Winter and its Affect on Car Speed and Braking Distances – How to Drive Safe

Traveling on snow and ice can make winter traveling extremely treacherous. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of some tips and tricks that would help you drive safely during this season. Sure, you may be a tremendous driver and have years of experience under your belt, but all it takes is one mistake to crash with another vehicle on a slippery, icy road.

Tires tend to lose a lot of traction when the driving surfaces are too slippery. Your vehicles may have tires from the best manufacturer in the world, but when they come in contact with slippery surfaces, their grip goes out of the window. In cases like these, it is all up to the driver to maintain control of their car, ensuring it does not collide. Does the thought of driving during winters overwhelm you? If the answer is yes, following the advice shared below will help you remain safe whether traveling for short or long distances.

Be Aware of Your Terrain

The last thing any driver should do is drive with tunnel vision. It is a surefire way to crash into another car or any other object. Instead, you should pay extra attention to your terrain and surroundings during the winter. Even the slightest increase in speed at the wrong time could land you into major trouble.

So, focus on the cars around you, and maintain a safe distance of ten to twelve seconds to ensure you can stop without any discomfort. It would also help if you steered your car according to the conditions of the terrain you are driving in to remain safe.

Remember the Braking Distance

As mentioned earlier, braking distance is vital for wintertime driving. Traditionally, drivers tend to follow a stopping or braking distance of about four to six seconds. However, the conditions are completely different during the winters. The roads are slippery, causing cars to slide and skid if the drivers are not careful.

However, you can easily avoid these problems by slowing down and maintaining an eight to ten second braking distance. Sure, it is a bit long, but it will keep you safe.

Avoid Driving Fast

This one goes without saying, but it is important to reiterate that you should never drive fast on snowy roads. It is a surefire way to crash with other cars. Yes, you may reach your destination a ten to twenty minutes late, but it is a small price to pay keep your car and most importantly, yourself safe.

Car Maintenance

Many people tend to postpone their vehicle maintenance, and it causes loads of issues down the line. Consider getting your vehicle maintained by a seasoned auto repair professional, as we can advise you on what should be done.

Best Tips for Preventing a Dead Car Battery in winter

Car batteries hate extreme weathers. While car batteries are built to last up to 5 years, they get weaker and weaker the colder or hotter the weather becomes. You’d be surprised to learn that even a fully charged, strong battery will not offer maximum performance if it is too cold. Your battery could even freeze if its charging is only half and the temperature is below – 10 F. Most residents of places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas have seen their fair share of frozen batteries.

The last thing you want to experience is a dead car battery in winter. Getting stranded in the cold weather is a very unpleasant experience and finding help during odd times can be a massive challenge. Therefore, it would be best to take your car battery maintenance seriously. Mentioned below, are some excellent tips that could help you prevent a dead car battery in winter season.

Drive Every Day

Believe it or not, keeping your car active every day is an excellent way to ensure your battery does not die. This is because the engine makes your battery warm, making sure it remains active whenever you drive. Like human beings, cars also require regular exercise to maintain their functionality. So, even if you plan to stay inside your house, make sure that you dedicate ten or twenty minutes to give your car’s engine and battery some “exercise”.

Use a Block Heater

Block heaters are a must have for anyone who does not want their car battery to die in winters. Most online and offline stores sell block heaters, so finding one should not be hard.

Keep the Batteries Clean

Cold temperatures make engine oil thicker because of the increase in electrical resistance. This causes tons of problems form the car’s battery, making it difficult to start. In addition, corrosion, grime, dirt debris etc make things worse, making the resistance even higher. Ensure that you clean away these elements to improve your battery’s life and performance.

The good news is that you will not need any special tools to address this issue. A damp piece of cloth, water, baking soda, and toothbrush would be enough to do the trick.

How to Know Your Battery is Becoming Weak

Finding out if your battery is becoming weak can help you resolve the issue before things get worse. Here are some signs of a weak car battery:

– The engine becomes too sluggish

– Dim headlights are a clear sign of weak battery

– If you need to press the pedal too hard, chances are that your car’s battery may be compromised

– A sulfur-like smell often indicates that a battery is becoming weak

Show it to a Professional Repair Shop

Implementing the preventative measures discussed above can keep your car battery in excellent shape during the winter. However, you must also acquire the help of professionals to make sure you did not miss anything. Bonfe’s Auto is a reliable auto repair shop in St Paul Minnesota. Get in touch with them, and they will resolve your battery related issues in a quick and timely manner.

 

 

Everything You Need to Know About a Fluid Flush and Why It’s So Important

You’ve probably seen it before. A vehicle stopped on the side of the road with smoke coming out of the hood. This is the result of an engine that’s overheated, which points to a problem with the cooling system. The best thing you can do to keep your cooling system healthy is a regular coolant flush. In this article, we’ll talk about why it’s so important and when you need to get this maintenance done.

