• Happy Fall! Time to Think About Your Coolant

    It’s time to start thinking about the colder days to come. Give us a call if you need your engine cooling system checked, so you’ll be ready when the temperature drops!

    It’s the beginning of fall, and time to consider your coolant.

    This is a good time to think about your engine cooling system. Regular inspections and pressure tests of your cooling system are of utmost importance, as is good maintenance by following the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended coolant change intervals.

    As time passes, the protective anti-corrosive additives in the antifreeze break down and lose their effectiveness. But antifreeze has two other very important jobs as well:

    • It is used to decrease the temperature at which the coolant freezes.

    • It is used to raise the temperature at which the coolant will begin to boil.

    It is also very important that the proper ratio of water to antifreeze is always maintained. Unless specified otherwise by the vehicle manufacturer, the coolant in most vehicles should consist of a mixture of 50% water and 50% antifreeze before being added to the cooling system. This 50/50 solution not only prevents freezing, but also preserves proper cooling properties.

    Also concerning the antifreeze to water mixture ratio: adding more antifreeze to the mix (once again, unless otherwise specified by the vehicle manufacturer) to increase its percentage in the mixture is not better. Generally speaking, after the ratio exceeds more than about 65% antifreeze to 35% water, freeze protection can actually diminish, but even worse, heat dissipation can radically decrease, since the water is the primary substance used for this purpose. Antifreeze itself actually has fairly poor heat transfer characteristics. Having too much antifreeze in the mixture can actually cause engine overheating.

  • Drive Safely This Labor Day Weekend

    Law enforcement everywhere will be increasing their presence this Labor Day weekend in an effort to prevent drunk driving. Do your part by securing safe, sober rides and never driving under the influence. Have a great holiday!

    Click Here for More Information on Law Enforcement’s Plans This Labor Day Weekend

  • Common Car Noises and What They Mean

  • August is Brake Safety Awareness Month– What better time to come in for a routine brake inspection?

    Seven Signs Your Brakes Need to Be Inspected – Brake Safety Month

    During Brake Safety Awareness Month in August, the Car Care Council reminds motorists that routine brake inspections are essential to safe driving and maintaining your vehicle.

    “When it comes to vehicle safety, the brake system is at the top of the list, so have your brakes checked by an auto service professional at least once a year,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Knowing the key warning signs that your brakes may need maintenance will go a long way toward keeping you and others safe on the road.”

    The Car Care Council recommends that motorists watch for seven signs that their brakes need to be inspected:
    1.Noise: screeching, grinding or clicking noises when applying the brakes.
    2.Pulling: vehicle pulls to one side while braking.
    3.Low Pedal:brake pedal nearly touches the floor before engaging.
    4.Hard Pedal: must apply extreme pressure to the pedal before brakes engage.
    5.Grabbing: brakes grab at the slightest touch to the pedal.
    6.Vibration: brake pedal vibrates or pulses, even under normal braking conditions.
    7.Light: brake light is illuminated on your vehicle’s dashboard.

    Brakes are a normal wear item on any vehicle and they will eventually need to be replaced. Factors that can affect brake wear include driving habits, operating conditions, vehicle type and the quality of the brake lining material.

    Using the Car Care Council’s free personalized schedule and email reminder service is a simple way to help you remember to have your brakes inspected and take better care of your vehicle. It is an easy-to-use resource designed to help you drive smart, save money and make informed decisions.

    The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

    Slide9 Brake Wear Indicator

  • Four Symptoms of a Sick Cooling System – Be Car Care Aware

    Four Symptoms of a Sick Cooling System

    June 10, 2014

    With the hot summer temperatures on the rise, knowing the symptoms of a sick cooling system are critical to your summer driving plans, since cooling system failure is a leading cause of vehicle breakdowns. The most noticeable symptoms are overheating , leaks , a sweet smell of antifreeze and repeatedly needing to add coolant , according to the Car Care Council.

    Coolant reservoir and level indicator- image “Neglecting your cooling system can result in serious damage and even complete engine failure, which would put a sudden end to your summer road trip,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “If the
    cooling system doesn’t receive regular maintenance, it’s not a question of whether it will fail, but rather when it will fail. Performing regular checkups of belts, hoses, the water pump and fluids will ensure your car remains properly cooled and healthy for many miles down the road.”

