When Can I Tell It’s Time To Replace My Brakes?

Is it time to replace my brakes? This is something everyone has on their mind from time to time, and for a variety of reasons. The number one reason, of course, should be the safety of yourself, those in your vehicle and the others that are on the road. The more selfish reason is that your brakes may not pass inspection and you will be hit with a significant bill to keep your car on the road.
A good rule of thumb as to when you may need to replace your brakes is looking at the milage you have put on your current set of brakes. Generally speaking, brakes are good for about 30,000 miles.
However, if you are a city driver and you are doing delivery or Uber, you may need to replace your brakes every 15,000 miles or so with that much heavy stop and go driving. Conversely, if you drive on the highway every day to and from work and gently coast to a stop on the exit ramps, you could make it 70,000 miles before needing to replace your brakes.
There is also a technical way to tell if it is time to replace your brakes. If you notice that your pads are down to 1/8th or less of thieir original width, it is definitely time to replace them. This is the guideline that most garages use when inspecting cars for safety.
Also, when we say brakes, we also mean rotors, To be safe, you should always replace your rotors when the pads get replaced, as it is much more difficult to objectively tell when a rotor has reached the limit of its use.
If your brakes are squeaking or if you are not sure when you replaced them last, 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!

Canada Enacts Law To End “Phantom Vehicles”

You may have had this happen to you when you were out driving about at night. Your dashboard looks well lit and you drove out of your garage in your well lit neighborhood. However, you notice that virtually every car that passes you approaching in the other direction flashes their lights at you. Suddenly you figure it out. Your headlights were not on! We have all done this and, on occasion, it can be quite dangerous.
Cars without their lights on at night, either by accident or by design, are called “Phantom Cars.” The reasons for this should be self-explanatory. So, Canada has taken upon itself to enact a law which will render the occurence of phantom cars almost non-existent.
Starting this year, in 2021, all cars must have daytime running lights. This includes lights on the back of the vehicle as well, of course, as those on the front. Also, at night, therefore the full set of lights front and back will always automatically be on.
An additional provision was added, in that the car dashboard lights cannot be on unless the headlights are on, too. This also alleviates the previously described scenario when you leave your garage in a well lit neighborhood thinking your lights are on.
If you have a headlight out, or would like advice on daytime running lights, 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 Happens If You Accidentally Reverse The Polarity When Jumping A Car?

This is a classic mistake that can occur when a non-professional tries to jump a car. It is so important to make sure that you connect the positive end of the cables to the positive terminals of each car’s battery. Of course, it is therefore necessary to do the same with the cable you attach to the negative terminals of each car’s battery.
You may ask, “What’s the big deal? So what if I accidentally mix the two up, nothing that bad will happen.”
Well, if you read the account of just one individual who happaned to experience this very event, you will be surprised. The positive terminal end that had been connected to the negative terminal of the active car, loudly sparked and MELTED A BIT! Fortunately the jumper cable literally “jumped” off the passive car’s battery and nothing was damaged except for the cables, a bit.
The individual was able to shear off the bit of melted terminal end and the cables still work to this day. However, things could have been much, much worse. You complete a circuit when you connect positive to negative and that much power going through your electrical system can easily overload and destroy any sensitive electric components.
If your car needs a jump, make sure to give us a call! We will have your car jumped professionally and courteously. 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!

Replacing A Battery Is Not As Simple As Driving To Auto Zone These Days

If you are thinking about changing your car battery on your own, we recommend you think twice. Of course, we want your business, as any business does. As in all cases, we have your best interests at heart. Here is why.
Many cars today have very advanced computer systems. So advanced that they actually attenuate the charging of your battery based on its specific model and age.
The Audi line, for example, has a built in “database” in its onboard computer. The car will actually “register” a new battery which has been installed and charge it accordingly. It is a fact that older batteries need to be charged at a faster and more intense rate. So, if your battery is kaput and you drive to Auto Zone and pick up a new battery, you really can’t just take the old one out and put the new one in.
Of course, you “can” do that, but you will most likely overcharge the new battery and perhaps destroy your alternator! The car would continue to charge the new battery as if it were an old battery. You need to “tell” the car what kind of battery you have just installed via a code.
If your car battery is on the fritz, or you just want to know its status, 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!

The EV “Entitlement Era” Is Drawing To A Close

You may own one yourself. You certainly see them on the road more and more. They are definitely more that 10% of cars driving about at this point. Of course, it is electric vehicles which we are speaking of. For the past several years, if you owned an electric vehicle you could be assured of primo parking spaces at most every destination you could drive to. Everything from restaurants to supermarkets would roll out red carpet parking convenience for all those with electric vehicles – including charging stations.

However, as is true with all else, all good things must come to an end. The services and perks that have been extended to electric car owners are simply not sustainable in the long run when you consider how many people are purchasing electric vehicles and how they will be the dominant form of transportation in the not too distant future.

There is a practical reason why those parking/charging spots for electric vehicles are so close to the buildings. It is very costly to run a circuit a long distance from the power grid! Also, there is the additional issue of, whether someone is charging their vehicle or not, the electric vehicle folks tend to park in those charging spots, regardless.

