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

Tire Tread Depth for Orange, CA Drivers




Driving on bald tires is like playing roulette. Though you may be fine today, eventually your luck is going to run out.

The Feds don’t have any laws for tread depth, but 42 of the states, and all of Canada, do have regulations. They consider two-thirty-seconds of an inch to be the minimum legal tread depth. Two other states, including California, consider one-thirty-second to be the minimum and six states have no standards at all. Call us at Hi-Line Autocare; (just call (714) 602-1896) to find out what your requirements are in the Orange, CA area.

Since 1968, U.S. law has required that a raised bar be molded across all tires. When tires are worn enough that this bar becomes visible, there’s just 2/32” of tread left. But does that older standard give Orange motorists enough safety?

Consider this: Consumer Reports recommends tire replacement when tread reaches 4/32”. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies. Now before we go into the studies, you need to know that the essential issue is braking on wet surfaces.

We tend to think of the brakes doing all the stopping, but Orange auto owners also need to have effective tires to actually stop the car. When it’s wet or snowy in Orange CA, the tread of the tire is critical to stopping power.

Picture this: you’re driving in Orange over a water-covered stretch of road. Your tires actually need to be in contact with the road in order to stop. That means the tire has to channel the water away so the tire is actually contacting the road and not floating on a thin film of water – a dangerous condition known as hydroplaning. When there’s not enough tread depth on a tire, it can’t move the water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.

This is where the studies come in. We think Orange drivers will be surprised. A section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime flat on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to submerge it. 

A car and a full-sized pick-up truck were brought up to 70 mph and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths. First, they tested new tires. Then tires worn to legal limits. And finally, tires with 4/32” of tread were tested (the depth suggested by Consumer Reports.)

When the car with the legally worn tires had braked for the distance required to stop the car with new tires, it was still going 55 mph. The stopping distance was nearly doubled. That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, then you would hit the car in front of you at 55 mph with the worn tires.

Now with the partially worn tires – at the depth recommended by Consumer Reports – the car was still going at 45 mph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. That’s a big improvement – you can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.

Now without going into all the details, let us tell you that stopping the truck with worn tires needed almost 1/10 of a mile of clear road ahead to come to a safe stop. How many Orange car owners follow that far behind the sedan ahead? Obviously, this is an essential safety issue.

The tests were conducted with the same vehicles, but with different sets of tires. The brakes were the same, so the only variable was the tires.

How do Orange auto owners know when their tires are at 4/32”? Well, it’s pretty easy. Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Now you may remember doing that with pennies. But a penny gives you 2/32” of an inch to Abraham Lincoln’s head. The quarter is the new standard – 4/32”.

Tires are a big ticket item and most drivers in Orange, CA want to get thousands of miles out of them. Just remember: driving on bald tires is like playing roulette.

Have Mr. Washington look at your tires today. If he recommends a new set, come see us at Hi-Line Autocare in Orange.

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

Hi-Line Autocare Guide To Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

Today’s Hi-Line Autocare post focuses on using the proper fluids for your vehicle. Significant advancements in automotive technology have lead to the development of high-tech fluids to keep modern cars operating at peak performance. This is due to both engineering advances and new high-tech materials used to build sedan automotive systems.

A simple example of this is the cooling system. For decades it was primarily made out of iron, steel and rubber hoses. There was one kind of coolant that protected these components from corrosion.

Now cooling system components are made with various metal alloys and plastics. These materials require different additives to protect them from corrosion. Since the materials used vary among sedan vehicle manufacturers, we now have a number of different kinds of coolant.

It’s essential for East Irvine car owners to use the right coolant. Hi-Line Autocare Guide To Using the Correct Fluids in Your VehicleIf you pour in the wrong kind, it won’t protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Check your sedan owner’s manual. Of course, your Hi-Line Autocare automotive advisor will know the proper coolant for your vehicle.

Brake fluid is confusing for some East Irvine drivers. Back when we opened Hi-Line Autocare 25 years ago, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some Orange people mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That’s not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the demands of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is designed for your sedan.

Ditto for transmission fluid. For decades there were two basic types of tranny fluid used at Hi-Line Autocare: friction modified or not. With the tremendous engineering advances in sedan automatic transmissions, there have been several new types of fluids developed to protect and lubricate them.

Nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident to East Irvine auto owners and Hi-Line Autocare professionals than in motor oil. Many new weights and formulations have been created to meet the demands of today’s high-tech sedan engine design. Modern engines have more parts and much tighter tolerances. Every year, engines make more power and (thankfully!) get better fuel economy. And along with all the complexity and sophistication, they still have to be durable.

