Safe Travel Tips for Holiday Driving

Happy Holidays From Everyone at Standard Auto Care in Sacramento. This and every season, we want you to be safe throughout your journeys. That’s because we truly care about you. In fact, you are our highest priority.

Everyone at Standard Auto Care works hard to ensure your experience with us is hassle-free. Rather than trying to upsell you, we’ll give you an honest assessment of your vehicle’s condition and the relative urgency of any needed auto repair. That way you can make informed decisions based on your specific circumstances. At Standard Auto Care we’ve earned a reputation for building long-term relationships based on integrity, honesty, and trust. Here’s a short video to help you better understand why we’re the best auto repair shop in the Sacramento area:

It’s with your safety in mind that we offer these safe driving tips for holiday travel:

  • Plan Ahead: Have your vehicle thoroughly inspected by the ASE-Certified auto mechanics at Standard Auto Care so you’ll know your vehicle is ready.
  • Know Where You’re Going: Be sure you know where you’re going and how to get there.
  • Pack an Emergency Kit: You never know when you’ll get stuck in heavy traffic or snow. Include:
    • Flares
    • Jumper cables
    • Gloves
    • Ice Scrapers
    • Games for the kids
    • High protein snacks
    • Blankets
    • Extra cell phone chargers
    • Drinks
  • Lights: Ensure your lights, blinker, and flashers are working and turn on your lights in rainy or snowy weather.
  • Follow the Rules: Drive slowly and obey the traffic rules.
  • Drive on the Holiday: Try to drive on the holiday as there is less traffic.    

If you’re not certain your car, truck, or SUV is road-ready, bring it to us at Standard Auto Care in Sacramento. We’ll make sure it’s running smoothly and safely. We are open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, and you can schedule an appointment with us online or over the phone.

Prepare Your Vehicle For Ski Season

It’s November, and hopefully, ski season is just around the corner. Whether you’re headed for Tahoe or just up the road to Mt. Shasta, be sure your vehicle is as ready as you are to hit the slopes. Standard Auto Care in Sacramento can help you winterize your car for those long weekend trips.

Call us at 916 924-8040 before you head out, or if you live south of us, stop by on your way. We’ll check your antifreeze and other fluids as well as your belts and hoses. We’ll also check your tires to be sure they have tread deep enough for the snow and are properly inflated. Under-or over-inflated tires can take you and your vehicle ice skating when you least expect it.    

Ski season is often snow driving season for beginners, so be extra careful if you’re new to snowy, icy conditions. You’ll want to watch out for other drivers, pedestrians, and animals, too. Before you head out, make sure you pack an emergency winter supply box for your car. You never know when how long you be stuck in traffic on those long icy roads. Be sure to include:

  • Flashlights
  • Road flares
  • First-aid kit
  • Blankets
  • Extra set of clothes for the driver
  • Extra pairs of gloves
  • A Bag of sand or kitty litter for extra traction
  • An ice scraper
  • High-energy snacks like nuts or jerky

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Standard Auto Care. We appreciate your business and wishes you a safe and exciting ski season. If you’re headed to Tahoe, don’t forget to stop at Apple Hill in Placerville. They have the most delicious apples or sale this time of year.

Best 5 Mobile Apps for Road Trips

Autumn can be the best time to take a road trip. Why? The kids are back in school, a lot of people are busy with work, and many hotels are less booked. To get you in the mood for a day trip or a weekend getaway outside of Sacramento, here are five of the best mobile apps for road trips.

Foliage Leaf Peepr: See autumn leaves with this app.

Yelp: Find out the best places to dine, to shop, and to visit with this app.

Waze Navigation and Live Traffic: Find alternate traffic routes with this app.

GasBuddy: Discover lower gas rates with this app.

City Tour Worldwide: Tour historical cities with this app.

But before you hit the road, make sure your vehicle is ready. Now is the perfect time to make sure your oil has been changed, your fluids are topped off, your tires are in great shape, your wheels are aligned, and your fuel is burning efficiently.

