Category Archives: Uncategorized

How often do you need to rotate your tires?

tires being checked

Are tire rotations important?

The tires on your vehicle take a lot of abuse when you think about. They are the rubber on the road, and as you know, the roadways today desire a lot! Your car tires keep your car rolling, providing you a better ride and make it easier to drive. Other than getting new tires every so often as needed, do you have your car tires rotated? 

A tire rotation is the process of switching the tires from one wheel to another, typically moving in a crisscross pattern, the back tires to the front and vice versa.  The reason it is so necessary for you schedule  a tire rotation to do on a regular routine is for several reasons. 

Tire Tread Life Extended — Regular tire rotation will keep your car tires from wearing unevenly. Tires that are worn unevenly will reduce the handling of your car, making your car unstable and dangerous for driving. Tire rotation and alignment should be done simultaneously as well as having the tires balanced. A tire rotation without balance can result in the same issues of making your car unstable and dangerous on the road.  

  • Performance Maximized — Your car tires contribute to the performance of your vehicle. When tire rotation isn’t done, the ride won’t be as comfortable, and your tires will wear out faster. 
  • Gas Mileage Increased — When your car tires are worn out, your gas mileage decreases because the engine has to work harder to move the car.  
  • Money Saved — In addition to saving money on gas, you won’t be replacing tires sooner than necessary with routine rotation of your car tires, because anyone that has purchased new tires know that it is like a small investment.

Do you really have to rotate your tires?

 Car maintenance is not always convenient, but that doesn’t make it any less important, including rotation of the car tires. A regular routine of having car tires rotated will keep the car driving and performing to its optimal possibility. To make getting this car maintenance done without making special  appointments with your mechanic, coincide the tire rotation with oil change. 

Which way do you rotate your tires?

Front and rear car tires wear differently because the front tires have more weight than the rear tires. Additionally, the front tires are the tires that turn corners and typically, left front car tires wear faster. 

By doing regular rotation of car tires, especially if you have driven thousands of miles, you are equalizing the wear pattern of the car tires. An equal wearing of car tires will make them last longer and help you save gas money too. The standard process of rotating car tires typically follow this process: 

Directional Tires – Steel Belted Car Tires
  • Has a one-way tread pattern that optimizes the direction the car tires should be rotated and should be rotated from left to right.  
  • Each of the sidewalls of the car tires will have either arrows or triangles that indicate which way to mount the car tires. 
  • To rotate directional car tires, swap the front right tire  and back right tire, repeating this with the left car tires. 
Non-Directional Tires – Nylon Ply Car Tires
  • Non-directional car  tires tread pattern is designed in a way they can be mounted on any wheel. 
  • Rotating non-directional car tires is done in a crisscross pattern.
  • For rear-wheel drive cars, the front car tires should be moved crisscrossing the front car tires with the rear car tires, left to right and back to front. 

By taking your car to your mechanic or tire store, they will usually offer free tire rotation service and you can be certain they will follow the proper rotation of your car tires. 

tires in line

What happens if you don’t rotate your tires?

Without regular rotation of car tires, the tire tread will wear unevenly. This creates a rough ride and a potentially unstable surface.  As the tire tread wears, the safety of you and your passengers is in jeopardy because the possibility of heat buildup and hydroplaning as well as loss of traction in ice, rain, and snow. Worn tires are susceptible to blowouts and punctures, which can happen while driving.

While we have explained what a rotation of car tires is and why it should be done on routine basis, you may wonder, can you rotate tires too often? The answer to that concern is not where the tires are concerned, rotation of car tires cannot be done too much. The concern should be focused on not getting your car tires rotated enough and often enough. 

Your car is an investment, and the car tires are an investment when you have to replace them. Taking the time to get the oil change and the tires rotated can do a lot to extend the life of your car and car tires. Call 949-583-0811 today for your tire rotation needs in Mission Viejo, CA.

What is an Oxygen Sensor?

oxygen sensor

So, what is the function of oxygen sensor?

Your vehicle requires gasoline to operate and run along with oxygen. The oxygen creates a spark that ignites the engine and burns the gasoline. That creates the fuel needed for your car to run. That oxygen has to be rationed though, and that is done with an oxygen sensor

The oxygen sensor is usually found mounted in the exhaust system so that it can measure the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gases. The sensor compares the amount of oxygen to the proportion of oxygen in the air, then updates the computer in your vehicle with that information. 

