Check Engine Light And O2 Sensors

It is the one thing everybody dreads when they look at their vehicle’s dashboard. The Check Engine Light! Most of the time, the dashboard is calm, quiet, not much going on unless you are making a turn, in which case you have the blinking green lights and a reassuring “click” for each iteration. However, inevitably the day arrives when the Check Engine Light is on, and you PANIC! Usually the activation of this light spells TROUBLE. And by that, we mean time and money!

Most of the time, fortunately, the check engine light doesn’t indicate anything super serious. Yes, it can be indicative that your transmission is failing or that your manifold is toast. However, the most common cause for the Check Engine light being activated is because of the O2 sensors. These little gizmos become really important as climate change has risen in prominence. The O2 sensors are a good guage as to how much excell pollution you are putting into the atmosphere. If you keep the amount of oxygen being pumped into the fuel to a minimum, your emissions are also kept to a minimum.

However, newer car engines are very complex systems and it may not be just the O2 sensor that is the problem. There are hoses and other sensors upstream and downstream of the O2 sensor that can be causing the fault. If you go to your local parts store and they run the diagnostic and tell you it is the O2 sensor, please don’t by replacements and try to do it yourself. You need a trained mechanic to look at your vehicle and determine what the real issue is.

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!

What’s The Deal With Parts Markups?

Nobody likes having to pay their mechanic. Let’s face it. Nobody likes to pay most any bill! However, when it comes to auto parts, many people feel like their mechanic is really cranking up the cost of the parts, compared to what they pay for it. While that is actually the case there are a couple of things that, as a consumer, you should bear in mind.

First of all, the markup that your mechanic (and our garage, as well) charges is not an outrageous amount. It is completely in line with recommended retail prices and very few mechanics go very far afield from the recommended retail price.

If you put a little thought into it, it actually makes sense. What we do is no different that what your grocer does. Your grocer marks up, say, eggs, for example. They do this because they source and bring the eggs to the market so you can do all of your shopping at one time and in one place. We make sure you have the right part for the right job for your specific vehicle. Given what the mark up is, it is certainly better to have us do the research and legwork necessary to get the right part for your vehicle.

If you haven’t had your brakes checked in awhile come on in and have us inspect them for the upcoming thunderstorm season. 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!

The Return Of The Road Trip

With the national vaccine effort ramping up, it is looking like we may be on track towards having a more “normal” summer. Now might be a good time to sit back and reminisce about trips of yore! We have all been on road trips that have changed our lives forever. Some were planned months or years in advance, others, and more often the most important ones, were spontaneous. Either the result of a hyped-up college weekend or a gap year summer’s wanderings. It’s even been known for us grown ups to suddenly call up a friend and take off for the moutains out of the blue!

However you decide to travel again, consider taking an old fashioned road trip. More often than not, you won’t regret it. It is a great opportunity to see a part of the country you may never have before and to connect with a special person in your life.

Of course, before you saunter off into the great blue yonder, come in and have us check out your ride. We will make sure it is in tip top shape for whatever adventures you may have planned. 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!

Thought About Naming Your Car?

OK. So, we all know that cars are heartless machines that pump out RPMs to get us where we need to go. Yet, they are also incredibly personal statements as to who we are. Much of our identity is bound up in what we choose to drive around.

On the surface, it would seem that we could all get by with ONE sedan, ONE SUV and ONE pickup truck. After all, as long as the vehicle accomplishes what we need it to do, the way it looks doesn’t really matter, does it?

Ultimately, no, the design of a car, SUV or truck does not have much of any, if any, impact on what the purpose of the vehicle is for. A sedan is great for getting to work and going about town. An SUV is great for those things too, even better if you have a family. And a pickup truck? Well, as long as it has the ability to handle a pretty good payload, a solid pickup would satisfy most consumers.

However, despite the fact that all the vehices we drive are made to essentially perform the same service, the way we go about choosing which one we want to drive is an incredibly personal decision. This is one decision that not even our spouses are likely to sway!

Yeah, if you’d like to name your car, SUV or truck, go for it! It is as personal as you are. Take good care of your ride! 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!

Watch The Game While Driving On The Highway?

With all the technology we have available today, some folks are getting the idea that they may as well just watch the big game while they are cruising on cruise control. This is a really, really bad idea. First of all, it is illegal. You are not allowed to operate handheld devices while driving and you are not allowed to drive distracted. I know it is tempting. Many people today have complete TV subscriptions through YouTube or other online services. They are even beginning to rival cable in their popularity. You can have virtually any network on sports organization at your fingertips live or on demand.

There is a bit of a loophole with handheld devices. Some people purchase equipment that allows them to mount their phone on part of their dashboard. This removes the handheld aspect of the phone and allows you to use it as if it were part of your car’s original equipment. Like the stereo, for example.

You can always catch the game by LISTENING to it! You can use the radio or use your TV service, just have the screen off and only listen to the audio. Nothing says you can’t listen while you drive! You just can’t have anything going on that could take your eyes off the road. Even for a few seconds!

