How to care for your vehicle in the summer

We had quite a bear of a winter this year in Wisconsin and all over the rest of the country as well. Winters tend to be the hardest on cars, especially with drastically low temperatures, but that doesn't mean that when summer comes around there's no more danger to your vehicle. Just like harsh low temps can be dangerous for your vehicle, blistering high temps can cause adverse effects on your battery, cooling system, and even your tires! We're going to go over a few common issues that can arise with high temps in the summer, and what you can do to take good car of your vehicle.

Starting with your battery, when temperatures get way up there and your car is left in the heat, your battery fluid can actually start evaporating, and it can cause malfunctions in the charging system and overcharge your battery, which will eventually kill it. It's worth getting your battery checked sometime early this summer when the temperature is getting up into the high 80's and 90's, and have someone test the charging rate and inspect your battery as a whole. 

Along with the battery, your cooling system will be worked very hard over the next few months with rising temperatures, in order to keep your engine from overheating. It's important to make sure that the coolant/water mixture in your radiator stays at 50:50.  It should also be noted that your coolant should be flushed on a regular basis according to the maintenance guide for your vehicle.  Getting the coolant changed will prevent corrosion, and while you're getting your coolant changed, make sure you ask to have a pressure test, thermostat test, a cooling fan test, and a visual inspection for leaks, to make sure everything is working properly and in good condition.

As for your tires, they should be checked on a regular, monthly basis to look for proper inflation, and overall tire condition. Tire rotation is always important, but especially so in the summer. If you're driving a lot and going out on trips, you should be getting your tires rotated every 6,000 miles. The summer heat will cause the tire pressure and inflation to increase, so make sure that when you check it, they are cooled down a bit in your garage or in a shop.  Lastly, make sure that you have a clean car all around. Dirt and debris can wreak havoc on your vehicle's exterior, as well as engine components if it gets under the hood. Keep an eye on your vehicle, and get it washed regularly to prevent damage from the sun, heat, and all that junk that finds its way to your car.

Have a great summer, everyone! and Happy Driving!

Posted on Jun 6, 2014 by Dennis Broehm  •  Comments

So, how much will it cost?

            In the mind of each consumer, there is the question of cost vs. value in vehicle repair.  While a repair may have a low cost, it may be a poor value.  Accordingly, a repair with a higher cost may have an even greater value.  The cost is what my credit card total is.  The value is what I receive beyond the bill.

            Value in vehicle repair comes from the atmosphere in which it is done.  Is the technician well trained, properly compensated and with decent benefits, such as health care?  Do they have the necessary tools to do the repair correctly?  Is the facility well maintained as a safe and productive environment?  While each of these will contribute to the actual labor rate charged, the value of such a shop exceeds the cost.

            A well trained technician will be able to see many parts of the vehicle, and not just the one repair ordered.  Finding problems before there is a break-down on the road, provides the value of security.  Doing the repair correctly the first time, or quickly solving an issue that was done incorrectly, will provide the value of confidence.  Knowing that the repair was done honestly and ethically, bestows the value of trust.

            Knowing the cost is an important matter, but seeing the value is critical.  For more thoughts on what is involved with repair, check out this article -

Posted on May 5, 2014 by Dennis Broehm  •  Comments

Selling your Car?  We can help!

When selling a car, or anything for that matter, you want to make sure you're getting the best deal and the most money out of what you're selling.  There are certain steps to take to prepare what you're about to sell in order to get the most out of it.  Take houses for example.  When selling a home, the owners usually spend weeks, if not months, and thousands of dollars on improving their home to get a better offer, and most of the time it works!  So, why not do the same with your car?

Now, we're not saying that you should spend thousands of dollars upgrading a car just to sell it, (although, that would certainly bump up your asking price) but there are several quick fixes and upgrades that can drastically increase the value of your vehicle, and get you more money when you sell!  We're going to go over a few of those for you here today.

