Blog - Flemington Subaru


Pros and Cons of Warming Up Your Car

 

 

When the temperature drops and frost welcomes us in the morning, more and more Americans are finding themselves asking should I warm up my car before driving?  While no one likes to get into a chilly vehicle, it's important to know that warming up your car, good or bad, could have lasting impacts on your vehicle's overall condition. So, before you press that remote start button, consider if preheating your car in winter is a good idea. While there are benefits of warming up your car on cold winter days, it is equally important to understand what happens if you don't warm up your car before driving. 

Stepping into a warmed-up car during winter makes being in the vehicle more tolerable.  However, it's important to limit how long you preheat your vehicle.  Sometimes driving with a cold engine may actually be the wiser choice. Let us tell you why. 

Before the advent of fuel-injection engines, when vehicles depended on the carburetor to properly blend the air and fuel to the proper ratio for optimum efficiency, driving with a cold engine was not recommended. The carburetor effects on not pre-warming your car up could lead to stall outs. So allowing a car to warm up in winter for 5 to 10 minutes helped avoid this dilemma.  Today, nearly every vehicle on the road is equipped with a fuel-injector, which regulates the mix of air and fuel, no matter the weather. Now allowing your vehicle to warm up more than a minute or two is actually detrimental. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Saver, "In the winter, most manufacturers recommend driving off gently after about 30 seconds. The engine will warm up faster being driven, which will allow the heat to turn on sooner, decrease your fuel costs, and reduce emissions. (www.washingtonpost.com/Jun 5, 2021).

We have several tips to pre-warm your car in winter in NJ that will improve your driving experience.  These tips should make your experience more comfortable without jeopardizing your vehicle's fuel economy and your engine life while reducing your carbon foot print at the same time. 

Preset your comfort controls - Before you step out of your vehicle the night before, preset your comfort controls for your cabin, seats and steering wheel (if available) and defrosters for both front and rear windshields.  When you start the vehicle, they will already be set to achieve your ideal comfort level and begin to defrost the glass.

Set Timer Reminder - Plan on not having your vehicle idol on a cold start for more than one minute before entering the car.  Having a timer or alarm set will keep you aware of how long your vehicle has been running.

Dress for the Weather - Even a heated steering wheel needs time to heat up, so make sure you wear gloves and a warm coat before stepping out for the day.  Once your vehicle has warmed up, it is easy to shed the gloves and unzip your outer layer.

Drive slow and steady - Once you've allowed the vehicle to warm up for 30 seconds, drive at a reasonable speed for the next few minutes before attempting to go faster. 

However, if you find that your vehicle is not responding like you feel it should when you are driving in harsh winter weather, come in and let our professionally trained experts examine your vehicle.  Our team has been serving the Hunterdon County, NJ, Buck County, Pa, Bridgewater, Edison, Princeton, Hamilton, Somerset County and Mercer County areas for the past 45 years.  So, no matter if you drive any Subaru models in NJ, know that taking care of you and your vehicle

What you need to know about your Vehicle's Tire Pressure



 


There is nothing more aggravating than seeing your tire pressure indicator luminate on your dashboard. Suddenly, you're asking yourself a million questions: Why's the light on? Did I run over something? Does my tire got a leak? Is my tire going to blow up any second!? Before your blood-pressure starts to climb, breath in and remember that your tire pressure indicator can be triggered by a variety of reasons, including weather, road conditions, and of course, tire wear.

Keeping your Tires at Optimum Pressure

Knowing how much tire pressure can affect gas mileage as well as your tire's longevity are important components in your tire care.  Driving on underinflated tires, for example, may offer a smoother ride and offer better handling, but will have a negative impact on your gas mileage and your tread-wear.  Underinflated tires will allow for a greater amount of tire surface to come in contact with the road.  And while that improves your handling and ride,  this added friction often leads to the tires overheating and tread separating, developing uneven/premature wear and in many cases, underinflated tires may lead to blowouts.
And that's not the only way underinflated tires will cost you money.  According to the US Dept of Energy, "for every 1 psi missing from your car's set of 4 tires, you lose 0.1 percent of your gas mileage. (Every psi lost also means that tires wear 10 percent faster.) By properly inflating your tires you can improve your gas mileage by 3.3 percent" (departmentofenergy.gov).
On the other hand, overinflated tires are more prone to cause uneven wear and a harsher ride.  Overinflated tires symptoms such as a bouncy unstable ride, louder road noise and poor handling, are due to the majority of the road contact coming from a fraction of the overall tire surface.  Over time, the tire sidewalls become harder, reducing the absorption of bumps and shocks from the road and can ultimately cause tires to destabilize and blow out.  

Weather's Impact on Tire Pressure

Beside wear and tear, there is a natural phenomenon that occurs every time the temperature changes that also impacts your tires.That's because tires lose or gain 1-2 PSI (pounds per square inch) for every 10? change in temperature. It's not due to air escaping, but because the air inside the tire condenses taking up less space when it's cold.. What causes low tire pressure in winter is different from what causes low tire pressure in summer.  In the summer, however, the higher temperatures makes these same molecules expand, thus overinflating the tire.   That's why tire pressure in summer vs winter will often trigger the Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors in your vehicle.

How to Find the PSI on a Tire

PSI, or Pressure Per Square Inch, indicates the optimum amount of air that your tires should be inflated to. So how do you know the correct tire pressure? Fortunately, you don't need to be a math whiz to find out how much psi a tire needs.  Your vehicles' tire PSI will be listed both in the owner's manual and on the manufacturer's sticker on the inside of your driver's door.

What to do when your tire pressure indicator goes on

Since 2007, Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors (TPMS) have been mandated in all vehicles in the United States.  When your tire pressure is too high or too low, it will trigger the TPMS on your dashboard.
First thing you should do is to determine if your tire pressure is too high or too low.  It is wise to keep a tire pressure gauge in your glovebox so you can verify your tire pressure yourself. If you have too much air in your tires, you can release some by pressing down on the center stem inside the tire air valve and if you don't have enough, you can add some at any air compressor.  

And before you ask why is my tire pressure light still on after filling tires, know that it doesn't automatically reset itself; you will want to reset the tire pressure indicator manually.  While most vehicles have the reset button in the same location, we recommend you check the owner's manual to make sure. Without starting the car, turn the key to the "On" position.  This will activate the accessories on your vehicle and your dash lights will illuminate. Your reset button is most likely beneath the steering wheel.  Hold the reset button down until the light blinks three times, then release it.  This should turn off the indicator on the dash.

