The Toy Shop

Serving Toyota, Lexus, and Scion owners in Cypress, Buena Park, La Palma, and all of Orange County

The Toy Shop - Serving Toyota, Lexus, and Scion owners in Cypress, Buena Park, La Palma, and all of Orange County

Make Your Battery Last

Today’s report from The Toy Shop is on car batteries, why they die and what we can do to lengthen their life. Most of us have had a dead battery at one time or another. In fact, it would be very unusual if you hadn’t. You may be surprised to learn that only 30 percent of Cypress vehicle batteries last for 48 months.

Now that’s an average. How long a battery lasts depends on many factors. You may not know that one of the biggest factors is the temperature where you live and drive around Cypress. You might suppose that cold weather was harder on batteries because it takes more power to crank a cold engine, but the opposite is actually true.

For more information on your battery, please visit us:
The Toy Shop
5051 Lincoln Ave.
Cypress, CA 90630
714.826.1171

Batteries in very cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months as opposed to 30 months in very warm climates. The reason is simple: batteries are chemically more active when they’re hot than when they’re cold.

A car battery will actually start to discharge on its own within 24 hours in hot weather. It takes several days in cold weather. When batteries are left too long in a state of partial discharge, the discharged portion of the battery plates actually, for the lack of a better word, ‘die’. Recharging the battery will not restore the dead part of the battery plate.

One of the big problems for the way most of us drive in the Cypress area, is that our batteries are often partially discharged. The biggest job the battery does is to start the car. It takes some time for the alternator to recharge the battery after starting. If you’re driving short distances, especially if there are several starts and stops, your battery may not fully recharge.

Another issue is that vehicles are coming equipped with more and more electricity hungry accessories like navigation systems, DVD players, CD and MP3 players, heated seats, heated steering wheels and so on. And we often plug in cell phones, computers and other gadgets. Combine that with short trips and it’s no wonder that our batteries are partially discharged.

Experts say we can extend our battery life by topping off the charge periodically using a good quality battery charger. You may’ve heard these chargers referred to as ‘trickle chargers’. They’re attached to the battery and plugged into a wall outlet to slowly bring the battery up to full charge.

Now there’s some science involved with how fast a battery should be recharged. If you buy a cheap manual charger, you’ll have to tend it. Frankly a learning curve on how to do it right and requires much attention. A computer controlled charger – or smart charger – monitors the process and determines the appropriate rate of charge. And it even stops charging when it’s fully charged. It costs more than the manual charger, but the automatic model is worth it.

The suggestion is to charge once a month in warm weather and once every three months in cold weather.

Another thing to avoid is deeply discharging your battery. Something like running the headlights and stereo with the engine turned off. That’ll take months off the battery life every time you do it.

Now, as we discussed, heat is hard on a battery. A dirty, greasy battery holds more heat. You can wipe off excess dirt with a paper towel or ask your service advisor at The Toy Shop to clean it for you. The Toy Shop can even test your battery and tell you if it’s time to replace it.

Batteries are fairly expensive, so taking a few steps to make them last longer is well worth it. Of course, the battery will eventually need to be replaced. Always make sure you get a new battery that meets the factory specifications for your vehicle. If you feel you need more battery capacity than what came with your vehicle, talk with your service advisor at The Toy Shop about appropriate upgrades.

If you have a dead battery, be careful to inspect it before you jump start it. If the case is bulging, cracked or leaking, do not jump start it. Damaged batteries can explode or catch fire. And deeply discharged batteries can freeze. Do not jump start a frozen battery.

Questions To Ask Your Cypress Service Advisor

We find that a lot of Cypress service and repair at The Toy Shop 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 Cypress 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 Cypress. 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 Cypress 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 Cypress 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 The Toy Shop to make an appointment.
5051 Lincoln Ave.
Cypress, CA 90630
714.826.1171

Check Your Shocks and Struts at The Toy Shop

Today we’re talking to Cypress car owners about shocks and struts. They’re so easy for CA folks to forget about because they last so long and wear out so slowly. But your shocks are really responsible for keeping your tires on the road – so they’re very .

Without shocks, your wheels would be bouncing over bumps and lifting in corners. The shocks push the tire down to the road to maximize traction. Good shocks equal good ride quality and safe handling for Cypress auto owners.

Visit The Toy Shop to have your shocks and struts inspected by a professional service professional. You can find us at 5051 Lincoln Ave., Cypress, CA 90630
Or give us a call at 714.826.1171 to make an appointment.

There’s a difference between shocks and springs. Springs support the weight of the vehicle, keeping it suspended up off the axles. The shocks moderate the rebound motion as wheels hit bumps. Now a strut combines a shock and a coil spring in one compact unit.

When your shocks are worn out you may notice degraded handling as you drive around our Cypress streets. Your vehicle feels squirmy around corners and floaty over bumps. Cypress drivers may notice the rear end squatting when they accelerate or the front end diving when you brake. Your car might even be sagging at one corner. 

