Tag Archives: auto

Winterize Your Car

Winter Preparedness

Getting stranded on the side of the road is never a pleasant experience, but as fall fades into winter, frosty weather and icy roads are on the way.  With just a little preparation, you and your family can be prepared for the possibilities that accompany this change in the seasons.

The guys at Axleboy know that snow, ice and sometimes just plain old bad luck can leave you stranded on the side of the highway or out on a trail.  That’s why we’ve put together a short list of things you might consider adding to your vehicle this winter.

In addition to the standard items that should be kept in your vehicle (i.e. Spare tire, jumper cables, first aid kit, etc.) these are the items that made our Winter Preparedness List:

 

  • An ice scraper (or two)
  • A bag of sand, salt or cat litter to improve traction
  • A warm blanket or sleeping bag
  • Additional warm clothing for each passenger
  • Snow gloves
  • Road flares for increased visibility
  • Nutrient rich snacks
  • Tire chains or tow straps

 

Hopefully you never find yourself in a situation where you need to use these items, but as the saying goes, “Plan for the worst, hope for the best.”  How prepared are you for winter this year?

 

Rain drops

Rainy Day…Smear?

When was the last time you had your wiper blades changed?  If you are like most people, checking and replacing wiper blades doesn’t rank very high on the priority list.  That makes a lot of sense, since we don’t typically use them on a daily basis…but it can be pretty frustrating to turn them on and see streaks across the windshield.

According to a study conducted by the Car Care Council, 1 in 5 vehicles on the road have deficient wiper blades or washing systems.  That doesn’t sound so bad, right?  According to information gathered at statista.com, there were approximately 254 million registered vehicles on the road (in the U.S.) in 2012, and if only 1 out of 5 is deficient, then around 50.8 million drivers may be visually impaired when driving at night or in precipitous weather conditions.

What can you do to avoid being part of the 20% problem?  For starters, you can keep your windshield and side windows clean.  Use the courtesy squeegees provided at most gas stations each time you refuel your vehicle.  In addition to using the squeegee, check and replace wiper blades that are cracked, split or leaving streaks.

According to the experts at RainX, “Wiper blades should be replaced [at a minimum] every year” as part of a routine, preventative maintenance schedule.  At Axleboy, we realize that drivers make critical decisions nearly every moment they are on the road, and those decisions are based primarily on visibility.  Our top concern is keeping you on the road, and a good set of wipers can go a long way to helping you make the safest driving decisions.

Rain Drops on Windshield

RainX Wipers

Axleboy now carries a full line of the premium RainX Latitude windshield wiper blades.

Sources:

www.carcare.orgwww.rainx.comwww.statistica.com

Wheel Alignment

Caster. Camber. Toe.

Do you ever get the feeling that your mechanic is speaking a different language than you?  It might sound like English, but the average person could easily be lost after the first sentence or two?

We’d like to shed some light on a handful of mechanical terms you are likely hear if you’ve recently hit a pot-hole, a curb, been involved in a collision or taken your vehicle for some off-road joy-riding.   Terms like: wheel alignment, tire balance, caster angle, camber angle and toe.

 

Wheel Alignment vs Tire Balancing.

You probably already know that these are two very different things, but people often get the two mixed up.  Any time you get new tires mounted (put on), the mechanic will typically add some adhesive weights to the inside edge of your wheel.  Believe it or not, those little weights help reduce vibrations or wobbling of the steering wheel.

Wheel alignment also has a significant impact on a vehicle’s driveability.  Unlike balancing, which focuses on the individual tire and wheel, an alignment looks at how a set of wheels tires on each axle interact with each other and the axle itself.  Your typical alignment looks to see if tires run parallel to each other, if they are set perpendicular to the road and if they are positioned in front of or behind the upper ball joint.

 

Caster Angle.

Technically the caster angle is determined by the position of both the upper and lower ball joints.  A simplified way to look at the caster angle on a vehicle would be to examine the shocks.  Are your shocks straight up and down or do they appear to lean toward the front or rear of the vehicle?  Acceptable caster angle can be anywhere from zero to slightly positive.

Caster Angle Image

Camber Angle.

Camber angle refers to the resulting angle of the tires as they sit on a flat road.  When the tires appear to lean away from the body of the vehicle, they have a positive camber.  Tires that lean in, toward the body, have a negative camber.  A slightly negative camber can help to enhance stability when cornering, however, to maximize straight-line acceleration a 0 degree camber angle will provide the best traction.Camber Angle Image

 

Toe.

