Articles:

Something to Latch On To (Hood Latch Safety)

The other day, a driver was trying to open his vehicle's hood so he could add some windshield washer fluid.  But when he pulled the hood release inside the car, nothing happened.  Usually, opening any hood is a 2-step process.  You pull the hood release (which is usually a handle under the dashboard to the left of the steering column) and listen for the hood to pop up slightly. (It doesn't open all the way because it has a safety latch to prevent you from accidentally opening it up while you're driving.) Then, you get out and find the latch, usually through the grille near the hood.  There's a little handle on it which you push, slide or pull (there are a few different types) at which point the hood can be opened up all the way.  But in this driver's case, the hood would not release at all when he pulled the handle inside.  Not knowing what to do, he called his service advisor, who told him to bring it over.  The reason? A hood with a broken latch cou ... read more

The Best Book that's Not a Best-Seller

Sometimes the movie is better than the book, sometimes it's the other way around.  But when it comes to your vehicle, the best book of all is the owner's manual. The plot is simple: Owner wants long life and dependable performance from the vehicle, manual has the way to achieve that long life and dependable performance. And yet, it's amazing that some people will own a vehicle for years and never even crack this book.  They'll only read it when they absolutely have to, for things like finding out how to change the clock.  Ok, so you're probably not going to rush right over to your glove box and start reading the owner's manual cover to cover.  We know that.  But just think of what you can get out of it. Consider this.  Those who wrote or helped write this book include the engineers who designed it and the people who tested and refined it.  They know more about your vehicle than anyone, period.  They know how long a part is likely to last and what ... read more

Fuel for Thought

If you're like most people and drive a gasoline-powered vehicle, you need to be up to speed on its fuel-related components.  They're pretty basic: the fuel, the fuel filter and the fuel pump. The fuel's the easy part.  You probably gas up your vehicle yourself and, if you're like most drivers, price is a big factor in what you put in your vehicle. Maybe you think it doesn't matter what kind of gasoline you buy, but one major automobile association has found it does make a big difference.  Their study showed that the additives that are put in different brands can affect your vehicle's performance.  Certain gasoline retailers sell gasoline that meets performance standards called Top Tier.  The detergents used in Top Tier gasoline help protect newer engines from carbon buildup and deposits on intake valves, all things that can affect how smoothly your engine runs, how it accelerates and what kind of fuel economy you get.  You can check online or ask your serv ... read more

Categories:

Fuel Economy

Severe Service Requirements

A lot of The Woodlands drivers have asked whether or not they should use their severe service maintenance schedule, which is listed in their vehicle's  owner's  manual. It can be somewhat confusing, so we decided to consult an expert. Cricket Killingsworth is from QMI/Heartland, a manufacturer of automotive products and fluids. She's been in the automotive business for over 30 years and is a speaker, a trainer and a writer. Cricket says there's so much confusion on this topic because, "Most owner's manuals actually have two maintenance schedules. Sometimes these are called 'regular service' and 'severe service.' Sometimes they're simply called Schedule 1 and Schedule 2. A severe service schedule recommends that things like an oil change, air filter replacement and transmission service be done more often: either in fewer miles or in less time." Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers create a specific schedule for each vehicle they manufact ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

Fall and Spring Checkup in The Woodlands

When I was a kid, my dad always made sure he took the cars in for Spring and Fall checkups. I was telling a friend that it's about time to get into Rusty's Garage for a checkup and he said that he read on the internet that modern cars don't need seasonal service.My friend is (technically) right about some things, but from a practical standpoint, a seasonal check up still makes sense.Back when my dad was teaching me about how to take care of the family vehicle, most of them used a different weight of oil in the winter and in the summer. But most of today's modern engines run the same oil year round. High-tech engines and high-tech motor oils are better able to handle the seasonal changes.Your owner's manual or The Woodlands service advisor at Rusty's Garage can tell you the right oil to use.Of course, you're concerned about the coolant or antifreeze. You don't want to overheat in the Texas summer or freeze up in th ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance

Greeted by a Screech (Loud Noise when Starting Vehicle)

