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Benefits of Regularly Changing Your Cabin Air Filter

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The cabin air filter is an often-overlooked vehicle component. It’s typically checked when you bring in your car for an oil change. Some customers decline to get it replaced, whether it’s because they don’t know how important it is, or because the service center is overcharging for the filter. However, changing your cabin air filter can make a huge difference in your vehicle’s performance. Read on to find some of the top reasons you should consider regularly changing out your cabin air filter.


Pollution is the most commonly cited reason to regularly change out your cabin air filter. Because the filter is basically all that stands between the exterior air and interior air of your car, the filter blocks a lot of the smog and dirty exhaust let out by other vehicles on the road. Regularly changing out your air filter helps ensure these undesirable pollutants don’t find their way into your car’s cabin.


It seems unlikely to find twigs and leaves inside your cabin air filter — these are larger objects that many assume wouldn’t get sucked into the filter. However, many drivers find their air filters clogged with leaves, twigs, acorns, and other natural debris, especially if they park in areas with a lot of trees or bushes. These can have a huge effect on the efficiency of your air system, and need to be removed.


Besides just pollutants and debris, cabin air filters also help drastically reduce the amount of allergens that can get into your vehicle. Pollen could easily get into your vehicle without the air filter, and the less often you change your filter, the more pollen will build up, which could cause more of it to get into your vehicle.

Reduced Efficiency

When your cabin air filter gets clogged, your air conditioner has to work harder to push cool air through the filter. This can result in a noisy or ineffective air conditioning system. This can be a huge pain during those hot summer months — if your air filter is full of debris and dirt, it’ll take way longer for your cabin to cool down.

Engine Strain

Because your air conditioner or heater has to work harder to cool or heat your car’s cabin area, your engine has to work harder to power these systems. Surprisingly, having a clogged filter can actually impact your fuel efficiency because your engine is having to put out more energy than it should.

Ideally you should get your cabin air filter changed every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, but it’s a good idea to consult your manual. Many vehicles have difficult-to-access filters, so its best to bring your car into the shop to get the filter changed out!

Need Service? Be sure to schedule an appointment today!  503-667-3900

Common A/C Issues & Causes

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If you’re not especially knowledgeable about cars, you may not know what parts are incorporated in your A/C system. Here we’ll break down some of the common symptoms. Most of these problems can be caused by a number of small and larger issues and, in some cases, it may be more than one thing. That’s why it’s important to check the entire system anytime there’s a problem. You may get lucky and only need to replace a faulty hose or recharge the A/C.

• The A/C is blowing warm air. This might seem to happen all at once or it may happen gradually. The air flow is as strong but the air isn’t as cool. This is often caused by a leak, but it can also be caused by clogs or damaged parts, such as the condenser, blower, or compressor. A leak by itself is often easy to fix and not very expensive. If left un-repaired for a long time, though, it can compromise the system and cause further damage.

• The air isn’t blowing out as strong as before. Sometimes your air is blowing out and it’s cool, but it’s simply not blowing out as strong as it did. You might crank up the A/C to the highest setting and still only feel as if you have it on low or medium. This can be caused by a few issues. It may be something as simple as a loose hose or seal that needs to be replaced. It might be something a bit more invasive, like a faulty fan. This can also be caused by a buildup of mildew in the system.

• The A/C isn’t consistent. Sometimes you can have a problem that comes and goes. These can be the most frustrating because a mechanic will often tell you there’s no problem. The mechanic needs to experience the issue when they check the car. They need to recreate the issue in order to diagnose and fix it. If your A/C sometimes runs fine and then sometimes won’t, there might be a few different causes. This might be something as simple as a blown fuse or a leak in one of the seals. It might be something more serious, like an issue with your compressor or the compressor clutch. There may also be a clog somewhere in the system.

• Foul Smell. If your air conditioner is emitting a bad smell, it often means that there’s mold or mildew built up within the system. It may also mean that the filter needs to be changed.

The best way to keep your A/C system healthy is by having the whole system checked when you have your oil changed and car maintenance done. Some issues will cause further damage if they’re not taken care of quickly. That’s not to say that the compressor can’t go or you won’t need to ever repair your A/C. But the better maintained you keep it, the better your chances to avoid costly repairs.
Call us with any questions or if you’d like to make an appointment. 503-667-3900

Pre/Post Purchase Inspections

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If you do not purchase new vehicles, a pre-purchase inspection is absolutely essential. Apart from regular oil and filter services, nothing has the potential to save you more money in the long term. Orient Auto Service recommends it before purchasing any vehicle that is not being sold under the manufacturer’s “Pre-Owned Certified” plan.*  One of the most difficult parts of our job is explaining to a client that they were overcharged, sold an unsafe vehicle, or otherwise taken advantage of. Sadly, when we inspect vehicles that have already been purchased, the majority need at least $1000 in maintenance and repairs.

Our pre-purchase inspection is very similar to the detailed inspection performed by dealers during the manufacturer’s pre-owned certification process. A post-purchase inspection is essentially the same, but performed after the vehicle has been purchased.

Once we have completed our inspections, the results will be provided to the potential buyer that includes a list of needed services, repairs and potential upcoming expenses.

