ARDEN HILLS:

651-633-4100

1310 W County Rd E

ROSEVILLE:
651-488-8800

2170 Dale St N

ARDEN HILLS:

651-633-4100

1310 W County Rd E

ROSEVILLE:
651-488-8800

2170 Dale St N

6 simple steps to getting your car road trip ready

Summer is here, and it’s the perfect time to be planning your next road trip. Whether you’re driving a couple of hours to the cabin or across the country to a national park, you have a lot of details to manage and get road trip ready. One thing that should not be neglected is getting your car ready. If you’re looking for some maintenance check ideas to get your car ready for your next road trip, we’ve got you covered with our 6 simple steps.

Check your tires before a road trip

Step one is to make sure your tires are good to go before you hit the road. Improperly inflated tires can add stress to your engine, add unnecessary wear and tear to your brakes and suspension, and cause uneven tire wear. Poorly inflated tires can be susceptible to blow outs, and decrease your fuel economy by 1%. Inflate your tires to the manufacturer’s recommended levels which can typically be found in your owner’s manual or on the sticker on the driver’s side door jam. You’ll also want to make sure your tires have been properly rotated. Cars with front wheel or rear wheel drive can cause your tires to wear more quickly. Rotating your tires (which should be done every 5,000-8,000  miles) will promote even wear – keeping you safe on the road this summer.

Check your brakes

It goes without saying that your brakes are important for your safety on your next road trip – so before you head out on the highways, we recommend having your mechanic inspect your brakes. Some signs that your brake pads are wearing include: squealing or other odd noises when you apply the brakes, a spongy brake pedal, pulling to one side when braking, or a shaking brake pedal. If you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to have your mechanic check your brakes before a long trip.

Check your belts & hoses before taking a road trip

Your belts & hoses are critical to keeping your electrical system, power steering, and cooling systems functioning. A broken belt or hose can leave you stranded by the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. You’ll want to have your belts checked for any fraying or cracking. In addition, you can have your mechanic check to verify that they are secure and don’t have a large amount of slack. When it comes to your hoses, ask your mechanic to check for leaks and drips. Some manufacturers recommend changing these every 60,000 miles so if it’s been awhile, it may be time to have your mechanic take a peek under the hood.

Lights

Checking your lights before a long road trip is always a good idea. Be sure to check your interior lights, and then check your headlights, tail lights, and turn signals. Plan on replacing any burned out bulbs. While you are checking your lights, it’s a good time to inspect your windshield wipers. You should replace your windshield wipers every 6 months, so if it’s been a while since you installed a new pair – now is a great time to do it and ensure visibility in case you run into any summer rains on your trip.

Air Conditioner

If you haven’t had your AC system checked this summer, plan on asking your mechanic to run a check before you hit the road in the heat of summer. If you’ve noticed that your AC is not blowing cold air like it used to, it’s a sure sign you should have it checked before your trip. While you’re at the mechanic, it’s also a good time to replace your cabin air filter – which keeps allergens, mold, and pollutants out of the interior of your car.

Top off your fluids

One last check before you hit the road? You’ll want to make sure your fluids are topped off and ready to go. You can start with an oil change, but also check your fluid levels on your transmission, power steering, and brake fluids to ensure a smooth ride throughout your whole trip.

While there are a lot of details to check before any road strip, these 6 steps will get you in the right direction. If you’ve got a road trip coming up, our team would love to help. Simply make an appointment and we’ll get your car road trip ready in no time.

Everything you need to know about why your check engine light has turned on

Have you ever been just driving along and your check engine light turns on? You’re probably not alone. But when we’ve got somewhere to be – the last thing we want to see is that check engine light turning on. Your check engine light is a warning system that something may be amiss with your car. But how do you know what it’s trying to tell you? The short answer is to make an appointment with your local mechanic and ask them to figure it out. The long answer is it could be several things. We’re covering the most common issues your car could be having when your check engine light turns on.

Loose or faulty gas gap

Your gas cap and valves in your gas tank circulate your gas and keep it from escaping. If your gas cap is loose, it may cause you to lose fuel due to evaporation, or cause your fuel system to circulate improperly. If your check engine light goes on, this is a great place to start to solve the problem.

Check engine light & 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 right, it can cause an engine misfire which increases your hydrocarbon emissions and causes weaker performance from your engine.

