651-455-1604
1095 Highway 110 • Inver Grove Heights, MN

651-455-1604
1095 50th Street E • Inver Grove Heights, MN

Driving Tips for Ice and Snow

ice

The most important thing in the winter is to make sure you have proper visibility. A small scraped hole from the snow and ice is not good enough to have proper visibility. You will want the entire windshield cleared off. Also scrape the windows and rear windshield of the vehicle. Make sure that you have a long handled scraper so you can reach as far as possible to have them cleared completely. To help the scraping, start the vehicle and turn the defrost on. This can help warm it from the interior. It will also warm up the interior of the vehicle when you are done scraping the windows. By having everything cleared off completely, you can see vehicles from all directions.

Poor Road Conditions

Also remember to be aware of any potential bad road conditions. Even fog or a light mist can result in the roads being slick. As it hits the road, it can start to freeze. This can result in black ice when you drive. If the temperature is right at freezing, or slightly below, there is a chance for black ice to occur. You will want to be careful when driving over bridges or overpasses on the roads. By slowing down and being careful, you can help to decrease the chance of an accident. You will not want to slam on the brakes or over correct if you start to slide. This can increase the chance you lose control and end up going in the ditch.

Remember the Tires

Make sure that you check the tires regularly as well. The proper air pressure is important to ensure that they can travel efficiently when you drive. When it is cold, the tires can have a bead leak. This has to deal with the temperature. You will want to check the tires after they have sat awhile. Checking the air pressure right after you drive can result in a false reading.

Driving in Winter Conditions

Driving

When you drive in the winter, the road conditions can sometimes can become a challenge. You will want to adjust your driving habits so you can drive as safely as possible. If you are not sure what the road conditions are, make sure you look up what the weather and road conditions might be. This will help you to prepare for the type of weather you might be driving into. It will also allow you to adjust the speed and driving habits you have, based on the weather.

Other Drivers

You should also be aware of other drivers and those around you. Doing so will help to prevent an accident. This is because being aware of your surroundings means being able to react correctly to a situation or emergency that might happen. You will also want to allow enough distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Typically it should be about three seconds. When the weather or roads are less than ideal, that amount should be doubled or tripled. This will allow you to have extra time incase you need to apply the brakes.

Driving Slower

You will also have to remember to slow down. Winter weather can mean snow, ice, sleet, and sometimes even rain. With snow, it can start to collect and pile up. This can result in the roads being slick and slippery. At times, smaller snowflakes can build up ice on the windshield, as well as roads. You will not want to risk slamming on the brakes if you are following too close to the vehicle in front of you. Instead, adjust your driving and speed based on the weather. Always drive at a speed that you are comfortable at. Going too fast can result in you losing control of your vehicle. It will also increase the dangers of you and those around you.

Winter Maintenance starts with the Battery

battery

 

During the winter, the colder temperatures can lead to issues with your vehicle if you do not have proper maintenance. If you notice any signs of an issue or problem, it is always best to have us inspect it. This way we can look for anything out of the norm. When there is a problem, you should always have it repaired or fixed as soon as possible. Choosing to ignore it can lead to a more severe problem, and at a quicker pace too.

Inspections

The battery should be inspected fully to ensure it is clean. Having a battery that is securely in place will also help with the efficiency of it. If the battery is loose, then it will move and wobble too much when you drive. This can cause terminals and connections to become loose or damaged. When the battery is not secure, driving and hitting bumps can cause it to jar loose and move around. You will want to check the terminals to ensure they are free of any debris or corrosion. Rust can also cause the terminals to be in poor condition.

Problems Starting

If there is an issue with the vehicle starting, it could be from the battery or starter and alternator. It is always best to bring the vehicle in and we can inspect it properly for you. Doing so will help to determine what the issue might be. If the battery has a low charge, make sure to bring it in and we can test the charge. If it is weak, purchasing a new one may be the best and most efficient option for you. If the battery is three to five years old, it may be recommended for a new one. This way it can be effective when you need to start your vehicle this winter.

Winter Weather and your Car

winter

 

The winter weather can cause damage and strain to your vehicle. The first thing to remember is that the cold affects the car as well. You will not be able to get in your vehicle, start it, and immediately drive off. It is always best to start your vehicle and let it warm up for a few minutes. Not only does it warm up the interior of your vehicle, but it warms up the engine. The oil and other fluids will also get warmed up. This in turn will help the oil lubricate the engine more efficiently, so there is not excessive strain on it when it is driven.

