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Leon's Car Care Automotive Tips: Alternator
  Posted in the
Alternator Category

Jul 18, 2017
2101174

Your alternator makes electricity to start and run your engine and all of the vital electrical systems in your vehicle. That’s everything from the on-board computers to the turn signals. And of course there is the entertainment system, seat heaters, power windows and everything you plug into the power outlets. After your alternator makes enough electricity to do all that, it recharges your battery with what’s left over.

When Eureka drivers constantly have a low or dead battery, the alternator is usually a prime suspect. However, the alternator is just one vital component of the starting/charging system, and a problem with any of the other components could be the actual cause.

In addition to the alternator, the charging/starting system includes the battery, starter, serpentine belt system and all of the electrical cables that connect them. Your Leon's Car Care service advisor has a systematic process of testing components and connections to get to the source of your trouble. The initial symptoms determine where to begin the diagnostic process, and he follows the procedure until he tracks down the culprit.

For example, diagnostic tests at Leon's Car Care could reveal that the alternator is not generating enough electricity to keep the battery charged. Is the alternator bad? Not necessarily. A worn serpentine belt tensioner could be allowing the belt that spins the alternator to slip. So the perfectly good alternator is not spinning at the proper speed. The solution for Eureka drivers is to replace the serpentine belt system – not the alternator.

The good news for Eureka drivers is that our highly-trained technicians at Leon's Car Care can properly diagnose all your vehicle troubles and make the necessary repairs to get you back on the road in Eureka.

Give us a call.

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

At Leon's Car Care we install quality NAPA replacement parts.


Speak Up: Talking with Your Leon's Car Care Service Advisor
  Posted in the
Service Standards Category

Jul 10, 2017
2091287

About 80% of the vehicles on Eureka roads today are behind on their preventive maintenance schedules. That translates to about 160 million vehicles in the United States that aren't performing as well as they could be - thousands right here in California. Some of the maintenance issues are minor. Others represent serious safety concerns.

There are many reasons Eureka drivers neglect their routine car care. Some of the more common ones are complacency, lack of confidence, lack of trust and budget issues.

Modern vehicles are amazingly reliable compared to their older counterparts. They can run for years without any repairs, and we sometimes translate that to mean they don't need any maintenance. The trouble is that without maintenance, parts in the vehicle are gradually wearing out, fluids are getting dirty, oil is developing sludge — a lot of stuff is happening that we can't see, and it is destroying the vehicle. The first time we learn there is a problem, we have a major repair bill on our hands.

Older vehicles just couldn't keep going without frequent maintenance; they broke down without timely vehicle care. Modern vehicles are designed to keep running even when they're not fully healthy. Unfortunately, that convenience has led some of us to become complacent and ignore vehicle care — until we have to fix something. And fixing something today takes a whole lot more than it used to.

Some people in Eureka just don't feel comfortable taking their vehicles to their local Eureka service center. They don't know much about engines or auto mechanics, so they don't know what questions to ask. They don't want to appear foolish or ignorant.

Your physician doesn't expect you to understand what a ligament is or how it works. But if you have a problem with one, she's going to explain to you what it is, what's wrong with it and how it can be fixed. It's in her best interest as well as yours to do so. You'll both feel more comfortable with the treatment.

That's what you can expect from the pros at Leon's Car Care. They have to be highly trained and work with a lot of complex, high-tech systems. They don't expect their Eureka customers to understand car care. So ask questions. You need auto advice from a service specialist, just as you need medical advice from a doctor and financial advice from a financial advisor.

Which brings us to the next concern: trust. A lot of rumors fly around Eureka about auto repair scams. You may have heard about some local auto shops taking advantage of customers and replacing parts that weren't broken. Frankly, this is just bad business practice. Eureka auto service centers won't stay in business long if they're engaged in this type of activity.

It's in the best interest of Eureka service centers to diagnose a problem correctly and fix it right the first time. That's how they keep their businesses open.

Trust must be earned. But just as it took time for you to establish a relationship and rapport with your doctor, it will take time to build a relationship with your service center.

Also, realize that when your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Leon's Car Care recommends routine maintenance, he is generally relying on your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. In other words, your trust lies both with your service advisor and your vehicle manufacturer. You'll find that most of the service recommendations from Leon's Car Care you receive coincide with what's in your manual.

Those recommendations were set up by the engineers who designed your vehicle, not Leon's Car Care. The team at Leon's Car Care is just offering you a friendly reminder — a helpful reminder really, since most of us don't post our owner's manuals to our calendars.

Money is behind most neglect of vehicle maintenance. First, they worry that they can't afford it. Second, they worry that they're being overcharged.

