Tag Archives: Coolant

WINTER CHECKLIST FOR YOUR CAR

Check your coolant -

Make sure you have a true 50/50 mixture of distilled water and antifreeze to prevent the fluid from freezing in your radiator and make sure that your radiator cap is functioning correctly.

Check your battery -

The chemical reactions required to generate power in a car battery slow down in extremely cold temperatures, and your car requires more current from the battery to start the engine. To avoid a car that won’t start on a cold morning, run a battery load test to see if your battery has enough juice. Check battery cables and terminals for cracks and corrosion. 

Fill your wiper fluid -

Having enough wiper fluid is crucial to keeping your windshield free of ice, snow, salt, and mud. Make sure you use a premixed wiper fluid.  Do not use water or mix wiper fluid with water.

Replace your wiper blades -

Most blades are only good for six months to a year, so chances are you need new ones. While you’re at it, you might want to consider choosing a heavy-duty wiper blade specifically designed for winter conditions.

Inspect (and maybe replace) your tires -

Tires with worn treads are a serious hazard in winter conditions. If you live in an area that experiences a lot of snowfall, consider getting snow tires, which are made of softer rubber that remains flexible in colder temperatures, and have treads specially designed to keep their grip in snow and ice.

If you have all-season tires, check to make sure the tread is at least 5/32” for the best winter traction. If your tread is less than 3/32”, your tires will offer virtually zero traction in snow and be prone to hydroplaning in rain, and should be replaced regardless of the time of year.  Here’s an easy way to test your tread: insert a penny into a tread groove with Lincoln’s head pointing down. If no part of Lincoln’s head is covered, your tires need to be replaced. Flip the penny over and do the same test with the Lincoln Memorial facing down. If any part of the building is covered, your tires are ready to tackle winter weather. No matter whether your tires are new or older, make sure they’re properly inflated for winter conditions. Cold weather causes air pressure in your tires to drop at a rate of approximately 1 PSI per 10 degrees, so check your tire pressure regularly to make sure it stays at the level recommended by the manufacturer. The usual recommended tire pressure is 30-35 PSI depending on manufacturers recommendation, but check your owner’s manual for the exact number. And don’t forget to check your spare!

Change your oil -

Your engine needs lubrication to run, but cold weather thickens oil and reduces its ability to circulate through the engine, so make sure you have fresh oil to keep things running smoothly.

Check your belts and hoses -

Cold temperatures can weaken the belts and hoses that keep your engine running. Prepare for winter by checking all belts and hoses for cracks or signs of wear and tear, and replace them if needed.

Put together an emergency kit to carry in your car -

Be ready for the unexpected by equipping your car with emergency supplies including blankets, flares, reflective triangles, a jack, a first-aid kit, flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cables, shovel, food, water, matches, tool kit, cell phone charger and kitty litter or sand for traction if you get stuck.

October Is Fall Car Care Month & (Finally) Welcoming Cooler Weather To Sacramento

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While we still may be reeling from those long stretches of 100 degree days, it’s time to think about the toll winter can take on your car and the last time your car had a maintenance service. With that in mind: Happy Fall Car Care Month!

With drought one year, and heavy rainfall the next, it’s hard to predict the fall and winter weather in Sacramento. A few things are certain though: there will be less daylight, it will be cold, and it will rain, all which mean you may be driving more and you’ll want your car safe and ready for winter weather.

Like the reasons described in our April 2017 blog, maintenance services are important in the winter as well. Performing regular maintenance services on your vehicle will:

  • Give you peace of mind and let you know what is still in good working order. We text you photos of what is good, what may need work down the road, and what should be fixed. Even if you don’t want to do major repairs with us, we want you to have the peace of mind knowing what is in good shape and what needs work. Your safety is our priority.
  • Prevent costly and lengthy repair work. Time, weather, how much you drive, and how you drive cause wear and tear on parts. It’s unavoidable. However, oftentimes, if caught early, you can avoid a big repair. For example, transmission fluid doesn’t get low like oil (unless there is a leak), but it gets cycled over and over through the transmission, picking up gunk and loose metal fragments along the way, which can wreak havoc on your transmission. Flushing old transmission fluid out and replacing it with fresh fluid prevents you from needing a costly transmission rebuild down the road.

In colder weather, there are few things that need special attention:

  • Check the coolant - even when it’s cold! The term “coolant” can be misleading. If you look at the bottle, you’ll notice it is actually: coolant/antifreeze. Coolant doesn’t simply control your engine from running hot, it regulates engine temperature during colder weather as well. Depending how long the same coolant has been circulating in your car, or if you have a small leak, old coolant needs to be flushed out and replaced. A coolant flush should be done every three years/30,000 miles to prevent rust building up inside engine components. It also helps the components of your cooling system last longer.
  • Check tire inflation. Air contracts when it gets colder, which may make your tires look flatter. Tire inflation levels are measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Air pressure can decrease up to 10 psi a month just through every day driving and may potentially drop 1 psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit temperature drop. Improper tire inflation can hurt gas mileage and cause incorrect wear and tear on your tires, thus shortening the life of your tires. At Paul’s we check and adjust your tire pressure for free!
  • Windshield wipers, of course. A big tell-tale sign of winter weather in Sacramento is dusting off those windshield wipers after they have gotten little to no use over the summer. The life of windshield wipers is six months to one year. This seemingly simple item is also one of the most important safety items when it is raining, so make sure they are working properly and not coming apart. Another handy item we can apply to your windshield is Aquapel. This product is a long-lasting rain repellant that causes rain to bead up and roll right off your windshield.

The specific maintenance items needed to get your car ready for winter is based on several factors. We will be happy to go over with you the history of your vehicle and what you would need. The Car Care Guide is a useful resource to learn more.

I hope this helped you think about the importance of maintaining your car and your wintertime car care needs. Happy Car Care Month!

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The Urban Life

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Owning A Car In Midtown Sacramento - What You Need To Know

We love being in Midtown and have been here since the early 1980s. In fact, we feel that Paul’s Automotive is synonymous with Midtown, Sacramento. As a result, many of our customers live and/or work locally and drive very little. In fact, I used to be one of those people (before the babies and the necessity of car seats has required me to drive more). I lived, worked, shopped, went out, did everything within a two-mile radius. I barely drove my car; perhaps to Petco, since biking with a 45lb bag of cat litter was not feasible.

I thought, “I hardly ever drive! I don’t need to get anything done until I reach 5,000-miles for an oil change.” It would take me about three years to drive 5,000 miles! Since I started working with Mike at Paul’s Automotive, I’ve discovered that I was woefully misinformed. For you urban dwellers like me out there, who rarely drive, there are still critical things you need done to ensure your car is safe and will last for years. After all, you barely drive, you don’t want to have to buy a new car!!

There are various things that can happen to your car over time, especially if not driven often:

  • Oil and other fluids break down due condensation build up;
  • Tires lose air and pressure;
  • Tires develop flat spots, separate, and crack;
  • Windshield wipers crack;
  • Hoses and belts crack; and
  • Battery’s charge is affected (especially in winter)

If you’re a Midtowner, we don’t expect to see you in the shop several times a year for mileage services or for big repairs, simply because you are not putting thousands of miles on your car. However, we do hope to see you twice a year: at the beginning of the winter and at the beginning of summer. During these visits, we can make sure your car is ready for the season ahead.

After all, two visits a year to ensure the safety and longevity of your car and prevent even more costly repairs down the road is worth it!

Call us for more information on our new Midtowner Service!

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The Urban Life
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