Friday, February 12, 2016

Effects of Winter Weather on Vehicle Batteries

by Sarah Newkirk of Acme Truck & Auto, Inc.

When the temperatures outside drop, you may notice a change in the performance of your vehicle’s battery. This is because battery capacity fluctuates with the changing temperatures. As the temperature drops, your battery’s capacity, or the number of amps it can hold, also decreases. Likewise, as the temperature outside increases, the capacity also increases.

Your vehicle’s performance can become poor with a battery that isn’t running on its full potential. Here are a few tips to avoid or help with a dead car battery:
  • Having a newer battery is best for winter driving. Using an older battery can drain the charge quicker, as it takes more effort to warm up. The average lifespan of a vehicle battery is 3.5 years.
  • When possible, park your vehicle in a garage or car port. If this is not an option, try to find a parking spot that best avoids the wind. Wind chills can make the battery even colder, potentially causing more strain, especially at start up.
  • Turn off all accessories before turning off your ignition, especially overnight. These can drain your battery, even when not in use.
  • If you find yourself with a dead battery, be sure to use good jumper cables. Once your vehicle is charged, it is best to let it run long enough for it to warm up. If you charge the battery but do not allow it time to warm up, you have a higher chance of it dying again. Typically, 30 minutes of driving will bring your battery to a full charge.
  • As mentioned in one of our previous blog posts, remember to check your tires as the weather fluctuates as poor tire pressure can also drain your vehicle’s battery.

The best way to remain safe while driving, especially in colder weather, is to be aware of your vehicle’s maintenance and to be proactive in checking for any signs of wear and tear.

Acme Truck and Auto
414 South 5th Street
Manhattan, KS 66502
Office: (785) 537-1212
Toll Free (844) 537-1212

Thursday, February 4, 2016

How Low can Fuel Prices Go?

by David Kreller of Acme Truck & Auto, Inc.

Starting with the drop in crude oil prices last year, consumers and businesses have enjoyed a continual decline in gasoline and diesel prices.  It seems that at nearly every coffee shop, diner or any other place people gather, the low fuel prices are the second most talked about topic, exceeded only by weather.

So how low can the prices go? In visiting with Pat Oppy, of Oppy’s Service, a CENEX Distributor, he shared that the industry consensus seems to believe that gasoline and diesel prices will remain at the current low levels for the next several months, maybe even trend a little lower. And while the gap between gasoline and diesel fuels have narrowed, it is likely that diesel will remain higher priced than gasoline in part because of demand and fuel taxes.

The impact of the current low fuel prices also has other implications. According to the US Department of Energy, the low fuel prices affect consumer and business spending habits. With the lower prices comes more vehicle miles traveled and use of less fuel efficient vehicles.

But with this price relief also comes some economic pain. According to the KIOGA – The Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association, oil and natural gas activity in Kansas on average supports over 118,000 jobs, over $3 Billion in family income and over $1.4 Billion in state and local tax revenue. Lower crude oil prices not only means lower gasoline and diesel prices, but also potentially less jobs, less household income and less tax revenue for schools, counties and the State of Kansas.

So how low will they go? Only time will tell but given the current trends in crude oil production, economic forecasts, and being an election year, it seems likely the gas pumps will be a happier place for all drivers during the first half of 2016.

Acme Truck and Auto
414 South 5th Street
Manhattan, KS 66502
Office: (785) 537-1212
Toll Free (844) 537-1212

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Effects of Cold Weather on Tire Pressure

by Sarah Newkirk of Acme Truck & Auto

Did you know that the air pressure inside your tires is what does the work to hold up your vehicle?

First introduced in the 1990's, and made standard in vehicles by 2007, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is something many of us have become familiar with. The TPMS helps to keep track of your vehicle's tire pressure, and warns you if it is running low.

Here are a few things to note when it comes to your tire pressure:

  • Check your operation manual for guidance on what the ideal tire pressure is for your vehicle. This information can also be found on the side panel of your car door, inside the glove box, or even inside your fuel door.
  • For every 10 degrees Fahrenheit the temperature drops outside, your tire pressure will decrease about 1 psi. This change in pressure will typically trigger your sensor light. Your tire's pressure will also increase in the same increments. Be sure to check your tire pressure often with the changing weather to ensure safe driving tire conditions.
  • Driving on under-inflated tires can result in poor fuel economy, as well as poor performance in winter weather. Over-filling your tire with air can cause it to burst. This can be more common in the warmer months as the temperature increases rapidly.
  • Do not rely on your eyes to tell you if your tires are under-filled or over-filled. Some tires are equipped with a "run-flat" feature. This means that even though the air pressure may be low, your tire appears and drives normally. It is best to do routine checks for your tire pressure.
  • Once you have determined your ideal tire pressure, follow these simple steps to make sure you are within a safe range for driving:
    • Unscrew the valve stem cap on your tire.
    • Place your tire pressure gauge over the valve stem. You can purchase a simple gauge at most gas stations and stores that sell any vehicle maintenance supplies.
    • Press the pressure gauge toward your tire. This should give you your reading. *Note - if you hear a hissing sound, you may not have the gauge secured tightly.
    • If your tire pressure is within the recommended range, replace your valve stem cap. If your tires are running low, add air, and recheck.

Checking your tire pressure regularly is important for safer and more economic driving.

Acme Truck and Auto
414 South 5th Street
Manhattan, KS 66502
Office: (785) 537-1212
Toll Free (844) 537-1212