How does the cooling system work?

Your engine’s spark plugs ignite fuel to give your vehicle power. This ignition creates lots of heat. If this heat isn’t regulated, it has the potential to damage the entire engine system. The job of the cooling system is to manage this heat.

To do so, liquid coolant is circulated throughout the engine. The cooling system also consists of the following:

  1. Radiator
  2. Radiator cooling fans
  3. Heater core
  4. Hoses
  5. Bypass system
  6. Freeze plugs
  7. Head gaskets
  8. Intake manifold gaskets
  9. Pressure cap and reserve tank
  10. Water pump
  11. Temperature sensor
  12. Thermostat

These parts work together to make sure your engine doesn’t overheat.

What is a coolant flush?

Over time, your coolant gets contaminated with rust or other debris trapped in your engine. A coolant flush drains the polluted coolant and replaces it with brand new fluids. During this process, a cleaner is poured in to help remove excess rust and debris.

A coolant flush is different from topping off the coolant. Topping off your coolant is the process of adding coolant to your engine to ensure there’s enough to function. A coolant flush is done to remove polluted coolant and replace it with clean fluids.

Why is it important to get my coolant flushed?

Routine maintenance is important because it helps extend the lifespan of your vehicle. A coolant flush helps maintain the quality of your engine’s coolant. The coolant helps keep your engine from overheating. Therefore, a coolant flush can help prevent an engine malfunction.

As your engine ages, rust and scale deposits build up inside of it. This results in debris in the coolant. Your antifreeze has chemicals in it to help prevent this from happening, but over time it loses its anti-corrosive properties. Eventually, the thin tubes in your radiator and heater core can get blocked by particles in the coolant. Flushing the system cleans these particles, meaning effective performance for your engine.

How often does it need to be done?

Your owner’s manual or dealership can provide specific information on service guidelines for your vehicle. Long-lasting antifreeze is good for up to 150,000 miles or 5 years, whichever comes first. Other types require replacement every 30,000 miles, or 2 years. When in doubt, our licensed mechanics at Bonfe’s can help you figure out a plan for your vehicle.

We advise a cooling system check-up at least every two years. This should include the following:

  1. System power flush and coolant refill
  2. Visual inspection of all cooling system parts
  3. System pressure level check
  4. Pressure test
  5. Thermostat check
  6. Engine fan test
  7. Internal leak check

Keeping up with your auto maintenance will help ensure a long life for your engine. Do you need more information on getting a coolant flush? Bonfe’s is here for you. Give us a call today at (​651) 222-4458.

 

What Is Brake Fluid and Why Is it So Important?

Of all the engine fluids, perhaps the most important one is the brake fluid. Unfortunately, it’s
often neglected more than it should be. In this article, we’ll review what brake fluid is and why
it’s so important. We’ll also talk about what steps you should take for routine maintenance of
your brake fluid. Keep reading to learn more.

What is brake fluid?

Your vehicle’s brake fluid provides the necessary hydraulic force to apply the brakes. This
hydraulic, non-compressible fluid travels throughout the braking system. Its role is to bring the
force of your foot on the brake pedal to the calipers on your brakes. With this force, the calipers
clamp down onto the rotors, bringing your vehicle to a stop. Without the correct amount of
brake fluid in the system, your brakes malfunction.

Since the engine produces a tremendous amount of heat, brake fluid is designed with this in
mind. It needs to have a high boiling point to prevent it from vaporizing. Brake fluid can also
maintain a constant viscosity, no matter what temperature it’s in. This is especially true in
vehicles with an anti-lock braking system because it helps ensure that the brake fluid can flow
throughout the intricate parts.

Brake fluids have additives that help prevent engine corrosion. Over time, the engine’s metal
components will corrode. If they’re not taken care of, this will happen at a much faster rate.
Brake fluid helps increase the longevity of these engine parts.

Most brake fluids are glycol-ether-based. Glycol-ether fluids are hygroscopic, which means they
can absorb moisture in the atmosphere. Eventually, the amount of water in the brake fluid
reduces its boiling point. If this happens, your brakes will have decreased stopping ability. Too
much water in the brake fluid is also bad for metallic engine components and can cause them to
corrode at a faster rate. This is why it’s imperative to test your brake fluid regularly and get it
replaced as needed.

How often should it be changed?

Not all brake fluids are the same. Different brake fluids have different change intervals. As is
true with a lot of vehicle maintenance, it’s a good idea to consult your manual for
manufacturer-specific recommendations. Of course, our licensed technicians at Bonfe’s can help
you out with this as well.

