•  Towing Safety Tips
  •  Driving Around Trailers & Big Rigs
  •  Trailer Tune Up
  •  Tow Vehicle 101
  •  Cool Technology
  •  Air Conditioner
  •  Cooling your hot car
  •  Keeping Your Engine Cool
  •  Roadtrip Checklist
  •  Tailgating
  •  Impaired Drivers
  •  Party Safety
  •  4th of July Road Trip
  •  Pre trip service
  •  Roadside Assistance
  •  Emergency Kit
  •  Travel Planning
  •  Teen Driving
  •  Avoiding an Accident
  •  After an Accident
  •  Tire Blowouts
  •  Tire Mainenence
  •  Performance Tires
  •  Economy Tires
  •  Comfort Tires
  •  Replacement Tires
  •  Oil Pressure
  •  Headlights
  •  Brake Lights
  •  Other Fluids
  •  Gasoline
  •  Engine Light

Air conditioner service

This month we have been covering various topics about keeping your car cool during the summer time.  Today, we're discussing one essential button in your car that can make all the difference when the summer heat is turned up full force.  That button we're refering to, is the AIR CONDITIONER!!!  If you haven't had your air conditioner properly serviced over the past year, you may have a few common problems that will keep that button from working properly.  

 

1) Make sure your cabin air filter is clean; if it’s gummed up, that cool air isn’t getting pushed into your interior.

 

2) The AC condenser looks like a small radiator in the front of your engine & it often gets filled with road debris; leaves & bugs & dirt...if that’s clogged, your AC won’t cool as much.  Some spray cleaner and a hose can work wonders.  

 

3) Then there’s the actual refrigerant the system uses to create the cold air; while you CAN recharge it yourself, you HAVE to do it correctly.  Too much refrigerant can actually cause MORE damage to your system.

 

And that’s why when your AC is making you hot, I recommend taking your vehicle to one of our trusted car care pros here in town.  

Keep your parked car cool

You know that moment when you pull your car door open after it’s been baking in the sun all day and you feel like you have just entered into a sauna?  Then, as you start to break a sweat, your car’s air conditioner has to fight off all that heat before you ever start to cool off.  Does this scenario sound familiar right about now?  There is nothing we can do to change the temperatures in August, but there are a couple things you can do to keep things nicer inside here over the course of a hot day.

1) Don’t be afraid to crack your windows a little bit.  Even a slit just an inch or so on each side is enough to drop the temps but not big enough for anyone to reach inside.  

 

2) Another thing you can do is open the windows on both sides of your car right when you get inside.  As you get yourself situated for your drive, that hot air is getting pushed out.  

 

3) It’s the old standby, a window shade.  These really do work to keep things cooler inside.  Get a second one for the rear window too.  

 

4) For those of you with your remote start, don't forget to crank that up!  This will help tremendously!

 

5) If you are going to have your car parked all day, see if there are any shade options around.

 

And if you need a hand with keeping your car cool, make sure to stop by & visit our trusted car care pros here in town.  

Keeping your engine cool

At this time of year it doesn't really matter where in the country you are, it is going to be hot.  We are square into the heat of the Summer and your car is taking a beating everyday: hot temperatures mean that your engine is getting in a good workout.  If you’re keen to your dashboard, you’ll notice that the temperature gauge reads a bit higer this time of year.  That’s normal as long as it doesn’t move too much.  When that needle creeps towards the far side things go bad in a hurry.  Check your owners manual for your car’s specifics, but a rule of thumb is to change your engine’s coolant every 2 years.

Think it's time to get your car checked out?  With help from our trusted car care pros here in town, it’s easy to do yourself at home or you can have them do it for you.  It’s quick & will help ensure your car makes it through the heat, cool as can be.

Summer road trip checklist

All month long we’ve talked about using your vehicle on holiday trips, parties and the things you see while on the road. With school starting back up in just a few short weeks, everyone is prepping for their last vacation road trip of the season.  Today, we’re going to make sure your car or truck is up to snuff with my summertime road trip checklist to keep you and your family safe on the road.

 

1) Check The Air In Your Tires. Pressure changes with temperature so if you last checked it in January, they may be WAY off here in the summer.

 

2) Next is your cabin air filter: you’ve got the AC on a bunch & this filter keeps the air free of contaminants.

 

3) Another thing we overlook: windshield wipers. Out in the sun all day long, they dry out & crack. Check them now before you need them...only to find out they’re leaving big streaks right across your glass.

 

4) Start your car with a full tank of gas.  This way you will eliminate another stop on the way to your destination.

