Posted by & filed under Tires.

Expert Auto Advice for San Diego - Selecting TiresQuestion:
I need new tires. How do I know which tires to get?

Mira Mesa Automotive Answer:
Let’s look at selecting new tires in light of three factors: Function, Fit, and Value.

Function: This gets at what your needs are for new tires: CA weather conditions, San Diego terrain, San Diego temperatures, etc.

Most new family vehicles in CA come with all-season tires. They can be used all year long and do pretty well in most CA road conditions – but they aren’t ideal at the extremes.

Winter tires have a more aggressive tread for handling snow and ice on highways and they have a rubber compound that helps them have better traction as San Diego temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Definitely better stopping and road-holding characteristics for San Diego car owners than all-season tires in winter weather. Dedicated summer tires enhance warm CA weather performance driving for San Diego car owners.

If you drive off-road around san diego, there is a spectrum of tires from all-terrain (a good mix of highway and off-road capability) to dedicated off-road tires.

The key is to communicate with your Mira Mesa Automotive tire professional and reflect on the function you need to get the type of tire, load rating, speed rating and wear rating you need.

Fit: The easiest thing is to settle upon tires in the same size that were installed by the auto manufacturer. If you want a different size wheel or tire profile, be sure to work with your Mira Mesa Automotive service professional so you can make sure that your new wheels and tires fit properly and don’t rub in bumps or turns. It’s also critical to make sure that important safety systems like anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control aren’t adversely affected by the new tire size (the computer may need to be recalibrated to make necessary important adjustments).

Value: Note, I didn’t say price. The tire that meets all your needs AND has the warranty and tread life you expect will often not be the least costly option – but it may well return the best value for your tire dollar.

Mira Mesa Automotive tire professionals help San Diego auto owners with this vital automotive decision.

Give us a call

Posted by & filed under Wheel Alignment.

San Diego motorists – today we’re talking about suspension integrity. Your skeleton provides the structure to hold up your weight. Your joints cushion you as you walk and allow you to change direction. Your auto’s suspension system is similar: It bears the weight of your vehicle, absorbs bumps in the road and controls the body as you steer.

Like the bones in your body, auto suspension parts are connected by joints that allow all the components to move as they should. Over time and miles, the joints start to wear and your suspension gets loose and doesn’t operate as precisely as before, reducing proper tire contact with the road. An accident, pothole or hitting a curb or rock can also damage or break auto suspension components.

If you’ve ever hurt your foot, you know you’ve had to walk differently to keep it from hurting as bad. Do that long enough and your ankle, knee, hip and even your back will start to hurt from the strain of not moving normally. The same thing happens in your auto when one joint or part is worn or damaged: it stresses everything else and causes premature wear to the whole system.

Signs of suspension problems include uneven tire wear,vibration, rattles or clunks when you hit a bump or turn on a windy San Diego road, or the vehicle pulls to one side.

If you suspect a suspension problem, ask your friendly Mira Mesa Automotive technician for a diagnostic examination of your suspension system. They can also check your alignment while they’re at it. Taking care of a worn or damaged suspension component early, will head off future damage and pricey repairs down the road.

Give us a call 858.271.6766

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

We’re going to be talking about the ethics of automotive repair in San Diego. Unfortunately, every profession has some bad actors that hurt the reputation of everyone else. It’s no different in the San Diego area.

In the automotive world, San Diego industry associations and CA professional licensing organizations are very committed to high ethical standards.

Yet some people are still uncomfortable with automotive service and repair in San Diego.

If we understand what’s recommended and the benefits of taking care of the work – and the pitfalls of putting it off – we’ll have more trust in the recommendation. So communication is key. It’s like going to the doctor. If she’s using medical jargon and takes a lot of basic medical knowledge for granted, we have a hard time following her train of thought. We understand It can be like that with your service advisor at Mira Mesa Automotive, too. He’s so familiar with all things automotive, he may forget you don’t know a PCV from an EGT.

If you don’t understand what your doctor’s talking about: ask some questions. If you don’t understand what your San Diego automotive advisor at Mira Mesa Automotive is talking about: ask some questions.