Uneven tire wear can also be a a key sign of worn shocks for Cypress auto owners. Of course, if your shocks are leaking or have a big dent, they need to be replaced. Talk to your thoughtful The Toy Shop service professional.

Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation for when to replace the shocks and struts on your truck. It’s usually between thirty and fifty thousand miles. Of course, if you tow a lot, regularly carry heavy loads or do a lot of driving on bumpy Cypress roads, your shocks might wear out faster.

If those Downey area driving conditions apply to you, you can get special shocks that are better suited to your driving.

The shocks that come from the factory are designed for the way most consumers are expected to drive that particular vehicle. If you have different needs for your driving around Cypress, CA, you can get premium shocks that improve performance handling, off-road abilities or towing comfort. Your Cypress, CA service specialist at The Toy Shop can help you determine your needs and then give you some options.

It’s best to replace all four shocks at the same time. That way you’ll have even, predictable handling at all four corners. Anything less could be harmful.

Suspension Service At The Toy Shop In Cypress

Suspension systems function effectively for many years and tens of thousands of miles. Eventually, however, truck suspension components do wear out, but how long that takes depends a lot on how you drive around Cypress and Buena Park.

As you can imagine, if most of your driving is on smooth CA highways, your shock absorbers will last a lot longer than if you do most of your driving on bumpy Cypress roads or haul heavy loads. In addition to just wearing out, truck suspension components can be damaged in an accident or by a hard impact – like a pothole, hitting a curb or a rock in the road. Because the life span of shocks can vary so widely, truck auto manufacturers recommend periodic inspections.

Suspension Service At The Toy ShopDuring an inspection at The Toy Shop in Cypress, your thoughtful automotive service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts.

Here’s a quick rundown of suspension system components:

First there are the springs which hold the weight of your truck. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are obviously critical heavy duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort.

You’ve probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your truck dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you’ve stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it’s definitely time to replace them at The Toy Shop.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit The Toy Shop for a a key suspension inspection. Same if you’ve been in an accident that involved one of your wheels. If your truck suspension actually fails, it could lead to a serious accident, so don’t put it off.

When you replace your shocks, it’s usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. That’ll give you more even handling. Talk with your thoughtful The Toy Shop service professional because you don’t want a big difference between the performance of your shocks from wheel to wheel, and replacing all may be the safest bet.

There are different grades of shocks and struts. You always want to use a replacement shock or strut that equals the one that came as original equipment when your truck was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of Buena Park people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.

For example, if you want increased handling performance, your thoughtful The Toy Shop advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut specially designed for improved handling. If you haul heavy loads or trailers in Cypress, we can recommend some heavy duty shock absorbers.

Charge It In Cypress For Extended Battery Life

Here’s an interesting statistic for our motorists in Cypress, CA: Only thirty percent of car batteries make it to forty-eight months. And the life expectancy varies by where you live. It ranges from fifty-one months in extremely cold areas to just thirty months in extremely hot climates.

Why is that? It turns out that it’s our modern cars with all their electric accessories that are to blame. Things like, GPS, DVDs, and entertainment computers are keeping truck batteries from maintaining a full charge. The longer a battery goes with a low charge, the sooner it’ll die.

It’s clear that you Cypress car owners need to recharge your batteries. This is the job of the alternator. The problem comes when the car’s demand for electricity is high and we are driving in stop and go conditions or short trips around Cypress or Buena Park. The alternator just can’t keep up.

The result is shortened battery life. So what can we Cypress car owners do to improve our battery’s health?

We need to keep the battery as close to a full charge as possible. That can be hard because sitting for just twenty-four hours in hot weather between charges can be too long. When the weather’s cold in Cypress, sitting for several days will cause discharge.

So some highway driving between Cypress or Downey will help keep a full charge if the battery has not been deeply depleted. Car batteries are not designed to be run down really low, or deep cycled, as it’s called. So using your headlights or other power accessories when the car is off can deeply deplete your battery. Using the alternator to recharge from a deeply depleted state is also very harmful to your battery because it charges too fast. In fact, on average, your battery would only last for ten recharges like that.

If you do find yourself with a dead battery or very low battery, use a good quality battery charger to slowly bring the battery up to full charge. Follow the instructions on the charger or talk to your thoughtful The Toy Shop service specialist.

Because our batteries are so often at less than a full charge, the experts at The Toy Shop suggest that we use a battery charger from time to time to keep the charge up. They recommend once a month during hot weather and once every three months during colder times.

Now, a key word on safety for Cypress drivers. Batteries contain sulfuric acid that can severely burn your skin and could blind you. If you find yourself with a dead battery, carefully inspect it before you jump start it. If the case is bulging, cracked or leaking, do not jump start it. Damaged batteries can explode or catch fire. Deeply discharged batteries can freeze. Do not jump start a frozen battery.

At The Toy Shop, we provide quality automotive service including air conditioning service, cooling system service and chassis lubrication.