Newport Autotech Center

Serving Costa Mesa and all of Orange County

Newport Autotech Center - Serving Costa Mesa and all of Orange County

Considering an Alternative Fuel Vehicle In Irvine?

There is a clear and vocal demand in Costa Mesa 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 Irvine area roads today, and many more being developed. Yet each of these vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages. Costa Mesa car owners should learn what these advantages and disadvantages are before running out and purchasing one of these alternative fuel vehicles at your nearest Irvine dealership.

Irvine motorists 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 fuel economy as well: these vehicles may help save our environment here in Costa Mesa, 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 Irvine 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 Irvine, 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 Costa Mesa motorists’ 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 Newport Autotech Center 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 efficiency. 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 Irvine.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is less expensive than gasoline in Costa Mesa and burns more cleanly. Also, gasoline engines can be adapted to run on compressed natural gas, and many natural gas vehicles are already on Garden Grove 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 Costa Mesa, ask your Newport Autotech Center tech 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 fuel efficiency. 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 Irvine 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 Costa Mesa and around the country.

Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles were all the rage in California some years ago. But their limitations were quickly realized by Costa Mesa drivers. 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 Costa Mesa 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 Costa Mesa, California

Every car in Costa Mesa, California is at risk for theft. So it’s up to us Costa Mesa auto 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. Costa Mesa 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.

Costa Mesa auto owners should know that it’s important 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 Costa Mesa car owners. 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, Costa Mesa car owners can also get a tracking device that allows Costa Mesa police to track their car down and recover it quickly.

Remember, where you live, work and drive around Costa Mesa, 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 Costa Mesa, California auto insurance company to see if they offer discounts for adding any of these items.

Of course, the common sense suggestions from Newport Autotech Center 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 Newport Autotech Center in Costa Mesa for practical advice on keeping your sedan safe.

Are There Blind Spots In Costa Mesa California?


All Costa Mesa car owners have blind spots – and no, I’m not talking about the fact that you really don’t sing like Adele. I mean the areas of the road that you can’t see when you’re driving around Costa Mesa.

First let’s talk about our own blinds spots, and then we can talk about others…

To begin, we can greatly reduce blind spots by properly adjusting our mirrors to give the widest coverage possible. Make the adjustments in your sedan before you start to drive.

First, Costa Mesa motorists should adjust their rear view mirrors to give the best possible view directly to the rear of their sedan. Irvine folks don’t need it to get a better view of either side of the car, the kids in the back seat or their dazzling smile. It’s pretty straightforward, the rear view mirror should reflect the rear.

Next, lean your head until it almost touches the driver’s side window. Adjust your side mirror so that you can just barely see the side of your car. Now, lean your head to the middle of the car and adjust the outside mirror so that you can barely see the right side of the car.

When Costa Mesa auto owners adjust their mirrors this way, they’ll have maximum coverage. Of course driving is a dynamic process – things change every second on Irvine roads and busy highways. So it’s wise to take a quick look to the side when passing to make sure that another sedan hasn’t moved into an area you couldn’t see in your mirrors.

Depending on the kind of vehicle you drive (sedan?), you may still have some blind spots. All vehicles have an area behind them that’s blind when backing up. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. A pick-up or SUV can hide a small child – an RV, bus or tractor-trailer can hide an entire vehicle. So be careful out there on our Irvine streets and in your driveway at your Costa Mesa home!

As you drive around the Irvine area, avoid staying in other auto owners’ blind spots. You can’t count on them to be watching their mirrors and looking out for you.

Let’s talk about safely sharing our California roads with heavy trucks and buses. In crashes involving a truck and car, the driver of the car is to blame for about 40 percent of the accidents. But 78 percent of the fatalities are with the car. The laws of physics are against the smaller vehicle, so it is important for Costa Mesa drivers to take extra precautions around trucks and buses.

Heavy vehicles have huge blind spots: to the rear, on both sides and up front. They also can’t maneuver like a car. They take twice as long to stop and need twice as much space as you do in your sedan or other type of car. You need to keep wide margins when driving around one of these big rigs on Irvine area interstates.

