Car Necessities

car necessities


When we first learned to drive a car, our parents had some words of wisdom that they heard from their parents who heard it from their parents and so on and so forth until the days of covered wagons. Everything from “Make sure to call me when you get there” to “Here’s how to change a tire.” I was very lucky. Apart from my parents imparting their wisdom, they also gifted me with several things that have been essential in my survival on the open road.


Jumper Cables


I can not tell you how many times I have used this particular set of jumper cables. They are at least 25 years old. I have not just used them on my vehicle, but many a stranded stranger as well. The concept is not rocket science. My father first told me DO NOT EVER touch the battery clamps together.

  • You work with the dead battery first.
  • First, connect the red (positive) side of the clamps to the red dead (positive) battery post.
  • Then, connect the red (positive) clamp to the charged battery.
  • Third, connect the black (negative) clamp to the charged battery
  • Fourth, connect the black (negative) clamp to a ground on the dead car. An example of a ‘ground’ would be any part of the metal frame.

Start the charged car first and let it run. Then start the dead car and let it run. You are going to remove the clamps in reverse order. Black ground/ Black Charged/ Red Charged/ Red Dead

TIPS: If your battery is dead, it is usually one of two things. You either need a new battery, which you can change out at any automotive place OR your alternator is out. The alternator charges the battery when the car is running. If it goes out, then things like headlights, cabin lights, windshield wipers, will not work and they will drain your battery so that you can not start it.


Ice Scraper


Having an ice scraper in Texas seems like a minor thing. We are known for our triple digit temperatures, not our frigid winters. But ice scrapers can be used for so much more than scraping ice. You can now purchase ice scrapers with a small enclosed blade on the handle. It looks a bit like an envelope cutter. This little piece of ingenuity is a seatbelt knife. It is used in the event of an accident, especially one that involves water. It will allow you to safely cut your seat belt off. The ice scraper is also sturdy enough to break through the glass on your window. I have seen people use their ice scraper for more than just ice. It works great as a paint scraper or to scrap the dough off of the countertop. I have even seen one used to spread caulk.


A First Aid Kit


Another thing that my mother was adamant that I packed was a first aid kit. Thankfully I was able to find a travel sized first aid kit in the camping section of my local grocery store. It has bandages and ointments and medicine for heartburn. The most important thing it had in it though was an emergency blanket. In Texas, we have fairly mild winters, but if you were ever stuck out in the middle of nowhere, and a headlight goes out, and then the alternator goes out, that blanket will be your saving grace until help arrives to save you. No one wants to freeze waiting for help.

June Car Events

June Car Events


King of the Big 3

Ennis, Texas

Texas Motorplex (7500 W. Ennis Ave, Ennis, TX, 75119)

Date: (Sat) Jun 09, 2018

Gates Open at 8AM


Gate admission = $10 (everyone pays gate admission)

Car Show entry = $10

Test-n-tune = $20

Swap Meet = FREE to sell


The King of the Big 3 is a premier event for automotive enthusiasts featuring spectacular Chevy, Ford and Mopar vehicles. The event will be highlighted with a huge car show, high-powered racing on the track, USACI auto sound competition, swap meet and pin-up girl contest.

A TV crew from the Menards Chevy show will be on site filming for episodes that will air on Velocity in the fall.


Come on out to the Motorplex and join the fun!



Calvary Car Show


8th Annual Calvary Car Show

Grand Prairie, Texas

Calvary Baptist Church (401 W. Church St., Grand Prairie, TX, 75050)

Date: (Sat) Jun 16, 2018


Admission: Free

Register On Site – $25 per entry Free CCS t-shirt & calendar included with each entry

Registration begins at 3pm

To be included in judging, entries must be turned in by 6:30 pm


100% of Proceeds & Donations Go To Send Kids To Church Camp


Rain out date will be the following Sat. 6-23-2018

There are indoor restrooms and air conditioning to cool down and eat.


