Articles:

A Sticky Brake Situation (Parking Brake Service and Maintenance)

We've all been there.  You park your vehicle on a steeper than usual hill and worry about it rolling down while you're running your errands.  So you decide you'll use the parking brake.  When you get back, you release the parking brake, hit the ignition, put it in gear and—uh, oh—you can feel the parking brake is still on.  It's stuck.  What do you do now? Welcome to the world of infrequently-used parking brakes.  Yes, they do stick for several reasons. It's common for components to corrode and get locked up.  Sometimes if you have applied it extra hard, it can jam.  Could be a rusty cable, could be a spring that doesn't return the brake to its disengaged position.  Some pieces just break when they're stressed for the first time in a while. A caliper or the pivot arm it's on can also stick. There are a few things you can try to unstick it.  Carefully rock your vehicle by putting it first in drive and then reverse.  You ... read more

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Brakes

Steering You Right (Power Steering Signs of Problems)

Nearly every modern vehicle on the road today has power steering, a wonderful invention that makes steering take far less effort than it did in the "good old days."  Today, we take our steering for granted: until something goes wrong, that is. Most power steering these days is rack-and-pinion, the rack being a metal bar between the front wheels with notches in it and the pinion being a gear whose teeth fits into those notches.  Adding power assist makes it easy to turn. That assist comes in the form of hydraulic fluid that is pressurized by a pump powered by the engine, an electric motor that adds a power assist or a system that uses both an electric motor and hydraulic fluid. Your vehicle usually gives you a heads up that something is going wrong with its steering. Here are a few signs to look for: A humming, whirring, rubbing or grinding sound coming from you engine compartment when you turn. Signs of hydraulic fluid leaking, such as wet spots under your vehicle. The smell ... read more

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Steering

A New Battery in San Diego

Hello San Diego drivers, let's talk about batteries. Car batteries are just like any rechargeable battery. They will eventually wear out and die. If you are shopping for a new battery in San Diego, here's some auto advice to help you.There are two measurements to consider when purchasing a new battery: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity. The power required to start a cold engine is measured in cold cranking amps. The number you need is determined by what kind of vehicle you drive and where you live. In general, higher-cylinder engines require more cold cranking amps than lower-cylinder engines. In other words, an eight-cylinder engine needs more cold cranking amps than a six-cylinder one. Also, diesel engines require more cold cranking amps than gasoline engines.The weather where you live in CA also determines the number of cold cranking amps you need. The colder the vehicl ... read more

Categories:

Battery

Don't Be Fuelish

If you smell gasoline in your vehicle, pay attention to your nose. That's because it has an important message for you. Newer vehicles should never have a gasoline smell inside. One of the most dangerous conditions can come when your fuel line system has a leak or multiple leaks. Vehicles with fuel injectors are under pressure, meaning a crack or small hole in a fuel line can allow vaporized fuel to escape, sometimes around hot engine parts. Gasoline vapor and hot metal? You see the problem. One of the most common causes of a gasoline smell inside a vehicle is a fuel tank leak. The gas tank can rot or be punctured by road debris. A Pacific Highway Auto Repair technician can evaluate the condition of your fuel tank and suggest either repair or replacement. Fuel injectors can develop small leaks around their seals or O-rings. Those can deteriorate over time as the material they are made of gets old and less flexible. A technician can replace those parts. Modern vehicles contain something ... read more

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Fuel System

Give it the Boot (Ball Joint Boot Replacement)

Your vehicle may be wearing boots right now and you might not even know it.  They're called ball joint boots.  They're actually protective, flexible things that protect parts of your suspension (called ball joints) from all the hazards the road can fling at them.  If one of those ball joint boots fails and you don't get it replaced, the ball joints themselves could wind up failing, a repair that can be even more expensive.  Ball joint boots not only keep things like rocks, salt, water and dirt out of your ball joints, they also help the ball joints keep their lubrication inside and working properly.  To do that, the boots have to be made of a flexible material, sometimes rubber, sometimes a synthetic.  They do take a beating, exposed to temperature extremes and debris, and eventually they can tear or crack just because of their age.  Unless someone is keeping an eye on your ball joint boots, you may never know there's a problem.  That's why when ... read more

