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Preparing Your Car for Winter

 Don’t be left by the roadside.

These areas of your car or truck should be checked in preparation for winter driving, per the Wisconsin Department of Transportation:

  • Ignition system
  • Fuel system
  • Belts
  • Fluid levels
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust system
  • Wiper blades and windshield washer fluid
  • Snow tires
  • Tire tread and pressure
  • Defroster
  • Proper grade oil
  • Cooling system
  • Battery
  • Lights
  • Antifreeze

In our next post, we’ll have some safe driving tips.

 

 

source: WI DOT

Pot Holes Have You Singin’ the Blues? How to Detect Suspension Issues

Does your car have suspension problems?

How can you tell?

Here are some symptoms you will notice:

“nose dives” when braking (it leans forward)

“rolls” to the side when cornering (it leans side-to-side)

“squats” during acceleration (it leans backward)

Suspension components, including springs, shock absorbers (or struts on some vehicles), anti-roll bars, control arms and other parts, are like combat troops serving on the front lines: They take a pounding daily from pock-marked streets, railroad tracks, rain, snow, road salt, gravel, all manner of dirt and grime, and the occasional piece of scrap metal or other debris that drivers see too late to avoid.

Under those conditions, just about any suspension component can be damaged or worn out from years of abuse, resulting in a number of symptoms and/or noises that should be your wakeup call to see a car doctor. Here are some common issues vehicle owners are likely to encounter:

  • Poor wheel alignment: The wheels have to be pointed in the right direction (literally) and aligned for toe-in, camber and caster. If they aren’t, your steering won’t be centered when you’re going straight and tire wear will increase. Wheels get knocked out of alignment by potholes and curbs, but getting the wheels aligned won’t fix damaged springs, controls arms or other parts that affect alignment. When you buy new tires, it’s a good idea to have the alignment checked so suspension issues don’t shorten tread life.
  • Shock absorbers:They really should be called “dampers,” and when they wear out you should notice more bouncing after a bump and a whole lot of shaking going on over rough roads because they can’t keep the tires planted on the pavement. Shocks contain fluid that dampens the bouncing, and once they start to leak, performance will deteriorate.
  • Springs:These are what hold the weight of the car, and as they wear they can sag or break. If your car is on level ground but one corner is lower than the others, that’s a sign of a damaged spring. You can measure the height of the corners to confirm your visual cue. You might also hear clunking noises over bumps, and the car may not corner with confidence because a damaged spring can’t control the weight it’s supporting.
  • Ball joints: These are pivot points that attach the suspension to the wheels, and they absorb some of the shock from up-down movement and rotate as the steering angle changes. You’ll know they need replacing when you can hear them squeaking and creaking, especially when turning. You’ll know you waited too long if a ball joint breaks and suspension parts are dragging on the pavement. A mechanic can tell if they need replacing by the amount of wheel movement they can force by hand or, in some cases, by wear indicators on the ball joints.
  • Control arms:These are hinges that hold the wheels to the frame and connect the steering to the wheels, so when you turn one the other responds. Lower control arm bushings are more prone to wear out on front-wheel-drive cars than on rear-wheel-drive cars. Bushings are rubber and/or metal parts that help absorb shock, and when they wear they can cause ride and handling problems and accelerate tire wear. So can a bent control arm. Signs of wear include clunks or rattles — because the wheels move back and forth in acceleration and braking — and loose, imprecise steering.

 

Friday Funny – Car Safety Features

How to get your kids to drive safely?

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install a rear-view mirror with a cop car in it.

Friday Funny – Who Walks into a Bar?

FRIDAY

A set of jumper cables walk into a bar.

Bartender says: “Hey pal, get out of here. We don’t serve your kind!”

The jumper cables plead: “Look, I’m here and I’m thirsty. I’ve got money, and I want a drink. Please let me stay.”

Bartender says: “Ok, you can stay, but don’t try to start anything!”

Friday Funny – It’s a Hot One…

Its so hot…

-you actually burn your hand opening the car door.

-you leave a layer of skin on the car seat.

-My Reeses’s wrapper now reads, “Melts on your car seat, not in your hand.”

-you need an oven mitt to handle your seat belt.

-I used my dash to heat a bag of microwave popcorn.

 

 

Friday Funny – Very Muddy…

A motorist, after being bogged down on a muddy road, paid a passing farmer twenty bucks to pull him out with his tractor. Afterward, he said to the farmer, “At those prices, I should think you would be pulling people out of the mud night and day.”

