safety inspections

Why You Need Safety Inspections

HB 265: Safety Inspections Bill

safety inspectionsIn March of 2017, Utah passed HB 265, which changed the safety inspection laws. Among other things, this law means that you are no longer required to get safety inspections.  These changes went into effect January 1stof this year.  While the government has argued that this will put more money into Utah residents’ pockets, mechanics around the state see things a little differently.  They see this as a potential safety hazard that will, in the long run, cost more money than it will save.


“It Can’t Happen To Me”

We all think that way.  Accidents are things that happen to other people.  We see ourselves as good drivers who take care of their cars.  That’s why so many people don’t get safety inspections unless they’re required. This way of thinking is dangerous. You never know what will go wrong until it does.

Since the senate dropped mandatory safety inspections, state troopers have noticed an increase in unsafe practices.  Many drivers are on the road with cracked windshields, missing headlights, and heavily tinted windows simply because they think the requirement being off means it’s okay.  It’s not safe, though.


Safety Inspections Prevent Problems

Even though the law is changed, mechanics still suggest having safety inspections done regularly, at least once a year.  Basic car maintenance is essential to avoiding trouble.  The inspections will catch things like brake problems, engine trouble, worn-out tires, and so many other things that are surprisingly easy to miss.  The problems often seem minor, as the car still runs, but they quickly get out of hand.


Safety Inspections Save Money and Lives

accidentYou may think that safety inspections are expensive. It’s true they do cost money, but think on this: how much money will a trip to the hospital cost?  Ignoring regular inspections is setting yourself up to have an accident.  What may seem like a minor problem will get worse over time if not caught and corrected. If you’re on the road and your brakes give out, or your tires blow-out, then a crash is likely unavoidable.  Can you afford the medical bills?

Even if you don’t crash, these problems are often cheaper and easier to repair if caught early during a routine inspection.  You can usually repair a minor break problem easily, but if you let it sit, the extra pressure required to use your breaks puts strain on them and can cause them to break down completely.  A quick replacement of a couple parts is far cheaper than replacing your entire brake system.


Safety First

Don’t neglect your safety inspections.  The cost of a routine inspection is nothing compared to the cost of car repairs, or of medical bills due to related crashes. The law may not require you to get them now, but we would still recommend getting one on a regular basis. Better safe than sorry.

If it’s been a while since you’ve had an inspection, then get in touch with us.  We’ll give you a quick and thorough inspection and make sure your vehicle is road ready.


Winter Brakes in Cache Valley

Winter BrakesWill Cache Valley Winter Break Your Brakes?

Well, not really, no.  Not directly.  The winter in Cache Valley is relatively short and it’s not usually bad enough to cause serious issues.  Don’t let that trick you into thinking that there’s no danger, though.  There are still a few problems your brakes might face.


Cache Valley may technically be a desert, but we still get snow and icy roads.  The cities respond by laying down salt and chemicals to melt the ice and reduce chances of accidents from slipping and sliding cars. The problem with this is that salt, when mixed with water, becomes very corrosive.  While you’re out driving on the roads, this salty slush splashes against the bottom of your car.  This can lead to problems with the rotors by making their wear uneven.  If it eats away the seals, it causes leaking fluids, or seizing pistons and calipers.  The gunk can clog up various mechanical parts under your car as well.

While the brief winters in Cache Valley may not be enough to cause serious damage in just one year, if you haven’t had your brakes checked recently, they may be weak enough to fail under the added strain of the extra corrosion.  If they fail, the results could be catastrophic.

Freezing Fluids

We may not be Alaska, but it does still get cold during the winters.  While most car fluidshave a freezing point well bellow the average temperature drops of Cache Valley, that doesn’t mean you have nothing to worry about.  If you don’t regularly change your fluids, water and other impurities will get into it over time.  These impurities can definitley freeze inside your lines.  If they do, the expansion can potentially cause them to burst at weak points.  This can be exacerbated by the corrosion caused by all the salt on the roads, too. The combination of the two problems can lead to serious mechanical failures.

What Can I Do?

