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Common Problems with Japanese Cars

Japanese cars are renowned for their reliability, and many owners of Japanese automobiles report being able to drive 200,000 or even 300,000 miles before any major repairs are needed. This is a testament to Japanese manufacturing and engineering, and is evidence that Japanese automobiles are among the most reliable on the road. Despite this, Japanese automobiles are still machines, and like all machines, they are prone to mechanical failure due to a number of different factors.

Common problems with Japanese cars include:

car-1209697_960_720Rust – Like all cars, Japanese auto bodies are prone to rust if not regularly maintained. Rust can cause cosmetic problems or can damage structural or mechanical components which can hinder the vehicle’s functionality.

Faded/Chipped/Cracked Paint – While Japanese automobiles are cut from a different cloth, the paint used on these automobiles is like all paint: subject to weather and damage. With age and time, as the paint is exposed to various elements, the color may fade and the paint itself may peel or chip.

Body Damage – Any car, especially used vehicles, are prone to scuffs, dents, or other unseen damage which can cause problems down the road. Be sure to visually inspect any used vehicle to ensure no hidden damages are present.

Suspension – Suspension systems will require maintenance, replacement, and ultimately repair as moving parts are exposed to forces throughout their working life.

Brakes – Brake systems will ultimately wear out as they transfer kinetic energy into heat to bring your vehicle to a complete stop. Replacing brake pads or shoes as they wear out will prevent damage to your rotors, which may need to be replaced.

These are just some of the more common problems that Japanese car owners may see with time and regular use, but is by no means a comprehensive list of potential problems. Japanese automobiles are reliable, but they are still machines, and these machines require maintenance and professional service from time to time. If you need auto repairs or maintenance on your Japanese vehicle, call Japanese Car Specialties! (949) 583-0811

6 Mind-Blowing Facts About Automobiles

Like cars? Looking for some trivia? Here are some very interesting facts about car technology, history, and even the effect they’ve had on our modern language!


The car you steer with your mind. German researchers are currently working on the BrainDriver project, which involves a car that drivers can steer with their minds using a special headset. They have had great success in tightly controlled environments, but it will be years before the concept is ready for a “real world” run.

a photo of a taxi cab in trafficRemote car keys. If you have a remote car key, but you think your car is too far away for it to work, try putting it up to your head! The human skull acts as an amplifier, doubling the range of the key. (No word on if or how this affects the brain, so be cautious.)


The most expensive car ever bought. Many cars have sold for millions of dollars over the years, but five time world champion racer Juan Manuel Fangio blew everyone away when he purchased an ultra-rare 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R “Silver Arrow” for $29.6 million. There are only ten of these cars left in the world; Mercedez-Benz owns six; three can be seen in museum exhibits; and Fangio is the only private owner.

The highest speeding ticket ever. If you think speeding tickets are expensive in the US, consider the Swedish man who was caught going 180mph, and given a $1,000,000 ticket! Sweden determines its traffic fines on a scale that increases with the driver’s income. Apparently, this guy was doing pretty well, at least financially!


The taxi cab. This name is a combination of two words: Taximeter, which was a machine that kept track of distance and fare; and cabriolet, which was a horse-drawn carriage with the rider standing behind the cab.

“It’s a doozy!” This phrase comes from Dusenberg, Germany. In the 1920’s, its cars were considered the most luxurious in the world, so they were kind of a big deal.

We hope you enjoyed these interesting car facts. If you need auto service, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Tire Rotation: Helping Tires Last Longer

tire-114259__180-150x113All vehicles need regular maintenance to keep functioning properly. Routine oil changes and tune ups are key, and maintaining your tires is equally as important. Here we walk through the safety and mechanical benefits of tire rotation.

Your car’s front and rear axles perform different duties as you drive. If your car is front wheel drive, your front wheels are responsible for both accelerating and steering your car, so these wheels unsurprisingly wear down at a faster rate. Rear wheel drive and all wheel drive cars wear tires unevenly as well, although which tires wear out faster may be different. Tires that are more worn out in one area may not respond properly when you brake, turn, or drive on wet roads, so having tires with an even (and safe) amount of tread is crucial.

