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

Gas Savings In Orange: Sharpen Your Pencil

High gas prices in Orange increase the cost of living for CA auto owners. You’ve probably budgeted a certain amount for vehicle related expenses. Increased fuel costs now consume a larger portion of our incomes, causing some Orange vehicle owners to skimp in other areas – like scheduled maintenance.

According to CA news reports and automotive industry studies, this is becoming increasingly more common. In fact, nine out of ten personal vehicles on the road have at least one maintenance or repair item that hasn’t been done. Some of these items pose serious safety risks. Others are just more likely to make it more expensive to drive.

Gas Savings In Orange: Sharpen Your PencilIn this area, we can take a lesson from professional Orange vehicle owners. I’m talking about fleet owners and operators. You know, Orange folks like the trucking companies and delivery services. Because their livelihood depends on it, they have gotten scheduled maintenance down to a science. And the last thing they skimp on is regular maintenance.

Why is that? Well, for one thing they know that routine maintenance prevents expensive repairs and costly breakdowns. They also know that a well-maintained vehicle uses less fuel. For them, even a small decrease in fuel economy may put their Irvine business in the red.

So what does this mean to Orange drivers? Well, there’s a ninety percent chance that you’re missing some service that would improve your fuel efficiency. Here’s a quick reminder list:

Fuel system cleaning, transmission service, differential service, engine air filter, wheel alignment, oil change, tune up.
Ring any bells? Can most Orange drivers honestly say that there isn’t at least one thing on the list that hasn’t been done?

Let’s suppose you chose to spend one hundred and fifty dollars and get caught up on some of these services at Hi-Line Autocare. Figure that they combine to improve your gas mileage by fifteen percent. What would that mean to your pocketbook?

Well, the average personal vehicle in Orange is driven about twelve thousand miles a year. If you get twenty miles per gallon in your sedan, over the course of one year you would pay for the hundred and fifty dollars worth of service and save an additional hundred and sixty five dollars if gas is at three dollars and fifty cents. If gas is four fifty, you would save two hundred and fifty-five dollars. And you’d rack up savings of three hundred and forty five dollars with gas at five and a half bucks.

GAS PRICE
$3.50
$4.50
$5.50
20 MPG
$165
$255
$345

From this you can see that the more fuel costs, the more it pays to keep up on scheduled maintenance. Some of us drive trucks in Orange for work or recreation – or want a large SUV for family needs. A fifteen percent improvement in gas mileage can generate huge savings – six hundred and sixty dollars a year if gas is four fifty a gallon in Orange. Take a look at this table to see where your savings could lie.

GAS PRICE $3.50 $4.50 $5.50
10 MPG $480 $660 $840
20 MPG $165 $255 $345
30 MPG $60 $120 $180

 

So catch up on those services you’ve been neglecting at Hi-Line Autocare. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you’ll save a lot of money at Orange gas pumps this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.

 

 

Keeping Your ‘Old Faithful’ Auto Running

At Hi-Line Autocare we’ve had a lot of Orange, East Irvine, and Santa Ana clients asking how they can make their vehicles last longer. These questions are actually a reflection of a trend that’s been building for several years in CA. The median age of personal vehicles is now over nine years. And 33 percent of all vehicles on the road have over 75,000 miles on them. It looks like it’s going to keep heading in that direction for a while. With high fuel prices, a lot of Irvine folks are putting off buying a new car. Thanks to AutoNetTV, we can provide you with a video answer to this critical question.

So let’s say you’re one of the average motorists in the Irvine area; you’ve got a nine year old car with 80,000 miles on the odometer. What can you to do make it last another year or two?

Let’s start with the premise that there’s no reason that a modern car can’t run for 200,000 miles with proper care in Orange. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there.

Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there’s no reason for a catastrophic meltdown if brilliant Orange auto owners stay on top of their recommended car maintenance. The maintenance schedule in some auto maker’s owner’s manuals runs out at 60,000 miles or so: how do Orange motorists know what to do when they’re way past that?

It is a challenge, for example: If a service is recommended every 15,000 miles for the first 60,000 miles you can just keep getting it done at least every 15,000 miles after you hit 60,000 miles. But, it gets more complicated because older engines lose some efficiency, are dirtier inside and are just more stressed. That means it’s very important to not miss any scheduled services. Skipping just one oil change at Hi-Line Autocare in Orange, for example, leaves an opportunity for dangerous sludge to build up. Talk to your friendly Hi-Line Autocare service professional.

So all the usual things like oil changes, transmission service, coolant service, brakes, power steering, fuel system cleaning – all that stuff needs to be maintained. People responsible for fleet vehicles around Orange are sticklers for scheduled maintenance. They know that money spent on maintenance saves them three ways:

  1. it keeps gas mileage from decreasing;
  2. it prevents expensive repairs, and;
  3. they can postpone purchasing new vehicles.