While we all hope that you don't experience issues with your tires, making sure your vehicle is safe for the road is our number one priority. Stop in any of our locations and let our team help you make sure your tire pressure is at its best level. Our team has been serving the Hunterdon County, NJ, Buck County, Pa, Bridgewater, Edison, Princeton, Hamilton, Somerset County and Mercer County areas for the past 45 years. So, no matter if you drive a Subaru know that taking care of your tires will keep you safe.

Protect your Vehicle's Warranty

 
How To Protect Your Vehicle's Warranty

No doubt there is nothing like driving your brand-new vehicle off the dealership lot.  The thrill. The excitement. The worry that the pristine paint may get scratched on the way home.  It's the same for most new car buyers. And while you may be thinking about making your monthly payments, and insurance coverage, you may not be paying attention to your Vehicle's Factory Warranty.  Most people don't even remember about their Factory Warranty until something goes wrong with their vehicle.  But no matter what your warranty covers, you should know the ins and outs of your coverage.

Know Your Coverage

Like every driver, no two factory warranty programs are identical.  A Factory Warranty may include a powertrain warranty, maintenance, corrosion and/or emissions coverage depending on your make and model.  It will also include an expiration date that designates a specific number of months and/or miles, whichever comes first, that will signal the end of the warranty.  As the owner, it is your responsibility to understand what your factory warranty coverage includes and what is excluded from coverage.  For this reason, a copy of your warranty should be included in the car documents to keep readily at hand.  And if you choose to sell or trade in your vehicle, many times these warranties are transferrable, so you should keep the paperwork after selling a car until all the transfer documents have been completed.

Proper Fuel

While you may be saving a few dollars at the gas pump, filling up your vehicle with the wrong grade gasoline could void your factory warranty.  One of the primary rules of car maintenance is to follow the manufacturer's guidelines found in the owner's manual. It will show the minimum octane level from the three types of gas for cars, and let you know whether premium gas is recommended or required for your vehicle. Using fuel with an octane level lower than what is recommended by the manufacturer can reduce engine performance. Should you put lower octane gas in cars that require premium gas, over time, this habit can cause damage to the engine and emissions control system.

Regular Scheduled Maintenance

Making sure your vehicle is kept in generally good condition is not just a good car ownership habit, it is an essential requirement of the mass majority of factory warranty rules.  Not only does normal maintenance of vehicles result in your vehicle performing in top condition but it allows your technicians the opportunity to inspect the vehicle for any unusual sounds, smells and wear of your vehicle.  You can refer to the car maintenance checklist, or vehicle maintenance schedule in your owner's manual if you are not familiar with your vehicle's needs.  By ignoring your maintenance schedule, if a problem should arise with your vehicle, you could forfeit your warranty because it was not regularly inspected and serviced.

Use ONLY Manufacturer OEM Parts

While you can certainly save a few dollars purchasing generic or "second market" parts from outfits like Advance Auto Parts, should that part cause a bigger problem in your vehicle it could void your warranty and the cost of the repair would become YOUR responsibility.  That is why it is recommended that only Manufacturer recommended brand parts (sometimes referred to as OEM Parts) be used when you are in for maintenance or repair.  To protect your warranty, our dealerships' service teams will verify your warranty coverage before they build out your repair order.  Should your warranty require a specific OEM brand part, they will NOT use anything less than what is required to keep you in good standing with your warranty provider.

Modifications and Uplifts

While you own your vehicle, sometimes having modifications made to your vehicle can void your factory warranty.  Even something as simple as adding a hitch or lifting the suspension that is not done by a factory authorized service center can jeopardize your coverage.  Before going through the expense of enhancing your vehicle, check your warranty to see what limitations are in place.

Keep Your Receipts

While bringing your vehicle into a factory authorized dealership for service will ensure that the warranty guidelines will be upheld, sometimes it isn't possible.  No matter if its a simple oil change or tire replacement, ALWAYS keep your receipts for any work done by a third-part service center.  Should your vehicle develop an issue later, it is important to prove that you adhered to your warranty's required maintenance schedule to have your warranty pay for the repairs. Keeping your receipts will also come in handy if you are considering selling or trading in your vehicle.  Should your factory warranty be transferrable, you need to show that all recommended regular maintenance, recalls, and repairs have been properly completed.  Not only will this prove the vehicle in is good mechanical condition, but it can also improve the trade in car value of your car, SUV or Truck.

Are the Rules the Same for an Extended Warranty?

You may have chosen to extend your factory warranty by purchasing an extended car warranty. Deciding if it is worth getting extended car warranty coverage will be based on how long you plan on keeping the vehicle, how many miles you expect to put on the vehicle each year, and if it is worth buying extended car warranty from a cost factor. But generally, the same rules apply to protecting your extended car warranty as they would for the factory warranty that came with the purchase of the vehicle.

New Car Vs Used Car Warranty

If you purchased your vehicle as a used car, the same rules apply when trying to protect your Certified Pre-Owned Warranty.  What is duration of the warranty as well as covered under warranty for the car will be different.  You should be able to answer "what does a car warranty cover" as well as "how long will I have coverage" when you are looking at a vehicle.  What is covered will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and the length of coverage will be based on how old the vehicle is and how many miles are on the odometer.

In a Nut Shell

Knowing what is covered, what is excluded and how to protect your warranty upfront will help you love your car in the long-run.  So take it from us:  Know your coverage, adhere to your maintenance schedule, keep all your receipts and always use manufacturer recommended OEM Parts.  Follow these rules and if disaster should happen, know that you will be protected.



                                                  Why Do You Need All Wheel Drive?

 
Why Do You Need All Wheel Drive?

