Road Trips In The Northeast: Summer Road Trip Series

Friday, May 24th, 2019
White Mountains in the Northeast. If you're struggling to find a place to go for a summer road trip, why not try these routes in the Northeast?

Road trips in the Northeast offer the chance to explore a beautiful area of the country. Whether you’re looking to check out quaint seaside towns or long for crisp mountain air, the Northeast has plenty to offer. Make sure your car is

U.S. Route 9, New York

You can follow Route 9 all the way from Delaware up to the Canadian border, so it’s a great choice if you’re looking for one of the longer road trips in the Northeast. If 300 miles is a bit more than you’re looking to tackle, then focus on the section that runs through New York.

Today, there are highways that can make the trip faster, but if you stick with Route 9, then you’ll get a look at the New York of yesterday. There are grand estates dotted throughout the countryside, along with quaint towns ready for exploring. Stop at one of the many farmer’s markets along the way and pick up a snack before you head back out on the road.

The Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

The New Hampshire White Mountains are a beautiful escape for those who love to explore the outdoors. Some of the most scenic spots in the region can be found on the Kancamagus Highway, which runs for 34.5 miles along NH Route 112. Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce this tongue-twister of a name. You can just call it “The Kanc” like the locals.

Lush green mountains fill the horizon with plenty of spots to stop along the way and catch the perfect photo. Leave yourself extra time to stop at one of the many hiking trails in the area or to explore the Swift River that runs alongside the highway. There are also many campgrounds should you choose to spend the night.

Park Loop Road, Maine

Make your way to Acadia National Park in Maine to experience a beautiful drive along the state’s rocky coastline. The 27-mile Park Loop Road is the perfect way to cap off a drive up the Maine coast with its seaside towns full of shops, restaurants and scenic views.

Park Loop takes you along the ocean and then all the way to the top of Cadillac Mountain for an incredible view of the Atlantic. At 1,530 feet, this is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and is not to be missed when you’re exploring the Maine coast.

Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts

The Mohawk Trail stretches from Massachusetts to the New York state line and covers 63 miles of highway. It’s one of the oldest designated scenic routes in the country with a history that stretches back to the days of foot travel and the early settlers.

Today, the route is the perfect summer road trip. It’s dotted with attractions for the whole family from inns and shops to hiking and camping. You’ll also find natural wonders like New England’s only natural bridge as well as parks, art exhibits and museums.

There’s plenty to explore in the Northeast this summer, so be sure your car is ready for the trip. Take care of the basics like oil changes and double check the emergency kit in your trunk before you head out for one of these fun road trips in the Northeast.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on taking a road trip through the Northeast, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Nicole Wakelin.

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Metric vs. Standard: The Nuts And Bolts Of Nuts And Bolts

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019
Bolts in metric and SAE measurements. The bolts on your car abide by either metric or SAE measurements. Ever wondered what the difference is?

Since the dawn of time, humans have found it vital to their existence to measure things. In the U.S. today, we have two official systems: standard and metric. This can make things a bit confusing, but we still hesitate to go full metric with the rest of the world. So what’s the story with metric vs. standard? Well, kind of a long one.

A Story in Two Measures

The U.S. originally adapted its Customary Units from the British Imperial System. In the automotive world, the Society of Automotive Engineers established the SAE system commonly used today. But in the late 1790s, France began developing a system that would be measured in perfect units of 10, making calculations and conversions much simpler. This was the Metric System, and over time most of the world adopted it. There are economic reasons the U.S. has held back, but it’s strange, especially in a global economy where one system is used as an international standard.

Better Off Thread

Metric and SAE fasteners are measured differently and with different vocabulary. SAE nuts, bolts and screws are measured by their thread count, or TPI (threads per inch) and their length. Metric fasteners are measured by length and pitch, or the distance between threads. So the systems are opposite in a way: The higher the TPI in a standard bolt, the finer the threads because there’s more squeezed into a set space. The greater the pitch on metric fasteners, the more distance between threads. There are actually up to four pitch options in the metric system, depending on the application. The nice thing about metric threads is that they easily translate to distance. Measured in millimeters, one complete turn of a fastener moves it the exact distance of the pitch — much easier for engineers to manage in the design process.

