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Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter

Getting prepared for Winter driving

Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter

Originally posted Nov. 11, 2016

With the worst of winter right around the corner, now is a good time to get your vehicle prepared for the worst. Being based in northern Wisconsin, we at AMSOIL talk a lot about how synthetic lubricants make life a little easier, as the cold air starts to pierce our engines and lungs.

Wherever you may be, nasty road conditions and winter driving can be dangerous, so it’s always a good idea to plan ahead. Weather.com blogged about how bad-weather car accidents are more deadly in the U.S. than many of the worst storms.

Snow, rain, fog and wet pavement all pose a hazard during the season. To be ahead of the game, here are some preparedness tips:

Garage Time

  • Battery check – Cold temperatures are a battery killer. Be sure you’ve got the juice to keep going. Check the terminals for corrosion that needs cleaning and ensure the alternator and belts are in good shape.
  • Antifreeze and coolant – Look for any radiator and hose leaks and top off the reservoir, if necessary. If it’s been several years since you’ve changed the coolant, be sure to get some fresh fluid in there.
  • Windshield wipers and fluids – Make sure the wipers are working and the blades are not worn. Fill the washer reservoir with a good-quality fluid that doesn’t freeze.
  • Brake system– Being able to stop is crucial when roads are slick. Look to see that the floor mats aren’t blocking the pedal. If you notice braking issues, have the brake fluid, pads, rotors and lines checked.
  • Tire pressure and tread – Tires should be checked monthly for wear and proper inflation regardless of the season. Make sure you have a spare tire, and keep a pressure gauge in the vehicle with you.
  • Fuel and oil level – It’s a good idea to keep your fuel tank at least half-full in case you get stranded on the side of the road and need to stay warm. Motor oil should also be topped off.

Emergency Roadside Kit

  • Flashlight – I like to carry an LED flashlight in my truck since they last a long time. But a traditional flashlight works well and tends to be brighter.
  • Tool kit – It should have the basics, including screwdrivers, pliers, an adjustable wrench and a socket set. Work gloves, tape, fuses and a good pocket knife or multi-tool are all handy to have as well.
  • Blanket – Not only does it keep you warm in winter, but it can also block out wind and help treat shock victims.
  • Jumper cables – It’s best not to settle for chintzy. Good-quality, thick cables with multi-strand wire, heavy duty clips and extra length can save you from headaches. Invest in four-gauge, 20-foot cables that won’t break the bank and will last a long while.
  • Food and water – Keep a stash of high-energy foods such as granola bars and nuts in the car.
  • Fire extinguisher – Often overlooked, but good to have. A multipurpose A-B-C type is the way to go.
  • First-aid kit – Any kit should contain bandages, gauze and prep pads to stop bleeding and prevent infection.
  • Other items to consider – Maps, shovel, broom, ice scraper and flares.

Even if you don’t get any snow, it’s good to be ready for any emergency. Got any more tips to share? Let us know in the comments.

AMSOIL Expedition Colorado is Back – and You’re Invited

AMSOIL Expedition Colorado is Back – and You’re Invited

AMSOIL Expedition Colorado is Back – and You’re Invited

Can a 1943 Jeep survive this?

Remember when we asked that question? It’s been almost a year since the first AMSOIL Expedition Colorado, which sent veteran off-road racers Brad and Roger Lovell on a 550-mile trek from Colorado Springs, Colo. to Moab, Utah. Here’s a recap in case you missed it:

Well, the Lovells are back at it. But this time they’re retracing their steps from Moab back to Colorado Springs. And this time they’re inviting you to join them. Well, kind of.

Last year’s expedition drew an overwhelming response from viewers. As a way to further bring you along for the ride, the Lovells will be planting prizes from their sponsors along this year’s 615-mile course. After their trip is completed they will release a GPS map with the coordinates of all of the geocache locations.

Prizes include…

  • Two sets of BFGoodrich tires
  • A WARN Zeon winch
  • A $500 gift certificate from yours truly (AMSOIL INC.)
  • A pair of $250 Rugged Radios gift certificates
  • An ARB 4×4 Accessories recovery kit

Pack your GPS and a lunch. You might also need a tent and a raincoat because finding the prizes won’t be easy. Once a prize is collected, the recipient must post a picture on either Facebook or Instagram using #expeditioncolorado to let others know the prize is claimed.

Keep your eyes on the AMSOIL Community website Aug. 3 for the release of the route with coordinates of the prize locations. Until then, stay up to date on all the planning for AMSOIL Expedition Colorado on Facebook. To see some of the AMSOIL products the Lovell’s use in their off-road vehicles, go here.

Finally, be sure to sign up for AMSOIL Signature Series videos sent to your inbox. Subscribers will get the video documenting this year’s expedition before it’s made public.

We’re moving to the Tea exit soon!!

New Synthetic Warehouse location

The Synthetic Warehouse will be relocating to the Tea Exit

One block east and one block north then a left turn to the west. 47073 98th St – Sioux Falls Basically just behind the SE corner of the Marlin’s parking lot. The store can be accessed (although not easily) through the lot and the weeds.

Stay tuned as we will be having a moving sale soon!!

Rent in Sioux Falls is constantly increasing and my old building I rent off of 12th street is no exception not to mention the extremely high heating and cooling bills.

The AMSOIL dealer model is partially one which supplies to local merchants and service centers so this move will help us with that transition as we cater to more retail outlets to meet the demand of AMSOIL locally.

I will still be open to the public but the hours may change after we get up and running. I am also exploring a limited delivery service to any customer ordering a case minimum.

More information soon!!

New Synthetic Warehouse location

Help Revive a Lawn Mower (and other equipment) that Runs Rough

lawn mower needs AMSOIL or maintenance if not kept up

Help Revive a Lawn Mower (and other equipment) that Runs Rough

Judging someone’s character can be boiled down to this key question: do they love going to the dump?

An affirmative answer indicates a visionary – one who sees a fashionably distressed dining set where others see a worn out table and chairs. One who sees the south wall of their new chicken coop where others see dusty old windows. One who sees his new (free) rolling shop stool where others see a ratty office chair.

Why drop $50 on a shop stool when you can get a sweet unit like this free at the dump?

So, while I salivate at adding a lawnmower, snowblower or other piece of equipment from the dump to my family fleet, I also burn with shame toward my fellow man for discarding something that might have been easily repaired.

There has to be a better way

One of the biggest reasons people junk their lawnmower, string trimmer, chainsaw or other equipment is because it starts hard and runs rough. A dirty carburetor is often to blame.

Over time, oxygen deteriorates the gasoline in the carb, leading to the formation of varnish and other deposits that stick the float, block the screens and plug the tiny fuel passages. The result? Fuel that doesn’t flow properly and an arm nearly ripped from its socket from fruitlessly yanking the starter cord.

Engine deposits are another problem

The combustion chamber grows intensely hot during operation. The heat breaks down motor oil, creating carbon that can lodge in the ring lands and cause the piston rings to stick. Stuck rings reduce engine compression, which makes starting more difficult and reduces engine power.

Gasoline byproducts can form deposits on the piston crown, which can lead to pre-ignition. That’s when a super-heated chunk of carbon ignites the fuel/air mixture before the spark plug fires, causing a shock wave in the cylinder that can lead to piston damage.

In two-stroke engines, deposits can block the exhaust port or spark arrestor screen, choking off airflow and leading to rough-running. If bad enough, the engine will quit running altogether.

String trimmer exhaust port plugged with carbon deposits, causing it to run poorly.

An effective way to prevent hard-starting, rough-running equipment is to treat gas with gasoline stabilizer prior to storage and to periodically clean the carburetor and combustion chamber with a good fuel additive. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself at the dump paying to dispose of your lawnmower, snowblower or other equipment while people like me lie in wait, rubbing our hands together with glee.

If your engine and carburetor are already dirty and causing grief, clean them with AMSOIL Power Foam. It’s a potent cleaning agent that…

  • Cleans deposits from ethanol and degraded fuel
  • Removes gum and varnish
  • Maximizes horsepower
  • Restores startability
  • Helps improve fuel economy
  • Reduces pollution

It will not damage seals, gaskets, rubber or plastic materials commonly used in gasoline engines.

I’ve tried it a few times on my lawn and garden equipment, and it’s pretty simple to use. Just run the engine to normal operating temperature, remove the air filter and spray Power Foam into the intake as fast as possible without stalling the engine. You may have to rev the engine to facilitate the process. Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area because an impressive volume of smoke will emit from the exhaust.

Then, shut off the engine and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

While you’re waiting, Power Foam‘s potent formula attacks and loosens the built-up carbon and varnish, helping free stuck rings, clean the valves and piston crown, and remove varnish from the carburetor. If the engine is especially dirty, you may want to repeat the process.

Replace the air filter, start the engine and pat yourself on the back for helping prevent the addition of one more perfectly usable piece of equipment to the local dump.

It may be unfortunate for scavengers like me, but it’s great for your wallet.

And here’s another Sioux Falls secrete for you lawn care customers!! A frequent weedeater problem easy to repair.

What’s the Difference Between DOT 3 and DOT 4 Brake Fluid?

DOMINATOR DOT 4 Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid

What’s the Difference Between DOT 3 and DOT 4 Brake Fluid?

The primary difference between Dot 3 and Dot 4 is their respective boiling points.

I suspect I know your next question.

But first, some background. The U.S. Department of Transportation classifies brake fluid into four main categories:

  • DOT 3
  • DOT 4
  • DOT 5
  • DOT 5.1

Their primary differences are their wet & dry boiling points and their composition.

DOT 3 is the most common type used in cars and trucks today. DOT 4, however, is gaining popularity due to widespread use of anti-lock braking systems and traction control, which benefit from DOT 4 fluid’s lower viscosity.

DOT 4 is compatible with DOT 3, but features a higher boiling point. DOT 5 is silicone, meaning it doesn’t absorb water. It’s not compatible with the other brake fluids and is used mostly in classic cars that remain in storage for long periods and need a brake fluid that doesn’t absorb water. DOT 5.1, meanwhile, is used in high-performance and heavy-duty applications due to its high boiling point.

Bring it to a boiling point

So now we’re back to boiling point. What does it mean? After all, we’re not cooking this stuff.

Well, in the right operating and ambient conditions, you are cooking it.

Aggressive braking can lead to intense heat.

Braking generates intense heat between the brake pads and rotors. Maybe you’ve seen a race on TV where the producers stick a GoPro under the car to show the brakes literally glowing red when the driver depresses the pedal. The intense heat can vaporize the brake fluid, causing it to become compressible, which leads to a spongy feeling when you apply the brakes.

Braking also places the fluid under intense pressure, potentially causing the fluid to boil. That leaves gas in the lines, which is compressible, leading to a soft pedal. In racing and performance-driving circles, this is known as brake fade, and it’s something drivers actively want to avoid. To drive as effectively and safely as possible, the driver must be confident that the brakes will perform on lap 10 as they did on lap one.

Brake fade can also come from the brake pad/rotor interface. The pads release gasses as well, which reduces contact between the pads and rotors. That’s why high-end rotors are slotted and drilled – to release gasses quicker, limiting fade.

Brake fade isn’t just for racers

Brake fade can affect nearly anyone. Descending a steep hill, especially when hauling a heavy load or towing a trailer, can generate tremendous heat if you ride or pump the brakes.

PRO TIP: Next time, downshift into a lower gear before descending a steep incline.

By the time you reach the bottom, your pedal may go nearly to the floor, making your heart rate go nearly through the roof.

If you like to toss your vehicle around a curvy country road for a little therapy, standing on the brakes going into corners can create sufficient heat to cause brake fade, too. If you get a little too zealous, you may end up going right through a corner and into the woods.

The fluid’s boiling point indicates the temperature at which the brake fluid vaporizes. The higher the DOT classification, the higher the boiling point, thus the better the fluid is at resisting heat. That’s why racers use DOT 4, not DOT 3, brake fluid.

Boiling point is separated into dry & wet boiling points

The dry boiling point is determined using fresh fluid straight from a new container. The fluid’s wet boiling point is determined using fluid that’s been contaminated with 3.7 percent water, thus it’s always lower than the dry boiling point. Why would test administrators contaminate good fluid? Because it’s a reflection of what happens in the real world.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water (except silicone-based DOT 5 brake fluid). DOT 3 fluid, for example, can absorb up to two percent water every year. Moisture can enter the system when you remove the reservoir cap to add fluid, through worn seals and even through the rubber brake lines themselves. Thus the fluid’s wet boiling point is the number that more accurately represents what’s really going on in your vehicle.

Which makes it important to periodically flush the brake system and replace the fluid to remove moisture. Otherwise, not only will your brakes become spongy and unsafe, the moisture will slowly corrode metal components.

A good rule of thumb is to change the brake fluid every other year in passenger vehicles, and at least every year in racing vehicles. The AAA says 88 percent of motorists overlook brake maintenance, so you’re not alone if you haven’t changed brake fluid in awhile, like since you bought your vehicle.

It’s not too late to start, though. And when you do, check out our line of brake fluids for your vehicle. The easiest way to determine the correct brake fluid for you vehicle is to use our Product Guide.

Find AMSOIL Brake Fluid for my Vehicle

Sioux Falls Webmaster note: AMSOIL’s Dot 4 outperforms it’s new 5.1 because the 4 is designed purely as a racing brake fluid where as the 5.1 id the latest for all uses yet still beyond the minimum standard.