We recommend getting your brake fluid replaced or flushed at least every year or two. Over
time, the appearance of your brake fluid will indicate it needs replacement. Most brake fluid is
clear or amber-colored. As it ages, it turns into a dark, murky shade of brown. If your brake
fluid looks like this, then it’s time to get it replaced.

We also suggest having your brake fluid’s moisture content tested periodically, especially if you
live in an area with lots of humidity. Most places will conduct a brake fluid test if you request
one when getting your oil changed. This will provide more information on the quality of your
vehicle’s brake fluid. It’s also a good idea to inspect your brake fluid whenever you’re topping
off your other fluids. A small decrease in brake fluid over time is normal, but if this happens
often, it could point to a bigger issue with your braking system.

Do you need your brake fluid tested or replaced? Our certified technicians are here to help.
Give Bonfe’s a call today at (​ 651) 222-4458​ . We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Transmission Fluid: How to Take Care of It, and Why It’s So Important

Did you know that maintaining your transmission fluid is just as important as getting your oil changed? Unfortunately, lots of people tend to neglect their transmission fluid. Today, we’ll discuss the role transmission fluid plays in your vehicle. We’ll also talk about some steps you can take for proper maintenance.

What is transmission fluid, and why is it important?

The job of the transmission is to shift the vehicle into different gears. This is what allows you to park, reverse, and drive. Shifting gears is hard work for the engine. Transmission fluid helps with this process by lubricating metal transmission parts. This helps prevent wear and damage. Transmission fluid also serves as a coolant, preventing the transmission from overheating.

Types of transmission fluid

There are several different kinds of transmission fluids. Most of them can be categorized as either manual or automatic transmission fluid. In addition to these are specialty fluids and synthetic formulas.

Automatic transmission fluid is used in vehicles with automatic transmissions. These days, many vehicles with manual transmissions also need automatic transmission fluid. It helps with many engine functions, including the following:

●  Coolant for the transmission

●  Gear lubrication

●  Valve body operation

●  Clutch operation

●  Friction for brake band

●  Torque converter operation

Manual transmission fluid is less common than automatic transmission fluid. It’s usually only needed in older vehicles with manual transmissions. Modern manual cars typically need automatic transmission fluid. Synthetic transmission fluid is formulated to withstand high engine temperatures. That means it’s less likely to break down. The type of transmission fluid you need depends on the specifics of your vehicle. If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to consult your owner’s manual or a transmission expert.

How to check your transmission fluid

An easy way to check the status of your transmission is to look at the condition and level of the transmission fluid. Some newer vehicle models have sealed transmissions. In this case, consult your owner’s manual for specific information on how to maintain your transmission.

Assuming your transmission is not sealed, you’ll need to find the transmission dipstick to check your fluid level. This is typically found beneath the hood in the engine compartment. First, take the dipstick out and wipe it clean. Next, slowly replace it and then remove it again. This will show your current fluid level, which can be read using the marks on the dipstick. Low fluid means there’s probably a leak somewhere in your vehicle. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to bring your car in for diagnostics to identify the root of the problem.

Once you’ve checked your fluid levels, take note of the fluid’s color. This is best done by placing the dipstick against a white paper towel. Normal transmission fluid is usually pinkish-red. If it’s a slightly darker hue of brownish-red, then you should get it replaced soon. If your transmission fluid happens to be dark, then you have a bigger problem on your hands. A brownish-black color fluid often points to an issue with the transmission that needs to be handled right away.

Maintaining your transmission and fluid helps keep your vehicle in top condition. This saves you money in the long run. Do you have questions about your transmission or fluids? Our experts at Bonfe’s are here to help. ​Give us a call today at (​651) 222-4458.

The Transformation of Automotive Comfort

Comparing early cars to today’s vehicles is like comparing apples to oranges. This is especially true when it comes to comfort and convenience. Nowadays, we can control most of our car’s features with the click of a button or the tap of a screen. In this article, we’ll explore the evolution of automotive comfort throughout the years. Read on to learn more.

The early 1900s

The earliest cars were open-air vehicles, exposing passengers to the elements. This meant that unless you had perfect weather, you were dealing with lots of inconveniences. All that changed in 1910, when Cadillac invented the first closed body car. As soon as this happened, manufacturers started paying closer attention to car interiors. They wanted to make them as comfortable as possible for the driver and passengers.

In the 1910s, several developments improved automotive interiors. In 1912, Cadillac brought an electronic self-starter, ignition, and lighting to their Model Thirty vehicles. In 1914, Scripps-Booth invented power door locks. In 1929, Ford offered the first interior auto heater. These improvements paved the way for future comfort measures, transforming auto interiors altogether.

