Many people don’t wash their cars in the winter. “Why should Iif it it will get dirty again in a few days?” you may ask yourself. “Hey, even car washes themselves shut down if it gets too cold!” All these things may seem to make sense, but washing your car in the winter is the most important time, but not for the reason you may think.
Washing your car in the winter is super important for one reason: salt. When you wash your car in the winter, you aren’t doing it for cosmetics, you’re doing it to eliminate salt. We don’t get a lot of snow here in the Carolina piedmont, but we do get a lot of black ice. Black ice forms when water (or snow) on the roads freezes over and has minimal to no air bubbles making it “invisible.” Towns and cities tend to salt their roads when there’s a severe chance of black ice, which is common during December and January.
Salt will kill your car, and I don’t mean the resale value, though salt will kill that too. I mean salt in the wrong places will render your car unsafe forever. Frame rust for a car is almost always terminal, especially on “unibody” vehicles that no longer have separate frames and bodies (which is probably what you own unless you own a pickup or large SUV.) Vehicles that get frame rust are unsafe to drive at that point. Frame rusted vehicles do not handle even minor accidents well. They crumble in accidents – check out some crash tests with rusty cars on YouTube if you get the chance, you’ll see what I mean. The only place frame rusted cars go is the scrapyard. You can’t replace frames, at least not without spending almost as much money as the vehicle is worth, parts and labor included.
But you can avoid this fate for your vehicle by washing it!
You don’t have to get fancy when washing your car in the winter. You just need to make sure the underbody gets washed, because that is where salt makes first contact with your frame, among other things. You don’t need to wash it every day, but if snow has fallen or the roads were recently salted, you should have the vehicle washed shortly after the salt on the roads has washed away. Garage keeping a vehicle also helps, but isn’t required.
Washing a car can be a pain in the winter, especially if you’re doing it yourself, but go ahead and make the time to get it done this winter. Your safety could depend on it.
Once again the “holiday season” has begun. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, New Years… all coming in rapid fire. For many, this means a time of family. For others, this is more of a dream than reality. Many children do not receive any gifts during the Christmas season due to financial struggles. We want to do something about that.
In 2006, Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill, LLC did it’s first toy collection drive. At that time, we went through Toys for Tots. While we expected to collect a few toys here and there, we never realized it would turn into the success it’s been. Over the years we’ve had thousands of dollars worth of toys (so many in fact, a few of our customers have made this paper because of it!) and nothing warms our hearts more than knowing that our customers have such giving spirits.
Since 2016, all our toys have been donated to Servant’s Heart of Mint Hill. Most of our customers are Mint Hill residents and have expressed a desire to have their donations stay local. Servant’s Heart provides the perfect platform for that to happen through their Christmas donation collection.
As a thank you to donors, we’re offering a free road trip inspection for anyone who donates a new toy in its original packaging. This is our second most comprehensive inspection and is normally $59.99, so donate a toy and have your car checked out to make sure it’s safe go to Grandma’s this season!
Electric cars are all the rage these days – old companies like General Motors are starting to make them and companies like Tesla rely on them. Toyota has even gone so far as to state that all their vehicles will have an electric or hybrid model by 2025. Everybody wants a piece of the action, but that raises a huge question for the consumer – is now the time to make the switch? Like many things, the answer isn’t black and white.
Pro – It’s cheaper to “fuel.”
Electric cars cost $540 per year on average to recharge, according to finder.com. The average gas car costs about $1,400 a year to fuel.
Con – Few Repair Choices
With all electric cars, you’ll either have to go to the dealer or a specialty shop that only deals with electrics (which there aren’t a whole lot of yet) because the knowledge aren’t quite being taught to every automotive technician yet, and the tools aren’t available to the masses quite yet either. If you need things fixed, there aren’t a whole lot of places to go.
Pro – You Won’t Fix it Too Often
While the quantity of shops you have to go to fix an electric car may be slim, you won’t have to go as often as you do now with your gas car. Things like oil changes and the Check Engine Light are no more with electric cars. You’ll still need things like brakes and tires, but a lot of those little things you have to do now are no more with electric.
Con – Charging Stations are few
This is rapidly changing due to Government funding, but as of right now there are more gas stations than charging stations, especially out in rural areas. You can still charge your car at home, sure, but be careful when you’re driving through states like Montana that only have a few compared to the East Coast.
There are many more pros and cons to electric cars, and we encourage you to research them – your next car could very well be one depending on how long you wait.
If you have any questions about electric cars (or gas ones) feel free to call Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill, LLC at 704-545-4597, email us at email@example.com, or message us on Facebook at facebook.com/ManchesterAutoandTireOfMintHill.
Finally, the temperatures have begun to drop! Cooler weather is upon us, the holidays are soon to roll around, and the conditions in which you’ll be driving in will change too – in the colder months, black ice can be a real problem in the Carolinas.
Mint Hill winters generally have days that are above the freezing point and nights that are below it. Due to that, we tend to get rain instead of snow during the colder months. Whatever water is left on the ground after the storm stops turns into ice that night. You’ve probably noticed it too – your yard may look like it has a white beard the day after a december rainstorm because the wet grass froze overnight.
This can happen on roads too, but there is one big difference – most of the time, you can’t see it.
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) black ice forms when water on a road freezes over, but no air freezes inside the ice. No air bubbles make the ice impossible to see. It usually forms in shady areas, bridges, and anywhere water can easily puddle.
Most tips and tricks mentioned here today come from the USDA and Pekin Insurance – big thanks to them for this great info!
Do not slam on the brakes!
Even with modern anti-lock brakes (ABS) braking on ice is an easy way to lock up the wheels. If you need to slow down, do so before you hit the ice patch – and if you must brake while on the ice, pumping the brakes is your best option, even if your vehicle has an ABS system.
If you skid, turn into it.
One of the biggest mistakes people make if they actually start to skid is to jerk the wheel around over-correcting themselves while having their foot planted firmly on the brake pedal – the better method of attack is to turn into the skid and pump the brakes. This can be very hard to do if you’re panicking, however, so it is important to remember to stay calm in these situations – it can be hard, but you can do it!
Look at How Others are Driving
Do you see people in front of you losing traction for a few seconds? Are drivers in front of you slowing down a lot? Are you in an area that black ice can easily form? If you answered yes to some of these, then you may have found a black ice patch… or rather others found it for you.
Pack an Emergency Kit
We’ve talked about emergency kits many times before here (if you missed those articles, head over to autorepairminthill.com to catch up on some of our prior articles run in this paper!) and they’re crucial in a skid situation. While we hope you never crash in a skid, it’s always a possibility. Having chained tires, snow tires, or anything like that won’t give you more traction on ice… just snow. If you already have a good set of all-season tires on your vehicle, don’t waste money on new tires you don’t need – spend it on making a good emergency kit instead, because if you do crash, you’ll need one!
As always, practice safe judgement every time you plan to go on the road – if you don’t feel you can do it, don’t. Your life is more important than getting somewhere on time. If you’d like to know more, feel free to call Manchester Auto & Tire of Mint Hill, LLC at 704-545-4597, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Facebook at facebook.com/ManchesterAutoandTireofMintHill
Cars, much like people, tend to slow down as they get older. The more miles parts and systems accumulate, the more they underperform. While sometimes this loss of power is minimal, horsepower loss can be very noticeable when tune-ups and factory recommended maintenance haven’t been done. The one thing cars can do that people can’t, however, is get some of their energy back with a little TLC. Listed below are a few things your shop may recommend if your car needs some pep in it’s step. As with any list, remember this is not all inclusive and depending on your vehicle’s age and maintenance history, you may need more than what we’ve listed here, or none of it at all. Check with a professional technician before spending your hard earned money!
While Fuel Additives can sometimes be a bit scammy, many fuel cleaners are actually worth it. Fuel additives that clean, such as products from Lucas Oil, help remove deposits from the fuel tank resulting in a better flow of gasoline to the engine. Generally, a fuel tank cleaning or replacement does this job better than an additive, but additives are considerably cheaper and still do an acceptable job.
A Throttle Body Service is a cleaning of a device called the Throttle Body – the device that you’re controlling when you press the gas pedal. The throttle body can get filled with carbon buildup and over time can result in loss of power and in severe cases, stalling. A cleaning of this device, especially if it has never been done before on a high mileage car, can be a huge help.
Spark Plugs are what ignite the air/fuel mixture in order to power the motor. When spark plugs get old, they have telltale signs of underperformance including extra fuel consumption, poor idling, and lack of power. A fresh set of plugs can make a world of difference.
As we discussed under Spark Plugs, the engine needs a mixture of both fuel and air to run. If the air the engine gets is not filtered properly, performance issues occur. A cleaning or replacing of an air filter is easy, relatively cheap, and very beneficial.
No matter what oil you use, a consistent replacement schedule is important. The older oil is, the dirtier it gets, and dirty oil is underperforming oil. Depending on what oil you use, you can go anywhere between 3,000-20,000 miles before it is time to replace, but going longer than that causes loss of performance. Check what your owner’s manual recommends and follow it religiously.
As with any list, we haven’t covered everything you can do for engine performance. If you’d like to know more, feel free to call Manchester Auto & Tire of Mint Hill, LLC at 704-545-4597, email us at email@example.com, or message us on Facebook at facebook.com/ManchesterAutoandTireofMintHill