Faulty Catalytic Converter

Your catalytic converter changes carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide which helps protect the environment. When your catalytic converter is faulty, it can reduce fuel economy and increase emissions. Before your jump to replacing it – it’s important to know that a faulty catalytic converter is typically caused by something else like a blown head gasket which can force burnt coolant vapor into your exhaust. It’s always a good idea to have your mechanic diagnose your issue so you get the right solution.

Dirty MAS Airflow Sensor

Your MAS airflow sensor determines how much fuel is needed to run your engine. It measures the amount of air entering the engine, and can be susceptible to oil and dirt buildup – so it may just need a cleaning.

Oxygen Sensor Failure & Check engine light

Your oxygen sensor measures the amount of unburnt oxygen in your car’s exhaust. It then sends data back to your car’s computer which uses it to regulate the mixture of fuel + air that enters the cylinders. When you have an oxygen sensor failure, your car can keep running, but it will burn more fuel, and can eventually damage your spark plugs and catalytic converter.

Vacuum Leak

Your vacuum system helps decrease emissions by routing the fumes of evaporated gas through your engine. Vacuum hoses can crack or dry out especially if exposed to intense heat and cold. You’ll also want to check for cracked fittings and loose connections.

Ignition Coils

Your ignition coils deliver electrical pulses to each spark plug. When your engine computer sends the signal, the coil releases pent up energy to the spark plug where it ignites the air and fuel mixture. Your ignition coils are prone to failure after several years and failure can lead to poor fuel economy, and decreased engine power.

Check engine light and issue with the Fuel Injector

Each engine cylinder 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 has natural imperfections and when combined with carbon from combustion, this mixture can cause miniscule holes in the injector to clog. Complete clogging can cause the injector to get stuck open and can continuously leak fuel into the cylinder leading to a rough running engine.

Your check engine light is a sign that something has gone awry in your engine that needs a further look. The next time your check engine light turns on, we’d love to help. Simply make an appointment and our team will diagnose what’s going on and get you back on the road in no time.

10 fun facts about the history of auto AC and refrigerant

As you drive around this summer, I’m guessing you’ll be hitting that AC button a time or two to keep cool and comfortable inside your car. A luxury we often take for granted, air conditioning and dual temperature controls were not always available to modern drivers. In the last century, we’ve witnessed advancements from auto makers – and having AC at the push of a button is just one of them. If you’re curious about the history of your car’s AC, then keep reading for 10 fun facts about the history of auto AC and refrigerants.

Early drivers used the open air

Fun fact # 1 starts with the advent of cars in general. The earliest Model T’s had no doors and a collapsible roof. Most drivers were more concerned with how to keep warm in the winter vs. keeping cool in the summer. At this time, drivers collapsed the roof and let the open air cool them off.

Doors became a thing

Shortly after the first Model T’s, car makers manufactured closed body cars with doors and no collapsible roofs. Drivers and passengers alike cooled down by opening the windows while they drove. These later models had vents installed underneath the dashboard which circulated the outside air. The only problem with this method of cooling was that the vents did not keep dirt and dust from getting inside the car.

Introducing the cooling fan

Car makers knew they needed to make improvements to the open air method. Enter the Knapp Limo-Sedan Fan. This was an electric fan that was mounted to the interior of the car – combined with the outside air, this fan was used to cool those in the car on a warm summer day.

The first version of the modern AC

The electric fan was not the only option for car owners. A second option was called the car cooler which was attached to the roof and used water evaporation to deliver cool air through open windows. The car cooler boasted that it could cool off the inside car temperature by 15-20 degrees.

The advent of factory installed air conditioning

In the 1940s, Packard became the first automaker to offer factory installed AC. The unit was located in the trunk, and the driver needed to get out of the car to turn the unit on and off by installing and removing the drive belt from the compressor. This unit only circulated air from inside the cabin and did not incorporate the outside air. The water ran overhead so a common complaint was that passengers were being dripped on.

AC took off after WWII

Did you know that before WWII that only 3,000 cars had air conditioning and that after the war over 1 million had AC? In 1953, General Motors developed a revolutionary AC system that fit in the car’s engine. No more hopping out of the car to install the drive belt!  Things were really taking off and AC became an option in most cars keeping car owners cool on those hot summer days.

Putting comfort control in the hands of the driver

In 1963, Cadillac innovated a little further and made a breakthrough in the area of vehicle air conditioning. For the first time, drivers could set the temperature of the inside of the car with the advent of comfort control.

Rising environmental concerns

In the 1970s, scientists discovered that compounds called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were deleting the earth’s ozone layer. Car air conditioning systems used a CFC called R12 (also known as Freon). Scientists knew they needed to develop an alternative and after years of testing, R-134a was invented to address these environmental concerns.

The Montreal Compact

In 1987, the U.S. government signed the Montreal Compact, which in part required manufacturers to make the switch to R-134a and other safer coolants by 1996.

AC at the push of a button

Today, our vehicle air conditioning systems are quite advanced including dual and rear climate control to keep your car comfortable all summer long. While we don’t have the environmental concerns with R12, using air conditioning can reduce your fuel efficiency by up to 25%. Some simple tips to make our AC use more efficient include using your AC only when driving highway speeds, not idling with the AC on, and opening our windows before turning on our AC to let the hot air out.

We’ve come a long way when it comes to maintaining our comfort while driving. And despite modern advancements, our current vehicle AC systems need maintenance to keep operating smoothly. If you haven’t scheduled your summer maintenance to ensure your AC is working properly, we’d love to help. Simply call for an appointment and we’ll make sure you keep cool and comfortable all summer long.

 

Your Summer Boat Trailer Maintenance Checklist 

boat trailer

The sun is shining, the kids are out of school, and you are ready to get out on the lake with your boat. No matter if you are fishing, swimming, or enjoying the day at the lake, you’ll need the boat trailer ready. Before you get ahead of yourself, it’s important to do a few maintenance checks on your trailer to ensure your safety and get your boat to that final destination. If you’re wondering what needs to be checked before you hit the road, then we’ve got you covered with our summer boat trailer maintenance checklist.

Check the Boat Trailer lights

Your trailer lights are one of the most important safety features on your trailer. These lights let other drivers on the road know that you’re carrying a boat and to keep a safe distance. Driving with faulty trailer lights can get you a hefty fine. So what needs checking when it comes to your trailer lights? First, you’ll want to check for a clean connection with your vehicle. If you don’t have a connection cover for your tow vehicle, you may want to take the time right now to install one.

 

These connection covers protect your connection from the winter elements and ensure your trailer lights are in working order when you’re ready to use them. You’ll also want to check your trailer lights for any dimming, flickering, and make sure they’re not completely out. Older trailers have bulbs that can burn out – so if your trailer has these you’ll want to replace any burnt out bulbs for a safe ride for you and your boat all summer long.

Check your tires

The first thing you’ll want to check on your tires is the air pressure. Tires can lose 1-2 pounds of air pressure every month, so after sitting all winter – it’s important to check that your tires are still properly inflated. You’ll want to inflate your tires to the maximum rating on the tire or as listed on the capacity sticker on your trailer. Typical trailer tires require 60 psi or more so check your tires for the needed air pressure.  You’ll also want to check for tire wear and tear. Most manufacturers recommend replacing your trailer tires every six years, so if you notice wear & tear or it’s been over six years, now is the time to replace.

Check your brakes

Every state is different, but most states require that you have brakes installed on at least one axle of your trailer. Trailer brakes ensure more safety for you and other drivers. If your trailer weighs over 3000 lbs, using only your vehicle’s brakes can cause your trailer to swerve and may cause an accident. In checking your brakes, you’ll first want to make sure they are clean and remove any dirt or debris. You’ll want to check your brake pads for wear and tear – and replace pads that have seen better days. One last thing to check before you hit the road? Your brake fluid levels. You’ll want to make sure this is at the proper level as you head out on your next boating adventure.

Check your wheel bearings on the Boat Trailer

Wheel bearings are a common cause of trailer troubles. Wheel bearings can get rusted or corroded if exposed to water, especially over the winter months. When wheel bearings are corroded, your trailer wheels won’t turn properly which can cause friction on your trailer and cause accidents. You’ll want to inspect your wheel bearings and replace any that are corroded, as well as, grease your bearings for maintenance. If your trailer doesn’t have wheel bearing protectors, you’ll also want to install these for greater protection going forward.

Check your bunk rollers

You’ll want to inspect your bunk rollers to make sure they are in good condition and can support the hull. Bunk rollers in poor condition can cause scratches and damage your hull.

Check your safety chain

One last check before you start the ignition on your way to your fund day on the water is to check your safety chain. This should crisscross underneath the trailer tongue and attach to the vehicle for support. Checking these simple maintenance items before you load up and hit the road with your boat can ensure a safe and enjoyable summer.

