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6 reasons an electric car is worth the investment

Are electric cars really worth the initial investment? If you’ve been asking yourself this same question, you’re not alone. With rising prices everywhere you look, including those fill ups at the pump, drivers everywhere are looking for ways to save money and spend less on gas. One solution that is growing in popularity is investing in an electric car. If you’ve been thinking about going electric, you may have questions about whether an electric car is really worth the investment.

What are electric cars and how do they work

Before we get into 6 reasons why they may be worth the investment, it’s a good idea to start with the essentials. Electric cars, commonly referred to as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) use a large battery pack to power an electric motor. These cars are not powered by gas, but must be plugged into a wall outlet or charging equipment called Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) to run. Typically charged vehicles will give the car a driving range of 200 miles.

Electric cars are not to be confused with hybrid vehicles which combine an electric motor with a gas engine. These cars are powered by gas allowing the electric motor to supplement the gas engine. You’ll still experience sticker shock when you go to fill her up, but each fill up will go farther when combined with that electric motor. So what are the benefits to owning an electric car? Here are 6 reasons electric cars are worth the investment.

Lower running costs

You’ve probably already figured this one out, but electric cars cost less to run. Because you’ll be skipping the fill ups at the pump, you’ll pay less out of pocket to drive to work and run errands. On average, electric cars cost $0.05 per mile to run compared to gas-powered vehicles that cost $0.15 per mile to run. Over time, most electric car owners can save up to $ 4,000 per year by making the switch.

Less maintenance for an electric car

Not only will you save money by skipping the gas station, you’ll also save on maintenance costs. With fewer moving parts, electric vehicles don’t require oil changes, new spark plugs, or fuel filters. One additional feature to electric cars is regenerative braking, which uses the electric motor to decelerate the vehicle. This feature extends the lifespan of your brake pads saving you from frequent trips to your mechanic to replace them.

Rebates and tax credits

Did you know that electric vehicles may be eligible for even greater savings? There is a federal tax credit on electric battery vehicles depending on the battery capacity. In addition, the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) provides rebate savings for eligible vehicles.

Cleaner environment

Electric vehicles are more energy efficient than their gas-powered counterparts. Electric cars are 85-90% energy efficient compared to gas-powered cars which are 17-21% energy efficient. They also have no tailpipe so they don’t emit any exhaust gasses which reduces local air pollution.

In today’s market, electric cars have a higher resale. In the long run, that translates to less depreciation. Bargain shoppers looking for a 2nd hand electric vehicle may be able to find a more affordable option with all the benefits of a new electric car.

Better performance from an Electric Car

Most owners of electric vehicles report better performance which makes them fun to drive. They feature quick acceleration and produce peak torque from a stand still. Because the battery pack is positioned in the center of the car, these cars have superior weight distribution and stability.

If you’ve been looking for a way to save money as gas prices continue to go up, an electric vehicle may be your next step. Still have some questions about electric vehicles? Our team is ready to help answer your questions so you can make an informed decision.

Gas prices got you down? Try these simple steps for a more fuel efficient ride

gas

Gas prices are at an all-time high causing Minnesota drivers to deal with sticker shock at the pump. Short of riding your bike when you need to get somewhere, saving on gas looks like a tall order. But, what if we told you there’s another way to cut down on the amount you spend on gas? Since we can’t control the gas prices, the next best option is to take some steps to make your car more fuel efficient. These simple steps can help you spend less at the pump and go longer between fill ups.

Focus on your tires

Properly inflated tires not only ensure your safety, but also increase your fuel efficiency. On the other hand, improper inflation will decrease your fuel efficiency by 3%. While it may not seem like much, 3% can start to add up over time. To ensure your tires are properly inflated, we recommend checking your tire pressure monthly.

Check your front end alignment to save money

With pothole season upon us, drivers like you may be hitting more than their fair share of bumps on the road. If you’d run into a pothole or even a large bump, chances are your alignment could be affected. Front end alignment issues can decrease your gas mileage by 10%. If you’ve noticed any pulling to one side while driving, a little extra bounce after you hit that bump, or shaking while driving at high speeds, then you may need to get your alignment checked by your mechanic.

