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Shake It Up in Ca!: Why Wheel Balancing

May 25, 2015

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Our vehicles are not massage chairs. While we may enjoy a good vibration in an overstuffed recliner, us Ca car owners generally want as smooth a ride as possible in our vehicles. One way to achieve this is to keep a vehicle’s wheels in balance.

When a tire is mounted onto a wheel, it is usually out of balance. This means that as the wheel spins, there is a slight wobble to the path of the tire. For best handling performance and safety on the road, Ca car owners want to minimize this wobble as much as possible. So we balance our tires. To balance a tire, your thoughtful Reliable Automotive tech spins it on a machine or drum to determine where it is off-balance. He then attaches weights that counter-balance the uneven weight. Most Ca drivers are surprised at how much balancing improves the smoothness of their ride.

High-quality tires generally hold their balance well. But over time, wear and tear take their toll and tires can become unbalanced. Ca drivers can tell when a front tire is unbalanced if they feel a vibration in the steering wheel. If a back tire is unbalanced, you’ll feel a vibration in your seat. You may not notice these vibrations until they get fairly serious — or until someone else drives your SUV — because they usually develop slowly. If a vibration starts abruptly, it usually means you’ve lost a balancing weight.

The average tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 mph. When a tire is out of balance, it actually hops down the freeway, rather than rolling. So at 60 mph it is slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s what creates the dangerous vibration. When Ca auto owners’ tires are out of balance, they wear out more quickly. The lack of balance also causes extra wear on shocks, struts, steering components and essential suspension parts.

Getting a balance job at Reliable Automotive in Ca can prevent expensive repair bills and even an accident. It will improve the safety of your SUV as well as its handling performance, and it will improve your fuel economy. When you change your rims or get a flat repaired at Reliable Automotive, you’ll need to get your tires balanced as well. When you rotate your tires, you may want to have them balanced as well.

Some Ca vehicle owners, however, only balance their wheels every other rotation. You can check your owner’s manual to see what the recommends for your SUV. Balancing your tires is part of critical preventive maintenance. It keeps your vehicle in good repair and prevents damage to many of its components, including some pricey ones. So practice good car care and make it a point to keep your tires balanced. It’s quality auto advice from Reliable Automotive. Massages chairs may vibrate away our worries, but unbalanced tires will just rattle Ca car owners’ nerves.



Ca Tire Repair

May 25, 2015

Most Ca drivers have experienced a flat tire. You know it’s inconvenient and a pain. Our tires are important. Keeping them in good working order isn’t just a big safety issue for Antioch drivers – it also has a financial impact. With high Ca gas prices, we’ve all heard about the importance of keeping proper tire pressure to get the best possible fuel economy. In addition, proper inflation promotes even tread wear so your tires last longer.

There’s another danger to under-inflated tires for Ca auto owners. Low tire pressure puts added stress on the structure of the tire itself, causing it to break down prematurely. Also, under-inflated tires generate more heat which also reduces tire life. So get those slow leaks fixed quickly – don’t just keep airing them up every few days. You want to avoid pricey tire damage.

Tires can also be damaged by road hazards in and around Ca. Punctures, cuts and unfortunate encounters with curbs or potholes can also cause damage that could lead to tire failure. Sometimes, it’s something that a diagnostic examination would reveal. Try to remember to check your tires when you’re pumping fuel. Look for slashes, missing chunks, nails or screws in the tread or just uneven wear. Of course check the air pressure too.

Now tire damage can be on the inside where Ca car owners can’t see it until it’s removed from the wheel. Such damage could come from a severe impact, driving on a flat around Antioch or even just low pressure. Some punctures can cause internal damage that is too extreme to be repaired. You may see our Reliable Automotive tire professionals take the time to remove your flat from the rim and inspect the inside before repairing it, which means we’re just following best practices.

