Teens and Auto MaintenanceAugust 15, 2017
Teens have to learn how to drive in order to get their license and get on the road, so you would think that learning how to properly take care of their care would be something that they would learn at about the same time. But the truth is, it’s rare that teens get a class on how to take care of their car, like they do with learning how to drive. With the exception of kids that grew up around an auto shop, or who had mechanics for parents, most teens are completely clueless about how to properly take care of their car.
We had a customer bring in a vehicle one time that hadn’t had an oil change in who knows when. The vehicle was a daily driver for a college student, and her father initially brought it in. When our technicians started to change the oil, there wasn’t much oil, but there was a thick sludge- the bi-product of not getting a regular oil change in forever. It was pretty remarkable that the vehicle hadn’t broken down already or suffered any other lasting damage. The student wasn’t willfully neglecting to get an oil change, she just genuinely did not know that it was something that needed to be done regularly.
So what can you do to teach your young driver about how to take care of their car?
- Set a good example. Make sure your oil is changed regularly, and that you meet all recommended manufacturer maintenance schedules. The next time you take your car in for maintenance, take your teen with you to see how the process works.
- Help them remember. During the first couple of months, you might need to help your young driver remember that they need to take their car in for maintenance. Driving is a big life step for teens, so they’ll likely be pre-occupied with their new abilities before thinking about all the responsibility that a car actually entails. Try checking up on them by asking them when their next oil change is, or what’s next for their car’s overall maintenance.
- Teach them responsibility. If not taught the responsibility of being a car owner, driving is just another freedom and fun thing to do for a teen. Young drivers need to be taught that driving is more about just going places and having their own ride, and that they have a responsibility to make smart choices and save money by keeping their vehicle in good condition.
Driving and car ownership aren’t really natural for people, so your child won’t know how to do these things unless you show them how. To raise a safe driver, good car-owner and responsible adult, make sure you teach your teen about the basics of good auto care and maintenance before something goes wrong.
Gas Saving TipsJuly 15, 2017
While we do not have much control over the prices at the pump, we do have some control over efforts to save as much fuel as possible while we drive. Follow these gas saving tips to keep more fuel in your tank, and more money in your wallet.
Keep Your Cool
Aggressive driving tactics such as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking, wastes more gas than we realize. In fact, according to fueleconomy.gov, it can lower your gas mileage by 33% on the highway and by 5% in town.
Maintain your Vehicle
Taking your vehicle in for regular maintenance at the auto repair shop can help you save money at the pump. Old spark plugs, dirty filters, low fluid levels, poor alignment and improperly inflated tires all contribute to poor gas mileage.
Avoid Heavy Loads or Excess Weight
If you have accumulated excess junk in your trunk, clean it out and save money. Your vehicle has to work harder and uses more fuel to carry around all of those unnecessary items.
Keep Your Windows Closed at High Speeds
Open windows create drag, and drag leads to poor fuel economy.
Idling wastes gas and money. If you are stopped for more than 30 seconds, simply turn off the engine.
Coast to a Stop
Why hurry to stop? Rushing to red lights never gets anyone anywhere faster and only increases fuel costs. Brakes take the energy of the moving car and change it into heat energy, which is lost to the air. When you coast to a stop, you do not waste money converting that energy and end up at the same place in the long run, except with more fuel in the tank.
Use the right Oil
Simply by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil you can improve gas mileage by at least 1%. Some oils even come in “energy saving” options and contain friction-reducing additives to help increase efficiency.
Avoid Ethanol When Possible
Gasoline cut with ethanol decreases your miles per gallon and increases your fuel costs. Why? Gasoline stores more energy than ethanol so you need more of it to go the same distance.
Plan Your Trips
Save on extra driving and extra trips by planning your errands and your route. Putting in a little extra effort and holding off on extra trips will make the gas you have stretch further and provide more value for your dollar.
Better fuel economy does not happen in one step or result from one dramatic solution. Instead, it takes many small changes all aimed at keeping more change in your pocket.
BrakesJune 15, 2017
Brakes are your first line of defense against any accidents or collisions on and off the road. So it’s important that you get them checked out before they begin to fail or make noises. If you’re like most drivers in Lake Zurich, you only get your brakes checked once you notice that something’s wrong. It’s important to get your brakes checked regularly.
