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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The TPMS light is important. To ensure safety while you are driving, you need to make sure that your tire gets the right amount of air intake. If you keep your tire’s air pressure optimum, it will definitely help you save an incredible amount of money. This is because it will rid you from spending countless expenses tire repairs and replacements.
Optimum Air Pressure
If you inspect the sidewalls of the tire and spot the manufacturer’s text, you will find a number. This number will tell you the cold pressure. This will amount to the ideal pressure that your tire needs to withstand maximum load and offer best performance. The maximum pressure for car tires is usually between the ranges of 30 to 32 PSI. The best time to fill car tires is when it is cold.
Whether you choose to fill it early in the morning, or after they are sitting in the shade for many hours. If you notice the tire pressure light to still be blinking and solid even after filling the air, then this may indicate problems beyond air pressure.
Why is your TPMS light Still Blinking?
If you spot the tire pressure light or TPMS to be blinking or illuminated, this is an indication that one of your tires does not have the recommended pressure. However, this is not the only reason why you will spot this light. The light can also come on due a bad sensor. A TPMS serves as an important warning against a malfunction.
If your contains a TPMS signal, which looks like bracketed exclamation mark, this shows that inside each of the tire, there is a wireless sensor embedded. These sensors send data regarding the tire’s air pressure to the car’s computer. If in any case the pressure is not optimum, then the computer will turn on the tire pressure light.
However, sometimes the light is trying to indicate other signals apart from the tire pressure. For instance, extreme cold or hot temperatures can also be the reason why your TPMS light turns on. This is due to the contraction that an extreme temperature causes when you are trying to drive in the cold or heat.
Other times, the tire pressure light can turn on and off due to any the malfunctions in the sensors. In this instance, shutting the light off will require you to replace the sensor, and calibrate it to the new settings. Therefore, the light may still blink regardless of your tire pressure. The causes can be a malfunction, or the weather changes.
Other reasons why your TPMS light may still be blinking is because your tire may be damaged, or you might have gotten a recent tire replacement. Overall, the reasons can be vast, which is why it is best to take your car to a technician for professional diagnosis.
Winter weather is responsible for creating some of the most dangerous roads that most drivers will likely face. This year, you can expect the road conditions to be worse as the snow will pour down with full fury. Snowy and icy roads are often the cause of millions of car crashes. This is not only because the cars on this road loose plenty of traction, but it is also because there is a deep sheet of snow on the roads.
For instance, many cars end up falling into a ditch, or also slamming into a rock due to the white layer of deceiving snow that is makes everything flat. Whether you are new to winter driving, or someone experienced, heavy snow spares no one.
Snowplows and their Importance
Snowplows refer to vehicles that make snowy and icy roads hazard free. However, if you get too close to them, then the snowplow itself can become a hazard. On the right side of the snowplow, you will find a huge gush of snow, melting salts, and other liquids. This hinders the visibility for the truck drivers towards oncoming vehicles.
Therefore, passing the snowplow from the right side can put you at a serious risk of an accident. On the other hand, the bigger the snowplow, the more blind spots it has. This is why you have to be extra careful when driving past them. Another consideration that you should take is that snow plows are usually clearing out the road ahead of you because it is not safe to drive on.
When a snowplow driver’s shift starts, the first things they think about is getting on the road and provide the public a safe roadway. For your safety, snowplows make sure that all road ways are free of snow and ice. You, as a car driver need to make their jobs easy on the road.
What can you do?
The first thing that you can do is turn your headlights on so that you can be more visible to snowplow drivers and other motorists. In the winters, visibility is an issue because it gets darker quickly. You also must slow down and drive at a safe speed. Along with maintaining safe speed, you must stay about four to five car lengths behind snowplows.
Snowplow drivers only have side mirrors to see what is behind them at a distance. If you come to close to them, you will enter their blind spot, which means that they will be unable to see you. Snowplows will also sometimes have dangerous snow mist that is trailing behind them. Getting caught in this trailing snow cloud will greatly decrease your visibility.
As you can see, simple driving habits can keep you away from danger, and also help snowplows carry out their essential tasks without any problem. Therefore, make sure to follow the above mentioned tips.
