Gregs Orange Auto Repair

Serving Orange, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Villa Park, Tustin and all of Orange County since 1984

Gregs Orange Auto Repair - Serving Orange, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Villa Park, Tustin and all of Orange County since 1984

Following Recommended Intervals For Your sedan

If you’re reading this article in Orange, CA, then you probably care about your car and how it runs. Even though you care, there is still that moment of dread when your caring Greg’s Orange Auto Repair tech tells you the manufacturer recommends some additional service. Your heart beats a little faster, your blood pressure rises. You worry about spending more money than you had planned. And you worry that if you say “no”, you might be harming your sedan or risking your family’s safety.

At the risk of sounding like your dad, you really should have done your homework. Service recommendations are in your owner’s manual. But it is not like you want to keep your sedan auto maintenance schedule on your nightstand for bedtime reading.

Cars are complicated machines and it takes some effort for Orange car owners to keep them running well. That is why vehicle manufacturers have maintenance schedules that explain how to keep your sedan performing efficiently and prevent pricey breakdowns. In a typical owners manual you’ll find: oil change, brake fluid and pad change, coolant system service, transmission service, battery electrolyte levels, cables and terminals, tire pressure and wear, CV boots, cabin air filter, air conditioning, heater, fuel filter, air filter, belts and hoses, power steering fluid, differential service, fuel system cleaning, and wheel alignment. And then there are mechanical service requirements like timing belt changes, valve adjustment, steering function, engine and exhaust leaks – yeah, it is a really long list!

Fortunately, this isn’t a test: Orange motorists don’t need to have it memorized. Your caring Greg’s Orange Auto Repair tech has access to your auto maker’s recommendations. Don’t be surprised when your tech at Greg’s Orange Auto Repair reminds you something vital is due. Your automobile manufacturer has taken great care in putting together your maintenance schedule. Let Greg’s Orange Auto Repair help you stay on top of important maintenance. You can expect them to suggest recommended services and tell you what problems they find under the hood. We’ll also explain how urgent these services are so you can work them into your budget.

Greg’s Orange Auto Repair Maintenance Tips: The Belt Goes On

Today’s Greg’s Orange Auto Repair auto maintenance article focuses on your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power critical automotive systems. Let’s go over them.

First, the serpentine belt drives your sedan air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Chino Hills.

Next, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your sedan’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Greg's Orange Auto Repair Maintenance Tips The Belt Goes OnAll Chino Hills motorists know that without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering and power brakes. And, on many sedans, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within normal operating temperatures for Chino Hills car owners. (On some sedans, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.)

So you can see the serpentine belt does a lot of work. And it if breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why manufacturers and your service advisor at Greg’s Orange Auto Repair have recommended that it be changed every so often so that it doesn’t fail.

Your
caring Greg’s Orange Auto Repair service advisor can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon and will measure the amount of belt material to make sure there is enough.

Your serpentine belt works in tandem with a spring loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its critical job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Greg’s Orange Auto Repair, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

All in all, the serpentine belt’s a key art for the function of your sedan. And it’s not that costly to replace at Greg’s Orange Auto Repair – so bring in your vehicle if it hasn’t been checked in a while.

Does Your Car Have A Recall Item?

No matter how well they’re made, cars are bound to have problems with their design or manufacturing. Think of all the moving parts. When the government thinks a problem is really serious, they require the auto manufacturer to issue recall notices to Orange residents and to fix the affected cars free of charge. The vehicle manufacturer then tries to contact all Orange car owners who own that type of car so they can have it taken care of at their Orange service center.

To find out if your car has any recall issues, give us a call:
Greg’s Orange Auto Repair
921 N Parker St. Orange, CA 92887
714.633.8219

These recalls always affect safety, so Orange motorists would be wise to take them seriously. It’s really easy to find out if a vehicle is being recalled. For links to government sites, look in the AutoNetTV website.

Other website include: carfax.com; autobytel.com; and dmv.org. All of these sites have free recall searches.

Recalls are pretty serious for Orange motorists and don’t happen all that often. But sometimes cars have less serious problems that Orange auto owners still might want to know about. For these less serious cases, manufacturers issue what is known as a Technical Service Bulletin – or TSB. These bulletins tell Orange service centers (including Greg’s Orange Auto Repair)  how to repair a problem that occurs frequently or is especially difficult.