There is one thing you can count on living in the Northeast and that's foul weather.  Whether its torrential rains in the spring, heatwaves in the summer, leaf covered roads in the fall or snowstorms in the winter, driving conditions are always changing.   If you frequently face these types of anxiety-producing weather conditions and you're in the market for a vehicle, you may want to consider buying one that is equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD).  All wheel drive cars, trucks and SUVs offer a heightened advantage when driving in slippery conditions.  What does all wheel drive mean?  Technically, a vehicle equipped with AWD has a drivetrain that employs a front, rear and center differential which distributes power capability to all four wheels of the vehicle.  In layman's terms, the vehicle will determine which wheels have the best grip to the road and the power will be redistributed to assure for a stable purchase to the pavement.  What makes the all wheel drive system unique is the way that the vehicle's torque is distributed across all four wheels, often allowing the wheels to spin independently of each other to maximize control.  Traditionally, front wheel or rear wheel vehicles have had all the torque sent to one set of tires while the other pair are passive.   That is why in many cases vehicles with a single differential will spin, slide or fail to stop in hazardous road conditions.
And before we get too far into this, it is important to address the question "is all wheel drive the same as 4 wheel drive (4WD)".  The short answer is…no.  There are a variety of differences between all wheel drive and 4 wheel drive.  For the sake of making this easy, All Wheel drive is usually an automatic drive system that is on all the time and reacts instantly to the road conditions. Four-wheel drive is a part-time use system that needs to be engaged by the driver when they feel they need added traction/steering control in extreme conditions.  Vehicles equipped with 4WD are more commonly designed for driving off road or for the occasional extremely slippery roads or worksites. While it certainly helps with nasty road conditions, All Wheel Drive advantages and disadvantages do exist.  

Pros and Cons of All Wheel Drive

Traction in Slippery Weather
There is no question that All Wheel Drive driving performance will be markedly better than traditional rear or front wheel drive in snow and ice.   Depending on the conditions, front wheel drive vehicles will have a higher chance of slipping and sliding on untreated surfaces than an all wheel drive sedan or SUV.  The AWD system will not only improve grip, but will allow drivers to accelerate safely without the fear of losing control in wet or snowy conditions.  Even on dry roads AWD vehicles are better at handling curves and acceleration.   Because the system distributes power to all four wheels, there is less burned rubber when accelerating from a stop in an all-wheel drive vehicle and better control when cornering.
However, it is important to note that even the best all wheel drive cars will not work well on ice.  By nature, ice is a slick, gripless surface that can only be safely negotiated on with vehicles equipped with chains.  

Cost of Ownership
As with any option or accessory on a vehicle, for most vehicles all-wheel drive is an additional expense.  In some cases, AWD can add thousands to the sticker price of a vehicle.  There are one or two rare exceptions to this rule. Subaru All Wheel Drive comes standard on all their models with the exception of their BRZ sports coupe.  Similarly, Audi Quattro, is a standard feature for the Audi line up.  You may even find, depending on where you live, that your local dealers have taken driving conditions into consideration and stock their inventory with all wheel drive sedans, SUVs and minivans because they have anticipated the needs of their customers.
Buying a vehicle with AWD also leads to a variety of additional added expenses that you may not think of when picking out your vehicle.  In particular, because an all wheel drive systems add weight to the vehicle, there is a negative impact on a vehicle's fuel economy.   While rarely significant, if you compare all wheel drive vs front wheel drive fuel economy, the FWD would win this battle. Take for example, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Minivan. It's AWD technology has best fuel economy among all wheel drive minivans the Pacifica with standard FWD achieves, fuel economy of 23 mpg combined (19 mpg city/29 mpg hwy), where as the model equipped with optional AWD will drop to 21 mpg (17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy).  If you expect to drive the vehicle for 7-10 years, that would make for a significant additional dent in your bottom line expenses.
And if you are considering the additional maintenance cost of all wheel drive, you can't forget tires.  Because all wheel drive puts a significant demand on your tread, tire care and maintenance is essential to your system working effectively.  That's why all wheel drive cars need the same tires with essentially the same tread wear, which is a real pain if you get a flat tire.   While with the standard FWD you might have to replace the damaged tire and its axel partner, with AWD vehicles you may have to face changing all four tires so you don't damage the AWD system.   This also answers the question "why rotate tires when you have all wheel drive"?  By rotating your tires every 5,000-6,000 miles you will extend the life of the tires.  And if you do get a flat, you may be able to stave off replacing the other tires if they are wearing evenly.

Need vs. Want
If you've read this far, then you know the next question you need to answer is "Why do I need all wheel drive?"  And that is a question only YOU can answer.  Because in most cases AWD is an added expense, you need to decide if it makes sense to spend the money based on your own driving conditions and the climate you live in.  If you are regularly confronted with harsh weather circumstances and questionable road conditions it may be a wise investment.  All wheel drive vs front wheel drive will offer you more control and handling when you are forced to battle Mother Nature.  If, however, you rarely experience vast changes in weather conditions or can avoid driving when not absolutely necessary if bad weather arrives, it may make less sense to spend the money on an all-wheel drive in your vehicle.  

Whatever you decide to do, remember to compare the benefits and detriments of All-Wheel Drive on your next vehicle before you even start shopping.


How to keep your Tires in Good Condition


 

Why Is It Important to Maintain Your Tires?

Of all the components in your vehicle, your tires are probably the hardest working of them all.  Tires affect your vehicle handling, ride, braking, and safety.  In contact with the road every minute you are driving, your tires are especially vulnerable to wear and tear.  Like any car component, your tires need to be well maintained to insure good performance AND longevity.  With our Flemington Car & Truck Country Tire Care Tips, you will be able to avoid costly repairs and help answer that all important question "when should you replace your tires?"

Tire Rotation
It is very important to follow the tire maintenance schedule in your owner's manual.  On average, most manufacturers recommend your tires be rotated every 5,00-7,000 miles or at every oil change appointment.  A tire rotation serves two specific purposes.  First, by removing each tire and placing it in a different location on the vehicle it ensures that the tire tread will wear evenly.  Caught early, uneven wear can be corrected, which is one way how to take care of new tires.   Secondly, during the rotation, the technician can inspect the condition of each tire.  They will be able to check your tire tread depth, look for signs of pothole tire damage, rim care concerns and punctures from road debris.   Constant contact with rough roads, harsh weather or potholes and tires can experience tread or sidewall damage that can lead to a flat tire that is not repairable if not properly patched.  We never recommend the use of tire care sealant or tire care spray.  

Tire Balancing
When your tires are properly balanced, you reduce the uneven wear of the tread and extend their life.  It's not completely necessary to balance tires when rotating, but it is recommended if you feel any type of vibration in the steering while driving.  A trained tire care specialist should always balance your tires, every 15,000 miles, when a new tire is installed or whenever a vibration is noticed.  

Wheel Alignment
If you feel a pull or a drift in your steering, your wheels may be out of alignment.  Each vehicle has specific wheel alignment settings. If any alignment measurement falls outside the specified range, uneven tire wear can result, In addition vehicle handling may be affected and fuel economy can be diminished.  You should have the wheel alignment checked and adjusted annually when new tires are installed or any time when unusual steering characteristics are observed.  

Air Pressure
Keeping your tires properly inflated is one of the easiest ways how to maintain tires for longer wear and maintain good gas mileage. Underinflated tires will decrease your vehicle's fuel efficiency, reduce the life of the tire tread and even increase your risk of a blowout.  Overinflated tires are just as dangerous. It can distort the shape of the tire, leading to decreased traction and increased wear and tear down the center of the tire.  To get an accurate air pressure reading, it is recommended you check the tires in the morning before you have driven the vehicle.  (Driving your vehicle can inflate the actual PSI by as much as 5% giving you an inaccurate reading).   You should do this monthly, as the seasonal weather changes can impact your tire pressure significantly.

Tread Depth and Side Wall Integrity
The primary safety factor of all tires is the depth of the tread and the integrity of the tire side walls.  Tire tread enables your vehicle to grip the road and maintain good control on wet and snowy roads.  If you don't own a tire depth gauge, you can test the tread on your tires using the "Quarter Test".  Place the Quarter into a tread groove with the top of Washington's head facing down. If the top of his head is not visible, your tires have at least 4/32" of tread and are fine for continued use. If you can see above the top of Washington's head, it is time to start shopping for new tires. Take measurements in three locations across the tire's tread. The outer edge, the center, and the inside edge.  If two out of three spots offer you a view above Washington's head, make an appointment with our service department to have your tires replaced.  Similarly your tire side walls need to be in just as good shape.  Gouges, tears or signs of excessive curb rash (rubbing the side of your tire against curbing) can destabilize the tire making them more susceptible to a blowout even after hitting pothole at low speed.

Flat Tires
Even with regular visits to the tire care center, flat tires still happen.  And before you ask, "can a pothole cause a flat tire", know that pothole popped tire damage and road debris such as nails can cause any part of your tire to fail.   How you deal with a flat will depend on where the tire was damaged.   First, it is important to understand that all tire care center specialists must conform to the tire manufacturer's instructions. It is not just important to follow their guidelines for tire warranty on new cars and used cars, but also for your safety.   If a tire cannot be safely repaired, you should replace it.  Paying for a new tire is a much better option than putting yourself, your passengers and your vehicle at risk.  

Know Your Tires & Protect Your Investment
As we all know tires, are an expensive repair on most vehicles.  To protect your investment, it is wise to explore the best tire warranty available for your vehicle.  When you purchase your vehicle, many car dealerships have a dealer tire warranty available.  These usually cover rim care service as well as tire warranty nail and road damage coverage.   If you don't purchase a warranty when you buy your vehicle, you can still purchase a tire warranty every time you replace a tire.  Make sure you know what your tire warranty cover so when you inquire, make sure it covers all your driving concerns and conditions.  This is particularly important if you have run flat tires or low-profile tires.  

Much more expensive than standard tires, run flats or zero-pressure tires, are not impervious to flats and damage.   Sometimes referred to as pothole resistant tires, run flat tires and potholes usually don't lead to an immediate blowout but can cause damage to the rim and tire rods. While these warranty options will cover the tire, they will not cover tire rod repair as that will fall under your vehicle warranty.    Similarly, if a tire is punctured by a nail, it can travel another 100 miles before needing to be replaced.  But driving on a damaged tire can cause issues with handling, especially in bad weather.  Additionally, according to J.D. Powers, people replaced their run-flat tires an average of 6,000 miles sooner than owners using conventional tires.   This makes having coverage even more important to avoid costly replacements.  Another tire that has concerns when it comes to tire warranty coverage are low profile tires.

Low Profile Tires, like their name says, are constructed with a wider tread and a lower tire sidewall giving them a more narrow profile.  What makes a low profile tire popular is the exceptional sports handling they offer.  However, driving a vehicle that is not designed for low profile tires can make handling erratic. On conventional roads, this alternative tire style is not the best tires for potholes or extreme weather conditions.  Understanding how you plan on using a vehicle with low-profile tires will help determine if additional tire care products or tire warranty options should be explored.  
 
All in all, keeping your tires in the best condition takes attention to their care and condition.  If you are unsure if your tires are safe, know that any of our Flemington Subaru trained mechanics can check them out for your peace of mind.  Our Service Centers, centrally located in Hunterdon County, can help our customers in Clinton, Somerville, Bridgewater, Trenton and Princeton, NJ as well as our friends in Bucks County, PA.  




Snow Driving Tips in New Jersey

 

Snow Driving Tips in New Jersey

While it is exciting to enjoy all four beautiful seasons in New Jersey, winter can be a particular challenge.  No matter if you consider yourself an expert or a novice, it is important to know when and how to drive in snow in the Garden State. Our snow driving tips NJ should give you a good idea of what to do and not do when dealing with winter driving.

Prepare Your Vehicle
Whether you just got your driver's license or are new to winter driving, learning how to drive in snow is essential in the Northeast. That begins with making sure your vehicle is ready for the challenges of the season.

Tires - Tires are the #1 tool for driving in snow for vehicles with 2 wheeldrive and all wheel drive. Tires that have poor tread or are worn unevenly will reduce your ability to navigate snow-covered roads and might even cause an accident due to uneven traction.
 
Wipers & Fluid - Windshield wipers can lose their fine edge when they continually swipe ice or deflecting debris.  This is particularly important when driving in the snow at night. Make it a habit to have your windshield wipers checked in the fall to make sure they are in good shape in time for the bad weather.  Similarly, make sure your wiper fluid reserves are topped off. Rock salt and de-icer products create an opaque film on your windshield when they are deflected up from passing vehicles. You'll want to make sure you have ample washer fluid to keep your view clear. 

Brakes - Build up of salt, ice, and snow can wear down your brake pads quickly. Have your pad depth checked at your next tire rotation appointment to make sure they are ready for winter.

STAY ALERT!!!!