Having the oil changed may be the most vital thing auto owners can do. A full-service oil change at Hi-Line Autocare means that all of your other fluids get topped off so they are never low enough to cause damage. It also gives your friendly Hi-Line Autocare service advisor a chance to spot problems in the early stages so that you can fix them before they get costly. And it gives you a touch point with an automotive professional along the way to remind you of things that aren’t scheduled as often – things like differential service and timing belt replacement.

If you live in the Orange area and have an older vehicle, you may need to follow the severe service maintenance schedule. Check your owner’s manual and talk with your tech at Hi-Line Autocare. Conditions inside an older engine, transmission and cooling system can arguably be considered severe – so shorter intervals could well be called for.

And, the team at Hi-Line Autocare strongly encourages Orange motorists to consider using high mileage formulation fluids. They’re fluids like engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant that are formulated for older engines. They have special additives to clean deposits, and to condition and restore seals and gaskets that dry out with age. Some Orange auto owners start using higher mileage formulations at around 50,000 miles as a preventive measure.

Of course you also want to still look marvelous in your older car as you drive around Irvine. Salt and road grime wreak havoc on your paint job and can lead to body rust – so regular washing is very important. Also, a good quality waxing is recommended at least twice a year.

Give us a call for more information:

Hi-Line Autocare
134 Rancho Santiago
Orange, CA 92869
(714) 602-1896

Maintenance Free Myth


Sometimes we hear Orange car owners say, “What’s up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don’t break down.” While it is true that today’s cars and trucks are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most Orange drivers don’t realize how high tech automotive fluids have become. Fluids like, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.

Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today’s automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle’s components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and miles march on for all of our cars. Please don’t think we’re using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance – but here are some personal stories from AutoNetTV staff members to emphasize and show how important it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and income. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.

The first comes from a staffer who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on a highway in CA and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced – just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundred of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.

Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. Our staffer took his SUV in for the CA safety inspection to renew his registration. At the Orange inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the income. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind – over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a little income on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story for Orange drivers: don’t skip your key annual inspections. The irony is that many Orange service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.

Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy’s little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn’t get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire – so it was strong enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later – and then an alignment.

Situation: son and wife with cars from the same automobile manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son’s maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done – it cost several hundred dollars. His wife’s car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed and the entire head was shredded and had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the auto manufacturer’s maintenance schedule? You bet he does – every time he passes a big-screen TV.

The team at Hi-Line Autocare in Orange recommends taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better and is more economical to operate in CA. Remember to save those maintenance records. It’ll show potential buyers that you’ve taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren’t any, assume that the maintenance hasn’t been done and take it to your Aliso Viejo or Santa Ana service center or Hi-Line Autocare in Orange for an inspection. Take care of unperformed key routine maintenance sooner rather than later.

Hi-Line Autocare
134 Rancho Santiago
Orange, CA 92869
(714) 602-1896

Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?

In our auto video today we’ll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that “modern cars are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free”.

Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Orange Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn’t so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.

Here are some examples for our friends in Orange.

  • Some cars in Orange no longer require chassis lubrication. They’re made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There’s literally is no way to grease those joints.

-Chalk one up for the myth.

On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts up in the valve train that didn’t even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.

  • So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.

-A point to maintenance.

  • Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.

-Myth gets a point.

  • Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.

-Point for maintenance.

I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they’ve always been.

So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Orange if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there’ll always be a check list.

Let me mention a couple of items on modern vehicles that folks need to be aware of. One of the most of the most important is timing belt replacement. Used to be that all engines had timing chains – you know, metal chains. They rarely broke.

It’s cheaper to make engines with timing belts rather than chains, so replacing the timing belt is on most engines’ maintenance list. The money the manufacturer saves by using a belt is more than off-set by what the vehicle owner has to pay to replace the belt. And it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing the damage if the timing belt breaks.

So make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced. You don’t want to miss that. If you have 60,000 miles or more, break out your owner’s manual or ask your Orange service advisor at Hi-Line Autocare to check on the recommendation right away.

Another is sealed wheel bearing assemblies on some vehicles. As you might have guessed, it’s cheaper to make a sealed unit than one that has access to inspect or service the wheel bearings. The problem is that when the bearings fail, you have to replace the entire unit, not just the bearings. That’ll cost 5 or 6 times as much.

For our friends in Orange, we hope this has underscored the importance of knowing and following your maintenance schedule. Come in and see us at Hi-Line Autocare. You’ll find us at 134 Rancho Santiago in Orange, CA 92869. Just give us a call at 714.602.1896.

Maintenance for High Mileage Vehicles In Orange CA

Before the recession hit, the median age for cars in the Orange CA area (zip code: 92869) was over nine years. And two-thirds had over 75,000 miles. At Hi-Line Autocare we hear reports that those numbers continue to rise.

