Winter driving conditions can be hazardous due to factors such as snow and ice on the road. While it’s important that you are prepared for winter driving, it is also important that your car is up for the challenge. It is recommended that you winterize your car before the winter season to make sure your car can handle the winter road conditions.
1. INSTALL WINTER WIPERS
These come equipped with rubber that keeps ice from collecting on the blades. Just be sure to remove them when spring rolls around. As winter wipers are heavier than regular ones, keeping them on all the time increases the risk of burning the motor out too soon.
2. MOUNT WINTER TIRES
If you live in a place that experiences extreme cold winter temperatures, it is recommended that you install winter tires when winterizing your car. When the temperature consistently hovers around or below freezing, the rubber compounds in non-winter tires harden, decreasing the tire’s ability to grip the road. Winter tires use special compounds engineered to resist hardening in cold temperatures, providing better traction.
You should definitely have snow tires installed with plenty of time to spare before extreme winter weather arrives. We say, if you can see your breath, it’s time to install winter tires.
If you plan to drive in snowy conditions, it is suggested that you keep chains handy and know how to install them. If you live somewhere where chains are required, keeping a set on hand is a must.
3. KEEP WASHER FLUID FULL
When driving in snow and ice, you may use a lot of washer fluid in an effort to keep your windshield clean. In order to properly winterize your car, maintain a nearly full washer fluid reservoir and consider keeping a spare bottle or two in the trunk.
4. PACK A WINTER SAFETY KIT
In the event of an emergency, you’ll be glad you kept supplies on hand. Here are some things to pack in your winter driving safety kit:
Perhaps the most important precaution for safe winter driving – and one that many winterizing a car lists overlook – is servicing your vehicle. If you’re not doing it regularly, be sure to do it as soon as there’s a chill in the air.
Belts and hoses, spark plugs, wires and cables: these can go bad at any time of year, but if they go bad during the winter, you could be stranded in a very cold place for a very long time – and that could be dangerous.
When you get your vehicle serviced, be sure the technician checks the following:
As for the cooling system, it is recommended to maintain a ratio between 50/50 and 70/30 of antifreeze to water. You can always use the well-known, green-colored antifreeze, but some engines also take a newer, longer-lasting coolant that may or may not be green in color. Ask your technician which is best for your engine. Also confirm the appropriate coolant to water ratio for your situation.
6. MAINTAIN PROPER TIRE PRESSURE
Every 10 degree change in ambient temperature could mean a gain or loss of 1 PSI. This means you should check pressure more regularly during winter and refill your tires as needed. Appropriate pressure for your tires can be found on the tire placard in the driver’s side door jamb or in your vehicle owner’s manual.
7. KEEP THE GAS TANK AT LEAST HALF FULL
Fill up often! Keeping gas in the tank is more important in winter than in summer. Why? For one thing, a full tank can help prevent gas line freeze ups. Not only that, but if you’re ever stranded, your engine may be the only thing to keep you warm until help arrives.
8. KEEP YOUR REAR-WINDOW DEFROSTER IN WORKING ORDER
Being unable to see behind you could create unsafe driving conditions. That’s why several states have laws stating that all your windows must be clear of condensation and debris. When winterizing your car, check your rear-window defroster before cold weather arrives to be sure it’s working properly.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOU DRIVE
Before you get behind the wheel, it’s important to remove all snow and ice from the windshields, windows, tops, and sides of your vehicle – yes, all of it! There are two reasons for this: removing debris from all windows and the roof improves visibility, and prevents chunks of it from falling off and hitting other cars.
In addition, remember these things before getting behind the wheel in winter:
Article by BridgestoneTire.com - see original article here.
If you’re trying to improve your budget, protect the environment, or simply stop wasting so much money on gasoline, fuel efficiency is hugely important. After all, driving a massive, gas-guzzling vehicle gets really expensive really fast. 20 miles to the gallon might not seem like a big deal, but when you have to constantly drop $100 to fill up your tank, it can get pretty old.
In the past, fuel-efficient cars were only for those who either had a lot of money or who didn’t care about overall performance. However, that’s quickly changing. With numerous innovations in automotive technology, vehicles are becoming more fuel-efficient and more affordable.
What innovations are driving this change? Here are 9.
Innovation #1: Stop Idling
In years past, having your engine shut off at an intersection was cause for pounding the steering wheel in frustration, apologizing to the blaring cars behind you, and trying to get your car restarted. Now, having your engine “stop” at an intersection is a sign that you’re driving a fuel efficient car.
Start/stop technology, which causes the engine to stop burning gas when it idles, has long been one of the central ways that hybrid cars have been made fuel efficient. When you put your foot on the brake and bring your car to a stop, the engine quits running. When you take your foot off the brake, the engine starts up again.
In recent years, however, start/stop technology is being incorporated into vehicles that run strictly on gasoline. In fact, a startup in San Francisco called Voyomotive has designed a device that can retroactively bring start/stop tech to old vehicles. It plugs directly into a port under the dashboard and connects to the fusebox. When the brake is fully depressed, the engine shuts down. When the brake is released, the engine fires up again.
Innovation #2: Interactive Car Pedals
You may love punching the pedal to floor when the light turns green, but it’s killing your fuel efficiency. In addition to pedal punching, things like going up a hill too fast can also significantly raise the amount of fuel you’re burning.
A German company named Bosch thinks it can solve these problems by creating pedals that alert drivers to fuel burning behaviors. These pedals provide feedback to drivers by vibrating or even pushing back lightly when they’re burning too much gas, and the company claims that these types of alerts work much better than those little lights that show up on the dashboard.
Innovation #3: The Death Of Side Mirrors
Side mirrors definitely don’t help your fuel efficiency. Even though they’ve been around for more than 100 years, they create extra drag, which in turn reduces the miles per gallon your vehicle gets.
So what’s the alternative? Small cameras that show you exactly what’s beside and behind your car. The display would be on your dashboard, meaning you won’t have to turn around either, which is a safety enhancement. Some auto manufacturers say these cameras are also safer than side mirrors because they eliminate blind spots, reduce glare, and don’t need to be adjusted.
However, there is one legal obstacle that must be eliminated before this innovation can be implemented in the United States. Currently, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration requires passenger vehicles to have at least one side mirror and windshield mirror. Numerous automakers have petitioned for this law to be changed, but it may be some time before that happens. Until then, we’ll have to be content with the old fashioned mirrors.
Innovation #4: Adaptive Cruise Control
Numerous cars now implement adaptive cruise control, which keeps your car a safe distance from other cars when it’s on the road. However, a group of Canadian researchers is trying to take this technology one step further.
Utilizing something called “ecological adaptive cruise control”, they want to create an onboard sensor that will adapt to road conditions, traffic conditions, hills, curves, and more to improve overall fuel efficiency.
Granted, this technology hasn’t actually been created yet. It’s still in the development stage, existing primarily in computer simulations and calculations. But at the rate that fuel efficiency is improving, we should expect to see this being implemented in the somewhat near future.
Innovation #5: Affordable Electric Cars With Incredible Range
High-powered electric cars are no longer the domain of Tesla. For example, the recently unveiledChevy Bolt is a fully electric car with a traveling distance of 200 miles between charges. The hybridChevy Volt offers a range of up to 420 miles with a full charge and a full tank of gas.
Some of these innovations can be attributed to cheaper car batteries, which in turn make the cars more affordable to the average consumer. Additionally, in an effort to cut down on carbon emissions, the U.S. government is offering tax credits to those who purchase hybrid and electric cars.
As batteries become more affordable, we should expect the prices of electric cars to drop even further, giving consumers even more reason to purchase them.
