Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Maintaining your vehicle during Summer travelsFirst posted on our sister stores blog on July 19th, 2011, posted in: Blog, General maintenance by 0 Comment

Well, it appears that Mother nature is holding out a little longer for the “hotter” weather this year!  She has given us a taste of summer a few times so far this year, however; not the normal we all expect by this time of the year.  I am optomistic that it will eventually get here though. It seems that many consumers are fairly proactive in getting their vehicle ready for the Winter travel season, but not so much for the Summer travel season. Summer temperatures are very hard on vehicles just like the Winter conditions can be, in many cases even worse!
Here is a small list of items to have checked before your Summer travels.
  • One of the most overlooked items for Summer travel is your battery. Heat is very tough on batteries and they will often fail without warning, potentially leaving you stranded.
  • Engine coolant and cooling system components like your thermostat and radiator/heater hoses.
  • Tires, all tires are “vented” and will leak small amounts of pressure, so check them often. The Department of Transportation (DOT) recommends and suggests that all tires, regardless of tread depth, be change every 6 years due to the structural decline of the tire.
  • Cabin air filter. Most current vehicles have a cabin air filter equipped in the heater box to help with pollutants, dust and pollens in your vehicle. This is a much overlooked item so if you have a “musty” smell or a windshield that always seems to be “dirty’ on the inside, it may be time to change your filter?
  • Wiper blades are actually more important in the Summer months than the Winter months. Why you ask? when the wiper blade sits on your windshield and the sun is on the glass most of the day, the sun has a tendency to “cook” the blades and this dries them out. Of course,  most of us do not realize this after having had some hot sunny days until that first rain shower; you turn on the wipers and it almost seems worse than it did before you turned them on!  Wiper blades are reasonable price wise and should be replaced at least twice a year.
  • Don’t forget about that air conditioning! Check your A/C for proper cooling so when it gets hot you are not surprised to find it does not work.  For tips on how to lower the interior temp of you car,
             click here:  http://www.carcarenewsservice.org/articles/two-tips-cooler-cabin
  • Lights are often overlooked this time of year due to longer daylight hours.
  • Fluids. All fluids are important to your vehicle so make sure to have them checked and serviced as needed.
We hope this small list helps prepare you for your summer travels and please contact us with any questions.

 Scott can be contacted via email-benchmarkauto@msn.com and Andy can be reached via email at hoauto@msn.com.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

With all of life's stresses, sometimes you just need a break. Taking 15 minutes to unwind and reboot is a good idea for all of us.Not thinking about work can help you refocus. Today while taking a walk I looked up and this little  doe was about 7-8 feet from me. She was not frightened. Probably more annoyed than anything else. I watched her watch me for a few minutes and then took this snapshot. I went back to my walk and she remained there. What a de-stresser!

Cars can be frustrating when they don't work correctly. Proper maintenance is key to reducing the likelihood of a mechanical breakdown. Follow the guide in your owners manual. A good safety inspection at least 1 time per year is also a good idea. Follow the recommendations in you manual or ask your mechanic for variances based on your local driving conditions.

Stop and go driving is considered severe driving conditions. Also, the car that was not driven very often by a "little old lady who just took it to church on Sunday" is also considered severe driving conditions. Byproducts from combustion will never evaporate when these precision machines are driven like that. Carbon can also be an issue. Look at the island and consider this: most people live close to Winslow. Engines do not typically get fully warmed up. How far do you live from T & C or Safeway? This can cause carbon to build up in the combustion chamber or on the back side of the valves. That carbon will act like a sponge and absorb some of the fuel that is injected into the cylinders. The best option is to drive! Make that a good excuse to drive into Poulsbo or Silverdale and take your significant other out to lunch. At least 2 things accomplished and your car will love it. (Not to mention your significant other!)

Remember, less stress is a good thing.

Happy motoring.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Should I keep this car or junk it?

This is a question that we get a lot. Here is a basic look at what we do to help our customers make this decision.

First question-Do you like the car? This is a very important question. If you don't like the car, you probably do not want to keep it. Extensive repairs are not going to make most people like a car better. After all, if you replace an engine or transmission, the window may still not go up and down, that exhaust may still have that coat hanger holding it in place and that spring in the seat will still poke you when you sit down.

Second question-Have you had to do a lot of repairs in the last year or two? This is something that you need to look at a lot closer. If the brakes got replaced because they wore out, that is not a repair, it is maintenance. If the brake master cylinder failed, that is a broken part that needed to be replaced, thus a repair expense, not maintenance. Did you replace the timing belt? They need to be replaced on many cars as a matter of maintenance (some cars use chains that only get replaced if it wears out). Fluids need to be serviced from time to time, tune-ups need to be done, accessory belts need to be replaced.

This will all be true on a newer car. They are after all machines. Proper maintenance helps reduce the number of repairs that will be required on any machine, especially something as complex as a car.

Third question-Does the expense exceed the value of the car? Sometimes it will. Now you have to look at it from a different angle. What are your expectations for this car? Do you want to try to make it last while someone goes to school? Would a bus be a better option? If you had to replace it, what would it cost? You probably have repair & service records that you can review. Has the car been pretty reliable? Would an expensive repair be a good option because you know that for the most part,  the car is reliable. . If you do not fix the car, will you replace it? Will you get the service records on the replacement vehicle? Why are they getting rid of it? Are the tires in good shape? Will they likely last while you use the car for this limited time frame? ( you still need it to be safe)

This is a basic format that I use when talking with someone about expensive repairs. I hope that it helps some of you that may have to make that type of decision. Some of  it can be applied to other things that come up in our lives.

