Beach Benz

Servicing Mercedes Benz Exclusively for over 20 years

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.

Cool Breeze: Air Conditioning Service At Beach Benz In Huntington Beach

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Most California car owners know that their vehicles need regular preventive maintenance like changing the oil and filters, rotating the tires and refilling the washer fluid. But did you know that your air conditioning system needs routine maintenance as well? Taking care of your air conditioning system can extend its life and prevent costly repair bills.

Why is it vital for Fountain Valley motorists to get routine maintenance on their air conditioning system? First, the refrigerant contains an added lubricant. As the refrigerant circulates through the air conditioning system, its parts are lubricated. This constant lubrication keeps the parts functioning well. But over time, this lubricant is used up, and without it, the parts will eventually seize up and fail.

Huntington Beach folks should understand, however, that the air conditioner will continue to pump out cool air even without the lubricant, so you won’t know the system is sick until it actually dies. So good car care includes regularly checking the refrigerant and lubricant in your sedan air conditioning system and replacing it if needed.

The second reason your air conditioning system needs preventive maintenance is that air and water can get into the system. Air, water and the contaminants they contain will reduce the efficiency of the air conditioning system and can cause corrosion of the system’s parts. Keeping the air conditioning system clean is a key practice and will extend its life and keep you from losing your cool on hot Fountain Valley days.

How often should you get a routine car air conditioner inspection? It varies from vehicle to vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation.

Here’s a good piece of auto advice for California car owners that will extend the life of their air conditioning systems: You should run your air conditioner in the winter every once in a while. This circulates the refrigerant, which lubricates the seals. That way, they won’t dry out during cold Huntington Beach weather.

Your air conditioning system doesn’t just cool the air in your sedan; it dries it out as well. So if you have trouble with a foggy windshield, flip on your air conditioning on the defrost setting. You may be surprised at how quickly it takes care of the problem. Of course, some vehicles can’t run the air conditioner and defroster at the same time; you should check your owner’s manual or with the vehicle manufacturer if you are uncertain whether this feature works in your car or not.

So, after learning about preventive maintenance for your A/C, you might now be wondering if your air conditioner is in trouble. Two early warning signs of a failing air conditioner are (1) the air just isn’t getting as cold as it used to and (2) there’s a strange noise when the air conditioner turns on. If you notice either of these symptoms in your sedan, you should bring it to Beach Benz in Huntington Beach as soon as possible.

Just some good auto advice to keep you cool in Fountain Valley and keep you on the road!

Beach Benz Tire Safety: Washington vs. Lincoln

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Welcome to the Beach Benz automotive blog. Today, let’s talk about the effect of tire tread depth on braking. When talking about stopping power, most Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa motorists tend to focus on our brakes. But our tires are where the rubber meets the road. So having good brakes isn’t enough. Safe Costa Mesa drivers need to have tires with enough traction to translate braking power into stopping power.

Beach Benz Tire Safety Washington vs. LincolnLet’s focus on stopping in wet Costa Mesa conditions. In order for a tire to have good contact with the road, it has to move the water out of the way. If it can’t move the water, the tire will actually ride on top of a thin film of water.

That’s called hydroplaning. If it’s really bad, Costa Mesa motorists can actually spin out of control – endangering themselves and the other drivers around them. At best, you won’t stop as fast.

So how does a tire move water? It has channels for water to flow through. Look at your sedan tire and you’ll see channels: channels that run around the tire and channels that flow across the tire. They’re designed to direct water away from the tire so it can contact the road better.

And the deeper the channel, the more water it can move. A brand new Beach Benz tire has very deep channels and can easily move a lot of water. As the tire wears down, the channels become shallower and can move less water. When it wears down enough, it can seriously affect your ability to stop your sedan on wet Costa Mesa roads.

So that’s why it’s so important for California drivers to replace their sedan tires when they get worn. Consumer Reports and other advocate groups call for a standard of 3/32 of an inch and they have the studies to prove it.

By comparison, you’ve probably seen the wear indicator that’s molded into tires. When tires are worn 3/32 of an inch, the tread wear bar is visible. So the recommended standard has twice the tread depth as a completely bald sedan tire.

At Beach Benz, we want our customers to know that the deeper recommended tread depth makes a big difference. Stopping distances are cut dramatically on wet Costa Mesa expressway. A safe stop from California expressway speeds with 4/32 of an inch of tread would result in a crash with worn out tires.

There’s an easy way to tell when a tire’s worn to 4/32 of an inch. Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your sedan tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Many Costa Mesa motorists have heard of this technique using a penny and Abe Lincoln’s head – the old method. That measure gives you 2/32 of an inch – half the suggested amount. Of course, sedan tires are a major purchase. Most of us in Costa Mesa want to get as many miles out of them as we can. But there’s a real safety trade-off. It’s your choice.