6 maintenance inspections you should have before hitting the road this spring

maintenance inspections

Spring is a great time to get outside, go for a walk, or even plan that family road trip. But before you get too far, you may want to consider taking your car in for a spring maintenance inspection. Our Minnesota winters can be extremely harsh on our cars. The last thing anyone wants is a breakdown in the middle of that planned excursion with the family. If you don’t know what needs checking to ensure safe driving this spring, read this! We’ve got you covered with 6 maintenance inspections you should have before hitting the road.

Tires

Winter is typically not kind to your tires, which is why inspecting your tires before you hit the road is a good idea. For starters, inspect your tires for wear and tear. If they are left unattended these issues can create a driving hazard. Next, check your rims for dents and damage – another safety hazard while driving. One last inspection? Take your car in and have your tires rotated and balanced to ensure a longer lifespan.

Suspension

Bumpy and rough roads lead to misaligned suspension systems. Ask your auto mechanic to inspect your struts and shocks. Some signs that your suspension is off include continued bouncing after hitting bumps, pulling to one side after turning corners. Also notice unusually bumpy rides, and one side of a parked car sitting lower than the other side. If you notice any of these signs, or if it’s been awhile since you last had your suspension system looked at, it’s a good idea to get this done this spring.

Alignment

Our winter weather can also create problems for your alignment. Signs that your alignment is off include uneven or rapid tire wear, noisy steering, a crooked steering wheel while driving straight, and squealing tires. Whether or not you experience these issues while you drive, it’s a good idea to have your alignment inspected each spring.

Belts & Hoses

Our bitterly cold temperatures can be harmful to your belts and hoses. Belts and hoses can form cracks and tears which lead to broken belts and breakdowns on the side of the road.  Save yourself the headache of waiting for that tow, and ask your mechanic to inspect those belts & hoses for wear, tears, and cracks.

Air quality and Maintenance Inspections

After a long winter of a closed up car, it’s always a good idea to have your indoor air quality inspected. One way you can do this is by replacing your cabin air filter. If your car was made in 2000 or after, your car has a cabin air filter which helps keep pollen, mold, and pollutants out of the interior of your car. Along with your cabin air filter, it’s always a good idea to have your mechanic perform an AC output test. With the heat of summer coming around the corner, you’ll want to ensure that your AC is ready to keep you cool as you drive.

Headlights, Taillights, & Turn Signals

Winter snow, and salt can be harmful to your lights. Spring is the time to inspect your headlights, and taillights for a yellow haze that can form from too much salt and snow. Leaving this haze can be a nighttime driving hazard so you’ll want to get these changed out as soon as possible. While you’re inspecting those lights, you’ll also want to inspect for burnout bulbs and have them changed out.  Keeping these lights up-to-date will go a long way in ensuring a safer drive this spring and summer.

When you’re ready to hit the road this spring and summer, you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is well-maintained and safe to drive. These 6 maintenance inspections will ensure a smoother ride all year long. And if you’re ready to get these inspections taken care of, we’re ready to help. Simply call to make an appointment today.

3 Ways Electric Cars Can Save You Money

electric car

Electric cars seem to be springing up everywhere lately. From TV ads to car dealer showrooms, we’re starting to hear about the benefits of owning an electric vehicle. With rising gas prices, Minnesotan drivers, like you, are starting to wonder if electric cars are worth the hype and can really save you money in the long run. If you’ve been asking yourself if now is the time to invest in an electric car, keep reading as we’re talking about 3 ways electric cars can really save you money.

What are they and how do they work?

Before we get into ways an electric car can save you money, it’s a good idea to start with the basics. Electric cars, also referred to as battery electric vehicles (BEV) use a large battery pack to power an electric motor. They are not fueled by gas, but must be plugged into a wall outlet (120V) or charging equipment known as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE). We’re seeing more and more charging stations built for electric vehicles, but you can also work with your utility company to get one installed in your garage. Most cars have at least a 200 mile driving range when charged.

Electric Cars vs. Hybrids

So what’s the difference between an electric car and a hybrid? Hybrid cars use an electric motor, like electric vehicles, but combine that with a gas engine. Hybrids run on gas and use the electric motor to help you go farther on one tank of gas. They can save you money at the pump with more time between fill ups, but you’ll still feel that hit to your budget when you do fill up. In the end, electric cars can save you money in at least 3 ways.