    The primary job of the engine’s cooling system is to remove the heat that is generated during the combustion process. The coolant temperature can be well over 200 degrees and that heat has to go somewhere, otherwise engine components are going to start failing. The key parts of the cooling system remove the heat from the engine and automatic transmission and dispel it to the air outside. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine. The coolant absorbs heat and returns it to the radiator where heat is dissipated. The thermostat regulates the coolant temperature to keep it consistent for efficient engine operation.

    A major factor that affects the replacement of cooling system parts is the frequency of regular maintenance, such as coolant changes. Motorists should consult their owner’s manual for specific recommendations about how often to change antifreeze and flush the coolant system. A coolant flush and fill is basic to cooling system maintenance as new antifreeze helps the engine run cooler and a flush removes dirt or sediment that could damage other cooling system parts.

    Low Coolant The coolant level should be checked regularly at the reservoir and motorists are reminded to NEVER open a hot radiator cap. If the coolant is low, a 50/50 mix of approved antifreeze and distilled water should be added.

    Motorists can also do a visual inspection of hoses, belts and the radiator to help identify cooling system problems before they escalate. Radiator leaks, bulging hoses or frayed and cracked belts are clues that the cooling system is in need of maintenance.

    Additional signs of cooling system problems include the vehicle temperature gauge rising near the danger zone, coolant leaks, steam or hissing sounds under the hood or the district smell of an engine that’s running hot.

    The Car Care Council’s free personalized schedule and email reminder service is a simple way to help you take better care of your vehicle this summer and throughout the year. It is an easy-to-use resource designed to help you drive smart, save money and make informed decisions.

    The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org .

  • Car Dashboard Warning Lights – Understanding What They Mean & How to Act

    Shared from the website Visual.ly

    A car’s dashboard is a communication device that relays important pieces of information to the driver. Utilizing a vast range of sensors and sophisticated on-board equipment, your vehicle is able to self diagnose a wide range of issues relating to its condition and performance. With the advancements in modern day motoring technology, the number of potential problems the dashboard can warn the driver on has risen dramatically. This infographic provides an overview of the most common and universally used car warning lights, what they mean and how the driver should act once illuminated.

    Please note that every car has its own individual set of specific dashboard warning lights and precise information relating to each one can be found in the driver handbook. This allows consumers some ability to self diagnose a wide range of issues relating to its condition and performance.

    For a comprehensive look at most warning lights and what they mean go to the following link on the Visual.ly website: http://visual.ly/car-dashboard-warning-lights-understanding-what-they-mean-how-to-act-they-mean-how-act

  • Five Child Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know In the Car – Fast Lane

    June 17, 2014

    Five Child Vehicle Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know

    5 tips every new parent should know to protect their children in the car

    Statistics show more children are born in the summer than any other time of year. As such, thousands of new parents will soon face important decisions in order to keep their newborn bundles of joy safe and happy. In order to help keep your family safe in the car, we’ve compiled five of the most important safety tips new families need to know.

    1. Use the proper child safety restraint for your child’s age, and make sure it’s installed properly . According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, 7 of 10 car seats are not installed properly . Consult both your vehicle’s owner’s manual and child seat safety instructions to ensure proper fitting and use. Many parents also attempt to use child seats that are far too large for their children. Ensure the seat you’re using not only supports your child’s height and weight, but also conforms to state and federal mandates.Not sure if you’ve picked the right seat or installed it properly? Local events sponsored by Safe Kids Worldwide can verify your car seat installation. To find an event near you, go to: http://www.safekids.org/events/field_type/check-event
    2. Keep harness straps snug, straight, flat, and the harness’s chest clip is level with your child’s armpits. When properly used, a child seat’s harness can distribute forces encountered in a collision at the strongest points of a child’s body. Keeping harness straps straight, flat, and as snug as possible, along with placing the chest clip at the same level as the child’s armpits reduces the chance of injury.
    3. Keep your children in rear-facing child seats as long as possible, or at least through age 2. Rear-facing child seats are preferable due to how they support your child in case of an accident. In a collision, a rear-facing seat supports a child’s head, neck, and torso. A forward-facing seat secures the body, but not the head, meaning a child might be more susceptible to severe neck injuries in a collision. Use a rear-facing seat until your child outgrows the height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer.
    4. Don’t allow kids under 3 years old to eat or drink in the car unless an adult is seated next to them. It’s difficult to keep tabs on kids at all times, especially if they’re seated in rear-facing child seats. As such, it might be possible for kids to choke on food or drink without the driver noticing. Only allow snacking if an adult is seated nearby to monitor and assist in an emergency.
    5. Never leave a child alone in the car, not even for a second. This is especially true in the summer. Research shows if a car is parked in temperatures between 72 and 96 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes only 10 minutes for its interior temperature to jump 19 degrees . After 30 minutes, a car’s interior temperature rises by 34 degrees. Further, a child’s body temperature rises nearly three times quicker than an adult’s . Heatstroke is the #1 cause of non-crash vehicle-related deaths for children under 14.