Your Orange technician receives updated information through subscription plans, which are sometimes available in consumer versions too. Orange auto owners can buy access to these for an annual fee.

Whatever your source, pay attention to Orange vehicle recalls to keep you and your passengers safe.

Commitment to Make Your sedan Last At Greg’s Orange Auto Repair

For advice on how to make your sedan last longer, visit us at Greg’s Orange Auto Repair
921 N Parker St.
Orange, CA 92887
714.633.8219

These days many people in the Chino Hills area are really committed to making their cars last a long time. First thing: you’ve got to start with what you’ve got. It’d be ideal if people started with a brand new car, never missed a scheduled service item, paid attention to the severe service maintenance schedule and had regular inspections. But if you’ve had the vehicle for a while, or bought it used, its maintenance history is what it is; and that’s where you start.

Go through the maintenance schedule for your sedan and see what’s been done and when. Have your Orange service advisor at Greg’s Orange Auto Repair do an inspection and come up with a list of stuff that needs to be done. Review the list and prioritize the work, talk about budget and make a plan to get caught up.

Making a plan is so important. Suppose you go in for an oil change and learn you need your cooling system serviced, a transmission service and are coming up on a timing belt replacement in the next 5,000 miles. You might be pretty overwhelmed.

To make it even more stressful, these are all very important systems that are expensive to repair if there’s a failure. In consultation with your Orange service advisor, you might decide to take care of the transmission on this visit, set an appointment for the cooling system service next month and get an estimate for the timing belt replacement so you’ll be prepared for it in a few months.

Having a plan for taking care of these important services will set your mind at ease.

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 cars are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free”.

Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Orange 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 Orange.

  • Some cars in Orange no longer require chassis lubrication. They’re made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There’s literally is 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 up in the valve train that didn’t even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.

  • So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.

-A point to maintenance.

  • Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.

-Myth gets a point.

  • Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.

-Point for maintenance.

I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they’ve always been.

So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Orange if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there’ll always be a check list.

Let me mention a couple of items on modern vehicles that folks need to be aware of. One of the most of the most important is timing belt replacement. Used to be that all engines had timing chains – you know, metal chains. They rarely broke.

It’s cheaper to make engines with timing belts rather than chains, so replacing the timing belt is on most engines’ maintenance list. The money the manufacturer saves by using a belt is more than off-set by what the vehicle owner has to pay to replace the belt. And it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing the damage if the timing belt breaks.

So make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced. You don’t want to miss that. If you have 60,000 miles or more, break out your owner’s manual or ask your Orange service advisor at Greg’s Orange Auto Repair to check on the recommendation right away.

Another is sealed wheel bearing assemblies on some vehicles. As you might have guessed, it’s cheaper to make a sealed unit than one that has access to inspect or service the wheel bearings. The problem is that when the bearings fail, you have to replace the entire unit, not just the bearings. That’ll cost 5 or 6 times as much.

For our friends in Orange, we hope this has underscored the importance of knowing and following your maintenance schedule. Come in and see us at Greg’s Orange Auto Repair. You’ll find us at 921 N Parker St. in Orange, CA 92887. Just give us a call at 714.633.8219.

Looking Down the Road – Headlamps

If you’ve ever been driving around Orange and had a headlamp go out, you’ve probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won’t have the same brightness which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.

To have your headlights inspected, visit us at Greg’s Orange Auto Repair. We’re at 921 N Parker St. in Orange, CA 92887. Or give us a call at 714.633.8219

Experts in Orange recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It’s easy to remember if you do it when daylight savings time changes in the fall. That way you’ll have bright headlamps for those long Orange winter nights.

There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can’t believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and give a very white light that’s a lot like daylight.

You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they’ll last for the life of your car. If you want your Orange friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint – no one needs to know.

Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can’t react to what you can’t see. You need headlamps that’ll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. And your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and also, to keep your lights from shining off into on-coming traffic.

You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That’s because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Orange service centers offer a service to restore the lens that’s a lot cheaper.