If you’re not certain your car, truck, or SUV is road-ready, bring it into us at Standard Auto Care in Sacramento. We’ll make sure it’s running smoothly and safely. We are open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm, and you can schedule an appointment with us online or over the phone. You’ll be glad you chose Standard Auto Care, where we care about you as much as we do your vehicles!

Prepare Your College Students For Safe Driving Back To School

With the summer now behind us, the ‘back-to-school’ season is upon the families of Sacramento! Except for parents of recent high school graduates and older, their school supplies have changed from crayons and construction paper to laptops and car keys! Especially if this is your household college student’s first trip to their university, preparing them with all the supplies, resources, and basic skills they’ll need for the coming school year is important, and that includes preparing them to drive safely.

Here are a few ways to help your teen drive safely to and from college this year:

  • Pack their car up with emergency tools: glow sticks, jumper cables, a car jack, a spare tire, first aid kit, a backup phone charger, etc. Show your teen how and when to use all of these tools, so that in the event of an emergency they can really help. A few blankets, some non-perishable snacks and sealed water, and a flashlight with some batteries are all good items to store in the car as well.
  • Schedule a pre-road trip check with us at Standard Auto Care, to check that your college student’s car is running cleanly, has enough fluids like wiper fluid and motor oil, and that the wiper blades, tires, and other accessories are up to par.
  • Brief them not only on emergency tools, but emergency actions. Using hazard lights, slowing down carefully after a crash, pulling over where they can be clearly seen, and calling for help are all important steps to keep in mind.
  • Make sure they have all of their paperwork in order, or at least somewhere in the glove box. Roadside assistance programs are a great way to ensure your teens have a safe reference, so store their contact information in the car. Plus the ownership documents, insurance, registration, owner’s manual, any parking permits they will need for campus or housing, and a checklist of what to ask about in case of an accident.

Whether they’re driving daily just a few minutes away to a local college like ARC or Sac State, or are driving to another state to stay for the year, the best thing you can do to keep your college student drivers safe is to encourage them to drive distraction and substance free, and to make sure they’re car is running just as well as they are. Before they start off on the traffic jam to college, bring their car into Standard Auto Care! We’ll make sure it’s running smoothly and safely. You can come in to see us anytime Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm, or schedule an appointment with us online or over the phone. You’ll be glad you trusted your teen’s car safety to Standard Auto Care!

How To Tell If Your Vehicle’s A/C Needs Service

Sacramento can sure get sizzling hot this time of year. With temperatures between 90 – 110 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s hard to stay cool whether you’re indoors or in your vehicle. But how do you know if your vehicle’s air conditioning system is doing okay or if it’s struggling to keep your car cool? Here are a few signs indicating that your vehicle’s A/C unit needs service:

  1. Your air conditioner is blowing hot, even when you have it turned to the coolest setting.
  2. There’s a funky smell of mildew coming from the air vents.
  3. You hear strange sounds, or you don’t hear the air compressor come on at all.
  4. You see puddles of water forming on your floor mats under the air vents.
  5. You spot greasy film on the A/C components, indicating there’s a refrigerant leak.

If your vehicle is showing any of these signs, it would be a wise move to bring it into us here at Standard Auto Care in Sacramento. Our team of auto mechanics will perform a thorough inspection of your vehicle’s air conditioning system to determine the nature of the problem. If we see your system simply requires more refrigerant, we’ll refill it. But if we see mold and mildew, the cabin air filter needs to be replaced, or other repairs need to be made, we’ll let you know so you can tell us how you want to proceed.

