Car Care Tips

Video Archives


Your Well Trained Technician at Leon's Car Care
  Posted in the
Safety Category

May 15, 2017
2028110

When your vehicle has a problem or just needs some routine service, you might get a little nervous. Your vehicle's so important to your life in Eureka, you need to get back on the road as soon as possible – with the problem fixed right the first time.

If you've ever checked into some of the technician training Leon's Car Care professionals receive, you may be surprised at how much specialized knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. For example: Today there are four cylinder engines that generate more power than the 1980s-era V-8's. I mean a new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket's Ferrari in a race to 60 mph/100 kph.

Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up – even with steep Eureka gas prices. They are also amazingly reliable: Kudos to the automotive engineers. But the advances come at the price of simplicity. The modern vehicles driven around California are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin – not to mention the electronics.

Some vehicles have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle operations as well. Eureka motorists take all of this sophistication for granted, but somebody has to fix it when it breaks. It's a real challenge for Leon's Car Care in Eureka technicians to keep up, but we work hard to stay ahead of the technology. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the technicians and the Eureka service centers as well.

Leon's Car Care technicians receive training through a combination of formal classroom training, training provided at Leon's Car Care by parts and equipment manufacturers, online courses and home study courses.

In addition to the expensive training, there's the financial commitment for Leon's Car Care to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools.

There are many independent certifications held by the pros at Leon's Car Care. The ability to repair your vehicle requires a strong combination of training and resources. No one can know everything, so Eureka auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even online communities that can help them when they run into a difficult problem.

It's like those medical diagnosis shows on TV. Here are the symptoms – what's the diagnosis and treatment? Diagnosis is every bit as much an art as a science. At Leon's Car Care, we want everything to be simple, straightforward and inexpensive – but sometimes it just isn't.

The next time you bring us your vehicle, don't worry. You're in good hands at Leon's Car Care.

Leon's Car Care
929 Broadway St.
Eureka, California 95501
707-444-9636
http://www.leons-carcare.com/


Serpentine Belt Service at Leon's Car Care
  Posted in the
Maintenance Category

May 07, 2017
2018730





Most Eureka folks occasionally have days when they've got a bunch of errands to run. Yesterday was my day off and I needed to fill the gas tank, pick up some groceries at my Eureka market, swing by the ATM and get the kids from school. I could have made four trips . . . but that would have been totally inefficient. Instead I got unusually organized and planned my stops. I hit the ATM first and got gas next. Then I went to the supermarket and picked up the kids on the way home. I was proud of my wise use of time and money.

What does this have to do with your car? Well, back in the day, each of your engine's accessories, like the alternator and air conditioner, were powered by separate belts. A vehicle might have five or six belts. These days, vehicles have a single belt to run all the accessories. It's called the serpentine belt. A pulley attached to the vehicle engine's crank provides the power to turn the serpentine belt. On the engine in the video, the first accessory in line is the power steering pump, which makes it easier to steer your vehicle.

Next comes the alternator which powers the vehicle's electrical system and charges the battery. Then the air conditioning compressor. This helps make cold air to keep you comfortable all summer long in Eureka. Finally, we come to the belt tensioner. Its job is to apply pressure on the belt to keep it tight. Then, back home to the crank.

This is a pretty typical setup, but it can vary somewhat. In some vehicles the water pump or radiator fan or the power brakes are also run by the serpentine belt. Some even have two serpentine belts. No matter how your engine is laid out, you're not going far without a serpentine belt. Your vehicle manufacturer has a recommended interval for replacing your belt and your Leon's Car Care service technician can inspect it for damage or wear.

Several years ago, manufacturers started making serpentine belts out of a new material. It's much more durable, but it's harder to tell when the belt needs to be replaced. The old style belts would crack and chunks would fall off so you could easily see when you needed a new one.

On the new style belts, if the ribs wear too deep, it's time to replace. Your Leon's Car Care technician uses a simple gauge to tell when the belt is worn.

A worn belt stresses your vehicle engine's expensive accessories and causes them to wear prematurely. So, change your serpentine belt and belt tensioner according to your manufacturer's recommendations to extend the life of your accessories and to prevent future breakdowns.

Give us a call.

Leon's Car Care
929 Broadway St.
Eureka, California 95501
707-444-9636
http://www.leons-carcare.com/


Good Timing: Proper Timing Belt Replacement Saves Money for Eureka Drivers
  Posted in the
Timing Belt Category

Apr 30, 2017
2008391





Knowing how their engine works can help Eureka drivers make informed decisions about auto care and prevent repairs to their vehicles. This is especially true when it comes to timing belts.

An engine's power is generated in the cylinders. Inside the cylinder is a piston that moves up and down while the engine is running. Power is generated in a cycle that includes four strokes of the piston. First, the piston drops and a valve at the top of the cylinder opens to let in fuel and air. The piston then rises, which compresses the fuel and air. At this point, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel and pushing the piston down. This downstroke transfers energy to the engine, which provides the power it needs to run. The piston rises again, and a valve opens to release the exhaust.

All of this movement is orchestrated by a timing belt. The timing belt is so named because it keeps the pistons and valves operating in synch with each other, just as a conductor keeps all of the instruments in an orchestra in time with one another. Thus, the timing belt is critical to the proper operation of your engine.

Not all vehicles in the Eureka area have timing belts. Some have timing chains. A timing chain is more durable and rarely breaks, but timing belts are cheaper, so many use them to save money.

Timing belts wear out and break, so part of preventive maintenance for Eureka drivers is to replace the timing belt on schedule.

