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

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Wheel Bearings

Why are wheel bearings important for Huntington Beach motorists? It’s simple: your wheel bearings keep the wheels on your vehicle. In today’s Sully’s Auto Repair post, we’ll discuss more about wheel bearings and how you can make sure they can do their very important job while you drive around La Palma, CA.

Come see us at: 17152 Palmdale Ln. in Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Wheel bearings are pretty simple parts. They’re made of high quality steel and are engineered to last 100,000 miles or more if properly cared for. The bearings do two critical jobs: First, they allow the wheel to freely rotate with as little friction as possible. Second, they support the weight of the vehicle. For example, if your car weighs 3,600 pounds, each wheel has to support approximately 900 pounds. That’s a lot of heavy lifting over many, many thousands of miles.

Even though wheel bearings are pretty straightforward, they need to be in near perfect condition to do their job for Huntington Beach car owners. The bearings are packed with heavy grease to lubricate and protect them. A seal keeps the grease in and water and dirt out. It’s when the seal starts to leak that problems begin. The grease can become contaminated; causing the wheel bearings to overheat and ultimately fail.

The first sign that your wheel bearings are in trouble is an unusual noise coming from a wheel. It could be a chirping, growling, rumbling or a cyclic sound. The noise could get louder or even disappear at certain speeds. Your service specialist at Sully’s Auto Repair can inspect for bearing wear by lifting the vehicle and checking for play in the wheel.

Now some wheel bearing assemblies are factory sealed. That means that they cannot be serviced – they can only be replaced. Those that aren’t sealed can be serviced on schedule at Sully’s Auto Repair. The bearings are removed, cleaned and inspected. If the bearings are still good, they’re re-installed – if not, they’re replaced. They are then packed in grease and a new seal is installed.

If your vehicle has a factory sealed wheel bearing assembly, the entire assembly needs to be replaced when trouble arises. Unfortunately, the parts are pretty pricey – but they usually last about 150,000 miles as long as the seals hold up.

Now, even a good seal cannot keep out water that’s exerting pressure on the seal. So if you’ve driven through hub deep water your bearings should be cleaned and repacked if they’re serviceable. If you have factory sealed bearings, you just need to watch for signs of premature failure. If your wheel bearings can be serviced, your car maker’s owner’s manual will recommend an interval, usually around 30,000 miles.

If you have any sort of trailer, don’t forget its wheel bearings. They probably need to be serviced even more frequently. This is especially true for boat trailers that are used to launch the boat by backing it into the water. These should be serviced every year, usually at the end of the season so that the bearings don’t have the opportunity to rust all winter.

So what happens to Huntington Beach motorists if wheel bearings fail? Well, the wheel can literally fall off the vehicle. I don’t need to tell you how dangerous that could be. So check with your service specialist at Sully’s Auto Repair and see if your vehicle’s wheel bearings can be serviced and when it’s recommended. Listen for warning signs. If you’ve been fording streams or puddle surfing after rainstorms, be especially vigilant.

Visit the automotive professionals at Sully’s Auto Repair for a wheel bearing inspection, or for suspension service. Call (714) 841-1245 for an appointment.

Tire Maintenance In Stanton



With the recent focus in Stanton on improving MPG, we’ve been told how important it is to maintain our tire pressure.

Huntington Beach car owners know that tires wear out, but we want to make them last as long as possible because they’re not cheap to replace. In addition to saving gas, properly inflated tires last longer. Under-inflated tires will wear out more quickly.

Some Stanton car owners wonder if they should add a few extra pounds of pressure when they fill up their tires. Bad idea. In fact, there are very good reasons not to over-inflate your tires. For one, the middle of the tread will wear unevenly because the full tread is not contacting the road properly. That also adversely affects your handling.

Stop by Sully’s Auto Repair to see about tire maintenance for your Huntington Beach, CA vehicle.

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

Every vehicle in the Stanton area has a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb that tells you the auto maker’s recommended tire pressure. This recommendation is an integral part of the vehicle’s suspension tuning. A lot of engineering actually goes into the recommended tire pressure, so it’s vital for Stanton motorists to follow it.

