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Check Your Shocks and Struts at Timmons Vehicle Service

2018-01-15 04:34:03


 

Today we're talking to Pleasant Hill drivers about shocks and struts. They're so easy for CA folks to forget about because they last so long and wear out so slowly. But your shocks are really responsible for keeping your tires on the road – so they're very important.

Without shocks, your wheels would be bouncing over bumps and lifting on corners. The shocks push the tire down to the road to maximize traction. Good shocks equal good ride quality and safe handling for Pleasant Hill drivers.

There's a difference between shocks and springs. Springs support the weight of the vehicle, keeping it suspended up off the axles. The shocks moderate the rebound motion as wheels hit bumps. Now a strut combines a shock and a coil spring in one compact unit.

It's best to replace all four shocks at the same time. That way you'll have even, predictable handling at all four corners. Anything less could be dangerous.

Visit Timmons Vehicle Service to have your shocks and struts inspected by a professional.


Timmons Vehicle Service
855 Contra Costa Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
925.938.9665

Wasteful Thinking

2018-01-08 08:16:03

With the weather getting colder, you might be tempted to start your vehicle up, let it idle for 15 or 20 minutes and then get in the nice, cozy cabin.  Some vehicles offer remote starting that let you do that from the comfort of your home or apartment.  But is letting your vehicle idle like that good for it?

Manufacturers say it doesn't harm the vehicle.  They say it's because modern vehicles are made differently from those in the past.  Just about all newer vehicles employ fuel injection which uses computers to adjust the amount of gasoline that goes into the cylinders.  The engine gets only the fuel it needs, taking conditions into account.

Older vehicles, on the other hand, used to use carburetors.  When you started a cold engine, the carburetor wasn't able to adjust the gasoline amount depending on conditions.  Some of the gasoline would mix with oil and the pistons wouldn't get the same lubrication as they would with undiluted oil.

So yes, you can warm up your newer vehicle for your own personal comfort.  But consider how much fuel you are wasting.  That is not only throwing away money, it's a waste of natural resources.  And it puts more carbon into the atmosphere. 

Automakers have to be mindful of what fuel economy their vehicles can achieve.  So the flip side of the remote starts they offer is a "stop-start" feature.  When you stop your vehicle, even at a stoplight, your vehicle will turn the engine off.  When you take your foot off the brake and step on the accelerator, it starts up right away.  That feature can save as much as 10 percent of the fuel your vehicle uses. 

Your vehicle may not have that start-stop feature, but you can still save fuel by shutting off your engine manually if you are waiting somewhere, like a parking lot or perhaps sitting outside your child's school waiting to pick him or her up.  It saves you money and contributes to a healthier atmosphere for our planet.

Timmons Vehicle Service
855 Contra Costa Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
925.938.9665

Maintenance on My Mind

2018-01-03 09:38:03

Ask any Pleasant Hill man or woman if they've taken their vehicle in for preventive maintenance lately, and the answer may well be “no.” Surveys indicate that over 80% of vehicles on the road today are in need of some kind of repair or maintenance. Now, ask that same person why he hasn't taken his car in for care. The answer will probably be that he forgot or that he just didn't think about it. Most Pleasant Hill residents seem to have a hard time remembering about scheduled maintenance for their vehicles.

Funny, because most of us in Pleasant Hill have no trouble remembering to wash our clothes, mow our lawns or brush our teeth. It isn't that we can't remember to take our vehicles for service; it's a matter of making it a priority.

When it comes to our vehicles, Pleasant Hill drivers like myself, need to be a little more maintenance-minded. The fact is, we can choose to do it, or we might find ourselves being compelled to do it.

For example, when we consistently forget to brush our teeth, a major consequence usually follows. The pain of that experience usually compels us to be more mindful of our teeth and take better care of them.

The same goes for our vehicles. If we ignore them long enough, a painful experience is sure to follow—painful for our pocketbooks, that is. People in Pleasant Hill who have gone through that experience are usually more conscientious about proper car care.

So, if you're not a fan of the school of hard knocks, at least when it comes to vehicle maintenance, remind yourself to look after your car. Pay attention to the little oil change tag on your windshield. When it's time take your car in, do it. But don't just change the oil. Get a full-service oil change at Timmons Vehicle Service. Your technician will then check all of your fluids. He can advise you if any of them need to be changed or if any of them are low.

Low fluid levels can indicate leaks or a worn hose or seal, so they can check those for you as well. Other signs of wear are also immediately evident when you get a full-service oil change, such as a cracked serpentine belt or corroded battery cable. Your Timmons Vehicle Service technician will also check the vehicle manufacturer's service recommendations for your vehicle and advise you of any other routine service that is coming due.

