Time for New Tires?

Posted & filed under Auto Repair Tips & Helpful Strategies.


Trying to figure out when the right time to change your vehicle’s tires can be dilemmatic.

You obviously don’t want to wait too long and drive around with a dangerously-low amount of tread but you don’t want to get them changed too early either since it can be an expensive undertaking.

Thankfully, there’s an extremely simple way to determine what stage of their life cycle your tires have reached.

The official recommendation from auto experts is that 1/16 of an inch is the minimum amount of tread you want to have on your tires for them to be safe. How do you measure this though?
The answer is simple – grab a penny!

Insert the copper coin into your tire’s tread with President Lincoln’s head facing towards you. If Honest Abe’s noggin is completely visible, that means it’s time for you to get some new tires.

Be sure you conduct this test on different sections of your tire. In the event that your vehicle’s alignment is off at all or if a regular rotation schedule hasn’t been followed, your tires will wear out unevenly and there could be bald spots on one or more tires.

If you’re a bit on the cautious side, you’ll probably want to change your tires out when their tread is between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch thick. If you get too close to the 1/16 limit, bad road/weather conditions could become tough to negotiate.

For checking this threshold, the process is equally as simple – grab a quarter! The gap between George Washington’s head and a quarter’s edge is 1/8 of an inch so if you can see all of our first president’s cranium in its entirety, the clock is ticking on your tires’ life cycle.

To maximize tire life, we recommend making sure they’re properly inflated all times, rotated regularly and that you stay on top of your alignment schedule. If you have any other questions about your vehicle’s health, be sure to give our auto experts a call at 719-632-2167!

Warning Lights: What They Mean For Your Car

Posted & filed under Auto Repair Tips & Helpful Strategies.

warning lights

We have all been there – starting up the car in Colorado Springs and then you see a flashing yellow or red symbol on the dashboard. Before you panic over an unfamiliar symbol, there are some simple steps you can take to address these common warning lights:

Battery/Charging Alert – This symbol indicates that the battery charge, or voltage level, is below its normal level. There may be an issue with your vehicle’s charging system or your battery may need to be replaced.

Things you can do: Check the condition of your battery. If you have a battery tester, you should check the voltage level. Also check the battery connection and terminals for residue – this buildup can be cleaned to restore proper charging. If your battery continues to not function properly, bring your vehicle into our shop to have the issue properly diagnosed.

ABS Light – This symbol indicates an error with the Anti-lock Brake Systems (ABS). The ABS prevents the wheels from skidding when you slow down, giving the tires more traction so you can stop faster and steer while you brake. This warning light comes on when the Anti-lock Brake computer has set a code.

Things you can do: Make an appointment for a professional diagnosis. In some cases, the ABS may shut itself off until the problem is solved. You can still brake normally, but run an increased risk of skidding and losing control of the vehicle, so bring your car in to an ASE-Certified technician as soon as possible.

Check Engine – This symbol can also be the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL). One of the more alarming and vague warning lights you can get, this comes on when the vehicle computer has set a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC). These codes can represent any number of problems. Identifying the DTC usually requires a professional scan tool.

Things you can do: Check your gas cap. This warning light will often appear if your gas cap is loose or missing. If you recently filled up, make sure you tightened the gas cap completely and the cover is closed. If your light continues to stay on, it is time to make an appointment to diagnose the error. Your vehicle’s oxygen sensor, catalytic converter, mass airflow sensor, spark plugs or plug wires may all be possible causes and may need to be replaced.

Service Engine Soon – Like the Check Engine symbol, this warning light can also indicate a number of different issues. Most often, this light serves as a reminder to change your engine oil.

Things you can do: Check your mileage since your last oil change, and if needed, have an oil change performed on your vehicle. Check the maintenance schedule in your user manual to identify other potential issues. Make an appointment to have your vehicle thoroughly inspected.

Remember, warning lights can vary between vehicles, so check your user manual for the meaning of your car’s specific symbols. If you are ever uncertain about the meaning of your warning lights, give us a call at 719.632.2167.

Five Reasons for Steering Wheel Shakes

Posted & filed under Auto Repair Tips & Helpful Strategies.

steering wheel shakes

On good road surfaces, cars are meant to drive smooth and steady. However, most people have experienced steering wheel shakes and/or vibrations at one time or another. Car parts can break or fail after continued use, and it’s not uncommon for car components to need to be replaced.

