Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Lead-acid batteries have an average service life of roughly three to five years depending on the climate while some other batteries may last a few years longer, both are prone to failure as the temperature dips.  The only way to spot a weak battery is by testing it.

How old is the battery in your vehicle?  When was it last tested?  Don't be caught with a dead battery, contact The Auto Analyst, your one stop auto repair facility, today to schedule a battery test.  Please call (530) 621-4591 or schedule online at

Thursday, December 7, 2017


There are three major reasons to replace a cabin air filter in the Winter:

  1. Increased particulate Emissions - as cars idle on cold winter mornings, the exhaust can pump out damaging emissions that are harmful to drivers' respiratory systems.  The most damaging component of tailpipe emissions are particulates.  Vehicle emission particulates range in size from 2 microns to 10 microns in diameter, and can aggravate the lungs when inhaled.  The one thing that can stop exhaust particulates from reaching vehicle occupants is a cabin air filter.
  2. Defroster performance - In the winter, clogged cabin air filter can restrict defroster performance, making it harder to see out of the windshield.  If a cabin air filter is clogged, it will create a restriction that will decrease the amount of hot air the blower can deliver to the windshield, which diminishes visibility and adds time that it takes to defrost the window.
  3. Summer and Fall can be brutal on cabin air filters - Following months of battling heavy pollen, dust, leaves, bugs and other debris, winter is the perfect time to give a your vehicle a fresh cabin air filter.
When was the last time your vehicle's cabin air filter changed?  Give us a call and we can check our records and if needed get you an appointment scheduled, (530) 621-4591.

The Auto Analyst, your local one stop auto repair shop.  Visit our website to schedule an appointment today.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


The last few months we have had many clients come in for State Brake and Lamp inspections because their insurance has totaled their vehicle after being in an accident.  Lately, even the smallest of fender benders vehicles are being totaled.  The insurance companies give the owners a buy back option and what looks like a "great deal".  Once you buy back your vehicle you will need to register it as "salvaged".  In order to do this you must have a smog inspection, state brake inspection, and a state lamp inspection.  In order to pass the state brake and lamp inspections your vehicle MUST pass 100% and most don't.  We have had many upset clients because their vehicle has failed for one reason or another.  I just want to remind everyone that we, The Auto Analyst, DO NOT make the laws!!  When we become certified to perform these inspections we are required to follow the testing procedures that have been determined by the State of California.  I urge all of you who have been given the option of buying back your totaled vehicle to do a little research BEFORE opting to take the deal.

If you have failed any of the tests, before pointing the finger of blame at us write or call the Bureau of Automotive Repair to voice your concerns.  Remember we did not make the laws we have to follow them or pay the extensive fines.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


We are always asked if it's really necessary to perform a coolant flush.  So I want to educate you on exactly what the cooling system does.  Engine coolant, some may know it a antifreeze, runs through your engine's cooling system.  The water pump moves the fluid from the radiator to the engine and back again.  The primary job of the coolant is to transfer excess heat from the engine to the radiator.  The radiator's job is to allow cooler air to bring down the temperature of the coolant.  Pure water is the best fluid for transferring heat, however at 190 degrees Fahrenheit, water is extremely corrosive to the inside of your engine.  For this reason it's mixed 50/50 with antifreeze, or coolant which contains anti-corrosion additives.  If coolant is not mixed with water, your engine can run hotter than normal.  Coolant also has anti-cavitation additives to prevent cavitation around the water pump impeller.

The interesting thing about these chemical additives is that they wear out over time, much the way prescription drugs lose their potency and effectiveness over time, hence the discard date on pill containers.  We want to flush coolant before the anti-corrosion additives lose their effectiveness.

Another consideration is that the current the engine starter uses returns to the battery negative terminal by running from the starter through the block to where the big black cable is attached, and then back to the battery negative terminal.  This process can build up a slight charge in the engine coolant over a long period of time, resulting in a condition called electrolysis.  Electrolysis will cause metal to come off the inside of your engine and be deposited in the radiator and heater core, which explains why we sometimes find that a failed radiator we take out is significantly heavier than the new one we install.  The same holds true for heater cores, which can be very difficult to access and replace.

So the answer to the coolant flush questions is a definite YES.  We want to flush out the coolant and replace it with new before it is visibly bad, due to additive depletion and the possibility of electrolysis.  The usual time frame is two years or 30,000 miles for standard coolant, however some cars have extended life coolant that can go longer.  The bottom line is that flushing and keeping the coolant fresh is always less expensive than repairing a heater core or radiator, head gasket or engine rebuild/replacement.

