Sully’s Auto Repair

Providing Huntington Beach car owners with quality automotive services and repairs since 2003

Sully’s Auto Repair - Providing Huntington Beach car owners with quality automotive services and repairs since 2003

Why People In Huntington Beach Hesitate to Get their Vehicle Serviced

A recent report stated that over 80 percent of the vehicles on our Huntington Beach CA roads have one or more service or repair that’s needed, but hasn’t been taken care of. Now that’s a lot of undone service. That translates into something over 160 million vehicles in the U.S. alone. Some of the neglected items are minor. Others are serious safety concerns.

There are several reasons why we hesitate to take care of recommended services; especially services that our Huntington Beach CA automotive advisor recommends when we’re in for something else, like an oil change.

The first issue boils down to comfort with car care. We don’t always feel we know enough to make good decisions. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that vehicles are so reliable these days. They almost become an appliance. Of course you love your SUV, but if you don’t have to worry about it breaking down all the time, you’re not forced to think as much about preventive maintenance.

Perhaps your dad knew a lot about cars and always made sure they were taken care of. He was very comfortable dealing with his local Huntington Beach CA service advisor. People who don’t know as much about cars hesitate to ask questions because they don’t want to look ignorant.

It’s human nature. But, there’s so much to know in this world, we can’t all be experts in everything. So we specialize. It’s very important to ask questions of any specialist, whether it’s your doctor, financial advisor or your automotive technician in Huntington Beach, CA.

Your auto technician at Sully’s Auto Repair wants your questions. We want you to understand the recommendation and why it needs to be done.

That brings us to the next issue; people say that they don’t always know if they really need the service or if they are just being sold something.

At the heart, it speaks to trust. Do you trust your Huntington Beach service center and your service advisor? Trust has to be earned and that takes time and experience. But you can shortcut the process when you realize that most of the recommendations are based on manufacturer’s maintenance schedules.

In other words, “you don’t have to trust me, you can trust your owner’s manual”.

Your Huntington Beach service center has computer databases that contain the manufacturer’s recommendations for almost all vehicles, so they don’t need to rummage through your glove box to look for your owner’s manual to know what to do.

Basically, the engineers who designed the car say “here’s when you need to have it serviced”. That’s who makes the recommendation, not the technician. He’s just reminding you.

Now you do need to trust your Huntington Beach technician’s experience and judgment from time to time. When he inspects your vehicle, he may find problems or concerns. He will explain things so that you can prioritize the concern and make a good decision about whether or not to have something done.

That brings us to the third issue; money. Often the concern is about spending the money to take care of a recommended service. Our money has many places it needs to go. And we have another list of places we want it to go. Auto maintenance isn’t usually on either of those lists.

Look, everyone who works at Sully’s Auto Repair has a family budget, too. They can relate. Maybe a little look behind the scenes would be helpful.

Service centers like Sully’s Auto Repair invest heavily in training, diagnostic equipment and tools so that they can make repairs and perform services as efficiently as possible. And like any other business, they have labor costs, insurance, rent, utilities, shop and office supplies, taxes and so on.

We work hard to make sure that we diagnose the problem correctly and fix it right the first time. That’s the only way we can maintain our reputation and remain in business. If we’re not satisfying our customers and providing a good value, you won’t come back and the service center won’t be around for long.

When there is a real budget concern, your Huntington Beach service center can help you prioritize the work that needs to be done and come up with a plan for taking care of it that works within your budget.

Let’s say you have a serious problem with your brakes. That’s a safety concern so a technician can’t ethically say, well, let’s put that off for a couple of months. What they can do is take care of the brakes now and address the cabin air filter or transmission service next month.

