Friday, May 26, 2017

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 have your vehicle checked to keep from melting this summer!)  However, if you are not driving, make sure that you or your children are not left in the car.

Here's why, on average, 37 children die each year due to heat stroke from being left in unattended vehicles.  A child's body heats up 3-5 times faster than an adult's body, and their temperature only needs to get as high as 107 before death occurs.  Also, even if the temperature is mild outside, (maybe in the low 60s), inside a vehicle the temperature can reach 110 degrees!  Even when rolling the windows down, the temperature can still rise to an unhealthy degree.

You may think that none of this applies to you.  You are a loving parent who deeply cares about your child, and would never think to leave him/her in a hot, stuffy car.  Unfortunately, over 55% of cases where a child has died, due to being left in a vehicle, in which the person responsible did so unknowingly!

You might think how in the world could anyone unknowingly leave their child in a car?  When you are on the top of your game, you definitely wouldn't.  However, many accidents like this occur, when a person is under a great amount of stress, tired, or straying from their normal routine, especially if the child in quiet or asleep.

Rather than focus on the negative, we want to focus on the positive and what you can do to prevent this type of tragic accident from happening.
  1. Look Before You Lock.  It will never hurt to always check the backseat of your vehicle before locking it.  
  2. Create a Reminder. You could keep a stuffed animal in your child's car seat when they are not in the vehicle.  When your child rides in his/her car seat, move the stuffed animal to the front seat, so you will see it when you get out of the car.  Or, you could put your phone, purse/briefcase, work ID, etc in the back seat, so you are sure to grab it, and check the backseat before walking away from your vehicle.
  3. Routine Check. If you have someone else taking your child somewhere, or driving them to daycare, etc. call them and check on your child.  
  4. Keep Your Vehicle Locked, and Your Keys in a Secure Place. Sometimes a child isn't left in the car, sometimes they climb in themselves and then can't get out. Keeping your vehicle locked and keys in a secure places, will help eliminating a child from being in the car without your knowledge. 
These few extra checks will take moments to perform, but the habit could save any of us from tragic accidents that we all want to avoid.

Recognizing the Signs of Engine Damage

The last thing you want is to be stranded on the side of the road due to engine damage.  Not only is it inconvenient, it's also expensive!  The best thing to do is watch for signs that a problem is emerging and fix it before you are stranded.

Here are a few things to watch for:
  • Illuminated Check Engine Light, or if you've waited too long, a flashing check engine light. Your check engine light could turn on even IF your vehicle SEEMS to be running well.  Even if this light turn out, have your vehicle checked because one or more systems is likely not running correctly.
  • Noises.  Listen for rattling or clunking noises.  Listen for RPM noises that do not seem normal.  You drive your vehicle a lot, so you are probably pretty familiar with any noises your vehicle makes.  Especially if you hear a high pitched squeal, grinding, thumping or hissing.  
  • Smells.  Every person's car has it's own smell, but you are going to be paying attention to anything that isn't normal for your car.  Note if your vehicle smells like burnt rubber, hot oil or gasoline.  Be aware if you smell burning carpet or rotten eggs.  Any of these smells could indicate engine trouble.
There are also a couple of steps you can take to help prevent engine damage. (This may not prevent all engine damage, but will help.)
  • Get regular maintenance.  Have your timing belt replaced based on the manufacturer's recommendations.  Get regular oil changes.
  • Inspect your vehicle for visible damage.  In other words, if you accidentally hit something, check underneath your vehicle for leaks or damage.  If there is damage that you can see, don't drive your vehicle any further until you have a certified auto technician inspect it. Regularly check for leaks underneath your vehicle.  This could just be growing puddles underneath the engine, or slight drips.
Often times, if you pay attention to your vehicle, you will be able to recognize when there is a problem as it begins, not when you're left stranded somewhere.  So watch for things, and if you have any questions, always give us a call at Jake's Auto & Truck Repair.

Not Just Your Average Car Wash

Summer is here, and if you haven't already done it, it's time to clean out the dirt and grime from winter.

We don't need to give you a step-by-step guide on how to clean your car.  Everybody has their own way of doing it, but we do want to share some helpful tips.

Be sure to clean out any clutter.  Once your car is clean, you'll want to keep up on the clutter, and this will only take a few minutes if you clean it out regularly.  Before vacating your vehicle, take a quick look around, and pick up anything that has been left behind.

Keep a garbage container in your vehicle.  Line it with a garbage bag, and empty it regularly.

Don't eat in your vehicle.  This way you don't have to worry about stale food, crumbs, or wrappers that are left behind.  Plus there won't be any sticky spills if you're not eating or drinking in your car.

Here are the interesting tips, maybe the ones you wouldn't think about off the top of your head:
  • Magic Eraser. A magic eraser works great when it comes to taking scuff marks off of car vinyl.  The dirt and grime comes right off!
  • Screw Driver. Wrap a cloth around the head of the screwdriver, and use it to clean out small crevices.  
  • Potato.  Did you know that if you cut a potato in half, and rub the potato (aka potato juice) on your windshield it will work like Rain-X?  It works great on those rainy days.
  • Foam Brush.  Use a foam brush to clean out your vents.  Gently push it in, and pull it out.  You will be amazed at how dirty the brush comes out.
  • Goop.  Do you have issues getting the console, cup holders, etc, wiped clean?  Use goop (find a great recipe here).  This stuff will pull out the dirt and dust that are difficult to wipe out.  Plus it's a great activity for the kids to play with later!
  • Laundry Scent Booster. Instead of a using an air freshener, put some laundry scent booster in a mesh bag, and put it under the seat.  Each time you drive your car, you'll get a whiff of that clean laundry scent.
Having a clean car increases the longevity of the life of your vehicle, and helps you properly maintain it.  Besides who doesn't feel calmer in a clean space?

New Brakes

The brakes on your vehicle are some of the most important components on your car.  Properly operating  brakes will ensure your safety on the road.  As such, you should be aware of when they need to be replaced, and factors that will contribute to needing new brakes sooner, rather than later.

As a general rule, you should replace brakes every 20,000-60,000 miles. Being a conservative driver, and not needing to brake as hard will help increase the life of your brakes.  However, you may need to replace your brakes sooner, if any of the following apply to your vehicle:
  • You drive a heavy truck, as compared to a light, compact car.
  • You drive in the city, where there is a lot of stop-and-go traffic.
  • You drive on hills, rather than flat roads.
Does your vehicle need new brakes?  How do you know if your car or truck needs new brakes?  There are a few warning signs that your vehicle may need it's brakes replaced.
  • High pitched squealing noises. This noise should be loud enough for you to hear with the windows rolled up.
  • Pulsating vibrations when braking
  • Grinding noises
  • Vehicle pulls to one side when braking
  • Brakes are not as responsive
At this point, bring your vehicle in to Jake's Auto & Truck Repair for a comprehensive brake inspection. Once you've had your brakes replaced, it's important to take it easy on them.  Avoid strong and sudden braking for the first 500 miles.  However, in case of emergency, be sure to stop as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions on the state of your brakes, be sure to give us a call.  We'd be happy to look at your brakes and keep you safe on the road.

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...