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

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.

 

 

Introduction to Diesels for Huntington Beach, CA

Something you’re going to be hearing a lot about around Huntington Beach, CA is diesel engines. We’re not talking about semi-trucks and buses – We’re talking about diesel engine cars, pick-ups and SUVs.

Most people in Huntington Beach, CA are surprised to learn that around half the cars on the road in Europe have diesel engines. Nearly all import auto makers offer a range of diesel engines abroad – even the ultra-luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW. For the most part, these diesel engines haven’t been available in Huntington Beach, CA. But that’s about to change.

In the past, North American diesel fuel has had a much higher sulfur content than European fuel. Recent environmental laws have required changes in diesel formulation and emissions standards here in Huntington Beach, CA so we are now ready to start seeing more diesel options offered to Huntington Beach auto owners over the next few years.

Why are so many Huntington Beach car owners interested in diesel engines? Well first off, diesel fuel is more energy dense. There’s more power in a barrel of diesel fuel than there is in a barrel of gasoline. The result? Better performance and improved fuel economy.

Diesel powered vehicles get about 20 percent better fuel efficiency. And as for power – why do you think that the majority of new heavy duty pick-up trucks are being sold in Huntington Beach with diesel engines?

If you think back to the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, you may shudder when you think of the diesel powered cars of the day – noisy, smoky, under-powered beasts that rattled and shook their passengers. Modern diesels sold in CA have evolved considerably.

They are quiet, clean – and powerful. They’re so refined that many Huntington Beach auto owners can’t even tell they’re riding in a diesel powered SUV. In addition to fuel savings, diesels generally last longer than gasoline engines because of their heavy duty construction.

Another thing the Huntington Beach green crowd takes advantage of is the use of bio-diesel in diesel vehicles. Bio-diesel is made from vegetable oil – even recycled cooking oil from Huntington Beach restaurants. There is a lot of buzz about Hybrid cars in CA. Look to diesel-electric hybrids in years to come to make a good idea even better.

Every year, car makers introduce new diesel models. Look for diesels in domestic light trucks, SUVs and passenger cars. Import manufacturers have plans to bring more of their outstanding diesel engines to Huntington Beach, CA as well.

New Huntington Beach diesel owners need to know that properly maintaining a diesel engine is somewhat different than a gasoline engine. Fluid change intervals are different. Emissions control devices have to work harder to filter diesel fuel and to scrub the exhaust so you will need to pay attention to that. And the fuel injection system operates at much higher pressures than gas fuel injection systems, so it’s vital to keep your fuel system clean with a diesel.

The good news is that Sully’s Auto Repair in  Huntington Beach is keeping up with the new diesel technology and will be able to advise you on maintaining your diesel.

When we tell you to look for more diesels on Huntington Beach streets, you won’t be looking for smoky tail pipes as a clue. You also won’t be listening for that familiar big rig rattle. And, you certainly won’t be waiting for them at the stoplight, because modern diesels are as quick as their gasoline counterparts.

From all of us at AutoNetTV, ten four, good buddy.

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.

Fuel Injection: It Keeps Getting Better for Huntington Beach Drivers

Huntington Beach auto owners know that engines need to burn fuel to operate. Fuel is pumped from your fuel tank to your SUV engine where it is squirted—or injected—into your engine’s cylinders. This is the function of the fuel injectors.

There are two ways to inject fuel into an engine. Fuel needs air to burn, so in the first method, fuel is injected into a port and allowed to mix with air and before it is drawn into the cylinders. In the second method, fuel is injected directly into the cylinders and mixes with air after it enters the SUV engine.

Direct injection engines burn fuel more efficiently than conventional SUV engines. Some models can deliver the power of a V8 with the economy of a V6.

For example, in one family of engines, the conventional version (a V6) delivers about 250 horsepower. The direct injection version delivers over 300 horsepower and gets about the same gas mileage. The turbocharged version delivers 350 horsepower.

Fuel Injection: It Keeps Getting Better for Huntington Beach DriversWhy the big difference in power? Direct injection systems allow fuel to be squirted into the SUV engine at hundreds of times the pressure of a conventional engine. This atomizes the fuel better (breaks it down into tinier droplets), which means more of it gets burned, which translates to more power for your engine. It also results in cleaner emissions.