1. Clean and detail your vehicle.  Even though we know clean and shiny doesn't equal new and well maintained, it definitely gives that appearance.  Make sure you clean and detail your vehicle from head to toe.  Get a nice wash, clean the floor mats, the seats, the interior, etc.  The whole shebang.  Keeping your car neat and clean will add plenty of value to your vehicle.  If you spend maybe $100 on a wash and detailing, and then put a little elbow grease into it, you could legitimately up your asking price by several hundred dollars.

2. Fix the easy/cheap stuff.  Buyers like new stuff.  If your brakes are old and worn, it may be worth replacing them to up your asking price a bit and attract a buyer.  The more recently repaired or replaced parts on your vehicle, the safer a buyer will feel taking it off your hands.  On top of that, if you do leave the small stuff and decide not to get it fixed, (i.e. small dents, chips) your buyer may take that as a sign that the vehicle was not well maintained and be scared away.  Keep all of your recent repair records and make sure your potential buyers are aware of how much effort and money you sunk in to your vehicle to keep it running nicely.

3. Get an inspection and an oil change.  This will most likely be the least expensive and easiest step to take on this list.  An inspection and oil change can run anywhere from $30-$60, and puts the "cherry on top" so to speak.  The inspection will make sure that all your vehicles fluid levels are good, that the steering and suspension of the vehicle are in good shape, and that the tires are inflated properly.  Getting this done shows a potential buyer that you've done your due diligence and they have someone else's word (the mechanic's) that your vehicle has been looked over and is in good working condition.

Going through these steps will allow you to increase your asking price and allow room for negotiation and coming to an agreeable middle ground, while simultaneously attracting more potential buyers to a quality vehicle.  Selling a car is a major deal, a lot like selling a house, so why not dress your car like you would stage your house?

Posted on Apr 4, 2014 by Dennis Broehm  •  Comments

Get the most out of your Gas!

For many car owners, one of the most cared and talked about factors of their car is how many miles they can get per gallon out on the road.  Over the course of a year, there's a big difference between 20 mpg, and 25, to the tune of hundreds of dollars.  What some people aren't aware of though, is that there are plenty of tricks that drivers can do to get the most out of the gas they put in their car, and most of them are very easy to do.  Today, we're going to let you in on some of those tricks so that you too, can start getting the most out of your gas.

For starters, make sure you're putting the correct fuel in your vehicle.  For the most part, you're going to be just fine sticking with unleaded gas in your vehicle.  There are very few vehicles that actually need high octane or high performance gasoline, and they will always alert you to this in the instruction manuals if they do.  Vehicles that don't specifically call for high performance gasoline won't perform much, if at all, better than they would with regular unleaded gasoline.  

You'll also want to keep an eye on how much junk you have weighing your car down.  Overall car weight can play a big part in how efficient it will use gas.  Let's put it this way, if you had two identical cars with all the same engine specs and both weighing 3,500 lbs, but one had 600 lbs. of extra equipment in the back, which one do you think will perform better?  If you don't need it in your vehicle at all times, you're better off leaving it at home.

When you're out on the highway going over 55 mph, you should have all of your windows rolled up.  This may not seem like that big of a deal, but it can drastically affect the aerodynamics of your car, and how much wind is pressing against it.  Think of it like this, if you were running full speed, and then spread your arms out wide, you would feel more wind press against you and it would be harder for you to maintain the same speed.  Your car works the same way.  If your windows are rolled down, wind will go inside your car and hit the back glass to slow you down.

Also, if you're going to be stopped for a bit, you should turn your car off.  You car will use more gas idling for a minute or two than it will to stop and start in that time.  So unless it's cold outside and you're trying to keep yourself warm, turn your car off while your outside waiting for your kids to get out of school.

These tips and plenty more can help you save a load on your gas bill, and help your car run more efficiently altogether.  Hopefully this will help some of you cut the number of times you need to fill up, and remember, if you have any questions about your vehicle, take it to Accurate!

Posted on Mar 3, 2014 by Dennis Broehm  •  Comments

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