10 Services Chesapeake auto owners Often Overlook

We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over Chesapeake. Some days it’s all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That’s why you’ve gotta be organized. Smartphones, calendar apps – we have to keep track of it all.

So let’s talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the vital scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.

Here is a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked by Chesapeake drivers. They’re all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.

1. Power Steering Service
Be honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your important power steering parts are protected from harmful corrosion. Next time you’re in for an oil change, ask your Chesapeake service advisor if it’s time for a power steering check-up.

2. Wheel Alignment
When your wheels are out of alignment your van pulls to one side. It’s pretty annoying, but it’s also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out really fast; which is an unneccessary expense! Most manufacturers owners manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.

3. Differential Service
Did you even know you had a differential? Well, you do – one, two or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they’re part of the drive-train that transfers power from your van engine to your wheels. They don’t need service that often, but you can’t completely forget them. Check with your honest West Service Center, Inc. service specialist.

4. Cabin Air Filter
More and more Chesapeake cars these days have cabin air filters (a great feature, in my opinion) to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they’re clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies.

5. Timing Belt Replacement
Most cars and some vans and trucks driven around the Chesapeake area have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say that your car won’t run without it – period. And if it breaks while you’re driving it can do thousands of dollars worth of pricey engine damage. Check your owners’ manual or with your Chesapeake service advisor. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles; definitely look into it right away.

6. Transmission Service
Transmission serviceis very basic, but it’s often forgotten by Chesapeake motorists. Your van transmission needs clean fluid from time to time to keep operating efficiently and avoid pricey repairs. And it can also improve your fuel efficiency.

7. Air Conditioning Service
Most of us Chesapeake drivers don’t think about our air conditioning until it fails on a hot day in Chesapeake. If you’re lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you’re not, some of the components may have been ruined. Of course, these components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.

8. Brake Service
No we’re not talking about squealing, grinding brakes here. We’re talking brake fluid. Over time the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your West Service Center, Inc. technician for recommendations.

9. Coolant System
Another thing that’s so easy for Chesapeake drivers to forget about: When you don’t change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the pH balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can actually eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you’re stranded – bummer.

10. Fuel System Cleaning
In these times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is essential. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors also get gunked up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule at West Service Center, Inc. will really help your fuel economy.

There you have it; 10 services that are often overlooked. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn’t been performed? Considering our busy lives, we’re not surprised.

Chesapeake drivers know it takes some thought and effort to actually maintain a vehicle; but it not only saves cash in the long run – it saves time too. And we can all use a little more time.

West Service Center, Inc. can help with any of these services. Give us a call at 757-487-4420.

A Cold Day In Chesapeake

Your browser does not support video

Most Chesapeake auto owners worry about a breakdown or a tire blowout on a busy Virginia interstate but don’t worry too much about failure of their air conditioning system. A breakdown at the side of the road can be a miserable and dangerous affair during Chesapeake rush hour, but so can a long ride in a hot van.

A lot of Chesapeake drivers judge their vehicles’ air conditioning systems as “non-essential” and so may neglect them in favor of repairs and maintenance that keeps the van running. But preventive maintenance of an air conditioning system is simple and inexpensive, while auto a/c repair can be very pricey in Chesapeake.

Suffolk auto owners should have the refrigerant in their air conditioning system checked regularly to ensure it is adequate and clean. Air conditioning systems often fail because air and water have contaminated the refrigerant. Air reduces the efficiency of the refrigerant, and water can cause rusting of the system’s components. If your refrigerant is contaminated, the system should be evacuated and recharged. This will actually extend the life of your air conditioning system, preventing expensive repairs, and keep it at peak performance.

Inadequate refrigerant indicates a leak in the air conditioning system. Over time, seals in the system can crack, causing the refrigerant to leak out, reducing the efficiency of the system. Replacing these seals will keep your van air conditioning system at its best, and, again, will help you avoid more costly repairs.

At West Service Center, Inc., we advise our Chesapeake customers to run their air conditioner periodically in the winter. This will keep the seals from drying out and cracking, saving them the inconvenience of this relatively minor repair.

Check with your van owner’s manual or with your Chesapeake service specialist for information about how often your van air conditioning system should be serviced.

Another piece of good auto advice: if your van air conditioner isn’t working or is starting to show signs of breakdown, NOW is the time to get it fixed at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake. Waiting will only increase the chances that you are in for major repairs and a costly repair bill.