Fuel Injectors

The last new American cars sold in Huntington Beach with a carburetor rolled out of the CA dealerships in 1990. Since then, all new vehicles here in Huntington Beach and nationally have had fuel injectors. In very simple terms, a fuel injector is a valve that squirts fuel into your engine. Your engine control computer tells the fuel injector how much gas to deliver as well as the precise time it should be delivered. Of course this happens thousands of times a minute. Fuel injectors deliver fuel far more precisely than carburetors. That translates into better MPG and more power for Huntington Beach motorists. Virtually all fuel injectors for gas engines are known as port fuel injectors because they deliver the fuel to a port just outside the cylinder. Port fuel injectors operate at about 40 to 80 pounds per square inch of pressure.

A few manufacturers have introduced gas direct injection systems on some engines recently. These systems inject the gas directly into the cylinders under very high pressure – hundreds of times the pressure of port injection systems. Although more complicated, direct injection technology promises greater power with improved MPG, so Buena Park auto owners can expect to see more of it in the future.

As Huntington Beach motorists can see, the level of precision required of fuel injectors is very high. It’s important that they operate properly in order for your car to run right.

High temperatures under your hood and variations in Huntington Beach gas quality cause fuel injectors to become fouled with wax, dirt, and carbon. Injectors can become partially clogged, preventing them from delivering the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure. The design of each engine requires a specific spray pattern from the fuel injector that might be altered when the injector is dirty. When injectors are dirty, the fuel doesn’t burn as efficiently resulting in poor fuel economy and loss of power. So it is important to keep your SUV fuel injectors clean.

Skilled service technicians at Sully’s Auto Repair in Huntington Beach can perform a fuel system service for you. (Visit http://sullysautorepairhb.com/contact.html.) That is a fuel system service – not just fuel injector cleaning. That is because the fuel has a lot of ways to become dirty or contaminated between the Huntington Beach gas pump and your fuel injectors. A fuel system service at Sully’s Auto Repair starts with a fuel filter replacement. This filter cleans the gas as it leaves the tank. The various parts of the fuel intake system need to be cleaned from time to time to remove harmful gum, deposits and varnish. Finally, the fuel injectors are cleaned so that they operate properly for Sully’s Auto Repair and deliver the right amount of fuel at the right time.

Your friendly Sully’s Auto Repair technician uses a process for cleaning your SUV fuel system that includes state-of-the-art cleaning chemicals as well as some old fashioned scrubbing. Proper maintenance of your fuel system means that you will enjoyed improved fuel efficiency, enjoy strong performance and prevent expensive repairs down the road.

Air Conditioning Service In Huntington Beach

Hey Buena Park! Let’s talk about one of our CA summertime must-haves: your car A/C. It’s real easy for Huntington Beach drivers to take their car’s air conditioner for granted. Just push the right buttons and out comes cool, dry, clean air. But your air conditioning system needs attention from time to time to help it keep its cool.

Do you hear loud noises under the hood when you turn on your air conditioner? Do you only get cool air sporadically? If so, it is time to get your air conditioner checked at Sully’s Auto Repair in Huntington Beach. 

When most Buena Park folks hear the words “air conditioning problems“, it sends a shiver up their spine. That is because the air conditioning system is fairly complex. It has a lot of parts and when it’s broken, it’s costly to repair.

What things can Huntington Beach and La Palma motorists do to prevent air conditioning breakdowns?

A common cause of air conditioning failure is leaks. Water and air can leak into the system. It doesn’t work as well with air in it and water can cause rust that leads to damage of the car A/C components. Also, refrigerant, the stuff that makes the air cold, can leak out, reducing the efficiency of the system, making it work harder to cool the air. Periodically evacuating the air conditioning system and recharging it keeps the proper amount of clean refrigerant in the system so it cools better and lasts longer.

Huntington Beach drivers should run their air conditioner regularly, even during CA winter, so that it lubricates itself and keeps the seals from drying out, which leads to leaks. Your owner’s manual will have recommendations for how often to service your air conditioner. Of course, if it’s not working right, now is the time to get it checked. The team at Sully’s Auto Repair in Huntington Beach can inspect and test your air conditioning and offer evacuation and recharge services. This helps you avoid expensive repairs.

