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Archive for March 2015

The Auto Authority LLC Guide to Saving Fuel: Car Weight

Posted March 25, 2015 12:00 PM

The team at Auto Authority LLC in Oshkosh, and Wisconsin car owners are all talking right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. Oshkosh drivers want to save the environment and their pocketbooks.

And we all know—or should know—that preventive maintenance will help maximize fuel economy. But is there something more people in Oshkosh can do? After all, some of us folks can't cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of fuel economy. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from point A to point B. And that means buying more gas in Oshkosh and producing more emissions.

Of course, your vehicle's weight isn't negotiable. And you can't do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn't an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your vehicle. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your home? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don't. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your car: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don't.

Clean out your trunk. You'd be surprised how much weight you're lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food and regular old dirt. Even if it's not a lot of weight, you'll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don't toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire—the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in your vehicle when you go on a longer trip, but you don't have to lug it around all the time. After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some money in Oshkosh.

Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com

 



Below 45 Degrees in Oshkosh: Consider Winter Tires

Posted March 20, 2015 12:00 PM

Remember snow tires? They were basically just regular tires with big, knobby lugs to get them through deep snow. They were loud and rode hard, and Oshkosh drivers couldn't wait to get them off the car. Then along came television advertisements for “all-season” radials. Wisconsin drivers ran out and bought some and we thought we were done with snow tires forever.

Tires have come a long way since then. Modern winter tires sold in the Oshkosh area are much better designed for the wide range of conditions that come with Wisconsin winter weather. They are made with a rubber compound that helps them stay flexible in cold weather. Regular tires become hard and stiff at Oshkosh temperatures below 45°F (7° C) which reduces their traction. That's a concern in winter, especially with snowy or wet conditions. But it also means that Oshkosh drivers are better off with winter tires in cold weather even when it's dry.

The tread design on winter tires has been improved to move snow, slush and water. The lugs and grooves throw packed snow out of the tread as the tire rotates. This means the tread is open and ready to move more snow when it rolls around again. Summer tires can pack up with snow, which makes them more dangerous than a bald tire.

The all-season tire that is popular among Oshkosh drivers is a compromise between summer and winter performance. This means they give adequate performance for Oshkosh drivers in either season but aren't great in either. Summer tires give great performance in hot weather but lousy performance in winter. Oshkosh drivers need to put more thought into their tire choices these days.

If you want the performance that new winter tires can give you, you should have them properly installed by your friendly and professional service advisor at Auto Authority LLC. It's best to purchase four snow tires and put them on all the wheels of your vehicle. But if you only want two, you need to put them on the rear of your vehicle, even if you drive a front-wheel drive vehicle. Oshkosh drivers always want to put the tires with the best traction on the rear of the vehicle.

For more auto advice about tires for any Wisconsin season, ask your friendly and knowledgeable Auto Authority LLC tire professional. They can help you find the right tire for your area and for your driving needs. For the best performance from your tires, whatever the season, don't forget preventive maintenance. Keep your tires up to pressure for the best durability, safety and performance, but don't overinflate them. Remember, good car care provides the safest road for all of us in Oshkosh.


Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



A Cold Day in Oshkosh ? Air Conditioning Service at Auto Authority LLC

Posted March 12, 2015 12:00 PM


Most Oshkosh drivers worry about a breakdown or a tire blowout on a busy Wisconsin highway, but don't worry too much about failure of their air conditioning system. A breakdown on the side of the road can be a miserable and dangerous affair during Oshkosh rush hour, but so can a long ride in a hot vehicle.

A lot of Oshkosh drivers judge their vehicles' air conditioning systems as “non-essential” and so may neglect them in favor of repairs and maintenance that keep the vehicle running. But preventive maintenance of an air conditioning system is simple and inexpensive, while auto a/c repair can be very expensive.

Oshkosh drivers should have the refrigerant in their air conditioning system checked regularly to ensure it is adequate and clean. Air conditioning systems often fail because air and water have contaminated the refrigerant. Air reduces the efficiency of the refrigerant, and water can cause rusting of the system's components. If your refrigerant is contaminated, the system should be evacuated and recharged. This will actually extend the life of your air conditioning system, preventing repairs, and keep it at peak performance.

At Auto Authority LLC, we advise our Oshkosh customers to run their air conditioner periodically in the winter. This will keep the seals from drying out and cracking, saving them the inconvenience of this relatively minor repair.

Check with your vehicle owner's manual or with your friendly service advisor at Auto Authority LLC for information about how often your vehicle air conditioning system should be serviced.

Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



Good Timing: Proper Timing Belt Replacement Saves Money for Oshkosh Drivers

Posted March 4, 2015 12:00 PM

Knowing how their engine works can help Oshkosh drivers make informed decisions about auto care and prevent repairs to their vehicles. This is especially true when it comes to timing belts.

An engine's power is generated in the cylinders. Inside the cylinder is a piston that moves up and down while the engine is running. Power is generated in a cycle that includes four strokes of the piston. First, the piston drops and a valve at the top of the cylinder opens to let in fuel and air. The piston then rises, which compresses the fuel and air. At this point, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel and pushing the piston down. This downstroke transfers energy to the engine, which provides the power it needs to run. The piston rises again, and a valve opens to release the exhaust.

All of this movement is orchestrated by a timing belt. The timing belt is so named because it keeps the pistons and valves operating in synch with each other, just as a conductor keeps all of the instruments in an orchestra in time with one another. Thus, the timing belt is critical to the proper operation of your engine.

Not all vehicles in the Oshkosh area have timing belts. Some have timing chains. A timing chain is more durable and rarely breaks, but timing belts are cheaper, so many use them to save money.

Timing belts wear out and break, so part of preventive maintenance for Oshkosh drivers is to replace the timing belt on schedule.

The results of failure of a timing belt depend on the type of engine in your vehicle, but they are always inconvenient and can be very costly for Oshkosh auto owners. If your engine is a non-interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the engine simply stops running. Now that can be an incredibly inconvenient situation depending on where you are driving around Oshkosh when it breaks, but it won't cause any engine damage. On the other hand, if your vehicle has an interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the valves on your cylinders will actually fall into the path of the pistons. Then things start getting chewed up by the motion of the engine and it will cost thousands of dollars to get everything sorted out again. Compounding the problem is that there aren't any warning signs before a timing belt breaks. A visual inspection of the belt is difficult also. In some vehicles, parts of the belt may be visible, but most vehicles hide the belt under a cover.

The timing belt doesn't even have to break to cause major engine damage. If it slips, even one notch, the result could be engine damage with repair costs in the thousands of dollars.

Our only car care option is to simply replace the timing belt periodically. You can check your owner's manual to find out how often your timing belt should be replaced. Many vehicles need a replacement at 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers), but the recommended replacement mileage could be as high as 90,000 or 100,000 miles (145,000 to 160,000 kilometers). If your owner's manual recommends replacement at 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers), however, don't wait until 65,000 miles (105,000 kilometers) to get it done. Remember what you're risking.

Replacing a timing belt is not a cheap part of preventive maintenance for Oshkosh vehicle owners. The belt is usually difficult to get to and often requires removal of some of the engine accessories. The cost of the replacement, however, is a lot less than what the repairs may cost if the timing belt fails.

For more auto advice on timing belts and other engine components, you can always consult with your service advisor at Auto Authority LLC. When it comes to car care, ignorance is not bliss. It can end up costing you in a big way.

Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



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