Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New Year's Resolutions...For Your Car

It's a new day, it's a new year.  Many of you have made some resolutions this year that look something like this:
  1. Eat healthier
  2. Exercise more
  3. Read more books
  4. Keep vehicle(s) maintained
Is that what your list looks like?  We all know how important it is to take care of our body and mind, but are we as concerned about maintaining our vehicles?

Some of the most simple maintenance can be done on a daily basis.  Maintenance such as checking the operation of lights, horn, direction indicators, wipers, washers, and warning lights can be checked daily.  You can also check seat belts and brakes regularly (since you probably already use them regularly).   Also, look for fluid deposits underneath your vehicle.

Weekly checks that you can perform are fluid levels of the engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, windshield washer fluid, and tire pressure.  Check your owner's manual to find out exactly what each level should be, and which fluid to use (not all vehicles use the same fluids for each system).

There is also some more in-depth maintenance that should be done regularly.  30/60/90K mileage maintenance should be completed on the specified interval.  It's also a good idea to continue regular maintenance every 30K miles after you hit the 90K mile mark.  Also ensure that your vehicle receives regular oil changes and tire rotations.  Become familiar with your owner's manual to help stay on-top of any regular needed maintenance.

As always, Jake's Auto is happy to perform any needed maintenance on your vehicles.

Night Driving

Did you know that the most dangerous time to drive is at night? It's harder to see, your depth perception may be off a little due to less light, animals may be out more, fatigue increases, and poor weather conditions seem to get worse as the sun goes down (especially at this time of year).

Since roads don't just shut down once it's dark outside, and that's not even realistic in the slightest (who wants to be stuck somewhere all night?), there are some precautions you can take to stay safe in the dark.
  1. Make sure your headlights are properly aligned and are clean.
  2. Clean the inside of your windshield to eliminate streaks and glares.
  3. Although we don't see as much fog in Utah as other places, turn fog lights or low beams on when driving through fog or to give you better visibility.
  4. Slow down to compensate for limited visibility.
  5. Don't out-drive your headlight beams.  Meaning, make sure you can stop within the beam of your headlights.
  6. Leave a larger stopping gap between you and other vehicles.
  7. Don't focus on the headlights of oncoming traffic.  Focus on the right side of the road.
  8. Make frequent stops and walk around to avoid fatigue.
  9. Don't smoke, smoke clouds can affect visibility.
  10. Watch for deer, and remember they travel in packs.
  11. If you have to pull over, pull far off the road and turn on lights.
  12. Have your eyes checked regularly.

Winter Driving Series: Driving in a Snowstorm

Until recently, we had not received very much snow. Waking up to a white Christmas made everything magical.  Although, driving in the snow, isn't quite as magical as it was Christmas Day.  We have a few tips to help keep you safe as you drive on those not-so-magical snow packed streets!

First, be sure to clear off your car.  When clearing off your windshield use a brush, (you can damage your windshield wipers if the snow is too wet and heavy if you try using the wipers).  Make sure to get the other windows, mirrors, headlights, and brake lights.  You'll want to make sure that you can see others and the area around you, and that they can see you!

Remember to slow down, even if your vehicle has 4 wheel drive.  Everybody seems to be running late and in a hurry once the roads are covered in snow.  Commutes get longer, and even your short drives seem to double in time. Leave early and be patient with the other drivers on the road.  Also, remember to increase distances between you and the vehicle in front of you.  It takes longer to stop when the roads are snow packed. Which also means, you should start stopping sooner, in case you slide.

Drive in already established tire tracks, and change lanes only when necessary.  Watch for black ice.  You'll want to drive on the inside lanes, as snow tends to build up along curbs and shoulders.

As always, be prepared for an emergency.  Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle with jumper cables, flashlight, ice scraper, flare, blanket, snacks, and water.  Keep your gas tank at least half full.

When you come home at night, check your city ordinances before parking on the street.  Draper City ordinances do not allow people to park on the street from November 15-April 15 between the hours of 1:00 am and 6:00 am.  Other surrounding cities have similar ordinances, so it is important to check with the city you live in.  Snow plows often come around at night, and we all want to have clear roads, so keep your streets clear .

Snow brings with it a whole array of winter sports, just make sure your driving isn't one of them!

Parking Lot Safety Tips

During most winters, parking lots can be a scary place, both for drivers and pedestrians. Snow packed roads, icy walkways, and distracted people can make parking lot safety less than ideal. Here are some tips to keep you and those around you safe.

-Keep in mind that while driving in a parking lot, driving laws still apply.
-Obey speed limits and lane designations...don't cut diagonally across the lot.
-Be careful backing up, and avoid it when possible. Back into spaces, so that you won't have to put the vehicle in reverse when leaving.
-Do everything you need to do before leaving a parking space, i.e. adjusting seat belts, mirrors, etc.
-Don't talk on the phone.
-Always watch for pedestrians and give them the right of way.

-Look for snow plows and anticipate ice.  Wear nonslip shoes to prevent falls.
-Stay to the sides, don't weave between vehicles.
-Walk as a group, especially when you have children with you.  Groups of people are easier to see than individuals, especially children.
-Make eye contact with drivers, and only proceed if you are sure the driver saw you.
-Don't talk on the phone or listen to headphones--always be aware of your surroundings.  Use your eyes and ears.  You will probably see and hear the cars before they see you.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Top 2016 Holiday Activities

Are you looking for something fun to do with your family this Christmas season?  We've compiled a short list of some fun family friendly activities to do.
  • Elves at Gardner Village, Nov 19-Dec 24. Come join the scavenger hunt and find all the funny little elves and see what they are up to.
  • Luminaria-Thanksgiving Point, Nov 21-Dec 31. Come stroll through the beautiful Ashton Gardens enjoying the beautiful lights and displays.
  • North Pole Express-Heber Valley Railroad, Nov 25-Dec 24. Enjoy a trip to the North Pole with hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies.  You'll enjoy a sing-a-along and a visit from Santa.
  • Lights at Temple Square, Nov 25-Dec 31. A timeless tradition. Walk through the grounds of the Historic Temple Square, enjoying the lights, the nativities, and the company of others.
  • Zoolights-Hogle Zoo, Dec 1-31. Come celebrate the season with animals from all over the world. Enjoy the beautiful light displays, and warm up with some hot chocolate. Most nights will feature a fun family or child activity.
  • South Jordan Candy Windows, Dec 2-31. The kick-off for these fun candy windows will be Dec 2 at Light the Night. The shop windows will be decorated in seasonal Christmas fashion.
  • A Candlelight Christmas-This is the Place Heritage Park, Dec 9-23. Go back in time to a Pioneer Christmas. See Santa and Mrs. Clause and enjoy a quieter, more simple Christmas celebration.
  • Dickens Christmas Festival-South Towne Expo Center, Dec 8-10. Visit 19th Century London for some shopping and fun.
  • Draper Candy Cane Hunt, Dec 12. Kids age 3-6 can come and hunt for candy canes spread throughout the park.
  • Christmas Carole Sing-Along-Viviant Center, Dec 12. Come sing your heart out with the Larry H Miller family.
There are so many more fun activities to do with family and friends this Christmas season.  Some of these might be some longtime favorite traditions, and some might become new favorite traditions.  We just hope you are able to enjoy the holidays with those you love. 

Holiday Shopping-Stay Safe

Christmas shopping is in full swing now, and the stores are just as busy as ever.  We want to help keep you safe this holiday season as you enjoy picking out just the right gift for your loved ones. Here are some tips to keep you safe and harm-free.
  1. Stay alert. Be aware of suspicious people, vehicles, or situations around you.  Keep you purse, bags, or wallet close to your person.
  2. Park in well-lit areas.  Have your keys ready before you arrive at your car.  Keep your doors locked.
  3. Don't leave valuables in your vehicle. If you do leave valuables or recently purchased shopping, keep them in a trunk.  Remember the old adage, "out of sight, out of mind."
  4. Don't carry around large amounts of cash.  Don't pull out credit or debit cards until asked by cashiers.  Don't make it easy for someone to snap a picture of your card, or pick pocket you for that extra cash.
  5. Shop with friends.  There is safety in numbers.
  6. If you are shopping with small children, keep them close.  Make a plan ahead of time if you get separated.  Explain that they can go talk to a clerk if they get lost.
It's such a magical time of year, we hope that a few helpful tips will continue spreading the magic of Christmas through out the season.

Give the Gift of Safety-Don't Drink and Drive

The holiday season starts for most the week of Thanksgiving.  We enjoy being with friends and family and celebrating all of the many things we are grateful for.  We start celebrating Christmas the very next day with sale after sale on Black Friday and continue through New Year's Eve.

During this time of year, we all have more time off and more to celebrate. Sometimes as we celebrate drinking increases, and winter road conditions deteriorate, which could lead to a recipe for disaster. The sad truth is that not only is this the most celebrated time of year, it is also the time of year when the most alcohol-related deaths occur.

During the holiday season, 40% of highway deaths are alcohol related. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, 2-3 times more people die due to alcohol related accidents.

Also in the state of Utah, if you received a DUI, you will receive criminal penalties and unrelated civil penalties (  Penalties typically include jail time, community service, fines, suspension of your driver license, treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, impounded vehicles and fines, and ignition interlock device and fees.

Avoiding alcohol-related problems at this time of year, can be as simple as planning ahead.  Don't drink if you are planning to drive. One drink for one person can have a drastically different effect on that person than it might on another.  Don't even risk driving if you've had anything to drink.

Another course you could take is to have a designated driver, or call for a cab.  Ask a friend who won't be drinking to give you a ride home. Robert J. Debry has a great "Get a Free Ride Home" program for those who live in the Salt Lake Metro area. In the long run, it could save you, those you love, and those you don't even know by having someone else take you home after you've been drinking.

We definitely encourage everyone to enjoy this holiday season, but do so responsibly. One gift we can all give this year is the gift of safe driving to all those who are driving on the roads with you.

Winter Driving Series: Keep Your Car Running This Winter

We know that the last thing you want to worry about this holiday season is a broken down vehicle.  We don't blame you.  You want to be able to focus on Christmas shopping, parties, and spending time with those you care about.  We've put together a list of a few things you can check out yourself to keep your vehicle up and running.
  • Check your wiper blades and consider putting winter wiper blades on your vehicle.  You want a good set of wiper blades that will clear away the rain and snow and keep your windshield clean and improve visibility.
  • Check exterior lights.  Be sure that your parking lights, turn signals, reverse lights, and your license plate light are all working.  Check your headlights and fog lights (if your vehicle has them).  A burnt out headlight will significantly cut down your visibility.
  • Check the condition of your tires.  Look for uneven tread wear or sidewall fatigue.  Check the tire pressure, and review your owner's manual for the proper tire pressure.
  • Clean windows inside and out. This will continue to improve visibility, and could prevent you from seeing obstacles in the road.
  • Check fluid levels.  Check oil, windshield wiper fluid, and antifreeze. Use your owner's manual to help you know what type of fluid to refill low reservoirs or overflow bottles.
  • Lube door hinges with spray lube.  This will help prevents squeaky doors.
  • Check your emergency kit.  Make sure it's been restocked. Keep a blanket, flashlight, snacks, and water, among other things in an emergency kit.
  • Get your battery checked. Winters can be rough on a battery, and a battery doesn't always show signs of fatigue before it stops working.
Keep in mind, there are a lot of things you can check on your vehicle yourself, especially if you review your owner's manual.  However, don't get in over your head.  Give us a call and let us look at your vehicle if you have any questions or concerns. or especially if you are unsure of how to check something. This can help prevent costly repairs and keep your vehicle running great through the winter months.

Summer Driving Series: Don't Leave Your Kids in the Car!

Summer is here!  You are hopefully enjoying your air conditioner as you drive through town. (If not, make sure you call Jake's Auto to h...