Wed07302014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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