In this case, your mechanic is probably not referring to the phalanges on your feet…or your vehicle’s capacity to pull (tow) a trailer.  Rather, he is likely talking about the difference in distance between the front of the tires and the rear of the tires (ideally they will be either parallel or have a very small amount of toe in).

According to Greg, Shop Foreman at Axleboy, “As your vehicle moves down the road, the tires create a certain amount of “rolling resistance” which basically means that they naturally pull outward.  Bigger tires experience more rolling resistance, so it is important to align them properly to avoid fighting a floating steering wheel.”

Vehicle Toe ImageFront of Vehicle

Proper wheel alignment plays a critical role in vehicle handling and performance, and is one of the primary factors in determining life expectancy of tires.  So next time you take a little off-road detour or just happen to notice your vehicle drifting to one side or the other, give us a call and set up an appointment for a wheel alignment.

Axleboy Automotive

 

Band-Aid Header

First-Aid Kit in Your Car?

When you get in your car and take off for work or a day at the beach, checking your mobile first-aid kid is probably one of the farthest things from your mind.  Of course, a cut finger, diarrhea, bloody nose or pounding headache was also pretty far from your mind…and yet, life happens to us all.  A well-stocked first-aid kit should be able to help with all of the above situations and possibly a little more.

Most major retail stores can sell you an off-the-shelf kit, or you can easily build your own using the DMV’s recommended list of contents.  The DMV list can seem somewhat daunting upon first glance, so at Axleboy we’ve scaled it down to include only the following 15 items:

 

  • First AidAdhesive Tape (medical tape or duct tape)
  • Antibiotic Ointment (Neosporin)
  • Antiseptic Solution (hydrogen peroxide)
  • Stick-on Bandages (many sizes)
  • Ace Wrap-bandage
  • Cotton Balls/Gauze
  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable CPR mask
  • 1-2 Feminine Pads or diapers (They’re super absorbent)
  • A pair of Scissors
                  • Safety Pins
                  • Chewable Pepto Tablets (anti-diarrheal)
                  • Pain Relievers (aspirin & non-aspirin)
                  • Calamine lotion
                  • Hydrocortisone cream

Whether you are 2 miles or 2,000 miles from home- when life gives you cuts & scrapes and leaves you feeling a little banged-up, having an easy-access first-aid kit in your car, truck or Jeep can help make the rest of your journey more enjoyable.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/first-aid.php

What to do About Bird Poo

Do you ever have days where you feel like the cards are just stacked against you- where nothing seems to go the way you planned?  And then, to top things off, a flock of birds turns your clean car into a public latrine.

Hey, we’ve all been down that road once or twice…and while parking under the shade tree may seem like a good idea at first, bird droppings all over the hood will make anyone think twice about parking in the shade.

My grandfather took a lot of pride in his ride and made a religious habit of hand-washing and waxing his cars every Saturday afternoon.  Whenever we were out driving, if bird scat exploded on either the windshield or hood, he would pull over to the nearest service station and clean off the mess…all the while cursing under his breath about how bird poo was packed with acid that could eat right down to the metal.

Is bird poo really so corrosive?  Maybe not, according to a study by UK based Autoglym.  They claim that the real culprit is paint, which softens in the sun allowing the poo, or any other goop, to be absorbed into the finish.   Whatever the case may be- acid poo or liquefied paint- if you love your car and that brand new look, even the smallest droppings can put a damper on your mood.

To help minimize damage from bird droppings Axleboy suggests:

–  Clean off the affected area as early as possible.  Some folks (like my grandpa) may rush to the nearest gas station with the free squeegee and window cleaner.  Others might find it more convenient to keep a spray bottle in the trunk.  Whatever your preference is, removing the poop sooner rather than later will always do less damage.

–  If the droppings are fresh, use plenty of water and a moist towelette or washcloth to carefully remove the entire deposit

–  For those crusty, baked-on turds, placing them under a moist cloth for 10 minutes should help soften things up enough that it can be cleaned with ease.

–  Use plenty of moisture.  When it comes to cleaning bird droppings off your car, more moisture is always better.  Why?  Did you know that many birds use small bits of gravel to help with digestion?  Well, according to the bird scientists they do, and those tiny stones ultimately end up in the doo doo.  Rather that scratching your clear-coat with poop grit, get as much as you can off with water or some other car-safe cleaner.

