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Car maintenance

Car & Automobile Maintenance can have a lasting effect on your car. By implementing a routine of maintenance or have a mechanic like AA Auto Repair & Tires keep a detailed report on your vehicles health will save you time and more importantly MONEY!

(619) 448-5800

Car maintenance & inspection

For those “Do It Yourselfer’s” we have put together this great list of how to properly take care of your car. We’ve highlighted some important ways to increase the longevity of your vehicle.?

The most important part of this “how to guide” is that you will save a lot of money on the resale value or just in the longevity of your automobile.

Please keep in mind that every automobile is different and you should always research your specific cars make and model to make sure that you don’t do something that will harm your vehicle.

Another great tool we will give you is from CarCareKiosk.com. They have an easy to look up and purchase (Amazon.com) tool so you can have your parts sent to your house.?

CAR TIRES MAINTENANCE

TIRE ALLIGNMENT

How do you check your tire allignment?

One of the easiest ways is to find if your car’s steering wheel pulls one way or the other. A “pulling car” will have disasterous effects on tires and cause them to pop prematurily. AA Auto Repair can tell you if your frame and your allignment is ‘On-Point’ and straight.?
Some great ways to avoid altering your allignment would be to miss those ‘pot-holes’ you keep running over. Also, frame damage from bad accidents will cause your car to pull one way or another. Make sure if your buying a car you car doesn’t have this kind of problem.

TIRE ALLIGNMENT

How do you check your tire allignment?

One of the easiest ways is to find if your car’s steering wheel pulls one way or the other. A “pulling car” will have disasterous effects on tires and cause them to pop prematurily. AA Auto Repair can tell you if your frame and your allignment is ‘On-Point’ and straight just bring your car in.

Some great ways to avoid altering your allignment would be to miss those ‘pot-holes’ you keep running over. Every time you wear the rubber on your tire oddly (scrapping curbs, parking halfway on the curb will put different stress on the tire that it wasn’t made to endure.

Also, frame damage from bad accidents will cause your car to pull one way or another. Make sure if your buying a car you car doesn’t have this kind of problem. You are asking for a world of problems and most likes was probably in an accident prior to sale.

ROTATING CAR TIRES

Why should you rotate your car tires?

Rotating your car tires is usually only important if you have a 2-wheel drive vehicle. The pulling (front wheel drive) or the pushing wheels (rear wheel drive) cars will obviously wear more from pulling out to fast or by driving “hard”.

By rotating them you will be saving some needed rubber so you don’t have to keep buying new drive tires for your vehicle.
If you are in the market for new tires we will be able to measure and mount your car within an hour if we aren’t too busy.

CAR TIRE PRESSURE

Will I save money with proper car tire pressure?

Maintaining proper tire pressure is extremely important for saving money and maximizing braking in case of emergency braking. . Check your tire pressure at least once a week and every other week for those who have more important things to do.

Don’t think you can just look at a tire and know if it’s appropriately filled. A tire that doesn’t appear to be low on air can result in reduced vehicle handling and excessive tread wear.

Most tires are under-inflated because people never check them. It’s fairly obvious when cars are brought to us with outer tread wear. You will save $1000’s of dollars over your driving career by just checking your tires weekly.

Extreme weather will also effect your tires. One hundred degree asphalt will make your tire pressure go up as below zero driving will make your pressure go down. Keep your pressure gauge handy!

CAR FLUIDS MAINTENANCE

TRANSMISSION OIL

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TRANSMISSION OIL

Transmission Oil is highly specialized. Depending on the Make and Model of your car you would have to be knowledgable.

‘To Change…..or not to Change. That is the question!’ According to Advanced Auto Parts the suggest a few different theories but the best bet is always to let a PRO like the Auto Techinicians at AA Auto Repair take a look at it.?

If you’ve got a new or newer vehicle, you should perform a transmission fluid flush, change, and refill at about a 40k mile intervals (check your manual for exact specification).

If your vehicle is regularly used for severe duty, such as towing or hauling heavy loads, that interval should be shortened. Every time the fluid is changed, the filter should also be changed (if your transmission has one), and the fluid should be inspected for metal shavings, plastic fragments, and other signs of significant wear.