No one likes to be greeted in the morning by having someone screech at you.  The same goes for a loud, high-pitched noise your vehicle greets you with every time you start the engine.  If you're wondering if that's normal, no, it isn't.  And it is worth getting checked out.  The good news is that it might be nothing serious.  Then again, it may be. The first things to suspect any time you hear a high-pitched sound coming from the engine are belts.  They have tension on them and they're trying to turn lots of different pulleys, pumps and other equipment the engine needs to work properly.  The noise could come from the belts starting to wear out and dry out. If one of those belts breaks at an inopportune time, not only can it strand you somewhere, the damage to the engine could be very expensive to fix. Other things that will cause a high-pitched sound are the pulleys and tensioners.  The tensioners keep the right amount of pressure on the belts an ... read more

Automotive Tips from Rusty's Garage: Battery Testing

The simple fact is that 70% of car batteries fail within 4 years. They just need to be replaced at Rusty's Garage when they are no longer able to hold a full charge.Batteries are a big ticket item for most The Woodlands drivers and it’s tempting to put off buying a new one as long as possible. But a battery that cannot hold a full charge requires the alternator to work extra hard, causing it to wear out prematurely.Your Rusty's Garage service advisor can test your battery to see if it should be replaced. Testing is a good idea for Texas drivers because a battery might still be good, but become dead because of a bad alternator or even a worn serpentine belt and tensioner. Rusty's Garage25143 MELDA RDThe Woodlands, Texas 773808324958270http://rustys-garage.com  

Categories:

Battery

Stay Safe in The Woodlands by Putting Your Cell Phone on ICE

We don't want to think about it, but each The Woodlands resident who drives or rides in a vehicle is potentially an accident victim. In the worst-case scenario, those people are unconscious and unable to communicate with Texas rescue workers. Rescue workers and The Woodlands police are well aware of this difficulty, even if the rest of us don't stop to think about it. They can all recount stories of searching through glove compartments, pockets, wallets, purses and cell phone directories for a person's name and for contact information for someone who can help them get the person the medical care they need. This contact information is critical in an accident because The Woodlands medical workers need to know about allergies and potential drug interactions. Also, in Texas, some medical treatments can't be provided without authorization or consent, and there can be insurance and billing issues if the person's medical care is not properly arranged. ICE provides a solu ... read more

Categories:

Emergency Items

Rusty's Garage: Good Service and Good Fuel Economy

Most The Woodlands auto owners want to save on gas and seek our advice on improving economy. At Rusty's Garage, we are frequently asked, however, if it is really worth the extra effort. Just how much money can The Woodlands drivers actually save?In today's Rusty's Garage article, we're focusing on the things you can do to improve your vehicle’s economydriving around Texas. We'll tell you the potential savings per gallon of gas at $3.50, and we'll show a chart that also shows the savings at $3.00 and $4.00.   DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 / $3.50 / $4.00 TUNE UP 4%.12.14.16 The next item is replacing a clogged engine air filter. Your engine needs enough air to burn fuel efficiently for the best mileage. A clean air filter means you get plenty of air. The fact that the air's clean protects your engine. That can save you up to 10 percent or 35 cents a gallon.   DOLLARS PER GALLON$3. ... read more

Categories:

Fuel System

The Woodlands Drivers Severe Service Maintenance Schedules

Since driving requirements and lifestyles differ among The Woodlands drivers, your vehicle manufacturer publishes two auto maintenance schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. Which schedule should The Woodlands drivers follow? Here are some questions to ask yourself:Are most of your trips less than four miles/six kilometers around The Woodlands?Are most of your trips less than 10 miles/16 kilometers in below-zero Texas temps?Are most of your trips off-highway in Texas?Do you drive often in dusty The Woodlands areas?Do you regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads around The Woodlands?Do you drive in very hot or very cold Texas weather?Think about your typical week. Do you live by your nearest The Woodlands on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute? Or, do you drive the neighborhood car pool in stop-and-go traffic on The Woodlands surface streets? Let's suppose your owner's manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is ... read more

Categories:

Maintenance
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