Blog Archives

Why do Car Batteries go bad in cold weather?

battery

During the winter months The Koons Automotive Companies changes more batteries than any other time of year.  It might feel like a coincidence every year, but I can assure you it’s not!

According to Battery Council International: When the outside temperature is 80 F, a fully charged battery has 100 percent of its power available to start the car.  When the temperature drops to 32 F, a fully-charged battery has two-thirds of its power available.  At 0 F, that same fully-charged battery has only 40 percent of its power available to start the vehicle.

So in other words, the cold seeps the current away, it slows the chemical reaction that creates electricity and replenishes the power in it.

So as you can see cold weather limits a batteries’ effectiveness and to top it off, just driving during the winter season puts added strain on cars with older batteries.  For starters, during the cold weather we use our defrosters for the windshields, the heaters to warm up our cars, and with the shorter days and wintery conditions we use our headlights more often.  Other added stressors on a battery include a GPS Navigation Systems, Satellite Radio, and Bluetooth Technology.  Factor in all of this and you’re diverting current away from the battery, leaving a deficit after each trip, which eventually can lead to the battery not being able to start the car at all!

But wait there’s more!

alternatorIfcar-battery 7 your car is having trouble starting it could be the alternator.  To determine if that’s the issue there is a couple signs to look for.  First, if you notice your headlights are starting to dim and brighten occasionally, your alternator could be on its last leg.  If your car is slow to turn over and start but everything seems normal once it is running, your battery is most likely the issue.  Both the alternator and the battery work together to start your car and keep it running from point A to point B, being aware of each’s warning signs will help you head off trouble before it’s too late.

So, to help prevent battery failure during the winter months there are a few steps you can take to safeguard yourself from getting stuck out in the cold.  If you have a garage, use it to help keep your battery warm.  If you can, limit your use of additional accessories while driving to help keep your battery from being drained.  Lastly, feel free to come to any Koons locations and receive a Complimentary Battery Test with Printout.  Just mention this Blog to receive your Complimentary Battery Test!

Roads are slippery when wet (or covered in snow)!

Tire_tread

Last week the weather in DC Metro areas took a turn for the worst!  Freezing temperatures, snow, and ice almost shutdown the government…Well it actually did for a few hours.  The driving conditions caused by the winter storms were horrendous.  Cars were slipping and sliding all over the road.  Unfortunately, not every car is equipped with four-wheel drive and even if you do have four-wheel drive, if your tires tread is worn down you may find yourself in some trouble.

Did you know most states require your tires to have more than 2/32” of tread depth?  Don’t worry; if you are not sure how to check for your tire treads depth, there is an easy way to figure it out, all you’ll need is the loose change in your pocket!

To find out your tread depth you’ll need a penny.  First: Turn the penny perpendicular to the tire surface and parallel to the tread.  Place the penny in several tread grooves across the width of the tire and in as many places as you can around it. If you can always see Lincoln’s head (as shown in picture 1 below) you only have about 2/32” of tread depth left.  That’s the minimum depth of tread that is legally allowed by most states safety inspections.  Anything less than that and you’re playing with fire.  A tire with the bare minimum of tread is on the verge of failing you in wet conditions of any kind.  It’s even worse in these wintery road conditions, so you might want to think about coming to one of the 19 Koons locations to make sure your tires are both safe and legal.  One other way to tell is if you’ve driven more than 30 thousand miles on them you may want to have them looked at professionally.

If your tires passed the test in picture 1 turn the penny around (as shown in picture 2) and try getting a more accurate measurement.  If the top of the Lincoln Memorial is always covered by the tread, than your tires have more than 6/32” of tread remaining.

tread_depth copyTo help make sure you’re safe and to have a qualified technician go over your vehicle use the coupon below for a Complimentary Multi-point Inspection (that includes tire wear). at any of our Koons locations and we will check your tire tread for you at no charge!

MPI copy

When is it time for new windshield wipers?

windshield

The other day I had my car serviced here at Koons and during my complimentary 27 point inspection my Service Advisor pointed out my wiper blades needed replacing, so I took his advice and had them replaced.  As I was driving home that day it began to rain and I couldn’t believe how much better I could see with my new windshield wipers.  It made me think, how often should someone get their windshield wipers replaced?

After a quick Google search I found a lot of different pieces of wiper advice.  Most experts recommend having your windshield wiper blades replaced every 6 to 12 months.  Depending on where you live you may even need to replace them even sooner.  The winter months put your windshield wipers through a lot between the cold weather and the wear and tear of wiping snow, sleet and mud off your windshield.  The scorching heat of the summer months can put extra wear on the rubber part of the wiper blades.

Although most experts recommend getting your wiper blades replaced every 6 to 12 months your best bet might be letting your eyes and ears be the judge of when they need to be replaced.  If your windshield wiper blades begin to leave streaks and are having trouble clearing water, snow and slush it might be time for a replacement.  Also, if you begin to hear them scrapping and chattering on the window it may be time as well.

One more bit of advice, before you go and spend the money on new wiper blades try wiping the rubber part of the blades with a clean wet rag and readjusting the wiper arm on the glass so it is fitting properly on the glass.  If that doesn’t help then it is time to check out Koons service and find the dealership closest to you to buy new wiper blades.

With a new set of wiper blades you will be ready to face whatever conditions the weather brings your way.  Safe Driving!     

 

 

Cold Weather and Tire Pressure, or, Why Does That GOSH DARN Sensor Keep Going Off?!

pressure

Do you remember how back in the early ‘80s when VCRs were all the rage?  Everyone had one and we all had the same issue, “How do you set the clock so it stops blinking at you?”  A comedian solved the issue, in his monologue he asked that question and then produced a piece of black electrical tape, which he placed over the blinking LEDs, and, viola, problem solved.  Well we’re not advocating that you should do that with the pressure sensor, but boy it sure would feel good to just make it go away…right?

When I bought my new car here at Koons the salesman asked me if I wanted to have my tires filled with nitrogen.  I thought, “Nitrogen, as in the gas?”  Being mindful of weird upsells I skeptically asked, “Why would I do that?”  The salesman’s response was both helpful and portentous; “Because your car has a tire pressure warning system and when you fill the tires with nitrogen you won’t have it going off all the time, as long as you keep nitrogen in them.”

In addition to safe driving, tire pressuer plays a large role in wear, under inflated tires wear on the edges and overinflated wear on the center, correclty inflated tires coupled with rotating them will increase the longevity of the tire.

In addition to safe driving, tire pressuer plays a large role in wear, under inflated tires wear on the edges and overinflated wear on the center, correclty inflated tires coupled with rotating them will increase the longevity of the tire.

Most of the major car manufacturers offer tire pressure warning systems on new cars and you can even expect to find them on some older models back about 2 years now.  It is a wireless system that sits inside the tire and senses when the pressure has dropped +/- 3 to 5 lbs. per tire to alert you.  It’s pretty simple stuff and it’s also pretty bullet proof, except for one thing, the gas you use to fill up your tires with.

Most people use air form a household or gas station pump to fill their tires, the problem with the air from those pumps is that it is subject to pressure fluctuations.  So when the weather gets cold or hot the pressure inside the tires can swing 2-8 lbs. This affects the sensors and the alert is set off.  Using nitrogen as the gas of choice in your tires can solve this. Thank you Indy Car racers for teaching us about this little trick!  Basic high school science teaches that nitrogen (N) molecules are bigger than oxygen (O) molecules so they can’t leak out as easily and therefor tires filled with this gas don’t fluctuate.

As a rule, whenever you bring your car in for service at any Koons Automotive center we check and fill all of the tires for free.  If you have a pressure sensing system in your tires we check and fill them with nitrogen, also for free.  That way if you have a sensing system you can drive safe in the knowledge that your tires are working at their optimum.  If you don’t you still need to check them and top them off as needed.  So put the tape away and the next time you’re in for service ask for more info on switching over to nitrogen, there is an initial set-up fee after which the fill-ups are free!

Maintenance Monday tips: Fall Car Care

Koons Fall Car Care

Happy Monday!

If you can believe it, Fall is right around the corner! Fall is also a great time to get the necessary repairs completed on your vehicle. Here are some useful Fall maintenance tips from AAA:

  • Oil change: many motorists believe their cars’ oil should be changed ever 3,000 miles; however, most late-model vehicles now can go 5-7,000 miles between oil changes. Check your owner’s manual and get on a routine to good car care to ensure your vehicle performs optimally!
  • Tires: check tire pressures and tread depth. Check the pressure on all the tires – including the spare – with a quality gauge when the tires are cold. Be sure to look for recommended pressure on the driver’s door jamb and NOT the tire wall.
  • Battery: ensure the battery cable connections are tight, and the terminals are free from corrosion. If the battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested to determine how much life it has left.
  • Wiper blades: wiper blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Make sure the windshield washer reservoir is filled.

In addition, Chrysler’s Mopar division offers more tips to get your vehicle ready for cooler weather.

“Preventative maintenance helps vehicles perform at optimum levels in a variety of weather conditions” – Pat Dougherty, Mopar

  • Brakes: summer travel gives brake pads a heavy workout, resulting in the removal of thin layers. Now is the time to check pads, shoes, rotors, drums, calipers, wheel cylinders, brake hardware and the parking brake for wear and tear.
  • Air Filter: the air filter is designed to protect your engine from airborne contaminants. Poor air flow to the engine inhibits performance and generates greater fuel consumption. A new air filter allows clean, unrestricted air flow into the engine and helps ensure proper performance for a longer life.
  • Headlamps and Taillamps: days become shorter in the fall and winter, meaning more nighttime driving and increased usage of headlamps and taillamps. Inspect and test all lamps on your vehicle to ensure proper function and proper alignment.

Also, be sure to see all Koons service specials valid at all of our 19 locations.

–Krystal Koons

Koons Fall Car Care Tips