Snowy roads can be dangerous. They make it likelier than usual that you might end up getting stuck somewhere. If that happens, having the right gear in your car can keep you safe and comfortable. The following list contains some items you should definitely think about putting in your car:
• A (charged) portable battery: Most phones go through their batteries fairly fast. If you need your phone, it’s helpful to be able to charge up the battery away from home.
• A blanket: Cold weather and inadequate clothing are a bad combination. If the weather is worse than you thought and you didn’t grab a coat on the way out the door, having a blanket is important.
• An emergency escape tool: The DSYJ Car Hammer Seatbelt Cutter Window Breaker Emergency Escape Tool can save your life, and it is small enough to go in the glove compartment. Better yet, you can buy one of these on Amazon for less than $6.
• A first aid kit: You can buy one or make one. Some people use a plastic water container to store the essentials; other people just pick up a kit at the store. You may have one already, but how old is it? This is one of those purchases you should check regularly to make sure that it is fully stocked and that nothing has expired.
• A flashlight with fresh batteries: It gets dark early during the winter. You may need a flashlight during the late afternoon as well as the evening to help you flag down traffic or to make sure drivers can see you.
• Jumper cables: Sometimes batteries die. When they do, having some jumper cables available makes it possible to get an engine going again, whether that’s your engine or someone else’s.
• Road flares: Flares can alert other drivers to the fact that there’s a problem. The more advance notice drivers have, the more likely it is that they will realize they need to slow down. There are a lot of options on flares, but the most appealing ones are flares that are rechargeable and battery powered. Use the internet to find one you like and buy several. Some flares even have magnets so you can stick the flare to your car. (Search for FRED Flare on Amazon to see a few options.)
• A compact folding shovel: You never know when you might need to dig. Having something small and compact that can get the job done when you need it is a good idea.
• Rock salt: Even if you have some form of four-wheel drive, it’s possible that sometimes you will run into a difficult driving situation. Rock salt can help you get on your way again.
• A snow brush with a scraper on it so you can get snow and ice off your windows.
AAA sells an emergency kit that includes a first-aid kit, a flashlight, jumper cables, and a shovel, as well as toolkit items such as duct tape, a screw driver, a shop cloth, and zip ties. Every kit comes in a handy bag.
Storm weather is unpredictable. Good car maintenance can minimize the impact of a storm on your ability to drive safely. Here are some suggested areas to check in order to make sure you are prepared when the bad weather hits:
- Make sure your tires are in good condition. You might want to consider buying winter tires instead of all-season. They are optimized for bad weather. In addition, check the air pressure in your tires. Temperature affects air density. Cold air is denser than warm air, which means the air pressure drops right along with the temperature. You aren’t going to have the same control when you drive, or get the best gas mileage possible, if your tires are underinflated. It’s worth checking regularly.
- Make sure you have a good battery. The cold makes batteries less powerful than they would be otherwise. You might also want to check battery terminals to make sure they aren’t corroded. Electrical power can’t be transferred as easily through corroded terminals as they can through battery terminals that are in good condition.
- Consider investing in a battery booster/jump starter pack as well as jumper cables. That way, if your battery fails you, you don’t need to find someone who is willing to help jump-start your car.
- In addition to making sure your oil is changed regularly, you should also look at the owner’s manual to find out what the right oil viscosity is for colder temperatures. Newer cars are designed to run on low-viscosity oil regardless of the time of year, but older cars need a different viscosity in the summer than they do in the winter.
- If your car is cold, don’t rev the engine. It takes a while for the oil in the engine to warm up; until that happens, the combination of revving the engine and cold oil could damage the engine.
- Make sure you have fresh antifreeze in your cooling system. Old coolant is more likely to freeze than new coolant.
- Be sure your wiper blades are in good shape and replace them as often as necessary. You need to be able to clear the snow and ice off your windshield while you are driving as easily as possible.
- Use washer fluid that has been designed for winter. The summer version will freeze in winter, making it useless. If it freezes on your windshield, it’s dangerous because you can’t see well through it. Just avoid the problem altogether and switch over to a winter washer fluid instead.