The Pacific Highway Auto Repair Guide to Custom Wheels

If you're interested in customizing the wheels and tires on your vehicle, there are a few things you should know first.Most importantly, the wheels you buy need to fit your vehicle. Not all wheels are created equal. Too many San Diego drivers have bought a set of wheels that caught their eye, then, after going to the work of mounting them, have found that the wheels don't fit right and the tires rub against the vehicle when they turn or go over a bump.To ensure a proper fit, you can consult with your Pacific Highway Auto Repair tire professional. He/she can also help you find tires that are suited to your driving habits as well as your vehicle. You may find their auto advice invaluable, and you'll probably be happier with your new wheels once you purchase them.But if you just have to have that set of wheels, and you're willing to pay for them, you can modify your vehicle to fit the wheels. Again, you ... read more

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Tires and Wheels

Hold the Oil! (Oil Pan Gasket Replacement)

You've likely heard how important oil is to your vehicle's engine. Did you know that there's one part that's responsible for holding that oil so you can use it every day? It's called the oil pan, and it sits at the bottom of the engine. The oil pan is a vital, though simple, part of your engine's lubrication system. Oil circulates through parts of your engine to keep them lubricated. It reduces friction so everything works smoothly. Without oil, friction would quickly destroy your engine. The oil pan keeps that oil contained in the lubrication system, so it's important that the oil doesn't leak out. Since it's a metal part attached to another metal part, there is a gasket between the oil pan and the part of the engine it attaches to. Various things can put stress on the oil pan and gasket, including weather extremes, the speed you're traveling and the condition of the oil. You may drive over a couple of bad roads and kick up debris onto your oil pan. All this wear and tear, heat and ti ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

The Pacific Highway Auto Repair Guide to Tire Specs

You know you need newtires, but you're not sure what type. You look at a tire to get the size: 225, 50, R, 16, 92, H. All the way to the San Diego service center you keep repeating it over and over. You even say it over in your mind while waiting in line. Then you get to the counter and the manager asks what size you need. Then your mind goes blank.Tire size can be confusing for many San Diego drivers. There's so much on the side of the tire, and it's hard to keep straight.Even though there's a lot on a tire - if you know what it all means, it's actually more helpful than confusing for San Diego tire shoppers. Let's start with the size number.For example, let's say a tire reads: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The 225 part is the width of the tire in millimeters - the width between the sidewalls of an inflated tire with no load. The 50 is the aspect ratio - the ratio of the sidewall height to the tread width. Off-road tires will have a higher number and high p ... read more

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Tires and Wheels

Improve Your Night Vision When Driving in San Diego

Night driving in San Diego is not as safe as daylight driving as evidenced by the increased accident rate at night. Much of that is simply because it's dark outside.Visibility is important to safe driving. Ninety percent of our driving decisions are based on what we see. And at night, we just can't see as much as we can during the day. In fact, if you have 20/20 vision during the day, your night vision is only 20/50. To translate, that means that an object you can clearly see 50 feet away during daylight, only becomes visible to you at 20 feet at night.Reaction time is also related to visibility. San Diego motorists don't react to a situation until they see it. So at night, we're reacting to situations later just because it takes longer to see them. But we don't have to stop driving at night to stay safe. We just need to practice some preventive maintenance and vehicle care that will maximize our night vision.The most crucial item that helps us se ... read more

Categories:

Headlamps

How to Radiate Cool (Radiator Care)

There's nothing that radiates cool like a vehicle radiator that's helping to keep your engine running at the proper temperature.  You don't have to baby it, but you can't simply ignore it, either.  Let's take a quick dive under the hood to let you know what the radiator is doing.  It takes the heat your engine produces and moves that heat outside.  It's not an easy job and heat is an engine's number one enemy.  Now that you're thinking how nice you want to be to your radiator, we have a couple of ideas how you can take care of it. The easiest thing is to pay attention to your vehicle's temperature gauge. If it gets in the "too hot" or "not hot enough" range, have it checked out soon.  Make sure your coolant is kept at the correct level and if you see a trend that you have to add coolant more than a couple of times a year, you might have a leak. Even if there are no obvious problems, every couple of years or so, consider taking your vehicle in for radiator ... read more

Categories:

Cooling System