Tech Tuesday Tips

Vehicle & Computer Technology Tips

  • Who needs brakes? Those things just slow you down...

    Can't slow down? What does it mean when you hear a horrible sqealing sound when you press on the brake pedal?  Are your brakes shot?  Is it still safe to drive the vehicle?  It's definitely time to get the vehicle to a mechanic, because something is either wrong, or about to be wrong.  Often, brake pads on modern vehicles have wear indicators that produce a squealing or high pitched noise once the brake pad is worn to a certain point.  When you hear the squeal, it's time to get your brakes checked.  If you keep driving with the worn pads,  they'll eventually damage the brake rotor.  Sometimes damaged brake rotors can be repaired by smoothing out their working faces, but sometimes the damage is severe enough that the entire rotor needs to be replaced.  If your vehicle makes a metal-on-metal grinding sound... you've got problems. I'd seek out a qualified service tech as soon as possible. Why wait?  You need to change the pads anyway- … more

  • Your check engine light came on at the gas station? Always shut your car off during a fill up.

    by Mark Jenkins You've always heard that you're supposed to shut the engine off when you're filling your tank. Well, as it turns out, not everything your dad tells you is made up :) Back in the day, (not that long ago for some of us) this was especially important because most gas pumps didn't have an automatic shutoff feature like they do today. It wasn't uncommon to see someone have a geyser of fuel shooting from the side of their car. Modern equipment is much safer, and spills happen less frequently. Even though the vapors are still incredibly explosive, because of the modern safety factor some people feel that it's not as dangerous to refuel a vehicle with the engine running. It's still a bad idea. It's still dangerous, and even if you don't cause a fire, your car's electronics might just get confused and generate a "check engine" light. One of the reasons modern equipment is alot safer and cleaner than the older stuff is because it's packed with electronics and sensors. … more

  • You've got a hitch- you can tow anything, right? Not so fast there...

    What's the towing capacity of your vehicle?  My towing what? Just because your vehicle has a trailer hitch receiver, don't be fooled into towing a load that exceeds your vehicle's towing capacity.  Staying inside this limit will make towing something much safer and reduce the chances of damaging your vehicle, the expensive boat you may want to move, or that new camping trailer- Yikes!   You may ask "How do I find out what my towing capacity is?"   The owners manual The first place I go for info on any vehicle i'm driving is the owner's manual.  It's full of good and useful info straight from the folks who made your vehicle.  Check out the technical specifications for any listings on towing capacity.  Check out the index, too.  Usually these manuals are pretty straight forward in their wording and layout, but sometimes valueable information could be located in more than one place.  What if your car doesn't have a manual in the … more

  • What's up with all the new tech in the car? It's like a space shuttle in here!

    What are some the the newer "bells & whistles" that may be available on newer vehicles?  It used be called a "feature" when the car had power mirrors and cruise control- we've come a long way since those days.  Some of these newer features have been around for a bit, but unless you've been #CarShopping in the last couple of years, you may not have heard about them.  The cabin technology available to the driver in a newer model vehicle makes the computing power of the moon lander seem like a horse & buggy. Bluetooth Audio This is the extension of the technology that lets you walk around with that thing in your ear, making everyone else think you're talking to yourself, when you're really ordering a pizza.  Of course this tech also lets you order a hands-free pizza from your car, but it also lets you play music from your phone or other device through the car's audio system.  You can keep all your playlists, podcasts, and songs with you all the time, … more

  • Fuel Additives? A necessity?

    Take a walk up and down the aisles of the auto parts store and take note of all the additives and extras that can go into your fuel tank.  With as many products like this on the market, they must be a necessity, right? Unless your car is having a problem, the best bet for your engine is just to use quality gasoline.  Modern fuel-injected engines don't have the dirty carburetor issues of the past.  In fact, modern gasoline has some additives already in place.  Top-Tier gasoline has an even higher level of anti-deposit additives to keep your engine clean.  If you do feel your engine could benefit from an additive, check with somebody who knows.  Your owner's manual may be of some assistance, but a qualified mechanic at the Woody's Automotive Group has the experience to steer you right and keep you away from the "snake-oil" you may find in a big-box store. more

  • What is eAssist Technology? Is is a hybrid?

    Hybrid vehicles have been on the scene for several years now, and (thankfully) the appearance of these vehicles has become a little more traditional.  Many automakers are producing hybrids that are twins to their conventional counterparts.  While the appearance of these vehicles has improved, the ways this technology is being implemented is also unfolding in some interesting ways. The most common hybrid vehicle setup is actually a complete electric car.  It includes the electric motors and  a bank of batteries to power the wheels.  Then there's a separate engine that powers a generator to recharge the batteries.  This small engine provides enough power to the car for cruising speeds, but during times of acceleration, the batteries kick in and offer a little extra oomph.  When the car is decelerating or at a stop, the batteries recharge.  The advantage here is the small, efficient engine gets great gas mileage.  The down side of this … more

  • Yaaay Winter! Now what?

    It's been so nice out lately, this morning's cold snap kinda snuck up on me.  I walked outside and proceeded to scrape the sleet off my windshield. No, that wasn't a typo- I had to scrape my windshield.  Of course I had to search high and low for my scraper, because my car's not ready for winter.  Today was my wake up call- time to winterize the car.   Clean the outside of the vehicle Use what's left of these fall days to give a good scrubbing to the exterior of your car.  Winter's not-so-charming effects are about to hit your paintjob, so a thorough washing and a protective coat of wax might just save your car's body for another year. Clean the inside of the vehicle After you've vacuumed the fries off the floor, swap those carpeted floor mats for a good set of water-resistant vinyl or rubber slush mats.  This will save you so much work later!  Also, your car's interior doesn't want that stale, climate controlled atmosphere! For goodness sake man, … more

  • Time for an oil change. Oil's oil, right?

    There are lots of flavors of motor oil out there today, but you don't need to be a mechanic to understand them or to figure out which one is best for your vehicle.  Of course, my first recommendation is to look in your owners manual.  Your vehicle is a valuable inventment, so why not follow the advice of the people who built it?   Conventional oil: This is what we think of when somebody mentions "motor oil", although it's greatly improved from what oil was just 30 years ago.  It's formulated with additives to make sure that it has the proper heat tolerance, breakdown resistance, and thickness/fluidity (viscosity).   For most vehicles out there, this oil is just fine and will keep you running for years to come. High Mileage oil: Have a vehicle with over 75,000 miles? High mileage oils have a unique blend to help protect the engine's seals.  This helps to prevent oil evaporation, a problem that can happen more easily in an older engine. Synthetic oil: … more

  • You're driving a 4x4! You're set for the winter, right? Maybe...

    I don't want to be a wet blanket, but we all know what's coming. Winter- Snow... Slush... Ice... Good times, right?  What good is your 4x4 if all four of your tires are just spinning and making that special "Hey, look at me! I'm stuck!" noise?   Do I really need tires just for the winter? Even if you don't have a 4-wheel drive, your choice of tires can mean the difference between being stuck in the cold and having a nice drive in a winter wonderland.  We all know that tires are a compromise and a tire that's fast on the street isn't the one that's most controllable in the snow.  Tires that offer great "grippy" control on a warm track become hard like plastic when the outside temp is below freezing.  Most all-season, touring, and performance tires today will focus on lasting longer, offering a quiet ride or better street performance... not traction in the icy cold.  You can't rely on the electronic gizmos in your car either.  ABS and traction … more

  • How long do your brakes last? That's up to you.

    How long will the brakes in your car last? Well, that's really up to you, how you drive your car, and where you drive your car. Flat, easy terrain will mean longer lasting brakes. You live in the mountains? All bets are off... The way you drive your car also plays a huge role in the lifespan of your brakes. Here's a few tips to help your brakes live a little longer Stops from high speeds are your brake's #1 enemy. Brakes sacrifice themselves by turning energy into heat. By stopping from a slower speed, a lot less brake material will be burned off. By coasting up to a known stop will significantly increase your brake's lifespan Only use your right foot to drive. Ever see cars that are driving down the road with their brake lights on? That driver is probably driving with both feet, pushing the gas pedal and (inadvertently) pushing the brake at the same time. Brake fluid needs to be changed from time to time. It's what mechanics call flushing and bleeding the system. If … more