- Clear off snow and ice from your entire car before you drive it. If you don’t, you make it harder to see through your own windows, but you are also creating a traffic hazard when you start driving and the snow and ice you didn’t clear off becomes airborne, potentially hitting other cars. In some states, you can end up paying a heavy fine if you don’t bother to get the snow off your car before you drive.
- The following tips can keep you and your car in the best possible shape as you drive in cold, snowy, and icy weather during the winter months:
- Windshield wipers: Ineffective wipers make it impossible for you to see well through your windshield while driving. That makes it a safety hazard. Swap them out for new ones as soon as you see that they aren’t working as well as they ought to.
- Warming up a cold engine: This is probably fine although it does use extra gas as long as you limit the warm-up time to a couple of minutes. After that, however, idling can cause buildup on spark plugs. The buildup makes them less efficient.
- Tires: Make sure your tires can handle the change in weather. Choose winter tires or all-season tires. Winter tires are best, but they wear out quickly. All-season tires are a reasonable compromise. Summer tires don’t perform as well when the temperature falls below 44.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The cold affects the way they handle, and it also makes it harder for you to brake.
- Air pressure: Cold weather affects the air pressure in your tires. In fact, a temperature drop of 10 degrees can reduce the tire pressure by one PSI (pressure per square inch). It’s a good idea to keep a pressure gauge in your car so you can check tire pressure if the tires look a little flat.
- Protecting against intense sunlight: Many people use a car sunshade inside the front windshield during the summer in order to keep the car cooler than it would be otherwise. However, sunshine does more than increase the temperature. It can also damage your dashboard. Using a car sunshade when the sun is out on winter days, is as good an idea as it is in the summer.
- Gas tank: Keeping a full gas tank is a good idea during the winter. If there is moist air in an almost empty tank, that can freeze and crystallize, introducing the possibility of ice in your car’s fuel lines.
- Clearing ice from your windows: Even though it might be tempting to pour a bucket of hot water on a frozen windshield, there’s a good chance you might end up with a cracked windshield. The best way to clear ice and snow from your car is by using an ice scraper.
- Steering on ice: If you are on ice and you brake hard, you will put your car into a spin. Instead, turn the steering wheel in the same direction you are sliding and then gently tap the brake with your foot.
- Driving too fast: Bad weather conditions can be more dangerous than they seem. Drive more slowly than usual in order to make sure you can stay in control of your car. How slow is slow enough? It depends on the situation, but the maximum (even on a highway) should be less than 45 mph, and possibly much slower than that. If you notice the car fishtailing or sliding, that means you are going too fast.
On Friday and Satuday (April 11-12), Tunex Complete Auto Care will celebrate the grand opening of its new Super Center at 745 S. 1950 West in Springville.
The center is the 25th Tunex center in Utah and third for owner Clay Liston, who has locations in Orem and St. George.
Just wanted to say your crew at the store in Draper are the best! Since I have moved to Utah, 6 years ago we have had to deal with bad mechanics. So bad we have hated driving our cars and when we took them to the mechanics they would tell me its fixed or that there is no issue so I would leave with the issue I came in with. One such issue was our van would shake and when the breaks were applied. We went to 2 differnet mechanics who said every thing was fine. One even changed out the breaks and no luck. When it was time to get the van registered I took out to your store in Draper only because I happened to be driving by. I didn’t realize I found my new favorite mechanics. I asked for a smog, inspection and alignment. I was greeted by Derek who was very friendly and helpful. When I asked for an alignment I wasn’t sure if I needed a 2 or 4 wheel. He said we can do the 4 and if not needed then we can change the price if it only needs a 2 wheel alignment. Sure enough I only needed a 2 and they made sure that I would only pay for a 2. They could have easily charged for a 4. I wouldn’t have known the difference. Talk about honesty! Then when they brought my van around I was expecting a here are the keys and your bill. Nope! Instead John came to the lobby and sat next to me and explained to me about the inspection, alignment and what they did. He then told me when he drove my van that he noticed the shaking I mentioned earlier in this letter. I never said anything to any of them about it. He tells me that it’s being cause by a warped rotor. I couldn’t believe it! I have taken it to 2 other mechanics and told them of the issue and they couldn’t find it… John knew from a quick drive what it was. What also impressed me more was he wasn’t pushy about having me have them fix it, just asked if I wanted a quote. I said sure and he looked it up and gave me a quote for parts and labor. I asked if it would cost anything else and he said “no, what I gave you is what you pay.” The other places I have used I would end up paying more than quoted. I took them up on it and the shaking has stopped. The van stops great and I paid about 20 dollars less than what he quoted because he rounded up just to make sure I wasn’t hit with any suprises. After 2 years, 4 sets of tires and 2 alignment adjustments, all it took was 1 quick stop to your Draper store, and we can finally enjoy driving our van again! Also when my wife came home from getting the breaks and rotor done she said she mentioned to them that our van some times sputters when the A/C was on. They were able to tell her what it was and gave her a quote. When she told me I instantly said have it done. I trust that they will get it done right. It will be nice to finally trust the mechanic again!
