About Tommy’s

News, events, and other information are posted in this category. Read the history of Tommy’s Automotive on our about page.

Summer: Beating the Heat with A/C

We rely on our auto air conditioner every single day to stay cool on our way to work, yet many of us don’t even think about how it works.  Even if your A/C unit appears to be working, it could still be running inefficiently, meaning either you can’t quite get cool or you might be losing a lot of gas mileage.

auto air conditioningThe most common problem with an air conditioner is a low level of refrigerant, which can happen without visible difference.  If your refrigerant levels are off, your car will be using too much gas to cool itself down, causing you to lose gas mileage and therefore money.  Because of routine problems like this, we recommend that you have your A/C checked at least once every two years (if not more often), especially before the summer months.

In addition to having regular maintenance on your A/C system, there are a few ways to save fuel while still staying cool.  Of course, there is the dilemma of whether to roll the windows down or run the air conditioning.  Although there is some debate among the experts, the general consensus is that at lower speeds (under 45 mph), having the windows down is more efficient, while at higher speeds (above 45 mph), having the windows down causes too much air drag, so running the A/C is better.  One other way to save gas that not as many people know about is to run your A/C on re-circulate because it takes significantly less energy to cool down the already cooler inside air than the hotter outside air.

As you get ready for the summer months this year, consider taking your car into the shop to make sure everything is running at peak efficiency.

Spring: Check Your Belts and Hoses

honda_engine

Belts and hoses are some of the most overlooked parts in your engine, but they are essential to the engine doing its job properly.  Belts and hoses are typically checked every time your car goes in for a tune-up (every 30,000 miles), but checking them is easy and can save you a lot of hassle.  In fact, nearly a third of all cars and light trucks have belts or hoses that should be replaced, according to a recent survey.

Hoses in your engine are designed to keep the engine cool.  This is a pretty important job, but as hoses get older, they can leak or deteriorate.  A faulty hose is a very easy (and inexpensive) fix, and if it is left alone, it can result in much more serious and expensive repairs to the engine.

Belts do a lot of different jobs within the engine.  As with hoses, belts start to deteriorate over time (especially with cold temperatures) and can fray or even snap.  If a belt snaps while you are out on the road, the only way to get the car moving again is a tow truck.  Avoid the problem all together and simply have your belts checked regularly and replaced as necessary.

Learn more about our other repair services.

Winter Instagram Roundup

Here’s a roundup of what’s been going on at Tommy’s this winter. We had a great season!

Get the latest on cool cars, stay informed on what Peyton’s up to, and get an insider’s look at goings on in the shop. To stay in the loop, make sure to follow us on Instagram.

Make Sure Your Battery Doesn’t Leave You Out in the Cold

car batteryBatteries are one of the simplest, yet most vital parts of a car.  If the battery is dead or isn’t working, the car won’t even start in the first place. However, people often forget to check their batteries until it’s too late and end up stranded.

Two easy ways to keep your battery running longer include keeping your car in a garage when it’s at home to shield it from the elements and cleaning off the battery.  To clean the battery, look for build-up around the terminals; it can usually be easily removed with some baking soda and water.

It’s also a good idea to keep tabs on how your battery is doing throughout its lifecycle.  You can do this by using a battery tester at a local auto shop. Although these testers can’t give you perfect information about what is going on, they can give you an idea of how the battery is doing overall.

People often have problems with batteries in the winter for a couple of reasons.  First of all, the oil inside your engine is essentially like molasses in the cold weather, making the engine much harder to turn over (requires more current from battery).  Second of all, your battery does not produce its normal amount of energy in the cold.  These two factors combine to cause a lot of problems, which is why it’s better to be safe than sorry with batteries, especially in the winter.

A battery’s typical lifetime usually ranges between 4 and 5 years.  At that point, there’s usually nothing that can be done to save the battery; it simply has to be replaced.  Just remember, you’d rather be on top of it and get it replaced 6 months early on your own schedule than have to do an emergency repair after your battery fails out and strands you in the cold.

Just in case you have a battery problem, it’s always good to remember how to jump a car.

Have questions about your battery? Give us a call (610) 696-2633.

Ring in the New Year With a Bang, Not a Crash

Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, more Americans are on the road and are likely to drink beyond their limits. This is a recipe for dangerous driving. In order to reduce the risk of accidents this New Year’s, follow our tips for keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.

Start 2017 With Safe Driving

Monitor Your Alcohol Intake: New Year’s Eve parties tend to be associated with heavy drinking. Know your limit, and keep track of how much you drink. Make sure you hydrate your system by drinking lots of water.

Have a Designated Driver: Ask a sober friend or family member for a ride. With services like Lyft and Uber, there is no excuse for getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

Take the Keys: If your friend has had too much to drink, take their keys so they won’t be tempted to drive.

