Author Archives: Japanese Car Specialties

Does a Tune Up Make Your Car Run Better?

A Car With Its Hood Open.

Does a tune up make your car run better?

In general, when you get a tune up, your car will run better. Of course, “tune-up” means different things to different people. Some people think of tune-ups just as a check up to make sure the car is running OK and everything is working right. Others think of tune-ups in terms of the engine. In truth, a tune-up is a mix of an overall inspection with a focus on your engine and engine components to ensure that all the parts are working right, that fluid levels like oil and coolant are adequate, and the vehicle overall is operating properly. This service could also include replacing parts like spark plugs or air filters or making recommendations for repairs. When you have a Japanese import or other import vehicle that’s ready for tune-up services in , CA, you want to turn to the import experts at Japanese Car Specialties. Set up a service appointment by calling 949-583-0811.

What does a tune up consist of?

When you get a tune up, it’s going to include an inspection as well as the actual tune-up. Automotive technicians inspect your engine’s fuel system and all components to make certain you have a clean, unclogged fuel filter. They will also check to ensure the fuel injector is clean and the fuel pump is not damaged. The spark plugs, PCV valve, timing, air filters, and oil and coolant levels are also checked. The actual service may include replacement of spark plugs, rotors, wires, or other parts. Fuel, oil, and air filters may also be replaced.

What are signs your car needs a tune up?

Anytime your car doesn’t seem to be operating right is a good time to take it into the shop for a tune-up. But, here are some typical issues that alert people it’s time to get your car checked out:

  • Check engine light comes on
  • The vehicle stalls or lags when accelerating
  • Your fuel economy and gas mileage are affected
  • Problems with brakes such as noises like whining or scraping
  • Problems with rough shifting or lurching when shifting gears
  • Your vehicle vibrates or shakes when braking, steering, or starting it

When should you get a tune up?

Depending on the type of vehicle you have, the intervals between tune-ups will vary. If you have an older vehicle with a non-electric ignition, tune-ups will be needed every 10,000 to 12,000 miles or at least once per year. For vehicles with an electric ignition system and fuel injection, your vehicle can go as long as 100,000 miles before needing a service. Your owner’s manual is the best resource to find out when to get the car tuned up. Of course, if you are having problems like the car stalling, you should take it in and have it checked out.

Can a tune up improve gas mileage?

Because tune-ups focus on your engine’s performance and technicians check fuel, oil, and air filters, as well as fuel pumps, your vehicle will likely improve its fuel economy. When properly done, this service can increase your gas mileage by as much as 4%. When dirty filters are changed out, your vehicle’s efficiency improves by 10%.

Will tune up fix check engine light?

Unless there is a visible problem, people sometimes ignore their check engine lights. When the light comes on, this is a good reason to bring your car in for a tune-up. Because your check engine light can signify a variety of issues, getting your car tuned-up might resolve the problem. Emissions issues caused by faulty spark plugs, for instance, might require you to replace the plugs. When you take your car to the shop, technicians can run a diagnostic to determine why the light is coming on.

Tune up vs oil change

Oil changes and tune-ups are different services. An oil change is primarily concerned with the oil levels in your vehicle and oil needs to be changed when the levels are too low or when the oil becomes dirty and makes the car less efficient. Air filters are also typically checked and replaced with an oil change. 

Tune-ups are much more thorough. They involve an inspection of the engine and its parts and may require replacement of parts such as plugs or wires or rotors. Oil and coolant levels are also checked and these fluids are changed if required.

How often should you replace spark plugs?

Spark plugs are fairly durable. On average, you might expect to replace your plugs every 20,000 to 40,000 miles, depending on how often you use your car and what kind of vehicle you drive. When you get your car tuned-up, your plugs are checked and they might be replaced then. Your owner’s manual will have the best recommendations for changing your plugs. 

An Automotive Technician Works on a Tune Up.

Where to get tune up near me

When your Japanese import needs a tune up in , CA, let the import specialists at Japanese Car Specialties help you. We provide a full range of auto care services for Asian and other import vehicles. Set up a service appointment with us by calling 949-583-0811.

What is Included in an Oil Change Service?

oil change service

What is Included in an Oil Change Service?

One of the most important things to understand as a vehicle owner is what is included in an oil change service. Generally speaking, a full-service oil change will include up to five quarts of oil, a new oil filter, and lubrication of the chassis components. The treatment of your chassis components will vary depending on the car manufacturer’s instructions. During the oil change process, several other parts of your car will be checked, including your power steering fluid, washer fluid, antifreeze/coolant, tire pressure, air filter, and more. 

Is an Oil Change Really Necessary?

Are you wondering if an oil change is truly necessary for your vehicle? You may be surprised at how necessary an oil change truly is. Please review the following reasons why an oil change is necessary.

  • Oil changes enable and maintain engine lubrication.
  • Oil changes cool engine components.
  • Oil changes remove engine wear particles and sludge.
  • Your gas mileage improves after an oil change.
  • Oil changes promote vehicle longevity.

Is it Cheaper to Bring Your Own Oil for an Oil Change?

While it is an unusual step to bring your own oil for an oil change, there is an associated protocol. If you bring your own oil to the auto mechanic, your auto mechanic will generally charge you whatever the cost of a regular oil change is minus about ten dollars for the oil that they are not using for the process. 

