Don’t Let Damaged Roads Ruin Your Tires, Vehicle

Published on January 13, 2023 12:00 AM in Safe DrivingBefore You Go

Don’t Let Damaged Roads Ruin Your Tires, Vehicle

This winter, Americans are seeing record storms and low temperatures across the country. With these treacherous driving conditions, it is more important than ever to prepare your car for the best possible performance in the snow and cold. 

Check Those Tires

Winter weather and roads put a lot of strain on your tires. In extreme cold, the rubber can crack and broken asphalt will do a great deal of damage. Inspect your tires regularly, especially after any difficult or rough drives.

Make sure you stay on top of tire inflation. The cold weather can cause a drop in PSI, so check tires regularly and fill with air when they fall below the proper inflation range. Proper inflation levels for your vehicle can be found inside the drivers-side door.

Potholes And Other Tire Problems

Freezing and thawing of water in the asphalt can cause severe cracks and potholes. Driving over a pothole, even at low speeds, can cause damage to your car including:

  • Bent wheel rims
  • Alignment issues
  • Tire damage
  • Shock and strut problems

After you hit a pothole, do a visual check for any damage. Look for harm to the rim or a deflation in the tire as well as any gashes or damage to the rubber. 

While you are behind the wheel, make sure there aren’t any strange irregularities in the way your car handles after the incident such as noises, vibrations or steering issues.

Compensations For Pothole Damage?

Did you know that cities and states may pay for damage to your car from potholes on public roads? 

Check with your local municipality and submit the proper information, but it’s worth looking into, especially if you reside in a large metropolitan area. 

Visit your city’s website to see if they have a pothole program.

The Benefit of M+S Tires

Tires are imprinted with several pieces of information including two special icons. The first is M+S, which stands for mud and snow. This symbol will often appear on all-season tires, but is largely to show the difference between summer tires and all-season. 

M+S can be a bit simplistic and viewed as the bare minimum for weather standards.

The second symbol is the three-peak mountain symbol known as 3PMSF. This industry standard signifies that the tire is a proper winter tire and adheres to regulations and standards.   

Studded Tires And Chains

Studded tires have small lightweight, metal spikes known as “studs” inserted in the tires. The studs help to break through snow and give the driver better traction on ice. Studded tires are especially beneficial in snow zones and rugged mountain regions with extreme winter temperatures. 

Tire chains are usually only necessary on mountain roads or in extreme weather conditions. If you are traveling in high elevations during winter, experts recommend you keep a set of chains in your trunk. Conditions can change quickly and local authorities may implement a chain requirement. Chains are generally not used for regular, day-to-day driving.

For most drivers, studded tires and chains aren’t necessary unless you live in an area with extremely harsh winters. 

Beware: Some states have laws and limitations against studded tires due to the damage they can inflict on roadways.

Tips to prevent tire damage

  • Stay alert while driving and keep an eye out for potholes, hazards and, of course, other drivers. 
  • Watch your speed, always have control of your vehicle and know “exit routes” to get out of potential danger.
  • Don’t rush through puddles. You never know how deep they might be and there is the potential for hydroplaning. 
  • Also the wave of water you kick up might temporarily blind you by filing the windshield with a torrent of water.
  • Always use four winter tires no matter what type of vehicle you drive. By not using four, you risk uneven traction and the possibility of fishtailing or over steering, even with front wheel drive. 
  • Winter tires are recommended for drivers who visit or live in climates with snow and ice.
  • All-season and all-weather tire rubber may harden due to lower/freezing temperatures. The physical changes caused by cold weather reduces traction and may increase slipping, leading to a loss of control. 
  • Even if you have 4-wheel drive, winter tires are recommended for drivers who visit areas with snow and ice.

If you would like some new tires, give us a call to Schedule your maintenance or repair today!

Why All Season Treads Make A Great Choice For Most Drivers

Published on March 02, 2023

Why All Season Treads Make A Great Choice For Most Drivers

Of the four main types of vehicle tires–all-season, summer, winter, and the new all-weather–more American drivers use the all-season tire than any other.

“By far the biggest segment of the industry is the all-season tire,” explains Joe Maher, Product Manager at Continental Tire.

According to Maher, it’s estimated that 80 to 85 percent of tires on the road in the United States are all-season. The tire is offered in nearly every category of passenger vehicle and light truck and for good reason. It’s got exactly what you need for driving, especially in the rain.

All-season tires

All-season tires were first introduced in the late 1970s. Without tires specifically designed to manage spring rains or fluctuations in weather and temperatures, drivers were forced to choose between winter and summer tires and changing them out was a biannual chore.

“All season tires have a different tread path and have different compounds,” Maher says. “All season compounds have the widest range of optimal temperature operation.”

