car care tips

Winter Vehicle Care Tips & Travel Resources in Hall and Gwinnett County

If you are able to stay home on a "snow day" then you might be enjoying today. Unfortunately in Georgia, we do not have the infrastructure to salt and clear roads and it can be very dangerous to drive in.  Here are some helpful local resources for keeping up with travel conditions. 

National Weather Service:

Gwinnett County

 

Hall County

Remember the best way to stay safe is to avoid driving in hazardous conditions! 

The Car Care Council suggests motorists have their vehicles winterized to best ensure that you can depend on it. Please check out these steps or give us a call and let Team Ryan Automotive make sure your car or truck is ready for this winter!

  1. Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. The owner’s manual will have usage specifications but the mixture of antifreeze (coolant) and water inside your vehicle’s radiator is typically 50:50. As a reminder, don’t make the mistake of adding 100 percent antifreeze, as full-strength antifreeze actually has a lower freeze point than when mixed with water. In the process, check containers, belts, hoses, the pressure caps and thermostat. 
  2. Check heaters, defrosters and wipers to ensure they are working properly. Wiper blades that are cracked or torn, or that chatter, streak and don’t properly clean your windshield should be replaced. Some manufacturers offer special winter blades that have a rubber boot covering the arm assembly to keep snow and ice out. When changing the blades, have the windshield wiper system nozzles cleaned and adjusted if necessary, and check the windshield washer reservoir in case it needs fluid.
  3. Check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries and unfortunately, batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail completely. If your vehicle’s battery is three years old or more, it’s wise to replace it. When choosing a replacement, make sure the new one has adequate capacity for your exact make and model.
  4. Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. Tires lose pressure when temperatures drop. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads.
  5. The Car Care Council recommends changing your vehicle’s engine oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles depending on your vehicle make and model, how you drive and the conditions in which you drive. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. The council recommends changing to a low-viscosity oil in winter as it will flow more easily between moving parts when cold. Have your automotive service technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time. Always consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
  6. Schedule a tune-up as winter magnifies existing problems, such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling. A routine tune-up will restore a vehicle back to its normal operating state, and contribute to the overall efficiency of the engine and emissions system.
  7. Check the brakes. This braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item and brakes are a normal wear item that sooner or later will need to be replaced.
  8. Check the exhaust system for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed. Regular exhaust system checks are critical to maintain a safe vehicle.

The council also reminds drivers to keep the gas tank half full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Drivers should also check the tire pressure of the spare and pack an emergency kit with the following items: ice scraper and snow brush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, extra clothes, candles/matches, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.     

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For more information, visit www.carcare.org

We can help make sure that your car is in good working order in these cold conditions! Give us a call or request an appointment online today!
 

Why Does My Tire Pressure Light Come On In Cold Weather?

Team Ryan Automotive Service & Repair Warning Signs.jpg

The purpose of the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) is to alert you when tire pressure is too low and could to create unsafe driving conditions. If the light is illuminated, it means your tires could be underinflated, which can lead to undue tire wear and possible tire failure.

For every 10-degree drop in temperature, tire pressure decreases 1-2 PSI according to the Car Care CouncilPSI stands for pounds per square inch, and is a common unit for measuring pressure. "Cold shrinks – warm expands, basically.  It's typical at this time of year for motorists to get TPMS warnings and then get worried about their tires." In this case, what's shrinking is the volume of the air, thanks to the cold weather. Thus, less air equals less well-filled tires.

The TPMS constantly checks air pressure via small sensors inside of the tire's air stems, explains Jason Lancaster, auto expert and founder of the site AccurateAutoAdvice. These systems, although well-intentioned, are not always totally accurate, and can be off by as much as 2 PSI. 

So What Should You Do If You See The TPMS Light On?

  1. Find a safe place to pull out of traffic so you can stop to check your tires. NOTE: If you are driving at higher speeds (highway), immediately take firm hold of the steering wheel with both hands because, in the event that you are experiencing a blowout (rapid deflation), you'll need to be prepared to handle your vehicle. Then, slowly decelerate and move out of traffic.
  2. Once you have checked to ensure you are not having a blowout, use a tire gauge to check the pressure of each tire against your manufacturer's recommended pressure level. (A tire gauge should be a standard component within your set of emergency items in your vehicle.) The recommended pressure level can be found on the tire placard, a label located just inside the driver's side door.
  3. If you are not comfortable checking the tire pressure on your own, proceed with caution to have your tire pressure checked by a professional tire technician.*
  4. Fill your tires to the proper placard tire pressure, either with the help of your nearest tire service center or by using a tire air supply at a nearby filling station.
  5. If necessary, have any damaged tires, as well as the TPMS system, serviced at your nearest service center.
  6. The TPMS light should turn off within several minutes after reinflating the tires to their recommended pressure.

*Checking tire pressure before you've driven on them, when the tire is "cold," is always the best way to get the most accurate reading.

Tire Pressure Affects Handling

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 250,000 accidents occur in the U.S. per year due to low tire pressure.

If my TPMS light comes on and I put air in my tires, will the light go off by itself or do I need to take my car to the dealer or a tire shop?

When the TPMS warning light comes ON and flashes ON for one second and OFF for three seconds, this indicates a problem with the vehicle's computer and can be corrected only by the dealership service center. When the TPMS warning light comes ON and stays ON, this indicates a low tire pressure condition in one or more tires. Inflating the tire to the recommended tire pressure found on the door placard should cause the light to turn OFF. Remember that one or more of the tires may be low in pressure, so you should always check the pressure in all of your tires.

If you add air and the problem persists, have a mechanic you trust check it out for you. And check your tires monthly to maximize tire health and spot problems early. The best time to do this is in the morning or when your vehicle hasn't been driven in several hours. The tires should be "cold" to give the most accurate reading. Not sure how to check tire pressure? Visit the DMV's step-by-step guide.

 

Don’t Let Your Thanksgiving Road Trip be a Turkey

Nobody wants to be surprised with car trouble, especially on the way to a family dinner! One way to ensure you will get to dinner in time for turkey on Thanksgiving weekend is by making sure that the vehicle you will be driving is running well.

A Thanksgiving pre-trip inspection helps reduce the chance of costly and possibly dangerous on the road trouble. It also provides an opportunity to have repairs done by mechanics you trust. Especially important, it provides peace of mind. While no inspection can guarantee a car’s performance, it’s comforting to know proper precautions were taken to avoid a ‘turkey’ of a holiday weekend.

The Car Care Council suggests the following 10-minute checkup to help ensure vehicle safety and reliability on Thanksgiving, when millions of Americans take to the roads to visit family and friends:

  • Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  • Check the hoses and belts that can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.
  • Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  • Check lighting to identify any problems with exterior and interior lighting as the chance of an accident increases if you can’t see or be seen.
  • Check wipers. Wiper blades should be replaced every six months. Make sure the windshield wipers are working properly and keep the reservoir filled with solvent.

Make sure to also restock your emergency car kit -- if you don't have one yet don't delay! Make sure you have supplies like tennis shoes, blanket, band-aids just in case your car leaves you on the side of the road.  Also, check to see if your gas cap is damaged, loose or missing as it should be replaced to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating. 

thanksgiving car care tips