Preparing Your Car For The Fall Weather

As it begins to creep closer to October, you know that colder weather is on its way. This means that it is time to prepare your car for the upcoming Fall and Winter seasons. Your car is negatively impacted by the cold temperatures in many ways. Treat the Fall season as a time to prepare your car for the harsh chill that Winter brings. Cold weather makes it more difficult for your tires to maintain grip and makes the windshield more defenseless against cracks. What can you do to prepare your vehicle for the drop in temperatures? Here are 10 Tips to Preparing Your Car For Fall: 1. Check the Belts and Hoses. Look for cracks, leaks, and wears in the belts and hoses. You want to ensure that there are no signs of splitting, fraying, or glazing. One major problem with faulty belts and hoses is overheating. Although this usually occurs in the Summer, it can occur anytime of the year, including during the colder months. If you notice any problems with these car components, then you should take your vehicle to your local mechanic. 2. Check the Fluid Levels. It is crucial to replace your car’s fluid levels, as necessary. This would include windshield washer fluids, transmission fluids, coolant, brake fluids, and power steering fluids. All are very important for ensuring that your car runs smoothly. Washer fluid is important for maintaining visibility. Transmission fluid is important for cooling. Coolant regulates the engine’s temperature, while brake fluid serves as a lubricant, preventing corrosion. Power steering fluid is crucial for operating the vehicle. 3. Check the Tires. Check...

What to Do If You’re in a Car Accident Without Insurance

First things first, it’s against the law to drive without demonstrating financial responsibility for the possibility of an accident. In most states, auto insurance is mandatory proof of that financial responsibility. In the few states that don’t require car insurance (New Hampshire and Virginia), you’ll need to prove that you have sufficient funds and will still be responsible for damages. If you’re financing your car, there’s also a fair chance your lender will require you to own auto insurance, too. We recommend researching your local laws, as the answers to the following questions will vary a lot depending on where you live. What happens when you’re in a car accident and don’t have car insurance? Accidents happen, to even the safest of drivers, and auto insurance is there to protect when they do — without it, you could end up owing much more than the cost of an annual premium. Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, you could face penalties for being uninsured — like fines and having your license and/or registration suspended. Monetary penalties will vary by state but could be anywhere from $25 to $5,000. A police officer could also decide to tow your car, and you’d then face impound fees, too. Basically, you could end up paying more by being uninsured than it would cost to purchase a policy. If the accident was your fault, there’s a good chance you’ll be sued for damages. In most cases, the other driver’s insurance will reimburse them if you don’t have insurance. Sometimes you’ll be required to pay the other party’s deductible. And of course, you’ll face the same fees and penalties we mentioned...

Why is My Car Overheating?

Summer is here, and that means the temperatures are on the rise, but hopefully the same isn’t said for your vehicle. An overheating car is a sign that something is wrong, and you can be in line for major repairs if you ignore the issue. Today, we look at some common reasons why you car overheats, and how you can fix the problem before it becomes a major issue. Overheating Engine Although there can be many different causes of an overheating issue, the reason your engine is overheating is because something inside the cooling system is preventing the absorption, transportation or release of heat. Here are some reasons why heat isn’t leaving your engine compartment: Leak in the Cooling System – This is one of the main causes of engine overheating. If you get a leak in your radiator, water pump, hoses, head gasket or thermostat housing, your engine isn’t going to be able to cool properly. If you can find the leak, you may be able to seal it on your own, but you’ll probably benefit from bringing your car into a mechanic. Coolant Issues – You can have problems with your coolant even if there isn’t a leak in the system. If you put the wrong coolant in your car, or if the coolant-to-water ratio is off, your engine my have problems staying cool. Try flushing the system and adding the proper mix as recommended by your owner’s manual. Blocked Hoses  – If there’s no leak and the coolant has been installed properly, the next thing you’ll want to check is your coolant hose. Sometimes dirt or road sediment...

