The auto mechanics and the rest of our team at Import Auto Specialists in San Diego love to educate our customers, and that’s why we write this blog. Any way that our auto repair team can provide you useful information, that’s exactly what we want to do. That’s also why we perform digital inspections and take the time to listen to you thoroughly and what you have to say about your car. Import Auto Specialists in San Diego offers a 3 year/36,000 mile parts and labor warranty on most repairs. We also have a 3 Year/36,000 Mile NAPA AutoCare Peace of Mind Warranty on parts and labor. To make your experience with us even better, when you bring your vehicle in for any major service or repair, you’ll drive away with a vehicle that has received a complimentary full-service! When you are ready for top-quality auto care, give us a call at 858-576-7186, or schedule an appointment today. We hope you enjoy our blog!

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Why Should I Bother Changing My Car’s Filters?

Why Should I Bother Changing My Car’s Filters?

Cars today have a few filters on board to keep your engine running smoothly and air clean. We don't often think of filters as being the cause of our car running poorly. However, clean filters are a big part of keeping your vehicle in tip-top operating condition. It is good to keep an eye (and ear) out when symptoms arise and if a filter can be cleaned rather than replaced. We all want to save our money, right? Cabin Air Filter This is one filter easily declined and overlooked when we choose to save money during an oil change. Air filters are made of a variety of materials such as paper, foam, and cotton. They capture debris and contaminants before making it to your cabin and into your lungs. The cabin air filter also can make the air inside your vehicle smell cleaner when you are using your heater or air conditioner as some have activated charcoal impregnated into the filter which absorb many different odors and also moisture. The cabin filter is often located near your glove comp ... read more

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Is Your Vehicle Ready For Spring Break?

When planning your spring break road trip, it is vital to think about your car as well as where it will take you and the adventures that will ensue. Here are some car care tips before hitting the road for spring break: Get an Inspection The last thing anyone wants to be is stuck on the side of the road. It is important to bring your car into the shop for a visual inspection. Your qualified technician will inspect your hoses and belts for leaks, cracks and ensure everything is snugged up. Check Your Radiator Fluid Do you plan on heading over a mountain pass or drive some winding roads? Coolant plays a vital role in keeping your engine running at the right temperature. The longer you are on the road, or faster you drive, the chances of overheating increases. Check Your Tires There is nothing scarier than having a blow-out on the freeway at full speed. Be sure to inspect your tires for any cracks, exposed metal, or uneven tread wear. You will want to air up those tires of yours before ... read more

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Top Gifts for the Car Lover in Your Life

Top Gifts for the Car Lover in Your Life

  Top Gifts for the Car Lover in Your Life    When someone loves their car, often the most thoughtful gift you can give is… car accessories or a spa day!   Car Detailing Gift Certificate to a nearby auto spa is a truly generous and thoughtful gift. There is nothing more satisfying than to climb into your ride and breathe deeply surrounded by a new car smell with gleaming leather and clean carpeting surrounding you. Your car lover will be so grateful when they are driving their sparkling clean vehicle.   A Portable Jump box is an excellent safety device to make your loved one feel protected and well cared for. You can pick one up for well under $100, and they often have an emergency light and have a USB port on them to charge your cell phone if needed in a pinch.   Car Covers are especially nice to use when preserving your paint from harsh weather and the suns penetrating UV rays. Showing your partner that you care deeply ab ... read more

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What’s The Difference Between Major Service and Minor Service?

We all hear it as car owners, don’t we? Come into the auto repair shop for minor service or major service. But what does it mean? For every car brand, there are unique nuances to what minor service and major service involves. For the most part, vehicles need check-ups and maintenance as their mileage increases. That is why you’ll hear numbers like 7500 miles, 15,000 miles, 30,000 miles, 45,000 miles, 60,000 miles, 75,000 miles, 90,000 miles, etc. But what do these numbers mean? Of course, you’ll want to consult the Owners Manual for your vehicle for specific information. But generally speaking, minor service is to be performed between every 10K - 15K miles. This minor service generally includes the following:   Oil change Tire rotation Tire inspection Brake inspection Lubrication and inspection of chassis Fluid inspection Belt and hose inspection The goal for the minor service is to check on the vehicle’s health and make sure nothing appears to be ... read more

Top San Diego Locations To See Holiday Lights

We are so lucky to live, work, and play in San Diego. Not only is it a beautiful place to live, but we don’t have to deal with yucky weather (for the most part). Even though our climate and surroundings lack the snow scene on a Christmas card, there are still some amazing San Diego locations to see the holiday lights. At Import Auto Specialists, we love celebrating the holidays. One of our favorite holiday activities is to hop in the car with the family and go see the Christmas lights. Here are our top five places to visit around San Diego:   Starlight Circle is located in Santee, and it’s awesome! You’ll see a massive lights display coming from several homes located on East and West Glendon circles off Magnolia Avenue. The lights are usually on from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly. If you’re lucky and extra nice, the kind residents may share some of their Christmas treats with ... read more

