Get your vehicle ready for summer!

summer road trip

It’s almost July 5th! (If you’ve lived around Seattle long enough, you know that that’s when we usually start seeing the sun.) I know I’m ready for summer; are you? Better yet, is your car? Here are a few tips for a fun, hassle-free summer!

  • Check the pressure in your tires. Gases expand when heated: basic physics. When your tires repeatedly hit the hot asphalt, a poorly inflated one may overheat.
  • Recharge your A/C! Hopefully we’ll be needing this over the summer! As we head into summer, run your A/C to make sure it blows cold. If it doesn’t, your system might need a recharge. (We do that! Bring it on down to Daltons!!)
  • Do you have enough wiper fluid? How are the wiper blades? Summer drives mean lots of bugs on the windshield. You want to be able to clean them off!
  • If you’re going on a road trip, get ‘er checked out. A quick inspection of hoses, belts, and other fluid levels can provide some basic reassurance before heading out on an adventure.

Pay us a visit over in Clearview, for any or all of the above! Enjoy your summer!

Upcoming events in the Snohomish area

juicy watermelon!

Summer is here! And, so are fun summer activities. You don’t have to go far to enjoy yourself around here. You may be familiar with most of the summertime events in the area, but here’s a run-down in case you aren’t:

The annual Kla-Ha-Ya Days, held the week of July 17th this year. Did you know that this native word means “welcome”? This festival, which includes various events such as a 5K run and a car show, is the local welcome to summer! https://www.klahayadays.com/

Who likes live music? <raises hand enthusiastically> Head on down to Lake Tye Park any Friday in July at 7pm! The music is free, and there will be food trucks, as well as beer and margaritas for sale. https://events.time.ly/93cvc77?event=30223356

For those who don’t mind going further afield, check out the third Thursday art walk in downtown Edmonds, on Thursday, July 18th. This fun community event runs from 5-8pm, and many local artists and creatives display their work. And, plenty of food and wine for sale! (If you miss July, no worries: it’s the third Thursday of every month!) http://www.artwalkedmonds.com/

How did I not know about this… there’s a food truck festival in Everett? And, there’s an accompanying fun run, offering tastes of food along the way? I’m intrigued! If you are, as well, head toward the water on August 24th. https://www.liveineverett.com/yum

And, let’s not forget the weekly downtown Snohomish farmers’ market on Thursday evenings! (Held from 3-7pm.)

Get out this summer and try something new!

Tips For Improving Gas Mileage

Happy unofficial beginning of summer! With warmer weather on tap, a road trip might be on your mind! I know I’m always up for a good drive: I’ll bring some good tunes, some good snacks, and – hopefully – some sunny weather! Another thing you might be considering is optimizing your fuel economy. Whether you’re heading out for a road trip, or just a trip down the road to Costco, we all want to get the most out of what we pay for our fuel. So, what are a few simple tricks to make sure our gas mileage is the best it can be?

Check Your Tire Pressure

Are your tires inflated to their proper pressure? If not, an under-inflated tire takes more fuel to move. Even if your tires look fine upon visual inspection, it’s a good idea to use a gauge to make sure everything’s good before heading out on a long drive.

Don’t Use Your A/C When You Don’t Need It

Using air conditioning asks more of the engine, which creates more work, and uses more fuel. Of course, if you’re driving mid-summer, find a balance between fuel economy and personal comfort!

Get Rid Of The Extra Junk In That Trunk

Extra weight consumes extra fuel when moving the car. Yes, on a road trip, you want to bring stuff! Just don’t bring your whole house.

Make Sure You Have Routine Oil Changes Performed

Clean oil means that you no longer have dirty oil running through the engine. A cleaner engine performs more efficiently!

Watch Your Speed

I almost didn’t mention this one… ha ha… but unfortunately, high speeds – and too many fast starts – can consume more fuel.

Come on by Daltons for any or all of the above! (Well… maybe not ridding of the junk in the trunk. But engine tune-ups and oil changes! Anything that helps you get on the road and enjoy life!)

Simple Ways To Keep Your Car Smelling Great

We use and abuse our cars so much, tracking in dirt, leaves, and… who knows what. Then, one day, you notice an odor that not even those tree-shaped air fresheners can fight. What to do? Here are a few tips to try to get your car smelling fresh again! (Alas, no tips to return your car back to factory “new car” smell…)

Dryer Sheets

You may have some of these lying around at home – fabric softener dryer sheets. Stick a few of these under the seats, and that may take care of things!

Remember To Regularly Remove Trash

This goes without saying, right? Especially trash which may be food-based. You may find that simply disposing of the trash that’s been sitting in your car will nicely freshen things up!

Coffee Beans

Place some coffee beans in a mesh bag, and set them in the car. The beans absorb odors, and they smell nice! Just don’t blame me if you have more Starbucks cravings than normal.

Baking Soda

This entails a little more effort, but hey, it gets the job done, especially on fabric upholstery. Sprinkle baking soda around the interior of the car, and let it sit several hours. Then, vacuum it up, after it has absorbed (hopefully!) unwanted odors. For an additional fragrance boost, add a few drops of fragranced oil to the baking soda and mix it around before sprinkling in the car!

