Considering an Alternative Fuel Vehicle In Antioch?May 25, 2015
There is a clear and vocal demand in Ca and nationally for a reduction in air pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. This is what is driving the Antioch market for alternative fuel vehicles. There are a number of these vehicles on Antioch area roads today, and many more being developed. Yet each of these vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages. Ca motorists should learn what these advantages and disadvantages are before running out and purchasing one of these alternative fuel vehicles at your nearest Antioch dealership.
Antioch auto owners should carefully research the car care before buying an alternative vehicle, as it may or may not coincide with the standards for gasoline vehicles. You should look at costs and fuel efficiency as well: these vehicles may help save our environment here in Ca, but that might not represent a savings to your wallet. You’ll need to decide what you can afford, and what will work for your lifestyle. Also, your choice of vehicle may be affected by what fuels are available in your Antioch area. Switching to an alternative fuel vehicle is not a bad decision, but it should be a carefully considered one.
Flex Fuel Vehicles
Flex fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on a combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Because of the 85% ethanol content, this fuel is commonly called E85 in Antioch.
Ethanol is made from corn. So flex fuel vehicles lessen our dependency on fossil fuels. But they also raise the price of corn, which is a basic foodstuff in some areas of the world. Whether replacing fossil fuels with corn is a good idea is hotly contested right now.
Flex fuel vehicles do have lower harmful exhaust emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles. And in Antioch, E85 is usually lower in cost than regular gasoline. When gasoline prices fall in Antioch, however, they can drop below the price of E85. This is to Ca motorists’ advantage, since the vehicle can run on either fuel, but it negates the benefits of lowered exhaust emissions and lower consumption of fossil fuels.
One piece of Reliable Automotive auto advice before we move on: do not put E85 into your SUV unless it has an engine designed for flex fuels. Because of the high ethanol content in E85, engines need special seals and gaskets to function properly on this fuel. Running an ordinary engine with E85 can lead to gas leaks and fires.
Diesel engines are nothing new on Antioch expressways, and many get great MPG. Diesel fuel can now be made from vegetable oil and other renewable sources. A diesel fuel made from algae will soon be on the market in Antioch.
Natural gas is less expensive than gasoline in Ca and burns more cleanly. Also, gasoline engines can be adapted to run on compressed natural gas, and many natural gas vehicles are already on Antioch roads. You can even install a special pump in your home gas line to use to fuel your vehicle. If you are interested in converting your gasoline engine to run on CNG in Ca, ask your Reliable Automotive service advisor about it.
On the other hand, an engine running on natural gas is not as powerful as one running on gasoline, and it will get lower gas mileage. Also, the tank you need to store natural gas is large—it takes up nearly the entire trunk of your car. Further, refueling stations are still few and far between in some Antioch areas, or even unavailable, in many parts of the country.
Another alternative fuel that has enjoyed a lot of hype in Antioch is the hydrogen cell. The natural appeal is that the only exhaust is water vapor. In other words, hydrogen represents a truly clean-burning fuel. But hydrogen vehicles won’t come into widespread use until refueling stations become widely available here in Ca and around the country.
Electric vehicles were all the rage in Antioch some years ago. But their limitations were quickly realized by Ca car owners. These vehicles won’t come into their own until we find ways to improve their batteries. Currently, the cars have a short range before their power runs out, and can only be realistically used close to home. However, they are easy to recharge, since they can be plugged in at home, and there are many researchers working on improving the battery technology in these vehicles. They may yet be the vehicles of the future.
Hybrids have been one of the most successful alternative fuel vehicles here in Ca and throughout the county. A hybrid gets its name because it has both a gas or diesel engine and an electric motor.
There are two types of hybrids. The full-hybrid relies on the electric motor for power, but the gas (or diesel) engine generates power for the battery. Thus, while still consuming fossil fuels, it uses less of them than a standard automobile, and also reduces harmful pollutants. Also, it overcomes the range problem of the strictly electric vehicle.
In a mild hybrid, the electric motor assists the gas or diesel engine in powering the car. Thus, it uses more gasoline or diesel than full hybrids and has higher emissions. But mild hybrids are available in larger body models like full-size pickups and SUV’s.
