Oil Change Services
Three Choices: No Appointment Needed Regular oil changes are essential to keep your engine clean and properly lubricated, allowing your […]READ MORE -
When it feels like a sauna outside, the last thing you want is even more hot air blasting you in the face when you get in the car. If your car A/C isn’t cutting it this summer, learn how to make the air conditioner colder in your vehicle—and save that super sweaty feeling for a good gym session!
The cabin air filter prevents dust, pollen, dirt and other pollutants from entering your car through the A/C and heat vents. If the filter is clogged or dirty, it can also inhibit or even block A/C airflow, meaning the cold air you’re craving will struggle to reach the cabin.
Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to check and replace the filter yourself. Consult your owner’s manual for more information. If you’re not comfortable replacing the filter on your own, don’t sweat it! Head to your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for a quick filter replacement.
Give your A/C a headstart by preventing heat from building up in your car.
“Cars parked in direct sunlight can reach internal temperatures up to 131-172°F when outside temperatures are 80-100°F,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Keep safety and security in mind and don’t leave your windows cracked or half open. Park in a shaded area instead.
In the heat of summer, it’s okay to channel your inner-vulture and circle the parking lot for a bit of envied shade! Or, wait for a covered parking spot under an overhang.
If parking in the shade is not an option, create some! Put up a windshield sun shade to prevent direct sunlight from turning your car into an oven. Sunshades can also help protect your car’s interior from damaging UV rays that cause dashboard discoloration and cracking.
Need some seriously chill vibes in your car? Reggae will only get you so far.
Here’s how to make car A/C colder—and fast: reboot your refrigerant. We won’t get into exactly how car air conditioning works, but suffice it to say that low Freon or refrigerant levels will almost always lead to car A/C that doesn’t feel cold enough.
You can check your refrigerant level at home if you have access to an A/C gauge and thermometer, two tools that are available at most auto parts stores. Or, you can bring your car to Firestone Complete Auto Care for an A/C check. If your levels are low, we can give you a quick refrigerant recharge during your visit!
It can be tempting to turn on the A/C and crank it to “max cool” right when you get in the car. But did you know? Blasting the A/C right out of the gate isn’t the best way to make it chilly! When your A/C is set to “max,” the car is actually taking air from inside the car, cooling it, and blowing it back into the cabin.
Here’s the problem with that: when you first get in the car, the air inside is hotter than the air outside. (Remember how the temperature inside your car can climb to almost 200°F?!) You’re forcing your A/C to work harder, and for no reason.
Start by pulling air from outside the vehicle to make things feel cooler, quicker. Leave the A/C button off at first. Turn the fan to its maximum speed and make sure the airflow is set to “outside” mode.
Then, once you’ve forced out some of the humid, hot air that’s accumulated in the car, turn on the A/C and switch to “recirculate” airflow mode. Now you can set the A/C to “max cool.”
Once you’ve forced the hot air out of the cabin, how can you keep it cold inside? Crank the temperature dial to its absolute coldest setting.
According to Consumer Reports, keeping the dial somewhere in the middle can make car A/C reheat air slightly, which burns more fuel and makes for a less efficient car A/C system overall. Keep the temperature on the coldest setting, then adjust the fan speed as needed.
If you’ve tried all these tips for how to make the air conditioner colder in your car but you’re still sweating, there might be something else going on in your A/C system. It could be anything from a leak in the A/C to a worn out part in need of replacement. Or, there could be too much or too little pressure in the system.
Either way, it’s time to draw the line between your sweet ride and the steam room. The best way to make your car air conditioner colder is to have the A/C checked out at Firestone Complete Auto Care. With affordable A/C maintenance and repairs, you can stay cool and have plenty of cash left over for summer’s greatest adventures. Visit your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care location today for an A/C check.
From $5 per quart
When looking for a motor oil, why not choose one from the company that invented the product? Valvoline founder Dr. John Ellis is credited as the inventor of motor oil, creating products for steam engines and later worked with Ford to make a formulation for the Model T.
The company’s in-house development team continues to be at the leading edge of lubrication technology, working together with motorsport teams to meet the demands of their engines while also spearheading the development of formulations that improve the performance of high mileage engines.
Valvoline NextGen meets all the standards for a conventional oil, but it costs less than many major brands and is made with 50 percent recycled oil.
When Scientific American reported on the oil when it first came to market, they found that the refining techniques used to create this formulation allowed it to meet all the API requirements as a standard motor oil. Since then, other options using recycled base oils have hit the market, allowing buyers to maintain their vehicles while having a lower impact on the environment.