Try these out! Do any of you have suggestions for deodorizing your car? Share them here!

Tips For Driving With Your Pet In Your Vehicle

Dog

For some of us, a road trip just isn’t a road trip without our furry friends. However, you want to make it fun and safe for everyone involved. Here’s how:

  • We need to take breaks every few hours (or less), so it makes  sense that they do, as well! Give your pet some time to walk around, do their business (abiding by appropriate laws, of course), and get a snack and water!
  • Make sure, however, that their paws aren’t exposed to hot or cold surfaces for too long. Remember that we have shoes to protect our feet, and our pets do not!
  • Do you have a bigger truck or SUV? Might your pet need help climbing into your vehicle? Consider investing in a ramp, or a step, that they can take to climb in easily.
  • Also, don’t travel with your dog in the back of your pickup truck – many dogs have been injured jumping or falling out.
  • Finally, please never leave your pet locked in your car, especially during the warmer summer days. The interior of your vehicle will turn into an oven, and it can become quite harmful for your pet.

Lastly, before you set off on that big adventure, if your pet isn’t used to travel, get them acclimated by taking a handful of short drives, first. After that, you should be good to go for adventure!

Aaahhhh! Check engine light! What does it mean?

So, you’re driving along, carefree, and it happens: that scary “check engine” light pops up on your dash. Should you pull over? Should you run for cover? What’s going on? Aaahhhh!!!

What does this mean? Truth be told, just the light popping on doesn’t really say a whole lot. However, you don’t immediately have to pull over (unless the light is flashing – we’ll talk about that later). Please do get the car checked as soon as you possibly can, though.

This light can illuminate for many reasons, ranging from a loose gas cap to serious engine problems. When the light comes on, the car sends a code to its computer system which indicates the nature of the problem. This code can be read by a handheld scanner at your local auto repair shop. But, these simple scanners can only give you general information on the problem; it’s best to get this checked out by a local mechanic with a modern scanner.

If your “check engine” light is blinking – luckily, this is rare – it is an indicator that there is a serious problem with your engine that needs immediate attention. Do not ignore this! Pull over, stop the car, and get a tow to your local shop.

Based on this information, you may be tempted to drive around with the “check engine” light on for a while. This could be costly, and/or become a safety hazard, especially if you don’t know the nature of the problem. As with many things in life, if you take care of the smaller problem now, it will often be less costly in the long run. And, it is less likely to leave you inconveniently stranded!

How To Safely Jump Start Your Car (No Foolin’!)

Safely connect the cables to your battery

Uh oh. Your car battery’s dead. Or, you’re in a parking lot, and someone else with a dead battery is asking you for help. Clueless no more! Read on for some quick tips to safely jump start a dead car battery.

  • Make sure the vehicles are close to each other, but not touching each other. Also, make sure the car batteries are the same voltage.
  • Turn off the ignitions and all accessories of both vehicles, and put them in park (if automatic) or neutral (if manual transmission). (Also, remember to put the parking brake on, so the car doesn’t roll.)
  • Clamp one end of the red positive (+) cable to the positive (+) post of the dead battery. Then, connect the other end of the same cable to the positive (+) post of the healthy battery (in the booster car). **Make sure the other ends of the cables are not touching anything metal!!!
  • Next, connect the black negative (-) cable to the other post of the healthy battery; and then, make the last negative (-) cable connection to an unpainted metal part of the stalled car, away from the battery.
  • Start the healthy car and let it run for a few minutes. Then, start the dead car.
  • Carefully remove the cables in the reverse order in which they were put on, taking care not to let the clamps contact each other, or other parts of the car.

Now that your car has been revived, go for a bit of a drive to build up more of a charge on your battery! (Excuse for a short road trip!)

If the jump start didn’t work, it could unfortunately be something more complicated, such as a bad alternator, or a faulty ignition switch. We will always happily diagnose any of those for you! (but would rather have you on the road, worry-free!)

All Wheel Drive vs. Four Wheel Drive: What’s The Difference?

winter driving
What vehicle should you choose for your winter driving?

After our recent storms here in the Northwest, you may be interested in investing in a vehicle better-equipped to handle wintry conditions. But is that an all-wheel drive (AWD) or a four-wheel drive (4WD)? No, the two are not interchangeable!  Here’s a little guidance to assist your selection.

First, either one can provide you extra traction in the snow. Both 4WD and AWD are typically designed to send power to all four wheels of the vehicle as needed (as opposed to a front or rear wheel drive vehicle, which has power to only two wheels), allowing it to increase traction. Since AWD’s mechanism isn’t quite so heavy-duty, it tends to be not quite so useful for offroading. In general, 4WD has heavier-duty mechanisms – this can be both a pro and con, as the vehicle is powerful, but it has decreased fuel economy.

Both AWD and 4WD options can be more expensive. If they are out of your price range, also consider a 2WD vehicle with traction control, which has advanced computer systems to help you maintain traction in snow and ice.

Keep in mind that these types of vehicles can help you get through the snow, but they won’t give you any additional help stopping in the snow or ice! So, whatever you’re driving, please exercise caution, and stay safe!