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  • 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!