Fuel Costs

The biggest way an electric car can save you money is on fuel costs. You can say goodbye to frequent trips to the gas station as they run on electricity. How much can this really save you? On average, it costs $0.05 per mile to run an electric car and $0.15 per mile to run a gas-powered car – and these costs can add up. Typically, drivers can save up to $ 4,000 per year just by skipping the gas pump and going electric.

Maintenance costs

Over and above fuel costs, electric car owners can also save on maintenance costs. With fewer moving parts, electric cars don’t require oil changes, new spark plugs, or fuel filters which saves on regular maintenance over the life of the car. In addition, electric cars use regenerative braking – using the electric motor to decelerate the vehicle, which leads to a longer lifespan on your brake pads. One more area of savings is the electric battery. Most models use a lithium battery which can last up to 10 years. These lower overall maintenance costs will lead to increased savings and more money in your pocket.

Rebates

Did you know that there are tax credits and rebates available to those who purchase an electric vehicle? There is a federal tax credit available for electric battery and plugin hybrid vehicles depending on the battery capacity. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) provides rebate savings for eligible electric vehicles as well.

Additional benefits beyond the savings

Electric cars can not only save you money, but also offer many other benefits. For starters, they are cleaner in the environment. Because they have no tailpipe and don’t consume gasoline, there are no exhaust emissions which are cleaner for the environment. They also run quieter than a gas-powered car and boast better handling. With better handling, most drivers report higher performance. They have quick acceleration, and produce peak torque from a standstill. Since the battery pack is positioned in the center of the car, electric cars have superior weight distribution and stability. One last benefit?  Higher resale value. Electric cars retain more of their value than their gas-powered counterparts and a 2nd hand electric vehicle could provide a more affordable option for those in the market.

If you’re looking for ways to save in our current economic market, electric vehicles are one way to save on gas  and maintenance costs when it comes to your car.

8 Tips for making your car more fuel efficient

If you’ve filled up your tank with gas recently, you may not be surprised to learn that driving has gotten a whole lot more expensive than it used to be. Elevated gas prices has Minnesota drivers, like you, asking themselves how they can save money at the pump. One way to save on gas is to make sure your car is maximizing its fuel efficiency so each tank lasts longer and drives further. We’ve got 8 tips for you to make sure your car is more fuel efficient this spring.

Check your tire pressure

Your tires are essential for driving safety and a more enjoyable ride. Did you know that your tires can also help ensure that your car is more fuel efficient? Improperly inflated tires will decrease your fuel efficiency by 3%. With gas prices at an all time high, that 3% can add up.  We suggest checking your tire pressure monthly to ensure your tires are properly inflated making every drive safe, and fuel efficient.

Look over your alignment

Spring is the time for unexpected run-ins with potholes. If you’ve hit a pothole or a bump in the road, it may throw your alignment off. If your front end is not in alignment, this can decrease your gas mileage by 10%. When in doubt, take your car in and have your alignment checked.

Fuel Efficient car & Cleaning out the trunk

If you’ve been using your trunk or your back end to store a few heavy items or haul things around, it might be a good idea to clean it out and store those heavy items in your garage. The heavier your car is, the harder it will have to work. Did you know that for every 100 lbs you’re driving around, it increases your fuel consumption by 1-2%? Lightening your load can create greater fuel efficiency for your car.

Pay attention at the pump

If you’ve been tempted to purchase higher octane fuel to increase fuel efficiency, our advice is driver beware. Using a higher octane fuel does not always equal an increase in fuel efficiency. If your car requires 87 octane fuel, filling up with 89 or 91 octane won’t necessarily lead to increased efficiency. Investing in higher octane fuel can simply cost more without any added benefit. Instead, stick to your manufacturer’s recommended octane for best results.

Cut down on wind resistance to make it Efficient

Cutting down on wind resistance can increase your car’s fuel efficiency. If you have any roof boxes or bike racks on your car, consider removing them when not in use. These items create wind resistance causing your car to work harder to maintain speed and efficiency.

Stop any idling

We know it’s just easier and more convenient to leave your car idling while you’re waiting for that friend, checking social media, or waiting for an appointment. Idling for long periods can decrease fuel efficiency. In fact, idling consumes ½ gallon of gas per hour. So if you have to wait in the car this spring, roll down those windows and enjoy the great weather.