Pitch Perfect

Experienced mechanics who handle both types of fasteners regularly may be able to tell the difference between a metric or SAE bolt by looking at it, but since most threads are very small, the difference is subtle. And there are consequences to getting it wrong. Forcing a metric bolt into an SAE nut will strip one or both and compromise the integrity of the connection, possibly cause leaks depending on the application, and make some repairs infinitely more complicated. Likewise, using a SAE wrench to tighten down a metric bolt can round out the head and turn into a big problem very quickly.

As a general rule, never force a fastener into place as you risk cross-threading, and always confirm you are working with the right toolset for the project. Some fasteners are stamped with specifications, but your best bet is to use new hardware from a marked container. It’s basically a guarantee that if you’re working on a Japanese, Korean or German car, you’re looking at metric. In the past, most U.S.-based manufacturers used SAE, but modern vehicles with parts made in different countries are beginning to go metric as well, so always check your owner’s manual.

There are thread gauges available, either cast in plastic or even printable that can be useful in identifying threads at home. When tiny differences can quickly create a world of trouble, it is extremely important to know what you’re dealing with.

Check out all the tools & equipment available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on metric vs. standard, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photos courtesy of Blair Lampe.

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Brad Sweet Maintains Second in Championship Standings

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019
Brad Sweet NAPA AUTO PARTS 49 Outlaws sprint car Lincoln Williams Grove 2019

It was a busy week of racing for the NOS Energy Drink World of Outlaws series. With four races at three different tracks scheduled over five nights, the Kasey Kahne Racing team was hard at work all week.



The first race of the week was Wednesday at Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, Pennsylvania. Brad
Sweet and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team unloaded fast, qualifying third out of 43 cars. Sweet went on to win his heat race and finish fifth in the dash, earning him the fifth starting spot in the 30-lap feature around the 3/8-mile oval. The Grass Valley, Calif., native stayed in the top five the entire race and crossed the checkered flag in the fourth position – his tenth top-five finish of the season.



Thursday was a travel day for the teams as they headed to Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Penn., for Friday night’s show. Again, 40 cars entered the event, With many of the “Pennsylvania Posse” members vying to take down the Outlaw regulars, it would prove to be a night of some of the toughest competition in the country. Crew chief Eric Prutzman had the NAPA car dialed in off the truck again, and Sweet captured the fifth-fastest qualifying position. Sweet went on to finish third in his heat. In the feature, he started ninth and ultimately finish ninth as passing conditions were difficult for the entire field.



The series returned to Williams Grove on Saturday for night two of the “Morgan Cup.” Sweet qualified ninth and, after a fifth-place finish in his heat, started deep in the field in 17th for the feature. Sweet was able to maneuver the No. 49 machine up to 14th by the 30th lap of the race.



Sunday’s scheduled event at Weedsport Speedway in Weedsport, NY, was canceled due to rain. No make-up date has been announced.



The World of Outlaws return to action Tuesday, May 21 at Bridgeport Speedway in Swedesboro, NJ, and then head to Charlotte for the Patriot Nationals on Friday and Saturday. Sweet currently sits second in the championship standings, trailing Donny Schatz by 26 points.


Start / Finish:
Wednesday, May 15, Lincoln Speedway, Abbottstown, Penn.: 4 / 5
Friday, May 17, Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, Penn.: 9 / 9
Saturday, May 18, Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, Penn.: 14 / 17
Sunday, May 19, Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport, NY: rained out
Points Standing / Total: 2nd / 2538 pts.


Next Race: Tuesday, May 21, Bridgeport Speedway, Swedesboro, NJ
How to Watch or Listen:


Brad Sweet: @BradSweet49
Kasey Kahne Racing: @KKRdirt

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Compiling Your Basic Car Toolkit

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019
A car toolkit in a trunk. Similar to a simple toolkit for completing small jobs around the house, a basic toolkit for your car can help you when it comes to small repairs on your vehicle.

Let’s talk tools. You’ve probably got a few basics for the house, right? Hammer, wrench, pliers? You should have a basic car toolkit, too. Oh, sure, there’s whatever’s in the trunk that came with the car — probably enough to change a tire — but you should have more than that, especially if you plan on doing any of your car’s maintenance or repair work yourself.