Valvoline is one of the few oil manufacturers who backup their high mileage oil with a guarantee. If your engine has under 125,000 miles on it, you can register it in a program that will give you some warranty protection from the company provided that you keep up on maintenance records and only use their oil.
Valvoline MaxLife SAE 5W30 – Using the latest breakthroughs in distillation, this engine formulation is engineered for the issues facing high mileage engines. This oil helps by reducing friction, removing corrosive deposits and helps prevent oil leaks.
From $5 per quart
The best synthetic motor oil (just beating out the Amsoil mentioned below), is Mobil 1 10W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil.
Many of the cars in top level motorsports use Mobil 1. The company prides itself on its motorsports partnerships. They make the official engine oil of NASCAR and they’re the oil sponsor of McLaren-Honda’s F1 team. Their testing and development of oils designed for demanding racing conditions has worked its way into their consumer products.
Their synthetics are great at maintaining a low viscosity in very cold temperatures, and they’ve led the way in developing oils formulated for turbocharged engines. Turbocharged motors are notorious for high oil consumption due to the extreme heat generated by the turbo bearings, and with their adoption across the industry as a way to increase fuel efficiency, this is becoming an issue for not just sports cars, but regular consumer cars and trucks as well.
The best engine oils are synthetics like Mobil 1, Valvoline SynPower and Castrol Edge. Despite being highly refined and processed, they can be fairly affordable if you keep an eye out for sales and rebates.
There are also higher-end synthetic oils like Royal Purple, Motul and Amsoil. While they’re often touted by armchair enthusiasts on online forums for their supposed superior protection, there is little concrete evidence to back up these claims. However, they offer at least the same level of protection as more affordable, widely available synthetics.
All that said, if your car and driving habits don’t demand the added protection of a synthetic, there’s no harm saving money by using a conventional oil.
From $6 per quart
No matter how well lubricated the inside of your engine is, the metal components will wear down and internal seals will dry and shrink over time, allowing oil to get into places where it will burn away or leak out.
It used to be common practice to use thicker oils as engines got older, but these formulations cause extra strain on the oil pump and don’t reach all the pathways to fully lubricate the engine. That means rather than fixing the problem, they can actually accelerate engine wear.
Contrary to popular belief, a synthetic won’t slip through these spaces more easily and burn faster than a conventional oil. Synthetic and conventional oils with the same viscosity will flow exactly the same way. For high mileage engines, there’s a better alternative to either of these: semi-synthetic oil.
Castrol GTX HM doesn’t just work better in older engines, it adheres to parts longer, offering better protection when starting an engine after a long period of sitting. This makes it a great choice for older vehicles that are only used occasionally such as antique cars and winter beaters.
From $8 per quart
Royal Purple is almost unheard-of outside of racing circles, but independent tests show their oils are able to keep up with oils offered by the industry’s leaders. Hot Rod magazine has experimented with their lubricants and managed to get more power out of a classic car and improving the fuel economy on a late model Ford pickup by switching to their oil and transmission fluid. While not a thorough test of their products’ capabilities, these tests are much better than the speculation surrounding most oil claims.
From $5 per quart
Valvoline and Castrol may offer semi-synthetic high mileage formulations, but Quaker State has gone the extra mile, creating conventional, synthetic blend and full synthetic oils all designed for older vehicles, allowing buyers choose the trade off between price and performance that works for them. There are many supporters of their Defy High Mileage blends who have run the oil in vehicles that have anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 miles on their engines.
From $8 per quart
Total may not be a big name in the U.S, but they’re a major player in Europe thanks to their extensive petroleum operations. If you follow any motorsports outside of America, you’re probably familiar with the brand as they’ve sponsored Red Bull’s F1 team since 2009. That’s the same team that won the constructor’s championship title, and whose driver, Sebastian Vettel, took the driver’s championship title that same year.
They’re also involved in rally racing, supporting Citroën’s efforts for over 20 years. Here in the states, they recently became the top sponsor for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) racing series, a top level North American-based motorsport that was formerly known as Grand-Am racing. Like Mobil, they’re able to apply their experience developing oils for severe racing conditions to create formulas that meet the demands of regular consumer vehicles.
From $4 per quart
While other manufacturers concentrate on lubrication performance, Pennzoil’s development aims at reducing the formation of sludge to keep the inside of the engine as clean as possible. That translates to lower friction, maintaining power and fuel economy.