Driving less doesn’t have to be a consumer’s reaction to rising gas prices, according to the Car Care Council. While consumers can’t control the price of gas, they can control how much gas they use by following some simple and inexpensive vehicle maintenance.
“Most motorists don’t have the option of driving less when gas prices rise, but they can cancel out the increases by making sure their vehicle is getting maximum fuel economy,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Fuel consumption is directly related to vehicle care and driver behavior and both can have a significant impact on how much motorists pay at the pump.”
The Car Care Council offers these simple steps to save gas without driving less:
•Keep your car properly tuned to improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.
•Keep tires properly inflated and improve gas mileage by 3 percent.
•Replace dirty or clogged air filters on older vehicles to improve gas mileage by as much as 14 percent.
•Replace dirty spark plugs, which can reduce mileage by two miles per gallon.
•Change oil regularly and gain another mile per gallon.
•Check the gas cap. Damaged, loose or missing gas caps allow gas to vaporize into the air.
•Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60 mph.
•Avoid excessive idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. Warming up the vehicle for one or two minutes is sufficient.
•Avoid quick starts and stops. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city.
•Consolidate trips. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much gas as one longer multi-purpose trip.
•Don’t haul unneeded items in the trunk. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent.
“Some motorists think they are saving money when they put off needed vehicle maintenance,” said White. “What they don’t realize is that neglecting routine maintenance can end up costing a lot more. Keeping your car running efficiently and modifying your driving behavior is the best way to improve your vehicle’s fuel economy and keep more money in your pocket.”
Draper Journal, September 3, 2008 — By Peri Kinder
A reliable vehicle is more than just a luxury. In today’s commuting world, it’s almost a necessity. However, dead batteries, bad brakes, failing transmissions and other mechanical problems can put a damper on the workday. Regular preventative maintenance can catch many of these problems before they become a big inconvenience. At Tunex, located at 12470 S. Minuteman Drive in Draper, qualified technicians review each car that comes in the shop, taking the time to fix small problems before they become expensive headaches.
“It’s our cornerstone philosophy to analyze the complete car first.” says Boyd Ennis, Tunex vice president. “We diagnose and give people a price for fixing the problem before doing any repair.”
Boyd recommends regular maintenance check-ups for all vehicles, starting at about 3,000 miles with a car inspection and oil change. With more miles, Boyd says, replacing filters, inspecting brakes, flushing the power steering and transmission, and rotating tires can stave off all kinds of future mechanical problems. Although it might cost a little more to maintain your vehicle, it will become an overall cost savings in the long run. Once a small problem affects the engine or transmission, a domino effect will kick in to affect other parts of your vehicle.
“Getting a full-blown analysis at least once a year is critical,” Boyd says. “It’s a huge priority for us. No one plans on car repairs, so what we try to do is make is as painless as possible.”
To understand the advanced computer systems in today’s vehicle, the technicians at Tunex receive constant training and education to keep up-to-date on the latest technology. The experienced and qualified employees give great suggestions when it comes to car repair. Additionally, any service performed at Tunex is guaranteed for six months or 6,000 miles at any Tunex in the country.
“What worked for your dad’s car in 1975 won’t work for your car today.” Boyd says. “It’s just unbelievable the amount of computer technology. We have a checklist for each problem that comes in.”
