Preparing for Teen Drivers

Well, we made it through another summer. Say goodbye to the easy, carefree days of kids around the house all the time, complaining that they are bored. They eat all of the food, hog all of the WiFi and generate an inordinate amount of trash. School is starting and those little freeloaders are ready to head back to classes, you have cherished enough of the summer at this point and are ready to send the kiddos back into the world. When the kids are little, as a parent you become a low rent taxi service. Think California will consider lowering the driving age to five or six? On second thought, bad idea, but half of the fourth-grade boys we know are better at driving a virtual sports car than we ever will be. Soon, however, the time will come when you send your teenager off in their own vehicle. Which can be even scarier than ushering your seven-year-old to the bus stop when she has no clue what state we are currently in. At Miramar Automotive and Transmission we value safe driving and keeping vehicles safe above all others. We particularly want to keep our teenage drivers from harm as they gain experience out on the roadways.

Teen Drivers
Teenage drivers are not the best, to say the least, but as parents we have the responsibility to train our future drivers in the proper rules of the road. Of course there are many fine driving schools in Mira Mesa that can teach your wannabe road warrior the ropes of navigating these mean streets. In fact, there are many advantages to sending your son or daughter to a professional state certified driver’s education provider.

Driver’s Education
Drivers who want to obtain their learners permit must enroll in a state sponsored drivers education program. That may be through the school system, private instruction firm or a state sponsored setting. Regardless, the required 25 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours of driving training must be completed before a learners permit will be issued. Not only is drivers education the law, but students gain valuable skills during the training process. Safety, driving fundamentals and general driving skills will be taught along with instilling a sense of responsibility for their place on the road. When you send your teen to drivers education, there is a greater chance that they will listen to the training, because it is not dad or mom doing the teaching. (Parents of teenagers know what we are talking about.)

Picking A Vehicle
The next step after obtaining the driver’s license is to search for a vehicle. First of all, depending on your budget, you will need to decide if you are going to purchase new or used. Of course a new vehicle is preferable as many come with warranties and can be much more predictable than a used vehicle. Of course new cars are very expensive and could possibly lose resale value the moment you pull off the lot. In today’s used car market there are many fine options for those looking for a first car. These days vehicles are so much more reliable than they were a few decades ago and with consumer protection laws the norm, getting a solid used vehicle is easier than ever. When looking for a first car, it is important to consider the future because chances are, this vehicle will need to carry them for quite a few years. Keep a few key points in mind when narrowing down your search.

Low Mileage – Low mileage does not always mean that the vehicle will be a good investment. The way cars are built today, it is not uncommon to find a perfectly good vehicle with over 100,000 miles on it. The lifespan of a high mileage vehicle is really dependent on how far it will be driven every year. Ultimately, however, a low mileage vehicle is the best choice for a new driver as they may have less mechanical issues.

Safe – Ultimately any vehicle that you buy, particularly for your child, needs to be safe. The safety of the vehicle must be first and foremost when searching for a used rig. Many laws are in place to ensure that all safety equipment is included when the car changes hands. Things like seatbelts, horn and headlights are all fully functioning and in good condition.

Don’t Rush It
When looking for a used car, don’t feel the need to rush the process. If a sales person starts to pressure you into something you can’t afford or does not fit with your lifestyle, it is alright to walk away. Car buying should be fun and not full of stress and pressure. If you do happen to find a used vehicle that will fit your needs, Miramar Automotive and Transmission offers a comprehensive pre-purchase inspection service. It is just one one more way we aim to keep you and your family safe on the road. Contact us today for more information about our auto repair services in Mira Mesa.

Have you ever gotten in your car and it won’t start? The headlights are dim and the engine will not turn over?

Tags: alternator, Auto Service, battery light, car repair, charging, charging system, dead battery, dim lights
Chances are your battery is dead. But why? There are 4 main causes of battery drain:

1) An Old Battery – The average lifespan of a battery is 4 years. They simply wear out and need to be replaced.
2) Operator Error – The headlights, dome light or other component has been left on. Many new cars have alerts for the headlights but not other components.
3) Parasitic Drain – Although some parasitic drain is normal to keep your clock and radio settings, etc., if there is an electrical problem, it can deplete your battery.
4) Charging System Failure – The alternator, by way of electrical wiring, charges your battery and powers certain electrical systems. A failure in the electrical wiring or a defective alternator diode can cause your battery to drain.

There can be signs that your battery or charging system might be failing:
* Dim headlights or dashboard lights
* Dashboard warning light is illuminated – battery symbol, ALT or GEN
* Grinding or whining noise
* Burnt rubber odor
* Vehicle not starting promptly, or not starting at all

If your vehicle exhibits any of these symptoms, please give us a call or use our convenient online form to schedule an appointment so that we can perform the necessary diagnosis and repair to keep you from being stranded!

Take Care of Your Vehicle This Summer

Its hot.

It’s not even mid-July yet and for most of us, we are looking forward to the cooler temps to return. Summer driving can bring out the worst in a vehicle and with the relatively mild climate of Mira Mesa, some tend to neglect a few things that can be important when we are hit with those incredibly hot days. At Miramar Automotive and Transmission we perform routine auto repairs as well as those little preventative maintenance tasks that can mean the difference between a broken down vehicle and a smooth trip. If you are unsure about your preventative maintenance schedule, many times it is located in the owner’s manual of your vehicle. In the event your vehicle does not have an owners manual or you would rather let the professionals handle it, we have access to all of the required preventative maintenance schedule for most vehicles. Now, you might be thinking how is a preventative maintenance schedule going to prevent me from breaking down on my next road trip? Well unfortunately, no amount of preventative service will guarantee that you will not break down, but having your recommended maintenance performed will exponentially increase the odds in your favor.

Oil and Filter in Hot Weather
As far as oil goes, you can run the same weight and brand in your car here year round. In fact many manufacturers are recommending that you only use a specific type of oil year round. If you are thinking of taking a road trip, or simply do a lot of driving, you need to change your oil and filter at the recommended intervals. This depends entirely on the type of oil you use, as synthetic lasts longer and does not break down as fast as conventional oil. Of course, when you factor in extreme heat and challenging driving, your oil will not last as long as in cooler temps. When in doubt change your oil, as the old saying goes – oil is cheaper than a new engine.

Belts and Hoses
How many times have you seen a car with white smoke billowing from the engine compartment and a growing green puddle underneath? That is what can happen if your belt snaps or your radiator hoses fail. When your belt breaks your engine will cease pumping coolant through your engine, which will overheat in no time on a hot day. When your radiator hose breaks, there are generally two, the coolant is expelled all over the engine compartment, creating the tell tale billows of smoke. It is critical to have your belts and hoses inspected at each oil change to prevent this sort of inconvenience on the side of the freeway.

Let Miramar Automotive and Transmission Service Your Vehicle!
If you cannot remember the last time you had an oil change and comprehensive vehicle inspection it is time to bring your car or truck into us for service. We will perform a complete service with an eye for the overall condition of the vehicle. We are ASE Certified mechanics and can spot problems that normal quick oil change places could miss. We treat our customers like family and we would love to keep you on the road this summer. Contact us for an auto service appointment today!