Are Car Ramps Safe for Oil Changes?

Believe it or not, car ramps, when used properly, can be a safe alternative to raising your car with a jack and jack stands. The first step to the process is to drive onto the car ramp for the oil change. The ramps or safety stands will be able to hold your car up, however, it is important to be sure that they won’t slide as you drive onto them. No method is entirely failsafe, which is why it is important to entrust your vehicle to a local, insured mechanic who has years of experience and a good reputation. If anything were to go wrong with your vehicle during the oil change process, at least you would have financial coverage since the mechanic has insurance. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry.

How Much Oil Do I Need to Change My Oil?

Are you wondering how much oil you will require for your car’s oil change? It’s important to note that how much oil your car will require depends wholly on the make and model of your vehicle. Generally speaking, most engines require between five to eight quarts of oil. This number will depend on the size of your engine. If you have a smaller engine, then it is a safe bet that you will need less oil to fill the volume of the engine.

Does Oil Change Mean Service

If you need a simple oil change, then it will be different than needing your engine serviced. A car service can encompass up to fifty different components. A car service could also entail system checks and adjustments that include an engine oil change or filter components. When you are setting up an appointment with your local auto mechanic, it is important for you to be very specific about the type of service that you require, and if you need an oil change as well.

Oil Changing Service

One of the important things to consider when you are about to get your car’s oil changed is whether you want to opt for synthetic oil or for conventional oil. Synthetic oil has a remarkable number of benefits. These benefits include a longer time period between oil changes and better engine performance. On the downside, a synthetic oil change is more expensive than a conventional oil change, so you will have to factor that into the final cost-benefit analysis.

Oil Change Service Around Me

If you would like to find a local auto mechanic near you that is reliable, there are a number of different ways you can accomplish that goal. For instance, one of the first things you can do is ask a friend or neighbor for a referral. The next thing that you can do is use your search engine to find a good auto mechanic for your oil change. Using the search terms “oil change service near me” you can generally find a list of viable locations. You can use the reviews and services to differentiate between the locations to find the one that is most suitable for you.

oil change service

Oil Change Service and Inspection

If you need the service of not only an oil change but an inspection, it will be important for you to find an auto mechanic that specializes in both services. Not all auto mechanics provide the state inspection service which is why it is important for you to be discerning.

If you need oil change service in , CA, you can rest assured that we can help. Please reach out to us at 949-583-0811 to discover more about our incredible auto services.

How Do You Know if Your Car Has an Electrical Problem?

A Mechanic Tests a Car Battery.

How do you know if your car has an electrical problem?

Any number of signs could signify your car’s electrical system has a problem and needs electrical system repair. Some common issues include:

  • Engine not cranking properly: Your engine requires electricity to start and it might not start or you might hear a clicking sound after turning the key if it’s not getting a charge from your battery, alternator, or starter. The clicking sound means not enough current is getting to the engine. 
  • Battery problems: Anything from clicking noises when starting to slow starts could indicate a battery problem. A cable could be loose or the battery is corroded. It may mean it’s too old. Most batteries last about five years.
  • Headlights as well as other lights not working correctly: If any lights are dimming, you may have an electrical system problem. It could mean a dying battery, bad alternator, or loose wires.
  • Fuses blowing out continually: If you are having fuses blow repeatedly, have your vehicle’s electrical system tested. There could be a problem like a short circuit.
  • Odor of burning plastic or electrical insulation: Anytime you have problems like dimming lights or issues with your battery, and it smells like plastic burning, don’t hesitate to pull the car over and stop driving. You could further damage the car if you don’t stop driving it.

Whether your battery has died or your lights have dimmed, if your import car needs electrical system repair in , CA you’ll want to bring it in to Japanese Car Specialties. Give us a call at 949-583-0811 when you need help with your vehicle.

How does car electrical system work

Knowing how your car’s electrical system works may help you determine if you need electrical system repair. There are three main components in your car’s electrical system: the battery, the starter, and the alternator. Of the three, the battery is one of the most important components, because without a functioning battery your car won’t start. But all three work together to power your engine as well as lights or even your radio. The battery supplies the power to the starter when you turn the key to start the car. The starter sends power to the flywheel which turns the engine’s crankshaft to get everything going in the engine. Once everything is in motion, the alternator keeps the battery charged and the current flowing through the whole electrical system.

How to test auto electrical system

If your battery is discharging or your headlights are dimming, you clearly have an electrical system problem. To determine the nature of that problem, you’ll want to test the system. One of the most reliable tools you can have to test your electrical system is a multimeter. These devices can test the current and voltage as well as resistance readings. You can use this device to check both the battery and the alternator.

What causes electrical problems in cars?

The reasons for electrical problems in cars can be varied. But more often than not malfunctioning batteries, alternators, or starters are usually the cause of problems. If these systems aren’t you may have a short in the wiring or blown fuses. Batteries are often the most common problem leading to electrical system repair. If your battery is more than five years old you may notice your car having a difficult time starting or it might not start at all. Corroded battery terminals can really wreak havoc on your electrical system. If the battery terminals are corroded, they need to be cleaned thoroughly with a wire brush. Other problems could be a bad alternator belt or faulty spark plugs.

Can you drive a car with electrical issues?