The Essentials

The best basic car toolkit is one that will allow you to handle anything without having to make a run to the store mid-job. So start with a good quality socket set. You’ll be amazed what you can get done with a ratchet handle and a couple dozen SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and metric sockets. Your car is held together with nuts and bolts. A good quality socket set will help you take things apart when you need to and — more importantly — put them back together properly.

Your very next purchase (or maybe something you buy at the same time) is a torque wrench. It will save you the time, frustration and quite possibly money involved in shearing off a bolt because you guessed about the right amount of torque and got it wrong.

Next on your list would be an impact wrench. They make the drudge work of removing or tightening lug nuts a breeze and are a major time saver.

Beyond that, it’s pretty much the basics:

  • Screwdrivers: Both Phillips and standard. Consider an offset screwdriver for hard to reach screws.
  • Pliers: Yes, you have a pair in the house. No, you don’t want to have to run in the house to get them when you’re working on your car in the garage or driveway — and can’t run into the house if you’re somewhere else.
  • Wire cutters: To handle electrical issues, like splicing wires.
  • A multimeter: To tell you if you really should cut that wire (see above).
  • A flashlight: Even in the daytime, it can be dark where you need to look in the engine bay or under the car.
  • Jumper cables: Because you never know.

All of the above are readily available, reasonable and could be useful anytime. And you’ll wonder how you ever did without them.

Check out all the tools & equipment available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on building a basic car toolkit, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Elliott, NAPA Team Finish 14th in All-Star Race

Monday, May 20th, 2019
#9: Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro NAPA Brakes

Chase Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA Brakes team battled amongst the leaders for much of Saturday night’s NASCAR All-Star Race before being shuffled to a 14th-place finish at night’s end.



For the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, Elliott entered the All-Star Race weekend locked into the main event. After starting Saturday night’s race 11th, Elliott was knocking on the door of the top five in sixth after just three laps. The NAPA driver held that position until a caution flag waved with four laps to go in the opening 30-lap stage. The 23-year-old driver reported that the handling of his NAPA Brakes Chevrolet “wasn’t bad” as he searched for his grooves that would allow him to advance even higher in the running order.



He brought the NAPA Brakes machine to pit road and gained three positions thanks to quick work by the No. 9 crew. Elliott found himself caught in the middle of three-wide racing shortly after the green flag waved. As a result, he was shuffled back in traffic to finish Stage 1 in eighth.

During Stage 2, Elliott remained inside the top ten after settling into the ninth position early in the 20-lap segment. He maintained that position as the laps wound down and finished the second stage in ninth.



The No. 9 pit crew flexed its muscle once again with a lightning-fast pit stop that gained four positions for Elliott prior to the start of Stage 3. Shortly after the green flag waved, he jumped inside the top five to fourth. With nine laps remaining in the segment, he moved into third. Three laps later, he climbed into the runner-up position. He maintained that spot to finish Stage 3 in second.



Three drivers, including Elliott, stayed on the track prior to the start of the final 15-lap stage. The strategy play by crew chief Alan Gustafson allowed Elliott to line up second to start Stage 4. Right away, he was battling for the lead and he briefly found it before falling back to second when a caution flag flew with 13 laps to go.



Elliott once again edged his way into the race lead on the ensuing restart before falling back to second shortly before another caution came one lap later. He lined up third for the restart, but cars with fresher tires began to challenge him in the closing laps as Elliott faded outside of the top ten. He ultimately took the checkered flag in 14th.


Start / Finish: 11 / 14
Points Earned: N/A
Points Standing: 4th


Next Race: May 26, World 600, Charlotte Motor Speedway
How to Watch or Listen: 6:00 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM Channel 90


Chase Elliott:@ChaseElliott
Hendrick Motorsports:@TeamHendrick
No. 9 Team:@Hendrick9Team

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Different Types Of Spark Plugs: Understanding The Differences

Monday, May 20th, 2019
A car's spark plug. There are a lot of different spark plugs to choose from. How do you know which one your car uses? Here's a helpful guide to get the right spark plugs for your car.

There are different types of spark plugs available, and they’re typically defined by the metal used to construct them. These plugs all have one thing in common: They help generate the energy your vehicle’s internal combustion engine needs to get the car from point A to point B.