New environmental laws have stopped the manufacture of Freon, a refrigerant that was common in cars made before 1993. There is a very limited supply of Freon in  CA so the price is very steep. It may not be worth its weight in gold, but it probably is worth its weight in silver. If you have an older SUV that uses Freon, you may want to consider having it retrofitted to use the new R134-A refrigerant. It will pay for itself in the long run. So, if your A/C is just a lot of hot air, bring it in to Sully’s Auto Repair in Huntington Beach for an inspection.

Sully’s Auto Repair
17152 Palmdale Ln.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
(714) 841-1245

At Sully’s Auto Repair we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

Differential Service At Sully’s Auto Repair

Here at AutoNetTV, we have national viewers, like your neighbors in Huntington Beach, who write to us with questions or feedback. One common question we’re asked is: “What is a differential and what does it do?” You may have been told by your Sully’s Auto Repair tech that your differential needs service, or seen it as an option up on the service menu. Differential service at Sully’s Auto Repair covers a lot of things, so let’s first talk about what a differential does.

As you drive through a turn, your outside wheels and inside wheels turn at different speeds. Kind of like the cars going around a race track – the ones driving in the outside lanes have a greater distance to travel than the cars in the inside lanes. The differential is what allows the outside and inside drive wheels to rotate at slightly different speeds so that the tires don’t hop or skip while taking corners, or lose traction in dirt or snow on Buena Park freeways. Differentials have gears in them that transfer the power from the drive train to your wheels – which is why they’re often referred to as gear boxes. The gears need to be very strong to do this work, and they need to be properly protected so that they’ll last.

All vehicles in Huntington Beach have some form of differential. If you have a front-wheel drive car, your differential is sometimes called a transaxle and is located in the front. If you have rear-wheel drive, the differential is in the back of the car. Huntington Beach drivers with a four-wheel drive vehicle have a differential in the front and the back – and in the middle as well. The center differential adjusts for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.

Differential fluid lubricates and cools the gears. Over time, the fluid can get dirty from bits of the gears grinding off. The additives that keep the fluid clean and protect the differential break down over time. So your vehicle manufacturer has scheduled intervals for you to have your differential fluid changed. Talk to your friendly Sully’s Auto Repair service specialist if you are not sure about your recommended schedule.

Differentials are hard working mechanisms, and, along with the gears in a manual transmission, need to be serviced regularly at Sully’s Auto Repair with high-quality, replacement fluid. Your Huntington Beach service advisor can give you more information as to when your next differential service is recommended. You can also ask if they have a record of when the service was last completed.

As with most service intervals, if you are driving under more severe conditions in the Buena Park area, you will want to service your differential more frequently. “Severe service” conditions are  defined in auto manufacturers’ owners’ manuals, and include: frequent starts and stops, short trips, cold CA weather, hot weather and towing. All these factors add to the stress of the vehicle and its parts. Also, off-roading in CA can be especially hard on differentials, especially if you cross streams. Proper service at Sully’s Auto Repair will extend the life of your gears and keep them running more smoothly. If you have never had your differential checked, visit http://sullysautorepairhb.com/contact.html for more information.

Suspension Service In Huntington Beach At Sully’s Auto Repair

When they hear the word ‘suspension,’ Huntington Beach drivers may think back to those energetic days of grade school. Well, your car’s suspension is actually a good thing because it keeps your car up off the road and helps provide a comfy ride around Buena Park. Its job is to keep your wheels firmly planted over bumps and through curves. Your suspension system has many vital parts. If you look under your car, it’s basically everything that connects your wheels to the SUV’s frame. These are heavy duty parts that do a lot of work. They need to be inspected for damage and excessive wear at least once a year. A good time for this is when you get your annual alignment service at Sully’s Auto Repair.

Here are some warning signs of suspension problems:

  • the car pulls to one side
  • it wanders
  • the steering is erratic
  • you see uneven tire wear
  • you experience a poor ride or handling
  • you see oil leaking from shocks

Basically, you just don’t feel in control when you’re driving.

