How to Replace Headlights at Home

Have a headlight burned out? It’s best to fix it sooner than later, especially before drawing the attention of the local law enforcement, or much worse: having the other light go and trying to navigate a dark road at night. Let’s get a replacement in there, and keep you safe, pronto!

The first step is to check your owners manual to see what type of bulb your vehicle needs. If you don’t have this for some reason, you can go to your local parts store and tell them your vehicle’s make, model, and year, and they’ll be able to tell you which type of bulb you need. Now that you have the right bulb, you’re ready to replace the old light. In most cars you can gain access to the bulb by opening the hood and removing the lamp connections at the back of the headlight housing. If this isn’t possible in your vehicle you may have to remove splash shields, air-cleaner housings, and even washer-fluid bottles for full access before you can change a headlight. 

Now, for the step by step instructions;

Step 1: Turn Off Your Vehicle and Pop the Hood

To ensure the process of switching out your headlights is as safe as possible, shut down your vehicle’s engine. Next, you’ll want to pop the hood and locate your vehicle’s headlight compartment.

Step 2: Disconnect Headlight Bulb Power Wires

There’s typically three wires attached to the base of the lightbulb. Push down the clip or cap holding them in place.

Step 3: Take Out the Old Headlight

In most vehicles you can just remove the lamp connections at the back of the headlight housing. Be careful when removing the headlight, as there will likely be clips that are fragile. Do not touch the glass part of the bulb either, the oils on our hands can reduce the lifespan of the bulb or even cause the bulb to burst if it gets too hot.

Step 4: Screw in the New Headlight Bulb

Again, don’t touch the bulb with your bare hands. Gently screw in the bulb, then close the hood of your car. Verify that the new headlight works by turning your lights on. 

You can save a good amount of money and time by changing your light bulb on your own. Hopefully these tips help you through the process, good luck!

Tips for Driving in the Rain

Driving in the rain is a common occurrence, and if you don’t know proper techniques it can be dangerous. You could skid out, hydroplane, or get in an accident due to the roads being slick. Today we’re going to give you some tips and techniques for safer driving when it’s raining.

First, don’t drive if you don’t have to. During heavy rain conditions you shouldn’t go for a drive unless it’s necessary. Wait for the storm to pass before leaving to go run errands. The next most important tip is to slow down! Hydroplaning most often occurs when vehicles are driving too fast, so slowing down would be a wise decision.To go along with the higher risk of hydroplaning, it can be dangerous to go fast while raining because the rain will bring out the oils on the road, causing the road to be more slick. Also, never use cruise control while it’s raining. Cruise control can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. You may need to reduce speed by easing off the accelerator to prevent traction loss, but this is not possible when using cruise control. 

Visibility can be diminished when it’s raining, so you should make sure your windshield wipers are working properly. Your windshield can fog as well due to the rain, so turn on your front and rear defrosters to combat that. We also advise turning on your headlights. Turning on your headlights will do two things, increase your visibility, increase other vehicles visibility of you, helping you to avoid a collision. 

It’s important to give other vehicles extra room when driving during rain, as both you and other vehicles need extra space to brake. Vehicles can’t stop as quickly when roads are slick. Going along with this, you should avoid hard braking. Take your foot off the accelerator to slow down instead, as braking could cause you to skid. 

If your car begins to skid, don’t panic. Continue to steer in the direction you want to go and avoid slamming on your brakes, as it makes it harder to control your vehicle and can make the situation worse. If your car starts to hydroplane, gently ease your foot off the gas and avoid steering. Just slow down and hold on until your vehicle regains contact with the road. Hopefully these tips help keep you safe and prepared when driving during the rain. Stay safe out there!

What to do After an Auto Accident

Unfortunately, if you drive long enough, it’s likely that at some point in your life you’ll be involved in a car accident. Though scary and stressful, it’s imperative that you know what to do afterward, and you may be surprised how often people are unsure what to do. Let’s go over the steps you should take directly after being involved in a motor accident for your own safety and that of others.