It's like a one-stop shop for auto advice that will keep you on top of your vehicle's maintenance.

If there is more to be done than the budget allows, you can get a picture of what needs to be done.  Then, create a plan with your Timmons Vehicle Service service advisor and budget for it during the coming months. It's a whole lot less painful than unexpected car repairs.

Vehicles are more reliable than they ever have been. They can take a lot of abuse and neglect. But they're also expensive and complicated machines. Pleasant Hill drivers can't expect them to run forever without proper fluids and filters. Preventive maintenance at Timmons Vehicle Service in Pleasant Hill will improve the reliability and life expectancy of your vehicle, as well as ensuring your safety on the road in CA.

Timmons Vehicle Service
855 Contra Costa Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
925.938.9665

By the Numbers: Tire Replacement at Timmons Vehicle Service in Pleasant Hill

2017-12-17 08:40:03

Ever notice that your tire is covered with writing? It's like some hieroglyphic art form. Of course, Pleasant Hill drivers know that it's not just graffiti, but to most of us, it might as well be. Would you like to know what all those codes on your tire mean? It won't lead you to buried treasure, but it could help you make a better tire purchase at your local Pleasant Hill tire store.

Prominently featured on your tire is a set of numbers and letters that looks something like this: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The first number is the width of the tire in millimeters, or the width between the sidewalls of the tire when it is fully inflated and not carrying a load. When Pleasant Hill drivers replace tires, they need to match this width number, or the tires won't fit properly in the wheel wells.

The 50 is the aspect ratio of the tire, which is measured by taking the height of the sidewalls and dividing it by the tread width. If you drive off-road around the Pleasant Hill area, it should have a high aspect ratio. For high performance on the road, you want a lower aspect ratio.

The R simply means this is a radial tire.

The 92 is the load rating index, or in other words, a rating of how much load a tire can safely carry. If you frequently haul heavy loads around Pleasant Hill, you will want a tire with a high load rating.

The last letter in our “code” sequence is the speed rating on the tire. Not all tires have this rating. In general, the closer the letter is to the end of the alphabet, the higher the speed rating. In other words, Z is the highest rating and A is the lowest. One exception: H comes between U and V. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

If you'd just as soon ignore all of the markings on your tire, that's okay. When you need to replace your tires just ask your friendly and knowledgeable Timmons Vehicle Service tire professional for his auto advice on the best tires for you and your vehicle. Replacing tires is a standard part of preventive maintenance for Pleasant Hill drivers vehicles. We all have to do it sooner or later. And the better we understand what we're buying, the better our vehicle will perform and the safer we will be on CA roads. Good vehicle care is informed vehicle care.

Timmons Vehicle Service
855 Contra Costa Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
925.938.9665

Improve Your Night Vision When Driving in Pleasant Hill

2017-12-11 10:19:04

Night driving in Pleasant Hill is not as safe as daylight driving as evidenced by the increased accident rate at night. Much of that is simply because it's dark outside.

Visibility is important to safe driving. Ninety percent of our driving decisions are based on what we see. And at night, we just can't see as much as we can during the day. In fact, if you have 20/20 vision during the day, your night vision is only 20/50. To translate, that means that an object you can clearly see 50 feet away during daylight, only becomes visible to you at 20 feet at night.

Reaction time is also related to visibility. Pleasant Hill motorists don't react to a situation until they see it. So at night, we're reacting to situations later just because it takes longer to see them. But we don't have to stop driving at night to stay safe. We just need to practice some preventive maintenance and vehicle care that will maximize our night vision.

The most crucial item that helps us see while driving at night is, of course, our headlamps. Pleasant Hill drivers should ensure that their headlamps are as bright as they can be. Headlamps dim over time, but they do it so gradually that it's difficult to notice. Because of this, experts recommend replacing headlamps once a year.

That's good auto advice for Pleasant Hill drivers, but it doesn't apply to all headlamps. Some vehicles use HID, or high-intensity discharge, headlamps. These are bright headlamps that are designed to last for the entire life of a vehicle. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to upgrade to HID headlamps. Consult with your friendly service advisor at Timmons Vehicle Service to learn your options.

Most vehicles use standard or halogen headlamps. If you use standard headlamps, you might want to upgrade to halogen, which offers a brighter headlight. Halogen headlamps come in a variety of grades, so evaluate your options the next time you replace your headlamps and upgrade if you want a better light.

