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. <>  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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Feeling the HEAT? Your car may need an A/C Recharge

If your car's air-conditioning system feels more like a heater, the culprit could be low refrigerant which can escape your system over time. 
If your system is operating normally (no strange noises or hissing sounds) but is only blowing hot air, it’s likely your vehicle is low on refrigerant and in need of a recharge.  Most modern vehicles are designed to shut down the air conditioning system once the refrigerant level drops too low to prevent damage to the compressor.  

The problem isn’t confined only to the summertime; you will also see the affects in the winter when the snow starts to fly.  You’ll notice that the defroster isn't doing its job of clearing the foggy windows because most engage the air conditioning to dehumidify the air.

By performing a complete evacuation and recharge the repair shop will be able to test the complete system and recharge it with the precise amount of refrigerant recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. This needs to be done by a professional who has the necessary equipment to properly measure your refrigerant levels and ensure your system doesn’t get overfilled which could cause more complex (and expensive) problems.  According to the EPA , you can't tell precisely how much refrigerant is in the system without the proper equipment — gauges to measure how much pressure is in the system — so how much they add while topping off the system is largely a judgment call.

The EPA provides helpful information for consumers about whether they should have their air conditioner topped off with refrigerant or evacuated and recharged, foundhere.  They also add that usually there is no reason to clean the system unless it is opened up, such as to check for leaks or other problems.

A regular or annual “top off” of your refrigerant isn’t necessary as some vehicle owners may believe.  You could be proactive and have it done before you experience problems, but you shouldn't need that more often than every few years at the most. If you top it off or recharge your air conditioning and it’s still losing its cool, you may have a leak in the system.  If you stay cool and comfortable on your commute, even on the hottest days, just leave well enough alone. The air conditioner obviously has enough refrigerant.

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Employee Spotlight - Meet Juan!

At Drive & Shine, we believe our employees are our greatest assets. We are proud to have many long-term employees who have dedicated their time and talent to serving customers through their role at Drive & Shine. We hope you enjoy learning more about some of these special employees and why they believe Drive & Shine is a great place to work.

How long have you been with Drive & Shine?

This October will be 15 years.

What is the story behind you coming to Drive & Shine?

The owner met me and asked me to come and work for him and I told him no.  It took 3 more times of him asking for me to agree and come to Drive & Shine.

What department did you work in when you first started?

I was a Lube Technician and then promoted to Lube Manager.

What do you do now?

I'm the Store Manager at the Mishawaka store.

What is your favorite part of working at Drive & Shine?

I have a passion for my work and I love when someone really appreciates what I do. I love our customers and the associates that work here.  I really like working for a family.  Everyone that works here builds a family-type relationship.

Why do you think Drive & Shine has been voted #1 in the communities we serve every year we’ve been in business?

Because we have “The Best!” 

What sets Drive and Shine apart from the competition?

We have the best employees, best facilities – we’re just the best!

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 Car washes, Full Service Car washes, Detailing Services, and Quick Lube/Oil Services all under one roof. We are known for being the premium customer and employee focused car care centers in the communities we serve.

Our customers have voted us #1 in what we do for as long as we have been in business- an accomplishment we are very proud of and work very hard at retaining every day. We also work hard at keeping our associates happy. To prove it- we have associates that have been with us since the day we opened our 1st location in 1997. Our strategy is to remain the best at what we do. We will do it through continued investments in the best of facilities, technologies and people our industry has to offer.

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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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