First, you need to stop your vehicle after the accident occurs, regardless of the severity of the accident. Even if it was an extremely minor accident you have to stop, it is your legal obligation. You’ll find yourself in a worse situation if you try to drive away from the accident, so do not move your vehicle unless it is blocking traffic. Put on your hazards and wait for authorities to arrive.

Second, assist any persons who may be injured or appear to require assistance. If needed, call an ambulance. Do not try and move anyone, this can cause further injury. Seek medical attention for yourself if you have any injuries. Injuries such as whiplash or a concussion may not immediately show symptoms.

If there are any witnesses you should speak to them and gather as much information as possible. This is useful when it comes to an insurance claim or settlement. Do not admit or deny fault for the accident. This information could be used against you. Only discuss this with the police or your lawyer. Make notes of where the accident occured, what time the accident occured, and take a picture of the accident. Take a lot of pictures from multiple different angles, you can’t have too many pictures. You also need to report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.

Motor vehicle accidents can be life-altering. You don’t want to put yourself in a worse situation due to panic or ignorance, so make sure you follow these tips to stay safe.

How to Jumpstart Your Car

Today we’re going to go over the right way to jump start your car. 

Step 1: You need a pair of jumper cables. You can’t always rely on someone else to have them. They’re fairly inexpensive and are a necessary item to keep in your vehicle.

Step 2: Have a bystander, friend, or family member park their car close to your vehicle so the cables can comfortably reach both vehicle’s battery terminals. Make sure both vehicles are off and that their parking brakes are engaged. Next, open the hoods of both cars and locate the battery in each. Identify the positive and negative terminals on both batteries (Positive is red and negative is black). Make sure all the terminals are free of corrosion. If they are, you’re ready to continue.

Step 3: Connect the red clamp to the positive terminal on the dead battery. Next, uncoil the battery cable and hook up the other red clamp to the positive terminal on the vehicle supplying the battery power. While facing towards the good battery, connect the black end of the cable to the negative terminal. You’ll then go back to the dead vehicle and connect the last black clamp to a flat, unpainted metal surface on the car’s frame.

Step 4: Now that all the cables are properly connected you can start the engine on the live vehicle and let it run for a couple minutes. This passes a charge from the live battery to the currently dead battery. You can now try and start the dead car. If it starts up, carefully remove the cables in the reverse order you put them on. Don’t let the ends touch until all pieces have been removed. Let the car that was revived run for 10 to 15 minutes. This allows the battery to recharge. 

If the car doesn’t start, then most likely your battery simply can no longer hold a charge and it’s time to get a new one. Hopefully, this guide helps you safely get yourself, or someone you’re assisting, back on the road.

Maintenance Tips for Older Vehicles

Keeping your vehicle in good condition is extremely important. We rely on our vehicles every day, whether it’s our daily work commute, taking the kids to school, or going to run errands, vehicles are a very important part of many peoples lives. There’s a majority of people that have 15 plus year old cars that are still in great condition, and this is because they take the necessary steps to prolong the life of their vehicle. Today we’re going to go over some steps that will keep your older vehicle going strong for many more years to come

  1. Change you oil and oil filter 

One of the best and easiest things you can do to extend the life of your car is regularly changing your oil and oil filter. As you may know, motor oil provides lubrication to the moving parts of an engine, which keeps your engine running smoothly. The purpose of the oil filter is to remove waste. It captures harmful debris, dirt, and metal fragments in your motor oil to keep your car’s engine running properly. Without the oil filter harmful particles can get into your motor oil and damage the engine. You can change your oil and oil filter yourself fairly easily, or you can take your vehicle into any Briggs dealership and they will assist you.

  1. Keep your wheel bearings in check

Wheel bearings are essential to keeping your tires running smoothly. The wheel bearing allows for frictionless movement and rotation of the hub assembly, therefore providing smooth rotation of the tire and wheel. When the wheel bearings start going bad you may notice sounds coming from the area that may sound like grinding that gets louder when accelerating. Next time you’re getting work done on your car, ask for a wheel inspection so you can catch a problem before it gets too bad. 