There’s more to this strategy than just marketing. The brand works hand-in-hand with automotive manufacturers to develop oils for their engines and recently became the official oil supplier for Ferrari. There could be few better endorsements than the approval of one of the world’s top supercar manufacturers, and even if you aren’t going to run out and buy one of these vehicles, the resulting marketing campaigns with IMSA driver Rhys Millen tearing around Barcelona in a 488 GTB are great fun to watch. Using Pennzoil may not turn your commuter into a V12 sports car, but there’s no doubt it will protect your engine.
From $7 per quart
When did you first hear about synthetic oil? The 2000s? The 90s? Amsoil led the way, bringing lubrication technology developed for fighter jets to the automotive market in the 1970s, beating their competitors by almost two decades. Their synthetic formulations were the first to be recognized by the American Petroleum Institute, the same API that formulates all the standard performance tests for oil that automakers design their engines and lubrication systems around. Despite this leading position, the company has remained a small, family-owned enterprise with a focus on quality over sales.
Since it was founded, the company has stayed at the leading edge of oil development, concentrating on motorsports applications. Instead of working with a single high high profile series, they sponsor a wide range of racing events in the U.S. and Canada including motocross, Sprint Cup, Canadian Snowcross Racing and numerous off-roading events.
According to promotional materials and advertisements, each brand and formulation of engine oil is the best oil, offering unparalleled engine protection, fuel economy and performance. The truth is that almost every motor oil on the market these days meets the same API standards and can provide the protection our vehicles need, so long as they meet the specifications of the automobile’s manufacturer.
Since oil manufacturers do their testing internally and secretly and there’s no standardization other than the API’s requirements, any advantage a particular formulation may have is hard to determine as the information available is speculative at best.
No matter what oil you choose, always compare the manufacturer’s recommendations with the API “donut” seal on the back of the oil container. This seal will include the service category, oil viscosity, and whether or not the oil formulation is “energy conserving,” which means it reduces friction for improved fuel economy. As long as the requirements of your engine are met, the oil is safe to use in your vehicle.
“The worse case scenario would probably be [oil prices] breaking back into the mid-$40s. That would be a pretty hard psychological barrier to cross and we would really need to see a lot of these trade tensions ratchet up,” said Ashley Petersen, a Stratas Advisors senior oil market analyst, on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade. Petersen said there is around a 50% chance of crude oil spiraling lower to those levels.
“We would really need to see more negative economic data. We have certainly seen signs of it slowing, but it’s not collapsing,” she explained. “Consumer spending is still healthy. We had a solid Memorial Day driving season. The international stockpiles aren’t growing either in terms of gas or jet fuel stocks — so clearly the stuff is being consumed.”
To say the crude oil trade is going against the bulls would be a gross understatement.
Crude oil tumbled into a bear market on Wednesday. WTI crude closed at $51.68, marking a stark 22% decline from its highs on April 23. A bear market is defined by a 20% price drop from a high.
The blood-letting — which has obviously extended to oil stocks such as oilfield services play Transocean (RIG) and U.S. Oil Fund ETF (USO) — has come amid escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China. In turn, economic data across the global manufacturing complex has weakened since the spring and equity prices have tanked from their late-April highs.
Underscoring the economic weakness: The latest crude oil stockpile data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration this week showed stockpiles at five-week highs. It was this data on Wednesday that pushed oil prices into bear market territory.
Until the economic data improves or trade tensions quiet down, it’s hard to see oil prices coming too much off the canvas. Even still, some Wall Street firms are combing the oil patch for buying opportunities on the cheap.
Oil strategists at Morgan Stanley continue to expect “geopolitical tailwinds” to support prices into the third quarter. The strategists remain bullish on the energy and exploration sector due to “attractive valuations.”
If it we’re me, I would take the $9 I am about to save off this oil change and go get a pizza, but apparently its National Veggie Burger Day. Apparently it’s also National Moonshine Day and National Running Day, but we can skip the running.
“Windshield damage may happen unexpectedly, and should be fixed as soon as possible,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A neglected small chip or crack can turn into a larger one, requiring more costly windshield replacement. In addition, drivers could get ticketed and fined if the crack obstructs vision.”
When a vehicle owner notices a problem with their windshield, they should not wait to get it fixed. A small chip or crack can grow larger, and if another item like a rock, golf ball or baseball hits the windshield, the damage can expand quickly, compromising safety and requiring full windshield replacement.
“Repairing a small chip or crack is inexpensive, easy and quick to fix, and the vehicle owner’s insurance may even pay for the repair,” said White. “Ignoring a windshield issue is like neglecting teeth cleaning and ending up with cavities or gum disease. With simple maintenance, you can avoid a much bigger, more expensive issue.”
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For the latest car care news, visit the council’s online media room at media.carcare.org. To order a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide, visit the council’s consumer education website at www.carcare.org.