San Francisco Auto Repair

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Classic Car Restoration Project: Steffanos’ ‘89 Cushman Truckster

Classic Car Restoration Project: Steffanos’ ‘89 Cushman Truckster

Steffanos, a long-time customer of B&W, is a high-end finish carpenter whose work spans from Pacific Heights to Nob Hill. For years, he used his large Dodge van to get to his job sites, but due to the lack of parking space, he was constantly being forced to park blocks away. About two years ago he decided to purchase a 1989 Cushman Truckster, ending his days of inconvenience and frustration. The Cushman Truckster focuses solely on utility; it holds two passengers and runs up to twenty-six miles per hour. Only 3 ft wide and 8 ft long, Steffanos was finally able to fit it into the small spaces available only for Vespas and smart cars. “Cushmans are classified as motorcycles, therefore I can park perpendicularly to the curb and in motorcycle parking spots.” Not only was Steffanos saving time, but also on gas as the little Truckster gets much better mileage. Although Steffanos loved his new car, he quickly became worried with its ability to climb the steep hills of ... read more

Carsharing in the Bay Area

Carsharing in the Bay Area

“If you live in a city, you don’t need to own a car.” William Clay Ford Jr. The Bay Area is a breeding ground for innovation in technology and environmentalism. One of the best examples of this is carsharing. Faced with a city filled with traffic congestion and imperfect public transit, more and more people in San Francisco are signing up for memberships to carsharing companies. Carsharing provides flexible wheels for an urban lifestyle by replacing car ownership. It’s a service that provides 24/7 self-serve access to a network of vehicles parked around your city, which can be reserved by the hour or day by phone, smart phone or online. Carsharing is not for everyone. As a rule-of-thumb, if you drive fewer than 7,500 miles a year and you don’t need a car to commute to work every day, then you’re a good candidate for carsharing. Not only can you save money, but by removing the hassles of ownership, you will also never have to worry about ... read more

How Your Brake System Works and Wears Down.

How Your Brake System Works and Wears Down.

An automobile’s braking system is one of the most complicated as it involves several components working together. It is also one the most important systems when it comes to safety. But how exactly does the brake system work? When you press on the brake pedal, you are actually pushing against a plunger in the master cylinder, which forces brake fluid to the wheels’ braking unit through a series of hoses. In disc brakes – most vehicles have four-wheel disc brakes today – the fluid is forced into a caliper pressing against a piston, which then squeezes the brake pads against the disc generating friction causing your car to slow down and finally stop. As you can imagine, brake pads will be the first component to wear down. If you hear an unusual noise when braking, such as squealing, grinding or screeching, it is time to replace your pads. Brake repair is typically inexpensive when it’s timely addressed. But, if you allow your brake pads and rotors to wear down, then you wi ... read more

Say Goodbye to Free Sunday Parking.

Say Goodbye to Free Sunday Parking.

As San Franciscans, we feel obligated to share any piece of advice that may save you from getting a parking ticket. Although we recently published a series of useful parking tips, we want to make sure that our readers are aware of the very latest change in the San Francisco parking system. As of last Sunday (1/6/13), a long-standing parking policy in San Francisco has come to an end as the city joined many other cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Vancouver, Portland, Charlotte and Tampa, in requiring drivers to feed parking meters on Sundays. For the next three weekends, the city plans to hand out warnings instead of citations, as the historical change may catch a lot of people off guard. Most parking meters had been free in San Francisco since the city installed its first meter back in 1947 at Bush and Polk Streets. Back then, things were different, as the majori ... read more

Car Maintenance Tip 13: Is It Time For a Wheel Alignment?

Car Maintenance Tip 13: Is It Time For a Wheel Alignment?

Have you ever been driving down a straight road and briefly let go of the steering wheel? You probably should not be doing that, but if so, did your car start to drift to one side? This is one symptom of improper wheel alignment, which can be caused by gradual wear over time or as a result of driving over a massive pothole. Left unchecked, your car could be subjected to rapid tire wear, reduced fuel economy and difficult handling. To know when to get your wheel alignment checked and what to expect from your local auto repair shop, read on: Other signs that your tires need realigning are uneven wear on tires, vibrations while you drive and a crooked steering wheel when your car is going straight. Even if you don’t notice any of these indicators, you should get your wheel alignment checked at least annually as well as after any collisions. It’s a good idea to request an alignment every time you purchase a set of new tires. Tha ... read more

Car Maintenance Tip 12: Keeping Up Appearances

Car Maintenance Tip 12: Keeping Up Appearances

As tempting as it is to wait for the rain to wash your car, regular maintenance of your vehicle’s appearance is essential. Beyond vanity’s sake, keeping your car clean prevents the buildup of damaging chemicals and dirt that wear away at the finish over time. Read on for tips on getting the best at-home wash: Choose a shady spot or wash on a cloudy day. If your car is too hot, the water will evaporate quickly and leave unsightly spots. Use car wash shampoo or soap. It’s made specifically for automotive vehicles, so it cleans better than dish soap. Start with the wheels and treat them with extra care. Since they are the closest to the road, they are subjected to the most dirt and damage. Then wash from the top down, rinsing the car often. End with a rinse of free flowing water to allow the water to sheet off the car. Pay attention to the inside as well. Vacuum floors, fabric upholstery, mats and under seats. Scrub and rin ... read more

Car Maintenance Tip 11: How To Properly Maintain Your Car’s Belts And Hoses

Car Maintenance Tip 11: How To Properly Maintain Your Car’s Belts And Hoses

Most of us don’t think about the belts and hoses inside our cars very often. They may be merely components of bigger systems such as radiators and heaters, but if they fail your car is in for a heap of trouble. For example, serpentine belts are used to turn the water pump, alternator, power steering and air-conditioning compressor. If it snaps, you could end up stranded. A blown hose can cause an overheated engine and other damage. In order to avoid these unfortunate circumstances, take proper care of your belts and hoses. Rubber hoses deteriorate with age and exposure to heat. Hoses that feel rock hard or mushy need to be replaced. Have them checked at each oil change for hardening (or softening) by simply pinching them. Other indications include squeaking noise during start-up or operation, dashboard light turns on, engine overheating, leaking, visible cracks and blistering. When new hoses are installed, replace the clamps as well ... read more

Car Maintenance Tip 10: Parking In San Francisco

Car Maintenance Tip 10: Parking In San Francisco

Owning a vehicle in San Francisco can be wonderful. It allows you to avoid over-packed BART trains and the unreliable MUNI buses. Weekends become opportunities for adventure as day trips to Marin or Half Moon Bay are now a piece of cake. And no need to rent a truck next time you have to move furniture! The city of San Francisco is also pleased to have you driving around its streets, but for a different reason. Last year the city made $86 million in revenue from parking tickets alone. The downside to car ownership is parking said car, which is especially tricky in San Francisco. In fact, it is so frustrating that entire books have been written on the subject. If you don’t have time to read a novel, take a look at the quick tips the B&W Service Center team has come up with: Parking signs are enforceable within 100 feet of your car; so after parking, make sure to check your area about 10 car lengths up and down the block. In time-limited zon ... read more

Classic Car Restoration Project: Bill’s ‘35 Ford Coupe

Classic Car Restoration Project: Bill’s ‘35 Ford Coupe

It all started in 1935, the very first year that Ford began producing fat-fendered cars. Bill’s Ford Coupe was built in this year and has since traveled far and wide to get where it is today. In its long life, the rare 3-window vehicle has avoided all major accidents and has been extremely well preserved, but little else is known about the car’s history. We do know that more than 40 years ago, the Coupe made its way to Allen (Bill’s nephew’s father-in-law) in Chicago. Allen had the intention of restoring it, but his famous restoration projects of old mopeds kept him constantly busy. After 20 years of ownership, Allen and the Ford Coupe moved to California. Bill bought the vehicle 15 years later. The restoration began 6 years ago with B&W Service Center focusing on mechanical work, Trent Bay Area Customs being responsible for the body work and Finish Line Interior for the interior work. So far, the restoration teams have accomplishe ... read more

Car Maintenance Tip 9: Prepare Your Car For Winter

Car Maintenance Tip 9: Prepare Your Car For Winter

It may only be mid November, but it’s never too early to start preparing your car for the cold winter ahead. Take these steps to keep safe and save time and money on car repair in the months to come. 1. Winter Tires – Depending on where you are and how much snowfall is expected, all-season tires might not be as effective as tires meant for snow. Getting the right tires can keep you from slipping off the road, and prevent expensive tow bills. 2. Tire Pressure – Cold weather will compress the air in tires, making them flatter. Make sure you keep your tires properly inflated so that you can drive smoothly and with ease. Bonus: properly inflated tires also increase fuel-efficiency. 3. Windshield Wipers – Windshield wipers only last about a year, so make a point of replacing them just before winter. If you are choosing new ones, consider “Beam Blades,” which are less likely to freeze up. Pop your blades in freezi ... read more

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