March 27, 2015

Safety Inspections for Spring

The winter months can take a toll on your vehicles parts and components. With spring approaching, it is the perfect time to have one of our technicians inspect all aspects of your vehicle that you might have neglected during those cold, icy winter months. Doing general vehicle maintenance is important after such brutal weather because the cold can cause different components of your vehicle to crack and break. This can cause you major headaches if these problems are not caught. Regular vehicle maintenance should continue during the spring too to ensure top performance of your vehicle. What should be Done During a Safety Inspection Driving conditions are significantly improved during the spring when compared to the winter months. However, it is still important to perform key vehicle inspections. A spring vehicle inspection will begin with checking for proper tire inflation. Heat causes things to expand, which can hinder your tire’s air pressure. At the same time, tires should be evaluated for sufficient tread. In most parts of the country, springtime often means for frequent rain showers, making it critically important to have well-functioning wiper blades and sufficient quantities of washer fluid. Your wiper blades should not be ragged or improperly installed. Often times the ice during the winter months can cause your wiper blades to fall apart. Purchasing high quality wiper blades is beneficial in that it often results in better contact with the windshield surface and therefore makes for a clearing windshield. Don’t Forget to Check these on your Vehicle Often times small things are overlooked that are potentially the most important aspects of a vehicle inspection. It is important to check to make sure that your headlights are shinning bright as possible and illuminating the road. The headlights will alert other drivers so they can see you. You should pay close attention to your antifreeze and oil levels. Check for holes and faulty filters to prevent leaks. Testing your battery is one of the final steps to an inspection. Test your battery and alternator to avoid an unexpected loss of power. This test is simple and can be done with the proper equipment available through your local mechanic. Early spring is a good time to check the air conditioning components in your vehicle. Doing this before summer arrives allows you to get in your car and escape the brutal heat of summer. The salt used on the roads during icy conditions can eat away and corrode the metal of your vehicle. A thorough cleaning at a car wash should be done to prevent any damage to the frame of your car. A Safety Kit is Beneficial After a thorough spring safety inspection, do not forget to check your backseat. Every vehicle should always contain an emergency kit regardless of the season it is outside. A safety kit should include a flashlight, batteries, blankets, non-perishable snacks and drinking water. With your inspection done and an emergency kit in place, both you and your vehicle should be ready for the spring weather ahead.
March 20, 2015

Why it is Important to have the Tires Rotated

To help maintain the condition of your tires, they should be inspected on a regular basis. Tires should be serviced periodically following the rotation patterns provided in the vehicle’s owner’s manual or as established by the industry. Using tire rotation as a preventative maintenance will equalize front-to-rear and side-to-side wear rates while enhancing wear quality and pattern noise. Any minor differences in front-to-rear tread depth between tires that might be encountered immediately after periodic tire rotations at 3,000-5,000 mile intervals will not upset the vehicle’s hydroplaning balance and should not preclude rotating tires. For that matter, any differences in wear rates actually indicate that tire rotations should be done more frequently. The Benefits of Tire Rotation Tire rotation can be beneficial in several ways. When done at the recommended times, it can preserve balanced handling and traction and even out tire wear. Tire rotation can even provide performance advantages. We recommend that tires be rotated every 3,000 to 5,000 miles even if they do not show signs of wear. Tire rotation can often be done with oil change intervals while the vehicle is off the ground. This can also be a good time to have your tires rebalanced if the vehicle has developed a vibration. It’s also a good time to inspect the tires for any damage, remove stones or debris from the tire treads, check for uneven wear by checking the tire tread depth and of course, checking your tire pressure. Improving the Tire Wear Tire rotation helps even out tire wear by allowing each tire to serve in as many of the vehicle’s wheel positions as possible. Remember, tire rotation cannot correct wear problems due to worn mechanical parts or incorrect inflation pressures. While vehicles are typically equipped with four tires, usually the tires on the front axle need to accomplish very different tasks than the tires on the rear axle. The tasks encountered on a front-wheel drive vehicle are considerably different than those of a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Tire wear experienced on a performance vehicle will usually be more severe than that of a family sedan. Each wheel position can cause different wear rates and different types of tire wear. All Four Tires Need to be Rotated It is an advantage when all four tires wear together because as wear reduces a tire’s tread depth, it allows all four tires to respond to the driver’s input more quickly, maintains the handling and helps increase the tire’s cornering traction. When your tires wear out together, you can get a new set of tires without being forced to buy pairs. If you replace tires in sets of four, you will maintain the original handling balance. If you replace your tires in sets of four, it allows you to experience today’s technology, instead of being forced to match yesterday’s. If you are unsure when the tires should be rotated, make sure to bring the vehicle in. We can inspect the vehicle and the tires for you. This will help you to have a comfortable and reliable ride when you drive.
March 13, 2015