  1. Replace transmission fluid, differential oil, and brake fluid

Your transmission fluid and differential oil don’t need to be replaced very often, and your specific vehicle may have different timelines for when these need to be changed. A good rule of thumb though is to replace your transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, and your differential oil every 30,000 to 60,000 miles as well. As for brake fluid, it’s recommended you replace it every four to five years, although you should look at your vehicle’s manual and see what it says. Brake fluid is important in the function of your brakes by aiding the movement of the brake pedal to actuate the brake pads at the wheels.

  1. Replace your coolant 

Coolant is important in three different functions for your vehicle. The first is transferring combustion heat from a vehicle’s engine to its radiator where the heat is given off to the atmosphere. The second function is to provide adequate protection from freezing and boiling; and the third is to protect the engine and cooling system metals from rust and corrosion. Again, check your owners manual for how often it says to switch out your coolant, but a good rule of thumb is every 30,000 miles.

  1. Clean your car

Our last step is the easiest to do yourself, and that is cleaning your car. Get a car wash and wax at least once a month. Doing this will keep your paint healthy, and keep away any rust issues. Plus, who doesn’t like having a nice clean car.

Hopefully these tips help you maintain your older car all the way to antique status. If you ever need any car maintenance, bring your car to any Briggs dealership. We’d love to help you with any car problems you may have.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Warning Lights

Have you ever been driving and seen a light turn on on your dash, but you didn’t notice any problems? Did you just ignore the light and forget about it even being on? If you have, don’t feel bad, it’s something that many people do. You should pay attention to any lights that may turn on, though, it’s usually something important. Let’s take a look at some reasons why you may want to reconsider looking over those warning lights. 

Check Engine Light

The check engine light can be on for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from a loose gas cap to a more serious issue such as a misfiring engine. There isn’t a sure fire way of knowing what the issue is unless you have your vehicle diagnosed by a professional. We strongly recommend that you take your car in if the engine light comes on even if there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with it. You don’t want to create a bigger problem over something that could’ve easily been fixed. In some vehicles your check engine light may flash, and this means that there is a serious problem in your engine and you need to take it in ASAP.

Oil Light

When your oil light turns on you should take it seriously. It means that your oil level in the engine is low, or that the oil pump is not circulating oil properly or at the correct pressures. Both of these are not good for you car, and will cause engine damage if ignored. Again, you should take your vehicle to a professional to determine the issue. You may have an oil leak, a malfunctioning oil pressure sensor, improper oil level, or some number of other mechanical issues.

Battery Light

If your battery light turns on it means that your alternator isn’t charging your battery sufficiently. Your car may run for a little bit while the light is on, but probably not for very long. Your battery light may turn on when your first start up your car, this is completely normal. There could be corrosion on the battery terminals, which would cause the battery light to turn on.

Tire Pressure Light

The tire pressure light can be activated due to one or more of your tires being too low (or possibly high) on tire pressure. The proper tire pressure varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but it’s typical that the light will come on when one tire is off by around 25% to what it should normally be. This is usually a simple and fairly inexpensive fix. 

Brake Light

Brakes are a key function to safely operating your vehicle. Having faulty brakes can be extremely dangerous to you and other drivers. Most of the time when this light turns on it signifies an electronic problem in the braking system. In more rare cases it can also indicate low brake fluid. If the problem is the brake fluid leaking, it can leak into the electrical components, which can cause a fire. Get this checked out as soon as you can when you notice the brake light is on.

Temperature Light

This is the most urgent of all the warning lights, you absolutely should not continue driving if this light turns on. Your engine is overheating if this light turns on, and will lead to serious engine damage could occur. The problem can be anything from a stuck thermostat, a coolant leak, a malfunctioning temperature sensor or even too much oil in the engine. If your car is overheating and you have sufficient coolant, you can turn your heater on to maximum to help cool the engine just enough to make it to a safe place. Continuing to operate an engine that may be overheating can cause serious damage to the vehicle, damage that might cost more to repair than buying a replacement vehicle.

Hopefully this helps give you some information on what these warning lights mean, and helps provide you with the risk that is associated when driving with these warning lights on. If you have any questions, or if you need any maintenance on your vehicle, you can come in to any Briggs dealership. We’d love to help you out.