 

We may never be able to stop birds from plastering our cars, but there’s no reason to let them leave a permanent mark.  As Smokey the Bird says, “Only you can prevent paint damage!”  Let’s just hope that pigs never do learn to fly.

2013 Jeep Rubicon

2013 Rubicon Upgrade

We just wanted to give a shout out to Mr. Orthwein, of the Anheuser-Busch family, who recently asked us to upgrade a 2013 4-door Jeep Rubicon.   We absolutely love the way this Jeep turned out and hope it brings you many miles of on and off-road adventure.

 

Customizations included:

  • ARB bumpers in front and back
  • N-Fab side steps
  • WARN winch
  • Old Man Emu 2-2.25” Lift
  • Speaker fog lamps
  • K&N Cold air intake
  • Hi-Lift Jack and mount
  • And several other enhancements

 

Thank you for giving the team at Axleboy this opportunity to earn your trust!

 

Lifted 2013 Rubicon

Jeep Rubicon2013 Jeep Rubicon

We Honor Sport Moms

Salute To Sports-Team Moms

Sports-Team Moms, we salute you!!  You are the superheroes of the 21st century and we admire the many roles you fulfill.  At any moment, you take on the role of party planner, master of ceremonies, operations manager, medic and/or nutrition specialist.  You are the voice of reason, the shoulder to cry on and the embodiment of kindness, compassion & selfless service.

Like all superheroes, you have a specialized vehicle full of gadgets that can do almost anything.  Its comfortable seating and spacious cargo area make your mini-van the ultimate vehicle of choice among responsible super-sport-moms.  With you at the helm, no matter what obstacles appear, we are confident that you will get our team there on time.

We understand that there are times when things don’t turn out exactly as you planned, and it’s okay, Mom.  That’s all part of the superhero-cycle.  Even Superman and Wonder Woman had challenges to overcome, and often times they relied on a faithful sidekick for additional help.  We want you to know that when the trouble-light comes on, help is one simple phone call away.  Your dependable sidekick, Axleboy, can accurately assess the danger and provide a viable strategic plan to keep you and your team safely on the road.

Oil Changes, Transmission Work, Wheels & Tires, Axles, Differentials, Safety & Emissions and so much more.  No matter what you need, we’re here for you!  We can even set you up with a courtesy van at no additional cost so that your team doesn’t have to miss a single game.

Windshield Wash Fluid

Washer Fluid

Underneath the hood of your vehicle should be a small plastic container full of blue fluid.  In the winter months that fluid can be a real life-saver as it works with your wiper blades to keep your windshield clean.  Here are some common questions we’ve heard this winter about washer fluid.

Is there any alternative to buying fluid from the store?

Yes. You can find several DIY solutions online.  We advise that you use caution when following recipes that appear online.  Unfortunately some solutions may cause a significant amount of damage over time.  So, if you don’t want to spend the $1-$2 and purchase fluid from the store just make sure you do your research. Or bring your vehicle to Axleboy and we’ll top you off.

Can I just use a mixture of water and detergent?

You could…but we absolutely do NOT recommend it for several reasons.  First, the chemical properties of detergents may actually leave a residue on the inside of hoses which can lead to system failure.  Second, this combination is not rated for low temperatures.  When water freezes it expands and may completely bust the plastic fluid container.  Finally, the chemicals found in many detergents can be harmful to an automobile’s paint, making it more likely to peel and blister in warm weather.

Does my mechanic top off this fluid as part of my routine maintenance?

That can vary from one shop to another, but when you have your vehicle serviced at Axleboy the answer is definitely YES.  Every time your vehicle comes into our shop, for routine maintenance and repairs, we check and top off essential fluids.  Your safety on the road is our primary focus.

Is there a special winter blend that I should buy?

There are essentially two types of windshield fluid: a diluted form of the blue stuff which is good at any temperature above 40°F and the standard winter blend, rated for temperatures as low as -20°F.  At Axleboy, we use the winter blend all year long and it works great.  Whether you buy the pre-mixed solution or one of the many concentrates available, we recommend that you check the temperature rating on the label and follow all directions…or you could just bring you vehicle to Axleboy and we’ll take care of it for you.

Windshield Wash Fluid