Fuel injectors are precision instruments. They have to deliver the right amount of fuel at exactly the time the SUV engine needs it. They are also engineered to inject fuel with a specific spray pattern. This spray pattern allows for maximum fuel efficiency and proper atomization. Direct injection engines require a much higher degree of precision than conventional engines. For this reason, they are equipped with more sophisticated computers.

When fuel injectors get dirty, their precision drops off. The spray pattern won’t be precise, and the timing of fuel delivery may be off. This decreases fuel efficiency and gas mileage as well as delivering less power to the engine.

Huntington Beach car owners should understand that fuel injectors are not cheap to replace. Direct injection fuel injectors are even more expensive. And we’re talking a mortgage payment to buy a set of new fuel injectors for a diesel engine.

So keeping your fuel injectors clean is just good auto advice. The best way to do this is to change your air and fuel filters regularly and practice other habits of good car care and preventive maintenance. Cleaning additives in your fuel can also help.

If you do end up with gum or varnish in your fuel system, you’ll need a professional fuel system cleaning. This will clean out your whole system, including the injectors. The good news is that with proper maintenance, Huntington Beach auto owners will enjoy better gas mileage and their fuel injectors will last for a long time.

Sully’s Auto Repair Car Care News and Information: Rotor Problems

The brake rotor, or disc, is attached to your wheel. The brake pads rub on the rotor to slow your automobile.

Rotors can warp, crack or become misaligned. They can also be damaged by worn out brake pads that scratch grooves into the surface. These conditions result in less contact surface for the brake pads, leaving you with reduced braking power.

Over time and miles, rotors can also wear down below safe specifications. It is critical for Huntington Beach car owners to know that simply replacing brake pads on a wheel with a bad rotor will not solve the trouble. Depending on their condition, rotors may be resurfaced or replaced.

Brake noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal are signs of potential brake troubles that should be addressed right away. If you have any brake concerns, please have your friendly Sully’s Auto Repair tech carry out a thorough review.

Give us a call

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

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.

PCV Valve Service At Sully’s Auto Repair In Huntington Beach

Today, we are talking about your PCV valve. The PCV Valve is a little, inexpensive part that does a critical job for Huntington Beach car owners. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation.

The crankcase is the bottom area of the engine that holds the oil. When the SUV engine’s running, fuel is burned to generate power. Most of the exhaust from combustion goes out through the exhaust system. But some exhaust blows by the pistons and goes into the lower engine, or crankcase.

These hot gases are about seventy percent unburned fuel.
PCV Valve Service At Sully's Auto Repair In Huntington BeachThis can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause SUV engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at Sully’s Auto Repair. At high speeds on Huntington Beach freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak.

Back in the old days, manufacturers simply installed a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, environmental protection laws required that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the SUV’s engine.

This is much better for air quality and improves gas mileage also. (Budget-conscious Huntington Beach motorists take note!) The little valve that performs this important function is the PCV valve. The PCV valve lets dangerous gases out of the engine, but won’t let anything back in. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won’t work well. That can lead to all of the problems I’ve already described, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and decreased gas mileage.

Fortunately, it’s very easy to test the PCV Valve at Sully’s Auto Repair in Huntington Beach and quick and inexpensive to replace. Even so, it’s often overlooked because many Huntington Beach drivers don’t know about it. Check your SUV owner’s manual or ask your Sully’s Auto Repair service advisor. If this is the first time you’ve heard of a PCV valve, you might be in line for a replacement.

There’s another aspect to the PCV system. In order for the valve to work correctly, it needs a little clean air to come in. This is done through a breather tube that gets some filtered air from the engine air filter. Now some vehicles have a small separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. That’ll need to be replaced at Sully’s Auto Repair when it gets dirty.

Please ask your friendly Huntington Beach service advisor about your PCV valve. For the price of a couple of burger combo meals in Huntington Beach, you can avoid some very pricey engine repairs.

What Is A Differential And Do You Have One?

With front-wheel drive being so common these days in Huntington Beach, CA, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Huntington Beach car owners don’t even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don’t need to be serviced for years, so it’s understandable that it’s not something on the top of mind for our Huntington Beach customers. So it’s not uncommon for motorists to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.

