Newport Autotech Center

Serving Costa Mesa and all of Orange County

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

On Board Diagnostics For Costa Mesa Motorists

Some Costa Mesa car owners wonder why Newport Autotech Center and other Costa Mesa auto repair shops charge a fee for diagnostic services.

Think about it: When you hire a local Irvine HVAC technician to check out a problem with your air conditioner you’ll probably pay a diagnostic fee. When you visit your Huntington Beach doctor for a health problem, you pay the physician to diagnose the ailment and of course for the tests that go along with it.

On Board Diagnostics For Costa Mesa Motorists

So receiving a diagnostic charge at Newport Autotech Center for a tricky automotive problem shouldn’t be a surprise. In the Irvine area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your sedan brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy California interstate, you pull off the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you’re having an intermittent problem with your sedan engine, however, Newport Autotech Center diagnosis may be much more involved.

Much of the Irvine auto owners’s confusion comes when the problem involves the check engine light. The check engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.

There’s a common misconception among Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, and Garden Grove drivers that the trouble code tells the Newport Autotech Center technician exactly what’s wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge – because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.

In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that’s out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the check engine light.

The sedan computer’s trouble code just tells the Newport Autotech Center technician what engine parameter is out of range – not what’s causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that’s causing the malfunction.

There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for Newport Autotech Center customers. The Newport Autotech Center service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.

Irvine service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These vital databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.

Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming, and difficult. Of course Newport Autotech Center wants to figure out what’s wrong with your sedan and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

What Costa Mesa Automotive Service Consumers Should Know

There are some things Costa Mesa auto owners should know about Costa Mesa car service and repair. First and foremost, Newport Autotech Center cares about you and your family’s safety. And we really appreciate your business. Newport Autotech Center in Costa Mesa wants to build a trusting relationship that becomes the foundation for a mutually beneficial experience for years to come.

Building on that foundation, there are some things that would help you understand the auto service and repair business better. First, it can be really hard to fix cars. The days of shade tree mechanics are long gone. The majority of automotive systems are computerized. It takes a lot of training and very expensive equipment to diagnose and repair modern vehicles. The efficient service specialists that work for Newport Autotech Center need extensive computer training – not just how to run the diagnostic systems, but also searching for the right parts, networking with other service advisors to help them with a difficult problem and pulling together a job order that makes sure that each step of the process is addressed.

The threshold for getting started as a technician gets higher all the time in California and there is a huge commitment to on-going training every year. This training takes time and money. It contributes to business overhead. Average Costa Mesa or Fountain Valley auto owners may not realize the business and environmental regulations Newport Autotech Center must comply with. Of course that costs money too. Like any California business, overhead is a big factor.

When you go into your favorite Irvine restaurant you don’t value the meal by what the food would cost at the grocery store. The restaurant has rent, wages, insurance, taxes, utilities, professional fees, equipment, supplies – you get the picture. The restaurant has to charge enough to not only pay for the ingredients, but for all these other things as well while making enough profit to remain in business. If you value the meal and are satisfied with your dining experience, you’ll come back and tell your friends.

It’s the same for Newport Autotech Center. The value of its service is not the cost of the parts they replace, but in your satisfaction with the results. If they deliver a good product at a fair price, Costa Mesa customers are happy to see them succeed as a California automotive business.

Contact Newport Autotech Center to learn more about our extensive auto service training.
You can find us at:
728 West 16th Street
Costa Mesa, California 92627
Or call us at (949) 264-3030

At Newport Autotech Center, we love to see our Costa Mesa customers whenever they come in, but we would much rather see them three or four times a year for routine maintenance than once a year on a tow truck. We want to work together with you to avoid breakdowns. Tell your Irvine area friends and family to come in for their critical scheduled maintenance too. That lowers our marketing costs and helps keep its labor rates down. That’s good for everyone in Costa Mesa.

Newport Autotech Center appreciates this great review of automotive service from AutoNetTV.

Arrive Alive In Costa Mesa

We’ve all seen California auto owners do crazy things while driving to or from Irvine. A guy shaving in the rear-view mirror, a woman applying makeup, people talking on their phones, texting or drinking from an enormous coffee mug. It’s a wonder we even dare drive on California roads.

The truth is that all of us Costa Mesa motorists are distracted when we drive. Unfortunately, traffic, road construction and other dangerous external factors are beyond our control. The distractions inside our car, however, are things we can often control.