Innovation #6: Fuel Efficiency Coaches
Insurance companies like Allstate are already using tracking devices to reward drivers for safe driving. Now a Boston company called LinkeDrive is implementing a similar idea, but geared toward gas efficiency.
They’ve developed a product called PedalCoach, which is somewhat like a FitBit for truck drivers, helping them stay motivated to improve fuel efficiency. It’s an Android device that is installed in their truck cab and then uses algorithms to create fuel goals for each driver. These goals are then shown with a simple red-yellow-green display so that drivers can evaluate their performance.
The idea is that trucking companies would reward their drivers for fuel-efficient driving.
Innovation #7: Precise Fuel Injection
More automakers are using direct fuel injection, where they place an injector on each engine cylinder. The injectors spray gasoline directly into the each cylinder individually, which is far more efficient than the traditional port fuel-injection systems, which sprayed gasoline into the manifold.
When direct-injection systems are used, three things happen that increase fuel efficiency:
• The gasoline-air mixture burns more effectively
• The injectors distribute the fuel more equally
• The individual gasoline sprays are timed more precisely
This isn’t exactly a new technology, but more auto manufacturers are embracing it in an attempt to create more fuel efficient engines.
Innovation #8: Brake Regeneration
This technology goes hand-in-hand with the start/stop idle technology hybrid cars use. When a car begins braking, the car captures the kinetic energy from the brakes and converts that energy to electricity. This converted energy can then be used to charge the car battery, which cuts down on the amount of charges needed to keep an electric car running.
This perpetual energy generation can significantly improve fuel efficiency over the long run.
Innovation #9: Continuously Variable Transmission
Historically, transmissions have been powered by a set of fixed gears that have limited ratios. A continuously variable transmission system forgoes the gear system altogether and uses a pulley system to constantly optimize the drive ratio to the engine speed.
The CVT also has, essentially, an unlimited number of ratios since it’s not tied directly to a series of gears. The result is an engine that runs at optimum speed, which can significantly increase overall fuel efficiency.
Fuel efficiency is improving at a staggering pace. Whereas it was once impressive to get 30 miles to the gallon, we are now seeing completely electric cars as well as hybrids that get over 100 miles to the gallon.
Additionally, we are seeing the cost of electric and hybrid cars fall dramatically, which make them more accessible to the average consumer.
Incredible fuel efficiency used to be a thing of the future, but the future has now arrived. That’s good news for all of us.
Article by Muzi Chevy - see original article here.
For all of us, our car is one of the most important things in our lives. So important are these wonders of the modern world that there are over 260 million of them on the roads of America today. Few of us pay much attention to our cars, provided that they are always there to take us where we want to go. It is only when they don’t that we realize just how important they really are to us. One of the most horrible moments of being a motorist is when you turn the key only to discover your cars battery is dead.
If you have ever had trouble jumping your car’s flat battery, you only need to do a quick search on the internet and you will find loads of sites that claim to know the best way to do so. You might be surprised, however, to discover that many of them are actually wrong and could cause battery damage or even nasty electric shocks!
Since a flat battery can literally be a matter of life and death, we took it upon ourselves to ask a real expert to get the best advice. Our expert has more than 30 years’ experience, working on a breakdown recovery trucks as well as in a garage, so it’s safe to say he really knows his stuff!
An expert's guide to jump start your car battery
Before you even pop the hood, there are some really important things to consider that most online guides never even mention. First of all, there are lots of reasons a car might be completely dead, not just because the battery is flat.
Electronic failures or overloads could be the cause the outage. The best way to determine if it is the battery or not, is to keep an eye on the ignition lights on the dash as you turn the key. If they come on, but dim as you turn the key to the start position, then your battery is dead. If they don’t come on at all, most likely your problem is the car’s electrical system.
Luckily, most batteries tend to die after at least attempting to turn the starter motor a few times. This is a clear indication of a dying battery as you will hear the car sounding like it’s getting weaker the longer you turn it over.
Did you know that most dead batteries are avoidable?
