We have two different styles of wiper blades we sell here. Here's the skinny on both:
Summer's almost over, and the rain is going to be returning soon. Now's a good time to check a couple simple things to make sure your car's ready for the rainy weather.
As the roads get wet, the traction on your tires becomes even more important. You want to make sure you have at least 4/32" of tread on your tires, especially during the fall and winter months. You know the old penny check? Well, the top of Lincoln's head is about 3/32". So, pull out a penny and take a peek at your tires, or stop by anytime and we can quickly check them for you for free. Easy!
#2: Wiper Blades
Somewhere, someone once said that you should replace your wiper blades every 6 months - once in the Spring, and once in the Fall. The heat of the summer can take its toll on the rubber in the blade, so now is a good time to test them out to make sure they're working well.
We have two different styles of wiper blades we sell here. Here's the skinny on both:
We think we can all agree that it's pretty nice to have the air conditioning work on your car - especially on those beautiful (yet hot!) days that roll around each summer. Let's face it - when your AC stops working, it can be pretty devastating.
When your air conditioning is blowing warm air (or even just-not-really-all-that-cold-air) it could be time for an AC service.
The stuff that makes your AC cold is a gas. When the AC stops working, it's often because the system has lost some of the gas and, causing the pressure to become low in the system. During an AC service, that pressure gets recharged to the level it should be at, making the system able to cool the air coming into your car again.
When we do an AC service, we also always put a dye in the system that makes it easier to track down potential leaks in the future. (Since the refrigerant is a gas, it can be a lot harder to pinpoint a leak without the dye to help)
There's no set time or interval that you need to have an AC service done. It's only needed when it stops blowing cold air.
Kickback is giving away 3 Million points over the next 30 days!
Every time you swipe your Kickback Card during the month of June, you will get a chance to receive a "playing card" on your account. Once you build a winning hand, you win extra points (read: free money!) on your Kickback card. So, the more you use your card this month, the more points you could win!
You don't need to keep track of your poker hard, either. The system keeps track of that for you, and automatically awards the points to your card if you're a winner. All you have to do is just use it! Want to know if you've earned any playing cards yet? Check the status of your card here.
More Everyday Savings with the Kickback Card:
Every day, you earn free money in the form of points on your Kickback Card every time you make a purchase at Juanita Firs 76
Each point is worth one penny, and they quickly add up! Before you know it, you may have enough money to buy yourself a free candy bar, a free oil change, or a free tank of gas. It's your choice! You can spend the points at any time and on anything we sell here.
Don't have a Kickback Card yet? Stop by and pick one up. It's free and there's no long registration process required to get started.
While every car is just a little bit different, there are 6 main fluids you should regularly check on your vehicle:
While this one seems obvious, it is often forgotten. No matter how new your car is, it is always a good idea to check your oil level every few times you fill up. The oil dipstick is usually located toward the front of the engine, and (most of the time) has a yellow handle.
To check the level, pull out the dipstick, wipe it off, and reinsert it again to get an accurate reading. Most dipsticks will have a “Low” and “High” line. If it is in between those two lines it is within a safe operating zone. Add 1 quart of oil if the level is below the “Low” line (there is often an oil cap on the top of the engine where you would add the oil). Once you add a quart, always recheck the level on the dipstick to make sure it doesn’t need any more.
Most cars have a coolant overflow bottle that is usually located close to the radiator, towards the front of the engine. These are often designed with the same idea as the oil dipstick – there’s a “High” line and a “Low” line. You want to make sure the level is in between those two lines. If the level is slightly low, you can often add only water to top off the level. If the level is significantly low, or the overflow bottle is completely empty, you may want to add a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water to make sure the coolant doesn’t get too diluted.
Also keep in mind that if the overflow bottle is completely empty, you may need to open the radiator to see if the level is low in the radiator itself. If you have never done this before, it is usually a good idea to have a mechanic inspect the fluid level since the radiator can build up quite a bit of pressure once the engine is warmed up (the last thing you want to do is take off the radiator cap and get sprayed with hot antifreeze!)
The brake fluid has a smaller container that is located towards the back of the engine, usually on the driver’s side. This fluid is pretty simple to check. Just like the coolant bottle, if the level is below the “Low” line, then you’ll want to add fluid to get it up to the proper level. If you find that the fluid level is low, be sure to have your brake system checked at your next service.
This bottle can often be confused with the coolant overflow bottle, because they can be the same size and/or shape. Some of these bottles will actually have a dipstick attached to the cap that will show you how full the level is. There is no need to worry about overfilling this fluid. Simply top off the fluid with water, or add washer fluid concentrate to the mixture if the level is very low.
If your car has a manual transmission, there isn’t an easy way to check the fluid under the hood. It usually needs to be checked from underneath the vehicle. If, however, your vehicle has an automatic transmission, it is usually possible to check the fluid level. Many vehicles will be equipped with a dipstick that is similar to the engine oil dipstick, except that it is usually located more towards the side or rear of the engine, and will often have a red handle instead of a yellow one.