When you have electrical system problems, you may still be able to drive your car. Much of this depends on the problem. With a dead battery or malfunctioning starter you’re not going anywhere anytime soon as the car is unlikely to start. A bad alternator doesn’t always prevent the car from starting, but you may not be able to drive it except for short trips. Often with a bad alternator, no matter how good of a battery you have, your battery may end up discharging until the alternator is repaired or replaced because the alternator keeps the battery charged while the car is running. You can probably drive your car with blown fuses or faulty wiring or bad spark plugs but you may experience problems with performance if you do so. And if you notice any odor of burning plastic, you should not drive your car or pull it over immediately to get help. Any electrical system issue left unchecked could potentially lead to more damage in the future. That’s why it’s best to tend electrical system repair as soon as possible.

How do you fix an electrical problem in a car?

Electrical system repair will vary. A dead battery for instance usually will need to be replaced or you’ll need to jump-start the vehicle frequently. Problems with alternators could mean you need to replace it or you just may need to replace a worn belt. The same is true with starters. These will need to be replaced. The best thing to do if you suspect you have an electrical system problem is to test it with a multimeter or take it to a mechanic and have it tested.

How long does it take to fix electrical problems in a car?

Electrical system maintenance and repair times can vary. It should, for instance, take less than an hour to put in a new battery, whereas it could take an hour or two to replace an alternator. Much of it depends on the complexity of the component being repaired, the type of repair needed, and the availability of parts.

A Car's Alternator

Car electrical system repair near me

If you have a failing battery or faulty alternator or starter in your Asian import vehicle and need reliable electrical system repair in , CA, look no further than Japanese Car Specialties. We specialize in Japanese and Korean and similar imports. Call us today at 949-583-0811 to find out how we can help.

What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Alternator?

man working on engine

What Happens When Your Alternator Goes Out While Driving?

Do you know what an alternator does? A lot of people unfamiliar with car mechanics are surprised to hear that your battery isn’t strong enough to provide all the electrical power your vehicle needs. The alternator keeps the battery charged when your car is running and supplies power for the rest of the car’s electrical systems. When your car alternator or the battery goes bad, your car will slowly fade and eventually be unable to start. That’s never fun for car owners. Chances are, at some point in your life you’ve dealt with mechanical issues with your car. Alternator problems can be particularly frustrating because, when they go bad, oftentimes your car can’t even start. You can be stranded on the side of the road or stuck at home unable to go to work if the car alternator is not charging.

Though alternators can die quickly, they do give you a bit of warning time so you can get off the road and to a mechanic safely. When the alternator fails, the job of powering the radio, power steering, the headlights, and other electrical systems falls on the battery. The battery can do the job, but not for long. Remember, the car alternator is what keeps the battery full of juice. Once it’s gone you only have what’s left inside.

If you’re driving and you notice that your air conditioning is acting up or that your headlights are unusually dim, it’s an electrical problem you should get fixed. It’s a good idea not to take a long road trip but instead get to a shop. If your alternator goes out and you use up all the power in your battery, your car will die and won’t be able to start again.

Do Alternators Fail Suddenly?

Absolutely they can. Your alternator can die a sudden death, or performance can decline slowly. It just depends on what’s happening inside your car. If your car alternator dies suddenly, you’ll know because soon your car won’t work at all. If it’s slowly losing power, then you might notice indicator lights on your dashboard telling you there’s an electrical problem. Again, you may also see your headlights are dim. Other signs of poor alternator performance are strange noises, burning smells, difficulty starting, or your battery dies (which means your car alternator is not charging). If anything like that happens, you’ll need to do some car repair.

What Can Damage an Alternator?

Several things can affect car alternator efficiency and cause alternator failure. Here’s a list of some of the reasons an alternator may fail:

  • A Dying Battery – Many times an alternator gets overworked or stressed because your battery is dead or dying. If your battery isn’t being a good partner, then it puts more of the workload on the alternator. That will make it degrade faster and fail.
  • Worn Rotors – Rotors inside your alternator spin around on a set of ball bearings to conduct electricity. If the rotors wear down it will stop your alternation from producing as much power and eventually it will die. The same goes for the ball bearings. If your ball bearings come loose or stop facilitating movement as well, then it’s hard for the alternator to do its job.
  • Belt Issues – If your drive belt gets worn or damaged too much, then electrical output declines. A car alternator broken because of belt issues will deprive your car of much-needed power.
  • Losing Electrical Ground – Every alternator has a negative ground (usually its mount) that regulates the electrical output. If the mount is shaken loose or damaged, the alternator won’t be able to handle the surges in voltage. Modern alternators have internal regulators that vary in design and quality. If you have a lower-quality regulator, then it won’t last as long and could be the cause of your car alternator failure.
alternator and belt

Can You Drive with a Bad Alternator?

Say you’re driving along and all of a sudden, your air conditioning stops blowing cold air and your dashboard indicates you’re having an electrical problem. Should you keep driving? Essentially, when something like this happens, you’re taking a big chance on whether your car can keep running. The best thing you can do is limit the distance you drive and either find a way to repair the battery or alternator yourself or call a mechanic for professional service. They’ll be able to inspect your car’s electrical system and find the problem. It may be an issue only with your battery or some loose wiring. However, if it’s an issue with your alternator, then it’s probably going to need to be replaced. Even though no one loves having to deal with car repair issues, getting it done before a breakdown on the side of the road will be a relief.