Don’t let the soaring temperatures of Summer sabotage the cool comfort of your automobile. Drive over to Standard Auto Care at 2240 Colfax Street, Sacramento, CA 95815, Monday through Friday between 8 AM – 5 PM. Or, schedule an appointment with us online. We’re proud to provide some of the best auto repair services in the Sacramento area, and our auto mechanics are ready to earn your respect and trust.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Timing Belt

Timing belt replacement can be a costly repair, which is why many Sacramento drivers tend to put it off as long as they can. In fact, recent studies have shown that one in every five vehicles needs a new belt. However, ignoring this problem can result in damaging the rest of your vehicle, particularly your engine. Once your timing belt completely fails, your vehicle will not be able to operate and in many cases can leave you stranded. To avoid such situations, be aware of the following signs to change your timing belt as early as possible.

You Notice Material Loss

Similar to the way you would inspect your tire for wear, you want to check your timing belt for any loss of material. As the material deteriorates, you lose traction, which can cause the timing belt to slip out of place. This is especially true for vehicles that are carrying a particularly heavy load, such as a trailer or caravan.

Your Belt Shows Signs of Abrasion

If your belt’s edges look worn down to the insides, it’s likely a result of tensioner or pulley misalignment that causes excess heat or bearing failure. Your mechanic will take this as a sign that the timing belt is worn down and needs replacing.

There’s a Ticking Noise Coming from the Engine

Your timing belt is made up of a series of cranks, pulleys and rods. When the belt begins to wear out, those various parts start ticking, which will sound like it’s coming from inside the motor. This can also be a result of low oil pressure, but due to the necessity of a functioning timing belt, it’s best to have it inspected just in case.

You Notice Oil Leaking from the Front of Your Vehicle

Let’s get one thing clear, oil leaking is never a good thing and should not be overlooked. Oil leaking can also be a sign that the timing belt cover has become loose or a gasket in the engine block cover has worn out. Oil leakage can also occur when your engine is overheating, causing your timing belt to wear out at a faster rate.

If you’ve noticed one or more of the signs above, we highly suggest bringing your vehicle in to have your timing belt repair in Sacramento, CA assessed by one of our expert auto technicians. At Standard Auto, we know no one likes to shell out money for expensive parts, which is why we keep our prices competitive and never go forward with any work that you haven’t authorized first. Our top priority is to keep you safe on the road, which is why we practice full transparency so you know exactly what is happening with your vehicle every step of the way. If you would like to have your timing belt checked to see if it’s in need of a repair or replacement, give us a call at 916-924-8040 or visit us in person at 2240 Colfax St, Sacramento, CA 95815.

Common Car Radiator Myths

The radiator on your vehicle plays a major role in how well it functions. As the weather grows warmer in Sacramento, many drivers become concerned with the health of their radiator as rising temperatures can cause this vital part to fail. This concern can cause drivers to seek out information. Unfortunately, among the wealth of information available, there’s always a bit of bad mixed in with the good. Here, we will discuss some common myths about radiators so you can separate fact from fiction.

Myth #1 Insects Can Seriously Damage Your Radiator                                                          

There’s a common belief that insects hold the potential to ruin your radiator. While this could be true in some cases, it would have to be an extreme case of hundreds of insects hitting your vehicles at a high speed. In a more realistic scenario, your vehicle may gradually collect insect remains over time, but even in that case the cooling coils would dehydrate any sign of insect life. If you’re really concerned about the effects of insects, simply keep your vehicle clean.

Myth #2: Slow Down Your Vehicle When Your Radiator Overheats

It seems like common sense to slow down as your vehicle begins to overheat. After all, you wouldn’t want to push it any harder, right? Unfortunately, this is the opposite of what you want to do. In order for coolant and air to flow across your radiator, your car needs to continue running. In fact, increasing your vehicle’s speed can even accentuate the amount of coolant flow, allowing your vehicle to slow down faster. You can also turn on your heater to help cool down your vehicle. The heater will remove the heat from the exterior of your vehicle and pull it inside.

Myth #3: It Doesn’t Matter What Kind of Anti-Freeze You Use

If you’re on an extremely tight budget, any kind of anti-freeze is better than no anti-freeze at all. However, if you’re driving a luxury vehicle, the wrong kind of anti-freeze could potentially damage it. To play it safe, always check your vehicle’s owner manual to confirm the type of oil and anti–freeze recommended.

