651-455-1604
1095 Highway 110 • Inver Grove Heights, MN

651-455-1604
1095 50th Street E • Inver Grove Heights, MN

5 Must-have maintenance checks for your boat trailer this summer

As spring turns to summer, like many Minnesotans, you’re ready to get out there and enjoy one of our 10,000 + lakes. From water skiing to that leisurely evening boat ride, enjoying your summer on the lake is what we’ve been waiting for. But if you have a boat and need to tow it to your cabin or go fishing at that lake down the road, we’d like to say a collective “not so fast”. Your boat trailer needs some must-have maintenance before you can safely drive your boat to your favorite lake. If you’re not sure what maintenance checks your boat trailer needs, we’ve got you covered with our 5 must-have boat trailer maintenance checks.

Check your tires

One of the number one things you should inspect before hitting the road with your boat is your tires. Improperly inflated tires can be a real safety hazard or a headache if you get stranded by the side of the road. Tires will typically lose 1-2 pounds of air pressure per month, especially if your trailer has been sitting over the long winter. Inflate your tires to the maximum rating listed on your tires or your trailer capacity sticker – which is typically at least 60 psi. While you’re down there checking your air pressure, inspect your tires for any wear & tear, and your rims for any damage. Most manufacturers recommend trailer tire replacement every 6 years. You’ll also want to make sure your spare tire is inflated properly, and if you don’t have one yet, now is a great time to have one mounted.

Check your brakes

Most boat trailers have brakes installed for safe performance. If you don’t have brakes installed and your trailer weighs over 3,000 lbs, your trailer could swerve when using your towing vehicle brakes – which can cause an accident. If you do have brakes, you’ll want to inspect and then clean them of any dirt and debris that has built up over the winter. While you’re down there cleaning those brakes, you’ll also want to take a look at those brake pads, and inspect them for wear and tear. If you find any wear & tear, your local mechanic can replace them for you. Lastly, check your brake fluid to make sure it is filled to the proper level.

Check the boat trailer lights

Did you know that driving with faulty trailer lights can get you a hefty fine? Save yourself and your wallet the headache and check those lights before heading out. Inspect your lights for dimming, flickering, or simply lights that don’t work. Older trailers have light bulbs that burn out so if you notice any of these signs, be sure to have your mechanic replace your bulbs. While you’re at it, it’s a great idea to check your towing vehicle connection. Our winter weather can rust and corrode the metal pins causing your connection to malfunction. It’s a great idea to purchase a connection cover at any auto parts store to protect your connection in every season.

Check your wheel bearings on the boat trailer

Your wheel bearings can become rusted or corroded when exposed to moisture. Corroded wheel bearings can prevent your wheels from turning properly, cause friction, and a possible accident.  Since your trailer has been sitting idle for a few months, inspect your wheel bearings for any corrosion and be sure to grease them for better performance.  If you don’t already have one, plan on installing wheel bearing covers which can protect your wheel bearings all year long.

Check your safety chain

Your safety chain should crisscross underneath the trailer tongue and attach to your vehicle for support just in case your trailer and vehicle become unhitched. These 5 must-have checks will ensure your boat towing safety all season long. And if you discover your trailer needs some extra maintenance or replacements, our team is ready to help.

Your car care maintenance checklist

car care

Car care is important. By following regular car care inspections, you can help save money in the long run. You may have already noticed, but spring is upon us. From warmer temperatures to blooming flowers, Minnesotans like you are getting out there and enjoying the weather. But before you get too far in planning those backyard BBQs and summer road trips, it may be a good idea to schedule your spring maintenance appointment for your car. Our long and bitterly cold winters can be tough on our cars, which is why having your mechanic take a peek under the hood is always a good idea each spring. If you’re wondering what needs to be checked, we’ve got you covered with our spring car car maintenance checklist.

Tires

Between snow, ice, & salt your tires take a beating over the winter. You’ll want to make sure your tires are properly inflated (this can be a safety hazard if they’re not) and inspect them from tread wear.  While you’re down there inspecting the tread, you might as well take a look at your rims and check for any dents or damage. One last thing to check on your tires? You’ll want to take them to your mechanic to get them rotated and balanced. Checking to see if your tires are in good working order for the spring and summer will ensure safe driving and longer tire life.

Suspension

Along with your tires, your suspension can take a hit during winter and early spring. From rough snow-covered roads to those pesky early-spring potholes, your suspension system may be worn out from winter. Some signs that your suspension systems need some attention include continued bouncing after hitting bumps, unusually bumpy rides, difficulty steering, and pulling to one side after turning corners. If you notice any of these signs, or it’s been a while since you’ve asked your mechanic to check your struts and/or shocks, then bringing your car into your mechanic to check your suspension is a good idea.