Because your steering wheel is your connection to both your car and the road, your first indication that something is not right with your vehicle may be noticed first through the steering wheel. The top reasons for a steering wheel shaking while driving are:

1. Tires – Because the steering wheel is used to direct the wheels, tires that are out of balance are likely to manifest signs here first. With this problem, you are more likely to feel the shakes at higher speeds than lower ones. Furthermore, make sure all four tires are properly inflated, especially with larger tires, as a deflated tire can cause a steering wheel to shake. Also, rotate your tires if you start to notice more wear on one side.

2. Wheel Areas – Another culprit could be the wheels themselves. While wheel bearings could last you a lifetime, sometimes they wear out or get damaged. Replacing them will solve this problem.
Tie rods and ball joints can become problematic as well. If your car shakes only when you’re turning corners, your tie rods might be bad. If it shakes only while driving straight, it is likely the ball joints.

3. Brakes – Malfunctioning brakes can cause violent shaking through the steering wheel when you try to slow down or stop, indicating that the rotors might be warped or worn out. While you can try skimming the brakes, you may have to have them replaced.

4. Axle – If your car has been in an accident recently and you’re noticing vibrations, your car’s axle may have gotten bent or damaged. In this case, the faster you go, the more your steering wheel will shake, but the shaking will still be there no matter what speed you drive. If the steering wheel randomly jerks to the right or left, it could be a red flag that your driveshaft is damaged. Avoid driving your car and have it towed to a reputable mechanic to be fixed immediately.

5. Engine – Any problems that cause your engine to shake will most likely be felt throughout the entire car, but you will feel it most in the steering wheel. While this is rare, these distinct vibrations can occur if there are problems with fuel delivery, air induction, or spark-related issues.

If you notice any of these issues with your steering system, be sure to give us a call at 719-632-2167!

Preparing for Fall and Winter Road Conditions

Posted & filed under Auto Repair Tips & Helpful Strategies.

fall driving

As summer comes to an end, we know that means cooling temperatures, rain, and falling leaves in Colorado Springs and throughout the Front Range. Before you know it, snow will be here and holiday decorations will be going up! Fall driving presents a unique set of challenges after we’ve been spoiled with good summer weather for a few months.

The bridge month between summer and fall, September is the perfect time to ask, “Is my car ready for autumn and winter?” Here are eight things you should check to make sure your car can handle fall driving and the coming weather/road conditions:

Tire pressure – Cooling temperatures can affect the pressure in your tires, as external pressure changes with the weather. Take a few moments to check your tires with a pressure gauge and make sure it’s filled to the recommended level. Proper tire pressure not only reduces the chance of a flat, but also improves fuel efficiency.

Tire tread – Check your tire tread too! One-sixteenth of an inch is regarded as the bare minimum tread depth on your tire but rainy or snowy conditions require more tread for safe driving. Your tires should have at least 1/8” of tread, without bulges, wear, or bald spots, so you don’t risk losing control of your car on slick roads during the fall/winter months.

Windshield wipers – If you wait for the next rain storm to check your windshield wipers, you’re risking your safety. Get in the habit of running your washer fluid periodically – you’ll be able to monitor if your wipers need replaced, and you’ll have a cleaner windshield!

Defroster/Heater – Also test your defroster before the cold weather hits. On the next cold morning, turn on your heater to make sure it’s working. Make sure air flow reaches your windshield and isn’t blocked in any spots. If it takes too long to warm the interior, bring your car in for a heating system inspection.

Battery condition – As temperatures drop, your battery may begin to show signs of failure. Test your battery’s condition using a multimeter (or have it tested) to ensure it is operating in the acceptable range. If your battery is getting old or can’t hold the proper charge, your vehicle may not be able to start on cold mornings.

Brakes – When roads are slick with rain and snow, your brakes are put to the test! Brakes are subject to wear and tear with normal use of a vehicle, which means you’ll need to have them serviced and replaced periodically. Have them inspected before the first storm so you know that they are up to the task.

Cooling system – If you’ve been putting off your coolant flush, have it done before winter arrives. Coolant (aka antifreeze) is critical to keep your engine running at the proper temperature even when the weather gets cold.

Winter tools – Chances are you took that pesky ice scraper out of your car to make room for summer gear. Now is the time to put it back in your trunk or glove box so you are prepared for early frosts of the year. It’s also a great time to start prepping your auto survival kit.

Pay attention to your vehicle as the weather changes – some systems that work fine during the summer may start to reveal warning signs this season. Make sure your vehicle is up-to-date on manufacturer recommended maintenance and address any concerns before they lead to bigger problems and costly repairs. If you have any questions/concerns regarding fall driving or your vehicle’s health, be sure to give us a call at 719.632.2167!

