Thursday, September 17, 2015

Know Your Car and Save Money

Welcome to the first installment of the Living The Dream Auto Care educational series – Know Your Car and Save Money.

Throughout the next few months, we will provide some relatively simple information to our guests (and anyone who wants to learn car care from the best J) regarding the basics of automotive terminology and care. Our intent is to de-mystify the lingo, help you know when your car needs attention, and – more importantly to you, we’re sure – keep your automotive costs low.

If you’re car savvy, congratulations. Feel free to add to the discussion – to help your fellow guests. And if you know someone who is not, please share this information. We’re going to cover this topic top to bottom – and hopefully, you’ll find it interesting…

Therefore, let’s start right at the bottom – where the rubber meets the road.

Proper At-Tire

Maybe someone can help us with this – who was the first person to suggest kicking the tires? Our initial car care tip: don’t do that – it just looks silly.

Now, everyone knows good tires are: 1) essential to a good ride; 2) important for passing state inspections; and 3) expensive. So, let’s talk about keeping tires good for longer periods.

To start, proper inflation of the tires is really helpful. (Actually, to start, buy good tires from the beginning – just sayin’…) Properly inflation gives your tires the best chance to wear evenly as they travel on the road.

Underinflation will cause a tire to become flatter while in contact with the road, causing:

* A significant loss of steering precision and cornering stability
* A loss of up to 5% of fuel economy
* As much as a 25% reduction in the life of the tread on the tire

Overinflation will mean that less tire touches the road, leading to:

* A greater possibility of damage when hitting potholes or road debris
* A harsher ride
* As much as a 25% reduction in the life of the tread on the tire

If either condition exists for a while, the tread will wear unevenly. Then, you may hear terms like cupping, feathering, scalloping. Sorry. Hopefully, we won’t use those types of words with you – but they do mean something that you oughta know.

Each of those terms are related to the pattern in which the tread in wearing. More importantly, however, there could be a greater issue that is coming to light.

Tires are supposed to run flat on the road. If one edge hits the road more than the other, then it will wear faster. In essence, the tire is tilted – and that’s not good. A tilted tire can be the cause of a future problem with the suspension parts of your vehicle.

Think of a tire like a shoe. If the sole or heel wears more to the inside or the outside, the foot will tilt – and so will the leg attached to it. And the leg bone connected to the hip bone, etc…you get the point.

Conversely, the suspension problem may be the reason for the tilted tire and uneven wear. A bow-legged person is going to wear out shoes differently. This is a bit beyond this presentation, but obviously, something that should be addressed.

The best preventative measures to ensure that tires last longer are:

1. Make sure that the inflation pressure is proper

2. Check your suspension every six months
3. Rotate and balance tires every 7,500 miles
4. Get a 4-wheel alignment once a year (discussed another time).

Of course, tires rotate – they’re round, aren’t they? Well, yeah, but…a rotation means moving the tires from one position on the car to another. Why? When birds fly in a V-pattern, the lead bird fights most of the wind, so when they get tired, they rotate to the back to get some rest. It’s the same thing with tires.

Because of turning, or front-wheel drive, or heavy engines, the front tires do the majority of the work – and wear faster. So, it’s essential to rotate them to the rear to give them a rest.

Tires should be balanced, as well. The weight of a tire is almost NEVER exactly the same all the way around. Matter of fact, the valve stem contributes to the imbalance. And when the tire goes spinning down the road, the imbalance in weight, however slight, will cause a wobble. The faster the car goes, the more the wobble. And when one tire wobbles differently than another, the driver feels it – usually in the steering wheel.

An unbalanced tire will also cause a vibration in the suspension. This imbalance will cause suspension and steering components to wear prematurely. Lastly, it will cause the tire to wear in an uneven pattern. Therefore, keeping your tires balanced is very important.

Weights are added around the rim to provide an even balance. Equal weights mean less vibration – and less potential damage to the suspension. If this, like rotation, is done regularly, you probably won’t need to replace them as frequently.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Getting The Most For Your Money

Getting The Most For Your Money


Watching your dollars melt into gas to fuel your summer fun? As gas prices continue to riseLiving the Dream Auto Care shares helpful tips for spending less time at the pump by getting the most gas mileage for your money:

Service your engine  Tuning your car’s engine and routinely changing the oil increases gas mileage. At Living the Dream Auto Care, we ensure your car is maintained according to your car’s specifications found in the owner's manual.

Change your spark plugs – Depending on the vehicle, spark plugs are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. This quick service can easily be done during the same visit as a routine oil change.

Replace or clean serviceable fuel & air filters  Air filters prevent excessive dust and dirt from invading your engine, while a fuel filter removes particles from the fuel. Clogged filters reduce gas mileage by requiring the engine to work harder. Therefore, maintaining clean air and fuel filters is another way to improve your vehicle’s gas mileage.


