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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 vehicles are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free."Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to San Diego 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 San Diego. Some vehicles in San Diego no longer require chassis lubrication. They're made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There's literally 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 are up in ... read more

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Maintenance

Your Vehicle Is NOT Maintenance Free, San Diego Car Owners

A generation ago, San Diego drivers seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle's preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Taking your vehicle in to your San Diego shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.For example, almost everyone in San Diego used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the vehicle was in for a tune-up at Pacific Highway Auto Repair, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.Today's engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles/160,000 km. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys rep ... read more

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Maintenance

On Board Diagnostics for Your Engine

Starting in 1996, Pacific Highway Auto Repair service technicians have been able to use a standardized diagnostic system to help determine what is wrong with a vehicle. This diagnostic system works in tandem with the Engine Control Modules for each vehicle's engine. The Engine Control Module is a computer that monitors and controls many engine functions.Sensors throughout a vehicle send readings to the Engine Control Module. These readings help the computer make adjustments in various vehicle systems to allow for constantly changing driving conditions and even to compensate for minor problems. However, if the computer encounters a situation it can't adjust for, it turns on the Check Engine light. (The Check Engine light is called the “service engine soon” light on some vehicles.)If the Check Engine light is burning steadily, it indicates a problem that needs to be taken care of soon. If it is flashing, however, the vehicle ... read more

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Diagnostics

Go Straight: Wheel Alignment for San Diego Automobiles

San Diego drivers may have an alignment problem if their car drifts or pulls to one side, the steering wheel's off center, they notice uneven tire wear or the car doesn't feel like it handles right as they drive down San Diego, CA, streets and roads.When all of a vehicle's wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Running into potholes, smacking a curb or other objects around San Diego are great ways to knock a car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels start pulling in a slightly different direction and the problems begin.The team at Pacific Highway Auto Repair in San Diego wants you to know that driving for an extended time when your car is out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. Sometimes the tire can be worn so badly that it will fail.At the very least, those who drive with wheels out of alignment will have to replace their tires sooner. You could end up with premature wear to your suspension system, whic ... read more

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Alignment

Differential Service at Pacific Highway Auto Repair: Viva la Difference

Every vehicle on CA roads has a differential, and it is important to the proper operation of the vehicle.  But most San Diego residents don't have a clue what it is.The differential compensates for differing wheel speeds. For example, when you turn, the inside tire on the turn travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel. So the inside wheel of the vehicle must move at a slower speed than the outside wheel. Without a differential, the wheels would hop and scrape while turning.Have you ever seen the large bulge in the middle of the rear axle of a truck? That's the differential. In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located on the back axle. Four-wheel drive vehicles and SUV's have differentials on both the front and the rear axle.You might expect that the differential is located on the front axle of a front-wheel drive vehicle. You'd be right. But the differential is called a transaxle on a front-wheel drive v ... read more

Keep Your Cool in San Diego

San Diego drivers rely on their vehicle's coolant system to keep their engine cool. Coolant (also called antifreeze) mixed with water flows through your vehicle engine and absorbs heat. The mixture then flows out to the radiator where it's cooled by air flowing over the radiator. From there the coolant/water mix circulates back through the engine to absorb more heat.There's a reason we mix coolant and water. Water alone actually does a good job transferring heat from the engine. The problem is that water boils at a temperature that's easily reached inside your vehicle's engine, so it can turn to steam which does not conduct heat as well and is harder to contain.Also, if it's freezing outside in San Diego, the water in your engine could freeze while your vehicle is sitting out in the CA cold.So, if you remember your high school chemistry, you'll know that a mixture has both a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than ei ... read more

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Cooling System

Wishy-Washy in San Diego

Perhaps you've found yourself driving when something all of a sudden splashes on your windshield, obstructing your view. You know that sinking feeling when you try to turn on the windshield washers and no fluid comes out. Now you're blinded even more. What can you do? The best thing is to make sure your windshield washer fluid is always topped off and ready for these situations. You probably figure you'll grab a bottle of that blue stuff you see in the store. But is that really the right choice? One thing you know ISN'T the right choice is plain water. It can freeze when temperatures drop. Plus, when it's close to the freezing mark outside, spraying water on your windshield can freeze, turning it literally into frosted glass and blinding you suddenly. Water freezing in your vehicle's washer lines can also damage them. There are different types of windshield washer fluid made for different climates. Many have alcohol to prevent them from freezing; their label will usually tell you at wh ... read more

Suspension Service at Pacific Highway Auto Repair in San Diego

During an inspection at Pacific Highway Auto Repair in San Diego, your friendly and knowledgeable automotive service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts. Here's a quick rundown of suspension system components: There are the springs which hold the weight of your vehicle. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are heavy duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort. You've probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your vehicle dives excessively when ... read more

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Shocks & Struts

Check Your Shocks and Struts at Pacific Highway Auto Repair

  Today we're talking to San Diego drivers about shocks and struts. They're so easy for CA folks to forget about because they last so long and wear out so slowly. But your shocks are really responsible for keeping your tires on the road – so they're very important.Without shocks, your wheels would be bouncing over bumps and lifting on corners. The shocks push the tire down to the road to maximize traction. Good shocks equal good ride quality and safe handling for San Diego drivers. There's a difference between shocks and springs. Springs support the weight of the vehicle, keeping it suspended up off the axles. The shocks moderate the rebound motion as wheels hit bumps. Now a strut combines a shock and a coil spring in one compact unit. It's best to replace all four shocks at the same time. That way you'll have even, predictable handling at all four corners. Anything less could be dangerous. Visit Pacific Highway Auto Repair to have y ... read more

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Shocks & Struts

Fall and Spring Inspection at Pacific Highway Auto Repair

Good vehicle care for us San Diego residents has always meant taking our vehicles in every spring and fall for a check-up. Vehicles needed routine maintenance to prepare them for the changes in weather. Today's vehicles aren't quite as sensitive to seasonal changes. Older vehicles required different weights of oil for summer and winter. But today's engines can run on the same oil all year. Both the engines and the oils have been improved.Antifreeze—or coolant as it's also called—protects the engine from both freezing and hot temperatures and thus is required by the engine year-round. Modern coolants don't have to be changed as often as they did in the past, but your owner's manual has a recommendation for when it should be replaced to extend cooling system life.Getting a spring and fall checkup at Pacific Highway Auto Repair in San Diego for your vehicle is still good auto advice.First of all, there is a lot of preventive auto maintenance inv ... read more

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Maintenance
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