Tire Design: Rubber, Voids and Sipes

The compound that makes up an all-season tire mixes different types of rubber and materials for optimal performance in a wide range of climates. All-season tires are designed to handle temperatures from a high of 100 degrees to near freezing. Premium tires also add silica to enhance grip in the slipperiest of conditions.

In order to give you the best performance on rain-slicked roads, all-season tires have meticulously designed treads. This includes two vital parts of the tread, according to Maher: the voids and the sipes.

The lateral voids that run around the tire are the wider open channels that force water out so it doesn’t get trapped between you and the roadway. This brings your tire into closer contact with the asphalt and helps you avoid hydroplaning in wet conditions.

The sipes are the smaller slits across the tires that improve the traction by creating more tread surface edges.

“The more edges you have, the better the grip,” Maher explains. “It’s the consideration of these two [voids and sipes] that allows the tire to perform.”

Climate considerations

If you live in extreme climates, you may still want to use winter tires when the snow hits. In areas with extreme heat, such as Arizona where roadway temperatures can melt certain types of rubber, you will want to consider a different compound for your tire.

However for most of the United States, all-season tires will work perfectly for your driving needs. Maher even explains that in some urban areas that see heavy winter snowfall but have road crews that maintain the streets and remove snow quickly, all-season tires might still be a viable option.

“That’s why the all-season is so popular,” he says. “It can be used virtually anywhere in the country.”

Ask the questions, do your research

While other parts of the world such as the European Union require stricter published information on tires, the United States doesn’t do so. That’s why it’s vital that consumers do their research on what tire is right for their vehicle and driving habits. Tighter standards are something Maher says he would like to see changed in America, but in the meantime it’s up to the customer to do their due diligence.

“The internet has made it feasible for consumers to do a great deal of research,” he suggests.

Factors to consider when making your decision include the fuel efficiency rating of the tires as well as the expected tread life. Also think about the tread design, the types of voids and sipes, and traction ratings. You can learn more about ratings through websites such as and consumer testing agencies.

When you choose your tires, Maher advocates that consumers take into consideration not only what type of weather you drive seasonally, but also what type of car you drive. For example, if you have an electric vehicle, you’ll want to look at a tire’s rolling resistance– the power is required to keep your wheels moving. Rolling resistance can factor heavily into how an electric vehicle performs.

While you should learn as much as possible before you head to the store, Maher suggests that it’s also fine to ask for advice from the salesperson.

Maher explains that what really matters is that consumers have choices when it comes to the tires you put on your car. Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions. In the end, it’s about safety and being happy with the choice you’ve made.

What to consider in your all-season tires:

  • Take the local weather into consideration. You might be able to use all-season tires year around or just in the summer and spring if you need to drive in heavy snow conditions.
  • Find tires with the highest rated tread life for your driving habits.
  • Find tires with low rolling resistance if you drive an electric car.
  • Consider all-seasons with more edges to get a better grip on wet roads if you live in a rainy climate,
  • For hotter climates, make sure the compound of the tires is correct for the roads when temperatures climb.
  • If you want the utmost grip, look at premium tires that add silica for hugging the road in wet conditions.
  • Consider wear and comfort. Some tires are designed to dampen road noise.
  • Ask your tire advisor to recommend treads suited to the type of driving you plan for spring and summer.
  • If you would like some new tires, give us a call to Schedule your maintenance or repair today!

Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season

From late November to mid-January, when families gather, parties are scheduled and travel spikes, safety should be top of mind. Following is tried-and-true advice to ensure your family remains safe and injury-free throughout the season.

Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children and adults should stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Updated bivalent boosters became available Sept. 2, 2022. 

Of course anyone who has symptoms of illness should stay home. When gathering with people from multiple households, consider taking a COVID-19 test prior to the event to further reduce risk. 

The National Safety Council and its partners provide additional vaccine information here.

Traveling for the Holidays? Be Prepared

If you’re traveling this year, be sure your vehicle is in good running condition, get plenty of rest and be prepared for any emergency. Traveling by car during the holidays has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. Hundreds of people die every year in crashes on New Year’s DayThanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, according to Injury Facts. Alcohol impairment is involved in about a third of these fatalities.

Stay safe on the roads over the holidays  and every day:

● Prepare your car for winter and keep an emergency kit with you
● Get a good night’s sleep before departing and avoid drowsy driving
● Leave early, planning ahead for heavy traffic
● Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up no matter how long or short the distance traveled
● Put that cell phone away; many distractions occur while driving, but cell phones are the main culprit
● Practice defensive driving
● Designate a sober driver to ensure guests make it home safely after a holiday party; alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription and illegal drugs can cause impairment

Decorate Safely

Decorating is one of the best ways to get in a holiday mood, but emergency rooms see thousands of injuries involving holiday decorating every season.