When you need quality car alternator repair in , CA, look no further than Japanese Car Specialties. Dial (949) 583-0811!

What are the emissions from a car?

car emissions coming from muffler tailpipe

What gases are emitted by cars?

Car emissions are air pollution is various gases that emitted into the general environment when a car or any motor vehicle is running that oxygen sensors read.  Those gases lower the air quality we breathe overall with photochemical smog, which has been linked to several health problems.

The average passenger vehicle produces roughly 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. That number that can vary based on the type of fuel used, the fuel use of the vehicle, and how many miles the car is driven. The following list result from car emissions explained:

  • Particulate matter – this creates the color of smog and contains metals and soot in the form of fine particles that are smaller than a human hair’s diameter.  
  • Hydrocarbons – When exposed to sunlight, a reaction of these pollutants with nitrogen oxides form ozone at ground level and is the main ingredient in smog.
  • Nitrogen oxides – These pollutants help form ozone and particulate matter.
  • Carbon monoxide – This gas is colorless, odorless, and poisonous that is formed by the burning of gasoline or other fossil fuels that emitted vehicles.  
  • Hazardous air pollutants -These chemical compounds include acetaldehyde, Benzene, and 1,3-butadiene.
  • Greenhouse gases – This is carbon dioxide that is emitted by vehicles and other modes of transportation such as airplanes, freight, and trains.
  • Sulfur dioxide – This gas comes from sulfur-containing fuels such as diesel.

How does car emissions affect human health?

Car emissions are a contributing factor to air pollution, as are airplanes, trains, and any mode of transportation that requires fuel. That air pollution is created as these modes of transportation are going down the road and as they are being manufactured, refueling, and when they are being disposed of. Refining the fossil fuels that make the gas these vehicles use and how that gas is distributed to the places where they get their fuel, such as gas stations also contribute to the pollution. There are two groups of pollution:

  • Primary – what is emitted immediately into the atmosphere.
  • Secondary – are the results of the chemical reactions of those pollutants.

The following is how these major pollutants that come from car emissions and other vehicles to affect our health and have been associated with half of all cancers suffered by humans:

  • Particulate matter penetrates into the lungs.
  • Hydrocarbons are beneficial in the upper atmosphere but at the ground level, they irritate, resulting in coughing and choking, and reduced lung capacity.
  • Nitrogen oxides irritate the lungs, weakens the body’s defenses to fight respiratory infections like the flu and pneumonia.
  • Carbon monoxide blocks oxygen from the vital organs like the brain and heart and has been associated with chronic illnesses and affecting fetuses and newborn children.
  • Sulfur dioxide the fine particles formed by this matter has been found to pose a large health risk to asthmatics and young children.

It is because of these connections to human health that have deemed car emissions bad for the environment. These are reasons for the increased pleas by environmentalists for changes and stricter laws in car emissions and climate change actions, and the motivation to manufacturer a car without emissions.

What can cause a car to fail an emissions test?

Usually, as some say, where there is smoke, there is fire. However, when it comes to cars, what comes out of the tailpipe isn’t always smoke, but we know inside the engine, there is a form of” fire”. There are basic car emissions standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency for all cars and other vehicles sold, but it is up to each state to monitor car emissions. Still, there are some states to do not use any type of car emissions testing, while others have employed strict “smog check” testing.

A vehicle that does not pass the car emissions testing could be for any of the following reasons:

  • Faulty oxygen sensors or air metering malfunction.
  • Evaporative emissions.
  • Catalytic converter.
  • Missing or weak spark.
  • Temperature inconsistency.
testing an emissions system

How long should I drive my car before the emissions test?

The recommendation by experts in car emissions is 20 minutes before going to the smog station.  A few tips that can help your car pass the car emissions testing are:

  1. If your vehicle is not driving, functioning, running properly, do not take it to be tested.
  2. If the check engine light is on, do not take it to be tested. 
  3. Make sure the tires have the proper amount of air.
  4. Have the oil changed before going to emission testing.
  5. Change the oil in your vehicle.
  6. Use a fuel additive.  

If your vehicle has not been maintained and necessary maintenance performed regularly, these tips are not any guarantee your vehicle will pass any car emissions testing it may be subjected to.

How can I reduce my car emissions?

One answer is to buy a “green vehicle”, but we all can’t do that. So, what can you do that will reduce your car emissions. Here are 11 things that experts advise:  

1. Regular car servicing.

2. Lighten the load in your vehicles.

3. Use the proper oil. 

4. Don’t drive aggressively.

5. Keep tires at the proper air pressure.

6. Drive the speed limit. 

7. Turn off electric components like the AC.

8. Shift gears sooner in standard transmissions. 

9. Don’t sit at an idle for long periods. 

10. Combine trips and make shorter trips.

11. Use fuel additives. 

Your home is a big important investment and your car is the next biggest, an important investment.  Taking care of these investments only makes sense.  If you take care of your car, car emissions testing won’t be a concern and will help the environment. Dial 949-583-0811 today for car emissions testing in , CA.

What Does Check Engine Light Mean When It Comes On?