If you have a high-mileage vehicle in the Irvine area, bring it in for high-mileage maintenance:
Hi-Line Autocare
134 Rancho Santiago
Orange, CA 92869
714.602.1896

Many people in Orange are keeping their vehicles longer. The economy has influenced that, but the fact that modern sedans are more durable and reliable means that owning a high mileage vehicle doesn’t have to be a painful experience.

Local car owners in Orange with over 100,000 miles on their vehicles often ask which service intervals they should follow. Let’s start with the special needs of the older vehicle…

The reality is that time and mileage will take its toll. The engine and transmission will have more sludge. The fuel, steering and brake systems will have gum and varnish built up. There’ll be more dirt and contaminants in the fuel tank. Corrosion and deposits in the cooling system. And seals and gaskets will start to dry out.

All of this, plus normal wear and tear, means that the engine might not be as strong as new, so it just has to work harder to get the job done.

So we need to compensate. Consider high-mileage formulations for oil changes, transmission service, etc. These special formulations contain additives that condition the seals and gaskets to prevent leaks. They also have more detergents to clean sludge and other deposits. They cost a bit more, but they’re worth it.

In general, if an auto service was recommended every 15,000 miles when the car was new, you should continue to get the service done every 15,000 miles.

Talk with your Orange service advisor at Hi-Line Autocare about the condition of your engine. See if he thinks you should adjust your auto service intervals for oil changes or other auto maintenance to account for the older engine working harder.

Expect the oil filter to get dirty faster. Same goes for the fuel filter. And some leaks are to be expected so you need to keep a closer eye on fluid levels.

If anything, following recommended service intervals for your sedan is more important in a higher mileage vehicle. Skipping oil changes or other services can lead to problems much more quickly than with a newer vehicle.

So, have your Orange auto service advisor at Hi-Line Autocare help you with an assessment of your older car or truck. If you haven’t gotten around to a fuel system cleaning, or replacing power steering or brake fluid, a differential service or transmission service – it’s time to start taking care of those things. It’ll help keep you on the road for many more happy miles.

Looking Down the Road – Headlamps

If you’ve ever been driving around Orange and had a headlamp go out, you’ve probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won’t have the same brightness which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.

To have your headlights inspected, visit us at Hi-Line Autocare. We’re at 134 Rancho Santiago in Orange, CA 92869. Or give us a call at 714.602.1896

Experts in Orange recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It’s easy to remember if you do it when daylight savings time changes in the fall. That way you’ll have bright headlamps for those long Orange winter nights.

There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can’t believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and give a very white light that’s a lot like daylight.

You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they’ll last for the life of your car. If you want your Orange friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint – no one needs to know.

Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can’t react to what you can’t see. You need headlamps that’ll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. And your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and also, to keep your lights from shining off into on-coming traffic.

You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That’s because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Orange service centers offer a service to restore the lens that’s a lot cheaper.

You can’t drive if you can’t see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don’t forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.

Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last At Hi-Line Autocare

A while back, the Cash for Clunkers program was all over the news. Orange people could trade in their old vehicle for a new one that got better fuel economy and receive a government rebate.

A lot of Orange motorists had so-called clunkers that they wanted to keep. They’re good commuters, grocery getters or toy haulers. They enjoy that fact that they’re paid off, or soon will be. They would gladly like to keep their sedans for 200,000 miles or more – as long as it’s economical to do so.

There are plenty of Orange drivers whose vehicles are running after 150,000 or 200,000 miles. We can learn from what they’re doing to keep our own sedans on the road in CA.

Orange drivers of high-mileage cars often report a common denominator of never skipping an oil change. Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last At Hi-Line AutocareThat may sound a bit unsophisticated, but it’s really not. First off, oil is the life blood of your sedan’s engine and it needs to be clean to properly lubricate. Skipping oil changes leads to clogged oil filters and sludge that can damage your engine.

There’s another reason why the scheduled oil change is so important for Orange car owners. It’s simple – a Hi-Line Autocare professional is going to be looking at your car. All of your fluid levels will be inspected and topped off so they won’t get so low that damage can be done. If there is a significant fluid loss, let’s use brake fluid as an example, your Hi-Line Autocare technician can look for the cause of the loss and find the problem before it leads to an accident or costly repair.

Your Hi-Line Autocare advisor will also visually inspect your sedan for worn belts and hoses, uneven tire wear, leaking shock absorbers and more. Problems get addressed before they lead to repairs that cost more than the car’s worth.

And your Hi-Line Autocare advisor will be able to remind you of other services that the factory recommends you get done. Just think of that oil change the same way as you do about going to your Orange dentist for your six month cleaning and checkup. Don’t skip it.

