With the winter season upon us, it is inevitable we will soon be dealing with colder temperatures, snow, and ice. Properly maintained tires are vital to the safety of your vehicle during the winter months. Your tires are your vehicle’s only contact with the road. Because of this, there are a few precautions you should take before the weather becomes unfavorable.
• All four of your tires should be the same type, size, tread pattern, speed rating, and load index. Differences in these factors can negatively affect a vehicle’s handling and stability.
• Proper inflation and pressure are imperative. Having inadequate tire pressure can cause unnecessary wear, as well as impact your vehicle’s fuel consumption. Keep in mind that as the temperature drops, so does the pressure in your tires. Make it a priority to check your tires’ pressure every few weeks in the winter.
• Have your tires checked for proper alignment and tread. This is something that should be done on a regular basis, but is most crucial to have done in preparation for winter.
• Make sure your tires are in good shape, or get new ones. Tires that are worn, cracked, or out of balance can seriously hinder your ability to drive and control your car. The majority of winter accidents are caused by loss of control of the vehicle on snowy or icy roads.
• Should you decide to get new tires, winter or snow tires are the best bet for those living in regions that have particularly cold and snowy winter months. Snow tires can provide up to 20% better snow traction than all-season tires. With snow tires, you receive the benefits of shorter braking distances as well as more predictable and controllable turning.
• If you choose not to purchase winter/snow tires, be sure to check the tread on your current tires. The next time you do purchase tires, check for deep grooves on the edges of the tires. These types of grooves move both snow and water outwards from underneath your tire, creating better handling and traction year-round.
During the warm summer months a typical driver will reach down and turn on the air conditioning system. Some drivers may be hesitant to do so though because they feel that it wastes more gasoline, which results in them spending more money then they would like to. Many drivers would just rather be a little hotter than have to buy more gas each week. Fortunately, a driver doesn’t necessarily have to choose between saving money and staying cool when it’s hot. A few things, such as a complete AC checkup along with any needed repairs can help reduce the amount of excess fuel used by the air conditioning system.
Proper maintenance and repairs are one of the ways to save fuel while running the air conditioner. A leaky or plugged hose will make the air warm and less effective, which will cause the AC system to work harder. The harder the compressor needs to work, the more gas the vehicle will use turning the compressor. An AC checkup can expose any necessary AC repairs that must be done. For the most part, air conditioning problems are easy to fix and won’t require a lot of money to repair them. The vehicle can normally be fixed within a couple of hours. In the end, drivers will end up with efficient and effective AC systems in their car that don’t eat up as much gas as poorly maintained systems.
In the end, the best way to conserve gas while using the air conditioner is to make sure that the system works properly. That involves getting an AC checkup and then doing any AC repairs that may be needed. Properly maintained AC systems burn much less fuel than an improperly working system. With that in mind, all of this work can be taken care of quickly and for a relatively inexpensive price.
Lastly, drivers should focus on doing some other things to reduce the amount of fuel they burn with the AC system on or not on. Drivers should focus on driving smoothly without any sudden braking moves or excessive use of the gas pedal. Also, using the cruise control can help a car use less fuel. Drivers should use the air conditioner at a low level rather than a high one to save quite a bit of money on fuel costs. Remember the AC system is designed to be used in most newer egg shaped cars, putting down the windows causes more wind resistance then if the windows are up!
Perhaps one of the most terrifying scenarios when driving is seeing clouds of steam billow from the hood as the temp gauge needle slams into the red line. Chances are, it happens while you’re alone at night, and without cell phone reception. Fortunately, the cause of engine overheating is preventable as long as you are aware of what causes it.
There are a handful of parts that need to be checked in order to maintain a safe driving environment. First, make sure your coolant is in full supply and of good quality. Check the radiator core to make sure it is not blocked. Have your thermostat tested to make sure it is working properly. Examine the fan blades to see if any are cracked or broken. Check the radiator cap to be sure that it is maintaining sufficient pressure.
Sometimes it seems that engine overheating can occur despite preventative measures. In this case, it is important to pull over to a safe area and turn off your car. Here you can give your vehicle a chance to cool down. It’s important to not lift the hood or unscrew the gas or radiator caps while the car is still hot, as built pressure can cause bodily injuries. Now you can check for the level of coolant, look for holes in hoses, and whether or not the thermometer appears to be working.