When decorating follow these tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

● Keep potentially poisonous plants – mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis – away from children
● If using an artificial tree, check that it is labeled “fire resistant”
● If using a live tree, cut off about 2 inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption, remember to water it, and remove it from your home when it is dry
● Place your tree at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources, making certain not to block doorways
● Avoid placing breakable ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower tree branches where small children can reach them
● Only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors, and choose the right ladder for the task when hanging lights
● Replace light sets that have broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections
● Follow the package directions on the number of light sets that can be plugged into one socket
● Never nail, tack or stress wiring when hanging lights and keep plugs off the ground away from puddles and snow
● Turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house

Watch Out for Fire-Starters

Candles and Fireplaces
Use of candles and fireplaces, combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations in many homes during the holidays, means more risk for fire. The National Fire Protection Association reports that one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles and that two of every five decoration fires happen because the decorations are placed too close to a heat source.

● Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over and out of reach of children
● Keep matches and lighters up high and out of reach of children in a locked cabinet
● Use flameless, rather than lighted, candles near flammable objects
● Don’t burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace
● Use a screen on the fireplace at all times when a fire is burning
● Never leave candles or fireplaces burning unattended or when you are asleep
● Check and clean the chimney and fireplace area at least once a year

Turkey Fryers
Be alert to the dangers if you’re thinking of celebrating the holidays by frying a turkey. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there have been hundreds turkey-fryer related fires, burns or other injuries, and millions of dollars in property damage losses from these incidents.

NSC discourages the use of turkey fryers at home and urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out professional establishments or consider using an oil-less turkey fryer. If you must fry your own turkey, follow all U.S. Fire Administration turkey fryer guidelines.

Food Poisoning Is No Joke

Keep your holidays happy by handling food safely. The website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides some valuable holiday food safety tips:  

● Wash your hands frequently when handling food
● Keep raw meat away from fresh produce
● Use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils for uncooked and cooked meats to avoid cross-contamination
● Use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature
● Refrigerate hot or cold leftover food within two hours of being served
● When storing turkey, cut the leftovers in small pieces so they will chill quickly
● Thanksgiving leftovers are safe for three to four days when properly refrigerated

Watch this holiday food safety video for more information.

It’s Better to Give Safely

Gifts and toys should inspire joy, not cause injuries. Thousands of children are seriously injured in toy-related incidents every year. Avoid safety hazards while gifting with these tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

● Toys are age-rated for safety, not for children’s intellect and physical ability, so be sure to choose toys in the correct age range
● Choose toys for children under 3 that do not have small parts which could be choking hazards
● For children under 10, avoid toys that must be plugged into an electrical outlet
● Be cautious about toys that have button batteries or magnets, which can be harmful or fatal if swallowed
● When giving scooters and other riding toys, give the gift of appropriate safety gear, too; helmets should be worn at all times and they should be sized to fit

Schedule your maintenance or repair today, to give your vehicles the care they need this winter and holiday season!

Get Some Extra Elbow Room For Your Next Adventure

Published on January 26, 2021 08:24 PM in Seasonal Driving & Travel

Get Some Extra Elbow Room For Next Adventure

Your family may be ready for a private getaway this winter, a place where you can shelter safely away from home. How do you pack all that winter gear and still have space in your vehicle?

If you’re feeling a bit squeezed for space when traveling this winter, we have some suggestions to clear out the your vehicle cabin.

Roof Racks can be adapted for almost any type storage and outdoor sports equipment. The key is making sure your solution is safe and secure.

Manufacturers recommend the following guidelines when installing and using roof racks:

  • Does your vehicle already have roof rails? if not, ask your advisor about getting the right ones installed. Proper fit and function are key for safety. Every make and model is different.
  • If your vehicle already has rails, consider the kind of cargo you want to carry. There are many different options for carriers and clips. For instance, transporting skis on your roof is a simple task with a variety of snap-on accessories. They may be secured with locks and bindings.
  • Large items can be stowed in fully enclosed, weatherproof capsules. They come in all shapes and sizes. Look for ones that have quality locks. Also, check your owners manual to make sure you’re under the weight recommendations. Store those heavy items inside your vehicle cabin.
  • Consider what you are carrying before purchasing the roof rack and carrying box.
  • Want a rack for skis? Basic clamps may work.  
  • Looking to stow snowshoes and other accessories such as boots or clothes? A clamshell enclosure protects gear from theft and the elements. Clamshell containers are offer safety and may be stored in the garage between trips. Racks with cushioned clamps may be best for skis and cycles.
  • Decide on the type of rack system you want for your vehicle.  Racks and carriers come in both portable and permanent configurations. Temporary racks and hitch-mounted racks may be removed easily and do not require any alternating of the roof itself. Permanent racks offer the safest way to carry winter gear. Vehicles that do not have factory-installed rails systems require permanent installation of a rails and crossbars.  If your has lengthwise rack rails, cross bars must be added to complete the system and attach cargo carriers or equipment clamps.
  • Watch the weather. Rain or snowy conditions can damage exposed gear. Small rust stains may appear on metal surfaces of ski equipment attached to roof racks.
  • Materials matter. Stainless steel parts are less likely to rust or break than plastic components. ABS plastic lasts longer and weathers better than cheap polyethylene plastic.
  • Review the aerodynamics as well as design to make sure it blends with your vehicle and minimizes wind resistance.
  • If you plan to go skiing, point ski tips toward the rear of the vehicle to reduce air resistance and vibration.
  • Ask about permanent racks and look for experienced installer that guarantees installation quality. Proper installation fits as snugly as a factory-installed rack and provides many options not available on temporary or hitch mounted racks.

Schedule your maintenance or repair today, to give your vehicles the care they need!

Don’t Let Your Vehicle Battery Give You The Chills

Don’t Let Your Vehicle Battery Give You The Chills

Falling leaves signal dropping power in weak vehicle batteries, a problem that can rear its frosty head during cold nights of autumn.

As a first step, figuring out whether or not your battery has gone to the dark side. Look for signs of bad behavior: engine struggling to turn over, automatic windows that don’t roll up like they used to, dimming lights.

Batteries tend to get the blame when in reality they could be the messenger of other problems. Perhaps the vehicle alternator isn’t living up to its full potential. 

Do you see crust covering terminals? It could impede the flow of energy as well. 

Whatever the cause of your vehicle’s sluggish starts, it’s worth having a technician take a look.

Cold temperatures create thicker engine oil and reduce cold cranking amps, forcing your battery to work harder when starting your vehicle.

Battery Basics

What are cold cranking amps? 

They measure how well a battery can start an engine in cold weather. The combination of severe cold and reduced cranking amps lead to battery failure.

Consider: Most car batteries work by chemical reaction. Sulfuric acid inside the cells of the battery reacts with an element (usually lead) to create a flow of electricity. 

When you turn the key or push the start button, the flow of power migrates from the battery terminals to your vehicle’s starter motor to turn over your engine.

Healthy Batteries

Car battery health is measured in volts. A healthy 12-volt car battery will actually read 12.6 volts or higher when tested. 

At 12.4 volts, you’ve lost about 25 percent of the charge. At 12 volts or lower your battery is seriously depleted, and may be losing its ability to hold a charge.

Driving habits impact vehicle battery life. Your battery drains itself when it starts your car, then is gradually recharged by the running engine as you drive.

If you plan to take a lot of short trips this November and December, your battery may not have a chance to charge fully before you turn off the engine. This could cause it to slowly lose voltage, and eventually fail to start your vehicle.

Vehicle battery tips:

  • If you must travel short distances repeatedly, try to mix in some longer drives (at least 30 minutes) regularly.
  • If your vehicle isn’t starting easily, take it to your service advisor and have the battery tested. A healthy, fully charged battery will have at least 12.6 volts.
  • If you’re planning to do lots of driving in freezing conditions, consider having a block heater installed to warm your engine a couple hours before starting the vehicle. This makes things easier on your battery.
  • If your battery seems to be losing its ability to hold a charge, be sure to have your technician check the alternator as well as the battery itself.
  • If your technician determines that a new battery is needed, be sure to pick one of the right size and capacity for your vehicle. Both your technician and your vehicle owner’s manual can help with this.

Schedule your maintenance or repair today, to give your vehicles the care they need!

Heed The Warning of Windshield Chips, Cracks

Published on October 01, 2022 06:30 PM in Safe Driving

Heed The Warning of Windshield Chips, Cracks

Your vehicle’s windshield has been subjected to an onslaught of opponents all summer–gravel chips, flying debris, summer hailstorms, overhanging limbs.

Those small chips and cracks can turn into big problems if left unattended. Sometimes, window chips and cracks can be repaired instead of replacing the entire windshield.

But it depends on a variety of factors.

Type, size, depth and location of the damage determines what kind of service is required. For example, a small ding or small crack in the lower right corner of your windshield may be fixed using a chip repair service.

Larger cracks and chips generally require windshield replacement. A vehicle windshield plays an integral role in airbag deployment, and replacement is paramount for crash safety.

