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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.

Car Heater Not Blowing Warm Air? Here is what to do…

With the colder weather around the corner, it is essential that you diagnose any car heater problems before your car’s HVAC system becomes problematic when you need it the most. If you feel that your car’s heater is not blowing enough warm air, then you must run a few simple checks to bring back the car’s heating capacity.

Check Antifreeze Level

The car’s coolant system, unlike the name suggests, does not only help with only the cooling of the car, but also helps with the heating of the car. Before checking the antifreeze, make sure that the engine is not hot or warmed up. When the radiator fluid gets hot after absorbing the heat, it runs through the engine, along the tubes and piping and towards your car’s cabin compartment.

Then, it enters into another radiator that looks much like the main radiator, but miniature in size. This mini radiator is the heater core, and it holds hot coolant. Then, a fan blows over the heater core so that hot air passes through your vents. The coolant will then go back to the engine to absorb more heat if it cools down.

Therefore, if you do not have enough coolant, the heater core may not receive enough heat. This will result in less heat disposal inside the cabin. Therefore, all you need to do to overcome this issue is check the coolant level by opening the radiator. After opening the radiator cap, make sure that there is enough antifreeze fluid inside. If there is less antifreeze, then you can simply add more.

A better option would be to replace your coolant with antifreeze that is more resilient to colder temperatures. To do this, you will have to drain out all the coolant fluid, flush the coolant tubes by running a cleaning solution, and then close the drain and refill the radiator with new coolant.

Check Coolant Reservoir

Apart from the main coolant system, make sure that the reservoirs are also in place. When you are adding coolant to the reservoirs, make sure that you add it to the cold fill line. Then, you know that the radiator is full, and you can properly test the heating system and see if you have heat.

Other Heater Issues

If you have been driving around in your car for some time and you find that the gauge of the car is stable, but your car is still not providing heat, then it may be because your water pump is not working. Typically, you will find that a leaky water pump’s impeller will stop spinning, and will lower the capacity of the hot coolant entering through your vents. This is because not enough hot coolant enters into your heater core or even the radiator. This will cause the engine to overheat, and you will not get any heat circulating the cabin.

Your car’s HVAC system is a very systematic and thorough process, consisting of many components and parts. Some of the common solutions pertain to coolant levels, air filters, and blower motor replacements.

Cabin Air Filters – Inspections and Advancements in the Technology

Cabin air filters have stood the test of time in the automotive industry and are now an integral component of the vehicles HVAC system. Engineers have realized that they can make commutes in the car safely and more comfortably by optimizing the car’s cabin air filters. These new cabin air filter systems not only make the air inside the cabin more breathable, but also play their part in making the temperature more comfortable.

Inspection of Air filters In Late Fall

The usage of the car’s internal heating and cooling system is going to increase as the temperature starts to drop significantly nearing the dawn of late fall. Since people will be relying even more on the car’s heater, the condition of the car’s filter must come into full consideration when preparing your car for the winters.

The cold breeze carries with it a number of pollutants and particles that can be detrimental for your health. It is important that you inspect the first line of defense when inside your cabin, which is the filter. The cabin air filter is the first component that the air has to pass through in order to enter your nose.

Driving around with a compromised cabin filter can lead to serious malfunctions in the car, especially in the winters. One of these can include an inefficient air filtration that leads to all sorts of health concerns. The other issue can be more internal to the car’s engine and heating capacity.

Modern Day HVAC Development

Engineers are working on developing technology for more modern air filtration systems. This will involve the integration of an interior air quality system that will not just use cabin filters, but also pair them with sensors that detect the incoming gasses present in the air.

These sensors monitor levels of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons and if they reach to dangerous levels, the filters close down and prevent the air from entering into the car. Some automotive companies are adding a scent feature to their HVAC systems. This in-cabin fragrance technology is a cartridge the pumps perfume odor throughout the cabin according to the driver’s cabin.

Not to mention, the air cabin filters of the latest technology are ones with updated filtering and activation mediums. This means that they can remove even the smallest particles in the air, filtering out particles that size down to two microns.

What is a Micron?

A micron is a unit of measurement that is equal to a measurement that is one thousandth of a millimeter. For your frame of reference, a skin cell is about 30 micron, pollen is about 90 and viruses are about 2 micrometer range. These cabin air filters come installed with sophisticated and activated carbon materials that protect passengers against extremely harmful air pollutants such as ammonia, sulfur, nitrogen, ozone and more.

The newest filters are not just anti bacterial, but also anti microbial and anti viral. This makes it obvious that plenty of thought has gone into improving the air filters inside your car. This also marks their importance in modern day commuting. If you notice any issue with your vehicle and air quality, make sure to contact us. We can inspect the cabin air filter to see if it should be replaced.



Restoring Car Headlights

Restoring the headlights may be needed, depending on their condition. If you have a car that is aging very fast, it is very likely that your car’s headlight will be yellow and cloudy. Yellowing of headlights is a very common issue in cars. Not only does yellowing headlight assembly look bad, but they also give out a very poor light output at nighttime.

Considering that the upcoming season will have longer nights and shorter days, you must address the issue of headlight. This includes assembly, discoloration, and poor headlamp output.

The lens covering the headlights assembly consists of poly-carbonate plastic. And even though you cannot see it, there is a UV protective coating on it from the factory. Over time, the coating wears off, and while you drive under the sun, the UV rays end up causing damage. This, in turn, causes the transparent lens to turn yellow. Over time, this keeps getting worse.

Therefore, you must address your headlights before they get into a condition that requires a costly repair. The problems with headlights can go beyond headlight assembly’s discoloration, and you may also have to address issues with the bulbs inside the lens. For that, you will have to either replace the bulb or correct the headlight’s aim.

Aligning the Aim of the Headlamps

Sometimes there is a noticeable change in the headlight output that may lead you to believe that the headlamps are degrading. However, this may not be the real cause. Often, the two headlamps are unable to focus their beams because they are not aligned properly.

This causes the light to disperse more and scatter instead of focusing on the road. This not only decreases the driver’s visibility but also blinds the oncoming drivers that you come across, putting you and others on the road at serious risk.

Aiming the lamps correctly is a thorough method that requires a couple of markers, a screwdriver, or an alignment tool. All you have to do is point the car’s headlight at a white wall when it is dark, ensuring that it stands 25 meters from the wall. Then, according to a manual, make the markers that indicate where the top beam is supposed to fall.

Cleaning, Polishing, and Restoring

Restoring the discoloration of the headlamp is fairly easy. You have to apply some of the cleaning products that are easily available in the markets and then continue this by applying the protective coating on the plastic assembly to protect it from the harmful UV rays.

Once you do that, you can check whether you need to replace the bulbs inside the headlight. Some people like to replace their halogen bulbs with new LED ones that are brighter and more efficient. This is a maintenance measure that can be useful for the upcoming winter season.

Flushing and Filling Your Cooling System

flushingFlushing your car’s cooling system and replacing the coolant is essential. As time progresses, the coolant inside the car starts to degrade. This means that it loses its capacity to safely and efficiently absorb heat from the internal combustion engine. This leads to the car having overheating problems.

Another sign of degradation takes shape in the form of heavy metal deposits in the coolant, which causes the fluid to change its lighter color into a darker shade. These deposits will often damage the internal walls of the cooling system tubes and the radiator.

This is why it is important that you flush out the coolant and replace it with a high quality coolant at regular intervals. Fortunately for you, flushing the coolant and filling it is an easy and accessible procedure. Below are steps that you should follow when performing a coolant flush.

Drain the Fluid

Most vehicles will have drain plug at the bottom corner of their car’s radiator. To spot the drain plug you will have to get underneath your vehicle and then look under and behind the front bumper of your car. In some cars, you can simply remove the plug with your hand. However, in most cases, you will need large screw driver and a socket to remove the plug.

Once you open the socket under your car, you will need some kind of a bucket or container to catch the fluid so that it does not spill on the floor. With everything in position, you can slowly move forwards and open the drain.

Start Flushing Process

After entirely draining out the cooling system, you can go ahead and start the flushing process by first closing the drain. Check your service manual to see if your car requires special requirements when flushing the coolant.

Once you insert the cleaner into the radiator, you can move forth and start the car and wait for a while. You will also benefit from turning on the heater so that the cleaner circulates all around the system and scrubs out all the dirt deposits.

You will not have to repeat the flushing process and open the drain to let the cleaner out, along with all the contaminants. Depending on how dirty the water is that comes out after you insert the cleaner, you can repeat this process until you find that the water is clear.

Add Coolant

Once you completely clean the cooling system, you can now begin inserting the new coolant into the radiator. To do this, you may have to make a coolant solution of your own by simply mixing the anti-freeze with the distilled water. Proportions can vary depending on the region you live in, and also on what the manufacturer recommends on the manual.



Replace the Tires on your Car

replaceReplace the tires on your vehicle when you start to notice issues. The tire on your car, truck, bike or SUV is your vehicles only connection with the road, affecting everything from road traction, handling and also the fuel efficiency. Despite being so integral to your driving experience, and essential to your safety on the road, most car owners will drive past their tires lifespan. This impacts the performance of your car, decreasing it, and also placing you in a vulnerable position on the road.

In fact, according to a study in 2017, 738 traffic fatalities occurred because of the car issues that were solely related to bad tire conditions. You can avoid these problems by equipping yourself with the knowledge of tires and their lasting qualities. Moreover, you should also have awareness towards the specific indications that tell you whether your tire does indeed need replacement.

Replace the Tires

The shot answer to this question is that tire wear occurs because of many factors. Some of the factors include the type of tire you purchase, the surrounding climate, the way in which you drive, the rubber compound that makes up your tire, the age of the tire, your vehicle, and your maintenance routine. These are only a few factors out of many others, which is why answering this question can be very tough.

It is inevitable that tires will wear over time. Nevertheless, driving with tires that have bald surfaces and damaged treads can be hazardous and you should be very careful before you decide to do such a thing. The general rule of thumb for a tires lifespan is four to five years, considering that you use your vehicles for daily commutes.

Another measure would be miles, and you should consider replacement after sixty thousand to seventy thousand miles. If you do not drive your car very often, then you should first consider hitting the particular mileage threshold before investing on new tires. On the other hand, if you use your car more frequently, then you are likely to hit the threshold before the four to five year mark.

Types of Tires

Another important thing that you should take into account is the types of tires, and how they can differ in terms of wear time. The four general categories of tires include, winter, summer, all-seasons, and all terrain tires. The specific type of tire you purchase and whether that tire is suitable for the season and climate of where you drive, are all influencing factors that determine the rate of which each tire wears.

For instance, all-terrain tires are specifically meant for off-road trials. Therefore, if you use these tires on flat pavements, they will likely wear out much quicker than the expected lifespan. This is largely because you are not using them for their specific purpose.

As you can see, considering all the factors at the same time can be difficult. This is why it is best to resort to simple maintenance techniques such as air pressure and tread-wear inspections.


Simple Inspection Checks that Make Your Car Tires Last a Long Time

InspectionEven the smallest of checks and inspections can help you get the most out of your car. If you abide by these maintenance measures at least every six months then you can potentially avoid all and any major malfunctions to your car.

As a result, this will prevent you from spending hefty amounts on major maintenance and repairs. Some of the items that you will read about may need checks more often than others. Make sure to contact us, and we can inspect the vehicle for you.

Tire Inspection

Oftentimes, car owners will neglect the tires thinking they are resilient items of rubber that not need special attention. However, this is far from the truth. Rubber is very responsive to environmental factors, such as high heat. High temperatures due to the weather and mechanical wear can impact the treads of the tire.

The treads are the bulging design on top of the tires which contributes to the car’s road grip. Therefore, inspection of the tires is very important as it keeps you from coming across an accident. In between the tires you will find wear indicators that can determine whether it is time you need to replace the tires.

If you tire does not have these indicators, you can also use a coin as a tool to check whether the treads are in functional condition or not. Along with tread conditions, you should also make sure that your tires are properly inflated. This will include checking the tire pressure and making sure it is at an optimum PSI.

Brake Pads

Your brake pads are integral components that press upon your wheel to make them stop. A brake pad is metallic plate with 12 millimeters of pad material attached to it. This pad material is usually carbon fiber or synthetic in nature. Overtime of extensive usage, the pad material undergoes wear, and with that, comes noticeable change in its thickness.

If the pad material gets down to about 3 millimeters, then you should be concerned and looking to replace it with a new one. If your brake pad is only 1 to 2 mm in thickness, then this is alarming for your car and you want to replace them instantly. Getting access to your brake pads will require you to remove your tire.

Shock Absorb Parts

Removing the tire also exposes you to the car’s shock absorber. This component of the car keeps the road stress away from your wheels and also saves your car from other risks. Thus, it is important that you inspect any visible damage or oil leakage from the shock absorber.

As you can see, the bottom part of your vehicle is essential as it contributes to the car’s suspension, and braking. These two elements are what keep passengers safe inside of a car. Thus, you should not take these inspection measures lightly.


Catalytic Converter Thefts On the Rise

Catalytic ConverterCar owners are now facing a theft epidemic. Just when you thought the pandemic couldn’t get any worse, state departments started witnessing a sudden increase in catalytic converter thefts as well, putting the residents into an even more financial drain.

Catalytic Converter Theft Statistics

The shocking statistics that support the theft increase claims come from a total of 12 major police departments in the country. Due to the sudden increase in thefts, speculations of this crime having organizational motives are coming into fruition. Many detectives in charge of this case are slowly turning their heads away from this being only a crime of opportunity.

It is very likely that this crime spree can be a collective effort, and have deeper roots into something bigger than what it seems. This is due to the surreal nature of the crime hike. In 2019, the count for catalytic converter theft was about 68 in one area. This count increased to about 273 nearing the end of 2020, and then 130 since the start of 2021.

The number of cases in the 2021 year so far is more than the three-year total of cases that occurred from 2017 to 2019. This is a rapid increase in thefts is a serious crime spike for the authorities to deal with. There are many reasons for this crime hike. While some are speculative, others are obvious.

Catalytic Converter from a car can be Valuable

Catalytic converters contain deposits of precious metals inside them. Therefore, when a thief quietly walks away with these auto parts they can ultimately sell them for huge amounts of money. The precious metals inside the catalytic converter help filter out the combustion gas inside an exhaust and reduce the number of pollutants that a car releases by reacting to them.

The prices for the metals inside these converters are skyrocketing, and this can be a major reason contributing to the increase in theft. Metals such as Palladium, Rhodium, and Platinum can sell for thousands of dollars for an ounce.

They are Easy to Steal

It only takes thieves about a minute or two to jack the car into elevation and cut each end of the catalytic converter. A portable power saw, or any other type of mechanical cutter slices through the exhaust pipes like butter. This allows the robbers to carry out their operation swiftly and quietly without coming into notice. This is why many thieves have been able to carry out this crime in broad daylight without any complications.

Car Owners Face Troubles

Since the crime rate in terms of catalytic converters is booming, the prices to reinstall converters are also rising. Car owners that are victims of this crime not only have to spend close to a thousand dollars to purchase and install a converter, but also have to go through the hassles of finding one during a shortage. Since more converters are now stolen, the supply for alternatives is not promptly meeting the demand, causing the prices to go up. Catalytic converter crises can befall any car owner. If you have heard anything from your close-by neighbors about stolen converters, it’s time you keep a watchful eye on your vehicle.


Poor Brakes and Needing Replacement Done

Poor brakes will cause and issue with your car. If you notice signs of poor brakes, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you. The brake system in your car, like all systems, consists of multiple components that are vulnerable to timely wear and tear. Hence, along with other parts of the car, you have to ensure that you maintain the braking system.

You have to prioritize this system even more than others since it is the single unit system that is responsible for saving your life on the road. Below, the article will address the most common problem, which is the brake pad system.

Issues with Poor Brakes

The most common problem that a car can face involves the wearing out of the brake pads. When this happens, you tend to hear a noise as you hit the brakes. A brake pad is a small plate that consists of a metallic base with padding. This padding is often ceramic in the material. This part attaches to the rotors inside the wheel as you apply the brake, resulting in the stopping motion of the car.

When the brake pad surpasses its lifespan, the padding begins to thin and the overall thickness of the pad tends to decrease. When the pad material becomes so thin that you can see it reaching close to the metallic base, you will hear noises in the instance of the brake.

This noise results from the contact of the metallic pad base against the metallic rotors. On the other hand, some brake pads have little squealers in the brake pads. When the brake pad becomes thin, these squealers encounter the rotor and this will produce a squeaky noise as you drive.

Hence, these squealers act as indicators that your brake pads need replacement. When you hear sounds at the instance of braking, go to your wheels and check whether your brake pads are beginning to thin.

Brake Pedal Sinks to the Floor

Many things can cause your brake pedal to sink to the floor. When you push the brake pedal, you are in actuality sending pressurized fluid through the brake cylinder and the wheels. The most common reason why you step on the brake pedal and it feels spongy sometimes is that the car has a brake fluid leakage somewhere.

Diagnosing this problem is easy. All you have to do is check each wheel and observe the calipers for any wetness or leakage. External leaks are easy to find, however, internal leaks are something you cannot notice. Internal leaks are complicated and if you do not find external leaks after filling the car up with brake fluid, you should head over to a professional.  Now that you have a sound idea of the braking issues of a car, you can better identify problems and decide whether you need a brake pad replacement or inspection.