Alignment

Winter snow hides a variety of obstacles on the road which can quickly impact your vehicle’s alignment. Bad alignment can show up in uneven and rapid tire wear, squealing tires, your steering wheel being crooked when driving straight, and pulling to one side. If you’re noticing any of these signs this spring, it’s a good idea to have your mechanic take a look.

Belts & Hoses

Our bitterly cold temperatures each winter can be damaging to your belts & hoses. They can crack and tear when exposed to the elements. Ask your mechanic to check for any wear, cracks and tears. Left unchecked, belts & hoses can tear and crack while you’re driving leaving you on the side of the road with a breakdown. In this case, it’s better to have them inspected now than paying for a tow later.

Headlights, Taillights & Turn Signals

Headlights, taillights, and turn signals can become a nighttime driving hazard after a long winter. Your headlights and taillights can form a yellowish haze which can hamper your visibility. You’ll want to have these checked and either replaced or refurbished to ensure night driving safety. While you have your mechanic checking those lights, it’s a good idea to check for and replace any burnt out lights to keep you driving safely all spring and summer long.

Interior Cabin Comfort

Your car has been locked up for several months during the winter. Spring is the perfect time to replace your cabin air filter. If your car was made after 1999, then you have one of these. The cabin air filter’s job is to keep pollen, mold, and other pollutants out and keep the interior air of your car fresh and clean. One last interior cabin tip? Ask your mechanic to run an AC output test to ensure your AC is ready to go in the heat of summer.

Fluid levels and Car Care

When was the last time you checked your fluid levels? If it’s been a while – it’s a good idea to ask your mechanic to check your coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid.

Windshield Wipers

Winter weather can dull your wiper blades. Spring is the perfect time to get these replaced so you’re ready for the heavy spring and summer rains.

If you’re ready to ensure your car is spring and summer ready, then a spring maintenance check is just what the doctor ordered. Our team is ready to help. Simply make an appointment and we’ll get you back to safe driving all spring and summer long.

Electric cars and 5 Perks for Driving them

electric cars

It seems like electric cars are everywhere recently. From TV ads to news articles, electric cars seem to be the latest up and coming option when it comes to saving money and the environment. Due to rising prices at the pump, many Minnesota drivers, like you, are looking at ways to save their budget when it comes to driving around town. While car manufacturers are promoting their latest electric car models, you might be wondering if electric cars are worth the hype or if they can really save you money. If you’ve got questions about going electric, we’ve got you covered in this article.

 

What are electric cars and how do they work?

Before we launch into five perks you can take advantage of by driving electric, we should start with the basics. Electric cars, also known as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), use a large battery pack to power the electric motor and run the car. These cars do not need gas, but must be plugged into a wall outlet (120V) or a charging station – also known as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. When fully charged, most cars have a driving range of about 200 miles.

If you’ve heard of electric cars, you may be wondering how hybrids compare. Hybrids, like their name indicates, use a hybrid of an electric motor and a gas engine. These cars still require a gas fill up, but due to the electric motor/gas engine combination, you’ll drive further distances on one fill up.

Perk # 1: Lower running costs

When it comes to electric cars, the first thing drivers want to know is how much money they can save by going electric. Driving an electric car can save you money at the pump, but you may be wondering if it is really worth the initial investment. On average, it costs $0.05 per mile to run an electric car vs. $0.15 per mile to run a gas-powered car. This can add up to $4,000 per year just by driving an electric car.

Perk # 2: Lower maintenance costs

Another perk of owning an electric car is lower maintenance costs. With far fewer moving parts, electric cars don’t require oil changes, new spark plugs, or new fuel filters. They are typically powered by lithium batteries which are good for 300-500 cycles and can last up to 10 years. Electric vehicles also feature regenerative braking (using the electric motor to decelerate the car) which extends the lifespan of your brake pads. Lower replacement parts and maintenance leads to more money in your pocket.

Perk # 3: Rebates and tax credits

Did you know that you can get money back with rebates and tax credits? There is a federal tax credit for electric battery vehicles depending on the battery capacity. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) also provides rebate savings for eligible vehicles.

Perk # 4: Cleaner environment

Electric cars are cleaner for the environment. Studies have shown that they are 85-90% energy efficient compared to their gas-powered counterparts which are only 17-21% energy efficient. Electric vehicles don’t have a tailpipe, and don’t emit any exhaust gasses – which reduces local air pollution from car exhaust. Overall, electric cars ensure a cleaner environment for years to come.

Perk # 5: Greater performance

Electric cars are just plain fun to drive. They boast quick acceleration while producing peak performance from a stand still. Because the battery pack is positioned in the center of the car, they have superior weight distribution and stability. These features lead to great handling and a better driving experience than gas-powered cars.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons as you consider going electric. These 5 perks can help you determine if driving an electric car is right for you.

