Manual vs. Automatic Transmissions

In today’s vehicles there are two main types of transmissions: manual and automatic. We’d like to take some time to discuss some of the pros and cons of either transmission type as well as address some common misconceptions.

manual transmissions vs. automatic transmissions

Myths about Manual Transmissions

Manual transmissions are certainly fun to drive, but they have some common misconceptions associated with them we’d like to address.

  • First, manuals don’t really get better gas mileage anymore; as technology has progressed, computers are starting to become more efficient than humans at shifting. The newest automatics are much more fuel efficient than the older models.
  • Second, manuals don’t save as much money in the long run as they used to. Automatics have come a long way and are now lasting the lifetime of the vehicle as opposed to a manual which will most likely need a clutch replacement once or twice.
  • Third, we’re starting to see features historically reserved for manuals showing up in automatic transmissions. This means, the argument that manuals offer more controls is starting to hold less weight as newer automatics are offering shifting controls.

Pros and Cons of Manual Transmissions

So, with some of the common myths of manual transmissions set aside, it’s time to cover the true pros and cons of manual transmissions.

Pros of a Manual Transmission:

  • Easier to repair because they are a simpler design.
  • Cheaper purchase price.
  • More fun to drive, but that’s quite subjective.

Cons of a Manual Transmission:

  • Not ideal for high-traffic situations or city driving which requires constant shifting.
  • Less popular which means less people can drive your car if needed; this also makes it a more cumbersome resale process.

Pros and Cons of an Automatic Transmission

What about automatic transmissions? Here are the pros and cons associated with a vehicle which uses an automatic transmission.

Pros of an Automatic Transmission:

  • Easier to drive and learn to drive.
  • Much more comfortable to drive in stop-and-go traffic.
  • Safer to drive as there are only 2 pedals and you can keep both hands on the wheel.

Cons of an Automatic Transmission:

  • More expensive repair.
  • Higher up-front cost.

At the end of the day, the choice you make with regards to the type of transmission you would like for your next vehicle should be based on your own preference. The differences above are so minute that in reality no one choice is truly better.

For more information on the pros and cons of manual or automotive transmission, get in touch with your local Frederick, MD transmission repair shop today.

Why is My Car’s Air Conditioning Not Working?

Automotive air conditioning units are great in the summer time—not only can they filter pollen, allergens, and bacteria from the air, but they ensure your car remains cool. With many moving parts, however, it’s common for air conditioning units to break down.

Frederick, MD vehicle air conditioning repair

Top 4 Reasons Why Automotive Air Conditioning Fails

If your vehicle’s A/C system is in need of repair, don’t wait until the hottest day of the year to see a Frederick, MD mechanic for the fix. If your air conditioning is not working, one of these four problems may be the culprit.

1. Electrical Issues

An electrical failure in your vehicle is a likely cause of air conditioning problems. Acid buildup from a battery, for instance, can damage your a/c system’s compressor. This is the heart of your air conditioning system, and it typically lasts at least 15 years. Electrical problems might permanently damage the compressor, or electricity might not be reaching the air conditioner in the first place.

Electrical issues can range from corrosion to blown fuses. Corrosion occurs when wires and electrical parts remain exposed to the elements. Water and dirt will corrode these wires and result in electrical issues in your air conditioner. Blown fuses will mean that a surge has taken place—the fuse will have blown, but the rest of the wiring and appliances will remain untouched.

2. Refrigerant Problems

It is possible for a car’s refrigerant lines to develop cracks and holes over time, resulting in the refrigerant escaping and leaking. No refrigerant, no cooling. In addition, over time the refrigerant levels can become so low that the compressor is forced to work harder when it pumps the substance through the system. This strain can become increasingly worse, eventually resulting in the compressor breaking.

3. Corroded or Dirty Coils

When coils become dirty, with minerals and grime building up on their surfaces, serious condenser problems can manifest. The a/c unit becomes unable to properly expel heat from the system, meaning it will have to work harder than normal to change the temperature inside your car. As the temperature and pressure gets higher, the compressor will begin to overheat. Over a short period of time, the air conditioning system will simply fail.

