Subaru WRX and Subaru Forester 2.0XT Recalled For Engine Stall

Apparently, 2015-2016 Subaru WRX and Subaru Forester 2.0XT have turbocharger air intake ducts that may crack and cause problems with engine performance. Subaru engineers found turbocharger air intake duct was made with incorrect materials during part production process – resulting in possibility of cracks.

If your car has cracked turbocharger air intake duct, the symptoms include engine idling rough, reduced engine power, and even engine stalling.

Recalled cars:
2015-2016 WRX manufactured between April 10, 2015 and October 21, 2015.
Forester 2.0XT SUVs built between April 10, 2015 and October 20, 2015.
IMPORTANT: not all cars have the faulty parts – Subaru has identified part numbers that can be used to determine if your car has the faulty part.

If you own one of these cars, you can call Subaru at 800-782-2783 and use recall number WTA-62.

Driver-less Cars? They are here…

You may not know that California, Michigan, Florida and Nevada have all passed laws allowing driverless cars to operate on public highways and roads. So far, it’s mostly Google’s cars – and they do have drivers – it’s just that the drivers do not do anything – the car drives itself.

Google currently has about 20 cars. Lexus RX450h hybrid SUV vehicles, that have self-driving technology built in. They are driving all over the Bay Area. Google says they are driving about 10,000 miles per month, and by June 2015 Google claimed to have logged more than a million miles. You may have read that one of those cars became the first driverless car stopped by police – for driving too slowly!

Having done a lot of testing, Google is trying to get into car manufacturing. Until recently Google was modifying cars made by Volkswagen and Toyota. But now they are talking about developing their own vehicle.

Google has partnered up with Roush Enterprises – the company created by Jack Roush who got his automotive experience at Ford Motor Company. The car will be made in Michigan and has no name as of yet. As for the road tests – well, in Mountain View of course – right where Google is located.

So get ready for “Google car” – it’s coming to a town near you!

Treat Your Fuel Pump Well

Car manufacturers don’t mention this, but it is important not to drive “on fumes”. As a matter of fact, AC Delco in its Women’s Car Care Seminar recommends that we make a stop at the gas station any time the tank is less than 1/3 full.

The reason for this advice is to protect the fuel pump. The fuel pump in modern vehicles is an electrical/mechanical device. All such devices need to be cooled. There are two ways that a fuel pump is cooled:

1) Gasoline flows through it and heat pass from it to the engine.
2) The fuel pump is immersed in gasoline and cooled in a fuel bath.

As the fuel tank gets close to empty, this second way of cooling the fuel pump becomes less and less effective.

Running “on fumes” will usually not destroy your fuel pump immediately but it does cause it to work at higher than optimal temperatures. Over time, this will cause faster wear. That may make it necessary to replace the fuel pump sooner than expected.

Another reason not to run “on empty” is that fuel pumped from a “dry” tank may contain moisture and deposits. Over time, these contaminates could damage the fuel filter or the fuel pump itself.

So be good to your fuel pump – keep the fuel tank at least 1/3 full at all times.
This will also keep you from running out of gasoline. Being out of gas is not only a hassle, but… you guessed it – it’s really bad for the fuel pump.

Is your Prius HV Battery overheating?

The Prius battery is a great design but it must be kept cool. It is really important to make sure that your Prius battery cooling system is in good operating condition.

There is a cooling fan located in the rear trunk area of the car that should be inspected at least annually. Perhaps more often if you travel with a dog in your car. The cooling intake duct is located in the rear seat area and will easily fill itself with dog hair and cease to cool the High Voltage Battery. This may set a MIL code and cause your warning triangle to illuminate. If this happens it can be easily repaired if it is addressed promptly. It is really important to have your car inspected quickly for any warming lamp.

A battery that is overheated for an extended period will have a shortened life. It is possible to have a cooling fan that is partially clogged. This may not set the code but still be harming your HV battery.

HV cooling fan inspection is part of our regular service at Sturken’s San Jose Hybrid Shop.

If you have not had your battery fan inspected in the last year, it probably should be looked at.

Call us to schedule your preventative maintenance:


If you prefer online scheduling, click here

Topping off your fuel tank hurts you, your pocketbook and the environment.

Being busy, we try to squeeze in as much gasoline as possible to stretch out our trips to the gas station. But topping off after the gas pump automatically shuts off is a bad idea. There are two very important reasons why topping off is bad for you and the environment.

1. When the automatic shutoff occurs, your tank has the right amount of gasoline. If you put more gasoline in the tank, some of the gasoline may get into the carbon filter – this component is only supposed to carry fumes. This will not destroy your car. But over time, it can result in lower mileage, higher emissions, and unnecessary repairs.
This is bad for your pocketbook, and bad for the environment. Don’t over fill. You’ll keep the Bay Area a bit less smoggy.

2. When you continue to top off your fuel tank after the automatic shutoff, there is a possibility that the extra gasoline will spill out.
Three reasons why this is bad:
a. You are spilling money on the ground – literally.
b. Gasoline runoff goes into the ground, into the air and into the storm water system. No fuel spill is good for anything alive.
c. Gasoline fumes are bad for you – topping off and spilling that stuff makes it more likely you will breathe the fumes. In extreme cases fuel spills at filling stations can become fire or explosion hazards.

So next time you are at the gas station – let the automatic shutoff do its job – save your money and save the environment.

Oil Change – Your Car’s Best Friend

It used to be that everybody knew to change their motor oil every 3000 miles. Then because of better technology and engine building techniques, manufacturers started recommending longer oil change intervals. The advent of new synthetic oils, which tend to stay slippery longer cause many car owners to go even longer between oil changes.

