Categories
Maintenance

Thrifty Car Sale’s Top Tips for Winter Driving

Winter is coming! That means it’s time to start preparing your vehicle for the cold temperatures and harsh weather to come. With harsh weather and cold temperatures comes car problems that could leave you out in the cold. Ensure you and your vehicle make it through the winter without any hiccups by following these wonderful tips on winterizing your vehicle. 

Not ready to winterize your vehicle on your own? Thrifty Car Sales can help, as our service and parts professionals have the knowledge and product to help you keep your vehicle in tip-top shape during the winter months. 

Batteries Need Attention, Too

One of the best ways to ensure you and your vehicle survive the winter is to check and maintain your battery. The battery in your vehicle is one of the most important parts of your car, as it not only helps the vehicle start-up, but it keeps all of the accessories running, including that precious heat system. As the temperatures drop outside, so does the cranking power and charge of your battery, so make sure to constantly check your battery to ensure it’s operating effectively. 

Checking the charge level on your battery is simple, just bring it to the service center here at Thrifty Car Sales and one of our technicians can perform a voltage check on your battery. This voltage check can alert you to upcoming issues with your battery, as well as tell you if it needs to be serviced or replaced entirely. If you need to replace your battery, the technicians here at Thrifty Car Sales can have a new one installed in your vehicle swiftly, and at a great price too!

Avoid breaking out the jumper cables by having your battery checked before the winter comes, it could be the difference between a smooth winter ride and being stranded in a cold vehicle. Stop by Thrifty Car Sales Service Center today to have your battery tested, serviced, or replaced. 

Check Those Tires

A good set of tires goes a long way during the cold season, as it helps keep your vehicle on the road and under control during heavy braking. Before you embark on a winter journey, make sure to check out your tires, the cold months can cause cracking in the rubber, and low tread levels can be disastrous in icy conditions. Opting for a solid set of winter tires is also a fantastic way to stay safe while driving during the cold months, as they perform better in cold weather and icy conditions. 

Have your tires inspected, serviced or replaced in our service center, here at Thrifty Car Sales located in Coopersburg, PA today!

Wiper Blades 

Are you having a hard time seeing through the ice and the snow? Maybe it’s time to change out your wiper blades, so they can perform better for you this winter. There is nothing worse than trying to navigate a winter storm with streaky windshield wipers that miss large parts of your windshield. Most folks tend to overlook their windshield wipers when it comes to basic maintenance, only to scramble to replace them once winter hits and they can’t see through the blizzard. 

Routinely checking your windshield wiper blades for wear and tear is a great way to catch problems before they arise. Another good way to ensure long life out of your windshield wiper blades is to lift them off the car before a winter storm comes, this will prevent the rubber from getting frozen to the windshield while the vehicle sits. Avoid using your wiper blades as a means of clearing ice from your windshield, as this can cause premature wear and tear on your wiper blades. 

Keep your windshield clean and free of debris with a set of fresh wiper blades, installed by the professionals here at Thrifty Car Sales. 

Top Off Your Fluids

Keeping up with your fluid levels is always important when you own a vehicle, doubly so for those that live in places with harsh winter months. A car that lacks the proper levels of fluids will struggle to perform at its peak, making daily driving a hassle and potentially even dangerous. Some fluids to keep an eye on are:

  • Coolant (Anti-Freeze): This fluid not only keeps your engine running at optimal temperatures, but it also helps keep fluids in the vehicle from freezing during the winter as well. Coolant goes in your coolant reservoir and runs throughout the engine to provide cooling, but it also can be added to your washer fluid to prevent those lines from freezing as well. Coolant is one of the most important fluids to monitor in your vehicle.
  • Engine Oil: It may seem obvious, but having the proper level of oil in your vehicle is extremely important in keeping your engine and car running. Engine oil lubricates the necessary parts of the engine so it can run smoothly, as metal on metal doesn’t bode well for the life of your engine. Engine oil behaves differently in extremely cold temperatures, therefore you may need to use a special blend during the winter months. If you need help determining which engine oil is right for your vehicle, speak with one of our service technicians here at Thrifty Car Sales today!
  • Washer Fluid: Although washer fluid may not be the first fluid on your mind when it comes to maintaining your vehicle, it is an important one to remember during the winter. With most cities that get snow using a salt or brine mixture to keep roads clear, your windshield gets dirty quite quickly during the winter, and that’s why it’s important to keep your washer fluid full. One good snowstorm can see you running your washer fluid tank dry, so always keep an extra bottle on hand during the winter months to avoid disaster. 