Noises

If you hear a high pitch squealing after starting to drive in the winter, it can be a sign that the vehicle needs time to warm up more. The belts and other moving parts need to get warm so they can work properly. Pushing the vehicle when it is too cold can cause parts to snap or break. This will then lead to a breakdown and also costly repairs. Even after warming the vehicle up, if you hear an odd noise make sure to contact us. Bring the vehicle in and we can inspect it for what might be causing the issue with your vehicle. Doing so can help keep your vehicle running reliable, especially when you want it to in winter.

Brakes

Also check the brakes of the vehicle. These can start to wear out with time. Parts like the brake pad and brake rotors will need to be replaced on an occasional basis. You will want to bring it in so we can check it. If they are warn, it is best to have them replaced. This will then help the brakes to work correctly, and keep the vehicle safe for you and those around you as you drive.

Proper Fall Maintenance for your Car

fall

 

With a new season, now is a great time to have your vehicle inspected for any issues or problems. It is always important to follow the recommended maintenance schedule for your vehicle. This can depend on the make and model of your vehicle, as well as how often you drive, and the roads you drive on. Different tasks can be performed on your vehicle at different intervals. Oil changes are typically done more often than fluid flushes. There are also inspections that should be done to the brake system, belts, hoses, and other parts under the hood.

Oil Change

An oil change will be done based on how many miles you have driven. This is because when the vehicle operates, the oil will pass through the oil filter and into the engine of your vehicle. It lubricates all the moving parts, so they can continue to work efficiently with one another. We can recommend when oil changes should be done, or you can look in the owner’s manual of the vehicle. If you do not drive your vehicle that often, then the oil should be changed about every six months. You can bring the vehicle in, and we will check to see when a good oil change schedule should be done.

Windshield Wipers

Fall is also a great time to inspect the windshield wipers and lights on your vehicle. You will want to have the best visibility possible when you drive, so these inspections are important. Different vehicles will require different windshield wiper sizes. So it is important you look up the information, so you get the correct size. If you are unsure, make sure to bring the vehicle in and we can change the windshield wipers for you. Also remember to check the windshield washer fluid to ensure it is at the correct level indicated.

Fluid Checks for your Vehicle

fluid

 

The fluid levels in your vehicle should be changed on a regular basis. If you are not sure how often this should be, we can advise you on the schedule. Keeping the fluid levels at the right amount will help keep the vehicle operating efficiently. If you ignore checking the fluids in the vehicle, you can cause further damage to parts and other components. You should also be aware if your vehicle is leaking any fluid from your vehicle. When the fluids leak, you will need to refill the reservoir so the vehicle can continue to work properly. This can include the oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, or even the transmission fluid.

Oil Changes

Anytime the oil is changed, the other fluids should be checked as well. As long as the hood is up, the fluid levels should all be inspected and examined to ensure they are in proper condition. The oil change schedule can vary on a few things. This could include how often you drive, where you drive, and what type of roads you drive on. We can advise you on a schedule, or you can check the owner’s manual for your vehicle. Sometimes the oil warning light may come on for the vehicle. When this happens, contact us so you can schedule an appointment as soon as you can.

Fluid Flush

Remember that some fluids will get old and grimy with time. When this occurs, the fluids will need to be flushed out of the vehicle and replaced with clean new fluid. It will also help pass through the engine and other moving parts. When the fluid is clean, your vehicle will not have to work as hard to run or drive. If you notice anything unusual from your vehicle, make sure to contact us and we can set up an appointment to have a bumper to bumper inspection done for you.

Inspect Brakes Regularly

Brakes

 

When you own a vehicle, it is important to keep it properly maintained. This requires several maintenance inspections to your car based on mileage, or what type of vehicle you have. Bringing the vehicle in for an inspection will help keep it working efficiently and in the best condition. This can include looking at several parts and components of the vehicle. It can be the tires, brakes, fluid levels, as well as other parts. If there is a sign of an issue, make sure to bring the vehicle in and we can inspect it for you.

