• 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.

  • Houska Gifts Project Self-Sufficiency Participant with Refurbished Car!

    Posted on 20, July, 2017

    For the past several years, Houska Automotive has had the incredible opportunity to partner with Project Self-Sufficiency and the Lagoon Summer Concert Series for a truly memorable evening. On Wednesday, July 19, we presented Irma, a Project Self-Sufficiency participant, and her two children with a newly refurbished car to assist in her journey to independence.

    During the intermission of the Lagoon concert, we handed Irma the keys to a 2003 Subaru Outback. Irma is a single mother to her two children – Jazlyn and Iker – and has remarkable career aspirations to provide the best life possible for her family. She began her degree program at Front Range Community College in 2017, and after getting her Associates of Arts Degree, she plans to transfer to Colorado State University to major in business with a concentration in human resources.

    While attending school, Irma works full time at the Department of Human Services in the Women, Infant and Children office. She is also the recipient of a Habitat for Humanity home, which she helped build. It was a pleasure meeting this amazing woman, and we wish her the best of luck on her road to self-sufficiency!

    We’d like to give a special thank you to Josh Hodge at Set It Off for donating all the body work. Thanks to his generosity, Houska was able to then make several updates, including replacing the engine, timing belt, cylinder head gasket, etc., so that it was in prime condition to gift to Irma and her family.

    Check out more photos from the occasion below!

  • 5 Ways to Prevent Vehicle Theft

    Posted on 11, July, 2017

    Our team at Houska Automotive wants your vehicle to run smoothly, but most of all, we want you to stay safe inside your car and out of it. July is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, so we’d like to take a moment to share some tips on how to prevent vehicle theft:

    1. Lock Your Car Doors

    We know, we know, this is so obvious that it’s really not worth mentioning. But before we jump into some more advanced tips, we have to start with the number way to prevent against car theft. Believe it or not, carjackers do not want to draw a lot of attention or put a lot of effort into their crime. Locking your doors will add the first and most effective layer of security to your vehicle.

    2. Keep All Valuables Out of Plain Sight

    Wallets, cellphones, GPS devices and even backpacks are all eye candy for carjackers. If you have any valuables in your car, it is crucial to lock them in the truck, hide them under seats, or better yet take them with you. Many thieves break into cars not because of the car itself but because of the items inside.

    3. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

    This means no parking in sketchy neighborhoods, avoiding outdoor overnight parking when possible, and never leaving your car running unless you are inside. Furthermore, try to stay under a light when parking anywhere at night because carjackers are much less likely to act with a spotlight shining on them.

    4. Properly Maintain Your Vehicle

    Criminals typically view a beat-up car as an easy target because they make the assumption that the owner doesn’t care much about it. A car that is well-maintained shows that the owner would likely have an alarm system, means of finding it should it get stolen, and would notice right away if it goes missing.

    5. Invest in an Anti-Theft Device

    Talk to your insurance agent about which anti-theft device(s) they would recommend. These can prevent carjackers from hotwiring the car and moving the steering wheel should they break in. Another handy trick is to place a car alarm sticker on the car. Even if you do not have an advanced security system, boasting that your car is well-equipped will likely deter criminals.

    Stay safe on the road and stay alert!

  • Obsolete Car Things Your Kids Won’t Understand

    Posted on 30, June, 2017

    If you’ve ever heard your kiddo say things like, “Why do you call hashtags pound signs?” or “What does ‘dial up Internet’ mean?” then this blog post is for you. Just for fun, we thought we would take a look at a few car features or practices that are so outdated that kids today will have trouble understanding them.

    Manual Roll Down Windows

    Believe it or not, the phrase “roll down the window” used to actually describe what you had to do to get your car window open. It wasn’t until the 1990s that an easy-as-pie button replaced the crank that used to manually open car windows.

    No Seatbelts (and Automatic Seatbelts)

    With all the current laws and much-needed emphasis on seatbelt safety, it’s baffling to think that previous generations didn’t even have seatbelts in their vehicles. Most of us would feel naked without one, but no seatbelt – or just a lap belt – used to be the norm. As a side note, how relieved is everyone that we no longer have to mess with automatic seatbelts that made getting in and out of your car a royal pain in the tailpipe?

    Cassette Players

    We couldn’t NOT mention the glaringly obvious technology advancement of vehicle sound systems. Every 90s kid dreamed of cruising down the highway blasting the latest jams on their eight-track cassette tape. Nowadays, even CD players are becoming obsolete as Sirius radio and iPod adapters are taking over the dashboard.

    Not Having to Pre-Pay at the Pump

    If you tell your teenage driver that you used to be able to pay for gas AFTER filling up your tank, they’ll probably look at you like you’re crazy. Those were the days when you just had to pull up to a pump and start fueling, but of course, those shady gas-stealers had to ruin it for everyone.

    Front Bench Seats

    Many kids today will only know about front bench seats because of a few throwback country songs. While the vast majority of vehicles today manufacture their front seats to be in bucket seat format, several designs in past decades featured a bench seat that went all the way across.

    Antennas

    This is one obsolete car feature that we’re not going to miss. Thanks to modern technology, car antennas have now become much more compact and inconspicuous, but back in the day, most vehicles looked like they were trying to send E.T. home.

    We hope you’ve enjoyed our collection of obsolete car things, and best of luck wowing your children with this flashback to past decades!