Some suspension parts just wear out with use. Shocks and struts eventually lose their ability to control your ride. Wheel bearings need to be repacked every couple of years. And some suspension pieces need to be lubricated when you get your oil changed. Your friendly service advisor at Sully’s Auto Repair can perform an inspection and tell you what problems you may have.

If you’re in an accident, your suspension can be damaged or knocked out of alignment. Even a minor accident, like hitting a curb around Huntington Beach or even a large rock can mess things up for Huntington Beach drivers. With a minor accident it’s tempting for many Buena Park drivers to just get an alignment or wheel balance to correct the problem. But if there’s damage, a simple alignment won’t actually fix the problem, and you’ll just have to align it again after the repairs are made. So if you have an accident, get your suspension system inspected right away. Suspension problems are a major safety issue because they can lead to unsafe handling.

One big cause of suspension damage for Huntington Beach car owners is potholes – those nasty magnets that form in Buena Park roads in freezing weather. They seem to draw our tires right into them. Here are some tips for avoiding damage from potholes: First, keep your tires at their full air pressure. That gives tires their maximum resiliency and will hopefully keep your wheels or other suspension parts from crunching on a big hole. Next, just pay attention. When you see a hole you can’t miss, slow down before you hit it. Driving at a slower speed will limit the damage, and may keep your drink from spilling. But avoid the temptation to brake directly over the pothole. That will cause the car’s weight to shift forward and add to the potential damage.

Sully’s Auto Repair
Give us a call today at (714) 841-1245
Or stop by at 17152 Palmdale Ln., Huntington Beach, CA 92647

The Sully’s Auto Repair Guide to Proper Fluids for Your Vehicle

The automotive professionals at Sully’s Auto Repair would like to give Huntington Beach auto owners an update on some of the things happening in automotive fluids. You know, cars are becoming more sophisticated everyday – and fluids such as, oil, coolant and transmission fluid are becoming more specialized at about the same pace.

The Buena Park do-it-yourselfer has to be pretty careful so that they do not actually harm their SUV with the wrong type of fluid. That is why so many CA car owners rely on the advice of their friendly Sully’s Auto Repair tech to not only get the correct family of fluids, but to suggest the formulation that is best for their car and their driving habits in the Huntington Beach area.

Let’s start with engine oil. La Palma motorists who have been paying attention, will have noticed a number of new oil weights on the CA scene in the last several years. Modern engines are built to much tighter tolerances and have very complicated valve trains. The oil must be thin enough to lubricate complicated parts when the engine is cold. The weight of an oil is expressed in terms like 20-W-50 or 5-W-30. The automobile manufacturers recommend the weight of oil for each vehicle they make. The recommendation is based on engine design. Your Huntington Beach service center will know what weight your automobile manufacturer recommends – and it’s important to follow those recommendations. Your tech at Sully’s Auto Repair can also offer suggestions for special formulations and can tell you all about conventional and synthetic oils.

Antifreeze,
or engine coolant, is another area that has become more complicated. For a long time, manufacturers only recommended a couple of different types of coolant. Now, several different formulations are needed because of the high-tech materials that car makers are using to build the cooling system. Using the wrong type of coolant in your SUV or other vehicle can actually void your warranty, so it’s vital to get that right.

Transmission fluid is becoming specialized for Huntington Beach vehicles as well. New transmission designs have particular requirements that require specific formulations. Recently, new, somewhat confusing, standards for brake fluid have also been released.

Not too long ago, there was a good chance that all of the vehicles at your Huntington Beach house would use many of the same fluids. However, as automotive technology advances, the array of basic automotive fluids CA car owners need will grow. And, some of the formulations will cost a little more for Huntington Beach drivers. Fortunately, Sully’s Auto Repair will continue to update their training to keep pace with technology so that you’ll get the right fluids your car needs. It’s all part of the commitment we make to your driving peace of mind.