The best fuel saving tips to beat rising gas prices

fuel

If rising gas prices are breaking your budget, you’re not alone. Minnesota drivers are frustrated with rising gas prices, and are searching for answers on how to keep their budget intact while also getting more efficient when it comes to driving. While we can’t control the price we pay at the pump, we can take small steps that make a big difference when it comes to making our cars more fuel efficient. If you’ve been looking for some ways to make your last fill up last longer so you can drive farther, then keep reading for our best fuel saving tips.

Drive the speed limit to save on Fuel

If you like to get there faster, you may be surprised to know that slowing down helps your car become more fuel efficient. Did you know that driving at 80 MPH can use up to 25% more fuel than driving 70 MPH? For a quick money and fuel saving tip, just slow it down and enjoy the ride.

Fill up with the best fuel for your vehicle

If you’ve been assuming that the higher octane gas will make your car more fuel efficient, you may want to think again. Most experts would tell you that more expensive gas is not always more efficient. Instead, stick to the octane your car requires according to your manufacturer. If your car needs 87 octane, filling it with 89 or 91 octane won’t increase your fuel efficiency. This will simply cost more without any added benefit. Stick to what you need and keep your car running efficiently all year long.

Keep your tank ¼ full

This seems counter-intuitive, but letting your tank get below ¼ full leads to your fuel pump needing to work harder, and will decrease your fuel efficiency in the long run. Plan on keeping your tank at least ¼ full for greater efficiency while you drive.

Inspect your tires for better fuel efficiency

Your tires are not just about safety, and a smooth ride. Improperly inflated tires will decrease your fuel efficiency by 3%. While it may not seem like much, this can add up over time. We recommend checking your tire pressure every month to ensure fuel efficiency.

Check your front end alignment

If you’ve hit a big pothole or bump while driving around this spring, it’s a good idea to have your alignment checked. Poor front end alignment can decrease your gas mileage by 10%. Signs you may have poor front end alignment include pulling to one side while driving, a little extra bounce when you hit a bump, or even shaking when driving at high speeds. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to have your alignment checked by your mechanic.

Get smart about using your AC

Using your AC can weigh on your engine and decrease your fuel efficiency. This is especially true with city driving when there are a lot of stops and starts. To increase fuel efficiency, plan on opening those windows and enjoying some fresh air. On the other hand, open windows are an issue for highway driving. This can reduce your fuel efficiency by 10%. We recommend keeping these things in mind when using your AC this summer.

Lighten your load to save on Fuel

A fun fact about fuel efficiency is that the heavier your car is, the harder it will need to work. If you use your trunk or backend for storage, you may be surprised to find out that for every 100 lbs you are storing in your trunk, your fuel consumption will increase by 1-2%. Simply doing a little spring cleaning of your trunk can go a long way.

Schedule regular maintenance checks

Your car will burn up to 30% more fuel if proper maintenance is not performed. Your regular maintenance check will include having most things checked by a professional mechanic including your tire pressure, front end alignment, changing your air filter, and any other issues causing your car to burn more than it needs to.

If you’re ready to get started on these best saving tips, but don’t know where to start – we can help. Our team is ready to perform your routine maintenance and check several items off this list. Simply give us a call and we’ll get you on the road to saving money at the pump in no time.

4 Potential Problems to Look Out For After Hitting A Pothole This Spring

pothole

As our temperatures begin to rise, you may be ready to get out there, roll your windows down, and go for a beautiful drive. But before you hit the pavement, you’ll need to employ a little defensive driving. While spring brings warmer weather, beautiful flowers, and sunny skies, it also brings with it potholes on the road. It’s definitely best to avoid potholes as you drive around town, but you probably know from past experience that potholes can sneak up and surprise you. So, if you’ve run into a pothole this spring, we want to warn you of 4 potential problems for your car to look out for.

Tires & Wheels

You’ve done your best to avoid potholes all season when out of the blue you’ve driven right into one. The first thing to look out for after hitting that pothole is your tires & wheels. The obvious signs of damage is definitely a flat tire, but did you know that potholes can cause internal damage to your tires as well? Depending on the depth and length of that pothole, and whether your tires are inflated properly, your tires can also sustain internal damage. Look for bulges and bubbles on your tires which is a sign that the internal structure or sidewall of your tire has been damaged from the impact. Neglecting those bulges and bubbles can lead to blowouts and you being stranded by the side of the road.

While you’re down there inspecting your tires – you might as well inspect your wheels as well. Wheels are especially susceptible to a pothole run in when your tires aren’t inflated properly. Wheels can bend, crack, or break upon impact with a pothole. Since repair options are limited that typically means replacing that wheel. Whether you notice damage to your tire or wheel, it’s always best to have your mechanic inspect your damaged tires to keep you safe on the road all year long.