That’s where the new grades of engine oil come in. They have to be formulated to lubricate, protect and clean all of those sedan engine parts, big and little. The oil has to be thin enough to get into little passages, yet resistant to vaporization.

At Hi-Line Autocare in Orange, we believe that in some ways modern automotive fluids are just as impressive as the new engines. Because weights of oil and types of coolant and transmission fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, make sure you always use the proper fluid if you are topping off at home.

Check your sedan owner’s manual or ask your East Irvine service technician.
The wrong fluid can cause damage to your sedan engine. If you drive a car or truck around CA with 75,000 miles or more, consider high mileage formulations. These fluids contain extra detergent to clean dirtier older engines as well as additives to condition seals and gaskets. That’ll help prevent leaks. Always be sure that the high mileage fluid is the same weight or type of fluid recommended for your sedan.

Using Proper Fluids In Your sedan Or Other Vehicle

Today Hi-Line Autocare is talking about the proper fluids for your vehicle. It’s become more complicated with changes in automotive design and manufacturing. It’s not that people in CA are confused as much as they don’t realize how much things have changed in recent years.

If you have questions about the fluids in your vehicle, please don’t hesitate to stop by Hi-Line Autocare. You can find us on 134 Rancho Santiago in Orange, CA 92869.
Just give us a call at (714) 602-1896

Let’s take engine oil. Twenty or thirty years ago, there were just a handful of different weights of oil. The weight of an oil is a scientific measure of its properties, particularly its viscosity or thickness.

It was common in those days to use a lighter weight oil in the winter when it’s cold outside. That way the oil would be able to splash around inside the engine and protect the parts before it was fully warmed up. And a heavier weight oil would be used in the summer. The thicker oil wouldn’t thin out too much in the summer heat and vaporize in the engine.

Modern valve trains have become very complicated with more moving parts and small passages than ever before. The valve train is in the top of the engine, so when the car has been turned off for a while, the oil tends to run down to lower areas and the valve train parts are vulnerable at start-up, before the oil starts circulating.

So new weights of oil have been introduced to meet the engineering specifications of these newer engines.

Manufacturers are recommending specific weights of oil. The recommendation is often printed on the oil fill cap. It’s certainly in the owner’s manual. Of course, your Orange CA auto service center can look it up for you.

It’s more important than ever to have the correct weight of oil. The wrong weight could actually harm the engine.

Other fluids are also becoming more sophisticated. In the last few years new types of transmission, power brake fluid and coolant have all been introduced for some of the same reasons as for engine oil.

In addition, vehicle manufacturers are now using a wider variety of materials in these systems. Looking at the cooling system as an example, it used to be that the parts were all made out of steel or iron and the hoses were rubber. Now, some parts are plastic, aluminum or other materials.

So the anti-corrosion additives contained in the coolant, or anti-freeze, need to be different in order to protect the different materials used to make the cooling system. If you use the wrong coolant that wasn’t formulated to protect your plastic cooling system parts, they could become corroded and fail. And if you’re using the wrong coolant, your cooling system won’t be covered under warrantee. So it’s important to use the right coolant and to not mix different types.

Your owner’s manual or your Orange CA service advisor at Hi-Line Autocare can make sure you’re using the right type. You may have heard of universal coolant. Universal, or global, coolant can be added to other types without harmful reactions. That’s OK for an emergency top off, but following your manufacturer’s recommendation for your sedan or other auto type is always a safe bet.

In the area of brake fluid, there are a couple of new formulations. It’s important to remember that the new ones aren’t better than the old ones. They’re just different formulations for different vehicles. So if your vehicle calls for DOT 3, using DOT 4 or DOT 5 is not an upgrade. Use the recommended formula.

There are fluid formulations for vehicles with higher mileage. These are special engine oil, transmission fluid, and so on that contain additives to condition and restore seals and gaskets in older engines.

They’re fine to use as long as they’re a variant of the proper fluid. In other words you can use a high mileage engine oil as long as it’s also the correct weight recommended by the manufacturer. Same goes for transmission fluid; as long as it’s the right type for your transmission.

Serpentine Belt Service At Hi-Line Autocare In Orange

Don’t you hate it when you hear that squeal from under the hood when you’re zipping down a busy Orange freeway? It usually means there is a problem with the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt powers a lot of engine accessories. It runs the alternator – which charges the battery; the water pump – which cools the engine; the air conditioning and the power steering pump. All pretty essential parts. It is called a serpentine belt because it snakes around a bunch of engine components.

