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Category Archives: Articles

Winter Driving Tips

Winter fuel mileage. One of the common complaints we get going into the cooler weather is the fuel mileage decreases, up to 4 miles per gallon. This is so true for a few reasons. The first is that a cold engine is not as efficient as a warn engine and it takes a longer time for the engine to reach operating temperature. The second reason is there is a change in the fuels you buy. Yes, there is a winter and summer fuels that are used. There are many different reasons but in a nut shell it boils down to two reason. One is performance and drive-able, the other being keeping the pollution more in check. Quick check list for winter Check tires for tread depth, pressure and wear pattern. Replace wiper Check coolant, replace if over 4 years old Have battery checked, replace if over 6 years old Check and clean cowl drains under hood in front of windshield. Check a ... read more

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Winter will be here soon, be prepared!

Winter will be here soon, be prepared!

WINTER DRIVING: If you’re heading over the mountains or into snow area, be ready for the worst. Know your route, keep to major highways. They are plowed and sanded. If you do have a problem, help would be close. Be well rested. Let someone know where you are going and when you’re getting back if you’re planning to go off the beaten path in snowy conditions Always have traction tires or chains. Keep your fuel tank close to full, Carry warm clothes and blanket and some food and water, more if you going off the beaten path. Kitty liter is good to have in the trunk if you should get stuck, pour it on front of the slipping tire to get traction. If you get stuck away from cars and people, stay with your car. It is easier to find, water proof, windproof and can be started for heat. Winter preparations for your vehicle.. 1. Coolant check, 50-50 mixtur ... read more

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Buying a vehicle, New or Used?

Buying a vehicle, New or Used?

When buying a vehicle, I was always taught to buy a used vehicle by my family. “It loses 10% or more of its value when you drive it off the lot” I was told. The US has a used car shortage recently caused by two main factors. The first being that new car sales were off drastically a few years ago during the down turn of the economy. These are our used cars today. During this downturn of the economy, there was the “Cash for Clunkers” program that removed many used cars from the roads. This shortage has raised used car prices because of supply and demand. The answer is to check new and used prices before buying a newer car. Remember that a year older car sells for less when you get to sell it years from now. When buying a used vehicle, it is my recommendations that you have your favorite shop check it over before buying it. I have lots of reasons to suggest this, the difference between sales people and auto techs is that a sales person will tel ... read more

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Procrastinating on auto service can cost you!

Procrastinating on auto service can cost you!

We had an older nice German vehicle that was towed in because of an engine fire this month. The repair bill was well over $2000 to replace the composites that were burned. The sad news was this was so preventable. The valve cover gasket (the gasket on the very top of the engine) was leaking oil. The owner was aware that something was amiss because of a strange odor that was being given off from under the engine compartment. A burning smell, even after the vehicle was shut off. As time progressed, this smell got more and more pungent. The intention was to have this checked out but wasn’t checked and repaired until disaster set in. The pools of oil, heated by the exhaust manifold caught fire. The good news, it was a small fire and didn’t do much damage as fires go. The even better news, no one was injured. Your vehicle is a very complicated piece of machinery, incredible amounts of components all working together to provide you with a safe and comfortable ride ... read more

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Fall Driving

Fall Driving

Fall is here; time to get prepared for the rains and winter. Rain, snow, and ice all come with fall and winter. Your tires are your first line of defense between you and the road. Poor tires are just plain dangerous for you and the other people on the road. Make sure your tires are in good condition. Check your tire pressure, the pressure is determined by the automobile manufacturer, not the tire company. You will find your recommended tire pressure on the driver’s door jamb, glove box lid or in your owner’s manual. When inspecting tires, make sure the wear pattern across the tire is ever. If not, an aliment is imperative. A vehicle with poor alignment wears out tires quickly and doesn’t handle properly Coolant check, 50-50 mixture of antifreeze/water. That will bring it down to -34 the recommended level for winter and so the cooling system doesn’t corrode and rust. Battery check. A battery receives its electric energy ... read more

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Gadgets, I just love them

Gadgets, I just love them

If you have read my column much, you know that I love gadgets. I have acquired a 2014 vehicle that has one of the newest gadgets to enter the car market. I believe this forward looking duel camera system will be standard in most vehicles in the future. This system has a camera on each side of the rear view mirror that scans the road ahead for hazards, vehicles and reads the painted lines on the road. The camera’s information is feed into a computer and the outputs include many. This system has the ability to chime a chime, control the throttle, put messages on the display panel, control your cruise control and put on the brakes firmly. In day to day use, I have really enjoyed this. The chime goes off when I get close or over a painted line without using my turn signal is nice. I do need to be reminded to always use my turn signal and that I’m getting close to the painted line on the side of the road. The feature that I really like is the chime a ... read more

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Summer driving

Summer driving

It is now summer, the time for vacations and lots of car travel. Car travel has been going up in popularity the past few years, visiting some of the great spots in the US. Getting your vehicle ready for a trip during the hot weather can make a vacation much more stress free. This is most important for vehicles over 80,000 miles or those who have not taken good preventive care of their car. The most important focus should be the cooling system of your vehicle. About 75% of all major engine damage happens when an engine overheats. The cooling system is one of the largest systems of your vehicle. Your repair shop should pay special attention to all the cooling hoses, water pump, radiator and other parts of the system. Newer vehicles use a lot of plastic in the cooling system that gets brittle with age. If one plastic part breaks, it is a very good idea to replace all of the plastic parts of the cooling system at once. That includes a lot of wate ... read more

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How much maintenance is just right?

How much maintenance is just right?

In the 1950’s and 60’s, tune-ups were done every 5000-7000 miles, coolant was flushed every fall and oil changes every 2000, with engines reaching 100,000 miles at most. With today’s more precisely built engines, it’s not unusual for one to reach 300,000 miles with regular maintenance. But what kind of maintenance should modern cars have, and how does one maintain a vehicle for the fewest dollars per mile to drive it? For starters, how often should oil services be preformed? Some manufacturers are recommending up to 18, 000 miles on oil changes, other sources say every 3 months, or every 3000 miles. Some manufactures are recommending that their transmission never needs service. There are documented cases with Japanese and European car engines slugging up and needing major repair after fewer than 50,000 miles, even though oil service were done in the prescribed factory times. With lifetime transmission fluid, an instructor who worke ... read more

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Want a new car? Buyer Beware

Want a new car? Buyer Beware

If you're in the market to buy a new or used vehicle, doing research before purchasing is critical. Look in "Consumer Reports®" first; the April edition focuses on new and used vehicles. In my opinion, this has great information on the good, the bad and the ugly. Both vehicles I own were top picks in "Consumer Reports." By studying this publication, you'll learn that one vehicle can cost more than four times as much to own over five years than another. Some vehicles have a very bad rating in dependability while others have great handling. The publication also recommends which extras to buy and which to avoid with your car purchase. What you research in "Consumer Reports" can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your vehicle. When buying a used vehicle, especially one from a private party, it's so important to have the vehicle inspected by your favorite auto mechanic. In the past few months, we've had numerous folks bring i ... read more

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What is your risk factor with your vehicle?

What is your risk factor with your vehicle?

Your risk factor has to do with how you repair and maintain your vehicle. I had a husband and wife come into the shop last week with a check engine light on. Our shop scanned the control unit in their SUV and found 2 different items that the code scanner read. We also found a bad battery, it was over due for an oil change by 5,000 miles, and was well over due for a major service. It was the wife’s SUV but the husband was to make all the calls on the needed repair on this vehicle. His first comment was “it didn't need a battery” but I did explain that it is a very scientific approach in checking a battery condition and it flunked the test very badly. It was the only time that the wife said anything about the vehicle, that it was starting very slowly. As conversation about this vehicle proceeded, it became very apparent that the husband was a risk taker. He didn't want to make this a dependable vehicle for his wife to drive. “She has a cell phone ... read more

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