Three Fluids to Check this Month

Posted & filed under Auto Repair Tips & Helpful Strategies.

While they might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your vehicle’s health, its fluids are vital to your engine’s ability to properly run. Since there are so many components and liquids to keep track of, it’s best to have a proactive maintenance schedule in place which includes everything that can potentially wear out or need to be replaced in your vehicle.

With that in mind, here are three fluids you might consider having checked and potentially flushed this month as you hit the road here in Colorado Springs:

Antifreeze/Coolant. This invaluable fluid can appear to be in good shape for a significant amount of time as it typically maintains the same bright green hue it had when it was first installed for a while. Worn out or contaminated antifreeze/coolant can lurk at the bottom of your system though, and when this older fluid courses through your engine it can cause costly corrosive damage.

Motor Oil. As a rule of thumb, you should have your oil changed every 3,000 miles or so but it’s not a bad idea to have a mechanic check your levels and consistency before hitting this deadline to stay on top of your vehicle’s maintenance. If you go beyond the 3,000-mile threshold without getting an oil change done, the oil in your vehicle will thicken and become unable to properly lubricate your engine which will lead to major problems.

Transmission Fluid. If your vehicle’s transmission fluid is red-clear in color, it’s most likely in good shape. If it’s a darker shade of red, your transmission could be in trouble. Your transmission fluid should typically be changed out every 20,000 miles or so, but you should monitor its coloration closely to see if this should be done sooner.

By staying on top of your fluids’ flush and top-off schedules, you’ll be preventing damage to key engine components and avoiding any potential breakdowns. Be sure to call us at 719-632-2167 to set up a preventative maintenance plan for your vehicle that includes all mechanical fluids!

Cooling System Components

Posted & filed under Auto Repair Tips & Helpful Strategies.

cooling system

When you think of preventative maintenance

, there are probably a few things that jump to the top of your mind – oil changes, filter replacements, windshield wipers, fluids… But how often do you consider the cooling system in your vehicle?

The cooling system is extremely important – it keeps your vehicle running smoothly, allowing your engine to function and burn fuel without getting too hot. If the cooling system fails, you may end up stranded on the side of the road, needing to replace the entire system or even your engine.

Components comprising your cooling system include: water pump, freeze plugs, thermostat, radiator, cooling fans, heater core, pressure cap, overflow tank, and hoses. By having these things checked regularly, replaced as needed, and by following the manufacturer-recommended maintenance services, you can keep your car running smoothly and avoid costly repairs when failure occurs!

It may sound daunting to understand all of the individual parts within the system, but don’t worry – our expert technicians are here to help you! We will check your cooling system and all its components when you bring your vehicle in for a tune-up. We can also track preventative maintenance schedules and let you know when it is time to consider replacing these key components. If you have questions about the cooling system or any of the components in your car, stop by our shop or call us at (719) 632-2167. We’re dedicated to keeping your car running strong and avoid more expensive problems down the road. Schedule your next tune-up today!

Busting Gasoline Myths

Posted & filed under Auto Repair Tips & Helpful Strategies.

We’ve all heard tips and tricks to nudge up the miles per gallon we get from our vehicle. But what advice actually helps, and what is just an urban myth?

1. Gas additives and gadgets boost fuel efficiency.

Every so often, a slick company offers a “miracle solution” like a pill or additive to ramp up your miles per gallon. In reality, most of these tricks do NOTHING to improve your mileage, some even put your engine at risk.

2. Keep your gas tank at least half full.
The idea behind this practice is that keeping a higher volume of gasoline in the tank prevents evaporation within the tank. However, modern cars are *designed* to keep fuel vapors inside the tank. The bigger issue for evaporating gasoline is your gas cap. If your gas cap doesn’t seal tightly, gas can slowly evaporate around the cap reducing your MPG. Your gas dollars literally evaporate into thin air!

3. Use Cruise Control for the best MPG.
Maintaining a consistent driving speed can help improve your mileage by preventing twitchy acceleration. Cruise control can be a great way to achieve this! But it is most effective on flat roads. In most cases, seeing and anticipating a hill by increasing speed slowly and ahead of time is more beneficial than letting your cruise control accelerate faster at the last minute. Try to ease up on the gas pedal. Accelerate slowly to avoid wasting extra gasoline, and maintain a consistent speed whenever possible.

Having a properly maintained vehicle can do DEFINITELY great things for your gas mileage! Everything from your air filter to your shocks and struts can affect your fuel efficiency – give our team of ASE-certified technicians a call at 719.632.2167 to schedule your next inspection. Stop paying extra at the pump and reclaim your missing mileage!

Tips to Keep Your Battery Running in the Summer Heat

Posted & filed under Auto Repair Tips & Helpful Strategies.

Most people associate the winter months as being more problematic for their vehicle’s battery but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Higher temperatures may help out with your battery’s capacity, making turning the engine over easier, the extra heat can also expediate the deterioration process for your battery as its current conduction grids will erode at a quicker rate which reduces the unit’s lifespan.

The rate of “sulfation” – the build-up of lead sulfate crystals – is also increased with higher temperatures. When your battery becomes sulfated, its charging power is affected and its cranking power is reduced.

Here are a few tips to avoid problems this summer:

Go Premium. Using a high-quality batter such as an Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) will cut down on the risk of sulfation or other issues such as parasitic drain.

Keep it Cool. By simply parking or storing your vehicle in a temperate location such as a garage, the life of your battery can be extended significantly.

Stay Active. An inactive battery will be more susceptible to parasitic drains so be sure to start your engine regularly and keep the juices flowing.

Power Electronics Down. Electronics are the main cause of battery drainage so make sure that your electronics are properly shut down when you exit your vehicle.

Charge! Batteries need to be charged properly in order to ensure they’ll sustain themselves for the length of their expected lifespan so be cognizant of your unit’s charge level and add some juice if need-be.

Your vehicle’s battery is critical to its health so be sure to follow the above suggestions this summer to keep your car running optimally. Give our ASE-certified technicians a call at 719.632.2167 if you have any further questions or if you’d like to schedule an appointment!

Car Care Tips: Air Filter Maintenance

Posted & filed under Auto Repair Tips & Helpful Strategies.

With National Car Care Month taking place in April, it’s as good a time as any to learn more about certain vehicle components, including your air filter! Here are some facts about air filters to consider this month:

• Much controversy surrounds how often an air filter should actually be replaced

• Some repair facilities will try and get you to buy one with every oil change,

• While some have believe that it rarely needs changing

• NEITHER of these are correct!

• Changing the filter too frequently adds NO extra benefit, while not changing it at all can CAUSE problems.

• You can see in your owner’s manual EXACTLY how often they recommend that you change it,

• OR you can have a repair facility that you TRUST examine it and give you their EXPERT opinion.

• A good rule of thumb is to replace it every 10,000 miles or every 3rd or 4th oil change,

• But if you drive in dusty or smoggy conditions then it will require replacement more frequently

• Based upon past numbers, on average 16% of vehicles have had a dirty air filter in need of replacement

• It is a good idea to have your vehicle fully inspected TWICE a year, once for summer and once for winter, by a reputable shop.

If you have any questions about your air filter or any other component in your vehicle, give us a call at 719-632-2167 – we’re always available to help keep Colorado Springs drivers safely on the road!

Spring Tire Check

Posted & filed under Auto Repair Tips & Helpful Strategies.


Spring weather can often create unpredictable road conditions on the roads in El Paso County. Before you hit the roads this month, take five minutes to perform a quick tire check and make sure your vehicle’s tires are ready for any challenge they might be forced to contend with:

Check your tire pressure. Temperature swings can affect the tire pressure by 1 PSI for every 10 degree change. Be sure to check the manufacturer owner’s guide for the correct inflation – it isn’t always the same as the pressure listed on the tire.

Check tire grooves. Rocks, nails, and other objects can become stuck in the tread as you drive, so remove these objects and look for damage. In rainy conditions, your tires need at least 1/8” of tread to prevent hydroplaning. To check your tread, simply insert a quarter in the groove upside down – if you can see George Washington’s head, your tread is too low and it may be time to replace your tires.

Check the sidewalls. A quick visual inspection may help you spot potential problems for your tires. Look for thinning patches, especially uneven wear, that may put you at increased risk for a blow out on the roads. Cuts, bulges and other such irregularities can indicate a serious problem.

Check the spare. Even though it’s hidden in the trunk of your vehicle, don’t forget about your spare tire! The last thing we want to happen is to be stranded on the side of the road after a blow out because the spare is flat too!

Check the alignment, balance & rotation. Irregular wear of the tires can be a sign for a probably with the alignment or might been your wheels’ balance is out-of-whack. It also means your tires will need to be replaced prematurely. Checking your tires regularly will help you spot issues early, but make sure to include alignment inspections as part of your routine car care.

If you have any questions/concerns about your tires’ health this spring, call our team at 719.632.2167 or stop by the shop at 210 South 8th St. in Colorado Springs – we’re dedicated to keeping you safely on the road year-round!