Braking News: Keep Your Stopping Power

Richard Petty once told AutoNetTV, “You’ve gotta have good brakes. If you’ve got good brakes you can keep yourself out of a lotta trouble.”

That’s why a regular brake inspection is on every Huntington Beach driver’s maintenance schedule. An inspection at Sully’s Auto Repair will check your brake system and let you know if there are any problems.

Of course, if you’re having trouble with your brakes, get your car into Sully’s Auto Repair in Huntington Beach right away. Here are some important symptoms for Huntington Beach auto owners to watch for:

  • Low or spongy brake pedal
  • Hard brake pedal
  • A brake warning light that stays on
  • Constantly squealing or grinding brakes
  • Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes

If you are experiencing any of these, it’s time to get your brakes checked. To to your friendly Sully’s Auto Repair service professional.

There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that’s attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle.

Drum brakes are most common on back wheels. Both types have pads or shoes that press against the brakes and slow the vehicle. Brake pads and shoes are made out of very tough material to withstand the heat and force generated when stopping your SUV . Eventually, they wear out with use, and become too thin and need to be replaced at Sully’s Auto Repair

If the brake pads wear away completely, you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced. That’s not only pricey, but also dangerous because your vehicle won’t stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.

Sully’s Auto Repair brake service will also include a check of your brake fluid. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid activates the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid means not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. Huntington Beach auto owners should change the brake fluid when their car maker recommends to avoid these problems.

There are different grades of brake pads sold in Huntington Beach; good, better and best. Higher grades cost more, but give better braking performance and smoother operation. It’s OK to upgrade your brake pads. But, never use a grade that’s lower than what the car maker recommends. 

So, be sure to properly maintain your brakes, because it’s a lot less pricey than paying your Huntington Beach body shop after an accident.

Come in to Sully’s Auto Repair for an brake inspection before damage occurs. You can call ahead for an appointment by calling (714) 841-1245.

PCV Valve Replacement

Hello Huntington Beach motorists, let’s talk about your often-unnoticed but extremely vital PCV valve. The energy from exploding fuel is what powers your engine. But some of the vapors from the explosions escape into the lower part of the engine, called the crankcase. The crankcase is where your engine oil hangs out. These gases are about 70% unburned fuel. If the gases were allowed to stay in the crankcase, they would quickly contaminate the oil and turn it to sludge. Buena Park folks know that sludge is one of the biggest enemies of your engine, clogging it up, eventually leading to expensive failures. Also, the pressure build up would cause seals and gaskets to blow out. Therefore, these gases need to be vented out.

Pre-1963, gasoline engines had a hose that let the harmful fumes vent out into the air. In 1963, the federal government required gas engines to have a special one-way valve installed to help reduce dangerous emissions. (Can you imagine how polluted our Buena Park air would be if every car had been releasing those poisonous fumes for the last fifty years?) Diesel engines are not required to have these valves.

The positive crankcase ventilation, or PCV, valve routes crankcase gases through a hose and back into the air intake system where they are re-burned in the engine. Fresh, clean air is brought into the crankcase through a breather tube. It’s really a pretty simple system, but it does the job. The re-circulating air removes moisture and combustion waste from the crankcase, preventing sludge. This extends not only the life of your oil, but the engine as well. The PCV relieves pressure in the crankcase, preventing dangerous oil leaks.


Eventually, the PCV valve can get gummed up
. Then it can’t move enough air through the engine to keep it working properly for Huntington Beach motorists. If the PCV valve is sticking enough, you could have oil leaks, excess oil consumption and a fouled intake system. If you experience hesitation or surging or an oil leak, it may be a sign of PCV valve problems. Your vehicle manufacturer’s owners’ manual may give a recommendation for when the PCV valve should be replaced – usually between 20,000 mi/32,000 km and 50,000 mi/80,000 km. Unfortunately, some auto manufacturers don’t list a recommendation in the manual, so it can be easy to overlook.