Music innovations

Auto manufacturers first installed radios in the late 1920s. By the 1930s, AM radios were considered standard features. But, it wasn’t until 1950 that the first AM/FM car radio appeared. In 1966, Ford introduced an 8-track player in its Mustangs, but these were eventually phased out and replaced by cassette players. By the 1980s, CD players were the next big thing. These remained popular throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. In the 2000s, USB ports and other forms of compact digital storage media began popping up. Fast-forward to today, a time when everyone is streaming music. Early automakers couldn’t have fathomed such a thing!

Climate control

The ability to control a car’s interior temperature was one of the biggest innovations in automotive comfort. Packard Motor Car Company had two huge inventions back in 1940: in-car air conditioners and power windows. Both gave drivers and passengers control over the car’s interior temperature. In 1960, Cadillac took things a step further with the creation of the first automatic climate control system. This allowed drivers to select and set a preferred temperature. By 1980, they refined their system and made it all electronic. This is the same as the modern systems we see in cars today.

Seat improvements

Heated seats are the absolute best. Our frigid Minnesota winters are a tad bit easier to deal with, thanks to Cadillac’s introduction of the heated seat in 1966. Since then, manufacturers have created all sorts of heated features, from steering wheels to side paneling. Ventilated seats, which cool instead of heat, were developed by Saab in 1998. In the 2000s, Mercedes brought ultimate luxury with their massaging seats. Why go to the spa when you can have a seat in your car? Automotive seating has truly seen an evolution in comfort.

Modern technology and human machine interfaces

Modern cars have smart interfaces that allow you to integrate your personal devices. HMI (human machine interface) technology offers luxury convenience in many ways. This includes the following:

Seat comfort and interior temperature

Internet and cloud connectivity

Touch interfaces

Advanced sound and lighting systems

Wireless communication

GPS

With HMI technology, you can customize and control your car’s interior with the tap of a screen. Conclusion

It’s hard to believe how far automotive comfort has come. Do you have questions about the interior features in your vehicle? Our experienced technicians at Bonfe’s have answers. Give us a call today at (​651) 222-4458. We look forward to hearing from you.

How to Get Your Car Ready for a Thanksgiving Road Trip in 2020

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so you’ve probably started thinking about travel plans for yourself or your family. With COVID-19 concerns, lots of folks are opting to steer clear of airports. Since we anticipate a rise in car travel this year, we’ve put together a list of things you can do to prepare your car for a long road trip.

1. Check the battery

One of the most important parts to check before you leave is the battery. It should be connected securely and show no signs of corrosion. Batteries usually last for around 3 to 5 years. If your battery is more than 2 years old, then you should be getting it inspected once a year.

2. Inspect your tires

Don’t forget to inspect your tires before taking off on a long car trip. Air pressure is especially important to check. Overinflated tires can affect your ride quality, and underinflated tires will make you waste gas. Check your air pressure before leaving and again for every 1,000 miles you travel. Having the wrong air pressure will end up reducing the life span of your tires, so it’s best to keep an eye on this.

In addition to checking the air pressure, your tires need to be rotated. Getting them rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles helps extend their lifespan. Tires usually last anywhere between 25,000 to 50,000 miles. If you think your tires are somewhere in this range, you might think about replacing them before leaving for a long trip.

3. Check the electrical

Inspect all electrical, including the blinkers, headlights, and taillights. If you have a truck or motorhome, make sure everything is functioning properly here, too.

4. Listen to the brakes

You should always get your brakes inspected if you hear them making strange noises. Oftentimes, a squealing noise means your brake pads need replacing. Brake pads provide the friction that’s needed to stop your vehicle. These eventually need to be replaced because they wear out. They usually last anywhere from 25,000 to 70,000 miles. Since brakes are the most important safety feature of your car, you want to make sure they’re in top condition before any long-distance travel.

5. Fluids and filters

If you’re not keeping up with your oil changes, you should probably get this done before your trip. In addition, top off any fluids that are running low. You’ll want to take a look at the following: transmission fluid, windshield fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and antifreeze.

The air filters in your car’s engine and cabin need to be switched out annually. These filters affect air quality, engine performance, and fuel economy. If your filters haven’t been replaced within the year, then it’s not a bad idea to get this done before leaving.

6. Inspect the belts and hoses

Open the hood of your car to examine your hoses and belts. The belts should be taut, without much give to them. If they seem loose, then you have a problem. Take a look at your hoses and check for any cracks or fraying. Also, keep your eyes open for fluid leaks. Any of these issues need maintenance before you leave for the holiday.

Conclusion

The day before Thanksgiving is known as one of the most hectic days to travel. Making sure your car is in top condition before you leave can help prevent the unexpected.

Does your car need an inspection before your holiday travel plans? It’s not too late. Our experienced technicians at Bonfe’s are here to help. Give us a call at (​651) 222-4458 to schedule your appointment today.