Serpentine belts are amazingly tough. They can last for years and go for tens of thousands of miles. Like all essential moving parts, however, they eventually wear out. If your belt breaks while you are driving around Orange, everything will come to a halt within minutes. You need to stop the sedan immediately or it will overheat, potentially causing pricey engine damage. You can be sure that it won’t happen at a convenient time or place. (As if there was a convenient time or place!) You might even need to get your sedan towed to Hi-Line Autocare. It’s no wonder that auto manufacturers recommend a belt replacement on schedule. It’s one of those “have-to’s.”

Orange drivers who hear a squeal when accelerating or a slow, slapping sound at idle, should have their serpentine belt looked at. Your service specialist at Hi-Line Autocare in Orange will visually inspect your belt to see if it needs to be changed sooner than scheduled. If the belt has more than three or four cracks an inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

Serpentine belt replacement is relatively inexpensive, especially compared with the cost and inconvenience of being stranded or getting a disabled sedan back to Hi-Line Autocare for important repairs.

You’re mom was right: an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

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

Busting Automotive Myths In Orange CA

Myths passed around our Orange CA community start with a grain of evidence and are then built up with a lot of imagination and very elastic logic. And the internet is a breeding ground for automotive myths. Some bloggers recall the sedans of yesteryear and declare their modern decedents to be virtually maintenance free and that anyone who says otherwise is out to rip you off.

To get the truth about auto myths you hear around the Orange area, come over to Hi-Line Autocare.
You’ll find us at 134 Rancho Santiago, Orange, CA 92869.
Give us a call at (714) 602-1896 to make an appointment for your next auto service.

Let’s examine a couple of the more popular rants and look at the truth behind them.

The first one is that the chassis no longer needs lubrication for suspension, steering and the driveline. They declare that anyone who has charged you for lubrication is a charlatan.

The truth on which this myth is based is that many new cars come from the factory with sealed joints and cannot be greased. However, there are still some grease points on many cars around Orange. A grease fitting may have been installed in conjunction with a repair. And most trucks and truck-based SUVs driving in Orange still require chassis lubrication. This is because they are more heavy duty and proper greasing is still required to keep them going.

Another common rant you’ll hear around Orange is that modern cars don’t need tune-ups. That depends on your definition of a ‘tune-up’, which has changed as technology has progressed. Before engine control computers, electronic ignition and fuel injection, a tune up meant replacing mechanical parts that wore out. Hi-Line Autocare would manually adjust fuel and air mix and timing. When these adjustments were off, spark plugs would foul and need to be replaced.

This definition just doesn’t apply to modern vehicles. Service centers like Hi-Line Autocare generally consider a tune-up to be the major service visit, recommended by your manufacturer, every 30,000 miles or so.

Of course you can’t lubricate a sealed joint. Of course you can’t adjust a carburetor if your car doesn’t have one. You probably don’t need to change spark plugs every year if your manufacturer says they can go 30,000 miles. What are these bloggers getting so worked up about?

The danger with these modern-day myths, is that they prevent people in our local Orange community from taking care of the routine preventive auto maintenance that manufactures recommend. Check out this partial list of things you still need to do to take care of your car. How many of them are really any different today than they were 20 or 30 years ago?

Oil change, cooling system service, transmission service, tire balancing, tire rotation, wheel alignment, suspension service, power steering service, proper tire inflation, brake service, differential service, battery maintenance, engine air filer, PCV valve, breather element, fuel filter, belts, hoses, timing belt, windshield wipers . . .

You get the picture. Your sedan is still a machine that needs to be maintained. And, hey, your service advisors at Hi-Line Autocare have always adapted to keep pace with automotive technology. Next time you come across an angry voice about your car care, talk to your Orange service advisor at Hi-Line Autocare, or do some research of your own.

How Your Check Engine Light Works

Have you ever had an experience like this in Orange CA? You drive through the one of those automatic car washes. When you get to the end, where the dryer is blowing, your check engine light started flashing!

You fear the worst, but within a block or two, the light stopped flashing, but stayed on. By the next day, the light was off.

You wonder; “What was going on?” Well, it’s actually a good lesson in how the Check Engine light works.

Your air intake system has a sensor that measures how much air is coming through it. When you went under the high-speed dryer, all that air was blasting past the sensor. Your engine computer was saying, there shouldn’t be that much air when the engine is just idling. Something’s wrong. Whatever’s wrong could cause some serious engine damage.

Warning, warning! It flashes the check engine light, to alert you to take immediate action.

It stopped flashing because once you were out from under the dryer, the airflow returned to normal. Now the engine control computer says the danger is past, but I’m still concerned, I’ll keep this light on for now.

Then the Check Engine Light goes off in a day or two.

