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Category Archives: Auto Maintenance

 

April is National Car Care Month

Posted on 07/23/2012

You might be thinking, as I was when I first read this, what on earth!! This is just another gimmick devised by auto shops to market to the uninformed or gullible! (and I work for an auto shop!) So I started to read on and found out that yes, in actuality there is such a thing and it was (is) formed by an actual legitimate organization. A not-for-profit in fact! Their goal is car care awareness. So you might be thinking, “I’m aware! If my car starts everything is good, and when it doesn’t, well I’ll figure that out.” Don’t worry, I understand. Car care is about as high on my list as cleaning my refrigerator coils. Let’s face it I would much rather spend my money on a new pair of shoes than an oil change! However, I would also much rather go on a vacation than HAVE to spend that money, replacing my transmission! So there is a balance…. National Car Care Month is about that balance, learning preventative care for your vehicle so you can afford the shoes and the vacation. It’s allowing you to understand why and how regular auto maintenance and repair is a benefit to you, your wallet and in the long run our environment.

There are economic, safety and environmental benefits to performing regular auto maintenance, notes Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “Neglected vehicles do cause accidents, or a breakdown on a highway, which in itself can be dangerous,” White says. One of the economic benefits is fuel. Let’s talk about gas prices, shall we… I paid $4.00 p/gal the other day! I was in complete shock and denial! One tank equals a really NICE pair of shoes, or gentleman, a pretty decent round of golf. So who can afford, or wants to waste gas. “There are things you can do to keep your car running efficiently, and you can squeeze out a few more miles to the gallon,” Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. Well let me know what they are before I have to use my children’s college education fund to drive them to school and sports! Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Vehicle gas caps – About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
  • Under inflated tires – When tires aren’t inflated properly it’s like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon.
  • Worn spark plugs – A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.

  • Dirty air filters – An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a “rich” mixture – too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 15 cents a gallon.

 

Coolant vs. Air Conditioning

Posted on 07/23/2012

With Warm weather FINALLY approaching us in Northern CA, ( I know we are big babies)  its time to start thinking about Air Conditioning….    A common misunderstanding or mistake for a customer to make is that there is a connection between the air conditioning system and the coolant system.  First of all, they are two separate systems.  In simplest terms, the coolant system cools your vehicles engine and the air conditioning cools you.  With that said – if your auto repair shop is checking your coolant do not assume they are checking your air conditioning or anything related to it.  For the most part these systems are separate of each other.  The Air Conditioning system uses a refridgerant most often referred to as freon to keep the air conditioning system cold. Most A/C repairs are best left to a repair shop. Recharging the refrigerant, in particular, requires special equipment that most people don’t own.  On the other hand, adding coolant, or anti-freeze is simple enough to do on your own.  However, if you forget to add coolant it can cause major damage to your vehicle.  The point is, if you have questions or concerns about either system on your vehicle check with your Automotive Repair shop.  If you don’t have your own auto repair shop, B&C can be yours.

Guzzling Gas?

Posted on 07/23/2012

Gas prices are going crazy!  UP, UP and Up it seems and always before summer time, when we tend to travel more!  So what can you do to get better mileage on a tank of gas? Well first of all keeping up with your car’s repair and maintenace.  A tune-up, proper tire pressure and a clean air filter all help. But did you know that your driving habits can have as much or more of an affect on how much gas you burn? By changing your behavior behind the wheel, you can do the environment and your pocket-booka few favors.

  • Accelerate more gradually. No more “Pedal to the Metal”! The harder you press the gas pedal the more juice you’re pouring down the hole.
  • Anticipate stops. By keeping an eye ahead of you by half a block or so, you can see a light changing red and take your foot off the gas earlier.  This does not mean you need to create a driving hazard but give yourself some time and don’t be in such a hurry.  (its good for your heart too!) By coasting instead of driving under power, you’re burning less fuel.
  • Drive more slowly on the highway. We all want to get there fast, but shaving 5 or 10 miles per hour off your highway speed saves lots of gas, and probably won’t add much time to your trip.
  • Shift gears earlier. If your car has a manual transmission, try shifting gears at a lower RPM. The higher your engine revs the more gas it burns.

Hopefully we all can save a few bucks at the pump by changing our habits.  Most of all we need to remember to stay on track with regular maintenance and repair.  A small amount of dollars upfront = much less dollars in the future.

 

Is it time for new tires?

Posted on 07/23/2012

How in the world do you know when you “need” or “have” to replace your tires.  If you’re like me, you depend on your auto repair shop or mechanic to tell you “when”.  Or if your like me, you don’t want to spend money on something so ugly (yet necessary) as tires!  Well, good tires can save you money and your life.  Hm mm, well I guess those are my two favorite reasons to do most things. 

So here’s the scoop….driving on worn-out or low-grade tires is dangerous.  It is estimated by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration that more than 400,000 fatalities and 10,000 injuries occur each year due to tire failure.  Although your own death would be horrible, the death of another due to your lack of attention is worse.  If your tire blows out on the road and you spin out, in say 6 lanes of traffic…..Yikes! The damage to your car and/or others around you could be devastating. (you know those center divides are made of concrete)

  In addition, tires that have low tread and/or tire pressure can cause you to have poor gas mileage. This is where it affects the pocket book.  Going to an auto repair shop for a tire inspection can do multiple things.  First, they can check to see if your tires are worn down to the degree that they need to be replaced. (this could be pricey but remember above, life vs. death)  Second, they can check wear, to see if you need an alignment.  Properly aligned tires cause tires to wear evenly, therefore prolonging tire life.  Thirdly, an automotive repair shop can do the simplest fix and make sure your tires are properly inflated.  This give you optimum gas mileage/performance.

So no matter how you slice it, having your tires checked by your auto shop or technician can save you money or even your life.

 

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