Gering auto owners want their tires to last as long as possible. Two ways to extend tire life are wheel balancing and tire rotation.
When wheels are out of balance, they wobble and vibrate. That makes the tires wear in a cupping pattern. If a front wheel is out of balance you’ll feel it in the steering wheel. If it’s a rear wheel you’ll feel it through your seat. To fix this, your service advisor at Twin City Auto puts weights on your wheels to balance them out.
That brings us to tire rotation. The front tires on a SUV wear out faster than the rear tires. As they push through turns from Scottsbluff to Minatare, the shoulders of the front tires wear down. So rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate over the life of the tire.
Proper tire inflation will also help Gering folks’ tires last longer. Under-inflated tires wear more on the shoulder and may even overheat. This could cause tire damage or a blow out. Over-inflated tires wear too fast in the middle.
Four wheel drive trucks and SUV’s tend to wear their tires more unevenly so rotation is even more essential with them. Give Twin City Auto a call to get our recommendation for your SUV.
See your owner’s manual or ask your service advisor at Twin City Auto for your recommended tire rotation schedule. It’s usually every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
Tires are expensive and they are one of the most essential safety components on your vehicle. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.
Twin City Auto
1802 E Overland Suite #4
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
Most cars and trucks have automatic transmissions, yet a lot of Mcgrew motorists only have a fuzzy understanding about what a transmission does. Think back to the last time you rode a bike in Mcgrew. You started out in a lower gear and shifted to higher gears as you went faster. Down shift for hills, stuff like that. Think of your legs as the engine – there’s an ideal speed you can pedal and you change gears to leverage the work you’re doing.
Lower gears for power on hills or for starting out. Higher gears for more speed. That’s what the automatic transmission does – it automatically starts in lower gears and shifts up to higher gears to go faster on NE freeways. And automatically shifts back down to climb Mcgrew hills, pass or start up again.
SUV automatic transmissions have certainly gotten more sophisticated in recent years. They have more speeds than before: the base is four speeds, five is very common.
At Twin City Auto, we routinely service transmissions with six speeds and several have seven or even eight speeds. As you can imagine, this means more parts. Any they all have to fit into roughly the same space.
Transmissions are computer controlled these days, with some high end transmissions having two or three computers. Transmissions are engineered to last. But they are also engineered to tighter tolerances. If a portion of the transmission is starved for lubrication, it can lead to failure.
Not enough fluid can starve the transmission or dirty transmission fluid can clog small passages in the transmission, then the lubricant is blocked and can’t get to all the parts to protect them, so they wear out prematurely. The technicians at Twin City Auto see far too many transmissions that needlessly failed due to neglect.
And, as you can imagine, repairing one of these new transmissions at any Scottsbluff service center can be quite costly. That’s why vehicle manufacturers have a schedule for how often you should change the fluid and what type of fluid to use.
It’s really important for Mcgrew motorists to carefully follow the manufacturer’s transmission service schedule.
At Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff, we hope you never become shiftless in Mcgrew because you didn’t take care of your transmission.
It seems like everywhere you go in the Gering area you see custom wheels. Big trucks, little cars, mini-vans – it doesn’t matter, motorists are expressing themselves with custom wheels. Some NE auto owners want smaller tires and wheels – some want larger – and some want them enormous. So where do you start if you want new wheels? At Twin City Auto, we suggest you start with your budget. We know, that sounds so practical. But if the look you’re after goes beyond just new tires and wheels and enters into the world of suspension modifications, you need to be prepared for the additional cost.
Let’s start with something easy – you want to give your ride a unique look and the stock wheel size is just right for you. One of the concerns you will have is that the new wheels have the same offset as your SUV factory wheels.
First, what is offset? The wheel bolts onto the hub on the SUV’s axle. The distance from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on, is the offset. If the new wheel has a different offset from the factory, the tires may rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. That could lead to catastrophic and (expensive) tire failure.
Your tire and wheel professional at Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff can help you find the right size wheel – or install adapters to make your new wheels fit. All you have to do is pick from the hundreds of styles available.
Twin City Auto
1802 E Overland Suite #4
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
So, what about Scottsbluff motorists who want to upsize? Well, if you decide on bigger wheels, but you want to keep the same overall tire diameter, that’s pretty easy for the team at Twin City Auto. The same offset concerns apply. You need to know that the tires will likely be a little bit wider than the originals and you don’t want them to rub when you make sharp turns. Your tire professional at Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff will help you avoid this.