Check tire pressure and alignment  When air pressure is low and/or tires are not aligned, a resistance exists while driving; thereby requiring more gas to move the vehicleIn addition to improving gas mileage by limiting fuel consumption, properly inflated and aligned tires increase your safety and extend the life of your tires. Remember, check tire pressure when the tires are cold. Tires heat up as the wheels rotate for extended periods of time and the internal pressure increases.


Use your A/C sparingly – Driving with open windows at lower speeds may cause some drag and reduce fuel efficiency, but not as much as using the A/C. Regardless of speed, using the vent when it’s cool outside or opening the windows just a few inches saves gas.


Park in the shade  Gasoline evaporates from the gas tank. This occurs faster when your vehicle is parked directly in the sun, winter or summer. Parking in the shade will keep it cooler inside your vehicle, requiring less A/C to cool it off. If shade is unavailable, park such that the actual gas tank under the car, not the valve to fill it, is facing away from the direct sun.


Save money while enjoying your summer  At Living the Dream Auto Care, we don’t just say we’re different from other shops – we prove it with every repair we do. Not only do wdeeply care about your safety and the condition of your vehicle, we deliver a personal touch a dealer can’t deliver.  We love what we do; we’re great at what we do; and we can’t wait to prove it to you.


Visit one of our two great locations in Canton and Mansfield, and see what it’s like to live the dream!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Preventative Maintenance

Prevent Defense


While the human body comes in an indeterminable number of shapes and sizes, there are truths that are difficult to question. If you eat right, get exercise on a regular basis, and get your regular checkups at the doctor’s office, the odds of living a longer, more productive life increase significantly. Of course, following this approach isn’t always easy – and may seem expensive – but the potential rewards far outweigh the costs.

This discussion is about cars, not humans. But their functions are similar. And so is their care.

Have you ever seen that person, stuck with their car on the side of the road – at night, during rush hour, and (wait for it) in the rain? You remember how much you envied that person? You don’t?

Just like none of us ever want to be in the hospital, being stuck with a malfunctioning vehicle – regardless of where and when – is an unpleasant experience. And in many cases, completely avoidable. What it takes is a little time and some forethought.

Mickey Mantle once said, “If I knew I’d live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself.” (I know I’m quoting a Yankee, but Ted Williams or Jim Rice didn’t speak much.) Your vehicle can’t speak much, either, but if you plan on keeping it awhile, consider ol’ Mick’s advice.

You already do the basics. You take the car in for an oil change – because you already recognize that investing $35 and one hour every three months is excellent insurance against spending $3,500 for a new engine. And to really ensure that you’re not that person on the side of the road, you put gas in the vehicle regularly. This is a good start. However, like the human body, there are lots of moving parts in a vehicle, and getting them checked out regularly is a great way to keep them moving.

But why bother, you might ask? Isn’t it just plain expensive to keep maintaining the old one, when a new one is a lot less hassle?

Well, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spent 1.5 percent of its income on auto repair. Therefore, assuming an average household income of approximately $90,000, you lucky people are spending about $1,350 a year on fixing your vehicles.

Let’s assume you’re unlucky, and you spend twice as much. That’s $2,700 a year into maintaining your car. Ouch! Until you head to the new car dealer, and the finance guy (don’t youhate that guy?) gives you the deal of a lifetime. According to the National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA), the average price of a new car is nearly $29,000. But you get 0% financing for 6 years – and only paid $26,000 for the vehicle. Hey, finance guy isn’t so bad, after all.

But now you’re putting out $4,333 per year for the new car with the incredible deal, versus $2,700 for your current car – if your situation is far worse than average. And you still have maintenance for the new car as it gets older. New car smell is expensive, isn’t it?

By all means, if you want a new vehicle, buy it. And then maintain properly, because you want it to last. And if you intend to keep the vehicle you have, then maintain it properly, because you want it to last.


Find a place you trust, and let them do a proper inspection on the entire vehicle. And when you hear that something is in need of repair, stop delaying. Like that bad knee you’ve been trying to ignore, it doesn’t get better with time. Far too often, the person stuck on the side of the road was aware of the problem, but figured that they have time to take care of it, or didn’t have the money. Well, they now have the time – to wait for the tow truck. Hopefully, they have the money…

The auto technicians at Living The Dream Auto Care are masters in preventing that “broke-down feeling” without leaving you feeling broke. They have been helping theirguests stay out of the rain since they opened their first location in Canton in 2009.  And now, they have opened a new location at 95 S. Main St. in Mansfield.  Along with giving honest answers, and having state-of-the-art repair equipment to handle virtually any vehicle, they have the cleanest bathroom in any repair facility in the state.  Give them a call at (774) 719-2631 to schedule your next checkup.

