Category Archives: car break down

Summer Car Emergency Kit

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prepare for battery failureEven the most trusty vehicle breaks down from time to time. In spite of your careful selection of the best tires for your car and regular maintenance appointments to keep your car running, your car can still break down. It can happen at any time, anywhere. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared for sudden car breakdowns—especially when an unexpected part failure can leave you stranded on the side of the road in our hot Wisconsin temperatures.

If you have an existing car emergency kit that you packed during winter, you only need to make a few modifications to your car emergency kit. Summer is an ideal time to remove the snow boots and shovel and make sure that the remaining items are still in good working order and that any food items are still edible. If you’re a rookie to packing essential items in your car emergency kit, here’s the list of items to pack in your car emergency kit, with items specifically geared for being stranded during hot summer temps:

  • Flashlight. Make sure you test the flashlight from time to time, and that the batteries are still strong. You never know when you need a flashlight for car repairs, and you don’t want to be left in the dark.
  • Snacks & water. A hot Wisconsin summer day is not when you want to be trapped inside a steamy car waiting for the tow truck. Carry a few bottles of water along so you can stay hydrated when you’re waiting for help to arrive. A supply of water can also be helpful if your car needs coolant. If your coolant level is low enough that you need water in your car, make sure to schedule an appointment to find and repair your car’s coolant leak.
  • Jack and lug wrench. Most cars come with a jack and lug wrench for changing a tire, but some of the smaller, more compact car models do not. Make sure you have everything you need when you have a flat tire.
  • Jumper cables. Contrary to popular opinion, summer heat is a worst case scenario for car batteries. Carry a set of jumper cables all year long for those sudden car battery failures.
  • First aid kit. Always carry a small first aid kit with you for those just-in-case times, and make sure a pair of plastic gloves is included so you don’t come in contact with other people’s body fluids.
  • Gloves. A set of gloves comes in handy during hot and cold weather. During summer, a pair of gloves come in handy if, for example, you have to change a tire and the tire is hot to the touch.
  • Road flares/road hazard signs. Unfortunately, cars break down during the day light and at night. A set of road flares or road hazard signs can keep you safe during night time breakdowns or during late night emergency repairs.
  • Roadside assistance card or tow truck phone number. Don’t be left scrambling trying to find a phone number at the last minute. Program the Tire-rifik tow number (920-261-8111) into your cell phone so you can call a tow truck, and get your car’s issue diagnosed and repaired quickly so you can get back on the road—and out of the hot Wisconsin summer temperatures.

Spring Car Maintenance

engineWinter is hard on a car. That’s why it’s your job as a responsible car owner to take spring as an opportunity to get your car inspected and ready for the next hard season for your car, summer (yes, it will come someday Wisconsin, be patient). Spring is the time to get your faithful tires checked after a hard winter of driving, your car aligned after sliding into a pole, and to get other important components of your car checked, corrected and ready for summer:

Alignment. Hard winter driving can knock your car’s alignment off, causing your tires to wear unevenly and need replacement prematurely. If your car pulls to the left or right, your steering wheel does not stay straight when driving or your tires wear unevenly, your car needs an alignment. A car with alignment issues wears through tires faster and has more costs due to undue wear on suspension parts.

Tire wear. Have an experienced mechanic check your tires to see that they wear evenly, and the amount of tread wear left. If the tire wear is low, your tires need to be replaced. If your tires are wearing unevenly, your car needs an alignment to prevent future breakdowns from undue wear on suspension parts.

Battery. Believe it or not, the Wisconsin heat is harder on batteries than winter cold. If your batteries are low from hard starts during winter, or shows one of these other signs of a dying battery, the summer heat is about to leave you stranded from a low battery.

Brakes. If your brakes are making any of these noises, it’s time to replace the pads or rotors that you need to safely stop. It’s normal for brakes to make occasional squeaking sounds when they get wet, but just as often your brakes are worn and in need of replacement. If you don’t get your brakes looked it, and possibly replaced, brake failure is inevitable—leaving you in the midst of an accident you caused or in a ditch waiting for a tow truck.

Air filter. A clogged air filter can affect the performance of your car. While an air filter is not something that needs to be necessarily replaced at every spring car maintenance check (though it may need to depending on your driving conditions), an air filter should be inspected regularly.

Don’t forget to check your windshield wipers and headlights so you have optimal visibility. Call or email for an appointment today to have a mechanic inspect those two key parts of your car, and get the rest of your spring car maintenance done before Wisconsin’s spring showers and summer thunderstorms hit. Remember, April showers may bring May flowers, and also car breakdowns and accidents if you car doesn’t get the annual spring car maintenance and inspections it needs.

Car break down? Are you stranded on the side of the road?

engineIt happens to everyone, no matter what kind of car you own—Ford, Chevrolet, Lexus, Dodge, Toyota, Audi—an unexpected car break down. Your trusty Ford truck breaks down on the side of the road in a rural area outside of Watertown. Your Chevrolet commuter won’t start at work. Your Dodge farm truck won’t make it out to your Wisconsin field. Your Toyota has gone hundreds of thousands of miles, but won’t go one mile more. So what do you do?

Prepare. Ask a mechanic, family member or friend to show you how to change a tire and jump start a battery. Pack an emergency kit for the inevitable, and unexpected, car break down. Your kit should include everything you need, including necessary items:

  • Roadside assistance card or tow truck phone number. Don’t be left scrambling trying to find the number at the last minute. Program these numbers into your cell phone, and carry your card, and copies of your cards, at all times.
  • Flashlight. Make sure you test the flashlight from time to time, and that the batteries are still strong. You never know when you need a flashlight, and you don’t want to be left in the dark.
  • Blanket. Pack a warm, thick blanket that can keep you and your family warm when you are stranded.
  • Jack and lug wrench. Most cars come with a jack and lug wrench for changing a tire, but some of the smaller, more compact car models do not. Make sure you have everything you need when you have a flat tire.
  • Jumper cables. Be careful when jump starting a car, as there is risk to someone who doesn’t know what to do. Read instructions in our recent blog post, and use caution. Carry a set of jumper cables all year long, as summer is actually the worst time of year for weak car batteries.
  • Boots. Ever tried to shovel out your car with soaking wet shoes on? Not pleasant. Pack an old, waterproof pair of boots that you can use of an unexpected car break down.
  • Shovel. Be prepared for the inevitable snow that comes with our Wisconsin winter, and the winter driving that comes with it. A foldable or small shovel is handy for digging your car out of a full day of snow, or cleaning out around when your tires when you go off the road.
  • First aid kit. Wisconsin winters are slippery, and sometimes—any time of the year—people get sick. Always carry a small first aid kit with you for those just-in-case times, and make sure a pair of plastic gloves is included so you don’t come in contact with other people’s body fluids.

If a jump start is not getting your Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Toyota or Lexus car going, call a tow truck at 920-261-8111. Have your trusty Ford, your Chevrolet commuter, your Dodge farm truck or your Toyota towed to a trusted mechanic, and listen to the advice he or she gives you. Remember, that advice is what keeps you on the road, and not stranded with an unexpected car break down.