Suspension & Alignment issues when Hitting a Pothole

After your tires, your suspension system is vulnerable to damage when you drive over a pothole. When you run over a pothole, parts like your suspension arm and tie rod may become damaged. Also, the impact may knock your system out of alignment. Signs your alignment is not right include pulling to one side while driving, shaking when driving at high speeds, and extra bouncing after driving over that bump. It’s best to take care of this issue right away as misalignment can cause your tires to wear quickly and unevenly, which eventually causes a safety issue for your car. If you notice these signs after hitting a pothole, ask your mechanic to take a look, and inspect your suspension system.

Pothole damage to Shock Absorbers

Your shock absorbers can break on impact – making them a high priority after you’ve unexpectedly hit a pothole. Damaged shock absorbers can cause leaking oil and extra bouncing after you hit a bump while driving. One quick test for your shock absorbers is to push down hard on the front corner of your car a few times. If your car bounces a few more times after this test, it’s a good idea to have your mechanic take a peek to see if you need to replace them.

Exhaust System

One last area to check out after hitting that pothole this spring is your exhaust system. Upon impact, your exhaust can break loose, or even bend which can cause strange noises coming from your back end. If you do notice any strange noises or you can see damage to your exhaust pipe, bring it in.

Potholes come with the territory every spring. While slowing down and driving defensively can help you avoid them, sometimes driver over that unexpected pothole is inevitable. We’re ready to help you inspect your car for any damage and get you back on the road again in no time.

4 Reasons Your Vehicle Needs A Spring Maintenance Check

maintenance

Have you been asking yourself if your vehicle really needs a spring tune up?  We get it. Life is busy, and for most Minnesotan families – spring is even busier. From cleaning up your yard to kids sporting activities, the average family is on the run the moment the temperature starts to climb. Let’s face it. We don’t want to slow down and do some of the basics, like take your car into the shop for a spring tune up. If you’ve been on the fence on whether your car really needs a spring maintenance check, we’ve got four reasons your car needs a tune up so keep reading.

 

1. Extending the life of your car with maintenance

Winter can be really hard on our vehicles. From the wear and tear from snow and salt to the bitterly cold temperatures, your car has taken a beating. Scheduling that spring maintenance check will extend the life of your car.  If you intend to keep driving that vehicle for a while, there are some things that need to be checked each spring starting with the quality of your tires. When you take your car in for a spring tune up, you can get those tires and rims checked. Ask your mechanic to rotate, balance, and check for damage. You’ll also want to have them check your alignment and suspension. All of these items impact the life of your car and the safety of your family.

2. Saving money

Who doesn’t want to save money when it comes to expenses related to your vehicle?  Did you know that regular maintenance checks can save on wear and tear – which in the long run saves you money on replacing parts, not to mention labor on car repairs? One little bonus: keeping your tires, alignment, and suspension in good shape can help save on gas.  When you take your vehicle in for that spring maintenance check, you are providing preventative maintenance on your car – which lowers maintenance costs and puts more spending money in your pocket.

3. Ensuring safety

Safety first can be your mantra when it comes to vehicle maintenance. At your spring tune up, your mechanic will not only perform routine maintenance on your car, they can also make sure your car is safe to drive. Ask your mechanic to check your headlights, taillights, and turn signals. Our winter weather can turn your headlights and taillights yellow or hazy which can create a safety issue when it comes to night time visibility. Plan on replacing any yellow or hazy lights and replacing burnt out bulbs. One last item to ensure safety?  Get your windshield wipers replaced in spring so you’re ready to see clearly out the front windshield in rain or shine.

4. Finding peace of mind by having maintenance done

Have you ever wondered what that weird noise coming from under your engine or your back end is about? Or even more importantly, is it safe for your family to drive when you hear that noise? Scheduling your spring maintenance check can give you peace of mind while you have those weird noises checked out. Your mechanic can check on how your engine is running, and if your belts or hoses have any cracks or tears from the winter months so that you avoid any side-of-the-road breakdowns this spring. Your spring maintenance check should also include topping off your fluid levels (coolant, transmission, power steering, and brake) while also replacing your cabin air filter so that you keep the allergens and pollutants out and fresh air in.

Choosing to have your vehicle checked every season is a great way to save money, extend the life of your car, and drive with confidence knowing that your family is safe and secure all year long.

 

Brake Pedals Pulsating when Stopping – What does it Mean?

brake pedals

Brake pedals can indicate an issue. If you have ever found your car uncontrollably shake every time you hit the brakes on a stop sign, then your rotor might be warped. Pulsating brakes is often common for drivers who utilize the brakes very often. This could be because they drive in traffic or they have an unhealthy habit of jamming the brakes.

Warped Rotors

When you see the shining object inside the rotors and you squeeze the brake for long extended period of time, your rotor will sometimes warp. This also happens when you get your rotor too hot and you run through water causing it to cool down too quick. Your rotor will sometimes warp and as it spins, the brake feels the angle of the rotor change.

