Preparing Your Vehicle for the Weather Ahead

The weather outside is about to get frightful. Here are some simple steps you can take to make sure your sleigh is up to the challenge of winter driving.

 

Get the right kind of oil change. Are you approaching the time for a 30,000-mile full service for your vehicle? If so, don’t procrastinate. Among other things, the service should include an oil change, and the oil used should have the right viscosity, or thickness, for your vehicle at this time of year. Oil tends to thicken as it gets colder, and if it’s too thick it won’t do the best job of keeping your engine lubricated. Check your owner’s manual for guidance about which oil to use in different climates and temperatures.

 

Make sure you can see. An easily overlooked part of your winterizing program is your windshield. Windshield wiper blades usually work effectively for about one year, so be sure to invest in some new ones if you’re due. If you have ever driven behind another vehicle kicking up wet, dirty road snow, then you already have a true appreciation for windshield washer fluid. For best results in clearing off cold, heavy grime, select a washer fluid with an antifreeze solution. Also check to see that your heater and defroster are working properly so you can keep the windshield nice and clear.

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Choosing the Right Type of Motor Oil

Choosing the Right Type of Motor Oil

 

Baxter, Eric.  "How to Choose the Right Oil for Your Car or Truck"  16 May 2011.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://auto.howstuffworks.com/how-to-choose-the-right-oil-for-your-car-or-truck.htm>  07 October 2015.

Often times a manufacturer will suggest two or more motor oil viscosities for an engine, such as a 5W-20 or 5W-30, based on several different factors -- including temperature. The reason for this is that engines often need a different viscosity based on operating conditions. Knowing how scientists see viscosity will help an owner determine the best oil for the engine.

Viscosity, at its most basic, is a fluid's resistance to flow. Within theengine oil world, viscosity is notated with the common "XW-XX." The number preceding the "W" rates the oil's flow at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.8 degrees Celsius). The "W" stands for winter, not weight as many people think. The lower the number here, the less it thickens in the cold. So 5W-30 viscosity engine oil thickens less in the cold than a 10W-30, but more than a 0W-30. An engine in a colder climate,

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How to Fix a Flat Tire

With the unofficial end of summer quickly approaching, you may be thinking of heading out for one last hurrah before fall begins.  Even with Roadside Assistance, you should still be prepared to change a tire yourself in case you experience a flat far from civilization (has anyone ever gotten a flat in front of a service station?).  Here are some great tips to prepare your tires for the road ahead and what to do if you do get a flat.

Before hitting the road it’s a good idea to get your vehicle serviced.  Part of that overall checkup should include your tires.  Check the pressure (don’t forget to check the spare), look for worn tread, bumps or bulges, or cracks.  If the tires seem iffy, it may be time to get a new set.

Most cars come equipped with a simple jack and lug wrench, as well as a spare tire.  If you’re not sure how to access these items, check your vehicles owner’s manual.

If you do experience a flat tire, here’s an excellent step-by-step from Popular Mechanics on how to safely change a tire and get back on the road:

 

Step 1: Be Prepared

Planning ahead will save a lot of frustration. It's not a bad idea to keep an emergency kit in your trunk and disposable, but sturdy Tyvek overalls will help keep your dry cleaning bills down. Throw in some mechanics gloves, a good waterproof flashlight, hand cleaner and paper towels. Believe it or not, all that, plus wheel chocks, flares, tire gauge and tire sealant all fit into a shallow Rubbermaid bin. The lid can double as something to kneel on. Since flat tires happen year round, you can even fit in a collapsible snow shovel.

Step 2: Location, Location, Location

You want to choose your tire changing place very carefully. Once on the shoulder, slowly driving to the next exit ramp may give you enough space needed to stay away from the main flow of traffic.

Step 3: Not Enough Room

The line separating traffic from you on the shoulder is not an invisible force field. Be sure you are a safe distance from traffic. You will a need level, solid surface to jack up a car safely.

Step 4: Be Aware of Traffic

Turn on your four-way flashers. Using flares or reflective triangles will help give a long range warning that a disabled car is ahead. This is especially important at night or in the rain. Always be aware of on rushing traffic, especially heavy trucks that create suction in their wake that can pull you off your feet.

 

Step 5: Give Yourself Room

Be sure you have enough room around the flat tire to work safely. Keep the doors closed. A truck's wake can blow them suddenly wide open and damage the hinges.

Step 6: Set Your Parking Brake

Set your parking brake. Blocking the diagonally opposite wheel will help keep the car from rolling once the flat tire is up in the air. If you don't have a wheel chock, you can improvise with some suitable object found by the side of the road.

