Articles:

Wasteful Thinking

With the weather getting colder, you might be tempted to start your vehicle up, let it idle for 15 or 20 minutes and then get in the nice, cozy cabin.  Some vehicles offer remote starting that let you do that from the comfort of your home or apartment.  But is letting your vehicle idle like that good for it? Manufacturers say it doesn't harm the vehicle.  They say it's because modern vehicles are made differently from those in the past.  Just about all newer vehicles employ fuel injection which uses computers to adjust the amount of gasoline that goes into the cylinders.  The engine gets only the fuel it needs, taking conditions into account. Older vehicles, on the other hand, used to use carburetors.  When you started a cold engine, the carburetor wasn't able to adjust the gasoline amount depending on conditions.  Some of the gasoline would mix with oil and the pistons wouldn't get the same lubrication as they would with undiluted oil. So yes, you ca ... read more

California: What Is the Risk of High Oil Change Intervals?

California residents may have heard that vehicles don't need their oil changed as often as they used to. That's true. But it's not the whole story.Owing to improved engine technology and higher oil quality, most newer vehicles can go longer between oil changes than their older counterparts.So what is a good time interval for oil changes? How do California residents know when to change it? And why do we change it in the first place?Oil lubricates a vehicle's engine, which protects it from friction damage. Over time the oil can collect dirt and contaminants that inhibit its performance. But dirty oil isn't the only problem for California residents. What you really want to avoid is called oil sludge.Oil sludge is caused by moisture in the oil and by hot spots in your engine that burn off oil. This sludge is a gooey gel that can clog engine passageways, which can block lubricants from reaching vital engine parts. The result can be engine wear or even engine failure.Sludge forms rapidly in ... read more

Categories:

Fluids

When "Oh, no!" Turns Into, "All right!"

Things we don't expect happen to our vehicles. And let's face, no one really wants to spend money on an unexpected repair. But if you are putting off going to your vehicle repair facility because you're dreading bad news, you might just be putting off some good news. There was one minivan driver who'd had the same van for years and never had a problem with the power sliding doors.  Then one day, the electrical switches in the door pillars stopped working.  The key fob would still open them, but the door switches wouldn't do a thing. Of course, the van driver feared the worst: an electrical problem, a major computer failure, mice chewing up the wires.  So, he put off going into the repair facility for a couple of months.  One day, it was time for his regular oil change and the service advisor asked him if there was anything else going on with the van.  The owner mentioned the door problem but said he didn't want to spend a fortune on it. He waited for his van, a ... read more

Lease or Buy?

Lease or Buy?

Lease? Or buy? These are the options for Sacramento drivers. It's always a tough question for auto owners, but here is some info that'll help you make an informed decision.If you buy, you'll pay the full cost of the vehicle, maybe an initial down payment, monthly payments on the balance that pays down the loan principal, and the finance charge.Sacramento drivers who lease finance the portion of the cost of the vehicle that's used up during the term of the lease. You'll pay some money up front: fees, security deposit, first month's payment and maybe a capital reduction. The monthly payments include a depreciation cost and a finance charge. When the lease is up, you return the vehicle to your local Sacramento area dealership. So how do Sacramento drivers decide?First, how much do you have for a down payment? A lease usually requires a smaller down payment.How much monthly payment can you afford? Again, lease payments will ... read more

Categories:

Automotive News

Fuel for Thought

If you're like most people and drive a gasoline-powered vehicle, you need to be up to speed on its fuel-related components.  They're pretty basic: the fuel, the fuel filter and the fuel pump. The fuel's the easy part.  You probably gas up your vehicle yourself and, if you're like most drivers, price is a big factor in what you put in your vehicle. Maybe you think it doesn't matter what kind of gasoline you buy, but one major automobile association has found it does make a big difference.  Their study showed that the additives that are put in different brands can affect your vehicle's performance.  Certain gasoline retailers sell gasoline that meets performance standards called Top Tier.  The detergents used in Top Tier gasoline help protect newer engines from carbon buildup and deposits on intake valves, all things that can affect how smoothly your engine runs, how it accelerates and what kind of fuel economy you get.  You can check online or ask your serv ... read more