If you want to avoid the horrible feeling of discovering your battery is dead, the good news is that in most cases you can. Firstly, always remember to turn the ignition and lights off when you leave it. Lights that have been left on are the number one cause of flat batteries, so beware!
Car maintenance is as important as taking care of your home.
You should make sure you regularly have your car checked over by a garage to make sure it is in top working order. Leaking electrolyte, for example, will cause a battery to lose a lot of its charge storage capacity. Another example is a badly tuned engine, something that will take more energy to start and so cause your battery to have to work harder.
Cold weather also makes your engine harder to start. When starting a car in cold weather, take extra care not to flood it, should you need to use some throttle to try to get it going. If you do flood it (something that results in a strong gas smell coming out of the tail pipe), give it full throttle and turn it over until it roars to life again.
If you are only using the car for short journey and have an aging battery, try to limit the workload on it. This means not starting the car with the head lights on or leaving them on full beam when the car is idling, for example.
Most of all, remember that batteries don’t just suddenly die. If you notice your car battery starting to sound a little weak then get it replaced as soon as possible.
Make sure you have a set of good quality jumper cables
Should you find yourself with a flat battery, if you don’t have jumper cables or a portable car battery charger, there is no point even getting opening the hood. We cannot emphasize more the importance of getting a good quality set of leads. Since these are items that are often never needed, most people don’t even bother to carry a set, let alone buy good quality ones. But trust us, they really are worth the investment.
Avoid poor quality cables that are made from aluminum as these can melt when used with large cars and diesels that pull a lot of current. Buy decent copper ones instead. Low-quality cables often have flimsy clips and bad insulation that can cause big problems. Try to get thicker cables that will be able to transfer more electricity in one go. This is particularly important for larger vehicles and diesels.
So how to jump start your car battery again
1- Park the car’s front to front or side by side so that the leads can reach without having to pull them tight. Too much tension might cause the clips to flip off.
2- Make sure to turn off both vehicles and secure them with the parking break with the shift in neutral. Also, turn off all lights, wipers and other electronics.
3- Attaching jumper cables. When connecting the jumper cables, ALWAYS connect the red positive lead first before you connect the black negative. Also, make sure to connect the leads to the bad battery first before connecting to the good battery. Most people won’t think of this, but it is a very important safety measure. The reason for this is that the good battery has for more electrical current in it. If you connect that first and then accidentally touch the live positive end for some reason, you will get a shock.
4- Start the car with the good battery and run the engine to between 1000 to 1500 rpm, for about 5 minutes, before attempting to start the car with the empty battery. This will allow the dead battery to get some charge in it first. This is very important because without any charge the battery, the power drawn from the good battery will be much greater than if it the bad battery had some charge in it. Basically, if you don’t do so, the good battery will have to struggle to recharge the completely flat battery while trying to starting the engine at the same time.
5- Once you have the dead battery car started, leave it run a minute or two before disconnecting the leads. This will give the flat battery some time to gain extra charge. Remember to remove the clips from the good battery first and to remove the red cable first.
Article by The Elite Product - see original article here.
Cold, hard facts about A/C and how to make it work for you
It’s summer and it's hot in Kansas, which means your car's air-conditioning system is going to get a workout. But there's an art to cooling your car correctly. The engineers at the CR Auto Testing Center have some handy tips to help you cool your car faster while burning less fuel.
1. Don’t Pre-Cool
Your car air conditioning works much better when you're actually driving, because the faster the engine turns, the faster the air compressor runs, which lets the system cool more effectively. Don't waste time and gas by letting your car run before you go.
If the interior is really hot, crank up the fan when you start driving, and open just the rear windows for 10 to 20 seconds. This forces all the hot air out of the cabin. Don’t open the front windows—that only moves the heat out of the front of the car, and it will leave the air in the back of the cabin hot and stagnant.