The simple truth is, car care is like health care. We can't afford not to have it. Preventive maintenance is cheap compared to repair work. It extends the lives of our vehicles and saves us money on fuel. It also makes our vehicles safer to drive, which can prevent accidents. Putting off preventive maintenance can be very expensive.

Eureka area service centers have to be competitive. Like any business, they can't afford to overcharge customers or they go out of business. But vehicle care today does cost more in California than it used to. Vehicles are more sophisticated, complex and high-tech. That means technicians have to be better trained. They have to purchase high-tech diagnostic equipment and tools. They have to keep up with the latest advances in vehicle engineering and subscribe to computer databases. Like any business, they also have labor costs, insurance, rent, utilities, taxes, office supplies, etc.

If you are strapped for cash, Leon's Car Care can offer auto advice to help you keep your car running safely and manage your budget. For example, let's say you need new brake pads, transmission service and a new cabin air filter. A technician can't ethically recommend you delay brake service: that creates a safety hazard for you and other Eureka drivers. You need to get that done now. But they can let you know if the transmission service can wait a month and how long you can put off changing the cabin air filter. They can also estimate what these services will cost. That gives you the time and information you need to save up for the other services.

The key to modern car care is preventive maintenance. Our modern vehicles are safer, more fuel efficient and more reliable than ever before. But to keep them that way Eureka drivers have to be more proactive about caring for them. It's good to know there are knowledgeable professionals at Leon's Car Care who can help us do just that.

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


Why a Trip Inspection Is a Good Idea
  Posted in the
Maintenance Category

Jul 04, 2017
2084272





At Leon's Car Care we get a lot of Eureka drivers asking about vehicle trip preparation. That's a big deal. You could be driving through mountains and deserts in some pretty lonely areas around California, so it's important to know that the vehicle is up to the task and won't leave you stranded.

Smart Eureka drivers plan ahead for a major road trip – and there are a lot of things to get ready. Where should you start? You could start with the tires. Look them over for tread wear and check to see that they are properly inflated. Take a quick test drive around Eureka to see if you can feel any vibrations: Are the wheels in balance? Is the car tracking straight? Is the alignment ok? Come to Leon's Car Care for a peace-of-mind trip inspection.

929 Broadway St.
Eureka, California 95501
707-444-9636
http://www.leons-carcare.com/

The next thing is a full service oil change to make sure all of your fluids are topped off and you have fresh oil for the trip. And if your car has over 75,000 miles/120,000 km, you may consider putting in the high-mileage formulation to clean harmful sludge deposits in the engine. 

How about your transmission and brakes? Have you had your transmission and brakes inspected in the last six months?

How are your wiper blades? There's nothing like not being able to get rid of the bug juice on a long road trip away from Eureka.

Check your owner's manual for any other recommended services, and have Leon's Car Care in Eureka do the multi-point inspection before you head out on your trip.

Consider also having the coolant system serviced at Leon's Car Care – you want to stay within the vehicle manufacture’s recommendations. If you're towing a trailer around California you'll want to be keep in mind that you'll be going a long way under severe conditions.

A lot of Eureka drivers overlook severe conditions like towing, California summer heat or driving on dirt roads. Plan ahead for your next road trip – Leon's Car Care wants you to get there and back.


Leon's Car Care Advice: Don't Overlook These 10 Automotive Services
  Posted in the
Service Intervals Category

Jun 27, 2017
2075647

Organization is the key to managing a busy life in California. So setting up an annual calendar for vehicle care can keep Eureka residents on top of preventive maintenance. But you can't just write “oil change” every few months on the calendar. Modern vehicles have many systems that are vital to the safe operation of a vehicle, and they all need to be inspected. Eureka residents can't afford to overlook any of them.

The following is a list of preventive maintenance services that are often overlooked by vehicle owners in the Eureka area. They are not presented in any particular order.

1. Leon's Car Care Power Steering Service. Moisture gradually builds up in your power steering fluid, which can lead to corrosion in your steering system. The fluid also gets dirty, which can gum up your steering system. The fluid needs to be replaced periodically.

2. Leon's Car Care Wheel Alignment. Wheels that are out of alignment will cause a vehicle to pull to one side. This is dangerous for Eureka residents and can lead to accidents. Also, it causes uneven and rapid tire wear, which means tires must be replaced more often.

3. Leon's Car Care Differential Service. They are part of the drive train system that transfers power from the engine to the wheels. Damage or wear in this system can make a vehicle undriveable.

4. Leon's Car Care Cabin Air Filter. Your vehicle may or may not be equipped with a cabin air filter. Its job is to remove dust and pollen from the air that enters the passenger compartment of the vehicle. If this filter clogs, it can stink. So check your owner's manual to find out if your vehicle has a cabin air filter. If so, come visit us at Leon's Car Care and get it changed according to the recommended schedule.

