6 Benefits to Owning an Electric Car

With gas prices continuing to rise, consumers everywhere are looking for ways to save money at the pump as they stick to their budget. While there are a lot of ways drivers can save money, electric cars seem to be gaining in attention and popularity. If you’re wondering if electric cars are worth the investment, then you’re not alone. We’ve got you covered with our 6 benefits you experience when you own an electric car.

How do electric cars work?

Often referred to as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), electric cars use a large battery pack to power the electric motor of the car. Electric cars must be plugged into some kind of wall outlet or charging equipment and the average driving range before recharging is about 200 miles. Electric cars come with several benefits which can be worth the challenge of needing to charge your car.

Lower running costs

The biggest benefit of an electric car is its source of fuel and the savings that come with it. Electric cars are built to obviously run on electricity which eliminates a need for gas fill ups. It costs about $0.05 per mile to run an electric car vs. $0.15 per mile for a gas engine. The savings add up to on average $ 2,000-$4,000 per year.

Cleaner environment

Electric vehicles have no tailpipe and don’t emit any exhaust gas. This reduces the amount of pollution emitted by your vehicle. In addition, electric cars are 90% energy efficient compared to the 17-21% energy efficiency of an internal combustion engine.

Lower maintenance costs

Because electric vehicles don’t have as many moving parts, they require less maintenance. They don’t require maintenance like oil changes, spark plugs, and fuel filters. They also have regenerative braking (using the electric motor to decelerate the vehicle), extending the lifespan of brake pads. Lower overall maintenance costs lead to increased savings in the long run.

Increased performance

Electric vehicles are not only cost effective, but are also fun to drive. They boast quick acceleration – producing peak torque from a standstill. Most drivers report great handling and performance over their gas powered vehicles.

Bonus rebates

When you purchase an electric vehicle, you get cash back. There is a Federal Tax Credit for electric vehicles. There is also a Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) which provides rebate savings for eligible vehicles.

Better resale

Resale on electric vehicles is better than their gas powered counterparts. If the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle is offsetting, 2nd hand electric cars can be a great option.

How do they compare to Hybrid vehicles?

We know what you’re thinking. Is a hybrid vehicle a better option? Hybrid vehicles are built with some minor differences. Hybrid cars have an electric motor and a gas engine. They are still powered by gas, but can get you further with less fill ups. Hybrids drive similarly to regular cars as the electric motor supplements the gas-powered engine. They also have regenerative braking as the engine recaptures energy  to recharge the battery while braking. Some hybrids can be plugged in, while others are refueled by gas alone.

If you’re looking for fuel savings that are great for the environment, electric cars are an investment that pays dividends.

Rising gas prices and what you can do to make your car more fuel efficient

Pull into any gas station in the last few months, and you’ll discover one common theme. Gas prices are rising higher than we could have imagined. The one place most Minnesota drivers are feeling the pinch is at the pump. If your budget has been taking a hit when you fill up for gas, then you’re not alone. While we can’t control today’s gas prices, we can increase our vehicle’s fuel efficiency. If you’ve been looking for quick ways to save at the pump or make each fill up last longer, we’ve got you covered with some quick tips to make your car more fuel efficient.

Check your tire pressure

Your tires are not only important for safety or a smoother ride, they can also affect your fuel efficiency. When your tires are not properly inflated, they can decrease your fuel efficiency by 3%. While not a huge impact, it can add up with other factors leading to more pit stops to fill up. We recommend checking your tire pressure at least once a month, and if you find a consistent leak make sure you stop in and get your tires checked by your mechanic.

Lighten your load

If you’ve been driving around with heavy bags of salt or sand for winter, or other heavy items for that matter, they could be impacting your fuel efficiency. The fact is that the heavier your car is, the harder it will need to work. Did you know that for every 100 lbs you have in your car, your car’s fuel consumption goes up by 1-2%? Consider cleaning out your trunk and storing any heavy items in your garage for a more efficient ride.

Use proper fueling practices

We know you may be tempted to invest in that higher octane gas to get more bang for your buck. But, higher octane doesn’t always mean more efficiency. If your car requires 87 octane fuel, and you put 89 or 91 octane into your gas tank, it won’t necessarily make your car more fuel efficient. Investing in higher octane than you need will simply cost more without any added benefit. Stick to your owner’s manual and choose the octane that’s right for your car.

