Category Archives: Handy’s Service Center

I Accidentally Slipped My Car Into Neutral On The Highway

This is something that all of us have probably done at one time or another during our long (or short) highway driving jaunts. Our hand is on the gear shift and we accidentally shift it into neutral. It sounds strange, but it can happen. Especially if you are over tired and your body has one of its “jerks” and you move the shifter.

So, let’s say for whatever reason, you have managed to put the car into neutral while driving on the highway. Have you done any damage to your car? Probably not. That being said, it is still something you probably don’t want to do very often. The key here, of course, is that it is an AUTOMATIC transmission. These are rather forrgiving and unless you hear some major “clunkin” or the car bucks, you are most likely fine. Again, it is not something I would do regularly!

If you haven’t had your transmission checked out in a while, come in and see us, we will make sure it is shifting property and the fluid levels are accurate. 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!

Ever Wondered If Driving Backwards Up A Steep Drive Gives Better Traction?

There is a rumor out there in the wild that if you have a steep driveway and it is covered in snow, you get more traction and control by driving up it in reverse. So, is it true? The answer, like so many other things, is, it depends!

The major factor in this equation is whether or not your vehicle is front wheel drive. A front wheel drive vehicle will have the majority of its weight over the front axles, as that is where the engine AND the transmission are located. So, if your vehicle is front wheel drive you many indeed have an easier time getting up your driveway on a snowy winter’s evening by driving up it in reverse.

To quote one gentleman, sometimes it works if you get stuck on the road!

All I know is that I got a test vehicle stuck this month in deep snow in the woods on a logging trail in the middle of nowhere and no cell coverage. I could not go up a hill after a certain point due to ice under the snowpack and I then backed it all the way out including up a hill. About an eighth of a mile. I won’t name the vehicle except to say it had a rear diff lock, modern AWD, and winter-rated tires. I have no idea why backing out worked, but it saved my bacon big time. The recovery guy suggested it.

Come in and see us before the winter starts to make sure your transmission is running smooth and your suspension is still roadworthy. 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 You Are Really Tall And Need To Take A Long Road Trip?

Let’s say you are going to have to take a long road trip. Either you are relocating to a new city, or you and a bud decide to take that once in a lifetime roadtrip you’ve been intending to do since college. Well, now you have to face that one factor that has been on your mind ever since you first considered that trip. How can you be comfortable if you are 6’5″ on a long road trip in a regular sedan?

When this conundrum was posed to a group of people, some useful answers emerged:

Take frequent breaks and stretch.

As long as you can move the seat back and recline it a bit I don’t think you’ll have a serious problem.

Take turns driving and sit across the back seat when it’s your turn to rest.

Being uncomfortable is, well, never comfortable! However, the ideas expressed above should give you some satisfaction and help you make the best of a long trip, even if you are a long individual! Before you embark on your journey, make sure to come in and see us to check out the safety and roadworthiness 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!

Do You Plan To Name Your Car?

This is something that comes up, not as a technical issue of course, but as a personal choice. Do you want to name your car? I’m not telling. I don’t want to influence your choice. Here is what some others have said about the idea:

Well it depends on how attached you are to your baby. Our baby takes us everywhere and in all kinds of weather. We spend hours in her since we do deliveries; yes she is a her. She got a name almost as soon as we got her (SK, abbreviated) and though at times; she has alot of junk in her; she is still our SK and anyone hurting her has to go through us first!!!

Yes, it is stupid to name cars.

My current car’s name is Princesa. Gotta call them something when you’re talking to it. We keep our cars a long time generally and take good care of them. They also take good care of us.

I’m sure we could go on and on discussing this, but, at the end of the day, it’s whatever makes you comfortable. And, for many, it’s endearing and fun!

Whether you decide to name your car or not, 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!

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!