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Be Prepared: Tips for driving in the snow

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  • winter tires tacoma fife rolfs importAccelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

Article from AAA Exchange

 

Safe Travels This Memorial Day Weekend

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With the Memorial Day weekend upon us, and many of you are heading out of town. To ensure your family has a safe trip make sure to check a few things on your vehicle before you head out.

  • Windshield wiper blades and fluids: Make sure to top of your wiper fluid and clean your blades, if you notice your blades are getting worn, stop in to any Greg’s location and they will be happy to install new ones.
  • Turn and Directional Signals: Make sure that you test all turn signals, this is especially important if you are towing a trailer.
  • Brake Lights: Make sure while you are checking your turn signals you also check all brake lights.
  • Tires and Tire Pressure: It’s always good to keep a tire pressure gage in your glove box, checking your tire pressure before any long trip is very important.
  • Oil: Checking your oil every time you fill your vehicle with gas is always a great habit to get into, checking it before any long trip is highly recommended. Also, when is the last time you looked at that little sticker in the corner of your windshield? Are you past due, if so it’s not too late to call Greg’s and get an oil change before you hit the road.
  • Proof of Insurance: It is always good to double check your glove box and make sure you have all the up to date paperwork you need. Insurance card, registration things like that.

We hope that all our family, friends, customers and neighbors enjoy this long weekend. We hope you all have safe travels and a relaxing weekend. We are closed on Monday, but will be back and ready to help with all your vehicle needs on Tuesday. If you find you have squeaking breaks, tow oil and noisy belts we are here to help!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

Fact or Fiction? 8 gas-saving myths

Find the lowest rates at Gas Stations!

As gas prices skyrocket, let’s examine some commonly held beliefs about how to get the best gas mileage from your vehicle.

FACT: Driving slower saves you gas. Like millions of Americans, we listen to the “Car Talk” guys on National Public Radio mostly because they make us laugh. But they also dispense great auto advice, and they stress that slowing down makes a big difference:

For every 1,000 miles you drive (figuring gas at $2.50 a gallon and 25 mpg fuel efficiency), you’ll save as much as $15 driving 10 mph slower. Of course, if gas is nearly double that price, the savings should double as well. Something to think about if you’re a speed demon.

FICTION: Replacing the air filter on your car improves mileage. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that an air filter change will mostly help your acceleration, not your mileage — though if you drive an older car with a carbureted engine, it may improve fuel economy 2% to 6%.

FACT: Stepping on the brakes wastes gas. Every time you use the brakes, you’re wasting the ‘acceleration’ you’ve already used. Instead of moving your car, that energy is being transformed into steaming hot brake pads. Instead, learn to anticipate stops, and gently accelerate your car from a standing stop.

FICTION: Gas-saving additives can improve fuel economy by 20% or more. What’s the difference between motor oil and snake oil? Not much, if you’re weighing the claims of slick entrepreneurs who know the timing’s right for selling you magical gas-saving potions. To be sure, some long-standing products with modest claims (such as STP Gas Treatment) have vigorous supporters, but they only claim to boost mileage about 10%.

But as the Federal Trade Commission warns, “The Environmental Protection Agency has evaluated or tested more than 100 alleged gas-saving devices and has not found any product that significantly improves gas mileage. In fact, some ‘gas-saving’ products may damage a car’s engine or cause substantial increases in exhaust emissions.”

FICTION: New “low-resistance” tires significantly improve gas mileage. Unless you’re driving bald or severely underinflated tires, the hype about low-rolling resistance tires adds up to minimal gas savings. As this story by USA Today reports, various brands of these newfangled tires create gas savings of only 1% to 3%, even if rolling resistance is cut by 25% or more. Whether that saves wear and tear on your car is another story, but the mileage improvements won’t even pay for a spare tire over the course of 10 tanks of gas.


FACT:
You can realize dramatic mileage improvement by replacing your oxygen sensor. This falls under the category of tuning up your car, always a good idea if you want to see gas mileage gains in the 4% range. As a function of any proper tuneup, ask your Rolf’s mechanic to look at the oxygen sensor; if it’s not working properly, a simple repair to this part could boost your mileage by as much as 40%, the U.S. Department of Energy states.

Note that if you make this fix, it may take a few weeks for you to realize the improved mileage as your engine’s fuel-air ratio adjusts.

FICTION: Topping off the gas tank is a good idea. We know, We know: You’ve finally found the one pump between here and Logansport, Ind., that has affordable gas, so why not squeeze every last drop into your tank? While that sounds sensible at first blush, here’s the problem: Gas expands in warmer weather, which means topped off gas will likely wind up spilling out your tank.

As if you needed more incentive, check out this warning from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “Topping off the gas tank can result in your paying for gasoline that is fed back into the station’s tanks because your gas tank is full.” So unless you’re in the mood to pay the folks at Exxon or BP a little more for your fuel, stop topping off your tank.

FICTION: High-octane gasoline improves your mileage. We’re amazed to see that countless drivers still fall for this marketing gimmick, despite abundant evidence that high-octane gas is a waste of money. Props to the folks at Bankrate.com for pointing this out, along with other gas-saving tips you can read here. Bottom line: Unless your car specifically requires premium, skip it and go for low-octane fuel.

*From MSN Money, April 2012

Texting and driving is like playing Russian Roulette

Don't Text and Drive

Phone Down, Eyes Up
Texting and driving is like playing Russian Roulette

You are 23x more likely to crash if you text while driving. According to the NHTSA, in 2009 an estimated 20 percent of 1,517,000 injury crashes were reported to have involved distracted driving.

Teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to be involved in a fatal crash where distraction is reported. In 2009, 16% of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were reported to have been distracted.

Distracted Driving News (US Government site) >>

How to Fall in Love with Your Car Again

With Valentine’s Day this month, you go all out and lavish your special someone with flowers and chocolates. But don’t let the focus completely slip away from your non-human companions. That’s right-cars need love too, and unlike humans, they’ll never tell you that they’re just not that into you.

Here, then, are four heartfelt ways to renew your bond with your vehicle and show it how much you care.

Buy New Tires
Spring isn’t far away, which means a tire swap could be in order. It’s time to think about changing out snow tires, switching to a good all-season tire or maybe adding a high-performance tire to a sporty car. Or maybe the tread on your current set has worn away. New tires can dramatically improve everything from ride comfort and handling to ambient noise on the highway, and they’re much more resistant to blowouts than the aging rubber that we too often see on the road. There’s a tire to fit virtually any budget these days, so why not do some research and price out a new set? Cars love new tires, and that’s what the Valentine’s Day spirit is all about.

Clean It Up!
You’ve already seen a few winter months pass by, and that layer of grime on your car has probably gotten pretty thick. Here’s a thought: don’t just take your car through the mechanical car wash for eight bucks, as this can scratch your paint and leave filth untouched in some areas. If you don’t want to get the sponge out yourself, we recommend anteing up for a professional hand wash. It’s like a spa treatment for your car; you’ll be amazed at how refreshed it looks afterwards. If you’ve suffered through a particularly nasty winter, however, you may want to spring for a full detailing job, which is akin to a full-body rejuvenation. Is your car worth it? Of course it is; it’s your valentine!

Take a Road Trip
If you’re like most American drivers, you might feel like you’ve been stuck in a chilly commuting rut all winter. So how about hitting the road for a weekend getaway? It’ll be good for you, of course, but your car will appreciate it too, and here’s why. You know how used-car classifieds will claim a vehicle has driven “mostly highway miles”? Well, that’s because a steady cruise on the highway is just about the least stressful experience a car can have. Cold starts are a killer for engine components; ditto short trips, prolonged idling and stop-and-go traffic. Chances are you’ve been doing that stuff all winter. So don’t keep abusing your car with the usual routine; take it out on the open road and get its heart singing again.

Install a USB-Compatible Stereo
Are you still listening to CDs in the car? Or maybe an iPod with a shaky connection? Well, check it out: there’s been a digital-music revolution over the past couple years, and a growing number of head units are being now equipped with an honest-to-goodness USB port-just like a new car’s stereo. Having a USB port is great because you can play your iPod/mp3 player through it with superior fidelity (compared to an auxiliary input jack), or you can insert a flash drive with a bunch of mp3s on it and enjoy an exceptionally portable jukebox full of your favorite songs. It’s a worthwhile upgrade, especially if you’re already accustomed to using mp3s in other contexts. And, having received a new technological lease on life, your car will likely be your loyal valentine for years to come. Flowers and chocolates not required.

February 2012 by DriverSide

Planning 2012 Vehicle Care

If you don’t control your money, your money will control you. Today let’s focus on getting control over the cost of auto repair and maintenance.


The Cost of Owning a Car

Here’s a look at all the budget categories you may want consider when attempting to nail down your auto expenses:

  • Purchase price – payment (cash and/or financing and interest) to acquire the vehicle
  • Taxes - paid when you buy or sell the vehicle
  • Fuel - the gasoline/fuel you need to make the vehicle run
  • Insurance – all levels auto insurance including personal liability, collision, comprehensive, roadside assistance, etc.
  • Tags and registration – state vehicle registration, license plates, and renewal tags
  • Repair and maintenance - tires, oil changes, and all other repairs and maintenance necessary to keep your vehicle operational

Benefits of Controlling These Costs

Many of the benefits of controlling your auto maintenance costs are similar to those you experience when gaining control over any area of your money, so let’s focus on those that are specific to the topic. Proper budgeting for auto repair and maintenance will allow you to:

  • Have a better relationship and better communication with your auto mechanic
  • Prepare/plan better so you don’t have to race to get oil changes before your next trip
  • Reduce your maintenance expenses going forward
  • Relax in the knowledge that you’re prepared

You can achieve all of these things simply by setting aside enough money to cover your expenses. That way you won’t have to stress or worry about where the money is coming from – if it can be found at all.

Are you ready for the winter?

Winter, what does that mean to most people?  That means…holiday shopping (not to mention wrapping and hiding all those gifts), fun festivities with friends and family, and of course staying warm! But, don’t forget the winter weather either, so why not get your car ready for it so you can enjoy what winter time is all about!

Bring your car to the ASA Light’s On event on October 1, 2011 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Walmart parking lot in Lakewood.  For more information check out the event flyer below.

The Benefits of a Proper Oil Change

Regular oil changes are necessary to ensure the proper performance of a car’s engine. An oil change, which involves installing a new engine oil filter and draining old engine oil and replacing it with fresh, clean oil, offers a myriad of benefits.

Cleaner Engine
Oil changes help to keep car engines clean and running smoothly. As an engine operates, microscopic wear and debris particles flake off from various internal engine parts and enter a car’s oil. Regularly changing a car’s oil eliminates these particles and ensures that an engine is bathed and lubricated with clean, quality motor oil.

Longer Engine Life
Wear and friction are the two leading causes of engine wear and failure; regular oil changes reduce engine wear and result in a longer lasting car engine.

Lower Vehicle Emissions
Clean oil enables an engine to run cleaner, and a cleaner running engine emits less exhaust than a dirty engine. An oil change replaces old, dirty engine oil with fresh, clean engine oil, oil that is better able to absorb harmful engine particles and engine by-product emissions.

Better Gas Mileage

An oil change infuses an engine with clean, quality engine oil that provides better lubrication and friction-reducing capabilities than old, dirty engine oil. Increased engine lubrication results in less engine friction, which enables an engine to run easier and smoother and leads to increased gas mileage.

Better Engine Performance
Clean engine oil allows an engine’s internal parts to operate easier and smoother, enabling an engine to maximize its mechanical output. This leads to not only an increase in gas mileage, but also an increase in engine performance.

Schedule your Oil Service Appointment today!

Get Ready for Summer

Here are a few things to consider regarding your car, truck or SUV!

During the upcoming summer months, the weather can get hot. You’ll want to take a few things into consideration regarding your car, truck or SUV. It’s important to remember that hot weather can be tough on mechanical components. While there are many similarities between getting your vehicle ready for summer and getting it ready for winter, a couple of differences do exist.

Here’s a list of what needs to be done to get your vehicle ready for summer:

  1. Remove snow tires.
  2. Check the tire pressure. Tire pressure is important at all times. It’s critical to have properly inflated tires, as this assures the best possible contact between the tire and the road.
  3. Change the engine oil and adjust the viscosity grade.
  4. Inspect the belts and hoses. Before summer begins, have the belts and hoses inspected on your vehicle. And if you’re not sure when they were last replaced, consider having them changed, especially before commencing a long road trip.
  5. Inspect the wipers and wiper fluid. The life expectancy of a wiper blade is one year. If your car’s blades are dried out and not making full contact with the windshield, replace them.
  6. Check the battery. A battery gives little warning before it goes dead. Hot weather can put additional strain on a battery similar to what is experienced in cold weather.
  7. Check coolant/antifreeze mixture. The ideal mixture of coolant and water inside your vehicle’s radiator is 50:50. If the mixture deviates from this norm, then hot-weather performance (and cold) can be compromised.
  8. Carry an emergency kit inside your car. Things you might consider carrying include the following:
  • A flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Extra clothes and gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Extra washer fluid
  • Food and water
  • Basic tools like wrenches, a ratchet and sockets, screwdrivers and pliers or Vise-Grips

Drive safe this summer!

Car Air Conditioner Tips

Air Conditioning, which was once considered a luxury, is now a common feature on most cars and vehicles today.

While the servicing of modern car air conditioning systems is best left to professionals, you can get the most enjoyment from your A/C system if you know a bit about how it works and what malfunctions you should be on the lookout for.

1. Odd smells coming from the air conditioning may be caused by bacterial build-ups in the A/C system.

As your car becomes older, or when the air conditioning system is used infrequently, bacteria, micro-organisms, mold and fungi may start growing, just behind the dash panel on the evaporator causing some very unpleasant odors. Some even claim this can result in headaches and flu like symptom sometimes referred to as “sick car syndrome.”

This problem can be solved by using an anti-bacterial treatment that destroys the bacteria growth and leaves your car smelling fresh again.

2. If your automobile does NOT feel cold enough, then you may need to recharge your system.

If you feel that your car doesn’t feel as cold as your friend’s car, then your system may need servicing. The air conditioning system in your vehicle is not usually covered by most manufacturers servicing schedules and the refrigerant gas that is used to operate the system depletes over time. This leakage can be caused when the system is not used during the winter months. Thus allowing the small “O” ring seals to dry out resulting in a gradual deterioration in system performance. If this continues, eventually the system will not be able to operate at all.

Most problems of this type can be put right fairly easily by a leak check of your system followed by a complete refill of your air conditioning refrigerant, this is sometimes referred to as a re-gas.

3. Running your air conditioning year round will help maintain the automobile A/C system.

If you run the air conditioning in the winter it will help to keep the system well lubricated and leak tight. This is because the refrigerant actually carries the oil that lubricates the system and most importantly the compressor. It also keeps the seals and hoses moist, thus preventing them from drying out and cracking which can lead to leaks.

4. Strange noises coming from the air conditioning should be attended to immediately.

If your air-con system suddenly starts making noises you have not heard before it is very advisable to have a qualified vehicle air conditioning specialist to have a look at it. Some noises could be early symptoms of a compressor failure (the compressor is the air conditioning pump). The compressor is usually the most expensive part on the system and if the bearings in your compressor break down or if the compressor seizes up it also means that other components can become contaminated with metal particles A flush of the system would then be needed as well as replacement of the compressor, the receiver/drier and the expansion valve – quite a hefty bill.

5. Don’t worry too much about a pool of water forming under your automobile after using the A/C.

If you see a puddle of water on the ground, usually under the passenger area don’t be alarmed. This is a normal feature of the system as it is only water dripping from the air conditioning evaporator. The evaporator has a drain tube fitted to allow the condensation from the evaporator to drain away from the vehicle.

6. Excessive moisture inside the car can be fixed easily.

Sometimes the drain tube from the evaporator may become blocked or detached allowing the condensation to build up inside your evaporator. If this occurs water will just build up inside your car to a point where there are damp carpets or misting / high humidity type problems. These problems can be solved with low-cost servicing.

7. Have your air conditioning serviced regularly, even if there are no visible problems.

Just as the other systems of your car need servicing on a regular basis, the same is true for the air conditioning system. The compressor needs oil, or else it will seize up. The filter collects debris and moisture. If the filter becomes blocked, then the performance of the system will deteriorate and it can even quit working entirely (probably when you need it most!)

Normally the refrigerant gas in a car air conditioning system has to be recharged completely within four years from the manufacture date and thereafter every two to three years.

An annual servicing of your car’s air conditioning system will guard against malfunctions in the compressor and other vital parts of the system. Regular maintenance will save you money in the long run and guarantee you comfort in the hottest months.

Schedule your A/C Appointment Online today!

www.autorepairtips.org

Fuel Saving Tips Video

Watch this video from CarCare.org on Gas Saving Tips!

Fuel Saving Tips as Gas Prices Soar

With gas prices nearing four dollars a gallon in many parts of the country, the Car Care Council is offering gas-saving maintenance and driving tips that really work. Record Gas Prices Make it Perfect Time to “Be Car Care Aware.”

“Millions of dollars worth of gasoline is wasted every day by motorists, because simple and inexpensive vehicle maintenance is neglected,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “Loose or missing gas caps, under-inflated tires, worn spark plugs and dirty air filters all contribute to poor fuel economy.”

The Car Care Council offers these fuel-saving tips:

  • Vehicle gas caps – About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year
  • Under inflated tires – When tires aren’t inflated properly it’s like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon.
  • Worn spark plugs - A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.
  • Dirty air filters – An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a “rich” mixture – too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 15 cents a gallon.

Fuel-saving driving tips include:

  • Don’t be an aggressive driver – Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, which results in 7 to 49 cents per gallon.
    Avoid excessive idling – Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
  • Observe the speed limit - Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mph driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, cruise control is recommended.

Some of the above statistics were gathered from a U.S. Department of Energy Web site, www.fueleconomy.gov
Article by carcare.org

Would you like to save up to $31,000?

 

I believe a majority would say “yes” to this question.  With the way the economy has been, why wouldn’t we want to save a few thousand.  According to Consumer Reports you are able save at least $31, 000 when you keep a car for 15 years, or 225,000 miles of driving. $31,000 is a lot of money and how do you obtain that maybe the next question you ask. Easy, by properly maintaining your vehicle!  Here are some great ways to maintain the longevity of your car.

  • Follow the maintenance guide in your owner’s manual and make needed repairs promptly.
  • Use only the recommended types of fluids, including oil and transmission fluids.
  • Check under the hood regularly. Listen for strange sounds, sniff for odd smells and look for fraying or bulges in pipes or belts. 
  • Get a vehicle service manual, these are going to be available at most auto parts store or the dealership.
  • Clean the car carefully inside and out.  It’s not just to keep your car looking nice and clean, but it also helps prevent premature rust.  And vacuuming the inside of your car prevents premature wear on the carpets from sand and grit.

 As you can see, a little TLC will make your car last and save your wallet a few thousand.   That is why at Rolf’s Import Auto we take pride in making sure your car gets the quality service it deserves. 

Warranty Extension For Audi Owners

We just received some information from Audi, and here at Rolf’s Import Auto we would like to provide some insight to all our Audi owners. 


Here at Rolfs Import Auto we strive to provide the highest quality of automotive repairs and service. Below is a specification sheet on the oil we use here at Rolf’s when servicing your Volkswagen/Audi. As you can see the products we provide meet or exceeds the manufactuers specifications.

Halloween Safety Tips

It’s that time of the year when children and the young-at-hearts dress up in costume and hit the streets for trick-or-treating and Halloween fun. Our crew at Rolf’s wants to make sure that your Halloween this year isn’t only fun, but also safe. So we’ve provided this list of Halloween safety tips for you.

Bright costumes – Make sure that your and/or your children’s costumes are bright enough to be visible to drivers on the road. If you need to, wear some reflective gear.

Safe costumes – Make sure that costumes are short enough so that you or your children won’t trip on them. If wearing masks, make sure that it is comfortable enough to allow breathing and that the eyeholes are big enough and fit correctly to allow the best vision.

Be visible – Carry flashlights, glowsticks, etc. to make yourself even more visible to motorists.

Safe driving – Pay extra attention while driving, especially in residential neighborhoods. Drive slower than the posted speed limit. Limit distractions while you’re driving, like talking on cell phones, eating, playing loud music, etc.

More information about Halloween Safety can be found at:
http://www.halloween-safety.com/index.html
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/hallow.html

Rolf’s would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween!!

Why you should replace “Thrust arm bushings”

I’m sure at some point in your BMW’s life you have heard a mention that your thrust arm bushings, or control arm bushings are cracked, worn or loose.  Check this video out and see why you should have them replaced when they do wear out!

Loose thrust arm bushing video


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