Automotive Repair Fullerton

Cooling System

Cooling SystemDid you know a cooling system not operating correctly can turn on the check engine light, create poor fuel mileage, or worse, it can overheat the engine. Your cooling system might be a lesser-known component of your car, unlike the motor, transmission, and other large systems, but it’s a very important part of your vehicle.

Conventional engines produce a controlled explosions as the spark plugs ignite fuel inside each cylinder to propel the vehicle down the road. These explosions heat up the engine considerably (which is why the hood of your car is warm when you stop the vehicle). The cooling system runs liquid coolant in a hose through the engine passages, picking up the heat from the engine. The heated coolant is sent to the radiator, where the fluid is cooled as air passes over the fins. The water pump returns the coolant to the engine to absorb more heat. The coolant system is composed of several parts – the radiator, water pump, cooling fan, hoses, and thermostat – all working to regulate the temperature of your engine to keep the car running. Without a cooling system, your car would overheat and the engine would burn out very quickly.

Signs of Trouble

Do you know that you cooling system may need attention from time to time? It’s usually inspected during a scheduled service at our shop, but if you sense the engine may be running warm or you see a leak (puddling of a green, red or orange fluid), it may require a deeper inspection.

If you know how, release the hood, prop it up and take a look around. Notice any hoses that seeping? Coolant tends to have a “wet” look about it. If there has been a leak over a long time, hoses, connections or even the water pump can develop a “crust” where the coolant has been leaking. Do they seem they are too hard or too soft when squeezing them? Also, your nose may tell you if there is a problem if you detect the odor of “hot coolant”. Even if there is a small leak, a sweet type of odor may be the first sign of a cooling system issue.

Always have a professional look at the vehicle if you notice any signs of trouble from your cooling system. You can always trust the professional team at Fisk Automotive!

Warm Weather Is Coming!

Car OverheatingWarm weather is coming soon. As the temperature creeps up, it’s vital not to underestimate how extreme heat can affect your car. No it’s not summer yet, but by the time it rolls around, it’s a good idea to be prepared. With the extreme temperatures Southern California can experience during the year, no one wants to be stuck on the side of the road in a broken down vehicle. One important way to keep your car running smoothly at its best is to check the coolant levels, and for that matter all liquid levels.

Keep Your Car Hydrated

The cooling system is responsible for keeping your engine cool. Ensuring that the coolant is kept full and checking over the system when it’s in for service is crucial to keeping your engine running. Today’s modern coolants can last a long time (up to 100,000 miles!) but it should still be checked and changed when necessary. As long as you’re under the hood, it’s always a good idea to make sure all your fluids are at the proper levels, since improper fluid levels can impact your engine’s ability to cool itself. Heat is one of the major factors in battery breakdown and failure! In addition to coolant, be sure to check:

  • Oil
  • Transmission fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Brake fluid

Any of these checks can be performed during regular maintenance, but if there is a specific concern, let your service professional know when you stop in.

Last, did you know the cooling system works hand in hand with A/C system? Always make sure you’re A/C system is ready for summer weather by having it checked, especially if it’s not performing properly. If the A/C isn’t blasting like it used to, it could be that the refrigerant level is low or another issue.

As always, make sure your car’s being looked after by a trained professional so that your car’s always staying cool (under the hood and inside the cabin!) when it needs to be.

Is Your Serpentine Belt Ready for a Replacement?

Is Your Serpentine Belt Ready for a Replacement?First of all, what is a serpentine belt? It’s not an accessory to keep up your pants, it’s a crucial part of your car’s functionality! It powers several components that are vital to your car’s drivability, transporting power to systems that make your car run. This includes the power steering pump, air conditioning, alternator, and water pump. Without power, these systems can’t run your vehicle.

Know When To Replace Your Belt

The serpentine belt can continue to function – and thus the systems it runs – can continue to work even when the belt is fraying. However, driving with a worn belt is taunting fate. Most serpentine belts are only good for 60,000-100,000 miles. Once the belt breaks, your vehicle loses multiple functions and is quickly becomes impossible to drive. If you see that your belt is missing large chunks, is loose, or is well-worn with tears, it’s a sign that it may be time to replace the serpentine belt.

