4 Reasons To Check Your Brakes

If you hear an odd sound or you worry that your vehicle’s brakes are starting to fail, you should not put off having your car looked at. Having your brakes fail when on the freeway or trying to stop at an intersection can be disastrous. Here are some reasons to have your brakes checked now.

Odd Sounds

In order to avoid a major accident when your brakes go out, you want to pay attention to the small signs your brakes are giving you. The first is if you hear any odd sounds when applying the brakes. The most common sound you hear when your brake pads are starting to get thin is the loud, squeaking sound of metal on metal. This means your pads are wearing down and they need to be replaced right away. By this point, it is time to get to the mechanic immediately.

Vibrations

Do you notice vibrations of your entire vehicle when you step your foot on the brakes? This is a sign of a warped brake rotor, which can then cause your vehicle to vibrate. Not only will it cause these vibrations, but it can also make your brakes less effective. If you fail to get your brakes looked at and repaired in time, you may find that when you apply the brakes, your vehicle does not stop fast enough before hitting the vehicle in front of you. You may notice the vibrations more while going down a long hill.

Sinking Brake Pedal

If you have ever driven a vehicle where you barely had to touch the brake pedal to get it to stop the car, you know that not much pressure is needed. However, if you suddenly have to step harder on the brake pedal to where it sinks almost to the floor, this is a sign that you need new brakes. You may also notice that while the vehicle starts stopping with a moderate amount of pressure, the brake pedal starts sinking to the floor on its own until it is lifted again. This may mean something as simple as low brake fluid, so seeing a mechanic is crucial.

Pulling Sensation

The last sign that you need to have your brakes checked is if your car is making a pulling sensation whenever you put your foot on the brake pedal. This can either be from wearing of the brake pads, brake misalignment, or a foreign substance on the brake pads.

If you notice any of these signs, or if you brakes are being weird in any other way, take your car for a check up at a shop like Earl’s Garage.

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Dragging Your Car Out Of A Muddy Ditch: How Emergency Towing Services Transforms Your Situation

Spinning your car out of control into a ditch is scary and troublesome enough, but when you cannot get out of that ditch because your tires just spin in the mud, you are really in trouble. The soggier the mud, the deeper your car sinks and the less likely you will ever get out. You need emergency towing.

How the Emergency Towing Service Differs from a Regular Service

There really is not much difference between the two. The most important feature of an emergency towing service is that the service reserves the right to answer emergency calls only. In addition to this business feature, the trucks are often equipped with tanks of fuel, hydraulic winches, and maybe a spare tire or two in the most common sizes.

An emergency towing company will also answer your call sooner, whereas a regular towing service may take up to an hour to respond and arrive.

Finding an Emergency Towing Service Quickly

If you have a mobile phone with you, place a call to the local police department. Explain your situation to them so that an officer can come to your aid and protect you while you wait on the side of the road. The dispatcher or police officer who answers on the other end of the phone can help you find a towing service that answers emergency calls.

Some towing services work directly with the local police so that they are available and ready to help when there is an accident. The officer on the phone with you may either give you the number of a service to call, or call it for you so you can wait and watch for the squad car.

Pulling Your Car out of the Muddy Ditch

In your case, pulling a car out of the muddy ditch will require a hydraulic winch. Nothing else is going to pull or push your vehicle out of the precarious situation it is presently in. You cannot gun the engine to get out, and no one can push you in slippery, sticky mud while you gun the engine because they would fall in the mud themselves.

It is definitely an emergency situation which requires more power and more powerful tools to get you out. When the tow truck driver arrives, he or she will hook the winch up to the chassis of your car, turn on the winch, and your car is out of the mud and deep ditch within minutes. If you need more help, contact a company like Big D Towing with any questions you have.

