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News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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Engine oil isn't the only fluid that needs to be changed

Q: I took my car to a new shop for routine maintenance service and am being told that there are other fluids – not just the engine oil – that need to be changed. This is the first time I have been told this, so I am just curious if it is really necessary.

A: Yes. Be happy that you have found a shop that checks those fluids.

These other fluids are in the cooling, power-steering, automatic-transmission and brake systems. They are all products that undergo temperature changes, have additive packages in them and require attention at specific intervals (determined by whether they are petroleum-based or synthetic).

The engine coolant turns acidic as it ages. When this happens, it will cause damage to the engine and cooling system components. Coolant in good condition will remain within the neutral range of the pH scale. A thorough service center will check coolant pH and recommend coolant changes when needed before damage occurs.

Brake-system fluid collects moisture from the environment and wear metal from the brake system itself. These contaminants cause damage and premature wear to the brake-system components, so the fluid-contaminate level should be checked at service intervals and changed as needed. Modern-day vehicles can boast brake-system components that cost as much as $1,500 or more to replace, so changing the fluid can save big money in repairs.

Power-steering system fluid breaks down over a period of time and picks up wear particles from the system hoses. Worn-out fluid causes premature wear in the system’s pump and steering rack. The hose debris will block the system’s small passageways. Changing this fluid when needed can also save thousands of dollars in repair costs.

Automatic-transmission fluid works especially hard in doing its job of connecting the engine to the drivetrain. It both lubricates and serves as a coupling agent in the transmission, and goes through a wide range of temperature changes every time the vehicle is driven. When this fluid breaks down, the result is premature wear of components inside the transmission.

Transmission replacement or rebuilding can cost $3,000 or more, so make sure to change that fluid. Note that synthetic automatic-transmission fluid has a much longer change interval than the petroleum-based fluid.

All of the above fluids require monitoring and changing, and fluid replacement must be done in its entirety. What is known as a “drain and refill” only replaces, on average, approximately 20 percent of the old fluid. The fluid is present throughout the vehicle systems, not just in the fluid receptacle. Special equipment is needed to ensure a 100 percent fluid change, so don’t hesitate to ask if your service center has invested in such equipment and will perform the correct service for you.

Please note, too, that as mentioned in last month’s article, it is important to make sure that the correct oil is being used during your oil change. Today’s vehicles may not only require a specific weight, but – based on the design and specifics of the engine – manufacturers also require certain additive packages to keep their engines running trouble-free for the long term.

Your vehicle’s fluids are its lifeblood. If you can’t remember the last time you had them checked, it is definitely time – especially as winter approaches. Prolong your vehicle’s life and help avoid big repair bills by keeping those fluids healthy.

Warren McCord is a Master Technician certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

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