While you should be using all your senses when you are driving, in winter weather it is essential. Listen for changes in road noise that could indicate you are on loose snow, packed snow or even ice.  Feel how the vehicle is handling the road surface in your steering wheel.  Be aware if the vehicle is pulling or fighting you as you try to stay on the road.   Look for obstacles that could cause you to lose control.  Other vehicles going too fast or too slow can impact how you are handling your vehicles, so look farther ahead than you would normally so you know how to drive in snow safely.
And while we are talking mostly about tips to drive in snow and ice, we can't forget what NOT to do when driving in snow.  Keep your distractions to a minimum. This includes loud music, talking on the phone, conversing with other passengers and of course, texting.  

AWD vs FWD/RWD
Vehicles are now available in a variety of drive-train systems.  It is important to know if your vehicle has front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. How to drive in snow with FWD or RWD requires a few more suggestions than how you would drive in snow with AWD.  

Rear Wheel Drive and Front Wheel Drive, like their names imply, means the vehicle's drivetrain is controlled by a 2 wheel drive system.  So knowing how to drive in snow with 2 wheel drive means knowing how to prevent the vehicle from losing traction control before you even get onto the road.  For example, rear-drive vehicles have their drive wheels in the lighter part of the car than a front-drive vehicle, making them more prone to fishtailing.  By adding bags of sand or traditional kitty litter to your trunk adds additional weight, which will improve traction and balance the overall weight of the vehicle better.And if you get stuck the sand and/or litter can act as a traction enhancer under your wheels.

While the vehicle is still controlled by a 2 wheel drive, Front wheel vehicles are much easier to handle on the snowy roads than RWD vehicles.  Because the drivetrain is positioned under the engine (the heaviest part of the vehicle) it has better grip to the surface of the road.   The drivetrain is pulling rather than pushing the vehicle along, which reduces the chance of oversteering and putting the vehicle into a slide on slippery roads.

The primary role of all-wheel drive (AWD) is to provide uniform traction from all four of your tires at once. Most current models are equipped with an intelligent AWD system that can react to changing conditions and redistribute power to the tires that have grip and keep you from fishtailing under acceleration. Though much better than a two wheel drive system, it isn't foolproof.  You can still slide if you apply the brakes too hard or take a corner too quickly; so keep your speed down and distance yourself from other vehicles as much as you can.

Control the Slide
If you do discover your vehicle is slipping or skidding, then smoothly release the accelerator - DO NOT touch the brakes, but leave your hands where they are and allow the car to slow down. DO NOT Turn your wheel in the opposite direction as this will be counterproductive and your vehicle will actually slide MORE.

While we all hope that the winter will be mild, making sure you have everything you need to successfully navigate whatever the weather holds will offer protection to you and your passengers. Our team has been serving the Hunterdon County, NJ, Buck County, Pa, Bridgewater, Edison, Princeton, Hamilton, Somerset County and Mercer County areas for the past 45 years. So, no matter if you drive any Subaru models NJ know that being prepared for the worst will keep you safe.

How Do I Prepare my Car for Spring?


 

How Do I Prepare my Car for Spring?


Ahhh, Spring! There is nothing like the first breath of spring in the air after a hard, cold, snowy winter.  And as much as we're excited to get out into the warmer weather, we should make sure your car is too.
Spring Car Maintenance is just as important as preparing your car for winter.  Following our simple Car Care checklist for spring will get you drive ready for spring.

1.    Deep Clean your Car - Road salt and brine are so helpful to improve road conditions in the worst of the winter; but it does a heck of a job on your vehicle. Salt built up on exposed metals can cause pitting and corrosion as well as discolor your carpet and upholstery.  Investing in a complete vehicle detail and exterior wash (including undercarriage power wash) can restore your vehicles luster AND avoid unnecessary premature metal fatigue.
 
2.    Inspect your wipers - Windshield wipers work overtime in the winter removing snow and road grime from your view. This hard work often tears or disfigures the sharp edge on the blades.  So, have your wipers replaced before spring's expected rainy season.
 
3.    Brake Pads - The constant use of your brakes to navigate winter's difficult road conditions can wear down your brake pads prematurely. At your next oil change/tire rotation ask your technician to inspect your brake pads to make sure they are still in good condition.
 
4.    Switch your Air Circulation & Check your cabin filter - With spring flowers comes a heightened level of pollen and allergens in the air. If you suffer from these, you should have your cabin filter replaced BEFORE the spring allergy season begins.  By replacing your filter and switching your air circulation to remain inside the vehicle rather than drawing from the exterior, you will reduce the intake of allergens and improve the air quality in your car in spring.

Make sure you have everything you need to make driving in spring a pleasure. Our team has been serving the Hunterdon County, NJ, Buck County, Pa, Bridgewater, Edison, Princeton, Hamilton, Somerset County and Mercer County areas for the past 45 years. So, no matter if you drive anby Subaru models NJ, know that our team is here to help you make the most of your driving experience.

How Important is a full service History?

 


How Important is a full service History?

Whether you are planning on keeping your car for years, or considering selling it sooner, the vehicle's service records are key to succeeding at either. These records offer a complete history of when your vehicle was in for service, including what work was done and at what mileage point. It will also include recalls that were performed, and in some cases, repairs to accidental damage.   

Having a complete record of your vehicle's service history also prepares you for critical future repairs that can save you from unexpected expenses. For example, if you are wondering whether your full service history includes timing belts, then you'll be happy to know it does! So, if your vehicle is due to have it's timing belt replaced, you can plan for the repair and avoid it snapping unexpectedly and causing costly damage to your engine. 

If you are thinking of selling or trading in your vehicle before you get to those critical costly repairs, you need to know how important a full service history is to your negotiations. Without having the service history of a car, it's very difficult to know if and when regular maintenance, and repairs, were performed. However, if an owner has a complete service maintenance history, is shows they took the time and spent the cash to regularly maintain their vehicle. This in turn, builds confidence that it's in the best mechanical condition possible and will go a long way in getting more for your vehicle.

How To Find Your Car's Service History
With so many things to keep ahead of in our day-to-day life, it's no wonder that we often forget when and why we brought our car into service. And while it is vitally important to your vehicles' overall condition, its often one of those records that is easily overlooked. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to check car service history for free.  

