Travel Tips

July 25, 2017

Keeping the Windshield Clean

    Most decisions while driving are made based on a clear and unobstructed view of the road ahead. Windshield wipers have a squeegee effect to them. Each time the thin rubber blade moves across the windshield, the droplets of water are then pulled away from your field of vision while driving. Some wiper blades may look okay, but they do a poor job of wiping the window when they are used. Other wiper blades are in worse shape and need replacing because they are cracked, split, or torn. No matter what the appearance is, if the wipers are chattering, streaking, or failing to wipe cleanly and consistently, the wiper blades should be replaced as soon as possible.     Over time, windshield wiper blades will begin to deteriorate because of environmental factors. Exposure to sunlight and atmospheric pollution can cause the rubber to age and wear down. As the windshield wiper blades age, they lose the flexibility and are less likely to wipe away cleanly. They may also develop a permanent curvature that prevents full contact with the window. The sun can harden the rubber on the wiper. When the wipers are used, they will smudge and chatter because they will not be able to follow the curvature of the window.     Heavy use on the wipers can be hard on them. Dust, debris, and road grime will wear away at the edge of the blades that need to be smooth. As the edge begins to deteriorate, water will get under the blade and remain on the window. This results in poor visibility out the window. Any blade that is chattering or doing a poor job of wiping should be replaced. Also, if you notice the blade is cracked, torn, or has any other damage, you should have them replaced as soon as possible. An easy way to test your windshield wipers is to do so on a dry day. Turn on the windshield washer and if the wiper blades are not in good condition, there will be chattering or washer solvent left on the window. If there is any damage to the wiper blades, make sure to have them replaced so you are provided with the best vision possible.     Besides inspecting the windshield wipers, it is important to check the wiper fluid as well. Sometimes a nozzle may be plugged with dirt or debris. A hose may also become kinked or has come loose. While checking the fluid, make sure the spray hits the windshield where it should. If it does not, the nozzles may need to be adjusted. Also make sure the windshield washer pump delivers an adequate stream of solvent. If the stream is weak, the vehicle may have a weak washer pump. The hose may also be clogged, kinked, or loose. Another thing to look at is the windshield washer reservoir. Most have a screen to filter out debris that could clog or damage the pump. If the screen has become blocked by debris, it can obstruct the flow of solvent to the washers. If you notice an issue with the windshield, make sure to contact us so we can inspect the windshield for you.
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 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.
September 1, 2016

Getting Your Vehicle Ready for the Upcoming School Year

  Having your car safe and reliable is important. One of the most important things you can do for your vehicle is bring it in for regular maintenance. This way we can inspect the parts and components of it. Over time, the parts will start to show signs of wear and tear. If you notice an issue with the vehicle, make sure to schedule an appointment so we can inspect it for you.   One of the most important things to inspect is the oil. The oil is important because it helps to lubricate the engine and other moving parts of the vehicle. Without oil, the parts will cause strain and stress with one another. This can lead to the vehicle needing to be repaired sooner than it typically should. When the oil is inspected, the filter should be as well. The oil filter helps collect dirt and grime from the oil and it transfers through it.   You can also take some time to check the reservoirs of the other fluids. If there is one that is lower, and it happens more often, bring the vehicle in and we can inspect it for a leak. If you ignore a leak, it can develop into a more serious issue and will need to be repaired. It will eventually be a large and costly repair bill as well.   Also remember to check the tires on your vehicle. These are important because they allow for a smoother and more comfortable ride when you drive. If you notice the tires are not properly inflated, bring it in so we can inspect them for you. The tires and spare tire should be inspected for the proper amount of air pressure, and condition that they are in.
April 8, 2016

What to Know about Potholes

      In the spring, the roads may seem like they are clean and clear, but did you know there can be an increase in potholes? Potholes are formed when water makes its way into the ground. Once there, the cold winter temperatures cause it to freeze, which also results in expansion that shifts the pavement around. When the water thaws and vehicles running over the spot, it will result in the pavement being pushed down into the hole caused by the freezing and thawing, thus forming a pothole.     While it is best to go over potholes slowly, you should avoid braking right before you hit one. This will likely cause your vehicle to nosedive right as you hit it, which can increase the amount of damage that can occur. You should also make sure to let off of your brakes right before your tire comes in contact with the hole as well. This will help your vehicle absorb more of the blow, rather than the brunt being solely on the tire and brake.     If you do hit a pothole, make sure to check for damage as soon as you can. If you notice something, it is better to have the issue fixed before it becomes worse. Schedule an appointment with us and we can inspect the vehicle to ensure it is in the best driving condition possible.