Myth #4: A Little Leak Isn’t an Issue

If you’ve been overlooking that little patch of glycol on the garage floor, you may want to start giving it a bit more attention. Glycol is a poisonous chemical and can easily cause serious damage to locals in the area, especially dogs and small children. In addition to the health risks, this slow leak will eventually grow to be a full on cooling system failure. If you notice a leak, get it checked out as soon as possible.

At Standard Auto, you can rest assured that you’ll only receive the facts when you bring your vehicle in for Radiator repair Sacramento, CA. Our team offers full transparency and first class customer service to help you get through a stressful time. To have your radiator inspected today, give us a call at 916-924-8040 or visit us in person at 2240 Colfax St, Sacramento, CA 95815.

What Your Auto Technician Wishes You Knew About Engine Repair

For the majority of Sacramento drivers, there are few words in the English language scarier than “Engine Repair”. Thanks to a slew of misconceptions, most people assume all engine repair is expensive and takes an extensive amount of time. However, there are a number of smaller issues that can occur within the engine that aren’t as expensive as you’d imagine. And there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the chance of needing engine repair at all.  Here’s a short guide to what your auto technician wishes you knew about engine repair.

There’s a Difference Between Engine Repair and Engine Maintenance

While both are necessary to keep your vehicle running smoothly, there’s a big difference between engine repair and engine maintenance. Engine repair occurs when a necessary part of your engine isn’t working properly while engine maintenance involves routine checks, inspections and part replacement to keep your vehicle running smoothly. Stay on top of your engine maintenance and you’re much less likely to need any kind of engine repair.

It’s Not Always as Bad as You Think

There are a number of issues that can arise from your engine, but not all are as expensive or lethal as you may think.  If you notice a slight rattling, shaking or rolling, but your vehicle still seems to be functioning, it may be a simple fix. The same goes for hearing a slight knocking sound, which means an engine part is beginning to wear down. The most important thing is to handle small repairs that come up as quickly as possible before they become larger problems.


The dreaded check engine light is one of the most important indicators of engine trouble that almost all drivers love to ignore. Yes, there is a slight chance that the engine light has a short fuse or a faulty bulb, but there’s also a likelihood that there’s a bigger problem at hand. Please, on behalf of your vehicle, your auto technician, and your wallet, get the problem checked out as soon as possible before it grows into something bigger.

Want more engine advice from an expert auto technician? At Standard Auto, our technicians are happy to answer any questions you have regarding your vehicles’ engine and its proper care. Our team practices craftsmanship, transparency, and quality customer service with every repair so you know your engine is in good hands. Unlike many auto shops, with Standard Auto, you won’t be surprised by additional repairs you didn’t authorize. Our team won’t do anything without your permission. We know needing an engine repair Sacramento, CA is stressful, which is why we do everything we can to make the process as easy as possible, from providing you with transportation to and from work, to explaining your vehicles situation to you in terms you can easily understand. If you’re ready to have your engine repaired today, give us a call at 916-924-8040 or visit us in person at 2240 Colfax St, Sacramento, CA 95815.

What Causes Clutch Damage

Automatic vehicle drivers in Sacramento may be alarmed when they notice their clutch suddenly slipping out of place. Clutch repairs vary in size and can range from a small, affordable repair to a complete clutch replacement. While there are a number of signs that will let you know you’re in need of a clutch repair, it’s also important to be aware of what can cause clutch damage before it occurs. Here are some common causes of clutch damage so you can reduce your chances of needing clutch repair.

Incorrect Gear Selection

Too often, drivers aren’t fully aware of which gear is correct for driving their vehicle at various speeds. As a result, they can choose a low gear while driving at a speed that causes the plate to accelerate to an excess speed. This increased strength can damage the clutch plate, requiring extensive repairs.

Shifting at the Wrong Moment

Similar to choosing the wrong gear, if a driver shifts into an incorrect gear before adjusting their speed, it could cause the plate to accelerate past its strength, which can lead to serious damage to the clutch.

Push Starting a Vehicle in a Low Gear

If a driver push starts their vehicle while it’s still in a low gear, it can cause increased rotation in the clutch disk and can tear away from the clutch backing plates, which will eventually result in the clutch slipping out of place.

Continuing to Drive the Vehicle When the Clutch is Slipping

If you ignore your clutch slipping and continue to drive in such a state, it can result in materials  overheating and causing the clutch disc and pressure plate to completely fail. Once this occurs, your vehicle will not operate without the necessary repairs.

Fitting A Clutch to a Modified Vehicle

If you have modified the engine of your vehicle to increase its performance, it’s important to choose a clutch that matches your vehicle’s new capabilities. Fitting a clutch to a vehicle with increased performance capabilities can cause premature clutch failure, requiring some serious repairs as well.

We’ve all made mistakes with our vehicles in the past and if you find yourself guilty of one of the situations listed above, skip the guilt and bring your vehicle in to Standard Auto. We will treat your clutch repair Sacramento, CA with the utmost care by providing quality craftsmanship along with first class customer service. Our highly trained auto technicians have seen clutch damage of all kinds and can easily assess what the damage is, while keeping you informed every step of the way. You’ll never find any additional, or unauthorized repairs on your bill as we only do what you give us permission to do on your vehicle.  If you would like to bring your vehicle in today to have one of our technicians inspect your clutch, simply give us a call at 916-924-8040 or visit us in person at 2240 Colfax St, Sacramento, CA 95815. We look forward to assisting you with all of your auto care needs.

5 Important Tips to Remember Auto Maintenance

If you’re like most Sacramento drivers, the last thing you want on your hands is a costly vehicle repair. When you’re without a car, it puts a hold on family, work and other responsibilities, not to mention the extra hassle of making replacement travel arrangements. Unfortunately, you can reduce the chances of needing auto repair by simply staying on top of your auto maintenance. While auto maintenance seems like a simple routine on paper, the majority of drivers tend to forget about it until serious damage happens to their vehicles. Here are 5 simple, but important tips to stay on top of your auto maintenance routine.

Tip #1 Consult Your Owner’s Manual

While it may seem dull to get into that thick owner’s manual that came with your car, it’s a vital part of staying on top of the required auto maintenance. Your owner’s manual will let you know exactly how often your vehicle needs to be serviced and the specific type of oil, coolant, etc. your vehicle requires. While you don’t need to read the manual cover to cover, try to at least glance over the auto maintenance section.

Tip #2 Set Reminders on Your Phone

Use your phone or other device to set calendar reminders of when it’s time to go in for any type of auto maintenance. It also helps to make a follow up appointment with your car technician as soon as you finish any type of auto maintenance. You’ll be more likely to follow through on an appointment that’s already been made.

Tip #3 Keep a Car Log

You should always have a car log where you take note of any auto maintenance Sacramento, CA that occurs. Not only will this be a helpful remember of any upcoming maintenance checks, but it will also help your auto technician assess any major problems that arise by quickly reviewing the auto log. In addition to using your log for your own purposes, it’s a wonderful asset in case you choose to sell the car and need to assure a buyer that the vehicle is in top condition.

Tip #4 Practice Using Your Senses

If you get in the habit of listening, smelling and feeling your vehicle every time you use it, you’ll quickly notice when your vehicle is in need of auto maintenance. Don’t ignore any signs your vehicle sends you and when in doubt, always have it checked out by a professional so you can drive with peace of mind every time you get behind the wheel.

Whether you are in need of a major repair or routine auto maintenance, at Standard Auto we treat every job with the same amount of craftsmanship and quality customer service. Our highly trained auto technicians will treat you like family and will walk you through every step, never doing any extra work without your permission. To schedule auto maintenance for your vehicle, give us a call at 916-924-8040 or visit us in person at 2240 Colfax St, Sacramento, CA 95815.

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