*School is back in session, and this year seems to be busier than ever. Always be aware when driving in school zones. There isn’t always a blinking light to let you know when you’re in one. This also means more pedestrians on the road, more traffic, and more cops.

*The crisp fall mornings are lovely, but they can often lead to fog. Remember to use your low beams, as your high beams will make visibility more difficult. Keep space between you and the car in front of you, and give yourself extra time!

*As our mornings get colder, frost will start to appear on your windshields in the morning. Make sure to keep a scraper in your glove box and get your car started a few minutes early!

*Keep your windshield clean, both inside and out. With the change of seasons and the time change, the sun will often create glare and shadows that we’re not used to. Make sure to keep your windows as clean as possible to improve visibility. Also keep a pair of sunglasses handy!

*Watch for wet leaves on the road. Wet leaves can be potentially as dangerous as ice or snow on the road. Don’t go over the speed limit or make abrupt stops any time, but especially not when the road is covered with leaves.

*Check your washer fluid. Summer is gone, but the dead bugs and sap are still on your windshield. Give your car a nice washing, and leave the remnants of the summer behind.

*Remember that there are fewer hours of daylight. It will be getting light later and getting dark earlier. This means that there will be more bikers, runners, and children on the streets while it’s dark outside. Be cautious, especially at dusk.
 
 
Here at Don’s, we really care about your safety. As much as we love to see your smiling faces in the shop, we don’t want you to be here because of an accident. We also know that driving in Austin can sometimes be tough. We’re all in a hurry to get someplace, and the highways can be a frustrating place.

We want to remind you of a few tips to stay safe on the roads this fall. As much as we love Halloween, we definitely don’t like scary drivers. Don’t be one of them!

*Give yourself time to get where you’re going. It may seem obvious, but the easiest way to relieve stress on the roads is to simply NOT be in a rush. Give yourself plenty of time. Expect traffic. Be mindful that everyone else on the road is in as much of a rush as you are. Remember that wherever you are heading will still be there no matter how long it takes you to get there. Safety is the most important.

*Don’t Speed. We know it sounds redundant, but speeding is one of the number one contributors to automobile crashes. Going 10 miles over the speed limit will only get you somewhere a few minutes sooner, and greatly increases your risk for crashing.

*Plan your trip ahead of time. These days, smart phones can be very useful in planning out the most efficient route for your trip. Try to avoid roads with the most traffic. Have your toll money readily available. Plan out your soundtrack before you leave home, so that you’re not tempted to play with the radio.

*Avoid Distractions. Your full attention should be on the road at all times. In addition to avoiding messing with your stereo, you should avoid messing with all electronic devices. Set your GPS before you leave the house. Do not call or text for any reason, communication can wait. Pull over if you need to eat or drink something, and by all means-don’t attempt to put on makeup while driving.

*Get a good night’s sleep. Getting a full 8 hours of sleep isn’t only helpful at work, it can also potentially keep you from getting in an accident. It’s extremely difficult to remain mindful and alert when you’re sleepy. If you find yourself getting drowsy behind the wheel, take action fast!

*Safety First! They don’t say “Click it or Ticket” for no reason! Following the traffic laws will not only keep you from getting a ticket, they can also save your life. Slow down at red lights. Pay attention to stop signs. Wear your seat belt. Abide by the speed limit. Pay attention to warning signs. If you follow the law, you are much more likely to keep yourself safe.
 
 
If you’re anything like most people, you tend to let your car get a little dirty from time to time.  The good news is, you don’t have to spend bundles of money to get your car back in tip-top shape. We have a few tips that can help you get your car looking beautiful, in turn, making you feel good about how it represents you.

*Always wash your vehicle in the shade, if possible, especially in the summer. When your car is too hot-the suds will dry too quickly and leave spots.

*Wash your car with a hair conditioner that contains lanolin. It will help repel rain, plus give your car a freshly waxed appearance.

*Clean off bugs, streaks and grime from your windshield using a bottle of coca cola. Make sure to protect the paint on the hood of your car with a towel, and then pour the coke directly onto your windshield. Afterwards, wash the coke off the windshield to prevent dust.

*Don’t skimp on soap to wash the car. Dishwashing detergent or hand soap could damage your car’s protective wax.

*If in a fix, a razor blade can also do the trick to get dead bugs off your windshield.

*Clean your wheels and tires before you clean the rest of your car. Make sure to use a non-acid-based tire cleaner to avoid oxidizing and damaging the wheel.

*Polish your headlights with window cleaner and a pair of pantyhose.

*Wash your car moving the sponge length-wise across the hood, rather than using a circular motion. Make sure you rinse your car thoroughly before washing to remove any dirt or debris that could cause scratches.

*Always use a terry cloth or a chamois to dry your car after washing. Air-drying will leave watermarks on your vehicles’ exterior.

*If you have a crack on your windshield, or a scratch or ding-you should bring your car to us. In the meantime though, you can use clear nail polish to prevent the crack from spreading or the ding from rusting.
 
 
It’s summer, which means many of you are loading up your vehicles and preparing to make road trips across the country. In this economy, road-tripping is definitely a cheaper alternative to buying airline tickets for your entire family. Plus, it’s just a fun way to bond with your loved ones, sight-see, and eat at one of the many “World’s Best Beef Jerky” stops.