The solution to these problems is simple. Don’t neglect the maintenance on your breaks.  Before snowfall, give your car a good check-up.  Replace the fluids and check the brakes for any wear and tear.  This should make sure your cars parts are good to last you through the winter.  After spring, do a follow-up inspection and make sure everything is still good. While you’re at it, why have the underside of your car detailed?  Shari from Aatopia Auto Care recommends a good detailing once a year to keep your car in tip-top shape.

Check It Today

If it’s been a while since you last checked your breaks, then get in touch with us today.  Since we offer free brake inspections, it won’t cost you anything just to be safe.  Don’t wait for your brakes to fail you when checking them over beforehand can prevent costly repairs and insurance hikes.  This winter, we’ll be offering a special on brake repair and checkups, so be sure to ask us about it when you call.


5 Common Problems with Motorcycles in Cache Valley

We Love Our Motorcycles

There are a lot of advantages to owning a motorcycle.  Motorcycles are incredibly fuel-efficient and create less pollution, saving you money and keep the air healthy and breathable.  That alone is a good reason, but that’s usually not the reason people get a motorcycle. There’s no denying the sense of freedom and relaxation that comes from riding a motorcycle.

There’s also no denying that there are a number of problems that come up with motorcycles.  In Cache Valley, where cold winters leave them in storage for at least three months, these problems are more common.  Here are the 5 most common problems you can run into and what you can do about them.


Fuel Contamination

Fuel contamination is one of the most common problems motorcyclists in Cache Valley face.  Gasoline doesn’t have the longest of lifespans and breaks down if left stagnant. While this isn’t a problem if you’re using it regularly, the cold winter months in Cache Valley will keep you off the bike.  Sitting in your garage or shop, the fuel will go stale and clog the system.  While there’s nothing you can do about not being able to ride in the winter, you can add fuel stabilizers to the tanks to keep the gas from going bad.  And if you can, try to use up the fuel in your tank just before you put it away for the winter.  That way, when spring comes, you can fill it up with fuel that you know is good.


Dead Batteries

This is another problem that comes up in the winter.  The battery life of a motorcycle is relatively short compared to a car. While this is not a problem for motorcycles that see regular use, the winter break is sometimes all it takes for the battery to die.  Keep a battery charger on hand and hook it up just before you get ready to bring it out for spring.  As a backup, have a couple of spare batteries on hand with your motorcycle accessories, just in case.  That way, you can get right back on as soon as the weather warms up enough.


Worn Tires

Worn tires are a serious problem and could lead to a breakdown or an accident.  The rule of thumb is to replace your tires every 3 years, but remember that’s just a guideline.  Blowouts on a motorcycles are much dangerous than for cars, so don’t take any chances.  Inspect your tires regularly for damage and replace them whenever you spot any signs of problems.  The best way to prevent premature wear is to keep the pressure on your tires at the proper level.  This is another problem that can crop up over the winter, because the cold air will make the air in the tires compress.  This can cause leakage.  Check the pressure each spring before you go on your first ride to make sure the tires are okay.


Poor Chain Lubrication

This is potentially the worst problem you can run into and the one most likely to cause a fatal crash.  If the chain isn’t properly lubricated, it could snap or slip, causing you to skid and crash.  Improper lubrication is another problem more likely to pop up the less you use your motorcycle.  While the motorcycle is sitting, you’re not thinking about its maintenance.  This is an especial problem for the winter months in Cache Valley.  You do not want the chains going bad while you’re on the road.  Make sure that you check the lubrication regularly, and take special care to check on them before you start riding after winter.


Debris in the Interior

Another problem you can run into if you don’t properly maintain your motorcycle is the collection of dirt and debris in the interior.  While not as deadly as the skids and crashes caused by worn tires or broken chains, it will make your motorcycle run poorly.  And again, here in Cache Valley, the winter months make this problem come up more often.  Regular cleaning helps, but who wants to wash a motorcycle during the cold of winter?  Certainly not you, and I don’t blame you.  But while it’s sitting in your garage, it will be gathering dust.  Make sure you wash it before you take it out in the spring.  And make sure you give it regular cleanings while you ride it, as the more you ride, the more debris it collects.


