winter road trip

Preparing for Your Winter Road Trip

Preparing for Your Winter Road Trip

Many people believe that summer is the best season for a road trip. But this is not necessarily true. Around Winston-Salem, NC and throughout this part of the country, a winter road trip is equally interesting. You simply need to know how to prepare for cold weather driving and tune up your car before heading out onto the open road. Below, we go through some tips for your next winter excursion.

Check the Weather

Before your winter road trip begins, you need to check the weather forecast. Never rely on how it looks outside as you pack your vehicle. Things can change drastically in just an hour or so. A temperature drop of only a few degrees can make the roads icy or bring on a snowstorm. Preparation for these types of winter weather events is important. You should also keep your eyes on the road at all times, watching out for black ice.

Plan for a Slower Pace

Particularly if you intend to drive through the mountains, you should plan for a slower pace on your winter road trip than for a summer one. You have multiple things to consider when driving in winter such as the shorter days with early sunset. Also consider that driving under extreme weather conditions in winter is a bit more tiring than even a summer rainstorm. You have the extra concern of ice forming on the roads and have to maintain more diligent watch.

Plan Around Traffic

In the summertime, rush hour traffic slows you down just like it does in winter. But on your winter road trip, rush hour traffic can mean a higher likelihood of an auto accident. This is especially true if there is a weather event like rain, snow or sleet. For this reason, try to plan your driving before or after morning and evening rush hours. Use the rush hour timeframe to take a break, eat a meal or walk around some of the sights.

Plan for a Winter Vehicle Emergency

A winter road trip emergency can be different than a summer one. If you are driving in a region with extreme conditions like below-freezing temperatures, ensure you are prepared for a vehicle breakdown. Besides having all of the tire-change gear you need, also ensure you keep your phone battery charged. You might need a blanket and several layers of clothing or heavy boots. This is particularly important if your car stops running and you have to sit to wait for help or walk on frozen ground.

Keep Your Gas Tank Full

On a sunny day in spring or summer, you can wait longer between fill-ups than when you are on a winter road trip. In the wintertime, you need to be more cautious about how low you allow your fuel level to drop. Keeping the tank at least half-full at all times can mean the difference between life or death, should your vehicle break down. You will need fuel to keep the car running and the heating operating when it counts most.

Prepare Your Car for Your Winter Road Trip

Before setting off on your winter road trip, take your car to Cloverdale Auto for a winter tune-up. Our skilled mechanics can check your heater, brakes, lights, fluid levels, defroster and exhaust system. Of course we can also check your tires. If you are unsure of whether you need all-season or winter tires, we can help with making the right decision for that, too. We will also check your windshield wipers to ensure they are able to stand up against freezing rain, sleet, snow or other conditions.

Getting your vehicle serviced at Cloverdale Auto before your winter road trip also provides you with complimentary roadside assistance. This built-in, one-year policy means you are covered nationwide through a limited 24 month/24,000 mile limited parts and labor warranty. Wherever you go on your winter road trip, you have the roadside assistance you need, when you need it.

Schedule your winter road trip tune-up at Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem, NC today. Call us at 336-331-3448.

What Is Check Engine Light Service?

What Is Check Engine Light Service?

Has your check engine light turned on? When this happens, it is important to take your vehicle to Cloverdale Auto Service in Winston-Salem, NC for check engine light service. By learning what the problem is and getting the repairs you need, you can quickly and safely get back on the road.

What is the check engine light?

Modern cars, trucks and SUVs have their own onboard computer diagnostic system, also called OBDII. This system monitors your car’s performance. It constantly checks the engine, transmission and other systems to ensure everything is working as it should. The OBDII also verifies that your vehicle is running at its best efficiency and with the lowest emissions.

At the same time, your car’s electronics keep other aspects of its operations in check. These systems make adjustments to suit the vehicle’s load, air-fuel mix, temperature and other conditions. If the computer detects a problem with any of the systems’ parameters, the check engine light turns on to signal that you need check engine light service. Although it can turn on for serious issues, this light is usually prompting you to fix a small problem before it becomes a bigger one.

It is important to note that a blinking light indicates you urgently need check engine light service and should not drive your vehicle. Under these circumstances, you should park your vehicle in a safe location and call for tow service to Cloverdale Auto Service in Winston-Salem.

What is check engine light service?

There are literally hundreds of possible reasons why your dash light turns on. This is why diagnostic service is the first step your auto repair technician must perform. This diagnostic service reads codes from your vehicle’s computer to help the auto mechanic find the root cause of the problem. Although the code does not generally provide a precise answer right away, a skilled technician can find the exact issue through additional diagnostic work.

Because finding the exact problem takes skill and advanced knowledge of your type of vehicle, it is important to visit a licensed auto repair shop like Cloverdale Auto. Otherwise, you risk having to pay for parts or repairs you do not need.

Do I really need check engine light service?

