Car Tips

As The Leaves Change So Does The Road Conditions. Are You Ready?

Car Care

At this time of year, there is less daylight each day. There is more rain in the forecast, and our trips for after-school and evening meetings are now ending at dusk or in the dark. This is the time to play it safe by changing all the wiper blades on your vehicle so you’re ready for any changes in the weather. Also, it’s time to safety-check your exterior lights, to make sure they all work properly. Headlights should both work in high and low beam, and be clear and well-aimed. All brake lights should be working, as well as turn signals, taillights and side markers or running lights. If you notice any lights not working properly, come on in and we’ll fix your vehicle right up!

It’s Cool To Be Cool This Summer

Car Care

Keeping Your Cool in the Summer Heat


We all love Summer activities, but the Summer heat can take a toll on your vehicle. Exposed to direct sunlight, the interior temperature of a vehicle can be as high as 30 to 50 degrees hotter than the outside ambient air! The law frowns on anyone who leaves a pet or child alone in a locked vehicle, in some cases allowing passers-by the ability to break into a vehicle if a life is in danger. Vehicle interiors will trap hot air, so it’s very important to at the very least crack a window to allow some heat to escape.
Here’s some tips to keep your interior cooler…


  • Tinted Windows – Get your windows tinted, with the best quality tint you can afford. To beat the heat, use the ceramic tint material, and have it installed by a qualified professional. Just make sure you know the laws in your state about how dark your windows can be.


  • Window Shades – Some manufacturers have shades available for their vehicles; there are also aftermarket shades that you can install yourself. If your vehicle is exposed to extreme heat often, it would be wise to invest in a set of window shades for at least the side windows of your vehicle.

  • Park Smart – When you park your vehicle, look at the angle of the sun, and how it will cross your vehicle. Park in such a way that direct sunlight is blocked from entering and falling on the steering wheel or driver’s seat.

  • Park In The Shade – This is really the best way to keep the inside of the vehicle cool. Whether it’s a tree, building, parking cover or garage, this is absolutely what you’re looking for!

  • Move Your Car -If you can’t park in the shade, you may want to check during the day to see if a spot that has more shade opens up for you. If it does, go for it.

  • Ventilate – As mentioned above, your vehicle interior will trap heat. A few windows cracked down just a little bit can let the worst of that heat escape and keep your interior easier to cool when you’re back on the road.

  • Cover up - A t-shirt, blanket, even beach towels cover the upholstery and steering wheel can block sunlight and reduce the amount of heat absorbed by interior materials…especially anything BLACK. When shade isn’t available, this is how you make your own.

  • Cool Seat Cover – There are aftermarket seat covers available that put a small pocket of cooling gel between you and your hot seats.

  • Remote Start – Common in cold areas, a remote start can allow you to start your locked car before you enter it, from even a few hundred feet away! This means your interior can be cooled down and waiting for you when you’re ready to go! If your car isn’t factory equipped with Remote Start, it can be added as an aftermarket item if you desire.

  • Air-Conditioned Seats – Oh, man…if you haven’t experienced this, you haven’t lived a full life. Just like the bun warmers you’re used to that keep your seat or steering wheel warm; this is chilled air that is blown through the small perforations of your seat cushion to keep you cool and loose. Once you’ve experienced a ride with this, you won’t ever want to be without it.

For more information please call Aztecas Muffler & Brakes.

Checking Tire Pressure in Your Vehicle

Tires

We recommend taking five minutes at the beginning of each month to check your tire pressure to help save you money and headaches down the road. But how do you check your tire pressure? We wrote this blog just for you to learn!

It’s not the tire that supports the weight of your vehicle but rather, the air pressure. So, it’s no surprise that tire pressure influences many important characteristics of vehicle performance, such as driving comfort, directional stability, cornering, and braking grip, plus the general handling behavior. Driving with incorrect tire pressure will have a negative influence on one or more of these important characteristics. So, it’s important to monitor tire pressure with frequency to ensure peak performance.

What is my recommended tire pressure?

The tire pressures specified for your vehicle are agreed to between the vehicle manufacturer and the tire producer. The psi is based on your vehicle’s total weight and size, towing weight capability, and recommended tire size. These pressures are set to help keep you safe and comfortable on the road, so it is important to follow them. But how do you know what the recommended tire pressures are? Here’s a hint… The recommended tire pressures for your vehicle//tire combination can be found in your vehicle handbook, inside the fuel filler flap, or on the driver's doorpost. If you are not sure how to find this, you can always give us a call and we are happy to help!

Why cold inflation pressure?

Recommended tire pressures for your vehicle are based on cold inflation pressure. The gas expands when heated and contracts when temperatures decline. This means that you should check your pressures in the morning before the tire has been run, before the ambient temperature rises, and before exposure to direct sunlight. Hence, cold inflation pressure.

Daily temperatures rise and fall between day and night and as we move through the seasons. Tire pressures can fluctuate 1 psi for every 10-degree change in Fahrenheit, increasing in pressure with heat, and decreasing in the cold. The pressure inside warm tires will be higher because driving causes heat buildup. So, you should never reduce the pressure inside warm tires because when they have cooled down, the pressure could fall below the minimum tire pressure.

How do I check the pressure?

You can check your tire pressure right at home. As mentioned above, just be sure to check pressures when tires are cold or have not been driven in several hours. You will need an accurate tire pressure gauge which you can find at an auto parts store or get in touch with us and we can help you find one. There are battery-operated digital gauges and the more traditional stick-type gauge, either one will work and can be purchased for about $15, which pays for itself in no time with peace of mind.

  1. Remove the end caps on the valve stems of your tires (put them somewhere safe, you’ll need them again!).
  2. Place the tire pressure gauge into the valve stem and press down quickly to get a reading.
  3. Check the psi reading and compare it to the recommended psi.
  4. If the reading is above the recommendation, push in the valve to let out some air.
  5. If the reading is below the recommendation, fill your tire with air until you’ve reached the recommended pressure.
  6. Do this for all the tires on your vehicle…including the spare!
  7. Place the end caps on the valve stems tightly.
  8. Drive safely!

If you’re still curious about how tire pressure works, here are some facts for you:

Driving on overinflated tires will hurt:

  • Driving comfort
  • Directional stability
  • Vehicle handling behavior, especially when cornering at speed
  • Irregular wear

Driving on underinflated tires harms:

  1. Steering response
  2. Directional stability
  3. Driving safety (tires can dislodge from the rim when cornering)
  4. Economy (higher fuel consumption, lower mileage)
  5. Tire durability
  6. Irregular wear

For more information please call Aztecas Muffler & Brakes.

Learning the Basics

Car Care

It’s always the right time to learn the ABCs of car care:

  • A – Always follow a preventative vehicle maintenance plan.
  • B – Be sure to have your car inspected when you suspect there is a problem.
  • C – Correct the problem to help avoid the inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down away from home.

Many teens cannot wait to drive, but their car care education should begin well before their parents’ hand over the keys. Understanding the basics of car care before taking the wheel will help keep new drivers safer on the road, behind the wheel, or in the passenger seat.

  1. Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake, and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  2. Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose, or showing signs of excessive wear.
  3. Check the battery and replace it if necessary. Make sure the connection is clean, tight, and corrosion-free.
  4. Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors, and drums inspected at each oil change.
  5. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage, and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
  6. Schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.
  7. Check the heating, ventilating & air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons such as defrosting.
  8. Inspect the steering and suspension system annually including shock absorbers, struts, and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends, and other related components.
  9. Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  10. Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.

For more information please call Aztecas Muffler & Brakes.

Those Who Read, Nose Best

Car Care

Most new vehicles start with a "new car smell," and while that is satisfying, there are other specific odors that motorists should never ignore. Identifying these suspect smells early on can help car owners be aware and avoid the hassle and expense of an unexpected breakdown.

Unusual smells can be a sign of serious, and potentially costly, trouble for your vehicle. By acting quickly and making necessary repairs, you will be able to breathe easy knowing there is no harmful damage to your car.

We recommend keeping your nose out for the following six warning signs:

  1. The smell of burnt rubber could be slipping drive belts or misplaced loose hoses that might be rubbing against rotating accessory drive pulleys. Do not reach in if the engine compartment is hot.
  2. The smell of hot oil could mean that oil is leaking onto the exhaust system. To verify the leak, look for oil on the pavement or smoke coming from the engine area.
  3. The smell of gasoline is likely the sign of a gas leak in some area of the vehicle such as a fuel injector line or the fuel tank. Any smell of fuel can result in a possible fire hazard, so immediate attention should be given.
  4. The sweet smell of syrup may be a sign that your car is leaking engine coolant from a leaky component related to the car's cooling system. Careful not to open the radiator cap when it is hot.
  5. The smell of burning carpet could be a sign of brake trouble and a safety hazard. Have your brakes checked right away, especially if this smell is happening during normal driving conditions.
  6. The smell of rotten eggs is never a good one and, if you smell it coming from your vehicle, it could mean a problem with your catalytic converter not converting the hydrogen sulfide in the exhaust to sulfur dioxide properly. This smell can also be attributed to a poor running engine, causing the catalytic converter to become overloaded and fail due to meltdown.

For more information please call Aztecas Muffler & Brakes.

Check-list for safe driving

Safe driving

Follow this check-list for safe driving!

Check lights and wipers for visibility. With shorter days and inclement weather ahead, make sure lights and wipers function properly so that you can see and be seen.  Check the exterior and interior lights and replace any that are dimming, rapidly blinking or not functioning. Check wiper blades for signs of wear and replace if necessary.

Check tires for under inflation or excessive wear. Check tire pressure and refill underinflated tires, including the spare, and look for uneven wear and check tread depth. An easy way to do the latter is by placing a penny head-down in the tread groove. If the tread does not cover Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.

Consider a back-up detection device. Consider having a back-up detection device installed that provides rearview video or warning sounds when moving in reverse. While drivers should not rely solely on these devices, they can help to reduce the risk of backover incidents along with following other prevention tips from NHTSA.

Get an annual brake inspection. The braking system is your car’s most important safety feature. Before carpool season gets in full swing, make sure that your brakes are functioning properly. Schedule a brake inspection and look for warning signs that your vehicle may need brake services, such as an illuminated brake light or screeching, grinding or clicking noises when applying the brakes.

Make sure everyone is buckled up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website has important tips on seat belt fit and position. For the younger ones riding along, the site has information about how to install car seats as well as guidelines on selecting a car seat or booster based on your child’s age and size.

Scheduling a complete vehicle inspection is time well spent. Call Aztecas Muffler & Brakes today to make sure your car is ready to go for your next trip.