Articles:

Proper a/c system maintenance is critical

Proper a/c system maintenance is critical

Summer is here, and Overland Park temperatures are climbing as they always do. Extreme heat is nothing to ignore when it comes to your car’s interior. Studies have shown that even on a relatively mild day in the lower 70s, interior temperatures can climb more than 40 degrees above the outside air temperature in as little as 60 minutes. Even with the windows cracked, temperatures can easily top out above 130 degrees during a heat wave. Having a properly working air conditioning system not only protects you and your family from heat exhaustion, but it helps maintain the integrity of your vehicle’s interior, and guards against damage to items in your car such as DVDs or food. Besides, a cool car just makes any ride more pleasant. When a customer’s a/c is not working up to par, the first thing we do is inspect the system for leaks. Most of the time this is the problem. This is a serious environmental issue that should not be fixed with the band-aid approach of adding more refr ... read more

It’s pothole season!

Although the Olympics are being held half a world away, here in Overland Park the Olympic sport of pothole avoidance is the main attraction this week. Of course it’s a known scientific fact that things get bigger when heated and smaller when cooled. A highway is a series of slabs of concrete poured in sections and covered in asphalt. In between each section is an expansion joint. As the air temperature changes, so does the temperature of the road. As the sections grow, the expansion joints in between will bloat on a hot day and contract on a cold day. This constant changing allows water in and weakens the concrete, therefore causing it to break or flake away on the surface. The asphalt breaks away with it. You can see this phenomenon by looking at the edges of any driveway or sidewalk. Most highway potholes are depressions in the road surface located near these expansion joints. The edges are always the weakest part of each section. Sometimes the surface underneath w ... read more

Categories:

Road Conditions

Debunking five synthetic oil myths

Debunking five synthetic oil myths

When an engine “burns a little oil,” you can usually trace that result to poor oil change services over its life. The opposite is also true. I took an old Honda apart one time to adjust the valves. The engine had always used full synthetic oil. At 150,000 miles, I could see my reflection in the cam lobe. It was perfectly polished like a mirror. I just smiled to myself and the valves hardly needed adjustment. This sold me on full synthetic. At New Concept Auto Service, we recently announced our new oil change guidelines and a recommendation to most of our customers to switch to synthetic oil. Unfortunately, there are a lot of rumors and untruths floating around about synthetic. Here are my top five myths, with a little explanation: Once you switch to synthetic oil, there’s no going back.That is simply not true. So as long as you use the correct weight and quantity published by the car manufacturer, you can switch back and forth as much as you’d like. As New Concept ... read more

Categories:

Oil Change

Time to replace those wiper blades?

Time to replace those wiper blades?

It’s amazing how the smallest and least expensive part of the car can have a tremendous impact on safety. Take windshield wipers, for instance. Most people don’t even think about them as a key auto maintenance factor until they encounter a driving rainstorm or the first slushy mess of the winter. Natural rubber rots, so windshield wiper replacement should be done annually, depending on your climate, whether or not your car is garaged, and how often you drive. Fall is the optimal time for this, especially if you have noticed streaks, wiper “chattering,” scuffing, or any instance where the blade is not clearing the windshield properly. (Never run the wipers on a dry windshield!) The easiest way to determine if you’re due a replacement is to run your fingers along the rubber part of the wiper. If it’s not smooth as butter, it won’t do the job right and you run the risk of not being able to see the road during a storm. If you drive a minivan or SUV be sure to check the rear wi ... read more

Categories:

Cold Weather

Overland Park oil change Q&A

I received this Honda oil change question via email last week and thought others might be interested in the discussion: “I just did the first oil change on my new 2012 Honda CRV. OEM recommends 0W-20 oil. All I could find in this grade at O’Reilly was synthetic. I called the dealer to confirm and was told that I could use 0W-20 mineral or synthetic and that they carried both at their parts counter. He also said I could use 5W-20 as my 2009 CRV calls for and is available everywhere in both mineral and synthetic. I have always used only mineral and my oil change interval has been 5,000 miles. This time I went with the Mobil 1 Advanced (blah blah) Full Synthetic from O’Reilly. It was pricey at $9 a quart. Now I am trying to decide if sticking with synthetic is the way to go. Theoretically, I should be able to extend my oil change interval from 5,000 to 7,500 miles by using synthetic. Since I now maintain three cars with my teenage daughter driving, this would be a time ... read more

