Extend the Life of Your Vehicle and Keeping You Safe

We’re always looking for tips that can extend the life of your car AND keep you safe! My Ford Magazine is a great resource and they’ve posted an excellent article about your shocks and struts – and why this is important to you!

Below are great tips to protect your car in winter and spring driving conditions and what to look for if your shocks and struts are not the best they can be and you need to be ready for those summer road trips!

When your shocks or struts become worn down, your vehicle “jounces” more over bumps, which means it bounces up and down. This makes braking more difficult and could significantly increase your stopping distance. So take note: If your vehicle is taking longer than usual to stop, or if it is nose-diving when you do so (another sign of decreased traction), have your vehicle checked at any of our four service locations. A suspension check is part of the multi-point inspection included; during the inspection our technicians will ensure that all possible pothole-related damage is assessed, and you’ll have less to worry about.

Watch out for an exaggerated “body roll” when you turn corners—this is when you feel yourself and your vehicle tilting a bit more than normal, which can be a sign of damaged shocks or struts. If that’s happening to you, take your vehicle in for a suspension check right away, because excessive body roll can affect your ability to safely steer around obstructions in the road.

Getting jostled on your journey is not only uncomfortable, it can affect your ability to safely control your vehicle. Try a quick bounce test at home by pushing down firmly on the front and rear of your vehicle. If the car moves up and down more than once or twice, have your shocks and struts checked at any of our four service centers.

When struts or shocks are worn out, your tires wear out faster. A damaged strut or shock can also contribute to quicker wear on the other steering components of the vehicle, like rods and wheel bearings. If you notice a rumbling or increased vibrations at higher speeds, have a Ford auto technician look for “cupping” on your tires, which is a type of scalloped wear pattern associated with struts and shocks. Cupping happens when your car jounces up and down, leaving indented scuff marks on the tires, and is a big red flag that your suspension needs repairing.

Worn shocks and struts can affect the way your wheels engage with the road, especially when roads are slick. If your vehicle is sliding or hydroplaning frequently, get your suspension checked out now—before more April showers arrive.

Our Ford and Acura service centers are located at 1899 Highway 99 N in Ashland and can be reached at 541-482-2521. Our Kia dealership is located at 4950 Crater Lake Avenue, 541-776-3088 while our Hyundai dealership is located at 5000 Crater Lake Avenue, 541-245-5335. Call for an appointment today if you notice any of these issues with your vehicle.

Raindrops Keep Fallin’ in My Rig

IMG_2654“I don’t mind,” we say.  “It doesn’t bother me.”  “It’s the lifestyle.”  That’s the refrain of the Jeep Wrangler driver, those seemingly-crazy people who drive “topless” in single digit temperatures, who have an entire wardrobe just for Jeep travel, and who strip down cargo to the absolute essentials because they’re counting on getting rained on… inside the vehicle.  These are my people.  While one of my least favorite things is being cold, being cold in the Jeep is somehow different, more charming, part of a larger outdoor experience than freezing anywhere else.  Thus, the refusal to zip windows into the soft top no matter the weather.

This soggy floor mat is all that remains of  the "lake" caused by last night's rain.

This soggy floor mat is all that remains of the “lake” caused by last night’s rain.

But once a year, usually during the first torrential rainstorm of Spring (I’d say “convertible season” but among Wrangler owners “convertible season” could last all year long) I question that decision.  And not during the storm, either.  No, my regret over being so “carefree” (or lazy, depending on your point of view) strikes upon climbing into the  Jeep only to set my feet (and laptop and bags and coat) in the lake the storm left behind where where the floorboards used to be.   In my conversations with those who don’t speak “Jeep” I brag about the plugs in the floor specifically for this type of drainage.  But in the recesses of my mind I worriedly calculate just how much junk I can carry on the passenger seat – the only dry spot in the vehicle other than the driver’s seat.

Of course, that thought passes as quickly as the storm, and my attention turns to the forecast.  There’s just a 35-percent chance of rain, you say?  Guess it’s time to take the doors off.

Winter Driving Kit

The holiday travel season is upon us which means it’s also time to prepare for inclement weather.  We on the West Coast may not see frequent snowstorms – at least in the valleys – but that doesn’t mean we’re not at risk of getting stuck out on the open road.  So, in the interest of survival, let’s revisit the idea of a Winter Driving Kit.  Here’s what ODOT suggests you keep in your vehicle at all times:

Make sure your vehicle is stocked with the following:

  • Rechargeable flashlight
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Extra food and water
  • Flares
  • Tools: jack, lug wrench, shovel
  • Road maps
  • Blanket/sleeping bag(s)
  • Extra warm clothes, boots, hat and gloves
  • First aid kit
  • Pocket knife
  • Matches or lighter
  • Battery jumper cables
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Paper towels
  • Extra washer fluid
  • Chains or traction tires
  • A full fuel tank

Source (and for more on winter driving): http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/winterdriving.shtml

Drive safely!

Rain or Shine: The Allure of the Road Trip

June.  The word conjures up images of lengthening days, BBQs, fresh sunburns, and water sports… at least, those are the contents of the dream bubble above my head.  The reality is that this first day of June is marked by a ridiculously low snow level, horizontal rain and a temperature somewhere between “chilly” and “absurd.”  All the activities typically associated with summer have yet to become feasible.  All except one: the road trip.

Don’t get me wrong – warm, dry weather is ideal for packing up the family wagon and heading for parts unknown (or known, if that’s what you prefer).  But there’s something about inclement weather (tornadoes, blizzards, and hurricanes excepted) that can enhance the adventure.  Maybe it’s the mystery… Oregon’s down-comforter fog makes knowing what’s around the next bend next to impossible.    Maybe it’s the coziness factor… there’s something nurturing about being confined in a temperature-controlled vehicle while wind and rain whirl outside.  Or maybe it’s just that the feeling of freedom brought on by a few unscheduled days, a full tank of gas, and an open road doesn’t fade away just because blue skies do.

So, check the oil and the tire pressure, pack for a night or two out of town, throw in the I-Pod and a random assortment of snacks, and let’s see where the road takes us.  If we’re lucky, we might find the sun.