VIDEO BLOGSeptember 9, 2015
Anyone that drives a car in Des Moines knows that engines get hot when they run. But did you know that engines need to be cooled to keep running? Heat inside an engine can cause the metal parts to expand, which can seize up an engine and make it stop running. It can even ruin the entire engine! Good car care requires keeping your minivan cooling system in good condition.
A vehicle’s cooling system circulates water and antifreeze (coolant) through the engine where it absorbs heat. It then flows to the radiator where the water and antifreeze are cooled by the air that flows over the radiator. Then it circulates back into the minivan’s engine to absorb more heat.
Why shouldn’t Berwick motorists just use water? Because water boils at temperatures that are often reached inside of an engine. Steam won’t cool your minivan engine and is hard to contain within the cooling system. The antifreeze keeps the water from boiling.
So why do we call it antifreeze? Shouldn’t it be antiboil? Truth is, the antifreeze performs another critical task. Water freezes in cold IA weather. That would spell disaster for your minivan’s engine. So antifreeze also keeps the water in your cooling system from freezing in all but the most extreme cold. Pretty neat stuff!
Taking care of your cooling system is part of good preventive maintenance for your minivan. Altoona auto owners should check coolant level often and regularly inspect your cooling system for leaks.
That is just good auto advice. Your minivan’s manufacturer has maintenance requirements for draining and replacing engine coolant. Consult your owner’s manual or ask your helpful Des Moine BDG service professional for these recommendations, as they vary widely from among car makers.
Changing your coolant is also part of good preventive maintenance. Water is great at collecting all kinds of dissolved substances, especially when it’s hot. Water circulating through an engine picks up dirt, debris, pollutants, and other stuff. It actually becomes corrosive over time. This can damage engine parts and your radiator.
Replacing your coolant regularly keeps the minivan cooling system functioning well and doesn’t allow it to sneakily become the cancer that wipes out your engine.
But don’t just slop any antifreeze into your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual or ask your Des Moine BDG service advisor if you don’t know what is the right type of antifreeze for your vehicle. Using the wrong kind can void the warranty on your minivan cooling system.
You may have noticed that different types of antifreeze are different colors. Manufacturers tint them different colors to make them harder to mix up. It’s easy to notice that you have purple fluid when you normally use green! That way, you have less chance of damaging your minivan engine by using the wrong antifreeze.
One last word of warning — a little outside the area of car care. Never, ever let anyone or pets drink coolant/antifreeze – it is deathly poisonous.
Take care of your car, and take care of yourself! Just some good car care tips from Des Moine BDG to keep you on the road and help your life in Des Moines run more pleasantly.
We’ve all seen IA drivers do crazy things while driving to or from Altoona. A guy shaving in the rear-view mirror, a woman applying makeup, people talking on their phones, texting or drinking from an enormous coffee mug. It’s a wonder we even dare drive on IA roads.
The truth is that all of us Des Moines drivers are distracted when we drive. Unfortunately, traffic, road construction and other detrimental external factors are beyond our control. The distractions inside our car, however, are things we can often control.
Here’s some things that’ll give you more control in your car, and help keep your attention on the roads around Altoona, IA.
- Des Moines drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player.
- Des Moines motorists who are 20 to 29 are more distracted by passengers in the car, including small children.
- Those over age 65 tend to be more distracted by objects or events that are outside of the vehicle.
Other factors like fatigue, stress and lack of sleep make it harder to pay attention to driving – no matter what age we are. It is always better to pull over and take a quick nap than risk falling asleep at the wheel. Des Moines car owners are also distracted by thinking about relationships, family issues, money and bills. So what can Des Moines drivers do to manage these harmful distractions? Well, the first thing is to eliminate as many as we can.
When you get in your car, make sure you’re belted in; that the seats, steering wheel and mirrors are adjusted; and your radio or CD player is ready.
Secure any loose objects in the car that can fall on the floor and interfere with your driving.
If you have a drink, make sure it’s spill-proof and put in a cup holder. Des Moines motorists’ pets should also be contained.
IA motorists with kids in the car should make sure they’re clipped in their seat belts or safety seats. You may want to give them some distractions to help keep them quiet and sitting in their seats. Don’t get involved in their arguments while you’re driving. Pull over if you need to find a toy or break up a fight.
If you eat while driving, choose simple finger foods that aren’t messy.