Any questions, call John Parker 469-774-7191



Elm Street Rod Run


Hillsboro Car Show Elm Street Rod Run

Hillsboro, Texas

Roadside America Museum (212 East Elm Street, Hillsboro, TX, 76645)

Date: (Sat) Jun 23, 2018

Gates Open at 8AM

Show from 10:00AM-2:00PM

Awards at 2:30PM


Admission: Free

Entry Registration:      $25 Pre Entry

$30 Show Day


100s of beautiful cars, vendors and lots of local downtown shopping and restaurants



Bluegrass On Ballard Car & Motorcycle Show


Wylie Jubilee – Bluegrass on Ballard & Car Show

Wylie, Texas

Downtown Wylie (100 North Ballard Ave., Wylie, TX, 75098)

Date: (Sat) Jun 30, 2018

Venders open at 10AM

Musis starts at 2PM

Car show is from 4PM- 10PM


Admission: Free

Entry Registration: $20


200+ car show, live bluegrass bands, 100+ vendors of art, crafts, unique items and food, in historic downtown Wylie, rain or shine.


Details and to pre-register vehicles Click Here

For More Information Contact: Craig Kelly 972-516-6016 or

The Beach and Your Car

Beach Vacation

Photo courtesy of Nate B/flickr

As you begin planning your summer vacations and beach locations, take a few minutes to also plan car care for your trip to the ocean. The mix of salt and sand can wreak havoc on your vehicle if you are not carefully prepared.

If you plan on staying in a hotel, choose one that has a parking garage. The added cover for your car helps to keep the salty dew from settling in every nook of your vehicle. It also keeps the sun’s heat from holding the salty moisture inside your vehicle.

If you have a day at the beach and a sand-side drive, be certain to wash and wax your vehicle afterward. Use the sprayer to get deep inside the wheel wells, in the door seams, and in the engine bay. Make certain to scrub out any place that salt crystals have accumulated or where sand is present. Insider tip: Use a sprinkler beneath your vehicle to help get to those hard to reach places. Corrosion tends to be a major issue the closer you are to the ocean, so it is important that you take the necessary precautions to slow down the buildup of rust. After washing your vehicle, apply a wax. The wax will help coat the paint and protect it from the harsh saltwater and abrasive sand.

Once you have finished your day at the beach, it is not just the exterior that needs attention. Sand and salt can stain the seats in your car or truck, so it is important that you work to keep it out of your vehicle. If you have a choice between a chair and a towel at the beach, choose the chair. Lawn chairs and popup chairs will keep the seat portion off of the sand, thereby keeping less sand intact. If you do happen to use a towel for seating arrangements, shake it out thoroughly away. Insider tip: Use a mesh beach bag or a shoe drying bag for your beach belongings. The holes in the bag will allow more sand to sift through, meaning less sand is taken to your car.

Protecting the seats can be done with a covered sheet. Wrapping it around the back and seat portions will allow the sand and salt to accumulate within the sheet, thereby keeping it off of your interior. You can then shake it out when you clean. Covers for the front seats can also be done with single fitted sheets. No, they aren’t as pretty as custom seat covers, but they will protect the color and integrity of your seats for the trip. Plastic or rubber floor mats are recommended, as they can be shaken out and sprayed down easily. Insider tip: Make sure to scrub down the interior of your car too. Wipe it down with a microfiber cloth dipped in a 50/50 water and white vinegar solution. Then wipe down your interior with a protectant for your particular material type: leather, vinyl, plastic, wood. There are even products to protect your seats from the salty moisture that you can use in preparation for your trip.


May Car Events

Nostalgia Nights


Nostalgia Nights

Every Friday in May from 6:00PM to 10:00PM

6220 US 287, Arlington, TX 76017


This weekly car event is for the entire family. There is food within walking distance, Rock & Roll music, and beautiful classic cars on display! It doesn’t get much better than that.

Classic Cars were created 1972 or prior, although they allow for custom cars and later model muscle cars when there is extra parking. If you are interested in bring your car in, please check out this flyer!

Admission is free.

Cars in the Park

May 12th, 2018 (Rain Date: May 26th, 2018)

400 South Grand Ave., Waxahachie, TX


This is an event is located in the Getzendaner Park and will be fun for the whole family. The gates open at 8:30 A.M. Registration is from 9:00 A.M. to Noon. The car show will begin at 10:00 A.M. and will continue until 2:00 P.M. There will be a raffle and lots of music.