    Patti Laird is the founder of Safer Kids and Homes, a Miami-based firm that has specialized in babyproofing and child safety for over two decades.

  • Keep Your Cool in Hot Summer Cars – Be Car Care Aware

    Keep Your Cool in Hot Summer Cars

    June 12, 2012

    When it’s hot outside, one of the last places you want to be is sitting in traffic without a properly functioning air conditioning (A/C) system. To help avoid this uncomfortable situation, the Car Care Council recommends having your A/C system checked annually to make sure it is functioning at its peak performance level when the temperatures are soaring.

    “Making sure your A/C system is working properly will give you the peace of mind knowing that your vehicle will keep you cool and safe when you hit the road this summer,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Not only are high temperatures harmful to the body with prolonged exposure, but they can provide unnecessary wear and tear on a vehicle.”

    A vehicle’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning system (HVAC) keeps the interior cabin comfortable in any season by providing the right temperature and humidity level. Typical A/C service consists of the following steps:

    • Service technician visually inspects hoses, lines, seals and other components for leaks as well as inspect the drive belt for cracks or damage.
    • Technician checks pressures to test operation, refrigerant charge and outlet temperatures.
    • If the system is found to be low on refrigerant, a leak test is performed to find the source of the leak. Keep in mind that if your vehicle is leaking refrigerant, it is damaging the ozone layer.
    • Refrigerant may be added if necessary to “top off” the system. A technician may also check for evidence of refrigerant cross-contamination, which is the mixing of refrigerants.
    • A/C service should also include a check of the compressor’s drive belt and tension.

    The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers

  • Essential Teen Driving Tips

    Tip #1: Drive Now. Talk Later.

    • The use of cell phones is the most common distractions for drivers.
    • Dialing a hand-held device (typically a cell phone) increases the risk of a crash or near-crash by almost 3 times, and talking or listening on a hand-held device by 1.3 times.
    • 62 percent of high school drivers say they talk on a cell phone while driving and 24 percent say that talking on a cell phone is safe. More than one in five admits to text messaging while behind the wheel.
    • Sources: NHTSA and VTTI, SADD/Liberty Mutual

    Tip #2: Pay Attention.

    • Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the crash.
    • A high percentage of the crashes reported by teens involved rear-ending a car that had stopped while the teen driver was looking away from the road.
    • Reaching for a moving object increased the risk of a crash or near-crash by 9 times, looking at an external object by 3.7 times, and reading by 3 times.
    • Sources: NHTSA and VTTI

    Tip #3: Get Ready at Home – Not in the Car.

    • Applying makeup increases the risk of a crash or near-crash by almost 3 times.
    • Other risky behaviors including shaving, fixing your hair, and eating while driving.
    • Sources: NHTSA and VTTI

    Tip #4: Drowsy? Pull Over.

    • Drowsiness is a significant problem that increases a driver’s risk of a crash or near-crash by at least a factor of four. Driving while severely drowsy increases the risk to up to 8.5 times.
    • Statistics show that 100,000 police-reported crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 deaths occur due to drowsy driving each year in the U.S.
    • Sixty percent of adult drivers – about 168 million people – say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year.
    • Sources: NHTSA and VTTI, NSF

    Tip #5: Limit Teen Passengers.

    • Teen passengers in a vehicle can distract a beginning driver and/or lead to greater risk taking.
    • Fatal crashes involving 16-year-old drivers are much more likely to occur when other teenagers are in the car. The risk of a fatal crash increases in proportion to the number of teenage passengers.
    • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for 36 percent of all deaths in this age group.
    • Sources: IIHS, CDC

    Tip #6: Know the Facts about Age.

