How you Drive Accelerate and Brake Gently
The way you drive makes the most difference in how far you can go on a tank of gas. Acceleration and hard braking are the main habits that you can change to get better mileage. They are not just good defensive driving techniques. Keep a proper following distance – it won’t just make you a courteous driver, it will also help you on your mileage. By keeping a larger following distance, you can make smoother adjustments. Every time you slam your brakes instead of evenly slowing and stopping causes your engine to burn much more gas. Keep a safe following distance while in traffic – the rule of thumb is to keep a minimum of 2 seconds of space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Inflate Tires to the Correct Pressure
Correct Motor Oil and Regular Oil Changes
Other Basic Habits and Maintenance Tips
Those rims and low profile tires you want may look the way you want, but they need to support your car’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). This number can be found in the owner’s manual. You don’t exactly need to do all the math yourself, but keep it in mind and if you have questions about it, ask your mechanic or a tire shop to confirm the tires will work with your car.
Check Pressure Weekly
For every 10-degree Fahrenheit decrease in temperature, the pressure will drop 2 psi (pounds per square inch). So, as it gets colder and when we experience Texas weather fluctuations where we get all the seasons in one day, tires will need to be checked and inflated more often. Tires naturally lose pressure as well. Some newer cars often have features like a Tire Pressure Management System that lets you check on the pressure of each tire from the dashboard.
It is time to change your oil, or maybe you are just curious. What exactly are the numbers on all the oil selections at your auto parts store? You should know what kind of oil is appropriate for your car and your owners manual should have that information in the front of the manual. Some new engines require synthetic oil, while older engines use conventional oil.
All oils are intended for an application and in general are not interchangeable. So what are we looking for in an oil? What does it do? The oil must be thick enough to adhere to the components as it passes by to provide adequate lubrication. At the same time, it must be thin enough to easily flow through the system.
Most oils on the shelves today are “Multigrades”, which simply means that the oil falls into 2 viscosity grades (i.e. 10w-40 etc)
In a 10w-40 for example the 10w bit (W = winter, not weight or watt or anything else for that matter) simply means that the oil must have a certain maximum viscosity/flow at low temperature. The lower the “W” number the better the oil’s cold temperature/cold start performance.
The 40 in a 10w-40 simply means that the oil must fall within certain viscosity limits at 100°C. Once again the lower the number, the thinner the oil: a 30 oil is thinner than a 40 oil at 100°C, etc.
Service Classifications: A two-letter code is listed on the motor oil label that tells you which types of vehicles the oil is designed for. It will begin with either an S for gasoline engines or a C for diesel engines. The second letter tells you which model years the oil is designed to work with. For the letter A, the oil meets requirements of vehicles that were developed before 1930. The classification of current vehicles is N, so that the two-letter code should read SN for owners of relatively new, gasoline powered cars. This is mainly important for classic cars.
Gasoline – All specifications prior to SL are now obsolete and, although suitable for some older vehicles, are more than 10 years old, and do not provide the same level of performance or protection as the more up to date SL and SM specifications.
Diesel – All specifications prior to CH4 are now obsolete and, although suitable for some older vehicles, are more than 10 years old and do not provide the same level of performance or protection as the more up to date CH4 & CI4 specifications.
If you want a better more up to date oil specification then look for SL, SM, CH4, CI4
A lot of the other information are meaningless and just marketing blurbs. Be wary of statements like “synthetic blend” if you are looking for a fully synthetic oil as this will merely be a semi-synthetic.
Like everything in life, you get what you pay for and the cheaper the oil the cheaper the ingredients and lower the performance levels.
Symptoms of Using the Wrong Oil
If you use the wrong viscosity oil, you won’t notice much difference as long as it is close in grade. However, the engine will wear down sooner and may provide lower performance. Mixing synthetic motor oil with conventional oil and vice-versa can damage internal engine seals and gaskets and lead to overheating problems.
Having a professional service your vehicle can avoid issues of using the wrong kinds of oil. Be sure to pay attention to your mileage and when the last time you changed your oil was.