What to if your Vehicle Breaks Down on the Road

Before you travel on a vacation, getaway, or even daily commutes. Make sure your vehicle is working in the best condition possible. You should also bring your vehicle in so we can inspect parts and components for you. When in proper working condition and all safety measures pre checked and good to go, road trips can be an enjoyable adventure. If a vehicle has not been kept up or maintained, it could cause for some unexpected part failures. The main problem here is vehicle awareness. Many are not aware of the simply tasks that are required in order to keep a vehicle in proper running condition every day. Unfortunately, many think that just my getting regular oil changes, tire rotations is enough to keep a vehicle healthy. In many cases this is true, but as the saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry, and checking multiple points will help ensure a vehicle is working properly. Likewise, many believe that before they go on a trip, checking tire pressure and wearing a seat belt will keep them safe. Anti Theft Devices that you can Invest in When buying a new vehicle, or even when updating an older model, there are several steps to be taken that can help improve the safety of your passengers. One such aspect is implementing an anti theft device, which can help locate a stolen vehicle should your car be taken. However, these anti theft devices can also keep a vehicle from being stolen or broken into in the first place. Many vehicles are equipped with a loud alarm, meant to deter burglars. More complicated systems will also send a message to an outside source, which will then contact you. If you accidentally set off the alarm there will be no harm done. If the vehicle is being burglarized or vandalized, the outside source will contact law enforcement. The Benefits of AAA Another way to gain peace of mind in the event of a breakdown is by joining AAA. Ranging in services, the company can provide you with roadside assistance, should your vehicle break down, no matter your location. This service is meant to add convenience, but also safety. If you are away from home, you can rely on AAA to tow you to a nearby service shop. If you are close to home, AAA allows you to be towed home or to a place where the vehicle can be fixed for you. Be aware of your Insurance Policy Finally, check on your current insurance policies to see what is covered. Some policies will cover towing, certain vehicle maintenances, or roadside assistance. There are many outlets available to help ensure road trips and unexpected breakdowns can go as smoothly as possible. Insurance companies, mechanic shops, AAA, and anti theft devices are all working toward making vehicles as safe as possible. To help vehicle owners be aware of their vehicles and what steps should be taken to keep them in prime working condition. That way, when there is a mechanical or theft problem, you can get back on the road and driving to your destination as quickly as possible.
March 6, 2015

Maintaining the Tires on Your Vehicle

Part of owning a vehicle is that you want to keep it in the best condition possible. One part that is often overlooked until there is an issue is the tires. The maintenance of your tires can be a fairly easy thing to do and can save time, energy, money, and maybe even a headache or two. Many people do not think of, or worry about maintaining their tires. Between regular visits, make sure that you inspect the tires yourself. Check the tires for the correct air pressure in them. Also make sure the tread is wearing properly. If the tread is uneven, the tires are probably rotating incorrectly. We can inspect the tires to see if a rotation or an alignment would be needed. Tire Pressure is Important It is a good idea to check your tire pressure on a consistent basis. Once a month or is a good rule. Some more recent model vehicles have a built in computer that do this for you. A warning will show up when a tire is low on air pressure, and which one is the culprit. But for those of us who need to do this on our own, buy yourself a reliable air pressure gauge and keep it in your glove department. Also you can bring your vehicle in so we can inspect the tire pressure for you. If you start to notice one tire is lower than the rest, make sure to bring it in as soon as possible so we can inspect it. More than likely there is a leak somewhere in the rim or tire, so it is important to bring it in as soon as possible. Inspect the Spare Tire Besides checking the tires, also make sure you check the spare tire. This is important because you will have to rely on your spare tire until you go to a place where the regular tire can be repaired or replaced. If you are not sure where the spare tire is in your vehicle, we can alert you to where it is. It is also recommended that you know how to replace the tire. When driving on the spare tire, you should not drive more than fifty miles per hour. Also, you should not drive more than fifty miles in distance on the tire. This is because the tire is smaller than the standard size tires and is designed as a temporary solution until the tire can be repaired or replaced. Why the Tires are Important As mentioned before, it is important to check your tires’ air pressure every so often. It is just as important to check the air pressure in your spare tires. Imagine you reach in to get the spare tire and it is flat. This can happen very easily if you fail to check the air pressure on your spare tire often. Sitting around doing nothing tends to sap the air out of tires. Rims can easily leak air if not completely sealed, especially in the cold winter months. We can also inspect the spare tire for you so it is able to be used when you need it to be.  
March 2, 2015

Knowing the Difference Between Automatic and Manual Transmissions

Deciding whether to purchase a vehicle with an automatic or manual transmission can be tricky because there are pros and cons to both. It is necessary that you evaluate your needs before buying either type of vehicle to make sure that you are making a good decision both monetarily and practically. If you are constantly multitasking in the vehicle, it might be safer for you to purchase an automatic transmission. Understanding the basic differences between the different styles of transmissions is the first place to begin when doing research. A manual transmission is shifted by the driver of the vehicle while an automatic is shifted automatically as the engine speeds up. This means that an automatic transmission is more complicated, and therefore more expensive, than a manual transmission. Power, maintenance, fuel economy and operation are also elements that you should consider when making this type of decision. It is important to purchase a vehicle or truck that works well for your specific needs, whatever they might be. Knowing what the Costs will Be If you want to save money up front on the cost of the vehicle, and over time, it might be a good idea to choose a manual transmission. Manual transmissions are generally less expensive than automatics because they have fewer parts and are easy to install in a vehicle. In fact, manuals are often placed in stock cars that have not had any, or many, upgrades from the factory. You can save approximately $1000 up front by choosing a manual over an automatic. If money is not an issue you should choose a vehicle based upon other factors, but if you are worried about overall costs a manual can save you money. How much Power the Transmission has In most cases a manual transmission gives you greater control over the power of the vehicle than an automatic transmission. This is because you can change the gear in a manual whenever you want, allowing the engine to rev up higher first. When speeding up quickly this allows you to go a little faster than if you did not have control over the gears. Mufflers can help ensure that manual transmissions do not get too loud when you are speeding along, and solid suspension systems are also important in racing cars. Some automatic transmissions have a lot of power, however, so it is important to test drive both to decide which style you prefer. Other Considerations A manual transmission is more difficult to drive than an automatic because you have to be more engaged in the driving process at all times. Some people love this while others prefer to be able to multitask or be more relaxed on the road. In addition, some manual transmissions have better fuel economy while others do not. It is important to compare specifications for fuel before making a decision. The perfect vehicle for you is fun, easy and fits into your budget, so make sure to do some research before your next purchase.