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How to get your Vehicle Ready for Summer

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If you live near Windsor Nissan, where the summer months get hot, you’ll want to take a few things into consideration regarding your car, truck or SUV. It’s important to remember that hot weather can be tough on mechanical components. For example, your cooling system has to work harder to keep the engine from overheating, tires have to perform under hotter conditions, and if you have a breakdown, you should be prepared to subsist in hot weather until some form of assistance arrives, or you’re able to repair the vehicle yourself.

While there are many similarities between getting your vehicle ready for summer and getting it ready for winter, a couple of differences do exist. These are covered below in the following numerated subjects and corresponding photos. Let’s take a look.

1. Remove snow tires. While snow tires work great in the winter, they’re not much good in the summer months when there’s no snow on the ground. Plus, you’ll wear them out much faster by using them on dry pavement. It’s a good idea to have two sets of wheels: one mounted with snow tires and one with summer or all-season tires. You can even swap the wheels yourself since you won’t have to go to a tire shop to have one set of tires removed and another set remounted on one set of wheels, which could run $40 to $50 each time you do it.

2. Check the tire pressure. Tire pressure is important at all times. It’s critical to have properly inflated tires, as this assures the best possible contact between the tire and the road. Read your owner’s manual to find the correct tire pressures, and, if necessary, adjust pressures to compensate for the hotter operating conditions — especially if you’re doing lots of high-speed driving on a summer-vacation road trip. Properly inflated tires will also last longer and improve gas mileage.

Because of summertime’s higher temperatures, the air pressure in a warm tire rises. Why? Because air is a gas, and gas expands when it heats up. Keep this in mind if you are checking tire pressures. The given tire pressure specifications are for when the tires are cold, therefore the pressure should be checked when the tires are cold.

Also, an improperly inflated tire can heat excessively, potentially leading to a blow-out on the highway.

3. Change the engine oil and adjust the viscosity grade. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil. For example, maple syrup has a higher viscosity than water. Engine oils are sold with different levels of viscosity, and many of them are also multi-viscous, which means the oil’s thickness can change depending on its temperature. Generally speaking, the warmer the oil is, the thinner it will be. If the oil is too thin, the engine might not get the proper lubrication.

To solve this summertime issue, you can change your vehicle’s engine oil to one that is a little thicker. Even when the thicker oil is cold, it is still not too thick for proper engine lubrication.

Determining what type of oil your car should have during the summer is easy. Simply read your vehicle’s owner’s manual. The manual will list the manufacturer’s oil recommendations for different climates. If you have a dealership or local garage perform the oil change, you can ask the manager what type and viscosity of oil they are putting into your vehicle. Most modern cars have recommended oil grades of 5W-30, 10W-30 or 10W-40 which are all multi-viscous grades.

4. Inspect the belts and hoses. The belts and hoses in modern cars last a long time. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to fail. Before summer begins, have the belts and hoses inspected on your vehicle. And if you’re not sure when they were last replaced, consider having them changed, especially before commencing a long road trip.

5. Inspect the wipers and wiper fluid. Visibility is always important and our experience tells us that summer storms can be quite severe in some parts of the country. The life expectancy of a wiper blade is one year. If your car’s blades are dried out and not making full contact with the windshield, replace them.

Also check and fill your wiper fluid reservoir. A summertime thunderstorm isn’t the best time to run out of wiper fluid or to discover your blades aren’t performing properly.

6. Check the battery. A battery gives little warning before it goes dead. And it’ll likely do so when you least expect it. Hot weather can put additional strain on a battery similar to what is experienced in cold weather. If your vehicle battery is more than three years old, have it tested at a certified automotive repair facility. Also, make sure the posts and connections are free of corrosion. If you’re embarking on a long trip, consider replacing the battery if you don’t know how old it is. These days, batteries are not very expensive, and it’s cheap insurance when you’re out on the open road. We also recommend that you always carry jumper cables, as mentioned below in the emergency kit section.

7. Check coolant/antifreeze mixture. The ideal mixture of coolant and water inside your vehicle’s radiator is 50:50. If the mixture deviates from this norm, then hot-weather performance (and cold) can be compromised.

If you were to put pure water in your vehicle’s radiator, it would boil at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you combine the water with an equal amount of antifreeze, the new mixture boils at a much higher temperature.

You can check the composition of a radiator’s mixture by using an antifreeze tester. You can find these at all auto parts stores, and they are inexpensive and easy to use. If the mixture’s balance is off, adjust it by adding either coolant or water.

8. Carry an emergency kit inside your car. Things you might consider carrying include the following:

  1. A flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit.
  2. Jumper cables.
  3. Extra clothes and gloves.
  4. Paper towels.
  5. Extra washer fluid.
  6. Food and water.
  7. Basic tools like wrenches, a ratchet and sockets, screwdrivers and pliers or Vise-Grips.

9. Things to Consider When Removing a Vehicle from Long-Term Storage

Those of you who live in an area of the country where the winters are tough might store a car on a long-term basis to protect it from the elements. If you do that, you’ll want to think about a few things before pulling the car out of the garage and hitting the road.

If you changed the oil before putting the car away, then you’ll be in good shape when it’s time to start it up after a long winter in storage. Before starting the car, though, check the oil level on the dipstick first. Recheck it once the car has been idling for a few minutes.

If you have relatively easy access to the spark plugs, consider removing them and pouring two to three small drops of oil in the cylinders to prelube the cylinder walls before startup. This isn’t absolutely critical (we know that plug access on some vehicles is very difficult) but would certainly be helpful in prolonging engine life.

In addition to engine oil, check all vital fluid levels. This includes the brake system’s master cylinder, the coolant level, the power-steering fluid and the transmission fluid if the vehicle has an automatic transmission.

Gasoline stabilizer poured into the tank before the long-storage is begun is also a good idea. If this was done, you’ll be in good shape during startup after the term ends. If getting the vehicle started is a problem and you didn’t use any stabilizer, you might need to drain the old fuel and pour in new gas. Replacing the fuel filter might also be a solution to any problems related to getting the vehicle started after long-term storage.

After parking the vehicle for storage, it’s a good idea to disconnect the battery. It’s also a good idea to remove it from the vehicle, too, if you can. Obviously, if you disconnected the battery, you’ll need to reconnect it before starting.

As mentioned earlier, you’ll also want to check tire pressure before hitting the road after long-term storage.

Finally, before moving the vehicle at all, thoroughly check underneath it to determine if there are any leaks that might need attention. Tending to this and the other basic concerns noted above will ensure that you’ll be set to go after your car has been stored for a long period of time.

And as always, Windsor Nissan’s service department is always available to answer any questions you have regarding your vehicle.

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St. Patty’s Day Bonus Cash, and a little history on the holiday

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For the first time, Windsor Nissan is offering St. Patricks Day Holiday Bonus Cash. You can save up to an additional $1250, in additional to all other rebates on your new Nissan. This is your lucky sale being offered only for a limited time.  Regardless of your heritage, you’re prob­ably very aware of St. Patrick’s Day — the traditional Irish holiday celebrated each year on March 17. And maybe you observe this festive day by sporting your best bright green shirt and meeting up with friends at your favorite local Irish pub. But — believe it or not — there’s a lot more to St. Patrick’s Day than simply wearing green and knocking back a pint of Guinness.

­­For instance, who was Saint Patrick? Is it true that he was taken ­prisoner by Irish raiders? Why do we devote an entire day to him? And how do shamrocks and the Blarney stone fit into this holiday’s history?

As the luck of the Irish would have it, we’ve got the answers to these questions as well as lots more information about this historic holiday.

Who is Saint Patrick?

­Important historical figures are frequently shadowed by the myths and legends attributed to them over the course of centuries, and St. Patrick is no exception. He is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, St. Patrick was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians. Saint Patrick described himself as a “most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped ­idols and unclean things had become the people of God.”

­Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been — the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring Christianity to Ireland, it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the “Holy Wells” that still bear this name.

There are several accounts of St. Patrick’s death. One says that St. Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D. His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the “evil eye.” Another account says that St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey. Today, many Catholic places of worship all around the world are named after St. Patrick, including cathedrals in New York City, USA, Dublin, Ireland, and Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.

Origins of St. Patrick’s Day­

­Saint Patrick’s Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide. The Irish are descendants of the ancient Celts, but the Vikings, Normans and English contributed to the ethnic nature of the people. Centuries of English rule largely eliminated the use of the ancient Gaelic, or Irish, language. Most Irish are either Catholics or Protestants (Anglicans, members of the Church of England).

So, why is it celebrated on March 17? One theory is that that is the day that St. Patrick died. Since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as the Irish spread out around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations. The biggest observance of all is, of course, in Ireland. With the exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses close on March 17. Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17 is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.

In American cities with a large Irish population, St. Patrick’s Day is a very big deal. Big cities and small towns alike celebrate with parades, “wearing of the green,” music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring and games. Some communities even go so far as to dye rivers or streams green!

The Shamrock and the Blarney Stone

­According to Encyclopedia Britannica, a shamrock is “any of several similar-appearing trifoliate plants (plants whose leaves are divided into three leaflets). Common shamrocks include the wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) of the family Oxalidaceae, or any of various plants of the pea family (Fabaceae), including white clover (Trifolium repens) and suckling clover Trifolium dubium.” According to Irish legend, St. Patrick chose the shamrock as a symbol of the church’s Holy Trinity because of its three leaflets bound by a common stalk. Wood sorrel is shipped in large quantities from Ireland to other countries for St. Patrick’s Day.

The Legend of the Blarney Stone

There is a stone there, That whoever kisses, Oh, he never misses To grow eloquent. ‘Tis he may clamber To a lady’s chamber, Or become a member Of Parliament.

Just northwest of the Irish village of Cork is the village of Blarney. The name Blarney is derived from the Irish An blarna, “the plain.” Blarney is home to the 90-foot-tall (27.4-meter) Blarney Castle. The castle visited today is the third one built at the site and was erected in 1446.

Built on a rock, above several caves, the tower originally had three stories. On the top story, just below the battlements on the parapet, is the world famous Blarney Stone. While its origins are unknown, the Blarney Stone is said to give the gift of eloquence (beautiful speaking ability) to all who kiss it. Today, “Blarney” means “the ability to influence and coax with fair words and soft speech without offending.”

Kissing the stone is quite a physical feat. You have to sit with your back to the stone, and a local guide or friend sits on your legs or firmly holds your feet. Then you lean back and down into the darkness between the castle’s 18-foot-thick (5.5-meter) walls and, grasping the iron rails, lower yourself until your head is even with the stone.

One local legend claims that an old woman, saved from drowning by a king of Munster, rewarded him with a spell that if he would kiss a stone on the castle’s top, he would gain a speech that would win all to him. It is not known, however, when and how the word Blarney entered the English language and the dictionary.

 

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