Many PCV system problems can be diagnosed with an automotive analysis by your friendly Sully’s Auto Repair service specialist. Fortunately, PCV valve replacement is both quick and inexpensive at Sully’s Auto Repair. Proper oil changes will greatly extend the life of the PCV valve. Skipping a few recommended oil changes can allow varnish and gum to build up in the valve, reducing its efficiency. So now when your Huntington Beach service technician tells you its time to replace your PCV valve, you will know what he’s talking about. If you have had your car for a while and this is the first you’ve ever heard of a PCV value, ask your service professional to check yours out or call Sully’s Auto Repair at (714) 841-1245.

Severe Service Requirements

A lot of Buena Park drivers have asked whether or not they should use their severe service maintenance schedule, which is listed in their car owners’ manual. It can be somewhat confusing, so we decided to consult an expert. Cricket Killingsworth is from QMI/Heartland, a manufacturer of automotive products and fluids. She’s been in the automotive business for 24 years and is a speaker, a trainer, and a writer.

Cricket says there’s so much confusion on this topic because, “Most owners’ manuals actually have two maintenance schedules. Sometimes these are called ‘regular service’ and ‘severe service’. Sometimes they’re simply called Schedule 1 and Schedule 2. A severe service schedule recommends that things like an oil change, air filter replacement, and transmission service be done more often: either in fewer miles or in less time.”

Foreign and domestic auto makers create a specific schedule for each vehicle they manufacture. So there isn’t one generic schedule that applies to all cars. In addition to your owners’ manual, Huntington Beach automotive repair centers (including Sully’s Auto Repair) subscribe to information services that provide the auto maintenance schedules schedules for every vehicle – so they can help Huntington Beach auto owners know when to take care of needed services. Below is a typical definition for severe service.

  • Most trips are less than four miles
  • Most trips are less than ten miles and outside temperatures are below freezing
  • You drive regularly in very hot CA weather
  • The engine is at low speed most of the time (not on the freeway)
  • Stop and go driving
  • You drive in in dusty or muddy conditions
  • You routinely tow a trailer, haul heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier around Buena Park

It’s common sense for Buena Park motorists: Just a few minutes at expressway speeds allows the moisture in the oil to evaporate. Very short trips, or trips of less than ten miles when it’s very cold in Huntington Beach, don’t allow the engine to heat up enough to get rid of the water. And water in the oil leads to damaging sludge. Also, towing and heavy loads raise operating temperatures and cause fluids to break down faster. Dusty and muddy driving around Huntington Beach means that more dirt will get past the air filter to contaminate the fuel system and engine oil.

The bottom line is that you need to decide for yourself if the regular or severe service schedule is right for you, based on your driving habits. Look at your owners’ manual, or talk with your Sully’s Auto Repair service advisor who can help you know which schedule to follow. Sully’s Auto Repair is located at 17152 Palmdale Ln., Huntington Beach CA.

Here is what a fleet manager said recently: “Since Huntington Beach miles are generally tougher on vehicles than highway miles, we use the automobile manufacturer’s severe service schedule as the basis for our preventative maintenance program. We massage those schedules over time, increasing or decreasing the service intervals so that they make the most sense. There is a little bit of art to go along with the science.”

Make an honest evaluation of your driving habits. Unless you do mostly CA highway driving in moderate weather, you’ll likely have a fairly good amount of severe service mixed in. Some Huntington Beach auto owners just want to play it safe and follow the severe service recommendations, rather than analyzing how they drive each month.

Winter Tires

What type of technology do you use? Do you prefer an 8-track tape or an iPod? When it comes to winter tires, much of Huntington Beach drivers’s perception dates back to when 8-track was the best way to listen to the Bee Gees.

Twenty years ago in Huntington Beach, winter tires differed from highway tires only in their tread design. Huntington Beach auto owners called them snow tires back then and they had big, knobby lugs that were designed to give good traction in deep snow. They had the same rubber compound as regular tires and they weren’t very good on ice, packed snow or wet CA roads. They were not even very good on dry roads. They really helped in deep or loose snow, but they did a poor job the rest of the time. They were loud and rode hard. Huntington Beach car owners couldn’t wait to get them off in the spring.