Dial down your AC

While we love using our AC in the dog days of summer, using your AC on more pleasant days can weigh on your engine causing your car to be less fuel efficient. When it’s still fairly nice out, consider turning off the AC and rolling down those windows to make last fill up last longer.

Stop any idling

It can be convenient to keep your car on while you’re waiting for that friend to hop in, scrolling social media, or listening to the song on the radio before your next appointment. Idling, however, is not great on your car. Idling can consume ½ gallon of gas per hour – so consider turning off the car while waiting instead.

Schedule maintenance checks

A maintained car is a car that runs efficiently. Your vehicle can burn up to 30% more fuel if it is not properly maintained. Your mechanic can check your front end alignment which can decrease your gas mileage by 10% if not in alignment, check your tire pressure, change out your air filters which can decrease fuel efficiency if dirty, and inspect for any other issues affecting your fuel efficiency.

Nobody likes to pay more for gas, but following these tips can help you save more and extend your time between fill ups. In the meantime, if you’re ready to schedule your spring maintenance check, we’re ready to help. Simply give us a call and we’ll get your car checked and ready to drive efficiently all spring and summer long.

Your Pothole Damage Checklist: What to check after hitting one

Potholes are inevitable this time of year. From melting snow to wear and tear on our roads, potholes can sneak up and surprise us when we’re driving. We can avoid hitting that pothole by slowing down and giving ourselves time to react. If you’re like most Minnesota drivers, you know that some potholes are impossible to avoid. If you’ve hit a pothole recently and you’re wondering about potential damage, we’ve got you covered with 6 areas to have checked for damage after hitting a pothole this spring.

 

Tires

The most common sign that your vehicle has sustained some damage from a pothole is a flat tire. If you notice a new flat, it’s definitely a sign that there could be further damage. Your tires can also experience internal damage as potholes can break the interior structure of your tire or tear the tire sidewall. Bulges and bubbles in your tires can indicate interior damage. Whether the damage is visible to the naked eye or showing signs of weakness, take your car into your mechanic to have your tires checked after driving through that pothole.

 

Wheels

Your wheels can also bear the brunt of that pothole, especially if your tires are not inflated properly. Your wheels can bend, crack or break after an unexpected run in with that pothole. Repair options for wheels tend to be limited so you are most likely looking at replacing those wheels. Be sure to take your car in for an inspection to determine if your wheels are in working order or need replacing.

 

Suspension System

Your vehicle’s suspension is designed to provide a smooth and enjoyable ride, but hitting a pothole can damage your suspension making your ride bumpier than usual. If you notice pulling to the right or left, your car moving up and down after a bump in the road, or shaking at high speeds, then your suspension and alignment may need to be looked at. Take your car into your local mechanic to have your suspension and alignment checked on.

 

Shock Absorbers

Depending on the speed you are traveling plus the depth of the pothole you ran into, your shock absorbers can break on impact. Signs that your shock absorbers have been damaged from that pothole run in are oil leaking and a bouncier ride. You can test this by pushing down on the front corner of your vehicle a few times. If your car bounces two or three times after, it’s a great idea to have your mechanic inspect your shock absorbers.

 

Exhaust System

As you drive over that pothole, your exhaust system can take a beating. Your exhaust system can break loose or bend on impact. If you’ve been noticing strange noises coming from your exhaust system since running over that pothole, it’s a good idea to have your mechanic check it out.

 

Any Fluid Leakage

Potholes can cause dents to your oil pan and other interior parts. If you notice more leaking fluid than normal after hitting that pothole, ask your mechanic to take a look. Potholes, of any size, can cause damage to your car and affect safety, wear & tear, and a smooth ride. If you’ve hit a pothole recently, plan on making an appointment so we can check these 6 areas of your vehicle, and ensure an enjoyable ride all year long.

 

5 Must-Have Maintenance Checks for your car this Spring

As a Minnesota driver, you probably already know that our winters can be rough on your car. From salt on the roadways to freezing temperatures, your vehicle most likely needs some TLC as we thaw out from a long winter.  The tricky part is knowing what you need to have checked during your spring tune up and why.  If you’ve been wondering what’s important to include in your spring maintenance tune up with your mechanic, we’ve got you covered with 5 must-have inspections to keep your car running well as we enter the spring and summer.