The pulsating feeling that you feel while driving the car comes back through the brake line which pushes the power steering back into the cylinder. This is why you feel pulsation evidently in your brake pedal. In other words, it is like pushing fluid back through a line and your brake pedal inside fills it. You therefore feel the push back on your foot.

What to Look for when applying Brake Pedals?

When you take your wheel off, then you should notice that your disk is shiny. If you have a very bad warped rotor, you will find places in the rotor that is different in color than the rest of the rotor. You may find an area that is shiny, along with areas that are darker in shade. What you need to do is pop the rotor off and get another one.

Many shops will turn these rotors and use a special machine to smooth the surface of the rotor to get rid of the pulsation. Smoothing out the surface of the rotors ensures that the thickness is even throughout the rotors. Also make sure that your brake pads are in good condition. Worn out brake pads can also be the cause of pulsation.

If you do not make timely brake pad replacements, the brake pads lose their padding , and you get a squeaking noise when you hit your brakes. This tells you that it is time to replace your brakes. Bad brake pads will increase friction and heat on the rotor, leading to the pulsating occurrence. You may also get to the point where the caliper ends up hitting the rotor and this is why you must pay close attention.

As you can see, any occurrence or maintenance issue that leads to the increase of frictional heat to the rotor will lead to the rotor to have an uneven surface. An uneven surface of the rotor is the most common cause a surging or vibrating response when you hit the brakes. You have to really pay attention to the brakes and always have brand new brakes.

Why the TPMS Light Illuminates on Your Vehicle?

TPMS is short for tire pressure monitoring system. The system consists of small sensors that go into each of the wheels and they tell you about the pressure of each tire. This system is very important because having your tires properly inflated is vital when driving. Not having the correct pressure on your car will impact your car’s performance and also impact the fuel economy. Not only that, it will also increase the chances of a tire blow-out, and reduce your tire’s overall lifespan.

Dangers of Underinflated Tires

Under inflated tires cause about 250,000 accidents each year, and they also waste about 3.5 million gallons of gas each day. The way that TPMS works is that when there is about a 25% reduction in tire pressure, a light illuminates on the dash. The reason you do not want to rely on that is 25% reduction is very significant. It can be the cause of an unwanted accident or crash on the road.

There are wires on your tire along the sidewalls. When driving on an underinflated tire, you are bending the wires over and over again. When you do that too often, the wire will eventually weaken and break. Your underinflated tire is going to change shape and flex huge number of times at higher speeds.

If this occurs for a prolonged time, the sidewalls will get weak and you will risk the chance of a catastrophic blowout of the sidewalls. This is where you will go from tire to metal lying on the road. Thus, underinflated tires can be far more dangerous than overinflated tires.

Replacements and Maintenance when the TPMS light comes on

To check the optimum pressure limit for your tire, you can either check the driver’s manual or the side of the door jamb. This door jamb will have information of the exact PSI of your tire. Due to the Transportation recall enhancement, accountability and documentation act, all US manufacturers must install TPMS in the cars sold after September 2007.

Therefore, if your car was manufactured in 2008 or any year after that, there is a really good chance that your car already has the TPMS installed. If you have had your car for over five years, then it is best that you remove the TPMS sensor and replace it. This is because these sensors will typically last about five to ten years.

The sensor is primarily a sealed unit, and so you cannot replace the battery on them. Furthermore, the seals are also vulnerable to damages and breakage. For this reason, the best fix for a TPMS sensor is to simply replace it to a new one.

As you can see, the installation of TPMS sensor was mandated for very good reasons. If your tire loses pressure and optimum air capacity, you need to address that as fast as possible. A TPMS sensor alerts you in an instance, and this makes a quick fix to your tires possible. IN other words, these sensors can be life saving.

Snowplows on the Road, and Driving near them

snowplow

A snowplow refers to the blade that you mount in front of a vehicle so that you can drive across snow while moving out of the way. By doing this, you can accomplish the important task of clearing the snowy roads in the winter, making it safe for you and the other drivers on the road. When snow plow drivers drive, it is important for the rest of the drivers to take important precautions so that they do not end up getting into a fatal accident.

Driving Safe around Snowplows

It is incredibly important to leave plenty of room between you and the snowplow. This not only gives the operator courtesy and respect to do their job, it also keeps you away from possible danger. You must realize that the snow plow is clearing the route ahead so that the drivers behind can have a safer drive.

This implies that the road ahead of the snowplow is not in a good condition to drive. Therefore, driving past or around the snowplow means that you are running the risk of getting stuck in knee-deep snow, or also coming across a fatal accident. If you still wish to get around and ahead of snowplow, it is best to drive from left side of plow.

