Drive Safely this Holiday Season

Happy Holidays! We hope you are fully enjoying this season, spending time with your family, and driving safely on the roads. Winter is here – the days are getting colder and shorter. Whether you’re commuting daily or planning a cross country road trip to visit family, here’s some advice to stay safe this winter:

Turn your headlights On – Winter days seem shorter with fewer hours of daylight. As the sun goes down earlier, it is very important to use your headlights! Even if you don’t usually have to think about turning them on for the drive home from work, you may need to adjust your habits for this season. Your lights help you to see and to be seen by other drivers.

Slow down – On slick winter roads, the biggest change for your vehicle is traction. Especially if you drive on snow or ice, your car won’t be able to grip the road as well requiring careful steering and braking. Check your tire pressure – a ten degree drop in temperature can drop PSI by as much as one pound. You can easily top off your tires yourself, or bring it in to us for a quick fill. Have your tires and brakes inspected to make sure they can handle the road conditions, and know your limits.

Check your emergency kit – You should always keep a basic emergency kit in your vehicle. Check to make sure the components are still gathered and in good condition (you may want to replace emergency food periodically). Add in winter layers, gloves, and other tools to keep you safe and warm in emergencies.

Use common sense – If the roads look treacherous, stay inside. Know your limits and those of your vehicle, and have a safety inspection performed before any long drives. When in doubt, SLOW DOWN or stay at home.

Our ASE Certified Technicians want to help you prepare your vehicle for winter roads in Greensboro – give us a call at 336.294.2137 if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

Test your Heater BEFORE It Gets Too Cold

Winter is coming to Greensboro, which means cold temperatures will soon be here to stay. Is your car heater up for the challenge?

Being warm isn’t only a matter of comfort, it keeps you safe! Cold body temperatures reduce your ability to react quickly in an emergency, slow your response time, and leave you more prone to distraction. Shivering and heavy layers also make it difficult to concentrate while driving. For your comfort and safety, make sure you can stay warm in your vehicle this winter.

After several months of warm summer temperatures and not using the heater, latent problems with the heating system start showing up in the fall.

Before your car gets too cold this winter, test your heater to make sure it is working properly!

On the next cold morning, turn your heater up. Pay attention to how quickly it heats your vehicle. Hold your hand up to the vents to make sure warm air is coming through each vent.

If it takes too long to warm your vehicle, bring your car in for an inspection. Our technicians will test the system and look for problems that could be preventing it from working properly. A faulty heater coil could be the cause, or it could be as simple as blocked air flow in the vents. A dirty cabin air filter could reduce the effectiveness of your heater but can easily be replaced.

There are many reasons the heater may not be keeping up with the cold temperatures. To keep your vehicle warm this winter, test your car heating system early. Bring your car to Foreign Accents in Greensboro and our certified technicians will inspect the heater in your vehicle. If you need any other services to prepare for winter weather in North Carolina, request an appointment online or call our auto shop at 336.294.2137.

Fall Car Care Tips

Fall is here, and pumpkin-spiced goodies are popping up in grocery store aisles across Greensboro… so we’re jumping in with our new pumpkin-spice oil changes!

Just kidding – pumpkin flavors might mix well with your coffee, but instead we’re offering advice to keep your vehicle safely on the road this fall.

Read our tips below, then stop by Foreign Accents for a fall safety inspection to make sure your vehicle is ready for changing fall weather!

First, think about your suspension and alignment. With road trips, construction, and potholes during the summer, all those bumpy roads can wear down your shocks and struts. When your wheels slip out of alignment, you’ll get lower gas mileage and be at risk for more slips and slides on wet fall roads.

Next, look at your battery. Damage from summer heat isn’t always easy to spot, and may not be noticeable until the first very cold day in the fall. Before you’re stuck with a car that won’t start, have your battery tested at our reliable auto repair shop during your next inspection to make sure it can handle the swinging temperatures of fall weather.

Before the next rainstorm, make sure you’ll be able to see clearly on the road. Stock up on wiper fluid, and stop by Foreign Accents if you need new wiper blades or headlight bulbs. Test your windshield wipers regularly so you’re never caught in a storm with poor visibility.

Want to make sure your vehicle is ready for changing road conditions this fall and winter? Give us a call – 336.294.2137 – our experienced technicians will do a complete inspection to make sure there aren’t problems lurking, just waiting until that first freeze to leave you stranded in the cold.

Stop by our auto repair shop in Greensboro or request an appointment online.

Falling Tire Pressure

As temperatures start dropping on Fall evenings, vehicles need to consider a new danger: falling tire pressures.

Tires can lose 1 pound of pressure for every 10 degrees in temperature drop. This isn’t usually a problem in the summer or winter, when the temperature only waivers by twenty degrees.

But in the fall, when days are still hot but nights are cooler, that can mean temperature swings of 40 degrees or more!

A change of 4 pounds of pressure can make a big difference in a tire. Under-inflated tires can cause a car to take much longer to stop and provide sluggish handling on slick roads covered with rain and leaves.