Let’s go back to those ethical standards. When we hear a repair recommendation, we always ask ourselves, “Is this really necessary?” Well, here’s the industry standard:

If a San Diego auto technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required, it must meet one of the following criteria:

1. The part no longer performs its intended purpose;
2. The part does not meet a design specification;
3. The part is missing.

For example, it you take your car in for a grinding noise when you step on the brakes, you may just think you need new brake pads. After the inspection, the technician says that you have a cracked rotor and need to replace it. If you tried to get him to just put new pads on, he would say that if you didn’t want to replace the rotor, he would ethically have to refuse the repair. To just put pads on a cracked rotor would have been very wrong. The brakes could’ve failed at anytime: they needed to be repaired – not just have a band-aid slapped on them.

Now, looking at something not so serious, Mira Mesa Automotive may suggest repair or replacement if:

1. The part is close to the end of its useful life – just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon;
2. To address a customer need or request – like for better ride or increased performance;
3. To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer;
4. Based on the technician’s informed experience.

Of course, Mira Mesa Automotive has the burden of making ethical recommendations and properly educating their customers. For the customer, if you are uncomfortable with a recommendation, ask some questions. More information is always a good thing.

Posted by & filed under Wheel Alignment.

When all of a vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard in San Diego or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday CA driving can cause your auto wheels to be out of alignment. This can lead to expensive premature tire and suspension wear.

Here are some alignment basics from Mira Mesa Automotive:
The first angle is called toe: do the wheels point in towards each other or away from each other at the front of the tire.
The next angle is called camber: do the wheels tip in or out at the top.
And finally, there is castor. Castor measures the angle where the front axles attach to the vehicle.

The ideal alignment for your auto was designed by its engineers. Mira Mesa Automotive alignment service starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension – so see if anything’s bent, broken or worn out. Then the Mira Mesa Automotive technician will look at tire condition. From there, the auto is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels are then aligned to manufacturer’s specifications.

Your owner’s manual probably has a recommendation for how often your auto alignment should be checked – usually every couple of years. If you suspect an alignment problem with your auto, get it checked at Mira Mesa Automotive before you suffer expensive tire or suspension damage.

Posted by & filed under Car Maintenance.

Transfer Case Service Question:
I was told I need to have my transfer case serviced. What is that?

Mira Mesa Automotive Answer:
On a four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicle, power needs to be transferred to both the front and rear axles. The transfer case is the mechanism that makes that happen. There are many drivetrain configurations out there, so we’ll just talk in generalities.

Trucks and larger SUV’s are often primarily rear-wheel-drive. When the driver (or the vehicle’s computer) selects 4WD, the transfer case also sends power to the front axle. The transfer case may also contain an additional gear set for off-roading.

The transfer case is lubricated and cooled by special gear oil. Over time, the oil gets contaminated and needs to be changed, just like your engine oil and transmission fluid. Your car maker will have a schedule and your friendly Mira Mesa Automotive service specialist can help.

Now many vehicles around San Diego have all-wheel-drive (AWD). AWD vehicles are often based on a front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive vehicle with the addition of a center differential that sends power to the rear wheels when needed. This center differential, like the transfer case, has a vital service schedule for replacing contaminated lubricant. The work of transfer cases and differentials is demanding and proper maintenance should not be neglected by San Diego car owners.

Knowing the service schedule for your transfer case and differentials will help keep your auto running well and avoid premature wear.

Posted by & filed under Brakes, Car Maintenance.

Disc Brake Maintenance At Mira Mesa Automotive In San DiegoHello San Diego drivers. Today, we’re talking about disc brakes. Your vehicle weighs several thousand pounds and it takes a lot of force to bring it and your passengers to a safe stop – so everything needs to be in good working order.

The wheel hub keeps your wheel attached to the auto. The brake disc – or rotor – is attached to the hub and spins with the wheel as you drive. Your brake pads clamp onto the rotor to slow the wheel. The brake caliper straddles the rotor and squeezes the rotor to slow it down. The calipers contain brake pads which rub on the rotor when you step on the brakes. The brake piston causes the calipers to squeeze and release as you use your brakes.

