Sparks Auto Repair

Tips from Scotty's Transmission & RPM AUTOMOTIVE

Preparing now for frigid weather conditions will help keep your vehicle on the road, advises Scotty's Transmission. This month, the shop has received calls for emergency road service that are well above normal levels for this time of year. AAA is giving priority to callers stranded on freeways or in traffic, where they are facing hazards.

Motorists can help keep their vehicles on the road by doing the following:

  • Check your battery strength. Faulty batteries cause more car starting problems than any other factor. At zero degrees, a good battery has 35 percent less starting power.
  • Park your car in the garage. If you have no garage, put a tarp over the hood or park protected from prevailing winds. To keep doors from freezing shut, place a plastic trash bag between the door and the frame.
  • Keep the fuel tank at least half-full to avoid fuel-line freeze-up.
  • To avoid frozen door locks, buy a lubricant available in most auto supply stores. If your lock freezes, heat your key with a pocket lighter but remember to wear gloves or hold the key with pliers. Or, fill a plastic jug with hot water. Hold it against the door panel or lock area. Do not throw hot water on the car. It may freeze and run the risk of cracking glass.
  • If you become stranded, stay with your vehicle. It provides excellent shelter from the cold and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. If you can start your engine, run it only enough to keep warm. Make sure the exhaust pipe is snow-free. Keep emergency supplies in the car, such as a cell phone, boots, hats, gloves, blankets, a "coffee can heater," flashlight and reflective triangle.

How do you find a shop you can trust to service your vehicle----one that will make you feel confident about your choice and provide quality repairs at a fair price?

Start with the most obvious. Is the facility neat and clean? Are employees genuinely concerned with your questions and are their answers direct, to the point and reasonable?

Look at the credentials of the business and the employees who will service your vehicle. Most shops will post educational certifications or accomplishments and professional business affiliations in their waiting areas. Some affiliations to look for include trade association membership, such as the Automotive Service Association (ASA), and membership in the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Look for certification or education offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) and the Automotive Management Institute (AMI).

Ask about the equipment used to diagnose and perform the service. Is it up-to-date and are the technicians educated in the proper equipment use?

Make sure a written estimate is provided prior to letting the business begin the repair. A good rule of thumb is to request approval on any changes to the original estimate that exceed 10 percent.

Ask about the shop's warranty. Most automotive service facilities will warranty their parts and labor either in writing or in shop posted announcements.

Ask family, friends and neighbors for their recommendations. Word-of-mouth referrals are the shop's best form of advertising.

To 4 Wheel Drive or to not 4 Wheel Drive?

Now that most of us have had a chance to drive in the snow this winter, a concern has come to my attention. We have had a few customers that needed to bring their vehicles to RPM Automotive due to improper use of 4 Wheel Drive. I must caution all drivers of 4WD or AWD vehicles, it is NEVER recommended to use 4LOW for town or freeway driving. 4LOW is only intended for extreme off road use. Using 4LOW in town or freeway driving can cause serious damage to your vehicle.

On a similar note, at Scotty’s Transmission we have found AWD or 4WD vehicles with mismatched tires. On these vehicles it is critical that all 4 tires are the same circumference. Even though the tire size on the tires may match, there could be a small difference in circumference from one manufacturer to another. Also, should you have a blowout on one tire and replace it with a new one, there will be a difference between the worn tires and the new tire. Anytime an AWD or 4WD is operated with different size tires there is a possibility of damage to your vehicle.

I hope this information can save you from any hardship. You can also find more information on these subjects in your Owners Manual. Please call us if you have any questions.

Have a Happy New Year and a safe and trouble free drive, from your complete auto & truck care specialists at Scotty’s Transmission & RPM Automotive.

Helpful Info and Tips from Scotty's Transmission & RPM Automotive.