**Older Vehicles with over 100k Mileage**

On a vehicle that’s made it past the 100k mile mark (especially if you bought it with high miles on it), many techs now recommend?not?changing the fluid and filter. If the fluid is old enough to be dark and have a burnt-toast smell, changing it can run the risk of dislodging sludge and varnish from up toward the torque converter. In a case like that, these particles can make their way through the unit and clog valves and other small passages, leading to failure. This is something that should be addressed on a case-by-case basis, though, and the decision should be made by a qualified transmission tech.

 

  • ATF +4:?For Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep vehicles, replaces ATF+, ATF+2, ATF+3 formulations
  • DEXRON III/MERCON:?Pre-2006 GM models, pre-2004 Toyota, Ford/Lincoln/Mercury, and others
  • DEXRON VI:?Post-2006 GM models, some Fords, replaces Dexron III
  • MERCON V:?Most Ford/Lincoln/Mercury, Mazda B-series trucks, Mazda Tribute
  • MERCON LV:?Ford Duratec LE, Mazda Tribute
  • MERCON SP:?Some Ford 6R transmissions (others use LV)
  • TOYOTA TYPE T-IV (aka T4): Some Toyota and Lexus models, replaces Type T, T-II, and T-III
  • TOYOTA ATF WS: Post-2004 Toyota models, some Volvo models (except models that require Toyota T-IV
  • DW-1: All Honda models (except CVT transmissions), replaces Z1 spec fluid
  • DIAMOND SP-III (or SP-3):?All Mitsubishi, Kia and Hyundai 4-speed automatics
  • DIAMOND SP-IV (or SP-4):?All Mitsubishi, Kia and Hyundai 6-speed automatics
  • NISSAN-MATIC:?For Nissan and Infiniti vehicles and includes Matic-D, Matic-K, Matic-J and Matic-S formulations
  • ATF-HP: Non-CVT equipped post-2005 Subarus (older Subarus require Dexron III)
  • MAZDA M5: For specific Ford and Mazda transmissions (check owner’s manual for requirements), also known as Ford M5
  • MAZDA FZ: For Mazda SKYACTIV-Drive units. This fluid is dyed blue.

     

     

MOTOR OIL

When Should you check your Cars Motor Oil?

Please make a habit of checking your car’s oil level at least every couple of weeks, and always right before a long trip.

This simple practice will prevent your car’s engine from running in extreme temperatures which will eventually cause serious and expensive damage to your engine. In some cases you will VOID your waranty by not performing routine maintenance. like checking your oil weekly.

1) Make sure your car is parked on level ground.

2) Make sure your car has been off for at least 10-15 minutes. (Very Important)

3) Locate “Dipstick”
Most Dipsticks will be located on the right side of the engine block and have a “finger-loop” on the end so you may pull it out. Make sure you aren’t pulling out the Transmission Oil Dipstick.?On some cars, the oil dipstick has an orange handle while the transmission dipstick has a yellow handle. On other makes, both dipsticks have yellow handles, but the transmission dipstick is labeled. On others, both are labeled, yet on some, neither is labeled. The safest way is to note where the dipstick is routed; if it goes into the engine block, it?s the oil dipstick, but if it goes into the tranny, it?s, the transmission dipstick. The Tranny Dipstick should be closer to the windshield (check car manual to be sure).

4)?Wipe the dipstick (from the handle to the tip) with a clean rag or paper towel. The reading you get from pulling the dipstick out the first time isn?t accurate because the motor oil can splash around or wick upward on the dipstick.

5)Reinsert the dipstick. Be sure to push the dipstick all the way back in,
wait for a second, and then remove it again.

Review the level of oil on both sides of the dipstick. Indicators toward the bottom of the stick will let you know if the oil is low, good, or high.

Motor oil gets contaminated several ways, including debris introduced through the air, tiny metal shavings from the engine itself, and combustion by-products. A new oil filter helps eliminate these damaging partices and helps fend off these contaminants so that your motor oil can do its job.

7.?Visually inspect the color and consistency of the oil on the stick. This can help you determine the oil?s current effectiveness. If your oil appears black, thick, gritty, or milky, it might be time for an oil change.

8.?Wipe the dipstick off again and put it completely back into its tube. Make sure it is fully inserted. Close the hood.

9.?If your oil check indicated that oil is low, off-colored, or a strange consistency it might be time for an oil change. Come down to AA Auto Repair, 140 W. Bradley, El Cajon, CA 92020 and we will tell you for certain if your oil is dangerous. It will only take us a few minutes.

 

BRAKE FLUID

How to Locate the Brake Master Cylinder?