    • Today there are more than 18.9 million licensed drivers in the U.S. who are 70 or older. By 2020, it is estimated that there will be more than 30 million.
    • The accompaniments of aging can affect a driver’s ability to sense, decide, and act.
    • As the number of older drivers increases, new mindsets and behaviors are necessary to prevent a corresponding increase in traffic accidents and fatalities.
    • Sources: NHTSA 2001, AAMVA

  • What to Do When Your Engine Overheats – Be Car Care Aware

    More car fires occur every year due to deferred maintenance than accidents. Keep your family safe…

    Things can get out of control quickly if you don’t know what to do when your vehicle’s temperature rises.

    M any modern automobiles are so refined that you can hardly hear their engines anymore, but don’t be lulled into complacency—there’s still a combustion cycle taking place under the hood, and catastrophic overheating remains a remote possibility. That’s why you should periodically check your vehicle’s temperature gauge while driving. Every gauge has a normal stopping point once the engine is warmed up; it’s usually a bit below the midpoint line between cold and hot. It’s probably not a doomsday scenario for your engine if your gauge ever reads anywhere above normal, but it could easily become one if you don’t take prompt action. Here are the steps you’ll need to know.
    Step 1: Check for steam
    The one surefire indication that you’ve really got an overheating engine is that old B-movie standby: plumes of steam pouring out before your eyes. Except it likely won’t be that dramatic, so take a closer look. If you see any steam at all, proceed to Step 3 posthaste lest you meet the same fiery demise as many a B-movie villain. Steam is bad. Take it seriously.
    Step 2: Turn off your A/C, Turn on your heater
    If you’re the cautious type, skip directly to Step 3—but bear in mind that older engines in particular are prone to mild overheating on hot days, especially when the air conditioner has been running. There’s nothing out of the ordinary in this case; you just need to give your engine a breather. So if you don’t see any steam, you can turn off the A/C and see if that calms things down. If it doesn’t, put your heater on full-blast, which will transfer heat away from the engine. Of course, it will also transfer heat toward you, but your comfort is a lesser priority than the engine’s at this point. If these measures don’t work in short order, then you’ve definitely got a problem, and you need to stop driving and figure it out.
    Step 3: Pull over and turn off your engine
    When you find a safe place to stop, get there and kill the engine immediately. Do not idle the engine while you’re collecting your thoughts. Engines have to work harder to keep cool at idle than at cruising speed, and the last thing you want to do is add stress to a potentially overheating engine. So turn it off, and then take that breath. NOTE: If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, and you believe your engine is suffering from more than just temporary overload, now is the time to call for roadside assistance. The remaining steps will require you to get your hands dirty.
    Step 4: Pop the hood
    WARNING: Very likely it’s hotter than usual under there. You’ll get a feel for this once you’ve pulled the hood release and the hood is slightly ajar. If the heat strikes you as potentially dangerous—as it may well be—then let the engine cool down before proceeding. Only open the hood fully when you are confident that it’s safe to do so.
    Step 5: Check coolant levels
    Your engine should have a coolant reservoir in the vicinity of the radiator (see your owner’s manual for the exact location). This is usually made of plastic and thus unlikely to be dangerously hot. Check the coolant level in this reservoir. If it’s normal, you’re in luck—chances are you’ve just got a malfunctioning temperature gauge. As long as there are no other signs of overheating, you can restart the engine and proceed with caution. If it’s low or empty, however, there’s probably a coolant leak somewhere. Calling for roadside assistance is strongly advised here, though the more mechanically inclined might first inspect the radiator hoses for loose clamps and such.

    Step 6: If you need to keep driving…

    Wait until you’re certain that the engine is cool, protect your hand with a thick glove or rag, and twist off the radiator cap. Coolant is normally visible just below where the cap sits (your owner’s manual will have the details), but if your engine’s overheating, the coolant in your radiator should be visibly depleted. Be sure to refill both the radiator and the reservoir, using coolant or—if necessary—water. This should bring the temperature down once you’re underway, but remember, you’ve got a serious leak somewhere, so be vigilant. If the temperature starts rising again, you’ll have to pull over and repeat the process. Incidentally, by no means should you view this as a long-term solution—your engine needs professional help, so get your mechanic on the job as soon as you can.