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Question, Do You Need To Break in A New Car

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Breaking in a new car isn’t the same as it was 30 or even 15 years ago… Yep, just over a decade ago, manufacturers recommended new owners follow certain ways of driving to “break in” a new car. However, the old lessons they ascribed to don’t hold true today.

while you’re driving your new car for the first 1-2,000 miles, take it easy.  Don’t wind it out and then come to screeching stops, that’s not good, no matter how old the car is. 

So how did they break in a new car?
The old rules told new owners to follow some simple instructions over the course of the car’s first hundred miles to break in their new vehicle’s engine. The guidelines included: drive at 50 mph for a short time, vary your speeds on side streets, and sit and idle for a time before moving. After going through this process, the driver was instructed to shut off the engine and let it cool down before driving it again.

So why would you go through this process? Well, according to engineers: “to establish new internal mating surfaces of mechanical parts, to seat new piston rings, to establish new seal surfaces, to condition new mechanical parts–to make sure all the moving parts were working together as smoothly as possible.”

WOW!  That’s a mouthful, so after the break-in period, which could last for about 500-1000 miles, the vehicle could be driven without concern.  So basically it’s so that the engine could ease itself into being a collection of parts working together smoothly with all the little parts sliding off each other easily.

But do we still have to break in a new car today?
In a word, no, lubricants and engine oil have come a long way, compared to the products of old; the new synthetic oils of today cling to and protect metal parts much better than their predecessors. In addition, the steel and aluminum used for the engine parts come from the factory already conditioned and treated, thus ready to run, they’re already broken in! Not to mention the fact that the production methods used these days, create tolerances of a much higher quality and closeness, that’s why these engines can run for over 100,000 miles and remain sealed from the factories they came from.

The only caveat comes with that first oil change. You need to make sure you change your new car’s oil and filter at 1,500 miles (unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer). Why? Because metal has worn off while they were settling in with each other, the working surfaces were being establish, and those metal filings and scraps need to be removed from the oil pan and oil supply before they cause any long-term damage.  Come in to any Koons Service Department and we’ll help you take care of that first oil change.

Now one thing you should note is that with most vehicles there are two service schedules compiled for new passenger cars: Normal and Severe. Manufacturers define them differently, but in essence, normal covers a wider range of operation, while severe can include lots of short-distance commuting. Be realistic about which condition applies to your vehicle. Finally, while you’re driving your new car for the first 1-2,000 miles, take it easy.  Don’t wind it out and then come to screeching stops, that’s not good, no matter how old the car is.  Take your time remember you’re getting to know this new vehicle just like its getting to know you.  That’s not breaking the car in that’s just being a smart new car owner. 

 

 

The Fathers Day Top 5 Automotive Accessories

Automotive Accessories for dadWith Fathers day on the way we thought we would do some legwork and find out what the top five car accessories are. Nothin’ says, “I love ya Dad” like a nice piece of car gear. These automotive accessories are easy to find, easy to install and easy to use.

Our Dad’s have driven us around from place to place whenever we needed it, and how do we repay them? By whipping our dirty feet on their floors, spilling our drinks in the back seat, and leaving our candy wrappers everywhere. Well, it’s high time we gave back, just a little; to the man who’s done so much for us by making sure he gets to his next destination safely and in style. We wanted to avoid gear that would require more work on Dad’s part, or heaven forbid for us to do. What do I mean? Well, like the time I gave my Dad a tin of car wax, guess who was out there shining the car up, yours truly. So you won’t find any wax, rubbing compound, wheel shine, or engine degreaser in our list. Just fun and cool items he will definitely want and use.

The 5 Best Automotive Accessories
(based on info from Overstock.com, Apple.com, Amazon.com, and Bestbuy.com):

  • chargerUniversal USB Connectors kit: If you’re like any normal traveler your cell phone doubles as a life line back to your home, electronic files, and your safety. But, it needs power and older cars do not have USB ports to charge them with. A small collection of USB adaptors and cables will go a long way to helping everyone on the trip to charge their device.battery_charger

 

  • Portable car battery chargers: A dead battery usually catches everyone off-guard. Be prepared with a small battery charger that can be hooked up right through the cigarette lighter. Even with a battery that’s going bad, this automotive accessory can get you moving until you can get it replaced.

 

  • speakerBlue tooth speakers: While you’re on the road your cell phone or tablet also doubles as your entertainment center. Most older model cars do not have blue tooth stereo sound systems, so connecting to your vehicles sound system is difficult. These small battery powered speakers come with suction cups or hooks and connect to your phone wirelessly so that you can hear your book, or playlist.