This Is How An Automatic Transmission Works

Ever wonder how your transmission knows to shift gears? Why is it that when you stop, the engine doesn’t die? We’re here to show you how cars work. We recently looked at manual transmissions. This week it’s regular ol’ slushbox time. Automatic transmissions – they’re pretty much black magic. The sheer number of moving parts makes them very difficult to comprehend. Let’s simplify it a bit to get a basic understanding of how it all works in a traditional, torque converter-based system. Your engine connects to your transmission at a place called a bell housing. The bell housing contains a torque converter for automatic transmission-equipped vehicles as opposed to a clutch on manual vehicles. The torque converter is a fluid coupling whose job it is to connect your engine to your transmission and thus to your driven wheels. The transmission contains planetary gearsets which are in charge of providing different gear ratios. To get a good understanding of how the whole automatic transmission system works, let’s have a look at torque converters and planetary gearsets. Torque Converter First and foremost, your engine’s flex plate (basically a flywheel for an automatic) connects directly to a torque converter. So when the crankshaft rotates, so does the torque converter housing. The goal of the torque converter is to provide a means by which to connect and disconnect the engine’s power to the driven load. The torque converter takes the place of a clutch on a conventional manual transmission. How does the torque converter work? Well, have a look at the video above. It explains the basic principles behind a fluid coupling. Once you’ve...

How Your Car’s A/C works

All across North America, a climate change occurs every year. The cooler spring temperatures give way to warmer weather. In some areas this lasts two months, and in others it can last six months or longer. It’s called summer. With summer comes heat. Heat can make your car unbearable to drive, which is why air conditioning was introduced by Packard in 1939. Beginning in luxury cars and now expanding into almost every vehicle produced, air conditioning has been cooling drivers and passengers for decades. What does air conditioning do? Air conditioning has two main purposes: Cools the air entering the passenger compartmentRemoves the moisture from the air so it feels more comfortable inside the vehicle. In many makes, air conditioning cycles automatically when the defrost setting is chosen. It pulls the humidity from the windshield to improve your visibility. Often cold air is not required when the defrost setting is selected, which is why it is important to know that air conditioning functions even when the heat is selected on the heater control. How does air conditioning work? Air conditioning systems operate in much the same manner from manufacturer to manufacturer. All makes have some common components: CompressorCondenserExpansion valve or orifice tubeReceiver, drier, or accumulatorEvaporator The air conditioning system is pressurized by a gas known as refrigerant. Each vehicle specifies how much refrigerant is used to fill the system, and is usually three or four pounds at most in passenger vehicles. The compressor does just that: it compresses the refrigerant from a gaseous state into a fluid. the fluid is cycled through a refrigerant line. Because it is under...

Spring Car Care Tips

All across the country, winter is winding down. With more sun and rising temperatures comes an entirely different strategy for car care. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Here are six simple tips to help you care for your vehicle as winter makes way for spring. Wash and Wax A good, thorough wash and wax is the most important thing to do with your car once the winter is over. Winter driving can cause a huge amount of road grime, debris and — worst of all — salt to build up on your car. You want to make sure those items are long gone before spring starts. Allowing debris and grime to build up on your car can affect its paint and finish, while allowing salt to build up can lead to rust and other serious problems. Clean the Inside, Too Nobody wants to spend time cleaning out their car during a cold winter day. That’s why spring is the perfect time to clean your car’s interior, so spend a day doing some spring cleaning. Remove and throw away all the interior papers, trash and other items that have accrued over the winter. Not only will you have a clean car, but your spring cleaning can be done when it’s more temperate and comfortable outside — especially important if you have to vacuum your carpets and seats.   Check Your Tire Pressures Tire pressure is especially important in the spring. As air temperatures get cooler during the winter, tire pressures decrease, which probably caused you to fill up your tires during the winter months. But as air gets warmer again...

Tesla Growth Continues…

Tesla recorded a $139 million profit for the last quarter of 2018, smaller than the $311 million quarterly profit before it, but ended 2018 down nearly $1 billion, the automaker told investors Wednesday. “Last year was the most challenging year in Tesla history, but also the most successful,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said. Revenues for 2018 nearly doubled the year before it, boosted by Model 3 deliveries in the U.S. The Tesla Model 3 sold well among luxury cars, outpacing rivals from BMW and others as one of the top-selling luxury sedans available last year. Tesla reported that it would continue to ramp up Model 3 deliveries worldwide, including Europe and Asia, while U.S. deliveries may decrease slightly in the first three months of 2019. In March, the company has a $920 million debt payment but the company reported nearly $3.7 billion of cash on hand and said it could “comfortably” make the payment. Musk told investors that he was cautiously optimistic that the automaker could turn a profit in the first three months of 2019—and could turn a profit for every quarter thereafter. The fourth-quarter profit was the first time the company turned a consecutive quarterly profit in its history. A new Gigafactory in Shanghai is expected to eventually produce up to 3,000 Model 3s per week by the middle of 2020. Tesla says that both it and its existing Fremont factory, together, could produce up to 10,000 Model 3s each week. “The factory is going to go like lightning,” Musk said. Musk told investors that the Model 3 Standard Range could be ready for sale by the...