The right side of the plow is where the snow and the salts come out of. This is why driving from the left side of the plow is the better option. Instead of passing the snowplow while it is on the move, it is best to wait until the driver stops and then to go around them. Other than that, staying behind the snow plow during bad road conditions will remain the safest bet.

Snow Plow Safety

A fresh blanket of snow on the road may look very beautiful, but it does not present the winter wonderland when you driving on it. Inside the beautiful layer of snow hides a multitude of hazards that can put your life in danger. They can also cause severe damage to your vehicle and put innocent passengers and residents at incredible risk.

When you plow snow professionally, it is your responsibility to follow safe operating procedures. Regardless of the experience of a snow plow, they adhere to all safety protocols to ensure the safety of the passengers on the road.

Therefore, it is your responsibility to minimize hazards for the snow plow, and allow them to do their job without having to worry about an oncoming car. You also have to stay away from their blind spots. These areas around the truck can vary according to the size of the truck.

When driving behind a snowplow, keep in mind that if you cannot see the truck driver through their side mirrors, then they probably cannot see you too. This is a good way to judge whether you are in their blind spot.

Driving in the Snow Safely this Winter

driving in the snowThe winter weather produces some of the most dangerous conditions that most drivers will likely have to face. Over 70% of Americans live at locations where ice and snow on the road is common during the winters. This year, you can even expect the number of accidents to increase due to the extreme weather conditions.

Whether you are new to winter driving, or even an experienced driver, it is always better to take extra precautions behind the wheel. By learning some of the tips and tricks, you can not only survive the unpredictable snowy weather, but also thrive in it.

Overview

To get a brief explanation of what driving in the snow is like would be driving down the road and being vary of not only the car’s limits, but also your limits and the road’s limits. Exceeding either of these limits will lead to an unwanted crash. To avoid getting into a car accident, you need to first address the phrase, “car accidents”

Cars do not have accidents, you can instead find car crashes that happen when driver’s exceed limits. To drive safely in the snow, you will need to be familiar of those particular limits. By doing so, you can stay within them while you are on the road, and also find ways to expand each of those limits. This will make you and your passengers safer in the dangerous winter driving environment.

Driving in the Snow – Pay Attention

One of the most critical things that you can do when you are behind the wheels on a snowy and icy road is pay attention. To pay closer attention on the road, you will need to get rid of as many distractions on the road as possible. This may include turning the radio down, cracking the windows open so that you can hear for dangers, and also being aware of good seating positions.

As you are driving in the snow, it is important to tune yourself in to what is going on in the surrounding. You can feel the vibrations on the steering wheel to get as sense of the road conditions. Not only that, you can also pay close attention with your hearing.

The noise that your tires make on the road can tell you plenty about your car’s traction. Knowing about the contact between the tires and the surface can help you determine plenty of things. These can include your driving speed, braking distance, and even whether you need to put on tire chains.

Look At the Forecast

Before you even start driving the car, you should know what the forecast looks like and whether there are chances for the weather to get drastic and hazardous. Knowing the forecast should be essential as it can help you plan your routes and prevent you from getting stuck in the snow.

Along with these measures, you also need to prepare your car with winter essentials that will help you survive the cold temperatures if you happen to get stuck.

Winter Safety Kit Importance – Car Equipment that You Must Consider

winter safety

Winter safety kits are important. Winter is here, and if you can expect the weather to take drastic turns as the time goes on. Before you know it, the weather will dip below zero and it will start snowing uncontrollably. This is when you want to make sure that you have all the essentials in your car.

Drastic weather and climate require you to set up a winter emergency kit which is portable, easy to carry, and highly effective. Below, the article will go over some important items that you must include as a part of your winter survival kit of your car.

Ice melter

Ice melters are solutions that instantly melt the ice. They come in shaker jugs but you can shift them into another compartment. You can use them for many purposes regarding ice issues. They can be critical in helping you melt the ice and help your car get better traction. It is granular so when you lay it under your tire, it would help you grip the road better since it gets rid of all the ice accumulation between your tire treads.

Ice Shovel

If you ever happen to get stuck in the snow, products such as foldable shovels can be life saviors. Since they are foldable, you can easily carry them in the trunk of your car. Sometimes, all you need to do is dig out the snow from underneath your tires if they get stuck inside the snow.

Ice Scraper

Ice scrapers and brushes are for when the snow build up on the windshields and glasses. You can then easily get that off your car using a scraper and brush. They also help you get rid of the ice from on top of your car. If you leave the ice to build up on the roof of your car, you run the risk of snow falling down on another driving as you are driving. Therefore, you want to make sure that you, and the drivers around you are safe.

Food and Water

To many, this is a no brainer. But whenever you are driving in the snowy conditions, always keep in mind that the possibilities of getting stranded are very possible. This is why it is important that you have enough snacks and drinks inside your car which will help you stay energized and hydrated during these times. Make sure that you keep replacing and checking your emergency foods and drinks before winter begins so that they are not close to expiration. Food items have a shelf life.