4. Presence of Contaminants

If moisture, debris, soot, or even acids enter an air conditioning system, they can cause damage. Cars can pick up small debris and contaminants over many years, particularly if windows are left open while the air conditioning is running. These contaminants can cause a system to overheat and fail.

Make Sure Your Car’s A/C Works This Summer!

Don’t be caught out on the road in a heat wave and no A/C. Keeping your car’s air conditioning system properly maintained could make the difference between a pleasant trip or a nightmare.

If you’re experiencing any automotive air conditioning problems, don’t try to fix them yourself. Trust the experts at Ken’s Automotive & Transmission in Frederick, MD to diagnose and repair your car’s air conditioning system.

Tune Ups are Important

Tune ups are a great help in maintaining your car!

Want a car to last longer? Want more fuel mileage? Then you are at the right place. Our ASE technicians will help keep your vehicle on the road.

Read further to find out how tune ups are important!

A TUNE UP CAN HELP YOUR CAR:

  • It can extend the life of your car.
  • Helps with your fuel economy.
  • Reduce the cost of car repairs.
  • Improve engine performance.
  • May help prevent break downs on the road.

A tune up is as important as an oil change. Regular oil changes and tune ups will make a difference the life of your car.

TUNE UP MAY INCLUDE:

  • Replacing fuel filters.
  • Replacing air filters.
  • Inspecting or replacing PCV valve.
  • Fuel induction service.
  • Replacing oxygen sensor.
  • Inspecting distributor cap.
  • Replacing spark plugs.
  • Replacing spark plug wires.

A dirty fuel filter and a dirty air filter will most likely, reduce your fuel economy about 20 percent. Maintaining tune ups and using quality fuel are a great way to increase your fuel mileage.

Is your car stalling? When I hit my gas pedal my car runs rough. Why is it hard to get my car started? While these are probably symptoms of a needed tune up there could be other issues.

Check your manufacturer manual for suggested tune up maintenance. While new cars today can drive anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 miles before needing a tune up.

As with any car maintenance frequency, it seems like, it will probably depend greatly, on how you drive your vehicle. Driving your vehicle in a safe manner and keeping it maintained with tune ups,

oil changes, tire rotations and other maintenance items, will most definitely help your vehicle stay safe and last longer.

In conclusion, with car prices and fuel prices the way they are today, tune ups are important.

 

 

 

 

 

Car Maintenance Saves Money

Car maintenance saves money for you and your family.

Why is car maintenance important? It is a  question we get asked often.

How can I save money on car repairs?

Or maybe, why are car repairs are so expensive?

My answer, by keeping up with your car maintenance items you can save hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars on auto repairs.

Did you know, cars that are not maintained can be dangerous, to you and others. Poorly maintained vehicles cause hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year in car accidents. Poor car maintenance is also is reason for those pesky failed emissions tests, engine repairs or engine replacement.  A poorly maintained vehicle will also reduce the life span of your vehicles longevity. I often hear people complain that as soon as they made their last car payment they have to buy a new car. In most cases, this is  likely due to poor car maintenance.

What car maintenance items do I need to do? Here are a few car maintenance items but not all, to to get you on the right path….

OIL CHANGES

First place to begin is with an Oil Change! Oil Changes can be the most effective cost saving car maintenance item that you can do for yourself and your car. By keeping your oil changes up to date and consistent you can help prevent engine damage, a clogged filter, and dirt from entering your engine. Oil changes help keep your engine lubricated to prevent friction and help keep your engine running clean, safe and efficiently.

BRAKES

Keeping your brake pads and brake fluids clean with a brake flush will go a long way in saving money. Changing your brake pads and brake fluid will help keep debris and erosion out of your brake lines and will help your brake rotors last longer and most of us know….. that brake rotors can be expensive!