Of course, some tires just can’t be repaired at your Ca service center or Reliable Automotive. A puncture may be too large to plug. Also, the puncture could be in a location that’s not safe to repair like in the sidewall or outer portion of the tread. So called run-flat tires should not be repaired because their design is such that internal damage can’t be detected by a visual inspection by your thoughtful Reliable Automotive service specialist.

Ca drivers should only hire qualified tire professionals to perform repairs – we have a whole team of them at Reliable Automotive. Antioch folks can buy self repair kits, but we advise you to save those for emergencies, like when you’re off-roading and need a quick fix so you can hobble back to Ca civilization and get professional help. If you need to use a repair-in-a-can product, remember it’s a temporary measure only and your tire needs to be properly repaired as soon as possible.

Here are some other considerations: A DIY flat repair may void your tire manufacturer’s warranty – just something to keep in mind. Also, if you repair a speed rated tire, you should not use it in any motorsports or operate it above legal speed limits. Your thoughtful Reliable Automotive tire specialist will repair your tire whenever it’s safe to do so and he’ll advise you when it’s better to replace it. So watch those curbs and keep the air – on the inside.

Reliable Automotive
3291 East 18th Street
Ca, Antioch 94509
925.777.9234

At Reliable Automotive we install quality NAPA replacement parts.



Give Your Engine Clean Fuel With A New Fuel Filter From Reliable Automotive

May 25, 2015

Your SUV requires plenty of clean fuel to run. If your fuel contains contaminants, your fuel injectors will eventually become clogged up. When this happens, your SUV engine may not get the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure to run at peak performance. This hurts fuel efficiency and performance as you drive around Antioch. It can also lead to the buildup of harmful deposits on valves and in the combustion chamber.

That’s why all vehicles, including SUVs, come equipped with a fuel filter somewhere between the engine and the fuel tank. Give Your Engine Clean Fuel With A New Fuel Filter From Reliable AutomotiveThe job of the filter is to clean out little pieces of dirt and contamination. The filter captures the contaminants and keeps them out of the fuel stream. Of course, like all filters, it will eventually get clogged up and need to be replaced at Reliable Automotive in Ca .

If your fuel filter is clogged, the SUV engine can’t get all the fuel it needs, and it may sputter at high speeds or quick acceleration. Many fuel filters have a bypass valve that will allow unfiltered fuel through when they are clogged. This keeps your SUV engine running, but doesn’t protect it from harmful contaminated fuel.

Ca auto owners may find that they need to change their fuel filter at Reliable Automotive more frequently as their SUV ages. Over the years, additional sediment and harmful rust accumulates in the fuel tank and can be drawn into the fuel system. Your fuel filter stands guard at the gates to your engine to protect pricey parts and to maintain performance and fuel efficiency.



Does Your Car Have A Recall Item?

May 25, 2015

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 car maker to issue recall notices to Ca residents and to fix the affected cars free of charge. The car maker then tries to contact all Ca car owners who own that type of car so they can have it taken care of at their Ca service center.

To find out if your car has any recall issues, give us a call:
Reliable Automotive
3291 East 18th Street Ca, Antioch 94509
925.777.9234

These recalls always affect safety, so Ca car owners 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 Ca auto owners and don’t happen all that often. But sometimes cars have less serious problems that Ca car owners still might want to know about. For these less serious cases, auto manufacturers issue what is known as a Technical Service Bulletin – or TSB. These bulletins tell Ca service centers (including Reliable Automotive) how to repair a problem that occurs frequently or is especially difficult.

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

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



Go Big or Go Home: Upsize Your Wheels at Reliable Automotive

May 25, 2015

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A lot of us Ca drivers like our vehicles to reflect our personalities. We’re picky about color and body style. We’ll customize anything from floor mats to window tints to license plates. One popular way for Antioch car owners to customize a vehicle is to get new wheels.

Wheels come in thousands of designs. Custom wheels can add personality, style or sass to a vehicle. Many of these customizations involve getting a bigger wheel.

