Beach Benz

Servicing Mercedes Benz Exclusively for over 20 years

Considering an Alternative Fuel Vehicle In Fountain Valley?

There is a clear and vocal demand in Huntington Beach and nationally for a reduction in air pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. This is what is driving the California market for alternative fuel vehicles. There are a number of these vehicles on Fountain Valley area roads today, and many more being developed. Yet each of these vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages. Huntington Beach car owners should learn what these advantages and disadvantages are before running out and purchasing one of these alternative fuel vehicles at your nearest Fountain Valley dealership.

Fountain Valley car owners should carefully research the car care before buying an alternative vehicle, as it may or may not coincide with the standards for gasoline vehicles. You should look at costs and MPG as well: these vehicles may help save our environment here in Huntington Beach, but that might not represent a savings to your wallet. You’ll need to decide what you can afford, and what will work for your lifestyle. Also, your choice of vehicle may be affected by what fuels are available in your Fountain Valley area. Switching to an alternative fuel vehicle is not a bad decision, but it should be a carefully considered one.

Flex Fuel Vehicles
Flex fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on a combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Because of the 85% ethanol content, this fuel is commonly called E85 in California.

Ethanol is made from corn. So flex fuel vehicles lessen our dependency on fossil fuels. But they also raise the price of corn, which is a basic foodstuff in some areas of the world. Whether replacing fossil fuels with corn is a good idea is hotly contested right now.

Flex fuel vehicles do have lower harmful exhaust emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles. And in Fountain Valley, E85 is usually lower in cost than regular gasoline. When gasoline prices fall in California, however, they can drop below the price of E85. This is to Huntington Beach auto owners’ advantage, since the vehicle can run on either fuel, but it negates the benefits of lowered exhaust emissions and lower consumption of fossil fuels.

One piece of Beach Benz auto advice before we move on: do not put E85 into your sedan unless it has an engine designed for flex fuels. Because of the high ethanol content in E85, engines need special seals and gaskets to function properly on this fuel. Running an ordinary engine with E85 can lead to gas leaks and fires.

Diesel
Diesel engines are nothing new on California interstates, and many get great fuel economy. Diesel fuel can now be made from vegetable oil and other renewable sources. A diesel fuel made from algae will soon be on the market in Fountain Valley.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is less expensive than gasoline in Huntington Beach and burns more cleanly. Also, gasoline engines can be adapted to run on compressed natural gas, and many natural gas vehicles are already on Costa Mesa roads. You can even install a special pump in your home gas line to use to fuel your vehicle. If you are interested in converting your gasoline engine to run on CNG in Huntington Beach, ask your Beach Benz service specialist about it.

On the other hand, an engine running on natural gas is not as powerful as one running on gasoline, and it will get lower gas mileage. Also, the tank you need to store natural gas is large—it takes up nearly the entire trunk of your car. Further, refueling stations are still few and far between in some California areas, or even unavailable, in many parts of the country.

Hydrogen
Another alternative fuel that has enjoyed a lot of hype in Fountain Valley is the hydrogen cell. The natural appeal is that the only exhaust is water vapor. In other words, hydrogen represents a truly clean-burning fuel. But hydrogen vehicles won’t come into widespread use until refueling stations become widely available here in Huntington Beach and around the country.

Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles were all the rage in California some years ago. But their limitations were quickly realized by Huntington Beach car owners. These vehicles won’t come into their own until we find ways to improve their batteries. Currently, the cars have a short range before their power runs out, and can only be realistically used close to home. However, they are easy to recharge, since they can be plugged in at home, and there are many researchers working on improving the battery technology in these vehicles. They may yet be the vehicles of the future.

Hybrids
Hybrids have been one of the most successful alternative fuel vehicles here in Huntington Beach and throughout the county. A hybrid gets its name because it has both a gas or diesel engine and an electric motor.

There are two types of hybrids. The full-hybrid relies on the electric motor for power, but the gas (or diesel) engine generates power for the battery. Thus, while still consuming fossil fuels, it uses less of them than a standard automobile, and also reduces harmful pollutants. Also, it overcomes the range problem of the strictly electric vehicle.