The vehicle’s computer is called an ECU (Engine Control Module) and when the oxygen sensor is functioning  correctly. This helps a vehicle in passing any state mandated emission testing as well as the fuel efficiency.

How long do oxygen sensors last?

The oxygen sensor is exposed to extreme high temperatures any time the vehicle’s engine is running, even if you’re sitting at a light with the engine idling. That heat can wear the oxygen sensor down each time the engine is running. 

What happens when an oxygen sensor goes bad?

If the oxygen sensor fails, there are several issues and problem you can experience, starting with a rough running engine. Another main issue you will have is when you take your vehicle in for state inspection, it will not pass the emission testing with a bad oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensor is important to a vehicle’s operation, and when you notice the following situations, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic to be checked:

  • The Check Engine light comes on and stays on
  • The engine has a rough idle
  • The engine sputters when you let off the gas
  • The gas mileage gets worse
  • The engine loses power and becomes sluggish

What causes an oxygen sensor to fail?

An oxygen sensor, also referred to a O2 sensor, can fail because of  various contaminants entering the exhaust. These contaminants can include silicates from coolant leaking from the internal engine and phosphorus from extreme oil consumption. In other words, your vehicle needs mechanical attention as soon as possible. If your vehicle’s oxygen sensor has failed because of these reasons, there are internal issues with the engine. 

How long can you drive with a bad oxygen sensor?

The oxygen sensor in your vehicle helps the exhaust system reduce the harmful fumes it emits when the engine is running. Your vehicle can be driven for any amount of time with a malfunctioning oxygen sensor, but it won’t be able to monitor the amount of air and fuel mixture it uses and make the automatic adjustments. So, in quick summary, yes, you can drive a vehicle with a bad oxygen sensor, but you’ll be spending more money on gasoline and you’ll risk other damage possibly happening.

What happens if you don’t replace oxygen sensor?

The first thing that happens with a failed oxygen senor , it isn’t doing its job of monitoring the amount of air and fuel mixing, resulting in a loss of fuel economy and  higher emissions. The next thing that can result from not replacing a failed oxygen sensor is your vehicle won’t pass state emission testing. The last, but just as important, the catalytic converter will  overheat, and other components of the engine can be damaged. .

Can oxygen sensor be cleaned?

This can depend on who you ask. There are oxygen sensor cleaners on the market claiming to be safe for the oxygen sensor and engine. Other people have used an aerosol cleaner and wire brush, but most mechanics recommend having the oxygen sensor change for the safest results. 

Oxygen sensor

How long does it take a new O2 sensor to work?

When an oxygen sensor has been replaced, it needs to be reset in order to properly monitor the air and fuel information. If you have a mechanic install your oxygen sensor, they will reset and test it.  If you do your own replacement, the following steps will reset the sensor: 

  • Step One: Open the fuse panel and locate the ECU fuse and pull it out.
  • Step Two: Turn the ignition “On” without cranking the engine.
  • Step Three: Wait 5 minutes then reinsert the ECU fuse. The “Check Engine” light should blink and turn off, indicating the ECU is reset and your vehicle is ready to go again. 

Now you know more about your vehicle’s oxygen sensor, but did you know there is more than just one type?  What are the different types of oxygen sensor? Well, there are 4 that we’ll list here, but not all of them are related to vehicles! 

  • Electrochemical Oxygen Sensor: used to measure oxygen levels in ambient air. 
  • Zirconia Oxygen Sensor: senses the variance between the concentration of exhaust gas and  O2 in normal air.
  • Optical Oxygen Sensor: using the principle of fluorescence quenching, this sensor uses a light detector and a luminescent material that reacts to light.
  • Infrared Oxygen Sensor: used in the medical industry to measure the body’s oxygen saturation.

Need an oxygen sensor service in Mission Viejo, CA? Japanese Car Specialties is always available to assist you. Call 949-583-0811 today.