Parts of the Brakes

The brake system is important to check the brake pads, brake rotors, and brake fluid for the vehicle. Over time, the brake pads can start to deteriorate and wear down. As the brake pads wear, you may notice noises that come from it. This occurs when metal is wearing against metal on the brake system. Over time there can be more damage and scratching that may occur with the brake pads and rotors. When the brake rotors wear down, you may also hear noises. Make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you.

Brake Pedal

If you feel the brake pedal push to the floor either easier or more difficult, the brakes could be going out. Spongy feelings for the brake pedal can mean that there is a delay when the brakes are applied. This can become a serious issue if you need to slam on the brakes suddenly. A pedal that is too hard will also result in poor response of the brakes as well. You may also notice a vibration when applying the brakes, as this could be a sign of not enough brake fluid in the vehicle. Any of these issues should be a reason to schedule an appointment with us so we can inspect it.

Maintenance Inspections improve the Car

Maintenance

 

Your vehicle is important for you and your family. The car you own is what you will need to rely on to get you to and from your destinations. If the vehicle is not properly maintained, then there will be issues that may start to form with it. We will be able to inspect the various parts and components of the vehicle to ensure that it will always work as efficiently as it needs to. Without maintenance, severe problems can occur and it will end up costing you more in the long run. If you notice any issues with the vehicle between visits, you will want to schedule an appointment with us as soon as you can.

Check the Vehicle

The parts that should be inspected include the tires, windshield wipers, and looking under the hood. Belts and hoses can be easily overlooked unless there is an issue. If you notice an odd smell or leak from under your vehicle, always make sure to have it inspected. This is the best way to tell if there is an issue with your vehicle. It may be a quick and easy fix, or it might be something more serious that will require more time and attention. Since most do not notice an issue with the belts or hoses until they fail, it is always important to have them inspected.

Don’t forget the Tires

Tires are another part that should be inspected. You will want to make sure they are free of any damage or puncture marks on them. If you notice a bulge, bring the vehicle in so we can inspect that tire for you. When an issue is left and ignored, it will only end up costing you more. This includes time and money in the long run. You also run the risk of the tire failing and it needing to be replaced unexpectedly.

Regular Summer Inspections

summer

Summer Care

The summer months are important for the maintenance of your vehicle. You will want to make sure to follow the recommended schedule for regular maintenance. We can advise you on the schedule, and you can also look it up in the owner’s manual. These schedules are important to follow because they will keep your vehicle working the best they can. If there is an issue with your vehicle, having maintenance done will help notice the issue. Always be aware that things can occur randomly, so if you notice something out of the norm with your vehicle, bring it in as soon as you can.

Tires

The tires should be inspected on a regular basis year round. They should be inflated properly. If you notice the air going out often, there could be damage. We can inspect and repair the tire when you bring it in. Some instances may require a new tire to be purchased. We can inspect all the tires of the vehicle, and even the spare tire. This is important because you may have to rely on the spare in the case of an emergency. The tires should also be aligned properly. If it feels like poor handling, the alignment could be off for your vehicle. You will also be able to feel is sway too.

Lights in the summer

The lights will also need to be checked. Headlights and taillights are important for others to see you. Remember, if it is raining or you have the windshield wipers on, make sure that you have the lights on too. As it gets darker, the lights will become more important. You will also want to take time and inspect the blinkers on your vehicle as well. If you notice any issues with the lights or blinkers, bring the vehicle in. We can inspect them and see if they need to be cleaned or even replaced.

Tire Care is Always Important

Tire care

 

The tires will need to have proper maintenance done on a regular basis to help ensure they are in the best condition possible. If the tires are in poor condition, then there will be issues that happen. When the tires are in poor condition, they will wear out sooner than they typically should. This results in more time, money, and stress being spent on them.

Tire Care Inspections

Part of keeping the tires maintained is by bringing the vehicle in for routine maintenance inspections. This way we can check all parts of the vehicle, as well as all components. If there is an issue we will fix it before something more serious occurs. When driving, always be aware of anything out of the norm with the vehicle, and what you are doing when it happens. This can help us locate what the problem is and why it would be doing it. Having the problem resolved will help you to have a safer and more reliable vehicle as well.

Rotation

The tires will need to follow a tire rotation schedule. This will help make sure that each tire wears evenly on both sides. It will also have the tires wear at the same pace. When tires are rotated, this helps to move them around incase one side of your car seems to make one tire wear sooner. We can also advise you on when the tires should be rotated and looked at.