2. Go Low
Setting to the lowest temp and adjusting the fan makes the car air conditioning more efficient, will dry out the air less, and can actually save some fuel. Why's that? In a typical A/C system, the air is cooled to 38 degrees. If you set the temp higher, you are actually forcing the system to re-heat your air, which takes more effort, burning more fuel.
3. Don't Recirculate
If you have passengers in the back seat, turn off the recirculation mode. This takes air from the front of the cabin and pulls it back through the system, so even though everyone up front stays cool, the air in the back can get stale and hot.
4. Turn Off Stop/Start
If you’ve got a newer car that has an auto start/stop system, turn it off. This feature saves fuel, but it can also keep the car air conditioning compressor from running when it shuts the engine off. In very hot weather, you can begin to notice the lack of cool air very quickly, especially if you're stuck at a lengthy stoplight, or in stop-and-go traffic that's barely moving.
5. Make Sure Your Filter's Clean
Next time you get the chance, check your cabin air filter to make sure it’s clean. A dirty filter prevents optimal airflow. In newer cars, these filters are relatively easy to check on; if you see a lot of dirt accumulated on it, it's time to change it. You can save money if you can replace the filter yourself—in many modern cars the filter is accessible behind the glove compartment. But that's not always the case. In some vehicles, such as the first-generation Honda Pilot, the entire dash must be removed in order to get at the cabin air filter, and that's not a job for the faint of heart.
Bonus: Automatic Climate Control
If you have automatic climate control, lowering the temp doesn't make the car cool off faster. Most systems will do all the fan and temp adjustments automatically, so you can just set it and forget it.
Article from Consumer Reports.org - See original article here.
Don't Just Turn It Off; Fix the Problem
When your car's "Check Engine" light comes on, it's usually accompanied by a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. The light could mean a costly problem, like a bad catalytic converter, or it could be something minor, like a loose gas cap. But in many cases, it means at minimum that you'll be visiting the car dealer to locate the malfunction and get the light turned off.
The Check Engine light — more formally known as the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) — is a signal from the car's engine computer that something is wrong. The car dealer's service department can diagnose the problem for about $90. But there's a way to preview what the problem might be.
Prior to 1996, carmakers had their own engine diagnostic systems, primarily to ensure their cars were compliant with Environmental Protection Agency pollution-control requirements. Starting with model-year 1996, automakers standardized their systems under a protocol called OBD-II, which stipulated a standardized list of diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) and mandated that all cars provide a universal connector to access this information. It's usually located under the steering column and is easy to access.
Deciphering the Code
Do-it-yourselfers can buy inexpensive code readers that connect to this standardized onboard diagnostics (OBD) port and search for the code's meaning on Web sites such as Engine Light Help. The Check Engine light can even be turned off by some code readers, even though this action alone does not actually repair the underlying problem. In many such cases the light will simply come back on later.
Experts say that many drivers confuse the "service required" light on the gauge cluster for the Check Engine light. These warning lights are unrelated. The service required light just means the car is due for an oil change or other routine maintenance. It is not the indicator of trouble that the Check Engine light is.
Check Engine lights come in orange, yellow or amber, depending on the manufacturer. If the light begins flashing, however, it indicates a more serious problem, such as a misfire that can quickly overheat the catalytic converter. These emissions devices operate at high temperatures to cut emissions, but can pose a fire hazard if faulty.
Don't Ignore That Light
So if the Check Engine light comes on and it's steady rather than flashing, what do you do? The most obvious answer, of course, is to get the engine checked. But many people do nothing, perhaps fearing an expensive repair bill. Some drivers with older cars want to squeeze out as many remaining miles as possible without visiting a service garage. But before they can pass their state's vehicle inspection, they have to get the light turned off. And a state inspection is a good motivator for dealing with the problem. If the light is lit, there's a good chance the car is releasing excess pollutants or consuming too much gas.