What is Factory Recommended Maintenance?

car service, repair, maintenance and people concept - auto mechanic man with lamp working at workshop

Learn More About Factory Maintenance

When it comes to maintaining your car there are routine practices that are typically done. Yet with factory maintenance, there will be recommendations of what to do for your specific make and model of your car so that your car can perform at its best. They are intended so that your car can last longer than when the warranty on it ends. Make sure to consult your owner’s manual for more details on factory maintenance. You may be able to schedule your services with your dealership or an auto shop. Before that, here is some general background information about factory maintenance that may prove of use to you.

What is factory maintenance?

Factory maintenance is designed to keep the car running optimally by checking and maintaining the vehicles’ important systems. Generally, the first maintenance schedule will occur around 7,500.

What is the maintenance schedule?

A maintenance schedule will involve any service or task that has a certain marker or deadline to be done with a technician. It can be a one-time task or one that’s done at regular intervals. Scheduled maintenance is done to reduce reactive maintenance, maintenance backlog, or equipment failure. You can avoid common problems from occurring with a regularly maintained schedule.

What is factory scheduled maintenance?

Scheduled factory maintenance will have a list of maintenance items that the vehicle manufacturer recommends. The benchmarks will typically fall under the 30,000, 60,000, and 90,000 marks. The interval between will depend on the make and model of the care so check the owner’s manual for more information. The manufacturer will set these guidelines in a detailed way that covers basic maintenance and more detailed inspections that keeps an eye on wear and tear from operations. By bringing in your car to routine maintenance small problems are caught before they grow into bigger ones.

How important is scheduled maintenance?

It’s important to schedule factory maintenance in order to ensure the proper working order and preventing long term damages. What’s more, in certain cases you’ll be required to do the minimum recommended maintenance in order to keep the car’s warranty in good standing. It will be essential to keep the records in order to preserve the resale value of the vehicle. If you’re wanting to resale or trade your vehicle completing scheduled maintenance will give you the ability to sell it for more. Secondly, having scheduled maintenance is a good diagnostic tool, and if a warranty claim needs to be made your maintenance history will need to meet their requirements or risk being denied.

How do you keep car maintenance records?

You can your car’s maintenance by storing it in a folder or envelope with other important documents and receipts. Label and place the items in a safe place or in your glove compartment. 

How long should you keep vehicle maintenance records?

It may be good to keep vehicle maintenance records for at least a year. It might be a good idea to keep these records as essentially they will give you a good reminder as to your maintenance schedule.

Auto mechanic checking car battery voltage

What are the most important car maintenance?

  • Check & Replace Your Wiper Blades
  • Change Your Oil Regularly
  • Rotate Your Tires & Check Air Pressure
  • Check Your Battery’s Charge 
  • Replace Worn-Down Brake Pads
  • Replace Your Air Filter
  • Check Hoses & Belts 
  • Replace Old Spark Plugs

What needs to be serviced in a car?

Common duties that need to be done with a car as far as being services is ensuring the engine is tuned to run in peak conditions, checking the cooling system (radiators, pumps, and hoses,) checking lights, exhaust, tires, and operations of the brakes and steering wheel. An engine oil change and filter replacement will be necessary as will checking the coolant levels and hydraulic fluid. Finally,  having suspension checked is recommended.

Should I go to the dealer for maintenance?

There are certain advantages that can come with going to your detail such as them being able to perform certain repairs for free if your car is still under warranty. Small shops can also offer warranties on service parts but they might only be able to cover some parts or not be able to cover them at the same length of time.

What voids your car warranty?

Your car warranty can be voided with certain activities such as off-road driving or racing/reckless driving.

Consult a Professional About Factory Maintenance For Your Vehicle

If you’re needing factory maintenance have services performed by a skilled worker. It’s important to have services rendered on your vehicle by a professional to ensure that all the correct measures are being taken for smooth operations. Factory maintenance is not a do-it-yourself venture and will require trained hands to complete for an optimal outcome. Speak to a professional today about the services that should be scheduled for your vehicle soon for a safe drive.

Get more information regarding factory maintenance in Mission Viejo, CA by calling 949-583-0811 with the experts at Japanese Car Specialties today!

What Is Covered in a Safety Inspection?

A Mechanic Runs a Diagnostic on a Car.

What is covered in a safety inspection?

In California, you’re required to have your car inspected annually to renew its registration. These safety inspections involve emission systems checks, as well as checks for leaks, fluid levels, and mechanical integrity of your brakes, electrical system, fuel system, glass and mirrors, horn, lights, wipers, tires, steering, and suspension. If your vehicle was made in 1976 or after, you also must pass a biennial smog inspection. If your car is six years old or less, you can forego a smog inspection but still have to pay a smog abatement over the first six years of registration. Some vehicles such as electric cars and natural gas-powered vehicles are exempt from smog inspections. When it comes to safety inspections in Mission Viejo, CA, you’ll get thorough service from Japanese Car Specialties. Book a service time by calling 949-583-0811.

Why would a car fail safety inspection?

In California, you can fail safety inspections for a variety of reasons:

  • Emissions issues: Problems with emissions are often indicated by your check engine light and could range from bad spark plugs to a malfunctioning catalytic converter. Emissions testing includes a gas cap check to ensure that vapors aren’t being emitted from it. Emissions are a major component of California state inspections.
  • Inadequate amount of insurance: In California, you must have at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability insurance coverage and $30,000 in accident coverage to be inspected.
  • Leaks: Any fluid leaks will prevent your vehicle from passing inspection.
  • Mechanical issues: Mechanical problems can include everything from bad windshield wipers to bad tires to malfunctioning headlights to insufficient braking capabilities.

Will cracked tires pass safety inspection?

The condition of your tires plays a key role in whether you pass your safety inspection. Tires cannot be cracked or otherwise damaged, and treads cannot be worn down for them to be considered safe. You can gauge tread depth simply by placing a penny between the tread. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tread is at an unsafe level.

What happens if my car doesn’t pass inspection?

If your car doesn’t pass its safety inspection, you won’t be able to renew your vehicle registration until necessary repairs are made. If your registration expires before you pass the inspection, you can be ticketed for expired registration. You also won’t receive new license plates if your car isn’t properly registered. Some state assistance programs are available for up to $500 in repairs if you need help paying for emissions repairs to pass inspection. You might also qualify for a vehicle retirement program for the safe recycling of vehicles that provides some financial aid toward buying a new vehicle.

Does my car need a safety inspection?

With few exceptions, almost every vehicle in California requires a safety inspection for vehicle registration. Car safety inspection requirements stipulate that most gasoline-powered cars made in 1976 or after also require a smog inspection. If you drive a diesel-powered car made after 1997, you are exempt from the emissions test. Also exempt from emissions testing are electric cars and natural gas-powered vehicles.

Everyone in the state must register their vehicle in the state if the car is based in California or if it is used primarily on highways in the state. Inspections can be performed at any official California Department of Transportation service station, including Japanese Car Specialties. All of these stations post signs signifying they are certified inspection stations. If you have recently moved to California and your vehicle is used primarily in the state, then it will have to be registered and pass emissions testing. The California emissions test must be performed on out-of-state vehicles even if you’ve had your car tested in another state and the car has passed that state’s test. An out-state vehicle must also have a VIN inspection once it’s registered in the state. If you are not a resident of the state, you are exempt from these requirements.

Which states do not require vehicle inspections?

Almost every state requires vehicle inspections except these:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota

Other states that don’t normally require inspections except under certain specific circumstances include Michigan and Mississippi.

How long does car safety inspection take?

Vehicle inspection times will vary. Typically, the inspection will take anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes to complete. If simple repairs are needed, such as installing new wiper blades, the vehicle will have to be inspected again. You also typically have 30 days to make any needed repairs if your vehicle doesn’t pass the initial inspection.

A Mechanic Goes Over Safety Inspection Checklist.

Where to get car safety inspection

If it’s time to renew your vehicle registration and you need a safety inspection in Mission Viejo, CA, you can always count on Japanese Car Specialties for a thorough inspection. We are certified by the California Department of Transportation to make inspections. You can easily set up an appointment for an inspection by calling 949-583-0811.

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 Mission Viejo, 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 Mission Viejo, 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 Mission Viejo, 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 Mission Viejo, 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 Mission Viejo, 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 Mission Viejo, 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 Mission Viejo, 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 Mission Viejo, CA call 949-583-0811 with Japanese Car Specialties!