On a final note, if you own an older vehicle, you should check into upgrading the air conditioning system. Vehicles manufactured before 1993 often contained a refrigerant known as Freon. The manufacture of Freon was outlawed in 1993, leading to an ever-dwindling supply, which leads to an ever-steeper price for Chesapeake car owners in Virginia. If your vehicle still uses Freon, you should have it retrofitted to use the new, EPA-approved R134A refrigerant. The retrofit will actually pay for itself by reducing the cost to recharge the refrigerant in your van.

Remember, preventive maintenance — of your entire car — will keep you on the road. And, in this case, it will help you keep your cool!

A Cool and Smooth Transmission in Chesapeake

Your browser does not support video

When it comes to preventive maintenance on our vehicles, most of us Chesapeake motorists remember to get our oil changed. But West Service Center, Inc. services that occur at longer intervals — like transmission service — sometimes get overlooked. Yet transmission service is a key part of car care for Chesapeake auto owners. A poorly maintained transmission will curtail MPG and lead to expensive repairs.

The transmission transfers power from the engine to the drive wheels. When it’s clean and well – lubricated, it gives maximum fuel efficiency. But when it gets dirty or worn down, your MPG will suffer. Your transmission relies on transmission fluid to keep everything running well.

Transmission fluid has two jobs: to cool and lubricate the transmission. The transmission operates at high temperatures. It can get 100-150°F degrees hotter inside your transmission than inside your engine. Transmission fluid transfers some of the heat away from the transmission. Transmissions work hard. Their parts need constant lubrication to prevent excessive wear and keep them running smoothly for Chesapeake car owners.

The constant shifting and movement of gears inside the transmission cause bits of the gears and clutch material to wear off. These bits of harmful grit get into the transmission fluid. This grit increases friction inside the transmission and causes even more wear – it’s like liquid sandpaper. Also, the high temperatures inside the transmission cause the transmission fluid to break down over time, making it a less effective lubricant. The fluid can actually become sludgy, which can gradually plug up the maze of passages inside the transmission. Gradually, the transmission loses efficiency and stops operating smoothly. Eventually, the transmission will be damaged or fail altogether.

This is why the transmission fluid must be changed periodically. Your owner’s manual will give you a recommended time schedule for this critical service. Or, you can talk to your honest West Service Center, Inc. service advisor. Generally, the interval is around 35,000 miles (55,000 km) or every two years. But the interval for your van may be shorter or longer.

Of course, if you give your transmission a real workout, you’re going to have to change the fluid more often than the auto manufacturer recommends. If you drive in hot, dusty Virginia conditions, if you tow a trailer around Chesapeake, if you haul heavy loads or if you do a lot of stop-and-go Chesapeake driving, then you need to change transmission fluid more often. Also, if you demand frequent bursts of speed from your engine — especially shooting away from stops — your transmission is working harder and will need more frequent care. Check your owner’s manual for the “severe conditions” service interval.

Transmission fluids vary from vehicle to vehicle, so you’ll also need to check your owner’s manual to know what kind your van needs, or meet with your honest West Service Center, Inc. service advisor.

At West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake, transmission fluid can usually be changed while you wait and is simple and not particularly pricey. Compared to the cost of expensive transmission repairs or a new transmission, it’s downright cheap! So take some good auto advice from the team at West Service Center, Inc. and take care of your transmission. It will pay you back in improved fuel economy and a longer, smoother ride.

A New Battery In Chesapeake

Hello Chesapeake drivers, let’s talk about batteries. Car batteries are just like any rechargeable battery. They will eventually wear out and die. If you are shopping for a new battery in Chesapeake, here’s some auto advice to help you.

There are two measurements to consider when purchasing a new battery: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity. The power required to start a cold engine is measured in cold cranking amps. The number you need is determined by what kind of vehicle you drive and where you live. In general, higher-cylinder engines require more cold cranking amps than lower-cylinder engines. In other words, an eight-cylinder engine needs more cold cranking amps than a six-cylinder one. Also, diesel engines require more cold cranking amps than gasoline engines.

The Chesapeake weather also determines the number of cold cranking amps you need. The colder the van engine, the more power it takes to get it started. Also, cold Virginia weather reduces the electrical efficiency of the battery, which reduces the amount of energy available in the battery to start the engine. Thus, in freezing temperatures, you need more power to start an engine, but you have less power available to get it started.

So if you live in a cold climate, or in an area in Virginia where winters can get really chilly, it is vital to have a battery with more cold cranking amps than if you live in a more mild or warmer climate.

The battery that was installed in your van at the factory may not have the appropriate number of cold cranking amps for your area. It is vital to check the manufacturer’s recommendations and get at least that number of cold cranking amps, but you may want to upgrade if you live in a colder climate.

Reserve capacity is the number of minutes your battery can maintain essential functions in your van without being recharged. There are two things that affect reserve capacity. The first is referred to as parasitic drain. Your van has power systems that must be kept running while the engine is off. These may include the security system, the remote start systems, and any computer systems. The number and power requirements of these systems has greatly increased over the last few decades. As a result, the need for reserve capacity in vehicles’ batteries has also increased. Very short trips around Chesapeake and Portsmouth do not allow a vehicle’s battery to recover the energy that was used to start the car. So these trips require reserve capacity as well.

Again, the reserve capacity in the battery installed at the factory may not be what you need for your Chesapeake lifestyle and driving habits. Again, use the manufacturer’s recommendation as a minimum, but consider upgrading if your van has a lot of parasitic power drain or if you frequently make very short trips around Chesapeake.

Your honest service advisor at West Service Center, Inc. in Chesapeake can help you choose an appropriate battery for your vehicle and your lifestyle. If you need extra power owing to cold weather or a need for more reserve capacity, you may want to choose a heavy-duty battery. Just make sure it fits into your van. An oversized battery may give you the power you need, but it’s a serious safety hazard if the terminals come into contact with other parts of the vehicle.

Car batteries aren’t cheap in Chesapeake, so you may want to consider the warranty when purchasing. Pro-rated warranties will give you credit for a portion of the battery if the battery fails during the warranty period. The amount of credit will depend on how long the battery lasted. A free replacement warranty will replace your battery if it fails during the warranty period. Before you purchase a battery, make sure you know what you are buying.

Keep in mind that preventive maintenance and good car care can extend the life of your battery. Judicious use of electric gadgets and good driving habits is vital and can help you get the most out of your battery.

All About Your TPMS In Chesapeake

Chesapeake motorists know that under-inflated tires wear out more quickly. Under-inflation is also a major cause of tire failure for Virginia auto owners. More flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances are all results of under-inflated tires.

It’s hard for many Chesapeake auto owners to tell when a radial tire is under-inflated. If your automobile manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your tire is considered significantly under-inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

Uncle Sam to the rescue! A recent federal law required auto makers to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System – or TPMS system – in all vehicles. The system is a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25 % below the auto manufacturer’s pressure recommendations.

The law covers all passenger cars, SUVs, mini vans and pick-up trucks. The system must also indicate if it has a malfunction. This technology has been used in race cars for years. They are able to head off problems from under-inflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It’s up to your car’s automobile manufacturer to determine which of many TPMS systems available they use to comply with the law.

Obviously, all of this doesn’t come free for Chesapeake car owners. Government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases. The net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100.

The costs are partially offset by savings in fuel and tread wear. There is also a saving in property damage and travel delay. Also, the government predicts fewer fatal accidents. They estimate there will be between $3,000,000 to $9,000,000 for every life saved.

Your safety is our priority at West Service Center, Inc.. We want you on the road and accident free. We’ve traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes to Chesapeake drivers at a very low cost. We’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service, and we pass the low cost on to our valued Chesapeake clients as an expression of our good will. That’s why we’re concerned about how you perceive the changes that this new law has required.

Every time a tire is changed: taken off to fix a flat, a new tire installed, or a snow tire mounted, the technician now has to deal with the TPMS system. Sensors need to be removed and reinstalled. The sensors have to be reactivated after the change. And, unfortunately, the very act of changing the tire damages some sensor parts from time to time – it’s inevitable and can’t be avoided.

Even a simple tire rotation requires that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system needs to be reprogrammed. TPMS sensor batteries must be replaced periodically along with failed parts.

Chesapeake service centers have purchased new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and updated expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems.

Virginia techs have been trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to the service center to perform what was once a very inexpensive service. So if you’ve noticed the cost of flat repairs, tire changes, and rotations going up, please keep in mind that it’s because of government mandated safety equipment. Your Chesapeake service center just wants to keep you safely on the road – and it’s committed to do so at a fair price. Rememer, this change will help you avoid the most common vehicle failure, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

All About Your TPMS In Chesapeake

Chesapeake motorists know that under-inflated tires wear out more quickly. Under-inflation is also a major cause of tire failure for Virginia auto owners. More flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances are all results of under-inflated tires.

It’s hard for many Chesapeake auto owners to tell when a radial tire is under-inflated. If your car maker recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your tire is considered significantly under-inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

Uncle Sam to the rescue! A recent federal law required car makers to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System – or TPMS system – in all vehicles. The system is a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25 % below the vehicle manufacturer’s pressure recommendations.

The law covers all passenger cars, SUVs, mini vans and pick-up trucks. The system must also indicate if it has a malfunction. This technology has been used in race cars for years. They are able to head off problems from under-inflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It’s up to your car’s auto manufacturer to determine which of many TPMS systems available they use to comply with the law.

Obviously, all of this doesn’t come free for Chesapeake car owners. Government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases. The net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100.

The costs are partially offset by savings in fuel and tread wear. There is also a saving in property damage and travel delay. Also, the government predicts fewer fatal accidents. They estimate there will be between $3,000,000 to $9,000,000 for every life saved.

Your safety is our priority at West Service Center, Inc.. We want you on the road and accident free. We’ve traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes to Chesapeake drivers at a very low cost. We’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service, and we pass the low cost on to our valued Chesapeake clients as an expression of our good will. That’s why we’re concerned about how you perceive the changes that this new law has required.

Every time a tire is changed: taken off to fix a flat, a new tire installed, or a snow tire mounted, the service specialist now has to deal with the TPMS system. Sensors need to be removed and reinstalled. The sensors have to be reactivated after the change. And, unfortunately, the very act of changing the tire damages some sensor parts from time to time – it’s inevitable and can’t be avoided.

Even a simple tire rotation requires that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system needs to be reprogrammed. TPMS sensor batteries must be replaced periodically along with failed parts.

Chesapeake service centers have purchased new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and updated expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems.

Virginia technicians have been trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to the service center to perform what was once a very inexpensive service. So if you’ve noticed the cost of flat repairs, tire changes, and rotations going up, please keep in mind that it’s because of government mandated safety equipment. Your Chesapeake service center just wants to keep you safely on the road – and it’s committed to do so at a fair price. Rememer, this change will help you avoid the most common vehicle failure, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

All Lined Up: Wheel Alignment Service At West Service Center, Inc.

When all of your vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving in Chesapeake can cause your van’s wheels to be out of alignment.

Driving for an extended time in Chesapeake when your wheels are out of alignment results in uneven tire wear. This is dangerous … and expensive. Worst case scenario, you have a blowout on a crowded Virginia interstate. It can also cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive to repair. At the very least, you may have to replace your tires years too early.

Here are some alignment basics from West Service Center, Inc.:

The first adjustment is called toe or do the wheels point in towards each other or away from each other at the front of the tire.
The next adjustment is called camber or do the wheels tip in or out at the top.
And finally, there is castor. Castor measures the angle where the front axles attach to the vehicle.

The ideal alignment for your van was designed by its engineers. Alignment service at West Service Center, Inc. starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension – to see if anything’s bent or broken. Then your honest West Service Center, Inc. technician will look at tire condition.

From there, the van is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels are then aligned to van auto manufacturers’s specifications.

Your van owner’s manual probably has a recommendation for how often your alignment should be checked – usually every couple of years. If you suspect an alignment problem, get it checked at West Service Center, Inc. before you suffer expensive tire or suspension damage.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles In Chesapeake Virginia

Let’s talk about alternative fuel vehicles. In their quest to reduce the use of fossil fuels and harmful exhaust emissions to our Chesapeake environment, automakers will have a number of alternatives for us very soon.

For instance, Flex Fuel vehicles are already available in the Chesapeake area. Flex Fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on E85 fuel. E85 is a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. The ethanol is made from corn.

The benefits are in using less petroleum and reduced pollution. The drawbacks are that E85 gets lower fuel economy and that when gas prices are low, E85 can be more expensive than straight gasoline.

You should only use E85 if you have a Flex Fuel compatible engine. Flex Fuel vehicles have special seals and gaskets that can stand up to the high alcohol content of E85. Using E85 in a regular engine can lead to gas leaks and fires.

Diesel engines have been around the Chesapeake area for a long, long time. Modern diesels are very refined and fuel efficient. Diesel fuel can be made from renewable sources like vegetable oil, too. Diesel fuel from algae and sunlight is reported to be pretty close to being commercially viable.

There are also a number of natural gas vehicles on our Chesapeake roads. Gasoline engines are adapted to run on compressed natural gas. It’s less expensive than gasoline and burns very cleanly. You can even refill it with a special pump from your gas line at home.

Natural gas engines don’t make as much power and don’t get as good of mileage, but they cost less per mile to run. The big inconvenience is that the tank that holds the compressed natural gas takes up a lot of room; even your whole trunk! And there may not be places to refuel on a road trip from Chesapeake.

Plug-in electric vehicles are now available in our Chesapeake area. Battery technology is the limiting factor right now. Electric cars have a limited range and are really best for use close to home. As battery technology advances, electric cars will perform closer and closer to conventional power plants.

That brings us to hybrids. There are a bunch of hybrids on our Chesapeake roads, with more to come. Hybrid technology combines internal combustion engines with electric motors.

A mild hybrid has a regular gas or diesel engine that’s assisted by the electric motor. The electric motor can propel the vehicle by itself up to a certain speed under gentle acceleration. There are mild hybrids in full-sized pickups and SUVs. They deliver city fuel economy similar to their highway ratings.

A full hybrid will rely primarily on the electric motor for power. It’ll have a small gas or diesel engine that generates electricity for the batteries.

Another breakthrough technology is hydrogen fuel cells. Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen to generate electricity. Several global car makers have prototypes on the road. The appeal is that the only thing that comes out of the tail pipe is water vapor. It’ll take some time to build a national infrastructure of hydrogen fueling stations before there’s widespread use.

A quick word about safety around hybrid and electric vehicles. Unlike the battery in your current family car, these carry enough voltage to kill you. Never mess around under the hood or with the batteries or electrical wiring. Your Chesapeake service technician at West Service Center, Inc. is trained to safely disable the flow of electricity before performing maintenance or repairs on the vehicle.

Hybrids are really not do-it-yourself vehicles unless you’re specifically trained on hybrid systems.

Are There Blind Spots In Chesapeake Virginia?

Everyone in Chesapeake Virginia has blind spots – and no, I’m not talking about the fact that you really don’t sing like Jessica Simpson. I mean the areas of the road that you can’t see when you’re driving around Chesapeake.

First let’s talk about our own blinds spots, and then we can talk about others…

To begin, we can greatly reduce our blind spots by properly adjusting our mirrors to give the widest coverage possible. Make the adjustments in your van before you start to drive.

First, adjust your rear view mirror to give the best possible view directly to the rear of your car. You don’t need it to get a better view of either side of the car, the kids in the back seat or your dazzling smile. The rear view mirror should look to the rear.

Next, lean your head until it almost touches the driver’s side window. Adjust your side mirror so that you can just barely see the side of your car.

West Service Center, Inc.
We’re on 904 Cavalier Blvd in Chesapeake, Virginia (23323)
Call us to make an appointment at 757-487-4420.

Now, lean your head to the middle of the car and adjust the outside mirror so that you can barely see the right side of the car.

With your mirrors adjusted this way, you’ll have maximum coverage. Of course driving is a dynamic process – things change every second. So it’s wise to take a quick look to the side when passing to make sure that another vehicle hasn’t moved into an area you couldn’t see in your mirrors.

Depending on the kind of vehicle you drive (van?), you may still have some blind spots. All vehicles have an area behind them that’s blind when backing up. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. A pick up or SUV can hide a small child – an RV, bus or tractor-trailer can hide an entire vehicle. So be careful around our Chesapeake streets!

As you drive around the Chesapeake area, avoid staying in other diver’s blind spots. You can’t count on them to be watching their mirrors and looking out for you.

Let’s talk about safely sharing the road with heavy trucks and buses. In crashes involving a truck and car, the car causes about 40 percent of the accidents. But 78 percent of the fatalities are with the car. The laws of physics are against the smaller vehicle, so it pays to take extra precautions around trucks and buses.

Heavy vehicles have huge blind spots: to the rear, on both sides and up front. They also can’t maneuver like a car. They take twice as long to stop and need twice as much space as you do in your van or other type of car. You need to keep wide margins when driving around one of these big rigs.

