Author Archives: chandy2014

Can I Keep My Car In ECO Mode All The Time?

If you have purchased or driven a car made in the last 4-5 years, you will notice that most of them have the option to switch to ECO mode. Sounds great, right? I mean, we are all concerned about the environment and what better way to show we care than to do everything possible to help in the climate war. However, if there is a switch to go into ECO mode, does it mean there is a time we SHOULDN’T be in ECO mode? Like, why is it an option?

So, what exactly is ECO mode? ECO mode tries to maximize fuel economy by lowering the transmission shift points (making the transmission shift sooner) and sometimes making the gas pedal slower to respond. Interesting, if you see a SPORT mode, it does just the opposite! SPORT mode raises the shift points and prioritizes acceleration over fuel economy.

You can think of it this way. The different modes are there for different kinds of driving, not because one needs to be used at a certain time over another. So, if you want to keep your car in ECO mode all the time, go for it! You won’t hurt anything, except maybe the convenience store where you buy gas as you will be using less of it! Oh, and you may not be able to drag race the car next to you at the stoplight. Your acceleration in ECO mode is always going to be a bit less!

If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

Why Are New Car Paints Water Based?

If you have been paying attention to trends in the car industry over the past decade, you will notice that the paints used for vehicles have switched from the long standing oil based paints to the new water based paints. And, this isn’t an option. The Federal Government has mandated that all paints used on vehicles be water based.

Why, you may ask? Well, paint is basically a pigment, or color, applied via a liquid. The liquid evaporates and leaves behind the pigment. It was much easier to make oil based paints as they took longer to dry and assured you had enough time to apply the paint before it dried out. With new technology, the same effect can be had with water. Yes, the water based paints are more expensive. However, they do not have the pollutants (volatile organic compounds) that oil based paints have. They are far better for your health and for the environment.

In the end it is also better for your auto body shop to use water based paints as they do not have to worry about polluting the environment themselves with the residue and extra paint. They won’t have to pay for licenses and disposal fees, so, ultimately, everybody wins. And, in case you haven’t noticed, water based paints actually look a heck of a lot better! Compare the finish on a new car today vs one from twenty years ago.

If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

Shopping For A Car For Your Really Tall Kid

It’s that time of year. Graduation. College. High school. Graduate. You name it. At some point along the way, many parents decide to buy their kid a car as a reward for graduating some milestone. Whether it be high school, college, or some graduate degree. But, what do you buy if your kid is 6’5″? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are some great ideas for vehicles your taller-than-your-average-kid might find comfortable.

At first thought, and this probably isn’t surprising, the perfect vehicle for a really tall individual is almost certainly going to be a pickup truck. They generally have the most headroom of anything out there (short of a bus or RV!). There are some other vehicles which are really good for tall folks. The Ford Bronco and the Bronco Sport both have excellent headroom as does, surprisingly the Nissan Leaf.

One vehicle that shouldn’t come as a surprise, and is practically the unofficial state car of Vermont, is the Subaru Forester.

Whichever vehicle you decide to purchase for your tall family member, make sure it has at least 40 inches of headroom. Also, power seats are a good option for the tall. You can lower the seat down to floorboard level, which gives additional headroom.

If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

Friend Changed A Tire, Dashboard Lights Are Now All On

We have all done it at some point or other. We know we should take our car to a professional for any and all service. This includes the seemingly lowly and simple job of changing a tire. However, even this task should be left to the pros. We had someone come in and tell us this tale, which proves the point.

Over the Easter weekend, a customer had a friend over to joing their family for Easter Brunch. They got to talking after dinner and the conversation went to the topic of cars. The customer told his guest that he was waiting til the next morning (Monday) to have a local mechanic come and replace the completely blown out tire. He didn’t want to bother with his spare (as he had zero experience working with jacks and spares) and just wanted to get a new, real tire on the car.

However, the friend said that it would cost more to have them come to him, and that he would be happy to put the spare on the car and save him probably a hundred bucks. Since the friend was going to stay a bit and wait out the couple of drinks he had, tbe customer said “sure.”

What happened was that during the change of tires, his friend accidentally cut the wiring of the anti-lock braking system to that wheel. Now, not only does he need a new tire, he also needs new wiring. Please. If you have any work that needs doing on your vehicle, call us. We will arrange transportation for your car or come to you if needed. If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

My Car Has A Rattle. Can’t Seem To Locate Where It’s Coming From

A customer told me they kept hearing this rattle coming from just in front of the front seat, under the car. They had no idea what it was, especially since no warning or check engine light was on. Everything seemed to be running just fine, all there was, was this annoying, somtimes loud rattle that you could also, sometimes, feel. It would shake the seats.

It occurred to me that the noise as related to the exhaust system. My first guess was that it was the heat shield around the catalytic converter. It had become loose and that’s what’s rattling. Why did I think that? Well, first, since there’s no warning light or computer code, that suggests that it’s not an engine issue.

