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What to Keep in Your Car For Emergencies

vehicle transmission
admin 2021-06-14

After a long year at home, many of us are planning warm-weather road trips. But before you take the scenic route, it’s important to schedule regular auto maintenance, like having your brakes and vehicle transmission looked over by a local mechanic. Additionally, there are some useful things that all drivers should consider keeping on hand the next time they’re on the go.

Here’s a quick list of emergency supplies to keep in your car…

Halo Bolt Battery

So, your vehicle transmission, brakes, and all the rest looks good. You have the green light from your mechanic. What should you absolutely take just in case?

Jumper cables are an essential emergency kit item to store in your trunk. Better yet, invest in a Halo Battery. It’s the size of a brick and it can charge your phone or jump start your car, so you won’t have to rely on someone else to give you a boost.

A Paper Map

It may sound basic or even outdated, but you just never know when your high-tech GPS could fail you in a remote location. Avoid the stress of getting lost, and bring a backup map just in case. You could lose your cell phone or service. There’s just no telling, so better safe than sorry.

Spare Tire

Make sure to pack a spare tire the next time you take a long drive, as well as a tire iron and a jack. Without the right tools, that new tire won’t do you much good when you’re stranded by the side of the road. If you were never taught how to change a flat tire, you’ll be glad you brushed up on the basics if you ever need to try your hand at replacing one. Also, keep in mind that some vehicles have locking tires that require a special security bolt to remove them. Stash this in a safe place where you won’t forget about it.

Air Pressure Gauge

An air pressure gauge is a tiny tool you can leave in the glove compartment. Maintaining the right amount of air pressure in your tires is essential for safety reasons, especially on long road trips. And, if you need to swap out a damaged tire, you’ll want to have this little tool at the ready.

Other Odds and Ends

  • Flashlight
  • Water bottles
  • Nonperishable snacks
  • Road flares or reflective triangles
  • Seat belt cutter or pocket knife
  • Window breaker
  • Emergency first aid kit
  • Blankets
  • Phone charger

 

The list could go on and on, but you only have so much space in your vehicle. Of course, it goes without saying that it’s also a good idea to carry hand sanitizer and extra masks during the pandemic. What you need will ultimately depend on how far you’re going and your individual concerns, but these are some good basics that all drivers should carry just to be on the safe side. What do you keep in your car in case of emergencies?

Schedule Auto Maintenance

If it’s time to have your vehicle transmission checked and you need a local auto shop, call us at Lafayette German Car Repair (925) 284-3390. You can also view all current specials by clicking here. We want to save you money!

How to Make Your Tires Last Longer

make your tires last longer
admin 2019-12-19

New car tires aren’t cheap, but they’re vital to your safety. Before you hit the road, check out these maintenance tips to make your tires last longer.

  1. Rotate Tires
    Uneven tire wear is common, even with all-wheel drive vehicles. Tires last longer when they’re rotated. The general recommendation is every 4,000 miles. A technician can move them to a new position during a routine oil change. It’s not a bad idea to have this done prior to a long road trip.
  2. Tire Pressure
    Maintaining the correct air pressure is the simplest way to ensure tires last longer. Extreme weather can affect tire pressure. Regardless, they’ll lose at least a pound of pressure per square inch (PSI) every month. This matters because the wrong air pressure can increase wear and breaking times. Additionally, it makes a blowout more likely.
    You’ll also get fewer miles to the gallon if there isn’t enough air in your tires, so check once a month.
  3. Alignment
    You can be sure your alignment is off if your car pulls to one side or the other, or the steering wheel shakes. Sometimes neither of these signs will be present when the alignment is off, though. Little things can shift the alignment, like driving over a pothole, or bumping the curb, so a mechanic should adjust your car’s alignment every six months.
  4. Tread: The Penny Test
    It’s dangerous to drive on bald tires. Check for uneven wear or flat spots, as well as any cuts or cracks. You can use a tread depth gauge. There should be a 2/32 inch tread depth. If you don’t have a gauge, you can use a penny. Slide the coin into the tread upside down and facing you. If you see all of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires.
  5. Balance Tires
    While you’re having your wheels rotated, you might as well get them balanced, too. Your mechanic uses a special machine to do this. Even new tires aren’t perfect. Regularly balancing them will promote even wear.

If you follow these five tips, your vehicle will be safer and handle better, and your tires will last longer. Just remember to keep track of maintenance so you can stay on schedule. If you have any questions, please give us a call at (925) 284-3390 or request an appointment.

Tips to Avoid Hydroplaning this Winter

avoid hydroplaning, hydroplaning
admin 2019-10-15

Hydroplaning is a loss of traction that happens when a film of water forms between the wheels of your car, and the wet road. The water acts as a lubricant that a car rides upon like a sled, instead of pavement. This loss of control over steering and brakes can occur even after a light rain. In fact, streets can be the most dangerous the first few minutes of a storm. This is because water mixes with traces of oil on the pavement’s surface. Keep in mind that whether of not your car skids out there’s less traction on wet roads, but there are a few things you can do to avoid hydroplaning.

  1. Maintain proper tire pressure and rotation: Invest in high-quality tires, and replace them as needed. Driving on bald tires is dangerous, especially during rainy seasons.
  2. Reduce your speed: Hydroplaning is most likely to occur at speeds over 35 MPH. Faster speeds reduce a tire’s ability to scatter water.
  3. Don’t cruise: Never use cruise control when driving on wet roads. In the event that you were to hydroplane, your response time would be slower.
  4. Skip hard braking and sharp turns
  5. Avoid puddles: If possible, don’t drive through standing water.
  6. Consider driving in a lower gear

 Sometimes it’s not possible to avoid hydroplaning, no matter how careful you are. If your tires do lose contact with the road, stay calm. Hydroplaning usually only lasts for a couple seconds before your car regains traction. Don’t slam on the brakes, but ease your foot off the gas pedal. You never want to accelerate into a skid. Also, be careful not to over-correct. Instead, gently turn the steering wheel. It can be difficult to keep a level head when you’re startled, but if you follow these tips they’ll help you stay safe, and avoid hydroplaning this winter.