About Tommy’s

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

Time to Check Your Tires

When it comes to vehicle maintenance, there are several things you should be checking, but none quite as important as the quality and life of your tires. Inspecting the tire pressure and tread regularly will ensure your safety and keep your vehicle’s health in check.

checking your tires

Under Pressure: Maintain the Right PSI

Being under pressure or feeling pressured is not a great feeling unless you are a tire. Having accurate tire pressure at all times is not only easy to check, but it is also incredibly essential to vehicle maintenance. Not all vehicles are created equally, so the first step to checking your tire pressure is to look up the recommended psi for your specific make/model. Most vehicles recommend keeping their tires between 27 and 32 psi for each tire. Having the right tool to check tire pressure is also vital. You can find a tire pressure gauge at most stores that have an automotive department. They are relatively affordable and easy to use. It is also important to remember that temperature can affect tire pressure (typically 10 degrees increases pressure by 1 psi), so if your tires were filled in the winter, you can expect a higher psi in the summer months. Likewise, if you fill your tires at the beginning of the fall season, they may become under-inflated when it gets colder. Maintaining the correct tire pressure is especially important in the winter months, as having an under-inflated set of tires is going to severely impact your gas mileage and could lead to tire failure on the road. If you need to fill your tires, please use this map to find a location near you that has a free air pump.

Don’t Blow It: Check the Tread

You have probably heard the old adage that if you stick a penny in the tread of your tires and see Lincoln’s forehead it is time for a new set of tires. This is a great initial test to check the wear on your tires. The tread on your tires assists your vehicle’s ability to control and navigate safely through the elements. Without tread, driving through mud, water, and snow can become incredibly dangerous. As your tread gets worn down, the lining of your tire becomes thinner. The thinner it becomes incredibly slippery. This will allow your vehicle to hydroplane, get stuck, and even puts you at risk for a blowout. So, heed the advice of your grandparents and grab a penny for the road.
If you discover you need new tires, or you need help with any aspects of vehicle maintenance, please come into our shop or contact us and we would be happy to assist you. Be safe this winter!

 

Keep Your Children Safe on the Road This School Year

School Bus Stop SignIt’s time to go back to school! Whether you are sending your child to school on a bus or letting your teen driver take a turn at the wheel, it is important to prepare them for the journey. According to the CDC, 258,000 teens were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes in 2019.

While taking the bus tends to be a safer alternative, teaching your children these basic safety tips is vital in helping them arrive at school safely.

Teen Driving Safety Tips:

  • Remember that safety starts in the home. Setting household guidelines when it comes to driving habits is important when your kids begin driving. Points of discussion would be cell phone use, music and other distractions, passengers that are not family members, etc.
  • 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, which makes them the MOST dangerous demographic on the road. They have trouble determining breaks in traffic, turning safely, selecting appropriate speeds, and tend to make a number of other poor decisions regarding nighttime driving, alcohol, and seatbelt use.

Tips for Helping Children Board the Bus Safely:

  • Keep all belongings in a backpack to prevent dropped items. If a ball gets dropped and rolls near a school bus, your child should know to alert the bus driver before going to get it. Under no circumstance should your child pick up a dropped item.
  • 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 make eye contact. The NHTSA recommends children arrive at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus arrives and to stand at least 10 feet away from traffic.
  • Remind children to never stand or walk behind a bus. If your child needs to cross the street, encourage them to wait until the bus has left or teach them to communicate with the bus driver directly about crossing in front of the bus at a safe time.

Even though school buses are among the safest vehicles on the road, if not the safest, it is imperative that your student know best practices when it comes to keeping it that way. If you’ll be driving your child into school (or they’ll be driving), this is also a good time to make sure your car’s inspection is up-to-date. If your car is in need of a service, be sure to contact Tommy’s Automotive.

Summer: Beating the Heat with A/C

Car air conditionerRoad trips are a family favorite for many, and now that the heat is rising, it’s essential for any summer road trip to have optimal air conditioning.

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

AC Problems May Be Caused By Low Refrigerant

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

Is Your Car More Efficient With the Windows Rolled Down?

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 cool 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 the better option. A final way to save gas that is not commonly known 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 hottest months of the year, or your road trip, consider taking your car into the shop to make sure everything is running at peak efficiency. Contact us today!

Text to Pay Available Now

Text to PayYou no longer have to worry about picking up your car before the shop closes! Tommy’s Automotive now offers a text-to-pay method. This system sends a text containing payment links allowing customers to easily and conveniently pay for their service from their phone.

This user-friendly service is a safe and secure way to send payments. It allows customers to pay for their service without needing to be at the office to process payments. Try it out next time you visit Tommy’s Automotive!

 

Replacing a Radiator on a 1957 Chevrolet

Antique cars hold a special meaning to their owners. Their doors hold memories of a lifetime and keeping the vehicle in perfect shape is necessary.

We recently received a call to replace a radiator for a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. After a few hours, we were able to return this beautiful blue car to its owners. We are excited that we were given the opportunity to work on such a unique car. Check it out:

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 is no longer working, the car won’t even start in the first place. However, people often forget to check their batteries until it’s too late which leads to them being 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.

Spring: Check Your Belts and Hoses

Car beltsBelts and hoses are some of the most overlooked parts of 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 altogether and simply have your belts checked regularly and replaced as necessary.

Contact us today and learn more about our other repair services.

Tommy’s Automotive Holiday Hours

Happy New YearTommy’s Automotive will be closed Monday and Tuesday the 24th and 25th for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and then Monday and Tuesday the 31st and the 1st for New Years Eve and New Years Day.  All other hours are normal.

Happy Holidays from Tommy’s Automotive!

What You Should Know About Deer Safety

deer 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.

 

Winter Tire Maintenance and PA Potholes

It’s a difficult time to be a tire. Our neighborhoods are all becoming 1 giant pothole, and it’s difficult to avoid them. All of this is quite annoying, and if that weren’t enough, it also affects your car.

Changing winter temperatures aren’t just a pain for you. As the temperature drops, so does your tire pressure, so be sure to keep your eye on the PSI. Luckily, warmer weather will soon be here (knock on wood). So go ahead and take the time to give your tires some extra TLC.

Rotate Your Tires

Not sure if it’s time to rotate your tires? Many people like to have their tires rotated when getting an oil change. Generally, they should be rotated every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. At around 40,000 miles it’s time to think about tire replacement, which is where our fancy machinery can help.

Potholes, Potholes Everywhere

potholesWe’ve all been seeing it. Those gosh darn potholes are literally everywhere, and there’s nothing we can do about it. To avoid any tire damage, be sure to slow down on roads that aren’t well paved.  Sure fixing a tire problem is one thing, but running over a deep pothole can actually bring up a host of other problems, including:

  • Premature wear on shocks
  • Suspension damage
  • Steering misalignment
  • Exhaust system damage
  • Engine damage

Within the first two weeks of the new year, Philadelphia alone had over 500 reported potholes. And it’s only getting worse.

While some people have received money towards repairs from filing insurance claims, it can often cause more of a problem, further increasing insurance rates. Learn more in this Philly.com article.

If you think your tires need a little extra winter TLC, stop by Tommy’s and we can make sure your car hasn’t been damaged by excess pothole driving.

Winter Instagram Roundup

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

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 the New Year 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 new year!

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!