Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Special!

To celebrate the holidays we're sending out our Thanksgiving flyer soon, with a couple of auto repair specials to help you visit family and friends!  Get the sneak peek here (and even print the coupons early, we won't tell!)

Auto repair newsletter special coupon

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

AAA Car Care Month - Winter Car Care Checklist

In honor of October being AAA car care month - we would like to remind drivers to have their car ready for the change in seasons!  We at Simpson Brothers Garage are happy to help you prepare your vehicle for the coming months.  Here is a winter car care checklist to help you prepare, or drop by Simpson Brothers Garage, a certified AAA repair shop! 

Simpson Brothers Garage has free inspections to help you prepare for fall and winter driving!

Winter Car Care Checklist

Battery and Charging System –  During the cold winter months a fully charged battery will start much better - making your morning commuter vehicle more reliable.  At Simpson Brothers, we can test and replace your car's weak battery.
Battery Cables and Terminals – we will check to see if your battery terminals and cable ends aren't corroded and the connections are tight.
Drive Belts – we can check the accessory drive belts for cracks or fraying. Often times, newer belts are made of materials that don't show more obvious signs of wear - it is a good idea to have them replaced every 60,000 miles.
Engine Hoses – Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses and replace any that are brittle or excessively spongy feeling.
Tire Type and Tread – Snow tires provide the best winter traction, however all-season tires work well in light-to -moderate snow conditions provided they aren't too worn down.  To remain safest on winter roads you should replace any tire that has less than 3/32-inches of tread. Make sure your tires don't show signs of uneven wear - this can mean your alignment, wheel balance or suspension may be off, and can damage your tires or worse - it may mean a costly repair.
Tire Pressure – Make sure all four tires and the spare are inflated properly more often during the fall and winter. As the temperature drops, so will tire pressure (usually one PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit). The proper tire pressure can usually be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door jamb.
Air Filter – Hold your engine's air filter up to a lit 60 watt bulb - it's a good way to see how clean it is.  If you can see light through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work efficiently. However, if the light is mostly blocked, it's time to replace it.
Coolant Levels – When the engine is cold, check the coolant level in the overflow tank (or let one of us at Simpson Brothers check for you!). If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. You can test the antifreeze protection level annually with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.  
Lights – It may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure to check the operation of all headlights, tail-lights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs - it's always safer to be seen!
Wiper Blades – The ideal blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots. Consider installing winter wiper blades for snowy weather- blades which have a 'wrap' in a rubber boot, reducing ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between the blade and the glass.
Washer Fluid – Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a solution that has 'antifreeze' qualities to prevent it from freezing (the solution will usually be labeled with 'winter', or 'antifreeze' in the description).
Brakes –  Have your brake system inspected by a certified technician if there are any signs of problems - ensuring all parts are in good working order.
Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids – Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.  We at Simpson Brothers will help you with this!
Emergency Road Kit – It is always a good idea to carry an emergency kit equipped for winter weather. The kit should include:
  • Mobile phone, pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services, and car charger
  • Drinking water
  • First-aid kit
  • Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
  • Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
  • Snow shovel
  • Blankets
  • Extra warm clothing (gloves, hats, scarves)
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Window washer solvent
  • Ice scraper with brush
  • Cloth or roll of paper towels
  • Jumper cables
  • Warning devices (flares or triangles)
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)

This winter car care checklist is provided courtesy of AAA.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fall Flyer 2012 - Auto Repair Specials

To our dearest customers,

To celebrate the fast-approaching fall, we're excited to announce the return of two of our excellent auto repair specials!  Check out our flyer, print out our coupon on our website, or show it on your phone to us and we'll be happy to oblige!  Drive safely this season, and remember to save money - with our "Name-Your-Own Special" or our "Brake Special"!

Simpson Brothers Garage Auto Repair Flyer Coupon

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wildfire Driving Safety

Colorado wildfire picture
Wildfire in northern Colorado Springs,
courtesy of Kimberly Fuller

Sadly there are many wildfires around the state of Colorado right now, and with that comes increased traffic risk: more distracted drivers, traffic from evacuations, etc.  While these fires haven't hit as hard on the Western Slope, we know travel this Summer is a part of many of our friends' and customer's plans.  If you find yourself near a wildfire area please be extra cautious on the road.

The Waldo Canyon fire,
courtesy of KKTV 11 News

1.  Pay attention to road signs, and/or local news and radio broadcasts: many roads and highways may have detours or may be closed all together.  These detours have been set up to help traffic divert from dangerous areas.