What many of us don’t think about is the maintenance that needs to occur before and during your road trip to ensure your safety. We care about you and yours, and want to take to opportunity to remind you of some of the factors that need to be looked into before you put Austin in your rear view mirror!

*Make sure your tires are fit for the road. This means checking your air pressure and inspecting your tires for any nails or punctures. Having your air pressure up to par will help you better your gas mileage, as well as help prevent you from having a blowout.

*Check your spare tire too. Many people forget that it’s just as important to make sure your spare tire is in tip top shape. In an emergency, you might have to rely on a spare to cover some major mileage.

*Check all of your fluids. This includes engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, windshield wiper fluid and power steering fluid. Having enough fluids in all the parts will help ensure that your car drives without a hiccup.

*Inspect your vehicle for loose belts and hoses. They can cause your car to overheat, as well as numerous other problems on the road.

*Join a travel club or make sure you have adequate road side assistance. Even if you have checked your car thoroughly, problems can occur. Car clubs like AAA offer services nearly everywhere, but you can also check for memberships provided by your cell phone, insurance, or car manufacturer.

*Bring along a map or guidebook. We are aware that in this day and age, most of you have GPS systems available on your smart phone. Take it from me, you may very well pass through areas where your service is very limited or unavailable, and you should prepare for those times.

*Pack an emergency kit. Always prepare for the worst. On top of extra fuses and fluids, you should have an emergency kit prepared for the worst situations. Keep a flashlight, a blanket, a few bottles of water, a knife, and of course - duct tape.

*Have fun! If you’re planning a road trip this summer, we hope that you and your family have a blast and keep safe!

 
 
We’ve all been enjoying the rain here in Austin, but nobody enjoys driving in heavy downpour. We want to remind you how quickly flash floods can appear, and how dangerous they can be. We’ve got a few tips for you to remember during this rainy season!

  • You may not have any warning before a flash flood occurs. If you see water in the road, do not attempt to cross it, even if it appears shallow. Find another route or wait until the water recedes.

  • One foot of water is enough to float nearly every vehicle, even SUVS.

  • Driving through water can also cause your engine to stall, and may cause irreparable damage.

  • Drive more slowly than normal during heavy rain. Under normal conditions you should stay at least 3 seconds behind the driver ahead of you. During the rain you should stay at least 6.The slower you go, the less of a chance you have of hydroplaning.

  • If your car starts to hydroplane, take your foot off of the gas and then steer straight the direction you would like to go.

  • Use your low beams to keep you in view of other drivers without inhibiting your ability to see.

  • The roads are most slippery right when it begins to rain. Be aware and drive slow, even when it’s barely sprinkling!


 
 
In honor of Earth day, we’d like to let you in on a few tips to help you have a greater impact on our planet, as well as keep your car in tip-top shape! By just making a few minor adjustments in your habits, you can make a difference without having to go out and purchase a “green” vehicle. Happy Earth Month to you all!

  • Be conscious of how often you are using your Air Conditioner. We know it’s not always possible in Texas, but during the few months we have before it starts to swelter, try cooling your car by rolling down your windows. Parking in the shade will cut down the amount of cooling you will need to do.

  • Keep your car tuned up. By keeping your car up to date with routine maintenance, changing the oil, and changing out air filters-you will use less gas, cause less pollution, and save yourself a ton of money by preventing problems down the line.

  • Carpool or take public transportation. We don’t want you to leave your favorite car at home, but even car-pooling once a week can make a difference in the long run.

  • Don’t ignore the Check Engine Light. A poorly running engine will cause more pollution than a healthy one. Many times the Check Engine Light can mean that there is something wrong with your exhaust system. It’s time to go in for a check up!

  • Avoid excessive speeding and accelerations. Both speeding and accelerating quickly will quickly drain you of gas. You can also turn off your engine when you’re not actually driving.

 
 
The cold weather can lead to dangerous driving conditions. Whether there is ice on the road, or simply heavy rain or fog, we want you to be safe.Here are a few tips for keeping you and you car safe and healthy throughout the winter season.

*Always keep a chalkboard eraser in your glove box. They work great for clearing up steamy windows, without leaving streaks.

*Build an emergency kit to keep in your trunk. Include an extra blanket and gloves, a few bottles of water, a flash light and a flare in case you get caught in inclimate weather. Extra bottles of engine fuel, wiper fluid, and an ice scraper could also come in handy. Of course, always have the tools necessary to change a tire.

*Make sure your wiper blades are working properly. They should be replaced every 6-12 months. You definitely don't want to get caught out in the rain or snow with faulty wipers!

*Keep a window cracked at night to prevent frost in the morning.

*If your door lock becomes frozen, you can heat the tip of your key with a lighter.

*If the temperature is at 32 degrees or lower and there is any amount of moisture on the street, a layer of ice could develop on the road. Be cautious and always give yourself room from the car in front of you.

*Your antifreeze should be replaced every two years. This is a key component to keeping your car healthy in cold temperatures. Just because it's green in  color doesn't mean it hasn't lost it's ability to keep your car from freezing.You can purchase an affordable tester at any auto parts store!