 

5) Get your car battery checked.  

 

6) If you need an oil change, go ahead and get that done before your leave.

 

7) A good music playlist on your iPhone never hurts to add some entertainment and sing along in the car.  

 

And when you need a hand with any of these, make sure to swing by our trusted car care pros here in town!

Let your car be the party!

Yes you read the title to this weeks car care tips correct!  With summer cookouts and football season just around the corner, your car is the perfect place to host a tailgate party.  So here are some of our tailgate tricks to make your party standout!

 

1) Up first, bring an oddball utensil: anyone can flip a bratwurst with tongs, but YOU do it with foil-wrapped pliers!

 

2) Next, Many vehicles now have built in coolers and chilled cup holders & that’s a heck of a way to keep the egg salad from going bad!

 

3) Anyone drive a Corvair; the trunk was just a metal tub with a drain plug: but can you say Portable Cooler?!

 

4) And finally, don’t just use your car to GET to the barbecue, use your car AS the BBQ! A quick internet search will show you recipes and books to actually cook ON your engine! And THAT is how you make the ordinary, EXTRAORDINARY!  

What to do when you see an impaired driver on the road

 

Every time behind the wheel you should be a defensive driver and aware of your surroundings.  Regardless of the time of day or time of year, people don't always make the smartest decisions when getting behind the wheel which can put you and your family in danger.  Tell us if this scenario sounds familiar:

You’re driving down the road and there you see it...a car swerving all over the place. It’s an impaired driver...and you, being the good citizen, want to do something about it. But what is it that you should do?  How shold you handle this situation so you can keep yourself and other safe?  Mothers Against Drunk Driving offer up some smart tips.

 

1) Up first, do NOT try & be a hero, let the police do that. Stay back & keep your distance.

 

2)Second, get a good description of the vehicle: the more information the better: make, model, color and license plate and what road they’re on. BUT, don’t jeopardize your safety getting the info.

 

3) Finally, when it’s safe, call 911 and tell the authorities.

 

There’s a slogan you’ll see at airports these days, but it fits here too: if you SEE something, SAY something. And we’ll all be better for it!  Be sure to check in with your local professionals to give you additional tips and keep you safe on the road!

 

Hosting a Party

July is a month of celebrations! There are holidays, weddings & just good old fashioned summer cookouts which can all be a lot of fun!If you're hosting one of these parties, you do have some responsibilities that come along to ensure everyone's safety behind the wheel when the festivities come to an end. Now, the obvious thing is to make sure that no one leaves your party who has consumed more alcohol than the legal limit.

So how do you make sure of this? Have a SOBER key-master, which is someone who can make sure drivers are okay to drive. It's also a good idea to have a list of cab companies on hand so you can call when needed. You can also invite your friends and family to stay the night, which can often turn out to be a lot of fun! In many states, the party host can be found liable if a guest at their party then drives drunk, even though YOU'RE not behind the wheel. Our trusted car care pros are going to be safe this summer, you can be too!

Forth of July Road Trip

The 4th of July holiday isone of the deadliest times to drive.  BUT, if you MUST be outthis weekend, lets look at a few things you can do to make sure you & yourfamily are as safe as possible.  Up first, stay alert!  Many of usare driving long distances & staying up late, so if you start to feelsleepy, pull over & close your eyes.  Sometimes a short power nap isjust what you need to give you another driving boost. 

Secondly, don't drivedistracted:calls, texting, even playing the license plate game with the kidstakes your concentration off the road. 

And finally, this is themost obvious; DON'T DRINK & DRIVE.  On behalf of all our trusted carcare pros here in town, have a happy and safe 4th of July!

Pre-trip service

Before loading up thefamily truckster for your annual vacation, take a few minutes to give it aonce-over.  The adage is right on this: An ounce of prevention is worth apound of cure.   Luckily, we've got several partners here in town who canhelp with pre-trip service.  Here are a few things to do:

1) Get an oil change

2) Rotate your tires

3) Have the alignment& brakes inspected.

4) Any leaks? Hows the AirConditioning?

5)Don't forget to checkthe light bulbs too.

Honestly, these are alltypical service items, but before you travel they're even more crucial. And they're a LOT easier to fix BEFORE you leave town.  Heads up though;plan your service in advance of your trip...lots of other folks are having ourtrusted car care pros do the same to their vehicles too! 