It is also vital to keep the same overall tire diameter because changing the rolling diameter can mess with your SUV anti-lock brakes and stability control systems. Are you starting to see why you want to talk to your cheerful Twin City Auto tire and wheel expert at Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff? Is “super-size me” your motto? If it is, you are going to have to lift your vehicle to make room for those huge tires. A mild lift doesn’t require extensive modifications. An extreme lift means a lot of new hardware under the vehicle. It also means a lot of stock electronic systems need to be recalibrated to the new tire size. For example, your speedometer and odometer will give false readings if they aren’t recalibrated. (You don’t want to risk getting speeding tickets on NE expressways because your speedometer shows a lower-than-actual speed.)
Scottsbluff auto owners who want to upsize should also be aware of possible performance issues. Bigger tires and wheels weigh more. NE automotive experts refer to this as unsprung weight because it isn’t held up by your SUV suspension system. Increased unsprung weight affects performance in different ways than an equivalent amount of groceries or little soccer players in the SUV passenger compartment. Acceleration is negatively affected. Stopping distances may also be increased – sometimes significantly. Scottsbluff drivers who want really big tires and wheels, might need to upgrade their brakes to compensate.
Heading the other direction, some drivers in the Gering area like to run smaller than standard wheels and lower the suspension. All of the same fitment issues still apply as well as calibration issues. Don’t think that SUV suspension modifications are a bad thing. Many systems actually improve ride, function and performance over the stock set-up.
Regardless of your budget, you want your SUV to continue to do all the things you need it to do. Some of those show cars and trucks you see on TV and Scottsbluff showrooms look terrific, but have been modified in ways that may not suit your needs. For example, if you put large rims on your SUV with low profile tires, you may be in for busted rims if you go off-roading a lot around Gering. There just isn’t enough sidewall to absorb the impact of thumping over rocks.
Some drivers stuff the largest tires and wheels possible in their vehicles but have to severely restrict suspension travel so that the tires aren’t rubbing all day. That can lead to a very harsh ride around NE. Again, talk with your Twin City Auto wheel professional about all of these things: how you drive in Scottsbluff, what look you are going for, your budget and what compromises you are willing to make.
At the end of the day, you’re going to be rollin’ out of Twin City Auto with one sweet ride.
Some of us Scottsbluff motorists just love tires. All those little rubber hairs on new tires and the smell is wonderful. Scottsbluff auto owners live in a great time for tires. No matter how you drive between Scottsbluff and Gering, where you want to go or the look you’re after; there is a tire for you.
The same is true about wheels. The hardest part for Scottsbluff drivers is choosing from the thousands of wheels available at NE tire shops.
The team at Twin City Auto may not be able to help with that, but we can help you get some things in mind before you consult with your Scottsbluff tire professional. Let’s start with function and think about how you drive.
For example, maybe you have a large SUV but you don’t drive off-road around Scottsbluff, so an off-road tread isn’t important. Also, because you are not out bouncing over rocks in the NE backcountry, you don’t need a high profile tire to protect your rims. So that means you can probably go with the low-wide look.
If you have a winter season with rain and snow or if you find you need better ice and snow performance, they make great, high-performance snow tires that won’t make it look like you are driving a tractor.
There really are a lot of options for any given vehicle. Scottsbluff auto owners will find it very helpful to have a discussion like this with their Scottsbluff tire pro or the tire experts at Twin City Auto when they need new tires. You can find the best solutions for your driving needs and to make improvements in ride or handling.
Picking a wheel that is the same size as what you are now running is important and pretty simple. But, it gets trickier if you want to upsize. Just get some help when you go bigger. All that tire and wheel still needs to fit in the available space. You do not want your tires to rub when you turn or hit a bump. Scottsbluff auto owners also need to make sure their brakes and suspension bits will fit with their wheel of choice. It doesn’t matter how great your car looks if it’s not drivable.
Taller, wider wheels and tires probably weigh more than your stock shoes. And it’s “unsprung” weight – that has a big impact on brake performance. The upsized shoes increase rotational inertia – if you go too big you may need to upgrade your brakes to compensate.
Another possible problem is an inaccurate speedometer. This happens because the number of rotations can change with the new wheels. Fortunately, speedometers and odometers are all controlled by the engine computer; so it is easy to get it reprogrammed at Twin City Auto to compensate for the bigger tires.