It won't do much good to upgrade or replace your headlamps, however, if your headlight lens is dirty or yellowed. Studies have shown that about 90% of the vehicles on the road have impaired headlights due to dirty or yellowed headlight covers. You should get into the habit of washing your headlights every time you gas up. Simply grab the window washer squeegee, run it over your windows, then swish it across your covers. No cost involved at all.

Plastic headlamp lenses yellow or become hazy over time. If your lenses have this problem, they can be restored with a special polishing process. You may be able to get this done at your Pleasant Hill service center. If not, they should be able to tell you where you can.

Now, what good is a quality headlamp if you can't see through your windshield? Your windshield needs to be clean and streak-free if you plan on driving at night in Pleasant Hill. You should also keep your windshield washer fluid replenished and your wipers in good condition.

Wiper blades should actually be replaced twice a year. The changing of the seasons at spring and fall, or Daylight Saving Time, can be a good reminder to do this. And while you're at it, fall is the perfect time to replace your headlamps. Those long winter nights add up to a lot more night driving for people in Pleasant Hill.

Stay alert. Stay awake. And keep those headlamps burning bright.

Timmons Vehicle Service
855 Contra Costa Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
925.938.9665

The Timmons Vehicle Service Guide to Servicing Your Differential

2017-12-05 10:48:03

Differential? What's that? And what's it for? I've been told by my service advisor that I need to get it serviced, but is that on the level?

Do these questions sound familiar? They're not uncommon for Pleasant Hill drivers. A lot of us in Pleasant Hill don't know what a differential is or what it's for. Every vehicle has a differential, and, yes, it does need to be serviced. In fact, it's more important to the operation of your vehicle than the air conditioner or windshield wipers.

A differential allows your vehicle tires to move at different speeds. This happens more than you think. The best example is when a vehicle is turning. The inside wheel travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel during a turn. This means the outside wheel has to move faster than the inside wheel. Without a differential, your tires would hop and skip while turning. They would also lose traction in sand or snow.

The location of your differential depends on what kind of vehicle you drive. On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located in the back. For a front-wheel drive vehicle, it is located on the front, but it is usually called a transaxle. Four-wheel drive vehicles have three differentials: one on the front, one in the back and one in the middle. This center differential compensates for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.

Your differential contains strong gears that need to be protected from dirt, debris, water and other contaminants. A differential is sometimes referred to as a “gear box.” The work of these gears is to transfer power from the vehicle drive train to the wheels.

Your differential needs fluid to lubricate and cool the gears. This fluid, even though enclosed in the “gear box,” can get dirty because the gears grind down over time, releasing tiny bits of themselves into the fluid. Also, the additives in the differential fluid break down and need to be replaced. That's why preventive maintenance for your vehicle needs to include servicing the differential.

Your owner's manual can give you recommendations on how often to service your differential. But you should also consult with your friendly and knowledgeable Timmons Vehicle Service professional. Timmons Vehicle Service can give you some good auto advice on whether your vehicle needs to be serviced more frequently. For example, if you drive in hot or cold CA weather conditions, your differential will need to have its fluid changed more often.

Severe conditions will also affect your vehicle care routine and your differential. Check your owner's manual for a definition of “severe service” conditions that affect your vehicle. Examples may include driving with frequent stops and starts, a lot of short trips around Pleasant Hill, hot or cold CA weather conditions and towing.

Off-roading is particularly hard on a vehicle's differential. If you are an off-roader, especially if you cross CA streams or waterways, it is important that you service your differential more frequently than the recommendations suggest.

Properly servicing your differential will extend its life and keep you out of Pleasant Hill auto repair shops. A smooth ride is the result of proper preparation and smart choices.

 Timmons Vehicle Service
855 Contra Costa Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
925.938.9665

 

Regular Schedule or Severe Service Schedule at Timmons Vehicle Service?

2017-11-29 03:46:03

Today's Timmons Vehicle Service article focuses on severe service maintenance. Many Pleasant Hill drivers are not aware of them and yet there are also very vocal advocates in CA who think that severe service schedules apply to everyone. Somewhere between a complete lack of awareness and the dire blanket statements lies a reasonable approach to severe service maintenance at Timmons Vehicle Service.

To back up a little, vehicle owner's manuals have schedules for preventive maintenance: things like oil changes, transmission service and so on. They say you should change your oil after a certain distanced traveled or after so many months. Pleasant Hill drivers understand this very well. What they may not know is that there are actually two service schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. The mileage and time intervals are lower on the severe service schedule.