Roadside Assistance Plan

These days one of the besttools you can keep in your car is this: your cellphone.  Can we be honestfor a moment?  Most of us are not going to try & fix our car on theside of the road.   And that's why roadside assistance programs are sopopular.  The idea is that that for a monthly fee, you have access toservices like changing a flat tire, towing, jump starts & they'll evenbring fuel if you run out of gas.  Some even help you plan a trip or offerpre-negotiated discounts on hotels & restaurants.  

We're not going to endorse one plan over another, but with a bit of research you'll find the onethat's right for you. In fact, call your insurance agent: you may have roadsideassistance as part of your policy!  

Need more travel tips?  Beconfident & ask any of our trusted car care pros here in town!

Emergency Kit

Being prepared is key to asafe & fun long distance drive.  Today were going over a few things tokeep in your car for the just in case situations while on the road! Knowing where you are is crucial if there's a problem & most smart phoneshave a GPS built in.  If you don't have one, consider a standaloneunit.  Next, you need to communicate: your cellphone is great, but ALWAYSkeep a charging cord in your car.  Some other essentials to consider are asmall toolkit, a tire pressure gauge and a fire extinguisher.  Copies ofyour registration & insurance cards are a great idea as well.  And thelast thing we suggest you prepare is yourself: the right mindset will make yourtrip a LOT more fun! And if you need pre-trip help, wed love for you to say hito our helpful car care pros here in town.

Have a great trip!

Travel Planning

Every summer, hundreds ofthousands of us take to the road and travel. We are of the belief that gettingthere is half the fun & that the road trip itself is a greatadventure.  So today we're sharing with you a few tips to get the most outof your holiday drive. 

1) Plan ahead: think aboutthings like lunch breaks, sights to see and pit stops for both you AND yourcar.

2) Next, cross-check yourroute for points of interest and construction work; all of that is listedonline these days & knowing ahead can save you a lot of time.

3 )After that, in a worldfilled with satellite GPS, don't be afraid to pull out an old fashioned map.Some of the greatest road trip memories are off the grid.

4) Finally, give your cara quick once-over:check the fluids, brakes & tires before you head out.

Need a hand? There are lotsof helpful car care pros here in town to lend a hand!

Teen Safe Driving Programs

Statistically,the first year on the road is the most dangerous for new drivers, and education only teaches the bare minimum.  Now that your teen is starting to drive, have you ever considered Safe Driving programs that use professional instructors to teach your child how to control a car.  Skids, backing up, and driving in the wet are just a few of the scenarios that gives your child real hands-on experience, lessons that can save their life. Successfully completing the course may even save you a few bucks on car insurance!  A quick internet search will find a program close by, and while we're not endorsing one over another, we think these Safe Driving programs are a great idea and something that's recommended by our trusted car care pros here in town.  Be sure to check them out today and keep you and your family safe on the road.

Accident Avoidance Technology

A handful of years ago, the closest thing to accident avoidancetechnology was the loose nut behind the steering wheel: YOU.  Today, tehcnology has come a LONG way andmodern cars can actually help you avoid accidents: ABS, anti-lock brakes, havebeen around for quite some time & help you control your car in a panicstop.  But now some cars come withsensors that tell of cars in your blind spots or coming across you as you backout of a parking lot.  There are evenradar enabled systems that can sense an impending crash, warn you and evenapply the brakes automatically.  Of course, the BEST accident avoidance systemis a well trained & alert driver and thats YOUR responsibility.  And if youve got questions about technologylike this, youre always welcome to talk with our trusted car care pros here intown!

You've had a crash, now what?

Oh boy, its happened...you've been in a crash. With a bit of preparation, this can be much easier.  First off, stay calm.  Then, if there are no injuries, call the police;your insurance company will want to file an official report.  After that, you will need to exchange insurance information with the person involved in the accident with you; name, address, phone, license plates, policy numbers.  Always keep a copy of your insurance card, registration,pen & paper in your car, then, pull out that smart phone and take LOTS of photos!  Finally, once you've had a crash, you'll need to fix your vehicle: that's when you call on our trusted car care pros here in town.

Tire Blowout, what to do?

Even the best tires can fall prey to a chunk of debris, then next thing you know BAM!!! A blowout!  Okay, now what?  The first thing to do is to NOT panic.  Don't jerk the wheel, don't stab the brakes, just gently slow down & pull to the side of the road.  If you have run flat tires, you can slowly, safely drive to the nearest tire shop & get a replacement, but for regular tires find a safe,flat place and change to the spare.  Its not that hard! However, you may want to check with your insurance; most companies offer roadside assistance plans; you may have it and not even know it!  It may take a bit of time waiting on help, but your hands stay a lot cleaner!  When a blowout does occur,you'll need a new tire.  Good thing we've got plenty of helpful car care pros here in town to help you out!

