Yearly Archives: 2013

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

Easy ways to avoid a highway breakdown

Looks like weather in Overland Park, Kansas will be great for the holiday weekend! If you’re packing your bags to go on a road trip there are a few things you can do to help ensure your safe arrival. Don’t ignore warning lights! If your engine maintenance light or any of your preventive maintenance auto dash lights are on, now is not the time to hit the highway. The stress of a long-distance drive at high summer temperatures may be what pushes the reminder to a full-blown auto repair emergency. Check your tires. Really—when was the last time you took a good look at your tire wear? Or checked the pressure in your spare tire? Check your fluid levels. The proper amount of oil, transmission fluid, coolant, or washer fluid could be the difference between a great weekend and a day at the auto repair shop. Pack an emergency kit. Nothing is more miserable than a car full of hungry/thirsty passengers who are wishing to be anywhere but on the side of the highway. At the v ... read more

Perfect gift for the motoring mom

If you’re reading this a day or two before Mother’s Day, I’m pretty sure you’re desperate for something quick and/or cheap for a special mom. I have an idea that is guaranteed to fit and probably won’t cost a thing: a vehicle safety check. If you don’t even know how to lift the hood of a car you can still do this. Start by checking her tire pressure. Even the most un-mechanical mom has a tire pressure gauge in the glove compartment. If she does not, you can pick one up at any local discount store or drugstore. The tire pressure the engineers designed the car for can be found on the sticker on the driver’s doorjamb. If it’s low, run to a gas station and fill it up—but be careful not to overfill, especially with the hot days we have in the forecast next week. Check her wiper blades for wear. If they are faded, splitting or tearing find an auto parts store and get the best pair you can afford. Quality does matter here and you want to be sure she can see in any blinding Overla ... read more

Four easy ways to avoid pothole damage

Four easy ways to avoid pothole damage

When you’re tooling down the highway (or even an Overland Park thruway like 87th Street near New Concept Auto Service) and suddenly see a pothole looming up ahead, what do you do? Do you hit the brakes? Do you swerve? Do you brace yourself? Do you curse? Do you pray? Here are four easy ways to avoid hitting those dastardly holes and creating a need for costly repairs to your vehicle. Be an eagle eye. The best way to spot a pothole is to watch the cars in front of you (like you are supposed to be doing). Cars will dip, swerve, and/or brake. In spring in Kansas City, if you see cars hitting their brake lights, or everyone is making the same move at the same spot, there’s likely a pothole ahead. Go full speed ahead. If the impact is inevitable, resist the urge to hit your brakes. When you apply your brakes the front of your car will dip and the car experiences what’s called weight transfer. This means if your car weighs 4,000 pounds when you are driving at a steady spee ... read more

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