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6 ways to get your car road trip ready   

road trip

Summer is here, and if you’re like most Minnesotans, you’re ready to plan some summer fun. From weekend trips to the cabin to picnics in the park, summer is a time to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. Summer is also a great time to plan that family road trip. Before you pack up the car and stock up on those road trip snacks, it’s also a good idea to get your car road trip ready. If you’re ready to check getting your car ready off that to-do list, then keep reading for our 6 ways to get your car road trip ready.

Check tires before your road trip

Your tires are what makes this whole trip roll – literally. But improperly inflated tires can cause stress to your engine, add unnecessary wear and tear on your brakes & suspension, and uneven wear & tear to your treads. In addition, improper inflation can make your tires susceptible to blow outs and decrease your fuel economy by 1%. Check your tire pressure and make sure they are filled to the manufacturer’s recommendation. And while you’re thinking about your tires, it’s a good idea to have them rotated. For cars with front wheel or rear wheel drive, rotating your tires will help them wear more evenly – and should be performed every 5,000-8,000 miles.

Belts and hoses

Your belts and hoses are critical to keeping your electrical, power steering, and cooling systems functioning. Ask your mechanic to inspect them to determine if they are frayed or cracked. You’ll also want to verify that your belts are tightly installed and don’t have a large amount of slack.  When it comes to your hoses, you’ll want to inspect for any leaks or drips. Left unattended, broken belts or hoses can leave you with a breakdown on the side of the road – which stops the fun of any road trip.

Brakes

Your brakes are essential to your family’s safety on your road trip so it’s a good idea to have them inspected before you hit the road. Some warning signs that your brakes need some attention include: squealing noises which indicate worn brake pads, a spongy brake pedal, pulling to one side while braking, and a shaking brake pedal. If you notice any of these signs or it’s been a while since your mechanic has taken a peek, then it’s a good idea to take your car in and ask for an inspection.

Lights

You’ll also want to check your interior and exterior lights to make sure they are working properly. Be sure to replace any burned out bulbs and to make sure your tail lights and turn signals are in working order. While you’re checking the outside of the car, it’s a good idea to check your windshield wiper blades in case you run into any summer rain storms. Most car manufacturers recommend getting a new pair every 6 months, so if it’s been a while since you’ve replaced them – now is the perfect time to get it done.

Air conditioning system

With the dog days of summer approaching, no one wants to be on a long road trip when your AC system is not working. Ask your mechanic to do an AC system check. While you’re there, now is also the perfect time to replace your cabin air filter. This air filter keeps allergens, pollutants, and mold out of the inside of your car to keep your breathing clean air. Some signs you need an AC check include: an AC that’s not blowing as cold as it used to, a musty smell inside your car, and poor air flow.

Top off your fluids before the road trip

One last thing to check is to fill your fluids to the appropriate levels. You can start with having your oil changed to make sure your car is ready to go. After that, check the following fluid levels: power steering, transmission, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid.

Once you’ve checked off these 6 items to get your car ready for that road trip, you’re ready to go. And if you need some help getting your car road trip ready, we’re ready to help. Simply give us a call for an appointment, and our team will get your car ready for that road trip in no time.

What to do when your check engine light comes on

We’ve all had it happen to us at some point in our driving career – your check engine light comes on. You could be in the middle of a cross country road trip or taking that short drive to work. Whenever it comes on, drivers, like you, can have some questions about what to do. The short answer is to make an appointment with your local mechanic to have your check engine problem diagnosed. The long answer is that it could be any number of things causing your check engine light to turn on. If you’ve been curious about the possibilities of what your check engine light means, then keep reading as we talk about some reasons your check engine light is on.

Check Engine light caused by Loose or faulty gas cap

Your gas cap and valves in your gas tank keep your gas from escaping so that your fuel can keep circulating and keep your car running. If your gas cap is loose or faulty, it may cause your car to lose fuel or for your fuel system to circulate gas improperly. It’s a good idea to check your gas cap first, and if it’s not loose, have your mechanic take a look.

