vehicle maintenance

Vehicle Maintenance During the Covid-19 Outbreak

vehicle maintenanceWith the Covid-19 virus pandemic, a lot of people are worried. For the moment, we aren’t on lock-down here in Utah, but there are cases being reported. If you’re following the CDC guidelines for health, you might not be driving that much right now. That might make this the perfect time to get your car checked out. If you ever need to drive, you’re going to want to be sure your car isn’t at risk from breaking down. Since you don’t need to hang around the shop while we check up on your car, you can leave it with us and stay at home while we do our work. That way, you won’t be at risk of infection and can rest easy knowing your car is ready for you if you need it.

The S&E Performance Warranty

Here at S&E Performance, we love our cars and do our best to keep them in top shape. Since money might be tight during this outbreak, we’re offering free vehicle inspections. Because we’re so proud of our work, we offer a free 12-month, 12,000 mile warranty on all the work we do. This comes with free road-side assistance as well!

Vehicle Maintenance Matters!

Regular maintenance on your vehicle is key to keeping it going. It extends the life of your vehicle and will reduce the cost of repairs. It’s always less expensive to catch a problem before your car breaks down. There are some things you can do yourself when it comes to car maintenance, but you should still come in for a safety inspection if you can.  Safety inspections will help ensure your safety.  They’re no longer required by state law, but you should definitely get them done.  If it’s been a while since you’re last one – say, more than two years – it’s time to let us check up on it.

Don’t Wait

So far, Utah’s legislation hasn’t seen fit to impose quarantine laws, or lockdown businesses. You’re still free to do as you please, but that can change. Right now, Cache Valley hasn’t seen any cases of Covid-19, but once it starts to show up, that’s when things will start to happen quickly. If you’re concerned that your car might need a safety inspection, it’s best to get it now. If we get hit with a lock-down order, you won’t be able to come in.

Stay Safe and Healthy

SE PerformanceHow you handle yourself is up to your own judgement. We hope that you’re doing your best to keep yourself healthy. Continue washing your hands and cleaning regularly touched surfaces to slow the spread of the disease. If you feel you need to get a safety inspection for your car now, we’re ready to help. We’ll make sure your car is up to speed at no cost to you. Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help.

Otherwise, we hope you take good care of yourselves.

Tuning your car

How Can I Avoid Getting Ripped Off When Tuning My Car?

Tuning Your Car

Tuning your carEvery car needs a tune-up now and then, but sometimes you need an extra bit of tweaks to keep performance up.  For that, you have car tuning. It’s one of the oldest freedoms that we’ve enjoyed in this country as far as cars go.  A bit of fine tuning on the engine can tweak performance in any number of ways. You can improve speed, steering, fuel efficiency, even just the aesthetics of the car’s look and sound can be tuned to your preferences.   Whatever you want, tuning can get it to you, but one thing you definitely don’t want is to be ripped off.

Ripped Off!

Yes, people will rip you off.  Shocking, right? Like any industry, there are shady businesses that profit by taking people’s money and not giving them what they ask for.  Either they lack the skills to do the job, or they simply do it in a sloppy way. Either way, the end result is that you don’t get what you pay for.  So, if you want to avoid getting ripped off for a tuning job, here are a few tips to consider.

1. Get It In Writing

The first step to avoid getting ripped off is to get the agreement in writing.  You should be wary of anyone who is unwilling to give you a written agreement, a cost estimate, or a detailed breakdown of the work.  For one thing, if it’s not written down, it can be very easy for mechanics to forget something.  Getting the agreement in writing creates something for the mechanic to look back to when they need to see what to do.  The bigger advantage is that if you have a written copy of the agreement, you have a record that you can use to prove what work you were owed. If that work doesn’t get done, they can’t pretend they didn’t know, or didn’t understand. You have proof of what you agreed to, so they’ll be less inclined to try and cheat you.

2. More Expensive Is Not The Same As Better Quality

Have you ever noticed that a t-shirt with a logo on it is three or four times more expensive than a plane shirt?  Have you ever noticed how those two shirts are both equally well-made? Well, that’s because when you buy a shirt with a logo on it, you aren’t just buying a shirt, you’re buying a brand.  This is as true in the mechanic industry as it is in the fashion industry. Big-Name Brand auto-parts companies charge way more for their parts than others, even though the other parts are just as good as theirs.  While not every off-brand part is good, a recognized brand name doesn’t guarantee quality. Before you sign an agreement with any company, find out what brands they use and do a little research. You might be able to save yourself some money.

