Here we are at the winter solstice, December 21, 2016. It's the shortest day of the year. We are commuting in the dark or driving when the sun is low -- at dawn in the morning or dusk in the evening -- making visibility difficult. Couple this with fog, mist, ice and snow and driving becomes a real challenge. Here are ten tips or reminders that will help you see better and stay safe.
- Check your head lights. Are they both working? Are they aimed correctly?
- Check the condition of the headlamps. They should be sparkling clear. When a car gets older, the plastic can turn yellow and dramatically cut down on the power of the headlights. The plastic actually can be restored. Check out this video.
winter auto safety tips,
windshield wipers smearing,
One fall weekend, my wife and I were driving north on Interstate 270, going from Urbana to Frederick, Maryland, when we spotted a sign saying "Scenic Overlook." We had some time to kill so we took the exit. It was a nice place to stop because there's a great view of the city of Frederick, tucked into this valley that's bordered by the Catoctin Mountain, the eastern most ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
As we were walking back to the parking lot, I noticed a group of people gathered around a small truck. My curiosity got the best of me, and I wandered over and found an elderly couple explaining a problem they were having with their vehicle. They had pulled off of the road, not for the view, but because the left front brake was staying on all the time making the wheel very hot (and very dangerous to touch). They clearly had honed in on the problem because each time the wind shifted and blew in our direction, the distinct smell of burning brake pads flooded our nostrils.
rebuilt brake calipers,
With the holiday season underway, squeezing shopping to an already crowded schedule can be a challenge, not to mention adding other "must do" errands such as getting your car serviced before a holiday road trip.
As a reminder, we offer 3 levels of oil change services and the smallest two can be done while you wait, within 60-90 minutes. For our most comprehensive oil change service, we ask that your vehicle be in by 8:30 a.m. and left with us for the day, through 4:30/5 p.m. This way we have the time to give it the necessary attention to report on any upcoming preventive maintenance items or potential issues to address.
holiday car trips,
Recently, I stood in as the courtesy van driver. It's always a fun job; I hear so many stories and my first trip out was not an exception. One of the customers described the problem he was having with his car. He said it felt like it was haunted! It had symptoms that came and went in no particular pattern. He asked me how we diagnose something like that, and I explained how we approach this type of "intermittent" problem.
car radio problems,
intermittent car problems,
I would have never thought I would be doing repair diagnostics at our local JCPenney at the Columbia Mall, but I find myself answering auto repair questions in some of the oddest places. The other day I was standing in the check-out line at JCPenney and ran into one of our British American Auto Care customers. As it turns out, her car remote wasn't functioning properly. It wouldn't open her rear hatch, so she asked me what the problem could be, what would be involved in fixing it, how much it would cost.
car remote failure,
Some mornings, we have high demand for our free courtesy shuttle van. When this happens, and the van is at capacity or out on a run, we also use the MINI Cooper to get customers where they need to be in a timely manner.
One morning I helped out. Not only did I give a customer a ride to work in the MINI Cooper, but I gave her dog a ride too! A very well behaved dog sat right in-between the two of us. The customer I gave a ride to owns Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Ellicott City. On this particular morning, she was upset about an experience she had had with one of her Countryside Veterinary customers, and she had been up all night worrying about how to respond. It turns out; the Countryside Veterinary customer had given them a bad review because she found a cheaper antibiotic online and felt that Countryside Veterinary was over charging. The customer did not want to hear about why there was a difference between the online price and her local service provider's price. She simply felt that the price differential was not justified.
free courtesy shuttle,
online auto parts,
original equipment manufacturer parts,
Countryside Veterinary Clinic
There are a lot of distractions for drivers these days -- from GPS systems to mobile phones to all kinds of computer display panels. Get distracted long enough and you just may end up hitting a road obstacle -- it could be a median strip, a pot hole or some debris in the roadway.
If this happens to you, there are some things you should check out right away after accidentally hitting a road obstacle. Don't just keep on driving!
under car damage,
SRS stands for supplemental restraint system, but the more common lingo for the SRS warning light is the Air Bag System Warning Light. This light typically comes on for a few seconds when you start your car, but if it stays on, it signals that there is a problem.
srs warning light,
supplemental restraint system
This blog post was originally published in 2011, but has been updated to reflect the fact that beginning September 1, 2016, British American Auto Care began covering all major repairs for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
It is very easy to find automotive parts online at great prices but I would only recommend doing this if you are going to install the parts yourself.
quality auto service,
online auto parts,
"Going. Going. Gone!"
That's it. You have "gone and done it!" You've purchased a car at an auction.
It's yours for better or worse!
Buying a car at an auction is a very risky business. We have seen very few cases where it has turn out well.
We were reminded of just how risky car auctions can be a couple of weeks ago when a customer brought in a 2014 Mercedes Benz that had been purchased at a car auction. The customer requested that we "just" fix a couple of electrical problems.
buying a used car,