Car Tips

Safe Driving For New Drivers

Safe driving

Safe driving is primarily about being aware of your surroundings and being respectful of your vehicle's power and others who are sharing the road. It isn’t difficult, but it can make the difference in getting you and others to your destination safely. Unsafe driving puts everyone at risk.

Here are some tips to ensure you are practicing safe driving.

Follow the three second rule

There's a simple way to calculate the three-second rule while you're on the road —watch for the leading vehicle to pass a roadside sign, mile marker, or other landmark. If you pass the marker before you finish counting, you are following the vehicle ahead of you too closely. Following too closely, known as tailgating, is one of the leading causes of rear-end accidents.

Avoid distractions

Electronic devices are the most obvious driver distractions, but there are many others that you may not even be considering a distraction. Eating, talking to passengers and changing the radio station can all take your eyes away from the road.

Be predictable

Part of being a good driver is to prevent other drivers on the road from being surprised by your actions. This can be difficult if you don't know your skills, driving etiquette, and even how to handle your vehicle. Being predictable means that you always indicate your intention to turn or change lanes. It is also advisable to pump your brakes lightly to indicate your intention to slow down or stop.

Yellow isn’t green

A yellow light tells you to slow down and be ready to stop. Passing through the yellow lights at high speeds does not save you time and increases your chances of an accident in the middle of an intersection.

Obey the speed limit

Speed limits aren't there to be tested and pushed, especially if you're a new driver. Exceeding the speed limit is illegal, and it can also be dangerous. Experts have determined that this speed is the maximum speed that a driver can travel without endangering himself, a pedestrian, or a nearby home.

Give yourself extra time

Drivers make mistakes and accidents happen when you’re in a rush. The reality is that running through yellow lights or speeding are unlikely to save you much time. Be patient and understand that is better to arrive safe and sound than to not arrive at all or to cause a devastating accident.

Be mindful on the road

Safe driving is primarily about being aware of your surroundings and being respectful of your vehicle's power and others who are sharing the road. It isn’t difficult, but it can make the difference in getting you and others to your destination safely.

April is National Car Care Month: Spring into Action

Car Care

The weather is warming up. Days are getting longer, and thoughts of outdoor activities are in the air. Now is the time to take care of any deferred maintenance, or any vehicle service that you’ve been putting off. We can help with a thorough inspection that will identify any areas that need attention. Plus, with suppliers running specials during this month, you’ll save money and be ready for any family outings or car trips. Call us for an appointment today!

Change is in the Air: Five Tips for Timely Maintenance

Maintenance

We value and appreciate taking care of your vehicle all year long, however the changes in seasons can create such a different driving environment that it becomes necessary to inspect and be certain your car is ready for whatever the weather throws at you! Here’s just a few items that are of concern whenever the weather changes…

  1. Heating/AC/Climate Control: We all want to be comfortable when riding in our vehicle, so making sure this system has what it needs to keep you warm or cool is essential. First, we’ll do a physical inspection, looking for any sign of leaks or faulty connections. No matter what we find, we’ll make the necessary adjustments and repairs, if any, to keep your family cool as a cucumber, or warm as toast!

  2. Braking System: Brakes will always work best when they, your tires, and the road surface are all warm and dry. Any time they are subjected to rain, ice, snow, or mud, they will not be able to give you the same braking power you would have if it was dry. Therefore, it’s important to know what condition your brakes are in at the start of each season.

  3. Tires: There’s a “patch” of rubber on your tires that is the ONLY contact your vehicle has with the road surface. It’s relatively small (about eighteen square inches), so you want it to have as much grip as possible. We’ll check for proper pressure, and check your tread depth. We’ll also look for unusual wear, which can be an indicator of worn steering parts or bad alignment.

  4. Engine Tune: You want your vehicle to start and run properly whenever you get in and hit the start button. Your battery, spark plugs, ignition system and Engine Control Module (ECM) undergo wear as time goes by. We’ll check it all out, including trouble codes and any other performance or fuel mileage issues we might find.

  5. Fluid and Filters: Your fluids break down over time and use. Engine oil gets dirty; coolant loses its ability to fight corrosion, and even brake fluid can “wear out” once it gets exposed to water or leaks. Using your manufacturer’s maintenance schedule as a guide, we’ll change your fluid and replace any needed filters.


A regular maintenance schedule is the best way to keep your vehicle in top running condition. Come in and see us, or call us for an appointment and we’ll answer any questions you might have. We look forward to serving you soon!

Now That The Holidays Are Over, Show Your Car Some Love

Car Care

Now more than ever it’s important to maintain your vehicle. Many people overlook preventative maintenance or skip it during the holidays to save money. The best way to save money and extend the life of your vehicle is preventative maintenance.

With love your car month just around the corner, start a little early; get your oil changed or buy new tires. A vehicle is the second largest investment most people will ever make, how are you protecting yours? Before you run out and buy a new vehicle with your tax return, remember to calculate the new car payment, the tax in taxes, and higher insurance rates into your yearly budget.

If this sounds like a drag, give us a call we will help you extend the life of your current vehicle so you can spend your money on things you enjoy, like adventures!

Tax Time Is Here Again, Spend A Little Now On Preventative Maintenance To Save Money For Later

Car Care

With tax time just around the corner are you prepared? What do you plan to do with your tax return? Will you fix up your house, maybe upgrade some household items?

If you want your tax return to get back to you all year long, put some money aside for your vehicle. The average maintenance on a vehicle is $1,500 to $2,000 a year. Vehicles that are left unmaintained have an average repair bill of $4000.

Save yourself the money and take a vacation, plan for vehicle maintenance instead of vehicle repairs!

Get Straight Talk About Auto Service and Repair

Car Care

Our goal is to provide you with the finest repair and maintenance services available. We know your time is valuable in other pursuits, so we will do our job as quickly as possible to minimize impact on your day and schedule. When you come in, we’ll prepare an estimate, explain the job that is needed, and when you can expect to be back out on the road. Along with needed repairs, we’ll make you aware of any potential areas of concern, such as parts with excessive wear, or delayed maintenance. We want to keep you out on the road with the confidence in knowing your vehicle is safe to drive, and it won’t let you down.

Simple Steps to Save Gas Without Driving Less

Car Care

Gas prices are up, everywhere! To save money on fuel without having to impact your present lifestyle, try these tips…

NO jackrabbit starts! Your vehicle uses the most fuel when accelerating. If you accelerate slowly, you can minimize the surge of fuel to meet the demands of getting rolling. In fact, if you can keep your vehicle moving and reduce the need for stops, you’ll save even more.

Keep your tank topped off. Any contaminants tend to float to the bottom of your fuel tank, so clean fuel is always at the top. By keeping contaminants from entering your engine, you’ll get better atomization and distribution, meaning more power and better fuel mileage.

Plan trips – Combine trips. Try to avoid single trips for any reason. Have multiple reasons for your vehicle trip, and if possible, plan a circular or direct route. Many map software providers have a trip function that will save you time and fuel.

Keep your vehicle in its best state of tune. Clean injectors and spark plugs make for an efficient engine.

Using any of these tips will help. Use them all and see an increase in your fuel mileage. Side benefit is, you’ll also save time!

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.