Below, we’ll take a look at the various types of spark plugs currently on the market. We’ll examine each plug’s unique characteristics, as well as its strengths and weaknesses.

Copper Spark Plugs

Copper spark plugs are one of the most common choices on the market. Despite their name, only the inner core of these plugs is made of copper. Their electrodes are covered by a nickel-alloy coating.

This type of spark plug is best suited for vehicles built prior to the 1980s that have low-voltage distributor based ignition systems. Also, copper spark plugs tend to run cooler, and this allows them to deliver unusually strong performance when used with engines that have turbochargers or high compression ratios. For this reason, they’re often used as original equipment by manufacturers of late-model high-performance vehicles. Finally, copper spark plugs are your best bet if your engine uses natural gas.

Copper spark plugs tend to cost less than other choices available. Their big drawback concerns longevity. They tend to have shorter life spans than other types of plugs on the market and typically need to be changed every 20,000 miles.

Platinum Spark Plugs

Platinum spark plugs feature platinum discs welded to the tips of their electrodes. Platinum’s most notable quality is its resilience — it’s harder than nickel alloy and it doesn’t erode as quickly. As a result, these plugs have a longer life span than ones with nickel-alloy electrodes. Some platinum spark plugs can provide up to 100,000 miles of service.

If you have a newer vehicle with an electronic distributor-based ignition system, platinum spark plugs are an ideal choice. Also, if your car’s owner’s manual specifically advises you to use platinum spark plugs, stick to this recommendation, and don’t downgrade.

Iridium Spark Plugs

These spark plugs feature iridium discs welded to their electrodes. Platinum is harder than nickel-alloy, but iridium is harder than platinum. How much harder? Iridium is six times harder and eight times stronger than platinum, and it has a melting point that’s up to 700 degrees higher. These qualities enable iridium spark plugs to last up to 25% longer than plugs with platinum tips.

If your owner’s manual recommends iridium spark plugs, follow this advice. Downgrading could result in diminished engine performance.

Iridium-tipped plugs are superb at conducting electrical energy, and they offer top-rate firing efficiency. Keep in mind, though, that since iridium is a costly precious metal, these plugs are usually the most expensive choices on the market.

Silver Spark Plugs

Silver spark plugs feature electrodes tipped with silver. They rate highly when it comes to thermal conductivity, but they don’t last as long as plugs tipped with platinum or iridium. You’ll usually find them in motorcycles or older European performance cars.

Each type of spark plug brings something unique to the table. Take a thorough look at what each of these plugs has to offer when making a purchasing decision, and consult your car’s owner’s manual.

Check out all the electrical & ignition system products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on the different types of spark plugs, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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Capps and the NAPA Brakes Team Race to Second Consecutive Victory

Monday, May 20th, 2019
Ron Capps NAPA Brakes funny car NHRA Virginia Nationals winner

Ron Capps raced the NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to its second consecutive victory during the second annual NHRA Virginia Nationals near Richmond on Sunday.

Capps followed his Atlanta triumph two weeks ago with a run through the Funny Car field on an extremely warm day in Virginia to score his 63rd career victory, his 30th win with crew chief Rahn Tobler, all since 2012, and his first Wally trophy at Virginia Motorsports Park.



Capps’ march to the winner’s circle began with three stout runs during qualifying to position him third to start race day. In the opening round of eliminations, Capps was the only Funny Car driver to dip into the three-second range with his 3.997-second E.T. to dispatch opponent Jim Campbell, who smoked the tires early into his run.



Up next for Capps was a battle with current point leader Robert Hight. The two world champions staged a classic ‘pedalfest’ as both cars lost traction multiple times, but it was Capps that was able to reach 1,000 feet first. His lap of 6.173 seconds was enough to advance for another semifinal match-up with teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. Capps took the starting line advantage and pulled away for the victory despite losing a cylinder while Johnson went up in smoke and never recovered.



In his 120th career final, Capps was not to be denied as he left first on reigning Funny Car champion J.R. Todd and posted his second-best run of the day to capture the win.



“I saw about 120 Kalitta members walking around up there on the starting line and all I can think of is their Kalitta mosh pit and how I wanted to spoil it,” said Capps of his final round match with Todd. “I do not want to lose and watch the mosh pit at the starting line. Tobler told me back in the pit that we were going to put it just like first round and I rolled it in there and it did what it had to do. That’s vintage Rahn Tobler.