Now when you hear 'severe service,' you may think it doesn't apply to you because you don't feel your driving conditions are severe or extreme – it's just normal everyday driving in the Pleasant Hill area. So let's list some of the conditions that classify as severe so that you can make the judgment on your own driving.

Before we start the list, here's a point of contrast that definitely is not severe driving. Driving down your nearest CA interstate at the highway speed limit on a 75 degree F/24 degree C day loaded only with your passengers. This is an easy trip for your vehicle: your engine is loafing along at low RPMs, no heavy loads to pull and moderate Pleasant Hill temperatures. Now let's look at some severe service driving conditions.

Most trips around Pleasant Hill are less than four miles/six and a half kilometers. When your vehicle engine cools down, moisture condenses in the engine. This water in the oil doesn't get a chance to evaporate on short trips because the oil doesn't get hot enough. A lot of short trips in your vehicle means a lot of water build up. And water in the oil leads to the creation of sludge which can damage the engine. Changing the oil more frequently keeps sludge from building up. By contrast, highway driving warms the engine up and gets the water burned off.

Here's another example. Most trips around Pleasant Hill are less than 10 miles/16 km and outside temperatures are below freezing. This is the same reasoning, but in very cold CA weather it takes even longer for the oil to get hot enough to evaporate the water, hence 10  miles/16 km as opposed to 4 miles/6.4 km.

Next, you drive in very hot CA weather. The hotter it is outside, the more cooling the engine, transmission, brake fluid and so on becomes. The environment in which the fluids reside is more hostile, and the fluids simply break down faster. Therefore, the lower change interval.

Another: driving at low speed most of the time. Every vehicle engine has what's called its power band. This is a range of RPMs in which it's most efficient. Low speed driving doesn't keep the engine in its power band so it's working harder. This is one of the reasons that ratings are worse in downtown than on the highway.

Stop and go driving in Pleasant Hill is another severe service condition. You're always accelerating, which works the vehicle engine and transmission harder. Then you're stopping, which works the brake fluid harder, causing it to get very hot. Highway driving, on the other hand, requires far less horsepower to maintain its speed than getting a stationary vehicle from a stop light up to 25 mph/40 kph. A lot of this and you'll need to follow the severe service schedule.

Also on the list is operating your vehicle in dusty, polluted or muddy conditions. Obviously, your engine air filter and cabin air will get dirty faster and need to be changed more frequently as will your breather element. Some of this dust and dirt will make its way into your fluids. They will simple get dirty faster and won't protect the components as well as fresh fluids.

Finally, you're driving under severe conditions in Pleasant Hill when you tow a trailer, regularly carry heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier. This is pretty obvious. You'll spend more time in lower gears so the engine and transmission work much harder and create more heat. Brakes will be more stressed stopping the heavier loads.

Sounds like most of us in Pleasant Hill operate under severe driving conditions at least some of the time. How can Pleasant Hill drivers know which schedule to follow?

Think of it as a spectrum with "always driving under severe conditions" on one end and "never driving under severe conditions" on the other end. Some will be at one extreme or the other, but most of us will fall somewhere in between.

Carefully think about your driving conditions and decide if you should do your preventive maintenance closer to the severe service recommendation or the regular recommendation. Of course, your Timmons Vehicle Service service advisor can help you with your decision.

Timmons Vehicle Service
855 Contra Costa Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
925.938.9665

Automotive Tips from Timmons Vehicle Service: Rotor Problems

2017-11-19 10:43:03

The brake rotor, or disc, is attached to your wheel. The brake pads rub on the rotor to slow your car when you are driving in Pleasant Hill.

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 important for Pleasant Hill drivers to know that simply replacing brake pads on a wheel with a bad rotor will not solve the problem. Depending on their condition, rotors may be resurfaced or replaced.

Brake noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal are signs of potential brake problems that should be addressed right away. If you have any brake concerns, please have your friendly and professional Timmons Vehicle Service tech perform a thorough inspection.

Give us a call.

Timmons Vehicle Service
855 Contra Costa Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
925.938.9665

Improve Fuel Economy with Proper Maintenance at Timmons Vehicle Service in Pleasant Hill

2017-11-12 08:54:03

With Pleasant Hill gas prices being what they are, many of us in CA are driving less and looking into purchasing smaller or more efficient vehicles. Pleasant Hill area residents who have to drive a lot, have large families or need four-wheel drive are particularly hard hit by the cost of fuel in CA. But there are things all Pleasant Hill drivers can do to save fuel: We can improve our driving habits and stay on top of preventive maintenance at Timmons Vehicle Service. These things make small savings possible, but they can really add up.