Efficient driving and speed limit

No one wants to hear this one, but going faster doesn’t get you farther. In fact, going 80 MPH can use up to 25% more fuel than driving 70 MPH. So slow it down, and enjoy the ride for greater fuel efficiency.

Schedule your preventative maintenance

One fun fact about fuel efficiency is that your car can burn up to 30% more fuel if it’s not properly maintained. By scheduling your preventative maintenance, you can ensure your tires are properly inflated, your front end alignment is good, and double check that you are maximizing your efficiency.

Gas prices nowadays are no joke. While we can’t do anything about the price at the pump today, we can make sure filling your tank gets you farther with these 8 quick tips to making sure your car is fuel efficient. Ready to save 30% more gas by scheduling your maintenance check? Our team is here and ready to help. Simply make an appointment and we’ll get on the road to fuel efficiency in no time.

4 Ways Potholes Can Damage Your Car This Spring

pothole

Spring is in the air, and with spring comes melting snow, fresh flowers, and getting outdoors to enjoy the weather. One not-so-nice element of spring is those dreaded potholes. If you’ve lived in Minnesota for any length of time, you’ve hit a pothole or two. Those spring potholes are not only a hazard on the roadway, but can also be a hazard for your car. If you’ve been wondering what kind of damage those potholes can cause to your car, then keep reading for four ways potholes can damage your car this spring.

Tires and Wheels

The most common, and easy-to-see damage to your car after driving through a pothole is your tires. Your tires absorb the impact of a pothole first which is why a thorough inspection of your tires is essential after hitting that pesky pothole. Plan on looking for any flat tires first, and then for any signs of internal damage like bulging or bubbles. The impact of potholes can break your tires’ interior structure or tear the sidewall of your tire. If these are left unaddressed, they can result in a blowout while you’re driving around town.

In addition to your tires, make sure you check for any damage to your wheels. When your tires are not inflated properly, a pothole can wreak havoc on your wheels by bending, breaking, or cracking your them. Since repair options for wheels are often limited, you may be looking at replacing them if you notice any damage.

Pothole damage to Suspension System

Your suspension system is designed to take the impact of rough roads, but can be subject to damage from the vertical and horizontal force on your car when driving through a pothole. If your suspension system gets damaged or out of alignment, it can cause your tires to wear quickly or unevenly. Some signs of a damaged suspension system include pulling to one side while driving, shaking when driving at high speeds, and extra bouncing when you hit a bump in the road. Asking your mechanic to take a peek under the hood to check your suspension is always a good idea after hitting a pothole.

Shock Absorbers

Shock absorbers can break on impact when falling into a pothole. One sign of damaged shock absorbers is oil leaking. You can also test your shock absorbers by pushing down on the front corner of your car. If your car bounces 2-3 times, it may mean your shock absorbers were damaged. In either case, it’s best to have your mechanic check and repair any damage.

Exhaust System

Your exhaust system can also be damaged when driving through that unexpected pothole. Upon impact, your exhaust can break loose or bend which can cause issues. One big sign that your exhaust system needs some TLC is strange noises. If you’ve noticed any strange noises coming from your exhaust – especially after driving through a pothole, be sure to make an appointment and have your mechanic check it out.

With pothole season upon us, it’s always a good time to review the damage a pothole can cause and get your vehicle in for a maintenance check if you’ve recently run into one. If you’re ready to gain peace of mind after that pothole run-in, we’re ready to help. Simply make an appointment and our team will get you back on the road in no time.

5 vehicle maintenance checks you shouldn’t skip this spring

vehicle maintenance

Vehicle maintenance is always important. If you’re like most Minnesotans, you are anxiously anticipating Spring’s arrival.  From shedding those puffy coats to enjoying a day at the park, there are all kinds of activities to look forward to when the sun shines brighter and the temperatures start to rise. Since winter is typically long around here, you may be in a rush to get out there and take some shortcuts to start enjoying the nicer weather.  One area you shouldn’t shortcut is your vehicle maintenance. Your car takes a beating during our winter months, which is why it’s important for you to take your car in for these essential maintenance checks each year.

1. Tire rotation and alignment

Our winter weather can hide many obstacles on the road which can result in wear and tear on your tires. Once the snow clears, your tires are screaming for some attention.  One essential maintenance check for spring is having your tires and rims checked out.  In addition to rotating and balancing your tires, ask your mechanic to inspect your tires for tread life, your rims for any damage, and to check your alignment. When your tires are aligned and inspected, they will ensure better handling on the roads and a safer driving experience for you and your family.