Worn Spark Plugs

Your spark plugs ignite a mixture of fuel and air to create combustion which powers your engine’s cylinders. If your spark plugs aren’t firing correctly, this can cause your engine to misfire which can result in weaker engine performance and higher emissions.

Check engine light & Faulty Catalytic Converter

Your catalytic converter changes carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide which helps protect the environment. When your catalytic converter is faulty, it can reduce fuel efficiency, increase emissions, and reduce engine performance. Replacing may not be the answer. Many times a faulty catalytic converter is caused by something else – for example, a blown head gasket which can force burnt coolant vapor into your exhaust.

Vacuum Leak causing the Check Engine Light to come on

Your vacuum system helps decrease emissions by routing the fumes as gas evaporates through the engine. Your vacuum hoses can crack or dry out especially if exposed to intense heat or cold. When your check engine light turns on, it’s a good idea to have your vacuum system inspected.

Ignition Coils

Your ignition coils deliver electrical pulses to each spark plug. When the engine computer sends a signal, the coils release pent up energy to spark plugs where it ignites the air + fuel mixture. Ignition coils are prone to failure after several years so if you notice poor fuel economy or a decrease in engine power, it’s a good idea to bring your car to your mechanic.

Fuel Injector

Each cylinder in your engine has a fuel injector, which is a small, electronically activated valve that regulates how much fuel is sprayed into the cylinders during the intake cycle. Our fuel naturally has impurities, and when combined with carbon generated from combustion – it can cause holes in the injector tip to become clogged or plugged. When your fuel injector becomes completely clogged, the fuel injector can get stuck open – leaking fuel into the cylinder.

Oxygen Sensor Failure

Your oxygen sensor measures the amount of unburnt oxygen in your car’s exhaust, and sends this data to your car’s computer. The oxygen sensor is used to regulate the mixture of air + fuel that enters your engine cylinders. When the sensor fails your car can keep running, but it will burn more fuel and over time can damage your spark plugs, and catalytic converter.

These issues are just some of the issues your car could be having when your check engine light goes on. You can be certain about your car’s specific issue that triggered your check engine light, we recommend making an appointment so one of our mechanics can take a look, diagnose, and get your car running in peak condition.

Auto AC and Refrigerants: A complete history

As you head out on that summer road trip or just that short drive to work, one feature you probably use every summer is your AC. With one click of a button, you can cool the interior of your car and drive in comfort on the hottest of days. But have you ever wondered how we got here – having the modern convenience of AC at the push of a button as we drive? We’ve come a long way in the last 100 years, and if you’ve been curious about the history of AC in your car then you’re in the right place as we unpack the history of AC in cars.

The Earliest Cars

The earliest Model T’s had no doors and collapsible roofs. At that time, most drivers were more concerned with how to keep warm in the winter rather than keeping cool in the summer. On those hot days, drivers would simply collapse the roof and use the open air to keep cool.

Shortly after the earliest Model T’s were introduced, the new and improved Model T hit the market featuring a closed body with doors and windows. These cars had vents installed underneath their dashboard which would circulate the outside air. The one drawback to this early cooling method was that it didn’t keep dirt and dust from getting inside the car.

Small steps in car cooling

Next came some primitive cooling inventions to keep drivers and passengers cool in the summer. The Knapp Limo-Sedan Fan was an electric fan mounted to the interior of the car to keep drivers cool. The other option, called a car cooler, was attached to the roof of the car and used water evaporation to deliver cool air through open windows. Both of these options could cool the car temperature by about 15 degrees.

Introducing the first factory installed AC system

In the 1940s, Packard became the first automaker to offer factory installed AC. The unit was located in the trunk and required the driver to get out and manually install or remove the drive belt from the compressor to make it run. This unit could only circulate air inside the cabin and did not incorporate the outside air. Since the condensed water ran overhead, the downfall of this unit is that water would drip on car passengers as it was running.

