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

Keeping Your Car Young in Huntington Beach

As Huntington Beach consumers, we live in a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away.

New stuff comes out so fast in CA, and much of it is fairly cheap, so we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids in Buena Park, our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff – especially parents who grew up in the Depression. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough, we had to do without. 

Huntington Beach motorists couldn’t afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us Huntington Beach penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles with proper care. The engineering’s there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedules.

Is it really that bad for Huntington Beach motorists to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes, you’ve created an opportunity for harmful sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don’t get oiled and they start to wear out faster. 

Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.

It’s also even more important for older vehicles in the Huntington Beach area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they’re working harder anyway. But it’s never too late for Huntington Beach drivers to get back on track with essential maintenance and to hold off further pricey damage.

It’s just another example of our parents knowing what’s best. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That’s like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let your service specialist at Sully’s Auto Repair in Huntington Beach help you keep track of the rest.

Of course, it is inevitable for Huntington Beach auto owners that some things are going to wear out along the way – important stuff like alternators, water pumps and such – they don’t last forever. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It’s like having high cholesterol; you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

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

Which Item is Most Stolen from Vehicles in Huntington Beach?

Which item is most often stolen from vehicles in Huntington Beach?

Is it:

  1. Stereo
  2. Wheels
  3. Air Bag
  4. DVD System

Well, if you said stereo – you used to be right. But airbags have now surpassed stereos as the biggest target for theft in Huntington Beach – approximately 50,000 a year are stolen across the country. New airbags cost about $1,000, but go for $50 to $200 on the black market in Huntington Beach.

Stolen airbags are making their way back into cars that have been in an accident. Of course, the danger to the consumer of having a stolen airbag installed is that you can never be sure what may have previously affected them and if they will work right when you need them.

Contact Sully’s Auto Repair for more information about where to get your airbags checked or replaced.
Find us at 17152 Palmdale Ln., Huntington Beach, CA 92647
You can reach us by phone at: (714) 841-1245

There are reports that 1 in 25 airbag replacements are stolen or salvaged airbags – or no airbag is installed at all.

That is definitely one car part you don’t want to take a chance with, so Sully’s Auto Repair recommends following these guidelines:

  • Use a reputable collision repair center that employs ASE certified mechanics (we can offer recommendations at Sully’s Auto Repair).
  • Inspect the invoice to ensure that the repair shop purchased the airbag from a manufacturer, dealer, or recycler. If you can inspect the airbag prior to installation, it should be packaged in a sealed container from the manufacturer.
  • You will see the SRS light (Supplemental Restraint System) when you first start your vehicle up. This tells you that the airbag system is activated. If you do not see the SRS light, there is likely a problem with the airbag system.

For more information, contact Robert at Sully’s Auto Repair by calling (714) 841-1245.

Gas Savings In Huntington Beach: Sharpen Your Pencil

High gas prices in Huntington Beach increase the cost of living for CA car owners. You’ve probably budgeted a certain amount for vehicle related expenses. Increased fuel costs now consume a larger portion of our incomes, causing some Huntington Beach vehicle owners to skimp in other areas – like scheduled maintenance.

According to CA news reports and automotive industry studies, this is becoming increasingly more common. In fact, nine out of ten personal vehicles on the road have at least one maintenance or repair item that hasn’t been done. Some of these items pose serious safety risks. Others are just more likely to make it more expensive to drive.

Gas Savings In Huntington Beach: Sharpen Your PencilIn this area, we can take a lesson from professional Huntington Beach vehicle owners. I’m talking about fleet owners and operators. You know, Huntington Beach folks like the trucking companies and delivery services. Because their livelihood depends on it, they have gotten scheduled maintenance down to a science. And the last thing they skimp on is regular maintenance.

Why is that? Well, for one thing they know that routine maintenance prevents expensive repairs and costly breakdowns. They also know that a well-maintained vehicle uses less fuel. For them, even a small decrease in MPG may put their Buena Park business in the red.

So what does this mean to Huntington Beach drivers? Well, there’s a ninety percent chance that you’re missing some service that would improve your gas mileage. Here’s a quick reminder list:

Fuel system cleaning, transmission service, differential service, engine air filter, wheel alignment, oil change, tune up.
Ring any bells? Can most Huntington Beach drivers honestly say that there isn’t at least one thing on the list that hasn’t been done?

Let’s suppose you chose to spend one hundred and fifty dollars and get caught up on some of these services at Sully’s Auto Repair. Figure that they combine to improve your fuel efficiency by fifteen percent. What would that mean to your pocketbook?

Well, the average personal vehicle in Huntington Beach is driven about twelve thousand miles a year. If you get twenty miles per gallon in your SUV, over the course of one year you would pay for the hundred and fifty dollars worth of service and save an additional hundred and sixty five dollars if gas is at three dollars and fifty cents. If gas is four fifty, you would save two hundred and fifty-five dollars. And you’d rack up savings of three hundred and forty five dollars with gas at five and a half bucks.

