Thursday, September 27, 2012

7 Ways To Avoid Breakdowns and Getting Stranded

Breaking down and getting stranded can ruin your day. Follow these few tips to decrease your chances of being broken down on the side of the road and having to call a tow truck.

(REMINDER: If you DO need roadside assistance, or need to have your vehicle towed, our 2012 customers receive FREE roadside assistance! Read more about that HERE.)

Know which lights come on before
starting your vehicle.
  1. Notice what lights come on when you start your vehicle - When you start your vehicle, the lights on your dashboard turn on in "test mode". This is a system's test to let you know that your vehicle systems are working. Know which lights are normal for your vehicle, but the main ones are battery, ABS, temperature, and oil. For example, if you turn your key on, and your battery light doesn't come on, it could indicate a problem with your alternator, causing your battery to go dead. Yes, your vehicle will still run, but chances are you are going to end up stranded. Have it looked at before this happens! Another common light is the TPM (Tire Pressure Monitoring) light. This light is standard in 2007 and newer cars, passenger and light duty trucks. This light will tell you if your tire pressure is low.
  2. Know where "normal" is on your gauges - Make sure you watch the gauges on your dashboard, and know where they normally run. If they are running lower or higher than normal, this can indicate a problem. These gauges are there to warn you of an upcoming issue, and if you get it looked at and fixed before it breaks, it can prevent that inconvenient breakdown on the side of the road.
  3. Keep up on your maintenance - Having your routine maintenance done by a professional every 3 months or as recommended by your owners manual is always a good idea. Every vehicle that comes in our shop is  put through a FREE courtesy check, where the main items that can cause a breakdown are checked. We check the metal content and PH of your fluids.This is another benefit to having a professional do your oil changes instead of doing them yourself. They can pinpoint and spot potential problems before they arise.
  4. Keep a half a tank of gas at all times - One of the most common reasons for getting stranded on the side of the road is running out of gas. Not only is this inconvenient, but it can cause problems with your fuel pump. You may think you have enough gas to get from A to B, but what if there is an accident on the road and you are stuck there longer than expected? We have heard many times, especially on freeways, where they has been a huge pileup accident, and many of the cars stuck in the traffic jam run out of gas.
  5. Prepare your vehicle for the current season - If you keep up on your regularly scheduled vehicle maintenance, then your vehicle should have no problem when the seasons change; however, there are a few things you can check to get ready for winter:
    - Windshield wipers: Make sure they are in working condition, and that your motor isn't "on its last leg".
    - Tires: Make sure the tread on your tire isn't too thin, and rotate your tires regularly so that they wear evenly. If you live in a climate where there is a lot of snow, like Utah, you may want to think about snow tires or all-season tires.
    - Battery: Test your battery condition yearly.
  6. Check your fluids routinely - It only takes a few minutes to check your oil, windshield wiper fluid, brake fluid, anti-freeze, and glance at the belts and hoses for fray or bulges. Running out of oil can cause your engine to seize, and running out of brake fluid will result in loss of brakes. By taking just a few minutes to check your levels, you can prevent those inconvenient breakdowns. If you need us to show you where your fluids are and how to check them, stop by any time during regular business hours and we will be happy to go over it with you. Watch videos on our YouTube channel on how to check your oil and how to check your windshield washer fluid.
  7. Tires
    Flat tires and blowouts are another common reason for getting stranded on the side of the road. There are a few things you can do to prevent this:
    - Routinely check the tread on your tires. Using a nickel is the best way. If you can see Washinton's head, your tread is too thin, and you should purchase new tires. Watch a video on our YouTube channel on how to check your tread.
    - Check your tire pressure. Running on too low of tires is a common reason for blowouts. Watch a video on our YouTube channel on how to check your tire pressure.
    - Rotate your tires routinely. By rotating your tires, this allows them to wear evenly, avoiding the tread to become too low in one spot.
    - Know the age of your tires. Many blowouts, especially on boats and trailers, are caused by old tires that the rubber has gone bad. Know how to locate the age of your tire in the DOT number on the side of your tire. If you need help with this, stop by and we can show you.
    - Watch out for curbs. Scraping against and running into curbs can cause "bubbles" on your tire, which also leads to blowouts.
Gines Auto Services is always here to help if you ever have any questions! You can reach us:


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