Keep your tank ¼ full

While it seems like a minor detail, keeping your tank at least ¼ full can help your fuel efficiency. When you allow your tank to get below ¼ full, your fuel pump has to work harder which decreases fuel efficiency. While we’re on the subject of filling up, it’s important to choose the fuel with the octane levels your car needs. You may be thinking a higher octane leads to greater efficiency. On the contrary, if your car needs 87 octane (according to the manufacturer), using 89 or 91 won’t make your car more efficient. This will simply cost more without added benefit.

Lighten your load and save money at the gas pumps

Did you know those extra items in your trunk can be weighing down your fuel efficiency? The heavier your car is, the harder it will need to work. For every 100 lbs you are storing in your trunk, your fuel consumption will go up by 1-2%. If you want to save money at the pump, it’s always a good idea to clean out your trunk/back end and lighten your load.

Keep your cool

Extra AC usage can really put a damper on your fuel efficiency, especially with the frequent stop and start of city driving. Turning up that AC can weigh on your engine and create inefficiencies when it comes to fuel. When you’re driving in the city or stop and go areas, consider rolling down those windows and getting some fresh air. On the flip side, keeping your windows open while driving on the highway can reduce your efficiency by 10%. Keeping these cooling tips in mind can help you save on gas and make your car more efficient.

Give your car some TLC

Your car can burn up to 30% more gas if it’s not properly maintained. So if it’s been a while since you’ve taken your car into the shop for maintenance, it’s time to get a tune up on the books. During your spring maintenance check, your mechanic can check your tire pressure, inspect your front end alignment, replace your air filter, and check for any other inefficiencies in your car.

These simple tips can get you started on driving further on every gas fill up. And if it’s time to give your car the TLC it deserves, our team is ready to perform your spring maintenance check to ensure your car is fuel efficient no matter how far you’re driving.

 

5 Reasons to Avoid Hitting a Pothole This Spring

A pothole can cause extensive damage to your car. As spring rolls in and temperatures start to go up, it’s only natural to embrace the warmer weather by getting outside, planting that garden, or even going for a drive. But, spring also has a few things we should avoid like those dreaded potholes. Potholes form when our temperatures fluctuate from winter to spring and back again – causing damage to roads and cars alike. If you’ve been wondering if you should just drive through one or try to avoid them altogether, keep reading as we’ve got 5 reasons to avoid potholes this spring.

A Pothole can cause tire damage

The most obvious reason to avoid potholes this spring is tire damage. Your tires take a direct hit when driving through potholes, which can result in flat tires or other internal damage. If you unexpectedly hit a pothole, be sure to check for a flat tire, or even bulging or bubbles on your tire which is a sign that your tire has sustained internal damage to the structure or sidewall. While you’re at it, you might as well inspect your wheels for any damage, as well. Wheels are also susceptible to pothole damage and can bend, break, or crack upon impact.

Bypass suspension & alignment damage

After your tires and wheels, your suspension is also most likely to suffer after hitting a pothole. Signs that your suspension or alignment has been damaged, or knocked out of alignment include pulling to one side while driving, shaking when driving at high speeds, and extra bouncing after hitting a bump in the road. If you notice any of these signs, ask your mechanic to check your suspension and alignment.

Sidestep shock absorbers damage

In addition to your suspension, your shock absorbers can break on impact if you inadvertently hit a pothole. Look for oil leaking from your car and extra bouncing while driving. You can test your shock absorbers by pushing down hard on the front corner of your car a few times. If your car keeps bouncing a few times when you’re done, it’s a sign that those shock absorbers need some attention.

A Pothole can cause exhaust system damage

Potholes can also cause damage to your exhaust system. Your exhaust can break loose or bend causing a few issues for your vehicle. The number one sign that something is wrong with your exhaust is strange noises coming from your backend. If you notice any strange, loud noises after running into a pothole, be sure to have this checked out by your mechanic.