 

  • Tie-downs/bungee chord Collections: The safest way to move things with your car or truck is to use tie-downs, to keep the load steady and secure. Usually made of strong elastic and nylon, they typically feature hooked ends and may come with a ratcheting clasp that tightens and holds the load down until you release the catch. This type of accessory is invaluable to large vehicle owners.

 

  • Seat covers and floor mats: Your vehicle’s interior sees a lot of wear and tear, especially the floor and the seats. You can keep them looking nice with car interior accessories, like seat covers and floor mats. Durable automotive accessories, like rubber floor mats can help keep dirt, oil and water from staining your carpet. And car-seat covers can add a flash of color and style while protecting the upholstery underneath.

 

So drop the tie or the “One Free Hug” coupon and go out and get a hold of any of these. Trust us, he’ll love any of them! You can still give him a hug though and a new car, just check out Koons we definitely know he’d love that! ♛

How do car recalls benefit buyers?

recallsSo far, for this decade there have been less than half the number of car recalls from the previous decade. Yet, from all of the hype, one would think that there is nothing but safety problems on the road and that any car that is recalled is a potential death trap. But that just isn’t true. There are a couple of developments that are causing this phenomenon and it is actually good news.

Car recalls are a common part of car-ownership and it is a sign that the safety system is working the way it should. True, there are more recalls than there used to be, but safety and the quality of cars have both improved in recent years. In general a recall notice provides peace of mind, it means the manufacturer or the government agency involved have decided that the defect in the vehicle is of concern and they want to make sure it never causes an issue.

Cars are more complex, so there are more components that can fail and Consumers have more ways to complain. We have access, electronically and instantly, to a global network that wasn’t available in the early ’90s.”
           Sean Kane, President
Safety Research & Strategies Inc.

Most car recalls, aren’t a big deal. For instance, in 2013, automakers recalled almost 22 million vehicles — that’s about 40% more than all the new cars sold last year. However, almost none of those recalls made the news, since most required a quick trip to the dealer for a routine fix at the manufacturer’s expense. Interestingly one major manufacturer led the list with about 5.3 million vehicles recalled in 2013. That same manufacturer also faired well in Consumer Reports and J.D. Power surveys, so you could make the case that there is little to no connection between recalls and poor quality. If anything, a higher number of recalls might indicate the opposite.

In 2013 the total number of vehicles recalled by major automakers was the highest it’s been since 2004. In the ‘90’s recalls were relatively uncommon, but in the mid part of that decade they hit an elevated level and stayed there ever since. Some people feel that this reflects a greater attention by regulators, however, other trends may have more to do with it: an increase of new technology in cars and an increased availability of information to consumers on the Internet.

Recall HistoryThe digital revolution transformed automobiles improved performance, efficiency and safety, but also made cars a lot more complicated. Cars have become mobile computers that use millions of lines of code. That code affects the throttle, braking, steering, transmission and any other systems that have gone from mechanical (analog) linkages to electronic controls. This has improved performance, efficiency and safety, but it’s also made cars much more complicated.

Case in point a recent analysis shows that about 20% of the recalls in 2013 were for air bags — which barely existed 20 years ago and are large complex systems.  Also, up to one-third of the 2013 recalls were related to electrical systems, things like seat heaters, automatic tailgates, sliding doors, and video systems. Some of the recalls were for things owners might notice — interior lights, blurred digital readouts, or weak A/C systems — these are not things that can cause harm.

Automakers are also more eager to fix issues due to social media and quality rankings. With the advent of third party rating sites like Edmunds or KBB it’s very easy for a buyer to get up-to-date info on how other owners regard their vehicles.  These new “dis-interested third party” rating sites have become a greater factor in the purchase process.  The availability of ratings and in-depth vehicle info has giving automakers more reasons to fix issues.

So, yes, there have been a few attention getting car recalls along with news grabbing manufacturer oversights and they’re obscuring the fact that driving is getting statistically safer. For the record the total number of traffic deaths in the U.S. peaked in 2006 at over 43,000, but since then it has fallen to less 33,000. Due in large part, to life-saving new technologies and perhaps even more aggressive recalls.  So as consumers we should all be happy when our manufacturer recalls our vehicle, it means the system is working and we are more safe than ever. 

 

 

Your car’s windshield is chipped, pitted, or broken and you can’t ignore it.