Learning your car’s controls before you drive is another vital way to improve your safety. Learn how to work the radio by touch. Controls located on the steering wheel can help Des Moines car owners keep their eyes on the road. The same goes for heating and air conditioning controls.
If you have to use a cell phone, a hands-free system is best. But remember, the biggest cell phone distraction isn’t the phone itself – it’s the conversation. Keep conversations brief and light, or pull over if you can. Your critical reaction time is much slower when talking and driving, so allow more space between you and the car ahead of you. Know your local Altoona laws – it may be illegal to be on the phone. Never text while driving! This has already caused many deaths and injuries in IA over the last few years.
And if you really think you have to shave, change your clothes or put on make-up while driving in Des Moines – you’re wrong. Just start getting ready earlier so you have enough time to finish those things before you drive around Des Moines.
Des Moine BDG
2222 East Douglas Ave
Des Moines, IA 50313
It’s vital to remember that driving is probably the most dangerous thing you’ll do all day – so don’t make it any worse. Use these tips to keep you and your loved ones safer behind the wheel in Des Moines.
Your minivan requires plenty of clean fuel to run. If your fuel contains contaminants, your fuel injectors will eventually become clogged up. When this happens, your minivan engine may not get the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure to run at peak performance. This hurts gas mileage and performance as you drive around Altoona. It can also lead to the buildup of harmful deposits on valves and in the combustion chamber.
That’s why all vehicles, including minivans, come equipped with a fuel filter somewhere between the engine and the fuel tank. The job of the filter is to clean out little pieces of dirt and contamination. The filter captures the contaminants and keeps them out of the fuel stream. Of course, like all filters, it will eventually get clogged up and need to be replaced at Des Moine BDG in Des Moines .
If your fuel filter is clogged, the minivan engine can’t get all the fuel it needs, and it may sputter at high speeds or quick acceleration. Many fuel filters have a bypass valve that will allow unfiltered fuel through when they are clogged. This keeps your minivan engine running, but doesn’t protect it from detrimental contaminated fuel.
Des Moines car owners may find that they need to change their fuel filter at Des Moine BDG more frequently as their minivan ages. Over the years, additional sediment and detrimental rust accumulates in the fuel tank and can be drawn into the fuel system. Your fuel filter stands guard at the gates to your engine to protect expensive parts and to maintain performance and MPG.
When your experienced Des Moine BDG service specialist technician changes your oil, he will also inspect your air filter. You shouldn’t need a new filter at every oil change, but you will need to change it regularly. Heed your service specialist’s auto advice if they tell you to change your filter. It’s not expensive, and it makes a big difference to your minivan.
An air filter does what its name implies: it filters stuff out of the air. Air is drawn into your engine through the filter because your engine needs air to burn fuel. If the filter weren’t there, a lot of dust and debris would come into the minivan engine with the air. That dust and debris would get hot, burn, and produce all kinds of ash and gumminess that would eventually clog up your engine.
Drop in an air filter and voilá! Problem solved.
But air filters themselves get clogged up with all the junk they clean out of the Altoona air. This doesn’t allow the junk into the minivan engine, but it does block up the airflow. A blocked airflow will reduce engine efficiency.
An engine needs about 12,000 gallons of air to burn just one gallon of gasoline. Think of a runner. If he is breathing well, he can run well. But if he has a lung condition, he won’t be able to generate the oxygen necessary to keep his cells powered up. He won’t be able to run at peak efficiency.
Or consider a vacuum cleaner. Even without the light, you can tell when the vacuum bag is full because the machine just doesn’t clean anymore. Change the bag and its efficiency immediately improves.
So keep your minivan breathing well by keeping its air filter clean. That’s good car care.
Des Moines drivers who get a charge out of the feeling of power in their engine might consider upgrading their air filter. Talk to your helpful Des Moine BDG tech. Premium air filters have been proven to increase horsepower and torque. So with the cost of a premium air filter, you can increase the horsepower in your engine — there’s no cheaper way to do that!
It’s also one of the least expensive and simplest elements of essential routine preventive maintenance – and protects against damage to expensive minivan electronic systems. No Des Moines resident should have an excuse to drive around Altoona roads and highways with a dirty air filter.
Custom wheels are one way that Des Moines folks express themselves and personalize their minivan. But they aren’t as cheap and easy as sticking decals on your back window. There are several important factors need to be considered, including cost, the fit of the wheel, modifications that will have to be made to the minivan, how the new wheels and tires will affect the operation of the vehicle, your driving habits, and, of course, the style of the wheels. Most Des Moines drivers start with the last factor: the style of the wheels. But that should be the last thing we choose.