2. Suspension

Your suspension can take a beating each winter, which is why it’s essential to have your mechanic inspect your struts and shocks. When your suspension system is not operating effectively, you’ll notice a rougher ride, bouncing and swaying as you drive, or can even experience your car nose diving when you stop. All of these are signs that your suspension needs attention. Taking the time to have your struts and shocks inspected in spring can ensure a safe and smooth ride all year long.

3. Belts & Hoses

We’ve had some bitterly cold temperatures this winter which can lead to cracking and tearing when it comes to your vehicle’s belts and hoses. Cracked or torn belts and hoses can result in getting stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. If you want to avoid that unpleasantness, we recommend a spring-time inspection of your belts and hoses. Your mechanic can let you know if there is any wear & tear and give you peace of mind as you drive to your next great spring activity.

4. Indoor Air Quality

It’s probably been a while since you’ve checked on the indoor air quality of your car, but this is just as important for comfort and safety as the other maintenance checks we recommend. Your cabin air filter’s job is to keep out pollutants and allergens keeping you and your passengers comfortable regardless of your destination.  Ask your mechanic to change this out each spring after the long winter. One more thing to have checked?  Ask for an AC output test to be performed so when the outside temperatures start reaching 80 degrees, you’ll be nice and cool in your car.

5. Fluid Levels

Last, but not least, there are a few things we forget about until they become a problem.  We recommend checking these things off when it comes to spring maintenance to avoid later problems in the year. Make sure your mechanic checks the fluid levels in your car including your coolant, transmission fluid, power steering, and brake fluids. Your fluid levels can keep your car running at optimum levels.

Don’t forget about some of the basics like your headlights, taillights, and turn signals.  Our winter weather can cause them to yellow, haze over, or even burn out. You’ll want these features ready to go for nighttime visibility.  And speaking of visibility, don’t forget to get new wiper blades for a clear vision all summer long.

Whether you’re planning that Sunday drive with all the windows down or a weekend getaway, ensuring your car is ready after our long winter is a must! Get your vehicle ready for spring-time fun with these 5 essential maintenance checks.

Brakes Surging or Pulsating? Then make sure to read this!

If you have been driving in your vehicle and you have been on a nice long road trip, and notice your brakes act shaky, this means that you have come across a brake pulsation. A brake pulsation is something that generally happens after you have been driving for a small period of time. The reasons for this occurrence can be vast, and they can range from warming up the brakes to damage in the interior.

Heated Up Brakes

If you have warmed up your brakes to some extent, going on a long drive can mean that you will have to face brake pulsation. Once you out too much stress on the brakes after driving them for too long, that’s when you will start to notice the discrepancies in the rotors.

Brake pulsation can come from different parts of the car. If you step on your brakes and feel that the steering wheel is shaking around too much, then it is more than likely that the brake pulsation is coming from the front brake rotors. On the other hand, if you feel the brake pulsation coming throughout the vehicle, or in the rear seat, then it is more than likely that your rear wheel rotors are troubling you.

Most Common Brake Pulsation Issue

The most common place for you to have a brake pulsation is going to be the front brakes. The reason why your front brakes are often the cause is because the majority of your braking power travels to the front. That being said, it is important for the front rotors to be much thicker than the rear rotors. Your front rotors are going to be thick, and they are also going to have cooling fins in them.

This unique design of your front rotors allows them to dissipate the heat properly. If there is going to be an issue with the front rotor components such as the braking surface and cooling fins, then pulsation will be the resulting problem.

The Rear Brakes & Rotors

The rear rotors are much thinner than the front rotors. The reason for that is that your rear brakes are mostly for stabilizing your vehicle when you are braking. The thinner rotors are however only for small passenger sized vehicles. If you have an SUV or a truck, then you will need a larger braking surface.

Cause and Fixes

Brake pulsations are often a cause of warped or unbalanced rotors. The main cause of warped rotors is overheating. The reason why your brakes overheat is because of rotting cooling fins or sticking pin conditions. One of the easiest fixes against the brake surfaces is precautionary maintenance. The more you focus on timely rotor cleaning, brake fixes and replacements, the less likely you will run into this problem.

Pulsating or surging brakes is a sign that ultimately occurs as a drastic byproduct of friction. This friction is caused due to two metallic components rubbing against each other. Overall, a pulsating brake must be looked at urgently since brakes need to be optimum for safety.

 

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