The winter season can be a very tense time for drivers. It can be very difficult for motorists to maintain their vehicles during the colder months of a year unless they modify their car maintenance habits. The same practices that are used during the spring, summer, and fall are not as effective during the winter. By understanding tips about winter vehicle maintenance and auto repair in Longmont, drivers can winterize their cars and avoid costly and burdensome issues when the temperature drops.
Utilizing Winter Tires
It’s no secret that one of the main problems winter poses for drivers is dangerous road conditions. While a driver can shovel his or her own driveway, he or she can do little about the roads themselves. One strategy that a driver can use, however, is to opt for winter tires. These tires utilize tread patterns and materials designed to maintain better traction on snow and help drivers enjoy safer trips during the winter. Though some may think that being more attentive on the road and driving at slower speeds is enough to avoid accidents during a snowstorm, snow tires are an affordable and valuable investment that many drivers are thankful they acquired. But cold temperatures can have other effects on vehicles; thankfully, there are remedies for this as well.
Using Proper Oil
Many who find themselves shelling out for auto repair in Longmont during the winters can trace their car problems to the type of oil they use. The winter climate can have a negative effect on oil, depending on how viscous it is. Thicker oil is more likely to freeze when temperature dip too low, and this can have extremely negative effects on an engine. It can be costly to get these issues fixed, so many drivers decide to switch to a thinner and more winter-friendly oil.
Protecting the Paint Job
While some may think that the effects of cold weather on mechanical components and the difficulties snow covered roads pose for drivers are the only major issues to consider during the winter, a vehicle’s paint job can be at risk during this time. While snow itself isn’t harmful, the salt and sand frequently used on roads after winter storms can cause serious damage to the exterior of a vehicle. While several products exist on the market to help drivers winterize their vehicles, a simple waxing before a snowstorm and periodic washings throughout the winter are often more than enough to keep a car in good shape.
Keep an Eye on the Battery
Even a high-quality battery can die when the temperature drops below freezing. Even if a motorist doesn’t need to head out on the road, experts recommended starting one’s car and letting it run for at least a few minutes a day. It’s also wise to keep a check on how much fluid is retained as well as how cables are holding up during this type of weather. The winter can be a very difficult time for drivers, but a few simple tips can help any driver winterize their vehicle in an affordable manner.
auto repair Longmont
Preventing engine damage during colder months is quite simple when winterizing has been done. Pre-emptive auto repair in Longmont can assess and maintain a vehicle’s efficiency during the winter months. Each component of the vehicle can suffer when not properly prepared for the brutal and harsh winter conditions. Even moderate climates that have chilly winters can have an impact on a vehicle’s engine and overall performance. However, the engine isn’t the only victim during colder months.
The Importance of Protecting the Cooling System and Wipers
Maintaining a 50/50 mixture in the radiator will allow a vehicle to perform efficiently in both hot and cold weather. When the mixture of antifreeze and water is under or over 50/50, the performance of the vehicle will decrease immensely, especially in colder months. By replacing the coolant and flushing the system, the ideal mixture can remain up to standards and keep a vehicle in perfect working condition.
Speaking of fluids, low-grade windshield washer and wiper fluid can freeze in colder months. By using cold-weather-specific washer fluid, a vehicle’s wipers will continuously work through snow and salt buildup present on a windshield. Without the use of a proper windshield wiper fluid, the visibility during winter months can become compromised.
Battery Life During the Colder Months
It comes as no surprise that a battery’s life can become reduced if not properly taken care of before the winter months. Studies show that battery performance and power can be decreased as much as 50 percent because of cold temperatures. Technicians at auto repair centers in Longmont are able to assess the quality and current state of a battery as well as replace it if need be. If a car battery is over 4.5 years old before the next winterization process, it may not last the winter.
Storing a certain car for the winter can also have adverse affects, as storage in the colder weather can present discharge and possible structure cracking. When the electrolytes have been exposed to the harsh winter temperatures, the structure of the battery is prone to breakage.
