Election Day is coming—are you prepared?
With only four weeks left until Election Day on November 6, 2018, are you prepared? Do you know who is running for office and the details of the candidates—who they are and what they stand for? Do you know where and when to vote in Minnesota? With recent media coverage surrounding the Kavanaugh debate as well as the importance of this election, where do you stand? Do you consider yourself Republican, Democrat or somewhere in between? Do your opinions tend to align with Democrats or Republicans? Do you make up your mind according to the people you associate with and the groups you are a part of? Are you passionate about your political opinion? How do you decide who to vote for? Do you prepare for your decision in advance—researching all of the candidates?
Your vote counts—so where do you vote?
This year the elections may be more on the top of all of our minds due to the media coverage of the recent Kavanaugh debate as well as what the upcoming election means—will the Senate tip to the right or left according to the voting public? This year your vote counts more than ever. If you want a voice, it is imperative that you vote on November 6, 2018. If you have recently moved to Rochester, MN or anywhere in Minnesota and have never voted since that move because you don’t know where to vote, click here, enter your zip or county and follow the prompts to accurately figure out where you should go. Also, it’s important to plan before November 6th what time you will go to the voting booth. This year, it’s good to assume they will be busy—so make sure you set aside enough time in your day to wait in line to cast your vote.
Who’s on the ballot and have you done your research?
Will you go to the voting booth blindly, voting for whichever candidate is associated with the party you prefer? Will you just fill in all the boxes of the Democrats or Republicans? Or have you educated yourself? With the world wide web and Google, we now have information at our fingertips in an expedited way like never before. First, we can search who is on the ballots on November 6th, 2018 with websites like this that lay out who the candidates are, which party they align with and why as well as a synopsis of their life and qualifications. Once you have a grasp on the basics, do you ever drill down further? Do you Google each candidate’s name with a desire to get to know them better so that you can make an informed decision? And why sites are you visiting to do so? Remember that the media may direct you in one way or another based on their preferences and how they stand. It is important to search for non-biased sites that will really help you get to know candidates without tainting them in a negative light. Gathering facts is much different than gathering opinions. Make sure you are prepared to cast your vote on November 6th, 2018 by fully educating yourself in who you are choosing to take office and make future decisions that will affect your life and the life of people you care about.
Does your vote really count?
Every vote counts. It’s that simple. Take for instance the recent Senate vote for Judge Kavanaugh. The senators voted 50 to 48 to elevate Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday—the slimmest margin in American history. Every vote counted—and we know who voted for him and who didn’t. This caused much controversy ahead of time because of the implication that each Senator would likely vote the same as others in their party. The beauty of your vote is that it’s private, you don’t have to answer for it, you won’t be shunned or shamed for who you choose and you can proudly leave knowing you did your part in supporting the candidates that will be working for you. And because your vote is not made known to the public like the Senator’s votes, you never know how slim the margin may have been. What if your vote was the one that tipped the scale? If you knew that it could ahead of time, wouldn’t you be sure you made voting on November 6th, 2018 a priority? Since Minnesota is typically a “blue” state (Democrat), you could either help it to remain consistently blue as part of the “blue wave” or if you desire some red (Republican), this is your opportunity to do what you can to make it turn red on Election Day 2018.
All of this talk about Election Day really has nothing to do with auto repair in Rochester, MN. Or does it? My friends, you will need a vehicle to get you safely to and from the voting booth on November 6th, 2018! How is your vehicle this fall? There is a reason that October is National Car Care month—it’s time to think about your vehicle and prepare it for the winter months to come. What areas of your vehicle need attention?
Which brand, viscosity (thickness) and grade do you use? Do you alter any of these for the winter months? Oil tends to thicken as it gets colder and if it’s too thick, it can’t do a proper job keeping your engine lubricated and performing at its optimum. If you’ve never explored the benefits of full-synthetic oil, this may be the time to do so and consider switching for best engine protection and cold weather starts. Of course, you can always consult your owner’s manual or your trusted car-care facility for guidance in choosing the right oil for your driving habits and the frigid winter months to come.
Ensuring the quality and quantity of antifreeze in your vehicle is a must as we approach the coldest time of year. The proper ratio of coolant to water must be considered to prevent freezing and the amount of antifreeze should be checked on a regular basis. If you are not a DIYer, your local car-care facility can assist you in this pre-winter check. Do you know when your last coolant flush was? This is a service that should be performed at regular intervals. It helps to remove contaminants, rust and scale deposit while the additives lubricate your water pump and prevent future rust build up. Caution: Never fill your antifreeze reservoir with water. It will freeze and may be the cause of a breakdown and very expensive repairs.
Cold temps mean your engine needs more current from the battery in order to start. Battery failure is the most common cause of winter breakdowns, so make sure you give yours some extra TLC. Take a look at your battery. Are the posts and connections free from corrosion? If you don’t want to clean them yourself, most car-care facilities offer this service at a reasonable price. They also offer a free battery test to assess its condition. Take advantage of this before we hit winter. And of course, whether you are a planner or a procrastinator, it’s always a wise move to keep a set of jumper cables in your vehicle—this may aid you or give you the opportunity to help someone else who didn’t give their battery pre-winter TLC.
Does your vehicle have any burnt out bulbs? Replace them. No matter what time of year, never delay in replacing one bulb that is out because another may quickly follow and be a safety hazard for you or other motorists. Do you even know if any bulbs need replacement? Likely, your car-care facility will check these as part of the courtesy inspection.
Having quality wiper blades that appropriately keep your windshield clear and streak-free for best clarity is important. How are yours? When is the last time they were replaced? They generally work effectively for about a year. Assess their condition and invest in new ones if it’s time. Do you have a rear wiper? Seeing people both behind and in front of you is important.
Another caution to those who are not cold-weather natives: Washer fluid used in vehicles in warmer climates can freeze. So you’ll want to make sure you’re using the right kind of fluid for our weather and never add or replace with water. Snowy roads equal plow trucks and sand. This can be a streaky mess when you are trying to see clearly. Make sure your washer fluid is full and sprays correctly.
Does the defrost work on your vehicle? This is perhaps one of the most important features in the winter that help us see clearly. Make sure yours is ready for the cold temps to come.
Do you have your hoses and belts evaluated on a regular basis? Do you have them replaced as part of your maintenance program? The cold temps can cause these components (especially if they are worn and old) to become even more brittle. Be sure yours are up to snuff before winter ensues.
When is the last time you bought tires? What does your tire tread look like? Is there uneven wear? Have you ever considered having two sets of tires—one for winter and one for the rest of the year? This is a great option as snow tires can make a world of difference on the snowy roads—especially if you don’t have AWD (all-wheel drive). No matter the tires you choose, if it’s time to replace them, you’ll want to make this decision before the snow flies as your selection may be better and it may take less time to get the tires of your choosing. If your tires are in good shape, make sure they are inflated according to recommended specs. And for longer wear and best fuel economy, make sure you are rotating your tires at regular intervals (every 5,000-10,000 miles) and ensure they are properly aligned—there are some car-care facilities that will check your alignment at no charge.
As we approach the elections in Minnesota, let’s not forget to spend some time making sure our vehicles are ready for winter and ready to get you to the voting booths on November 6th, 2018!