  • Check your tires and rims

If there’s any part of your car that takes a hit during the winter months, it’s your tires and rims. From ice on the roads to those hard-to-miss potholes, your tires need some TLC right about now.  In addition to the typical tire rotation and balancing, make sure your mechanic inspects the tread life on your tires, and looks for any dents on your rims.  Both of these issues could impact the balance and life of your tires.

  • Ask for a suspension inspection

Checking the suspension in your car includes checking your vehicle’s shocks and struts which can impact your ride, your control, and tire wear. When your suspension system isn’t doing it’s job, you may notice excessive bounce or sway as you drive, unusual tire wear, or nose-diving when stopping. Getting your suspension checked each spring can give you peace of mind for a safe drive all year long.

  • Inspect those belts and hoses

While not as immediately noticeable as the other areas of your car, your belts and hoses may not have weathered winter in tip top shape. Our cold temps can cause wearing, tearing, or cracking to your belts and hoses, which can result in you stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. To avoid all of that unpleasantness, just ask your mechanic to inspect for any cracks and tearing before you get on the road this spring.

  • Change your cabin air filter

This one doesn’t necessarily make your car run smoother, but it will affect the ride in your car.  Your cabin air filter’s job is to keep pollutants and allergens out of the car so you can breathe fresh air, and enjoy the ride. If you neglect changing your cabin air filter, you and your car can experience more pollutants and allergens in your car, your AC will have a harder time running, your windows can fog more readily, and it can start to smell musty inside your car (especially when you run the AC or heater).  Plan on changing your air filter each spring to keep your drive comfortable and clean no matter where you drive.

  • Look over the basics

We often take our vehicle basics for granted, but it’s important to look over those basic necessities that we often neglect.  Winter can be rough on those windshield wiper blades making visibility a liability. Spring is the perfect time to inspect, and in most cases, replace those wiper blades. While you’re at, don’t forget to check your lights – including headlights, taillights, and turn signals. Be sure to replace any burnt out bulbs and ensure that your lights are not yellowed or hazed over. If they are, it’s time to replace them so you can eliminate any night driving hazards.

With these 5 essential inspections, your car will be ready to go wherever you travel this spring and summer. If you’ve been looking for a great place to take your car for these spring maintenance inspections, we’re ready to help. Simply make an appointment and we can get you ready to drive wherever the road takes you this spring.

Pulsating Brakes – Signs, Causes and Fixes

The primary cause of pulsating brakes is warped rotors. The main cause why rotors tend to warp is overheating. Your brakes might overheat generally because either your cooling fins are rotting from the inside, or you have a sticking brake condition. Both of these conditions cause your rotors to not dissipate heat in the right way.

However, beside the technical malfunctions, pulsating brakes could also just easily come from excessive braking during when you are driving in traffic. This is because you are applying too much stress on the brakes and causing them to overheat. Other situations why you may feel this pulsation is when you are driving down a steep hill and pressing down on the brakes.

Brake Surfaces

The surface of your rotor is very important to how your brakes are going to function. When you apply your brakes, your brake pads are suppose to press up against the brake rotor, apply friction, and create heat to stop the vehicle. If your rotor braking surface has plenty of rot and debris, you will feel the brake pulsation, or shaking of the steering wheel as you hit the brakes.

The Runout

A warped rotor may not always be the most apparent thing to look at and you might actually need a dial indicator to monitor the runout. The runout refers to the amount of movement that comes from your brake rotor surface going side to side.

Most manufacturers recommend less than two thousandths of runout on your brake rotor. It is important to remember is that the rotor that is showing the issue may not actually be the cause of the problem. There are instead many other reasons that can lead to overheating.

Check Your Brake Calipers and Pistons

If the piston is not functioning the way it should, it will not be able to release the pads from the rotor. This means that you will have an overheat condition. You also need to check the sliders if the brake is pulsating. This is the part where the caliper connects on to the bracket.

These sliders need to be able to move in and out easily. If they are not lubricated or seizing up in size, then you will have to encounter an issue with surging brakes. You may also notice that your brake pads are stuck inside the caliper brackets.

If the brake pad is stuck, this may be because of excessive rust buildup in between the caliper brackets and brakes. This makes it difficult for the pads to go against the rotor and release them. This means that they are pressing up on the rotors and causing constant pressure in the form of friction and heat. This leads to the pulsating sensation.

As you can see, there are many causes to a pulsating brake. This is why there is also many fixes to it corresponding to the causes. Make sure to take your car for professional checkup if you indicate signs of shuddering and shaking.