Fifteen or sixteen-inch wheels used to be the factory standard, But today, because a lot of Ca motorists like the look of larger wheels, many vehicles are available with seventeen or eighteen-inch wheels. Optional wheel packages of twenty inches or more are also available in Ca.

If you want to upsize the wheels on your current vehicle, however, you should know it’s not a do-it-yourself project. There are essential factors involved in ensuring your wheel change doesn’t jeopardize the safety of your vehicle.

First of all, it’s vital for Antioch car owners to understand rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is the overall height of a tire. If you increase the rolling diameter of your tires when you upsize your wheels, you may have to modify your suspension to make sure the larger tires fit in the space and don’t rub in turns or over bumps. If that’s more work than you’re willing to do or pay for, then you need to maintain rolling diameter when you change your wheels.

It’s not as hard for Ca car owners as it sounds. Imagine a doughnut. That doughnut represents rolling diameter, so you can’t make the doughnut bigger. However, you can increase the size of the doughnut hole. That gives you a bigger wheel. Tires with reduced sidewall on larger wheels will preserve your rolling diameter.

Rolling diameter is key because your wheels and tires still need to fit inside the wheel well. Also, your speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brakes are all programmed to work with a specific rolling diameter. You’ll throw off the readings on your speedometer and odometer if you change your rolling diameter. And for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, your rolling diameter has to be within 3% of factory recommendations. While some Ca auto owners who upsize may not be concerned about meter readings, throwing off the brake system is a serious safety hazard.

Further, many vehicles in Ca are now equipped with electronically controlled suspensions. Changing the rolling diameter will negatively affect this system as well, which can lead to a less smooth ride and lower handling performance as well as harmful safety concerns.

Your thoughtful Reliable Automotive tire professional may be able to reprogram your vehicle’s computer to adjust for a larger (or smaller) rolling diameter.

So to maintain rolling diameter, you’ll need tires with a shorter sidewall. These tires will be designed to give the sidewalls the strength they need to maintain ride quality. Consider that doughnut again. As the wheel (the doughnut hole) gets bigger, the sidewall of the tire (the width of remaining doughnut) gets shorter. That means the tire holds less air. The sidewalls have to be made stiffer to compensate for the decreased air capacity.

To improve their strength, the shorter tires will also be slightly wider than your previous tires. But this means you’ll have a larger contact patch, or, in other words, a larger area of tire making contact with the road. This can actually increase your handling performance and decrease braking distances. Many Antioch auto buffs customize their wheels just for this reason—they want the improved performance rather than looks or style. If you drive a truck or an SUV around Ca, you might be interested in the extra control an upsized wheel can provide.

Now, that larger contact patch still has to fit inside your wheel well without rubbing when cornering or when bouncing over bumps or potholes on Ca roads. This is termed fitment, and you may need a few important adjustments so your new wheels will fit properly. You may need spacers so that your brakes will fit inside the new wheels, as well.

Reliable Automotive tire professionals are experts at mounting, adjusting and customizing wheels. They can give you a lot of good auto advice about wheels and tires and how they affect driving performance and car care. They can help Ca motorists select wheels and tires that will suit their driving needs and habits.

For example, if you drive off-road around Antioch, you should consider a higher profile tire. This type of tire will protect your rims from pricey damage while you’re bouncing over rocks. Or, if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads around Antioch, you’ll want a tire with a load rating equal to your demands. Your thoughtful Reliable Automotive tire professional can help you with these types of concerns.

Once you’ve got your new wheels, have your thoughtful Reliable Automotive tech inspect to see if you need an alignment. You don’t want those new wheels and your higher performance compromised by poor alignment. Get the most out of your investment by getting the work done right at Reliable Automotive in Ca.

Last but not least, remember tire pressure. With larger wheels, your new tires will hold less air and they’ll need slightly higher pressure. You’ll need to stay on top of key preventive maintenance and keep them properly inflated. Be sure to inspect their pressure at least once a week. If you don’t keep your tires at their correct pressure, they will wear out really fast. It will also cut down your braking and handling performance.

So smile and show off your vehicle around Antioch. Make it all yours. Bumper stickers, vanity license plates, custom wheels — strut your stuff!



Steer Right In Antioch

May 25, 2015

Virtually all vehicles come with power steering so many Ca motorists have never driven a car or truck without it. Power steering assists you when you turn your SUV steering wheel. Without it, it would be very hard to steer.

Now this power assist comes in a couple of forms. In recent years, a lot of Antioch vehicles have an electric motor that reduces steering effort and helps improve gas mileage.

The other kind of power steering is hydraulic. This is the kind most older Antioch vehicles, and a lot of newer ones, have. Power steering fluid is pressurized by a pump and is used to assist steering. Of course, Antioch drivers need the right amount of fluid in the system. If it’s too low your steering is affected and you could damage your SUV pump.

Also, power steering fluid can become corrosive over time and damage the pump, hoses and connectors; leading to leaks and repairs. Power steering service at Reliable Automotive in Ca includes removing the contaminated fluid and replacing it with fresh fluid.

A word for Ca auto owners about power steering pumps: Some are powered by an electric motor. Others are driven by the serpentine belt. A worn serpentine belt stresses all of the SUV components it drives, including the power steering pump, so replace the belt at Reliable Automotive as advised to avoid undue repairs.

Losing your power steering while driving in Ca can be unsettling – just remember that you can still steer, it’ll just be harder. Check with your thoughtful Reliable Automotive service specialist to see if it’s time to service your SUV power steering system.

In addition to power steering service, at Reliable Automotive we offer comprehensive automotive services including alignment, tire rotation and alignment.

Give us a call

Reliable Automotive
925.777.9234
3291 East 18th Street
Ca, Antioch 94509



The Harm In Skipping An Oil Change For Ca Drivers

May 25, 2015

People in Ca have been hearing a lot about higher oil change intervals these days. Maybe you’re wondering: What are the key issues?

Some new vehicle manufacturers in Ca are now recommending much higher oil change intervals than they have in the past. As much as 5,000 to 8,000 miles or more. This practice came under scrutiny when four of the largest new car manufacturers announced that owners like those in Ca were experiencing engine damage resulting from these higher oil change intervals.

The manufacturers’ standard oil drain service for particular vehicles was scheduled at around 7,500 miles. People following these recommendations were experiencing engine damage. It turns out that oil sludge was building up. This caused small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail.

What causes oil sludge? It’s a factor of time and mileage. There are hot spots in every engine that cause oil burn off that leads to sludge. Also, water from normal condensation can build up in the oil. This water also creates sludge. Severe driving conditions lead to more rapid sludge formation.

Visit Reliable Automotive in Ca, Antioch 94509

Severe driving around Ca includes short trips under four miles or trips under ten miles in freezing conditions. The engine just doesn’t get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate.

Severe conditions are at the heart of the problem. Stop-and-go driving, towing, dusty conditions, heavy loads, very hot or very cold temperatures, a car top carrier – these are all conditions that would suggest that the severe service schedule should be considered.

The severe service schedule has much shorter oil change intervals. People in Ca just need to honestly evaluate how they drive to determine if they should change their oil closer to the severe service schedule, or to the standard schedule.

Some types of SUV will give oil change reminders. But it’s important to know how that reminder is determined. For some, the reminder simply comes when the standard mileage interval has rolled around. Others use a computer algorithm that takes into consideration the number of cold starts, trip length, engine temperature and so on. It’s programmed to approximate where on the standard/severe service spectrum you fall. Some more expensive vehicles actually have sensors that test the cleanliness and effectiveness of the oil.

For the rest of us, better safe than sorry should be the guiding principle. Talk with your Ca service advisor at Reliable Automotive and work it out together. Find out what kind of oil the factory sends out in your vehicle. Sometimes it’s a premium grade that costs more than standard oil – but it may be what’s needed to meet a higher factory recommended interval.