Rotating your tires to alternate spots on your car allows all your tires to wear at a more even rate. This also preserves the life of your tires by not wearing them down so quickly. Tires are often rotated from front to back, but certain manufacturers recommend rotating tires in a specific pattern.

Call us today at 949-583-0811 for affordable, reliable tire rotation today!

Quick and Easy Steps for Jump Starting Your Car

jumper-cables-926308_1920-150x150There is a wide variety of reasons that your car may not start, but one of the most common is that your battery has died. Car batteries die for a handful of reasons including aging and overuse. Leaving electronically powered devices on while your car is not running absorbs electricity from your car’s battery, draining it and causing it to die. Luckily, there is a simple solution to this problem – jump starting your car.

Jump starting your car is a fast and simple process that can help you get back on the road in virtually no time at all. All you need is a set of jumper cables or a portable jump starter pack. Of course, keeping a portable jump starter is a great way to be prepared for a battery to die. However, you can also jump start your car by connecting your dead battery to a live one in a running car.

The following quick and easy steps for jump starting your car can help anyone get their car running again.

  1. Position both vehicles so they face one another, grill to grill.
  2. Cars with manual transmissions should be placed in neutral and cars with automatic transmissions should be placed in park.
  3. Turn running vehicle off.
  4. Attach the positive cable to the postive battery terminal, do the same for the negative cable and battery terminal.
  5. Attach the other end of the cables to the live battery.
  6. Start the car with the live batttery and run it for a few minutes. Rev the engine briefly a couple of times.
  7. Start the car with the dead battery.
  8. Remove cables and store them in your car’s trunk.

Don’t Let Transmission Damage Compound

transmission-150x112Most people don’t know the intricacies about how all of the myriad parts in their car function together. However, a basic understanding of some of the most important parts can prove beneficial in certain circumstances. If you understand the importance of your transmission, for instance, you’ll understand why a mechanic might tell you “Don’t let transmission damage compound”.

What does your transmission do, exactly?

As a quick overview, it suffices to say that your transmission controls how much power your engine puts into your car. Manual transmissions get changed by the driver, but automatic transmissions shift gears based on the speed of the car.

You shouldn’t let transmission damages compound for one simple reason: they cost a lot of cash to repair or replace. If you notice something wrong with your transmission, like gear slipping, take your car in immediately so that any damage can get taken care of.

Here at Japanese Car Specialties, we offer premiere transmission repair service. Come by our shop and take advantage of our expert mechanics’ skills. To find out more about us, give us a call at (949) 583-0811.

Watching Your Gas Mileage

404HOV_lane-150x150With gas prices in an unpredictable flux, many drivers are going to great lengths to help their cars run more efficiently. While it is nearly impossible to get better mileage than your car is made for, there are many ways to help your car maintain its ideal mileage long term. Here we have compiled several methods to keep your mileage up and your car running smoothly.

Safe Driving and Regular Maintenance

  1. Avoid using roof racks or sky boxes. Attachments on your roof affect your car’s aerodynamics and create drag, which slows your car down and decreases gas mileage.
  2. Drive more calmly. Weaving through traffic and passing the cars in front of you burns extra fuel from rapid acceleration and excessive braking. Calm driving is safe for you and those around you and helpful in maintaining good gas mileage.
  3. Adhere to the posted speed limit. Many cars reach optimum efficiency around 45 to 60 mph. Driving the posted speed is important for safety as well as fuel efficiency.
  4. Keep your tires properly inflated. Checking them once a month will help you stay on top of inflating them, and will reduce wear on your tires and improve your mileage.

There is no replacement for regular tune ups and maintenance to keep your car running smoothly and your gas mileage in check. For expert automobile service and repairs, call us today at 949-583-0811!

Sleep Deprivation: Why To Avoid It While Driving

wreck-150x150As a kid, your parents likely instilled in you the dangers of drunk driving. In their time, people didn’t know about its risks like they do today. However, our society has found other ways people increase their risk on the road, including driving sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation actually has a comparable risk to drunk driving; we’ll go over here why to avoid it.

Knowing The Facts:

Maintaining a constant state of awareness keeps you safe on the road. It only takes a second for something to go seriously wrong. When you get tired, you lose this ability to retain your focus similarly to the way you do when drunk.