Let's start with driving habits. One major gas-eater is jackrabbit starts. A smooth, gradual acceleration uses a lot less fuel. It's also easier on your engine and drivetrain, so you'll prolong their lives as well.

If you drive with one foot on the brake, stop. That creates drag, increasing fuel usage and reducing the useful life of your brakes.

Slowing down can really add up on gas savings over time for Pleasant Hill drivers. Driving five to ten miles over the speed limit can use up 10 to 15% more gas. The time savings is only a few minutes per hour, so the cost per minute can be rather steep.

A little extra planning can save fuel for vehicle owners  in Pleasant Hill as well. Leave a little early so you have time to slow down and still arrive on time. Also, plan errands ahead of time and group them as much as possible. Driving shorter distances is a great way to save fuel.

Using your cruise control where safe can save on fuel. Check your owner's manual for guidelines on when cruise control is recommended and when it isn't.

Clean out your trunk. Every ounce in your vehicle translates to a bit more fuel required to drive around Pleasant Hill.

Many Pleasant Hill residents let their car warm up during the winter - a major fuel drain. Your engine doesn't benefit; modern engines don't require a warm up to get up and running, although it's best to take it easy on them for the first few miles.

Now that we've gone over a few tips for improving driving habits, let's talk about the maintenance of our vehicle. Good car care at Timmons Vehicle Service in Pleasant Hill actually pays for itself in fuel savings.

First, if your gas cap is leaking or worn, get a new one.

Second, keep your engine clean. Clogged fuel filters, dirty fuel injectors and plugged PCV valves all cost you in loss of fuel. Replacing them or cleaning them will both improve fuel economy and increase the power you're getting from your engine.

Third, don't ignore your Check Engine light. Problems that cause that light to come on usually affect your fuel efficiency.

Fourth, check your 's owner's manual for service that should be regularly performed on your vehicle, and follow the schedule. Or talk to your friendly service advisor at Timmons Vehicle Service . Oil changes, transmission checks and cooling system service all improve fuel economy if they're done when needed. Low fluids and dirty fluids also create conditions in your vehicle that require more fuel. So routine maintenance is a must to maintain fuel economy and save cash.

Last, keep your tires inflated. Underinflated tires increase your vehicle's friction with the roadway, which increases the energy it takes to move. Keeping your tires properly inflated is great for saving gas as you drive around Pleasant Hill.

So if the cost of gas in Pleasant Hill has got you searching the sofa for extra pennies, you might want to start making a few changes in your driving habits and getting your vehicle the service it needs at Timmons Vehicle Service in Pleasant Hill.

Timmons Vehicle Service
855 Contra Costa Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
925.938.9665

Time for Differential Service at Timmons Vehicle Service?

2017-11-06 12:40:04

Hello Pleasant Hill - let's talk differentials. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, your differential is on the back axle. With front-wheel drive cars, the differential is up front. All-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles have three differentials - front, rear and in the middle. So you see, you've got a differential (or two or three) and it needs service now and then.

What does your vehicle differential do? Well, it compensates for the differences in speed between your outer and inner wheels in a turn. Using the dimensions of a typical car, let's compare the distance the wheels travel from the start of a turn through to the completion of the turn.

The inside wheel travels about 12.6 feet/3.8 meters. How much farther does the outside wheel travel? About 18.8 feet/5.7 meters – over 6 feet/1.9 meters more. This means the outer tire has to rotate 9 times in the same amount of time that the inner tire has to rotate only 6 times - so the outer tire has to spin faster in order to keep up. The differential makes this possible.

The gears in the differential are cooled and lubricated by differential fluid. It's this fluid that needs to be serviced. Small bits of the gears break off and are suspended in the differential fluid. The dirtier the fluid, the faster the gears wear.

So your Timmons Vehicle Service technician drains the old fluid out and replaces it with fresh fluid. Some differentials also need a special additive that is put in at this time.

So when should you have your vehicle differential serviced? Intervals vary from vehicle to vehicle – and may be as short as 15,000 miles/24,000 km – so check your vehicle owner's manual or ask us at Timmons Vehicle Service. If you frequently drive with heavy loads, tow a trailer or drive in hot CA conditions, you may need to change differential fluid more often. Servicing your differential on schedule at Timmons Vehicle Service can save a pricey replacement down the road.

Give us a call.

Timmons Vehicle Service
855 Contra Costa Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
925.938.9665

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