If you’re realistically conservative, standard grades of oil will take care of you year after year. If you want to push the limits, ask for a premium grade oil to give you extra protection.

So, what happened with those manufacturers with the problems from higher oil change intervals? They ended up extending the engine warranty for parts that were affected by oil sludge. But they had a stipulation – they lowered the oil change interval and the vehicle owner had to provide proof of oil changes at the new lower interval to keep the extended warranty.



Engine Air Filter From Reliable Automotive

May 25, 2015

Many Ca drivers have found themselves in the following situation: they go to get their oil changed and their thoughtful Reliable Automotive tech recommends a new engine air filter. They say yes, but don’t know what an air filter is or what it does.

If this has happened to you, rest assured that you did the right thing by getting a new one. But you should never be too embarrassed to ask your Reliable Automotive service specialist for more information. It’s your income and you have a right to understand what you’re paying for.

Let’s review: “What does an air filter do??”:

Air is the focus of this discussion. What is the air like outside in Ca right now? Can you see any smog? Is it full of pollen? How about dust? Anyone in Antioch with hay fever can tell you that there’s plenty in the air that you can’t see. Well, the engine air filter’s vital job is to clean that air before it goes into your SUV engine, to mix with the fuel and be burned. Without an engine air filter, the inside of your SUV engine would be extremely dirty from all the gunk that was burned in the cylinders.

In fact, for every gallon of gas you burn, your SUV engine needs 12,000 gallons of air. That little filter does a very big job. It’s no wonder that the air filter gets dirty and needs to be replaced. Think about a vacuum cleaner. When the bag gets full of dust and dirt, the vacuum doesn’t clean as well. It can’t move enough air to create good suction. A clogged engine air filter is the same way – the SUV engine can’t get enough air to burn the fuel efficiently. That means less power and reduced gas mileage.

That’s why your vehicle manufacturer has recommended that you change your filter at regular intervals. Of course the Ca conditions you drive in will affect how quickly the filter gets dirty. If you drive in Antioch where it’s very dusty or where there’s lots of pollen or pollution, you may need to change the filter sooner. The filter is easy to check visually, so your thoughtful Reliable Automotive service specialist can quickly make the call. He might recommend immediate replacement, or simply let you know that it is getting close and that you’ll need to replace it soon – like at your next oil change.

Because a severely dirty SUV air filter hurts your fuel efficiency, many Ca car owners find that a new air filter pays for itself in better fuel efficiency before the next oil change. They also make premium air filters that have been proven to increase your horsepower and torque. If more power is important to you, a high performance air filter is some of the cheapest horsepower you can buy.

The better your car breathes, the better it runs – kind of like Ca people. And don’t worry – if you have a question or don’t understand a recommendation just ask your Reliable Automotive technician.

3291 East 18th Street
Ca, Antioch 94509
925.777.9234



The Reliable Automotive Guide To Tire Specs

May 25, 2015

You know you need new tires, 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 Ca 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 Ca auto owners. 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 Ca 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 performance tires will have a lower number.

The R signifies it’s a radial tire. And 16 is the rim or wheel size in inches.

The 92 is the load rating index – it’s the load carrying capacity of a tire. The higher the number, the more it can safely carry. Your empty SUV can be safe with a lower number, but you’ll need a higher rating if you routinely haul heavy loads around Ca. The next letter is the speed rating. Not all tires sold in Ca are speed rated. The ratings generally follow the alphabet: the further up the alphabet, the higher the speed rating – with the exception of H – it comes between U and V (don’t ask why).

There’s a lot of fine print that most Antioch motorists probably need a magnifying glass to read. But there are a couple of other large print items of interest. One is the tread type: highway, mud and snow, all season, severe snow, etc.

And then there’re the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System markings. The first is a tread wear index. 100 is the base line – a lower number is poorer and a higher number is better. All things being equal, a tire rated 200 would wear twice as long, on a government test track, than one rated at 100. These wear grades are only valid within the vehicle manufacturer’s product line – Ca car owners can’t compare with other vehicle manufacturers. And it’s essential to note that a lower rating might be just what you want – a high performance, sticky tire has a softer rubber compound and won’t wear as long, but boy, will it take those corners on twisting Antioch roads.