The results of failure of a timing belt depend on the type of engine in your vehicle, but they are always inconvenient and can be very costly for Eureka auto owners. If your engine is a non-interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the engine simply stops running. Now that can be an incredibly inconvenient situation depending on where you are driving around Eureka when it breaks, but it won't cause any engine damage. On the other hand, if your vehicle has an interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the valves on your cylinders will actually fall into the path of the pistons. Then things start getting chewed up by the motion of the engine and it will cost thousands of dollars to get everything sorted out again. Compounding the problem is that there aren't any warning signs before a timing belt breaks. A visual inspection of the belt is difficult also. In some vehicles, parts of the belt may be visible, but most vehicles hide the belt under a cover.

The timing belt doesn't even have to break to cause major engine damage. If it slips, even one notch, the result could be engine damage with repair costs in the thousands of dollars.

Our only car care option is to simply replace the timing belt periodically. You can check your owner's manual to find out how often your timing belt should be replaced. Many vehicles need a replacement at 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers), but the recommended replacement mileage could be as high as 90,000 or 100,000 miles (145,000 to 160,000 kilometers). If your owner's manual recommends replacement at 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers), however, don't wait until 65,000 miles (105,000 kilometers) to get it done. Remember what you're risking.

Replacing a timing belt is not a cheap part of preventive maintenance for Eureka vehicle owners. The belt is usually difficult to get to and often requires removal of some of the engine accessories. The cost of the replacement, however, is a lot less than what the repairs may cost if the timing belt fails.

For more auto advice on timing belts and other engine components, you can always consult with your service advisor at Leon's Car Care. When it comes to car care, ignorance is not bliss. It can end up costing you in a big way.

Leon's Car Care
929 Broadway St.
Eureka, California 95501
707-444-9636
http://www.leons-carcare.com/


The Economy of Maintenance for Eureka Drivers
  Posted in the
Keys to a long lasting vehicle Category

Apr 25, 2017
2004170

Do I keep my old vehicle or buy a new one? It's a question most Eureka drivers ask themselves at some time or another.

Generally, what it comes down to is the choice between a car payment and the possibility of repair bills. Most of the time, we want to choose the car payment because we don't like the inconvenience and uncertainty of vehicle repairs. But that payment has a detrimental effect on our budget and bank account.

Edmunds.com is a great website to help you with your decision. This site uses repair histories to calculate the average repair bills for specific makes and models of cars. You can plug in the information for your vehicle and get an estimate on what it will probably cost you to continue owning that vehicle.

Now, Edmunds.com isn't a crystal ball. It can't know what will happen to your specific vehicle. But it can guide you in knowing how much money to budget for the repair and maintenance of your vehicle. Ultimately, that can help you in your decision to buy a new vehicle or wait a few years.

For example, a five-year-old Camry V-6 is projected by Edmunds.com to cost about $96 a month, on average, to repair and maintain (at the time of this writing). Remember, maintenance costs are part of vehicle ownership, whether it's a new vehicle or an old one, so the projected cost for repairs on your five-year-old Camry average out to only about $50 a month. That's a whopping lot less than a new car payment.

If your vehicle is older than five years, you should also talk to your friendly and knowledgeable professional at Leon's Car Care about its future. They are more familiar with the average cost of repairs for vehicles in your area and of specific problems they commonly see in particular vehicles. More importantly, they know you and they know your car. They can give you a heads-up on what repairs you may be facing in the near future.

Remember, the older your vehicle gets, the more important preventive auto maintenance becomes. Over time, vehicles accumulate wear and debris, and we just have to give them a little more attention. Getting to know your vehicle and its peculiarities is also good auto advice for Eureka drivers.

If you decide to keep your older vehicle, you may want to talk with your Leon's Car Care service advisor about fluids specially formulated for older engines. These motor oils, transmission and other fluids are designed to clean older engines and automotive systems and recondition their seals and gaskets.

Good care at Leon's Car Care in Eureka will keep your older vehicle on the road in California. And that may be just the boost you need in this uncertain economy. It may even save you enough to be able to afford that new vehicle you've been dreaming about.

Leon's Car Care
929 Broadway St.
Eureka, California 95501
707-444-9636
http://www.leons-carcare.com/

 


What Eureka Customers like About Us at Leon's Car Care
  Posted in the
Service Standards Category

Apr 18, 2017
1996370

A big part of the service we provide at Leon's Car Care for our Eureka customers is education. We want you to feel confident with your service decisions.

And we're always open to questions from our valued Eureka area customers. Even though we try to be proactive in our Leon's Car Care automotive education, we sometimes get busy fixing vehicles and need a reminder. Please, just ask.

We've found our Eureka customers like the service reminders. They've grown to trust that our recommendations are based on the vehicle manufactures’ published maintenance schedules and that Leon's Car Care is not just pulling them out of the air.

We know that people in Eureka live a busy life with a lot more to think about than wondering if it's time to replace the PCV valve on their vehicle. Part of our Leon's Car Care service process is checking the vehicle manufacture's schedule to make sure we don't overlook service.

We hope California drivers appreciate their courtesy inspection when they come into our Eureka facility for service. If we find something unexpected, it's good to know, and if we don't find anything wrong, you get a little peace of mind.

You know, customer satisfaction is very important to us at Leon's Car Care. We want to run a professional and friendly Eureka automotive service operation. If we do, you'll keep coming back and recommend us to your friends.

Give us a call at 707-444-9636.

Leon's Car Care
929 Broadway St.
Eureka, California 95501
707-444-9636
http://www.leons-carcare.com/

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