Your auto brake pads start to wear the first time you step on the brakes. Eventually the pads are worn out and need to be replaced. If you don’t replace brake pads when they’re worn out, the metal parts of the brake will grind against the rotor and carve grooves into the surface.

If a scored rotor isn’t too bad, your friendly San Diego technician can put the rotor on a lathe and smooth it out. If the grooves are too deep, or if the rotor is warped or cracked, you need to replace it. At Mira Mesa Automotive, we have been servicing disc brakes for San Diego motorists for 23 years.

Servicing disc brakes at Mira Mesa Automotive require special attention to the mechanical sliding and mounting portions of the system. Your Mira Mesa Automotive service supplier knows the special needs. Sometimes brake pistons can stick and must be replaced. Typically it’s cheaper to replace the entire caliper at San Diego auto service centers than to rebuild the piston.

So there you have it – a brief Mira Mesa Automotive guide to how your disc brakes work. San Diego auto owners who replace their brake pads on time will not only keep their auto stopping safely, but could save money on unnecessary brake repair down the road.

Give us a call

Mira Mesa Automotive
9513 Ste.D Black Mt Rd
San Diego, CA 92126

Posted by & filed under Tires.

There’s more to winter tires than San Diego drivers may think. Those days of clunky, tractor-like snow tires are long gone in CA, replaced by high-tech winter tires with special rubber compounds and advanced tread designs.

In San Diego winter temperatures, the rubber in summer tires becomes hard and inflexible and they don’t grip the road as well. In contrast, winter tires use special rubber compounds that are more pliable when the thermometer drops below 45 degrees in CA giving you better road contact; so even if you don’t get much snow, winter tires will really add to your cold weather safety in San Diego.

Winter tires may also use a micro-pore rubber compound that increases surface area so they can bite into ice and packed snow on San Diego roads and interstates.

The tread on winter tires needs to clear out water, snow and slush as the tire turns so it’s ready to take another bite when it comes back in contact with the road. But summer tires can actually be dangerous because they get packed with snow, making them very slick, and your vehicle hard to control. Winter tires have a lot of thin slits in the tread called sipes which help the tire grab ice and packed snow, providing extra traction.

Many new vehicles in san diego come with all-season tires which are great for a wide range of san diego weather and road conditions, but don’t provide top performance in CA snow and ice. For example winter tires provide 25 to 50% more traction than all-season tires. And all-season tires take up to 42% longer to stop than winter tires in slick Poway conditions.

For all these reasons, the tire experts at Mira Mesa Automotive in San Diego recommend you put winter tires on all four wheels because it makes sense to have equal traction and handling at all four corners of your vehicle. Uneven traction could result in loss of control for san diego drivers.

Your vehicle may be equipped with stability control, anti-lock brakes and traction control – all important safety systems for CA drivers. But in order to do their job you still need good traction in La Jolla. Winter tires help you start, stop and corner when things get cold and slippery in San Diego.

So when San Diego temperatures drop below 45 degrees, be sure you have a set of four winter tires for maximum performance in snow, ice and wet San Diego roads. Your friendly Mira Mesa Automotive tire professional can help you find the right winter tire for your vehicle and driving needs in San Diego.

Posted by & filed under Wheel Alignment.

Wheel Alignment Mira MesaGo Straight With A Wheel Alignment at Mira Mesa Automotive in San Diego

Ever been in your local San Diego grocery store and had one of those shopping carts – you know the one with a messed up wheel that wobbles like crazy. Your cart shakes and pulls to one side – if you’re not careful it’s clean up on aisle three.

Wheel alignment on your auto is a lot like that. One or more of your wheels can get out of alignment; you feel a vibration in your steering wheel – which may also be off-center. Your auto might pull to one side and your tires start to wear unevenly – you could chew through a tire in a few months.

Sometimes wheels get knocked out of alignment by something big like hitting a curb on a bumpy San Diego road or slamming into a pothole. But everyday driving takes a toll and autos lose alignment over time. That’s why manufacturers recommend an alignment check at regular intervals. At Mira Mesa Automotive, we offer a full menu of quality auto repair and maintenance services including wheel alignment.