GAS PRICE
$3.50
$4.50
$5.50
20 MPG
$165
$255
$345

From this you can see that the more fuel costs, the more it pays to keep up on scheduled maintenance. Some of us drive trucks in Huntington Beach for work or recreation – or want a large SUV for family needs. A fifteen percent improvement in fuel economy can generate huge savings – six hundred and sixty dollars a year if gas is four fifty a gallon in Huntington Beach. Take a look at this table to see where your savings could lie.

GAS PRICE $3.50 $4.50 $5.50
10 MPG $480 $660 $840
20 MPG $165 $255 $345
30 MPG $60 $120 $180

 

So catch up on those services you’ve been neglecting at Sully’s Auto Repair. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you’ll save a lot of cash at Huntington Beach gas pumps this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.

 

 

Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?

In our auto video today we’ll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that “modern cars are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free”.

Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Huntington Beach Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn’t so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.

Here are some examples for our friends in Huntington Beach.

  • Some cars in Huntington Beach no longer require chassis lubrication. They’re made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There’s literally is no way to grease those joints.

-Chalk one up for the myth.

On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts up in the valve train that didn’t even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.

  • So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.

-A point to maintenance.

  • Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.

-Myth gets a point.

  • Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.

-Point for maintenance.

I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they’ve always been.

So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Huntington Beach if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there’ll always be a check list.

Let me mention a couple of items on modern vehicles that folks need to be aware of. One of the most of the most important is timing belt replacement. Used to be that all engines had timing chains – you know, metal chains. They rarely broke.

It’s cheaper to make engines with timing belts rather than chains, so replacing the timing belt is on most engines’ maintenance list. The money the manufacturer saves by using a belt is more than off-set by what the vehicle owner has to pay to replace the belt. And it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing the damage if the timing belt breaks.

So make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced. You don’t want to miss that. If you have 60,000 miles or more, break out your owner’s manual or ask your Huntington Beach service advisor at Sully’s Auto Repair to check on the recommendation right away.

Another is sealed wheel bearing assemblies on some vehicles. As you might have guessed, it’s cheaper to make a sealed unit than one that has access to inspect or service the wheel bearings. The problem is that when the bearings fail, you have to replace the entire unit, not just the bearings. That’ll cost 5 or 6 times as much.

For our friends in Huntington Beach, we hope this has underscored the importance of knowing and following your maintenance schedule. Come in and see us at Sully’s Auto Repair. You’ll find us at 17152 Palmdale Ln. in Huntington Beach, CA 92647. Just give us a call at (714) 841-1245.

Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last With Help From Sully’s Auto Repair

A while back, the Cash for Clunkers program was all over the CA news. Huntington Beach people could trade in their old vehicle for a new one that got better fuel efficiency and receive a government rebate.

A lot of Huntington Beach motorists had so-called clunkers that they wanted to keep. They’re good commuters, Huntington Beach grocery getters or toy haulers. They enjoy that fact that they’re paid off, or soon will be. They would gladly like to keep their SUVs for 200,000 miles or more – as long as it’s economical to do so.

There are plenty of Huntington Beach drivers whose vehicles are running after 150,000 or 200,000 miles. We can learn from what they’re doing to keep our own SUVs on the road in CA.

The astute Huntington Beach motorists of high-mileage cars often report a common denominator of never skipping an oil change.

Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last At Sully's Auto RepairThat may sound a bit unsophisticated, but it’s really not. First off, oil is the life blood of your SUV’s engine and it needs to be clean to properly lubricate. Skipping oil changes leads to clogged oil filters and sludge that is dangerous for your engine.

There’s another critical reason why the scheduled oil change is so important for Huntington Beach car owners. It’s simple – a Sully’s Auto Repair professional is going to be looking at your car. All of your fluid levels will be inspected and topped off so they won’t get so low that damage can be done. If there is a significant fluid loss, let’s use brake fluid as an example, your Sully’s Auto Repair technician can look for the cause of the loss and find the problem before it leads to an accident or pricey repair.

Your friendly Sully’s Auto Repair service professional will also visually inspect your SUV for worn belts and hoses, uneven tire wear, leaking shock absorbers and more. Problems get addressed before they lead to repairs that cost more than the car’s worth.

And your Sully’s Auto Repair advisor will be able to remind you of other critical services that the factory recommends you get done. Just think of that oil change the same way as you do about going to your Huntington Beach dentist for your six month cleaning and checkup. Don’t skip it.

Realistically, things are going to wear out as your SUV gets older. On the way to 200,000 miles you’ll go through several batteries, probably a couple of alternators and water pumps, a set of shocks and likely some brake rotors.