“A broken windshield isn’t something you should put off fixing,” said Melina Metzger, public relations manager for Safelite AutoGlass. “Windshields are a major part of a vehicle’s structural integrity, and damaged glass reduces your visibility.”

Of course, many factors determine whether it is possible to repair the windshield or if it needs to be replaced.

Repair or Replace?

Are there less than three chips? Is the edge of the windshield unharmed? Is the damaged area smaller than a dollar bill? Is the damaged area out of the driver’s line of sight?

If you answered “Yes” to all of these, your windshield most likely can be repaired rather than replaced. If you answered “No” to any of these, or the chip is in your line of vision, windshield replacement is recommended.

Leaving chips or cracks unaddressed allows moisture, dirt and other contaminants into the exposed area. As a result, the glass may require replacement rather than less expensive repair.

Marcus Pace, owner of Pace’s Chip & Rock in Sacramento, Calif., said technique and patented materials play pivotal roles in proper windshield repair. He urges drivers to ask technicians if they will guarantee their work in writing.

Pace offers the following advice when it comes to finding someone to repair that chip or replace that windshield:

  • A windshield is more than just a pane of glass. Automakers say a windshield accounts for roughly a third of the vehicle’s structural support, and that figure creeps up quickly during a collision. Windshields make up about 45 percent of structural support during a front-end in crash and up to 60 percent during a rollover.
  • Check with your insurance company about no-cost repair. Because it’s quick and relatively inexpensive, insurance companies often waive the deductible for windshield repair.
  • Know what to look for when the job is finished. Make sure the molding is straight and there’s no sign of adhesives or resin.
  • Keep the vehicle in park for several hours after a windshield replacement. The adhesive used for windshield replacement takes time to dry. You’ll also want to wait around a week before taking your vehicle through the car wash
  • Repaired windshields are good to go. A repaired windshield is ready for the road the minute the tech is finished.

Schedule your maintenance or repair today
, to give your vehicles the care they need!

12 Ways To Keep Your Vehicle Ready For Autumn Travel

You’ve stowed the camping equipment, racked the canoe and already set your sights on winter sports gear. What about taking stock of your vehicle?

River City Fleet Services Winter Checks

“In late August we already had snow showers,” said Joshua Lewis of the Colorado State Troopers. “The biggest problem we see on autumn roadways is drivers who are not prepared for the arrival of inclement weather.

“Vehicles don’t have proper tires or tread depth.”

Trooper Lewis blamed tire issues for one of the most common autumn accidents: vehicles sliding into center meridians or street guardrails.

Faulty brake systems were identified by Trooper Lewis as another major issue. Hot summer roads wear down brake pad lining and put strain on other brake system components that can leave vehicles stranded.

“That tow truck you call may take hours to arrive.”

Those problems can turn up unexpectedly during autumn road trips, especially for trucks and large recreational vehicles.

“It comes down to knowing your vehicle and how it is supposed to operate,” said Trooper Lewis, who has worked as an officer for the past 15 years. “We perform regular inspections of vehicles for work, ideally daily.

“For me, I’ve found that the cost of routine maintenance and fixing minor problems on my personal vehicles saves a lot of money, time, and heartache later on.”

Officer Lewis rattled off a list of items he includes on his fall inspection list: tire tread depth, brake performance, windshield wiper replacement, battery charge, topping off fluids, properly functioning headlights.

An autumn inspection establishes the baseline for Officer Lewis’ vehicle’s health and also help him avoid surprises. It addresses issues related to summer driving–road construction, hot weather, miles piled up on the odometer.

Inspection report printout offers observations made by technicians. It helps keep your vehicle reliable for travel throughout Thanksgiving and into the New Year.

By revealing minor issues before they become major problems, the inspection report provides a roadmap for budgeting maintenance and repairs. Preparing for winter may uncover some additional considerations not needed for spring and summer travel.

For instance, areas prone to extreme cold may require coolant and windshield wiper fluid specially designed for sub-freezing temperatures. Winter fluids can help your vehicle perform better and start easier.

Routine inspection offers the most efficient way to monitor your vehicle’s overall health. A certified or factory-trained technician can help identify issues before they become expensive or life-threatening problems.

Talk to your service advisor before heading out on upcoming autumn excursions. Include the following items in your autumn multipoint inspection:

“Remember to slow down during those first storms of autumn,” Trooper Lewis said. “Pack some patience along with your cargo and family.”

