Van Nuys Auto Repair & Service Center

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Passover's coming. Easy and delicious recipe (can be doubled) from "Living a Real Life With Real Food: How to Get Healthy, Lose Weight and Stay Energized - The Kosher Way," by Beth Warren. http://www.oregonlive.com/foodday/index.ssf/

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And The Winner is.............

And The Winner is.............

Congrats to Heather Thomas on winning the #ipad from our "like us on Facebook" contest ! Thanks to everyone who entered and participated

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Congrats to Heather Thomas on winning the #ipad from our "like us on Facebook" contest ! Thanks to everyone who entered and participated

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AutoAid & Rescue Helps You Decipher The Menu Board: Part 2

AutoAid & Rescue Helps You Decipher The Menu Board: Part 2

Van Nuys service centers have a menu board that lists the services they provide. Some Van Nuys drivers may not be familiar with all of the items on the board so here is a quick description of some of the typical services that might be listed.

AutoAid & Rescue fuel system cleaning: Over time, the sedan fuel system gets gum and varnish built up. A fuel system cleaning gets rid of that and cleans out the fuel injectors. Saves gas, by the way.

AutoAid & Rescue headlamp replacement: Halogen and standard headlamps gradually fade. It’s usually good to change them every year or so.

AutoAid & Rescue inspections: Van Nuys drivers get inspections for many reasons. Maybe they’re going on a trip or just want to make sure their vehicle’s ready for CA summer or winter. Maybe they just bought a used sedan and want to give it the once over. An inspection may reveal some things that are broken or are getting close to having a problem.

AutoAid & Rescue oil change: – there are several options: Some Van Nuys centers offer just an oil change and new filter as an option. Most will also check and top off all of your other fluids and do a quick visual inspection with a full service oil change. In my way of thinking, the full service option is best because it makes sure you have adequate fluids and may uncover an emerging problem. There may also be options for higher mileage fluids or an upgrade to synthetic oil.

AutoAid & Rescue PCV valve replacement in Van Nuys:
PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve. It’s a little part that releases pressure from the engine. It can get gummed up and that can lead to engine damage. Just needs to be changed now and then.

AutoAid & Rescue power steering service: Often overlooked. Your family AutoAid & Rescue technician will evacuate the old fluid, clean out the system and replace it with clean fluid. Keeps the sedan system running well for a long time.

AutoAid & Rescue serpentine belt service:
That’s the belt that powers the sedan engine’s accessories like the alternator, air conditioner, power steering and brakes. You’ll want to replace the serpentine belt before it breaks, because that’ll shut you down.

AutoAid & Rescue shocks and struts: This starts with an inspection of the suspension components. Shocks last a long time and wear out slowly, so many Van Nuys people don’t notice when it’s time to change them. If they’re worn or leaking, they need to be replaced.

AutoAid & Rescue transmission service:
This involves removing the transmission fluid and replacing it with clean fluid. It’s like an oil change for your transmission.

AutoAid & Rescue tire rotation and wheel balancing: The tires are rotated from front to back using the recommended rotation pattern. This helps tires wear more evenly. Wheels need to be balanced from time to time to keep them turning without any wobble or bounce. Helps the ride and saves tire wear.

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Why is My Check Engine Light On?

Why is My Check Engine Light On?

 

The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some Van Nuys drivers and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most of us Van Nuys motorists.


Let’s get the urgency issues out of the way first. If your check engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause important engine damage. Naturally, you need to get that taken care of right away. If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at CA highway speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to your Van Nuys service center.

Why is My Check Engine Light On?

If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with your family AutoAid & Rescue service advisor to get it checked out.

Some more Van Nuys information on how the Check Engine Light works may be informative for Van Nuys motorists. Most of your engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.

In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range the computer runs some tests and may turn on the sedan's Check Engine Light.

A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The computer doesn’t know if it’s a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine Light.

Now when you tighten up the gas cap the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since a bad reading didn’t come up again, it turns off the Check Engine Light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it’ll then turn off the Check Engine Light.

If the problem can’t be resolved then the light will remain on and you should get your sedan looked at. Your family AutoAid & Rescue service specialist will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.

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The AutoAid & Rescue Guide To Caring For Your Transmission

Most cars and trucks have automatic transmissions, yet a lot of Sherman Oaks drivers only have a fuzzy understanding about what a transmission does. Think back to the last time you rode a bike in Sherman Oaks. You started out in a lower gear and shifted to higher gears as you went faster. Down shift for hills, stuff like that. Think of your legs as the engine – there’s an ideal speed you can pedal and you change gears to leverage the work you’re doing. Lower gears for power on hills or for starting out. Higher gears for more speed. That’s what the automatic transmission does – it automatically starts in lower gears and shifts up to higher gears to go faster on CA highways. And automatically shifts back down to climb Sherman Oaks hills, pass or start up again. sedan automatic transmissions have certainly gotten more sophisticated in recent years. They have more speeds than before: t ... read more

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Getting the Right Tires And Wheels In Van Nuys

Getting the Right Tires And Wheels In Van Nuys

A lot of people get custom wheels in Van Nuys. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you’re not careful. Sometimes, once they’re mounted, they just don't fit right. The tires rub in turns or on bumps. You don’t want that.

Consulting your AutoAid & Rescue tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First he’ll ask you a series of questions about your Van Nuys driving needs and what you want in your new wheels. Now, not every wheel can go on every car. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside so the tires rub.

If you don’t want to make any modifications to your sedan, you would need to focus on the wheels that would fit. With trucks, some Van Nuys people like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.

Also, most Van Nuys drivers don’t realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – that’s, like the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your sedan anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.

The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn’t know what changes you made so it can’t tell how fast you’re going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong speed. If you go with a different rolling diameter, your sedan engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.

Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from in CA. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with your family AutoAid & Rescue tire professional about how big the wheel should be – and how to select the right tire for your sedan. Your AutoAid & Rescue service advisor will help you find the best tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs in Van Nuys.

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Automotive Detective Work In Van Nuys

Automotive Detective Work In Van Nuys

There’s a reason we use the word “diagnose” when we talk about fixing cars in Van Nuys. Figuring out what’s wrong with your sedan has a lot of similarities to figuring out what’s wrong with someone who is ill. Vehicles are a mass of complex systems that can produce a variety of symptoms when something goes wrong. As with human diagnoses, a specific symptom may be indicative of a number of problems, and figuring out the specific cause takes training and experience.

Sometimes the diagnosis of your sedan’s trouble comes down to a matter of trial-and-error. This can be frustrating for Van Nuys car owners because time and money are on the line. You may feel you should only be paying for repair work. Of course, you only want to pay for the right repair – and a proper diagnosis is part of getting it right. Like at the Van Nuys doctor’s office — some of what you pay for is the doctor’s time and effort to figure out what’s wrong with you, not for the actual cure.

The good news is that Van Nuys car owners can do a lot to help out their family AutoAid & Rescue service professional in figuring out what’s wrong with their sedan. Again, the medical office is a good analogy. The more information you can give your doctor about where it hurts, when it hurts and how it hurts, the more quickly he will be able to help you. In the same way, the more you can tell your Van Nuys service technician about when the problem occurs, what is sounds like, how often it occurs, where it occurs, etc., the more efficiently he will be able to get you back on the road.

Good auto advice: learn how to talk to your Van Nuys service professional.

If fluid is leaking from your sedan, you should note the color of the fluid, where under the car the puddles form, and when they form (e.g. only when it’s parked for a while, only if the engine’s hot, when the weather turns cold, etc.). For example, if your sedan is making an unusual sound, you should indicate where the sound is coming from, what kind of sound it is, and when you hear it (again, be very specific). The more details you can give, the more helpful you will be. “I hear the sound when I turn left” is more helpful than “I hear the sound when I turn.” After a few conversations with your AutoAid & Rescue service advisor, you should get a feel for the kind of information he needs.

If you drop your car off, leave a detailed note describing information about your sedan’s problem. A quickly scrawled “Making a funny noise” will only lead to frustration for both your technician and for you. Good communication leads to better car care for Van Nuys auto owners.

If your sedan is occasionally stalling or sputtering, you may need a little more patience than with other types of car trouble because these types of problems are intermittent. In order to fix the trouble, your technician often finds it helpful to reproduce the symptoms. And if the problem is intermittent, it may take a while to do so.

In these cases, specific information can be invaluable, as it can significantly reduce the time it takes for your family service advisor to get your sedan to misbehave. For example, if you can tell your technician that the vehicle only acts up after it’s been driven for 20 minutes and over 50 mph, it will allow him to quickly reproduce your problem, greatly reducing the time it will take for a car diagnosis in Van Nuys and then get it corrected.

Good preventive maintenance goes a long way to keeping your car out of the Los Angeles repair shop, but if you need to get it corrected, good communication will get you back on the road quickly.

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Emergency Items For Los Angeles motorists

Emergency Items For Los Angeles motorists

Safe CA travel starts with preventive maintenance and good car care at AutoAid & Rescue. But there are other things Van Nuys auto owners can do to prepare for emergencies on the road. Here’s some auto advice that can help you plan for emergencies, and just may save your life — or someone else’s.

First, Van Nuys car owners should consider keeping an auto emergency kit in their car. The kit should contain items that will allow you to deal with common emergencies on the road.

