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Wine or Batteries – Better with age???

Good California red wine gets better with each passing year in the bottle. But the battery in your car, not so much. Oh, by the way, how old is the battery in your car? Not sure? Never thought about it? So what, you say?

In the heat of summer, life is so busy that we have little time to think about something as mundane as the battery in our vehicle. As long as the car starts when I turn the key, I am good and on my way. But is there a chance that one of these days when I turn the key, nothing will happen?

The average life of car battery should be about 3-1/2 – 4 yrs. by industry standards. Some will last longer. Often there is a label showing when the battery was installed. While we often find batteries failing in the deep freeze of winter, it is the heat of summer that inflicts the fatal blow. You just won’t know it until January.

Some battery failure is caused by driving habits. If I start the vehicle, use a variety of digital and electrically powered items, such as a radio, I pod, etc. and drive only a short distance before restarting again; the battery will never have a chance to return to full charge. At only a percentage of full charge, the acid content is not consistent throughout the battery, with a heavier concentration at the bottom. In this case Cold Cranking Amps, needed to start the vehicle, are reduced and there is battery failure. Repeat this cycle often enough and the battery will no longer perform as intended.

The integrity of the battery cannot be observed by looking at it. First of all check and make sure that the terminal connections are clean and securely fastened. If you suspect the battery, a full electrical and charging system test can be done by your local auto repair shop to check the charge and strength of the battery, as well as the function of the starter and alternator. Also if you notice that when starting your car, there is some hesitation or slow turning of the engine, it may signal a battery problem. Replacing the battery before it totally fails will save you the frustration and inconvenience of being stranded with a no start. If in doubt, change it out!

So keep your battery fresh and your red wine well aged!

For further information, check out this link.

Posted on Aug 8, 2012 by Dennis Broehm  •  Comments

My car is broken. Now what?

It always happens at the wrong time. Thankfully it doesn’t happen too often. But when your car is broken, you are suddenly in need of a repair facility. How do you know a good one from one to avoid?

In some cases, it might be as little as how they talk to you. Communication can make the job quicker and at times even less expensive. It begins with your initial phone call. Do they answer promptly? How is their tone? Friendly? Engaging? Helpful? When you arrive at their facility are they willing to HEAR you? Do they ask you tell to them as much as you know about the problem and when and how it occurs? Are they empathetic to your concerns and doing their best to work with your time schedule? Are they willing to take a ride with you, if necessary, to confirm the problem? Do they possess the skills and personnel to accomplish the repair? Are they being straight with you in regard to an estimate of cost and repair time, with no surprises at the end?

You can tell a lot about someone and their company, just by observing how they communicate with you. It creates a sense of confidence. Confidence in your repair facility will allow you to get on with your day, and leave the repair in their hands. For further comment, check out this article on the Car Care News.

Posted on Aug 8, 2012 by Dennis Broehm  •  Comments

Not all are created equal!

Close your eyes for a moment and picture yourself cruising through 6 lanes of traffic at over 60 mph, more than 88 ft per second. Now picture looking through a windshield smeared with bugs or the spray of a hundred semi’s. Not pleasant is it? A little bit scary, right? Welcome to the importance of washer fluid.

Not the first thing you might think of when maintaining your vehicle, but it can be the difference between safe and ???. You get the point. The ability to clear the windshield is critical, and the wipers will not do it alone.

Most would think of washer fluid as that jug of blue liquid in the C-store for a buck a bottle. The main ingredient is methanol and it works to break up bug residue on the windshield. The one challenge with the cheap blue stuff is that methanol will freeze solid below 32°. For cold weather you will need a combination of methanol and ethylene glycol (anti-freeze). This washer fluid may be blue, or green or some other color. It will cost more, but when the weather gets cold, it will continue to be liquid. Some of the winter fluids will also contain a de-icer to help clear the windshield of frost. Always check the label on the jug to know the freeze-point.

If you choose to use the summer version in the warm weather and then transition to the winter fluid, you will need to completely empty the system and clear the lines before adding the new fluid. A better approach is to use a fluid that is rated to -20° or so all year long. In that case you will be prepared when the cold weather happens. At 88 ft. per second, just hit the washer control, and enjoy the view!

Posted on Aug 8, 2012 by Dennis Broehm  •  Comments

How Long Do Tires Really Last?

You want to get the most bang for your buck-but really, how long do tires last? It’s important to remember these tips to help you check the condition of your tires. For one, remember that tires age in the sunlight and air-so even when you’re not driving your vehicle, you’re tires are still depleting and aging due to exposure. It’s also important to recall how old your tires are. Older tires can get stiff sidewalls, which can have the potential to fail and crack if they aren’t replaced. If you’re not sure how old your tires are, simply check your tires by reading the DOT number on the sidewall of any of your tires. The last three to four numbers will show you the week and year that the tire was made. For example, if the last four digits read 4310, it means that your tire was made on the 43rd week of 2010. Additionally, check your tires regularly to make sure that there aren’t any signs of bulging or other irregularities that can cause problems. If you’re still not sure about the condition of your current tires, take them to us and we can give them a full assessment for you easily.

Posted on Jun 6, 2012 by Dennis Broehm  •  Comments

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