If you are unable to solve the issue, drive in short increments until you have arrived to a familiar, public destination. It’s important to not drive the vehicle over long distances.
Unfortunately, there is a myriad of causes to an overheated engine, so you may have to take your vehicle in to a mechanic. Although this is not an ideal situation, at least you will be familiar with how to prevent it from happening in the future.
To extend the life of your car, it’s important to give it a preventative maintenance check, also referred to as a “tune-up.” Depending on your vehicle’s user manual, it is recommended to have a tune-up anywhere from 30,000-60,000 miles.
What a tune-up entails is typically a replacement of certain parts, such as the air filter, spark plugs, fuel valve, oxygen sensor, distributer cap, and rotor. These parts might not seem to have a big impact on the overall condition of your vehicle, but they often affect each other’s performance, so neglecting these changes can cost much more in the long run.
During a tune-up, it is also important to check the status of major systems, like the brake, the clutch, and fluid levels.
Being able to fix or spot a problem early can reduce costs long-term. It is suggested that you refer to your car manual to find out what specific parts need to be checked, and when, because later models might contain new and improved parts.
A tune-up will provide you with a well-maintained vehicle and a priceless peace of mind. You deserve to know that your vehicle is performing at its highest potential.
For many people, a significant part of summer is embarking on road trips- whether to a neighboring state or (for the hardcore ones) cross-country. While there are many factors that can cause stress to a long drive (such as… the drive), one major concern is the status of your A/C system. If you’re going to be scrunched in a restricted space for more than a few hours, it’s important to be as comfortable as possible. This means having an A/C system that provides a shield from the scorching heat.
There are two main directions your A/C system can stray: reduced air pressure and warmer air temperature. Either of these requires specific attention, and soon in order to keep the cost to a minimum.
The first thing you should check is the warranty from your dealer, as your vehicle might be eligible for a free fix. Otherwise, check in to an auto shop that offers A/C repair services.
It is extremely important to explain in great detail what the problem is. Does the A/C only produce room-temperature air? Is the air failing to reach the back of your vehicle, even on full volume? Good communication can end up saving you money and time.
The solution could be as simple as recharging the A/C system; however, putting off the problem could result in a complete A/C system fail, which will cost much more to fix.
If your vehicle is currently under warranty, consider taking action if it is showing any signs of A/C problems. It is always better to handle the problem early, rather than waiting.
Once your A/C is properly tuned-up, you will be ready to conquer the roads without breaking a sweat on your summer road trip.
An automotive battery is a large rechargeable battery that powers the electrical system of the modern vehicle.
Because of their incredible durability and endurance, some major automotive brands offer maintenance-free car batteries. But as any mechanic will tell you, there is no such thing as a maintenance-free car battery. Yes, they may last for four or five years even if you ignore them. However, if you take proper care of them, they will likely last twice as long! Best of all, they won’t leave you stranded.
When a motorist has a car battery that cannot be jump-started, it is commonly referred to as “dead.” These dead batteries are often the result of neglect. When drivers check the battery posts, cells, cables, and the alternator each year for signs of wear, it is far less likely that their batteries will go dead. More importantly, it is far less likely that they will have to pay a few hundred dollars to have their vehicles towed to the nearest garage.
The good news is that mechanics can check your car battery very quickly. Advanced equipment lets them test the charging system of nearly any vehicle in a matter of minutes. The service charge for these annual checkups is often quite affordable. And if the battery must be replaced, Car-X Auto Service will more than likely have the new battery on hand.
We do not recommend that you change your car battery on your own. Yes, you might be able to save yourself a couple of bucks, but it is not nearly as easy as you might think. It’s not like changing the batteries of the remote control. Car batteries are big and heavy and they must be screwed, snapped, and plugged into place. Not to mention the fact that all batteries must be properly disposed of. They have sulfuric acid in them, so you cannot simply put them out with yesterday’s trash.
It is best to let a trained mechanic do the job for you. They can replace the battery while you wait and they will dispose of the old one in no time as well. More often than not, you will be back on the road in under an hour with a reasonable bill and a brand-new battery.