Tires for Maintenance

Unless you won the Mega Millions drawing, odds are good you're watching your pennies.  Taking care of your tires ensures they'll last longer, your car will ride better & you can maximize your fuel economy.  Here are our three Top Tire Tips:

#1: Inspect: watch for cuts, cracks or chunks missing. 

#2: Alignment: if your car isn't pointed straight, your tires will wear out MUCH sooner. 

#3: Air.  Set the tire pressures to the number inside your door, NOT the number on the tire.  This gives the best combination of comfort and performance. 

Need a hand getting this done?  No problem, we've got a great group of trusted car care pros here in town! 
 

Performance Tires

There's nothing like taking a corner in a sports car, or powering along the expressway in a high performance luxury sedan.  What do these two cars have in common?  Performance tires.  These cars are designed to hold the road & they count on their tires to make that happen, but remember, tires are a compromise.  All that sticky rubber means big smiles when you're behind the wheel, but it also means your tire wears out sooner.  Performance tires also tend to be more expensive!  So, if you love your performance cars handling, make sure you have performance tires on it!  There are a LOT of choices, but you can make the right decision when you talk with our trusted car care pros here in town! 


Tires for Economy

There are many vehicles that are designed specifically for economy; small cars with small engines and obviously the latest in hybrids.  But they also increase economy by using special tires.  When your economy car needs new tires, replace them with something similar.  In addition, you may see a small increase in economy if you put low-rolling-resistance tires on your more normal car.  Just remember, those tires have lower limits so they may not be great on a performance car.  Finally, my tip to increase the economy of ANY tire: make sure they're inflated to the proper pressure: low tires take more energy to turn, meaning you burn more fuel.  Want to learn more about tires for economy?  Just swing over & visit our trusted car care pros here in town!

Tires for Comfort

If you saw a giant monster truck tires on a limousine while driving down the road you would probably stop and stare.  While this image would turn a lot of heads, the ride for the person inside would not be too pleasant.  Everyone has different preferences about the way their car drives on the road.  How do you know exactly what kind of tires to get for your car?  The easy option would be to replace your old ones, with the same exact new ones, but you may be looking for an alternative.  Possibly something of a better quality, or some that handle wet/dry conditions.  We can't give you that recommendation here, but here are some key things to think about:

-Know your typical driving routes and what you use your car for

-Find a store that you trust enough to recommend a good fit for you


Be sure to check out our trusted car care pros here in town!  Good luck!

When to replace your tires

How much do you know about tires, other than the obvious of them being black and round?  Here are some more important facts- they help you steer, stop and grip your car to the road.  Tires are important to your car's performance, so how do you know when to replace them?

The old trick of using an upside down penny has been ditched by experts in recent years.  While your tires must LEGALLY be changed with 2/32nds of an inch of tread depth, testing shows that performance falls off quickly once they're worn to 4/32nds.  A tire gauge can show you just how much tread you have left so you can judge when to get new tires.  While it may sound complicated, you can make it easy with help from our trusted car care pros here in town! 

Oil pressure and temperature lights

Lately we've talked about the different types of lights on your vehicle & there are a couple more we want you to know about.  On the dashboard there are lights for Oil Pressure & engine Temperature.  Like the rest of the dash, its normal to see those lights briefly light up when you start the engine, but any other time means somethings not right...and in fact, things can go wrong in a hurry.  We won't get into the specifics here, and this doesn't happen often, but if your Oil Pressure or engine Temperature lights come on, and stay on, pull over to a safe place & turn the engine off.  More times than not, you're going to need help from a pro on this one, but luckily, we've got a great team of trusted car care pros here in town.

Headlights and Taillights

Did your parents ever play the Padiddle game with you in the car? You know, the game where someone yells Padiddle & smacks you when they see a car with a head light burned out.  Sounds like a blast right?  Setting the personal scars and memories aside, having a headlight out is dangerous...and in most states, illegal.  If you have a burnt out headlight or taillight worry not!  Changing them is easy: on answer car you simply remove the old bulb, replace with a new one & put it back in.  Tail Lights work the same way: out with the old, in with the new, snap it back together. You absolutely can do this yourself! Honestly, the toughest part of the job is figuring out which bulbs you need, but even that's easy when you swing over & visit our trusted car care pros here in town.

