At Scott Sherman Auto Care, we are committed to helping you maintain your vehicle in optimum condition and performance. This committment to your vehicle doesn't stop when you leave our facility.
In this section of our website, you will find tips and news that you can use to help you maintain your vehicle and keep you driving safely and comfortably. Be sure to check back as these tips and news will be updated regularly.
For families with children, Spring Break is an annual tradition that provides memories for a lifetime. Our kids are only young once and will soon fly the nest to pursue adulthood. Taking a time out from our busy schedules to spend time with our family, create memories, and have new experiences are essential rites of passage. If you live in the Pacific Northwest area, we’ve compiled a list of Spring Break ideas to consider for your family getaway.
Olympic National Park – Located on the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington, the Olympic National Park is home to several different ecosystems. From glaciers on Mt. Olympus to rainforests to coastline, this park has quite a lot to see. There are over a million acres to explore so you could go multiple times and have new experiences.
World Forestry Center - A trip to Portland, Oregon could be well worth the drive, especially if you plan on taking the family to the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum. Located in Portland’s Washington Park, this is the destination for any tree (or future tree) enthusiasts. Check out various forests from around the world in this 20,000 square foot museum. Be sure to try the raft ride! Find out more at worldforestry.org.
Cama Beach State Park – Ever wondered what it might be like to go on vacation in the 1930’s? This nostalgic fishing resort is a throwback to earlier days and combines both beach and forest. Learn how boats get built, or simply relax in one of their cedar cabins in between trips to the beach. More at parks.wa.gov/camabeach. Columbia River Gorge – Waterfalls and wildflowers, spring is a beautiful time to visit Columbia River Gorge! To the north are the cliffs of Washington and to the south are the waterfalls and mountains of Oregon. This US National Forest area is great for scenic driving and cycling. Keep an eye out for hidden groves and scenic vistas. The park’s website is https://www.fs.usda.gov/crgnsa.
Got a great road trip in mind for Spring Break but worried about the possible fall-out of everyone being stuck in a car together for hours? Here are some family-friendly road trip ideas:
- Plan Ahead – While there is a sense of excitement about heading out andmaking up the route as you go, you have a limited amount of time before the kids have to be back in school and they probably have a limited amount of patience. Plot your route out before you head out. Have a good idea of where to stop for gas, meals and potty breaks. Get the kids in on the planning too!
- Prepare for Boredom & Emergencies – Send time (and money) putting together both a boredom activity box and emergency supplies. Don’t let the kids in on what’s in the boredom box as it can be a fun surprise to break stuff out as needed (plus they will feel less inclined to blow through all the options if they don’t know what they are). As for emergency supplies: jumper cables, flashlights, blankets, food and water, batteries, and anything else you feel you could need out there should be brought along, just in case.
- Expect Some Complaining – Bring things to help deal with any potential car sickness problems and build in time for stops to blow off steam. If being in close quarters for too long begins driving everyone crazy, pull over and take a short walk so folks can stretch and get some fresh air.
- Get a Checkup – No one wants to remember the car breaking down when they look back on their spring break vacation. Make sure to bring your car into the shop for a check-up before you head out on your adventures. Tire pressure, coolant level, and oil change are definitely items you want to investigate before you go.
Before you take off on your Spring Break outing, give us a call so we can do quick check up on your car. We will make sure your car is ready for the road so you can focus on relaxing and enjoying your road trip.
Your car is designed to keep you safe as you travel from one point to another. General maintenance is part of the upkeep, and must not be ignored. One of the easiest ways to troubleshoot your vehicle’s repair needs is by checking fluid levels and identifying fluid leaks as early as possible. Scott Sherman Auto Care is partnering with Washington State Department of Ecology’s Don’t Drip and Drive campaign to share information about car fluids and leaks. Some fluid leaks can be deadly, and all have a direct impact on the environment.