“Can’t,” replied the farmer. “At night I haul water for the hole.”

Friday Funny

Jill’s car was old and unreliable and she called John for a ride every time it broke down. One day John got yet another one of those calls.

“What happened this time?” he asked.

“My brakes went out,” Jill said. “Can you come to get me?”

“Yeah, all right, where are you?” John asked.

“I’m in the drugstore,” Jill responded.

“Okay, and where’s the car?” John asked.

Jill replied, “It’s in here with me.”

 

Courtesy of http://www.inspirational-quotes-short-funny-stuff.com.

Friday Funny

Me: *on the phone with my mechanic* “Do you do body work?”

Mechanic: “I’m afraid not.”

Me: “Could you recommend someone?”

Mechanic: “Recommended?”

Me: “Yes.”

Mechanic: “Okay.” *long pause*

Me: “So, do you know anyone?”

Mechanic: “Recommended?”

Me: “Yes.”

Mechanic: “They’re out on Highway 41.”

Me: “Who?”

Mechanic: “Recommended?”

(We go back and forth until he finally spells it for me: Wreck-a-mended.)

  • courtesy of notalwaysright.com

Friday Funny

FRIDAY FUNNYYesterday, I had a flat tire on the interstate. So I eased my car over to the shoulder of the road, carefully got out of the car and opened the trunk.

I took out two cardboard men, unfolded them and stood them at the rear of my car facing on-coming traffic. They looked so life like you wouldn’t believe it! They’re dressed in open trench coats that exposed their nude bodies and private parts to the approaching drivers.

But to my surprise, cars started slowing down to look at my lifelike men. And, of course, traffic began backing up. Everybody tooted their horns and waved like crazy. It wasn’t long before a state trooper pulled up behind me.

He got out of his car and walked towards me. I could tell he was not a happy camper!

“What’s going on here?”

“My car has a flat tire,” I said calmly.

“Well, what the hell are those obscene cardboard men doing here by the road?”

I couldn’t believe that he didn’t know. So I told him, “Helloooooo, those are my emergency flashers!”

– Joe Dobrowolski

Your Winter Vehicle Safety Kit – a must for WI Drivers

Keeping your car well-maintained will limit your exposure to cold weather trouble, but it won’t hurt to have a safety kit in your car or truck.

Car Survival Kit

            Everyone should carry a Winter Survival Kit in their car. In an emergency, it could save your life and the lives of your passengers.Here is what you need:

  • a shovel
  • windshield scraper and small broom
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • battery powered radio
  • water
  • snack food including energy bars
  • raisins and mini candy bars
  • matches and small candles
  • extra hats, socks and mittens
  • First aid kit with pocket knife
  • Necessary medications
  • blankets or sleeping bag
  • tow chain or rope
  • road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction
  • booster cables
  • emergency flares and reflectors
  • fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention
  • Cell phone adapter to plug into lighter

        Kit tips:

  • Reverse batteries in flashlight to avoid accidental switching and burnout.
  • Store items in the passenger compartment in case the trunk is jammed or frozen shut.
  • Choose small packages of food that you can eat hot or cold.

 

        911 tips:

  • If possible, call 911 on your cell phone. Provide your location, condition of everyone in the vehicle and the problem you’re experiencing.
  • Follow instructions: you may be told to stay where you are until help arrives.
  • Do not hang up until you know who you have spoken with and what will happen next.
  • If you must leave the vehicle, write down your name, address, phone number and destination. Place the piece of paper inside the front windshield for someone to see.

        Survival tips:

  • Prepare your vehicle: Make sure you keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Be easy to find: Tell someone where you are going and the route you will take.
  • If stuck: Tie a florescent flag (from your kit) on your antenna or hang it out the window. At night, keep your dome light on. Rescue crews can see a small glow at a distance. To reduce battery drain, use emergency flashers only if you hear approaching vehicles. If you’re with someone else, make sure at least one person is awake and keeping watch for help at all times.
  • Stay in your vehicle: Walking in a storm can be very dangerous. You might become lost or exhausted. Your vehicle is a good shelter.
  • Avoid Overexertion: Shoveling snow or pushing your car takes a lot of effort in storm conditions. Don’t risk a heart attack or injury. That work can also make you hot and sweaty. Wet clothing loses insulation value, making you susceptible to hypothermia.
  • Fresh Air: It’s better to be cold and awake than comfortably warm and sleepy. Snow can plug your vehicle’s exhaust system and cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to enter your car. Only run the engine for 10 minutes an hour and make sure the exhaust pipe is free of snow. Keeping a window open a crack while running the engine is also a good idea.
  • Don’t expect to be comfortable: You want to survive until you’re found.

