Summer Car Safety

You do your best to prep your car for the cold and ice of winter, but what about the dog 620-summer-driving-widedays of summer? Don’t let the cheery weather fool you: bright, warm summer days can pose real problems for your car, inside and out. Pay attention to the following do’s and don’ts to head off heat damage, boost your car’s curb appeal, and keep it looking (and running) newer, longer!

DO: Wash it.

You wash your car to keep it looking sharp, but a good sudsy bath can offer more than just cosmetic benefits. It removes dirt and debris that can cause miniature scratches in the car’s body and wash off other destructive residue, such as bird droppings and dead bugs — the acidic content could discolor your car’s paint job. A good wax can also go a long way in keeping your car looking like it just rolled off the lot. Wax protects the car’s paint against UV rays and keeps roadside grime from sticking to your car.

DON’T: Neglect the interior.

If your vehicle’s interior is dusty, it’s time for some light cleaning. Scorching sunlight can bake the grime right into the car’s dashboard and other surfaces. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to clean things up using everyday household materials like dish soap (to scrub away the muck that collects in the texture of vinyl), baking soda (to clean seat belts), and vinegar (to wipe down the windows). When mixed with water, these household solutions can all play a part in keeping your interior free of baked-in-grime.

As always, though, check with your vehicle manufacturer and conduct your own research before using any cleaning supplies in your vehicle. What’s right for your neighbor’s truck may not be right for your vehicle, and vice versa.

Pro-Tip: Stash a microfiber duster in your car to save time cleaning. A few swipes and swooshes can keep your dash dust-free and looking fine!

DO: Seek shade.

Park in the shade whenever possible. Exposure to the summer sun can fade and crack a car’s paint job, rubber trims and seals, as well as its vinyl or leather seats. If shade isn’t an option, put up sun reflectors in the windows to prevent fading and keep the interior temperature from climbing sky high. Parking your car out of direct sunlight can even help protect your fuel economy, reports 12News, since gas evaporates quicker in a hot vehicle than it does in a cold one.

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Routine Maintenance

the key to keeping vehicles running well-today and down the road-is routine maintenance. Yet many drivers tend to stall when it comes to keeping up with some everyday auto-basics. A recent survey by the Car Care Council found:

  • 25% of cars had low or dirty engine oil. A man checking car engine
  • 13% had low or contaminated brake fluid.
  • 18% had dirty air filters.
  • 17% had inadequate cooling protection or low coolant levels.
  • 16% needed new windshield wiper and 27% had low or contaminated washer fluid.
  • 18% needed new belts

Overall, 89% of vehicles were in need of at least one service or repair.

A regular service schedule can help keep your car running it’s best.  For your convenience, the Car Care Council developed a Service Interval Schedule to help you keep track of regular maintenance. Most of the checks and services described here can be done at little or no cost.

Check Frequently

Dashboard Indicator Lights On

Lights

Tire Inflation and Condition

Windshield Washer Fluid

Engine Oil Level

Check Every 3 Months/ 3,000 Miles

Automatic Transmission Fluid

Battery and Cables

Belts

Dashboard Indicator Light On

Engine Air Filter

Engine Oil

Exhaust

Hoses

Lights

Power Steering Fluid

Tire Inflation and Condition

Windshield Washer Fluid

Check Every 6 Months/6,000 Miles

Automatic Transmission Fluid

Battery and Cables

Belts

Chassis Lubrication

Dashboard Indicator Light On

Engine Air Filter

Engine Oil

Exhaust

Hoses

Lights

Power Steering Fluid

Tire Inflation and Condition

Windshield Washer Fluid

Wiper Blades

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Avoid Surprise, Winterize

The non-profit Car Care Council recommends that motorists perform a six-point winter maintenance check of areas that have direct impact on winter driving.

“Harsh winter weather can stress out a vehicle, as well as its driver,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A vehicle that is properly prepared for the elements can help you avoid an unplanned road emergency when the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse.”

  1. Battery – Cold weather is hard on batteries, so it’s wise to check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Because batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail, it is advisable to replace batteries that are more than three years old.
  2. Antifreeze – Antifreeze (coolant) should be flushed and refilled at least every two years in most vehicles. As a reminder, do not add 100 percent antifreeze as full-strength antifreeze actually has a lower freeze point than when mixed with water.
  3. Brakes – Have the brake system checked. Brakes are critical to vehicle safety and particularly important when driving on icy or snow-covered roads.
  4. Tires – Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure, including the spare. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly as tires lose pressure when temperatures drop.
  5. Oil – Be diligent about changing the oil at recommended intervals and check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time. Consider changing to low-viscosity oil in winter, as it will flow more easily between moving parts when cold. In sub-zero driving temperatures, drop oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.
  6. Lights & Wipers – Make sure all exterior and interior lights are working so you can see and be seen. Check the fluid level in the windshield washer reservoir and replace wiper blades that are torn, cracked or don’t properly clean your windshield.
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Nighttime Driving Worries: Do You Want to See Better At Night?

Are you someone, or do you know someone who doesn’t enjoy driving once the sun has sylvaniainfographic-768x573gone down? You’re not alone. A recent survey from SYLVANIA Automotive found that 62 percent of motorists avoid driving during evening hours. However, for many drivers avoidance is simply not realistic – you still need to get home from work, your children still need to get to and from after-school activities, and plans must go on. So, what to do? In order to increase visibility on the road and make you more comfortable when driving at night, it is essential that high-performance headlights are installed on your vehicle.

The same survey found that while 28 percent of drivers have difficulty seeing hazards and other drivers on the road at night, 34 percent of drivers have never changed out their headlights.

When asked the question:  “Do you want to see better when driving at night?” – The answer should always be yes.  This is a no brainer – we all want to see better when given the option. Improving a vehicle’s headlights can affect the lives of drivers and their overall experience on the road. Better headlights can help improve down road visibility and increase chances of seeing objects sooner in the event of an accident or hazardous road conditions. This is a simple maintenance check that drivers of all ages should prioritize when it comes to overall road safety.

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Shopping for a New Vehicle

When shopping for a new vehicle, the world is your oyster. Every vehicle in every automaker’s lineup is available for your perusal. You can purchase a fully loaded minivan for those big family vacations, a sleek new sports coupe for your next mid-life crisis toy or a stripped down compact for your new college graduate. The sky is quite seriously the limit. With hundreds of different models of sedans, sports cars, trucks and SUVs on the market right now, it’s up to you to pick out which type of vehicle suits you best. This isn’t as tricky as it sounds. Once you know what size vehicle you’re looking for, you can do research online to figure out which ones you’d like to test drive. To help you out, here are some things you should consider when narrowing down your list of new cars.

Features
Automakers offer just about every feature imaginable on their newest model year vehicles. Some will make your car more comfortable, others make it more attractive and some will even make it safer. Depending on your price range, some of these features like heated seats and darkness-detecting lights may come standard. In other cases, you’ll have to pay extra for anything above the baseline. Since some of these features are worth more than others, we’ve created a rundown of everything you’ll be able to add to a new car accompanied by our opinion on their values.

Backup Cameras
Backup cameras can be incredibly useful gadgets if you find yourself needing to Parallel Park regularly. They can make squeezing into a space easy for even the shakiest parkers. And the technology they use is constantly becoming more advanced. The only downside is that these cameras are usually included as part of a “premium” package on midrange cars, making them a bit pricey for some budgets.

Remote Entry
Remote entry has come a long way in the last couple of years. Every new model comes with a remote key fob these days and you can unlock many of them simply by approaching the car with the key in your pocket. The newest models of the Ford Escape and Mercedes-Benz SUVs offer hands-free access not only to the doors, but also to the back hatch as well. Just wave your foot under the bumper and the door will open on its. If you have to haul a lot of things around, this will definitely be a useful investment.

Inductive Charging
Those power mats that charge your electronic devices just by touching them have finally made their way to vehicles like the new Dodge Dart. Unfortunately, these mats are often more trouble than they’re worth – you have to install an accessory onto every device you wish to charge plus you need to pay the dealership a premium to install the mats in the first place. In our opinion, you should just stick to the good old fashioned outlet chargers that you can buy for about $10.

Heated Seats
Nothing feels better than a warm seat after you’ve just come in from the rain or snow. However, their utility is limited unless you live in area that sees a significant amount of inclement weather. Luckily, most vehicles that offer heated seats include them as a standard feature. If your vehicle requires you to upgrade to heated seats, you may not t be missing much by skipping them.

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What Does a Performance Check Include?

At Mr. Transmission, we offer our customers a free Performance Check to help diagnose any problems with your vehicle’s transmission. Our comprehensive Performance Check consists of a fluid check, road test, pan examination, and lift inspection/diagnosis. This provides a complete diagnosis of your car’s transmission performance and general operation.

What Does a Performance Check Include?

Fluid Check

The fluid check is an important component of our all-encompassing Performance Check Generally, it serves as the first indicator of possible transmission wear and damage. A transmission in good condition will have a clear, red fluid. If there is an unpleasant odor or discoloration in combination with other symptoms, your transmission may require an internal inspection. During our inspection of your fluid, we will determine if any of these symptoms appear.

Road Test

The road test is made up of 2 parts: a stationary test and a driving test. During these two tests, your transmission is checked for slipping noises, harsh/soft or erratic shifting, as well as late or early shift patterns.

Pan Examination

The pan examination is another crucial part of the Performance Check that serves as a great indicator of potential problems. This test is effective, because it allows a partial look inside the transmission. All pans have some metal particles; however, excessive amounts of metal indicate internal wear and damage to the transmission.

Lift Inspection

This step will help determine what type of adjustment, repair, or replacement may be needed. During a lift inspection, one of our technicians will check for the following:

● Neutral Switch

● Throttle Linkage

● Manual Linkage

● Modulator

● Modulator Vacuum

● Transmission Mounts

● U-Joints

● Fluid Retention

● Electronic Components

When the results of your Performance Check show that there is an internal problem with your transmission, we recommend further investigation with an internal inspection of your transmission. This inspection consists of the removal of your transmission and dis-assembly of the unit in order to view all internal parts. During this inspection, all parts will be examined for wear and damage. When the inspection is completed, one of our technicians will provide you with a report of those items that are in need of either repair or replacement, along with an estimate for those services.

5 Recommendations After a Performance Check:

No transmission problem. The Performance Check indicated at this time no repair or adjustment is needed.

Preventive Maintenance Service. This service helps to prevent transmission trouble before it starts. Our technicians will replace your vehicle’s transmission fluid and filter if applicable.

External Adjustment/Repair. This service includes any repairs to the exterior of the transmission that does not involve the removal of the transmission.

Reseal Service. This requires the removal of the transmission to replace all leaking external seals in your vehicle’s transmission. We perform this service after inspection of the transmission. It is designed to repair leaking transmissions, which have no other internal problems.

Internal Inspection Services. Our technicians will completely and thoroughly evaluate all internal components of your vehicle’s transmission. We perform this service if the Performance Check indicates you have an internal transmission problem. We remove the transmission, disassemble and check all internal parts of the transmission for wear and tear. Our technician upon your approval will replace only those necessary parts with parts meeting OEM specifications to give your transmission the ability to obtain optimal performance. Finally, after any work is completed the transmission is reinstalled into the vehicle.

Once your vehicle has undergone our Performance Check and you have received an expert service from our trained technicians, you can rest assured that your vehicle is road-ready.

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Police Stops: What to Do If You Are Pulled Over

When You See the Police Car

If a police car is following you with its siren blaring or emergency lights flashing, pull over to the right quickly (but safely) and come to a complete stop in a safe place.

Pulling over right away isn’t an admission of guilt. It just means that you were alert to everything that was happening around you. Also, by stopping as soon as you can, you’ll have a better chance of figuring out exactly where and how the officer says you violated any traffic laws. This information can be useful should you and a lawyer later need to prepare a defense.

Pull over in a way that will be most likely to calm down an angry or annoyed traffic officer. Use your turn signal to indicate any lane changes from left to right, and slow down fairly quickly, but not so quickly that the officer will have to brake to avoid hitting you. Pull over as far to the right as possible, so that the officer won’t have to worry about being clipped by vehicles in the right lane when coming up to your window.

Right After You Stop

After you’ve pulled over to a safe spot, you should normally turn off your engine. At this point, you might want to show the officer a few other token courtesies. You have little to lose and perhaps something to gain.

Roll down your window all the way. Put out a cigarette if you have one and discard any chewing gum (within the car). You might also want to place your hands on the steering wheel, and, if it’s dark, turn on your interior light. These actions will tend to allay any fears the officer might have. After all, police officers have been killed in traffic-stop situations, and the officer’s approach to the vehicle is potentially the most dangerous moment.

Your dignity might be offended a little at this point, but remember that you’re just doing a few simple things to put the officer in an optimal frame of mind.

Also, stay in the car until and unless the officer directs you to get out. Finally, don’t start rummaging through your back pocket for your wallet and license, or in your glove compartment for your registration, until the officer asks you for them. For all the officer  knows, you could be reaching for a weapon.

Excuses to Search

A police officer who stops you for a traffic violation is normally not allowed to search your vehicle. But there are several exceptions to this general rule.

After pulling you over, an officer will watch for any sort of “furtive movement.” A sudden lowering of one or both shoulders, for example, will tip the officer off that you’re attempting to hide something under the seat.

An officer enforcing a traffic stop isn’t looking just for furtive movements. Officers will look for anything incriminating that’s in “plain view” (like open beer or wine bottles, joints, or roach clips). Discovery of one item in plain view often leads to a thorough search that reveals more incriminating or illegal objects.

If you’re arrested and your car is towed, the police may generally make an “inventory search” afterward, even if they have no reason to suspect there’s anything illegal inside

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