Tips for Winter Driving: Proper Maintenance

car tire in snow - tips for winter drivingWinter is here, which means you’ll need to get used to driving in cold weather. From ice to snow, driving conditions simply get worse when the thermometer dips. That’s why it’s important to stay prepared. Read on to learn more about tips for winter driving.

To begin with, check your tires. If you haven’t already considered buying winter tires, now is the time to get them. These tires are made with special rubber compounds that stand up in cold weather. They also have thicker treads to help with slippery surfaces, and special trenches divert water to prevent hydroplaning. In cold weather, it’s also important to check tire pressure, as the psi dips when the temperature lowers.

According to Market Wire, you should also be sure to add antifreeze.

Thwindshield on winter drive - tips for winter drivingough water works well as coolant during the summertime, it can freeze and crack the engine in the winter. Antifreeze prevents this—usually a 50/50 blend works best. In fact, many technicians find that a blend works better in lower temperatures than pure antifreeze. In short, follow the directions.

Finally, change your oil. Cold weather usually calls for a less viscous—or less thick—oil. Plus, by the end of the year, it’s likely that you need to change your oil anyway. Opting for a thicker oil will help coat the engine and provide a better layer of lubrication, extending the life of your car.

In conclusion, check your tire pressure, add antifreeze, and be sure to change the oil. These are the best tips for winter maintenance you’ll find anywhere.

What Does Torque Mean?

If you like to know all the specifications of the latest cars, then a term you’ve seen hundreds of times is torque, usually in the form of pound-feet (lb-ft). But what does torque mean? Essentially, torque is the amount of turning power an engine has.

Let’s take the Ford Fusion as a starting example. Its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 175 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 RPMs. This means, if you had a one-foot long wrench and applied 175 pounds of pressure, you would get 175 lb-ft of torque. This force is what causes a vehicle to accelerate.

Obviously different types of engines produce different amounts of torque. Diesel engines have some of the best torque ratings, which is essential for pulling power while towing. The 6.7-liter Power Stroke Turbo Diesel V8 in the Ford Super Duty delivers best-in-class torque with 925 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 RPMs.

2016 Ford Super Duty

2016 Ford Super Duty

Torque is a car’s ability to move at lower speeds. With this amount of available power at a lower engine speed, drivers can achieve ideal towing abilities. Whereas in the Fusion, the engine has to turning a lot faster to reach the maximum available torque rating.

Horsepower works directly with torque to deliver speed at higher engine power.

Watch Out for These Vehicle Warning Signs!

Dashboard Warning LightsKeeping track of your vehicle’s health can be as easy as looking at the dashboard, provided you know what each light stands for. While most drivers know the basics, like the battery and tires, other warning lights are less common. That’s where we come in. Here are some explanations of helpful vehicle warning signs you should know.

  • Airbag – Lighting upon initially starting the car, the airbag fault light depicts a large circle in front of a seatbelt-secured driver. While it normally turns off after a brief second, it might stay on and that’s when you need to be worried. If the light stays on, it means the system has found a problem with the airbag system. Take it to a service technician for repair right away.
  • Overdrive – Simply “O/D OFF,” this light indicates that someone in the car has turned off the overdrive system. To turn it back on, simply press the on/off button and worry no more.
  • ESP – A triangle with an exclamation point in the middle surrounded by an arrow, this light indicates there’s a problem with the traction control system. It’s designed to keep you on the road, so professional attention is highly recommended to fix the problem.

Ford’s Pothole Protection System in Development for 2017 Ford Fusion

potholeOne of the more unfortunate parts of living in a big city is the potholes. Potholes seem to show up on the road all the time. What’s worse is that they can often cause some serious damage to your vehicle! If you’ve ever dreamed of a system that could help you avoid these potholes in the road, Ford has made your dream a reality.

According to a Ford press release, the automaker has developed a pothole protection system for the 2017 Ford Fusion.

Ford’s pothole protection system uses computer-controlled shock absorption to minimize the amount of damage potholes can do to your car.

“The new Fusion V6 Sport substantially reduces the harsh impact potholes often deliver,” says Jason Michener, Ford continuously controlled damping engineering expert. “Our new pothole mitigation technology works by actually detecting potholes and ‘catching’ the car’s wheel before it has a chance to drop all the way into the pothole.”

The 2017 Ford Fusion is just the first vehicle in the Ford lineup to make use of this revolutionary technology. Hopefully, it will spread to other vehicles in the near future in order to help drivers everywhere avoid the constant and irritating potholes on city roads!

Random Acts of Vehicle Kindness to Perform

Here at Friendly Ford, we like to live up to our name. One of the best ways to be friendly to your neighbors is through random acts of kindness. Such actions can vary depending on who you’re doing them for or what needs done, including these random acts of vehicle kindness you could perform.

  1. Wash Someone Else’s Car

car washIf someone you know has a busy schedule, washing their vehicle might be the last thing on their to-do list. Offer to wash their vehicle for them so that they don’t have to take up part of their time to do so.

  1. Form a Carpool to Work

If some of your neighbors work with you or near you, consider hosting a carpool to work in the morning. Not only will it be better for you all, but it will be better for the environment as well!

  1. Help Someone Jump-Start Their Vehicle

The next time that you pass by a vehicle that’s been stalled on the side of the road, consider making a stop to help the driver jump-start their battery so they can get back on the road.

These random acts of vehicle kindness can really help you brighten somebody’s day!

Tips and Tricks for Removing Car Scratches

vehicle detailUnfortunately, car scratches and dents tend to be an unavoidable part of car ownership. Whether someone else opened their car door into yours, your kid used your car as a resting spot for their sporting equipment, or you accidentally dried your car with a dirty towel, superficial scratches are likely to happen at some point. Here are some tips and tricks for removing car scratches.

First, determine what kind of scratch your car has endured. If your car is just scratched on the surface of the clear coat, you’ll be able to polish the scratch out with compound.  Using a kit found at automotive parts stores, you can easily buff out the area immediately surrounding the scratch. If you find that you’ve removed too much of the clear coat, you may have to reapply clear coat to even out the top layer (see below).

If your car’s scratch has penetrated through the clear coat to the base coat or primer, you’ll need to actually fill the scratch in with matching paint. Once you’ve added paint or primer to the scratch, let it sit overnight. Once it has cured, use 600- or 1000-grit wet-or-dry sandpaper to sand the area just until the new paint is flush with the rest of the car’s finish. Use compound to re-gloss the area. If you find you have low spots in the scratch, repeat the process until it is 100% smooth.

If you’ve sanded through or removed any clear coat, you’ll need to reapply clear coat. Buy automotive clear coat spray intended for spot repairs, and follow the direction to properly apply the clear coat to the affected area.

If your scratch is large, deep, or otherwise needs extra attention, contact us at Friendly Ford!

Dwayne Johnson and Ford Team Up to Promote Ford Service

In its newest marketing campaign, Ford has enlisted celebrity Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to lead a series of commercials that will tout Ford Motor Company’s factory service professionals. In his role, the Fast and Furious star will lead a team of “Specialists” who are prepared to tackle any issue that may come up with your Ford vehicle.

service

Ford hasn’t released many details, but we do know that the Specialists are an elite crew of Ford technicians, trained and equipped to handle anything. We suspect the spots will offer a healthy amount of humor to highlight Ford’s superior service departments.

According to a recent news release, the Dwayne Johnson and Ford partnership stems from Johnson’s genuine love for the brand, having owned several Ford vehicles over the years.

Look for the ads to begin airing this week, along with other related content!

Here at Friendly Ford, we know you have a choice when it comes to servicing your vehicle. Stop by to meet our friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient staff, and see how we can meet your car’s needs!

Jump Start a Car in 15 Minutes or Less

jump startKnowing how to jump start a car is one of the basic skills every new driver should have to learn. Not only could it help them, it could help others as well. With the increasing availability of roadside assistance, the know-how of jump starting a car is slowly becoming something many young drivers don’t know. Jump starting a car doesn’t take long – it can take less than 15 minutes and we here at Friendly Ford have the steps to make it so!

  1. Arrange the cars nose to nose and put them in park. Manual transmission vehicles should be left in neutral with the parking brake set.
  2. Attach the positive (red) ends of your jumper cable to the positive (red) terminals of both the dead and live batteries in that order. Attach the negative (black) end of your jumper cable to the live battery’s negative terminal.
  3. The other end of the negative cable should be attached to a jumping post or other piece of non-painted metal near the dead battery. Don’t touch the battery itself. If you can’t find a jumping post, an unpainted bolt will do.
  4. Once all the cables are attached, start the car with the live battery and let it run for a few minutes. Lightly rev the engine once or twice.
  5. Try to start the car with the dead battery. If it starts, let both vehicles idle for a few minutes.
  6. Disconnect the cables in the opposite order you attached them. Start with the negative cable attached to the jumping post. If you’re unsure about any of this, your owner’s manual should have further instructions.

What Does Oil Do?

oilRoutine maintenance on your vehicle is just that—routine. So it isn’t often you think about why something needs to be done. Some drivers simply follow their owner’s manual while others listen to the advice of friends and family. One important part of routine maintenance is changing the oil regularly. This is an extremely important part of owning a car, yet many owners aren’t sure what oil does. We at Friendly Ford are here to answer that question: just what does oil do?

Oil works in three ways to keep the engine operating smoothly. First, it helps keep the metal parts that are constantly mashing together lubricated to prevent any damage to the engine. It also carries away any dirt, grime, and metal shavings between parts.

Second, the engine is constantly setting off very small, contained explosions within its cylinders. That generates a lot of heat; oil helps to remove some of that heat and heat caused by friction between the moving parts.

Third, it keeps carbon and varnishes from building up in the engine. A very expensive engine cleaning is the only effective way to remove carbon and varnish build up. The worst that can happen if you don’t change your oil is your engine could seize up entirely. Trust us; that’s not a bill you want to pay!

Spring Car Maintenance Checklist

After a brutally cold and snowy winter, spring is finally just around the corner. The frigid winter months are tough on your car, and it’s time to tell your vehicle “thank you” for getting you through the season, and prepare it for the warmer months ahead. Those at The News Wheel are one step ahead of us, preparing a helpful checklist to make sure your car is in tip-top shape for hitting the road this summer.

Here is a checklist of our own:

Clean, wash, and wax. It’s important to give your car a good wash after the last snow of the season to remove salt, dirt, and grime. This is also a good time to wax your car to revive that new-car shine and add a protective coating.  While you’re at it, clean out the inside, get rid of all those extra winter layers, and vacuum the interior.

Check the battery. Frigid temperatures are particularly tough on your battery. Have the battery’s life checked to be sure it’s holding a charge.

serviceCheck belts and hoses. Cracked or worn belts and hoses can become a major problem. If you notice any wear and tear or loose belts, bring your car by Friendly Ford’s service department as soon as possible to avoid costly issues down the road.

Check the tires. Over-worn tires can pose serious safety issues. They don’t provide the traction or control needed for everyday driving, and can become downright deadly in rain. Also check to make sure your tires are properly inflated according to manufacturer’s recommendations.

Check the windshield wipers. If your wipers aren’t clearing your windshield, make sure you replace them. Summer sunshine and heat will only damage existing cracks and worn rubber more.

Replace lights. Check the headlights, taillights, blinkers, high beams, and interior lights, then replace bulbs as necessary.

Check fluids. Check the engine oil, coolant, windshield wiper fluid, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid.