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The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Posted on 04/08/2014

In our fast paced lives, it’s easy to find distractions behind the wheel of your car. This month, in honor of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we want to take a moment to consider common distractions and their risks. We encourage you to be aware of these threats and make an effort to drive safely and distraction free!

The most common distractions include using a cell phone, texting, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, reading (including maps), grooming, and watching a video. Even features of your car can be distracting, like using a navigation system, adjusting the radio, or adjusting the heater or air conditioning. Though all these distractions can pose a threat, the most dangerous by far is cell phone use and texting, so that’s going to be our focus today.

Cell phones have become a ubiquitous part of everyday life. At any one time, 9% of drivers are talking on cell phones – making them 4 times as likely to crash. Technological advances like Bluetooth capabilities and hands free devices have made it possible to place and answer phone calls without looking at your phone; however, the idea that hands free devices are safe to use while driving is a myth – multitasking can be dangerous.

Conversation requires brain capacity necessary to stay alert and pay attention to all of the factors (on the road and in the car) that affect your driving. Phone calls, even if you don’t actually hold or operate your phone, divert brain capacity to focus on the conversation. Your brain is 37% less capable to gather and process critical driving data while engaged in a conversation. Having a conversation with a passenger in the vehicle (while still a distraction) is much safer because both you and your passenger can watch the road and react to traffic, weather, and changing conditions.

Texting is by far the most dangerous activity you can do while driving. Texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention – all of which are necessary for driving. If you text while driving, you are 8 to 23 times more likely to crash or cause an accident. Texting makes it harder to stay in the lane, identify high and low relevant objects, pick up visual cues, and react to exits, red light, and stop signs.

Drivers who text and drive contribute to at least 100,000 crashes every year, causing thousands of preventable deaths. Don’t think you can get off on a technicality – sending or reading emails, checking Facebook, writing tweets… all of these activities are just as dangerous as texting.

This month, remember the risks before you engage in a distraction while driving. Practice some self-control and avoid looking at your cell phone. If the temptation is too high, try keeping your phone out of reach or in a bag or glove box you can’t access while driving. Turn off your Bluetooth devices and remember that even hands free calls can be a detriment. Take the pledge to drive phone-free and help end distracted driving!

Car Waxing and Polishing – What’s right for your car?

Posted on 03/20/2014

Car polish and wax are among many products used to protect your vehicle and keep it looking its best. Unfortunately, there is a common misconception among car owners about these products and what they are used for. So what is the difference between a wax and a polish? And what’s right for your car?

Polish

A polish is used to give your vehicle a smooth, shiny surface. The primary purpose of polish is to remove imperfections from your vehicle’s paint or clear coat. Polish can clean off contaminants such as grease, dirt, and rust that normal washing cannot remove. It is also used to fix small scratches, scrapes, or swirls from the finish.

There are two primary types of car polish: chemical polishes and abrasive polishes. Chemical polishes are used to clean the exterior, removing rust, grease, and stains that normal washing cannot remove. Abrasive polishes are used to fix imperfections in your car’s paint job or clear coat and smooth out small scratches or scrapes. These polishes range from coarse to fine, with finer polishes ideal for detail work.

Polishes typically come in creams, sprays, or liquids and contain solvents to remove impurities (grease, rust). Polishing your vehicle fixes small imperfections in the finish and allows the paint to shine through. However, most polishes do not provide protection for your car’s finish.

Wax

Waxing is used to create a protective barrier on your vehicle. UV rays, pollution, dust, moisture, and corrosion can all harm your car’s paint and clear coat. Wax acts as a barrier between your car’s finish and the environment. Wax also can create the glossy look that many vehicle owners love.

Car waxes come in two varieties: natural or synthetic. Natural car waxes are usually made from caranauba wax and have great protection and shine. While both types of wax serve the same functions, synthetic waxes can last longer than natural wax.

You should always wash your car before applying wax. Wax acts as a paint sealant and will seal any dirt, grease, or rust to your car. Wax can provide protection from moisture, corrosion, and oxidation from the outside, but anything on your car when you apply the wax can still cause damage. If you find any damage after washing your car, you should use a polish to resolve any issues before waxing.

What is right for your car?

Because waxing and polishing your car serve different purposes, it is a good idea to do both. If you notice any problems with your car’s finish, you should get them fixed prior to waxing or polishing. Speedy action will help prevent scratches and nicks from causing further oxidation (rust) and damage.

Wash your car first before polishing or waxing. As you wash, you can inspect your car for any imperfections, rust, or scratches. Polish your vehicle as needed, anytime you find imperfections in the finish or when you want extra shine for your paint job. Always wax after polishing, since polish can remove the wax from your vehicle. Typically, cars should be waxed every 3 or 4 months. Follow the instructions for any products you use for the best results.

Both polish and wax can fix and protect your vehicle’s finish and your investment! Both polish and wax can fix and protect your vehicle’s finish and your investment! If you have any questions about polishing or waxing your vehicle, call us or stop by our shop!

Show your car some Love with Preventative Maintenance

Posted on 02/25/2014

Preventative maintenance is the single best way to keep your car running smoothly and save you money down the road in Albuquerque . By periodically checking the fundamental systems in your car, you can spot anything out of the ordinary before it becomes a bigger issue – and it is easy to do! Show your car some love this month with these preventative maintenance services:

Preventative Maintenance

Read your owner’s manual – Every manufacturer includes a schedule of recommended maintenance for the vehicle, so check your manual for the proper maintenance intervals for your vehicle. Even if it doesn’t seem necessary, following this schedule can help to avoid bigger issues that stem from delaying these services. It is also a necessity for maintaining your manufacturer’s warranty.