The brake master cylinder works as a pump, and it’s the one that pushes brake fluid into each wheel brake assembly to engage the brakes every time you depress the brake pedal. And it also holds the reservoir for the brake fluid. So you need to find this component to check the brake fluid in your car.

If you open the hood, you will find the master cylinder mounted on the brake booster. The brake booster is a large, round component located on the driver’s side of the firewall?back of the engine compartment. Mounted on the booster, you’ll see a small, metal cylinder (the brake master cylinder) with thin metal tubes leading from the cylinder, and a metal or plastic container mounted on top?this is the brake fluid reservoir.

How to Check Brake Fluid

The brake master cylinder is located at the back of the engine compartment.
The brake master cylinder is located at the back of the engine compartment.??This fluid is in charge of transferring pedal braking pressure and movement to the brake assemblies in each wheel.

simple guide helps you check your brake fluid properly and fast. It tells you whether you need to add new fluid, need to replace it, or even spot a potential leak in your system.

 

What you Should I Know About Brake Fluid?

  • It is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture) to protect system components.
  • Has a light yellow color.
  • Lubricates pistons in master cylinder, calipers and wheel cylinders.
  • Lubricates rubber cups in master cylinder and wheel cylinders.
  • Good tolerance to temperature extremes.
  • DOT 3 fluid has a 401F boiling point.
  • DOT 4 fluid has a 446F boiling point.
  • After two or three years in use, moisture contents rise and corrosion begins.
  • Use only brake fluid with a DOT rate recommended by your car manufacturer.

 

 

Brake fluid level should reach the level mark.?|?Source

Checking Brake Fluid Level

Newer vehicle models (mid 1980s and later) use a translucent plastic container for the reservoir above the brake master cylinder. So you don’t need to remove the reservoir’s lid to check brake fluid level. On the reservoir, fluid level should reach between the MIN and MAX fill lines or at the FULL line.

Older vehicle models use a metal container for the reservoir. To check the fluid level, you need to remove the lid.

  • Before you remove the lid off the mastery cylinder reservoir, wipe dust and grease off the lid and reservoir’s body using a clean rag. This will prevent contamination of the system before removing the lid.
  • With the lid off, make a visual inspection of the fluid’s level.
  • If you don’t see a FULL line marked inside the reservoir, check that the fluid level is at about 1/4-inch (6mm) from the top of the container.
  • To add brake fluid to the reservoir, only use the type of fluid recommended by your car manufacturer, usually DOT 3 or DOT 4. You may find this information stated on the reservoir cap itself, your car owner’s manual, or the repair manual for your particular vehicle car make and model. If you don’t have the service manual, buy an inexpensive aftermarket repair manual through your local auto parts store or online.

ANTIFREEZE RADIATOR COOLANT

Wikihow has a great article on changing your radiator fluid. If you ask us it’s easier to have a professional do it and you will be saving yourself mostly the trouble and you won’t have anything go wrong.

The project will take around 3 hours and it’s generally a pain in the butt for any laymen to do.

 

CAR ENGINE MAINTENANCE

Check your Car Battery:

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Check your Car Battery:

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Spark Plugs:

Always replace spark plugs before the recommended service interval. Waiting until the full service cycle could cause them to seize to the cylinder head, making removal difficult. In addition, the wear that occurs during the last 20% of a spark plug?s life will cost you far more in reduced gas mileage than the cost of a new set of plugs

Check your Engine Belts:

1)Listen for squealing sounds from the engine when you drive.?

These sounds likely mean one or more belts are worn, loose or damaged.

2)Check belts for signs of wear.?You need to do more than just visually inspect the belts. Pinch, squeeze and twist them, looking for cracks, fraying, splits or brittle places.

  • On a serpentine belt, also look for missing grooves or places where the belt’s layers have separated.
3)Check your belts for places where the rubber is slick or glazed in appearance.?Slick spots can cause a belt to slip and may be precursors to overheating and cracking.


4)Inspect the pulleys.
?Look for a buildup of rubber deposits, as well as worn spots that could catch the belt and cause it to break.

  • Also check the belts’ alignment on the pulleys. They should line up straight on the pulleys.
5)Check the belt tension.?Check the tension on the longest length of the belt; there should be no more than one-half to one inch (1.25 centimeters to 2.5 centimeters) of give.