Check engine icon on modern car dashboard close-up

Learn More About Your Check Engine Light

Your car has a variety of systems and sensors that intermingle and determine the conditions and behaviors of your car. It’s always important to be wary of any lights that are popping up on your dashboard as ultimately there is a computer in your engine which works towards keeping your car working normally. With abnormal, sometimes even dangerous, behaviors you may see an icon pop up so you can have a professional fix the issue before problems worsen. Perhaps one of the most commonly known of these dashboard icons is the check engine light. This icon will typically reflect its namesake by incorporating a miniature image of a car engine. If you have your check engine light flashing or turning on make sure to get it inspected or diagnosed by a professional. Until then, here is some useful general information regarding a check engine light that may prove enlightening to you.

Can a check engine light come on for no reason?

The check engine light is meant to alert you to minor problems with your car before they escalate to bigger issues. It’s essential to get it checked or diagnosed in order to make sure all interior components are in proper working order.

How Check Engine Light Works

A vehicle’s computer, or electronic control module (ECM,) will use sensors that will have input signals that will generate control signals for a variety of functions such as transmission shifting to fuel and spark delivery. This computer will always monitor every input signal that could potentially affect emissions. If any of the signals move out of outside government-mandated limits this is where the check engine light will come on.  

What could cause the check engine light to come on?

One of the sensors a check engine light will monitor is the mass airflow sensor aka MAF. The MAF sensor will calculate the amount of air that’s coming into the engine in order for the computer to determine the correct amount of fuel. Faulty MAF sensors can trigger the check engine light to come on as well as cause the car to have impaired gas mileage, frequent stalling, and increased emissions.

Is it safe to drive your car with the check engine light on?

If the check engine light is steady it’s ok to drive your car yet only if the car’s essential systems like the lights and brakes are still in working order. Make sure to keep an eye on any warning lights on your dashboard such as oil pressure or the coolant temperature.

Can low oil cause the check engine light to come on?

Low oil pressure can be a common cause of a check engine light coming on which can interfere with your car’s performance or even disable your vehicle if it’s low enough. When the oil is low the oil icon may also appear on your dashboard.

Why Check Engine Light Blinks

If there’s a blinking check engine light it typically means that there is a severe engine misfire where unburned fuel is being dumped into the exhaust system. This can raise temperatures of the catalytic converter rapidly which can cause damages and expensive repairs.

Closeup engine oil cap in engine room at modern car. Interior of car.

Reasons That Check Engine Light Comes On

  • Loose/Faulty Gas Caps
  • Faulty Oxygen Sensor
  • Worn Spark Plugs & Wires
  • Mass Airflow Sensor Faulty
  • Low Oil Pressure
  • Engine Misfire
  • Other Various Issues

Where can I get my check engine light checked?

Typically you can have your check engine light diagnosed by your dealer or an auto mechanic shop. Some auto parts stores can even let you check it yourself with a code scanner tool. When you have your yearly inspection this tool is typically used as well.

How much does it cost to fix a check engine light?

The cost of a check engine light test or diagnosis can range anywhere from $88-$111. Labor costs are also in this range however repairs will be different depending on the issue.

How do I turn my check engine light off?

Sometimes after the car has been fixed regarding a check engine light issue the car may still have the check engine light turned on! Of course, it’s important to make sure that this isn’t because there is another issue you must take care of. With the first instance, at this time the computer in the vehicle may need an adjustment. One easy method that requires no tools is to simply drive the car until the light goes off by itself, give it three days. If not that, turn on the engine as well as off three times in a row. Here’s where a little effort is required, with a wrench, you could also try disconnecting and reconnecting the battery but make sure to leave it disconnected for at least 15 min. Finally, you can use an OBD code reader and see what codes show up in the coding manual. You can then manually delete them if they come up when they shouldn’t. 

Reach Out to A Professional

If you’re wondering why your check engine light is on you could determine the root issue with a check engine light diagnostic. It’s important to determine the possible issues that are happening in your car and to fix them in a timely manner in order to avoid any small issues from growing. Just like with HVAC services in Orange, CA having a professional technician handle problems with in-depth systems will yield the best results. If you have any questions get in touch with your local auto shop today.

If you require assistance with your check engine light in , CA call 949-583-0811 with Japanese Car Specialties! 

What Happens to a Car When the Serpentine Belt Breaks?

Serpentine belt inside an engine.

What Happens to a Car When the Serpentine Belt Breaks?

Serpentine belt replacement is a very important service. A broken serpentine belt will immediately lead to a loss of power assist for the steering system. For obvious reasons, this can be detrimental if your car is in motion. A broken serpentine belt will stop the water pump from circulating antifreeze through the cooling system. This ultimately means that once the serpentine belt breaks the engine can overheat anytime or anywhere.

What is the Average Cost to Replace a Serpentine Belt?

Typically, hiring a mechanic to replace a serpentine belt will cost around sixty to two-hundred dollars. That will include twenty-five to seventy-five dollars for the belt and about an hour of labor, which usually comes out to seventy-five to one-hundred and twenty dollars per hour. Replacing a serpentine belt will take longer for certain vehicles. This is because the belt will take longer to access if it is in a difficult to reach area.

What are the Symptoms of a Bad Serpentine Belt?

Is your serpentine belt acting up? Please review the following symptoms of a bad serpentine belt to make sure that your car problems are accurately diagnosed.

