Winter Auto Care in Omaha, NE – 2019
In 2018, Nebraska enjoyed an unusually warm November and December, but the cold weather has finally started to come in full force for January and February. Extreme heat and cold temperatures often cause problems that some drivers may not have experience with.
Strictly Business spoke to three local Omaha businesses with experience in automotive care to learn what car and truck owners can do to protect their property from common problems which can lead to lasting damage.
Cody Simons is the owner of DPC Unlimited LLC, a family owned and operated diesel performance, chrome, and truck accessories retail outlet, utilizing over 40 years of combined experience in the repair and trucking industry. Simons said this about his work with DPC: “We specialize in assisting our clients with making their trucks look good and perform at their best. We can help with any chrome or truck accessory need and offer the diesel performance parts and tuning required for on and off-road performance for big rigs and light duty pickups.”
Simons says one recommendation he makes to his customers to help them save money in the long run is an economy tune to improve miles per gallon. “One of the best things we can do is put an economy tune on, it will help boost the performance and help boost the fuel mileage….when you are not spending as much on fuel, it pays for itself,” says Simons. One of DPC’s specialties is helping big-rig and truck owners personalize their work vehicle. “A lot of what DPC can do is get you set up with the after-market accessories that you want to make your vehicle your own. Everybody has got the same thing. We can set you up with accessories that make your vehicle special to you. We do lights, bumpers, wheels, and mats to keep the interior protected when everything is wet and soggy,” says Simons.
Simons says both extremely hot and cold conditions can affect a car’s battery life. “It’s really the heat that kills the battery and the cold that takes them out. When it’s hot, maintain a good clean cooling system. Make sure everything is flushed out,” says Simons.
Mark Griger, the owner of Fleetmark Solutions, says two of the most common ways the cold winter weather creates problems for customers is by affecting the vehicle’s battery and antifreeze. “Every year that you drive a vehicle, the antifreeze loses some of its qualities. If you don’t have it checked it may freeze up on you. Every couple years it might be good to flush it out. As it loses its ability to not freeze, it builds acidity over time.”
Griger warns his customers that when their vehicle is inspected, look for a professional that is thorough. “They’ll take the cap off and look at it, and say, ‘Yes it’s full.’ But that doesn’t mean it’s good,” says Griger.
Griger says before driving on a cold morning, check your tires for low pressure. “It’s obviously colder, it’s a lot stiffer. It’s a lot easier to damage than when it’s warmer when the tire is more pliable. Make sure you have enough tread on there.” Because a tire’s tread provides grip, a low tread can cause a tire to slip due to low grip. Temperature can affect a tire’s grip as well as age and use.
Griger says the ability to diagnose a problem correctly is the best way to prevent car services from becoming more expensive than they should be. “We have top of the line diagnostic equipment. It points us in the right direction to repair that problem instead of replace everything. With computers you have to communicate with the system to diagnose the problem. It gives us a fault code, a piece of information to help us diagnose the problem. That’s what we do: we find out what’s not right so we can fix the problem, rather than replace a whole part,” says Griger.
Griger’s top piece of advice to those in the market to buy a used car is this: “Always, always have it looked by someone you trust, and if possible make sure the car is certified pre-owned.” Griger recommends that a thorough car inspection should look for tricks to disguise problems with the vehicle. “For example, they might spray some lubricant on it to disguise the squeak, and it’s quiet for a few weeks. They’re trying to hide the sounds and problems and issues,” says Griger. Earning a reputation of trustworthiness from his customers is why Griger decided to go open his own business. “I built my business on integrity, that’s why we’re called Fleetmark Solutions instead of Fleetmark Repairs. I’m always willing and more than happy to take a call from somebody if they’re at another shop and want an estimate on my side. Cover your six, and make sure someone is not trying to get over on you,” says Griger.
Most drivers know to be cautious of slippery roads to avoid major accidents. But few are aware that even a seemingly minor fender bender can damage the internal parts in the car. Dingman’s Collision Center is a family owned and operated business that has been serving customers in the Omaha metropolitan area for the past 22 years. Darcie Dingman is their director of marketing and human resources. She joined her family’s business over 12 years ago after completing a degree in human resource management. “We were beginning to expand and I wanted to be a part of what my parents had worked so hard to build. It is exciting to see our expansion just in the time that I have been on board!” says Darcie Dingman.
“An accident, even a minor one, can affect your entire vehicle. And sometimes damage isn’t readily apparent to the eye,” says Dingman. To ensure that a vehicle meets manufacturer specifications after an accident, Dingman’s uses frame-measuring technology.
In 2017, Dingman’s completed a major milestone, opening the new division Dingman’s Mechanical Repair. While Dingman’s Collision Center specializes in restoring a car to factory-standards after an accident, Dingman’s Mechanical Repair specializes in general maintenance needs of any vehicle. “Ultimately, our goal at Dingman’s Mechanical Repair is to help you maintain the value of your vehicle. Whether you own or lease it or if your vehicle is part of a fleet, we can handle all types of repairs. Every one of our mechanical technicians is ASE certified, so you will receive only the best work on your car, truck, or van,” writes Darcie Dingman.
While buying a used car can seem like an economical choice, it can become costly to repair a vehicle which has not been thoroughly inspected before purchase. Maintaining your own vehicle, whether it has been in an accident, or during the snowy months of the year when sleet and salt can cause damage, is a wise choice for anyone who wants to preserve the re-sale value of their vehicle.