To check the level, first make sure the engine is running, and the car is in Park. Pull out the dipstick, and clean it off (just like you do with the engine oil), reinsert it, and then pull it out again to get an accurate reading on the level. There will be a “Low” and a “High” line. Follow the same rule of thumb as engine oil when adding oil – only add more when it’s below the “Low” line. The big difference here is that you will often need to add the fluid through the same tube that the dipstick is located. So, if you ever need to add fluid, you’ll want to make sure you have a funnel handy
Power Steering Fluid
This fluid usually has a smaller reservoir (usually a black color) with a small cap on the top. It is often located on the passenger side of the engine, but can vary a lot depending on the car. This fluid is pretty simple to check – just unscrew the cap, pull it out of the reservoir, and you’ll see a little mini “dipstick” that will show you if the fluid level is low or not. Just like with the other fluids, it will have a “Low” and a “High” line. Some cars will even have a clear bottle that has the markings on the side, so you don’t even need to unscrew the cap.
When adding fluid to your vehicle, always be careful to not overfill the fluid. Fuller is not always better. Always shoot to have your fluid level remain within the “Low” and “High” zones, and you’ll be on the right track.
Every car is a little different. Some cars don’t even have some of these fluids, or don’t provide a means to easily check them . If you ever need help learning where these items on your specific car, we’re always happy to help!
How often should I flush my transmission fluid?
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend flushing your transmission fluid every 2 years or 30,000 miles. By having the fluid changed at this interval, you are helping it provide optimal protection of the internal components of the transmission, decreasing your odds of having premature transmission failure.
Regularly changing your transmission fluid makes your transmission last longer.
Now, there are some cars, like ones equipped with a CVT transmission, that have to be serviced in a very particular way, and usually not as frequently as every 2 years. So there are exceptions to the rule. But if you're not sure when it was last done, or if you've even had it done at all, it never hurts to get a mechanic's opinion just to be safe. Stop by anytime and we'll check the quality of your fluid for no charge.
The Difference is On the Truck
Gas does come from the same place - all gas trucks load up their fuel at the exact same terminals. What makes the difference between brands is the additives that are added to the gasoline. These additives are added to the fuel at the time the gas truck is filling up. So the gasoline becomes 76, Chevron, Safeway, or Shell gas at the time it is being loaded onto the truck.
Why Additives Matter
The additives in the fuel make the difference between gas that cleans your car while you drive, or gas that allows nasty carbon deposits to build up inside your engine (causing costly repairs down the road). Many cheaper brands of gasoline will only put in the minimum additives required by the government, while higher quality brands will sometimes put close to double, sometimes even five times more than the government's recommendations. Make no mistake - there is a difference between high quality gasoline and the cheaper stuff.
Top Tier Gas
With the recent explosion of hypermarket brands, automotive manufacturers were finding that many of their new cars were coming in for costly warranty work related to carbon deposits that had built up in engines as a result of the use of inexpensive brands of gasoline.
To combat this issue, several auto manufacturers instituted a guideline that said, in order to maintain the warranty on a new vehicle, customers would have to regularly fill their vehicle with what they consider to be "Top Tier Gas". That is, gasoline brands that used a significant amount of additives that help prevent the development of carbon deposits on engines.
76 gas is a Top Tier gas, but we won't presume to tell you it's the only option around. Click here to learn more about where you can find Top Tier gas retailers
Whenever your car is in for service here at Juanita Firs 76, we always check how your brake fluid is doing. We check for discoloring of the fluid, water content, and break-down of the fluid. Whenever we see that the fluid is deteriorating and no longer looks top-notch, we recommend flushing it.
From a preventative standpoint, we recommend flushing the brake fluid every 2 years or 30,000 miles. If you regularly have the brake fluid serviced at this interval, you are unlikely to see that brake fluid get to the point that it actually tests bad.
So the rule of thumb is to flush your brake fluid every....
Why flush your brake fluid?
The brake fluid is the means by which the car is able to stop. When you push your foot on the brake pedal, it compresses the brake fluid, allowing the brake calipers to squeeze the pads to the rotors, making the car slow down.
When the brake fluid begins to deteriorate, it can lower the boiling point of the fluid (causing the fluid to overheat at a lower temperature than it should). If the brake fluid overheats, the brakes won't work. Since the brake fluid is also designed to protect the metal parts of the hydraulics of the brake system (like the brake lines and the calipers), deterioration of the fluid can also cause those metals parts to begin to rust.
Bottom line: Good brake fluid is the baseline for good, safe brakes.
This is a quick, easy service that we can even do while you wait. If you think it might be time to flush your brake fluid, give us a call and we'd be happy to check your history to see if you're due for this service.
Yes, a year early.
Here's a little secret - your WA State emissions test results are good for 365 days. So, if your car is due for an emissions test in, say, November, you could take the test now and it would still be valid when it comes time to renew your tabs later in the year.
And here's another little secret - if your car is newer than a 1996 model, your car will fail the emissions test when the check engine light is on. So....if your car is due for an emissions test at any point this year, take the test now if your check engine light is off. Then, if your check engine light happens to come on later in the year, you can deal with the repairs on your own time without having to worry about passing the test to be able to get your tabs.
How do you know if your car will be due for a test this year?
For all cars made after 1995:
Check engine light off? Due for a test this year? Take it now, and save yourself a potential headache later on.