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Taking recycling seriously

Taking recycling seriously

It’s been great to see Overland Park and surrounding communities get serious about recycling over the last few years. Besides the handy curbside pickup, you can’t help but notice the bins for glass and paper recycling popping up in many parking lots. There are even bins for donating used clothes and household goods for reuse. As an engineer, I was taught to be efficient with our limited resources and respect Mother Nature, so we have long been good stewards of the environment. You may have noticed our “Excellence in Environmental Management” award from Quaker State Oil hanging in our Overland Park auto service lobby. That was awarded to us through Kansas State University in recognition of dedication to protecting the environment. In addition to properly disposing of all fluids, our employees are meticulous about sorting materials into several different trash cans. We also feel pretty good about donating scrap metal. According to the Automotive Recyclers Association, rec ... read more

Snowdrift savvy

Snowdrift savvy

I consider myself a bit of an expert in dealing with snowdrifts. In western Kansas where I grew up, the wind always blows from the south-southwest. When you get three inches of snow, combined with the low humidity, you also get three-foot snow drifts. We are also likely to experience conditions like this in Overland Park in the next couple months. After helping countless stranded autos get out of the ditch, these are some great pointers I can swear by: Take a cell phone with you and keep an extra charger in the car. Keep an emergency kit with you, including a blanket, gloves and an extra coat. A small shovel and a bag of sand may also prove to be handy. A real treat would be a tow rope with metal hooks on each end. Don’t by a cheap one—you will get what you pay for. Keep your gas tank at least half full through the snow season. Consider joining a roadside service like AAA. If there is a big snowstorm, many people will also be calling them, so you may need to be ... read more

What to buy the gearhead on your list

What to buy the gearhead on your list

What do you buy a gearhead/auto technician/mechanic for Christmas? If the guy is young, buy him tools. If he is seasoned, buy him gift certificates for tools like Snap On, MAC Tools or Matco Tools. If he is old, buy him a massage. I asked my Overland Park auto techs recently what would interest them and here is a Christmas list from them. 1. An engine block coffee table like this one seen on the BBC show Top Gear. Engine block table Overland Park, KS 2. A wall clock that looks either like a large gear or has seven-time Winston Cup Champion Dale Earnhardt on it. 3. A “Rat Fink” t-shirt. The kind that depicts the popular Rat Rod. 4. Oh yes, when tailgating at the biannual NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Kansas Speedway, who could be without a Hot Rod Grill. This is basically a reproduction, small block Chevy that doubles as a gas grill, complete with smoking Zoomie headers and a temperature gauge. Hot rod grill Overland Park, KS 5. An audible torque wre ... read more

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Seasonal Advice

Electrical diagnosis requires a good listener

Electrical diagnosis requires a good listener

Recently we had a new customer drop of his Overland Park Acura with an electrical issue. Intermittently, the radio lights would go out and the radio/interior light fuse would blow. It did not seem to be related to driving over bumps or turning anything on or off. The customer would replace the fuse, go to work in the morning and find by the time he got home after dark, the lights were out. He had purchased a package of fuses and kept replacing them until it became too much of a hassle. Initially he took the car to another Kansas City auto shop where they found some frayed wires in the driver’s door jamb. The wires were repaired, but the problem persisted. Thinking it may be the radio, he took his car to a stereo shop where they completely disconnected the radio again to no avail. The stereo shop, which we do a bit of business with, referred him to us. I really enjoy tackling these types of electrical issues. They are sometimes a challenge, but if we follow our step-by-step proce ... read more

Are you giving today?

After the whirlwind of the long weekend and all the shopping, it’s refreshing to have a day carved out for giving to those who can’t give back. “Giving Tuesday” is being launched today as “charities, families, businesses and individuals are coming together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.” The great thing about giving is that it comes in all shapes and sizes. Here atNew Concept Auto Service in Overland Park, Paul sets a great tone for giving. From the seasonal contests with free oil changes, tire rotation services, and other giveaways he provides, to donating scrap metal and wheels to recyclers, to contributing his time to community support groups and school programs, we are thankful that the culture at New Concept is a generous one. Even in the suburban bubble of Overland Park and the surrounding cities in Johnson County, there is great need. We’ve all heard of the Kansas City Rescue Mission and the City Union Missio ... read more

Get your car ready for winter

Get your car ready for winter

That first cold snap of the year has come, and no one knows when the ice, snow, and frigid temperatures will hit Overland Park, Kansas. Here are some car maintenance items you should be thinking about before Mother Nature decides to turn down the thermostat even more. Your defroster should be blowing warm. If it’s not, the first time precipitation meets up with cooler air you will really miss that windshield-clearing tool. Turn your defroster on when you first start the engine on a cold morning so the air will slowly warm up the glass. A sudden blast of hot air will sometimes crack the windshield along the bottom.Your wipers should be tightened so they clear the windshield without skidding across the surface. Check for frayed ends and replace this inexpensive safety tool often. Once the ice and snow fall in Overland Park, if your wipers get stuck to the glass, don’t turn them on until the defroster has had time to thaw things out. Also make sure your washer squirters squirt, an ... read more

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Cold Weather

Prepare your car for emergencies

We have all been glued to the news of Hurricane Sandy this week, praying for family and friends on the East Coast. And even though here in the Midwest we don’t have hurricanes to deal with, it is a stark reminder that natural disasters strike in all regions and we are not immune. So what can you do to protect your family from potential harm from a tornado, blizzard or flood? In Overland Park, we know that it’s never too early for a winter car tune-up (Remember the October surprise of ’96?). And even though modern technology keeps monster storms from sneaking up on us, Mother Nature often likes to remind us who is in control (Remember the flash flood of ’98?). At New Concept we always recommend keeping your gas tank at least half full, which provides the double benefit of being good for your car and keeping you prepared. If you have been putting off having us explore that engine knock, buying new tires, or even getting your oil changed, remember that you won’t have time to g ... read more

Are your air bags counterfeit?

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently issued a consumer safety advisory regarding counterfeit air bags. These air bags, which look exactly like the original equipment parts, may be affecting a tenth of a percent of the cars on our roads. In an accident they may discharge shrapnel at the driver, or even fail to deploy. Those who need to pay attention to this serious matter include anyone who has had an air bag replaced in the last three years; anyone who has purchased a used car that may have had its air bags deployed; or anyone with a vehicle title stating “salvage,” “rebuilt,” or “reconstructed.” You should be particularly concerned if you or your auto technician have purchased an air bag from a non-certified source such as eBay, especially if the cost was less than $400. The NHTSA says these air bags are being sold by “organized criminals” who don’t give a hoot about your safety or that of your f ... read more

Overland Park fall auto safety

Even though the leaves in Overland Park are just beginning to change, this week’s snowstorms in the Upper Midwest should be a reminder to us all that autumn is here. Of course this means more nighttime driving and a re-acclimation to frosty roads and foggy highways. Here are some things to keep in mind in order to switch gears to fall road conditions as safely as possible: Be aware of fading daylight. We lose one minute of daylight every day this month! Make a mental note to turn your headlights on earlier and reduce your speed in places frequented by pedestrians or wildlife. And on the other end of the spectrum, fall sunrises can be blinding.Be sure you have a pair of sunglasses handy before beginning your commute. Examine your headlights. Be sure to keep your auto headlights meticulously clean and bright for optimal performance. Wipe them down every time you clean your car’s windshield. You should also examine them for yellowing, fog or scratches, which can ... read more

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Seasonal Advice

A newfound respect for Hollywood

A newfound respect for Hollywood

I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that movie stars and TV journalists made their jobs look easier than they really are. Last weekend I had that suspicion confirmed. While producing some videos for both our You Tube channel and our October 13 open house, I learned that there is more than I could have imagined that goes on behind the scenes! I also learned that for every minute of good video there are at least 15 minutes of stage preparation, script review and practice runs. At first I didn’t buy my marketing team’s warning that each three- to five-minute segment would take about an hour to produce (I thought surely that was an overestimation). But after three hours in front of the camera they had made a believer out of me. In the end, we came up with some interesting explanations about what goes on when we perform fuel injector service, as well as when we flush your coolant or transmission systems. We’ve posted a sneak peek, and after my screen debut at our o ... read more

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