The Importance of Tire Pressure
One of the most important parts of your car is the tires. They keep your vehicle rolling, so it’s important to always maintain the right tire pressure specific to your vehicle. Some important driving factors affected by the air pressure of your tires are safety, handling, and fuel economy.
Checking Tire Pressure
The tire pressure (PSI) requirement for your vehicle can be found in the owner’s manual or listed on a sticker located on the driver’s side doorjamb. DO NOT go by the number on the tire’s sidewall.
To achieve the most accurate tire pressure reading, tires must be at a cool temperature; be weary of the outside temperature and whether or not you are in a shady place.
Once you find your PSI requirement, have your tire gauge in hand and locate the valve stem cap on your wheel. Unscrew the cap and firmly press the tire gauge onto the valve stem for one or two seconds. Do the same thing for all four tires and compare your tire pressure readings with the number specific to your vehicle.
Inflating Your Tires
You have two options when inflating your car tires: A portable air compressor at home or use the air compressor at your local gas station (costing 50 cents to a dollar for use).
Reach the hose to your tire and activate the compressor. Remove the stem valve cap, attach the air hose to the valve stem, and then press the lever to activate the airflow. Use your tire gauge to check how much air has been inflated.
If your tire has been over inflated, you can use your tire gauge to release air by pressing down onto the valve stem head. Once you have reached the desired PSI screw back on the valve stem cap.
You can save a lot of time and money by repeating these steps on a regular basis
List of 5 Auto Repair Tasks You Should Do Yourself
Most auto repair scenarios you don’t want to tackle yourself. And sometimes it comes down to “do I have the time to do this myself?” Here are 5 auto repairs that you should absolutely do yourself. They’re worth the time and money-saving effort spent. Here is our top 5 “we won’t blame you if you do it yourself” maintenance and auto repairs.
1. Air filters
Generally speaking, your vehicle has 2 air filters. One behind the glove box in the cabin and one under the hood. If you think that either needs to be replaced, go ahead and do both. This is an incredibly easy task and air filters are not that expensive. And even though there are cheaper air filters out there, splurge on a quality one. They may be more expensive, but they will last longer and are more cost effective in the long run.
2. Tire pressure
Checking your tire pressure is an important maintenance task that you can perform yourself. Pressure gauges are inexpensive and you can easily keep one in your glove box. The recommended pressure for your tires is usually found on the inside of the driver’s side door. Furthermore, there are some gas stations that have free air pumps. There’s nothing holding you back from performing this maintenance task yourself.
3. Spark plugs
Depending on the make and model of your car, this auto repair task can be as easy as screwing in a light bulb. Check your vehicle’s manual for special instructions. And like with air filters, splurge on a quality set.
4. Windshield wipers
If you have unwanted streaks on your windshield or you can actually see the rubber separating, go ahead and replace your own blades. The instructions are right on the box. It takes five minutes and greatly increases your visibility and vehicle safety. However, if you don’t feel like doing it yourself, most auto supply stores will install it for you for free.
Car batteries can be expensive, so go ahead and replace this part yourself and save yourself some dough. However, you might not even have to replace your battery. If you just have some corrosion around the terminals, this is a task you can perform yourself. Auto supply stores offer special sprays that prevent this from happening. Disconnect your battery, get the terminals a little wet and then clean them with baking soda and a toothbrush. Rinse off the excess baking soda and dry off the battery/terminals. Apply the special spray, reconnect the terminals and you’re done! WARNING: If you notice any cracks in your battery that are leaking acid, your battery will absolutely need to be replaced.
Drive Safely in Hazardous Conditions
Driving in hazardous conditions does not require Nascar-grade driving skills. There is no class to train you to drive better in the fog, snow, rain or sleet. The only requirement in to be aware of hazardous driving conditions and adjust yourself accordingly. Plus, be aware that other drivers will most likely not adjust properly to the poor conditions and continue as if everything were a beautiful sunny day. Slow down, don’t follow other vehicles closely and know that the vehicles around you are more than likely going to do something completely unsuitable for hazardous driving conditions.
Rainfall is very dangerous for driving. However, most drivers don’t take it as seriously as they should. It is incredibly easy to hydroplane. It doesn’t take much at all—even with good tires you can hydroplane. It occurs when you drive too fast on rain-covered roads. It can also occur when your tires are worn down, even just a little. If a puddle is deep enough to fill in the grooves of your tires you can hydroplane. If you notice that your car is now surfing on the road, slow down. Your tires will regain traction. With anti-lock brakes, braking lightly is safe to do.