“I can’t say enough. I’m so lucky to be driving this car. To be able to run the NAPA Brakes car again, we are trying to make America safe, one brake job at a time. For NAPA to let us do this on a national stage, to give it two wins, this is what dreams are made of. I told Tobler and those guys that I’ve never won at this track. My NAPA AutoCare Center boys, Pennzoil, USA Compression, and especially Dodge today, we could not have won a couple of those rounds today without that Hellcat and its downforce. I was able to keep it straight even with a hole out. Don Schumacher gives us everything we need. And Rahn Tobler, this is our 30th win together since 2012. That’s craziness.”



With Sunday’s victory, Capps ranks eighth on the all-time Mello Yello win list and fourth among the two nitro categories. At the start of the month of May, Capps was ranked ninth in the championship standings. His two race wins have allowed him to jump six spots up to third to start the upcoming four-race June swing.



Start / Finish: Qualified No. 3 / Defeated J.R. Todd in the final round
Points Earned: 118
2019 NHRA Mello Yello Series Points Standing / Total: 3rd / 548 pts.


Next Race: May 31-June 2, Joliet, Ill., Route 66 NHRA Nationals
How to Watch or Listen: FS1; NHRA.TV


NAPA Racing:@NAPARacing
Ron Capps: @RonCapps28
Don Schumacher Racing:@ShoeRacing

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4 Road Trip Movies With Valuable Car Lessons

Saturday, April 6th, 2019
4 Road Trip Movies With Valuable Car Lessons

Road trip movies are a popular Hollywood trope, and really, what’s not to like? Get a group of likable characters, stuff them in a car, bus or Winnebago, and watch their interpersonal relationships unravel as hours of proximity exposes the rifts between them.

In addition to entertainment, these four classic road trip movies provide lessons you can apply to your day-to-day dealings with your own car. As long as you don’t take things too seriously, you can tap into this cinematic wisdom and be prepared for whatever the road throws at you.

1. ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’

Not all road trips go according to plan, especially in the movies. This classic hit from the ’80s stars John Candy and Steve Martin, and if there’s one lesson about cars to take away, it’s that you should always, always, always get the full insurance when you rent a vehicle. Sure, there’s a chance you won’t set your rental on fire after falling asleep on the highway and then be forced to drive the charred wreck back to town in a major snowstorm — but there’s also a chance you will.

2. ‘Smokey and the Bandit’

If you’re going to drive cross-country with valuable cargo, it’s nice to have a buddy ahead of you in an ultra-flashy muscle car. Burt Reynolds proved to us that the easiest way to solve the “long way to go, short time to get there” problem was to travel with a buddy, preferably in a Trans Am. You never know when you might need help, especially if you are traveling across long stretches out west.

3. ‘Duel’

What started out as a simple commute turned into the world’s worst road trip in Steven Spielberg’s 1971 movie, “Duel.” Although it was filmed 40 years ago, the lessons in the flick still hold true today in a world where road rage can be lethal. Regardless of whether you’ve been cut off, honked at or otherwise disrespected on the highway, it’s always best to just let it go and keep driving. Especially if there’s a homicidal truck driver on your tail.

4. ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

If there’s one lesson that most road trip movies teach, it’s to always be prepared. The post-apocalyptic desert in “Mad Max: Fury Road” is the very definition of an unforgiving environment where you need to bring all the extra gas, water and ammunition you can pack if you want to survive. Of course, the veneer of civilization allows you to replace “ammunition” with “beef jerky” if you so desire, but it’s still sound advice.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on road trips, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Monday, March 4th, 2019

Proper filter maintenance is essential for keeping your car in working order and each needs to be changed following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Even following those guidelines, how you use your vehicle might mean you need to change some filters more often.

If you drive in harsh conditions, then your filters may need more frequent attention. Here’s an explanation of what the filters in your car do and when they need to be changed.

Cabin Air Filters

cabin air filterThis filter keeps the cabin air clean and helps minimize dust, smoke and odors. Each manufacturer has guidelines for how often the cabin air filter should be replaced, so start by checking your owner’s manual. Usually, it’s around every 15,000 to 25,000 miles.

If you drive someplace where there’s more dust in the air, like a desert or a city, you may want to change it more often. At a minimum, change your air filter once a year.

Your owner’s manual will tell you where your cabin air filter is located. Checking it is as simple as giving it a good look. If it’s dirty or covered with debris, then it’s time to swap it out for a new one.

Engine Air Filters

Your engine needs air and it runs best with clean air. An engine air filter removes dust particles that would otherwise be sucked into your engine. If your engine air filter is dirty, then it can cause all sorts of problems.

It leads to reduced power, poor performance and lower fuel economy. That’s if you’re lucky. Over time, a dirty air filter lets dirt into your engine, which can cause expensive damage.

There are a variety of filters available at a range of prices. Most are made of a paper-like material folded into pleats, but foam filters are also available, and even some that are soaked in oil to grab more dirt and last longer.

Always check with your owner’s manual to see what is recommended for your vehicle and follow the maintenance schedule suggested. If you drive in heavy traffic, the desert or off-road, then you’ll want to change this filter more often rather than risk having it get clogged with dirt.

Fuel Filters

It’s not just the air coming into your engine that needs to be clean and free of dirt. The fuel coming into your engine also needs to be clean. The fuel filter catches any impurities in your fuel, which otherwise could impact performance.

This filter lasts longer than the cabin air filter, but once again you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for how often it needs to be changed. Wait too long and you risk sluggish performance and engine damage.

Oil Filters

Clean engine oil keeps your engine lubricated. Keeping the oil clean is the job of the oil filter. When oil gets dirty it gets sludgy and this can cause a multitude of engine problems.

This is an easy one to remember. Simply have the oil filter changed whenever you get an oil change. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended intervals for oil changes and you’ll keep your oil clean.

Filter maintenance is an essential part of routine car maintenance. Make sure you check your filters at the recommended intervals to keep your engine running smoothly. When was the last time you checked your filters?

Check out all the filters available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to maintain all of the filters in your car, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr.


Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

When considering winter preparation plans this season, many look for forecasts to get an idea of what to expect. Earlier this year, the NOAA‘s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Climate Prediction Center predicted higher-than-average precipitation across the northern States, including the northern Rocky Mountains, eastern Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.

Interestingly, most NOAA predictions oppose those from the Farmer’s Almanac, another popular guide. Still, people in those northern climes know that if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes, which is why NAPA Know How suggests forgetting the forecast and making winter preparation plans right now. Here’s how.

Snow Tires

Getting caught on a snowy road in summer tires could cost you much more than good all-season or snow tires. Make sure all-season tires have at least 6/32″ tread depth remaining. Summer tires should be replaced with all-season or snow tires, as summer tires offer less traction when temperatures drop.

Charging System

Cold temperatures put a car’s electrical system to the test. A weak battery might start a car in the summer, but winter-cold oil could be too much. Have the battery tested for SOC and SOH (state of charge and state of health), and replace it if it fails the tests. Check the charging system output and the generator drive belt condition and tension, and don’t forget to clean up power-robbing corrosion.

Air Conditioning

Forget, for a moment, that air conditioning cools the air, and remember that it also dries the air. The best way to keep your windshield fog-free is with hot dry air. Have your air-conditioning system checked for proper pressure, cycling and drive belt condition. For the outside, get a pair of winter wiper blades.

Driving Tactics

Driving on dry, sunny roads is different from driving on cold, wet roads, and icy roads can be particularly dangerous. Brush up on winter driving tactics, and maybe practice in an empty parking lot, if there’s snow on it. If it does snow, remember the single best practice is to simply slow down.

Emergency Kit

In case you’re unexpectedly caught in poor conditions, having a winter emergency kit will get you back on the road and could even save your life. Because of the cold, this goes beyond the typical first-aid kit and warning triangles. A battery booster or jumper cables might make up for a weak battery, and a snow shovel and salt can help you get unstuck. Don’t forget blankets, bottled water and trail mix.

Winter preparation is all about getting ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at you and expecting the unexpected. If the NOAA says more snow for your area, but Farmer’s Almanac says less, then prudence demands preparing for the unforeseen. The truth is no one really knows what’s going to happen this winter, so prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on winter preparation, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.