Then all-season tires started to appear in Huntington Beach tire shops. All-season tires are really a compromise between summer and winter performance. They have acceptable hot weather ride and tread life, and can get Huntington Beach car owners through mild winter road conditions OK. But there are some really good reasons to consider winter tires.

Modern winter tires do a terrific job for Huntington Beach motorists in a wide range of CA winter conditions. First of all, below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, regular tires become hard and inflexible. That means they don’t provide the road grip Huntington Beach motorists need. Even if you don’t live somewhere in CA with a lot of snow, but it still gets below 45 degrees in the winter, you will be safer with winter tires.

In addition, they are specifically designed to more effectively move snow and water. That’s the key to traction on ice, packed snow and wet  Buena Park area roads. They use a micro-pore compound that allows the tire to bite into ice and snow. They also use wider grooves that run around the circumference of the tread to expel snow from the tire better. The lugs and grooves on winter tires have a special shape that throws the packed snow out of the tread as the tire turns. The tread is then open when it comes back in contact with the road and can provide good traction for CA drivers.

Winter tires also have a lot of sipes. Sipes are thin slits in the tread. The edge of the sipes grab ice and packed snow to provide tons of traction and to expel water and slush out of the tread. Winter tires have a rounder casing to cut into the snow’s surface. The treads on regular summer tires can actually get packed with snow instead and become very slick. Winter tires offer 25% to 50% more traction for Huntington Beach drivers than all-season tires. And when it comes to stopping power, all-season tires take 42% longer to stop than winter tires. Sometimes that’s the difference between getting home safely and spending the night in a snow bank.

Now back when the 8-track was king, Huntington Beach auto owners just put snow tires on the drive wheels. That worked out OK because the rubber compound was essentially the same. Now, winter tires provide so much more traction than all-season or summer tires, that there’s a huge difference between the traction at the front and rear ends of the car if you only put winter tires on the drive wheels.

For example: if you take a corner on an icy road and the rear end starts to slide out, essentially the rear is trying to pass the front because it’s going faster. If you have high traction winter tires only on the front, they are going to be much more effective at transferring cornering grip and stopping power to the front wheels. This will actually cause the rear end to whip out even more.

That’s why tire manufactures instruct their dealers that they must install winter tires on the rear wheels as well whenever they put winter tires on the front end of any vehicle. It’s a major safety concern. Huntington Beach motorists are strongly recommended that winter tires be installed on all four wheels on rear wheel drive vehicles as well. The front tires do most of the steering and braking work – it only makes sense that you provide the front end with the best traction you can.

Huntington Beach auto owners often assume that if they have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive they don’t need winter tires on all four wheels. Would you intentionally disconnect the four-wheel drive in poor road conditions? Of course you wouldn’t, but that’s essentially what you do if you only put winter tires on one end. It only makes sense to have the same level of traction and control at all four corners.

The province of Quebec in Canada has issued a law requiring all passenger vehicles, taxis and rental cars with Quebec license plates to install a full set of four winter tires between November 15th and April 1. It’s that important.

Many modern cars have traction control and anti-lock brakes so Huntington Beach drivers may think that they don’t need winter tires. But you need traction to accelerate, steer and stop. The tires provide the traction so that the traction control and anti-lock brakes have something to work with.

Look for tires with the symbol of a mountain with a snowflake in it. This means the tire complies with the severe snow standard. Huntington Beach all-season tires will have an M&S, for mud and snow, on the sidewall.

So when the Huntington Beach temperatures drop below 45 degrees, be sure you have a set of four winter tires for maximum performance in snow, packed snow, ice, wet and dry roads. Your friendly Sully’s Auto Repair tire professional can help you find the right winter tire for your vehicle and driving needs.