Post World War II Advancements

Did you know that before WWII there were only about 3,000 cars that had AC installed and that after the war that number jumped to 1 million? Developments in air conditioning exploded after the War. In 1953, General Motors, Chrysler, and Packard introduced new AC systems for cars. To be more specific, GM developed a revolutionary system that fit in a car’s engine – eliminating the need to jump out and install the drive belt to get things going. And in 1963, Cadillac introduced a further breakthrough with the invention of comfort control. Drivers had the ability to set their own temperature while driving.

Environmental Concerns

In the 1970s, scientists discovered that compounds called Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were depleting the earth’s ozone layer. The most common refrigerant was a CFC called R12 (also known as Freon). They knew that a new and safer option needed to be developed. After years of testing, a suitable replacement was found in the refrigerant R-134a. In 1987, the U.S. government signed the Montreal Compact, which in part required manufacturers to make the switch to R-134a by 1996.

Modern Day AC

With modern advancements, drivers today experience dual and rear climate control with the push of a button. While refrigerants aren’t as much of a concern as they once were, using your AC today can decrease your fuel efficiency by 25%. Some simple tips that help with fuel efficiency when using your AC include: only using AC when driving at highway speeds, not idling when your AC is turned on, and opening your windows to let the hot air out before turning on your AC.

With all our modern advancements in recent years, our car AC still needs regular maintenance to make sure it continues to work properly. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your car maintained and your AC system checked, our team is ready to help get your back to driving in comfort all summer long.

Top 6 Maintenance Tips for your boat trailer this summer

boat trailer

As the weather warms up, you may be ready to get out there and enjoy the summer. From baseball games to backyard BBQs, enjoying the outdoors is a must for summer. Like many Minnesotans, you may be getting ready to tow that boat to the cabin or to the nearest lake across town. But before you hook your trailer up and hit the road, it’s important to do some safety checks and perform maintenance to ensure a safe arrival to your destination. If you’ve been wondering what kinds of maintenance your boat trailer needs, then keep reading as we unpack 6 maintenance tips for your boat trailer this summer.

Inspect your trailer lights

Your trailer lights are a safety feature that lets other drivers know that you are carrying a boat and to keep a safe distance. In addition, driving your trailer with faulty lights can get you a hefty fine – so it’s always a good idea to check on those lights every time you hook up your trailer. One thing you’ll want to check is the connection on your towing vehicle. Our winter elements can cause the metal pins in the connection to corrode or rust. You’ll want to make sure your connection is in working order – and for future protection install a connection cover (available at any auto parts store) when you’re not towing your boat.

Check your tires on the boat trailer

Problems with your tires can lead to safety hazards, or even leaving you stranded on the side of the road. The first thing you’ll want to check is the air pressure in your tires. Improperly inflated tires can result in a safety concern or a flat by the side of the road. Your trailer tires will naturally lose 1-2 pounds of air pressure each month, so it’s important to check your air pressure after a long winter. You’ll want to inflate your tires to the maximum rating which will be listed on the tire or the trailer capacity sticker which is typically 60 psi or more. While you’re down there checking the air pressure, you’ll also want to inspect your tires for wear & tear, and for any damage to the tire rims. If you notice any issues, you’ll want to get these replaced as soon as possible.

Inspect your brakes

Most trailers are required to have brakes on at least one axle, which ensures safety for you and other drivers while towing your boat. If your trailer weighs more than 3,000 lbs, using just your towing vehicle brakes can result in swerving and potential accidents. Before you get out on the road this summer, you’ll want to clean your brakes to ensure they are free from dirt and debris. Over time, your brake pads can experience wear so you’ll want to inspect your brake pads as well. If you notice it’s time for new brake pads, any auto mechanic can replace these for you.  Lastly, you’ll want to check your brake fluid levels and fill to the proper level.

Check your wheel bearings for the Boat trailer

Your wheel bearings are essential to safe trailer operation all summer long. Your wheel bearings are susceptible to the winter elements and can corrode and rust due to moisture. Corroded wheel bearings will prevent your wheels from turning properly which can result in accidents. You’ll want to inspect your wheel bearings for corrosion. It’s always a good idea to install wheel bearing protectors, if you don’t already have them, to prevent moisture and corrosion all year long. You’ll also want to grease your wheel bearings to keep your wheels performing at their best.