WIPER BLADES

I hate it when it starts to rain and my wipers do nothing but smear dirt, grime and dead bugs across my windshield. This is usually when I discover I am out of wiper fluid. Never fails! Keeping your wiper blades clean and replacing regularly can increase visibility thus preventing accidents.

AIR FILTERS

Gas is so expensive these days sometimes it seems like you are always pulling into the gas station and filling your car up, again.  Your air filter, when clean and maintained, can help increase mileage and save gas! Simple and inexpensive to do. In fact, replacing the air filter is something anyone can do on their own!

FLUIDS

Have your fluids checked at every oil change. Make sure all fluids are full and clean. Dirty brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant fluid, power steering fluid, differential fluid, transfer case fluid can all cause your car to break down, run rough, cost money in fuel, and that is right…. you guessed it, high auto repair costs.

Do yourself and your vehicle a favor. Keep up with those manufactured recommended auto maintenance items. It will help you have longer life from your vehicle. Help save money on expensive auto repairs and more importantly help keep you and your loved safe. And remember, Car Maintenance Saves Money!

 

 

Get More Life Out Of Your Tires

Simple Steps You Can Take To Get More Life Out Of Your Tires

We tend to view our car’s tires as non-perishable items. The reality is, however, they are perishable, wearing just a bit every day. Each day we travel, we are leaving a bit of our tire’s rubber on the roads. Let’s face it; tires are pretty expensive so you want to get the most you can out of them. Here are some tips to help you get longer wear from your tires.

Inspect Your Tires Regularly

One of the easiest steps you can take, to keep your tires around longer, is to inspect them regularly. A good
time to do this is when you wash your vehicle or when you are getting a fill-up. Check the tires closely, looking for unusual signs of wear or foreign objects that may become lodged in them. There are multiple potential causes for unusual wear and your auto shop can help determine the cause. Remember, it’s hard to know if you have a developing tire problem if you don’t look. Make inspecting your tires part of a regular routine.

Keep Your Tires Properly InflatedTires

Tire gauges are an inexpensive tool that can help your tires last longer. Keep tires inflated to proper manufacturer suggested levels of pressure. Keep in mind, that your tires’ PSI is listed as a maximum. Over pressurizing your tires can cause as much wear as having them under-pressurized. There is a bonus to keeping your tires properly inflated; improved gas mileage.

Rotate Your Tires and Keep them Balanced

Tires should be rotated and balanced at least every 1,000 miles. Because front tires tend to wear out faster than rear tires, rotating them helps them wear more evenly. Keeping them in balance can prevent vibration and also prevent excessive and unnecessary wear. The good news is that most tire shops will rotate and balance your tires at no charge if you purchased them there. Many car owners overlook this relatively simple but important process.

Use a Tire Protectant

Using a tire protectant can keep tires from prematurely cracking due to ultraviolet rays of the sun and extreme temperatures. Tire protectants are inexpensive and will help the looks of your car. Apply protectant after each washing.  This is especially important if your car will be sitting in one place for a long period of time or if you regularly park your car outside for an extended period of time.

Keep Your Tires Aligned

While many people believe that tires will only get out of alignment when hitting a curb or potholes, the reality is everyday driving can gradually get tires out of line. This is why it is a good idea to have your alignment checked at least once a year. Misalignment of tires is one of the major causes of tire wear. 

Monitor Your Driving Habits

One of the ways you can improve the lifespan of your tires is by paying attention to how you drive. Slow down when you are driving on rough roads and for potholes. Avoid excessive acceleration and braking. Don’t take corners, while driving, fast. Your tires are in a daily battle between concrete and asphalt. Don’t give the roads any unnecessary advantage.

You can improve the life of your tires appreciably with a little TLC. At Ken’s Automotive & Transmissions, we have made car care our life’s work. We offer a full range of auto services including tires, wheel alignments, and tire rotation and balancing. We are proud to serve the Frederick, MD area and would be pleased to be your Total Car Care Center. Let us help you get the most out of your tires at Ken’s Automotive & Transmissions.

