Address: 901 W2nd Ave, Indianola, Iowa 50125

Maintenance

Preparing for Winter Driving

Preparing for Winter Driving

There’s no getting around winter. Instead of dreading it, prepare for it. The changing of the seasons is a great time to check out what your car needs to gear up for cold, wet, winter driving conditions. Do this before the first flake falls because small problems you ignored during warmer months could grow worse, leaving you stranded when the temperature plummets. A few simple tips could keep your car running all winter long.

  • Take your car to a mechanic and check out the following: battery, antifreeze level, thermostat, heater, brakes, and defroster.
  • Check to make sure your tires have adequate tread. If the treads are worn, replace them. Better yet, exchange them for a set of snow tires such as Bridgestone Blizzaks, which have treads that provide better traction and are equipped to handle extreme winter driving conditions.
  • Make a visual inspection of your vehicle’s lights. Make sure the front and rear lights are operational, especially the car’s flashing hazard lights.
  • Often in the winter, the windshield wiper fluid may freeze. Instead of toughing it out until spring, exchange the fluid with one made especially to spray in freezing conditions.
  • Similarly, purchase winter wiper blades to cut through snow and ice instead of using regular ones throughout the year.
  • Check the spray nozzles of your windshield-washer system. Sometimes, they get blocked by wax or debris. Use a needle or pin to clear blocked nozzles.
  • Road salt commonly used during winter can damage your car’s paint. Rinsing it off every once in a while can help, but a good wash and coat of fresh wax will go a long way in preventing corrosion and keep your vehicle looking like new.

These tips will prepare your car for a winter drive, but check the next page to see what you’ll need to pack for yourself…


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>Checking and Filling Your Coolant

Checking and Filling Your Coolant

Most people know the green stuff in your radiator keeps your engine from turning into a block of ice in the winter, but did you know that it also helps keep things cool in the summer? All too often people are driving around with just water in their radiator because they think they don’t need the green stuff until it gets cold. This is not the case. Radiator coolant actually raises the boiling point of the water, allowing it to carry more heat away from the engine, and that means cooler running. If you’re running low, things can get steamy fast. Think of your coolant as a spring dance chaperone, there to keep things nice and cool even when you’re doing a lot of moving around.

Luckily it only takes a second to check your coolant level. Most cars these days have a translucent coolant overflow tank right next to the radiator. It’s white plastic, but you can see inside to see if there’s enough juice to keep things safe. You’ll also see markings on the side telling you the low and high levels to work with. Always check your coolant level when the car is cold.

If you happen to have an older vehicle without a visible overflow and fill tank, you’ll have to check the antifreeze / coolant level by looking into the radiator. There is no dipstick or other meter to tell you whether you have enough coolant in the radiator on these older vehicles. The good news is that the older systems were much less sensitive to how much coolant you had — or didn’t have — in the radiator. As long as you can visibly see the level of the coolant by removing the radiator cap and looking into the top of the radiator, your level is fine. The following piece of information is very important: Do NOT attempt to open the radiator cap on a hot car. The system is highly pressurized and the fluid inside is very hot. The combination of the two can mean some serious burns if it starts to spray out. Patience.

If your levels are good, no need to go any further, enjoy the peace of mind. But if you’re low, you’ll need to top it off. Your engine takes a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water. That’s a mixture of half water, half coolant In the old days, you had to make measurements yourself and test the mixture to get it right. But since we live in the age of convenience, you can now buy premixed coolant that’s ready to pour. For a simple topping off, I recommend going this route. It might cost a buck more, but you’re in for much less mess.

To add the coolant, simply unscrew or pop off the cap on top of the opaque plastic overflow reservoir and add your mixture until it reaches the full mark. Now put the cap back on nice and tight and you’re ready for any weather.

It’s a good idea to flush your radiator to clear out any gunk and prevent electrolysis due to breakdown of old coolant. Did you know that a low coolant level can cause you to have no heat?

 


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Basic Vehicle Maintenance

Performing Basic Vehicle Maintenance

We’re going to be posting a series of helpful info and links about basic vehicle maintenance, because let’s face it – you need your vehicle, right?

Getting a new vehicle (or new-to-you) can bring you great joy, but don’t forget the maintenance of your vehicle! It’s the little things that count, and checking a few of these little things off your list will put you ahead of the game, and ease the pain in your wallet. Not too mention, these things can help your vehicle last longer!
Most maintenance checks only take a few minutes, and most maintenance tasks can be tackled in an afternoon. Don’t maintain your car and you’ll pay the price down the road.

Fix Your Warm A/C: Recharge Your Air Conditioning with Freon
If your air conditioning is warm, you’re mad about having warm AC. A/C is important in the summer, and you can recharge your own air conditioning by adding freon yourself. It’s easy to add freon to charge your car’s ac system so that you will be finished with warm air conditioning.
Before you set out to recharge your car’s air conditioning system, you need to be sure your car uses the newer R134 (not the older R12 refrigerant). The best way to determine this is to check your car’s owners manual, or you can consult your repair manual. You do have a repair manual, don’t you? It’s a must for do-it-yourself auto repair.