Many parts of the nation are experiencing a cold blast that can account for threatening situations when you are on the road. Many people are not used to adhering to these type of cold temperatures. Thus, if you are someone that has never faced unfavorable driving experiences in the cold weather, then you need to make sure that you are carrying winter essentials that will help you cope with unique roadside emergencies.
Portable Charger for Winter
The cold weather is not friendly to car batteries, and it is very often that people have to face battery-related issues in the winters. It is therefore, important for you to hire technicians to check your car’s battery so that they can inform whether the battery is in optimum condition or not. If the battery is unable to power your car, this can lead to instances where you are stranded in the middle of a cold snowy freeway.
Fortunately, the advent of portable jump-starters and chargers rid car owners from relying on other drivers to help them during the times when they are stranded. You can now find affordable jumper systems that are portable and easy to carry.
With them, you will not have to wait for another car to jump start your vehicle, and they will do the job of that vehicle for you. Despite their existence, it is still important to have a pair of jumper cables in your car because you can use them to help other stranded vehicles on the road.
Shovels are usually just basic essentials to have when driving in the snow, however, they are also the most critical. You absolutely need a shovel because it is the most used tool when you get stuck in the snow. It not only helps you dig excessive snow from under the tires when stuck, but it can also be used to break down ice from the tires. A shovel is a multipurpose tool that makes for an easier driving experience. It is very simple, yet incredibly helpful when dealing with the snow.
Traction devices and tools refer to any items that help provide your tires with significant road grip so that you can drive safely on the snowy and icy surface. For instance, people like to use tire chains on the wheels that help tires pierce into the icy surface, while others may use max tracks that do that same job but are applied differently.
Traction is crucial when it comes to avoiding unwanted roadside emergencies in the winter. Your tire traction decreases significantly when you are driving on wet and slippery roads. This can single handedly cause your car to slide into another car or a tree even if you jam on the brakes.
The items mentioned above are just some of the many other essentials that make for a safe driving experience. Other essentials include emergency snacks, extra layers, first aid kit, flashlights and more.
Winter and traveling in your car brings about many possibilities for roadside emergencies. This is why you must focus on winterizing your car before the temperature drops to drastic levels. One of the best ways to winterize your car is by equipping it with a winter safety kit.
This refers to a set of equipment that can be critical for times when you are stuck in drastic snowy conditions. The equipments inside your winter kit can vary according to your geographical location, average temperature, and also driving activities.
Nonetheless, there are some essentials that you must have regardless of the severity of the weather and the vulnerabilities of your commute. Below, the article will discuss some of these.
Winter First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is a year round product that you want to have in your car. Injuries are bound to happen, especially if you are an outdoorsy person that does not like to sit down in the winters and would rather indulge in adventures. You can find many portable first aid kits that have antiseptic solutions, bandages, medicines and other items that help with wounds and other common injuries.
Flares for Winter Safety Kits
A complete flare kit involves a flashlight, safety vests, and flares. Keep in mind that the night time is longer than the day time during the winters. If abandoned in the dark, you need to make sure that you are seen by people in the distance. At these instances, flares, flashlights and other types of sparklers can be crucial in making you visible to others.
In the wintertime, the chances of your car tires getting stuck inside the deep inches of snow are not short. This is why you should not be commuting by car without the important tow strap, you will not be able to pull your car out of the snow if necessary. These strong straps help you attach your car to other so that they can help pull it.
A flashlight is another item that you need to have all year round. It is an essential item of the winter safety kit. Whether you need to jumpstart the vehicle or dig the car out of the snow bank, a flashlight will provide you with the visibility to perform those tasks.
The extreme cold condition is very burdening for car batteries. This is why many car owners face battery issues during the winters. Under prolonged winter exposure, starting your car can be a troublesome task due to the battery’s inability to provide enough power to the engine. In these circumstances, jumper cables can be lifesaving. They help connect your battery to an external power source, (which in many cases is another vehicle) so that it can provide some power to the generator.
As you can see, simple year-round safety kits and equipment can prove to be pivotal for your car in the winters. The severity of the winter weather is unpredictable and thus, winter preparedness should be top priority before the weather turns towards life-threatening solutions.
The cold winter temperatures can be hard on the battery. This is why the car will become difficult to start. Even though the hot temperature is more detrimental for batteries than the cold temperature, your battery can still undergo stress in cold temperatures.