The next is a traction grade. This measures the tire’s ability to stop on wet pavement in government tests. A – the best, B – intermediate, C – acceptable.

Temperature grade measures a tire’s resistance to heat build up in government tests. A, B and C – from best to acceptable.

It’s safe for Ca motorists to go with the car maker’s original equipment recommendations that came on your car. But if you want to make adjustments, you’ll now be better equipped to communicate with your thoughtful Reliable Automotive tire professional.



Introduction to Diesels for Ca, Antioch

May 25, 2015

Something you’re going to be hearing a lot about around Ca, Antioch is diesel engines. We’re not talking about semi-trucks and buses – We’re talking about diesel engine cars, pick-ups and SUVs.

Most people in Ca, Antioch are surprised to learn that around half the cars on the road in Europe have diesel engines. Nearly all import auto makers offer a range of diesel engines abroad – even the ultra-luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW. For the most part, these diesel engines haven’t been available in Ca, Antioch. But that’s about to change.

In the past, North American diesel fuel has had a much higher sulfur content than European fuel. Recent environmental laws have required changes in diesel formulation and emissions standards here in Ca, Antioch so we are now ready to start seeing more diesel options offered to Ca car owners over the next few years.

Why are so many Ca car owners interested in diesel engines? Well first off, diesel fuel is more energy dense. There’s more power in a barrel of diesel fuel than there is in a barrel of gasoline. The result? Better performance and improved fuel efficiency.

Diesel powered vehicles get about 20 percent better gas mileage. And as for power – why do you think that the majority of new heavy duty pick-up trucks are being sold in Ca with diesel engines?

If you think back to the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, you may shudder when you think of the diesel powered cars of the day – noisy, smoky, under-powered beasts that rattled and shook their passengers. Modern diesels sold in Antioch have evolved considerably.

They are quiet, clean – and powerful. They’re so refined that many Ca drivers can’t even tell they’re riding in a diesel powered SUV. In addition to fuel savings, diesels generally last longer than gasoline engines because of their heavy duty construction.

Another thing the Ca green crowd takes advantage of is the use of bio-diesel in diesel vehicles. Bio-diesel is made from vegetable oil – even recycled cooking oil from Ca restaurants. There is a lot of buzz about Hybrid cars in Antioch. Look to diesel-electric hybrids in years to come to make a good idea even better.

Every year, auto makers introduce new diesel models. Look for diesels in domestic light trucks, SUVs and passenger cars. Import auto manufacturers have plans to bring more of their outstanding diesel engines to Ca, Antioch as well.

New Ca diesel owners need to know that properly maintaining a diesel engine is somewhat different than a gasoline engine. Fluid change intervals are different. Emissions control devices have to work harder to filter diesel fuel and to scrub the exhaust so you will need to pay attention to that. And the fuel injection system operates at much higher pressures than gas fuel injection systems, so it’s vital to keep your fuel system clean with a diesel.

The good news is that Reliable Automotive in Ca is keeping up with the new diesel technology and will be able to advise you on maintaining your diesel.

When we tell you to look for more diesels on Ca streets, you won’t be looking for smoky tail pipes as a clue. You also won’t be listening for that familiar big rig rattle. And, you certainly won’t be waiting for them at the stoplight, because modern diesels are as quick as their gasoline counterparts.

From all of us at AutoNetTV, ten four, good buddy.



CONTACT US

auto shop repair
  • Reliable Auto & Diesel Repair

    3291 E18th Street
    Antioch, CA 94531

  • Phone: (925) 777-9234

  • Feel free to call or email us to schedule your next appointment.

    Business Hours

    Monday - Friday
    8:30AM - 5:00PM

    Saturday
    10:00AM - 4:00PM

    Sunday - Closed

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