3. Too Good To Be True Usually Isn’t True

Never trust wild claims, especially when they don’t raise the costs.  People don’t usually go the extra mile for no extra cash. If someone says they can supercharge your engine, or give you 100 miles to the gallon, but doesn’t charge extra for it, it’s a safe bet that they’re making it up.  In fact, someone claiming they can give you 100 miles to the gallon is probably lying even if they do charge more for it. While you can’t know everything about cars, it doesn’t take much to check online about claims. If you’ve got a nagging feeling that a company can’t do what they claim, take a bit of time and check it out before you sign anything.

4. The More You Know

don't get ripped offKnowledge is power.  Knowing is half the battle.  All the other slogans that 80s cartoons used to go on about when they wanted to pretend they were educational.  But just because it’s cliché, doesn’t mean it’s not true. Most people get ripped off simply because they didn’t know what they were getting into.  Not knowing anything at all makes it easy for others to take advantage of you.

The solution?  Do some research.  Go online and find out what you can before you go in to get your car tuned, or repaired.  You can usually find enough information on the subject to get at least a baseline idea of what you need to have done. Even having just a base idea of the subject is enough to discourage shady companies from trying to cheat you.  If they think there’s a chance they’ll get caught, they won’t want to try.

5. More Power Isn’t Always Better Performance

It’s easy to tune an engine to get more power out of it.  Shockingly, easy, in fact. The problem is, performance is about more than power.  The more power you force out of the engine, the more stress it puts on it. Make it too powerful and you’ll wear out the engine real fast.  What good is a powerful engine if the engine melts after a few weeks? And yes, that happens.

6. Check The Company History

Just because someone says they know how to tune a car, even if they own a company specifically for it, that doesn’t mean it’s true.  There’s no licensing on the subject, so anyone can claim to know how to tune a car and then charge money to do it. While I’d like to think that most mechanics are legitimate, there are certainly people out there who have no qualifications that start car tuning companies.

Fortunately, there’s this marvelous invention called The Internet, and one thing that the internet provides is reviews.  Before you decide to go with a company, check and see what reviews they have.  If they’re a bad company, you’ll quickly find bad reviews online. While many people forget to leave good reviews when they like the service, someone who suffers due to a poor quality job is most likely going to want to vent their frustrations.  If the company is bad, the reviews will almost always reveal it.

 

Let Us Help

I could say “trust us,” but that would lack self-awareness after writing an article like this.  Fortunately, you don’t have to take our word for it.  Our work speaks for itself. You can read plenty of reviews from our customers to get an idea of the quality of our work.  And if that’s not enough, take our advice above and put us to the test. We’re not afraid to prove ourselves because we know we can. So, if you’re looking to get some work done on your car, then get in touch with us.  We’ll give you the best service anywhere.

safety inspection

5 Inspections You Need To Do Before Going On Vacation

It’s Christmas Vacation Time!

Christmas is coming up. With the university getting out, people are going to want to be going home to visit family members. For residents here in Cache Valley, maybe you want to go on a Christmas vacation, visiting family members who live outside the valley. For whatever reason, you might just be planning a big trip. Before you go, you should get a quick inspection to make sure your car is safe to make the trip.

The Pre-Trip Safety Inspection

Before you go on any long drive, these are the things you should check up on to make sure you’re safe on the road.

1.Tire Inspection

tire date

The last two digits represent the year the tire was made: 2014

There are number of elements of the tires you should inspect. First of all, you need good tire pressure to make sure your car can handle itself on the road. Low pressure will severely reduce your car’s ability to turn accurately, not to mention cause damage to other components of the tire. In winter, tire pressure has a tendency to fall because of the cold weather. Check your manual to find out what your tire’s pressure should be and make sure you’re at it.

Next, check the tire’s tread depth. The best way to do this is to use a quarter. Place it upside-down in a groove of your tire. If it hasn’t worn down too much, the tread should reach just as far as Washington’s hairline. Check the tire all over to make sure the tread is even. Uneven tread is more likely to get a puncture than even tread.

After this, check the sidewalls of the tire. Look for cuts, cracks, or bulges in the tire that can result from running over potholes, curbs, or objects. If you find any abnormalities, replace the tire before you set out.

The final inspection is to check the tire’s age. On every tire, there should be a date stamp. Look for the DOT stamped on the lower sidewall. The last two digits should indicate the year the tire was made. Tires should be replaced every ten years, though some manufacturers say that it should be every six, regardless of how worn they look. If your tire is too old replace it.

As a last note, make sure you don’t buy used tires. That’s just asking for trouble. You can’t guarantee their quality since you don’t know how poorly the previous owner treated them. They might look fine, but there could be problems you wouldn’t immediately notice just from looking. Best to buy new tires and be absolutely sure.