    CAR AIR FILTERS & WIPERS

    Windshield Wipers:

    Wiper blades are made out of rubber that can wear out even with limited use. The blades should be inspected regularly and replaced, if needed, about every six months, says Consumer Reports.

    If your blades are cracked, torn or heavily worn, they might not grip the windshield properly and not fully remove mud, rain, sleet or snow. Wiper blades can take a beating during winter months, and since conditions and vehicles can vary, you may consider checking your vehicle?s owner?s manual and the information that comes with your wiper blades for guidance.

    How to change your Cars Wiper Blades?

    Changing your wiper blades is typically a simple task. If you?re not confident about your skills, it may be a good idea to leave it to the professionals ? it?s often done when you take your car in for an oil change. But, if you want to do it yourself, Cars.com provides these steps:

    Determine the blade size. Measure the wiper blade length or check your car?s owner?s manual for the correct blade size.
    Remove the old wiper. Lift the wiper arm away from the windshield and depress the small tab on the underside of the wiper where it meets the wiper arm. Slide the wiper blade off the arm by pulling downward.

    Attach the new wiper blade. Pull the wiper blade tight onto the arm. You will hear a clicking sound when it locks into place. Lower the arm slowly back onto the windshield and repeat this process on the other wiper arm.

    Test. Run the wipers to see if they are working properly. It?s better to do it now instead of finding out they aren?t installed correctly during the middle of a downpour.

    Windshield Wipers:

    Wiper blades are made out of rubber that can wear out even with limited use. The blades should be inspected regularly and replaced, if needed, about every six months, says Consumer Reports.

    If your blades are cracked, torn or heavily worn, they might not grip the windshield properly and not fully remove mud, rain, sleet or snow. Wiper blades can take a beating during winter months, and since conditions and vehicles can vary, you may consider checking your vehicle?s owner?s manual and the information that comes with your wiper blades for guidance.How to change your Cars Wiper Blades?

    Changing your wiper blades is typically a simple task. If you?re not confident about your skills, it may be a good idea to leave it to the professionals ? it?s often done when you take your car in for an oil change. But, if you want to do it yourself, Cars.com provides these steps:

    Determine the blade size. Measure the wiper blade length or check your car?s owner?s manual for the correct blade size.
    Remove the old wiper. Lift the wiper arm away from the windshield and depress the small tab on the underside of the wiper where it meets the wiper arm. Slide the wiper blade off the arm by pulling downward.

    Attach the new wiper blade. Pull the wiper blade tight onto the arm. You will hear a clicking sound when it locks into place. Lower the arm slowly back onto the windshield and repeat this process on the other wiper arm.

    Test. Run the wipers to see if they are working properly. It?s better to do it now instead of finding out they aren?t installed correctly during the middle of a downpour.

    Changing your Cars Air Filter:

    When to Change an Air Filter in a Car?

    There is a somewhat general rule that you need to change out your air filter every 30,000 miles, but honestly this is just a rough estimate, and what really matters is what type of driving you do. If you find yourself driving on a lot of dirt roads or putting your car under high levels of stress, then you need to be checking your air filter more often. To be safe, check your air filter once to twice a year to make sure it is operating properly. Below is a list of the top signs to look out for that will give you a hint of when it?s time to switch that sucker out.

    1. Your car has issues with acceleration.
    2. You are noticing the RPM is higher than usual.
    3. You do a visual inspection of your air filter and it is extremely dirty.

    Determine the blade size. Measure the wiper blade length or check your car?s owner?s manual for the correct blade size, or use the link in the first article on the page.
    Remove the old wiper. Lift the wiper arm away from the windshield and depress the small tab on the underside of the wiper where it meets the wiper arm. Slide the wiper blade off the arm by pulling downward.

    Attach the new wiper blade. Pull the wiper blade tight onto the arm. You will hear a clicking sound when it locks into place. Lower the arm slowly back onto the windshield and repeat this process on the other wiper arm.

    Test. Run the wipers to see if they are working properly. It?s better to do it now instead of finding out they aren?t installed correctly during the middle of a downpour.

    How To Replace Your Car’s Air Filter

    Below are the steps you must take in order to replace your engine air filter. These steps are relatively simple, and the whole process shouldn?t take very long at all. Just make sure you pay close attention!