When the temperature gets below the 0 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving the car outside for too long will decrease the battery’s CCA rating. A car’s CCA or Cold Cranking Amps is a battery rating that defines how well a car will start in colder temperatures. There are a few tips to do to help ensure the battery is as efficient as possible this winter.
Below, the article will go through some of the more common causes of battery drain that you have to be careful of during winter.
Extreme Temperature Impact on the Car Battery
During the winter, the temperature can sometimes turn to extreme cold levels. Cold temperature under 10 degrees can cause lead sulphate crystals to build up. If you leave the car in this condition for too long, then the suphate build up will lead to long-term damage of the battery. This damage will decrease the overall life of the car battery. This may also lead to an extended charging time for it as well.
This will be especially evident if you only drive shorter distances. Make sure that you keep your car running for a while after you park cold temperatures. Furthermore, minimize the amount of short drives that you take during this time.
Excessive Short commutes
Your battery will drain faster if you make too many short route commutes. The battery expels out the most amount of power when you start it. Before you shut off the battery, you need to give the alternator enough time to recharge. If you do not give the alternator the chance to recharge, you can expect the battery to continually die.
Corroded or Loose Cables on the Car Battery
The charging systems of your battery will not function well if the connections of your battery have corroded. Make sure that you check the battery cables for any signs of dirt accumulation and corrosion. If you spot any corrosion or dirt, make sure that you clean it with the help of a cleaning brush or even a cloth.
You can also use a tooth brush. Loose cables, or ones that are corroded will not transfer the electricity efficiently enough. The best thing to do when trying to overcome the problems of worn out cables is to replace old cables with new ones.
If the battery is past its life, it will be unable to charge completely. If you notice the vehicle is having difficulties starting, the battery may be the cause. This indicates the battery is worn out and you need to replace it immediately.
Generally, it is best that you replace your car battery every 3 to 4 years. In case you do not maintain your car’s battery, then it can wear out quicker. Having a battery that will not hold a charge is frustrating, and figuring out the problem can be tricky. If the cause of the weak battery is not human error, then you need to have your car checked out by us. Make sure to contact us and we can set up an appointment.
Many car owners visit professional technicians to fix small issues such as malfunctioned car’s heater. This article will share some effective ways to identify a faulty heater and the best possible solution to solve the problem. You can fix the heating system quickly, to help get the car producing warm air again.
Common Heater Issues and Solutions
Here are three common methods to repair your malfunctioning the HVAC system and save yourself from miserable rides in the cold weather:
1. Chocked Air Filters
The air filters are available in the air system of your car. These filters clean the air that flows to the cabin. Furthermore, it blocks the AC and heater exchanger because of polluted air. Therefore, the blockage in the air filter system causes car’s HVAC to stop working properly.
After determining the problem, you can solve the issue within 10 minutes. The first thing would be choosing the position of the air filter. For that, you can check the owner’s manual and detect the location. Mostly, these are available behind the glove box. Remove the filters and properly clean them. If you cannot clean the filters because they are too dirty, you need to replace them with new ones.
2. Glued Buttons or Blown Fuse
You can check the heater switch for fault if air filters aren’t the problem. The simple solution for this problem is the replacement of the switch. Also, check the fuse box for a blown a fuse. If that’s the problem, replacing the fuse will fix the heater. The clicking sound from the dashboard indicates that the switch is causing a malfunction. In this case, you need to replace the switch. Many car owners turn on AC and heater simultaneously. This creates a balance between hot and cold air, circulating normal air to the cabin. So, check if you turn off the AC before switching to the furnace.
3. Blocked Heater Core
Many drivers complain that their heater core isn’t working properly. This happens when dust and rust deposit in the fine tube. The blocked tubes block the hot water from passing through. Fortunately, you can clean the tubes at home without a professional’s help.
For that you need to remove the dashboard and locate the heater core. Once you find the core, you need to take it out and check whether it’s the blockage that is causing the heater to malfunction. You can check the tubes by passing water or blowing air from one side. If the blockage is the problem, you should replace the core and place it back.
These are some simple solutions to complicated heater’s problems. Following the above procedure, you can fix your car’s heater in no time. If you want further assistance, you can visit a professional for an instant check-up.
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We look forward to earning your vehicle service and repair business.