It’s important to fix or replace your serpentine belt as needed, because a broken one can cause serious issues to your vehicle’s systems. Since the serpentine belt helps the alternator, water pump, air conditioning compressor, and other components run, a broken belt can harm these systems. Worse case scenario, a broken belt can cause damage your engine. Save your car from a potential breakdown and yourself from a large repair bill by ensuring that your serpentine belt is replaced when needed.

Are you unsure where to look for the belt, or you want a professional opinion? The mechanics at Fisk Automotive can help! Bring your car by for an inspection by our experienced auto technicians. We will check for worrisome cracks and worn grooves in your serpentine belt. We will be able to tell you whether it’s time for a replacement, or how long you can put off the repair. Get honest, professional, and friendly car advice from your local car repair shop.

Should I Trade In My Car or Repair It?

The question of whether you should shell out for car repairs or buy a brand new car is sort of like the question of the chicken or the egg — do you spend less money more often over a period of time, or lots of money all at once? However, it’s more complicated than that. Let us explain.

The truth is that there’s no true answer to this question, because your particular answer will depend on a number of factors that are unique to you and your car. Generally speaking, it’s almost always better for your budget to repair a car rather than buy new. It’s highly unlikely that repairs will outpace the cost of a new ride unless your car is either very old or very run down. If you’re wondering about the breakdown of repairs versus buying new, we’ll go into more detail below.

Even large repairs cost less than a new car.

Your eyes may bug a little at a repair bill in the thousands, but repairs of that scale don’t happen very often and they’re still only a fraction of the cost of buying new. Sure, you may be able to use that same chunk of cash as a down payment, but that’s not the entire cost of the car. You’ll still be paying your monthly fee until it’s paid off unless you can drop enough cash to buy the car outright. If your current car is paid off and still functional, it’s more cost-effective to take the repairs.

Insurance and registration costs will be higher when you buy new.

That’s how the cookie crumbles, as the saying goes. New cars have new bells and whistles, but they also come with other costs that you don’t see on the price tag. When you buy new, you can expect to see a sizeable hike in your yearly fees. It’s something to consider before signing a contract.

A new car’s value will drop almost immediately.

If you think you’re driving off the lot with a car worth as much as you paid for it, you’re unfortunately wrong. From the moment you take your shiny new ride home, it starts to depreciate in value. In the first year alone, most cars lose over 20% of their value. With a car you already own, you don’t have to worry about depreciation because it’s already factored into the current value of the car.

Keeping a car longer is more cost-effective than buying new every few years.

This seems like a no-brainer, but our media really pushes the idea that you should be trading in your car for a new model every few years. Driving your car for longer, like 6 years or more, before getting a new one means you’re getting more value out of your current ride and not constantly beholden to car payments. Once you see that extra cash in your account every month, it’ll be hard to let it go. So don’t!

Now, of course there are valid reasons to drop the old and bring in the new. If you have safety concerns from an older car, you may be ready to upgrade to a safer model. If your family has expanded and you need more room, your tiny coupe may have to go. In the rare cases where repairs are actually exceeding the value of the car, that’s another factor to consider. As we mentioned above, there’s no 100% right answer, so you have to do what’s right for you.

Fisk Auto is always here to answer your questions or even help you see whether repairs are better for your budget. Just give us a call anytime!

How to Find the Best Auto Repair Shop in Your Area

Would you like to know how to find the best auto repair shop in your area? If yes, here are a few tips in locating the best local auto repair shop to you, even if you are not located in lovely Fullerton, California, home to Fisk Automotive.

Ask friends, family, and co-workers for referrals

This is one of the best ways to find the best auto repair shop in your area. Ask someone you trust, and usually they are happy to tell you if they are pleased with their auto repair shop.

Ask other owners of your vehicle’s make and model

Do you drive a Honda? Ask other Honda owners where they go for auto repair. Ask them about the auto repair shop’s pricing, service levels, speed, efficiency, etc. You’ll quickly determine if there is a specialty auto repair shop in your area for your make of vehicle.