Of course, these things cost some money, but they are less costly than new SUV payments in Huntington Beach. With proper service at Sully’s Auto Repair in Huntington Beach and regular inspections, you’ll keep surprise repairs to a minimum and more bucks in your wallet.

Technician Training at Sully’s Auto Repair

Your car is important to you and keeping it running properly is essential to your Huntington Beach lifestyle. That’s why you’re smart to have it serviced regularly at Sully’s Auto Repair in Huntington Beach. And even though it may just be routine maintenance, you want it done right by automotive professionals.

It’s also very important to your Huntington Beach service center to keep you happy and on the road. You might be surprised at the amount of money our Huntington Beach auto service center spends annually to make sure our friendly service advisors are properly trained.

  Sully’s Auto Repair offers a variety of automotive services for many kinds of vehicles. We need to be current on the latest techniques and parts so that we can give you quality service. Our Huntington Beach centers subscribe to data services that list the high quality parts and fluids recommended by your manufacturer.

And each service has a checklist of standard procedures. Sully’s Auto Repair technicians follow these procedures so they can safely deliver a consistent level of high-quality service.

Some services at Sully’s Auto Repair require the use of specialized equipment. Sully’s Auto Repair technicians are trained extensively on this equipment so that they can service your car quickly and efficiently.

Classroom, video and hands-on training is provided by the company and outside trainers. It’s not only important that friendly techs be able to perform a given task, they also need to be thoroughly trained in inspection and diagnostic techniques. One of the great services they perform is to detect potential problems before they become serious (and expensive).

The automotive service industry has standards for classifying and communicating problems to car owners. For example, it’s one thing to learn that your manufacturer recommends that you change your serpentine belt every 30,000 miles and another to learn that the belt is on the verge of failure. These standards help you understand the urgency of recommendations, letting you make better automotive service decisions.

CA folks may be interested to know that service technicians (including those at Sully’s Auto Repair) are trained in compliance with federal and local Huntington Beach laws and regulations, including environmental regulations regarding the disposal of used parts and fluids.

It’s the goal of Sully’s Auto Repair to provide fast, courteous service. You should feel free to ask your friendlyservice advisor or one of the managers about your service or for more information about their recommendations.

At Sully’s Auto Repair, well-trained service providers, established procedures, industry standards, and, of course, AutoNetTV, combine to give you the best auto service in Huntington Beach.

I Can See Clearly Now: Wiper Blade Replacement In Huntington Beach

About 90% of our driving decisions in Buena Park are based solely on what we see. So having a good pair of windshield wipers is extremely important.

Most Huntington Beach car owners have experienced the frustration and fear of not being able to see clearly during a storm, or when our SUV windshield is just dirty. In fact, it’s estimated that 46,000,000 auto owners across the nation are driving with wipers that can’t adequately clear their windshield in a storm.

It seems like our wiper blades are always at their worst when we Huntington Beach motorists need them the most. If that sounds like you, you’ve got plenty of company in the Buena Park area. 78% of auto owners only change their wiper blades after the blades function so poorly that they become a safety hazard.

Huntington Beach car owners need to change their thinking. Instead of blades being something to replace when they fail, we need to consider wiper blades as an essential SUV safety component. Then we’ll stay ahead of the storm.

Huntington Beach auto owners really ought to replace wiper blades twice a year; in the spring and the fall. If you live in the colder parts of CA, you may even want to get special winter blades in the fall.

Winter blades are made to resist freezing. Speaking of winter and freezing Buena Park conditions, if your SUV has been sitting for a long time and the windshield becomes frozen, don’t use your wipers to clear off snow and ice. That can shred your blades and may even damage the wiper motor.

Your wiper blades live outside in the freezing cold and blistering Huntington Beach sun. Over time, they become hard and brittle, and then tear. They also lose their flexibility and just don’t clear the SUV windshield effectively. Worn wiper blades aren’t just a safety hazard for Huntington Beach motorists; they can also scratch their windshield. That may require replacing the entire SUV windshield – that’s a significant consequence for neglecting such a small part.

AutoNetTV and Sully’s Auto Repair recommend Huntington Beach motorists replace worn blades right away. Your Huntington Beach service center can provide you with a quality replacement blade. At Sully’s Auto Repair, they cost about the same as they would at the store – but installation is included.

Of course you also need washer fluid to help your blades do their essential work. Even though Sully’s Auto Repair will top off the washer fluid with a full service oil change, it is a good idea to have some extra fluid at home. Bring it with you if you’re heading out on a road trip.

Always use windshield washer fluid. Plain water, even that fancy French bottled water, just doesn’t cut it. It can freeze in the fluid reservoir or on the windshield itself, making things worse. Besides, water won’t clean your windows as well.

So follow these tips to keep your windshield clear and your eye on the road.

Find us at:

Sully’s Auto Repair
17152 Palmdale Ln.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
(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.