Stay off the Roads: Avoid driving, especially between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m., when drunk driving is most common. If you must drive, do so defensively. Make sure you maintain awareness, avoid distractions, and buckle up.

New Year’s Eve is one of the most dangerous nights for driving. Follow our tips to stay safe. On behalf of all of us at Tommy’s Automotive, have a great 2017!

Time to Check Your Tires

Tires are a very important part of your car for obvious reasons—they are what keeps your car on the road.  There are two main things that need to be checked on your tires: pressure and tread.

maintenance-tiresTire pressure is very easy to check and extremely important to keep in the recommended range. The recommended tire pressure is listed in the car’s owner manual but is typically between 27 and 32 psi.  In order to check the tire pressure, you simply need an accurate pressure gauge, which can be purchased at a local hardware store. Remember that temperature can affect tire pressure (typically 10 degrees increases pressure by 1 psi), so if your tires were filled in the winter, they may be overinflated when it gets hotter. Having the correct tire pressure is extremely important because under-inflated tires are significantly more likely to fail and also cause decreased gas mileage.

When people talk about tire tread, they are referring to the depth of the grooves on the outside of your tires.  These grooves are extremely important, because they deal with things like mud, water, and snow on the road.  Without grooves, those elements would quite literally lift the tire off of the road, causing you to lose control.  So, when your tires’ tread starts to get low, you could be at a significantly higher risk to hydroplane.  The age-old trick involves using a penny to estimate how much tread you have left. When your tires lose most of their tread, it’s time to get them replaced.

This fall, make sure your car is staying on the road and not losing gas mileage to bad tires.  Come into the shop and we’d be happy to replace your tires or do any other maintenance you need.

 

What You Should Know About Deer Safety

Now that the leaves are changing, drivers have a new set of hazards. Leaves present a danger on the road, school buses are back on the move, and it’s deer season. You’ll want to watch out for deer, because these guys are very athletic. They can run up to 40 miles an hour and leap high enough to scale a 9-foot fence.

According to a post by Geico, there are things you can do to stay safe during deer season.  Read below to learn more about how to prevent these leaping marathoners from crashing into your vehicle.

Some facts about deer on the road:

  • Accidents involving deer occur mostly between October and January, which is deer breeding season.
  • Deer are most active in the early morning and evening, between 5 AM and 8 AM and from 5 PM until midnight.
  • Deer travel in packs, so if you see one, there are likely more nearby.
  • They aren’t just on country roads. Due to urban sprawl and the growing deer population, our forest friends make appearances anywhere from suburban streets to city highways.

How to Avoid Colliding with a Deer:

  • Be alert, particularly in keeping the right side of the road on your radar. If a deer enters the road from the left, you have a better chance of spotting it before it’s too late.
  • When possible, use your high beams for increased visibility.
  • Buckle up! Sixty percent of fatal animal accidents occur when the driver or passengers were not wearing their seat belts.
  • If you notice a deer on the road, break firmly and be careful not to swerve.
  • If you do hit a deer, do not approach it. Injured deer are likely to injure you due to fright. Make sure to call the authorities as soon as possible, as the deer may block the road and be a hazard to other drivers.

 

Keep Your Children Safe on the Road This School Year

It’s back to school season! Are your children prepared to travel to and from school? According to the National Safety Council, teen driving accidents spike in September. While the school bus tends to be safer, students need to follow safety rules to ensure their trip runs smoothly.

It is vital to refresh your children’s knowledge on transportation safety. Whether your child drives to school or takes the bus, we have the tips to get them to and from school without a problem.

Teen Driving Safety Tips:

  • Set household rules with your teen. Don’t rely on laws to police your kids’ driving habits. Discuss cell phone use, music and other distractions, and passengers.
  • Remind your teen of the 5 basic rules of safe driving: no phones, no extra passengers, no speeding, no alcohol, and no driving or riding without a seat belt.
  • Know that the main factor in teen accidents is that teens are inexperienced drivers. They have trouble determining breaks in traffic, turning safely, selecting appropriate speeds, and tend to make a number of other errors.

Tips for Helping Children Board the Bus Safely:

  • Keep all belongings in a backpack to prevent dropped items. If your child bends down, it’s difficult for drivers to see them.  Your child should know to never pick up a dropped item. Instead, they should tell the driver they’ve dropped something and follow further instructions.
  • Groups of children are easier for drivers to spot. Walk younger children onto the bus and have older students walk in one group.
  • Encourage students to be alert. Don’t let them play or push each other at the bus stop.
  • Have children practice taking 5 giant steps. That’s 10 feet. While waiting for the bus, your student should be a minimum of 10 feet away from traffic.

 

Are You Following Us on Instagram?