  • Reports for actual statistics on sleep deprived driving give little information due to the fact that you can’t test for it like you can with drunk driving.
  • The National Sleep Foundation has reported that 1/3 of the drivers surveyed admitted to having fallen asleep while driving.
  • The same group also indicated that young men and women, parents, and night shift workers ran the highest risk of sleep deprivation.

Don’t take any chances with your life; get some sleep before driving. If you need to ensure your car runs safely, take it by our shop in Mission Viejo for an inspection. If you want to know more about our services, speak with one of our friendly team members at (949) 583-0811.

Your Alternator: How It Works

We all could put in a little effort to learn the basics of the tools we use every day, including our vehicles. While we may rather just leave it up to the mechanics, knowing about our cars can come in handy. To help you, we’ve made a basic overview of how your alternator works.

What it does for your car:


alternatorWhile your battery does supply your car with power, it can only do so for a short distance before it dies. Luckily, your alternator creates a charge from the kinetic energy supplied by your engine. It then recharges the battery as well as powers all of your car’s electronic equipment.


How it works:

The 3 fundamental parts of your alternator include the rotor, stator, and diode. The rotor, which consists of magnets, rotates at extremely high speeds. The stator, a mass of copper wires, surrounds the rotor. Together these parts create alternating current, a form of electricity. Your battery and electronics require a direct current, however, and the diode converts A/C to D/C to power them.

Now you know the basics of one more part in your vehicle. Keep at it, and you’ll have overall knowledge in no time. If you’ve got auto repair needs in Mission Viejo, Japanese Car Specialties can help. To find out more, come by our shop or give us a call at (949) 583-1811.

What Does A Poly V Belt Do?

serpentine-beltFor many people, when the subject of car parts comes up, their brain just shuts off; we’ve got mechanics to know that stuff for us. They seems so complicated that most people don’t see the point in trying to learn about them at all. In fact, in small doses, learning about how your vehicle functions can be entirely possible, even interesting. Why not begin now? We’ve created an overview of one of your car’s lesser known parts; the poly v belt.

Your car’s poly v belt (also referred to as serpentine belt, multi rib belt, and multi vee belt) consists of one continuous belt that powers many tangential engine parts, including the alternator, water pump, air conditioning compressor, and more.

This belt has been an upgrade from older multi belt systems because one belt can handle more tension, something necessary for their function.

The only downside seems to be that when the belt gets displaced, all of these important parts cease to function. Still, that doesn’t require much work to fix.


Does that help you understand your car a little better? If not, don’t worry, just keep retaining little bits of information piece by piece, and eventually it will all just click together. If you need repairs on your vehicle, Japanese Car Specialties can help. For more information, come visit us or give us a call at (949) 583-0811.

How To Detect Suspension Problems

Your suspension isn’t all just about keeping your car ride smooth, although it does that too. It also plays a major role in controlling your vehicle during brakes and turns. Because these things are so integral to driver safety, it’s important to maintain the health of your suspension system. To help you identify problems before they exacerbate themselves, here’s a quick overview of how to detect them in your vehicle:


Is your car ride smooth?

This one is kind of self explanatory; if your suspension’s job is to ensure a smooth ride, then it’s having problems when your ride is rough. Don’t endure a bouncy, jostling ride every time you leave your house; take your car in for suspension repairs.

Problems turning and braking?

If, when turning, your car drifts to the side or, when braking, your car bows forward, these are both signs of suspension damage. Suspension plays a major role in controlling your car. Centrifugal force during turns and the momentum stopped during braking push it to the side and forward respectively. Both of these problems can be major factors in causing car collisions.

Does your vehicle pass the bounce test?

This is the easiest way to determine the health of your vehicle’s suspension system. All you have to do is stand in front of your car and push your weight onto the hood, bouncing your vehicle a few times. Do this again on the back. You’re looking for whether or not your car continues bouncing after you take your weight off. If it does, your suspension needs to be repaired.

Don’t let a damaged suspension system worsen over time. If you need suspension repairs, take your vehicle to us at Japanese Car Specialties. We also offer a host of other auto-related services. For more information, give us a call at (949) 583-0811.