Blog

  • Joshua Tree Road Trip!

    Posted on 13, April, 2017

    Family and I went camping Joshua Tree this weekend. Took our trusty Toyota Tacoma 4-Door/Crew-cab. Cooked marshmallows, made s’mores, pitched a tent, and hung out around the camp fire. Also did some photography, hiked a few places, and thought to myself most, if not all of my customers, we provide this level of freedom. And since road trip season is upon us, here’s a few tips to go more confidently.

    1. Check your battery. Has the battery/starter sounded weak recently? Is the battery older than 3 years? Modern vehicles require some electricity to keep the computers alive.
    2. Pull every dipstick available. If your engine oil is dark brown and/or black, or low time to have it changed. If your transmission oil is not bright red or golden brown/green for CVT transmissions, have it serviced.
    3. Crack open that radiator cap, but please do it when the car is absolutely cold. Water/Coolant look murky? For Toyota it should be pink, Honda should be blue, and Nissan should be regular/generic green coolant, unless your vehicle has had a full coolant exchange (AKA flush, laymen’s term) and had it replaced with generic green. Even if it’s bright green, red, or blue, if it’s been more than 2 years, it might be acidic. Many shops (including ours) have coolant PH strips to see if PH, Alkaline, and contamination levels.
    4. Check the rubber components. Belts and hoses have a pretty good shelf life if they aren’t exposed to 212 degree under-hood temperatures. Hoses if squeezed by hand should not sound crackly. If old they will also look bloated or ballooned near the hose clamps. Belts typically have a dark matte black finish to them (think about how new tires look) as they age some do so by looking glossy black, a phenomenon known as glazed. Another way they go bad is by cracking on the inside. Take a typical belt part number such as 6PK2160, 6PK means the belt has 6 ribs (2160 denotes the length BTW.), make sure those ribs look smooth. Tires should have plenty of tread. Use the old penny test where you dip Abe Lincoln’s head in between the tread. If you see a portion of the 16th president’s head covered then it means you have more than 2/32 tread left and typically you’re OK. Other problems in Tires stem from tires being too old and petrified; as tires age they do not retain the flexibility they used to, often the symptom is cracks in the rubber. Yet another problem is a bubble in the sidewall or tread separation, often felt by driver as a severely unbalanced tire evidenced by shaking or vibration of the vehicle. If this is happening replace the tire. Also remember to check the tire pressure. Recommended pressure is typically on a sticker on the door sill on driver’s door.
    5. Brake fluid is a hygroscopic fluid meaning that it absorbs moisture. As it ages and takes on moisture it’ll turn brown and potentially rust your brake hydraulic components from inside out. The beauty of living in So Cal is low humidity, so we see less of a need for brake fluid exchanges, but we have a test strip to check that too.

    If in doubt have us check out the vehicle via a pre-departure check-up. Contact us 714-993-7300 or tatsu@tokyoautomotive.com. Written by Tatsu with a little inspiration from Mobil’s website:

    https://mobiloil.com/en/article/travel-and-safety/travel-tips/car-maintenance-checklist-for-road-trips

  • Lipsticks and Dipsticks

    Posted on 06, March, 2017

    I’m not necessarily excluding men, it’s just that when it comes to car care, let’s be honest. The sex that is most often associated with being oblivious with cars is women. To that effect we are having a car care class called “Lipsticks and Dipsticks” and it’s happening 10-12:30 on March 25, Saturday. Please RSVP as space is limited. Still working on a vendor list for people to help us out, and food arrangements at this time. We will discuss how to talk about your car to a mechanic, checking your fluids, changing your tire on the side of the road, and much much more. Get ready to get dirty …well not too dirty! Empower your lady friends guys! …and make some friends from the community!

  • The Dream Car

    Posted on 20, October, 2016

    Here at Tokyo Automotive, we pride ourselves on getting you to your daughter's soccer game, getting you to work on time, and allowing you to have the freedom to go up to Mammoth for your ski vacation. But we also love sports cars. I myself tinker with tuner cars as a hobby; although lately with kids and work I rarely have time for that. I do however from time to time find myself at car meets.

    So every once in while we get a car in the shop that pulls at our heartstrings. One such example is this largely unmolested 1971 240Z and I might have let it go out the door and not done this blog hadn't it been for the great story that comes with it. Jeff, a eye doctor by trade, was an original owner of a similar 1971 240Z. Years later his teenage son, in an effort to avoid an animal in the middle of road, would swerve and get into a horrible wreck with it which split the car in two right down the back middle. The two teenagers walked away with only minor cuts and bruises. While the officer on scene kept saying that they'd have to pay for the tree that they damaged. Excuse me officer aren't the kids more important?

    Years later, roughly twenty, his now grown up son bought him this (pictured) black 240Z for father's day, with all the options that Jeff's old S30 Z had. What a great son! 

    Looking at this vehicle, there's not a single item on it that doesn't work correctly. The paint although not perfect is as if it's always been garaged and driven only on the weekends. According to Jeff the 97K on it's original miles and the odometer hasn't turned over just yet; remember old odometers had only five digits. The mileage is a little high but the overall condition is amazing. The dash isn't cracked or faded, and the seats are not tattered. What a fine vehicle and a great story. Thanks for the time Jeff