What

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Okay. You went to your local Huntington Beach car wash and while your sedan was under the dryer, the check engine light started flashing. Panic! What did you just do? Something is seriously wrong with the sedan! You head for the nearest Huntington Beach service station, but on the way, the check engine light stops flashing, and just glows red. Hmm. Maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem. You decide to wait until payday to take your sedan in to get serviced. In the meantime, the check engine light goes off. What? You decide the light must be faulty, or that when it comes on it doesn’t mean anything, or that it’s just in your sedan as some sort of scam to get you to pay for unnecessary costly repairs. You’re glad you didn’t take your car to the Huntington Beach repair shop and resolve to ignore that engine light in the future.

Whoa! Let’s look at what really happened. Your sedan was under an air dryer. Your air intake sensor measured too much air running through the engine. It sent its report to the engine computer, where a warning was triggered: there shouldn’t be that much airflow when the sedan engine is idling. This is a serious problem that could cause permanent engine damage. Warning! The check engine light starts flashing, letting you know you need to take immediate action to prevent that damage.

You drive out from under the dryer, and the air intake sensor sends a new message to the computer. The computer realizes that everything is normal and tells the check engine light to stop flashing. The sedan doesn’t need immediate attention; but there was a problem, and it should be checked out by your service professional. After a few days the computer senses that the problem is gone, so it turns off the warning light.

You may think this story illustrates the uselessness of a check engine light, but you should remember that a computer can’t think for itself, it can only follow its programming. It doesn’t know the difference between a car wash air dryer and a serious malfunction in your sedan engine. That doesn’t make it useless. It just means you have to be the smart one.

Being smart doesn’t mean ignoring your sedan check engine light. It lets you know when something is wrong, and you can prevent a lot of damage to your vehicle by paying proper attention to it.

Your engine computer is constantly collecting data about what is going on inside your sedan engine. It knows what parameters are normal, and when a reading may indicate a problem. It uses the check engine light to let you know when something isn’t right. It then stores a code in its memory that a service professional can retrieve that indicates which reading was abnormal.

The service advisor uses this code as a starting place to find out what’s wrong with your sedan. It’s like going to the doctor with a fever. The fever is the reading that is abnormal — your temperature is too high — but the doctor still has to figure out what’s causing it. It’s probably an infection, but what kind? Sinus infection? Appendicitis? Flu? The problems and their solutions are quite different. But a fever also tells a doctor what’s NOT wrong with you. Fevers don’t accompany stress headaches, ulcers or arthritis, so there’s no sense in testing for those conditions.

Your Huntington Beach technician responds to a trouble code in your sedan’s computer in the same way. The code doesn’t say exactly what’s wrong, but it does give the technician a good indication of where to start looking —and where he/she doesn’t need to look.

Now, you wouldn’t consider diagnosing yourself with a serious medical problem; good medical advice — unless you’re a doctor. So you shouldn’t consider trying to diagnose your vehicle’s troubles by yourself; good auto advice — unless you’re a trained mechanic.

There are cheap scanners available on the market and some Huntington Beach auto parts stores offer to read trouble codes from your sedan engine computer for you, but these are really not good alternatives to taking your vehicle to a qualified service center such as Beach Benz in Huntington Beach. Your engine’s computer has both short-term and long-term memory, and there are some codes that are specific to a particular make of vehicle. Cheap scanners can’t read an engine computer’s long-term memory nor can they interpret manufacturer – specific codes. That’s why manager Mike Nott at Beach Benz spends a lot of money on high-end diagnostic tools.

It’s as if you had a choice between a doctor who had a tongue depressor and a thermometer and one who had all the latest medical diagnostic equipment on hand. Honestly, which would you choose?

Getting your codes read at your Fountain Valley auto parts store isn’t really a money-saver, either, unless you’re a trained mechanic. You’ll end up with a code that tells you a symptom. What usually happens next is that the Fountain Valley parts store sells you something that directly relates to the symptom. It may or may not fix the problem. It’s actually cheaper to just go to the Beach Benz in Huntington Beach and get things fixed right the first time.

Remember, a fever can indicate a sinus infection or appendicitis. An antibiotic may be okay for that sinus infection, but it won’t help your appendicitis. Is it really wise to wait around to see if the antibiotic helps when you might have appendicitis?

Part of good car care is knowing where you can get a problem fixed, and fixed right. Preventive maintenance goes a long way to keeping you out of the repair shop, but eventually, we will all have a problem that needs fixing. Let’s do it right the first time at Beach Benz. In the long run, it’s actually the less pricey choice.