Ashes from fire,
courtesy of Cindy via KKTV.com

2.  Make sure to watch out for distracted drivers:  if you find that you are driving close to a wildfire area, you will probably see smoke and flames.  As tempting as it may be, please do not take a picture or stare at the smoke and fire for a prolonged period while driving.  If you must, find a safe place to pull off before snapping a picture.  While this may seem like common sense, many drivers will not and have not done this, and as a result many accidents on highways and roads have occurred.

A plane near Flatirons in Boulder dropping fire retardant,
courtesy of the Daily Times Call

3.  Watch out for ash, smoke, and debris in the air.  All of these pollutants can pose a danger when driving, impairing your visibility on the road.  The smoke may also affect those in your car with (or even without) asthma and breathing problems.  Stay alert and should you or one of your passengers start to have difficulty breathing pull off into a safe area to catch your breath, administer your asthma medication, or try to find a spot with cleaner air.  Even if it is a small detour from your destination, it will be worth it in the long run.

Roadway evacuation,
courtesy of Craig T. Roberts, DVM Inc.

4.  Be aware of evacuation areas.  Along with news and radio broadcasts, you can also find evacuation areas online by a simple google search.  Make sure when planning your travels that your trip will not take you through evacuation areas where the traffic will be especially heavy from people leaving their homes.

High Park fire, 
courtesy of KKTV 11 News

5.  Lastly, make sure that above all else your family and friends are safe.  If you find yourself in a situation where you are near a fire - even if you  haven't heard of a road closure or evacuation - use your instincts.  If the situation looks unsafe to you, it probably is.  Try to find a safer route to get to your destination.

Hope you have safe travels this summer, and please send a happy thought or prayer to all those affected by Colorado's wildfires.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Was Driver's Ed Wrong?

If you have attended official driving classes, the information you learned may have been wrong.

According to MSNBC, and other sources, the advent of safer cars may mean your driving style is dangerously out of date.  Have you ever heard of the 10 o'clock & 2 o'clock positions?  That usually refers to the position of your hands on a steering wheel, if that steering wheel resembled the face of a clock. This was taught in almost all Driver's Ed classes until recently.  
Now, due to the advent and mass-production of much safer vehicles equipped with airbags, those hand positions may cost you an arm... quite literally.  
According to  AAA, in addition to severe hand and arm injuries, airbag detonations have also been known to slam arms and hands into a person's face, causing concussions, broken noses, and other related injuries.

The best position for your hands now is said to be the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock position.  Some sources even go one 'hour' lower and say the 8 o'clock and 4 o'clock position is ideal, although in studies the 8 and 4 position may decrease the control over your vehicle. In any case, should you get into an accident, these new positions should leave enough room for your airbag to deploy properly without causing you major injury.

An example of the "9 and 3" hand position.

According to the American Driver & Traffic Safety Education Administration, a proper handhold should be firm, yet relaxed; both hands positioned on the outside of the wheel; where your fingers maintain control the wheel instead of your palms, and thumbs should be in an upward position along the steering wheel's "face"; and lastly, make sure you never utilize the inside of your steering wheel to make a turn.  Keeping these tips in mind should decrease an airbag injury significantly in the case of an accident.

Were you taught the "hand-over-hand" turning style?  That can also cause you similar injuries.

Remember, if you have an air-bag equipped steering wheel, this turning style can cause you the same problems as the "10 and 2" driving position, and cause you serious injury.  The proper way to turn is now said to be the push-pull method, pushing up with one hand and pulling down with another.  
This will keep your airbag deploying properly, and make sure your airbag doesn't do you more harm than good.

MSNBC.com  Article by M. Alex Johnson
Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com

Friday, March 16, 2012

This St. Patrick's Day, Don't Let Driving Drunk Cost You a Pot O' Gold:

How to stay safe during St. Patrick's Day weekend:

Here are some wonderful tips courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