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Taking Care Of Tires

Tires are very important in having your vehicle transport you safely and efficiently. If you have tires that are not working properly, you can have trouble with your vehicle, including decreased gas mileage, shaking and pulling, or even conditions where your vehicle is immobile. It is important to maintain your tires so you are able to use your vehicle to get you to your destinations without incident. Here are some ways you can keep your tires in good working condition.

Tire Tread

It is never a good idea to drive a vehicle that has bald tires, as you are susceptible to having an accident due to a blow out or sliding. The tires should be able to grip the road, and the amount of tread determines how much gripping power the tire will have. When your tires start to wear, you may see small metal threads poking through the rubber. This is a sign that you will need to replace the tires completely.

Check your tires periodically to see if there are any areas that are looking smooth, or spots where the tread does not seem deep. You can take your vehicle to a tire repair shop to be analyzed if you question the tread left upon the tires.

Tire Rotation

When you get a new set of tires, you will be told to bring your vehicle in periodically to rotate them. They will switch the front left and right tires and then will switch the back left and right tires. Switching the positioning will allow the tires to wear at an even rate. This will keep your vehicle from pulling to the side of the road and will keep your tires in good condition for a longer period.

Tire Pressure

Take the time to check the air pressure of your tires every week or so. This is important because if you drive your vehicle without enough air inside, your vehicle can pull to the side and it also may get less gas mileage. If your tires have too much air inside, they are at risk for a blowout. You do not want to have to change a flat tire, so the alternative is to check the pressure to keep it from happening.

Balancing

If you have to replace a tire for any reason, make sure the tire repair shop balances the new tire to match the weight of your others. Balancing will help keep your tires wearing at the same rate and will keep your vehicle from pulling to one side of the road. Contact a tire company like Euro-Tire for more information. 

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Finding Auto Service For Your Prized Vehicle

If you have a valuable car that needs service, such as a BMW, Audi, or Volkswagen, where can you find service that focuses on specific components or check-ups? There are many repair shops and vehicle repair services that offer specific systems for your type of vehicle. Here are some examples of ways you can find professional repair services to diagnose and repair problems, if they occur with your luxury or vintage vehicle.

You may find small shops that specialize in your vehicle brand. Some repair shops only repair BMWs, for example. The websites of expert shops may allow you to search for shops by city and state. Specific repair shops or service centers for luxury vehicles boast services such as collision repair, holiday checks, seasonal checks, light checks, and safety checks. By regularly getting your prized vehicle checked, and obtaining high-quality repair services, you can make sure it performs its best year after year.

Other ways to find auto services in your area include visiting the website of your car brand’s official repair service. These websites may offer professional services with diagnostic tools. They can also offer expert technologies and technicians to service or repair your car. The auto services by car company may even help new owners, or owners of used cars. These services include providing replacement parts, checking tires, and more. In addition, auto companies may have specific collision repair facilities.

Some auto services may be minor, such as oil checks, while sometimes, services may be quite complex. This can especially the case with older or refurbished cars. If you enjoy fixing vintage cars, establishing a great relationship with a professional car service company near you can be very helpful for keeping cars running smoothly. Some shops even specialize specifically on car refurbishing for specific brands.

If you are a restoration hobbyist, you may wish to discuss restoration needs with a shop that focuses on the restoration of a specific type or brand of car, whether it is a BMW or a Volkswagen. Some websites provide ample information about the services a shop can provide, such as selling new or used parts to help you with your restoration projects. One may wish to restore a vehicle to look as close as possible to its original state, while others may wish to change the overall look of the car.

By visiting the websites of vehicle restoration sites, or calling shops or e-mailing them, you can gain detailed information about how their services may benefit your car. Some website of restoration shops even feature videos of restoration projects and photos of works in progress, so that you can determine if their services are the quality that you are seeking. Other ways of determining if a repair shop can provide quality service includes checking accreditations and inquiring about price estimates.

For more information about the importance of proper maintenance for specialized cars, contact a service company like Euroclassics Limited.

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Car Trunk Emergency Kit Food Needs To Be Able To Withstand Heat

If you’re trying to stock your car with emergency food in case you get stuck somewhere, keep in mind that summer temperatures can wreak havoc on anything stored in your trunk. Emergency kit instructions often say to have some water and snacks on hand in addition to jumper cables and other auto supplies, but the instructions don’t tell you what foods could pose safety issues if left in a hot trunk for weeks. This is partly because it’s difficult to tell what might go bad; temperature variations and the age of the food when you put it in the trunk — plus any existing food safety problems lurking in the packages — can all make a food more or less likely to spoil in the heat. However, there are a few guidelines you can keep in mind.

Long-term Storage for Short-term Use

Remember that your car emergency food is meant to tide you over if you get stuck somewhere or if you find you have to walk home a great distance. For most people, this would cover something like finding out the power in the city is out, creating so much traffic that they have to stay where they are for a few hours. If you’re planning a trip somewhere where there’s the potential to be stuck for several days — such as planning a trip when a snowstorm might blow through in winter — then you have to adjust the amount of food you carry. But for your typical office worker who just needs something edible, a few packs of portable, nonperishable food will do.

Dry Foods and Survival Biscuits

Car trunks can reach temperatures in the 120s and even 140s Fahrenheit in summer, depending on your location. Your food — and its packaging — has to be able to withstand that. Foods that are dry and that don’t contain anything that could melt or mold are what you need to look for. Dry crackers and crunchy granola bars, for example, or even a few bars of emergency biscuits meant for life rafts could work. (Do check with the manufacturer of the emergency biscuits if they’re able to sit in heat; many brands are because the emergency food has to withstand tropical temperatures, but you can’t assume anything.)

If you have any regular passengers who have special needs, such as a child who has to eat gluten-free foods, remember to find foods that the person can eat.

Some Nonperishables Not Suitable

Nuts are risky. They can become rancid in heat, and while one or two days might not do anything, a few months in a hot trunk could ruin them. Chocolate is obviously bad, as it will melt, but that also means you can’t have things like chocolate chip granola bars in there. Dried fruits can still form mold.

Surprisingly, MREs are not a good choice. These meals-ready-to-eat are meant to be portable, but they’re not meant for long-term storage in heat. Their shelf life can dive to as little as one month if stored in a hot area.

Remember Beverages

Don’t forget that beverages can suffer as well. Water stored in plastic bottles can begin to taste like the plastic, so you might want to look for emergency water rations stored in foil bags. These are available online and from survival stores.

Try to avoid juice boxes. While the juice boxes are supposed to be shelf-stable, they can develop mold inside, and it’s impossible to tell since the packaging is not see-through.

Try to rotate foods and water out monthly if you can. Specialized emergency water bags and life raft biscuits may have longer storage lives, but for regular foods like crackers, try to change them out rather frequently to further avoid problems.

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Semi-Truck Winter Survival Kit

All drivers should keep an emergency kit inside of their vehicle. However, as a semi-truck driver, it is especially important that you not only have an emergency kit inside of your truck, but a winter survival kit as well. You never know when unexpected bad weather may strike and you find yourself stranded on the highway for hours.

Emergency Kit

To start with, you should always carry a basic emergency kit with you. This basic emergency kit should contain supplies to help you troubleshoot any problems that could go wrong with your vehicle.

Your emergency kit should contain the following supplies:

  • Road flares
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Jumper Cables
  • Multiple Aerosol Tire Inflators
  • Extra Oil
  • Extra Antifreeze
  • Extra Brake Fluid
  • Extra Transmission Fluid
  • Extra Winter Windshield Washer Fluid
  • A Set Of Working Chains
  • Duct Tape
  • Emergency Fuses
  • Call For Help Sign

You should also add a few extra items during the winter into your kit.

  • Towing Strap
  • Tire Chains
  • Sand Or Kitty Litter
  • Shovel

You can stash all of these supplies inside of a cardboard box or inside of a duffel bag. These supplies may be all you need to get back on the road in the case of an emergency.

Winter Safety Kit

In addition to your regular emergency kit, you should also carry a winter safety kit. Storms move fast in the winter, and you do not want to find yourself unprepared if you have to wait for a pass to open or if you are diverted from your normal route. In severe winter weather, you may not even be able to drive anywhere.

Your winter safety kit should include enough food and water to sustain you for a few days. It should also include extra clothing to keep you warm and dry while you wait. Plus, if you have to get out and put on chains, you may get soaked and those extra clothes could come in handy. Here are some items you should pack in order to stay warm and dry:

  • Sleeping bag or extra blankets
  • 2 pairs of gloves
  • A set of extra clothes inside of a waterproof bag
  • A raincoat or poncho

You never know how long you could be stuck during a winter storm, which is why you should pack some extra food in your winter emergency kit. That way, you will not be hungry waiting for the roads to clear. Here are a few things you should pack:

  • Liquids
    • Gallons of water
    • Plastic water bottles
    • Juice boxes
    • Energy drinks
  • Non-perishable food:
    • Energy bars
    • Dried fruit
    • Cereal
    • Apple sauce
    • Dried meat
    • Juice boxes
    • Multivitamins 

If you are going to be sitting on the road for a long time, you may get bored with nothing to do. Make sure you throw a few items into your winter survival kit to keep yourself entertained while you wait out the bad weather.

  • Cell phone charger
  • Books
  • Crossword puzzles

You can put all of these items inside of another duffel bag or cardboard box inside a storage area on your semi-truck.

Make sure you have an emergency vehicle kit that includes a few extra winter supplies to take care of your truck while you are on the road. Make sure you also pack a winter safety kit so you can take care of yourself if you get stuck on the side of the road during a winter weather event. Additionally, keep an roadside emergency number, for a company like Airport Towing, with you in all seasons.

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Power Washing Your Car: Dos And Don’ts

Power washing your car is a great way to get it clean quickly, but there are more things to take into consideration when power washing a car, beyond just how dirty it is. Making sure you follow these guidelines for what to do and what not to do when power washing (also called ‘pressure washing’) your car can help you maintain the off-the-lot look of your vehicle’s exterior. 

Things You Should Do When Power Washing Your Car

Choose the Correct Nozzle

Power washer nozzles come in varying degrees based on the cut of the nozzle. For instance, a 0 degree cut means the nozzle isn’t cut at all and the water will come through it concentrated and at full force. On the other hand, a 35-degree cut would mean that the nozzle has been cut at a 35 degree angle. The higher the degree, the less powerfully the water emerges from the nozzle. You’ll want higher degrees for more sensitive points on the car, such as where window decals are placed. 

Clean Your Car Top to Bottom

Clean it from top to bottom—literally! Starting at the top of your car and working your way down means that everything is being washed in the same direction for an easier, more thorough cleaning job. Starting in the middle or at the bottom of the car can lead to dirt being splattered on areas you’ve already cleaned, so you’ll have to go over them again. This wastes time, energy, water, and money.

Things You Should NOT Do When Power Washing Your Car

Don’t Go Full Throttle

No matter how filthy you think your car is, using an open (0-degree nozzle) power washer can be a bad idea for cleaning your vehicle. Strong water streams can strip off bumper stickers and (depending upon the age and quality of the car) even paint and finishes. You might use a 0-degree nozzle if your wheels are extremely dirty, but that’s as far as you should go with a 0-degree nozzle. 

Don’t Endanger Other Objects Around Your Home

Be sure to park your car a reasonable distance away from outdoor furniture, children’s toys, lawn equipment, and other items that could be damaged, waterlogged, or knocked over and broken by a powerful water stream. Be mindful of nearby greenery as well since it could become over-watered. 

Keeping these four things in mind as you prepare to pressure wash your car will keep your car looking shiny and new for years to come. If you’d like a professional’s help, visit Chris’ Pressure Wash.

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