The holidays should be a time to decompress, de-stress, and enjoy the joy and magic of the season. But if you have a friend or family member who is hard to shop for, you might find yourself running against the clock to find the perfect gift. While we may not be able to help you shop for everyone on your list, we can share some gift and stocking stuffer ideas for the car enthusiast or new driver in your life. Check it out!
We all know one. It’s the person who drags you to the vintage car show in the summer. This person drives through the new car lot “just to look”. He or she can name the make, model, and history of the car that just pulled up next to you. It’s the car enthusiast. Luckily for you, there are quite a few ideas for the auto-minded individual.
- Car calendar: Select a calendar featuring their favorite manufacturer or classic cars, and you’ll give a gift they’ll enjoy all year.
- Books: Coffee table books with history or photography of their favorite car are sure to please.
- Dashcam: What car enthusiast doesn’t want to relive the joy of the open road?
- Driving gloves: Classy as it gets, driving gloves will keep their fingers warm and their style cool.
- Apparel: T-shirts are the obvious choice for apparel, and allow your recipient to wear their favorite vehicle with pride.
- Model vehicles: Offer to help your gift recipient build the model and you’ll also be gifting shared time together.
Do you know any new drivers? Or someone who has just purchased a new or used vehicle? Oftentimes these drivers haven’t stocked their vehicle with necessary (or just plain cool) items. Keep them cruising with these gift ideas.
- All-weather mats: ‘Tis the season for muddy, rainy shoes. Help them protect their car with a set of quality all-weather mats.
- Car emergency kit: Help keep them safe with a car emergency kit. Check out last month’s blog post for a list of contents.
- Air fresheners: This stocking stuffer is a great idea if their new car smell isn’t smelling so new anymore.
- Seat covers: Whether they want to protect their new seats or their current seats are looking a little rough, seat covers offer protection and style.
- Upgraded audio system: This one can be spendy, but an upgraded audio system is a great gift for those with an older vehicle… or a long commute.
- Essentials: There’s nothing wrong with the basics. Windshield wiper blades, a new air filter, a new battery, or just money to get a needed repair can mean the world to a new driver.
Happy Holidays from Rolf’s Import Auto!
It’s happening—we’re entering holiday season. As you look forward to carving the turkey and opening gifts, don’t forget to make sure your car is ready for the holiday treks ahead. Not only will you see an increase in traffic around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but weather may also play a role in altering your plans. From rain and wind, to ice—and yes—snow, it’s imperative that you ensure your vehicle is ready to take you over the river and through the woods this holiday season. Here are four tips to help keep you and your family safe.
Lights, windshields, action.
For this first tip, think about the front part of your car—namely headlights and windshield wipers. These two components are crucial in staying safe because they ensure you can see others and they can see you. Let’s talk headlamps. Don’t take for granted that they’re in perfect working order. Before any long trip, turn them on and off in the dark to make sure they’re working and bright. If they’re dim, consider purchasing new ones.
Also check your windshield wipers to make sure they’re completely removing water from your windshield. If they smear or streak the water the water across the windshield, it may be time for new blades. (Note: the typical life expectancy of wiper blades is 6 months.) Don’t forget to check and refill the windshield fluid reservoir and use a windshield cleaning solution with antifreeze components. When the temperature drops, water can quickly turn to ice on your windshield!
Brakes are critical.
In terms of safety, it’s hard to beat breaks. They work hard to keep you safe, but weather can make it harder for them to perform. Now is the time to test your breaks in all kinds of weather. Do they tend to skip when the ground is wet? Are they squeaking? If you have any inclination that something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. We recommend bringing your vehicle to Rolf’s for an inspection before any winter travel. Our skilled mechanics will ensure your brakes stay in tip-top shape for your yuletide journey.
Speaking of brakes, the tires they stop are just as important. Bad weather can make bad tires even worse. As a rule of thumb, tires with less than 3/32-inches of tread should be replaced. This is especially important if you have a winter trip planned, as rain, snow, and ice can exacerbate existing issues. Don’t forget to check tire pressure, as cool weather causes it to drop. Finally, make sure your spare tire is ready to jump in and save the day if needed!
Build an emergency kit.
Unfortunate things happen—and if it involves winter weather, it can be disastrous if you don’t have an emergency kit to keep you calm, warm, and collected. Grab a plastic bin and the following items.
- Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
- Basic toolkit
- Cell phone charger
- Drinking water
- First-aid kit
- Flashlight (and batteries)
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Non-perishable food (energy or granola bars)
- Snow shovel and brush
- Towel or paper towels
- Warm weather gear (gloves, hats and blankets) and extra clothes
- Warning devices (flares or triangles)
- Window washer solvent
We hope you enjoy all the holiday season has to offer. Use these tips to stay safe and ensure your car is ready for the expeditions ahead.
October is a time when we get a thrill from things that go bump in the night. Haunted houses, creaky stairs, bat squeaks, and ghosts are all welcome. But when it comes to your vehicle, there are a few noises you don’t want to hear any time of the year. Here are a few scary sounds that you shouldn’t ignore this fall.
Knocking, popping, or humming under the hood.
You’re driving and suddenly you hear a knocking from under the hood—it actually sounds like a door knock. Or perhaps you hear ‘pops’ emanating from the engine. Unfortunately, the causes for these sounds can be difficult to pinpoint. Depending on the exact noise you hear, issues could be a clogged fuel filter, an ignition problem, or a dirty or worn spark plug. Humming in particular can signal a transmission problem, which should definitely be checked out by your trusted mechanic.
Squealing when applying the breaks.
This is an easy one to detect—for both you and those outside your car. Brake issues can necessitate simple fixes or complete replacement, as problems can range from dirty brake rotors to completely worn down pads. In any case, brakes are one of your car’s most important safety features, so head to your mechanic to have your brakes inspected as soon as possible.
Grinding when shifting.
This one is for you manual transmission diehards out there! Always listen carefully when you shift. Grinding is not a normal sound and could indicate a problem with the clutch. While it may just require a simple adjusting, it could also signal a more serious transmission issue.
Excessive noise or squealing when accelerating.
The sound of a revving engine is music to the ears of car enthusiasts. But when it grows into a loud roar or transforms into a squeal, something isn’t right. Common culprits are the transmission, clutch (for manuals), or the exhaust system. Get your car checked out.
So as you enjoy all the sights and sounds this creepy month has to offer, don’t ignore the spooky sounds coming from your vehicle. Head to Rolf’s to get your car ready for trick-or-treating and trips to the haunted corn maze. Let’s leave the scary sounds to the ghouls and goblins.
September is here, and that means it’s time for college. If you’re the parent of a college-bound son or daughter, prepping the car is just as important as prepping the dorm room. Take a look at these five tips for getting your child’s car ready for college and beyond.
1. Tune up before you ship out.
A solid tune-up from your trusted mechanic is crucial. Not only does it provide you with peace of mind, it will highlight any issues that may need to be addressed before school starts.
At Rolf’s we’ll check every nook, cranny, hose, and belt to make sure the car will safely handle the journey to school… and those midnight taco runs.
2. Load up a gas card.
Not only is a gas card a thoughtful gift for your college student, it’s a practical one, too. It’s no secret that college kids are often low on cash and a gas card can come in clutch. You can load it up when school starts for the first semester and during the holidays for the second semester.
3. Purchase or compile an emergency kit.
This is a good tip for anyone—college student or not. Emergencies and accidents can happen anytime, so ensure your student is prepared with the following items.
- Jumper cables.
- Flares or triangle reflectors.
- A quart or more of motor oil
- A gallon of coolant
- First-aid kit
- Blanket or space blanket
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Tool kit with screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench, pocket knife
- A can of tire inflator and sealant such as Fix-a-Flat
- Tire pressure gauge
- Paper towels
- Spray bottle with washer fluid
- Ice scraper
- Pen and paper
- Granola or energy bars
- Bottled water
4. Check antifreeze and car treads
This one is simple, but important. Be sure to check and refill your antifreeze, if necessary. This is especially key before the colder temperatures set in, as it is helps keep the vehicle operating properly. Plus, the PH level of antifreeze turns acidic over time and can corrode your engine components. Fresh antifreeze can prevent this problem.
Tire treads are also key to staying safe in all driving conditions. Inspect the tires to make sure they’re wearing evenly. You can also do the “Lincoln Penny Test”; simply place a penny head first into tread grooves across the tire. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are too shallow and should be replaced.
5. Check (or replace) your battery.
Batteries are the unsung hero under the engine—and a component you don’t worry about until something goes wrong. If the vehicle’s battery is over 5 years old, consider preemptively replacing it. This will allow for optimum peace of mind, while enabling the car to continue driving smoothly during college and beyond.
Heading off to college is an exciting time. By taking just a few steps to prepare the car for the journey, you can ensure it’s a safe adventure for your child.
Summertime weather is finally here in the Pacific Northwest. The steadily climbing heat and relentless sun can cause overheating in cars—both under the hood and for the vehicle’s passengers. Here’s a list of tips to ensure both you and your car continue running at cool, optimal levels.
Under the Hood
Check Your Coolant Fluid
Not surprisingly, coolant fluid flows through your car’s engine and keeps it cool. If your vehicle doesn’t have the proper level of coolant fluid, it could be prone to overheating. Make sure that it’s not leaking, as that’s a surefire way to find yourself on the side of road with a steaming engine.
Inspect the Radiator Fan Belt
The radiator fan belt, or serpentine belt, is a long, zigzagging belt that keeps your alternator, power steering pump, and air conditioning running efficiently. One of the easiest ways to spot problems with a radiator fan belt is to simply look at the condition of the belt. Arm yourself with a flashlight and keep an eye out for fraying or cracking. If you see two or more cracks per inch, it’s time to replace the belt.
Investigate The Radiator
A smoothly operating radiator can make all the difference in keeping your car’s engine at the right temperature. If your vehicle has over 50,000 miles, we recommend bringing it to Rolf’s Import Auto for an inspection and radiator flush. The flush will remove excess grease and filth to help cool the engine and allow it to run more effectively.
In the Vehicle
Get Your Air Conditioner Ready
Sure, this one may seem obvious. But it’s easy to forget how a properly operating A/C should work. If it takes several minutes for the air to turn cold (or it doesn’t turn cold at all), bring it in to Rolf’s for a thorough inspection. There’s no need to suffer in the heat!
Seek Out the Shade
Think ahead. Are you parking all day at work? Where will the shade hit in the afternoon? Always try to park in a shaded spot or in an area that will have shade later in the day. Your future self will thank you for it!
Purchase a Sunshade
You might be surprised how much these UV-blocking covers can help keep your car’s heat bearable.
Take a Break from Leather
Leather is beautiful to look at… but not so great to sit on in the summer. Keep towels in your car to cover the leather and protect your legs.
Bring your car to Rolf’s Import Auto to ensure your engine stays cool all summer long. After all, a cool car won’t just make summer more enjoyable—it may even make it safer.
As you know, we here at Rolf’s Import Auto care greatly about the safety of you and your family. As the Fourth of July nears, it’s incredibly important to stay safe as the firecrackers go off, the sparklers twinkle, and the kids want to be in the middle of it all. Take a look at these fireworks safety tips to make sure your Independence Day goes off with a (safe) bang!
Keep it legal.
Buy only legal fireworks (legal fireworks have a label with directions and the manufacturer’s name; illegal fireworks are typically unlabeled), and store them in a cool, dry place.
Limit your children’s participation.
Children should be fireworks spectators—not lighters. This is the best way you can ensure their safety, as fireworks can shoot off unexpectedly or in unanticipated directions. Also, pick up the used fireworks yourself. Some fireworks may still be ignited and could explode—don’t allow kids to touch them.
Handle sparklers with care.
Sparklers may seem like the gentlest of fireworks, but they can reach 1,800°F. Always monitor your children when they have sparklers, and be sure that they keep them outside and away from their face, hair, and clothing.
Point fireworks away from homes and brush.
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year. Pointing fireworks away from homes and brush can help prevent fires.
Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trashcan.
Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case an accident occurs.
Keep them out of your hand.
Lighting a firework in your hand is a surefire (no pun intended) way to get injured. Only light fireworks on the ground! Bonus tip: don’t carry fireworks in your pocket—it’s possible that the friction could set them off.
Keep pets safe.
Fireworks can cause fear and anxiety for animals, which can lead to them running away. Protect your pet by keeping them indoors as the fireworks go off.
Rolf’s Import Auto wishes you a fun, festive, and most importantly, safe Independence Day.
With the rise of sites like Pinterest and YouTube, DIY projects have never seemed so possible. Step-by-step instructions, great photography, and simple video tutorials provide readers and viewers with the confidence they need to take on projects, save money, and learn new skills.
Car maintenance is no exception. As we navigate the vast landscape of DIY resources, it’s important to know what you can do yourself… and what you should leave to the pros.
These simple car maintenance actions make sense (and cents) to do yourself.
- Air Filter: This simple to-do will only take a few minutes and is incredibly cost efficient. Check out how to change your air filter.
- Windshield Wipers: Keep the windshield clear and your wallet full by installing windshield wipers at home. Full instructions, including how to select the right windshield wipers, can be found here.
- Detailing: Detailing your own car takes no automotive skills and is easier that it seems. Plus, you can save over $100 by doing the vacuuming, buffing, and shining yourself. Beautify your car with these tips from Popular Mechanics.
- Headlight Bulbs: See and be seen by installing your own headlight bulbs. This awesome video from Popular Mechanics will have your car lighting your path in no time.
- Clean Battery Terminals: With a few tools and five minutes to read these instructions, you can ensure your vehicle’s battery is ready to go the distance.
Go With a Pro
In most situations, it is wise to visit a professional for car maintenance. This includes, but is not limited to, annual maintenance, major engine work, and any work you’re not comfortable doing yourself. Remember, safety should always be your top priority.
So go ahead and join the DIY revolution. Undertaking simple car maintenance yourself can save money and teach you a few new skills. Just make sure you select the right ones to keep your vehicle running smoothly and safely.
Can you feel it? Spring is on its way. The sun is staying out a bit longer, the birds are chirping, and the flowers are blooming. It’s time for a fresh start. As you break out the duster and vacuum to do a little spring-cleaning in your home, think about your car, too. It braves the elements, handles your muddy shoes, and becomes a receptacle for… well, everything.
Follow these five steps to a clean car that’s ready to cruise this spring.
- Stock your cleaning arsenal.
Do yourself a favor and grab all the supplies you’ll need right from the beginning.
- Three garbage bags: one for trash, one for items that should go in the house, and one for items that will be placed back in the car
- Cleaning cloths (extra points if they’re microfiber!)
- Vacuum cleaner or shop-vac with brush attachment
- Old toothbrush for detail work
- All-purpose cleaning spray
- Window cleaner
- Detailing spray (optional)
- Condensed air can (optional)
- Empty out your car.
And we mean empty. Car mats, car seats, garbage, knick-knacks, and other miscellaneous items should be removed and placed into one of the three garbage bags mentioned above.
- Get dusting and vacuuming
You’ll probably be shocked by how much dust and dirt has accumulated over the winter. Vacuum all upholstery and floors from top to bottom. Then dust all hard surfaces—the dash, buttons, rear-view mirror, center console, and arm rests. For the vents, use a condensed air can or a toothbrush and vacuum to remove dust.
- Roll up your sleeves and clean.
Grab your cleaning cloths and all-purpose cleaner and go to work. Every vinyl or plastic piece should get a thorough cleaning. If you have children, be sure to check the back of the driver and front passenger seats for footprints and be sure to get those door handles! For the tighter spots, use the toothbrush. Clean windows last.
For a freshly detailed look, use detailing spray to finish up. Spray a light coat over hard surfaces and wipe with a clean cloth. It will add a sleek sheen and extra layer of protection from future dust and dirt.
- Wash the exterior.
For environmental and water usage reasons, we recommend bringing your vehicle to a car wash to put the finishing touch on your hard work. You’ve earned it!
Take these steps and enjoy your sparkling vehicle. For the ultimate clean, bring your vehicle to Rolf’s Import Auto. We’ll make sure that your engine is running as spotless as your newly cleaned interior and exterior.
Love is in the air. Or at least, Valentine’s Day is. If you have a special someone to shower with love and affection, that’s great. If not, you do have something that’s always there when you need it. A true friend who faithfully gets you where you need to be. Your car.
Take a look at these three reasons to show your car some love this month:
Your tax refund just arrived.
Invest in your car while you have the funds to do so. Finally get a tune-up, purchase a set of new tires, or fix those squeaking brakes. Plus, it’s a gift that’ll keep on giving long after the flowers have wilted and the chocolates have been eaten.
Winter is still here… and spring is on the way.
Sadly, we’ll still be dealing with winter weather for another month or so. And while spring does bring more sun and warmer temperatures, it also means rain. Prepping your car to battle winter’s last icy mornings and spring’s rainy afternoons isn’t just smart—it’ll help keep you safe.
It gets your New Year’s Resolution on track.
Maybe your New Year’s Resolution isn’t going so well. Or maybe you didn’t set one at all. Either way, here’s one goal that’s easy (and smart) to accomplish: taking better care of your car. Whether this is performing preventative maintenance, staying on schedule for oil changes, or simply keeping your car washed and cleaned, focusing on your vehicle is a simple, yet impactful resolution.
So show your car a little love this February. Doing so will ensure it carries you safely (and perhaps even stylishly) throughout the rest of the year.
- Accelerate 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
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
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
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) >>
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Remove snow tires.
- 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.
- Change the engine oil and adjust the viscosity grade.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Rolf’s would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween!!
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!