MainStreet Transmissions

and Auto Repair LLC

 

511 SIMS STREET

PALMETTO,

GA  30268


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It’s the beginning of the new year — a time for fresh starts and new projects. People are planning their New Year’s Resolutions from spending more time with family to joining the local gym. We all have ways in which we want to improve our lives in the upcoming year. As we look to better our lives and those around us, there is one thing that we often take for granted and may not be thinking about — our vehicle.

Our cars are a part of our family; trusty and true for years on end as we drive to school, work, vacation, soccer fields, and countless trips to shopping centers and grocery stores. Unfortunately, they need a lot of maintenance to run smoothly. If your car made it through a tumultuous 2020, here are some important annual car maintenance tasks to think about for 2021.

6 Car Resolutions for the New Year

As you sit down to come up with your own personal resolutions, we offer 6 New Year’s Resolutions for your vehicle below. We want your life’s path to be smooth in 2021. A car owner with a smooth ride will provide just that.

1. Check and Change Your Oil

Part of maintaining a healthy vehicle is making sure it is properly lubricated. Get routine oil changes (or change your oil yourself) and check oil levels frequently (every month). Changing oil regularly is vital; otherwise you’re risking permanent damage to your vehicle.

Make 2021 the year you make the habit of checking your oil level frequently. While some people may recommend checking your oil every time you refill the gas tank, once a month will do the trick. Set a reminder on your phone so you never forget this important car maintenance task.

If you’re not sure what it means to “regularly maintain” your vehicle’s oil level, check your owner’s manual. Typically, you should change your oil levels every 5,000 miles or so, but you want to check the level much more frequently. If you don’t remember the last time you had your oil changed, it’s time to learn how to change your oil and filter. You can also bring the car in to a mechanic and they will do it for around $50-$100.

Checking your oil level, however, is much easier and only takes a few minutes.

Materials: paper towel or rag and sufficient light

Steps:

  1. After the engine has turned off, wait at least 5 minutes.
  2. Make sure you are on a level surface.
  3. Look for your car’s oil dipstick undernearth the hood of the car. It usually says oil or displays an oil can icon.
  4. Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean with a rag or paper towel.
  5. Put the dipstick all the way back in.
  6. Pull the dipstick back out and inspect it without turning it upside down. You should have two markers (lines or holes) near the bottom of the dipstick. If the oily part ends below the bottom marker, you need more oil. Never add more than a quart of oil at a time before rechecking the oil level. Too much motor oil is bad for the vehicle. If the oil level is between the two markers, you are good to go.

Congratulations, you learned a new life skill. Easy, wasn’t it?

2. Learn How to Change a Tire

Every car owner should make the resolution to learn how to change his or her own vehicle’s tire. Sure, calling roadside assistance is great, but what if you don’t have AAA, cell service, or your membership expired? There might always come a time when you need to know this important skill.

Ask family members to join you for the lesson, especially if you have a new driver in the family. Together you will all enter 2021 with a new skill and a safer ride.

Materials: lug wrench, spare tire, and car jack.

Steps:

  1. Make sure your car is in a safe area, on a flat surface.
  2. Remove the hubcap and get the spare tire out.
  3. Loosen the lug nuts with a lug wrench (just a little bit). Use the star pattern as indicated in the illustrated guide below.
  4. Reference your owner’s manual for the correct location to place the jack.
  5. Raise the jack and make sure it has securely contacted the car’s frame.
  6. Crank up the jack until the wheel is high enough to remove the tire.
  7. Use the lug wrench to remove the lug nuts (you may be able to do this by hand). Make sure the lug nuts are in a secure place.
  8. Remove the flat tire and place it flat on the ground.
  9. Line up the spare tire with the wheel studs and put the lug nuts back into place with your hand. When you can’t turn the nuts or bolts any further, lower the jack until the wheel is on the ground.
  10. Finish tightening the lug nuts with your wrench using the star pattern below.
  11. Remember, a spare tire is only a temporary fix and should never be driven at high speeds. Get your tire repaired or replaced as soon as possible!

Use this illustrated guide from the Art of Manliness and the following video from AAA for a visual demonstration:

how to change a flat tire

For wheels with 5 lug nuts, use this pattern:

lug nut tightening star pattern changing flat tire

If you just have 4 nuts, use this one:

lug nut tightening pattern change flat tire

Source: Art of Manliness

3. Take Care of Your Tires

It is very obvious when you have a flat tire. But it could be less obvious when your tires are low, worn, or ready to be replaced. When your tire is underinflated, your gas mileage goes down and your risk for a flat goes up. When the tire is overinflated, you run the risk of a dangerous blow-out. It’s time to use your tire gauge and find out how much air you need to put back in.

Stick-type tire gauges are the most unreliable so we recommend spending a little bit more for a digital or dial-type gauge. You can get these at your local auto-parts store or online. Refer to your owner’s manual for the proper tire pressure. This is usually between 30 and 35 PSI.

Gas stations as well as local tire stores will usually fill up your tires for free. All you to do is take the time to notice.

Here are some signs that your tires need to be replaced:

  1. If the tread depth is lower than 1/16 inch (1.6 millimeters), they are considered to be “legally” worn out.
  2. Use a tread depth indicator purchased from your auto-parts store or online.
  3. Use the penny test. Take a penny and insert the top part of Lincoln’s head (head down) into one of the tire treads. If you can see his entire head, it’s time to replace your tire immediately. If only a small part of his head is cut off, consider a replacement soon. If his entire forehead is covered, you’re good to go. Use the penny test on a few areas of each tire to get a more accurate reading.

how to tell if you need to replace car tires - penny test

Source: bridgestonetire.com

If there is uneven wear on your tires, it may be time for a tire rotation, wheel alignment, or both. This is when you should probably have your car serviced by a professional.

In addition to making sure your tires are safe and inflated properly, you want to remember to rotate your tires every 5,000-10,000 miles or so (check your owner’s manual for a more accurate rotation schedule). Since your tires wear unevenly, rotating your tires can help ensure a longer lifespan for each tire. Regular tire rotations also provide a smoother and safer ride. While it is possible to rotate your tires yourself, it may be easier to ask your mechanic to do it for you.

4. Drive Safely

Do NOT text while driving! This is extremely careless. If you must use your phone on the road, use a hands-free device and don’t take any calls during hazardous driving conditions. Don’t write down notes or look up things on your phone while driving. If you must place a call, do so at a red light, stop sign, or parking space.

Deaths from car accidents are often the most preventable – remember how important it is to all parties on the road to stay vigilant and focused. Everyone wants to get home safely. Vow to drive safer this New Year.

Learn safe winter driving tips here.

5. Learn How to Jump-Start a Vehicle

Are you the person who sees someone stranded on the side of the road and drives by hoping that a more capable person with the correct tools can come to the rescue? Even though jumpstarting a dead battery is very easy to do, too many people rely on AAA or a generous driver to come to the rescue.

Everybody should know how to jumpstart a dead battery. Not only can you save your own hide, but you can also come to the rescue for someone else.

To prevent being stranded on the side of the road or looking a fool when someone asks for your help, a good car resolution is to learn how to jumpstart a car.

Be extra careful and make sure the jumper cables are connected to the right areas! There is a risk of electrocution. Red = positive. Black = negative.

Use this illustrated guide and video from the Art of Manliness for a visual demonstration:

how to jumpstart a car illustrated guide

6. Check Fluids & Follow Maintenance Schedule

Professional maintenance is necessary to keep your car running properly all year. This includes fluid checks and changes, tire rotations, and general inspections.

Check your owner’s manual for a recommended maintenance schedule. If you lost yours, Google it.

By regularly checking your car’s fluid levels and replacing them as necessary, you can ward off most car repairs.

Motor Oil: check monthly.

Transmission Fluid: check monthly.

Coolant (Antifreeze): check twice a year.

Brake Fluid: check every time you change your oil.

Power Steering Fluid: check monthly.

Windshield Wiper Fluid: check monthly.

Set calendar reminders on your phone and make notes of levels. Replacement schedules vary by car, so double check your owner’s manual rather than relying on what your mechanic has to say.