2. Check the Wheel Alignment

While you’re inspecting the tires, don’t forget to check the alignment. If the car’s wheels are misaligned, it can create steering problems, or make your tires more prone to blow-outs, or just generally shorten the tire’s lifespan. The biggest sign that your tires might be misaligned is uneven tread. Uneven tread means that your car’s wheels touching the road in one place more than another when you drive, which probably means the wheels aren’t aligned properly.

Even tread doesn’t mean your alignment is automatically good, though. To be sure, measure the distance between the tires in both the front and back. The measurement should be the same both times. If one measurement is noticeably shorter than the other, your tires are out of alignment. In that case, you’ll need to have it realigned before your trip.

3. Check the Fluids

Your car has a variety of fluids that all have their own uses. Before you go on a long trip, you should check each of the following to be sure that your levels are topped off.

  • Oil
  • Coolant
  • Brake Fluid
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Transmission Fluid
  • Windshield Washer Fluid

If any of these fluids are low, refill them before you go out.

4. Check the Battery Cables, Clamps, and Terminals

All of these elements together are responsible for ensuring that your car has power to run. You want to make sure that all fo the clamps, terminals and cables are properly attached so you don’t suddenly lose power. Before you do anything with the electrical systems, however, you should make sure that your car is turned off and the battery is unplugged. This will make sure that you don’t accidentally shock yourself.

5. Check for Leaks

check the engineCheck your engine and the connecting hoses for any leaks, cracks, or wear. These are slow problems that won’t immediately stop your car from running, but they will cause you to lose fluids more quickly as you drive. You don’t want to be halfway to your destination only for your engine fluid to run out, or for a pump or hose to burst and leave you stranded on the highway. If you find any leaks or wear, have it fixed before you go on a long drive.

Not Just for Christmas

Although Christmas is the holiday coming up and we wanted to remind everyone just in case, be sure this inspection should be routine before any vacation. Never go on a long trip out of town without making sure your car is ready to handle it. These five checks will help you prevent any foreseeable accidents. After that, it’s a matter of road safety.

So, drive safely and enjoy your Christmas.

If you need any assistance with the basic safety inspection, don’t hesitate to ask us. Get in touch with us and schedule an appointment. We can take care of everything so you don’t have to worry.

motorcycle

7 Steps to Storing Your Motorcycle in Winter in Cache Valley

Winter is Coming

motorcycleIn fact, winter is kinda here. Oh, sure the calendar may say it’s got a few weeks left, but for all us Cache Valley motorcycle enthusiasts, the part that matters is finished. It’s gotten cold. We’ve had our first snow – it didn’t stick around, but the next one probably will. The roads are going to get slippery and icy, which isn’t safe to drive on. If we bundle up tightly, we might get a little more time out of it, but not much. It’s time to put our motorcycles away for the winter.

Storing a motorcycle in the winter takes some steps, though. If you want it to be in good condition when you start in the spring, here’s what you have to do.

1. Top Off the Tank

The problem with gasoline is that it isn’t stable when it sits. When left over the winter, it can go bad, leaving gunk in your tank that’ll need to be cleaned out before you can ride it again. On the other hand, you can’t leave the tank empty, either. Do that and condensation could fill it with enough moisture to damage the engine and hurt its performance.

What you do instead is fill the tank up full before you put it away first. Then you add a fuel stabilizer. The stabilizer will keep the gas from deteriorating over the winter. Once you’ve put it in, turn the engine on and let it run for a few minutes so the treated fuel can cycle through.

2. Check Your Fluids

check fluidsJust as an empty gas tank can let moisture in over the winter, your other fluids need to be refilled to protect it from condensation. Double check your fluids: brake, clutch, and coolant. Replace or refill them as necessary. Also remember to check the antifreeze to keep the engine from freezing up when it gets cold.

3. Check The Oil

Oil is an essential part of keeping your motorcycle running smoothly, but just like gas, it breaks down over time. It turns from a clean, golden liquid to a thick, black goo. This goo is full of contaminants that can corrode the engine parts and do serious damage over the course of a few months. Change the oil and filter plug before you store it.

4. Save Your Battery

Some motorcycles, especially new ones, will drain the charge off their battery even when the ignition is off. They do this to keep the clock set and maintain radio presets (if it has a radio). There are two things you can do to preserve your battery. First, you can remove the radio entirely and trickle charge it all winter. This is the most efficient way, because you don’t have to worry about it. If you want to store your motorcycle in one piece, then make sure the battery is fully charged before you put it in storage. Over the winter, you’ll have to charge the batter about once a month to keep it up.