Brake and ABS Lights‪

Today we're up close & personal with your dashboard, specifically talking about two lights that are very important to you and your car.   One is for your brakes, and one is for the Anti-Lock Brake System.  Now, when you start your car, its normal to see these lights turn on for a couple seconds, then turn off.  And if you've set your parking brake, you'll see the red brake light until you release it.  But, if the Brake light stays on, it means you're low on brake fluid.  If you're low on brake fluid, you probably have a leak.  If the ABS light comes on,your Anti-Lock brakes aren't working correctly.  In either case, don't wait, these are your brakes!  Its time to get your brake system serviced by one of our trusted car care pros here in town!

Check Engine Light

There are a lot of lights on your vehicles dashboard, but one of them in particular is really important.  The Check Engine Light.  Now, when you start your car, it should come on, then turn off, just to check its working.  But, when it comes on and stays on, it means your car has sensed a problem somewhere.  In fact, that one light represents a number of different things.  It could be as simple as not getting your gas cap tight after you filled up, or it could be a more serious problem with the engine.  The one thing we can tell you for sure; if the Check Engine light is on, its something you need to have looked at, the sooner the better.  Lucky for you, its easy to have that done thanks to our trusted car care pros here in town!

Gasoline

87,89, 91, 93...sometimes even 94.  These are not our power-ball numbers, We're talking gasoline!  While most gas pumps offer 3choices, one is not a BETTER gasoline than another, its a DIFFERENT gasoline.  The easy way to know whats best for your car is to check your owners manual: if it says 87, then use 87.  You won't hurt anything going higher, but you wont really gain anything either.  On the opposite end, if your car asks for 93, don't put a lower number in it; that can cause trouble over time. In a nutshell, most cars use regular while high performance cars may require premium.  And when you have questions about what to put in your car, check with our trusted car care pros here in town!    

Other fluids under your car

After you read this, and watch the video, pop your hood & look at its fluids.  This can be a bit overwhelming, but most of these are clearly marked to help for that very reason.  Here are few helpful tips for the fluids your car needs:

-brake fluid should be filled to the line. 

-radiator fluid is the same, fill it to the line.

-power steering,engine oil & transmission fluid are checked with dipsticks:simply remove it, wipe clean, re-insert it, then pull it out &check the level.
 
-top off any fluids that are low & remember that if you need to add often, there may be a leak.
 
-last one: windshield washer fluid always keep that topped off so you don't run out at the worst times!

These are easy things to do & you CAN do it yourself,especially with help from our car care pros here in town!

Engine Oil

Oil, we all know our car needs it, but why is it so important? Here is how we explain it: you know how your heart pumps blood all over your body?  Well, oil is like blood in your car: it helps all the parts work smoothly & keeps them cool at the same time. This information is good for all of us: engine oil is important.  Clean oil works better than dirty oil.  If you don't change your oil, bad things can happen inside your engine.  Check your owners manual to see when to change yours, then get at it.  You CAN do it yourself, especially with a bit of guidance from our trusted car care pros here in town.  

Radiator Fluid

Today, open the cap on your radiator & take a look inside.  You'll hear that liquid referred to as COOLANT, as ANTI-FREEZE and sometimes simply WATER.  So, what does it do?  In the Summer, it keeps your engine cool, and the same liquid keeps the engine from freezing up in the winter.  Your vehicle requires a certain mix of radiator fluid so you may want to check with your local car care professional to assist you with this.  Or, these days you can buy pre-mixed fluid that you just pour right in.  But, this is VERY important: newer cars have a newer fluid and they don't all mix together well.  So while you can do the job yourself, again make sure you get the right product for your vehicle from our trusted car care pros here in town!

How to change your brakes

Every now & then, every vehicle needs one: a Brake Job.  If they're squealing or screeching every time you hit the brake pedal then you know its time. So, here's our Brake Job 101 in three easy steps:

1) First, spray everything with parts cleaner to get the gunk off of there. 

2)Second,remove the old parts: the caliper, pads & rotor. 

3)Third, put it back together with new parts.  On most vehicles its only a handful of nuts & bolts & can be done with a few basic hand tools. 

We're also a fans of bleeding your brakes, but if you're a novice you may want to leave that to the pros.  Brakes aren't that hard to change & you can save a lot money.  You CAN do it yourself, especially with a bit of guidance from our trusted car care pros here in town.  

Brake Problems

You don't have to be a mechanic to know when its time to have your vehicles brakes serviced, it just takes a bit of paying attention. Here are some good indicators that there may be a problem.  Listen for squealing, grinding & moaning-those are not the sounds you want to hear from your brakes.  Check the dashboard; If the brake or ABS lights are lit up, get it looked at this isn't something you want to ride out. When you press the brake pedal, if you have that annoying pulsation that is starting to get worse its time!

