Brake Pad Maintenance

Owning a vehicle is a convenience many of us in California are accustomed to. Some would even argue it’s a necessity! This is why it is critical to service your vehicle at regular intervals. One of the most important maintenance steps is one you cannot ignore, checking and changing your brake pads.

Maintaining healthy brake pads is first and foremost a safety precaution. After that it can be considered preventative maintenance and can save you tons of money in the long run. 

Read More

Signs of Electrical Problems in Your Vehicle

Electrical Problems in Your Vehicle

People often automatically assume that when their vehicle isn’t starting, it’s because of a bad battery or engine issues. This is not always the case. It is quite common for defective components within the electrical system to cause engine failure.

Read More

What causes a timing belt to go bad?

All About Timing Belts

The timing belt is one of the most crucial parts of your engine system, and one of the most important to maintain. The timing belt is a ribbed belt that works to keep the upper and lower parts of your engine working in time. It is arranged in a certain configuration in order to keep the cylinder heads and valves in sync with the crankcase and pistons.

But how do you know how to best care for your timing belt? Does your car even have one?

Read More

Brake Noises: Annoying or Dangerous?

What it means when your brakes are noisy

“My brakes are squealing” is one of the more common complaints we hear at Saddleback Automotive. The squealing, squeaking, and grinding may be annoying, but it can also indicate a serious problem within your brake system.  There are two basic types of braking systems, the disc and the drum. Disc brakes are very common and contain pads, rotors, and calipers. Drum brakes contain the shoe, drum, and wheel cylinders. No matter what brake system your car has, if you hear them squealing, it’s time to take your car to the mechanic to be inspected.

Read More

What do I do when my check engine light turns on?

Imagine yourself driving along, and suddenly, your vehicle’s check engine light turns on. What does this mean and what should you do next?

To put it simply, your check engine light monitors your car’s performance. When the light illuminates, your car’s internal system is flagging a problem it is unable to repair it.

The check engine light means different things for different vehicles, so unfortunately, the light does not mean the same thing across the board. Just because the check engine light has turned on, doesn’t always mean the problem is severe. It could be something small or in some cases something more serious. At Saddleback Automotive Repair we stress the importance of taking care of the problem as quickly as possible.

Ignoring your check engine light can lead to a significant financial burden.

Read More

Wheel Alignment

A tire or wheel alignment is recommended in order to help your tires perform properly and help them last longer. Undergoing a tire alignment also improves handling and keeps your vehicle from pulling in one direction.

What is a tire alignment?

When we refer to an “alignment” we are talking about an adjustment to your vehicle’s suspension. Not an adjustment of the actual tires or wheels themselves. A proper tire alignment  makes sure your car drives straight and handles properly, ultimately making your ride safer. Also, your vehicle tends to get better gas mileage after an alignment, because your tires will be properly aligned with the road.

Read More

When is it time for an Engine Tune-Up?

Today’s vehicles differ significantly from those of decades past that required a tune-up every 20,000-30,000 miles. Vehicles on the road today have moving parts and components that are built to last much longer (100,000 miles+) before requiring service. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore telltale signs of engine trouble.

Sluggish. Squealing. Vibrating. Shaking. If any of these describe your vehicle’s recent behavior, it might be time for a tune-up.

If your vehicle’s engine misfires, stalls, gets poor gas mileage, or simply doesn’t feel right, our automotive technicians have the experience and skill to diagnose your problem and repair it.

Read More

How to Choose the Right Oil for Your Vehicle

One of the most crucial ingredients to making your engine run is motor oil, your car can’t live without it. Making sure you get regular oil changes, maintain the proper oil level, and of course, using the right type of oil are mandatory steps to maintaining the performance of your car. Without it, all the moving parts in your engine would lose lubrication, overheat, and eventually weld to each other, completely ruining your engine.

Not all drivers know what type of oil their car needs, even though it is so vital to your engine’s health.

Sometimes your car’s owners manual will list the proper motor oil to use, but it is important to know the ins and outs of motor oil in case you ever find yourself needing some.

Read More

Common Car Repairs

Beyond Oil Changes and Tire Rotations

Owning a car can be one of the more rewarding life milestones, but we all know that with car ownership comes inevitable car repairs. Car repairs are not only frustrating, they can be expensive. Newer cars are being built to last longer, but with that innovation, repairs are more difficult than they used to be.

Some built-in systems are being designed to be harder for repair technicians to get into, so it sometimes becomes necessary to have it maintained by the dealership or manufacturer.

There are several routine problems that have been cited as being the most commonly seen, and repaired, car issues throughout the U.S.

Below are some problems to keep an eye out for, and what to expect with them:

Read More

We No Longer Offer Smog Testing

We decided to discontinue smog testing so that we could focus purely on automotive repair services, and deliver a higher quality of service to our wonderful clients. If you need a smog check we can recommend a reputable test-only center.

– Saddleback Mgmt


At Saddleback Auto Repair & Smog, we’re certified to smog all vehicles, including vehicles that require regular smog checks, and gross polluters. The State of California requires new and current residents to have their vehicle smog-checked in order for it to earn or maintain registration. These tests are used to hopefully improve the quality of air we breathe, to monitor potentially dangerous emissions from vehicles, and to reduce the air pollution caused by the millions of cars driven in the State.

For current residents, this means that you must take your vehicle to a smog-check inspection center every two years in order to renew your registration.

For those who have recently moved to California, you must get your vehicle tested at a smog-check center within 90 days of establishing residency, even if your car has passed a similar emissions test in another state. There are some exceptions to these requirements, depending on the vehicle.

Smogging your car in Southern California

You will typically receive a notice with your registration renewal if your car is due for a smog test, but there are some general guidelines for what cars are subject to the biennial tests. Most California vehicles (gasoline-powered, alternative fuel, hybrid) that are model-year 1976 and newer, are required to be smogged every two years. But it does not stop there, vehicles that are diesel-powered, weigh 14,000 pounds and less, and are model-year 1998 and newer also require testing.

Read More