Archive for the ‘Car Care’ Category
When I was growing up, we weren’t able to make sure the car was working in the best condition possible. It just wasn’t in the cards for us. So, we had to Macgyver our own way of doing things. Our car hated the winter, it was from Vegas, like us, so we understood it’s misery. So, my dad would disconnect the battery every night, wrap it in a blanket and carry it inside to stay warm. In the frigid mornings he would go out, plug it back in and away he went. It’s frightening to have to do that with a car and hope it doesn’t freeze up while your at work and now you can’t get home. No one should have to do this with their car if they can help it. If you’re not sure how to prep for the upcoming snow or just plain dreading the commute, take a breath, let’s cover some simple pro tips to help set your mind at ease.
It sounds silly, but having an emergency box in your car could actually ease some stress. It doesn’t have to be a lot and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. The box doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to be imagined like a doomsday prep box. This is your personal supply of ‘oh sh*t I got stuck in the snow and the tow truck is going to take a while to get to me and now I’m hungry and cold’ box. What kinds of things should you put in there?
- A small blanket
- Flash Light
- First Aid Kit (I recommend carrying this at all times in the back of your car)
- An extra pair of gloves
- Kitty Litter/Sand/Rock Salt for icy situations
- Small Shovel and Ice Scraper
- Tow Straps
- Jumper Cables
With these in hand, you should feel your nervousness slip away a little bit. Being prepared for the difficult situations can change your whole attitude. Relax your shoulders. It’s going to be okay.
The Technical Side
The emergency box is a good thing to have, but it’s even better to not have to use it during the winter. A preventative measure that can be taken is to make sure your car is aware that it’s winter time and some adjustments may need to be made. It could be worth taking your car to the mechanic to do a once over to make sure things are in tip-top shape. Some essential things you’ll want to be looked over:
- Tires <– Click the link to help you make the decision
- Windshield Wipers and winter fluid so it doesn’t freeze to your windshield
- Fluids in the car are filled and working properly, especially engine coolant and antifreeze
- Battery Check
- Make sure the heater works
Of course, you can do the once over yourself, if you feel informed enough about any of these processes. Although, it never hurts to have a professional take a look. Having a car that runs well and is reliable during the winter is absolutely key. Take a look at our current Service Specials to see what we can help you with this winter.
Last Minute Tips
When I lived in Minnesota and Michigan, I worried that the winters would be worse than in New England (they are). I asked locals what to do about the car during the winter, since the temperatures are a little more extreme. Here are some tips they gave me:
- Keep the windshield wipers up when the car is parked overnight or for long periods of time. It helps later when you’re trying to scrape the snow off your car. It also helps keep them from freezing to the windshield.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full when you the temperature is going to drop significantly. Keep at least more than a quarter tank of gas each night. Sometimes gas can freeze in the tank if there isn’t enough in there.
- Put Ziploc bags over your mirrors. It will help prevent icing and save you time in the morning from having to scrape the ice off.
Driving in the winter can be a bit scary, but hopefully these tips will help set your mind at ease. Remember to take care of your car before things get bad. Take it slow and easy, you’ll get where you need to be this winter.
There is a unique love and understanding between people who love classic cars. Volkswagen’s Beetle is one of the most beloved cars of all time. They’re cute, colorful, and each one has a special personality. When that personality accompanies us with each adventure we take in our lives, it becomes a part of us. We become attached and sentimental. We don’t like to let go.
For Kathleen Brooks, her Beetle was named Annie. Brooks originally bought the car back in 1966 and has owned it ever since, racking up over 450,000 miles on Annie. Brooks tell of all the adventures she’s been on and the heart ache she’s spent with the car. It’s been a consistent presence through it all. As Brooks grew older so did Annie and the more worn out she became. After 52 years it’s not hard to see why. Of course, Brooks was very attached to Annie and didn’t want to let her go, but with so many miles and so many adventures it was becoming impossible for Annie to continue much longer.
Enter Volkswagen to the rescue! They had heard about Brooks and Annie’s relationship and wanted to help and honor their loyal customer. A trip to Mexico and a 60-person team went to work on Annie. They did a complete restoration of the beautiful timeless Beetle. Taking the time to care about their long-time customers boosts moral for the company and for the persons involved. Read the full story on what went into the restoration here.
Winter is slowly on it’s way once again. Whether you like it or not, it’s time to prep your vehicle. But what exactly needs to be done? What’s the cheapest way you can prep your car and still be safe? Is it worth it to prep if your car is running smoothly? These are some of the questions we will tackle in the following weeks as we look at all the safety measures to take for winter.
If you’re on a tight budget like me the thought of getting new tires can be a daunting and frustrating experience. My first thought is always, “If I have all-season tires why does it matter if I get strictly ‘winter’ tires?” The answer really depends on how much control you want to have over your vehicle. If you don’t like to constantly be fishtailing down the highway on your way home in a blizzard while driving at 15 mph then you should probably think, or at least entertain the idea, of getting new tires. It’s here that I too would inwardly groan. Is there really that big of a difference between all-season and winter tires? “All-season” certainly sounds like it would have more benefits than a tire that can only perform in one season.
Let’s break down the difference between the two tires to the left. First off, when looking at any tire there are three things to keep in mind and it all has to do with tread. The pattern, depth, and compound of the tread. These are key points for any tire, because each variation changes how it will perform on the road and weather. The pattern of a winter tire matters because it needs to be good with low traction conditions. The depth of the tread will determine how much slush and snow it pushes away from the car. The compound of the tire will tell you how much grip the tire will have on the road.
The deep groove in the center of the winter tire, shows the depth. The cross hair pieces will thrust the snow and slush away from the car and clear the way. It might be difficult to see, but the all season tire seems smooth to the touch, while the winter tire has all sorts of all in the rubber. A softer and more malleable tire performs better in cold conditions, while the all season tire can get cold and harden, which gives less grip and control.
I think this has swayed at least my mind about winter tires. The idea of having more control sounds appealing. I don’t want to be one of those people I see in the snow on the side of the highway in the middle of a blizzard. Whenever I go out this winter I want to feel completely safe.
What about Studs?
Studs can be helpful in certain conditions, but not all, which means you could be switching tires through the winter. Another downside of studs is that they aren’t legal in every state, because they can damage the road. If they are legal in the state you live in, check how icy the roads get in the winter. The studs dig in like little ice picks and help push you along. If the roads you travel vary between slush, snow, and actual plowed concrete, it might not be the best decision to choose studs for your every day driving. What is the alternative? Winter tires.
Studless Winter Tires
There are really only two types of winter tires to choose from. Studless or Performance. Studless tires are the most aggressive tire for the winter. The reason is because of the tread. This tire performs at its best when winter is at its worse. The colder it is the better they work. They are designed to work in icy and snowy conditions. Having these on your car ensures that you have maximum control of your vehicle during the winter. These tires will get you to and from work with increased safety for yourself and anyone else on the road. So are these right for you? Take a look at the routes you drive. What does you job ask of you when it snows? These are things to keep in mind when deciding between snow tires.
Performance tires might seem less quality after talking about studless, but that’s not the case. These tires have a different take on winter. They give optimal handling control to the driver. They offer the ability to have that summer drive feel in the middle of the winter. Performance tires are the median between all-season and the aggressive studless design. Realistically, these tires are for drivers who have more mild winters than some places. It could also be for those who are able to stay home during storms and go out when it’s more clear or wet. A lot of drivers who don’t want to abandon their sports cars during the winter will choose performance over studless. Why? These tires are built to perform and grip for the driver’s needs.
Tires for You
With winter coming quickly, it’s important to know that you’re ready and feel prepared. No one likes to be caught out in the cold. Take some time and really think about your choices for tires this winter. Do some research on what is best for your driving style and needs this winter. If you need tires, but aren’t sure where to get them, we can help you. Contact us and ask about what winter tires are for you. We can have some specially ordered for you or come look through our inventory of tires. We can be sure that you are safe and ready to go all winter long.