Time to Check Your Tires

cold air pressureWinter may be one of the most important times to stay on top of vehicle maintenance. Cold weather can be hard on vehicles, so making sure your oil is changed, the gas tank is full, and your tires are in excellent shape can help you stay safe on winter roads. Inspecting the tire pressure and tread regularly will ensure your safety and keep your vehicle’s health in check.

Temperature and Your Tires

It is very important to remember that temperature can affect tire pressure (typically 10 degrees increases pressure by 1 psi). Many people may go to drive somewhere when the temperature takes its first dip in the fall/winter, and find that their air pressure sensor goes off. It is important to check your air pressure as soon as you notice the weather getting colder.

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.

How to Check Your Tire Pressure

Having the right kind of pressure in your tires is important to ensure your tires last a long time and don’t cause a blowout while you are driving. The best part is that you don’t need to be a mechanic to check this!  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.

Checking 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.

Trusted Auto Repair in West Chester

If you discover you need a tire repair, 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. Sometimes, the unfortunate happens – so if you end up in an accident and need auto repair in West Chester, trust us with your vehicle. Be safe this winter!

Best Ways to Get Better Fuel Economy

crazy gas pricesAs gas prices continue to climb, many of us are feeling the pain at the pump. While no one can say when the fuel costs will go down, there are some great ways you can save some money and get better fuel economy – no matter what vehicle you drive.

Tips for Fuel Savings

You may not be able to incorporate every tip at every trip to the gas station – but we hope these bits of advice will help you save a little bit the next time you fill up.

  • Drive Slower – whether you’re late for work, feeling a bit of road rage, or just hate going slow, driving fast burns more fuel than a slower MPH. On the highways where the speed limit is 65-80 MPH, a ‘sweet spot’ for fuel economy is between 65 and 69 MPH. This allows you to be safe while also saving your fuel.
  • Tire Pressure – every time you put gas in the tank, you should make it a practice to check your tire pressure. Tires with too low of tire pressure (or too high) are not only dangerous but can greatly impact your fuel economy.
  • Check the Air Filters – helping your engine run more efficiently is a great way to increase your average MPG. Both the engine filter and the air filter should be checked every 3 months. Your tech will be able to recommend the timing of replacement.
  • Carpool – although this isn’t a favorite option (we all love our own rides), carpooling with a co-worker or taking turns with pick up and drop off for school can help save your trips and your fuel.

Get Your Vehicle Running Efficiently

If it’s been a while since you have had your oil changed, your air filter and engine filter checked, or you aren’t sure how to make sure your tires are at their correct level, schedule an appointment at Tommy’s. We are trusted and reputable and would love to help your vehicle run more efficiently. Hopefully, we will see the prices at the pump drop, but for now, let’s all do what we can to help one another save.


When and Why to Replace Your Vehicle Air Filters

replace air filterOh, Canada! No, we aren’t singing their anthem . . . but we are breathing in their air, and that hasn’t been a good thing. If you have noticed the increase of smokey days around Pennsylvania this summer, we can thank our neighbors to the north. While you may feel you can breathe easy indoors or in your car as long as the windows are up, you would be wrong. When smoke particles in the atmosphere increase, breathing them in can cause a lot of health damage. That is why using HEPA filters in your homes and cars is critical.

The Importance of Filtered Air

Replacing your vehicle’s cabin air filter and the engine air filter is vital for breathing, even if there isn’t an active wildfire nearby, but it is also critical for the health of your vehicle. When you neglect your cars’s air filters, a few things can happen:

  • If you breathe in air that has not been filtered or is filtered through a dirty cabin air filter, you may notice that you get sick more often, have difficulty taking deep breaths, and have allergies that are exacerbated. Your car’s health may be at risk, too.
  • Not only can the dirty air filter cause damage to spark plugs but dirty air will cause the engine to run and idle roughly.
  • A clean engine air filter actually helps contribute to good fuel economy. A dirty or damaged engine air filter makes your engine work harder, meaning it uses more fuel. An engine needs nearly 10,000 quarts of oxygen to burn a quart of fuel . . . so give it some clean air!
  • Because your engine works harder when it doesn’t have clean air, your engine life may be dramatically reduced. . . and those things aren’t cheap!