Alignment

An alignment will also make sure the tires are able to rotate correctly as you drive. If there is a problem, it will end up costing you more in the long run to have them repaired or replaced. Any little issue with the tires should be looked at as soon as possible to help prevent the problem from becoming worse in time. This way you can have a safer car when you travel.

Benefits of Regular Maintenance

maintenance

Check the tires during maintenance inspections

 

 

Your vehicle is an important part of everyday life. You will want to keep it working as efficiently as possible, and as long as you can. This should include brining the vehicle in for regular maintenance inspections and checks. By doing so, we can inspect the vehicle to ensure the parts and components are wearing as they should be. If they are not, we can fix and repair it quickly for you. Anytime there is an issue you notice, make sure to contact us and we can look at it. By noticing the issue at the first sign, you can help to save time, money, and stress in the long run. If you ignore the issue, it will get worse over time.

 

Tire Maintenance

Always make sure to check each tire on a regular basis. By doing so, you can ensure they are in the best condition and properly inflated for the vehicle. If you are not sure how full the tires should be, check the inside doorjamb of the driver’s door. You can also bring the vehicle in and we can advise you on what the proper air pressure should be for it. By having the tires properly inflated, they will save on the fuel efficiency as well. Also check the condition of the tires to ensure there are not any cracks or bulges. Tires that start to show signs of damage are more likely to go out unexpectedly.

Remember the Spare

Also you will want to remember to check the spare tire. Check that the air pressure is at the correct amount on the spare tire for your vehicle. Since you need to use the spare incase a regular tire goes out, you will want it to be in the best condition possible. Also check the overall structure of the spare tire. It should be free of cracks, damage, and anything that might be out of the norm with it. If you notice an issue, you can bring it in so we can check it. Sometimes, it may be best in the long run to invest in a new spare tire that would be reliable to drive on.

Having Windshield Wipers in the Best Condition

wiper condition

Check the windshield wipers

 

When you have a car, you will want the parts to be working in the most efficient condition possible. This includes having the wipers checked regularly, and changed twice a year. Wiper condition is important to the safety and visibility.  We can also look at the windshield wipers when you bring your vehicle in for regular maintenance or repairs. If you are not sure how often to have your vehicle inspected, make sure to contact us. We can then advise you on how often regular maintenance inspections should be done.

Chips and Cracks

Never ignore a chip or crack on the windshield. What looks like a small nick can lead to the entire windshield breaking. This can also increase the chance of a costly repair bill when you need to fix it. Damaged glass can also cut the rubber on the wiper blades. This will cause streaking and poor visibility. If there is an issue with the windshield, it can cause bad visibility, as well as risking the safety in the long run. It is important to have the windshield replaced when you notice any issues with it, or even with the windshield wipers.

Windshield Wiper Issues

If the windshield wipers are streaking, make sure to have them replaced. This is caused by dry rubber that has hardened and cracked. Streaking can also be caused by tree sap, road tar and other foreign substances on the blade rubber. You may also notice a chattering noise coming from them. The chattering sound the blade makes as it passes across the windshield is caused by the curve in the rubber that some wiper blades develop while they are not being used. Worn rubber on the blades can also be an issue. The general rounding of the wiping edge caused by age can indicate that new blades are needed.

 

Transmission Issues for your Car

transmisson

Check the transmission under the hood

Maintaining the transmission is important. The fluid for it is bright red in color, clear and smells somewhat sweet if everything is working correctly. If this is what you find on your driveway, then all that needs to be fixed is the hole. If the fluid is dark or has a burnt smell then it’s time to get the fluid changed.

Check the fluid

To see if there is low fluid, take your car for a short drive to warm it up and then lift the hood and read the dipstick. Unlike motor oil, transmission fluid is not burned off or consumed by a car so if the level is low then there is a leak somewhere that must be patched. It is recommended to top up the fluid anyway even if the leak still exists to make sure there is enough fluid for the transmission to function properly until you get it fixed.

Running smooth

A car is supposed to run smoothly and without any shaking, or jerking, and without grinding sounds. These all suggest that there is a problem with the gears. Manual transmissions commonly indicate problems by making a grinding noise or feeling when you shift into a gear. If the grinding occurs after engaging the clutch and shifting, this can be sign that the clutch may need to be replaced or adjusted.