We will have to find new ways of deciding who gets to charge and when, as these cars become more available. Not to mention the fact that Herz just bought over 100,000 Teslas to be their future entire rental car fleet. Hopefully, as a society, we will find a way to equitably distribute public electric vehicle charging as well.

Whether you drive an electric vehicle or not, come in and see us to make sure your ride is ready for winter. 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 Airbag Warning Light Is On. Should I Be Concerned?

Every contemporary vehicle has at least a couple of airbags. One for the driver and one for the passenger. The car’s computer constantly monitors the connection and function of these very important safety features and alerts the driver, through a warning light, if anything is amiss with the safety system. It is understandable that you may see the light on and let it slide, as taking apart the dashboard of any vehicle is certainly a pricey proposition.

However, it is something you really don’t want to ignore or let remain in place. You really do need those airbags and they really do save lives. Just like seat belts. Most states will not let your car pass inspection if the airbag warning light is engaged. And rightly so. There are a number of reasons why the airbag warning light may turn on.

You may have corroded air bag sensors, wiring may have been knocked loose, the airbag clock spring may need replacing or even a faulty seat belt can cause the air bag light to turn on. If your airbag light is on, come in and see us. This is a serious safety concern and should be addressed immediately. 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 Does The Gas Shut Off At The Pump Before My Tank Is Full?

This is something that you may experience from time to time. You are filling up your car with gas and, lo and behold, before you have five gallons in the tank the pump shuts off as if the tank has filled up. What gives? Well there are a couple of reasonable explanations as to why this occurs.

It used to be that there was no one-way seal in gas tanks. All newer cars do not allow vapors to escape out of the tank. When you insert a gas nozzle, you are doing so in a pretty air-tight way. Those vapors that used to escape were causing asthma and air pollution. So, all those fumes are shunted off into an evaporative canister until the next time you start the vehicle and they can be combusted.

If you are one of those people who squeeze in an extra 75 cents of gas to get to the even 37 buck mark, you could very well have actual gas spilling over into that evaporative canister. That would then cause the tank to “think” that is is full, and trigger the pump to stop filling the tank.

You could also have a faulty solenoid in the canister causing it to think the tank is full. If you are experiencing premature pump shutoff when filling up your tank, come in and see us. We may be able to easily make that problem disappear! 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 There A Good Car For An Old Dog?

We all love our pets and, like for our parents, we find ourselves taking care of them more and more in their old age. One act of kindness you can do for your elderly pet dog is to provide them with a vehicle they will enjoy and be able to easily move in, out and around in. Interestingly, the best kind of vehicle you can get for your aging pooch is a minivan.

So, why a minivan, you may ask? There are a number of reasons. Minivans have sliding side-doors that open very wide and provide great access. They also have lots of flat floor space right inside the door, and most have seats that can be removed so they’re not in your dog’s way. In addition, I think that the step-in height at the side door is quite a bit less than 18 inches. So, I would suggest you look at Chrysler Pacificas, Toyota Siennas, Honda Odysseys, Mazda 5s or any other minivans that catch your eye.

No matter what your drive yourself and your best friend around in, come in and have us look at the tires before the heavy snow hits. 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 New “Official” Vermont Car, The Subaru Outback, Has Some Amazing Safety Features

When it comes to safety and new cars, Subaru is way ahead of the pack. Not the least due to its amazing Eyesight safety package technology. Subaru with EyeSight will watch the road ahead, and if it notices a car has slowed or stopped in your path and determines that you’re not slowing down quickly enough, it will alert you, and, if necessary, apply the brakes itself. That’s called pre-collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

You should never daydream while driving but if you happen to start aydreaming and trying to figure out where you are going to park next time you go to the supermarket, and you start to veer out of your lane, the Outback will correct you and guide you back into your lane. That’s lane keeping assist technology. If someone pulls up into your blind spot on the highway, and you don’t notice them, a light will flash on your side view mirror and warn you not to change lanes. That’s blind spot monitoring. And if you’re backing out of your driveway, and someone comes down the street out of your view, the car will alert you using rear cross traffic alert.

So that you will never get honked at again, if you’re sitting at a traffic light, and haven’t noticed that the light turned green and the cars ahead of you have moved, the car will use the forward collision sensors and beep at you to get moving. Add that to the all-wheel-drive system, which will keep you safer in wet and snowy weather, and you can make a pretty good case that the Outback will greatly increase your safety. 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!

Any Recommended AC Settings In The COVID Era?

In this COVID era, we all want to be as safe as possible. This means, of course, exposing ourselves to as little risk as we can. Sitting in the car with friends and loved ones can cause anxiety as we are in very close poximity to another person. Let’s face it. You can’t very well socially distance in a car!

For startes, you turn off the recirculation option on the climate control system. Virtually every climate control system offers you the choice of having “fresh” or “recirculated” air. One button usually has a diagram of air (represented by an arrow) coming into the car from outside the front windshield. That’s the “fresh air” setting. That’s the one you want in the COVID era.

In addition to using the Fresh Air setting — and regardless of the AC settings — make sure you open at least two windows, if it isn’t super cold outside. Open your driver’s window and the window diagonally opposite that, on the passenger side in back. You don’t have to open them all the way, but even if you open each of them a bit, it will allow for some great cross-ventilation and dispersal of passenger breath. Even better, crack all of the windows a bit, if those in the car with you are OK with that. 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!