10 Steps to Change a Flat Tire

Changing a Flat Tire

If you don’t know how to change a tire, getting a flat can be a nightmare. Depending on where you are, how much traffic is flying by, and whether or not you have a roadside assistance package it can be a very stressful experience.

Like parallel parking, and knowing which streets in Downtown Victoria are one-way, changing a flat tire is a handy and necessary skill for all drivers. Read More

When Should You Replace Your Wiper Blades?

Winter windshield Wipers

The unassuming windshield wiper cleans away splattered insects, brushes away heavy piles of snow, scrapes away ice and frost and clears the view at a furious pace during rainstorms — sometimes for hours at a time.

History of the Windshield Wiper

Modern windshield wipers were the brainchild of a country girl from Alabama who visited New York City in the winter of 1902. Mary Anderson was riding in a trolley car and the driver had the front window half down as the falling sleet constantly blocked his vision. Read More

10 Items to Keep in Your Car If You’re Leaving Civilization

Road Map

If you’re considering a road trip off the beaten path, your first job is to make sure your car is in good working order. After that, it’s time to consider what to bring along.

Even if you’re not planning on leaving civilization, there are items that are always good to have at the ready.

Take a look at these 10 items to keep in your car if you’re leaving civilization and ask yourself if you might want to toss a few of these things into your car today — who knows? They could end up saving your life.

  1. Clothes, blankets, plastic bags

You don’t want to overload your vehicle, but putting an old sleeping bag and sweater into the trunk won’t make a significant difference to your gas mileage and their possible uses are numerous.

In addition to keeping you warm, a sleeping bag might become a makeshift shelter and a sweater could be refashioned into a bag. While you’re at it, grab some plastic garbage bags, too. They are surprisingly handy.Lighter

  1. Lighters

With smoking rates plummeting, the old question, “Do you have a light?” is increasingly being answered with a “no.” But lighters are great time savers.  People on TV rub sticks together to make fire … but trust us, it’s not as easy as they make it look.

Having a couple of lighters in your glove box or trunk could mean warmth and light in an emergency, and they sure beat sticks!

  1. Liquids

Water is heavy. A 20 gallon jug of water is going to affect your gas mileage. What’s more, in cold temperatures water will freeze and the container could crack. In searing heat, water left in a hot car gets rancid pretty quickly.

One workaround is bottled water — grab a couple medium-size bottles from the supermarket, and rotate them out when you go grocery shopping. Read More

Buying a Preowned Car? Here’s 5 Essential Tips

The words “used car” strike fear into some folks, but finding and buying a pre-owned car that’s reliable and suits your needs is easier than it seems. Before you sign on the dotted line, though, check out these five tips for navigating your way to the car that’s right for you.

1. Consider Your Others’ Experience

It’s easy to get excited when you see a decently priced 20-year-old BMW, especially if that particular model has always appealed to you. But have you ever driven a BMW? Let alone one that is several-decades old?

The older BMW might be a good buy, but if you don’t have any BMW experience, you might want to consider doing your research and asking around to friends and family who do have experience with BMWs. Also, do research online and read reviews to find out about common issues with that particular model.


2. The Price isn’t Always Right

Cheap cars are cheap for a reason. It cannot be stressed enough: there’s nothing more expensive than a cheap used car. In fact, when a car owner won’t budge much from their original asking price, there might be a good reason — it might be a good car.

Find out the general value of the model you’re looking for and don’t consider vehicles priced significantly below that benchmark as that’s how you end up with a lemon. Read More

How to Get Better Gas Mileage

Summer is just around the corner, and for most of is this means ROAD TRIPS!!!!

With the price of fuel these days, we are all trying to find ways to save a few bucks to make our summer road trips a bit more affordable while also doing our part to reduce our personal carbon footprint. With this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of things you can do to help you get better summer gas mileage.

But before you go anywhere, make sure you’ve taken care of your summer seasonal maintenance service here at Searles Auto Repair. We have a special going right now until May 31st for an oil, lube and filter, tire rotation and comprehensive multi-point visual inspection for just $89.95. PLUS: if you book your maintenance service before May 31, 2015, you will have a chance to WIN a Big Green Egg Mini BBQ!

9 Tips to Get Better Summer Gas Mileage                                               

  1. Gas GaugeCheck your tire pressure to ensure they are properly inflated to the recommended psi. Under-inflated tires are not only dangerous, but they can decrease fuel economy by as much as 25%! Find out how to check your tire pressure here.
  2. Running the air conditioning is one of your car’s biggest contributors to reduced fuel economy in summer. Reduce the use of air conditioning by:
    • Rolling the windows down at lower speeds and use the a/c only for highway driving
    • Parking in the shade whenever possible, or use a sunshade, to reduce summer heat inside the vehicle
    • When you first start driving, let the hot air out of the car by driving a short time with the windows rolled down to let the hot air out
    • Use a warmer temperature setting on the a/c reduces the fuel used to run it (This also applies to hybrid/electric cars with regard to battery power)
  3. Lighten your load – Carry only what you need in your car. If you keep winter necessities (like snow chains etc.) in your vehicle, remove them during the summer months. It may seem minor, but every little bit of weight you haul around will cost you in gas consumption.
  4. Reduce drag – half of your vehicle’s energy is spent overcoming wind resistance. Whenever possible, reduce your car’s workload by removing anything that may be causing drag – roof racks, bike racks, ski racks, etc.
  5. Buy gas during the coolest part of the day – usually in the morning. Gasoline is densest when it is cooler. Since gas pumps measure in volume rather than density you will get more gas for your money per measure of volume at cooler temperatures.
  6. Don’t idle. Turn off your engine if you expect you will be idling for more than a minute. Sure, it takes a burst of gas to start the car again, but likely not as much as allowing it to idle for several minutes.
  7. Combine errands and plan your route – save up your weekly errands and do them all at once rather than going back and forth from home to the store, and plan your route to avoid going to the same area more than once.
  8. When using the passing lane to pass other vehicles, do this on flat ground or downhill and not on the uphill to avoid unnecessary acceleration.
  9. Use cruise control – this reduces fuel consumption by maintaining a consistent speed.

And of course make sure you are doing regular maintenance and oil changes on your vehicle. Here at Searles, we have three oil change options to meet varying budgets with our Good, Better and Best service options.

Call us or book your appointment online with us today and get started on preparing your car to get better gas mileage.

Searles Oil Change Service Options


7 Must-Have iPhone Apps to Rock Your Summer Road Trip

Summer is coming! And that means that many of you are planning your summer vacation and weekend road trips. Whether that means a trip to the cabin, or camping or a jaunt to visit family, there are a few apps that we recommend installing on your iPhone to rock your next road trip.

As always, before taking off on a big road trip, be sure to bring your car into Searles to have it serviced  to avoid any inconvenient and preventable maintenance issues while you’re on the road.

So without further ado, here are our picks for the 7 Must-Have iPhone Apps to Rock your Summer Road Trip:

  1. Google Maps

    This may seem like an obvious choice, but your iPhone now comes with the Apple Maps app pre-installed. At times the Google Maps app can be far more accurate. Download this app to ensure you have access to accurate maps for the trip. Google Maps also has the ability to show you where traffic is congested and can show you alternate routes to navigate around it.

    Google Maps App

Read More

Car won’t start? How to jump start your vehicle

So you leave your house to go to work for an important meeting first thing in the morning. Or you’re excited and nervous on a Friday night as you head out to pick up your date for your first outing together. And your car won’t start! Nooooo! The absolute WORST timing! (Not that a dead car battery ever has good timing…) But all is not lost! Chances are, you can still make it on time if you know how to jump start your car!

Every driver should keep jumper cables in their car and know how to use them. So with this in mind, we are going to explain to you just how it’s done!

How can you tell if your car battery is dead?

So for starters, how can you tell if you have a dead battery or if it’s not some other problem?

  • If you turn the key in the ignition and you hear the car coughing and turning over, then a dead battery is NOT the problem.
  • If you turn the key in the ignition and you hear absolutely nothing, or you hear only a clicking sound, then there’s a good chance you have a dead battery on your hands.
  • Check whether your lights, stereo and other electronics are working, this can also be a good indicator of a low or dead battery.


How To Jump Start A Vehicle With Jumper Cables

You could be at work or on your date’s doorstep in no time, as long as you have jumper cables and can flag down the help of a Good Samaritan.

Before you begin, pop the hood and check the condition of your battery. If it’s damaged, leaking or has corrosion, you may have a bigger problem on your hands and may need to call in the professionals to take a look.

If everything looks ok, remove any loose clothing to avoid it getting caught on any moving parts. Avoid smoking. Make sure the headlights and other electronics in the car are turned off and follow these steps:

Jumpstart Your Car with Cables

Flickr photo credit: teachernz

Read More

Car Hacks 101: Simple Tricks to Extend the Life of Your Car

heavy car keys

We all know that giving your car a long and happy life boils down to two things: regular maintenance and good driving habits. But it also pays to look around for new and unconventional ways to extend the life of your car. Here are some car hacks that you may not have thought of:

Ditch the extra keys

Is your keychain unnecessarily heavy? Probably. If you’re like a lot of people, your keychain is bogged down by keys to houses you no longer own, to your garden shed, to your grandma’s house, to that bike lock you lost 6 years ago…you get the idea. You may even have a few non-key items dangling from it, like a bottle opener or that obligatory “I Heart Hawaii” keychain that everyone seems to have.

While it’s convenient to have everything all in the same place, the heavy load might be damaging your ignition. The constant downward tug on the ignition switch can wear out the tumblers inside the ignition and eventually lead to ignition switch failure.

So, lighten up! Separate your car keys from everything else on your keychain to place as little stress as possible on the ignition. Read More