Winter Safety First Aid Kit

You need to have a first aid kit inside your car when winterizing it. More importantly, make sure that it is located somewhere close to the driver seat, and within arm’s reach.

Winterizing your car is all about preparing yourself for all worst-case scenarios that the dire winter conditions can present. This involves being stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Failing Battery and Signs to Notice

failing batteryIf you have ever come across the red battery signal while driving down the road, then you must have faced battery issues in the past. Most people believe that the red battery shaped indicator shows something wrong with your battery. However, this is not the case most of the times. About 90 percent of times, the battery light illuminates due to the faults in the alternator.

If you spot the red battery light, then this indicates that your battery may not be charging. This can mean that your car is solely functioning on the battery power outage. Since batteries tend to die without chargers, this means that your time on the road is limited to the leftover battery capacity. The first thing that you need to do in this situation is to check the drive belts.

Failing Battery Signs

Make sure that the engine is driving the alternator. You can find the alternator in mostly the front-end part of the engine if you are driving an inline engine. On the other hand, if you have a horizontally opposed engine, then you are likely to spot the alternator on the passenger end of the car.

Once you have spotted the alternator, you want to go ahead and locate pulley. This is a component on the side of an alternator. Once you can visually spot the pulley, you will have to ensure that the belt is in optimum working condition. The belt is what drives the pulley and makes it spin around the side of an alternator.

You will have to replace the alternator belt if you find that it comes off easily because it is stretched out. You may find that the belt is completely removed from alternator slot. Additionally, also look for any signs of wear on the alternator belts. Replacing an alternator belt is the simplest and most affordable battery repairs that you can perform.

Checking Voltage Using Multi-meter

If you find that your alternator belt is intact, and there is nothing wrong with the charging capacity of the battery, then you should check the voltage. To check the voltage, all you need is a multimeter. You can find this at any local store, and it helps you measure AC and DC current.

Set the multimeter setting to 20 volts and get a reading. If you hold the terminals on the battery and get a reading that is either, lower than 12 volts, or decreasing as you hold it for longer time, this indicates a faulty battery.

Check Voltage Using Scanner

You can also check the failing battery voltage using any type of OBD scanners. All you have to do is connect the scanner to the OBD port and set up the scanner. You will then have to look for any codes on the scanner that relate to the battery and charging system.

There are many methods of diagnosing an issue with the car battery. Since the battery’s charging system may undergo numerous faults and inconsistencies, the diagnosis is very extensive and time consuming. Therefore, it is best that you take your car to the technician to get proper diagnosis and solutions for a faulty electrical system.

The Heater and Ways to Repair it to Prevent further Issues

A car’s heater may release cold or normal air for various reasons. But, there are multiple techniques to help you identify the reasons for malfunctioning problems. The major challenge you might encounter is determining the actual reason and replacing the component causing the problem. In this article, we’ll share some effective techniques to pinpoint the problem with your heater. So let’s get into details:

1.    Heater Thermostat

Coolant is a mixture that flows through the heater. The main purpose of the coolant is to reach the heating core through tubes and valves. But, this mixture had to pass through a thermostat to reach the core. When the thermostat malfunctions, the coolant won’t be able to flow through this point, disrupting the heater’s performance. It would be best if you replaced the thermostat to enable coolant to circulate through this portion. Keep in mind that this problem needs to be solved immediately as this might overheat the engine causing major issues.

2.    Cooling System

The cooling system works when the coolant flows through the valves and hoses, reaching the heating core. When the coolant reaches the core, it heats up, releasing hot air. The fan pushes the air out of the system, spreading it across the car. But, if the mixture is low in concentration, the heating core won’t work properly. Also, if the coolant consists of contaminants such as dust and rust particles, the system won’t work. Therefore, the heat won’t leave the system in the cabin. It would help if you replaced the coolant to fix the problem.

3.    Blower Fan

Sometimes, the heater might not work because of the malfunctioned blower fan. When this happens, the hot air leaving the heating core won’t pass through the filters into the cabin. As a result, the engine will overheat. Therefore, you should immediately fix the fan or replace it with a new component. There are a few signs that signify that the blower fan isn’t working. Check if your car smells like fruits or sweets, try to listen to the fan’s noise through the dashboard. To replace the blower fan, you should open the dashboard, find the heating core, and remove the damaged fan. You’ll find a new blower fan from a local store. Simply fix the new fan in the correct position, and the heater will work properly.

After reading the above solutions, you can easily identify the problem with the heater and fix your heating system. Fixing these issues won’t require much effort and time. All you need to do is pinpoint and remove the damaged component. On the other hand, when you visit a professional to fix the malfunctioning, it’ll cost you a significant amount of money.

