Is Your Vehicle Ready for the Heat?

7 Day forecast from a few years ago!
7 Day forecast from a few years ago!

 

 

Living in Texas in the summertime is no joke! It is also no joking matter when it comes to taking care of your vehicle for the summer months ahead. There are a few things to take into consideration when it comes to preparing your vehicle for the summer. The Texas summer heat can be especially brutal to a vehicle unless it’s properly maintained and prepared. Your vehicle is working overtime in the summer months, so it’s important to know how to prepare your vehicle for these hot conditions.

  1. GET YOUR VEHICLE’S AC SERVICED.

During the summer, a vehicle left in the sun is much hotter than it is on the outside. When left outside, the vehicle can heat up fast! The sun hits portions such as the dashboard, steering wheel, and upholstery that can easily reach temperatures up to 150 degrees.  On average, the inside of your vehicle can heat up 19 degrees after being in the sun for ten minutes. It becomes harder to cool down your vehicle when the temperature goes up, so it is important to take the right precautions to prevent the AC from going out in your vehicle. Invest in one of those spiffy sunshades. It will help keep the direct sunlight off of your dash and lessens the chances of you burning your palms on the wheel.

  1. CHANGE THE OIL ON TIME AND ADJUST THE VISCOSITY AS NEEDED.

Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil. For example, honey has a higher viscosity than water. This is how engine oils are sold.  Most of the oils are multi-viscous, which means that the thickness of the oil can change depending on the temperature. The warmer the oil is, the thinner it will usually be. When the oil is too thin, your vehicle may not get the proper lubrication that it requires. Solving this issue is an easy fix. Get the oil changed to one that is a little thicker than the one that you were using during the winter months.

In order to determine what type of oil your vehicle should use during the summer months, you should consult your owner’s manual. The manual lists the ideal oil recommendations for certain climates of the year. If you are unsure about which type of oil and the viscosity of the oil to put in your vehicle, be sure to ask one of our service advisors!

  1. CHECK THE PRESSURE OF YOUR TIRES.

 Having properly inflated tires is important not just during the summertime, but all year round because this guarantees the best possible contact between your vehicle’s tires and the road. The proper tire pressure can be found in the owner’s manual. It might be necessary to compensate for the hotter weather. This is especially important when you take a vacation and will be doing a lot of driving. Not having properly inflated tires can negatively impact fuel mileage. Another thing to keep in mind is that driving with tires that are improperly inflated, you run the risk of having a blow-out. What’s worse than having a blow out? Having to change a blown out tire during rush hour traffic in July. Been there. Done that. No thanks!

Keep checking the blog this summer for easy ways to keep your vehicle running smoothly. As always, if you have any questions about your vehicle, please don’t hesitate to give our Service department a call!

 

 

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Glee's Distracted Driving Campaign
Glee’s Distracted Driving Campaign

It seems like every time we turn on the news, we hear the same tragic story. Another story about a fatal accident that was caused by a distracted driver. Most of the time, when the news mentions distracted driving, your mind jumps to cell phone usage like texting or surfing the web while at a stop light, but the distractions don’t stop there.

From Distraction.gov:

“Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating and Drinking
  • Talking to Passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting the radio, CD player, or MP3 player.

But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.”

It’s important to be honest with ourselves when distracted driving is concerned. No one is perfect, everyone can admit to eating a few French fries in between destinations, or checking your GPS when you are lost, but the bottom line is still the same. Distracted driving kills people every day.

So, why do people still text and put on mascara behind the wheel?

Short answer, because they can. Long answer, because they think they are above the statistics and they believe that their reaction time is better than the average person. Unfortunately, no one is safe from distracted driving. Even if you are a perfect driver and are always distraction free, you are surrounded by drivers that are constantly checking their cell phone messages, navigation apps, or chowing down on a cheeseburger. Do you still like your odds?

So, what can I do as a teen/parent/driver/passenger?

Just drive. Make a promise to keep your cell phone in the glove box,  in the center console, or in your handbag while you are driving. Wake up earlier and finish your mascara before you get in the car. As a teen driver, be more responsible. That text message can truly wait. Replying to someone’s LOL right away is a horrible reason to get into a car wreck.