The condition never did recur, so the computer says whatever it was, it’s gone now. The danger is past, I’ll turn that light off.

Now a flashing check engine light is serious. You need to get it into our Orange CA shop as soon as possible. But if it stops flashing, so you have time to see if the problem will clear itself or if you need to get it checked. How does the computer know when to clear itself?

Think of it this way. The engine control computer is the brain that can make adjustments to manage the engine. Things like alter the air to fuel mix, spark advance, and so on. The computer relies on a series of sensors to get the information it needs to make decisions on what to do.

The computer knows what readings are in a normal range for various conditions. Get out of range, and it logs a trouble code and lights up the check engine warning.

The computer will then try to make adjustments if it can. If the computer can’t compensate for the problem, the check engine light stays on.

The computer logs a trouble code. Some people think the code will tell the technician exactly what’s wrong?

Actually, the code will tell the technician what sensor reading is out of parameters. It can’t really tell you why, because there could be any number of causes.

Let’s say you’re feeling hot. You get your heat sensor out – a thermometer – put it under our tongue and in a minute or two you learn that you have a fever of 104 degrees.

You know your symptom – a fever – but you don’t know what’s causing it. Is it the flu, a sinus infection or appendicitis?

You need more information than just that one sensor reading. But it does give you a place to start and narrows down the possible problems.

There are reports on the internet telling you that you can just go down to an auto parts store and get them to read your trouble code or buy a cheap scan tool to do it yourself.

There are two problems with that. First, the computer stores some trouble codes in short term memory, and some in permanent memory. Each manufacturer’s computer stores generic trouble codes, but they also store codes that are specific to their brand.

A cheap, generic scan tool, like you can buy or that the auto parts store uses, doesn’t have the ability to retrieve long-term storage or manufacturer specific codes. Your Orange CA service center has spent a lot of money on high-end scan tools and software to do a deep retrieval of information from your engine control computer.

The second problem is that once you’ve got the information, do you know what to do with it? For example, a very common trouble code comes up when the reading on the oxygen sensor is out of whack.

So the common solution is for the auto parts store to sell you a new oxygen sensor, which are not cheap, and send you off on your way. Now your oxygen sensor may indeed have been bad and needed replacing. But the error code could have come from any of a dozen of other problems.

How do you know the right solution? Back to the fever analogy, do you need surgery or an aspirin? Leave it to the pros at Hi-Line Autocare. Give us a call at (714) 602-1896 and let us help you resolve your check engine light issue.

What To Do In Case Of An Accident in Irvine

Screeching tires, crunching metal – it’s an accident! If you’ve ever been in a car accident in Orange, even a minor one, you know how upsetting it can be. It’s hard to think straight and know what to do.

Let’s review what Orange car owners should do in case of an accident:

When an accident occurs, you should always stop. Leaving the scene of an accident in Orange is considered a crime – even if it’s not your fault. And hit and run penalties are fairly severe, possibly resulting in steep fines, loss of your CA driver’s license or even jail time.

Your jurisdiction may require that you try to help someone who is injured by calling for help or performing first aid if you are able. Warn other Aliso Viejo and Santa Ana motorists by putting out flares, using your flashers or lifting your hood. Call Irvine emergency services as soon as possible. Tell the operator if medical or fire help is needed.

Orange auto owners should always file a police report. It’s tempting for Orange car owners to skip this if everything seems to be ok. But without a police report, the other guy can say whatever he wants about the accident later, and you’ll not have an objective report to help defend yourself. Discuss the accident only with the police. Emotions are strong after an accident and we naturally want to talk about it – don’t. Never admit fault or guilt to anyone including the Orange police officer. Sometimes we may feel at fault, but in the eyes of the law, the other guy is responsible.

Truthfully give the officer the facts: such as “I was going thirty miles an hour” not “I wasn’t speeding”. Remember, anything you say to the officer or anyone else can be used against you. Also get the officer’s name and ID number and ask where you can get a copy of the accident report.

Get the facts on the driver and owner of the other vehicle:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number and expiration
  • Insurance information

Also take down a description of the other Orange vehicle, license plate and vehicle identification number. Most CA auto insurance companies don’t record license plate numbers, so the VIN number is the best way to track a vehicle in CA.

Ask witnesses, including passengers, to wait for the police. If they can’t wait, ask for contact information and request that they write a brief description of what they saw. If someone refuses to leave their name, write down their license plate number so the police can track them down later if necessary. Always call your insurance agent or your insurance company. Call or see a physician if you think you may have been injured. For vehicle repairs, call Hi-Line Autocare at (714) 602-1896

Contact Hi-Line Autocare to learn more about what do do in case of an auto accident.
You can find us at:
134 Rancho Santiago
Orange, CA 92869
Or call us at (714) 602-1896

Hi-Line Autocare and AutoNetTV hope that you never have to use this information and wish you happy Orange travels.