When considering custom wheels, you should first carefully consider your budget. Some wheels may require costly adjustments to your minivan suspension system, brakes, or traction systems. You need to know what you can afford before you start shopping in Altoona or get your heart set on a particular type of wheel.
There are three basic ways you can change your wheels. First, you choose a wheel that is already the same size as the ones on your minivan. Second, you can choose larger wheels, and third, you can choose smaller wheels. Mounting wheels that are the same size as the ones already on your car sounds easy enough. But, even though the wheel may be the same diameter as your current wheels, but that doesn’t mean it will fit your minivan. Besides diameter, wheels also have an offset. This is the measurement from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on. If your new wheel does not have the same offset as your current wheels, your minivan tires can rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. This can lead to blowouts, uneven tread wear, and other mechanical problems.
The tire and wheel professionals in Des Moines at Des Moine BDG on 2222 East Douglas Ave can help you select a wheel that has both the correct diameter and offset for your minivan. Or, if you really want a specific wheel in spite of the offset difference, your may be able to install adapters that will make the wheels fit.
Mounting larger wheels is a more involved process. There are several ways of doing this. You can mount larger wheels, but keep the overall tire diameter the same. Or you can “supersize” your tire/wheel combo. Mounting larger wheels while maintaining the same overall tire diameter is the easiest way to increase wheel size. You still need to adjust for offset. Generally, this alteration means that your new tires will be wider than the originals, so you will have to install adapters to keep them from rubbing on the wheel wells. Consult your Des Moine BDG tech by calling 1.800.LET.NAPA.
If you want to install larger wheels and increase the overall tire diameter, it is important that the package fits in the wheel well: you may have to do some minor modifications to your suspension. More importantly, you will have to reprogram your minivan engine’s computer to calibrate for the larger tire size. The computer calculates your speed based on the rotation of your tires, so increasing the size of the tires will render it inaccurate. Inaccurate speed calculations can mess up your anti-lock brakes and your stability control systems, as well as your speedometer and odometer.
As you can see, the more modifications you make, the more important it becomes to have your helpful Des Moine BDG service specialist tire and wheel professional help you with your car care.
If you really want those “super-sized” tires, great: just factor in the issues listed above, plus you may have to have modifications done to your suspension system.
The larger wheels and tires will add weight to your vehicle. This weight is not held up by the suspension system, so is referred to as “unsprung” weight. Adding unsprung weight affects your car differently than just adding loads inside of your car. Unsprung weight can affect acceleration and braking. Putting large wheels on your minivan may require an upgraded brake system.
Also, you may not get the performance from your minivan that you’ve been used to. It may be sluggish when accelerating or harder to handle when turning. You may also find that the ride is bumpier than it was before. Of course, done right at Des Moine BDG, a good wheel job can sometimes improve a vehicle’s ride or performance. It just depends on your vehicle, the type of wheels you choose, and what you are hoping to accomplish.
Now let’s suppose you want smaller wheels on your vehicle. That should be easier, right? Not really. You still have to worry about offset, and it is important that your computer be reprogrammed to account for calibration issues. And you may need adjustments to your suspension system.
Remember your budget? All of these scenarios require that you shell out some bucks. Perhaps now you can see why it is good auto advice for Berwick drivers to make that consideration first, before setting their heart on a specific type of wheel.
Another consideration should always be your driving habits. Do you do a lot of off-roading on the outskirts of Altoona? Do you carry heavy loads? Do you tow a trailer on IA highways? All of these factors must be considered when replacing your tires and wheels. Some wheels just may not be up to the work you need them to do.
For example, if you mount large rims on your vehicle, then add low-profile tires to avoid major adjustments to other systems, they won’t be able to handle off-roading as well as larger tires. There won’t be enough sidewall on the tires to absorb the impact from off-roading. You could end up with dented or broken rims.
At the end of the day, Des Moines motorists should always put safety ahead of appearance. That’s why you shouldn’t add custom wheels to your vehicle without consulting with your Des Moine BDG tire and wheel professional. Cutting corners when installing custom wheels by not making necessary adjustments to all of the systems impacted by the change can result in dangerous operating conditions as well as expensive repairs down the road.
The helpful auto professionals at Des Moine BDG want to remind Des Moines drivers of the basics of vehicle safety: preventive maintenance, emergency preparedness and professional repairs. Stay safe, and stay on the road.