Summer Car Care Tips
Summer is almost here, and studies show that 60% of Americans plan road trips during the hot and sunny summer months. With fuel prices low and alternate methods of travel being less economical, people will be taking advantage of our country’s vast infrastructure of highways. Here are some items to have checked and keep an eye on before you head out on the open road.
Your Vehicle’s Cooling System is comprised of numerous parts that work together to keep your engine at an optimal temperature. Your radiator is one of the most important parts to keep your engine cool and running. The radiator core is comprised of little tubes full of engine coolant that is cooled by having air flow over these tubes. This coolant then flows back to your engine, keeping it at a safe operating temperature. If your radiator core is leaking, plugged or filled with old coolant, it cannot function properly and in turn keep your engine from overheating. Be sure to have your radiator inspected to ensure proper and efficient operation.
Checking your vehicle’s tires is very important in the summer. Keep an eye on tire pressure and, when needed, add air to obtain the recommended tire. Be sure not confuse the “recommended” pressure noted on the vehicle with the “maximum” pressure noted on the sidewall. The “recommended” tire pressure is ideal. Overinflating a tire can be dangerous, as when tires heat up the air inside will expand. Additionally, periodically check your spare tire’s air pressure for peace of mind. Your tires tread is also another important thing to check. Uneven tread wear typically indicates the need for an alignment. Worn tires should be replaced to avoid a flat.
Be sure to stay on top of your vehicle’s oil changes, especially in the summer when your engine needs all the lubrication it can get. When choosing the type of oil you put in your vehicle, follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation. Consider an upgrade to full synthetic oil for more confidence, as synthetic oils are less likely to break down at high temperatures, further protecting your engine.
Last but not least, your Air Conditioning system. Your comfort is very important during the hot summer months. If your air is not blowing cold, have your local mechanic inspect your system and make sure that it is fully charged with refrigerant. Also keep an ear out for any funny noises, and visually inspect belts and hoses for cracks to catch potential issues early.
When parking your car at your usual spot, before pulling in all the way, stop and look for signs of any fluid leaks, spotting, moisture, or discoloration. Other components that are overlooked, wiper blades, lights at all corners of the vehicle, and cabin air filters for air conditioning and air recirculation.
If you don’t have a relationship with a service center yet, come to HONEST-1 AUTO CARE and we’ll make sure your vehicle is ready for summer.
Tips For Improving Fuel Mileage
With today's high fuel prices and a strong focus on the depletion of our natural resources, it's worth taking a few minutes out of your day to make some minor modifications on your vehicle that will improve your fuel mileage. Honest-1 is providing you with the following Vehicle and Driving Tips that will affect the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.
- Keep your tires properly inflated and check them frequently.
- Keep your front suspension and steering in proper alignment.
- Use the thinnest viscosity oil that your vehicle's manufacturer recommends.
- Keep your vehicle's engine in proper mechanical condition.
- Keep your vehicle's engine in tune and make sure the air and fuel filters are clean.
- Make sure your brakes are not dragging.
- Repair body damage, crunched body panels add aerodynamic drag.
- Do not use premium fuel if your vehicle does not require it.
- Avoid excessive warm-up time; modern engines do not require it.
- Do not idle your engine for long periods; turn off your engine when you leave the car of have to wait a long time.
- Avoid jackrabbit starts, or "dumping" the clutch; try to accelerate from a stop smoothly.
- For newer vehicles with aerodynamic designs, close the windows and turn on the air conditioning while driving at high speeds.
- For older vehicles with inefficient air conditioning compressors, use the ventilation system and close the windows, temperature permitting.
- Anticipate merging traffic and stoplights; decelerate and accelerate smoothly.
- Plan your trips wisely. If you need to go several places, plan a route that allows you to run most or all of your errands in one outing.
- Unload unnecessary cargo. Extra weight effects fuel mileage.
- Car pool whenever possible or practical.
- Always drive in the highest gear possible.
- Try to keep your speed constant by using cruise control when on long stretches of road.
Always check your owner's manual for specific recommendations for your vehicle. Honest-1 can provide you with a printout of recommended maintenance for your vehicle.
Preparing Your Vehicle For Winter
Mechanical failure is always an inconvenience. Mechanical failure during severe winter weather can be deadly. Preparing your vehicle for winter by completing some basic preventative maintenance items will make your vehicle more enjoyable to drive, last longer and could save your life. At Honest-1 Auto Care we believe it is our responsibility to keep you and your family safe on the road.
Honest-1 recommends you carry emergency gear in your vehicle during winter driving. This gear should include: gloves, boots, blankets, flares, shovel, sand or kitty litter, flashlight and a cellular telephone. It would also be advisable to have a few "high energy" snacks with you.
- Engine Performance: Have engine driveability issues like hard starts, rough idle, reduced power, etc. diagnosed and repaired before winter. Cold weather will make these problems worse. Ensure dirty filters get replaced immediately such as air filters, fuel filters, etc. If you are experiencing any driveability issues, please make sure your Honest-1 Service Manager is aware of them so we can address them immediately.
- Fuel: A fuel additive poured into your fuel tank periodically will help keep moisture from freezing in the tank and fuel lines. Ask your Honest-1 Service Manager for more information regarding fluid additives. Also, keeping your fuel tank full will minimize the moisture that accumulates.