Can Your Car Last Another Year?

Have you checked out the price of new vehicles at Orange car dealers? Ouch! Add financing and insurance and – well a new ride may not seem so attractive. A lot of Orange, CA folks are hoping to make their cars last a lot longer.

Fortunately, with the current state of automotive engineering and manufacturing, there’s no reason a modern vehicle can’t be made to last for a 150,000 miles or more for smart Orange drivers.

The old adage: ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ is really true for Orange car owners when it comes to car maintenance. A great example is coolant service.

Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. Smart Orange auto owners have their cooling system service taken care of right on schedule.

Ditto for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. Of course, oil changes should be done right on schedule to avoid the build-up of harmful oil sludge.

Don’t let your brake pads go too long before they are worn to the point that your rotors are at risk. Preventative auto maintenance at Hi-Line Autocare is a great way to keep your operating costs down in Orange.

Replacing belts and hoses is much cheaper than repairing the costly damage that can be caused by failure.

We know that this is a lot for busy Irvine area drivers to remember. Let the team of automotive professionals at Hi-Line Autocare keep on top of this stuff for you. We can tell you what your vehicle manufacturer recommends and help you develop an affordable plan to take care of it.

Bottom line – do routine maintenance on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent pricey repairs and maintain your warranty coverage. Call Hi-Line Autocare today for an appointment; you can reach us at (714) 602-1896.

Let us take good care of your car at Hi-Line Autocare in Orange, and it’ll take good care of you.

Hi-Line Autocare
Give us a call today at (714) 602-1896.
Or stop by at 134 Rancho Santiago, Orange, CA 92869

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.

Wipe Out! New Wiper Blades For Orange Drivers

When Orange auto owners talk about vehicle safety, they think of tires and brakes. But do we think about our windshields? Isn’t the ability to see a prime safety factor when it comes to driving around CA? Yet we often don’t even notice our windshields until we can’t see through them, or until our wiper blades fail.

It’s estimated that around 46 million people are driving with wipers that won’t keep their windshields clear during a storm — that’s 46 million people with impaired vision during a storm. For safety’s sake, Orange drivers need to change the way they think about wiper blades. Most of us, 78% in fact, only change our wiper blades after they fail. In other words, we don’t get new ones until the old ones become a detrimental safety hazard. Instead, we Orange auto owners need to make wiper blades a critical part of our preventive maintenance routine.

Wiper blades should be changed twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. In CA areas that experience harsh winter weather, special blades are available that prevent ice and snow from collecting on the wiper. Ask your friendly Hi-Line Autocare service professional about wiper blades that repel ice and snow.

No matter what blades you use on your vehicle in the winter, don’t expect them to clear the ice and snow from your windshield after your vehicle has been parked for a while. Using your wipers will shred your blades and may even damage your wiper motor. And don’t drive on Orange roads with a frosted windshield. That’s a serious safety hazard. It can cause accidents, and you could be held liable.

Wiper blades are subjected to harsh conditions in Orange. They’re out in the Irvine sun and in the cold. Over time, they become hard and brittle and lose their flexibility. Then they start to tear. Without flexibility, wipers just can’t clear a windshield of water or snow. And torn wipers can actually scratch your windshield. Then the entire windshield has to be replaced — along with the wiper blades. It’s a prime example of how preventive maintenance could have saved you an expensive repair bill.

Orange motorists can purchase new wiper blades at an auto service center or at any Orange auto parts store. They cost about the same. But the auto service center will throw in the installation.

Once you have good wipers installed, don’t forget to top off your windshield washer fluid. If you take your vehicle in for a full-service oil change at Hi-Line Autocare in Orange, your washer fluid will get topped off then. But it’s good auto advice to purchase a jug of washer fluid to keep at home — just in case. And pack it in the car when you go on long trips.

While we’re on the subject, Hi-Line Autocare advises Orange drivers to always fill their washer fluid reservoir with window washer fluid. Don’t ever use water. Water can freeze in the reservoir, which can damage it. It can also freeze onto your windshield. Besides, plain water just can’t get a windshield clean. Think about it. Do you use plain water to clean your bathroom mirrors? And a bathroom mirror doesn’t get exposed to anything near the gunk that can end up on your windshield. Windshield washer fluid was designed to do one thing — to clean windshields. Let it do its essential job.

A clean windshield is not just good car care for Orange car owners — it’s a vital safety feature. Let’s keep it that way.