More than that, under-inflated tires wear unevenly — meaning tires need to be prematurely replaced — and cause decreased gas mileage. Both mean wasted money!

All of this means that during fall it’s especially important to do regular tire pressure checks.

The secret? Keep a tire pressure gauge in your glove compartment. They’re cheap, small, and they mean you can check your tires at home, while they’re still cold. That’s an important distinction, because after you drive on them and the tires warm up, the pressure is artificially higher.

By checking at home before driving, you can know how much to fill them when you get to the gas station.

Be sure to check tires regularly this fall (and all winter long) to make sure you’re not wasting money or making your family unsafe!  And if you’re still not sure how to check the pressure or need help filling them, stop by and let us help.

Bring your vehicle into Foreign Accents in Greensboro. Our auto repair experts will show you how to check the tire pressure and know the optimal tire pressure for your vehicle and your specific tires. As part of a thorough vehicle inspection, our auto repair experts will let you know about any other issues that may be affecting your tires. Call us at 366.294.2137 to schedule an appointment.

Organizing your Car for Back-to-School

Making lunches, buying school supplies, and packing backpacks mean families have a lot to think about this season. As kids are going back to school, parents are busy managing schedules and making sure everyone in the family gets where they need to be, when they need to be there.

How can you stay on top of this much stress? Get organized! Here are a few tips to help you keep your car and your family organized this back-to-school season.

  1. Empty the trunk. By the end of the summer, all sorts of belongings may be collecting in your trunk. Removing excess items, like lawn chairs or camping supplies, can help you get more miles to the gallon. Plus, you’ll need that space for school backpacks, band instruments, and sports equipment!
  2. Schedule drivers. Keep track of rides and cars on the family schedule. When you list out school events, soccer practice, rehearsals, carpools and more, also indicate the driver and car responsible. Color coding or highlighting can help for an at-a-glance view of your car’s schedule.
  3. Carpool. Parents can support each other by sharing the load. Setting up a carpool takes a little extra time upfront, but can be a huge benefit to all families involved. Not only does carpooling reduce the stress of multiple schedules, it saves you money!
  4. Pack car supplies. There are some things you want to keep in your car during the school year, like an emergency kit, umbrella, or grocery bags. Instead of leaving these things free-floating in the trunk, organize them using bags, boxes, or a trunk organizer. This helps you keep track of the items in your trunk and find them quickly when you need them.
  5. Check your emergency kit. Keep your family safe, even in an emergency. Your car emergency kit should have some cash, a phone charger, jumper cables, and the phone number for Foreign Accents – 336.294.2137. Make sure you check and replace used supplies, like snacks or water, to keep them fresh and stocked.

You and your car can be ready for the school year, even if your kids aren’t! A little bit of organization can help keep your family on track for this busy season. Share your back-to-school organization tips on our Facebook page.

To make sure your vehicle is ready for the year ahead, stop by Foreign Accents for an inspection. Our ASE-Certified technicians will review the results with you so you can take care of any needed maintenance before the busy school schedules are too far under way. Get peace of mind this school year! Request an appointment online.

Car Sick? Three ways your Car affects your Health

Is your car making you sick? It might not be a question you ask yourself very often, but it’s an important one. Preventative maintenance is important for the health of your vehicle, but what about your health?

Avoiding routine maintenance can actually put your health at risk. Here are three ways:

Dirty Air Filters – When air filters become dirty, they can’t work efficiently. It’s like taking a deep breath with a rag covering your nose and mouth. A dirty cabin air filter can leave you exposed to more dust, dirt, and allergens every time you are inside your car. Have your air filter inspected with every oil change and replace it when needed (our technicians will let you know when it’s dirty and needs to be replaced) to avoid allergens. You and your car can breathe easier with a clean air filter!

Exhaust toxins – Have you seen clouds of fumes coming out of tailpipes on the road? Not only is that bad for the environment, those same fumes can be harmful for your health. You should not see fumes coming from your tailpipe, as they are a sign of a problem with the exhaust system. Bring your car in for an inspection as soon as possible.

Air Conditioning – Ignoring maintenance on your air conditioning can have two side effects. First, uncomfortable drives on warm days. Second, fungus and bacteria growing inside the system. If you notice a musty smell when you turn on the air conditioning, it may be time to have the a/c system serviced. Replacing the filter and inspecting the system can keep you cool and healthy during the summer months.

Keeping up with preventative maintenance is the best way to keep your car, your passengers, and yourself healthy! For more advice or to schedule your next appointment, call our team at 336.294.2137.

Does your A/C Need Service? Beat the Heat!

Summer Heat Invading Your Vehicles Interior?  Your Air Conditioning System Needs Some Attention

An air conditioning system failure on a blistering summer day will become a burned-in memory, and a sweaty reminder to get your AC system repaired. If your air conditioner will not maintain interior temperatures at a comfortable level, often near 40 degrees below exterior air temperatures, your system likely has a problem.

There are a number or reasons your air conditioning system can fail.  The most common is low refrigerant levels, and leaks are likely the cause.  Bring your vehicle in to Foreign Accents – our technicians can find any leaks with UV light after introducing dye into the system. Leaks can come from fittings, hoses, Schrader Valves, the condenser, and manifolds.

Vehicle air conditioning systems have become complicated and require specific tools and containment for refrigerants. The trusted professionals at Foreign Accents remain up-to-date with the latest technology to service your vehicle with reliable air conditioning repair.

If your vehicle was built before 1994, it is critical for your technician to handle the destructive chlorofluorocarbons in your system for proper disposal or recycling, and retrofit to R-134a refrigerant. If you have an older R-12 system, it is illegal in most states to refill or service a system with existing leaks. These older systems can leak harmful chemicals into the environment and are no longer acceptable in new cars.

Other causes for a broken air conditioning unit in your car include voltage issues at the compressor, air restrictions around the compressor, failed compressor or compressor clutch, air cabin filter blockage, or a failing evaporator.

Regular a/c system inspections may catch and diagnose issues with your AC system before you have a problem.  As daunting as this system appears, your certified mechanic will be able to identify and correct your cooling distress, as well as be compliant with the strict laws surrounding the chemicals contained in your vehicles to keep you comfortable and happy.

To keep your car cool on hot summer days in Greensboro, call our technicians at 336.294.2137 or stop by our independent auto repair shop at 5316 West Market Street in Greensboro, NC.

Road Trip Emergency Kit

Summer is coming to Greensboro, which means sunny days, hikes, picnics, and road trips! Whether you’re planning a quick trip to visit family, exploring our home state of North Carolina, or a cross country adventure, preparation is key.

Before you head out for a road trip, stop by Foreign Accents for a pre-trip inspection. The experienced technicians and advisors will help you understand the exact condition of your vehicle and any potential concerns that could come up on your trip. We’ll also review your maintenance schedule with you, so you know what to take care of early and what can wait for your return.

As you’re getting ready to pack your vehicle, don’t forget the emergency kit! A good emergency kit can make the difference between being stranded on the side of the road and having the resources you need to get help when it matters most. Here are five things to include in your emergency kit:

  1. Food and Water. A vehicle breakdown is already stressful, so don’t add hunger to the mix. Make sure to keep non-perishable food like a granola bar and a bottle of water in your car at all times. Stock up on a few extras for the road trip, so everyone in the car stays comfortable.
  2. Cell phone charger. If you don’t have one, invest in an adapter to charge your cell phone on the road. When the emergency happens, don’t be caught with a dead phone and unable to call for help!
  3. Cash. Keep a few dollars and coins in the glove box for emergencies. If you run out of gas or need to find a payphone, you’ll have the funds you need.
  4. Flashlight. Emergencies don’t only happen during daylight hours. Keep a working flashlight easily accessible in your car to help preserve your car battery after dark.
  5. Phone numbers. Save our shop number 336.294.2137 or business card in your glove box. When you get in an unfamiliar situation, call us! We’ll help connect you with the resources you need to get back on the road safely.

Remember, a pre-trip inspection is the best way to avoid emergencies and breakdowns on long road trips. For the situations you can’t predict, our team at Foreign Accents is here to help.

Before you leave, request an appointment by calling us at 336.294.2137 – and don’t forget to pack the emergency kit!

Four Steps for a Clean Car

Tips for cleaning your car and protecting your investment from the auto repair experts at Foreign Accents in Grensboro NC

It’s officially spring in Greensboro, which means it’s time to start your spring cleaning. This year, don’t forget about your vehicle! Here are four steps to clean your car and protect your investment.

Step one: Wash the underbody.

Winter roads in North Carolina are often covered in road salt to help melt the ice and provide traction. But the road salt can cause problems for your vehicle, including corrosion and rust over time. Wash away the salt, sand, and grime yourself or go through a car wash that includes an underbody wash.

Step two: Scrub the exterior.

The same contaminants and salt can damage your vehicle’s paint, so wash the exterior too! Pay special attention to the bottoms of doors, tires and wheels that can collect excess grime. Use only clean rags that will not scratch the paint. Avoid washing in direct sunlight which can leave the paint susceptible to scratches and cause the soapy water to dry early.

Step three: Clean the interior.

Sometimes it feels like we live in our vehicles. Take the time to tidy and freshen the interior by removing trash and unnecessary items that have been forgotten or left behind. Organize the items you do need to keep in the car. Use water or a gentle cleaner to wipe down surfaces, vacuum seats and floor mats, and wipe clean the inside of the windows.

Step four: Protect the finish.

To make the clean last longer, use a wax finish. There are several options for waxes, including paste, liquid, and spray waxes. Before you use an unfamiliar product on your car, test it on an inconspicuous area like a door jamb or underside of a bumper. Follow the instructions carefully or have an expert apply the wax. The wax will protect your vehicle’s finish from debris and rain, making it even easier to clean next time!

Don’t forget about the internal components in your vehicle either. Stop by Foreign Accents for a Spring Inspection. Our certified technicians will thoroughly check the components in your vehicle for warning signs, recommend any needed maintenance, and catch problems early before they cause extensive damage with costly repairs. To learn more or request an appointment, call our team at 336.294.2137.