Yelp.com

For those who like to see 5-star reviews, Yelp! is a major referral site. All you have to do is go to www.yelp.com and type in the type of service and the city you’re searching for. Make sure to read as many reviews as possible, and see if there is a majority of 5-star reviews with an occasional 1-star review, or if an auto repair shop has too many 3-star reviews. You can see how Fisk Automotive looks on Yelp here.

Demandforce.com

www.demandforce.com is a widely respected review site, used by many repair shops. Demandforce is a third party review site and they will often seek out reviews from the clients of auto repair shops very soon after their vehicle has been serviced. These reviews are fresh and quite often highlight if the auto shop has a high customer satisfaction ranking. For example, you can see how people reviewed Fisk Automotive via Demandforce here.

Google search your keywords, plus the city you’re in

If you want to find out if an auto repair shop specializes in certain repairs and services, try going on Google and doing a search for the specific keywords, plus the city you’re interested in. For example, “auto repair wifi baltimore” will let you know if any Baltimore area repair shops offer wi-fi in their waiting room. Any number of keywords and cities will create a varied list of auto repair shops that match your criteria.

To be quite honest, we hope you will always hear terrific personal referrals and see great reviews for Fisk Automotive in Fullerton. With our 9 time ASE “Blue Seal of Excellence” certification, rest assured you will always have a quality certified technician servicing your vehicle when you come into Fisk Automotive. For priority scheduling, call our Fullerton location at 714-526-3303 to schedule an appointment.

Service Your Car – Proper Tune-Up Checklist

Whether you are a person who likes to service your car yourself, or you prefer to take it into Fisk Automotive for regular tune-up service, it’s always good to know what items are on a proper tune-up checklist.

For starters, each foreign and domestic vehicle has tune-up checklist variations, but for the most part, the standard tune-up checklist includes the following:

  • Check all belts for signs of wear, fray, or cracks.
  • Check hoses for leaks or bulges.
  • Check engine and underneath the vehicle for signs of leaks.
  • Make sure heater and air conditioning is working properly.
  • Check windshield wipers and all other wipers, including headlight wipers and rear window wipers.
  • Check headlights — both low and high beams.
  • Check fog / driving lights.
  • Check turn signal lights and controls.
  • Check brake lights and tail lights.
  • Check hazard lights.
  • Check reverse lights.
  • Check door locks.
  • Inspect windows and windshield for dings and cracks.
  • Check to make sure windows properly roll up and down.
  • Check radio and speakers.
  • Check horn.
  • Check the tires to make certain there is enough tread, they’re in good condition, and are properly inflated.
  • Check coolant levels.
  • Check oil levels.
  • Check transmission fluid levels.
  • Check power steering fluid levels.
  • Check brake fluid levels.
  • Check window washer fluid levels.
  • Take a test drive drive and listen for any pings, knocks, scraping noises.
  • Check exhaust to for excessive odor.

The next time you’re in Fullerton and you want us to service your car give your vehicle a tune-up, the Fisk Automotive team would be delighted to assist. For priority scheduling, call our Fullerton location at 714-526-3303 to schedule an appointment. We are conveniently located at 820 West Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, CA 92832-1615.

How To Get Your Car to 300,000 Miles

Want to know how to make your car reach the 300,000 miles mark? Here are a few tips from the team at Fisk Automotive, located in Fullerton, California:

Change your oil every 3,000 miles, unless your owners’ manual specifies a different mileage point. Oil change is a key component to making sure your vehicle lasts a long, long time.

Bring your vehicle in for minor services, which is usually every 7,500 miles. This usually includes fluid changes, air filter inspection, tire rotation, and a general safety inspection.

Bring your vehicle in for its first major checkup at 15,000 miles, and every 15,000 miles after that. Depending on the vehicle, this major checkup will include an oil change, air filter changes, wiper blade replacement, tire rotation, etc.

Make sure to bring your vehicle in for major service at every 30,000 miles. Fisk Automotive specializes in 30K, 60K, 90K and 105K mile service, also known as A and B services. Our technicians test the vehicle thoroughly and make sure all the fluids have been replaced, the fuel filter has been replaced, and so on.

If you take your vehicle in on a regular basis at the mileages described above, this means your car will serve you well and quite possibly meet or surpass the 300K mileage milestone. Come to think of it, if your vehicle reaches the old age of 300,000 miles or beyond, you may want to consider buying it a birthday cake!