A Note of Caution about Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
One last note before we leave the subject of alternative fuel vehicles. The battery in an electric or hybrid vehicle is not as tame as the one in a standard vehicle. They carry enough voltage to kill you. These are not do-it-yourself vehicles when it comes to preventive maintenance or car care. Only a trained technician should work under their hoods.
Keeping Your ‘Old Faithful’ Auto RunningMay 25, 2015
At Reliable Automotive we’ve had a lot of Ca, Bethel Island, and Antioch 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 Antioch. 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 Antioch folks are putting off buying a new car. Thanks to AutoNetTV, we can provide you with a video answer to this essential question.
So let’s say you’re one of the average motorists in the Antioch 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 Ca. 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 bright Ca auto owners 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 Ca motorists 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 Reliable Automotive in Ca, for example, leaves an opportunity for harmful sludge to build up. Talk to your thoughtful Reliable Automotive 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 Ca are sticklers for scheduled maintenance. They know that money spent on maintenance saves them three ways:
1. it keeps gas mileage from decreasing;
2. it prevents expensive repairs, and;
3. they can postpone purchasing new vehicles.
Having the oil changed may be the most critical thing motorists can do. A full-service oil change at Reliable Automotive means that all of your other fluids get topped off so they are never low enough to cause damage. It also gives your thoughtful Reliable Automotive tech a chance to spot problems in the early stages so that you can fix them before they get expensive. 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 Ca 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 service specialist at Reliable Automotive. 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 Reliable Automotive strongly encourages Ca auto owners 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 Ca 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 Antioch. 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:
3291 East 18th Street
Ca, Antioch 94509
How Much is Enough for Antioch Auto Owners? Tire Tread DepthMay 25, 2015
Most Antioch car owners know that tires wear out and that the wear has to do with tread depth. Most of us have heard that “bald” tires are dangerous, but most of us picture a tire with no tread at all when we think of a bald tire. And when we take our vehicles in for preventive maintenance, the technician tells us they’re need to be replaced long before all the tread is worn off. Just how much tire tread wear is too much? And how can you tell? Tires are pricey and their condition is important to the safe handling of a vehicle, so it’s vital for Antioch motorists to know the answers to these questions.
First of all, it’s important to understand that there may be a legal limit to tread wear. If your tires are worn past this limit, you have to replace them to be in compliance with Antioch auto safety laws. That’s why measuring your tread wear is part of a vehicle safety inspection.
In some jurisdictions, tread must be at least 1.6 millimeters or 2/32 of an inch thick. This standard has been in effect since 1968. But this standard has recently been called into question, and some Ca drivers are arguing that it be changed.
The safety issue that has brought this standard under scrutiny is the ability of a vehicle to stop on a wet surface. When a vehicle has trouble stopping, most Ca drivers immediately look at the brakes as the source of the problem. But tires are crucial to safe stopping distances because they provide the traction required in a stop.
A tire’s contact with the road surface creates traction, which allows for effective braking. On a wet surface, a tire only has traction if it can get to the road’s surface. So tire tread is designed to channel water out from under the tire to allow it to stay in contact with the road. If the tire can’t shift the water, then it starts to “float.” This condition is called hydroplaning. It is very dangerous for Ca motorists since the vehicle won’t stop no matter how hard the driver presses the brakes. Steering control is also lost.
A recent study tested the stopping ability of a passenger car and a full-sized pick-up on a road surface covered with only a dime’s depth of water (less than a millimeter). The vehicles were traveling at 70 mph (112 kph) when they stopped on the wet surface. At 2/32 tread depth, the stopping distance was double that of a new tire. The passenger car was still traveling at 55 mph when it reached the stopping distance it experienced with new tires.
Let’s suppose that you’re on a busy Antioch freeway in a light drizzle and a vehicle stops suddenly in front of you. You just bought new tires and you brake hard, missing the vehicle with only inches to spare. If you hadn’t bought those new tires, you would have crashed into that vehicle at 55 mph. That is a major difference.
What if your tires had a tread depth of 4/32? You would have crashed into that vehicle at 45 mph. Still not a good situation. But it’s better.
Now what if you were driving that pick-up truck? You wouldn’t have missed that vehicle in the first place, and you would have crashed at higher rates of speed in both of the other scenarios. The heavier your vehicle, the longer its stopping distance. It’s a matter of physics.
The results of this test has led Consumer Reports and others to ask that the standard for tread wear from 2/32 to 4/32. The increased standard will improve safety on the road and save lives here in Antioch and nationally.
