This past winter may keep you busy…

27 03 2014


Here at Community Automotive we belong to several industry specific networks.  One of those corresponding partners is RepairPal, and recently they published a brief article we believe is worth the two minutes of your attention it requires.

Now, to be clear, we’re quite emphatically welcoming in spring so this whole “winter” business is not being revisited without specific purpose.  It’s no secret this has been a challenging season for a lot of people in West Michigan, not to mention the world.  That said, all of us deserve to usher in new hope the coming season brings.  Bottom line, we’re ready to turn the page.

By the same token, neglecting to monitor a few residual items may lead to bigger issues down the road, so to speak.  We’d rather partner with you now and tackle small things before they prove to be a more significant concern.

Take quick inventory and please let us know when we may be of service.


Winter driving

19 11 2013


Click HERE for great reminders in preparing for Winter driving, compliments of our friends at The Rapidian and Grand Rapids Community Media Center.

Already have Winter tires installed?  Great!  Did you know we offer year-round tire storage to help you conveniently free up space in your garage?

Contact us today for details.  616.774.7048 or

Be prepared for the season

12 11 2012

The sky is low, the clouds are mean,
A traveling flake of snow
Across a barn or through a rut
Debates if it will go.

A narrow wind complains all day
How some one treated him;
Nature, like us, is sometimes caught
Without her diadem.

~Emily Dickinson

Winter, in and of itself, should not be a time of alarm or heightened anxiety.  In fact, for many, it’s a welcome season fraught with trappings of family lore and traditions.  Whatever it may be to you, it’s wise to at least prepare for how weather conditions change.  To that end, winterizing your vehicle has become a necessary step to assure you’re ready for what Mother Nature throws at you.

This may be obvious to some but others have asked, why is it important to “winterize” their vehicle before the elements arrive.  This is a great question, and one we intend to now address directly.  In short, the frigid temperatures make it more challenging for your engine to operate correctly, at least not without help.  One very common change is your motor oil.  You’ll want to check if your vehicle calls for a thinner motor oil during the colder months.  This is typical because the viscosity (which is the industry term for thickness, or resistance to flow) of the oil itself may prevent the engine from staying adequately lubricated, thereby causing it to potentially overwork.  This will lead to your engine running hotter than normal, something you should avoid whenever possible.

Another very common concern is the vehicle’s starting system.  If you notice when battery companies market their product, they almost always (if not every time) call attention to how the battery will perform in cold weather.  Do you recall all the DieHard commercials that depict a family stranded on the side of the road, with enough drama to suggest something terrible might possibly happen to them?  Right, you got it… paid actors, or not, you never want to put yourself in that situation.  Testing your starter, battery, alternator (read as Charging System) is necessary to guarantee all is within operating specifications.  Rule of thumb here is to give yourself the peace of mind through proactive tests/inspection rather than be forced to react due to a faulty component when it meets snow/ice face to face.

One of the final (and critical) items we’re going to cover here is antifreeze.  This may also seem like common sense, but you’ll want to make certain your coolant (another common term used for antifreeze) mixture accurately matches the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Each vehicle has the likelihood to be a little different so you’ll want to consult your owners manual for specifics.  Basically, you’ll want to avoid adding too much water to your radiator because… brace yourself, this is revolutionary stuff – it will freeze.  Needless to say, you do not want this to happen to you, ever.

OK, while this list is not all inclusive, we’ve touched on some of the most common concerns with winter weather and automobiles.  Incidentally, all of us here at Community Automotive Repair are here to make this seasonal transition very easy for you.  We are currently running a winterization promotion that helps you SAVE $60.00 (normally $100, available for a limited time at $39.95) on this service.  If you’re already a customer of ours (new or older alike) you should already have received a flyer in your mailbox specific to this special.  Just give us a call or schedule an appointment online sometime between now and December 31, 2012, and we’ll take care of it from there.  You have until the end of this year but with something like this, it’s best to take advantage of this offer before the real storms decide to pay a visit.

If you did not receive an offer in the mail, postal or e-mail, we have a few extras here at the shop until they’re gone.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions, related to having your vehicle(s) winterized or otherwise.

Stay safe and warm out there, friends.  We’ll be here when you need us.

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Winter traction / snow – Q & A style (because rubber isn’t naturally meant for ice)

4 01 2011

A few of you have asked additional questions about getting the most out of your tires in the winter season.  Seems as if publishing that information here would be to the benefit of others that may have the exact same or similar inquiries.

Most of this data is courtesy of and (with additional commentary by the CAR team).


Q: How do tires made for snow differ from those made for warmer weather?

A: Winter season tires have completely different tread patterns that are engineered specifically to grip (literally bite into) snow.  This is usually best achieved prior to snow forming ice, but you may get some performance out of ice as well.  Just keep in mind that (as the subtitle above suggests) ice wasn’t made to navigate with motor vehicles.  Take extreme caution by allowing extra time to get where you need to go and ALWAYS keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

Cold weather tires are made of much more pliable compounds that conform easily to the road surface.  Since grip is very important, having more control will afford you better steering and handling capabilities.  This increased performance will help to avoid you from getting stuck in the snow as well, which could result in savings with your local towing company.  Lastly, in order for any vehicle specific safety features, such as ABS (anti-lock brakes) to work properly your tires must keep contact with the road.


Q: If I have “all-season” tires can I just leave them on year-round?