Step 7: Check the Spare

Check the spare tire and tools. If your spare is flat or essential tools are missing, there's no sense in continuing. You were prepared so your flat kit is fully stocked and ready to go. Remove jack and lug wrench.

Step 8: Use Your Owner's Manual

Your owner’s manual has all the vehicle specific instructions and pictures of where everything is located. It's not a bad idea to copy the tire change page instructions (double sided) and laminate them. A plastic kitchen magnet can hold them in a place easily viewed while working.

Step 9: Pry Off the Hub Cap

Use the sharp end of the lug wrench to pry off hub cap. Some cars have hub caps with false lugs that secure the hub cap or are just for decoration. It's a good idea to become familiar with your type of wheel fasteners before you are in an emergency situation.

Step 10: Remove the Hub Cap

Remove the hub cap and set it on the ground upside-down to use as a tray for the lug nuts.

Step 11: Loosen Lugs

Lugs will need to be loosened prior to lifting vehicle.

Step 12: You May Need an Adapter

You may have one lug that requires a special "key" adapter.

Step 13: Insert Key Lock Adapter

Insert key lock adapter.

Step 14: Use Your Floor Mat

Loosen the key lock. Here's a tip: You can use your floor mat to kneel on. Flip it over so the dirty side is on the ground.

Step 15: Remove Lock

Remove lock.

Step 16: Place Lock in Hub Cap

Place lock in hub cap. Loosen all the other lug nuts. You'll put all the lug nuts in the hub cap or other suitable clean place so you don't lose them. You also don't want to get dirt or grit in the threads.

Step 17: Locate the Pinch Flange

On most unit body construction cars, the pinch flange is the strongest part of the car for lifting purposes. Most cars have a notch that fits the factory jack. Consult your owner manual for lifting locations. Lifting a car at the wrong spot can damage the car and endanger you if it's unstable.

Step 18: Position Jack

Position jack under jacking location.

Step 19: Raise the Vehicle

Raise the vehicle slowly by turning the jack handle clockwise. You'll want enough height to not only remove the flat tire, but be able to install the fully inflated spare.

Step 20: Remove the Tire

Remove the remaining, already loosened lug nuts and remove the flat tire. Just pull, but be careful! It may be heavy.

Step 21: Remove Spare

Remove spare from the trunk or inside a rear panel on some minivans.

Step 22: Pickups and SUVs

On many pickups and SUV's the spare is suspended under the rear the truck. There is a center nut that holds the spare up. Direction to loosen is counter-clockwise. On some there is a manual cable "winch" that lowers the spare down. Consult your owner’s manual for details on operation.

Step 23: Install the Spare

Install spare by lining up wheel studs with holes.

Step 24: Finger Tighten the Lugs

You may need to use your foot to hold spare in place while you thread the lugs on. Just finger tighten until snug. You should NOT attempt to tighten the lug nuts with the lug wrench while the wheel is in the air. The wheel may merely rotate or could cause the car to fall off the jack.

Step 25: Lower the Car

Carefully lower the car by turning the jack handle counter-clockwise.

Step 26: Tighten the Lugs

Once the car is down you can tighten the lugs. Tighten them clockwise in a crisscross pattern. Your owner’s manual will show the correct sequence. Failure to tighten the lugs properly is potentially unsafe.

Step 27: Your Spare is Now Installed

Your spare is now installed. Note that these "space saver" tires are temporary spares. Do not exceed the speed label on the sidewall (usually 50 mph) and drive carefully. Because a temporary spare does not have the same handling characteristics and longevity as your regular tire, get your full size flat tire repaired or replaced right away.

Step 28: Remove the Jack

Be sure to remember to remove jack and stow in trunk. Look around and pick up your tools, hubcap, emergency kit, and everything else.

Step 29: Stow Flat in the Trunk

Place the flat, tools and kit in trunk.

Step 30: Reinstall Hub Cap

After you get a new tire mounted on your wheel, reinstall wheel and re-install hub cap. Put spare back in trunk. Secure jack and tools.

Step 31: All Done

All done! Remember: Don't delay getting a new tire.

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5 Reasons to Stay Away from Damaging Car Washes

It’s not safe for your vehicle

Have you heard the horror stories of someone having their 2015 Volkswagen Touareg scratched after going through a gas station car wash? Those stories are out there and here’s why; car regulation.  A major example of this is rusty cars. When a rusty car goes through a car wash, the rust flakes off then attaches to the cloth wraps, which clean the car more aggressively than foam wraps and are used at most gas station washes. Then you go through with your new car hoping to get a fast, cheap wash and those cloth wraps, with small rust particles stuck to them, scratch your car. Drive & Shine uses foam wraps and regulates the vehicles that enter the tunnel and turns away vehicles that have excessive rust so your car is safe from scratches.

It’s not safe for the environment

Washing your car at home can be causing unnecessary pollution. Between 100-120 gallons of fresh water is used to wash your vehicle and the runoff can contain grease, gasoline, oil, exhaust residue, bits of rubber, and road tar from your car. This material eventually flows into rivers and is very unsafe for wildlife that lives in and drinks the water. Turning to a short tunnel car wash to do the job not only harms the environment, it also harms your car! Some washes use Hydrofluoric acid because it is cheaper and removes road grime in a short amount of time but destroys rubber seals, damages paint, etches windshields and is terrible for the environment. Drive & Shine is a member of the Water Savers Program and only uses about 30 to 50 gallons of water per car which then is recycled.  There is also a longer tunnel giving the biodegradable soap more time to sit on the vehicle making it shinier while also being eco friendly.

It saves you money

Having a dirty car can become expensive. Let’s say you wash your car around 5 times a month and pay $8 every time. That’s $40 a month just on car washes! Now let’s say you pay the cost of 3 $8 car washes but wash your car as often as you want? That’s a pretty good deal, right? Drive & Shine actually offers this! It’s a VIP Unlimited Wash program where instead of constantly paying for car wash after car wash, you only pay $25 a month for about 7x more washes. Even if you don’t wash your car THAT frequently you can still save your money on car washes with the buy 5 washes get one free coupon book which never expires. EVER. See, you can still get the most for your money, even with a dirty car.

It saves you time

Washing all the rims, tires, and getting the bugs and bird poo off isn’t the most exciting way to spend your day off and could take hours. Scrubbing all the marker off your vinyl from those darn kids along with washing the food stains of out the carpets could be a whole day process which you COULD be spending by the pool or beach. Luckily there is Drive & Shine to take the burden of a messy, dirty car off your hands and put it in the hands of speedy professionals. You can get the full exterior of your car cleaned while a 2 week wax is applied and turn 3 hours into 3 minutes. As for the inside, the only thing you need to worry about is saying bye bye to those stains on your seats. Not only do you not have to get your hands dirty, but you don’t have to spend your whole day cleaning and more time enjoying the summer! 

Is it a name you can trust

Cars are not cheap and putting that big of an investment in the hands of just anyone can be nerve racking. You can be confident in bringing your vehicle to the #1 trusted car wash in Michiana. Drive & Shine wasn’t rated #1 in Michiana for 17 years in a row for nothing!  Pride and ownership is taken in every vehicle received and no job is finished until you are happy. Clean, shiny, dry and most importantly safe!

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Benefits of Regular Vehicle Maintenance

Regular maintenance is the key to your vehicle’s longevity. For many, car maintenance is nothing more than filling up the fuel tank and an occasional oil change. If you think giving your car a once over before heading out on a long road trip is a waste of time, you cannot be further from the truth. Regular vehicle maintenance will not only ensure maximum car performance but will also prevent costly repairs, increase safety and improve fuel economy (How much is gas these days?!) Sometimes, even the smallest defect that seems irrelevant may lead to a major problem. 

 Oil and Filter Changes

 Getting regular oil changes is the absolute easiest thing you can do to extend the life of your car and save yourself from the inconvenience of breakdowns and repairs. Over time, motor oil becomes contaminated with engine metals, acids and air humidity, eventually transforming into sludge. Waiting too long to change your oil will increase the likelihood of sludge infecting all the parts where motor oil travels. As part of routine maintenance, oil changes are essential to keep your vehicle running smoothly and efficiently.  (Recommended every 3 months or 3,000-6,000 miles depending on your vehicle)

 Transmission Flush

 The importance of a transmission flush often goes unnoticed until serious problems arise. It removes dirt and contamination from the system that causes early deterioration, blockage, and damage to the transmission. New fluid will also protect transmission components and prevent premature failure and very expensive repairs. (Recommended every 2 years or 30,000 miles)

Coolant/Antifreeze Service

 Over time rust and scale deposits build up within the radiator. A flush helps to remove these deposits which get pushed out with the old anti-freeze. This is important since these build ups can cause overheating or even damage your radiator. The additives in the coolant lubricate the vehicles water pump which will lengthen its life.  A flush completely drains the system of the old anti-freeze which means that any contaminants that have made their way into the system will be flushed out as well. The additives in the coolant can lose important anti-corrosive properties over time which leads to the build up of particles. Also, the new anti-freeze will have additives that help prevent rust and build up. It will also prevent foaming in the system which helps it operate efficiently. (Recommended every 2 years or 30,000 miles)

Power Steering Service

Normal fluid will get slightly darker and thinner with age. Heat and pressure breaks down the fluid and creates flecks of rubber and metal from the steering system seals and metal components and pushes them through the system. As there is no power steering fluid filter, these little flecks are abrasive contaminants and will further wear away seals and components, which then cause more contaminants to become ingrained in the fluid which allows deposits and varnish to gum up the system. This will decrease performance- sometimes causing sluggishness and noise. Often times, it is damage that you are unaware of and could lead to very expensive repairs to your internal system parts. (Recommended every 2 years or 30,000 miles)

Differential Service

Changing the differential oil—it's one of the most-overlooked maintenance tasks on non-FWD light trucks, SUVs, and passenger cars. Because the differential is at the rear and under the car, it gets none of the star treatment that the engine up front does. However, if lubrication in the differential fails, you won't be getting very far for very long. The differential is a component in all cars and is designed to compensate for the difference in distance the inner wheels and outer wheels travel as the car goes around a corner. The differential oil lubricates the ring and pinion gears that transfer power from the driveshaft to the wheel axles. If your car is fitted with a limited-slip differential, it also keeps all the moving parts in that assembly healthy. Changing this oil is just as important as changing your engine's oil, and for the same reason. Metal-to-metal contact wears down surfaces and creates heat from friction, which inevitably weakens the gears and leads to failure. This small procedure can save you a big headache down the road. (Recommended every 2 years or 30,000 miles)

Fuel Injection Cleaning Service/ Fuel Filter Service

From the first time your engine is started, dirt, carbon deposits and varnishes are formed in your vehicle's fuel systems, on the intake valves, and in the combustion chamber areas. Some symptoms that are caused by carbon buildup are engine pinging, poor acceleration, hesitation or lurching, repeated stalling, rough idle and poor fuel mileage. Cleaning your fuel system has enormous benefits.  It will save you money by improving fuel mileage and preventing costly repairs, reduces the risk of breakdowns, reduces air pollution and increases safety and dependability. (Recommended every 2 years or 30,000 miles)

Engine Flush

The process involves removing the engine oil and pouring cleaning agents into the engine. The cleaning agents get into the tiny nicks and corners to flush the gunk out. The chemicals have strong degreasing properties which remove the toughest engine gunk.  Oil filters are effective but they do not filter out all types of residue.  It can be so miniscule the oil filter misses it. If the oil is not changed for a while, it keeps getting dirty. As the oil keeps gathering engine dirt, it begins forming residue around different engine parts. Even if you change your oil and add clean oil, the dirt will remain stuck to the engine parts and can cause serious damage to your engine in the long run. When gunk is stuck to internal components, the engine struggles to deliver optimum performance. Not only will this result in a lower gas mileage, but your engine will begin vibrating excessively. At times, the gunk chokes the small oil lines within the engine. After a flush, fresh engine oil will stay cleaner for longer. You will even notice a significant difference in the engine temperature and also the drive. (Recommended every 2 years or 30,000 miles)

Serpentine Belt Service

Driving on an old belt is a disaster waiting to happen because it powers most all of an engine’s accessories.  That means when your belt breaks, slips and, ultimately, wears out, everything – from the power steering pump to the alternator and air conditioner stops working.  What’s more, the parts it controls can become severely damaged.  Broken hoses and belts are bad, a damaged engine is even worse.  By replacing your belt periodically, can you minimize the risk of breakdown.  (When cracked, frayed, aged)

A/C Recharge Service

When an air conditioning system loses its ability to cool properly, it may be necessary to recharge the system. An A/C Recharge is the first line of defense if cooling is inadequate.  If you have a leak and the recharge escapes, another recharge is not recommended and you must get your system repaired. (Recommended when cooling efficiency is low)

Every vehicle manufacturer recommends routine scheduled maintenance- which varies in interval.  Drive and Shine performs all of the above routine and recommended services at a fraction of the cost of a dealership and without the need for making appointments, dropping off the car, getting rides or long waits.  We do them in just minutes while you wait in the comfort of your own vehicle.  You never need an appointment – we work on your schedule!  All services are performed by our highly trained technicians.

Drive & Shine Car Wash, Oil Change and Auto Detailing - we are a one stop shop for all your routine car care needs. Our Elkhart, Mishawaka, South Bend and Schererville Indiana facilities combine Express Carwashes, Full Service Carwashes, Detailing Services, and Quick Lube/Oil Change Services all under one roof. You never need an appointment! Our customers have voted us #1 in what we do for as long as we have been in business. If you are a current customer, we thank you for your business. If you have not tried our services, we invite you to try us- we promise not to disappoint you.

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