Call Sully’s Auto Repair in Huntington Beach at (714) 841-1245 for information about differential service, or stop by our Huntington Beach, CA auto center at 17152 Palmdale Ln. 92647.

To better understand what a differential does, think about our local Huntington Beach high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That’s to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It’s a very important function for us Huntington Beach motorists. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars in the Huntington Beach, CA area weigh between three and six thousand pounds – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That’s a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those essential parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool.

The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that breakdown over time. So auto manufacturers recommend intervals for replacing your differential fluid.

Your friendly Sully’s Auto Repair service professional will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. Then he’ll replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Your Sully’s Auto Repair service advisor can look up the car maker’s recommended service interval or you can check your owner’s manual. Give us a call at (714) 841-1245 for more information about your differential service.

Breathe Free In Huntington Beach: Cabin Air Filter Replacement At Sully’s Auto Repair

There are a lot of new features, both optional and standard, on Huntington Beach auto owners’ vehicles these days. One you may not have heard of is called a cabin air filter. Simply put, its job is to keep the air in the passenger compartment of your car nice and clean.

A cabin air filter is similar to the filter you use on your furnace at home in Huntington Beach. Cabin air filters can catch particles down to three microns. By comparison, a grain of sand is 200 microns. So cabin air filters are effective against dust, dirt, pollen, mold spores and most pollutants in our Buena Park atmosphere. Good news if you suffer from any types of allergies, or if you live in an area in Huntington Beach prone to air pollution.

Cabin air filters are generally located in the engine compartment or under the dashboard. They can be tricky to access and replace, so you’ll probably want to go to your friendly Sully’s Auto Repair service advisor to get it done. Check your SUV owner’s manual to find out if your SUV is equipped with a cabin air filter and how often it should be changed. Recommendations vary, but generally a cabin air filter should be changed every twelve to fifteen thousand miles.

Of course, if you are an allergy sufferer in La Palma, you may want to replace it more often. Also, if you do a lot of driving in polluted or dusty areas in CA, you’ll also want to shorten the cabin air filter replacement period. Dirty air filters just don’t work well, and they can exude an unpleasant odor if ignored for too long.

Most Huntington Beach folks know that good car care includes keeping your SUV clean, including the air inside the passenger compartment, so changing your cabin air filter should be part of your routine preventive maintenance. It’s good auto advice as well as good medical advice that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You really shouldn’t wait until the interior of your car starts to smell and your eyes start to water before you change your filter. And trying to cover it up with a dangling green pine tree is not the right answer, either!

Cabin air filters can be a welcome relief to Huntington Beach allergy sufferers, but they’re also a great idea for anyone in Buena Park who just wants to breathe better.

Huntington Beach Air Conditioning Service

Working up a sweat is a great thing to do in a gym around Huntington Beach, but not in your car. When Huntington Beach car owners’ car’s AC System has a problem, they’ll often feel it right away. The question is, how long do you put up with it? You know, the old comfort versus cost dilemma. But a more comfortable drive around Huntington Beach has a lot of benefits, and keeping the AC System well maintained can help prevent pricey repairs.

A common cause for AC failure is water and air in the system. The system does not work as well with air in it. And water can cause rust that leads to damage of the 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 try to cool the air. That is why periodically evacuating the air conditioning system and recharging it keeps the proper amount of clean refrigerant in the system for Huntington Beach drivers so it cools better and lasts longer.

Huntington Beach drivers should also run the air conditioner regularly, even in the winter, so that it lubricates itself and keeps the seals from drying out. The seals can crack and that leads to leaks. Your vehicle manufacturer’s owner’s manual will have recommendations for how often to service your air conditioner. Some service centers also have this information as part of their computer databases. Your friendly Sully’s Auto Repair tech can give you more information.

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

Of course, if your AC currently isn’t working right, then now is the time to get it checked. Many service centers in Huntington Beach such as Sully’s Auto Repair can inspect and test your air conditioning and offer evacuation and recharge services. This goes a long way to avoiding having to bring your air conditioner in for expensive repairs.

Recent 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 so the price is very pricey in CA. It may not be worth its weight in gold, but it probably is worth its weight in silver. If you have an older vehicle that uses Freon, you may want to consider having it retrofitted to use the new EPA-approved R134a refrigerant. It will pay for itself in the long run.