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Winter Is Coming!

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Winter Primer for your Vehicle

It is chilly out there! Rain is falling in the Valley; snow up in the Sierras. At Paul’s, we see a spike in certain jobs when the temperature drops, namely dead batteries and concerns about vehicle safety on the wet roads. Here are some items I recommend checking out or finally getting replaced during the winter:

  1. Batteries: Cold weather is hard on your car battery. A car battery can lose 30 to 50 percent of its power when the temperature drops below the freezing point and more than half its power when the temperature drops below zero.

    When it is cold, engines are harder to turn over because the oil inside them has thickened, which demands more current from a battery. Also, the chemical reactions that generate electricity are slower at lower temperatures.

    There are two easy things you can do to check if your battery may be on its way out:

    • Visually inspect your battery for corrosion, cracks, or other damage. These batteries need to be more thoroughly checked and/or replaced immediately.
    • Test your battery if it is three years old or older. Our techs can measure the amps and voltage, giving you the peace of mind knowing that your battery is still good, should be replaced soon, or if you need a new one.

    At Paul’s, we proudly use AC Delco batteries, which are known for their excellent performance, long life, and a 30-month free replacement warranty.

  2. Struts: Symptoms of worn struts include bottoming out, excessive bouncing, rocking back and forth, drifting or nose-diving while braking, swaying, and cupping wear on the tires.

    This may be an inconvenience or make for an uncomfortable ride during the dry months, but with the wet, slick roads of winter, these issues become a safety concern. They can cause your car to spin out, not come to a hard brake as quickly, and reduce the traction of your tires.

  3. Tires: Even if you do not plan on visiting the snow, wet and flooded roads can be a safety concern if your tires’ tread is worn. A worn tire has very little traction, meaning it does not grip the road as well when you brake. This can be especially dangerous on a wet road. As mentioned above, bad struts cause tires to be worn unevenly, causing your tires to become worn out more quickly, costing you more.

    Tire inflation is another important consideration. Air contracts when it gets colder, which may make your tires look flatter. Tire inflation levels are measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Air pressure can potentially drop 1 psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit temperature drop. Improper tire inflation can hurt gas mileage and cause incorrect wear and tear on your tires, thus shortening the life of your tires. In addition, if your car has a tire pressure monitoring system, it can affect the anti-lock braking system on your vehicle.

    At Paul’s we check and adjust your tire pressure for free!

I hope this blog taught you something new about your car. We are here for you to make you feel safer and more comfortable in your vehicle over the winter! And Happy Holidays!

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October is Fall Car Care Month and (Finally) Welcoming Cooler Weather to Sacramento

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While we still may be reeling from those long stretches of 100 degree days, it’s time to think about the toll winter can take on your car and the last time your car had a maintenance service. With that in mind: Happy Fall Car Care Month!

With drought one year, and heavy rainfall the next, it’s hard to predict the fall and winter weather in Sacramento. A few things are certain though: there will be less daylight, it will be cold, and it will rain, all which mean you may be driving more and you’ll want your care safe and ready for winter weather.

Like the reasons described in our April 2017 blog, maintenance services are important in the winter as well. Performing regular maintenance services on your vehicle will:

  • Give you peace of mind and let you know what is still in good working order. We text you photos of what is good, what may need work down the road, and what should be fixed. Even if you don’t want to do major repairs with us, we want you to have the peace of mind knowing what is in good shape and what needs work. Your safety is our priority.
  • Prevent costly and lengthy repair work. Time, weather, how much you drive, and how you drive cause wear and tear on parts. It’s unavoidable. However, oftentimes, if caught early, you can avoid a big repair. For example, transmission fluid doesn’t get low like oil (unless there is a leak), but it gets cycled over and over through the transmission, picking up gunk and loose metal fragments along the way, which can wreak havoc on your transmission. Flushing old transmission fluid out and replacing it with fresh fluid prevents you from needing a costly transmission rebuild down the road.

In colder weather, there are few things that need special attention:

  • Check the coolant - even when it’s cold! The term “coolant” can be misleading. If you look at the bottle, you’ll notice it is actually: coolant/antifreeze. Coolant doesn’t simply control your engine from running hot, it regulates engine temperature during colder weather as well. Depending how long the same coolant has been circulating in your car, or if you have a small leak, old coolant needs to be flushed out and replaced. A coolant flush should be done every three years/30,000 miles to prevent rust building up inside engine components. It also helps the components of your cooling system last longer.
  • Check tire inflation. Air contracts when it gets colder, which may make your tires look flatter. Tire inflation levels are measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Air pressure can decrease up to 10 psi a month just through every day driving and may potentially drop 1 psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit temperature drop. Improper tire inflation can hurt gas mileage and cause incorrect wear and tear on your tires, thus shortening the life of your tires. At Paul’s we check and adjust your tire pressure for free!
  • Windshield wipers, of course. A big tell-tale sign of winter weather in Sacramento is dusting off those windshield wipers after they have gotten little to no use over the summer. The life of windshield wipers is six months to one year. This seemingly simple item is also one of the most important safety items when it is raining, so make sure they are working properly and not coming apart. Another handy item we can apply to your windshield is Aquapel. This product is a long-lasting rain repellant that causes rain to bead up and roll right off your windshield.

The specific maintenance items needed to get your car ready for winter is based on several factors. We will be happy to go over with you the history of your vehicle and what you would need. The Car Care Guide is a useful resource to learn more.

I hope this helped you think about the importance of maintaining your car and your wintertime car care needs. Happy Car Care Month!

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ENJOY A COOL RIDE: A/C CHECK UP

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It’s not even officially summer and we’re already hitting 100 degree temperatures. It’s around this time the kids run in the sprinklers, we stock up on popsicles, and we start running our car’s air conditioning systems non-stop…and it’s also the same time we wonder: is my A/C system even working at its full potential? Will it keep me cool throughout the summer?

If it isn’t running as cold as you wish it was, your first thought may be to call us and say, “My A/C isn’t running so cold, it needs more Freon.”

“Not so fast!” we’d reply. There are several parts that work together to keep your A/C system running. There are hoses, fans, the compressor, and the condenser that are all parts of the system as well. In fact, we often find that a leaky hose or a malfunctioning fan is the culprit.

At Paul’s we offer an A/C Performance and Systems Service where we do several activities to check your vehicle’s A/C system and get it running in tip top shape. This service includes:

  • Removing any existing Freon, cleaning it, placing it back in your car, and topping it off;
  • Checking the hoses and other components for leaks. If we do suspect a leak, we add a dye that helps us pinpoint exactly where it is coming from. The dye also allows us to identify if there are multiple leaks;
  • Checking fan operation. We check both the blower fan and the cooling fan to make sure they are operating properly;
  • Checking cabin air filter condition;
  • Measuring overall system pressures and temperatures; and
  • Replacing any lubricants that may have been lost due to servicing your A/C system.

We want you, your children, friends, and your pets to have a cool, comfortable ride to and from all your fun summer events! Happy summer!

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PREPPING YOUR CAR FOR SUMMER AND NATIONAL CAR CARE MONTH

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Ahh, springtime in Sacramento: birds are chirping and flowers are blooming. Makes us all want to get outside or get away for the weekend…until you think: “It will be a hot, Sacramento summer soon and will my belts, hoses, and fluids withstand the heat?? (Hmm, have those parts ever been checked or replaced??)”

That’s where vehicle maintenance services come in, and that’s why there is National Car Care Month in April!!! You may be thinking, “What’s the point? Maintenance services are an extra expense. It’s how shops sell me things I don’t need.” Well, I don’t know what shop you go to, but at Paul’s Automotive, that is not true! Maintenance services serve multiple purposes:

  • Give you peace of mind and let you know what is still in good working order.We text you photos of what is good, what may need work down the road, and what should be fixed. Even if you don’t want to do major repairs with us, we want you to have the peace of mind knowing what is in good shape and what needs work. Your safety is our priority.
  • Prevent costly and lengthy repair work. Time, weather, how much you drive, and how you drive cause wear and tear on parts. It’s unavoidable. However, oftentimes, if caught early, you can avoid a big repair. For example, transmission fluid doesn’t get low like oil (unless there is a leak), but it gets cycled over and over through the transmission, picking up gunk and loose metal fragments along the way, which can wreak havoc on your transmission. Flushing old transmission fluid out and replacing it with fresh fluid prevents you from needing a costly transmission rebuild.
  • Reduce the harmful effects of summer weather. We all know how Sacramento gets HOT. This makes rubber hoses and belts prone to damage. Making sure these parts aren’t cracked or leaking can prevent your car from overheating, breaking down, or other major damage, such as cracked radiators or blown head gaskets.

To highlight some of the more common and most pressing summertime issues we see:

  • Proper tire inflation. If you recently inflated your tires and temperatures spike, that air expands. This can cause incorrect wear and tear and imbalances, which overall shorten the life of your tires. We check for proper tire inflation on every job we do, free of cost. (And don’t forget about that spare tire! When was the last time you’ve had that checked? Hmm.)
  • Keeping it cool.Engine coolant is essential to ensure your engine doesn’t overheat. If coolant isn’t replaced regularly, it can cause rust build up inside the engine and conduct electrical currents, which corrodes nuts and bolts, contaminating your engine cooling system. Low coolant harms your engine. Coolant is just one piece of the puzzle to keep your car cool. The hoses connected to the radiator help pump coolant to and from the engine. Belts run the water pump. If hoses crack or belts snap, the radiator will quickly overheat, leaving you stranded.
  • Road trip ready. A fuel system cleaning works wonders for improving gas mileage, reducing emissions, and increasing performance. This process includes cleaning out fuel injectors, upper intake, and valves. It also breaks up carbon deposits. It can help down the road to prevent damage to your catalytic converter and help you pass that Smog Check as well.

What we specifically would do for your car to get it summer-ready is based on several factors and is too detailed to go over here. The Car Care Guide is a great resource to learn more,

We hoped this helped you think about maintenance and your summertime car needs. Give us a call and we can discuss with you what your car needs. Happy spring and Car Care Month!

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2016 ACCOMPLISHMENTS, 2017 GOALS

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2016 was a big year at Paul’s Automotive! For starters, it marked my first full year as owner. After working as a tech for more than 20 years for Paul, I bought the shop from him when he retired in July 2015. It has been quite a transition for me personally and professionally, but I now have the hang of it and am loving my new role. As we look at our goals for 2017, I like to reflect on 2016 and our accomplishments and improvements we made to provide you, our Sacramento-area customers, with the best automotive and customer service experience possible. We accomplished the following:

Hired a service writer team of Brandon Rusciolelli and Anthony Klein to provide you with exceptional customer service. Brandon was soon promoted as the shop General Manager;

Hired two new technicians: Smog tech and electrical expert, Froylan Flores and suspension and engine repair specialist Lee Gonzales. I also hired Camille Kustin as office manager;

Began using Bolt On Technology, which allows us to communicate instantly with you via text message and send you photos and images of what needs to be repaired and courtesy inspection results;

Purchased new equipment and tools to expand the services we provide:

  • We are now doing in-house flashing and re-programming of power control models (PCMs) on vehicle computers instead of subletting the work. This means you can get back on the road sooner;
  • We have a new, top of the line Snap-On scan tool used to perform diagnostic work;
  • We are using new fluid exchange equipment to perform maintenance work for all fluids. We are using BG flush products for fuel injections and fluid exchanges; and
  • We have a new Pro-Cut brake lathe to cut the surface of brake rotors to the thousandths of an inch so we can put new brake pads on them. Doing this in-house is also more efficient and saves time.

Installed a new phone system and have a faster internet connection, including WiFi available while you wait;

Posted a new website, complete with photos and comment- and appointment-making tools;

Installed an air conditioning system for hot Sacramento summer months; and

Installed lighting upgrades, including energy-efficient LED lights outside the building.

We are excited for 2017 and are looking forward to furthering our goal of making your automotive experience as enjoyable and worry-free as possible:

  • Teach my baby boy and Customer Service Expert, Jackson, how to perform oil changes (he can handle it, he will be turning one year old in May, after all!);
  • Upgrade our computer system. It is getting harder for our computers to work with all the advanced technology we are using;
  • Overall building upgrades, including a proper service counter, office, and customer waiting room (with a popcorn machine!);
  • Purchase an alignment rack, so we can perform alignment work in-house;
  • Utilize workflow software, so our service writers and techs can work more efficiently and get the job done more quickly;
  • Increase our involvement in the community through participating in neighborhood associations and contributing to local causes.

Is there anything else that you’d like to see us doing? We always welcome feedback! We are looking forward to 2017 and all that it will bring!

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