It’s All In Your Hands

The best way to avoid these problems is just to keep up with the maintenance of your motorcycle.  That’s ultimately all up to you.  You have to be the one to remember to take care of your bike’s needs.  That doesn’t mean we can’t help you out, though. If you’ve got any trouble with your motorcycle, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’ll help you make sure you keep your motorcycle running smoothly and keep it going for years to come.

car maintenance

5 Car Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid

car maintenanceYour car is an expensive investment and should be cared for as such.  Car maintenance is very important in keeping that investment in good condition.  You’ve got to go to a mechanic if something goes wrong, isn’t it better that things not go wrong in the first place?  If you want to save money on repairs, here are five car maintenance mistakes you should learn to avoid.

Ignoring Your Check Engine Light

This is by far the most important.  When the light is on, but there are no obvious issues, it’s easy to ignore the light.   You do so at your own risk.  There are so many parts of the car that the Check Engine light monitors.  It can pick up problems before all but the most highly skilled mechanics could even guess something is wrong.   If the light is on, have your car checked out by an ASE-certified technician.  Ignoring it will lead to costly repairs later on. It may even get you into an accident.

Driving With an Overheating Engine

Engines overheat if they’re being worked too hard or if the cooling system has a problem.  In either case, you need to stop immediately.  Driving on an overheating engine causes serious damage.   The whole engine might need to be replaced if you stress it too far.  It can even cause your engine to burst into flames.  Keep an eye on your temperature gage while driving and if you see it spike, pull over, turn off the engine, and open the hood to ventilate it.  Give yourself at least 20 minutes before you attempt to drive again, and call a tow truck if the problem persists.  For long driving trips, keep a spare gallon of coolant and distilled water on hand.

If you find yourself in a position where stopping is impossible, there are a few steps you can take to keep your car going until it’s safe to stop.  First, turn off your AC.   Then, turn your heat to max hot and the blower fan to high.  This will cool the engine by pulling heat into the passenger compartment.  This will be horribly uncomfortable for those inside, but it will keep the engine going long enough for you to find a safe place to pull off.

Not Checking Tire Pressure

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 1/3 of all the cars on the road are driving with at least one underinflated tire. Underinflated tires allow too much of the tire’s surface area to touch the ground, which creates heat from friction. That heat can cause several problems, including premature wear, tread separation, and blowouts.  Blowouts especially can cause accidents, either from the driver losing control of the vehicle, or other drivers swerving to miss debris launched at them by the blowout.

Many people don’t check the tire pressure unless the tire looks low, but this is a mistake.  Tires can lose much of their pressure and still appear to be mostly inflated.  Manufacturers recommend that you check your tire pressure at least once a month.

Not Checking Wheel Alignment

The wheel alignment isn’t something that you need to do very often if you’re driving on good roads and following safe driving laws.  That makes it easy to overlook.  It’s easy for the wheel alignment to be thrown off. If you regularly drive on poorly maintained roads, hit potholes, or run over a curb, you should check your alignment and have your tires rotated.  This helps you prevent uneven tread wear, which improves the lifespan of your tires and saves you a lot of money in the long run.  Even if you don’t do anything obvious to put your wheels out of alignment, you should still check them at least once every 6,000 miles.

Not Checking Fluid Levels

Everybody knows that it’s important to check the oil – though many people still forget to do it regularly – but that’s not the only fluid that needs checking.  There are five major fluids that you should check on as a part of regular car maintenance. Engine oil keeps all the parts moving smoothly and prevents damage from friction.  Coolant helps the engine stay cool (see section 2 for why that’s important). Power steering fluid helps your car turn more smoothly, giving you better control of the vehicle.  Break fluid gives the breaks power to stop your car.  You should also check your windshield washer fluid regularly.  A dirty windshield is hard to see through and can lead to accidents.

Do not neglect any of these fluids.  A shortage of any one of them is an accident waiting to happen.

Car Maintenance Matters

Cars are an expensive investment and you want them to last.  You can extend the lives of our cars by not overlooking the small details.  Check up on these five things regularly if you want to enjoy your car for years to come. And if you do have a problem, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We at S&E Performance are ready to help you with all your car maintenance needs.