Realistically, things are going to wear out as your sedan gets older. On the way to 200,000 miles you’ll go through several batteries, probably a couple of alternators and water pumps, a set of shocks and likely some brake rotors.

Of course, these things cost money, but they are far cheaper than new sedan payments. With proper service at Hi-Line Autocare and regular inspections, you’ll keep surprise repairs to a minimum and more money in your wallet.

Technician Training at Hi-Line Autocare

Your car is important to you and keeping it running properly is vital to your Orange lifestyle. That’s why you’re smart to have it serviced regularly at Hi-Line Autocare in Orange. And even though it may just be routine maintenance, you want it done right by automotive professionals.

It’s also very important to your Orange service center to keep you happy and on the road. You might be surprised at the amount of money our Orange auto service center spends annually to make sure our friendly techs are properly trained.

Hi-Line Autocare offers a variety of automotive services for many kinds of vehicles. We need to be current on the latest techniques and parts so that we can give you quality service. Our Orange centers subscribe to data services that list the high quality parts and fluids recommended by your manufacturer.

And each service has a checklist of standard procedures. Hi-Line Autocare technicians follow these procedures so they can safely deliver a consistent level of high-quality service.

Some services at Hi-Line Autocare require the use of specialized equipment. Hi-Line Autocare technicians are trained extensively on this equipment so that they can service your car quickly and efficiently.

Classroom, video and hands-on training is provided by the company and outside trainers. It’s not only important that friendly technicians be able to perform a given task, they also need to be thoroughly trained in inspection and diagnostic techniques. One of the great services they perform is to detect potential problems before they become serious (and costly).

The automotive service industry has standards for classifying and communicating problems to motorists. For example, it’s one thing to learn that your manufacturer recommends that you change your serpentine belt every 30,000 miles and another to learn that the belt is on the verge of failure. These standards help you understand the urgency of recommendations, letting you make better automotive service decisions.

CA folks may be interested to know that service technicians are trained in compliance with federal and local Orange laws and regulations, including environmental regulations regarding the disposal of used parts and fluids.

It’s the goal of Hi-Line Autocare to provide fast, courteous service. You should feel free to ask your technician or one of the managers about your service or for more information about their recommendations.

Well-trained service providers, established procedures, industry standards, and, of course, AutoNetTV, combine to give you the best service experience possible.

Keep Your Orange Car Breathing Free: Engine Air Filter

This is something really amazing: For every gallon of gas your Orange car burns, it uses 12,000 gallons of air. All of that air has to be filtered to keep your engine clean.

That’s like a hundred gallons of air every block! The engine air filter is just another example of a very inexpensive part that has to do a tremendous amount of work. And when it works, everything goes well. But, when it doesn’t, well, it can lead to costly problems. Of course, your manufacturer recommends intervals for changing your air filter. But like most service intervals, where and how you drive your car affects when your filter needs to be changed.

Dusty conditions in and around Orange or polluted city driving means you’ll need to change your filter more often. Your Hi-Line Autocare technician can check your filter for you. In fact, it’s often a routine part of an oil change.

When you think about it, a clogged air filter won’t allow as much air through as a clean filter. Your car needs this air to efficiently burn its fuel, giving you better fuel economy and performance.

Dirtier filters don’t work as well as clean ones. A filter can only hold so much, after that, it allows dirt to pass right into your engine. Air filters come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different grades. There are high performance air filters available for most cars. These high performance filters cost a little more, but they increase horsepower and may improve fuel economy to boot.

So have your air filter checked. If it needs replacing, it doesn’t cost very much and it should easily pay for itself in better fuel economy before your next oil change.

Stop by Hi-Line Autocare at 134 Rancho Santiago, Orange, CA 92869, and we’ll take a look at your air filter for you. Feel free to give us a call at 714.602.1896 to make an appointment.

Hi-Line Autocare Maintenance Tips: The Belt Goes On

Today’s Hi-Line Autocare auto maintenance article focuses on your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems. Let’s go over them.

First, the serpentine belt drives your sedan air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Irvine.

Next, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your sedan’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Hi-Line Autocare Maintenance Tips The Belt Goes OnAll Irvine auto owners know that without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering and power brakes. And, on many sedans, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within normal operating temperatures for Irvine auto owners. (On some sedans, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.)

So you can see the serpentine belt does a lot of work. And it if breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why auto manufacturers and your service advisor at Hi-Line Autocare have recommended that it be changed every so often so that it doesn’t fail.

Your
Hi-Line Autocare service advisor can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon and will measure the amount of belt material to make sure there is enough.

Your serpentine belt works in tandem with a spring loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Hi-Line Autocare, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

All in all, the serpentine belt’s a critical part for the function of your sedan.
And it’s not that expensive to replace at Hi-Line Autocare – so bring in your vehicle if it hasn’t been checked in a while.