San Carlos Auto Repair

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July 4th 2015 - The Busiest Travel Week of the Year

July 4th 2015 - The Busiest Travel Week of the Year

As July 4th 2015 travel week nears, we are predicting it to be the busiest travel week of the year. The economy is allowing more people to hit the roads, rails, and airports.  Last year over 41 million spent part of their holiday week traveling. About 90% of those traveling did so in their automobile. Before you head out of town, be sure check out your vehicle and make sure it is road worthy. We expect to see those numbers increase due to the continued economic boom in the nation and the relatively low fuel prices. Safety has always a concern on the roadways and this holiday week will be no different. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has recognized this holiday week as the deadliest week on the roads. A contributing factor is the amou ... read more

How many miles can I drive with my gas light on

How many miles can I drive with my gas light on

How far can I drive with my gas light on before running out of gas? Question posted by Chris B. regarding his 1997 Land Cruiser. I rarely look at my gas guage which means my "gas low" warning light comes on frequently.   When your gas light comes on, you have 30-50 miles (vehicle dependent) before you run out of gas and there may also be other adverse effects on your automobile. (I hope you don't learn this lesson the hard way!)  Lets dive a little deeper and explore this: What happens when I run out of fuel? Well there is the obvious, the car shuts off leaving you stranded. When the fuel runs out you risk pulling in dirty fuel (containing sediment) from the bottom of the tank, running the pump dry and/or setting a check engine light. But it is also important to be prepared if you find yourself with the gas light on and running out of fuel. Chris, if this is a common thing for you we urge you to look at your ... read more

What should the tire pressure be on my car?

What should the tire pressure be on my car?

What should the tire pressure be on my car? Question posted by Janet W. regarding her Lexus RX350. We are headed to tahoe for summer break and want to make sure our tires are properly inflated.  Can you tell us the easiest way to find out what is the recommended tire pressure is on our vehicle? Often times we get the question, what is my vehicles recommended tire pressure? The truth is that all cars require different tire pressure but we will give you the general rules below. Where do I find the recommended tire pressure for my vehicle? Most vehicle manufacturers require a tire pressure of 32psi to 36psi on cars, SUVs, and light trucks. If you want to find the exact tire pressure for your car, check the following places: Sticker/decal in the glove box Vehicle owners manual Sticker/Decal in the driver inner door edge/door jam Sticker/Decal in the passenger inner door edge/door jam Sticker/Decal inside the fue ... read more

How do I get the fog off my headlights?

How do I get the fog off my headlights?

How do I get the fog off my headlights? Question posted by Barry G. regarding his Acura MDX "How do I get the fog off my headlights?  The headlights on my MDX are getting foggier by the day.  I am concerned that it could cause a safety issue with my night time driving." Why are my headlights cloudy? Why are my headlights yellow, hazed, or cloudy? Is there something you can do to make them brighter? Headlights are not only a cosmetic concern but should be considered a safety issue. Let's start by explaining why your headlights look fogged or hazed.   About 20 years ago, vehicle manufacturers switched from glass headlamps to plastic headlight units. UV rays, road grime, and chemicals react with the plastic and cause the ugly fog, hazed, yellow looking headlights.How do I get the fog off my headlights? There are many different methods and compounds you can use to ... read more

Why does my air conditioner have a musty smell?

Why does my air conditioner have a musty smell?

Why does my air conditioner have a musty smell? Question posted by Jeremy W. regarding his Toyota Land Cruiser. "I am writing into your repair mechanics to find out what is causing my air conditioner odor?  My air conditioner has a musty smell that is typically noticeable for the first 60 seconds or A/C operation.  After that duration it dissipates." Why does my air conditioner smell musty? Your car air conditioning smells bad because you probably have mildew or bacteria in the air conditioning system. We deal with the air conditioner smell often and will explain why it happens, how to clean the air conditioner and how to avoid it.  This is not uncommon and has nothing to do with a leak in the A/C system but can cause you some discomfort from the smell and possible mold. How did my vehicles air conditioner get in this condition and start to smell?  As the ... read more

Why does my steering wheel shake when braking?