Manufacturers Website Service History
While most vehicles come with a service history book within your owner's manual, it's no longer necessary to manually record your visits to the service center. The internet has eliminated the need. Most manufacturers have made it simple to check car service history online for free. Brands that have a dedicated service program, such as Ford's FordPass or Subaru's MySubaru, offer free car service history report options that will show all service performed at any authorized manufacturer's service center.  While you can get service records from a dealership, you can also download these records from the comfort of your home through the manufacturer's service program hub.   

However, if you had any work performed at a non-dealer service center or did the work yourself, those records will not be included in a manufacturer's report. For the Do it yourself mechanic, keeping the receipts of parts purchased will be your only record of work that was done. And if you used an independent or chain repair center, you may be able to check car service history online free of charge with other services.

Online Service History Websites
While there are a variety of sites available online that can check your cars service history online, one of the most recognizable ones is CarFax Service History.   With thousands of repair shops, manufacturer service centers, and franchised repair centers all reporting their work to CarFax, it offers the most comprehensive non-manufacturer record of repairs on a vehicle.  
If you are considering buying a used vehicle, consider getting a copy of the vehicle's CarFax report.  This report will not only offer the service history on your car, but it will also record all accidents and recalls that occurred.  If you are purchasing from a dealership, a free CarFax report should be offered to you.  If, however, you are considering a private purchase, you may want to spend the $39.99 to download your own copy.  This will be particularly important if the owner does not have a complete service history of the vehicle.  

All in all, how to check car service history for free is quick and simple. The important thing is making sure you use those records to keep your vehicle running in the best possible condition.  And that's where we come in.  Our team has been serving the Hunterdon County, NJ, Buck County, Pa, Bridgewater, Edison, Princeton, Hamilton, Somerset County and Mercer County areas for the past 45 years.  So, no matter if you drive any Subaru models NJ know that our team is here to help you make the most of your driving experience.
 




How to Improve Gas Mileage?

 


The Fact and Fiction about How to Improve Gas Mileage

With gas prices on the rise, many drivers are searching for ways how to improve gas mileage on their Trucks, SUVs and Sedans.  And the higher the price per gallon gets, the more myths about how to reduce fuel consumption start showing up on the internet.  So, we're here to set the record straight by separating Fact from Fiction about modifications to improve fuel economy.

Fact or Fiction: The MPG on the window sticker of the cars is a guarantee of the MPG for a vehicle.

FICTION:  While the MPG estimates on your vehicle's window sticker are determined by tests performed by the Environmental Protection Agency of the Federal Government, they admit that their figures are just that…"estimates".  According to their website, "some drivers will get an mpg that is higher than the label values while others may experience lower fuel economy, due to more unusual driving behavior or ambient conditions" (https://nepis.epa.gov/).

Fact or Fiction: Fast accelerations takes more gas

FACT: Restrain that inner race car driver in yourself.  Fast accelerations, as well as heavy braking, take more gas than driving at a moderate consistent speed.  If you maintain the speed limit and avoid the habit of going too fast, you can improve your fuel economy as much as 15 to 30 percent at highway speeds and 10 to 40 percent in stop-and-go traffic. 

Fact or Fiction: Idling in traffic takes more gas in NJ

FACT: While you may be tempted to ask "does it waste more gas to idle or start", the truth is idling historically takes more fuel than starting and restarting your vehicle. When not moving AND idling, fuel consumption per hour uses 80% more pollutants than when your car is running. Those with the "automatic stop/go" feature in their vehicles could see as much as a 10-30% improvement in the MPG according to some manufacturer's estimates.

Fact or Fiction: Cruise Control doesn't improve fuel economy

FICTION:  Not only does using cruise control save diesel and regular fuel, it also improves the overall condition of your vehicle's drive train.  While not recommended for harsh weather conditions, such as snow and heavy rain, using cruise control is an easy way to improve gas mileage mechanically.  For those drivers with an "Adaptative Cruise Control" system, the system will even apply the brakes to slow you down should the traffic pattern change. Overall, using cruise control is the easiest way to improve fuel economy in an automatic vehicle.

Fact or Fiction: Car Maintenance Doesn't Impact Fuel Economy

FICTION: The very first step you should be taking in fixing poor gas mileage is to make sure your vehicle is in good condition.  Car maintenance to improve gas mileage includes:

·         Replace oil filter at every oil change -  not only should you do this every time you change your oil, you should also rotate your tire at the same time.  This will extend the wear of your tread and improve your tires traction.  And if you haven't already upgraded to synthetic motor oil, check with your mechanic.  Synthetic oil boosts engine efficiency and extends the time between oil changes.

·         Replace engine filter at regular intervals - Most manufacturers recommend changing it every 10,000 to 15,000 miles. Even a tiny grain of dirt can clog injectors, leading to erratic performance and poor gas mileage.

·         Check your tire pressure - If your tires are underinflated, fuel consumption can increase by as much as 3%.  Check your owner's manual for the proper PSI for your tires.

·         Clean out the Clutter - By reducing the additional bulk weight of your vehicle, you can improve your fuel efficiency. For example, at highway speeds, roof-mounted cargo boxes can reduce fuel economy by 6 to 17%, while their rear-mounted counterparts typically have a 1 to 5% impact (gmfinancial.com).

Fact or Fiction - Using the Air Conditioner doesn't impact fuel economy

FICTION - According to the US Dept of Energy "Under very hot conditions, Air Conditioner use can reduce a conventional vehicle's fuel economy by more than 25%, particularly on short trips."  Additionally, the air conditioners effect on hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles (EVs) can be even larger on a percentage basis.

However, it is also important to note that driving with your windows down can also reduce fuel economy. Open windows increase aerodynamic drag (wind resistance), which is more impactful on fuel economy when driving at highways speeds.

To avoid both, experts suggest switching from fresh air mode to recirculation and this can reduce this cost.  For those who think recirculating air makes it warmer, in some cases the temperature outside is the same as inside, but just having the air recirculate will cool down the vehicle.Driving without AC saves gas and will benefit you in the long run.

Fact or Fiction - My driving style doesn't impact my vehicle's fuel consumption

FICITION - Next to vehicle maintenance, your driving style has the greatest impact on your vehicle's fuel efficiency.  But there are a number of techniques you can use while driving any vehicle to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.  Just use these 5 fuel efficient driving techniques:

1.       Use your Cruise Control feature whenever possible.  Set the speed limit to match your road's regulated limit.

 

2.       Plan your trip.  Not only try to avoid peak high traffic hours, but map out your stops so that you are driving the least number of miles and/or avoiding traffic congestion that will increase your idling time.

 

3.       Monitor your Vehicles Fuel Consumption.  If your vehicle comes with a MPG usage gauge in the dash cluster, be conscious of what it is telling you.  If not, keep track of your trips so you can estimate how much gas it takes to reach each destination for future reference.

 

4.       Control your Stops and Goes.  Avoid situations that will cause you to accelerate very quickly and keep your speed below 55 mph.  When you do need to stop, coast to decelerate.

 

5.       Drive a well-maintained vehicle.  Keep your vehicle in top running condition with regular oil/filter changes, proper tire pressure, and tune-ups.  Make sure you also keep your load light by removing unnecessary added cargo that can cause drag or additional weight to the vehicle.

               

 

 






 

Benefits of a Hybrid Vehicle

 As the price of gas continues to climb, more and more Americans are considering the benefits of hybrid cars.  While there a number of environmental benefits of hybrid cars, most drivers who have been looking into alternatives to combustion engines are concerned about the economic benefits of hybrid cars.  But before you run out to  trade-in your "gas guzzler", it's important to understand how hybrid cars work and if they will fit within your driving needs.

 The Best Hybrid Cars

While there is a long list of benefits of hybrid cars to the environment, not all hybrids are equal.  Technically, when a conventional combustion engine is augmented with an alternative energy source to propel a vehicle, it is considered a hybrid. But how that electronic energy source is fueled defines what kind of hybrid you are driving.

 Plug-In, Full & Mild Hybrids - What's the Difference

 Before you ask if hybrid cars are fuel efficient, it is important to understand that not all Hybrids are the same.  There are three main types of hybrid vehicles; full hybrids, mild hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Knowing what works best for you means understanding the difference. While do hybrid cars use gas and electricity, depending on the model, what kind of gas does hybrid cars use will vary between traditional petroleum and diesel fuel. 

 A Full Hybrid (FHEV) offers three alternative ways to fuel your vehicle.  It can run on just the combustion engine (i.e.gas/diesel), the electric engine (i.e. power from batteries), or a combination. In a FHEV, the electric system propels the vehicle up to a predetermined speed (ie. 30 mph) then the combustion engine takes over.  A full hybrid is self-sustaining and doesn't require to be plugged in.  Instead, the battery is recharged by running the combustion engine. This is the only hybrid model that can hybrid can run on gas only. 

 A Mild Hybrid has an electric motor and combustion engine which always work together. Mild hybrids cannot run on just electric or just combustion engine mode. The engines/motors always work in parallel, switching fuel source based on the acceleration of the vehicle. Mild hybrids typically have stop-start and regenerative braking, but are not capable of the MPG figures of an FHEV.

 A Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), as the name suggests, requires plugging into the mains in order to fully recharge its battery. PHEVs can be run in just electric mode offering the greatest fuel economy; but they come with a dependency on charging stations to recharge the battery.  While being the most fuel-efficient model, it also is the one with the "highest" maintenance for charging.

 Driving Needs - Are Hybrid Cars good for long distance driving?

 There is no question that hybrids are the most gasoline efficient of all cars.  But the real question at this point; is how many miles can you go before you need to plug-in and recharge. According to the experts at the Institute for Transportation Studies, "Plug-in hybrids may drive for 10-50 miles using only electricity before they start using gasoline, and can then drive for about 300 miles (depending on the size of the fuel tank, just like any other car)." 

 Most models will typically record anywhere from 48 to 60 mpg.    However, this is only about 20% to 35% better than a fuel-efficient, gasoline-powered vehicle, which begs the question, are hybrid cars worth it?

To answer that question, consider the following:

How many miles a year will you be driving?

How long do you plan on owning the vehicle?Here is where the math comes in when deciding why hybrid cars are better for YOU.  Most hybrid models are more expensive than their conventional engine counterparts.  The real savings will come with how much you will be saving in the cost of gasoline and the depreciation of the vehicle.  While your annual fuel costs may be reduced by $200-300 a year, you need to figure out how many years you need to drive this vehicle to compensate for the additional upfront cost to buy the hybrid. 

What Are the tax benefits of Hybrid Cars?

 In 2010, the Federal Government, in an attempt to encourage people to "go green" instituted a Tax Credit of up to $7500 for anyone who purchased (not leased) a Hybrid Vehicle.  However, this tax credit opportunity will expire once the participating manufacturing sells 200,000 EVs in the U.S.  Many manufacturers; those first to the hybrid market, have already reached that limit so there is no tax credit for their vehicles.  It is important to review the list of available tax credits on the Department of Energy's website.

 All in all, there are a lot of reasons why hybrid cars are popular and why hybrid cars are better for the environment, but the big question Is a Hybrid car is good for you? Find the Hybrid Model that might fit your driving needs and be good for the environment.  Our team has been serving the Hunterdon County, NJ, Buck County, Pa, Bridgewater, Edison, Princeton, Hamilton, Somerset County and Mercer County areas for the past 45 years.

 


Car Cleaning Hacks


 

Secret Car Cleaning Hacks Revealed
We all know there is nothing like that clean car feeling.  When done right, it can take you right back to the day you drove your car off the lot, fully detailed by the dealership as part of your delivery.  But life and the weather can take that feeling away all too quickly. And while finding a car wash near you will spruce up your vehicle, it won't get that deep scrubbing that comes with a full detail cleaning.  With our most brilliant car cleaning hacks, you can get that same professional clean without breaking the bank.
 