Fisk Automotive proudly serves as the dealership alternative for residents and commuters in the Fullerton region. With our 9 time ASE “Blue Seal of Excellence” certification, rest assured you will always have a quality certified technician servicing your vehicle when you come into Fisk Automotive for a 30000, 60000 or 90000 mile service. For priority scheduling, call our Fullerton location at 714-526-3303 to schedule an appointment.

5 Tips On Getting the Most from Your Auto’s Air Conditioning

During the heat of summer, most drivers and passengers eagerly turn on the auto air conditioner. No one likes to suffer sizzling temperatures, especially those traveling with you, like:

  • Pets
  • Elderly passengers
  • Small children
  • Plants
  • Perishables

Here are a few tips on getting most from your car, truck, or SUV air conditioning:

  1. Before starting the car, take a moment or two to open all the doors and let the hot air out. This will help cool the car’s cabin temperature immediately and take some of the stress off the air compressor when you start the car.
  2. Roll down the windows for a few minutes, start the car, and turn the air conditioning on. For a short while, hot air will be blowing out of the vents, and the open windows will help increase air circulation.
  3. After the air conditioning has been on for a minute, go ahead and roll up your windows so you’re not wasting fuel.
  4. Once the car air gets cooler, push the “recirculate” button so your auto air conditioner doesn’t have to work so hard. Recirculating the car air makes the air stay cooler, even when it’s super hot outside and the air is barely getting cold enough.
  5. If you have a rear cabin air conditioner in your SUV or van, save energy and gas by turning it off when you don’t have any passengers in the rear. However, if it’s a sizzling hot day and you have pets, plants, or perishables in your cargo, feel free to use the rear air conditioning unit to keep them from wilting in the heat.

The next time you’re in Fullerton, we invite you to stop by Fisk Automotive to make certain your air conditioner is in tip top shape. There’s no point in suffering the summer heat, and our trained staff can do a quick inspection to make sure all is running to factory specs in your auto’s air conditioner. Call 714-526-3303 to schedule an appointment for an auto air conditioner service checkup.

How To Check Your Car Brakes

When you’re in your car, truck or SUV, and you suspect your car brakes aren’t working like they should, you should give them a quick test to see if your problem is, indeed, a brake issue. Here are some quick tips on how to check your car brakes if you find yourself far away from Fisk Automotive in Fullerton, or any other auto repair shop:

Listen:
When brake pads are worn out, they tend to make noises, like squeaks or metal scraping on metal. If you hear the noises get louder when you use the brakes, it could be a good indication that your brake pads need replacement as soon as possible. If you’re not near Fisk Automotive in Fullerton, head directly to an auto repair shop that services brakes so you remain safe.

Feel:
Do you feel a vibration when you push on the brake pedal? That could be a sign that your brake pads are worn out and need replacement. Same goes for a vibrating steering wheel, too.

Look:
When brake pads wear out, they create dust. When the brake pad is fully worn out, the wheels will appear cleaner, which means they need replacement as soon as possible.

Observe:
brake repair fullertonLook to see if you can view the brake pad through the wheel rim. How does it look? Thick? Very thin? Less than ¼ inch? If your brake pads are less than ¼ inch thick, the brake pads must be replaced. Similarly, if you see a slot in the center of the brake pad, that could serve as a wear indicator. If the slot is barely there, it could mean the pad is worn out and needs replacement

Located in Fullerton, Fisk Automotive can help you with complete brake service and brake repair. It is our preference that you visit us for a brake repair check-up before you find yourself with failing brakes. Our job is to keep you safe, and we can do that better when you make regularly scheduled car maintenance visits.

The next time you’re in the Fullerton area, come into Fisk Automotive for a complete brake service and safety check-up. For prompt service, call 714-526-3303 to schedule an appointment. Our staff is well trained, we have the latest in diagnostic tools, and we make certain that your vehicles always meet factory specifications. When you come to Fisk Automotive in Fullerton, it is our promise that we will provide you the best possible auto care and brake service and repair so you and your passengers can remain safe and worry free from brake failure.

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