What else do Huntington Beach auto owners need to know about tire maintenance? Tire rotation and balancing are very important. Let’s start with rotation. Because the front tires handle the brunt of turning forces, the shoulders of the front tires wear more quickly than the rear tires. At Sully’s Auto Repair in Huntington Beach, we rotate the tires so that they all get to do some duty on the front and they’ll all wear evenly over their life.

For most vehicles, front tires are rotated to the rear and vice versa. Others recommend a cross rotational pattern. Some vehicles use an asymmetrical tire so those tires need to stay on either the right or left side – it’ll say which on the tire. Some high performance cars have asymmetrical tires and different sizes on the front and rear. These can’t be rotated at all. Your owner’s manual will have details for your car or meet with your friendly Sully’s Auto Repair tech.

How often should Buena Parkmotorists rotate their tires? Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation. Your friendly Sully’s Auto Repair technician at Sully’s Auto Repair in Huntington Beach can do a visual inspection to let you know if it looks like it should be done. The interval is typically around 5,000 miles.

You know, some Huntington Beach people don’t think new tires need to be balanced. What they aren’t taking into account is the wheel. Between the wheel and the tire – even a new tire – there’s enough variation to require balancing.

When you add the valve stem and tire pressure monitoring sensors required on new cars, balancing is definitely vital. When a tire’s out of balance, it’s actually hopping down the road. Huntington Beach auto owners with tires out of balance will feel the vibration through the steering wheel if a front tire’s out of balance and through the seat if it’s a rear tire.

Proper wheel balance promotes tire life and increases safety for Buena Park drivers and their passengers. Historically, lead weights have been attached to the wheel to bring it into balance. Lead gives some environmental concern, so steel weights are starting to be substituted. 

The team at Sully’s Auto Repair also wants to remind you that it is critical to always use the same size tire on an axle. Different size tires on the front or on the back can lead to some real handling problems. And CA tire manufacturers recommend that when you get two new tires, they be installed on the rear because that’s where you need the most traction to avoid spinning-out.

Wheel Balancing at Sully’s Auto Repair

So you love your job, and your family life is great. Congratulations! You have achieved balance. But can you say the same for your wheels? Huntington Beach car owners can tell if their tires are out of balance by vibrations at higher speeds on CA interstates. If one of the front tires is out, you feel the vibration in the steering wheel. If it’s a back tire, you’ll feel the vibration in your seat.

Tires and wheels are pretty heavy. When a tire is mounted on a wheel at Sully’s Auto Repair, it is usually not perfectly balanced. So the service advisor will spin the tire on a machine to determine where it’s too heavy. He will then place weights on the wheels in strategic locations to balance it out. When a tire is out of balance, it actually bounces down the road instead of rolling smoothly. Since the average size tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 MPH, it is actually slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s where you get your vibration.

Most Huntington Beach drivers are surprised at how smoothly their car rides after balancing all four wheels.

Most high-quality tires sold in Huntington Beach hold their balance pretty well for motorists. They just get out of balance gradually with normal wear and tear. If you suddenly feel a vibration, it is probably because you lost a wheel balancing weight along the way. Definitely get a balance at Sully’s Auto Repair in Huntington Beach if you feel a vibration, change your rims or have a flat repaired. Putting off a needed balance job leads to excessive and harmful tire wear, wear to your shocks, struts, steering and suspension parts. Wheel balancing not only improves your ride and handling, but also can save you some expensive repair bills and possibly an accident. Additionally, you will get better MPG.

Some Buena Park motorists have their tires balanced at every rotation. Others do it every other time. Check your owners’ manual for your requirements, or ask your friendly Sully’s Auto Repair service professional. Doing this will put you on the path to mechanical wheel balance.

Saving Lives In Huntington Beach With Tire Pressure

All new passenger vehicles on our Huntington Beach CA roads now have tire pressure monitoring systemsTPMS for short. They are designed to alert you if your tires are under inflated. Since they are fairly new, a lot of people have questions about TPMS.

First off, the most important thing is that you still need to check your tire pressure every week – or at least every time you gas up. The TPMS system alert comes in when your tire is twenty percent below the factory recommendation. So if the recommended pressure is thirty five pounds per square inch, the TPMS warning won’t come on until the pressure is at twenty eight pounds. That’s significantly under-inflated. Enough to raise safety concerns.