Ensure you have a safe and easy winter, make an appointment today to get your winter car servicing performed here at Thrifty Car Sales.

Test Your Climate Control

Testing your climate control systems before the winter hits is an absolute must if you want to survive the winter comfortably. Before you start driving this winter, make sure to check the defroster and heating functions of your climate control system, as you most likely haven’t used them since last winter. Check your climate control in just a few seconds, simply run your defroster and heat at each fan speed and temperature available. This simple action will tell you if you have any climate control issues so you can have them fixed just in time for winter. 

If your climate control system needs servicing, our service professionals here at Thrifty Car Sales can help! Located in Coopersburg, PA, Thrifty Car Sales’ Service Center is the best place to have your pre-winter vehicle inspection performed.

Be Prepared

It sounds cliche, but being prepared for the worst-case scenario is actually the best thing you can do. When it comes to being prepared for winter driving, the above tips are always great to follow but its also important to go a step further and have an emergency scenario bag packed and available in your vehicle. 

Keep a bag full of spare clothes, including winter clothes in your vehicle. Inside of this bag should not only be clothing, but a blanket, a first aid kit, a flashlight, jumper cables, a cellphone charger, and some snacks. You can feel free to add more to this bag, but this is the bare minimum we recommend keeping in each one of your vehicles.

Imagine traveling down a back-country road in the winter, when suddenly you lose traction and skid off the road. Luckily nobody is hurt, but your car is disabled and needs to be towed out of the ditch on the side of the road. Waiting for that tow truck in below-freezing temperatures in a car with no heat is not ideal, however, it’s much easier when you have a winter emergency bag in your vehicle. 

Winter Servicing

From a fluid top-off to new tires, and everything in-between, Thrifty Car Sales is the place to have your annual winter vehicle servicing performed. Here at Thrifty Car Sales, our highly trained service professionals are dedicated to making sure your vehicle is safe and ready to tackle any adventure you throw at it. Ensure you have safety and peace of mind each time you hit the road this winter, have your vehicle winterized by the service professionals here at Thrifty Car Sales today!

Categories
Maintenance

Signs That It’s Time to Replace Your Wiper Blades

Wiper Blades
Checking the windshield wiper

Safe driving begins and ends with strong windshield visibility. Your windshield is the main outlet to the world around you while inside your vehicle. Maintaining sustainable visibility stems from the condition of your windshield wipers. Windshield wipers should be replaced every six months unless signs of poor performance become evident beforehand. Ensuring you can see your surroundings protects you–the driver–but also those around you. There are several things to look for when deciding if your wiper blades should be replaced.

Closely observe the condition of the rubber on the wipers. Ensure the entirety of the rubber is one smooth, cohesive piece. If the rubber is cracked, split, broken or otherwise shows blemishes or imperfections, replacing your wiper blades is imperative. Additionally, if the wiper blades exhibit a rounded look, they are too worn and require replacement.

Another indication of deteriorated windshield wipers is the efficiency of film and grime removal. If your wipers fail to remove any dirt, that is another indication of deteriorated windshield wipers. Cleaning your wipers with a paper towel may provide a temporary solution. But if the problem persists, purchasing new wipers is the safest option.

Apart from visual discrepancies, observe the sounds your wipers make. If a chattering or dragging sound can be heard due to the wipers making contact with the glass only some of the time, it may be time to get new wipers for your vehicle.

Perhaps the most obvious symptom of worn windshield wipers is the overall contact they make with the windshield. Wipers can become damaged for a multitude of reasons. Make sure both wipers are coming into contact and cleaning the glass. If the metal frame of the wiper is bent, it won’t make proper contact with the window and therefore neglect moisture in the corners or in the middle. Even if the frame is bent but still cleans the windshield, it won’t be long before it fails to do so.

Paying close attention to the condition of your wipers’ rubber and metal components will help inform the best time to replace your windshield wipers. Watch out for streaks across your windshield and any chattering or dragging noises produced by your wipers. If none of these symptoms occur, the standard timeframe for wiper blade replacements is six months. The owner’s manual will describe in detail the type and length of wiper blades for your vehicle. Maintaining clear visibility is important for your safety and the safety of others.