No matter what you are after: low cost, long life, high performance, traction or stunning good looks, your wheel and tire professional at Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff, NE can help you identify your needs and give you a custom fit. With all the options available, you don’t have to compromise. There is a tire out there with your name on it!
Air quality has certainly become a hot issue in our modern Scottsbluff world. We install air filters on our ventilation systems and in our vacuum cleaners. There’s a filter that cleans the air going into our SUV’s engine — so why not one for the air in the passenger compartment?
Foreign and domestic manufacturers haven’t been ignoring the issue. Cabin air filters are becoming a standard feature on newer vehicles. These filters can clean particles out of the air down to three microns, which accounts for pollen, dust and most pollutants. Minatare drivers who suffer from allergies or have a respiratory disorder should be a lot more comfortable. And even if you don’t have a medical need for the filter, the cleaner air in your car just might help you breathe better, figuratively as well as literally.
Cabin air filters are still fairly new in Gering, so you’ll have to check your SUV owner’s manual to see if you have one. If you do, your routine car care will have to include changing the filter as part of your essential preventive maintenance. The owner’s manual will give recommendations on how often the filter has to be changed, but if the air where you live in NE is particularly dirty or if you’re prone to hay fever, you may want to change it more often.
Your cheerful Twin City Auto technician can also offer suggestions on how often to change your cabin air filter in your Gering area. They’re the ones who actually see the dirty filters, after all.
There is no standardized location for cabin air filters. Scottsbluff motorists can usually find them in the SUV engine compartment or under the dashboard, but they might be somewhere else. So the ease of changing the filter will depend on its location. Some are readily accessible, but others make you wonder how they got installed in the first place. Bring your car into Twin City Auto and we will locate your cabin air filter for you.
However, if you have a newer SUV, it’s good auto advice to find out if it has a cabin air filter. If it does, you should change the filter regularly. A sure sign that a filter needs to be changed is that the interior of your SUV will start to smell bad. That smell is exactly how some Gering car owners discovered that they had cabin air filters in the first place!
Cabin air filters are just one more way we have to stay safe, stay healthy, and stay on the road in Scottsbluff.
Brakes really aren’t optional equipment for Scottsbluff drivers. And taking care of them isn’t optional either.
A regular brake inspection is on every NE car’s maintenance schedule. At Twin City Auto, our team will check your brake system and let you know if there are any critical problems. Of course, if you’re having trouble with your brakes, get your car into your Scottsbluff or Mcgrew service center right away. And watch out for these problems:
- Low or spongy brake pedal
- Hard brake pedal
- A brake warning light that stays on
- Constantly squealing or grinding brakes
- Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes
There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that’s attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle. Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Pads, called shoes, push against the inside of the drum to slow the vehicle.
There are several things that need to be serviced on the brake system. First, the brake pads and shoes wear out with use, and become too thin to really help. If the brake pads wear away completely you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced and that can be expensive. But putting it off is dangerous because your SUV won’t stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.
Brake fluid is also essential. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid activates the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid, not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and harmful brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. Scottsbluff drivers should change the brake fluid when their car maker recommends it.
There are different grades of brake pads sold in the Scottsbluff area. There are regular, metallic and ceramic – higher grades are more expensive, but give better braking performance and smoother operation. It’s OK to upgrade your brake pads. But, never use a grade that’s lower than what the vehicle manufacturer recommends.
Be sure to properly maintain your brakes because it’s a lot cheaper than paying your nearest Gering area body shop after an accident.
Differential? What’s that? And what’s it for? I’ve been told by my service specialist that I need to get it serviced, but is that on the level?
Do these questions sound familiar? They’re not uncommon for Scottsbluff drivers. A lot of us in Scottsbluff don’t know what a differential is or what it’s for. Every vehicle has a differential, and, yes, it does need to be serviced. In fact, it’s more important to the operation of your SUV than the air conditioner or windshield wipers.
A differential allows your SUV tires to move at different speeds. This happens more than you think. The best example is when a vehicle is turning. The inside wheel travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel during a turn. This means the outside wheel has to move faster than the inside wheel. Without a differential, your tires would hop and skip while turning. They would also lose traction in sand or snow.
The location of your differential depends on what kind of vehicle you drive. On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located in the back. For a front-wheel drive vehicle, it is located on the front, but it is usually called a transaxle. Four-wheel drive vehicles have three differentials: one on the front, one in the back, and one in the middle. This center differential compensates for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.