Categories:

Oil Change

Good car habits formed early

Good car habits formed early

Last weekend we had nine young men from Boy Scout Webelo Pack 3267 visit New Concept Auto Service in Overland Park with a goal of getting their handyman merit badge. The morning included teaching the boys some basic car maintenance tasks. Led by den mother Liz Sears, the program started by showing the boys how to unlock and lift the hood, and included teaching them how to check the oil, replace a turn signal bulb, check the tire pressure, and safely replace a flat tire with the spare. I first stepped through how I would do each task and then let the boys collectively perform each task as a team. To check the engine oil level, you have to first get the hood opened. This turned out to be a learning experience I did not expect (it’s second nature for me of course). After you pop the hood latch from inside the car, you have to release the safety latch with one hand, just under the front of the hood while lifting it up with the other hand, and then you have to position the ho ... read more

Four sure signs your brakes need service

Although we’re already halfway through Brake Safety Awareness Month here Overland Park, I can’t resist telling a little cautionary tale about the importance of regular brake service. One cloudy morning a new customer brought his car into New Concept with the ubiquitous “they’re making a funny noise” description of his brakes. I was working in the shop that day so opted to do the test drive and initial inspection. I started the car and took off through the parking lot to take the usual test drive loop. As I rolled past McDonalds and realized I would have to stop before turning onto busy 87th Street, I gently pressed on the brakes, listening intently for the “funny noise.” Nothing. And by nothing I mean not only no noise—no brakes. The pedal went all the way to the floor and I kept moving toward the busy cross traffic. Fortunately, I quickly realized I was going slowly enough the emergency brake could stop the car without damaging anything (if you pull the emergency br ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

Don’t waste your time on LinkedIn

Don’t waste your time on LinkedIn

LinkedIn announced yesterday that it posted record second quarter financial and operating results – including a 59 percent increase in revenue over the second quarter of last year. Two new users join LinkedIn every second. It is clearly the place to be and be seen for people who have jobs, need jobs, or own businesses. So how do you leverage this burgeoning resource without it becoming another time-waster? Post a profile picture. Profiles without photos have the distinct feel that one of your kids created the account and you don’t even know how to log in. Don’t approve a connection without a photo as a general rule, because too many faceless connections makes your network appear hinky. Fill in your profile completely. Like it or not, this is your new resume. One new job hunting trend is to use a LinkedIn URL in lieu of a street address on resumes. Don’t use like buzzwords like “responsible” or “effective,” but mention specific, measurable accomplishments. Ask for help ... read more

Categories:

General Business

Four easy ways to prepare for a road trip

Four easy ways to prepare for a road trip

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating—it is not difficult to make sure your family is as safe as possible before you take off for your summer vacation. Ideally, we want you to schedule an appointment well in advance with our super auto repair mechanics here in Overland Park. But even if you don’t think anything needs to be inspected, the Car Care Council has some great tips for a 10-minute driveway look-see you can perform yourself. Check all fluids, including engine oil, antifreeze/coolant, windshield washer solvent, and power steering, brake and transmission fluids. (Your owner’s guide will tell where each of these reservoirs is located.) Check the hoses and belts that can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose, or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system. Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicate ... read more

Categories:

Other

A wagon by any other name

A wagon by any other name

I was in my hometown of WaKeeney, Kansas, recently to visit a friend. He was restoring an early 60’s Chevy station wagon, which brought back some vivid childhood memories of my mother. She was quite the industrious woman, always on the go and always hauling something around. She had three wagons, all with distinct purposes: The Candy Wagon. This was a brown, late 60’s Ford. She drove this to one of several small towns to service laundromats she owned. Every laundry in those days had both a coin operated pop and candy machine. One of my jobs was to service and refill both machines while my uncle Donnie performed repairs on the washers and dryers. I learned how a periodic little drop of oil in just the right spot kept those fascinating mechanisms working. I discovered it’s always the dime that gets stuck because it’s the smallest. The back of this Ford was full of tools and replacement parts for the washers and dryers, PLUS boxes of candy and cases o ... read more

Categories:

Classic Cars