Fend off any excess fluid leakage

One last area of damage caused by potholes that you may not have thought of is excess fluid leakage. Depending on the size and depth of the pothole, some cars can experience dents in their oil pain and other low lying parts of the engine. Look for any new fluid leakage on your garage floor or driveway, then call your mechanic to have them check it out.

It’s always best to avoid potholes in the spring when you can, but we know that sometimes those pesky potholes are unavoidable. If you happen to run into one, our team is here to help you assess any damage and get you back on the road again this spring.

 

6 Simple Maintenance Tips for Your Car This Spring

maintenance

 

Does your car have the winter blues? Let’s face it. Winter can be rough on your car – from your tires to your taillights, your car may be in need for some maintenance. Spring can be a great reset not only for the flowers outside and your schedule, but also for your car. It’s important to get your vehicle in for regular maintenance checks each year, and there’s no better time than spring to make that happen.

But before you take your car in, you may be asking what you need to have looked at and checked. We’ve got you covered with our 6 simple maintenance tips for your car this spring.

 

1. Maintenance for your tires

From potholes to salt trucks, your tires and rims take a beating while driving during the winter. Ask your mechanic to not only rotate and balance your tires, but also, inspect for tread wear and rim damage. Damage to rims and tires can impact your alignment and the life of your tires.

2. Alignment

Once your tires have been inspected, you’ll want to have your alignment checked.  If your car has been pulling to the left or right when your steering wheel is straight, it’s a sure sign that something needs to be adjusted. Proper alignment can provide better handling and safer driving all year long.

3. Suspension maintenance

Winter can negatively impact your suspension, so it’s important to have your struts and shocks inspected by your mechanic each spring. Some signs that your suspension is off include difficulty steering, continued bouncing after hitting bumps, shaking at high speeds, and nose driving when you stop. Whether you’re noticing these signs or not, a good rule of thumb is to have your mechanic check your suspension each spring.

4. Belts & Hoses

Our bitterly cold winters can cause wear, tear, and cracking to your belts and hoses. Left unchecked, this can lead to broken belts and breakdowns on the side of the road. Avoid the unpleasantness of a breakdown by having them inspected each spring.

5. Cabin Air Quality

Spring is a great reminder that the insides of our car matter too. When you take your car in for your maintenance check, ask your mechanic to check your cabin air filter.  This air filter’s job is to keep out allergens and pollutants so you’ll want to replace this each spring to keep your inside-the-car air fresh and safe. While you’re at it, have your mechanic make sure your AC is running properly so you’re prepared for driving in the heat of summer.

6. Other Safety Features

There are a variety of things we take for granted when it comes to driving. Spring is the best time to have these items checked. Start with replacing your windshield wipers. Winter can dull your wiper blades – so replacing them can help you be prepared for great visibility when those spring rains arrive.

One other safety feature to check is your lights – headlights, taillights, and turn signals. Our winter weather can yellow or haze your lights impacting your nighttime visibility. Have them checked and replaced, if needed, as well as replacing any burnt out bulbs.

When you’re ready to get on the road this spring, all six of these maintenance tips can extend the life of your car when you have them checked each spring. So take the time and get your spring maintenance check on your calendar and ours.

Surging Or Pulsating Brakes – What Should Be Done?

Your brakes are some of the most integral components of your car. They are sole components that can prevent fatal incidents. You have to therefore be very careful when it comes to brake pads and rotors in terms of maintenance. A pulsating or surging sensation when hitting the brakes can point to an urgent red flag when you are driving the car.

Brake Pads and Rotors

The padding on your brake pads should never get down too low. If you have a pedal that pulses as you come down to a stop sign, then this is an indication of rotor damage. Many cars today come with rotors all the way around. Normally, shoes do not cause your brake pedal to pulsate and it is usually the rotors on the front that are responsible for this.