 

6 Ways to Tell if It’s Time to Replace Shocks and Struts

Do you need to replace shocks and struts on your vehicle? How can you tell? Your car’s shock absorbers are designed to limit the amount of suspension movement by dampening spring oscillations. Struts similarly reinforce the the active components of the suspension to the same end, which means that struts and shocks are what keep you from hitting your head on the ceiling of the car every time you hit a bump and from vibrating while traveling down rough roads. Because of the interconnectedness of your car’s system, problems tend to be contagious. Here are several signs that your car might need shock and strut replacements. Noticing these signs right away can prevent further damage to your car.

When to Replace Shocks and Struts on Your Vehicle

Bumpy Rides

suspensionBecause the primary goal of struts and shocks is to prevent the amount of suspension movement, the most telling sign that you need to have them checked is if you are experiencing a bumpy ride. Your car is designed to comfortably withstand a certain amount of movement, so if you experience bumpiness or shakiness while driving, your shocks and struts are most likely to blame.

Steering Problems

One of the first signs people notice when their car needs new shocks or struts is poor steering response. The steering wheel will often become stiff and hard to turn, and their may be unusual noises when turning wheel. In addition to these problems, you may find that your car sways or leans on turns or when changing from one lane to the other.

Braking Issues

When struts are worn or damaged, the vehicle will often compensate in other ways. You may notice a “nose-diving” sensation as well as instability while braking. If you feel a lurch forward while braking, you’ll need to have your struts and shocks checked out by a mechanic.

Visually Damaged Struts

Replace Shocks and StrutsWhile often strut damage is better felt than seen, you might notice visibly dented or damaged struts or shocks. In addition to this physical damage, fluid leaks among struts and shocks are common when a car needs replacements. Mounts and bushings can also become corroded, damaged, or worn as time goes on.

Tires

If your tires show unusual wear patterns it may be time to replace your shocks and struts. Suspension damage can cause cupping in tires, which is when cups or scalloped dips develop around the edge of the tread. Cupped tires can be incredibly dangerous, so it’s important to look into having your tires rotated or replaced at the same time you replace your shocks.

Mileage

mileageDepending on vehicle and driving conditions, many cars require shock and strut replacements sometime after the fifty thousand mile marker. Instead of waiting to notice problems, you might consider having your suspension checked once you reach the fifty thousand mile mark, or every fifty thousand miles on most vehicles.

Whether you’re noticing problems or nearing the mileage checkpoint, maintaining shocks and struts can prevent long-term damage to your car. Because everything in the car is connected, a problem with the suspension can lead to other problems. Suspension problems can also be particularly rough on tires, which can become dangerous and expensive to replace.

Source:
http://www.pepboys.com/lp_monroe_shocks_struts_sept2012/
http://blog.nwautos.com/2009/05/cupped_tires_are_real_–_and_a_real_danger.html

Tips For Choosing the Best Tire for Your Car

What You Need To Know About the Different Types of Seasonal Tires 

Although many tires manufactured today will give you 50,000 miles or more before needing replacement, chances are good that you’ll be buying new tires at least once during the lifetime of your car. With thousands of models from dozens of makers in stock, how do you choose the best tire for your vehicle and for the climate in which you live?

All-Season Tires

Dependable and suitable for almost any road and weather condition, all-season tires are the standard choice for most cars sold in the U.S. For those of us who live in areas with dramatic weather swings, this might be the only tire that we can leave on year-round because they can handle dry, wet, mud, and snow-covered roads.

All-season tires offer drivers good year-round traction in rainy and light snowy seasons, long tread life, and a comfortable ride. You sacrifice the precise handling and grip delivered by performance tires, but they are a good option for moderate climates and driving conditions. All-seasons are available in many models and sizes to accommodate a wide variety of car and trucks.

Snow and Winter Tires

Winter/snow tires are designed to give you superior grip in snow and extremely cold temperatures below car tires44 degrees Fahrenheit. These narrow tires feature plentiful grooves that help the tread cut through snow to improve traction. A softer rubber construction keeps the tire from hardening when the temperatures plummet, giving a more reliable grip in rain and snow. The tread on snow tires wears faster than on all-seasons, but the peace of mind that comes with maximal traction while navigating hills and turns and fast braking when driving through sleet, ice, and snow makes these tires essential in many states.