If you want to put off your check engine light service, you are not alone. No one wants to take time out of their busy schedule for unexpected auto repairs. But ignoring the dash light can lead to bigger and much more costly problems.

A Steadily Lit Check Engine Light

Remember, if the light is not flashing but steadily lit, you likely do not have a severe problem. It is an issue that does need to be repaired quickly, however it has not YET become such a problem that your vehicle will cease to operate.

If you keep driving a vehicle with a steadily lit check engine light, you risk increased emissions and decreased fuel efficiency. This will also cost you money as you can lose up to 20 percent of your fuel efficiency. If you pay $3 per gallon of gas, this lower fuel efficiency can cost you more than $300 in a year.

A Flashing Check Engine Light

A flashing check engine light is an indication of a critical problem. It means you need immediate check engine light service or risk your vehicle breaking down. As a result of such a break down or putting this service off, you also face the possibility of greater damage to your vehicle. You may then need more expensive parts and service. You also risk putting yourself in a dangerous situation like being stranded somewhere.

Schedule Check Engine Light Service at Cloverdale Auto Service Today

Whether your check engine light turned on today or weeks ago, you need to schedule check engine light service as soon as possible. You owe it to yourself to prevent the higher costs or potential dangers of putting off this diagnostic service and the necessary auto repairs. Schedule your appointment with Cloverdale Auto Service in Winston-Salem by calling 336-331-3448.

Six Auto Care Tips to Keep Your Vehicle Running Great

Six Auto Care Tips to Keep Your Vehicle Running Great

There are many reasons why your check engine light turns on or you experience problems with your car. But you can keep your vehicle running great forever, if you follow some simple auto care tips. Some of these are things you can do on your own. Others require the help of a skilled auto technician.

Three Auto Care Tips for You to Follow On Your Own

The key to your car running forever is in maintaining it as well as you should. Below are three auto care tips for you to start following today, on your own:

Stop Speeding

Today’s cars, trucks and SUVs go fast. But few of us ever need to reach the maximum speed an engine allows. Being able to accelerate from 0 to 60mph in a few seconds is impressive. But accelerating more slowly is better for your vehicle’s overall condition. Avoid revving the engine and remember that “slow and steady wins the race,” especially when it comes to the longevity of your car and its parts.

Do Not Store Heavy Items in Your Car

Another easy auto care tip is simply not storing heavy objects in your car, truck or SUV. Leaving heavy items on the floorboards, in the back seat or in the trunk inflicts unnecessary wear and tear on your tires. It also strains your vehicle in other ways, such as affecting your suspension. Not to mention extra weight = more fuel to move that weight.

Pay Attention to How Your Car Sounds

Get to know the sounds of your vehicle. This enables you to know when something is audibly wrong with the engine. And this seemingly simple auto car tip just might be what saves you from spending unnecessary thousands.

Just think, you’re driving down the road and you hear a knocking or clunking sound. As the responsible and intelligent driver you are, you immediately pull over and shut off your engine. This seemingly insignificant choice could save you thousands. Hearing and responding to irregular car sounds is HUGE. Pulling over and shutting off your engine could save your vehicle from overhear heating. Correctly responding to this out of the normal car sound could easily define the difference between a simple oil change and coolant flush, and a new engine!

Two Auto Care Tips for Your Mechanic to Perform

Besides doing all you can at home to keep your car running its best, you also need to visit an auto mechanic shop at least once per year. Your vehicle’s manual shows how often your car needs routine maintenance. Follow these guidelines or take the advice of your Winston Salem, NC mechanic at Cloverdale Auto Service.

Change Oil and Fluids on a Regular Schedule

Not changing your oil as you should leads to a blown engine. That is a costly problem, no matter your vehicle’s make or model. To know how often to change your oil, read the manufacturer’s recommendations in your vehicle’s manual.

Other fluids also require routine checks and changing, to keep your car running great for a long time. These include:

  • Radiator fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Air conditioning coolant
  • Washer fluid

You can keep some of these fluids topped off through home auto care. But for a system flush and replacement of old fluids, you need a mechanic’s help.

Get Routine Tune-Ups

Your manufacturer’s manual also tells you how often you should tune up your vehicle. This tune up involves an experienced mechanic checking its parts, running a diagnostic test, performing routine service and making recommendations according to specific needs. You possibly need to replace brake pads, spark plugs, tires or a fuel line, as examples. But when you get your car, truck or SUV tuned up on a regular basis, you can have confidence that it is running its best and will last a long time.

The Biggest Auto Care Tip of All? Find an Honest Mechanic.

Cloverdale Auto Service is a woman-owned local business, one taking pride in Winston Salem, North Carolina and the customers we serve. We work hard to ensure you receive the best auto service at a fair price, keeping your car running its best as long as possible. Follow the auto care tips above and bring your car to Cloverdale Auto Service for routine maintenance and repairs. Or call us at 336-331-3448 to schedule your convenient service appointment.

Cloverdale Auto Service