More information located on this flyer.

Entry Fee is $15.00.


Car, Truck, and Bike Show

May 19th, 2018 from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.

Registration is from 10 A.M.-11:30 A.M.

5400 Sandshell Drive, Suite 100, Fort Worth, TX 76137


If you are looking for more than just amazing cars, come check out this show. There will be 34 classes for vehicle registration and they will be giving out 56 awards. Bring your family and come check out a wide assortment of classic vehicles on display.

Registration fee is $20.


36th Lone Star 55-57 Chevy Nationals

May 24th, 2018 through May 27th, 2018

Nationals begin at 5 P.M. on the 24th and running until 8 P.M. on the 27th

DFW Airport Marriott, 8440 Freeport Pkwy, Irving, TX 75063


This event is hosted by the Dallas Area Classic Chevys. Please bring the entire family to this event includes Sightseeing Tours by bus to ‘The Star’ as well as the Gas Monkey Grill. Saturday night fun includes a Drive-In showing of ‘Two Lane Blacktop” and a performance by ‘The Vinyl Stripes’. Sunday events include the Tri Chevy Poker Run, Vintage Railroad Tours to the Stockyards, and a live performance by the Route 66 band. This full weekend event also includes lots of food, drag racing, and oldies music all weekend.

For more information, explore this link.

Tire Care

tire care


One of the most important pieces of tire care, but certainly one of the most overlooked, is the regular inspection of your five tires. Yes, even as you inspect the four tires on your vehicle, you also need to take care inspecting your spare. This will be the tire that helps you go from the side of the freeway to an auto mechanic’s shop. Tire care needs to be done both monthly and before a trip, to ensure that you are driving on safe and balanced tires. Let’s look at what those monthly inspections should entail.


Tire Pressure

The very first thing that you need to consider is how much air is actually in your tires. Over-inflated or under-inflated tires are a safety hazard, as well as a drain on your gas mileage. Tire pressure should be checked with a pressure gage when the tires are cool, usually when the car has been at rest for a bit. There are two places to find out how much pressure should be in your tires; it is located in your user manual, or there is usually a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door with the information. Occasionally it is located on the trunk lid, on the inside of the fuel door, or even in the console. It is not recommended that you use the information located on the outside wall of your tires. It usually includes passenger capacity, load tolerance, recommended tire sizes, as well as air pressure at Pounds per Square Inch (PSI). If you have modified your vehicle, it is recommended that you write down inside your users manual what the tire manufacturers recommend for your particular tire.


Tread and Damage

Monthly you also need to check the tread on your tires as well as check for damage. Tread can be checked easily with the penny test. Place a penny, top side up, inside of the treads. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you need to take your tires in to be replaced. While you are checking tread, pay attention to the wear patterns on the tires. If the sides of your tires are worn, but the center intact, then you may have under inflated tires. If the wear is in the center of the tire, then your tires are likely overinflated. During your inspection, run your fingers along the back outside perimeter. If you feel any sort of metal or wiring, you need to have your tires replaced immediately. Also, check for a build-up of soot around the insides of your wheel housing. This could indicate that your brake pads need to be replaced soon.


Right Tires for the Job

Also be aware of the seasons that you are moving into when you choose tires for your vehicle. All Weather Tires are a good investment when you live in temperate climates, but for areas with heavy snow or heavy rains, there are tires that will more safely get your vehicle from one destination to another. All-terrain tires are another option for many vehicles. When choosing tires, you should be aware of your destination location, your current location, as well as the time of year that you will be traveling. Certain vehicles don’t handle well with particular tires, so it is important to speak to an expert who has been trained to match your tires with your needs, knowing that budget is also a consideration in that.

Take your tires in regularly for a balance and rotation, as well as monthly checks, and you will be on your way to a safer and more efficient trip.

Transmission Flush


transmission flush

Photo courtesy of Amara U/flickr

Most car owners put off some services until problems arise. A vehicle’s transmission is key to driving and signs of it failing should not be ignored. A transmission flush is important to the health of a vehicle and is an excellent preventative measure. The purpose of the transmission is to ensure that the right amount of power is going to the wheels so your vehicle can drive at any given speed. It shifts gears similar to that of a bicycle, without the chain, the bike cannot go. A car’s transmission works in the same way. If it is not properly maintained, you can lose fuel-economy or the loss to drive at all.

A transmission flush is the process where all of the oil in a transmission is removed and new oil is then run through. A special machine is used to push out any grime or sludge so that all debris is removed and 100% of the used oil can be replaced with fresh quarts.

There is a difference between a transmission flush and a fluid change. Having your transmission flushed requires a professional grade machine. The process involves removing contaminants from the torque converter and cooler lines and uses special solutions to do so. Changing transmission fluid simply drains using gravity. This process does not guarantee that all contaminants will be flushed out.

For automatic transmissions, a flush is recommended at 50,000 miles and up to 100,000 miles or every two years. The average cost for a flush is between $125-$250 for a full service.

Some signs that your transmission may be failing and need a flush include slipping or feeling like your car is not changing gears, hearing clunking noises when changing gears, delayed engagement between gears, fluid leaks, and warning lights. If your vehicle is experiencing these symptoms, contact us today for an inspection.

Engine Tuning

Engine Tuning

Engine tuning has a long history originating with early race cars. It can involve simple routine adjustments to overhauling the entire engine. No matter what type of tuning you are looking into, here are some things you should know.

Engine tuning is the adjustment or modification of the internal combustion engine or modification of its control unit. It can be used to adjust optimal performance, increase an engine’s power output, economy, or durability. Most cars today are made to be as reliable and economical as possible. Any upgrades or modifications should be made with consideration and documentation.

Some vehicles just need a good tune-up. Poor gas mileage, burning through motor oil, and having a rough start can be signs that your vehicle is in need of one. Simple solutions like cleaning the intake, replacing the air filter, spark-plugs, and cables can help restore and revamp your car.

Vehicles are subject to torsion or twisting when accelerating and this can cause warping in the framework over time. Reinforcement such as torque bars can be installed to address this problem. Torque bars vary per vehicle drivetrain type.

A performance-tuned ECU (Engine Control Unit) should be performed if the check engine light has been flashing or if the vehicle is struggling to start or idles. This tuning helps to understand any significant changes in horsepower or torque data. An ECU can also be used to modify gear ratios in automatic transmissions.

Cold-air-intakes (CAI) and catbacks (performance exhaust systems) are more for show than horsepower but engine and exhaust noise is more noticeable and small increases in horsepower is possible if done correctly.

If the desire is to supercharge the engine, kits are usually expensive but can provide the moxie that you are going for. Be sure that your engine can safely withstand such major upgrades. Unless you are mechanically-savvy, however, it is always better to have a professional do it for you. Contact Rick’s Radiator and Muffler if you have any questions regarding your engine tuning!

Shocks and Struts

shocks and struts

Photo courtesy of Dave Wirth/flickr

The terms “shock” and “strut” are commonly used interchangeably. They both damp the movement of the spring and stop oscillation and bounce but are completely different parts. A strut cannot replace a shock and vice versa. Every vehicle is designed with either shocks or struts at each wheel and you cannot change one out with the other. The major difference between the two is that a strut is a structural part of the vehicle suspension and a crucial part of the steering system that greatly affects alignment angles where a shock is not. Camber and caster angles are usually adjusted right on the strut. Struts are typically more expensive than shocks because they are a pivot point for the steering system and contain a coil spring. Shocks are integral to the vehicle’s handling and braking performance. Without shocks, the springs on a car will cause it to bounce around every time it hits a bump. Functioning shock absorbers allow springs to react to driving conditions and return to normal ride height quickly.

Both shocks and struts do not need to be replaced at a specific mileage but there are warning signs to identify when it is time to get them inspected. Both wear out over time and all cars are driven differently. The failure to maintain a safe suspension system, however, can be dangerous.

Excessive bouncing can be a warning sign that your shocks are worn out. Coil springs are a part of the vehicle’s suspension system. Whether your car has shocks or struts, when you drive over a bump, your car bounces on the coil springs and the absorbers keep your car from bouncing nonstop. If you notice that your vehicle continues to bounce after driving over a bumpy road it may be time to inspect the struts or shocks.

