SUV driving in snowy pass - winterizing your car

Winterizing Your Car

As the holiday season approaches, full of shopping trips and family gatherings, it’s easy to forget about the preparation needed for winterizing your car. Amidst the rest of your holiday planning, it is important that your car is ready for colder weather and icy conditions on the road. Here are a few steps you can take to prepare your car for winter.

Professional Inspection

With the extra strains of winter, a second opinion is never a bad idea when winterizing your vehicle. We recommend taking your car to a licensed professional who will inform you whether the various systems and parts in your car (radiator, brakes, etc.) are in good condition. They can also ensure the fluids (antifreeze, brake fluid, oil, etc.) are at the correct levels.

Gas Up

We recommend keeping your gas tank half full at all times during the winter to prevent freeze ups. Also, if you’re ever stranded, your engine may be the only thing keeping you warm until help arrives.

Battery

It is always recommended that you test your vehicles battery throughout the year, especially during the wintertime. Colder temperatures require more current from the battery in order to get the engine started. To avoid a stressful situation, pack some jumper cables in your trunk and invest in an extra battery to keep in the garage for future use.

Visibility

With the weather changing it is likely that you will be using your windshield wipers more often than not. To ensure your wiper blades are up to the task of winter driving, we recommend replacing them with new ones before the first freeze. Keep your washer reservoir full with a solution that contains an antifreeze agent, which are designed for lower temperatures. If you see any streaks on your windshield or cracks in the rubber of the blade, it is time to change them out. You can replace your wipers at most auto stores, as they are often inexpensive and easy to install. Now is also a good time to check that all the vehicles lights are working properly, so that you’ll have optimum vision at night and other drivers can see you.

Tires

Tire manufactures say the onset of winter weather is a good time to make sure your tires are properly inflated. Air pressure can affect steering, handling, gas mileage, and the life of the tires themselves. For every 10 degree drop in temperature, your tire loses 2-3 pounds of pressure. You can refer to the owner manual to ensure your tires are in acceptable range, and improve efficiency. It is also a good idea to check the tread on your tires before the roads get icy. You can simply place a penny in between the tread, if you can see Lincolns head In full view, it is time for new tires.

Winter Supply Kit

With unpredictable weather conditions, you never know when you may need to change a tire or jump start a battery. Having a box full of winter supplies in your trunk can make all the difference when something goes wrong while traveling on a cold winter day. Here are some suggested items you may want to include: a first-aid kit, a flashlight, blankets, gloves, warm clothes, an ice scraper, jumper cables, road flares, water, non-perishable food, paper towels, extra antifreeze and washer fluid. Amazon carries a plethora of “emergency kits” ranging from entry-level to more inclusive packages that have  radios, phone chargers, and more.  Keep you and your family safe and comfortable while traveling this winter.

We hope these simple steps help you better prepare for a winter void of any major incidents, and that you have a safe and happy holiday season.

To schedule an inspection, give us a call at (503) 363-6888.

auto air vents - air conditioning service and repair

Air Conditioning Service and Repair

Get Your Air Conditioning Fixed Before You Feel the Heat

Are you battling the summer heat, in your car or vehicle? Have you been thinking that it might be worth getting an air conditioning service and repair? Here at Duramax, we specialize in the service and maintenance of vehicle air conditioning units, helping to keep our customers cool no matter what summer throws at us.

Rather than wait until things get bad, or worse, if you spot any of the signs below you can bring your vehicle in for service and smaller repairs which means smaller bills and more savings for you. With graduation parties, vacations and summer cookouts, more cash in your wallet is a wonderful thing. The warning signs are easy to spot, if you know what to look for. So, we’ve pulled together a short description how and what to spot when it’s time to have your AC serviced or repaired rather than replaced.

Warning signs that your air conditioning unit is in need of service.

It doesn’t work the way it used to.

Do you find yourself cranking the fan higher, or running the air conditioning for longer periods of time? These are signs that your car or trucks AC Unit is no longer functioning fully and that it could either have a leak, or be headed for a total breakdown.

There’s something there that wasn’t there before.

Have you noticed anything other than cold air coming from your vents? Is there a noise like a clanging or banging? Or maybe you’ve noticed a bit of a smell…something like mildew? Rather than crank up the volume or plug in an air freshener, this is a good time to get things checked out.

Puddles are pooling, inside your vehicle.

Keep an eye out for persistent puddles in the foot wells. While some may actually be the result of wet shoes on a rainy day, a clogged drain hose can cause your air conditioning to “leak” water from built up condensation.

Keep an eye on your sensors.

If your car or truck’s interior or exterior temperature sensor is bad, it may keep your air conditioner from turning on. When these sensors don’t work, your vehicle can’t take an accurate reading and therefore won’t respond properly.

A/C isn’t just for Summer!

Did you know that air conditioning in the winter helps dehumidify the air, reducing fogged up windows, making it safer to drive. It also helps control the temperature, keeps the A/C system components in better condition, and helps control the loss of refrigerant.

