Six Simple Checks to Avert Disaster before Summer Driving

Here are Six Simple checks you can perform to avert a possible disaster. Summer driving can be very demanding on you and your vehicle. With a few quick checks you can keep your vehicle running well even in hot summer weather like today. They don’t take long and can save you hours of trouble and headaches later. Read On

1. Cooling System
Check Radiator fluids before leaving home. Just open the hood and check that the fluid is up to the line specified on the coolant reservoir.

Keep an eye on the temperature gauge while driving if it has one. If it starts overheating, before you get into the temperature red zone, turn off the AC and turn on your heater. This will make the car extremely uncomfortable but will reduce engine heat by acting as an extra path for heat to leave the engine.

If your car does get into the temperature red zone make sure to pull over as soon as you find a safe place to do so. Don’t try to open the radiator cap until the engine cools. It will burn you with steam and probably boiling liquid. A shirt will not help you because the steam will instantly cut through it. Just wait for it to cool.

2. Engine Fluids
Whenever you drive your car you should check your oil, transmission fluid, and brake levels. Checking these will help prevent problems all the time but in a very hot weather situation it is essential from the extra strain the temperature can put on the engine.

3. Tires
Check the tires air pressure before you leave to make sure they are where they need to be. The heat from the ground can make a tire that is a little overinflated become very overinflated and possibly fail while going down the road.

4. Air Conditioning
While not completely essential to get you there having your AC work can make the difference from being miserable to feeling great by the time you get there. If your AC doesn’t work the most common reason is that it simply needs to be recharged. If your AC isn’t working up to par bring it in and we can test the system for you and get it working great. We currently have a great special on getting your AC a checkup.

5. Battery
Among all of the other things that can fail from heat your battery can cause some problems. Most people think of the battery going out from cold but heat can be just as bad. Check the fluid levels in your battery if you still have one of the older types. Otherwise just make sure the terminals are free of corrosion and are tight.

6. Fuel
This last one might seem obvious but some people aren’t going to read this and have their car overheat. On hot days there are generally more traffic delays from cars breaking down in the road. Make sure you have plenty of gas so you don’t run out waiting for traffic to clear.

If you find problems with any of these items you should bring your vehicle into our service department. We will quickly get you back on the road and you won’t have to worry. Just give us a call at (605) 593-4098 or visit our Service Site

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Change your oil every three months or 3000 miles!

Sound familiar? More than likely your parents ground it into your memory, so every time the little sticker in the corner of our windshield matches our odometer we immediately head for the nearest Jiffy Lube.

When was the last time you went 10,000 miles without changing your oil? If your like most of us, probably never, however, some cars are made to run that long or longer on a single oil change thanks to tighter engine tolerances, better materials, and synthetic oils.

According to a recent government survey only 33% of people had ever driven their cars 4000 miles or more on a single oil change.

The truth is, changing your oil every 3000 miles is just too often, todays engines are made to run 5, 8, 10, and even 20,000 miles between oil changes. The average oil change costs around $30, and lets say we drive the standard 12,000 miles a year, that’s $120 a year in oil changes when really you should only be spending half that, it’s not a big savings, but over time really can help line your pocketbook.

Every year we throw away millions of gallons of half used oil, one analyst from Edmonds.com said “you wouldent change your bath water halfway through, why would you change your oil” and he’s right. If you want to find out how often you should change your oil you can either check your service manual, or go to http://www.checkyournumber.org put in your year make and model, and it will tell you how often you really need to stop in to the service station.

What wiper blades should I buy?

You’re driving down the road, it’s raining & you can’t see out of your windshield due to the fact that your wipers have gone bad.  The next question you’re asking yourself is what brand should you get & what is going to be reasonably priced?  Well according to Consumer Reports the best windshield wiper blades are Valeo 600 Series & they cost only $11.  That’s 38% cheaper than PIAA Super Silicone & Bosch Icon blades.  Other brands they tested left streaks, smeared water around & missed areas of wiping after only 6 months of use.  So the best way to go when picking out wiper blades is to purchase the top-Rated inexpensive wipers. Don’t forget to replace them every 6-12 months for best results.