If not, you should be! You can find us on Instagram @tommysautomotive. Give us a follow for some “behind-the-scenes” photos of our everyday work, or just to see what kind of trouble Peyton and the guys get into! To fill you in on what you’ve missed, we put together this photo gallery of some of our more recent posts.

For more photos, don’t forget to check out our profile. Peyton has big dreams of becoming an Instagram celebrity and needs your help. If only she could master the art of the selfie…

Happy 2016 from the Team at Tommy’s

dog repairs carsNow that it’s the beginning of a new year, it’s a great time to reflect on all of the changes that happened at Tommy’s in 2015. We had a great year of growth, which included our first full year in our bigger (now 8500 square feet) and better location in the Matlack Industrial Center in West Chester. Thanks to all of our new space, we were able to service 1,000 more cars in 2015 than in 2014. It was also our first full year with Peyton as our resident guard dog. Although there were times when her bark was certainly worse than her bite, we found that a quick treat and belly rub sweetened her right up.

Perhaps the biggest change to happen in 2015 is Tom Sr’s decision to retire. This decision comes after 40 years of dedicated service in the auto repair industry. In addition to being a career mechanic, he taught his son everything he knows and made Tommy’s Automotive possible. Although we’re sad to see Tom go, this is certainly a well-deserved accomplishment. Still, his son admits he’s looking forward to finally being the big Tom on campus. We wish him all the best in his post-mechanic life.

Although we lost one member of the team, we did gain two more. See below for more information about Blair and Alex.


alex

Alex

Alex is a skilled mechanic with experience working at independent shops and dealers like Mitsubishi and Dodge. His specialty lies in diesels, like his very own VW TDI SportWagen. Alex lives in Downingtown with his wife and their two dogs. He enjoys extreme hobbies such as mountain biking. Learn more.


Blair

Blair

Blair is a VW certified master technician and a great asset to the Tommy’s Automotive team. In addition to being a skilled tech, Blair is passionate about boxer adoption. Specifically, he supports Adopt a Boxer Rescue and proudly sports his adoption magnets on his tool box. Learn more.

Did we provide great service to you in 2015? If so, let us know on our reviews page! Happy New Year!

Watch Out for Leaves!

Roadway with LeavesWith fall weather starting to officially make it’s appearance, you might be noticing that the leaves are starting to change color and clog the roadways.

While you may not realize it, leaves can create quite a problem when you need to come to a complete stop. In fact, it creates a similar sliding effect to snow and delays the time it takes you to bring your vehicle to a complete stop.

It’s a good idea to check your tire pressure in the fall (with temperatures dropping) and get a tire rotation if you have not recently had one. This will ensure that your tires have adequate tread, are aligned and properly balanced, and contain the correct tire pressure.

Fall is also a time when you want to keep an eye out for school buses, pedestrians, and fog! Just because there’s not snow on the road yet, doesn’t give you a good reason to go over the speed limit.

April Monthly Special

monthly specialDid you hit any potholes this winter? Get your car riding smooth again just in time for spring. Our mascot Peyton is offering an alignment special for just $119.95 through the month of April. For the price above, the special includes:

  • Wheel Alignment
  • Wheel Balancing
  • Wheel Rotation

Keep in mind that  out of balance tires will cause uneven tire wear and lower gas mileage. Also, your tires should be rotated & balanced about every 7,500 miles, regardless of any pothole problems. Peyton just wants to make sure that your vehicle is safe for both pets and their humans!

*Disclaimer: Valid for most cars and small trucks.

Give us a call at  (610) 696-2633 to schedule an appointment, and be sure to mention Peyton’s special!

Luxury Car Repairs

At Tommy’s, we can handle all types of cars, including specialty and luxury cars. Take a look at some recent cars we worked on.

Each car model and make requires individualized service, which is why we take the time to understand your car. We can handle repairs for all makes & models, and we also specialize in BMW repair.

Haven’t Seen Tommy’s New Shop? It’s Time for an Oil Change.

New Auto Repair Shop in West Chester

We’ve been getting cozy in our new, bigger and better location. Have you still not seen our shop on Carter Drive? Then it’s time for you to stop in for an oil change.

maintenance-oil-changeAt Tommy’s, we recommend you have your oil changed every 3 months or every 3,000 miles. While some manufacturers suggest changing your oil every 5,000 miles, these estimates are based on ideal driving conditions, which most of us aren’t actually doing.If your driving habits fit any of the follow situations, you will want to take extra special care of your vehicle, as these conditions can cause problems for your engine.

  • Frequent short trips of 10 miles or less
  • Short trips in cold weather
  • Stop and start city driving
  • Highway driving in extreme heat
  • Driving in dusty conditions like gravel and sand

Learn more about engine maintenance and oil changes. 

Give us a call (610) 696-2633, and we’ll get you setup with a quick oil change. Take care of your car now so you won’t need to come to us for engine repairs later.