Safe Driving Tips

March 2, 2018

Clearing off the Windshield and Vehicle before you Drive

  In the winter you will want to make sure that your vehicle is cleared off completely before you drive. The best way to do this, and the most effective way is to first start your vehicle. Turn on the defrost for your vehicle, front and rear windshield, and turn the heat on high. If you notice an issue with the defroster or heater of your vehicle, make sure to schedule an appointment and bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you. Use a brush to wipe off all the snow from the car, making sure the front grill is clear. You will want to make sure the snow and any ice chunks are removed from the hood and roof of your vehicle. When you drive, the snow can blow onto the windshield and cause poor visibility or freeze on the windshield. It could also blow and impair the visibility of other drivers on the road as well. As the engine warms the car from the inside, get scraping from the outside. Don’t wipe windows with your hands – your mitts will leave greasy smudges. Scrape not only just an area you can see from, but the entire windshield and side windows on the vehicle. You will also want to check the side mirrors to ensure they are free from ice and snow. You will need to use them to check for vehicles beside or behind you. As you clear off the windshield, remember to never use boiling water on glass. The rapid expansion and contraction of the ice can cause the screen to crack. Instead, keep the defroster running, and scrape the ice, snow, or frost off with a scraper. It’s worth waiting an extra few minutes to make sure your car is safe to drive before you head out in the icy weather.
February 1, 2018

Strange Noises from Your Vehicle

If you notice some unusual noises from your vehicle, make sure to contact us so we can inspect it for you. An odd noise that is heard often can mean there is an issue with the vehicle. By having the issue looked at as soon as possible, you can help reduce the chance of further damage being done to your vehicle in the long run. The sound of a loud squeak coming from under the hood of your car is often due to slippage of a worn or damaged accessory belt. The squeaking is caused by aging belts becoming loose and losing traction. Sometimes you can even see that the sides of old belts have become shiny glazed. Squeaky belts may need to be replaced, so if this noise is coming from under the hood of your vehicle, it may be the belts.   If your car produces a hissing noise when it is running, it may be a vacuum leak, meaning a vacuum line may be damaged. This issue may also cause your check engine light to go on. Hearing a hissing noise from under your car’s hood may be an indication that it’s time to bring the vehicle in so we can properly inspect it for you.   A squeal coming from any of your wheels can be a brake pad issue. Brake pads wear down through usage, and today’s pads are designed with a band of metal that becomes exposed at the end of a pad’s life cycle. When these metal tabs come into contact with your rotors, you hear that squealing noise, which is a high-pitched reminder that it’s time to get your brake pads inspected, and likely replaced.   Worn brake pads, if not fixed, will eventually wear away completely, and the sound of metal on metal will result in a horrible grinding noise. This also means that along with your brake pads, your brake rotors may need repair or replacement. The brakes are an important part of your vehicle, so do not delay when it comes to having them repaired. If you notice any odd noise or sound from your vehicle, make sure to contact us so we can inspect it for you.  
December 29, 2017

Driving your Vehicle in Winter

  When snow falls, even in small amounts, it can be time consuming to clear off your vehicle. Clearing off the vehicle completely is important for your safety, as well as the safety of others. It is important to clean off your entire vehicle, including all windows and even the side mirrors. It can also help to decrease the chance of ice and snow falling off your vehicle and causing an accident for someone else. While cleaning off your vehicle, it is important to remember how to properly remove the snow and ice. Clearing off snow and ice the wrong way could damage part of the vehicle’s surface. When you remove snow from your vehicle, never use a shovel. It is easy to get the shovel too close to the surface of the vehicle, even while being careful. Shovels that are metal or plastic have hard edges that are designed to scrape along the ground to remove the bottom layers of ice and snow. These edges can leave scratches and gouges in the surface of the vehicle.     If there is ice on the vehicle, make sure to remove it correctly by lifting it off. The tendency is to push off any ice chunks that may be on the vehicle. This can cause an issue because when ice is pushed off the vehicle, the bottom of the ice can slide along the surface. This can result in fine scratches on the vehicle.   It is recommended to turn the vehicle on and let it warm up before you drive it. This can be an effective way to slowly melt the ice off the vehicle. It is important not to use the ice scraper on any part of the vehicle other than the windows. The hard plastic is designed to scrape ice off the windows, and may result in scratches if you use it on any part of the vehicle that is painted. Heating your vehicle up also helps to warm up the oil so the engine can perform better. Best of all, the interior of your vehicle will be warmed up too, so you will be more comfortable.
December 5, 2017

Windshield Wipers are Needed Even in Winter

  It might not seem like it, but windshield wipers are needed as much in the winter, as they are in the summer. This is because wipers can remove the snow, sleet, and any other forms of precipitation from the winter. They will also have to deal with more because of the wear and tear they take on freezing temperatures and operating over ice. It is always best to scrape the windshield so it is clear of frost and ice, before you use the windshield wipers. This will help to prevent further damage to them, and having them wear out sooner than they should.   It is recommended to change the windshield wipers at least twice a year. It could also be more often based on how often the wipers are used, and what the weather conditions are. If you are not sure if the wipers should be changed, make sure to contact us and we can inspect them for you.   If you notice a chattering or any other issues with the windshield wipers, it could be a sign that new windshield wipers are needed. This will continue to get worse with time. When the wipers start to wear out, they will no longer clean the windshield efficiently. Other signs could be any smear or streak marks it leaves behind when they operate. Over time this will cause impaired vision when you drive. The poorly cleaned window will reduce the chance that you see other vehicles, animals, or objects that may be on the road.   Also remember to keep the windshield washer fluid reservoir topped off. By making sure it is filled to the appropriate amount, you will have enough to clear the windshield if there is road grime on it. You should also consider having extra washer fluid in the vehicle as well. That way if you run out, you can refill the reservoir no matter where you are. If you notice any issues with your vehicle or windshield wipers, make sure to contact us and make an appointment so we can inspect it for you.
December 4, 2017

Maintaining the Headlights for your Vehicle

You will want to always have your vehicle in the best condition possible. This includes maintaining the headlights, and inspecting all the lights of your vehicle. Over time your vehicle’s headlights will burn out or the electrical system may go bad as it ages dimming or outing one or more of your lights. Headlights have also proven to get rather dirty over time. Once a month you should check to make sure that their vehicles headlights are working properly and are in good condition. Headlight lenses become cloudy and dirty over time. This can diffuse the beams of your headlights, which makes it harder for you to see and be seen. So if you notice that your lenses are foggy or yellowing, make sure to contact us so we can inspect the vehicle and lights for you Also headlights naturally dim over time. So even though they are working, you may still need to have them replaced. You can check their brightness by parking on a level surface about five feet from your garage door or a building wall. Turn your headlights on. The light on the wall from your headlights should be bright white. If they appear to be dim or yellow, you should replace them. While you are inspecting the brightness of your lights, you should also check that the beams are aimed well. Both sides should hit the same spot on the wall. If your lights are aimed too high or too low, you may be creating a blind spot for other drivers. When you do this it affects their ability to see the road and you. Potholes can often cause misaligned headlights, which is one more reason to try and avoid them. If you notice your lights need are not angled properly, you should bring your car into a mechanic to have them adjusted. You should always replace both headlights at the same time. Headlights dim over their lifetime, so if you change only one you will have one light that is brighter than the other. This creates an uneven field of vision which can be majorly distracting for not only you, but for oncoming traffic as well. If you notice an issue, make sure to contact us so we can inspect the lights for you.