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Oh, Stop! (Disc Brake Service)

Every time you drive your vehicle, you wear down your brakes just a little bit.  And after a while, that adds up.  Gradually, your stopping power isn't like it used to be.  Since brakes are one of your vehicle's most important safety features, it just makes sense to keep them performing well. Most vehicles have disc brakes.  One key component, as the name suggests, is the disc.  Most vehicles have discs on their front and rear wheels.  The discs (also called rotors) are made of metal, and each rotates with the wheel hub.  Your brakes also have pads that make contact with the rotors when you press down on the brake pedal, and the friction stops your vehicle. After many, many stops, that friction wears down both the pads and the discs and reduces their ability to stop the way you need them to.  The discs may also become uneven from all the heat they generate, and your brakes won't stop as well as they used to when they were newer.  Some signs ... read more

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Brake Service

Breathe Easier (Cabin Air Filter)

When you get in your vehicle, how does it smell? If it's not so nice, it may be time to have your cabin air filter changed. It's not the same one that filters out the air used in the engine.  The cabin air filter screens out dust and other particulates from the outside air so when it enters the cabin, you don't have to breathe them in when you're driving.  Maybe your commute finds you traveling along dusty rural roads, or maybe you pass by some city factories that have smokestacks spewing out smoky exhausts.  Or in spring, maybe you notice your allergies acting up because of the pollen in the air.  The cabin air filter will remove a lot of those things. The more it filters out, the more those small particles add up.  That reduces how much airflow the heating/air conditioning system can handle, and you may notice not as much air is coming through your vehicle's vents.  That can also be a sign you need your air filter replaced. Our technicians will remove an ... read more

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Cabin Air Filter

Fuel Injection Basics for San Diego

All modern San Diego vehicles come with fuel injection systems, so it's a topic San Diego drivers need to know something about. The mighty fuel injector is a valve that delivers the gas or diesel fuel to the right place, in the right amount at the right timeto be mixed with air and burned in the engine.So how many fuel injectors does your vehicle have? There's one for each cylinder. So four, six or eight for most folks in San Diego, CA. Some vehicles have 10 or 12 cylinders. The engine control computer makes adjustments to the fuel injector as it monitors the engine and other sensors. Fuel injectors are a pretty high-tech.Pacific Highway Auto Repair can help San Diego drivers with a fuel injector cleaning service. What's the benefit? In order to work right, the fuel injectors have to deliver the fuel at a precise pressure at a very precise time. It's important that the fuel is sprayed in a particular pattern as determined by the engine design.Over time, var ... read more

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Fuel System

Shifty Letters PRNDL (Transmission)

You probably figured out those shifty letters.  They're what you see on your automatic transmission shifter and stand for Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Low.  Your automatic transmission is one of the great automotive inventions; here are some ways you can keep yours working well. Maintain your transmission regularly.  A technician will check your transmission fluid's level and even its appearance and smell.  If it's dark or has an unusual odor, that could be a sign of trouble. Change from one transmission direction gear into another only when your vehicle is stopped.  So many drivers want to switch from Reverse to Drive quickly or the other way around.  If you do that when the vehicle is moving, you can damage your automatic transmission. Keep your vehicle's cooling system in top shape.  What does the cooling system have to do with the transmission? It helps keep the transmission fluid from overheating.  Follow the manufacturer's recommendati ... read more

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Transmission

Dashboard's a Funny Name (Instrumental Panel Warning Lights)

Every day you drive, you're sitting behind the dashboard. But how in the world did it get that name? Back in the days of the horse-drawn carriage, horses would kick up dirt and mud on the driver and passengers, "dashing" debris against the carriage. So those who built carriages began installing a board to protect them. So, dash-board. Dashboard. The dashboard is still there, though changed quite a bit from the early days. Now its main purpose is to house the controls and instruments for your vehicle's systems. Of course, you have the speedometer, tachometer and gas gauge. But there are four warning lights you need to pay attention to on your dashboard and instrument panel. Some of these may even be gauges, depending on your model of vehicle. Regardless, paying attention to them is a good idea if you want your vehicle to keep going as long as possible. Oil pressure—The oil pressure light will come on if your engine doesn't have enough pressure in its system. Low oil pressure means ... read more

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Dashboard

Maintaining Your Diesel in San Diego

Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven't been as common in the San Diego area because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more San Diego diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV's.Diesels are popular in CA because they get better fuel economy than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you're not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.Diesels don't produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in CA as for other vehicles.Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from cellulosic w ... read more

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Fuel System

On Board Diagnostics for San Diego Motorists

Some San Diego vehicle owners wonder why Pacific Highway Auto Repair and other San Diego auto repair shops charge a fee for vehicle diagnostics. Receiving a diagnostic charge at Pacific Highway Auto Repair for a tricky automotive problem shouldn't be a surprise. In the San Diego area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your vehicle brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy CA road, you pull off at 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 vehicle engine, however, a Pacific Highway Auto Repair diagnosis may be much more involved.Much of the San Diego driver'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 CA drivers that the trouble code tells the Pacific Highway Auto Repair te ... read more

The Light Nobody Wants to See (Check Engine Light)

You've probably had your Check Engine Light go on.  Then it goes off and you figure, hey, whatever the problem was, it's gone now and I don't have to worry about it.  Well, the problem may have gone away and it may not have. Your vehicle likely has one of these warning lights on the instrument panel: an amber light that looks like an engine or reads "Check Engine" or "Service Vehicle Soon."  If that light comes on and stays on, it usually means there's something amiss but not urgently in need of service.  (Now if it's blinking, that's another story that we'll deal with in a minute.) Sometimes when it comes on and stays steadily lit, the problem will go away and the light will go out.  Sometimes it will stay on until you get the problem fixed.  Either way, the engine's computer will store a code that can provide clues to what's not working—or wasn't working—the way it's supposed to. If you are just dying to know what that code is, you can buy a ... read more

Positive and Negative (Battery Care)

You notice when your smartphone's battery starts to go weak on you.  It runs out of juice faster than it did when it was new.  Bet you pay attention to that pretty closely. Unfortunately, many of us don't pay the same attention to the battery in our vehicles. If your battery got you through the cold-weather months, you might be thinking you're all set until next winter. But you might be surprised to learn this: Hot weather is harder on a battery than cold weather.  (Note: we're talking about a conventional vehicle here, not an all-electric, plug-in one.) The way your vehicle's battery holds a charge is that it has chemicals inside it, and they react with each other to produce electricity.  A vehicle battery discharges electricity and then needs to be recharged.  Unlike your smartphone that you plug in each night to charge, the way a vehicle's battery gets recharged is by using the mechanical energy of the engine.  It's a pretty cool system that's been arou ... read more

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Battery

Why You Have an O2 Sensor (Oxygen Sensor)

If someone asked you what gas made up the largest portion of the atmosphere, what would you guess? Well, it's not oxygen; it only makes up 20.9 percent.  But since we're talking about oxygen, you should know that your vehicle uses oxygen sensors to make sure your engine is running the way it should. The oxygen sensors measure how much oxygen is in your exhaust.  If there's too much, it means there's a problem with the mixture of fuel and air.  The sensor sends signals to computers in your engine and adjusts the mixture so it maximizes performance and efficiency.  It does this constantly.  Many vehicles have multiple oxygen sensors.  Some have one close to the engine, another close to the muffler.  Two measurements are better than one since they allow readings to be more accurate.  You may have a vehicle with a dual exhaust, so you'd have twice as many oxygen sensors. Your oxygen sensors can fail.  One thing that can damage them is contaminat ... read more