This is because they become more of an issue as they come in contact with water and cause temperature change. A change in temperature is also another cause of rotor damage as the metallic components will change structure in response to altering temperatures.

Not to mention, 80 percent of your stopping stress is focused on the front rotor so they get the highest percentage of work. The rear tires have little pads in the wheel that help the car stop better, which can also help with rotor damage. On the newer cars, you will get rotors all the way around.

Checking your Rotors

If you want to check all your rotors, you can get in and visualize the rotors and spot an area that is worsening. To spot bad patches on the rotor, you have to look at areas that are dark, rusty, and rough. The better parts of the rotor will be shiny and smooth. The warping occurs in areas of your rotor where it is both, shiny and rough, you can tell that the rotor is warped.

If you inspect signs of warping rotors earlier on, it will help save you the time to replace it before your car’s braking capabilities stoop. Overall, most of the times, warped disks and tires are responsible for surging or pulsating brakes. However, this is not to say that other reasons do not exist.

Fixes after Surging Brakes

One of the best solutions to this problem is to never let it happen in the first place. In other words, prevention is better than cure when it comes to pulsating brakes. Since the rotors undergo excessive stress in the form of heat due to friction, which in turn causes the rotor to warp, you can make sure that the rotor experiences least amount of friction.

One of best ways you can prevent friction to destroy your rotors, is by changing your driving habits. For people that like to speed down the highly, it is implied that they resort to jamming at stop signs. Driving at moderate speed can prevent you from stressing out the brake pads and rotors. Another good way to prevent this is why adhering to timely brake pad replacements.

Why is Your TPMS Light On in your Car?

TPMS

When your TPMS light or TPMS light blinks, it is a bad sign. This shows that there is something wrong with the tire. Keep in mind that this could also be a fault in the sensor. However, the problem could in fact be a lot worse.

Either way, you have got to deal with it. Fortunately, addressing a TPMS light is usually very simple. Below, you will find out about different ways you can get your tire light to shut off. Not to mention, some of the best fixes for tire light problems do not cost you a single penny, or require any tools.

Your Tire Needs Air

Adding air to a tire involves blowing air into the valve stem. Behind the valve stem, you will find an electronic sensor that is self contained. All these sensors do is monitor tire pressure and report back to the car’s computer if the pressure is lower that the optimum limit. This signal triggers the rounded exclamation light that you see in the speedometer.

If there is anything going on in the tire that triggers the light, this means that something is wrong. Majority of the times, the light blinks because you have set the wrong tire pressure. If you live in a colder climate, you will note that the tire light will often come on when the temperature drops. This does not make any difference because it means that the pressure is wrong.

You want to therefore open the driver’s door and look for the label. On this label aligned with the door, you will find the exact tire pressure of your car. The air pressure requirements also differ according to each tire.

When to Check your Tire Pressure?

You want to make sure that you check the tire pressure before you have driven your car at all. Preferably, you want to check it when the tire is cold. If you need to drive somewhere to adjust your tires, you want to make sure that it is your first stop so that you have driven as little as possible. This way the tire temperature does not heat up.

It is also important to check the tire pressure of all the four tires. You want to start at the first tire, and go tire to tire to set the pressure correctly until you are done with all four tires. Do not skip this step because if you do, then the light will stay on.

When checking the tire air pressure, do not forget about your spare tires. This is one of the biggest reasons why most car owners fail to get their tire pressure light to turn off. Many spare wheels come with TPMS sensors in them as well. Therefore, it can be the spare tire in your trunk that is triggering the light.

Snowplows and Driving Safe this Winter

snowplows

Winter weather is here in full blown action. There is more snow to expect in the coming days and this will mean more challenging driving conditions ahead. It also means that you can expect to find more snowplows on the road that make the roads better places to drive. This is why it is incredibly important to encourage safe driving around snowplows.

Snowplows

A snowplow is the big blade that is attached in front of a snow clearing vehicle. It is not the vehicle itself, but in the winter, people will refer to the snowplow and the vehicle as one unit because both serve the special purpose of clearing the road from snow. The plow cuts off all ice and snow away from the road, while the vehicle helps move the blades.