When to Replace Your Air Filter

At Tommy’s Automotive, we always check your air filter during every auto service. In general, we recommend replacing air filters (even if they look like they are okay) every 12,000 miles (or every 3-6 months depending on how much you drive). City drivers may need to replace these more often as stop-and-go traffic can increase air emissions and dirty up your filter faster (we’re talkin’ to you, Philly).

If your vehicle has been in an accident or you have taken it off-roading where the air filter may have gotten damaged or dirty – it is worth a check or replacement. The benefit is that checking your air filter is quick and replacing them is affordable. There is no reason not to!

Get a Tune-Up at Tommy’s

Whatever vehicle service you may need, our team is experienced and ready to help. We can explain further why replacing air filters is important, and we can also give you other great tips to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. It all starts with routine maintenance, so get on the schedule today.

What You Should Know About Deer Safety

deer xingAs the colors start to change all across Pennsylvania, a new danger may be lurking around the corner for many drivers. In our area, deer are aplenty. Not only do they blend in with the fall colors, but deer have a tendency to jump out in front of vehicles when they get startled. In addition, if they are running from predators they can come out of nowhere, even for the most attentive drivers.

You may think that winter is the most dangerous time to be on the road, but autumn can prove to be just as treacherous. Here are some things to know about deer on the road that could help you prevent an accident.

Avoiding a Deer Collision

  • While you should be alert any time you are driving, the most common time for deer to be on the roads is early mornings before 8am or right at dusk up until midnight between October and January.
  • If you see a deer in the ditch, don’t assume it is alone. Most deer travel in packs, which means just because there is a deer on the side of the road doesn’t mean another isn’t about to jump in front of you.
  • Deer used to be mostly seen out in the country or on rural highways. Now, due to urban sprawl and the growing deer population, it is not uncommon for them to be seen in suburban areas or even on city highways.

Tips for Driving Safely

  • During all seasons, keep distractions to a minimum. Because deer are so fast, if you take your eyes off the road for a minute it could spell disaster. Put your cell phones down and avoid eating while driving. If you have passengers, ask them to assist you with directions and with looking out for deer.
  • In good weather and when oncoming traffic is minimal, use your high beams to increase visibility.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Hitting a deer isn’t just fatal for the deer – 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. Honk at the deer and try to get it to run away from the road to help other drivers.
  • If you do hit a deer, do not approach it. Call the emergency response number so they can handle it.

At Tommy’s Automotive, we are here for you after an accident. If you hit a deer, we can help get you back on the road. Contact us today to schedule auto repair.


Gone Too Soon

Meet ShawnShawn T Wagner, our friend and coworker here at Tommy’s Automotive, unexpectedly passed away July 11th, 2022 in a tragic boating accident.  Shawn was with the company for 10 years and a friend long before that.  He would do anything to help a friend and was the type of guy that would stop to change a flat tire for a stranger in the rain.

Shawn would always say, “As long as they’re talking about you, you’re famous.”  Well Shawn, we can promise you, we will never stop talking about you.  This family will not be the same without you. We miss you bud. You’ll forever leave a void that cannot be filled in our shop and in our lives.  Rest In Peace pal.

Please use the link below to view Shawn’s Obituary and for service information.


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

dead car batteryIt can be one of the most miserable experiences in a person’s life . . . dealing with a dead battery on the side of the road in frigid temperatures. As cold temperatures set in, it is crucial to inspect your battery before you end up in that situation. If you have a dead battery, your vehicle will not start. This can happen because of cold weather or a battery that is worn out. Because a battery is such a simple part of your car, it is easy to forget this vital inspection when cold weather sets in.

Increasing the Life of Your Battery

Once you purchase a new car battery, you should have between 7 to 10 years of life in it. This depends on how many times the battery is used and what kind of conditions you use it in. Starting a vehicle in temperatures below freezing will shorten your battery life considerably. There are some ways to lengthen your battery life, though.