  1. Tire tread wear. Rubber compounds wear fast on hot summer roads. Do you tires have enough tread to drive safely on slick roads? The inspection report and your service advisor can help decide.
  2. Inspect leaks, frayed hoses and worn belts. Cold weather makes old rubber as well as plastic parts harden and crack. As a result, minor leaks detailed on your autumn inspection report can turn into major repair bills if ignored.
  3. Test battery voltage. Vehicles require more starting power in winter. Also, cold temperatures can cause a failing battery to go dead overnight.
  4. Check battery cable connections and other charging components such as the alternator. Rust, corrosion and crusty terminals can reduce battery power.
  5. Replace wiper blades. Ultraviolet rays of summer dry out and crack wiper blades, rendering hardened blades ineffective during autumn storms. Old blades can scratch your vehicle windshield and create screeching sounds. They also reduce visibility.
  6. Consider specialized blades. If you live in an extremely cold environment, consider blades intended for ice and snow. They are made with rubber compounds intended to remain pliable in freezing temperatures.
  7. Inspect the climate control system for leaks and proper fluid. Also, make sure the window vents are free of obstructions and that the fan is operating properly.
  8. Ask about winter coolant intended for extreme cold temperatures. Usually, a 50/50 mix of coolant to water may suffice in most climates, your vehicle may need a different mixture in extreme zones. “No-freeze” fluids are not available in all states or counties.
  9. Check the windshield washer reservoir and fill to the recommended level. Wiper fluid gets used quickly during a single snowstorm or if you are traveling along grimy roadways.
  10. Inspect wiper spray nozzles for clogs or obstructions that may prevent proper operation when you need them most.
  11. Review the following tire-related concerns:
    • Make sure tires are properly inflated (check manufacturer recommendations) and make sure there’s plenty of tread; check for uneven wear. It’s a sign something may be wrong with the tire and alignment.
    • Do you have a spare tire? It needs to be inspected as well.
    • ​Tire rubber degrades after several years. Older tires may need to be replaced even if they have not been used.
  12. Review your vehicle manual for seasonal recommendations. Ask whether your vehicle is due for a climate control system flush. If antifreeze hasn’t been replaced in several years, the fluid may have lost its effectiveness. Rust particles may clog the system and cause failure.

Schedule your maintenance or repair today, to give your vehicles the care they need!

Autumn Prep Guide: 11 Steps To A Clean, Healthy Ride

Published on September 07, 2022 12:54 PM

Autumn Prep Guide: 11 Steps To A Clean, Healthy Ride

Oil, dirt, sand, sap, chemicals, tar, radiator fluid–summer travels accumulate a lot of contaminants.  Come the first rains for autumn, those chemicals slosh against your vehicle, damaging its finish as well as coating wheels and windows with grime.  

Don’t despair. 

By applying some preventative care, your vehicle can shine through all the early season weather. A bit of interior maintenance also can help improve cabin health for you and your passengers. 

For drivers who live or drive to places where autumn arrives early–Canada, New England, mountainous regions–problems with grime surface in early September. By taking early preventative steps, drivers can protect the exterior and interior of their vehicles. 

Same is true for other regions as well, especially places which experienced frequent summer rains. All of the accumulated grime can damage exterior finishes. Moisture can lead to mold and odors if left unattended. 

Keep your vehicle shining throughout fall and improve the health of your vehicle cabin with some simple car care steps this September: 

1. Remove accumulated grit on the undercarriage, wheel wells and wheels. Contaminants readily cling to metal and cause corrosion. 

  • Use a power washer or wand at a coin operated vehicle wash to attack the problem.

2. Give your vehicle a thorough washing, either by hand or taking it through an automated vehicle wash. The initial wash eliminates most contaminants so you can focus on detail later. 

3. Clean wheels separately. Automated car washes tend to pass lightly over wheels and leave grime in the rim barrels.

  • That sooty-looking film is corrosive and can permanently damage your expensive rims. Look for products designed specifically for wheels since household chemicals can harm clear coat, painted and chrome surfaces. The latest products do not require a hose and bucket.

4. Did you drive through a swarm of insects recently? Insects can cake on all surfaces of your vehicle during autumn harvest no matter where you live and especially while traveling through agricultural areas.

  • Bug goo is acidic and can readily stain surfaces. Treat areas with an insect solution designed for automobile surfaces.
  • Then, as with wheels and undercarriage, use a power washer or con op wash to spray away the problem

5. Run your hand over the vehicle surface and look for rough patches. Do some areas feel like sandpaper? Consider using a “clay bar,” a synthetic material designed for vehicles that feels like putty.

  • Those rough spots are contaminants which have bonded to the vehicle surface. Left unattended, embedded contaminants can cause permanent damage to your vehicle’s painted surfaces. A clay bar gently breaks the bonds and leaves the surface smooth.

6. Apply a coat of wax and give your vehicle the “bead test.” 

  • That is, does water bead up and roll off the vehicle surface? If not, then it’s time for another cleaning and coat of wax.
  • You have a lot of easy-to-apply choices. One of the most recent technologies is called “ceramic coating” labeled “SIO2 technology” or “ceramic-infused.”
  • Read the product label thoroughly. Some ceramic coatings are applied right after the wash cycle before the vehicle dries. It wipes off readily and leaves a glass-like shine that can last through fall even in tough environments.

7. Treat yourself to a healthy cabin. Dirt, dust, fur and spills from summer road trips fill your vehicle cabin with allergens and mold spores.

  • Vacuum the cabin and dry out areas of moisture on and under carpeted areas. Wipe up those coffee or sugary drinks spills before they cause stain or mold growth.
  • Also, remove soiled sports gear promptly to eliminate moisture in the cabin. Don’t forget to vacuum dirt and remove damp sports gear from the trunk area.

8. Apply a protective spray to carpeted areas. Autumn adventures can turn into wet hikes or bike rides.

9. Use upholstery cleaner and protectant for seats and other interior surfaces. Moisture from wet clothes can seep into the seat cushions and creates a petri dish for mold growth. 

10. Keep a clear view of the world while driving. Use window cleaner designed for automobile glass to prevent streaks. Clean both sides of the glass. Hazy film accumulates on interior glass surfaces during summer months and can turn the windshield into a sheet of glare. 

11. Avoid rainwater spotting by wiping down your vehicle after autumn storms. Beads of water can leave pale stains on vehicle surfaces and tend to attract contaminants.

Driving In Fall Weather – Tips For Teens And Parents

Ahh, the fall weather. Things cool off, the holiday season is here, fireplaces are burning, and, well, the roads are becoming more dangerous!

Driving in fall weather is no joke with the unique and temporary hazards it provides. For example, wet leaves on the pavement can act just the same as ice, and as soon as those wet leaves are gone, it will be replaced with actual ice!

If you’re the parent of a teen driver, all of the above might have you cringing.

Due to your age and experience in driving, you may already know by now that driving in fall weather poses some unique challenges, but your teen has yet to experience that.

Why is it that there are so many events and things to do when the weather is the most likely to be challenging? Football games, school dances, even drama productions go on during the fall!

What are you supposed to do when your teen gets his driver’s license? Turn him into a reverse vampire who stays in at night and only goes out in the daylight?

Since we all know how unrealistic that is, we’ve come up with a few ideas that might ease your worried mind and help make your teen a better driver when it comes to the adventures of autumn.

The Challenges Of Driving In Fall Weather

First, let your teen driver know that there are several things that can make driving in fall weather trickier than driving in the summer.

Back to school season means more buses,, more pedestrians, and more cars on the road causing more traffic jams and stops.

Falling leaves make roadways slick, hide potholes, and cover lane markings.

And when it rains? They get wet enough to feel like diving on ice.

Speaking of ice, the frost is on the pumpkin and the roadways, so look out for icy patches on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas.

Fog becomes a consideration as the nights are chilled while the days are still warm, making visibility treacherous.

Sometimes fog can last well into the late morning until the sun can burn it off. But as the sun burns off the fog, it causes its own host of problems, such as high glare from midday to setting.

Lastly, don’t forget that this is mating and migrating season for deer so you might find them out and about more often than not, especially in early darkness.

So Long, Cell Phone

The best way for your teen to watch out for the changes that happen while driving in fall weather and every other season is for them to be alert and aware at all times.

If you’ve never put your foot down over cell phone usage while driving before, do it before she gets behind the wheel.

A “quick” text is no match for the quickness of a leaping deer.

Looking up from the keypad into the suddenly shifting and glaring sunshine can be a disaster. Make it clear that there are no negotiations on this one.

You might sound like a nag, but you’ll keep your kid alive and nag able for years to come.

Preparation For Driving In The Fall Makes Perfect

Other things to talk to your teen about before he starts driving in fall weather, and for you to consider when you drive, is all about preparation:

  • Stay within the speed limit; less if conditions or visibility are poor
  • Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you to allow reaction time
  • Skip the high beams and stick with low which are better in fog and won’t cause glare
  • Clear windshields of dirt and debris inside and frost and ice outside
  • Keep your eyes peeled for deer and other wildlife in early morning and evening hours
  • Checking and regulating your tire pressure is essential as the temps fluctuate and affect the pressure daily

Driver’s Ed Online Programs Can Be Beneficial

There is much to be said about driver’s Ed online programs.

Though you can take your pick of multiple courses out there, we’d like to suggest

This company has been around for more than 20 years already. They have made it big by repackaging the material from your usual in-person driver’s ed courses into an online traffic school. 

So what’s the advantage of taking the course online through DriversEd? Isn’t it the same as taking the course in a classroom setup?

Content-wise, yes. You’ll learn everything that you’ll need to learn from a driver’s education online, just the same if you take the class in person.

But an online driver’s ed has a lot of perks in store for you.

The first one, of course, is convenience. You can take this online course 100% online. This means that you can finish the course even without getting out of bed. You can take the course on your phone or your laptop, and you can access the materials 24/7. No need to go to an actual, physical school! Yay!

Another advantage here is that online courses are more entertaining, and in a way, enjoyable. 

Your teen will love the graphics and animation with a cool 3D look that will hold their attention. The best part is, your teen can learn as she goes, on her busy schedule.

We like for many reasons.

The Interactive courses are full of graphics and easy-to-understand content to ensure drivers retain knowledge, which is of the utmost importance when it comes to teens who can barely remember to throw their clothes into the hamper. 

And with teens who live and breathe on their electronic devices, they have multiple platforms available; he can start a course on his computer, continue on his tablet, and finish on his phone. 

For you, it’s important to know that friendly US-based agents are there for support wherever (and whenever) you need them, 24/7. 

Plus, this company offers practice permit tests if your teen hasn’t quite gotten that far yet. This way you know that she’ll nail the test and not just luck out with good guessing!

Practice Makes Perfect

When it comes to driver’s Ed online programs, you can’t go wrong with one that prides itself on being well rounded, engaging, and completely certified.

Reviewing the material with your teen can be helpful so that you’ll both be on the same page when you go out driving together.

It will surely give you something better to talk about other than the latest queen-bee drama at school, or something better to listen to than the silence that comes from teenage boy hormones!

Best of luck to you both and we hope you enjoy the thrills of fall before the chills of winter set in. But that’s a whole other set of driving tips!

Have Fun Driving in Fall Weather

With all that said, driving in fall weather can be fun, despite the dangers and hazards that you and your teen may come across.

The key to enjoying driving in this season is in your own hands. Just keep on following the basic rules of safe driving and you’re on the safe side of things.

Accidents can happen, but it’s less likely to happen if you’ve taken proper measures in becoming a responsible driver.

As a parent, you’d want to keep your teen safe from harm. However, you should always relax when they take the wheel. Your teen may not be at your level of experience right now, but they’ll get there. The important thing is you’re there to learn with them.

Best of luck to you both and we hope you enjoy the thrills of fall before the chills of winter set in. But that’s a whole other set of driving tips!Don’t Forget To Prepare Your Vehicle For Winter!

Driving In Fall Weather: Prepare Your Car For Winter
Winter Prep Tips

Schedule your maintenance or repair today, to give your vehicles the care they need!

As Days Get Shorter, Check Vehicle Lights, Wipers

November 4, 2020

Winter is quickly approaching and that means fewer hours of daylight. To be sure you can be seen by others and your visibility is not compromised, check your vehicle’s lights and wipers, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

“The days are getting shorter, so it is a good time to check that your vehicle’s wipers and lighting are working properly because the chance of an accident increases if you can’t see or be seen,” said Nathan Perrine, executive director, Car Care Council. “From the driver’s seat you may not notice a light that isn’t working, so check all of your car’s lights and replace those that are out. Also, be sure to inspect and replace wiper blades so you can see clearly when wet weather hits.”

The wiper system keeps excessive water, snow and dirt from building up on the windshield, maintaining clear visibility. Many factors can accelerate the replacement interval of wipers, including operating conditions (winter conditions are tough on wiper blades), frequency of use, material and type of wipers and sunny weather. In fact, wiper blades can deteriorate faster and need more frequent replacement in desert states.

Lights are normal wear items that require periodic inspection and replacement. The lighting system provides nighttime visibility; signals and alerts other drivers; and supplies light for viewing instruments and the vehicle’s interior. In addition to replacing dimming, rapidly blinking and non-functioning lights, the following tips can help keep you safe: 

  • If there is any doubt on whether or not your headlights should be on, turn them on. Lights not only help you see better in early twilight, they also make it easier for other drivers to see you.
  • Keep headlights, tail lights and signal lights clean. External dirt and debris can dim operational lights from being seen by others.
  • Make sure that your headlights are properly aimed. Misaimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.
  • Don’t overdrive your headlights; you should be able to stop inside the illuminated area, otherwise you are creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle.

For more information about keeping your vehicle in safe, dependable operating condition, visit the Car Care Council website at

The non-profit Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For the latest car care news, visit the council’s online media room at To order a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide, visit the council’s consumer education website at

Schedule your maintenance or repair today, to give your vehicles the care they need!

River City Fleet Services, Inc.

River City Fleet Services, Inc.