5. Protect Your Tires

tiresFlat tires suck, but that’s a common problem with motorcycles once you pull them out in the spring. The best way to avoid this is to store your bike with the tires off the ground. That way, the weight of the bike won’t put pressure on them and cause them to deflate. If you don’t have the proper storage for that, then you can still keep them in good condition. All you have to do is inflate the tires to their maximum before you put it in storage and then remember to rotate them once a week.

6. Wax It Up

The insides of your bike aren’t the only parts vulnerable to moisture. Any metal is susceptible to corrosion, including the exterior. A good way to prevent rust is to give it a good wash, dry it thoroughly, and then wax it. Then you should spray your exhaust pipes with WD-40. For some extra protection, stuff a clean towel into the intake and exhaust pipes to keep water and nesting pests out.

7. Keep It Out of the Sun

Sunlight will damage leather and fade paint. To prevent this, park your bike in the garage and away from the windows. To get the best results, put a fitted, breathable cover on it. The cover will protect it from the sunlight as well as dings and scratches, and keep dust, grime and moisture off.

You’re All Good

Once you’ve done all this, your motorcycle is good to go. You can give it a good kiss and tuck it into bed for the winter. Rest easy knowing your bike will be ready to go when spring comes around. If you need any help getting your bike ready to store for the winter, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Motorcycles are our specialty. We’d be happy to help you out. Check with us today and see when we can fit you in.

Tuning your motorcycle

Tuning Your Motorcycle

Tuning your motorcycleTuning for Performance

Tuning for performance is something any motorcycle enthusiast knows about.  All motorcycles have certain base settings built into them to control how much fuel goes into the engine, how fast the wheels can rotate, and so on.  All of these elements combine to determine how any given motorcycle performs.  As any enthusiast knows, a good engine tuning can alter these settings to get more horsepower out of the engine.  These days, however, tuning is about more than just getting more power out of the engine.

 

What is Engine Tuning?

Put simply, engine tuning is the adjustment of the Engine Control Unit (ECU) to get better performance and alter the engine’s output, economy, and durability.  The basic settings on your motorcycle are selected by manufacturers to meet the standards on emissions and safety regulations.  While these settings are very functional, they aren’t always ideal depending on the use you intend for your motorcycle.

 

What Can Tuning Do?

improving performance with engine tuning                  The first thing to understand is that tuning your motorcycle is all about what you want, because every adjustment will have its trade offs.  There is no way to tune your motorcycle so that every function is at its best.  That said, there are a lot of things you can tune a motorcycle for.  The most common reason people tuned motorcycles in the past was for improved power.  With the right adjustments, you could get a lot more horsepower out of a motorcycle.  Cosmetically, people can also adjust the settings to control the sound of the motorcycle engine, creating that roaring rev that biker gangs are famous for.  The drawback to this is that your bike’s engine is put under more stress.  It will need more regular maintenance and the overall lifespan of the bike will be shorter.

These days, however, horsepower isn’t always what you want to go for.  You can also tune an engine to get better gas mileage.  Doing so decreases the power of the engine, but when you can increase your bikes MGP by 2-3 – or even 4-5 – you’ll save a lot at the pump.  And this is on top of how good the fuel efficiency of a motorcycle is just in comparison to a car.  It can really be worth it.

 

Deciding What You Want

What you want to tune your motorcycle to do depends on how you intend to use it.  For casual riders, the default settings are usually good enough.  It gives a good balance of speed, control, and fuel efficiency.  Nothing is spectacular, but nothing is really being sacrificed either.

If you’re using your bike for racing, you’ll definitely want more horsepower out of it.  You can also tune it to give you tighter turning and better acceleration, though these kinds of settings can make the bike more dangerous for inexperienced riders.  If you do a lot of off-road biking, more horsepower is also a good idea.  It can help you get over the occasional hills and dips you’ll run into.

For riding around town, especially if you’re looking to save gas money, tuning for fuel efficiency is a great option.  If you don’t care about speed and power – and on the smooth roads of most cities, power really isn’t a need – you can adjust the engine to be highly fuel efficient and save yourself a lot of money.  You can also tune the engine to be quieter so you don’t disturb your neighbors as much, which I’m sure they’ll appreciate.

In general, it’s a good idea to know what you want out of your bike before you ask someone to tune it.

