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6 Indications Your Spark Plugs Need Changing

Spark plugs are what ignite the air and fuel inside an engine’s cylinders. This allows your car to start and keep moving down the road. Most people don’t know that much about them. Here are 6 indications that they should probably be replaced:


Your car shakes when parked:

Your engine is supposed to run at about 1000 rpm during an idle. When the spark plugs malfunction, this goes up significantly. If this happens to you, take your car in immediately; it can cause costly problems.

Your car won’t start:

Malfunctioning spark plugs are one among a few reasons for this. They are necessary but not sufficient for getting your engine to start; without them it just won’t happen. When your spark plugs aren’t working correctly they can drain your battery, another reason your car might not be starting.

Your engine misfires:

If your engine stops and starts over and over, it is misfiring. The cause of this is a malfunctioning cylinder, probably due to the spark plug. This can make emissions shoot up drastically.

Your engine surges:

A surge is when your vehicle slows down, starts and stops, or jerks out of nowhere. Excess air created from the combustion process is what causes this. It is unsafe to drive if your engine is surging; it can potentially cause a wreck.

Your car uses more gas:

Fuel efficiency can decrease by up to 30% if your spark plugs aren’t working properly. If you notice that your car is using more gas, take it in as soon as possible to avoid throwing money away.

Slow or delayed acceleration:

Faulty spark plugs can cause both of these problems; while they may not seem urgent, your car should be taken in immediately if you notice them.

All of these signs are a good indication that you should bring your car in to be checked. If you suspect something is wrong, don’t wait; stay ahead of repairs.

Here at Japanese Car Specialties, we offer a host of auto-repair services. For more information, give us a call at (949) 583-0811.

Benefits To Buying a Used Japanese Car

Japanese cars are a top competitor in the industry. Here are some different benefits to buying a used Japanese car:

Low Cost:

Used Japanese cars are generally very affordable; this is due to competition within the Japanese auto industry. The Japanese auto auction is another reason for the affordable costs of their used cars, as they offer low prices. The frugal car shopper would do well to add a used Japanese car to his search list.

High Quality:

The Japanese government requires strict quality tests on all cars produced. An inspection is given to every one going through their auction or any dealer. Quality testing is important in the Japanese auto industry.

Great Features:

Japanese cars are usually equipped with the latest features at the time of their production. Comfort is a major aspect in the design of Japanese cars.


Japanese cars are well-known for their reliability. They have to be to keep up with their competitors. If you’re looking for a car that won’t give out on you, a Japanese-made car just might be right for you.

Here at Japanese Car Specialties, we offer great service for Japanese-made cars.  For more information, call us at (949) 583-0811.

Why should I get a tune-up?

4 Benefits of a Tune-Up

Have you ever wondered, why should I get a tune-up? Tune-ups should be a regular part of maintaining your vehicle. The exact mileage for a tune-up varies by car type and how your vehicle is being used. Ask a trusted mechanic if your car is in need of a tune-up. The following are four benefits of a tune-up.

#1: Improved Gas Mileage

petrol-162948_640-300x210In a time when gas prices seem to only increase, improved gas mileage is a huge benefit of having a tune-up performed on your vehicle. A tune-up involves replacing old parts such as spark plugs and air filters. A dirty air filter can reduce your gas mileage by up to 20%! So having these simple parts replaced can save you at the pump.

#2: Reliability

truck-41708_640-300x300No one wants to be stranded on the side of the road because of car problems. And the price of having your vehicle towed can be outrageous. Having a tune-up performed routinely can save you from this headache. Tune-ups help keep your car reliable and trustworthy on both long and short trips.

#3: Emission Reduction

When your car is running properly, you will reduce the amount of emissions from your car. New spark plugs and air filters will help reduce the production of fumes and other pollutants.

#4: Increased Value

dollar-163473_640-300x227Having routine maintenance performed on your vehicle increases the value of your car. If you ever decide to sell your vehicle it will help you immensely if you have maintenance records on hand. Any buyer will look favorably on a car that has had tune-ups performed regularly.

If you need to have a tune-up performed on your vehicle, stop by to see us soon. We will be happy to help you reap the benefits of regular vehicle maintenance.

Toyota’s Hydrogen Fuel Car

Toyota will be one of the first automakers to launch a hydrogen fuel powered car. The Japanese car company is slating a 2015 release for their Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV). The FCV will launch in California, Japan and Germany.

The fuel cells the FCV uses are very similar to Toyota’s hybrid synergy drive systems. The gasoline engine is replaced with a fuel cell stack. Hydrogen combines with oxygen inside of the fuel cell stack. The energy the combination produces is the electricity that powers the vehicle. The FCV’s driving range is expected to be 300 miles on a fuel tank of hydrogen. The costs of operation will be comparable to a gasoline vehicle.

The FCV produces zero C02 emissions and only emits water vapor. Hydrogen is a safe fuel to use for a vehicle. It is non-toxic, lighter and less flammable than gasoline. There are between 40-50 hydrogen fueling stations operational in the U.S. today, California has ten of them. California will be the first state to have the FCV available. The state is investing millions into creating hydrogen fuel stations and expect to have 40 operational in 2015 and 100 by 2016.

California to Build Hydrogen Fuel Stations

California businesses and entrepreneurs are starting to look at building hydrogen fuel stations in the state. Toyota and a slew of other auto-makers are preparing to launch hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in California. With the coming launch of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, California entrepreneurs are looking to establish a system of hydrogen fuel stations for consumers, in what could be an emerging auto market.

FirstElement Fuel Inc. has secured a state grant to build 19 hydrogen fuel station across California. The station installations are part of the state’s effort to have close to 70 hydrogen fuel stations available in the state, once the hydrogen fuel-celled vehicles hit the market next year.

FirstElement wants to have over 40 stations running in the next few years. The company will have their first wave of stations installed on or near traditional gas station properties. They will maintain and supply all the station they will build. The company hopes to eventually have stations and dispensers installed at malls and other retail areas.

The three hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles announced so far for 2015 are the Toyota FCV, Honda FCX Clarity and a hydrogen fuel-cell version of the Hyundai Tuscon.

Here’s a video explaining how the Toyota FCV works and operates:

Nissan’s Self-Driving Car

Nissan’s Self-Driving Car

Nissan has been working to create a self-driving or an autonomous car. Nissan has made the technological advancements to make a self-driving vehicle into a reality.It may seem like a thing from sci-fi movie, but these vehicles could be available sometime in the near future. The Japanese auto maker is hoping to have these autonomous cars on the road by 2020.

Nissan has worked with many prestigious universities (MIT, Standford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Tokyo) from across the globe to make an autonomous car a reality. The universities and Nissan have combined for nearly 80 years of research time to make this possible.

The prototype cars are outfitted with Autonomous Drive technology. This technology can operate the car’s steering, braking and acceleration. Autonomous Drive technology can also detect the road conditions and make changes and adjustments to them. The prototype vehicles can also operate automatically on highways. They can merge with traffic, move past traffic and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

Engine Overhaul Services Made Simple

Why YOU should consider Engine Overhaul Service – Ideally you are able to bring your vehicle in before it begins to show signs of catastrophic failure, but it is a fairly regular occurrence that getting the service performed AFTER your engine fails can be a cost-effective and reliable alternative to paying for a new replacement engine!

As your vehicle gets older, it may begin to show tell-tale signs of engine failure such as:

  • Audible engine knocking
  • Increased rate of oil replenishment between scheduled maintenance
  • Obvious white smoke in the exhaust
  • Metal shavings in your used engine oil

Engine Overhaul Service describes a service whereby an engine is removed, dismantled, cleaned, completely put back together, and re-installed in your vehicle.  If faulty parts are discovered, they are additionally replaced.

At Japanese Car Specialties, we have the knowledge and experience to work on all of the top imports.  If your car is showing any of these trouble signs, call us now at 1-949-583-0811

Which would you rather do – Remove, repair, and replace your engine in the garage or pick up the phone and call from your home?