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WHACK! Not only does that sound wake you up but it may also be the start of a bigger problem, a compromised windshield. A chipped or cracked windshield can be annoying and unsafe. Luckily, now under certain circumstances you can have it repaired rather than fully replaced.

Regardless of the size and location of a chip or crack, it’s always advisable to have it repaired quickly.

How do I know if I have to replace my windshield or have it repaired? Windshield repair or replacement depends on the size, location and severity of the damage. The majority of windshield repair shops can repair quarter-sized rock chips and cracks up to three inches long. Anything bigger and most places will recommend replacement. Although, some facilities use a special technique that allows them to repair cracks up to 12 inches long. So it pays to check around before committing to a new windshield.

Location of the damage also plays a role in determining your windshield’s fate. Cracks at the edge of the windshield tend to spread very quickly and can compromise the structural integrity of the glass. If they’re caught in time, they can be repaired. But in most cases, it’s usually advisable to replace the windshield. You should also be aware that some facilities might not repair a chip that appears directly in the driver’s line of vision. This is due to the repair process leaving minor distortions in the glass.

Windshield repairRegardless of the size and location of a chip or crack, it’s always advisable to have it repaired quickly. If you wait to long to repair it, dirt will work its way into the damaged area, altering the effectiveness and clarity of the repair. And, the damage done to your windshield just might be to big; it may simply be beyond saving. Major impacts or accident damage go beyond what a repair facility can fix. In these cases, replacement is a must.

So, how much will a repair or replacement cost?
The cost to repair a windshield is pretty standard across the country. Repairing a single chip costs roughly $40-$50 for the first chip and approximately $10 for each additional chip. The cost to repair a crack is also about $40-$50, if the crack is longer than 3” it may need special treatment. Long-crack specialists charge $70 to fix 6-12” cracks.

Replacing a windshield costs considerably more and varies greatly with the vehicle. You will also need to add in a molding kit and labor: Toyota Camry — $350 – $550, Ford Explorer — $400 – $1,300, Chevrolet Corvette — $650 – $920.

Is this covered by my insurance?
Nearly all-automotive insurance companies cover windshields, but because the cost to replace a windshield is so much higher than a repair, coverage is handled differently for each. If you’re replacing a windshield, your insurance company will ask you to pay your deductible and they’ll pay for the complete replacement.

No matter what you do have a qualified glass specialist carefully examine your windshield to determine whether a repair will suffice or if it should indeed be replaced. Also remember to check with your insurance agent to confirm the terms of your coverage before committing to any windshield work.

Windshield repair work is a temporary fix
Windshield repair is first aid for the glass that helps prevent the damage from getting worse. In some cases, the repair may look nearly perfect, while in others; it could still appear slightly blemished. But in both cases, a proper repair will help to prevent the damage from spreading. Since every chip is unique, some will respond more effectively to repair than others, but a repaired windshield will never look as perfectly clear as a brand new one.

Bring your car to any Koons collision center and we’ll help you with your determining if your vehicle needs a new windshield or if it can be repaired.  Koons partners with Geico and we have trained technicians that can help you and get you back on the road as soon as possible ♛

What Happens to Old Oil After a Tune-up?

Changing Your Engine Oil Depends On Your Driving: Normal Or SevereDid you ever wonder what happens to all of that oil that gets changed? There is literally barrels of the stuff that flows out of car engines every day at our Koons Service Shops.  So much oil that we thought we would look to see what happens to it.  Here is a response from the American Petroleum Institute.

We are all familiar with recycling newspapers, aluminum cans and glass and plastic bottles, but you may not be aware of the efforts of the petroleum industry and other groups to promote used motor oil recycling: providing convenient collection sites for the purpose of keeping used motor oil out of our waterways and ground water supplies and getting used oil into the recycling system.

There are many practical uses for used motor oil. A primary use is to re-refine it into a base stock for lubricating oil. This process is very similar to the refining of crude oil. The result is that the re-refined oil is of as high a quality as a virgin oil product. In fact, re-refining used oil takes from 50 to 85 percent less energy than refining crude oil.

A secondary use of the used oil is to burn it for energy. Large industrial boilers can efficiently burn the used oil with minimum pollution. As a result some used oil is sent to power plants or cement kilns to be burned as fuel. On a smaller scale small quantities of used oil are burned in specially designed heaters to provide space heating for small businesses.

So the next time you bring your car in, new or used, to get a tune-up and oil change you’ll know that your helping your vehicle and the environment as well. ♛