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

Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last With Help From The Toy Shop

A while back, the Cash for Clunkers program was all over the CA news. Cypress people could trade in their old vehicle for a new one that got better MPG and receive a government rebate.

A lot of Cypress motorists had so-called clunkers that they wanted to keep. They’re good commuters, Cypress grocery getters or toy haulers. They enjoy that fact that they’re paid off, or soon will be. They would gladly like to keep their trucks for 200,000 miles or more – as long as it’s economical to do so.

There are plenty of Cypress drivers whose vehicles are running after 150,000 or 200,000 miles. We can learn from what they’re doing to keep our own trucks on the road in CA.

The quick Cypress drivers of high-mileage cars often report a common denominator of never skipping an oil change.

Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last At The Toy ShopThat may sound a bit unsophisticated, but it’s really not. First off, oil is the life blood of your truck’s engine and it needs to be clean to properly lubricate. Skipping oil changes leads to clogged oil filters and sludge that is detrimental for your engine.

There’s another important reason why the scheduled oil change is so important for Cypress car owners. It’s simple – a The Toy Shop professional is going to be looking at your car. All of your fluid levels will be inspected and topped off so they won’t get so low that damage can be done. If there is a significant fluid loss, let’s use brake fluid as an example, your The Toy Shop technician can look for the cause of the loss and find the problem before it leads to an accident or expensive repair.

Your thoughtful The Toy Shop service advisor will also visually inspect your truck for worn belts and hoses, uneven tire wear, leaking shock absorbers and more. Problems get addressed before they lead to repairs that cost more than the car’s worth.

And your The Toy Shop advisor will be able to remind you of other important services that the factory recommends you get done. Just think of that oil change the same way as you do about going to your Cypress dentist for your six month cleaning and checkup. Don’t skip it.

Realistically, things are going to wear out as your truck gets older. On the way to 200,000 miles you’ll go through several batteries, probably a couple of alternators and water pumps, a set of shocks and likely some brake rotors.

Of course, these things cost some cash, but they are less pricey than new truck payments in Cypress. With proper service at The Toy Shop in Cypress and regular inspections, you’ll keep surprise repairs to a minimum and more cash in your wallet.

Stop It! You Need Good Brakes

Good brakes are obviously very important. If you’ve ever had your brakes go out while you’re driving around the Downey area, you’ll know how terrifying it can be. Today we’ll focus on how to tell when you have a brake problem, and how to make good repair choices.

Often, the first indication that something’s wrong with the brakes is an unusual sound. It could be a squeal, chatter or grinding sound.

Some brake pads have a little piece of metal embedded in them that will make a squeal or chirping sound when the brake pads have been worn down to the point that they need to be replaced. It’s an early warning indicator.

When you hear that sound, schedule an appointment at The Toy Shop soon.

Now a chattering sound is more urgent. That usually indicates that something is loose. It could be a brake pad or even the brake calipers. If one of those parts falls off, you could have some serious trouble stopping the vehicle. It would be a good idea to park it until you can get into the shop.

A grinding noise usually means that the brake pad is completely worn away and the metal parts of the brake are rubbing directly on the metal brake rotor. That means the rotor is being damaged and will need some work. More on that later.

Another warning sign is that your brake pedal may feel soft and spongy – or it may even feel very hard to push in. Both could mean trouble. And of course, you may get a dashboard brake warning light.

Now when it comes time to replace your brake pads, you have a choice to make. You can get the same pads that came standard on your vehicle. You can expect the same performance and durability as with the pads that came on the car from the factory.

Now you can also get a budget brake pad. Sometimes drivers insist on lower cost pads. That’s OK if the budget demands it, but you need to be aware of the trade offs. Lower grade pads are usually noisier, so you’ll have to live with more noise when you apply the brakes. They also tend to generate a lot more brake dust, you know, that black dust that accumulates on your wheels. And they probably won’t last as long either. In our opinion, that’s a lot of compromise for just a few dollars in savings.

You can also choose to buy premium brakes pads. These perform at higher specifications than the factory pads. You can expect quieter operation, less brake dust and better stopping power.

Now, getting back to the rotors. The rotors are the discs that the brake pads clamp down on to stop the vehicle. If you’ve been driving with completely worn brake pads, you’ve scratched grooves into the rotors. If the grooves aren’t too deep, the rotor can be resurfaced. A thin layer of metal is cut off the surface of the rotor to make it smooth again.

Now, if the grooves are too deep or if the rotor has already be resurfaced before, there may not be enough material to resurface and still have a rotor that’s thick enough to safely stop the vehicle. In that case, the rotor will have to be replaced.

Something that’s often overlooked is the brake fluid. Your manufacturer has a recommended schedule for evacuating the old brake fluid, cleaning the system and refilling it with fresh brake fluid. This is really important to brake performance.

So here’s the bottom line: if you suspect, inspect. If you notice any of these warning signs, have your brakes inspected. Your advisor can help you make the repair decision that’s right for you.

Your Vehicle is NOT Maintenance Free, Cypress Car Owners

A generation ago, Cypress auto owners seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle’s preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Having your truck in to your Cypress shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.

For example, almost everyone in Cypress used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the truck was in for a tune-up at The Toy Shop, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.

Today’s engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our trucks don’t experience a huge performance drop when they’re ready for some car care. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.

Modern Cypress drivers need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner’s manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, your Cypress service center can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At The Toy Shop in Cypress, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you’ll get better engine performance and MPG. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”

Modern truck engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they’re more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of important parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the truck isn’t driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your car on the road.

As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your truck engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and actually damage the truck engine parts it was designed to protect. It can actually eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this pricey damage, and it’s a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.

Timely oil changes are more critical for Cypress motorists than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to important engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.

One word of warning to anyone in Downey who purchases used automobiles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. Cypress folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don’t want to be bothered with maintenance or car care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.

Cypress auto owners can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better fuel efficiency, and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.

Fuel Saving Tip: Alignment For Your Cypress truck

Imagine you’ve left Cypress and you’re up in the arctic on a dog sled.

Your dog team is pulling straight and true. You can cover a lot of ground quickly. Now imagine what would happen if one or two of the dogs wanted to go their own way and were pulling off to the side.

That would slow you down. You would have to work harder to keep the sled going where you want it. The dogs are all working as hard as before, but you’re covering less ground for the same effort.

You’re wasting kibble.

Alignment The same is true of your truck when the wheels are out of alignment. That wheel that’s pulling to the side is dragging down the rest of the car; so you push a little harder on the gas pedal to keep up your speed. You’re wasting gas.

So have your wheel alignment checked at least once a year. It is vital to get it checked right away if you feel the car pulling to one side.

Sometimes we Cypress auto owners bump a curb or hit a pothole and knock our wheels out of alignment. An accident can take the wheels out of alignment as well.

Cypress auto owners need to make sure they’re tracking straight. You’ll get better gas mileage and your tires’ll last longer. Now, mush!

The Toy Shop
5051 Lincoln Ave.
Cypress, CA 90630
714.826.1171

Professional Auto Maintenance at The Toy Shop: Battery Testing

The simple fact is that 70% of car batteries fail within 4 years. They just need to be replaced when they are no longer able to hold a full charge.

Batteries are a big ticket item for most Cypress drivers and it’s tempting to put off buying a new one as long as possible. But a battery that cannot hold a full charge requires the alternator to work extra hard, causing it to wear out prematurely.

Your The Toy Shop tech can test your battery to see if it should be replaced. Testing is a good idea for CA drivers because a battery might still be good, but become dead because of a bad alternator or even a worn serpentine belt and tensioner.

Give us a call

The Toy Shop
714.826.1171
5051 Lincoln Ave.
Cypress, CA 90630

Cypress Road Trip Preparation

People from Cypress CA love their cars. And nothing goes with cars better than a CA road trip. Freedom from daily schedules, new sights and the open road – it’s great! But there’s nothing like car trouble to bring the fun to a grinding halt.

Now you can’t always avoid problems, but you can take steps to reduce the probability of getting sidelined on your trip.