Five Common Towing Mistakes to Avoid

As the weather changes, Spring hunters and fishermen begin preparing their campers, four-wheelers and boats.  Before hooking up your trailers, all drivers are invited to read the tips below to learn how to avoid the five most common towing mistakes, and increase their confidence behind the wheel.

According to Robert Krouse, Chevrolet’s lead trailering engineer and overall expert in all things-towing, “There are several common mistakes that people often make when towing and these mistakes can not only damage their trailer, but also their tow vehicle.”

“The new Silverado heavy-duty pickup is designed for towing, and provides drivers with the ability to tow 21,700 pounds and carry 6,635 pounds”, Mark Kostboth, Sale Manager

Mistake 1: Not knowing the actual weight of the trailer

“I often see that customers have incorrect trailer weights and they will then underestimate the weight of the items they are putting on the trailer,” said Krouse. For example, many people will misjudge the weight of the gear or supplies, such as building materials that are actually much heavier than people may think.

Mistake 2:  Not knowing the actual capacity of the tow vehicle as equipped

Far too often, an individual will mismatch the vehicle to the trailer load, which must always be properly matched for optimal efficiency. Many websites provide only maximum trailer weight ratings (TWR), which means consumers would need additional equipment to achieve the greatest performance for a vehicle that is not equipped with the maximum TWR.

Mistake 3:  Overloading the trailer or tow vehicle

Consumers often make the mistake of overloading and exceeding the TWR and GCWR as discussed in mistakes one and two, but it is also vital not to overload the trailer tongue weight, tow vehicle and trailer gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs), individual tow vehicle and trailer gross axle weight ratings (GAWRs) and individual tire ratings. “By putting too much weight on a trailer it can not only damage the trailer, but also the tow vehicle. Results can range from broken axles to bearing damage and excessive tire wear,” Krouse said.

Mistake 4:  Improper combination setup – including weight distribution hitch

After you have confirmed TWR and GCWR, it is important to make sure that the hitch ball, brake controller, sway controls and weight-distributing spring bars (if used) are properly installed and adjusted. “Too often I see that the hitch ball is too high or too low, the sway controls or weight-distributing spring bars are improperly adjusted and the brake controller may not be properly set up,” said Krouse. “It is common to see trailers with spring bars that are visibly curved upward and applying large amounts of torque to the hitch. “

Mistake 5:  General driving practices

One of the easiest ways to avoid mistakes while towing is to always practice safe driving techniques. The tow vehicle and trailer combination is often considerably heavier, longer and higher than the vehicle that is doing the towing. This combination makes it more difficult to maneuver, drive and stop the vehicle doing the towing.

Finally, Krouse notes that consumers need to pay close attention to vehicle and trailer maintenance. When trailering, it is important to remember that the tow vehicle is working harder than it does alone, generally operating under higher loads and higher temperatures that require additional attention. Also, trailers often sit for long periods of time and require maintenance due to long periods of inactivity. “Either way, stay on top of maintenance, particularly paying attention to fluids, tires and brakes in the tow vehicle and brakes, bearings, tires and electrical systems in the trailer,” said Krouse.

2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD Towing Features:

The Silverado HD was engineered from the ground up to offer drivers more capability, including:

  • The maximum conventional (ball hitch) towing rating is now a segment-best 17,000 pounds (7,727 kg)
  • The maximum fifth-wheel hitch rating is now 21,700 pounds (9,843 kg) for the Silverado 3500HD crew cab/long box
  • The maximum payload for the Silverado 3500HD is 6,635 pounds (3,009 kg)

In addition, the new Silverado HD is available with confidence- and control-related features specifically for towing, including:

  • Electronic trailer sway control senses conditions of trailer sway and automatically intervenes with braking and or reduced engine power to bring the trailer under control
  • Hill start assist helps prevent rollbacks on steep grades by holding the brakes for about 1.5 seconds, giving the driver time to switch from the brake pedal to the gas pedal without rolling
  • Automatic grade braking and intelligent brake assist uses the compression of the engine to slow the vehicle without applying the brakes, prolonging brake life and helping maintain control over long, downhill grades
  • The rear backup camera helps make connecting the Silverado HD to a trailer quicker and easier

 

Oil Change information. What else do they check besides the oil?