Check your oil and fluids – Most fluid or oil tanks have gauges or dipsticks to let you easily check the levels inside. If you are running low frequently, this could mean that your vehicle has a leak. Leaks mean that contaminants can get into your oil, which can cause bigger problems down the road if you keep topping off your fluids instead of getting the repair completed. It is best to leave changing your oil to the professionals, but you should make a habit to check the levels so you can stay ahead of any problems that stem from low levels. If your fluids are regularly low, bring it to your local auto repair shop immediately so they can check for and repair any leak!

Check your tires – Make sure your tires have enough tread. Visually check that the tread is wearing evenly and there are no bare patches. If there is too little tread, your tires are stripped and more prone to flats or leaks. Check the air pressure in your tires with an air pressure gauge (your user manual should indicate the ideal air pressure level for your tires). Have your tires rotated and balanced and get your alignment checked periodically. These steps will help your tires wear evenly, extend the life of your tires, increase your MPG, and ensure your car drives smoothly.

Check your battery – A battery tester is an easy, inexpensive option for checking the voltage level of your car battery to make sure it is charging properly. Visually inspect the battery for anything out of the ordinary, like leaks or residue, and clean any buildup from the contacts. Car batteries typically don’t require a lot of maintenance, but having them checked periodically can help prevent small problems from turning into big ones.

Replace your wipers – If your view is getting streaky, this is an easy, inexpensive fix! Windshield wipers are simple to change and fresh ones make for a more pleasant driving experience. Plus, being able to see clearly will make you a safer driver! Make sure to buy the right wiper blade for your vehicle. Check your manual or bring your car to our shop to make sure you’re getting the correct wipers.

Replace your air filters – Both your cabin air filter and engine air filter need to be replaced periodically. If these filters are dirty, make sure you bring your vehicle to our ASE-certified technicians to have them replaced. A clean engine filter will help your car run better, and a clean cabin air filter will ensure a comfortable atmosphere in your vehicle.

Visual Inspection – While you are checking the parts listed above, do a quick look over the rest of your vehicle. Have your spark plugs, belts, and other components inspected for unusual buildup, leaks, or worn down areas. If anything is out of the ordinary, don’t ignore it! Schedule an appointment with your auto repair shop to address the issue right away.

Preventative maintenance is an easy way to show your car a little love and save money by avoiding the big issues. Let our experts work with you to develop a maintenance plan for your vehicle today! Our team of ASE-certified technicians is here to answer your questions and help with any of your repair needs. Just click here to contact us, or give us a call.

Myths about European Vehicles

Posted on 01/24/2014
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Myths about European vehicles

Whether you drive a state-of-the-art Mercedes or a vintage BMW in Albuquerque , your European vehicle is a finely-crafted machine. But does that craftsmanship require a special level of care and support? Let's take a look at three common myths about European vehicles, and how these myths could be affecting your wallet.

Myth 1: There's no avoiding it -- You Have to go to the Dealership for Some Repair and Maintenance

The first thing we should call attention to is the Magnuson-Moss warranty act: the law says you don't need to take your vehicle to the dealer for routine maintenance to maintain your warranty. As long as the maintenance is done according to the schedule in your vehicle's manual, the dealer can't void the warranty.

And if the dealership can't hold your vehicle hostage, why not take your car where there's a team that cares about you? The truth is, no matter how big or small the job, we're here to protect your investment in your vehicle. We even provide friendlier service and usually a better price!

Myth 2: European Vehicles Need Premium Fuel to Run At Peak Efficiently

The thinking goes: premium fuel means better gas mileage, more power and a cleaner-running engine. If you're already driving a premium vehicle, shouldn't you use the premium gas?

The truth, however, is that the fuel your car needs to run at peak performance and that will give you the most power and best efficiency is...the one your user manual recommends. If your vehicle is designed to run on lower octane gas, filling up with premium won't mean extra performance.

Of course, if your owner's manual calls for premium gas, your vehicle needs a fuel that can be compressed more than regular unleaded. Using less than a premium gas can lead to "knocking," caused by gas that spontaneously combusts before the spark plug has a chance to ignite it. This can lead to engine damage over time.

In other words, your European-built car doesn't necessarily need premium fuel just because it's a premium machine. Check the owner's manual to see what fuel it needs to run at top performance.

Euro vs. American cars

Myth 3: European Vehicles can go 10,000 or even 25,000 Miles Between Oil Changes

Oil manufacturers aren't shy about making extraordinary claims about their products. With more efficient, cleaner engines and a little dash of science, they claim, your car will hardly ever need an oil change. Dealerships often make the same claim, though they never stop to explain that it's fine if you have a buy a new vehicle from them every few years because your engine wore out earlier than expected.

Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle: it cleans, it cools, it protects and lubricates. And the longer it's been since your last oil change, the more that oil will have cleaned and been repeatedly heated and cooled...all of which leads to engine sludge, a loss of viscosity, a lack of protection, and decreased ability to lubricate high friction components.

Despite the terrific engineering that went into your European vehicle, despite the tremendous scientific advances that went into creating synthetic engine oil, the truth remains the same: change your oil regularly.

Want to know more about how to protect your European-model car? Our team of ASE-certified technicians is here to answer your questions and help with any of your repair needs. Just click here to contact us, or give us a call

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