- Oil: Replace your engine oil and oil filter every 3 months or 3,000 miles. This becomes even more critical in severe cold weather and if your driving consists mostly of stop-and-go or frequent short trips.
- Cooling System: Your engine's cooling system and antifreeze should be completely flushed out and refilled every 24 months. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is generally recommended. Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has cooled completely. The tightness and condition of drive belts, hoses and clamps should be checked by a professional. At Honest-1 we check the level, condition, and concentration of the coolant/antifreeze as well as your belts and hoses in our 21 Point Inspection. This complimentary inspection is performed on every car, every time.
- Battery: The only accurate way to test for a weak battery is with professional equipment. There is some periodic maintenance procedures that will help your battery survive a severe winter: 1. Clean all corrosion from the battery posts and cable connections; 2. Clean all surfaces; 3. Re-tighten all connection; 4. If battery caps are removable, check fluid monthly. If you would like a test performed on your vehicle's battery and electrical system, or a battery service performed, please notify your Honest-1 Service Manager.
- Tires: Worn out tires will be of little use in winter weather. A routine examination of tires should be performed for remaining tread life, uneven wearing and cupping. Examine the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check and maintain tire pressure at recommended levels. Always check tire pressure after the tires have cooled down. Tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles for maximum life and properly balanced every 10,000 miles. Always remember to check your spare and ensure your jack is in proper working order.
- Windshield Wipers: Honest-1 recommends you replace your windshield wiper blades once a year. If you live in a harsh climate with severe winters, the installation of rubber clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up will help. Ask your Honest-1 Service Manager about installing this type of blade on your vehicle. Always stock-up on windshield washer fluid; it is surprising how much you will use during winter. Carry an ice-scraper in your vehicle at all times.
- Heater/Defroster: The heater and defroster must be in good working order for passenger comfort and proper visibility on the road. Inform your Honest-1 Service Manager of any issues with your heater or defroster system immediately.
Extending The Life Of Your Car
- The best thing that you can do to extend the life of your car and potentially save yourself a bundle of money is to have your car serviced on a routine basis. All car manufacturers have a schedule of recommended service for each vehicle they sell. Follow this schedule. Be sure to follow your schedule for fluid flushes.
- Check the level and color of all fluids at every gas refill. If you don't know how to check your fluids or know what color your fluid should be then ask your reputable technician to teach you. Any reputable automotive shop will be happy to teach you for free. Nothing lasts forever. Your vehicle's oils and fluids do break down and require replacement in order to properly lubricate. These fluids not only provide lubrication, they need to conduct heat; they need to protect from rust and corrosion; they perform hydraulic functions.
The detergents and anti-foaming agents need to be maintained. Waiting for the engine to make noise or to burn oil or for the transmission to start slipping is too late. Waiting for the anti-freeze to turn brown and become contaminated would also be too late. The protective properties of these fluids change over time and their effectiveness diminishes. This can save you thousands of dollars in repairs to your vehicle and keep it operating safely.
- Change your oil and oil filter regularly to protect your engine and improve your gas mileage. Dirty oil or incorrect grades can increase engine friction, thereby reducing fuel efficiency. (Consider using synthetic oil which provide better protection and last longer than regular oil).
- Change the air filter to protect the engine by keeping impurities from entering the engine and improve your gas mileage. When your engines air filter becomes clogged it starves the engine for air. The onboard computers adjust for this by increasing the amount of fuel to maintain consistent firing in the cylinders. This can cause up to 10% in decreased fuel efficiency.
- Monitor your brake pad thickness and do not let them damage the metal parts such as brake rotors and calipers.
- Wash your car regularly so that it will not damage the body or undercarriage of your car. Pollutants in the air, bugs, tar, salt in air/road, dirt, sludge, and more all damage your car.
- Make sure that you keep your car aligned because it will increase the life of the tire and increase your safety due to improve handling.
- Keep your tires properly inflated. Having low tire pressure causes more drag between your tires and the road, thereby making your engine work even harder. Improper tire pressure can reduce the lifespan of your tires and gas mileage by up to 30% or more. Check your tire pressure when the tires are cold for accurate readings. Honest-1 recommends you perform a tire pressure check every time you fill your fuel tank. Another option is to have your tires filled with Nitrogen which is a more stable gas. Some of the benefits of Nitrogen in tires are less fluctuation in tire pressure, reduced tire pressure leak down under increased temperatures and longer lasting tire life.
- Rotate your tires at every other oil change (every 6,000 miles). Rotating your tires equalizes tread wear and maximizes the life of your tires.
- Start off slowly after you initially start your vehicle. Which means to slowly accelerate until your vehicle is up to operating temperature. Accelerating slowly saves gas and it reduces the stress on your engine since your oil is cold and thicker when cold.
Why Choose Honest-1
- Full 3 year / 36,000 Mile Warranty
- Free 24hr Roadside Assistance (Ask for Details)
- Complimentary Customer Shuttle
- ESA Certified Eco-Friendly
- All Makes & Models
- Same-Day Service On Most Vehicles
- Comprehensive Vehicle Inspection
- Family Friendly Facilities
- Children's Play Areas
- No Appointment Needed
- Internet Cafe & Free Wifi
- Complimentary Beverages
- Free Local Pick-Up & Delivery
- Discounted Rental Cars Available In Most Locations