Remember,these problems don't take care of themselves.  Once you recognize theres an issue, get to one of our trusted car care pros here in town.  Brakes are the most important safety item on your vehicle& problems are not something to ignore.  Drive safe!


How Anti Lock Brakes Work

Today's topic: We are discussing Anti Lock Brake and making sure you know how they work.  Simply put, ABS pulses the brakes during a panic stop, preventing the tire from locking up.  That means you still have the ability to steer instead of skidding.  To let you know ABS has kicked in, you'll feel the brake pedal vibrate under your foot.  It's perfectly normal, but we recommend that you practice it in an empty parking lot just to see what it feels like. And never be afraid to ask a question about ABS; our trusted car care pros here in town want you to understand exactly how your vehicle works!  

How do brakes work?

This week were talking about your cars braking system; how it works & how you can get the most mileage out of it.  Today, how do disc brakes work?  When you press on the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid gets pushed to the calipers at each corner of the car, which squeeze brake pads against the rotor.  That causes friction which slows your car down.  Think about the hand brake on a bicycle and how it squeezes the wheel, its similar to that, just on a much larger scale.  And honestly, routine service is pretty minimal: keep them clean, lubricated & occasionally inspected for signs of trouble.  With basic knowledge like this & help from our trusted car care pros here in town, you'll have years of trouble-free use. 

Importance of snow tires

Slippery ice, snow & mud make winter driving a big challenge.  We want for you to be as safe as possible when on the road.  Luckily, modern winter tires have come a long way: some are designed specifically for ice, others for snow, still others have special rubber compounds to deal with bitter winter temperatures.  The winter tire for you is based on your vehicle, where & how you'll drive it.  But in inclement weather, a dedicated winter tire is worth its weight in gold.  Our recommendation: get tires &mount them on extra wheels, that makes an easy change over with the seasons.  Of course, you'll need a hand getting them on your car so talk with a local professional to help you out for the best service possible.  



Winterizing Fluids

A hot cup of coffee on a chilly morning, perfect!  Believe it or not, your car likes certain cold-weather fluids too.   Under the hood you'll want to make sure you have the right anti-freeze in the radiator, be careful not all are compatible.  Brake fluid & power steering  shouldn't have to add either of these, but check anyway...low levels mean you may have a problem.  Windshield washer fluid should not be diluted this time of year to keep from freezing.  Fresh oil means your engine is protected when you turn the key.  Finally, if you store a vehicle during the winter, remember to add a fuel stabilizer to prevent that gas from going bad.

As always be sure to check with your local professional for the best assistance possible.  Have a happy holiday season!

How to Avoid Holiday Traffic

Tis' the season!  You've got the family truckster loaded up and headed...right into a holiday traffic jam. Worry not!  We may be able to help avoid some of it.  Here's how in 3 easy steps: 

1) Know your route.  Tourists & once a year travelers are out during the holidays: they're going to use the main roads.  Arm yourself with local knowledge of smaller routes, the back roads.  What you'll spend I'm a few extra miles could save you substantial time at the end of your drive.  

2) Check your GPS: most systems calculate alternate,faster routes at the push of a button (many smart phones have apps to help if you don't have GPS in car).  

3) Leave during no peak travel hours.  

4) Finally, check for traffic updates here in the news: if it's a major backup, we'll tell you about it fast.

Oil Change 101

It's dark, slippery & everyone has an opinion...on motor oil.  Here's our Oil Change 101: oil is the blood of your engine.  And it gets dirty.  That's why we change it.  Now the big question;when do we change it?  The mantra for years had been every 3months or 3,000 miles.  But modern technology means oil may last longer in your car.  Check your owners manual to know for sure. Some newer vehicles even have an electronic monitor that tells you when to change your oil.  Regardless of if you do your own work, or use a trusted shop, regular oil changes are the single best thing you can do to extend the life of your engine.  


Winter Car Care

Bitter cold temperatures, snow, ice & road salt are tough on your cars exterior.  Here are a few simple things you can do to keep your ride showroom new in the toughest winter weather. 

1) Keep it clean.  The longer that road grime & salt stay on,the faster your car rusts.  Get inside those nooks & crannies.
2) A coat of quality wax forms a barrier between your ride &mother nature.  This is always key during the winter seasons.  Don't forget your painted wheels, you can wax them too. 
3) We recommend heavy duty winter wipers. And windshield wash fluid is full strength in freezing weather. 