Cars differ, just like humans. But the standards of maintenance are the same. Getting a proper regular checkup will alleviate breakdowns and costly replacements. And when you’re on your way to the gym, we’ll make sure you don’t break down on the way there.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Slick Decision

Slick Decision

Ah, the most basic of the basic maintenance services performed on a car – the oil change.For some, the earliest memories we have of cars include riding to see your grandparents on Sunday, fighting with a sibling over who would sit in the middle of the backseat – and watching Dad make a complete mess of the driveway as he changed the oil in the family car.

For many reasons, it is no longer a rite of passage for adults to perform this task. We may not have the space, the tools, the time, or the desire to allow our children to hear us use such foul language when we can’t get the filter off or can’t find the right wrench. So, it has become common to take our car to the professional for the most basic of maintenance services – the oil change.

But a question does arise: if it’s so basic, why are there so many differences depending on where you go?

In case you were unaware, engine oil does a lot of things that keeps your car moving.  Along with keeping the engine lubricated, it reduces engine wear by removing particles that are produced as an engine operates, regulates the engine temperature, and reduces the friction that naturally occurs due to all the moving parts,” according to Paul Pasquale, owner of Living The Dream Auto Care in Canton and Mansfield. Regularly changing a car’s engine oil is necessary to ensure proper engine function, as well as to ensure that a vehicle engine lasts for as long as possible.

So, there is no question as to why – but when and where?  

A common belief is that an oil change should occur every 3 months or 3,000 miles.  Well, yes and no.  The manuals for many new cars suggest changing the oil from 5,000 to as much as 7,500 miles – particularly if synthetic oil is recommended.  Also, driving conditions – and how you drive, as well – along with the age of the vehicle, can affect when the service is necessary.  Simply put, the tougher you are on your engine, the more frequently oil changes should occur.

However you drive, though, there is a benefit to staying with the 3month/3,000 mile program: you get to see your auto technician on a consistent basis.  (What?!)  This is where the where comes in.

Most service centers that do oil changes also do inspections.  The inspections differ, however, in degree of thoroughness.  Anyplace that advertises a 10-minute oil change would be hard-pressed to conduct more than a superficial inspection of any of the components of the vehicle.

At the other end of the spectrum, a complete inspection may take an hour – but potential problems with the vehicle can be identified and averted.  The process can be seen as similar to going to the dentist (sure, another fun place to visit) for a cleaning and x-rays.  Finding out about a cavity is far less painful than dealing with a tooth that, left untreated, became abscessed.

Places such as Living The Dream Auto Care do complete inspections for free with an oil change.  And while finding out about, oh, a torn axle boot is not a joyous occasion, neither is losing a wheel during rush hour.  Ouch!  Give me the abscessed tooth.

If you’re going to go somewhere to get an oil change, get a complete inspection at the same time – to ensure more miles of worry-free driving.  And look for the other amenities, as well.  If you’re gonna wait an hour, you may as well find a place that is inviting.

Computer access, cable TV, fresh coffee and snacks, and – they even wash and vacuum the vehicle for free with the service.  And they advertise the cleanest bathrooms of any shop in the state.  Give them a call at (774) 719-2631 in Mansfield or (339) 237-4711 in Canton to schedule an appointment.

If you’re still committed to the oil change in the driveway, please watch the foul language and the spilled oil.  There are children around.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

It's just an oil change

It's Just an Oil Change... Why Does it Take So Long?
We live in a world where “instant” is expected. No wonder we expect an oil change to be done in a jiffy.
But whatever happened to the time when an oil change was the opportunity to ensure that our car was in proper working order?
At Living The Dream Auto Care, we're bringing auto service back. That means having someone take a real good look at your vehicle during an oil change – and that takes time.
We do a comprehensive inspection of the major systems of your vehicle:
  • ✔  Braking
  • ✔  Cooling and Heating
  • ✔  Transmission
  • ✔  Suspension
  • ✔  Drive Train
  • ✔  Electrical
  • ✔  Filters
    Since each system has many parts, it usually takes our professional technicians about an hour to properly look over your vehicle. How other places do their “inspection” of all of these vital areas in less than 10 minutes is beyond our comprehension.
    We's not an instant. So, what do you get for the extra time? Peace of mind – knowing that everything is OK with your vehicle. And if there is a problem, we'll bring it to your attention, so that it can be corrected.
    Excellence in auto care takes time. And your car deserves the proper attention. So, enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack. And savor the peace of mind – along with the free hand wash and vacuum – that is the Living The Dream Auto Care experience.
    Living The Dream Auto Care
    The Future of Auto Care