As an added resolution to the New Year, once you’ve mastered the mechanical and essential, attempting to keep your car clean is the cherry on top. Don’t use your car as a trashcan and keep your car clean from salt, grease, grime, acid rain, sap, dead bugs, and other things that can eat away at your paint and damage your vehicle. This will help you a lot if you ever decide to sell your car.


Don’t Slip Up: 5 Steps to Prepare Your Car for Winter

Before you know it, your car’s going to be at risk of slipping, sliding, and other common wintery issues. Is your car ready for the challenges of the winter season? Being proactive about winter car preparation can help keep you and your loved ones safer on the road.

Take these 5 steps to prepare your car for winter.

  1. Make Sure Your Tires Are Fit for Winter Weather– It’s wise to check the condition of your tires before winter hits. There are two key factors that affect tire performance, proper inflation and tread wear. Tire pressure should match the recommended tire inflation shown on the driver’s side door jamb placard or sticker. In most states, the minimum legal tread depth for a passenger tire is 2/32”. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards require that a passenger tire be manufactured with wear bars to allow for visual inspection of the tread depth. As illustrated, wear bars run across the width of a tire. If the surface of a tire is flush with the wear bar, the tread is less than 2/32” and needs to be replaced.
  2. Check on Your Car Battery and Headlights– One of the effects of cold temperature is that it causes the battery to work harder. This means your car battery will require more power to start the engine and to operate. You should find out if your battery is in good condition for this kind of strain. It may need to be replaced as a preventive measure. In some cases, batteries just need to have corrosion removed and have the cables inspected to be ready for winter. In the process, clean and/or restore your headlights. These are essential for safety, especially when your headlights may need to shine through elements like snow or sleet.
  3. Stock Your Car’s Emergency Kit– Winter weather can be unpredictable, so be prepared for what winter may throw your way. In case of an emergency like engine trouble or sliding into a snowdrift, there are certain items you should keep on hand. This is extremely important for your safety. Create an emergency kit to keep in your trunk. Be sure your kit includes:
  4. Replace Your Windshield Wipers- If you live in an area that gets ice and snow, it is essential to use good quality wiper blades. Be sure to keep an ice scraper handy too wipers are not designed to clear ice off the windshield.
  5. Ask an Automotive Technician to Winterize Your Vehicle– Your car also needs specific types of maintenance performed in preparation for winter. For example, check the cooling system, belts, tensioners and hoses. Some manufacturers suggest changing the oil and replacing dirty filters seasonally.


Emergency Kit suggestions:

  • Blanket
  • Flares
  • Jumper cables
  • Toolkit
  • First-aid kit
  • Boots, gloves, and warm clothes
  • Water and non-perishable food
  • An ice scraper and a small shovel
  • A flashlight and backup phone-charging battery
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Tire chains, a tire gauge, a spare tire, and tire-changing equipment
  • Abrasive material like sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter for traction if you get stuck
COVID-19 Notice:

As communities begin to feel the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to share with you the steps we’re taking to help protect the health and safety of our customers and our crew, which is always our top priority. We’re closely monitoring local and national reports on the evolving impact of COVID-19 and, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization and applicable public health agencies. We are frequently disinfecting often-touched surfaces such as door handles, countertops, keypads and restroom surfaces. We’re asking all of our crew to follow the CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the infection. In these efforts, we are advising our crew to use disposable gloves, disinfectant spray, and cleaning solution. We have implemented guidelines that instruct any crew member who experience cold or flu-like symptoms, or individuals who have been diagnosed through testing with COVID-19 to stay home and follow the CDC’s instructions. MainStreet Transmissions cares about our customers and crew, and at the core of our commitment to you is, Excellent Customer Service. This will not change, even as the situation evolves, and we intend to continue to meet the needs and expectations of our customers. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust the actions taken as necessary to help limit the spread of this virus and do our part in helping to protect our valued customers and crew during this time.

Carlton and Christy Evans
Owners

 

 

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We are MainStreet Transmissions and Auto Repair.  We believe in providing quality service at an affordable price.  We are a family owned and operated business and have been in Palmetto for 12 years.  We are members of the community and also live in the community we service.  We stand behind our service...our reputation is important to us and we strive to keep our customers happy.