Check your bunk rollers

Plan on inspecting your bunk rollers after a long winter. Make sure they are in good condition and can support the hull – otherwise this can cause scratches and damage to your hull.

Inspect your safety chain

Your safety chain should crisscross underneath your trailer tongue and attach to your vehicle for support – should your vehicle become unhitched. Inspect for any damage and make sure this is in working order.

These 6 maintenance tips will help you enjoy a safe and fun summer on the water. If you find any items that need replacing or a closer look, we’re happy to help. Simply call to make an appointment for your trailer and we’ll get you back on the water in no time.

6 Essential Car Maintenance Tips for Spring Driving

Spring is finally here!  Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and it’s finally warm enough to roll down those windows and take that Sunday drive. But before you get busy with all those warmer weather activities or plan your next road trip, it’s always a good idea to take your car in for a little spring maintenance check up before hitting the road. If you’re wondering what you need to have done at your next trip to the mechanic, we’ve got you covered with our 6 essential car maintenance tips for spring.

Tires & Car Maintenance

We hate to state the obvious, but winter is your tires’ worst enemy. Driving on snow, ice, and salt can create issues for them. We recommend checking your tire pressure to make sure they are properly inflated after rough winter driving. Some other things to check? Wear and tear – how is your tread holding up? While you’re down there checking out the tread, you’ll want to check for any dents or damage to your rims. If all seems in good order (or even if it doesn’t), you’ll want to bring your car to your mechanic so he can rotate and balance your tires. Neglecting your tires can create safety issues as you drive around town this spring.

Car Maintenance for your Suspension

Winter driving is no picnic for your suspension system, either. From icy roads to those early spring potholes, your suspension system can take the hit. If you notice any signs that your suspension is off like unusually bumpy rides, continued bouncing after hitting bumps, pulling to one side after turning corners, or difficulty steering, then it might be time to ask your mechanic to check your struts and/or shocks.

Alignment

Along with your suspension system, your alignment could have been thrown off my winter driving. Signs you need to address your car’s alignment include squealing tires, pulling to the one side while driving, uneven or rapid tire wear, and a steering wheel that is crooked when you’re driving straight. If you notice any of these signs or if it’s been awhile since you had your alignment checked, just ask your mechanic to work on it.

Interior air quality

After riding in a closed up car all winter long, you’ll want to ensure your air quality is fresh and clean. For starters, ask your mechanic about your cabin air filters. Cabin air filters keep pollen, mold, and other pollutants out of the interior of your car to ensure air quality and comfort. If your car was manufactured in the year 2000 or later, you have a cabin air filter, and spring is the perfect time to get it replaced. One other air quality check you can ask your mechanic about? An AC output test. Your AC has been sitting idle all winter long and you’ll want to ensure it’s in working order before the heat of summer arrives.

Exterior lights and wipers

We may tend to forget these smaller essential features to our car, but you’ll want to check your headlights, taillights, and turn signal lights after a long winter. The harsh winter elements can cause your lights to yellow which can create a driving safety issue for you. Ask your mechanic to replace any lights that have yellowed, and while he’s there to check for any burnt out bulbs in your headlights, taillights, and turn signal lights. One last check for your car after winter is your windshield wipers. Winter driving can dull your wiper blades, so ask your mechanic to check and then replace so you’re ready for those heavy spring rains.

Belts & Hoses

Our bitterly cold days can leave your belts and hoses a mess. Your belts and hoses can begin to crack and tear over the winter, and left unchecked – this can lead to breakdowns at the side of the road. Asking your mechanic to check the condition of these items can save you the hassle of waiting for that tow on the side of the road this spring.

If you’re ready to hit the road this spring, these 6 essential maintenance checks will ensure smooth and safe driving all season long. Ready to schedule your spring maintenance appointment? Our team is ready to perform your spring maintenance check so you can get back on the road and enjoy your spring no matter where you plan on driving.

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.