Automotive Tips from Made In America Made In Japan: Rotor Problems

The brake rotor, or disc, is attached to your wheel. The brake pads rub on the rotor to slow your car when you are driving in Sacramento.Rotors can warp, crack or become misaligned. They can also be damaged by worn out brake pads that scratch grooves into the surface. These conditions result in less contact surface for the brake pads, leaving you with reduced braking power.Over time and miles, rotors can also wear down below safe specifications. It is important for Sacramento drivers to know that simply replacing brake pads on a wheel with a bad rotor will not solve the problem. Depending on their condition, rotors may be resurfaced or replaced.Brake noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal are signs of potential brake problems that should be addressed right away. If you have any brake concerns, please have your friendly and professional Made In America Made In Japan tech perform a thorough inspection.Give us a call.Made In America Made In Japan1200 I StSacramento, California ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

Beware of Cheap Tires in Sacramento

Beware of Cheap Tires in Sacramento

Do you like to shop for shoes in Sacramento?When buying a running shoe, is quality important?Does durability matter as long as the shoes look fabulous?Would you rather have one pair of long lasting shoes or two pairs of lower quality shoes at the same price?Is the warranty important when buying tires? Sacramento drivers should also think about the safety aspect of tires. The tires do a lot of work – they carry the weight of the vehicle and you and your passengers. You want to be sure they hold the road and provide good traction on California freeways and surface streets. If you carry heavy loads or tow a trailer on California highways, the tires need a high load rating.Ask your friendly and knowledgeable Sacramento tire professional at Made In America Made In Japan. I think it's important that Sacramento residents understand the effect of price on a tire's quality, performance and durability. When I was a kid, my dad would say, &ldqu ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

The Made In America Made In Japan Basic Guide To Synthetic Oil

Synthetic motor oil has been around for a long time, and more and more new vehicles are leaving factories with synthetic in their engines. But a lot of drivers don't really know much about it.Let's start with conventional oil – the kind folks are used to. Conventional oil is made up of naturally occurring hydrocarbon chains, which means its molecules are long and have various lengths. Like a pile of pencils, some of them new and some of them used.Synthetic oil is man-made. Its molecules are more uniform and regular in shape – more similar to marbles than pencils. Some synthetic oil starts with a petroleum base that's modified and others are entirely synthesized from other materials.Synthetic motor oil works better in both hot and cold temperatures. It's more chemically stable so it doesn't readily evaporate or break down in the high heat produced inside your vehicle engine. This means it resists turning to sludge, which is a real engine killer.Remember that marbles and ... read more

To Fix or Not To Fix: That Is the Question.

No matter what vehicle you drive, when certain things break, you have to make a decision.  Should I get it fixed now, later or never?  Air conditioning is one of those things.  You can certainly live without air conditioning, but it sure is nice to have on a sweltering day. Let's say your air conditioning breaks in the fall and you live in a climate where it gets quite cold in the winter.  Should you get it fixed now, wait until spring since it won't get warm until then or maybe not get it fixed at all? That can be a tough decision.  There are several reasons air conditioning in vehicles break.  One is fairly simple: It could be an electrical problem, perhaps a relay or solenoid is not turning on the system.  It's also a fairly inexpensive repair and doesn't require hours of labor. Or, the problem is that the coolant has leaked out.  Your service facility can find the leak and replace the parts that are leaking.  With a refrigerant recharge ... read more

Tacky or Techie? The Tachometer.

There's a gauge that many vehicles have that says RPM on it.  And there are a lot of people who either don't pay any attention to it or don't even know what it is. Here's why it's a good gauge to know about. It's called a tachometer, and that "RPM" label means it is measuring how many revolutions per minute (RPM) the engine is turning.  Automotive experts know that a vehicle's engine can be damaged if it turns too fast (revving too high) or too slowly ("lugging" the engine). A tachometer (sometimes called a tach) is almost a "must-have" gauge for vehicles with a manual transmission; the driver has to manually change gears; the tach helps the driver know when revolutions are in the optimal range. Some say you don't need a tachometer if you drive a vehicle with an automatic transmission. It's true that most drivers of automatics don't even look at it.  But there are times when paying attention to the tach can help you prevent an expensive repair. Here's a good example.&nbs ... read more

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