In a mild hybrid, the electric motor assists the gas or diesel engine in powering the car. Thus, it uses more gasoline or diesel than full hybrids and has higher emissions. But mild hybrids are available in larger body models like full-size pickups and SUV’s.

A Note of Caution about Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
One last note before we leave the subject of alternative fuel vehicles. The battery in an electric or hybrid vehicle is not as tame as the one in a standard vehicle. They carry enough voltage to kill you. These are not do-it-yourself vehicles when it comes to preventive maintenance or car care. Only a trained technician should work under their hoods.

Protecting Your sedan From Theft In Huntington Beach, California

Every car in Huntington Beach, California is at risk for theft. So it’s up to us Huntington Beach car owners to make our cars a less appealing target and more of a challenge – hopefully sending potential thieves to look elsewhere.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends a layered approach to protecting vehicles:

  1. Common sense
  2. Visible and audible devices
  3. Immobilizing devices
  4. Tracking devices

Let’s review each of these. First, common sense: you would be surprised how many vehicles are stolen in California where the keys were left in the ignition with the doors unlocked. Always take your keys and lock the doors. In fact, in some places it’s against the law to leave a vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition.

And don’t leave spare keys in the car or hide them outside – because a thief will find them. Huntington Beach drivers would be wise to park in well-lit areas that have a lot of foot traffic. If possible, park near the end of a row and near a light. Back your car into a parking space or your driveway to make your car more visible to passersby and harder for a thief to work under the hood without being seen.

Huntington Beach drivers should know that it’s key to roll up their windows completely and avoid leaving their car in public lots for a long time. If you park in a lot that has an attendant, only give them the ignition key.

Keep valuables out of sight: purses, wallets, cell phones, clothes and even change are attractive “smash-and-grab” targets. And pay to have your Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, etched into your windows – it makes your car less attractive to a thief who wants to send your car to a chop shop.

There are lots of vital visible and audible devices available for Huntington Beach drivers. A steering wheel lock is highly visible and will deter some thieves. Loud alarms can alert you and others that your vehicle is being tampered with. But if your alarm does go off, be careful. Observe what’s going on; get descriptions of suspicious people and vehicles, including license plate numbers.

Now, if you catch a thief in the act, call 911 but don’t approach the person. Your safety is more important than the car.

And here’s a great one – immobilizing devices. They actually shut off your car’s electrical or fuel supply. So without a key, or knowing where the hidden switch is located, a thief can’t drive your car away.

Finally, Huntington Beach motorists can also get a tracking device that allows Huntington Beach police to track their car down and recover it quickly.

Remember, where you live, work and drive around Huntington Beach, California has a great impact on your decisions. If you’re in an area with high theft rates, you may want to spend more money on security systems. And check with your Huntington Beach, California auto insurance company to see if they offer discounts for adding any of these items.

Of course, the common sense suggestions from Beach Benz don’t cost anything and go a long way toward keeping your car safe from thieves. Take a look at the attached video auto tip from AutoNetTV.

Come see us at Beach Benz in Huntington Beach for practical advice on keeping your sedan safe.

Can Car Scent Keep You Safe On California Roads?

Here’s a travel tip that’ll I’ll bet you didn’t know, and, it might keep you safer…

The average American commuter in California spends two and a half hours daily in their car.

The government says a hundred thousand auto accidents yearly are caused by drivers who fall asleep at the wheel. (Aggressive driving is the number one traffic safety concern.)

So what does this have to do with how your car smells while you’re driving around California?

Well, which scent did you think makes drivers more alert?

Is it:

  • A. Strawberry
  • B. New Car
  • C. Pine
  • D. Warm Vanilla Breeze

It’s C. Drivers are more alert and have less fatigue with pine scent in the car, according to AroMetrics.

And, drivers were less angry with overall improved driving performance with strawberry and pine scents.

And you thought they just smelled nice.

Beach Benz
7492 Slater Ave
Huntington Beach, California 92647
714 842-9816