 

We Can Help

SE Performance                  Here at SE Performance, we have a real passion for motorcycles.  While we work on vehicles of all kinds, motorcycles have always been a favorite.  We have years of experience with them.  We know the ins and outs of fine tuning to help you get the most out of your machine.  If you’re looking for some fine tuning, or just need to make sure your motorcycle is up to standard, come and see us.  Get in touch with us today and schedule an appointment.  See how we can help you get your machine running just the way you want it to.

alternator

5 Ways To Spot Alternator Problems

What Is an Alternator?

alternator                  The alternator is a major component of your car’s electrical system.  It’s found in all cars that rely on gas power, with the exception of certain hybrid models.  While your car is running, the alternator keeps your battery charging helps supply power to the rest of the vehicle.

Generally speaking, the alternator doesn’t need much maintenance.  Unless there are defects in the part or it gets damaged in an accident, an alternator should last 10-15 years without needing repair.  If it breaks down, the car will continue to run for a while, but it’s running off the battery at that point, so it will die eventually.

What Are the Signs of Alternator Problems?

You usually won’t know right away if there are alternator problems, but signs will start to show up relatively soon after they go bad.  Here are a few to watch for.

1. Warning Lights Come On

Most cars made in the last decade have a warning light dedicated to warning you about a bad alternator.  Usually, the light is shaped like a battery, though some lights say “Alt” or “Gen” (for alternator, or generator).  A lot of people see this light and assume it means there’s a problem with a battery, but that’s not what it means.  This light is usually hooked up to your car’s onboard computer.  The sensor monitors the output of the alternator and if it goes above or below its preset safe limits, the light comes on.  If you see this light, you need to get to a mechanic as soon as you can, because it means your car is likely to die soon.

2. Problems with the Lights

dim headlights                  When your alternator goes bad, the car is forced to run purely on battery power.  As the battery runs out, different systems in your car will start to run down.  Usually, the first sign is the lights.  The headlights, taillights, and internal lights will all dim and flicker as the power drains.  Eventually, they will go out.

Some cars are programmed with power priorities.  If so, the car will begin shutting down non-critical electrical systems before the lights, so you may notice your seat warmer or radio go off before you have problems with the lights.

3. Strange Noises

A lot of car problems cause strange noises and this is no exception.  Generally, a failing alternator sounds like a growling or whining noise.  This is caused by a problem with the belt system that keeps the alternator running.  If left unchecked, this can cause further damage to the engine, eventually requiring replacement.  When this happens, the whining will become a rattling sound, indicating that the engine bearings have been damaged.

Since a lot of car problems cause noises, this one only helps if you recognize other signs with it.

4. Bad Smell

When electrical components overheat, they produce a distinct smell as the wires begin to burn their insulation.  If overheating is the problem, it might also smell like burning rubber, indicating that the belt system is being damaged.  Bad smells are always a sign of serious issues with your car, so if you detect an odor that shouldn’t be there, get your car checked up immediately.

5. Stalling, or Starting Troubles

As I said earlier, a failed alternator means that your car has to run off its battery.  This means that as the power drains the car will start stalling more often and have difficulty starting.  You’ll find that you need to charge the battery more often just to keep using it.  It can be difficult to tell the difference between battery and alternator troubles when this happens, but a good mechanic will check both possibilities.  If you’re having this problem regularly, have your car looked at right away.

Come to Us

SE Performance                  Unless you’re a trained mechanic, it can be very difficult to diagnose these problems on your own.  There’s a lot of overlap in some symptoms when it comes to causes, so if you have any concerns, come in and see us.  We’ll help get your car up an running again in no time.  Get in touch with us to schedule an appointment any time.

How to Make the Most of a Test Drive

The First Rule of Buying a Car

test drive                  Always do a test drive.  This is the first and most important rule of buying a car.  It’s human nature to be impatient.  We prioritize things that reward us quickly because it gets us to that boost of happy brain-juice, but what comes easiest isn’t always the best.  Buying too quickly often leads to buyer’s remorse.  In the case of buying a car, ending up with one that doesn’t meet your needs is an expensive mistake.

Make the Most of Your Test Drive

A test drive is an important part of getting the best car, so don’t skip it.  Be sure and schedule it in advance.  Most car dealers are happy to let you try a test drive, provided you let them know.

To make sure your test drive is useful, here are some tips:

 

1. Make a Plan

gps plan a route                  Before you even go in for a test drive, you should make sure you know what you’re looking for.  Time some time to consider what you want the car for.  If you want to pull trailers with it, it should have good view of the sides in the mirrors and has the appropriate hook up for your trailer type.  If you do sports and need to carry equipment, look for proper storage space.  If you want it for casual driving, you’ll want the best gas mileage possible.  Figure out your personal preferences as well.  Once you’ve worked this out, get on the internet and do a bit of research about what types of cars meet your needs and wants.