    1. Filters are relatively cheap, normally under $20, and are pretty easy to purchase either online or in an auto store. There are some high end brands that can go up to $50, but these are extremely high performance, and not really necessary if you aren?t doing a lot of heavy stress driving.
    2. Put the car in park, turn off the ignition, and put the hood of your car up.?Make sure that you have secured the bonnet so that the hood does not fall on your head while you are working!
    3. Find the air filter cover, and remove it.?The cover is normally held down by either clips or screws, but as long as you have a screwdriver near you, these should be easy enough to remove. You can usually find your air filter cover between your engine and the front grill.
    4. Now it?s time to take out the old air filter.?This is usually as simple as just lifting the filter up or out.
    5. Clean old filter??If you take out your old filter and see that it is not terribly dirty, you can clean it and reinsert it if you wish. To do this, all you have to do is use an air hose attached to an air compressor to blow? away any dirt or debris that is attached to the filter.
    6. Insert the new filter.?If you decide the new filter is necessary, all you have to do is insert it into the area that held the previous filter. Make sure that the rubber or plastic rimming on the filter is facing upward and that it is sealed to the edges of the air filter house.
    7. Re-attach the air filter cover.?This should be done using the screws or clips referenced earlier in these directions.
    8. Close the hood, and be sure to check up on your air filter one to two times a year!

     

    CAR WASHING & CLEANING

    Check your Car Battery:

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    Washing Your Car - Right Way:

    Automatic car washes are well and good, but they sometimes utilize harmful tools or poor techniques, all of which will fail at preserving the shine and color of your paint. This is particularly true if your car has a darker shade of paint.

    The Darker Paint Colors demand a lot of time and money in terms of washing, polishing, and waxing. The problem with dark paint jobs is the presence of swirl marks in the finish. Light-colored paint jobs have a different problem to deal with: yellowing.

    How do you Get Swirl Marks on your Cars Paint job?
    Swirl Marks?are caused by improper washing and wiping techniques, such as wiping the paint with a dry towel when the surface is dry or dusty or wiping the surface using a dirty towel.

    Why does my car have yellow marks in the paint?
    Yellowing of the paint is caused by oxidation. If you have a white car and you don?t clean it often, or if you let a week?s worth of mud and dirt baking in the paint, then the surface will turn yellowish due to oxidation damage.

    To avoid both of these use proper types of towels and methods. Oh…and?wash your car properly at least once a week and to wax or polish the paint at least once every three months.

    How do I wash my Car? (Pre-Checklist)

    1. Never wash your car under the hot sun. Always wash your car in a shaded area or garage. If you don?t have access to a garage, you should wash your car at dusk or when the sun is about to set.

    2. Let the paint surface cool before washing the car. If you just came from a long drive, you should allow the car to cool down for at least an hour before proceeding.

    3. If your car, truck or SUV is extremely dirty, you should hose off all the excess dirt from the wheels and paint before using car shampoo. Grab a small terry cloth towel and hose off all the excess mud and dirt while wiping them off from the paint. Do not wipe a dry paint surface. Rinse the towel and repeat. This will prevent minor scratches and swirl marks.

    4. Use a separate bucket of soapy water to clean the wheels and tires. You should also use a separate brush or cloth to scrub the wheels. Many people say that you should clean the wheels first before washing the body, but it all boils down to preference. The important thing to remember is to use a separate set of materials to clean the wheels and the body.

    5. Avoid using dish soap or harsh detergents. These products will strip away the wax that protects your paint from UV damage and oxidation. Dish soap will also dry out all the plastic and rubber parts in your car (wiper blades, door and glass seals, headlights and taillights, etc.), which will lead to early degradation. Only use dish soap to remove tire blooming, but do not wash the paint finish using dish soap.

    For the Detailed Method with pictures feel free to Read this Car Washing Article that AA Auto Repair & Tires approves of.

    AUTO REPAIR SERVICE

    In El Cajon, CA

    Providing Superior Auto Repair in El Cajon, CA for close to 30 years!

    We handle all your Domestic and Foreign Car problems. No job is too big or too small. Our highly skilled mechanics are there for you.

    Bring us your tough car problems and we will be able to find an economical solution for you and your family.

    CAR MAINTENANCE

    In El Cajon, CA

    Save thousands of dollars by making sure your car is kept in tip-top condition. By performing routine maintenance on your car you will save time and most importantly your hard earned cash.

    If you are hessitant to work on your car ask one of our technicians about our Car Maintenance Quarterly Service. This service provides top to bottom routine inspections for your car!