CLICK AND CLACK is a trademark, of Tom and Ray Magliozzi and/or Tappet Brothers Associates d/b/a Dewey, Cheetham & Howe. While there is always room for debate, they are probably the most widely known names in automotive repair and any question remotely devoted to automobiles. We have provided a “Live Feed” from their syndicated Radio Show called “Car Talk” where you can see the latest headlines and you will find an amazing assortment of information on their website. To go visit Tom & Ray, just click on the image above or use this link: This Week on Car Talk.
Mike’s Auto Service & Repair wants you to drive both safely and without incident. This also means we would LOVE to see your vehicle up and running 100% of the time. New England provides a harsh driving environment due to the heat of summer, the cold of winter, the stop and go traffic on top of dust and air pollution. Each of these challenges require routine preventative maintenance to be performed on ALL Vehicles despite your driving habits to ensure you never encounter a vehicle breakdown.
We will list the major items to watch for below and how YOU can take preventative measures to ensure your safe travel.
Mike’s Auto Service & Repair wants you to drive both safely and without incident
Some words from the MassDOT
Winter is a beautiful time of the year in Massachusetts, especially when a fresh layer of new snow covers everything. Winter can also be a dangerous time of the year.
To prepare for the coming wintry weather, motorists should check all fluids, make sure their radiator is winterized, maintain a gas tank above half-full and keep windshield washing fluid on hand. A winter survival kit should include an ice scraper and shovel, flashlight, jumper cables, flares, sand for traction, extra clothing or blankets, a first-aid kit and non-perishable food.
To stay safe on the road, you need to prepare your vehicle for the harsh weather ahead. Many of these items you can check on your own. The rest, have the team at Mike’s Auto Service & Repair inspect and repair accordingly any safety issue they may find. Start with the windows. As the weather turns cold, thermal shock will set in and turn small chips and nicks into large cracks, which could cost you hundreds of dollars to repair. You might even have to get new windows. To avoid such costs, inspect your windows often and have chips and nicks repaired. You should also check your windshield wipers. As it- gets- closer to winter, you may want to replace them with a winter set, complete with a rubber boot to prevent ice and snow from freezing on the pivot points.
After you’ve inspected the windows, take a look at the fluids, Continue to change your oil as recommended and keep other fluids, such as the power steering, brake and windshield washer fluids, filled. Don’t forget about the anti-freeze and engine oil. You should change the anti-freeze every two years and follow the manufacturer’s winter grade oil recommendations. Winter grade oils in general are light and make starting the engine in cold weather easier.
Next, check out the engine. The cooler the temperature, the harder it is for fuel to ignite. Get a tune-up and make sure your belts and hoses are in good condition. Cracks, soft spots and bulges are all signs that a belt or hose should be replaced. Make sure your heater is working properly and test the battery. A weak battery may not pose a problem in the summer, but it will probably fail in the winter when you need the extra power to start a cold engine. The average battery lasts three and a half years. If yours is older than that, you may want to replace it. In addition to the battery, you should also inspect your brakes and check your exhaust system for leaks. Carbon Monoxide is a byproduct in engine exhaust and if it is leaking, it can enter the vehicles interior AND IT CAN SERIOUSLY HARM YOU OR CAUSE LOSS OF LIFE!
Once you’re done with the engine, examine your tires. Frosty weather can take its toll on tires. Inspect your tires and replace any that have bulges or bald spots (this goes for summer as well) and hitting a pothole or just glancing a curb CAN DAMAGE YOUR TIRES! Make sure they are properly inflated and aligned and rotate them every 6,000 miles. If you live in an area with heavy snow, you may want to use snow tires.
Things to Remember
Use the brake and gas pedal lightly when driving in icy conditions and watch for bridges, which freeze before roadways. Do not use cruise control in icy conditions. Clear frost from all car windows and mirrors and remember that exit ramps may have less sand and salt on them than the highway.
Motorists who drive 4×4 vehicles are urged to remember that those vehicles tend to be heavier than passenger vehicles and actually may take longer to stop. Don’t get overconfident in a 4×4 vehicle’s traction.
Remember that the road in front of the plow is usually in much worse condition than the roadway behind the plow. Plows will typically travel under 35 miles per hour and there is always a temptation to pass them. For safety purposes, it is recommended to stay a safe distance behind snowplows.
In wintry weather, motorists should drive with headlights on, observe posted speed limits, never drink and drive, make sure everyone is using a seatbelt and be on the lookout for changing weather conditions. Other safety precautions include obeying warning signs, keeping a safe distance between vehicles and using four-way flashers when stopped in traffic or traveling slowly.
Safe Winter Driving Tips
If you plan on traveling during the winter, it pays to Prepare Your Vehicle For Winter Driving including having Winter Car Supplies. Just following some simple Safe Driving Tips and Using Common Sense While Driving Near Snow Plows could insure that you make your destination safety. However, be prepared for the unexpected. Know what to do In Case You’re Stranded or In An Accident.