A: Well, we can’t keep you from doing anything but this decision wouldn’t be advisable for a number of reasons, some of which have been discussed already in a previous blog entry.  Winter tires will not last nearly as long in warmer weather conditions.  Also, all weather tires can handle most weather conditions fair enough for them to receive the “all” stamp on their name, however this can be misleading because in most cases winter weather is where ALL of them fall short.  None of the all season tires available today specialize in winter weather conditions.  In fact, of the four seasons, winter is commonly the one that all weather tire manufacturers overlook.  Let’s be honest here, the reason for doing this is of course to draw your attention to their winter weather line.  But is that wrong?  No, not really.  You might disagree until you actually invest in a pair, at which point you’re almost certain to never look back.  You’ll likely wonder what took so long.  Don’t just take our word for it, try for yourself.

A common expression shared around our industry is that all weather tires are like tennis shoes and winter tires resemble gore-tex boots.  Which would you prefer for inclement weather conditions?


Q: How do you justify the expense of winter tires?

A: I suppose this is a personal question and might receive various answers depending on who you ask because we all value things in different ways.  Our team at Community Automotive Repair believes there are two main ways you will see a good return on your investment.  First, your warmer weather tires will be stored for the duration of the winter weather (regardless of how long that may last), which will inevitably prolong the life of both sets of tires.  This alone could be the difference of up to an additional year or two of use, depending on how much you drive.  Second, most traffic accidents in colder conditions are due to lack of proper traction and handling.  While there’s no guarantees, the odds that you’ll have significantly better control are very high, which means your chances of an accident (at least that you cause) are drastically reduced.  How does this translate to savings, you may ask?  Have you considered the cost of your insurance deductible if you have to file a claim?  Perhaps you pay extra for having it set at $100 but most people would have to spend upwards of $500 to repair the damages.  For less than that you can wrap your entire vehicle in winter performance tires.  Make better sense now?


Bottom line here is you have a decision to make, and we’re not interested in “hard-selling” anyone on this, or anything else we offer.  That’s not our style.  We do, however, have a commitment to keep you informed of the latest product innovations and their advantages.  This, my friends, is what we hope to have achieved with the continuation of this particular blog entry.

Investment worth making?

6 12 2010


Being an authorized Tire Rack dealer, we felt the video above would be a good introduction to an age old debate.  It is hard to measure how many customers ask about All Season versus Winter tires so hopefully this resource is somewhat helpful if you happen to be curious.  First of all, rest easy that you (and your peers) have asked a great question and should have a better understanding of our recommendations when finished reading this blog entry.

Let’s begin with some absolutes so as to eliminate any confusion here.  Ice is ice every day that ends in Y.  Ice was not meant to be navigated easily and effectively, unless of course you’re in an area that permits and/or encourages studded tires or chains.  Last I checked there weren’t any vehicles in West Michigan with either of these.  We’ll leave that to our northern most counterparts.  Bottom line, NO winter tire will allow you to stop on a dime.  Not one.  If somebody has told you differently they are either buying stock in winter tire R&D (in hopes it will eventually be available), or they were misinformed as well.

The other misnomer that we want to lay to rest is that it is OK to drive year round with winter tires.  Not sure why one would want to do this exactly but this statement could be true in part, depending on other variables.  You may get by driving on winter tires in warmer weather but I can assure you they won’t last as long, nor will they wear evenly.  In short, the only exception to this may be areas where the climate stays at or below freezing temperature the entire year.  So while in some instances it may be permissible, in the majority of the lower 48 this would be an absolute waste of money.

Our recommendation is to own one set of winter tires and another for the warmer weather.  If you’re able, we also recommend an extra set of wheels so the exchange is more efficient at the end of each season, as well as there being less wear and tear than if you only had one set of wheels year round.  The cost of winter tires in most cases (albeit there are exceptions when you take into account the most expensive options) will wash itself out given that your warmer weather tires will last significantly longer.  In most areas of the US your winter tires will only be used for 4 months of the year so you can count on them lasting several years.

Remember, the most expensive option isn’t always the answer.  We welcome you to contact us with any questions you may have so that we can help equip you with the right tires for your specific vehicle and driving conditions.  Also, for those of you already familiar with Tire Rack, you can order your tires online and have them shipped directly to our shop so the install is more convenient.  Don’t forget, we also offer a service to store your warm weather tires here until you need them again, which makes it a turn-key operation for you.

Have a Wintervention with your vehicle

17 11 2010



Winter weather can be very unfriendly to a vehicle. Cold temperatures make

it harder for an engine to work properly. Snow and ice limit traction. Potholes

damage wheels and tires. Salt causes rust and can damage your vehicle’s paint.

But there are things you can do to help your vehicle in this cold season. Below

are some simple steps to “winterize” your car. Remember, an ounce of prevention

is worth a pound of cure.


1. Consider using snow/ice tires.

2. Check the tire pressure.

3. Make sure your vehicle’s four-wheel drive system is working properly.

4. Change the engine oil and adjust the viscosity grade.

5. Inspect the belts and hoses.

6. Inspect the wipers and wiper fluid.

7. Check the battery.

8. Check antifreeze mixture.

9. Carry an emergency kit inside the car. (*)


* Things you might want to consider carrying:

a. A flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit.

b. Jumper cables, a tool kit and tire chains.

c. A blanket, warm clothes and gloves.

d. Paper towels.

e. A bag of abrasive material, such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter.

Use this for added traction when a tire is stuck.

f. A snow brush, ice scraper and snow shovel.

g. Extra washer fluid.

h. Extra food and water.

i. Lock de-icer

j. Insulated boots


See anything you might suggest adding?  Please leave a comment.

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