Leaks usually occur at the front (under the engine), near the wheels, or toward the rear/exhaust areas. Here are some quick tips on identifying any fluid leaks in your vehicle:
Engine Oil - Look for light brown to black fluid that is very greasy and slick. To get the most accurate reading of your oil level, ensure you check your engine oil when the engine is cool. If you find that you’re frequently low on oil, give us a call so we look into it.
Transmission Fluid - This is only an issue in an automatic transmission. Look for reddish and thin or brown and thick fluid located at the middle and front of the vehicle. Transmission fluid must be checked while the car is running with the transmission in park or neutral. A manual transmission uses gear oil, and that can only be checked from underneath with a car on a lift. Consult with a professional when you find a transmission leak.
Power Steering Fluid - Look for amber, reddish, or light brown and thin fluid at the very front of the vehicle. This is an important part of your vehicle, and must be checked when the car is not running. Losing this necessary hydraulic fluid can cause a sudden decrease in steering function, leading to a safety hazard. Low or leaking power steering fluid must be checked right way!
Coolant (Anti-Freeze) - Look for yellow or pink fluid. It will be greasy and slimy and located at the front of the vehicle near the radiator. Low coolant causes the engine to overheat. This can ruin your engine and leave you stranded. Never remove your coolant or radiator cap when the engine is hot as the contents are under pressure. Extensive burns have been reported. If you notice a leak or continuous low fluid, contact your repair shop for assistance.
Brake Fluid - Look for clear to brown or slightly yellow and slick fluid near your wheels. Any leaks should be checked right away by a professional because even a small leak can be catastrophic. Without brake fluid, your brake system will not work.
Water - When your air conditioner is running, you’ll often see water dripping under the car on hot days. It’s perfectly normal. If you notice a decline in cool air from your AC, contact a professional to have your cooling system checked.
Fuel - Gasoline is light gold, but appears colorless on the ground while diesel is mostly clear with a slight bluish tint. If you smell or notice a fuel leak, get to a repair shop right away. A fuel leak can result in a fire. Keep in mind that the gas tank is toward the rear of the vehicle, but fuel leaks can occur where the lines run from the gas tank to the engine.
If you find a leak and aren’t sure what it could be, just give us a call. Don’t drip and drive. Your car, and your environment, will thank you.
For more tips and videos on car fluids and leaks, visit the Don’t Drip and Drive website at http://fixcarleaks.org.
It’s a typical extra-moist winter start in Seattle, and we all know how quickly and unpredictably our weather can change. Massive weather events are no joke, and we need to make sure our vehicles are well-maintained and ready to go. Having some winter car care done on your vehicle can save you a trip to the mechanic’s shop. Here are some of our top tips to keep you safe on the road:
As the temperatures drop, your vehicle’s battery cranking power is reduced. Did you know that at 0 degrees, the battery only produces half the cranking power it has at 80 degrees? Checking your battery should be on your winter car care to-do-list. It's simple to do. (Your owner’s manual can walk you through the steps.) You’ll want to remove the plastic caps and check the fluid level. For maintenance-free batteries, check the charge state window at the top of the battery. Have your battery tested to see if your battery is defective or worn out. Sometimes a seemingly dead battery only needs a charge to return to its original state.
Check for loose cables and corroded terminals. Know how to use jumper cables in the event of a drained or dead battery.
Cold weather is brutal on rubber hoses and seals. Poor maintenance can leave you stranded in dangerous situations. Remember that emergency crews consider vehicle breakdowns to be low priority during significant storms with multiple accidents. Take care of worn hoses and seals the moment you see evidence of wear and tear.
Wipers are a safety necessity, yet they are often the most neglected part of car maintenance. The best performing wiper blades lose their effectiveness in as little as six months. If you’re someone who uses wipers on your ice-covered windshield in your mad rush to get moving, your wiper blade effectiveness is significantly lessened.
Performing winter care care on your vehicle must include your tires. Ending up in a ditch, suffering from a blow out, or spinning out in the snow are terrible times to find out your tires need to be replaced. Tire traction is imperative in the ice and snow. Remember that winter tires sell out fast, and replacements are usually harder to come by as you travel. You’ll want to replace all four tires at one time. As the temperature drops, so does the air pressure in your tires. As the temperature lowers, the air inside the tire becomes denser, and this lowers the tire pressure. Make sure your tire pressure is still at your vehicle’s required psi.
There is more to a vehicle emergency kit than the typical first aid kit, water bottles, and snacks. You'll want extra tire chains, window scrapers, wiper blades, engine oil, tire pressure gauges, blankets, and maybe even a change of clothes. Don't forget about your spare tire. It deserves some serious attention, especially when you’re winterizing your vehicle. Hoses and wipers aren’t the only things that break down with the changes in temperature.
Pay attention to snowplows. During winter events, they’re given the respect they deserve, but every year drivers still try to drive around snowplows or don’t pay attention to where they park. Keep in mind that plows rarely stop for minor collisions or illegally parked drivers.
For more automotive maintenance tips to help you survive the remaining winter months, contact Scott Sherman Auto Care at 206-745-5886 or schedule an appointment for your vehicles today!
Over 47 million travelers will be traveling at least 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving this year. Over 89% of those will be on the road. Don’t worry, we’ve got a great list of travel tips to keep your stress levels in check.
There is a 60% improvement in traffic between Saturday and Sunday the weekend after Thanksgiving. If you can wait to travel on Sunday, do it.
Travel before 2 p.m. or wait until after 7 p.m. since the late afternoon and early evening traffic will be a nightmare.
Look up your destination ahead of time to see what travel problems others have faced in previous years. Waze is a great, real-time, app to track traffic issues along your route.
Do your research on holiday season traveling. Choosing a more scenic drive that adds miles to your trip may actually save you hours of driving a congested freeway.
Break up long drives by selecting key places to stop along the way.
Travel apps and chargers are a must-have for the holiday season. You never know when you’ll be stuck and need to charge your phone, so make sure you have a USB, wall, and car charging option for your trip.
Choose clothes that coordinate. Wearing layers may work well if traveling between differing climates.
Consider having any gifts sent ahead of time, or give gift cards this year.
Pack snacks for your trip. Choose foods that won’t spoil, or plan ahead with time intervals. You can be as in depth as you wish.
Plan for the unexpected. Pack tire chains for snowy conditions in areas that require them. Make sure you have your winter kit, flashlights, and an up-to-date first aid kit. Also, be sure you have water available just in case.
Accept the craziness of the holiday season as one more story you can tell later. Your attitude will be the difference between enjoying yourself and being stressed. Try to stay positive in the holiday rush.
Keep your valuables out of sight, especially when your car is parked overnight.
If you travel with children, make sure they have something to keep them occupied. Headphones/ear buds are a necessity for digital devices. Most of all, make sure you take extra precautions with them about talking to strangers and staying close in crowded areas.
Keep the roadside assistance number on hand, and programmed in to your phone. You want a physical copy of it as well, just in case your phone is damaged, lost, or low on battery. Include phone numbers for your destination locations.
This is very important: make sure your vehicle maintenance is up to date. At a minimum, get your car and tires inspected before you hit the road. Make sure it’s winterized for travel.
These travel tips should get you started! Have a great time enjoying the holidays and visiting with loved ones.
If you’re in need of pre-holiday maintenance before your trip, we’re offering a Fall Special!
Basic Oil Service (up to 5 quarts 5/30 synthetic blend oil & stocked oil filter) and Tire Rotation with Two (2) New Wiper Blades (up to 24 inches).
The inspection will cover the following: Exterior lights, windshield washer operation, brakes, Antifreeze, belts and hoses, tires, suspension, air filter, hoses, belts, Battery inspection, and top off fluids.
The special includes most cars and light trucks. Please note that some vehicles require other weights of oil which are available at additional charge.
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