While making a plan, be sure to map out your test drive route.  Plot it to cover several different kinds of roads so you see everything the car can do.  Don’t forget to test how good the car is at breaking and accelerating.  An empty parking lot is a good place to test this, if you can find one.  If not, look for a place where you won’t have to worry about other cars and obstacles.

 

2. Do a Thorough Test Drive

A proper test drive is not just around the block once to see if the car runs.  A good test drive should replicate a typical drive for you.  If you drive on the freeway a lot, take it for a spin on the freeway.  If you drive on rough roads, drive on some rough roads.  If you drive on a lot of winding roads, take the car on some curves to see how it handles them.  And don’t rush yourself on this either.  If you’ve planned ahead, you should have picked a day where you have time to really get a feel for the vehicle, so spend some time with it.

 

3. Make Sure the Car is Comfortable

Make sure the car is suitably comfortable for you and the people who will use it.  If you have a large family, you want to make sure that it has enough space for all of them.  Remember, this is about more than just enough seats; the seats have to be large enough and there has to be enough leg room for your passengers.  Check the little things, like cup-holders, the range of adjustable seating, and other little things.  They’re not the things you normally think about when test driving, but if you don’t have the right extras, it’ll make the car much less comfortable in the future.

While you’re doing this, make sure the car is a smooth ride.  Even if you don’t drive on a lot of dirt roads, you should still see if it handles rough roads well.  You never know when you’re going to experience a bumpy ride and you want it to perform when you do.  Check how it handles speed bumps, too.

 

4. Bring Along a Second Set of Eyes

bring a friend                  While a car salesman will try to help you find a car that’s right for your needs, he doesn’t know you as well as a friend or family member does.  Bringing along someone to give you a second opinion can help you figure out exactly what you’re looking for.  They may also be able to remind you of things you didn’t think about while preparing for your test drive.  You can also get an opinion from them about how comfortable the car is for passengers.  If your friend has some mechanical or car buying experience, that’s even better.

 

After Your Test Drive

The biggest mistake people make is buying right away.  Buying a car is a big decision and you shouldn’t leap to it quickly.  The purpose of the test drive is to work out if the car handles how you like it, not to commit to a purchase.  After your test drive, make sure you ask all the questions you can of the seller about the vehicle.  Then, go home and think on it for a day or two.  The car will most likely still be there, so there’s no rush.  The extra time to think will help you figure out if you’ve forgotten to check anything.  You want to be sure before you buy, so don’t jump the gun.

 

Repairs

If you buy a good car, repairs shouldn’t be an issue right out of the gate, but it is something you’ll have to deal with eventually.  Whether you have an accident, or just the wear and tear of general use, the car will need regular maintenance.  For that, we’re here to help.  If your car needs any fixing up, fine tuning, or you just want to put it through a safety inspection, we can help you out.  Get in touch whenever you need us and we’ll make sure you’re good to go.

save money on gas

7 Driving Habits That Save Money On Gas

save money on gasDriving is very convenient.  It’s a fast way to get around, which gives you more time to spend doing other things.  The one major problem is that driving requires gas and gasoline is expensive.  It can rack up a huge bill pretty fast if you’re not careful.

So, here are some tips to save money on gas.

 

1. Accelerate Slowly

Don’t be a lead foot.  The harder you accelerate, the more gasoline is burned getting you up to speed.  Instead, press on the gas pedal gently and build up to your speed slowly.  Generally, it should take you about 5 seconds to accelerate to 15 miles per hour from a full stop.

 

2. Steady Speed

DrivingBecause acceleration uses the most gas, inconsistent speed is a good way to waste money.  If you have regular dips and spurts of speed while on the road, it can increase the amount of fuel you use by up to 20%.  That’s why many modern cars have cruise control; it helps maintain a constant speed while on the road.  You should make use of this feature if your car has it.

 

3. Don’t Be in a Hurry

Driving faster requires more energy, so going at high speeds will use up more gas.  Every model will have its differences but typically speaking, once you hit 50 MPH, your car’s gas mileage will start to drop rapidly.  According to some sources, every five miles you drive over 50 can cost you up to 14 cents more per gallon because of the extra fuel usage.

 

4. Don’t Slam the Breaks

Coasting to a stop is more fuel efficient than a sudden stop.  Whenever possible, you should decelerate slowly.  Not only is it more fuel efficient, it’s much less of a strain on your breaks and tires, saving you money on maintenance.