If your car or truck is experiencing any of these signs, don’t sweat, just give us a call and stay cool!

broken down volkswagen beetle in daffodils - spring care care

Spring Car Care

It’s spring car care time! Spring is here, and summer is just around the corner. With the beautiful weather comes changes in road conditions, temperature, and other factors that affect your vehicle. Here are a few things that you should check on this spring.

Brakes

Pull off your wheels and have a look at those brakes. The last thing you want to have fail on your vehicle is the brakes. If you aren’t comfortable checking the pads / discs / drums depending on your vehicle then have a mechanic look at them. They can determine the remaining life expectancy of your brakes and advise you on when they should be serviced or replaced.

Battery

Checking your battery regularly is important even outside of the winter. If your battery is not sealed, make sure the fluid level is high enough. The terminals should be free of corrosion and the top of the battery should not have any discharge around it. If your battery doesn’t look healthy, let a professional mechanic inspect it and determine if it needs to be replaced.

Rubber

Changes in temperature will eventually wear out any parts made of rubber. Tires, belts, and hoses should all be checked. If you have separate winter and summer tires, make sure to do a quick glance over for any bubbles or defects that could be forming as this could be a sign of a damaged tire. Uneven wear calls for an inspection by a certified mechanic that can properly diagnose the issue. Watch your belts while the engine is running and make sure there is no lateral movement or “flutter”. Flutter or cracking in the belts / hoses requires a replacement.

Fluids

Check all the fluid levels in your vehicle. Ensure that your oil is at the appropriate level and is a nice amber. Add extra oil if it is below the fill level and change it if it looks black and nasty. Check your transmission fluid. Depending on if you have an automatic or manual transmission vehicle, this step will vary.  If you have a manual vehicle with a hydraulic clutch, check the clutch fluid level. Your coolant level should be checked, and the contents tested for the water to ethylene glycol ratio with a simple tester that can be found at any auto store. Make sure your brake fluid is at the appropriate level and not dark and nasty looking. If so, have your mechanic flush and refill it. If your car is equipped with power steering, then make sure your power steering fluid is topped off and doesn’t look dirty.

A/C

An aging A/C unit can be easily pushed over the edge by a balmy day leaving you to cook in your car. Also, consider turning off the A/C in your car a couple minutes before turning off the engine. This gives the heat condenser time to cool off and prevents excess moisture from accumulating in your vents which can result in mold / fungi growth and a foul smell.

Wash

Give your vehicle a nice bath. Hit all the hard to get spots with higher pressure water to knock off any extra material that your car is carrying around from the winter months. Check all the locations in your vehicle that you don’t often see for damage that may have gone overlooked. Cleaning your engine bay also makes it much easier to spot potential leaks.

Car Maintenance - New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

Taking care of our bodies is important and we set new year’s resolutions to help us improve so how about a few New Year’s Resolutions for your car?

Beauty & Looks

Dirt left on your carpet and seats can tear the fibers so set a regular weekly vacuum schedule and take care of major dirt when it occurs.

Don’t forget to dust and occasionally add a protectant to your surfaces to reduce fading from the sun.

The exterior of your car (paint, chrome, trim, etc) can rust, scratch, and fade without regular washing and sealant/protectant.  Find a local detailer and you will be amazed at what they can do with your car or watch a YouTube video and learn for yourself.

Windows and visibility are key for safe driving. Ensure that your windows are clean inside and out and consider using a water repellant to help with rainy weather. Making sure you have wipers that are working well is a must!

Your lights are important for visibility and signaling to the drivers around you that you are stopping or turning. Recently, my daughter’s headlights were only partially working. The issue was a switch that was turned off when she had a body repair. A simple flip of a switch and her nighttime visibility (and safety) was improved tremendously.  It would be a good idea to check your lights on a regular basis.

Nutrition for your Car

You take your body for check-ups and physicals with your doctor so make sure to follow routine and maintenance recommendations. And schedule tune-ups to keep your car in optimal condition.

If you feed your car good fuel, check fluid levels, and perform regular oil changes, it helps keep the “inside” of your car running smoothly and reduces mechanical failures.

Exercise & Use

Just like your body needs to move, a car that isn’t driven for a while can develop issues. Driving your car or body too hard or under the wrong circumstances, however, can also have detrimental effects.

  • Make sure to check your tire pressure using the sticker on the inside of the driver’s door for the PSI. You need good shoes to exercise and good tires to drive safely and efficiently. Rotate your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles – depending on your vehicle.
  • Drive the speed limit – driving aggressively is not only unsafe, it can increase fuel consumption by as much as 35 percent.
  • Drive Sober & Buckle Up – just like you take care of your body – you need to take care of yourself and others when you drive. Safety First!

Here’s a link to an English and Spanish version of a guide to help you get started and track maintenance: http://www.carcare.org/car-care-resource/car-care-guide/. Or, if you’d prefer, you can make a checklist or set up tasks on your calendar to help you remember to take care of your car.

Call Duramax Transmissions for all of your automotive needs! (503)363-6888