You have seen it. You may even have been the example. However you can relate – distracted driving is a serious threat to public safety. How serious? Distracted driving is a leading cause of car crashes in the United States. Texting, talking on a cell phone, and eating and drinking are the most common driver distractions.
Distracted driving continues to be a problem in Texas as data indicates that drivers are not changing their behaviors. With 1 in 5 crashes involving distracted driving – a ratio that has not changed in the past three years – this should be a sobering call to awareness.Statistics courtesy of Txdot and DMV.
In 2017, the total number of reportable motor vehicle traffic crashes on Texas roads was 537,475. Of those, 100,687 or 19% involved distracted driving (driver distraction, inattention or cellphone use). The 100,687 crashes in Texas resulted in 444 deaths and 2,889 serious injuries.
Every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some way. Each year, over 330,000 accidents caused by texting while driving lead to severe injuries. This means that over 78% of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving.
In 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed.
According to a study conducted by the Cohen Children’s Medical Center, distracted driving crashes cause 9% more teen deaths than alcohol-related accidents. The more passengers that are in the car, the higher the accident risk for teenage drivers.
Let’s say that one more time- distracted driving causes more teen deaths than alcohol-related accidents! But before you think to get on your teenager about the risks, consider that parents are largely responsible for their teen’s risky behavior. 15% of youth drivers have witnessed their parents send or read text messages while behind the wheel.
The statewide ban on texting and driving was one of 673 new Texas laws as of Sept. 1. If you’re driving, you can still use your phone to talk hands-free. But texting and driving state-wide is strictly illegal.
What Should I Do If I Get a Flat Tire While I’m Driving?
Let those considerations make the choice for you between trying to make the next exit and choosing the nearest shoulder to safely pull off.
Should I Try Fixing a Flat Tire Myself?
Most modern vehicles have tire-pressure monitoring, so you ought to know if a tire is going or has gone flat even if you can’t tell by the handling.
The best tool for changing tires
Being prepared can make a huge difference in how you are able to respond to an emergency on the road. Breakdowns and accidents are by nature not planned. You have a spare tire and a basic jack to change a tire, but is that the extent of your car’s emergency kit? Here is a list from dmv.org on for an emergency kit:
- First Aid kit. Some of the items to include are:
- Hand sanitizer.
- Antibiotic ointment.
- Bug spray.
- Aspirin (or similar).
- Cotton balls.
- Gauze pads.
- Ace bandage.
- Fire extinguisher. Choose a small one that is easy to store.
- Road flares (if not already in your tire-changing tools).
- Jumper cables.
- Rain ponchos.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Duct tape
- Scent-free baby wipes.
- Drinking water and non-perishable snacks.
- Multipurpose tool.
- Collapsible shuttle.
- Ice scraper.
- Cat litter for slick roads.
- Small battery-powered fan.
- Blankets and/or warm clothing.
A final suggestion is to include items that suit your family. If you have kids or pets, you can add things like diapers, dehydrated food, dog treats, or a water bowl.
Windshield Wipers/Wiper Fluid
What’s the one thing you rely on to stop your car? The brakes! Brake pads are the first line of defense to prevent you from getting into a fender-bender. Mashing on the brake pedal has certainly gotten you out of trouble before! So, it’s worth the time to make sure your brakes are in proper working order. Here are a few warning signs that it may be time for a new set of brake pads.
Modern brake pads are designed to make shrill screeching sound when the pads have worn down to a certain level. When you press on the brake and it starts making that sound, head over to our shop and we can get you taken care of.
When you come to a hard stop and feel the pedal vibrating, that could mean that your brake rotor needs to be resurfaced and, possibly, your brake pads need to be replaced. In modern cars with ABS brake systems, you will feel the pedal vibrate when you come to a hard stop. This is caused by the ABS system stopping the brakes from locking up, helping you keep control of the car.
If you’ve noticed that you have to press down on the brake pedal a little harder to make sure you stop in time, that could mean that your brake system needs to be looked at. It could be a leak of brake fluid, or insufficient surface area on your brake pads.
In most modern cars, they are equipped with a sensor that will notify the driver when it’s time to take a look at the brakes. Check your owner’s manual to see just how your car will let you know. Most cars will flash a light around the speedometer and odometer when you start your car.