  • Squealing noise from the front of the vehicle. This symptom is difficult to ignore. If you notice a squealing noise that is being emitted from the front of your vehicle, it could be coming from the serpentine belt. 
  • If the power steering and the air conditioning are experiencing failure. The serpentine belt circulates coolant, also known as antifreeze, throughout the system. Two of the first systems that will experience failure without coolant are the power steering and the AC.
  • The engine is overheating. Another prime sign of a bad serpentine belt is your engine overheating.

What Does the Serpentine Belt Control?

The serpentine belt transports power to your vital automotive components. The serpentine belt is so named for the long, winding belt that keeps the alternator, the power steering pump, and the air conditioning running smoothly and effectively. In some cases, the serpentine belt controls the water pump. An operational serpentine belt equivocates into a smoothly running engine.

How Many Years Does a Serpentine Belt Last?

With improvements in rubber, serpentine belts now last much longer than they did in previous decades. Most serpentine belts generally last between fifty-thousand and one-hundred thousand miles. It is important to know that eventually, all serpentine belts deteriorate. This is because serpentine belts fall apart due to continuous exposure to heat and friction. In such cases, they will need to be replaced.

Can Car Run Without Serpentine Belt

The short and accurate answer to this question is no. Cars need serpentine belts to function. Without a serpentine belt, the engine cannot cool properly. This is because serpentine belts circulate coolant throughout the engine. The first parts of the engine to be affected are the power steering and the air conditioning. From time to time, parts of your car and your home need to be repaired. If your home needs roof repair, please make sure to call a qualified, licensed and insured roofing company.

Is Serpentine Belt Cracked

Minuscule cracks in a serpentine belt are worthy of investigating. While the belt may not need to be replaced in the here and now, they are a sign of things to come. Small cracks eventually become larger cracks. If you are nearing the fifty-thousand-mile mark, it will be important to connect with a local, licensed and insured mechanic in order to determine what an appropriate course of action is.

Can Serpentine Belt Cause Engine Stall

Serpentine belt failure can cause your car’s power steering system to fail. It can also cause your alternator or water pump to cease to work. When these important systems halt, your engine will fail to function at an appropriate level. When the serpentine belt completely breaks, your engine will stall which is not only dangerous, it is also inconvenient. If it occurs on the highway, the danger escalates dramatically.

Mechanic tinkering with engine, including serpentine belt

Which Serpentine Belt Do I Need

There are different brands of serpentine belts on the market. Bando and Dayco belts, for example, are available on the market. These brands tend to be highly recommended by professional auto resources such as Firestone. A good serpentine belt will have advanced rubber components designed to possess increased durability and superior wear protection. Your local, licensed and insured mechanic will be able to provide details concerning which serpentine belt is right for your vehicle. Their choices will be both informed and experienced. 

Do you think that you are experiencing a serpentine belt problem? Our friendly operators at Japanese Car Specialties are available now at 949-583-0811 to schedule a replacement for your serpentine belt in , CA.

What Happens if You Fail an Emissions Test?

A Car Receives an Emissions Test of Exhaust.

What happens if you fail an emissions test?

Emissions testing helps improve air quality. When you take your vehicle in for a state emissions test, your vehicle will either pass or fail the test. If it passes the test, you can register your vehicle with the DMV. If you fail your emissions test, the motor vehicle department won’t register your vehicle so you can’t get a license plate or tag that allows you to legally drive the vehicle.

If you fail the test, you are given a certain amount of time to make repairs to ensure your vehicle is compliant with state laws. The vehicle inspector will supply you with a list of repairs that are needed to pass the test.

If you’ve failed an emissions test and need emissions repairs in Mission Viejo, CA, get help from the reliable professionals at Japanese Car Specialties. We specialize in Japanese and Korean import vehicles. Call us at 949-583-0811 to schedule repair services.

Who does emissions test

If you are wondering how to get emissions test in California, you must take your vehicle to a DMV-approved inspection station. You can contact the DMV or search online to find approved emissions testing stations near you. For smog checks in California, these stations must either be STAR stations, Gold Shield or Test Only stations. You can check with the DMV or review your registration renewal request to check for valid stations.

While emissions tests help improve outside air quality, you should also make sure your indoor air quality is healthy as well. There are many HVAC companies that test your air quality throughout California, including indoor air quality services in Vacaville, CA.

How often are emissions test

An emissions test is required every two years in California. If you are a new resident, you must get a smog check before you can register your vehicle with the state. These tests check your vehicle’s emission production and provide you with an overview of its condition and functional state. If you are a resident,without an emissions test, unless your vehicle meets exemption requirements, you cannot legally drive the vehicle in the state.

What emissions test do I need

You may hear the terms smog test and emission test used interchangeably and wonder, “Is emissions and smog test the same?” The most accurate answer to that question is that the smog test is part of the overall emissions test. The smog test is the first part of the three-part emission test. In some parts of the state, where smog is more prevalent, you’ll be required to take an enhanced smog test rather than a basic smog test. All vehicles made in 1999 and older are required to be tested.

What is done during an emissions test?

An emissions test in California is a three-part inspection that has to be done in a specific order beginning with an emissions inspection and followed by a visual inspection and a functional inspection. The emissions inspection or smog test uses a smog machine to analyze the exhaust gas for hydrocarbons, carbon monoxides and nitrogen oxides, the chemicals responsible for smog.