 

This is an excerpt from http://readywisconsin.wi.gov/winter/HowToMakeAKit.asp

The Cost-Saving Importance of Proper Fluid Flushes

Many people don’t realize the importance of the fluid flush for their vehicle. Proper fluid flushes save car owners thousands of dollars over the life of the vehicle. Flushes prevent rust build-up inside the lines that transport the fluid. The master cylinder can fail and brake calipers and wheel cylinders can stick. Flushes also limit hose fatigue. These types of issues can happen with all your fluids, including: power steering, differential, clutch and transmission. Flushes can even prevent costly transmission replacement.

Unfortunately, we have found that not all repair shops are providing proper fluid flushes. The industry has referred to these as “drain and fills”. A proper flush is different than a drain and fill in a number of ways. A proper flush is done at regular intervals based upon climate and amount and type of miles driven. It includes cleaning out areas that trap the fluid, like a brake or clutch reservoir. It doesn’t make sense to leave the dirt in these areas and put new fluid in. The fluid will simply become contaminated with the next start-up.

An example to further demonstrate the difference follows. Draining and filling a cooling system requires draining a radiator of it’s fluid. What comes out is about 50% of the system’s capacity. This requires a technician to replace what came out, again 50% of the fluid. Now, you have 50% contaminated fluid and 50% new fluid. What will happen to the new fluid? The new fluid mixes with the old and is contaminated. So, you paid for a service and you still have dirty fluid in your system. The proper way is to flush the system thoroughly with water. This will remove all fluid from the engine, heater core, radiator, water pump and hoses. When the new fluid is added, it is clean and remains so. We do not recommend long-life coolant in any vehicle. It is toxic to the system.

Here at MARS Mobile Auto Repair Service, we always take the additional time to complete a proper fluid flush. A small amount of preventive maintenance through regular fluid flushes can save you a great deal of money down the road.

Thermostat Trouble

Here’s a short video about a defective thermostat and what it means to you.

How to Tell if You Need to Replace Your Shocks or Struts

Find out here if you need new shocks or struts.  There are telltale symptoms.  Worn suspension parts can also damage your tires by causing uneven wear.

 

Your Car Battery – What’s Inside and How It Works

Jump-Start-Car

What you can’t see

Automotive batteries come in many shapes and sizes, but their operating principles are remarkably similar. The modern automotive battery is a lead-acid storage design. In short, it’s an electrochemical device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. When the battery is placed under a load, such as when the ignition is switched on, the device converts stored chemicals into electricity, and the current flows through the wires to its destination. read more…

Have a charging or starting system issue?  Click here to view our savings through 2/20/14.

That Dash Light – Does it Mean “Warning!” , “Trouble” or Something Else?

DASHBOARD SYMBOLS

DASHLIGHTS2What follows is easily the most complete list available of symbols and warnings that may appear in and on your car’s instrument cluster. Over 150 of them here, so scroll carefully until you find an image that matches! more

Happy Halloween!

Spooky Car Bumper

Airbag Recall Update- Where are the Quality Controls?

airbag2

7.8 Million Affected U.S. Vehicles, by Manufacturer, Impacted by CY 2013 and 2014 Recalls Involving Takata Airbags

Note: The list below corrects the list that accompanied our October 20 advisory, which incorrectly included certain vehicles. The numbers cited for potentially affected vehicles below are subject to change and adjustment because there may be cases of vehicles being counted more than once. Owners should check their VIN periodically as manufacturers continue to add VINs to the database. Once owner recall notices are available, owners can retrieve a copy from SaferCar.gov, or will receive one by U.S. mail and are advised to carefully follow the enclosed instructions.

