San Francisco Auto Repair

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Yearly Archives: 2012

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

Car Maintenance Tip 8: If You Live In San Francisco, You’d Better Take Care Of Your Brakes

Car Maintenance Tip 8: If You Live In San Francisco, You’d Better Take Care Of Your Brakes

Clearly, brakes are an essential component of your vehicle no matter where you live. But in San Francisco, thorough brake maintenance to keep your brakes in proper working order is especially critical to your survival. Nobody wants to be cruising down Filbert Street and suddenly realize they no longer have the ability to stop. Here are some common brake problems: Worn Brake Pads – Your brake pads suffer the most stress of any element of your car’s brake system. Symptoms of a worn brake pad include squeaking, grinding or increased stopping distance. The warning noises are caused by a thin metal tab that vibrates against the rotor when the pads have worn down to a dangerous level. Brake dust can also cause a squealing noise, which can be removed by spraying brake cleaner. You should have your brake pads checked every 6 months. Be especially diligent with your check-ups if your car model does not have the metal tab because without ... read more

Car Maintenance Tip 7: What To Do When The Check Engine Light Is On?

Car Maintenance Tip 7: What To Do When The Check Engine Light Is On?

Ever since the “Check Engine” light became standard for all car dashboards in 1996, drivers everywhere have been moaning in agony at the first sight of that little illuminated orange icon. This special form of distress comes from the knowledge that the light means something serious is about to go wrong, but gives absolutely no indication of what the problem is. Instead of desperately hoping it will turn off on its own, take these steps: Take your vehicle to a technician, who will connect a “scan tool” to the on-board diagnostic system. The technician may require further testing and diagnostics to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem. Once the problem is identified, they will make the necessary repairs and reset the “Check Engine” light. The 5 most common fixes for “Check Engine” lights are: Replace the oxygen sensor Inspect for loose fuel cap Replace catalytic converter Replace mass air f ... read more

Car Maintenance Tip 6: Proper Car Maintenance Helps Protect The Environment

Transportation is the primary source of greenhouse gas pollution in the United States. With approximately 250 million passenger vehicles on the road, car owners need to be conscious of their carbon footprint. What car you drive, how you drive it and how good your car maintenance is all determines the amount of gas consumed and your environmental impact. Here are some simple ways you can keep extraneous carbon monoxide out of the atmosphere: When driving, avoid sudden starts and stops and go the speed limit. Jerky and aggressive driving is less fuel-efficient and increases wear and tear on your vehicle. Regular tune-ups will help you burn less gas, pollute less and avoid car trouble later on. Clean air filters, working oxygen sensors and properly maintained oil all increase MPG. Get rid of the dead weight. Items in your car that are not needed, weigh the vehicle down, causing an increase in gas usage. However, emerge ... read more

Car Maintenance Tip 5: Are Rebuilt Engines An Option?

Car Maintenance Tip 5: Are Rebuilt Engines An Option?

Engine failure can seem like a vehicle death’s sentence, but it’s no excuse to lay your car to rest permanently. Instead, consider installing a rebuilt engine. Not only are they cheaper than purchasing a new automobile, but they are often built with better parts than new car engines. Here is all you need to know about this blessing in disguise: All rebuilt engines are remanufactured to prescribed standards and specifications by highly skilled machinists. All of the new components installed meet or exceed original equipment performance standards. Design changes in newly installed parts can correct problems with the original engine. Rebuilt engines are backed by warranty programs, typically lasting anywhere from one to three years. Rebuilt engines get better gas mileage and emit fewer pollutants than a worn-out engine

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