Take a Break from the Brake!

Did you know that resting your foot on the brake pedal actually applies the brakes, even if you don’t put any pressure on it? That’s right. The brake pedal is so sensitive that even the weight of your foot is enough. We have customers come in and ask why their brakes are wearing so fast. They ask why they aren’t getting the MPG they expect. Sometimes it’s because their feet are putting on the brakes and they don’t even know it!

So rest your foot on the floor, not the brake pedal. It will save you money in the long run.

Batteries, Amperage & Replacement

The average battery life is 3-4 years. If you leave a battery in a car too long, it can harm the alternator. An alternator is designed to keep a battery charged, not to charge a dead battery. Slowly over a period of time, your alternator will have to run longer and harder until it gets to the point that whenever the vehicle is on, the alternator is running at maximum voltage just to keep the battery charged. Replacing an alternator is a lot more expensive than replacing a battery.

Batteries are temporary. There’s a chemical reaction that occurs between the plates in the battery and the fluid within the battery. As that chemical reaction occurs, the battery slowly dissolves itself from the inside out and the amperage is reduced.

When we test a battery, we check what cold-cranking amps are available, at what voltage the charging system is charging, what the starter is drawing. The starter motor can begin to go bad and will draw more amperage than the battery is capable of providing. A battery has to have the cold-cranking reserve so it is able to give the starter that initial “shot” to get the starter turning and to get everything working.

We recommend having your battery tested and the terminals and connectors cleaned not only with regular maintenance, but also with the change of each season.

Seasonal Checklist

Rough roads, extreme weather changes, salt, dirt and sand. Seasonal changes are tough on all of us, including your car! Now is the time to get it into peak working order. Here is a quick checklist:

  • TIRES – Drastic temperature changes usually lead to your tires losing pressure. Under-inflated tires wear unevenly and lose traction more easily. Look at your tread. Make sure it’s not wearing more on the inside or outside, but evenly across. If you notice uneven wear, you might need an alignment, rotation or even tire replacement.
  • WIPERS – Ice, salt, dirt and sand can abrade your windshield wipers. We’re heading into the rainy season and good wipers are going to be critical to your safety. If your wipers are rough or torn, replace them.
  • COOLANT – Your heating and cooling system has probably taken a beating. In addition to refilling anti-freeze, you might want to consider a coolant flush and system inspection.
  • CABIN AIR FILTER – Just like you change your air filters at home, your car’s filter needs changing too. Your cabin filter can get clogged with pollen, dirt, dust and other contaminants. We recommend changing it at least twice a year.
  • MPG CHECK – Does it seem like your car has lost some of its oomph? Has your MPG bottomed out? It could be due to gunk in your fuel system. Our ASE Certified Technicians can help you with that!

QuickLane is open Monday-Saturday and can help you with all your Service needs. CLICK HERE for our current coupons.

Keep Your Tires in Check

Proper tires are critical for your safety and the safety of everyone on the road. If your tires have less than 4/32nds of tread remaining or if they are under-inflated, you will experience reduced traction in the wet Spring weather.

Have your tires inspected and check tire pressure regularly. Winter is coming and tires can lose as much as 2 psi on a cold night. Remember your car is sitting on an average of 4×6 inch square of rubber. That is all that keeps you in contact with the road. We often offer specials on new tires. Click here for our Current Specials.

Synthetic Oil & Regular Maintenance

Tom changes his oil every 3,000 miles. He’s old school. He has cars for which the manufacturer recommends every 5,000 miles, but he still does it every 3,000 miles as preventative maintenance.   It’s spend a little bit now or a LOT later when something goes wrong.

If you prefer to follow your vehicle’s factory recommended maintenance, that’s fine. Just do it when it’s supposed to be done. If it says every 5,000 miles, don’t wait until 7,000 or 10,000 miles. All you’re doing is causing sludge and varnish buildup within the engine, which will have an affect on how the engine performs and how components wear. That sludge comes from the breakdown of the chemicals in the oil and the breakdown of heavy metals which leech off the engine into the oil.

Synthetic oil – Even is you use synthetic oil that changes the scheduled maintenance to every 10,000 miles, you better be changing your filter every 5,000 miles. By the time you get to 10,000 miles, that filter is doing nothing. Once the filter is clogged and the oil can’t circulate, your car’s system bypasses that filter entirely.

Next time you come to QuickLane, ask us to show you what your filter looks like. You might be surprised.

Toy Lift is Friday, Dec 7th!

Tom Powell, retired Manager of Quick Lane at Colonial Auto Center, is Founder of the Kids Lift Foundation, providing toys and books to children in Charlottesville and the surrounding counties.

It all started in 1988 when Tom perched himself 80 feet up in a bucket truck and stayed there until people donated 1,000 toys. Now 3 decades later, Toy Lift has become an annual event raising over 20,000 toys for local kids in need.

Toy Lift 2018 is Friday, December 7th! Learn how you can help at www.ToyLift.org.


Tom Powell Retires

Meet Tom at Charlottesville Quick Lane Tom Powell, our QuickLane Manager for nearly 10 years, has retired. We want to thank Tom for his many years of service, and wish him and his family well as they embark on this new life adventure!

Wiper Blades and Ice Don’t Mix

Scrape Your Windshield! This morning was probably one of those mornings when you came out to your car and the wipers were frozen to the glass. Wiper blades are meant to clear water, not ice, from your windshield. Ice on the glass acts like sandpaper under your wiper blades and quickly wears them out. Turning on your wipers when they are iced over cannot only damage the blades, but the wiper mechanism itself. Every winter we have customers coming to us with broken wipers from improper use.

You should always clear any ice from the windshield before turning on the wipers. Turn on your defrost, scrape the windshield, and only then use your wipers. You’ll save money in the long run.


Last winter, the weather was extremely unpredictable. We had 60 degree days followed by days that were below freezing, and that can take a toll on your vehicle. In addition to making sure your tires are properly inflated and wearing evenly, it is very important to make sure your car is winterized.

Basic winterization services vary by year, make and model. Your vehicle may need battery load check/replacement, coolant system flush, All Wheel Drive or 4 Wheel Drive inspection, differential fluid adjustment, windshield wiper blade replacement, brake and rotor replacement, belt and hose inspection and more.

Give us a call and we’ll tell you what your vehicle may need this time of year. Do it before you get stuck by the side of the road! (434) 951-1020.