As a parent, have a serious talk with the young drivers in your family about the dangers of distracted driving. There are plenty of resources online to help you have this talk with your teens. Check out www.distraction.gov for a few tips and infographics to show to your family. Make sure they understand that laws are changing all over the country and law enforcement agencies are cracking down on this dangerous habit.

As a passenger, have the confidence to speak up to a distracted driver! Your safety is at stake! If you are uncomfortable speaking up to a distracted driver, then offer to BE the driver! Problem solved.

One person CAN make a difference. BE that one person.

The stats speak for themselves!
The stats speak for themselves!

5 Tips to Prep for Your Annual Road Trip

 

2013 Chevy Malibu at the Beach
2013 Chevy Malibu at the Beach

It’s that time of year where families all over the state begin to take advantage of their lake houses and beach getaways for the weekend. Keep your sanity and your wallet happy by following these suggestions before hitting the open road.

  1. Bring your car in for its routine maintenance. An oil change and a tire rotation makes all of the difference on how your car performs. While your car is getting looked over, mention to the service adviser that you are about to go out of town and if there is anything else they could take a look at while your car is in the shop.
  2. Be prepared for emergencies. Make sure your trunk has an easy to find emergency kit stocked with tools to help manage an accident or medical event. Basic supplies to include are flashlight, first-aid kit, a blanket and a bottle of water. We hope you never have to use these things, but it’s best to be prepared for anything while away from home.
  3. Charge up your cell phone. Before you hit the road, make sure your cell phone has a full charge and you have a working car charger with you. The last thing you want to experience is trying to look up directions to your destination on your dying cell phone or trying to navigate yourself out of a bad part of town.
  4. Pack Smart! While packing your trunk tetris style might seem like a great idea at the time, bear in mind that you will most likely be bringing extra souvenirs home, so plan on leaving extra space accordingly. Keeping a small cooler in between the kids lets them have access to snacks and drinks and might help them keep the back seat peace.
  5. Check your lights! This is one of the easiest, most often overlooked, areas of your car to check yourself. Turn on your car at night and take a walk around it. If you do have a light out you will have some time to get it taken care of before your trip. Don’t forget to check your hazard lights! Flashing hazard lights have saved countless stranded drivers from being hit by passing vehicles.

Be safe and have fun! Be sure to post your pictures of where your Chevy takes you! We live vicariously through you! #findnewroads

 

4 Things I’ll Never Ignore About My Brakes Again! A Cautionary Tale by Tammy DeYoung

ABS Warning Light
ABS Warning Light

Have you seen the TV commercial where a lady eats an unhealthy snack, then hits herself in the forehead and says, “I could’ve had a V-8!”

Instead of snack time, picture the waiting room of an auto repair shop.
Instead of that lady, picture me, smacking my forehead saying, “I could’ve saved BIG bucks!”

My dad always told me, “Have your car serviced at the first sign of trouble to avoid bigger trouble later.”  But I didn’t listen. Sigh.  I knew something  was wrong with my car, but I procrastinated finding out.  And now, instead of shopping for a new spring wardrobe for myself, I’m buying new shoes and ALL the pricey accessories for the braking system of my car.

It all came to a peak when my husband switched cars with me one day and called me a little upset.  “How long have the brakes been making that awful noise?”  he asked.  “This is really bad!”

“I haven’t heard any awful noises,”  I said, which was the truth!  They hadn’t been making any awful noises.  But there were other warning signs I had ignored and didn’t realize how serious it was.  I’m blessed to have a spouse that is understanding of my ignorance.

But, I don’t want you to suffer my fate!  I don’t want you to get that phone call from your spouse!  Mostly, I don’t want you giving up that to-die-for handbag because you were careless getting your car repaired!   So I’m on a mission to share what I learned the hard way!

What are those warning signs I ignored?

I asked Chuck Fairbanks Service Advisor, Blake, to explain to me what I should have done early to prevent such a big brake repair later.

“Listen to your car,” said Blake.  “Like a pet,  your car will talk to you and tell you what’s wrong!”

Hmmm….I like that analogy!  I have two dogs that definitely have “warning signals” telling me what they need!

“So, what should I listen for?”  I asked.

1.  Any type of squealing when applying pressure to your brakes.  There are wear indicators built onto the brake pads that will make noise when they need to be serviced.  Replacing the pads at this stage is much more economical.  Like I said, picture the V-8 commercial!  At this stage, you have tons of money leftover for new clothes!

2.  A pulsating or a shuttering in your brake pedal when applying pressure.  This means there is some type of imperfection in the brake rotators that need immediate attention.  So no, it doesn’t mean the tires need air or that the road is bumpy!  At this point, you can still buy plenty of spring dresses if you act quickly!

3.  Brake light warnings illuminated on your instrument panel!  When the light comes on, take your car in for service!  I confess, mine did say “ABS Tracking is Off” but I just thought it was some sort of switch and I would get around to it.  I have no idea how much I would have saved at this point, but I’m fairly sure I could have still bought a lovely new handbag.

4.  Grinding noises.  This is really really bad. This means your brakes are “metal on metal” which is never a good thing and results in more extensive damage and more expensive repairs.  A this point, the personal shopping spree is pretty much over.

Thankfully,  Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet  has an excellent Service Center with expert care at a reasonable cost!  I’m still smacking myself in the head because my procrastination created a problem that never had to be.  If I would have just brought it to service when I first felt that pulsating, or saw the light come on, I’d be a fashionista right now!  Instead, I will just have to be content knowing my car has a shiny new braking system.

I have learned my lesson and will NEVER let it happen again!  But I leave you with one more piece of advice from Blake:
 “If you are driving and you hear a ‘ding! ding! ding! ding‘ sound in your car….and your seat belt is fastened……that means something is wrong and your car needs service!”

Good advice, Blake!  And thanks for taking care of my brakes!

5 Simple Ways to Improve Fuel Efficiency

Chevy Impala LT City: 21mpg Hwy: 31mpg
Chevy Impala LT
City 21 mpg–Hwy 31 mpg

If there is one thing all drivers can relate to, its the annoying “ding-ding-ding” of your gas gauge telling you that it’s time to refuel. Why is it always at the most inopportune time, typically miles away from any gas station? Keep your gas tank and your wallet happy by following these simple tips!

  • Tires:
    • Tire choice can effect overall fuel economy, so choose your tires wisely. If your SUV is equipped with knobby, off-road tires designed for slogging through mud and gravel, but 98% of your driving is on paved roads, you could switch to all-season tires with a smoother tread. This small change can improve fuel economy over time. No matter what you drive, when you shop for tires you should look for those described as having low rolling resistance or fuel-saving technology.
  • Tire Pressure:
    • In terms of maintenance the most cost-effective task for improving fuel economy is keeping your tires inflated to their recommended pressure level. Under inflated tires can lower gas mileage by as much as 3%. Air is cheaper than gas, so it pays to keep tires inflated to what the manufacturer recommends on the tire placard typically found on the driver’s doorjamb and in the owner’s manual.
  • Driver habits and Cruise Control:
    • Think ahead! Drive smoothly. By applying light throttle and avoiding heavy braking, you can reduce both fuel consumption and wear and tear. Research suggests driving techniques can influence fuel efficiency by as much as 30%. When appropriate, use your cruise control. This can save you up to 6% in fuel consumption on the highway.
  • Check Engine Light:
    • Don’t ignore a check engine light or other warnings involving the emissions system because those are often indications that a component of the emissions and/or fuel system has failed. A faulty sensor can send incorrect signals to the computers that control today’s engines, and that could result in unnecessary fuel consumption. The DOE and EPA estimate this could reduce fuel economy 4% on average and as much as 40% from a faulty oxygen sensor.
  • Parts:
    • Corroded battery cables cause the alternator to work harder, using more gas. Have them cleaned, as a precaution, with each engine check-up. Inspect suspension and chassis parts for misalignment. Bent wheels, axles, worn shocks, and broken springs can contribute to drive-train drag, not to mention the unsafe condition they create. If something sounds wrong with your vehicle, it never hurts to have it checked out by one of our certified mechanics, just in case!

We’re all about fuel efficiency here at Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet, so if a fuel efficient vehicle is on your to-do list, drop by and we’ll show you what we have! We are here every day, except for Sunday, and our inventory is always available to view online, on your mobile or desktop, at www.chuckfairbankschevy.com.