Of course, until the standard changes, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll be willing to replace your tires a little sooner.
You can use a quarter to tell if your tread wear is down to 4/32. Place the quarter into the tread with George’s head toward the tire and his neck toward you. If the tread doesn’t cover George’s hairline, you’re under 4/32. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the digits of the year.
You can measure the 2/32 tread wear with a penny. If the tread touches the top of Abe’s head, it’s at 2/32. Tires are an expensive item for Ca car owners when it comes to car care. But their condition has a major impact on safety. We need to decide whether to sacrifice safety for economy. Keeping our tread wear above 4/32 is good auto advice.
Reliable Automotive Fuel Saving Tip for Ca: Check Engine LightMay 25, 2015
Here’s a question for Ca, Antioch auto owners: How long have you been enjoying the romantic glow of your check engine light?
Hey, it’s not there to create ambiance; it’s a warning that something’s wrong. (And, by the way, Homer Simpson’s fix of covering it with tape is not a good idea.)
If your check engine light comes on, check your gas cap. A loose gas cap can cause a false sensor reading that’ll make the check engine light turn on.
Check Engine Light Many conditions that trigger the check engine light can hurt your fuel efficiency. A lot.
If your date’s eyes are smoldering in the soft glow of the check engine light, try to think of all the gas money you’ll save by getting it fixed. Give Reliable Automotive a call when you are ready: 925.777.9234
Clean Fuel Makes a Happy Engine In Ca, AntiochMay 25, 2015
If the fuel system in your SUV is dirty, you will be hurting your gas mileage and losing performance as you drive around Ca, Antioch.
Unless they drive a vintage car, Ca auto owners have fuel injectors which need to be properly maintained. That is why your SUV owner’s manual has a schedule for cleaning your fuel injectors and other parts of your fuel system.
Your thoughtful service advisor at Reliable Automotive in Ca has the tools and chemicals to do the job right. Reliable Automotive uses a process that gives your car a deep, professional fuel system cleaning. The particles, gum and varnish that build up in your fuel system are removed so that it can run cleanly and efficiently.
After a professional fuel system cleaning at Reliable Automotive, you’ll notice more power, improved fuel economy and reduced exhaust emissions. AutoNetTV strongly recommends you follow your manufacturers fuel system cleaning service recommendations to keep your SUV running strong.
Ca auto owners don’t need the added expense of replacing a fuel injector that’s been damaged by neglect. Check with your thoughtful Reliable Automotive service advisor and see when your car is scheduled for a vital fuel system cleaning.
Helping Ca Drivers Get the Right TiresMay 25, 2015
Every Ca vehicle owner has to purchase tires at some time or another, so it’s a good idea to understand what the choices are. The best seasonal performance is achieved by purchasing tires to match the season you are driving in. Summer tires are designed for hot temperatures. The tread is engineered for good traction on dry or rainy Antioch roads. But the rubber compound in summer tires gets stiff when temperatures drop below 45°F, and snow and mud can pack into the tread, reducing the traction of the tire.
Winter tires are designed for good traction on snowy surfaces. The tread actually throws snow off of the tire as the wheel turns. The rubber compound in a winter tire is soft so that it will remain flexible at Antioch temperatures below 45°F. At higher temperatures, however, the softer rubber wears down rapidly.
All-season tires sacrifice some of the extreme performance of summer or winter tires, but they maintain adequate traction in either type of Ca weather.
So your first consideration when buying a tire is where you live in Antioch and where you usually drive. If you require maximum summer and winter performance you can go with dedicated summer and winter tires; you would just need to change out your tires each spring and fall.
For serious winter driving in Antioch, look for tires with a severe snow rating. These tires are labeled with a mountain-and-snowflake logo.
Your second critical consideration is the quality of tire to purchase. Summer, winter and all-season tires come in a variety of grades and styles at Antioch tire stores. Ca drivers will want to purchase a tire that will give them good wear and that will handle their driving style and road conditions. Your Reliable Automotive tire professional can give you auto advice as to which type of tire will best fit your needs.
Ca auto owners who drive off-road around Antioch may want to look at a high-grade tire that is designed for off-road use. These tires are designed to handle the extra wear of off-roading while still giving good performance on Ca streets and expressways. There are a number of options to choose from so that you can find the right tire whether you are only an occasional off-road explorer or a serious rock climber.