The first snowplows were wooden blades attached to horses. As cars became the means of transportation, it gave way to metal plows that are mounted in front of trucks and other large machines. A snow plow today is made of steel. If there is plenty of snow on the road, snowplow drivers today will usually use trucks, and mount the plow in front of it.

Not only that, to make their job even more efficient, they use a blower to spray ice-melting salt on the road. This makes it easier to scrape away the ice with the help of a snow plow. They also use a blower to blow the snow away from the roads. A snowplow driver’s main concern is to clear all the major arteries and bus roads from extensive. After they have cleared the major areas, they move on to the subdivisions and streets.

Driving Alongside Snowplows

It is very unfortunate that most drivers have no regard for snowplows and they try to disrupt them when driving behind them. When plowing at residential streets, it is inevitable that a snowplow will blow ice on top of a car that is parked along the streets. Even though this infuriates many drivers, they must realize that it is for their own good.

Another time when drivers get angry is when they are driving behind a plow truck and want to get past it but can’t. In order for the plow truck to do its job, it must drive slowly. Therefore, the best way to avoid a fatal accident when you see a snowplow ahead is to bear with it and drive slowly behind it at a distance.

Only pass the snowplow when you are absolutely sure that the road ahead is safe. Other considerations will include visibility, so that you can see the tail light of the snowplow to know when it is changing lanes or braking. Lastly, make sure that you are away from its blind spot.

At the end of the day, what matters is going back home safely without any disruption. You do not want to drive the vehicles too fast beside the plow since there is snow spraying off from one side of the wing.

Avoiding Winter Roadside Emergencies by Having a Safety Kit

avoiding winter

Avoiding winter emergencies is what everyone’s goal is. When driving your vehicle in the threatening and destructive cold conditions, it is crucial to be in possession of resources that help you face the worst circumstances, such as blizzards and snow storms. Keep in mind that while some resources may help you get out of a potentially bad situation, others are critical in helping you survive the situation while you wait for rescue. This refers to being stranded in the freezing cold weather.

Traction tools and Basic Resources

Traction tools help your vehicle get out of a sticky situation; and shovels can help you dig your way out of the snow. Similarly, jumpstart chargers can help you quickly jolt the battery so that you can be on your way again if the battery is unable to start the car.

However, in some situations, you can try everything and still find yourself stuck in the snowy and icy conditions. This is when you have no other option but to call for help and try to survive until someone gets to you. In these instances, resources such as hydration drinks, blankets and snacks become critical.

Resources of survival

When you are stranded in the freezing cold climate, the worst thing you can do is keep the car heater running and wait for someone to rescue you. Keeping the car started means that you are burning off essential fuel that you may need later.

Secondly, if the snow gets trapped inside your car’s exhaust, you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning that can be fatal. This is why you need to instead be proactive in this situation. You also have to be very conservative with how you utilize the car’s heater, only putting it on for short amounts of time when necessary.

Resources such as flashlights, especially ones that have an emergency indication feature can be useful during the dark. Using them will provide you good visibility, which can be integral when navigating the area where you are stuck in.

Not to mention, since you will be shutting down the heater intermittently, extra pairs of layers such as jackets, wool caps, gloves and blankets will help compensate. Also make sure that your exhaust pipe is not jammed by the snow, and use a shovel to clear it if possible.

Avoiding Winter Emergencies

If you do not leave any space for the exhaust gasses to escape, then the toxic gasses will leak through other exits of your car. This can also involve your indoor air-vents.

As you can see, you have to prepare for the worst whenever you are winterizing your car. Without the basic winter kit, your commutes can turn disastrous without you even expecting it. This is why it is essential to always plan your routes, check weather forecasts, and more importantly, equip your car with winter essentials.

Winter Safety Kit and What you should have if you are Stranded in a Snow Storm

winter safetyStranded and stuck inside your car during a snow storm can impose a serious risk if you do not have the right supplies. Having a winter safety kit inside your car, is therefore, imperative. When stuck inside the snow, you do not know how long you will be stuck, and so, you must be prepared for the worst.

