Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Shed a little light on the subject

Sometimes we all need a reminder about different things. This for instance is about exterior illumination & automobiles. I often see people driving with headlights out, not using turn signals, or even riding the brakes.

When I taught my 2 youngest children to drive, I made sure to talk to them about lights. They are not for you the driver so much as for the other drivers on the road. You know that you are turning, but without that light to tell other drivers that you are turning, they do not know until they see that car turning.

By the same token, if your bright headlights are on, it makes it harder for other drivers. Especially in the rain. The glare can result in difficulty seeing due to that excessive shine. 
Good windshield wiper blades help too. 

Be courteous, be kind. And remember, we're all in this together. 
Andy is the service manager at Hockett & Olsen Automotive & Tire. If you have questions or comments about this blog, he can be contacted via email- hoauto@msn.com

Friday, November 11, 2016

Are you ready for Winter trips?

Before you take that trip to Grandma's house, here are a few things to check on your car, light truck or SUV

  • All of the interior and exterior lighting
  • Make sure that you wiper blades are clean and not torn-replace them if needed
  • Your windshield washer fluid-add if needed
  • Your antifreeze for proper level and condition. Service if needed. (If you had to add a couple of quarts you may want a service professional to check it for leaks)
  • Consider having your vehicle serviced even if it is a little early. That way you can have a service professional check it out.
  • Your tires, The wear should be even. Check your tire pressure (there is usually a sticker in the driver’s door jamb that will list the proper pressure. If the tread is getting low, you may want to replace the tires. Consider winter tires if you will be in a area where snow and ice is common. 
  • for film on the windows. The haze can act like a reflector and cause difficulty seeing at night. Remember all of the windows, not just the front!
  •  to make sure that you have a full tank of gas.
Create an emergency kit that includes at least:   

·        Jumper cables
·        Flares or reflective devices
·        First aid kit
·        Tire pressure gauge
·        Bottled drinking water
·        Spare change of clothes & extra hat & gloves
·        Cell phone and charger
·        Important papers (like medical cards & emergency contacts list)
·        Flashlight & spare batteries
·        Window scraper
·        Hand warmers
·        Spare bag of sand and/or rock salt
·        Energy bars
·        A copy of your auto club card

  Planning is essential when you are taking a trip. Planning ahead for emergencies will not keep you from having the occasional glitch, but it can help make it a lot less stressful for the times when something does comes up. Remember-if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

Andy is the service manager @ Hockett & Olsen Automotive. He can be reached via email: hoauto@msn.com



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