How To Winterize A Car

Living in colder climates comes with a fair share of challenges.  There is the requirement to live in a house with strong insulation; the extra electricity bills to keep the house warm; the need for an entirely different wardrobe full of turtlenecks, long johns and wool socks; and then all the obligations that come with preparing a vehicle for the winter months.

 

With all these factors at play it is no surprise that some people do not prepare their car effectively for winter.  Depending on the climate, this oversight can have grave results.  There is no doubt that a 10 year old car will not do well in frigid temperatures – for one thing, the engine will struggle to start because motor oil will have thickened in the cold.

 

In the interest of helping car owners get through the winter unscathered, here is a list of things to do to winterize a vehicle:

 

●      Winter Tires Are A Must.  All season tires will simply not cut it when black ice is on all the roads.  Winter tires have tread patterns and rubber compounds that are designed to navigate safely over ice.  This traction will certainly come in handy more than once.

●      Check The Battery.  The battery will operate at half power in freezing conditions, so it’s important to make sure it is at full strength.  Check the fluid level in the battery by removing the plastic cap.  If there is any uncertainty about the strength of the battery do not hesitate to have it checked.

●      Use The Right Engine Oil.  As mentioned above, engine oil thickens in the cold.  Today it is normal for cars to use multi-weight oil that operates well in  heat and the cold.  However, it is recommended to switch to a grade of oil that is specifically designed to work in colder temperatures.  If extremely cold temperature is expected, there is always the option to purchase an engine block heater that can be installed in the engine and keeps the oil from expanding or freezing.

●      Double Check The Cooling System. The cooling system relies on rubber tubes to work effectively.  In colder weather these tubes can become brittle, or excessively soft, and stop performing up to par.  Check the hoses manually and replace them if they are either too firm or too soft.  It is wise to have the cooling checked every two years, so contact a garage if it’s been longer than that.  It is normal for carers to have a full check up at the garage once a year.  Mechanic shops in Longmont, CO offer great package deals that include winterizing maintenance with a standard oil change.

●      Let The Engine Warm Up.  Otherwise the oil will not warm up in time!

 

Common Issues With Car Air Conditioning Explained

Getting a regular flow of cold air throughout a car is one of the most enjoyable aspects of owning a vehicle.  In the muggy summer months there is really no replacement for it because opening windows only brings in more of the muggy air.  The funny thing is that you only realize how important a functional A/C unit it is when it stops working.  The car quickly goes from being heat relief to a scorching sauna, and driving suddenly becomes immensely unappealing.

As with all mechanical things, there are a number of different reasons why the A/C in a car stops churning out cold air.  Here is a detailed run-down of the most common issued with air conditioning:

The Black Death?  This ironic reference to the bubonic plague that swept Europe in the 14th century refers to the breakdown of the refrigerant.  The refrigerant is a mixture of coolant and water that is spread throughout the car when the engine is started.  A refrigerant breakdown means that the liquid will have seeped out of where it should be kept and begun damaging the compressor and other parts of the car.  The compressor really is where all the damage emerges from, and soon enough particles of metal will spread through the A/C system and wreak havoc to various parts of the car and block the proper transference of the refrigerant.  For anyone worried about the potential for ‘black death’ in their car it is recommended to book an A/C performance check with a local car mechanic.

Weak Airflow? The air might be cool, but it’s so weak that it makes almost no difference.  There are a few reasons why the airflow is so weak.  The first option is that mildew has built up in the evaporator that prevents thorough air flow.  A second potential option is a loose hose.  Usually this happens to the blower hose that is responsible for supplying air to the blower unit.  A third option is a damaged or broken ventilation fan; while a fourth option are broken seals that would otherwise keep the air pressure strong.

Lack of Cold Air? A lack of cold air is every car owner’s worst nightmare.  The most likely cause of this is failed compressor or damaged condenser.  In some cases, vacuum leaks have developed that bring moisture into parts of the car that should never be exposed to the elements.  This can cause serious and costly damage. The gradual decrease in

The gradual decrease in cold air should be attended to immediately.  Don’t wait for the next oil change to get the A/C unit checked at a garage in Longmont or surrounding areas.

 5 Benefits of Regular Oil Changes

Any car owner will say that changing the oil is important – but do they know why?  What usually ends up happening is that car owners think their oil will just be okay for a while.  They keep telling themselves that until something goes wrong, and then they finally go about fixing it.  It’s a similar attitude that many people have with their health: if nothing is going seriously wrong, why go in for a check-up?

The problem with this attitude to car maintenance is that it actually destroys the car at a much faster rate than if oil changes were done regularly.  Most car mechanics in Longmont will say that an oil change is required every 3,000 miles, while an air conditioning service is not as urgent.