Cabin Air Filters and why you should Change them

Cabin air filters are components of a car that are mostly neglected by many car owners. They are parts that control the air quality inside your car’s cabin. Like all filters, they can need replacement overtime because of the over accumulation of dirt and debris.

If you do not change them as often as you should, it may lead to a number of problems. For instance, it can cause your air conditioning to fail. On the other hand, it can also cause your compressor to go bad.

Ultimately, replacing the air filter is a simple thing that you can do to prevent issues such as these. Not only that, it is also a cheap fix to prevent yourself from spending countless amount of money. This is because an air cabin filter replacement is a preventative measure to safeguard your car from running into major problems.

What Does the Cabin Air Filter Do?

The cabin air filter mostly locates behind the glove box compartment. It is an integral component of your car’s HVAC system. Thanks to the cabin air filter, the air that travels from outside, through the vents, and into your nostrils is free from the outside contaminants and pollutants inside the air.

By filtering out all the dust, dirt, contaminants, and odor, they provide you a safe, comfortable and breathable area. They trap the smallest microns that are suspended in the air. Not only that, they are also systematically designed with carbon integrations that trap any outside odor from entering into the cabin.

By ridding all of these irritants from entering into the car, they help keep you healthy. Moreover, since they control the air quality, they can be pivotal for passengers and drivers that are allergic to these irritants. For instance, sneezing or coughing while you drive your vehicle puts you at a serious risk of an accident.

Some people that are allergic to pollen have to pollen refrain from driving around during the spring season. This is when cabin air filters can be very useful for them. Some cabin air filter offer ultra filtration qualities that are also specific to filtering out pollen particles in the air.

When to replace them?

Cabin air filters inside your car are good as long as their pores are clean and without too much dirt accumulation. If you notice a musty smell, or lower air flow through your car’s ventilation system, then these are all signs of cabin air filter replacement.

Another indication is haze on your window. This will be more evident in the winters. As cabin air filters that are clogged will impact the HVAC system’s ability to re circulate the air, the car starts to take much longer to get rid of the haze on the windows, especially during the winter time.

You need to replace the filters more often than you think. A general rule of thumb would be to replace the cabin air filters every twelve thousand miles or once a year.

How to Aim and Align Your Headlights

Aim and align the headlights for your vehicle to improve safety. With winter approaching, it is common knowledge that days will eventually begin to shorten, and the nighttime will drastically increase. This means that drivers will have to rely on the headlights in their commutes increasingly.

Hence, you have to stay on top of headlights, headlamps, and other lights to ensure a safe driving experience when you are on the road. In some instances, your headlights do not provide satisfactory road visibility. And in these instances, you have to make sure whether your headlights need replacement or alignment.

Even though a replacement will eventually lead to alignment, sometimes the headlights do not require new lamps but instead only require you to align the beams.

How to Aim the Headlights

The first thing you want to do is pull the vehicle about three feet close to a white wall when it is completely dark. Make sure that one person is sitting inside the vehicle while you aim. If you have a vehicle that is weighing down because of storage equipment, make sure that you take it all out to change the weight of your car.

Once you have the vehicle three feet away from the wall, identify the vehicle’s center and apply painter’s tape vertically across to indicate the center. Moving forward, identify the center of each headlight and stick a piece of tape that corresponds to that center.

Once you do that, make sure that you measure the length of the center dimple from the ground up and make a marker on the tape that exactly identifies the center of the dimple or headlight on the wall. Once you do that for both sides, make another marker two inches from the centered marker.

The second marker is where you will stick a horizontal piece of tape to provide you with a cross-section. The two inches should be where the top of your beam pattern sits when the car moves back 25 feet away. Hence, after making the markings on the wall, all you have to do is move the vehicle 25 inches back.

Note that 25 feet is the general rule of thumb for all vehicles. Some manufacturers will specify different distances that may be closer or farther away. Following this method will require screwdrivers or other tools to align the headlights.

Aligning your Headlights

All headlights come with different alignment adjusters, and they all pretty much act the same way. Most of the time, you are able to align the headlights by simply using a Philips screwdriver. You open the hood, locate the headlight adjustment section, stick the screwdriver inside and start adjusting.

Inserting the screwdriver and twisting it will allow you to move the headlights up or down. Keep twisting until the top of the beam does not fall above the two-inch drop mark. The idea behind beam adjustment is that the headlight shoots out light that bounces off the road and does not blind the oncoming driver.

Service Area

Minneapolis
St. Paul
Inver Grove Heights
Eagan
Cottage Grove
Woodbury
Mendota Heights
Maplewood

Contact Info

651.455.1604
1095 Highway 110
Inver Grove Heights,
MN 55077

Working Hours

Monday-Friday: 7a.m. – 5p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED