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Has Your Vehicle Been Recalled? Here’s How You Can Find Out

Oil_Can_Henrys_Blog_Recall_HelpA record 51.26 million vehicle recalls were issued in 2015, led by notices for defective Takata airbags.
That number may continue to rise, as industry experts have forecast more frequent and larger auto recalls in the future due to increased scrutiny by federal regulators and an increase in the number of public complaints.
While manufacturers are required to report claims to the government and notify vehicle owners of recalls, that doesn’t always happen as quickly or thoroughly as many would like. The record $105 million fine levied on Fiat Chrylser by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proof of that.
This leaves vehicle owners asking the questions, How are recalls issued? and What’s the best way to learn if my vehicle has been affected?
Recalls can start one of two ways: They can be initiated by a vehicle company as the result of high warranty claims, customer complaints and/or a flaw found by engineers; or they can be ordered by the NHTSA. Learn more about the recall process with this interactive graphic from Automotive News.
While vehicle manufacturers are expected to inform the owners of affected vehicles, it’s in your best interest to be proactive and keep yourself informed. To that end, the NHTSA offers two resources you can use to learn about recalls and check if your vehicle(s) have been affected:

  • The Recalls Look-up by VIN tool enables you to determine if your vehicle has a safety recall issue in the last 15 years that has not been repaired.
  • The Recalls & Defects page on the NHTSA website helps you stay on top of recall news by searching recalls issued since the previous day or the start of month. You can also sign-up to receive email alerts for up to five vehicles and learn how to download an app that will notify you if safety issues related to your vehicle(s) are discovered.

 

Don’t Sweat It: 6 Tips to Protect Your Vehicle from the Summer Heat

OCH_eNL_Image_0716_overheatingSweltering summer temperatures are tough on our vehicles. Batteries can lose strength or corrode, coolant/antifreeze may break down faster and lose its ability to protect your engine and, in rare cases, vehicles may catch fire.
Here are six valuable tips to help ensure you and your vehicle don’t fall victim to the summer heat:
 
1. Check Hoses, Wires and Belts Regularly.
Proper maintenance of your vehicle should include regular, thorough inspections of the hoses that move flammable liquids — especially oil and transmission fluid — throughout your engine. At the same time, check wires and serpentine belts to ensure none are worn or frayed. If you discover a leaking or improperly connected hose, a frayed wire or a damaged or frayed belt, have it checked and repaired as soon as possible.
Oil Can Henry’s Famous 18-Point Full-Service Oil Change includes a complimentary visual inspection of the engine. During the inspection, your technician will inform you of any visible leaks, hose damage or safety concerns.
 
2. Keep Your Engine Clean.
Every once in a while, pop the hood and check for debris. Carefully remove or brush out old leaves and other “garbage” that could ignite or fuel a fire in the engine compartment.
 
3. Maintain Proper Oil and Coolant Levels.
Check your oil and coolant regularly to ensure both are at proper levels. To help you do that, Oil Can Henry’s Famous 18-Point Full-Service Oil Change includes Free Fluid Refills: Get one free oil top-up within 3 months or 5,000 miles of your last oil change. Come in anytime to top-up other fluids and tires. 
 
4. Replace Worn-Out Coolant.
Coolant (also referred to as antifreeze) flows through your vehicle’s radiator and engine to protect from overheating, freezing, rust, and corrosion. Over time, lines can get clogged with deposits, rust and corrosion.
Replacing the coolant as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, helps:

  • Protect your engine from overheating and freezing; and
  • Restore the protection level for the entire cooling system.

Our Radiator Fluid Exchange service removes virtually 100% of the dirty, used coolant and replaces it with new coolant.

Unsure if your coolant is still protecting your engine? Oil Can Henry’s service centers offer a complimentary coolant check to gauge the strength of your engine’s coolant. Simply visit your neighborhood Oil Can Henry’s and ask for a free coolant check.
 
5. Check Your Tire Tread and Pressure.
It’s important to check your tires on a regular basis to ensure that they’re wearing evenly and are inflated to the proper level. This is particularly important in the summer because extreme heat causes the air inside your tires to expand and that can lead to blowouts on worn-out tires.
 
6. Check Your Battery.
According to Interstate Batteries, “summer heat can be even more damaging than winter’s cold temperatures when it comes to car batteries.” The heat can sap battery strength, cause water to evaporate out of battery fluid and, particularly in cases when temperatures exceed 95° F, accelerate corrosion.
Interstate Batteries recommends the following to keep your battery in shape this summer:

  • Visually inspect the battery, looking for bulges, cracks or leaks. If you find any of these situations, replace the battery.
  • Clean the battery connections by removing corrosion, lead oxidation or rust from the top of the battery with a scouring pad or brush. Be sure to brush away from you.
  • If your battery has removable filler caps, open the caps and check the water level in each cell. If the water level is low, add distilled water until the plates are covered. Don’t use tap water and don’t overfill.

Time for a new battery? Most Oil Can Henry’s service centers sell and install Interstate Batteries.
 
IF YOUR ENGINE OVERHEATS
If your vehicle overheats while you’re driving, follow these safety tips:

  • Pull off to a safe location on the side of the road as soon as possible;
  • Leave your vehicle running and turn off the air conditioner to enable the radiator to cool down the engine;
  • If you think you see flames, do not open the hood. You could be burned and the fire could spread rapidly.
  • Don’t open the hood by hand or unscrew the radiator cap until you’re absolutely positive the engine has cooled. This could take 30 minutes or more. If you do unscrew the cap, cover the cap with a cloth to protect your hand. Open it slowly and tilt it away from you.
  • Don’t drive your vehicle if the coolant tank is empty. That could cause significant damage. To be on the safe side, we recommend you call a tow truck or, if you have it, AAA Roadside Assistance.

 
Safe summer travels from all of us at Oil Can Henry’s!
 
Sources:

10 Essential Tools for a Memorable Road Trip

163751226-300x227Summer officially begins on June 20! If you’re like us, you’re itching to hit the road and see some of the beautiful land that makes up this great country of ours.

While researching and daydreaming about potential adventures, we found ten fantastic resources for planning and enjoying a memorable road trip. From the practical to the whimsical, these tools are sure to help you enjoy your summer adventures.

GasBuddy is a great resource for sleuthing out low price gas near you. The website also features a cool Trip Cost Calculator. Enter your starting point, destination and vehicle information and GasBuddy will provide the cheapest fill-up locations on your route and an estimated total cost.

Roadtrippers is a treasure trove of road trip resources. Plan your trip by entering a starting point and destination and selecting from a variety of features, including hotels, attractions, food and drink, and “weird stuff”. Looking for some inspiration? Peruse their collection of road trip ideas and city guides.

Road Trip America provides a variety of easy-to-use planning tools. Select the state you want to explore to get a list of potential itineraries, complete with maps and points of interest.

While there will never be consensus on the best road trips in America, quite a few websites are willing to share their opinions. Check out the lists on Lonely Planet, National GeographicOutside, Travel and Leisure, and USA Today.

Are offbeat attractions at the top of your list? Don’t miss Roadside America, a fantastic guide to oddities and unique destinations that often fly under the radar. Here are a few highlights to whet your appetite:

 

As you plan your summer travels, check to find the Oil Can Henry’s centers along your route. With convenient locations throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, chances are there will be one near you.

Remember, our Famous 18-Point Full-Service Oil Change includes Free Fluid Refills: Get one free oil top-up within 3 months or 5,000 miles of your last oil change. Come in anytime to top-up other fluids and tires. 

Have a favorite road trip? How do you ensure a great travel experience? Share your ideas, experiences and tips.

Are You Normal? Learn Which Oil Change Schedule is Best for You

If your vehicle doesn’t have an oil life monitor, it’s likely the owner’s manual includes two maintenance service schedules: one for “normal” driving and one for “severe”.

And, if you’re like most drivers, you probably consider yourself to be “normal”.

That’s where you could be making a big mistake in how you maintain your vehicle.
Are you a normal driver? Or severe?

American Automobile Association (AAA) research has shown that more than half of all motorists follow the wrong maintenance schedule for their vehicles.

“When polled by AAA,” the study states, “only six percent of motorists felt they did most of their driving under severe service conditions. But when asked about the actual driving behaviors that create severe operating conditions, 62 percent of motorists admitted they drive their vehicle that way all or most of the time.”

Findings from a February, 2011, poll of drivers in six Western states revealed even more startling numbers. More than 90% of respondents consider themselves “normal” drivers, yet 89% of those people have driving habits that define them as “severe”.

“Manufacturers provide differing sets of recommendations for severe driving conditions because of the increased wear they put on vehicle components and fluids,” said John Nielsen, director of AAA Approved Auto Repair and Auto Buying Services. “With increased traffic congestion and longer commutes becoming more common, many motorists do not realize what they think of as normal driving is actually severe when it comes to wear and tear on their vehicle.”

“Maintenance schedules for severe driving conditions,” AAA explains, “typically recommend having the vehicle’s fluids and filters changed on a more frequent basis, and more frequent inspections of some components.”

So, which maintenance schedule is best for you?

We recommend that you follow the “severe” maintenance schedule for your vehicle if:

  • The majority of your driving consists of short trips (five miles or less);
  • The majority of your driving consists of longer trips but includes a fair amount of idling (such as the stop-and-go traffic common in many people’s  morning and evening commute);
  • You often tow a trailer or haul heavy materials;
  • Frequently drive in extreme heat (more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Frequently drive in extreme cold (less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit); or
  • Frequently drive in humid conditions.

If none of the above apply, congratulations! You’re a “normal” driver.

Anniversaries: Blooming in Washington’s Wenatchee Valley

Wenatchee-BlogStrategically located at the confluence of the Columbia and Wenatchee rivers, the charming community of Wenatchee, Wash., is an outdoor and agricultural paradise offering residents and visitors a menu of seemingly never-ending adventures to enjoy.
Home to a wide variety of scenic orchards and mouth-watering farm stands, Wenatchee has earned the moniker, “Apple Capital of the World” and hosts Washington State Apple Blossom Festival, an annual 11-day  celebration of all things apple.
The Wenatchee Valley is also home to a vast array ofoutdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, cycling, paddling, and golfing.
So, it should come as no surprise to learn that the area continues to grow as new residents make the move to enjoy the quality of life and take advantage of the strong economic climate.
For years, Wenatchee Valley residents travelled 115 miles to Yakima for Oil Can Henry’s quick, convenient and thorough vehicle maintenance. Recognizing the growing demand for our trusted service (and, let’s be honest, looking for an excuse to spend more time in this awe-inspiring area), Oil Can Henry’s opened aWenatchee service center at 142 East Street on May 20, 2009. We opened an East Wenatchee center three weeks later, at 159 Valley Mall Parkway.
Congratulations to our hard-working teams in Wenatchee and East Wenatchee; they do a wonderful job helping drivers maintain their vehicles. And, a tip of our Gatsby cap to the other five centers celebrating anniversaries this month: