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Category: Car maintenance

Check Out These Winter Weather Car Prep Tips While It’s Still Warm

Winter Weather Car Prep

The temperatures outside are starting to plummet, and you know what that means: winter weather driving conditions will soon be upon us. Thankfully, you can combat these hazardous roads with excellent preparation.

Here are some winter weather car prep tips to get you started:

  • Check on your tire pressure and alignment, making sure that the pressure matches the manufacturer’s recommended amount.
  • Ensure that you have enough fresh coolant, keeping your engine from freezing and preventing corrosion over time.
  • Stock your vehicle with an ice scraper, a shovel, and a pair of hardy gloves. This way, when the first snowfall comes, you will be ready.
  • Consider making sure that your heating works now, before it gets too cold. You won’t want to discover that it is broken on the first frigid day of the year.
  • Evaluate your current level of windshield wiper fluid, make sure that you have enough, and consider switching to winter-grade fluid.
  • Lastly, add an extra coat, extra hat, and maybe even a blanket to your trunk. If you ever find yourself stuck somewhere in the cold, you will be glad to have them!

For more winter weather driving safety information, or to start your season out with a new car, contact us or visit us anytime at Highway Ford!

Tire Pressure and Tire Tread: How to Check Them From Home

Tire Pressure and Tire Tread

Your tires are one of the most important parts of your vehicle, making sure it runs smoothly and effectively, both improving your fuel economy and reducing the possibility of accidents on the road. This is why it is vital to keep them in good shape.

Thankfully, it’s easy to make sure your tires are still good quality from home, by measuring two major aspects: tire pressure and tire tread.

The right tire pressure keeps your tires working properly and also prevents your tires from experiencing a blowout. You can determine the appropriate tire pressure by checking your owner’s manual.

These days, many newer cars have tire pressure monitoring systems that will let you know when one of the tires’ pressure is low, but you can also purchase an affordable, quality tire gauge to check from home. Tires can be inflated easily with hardware you can buy and keep in your car.

As for tire tread, all you need is a simple penny. Place the penny in between the tread, and rotate it so that Lincoln’s head is facing towards the tire. If you can see his entire head still, then your tire tread is worn down too much, but if the top of his head is covered by the tread, then you are good to go.

For more tips and tricks, feel free to visit us anytime at Highway Ford!

Understanding Octane Ratings: What Do the Numbers Mean?

Gas Octane RatingsThough it’s probably just a habit by now, every time you fill up your tank you select an octane rating. Despite the range of choices at the pump, few people actually know what octane ratings mean. We’ve put together a post on understanding octane ratings.

According to Exxon and Mobil, there are three main ratings: Regular (87), Special (89), and Super (91-93). The recommended octane rating for most cars is 87, though you should check with your owner’s manual to be sure.

Octane denotes the fuel’s resistance to compression before exploding. In gasoline engines, that means the higher the octane, the better the performance. Sports cars and even airplanes use high-octane fuels in order to prevent “knocking,” which results in engine misfires. Diesel engines don’t require high-octane fuel because these engines compress air, rather than fuel, for combustion.

Normally, your car will require 87-octane fuel, which is cheaper than other octane levels. However, if you have a sports car, you are towing, or you are driving at high altitudes, high-octane gas can increase performance.  So choose your Octane Rating wisely!

Let us know if you have other questions you would like answered and we at Highway Ford will do our best to answer you!

Choosing the Right Tires: Preparing for Colder Weather

Snow Tires

As cold weather approaches, now is the ideal time to think about replacing your tires. Although it depends on how often and how far you’ve driven, replacing your tires gives you better handling, better control, and even better fuel economy in some cases. Choosing the right tires doesn’t have to be difficult.

According to Edmunds, you should look for uneven wear patterns and bald spots as indicators of bad tires. The law usually requires that you replace tires when they’ve worn down to 2/32-inch of tread depth, but that’s fairly dangerous. Consider replacing tires when they’re down to 4/32-inch. A tread gauge is easy to find at any auto parts store.

Tire selection ranges from off-road tires, all-season tires, and winter tires among others. Each has an advantage, but unless you live in the snow belt or plan on tackling some tough trails, all-season tires are often the way to go.

How many tires should I get? When buying a complete set of tires, you have the most flexibility, and can basically get whatever you want. If you’re buying two tires (or one, in a rare circumstance), you should always match your other tires as much as possible so there is no uneven wear or lopsided traction.  If you have more questions about finding the right tire for you, stop by and see us in our Service Department!

Don’t Panic: What to Do If Your Car Overheats

Car Overheating

It happens to almost everyone. You’re driving along, when suddenly, smoke begins to billow out from under your hood. This means your car is overheating. While it can be quite shocking when this occurs, there are a lot of ways you can handle the situation if your car over heats. Here are a few tips to keep a cool head when your car gets hot under the hood:

Relax. The first thing you should know is that if your car overheats, it isn’t the end of the world. It is, however, a very serious situation that should never be ignored. Calmly pull off on the side of the road to get a better look at your engine.

Check your car’s temperature gauge. If you notice the temperature gauge rising, even in the absence of steam coming from under your hood, this could mean a ruptured hose. At this point, Auto Repair For Dummies recommends shutting off your air conditioner and opening your windows. This takes the strain off of your engine. Pull over and open the hood to dissipate the accumulated heat.

Make sure it’s not too hot out. If you don’t notice any leaks at all and it is a particularly hot day, it is possible that your car has overheated due to the elements. This is getting rarer for modern cars. If you suspect it’s due to hot weather, give your ride a chance to cool and get back on the road. Otherwise, call the tow truck, you need to consult with a professional.

Examining the Difference Between Synthetic and Conventional Oil

Check oil

Oil is the lifeblood of your engine. It is absolutely essential to the proper functioning of your engine. In the last few years, synthetic oil has gained popularity. Most people are familiar with conventional oil and like with anything, it takes time for a new model to catch on. But, is synthetic oil worth it? What’s the difference between synthetic and conventional oil?

Synthetic oil is made in a lab, as opposed to being derived from petroleum. HowStuffWorks.com reports that synthetic oil can “produce less resistance in the engine.” That means that the oil isn’t fighting the movement of the engine parts. Thus, you get more horsepower and improved efficiency. Using synthetic oil, your vehicle can go anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 miles between oil changes.

While at first it might seem like using synthetic oil is a no-brainer, it is more expensive. You’d have to do a little math to ensure that it was indeed the cheaper way to go.

And for those that contend that synthetic oil is more environmentally-friendly, that is arguable. HowStuffWorks says that “synthetics are unfortunately formed by chemicals that are no less harmful to the environment.” However, it’s highly likely that they are the greener choice.

Speaking of oil, are you due for an oil change? Pay us a visit at Highway Ford and we’ll take care of it quickly!

Up and coming tire tread depth monitor

Every vehicle requires a list of routine maintenance. We’re not talking about getting your oil changed or having your radiator flushed (don’t get us wrong, you still need to take care of those too!) but things even smaller than that. Like checking your windshield wiper fluid, replacing your windshield wipers, checking your tire pressure, and last but not least, checking your tire tread. Tire tread can be something many drivers forget to check, but with worn down tires can potentially cause some safety hazards. These can include loss of traction in bad weather (rain can be just as troublesome as snow with worn tires) which is dangerous and lowers gas mileage and increase chance of debris puncturing the tire while driving causing a blowout or flat tire.

But for those drivers who may be more forgetful than others, have no fear! Continental Tires is working on a new technology that will help drivers monitor their tread depth and will notify the driver when it’s time to pick up some more tires. Although this technology will be releasing to Europe first and isn’t expected to hit American markets for a few years, we’re always excited here at Highway Ford about any technology that helps keep our friends, family, and neighbors safe!

Tires with good tread

Tires with good tread

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