Auto Service Basics: Importance of Tire Rotation

VW TireThe tires are one of the most important parts of a vehicle, seeing as how they keep you rolling along the road. Taking care of your tires is easier than you might think and can be done every time you get your oil changed. Rotating your tires is one of the simplest ways to extend the life of your tires. Here’s everything you need to know about the importance of tire rotation from us here at Gossett VW!

Rotating your tires prevents them from wearing out faster than they should. The front tires take on the weight of the engine and transmission. They also lead the car around corners, which means they wear significantly faster than the rear tires.

The act of rotating your tires is quite simple. Simply move the front tires diagonally and replace them with the rear tires. The front driver’s side tire, for example, should move to the rear driver’s side and be replaced by the rear passenger’s side tire. The front passenger’s side tire should move to the rear and be replaced by the rear driver’s side tire.

Don’t include your spare tire in tire rotations, as it’s for emergency use only. Make sure your vehicles aren’t asymmetric or uni-directional either; otherwise, rotating them the wrong way could cause problems.

What to Do If Your Car Gets Towed

parking garageIt’s pretty scary to go outside and find that your car isn’t where you left it, but getting it back can be a simple process. Just follow these steps for what to do when your car gets towed.

Before you do anything, check around the area for “no parking” signs and tow-away zone signs; if you think you may have been wrongly towed, take pictures of the area. If you do see a tow-away zone sign, call the number listed on it, or call the local police department if there isn’t a number. They’ll direct you to the lot where your vehicle’s located.

Next, you need to get to the lot, so call a friend to come pick you up or, worse comes to worse, call a taxi or Uber.

Once you arrive at the impound lot, make sure you read over the documents they give you and understand why you were towed before you pay the fees.

If you think it was wrongful, you can request a hearing. Your car may have been towed for various reasons besides being in a no parking zone, like blocking a fire hydrant or having unpaid parking violations, so keep these in mind.

Things to Keep in Mind When Test Driving a Car

test driveThe test drive can make or break your decision to buy a car, especially if it’s used. Strange noises, rough handling—if you notice anything that feels off, it’s probably best to keep looking. Here are some things to keep an eye out for when test driving a car.

First, have the salesman demonstrate the vehicle’s features for you, partly to see what the car can do and partly to make sure everything is working right (again, this is especially important with used cars). Make sure you’re test driving the car you want with the engine and transmission you want!

Check under the hood and look at the spare tire, making sure everything is easily accessible; then make sure the car is a good fit for you. Sit in it, get in and out of it to make sure it’s comfortable, and check the cargo space so you know there’s enough room for things you regularly transport back and forth.

Don’t listen to the radio when you’re test driving to ensure you can hear any noises, and really test the car. Take it over bumps so you can make sure the shocks work, for instance.

Good luck!

Changing Your Brakes: When Should You Replace Them?

brake repairBrake maintenance is one of the most important aspects of vehicle ownership. Not only will replacing the pads make other brake components—including rotors—last longer, but it also reduces stress on your car. In the long run, regular maintenance can actually increase resale value, especially if documented by a site like CARFAX.

Changing your brakes can be easily performed by any mechanic; however, knowing when to take the vehicle in is vital. According to Cars.com, the life of your brakes varies depending on usage and where you are located. In urban areas, stop and go traffic means a shorter life. In town, 8,000 miles is a rough estimate of when to replace brakes, and in rural areas, you may go up to 25,000 miles. Unfortunately, there is no clear rule of thumb; however, a mechanic can check the thickness of brake pads and for wear or warping.

Many brakes have built-in sensors that scrape against the disc when they need replaced. This sounds like an annoying screeching sound. You should also listen for grinding and other squeaks that indicate your brakes are bad. Also, if your brake pedal pulses when you apply the brakes, it may be a sign that your rotors are warped.

What happens if you don’t replace your brakes? Aside from the obvious dangers that go along with greater stopping distance, taking care of your brakes early can prevent catastrophic damage. For example, letting your pads go too long will ruin rotors. Let rotors go, and shoes and linings can be easily damaged as well.

If you need brake work done on your car, bring it to Gossett VW!

Car Maintenance Tips: Signs Your Tires Are Bad

tireEspecially now that it’s starting to get cold and having tires with good traction is more important than ever, it’s time to start looking for signs your tires are bad or worn out.

Take a good look at your tires. There shouldn’t be any bulges, cracks, or gauges in the rubber; it’s a good idea to take it to your dealer to check for leaks. These are usually a sign of low tire pressure, which could indicate an air leak or just deflation.

An important thing to check is your tire tread. When it gets cold, you are definitely going to want tires with good tread! Not only do tires firm up more in the cold weather, which makes it harder for them to grip the ground, but tires with low tread are slicker on wet/icy roads as well.

Check your tire pressure regularly when it’s cold. Cold air reduces tire pressure, which reduces traction, so fill your tires up with more air whenever they need it. This is also important because driving on underinflated tires actually makes them wear faster.

Do yourself a favor and check your tires, folks!

Know the Dangers of Drowsy Driving

drivingOne problem with drowsy driving is that people simply don’t understand just how dangerous it is. Every year there are 100,000 crashes that can be attributed to drowsy driving. Of those crashes, 71,000 people will sustain injuries and 1,550 people will lose their lives (NHTSA).

So what happens when you get drowsy behind the wheel? The effect mimics the effects of alcohol consumption. Your reaction times start to slow down and it becomes more difficult for your mind to process what’s happening. And that’s only when you get less than six hours’ sleep.

What should you do to avoid the dangers of drowsy driving? The best approach is a preventative approach. If you are tired, don’t drive. It is that simple.

Sometimes, it’s unavoidable or it comes on by surprise. On long trips, we are apt to push through even if we are getting tired. In those cases, try pulling over to take a 15-20 minute nap. If you must, drink some coffee or an energy drink. Just know that these beverages might cause you your energy level to plummet dramatically and suddenly.

We at Gossett VW want you to stay safe behind the wheel, even if that means taking a break from being behind the wheel!

Can’t We All Just Get Along? Tips for Sharing the Road with Cyclists

bicycleDriving carefully around cyclists is so important because they lack the protection that a motor vehicle provides. What would be a fender bender with another car could seriously injure or kill a cyclist.

As we approach the end of summer, maybe you’ve already had some close calls with cyclists. To prevent any more from happening, we’ve thrown together some tips for sharing the road with cyclists.

Yield To Life, an organization that promotes safety concerning bicycles, explains how important it is to have patience around cyclists. If there is oncoming traffic or if you are unable to see ahead because of a curve or obstruction, simply wait to pass the cyclist in front of you.

When turning right, check your right side view mirror to see if there is a cyclist on your right that looks to be heading straight through the intersection.

When turning left, make sure that an oncoming cyclist is not riding straight through the intersection. Cyclists can often be hard to pick out in a busy intersection.

No cyclist appreciates getting “doored.” This happens when someone in a parked car opens the door to get out without checking their side view mirror first.

Overall, one of the best tips for sharing the road with cyclists to just to expect them. By expecting them and making an effort to look for them, you’ll never be surprised when they appear.