Here are some tips for passing a heavy vehicle in the Chesapeake area:

  • Avoid the blind spots. If you can’t see the driver’s face in one of his mirrors or in a window, he cannot see you!
  • Don’t follow too close. If you can’t see one of the truck’s mirrors, you’re too close.
  • Make sure there is plenty of room to pass. Trucks are long and take time to get around. If you’re on one of our local Chesapeake Virginia two way highways, wait for a passing zone.
  • Don’t linger when passing. Because the blind spots are so big on the sides, you want to get through them quickly. If you can’t pass quickly, drop back.
  • Pass on the left whenever possible. A trucks’ blind spot is much larger on the right.
  • Be attentive and wear your seat belts while driving anywhere around Chesapeake, even short drives.
  • Don’t be aggressive when driving around trucks. Because of their size, they appear to be going slower than they really are. Cutting it short around a truck could be disastrous.
  • Use your turn signals when starting to pass. Once you can see the full truck in your rear view mirror, it’s safe to signal and move over. Don’t cut it short or slow quickly when you pull in front of a truck.
  • Be careful passing a truck at an intersection. Trucks need to turn wide to maneuver through city streets. Squeezing between a truck and the curb could put your car in the Chesapeake body shop. Look for the truck’s turn signals.

We at West Service Center, Inc. want you to watch those blind spots – but feel free to sing in the shower all you want.

Arrive Alive In Chesapeake

We’ve all seen Virginia car owners do crazy things while driving to or from Chesapeake. A guy shaving in the rear-view mirror, a woman applying makeup, people talking on their phones, texting or drinking from an enormous coffee mug. It’s a wonder we even dare drive on Virginia roads.

The truth is that all of us Chesapeake motorists are distracted when we drive. Unfortunately, traffic, road construction and other detrimental external factors are beyond our control. The distractions inside our car, however, are things we can often control.

Here’s some things that’ll give you more control in your car, and help keep your attention on the roads around Chesapeake, Virginia.

  • Chesapeake drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player.
  • Chesapeake motorists who are 20 to 29 are more distracted by passengers in the car, including small children.
  • Those over age 65 tend to be more distracted by objects or events that are outside of the vehicle.

Other factors like fatigue, stress and lack of sleep make it harder to pay attention to driving – no matter what age we are. It is always better to pull over and take a quick nap than risk falling asleep at the wheel. Chesapeake car owners are also distracted by thinking about relationships, family issues, money and bills. So what can Chesapeake drivers do to manage these harmful distractions? Well, the first thing is to eliminate as many as we can.

When you get in your car, make sure you’re belted in; that the seats, steering wheel and mirrors are adjusted; and your radio or CD player is ready.

Secure any loose objects in the car that can fall on the floor and interfere with your driving.

If you have a drink, make sure it’s spill-proof and put in a cup holder. Chesapeake auto owners’ pets should also be contained.

Virginia motorists with kids in the car should make sure they’re clipped in their seat belts or safety seats. You may want to give them some distractions to help keep them quiet and sitting in their seats. Don’t get involved in their arguments while you’re driving. Pull over if you need to find a toy or break up a fight.

If you eat while driving, choose simple finger foods that aren’t messy.

Learning your car’s controls before you drive is another key way to improve your safety. Learn how to work the radio by touch. Controls located on the steering wheel can help Chesapeake drivers keep their eyes on the road.  The same goes for heating and air conditioning controls.

If you have to use a cell phone, a hands-free system is best. But remember, the biggest cell phone distraction isn’t the phone itself – it’s the conversation. Keep conversations brief and light, or pull over if you can. Your key reaction time is much slower when talking and driving, so allow more space between you and the car ahead of you. Know your local Chesapeake laws – it may be illegal to be on the phone. Never text while driving! This has already caused many deaths and injuries in Virginia over the last few years.

And if you really think you have to shave, change your clothes or put on make-up while driving in Chesapeake – you’re wrong. Just start getting ready earlier so you have enough time to finish those things before you drive around Chesapeake.

West Service Center, Inc.
904 Cavalier Blvd
Chesapeake, Virginia 23323
757-487-4420

It’s vital to remember that driving is probably the most dangerous thing you’ll do all day – so don’t make it any worse. Use these tips to keep you and your loved ones safer behind the wheel in Chesapeake.