Note, an easy way to remember is to get them checked each time you go in for an oil or filter change at Alpine Automotive Not maintaining functioning brakes is a safety hazard to both you and other drivers on the road.
Most common signs you need a brake check:
Grinding or Screeching noises when you brake
Cause: This usually indicates that the brake pads are worn down and need to be replaced immediately. Remember, the grinding and screeching is not a “friendly reminder” to change your brake pads, it is a sign of a mechanical problem. Not replacing your brake pads at this point will result in serious problems and more expensive repair costs.
Your ABS light on the dashboard is on
Cause: Have one of our auto technicians do a routine brake check, if there are no discernible problems and the light is still coming on, check the wiring and electric plugs. They can suffer from over-all wear and tear too!
Pulsating or shaky braking
Cause: Consistent use of your auto brakes means heat and wear caused by friction. Over time, this can warp the rotors by thinning them out, which leads to the shaky feeling.
Cause: This is difficult to say without a full inspection of the brakes by a mechanic, but any of the above are likely potential causes.
Transmission Repair in Lake ZurichMay 15, 2017
Transmission problems can cause a serious halt to your routine driving if you ignore your transmission problems for too long. The longevity of your vehicle could extensively suffer too. It is therefore very crucial to schedule transmission repair at the earliest sign of transmission problems. Look for a professional transmission shop in your area for repair and maintenance of any transmission issues that might be affecting the peak driving condition of your vehicle. In Lake Zurich, the transmission experts are at Alpine Automotive.
Purposes of Transmission in Your Vehicle
The transmission is a power train that converts the force of a vehicle’s engine into a controlled source of power. In other words, it turns your vehicle’s engine speed into power, and shift the drive mechanism into forward and reverse. Without the transmission, your vehicle won’t move, and you may find yourself stranded on the side of the road or lose fuel economy. So, for your vehicle to have the longest life possible, transmission repair and maintenance are very important.
Common Transmission Repair and Maintenance for Your Vehicle
Damaged torque converter
The torque converter is responsible for releasing gears in an automatic transmission. If it is broken or damaged, your transmission may have problems on the road, especially slipping transmission.
Low transmission fluid
Similar to your engine or brakes, your vehicle’s transmission requires fluids to remain lubricated and powered. Sometimes, you’re the fluid may leak, leading to burnt order and slipping gears. Let the professionals at Alpine Automotive check your transmission fluid regularly.
Electronic solenoid issues
Electronic solenoids control the flow of transmission fluid when your vehicle is in motion. Because they are electronically controlled, any electronic failure can create issues with your transmission, especially low fluid levels.
Affordable Transmission Rebuild in Lake ZurichApril 15, 2017
Automatic and standard transmissions are very complex. Adding to the complexity in the newer vehicles of today is the use of computers in both engines and transmissions. Proper diagnostic testing is a must in pinpointing existing problems. At that point, a decision can be made as to whether you need a new transmission or if you can rebuild your existing one.
Rebuilding is cost effective for you
Most people think that if a transmission needs repairs or rebuilding, they need to replace the entire vehicle. This is no longer the case. If you’ve decided to rebuild your existing transmission, you have chosen a cost-effective way to keep your vehicle rather than selling it. When you rebuild – you’re basically getting a new transmission. This is more affordable than having to replace an entire vehicle.
Proper Equipment is a Must
While rebuilding a transmission may sound easy, it can be difficult without the proper equipment. The transmission is completely taken apart. All components other than the housing are replaced, and the housing itself is cleaned and inspected. Repairs should be done in a regulated auto repair shop to ensure the job is done properly and safely. Having the work done by a qualified technician at Alpine Automotive is your best bet for this type of work . The amount of seals and gaskets in addition to clutches can be quite large. In order to have your rebuild be successful, proper placement of these parts is crucial. Visit our Lake Zurich shop for qualified technicians to get the job done quickly for you.
Hearing that your vehicle needs a new transmission shouldn’t be as frightening as it used to be. With today’s technology and properly certified technicians available, it is definitely a good way to save your vehicle.