How the Cold Can Affect Tire Quality and Performance
While the frigid winter temperatures can have a great impact on an engine and its fluids, the structure of a vehicle also suffers immensely. Even though the body of a car is made to withstand different types of weather, maintenance and winterization must be done in order to uphold structural integrity.
When a change of temperature is present, decreased tire pressure is likely present. A general idea or rule of thumb is that for every 10 degrees that the temperature drops, the pressure will change upwards of 2 percent. In terms of PSI, this translates to roughly 2 PSI per 10 degrees.
Often times, tires are so weathered and old from surviving previous winters that they need to be replaced before the next winter begins. A technician checking pressure and repairing or replacing tires helps prevent instability amongst weight distribution due to unevenness in pressure. This allows a safe vehicle for the occupants to travel in.
This lead addresses the myths about warming up a car in the modern day setting by debunking and analyzing how far cars have come in terms of equipment and how they work in low temperatures. In not-so-modern times, cars typically had to warm up for a few minutes before efficiently driving in colder weather; however, modern-day technology has made it so that is no longer needed. For the sake of habit, drivers across the region still insist on warming up their cars, regardless of the reverse impact it has, and in spite of advice from technicians who perform auto repair in Longmont. Instead of bettering the driving experience, warming up a new car is practically useless and has more negative effects than positives.
In times before the new age of cars, a typical fuel-injection system lacked an automatic adjustment due to the temperature; however, in modern cars, fuel-injection systems are able to produce gasoline delivery based on the temperature outside as well as the engine load and throttle. Because of this, a car can take off immediately, regardless of the temperature outside.
Starting Up a Car Right Away Can Be Beneficial
Speaking of taking off, most cars can be actually driven within or under 30 seconds upon start-up. The best way to begin driving your car in lower temperatures is to drive immediately but slowly and softly accelerating. When doing this, it’s important to have a low load until the temperature is exemplary. By running an engine while it’s not in its optimal temperature range, the engine can become worn and damaged as well as increase emissions.
There are adverse effects of warming up a car when a fuel-injector is present. By idling a car, not only is gasoline wasted for no reason, but engine efficiency can also decrease by doing this, especially every time the car is started. If car idling is eliminated by five minutes daily, for a small engine, this saves about 10 gallons of gas annually. More importantly, this means that over 200 lbs. of CO2 is not emitted into the air. For an 8-cylinder car, these totals are doubled.
Restarting Is Not the Cause of Problems
Another myth that is attached to the warm-up myth is the frequent restart myth. Idling actually presents more issues than frequently restarting a car, as restarting your car multiple times presents insignificant effects. Many concerns that were once valid have to do with the fact that a car didn’t feature electronic ignition. In modern days, many cars have this feature, thus preventing starter wear and engine damage due to engine starting.
By reducing the amount of idling a car does, a vehicle will receive better gas mileage and a prolonged life expectancy, as well as be subject to fewer auto repair needs in Longmont. In fact, because of the gases emitted during idling, many countries have attempted to swing in anti-idling pacts to help reduce this. Today, over a dozen states feature anti-idling proposals and regulations including commercial trucks. In total around the country, studies show that almost 4 million gallons of gas are wasted because of idling by choice. In return, this has caused over 40,000 tons emitted gases.
When air conditioning problems arise in a car, they’re generally obvious as airflow can become weak, warm, or non-existent. If reduced airflow is found early on, auto repair in Longmont can help prevent what is known as the “black death”. This doesn’t mean that a virus from 14th-century Europe will harm the air conditioning; it means that a car air conditioner has already gone through a process that has damaged the A/C system majorly.
What Exactly Is the Black Death?
This term happens when the refrigerant breaks down. A refrigerant is used as lubrication for the engine, and when this is gone, it targets the compressor first. After this has worn down on the compressor, mucky particles then find it’s way through the system to target the air conditioner. Instead of producing a weak airflow constantly, this will completely break down the system and cause it to completely stop working.