How to jump start your vehicle from the Rapid Chevy Service Department

Brakes Information from Rapid Chevrolet Cadillac Service Department

Tire Rotation Information from Rapid Chevy Service Department

Why do I have to rotate my tires?

In short, rotating your tires will extend the life of your vehicle tires.

No matter how well the alignment is, it will never be perfect because of the forces from turning and if your vehicle is front or rear wheel drive.
Not all vehicles require the same rotation sequence. You will have to look in the owners manual to learn the best pattern for your specific vehicle. Another thing to keep in mind is if your tires are directional, meaning that they are designed to run on the road in one direction only, there are additional challenges in rotating so your cost will be more.
So when should you rotate your tires? Again you will have to refer to your owners manual but when in doubt just plan to do it every time you have your oil changed. The most critical time is during the first 10,000 miles on the car.

Your Cars Cooling System

Common Problems with a Vehicles Cooling System
*never open your radiator when the engine is hot. It may seem like the solution when you see all that vapor rolling from it but the built up pressure in the system will cause the coolant to splash out and burn you.*
  • Broken Hose. Hoses wear out and can leak. Once the coolant has left the system it can no longer cool the engine and it overheats.
  • Broken Fan Belt. The water pump is driven by the engine through a belt. If the belt breaks the water pump can not turn and coolant will not be circulated through the engine. This will also lead to engine overheating.
  • Faulty Radiator Cap. The radiator cap is designed to hold a certain pressure in the coolant system. Most caps hold 8-12 psi. This pressure raises the point in which the coolant will boil and maintains a stable system. If your cap does not hold pressure, then the car could overheat on hot days since the system never becomes pressurized.
  • Water Pump Failure. Most commonly you will hear a screeching noise and will be able to see coolant leaking from the front of the pump or under the car. Early signs are small spots of coolant under the car after being parked overnight and a strong coolant odor while driving. This smell is pungent. It is not like gas or exhaust.
  • Head gasket seal. If there is large amounts of white smoke flowing out of your exhaust then the problem could be with the head gasket. The head gasket seals the cylinder head to the engine block and also seals the coolant passages. When this gasket fails to work properly, coolant can enter the cylinder and will be turned into vapor and the engine fires. Head gaskets most often fail after the engine has experienced an overheating situation. When super hot, the cylinder had can warp and allow the gasket to fail.
Preventative Maintenance of your car’s cooling system
  • Have all your belts and hoses checked regularly. A good time to do this is during your scheduled oil change.
  • Depending on what your cars maintenance schedule is, have the coolant changed every 2-3 years.
  • Inspect your radiator cap from time to time to see if you notice any deterioration. This can be a cheap fix just to check it and replace it for the $5 to $10.
  • Every 5 years have the coolant system flushed. The reason for this is that corrosion builds up in the system over time so you need to get that flushed out.
What to talk about with your mechanic
  • Let your mechanic know when your overheating problems occur. Don’t let them go because the longer you wait the more damage that can be done to your vehicle.
  • There is a big difference between overheating while you idle and while you are on the highway so make sure to note to yourself when it is happening so you can tell your mechanic.
  • Ask your mechanic if it’s worth changing the timing belt or chain while they are in replacing the water pump. Because it has to be removed anyway to get to the water pump it will save you in labor costs if you do it at the same time.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call the service manager at Rapid Chevrolet. His name is Jim Cengel and his local number is 605-343-1282 ext 250 and the toll free number for the dealership is 800-343-1282. We hope this information has been helpful. If you have any questions you may find your answer on the website. www.rapidchevrolet.com