New wheels can be purchased in Ca as a statement of style or to add personality to your SUV. There are almost unlimited options. If you change the size of the wheels on your SUV, however, you will need to get some professional help to make your vehicle compatible with its new wheels. Talk to your Reliable Automotive service specialist for more information about tires.
Breathe Free In Ca: Cabin Air Filter Replacement At Reliable AutomotiveMay 25, 2015
There are a lot of new features, both optional and standard, on Ca car owners’ vehicles these days. One you may not have heard of is called a cabin air filter. Simply put, its job is to keep the air in the passenger compartment of your car nice and clean.
A cabin air filter is similar to the filter you use on your furnace at home in Ca. Cabin air filters can catch particles down to three microns. By comparison, a grain of sand is 200 microns. So cabin air filters are effective against dust, dirt, pollen, mold spores and most pollutants in our Antioch atmosphere. Good news if you suffer from any types of allergies, or if you live in an area in Ca prone to air pollution.
Cabin air filters are generally located in the engine compartment or under the dashboard. They can be tricky to access and replace, so you’ll probably want to go to your thoughtful Reliable Automotive technician to get it done. Check your SUV owner’s manual to find out if your SUV is equipped with a cabin air filter and how often it should be changed. Recommendations vary, but generally a cabin air filter should be changed every twelve to fifteen thousand miles.
Of course, if you are an allergy sufferer in Bethel Island, you may want to replace it more often. Also, if you do a lot of driving in polluted or dusty areas in Antioch, you’ll also want to shorten the cabin air filter replacement period. Dirty air filters just don’t work well, and they can exude an unpleasant odor if ignored for too long.
Most Ca folks know that good car care includes keeping your SUV clean, including the air inside the passenger compartment, so changing your cabin air filter should be part of your routine preventive maintenance. It’s good auto advice as well as good medical advice that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You really shouldn’t wait until the interior of your car starts to smell and your eyes start to water before you change your filter. And trying to cover it up with a dangling green pine tree is not the right answer, either!
Cabin air filters can be a welcome relief to Ca allergy sufferers, but they’re also a great idea for anyone in Antioch who just wants to breathe better.
Reliable Automotive Service For Your Exhaust SystemMay 25, 2015
Your SUV’s exhaust system is more than just a tailpipe and a muffler. In fact, it is one of the most complex systems on your SUV. Maintaining it is good Reliable Automotive auto advice for Ca auto owners, but it’s also good health advice and good environmental advice.
The exhaust system includes your emissions system. Because this system may affect your health and the health of our Antioch area environment, it is subject to strict government regulations. Satisfying these regulations demands some high-tech, computer-controlled equipment, which means that the emissions system is a lot more sophisticated than it was thirty years ago. Most auto makers recommend that you have your SUV exhaust and emissions systems checked by a qualified service professional at regular intervals.
The exhaust system starts with the exhaust manifold. Reliable Automotive Service For Your Exhaust SystemThe manifold is attached to the SUV engine. It collects exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Gaskets seal the connection of the manifold to the engine and to other joints. A cracked or loose manifold or a leaking or damaged gasket can allow dangerous gases to enter the passenger compartment of a vehicle. One of these gases is carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless and deadly. For this reason, it is critical that Antioch car owners keep their exhaust system in good repair.
The pipes that connect the various parts of the exhaust system can rust or be damaged by rocks or other road debris. Such damage can cause dangerous gases to leak into the air. So it is important that exhaust pipes get an inspection regularly.
The catalytic converter is the next important component of your SUV exhaust system. It sort of looks like a muffler. Its job is to change dangerous gases into harmless carbon dioxide and water. The catalytic converter doesn’t require any regular maintenance, but it can wear out. If it fails, you will need a new catalytic converter to pass an emissions test in Antioch. Call Reliable Automotive at 925.777.9234 if you suspect a problem with your catalytic converter.
Oxygen sensors in the exhaust pipe monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust. This helps the SUV engine’s computer keep the fuel-to-air mixture at optimal levels.
The muffler is also part of your SUV exhaust system, but it deals with a different kind of emission. It keeps your SUV from emitting bad sounds. Mufflers act like finely tuned musical instruments. They create a feedback of sound waves to absorb or decrease the noises made by your engine. Different mufflers can create different sound waves, so you can actually “tune” your car to produce a particular sound, anything from whisper to rumble.