 

Here is a list of 5 reasons why a regular oil change will add quality years to the life of a car:

 

  • The Engine Needs Clean Oil.  This is the most important reason to get an oil change.  Imagine a human body that had blood seeping through its veins that gradually became dirty and clogged up.  The body would not operate well if the blood was not flowing everywhere it needed to, right?  This is exactly what happens to a car that has not had an oil change.  The oil picks up debris from the internal organs of the vehicle and drags it around as it tries to reach every compartment of the vehicle.  Naturally, the car will begin to run more poorly and eventually die.
  • The Engine Will Stay Strong.  This debris that collects in oil will cause damage to the engine if left untreated for too long.  Lubrication is integral for the engine to start smoothly and operate without any hitches.  The engine obviously operates at a very hot temperature, and without the proper lubrication, this heat will cause degradation of all component parts.  It goes without saying that engine damage is incredibly costly and should be avoided at all costs.  Changing the oil on a regular basis can literally add years of life to the engine of the car.
  • Better Fuel Efficiency.  The logic of this is quite simple: the cleaner the oil is, the easier it is for the car to run, therefore the less fuel it has to burn just to get to work and back.  This saves money on gas and limits (though only slightly) a number of emissions being sent into the atmosphere.  There is also the practical concern of passing emissions tests to consider.

 

These are only a few of the many reasons why getting an oil change is an integral part of car maintenance.

 

 Car Heating Maintenance Tips

Though it might seem like a challenging endeavor, doing some basic maintenance on a car heater is actually quite straightforward.  The benefit of checking the heating once in awhile is that it will prevent any issues with heating that could bring additional damage to the car.  For example, overheating is a common problem with car heaters that can be avoided by regular maintenance.

Here are a few tips for the regular car owner to follow up on if they want to stay on top of their heater.  If there is any concern at all about the state of the AC or heater, it is important to see a qualified car mechanic immediately.  There are a number of excellent mechanics in the Longmont area that specialize in heater issues, alignment concerns, engine trouble, and so much more.

How To Change The Antifreeze

Changing the antifreeze is the best way to ensure that the heater will continue to operate effectively.  Anyone interested in checking their own car’s antifreeze will need safety goggles, a screwdriver, an antifreeze tester, a clean pan, a hose, and several bottles of fresh antifreeze.

There are a number of steps to changing the antifreeze:

 

  1. Check The Levels.  With the car turned off, unscrew the pressure cap from the radiator.  Make sure to wear safety goggles while performing any tasks with units that are under pressure.  Once the cap has been removed, place the antifreeze tester into the radiator.  It will show the temperature to which the antifreeze is effective.  Those living in colder climates take note: if it gets any colder that what the antifreeze reading is, then it’s time to change the antifreeze.
  2. Draining The Antifreeze. To drain the antifreeze, place the pan underneath the radiator and open the valve on the bottom.  Make sure to wear gloves and a mask during this procedure because antifreeze is toxic.
  3. Change The Thermostat Too. This is to ensure that the reading can always be trusted.  Changing the thermostat requires removing the face of the old thermostat, disconnecting the wires, removing the old mount that held the old thermostat, and connecting a new thermostat.
  4. Put In New Antifreeze. The final step is to put new antifreeze into the radiator.  At this stage, it is important to consider the weather once more because it determines the ratio of antifreeze to water.  In warmer climates, the ratio is 50/50, while in colder climates a 70/30 mix is recommended.

 Car maintenance is not for everyone, and there are many qualified professionals to step in if needed.  Do not hesitate in contacting a garage if the heaters are inconsistent or simply not working.  A professional will be able to fix the problem in a number of hours.

Car Winterizing: 3 Key Steps

Living in a harsh climate with extreme seasonal temperatures and weather conditions can do a number on a car. Winter, especially, with its biting cold, snow and ice, and general unpredictability, can wreak havoc on a vehicle. Owners and drivers should be prepared for the worst that Old Man Winter can throw at them. Winterizing a car, including an oil change in Longmont, CO, can do a lot to keep it running efficiently all season. Read on for more details and 3 key steps.

Winterizing in Longmont, CO: An Oil Change Can Keep a Car Running

1.    Change the Engine Oil

Changing the oil to a thinner formula will help the engine run better in colder temperatures, especially if it’s below freezing. This is because thicker, more viscous engine oil will thicken further when the thermometer drops, which equals sluggish performance. Switching out the oil during a fall oil change will help the engine turn over better when the mercury plunges.

2.    Use the Right Engine Coolant

Coolant helps protect vehicle engines from corrosion as well as overheating. Every vehicle requires a different ratio of engine coolant to water. In the winter, the right ratio needs to be attended to for optimal protection. This might be different from what is needed in the summer. Some vehicles might require a 60/40 or even a 70/30 ratio – car owners should check the manual or the manufacturer’s specifications, and they should never add coolant if they’re unsure of the correct ratio.

3.    Check the Battery

A car battery’s “cranking power” is the total power the battery is able to use in order to start the engine, according to Cars Direct (also referred to as “cold cranking amps,” as the power is measured in amps, and the performance is determined at a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit). In cold weather, the cranking power of a car battery is reduced. It doesn’t help that freezing temperatures thicken engine oil, which also contributes to how difficult it is for the engine to turn over. To prevent problems, car owners need to make sure their battery is in good working order before the cold weather hits.

Extra Winterizing Tips

There’s not much that’s worse than getting in a frozen car early in the morning, only to find that it won’t start. Car owners can circumvent problems like this by winterizing their cars for maximum performance in cold temperatures and harsh conditions.

Changing the oil to a winter grade formula, using a winter ratio of engine coolant to water, and double-checking that the battery is charged and in good shape are all excellent habits for winter driving prep. Other tips include investing in a set of snow tires, installing a fresh set of windshield wiper blades to help keep vision clear, and warming up the engine before driving. Even a brief amount of idle time can help the oil warm up so it flows better. Follow these tips to keep a vehicle dependable and ready to go even when the mercury plummets.

A person’s vehicle is one of their most prized possessions. Not only do most people appreciate their car for its practicality, getting them to and from wherever they need to go, many people go so far as to love their car. In fact, many people name their cars and care for them as they would a member of their family.

Regardless of the level of devotion a person feels toward their car, it is imperative that they do all they can to get the best services and care for it. High quality maintenance and repair services will do much to keep a car in good working order for years to come. This includes a Longmont air conditioning service company that also focuses on car heating services.

How Longmont Air Conditioning Service Companies ID 4 Common Car Heating Issues

A car’s heating and cooling systems are closely related. This is one of the main reasons why a company will focus on both systems, as opposed to one or the other.

If a person presents their car with a heating issue, how does an air conditioning and heating company determine the exact problem?

  1. Check for Cooling System Leaks

Anti-freeze or coolant is used to reduce corrosion and boost the boiling point within the cooling system and engine. Leaks will not only stop the heater from working efficiently, the engine won’t be able to cool down.

  1. Evaluate the HVAC Door

An HVAC door opens and closes to direct air flow to various vents in the car. This door is typically made of plastic, which can break over time and lead to a vent or vents not working properly.

  1. Look for Water Pump Corrosion

A water pump forces coolant throughout a car’s heating system. Corrosion on the pump will eventually make it impossible for the pump to do its job. This can cause a car’s engine to overheat. In some cases, there is a leaky seal or a failed bearing on the water pump where coolant can seep out and cause the heating system to malfunction.

  1. Assess the Heater Core

Trapped air or clogs in the heater core can prevent the heating and air conditioning system from working properly. A service technician will feel the heater core tubes; one should be warm and the other hot. If one is hot and the other is cold, there is some sort of clog that needs to be addressed. Another problem is a leaking heater core. This is sometimes difficult to fix, so a professional should definitely be consulted. They may be able to repair the leak, or replacement may be the best option.

A Treasured Vehicle Deserves Top-Notch Car Heating and Air Conditioning Services

A person’s car is often more than just a means to get from place to place; it is their pride and joy. Such a beloved possession deserves the best care possible. At the first sign of heating issues, a car should be taken to a top-notch Longmont air condition service company.

When to Get a Wheel Alignment in Longmont

When a car’s wheels are out of alignment, it can cause a whole slew of other problems. For instance, the tires will wear unevenly, which means vehicle owners will have to replace one or two much sooner than necessary. Bad alignment also hurts a vehicle’s fuel economy, as the wheels that are not aligned will drag and cause friction. This means the vehicle has to work harder to move forward, which uses more gas. Circumvent problems with wheel alignment in Longmont by watching for the following signs while driving the car in question.

Longmont Alignment Problems: Things to Watch For While Driving

1. The car seems to want to pull to the left or right on its own.
This means the driver has to constantly correct the steering so the car doesn’t drift to the left or the right. The driver might also feel the steering wheel pulling to either side if they relax their grip. This is a good sign the alignment needs to be checked, but it can also mean a couple other things. For instance, if the car wants to list to one side, it might simply mean that the air pressure in one tire is low.

2. The front tires are unevenly worn – the tread might be entirely worn off on one of them.
This is a good sign that the tire in question is not aligned in the right direction, and is therefore being “dragged” at the wrong angle. Pay attention to a tire with a tread that is almost or completely worn away along an outside or inside edge.

3. Steering isn’t as responsive as it should be.
If turning the steering wheel isn’t smooth and easy, the problem might be the wheel alignment. If the steering feels heavy or difficult to turn, the alignment should be looked into. Additionally, after rounding a corner, the steering wheel of a vehicle with bad alignment will not re-center itself as it should.
Drivers and car owners should not forget that driving over potholes, large bumps, or rough road can all contribute to throwing the wheels out of alignment. The chances are also better for this problem when drivers must travel through areas of rough weather that effect road conditions, like heavy snow and ice. People who live where they may encounter these types of conditions need to have their alignment checked at least yearly.

Drivers and car owners should not forget that driving over potholes, large bumps, or rough road can all contribute to throwing the wheels out of alignment. The chances are also better for this problem when drivers must travel through areas of rough weather that effect road conditions, like heavy snow and ice. People who live where they may encounter these types of conditions need to have their alignment checked at least yearly.

Get It Checked Out

If a vehicle is displaying any of the above signs, it should be taken to a car repair or auto body shop to have the wheel alignment checked. This is essential to do, because some of these signs may also point to other problems. Either way, it’s important to get a vehicle looked at with any of the above warning signals, because if ignored, the issue may only worsen, and might end up affecting the power steering or the suspension components. In regard to driving and safety, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

5 Reasons Why a Regular Oil Change in Longmont Is So Important

One of the most needed, yet most neglected, car maintenance procedures is a regular oil change in Longmont. There are many people who think the recommendations of the car manufacturer are too stringent and that the oil doesn’t need to be changed too often. These people wait until their oil is running low or changes color before they decide to change it.

But is this really the best practice?

Oil Change in Longmont: 5 Reasons It Needs To Happen Regularly

Regular oil changes are actually extremely important if a vehicle owner wants their car to run well for a long time. There are 5 reasons in particular why regular oil changes are vital to the life of a vehicle.

  1. Oil Is To A Vehicle What Blood Is To A Human

Blood brings oxygen and nutrients to all of the body’s organs. People with blood disorders or low blood counts don’t function as well as people who don’t suffer from these things. Blood disorders cause low energy and inefficient function.

Oil is just as important to a car as blood is to a body. The oil keeps the car functioning in optimal condition, keeps the car from overheating and keeps the engine running like it was brand new.

  1. Better Lubrication Means a Better Riding Experience

A smoother ride is achieved, in large part, to a well-lubricated engine. Carbons and varnish are collected in the oil with every little engine explosion, thousands of which occur every few minutes. New, clean oil is the best engine lubricant.

  1. Old Oil Eventually Becomes Sludge

Besides the carbons and varnish that build up in the oil, dust, mud and other debris can build up in the oil. Soon, the smooth oily liquid becomes thick and heavy with the debris. This sludge will adversely affect the performance of the engine.

  1. Better Gas Mileage

Not only does the lubrication of the oil help with a smoother ride, it helps improve gas mileage. When the oil becomes like a thick sludge, it causes more friction within the engine. More friction equals worse gas mileage. Keeping up with regular, 3 month or 30,000 mile oil changes will help keep friction low and improve the gas mileage.

  1. A Cleaner Environment

Oil fuel emits harmful fumes into the environment. These noxious emissions pollute the environment and can cause illness, especially in people with asthma or other lung conditions.

Faithful Cars Are Well-Maintained Cars

It isn’t uncommon to hear people say that they have a faithful car. They are saying this because they’ve had little-to-no trouble with the vehicle over the years that they’ve owned it. Part of the reason people experience this is because they’ve purchased a car with a good reputation. Another reason why they have such a good car is because they take the time to do the necessary maintenance on it. Sticking to a maintenance schedule, one that includes a regular oil change in Longmont, will help keep a car in good working order for years to come.

Auto Repair in Longmont: Car Air Conditioning Efficiency

For many Longmont auto owners, the car’s air conditioning system is an essential side of surviving every summer. When the heat wave hits, the prospect of reaching the cool haven inside their car can become downright addictive. Unfortunately, a car’s air conditioning system is also one of the most likely parts of a car to malfunction, as well as being a remarkable fuel-drain.

There are, however, many ways to maximize the efficiency of an air conditioning system and diminish the chances of it breaking.

Air Conditioning Systems Don’t Work Well with Shocks

As a general rule, any cooling system placed on overdrive will waste energy all around. In order to minimize their fuel consumption, the key is to allow them to work in phases.

First, it’s important to prevent the interior of the car from overheating. During peak heat days, indoor parking is the best way to go. If forced to park outside, finding a shaded spot is recommended, as well as cracking the windows open. The idea is to prevent the interior from becoming too hot.

To avoid damaging the A/C system in addition to saving fuel, it’s recommended to place the A/C on low first and allow it to cool down the car interior for a few minutes. Once the air has cooled down a bit, turning on the “air recirculation” option will further lower energy consumption before finally setting it to the desired intensity.

Many Longmont motorists seek auto repair services because they can’t place the damp or moldy smell that comes out whenever the A/C is turned on. This is caused by the droplets of condensed moisture that stay inside the air conditioning’s evaporator, which then leak and make bacteria or fungi develop.

This can be prevented by keeping things slow once it’s time to leave the car. The air conditioning should be turned off before the engine is. Ideally, this should be done three to five minutes before reaching the final destination – temperature won’t increase as long as the windows are closed. Meanwhile, the fan should remain working at medium strength – this is essential to dry out the interior of the A/C system, which in turn will help keep it clean for longer.

Regular Maintenance Saves Money – Even Medical Bills

With the tips described above, the air conditioning system will be less likely to break down. However, regular maintenance is still a must. Coolant leaks can be a very serious issue, as they are not only very harmful to the environment, but should they reach other parts of the car’s engine, it can be very expensive to repair.

The coolant liquid should be replaced regularly, and the whole system tested for leaks. Under normal circumstances, coolant will not be toxic to humans just through contact (although it should never be drunk). Replacing this fluid will also give an opportunity to sanitize the entire container – bacteria left to thrive in there can raise the chances of upper respiratory infections.

Air conditioning systems have gone from a luxury to a staple of Longmont’s summers, so it’s best to keep them functioning properly. Scheduling regular maintenance with a reliable auto repair shop in Longmont is the best bet.

Auto Repair in Longmont: Car Winterizing

Longmont is a scenic place to live in, but it is undeniable its winters are hard. While none of its residents would ever dream of trying to go through an entire winter without coats and sweaters, the same consideration is rarely paid to cars.

Making sure cars are serviced and readied for the winter is essential to avoid being stranded in the snow. After all, cars are ignition-based machines and they rely on heat to function – it’s only natural they need an extra hand once temperatures drop below freezing level.

It’s More Than Just Adding Antifreeze – But It’s the First Thing That Should Be Done

Car winterizing is a multi-step process, but the most common one is to adjust the amount of anti-freeze. Engines require a mix of water and anti-freeze – but a truly cold winter can cause said water to freeze, therefore jamming the entire car.

Usually, cars in an area such as Longmont will require a ratio of 60% anti-freeze to 40% water. However, this can vary depending on the model and make, and some models require specific types of coolant. It’s best to consult the vehicle’s manual before pouring anything into its engine.

When It’s Cold, Batteries Must Work Twice As Hard

Before the first frost arrives, it’s important to check the batteries fully. Starting the engine under sharp weather conditions requires extra energy, so it’s best to ensure that there is enough voltage left in the battery. It’s also wise to ensure all parts of the battery are functioning properly: there should be no cracks or breaks in the cables, terminals should be fitting properly, and the battery fluid should be refilled.

Windshields and Wipers Should Be As Good As New

Businesses that specialize in auto repair in Longmont are quite familiar with this – as hail or freezing rain begins to fall, windshield wipers begin to fail, and accidents begin to happen. Low visibility can be very dangerous during the winter, so it’s best to be ready. Drivers should check the rubber seal around the windshield for potential cracks or leaks, replace the wiper blades, and add antifreeze to the wiper fluid reservoir.

Snow Tires Need to Be Installed in Time

Driving on slippery snow or icy roads is an adventure – but it is best not to make it an extreme one by switching to snow tires before the season starts. It’s best if they’re mounted on cheap steel wheels, as they will be easier to change back once spring returns, and it will be less painful once they unavoidably get corroded by melted snow and road salt.

Emergency Supplies Should Be in the Trunk

Even the most thorough winterization won’t completely compensate for the higher chance of suffering from a car accident during the winter. A first-aid kit should be securely placed in the back of the trunk, with all necessary supplies in good condition. It’s a good idea to also include a security triangle, cat litter, and blankets, as well as an ice scraper. People who drive in rural or deserted areas often should also include some food and flashlights to their basic winter car kit.

Winter can be a beautiful season, but its harsh conditions still require care. These basic measures will help avoiding painful accidents during the season.