What to do if Your Vehicle Overheats

When your vehicle overheats it can be a problem that is stressful, especially if you’re not sure what to do. Today we’re going to go over the proper steps you should take if you experience your vehicle overheating, hopefully helping you out if you ever find yourself in this situation.

First, let’s go over why engines overheat. Engines can overheat for many reasons, but in general it’s because something’s wrong with the cooling system and heat can’t escape the engine compartment. The source of the issue could be many things, from a cooling system leak, faulty radiator fan, or a clogged coolant hose. Whatever the issue is, you want to get it figured out fast. Your engine could get severely damaged if you let this issue persist.

There are a few telltale signs that your vehicle is overheating. You may see steam (which can look like smoke) rising from under the hood of your car. An engine temperature gauge on your dashboard will spike to either red or “H”, meaning your engine temperature is too hot. The last sign is a smell that may come from the engine. This smell may be sweet if it’s leaking coolant, or it may smell more burnt if it’s an oil leak. If you notice any of these signs, then follow these steps listed below.

Turn On The Heat and Pull Over

The first thing you should do if you notice your engine is overheating is turn off the air conditioner and turn your heat on to max. This will reduce stress on the engine and can help pull heat away from the engine, hopefully giving you time to find a safe place to pull over. Once you pull over, shut your vehicle off and leave it off for at least 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge to know when your engine is sufficiently cooled down. You should call a friend, a tow truck, or some sort of road side assistance to help you out. Driving with an overheating engine problem is extremely bad for your car, and can be dangerous.

Check Coolant

If your coolant levels are low, topping it off may help protect your engine and prevent overheating for long enough to get your vehicle to the shop. However, this step won’t do much good if a coolant hose is clogged or the source of your troubles is a broken radiator fan or water pump. If you don’t have any coolant you can use water. This is not something you should consider a fix, though. This is just a temporary way to make your vehicle safe enough to get it to the shop. Importantly, allow your engine to cool before adding fresh coolant or water, as you can easily crack your engine block.

Restart Your Engine

The final step is to restart your engine. If you decide to not get your vehicle towed, you need to restart your engine so you can get your vehicle to the nearest auto shop. Carefully start your car, and keep a close eye on the temperature gauge. If the gauge starts to rise again you need to pull over and should strongly consider getting roadside assistance.

Hopefully you never run into an overheating problem, but if this does happen to you, you now know the proper steps to take to ensure you and your vehicle’s safety.

Should You get a Minivan or SUV as Your Family Vehicle?

If you have kids you know how important space is, and how fast it can get filled. You’ve probably thought about purchasing a larger vehicle for your family, but you’re stuck on whether to get an SUV or a minivan. It’s not an easy choice, and there’s many factors that go into making the decision. Today we’re going to list out some pros and cons for both an SUV and a minivan, and hopefully help you decide which one is best for you and your family. 

When it comes to total space the minivan can’t be beat. You’ll get more cargo and passenger space, as well as more ease of access features such as automatic sliding doors. These doors make it easier to load up your kids in their carseats, or load up whatever cargo you may want to haul. It’s typical for minivans nowadays to have 80+ cubic feet of cargo space, which is a very large amount. That’s plenty of room for you and your family’s stuff when going on road trips. 

Most modern minivans also have 150 cubic feet of space for passengers, which is hard for an SUV to beat. Minivan’s low floors also make them more comfortable for passengers in the third row, where adults will have a little more kneeroom than they would in SUVs, which offer better ground clearance but sacrifice interior height. 

Seating configurations are similar in SUVs and minivans, typically having two seats up front, three-passenger bench seats in the second row and three seats in the back. Some minivans and SUVs also forgo the middle three bench seats for two captain’s chairs. Certain SUVs have higher trim levels that offer nine total seats, three in each row. This is more seating than a minivan can provide, but it will likely cost you more money.