When winter driving, it is very important to keep the fuel tank topped up. There are two main reasons why having a topped up fuel is beneficial. For one, adding fuel will give more weight to you rear tires. Added weight can be helpful as it contributes to better traction when driving on slippery roads.

Another reason why fuel is critical when driving in the snow is because you need it to keep the car running. You never know when you will end up jamming your car into deep snow, and thus, without fuel, you will not be able to run your car for very long and this means that you cannot keep warm.

Blankets and Jackets

As discussed above, without fuel, you cannot afford running your car for too long. Therefore, you will have to resort to other ways of staying warm inside the car other than the car’s heater. One of the ways you can do that is by adding more layers to your body.

Having at least one extra blanket in your car can be huge when stuck in the snow. Similarly, having an extra jacket in the car is also a good idea. Preferably, it is best to have a large jacket that someone can use as a blanket as well. Other times, jackets and blankets can also be used as make-shift pillows.

Chains and Shovel for Winter Safety Kit

If you keep a set of chains in your car then you can escape from really horrible situations. If your tires are slipping and skidding on ice, then chains and other traction devices can help you push the car out of the snow. Another solution to getting stuck in the snow has to do with shovels. There are small shovels that you can get, and also portable ones which are relatively cheap in price. They can be crucial in helping you dig out of a tricky situation.

Brush and Scraper

People that have not been to snowy regions will not understand the importance of a snow scraper and brush. When stuck inside the snow, you can use this important tool to remove ice and snow away from the windshields, roof and exhaust pipes. If you do not unblock the exhaust, you can become exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning in the car.

Other obvious essentials include food, water and more. When it comes to snacks and drinks, you need to be aware of their shelf life. This is why it is important to make sure to replace them frequently during the winter.

Dying Battery and Symptoms to Notice for your Car

dying batteryUsually, a car battery usually dies gradually and over time. Notice the symptoms and replace the battery before being stranded in the middle of nowhere. The onset of winter will bring about many difficulties, and one of them is the burdening impact on car batteries.

Leaving your car parked overnight in the winter time can lead to troubles when you try to start it the next morning. Only a battery that is not close to dying and is in optimum condition will withstand cold temperatures without any problem.

Below, you will find out about the common symptoms that your car displays when you try to run it on an inefficient or worn out battery. If you notice these symptoms, make sure that you get them addressed if you wish to drive safe in the winter.

Dashboard Warning Light for a Dying Battery

Most vehicles come with a warning light indicator on the dashboard. If you find a light that is shaped like a car battery illuminate, then check the battery. The light also indicates other problems relating to the car battery such as the alternator and other electrical systems. If this comes on, contact us immediately. This way we can inspect and check the vehicle and battery.

Slow Engine Crank

The engine consumes the amperage from the battery every time it starts. If your battery is about to die, you will likely experience a slow engine crank. If you experience the car’s engine cranking at a slower speed than usual, then you must take your vehicle for an inspection instantly.

Clicking Sound

If you hear a clicking sound when you are turning your key, this is a clear indication of a faulty battery. This is the sound that signals car owners that the available power is not sufficient to start the engine. You can try turning your key as many times as you like, or leave it to cool down, it will not make any difference if you hear this noise. There is a high likely hood that your battery is completely dead if you happen to hear this noise.

Dim Headlights from a Dying Battery

The headlights consume a good chunk of power from your car battery. If your battery begins to die, its power output becomes significantly low. This is why you may notice the headlights dim when driving.. If you notice a sudden decrease in headlight brightness, then make sure that you check the car battery for any faults.

There are many issues that a battery may experience, and these symptoms may not necessarily point towards a dying battery. In some instances, small faults in battery components such as the alternator and cables can also lead to these signs. Therefore, make sure that you make a self inspection of any lose wires or corrosion before you make a battery replacement.