Brighten Your Cars Exterior
Just like the spring cleaning tips for your home, our spring cleaning hacks for your car will speed up the process.  Try these simple car cleaning hacks for your exterior to restore the shine to your car's finish:
Wash your car to keep allergies to a minimum - Pollen on car surfaces can not just damage your finish but also aggravate allergies.  Washing your car regularly is one way how to remove sticky pollen from car's touch points such as handles and buttons. No need to purchase an expensive car detergent.  Mix a mild dish detergent with hot water to clean off your vehicle.  While there is no fool-proof way to repel pollen from your car, adding a wax finish to your vehicle will help reduce the amount of pollen that will stick to your car's finish.  While applying wax can be very labor intensive, try using a hair conditioner instead.  Wipe the conditioner onto your vehicle with a soft sponge or microfiber cloth , Then rinse off the extra residue.  Once dry, give the car a quick buff with a dry clean cloth.
See where you are going - If your headlights have become foggy, just grab your toothpaste and a toothbrush!  Coat the lenses of your headlights with the toothpaste and scrub gently in a circular motion with the toothbrush.  Let it set for 5-10 minutes then rinse and wipe off for clearer illumination!
No Bugs Allowed! - There is nothing more unappealing than dead bugs clinging to the front of your vehicle.  Before you invest in an expensive car cleaning gel, try one of our Dryer Sheet DIY car cleaning hacks.  Add two dryer sheets to a spray bottle filled half way with water.  Let the solution sit for a few minutes, Then spray it directly onto the bug residue.  Then use another dryer sheet to wipe away the bugs.  Repeat the process where necessary.
Clean & Bright Tires - Try this homemade tire shine.  Mix mild dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and castor oil together in a spray bottle and spray directly onto the tires. The dish soap strips off the initial dirt and grime, the rubbing alcohol removes the residual dirt, and the castor oil provides a natural, environmentally safe shine.
Interior Car Cleaning
Now that the world will be admiring the great job you did on the exterior of your vehicle, you have a front row seat to the interior.  Before you dive in, give your car a good cleanout and vacuum.    Throw out any trash and remove all other items from the car.  Then pull out your vacuum and attack all "soft" surfaces including mats, carpet, and the seats.  Use the crevice tool to get deep into the valleys of the seats and in those hard-to-reach spots.
Wipe everything down - After a good vacuum of the interior, its time to give the whole car a good wipe down.  Using a multi-surface cleaner and clean microfiber clothes, attack every surface starting at the front windshield and working your way backwards.  Be sure to spray the cleaner ONTO THE CLOTH and not directly onto the surface.  This will reduce overspray and drips.  Change your cloths when they get dingy.
Get to the Nooks and Crannies - there are a couple of ways to dislodge packed-in dirt and debris.
Slime It! - The Slimy Goo that your kids play with is actually a terrific car cleaning gel to remove the micro-layer of dirt caught around the buttons and in the corners of your car. Roll the slime over these hard to clean surfaces and you will pick up tons of debris.
Toothbrush - For those caked-on messes, dip a toothbrush into soapy water and give the spot a good rub.  This is on the list of favorite spring cleaning hacks.  
Calling Mr. Clean - For tough larger surfaces, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will help avoid needless scrubbing.  But be careful using this on suede or microfiber fabric as it can damage the color.
Not Just for Painting - a small foam brush is perfect for in your ventilation systems.  Spray a little multi-purpose cleaner on a damp brush and insert it between the louvers to sweep away dust and debris.  This is an especially great car care tips for allergies.  
Stay Organized - Before putting items back into the vehicle, consider each item carefully.   If you are spring cleaning, then there is no need to keep the snow shovel and ice scraper in the car this season.   Return only the items you will need on a daily basis or those that are seasonally relevant.  
Control the Trash - Hang a decorative reusable bag behind the front passenger seat or place a large food container on the floor to use as a garbage receptacle.
 
If you don't have time to detail your car yourself, schedule a professional detail cleaning at our Flemington Subaru dealership. We offer spring cleaning no matter your make or model. With locations in Flemington, Clinton and Princeton, NJ, our team of professional detailers can bring back your vehicle's luster in no time


 

Picking the Right Tire for Your Car

Of all the parts on your car, no doubt your tires get the biggest workout.  And while buying tires is fairly simple, finding the right ones for your vehicle can be a challenge.  Make the wrong choice and you can interfere with your vehicle's performance, and more importantly, its ability to tackle a variety of weather conditions.

Getting the Right Fit

Before we jump into the types of tires, you first need to know what size tire your vehicle requires.  In many cases, your vehicles performance is 100% dependent on a specific type of tire. Your owner's manual should come equipped with a tire types and body style chart that is specific to your vehicle.  Refer to this FIRST to save yourself time and money.

What are the three types of tires?

While there are a host of different tire types, you need to consider your vehicle's body type and the weather conditions.  Most tires fall into one of three specific tire types for cars: All-Season, Summer and Winter.  Let's take a minute to break down the differences between the three tire types explained specifically for effectiveness, affordability and safety.

All-Season Tires

Often considered the best tires for fuel economy, all-season tires are also the least expensive of the three types of tires.  A hybrid solution for those who don't want to purchase tire types for cars for various seasons nj, all-season tires offer the best characteristics of both summer and winter tires. If you do not experience extreme swings in weather, it is a good way to save time and money to purchase these tires for your vehicle. The easiest tires that are affordable to maintain, all-season tires need only to be rotated periodically to extend the life of their tread.  Refer to your manual or call our service advisor if you aren't familiar with the recommended interval period.  

However, if you're fortunate to experience all four seasons each year, investing in summer and/or winter tires will offer better traction and handling in the worst weather.

Winter Tires

No other tire will offer you better grip on snow-covered roads or wet surfaces in cold conditions than Winter Tires.  Designed with a deeper tread from a firmer compound than all-season and summer tires, winter tires are excellent for clearing slush and reducing your risks of hydroplaning when going through ponding water on roads. Winter tires, however, shouldn't be used for the summer months.  This tire's compound is too soft for the hot, dry asphalt of summer and will only wear out quicker.  You may also see higher fuel consumption and hear an unpleasant road buzz.

Summer Tires

Summer tires, designed with fewer grooves in the tread and more streamlined construction, offer excellent grip and smoother handling in warmer conditions. Often times drivers will also find they reduce rolling resistance and may improve fuel efficiency and have less road noise than all-season or winter tires.  But just as we warn you not to drive in the summer with winter tires, the same is to be said about driving on summer tires in winter.  The low tread height will dramatically decrease road traction in snow and ice, and the tire compound becomes hard and brittle when the temperature drops below 45 degrees.

So, while it is quick and easy to buy tires, choosing the right ones for your vehicle deserves some serious thought.  As the seasons change, make sure you have the safest and the most dependable tires on your vehicle. And while there are many tires that are in demand right now, our service centers have a variety of rebates and coupons that can keep the cost down to replace your tires.   Schedule your appointment today at any of our Flemington Subaru dealership. With locations in Flemington, Clinton and Princeton, NJ, our team of professional service specialists will help you pick the right tire for you and your vehicle.