Summer Tires

Summer tires offer the best road-hugging traction during hot and humid weather, thanks to the flexible rubber compounds used, the orbital grooves, and complex directional tread patterns. The shallow tread on these tires provides good performance on wet surfaces by shedding water and resisting hydroplaning. Summer tires:

  • Offer increased responsiveness when cornering and braking
  • Are designed for speed and agility
  • Make popular choices for use on sports-oriented, high-performance vehicles

 

Performance Tires

Once limited to exotic sports cars, today performance tires are available for almost every type of car, truck, and SUV. You’ll also find them designed for specific weather conditions, such as snow and cold, and even in off-road models. Designed for “enthusiastic” drivers with an eye for style, the shallow and wide tread on performance tires, stiff sidewalls, and soft rubber give them a higher speed rating than standard all-season tires.

Drivers choose high-performance tires because they offer better handling, cornering, and stability at high speeds, along with more responsive braking and excellent traction. While the ride is rougher and the wear faster on these tires, the trade-off is the ability to react quickly and stop on a dime.

Off-Road Tires

Able to power through snow, mud, sand, rock, and gravel, off-road tires feature the most aggressive tread design available to take on the most challenging off-road conditions. The large lugs and deep voids allow these tires to bite through difficult terrain for maximum traction. The puncture-resistant construction and reinforced sidewalls stand up to the abuse that off-roading promises, although the ride is bumpy and noisy.

All-Terrain Tires

Like off-road tires, all-terrain tires are usually found on trucks and SUVs. They offer the superior grip and open-tread design of an off-road tire, coupled with the handling and traction capabilities of a road tire. These tires perform well on any road surface, although the ride is a bit noisier than street tires, and the softer rubber means a shorter tread life.

https://www.pepboys.com/tire_type/http://www.woodwheaton.com/parts/tires/types-of-tires/
http://www.bridgestonetire.com/tread-and-trend/drivers-ed/summer-tires-vs-all-season-tires
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/tires/buying-guide.htm?pn=3

Diagnosing Engine Problems That Elicit the Check Engine Light

What to Do When Your Check Engine Light Comes On

Whenever the check engine light comes on, it is often accompanied by a feeling of dread in anticipation of the coming auto repair bill. However, there are many reasons the check engine light may come on. The problem may be a simple adjustment that you can make yourself or it may require professional service. In any case, it usually entails a visit to an auto repair shop. The purpose of the check engine light is to warn of a malfunction in the engine. Before 1996, automotive manufacturers had their own diagnostic systems to ensure cars met EPA standards. In 1996, a universal protocol called OBD-II was introduced, which included standardized diagnostic trouble codes (DTC). It requires all cars to have a connector from which this information can be retrieved. The access port is typically found beneath the steering column.

Common Causes for Check Engine Light Coming On

Unless your car is exhibiting signs of a major problem such as stalling, transmission slippage or smoking, the check engine light is usually no cause for immediate concern. The light may come on when various engine components are beginning to wear and need replacing. It is important, however, not to ignore them since failure to correct the problem can cause greater fuel consumption, decreased performance and lead to wear or malfunctioning of other engine components. Below are some of the most common reasons the check engine light comes on.

  • Loose gas cap
  • Oxygen sensor needs replacing
  • Spark plugs are worn
  • Mass airflow sensor needs replacing
  • Catalytic converter is damaged

 

What to Do When the Check Engine Light Comes On

The check engine light may come on for minor malfunctions that you can remedy for little or no cost. check engine lightIf there doesn’t appear to be a major problem with your vehicle and the light comes on, inspect for minor issues such as a loose gas cap or worn spark plugs. Once you have made adjustments, the check engine light will still be on. Many vehicles require restarting three times with no errors to clear the code. Alternatively, most code readers are capable of clearing the trouble code. This is not recommended unless you are sure the repair has eliminated the problem. In addition, there are some conditions that can cause the check engine light to come on when no problem exists. In this case, the light should go off on its own in a short time.

Interpreting Code Readers

A variety of code readers can be found on the market, from inexpensive to sophisticated models. Hand held code readers available at most auto parts retailers can provide information that may help you avoid an expensive repair. Nonetheless, interpreting the codes can sometimes be confusing. For example, the code reader may indicate the light has come on due to an engine misfire. However, an engine misfire can be caused by a fouled out spark plug, malfunctioning fuel injector or a bad coil pack. For more complete information about the trouble code, a professional engine diagnostic is required.

What Are Engine Diagnostics

Engine diagnostics are performed by a professional mechanic. Your car is connected to a computer interface to return the problem codes, similar to that of a code reader. The engine diagnostic equipment at an automotive service center is much more sophisticated and may return multiple codes. The mechanic will use the information provided from the codes as well as the car’s performance to diagnose the problem. The diagnostic equipment used at a professional automotive repair shop is quite expensive. When you pay for an engine diagnosis, it covers the use of this equipment as well as the expertise of the mechanic. A thorough engine diagnosis can pinpoint the problem precisely and eliminate the cost of replacing unneeded parts.

http://www.autozone.com/landing/page.jsp?name=top-five-reasons-check-engine-light
http://lifehacker.com/5878754/the-five-most-common-check-engine-problems-and-what-you-should-do-about-them
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/12/what-to-do-if-the-check-engine-light-goes-on/index.htm
http://www.edmunds.com/car-care/what-your-check-engine-light-is-telling-you.html
http://kenstrans.com/http://kenstrans.com/services/auto-repair/
http://kenstrans.com/services/transmission-repair/

Advantages to Using Synthetic Oil

There Are Several Advantages to Using Synthetic Oil

synthetic oil

Some people ask, “What is the difference between regular motor oil and synthetic motor oil?” What those
people really want to know is if it is worth paying a little extra for synthetic motor oil over the life of their vehicle. Here are some of the differences between each kind of oil, and some of the advantages of synthetic oil.

Synthetic motor oil has been altered so that it can work better for your car. Conventional oil and synthetic oil come out of the ground looking the same—because they are the same at that point, but that is where their path to a car engine changes. Synthetic oil is distilled, purified, and broken down into its most basic level. Then, additives are put into it the reduced oil to make the synthetic oil.

What does this “new” oil do that “regular” oil does not do?

  • Synthetic oil keeps engines cleaner. When oil travels through the engine, it picks up debris and deposits from tiny fragments of dirt and tiny slivers of metal which damage engines. This sort of damage rarely causes catastrophic and sudden engine stoppage, but it will make a vehicles service life shorter on the back end. Eventually conventional oil may even turn to sludge. Synthetic oils are thinner and through their molecular alteration, many of the impurities have been removed so there are few deposits left by the oil.
  • When the parts of an engine are moving, they are grinding against each other constantly at high speeds. This constant friction can make the parts in the engine break down, especially when driven in extreme weather conditions. The thing that keeps this grinding from making an engine break down quickly is the lubrication provided by motor oil. As oils have been in use over time, they work less efficiently in providing that lubrication protection and engines are not protected as well. Synthetic motor oil does not break down as quickly as conventional motor oil, so its use can increase the life of an engine.
  • Low temperatures are not good for an engine. Oil settles in the engine block during low temperatures, even when a vehicle sits in cold weather overnight the oil will settle, and then after then car is started, that thick and viscus oil that has pooled in low places in the engine takes a while to begin to flow properly. While the oil is moving to the engine parts to do its job, the engine is creating friction and damaging itself. When you listen to commercials for synthetic oil, they often refer to themselves as quick flowing, and that, at least in part refers to the fact that because they are specially formulated and thinner than conventional oil, synthetic oils can get to the parts of the engine in need of oil faster, even in really cold weather.
  • Just like cold weather does not serve engines well, neither does hot weather, especially those people who live in places that get really hot. Engines, being made mostly out of metal, do not last as long when they are already hot when started. Conventional oils also do not do well in severe heat. They break down more quickly and they tend to evaporate. Synthetic oils have been developed to resist the extreme heat and to not evaporate as quickly providing better protection to engines.