Here are some tips for passing a heavy vehicle in the Irvine area:

Avoid the blind spots. If you can’t see the Costa Mesa motorists’s face in one of his mirrors or in a window, he cannot see you!

Don’t follow too close. If you can’t see one of the truck’s mirrors, you’re too close.

Make sure there is plenty of room to pass. Trucks are long and take time to get around. If you’re on one of our local Costa Mesa, California two-lane highways, wait for a passing zone.

Don’t linger when passing. Because the blind spots are so big on the sides, you want to get through them quickly. If you can’t pass quickly, drop back.

Pass on the left whenever possible. A trucks’ blind spot is much larger on the right.

Be attentive and wear your seat belt while driving anywhere around Costa Mesa, even for short drives. Don’t be aggressive when driving around trucks. Because of their size, they appear to be going slower than they really are. Cutting it short around a truck could be disastrous.

Use your turn signals when starting to pass. Once you can see the full truck in your rear view mirror, it’s safe to signal and move over. It’s key not to cut it short or slow quickly when you pull in front of a truck.

Be careful passing a truck at an intersection in Costa Mesa. Trucks need to turn wide to maneuver through Costa Mesa streets. Squeezing between a truck and the curb could put your car in your Costa Mesa body shop or Newport Autotech Center. Look for the truck’s turn signals.

The team of automotive professionals at Newport Autotech Center want you to watch those blind spots – but feel free to sing in the shower all you want.

Newport Autotech Center
We’re on 728 West 16th Street in Costa Mesa, California (92627)
Call us to make an appointment at (949) 264-3030.

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.

Newport Autotech Center
728 West 16th Street
Costa Mesa, California 92627
(949) 264-3030

What To Do In Case Of An Accident in Irvine

Screeching tires, crunching metal – it’s an accident! If you’ve ever been in a car accident in Irvine, even a minor one, you know how upsetting it can be. It’s hard to think straight and know what to do.

Let’s review what you should do in case of an accident:

When an accident occurs, you should always stop. Leaving the scene of an accident in Costa Mesa is considered a crime – even if it’s not your fault. And hit and run penalties are fairly severe, possibly resulting in steep fines, loss of your California driver’s license or even jail time.

Your jurisdiction may require that you try to help someone who is injured by calling for help or performing first aid if you are able. Warn other Fountain Valley and Garden Grove motorists by putting out flares, using your flashers or lifting your hood. Call Irvine emergency services as soon as possible. Tell the operator if medical or fire help is needed.

Always file a Costa Mesa police report. It’s tempting to skip this if everything seems to be ok. But without a police report, the other guy can say whatever he wants about the accident later, and you’ll not have an objective report to help defend yourself. Discuss the accident only with the police. Emotions are strong after an accident and we naturally want to talk about it – don’t. Never admit fault or guilt to anyone including the police officer. Sometimes we may feel at fault, but in the eyes of the law, the other guy is responsible.

Truthfully give the officer the facts: such as “I was going thirty miles an hour” not “I wasn’t speeding”. Remember, anything you say to the officer or anyone else can be used against you.

Also get the officer’s name and ID number and ask where you can get a copy of the accident report.

Get the facts on the driver and owner of the other vehicle:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number and expiration
  • Insurance information

Also take down a description of the other Costa Mesa vehicle, license plate and vehicle identification number. Most California auto insurance companies don’t record license plate numbers, so the VIN number is the best way to track the vehicle.

Ask witnesses, including passengers, to wait for the police. If they can’t wait, ask for contact information and request that they write a brief description of what they saw. If someone refuses to leave their name, write down their license plate number so the police can track them down later if necessary. Always call your insurance agent or your insurance company. Call or see a physician if you think you may have been injured. For vehicle repairs, call Newport Autotech Center at (949) 264-3030

Contact Newport Autotech Center to learn more about what do do in case of an auto accident.
You can find us at:
728 West 16th Street
Costa Mesa, California 92627
Or call us at (949) 264-3030

Newport Autotech Center and AutoNetTV hope that you never have to use this information and wish you happy Costa Mesa travels.