The visual inspection involves the smog technician or mechanic to check for proper connections of emission components. All components must be located and verified and properly connected. Defective electrical connections, vacuum hoses and pipes are also checked that could affect engine performance.

The functional inspection ensures that all emission components work correctly. The inspection consists of a check of the engine ignition timing, check engine light, gas cap and filler neck, exhaust and recirculation valve, and fuel evap test.

How much does it cost for an emissions test?

Emission test prices will vary. They range from $29.95 to $69.95 depending on which county you live in and the type of vehicle you drive. You may also have to pay $8.25 for the California Emissions Certificate fee. The inspection station may also charge additional fees. All prices should be listed up front by the inspection station.

How can I can I get my car to pass emissions?

Although it may seem difficult, passing an emissions test, really isn’t all that problematic, especially if you keep your vehicle well-maintained and repaired when necessary. That said, there are some things you can do to improve your ability to pass the emissions test. 

Here are six ways that can help you pass the test:

  • Test warm car on a cool day. An engine that takes in cooler air runs more efficiently and hot engines have more complete combustion and burn more hydrocarbons.
  • Use fuel additive to clean the combustion chamber of carbon deposits.
  • Inflate the tires to a proper level so that they spin better. This puts less stress on the engine.
  • Get an oil change for a cleaner burning engine.
  • Make sure your check engine light is off. A check engine light that’s illuminated may cause you to fail the test.
  • Get a free retest if possible. Check around to see if there are shops available that provide free retests if your vehicle fails. 
A Check Engine Light Indicates a Problem With Emissions Components.

Call us today

If you are due an emissions test in , CA make sure your all your emissions components are working properly and have them checked at Japanese Car Specialties. We specialize in Japanese and Korean import vehicles. Call us today at 949-583-0811 to schedule a service.

What Are Auto Repair Services?

What is auto repair services?

When you take your car to an automotive shop, it’s usually either for maintenance or repair. There is a difference between the two types of services, so you may wonder, “What auto repair means?” 

If you have a part malfunctioning on your vehicle that causes your vehicle to perform poorly or not perform at all, then you need auto repair services. For example, if you are driving along and have to suddenly apply  your brakes, you may discover it takes longer for the car to stop or it fails to stop at all. This means your brakes are worn or damaged. You may be out of brake fluid, or your brake pads have been worn or some other part of the brakes is keeping the brakes from working safely. A mechanic or service technician can diagnose the problem and repair or replace the part causing the problem.

Maintenance, on the other hand, is a routine service like an oil change, that helps keep your vehicle running efficiently or prevents serious damage to your vehicle that will require repairs later on. It’s possible when you bring your car in for a maintenance service like an oil change or tire rotation, it may need a repair. Your mechanic, for instance, might find a nail in your tire that needs to be removed to avoid a flat. The tire will need to be repaired or replaced to avoid any further damage.

If you have a Japanese- or Korean-manufactured vehicle like a Toyota or Kia and you need auto repair services in , CA, Japanese Car Specialties provides a full range of services for these types of imports. Call 949-583-0811 to find out how we can help.   

Auto repair services list

When you bring your vehicle into a full-service repair shop like Japanese Car Specialties, you can expect a wide range of repairs to be available to you. 

While we specialize in Japanese and Korean imports, most auto service shops will provide similar repair services like those listed below.

  • Oxygen sensor replacements
  • Catalytic converter replacements
  • Alternator repair
  • Fuel pump repair
  • Brake repair and replacement
  • Electrical system repair
  • Suspension repairs
  • Axle repair
  • Starter repair
  • Serpentine belt replacement

What services do mechanics provide?

Auto mechanics in general provide either maintenance or auto repair services. Maintenance includes routine scheduled maintenance like oil changes or tire rotations, as well as preventative maintenance services like brake checks and brake replacement. Auto repair services include repairing malfunctioning or broken parts like alternators or starters or oxygen sensors. Some auto service shops and mechanics specialize in maintaining and repairing specific parts like brakes or transmissions. Auto service shops like Japanese Car Specialties specialize in maintaining imported vehicles.

What is the difference between auto body and mechanic?

Auto mechanics and auto body mechanics differ in the type of work they do. While mechanics work primarily on systems inside the car,under the hood, such as engines and electrical systems, auto body mechanics are generally concerned with the car’s exterior. They’ll repair cars smashed up after wrecks or repaint them. Auto body shops are usually larger because the facilities are designed for painting the car, and require different diagnostic tools than those in mechanic’s shops. Auto body mechanics require diagnostic tools like alignment gauges to check the vehicle’s structural integrity to ensure it’s safe to drive. 

What is the Automotive Repair Act?

The Automotive Repair Act is actually the name of several similar proposals in several state legislatures, as well as the U.S. Congress, that if passed would require auto manufacturers to provide independent repair shops with the same information as they provide dealerships and dealer shops. The legislation is intended to help repair shops better diagnose problems, especially as technology advances on cars. Manufacturers would be required to share advanced information to independent shops so they could make better repairs and get parts for those vehicles. Some independent shops have to turn customers away because they don’t have the right information to make the repair.

What do car repairs cost?

The cost of auto repair services will vary. The national average repair runs between about $500 to $600. Much will depend on the make and model of the vehicle, as well as the type of repair being made. Different parts will be priced differently as well, according to the type of part it is, as well as the manufacturer of the part. You may be able to save on parts by using rebuilt parts or even salvaged parts from other vehicles. Costs will also be affected by labor charges. Some shops will have flat rates that vary from shop to shop, some will have menu pricing that includes labor. Some shops will provide payment plans.