Don't wait until it's too late, flush your vehicle's cooling system today.  Give The Auto Analyst, your one stop auto repair shop, a call today at (530) 621-4591 or visit our website at to schedule an appointment.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Driving in the first rain of the season can be downright dangerous.  Why you ask?  Rain mixes with oil from motor vehicles and oil from new asphalt.  The result is a slipper roadway.  And only if it rains hard enough and long enough, does the rain wash off the oil and the slippery conditions are reduced.  the rain also makes it difficult to see.

Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination when it is rainy outside.  Never rush when it's raining heavily: accidents are even more likely when weather conditions are poor.

Be more cautious with braking.  When you're driving in a downpour, you simply cannot brake late the way you can in ideal weather conditions.  The roads are slippery, which means you could slide more if you brake too quickly.  There's also a chance that you could get water in your brakes, which will cause them to lose their stopping power.  You want to avoid slamming on your brakes - when it's raining, you should brake with less force.  So be sure to keep plenty of distance between you and the car in front of you to avoid any of these situations.

Remember it is a law that you must have your headlights on when using your windshield wipers.  However, contrary to what you may think, using your high-beam headlights will actually make things worse: the light from the beams will reflect back at you off the water in the air, actually making it harder for you to see.

Do not use cruise control.  While you may think having your car travel at a set speed when it's raining is a good idea, cruise control can actually become problematic when it's raining.  If your car hydroplanes while you have your cruise control set, your car can actually accelerate - which is not something you want to happen when you are hydroplaning.  Having your foot away from the pedals can also be hazardous when you are driving in torrential rain.

Make sure your wipers and all lights are in good working condition before the rain starts.  Also, now is a good time to make sure your tires do not need replacing.  If you have any questions regarding your vehicle's readiness for the rainy season please call The Auto Analyst, your one stop auto repair shop at (530) 621-4591 or visit our website at  Your safety is our #1 concern!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


A drive cycle is a special test drive that duplicates the scenario of a person starting their car and making a short freeway trip, as if the person was driving to work.  While the drive cycle test is going, the engine computer runs little tests to see if the emissions system is working properly.  If during the test the computer senses a problem it almost always triggers a Check Engine or Service Engine Soon Light.  This signals that an emission system problem and fault code has been recorded in the powertrain control module (PCM). The problem indicated by the faulty code must now be accurately diagnosed and repaired.

Once the problem has been corrected and the fault code cleared out of the system the computer will run a series of self tests to determine whether or not the repair actually corrected the problem and if the various emissions systems are running correctly.  Once the computer sees that there are no problems then each monitor will be cleared.

This process was designed to prevent a vehicle from slipping through an emissions test with a known problem.  Until 1996, a common tactic was to turn off the Check Engine Light by clearing the code just before an emissions test, without performing the proper repair.  The drive cycle and emissions readiness monitors have, for the most part, stopped this unethical tactic.

Still have questions about emissions readiness monitors?  Contact The Auto Analyst, your one stop auto repair facility, at (530) 621-4591 or visit our website at

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


The question of how long will my alternator last has come up recently and I wanted to take a little time to explain what exactly the alternator does and what affects the longevity.

The alternator is an important car part that recharges the battery using power from the engine.  The alternator keeps the battery from losing its charge and eventually dying, because when the battery dies, all the electrical features included on your vehicle go along with it.

We ask a lot from our auto parts, especially our vehicle's electrical system.  It wasn't that long ago when an alternator only had to power headlights, the radio and a few other accessories.  But now, our cars come complete with GPS navigation system, electric seat heaters and even DVD players.  It's easy to see how alternators and batteries have to handle a much heavier load these days.

Factors Affecting Alternator Longevity

As mentioned earlier, alternators have a tough job.  Every year, cars are built with more and more complex electrical system and devices.  The alternator is the car part responsible for supplying the power to the battery that keeps them all running.  Starting the car and using the radio, the on-board navigation system, the heated seats, power mirrors and windows and any other electrical equipment will decrease the alternator's longevity.

The action that generates electricity as a rotor spinning past coils inside the alternator.  That rotor is spun on a needle bearing, an auto part which can break due to excessive wear or dirt and grime that can build up inside.  In addition, the diodes inside the voltage regulator can fail after time.  Heat from the engine also puts an extra strain on the part, decreasing its car part longevity.

In other words, an alternator is an auto part that cannot last forever.  Since there are so many factors that can affect its life, it's hard to say exactly how long an alternator can actually last.  It depends on the car, the engine, the conditions in which it's used, how much electrical equipment it's regularly operating and so on.

If you have any questions regarding this article please give The Auto Analyst, your one stop auto repair shop, a call today at (530) 621-4591 or visit our "Service Assistant" page on our website