Some essential items you should carry in your sedan include jumper cables (or a booster box), flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools. Other useful items include gloves, two quarts of oil, some antifreeze, water and everything you need to change a tire. You might also consider a can of tire inflator, which is a great temporary fix for minor flats.

But taking care of your sedan is only part of emergency preparedness. It is key to take care of the people in the car, too. For this reason, you should carry a first aid kit, drinkable water and blankets. Other items to consider include high-calorie food items (like energy bars), toilet paper, a towel, a hat and boots. And, of course, when you travel in CA and out-of-state you should always have your cell phone, some emergency cash and a credit card.

Depending on where you live, you may need to add other critical items to this list. For example, sunscreen, sunglasses, and extra water would be good to have on hand in a hot climate. For the cold and snowy CA season, some salt, a hand shovel, emergency blankets and matches might be in order. Also, if your CA area is prone to severe weather or earthquakes, you should check with your local Red Cross or disaster preparedness office for their recommendations on what to keep on hand in your sedan for emergencies.

When you travel away from your Van Nuys home, you should check the weather forecasts before you leave, and pack appropriate emergency supplies. Also, do some research about the areas you will be traveling through so you can be prepared for the climate and terrain. Remember the basics: heat, water, shelter, light, and food.

When you travel, it is essential to leave your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. Check in periodically at prearranged checkpoints. That way, if something does happen, someone else will quickly know you are in trouble and will be able to send help. These checkpoints will also help rescuers find you quickly, as they will have a better idea as to where you are.

The automotive professionals at AutoAid & Rescue want Van Nuys motorists to be safe
. Preventive maintenance, proper planning, smart communication: these are the basics of safe travel.

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The Right Fluids for Your Vehicle

The Right Fluids for Your Vehicle

Van Nuys drivers' current vehicles have over a century of engineering behind them. They have evolved into complex and powerful machines. Developments in their engines, however, have coincided with advances in many other vehicle components, including the fluids.

It’s key for Van Nuys drivers to always use the right type of fluid for their sedan. Your service advisor and your owner’s manual are resources for auto advice on exactly what types of fluid your vehicle needs. Improper fluids can damage your vehicle and void your warranty.

Some of the fluids that have changed significantly in recent years are cooling system fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid and motor oil. Each of these comes in many varieties now, and it’s essential to know exactly which one your sedan needs.

Cooling systems were once made of iron, steel and rubber. One coolant could be used to protect all of these materials. But new cooling systems have components made from a variety of metal alloys and several kinds of plastic, and coolants now contain additives that protect these various materials from corrosion. Since the materials vary among vehicle manufactruers, they require different additives, which means there are now a number of coolants on the market. The type of coolant your sedan needs depends on the materials used in its cooling system.

Most vehicles used to require Dot 3 brake fluid. But now many vehicles need Dot 4 or Dot 5. Some Van Nuys auto owners mistakenly think the higher numbers reflect an increase in grade—that Dot 4 is somehow better than Dot 3. But the truth is, the numbers represent variations in formulation. The different formulas have evolved to meet the demands of newer and better brake systems. For a long time, transmission fluid came in two varieties: regular and friction-modified. But transmissions have come a long way recently, and so have the fluids that protect and lubricate them. There are several new types of fluid on the market, but your sedan is designed for just one of them.

Of all the automotive fluids, motor oils have experienced perhaps the greatest advances in engineering and technology. A number of new weights and formulations have recently been developed to meet the needs of modern engines, which have more parts and tighter tolerances than ever before. Engines have become more sophisticated and complicated, but they have also increased in power and fuel efficiency. Despite these changes, Van Nuys drivers still need them to be highly durable.

That’s the job of motor oil. Motor oil still has to perform its original, critical function—lubricating and protecting the engine. It is formulated to help clean the engine as well. Modern motor oil also has to be thin enough to penetrate small engine passages yet still be resistant to vaporization.

Specialized motor oils have also been developed for high-mileage vehicles. If your sedan has 75,000 miles or more on it, you might consider switching to one of these motor oils. They contain extra detergents that help clean older engines and critical additives that condition seals and gaskets that can become brittle with age. High-mileage motor oils come in weights and types just like regular motor oils, and Van Nuys motorists should match the proper weight and type of high-mileage oil to their vehicle in the same way you would regular motor oil.

Over time, vehicles have developed in complexity and variety, and their fluids have developed as well. Each vehicle is matched to a set of fluids that meet its specific requirements. CA vehicle owners should take care to learn their sedan’s fluid requirements before topping off at home. A large part of preventive maintenance for Van Nuys drivers is making sure your vehicle’s fluids are clean and adequate, but they must be the proper type as well. As our sedans become more sophisticated, car care becomes more sophisticated as well.

Learning about proper fluids for your vehicle will help you maintain its performance and prolong its life. Talk to us at AutoAid & Rescue in Van Nuys.

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