  • Turn off accessories when not in use, this includes your radio, headlights, overhead lights, etc.
  • Keep your vehicle warm by parking in the garage.
  • Purchase heating pads that are made specifically for your battery to keep it from succumbing to the frigid temps.
  • Apply anti-corrosion to the battery terminals to prevent anything that may prohibit conductivity between the battery and the battery cables.
  • Test your battery at any local automotive shop if you have concerns that your vehicle is not turning over (starting) as smoothly as it should be.
  • Make sure your car has a properly functioning alternator and voltage regulator. This will help keep your battery charged to the optimal level and prevent an abnormally short service life.

Ways to Kill a Battery

Whether it is from nature or neglect, a battery’s life can be shortened in a few ways. A lot of batteries die due to weather. When the temps dip below freezing, your oil becomes thicker (think about water turning into honey at 32 degrees). This slows down the conductivity of your battery, making it hard or impossible for the vehicle to start. Here are some ways to kill your battery:

  • Listening to the radio without turning your vehicle on. Most people will turn their radio or overhead lights on when they are working in the garage or hanging out at a park because they don’t want to waste the gas (and with prices of fuel rising, who can blame them)- but doing this without starting the car will kill your battery, leaving you stranded. Here’s hoping your friends brought their own vehicles!
  • Don’t start it. No one wants to go out in cold weather, but leaving your vehicle sitting in the cold for days without starting it can actually kill your battery – for good. The longer you wait to start your vehicle the more likely it is that you will have battery issues.
  • Overheat your battery. If your car does not want to start and you continue to crank on the starter, it will eventually overheat your battery. Doing this means you will need to replace the battery entirely.

Getting ahead of the problem is the best way to prevent being stranded on the side of the road, or being left at home without a running vehicle. Remember, that if you maintain your vehicle properly, your battery should last 7-10 years. If you aren’t sure how old the battery is, take it to an auto shop to have them test it. Depending on how much you spend, your battery will usually come with a 48-84 month warranty. Be sure to ask about this the next time you purchase a battery.

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.

Auto Repair: Where To Go When Your Warranty Expires

I think most of us can relate to wanting to slam our phones into a brick wall if we get another phone call about our vehicle’s extended warranty. Whether you had a warranty and it expired, never had a warranty, or extended the warranty for ‘better’ coverage, chances are you really just want the calls to stop. So, where do you go when your vehicle is in need of repair and your warranty has expired? Well, what if we told you that letting your warranty expire might be the best thing you do for your car, your pocketbook, and your sanity? West Chester PA Auto Repair

Dealership or Private Party?

The first assessment to make is whether or not your vehicle’s repairs need to be done at a dealership or privately owned business. Here is an easy checklist to refer to when deciding where to go:

  • Is it covered under warranty?
  • Is it a recall or service bulletin?

Okay, so the list really is not that long. Seriously, unless the vehicle is covered under warranty or is under a current recall, there is no reason to take your vehicle to a dealership (unless you like paying more). Even if your vehicle needs factory work, any privately owned business can perform the work for much less than a dealership would charge. Requirements for factory maintenance are published online which allows any skilled mechanic to tackle the job.

Advice From Tommy

In general, you will pay much more for your repair at a dealership. You will get a mechanic trained to work specifically on your type of car, but unless you have a rare and complicated problem, a competent mechanic at a local garage will likely give you the same parts and service for up to 40% below what you would pay at a dealership!

I think the most important thing in auto repair is the customer-mechanic relationship. You are less likely to get to know the mechanics at a dealership, and they are less likely to get to know you and your vehicle. In the end, you have to do your research about your specific vehicle and what repairs are needed.

We are happy to service your vehicle and provide any repairs needed for most makes/models. We have good relationships with many happy customers and have dozens of life-long clients. If you are in need of a quote or want more information about whether or not you need a dealership for your repairs, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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!