line Autocare to learn more about our extensive auto service training.
You can find us at:
134 Rancho Santiago
Orange, CA 92869
Or call us at 714.602.1896

Your Orange service center loves to see its customers whenever they come in, but they would much rather see them three or four times a year for routine maintenance than once a year on a tow truck. They want to work together with you to avoid breakdowns. Tell your Irvine area friends and family to go in for their scheduled maintenance too. That lowers the service center’s marketing costs and helps keep its labor rates down. That’s good for everyone.

Hi-Line Autocare appreciates this great review of automotive service from AutoNetTV.

Handling Distractions While Driving Around Irvine

We’ve all seen people do crazy things while driving to or from Irvine. A guy shaving in the rear-view mirror, a woman applying makeup, people talking on their phones, texting or drinking from an enormous coffee mug. All of these are an accident waiting to happen.

The truth is everyone in Irvine CA is distracted when we drive. Traffic, road construction and other things outside the car are beyond our control. But the distractions inside our car are things we can often control.

Here’s some things that’ll give you more control in your car, and help keep your attention on the roads around Irvine CA.

  • Drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player.
  • Drivers who are 20 to 29 are more distracted by passengers in the car, including small children.
  • And those over age 65 tend to be more distracted by objects or events that are outside of the vehicle.

Other factors like fatigue, stress and lack of sleep make it harder to pay attention to driving – no matter what age we are. People are also distracted by thinking about relationships, family issues, money and bills. So what can we do to manage these distractions? Well, the first thing is to eliminate as many as we can.

When you get in your car, make sure you’re belted in; that the seats, steering wheel and mirrors are adjusted; and your radio or CD player is ready.

Secure any loose objects in the car that can fall on the floor and interfere with your driving.

If you have a drink, make sure it’s spill-proof and put in a cup holder. Pets should also be contained.

If you’re riding with kids, make sure they’re wearing seat belts or secured in safety seats. You may want to give em some distractions to keep them quiet and sitting in their seats. Don’t get involved in their arguments while you’re driving. Pull over if you need to find a toy or break up a fight.

If you eat while driving, keep it to simple finger foods that aren’t messy.

Learning your car’s controls before you drive is another way to improve your safety. Know how to work the radio by touch. The same goes for heating and air conditioning controls.

If you have to use a cell phone, a hands-free system is best. But remember, the biggest cell phone distraction isn’t the phone itself – it’s the conversation. Keep conversations brief and light, or pull over if you can. Your reaction time is much slower when talking and driving, so allow more space between you and the car ahead of you. Know your local laws – it may be illegal to be on the phone or text in the Irvine CA area.

And if you really think you have to shave, change your clothes or put on make-up while driving – you’re wrong. Just start getting ready earlier so you have enough time to finish those things before you drive into Irvine CA.

Hi-Line Autocare
134 Rancho Santiago
Orange, CA 92869
714.602.1896

Remember, driving is probably the most dangerous thing you’ll do all day – so don’t make it any worse. Use these tips to keep you and your loved ones safer behind the wheel.

Your Well Trained Technician At Hi-Line Autocare

When your sedan breaks down, or just needs some routine service, you might get a little nervous. Your car’s so important to your life in Aliso Viejo, you need to back on the road as soon as possible – with the problem fixed right the first time.

If you’ve ever checked into some of the technician training Hi-Line Autocare professionals receive, you may be surprised at how much knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. Let me give you some perspective. Today there are four cylinder engines that make more power than the V-8’s in luxury cars twenty years ago. I mean a new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket’s Ferrari in a race to sixty.

Your Well Trained Technician At Hi-Line Autocare

Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up – even with steep Aliso Viejo gas prices. And they’re so reliable. This is all due to engineering. But the advances come at the price of simplicity. The modern cars driving around Aliso Viejo roads are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin – not to mention the electronics.

Some cars have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle functions as well. Aliso Viejo motorists take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks. It’s a real challenge for Hi-Line Autocare technicians to keep up, but we work hard to stay ahead of the technology. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the technician and the Aliso Viejo service center as well.

In addition to the training, there’s the financial commitment to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools. Hi-Line Autocare technicians receive training through a combination of formal classroom training, training provided at Hi-Line Autocare by parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses.

There are many independent certifications available at Hi-Line Autocare all the way up to Master Technician. The ability to repair your sedan requires a strong combination of training and resources. No one can know everything, so Aliso Viejo auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line communities that can help them when they run into a difficult problem.

It’s like those medical diagnosis shows on TV. Here are the symptoms – what’s the diagnosis and treatment? Diagnosis is every bit as much an art as a science. At Hi-Line Autocare, we want everything to be simple, straightforward and cheap – but sometimes it just isn’t.

So try to be more relaxed next time you bring us your sedan. You’re in good hands.