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2005 ACURA RL – OIL PUMP REPLACEMENT

2005 ACURA RL – OIL PUMP REPLACEMENT

We had a 2005 Acura RL in with a warning on the dashboard indicating low oil. The oil level was checked and found to be at proper level. We decided to change the oil first before beginning tear down to check the condition of the oil and check for any possible sludge buildup. The oil looked good. Manually checked oil pressure and it was intermittently testing low. The oil pump was not pumping sufficient amount of oil to the top end of the engine and needed to be replaced. Quite a timely process, but needed to be done before any damage is done to the engine. It was good we got to the problem now as after replacement of the oil pump, the warning is gone, the engine is running like a champ and the customer does not need to replace the motor! ... read more

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2010 BMW M6 – SPARK PLUG REPLACEMENT

2010 BMW M6 – SPARK PLUG REPLACEMENT

BMW’s maintenance schedule recommends that the spark plugs on this BMW M6 are to be changed every 37,000 miles. It is a pretty straight forward procedure. Remove the intake ducts, loosen the intake box, remove any breather hoses in the way, pull out ignition coils and that should give you enough access to get the plugs out and in. We will be replacing the plugs with the factory recommended NGK Laser Platinum plugs. NGK is a name that most people should know if they know a thing or two about cars. We are surprised to find NGK in this particular setup as BMW usually defaults to BOSCH plugs. Apparently they just didn’t make the cut for this year and model. Most standard 3 and 5 series BMWs have a factory scheduled spark plug change around 100,000 miles, but since this is a high output / high performance V10, it is better safe than sorry to change these on or before the recommended scheduled mileage. ... read more

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Work In Progress

1989 NISSAN 240SX TIMING CHAIN REPLACEMENT

1989 NISSAN 240SX TIMING CHAIN REPLACEMENT

Most newer vehicles with timing chains do not need the chain serviced or replaced unless the engine has been improperly maintained. This Nissan 240SX has over 300,000 miles and the chain is beginning to rattle and make noise. Over time, the tensioner has become worn and the chain has stretched slightly. We will be pulling the timing cover off to replace the chain, tensioner, chain gears and front oil seals. The customer came in stating there was an odd noise upon vehicle startup as if the engine was low or out of oil that quickly went away. We pulled the oil pan down to get a better look at the oil pickup tube and the lower part of the timing chain. We were able to physically see extra slack in the chain with the pan off. The pan and pickup tube were cleaned before reassembly to ensure no particles are obstructing the flow of oil. ... read more

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Work In Progress

2005 MERCEDES BENZ S500 – TRANSMISSION SERVICE

2005 MERCEDES BENZ S500 – TRANSMISSION SERVICE

Customers are often mislead as to when the transmission fluid should be changed on their Mercedes Benz. Rumour going around says that it is a “lifetime” fluid. As professionals, we know that nothing lasts a “lifetime”. Fluid in MOST Mercedes Benz should be changed by 100,000 miles. Newer models 2006 – Present have changed the maintenance interval for the transmission fluid. Mercedes is now scheduling to have the fluid changed around an average of 30,000 miles. We aren’t sure what prompted this change, but it could be due to the fact that consumers were mislead and felt that the transmission never needed service which leads to mechanical breakdowns and expensive transmission repairs. The transmission pan gasket was leaking on this 2005 Mercedes Benz S500 so we needed to remove it, scrape the old gasket off, replace the filter while we were in there, re seal and put it all back together. Low fluid causes the transmission to shift hard or may even cause it not to shift at a ... read more

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TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEM – TPMS – WHAT IS THIS WARNING?

Question: My tire pressure warning light came on recently. What does that mean? Answer: It means that one or more of your tires has low air pressure. The dashboard warning light, which looks like a cross-section of a tire with some lines in it, comes on when the tire pressure is 20% below what the auto maker recommends. So if your recommendation is for 35 psi (pounds per square inch), the light will come on when your pressure falls to 28 psi. It’s vital to note that 20% below recommended pressure is significantly under-inflated. This means that you will be experiencing degraded handling and that your tire will be running hotter than it should. This can not only be a safety hazard, but your tires will wear prematurely and could even suffer a heat related failure. San Diego drivers should not use their Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) warning light as their trigger for checking their tire pressure. They should still check their tire pressure at least once a ... read more

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