Tunex is open 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday. For additional information contact 572-6612 or visit www.tunex.com.
Tunex has been in the Salt Lake area for more than 30 years offering customers top-quality car service, repair and maintenance. Boyd says Tunex employees are proud to be a part of the Draper community. The company sponsors rodeos, volunteers, at community events and helps support local efforts. The clean and comfortable store offers great customer service by providing the best car repair possible.
“We’re not the cheapest buy around, but we’re the best quality.” Boyd says. “We really sell peace of mind knowing your car has been gone all the way through.”
The Spectrum, Cedar City, UT
Cedar City – Based on gross sales, customer service, quality control and cost, the Cedar City Tunex, in one of the company’s smallest markets, was named as the best Tunex franchise in the nation for 2008.
Boyd Ennis, Tunex vice president, said he is impressed with the quality and numbers put forth by the Cedar City franchise, located at 1220 Sage Drive, especially since it is in the second smallest market. “They are competing against some big markets here, ” he said.
The Tunex Corporation was started in 1972 with the firs service center opening two years later in Murray in an effort to provide and recommend automobile services and repairs, according to the Web Site, www.tunex.com.
Steve Sillitoe, Cedar City Tunex owner, said although this is the first year his franchise has receivd an actual plaque for their efforts, they have been ranked as the highest in years past.
“We have been the top producer in the five out of seven years I have been here,” he said.
Sillitoe said he was excited to win the award, and knows it is based on the hard work of his employees and managing staff. “It’s based on good location, good management and good customer service,” he said. “It was a big deal to receive the plaque.”
Charles Flowers, manager for the Cedar City Tunex, said he was pleased to learn about the award and attributes it to community support. “Despite the economy, the locals have supported us quite well,” he said. “We have enjoyed the support of the community in our cause to keep the cars on the road.”
In light of the economy, the overall company is doing well, Ennis said. “People can’t afford new cars right now, so they have to make sure they are running in top shape,” he said. “We are in a good spot.”
As of October 2008, there were 27 Tunex franchise locations with seven more planned, according to the company’s Web site.
In Salt Lake City, where Tunex has its headquarters, many stores want to expand to the complete car care model, but are not able to do so because of property issues—they simply don’t have enough real estate at their current sites.
Travis Staker is one such owner. Although he doesn’t have room to build a full Oil Express on his Sugarhouse Tunex property in Salt Lake City, he knows he needs full service to compete with the newer stores. His solution was to convert the two front bays of his repair center into oil-change bays and to add the Delphi diagnostic platform.
The results have been good. Staker says he saw increases in both customer volume and profits within the first couple of months.
One reason profits on the lube side of the business have been better than they might otherwise have been in the current economy is that Staker received financing assistance for the lube and oil-change equipment from Tunex’s preferred oil vendor.
Staker isn’t alone in reaping benefits like this as a Tunex franchisee. All Tunex stores offer Shell and Justice Brothers products, and in exchange, these companies provide franchisees like Staker with advertising help, national pricing and equipment financing.
Hours of operation at the new South Jordan store (106th South and 1300 West) are from 8 am to 8 pm on the Oil Express side and 8 am to 6 pm on the repair side.
If the South Jordan store’s opening is any indication, the model will work as well for franchisees as it does for customers.
“They were going six at a time during opening weekend,” says Butterfield. “We serviced 220 customers—the cars lined the streets.”
Part of the draw was the free health checks being offered to all comers during the grand opening, but Ennis and Butterfield say customer feedback has remained very positive, and business has been steady since that first weekend.
Franchisees and potential franchisees like this model—so much in fact that Tunex can’t get them started fast enough. Butterfield says he wanted to have some corporate-owned, full-service sites, but as soon as they begin one, they sell. One is currently being built in Riverton, Utah (it’s about 60 days away from opening), and four more underway in Springville, Clinton, Saratoga Springs and the Alpine/Highland areas of Utah.
Sillitoe says the new model has not only increased the number of individuals considering a Tunex franchise, but has also changed the way potential franchisees view the company.
“There’s nothing like it out there,” he says. “No other franchise can offer what we do because it’s like having two businesses in one. You pay for one, but you get two.”