• Fall Events You Won’t Want to Miss

    Posted on 08, September, 2017

    Grab your lederhosen and dirndl…because Oktoberfest season is upon us! Fall 2017 is shaping up to be one heck of a beer-clanking, schnitzel-munching, polka-dancing time, and we’re bringing you a list of all the fall events in the area that you won’t want to miss.

     

    Loveland Oktoberfest

    WHERE: Grimm Brothers Brewhouse

    WHEN: Sept. 15, 4-9 p.m. and Sept. 16, 12-9 p.m.

    WHAT: Grimm Brothers Brewhouse is bringing a taste of Germany to Loveland’s favorite brewery. The two-day shindig will be full of live music from authentic German polka bands, a best-dressed lederhosen and dirndl contest, a stein-hoisting contest, and – of course – delicious brews from eight locally breweries.

     

    FORToberfest

    WHERE: Downtown Fort Collins

    WHEN: Sept. 16, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

    WHAT: This classic Fort Collins fall festival is all about great music, great food and great brews. The day will feature live music from Colorado favorites, including Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Dubskin, Whitewater Ramble and more. Plus, enjoy traditional German cuisine provided by Gunter’s Bavarian Grill and seasonal beer from Odell Brewing Company and High Country Beverage.

     

    Greeley’s OktoBREWfest

    WHERE: Lincoln Park in Downtown Greeley

    WHEN: Sept. 29, 5-10 p.m. and Sept. 30, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

    WHAT: Greeley always knocks it out of the park with this signature fall event. Bring the whole family for a weekend of beer, brats, music, an obstacle course, games, inflatables and more! In addition, now is your chance to compete in a pie-eating contest, stein lifting contest and life-size beer pong.

     

    Harvest Farm Fall Festival

    WHERE: Harvest Farm (Wellington)

    WHEN: Weekends throughout October

    WHAT: The Harvest Farm festival is a one-stop shop for everything fall! Kids young and old will have a fantastic time with the farm’s corn maze, hay rides, petting zoo, corn cannons, obstacle course and much more.

     

    Taste in Timnath Fall Festival & 5K

    WHERE: Old Town Timnath on Main Street

    WHEN: Oct. 7, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

    WHAT: The Town of Timnath may be small, but it sure knows how to throw a community event! The day kicks off with the Scarecrow 5K Fun Run at 9 a.m. and continues with the festival at 10 a.m. All attendees are invited to enjoy live music from The Burroughs and Sean Curtis & The Divide, kids’ activities, fall-inspired cuisine with beer and wine pairings, a craft fair and much more.

     

    Have fun this fall, and we’ll see you around town!

  • 6 Spots to Put on Your Travel List

    Posted on 30, August, 2017

    It’s hard to believe it, but the changing colors and cool air of fall are just around the corner. Celebrate the season by cruising across Colorado and beyond for the road trip of a lifetime! Here are just a few of our favorite spots to put on your travel list this fall:

     

    1. Royal Gorge, Canon City, Colorado

    Drive Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

    Swing down to Canon City for one of southern Colorado’s greatest attractions! The Royal Gorge Bridge spans a whopping10 miles and is one of the world’s highest suspension bridges. Experience the phenomenon through gondola rides, ziplining, the Royal Rush Skycoaster and more!

     

    2. Aspen, Colorado

    Drive Time: 4 hours

    Looking for a scenic drive through Colorado’s spectacular fall foliage? This town was named “Aspen” for a reason! Experience the changing trees and beautiful scenery in one of the state’s most notable mountain towns.

     

    3. Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

    Drive Time: 4 hours, 45 minutes

    Hike, sled or camp through the tallest dunes in North America! It gets pretty toasty at the Sand Dunes during the summer, so fall may just be the ideal time to take this classic road trip. Enjoy wildlife, water activities and more at this natural beauty.

     

    4. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

    Drive Time: 5 hours, 15 minutes

    Turns out the Badlands aren’t so bad after all. Explore this iconic national park through hiking, bicycling, camping, wildlife sightings and more. While you’re at it, hop on over to Mount Rushmore to really make the most of your road trip experience.

     

    5. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

    Drive Time: 9 hours, 30 minutes

    Soak in the Utah landscape at one of its greatest gems. Hike down into Bryce Canyon for awe-inspiring views of red rocks and rock formations that just can’t be found elsewhere. With countless trails and photo opportunities, this travel spot is the perfect way to start your fall.

     

    6. Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, Arizona

    Drive Time: 10 hours, 30 minutes

    Admit it, the desert gets a bad rap when it comes to destination spots. The Painted Desert in Arizona shakes up this preconception with breathtaking rocks and colors that literally make it look, well, painted. Plus, you can hit the Petrified Forest, where you can experience Native American history and see what petrified wood is all about.

     

    Before heading out on your fall road trip adventure, stop by Houska Automotive on Riverside Avenue to make sure your vehicle is road trip ready. Whether it’s maintenance, repairs or a little bit of both, our mechanics are here to make sure you and your crew stay safe no matter where you travel.

  • Why Won’t My Car Start?

    Posted on 28, August, 2017

    If you’ve ever turned the key in the ignition only to find that your car has decided to take a day off, you know exactly how frustrating these types of scenarios can be. Don’t panic – Houska has your back. We can take care of your car problems big or small, but first, try these troubleshooting tips to determine the reason the car won’t start:

     

    Check for dead battery indicators.

    More often than not, an engine that won’t turn over is the result of a dead battery. Before jumping to this conclusion, though, here are a few things to check:

    • Were any interior or exterior lights left on for an extended period of time?
    • Are the battery cables tightly connected to the battery? If not, you may just need new cables.
    • Has it been 4-5 years since the battery was last replaced?
    • Are you hearing a clicking noise when turning the key, or does the starter turn very slowly?

    All of these factors point toward a dead battery. If you notice that your windshield wipers are moving slower than usual or your dome light is dim, this may mean that your battery is low on juice and you should get it checked out before it completely dies.

     

    Is this a recurring problem?

    The typical lifespan for batteries is 4-5 years, so if your battery is dying more frequently than this, there may not be a problem with the battery itself. The alternator is what charges the battery, and if this is faulty, then the battery is likely to fail. Let Houska’s mechanics check out your alternator to save you unnecessary cash (and headaches) from constantly replacing the battery.

     

    Other culprits to consider:

    In most cases, jumpstarting your battery gives it enough life to get to the closest automotive parts store and replace it with a new one. However, there are a couple more vehicle parts to look into when determining the cause.

    • If no lights flash on the dash when turning the key but the headlights work, there is a good chance it is the ignition switch.
    • If the starter won’t crank and you’ve tested the battery, the issue could be with the starter motor or the starter solenoid.

     

    A car that won’t start is nothing to play around with. Stay on the safe side and talk to a Houska mechanic so we can make sure you stay running smoothly.

     

  • 5 Brake Safety Tips You Should Know

    Posted on 10, August, 2017

    August is a busy month – late summer adventures, back to school, National Panini Month, you get the picture. At Houska Automotive, though, we’re most interested in National Brake Safety Month. To celebrate this momentous August occasion, we thought we’d share with you five brake safety tips so that you can keep your car in prime condition.

    1. Be Gradual When Braking in the Mountains

    Mountain driving is a whole new ball game when it comes to proper braking. When traveling downhill, refrain from slamming on the brakes immediately before a sharp turn. Instead, gradually press down a long ways before the turn to maintain control of your vehicle and prevent an accident.

    2. Know the Difference Between Manual and Automatic Braking

    If you are driving a manual vehicle downhill, press on the brakes when shifting down to S or L to slow up, but do not continually brake to maintain your downhill speed. If you have an automatic transmission, use the “pulse” braking method; i.e. brake for about five seconds until you drop about five miles per hour below your intended speed, take your foot off the brake, and repeat.

    3. Be Aware of Concerning Brake Noises

    If you forget everything else from this post, the most important thing to remember is that brakes should be silent. Period. If you hear any sounds when you brake – such as screeching, grinding, scraping, vibrating or anything in between – that’s a bad sign. Bring your vehicle in to Houska immediately so we can replace the brake pads and check to see if other damage has occurred.

    4. Check for Leaks Before Driving Your Vehicle

    This is a good idea whether it’s National Brake Safety Month or not. Periodically checking for fluid leaks beneath your vehicle is one of the best ways to identify issues with brake fluid, oil, transmission, coolant, etc. If you notice leakage of any kind, bring it in to Houska so we can identify the problem.

    5. Get a Full Brake Inspection Before a Road Trip

    Last but certainly not least, do NOT embark on a road trip before getting your brakes professionally inspected. If long days of driving are in your future, it is always best to replace worn out brake pads and check the brake fluid ahead of time. Don’t wait until it’s too late to find out that your brakes need to be repaired.

    Our team is prepared to help you with all your brake maintenance needs! Stop by our location on Riverside Avenue to stay safe on the road.

     

  • What to Do If Your Engine Overheats

    Posted on 27, July, 2017

    We’re smack dab in the middle of road trip season, and while that certainly means days filled with adventure and memories, it also means you need to take extra precautions to keep your vehicle in prime condition. If you’re planning extensive bouts of driving this summer, your car may be at risk of overheating. Here are a few tips on how to handle an overheating engine:

    Stop and Cut the A/C

    When your temperature gauge hits the red zone or steam starts to come from the hood, it’s time to pull over to the side of the road and keep a level head. The first thing you should do is cut the air conditioning to avoid placing even more stress on the engine. Although it may seem counterintuitive, roll down the windows and blast the heat to draw heat away from the engine.

    Inspect the Radiator Hose Once It Cools

    Once you have pulled over in a safe spot, leave the key in the ignition in the “on” position so that the cooling fans can still run but your engine does not run. Don’t touch the hood until steam has stopped coming out of it, but once the engine has cooled, use a rag to check the radiator hose. Wait until the hose is flexible and not difficult to squeeze before moving forward.

    Remove the Radiator Cap

    It may take 45 minutes or longer before the radiator hose indicates that your car has cooled off enough to handle. Once the hose is easy to compress, it should be safe to remove the lid. However, be sure to not remove the lid if it feels hot. It could shoot dangerously hot liquid out if it is not properly cooled.

    Check Your Coolant Levels

    The coolant will be located in a white plastic jug under the hood. You will likely need to add more, but also check for leaks, as that may be the source of your issue. Be sure to wait until the vehicle is completely cooled before adding more coolant.

    Back on the Road (Maybe)

    Turn on your engine and see if the temperature gauge has returned to a normal level. If it is still in the red zone, turn your engine back off and wait another 15 minutes or so. If it won’t cool down even after time has passed, it’s best to call a tow truck to avoid more dangerous repercussions.

    Don’t let car problems ruin a summer road trip. Stop by Houska to get your vehicle in prime condition for all the adventures that lie ahead.