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  • Why You Need To Speak With an Expert Team When You Need Brake Pads

    Man Working on Car

    At some point, the thought of doing a DIY job on your car has crossed all of our mind. While some things are really easy to do, certain car issues should be left to the experts, just to make sure you aren’t putting your car into a worse situation. This especially applies to brake pads: the type of brake pad you use depends on the kind of car you have, so it’s incredibly important to talk to a mechanic. But, since at Leale’s Transmission & Auto Services, we believe in transparency, today we’re going to let you know about some of the different kinds of brake pads and why you need to see a mechanic when you’re having issues with your brake pads, so keep reading!

    What are the Different Kind of Brake Pads?

    • Semi-Metallic Pads: These pads are roughly 30-65% metal compounds (steel wool, wire, copper, etc). They can last a long time, but the durability can lead to premature wear because the pads are strong. They’re also not as functional during cold climates. Usually, they’re found in fuel-economical cars.

    • Non-Metallic Pads: Also known as organic pads, they’re made from glass or rubber or fiber. They’re lightweight and don’t make much noise, and are best for lightweight vehicles. However, they produce more dust and wear down more quickly.

    • Low-Metallic NAO: These pads are made mostly from an organic formula mixture, with a little bit of copper or steel. This assists in the heat transfer and allows for better braking. It does add extra brake dust, and the pads can be noisier than the others.

    • Ceramic Pads: Made primarily of ceramic fibers and filler materials, they’re more expensive than other pads. They’re usually found in racing or performance cars. They have the ultimate braking ability and can handle the excessive pressure on them. There’s little wear and tear on the rotors, and have a much longer lifespan and durability levels than the other brake pads.

    Why Is an Expert Needed?

    When you need new brake pads, it needs to be chosen based on many different variables. The type of vehicle, how it’s driven, and the weight all play into choosing the proper brake pads. For example, a lighter car doesn’t need as much force, whereas a medium-sized car would need more stopping power. SUVs need to find a good blend between brake pads with metal and noisiness. If you have a tow truck with semi-metallic pads, the vehicle wouldn’t be able to stop quickly enough because of all the weight. Not having the proper brake pads could put your safety at risk, as well as others on the road. Having an expert accurately diagnose your car and situation will allow you to have the brake pads that are most compatible with your vehicle.

    Choosing the Experts

    If you need reliable experts in the San Jose, CA area, look no further than Leale’s Transmission & Auto Services. We’ve been in the business for more than 50 years, so we’re sure we’ll be able to fix any sudden issues or provide maintenance for your car. If you need to book an appointment, call us at (408) 286-5353. We’d love to hear from you!

  • Why You Shouldn’t Ignore The “Check Engine” Light or Squeaky Brakes

    Car Repair in San Jose

    When you drive a lot, you can get used to small malfunctions with your car. Your check engine light can stay on constantly, your brakes might squeak a little, or your car might rumble a little. But if you have no issues with driving and nothing seems to be really wrong, it’s easy to ignore those issues. After all, why spend hundreds when nothing’s actually wrong? Today, Leale’s Transmission & Auto Services is going to explain just why it’s not a good idea to ignore your check engine light or squeaky brakes.

    Is the Check Engine Light Really Important? Why?

    If the check engine light comes on, but your car seems to be running fine, it may seem like a smart idea to just ignore it and save some money. However, that’s not really wise. When the light comes on, there’s an error code sent from the car’s computer, which can be checked with a code scanner or at an auto shop, allowing you to know exactly what’s wrong. However, it could be a wide variety of issues. Many times, it could simply be solved by checking the gas cap. It might be missing, loose, or cracked. Simply tighten it, and if it’s cracked, buy a new one for a few dollars.

    If it’s not, it could be something minor but it could also be very serious. The more you wait, the worse the issue could become, making it possibly incredibly expensive to fix. Sometimes it might just be a spark plug or wire that needs to be replaced, or that an oxygen sensor is malfunctioning. If it’s the latter, while it’s a fairly quick repair, ignoring the engine light and letting the oxygen sensor stay damaged could lead to you having to pay expensive fees to fix the catalytic converter. Eventually, your car won’t run at all. Ignoring these issues can lead to an outrageous amount of money to be spent and no car to use.

    Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Squeaky Brakes

    It may seem okay to ignore some squeaking or whining from the brakes, but again, you really shouldn’t. If they’re wet and there’s moisture, it can be a one-off occurrence. But if it continues, your car needs attention. Your brakes may need servicing, or your brake pads could be worn out. If the squeaking progresses to a grinding sound, then it’s too late: you won’t need to just replace the brake pads, the rotors are probably damaged as well, which is a very costly repair. Also be on the lookout for other signs: the car pulling or dragging, vibrating brakes, and leaking fluid. While these can often easily be fixed, ignoring these is an unwise decision.