It is named “black death” because the color of the grime and crud that fuses itself to the system components. Flush machines are unable to remove this nasty coating on the metals of the components. When an air conditioning unit is properly maintained in a vehicle, the original compressor can stand the test of time and never have to be replaced. Unfortunately, when the “black death” hits, this is no longer the case, and the car air conditioning unit must be exchanged.
What Causes Weak Airflow?
A car air conditioner that is displaying weak airflow will show signs by producing a lack of cool air. While this is obvious, there are many causes of this weak airflow.
Since car air conditioners produce an excess of cool air, mold and mildew can accumulate over time. This typically happens in the evaporator core and will prevent solid airflow from reaching the vents. When this isn’t taken care of, over time the refrigerant will break down causing the compressor to accumulate grime. This is a main cause for the air conditioner issue, “black death”.
Another way weak airflow can occur within a car a/c unit is through a hose coming loose. When reattaching this hose, solid airflow is restored. While this is a simple fix, if not found early on, it could damage the a/c unit.
When there’s a leak in the condenser or the evaporator, this can cause refrigerant to leave the unit. If this happens, that means moisture will make its way into the unit and cause mold and mildew. This is one of the many ways the Black Death begins because of a lack of airflow and an underlying issue. Maintenance auto repair in Longmont can help prevent problems before they turn into expensive headaches.
Last, but not least, the seals on each unit can become open. These seals can be found in the core case, evaporator core, and the blower house. When these open up, direct airflow is not blowing, and once these seals are unfastened, the entire system becomes weakened and damaged.
The Black Death is a life-ending sentence for cars and their air conditioning units. Any type of moisture contamination can begin this process, including having bad refrigerant.
Some car owners hesitate when it comes to running their car’s air conditioning during the winter months. Not many think it is a good idea to run the a/c when temperatures outside are near freezing and the ground is covered by snow. However, running the a/c in the winter months does not cause any harm to the car’s heating and cooling system. In fact, there are many benefits to running the car’s air conditioning in the winter.
Air Conditioning Compressor
The car’s compressor does more than just cool the air before it passed through the car. You can use the a/c compressor while controlling the heat setting of the car to control the climate within. Doing so will help dehumidify the air, reducing fogged up windows. Running the air conditioner will also help clear up window condensation.
Air Conditioning System
Running the air conditioner during the winter will help prevent the car’s cooling system components from wasting away. This helps reduce the loss of refrigerant which occurs when the air conditioning unit is not used for extended periods of time. It also helps keep up the service life of the vehicle, reducing the need for to take the car to a local Longmont auto repair shop for expensive cooling system repairs. Those who opt not to run their air conditioning system during the winter months should make sure they at least run it for 30 minutes once a week. This will help keep the system active and fluids flowing through the a/c compressor.
Air Conditioning Problems
Though the cooling aspect of the air conditioning system will not be used during the winter months, car owners will still be able to catch any major issues. If the air conditioner is not run during the winter, a problem with the system may not be noticed until the summer. Which means the car owners could be driving around without air conditioning when the hotter months come around.
Running the air conditioner in a car during the winter months has many different benefits. Those who do so will be able to more efficiently control the temperature and moisture in the car. Plus, they can also protect the cooling system and possibly avoid high repair costs.
Winter is finally here and many car owners are working fast to ensure their cars are completely winterized. Winterizing a car is simple and can be done in a short amount of time. Though some winterizing steps can be done by the car owners, other steps may require the assistance of a Longmont area auto repair shop.
The oil levels in a car’s engine will depend greatly upon how hot or cold the engine is running. As temperatures drop, the engine will run more efficiently when using thinner oil. Take the car in for an oil change before temperatures get too cold. This will help ensure the car’s engine runs more efficiently during the winter months.
Check the coolant levels of the car to ensure they are full. This will help keep the engine from corroding during the winter months. This will protect the engine when temperatures start to fall. Check the car’s manual for the proper coolant to use during the winter.