Categories
Maintenance

When Should I Get An Oil Change?

Oil change
Oil Changes are important for a long vehicle lifespan.

Your vehicle’s oil change is necessary, but when is the right time? An important question with varying answers, so let’s attempt to simplify. Before improvements were made to fuel-delivery systems, engine materials, manufacturing methods and oil chemistry, 3000 miles were the typical barometer for an oil change. However, modern engines today can drive upwards of 7500 or 10,000 miles before an oil change is required.

Several variables come into play when determining the proper interval for your next oil change. If you own a new vehicle and do not want to jeopardize your powertrain warranty, follow the oil type, mileage and time frame recommendations listed in the owner’s manual. Most of the time, drivers will take their vehicle to a dealer for routine inspections and maintenance. During these appointments, oil changes are typically provided.

If your vehicle is out of warranty, the answer becomes more vague. Recommendations vary depending on driving conditions, such as the time of year and where your vehicle is driven. Severe driving conditions include short trips of five or less miles in normal temperatures, short trips of 10 miles or less in freezing temperatures, stop-and-start driving in hot temperatures, long distance driving at low speeds and frequent driving on dusty, muddy, salty, sandy or gravel terrain. Service providers recommend shorter oil change intervals, which are typically between 3000 to 5000 miles. While this never hurts your engine, it does result in more frequent expenses with your local dealer. Checking your oil level once a month using the dipstick is encouraged, especially with older vehicles. Many newer vehicles use synthetic oils for a potential 10,000 to 12,000-mile interval range before requiring an oil change. Older vehicles use petroleum-based oil, which provides users with a choice if they own an older model. Synthetic oils offer greater support for longer distance traveling and more resistance against temperature breakdowns. But they also cost more than petroleum oils. You’ll have to determine which option makes more financial sense. Changing your oil at the proper interval is reliant on many moving parts, most of which are specific to you and your vehicle. For new vehicles, follow the recommendations outlined in the owner’s manual in order to avoid breaking a powertrain warranty. Modern vehicles typically last 7500 to 10,000 miles before requiring an oil change. Used vehicles have varying intervals for oil changes depending on your personal driving habits and patterns. Many dealers suggest changing your vehicle’s oil every 3000 to 5000 miles. For additional questions and information regarding your oil’s life span, consult with a local car dealership for servicing details and assistance.

Categories
Maintenance

What Your Check Engine Light Might Be Telling You

Your vehicle’s Check Engine Light (CEL) is never a positive indicator. Identifying the reason for its illumination can vary from a minor obstruction to imminent critical vehicle damage. If your CEL is steadily lit, your engine sensors have identified suspicious behavior, perhaps with an engine component or sensor. But if the light is flashing, the issue with your engine could cause immediate damage and it is imperative to pull over immediately. The recommended action is to visit a vehicle service center to get the light turned off, regardless of the severity of your engine’s issue.

An at-home option for previewing potential engine problems can be conducted with a code reader, which can be purchased at an auto parts store or online retailer. Most code readers allow users to turn off or reset the check engine light. It is important to note that a code reader does not repair any issue with your engine and that, oftentimes, the light will turn back on later. But a code reader can present users with a code which can be searched for on the internet to decipher its meaning.

Causes for your Check Engine Light’s emergence on your dash can vary in severity (and cost). Common solutions may include replacing ignition coils, spark plugs, oxygen sensors, converters, fuel injectors, and/or thermostat. There is always a chance the light turned on because of a temporary problem caused by weather conditions. In this case, the light should go out by itself in a short period of time. But it is important to address these potential issues immediately to prevent larger (and costlier) problems down the road. Additionally, the CEL must be turned off in order to pass state vehicle inspection.

The Check Engine Light can potentially lead to a hefty vehicle expense and may discourage drivers from getting their vehicles serviced. Troubleshooting at home with a code reader is a viable option but primarily serves as a starting point and not a long-term solution. Visiting a service center will provide a more comprehensive diagnosis of your vehicle’s engine and help prevent further (and more severe) damage to your engine and vehicle. When your Check Engine Light is illuminated, place the safety of yourself and others first and get your vehicle serviced.