The worst is tire failure. A severely under inflated tire can overheat and fail. Also, handling degrades to the point that you may not be able to steer out of trouble. Also under-inflated tires wear out faster and they waste fuel. So it’s costly to not stay on top of proper inflation.

What’s the practical value of the TPMS system? Well, it’s twofold. First, it can alert you when your tire is losing pressure due to a puncture or a bent rim. That’s an important warning that you might not have gotten until next time you gassed up.

The second is that we all occasionally forget to check our tire pressure. So it’s a failsafe system to let you know there’s a problem brewing.

Other things can cause your TPMS system to go off. The system also monitors itself. The sensors that are mounted in the wheels have little batteries that send a signal to the monitor. The batteries go dead over time and the TPMS system will let you know. And the sensors could break. Also road salt from our Huntington Beach CA roads can ruin them.

There’s also a hassle factor that your Huntington Beach CA tire center has to contend with. For example, when you have your tires rotated in Huntington Beach, the TPMS system has to be re-calibrated so that it knows which tire is on which corner of the car. Same is true for when you have new tires or winter tires installed. Flat repairs, as well.

That takes extra time. And it requires the right equipment and training. Special – and expensive – tire change machines need to be used with some sensors. It’s all complicated by the fact that there are a number of different TPMS systems in use so the tire professionals at Sully’s Auto Repair need equipment and training for each kind. Tire centers have had to raise the price of some of these basic services to offset their increased costs.

Also if you add custom wheels on your SUV, you need to put in new TPMS sensors if your originals won’t work on the new rims. If you don’t your TPMS light will be on constantly and you won’t have the benefit of the warning system.

All in all, the mandated TPMS systems will save lives, so they’re worth the added hassle and expense.

All About Your TPMS In Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach drivers know that under-inflated tires wear out more quickly. Under-inflation is also a major cause of tire failure for CA auto owners. More flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances are all results of under-inflated tires.

It’s hard for many Huntington Beach motorists to tell when a radial tire is under-inflated. If your auto manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your tire is considered significantly under-inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

Uncle Sam to the rescue! A recent federal law required car makers to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System – or TPMS system – in all vehicles. The system is a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25 % below the vehicle manufacturer’s pressure recommendations.

The law covers all passenger cars, SUVs, mini vans and pick-up trucks. The system must also indicate if it has a malfunction. This technology has been used in race cars for years. They are able to head off problems from under-inflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It’s up to your car’s auto maker to determine which of many TPMS systems available they use to comply with the law.

Obviously, all of this doesn’t come free for Huntington Beach car owners. Government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases. The net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100.

The costs are partially offset by savings in fuel and tread wear. There is also a saving in property damage and travel delay. Also, the government predicts fewer fatal accidents. They estimate there will be between $3,000,000 to $9,000,000 for every life saved.

Your safety is our priority at Sully’s Auto Repair. We want you on the road and accident free. We’ve traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes to Huntington Beach auto owners at a very low cost. We’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service, and we pass the low cost on to our valued Huntington Beach clients as an expression of our good will. That’s why we’re concerned about how you perceive the changes that this new law has required.

Every time a tire is changed: taken off to fix a flat, a new tire installed, or a snow tire mounted, the service professional now has to deal with the TPMS system. Sensors need to be removed and reinstalled. The sensors have to be reactivated after the change. And, unfortunately, the very act of changing the tire damages some sensor parts from time to time – it’s inevitable and can’t be avoided.

Even a simple tire rotation requires that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system needs to be reprogrammed. TPMS sensor batteries must be replaced periodically along with failed parts.

Huntington Beach service centers have purchased new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and updated expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems.

CA service professionals have been trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to the service center to perform what was once a very inexpensive service. So if you’ve noticed the cost of flat repairs, tire changes, and rotations going up, please keep in mind that it’s because of government mandated safety equipment. Your Huntington Beach service center just wants to keep you safely on the road – and it’s committed to do so at a fair price. Rememer, this change will help you avoid the most common vehicle failure, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

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.