Heading out on a CA road trip? Stop by The Toy Shop before you head out to make sure everything is in good repair.
5051 Lincoln Ave., Cypress, CA 90630
Call us at 714.826.1171

Let’s look at some of the auto maintenance related problems you might encounter on a road trip and what you might do to avoid them.

It all starts with a thorough trip inspection by your Cypress CA service professionals at The Toy Shop. Let’s talk about some of the items on the trip inspection checklist.

The most common vehicle component to fail is the tires. Of course, you can’t always avoid a road hazard that leads to a flat, but you may be able to head off some maintenance-connected tire problems.

A good tire inspection will start with looking over the condition of the tire itself. Are there signs of uneven tire wear? Are the tires properly inflated? Is the tread worn to the point that the tire should be replaced? The answers to these questions may lead to a recommendation to balance or rotate your tires. It may also be time to have an alignment service.

Your brakes should be inspected for function as well as to determine how much life is left in your brake pads. You’ll also want to know if it’s time to service your brake fluid. Over time water and contaminants make their way into your brake fluid and the system needs to be flushed, cleaned and filled with fresh fluid.

While looking under your car, your Cypress auto technician should also inspect your suspension system for worn or damaged parts. If you need new shocks or struts, you’ll really notice the difference on your trip once you have them replaced.

Now the second most common vehicle failure is the cooling system. It may be time for a coolant exchange or flush. These services remove old fluid that has become corrosive and replaces it with fresh, clean fluid that restores the effectiveness of your cooling system.

The cooling system inspection will reveal leaks and weakened hoses. Replacing worn parts, like the radiator cap or water pump may be indicated. Even though cooling system failure is fairly common, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to prevent with proper maintenance.

Another thing people often overlook their transmission service. This is very important before a road trip because transmission problems tend to take some time and money to get fixed. Not the way you want to spend your vacation.

Your technician will inspect your belts to see if they should be replaced. A failed belt is at best an inconvenience. He’ll also give your exhaust system the once over to make sure there aren’t any dangerous leaks that could harm you and your passengers.

Of course, there are the usual things as well. An oil change, engine air filter, fuel system cleaning, a tune up. If you need any of these things, get them done today at The Toy Shop – the improved fuel economy will be appreciated on your road trip.

If your heater or air conditioning isn’t working as well as you’d like, let your Cypress CA service consultant know at The Toy Shop.

Some important items that are often overlooked are power steering service, differential service and timing belt replacement. If these things don’t ring a bell, have your service consultant check to see if they’re due.

Now while you’re out seeing the sights, you’ll want to make sure you can see the sights. Replace your windshield wipers if they aren’t working well. And don’t forget your headlamps. They gradually lose their brightness and you don’t even realize it. Many people replace their lamps once or twice a year.

All the items mentioned are part of any good vehicle maintenance plan. These are things that you want to take care of anyway, but they all come into focus as you plan for your trip. They’ll always save you money in the long run and may prevent inconvenient delays on your trip. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss the world’s largest ball of string, would you?

Coolant/Antifreeze Service At The Toy Shop

Anyone that drives a car in Cypress knows that engines get hot when they run. But did you know that engines need to be cooled to keep running? Heat inside an engine can cause the metal parts to expand, which can seize up an engine and make it stop running. It can even ruin the entire engine! Good car care requires keeping your truck cooling system in good condition.

A vehicle’s cooling system circulates water and antifreeze (coolant) through the engine where it absorbs heat. It then flows to the radiator where the water and antifreeze are cooled by the air that flows over the radiator. Then it circulates back into the truck’s engine to absorb more heat.

Why shouldn’t Buena Park car owners just use water? Because water boils at temperatures that are often reached inside of an engine. Steam won’t cool your truck engine and is hard to contain within the cooling system. The antifreeze keeps the water from boiling.

So why do we call it antifreeze? Shouldn’t it be antiboil? Truth is, the antifreeze performs another critical task. Water freezes in cold CA weather. That would spell disaster for your truck’s engine. So antifreeze also keeps the water in your cooling system from freezing in all but the most extreme cold. Pretty neat stuff!

Taking care of your cooling system is part of good preventive maintenance for your truck. Downey auto owners should check coolant level often and regularly inspect your cooling system for leaks.

That is just good auto advice. Your truck’s manufacturer has maintenance requirements for draining and replacing engine coolant. Consult your owner’s manual or ask your thoughtful The Toy Shop service professional for these recommendations, as they vary widely from among auto makers.

Changing your coolant is also part of good preventive maintenance. Water is great at collecting all kinds of dissolved substances, especially when it’s hot. Water circulating through an engine picks up dirt, debris, pollutants, and other stuff. It actually becomes corrosive over time. This can damage engine parts and your radiator.

Replacing your coolant regularly keeps the truck cooling system functioning well and doesn’t allow it to sneakily become the cancer that wipes out your engine.

But don’t just slop any antifreeze into your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual or ask your The Toy Shop technician if you don’t know what is the right type of antifreeze for your vehicle. Using the wrong kind can void the warranty on your truck cooling system.

You may have noticed that different types of antifreeze are different colors. Manufacturers tint them different colors to make them harder to mix up. It’s easy to notice that you have purple fluid when you normally use green! That way, you have less chance of damaging your truck engine by using the wrong antifreeze.

One last word of warning — a little outside the area of car care. Never, ever let anyone or pets drink coolant/antifreeze – it is deathly poisonous.

Take care of your car, and take care of yourself! Just some good car care tips from The Toy Shop to keep you on the road and help your life in Cypress run more pleasantly.

Coolant Antifreeze Service In Cypress, CA

Cypress drivers may know that most automotive failures in Cypress, CA are tire related, but do you know the second most common cause for vehicle failure? Nope, it’s not teenagers. It is the coolant system. But, if you take good care of your truck coolant system, it will take good care of you.

A truck’s engine creates a lot of heat – so much heat, that if it is not properly cooled, the engine can lock up, resulting in massive damage and pricey repair bills. But when everything is working right, your truck engine operates at the proper temperature and all is well. Without antifreeze in your cooling system, the water could freeze and cause truck engine damage. This could be very costly, not to mention inconvenient.

The right mix of water and antifreeze is critical and protects the engine against damage from freezing and overheating. Antifreeze also protects the coolant system against corrosion that could cause the system to fail. The thing to remember is this: coolant system failure is very common, but it is also very easy to prevent. Your Cypress service center knows the auto maker’s recommendations, and can tell you when the coolant needs to be changed. At The Toy Shop in Cypress, we can perform a coolant system service.

Even the best antifreeze cannot completely protect the coolant system from harmful deposits forever. The anti-corrosion additives are used up over time, so the coolant must be replaced. A coolant service cleans out the system and replaces the old fluid with fresh coolant. A coolant system service at The Toy Shop is a low-cost way to protect against major engine repairs down the road. Prevention is the key for Cypress car owners. Be sure to watch out for the two main warning signs: if your temperature gauge is in the “hot” zone or if you get a message warning you to check your coolant. If you take a look under the hood, you will see the coolant overflow bottle. You can see there are lines that indicate the proper level of coolant … if your engine is cold – or if it is hot.

Cypress drivers can add water or antifreeze to that bottle themselves, but should be careful. First, you never want to open the radiator pressure cap. The steam could severely burn you. Second, try to get to The Toy Shop in Cypress immediately if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your owner’s manual. Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze, or you will damage your engine. If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with The Toy Shop or your service center where they can make necessary corrections. Fourth, not all cars use the same type of antifreeze.

Cypress drivers will need to check their auto manufacturer’s owner’s manual to make sure they use the right kind. Mixing antifreeze types or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the auto maker’s warranty on your truck cooling system. If you’re not sure, ask your thoughtful The Toy Shop technician at The Toy Shop for guidance.

Keeping Your Engine Cool In Cypress, CA

The cooling system keeps CA auto owners’s engines from overheating while they are driving around Cypress, La Palma and Buena Park. Its job is to move heat away from the engine. Let’s talk about the various components of the system and how they make this happen.

The radiator is the part most Cypress auto owners associate with the cooling system. Coolant flows through the radiator which has fine cooling fins that draw the heat out of the coolant and dissipate it into the air. To make sure there’s enough airflow over the radiator, a fan pulls air over the cooling fins even when the truck is idling.

In some trucks, the fan is powered by the serpentine belt. On others, an electric motor runs the fan. Electric fans turn on and off as needed. You may have heard the fan kick on shortly after you turn your truck off. The sensor has determined that the engine needs a little help cooling down to a safe temperature.

Cypress CA Radiator A hose connects the radiator to the water pump. The water pump pushes the water into the truck engine block. Now the engine block and cylinder heads have passages for the coolant to pass through without getting into the oil or the combustion chamber. In the automotive community, these passages are referred to as the “water jacket”.

While the coolant is passing through the water jacket, it absorbs heat from the truck engine on its way to the radiator for cooling. Between the engine and the radiator is a gatekeeper called the thermostat. The thermostat’s job is to regulate the temperature of the engine just like your home thermostat regulates the temperature in your Cypress house. It gets your engine up to the correct operating temperature and then keeps it from overheating.

When you first start the engine, it’s very cold and needs to warm up. So the thermostat blocks the flow of coolant to the radiator. As the engine warms up, the thermostat starts to let coolant flow through the system.

The final component the team at The Toy Shop wants to point out is the overflow reservoir. This bottle is designed to hold some of the coolant. It’ll have a mark that indicates whether or not you have enough coolant. This is where you should add coolant if you just need to top it off.

Caution: never open the reservoir or the radiator cap when the car’s hot. The cooling system is pressurized and opening them while it’s hot can cause hot coolant and steam to escape resulting in serious burns.

Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles around Cypress, CA. At The Toy Shop, we can do a periodic inspection of the components for harmful leaks, loose connections and weakening hoses.

The Toy Shop
5051 Lincoln Ave.
Cypress, CA 90630
714.826.1171

Your vehicle manufacturer has also specified a cooling system service interval. With a cooling system service at The Toy Shop in Cypress, the old coolant is replaced with correct clean fluid that contains the additives required to prevent corrosion. The additives are depleted over time and you need fresh fluid for adequate protection. Your radiator pressure cap should be replaced at this service as well.

Cypress Drivers Severe Service Maintenance Schedules

Since driving requirements and lifestyles differ among Cypress auto owners, truck manufacturers publish two auto maintenance schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. Which schedule should Cypress auto owners follow?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Are most of your trips less than four miles around Cypress?
Are most of your trips less than 10 miles in below-zero CA temps?
Are most of your trips off-highway in CA?
Do you drive often in dusty Downey areas?
Do you regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads around Cypress?
Do you drive in very hot or very cold CA weather?

Think about your typical week. Do you live by your nearest Cypress highway on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute to Downey or Whittier? Or, do you drive the neighborhood car pool in stop-and-go traffic on Cypress surface streets?

Let’s suppose your owner’s manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is 3,000 miles and the standard recommendation is 5,000 miles. You know that you need to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. Analyze your driving patterns and Cypress weather and road conditions to determine which end of the spectrum you’re closer to.

Why should Cypress motorists care about this? Normal condensation causes moisture accumulation in the engine oil. Short trips around Cypress or winter driving means that the engine doesn’t heat up enough for the moisture to evaporate. The water in the oil turns to harmful oil sludge that clogs up your engine and doesn’t let the oil protect it adequately. That’s why CA auto owners need to change their oil more often – to clean the sludge out before it causes problems.

Carrying heavy loads (with or without a trailer) in nice CA summer weather causes your engine and transmission to run at higher temperatures and with more stress. The fluids will break down more quickly. Additives that clean and prevent detrimental corrosion will be depleted sooner. Air pollution and dust cause fluids to get dirty faster. Ditto for filters. All of these things can lead to premature wear and eventual repairs, not to mention your gas mileage. If you want some expert advice, talk with your thoughtful The Toy Shop advisor. We can help you restore your truck to good working order and help you know the best schedule to follow.

To learn more, watch our informative AutoNetTV auto video tips at the top of this post.

The Toy Shop
714.826.1171
5051 Lincoln Ave.
Cypress, CA 90630