Category: Driving Tips

Pay Attention to Your Vehicle Warning Indicator System!

dashboard lightsYour vehicle is equipped with a Vehicle Warning Indicator system. This is a technical term for all those little icons that light up in your dash. A few common indicators you should know are:

Check Engine

This could mean a routine maintenance task is needed. It may also mean that a sudden engine issue has arisen. When you see this light, get your vehicle in for an inspection immediately!

Coolant Temp

See a thermometer icon light up? You will probably notice your temperature gauge is rising as well. Your vehicle is overheating, a condition that could permanently damage your engine. Possible issues could be a faulty thermostat or a busted hose. Either way, get it checked out!

Battery

If your battery indicator lights up, there is possibly an issue with the battery, your alternator, or both. Most car parts stores will check the battery for free. Do it soon before you’re left stranded somewhere!

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

This one is simple. At least one tire is low. Hopefully you’ve got a tire gauge in your glove box (if you don’t, get one!). Pull over somewhere safe and check your tires.

Unfortunately, a lot of people ignore their Vehicle Warning Indicators. If you do, you are losing out on a fantastic diagnostic/warning system that is designed for the sole purpose of protecting your vehicle and keeping it in top-notch shape.




Tips for Traveling with Pets in Cars

dogTraveling with pets definitely has its pros and cons, but it doesn’t have to be a headache. Follow these tips and tricks, and your vacation with your furry friend will be a breeze.

The best thing you can do to keep your pet in a good mood on the drive (and keep him from bugging you the whole time) is to get them used to taking trips in the car before you go, taking longer and longer drives each time you go out.

Don’t just let your dog or cat roam around in the backseat or sit in the passenger seat next to you. Your pet will feel more secure in a crate or carrier; and if you get in an accident, they’re less likely to be injured.

Pack up your pet’s favorite toys, a bowl, their medicine, plastic bags for picking up waste, and lots of water to give them on the go. Keeping pets well-fed and hydrated is the most important thing you can do, especially on extended road trips.

Don’t leave your pet in the car alone! Even with the windows down, they can develop heatstroke if it’s too hot.




How to Change Your Oil

oil changeIf you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person when it comes to your car, here are some tips on how to change your oil.

First, consult your owner’s manual for the type and weight of oil specific to your vehicle. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s suggestions, because using the wrong type of oil could damage your engine.

Second, spread a plastic sheet on the ground, and then drive your car over it. This will keep you from having to do an oil spill cleanup.

Third, jack up your car and set the jack stands in place to hold up the car while you’re underneath.

Fourth, make sure you have all of your tools (filter wrench, drain pan, the new filter) and smear the clean oil on the new filter’s gasket.

Fifth, slide under the car with your tools in hand. Put the drain pan under the drain plug and remove the plug to get the old oil flowing out.

Sixth, remove the oil filter and install the new one. Once the old oil is down to a trickle, install a new gasket on the plug (if required) and tighten it.

Then, you’re done! If this sounds a little too complicated to do on your own, Gossett’s service department is always here to help.




Spring Car Maintenance Tips You Don’t Want to Skip

springWinter is coming to a close and that means your vehicle is probably looking like it’s seen better days. Between the salt stains and sludgy hubcaps, winter does a number on vehicles both big and small. But thankfully the time for spring car maintenance is here, and we’ve got some quick tips for getting your hot rod hot again.

  1. Salt isn’t just ugly, it’s damaging. Salt causes rust, and the sooner you get all of it washed of your vehicle, the better. When you take your car to the wash, make sure the location has sprayers that concentrate on the undercarriage.
  2. Check the wiper blades. You should be changing out your wiper blades around every six months if you want to maintain optimum performance and visibility. Don’t get caught in an April shower without effective wiper blades!
  3. Finally, get your alignment checked. Winter is breeding season for potholes, which can destroy your suspension and wheel alignment.

All in all, spend one weekend afternoon sometime in March paying attention to your vehicle, and your spring car maintenance will be complete!




Maintenance Tips: Signs of a Bad Radiator

When your car starts to show signs of a bad radiator, it’s one of the most important parts to have replaced, especially as we enter the cold winter season. The radiator is vital for maintaining a normal temperature inside your engine, so without it your engine will overheat and stop working.

Overheating is the most noticeable sign of a bad radiator. While you’re driving, it’s important to keep an eye on the temperature gauge, which measures the internal state of your engine. If you notice it starting to raise past its normal level, pull over and let the engine cool off.

You might also notice puddles underneath your car. This can be a sign of a leak in your coolant system. The best way to find the source of the leak is to take the car to a mechanic and have a pressure test done, then have the source of the leak patched.

You might notice a sludge-like substance in your coolant tank as well. This usually indicates rusting, which will continue to affect your radiator, so you have to replace any rusting parts as well as flush your coolant system.

We at Gossett Hyundai Mazda Mitsubishi recommend taking good care of your car by keeping an eye on your radiator!




Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips from the CDC

Trick-or-TreatWith Autumn comes so many wonderful things: drinking apple cider until your belly hurts, pumpkin carving, road trips to admire the foliage, “sweater weather,” and of course trick-or-treating.

The latter often sees kids at their most excited. They get to dress up and be a character, hang out with friends, and, best of all, collect massive amounts of candy. Everyone loves trick-or-treating but it’s important to maintain safety.

Our friends at the CDC took some time to put together some helpful Trick-or-Treat safety tips:

  • Remember that you and your children are sharing the road with cars at night. Make sure they know to walk and never run. Consider giving them a flashlight and placing reflective tape on their shoes or bag.
  • Make sure their costumes are safe. That means ensuring that they can still see through their masks and that they can walk unimpeded.
  • Unless you know the person, it is ill-advised to eat homemade treats. Stick to factory-wrapped candy.
  • Try to limit your child’s candy consumption. Make it into a lesson in self-restraint and the dangers of addiction.

Like anything else, staying safe is important but so is having fun. Don’t forget to encourage your kids to have the maximum fun possible!




Technology Can Help You Stop Texting and Driving

texting while driving

Texting while driving is extremely dangerous. Nine Americans die daily due to distracted driving!

The first step to handling a problem is admitting that you have a problem. Ask yourself… Do you find it impossible to stop texting and driving? You probably already know how dangerous it is but you just can’t stand to be out of the loop. You text and drive despite that fact that nine Americans die every day from distracted driving, according to the CDC.

Although it’s technology that got you into this problem in the first place, technology can help you get out. First of all, your smartphone could have a feature that returns a custom-made message that you can personalize to anyone who texts you while you are driving, explaining that you are driving and can’t properly answer.

There are also a lot of great apps to help you avoid texting and driving. Apps like DriveOff for Android and DriveMode from AT&T can automatically detect when your vehicle is in motion and answers incoming texts with a custom message of your making.

Finally, you may just need to eliminate the temptation altogether. Do recovering alcoholics hang out at bars? Of course not! It may be time to put that phone in the trunk while you are in transit.