Yearly Archives: 2019

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!

Is an Oil Change REALLY “Just” an Oil Change?

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We have it engrained in our brains and entrenched in our habits that regular oil changes are the one piece of automotive maintenance that is important and that it should be really, really cheap. A whole industry has even sprouted over providing The All-Important Oil Change; think Jiffy Lube®, Speedee Oil Change™, etc. We see signs everywhere offering “$30 oil change!” “Oil Changes: Only $19.99!”

That’s great, I am a proponent of maintenance! However, an oil change is not just an oil change. It is not just a matter of screw off filter, drain oil, install new filter, add new oil, and wam bam, 20 minutes you’re out the door. Well, it might be like that at some other shops…

At Paul’s we know that an oil change is as important as getting your brakes fixed or your coolant flushed, and we give it the same level of expertise and attention to detail.

We use the regular oil change as the perfect opportunity to check the safety of your vehicle. So, when you come to Paul’s for your oil change, or as we like to call it our “5,000 Mile Service,” know that you are not just getting an oil change. You are getting a complete mileage service by a skilled and trained technician with years of experience, high quality Castrol oil, a tire rotation, brake inspection, and a complete safety inspection.

And why does this make a difference?

I have seen many, many times customers go somewhere for a $19.99 oil change and end up in our shop a few days to a month later. Over the years we have found that, bargain oil change shops are not always looking out for the best interest of the vehicle or the customer. This is what may happen with a cheap oil change performed by an inexperienced technician:

  • Adding wrong oil and/or the wrong sized filter. This can create oil leaks, burning oil, reduced vehicle mileage, and engine damage. The oil filter is what keeps the oil clean and needs to be swapped out with every oil change. Installing the wrong size filter is also a common mistake. Just because it threads on, doesn’t mean it’s the right size. If it isn’t the right size, it might leak oil or not be able to filter oil properly as it cycles through; both of which put your engine at risk.
  • Adding not enough oil or too much oil. Too little oil messes with the hydraulic pressure and lubrication of the parts inside the vehicle. This can cause the internal components of the engine to experience too much friction, and potentially damage itself. Overfilling your oil can cause the engine oil to foam up inside and reduce the hydraulic pressure. It can even put extra pressure on the pressure-crank case system which causes the engine seals and gaskets to leak.
  • Adding low quality oil. This is one way bargain stores can charge so little for oil changes. Moving parts wear down over time at varying rates; low quality oil tends to increase the rate of degradation. High quality oil enables the lowest amount of degradation to the parts and thus extend their lives. This can make a big difference on critical components in a car, such as the engine and transmission, which will save money on repairs in the long run. High quality oil also leads to greater fuel efficiency, thus increasing the mileage of your car.
  • Overtightening the filter or drain nut. Overtightening the filter or drain nut can can tear the threads out of the oil pan which usually means replacing the oil pan at the cost of about $600.
  • Not tightening the filter enough. This leads to the oil filter leaking and the engine losing oil.
  • Not Changing Out the Oil Filter O-Ring. The O-ring needs to be changed along with the oil filter. When you buy an oil filter, it also comes with a new O-ring that goes on top of the filter to provide a seal. This O-ring wears-out and breaks relatively quickly, which is why it needs to be changed out with the filter cartridge regularly. If not replaced at the time of the oil change, the original O-ring will blow-out and break the seal upon starting the engine, then cause a leak/the engine to stall. 

So, know that a great deal is involved in an oil change and we have the expertise and quality oil to make sure you get the most out of this routine maintenance. Oil changes are like anything else: you get what you pay for; and at Paul’s Automotive, you get the best!

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April is for Cabin Air Filter Awareness!

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Dirty Cabin FilterClean Cabin filter

It is not an official designation, but we are proclaiming April as Cabin Air Filter Awareness Month! Spring has sprung and after a long, wet winter, temperatures are warming up and we are getting out and planning weekend trips. This means there are large doses of pollen in the air and you are probably starting to run your car’s A/C system. How does your car prevent all that pollen from circulating throughout the cabin? The cabin air filter! Not to mention, think of everything in the air that your car has experienced over the past few months: large amount ash and soot from the wildfires last year, dust, mold spores, and other pollutants and fine particles. The cabin air filter’s job is to keep the air inside of your car’s cabin clean so you can breathe clean air as you drive. This can be especially important if you suffer from allergies, asthma, or lung, heart, or respiratory ailments. The filters can also catch rodent droppings, leaves, and other unwanted debris.

Besides improving air quality, replacing the cabin air filter may prevent an expensive repair. When the air filter is dirty, the A/C will work harder, causing strain on the A/C system and the motor. It is good to replace the air filter every 6,000 to 10,000 miles. You will probably be on the lower end if you park outside and under trees that drop a large amount of pollen.

You may have heard the criticism that auto shops like to push cabin air filters to customers. Well, we can’t speak for other shops, but at Paul’s Automotive, if we recommend a new cabin air filter, we take a picture of the dirty one and send the photo to you, as part of our complimentary Safety Courtesy Check.

You wouldn’t go years without changing the air filter in your house. Why do that to your car? To find out the condition of your cabin air filter and to schedule an appointment, go to: https://paulsautomotiverepair.com/appointments or call us at 916-444-7216. Happy clean air breathing!

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A Review Of Our 2018 Accomplishments; and 2019 Goals!

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Happy 2019!

As we look at our goals for the upcoming year, I like to reflect on 2018; our accomplishments and improvements we made to provide our wonderful customers with the best automotive and customer service experience possible. 

2018 Accomplishments:

  • Brought two notable new staff on board in January: my twin baby boys! Benjamin, Director of Outreach and Community Relations, and Jacob, Quality Control Specialist. They started to walk by the end of 2018, so watch out, they are really on the move now!
  • We had some staff changes and some other staff who left us and came back, but overall ended the year with a staff of technicians and service writers who are extremely qualified and consider your car their number one priority.
  • Utilized new workflow software, so our service writers and technicians can work more efficiently and get the job done more quickly. It also allows us to reach out to customers more effectively through text message, increasing customer service and improve accessibility to staff and the shop.
  • Purchased new equipment and tools to expand the services we provide:
    • New scan tools for diagnostics to help identify and repair the hardest diagnostic issues cars can have.
    • Portable rack, so if all racks are taken, we always have a rack open in case someone needs a quick fix; and
    • More specialty tools for European, Japanese, and domestic vehicles so we can continue to work on all makes and models.
  • We did several things to increase our knowledge and community engagement including the following:
    • Attended two automotive shop owner conferences;
    • Brought on an intern from the local Met High School for the summer;
    • Met with representatives at the Automobile Museum to find ways to work together; and
    • Continued the annual tradition of providing candy to trick or treaters from the local preschool!

2019 Goals:

  • ​Overall building upgrades, including energy efficient LED lighting, a proper service counter, office, and customer waiting room;
  • Educational car clinics for our customers;
  • 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 2019! We hope it will be a great New Year for you, too!

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