In addition to the Full Vehicle Inspection, Pre or Post Purchase inspections include:

  • Complete Exterior Inspection – Inspect general body condition
  • Complete Interior Inspection – Confirm that the spare tire, tools, interior trim and restraints are present (and in working order), check for mold, headliner condition, all interior controls, gauges, lighting, climate control, etc.
  • Check engine components such as electrical systems (battery, alternator, starter), spark plug condition, visible wiring and connector conditions, check for leaks, check all fluids, engine air filter, etc.
  • Drivetrain and Chassis Inspection – includes bumper to bumper undercarriage inspection, frame, exhaust, suspension, brakes & tires
  • Functional Test of Vehicle Systems – Confirm that the warning lights, controls, infotainment functions, seat controls, switches and other items are in working order.
  • Road Test – Drive the vehicle at a variety of speeds, while inspecting the operation of the engine, transmission, driveline, brakes, suspension and steering.
  • Diagnostic System Test – Communicate with all vehicle systems and check for diagnostic trouble codes.
  • Check all Fluids

Call us with any questions or to schedule an inspection.  503-667-3900

*Many new and used car dealers use some version of the phrase “Certified Pre-Owned”, but an actual manufacturer-certified pre-owned vehicle will only be sold by a dealer of the same make (only Toyota dealers can sell Toyota certified pre-owned vehicles, for example). The certification process begins with detailed inspection. Any maintenance or repairs needed are typically performed before the vehicle is put up for sale. If the vehicle has a “restored/salvage” title or evidence of major collision damage, they are not eligible for the program. The details vary by manufacturer, but certified pre-owned vehicles almost always include an extension of the factory warranty. In rare cases, we have found issues with vehicles from those programs, but they are generally safe to purchase without an independent inspection. Certified vehicles are usually more expensive, but the cost is partially offset by the additional warranty coverage, lack of immediate maintenance and repair costs, and peace of mind.

Coronavirus and your car

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I know many people are worried and concerned about the Coronavirus Pandemic. Here at Orient Auto Service we take your health and your vehicles health seriously. No one here is ill, we are taking extra precautions on our part to keep us and you healthy. We are sanitizing keys and all hard surfaces, our technicians as always wear gloves to protect you and your car. If you have any concerns please give us a call and we are happy to talk to you.  Give us a call and let us take care of you.  Donna

Electronic Stability Control – Auto Repair

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Electronic Stability Control (ESC) – What does it do?
ESC uses sensors in the car (wheel speed sensors, steering wheel position sensors, etc) to determine which direction the driver wants the car to go, and compares that to which way the car is actually going. If the system senses that a skid is imminent or has already started, in other words, that the car is not going in the directions the driver is telling it to go, it will apply the brakes on individual wheels to bring the car back under control. Because the system can brake individual wheels, whereas the driver can only brake all wheels at once, ESC can recover from skids that a human driver cannot.

Fuel System Cleaning – Gresham Auto Repair

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Let’s talk about fuel. Fuel (gasoline) is delivered to your engine to burn and generate the power needed to keep your engine running. This fuel leaves a residue as it moves through your fuel system. This may not seem like much, but it can cause big problems. Gum and varnish build up inside fuel rails, throttle body and injectors. It’s like plaque build-up in your arteries it restricts free flow of fuel and can even clog your fuel injectors. Poor idle, hesitation, and poor fuel economy may all be caused by a dirty fuel induction system. Let OAS perform a fuel system cleaning service for you soon. Call (503) 667-3900 for an appointment.

What Are CV Boots & Joints

By | Gresham Auto Repair | No Comments

Most front wheel drive cars transmit power to the wheels through flexible axles call Constant Velocity Joints and are attached to the drive shaft. These are covered with rubber boots and packed with grease to lubricate the joint and keep water and debris out. If the rubber boots deteriorate and split open, the protective grease is slung out with the spinning of the axle. When this happens moisture and road grime get into the joint causing it to fail. Caught early, you may only need to replace the boot; most often however, the entire axle may need to be replaced. If you hear a clicking or popping noise when turning, this could be the problem. Call OAS for an appointment (503) 667-3900

Gresham Auto Repair – Importance of Fluid Choice

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Once upon a time, you could get away with putting just about any fluid in a vehicle. Today, put the wrong oil in an engine and you might cut it’s life down to a few weeks. This goes for all of the other fluids in a vehicle as well. If you put the wrong oil in a ‘CVT’ trans-axle and you won’t get out of the parking lot. The wrong coolant or coolant blend and the heat exchangers might begin leaking within hours.

Using an incorrect brake fluid could result in an accident or legal liability. The wrong transmission fluid can lead to poor shifting or worse regardless whether its an automatic or manual transmission. The wrong power steering fluid can change the life of the steering rack and pump. It can also effect the braking system on vehicles with the hydro-boost.

Use the wrong oil in an A/C system, especially the high-volume units in a hybrid, and you could end up replacing every A/C component on the car to correct the mistake.

If you suspect that someone put the wrong fluid in your car, call OAS immediately for an appointment. (503) 667-3900

Cheap Auto Parts = Your Enemy

By | Gresham Auto Repair | No Comments

A while back I was backing my 2005 Acura out of the driveway when a loud thump sounded from under the hood accompanied by a gaggle of illuminated warning indicators and an immediate loss of power steering assist. I took a peak under the hood to reveal a broken belt tensioner. The car has 180,000 miles on the clock so it didn’t owe me anything. Around the corner at the local mass-franchise parts house, I paid X dollars for a replacement belt tensioner. I was told that it was a brand name, and it looked OK, but not exactly the same as the original equipped one. The price seamed a bit high but I paid it because I needed the car that weekend.

A few thousand miles later, the tensioner failed in such a way that the pulley was out of line with the other belt pulleys. It started tossing belts every few days. I had enough and threw the aftermarket tensioner in the trash and bought a new tensioner from Acura. It was less money and it has been on my car now for many thousand miles. Aftermarket parts = Your Enemy

If you have aftermarket parts giving you trouble, give OAS call for an appointment. (503) 667-3900