In your alignment inspection, your friendly Mira Mesa Automotive technician will check your tires and your suspension system for damage. He’ll test your alignment to see if it’s within vehicle manufacturers specifications. If not, he’ll make necessary adjustments to get your auto wheels all pointing the same direction again.

If your auto pulls to one side, you feel a vibration in the steering wheel or your tires seem to be wearing abnormally, talk with your friendly Mira Mesa Automotive service advisor. You may need to put an alignment inspection at Mira Mesa Automotive into your shopping cart.

Posted by & filed under Car Maintenance.

How To Save Gas In San DiegoHigh gas prices have hit most of our budgets in the San Diego area. If increased fuel costs are consuming a bigger portion of your budget, you may be tempted to skimp in some other areas – like scheduled maintenance at Mira Mesa Automotive in San Diego.

According to news reports and industry studies, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten personal vehicles on the road have at least one maintenance or repair item that hasn’t been done. Some of these items are serious safety concerns. Others are just more likely to affect the cost of operating your vehicle in San Diego.

In this area, we can take a lesson from professional vehicle owners: fleet owners and operators like trucking companies and delivery services. Because their livelihood depends on it, they have gotten scheduled maintenance down to a science. And the last thing they skimp on is regular maintenance.

Why is that? Well, for one thing they know that routine maintenance prevents expensive repairs and costly breakdowns. They also know that a well-maintained vehicle uses less fuel.  For them, even a small decrease in fuel economy may mean not being profitable.

Here are some Mira Mesa Automotive services that could potentially save you some gas in San Diego: Fuel system cleaning, transmission service, differential service, wheel alignment, oil change, tune-up.

Ring any bells? Is there at least one thing on the list that hasn’t been done for your auto?

Let’s suppose you chose to spend one hundred and fifty dollars and get caught up on some of these services and that they combine to improve your fuel economy by fifteen percent. What would that mean to your pocketbook?

Well, the average personal vehicle is driven about twelve thousand miles a year. If you get twenty miles per gallon in your auto, over the course of one year you would pay for the hundred and fifty dollars’ worth of service and save an additional hundred and sixty five dollars if gas is at three dollars and fifty cents. If gas is four fifty, you would save two hundred and fifty-five dollars. And you’d rack up savings of three hundred and forty five dollars with gas at five and a half bucks.

Gas Price   $3.50   $4.50   $5.50

20 MPG        165      265       345

From this you can see that the more fuel costs, the more it pays to take care of your auto. Some of us drive trucks for work or recreation – or want a large SUV for family needs. A fifteen percent improvement in fuel economy can generate huge savings – six hundred and sixty dollars a year if gas is four fifty a gallon. Take a look at this table to see where your savings could lie.

Gas Price   $3.50   $4.50    $5.50

10 MPG       480       660        840
20 MPG       165       255        345
30 MPG         60       120        180

So catch up on those services you’ve been neglecting. Talk with your friendly Mira Mesa Automotive advisor about your auto’s needs. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you’ll save a lot of money on fuel this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

What Customers Like About UsAt Mira Mesa Automotive in San Diego, a big part of the service we provide for our customers is education. We want you to feel confident with your service decisions. And we’re always open to questions. Even though we try to be proactive in our education, we sometimes get busy fixing cars and need a reminder. Please, just ask.

We’ve found our San Diego customers like the service reminders. This is especially true of our returning customers. They’ve grown to trust that our recommendations are based on the auto manufacturer’s published maintenance schedules and that we’re not just pulling them out of the air.

We know that you live a busy life in San Diego with a lot more to think about than wondering if it’s time to replace your PCV valve. Part of our process when you come in to Mira Mesa Automotive is checking the manufacturer’s schedule to make sure we don’t overlook an important service for your auto.

We hope you appreciate your courtesy inspection when you come in to Mira Mesa Automotive for service. If we find something unexpected, it’s good to know and if we don’t find anything wrong, you get a little peace of mind.

You know, customer satisfaction is very important to us at Mira Mesa Automotive. We want to run a friendly and professional San Diego automotive service operation. If we do, you’ll keep coming back and recommend us to your friends.