Your differential contains strong gears that need to be protected from dirt, debris, water and other contaminants. A differential is sometimes referred to as a “gear box.” The work of these gears is to transfer power from the SUV drive train to the wheels.
Your differential needs fluid to lubricate and cool the gears. This fluid, even though enclosed in the “gear box,” can get dirty because the gears grind down over time, releasing tiny bits of themselves into the fluid. Also, the additives in the differential fluid break down and need to be replaced. That’s why important preventive maintenance for your SUV needs to include servicing the differential.
Your owner’s manual can give you recommendations on how often to service your differential. But you should also consult with your cheerful Twin City Auto service professional. Twin City Auto can give you some good auto advice on whether your vehicle needs to be serviced more frequently. For example, if you drive in hot or cold Scottsbluff weather conditions, your differential will need to have its fluid changed more often.
Severe conditions will also affect your car care routine, and your differential. Check your owner’s manual for a definition of “severe service” conditions that affect your vehicle. Examples may include driving with frequent stops and starts, a lot of short trips around Gering, hot or cold NE weather conditions, and towing.
Off-roading is particularly hard on a vehicle’s differential. If you are an off-roader, especially if you cross NE streams or waterways, it is essential that you service your differential more frequently than the recommendations suggest.
Properly servicing your differential will extend its life and keep you out of Scottsbluff auto repair shops. A smooth ride for Gering auto owners is the result of proper preparation and smart choices.
Sometimes busy Scottsbluff residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Gering in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Scottsbluff drivers spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.
Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Scottsbluff car owners would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Scottsbluff motorists didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Scottsbluff area auto service centers.
Scottsbluff car owners should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in Scottsbluff is simply more expensive than it used to be. So if you think about it, NE drivers can avoid many expensive SUV repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.
Edmunds.com has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Gering auto owners can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.
These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Mcgrew drivers know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your SUV will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.
Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):
|Yr. 1||Yr. 2
According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more costly than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.
Just a bit of auto advice from Twin City Auto: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and NE auto insurance with an older Scottsbluff vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for essential preventive maintenance in NE, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less expensive!
Knowing how their engine works can help Scottsbluff drivers make informed decisions about car care and prevent costly repairs to their vehicles. This is especially true when it comes to timing belts.
An engine’s power is generated in the cylinders. Inside the cylinder is a piston that moves up and down while the engine is running. Power is generated in a cycle that includes four strokes of the piston. First, the piston drops and a valve at the top of the cylinder opens to let in fuel and air. The piston then rises, which compresses the fuel and air. At this point, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel and pushing the piston down. This downstroke transfers energy to the engine, which provides the power it needs to run. The piston rises again, and a valve opens to release the exhaust.
All of this movement is orchestrated by a timing belt. The timing belt is so named because it keeps the pistons and valves operating in synch with each other, just as a conductor keeps all of the instruments in an orchestra in time with one another. Thus, the timing belt is critical to the proper operation of your engine.
Not all vehicles in the Scottsbluff area have timing belts. Some have timing chains. A timing chain is more durable and rarely breaks, but timing belts are cheaper, so many automakers use them to save money.
Timing belts wear out and break, so an essential part of preventive maintenance for Scottsbluff drivers is to replace the timing belt on schedule.
The results of failure of a timing belt depend on the type of engine in your vehicle, but they are always inconvenient and can be very costly for Scottsbluff drivers. If your engine is a non-interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the engine simply stops running. Now that can be an incredibly harmful situation depending on where you are driving around Scottsbluff when it breaks, but it won’t cause any engine damage. On the other hand, if your vehicle has an interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the valves on your cylinders will actually fall into the path of the pistons. Then things start getting chewed up by the motion of the engine and it will cost thousands of dollars to get everything sorted out again. Compounding the problem is that there aren’t any warning signs before a timing belt breaks. A visual inspection of the belt is difficult also. In some vehicles, parts of the belt may be visible, but most vehicles hide the belt under a cover.
The timing belt doesn’t even have to break to cause major engine damage. If it slips, even one notch, the result could be engine damage with repair costs in the thousands of dollars.
Our only car care option is to simply replace the timing belt periodically. You can check your owner’s manual to find out how often your timing belt should be replaced. Many vehicles need a replacement at 60,000 miles, but the recommended replacement mileage could be as high as 90,000 or 100,000 miles. If your owner’s manual recommends replacement at 60,000 miles, however, don’t wait until 65,000 miles to get it done. Remember what you’re risking.