5 Tips for Driving on Ice

Winter driving brings plenty of challenges, but perhaps the most difficult to deal with is driving on ice. If freezing rain is in the forecast, your best bet is to stay home and wait for the roads to clear. However, if you have to head out, follow these tips to safely drive in icy conditions. Understanding Black Ice Contrary to its name, black ice isn’t actually black. It forms when a thin layer of ice contains very few air bubbles, making it completely transparent. Because the ice is transparent, it takes on whatever color is under it. In the case of a road, it looks black like the asphalt and is nearly impossible to see. Because black ice is practically invisible, it’s very dangerous on the road. Black ice tends to form in the evening and the morning. If you see a patch of roadway ahead of you that looks shiny while the rest of the road looks dull, it could be black ice. Slow Down If temperatures are around freezing, you know there’s a chance for ice. Therefore, you should always reduce your speed. If you’re sliding or fishtailing, you’re driving too fast for the conditions. If you find yourself driving on black ice, take your foot off the accelerator and don’t hit the brakes or make any sudden movements. The idea is to keep the steering wheel straight and let the car travel over the ice. Black ice is usually patchy, so you’ll likely hit clear pavement in just a few feet. Steer Into the Slide If you’re on ice and feel the back end of your...

Brake Problem Symptoms

Why is it important to get my brakes inspected at the first sign of a symptom? When your car starts creating abnormal sounds, feelings or smells, start investigating the issue sooner rather than letting the condition worsen. Waiting will only lead to more expensive parts wearing out and requiring replacement. For example, rotors start to warp and become damaged when completely worn brake pads and shoes exceed their lifespan, shortening the life of healthy parts due to the metal on metal grinding that occurs. What sounds, noises, and sensations indicate I need brake repairs? Pay attention. Sounds, smells and sensations signal brake problems: Screeching, grinding, squealing, rubbing, and other eardrum-piercing noises are common indicators that your brake pads & shoes require inspection. This should be addressed before worn pads cause damage to other parts, which could result in more expensive repairs. Vibration and pulsation in the pedal or your steering wheel. If this is a familiar feeling, your brake system is telling you something. Wait any longer, and your rotors might get warped from the metal on metal rubbing, potentially costing you a lot more in repair. Stop in as soon as possible if you are experiencing this unpleasant problem. Pressing down farther to complete braking functions. This symptom is not as prevalent as it used to be, but if you’re pressing down farther than usual on your brake pedal to stop your car, requiring more pressure and time to perform the same stopping function, you have entered the first stage and sign of brake pad wear. Don’t play around with your brake pedal, you can only press so far before you’re...

Car Issues That Can Get You Stopped By The Police

Many drivers may feel that they don’t have the time or money to address vehicle repairs immediately, but beware that ignoring some repairs can get you pulled over and even ticketed, says the Car Care Council. “Ignoring certain vehicle repairs may seem to save money in the short term but can lead to extra costs, such as fines or ‘fix-it’ tickets, if these problems are not taken care of when they arise,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “In some jurisdictions, car owners may even lose their license for certain violations. A few dollars spent on simple vehicle repairs can help avoid trouble with the law.” While a vehicle is in operation, traffic laws require that certain equipment is properly installed and functioning correctly, including brakes, headlights, turn signals, mirrors, windshields and safety belts, to name a few. The Car Care Council recommends that drivers address these repairs right away as they present public safety concerns that can earn drivers a traffic ticket on top of a repair bill. • Non-functioning turn signals and headlights or taillights that are cracked or broken. Most states require vehicles to have functioning turn signals as well as two functioning headlights and taillights. Taillights must illuminate red; if a taillight is cracked, it can give off a white light, which is also typically a traffic violation. • Cracked windshield. If a windshield is cracked, discolored or tinted in a way that obstructs vision, drivers may get ticketed and fined. In some states, vehicle modifications, such as tinted windows, are prohibited. • License plates are unreadable. If the license plate light is...