Why does my steering wheel shake when braking?

Why does my steering wheel shake when braking? If you feel your steering wheel shake when braking, you most likely have warped front brake rotors. If you are not applying the brake pedal and the steering wheel still shakes, you may have another issue that should get checked out immediately.  Either way, you should have your vehicle inspected to verify what is causing the shaking. How did I overheat my brakes? Typically the steering wheel shake while braking begins due to overheated brake rotors. Heat generated can't disperse so the brake rotor will over heat and deform. The next time you apply your brake pedal, brake pads will squeeze the deformed brake rotor and send a vibration back up through the steering wheel.  Some common items that cause warped brake rotors are. Braking down long steep hills. Braking from high speed off of the freeway Riding the brake pedal ... read more

How often should I change my engine oil?

How often should I change my engine oil?

Question posted by Lynn K. regarding her Toyota Prius "I am writing into your mechanics blog for an answer on how frequently I should change my motor oil in my vehicle?" How often should I change my engine oil? Lynn, thank you for the question!  On average the vehicles we work on at A+ Japanese Auto Repair are due for an engine oil and oil filter change every 5,000 miles or 6 months (whichever comes first).  As a rule of thumb…  If you are an extremely low-mileage driver you should change your engine oil and oil filter at least once a year. How does my cars computer know when an oil change is needed? If you drive a newer model, such as your Toyota Prius, the car may display when you need to change your oil and oil filter on the instrument cluster or dash display.  This system is typical ... read more

Why rotate my tires every 5,000 miles?

Why rotate my tires every 5,000 miles?

Question posted by Jim T. regarding tire rotations on his 2005 Toyota “Just curious, I noticed I am doing a tire rotation every 5,000 miles.  What is the benefit of this? Thanks for the question Jim.  Let me explain… First of all, what is a tire rotation? Rotating tires means moving them from one wheel location to another — from left to right or back to front, or even diagonally.  At A+ Japanese Auto Repair when we perform a tire rotation we will rotate your tires from back to front.  We have noticed when we rotate tires in any other manner some vehicles will start to pull to one side or the other.  When we rotate back to front we eliminate this the majority of the time. What common items are diagnosed by tire wear? Here is a tire wear chart showing most of the common items we look for when inspecting tires during a tire r ... read more

Voted Best Repair Shop in the Bay Area - 2014

Voted Best Repair Shop in the Bay Area - 2014

Thank you to everyone who voted for us!  A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. has won best auto repair shop in the bay area for the second year in a row.  We won best auto repair shop out of 158 auto repair facilities that were nominated.   Eric and I would like to thank our staff.  Our technicians and shop support staff who provide the highest quality auto repair and service to our clients every day.  Our service advisors and front office staff strive to make the auto repair experience an empowering one.  We educate clients so they can make the right decision about how to fix their car in a manner that suites their needs.    We do this by providing pictures of problem areas, inviting clients to come to our shop and inspect vehicles with us while on the rack or over video feed.  These are just a few examples ... read more

5 things you need to check before taking a road trip.

5 things you need to check before taking a road trip.

Family broken down on a vacation. 5 things you need to check before taking a road trip. If you are heading out on a road trip, it is best to check over your car a least a few days before you travel. Don’t find yourself stranded on the side of the road or waiting for a tow truck… especially on a family vacation. 1. Check all exterior lights This is one of the easiest things to check before you take your vehicle on a road trip, but it is commonly forgotten. Turn the key to the “on” position and check the turn signals, brake lights, tail lights, low beams, high beams, and backup lights. The easiest way to do this is to have a friend or family member inspect the lights while you operate them. If you are unable to find a willing person to help you, back your vehicle up to a wall and watch for the reflection of the lights while you check all of the lights ... read more