 

5. Don’t Idle

As tempting as it is to warm up your car on a cold day, this is a bad idea.  So is having the car on while waiting for a spouse or friend to join you.  Even if you’re not going anywhere, the idle engine is still using gas.  Whenever possible, you should turn the engine off to conserve fuel.

 

6. Don’t Be a Drag

Wind resistance creates a lot of drag when driving and that means you have more to overcome to accelerate and maintain speed.  Opening your windows will create a small amount of drag that adds up in the long run.  The biggest way to reduce drag, however, is to remove racks for bikes, skis, or luggage.  Racks really mess up the aerodynamics of the car and you usually don’t need them.

 

7. Buy Gas Early

save fuelThis is one you might not think of on your own, but it is helpful.  Buy your gas early in the day and early in the week.  Like all substances, gasoline expands and becomes less dense as it warms up.  If you get your gas early in the morning, when the gas in the pump is still cool, it will be more dense and you’ll get more out of the pump.  Since gas pumps are not 100% accurate on how much is going through them, this will save you some money.  If you buy gas earlier in the week, you’re more likely to get better prices, too.  For some reason, prices tend to rise between Wednesday and Saturday.

 

Regular Maintenance

All of the above are driving habits that you have to build for yourself.  But there’s more to getting the most out of your car than just how you drive it.  An important part of saving money is keeping your car in good condition.  Regular maintenance will make sure all the parts are working efficiently and help you get the most out of your car’s performance.  The worse condition your car is in, the more gas it will take to use, whether it’s from a struggling engine, or flat tires.  If you let your car wear out, it’ll cost you.

That’s where we come in.  Here at SE Performance, we’ll help keep your car in the best condition possible.  If you’re looking to improve your car’s performance and save money on gas, then schedule an appointment today.  We’ll get your car running smooth so you can focus on good driving habits.

Get in touch today!

Washing Your Motorcycle

Riding Time for Cache Valley!

Motorcycle

Photo by Sourav Mishra

Spring is finally at full go in Cache Valley.  The snow is gone, the weather’s warming up, and the roads are clear.  It’s time to bring out your motorcycle.  Before you get started, though, you ought to wash your bike first.  It isn’t just about looking good; cleaning your motorcycle is essential to keeping it in good working condition.  Dirt and grime can corrode the paint and cause the parts to rust.  It can also clog up the engine, or add friction to the moving parts.  So, before you get started, make sure it’s in ready to go.

What You Need to Know

It’s tempting to use household cleaners and power washers to clean it quickly.  This is an amateur mistake.  The pressure of power washers can force water into the electrical components, causing damage.  Household cleaners may be cheap, but they have chemicals in them that can damage the paint, stain the chrome, or even corrode the metal, which is exactly what you’re trying to prevent by cleaning it in the first place.   Before you start, you should go out and purchase some cleaners specifically for use on motorcycles.

Avoid washing in the middle of the day.  The sun can dry out the soaps before you can rinse them off, which will leave stains.  When you do wash it, be sure to leave yourself some time for the engine to cool down.  If you put cold water on hot metal, it can cause serious damage.  On top of that, minerals and contaminants in water will do more damage if they’re warm.

Using the right tool for the right job is very important.  You’ll want to use both a sponge and a brush.  Sponges can be used for larger surfaces, while brushes will more efficiently clean the nooks and crannies out and are easier on the delicate parts.

Steps to Cleaning

1. Light Wash

First, remove the seat and any leather on the bike.  Cover the battery with plastic sheeting and seal off the exhaust pipe with plastic wrap and a rubber band.  This will help keep water out of the electronics and the engine.

Next, use plain water to remove the surface grit.  A simple hose with a nozzle that allows you to control the pressure will work great here.  Use gentle streams around the hub and wheels and other delicate parts, but apply a little bit more pressure for the broad surfaces.

Follow the rinse with a pre-wash.  Use soft soap, a microfiber wash mitt, and separate the soap and rinse buckets.  This is just to remove the lighter dirt, so don’t go scrubbing too hard here, and don’t dirty your mitt on the greasy areas.  Rinse off the suds immediately to prevent spots.  A power blower is preferable to rubbing it down with a cloth.

2. Clean the Tires

Spray the wheels and spokes with wheel cleaner and let it soak for 30 seconds.  Using a boar-bristle brush, scrub the rim and spokes.  Rinse it with water and dry it with a blower and towel.

3. Polish the Dashboard

Do not put any cleaners directly onto your dashboard.  Instead, squirt a dollop of polish onto a microfiber towel and work it over using a circular motion.  Continue wiping until the haze is gone, then wipe it all off with a clean towel.