It is important for damaged mufflers be replaced immediately at your Ca automotive service center, especially if they are leaking. Not only will the extra noise annoy your Ca neighbors, a leaky muffler could be serious.
The entire exhaust system is attached to your SUV by hangers and clamps. These fasteners can rust, come loose or break. The vital components of the exhaust system can get very hot, so when the hangers or clamps fail, these hot components can come into contact with other parts such as wires and hoses. These can melt, causing serious and expensive damage to your vehicle. Good car care requires that you have your exhaust system inspected regularly.
Let’s not forget the tailpipe. It’s the last critical piece in the exhaust system — and of your SUV, for that matter. Exhaust fumes exit your SUV through the tailpipe.
If your SUV has any of the following symptoms, it may have a problem with the exhaust system: it’s hard to start, it runs rough, it’s noisy, it’s smoking. Also, if your “check engine” light comes on, especially if it’s flashing, it is important to get your SUV to Reliable Automotive in Ca right away. Often, the “check engine” light indicates a problem with the emissions system.
Caring for your SUV exhaust system yields cosmetic benefits like quieting your engine sounds, but also may impact your health and safety. Your life, or the life of a loved one, may actually be on the line.
Keeping Your Car Young in CaMay 25, 2015
As Ca consumers, we live in a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away.
New stuff comes out so fast in Antioch, and much of it is fairly cheap, so we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids in Antioch, our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff – especially parents who grew up in the Depression. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough, we had to do without.
Ca drivers couldn’t afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us Ca penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles with proper care. The engineering’s there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedules.
Is it really that bad for Ca motorists to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes, you’ve created an opportunity for dangerous sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don’t get oiled and they start to wear out faster.
Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.
It’s also even more important for older vehicles in the Ca area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they’re working harder anyway. But it’s never too late for Ca auto owners to get back on track with critical maintenance and to hold off further pricey damage.
It’s just another example of our parents knowing what’s best. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That’s like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let your service specialist at Reliable Automotive in Ca help you keep track of the rest.
Of course, it is inevitable for Ca auto owners that some things are going to wear out along the way – vital stuff like alternators, water pumps and such – they don’t last forever. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It’s like having high cholesterol; you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.
3291 East 18th Street
Ca, Antioch 94509
Fuel Filter ReplacementMay 25, 2015
Hello Ca car owners! You would never like to drink a glass of mud, right? Well, your SUV feels the same way. It needs a steady supply of clean fuel in order to run well and deliver good fuel efficiency. The fuel filter’s job is to clean dirt and rust out of the fuel before it gets to your engine. A clogged fuel filter can actually choke off the engine so that it won’t start or run. Some fuel filters have a bypass valve that allows fuel to go around the clogged filter so your car will still run. But, then the contaminated fuel can clog your fuel injectors and allow detrimental particles into your engine.
A car with a partially clogged fuel filter might run well around Ca, but sputter and strain on the highway because it’s starving for gas. There are two things that affect how often you need to replace the filter. They are: where you drive in Antioch and the gas you buy. If you drive a lot on dirt or gravel roads in rural Antioch, your fuel filter will have a harder time keeping the fuel clean.
And, we hate to say it, but buying the cheapest gas from bargain Antioch area stations sometimes means dirtier fuel that’ll clog the filter sooner. Major brands tend to be cleaner and certainly have higher levels of detergent additives.
Of course, vehicle manufacturers recommend intervals for changing the fuel filter. But, it’s a little more complicated than that for Ca car owners. Some vehicle manufacturers stopped listing recommended intervals for fuel filter replacement or have very long intervals like every five years or eighty thousand miles. So you may need to look to other sources for recommendations. Cars older than six or seven years are especially at risk because they have had time for dirt and rust to build up in the fuel tank. A clean fuel filter keeps the gas flowing. Even a partially clogged filter puts added strain on the SUV fuel pump. That can shorten its life and result in an expensive repair.
As is often the case, spending a little money now on something as inexpensive as a fuel filter can save money for Ca drivers down the road by improving fuel economy and preventing costly repairs. At Reliable Automotive in Ca, we can check your fuel filter. It is better than fixing a burned-out SUV fuel pump or ruined fuel injectors.