Replacing a timing belt is not a cheap part of preventive maintenance for Scottsbluff motorists. The belt is usually difficult to get to and often requires removal of some of the engine accessories. The cost of the replacement, however, is a lot less than the repairs may cost if the timing belt fails.
For more auto advice on timing belts and other engine components, you can always consult with your cheerful Twin City Auto service specialist. When it comes to car care, ignorance is not bliss. It can end up costing you in a big way.
There are a lot of Scottsbluff people who are due for a differential service, but had never heard of a differential before. With front-wheel drive being so common in NE these days, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Scottsbluff folks don’t even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don’t need to be serviced for years, so it’s understandable that it’s not something on the top of mind. So it’s not uncommon for Scottsbluff people to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.
To better understand what a differential does, think about a track at any NE high school. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That’s to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.
The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside SUV wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.
It’s a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a SUV moving goes through the differential. Most cars weigh between three and six thousand pounds – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.
That’s a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool. The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that break down over time. So manufacturers recommend intervals for when to replace your differential fluid.
Your cheerful Twin City Auto service technician will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. He’ll then replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.
Your Twin City Auto service advisor can look up the SUV manufacturer’s recommended service interval or you can check your owner’s manual.
At Twin City Auto, we’ve been providing quality automotive service for our valued Scottsbluff customers for 8 years. If you need to schedule differential maintenance, or any other automotive service, give us a call at 308.635.7404.
There is a clear and vocal demand in Scottsbluff and nationally for a reduction in air pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. This is what is driving the NE market for alternative fuel vehicles. There are a number of these vehicles on Gering area roads today, and many more being developed. Yet each of these vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages. Scottsbluff drivers should learn what these advantages and disadvantages are before running out and purchasing one of these alternative fuel vehicles at your nearest Gering dealership.
Gering auto owners should carefully research the car care before buying an alternative vehicle, as it may or may not coincide with the standards for gasoline vehicles. You should look at costs and fuel efficiency as well: these vehicles may help save our environment here in Scottsbluff, but that might not represent a savings to your wallet. You’ll need to decide what you can afford, and what will work for your lifestyle. Also, your choice of vehicle may be affected by what fuels are available in your Gering area. Switching to an alternative fuel vehicle is not a bad decision, but it should be a carefully considered one.
Flex Fuel Vehicles
Flex fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on a combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Because of the 85% ethanol content, this fuel is commonly called E85 in NE.
Ethanol is made from corn. So flex fuel vehicles lessen our dependency on fossil fuels. But they also raise the price of corn, which is a basic foodstuff in some areas of the world. Whether replacing fossil fuels with corn is a good idea is hotly contested right now.
Flex fuel vehicles do have lower harmful exhaust emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles. And in Gering, E85 is usually lower in cost than regular gasoline. When gasoline prices fall in NE, however, they can drop below the price of E85. This is to Scottsbluff car owners’ advantage, since the vehicle can run on either fuel, but it negates the benefits of lowered exhaust emissions and lower consumption of fossil fuels.
One piece of Twin City Auto auto advice before we move on: do not put E85 into your SUV unless it has an engine designed for flex fuels. Because of the high ethanol content in E85, engines need special seals and gaskets to function properly on this fuel. Running an ordinary engine with E85 can lead to gas leaks and fires.
Diesel engines are nothing new on NE highways, and many get great fuel efficiency. Diesel fuel can now be made from vegetable oil and other renewable sources. A diesel fuel made from algae will soon be on the market in Gering.
Natural gas is less expensive than gasoline in Scottsbluff and burns more cleanly. Also, gasoline engines can be adapted to run on compressed natural gas, and many natural gas vehicles are already on Minatare roads. You can even install a special pump in your home gas line to use to fuel your vehicle. If you are interested in converting your gasoline engine to run on CNG in Scottsbluff, ask your Twin City Auto service advisor about it.
On the other hand, an engine running on natural gas is not as powerful as one running on gasoline, and it will get lower MPG. Also, the tank you need to store natural gas is large—it takes up nearly the entire trunk of your car. Further, refueling stations are still few and far between in some NE areas, or even unavailable, in many parts of the country.
Another alternative fuel that has enjoyed a lot of hype in Gering is the hydrogen cell. The natural appeal is that the only exhaust is water vapor. In other words, hydrogen represents a truly clean-burning fuel. But hydrogen vehicles won’t come into widespread use until refueling stations become widely available here in Scottsbluff and around the country.
Electric vehicles were all the rage in NE some years ago. But their limitations were quickly realized by Scottsbluff motorists. These vehicles won’t come into their own until we find ways to improve their batteries. Currently, the cars have a short range before their power runs out, and can only be realistically used close to home. However, they are easy to recharge, since they can be plugged in at home, and there are many researchers working on improving the battery technology in these vehicles. They may yet be the vehicles of the future.
Hybrids have been one of the most successful alternative fuel vehicles here in Scottsbluff and throughout the county. A hybrid gets its name because it has both a gas or diesel engine and an electric motor.
There are two types of hybrids. The full-hybrid relies on the electric motor for power, but the gas (or diesel) engine generates power for the battery. Thus, while still consuming fossil fuels, it uses less of them than a standard automobile, and also reduces harmful pollutants. Also, it overcomes the range problem of the strictly electric vehicle.
In a mild hybrid, the electric motor assists the gas or diesel engine in powering the car. Thus, it uses more gasoline or diesel than full hybrids and has higher emissions. But mild hybrids are available in larger body models like full-size pickups and SUV’s.
A Note of Caution about Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
One last note before we leave the subject of alternative fuel vehicles. The battery in an electric or hybrid vehicle is not as tame as the one in a standard vehicle. They carry enough voltage to kill you. These are not do-it-yourself vehicles when it comes to preventive maintenance or car care. Only a trained technician should work under their hoods.
When winter approaches in NE, Scottsbluff auto owners break out the sweaters, coats, boots and mittens. We want to be ready for Gering area winter conditions. Your SUV needs to be ready for winter as well. The last thing Scottsbluff drivers want is to get stranded out in the cold. You need your SUV to be safe and reliable. It’s a good idea to get caught up on any neglected maintenance items anytime – but the stakes are higher in cold NE winters.
There are some specific things Scottsbluff drivers we need to do to have their vehicle ready for winter. The most obvious is having the antifreeze checked. If the antifreeze level is too low, it can’t properly protect your engine, radiator and hoses from freezing. If your car does not seem to be making enough heat to keep you warm, your antifreeze level may be low or you could have a thermostat problem. Get it checked out at Twin City Auto in Scottsbluff. If you are due for a cooling system service, now is a perfect time to have it done.
In the cold months around Scottsbluff we always worry about being able to stop in time when it’s slick out. The first thing to remember is to slow down and allow yourself plenty of room to stop. Of course, you want your brakes to be working properly. A thorough brake inspection will reveal if the pads or any other parts need replacing. Check with your cheerful Twin City Auto technician to see if it is time to replace your brake fluid. It accumulates water over time which really messes with your stopping power.
It is also a really good idea for Scottsbluff motorists to have their battery tested. A battery’s cranking power really drops with the temperature. If your battery is weak in the fall, it may not be up to a NE car owners. There is nothing like a dead battery in a snow storm.
Which leads us to an emergency kit. You should always have a blanket or something to keep you and your passengers warm if you get stranded on a remote NE road. If you will be venturing away from civilization, pack more items such as food and water to help you survive. Keeping at least half a tank of gas is vital if you get stuck and need to run the car to keep warm and it will help keep your gas lines from freezing up.
Twin City Auto
1802 E Overland Suite #4
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
Winter in Scottsbluff, NE always makes auto owners think of their windshield wiper blades – usually during that first storm when they aren’t working right. That’s why it’s a really good idea to replace your blades in the fall before the NE winter storms. If you live where there’s a lot of snow and ice, you might want a special winter blade that resists freezing up. And be sure to have enough windshield washer fluid.
The final thing for Scottsbluff motorists to consider is their tires. Any tire can lose pressure over time – up to one pound every six or eight weeks. For every 10 degrees the temperature drops you lose another pound of pressure. So if it was 80 degrees outside when you checked your tire pressure two months ago and now it’s 40 degrees out, you could be down 5 pounds of pressure. That’s enough to be a real safety issue and it hurts fuel efficiency too. You may need special winter tires in Scottsbluff as well. Your cheerful Twin City Auto tire professional can help you find the right tire design for your expected road conditions.
If you’re getting winter tires, it is always best to put them on all four wheels. If you are only getting two, have them put on the rear – even if you have a front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle.
This is a an important safety measure recommended by tire manufacturers. Sliding or fish-tailing on ice and snow on NE s is a matter of not having enough traction at the rear end. That is why your newest tires should always be on the rear.