Preparing your vehicle for winter driving
Reliable transportation is especially important in the winter. Not only should you keep your vehicle in top operating condition all year round – for safety and fuel economy, it is especially important to get it winterized to avoid any unpleasant or dangerous situation while traveling in frigid weather. Check the following:
- Ignition system
- Fuel system
- Fluid levels
- Exhaust system
- Wiper blades and windshield washer fluid
- Snow tires
- Tire tread and pressure
- Proper grade oil
- Cooling system
Always fill the gasoline tank before a long trip or even for a short distance. Stop to fill-up long before the tank begins to run low. Keeping your tank as full as possible will minimize condensation, providing the maximum advantage in case of trouble.
A Citizens Band (CB) radio and/or cellular phone can be very useful to you or another stranded motorist in case of an emergency.
- Clear all windows and lights of frost and snow.
- Drive with your headlights on.
- Stock your car with basic winter driving equipment: A scraper and brush, small shovel, jumper cables, tow chain and a bag of sand or cat litter for tire traction. (See Winter car supplies below.)
- Also include road flares, a blanket, heavy boots, warm clothing, and flashlight with batteries.
- Remember to reverse the batteries in the case to avoid accidental switching, and burnout. Warm the batteries between your legs before using them.
Winter car supplies
Keep winter car supplies that can assist you in case of an emergency. You easily can equip your vehicle with essential gear for winter. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Booster cables
- Two or more blankets
- Snow shovel and scraper
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Extra clothing: cap, mittens, parka and overshoes or boots in case you have to walk for help.
- High calorie, non-perishable food like candy and canned nuts.
- Sand or strips of carpet for traction.
- Extra windshield washer fluid and antifreeze
- Flares or reflectors
- Cloth/paper towels
- Piece of bright cloth
Safe Winter Driving Tips
- Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights – even the hood and roof- before driving
- Leave plenty of room for stopping. Even roads that appear clear can have sudden slippery spots and the slightest touch of your brakes can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
- Pay attention don’t try to out drive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
- Know the current road conditions. Call 511 from your cell phone or (617) 374-1234 from either your cell phone or landline phone.
- Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.
- Bridge decks freeze first. Due to the difference in the exposure to air, the surface condition can be worse on a bridge than on the approach road.
- Exit ramps are an even greater challenge during the winter since they may have received less anti-icing material than the main line. Be aware of this when exiting the highway.
- Don’t use the “cruise control” option driving in wintry conditions. Even roads that appear clear can have sudden slippery spots and the slightest touch of your brakes to deactivate the cruise control can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
- Don’t get overconfident in your 4×4 vehicle. Remember that, if you are driving a four wheel drive vehicle, the vehicle may help you get going quicker but it won’t help you stop any quicker. Many 4×4 vehicles are heavier than passenger vehicles and actually may take longer to stop. Don’t get overconfident in your 4×4 vehicle’s traction.
- Look further ahead in traffic than you normally do. Actions by cars and trucks will alert you quicker to problems and give you a split-second extra time to react safely.
- Remember that trucks are heavier than cars. Trucks take longer to safely respond and come to a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
- Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back at least 200 feet and don’t pass on the right. (See additional information below.)
- Most importantly please remember to SLOW DOWN! Also, seat belts should be worn at all times – it’s the law.
Use Common Sense While Driving Near Plows
- Remember that the road in front of the plow is usually in much worse condition than the roadway behind the plow. Plows will typically travel under 35 miles per hour and there is always a temptation to pass them. For your safety, it is recommended that you stay a safe distance behind the snowplows.
- During plowing operations, visibility can be reduced by blowing snow and plow operators may need time to stop or move over to avoid stranded vehicles. Keeping a safe distance between your vehicle and the plow is very important in order to avoid accidents.
- Allow plenty of room when passing a snowplow. Do not cut back into the lane ahead of the plow too quickly since the blade extends several feet ahead of the truck. Some snowplows are equipped with a “wing plow,” an eight-foot extension off the side of the truck. Be aware that the hazard exists
- When you see an approaching snow plow on an undivided roadway, move as far away from the center line as you safely can since blowing snow may obscure the actual width of the snowplow’s blade.
- Turn on your lights- to see and be seen. Brush the snow off your headlights and taillights frequently.
- Winter driving requires motorists to be careful and alert, but the most important tip for winter driving is: SLOW DOWN!
In Case You Are Stranded While Driving In Winter
- Call 911. If you have access to a telephone call 911 to summons help. In other states you may be able to call 911 or “O” to get the operator on the line. When you talk to authorities, be prepared to:
- Describe the location, condition of your companions and the trouble you are experiencing.
- Listen for questions.
- Follow any instruction. You may be told you should stay where you are to guide rescuers or to return to the scene.
- Do not hang up until you know who you have spoken with and what will happen next.
- Stay in your vehicle. Walking in a storm can be very dangerous. You can lose your way, wander out of reach, become exhausted, collapse and risk your life. Your vehicle itself is a good shelter.
- Avoid overexertion. Attempting to push your car, trying to jack it into a new position or shoveling snow takes great effort in storm conditions. You could risk heart attack or other injury.
- Calm down and think. The storm will end and you will be found. Don’t work enough to get hot and sweaty. Wet clothing loses insulation quality making you more susceptible to the effects of hypothermia.
- Keep fresh air in your vehicle. It is much better to be chilly or cold and awake than to become comfortably warm and slip into unconsciousness. Freezing-wet or wind-driven snow can plug your vehicle’s exhaust system causing deadly carbon monoxide gas to enter your vehicle.
- Don’t run the engine-unless you are certain the exhaust pipe is free of snow or other objects. Keep the radiator free from snow to prevent the engine from overheating. Run the engine at 10 minute intervals for heat.
- Turn on the dome light at night, but only when running the engine.
- Keep your blood circulating freely by loosening tight clothing, changing positions frequently and moving your arms and legs. Huddle close to one another. Rub your hands together or put them under your armpits or between your legs. Remove your shoes occasionally and rub your feet.
- Don’t expect to be comfortable. The challenge is to survive until you’re found.
- Make yourself visible to rescuers. Tie a bright cloth to your antenna or door handle.
In Case You Are Involved In An Accident
- Check to see if anyone is injured.
- If necessary, call 911 and request an ambulance or emergency services.
- If possible, move your vehicle off the road.
- Exchange name, address, driver’s license number, vehicle registration, and insurance information with all drivers or property owners who are involved. You must show your driver’s license and registration if asked to do so.
- If you have damaged a parked vehicle or stationary property, you must try to locate the owner to report the accident or notify the police.
Simple Maintenance Can Keep You and Your Vacation on the Road!
With summer just around the corner, many families across our nation are starting to plan vacations and summer road trips. Before you hit the road this summer, make sure your preparation includes getting your car in shape for warmer weather. Some simple preventive steps can help you save time, money and the headache of having your trip interrupted or even cut short because your car breaks down. “With a few quick and relatively inexpensive steps, you can keep your vehicle and vacation running smoothly.” “You should be enjoying your trip, not worrying about whether your car will make it home.”
Summer Maintenance Tips
Hot weather can be rough on cars. Higher temperatures speed up a car’s wear and tear, as fluids and lubricants break down more quickly. But by following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule (see your car’s owner’s manual) and taking the following precautions, your car will be ready for a long, hot summer:
- Consider a pre-trip inspection by a qualified technician before you leave. Repairs made on the road may be more costly, and disrupt your vacation plans.
- Operationally, check the air conditioning, and inspect the belts and hoses. You may want to have a service professional inspect the entire system.
- Inspect batteries and battery cables for corrosion, cracks and dirt. Hot weather can shorten a battery’s life, so have it tested if it’s near the end of its warranty. It’s a lot easier to replace a dying battery before a trip than replace a dead one on the side of the road.
- Have a licensed brake adjuster inspect your brake pads and linings for wear.
- Change the engine oil and filter according to the manufacturer’s service intervals and specifications. The service technician should also check the coolant, brake, automatic transmission, windshield wiper and power steering fluids.
- Replace ragged wiper blades.
- Check the air pressure in all tires, including the spare, to make sure they are properly inflated. Uneven or excessive tread wear are signs that it may be time for rotation or even replacement.
- Test your car’s interior and exterior lights, including turn signals and high beams, to make sure they work. This is also a good time to clean the lenses to get maximum visibility.
- Change your car’s air filters according to the manufacturer’s service intervals and specifications. A dirty air filter lowers gas mileage and reduces engine performance.
- A service professional should inspect the radiator, pressure cap, belts and hoses. Flush and refill the cooling system according to the manufacturer’s service intervals and specifications.
- Check engine light. Never leave on a long trip with your car’s “check engine light” or “malfunction indicator light” lit up. This light alerts you to a malfunction if it’s on while driving your car. If this light is on, have the problem diagnosed by a qualified technician before you leave.
- Naturally seeing a professional repair station like Mike’s can make all the difference. Between his specially trained technicians and using the “ALLDATA®” vehicle information system, (ALLDATA® provides them access to ALL OEM Manufacturer Service Information, Service Schedules & Technical Service Bulletins) Mike’s Auto Service & Repair can inspect your vehicle and make any recommendations for service that YOUR car manufacturer recommends and complete them for you in order for you to go on your trip with confidence!
- You may also find that on our “ONLINE DISCOUNT COUPONS” page, a Discount Coupon may be available to help defray the cost. Visit our “ONLINE DISCOUNT COUPONS” web page by using this link to check before making your appointment!