How to Get Better Gas Mileage on a Summer Road Trip

Gas Mileage Tips

petrol-162948_640-300x210With the official start of summer on June 21, many people across America are gearing up for a summer road trip. But with gas becoming increasingly expensive, you may be looking for ways to ensure your car is as fuel efficient as possible on your upcoming trip. So if you are living in Mission Viejo and are packing up for a summer drive across the country, consider these tips on how to get better gas mileage on your summer road trip.

Slow it Down

Although you may be excited to reach your destination, studies have proven that when you drive your vehicle at high speeds, you decrease your gas mileage significantly. You obviously cannot drive excessively slow, particularly on highways where this would endanger you, but you can consider sticking to a lower speed than normal. According to a study released by the government every 5 mph you drive above 50 mph costs you enough gasoline to be the equivalent of 24 cents extra a gallon for gas.

Accelerate Slowly

sign-161175_640-240x300Some have said to picture an egg under your gas pedal while you accelerate. Aggressive driving where you slam on your brakes and punch the accelerator frequently will destroy your gas mileage. Cutting down on your aggressive driving can save you not only gas money, but also can save you from getting involved in accidents.

Keep Those Tires Inflated

flatfoot-76564_640-300x199One of the number one reasons people suffer from poor gas mileage is because their tires are not properly inflated. Be sure to check your tire pressure against the manufacturer’s recommended PSI. Under inflated tires can cost you countless dollars in gas money and also can pose a risk for rollovers and other accidents.

Ditch the Rooftop Cargo Container

It is better to find an alternate way of carrying your excess luggage than by using a rooftop cargo container. When you add the cargo to the top of your car you cut down your gas mileage significantly. Studies have shown though that a cargo carrier attached to the back of your vehicle does not have a negative effect upon your gas mileage.

For more tips and help getting your car ready for an upcoming summer trip, talk to your auto shop specialists at Japanese Car Specialties in Mission Viejo.

An app that fights parking tickets?

If you live or work in a large city, then you’ve most likely have a received a parking ticket or three. But you no longer have to remain defenseless against the meter maid. Fixed, a new app for your smart phone, can help you fight your parking tickets.

Fixed is simple to use. First, you use the camera on your phone to snap a picture of the parking ticket. If there is any additional evidence, document that as well. After uploading the photos, you’ll be prompted to enter in the violation code. Fixed will then tell you the probability of your ticket being dismissed. A contest letter on your behalf will even be sent to the court!

Fixed will then show a list of frequent errors and contest reasons to select should you decide to contest the parking citation. After selecting the appropriate contest reason for the ticket type you received, you will be asked do provide additional evidence such as a photo of faded curb paint or a missing sign.

You only have to pay Fixed if your parking ticket is dismissed. If the contest is unsuccessful, you do not owe Fixed anything. If you win, you pay Fixed 25% of your parking fine. So if your parking fine was $100, you would pay Fixed $25. Seems like a win-win situation!

Shopping for car insurance?


Car-Insurance-USA-travel-Home-country-IndiaWhen it comes to car insurance, many people pay more than necessary because they don’t do any research or take advantage of discounts when choosing an insurance provider. But with so many car insurance companies claiming to have to best rates, who do you know which one to go with?

You will need to determine how much coverage you need for your vehicle before you start shopping for car insurance. Each state requires every driver to attain a minimum amount of liability insurance. In California, the minimum requirement is (in thousands of dollars) 15/30/5. This ratio refers to bodily injury liability for one person, bodily injury liability for all persons involved, and property damage respectively. If you are leasing or financing, the lien holder may require you to obtain a certain amount of coverage as well.

After you figure out what type of coverage you need, let the research begin. Pick up the phone and call your local insurance providers to see what kind of rates and discounts they offer. Next, go online and see how the rates of internet insurance companies compare. Many people assume they will find better deals online, but when it comes to car insurance, this isn’t always the case so keep an open mind. Also, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give your current provider a call to see if they can offer you a cheaper rate.

The internet makes it quick and easy to get instant quotes online. However, don’t be quick to hand out your information to every website you come across. Multiple inquiries can negatively affect your credit score. Instead, find a site that will compare the rates of different insurance companies to help you narrow down your choices. Don’t forget to ask friends and family for recommendations as well.