Service Tips

Service Tips from Rhinelander Auto Center

At Rhinelander Auto Center we strive to ensure that you leave our lot with a dependable and  well functioning vehicle, whether from our service department or from our sale lot. We know that once you are on the road, it is up to you to keep up on vehicle maintenance to make sure it performs to its fullest potential for years to come. Here we would like to offer some helpful tips prepared by our team here at Rhinelander Auto Center to help serve you better!

Better Gas Mileage Driving Tips

With gas prices going up in today's economy raising your MPG is an easy way to save money.  Driving the speed limit not only allows your vehicle to operate more efficiently which raises your average MPG, it also helps keep you out of a ticket!  Slowly accelerating from stops and anticipating stops will also help to raise your average MPG.  Your vehicle should also have all of its routine maintenance up to date to keep the motor running at peak efficiency. 


Rain Repellent for Windows

Applying rain repellent to your windows is a great way to add safety and security to your daily commute.  Rain repellent, such as Aquapel , helps to improve visibility through your windshield in adverse weather conditions.  It helps remove water by allowing it to bead up and "roll" off, as well as making it easier to remove bugs, ice, dirt, and other elements you may encounter.  Rain repellent should be applied at each oil change to best maximize its abilities. 


What Fluids to Check and How

Before going on a trip or while filling up with gas, it is good practice to check your fluids on your vehicle, whether it be new or used.  Correct fluid levels will help ensure a long lasting engine and transmission and will also help save on repair bills down the road. 

Engine Oil - To check your engines oil, make sure your vehicle is parked on flat ground.  Some manufacturers suggest the engine to be warm while others cold, refer to your owners manual to be certain.  Pop the hood with the hood release, which is normally located under the steering wheel closest to the drivers door. Open the hood and located the engine oil dipstick.  Pull the dipstick out and wipe the end clean with a clean rag.  Insert the dipstick all the way back in and pull it back out.  Now look at the end of the dipstick to determine if the engine is low or full on oil.  Some dipsticks will have a MIN and MAX on them while others may have a crosshatch where the appropriate level of oil should be.  Refer to your owners manual if you are uncertain. 

Transmission Fluid (Automatic Trans Only) - To check the transmission fluid level, the engine will have to be up to operating temperature.  With the car in park, pop the hood and locate the Transmission dipstick.  Pull the dipstick out and wipe it clean with a clean rag.  Insert the dipstick all the way back in and pull it back out.  As the same with the engine oil, read where the line of fluid stops on the end of the dipstick to determine if it is low or full.  Refer to your owners manual if you are uncertain.

Brake Fluid -  To check the brake fluid, pop the hood on the vehicle and locate the Brake Master Cylinder.  It will be located on the drivers side of the car on the bulkhead.  Think of where your break pedal is while your sitting in the car, and it will be close to that location under the hood.  There will be a translucent reservoir with the word MAX or FULL with a line next to it.  The fluid should be filled to this line. If you are uncertain of where the fluid is, refer to your owners manual.


What Oil Should I Use?

After checking your oil you notice that you are low and need to add some.  Some vehicles will have the oil designation written right on the oil cap itself, while others will have it written in the owners manual.  Make sure to use what the manufacturer recommends for your particular engine. 

Synthetic or Conventional? - Many new vehicles are starting to use synthetic oil from the factory.  This should on the top of your list of questions when you buy any vehicle, you want to keep using the same type of oil throughout the life of the engine.  You do not want to mix synthetic and conventional oils together in a motor.  It is OK to drain a vehicle from one and start using the other, but you do not want to switch between them at every oil change, tick with one type if possible for the life of the engine.


Nitrogen vs Air in Tires

There are a few reasons to use Nitrogen in your tires rather than Air.  Air is a combination of different gasses which ultimately causes it to have some water vapor in it.  With this water vapor being in the Air, when temperatures change in the tire the air becomes more dense or less dense, causing the tire pressure to fluctuate more than Nitrogen, which is a very dry gas.  Air is also smaller in size than Nitrogen; Air will have more of a tendency to leak through small holes in the tire, where as Nitrogen has larger atoms and is less prone to leak.  By using nitrogen you can also reduce the maintenance on the tires due to excessive wear, and also by having more constant tire pressures, improve your gas mileage.


Why Should I Rotate My Tires?

No matter what kind of car you drive, car, truck, SUV, minivan, whether it has front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, or all wheel drive, your tires are going to wear.  Front wheel drive vehicles will notice the front tires wearing quicker than the rear tires because of the heat and friction caused by those tires being the drive tires.  The heat generated by the front drive tires is then multiplied by the steering of the wheels.  On a rear wheel drive vehicle, the rear wheels will have a tendency to wear quicker.   On top of these causes wearing the tires, suspension components that are worn can also cause the tires to wear unevenly.  By rotating the tires you extend the life of your tires, improve fuel mileage, and save yourself money in the long run.


How Often Should I Wash My Car?

How often one should wash their car depends on a variety of variables.  How often the vehicle is driven, how far it is driven, if its winter, if its summer, if its raining, and so on.  If your vehicle is a daily driver a good rule of thumb is every two weeks the vehicle should be washed.  Waiting for a rain storm to clean your car is not a good idea, moisture attracts contaminants towards the paint and can ruin the finish of a vehicle.  Bugs and tar should be washed off as soon as possible when noticed, the acid in these items are extremely harmful to a paints finish and will eat away at it.  Use your discretion when you want to wash your vehicle, but keeping your investment clean will help to retain its value!


What Color Hides Dirt the Best?

Black cars can be a nightmare to keep clean especially if you drive your vehicle a lot.  There are some colors out there that will hide that light coat of dust on the vehicle and make it look cleaner longer.  Silver, Gray, Beige, and White are some of the best colors to hide dirt, scratches, dings, and even dents when it comes to vehicles.  Remember though, these colors will only hide the dirt, not prevent it from getting dirty, so make sure to wash your vehicle regularly!


What Does ABS Do?

ABS stands for Antilock Brake System.  ABS helps to reduce wheel lock-up under severe braking or in wet and slippery conditions.  A common misconception with ABS is that is helps your vehicle stop quicker, in most cases it does not.  ABS helps to keep the wheels from locking up; when the wheels have stopped turning you lose the ability to maneuver your vehicle.  The ABS pulsates the pedal so the wheels keep turning but apply the maximum possible force to the brakes so they do not lock up and you can maneuver the vehicle where it needs to go.

Winter Storage Tips
It is common in the Northwoods to park a vehicle for the winter while the snow falls and the salt hits the road.  Here are some helpful tips to keep your vehicle running top notch and looking good even while in storage.
  • Keep at least half a tank of fuel in the tank.
  • Change the engine oil and filter.
  • Make sure all fluids are filled to the correct levels.
  • Wash and wax the vehicle as well as clean the inside thoroughly.
  • Park the vehicle - If parking on gravel, non-heated concrete, or open earth, place a plastic tarp or something similar down, and park on top of that.  The plastic will create a barrier to help keep moisture out from the car and extend its life.
  • Remove the battery - Clean the battery with baking soda and water.
  • Place the battery inside where it will not freeze, and off of concrete flooring.
  • Place a bag over the exhaust tip and put a rubber band around it to keep it in place.
  • Do the same as the exhaust, on the air filter assembly.