Make sure your car’s dashboard is not cracked and all your equipment is working correctly. Come in and see us if you have any questions! 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 Using Olive Oil To Keep My Wiper Blades From Sticking To The Windshield Overnight In Winter A Good Idea?

There is much creativity in the human mind. We have managed to send ourselves to the moon, and proxies of ourselves to Mars and the outer solar system. One could ask, why not come up with something practical? Such as, why not come up with something that keeps my windshield wiper blades from sticking to the windshield in the winter? Great idea! Someone came up with a possible “solution.”

While thinking of a way to avoid having to scrape ice off from around and under his wiper blades, an adventurous soul remembered that Olive Oil is really good at not sticking! So, he went to his kitchen, got some olive oil and put it under his wiper blades and just above them to keep any snow/ice/water vapor from getting on or under his wiper blades. Next morning, sure enough, his wiper blades were not stuck to the windshield. Victory! Or, so he thought.

What ha actually happened was that, despite the wiper blades not sticking, the olive oil had formed a film which had frozen to the outside of the windshield. This had made it impossible to see through. Also, it was REALLY difficult to remove. If you have ever cooked with olive oil, you know that when cold water hits a pan with olive oil in it, the olive oil gunks up and makes a solid film covering the pan bottom. This is exactly what happened to the “inventor.” Great idea! Too bad, in practice, it has a very unpleasant side effect or two!

If your wiper blades are not clearing your windshield well, come in and see us. 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!

Car Sharing?

In today’s tough economic climate, it may not be possible to afford your own car. One idea that comes to mind is to share a car between yourself and your housemates and/or neighbors. It’s a tempting idea! Of course, one person will have to legally own it and have the insurance in their name. You could opt for some fancy legal trust work to own the car, but that is certainly a pricey proposition that would make car sharing prohibitively expensive.

Once someone in the household, or one of the immediate neighbors, decides to either offer their car or purchase one for communal use, how should you go about implementing your plan? There is a really good way this could be done. You could all agree to split the insurance costs equally, once a month. Then, you could all agree on a set fee per use that would go into a fund to pay for gas, the car payment (if any) and the maintenance on the vehicle. Of course, make sure your bank and insurance company know how many people are using the car and all their contact info!

Whether or not you use your car yourself or it serves the needs of many, come in and have us tune up your car for the upcoming summer months. 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!

Misaligned Hubcap Covers?

Here’s a fun little fact for you. Let’s say you obsessive-compulsive and like to have everything “just so.” You are a neatnik! Everything in your home (and garage) is in perfect order. Nothing out of place and everything straightened to a “T.” You notice, to your horror, that the covers of your hubcaps are all misaligned! You immediately set out to right the wrong. You pop off all the hubcap covers and put them back on so they are all exactly parallel with the floor. Military precision style.

So, you get home from work a couple of days later, prepared to satisfy you craving for order by congratulating yourself when you look at the side of your car and see those hubcap covers still in perfect order. One problem. To your complete dismay, when you look at the hubcap covers, they are all misaligned! What could have happened! Who at the office would be so evil as to rearrange your hubcap covers?

Well, the answer to this one is interesting. When you turn, the outside wheel spins just a tiny, tiny bit faster than the inside wheel, since you are temporarily going around a circle! The inside loop of a circle is shorter than the outside loop of a circle. So, your outside wheel has to turn just a little bit faster to keep up! Come in and have us check all your tires, to make sure they are road worthy for the rest of the winter and the upcoming mud season. 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!

What If I Left My Automatic Transmission Downshifted?

Those of us that drive cars with automatic transmissions know that we can “override” the car’s normal shifting capacities by manually putting the transmission in a lower gear. We often do this in winter or when going down long hills to either get more traction or not burn our brakes. But, let’s say you are talking with your kid and you forget that you downshifted and you continue to drive for a bit. Is this going to damage your transmission?

Fortunately, the answer is that today all vehicles have automatic transmissions that are controlled by the vehicle’s computer. Back thirty or forty years ago, you could definitely damage your transmission by driving it for a prolonged period, at high speeds, in a lower gear. The great news is that now, the car won’t let the engine rev into a danger zone, regardless of what the stupid human driving it does! So, if you ever forget and leave your car downshifted, don’t worry, you will most likely be just fine!

If you notice your car’s transmission slipping, come in and see us. 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!

What Is A Low Profile Tire?

You see them everywhere nowadays. The sleek, thin tire attached to a disproportionately large wheel. What gives?

The “thin” tires you are looking at are known as “low profile tires.” You may ask yourself if they serve a purpose. The answer is, yes, they do serve a limited purpose, but they are mainly purchased for aesthetic reasons. Some people just like the look of a big ol’ tire!

The only actual purpose a low profile tire serves is a bit better handling on the road. Since you have less of a sidewall on these tires, you have less of a sidewall that needs to turn, so you “grip” the road better. The downside, practically speaking, is that you have less sidewall, therefore less total tire compared to conventional tires. This means you are going to feel all the bumps in the road that much more!

It’s a matter of taste. It’s also a matter of tradeoffs. If you want the “cool” look of a low profile tire, be prepared to feel every bump in the road! If your tire light is on, or you have been needed to add air to a tire frequently, come in and see us. 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!