Shocks and struts help keep your car steady and stable at all times. If you notice that your car dives at the front or at the nose when you brake or if your car “squats” when you accelerate, it may be time to get the shocks or struts inspected.

Tire “cupping” or “scalloping” is when the tires on a vehicle bounce up and down when you drive and bits of rubber get scraped off. This can happen when the shocks or struts are worn out and the tread on your tires is off.

Leaking fluid is one last symptom to look out for. It is normal for some hydraulic fluid to leak out of the shocks and struts but when it is excessive and the shocks and struts look wet and oily, then you need to get your car inspected.

If your car is experiencing any of these symptoms or if you are unsure whether your vehicle as struts or shocks, contact us today!

Winter Weather Driving Tips

Winter Weather Driving

Photo Courtesy of Chris Connelly/Flickr

Strong winds, ice, and low temperatures can create hazardous driving conditions. Drivers should be cautious when severe weather hits. If you do not have to be out, don’t risk it. Driving on ice can be very dangerous and you should avoid getting out on the road unless you absolutely have to. If you have to drive during severe winter weather, follow these tips to ensure a safe trip.

Be prepared. Before the weather hits, make sure your vehicle is winterized. Check tire pressure as it tends to go down in the winter. If tires are under inflated they can cause a vehicle to react more slowly. Battery power goes down as well when the temperature lowers. Make sure your battery has sufficient voltage. Check your lights. You want to be seen coming down the road as well as see what is in front of you. Other things to check are the heater and ignition system. Make sure the gas tank is sufficiently full and that the oil has been changed. Restock your first aid and emergency supplies in case you get stranded.

Do not start driving until the windshield and other windows are clear. Even if you are only going a short distance, you need to be able to see around you in hazardous conditions. If you want to warm up your car before getting in, make sure it is in an open area. Do not leave the garage door shut for example.

When hitting the road start slow to get a feel of road conditions. Test the steering control and braking ability. Rain, snow, and ice have huge effects on the braking distance of a vehicle. Being able to complete a smooth and safe stop is severely limited due to reduced tire traction. Take gentle turns and drive at a low speed. Avoid sudden movements and brake gently when stopping. Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. Make sure your wiper blades are functioning. There are even special blades available that assist in removing snow.

If you happen to be caught in winter weather or stalled, stay with your car but do not overexert yourself. Contact 911 or emergency roadside assistance as soon as you can. Running your car for long periods of time with the windows rolled up can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. To say warm, make sure the exhaust pipe is cleared of any debris or snow and run your vehicle sporadically.

Battery Maintenance

Battery Maintenance

Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Mike Mozart


Car battery maintenance is important as they supply the necessary current to the starter motor and ignition system while cranking to start the engine. If your vehicle’s battery is not functioning properly, you will not be able to drive it.

Testing your vehicle’s battery can prevent it from dying or causing other issues. Testing should not be done only in an emergency or when you start noticing problems. It should be used as a preventative measure. Most experts agree that it should be done frequently as a precaution. To be proactive, you should test it at least twice a year.

One way to keep track of your battery’s performance is to check the label. There should be punch-outs with the month and year the battery was purchased. If the battery was manufactured more than 4 years ago, it may be time to replace it. Symptoms of a bad car battery can be found even before it dies or stops working. If your vehicle takes longer than usual to start, this could be a sign of a bad battery. Look for corrosion on the battery and its terminals.

If your battery is dead, there is not much to do other than dispose of it and buy a new one. Getting rid of the old battery however must be done in a clean manner or recycled as lead-acid batteries are an environmental hazard. First, you can find a recycling location in your area that takes car batteries. AAA has a system for recycling old batteries and more information can be found here. You can also take the battery to a parts store or auto shop. This is most common since this is where new batteries are purchased.

Batteries are not universal and different vehicles require different types. When purchasing a new battery, make sure you know what kind of your vehicle needs and how much you want to spend. Refer to the owner manual of your vehicle to get the size and measurements for a new battery. You can also check the manual for the minimum cranking amp value that your car requires. Performance is important and you want to look for batteries that have a higher cold cranking amp. When budgeting, a typical, low cost car battery will be no more than $200. Batteries with higher performance, resilient construction, and a good warranty will be more expensive.