January 20, 2017

Tire Pressure in Winter

Inspecting the tires is important. When the temperature drops, air contracts and as the molecules get closer together, the reduction in volume causes tires to lose their pressure. Before you know it, your tires are underinflated. From oil changes to sparkplug replacements, most vehicle owners understand that regular maintenance is necessary to keep their vehicle roadworthy. Often, tire maintenance is often viewed as lower priority leaving something as important as tire pressure all but forgotten. A tire can be as much as 50% under inflated before it is even visibly noticeable. Under inflated tires greatly increase braking distances and can dramatically affect steering and handling. Additionally, under inflation can cause irregular wear, meaning your tires will wear out a lot quicker and cost you more money in the end. In a worst case scenario under inflated tires can overheat, which sometimes causes blowouts, so be sure to check the tires regularly. Vehicles with under inflated tires get poorer gas mileage than vehicles with properly inflated tires. Under inflated tires put more tire surface in contact with the road, causing more rolling resistance and friction with the road. The result is poor gas mileage and higher fuel costs. Depending on how often you fill up, that can lead to hundreds of dollars over the space of a single year. Check your tire pressure regularly during the winter months. Most new vehicles come equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) but if you drive an older model vehicle, you will need to take it upon yourself to remain vigilant. As the temperature drops from day to day you may find that tires that were fine yesterday are underinflated the next day. Keep that in mind if the TPMS warning light flashes on an especially cold morning. To achieve proper tire pressure, use the inflation pressure guide recommended by the manufacturer. You will usually find this information in your owner’s manual, on your vehicle’s doorjamb, or on the inside of the glove box door. If you notice anything with the tires or your vehicle, make sure to bring it in as soon as possible so we can inspect it for you.  
January 10, 2017

Tips for Driving on Snow and Ice

  Driving on ice and snow is inevitable during the winter months. The best thing to do is to slow down and take your time getting to your destination. If you anticipate the roads might be in a less than ideal condition, make sure to leave early to allow plenty of time to get there.   Always make sure the tires have the proper amount of tread to them. This helps them to grip the road and have adequate traction when you are traveling. In some instances, it may be wise to invest in snow tires so your vehicle can be as stable as possible on the road.   Replacing the windshield wiper blades should be done at least once a year. It is ideal to replace them twice a year, or whenever they start to show signs of wear. The wiper blades should be inspected so that they are free of any cracks, rips, or other damage. If you notice any damage to them, they should be replaced as soon as possible. Also watch for how they are cleaning the windshield. If the blades are leaving streaks or leaving water left behind when they are in operation, that is a sign they are wearing.   Turn on the headlights so that other drivers can see you. This can help with the safety of you and those around you. Make sure that the headlights and taillights are clear of any snow, ice, or any other buildup that might be on them. In some cases, you may need to invest in a new set of lenses so the light can illuminate the area more effectively.   As a rule of thumb, if the road looks slick, it probably is. This is especially true for any black ice situations. Black ice is nearly transparent and will often look like a water puddle. In some cases, the black ice is invisible and you will not realize you are on it until you start to feel your vehicle slide slightly. If you are ever on black ice, try not to slam on the brakes, as this can cause you to lose control of the vehicle. Bridges and intersections are a common place for issues to occur. Use caution when approaching these areas. If an area poses difficult driving, it is likely to be in the same condition when ice or snow falls again. Being prepared for possible poor road conditions can help get you to your destination safely.
January 3, 2017

Why the Transmission is Needed

  The transmission uses the power of your vehicle to move the engine at various speeds. A car will either have automatic transmission or manual transmission. Automatic vehicles perform all the work for you such as shifting from precise operating systems. Manual transmissions are run entirely by the driver.   Transmission fluid is used to lubricate all the components of your car’s transmission. This allows for the parts to move among one another more smoothly and produce less friction and heat. It also helps your engine operate at its peak performance, so having it under your hood is important. Transmission fluid is typically red or green and every car requires a specific type of transmission fluid in order to operate correctly.   Automatic and manual transmission fluid is different in how it is made. Automatic transmission fluid is made up of synthetic liquids and oils that are combined with chemical compounds. Manual transmission fluids are made up of motor oil, gear oil and occasionally of automatic transmission fluid. Because of the harmful chemicals that are associated with transmission fluid, it is important to keep it up and out of reach of individuals.   You should watch your RPMs while you drive and shift. If your vehicle is revving much higher than it normally does at lower speeds, this is a sign of internal problems with your transmission. By listening to your engine, you are able to notice a loud sound while accelerating. This may signify that your manual transmission could be having difficulties shifting gears and your parts are grinding together. Be aware of odd smells coming from your engine. If odors or smoke are detected, you should pull your vehicle over immediately. If your vehicle is not responding as it should, this is an indicator you might have a failing transmission. By making yourself aware of signs that something might be wrong with your transmission, you can detect and diagnose problems much faster.   Without your transmission your vehicle will not be able to operate, which is why you should take steps to prolong the life of the transmission. By down shifting your automatic transmission while exiting off a highway off-ramp, you are making your engine slow down too quickly. This can cause gears to wear against each other, which can potentially cause a leak or crack in your transmissions components. Make sure to only shift your automatic transmission for instance, from reverse to drive, when you are completely stopped. Shifting when your vehicle is still in motion overworks the u-joints and causes additional stress on the transmission.