If you are attending a party:
  • Make sure you get a designated driver before the party starts.  If you don't have a designated driver, at least have alternatives to your transportation.  For instance, have a taxi number stored in your phone and cab fare, call a friend or family member and have them pick you up, or worst come to worst find a safe place within walking distance to sleep it off until morning.
  • Avoid drinking too much too fast.  Make sure you space out your drinks in the evening.  Eat something, take breaks, and/or alternate with non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Use a sober ride program.  If you are a college student, an excellent resource over the weekend is Safe Rides for Students through CMU.  Their operating hours are from 8pm to 2am Fridays and Saturdays, and their phone number is 970-257-9797.
  • Watch out for your friends.  If you think they might have had too much to drink, let them know and keep them from driving themselves home.
  • Buckle up - even if you aren't intoxicated you will be sharing the road with other St. Patrick's Day party-goers, and they may not be fit to drive.
If you are hosting a party:
  • Keep in mind that you may be held responsible in a court of law if you are hosting a party and someone you served alcohol to ends up in a car accident.
  • Make sure your guests have arranged alternate transportation before the party begins, or help them to set up alternate transportation.  For example, have a couple of taxi numbers on hand, or get a friend who isn't planning on drinking help drive your guests home.  You can notify your guests at the start of your party, and pass around a tip-jar to help fill up your friends' gas tank!
  • Serve food along with alcohol, and make sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic drink options available.
  • Stop serving alcohol near the end of the party and instead start serving coffee, dessert, or another tasty non-alcoholic beverage.
  • Check guests' car keys at the door during the beginning of your party, and as they are leaving you can help determine as to whether or not they are fit to drive.  If they look like they've had too much to drink, don't be afraid to keep their keys and help them find an alternate ride home!

The Ad Council via Flickr

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The CMU Student Resource Guide

Photo courtesy of:  stock.xchng

Monday, March 12, 2012

Scared vs. Prepared: What to do before handing your teen the car keys

Do you have a teenager who is driving, or about ready to start?  As parents we often feel anxious, excited, and a bit scared to have our teen jump behind the wheel.  Here's a great website to help out parents with questions and give us some great tips before we hand our teens the keys.  Now AAA is offering workshops called "Dare To Prepare" to give us that extra confidence before our teens start driving.  Check out their video page to find some great tips, or get inspired and sign a parent-teen agreement to help hold your teen accountable and let them know that driving is both a privilege and a responsibility.

Dare to Prepare
Photo courtesy of : AndYaDontStop via Flickr

Friday, March 9, 2012

What's Behind High Gas Prices?

Have you ever wondered why we pay so much for gas?  Come to find out, there are several reasons.  According to this article, the price is largely influenced by politics, speculation, and natural disasters.  You may be asking yourself, what does politics have to do with how much we pay for gas?  Why do they have to be involved at all?  In order to keep the US's air clean and breathable, regulations have been put in place on how many pollutants we can put into the air.  Have you ever been to an emissions test?  Has your car ever failed emissions?  These tests are enforced to safeguard our environment and make sure we don't have natural disasters here in the US, like smog and acid rain.  There are both federal and state regulations in place to use a blended mixture of gasoline in our fuel that keeps emissions lower.  Unfortunately, these processes that refine our fuel also drive the gas prices higher.  That is also a part of what helps to keep our air clean, but it's also another regulation put into place by politicians.  Our job here at Simpson Brothers is to help keep your car running as efficiently as possible.  If you regularly keep up with your scheduled maintenance for your car, it will end up saving you time & money in the long run.

Ever wonder what those yellow numbers on the gas pump mean?  These are called the 'octane rating'.  The octane rating tells you how much the fuel can be compressed inside an engine before it ignites on its own.  The higher the rating, the more the fuel can be compressed before igniting.  That's why many high-performance engines require the higher level (and unfortunately the higher priced) octane gas at the pump.  If you've ever heard your engine make a knocking sound, you know it's bad - but did you know that your gas is igniting without the help of the engine's spark plugs?  You may want to think about switching to a higher-octane fuel, and bring your car in!  We'll give you a free inspection!

Visit our website to kick off your maintenance schedule with our "Name Your Own Special" coupon, and keep your car in tiptop shape!


Source: Energy Information Administration
Credit: Adam Cole, Julia Ro / NPR

Brain, Marshall.  "What does octane mean?"  01 April 2000.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/fuel-consumption/question90.htm>  09 March 2012.
How Stuff Works
Photo courtesy of Morguefile

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Your Eyes and Driving

Did you know, that as you get older your eyes need more light to see clearly?  According to this article, your eyes at age 60 need about three times as much light to see as when you're 20.  As you get older, your pupils become smaller and need much more light in order to make things out.  You may also have additional vision problems making another obstacle when you're behind the wheel.  If you are experiencing any difficulty seeing clearly, please go to your eye doctor and get a prescription/treatment that is right for you.  You never know, it just may save your life the next time you drive.

Source: seniordriving.aaa.com

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Our Spring 2012 Flyer

Spring is just around the corner!  With the warmer weather comes all sorts of outdoor adventures.  Please don't forget to bring your car in to us and we'll give you our 'Name Your Own' Special!  Simply print out our coupon from our coupon link (in the right-hand column) bring it in with your car, and we'll fix you right up!