You can do these simple things yourself with help from our trusted car care pros here in town.

External Car Care

Purchasing a car is a major investment that can cost a lot of money.  Whatever brand your car is, or regardless of what color your car wears, today we have some tips to keep your vehicle bright &shiny in 3 easy steps. 

1: Wash it.  Whether by hand or at an automated wash, simply getting the crud off your car is half the battle. 

2: Protect that paint...there are countless waxes & polishes, but select your favorite brand & get some protection between that color & the elements. 

3: Don't forget your tires.  Protectant keeps the sun's harmful rays from drying & cracking your tires, which could lead to failure. Choose one with UV protection. 

You can do this yourself &get guidance from our trusted car care pros here in town.

Car Care Essentials

We spend a lot of time in our cars.  So its important to make sure you have everything needed to keep you safe and protect you along the way.  Today well talk about some of the very basic car care essentials you need to have on every trip. 

1)The main things you need in your car are a useable jack to get the car up and allow you to change the tire.

2) A lug wrench to take the lugs off the tire and tighten the new tire.

3) Markers including reflective signs or flares to make traffic aware that you are working on the side of the road.
 
4) Honestly the best thing to have in your car these days is a working cell phone charger and phone.  The safest and most effective way to deal with a roadside issue is to call your car care professional and have them help you out of a bind. 

If you prepare and have all of these essentials, you should be able to tackle something like a tire blown out with ease!  Drive Safe!

How to better your fuel economy

The holidays are near and everyone want to save as much money as they can!  There always seems to be certain expenses that always seem to set us back.  While for most of us fuel is something we can't sacrifice, we can' talk about how to increase your fuel economy and save you money along the way. 

1)The most important thing you can do to increase your fuel economy is driving more smoothly.  Taking a few extra seconds to get up to speed will save you at the pump. 

2)Next have your car care professional check and probably change your air filter.  If your car is struggling to breath it will be less efficient and this will negatively affect your fuel mileage. 

3)Keep your engine properly tuned.  Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can make a nice difference.

4)Use the recommended grade of Motor Oil. 

5)And finally make sure your air pressure is properly set in your tires.  Having tires that are too low will cause more rolling resistance which will make it harder for your engine to maintain the cars speed. 

So drive smoother and the next time you get you rcar professionally looked at ask for tires to be set and air filter changed.  It will save you in the long run!

 

How to extend your cars longevity

Your car is a huge investment.  After making your purchase you will want to take good care of it to help protect your investment.  Extending your cars longevity will not only keep it on the road longer, but will retain its value better.  Here are some quick valuable tips and tricks to help with extending your cars longevity-
  • The main thing you need to do is have a professional scheduled maintenance done regularly.  Never skip something like an oil or filter change.  Your motor is extremely valuable and you need to keep it happy. 
  • Next, have your tires regularly rotated and balanced.  Doing this will keep you from having a vibration which can damage car parts over time. 
  • Washing your car outside and under can keep harsh chemicals from the road off and keep them from doing damage.
  •  Finally have your car professionally inspected at least once a year.  Professionals have the training and tools to detect an issue before it becomes a danger or stops your car forever.

As always, be sure to visit your local car care professional for any of these services! 

Tire Rotation

Tire Rotation-

A few weeks ago we talked on here about how important it is to check your tire air pressure. This week its time to talk about rotating those tires that we all rely so heavily on. Now, I'm all for doing a good deal of the work yourself but when it comes to rotating tires its really important to have a car care professional help. Here are some helpful tire tips and  reminders to keep your car running on the road longer.

  • The first issue you are going to run into is whether your tires are directional or non directional which dramatically changes the way they are rotated. A local professional can help you determine what your car has.
  • Next depending on whether your car if front, rear or all wheel drive they are rotated quite a bit differently. And finally you really need to have your tires professionally inspected and balanced to insure they are working properly and not developing any issues.
  • Tires should typically be rotated every 10,000 miles. During rotation, each tire and wheel is removed from your vehicle and moved to a different position to ensure that all tires wear evenly and last longer.

So head to your trusted car care professional and lets keep that car on the road longer!

Green Driving

Everyone is going green these days and if you aren't yet, today is the perfect day to jump on board. Not only is driving green great for the environment, it can also help you put more green in your pocket. Now that sounds like a double win!  Here are some friendly ways that you can drive GREEN-

  • First get rid of that junk in your trunk and eliminate unnecessary weight. No matter what kind of car you drive, eliminating weight can go a long way toward increasing your car's fuel efficiency
        -For example-Have a ski or bike rack on your car?- adds weight an wind resistance.
 
