Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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