Here’s some things that’ll give you more control in your car, and help keep your attention on the roads around Irvine, California.

  • Costa Mesa drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player.
  • Costa Mesa car owners who are 20 to 29 are more distracted by passengers in the car, including small children.
  • Those over age 65 tend to be more distracted by objects or events that are outside of the vehicle.

Other factors like fatigue, stress and lack of sleep make it harder to pay attention to driving – no matter what age we are. It is always better to pull over and take a quick nap than risk falling asleep at the wheel. Costa Mesa motorists are also distracted by thinking about relationships, family issues, money and bills. So what can Costa Mesa drivers do to manage these detrimental distractions? Well, the first thing is to eliminate as many as we can.

When you get in your car, make sure you’re belted in; that the seats, steering wheel and mirrors are adjusted; and your radio or CD player is ready.

Secure any loose objects in the car that can fall on the floor and interfere with your driving.

If you have a drink, make sure it’s spill-proof and put in a cup holder. Costa Mesa motorists’ pets should also be contained.

California motorists with kids in the car should make sure they’re clipped in their seat belts or safety seats. You may want to give them some distractions to help keep them quiet and sitting in their seats. Don’t get involved in their arguments while you’re driving. Pull over if you need to find a toy or break up a fight.

If you eat while driving, choose simple finger foods that aren’t messy.

Learning your car’s controls before you drive is another important way to improve your safety. Learn how to work the radio by touch. Controls located on the steering wheel can help Costa Mesa car owners keep their eyes on the road.  The same goes for heating and air conditioning controls.

If you have to use a cell phone, a hands-free system is best. But remember, the biggest cell phone distraction isn’t the phone itself – it’s the conversation. Keep conversations brief and light, or pull over if you can. Your key reaction time is much slower when talking and driving, so allow more space between you and the car ahead of you. Know your local Irvine laws – it may be illegal to be on the phone. Never text while driving! This has already caused many deaths and injuries in California over the last few years.

And if you really think you have to shave, change your clothes or put on make-up while driving in Costa Mesa – you’re wrong. Just start getting ready earlier so you have enough time to finish those things before you drive around Costa Mesa.

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

It’s essential to remember that driving is probably the most dangerous thing you’ll do all day – so don’t make it any worse. Use these tips to keep you and your loved ones safer behind the wheel in Costa Mesa.

Questions To Ask Your Costa Mesa Service Advisor

We find that a lot of Costa Mesa service and repair at Newport Autotech Center are a little tentative when they talk with their automotive advisors. They want to ask questions, but don’t want to be embarrassed or to seem pushy. Cars are very complicated and there’s more to know about them than most of us have the time to learn. Maybe it’s because cars have become so much more reliable that the average person just doesn’t need to know as much to keep their vehicle on the road.

You know, your local hospital has a Patient’s Bill of Rights that they post throughout the hospital. We think our Costa Mesa automotive service customers also have a right to ask any question they need to understand what is wrong with their car and what it will take to fix it. They need to feel free to ask the cost and benefits of recommended services. And they certainly have a right to understand the financial end of the transaction.

It’s all about the communication. It’s a little harder when you’re trying to find the right service center in Costa Mesa. But once you’ve developed a relationship, the communication should come easier.

What are some of the barriers to communication? Well, let’s go back to the medical example. When your doctor’s explaining something to you, it’s something that she understands very well and is very familiar with. So she may use jargon you don’t understand or that you don’t have the education and training that’s foundational to understanding what she’s trying to explain.

So you fall behind and get frustrated.

It can be the same with your Costa Mesa automotive service advisors. Most of them are very busy trying to service and fix cars to get their customers back on the road. So, just ask when you feel you need more information.

Financial related issues seem to be most frustrating to customers. If you’re not sure, ask what the payment policies are. For example, there’s a big difference between giving your car a quick once over and doing a thorough inspection. Diagnosing a problem may take quite a while. Make sure you know what’s done as a courtesy and what has a fee. Remember, you still have to pay for the office visit even if the doctor says you only have a cold.

Communication is a two way street. If you have some real budget concerns, ask your Costa Mesa service advisor what he can do. He can give you priorities and options. He can tell you what needs to be taken care of right away for safety or financial reasons. Then you can work out a plan for when to get the rest done. He can also help you with options on the parts. The preference is to always use a high-quality part with a reputation for reliability. But if money is real tight, he might be able to find a rebuilt part or a used part. He should tell you the difference in the guarantee for the part so you can make a good decision.

Ask about warranties for parts and labor. Be sure to get all the paperwork you need to make a possible claim in the future. Your service center and its technicians stand behind their work and want you to understand precisely what that means.

Be sure to ask for and keep a detailed explanation of all the work that’s done on your vehicle. These records will help you keep track of service, warranties and document the good care your vehicle has received when the time comes to sell it.

Call Newport Autotech Center to make an appointment.
728 West 16th Street
Costa Mesa, California 92627
(949) 264-3030

Your Well Trained Technician At Newport Autotech Center

When your sedan has a problem, or just needs some routine service, you might get a little nervous. Your car’s so important to your life in Costa Mesa, you need to back on the road as soon as possible – with the problem fixed right the first time.

If you’ve ever checked into some of the technician training Newport Autotech Center professionals receive, you may be surprised at how much specialized knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. For example: Today there are four cylinder engines that generate more power than the 1980s-era V-8’s. I mean a new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket’s Ferrari in a race to sixty.

Your Well Trained Technician At Newport Autotech Center

Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up – even with steep Fountain Valley gas prices. They are also amazingly reliable: Kudos to the automotive engineers at the leading manufacturers. But the advances come at the price of simplicity. The modern cars Fountain Valley motorists drive around California freeways are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin – not to mention the electronics.

Some sedans have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle operations as well. Fountain Valley motorists take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks. It’s a real challenge for Costa Mesa Newport Autotech Center technicians to keep up, but we work hard to stay ahead of the technology. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the technicians and the Fountain Valley service centers as well.

Newport Autotech Center technicians receive training through a combination of formal classroom training, training provided at Newport Autotech Center by parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses.

In addition to the expensive training, there’s the financial commitment for Newport Autotech Center to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools.

There are many independent certifications available at Newport Autotech Center all the way up to Master Technician. The ability to repair your sedan requires a strong combination of training and resources. No one can know everything, so Fountain Valley auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line communities that can help them when they run into a difficult problem.

It’s like those medical diagnosis shows on TV. Here are the symptoms – what’s the diagnosis and treatment? Diagnosis is every bit as much an art as a science. At Newport Autotech Center, we want everything to be simple, straightforward and inexpensive – but sometimes it just isn’t.

The next time you bring us your sedan, don’t worry. You’re in good hands at Newport Autotech Center.

Costa Mesa Customer Detective Work

One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician at Newport Autotech Center in Costa Mesa California is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed.

Cars are made up of a bunch of complex systems. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. So it’s challenging to track down the actual cause of the problem. And it can be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money to get to the bottom of a problem. If it’s not something obvious, it’s easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.

Let us introduce you to something we’ll call Customer Detective Work – that is helping your Costa Mesa California technician find clues to what’s wrong.

We start with the detective basics: What, Where and When. Play along with me. You come in to Newport Autotech Center and your car is making a funny sound.

  • Q: Where’s the sound?
  • A: Around the right front wheel.
  • Q: What kind of sound?
  • A: Kind of a clunk, clunk sound.
  • Q: When do you hear the sound?
  • A: When I turn and accelerate.
  • Q: Right and left? Forwards and back?…

Do you see where we’re going? You’re gathering additional information to help your Costa Mesa California technician know where to start. Based on your car and the tech’s experience, he’ll know where to look and can start with the obvious suspects.

You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says “making a funny noise”.

When you think you need to bring a vehicle in, make some notes about the problem. Rather than just saying “it’s leaking”, tell the tech the color of the fluid, and approximately where under the car you see the puddle.

Things like ‘the car is stalling or sputtering’ are often very hard to diagnose because they’re intermittent. They may not happen every time you drive and usually aren’t happening when you actually bring the car in. So, it is a big help for you to describe what’s happening in as much detail as possible.

Your Costa Mesa California technician at Newport Autotech Center will need to be able to duplicate the problem if possible so he needs to know details, like ‘it stalls after it’s been driven for about 20 minutes and I go over 50 miles an hour’.

If the tech can experience the problem personally, he’s better able to make a diagnosis and repair. And, then test to see if the repair solved the problem.