Ten percent of all cars on the road have a Check Engine light on, and the drivers of half of these cars have ignored the light for more than three months, says Kristin Brocoff, a spokesperson for CarMD.com. The company sells a $119 device that reads engine codes and provides access to a Web site database that identifies the problem (according to the code) and estimates the cost of repair.
CarMD isn't alone in the code-reader market. An Internet search will bring up countless devices, some costing as little as $40. Most come with a booklet listing the codes, but it is also easy to do a Google search to locate the codes. Aamco will check the Check Engine light for free and provides a fact sheet.
As Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing for Edmunds.com, points out, the system is primarily designed to continuously monitor a car's emissions system over the life of the car. However, he notes, "The engine and the emission control system are so interlinked that the health of the emission control system is a good indication of the general health of the car's engine."
Steve Mazor, the Auto Club of Southern California's chief automotive engineer, says that while some people freak out when they see the Check Engine light, "others just put a piece of black tape over it and keep driving." Mazor says it's important to promptly address problems indicated by the light. Ignoring them could lead to larger, more costly problems later.
If the light comes on, Mazor says the driver should first see if the gas cap is loose: That's a common cause. A loose cap sends an error message to the car's computer, reporting a leak in the vapor recovery system, which is one aspect of a car's emissions system. If the gas cap is loose, tighten it and continue driving. Even so, it will take some time for the light to go off, he says.
Mazor says that even an inexpensive code reader could be useful for car owners, even if they aren't mechanically inclined.
"If the mechanic gives you the same information, at least you know they are going down the right road," he notes. Edmunds agrees, adding that a code reader provides car owners with one more data point to help them talk with their mechanic and avoid costly or unnecessary auto repairs.
But even with the code and its meaning in hand, do-it-yourself interpretation can be a little tricky — even if you are mechanically inclined, as Dan Edmunds explains.
"My wife's car started running poorly and there was a Check Engine light. My code reader detected a code for the Cam Angle Sensor. I thought about buying the sensor and installing it myself, but if I had, I would have wasted time and money because it turned out that the sensor was fine. Instead, mice had gotten under the hood and had chewed some of the wires leading to it."
Occasionally, the Check Engine light comes on when nothing is wrong with the car, Mazor says. It could be a temporary problem caused by a change in humidity or other factors. In such cases, the light should go off by itself after a short time.
CarMD published a list of the five most common Check Engine light codes in 2010 and estimated cost of repair. In order of frequency, they are:
This Article came from WWW.edmunds.com
April 8th event at Checkers
Harris Auto Repair will offer a special promotion during the "Xtra Local Lawrence Local Business Fair" on Saturday, April 8th at Checkers in Lawrence, Kansas. Customers can buy 3 oil changes and receive a fourth for free!
The deal is $89.99 plus tax and includes 4 oil changes. Offer includes 5 quarts of synthetic blend oil and a filter per change. Extra charges will apply for full synthetic and premium filters. This deal equals more than $100 in savings. The normal price of a standard oil change at Harris Auto Repair is around $50.
The local business fair is organized by Lawrencehits.com and hosted at Checkers in Lawrence. Multiple other local businesses will host booths at the event. Join us Saturday, April 8th inside the store from between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
What do you think? Is spring here to stay in Kansas? We sure hope so. It's time for spring cleaning, planting and of course, spring maintenance! Ensure your vehicle is in tip-top shape after the cold winter months. Come visit us at Harris Auto Repair!
Now that winter is just a memory, millions of Americans will take to the roads to enjoy the warmer weather. The Car Care Council reminds motorists that spring is the perfect time of year to make sure your vehicle is ready for the upcoming travel season.
Whether you’re driving across the country or driving across town, the Car Care Council recommends checking the following vehicle components before embarking on your next trip:
Article by Car Care News Service - see original article here.
How you drive and take care of your vehicle can have a big effect on how much fuel you use. Follow these simple tips to save money and reduce pollution.
Bryan Harris is the owner of Harris Auto Repair and strives to keep his customers informed and provide the best advice in car maintenance and repair!