Automatic transmissions act a little differently. Instead of making a grinding noise, you will likely feel it take some time to get into gear at first instead of the typical smooth transitions. As the problem gets worse, the transitions into the next gear become more jarring and involve more shaking.

Odd odors

Any burning smell coming from your car is a cause for concern. Overheating transmission fluid is one of the causes of a burning smell. Transmission fluid helps keep the parts lubricated and cooled so that they don’t get worn out and damaged. If the fluid breaks down, the system runs too hot. This results in increased friction and corrosive activity as well as the build up of additional sludge and debris. If this is not taken care of, the transmission will eventually damage itself enough to break down completely.

Brake Repair Signs

brake repair signs

Fixing the brakes

Brake repair signs are important to notice. You may start to notice when a repair would be needed. An uneven rotor surface may also cause the rotor to hit one of the brake pads as it spins, causing some of the pad material to transfer onto the rotor in that spot. Then you’ll feel shaking when braking, as the pad hits that bump in the rotor.

Another possible cause of rough braking is the brake caliper not releasing properly. The job of a brake caliper is to squeeze the brake pads against your brake rotors, which slows your vehicle down. It’s the motion of the piston inside the caliper unit that causes this contact. Due to wear from heat or road debris, the piston can get sticky. It may not retract the pads back into the full off position when you let up on the brake pedal.

Another cause of bumpy braking could be damage to your brake components from improper wheel lug nut installation. Any time tires are removed, it’s crucial for the lug nuts to be put back on in the right order, evenly, at just the right tightness, or torque.

Leaking Fluid

If you are experiencing a soft brake pedal, look for fluid leaking from the master cylinder or elsewhere in the brake system. The master cylinder is the unit that creates the power for your brakes. It has a reservoir like the one for your wiper fluid that contains brake fluid. When you apply the brakes, this fluid is pushed through thin piping, creating hydraulic pressure. If fluid is leaking from this system, there may not be enough power to force the brake pads to clamp hard to the rotors.

Spongy or Soft Brake Pedal

If you notice a difference in the resistance in the brake pedal, there could be an issue. It may include the pedal feeling softer sinking all the way to the floor mat when you press on it. There could also be air or moisture in the braking system or a problem with the master cylinder.

 

Issues of a Head Gasket

head gasket

A technician inspecting the engine

Maintaining your vehicle is important. A head gasket leaking external would cause coolant to come from below the intake or exhaust manifold and often only happens when the engine is completely warmed up.  If there is no other cooling passages or hoses near the head gasket you may be able to positively identify the leak as a head gasket leak. Make sure to contact us so we can inspect your vehicle.

White smoke

Most head gasket leaks are internal to the engine allowing coolant to flow into the combustion chamber on every intake stroke.  When this happens to coolant burns and evaporates with the combustion process and appears as white smoke coming from the tailpipe.  This smoke can be differentiated from moisture during a cold start by a sweet smell. It will continue even when the engine is warm.  If the leak in the head gasket is large this white smoke can often be excessive and billow from the tailpipe.

Bubbles in the Radiator

Besides allowing coolant into the combustion chamber, an internal head gasket leak allows exhaust gases into the coolant.  This can cause bubbles to be in the radiator or coolant reservoir making the coolant look like it’s boiling even when it’s cold.  The bubbles are exhaust gases that force their way into the cooling system during the combustion process.

Overheating Engine

If you’ve got a blown head gasket, your engine usually will overheat after longer drives.  This happens both due to the lack of coolant as your engine consumes it. It is also the efficient combustion process, the excess heat from the exhaust in the coolant and the inability of your vehicle’s radiator to cool the dirty coolant.  If your engine overheats it can cause lots of problems.  The biggest concern is the expansion of metal components past what they were designed for. This can cause cracks and warping.  Also, it can permanently damage seals and gaskets cause other leaks in your engine. If you notice an issue, make sure to contact us so we can inspect it for you.

 

 

Service Area

Minneapolis
St. Paul
Inver Grove Heights
Eagan
Cottage Grove
Woodbury
Mendota Heights
Maplewood

Contact Info

651.455.1604
1095 Highway 110
Inver Grove Heights,
MN 55077

Working Hours

Monday-Thursday: 7a.m. – 6p.m.
Friday: 7a.m. – 5p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED