The intent of the show is to really give you some added value, to educate and help you, the car owner save money with tips and advice on how to get the most out of your vehicle for the least amount of cost. This is not a DIY show. Instead we show you how to get this done using professionals….the right professionals, giving you the peace of mind that the work done to your car was in fact needed and that your vehicle will be safe and reliable for years and miles to come.
Summer Driving Tips
In this episode from our archives, John and Rich discuss the summer driving season, tips on keeping your car at the ready. How to increase fuel mileage and given the spike in gas prices you definitely want to listen in.
Fuel Saving Tip: Dirty oil
If you’re a quart low, there isn’t enough oil to lubricate your engine properly. The extra friction causes drag that reduces fuel economy.
Same goes for dirty oil. It doesn’t reduce friction properly. The result is you get to watch those numbers at the gas pump rolling higher and higher.
The transmission also needs the proper amount of clean fluid to do its work. When it’s in need of service, the transmission drags your fuel economy down.
So, keep it clean and give yourself a fighting chance.
Stop in for service at any of our 7 New England locations. Visit us on the web at autocareplus.com to find out more or to schedule service.
Your Car's Air Conditioning, Everything You Need to Know Plus Way More!
In today’s episode, John discusses your a/c system. What to look out for, when to get it serviced professionally, things you can do maintenance wise to prevent system failures and much more.
We will discuss the movement from R-134a refrigerant to the newest type called R-1234yf.
Basic theory and operation of the a/c system, the components involved and the items that breakdown, why they breakdown and how that can be avoided.
It gets hot and sticky here in New England in the summer! Soon, you’ll be slipping behind the wheel of your car, starting the ignition and powering on the air conditioner. But what do you do if the car air conditioner is blowing hot air or, worse yet, not functioning at all? Here are five tips to help you beat the sweat and some inspiration to fix your air conditioning:
1. EXAMINE THE CABIN AIR FILTER
Your car’s cabin has an air filter, which expedites the flow of air from the air conditioning system under the hood and into your vehicle’s interior. That cabin filter is located either inside your glove box, under the dashboard or under the hood. Wherever it may be, locate it and pull it out. You will know that it is clogged if it is blackened and filled with debris. Replacing it may be all it takes to resolve your car air conditioner problem.
2. RAISE THE HOOD AND CHECK THE CONDENSER
Under the hood, immediately in front of the radiator, sits another part prone to clogging: the condenser. Fortunately, you don’t have to remove the condenser to clean it and free up air flow. Instead, you can used compressed air or even a leaf blower to clean the louvers or if you don’t have those tools available, simply put a garden hose on a medium to high setting and direct the water flow through the grille’s louvers. The lower portion of the grille is an especially important target, as that is where contaminants like road salt will collect.
3. CHECK THE COOLING FAN
What do you do if there is warm air coming out of the vents? Today’s cars are usually equipped with under-the-hood electric cooling fans so when the air conditioner is on, the cooling fan is running, sometimes it turns on a second auxiliary fan in order to handle the extra load of the a/c. If it isn’t working, then either the relay, temperature sensor, control module or fan motor has malfunctioned. In most cases, the relay is to blame for shutting down your air conditioner. Visible signs of corrosion or burnt wiring are a sure indicator that the relay should be replaced. Other items to watch for is the temperature of your engine. Monitor your temperature guage and if it starts to get hotter than normal then you may have a cooling fan problem.
4. EXAMINE THE COMPRESSOR
Another critical component in the car air conditioner system is the compressor. The compressor is tasked with handling low-temperature refrigerant gas and compressing it into a high-pressure, high-temperature gas. When the compressor is working, it sends refrigerant to the condenser. The compressor should be turning if the serpentine belt is turning; if the
What's Stopping You?
In this episode, John discusses the importance of your suspension system in stopping your vehicle. The impact on stopping distances with worn suspension parts. Profound effects of worn out shocks and struts.
Shock absorbers and struts influence the control and handling characteristics of your vehicle. They work together with your springs to dampen the bouncing motion of the vehicle as affected by road conditions. The energy is absorbed as a piston inside the shock pushes against hydraulic fluid. This restricts the rebounding movement of the springs. Your shock absorbers or struts should be replaced every 50,000 miles or immediately if a fluid leak is detected. Driving with old or faulty shocks will lead to premature and uneven tire wear, plus increased wear to other suspension components. This reduces the vehicle’s handling ability and can cause it to become unstable, possibly causing an accident. Replacing shocks and struts on a regular basis and immediately upon indication of a leak will prevent premature tire wear and reduce wear on other vehicle systems. From a safety standpoint, since shocks and struts control vehicle handling, your ride quality will be greatly affected, as well as your stopping distance greatly increased. This could result in an uncomfortable ride and could possibly endanger your life and those of others.
Potholes and the Damage done to Your Vehicle!
AH, Springtime in New England!
We love to see those warm, spring days as we emerge from winter. But springtime in New England brings an unwanted consequence: potholes!
In the worst-case scenario, hitting a pothole can result in a tire blowout or bent wheel. But even in non-catastrophic impacts add up over time and have a negative impact on your vehicle:
Wheel misalignment (causing premature tire wear)
Wear/damage to shocks and struts and cv axles
Bent/broken suspension components (ball joints, tie rods, sway bar links, etc.)
With winter firmly fixed in your rearview mirror, you can now turn your attention to getting your car ready for the warmer months. One of the first things to do is rid your vehicle of road salt and grime buildup, restoring it to its proper luster with a wash and wax. You also need to consider possible damage to the vehicle due to rough road surfaces. Damage from potholes isn’t always easy to spot. If you suspect your vehicle may have suffered pothole damage, pay attention to warning signs while you’re driving.
In this episode, John talks with Rich about the pothole season and the affects hitting them has on your vehicle. Great tips on the warning signs you should look out for after you hit one.
WHAT IS A POTHOLE?
It starts out as a frost heave where the water under the pavement freezes and expands the pavement up above the road surface. Then in the spring when the ground begins to thaw out a pothole forms. A pothole is a small crevice or hole in the road caused by water from melted snow and ice permeating the pavement, thereby softening it. As a result of successive cold spells, the water refreezes, then expands, causing the underlying pavement to separate. The resulting gaps in the pavement and additional moisture seeping in weaken it further. With each passing vehicle, the pavement begins to separate more. Finally, with traffic continuing to cross the broken section, pieces of the roadway get kicked out, leaving a hole in its place. If you could observe the hole from its sides, it usually resembles a pot, thus the name pothole.
WHAT’S YOUR DAMAGE?
As you might imagine, driving over a pothole is never a good thing for any vehicle. Your tires make the first contact, which could lead to a blowout or cause rim damage. Less obvious, at least initially, is damage to your vehicle’s suspension system. Some of these telltale signs are as follows:
Your vehicle sits lower at the front or the rear. If this is the case, one or both shock absorbers or the coil springs may have become damaged. This same problem can also occur while accelerating.
Your vehicle no longer stays planted on twisty roads. You know how your vehicle behaves on curvy roads. Anything out of the ordinary, such as bouncing and sliding as you attempt to keep it centered in your lane, suggests a problem with the suspension. Rolling or swaying on turns is another troubling sign.
Your vehicle’s front end “dives” when you brake. When you apply the brakes, your car shoul
Preparing your Vehicle for Spring Fever!
1. GIVE YOUR CAR A GOOD WASH
Winter is finally over so you should give your car a thorough cleaning. This will get rid of all the corrosive road salt and chemicals that collected on your car. It might look clean, but the undercarriage especially takes a beating through the winter months. Make sure you hose off and wash the whole car. When you’re done, consider giving it a wax to not only make it look great but to also protect the finish from the harsh summer sun.
2. CLEAN THE INTERIOR TOO
The inside of your car also gets rough treatment during the winter and should be cleaned when warm weather arrives. The floor mats are likely holding a good bit of salt along with plenty of dirt. Vacuum your floor mats and then wash them with a floor mat cleaner. This is especially true if you have fabric floor mats rather than more rugged rubber mats as salt can ruin the fabric over time.
3. CHECK THE WIPER BLADES
Snow and ice are hard on your wiper blades. Clean them off and do a quick visual check to be sure they weren’t damaged. If there are any rips or missing bits of rubber in either of the blades, then they’re not going to do a good job of keeping your windshield clear. If you see damage, then it’s time to get the blades replaced.
4. CHANGEOVER YOUR SNOW TIRES AND CHECK YOUR SUMMER OR ALL SEASON TIRES
In New England we recommend changing out your snow tires before April 1st. Make sure the tires are not dry rotted and cracked, no rips or tears in the sidewalls. Tires are what keep your car connected to the road and ensure maximum stopping power. Checking them is a key part of car maintenance. Make sure they’re inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendations and add or remove air as needed. Also, check for tread wear to be sure there was no damage over the harsh winter months. If your tires aren’t in good shape, get them replaced.
5. BE PREPARED
Make sure that you have a stocked emergency kit just in case you have a breakdown or accident. It should (at least) include flares, a basic first aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables or a portable power supply, and a blanket.
Follow this simple checklist and do a little basic car maintenance before you head out on the road this spring and you’ll be sure to enjoy the ride.
6. EPISODE NOTES
In this episode, Master Automotive Technician Paul Rivard and Rich discuss how to get your vehicle ready for the spring driving season.
Check all the fluids. Check the boiling point of your coolant! No longer looking for freezing point!
Check belts and radiator hoses.
Wax your vehicle. Wash the undercarriage to remove all the sand and salt from the harsh New England winters. Take advantage of the car wash undercarriage cleaner.
What You Need to Know about Your Car's Battery
In this episode, John and Rich talk about your car's battery. How to maintain it. How long it should last. How the extreme cold and hot weather affects your battery and much more.