Well, if you want your car to last forever – frequent oil changes are the key. At Sturken Auto Repair we recommend that even if you use synthetic motor oil you should change your oil every 10,000 miles at most. With conventional motor oil, changing motor oil every 5000 miles is a good idea.

The reason we recommend more frequent oil changes has to do with the multiple functions that motor oil serves in your car:

  1. Lubrication – primary function of motor oil is to lubricate your engine. Oil lubricates the moving engine parts to minimize friction and helps to keep engine cooler.
  2. Garbage collection – as oil circulates through your engine it picks up dirt and small bits of metal that collect in the engine. It then goes through the oil filter where those bits of metal get filtered out.
  3. Cleaning – motor oil has detergents and dispersants. The detergents clean out the dirt and grime from the engine. Dispersants keep dirt suspended in the oil where it can do little harm.

As time goes on those additives get depleted and the oil does not perform its function as well as it does when new. This increases wear on the engine. Having plenty of fresh motor oil keeps your engine happy and humming.

Regular oil changes also give us an opportunity to do preventive maintenance and checks. Better auto repair shops like Sturken’s have long recognized the importance of preventive maintenance. We have replaced simple oil changes with a minor service – in addition to an oil and filter change, we perform a number of checks that make it possible to spot trouble early – cracked hoses, battery issues, underinflated tires, cooling system issues, etc.

At Sturken Auto Repair our minor service includes a multi-point inspection. We check various systems on your car to catch trouble before it fully develops.Having your car serviced regularly means that your car will be in top condition.We have a chance to minimize the probability of serious problems developing while you are on the road.

Many of today’s engines are smaller and are running hotter. This makes regular service even more important. So next time you need a minor service bring your car to Sturken’s.

Set up an appointment ONLINE or call 408-295-7195.

Toyota Discontinues Scion – We Still Support It!

At Sturken Auto Body, Auto and RV Repair, we are big fans of Toyota Scion. This car is fuel efficient, economical to operate, and if properly maintained, will go on forever (almost).

To our great sadness, Toyota announced just a few days ago that it would no longer produce Scions. Car industry analysts suspect that lower gasoline prices had adverse impact on Scion sales, since it was designed with fuel efficiency in mind.

The good news is that at Sturken Auto Repair we will fully support your Scion. Whether you need body work, maintenance, or major repairs, we will continue to service your Scion. We do not foresee any shortages of spare parts, as Scion is Toyota, so the parts will be available. Our experienced mechanics can take good care of your vehicle. So keep driving your Scion knowing that if the need arises – we are here ready to help.

Takata Airbag Recall

If you drive a Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru or a Toyota, you might have heard about the airbag recall. You may have even received a notice from your dealer. The Takata airbag recall has exceeded 34 million vehicles recalled in the United States alone.

If you received a notice, call your dealer to schedule an appointment. While some of the dealers still have pretty long wait times, many will be able to schedule replacement within a few days, often less than a week.
Takata airbags have been found to deploy with too much force, sending shrapnel into the interior of the vehicle. This is apparently due to moisture getting into the inflator and destabilizing the chemical compound responsible for the explosion that inflates the airbags – due to the moisture, the compound is more explosive than intended.

Bottom line – if you got a recall notice, call your dealer to get a free replacement. This work is done by dealers and is free of charge. Not quite sure if your car should have the airbags replaced – you can check your VIN here – this is a site provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – you can check if your car has had incomplete recall work done within the last 15 years.

Is your new Audi, BMW or Subaru burning too much oil?

Consumer Reports just released a result of its annual survey of car owners. One of the surprising results was that some newer cars (2010-2014) consumed as much as a quart of oil per month.

Such oil consumption is considered normal in older cars – those with over 100,000 miles – but for newer cars to be burning oil at that rate is unusual to say the least.

Consumer Reports went one step further, and called on the car makers to repair these cars under the powertrain warranty or to extend warranties.

Models most likely to experience this problem are:

Audi A3, A4, A5, A6 and Q5

BMW 5, 6, and 7 Series and X5

Subaru Outback, Legacy, Forester and Impreza

An article by AP cites Audi spokesman Bradley Stertz saying that “a class action lawsuit against Audi over oil consumption by the 2.0-Liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines is close to being settled without the company admitting liability or wrongdoing.”  The settlement affects 2009 A4, 2010 A4 and A5, and 2011 A4, A5 and Q5 models.

Various Toyota models manufactured between 2006 and 2011 have also been flagged for burning too much oil. The models include Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Solara, Toyota RAV4, and Scion (made by Toyota). Toyota Prius is also known for burning quite a bit of oil, sometimes as much as a quart every 2000 miles.

Lawsuits notwithstanding, whether these companies admit liability or not, if you drive one of their cars, do check the oil regularly, and keep an extra quart in the trunk, just in case.

38-Ford Announces Predictions for New Vehicle Technology

Ford Experts predict that sensor fusion, machine learning and “big data” will be among the next wave of technology in Ford vehicles—advancements that have significant implications for repairers.  New Ford models are becoming increasingly equipped with multiple sensors that heighten driver awareness, according to Ford.  For example, the 2013 Fusion has 145 actuators, 4,716 signals, and 74 sensors that monitor radar, sonar, cameras, accelerometers, temperature and rain. The sensors generate over 25 gigabytes of memory per hour that is processed by more than 70 computers.  Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s Chief Technology Officer, said in a prepared statement that the Fusion represents the future of Ford’s technological research and advancement.

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