Driving in sleet, snow or ice is highly precarious. Each storm presents differently, so it’s even more difficult to drive in than rain. Furthermore, as more cars drive over the snow-covered roads, the conditions change. Just be aware of a few things when driving in the sleet, snow or ice:
• Bridges will freeze
• Change lanes only when necessary
• Stay in the far right lane
• Drive through the tire tracks of the vehicle in front of you
• Test your brakes when you first begin driving to gauge necessary reaction times
• Black ice: It’s nearly impossible to see, and incredibly dangerous. All you can do is take your foot off the brake and hope your vehicle stays straight.
Fog is also a hazardous driving condition. If thick enough, you won’t be able to see even 10 feet in front of you. It’s best to just avoid driving in fog altogether. But if you absolutely have to, treat it like any other hazardous condition and drive slowly. Do yourself a favor and turn off the radio, too. You’re going to need your ears to indicate what’s going on around you. The only other precaution is to turn on your fog lights. High beams will further obscure your vision. The fog just refracts the bright light and reduces the distance that you can see clearly. If you’re preparing to brake, tap them first to alert the driver behind you. And as with snow, stay in the far right lane. The less lane changes you have to make the better. Plan out your turns ahead of time and give yourself and other vehicles plenty of notice.
In conclusion, the best practice is to drive slowly and increase your following distance. Some accidents are unavoidable especially in hazardous conditions. Recognize less than optimal driving conditions, and adjust accordingly.
How long can you keep your car running? Ask Irv Gordon, who’s 1966 Volvo P1800 just reached 3 million miles. Yes, I said 3 MILLION. Now, most of us won’t come to a fraction of that, but there are some steps we can take to get our car running as long as possible.
1. Follow your vehicles service schedule.
The manufacturers built the car, they should know how to maintain it. Newer models even have oil life monitoring systems that tell you the best time to change the oil. Most newer cars have indicators lights located in the dashboard to remind you of recommended maintenance. So really, there’s no reason to be sparing on proper maintenance.
2. Regularly check fluids and tire pressure.
With the engine cool check the engine oil. Check the radiator overflow reservoir level and the brake cylinder reservoir. Also check the power steering fluid level and while you’re under the hood look over the hoses and belts for any signs of wear. Now start the car up and after it’s warm check the transmission fluid level. And lastly, with the tires cool check their pressure to make sure they’re filled to the proper psi.
3. Don’t race off.
If a car has been sitting cold for more than 5 hours it will have little or no oil left on it’s moving parts. The oil is in the oil pan. After start up it only takes a few seconds for the oil pump to lubricate the engine. During those few seconds keep the rpm’s down to a minimum. Give the engine about 30 seconds before dropping it into gear.
Wear and tear is normal, so don’t stress out over it. The steps we’ve discussed can be used on any vehicle and will help you be proactive about your car’s longevity. Remember, parts wear out on all cars, even really expensive ones. However, it’s almost always less expensive to repair your car than to buy a new one.
Drop by Courthouse Automotive and we’ll help you keep your car running as long as it can. Maybe not 3 million miles, but who knows?
Spring Car Care
Spring is right around the corner. It’s easy to think that your vehicle is in the clear once the weather gets warmer. However, all major season changes mean that it’s a good time for auto maintenance. We have a few tips to keep your vehicle running smoothly and safely this coming spring. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. A/C Check
As the weather gets warmer, you may notice some latent problems with your vehicle’s A/C. Stop by Courthouse Automotive and have our technicians perform an inspection. We’ll check both the temperature and components of your A/C system, and make sure that you’ll stay cool and comfortable this spring and approaching summer.
Antifreeze isn’t just important for your vehicle during the cold winter months. Its job is to keep your engine running at a consistent temperature, so it’s equally important during the warmer months. It can even be considered more important in the heat because it prevents your engine from overheating and breaking down.
Be wary of potholes and other road damage created during the frigid winter. Even a little pothole or bump in the road can misalign your tires and damage your suspension.
4. Tire Pressure
Changes in ambient temperature affect your tire pressure. With a 10 degree increase, your pressure can drop by 1-2 psi. This translates to fewer MPG and faster tire wear.
5. Tire Tread
It’s always important to take notice of your treads. But spring means we’re also entering the rainy season. Your tread needs to be deeper in heavier rains to allow water to pass through while still maintaining traction.
Heading into the spring season is a perfect time to check all of your fluids. Check the levels of your oil, coolant, transmission and brake fluid. Replace as needed.
7. Wash Exterior
Most likely, your vehicle is covered and salt and dirt from the winter roads. These particles can actually harm the exterior of your vehicle. Give it a thorough wash to remove sat, chloride and other chemicals including your undercarriage. Consider it part of your spring-cleaning.
Spring is a perfect time to give your vehicle some much-needed maintenance. If you need some assistance after going through our checklist, bring your car or truck into Courthouse Automotive for a full inspection. Our certified technicians will be happy to bring your vehicle back up to snuff for the coming season.