SUVs take the advantage in performance. Pretty much every SUV on the market offers all-wheel drive. Off-road situations are conquered way more easily in an SUV than they will be in a minivan. SUVs also have superior towing capacity, which may not be necessary for all, but if you have a boat, camper, or trailer it may be something to think about. SUVs are typically more enjoyable to drive than minivans, having better handling and more powerful engines.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of owning a minivan or an SUV. Both have their upsides and downsides. If you’re interested in checking out a minivan or SUV, or you want to give either a test drive, come on down to Briggs Supercenter. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff would love to help you out and answer any questions you may have. 

Should You get Summer or All-Season Tires?

Summer is here, and in Kansas that means we’re in for some heat. Summer also means it’s time to take off your winter tires. What should you replace your winter tires with though? summer tires or all-season tires? Today we’ll break this down and see which are right for you. 

Summer tires are optimized for excellent road grip in the heat, as well as damp roads or rainy conditions. The tread has a compound containing stick additives that help the tire better grip the road when wet. This tread is also designed to stay stiff under extreme heat, keeping rolling resistance to a minimum on the hot pavement. The tread pattern on summer tires are typically more shallow and have straighter grooves than all-season tires. This results in more stability during cornering, braking, and acceleration. The biggest downfall of summer tires is that they perform very poorly when temperatures dip below 45 degrees, and that they often have asymmetrical tread patterns, meaning tire rotation options may be limited. 

All-season tires are meant to be a viable option year-round, as the name implies. They’re made with a compound that stays flexible at cold temperatures, which helps the tires maintain grip. The tread patterns of all-season tires have deeper grooves and have more voids and variations that help their traction in light snow conditions. Probably unsurprisingly, all-seasons are like a blend between winter and summer tires, and they can handle a variety of road conditions well. They do not substitute for winter tires though; even though they can get by when the weather gets wintery, if your area’s roads don’t get cleaned well and being able to drive is important, you may want to consider a pair of winter tires. 

So now we come to the decision: summer tires or all-seasons? This really comes down to what you want and need out of them. Summer tires are more performance oriented, meaning they are for more spirited drivers. If you love to drive and if you usually push your car to the limit, then summer tires may be a good option for you. If you just want a good pair of tires that are reliable and that can be used in moderate winter conditions, then all-seasons are probably for you.

How to Make Your Vehicle Last

Buying a new car can be pricey, so making it last as long as possible makes sense (not to mention resale value). Keeping your car in good condition is very possible, and it doesn’t take as much work as you think. Today we’re going to go over some simple things you can do to increase your car’s longevity.

The first action you can take to increase the longevity of your car is simply by washing and waxing it regularly. Washing your car isn’t just to make it look nice, it actually prevents rust and wear. If you don’t wash your car dust will start to build up and eat away through the clear coat on your vehicle. This makes your paint vulnerable to oxidation, which will cause rust. Rust can spread very fast if not dealt with, which is a pain and an unnecessary problem that can be easily prevented. Wash your car once or twice a month and you should be alright, but this sliding scale is affected by local conditions such as weather and on the types of roads you frequent.

The next step you can take is to learn a little bit about your engine bay. You don’t need to become an expert by any means, but gaining a little bit of knowledge about your engine bay can save you time and money. Being able to self diagnose a problem will help your mechanic save some time too, which in turn can save you money.

Next thing to keep in check are the fluids of your car. Fluids are the lifeblood of your car and they keep it running smoothly. Your car has engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, and washer fluid. Take some time to learn where each of the fluids go and what each of them are. Most modern cars have a light on the dashboard that will go off if your fluid is getting low, but it’s good to keep an eye on your fluid levels yourself.

Last thing we’ll cover is proper tire pressure. This gets ignored far too often, and it has a big impact on gas mileage and how long your car will last. Properly inflating your tires will extend the life of your suspension components, putting less stress on the metalwork of your car. If weight is not evenly distributed it can have a detrimental impact on your vehicle’s health. Some modern cars will tell you the exact PSI level of each individual tire on the dashboard. If your vehicle doesn’t have this you can purchase a tire pressure gauge and keep it in your glovebox. Your car has a sticker inside the driver door panel which should tell you the factory recommended PSI. You also need to rotate your tires and get them aligned every so often (check your owner’s manual for recommendations).