4. Clean the Engine and Drivetrain

motorcycle engine                  Spray some cleaner onto the engine and drivetrain components.  Let it sit for about one minute to penetrate the outer layer of dust.  Brush the greasy areas, then rinse them off with clean water and blow it dry.  You may need to do this more than once to get it fully cleaned.  As tempting as it might be to use pressure from a hose or power washer to speed it up, this is a bad idea.  The pressure would force water into the engine, where it will rust the internal parts of your motorcycle.

5. Shine the Chrome

To clean the chrome, use a 100% cotton rag.  The rag must be smooth to avoid scratching it.  An old t-shirt or dishtowel might work, but cut off any seams first.  This will prevent scratching.

Apply polish to the cotton rag and polish the chrome until the haze almost disappears.  Use a clean rag to wipe away the rest.

6. Clean the Leather

Using a sponge, apply leather cleaner to the seat and any other leather parts.  Once done, wipe it dry and apply the condition using a different sponge.  Then wipe it all dry with a clean rag.

7. Full Rinse

Give your motorcycle one last full rinse, then blow it dry.  Starting at the top, blow the water down and to the front of the bike.  Wipe off any remaining water drops to prevent spotting.

Nice and Clean!

Washing the motorcycle isn’t very hard, but it’s an important part of keeping it in good working order.  After your bike’s been in storage all winter, you’ll definitely need to clean it before riding it again.  All that time sitting probably gathered a lot of dust.  It’s also a good idea to clean it regularly, as riding it will pick up dirt from the road and squashed insects can cause your radiator to overheat.  Regular washing will also help you discover other problems, such as fluid leaks, before they become serious.  Just be sure you don’t overdo it.  While a serious riding trip that muddies up your motorcycle should be followed by another wash as soon as possible, casual rides don’t gather enough dust to require immediate washing.  Generally, once every couple of weeks is a good guideline.

Get In Touch

While it’s easy to clean a motorcycle, there are other problems you might discover that aren’t do-it-yourself issues.  If you happen to come across a problem while cleaning, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.  We’ll take care of it right away.  The sooner you get it taken care of, the easier it will be to fix and the less it will cost you.

And if you have any other motorcycle maintenance needs, we’ll be here to help.

tune-up

Time For A Tune-Up

Spring-Cleaning

Last winter was a long and wet one. Even as late as earlier this month, snow was still coming down and the amount of rain we’ve gotten this spring was pretty unusual. The rain looks like it’s going to keep coming, but the snow is finally over. Now that it’s warming up, it’s a good time to get a quick tune-up for your vehicle. Last time, I went over a few routine spring maintenance and repair tasks you should do. Today, I’ve got a few extra items you should also look over.

1. Wipers and Windshield

Windshield WipersSince the rain doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon, you’ll want to make sure you can see. Check your wipers to make sure they work. The sleet and ice of the winter sometimes causes damage to them. They’re easy to replace and they make a huge difference, so don’t forget to check on them.

 

2. Lights

headlights and taillightsEven though the days are getting longer, you still need to make sure all your car lights are good. Driving around with a burnt out headlight, or taillight is asking for trouble. You need to be able to see where you’re going at night, and people behind need to see you. Not having a headlight can also get you pulled over for a safety violation, and a ticket is an extra expense that nobody needs. Since it’s also easy to replace lights, there’s no reason to neglect this either.

3. Sensors

Cars come with a lot of equipment nowadays. There are cameras, assistors, and automations like you wouldn’t believe. They can smooth your ride, help you see where you’re going, and monitor your car’s performance. What all of these gadgets have in common, however, is sensors. All of your car’s extra features rely on special sensors to keep everything in check. If those sensors get dirty, then those features can fail. Since some of those sensors are responsible for safety features, some of them might even stop your car from running if they’re blocked. Before you get too far into the year, you should take a little time to check the sensors and make sure they’re cleaned off.

4. Clean Everything

Since you’re already cleaning, you might as well do a good job, right? Inside and outside, cleaning the grime off your car will help stave off rust and corrosion. This will help keep your car running for years to come.

Let Us Help Out

tune-upThere’s a lot to go over. While it’s easy to fix or replace some of these issues on your own, you don’t always have the time. Since there’s a host of other maintenance issues you should be looking at this spring, why not let us help you with these minor ones while you’re at it? It doesn’t take us much time to check the wipers, lights, or sensors while we’re checking your fluids, breaks, and tires. We can take care of it all at once for you. Just get in touch and let us know how we can help with your spring tune-up.