Batteries, tires, and radiators–oh my!

Unless, we’re Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we don’t worry about lions, tigers, and bears, but in Houston as colder weather arrives, batteries, tires, and radiators can leave us stranded–oh my!

This is a good month to bring your car into the shop just to be sure that you are ready for the colder days ahead. Here are some car tips.

Marginal batteries will die without warning in a cold snap. They’ll start one minute and the next minute, they won’t. When you come to our shop for an oil change, we will do a complimentary battery test. If a battery lasts more than two years in Houston, that is considered “good.” You can look under the hood and see a date code on your battery. For example 9/10 means that the battery was produced in the 9th month of 2010. Some batteries use letters for their date code. For example F-12 would be June 2012. Also, look and see if your battery has “hair.” Your terminals should be clean. There should be no powder or green hairy stuff

It is common in colder weather for tires to lose pressure. All tires leak over time. If your tire pressure drops five to six pounds that reduces your gas mileage, too. It is also a safety issue because low tire pressure is a leading cause of blow outs and flats.

Finally, it’s a good time to check coolant. There are three qualities that we always check. First, we check the level in the overflow bottle and radiator. Is it correct. Then we look at the color. Discolored coolant usually means there is contamination and it’s time to get it changed. Every car manufacturer has a different color coolant. It is vitally important that you have the correct coolant for your vehicle. Finally, we check the mix of water to coolant and make sure it is correct. The only way to do this properly is with a chemical test strip.

When you add water to a radiator, it can’t be tap water. At Adolf Hoepfl Garage, we always use filtered water. Tap water contains minerals that shorten the lifespan of radiators and cause contamination.

So, come on over and let us get you prepared for winter. Come in for an oil change, and we shall check all of this and more as a complimentary service this month. If you don’t need an oil change yet, come in anyway and let’s make sure that no lions, tigers, or bears are lurking under the hood.