    Getting Your Car Serviced

    If you notice any of these warning signs and you’re unsure where to go, consider coming to Leale’s Transmission & Auto Services in San Jose, CA. Our 50+ years of experience as a family-owned and operated business means that not only are we extremely good at what we do, but that we’re also holding your best interests in mind. Give us a call at (408) 286-5353. We’d love to hear from you!

  • How to Know It’s Time to Replace Your Brake Pads

    Tire Skidmarks

    While it’s generally not the part of the car that looks attractive or catches your eye, brakes are incredibly important to make sure your car keeps functioning properly, which is why you need to pay attention to the signs that point at saying it’s time to replace your brake pads or have them checked. Not sure what they are? No worries! That’s why Leale’s is here to clue you in so you’re well-equipped to notice the warning signs.

    Signs to Look Out For

    • The Brake Pedal is Pulsating . If you press down on the pedal and it starts to pulsate, there’s a good chance you need new brake pads. Pulsating is when the brakes vibrate or “grab” and usually happens when the brake pads are worn out or warped because of the heat. You can have them re-machined or replaced.

    • The Brakes Screech. If you hear a high-pitched sound when the brakes are depressed, that’s a sign to replace the brake pads. It’s caused by a metal shim, and the pitch can vary. However, you’ll usually hear it if your windows are closed. That said, if this only happens one time, you may not need a replacement, since if it was exposed to water, the moisture could cause that. If this happens constantly, it’s vital to go to an auto shop.

    • The Brakes Make Grinding or Clicking Sounds. If there’s a clicking or rattling sound when you apply brakes, that’s a sign to get them replaced. A grinding sound means that they’re often beyond replacement, because it’s caused by the metal disc and caliper grinding together since the brake pad is completely worn down. If possible, repair or replace them before it gets to this state, because you’ll probably have to replace the rotors as well.

    • The Car is Pulling. If it feels like your car wants to make turns when you drive or brake, the braking system may be compromised. It could be a stuck caliper, which causes friction on one of the wheels. It could also be a collapsed brake hose or uneven brake pads, which would put varying amount of pressures on different wheels. However, it doesn’t always have to be related to the brakes: it could mean your tires are not evenly inflated or worn down, or something could be wrong with your suspension system. No matter what, take it to a mechanic’s shop for a once-over.

    • The Brake Pads are Thin. This isn’t something you can feel, but something to see. If you take a look at the brake pads through the car wheel spokes, you can see if a replacement is needed. The outside brake pad is the material against the metal rotor, so if you see less than 1/4 inch, head to a repair shop.

    Where Do I Go?

    If you’re looking for a reliable, experienced mechanic in the San Jose, CA area, Leale’s Transmission & Auto Service is your to-go shop. With more than 5 decades of experience, we can diagnose and repair car, truck, bus, or other vehicle, all for a fair price. Call us at (408) 286-5353 today!

  • How to Choose The Right Auto Repair Shop

    Mini Cooper on Lift

    While it would be nice to have a car that works all the time without any hassles, breakdowns and unexpected issues are bound to happen at some point. Plus, it’s always a good idea to have your car routinely checked to help avoid any of those issues. Choosing a good auto repair shop that’s the right fit for you can be difficult, so take a look at some recommendations we have to help you choose the best repair shop for you and your vehicle.

    Tips to Make the Search for the Right Mechanic’s Shop Easier

    • Don’t Wait Till You Have an Emergency. If your car won’t start or it’s smoking, you probably don’t have time to shop around and you’ll settle for the first repair shop you’ll find. This hinders you from getting the best service at a reasonable price, and there’s a high chance you won’t be able to effectively judge the shop and choose the best one. Instead of waiting to be stranded, look in advance so you won’t be in that situation.

    • Check Reviews and Word of Mouth. See what people have to say. Check out reviews online since you’ll be able to see how the shop treated different major issues, but also pay attention to word of mouth: listening to real people spreading the news is a good indicator to go with that repair shop. Any business can put out ads; but if people are talking positively about it, it’s a good sign that they’re to be trusted.

    • Ask Good Questions; Don’t Just Look at Price. When you’re choosing a place, don’t just try to go as cheap as possible; ask the right questions. Will you get a written warranty? How long for? Ask about the stipulations and conditions. You also want to know about insurance for theft and fire. If your car is burglarized or stole while at the shop, are you covered? Ask about their license and ratings, and make sure to question about the materials. Do they use new or used parts? Are they aftermarket? Of course you want an affordable rate, but don’t sacrifice service for price. If at any point you don’t understand what you’re being told, don’t be afraid to ask again: you need to be sure before committing, and a good mechanic will use terminology that you won’t have trouble understanding.

    So, Who Do I Choose?

    Of course, the final decision is up to you, as it’s important to trust your intuition. That said, at Leale’s Transmission & Auto Services, we’re a close, family-owned and operated business. We’ve had more than 5 decades of working on vehicles: cars, trucks, buses, RVs. We’re of the highest quality, and we’re dedicated to not making easy money from you. Our experienced, qualified team will gladly explain any issue, so you’ll leave confident with your car. To book an appointment or get any more info, give us a call at (408) 286-5353 today!

  • The Engine Light: What It Could Mean and What to Do About It

    Check engine light

    There’s a good chance you do a lot of driving around in your car, and when an issue pops up, you just drive it to a mechanic’s shop or have it towed. But sometimes you may not have to automatically go to a repair shop; there are times where if you understand what’s going on with your car, you’ll know what to do about it and potentially save time and money down the road. That’s why our team at Leale’s Transmission & Auto Services is here to let you know what to do when the dreaded engine light turns on!

    What’s The Engine Light Mean?

    The check engine light belongs to the onboard diagnostics system on your car. The computers on your vehicle control and monitor vehicle performance. If there’s a problem that it can’t fix, the computer will turn on an indicator (the “Check Engine” light) and store a trouble code to identify the problem. With a scan tool or a diagnostic computer, the code can be read and solved—which you can do if you’re a DIYer; otherwise, you’ll often have to go to a repair shop. Even with a code scanner, interpreting the code correctly can be difficult, so it’s recommended to take it to the experts. Most importantly, don’t ignore the light. But when the light comes on, here are a few of the problems it could mean.

    • Replace the Oxygen Sensor. It’s the part of the car that keeps track of the unburned oxygen from the exhaust and monitors the amount of fuel burned. If the sensor isn’t functioning properly, there could be a decrease in gas mileage. Your engine will burn too much fuel and there could be damage to the spark plug. Take your car to a shop, or unclip and replace the old sensor with a new one if you know where it is.

    • Replace the Catalytic Converter. This part of the car reduces exhaust gases and converts carbon monoxide into harmless compounds. If it’s not functioning properly, your car won’t run properly and your mileage will dramatically increase. Take your car to a mechanic ASAP for proper diagnosis.

    • You Have a Loose or Malfunctioning Gas Cap. While you may not think that the gas cap is pretty important, a loose gas cap means the fuel vapors will trickle out and can put the whole fuel system at risk. You’ll increase emissions and have poorer gas mileage, but there are some things you can do. If the light is on but there’s no shaking or jerking, tighten the gas cap and see if it’s cracked. You can also buy a gas cap at a store and get it replaced.

    Where Do I Take My Car To?

    When it’s time to take your car to an auto repair shop, choose Leale’s Transmission & Auto Services. With our superior diagnostic and repair services in the San Jose, CA area, we’re confident we can solve all your vehicle issues for you. For an appointment, call us at (408) 286-5353 today!

  • Why You Need to Service Your Brakes Before Winter

    Brake repair

    The good ol’ days of summer are gone: the days are shorter, the sun rises later, and the nights are chillier. Soon, fall will be over and the winter season will be upon us. While there are many great things about the winter months, it’s also important to be prepared before winter comes. The same applies to your car: it’s important to have it serviced, especially the brakes. Today, the team at Leale’s Transmission & Auto Services is here to let you know why servicing your brakes before winter is important!

    Reasons to Check Your Brakes Before Winter

    If your brakes aren’t checked, neglecting to do so could lead to costly repairs down the road. A simple tune-up or maintenance checkup could easily prevent you from spending so much money down the road. As time passes, dirt and other debris could infiltrate the braking system, and when winter comes, the debris could freeze and stick to the brake pads. This can damage the rotors in the long run. Cold weather can impact fluid stability, since old dirty brake fluid congeals and is less effective in lubricating the brakes.

    You’ll also have to put extra pressure so you can brake properly on slippery roads because there’s less traction on the road, which means there’s more power applied on the brakes. If you get them checked before winter comes, you’ll be able to see if they can handle the extra pressure. The winter season will also make your brakes stiff, so monitoring advance will make sure they’re able to work properly.

    Do I Need New Brakes? Why?

    It’s important to have properly functioning brakes, especially during the winter months. When it’s rainy or snowy and there’s ice on the road, you need to be able to stop faster on slippery roads. Squealing, grinding, or clicking sounds, or feeling the brake pedal shake when you apply pressure are signs that you need new brakes. The pads and rotors wear out over time and need to be replaced, and waiting until winter isn’t a wise move. If you wait for when there are worse driving conditions you’ll shorten the lifespan of your brakes. Getting them repaired or replaced before winter starts and then keeping them properly serviced will mean there’s less of a chance of having a potentially dangerous incident on the road. Even if there are no immediately visible signs that there’s something wrong with your car, going to an auto repair shop for a tune-up is the smart move.

    What’s the Next Step?

    For high-quality, reliable service in the San Jose, CA area, come to Leale’s Transmission & Auto Services. For more than 50 years, we’ve been providing amazing service to our loyal clients, and we’d love to do the same for you. Whether it’s a repair or check-up, we can make sure that you’ll leave the shop happy with our services! For more info or an appointment, give us a call at (408) 286-5353. We’d love to hear from you!