  • Next, proper tire pressure can increase fuel economy by over 3% so make sure to put the correct amount of air in those tires. Check your owners manual to find out how much air should be in your tires.
  • Not to be a drag but slowing down to under 60 mph helps fuel economy tremendously. Another thing you can do is simply change the way you drive. Harsh movements can deplete your efficiency by up to 30%. In other words, speeding,accelerating and breaking hard can deplete your fuel efficiency up to 30%.  When your car is in motion try to keep the momentum. When you need to stop ease into it.
  • Car pool with your friends. It's fun to have company along with you for the ride and in some cities you can take advantage of the HOV lanes which have less cars and traffic. Also don't forget about mass transit which is like a giant carpool! 

As always, visit your local car care professional for any questions or help you may need!

A clean windshield will go a long way Car care tips and tricks

Fall is officially in the air, along with a bunch of other elements including leaves that may be landing on your windshield.  Cleaning our windshields is a simple task that many of us often overlook with basic car care.  Now is the time to be proactive so you won't cause future repair damage and risk your safety along with others while on the go.  To help take better care of your windshield and windows, here are some helpful car care tips. 
  •  Park your car in sheltered location or in the shade to avoid weather elements and objects hitting your vehicle.
  • Don't drive too close to vehicles in front of you.  While driving at high speeds you need to be cautious of debris flying at your windows.  This not only can cause harm to your windshield, but could put you and your passengers in danger.
  •  Keep your windshield wipers in good condition.  This will avoid scratches and damage to your car.  This will also help with keeping your windshield clean and clear.
  • Use proper windshield cleaner on your windows when cleaning.  As always visit your local car care professional for the best service! 
As always be sure to check with your local car care professional for the best assistance!

Auto Matters Tips and Tricks On the Road Again

Planning for a Family Road Trip

School is officially back in session, but the weather is still beautiful in many places which means it's still a great time to take a family road trip!  Once Labor Day passes vacation rates typically drop a significant amount making it a great opportunity for a family vacation. When you think of family vacations some people get the Griswold Family Vacation image in their minds, when it doesn't have to be that way.  Safe preparation is the key to a successful family road trip.  Here are some important things you should be sure to do before taking a trip:

1.  Make a service stop- A quick tune up can go a long way.  This includes tire rotation, oil check, replace car's fuel filter, proper valve adjustment, fill tires with air ect.

2.  Toss out your old wiper blades and pick up a new pair from your local car parts supplier.  You never know what kind of weather elements you will hit on your road trip.  Not being able to see out of your windshield is extremely dangerous and could ruin a trip.  

3.  Only bring the necessities-  Over packing can be stressful before, during and after your trip.  It is important to be able to see out of all your windows for safety.  In addition, minimizing the amount you bring can help your overall fuel economy.  Who doesn't want to save some extra cash while on the road to spend on a good family dinner?

4.  Car wash after the trip-  When you finish your family road trip it's a good idea to get a good detailed wash for your far.  You want to get rid of all the elements your car goes through while on the journey.  Make sure to vacuum out the interior as well to get rid of all the spilled snacks!  This will help your car's overall longevity so you can keep the value of your car and take future trips with your car looking sharp!

Have a safe family road trip and remember as always to visit your local car care professional for the best service and assistance to do things the right and safe way.  Be sure to visit back for more tips and tricks here at Auto Matters.


How to properly inflate your tires-

We all want our cars to run the best they can every day, and surprisingly one of the easiest things we can do is to keep the air pressure in your cars tires set properly.  Here are some helpful tips on how to properly inflate your tires with the correct amount of air pressure-

First you need to buy a good gauge. It doesn't have to be expensive but you need a good gauge to make sure you have accurate readings every time.

Next, locate your air pressure requirements either inside your cars door or in the owners manual.  This will always be your reference for inflating your tires. 

When you have your gauge and your settings the best time to check air pressure is in the mornings, before you have driven. Driving can create heat which will give you a false reading so this eliminates any confusion.

And finally make sure to check and set them all at the same time and compare the numbers to what your car requires. That way you can identify if one tire is losing more than the others. By doing this you regularly you're going to increase your handling, fuel economy, safety and even keep your car on the road longer.

Please remember that it is always a good idea to use your local car care professional when it comes to car maintenance as they will always provide you with the best top level service.  

Our Trusted Professionals