Car repairs can be stressful. But with professionals you can trust, some of the stress will ease. Stress can also come from having major plumbing problems. When you enlist the services of professionals who use cost-effective techniques like pipe coating, your plumbing worries will be put at ease.

Car repair service on road

If you have a breakdown on the road, you have several options for help to get the car repaired. Groups like AAA offer roadside assistance plans that can help you. Insurance companies also offer roadside assistance. If don’t have a roadside assistance plan, you can connect to assistance using your phone to find nearby towing services and auto repair services. There also some mobile assistance services like battery charging that can help you while you are on the roadside. Often, you pay a small fee to groups like AAA if you do not have a roadside assistance plan, and these groups will help you.

Once you get your vehicle to auto repair services, you’ll need to determine the problem, find out how long the repair will take, and get an estimate of the cost. You will also want to find out if the shop will honor manufacturer’s warranties. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the mechanic about costs and time, you can get the car towed to another shop.

Automobile repair services near me

If you are looking for auto repair services in , CA for your Asian import vehicle, get in touch with the experienced professionals at Japanese Car Specialties. We offer a full range of services. You can reach us at 949-583-0811 to learn more about what we can for you.


Do You Really Have to Rotate Your Tires?

A Technician Removes A Tire.

What happens if you wait too long to rotate tires?

The main reason you want to rotate your tires is to keep them from wearing out too soon. The recommended mileage to rotate the tires is every 6,000 to 7,500 miles. Waiting too long to rotate the tires can cause the tires to develop a permanent wear pattern. Besides reducing the tires’ lifespan, the pattern of wear can cause you to experience a rough and noisy ride.

Below are some good reasons why tire rotation is important: 

  • Ensures the tires wear evenly to extend the life of tires and save money.
  • Tire rotation improves balanced handling.
  • Prevents tread cupping which causes loud noises and vibrations.
  • Rotation may be part of the tire manufacturer’s warranty and required for it to be upheld.

Are tire rotations free?

You may want to know: How much does it cost to have your tires rotated? Some companies offer free tire rotations, either as part of a package deal with other services like oil changes, or as a courtesy service.

If you need a tire rotation in , CA, make sure to come by the car maintenance specialists at Japanese Car Specialties. Give us a call at 949-583-0811 to find out about all of our service offerings. We specialize in imported cars, in particular with Japanese car brands like Infiniti and Toyota, as well as Korean brands like Kia and Hyundai.

How is tire rotation done?

You can rotate your tires at home, or you can get them rotated professionally. Whether done professionally or at home, tire rotation follows a simple process. The first thing you need to determine is if your tires are directional or non-directional.

The tread pattern on directional tires is one-way, and the tires are specifically made for the right or left side of the vehicle. Arrows or triangles on the tread wall will indicate which way the tire turns. When you rotate directional tires, you will swap the front right tire with the rear right tire and the front left tire with the rear left tire.

For non directional tires allow you to mount the tire on any wheel. Use a cross pattern with non-directional tires, moving the front tires to the opposite side on the rear, so, for example, the right front tire will go onto the left rear wheel.

What happens when you get your tires rotated?

Basically a tire rotation involves switching the position of the tires to keep them from wearing out. It’s a simple preventative maintenance task and recommended about every 6,000 miles. When you rotate your tires regularly, you will lengthen their lifespan and you will have to replace them less frequently. Tire rotation and other services like wheel alignment and balancing services are important maintenance procedures that will ensure your tires last a long time. 

Regular maintenance, including transmission service, is key to ensuring your vehicle runs smoothly and lasts you a long time. If you are hearing grinding noises as you drive you may need transmission repair.

Tire rotation with oil change

A good time to get your tires rotated is when you get an oil change. Japanese Car Specialties offers both services at affordable prices.

Tire rotation is alignment

You may think tire rotation is the same thing as tire alignment or front end alignment. Tire rotation is a completely different process than alignment. Although alignment is also meant to preserve the tires, alignment involves straightening the front tires to align with the rear tires, rather than moving them around. The angle of the car’s wheels are adjusted and the tire tread is checked. Your wheels can get knocked out of alignment by rough road conditions. If your wheels are out of alignment, you may feel your steering wheel pull to one side or another, or feel heavy vibration while driving, or may make driving difficult in general. It is recommended to check the alignment about every 10,000 miles.

A Technician Checks a Tire.

Tire rotation without balance

Tire rotation, alignment and balance are all different processes that help preserve the tires and keep them from  wearing out too soon. If you are determining the difference of tire rotation vs. tire balance, getting your tires rotated doesn’t mean they will be balanced at the same time, although it’s a good idea to have the tires balanced when you get your tires rotated. 

When tire treads wear out, weight distribution begins to change and causes the tires to become imbalanced. This imbalance will cause the car to shake or vibrate. When you get your wheels balanced, the technician checks the balance with a calibrated spin balancer.

If your import has hit its next 6,000 miles and is giving you a rough ride, it may be time for a tire rotation in , CA. Japanese Car Specialties specializes in Japanese and Korean import vehicles, so give us a call at 949-583-0811 to arrange your next service.