BMW: 627,615 total number of potentially affected vehicles 2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan 2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe 2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon 2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible 2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe 2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

Chrysler: 371,309 total number of potentially affected vehicles 2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 2008 – Dodge Ram 5500 2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango 2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota 2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300 2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen

Ford: 58,669 total number of potentially affected vehicles 2004 – Ranger 2005 – 2006 GT 2005 – 2007 Mustang

General Motors: undetermined total number of potentially affected vehicles 2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe 2005 – Saab 9-2X

Honda: 5,051,364 total number of potentially affected vehicles 2001 – 2007 Honda Accord) 2001 – 2002 Honda Accord 2001 – 2005 Honda Civic 2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V 2003 – 2011 Honda Element 2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey 2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot 2006 – Honda Ridgeline 2003 – 2006 Acura MDX 2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL 2005 – Acura RL

Mazda: 64,872 total number of potentially affected vehicles 2003 – 2007 Mazda6 2006 – 2007 MazdaSpeed6 2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8 2004 – 2005 MPV 2004 – B-Series Truck

Mitsubishi: 11,985 total number of potentially affected vehicles 2004 – 2005 Lancer 2006 – 2007 Raider

Nissan: 694,626 total number of potentially affected vehicles 2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima 2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder 2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra 2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35 2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4 2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45

Subaru: 17,516 total number of potentially affected vehicles 2003 – 2005 Baja 2003 – 2005 Legacy 2003 – 2005 Outback 2004 – 2005 Impreza

Toyota: 877,000 total number of potentially affected vehicles 2002 – 2005 Lexus SC 2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla 2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix 2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia 2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra

This list was obtained from the NHTSA website on October 24, 2014.  More information can be found here: http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Owners/vin-lookup-sites

 

Friday Funny-When I Was Your Age

ThePriceOfGas

Friday Funny – Car Rides: Dog vs. Cat

car-humor-automotive-MARS Mobile Auto-jokes

Friday Funny – How Much Do You Love Your Car?

HowMuchDoYouLoveYourCar

Friday Funny – Cat Lady Car Window

CatLadyCarWindow

 

Friday Funny-I’ll Drive One Day

I'm sure some of the parents out there can relate to this one...

I’m sure some of the parents out there can relate to this one…

Friday Funny-Microsoft Cars

Top 16 Things Bill Gates would change about the Automotive Industry
At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry  with the auto industry and stated, “If GM had kept up with technology like the computer  industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon”.
In response to Bill Gate’s comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If  GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the  following characteristics:

1.  For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.  For some reason you would simply accept this.

2.  Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3.  Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue.

4.  Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5.  Apple would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive – but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6.  The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single “This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation” warning light.

7.  The airbag system would ask “Are you sure?” before deploying.

8.  Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9.  Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10. You’d have to press the “Start” button to turn the engine off.

11. New seats would require everyone to have the same butt size.

12. We’d all have to switch to Microsoft Gas.

13. The U.S. government would get subsidies from an automaker – a first.

14. You would be constantly pressured to upgrade your car.

15. You could have only one person in the car at a time, unless you bought Car 95 or CarNT – but then you would have to buy more seats.

16. People would get excited about the new features of Microsoft cars, forgetting that the same features had been available from other carmakers for years.

Friday Funny “Check Engine Light”

SimpsonCheckEngineLightFunnyMARSAuto

Friday Funny – Green means Go

I was driving with my friend. We come to a red light and he speeds up
and whips right through it. I start freaking out “Hey man, your going to
get us killed!” He replies “Relax, my brother drives like this.”

We come to another red light and he blazes right through. “You’re going to
get arrested or get us killed!” “Relax this is how my brother drives.”

We come to a green light he stops dead looking both ways. “Dude, it’s
green you can go.” “Nah man, my brother might be coming the other way.”StopnGoLight MARS AUTO

Friday Funny

Sometimes it's better to leave it to the professionals.

Friday Funny

Friday Funny

“The Sunday Sip” Special for a limited time

 

WTMJ Sunday Sip Special MARS Mobile Auto 866-MARS-AUTO

From now until Friday, June 20th

mention our interview

on “The Sunday Sip” with WTMJ 620AM

and receive

10% OFF

LABOR AND PARTS

*Excludes oil changes, tire rotations and wiper replacements.

 

 

“THE SUNDAY SIP”

We’ll be the guests on WTMJ 620AM on 6/15/14 between 9 and 10am. “The Sunday Sip” highlights our business and lasts about 5 minutes.
MARS and The Sunday Sip with WTMJ
I hope you can tune in!
If not, it will be listed on their site for about a month as a past podcast, so you can listen at your leisure here

FRIDAY FUNNY

Child repairing his plastic vehicle

Reminds me of Mike, when he was growing up in the 70’s. Although, that would have been his Big Wheel being repaired from the millions of wheelies and jumps.