Keeping your vehicle in top efficiency is important, this should include bringing it in for regular maintenance inspections. You should also contact us if you start to notice odd noises or sounds that your vehicle produces. By catching an issue at the first sign and fixing it, you can help to prevent further damage and wear and tear in the long run. If you notice a hissing noise under the hood in the engine, it could be an indication of a leak, either in the cooling system or a vacuum line. A leaking issue should not be ignored, because it can cause other issues to start to form with time. If a fluid leaks out completely, then the engine and other parts may start to fail. Another noise is if your vehicle clunks while driving over bumps or pot holes something is definitely out of order. Bad ball joints can cause uncivilized sounds, but other chassis components could be to blame as well. Even a loose exhaust system can flop round and make percussive noises. A clunk noise that is made consistently should be inspected as soon as possible. If your car’s engine is making a shrieking sound it could be an issue with the serpentine belt. Either the rubber has gotten old and brittle or the tensioner could be failing. If the latter is to blame the belt may not have the appropriate pressure applied to it, causing slippage and the noise. If there’s a screeching sound when you apply the brakes it’s a good chance the brake pads have reached the end of their useful lives. Many are engineered with small metal tabs that rub against the rotor when the friction material is worn away to a certain point. The squealing sound is an indication that it’s time for a brake job. If you notice the vehicle pull in one direction when you apply the brakes, make sure to contact us so we can inspect the brake system for you.
When driving in the winter, you will want to make sure you follow some tips and guidelines to ensure you have the safest driving experience. Allow yourself the extra time to drive more slowly. Other motorists will be driving slowly, and overtaking may not be an option. You don’t need the extra stress of being late for an appointment. Clear the snow off of all the windows and mirrors before you drive. This prevents snow falling and impairing your vision, or the vision of other drivers. Don’t leave a lot of snow on the roof. It has been known to slide forward under braking and cover the windshield. Also remember to clear front and rear lights, so other people can see you and your signals. Driving in snow requires anticipation of other road users behavior, as much as looking after your own car. Watch the behavior of oncoming traffic; you may have to avoid them if they slide towards you. Try to leave a 10 second gap between you and the car in front. The 10 second gap allows for increased stopping distances, and gives you time to respond if the car in front has problems. If they stop, you may have time and space to steer a different course, or by slowing down you can allow time for the obstruction to clear without having to stop and restart yourself. Normally you should follow a car at least three seconds, but this should increase if the weather or road conditions are poor. Also be aware of where ice might be. Look for reflections in the road surface ahead; what looks like water, may be ice. One of the first signs of slippery conditions is if the steering becomes lighter to turn. The action of Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) is felt as a vibration of the brake pedal. If you recognize that sensation, it can give you early warning of slippery conditions. If roads are slippery you may see these dashboard warning lights flash when wheel spin is detected under acceleration. They indicate that ABS is being used to slow the fastest turning wheel, or the accelerator is being reduced momentarily. Bright sun and a warm wind can quickly thaw ice, but leave patches in sheltered areas, so be vigilant where a wall casts a shadow over the road. Also remember that the braking may be affected on bad roads. Brake gently without locking the wheels. If you have ABS, it will repeatedly release the brakes momentarily and then re-apply them, to keep the wheels going round enough for you to steer. Always be aware of the vehicles around you, and allow enough space.
With cold temperatures comes the chance for ice and snow to cover the surface of the roads. You will want to make sure that you know the weather conditions and the conditions of the roads when you travel. If either are less than ideal, then make sure to take your time and slow down. By taking your time, you can help reduce the chance of an accident or going in the ditch. The tires should be inspected regularly in the winter. They should be properly inflated to the amount determined in the vehicle owner’s manual. For every ten degrees the temperature drops, the tire pressure usually decreases by about one pound. Maintaining the proper tire pressure can help to improve the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. It can also give you better traction on slippery roads. The tires should also be inspected so they have enough tread to grip the roads better with. You can test the amount of tread the tires have by taking a penny and placing it upside down in the tread. If you can see Lincoln’s head, the tread is extremely low. Another thing to do this winter is to watch the road as you drive. When driving in the winter, also watch the roads for any slick spots. Bridges and overpasses generally freeze before other parts of the pavement. If you notice that the road conditions are less than ideal, make sure to slow down to allow enough time, space, and handling of your vehicle. Only drive at a speed that you are comfortable at. If you start to notice poor handling with your vehicle or if it swerves, slow down to stay safe. Keep the windshield washer fluid topped off by using an antifreeze version in the winter. This can help to ensure the reservoir does not freeze and crack. It can also help to ensure that the washer pump will continue to operate properly when you might need it. If you notice an issue with your vehicle, make sure to bring it in as soon as possible.