5. Leon's Car Care Timing Belt Replacement. Most passenger cars and some vans and trucks have timing belts. Eureka residents can check their owner's manual to find out if their vehicle has one. If so, you can't drive without it. And if it breaks while on the road, you may be looking at thousands of dollars of repairs. So it is important to inspect it occasionally. If your vehicle has close to 60,000 miles/100,000 kilometers or more on it and you haven't had your timing belt replaced, then you need to find out the recommended replacement interval NOW.

6. Leon's Car Care Transmission Service. Transmission fluid gets dirty and has to be replaced. If not, you risk repairs.

7. Leon's Car Care Air Conditioning Service. The refrigerant in your air conditioner needs to be replaced periodically. This fluid doesn't just refrigerate air; it provides lubrication to the air conditioning system and conditions seals. Lack of fluid can damage components.

8. Leon's Car Care Brake Service. Even if your brakes are quiet and working well, the brake fluid still might need to be changed. Over time, moisture builds up in brake fluid. Water has a different viscosity than brake fluid, so the brakes can't compress properly when there's too much moisture in the fluid — and you shouldn't need to be told how it is to drive with brakes that are compromised. Moisture in your brake fluid can also corrode parts in your brake system, causing it to fail altogether.

9. Leon's Car Care Coolant System Service. Antifreeze is another fluid that needs to be changed regularly. If not, it actually becomes corrosive and begins to damage your cooling system. Eventually it can eat holes in your radiator.

10. Leon's Car Care Fuel System Cleaning. Over time, your fuel system just gets gummed up, which can interfere with the flow of fuel in a number of ways.

Of course, your next question should be: How often do I need to get all of this done? Well, the answer varies depending on which service we're talking about, the make and model of your vehicle, the climate where you live in California, your usual driving conditions and your driving habits.

But don't lose heart. Your owner's manual will give you a recommended service schedule for most of the service items listed. And you can get quality auto advice from your friendly and knowledgeable Leon's Car Care service advisors to help you meet the service intervals that suit your vehicle.

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



Have You Checked Your Headlights?
  Posted in the
Parts Category

Jun 19, 2017
2066739





Like everything in the California automotive market, there have been great strides in headlight technology in recent years. California drivers can be safer at night because of it. Good headlights improve visibility on Eureka roads, enabling you to see farther. They also improve your peripheral vision, helping you to see the sides more clearly. The more you can see, the more quickly you can react to road conditions. This is because nearly half of traffic fatalities take place at night. And as Eureka resident population ages, everything that helps older eyes is welcome.

Most new vehicles sold in California come with halogen headlamps. A decade ago, halogens were exotic and expensive. Now that they are standard equipment, the price has come way down. Many luxury cars are equipped with high intensity discharge, or HID, headlamps. You have probably seen them on some Eureka roads; they're very bright and have a bluish tint.

From behind the wheel, there is no doubt that HID headlamps are the best thing going. However, many Eureka drivers complain about HID lights in oncoming traffic or when they approach from behind. In fact, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called for public comment, they received a record number of complaints about HIDs. This has lead to several studies - your tax dollars at work. Some expect future regulation of HID lamps.

All halogen headlamps dim over time. Your service advisor at Leon's Car Care recommends that they be changed out once a year. We suggest you replace your headlamps in the fall at the end of Daylight Saving Time. It's easy to remember; when you change your clock, change your headlamps. Remember to replace all headlamps at the same time; then all your lights will be equally bright. You will appreciate it during those long California winter nights.

If you have an older vehicle with old-school headlamps, you might be able to get a halogen replacement. You'll be amazed at the difference this upgrade will make.

In addition to regular halogen lamps, Eureka vehicles can upgrade to premium lamps that filter some of the yellow light, making a bright white light that's more like natural sunlight. This light's easier on the eyes and should improve reaction time.

Now, you may be able to step up to HID headlamps, depending on the kind of car you drive. These lamps should last the life of your car, but cost several hundred dollars a pair. If you want other Eureka vehicles to think you're running HID lamps, you can even buy regular halogens that have a bluish tint. Does she or doesn't she? Only her Leon's Car Care technician knows for sure.

Over time, plastic headlight covers can get cloudy or yellowed. In fact, AAA reports that nine out of ten headlights are dirty or yellowed, greatly reducing vision. In addition to helping you replace your headlamps, many service centers such as Leon's Car Care in Eureka, California, can restore headlight covers. Headlights can be restored at a fraction of the cost of replacing them.

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

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