Andy is the manager @ Hockett  & Olsen Automotive on Bainbridge Island. He can be reached via email hoauto@msn.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mice love cars!

Here is a topic that comes up every year about this time. Mice & rodents. They chew wires, make nests and use the whole world as a restroom. The little critters just want to be safe and warm.

Here is a very bad case, but a great example of what can happen when they move into the neighborhood- https://youtu.be/pP7F4FN4qo4

What do you do to keep them from damaging your car wiring and hoses? Poison is an option, but is hazardous to pets and other animals. So maybe we should call it a NON option. Just like you and I, they want to be comfortable. If it is uncomfortable for them, they will leave. Mouse traps with peanut butter can help rid the car of the unwanted guests. There are many non-lethal deterrents. Most have to do with a scent or smell that they do not like. This is the method we recommend. We use a product that I call "mouse pot pouree". It comes in the form of  a large tea bag and is should be renewed about every 4-6 weeks. Stop by today for a FREE quick visual inspection under the hood!

Have a great day.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Summer seems to be moving towards the finish line here in The Pacific Northwest.

Cooler, cloudy days, and depending what time you head to or from work, it may be getting dark before you leave home and maybe even close to dusk when you leave work.

Here are a couple of tips for Fall driving:

1-Check your tire pressures. Seasonable temperature changes can affect the air in your tires and cause the "low tire pressure warning light" to illuminate.
2-Clean the film off of the inside of your windows to reduce that hazy glare that builds up.
3-Is your battery over 4 years old? Consider having it checked. Average battery life for a new cars is about 3-5 years.
4-It is getting cooler. Remember that there are lots of little furry creatures that will be looking for a warm place to hide over the winter. Even if you have a garage for your vehicles, they can still get in. You may want to consider a rodent deterrent of some type to protect your hoses and wires.
5-Replace your wiper blades. After a long hot summer, the rubber on the blades has been degraded. A new set of wipers will work wonders. Consider a window treatment to help keep the windshield clean. It can improve night vision, especially in the rain.
6-Check all of your vehicles lights, inside and out. Ever try to find something in the glove box when the light is not working? If only you could find that flashlight that you put in the glove box. Wont you be thankful that you remembered to change those flashlight batteries?
7-If your headlamps are "foggy" due to ultra violet degradation of the lenses, have them refurbished or (in some cases) replaced.
8-Have your vehicle serviced. Most manufacturers recommend that the oil be changed at least once per year, regardless of the miles driven. Ask your shop for their advice.
9-Have your winter tires installed based on your local needs. You don't want to wait in line to have them installed when the weather person at your local TV station says "SNOW".

Want to learn how to do some of these things yourself? We are sponsoring a free clinic at Hockett & Olsen Automotive & Tire in conjunction with our sister store Benchmark Automotive & Tire in Kingston. We will be having 3, 2 hour sessions on Saturday October 3rd. The times will be:8:15, 10:30, and 12:45. Space is limited. Please RSVP as soon as possible to Andy at hoauto@msn.com and specify which session works best for you.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Why is my air conditioning not cold?


So you have turned on your car’s air conditioning and the air that comes out is not cold. If you don’t feel any air coming out of the vents, but hear the fan, the fresh air intake filter (more commonly called the cabin filter.) may be restricted or partially blocked. If you park near a tree or park outside, there could be a rodent of some kind who has made a comfy little home for themselves in your vents. If that is the case, the nest can be removed and the filter replaced. The vents can even be sanitized if needed.

What if you have air out of the vents, but it is not cold? There could be any of a number of things going on. There could be a blown fuse or relay, there could be a leak in the system, there could be a bad component or the system may simply need to be recharged. It could even be a broken drive belt.  The system will seep tiny amounts of refrigerant over time, very slow leaks are not that uncommon. There are a couple of types of refrigerants that are common. They have often been called Freon. There are new ones on the horizon as options are being tested that are more environmentally sound.

A visual inspection is performed prior to service to look for obvious problems. If all looks ok, then the technician will proceed with a recharge. When the system is being charged (or serviced) it is evacuated and checked for leaks under vacuum. The amount of Freon removed from the system is checked and documented. If no vacuum leaks are found, the Freon will be added to specifications and the system checked for leaks under pressure. The system will be checked to make sure that it is operating as designed and the vent temperature is documented. This way you know just how cool you are!

Andy Cotey is the manager at Hockett & Olsen Automotive and can be reached by email-, hoauto@msn.com Scott Carlson is the owner and can be reached via email at benchmarkauto@msn.com with any questions or comments.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A deviation from the normal car stuff-Sweet & Sour pork or chicken

I have been thinking about Chinese food since lunch and thought that I would share my recipe for Sweet & Sour chicken or pork. It can be hard to think about cars when you have a hankering for something to eat. Maybe I should write about drive thru instead?

Have a car related question? Contact Andy via email- hoauto@msn.com Andy is the manager of Hockett & Olsen Automotive