Our customer brought the car in and we put the car up on the lift. We had someone then rev the engine to different speeds and try to make the noise occur. If we can get it to make the noise on the lift, the mechanic under the car should be able to find the cause in a matter of seconds.

Of course, if you notice something loose when the car is up on the lift, that kind of makes the problem simple to solve!

Fortunately, I was right. It was the heat shield around the catalytic converter, which we replaced and the customer went merrily on their way. If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

How Do I Find Parts To Restore A Vintage Ride?

Lots of folks like to work on restoring vintage vehicles as a hobby. As far as hobbies go, its obvious that I would consider it a fairly good one! However, the big problem people run into when they want to restore a vintage vehicle is that oftentimes, nobody makes the parts for them anymore? What is one supposed to do?

The best course of action is to start by looking online. eBay is a GREAT place to find vintage parts, and often at reasonable prices. There are also some specialty auto parts sites for vintage vehicles you con find online.

After scouring the Internet, start contacting junkyards. They are often your best bet.

You can start by calling a few local yards. But if your rotors are rusted, that may be due to your local climate (hot and dry?). And any rotors that are sitting out in their yard may be in equally bad shape. So, you’re probably better off doing a nationwide search for the parts you need. Fortunately junkyards, like most everything else these days, are nationally connected via Internet search functions. It is easier than ever to locate parts, if they exist!

If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

My Car Bucks, But No Check Engine Light

Occasionally we get reports of people who have their cars consistently backfire, yet their check engine light isn’t on nor do they have a clue what is causing the backfiring to happen. This is where we recommend doing a scan of your car anyway. Why? Your check engine light itself may not be working!

Even if your check engine light isn’t on, the onboard computer can still store a code, it just didn’t happen to trip the mechanism that turns on the check engine light. Bucking usually occurs from a cylinder misfire.

The problems that typically cause misfires originate in the components of the secondary ignition. You’ve already replaced the coil pack, but it could be a bad spark plug, a bad plug wire or a faulty crank sensor. The crank sensor tells the car’s computer which plugs to fire. In most cases this is a relatively easy fix, so definitely come in and see us so we can scan your car to determine what is causing it to backfire.

If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

Does My Headrest Position Matter?

Some people buy their car and never adjust the headrest. In fact, I know someone who leased a car, drove it for the entire three year term, and returned it with the headrest in the exact same position as it was when they leased the vehicle. He told me he literally never moved the headrest from its delivered position.

That being said, it is generally a good idea to adjust the headrests on your car once you start using it. So, what would the ideal position be? Well, behind your head, of course! But, to be serious, you want it high enough so that it is not behind your neck. That is a surefire way to get your neck injured should you hit anything or stop suddenly. The best position for the headrest is for the bottom edge of the headrest to line up with the lower part of the back of your head, an inch or two above where the neckline starts.

Its easy to get this right for the driver, especially if you are always the driver. You may want to make sure the headrest is adjusted properly for your guests when you are driving folks around. Regardless of when you adjusted your headrest last, come in and have us check out your wiper blades for the upcoming summer rains and thunderstorms!

If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

Don’t Tighten Those Lug Nuts Too Much! But Why?

Many people know this. Many do not. But, it never hurts to go over the basics every know and then. A good refresher is never a waste of time.

The fact is, most people know that you should never tighten lug nuts too tightly, but they don’t know why. Well, today is your lucky day. I am going to tell you why!

Whenever you put a wheel on a car, you put it on the (usually) five bolts that hole the tire. Then you apply and tighten lug nuts to hold the wheel in place.

Now, if you tighten the lug nuts too much, over time, you stretch and weaken those five bolts that are holding your tire in place. In fact, I’m pretty sure we have all seen cars with a wheel that just fell off on the side of the road, either being towed or waiting for a tow truck to respond. Well, I bet you nine times out of ten, that wheel fell off because the lug nuts had been too tight for a very long time!

We guarantee that if you bring your car into Handy’s, we will never tighten your lug nuts too gith, they will always be just right. If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!

Is It Better To Lease Or Buy?

Given the current financial climate, we sometimes get customers asking us which is better? Should you lease a car, or buy one? Given the current state of the economy and the supply chain issues, you may be much better off to lease a car than to buy one.

Under normal circumstances, yes, it definitely makes more sense to buy a car than to lease one, as you are spending, say, $45,000 to buy a car paid over three years, vs paying $15,000 (depreciation) over three years to lease a car. At the end of loan, you own the car of course. At the end of the lease, you have to give the car back.

Why it makes more sense now to lease than to buy is that you are very likely to OVERPAY for a new car. The prices for them are at an all time high. In fact, most dealherships are now adding $10,000+ dollars onto the sticker price of most cars just because of the demand, and for no other reason. You are paying more for product demand, and not for product. Therefore it makes more sense to lease, and not get taken to the cleaners!

No matter what you drive, come in and have us check out your brakes and wiper blade for the upcoming summer of heavy rains, which we always get from time to time in Vermont. If you live in Essex, Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, Shelburne and anywhere in the State of Vermont be sure to contact Handy’s Service Center for all your auto repair needs!