You can’t drive if you can’t see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don’t forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.

The Importance Of Orange Drivers Following Service Intervals

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Today in our Greg’s Orange Auto Repair blog, we’re going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your sedan isn’t the only aspect of your life in Orange with recommended intervals: Let’s start with twice yearly dental check-ups and regular physical exams. How about laundry, watering the lawn and paying the bills?

Now, what would happen if you didn’t follow these intervals? Well, you’d get more cavities. You’d may not discover health conditions that could be more effectively treated with early detection. And you’d have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your brown lawn and have your utilities shut off.

The Importance Of Orange Drivers Following Service IntervalsClearly, there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don’t, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life in Orange takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.

So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our sedans? Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don’t seem that urgent. All our Orange neighbors can see our dead lawn, but no one knows how dirty our transmission fluid is. It’s easy to put off. The other reason is that we’re just not as familiar with automotive maintenance, so it’s a bit intimidating.

From a practical standpoint, Orange people don’t need to memorize their sedan owner’s manuals. You can let your Greg’s Orange Auto Repair advisor remind you of the guidelines established by car makers: he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your sedan. You really can rely on Greg’s Orange Auto Repair professionals to help you make good automotive decisions.

For Orange drivers who want to be more proactive with their sedan care, here are some simple ways for Orange drivers to remember what has a maintenance interval.

First: Fluids. If it’s liquid, it’s got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.

Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you’re thinking tires, don’t forget brakes and shock absorbers.

And what makes your sedan go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if Orange car owners remember to take their car or truck in to Greg’s Orange Auto Repair for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.

And if you don’t follow recommended service intervals? You get lousy fuel economy, your sedan doesn’t run as well, your safety is compromised and you’ll spend more money in the long run. So it’s the same as everything else: The quality of your motoring life takes a hit and it ends up costing you more.

Reason enough for me to follow recommended service intervals.

Economics of Maintenance For Orange Auto Owners

Buying a new car in Orange is always a big financial decision. The allure of that new car smell is powerful, to be sure. But what if your current car is still in good shape? How do you decide?

People in Orange who’ve been used to driving a new car every three to five years may be having second thoughts in this economy. For many, the question is, how does the certainty of a new car payment stack up against uncertain repairs for a car that may be out of warranty?

For purposes of our discussion, let’s assume you live right here in Orange and have a five year old vehicle. It’s now paid off. If you keep it, you fear that there’ll be some repairs over the next five years, but you really don’t know what to expect. For help we turned to Edmunds.com.

Edmunds.com has compiled maintenance and repair information for cars and trucks. With this data, they project likely service and repair costs for a particular make and model. They’re able to use manufacturer’s maintenance schedules and repair histories for the projections.

Of course, these projections can’t predict what will happen to your vehicle in Orange, but they do give you information to use in your decision.

Let’s look at the numbers for a five year old Toyota Camry V-6. In this example, the combined maintenance and repairs for the five year period is $5,748. This works out to an average of $96 a month. The year-by-year averages range from a low of $49 a month to $124 a month.

So compare $96 a month with a new car payment. And it’s actually better news than that; you would still have maintenance expenses with a new car, so the repair element could be less than half that figure.

Here are numbers for some other five year old vehicles from around Orange:

  • Ford Escape – $116 a month
  • Chevy Silverado – $131 a month
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee – $138 a month
  • Hyundai Accent – $85 a month.

Now, if your vehicle is older than five years, have a chat with your Orange service advisor at Greg’s Orange Auto Repair. We see hundreds of vehicles through our bays every month and we know your car. See if there’s any particular problem common with your vehicle that you might see over the next couple of years.

And of course, the best way to keep future repair costs down is to take care of all your scheduled maintenance. This is especially important in older vehicles that have had time to accumulate some deposits.

There are special motor oil formulations that help clean older engines and protect and recondition their seals and gaskets.

We hope this eliminates some of the unknowns in the decision to keep or trade.

Give us a call if you have any questions:
Greg’s Orange Auto Repair
921 N Parker St.
Orange, CA 92887
714.633.8219

Keeping Your ‘Old Faithful’ Auto Running

At Greg’s Orange Auto Repair we’ve had a lot of Orange, Chino, and Irvine clients asking how they can make their vehicles last longer. These questions are actually a reflection of a trend that’s been building for several years in CA. The median age of personal vehicles is now over nine years. And 33 percent of all vehicles on the road have over 75,000 miles on them. It looks like it’s going to keep heading in that direction for a while. With high fuel prices, a lot of Chino Hills folks are putting off buying a new car. Thanks to AutoNetTV, we can provide you with a video answer to this key question.

So let’s say you’re one of the average auto owners in the Chino Hills area; you’ve got a nine year old car with 80,000 miles on the odometer. What can you to do make it last another year or two?

Let’s start with the premise that there’s no reason that a modern car can’t run for 200,000 miles with proper care in Orange. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there.

Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there’s no reason for a catastrophic meltdown if astute Orange drivers stay on top of their recommended car maintenance. The maintenance schedule in some auto maker’s owner’s manuals runs out at 60,000 miles or so: how do Orange car owners know what to do when they’re way past that?

It is a challenge, for example: If a service is recommended every 15,000 miles for the first 60,000 miles you can just keep getting it done at least every 15,000 miles after you hit 60,000 miles. But, it gets more complicated because older engines lose some efficiency, are dirtier inside and are just more stressed. That means it’s very important to not miss any scheduled services. Skipping just one oil change at Greg’s Orange Auto Repair in Orange, for example, leaves an opportunity for detrimental sludge to build up. Talk to your caring Greg’s Orange Auto Repair tech.

So all the usual things like oil changes, transmission service, coolant service, brakes, power steering, fuel system cleaning – all that stuff needs to be maintained. People responsible for fleet vehicles around Orange are sticklers for scheduled maintenance. They know that money spent on maintenance saves them three ways:

  1. it keeps fuel economy from decreasing;
  2. it prevents pricey repairs, and;
  3. they can postpone purchasing new vehicles.

Having the oil changed may be the most vital thing drivers can do. A full-service oil change at Greg’s Orange Auto Repair means that all of your other fluids get topped off so they are never low enough to cause damage. It also gives your caring Greg’s Orange Auto Repair service professional a chance to spot problems in the early stages so that you can fix them before they get pricey. And it gives you a touch point with an automotive professional along the way to remind you of things that aren’t scheduled as often – things like differential service and timing belt replacement.

If you live in the Orange area and have an older vehicle, you may need to follow the severe service maintenance schedule. Check your owner’s manual and talk with your technician at Greg’s Orange Auto Repair. Conditions inside an older engine, transmission and cooling system can arguably be considered severe – so shorter intervals could well be called for.

And, the team at Greg’s Orange Auto Repair strongly encourages Orange motorists to consider using high mileage formulation fluids. They’re fluids like engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant that are formulated for older engines. They have special additives to clean deposits, and to condition and restore seals and gaskets that dry out with age. Some Orange auto owners start using higher mileage formulations at around 50,000 miles as a preventive measure.

Of course you also want to still look marvelous in your older car as you drive around Chino Hills. Salt and road grime wreak havoc on your paint job and can lead to body rust – so regular washing is very important. Also, a good quality waxing is recommended at least twice a year.

Give us a call for more information:

Greg’s Orange Auto Repair
921 N Parker St.
Orange, CA 92887
714.633.8219

Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In Chino

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There’s a segment of the Chino population that’s not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the CA area over time. Many Chino motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.

Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, Chino drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.

Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.

Irvine The Maintenance-Free MythNow, the ignition system in your sedan is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So tune-ups used to force you in to Greg’s Orange Auto Repair for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.

Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new cars in Chino have been leased. These folks plan on turning the car in after two or three years, so they haven’t focused on the maintenance that helps your car last longer.

Given all that, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your sedan will perform better and return better fuel economy.

Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren’t just repairs that are a long ways off. Modern sedan engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.

And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.

For example, your sedan engine coolant could actually become so corrosive that it eats holes in your radiator or other cooling system parts. Of course, that could lead to massive engine damage, all for the want of replacing the coolant on schedule.

Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At Greg’s Orange Auto Repair, we have been taking care of all those little things for 25 years. Your sedan still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Chino did not go away.