Check the battery capacity and inspect all cables and terminals. Since battery capacity is reduced in the winter, checking it will help ensure the car’s battery does not die. Depending upon the capacity level of the battery and condition of the cables and terminals, it may be necessary to get a new battery.
Those wanting to use snow tires during the winter will want to ensure that they are inflated properly. It is also important to check the treads on the tires. Those replacing a tire may want to replace all four. This will help ensure they all work together when driving on snowy and ice road conditions.
Keep a winter kit in the trunk of the car. The kit will be useful should the car breakdown on the side of the road. This kit should include flares, blankets, boots, a radio, extra engine oil, washer fluid and coolant. It should also have a few nonperishable snacks and bottled water.
Check the wiper blades for the windshield. It is also a good idea to use windshield washer fluid designed for cold temperatures.
Taking the time now will help reduce any additional damage done to a car when temperatures drop below freezing. Winterizing a car will also help ensure that the driver is prepare for any road conditions and will keep all passengers safe during an emergency.
When a car’s air conditioning system doesn’t work, and the weather is hot, it’s time to find the right auto repair shop in Longmont, Colorado. Driving around in a hot car all day can make it difficult on the driver, and the problem can be a rather inexpensive one. A number of problems can go wrong with a car’s air conditioning system, and it isn’t always a costly repair.
A Hose May Be Loose Within the Air Conditioning System
A simple loose hose is all it takes for an air conditioning system to have a reduced flow of cold air. This is an easy repair, and one that many car owners can do on their own. When one doesn’t know a thing about air conditioners in a car, this can be done quickly at an auto repair shop by a mechanic. The repair should be fast and inexpensive when there is just a loose hose.
The Ventilation Fan Needs to be Replaced
The fan that blows air from the cooling unit into the car can break, causing the cold air not to reach the inside of the car it is trying to cool. This repair is more expensive than a loose hose, but it is still worth the repair costs to fix a broken ventilation fan. This fan is the same one that works to blow hot air into the car during the cold winter months, so it’s essential to have the ventilation fan fixed.
The Compressor is Broken
The compressor on a car air conditioning system can break, which is the most costly repair on a car’s air conditioning system. This type of repair is usually required on older cars, and some people find that it is not always worth fixing their compressor in order to have the air conditioner work again. Depending on the age of the car, and how hot the area is in which it is driven will determine if fixing the compressor is worth it to the car owner. It is worth getting the air conditioning system checked out by a professional to determine why the system is broken before giving up on the repair completely.
If consumers are not careful, they could easily pay more for auto repairs than necessary. Many drivers have little understanding of the mechanics of their vehicle. When a problem arises, they’re forced to rely on a qualified mechanic to handle the repairs. Smart drivers will take advantage of the following tips to ensure they get the most from their auto repair in Longmont without over-extending their budget.
Don’t Assume, Ask
When bringing a vehicle to the shop for service, consumers should ask the mechanic questions concerning repair work that needs to be done. A good mechanic will take time to explain what the problem is, what work needs to be done, how long it will take and give an estimate for repair costs. Working with a trustworthy mechanic will give consumers greater confidence in receiving quality repair work at reasonable costs.
Compare Repair Costs
When it comes to major repairs, consumers should check around to get an idea of prices in their local area. It often pays to get quotes from several shops before making a final decision. Once consumers have received a diagnosis of the problem, they can simply call a few other shops in their area or go online to compare prices for the repairs they need.
Get Repair Costs in Writing
Once consumers have agreed to repairs, they should get the mechanic’s work and cost estimate in writing so both parties are fully aware of the services being authorized for the car. Repair costs should be itemized on the estimate so consumers can see at a glance what the mechanic is charging for the services he or she plans to provide.
Once a mechanic has started work, it’s possible he or she may find additional problems. If so, consumers should ensure their mechanic receives confirmation from them to perform additional repairs. This gives consumers time to consider repair options and prepare for additional repair costs.
For major auto repairs, consumers should expect their repair shop to provide a written guarantee for at least one year for parts and labor.
Before taking a vehicle to an independent shop for repairs, consumers should check their warranty to ensure the repairs are not already covered by the dealership. If a vehicle is under warranty, chances are consumers can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars by having the repairs completed at their local dealership.
Winter auto repair in Longmont typically involves receiving car heater service. This normally includes routine maintenance and troubleshooting on the heating and air conditioning systems. Certain fixes can benefit the health of drivers and passengers.
When diagnosing heating and cooling problems, mechanics usually perform a series of routine inspections. These include the following:
- Testing the air for presence of mold and mildew
- Observation of the defrost system to detect operation problems
- Addressing heating and cooling issues that occur while idling
- Checking of airflow at lowest and highest settings
- Examination of heating system when it only blows cold air
- Search for more answers as to why the vehicle does not heat properly
- Inspections of the internal blower, hoses, radiator cap and thermostat
- Measure of interior vent air temperature
- Monitoring of A/C pressure to see if it meets manufacturer specifications
- Inspections of the compressor belt
Positive Effects of A/C Inspections
Regular inspections usually prevent worse problems. When looking over an engine, a mechanic can immediately take care of clogged hoses. He or she can also watch out for drips within the heating and cooling system and make necessary repairs. Hoses, thermostats, fans, belts and other parts often are replaced during this time.
Another important concern is the condition of the radiator. A mechanic usually will look for leaks within it, and if holes cannot be repaired, the entire unit is replaced. The hugest issue with radiators is that a poorly-performing one can blow out an engine. This often happens when the antifreeze does not circulate properly through the heating and cooling system. Besides inspecting hoses and other parts, making sure the radiator is in optimal condition will prevent engine damage.
Air Flow Testing
Upon taking a car to receive auto repair in Longmont, air flow testing is sometimes recommended. Making sure all heating and cooling ducts are working properly prevents air contamination. When the air quality inside an automobile is clean, it can prevent airborne sicknesses caused by mildew, mold and pathogens.
After undergoing auto repair in Longmont, drivers are more likely to make it through the winter with very few problems. Their vehicles will usually start, and they will stay warm. They will stay cool in the summer, too.
Modern vehicles are equipped with complicated electrical systems that are responsible for controlling everything from windows and locks to starting the engine and even charging phones. When something starts to go wrong with the electrical system in modern cars, troubleshooting can be a difficult process. When drivers start to notice electrical issues they should do their best to avoid self diagnosis and head to their local auto repair experts in Longmont.
Time for a Service Visit: Top Electrical Warning Signs
Difficult Engine Crank
There are many factors that can come into play when drivers are having a hard time getting their engine to crank properly. Most of the time drivers assume this means there is an issue with their battery. While this is a common car maintenance issue, it shouldn’t be the first assumption drivers make.
Often there is a larger underlying issue in the car’s electrical system that drains the battery over time and therefore prevents the starter form cranking the engine properly. If a clanking noise is heard while turning the key, it often indicates that the starter is unable to get enough current flow to properly engage.
If drivers smell melting plastic or electrical insulation while driving, there may be a major issue that needs to immediate attention. When a wire or electrical component shorts out the circuit will begin to draw more power than it can handle, creating a dangerous electrical situation. If drivers notice a strange burning smell they should take their car in to their trusted auto repair shop in Longmont as soon as possible for an internal car electrical service.
A blown fuse can be a frustrating and annoying process to remedy. But when fuses are continually blowing or going missing, it could mean there is a bigger electrical problem at hand. Blown fuses can indicate that an electrical device or wiring in the vehicle is drawing an excess amount of current. To avoid having to constantly replace blown fuses and possibly larger electrical issues later on down the road, drivers should get a professional to asses any possible issues and service the electrical system as needed.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Electrical issues, although common, can be very serious and possibly dangerous if left unattended. If drivers are experiencing any of these common electrical warning signs, it is time to schedule an internal electrical service inspection today!