If you are considering changing from conventional motor oil to synthetic motor oil, the things you should keep in mind are that synthetic oil is thinner which allows it to resist the potential hazards from severe weather. Synthetic oil also lasts longer. Most car owners will also be pleased to note that they will not be able to discern any difference in how their vehicle runs when using synthetic oil. The benefits they should notice are that oils will only need to be changed around every 7500 miles, and their engines should last longer. Most consumers would agree that those are good reasons to use synthetic oils.

 

https://mobiloil.com/en/article/car-maintenance/learn-about-motor-oil-facts/synthetic-oil-vs-conventional-oilhttp://askville.amazon.com/difference-synthetic-oil-regular-price/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=6319922http://www.angieslist.com/articles/synthetic-motor-oil-better-your-car.htmhttp://www.topspeedracer.com/synthetic-vs-regular-oil.html

Top Winter Driving Safety Checks before Hitting the Road

Winter Driving Safety Checks for Optimal Performance

 

Rain, snow and sleet are a few of the weather conditions that can make winter driving dangerous. An
accident happens in milliseconds. Keep yourself and your family safe this winter season by taking steps to make sure that your car is ready for the road. There are a number of safety checks to perform to ensure that your vehicle is prepared for any winter weather conditions that you may encounter before getting on the road.

Perform Routine Maintenance

Like scheduling a child for its regular checkup, your vehicle needs its routinely scheduled maintenance. The following items are strongly suggested.

  • Have a trusted mechanic check your vehicle for worn hoses, leaks, necessary repairs and replacements.
  • Regular oil changes and the addition of fluids, such as windshield wiper fluid and engine oil are simple things to do that will help you get to your destination without hampered vision or vehicle performance issues. Fill your windshield washer reservoir before the first snowfall and use a “no-freeze” fluid.
  • In addition, the tire pressure for all of your tires should be at the level recommended in your vehicle’s owner manual. Drops in temperature can reduce the pressure in one or more of your tires. This can put additional stress on your vehicle if you need to suddenly stop and break in less than ideal road conditions.

 

Review the Overall Condition of Car Parts

Each element of your vehicle has a lifespan and it makes sense to review those parts that seriously
undermine your vehicle’s performance and your driving experience.

  • winter drivingYour windshield wipers and defroster improve visibility while driving. Look at your wipers and make sure that they work properly and replace any worn blades. Individuals that live in areas subject to heavy snow conditions might want to install a heavy-duty set of wipers. Also make sure that window defrosters for the front and rear windows work as expected.
  • Temperature also impacts your car’s battery power. Your battery should be checked for sufficient voltage, with a review of the belts and the charging system. You can stop in at your mechanic for a thorough inspection. Replace batteries as necessary and make simple repairs such as tightening battery cable connections yourself.
  • Have enough coolant in your vehicle that is designed to weather winter temperatures. Coolant expands when it freezes and can damage your engine block. Follow the specific recommendations in the owner’s manual. If your system has not been flushed in years, a replacement of coolant may be in order as the rust inhibitors within the fluid break down over time.
  • Look over your tires. They need to be inspected once a month and always prior to a long trip. Check your tire pressure using the tire pressure gauge that you keep in your vehicle as part of your emergency kit. If the read is less than 1/16thof an inch or the tire shows uneven wear, it is time to replace your tires. Degradation of the integrity of your tires may not be visible. Find the age of your tires on their sidewall. The tire identification begins with “DOT”. The last digits give the week and year of manufacture. Check your manual for recommendations for replacement but know that a number of manufacturers recommend replacement every six years.

 

Have a happy and safe journey with the additional peace of mind that comes from the knowledge that your vehicle is at peak performance levels for winter driving conditions.