On Board Diagnostics For Your sedan

Make an appointment with Newport Autotech Center to have your on board diagnostics analyzed.
728 West 16th Street
Costa Mesa, California 92627
(949) 264-3030

Today we’re going to talk about on-board diagnostics and the questions we hear from folks around Costa Mesa California who need answers about diagnostic services. They want to know what diagnostics are, what’s involved and what the benefits are. They really want to understand the value of diagnostic scans by a trained technician in Costa Mesa California.

These are valid concerns. If you don’t understand something it’s really hard to know its value. Let’s start with some history.

Since 1996, all cars and light trucks in Costa Mesa California have been required to use a standardized diagnostic system to help repair technicians determine what’s wrong with your vehicle. The diagnostic system works with the vehicle’s Engine Control Module – the computer that controls many engine functions.

The computer monitors dozens of components and processes. Depending on what the sensors read, the computer will make adjustments to compensate for conditions and minor problems. When there is a condition that it can’t adjust for, the computer will turn on the check engine light.

It is also called the ‘service engine soon’ light on some vehicles. The warning light signals you to get into your Costa Mesa California service center so that the trouble code can be read and the problem can be fixed. Your service center will have a scan tool and powerful software that will help the technician diagnose the problem.

If you’ve searched for check engine light on the internet, you may have seen that you can buy an inexpensive scanner or go to an auto parts store to have the trouble code read to tell you exactly what’s wrong.

That’s a common myth. The code itself doesn’t tell you what’s broken. It starts you looking in the right place. It tells you what engine parameter is out of range – but it won’t tell you what’s wrong or how to fix it.

Let’s say you think your daughter has a fever. You take her temperature and it reads one 102 degrees. You’ve confirmed a fever, but you don’t know what’s causing it. Is it a 24 hour flu, an infection, appendicitis or leukemia? A fever is a symptom of all of these medical problems, but it takes a skilled physician’s examination and additional diagnostic tests to find out what is actually causing the fever.

An example of a trouble code could be: P0133, which reads ‘Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response’. This means that the front oxygen sensor has a slow response time to changes in the air-fuel mix. If that’s all you knew about cars, you would think your oxygen sensor was broken and would replace it. Now, it could be the oxygen sensor – but it could also be a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, exhaust leak, electrical problem, an intake manifold leak or any of a number of other things.

You can imagine a lot of oxygen sensors have been replaced because of that code. So the on-board diagnostics point the way to where the trouble lies, but it takes some skill and high-tech equipment to actually pinpoint the problem. The cheap scan tools that a consumer can buy do not have the ability to retrieve some of the operating history that’s stored in the engine control computer. That history’s very helpful in diagnosing the problem. Service centers like Newport Autotech Center invest a lot of money in high-end diagnostic tools to help solve the mystery and get you back on the road as soon as possible without replacing a lot of parts that don’t need replacing.

So, on-board diagnostics provide a powerful starting place for a highly-trained, well-equipped technician to get to the bottom of your problem. When your check engine light comes on, get it checked at Newport Autotech Center. If the light burns steady – don’t panic. Get in to Newport Autotech Center soon to have the engine scanned. A flashing check engine light means that there is a severe engine problem. Get in as soon as you can – waiting too long can lead to very expensive damage.

And try to not drive at high speed or tow or haul heavy loads with a flashing check engine light.

Ethics of Automotive Repair in Costa Mesa

We’re going to be talking about the ethics of automotive repair. It seems like news outlets really like hit-and-run reporting; they hit everyone from groceries stores to retail to physicians. And the Costa Mesa automotive service and repair industry hasn’t been given a pass either.

Unfortunately, every profession in Costa Mesa has some bad actors that hurt the reputation of everyone else. On the automotive side, industry associations and professional licensing organizations are very committed to high ethical standards.

Yet some people remain uncomfortable with Costa Mesa automotive service and repair. It may start with the fact that our vehicles are a big investment and we rely on them for so much in our lives. That alone guarantees our attention. And how well we understand the recommendations really impacts our comfort level.

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. It can be like that with your Costa Mesa service advisor 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 Costa Mesa automotive advisor’s 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 technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet 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 at Newport Autotech Center says that you have a cracked rotor and need to replace it.

If you tried to get him to simply put new pads on, he would say that if you didn’t want to replace the rotor; Newport Autotech Center 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 and needed to be repaired – not just have a band-aid slapped on them.

Now, looking at something not so serious, the technician 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, the technician 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.