How to Get Un-Stuck

Everyone has their gift. I consider myself somewhat of an expert at both getting stuck and getting unstuck. “If I had a dollar for every time ….”. Now a lot of times getting unstuck takes a lot of work; but a lot of times it doesn’t. Here are some low effort hints that could get you out of a jam without too much sweat;

  • Rule #1 – when stuck in a hole, stop digging! If you’re tire is spinning and you’re not moving, you’re just digging a rut and making the situation worse. This is common sense can apply to so many aspects of life, but it’s regularly ignored!
  • Point your front tires straight – If you have a two wheel drive vehicle and your front wheels are turned at all, you’re increasing the resistance for your back wheels to get you moving. Even if you have a four wheel drive, it’s better for all the wheels to be pulling in the same direction than battling each other. Once you’re moving, then turn.
  • Rock it – Quickly shift from drive to reverse and back to get a rocking motion going. The momentum may lift you out of the rut. But remember, as soon as you stop moving, refer to Rule #1!
  • Partially depress your parking brake – Most vehicles have what’s called an open differential in their axle (sports cars and trucks/SUVs with a tow package are the exception). An open differential means that power from the engine is sent through the path of least resistance. If one back wheel is on ice and the other on pavement, the ice has less resistance so that wheel will spin, and the vehicle does not move. Push your parking brake about half way down (can’t do this if you have an electronic parking brake). That will engage the brakes on both sides of the axle, but not enough to fully stop them. Now the resistance is equal. Both the tire on the ice and the one on pavement will get power, and the vehicle will move.
  • Deflate your tires – this can roughly double the “contact patch” between your tire and the ground. Think of a basketball sitting on the court as it deflates. Drop your air pressure into the mid-upper teens, or if you don’t have an air gauge, to where your sidewall is about half its normal height. This works well on all surfaces, but particularly on sand. It does not work as well if you have low-profile tires.

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Why We Stopped Changing Oil

When I started working on cars I was changing oil every 3,000 miles, belts were changed every 2 years, tune ups every 12,000 to 15,000 miles (if the parts lasted that long). There was always something that needed attention. Your hood was opened 3 to 4 times a year. That gave us many opportunities to find problems you might have. Today oil changes happen between 7,000 and 12,000 miles, about once a year. Drive belts last 50,000 to 80,000 miles, and the first tune up is around 100,000 miles. Your hood is now only opened about once a year.  Just like going to the doctor for an annual physical, your car needs the same physical. When we raise the hood on your car for its annual oil service, we look at everything we can. Our “Vehicle Health Report” gives you peace of mind when you get in your car. Our goal for your vehicle is to be problem free for the next year.  We could change the oil and filter, check the fluid levels and add washer fluid. It would cost less but that would be an injustice to you. We pull the wheels, rotate the tires, check the brakes, belts, hoses, battery, cooling system, all the fluid conditions, wiper blades, lights, and many other things on our 130 point inspection.  We won’t just do an oil change because I never want you to ask me “why didn’t you see a problem? You just worked on my car.”