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Call us for all your Asian Import needs!
760-945-0266

GENERAL MAINTENANCE

The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs, today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels.

As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions.

If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go. As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected: battery, charging and starting engine, mechanical powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks), fuel ignition, and emissions.

To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.



Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Mechanical failure - an inconvenience anytime it occurs - can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. A well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.

Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.

Engine Performance - Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters - air, fuel, etc.

Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.

Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual - more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.

Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.

Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent - you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.

Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.

Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.

Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.

Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.

Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.

Carry emergency gear - gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.



Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer

Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too! Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.

Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.

Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.

Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual - more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.

Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended - more often in dusty conditions. Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.

Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.

Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.

Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.

Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.

Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.

Emergencies - Carry some basic tools - ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first-aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.



Keeping your vehicle in tune with the environment is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer - up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians.

The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

  • Keep your engine tuned. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%.
  • Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
  • Check your tires for proper inflation. Underinflation wastes fuel - your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle.
  • Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed.
  • Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply above 60 mph.
  • Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go's. Use cruise control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family.
  • Today's vehicles are designed to "warm up" fast, so forget about those five-minute warm-ups on cold winter mornings.
  • Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage.
  • Store luggage/cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
  • Plan trips. Consolidate your daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving. Try to travel when traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions.
  • Join a car pool.

Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts, and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.

ASSOCIATIONS

  • ASE Master Technician
  • Total Oil
  • Interstate Batteries
  • ALL-DATA
  • Uniroyal
  • Car Care Aware

Testimonials

  • Glenn and the crew did a great job in determining the cause of an electrical issue I was having with truck. The work was completed quickly and they saved me money. Thanks for all of your dedication. Keep up the good work
    -Terry P.

  • I have been taking my Honda to Glenn for years. I trust him completely. Every issue I've ever had has been resolved entirely. Very satisfied customer! I recommended him to my family and would say the same to anyone else who owns an import!
    -Jessee M.

  • I stopped in to check prices and scheduling. Prices are very good and I scheduled appointment for the next day. Upon arrival, I was greeted immediately and my service was completed in half an hour. I am very happy with every aspect of my experience and will be returning with my other vehicle. Good service, good price and good people. All I could ask for. Thanks.
    -Jim T.

  • Great service, excellent work and a good price. These folks can be trusted to do the right thing and I'll never go anywhere else.
    -John J.

  • Just brought my daughters car in for service the other day and couldn't be happier. Great service, honest people and fair price. We will be bringing all our vehicles here. Thank you North County Import Specialist!
    -Rebecca B.

  • I trust Glen with my car and cash! He's straight forward and honest about needed repairs without upselling, and his prices are fair. I always leave North County Imports with peace of mind that my car is at its best.
    -Tracey A.

  • I knew that when I met Glenn that I could trust him, not only as an honest person but a qualified mechanic. He has a wall of industry certificates to show his formal training and years of experience to complement that.
    -Martin M.

  • I have been going to North County Import Specialists for years. It is very comforting to know that Glenn (owner) and Art are honest (no upselling) and prices are fair. I trust them completely! My family and friends have expressed much gratitude to me for telling them about this terrific business. I agree with an earlier review -- service with the highest integrity!
    -Gale A.

  • Had a great experience at North County Import Specialists - staff was great, prices were just right and service was quick. Definitely will be back!
    -Kirsten P.

  • Service with the highest integrity! I have never questioned a repair quote in all the years I have been taking my Toyota trucks to Glen and the crew. I hope they never change from what makes them stand out most, excellence in the basics!!
    -Curtis W.

  • Its hard to find an honest mechanic. But here you always know you are going to get an honest assessment and recommendation. I'm not going anywhere else. Thank you!
    -Janee H.

  • I'm glad I found NCIS. For years I've been using the car dealership for my car's service, but no more! This was my third visit and each time Glenn and his crew did a great job. There is no pressuring to sell. Very low key, honest service.
    -C. W.

  • Glenn and his group are an unbelievably honest and thorough group of mechanics. I took my car to Nissan slash Infiniti in Oceanside and was told I needed Brakes in the rear and brake fluid changed. I took it to Glen who is my regular mechanic and he said the brakes in the rear we're fine and the brake fluid had been flushed and added about seven thousand miles ago. The charge for this information - $0.
    -Michael P.

  • I tried to save money and not take Glens advice. Mistake. Ended up paying more. I love having a mechanic that I trust! He's always the one I'll take my car too.
    -Chris M.

  • Great place to take your car. Staff is very friendly and honest! Been going here for years.
    -Catherine M.

  • I had heard good things about North County Import Specialists, so I decided to take my car there and made an appointment. Their waiting room was nice and they had my (routine) service done in no time. I felt their prices were fair and the quality of work is excellent. I look forward to using them for all my car maintenance needs.
    -Kerri W.