Car Hacking: A Modern Roadside Threat for Tacoma Commuters

car hacking

People go to great lengths to safeguard their PCs and mobile devices from viruses and malware. Why not take the same protection measures for your car? With smart technology, car hacking is becoming a rising threat. How can you protect your vehicle?

Car Hacking in Tacoma Is on the Rise

Hackers can target a vehicle’s vulnerability points, including its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. Just how susceptible is your car to hacking? In a controlled demo, A cyber-security team managed to hack into a Jeep SUV mid-commute. They were able to remotely control the car’s dashboard functions, including the wipers and air vents.

More disturbingly, they were able to fully control the transmission and braking system, causing the vehicle to skid and veer into a ditch. The researchers gained control by exploiting the SUV’s Uconnect infotainment system. 

No matter the brand or model, all modern vehicles are vulnerable. This includes classic cars retrofitted with today’s technology and navigational menu.

Prevention Measures

Automakers have made significant advancements in safety technology. Unfortunately, the advancements have not carried over to remote hacking prevention. Commuters, though, can take their own precautionary measures. Think of the following:

  • Enable automatic software updates
  • Keep up to date with the auto manufacturer’s latest news regarding recalls
  • Switch off the vehicle’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you’re not using them
  • Scan flash drives for malware before inserting them into your car’s USB port
  • Maintain regular auto servicing, which includes a checkup of the car’s engine control unit.
  • Keep your keyless remote in the refrigerator or a faraday bag. This stops cyber-crooks from amplifying the remote’s signal and tricking it into thinking you’re within close proximity of the car.

Safeguard Your Vehicle from Remote Threats

Cyber-security isn’t our specialty. However, as an auto repair service, Jones Automotive Clinic understands car hacking is steadily on the rise. Complete safety on the road should take into account both safe driving habits and car hacking prevention.

Be Aware of Car Hacking in Tacoma

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Posted on January 30, 2021 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Should Tacoma Motorists Switch to Winter Tires Near Sumner?

winter tires

Some commuters use all-season tires year-round. Winter tires (also known as snow tires) aren’t a must in the Pacific Northwest. However, making the change does make handling and maneuvering more manageable on wet and slippery roads.

Winter Tires Explained

As implied in the name, the tires are designed for winter use. The treads are deeper with larger gaps, giving them enhanced traction and the ability to wick away water more effectively.

These tires are a must-have in areas with a lot of snowfall. While winters in Washington hardly entail heavy snow, they do bring about rain spells that lead to slippery roads. The tires are comparable in price to conventional tires, and most auto services provide and install them.

The Statistics

If you’re on the fence about making the switch, here are some statistics that might help you reconsider. The data is compiled from Consumer Reports.

  • Most motorists consider snow tires advantageous whether they own a front-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle.
  • Commuters with snow tires on average worry less about losing control of their car.
  • 67% of drivers believe winter tires are unnecessary if they have all-season tires at present. However, road tests from Consumer Reports confirm that snow tires have better gripping ability.

Can You Use Snow Tires After Winter?

Some people make the switch to snow tires and continue to use the tires long after winter. We don’t recommend this. The tires have more pliable tread rubber. This increases grip in cold weather, but it also wears out more quickly when the road surface is hot. The tires will be subjected to unnecessary wear.

We Provide and Install Snow Tires Near Covington

We have snow tires in inventory for most vehicle models. Browse our gallery to see what we do in our auto garage. Bring your car to Jones Automotive Clinic to switch to winter tires; the switch will significantly enhance road safety.

Snow Tires Installation Near Covington

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Posted on December 30, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

How to Defrost Your Car Windows During a Tacoma Winter

defrost car windows

Tacoma isn’t the chilliest region, though it does get cold enough to cause the windows to frost. You need to defrost car windows before your morning commute. Failing to do so reduces visibility and is a major safety hazard. We’ll go over some easy ways to clear your windshield of morning ice.

1. Pour Warm Water on the Glass

This is an easy-to-do hack; pour warm water over the windshield. The trick is to use warm but NOT boiling water. The latter can cause the window to crack due to the extreme and sudden temperature change. Warm water melts the ice just enough for you to scrape away using a scraper or a credit card.

Our auto service suggests a more effective hack. Instead of using plain warm water, use a mixture of one-third water and two-thirds rubbing alcohol.

2. Idle the Engine 

When you turn the ignition, let the engine run for about two minutes. While running the engine, switch on the defroster. This defrosts the windows on the sides and rear, which drivers tend to overlook. You should also roll down the windows by about one-inch. This lets in some dry outdoor air, which infuses with the warmer humid interior air and speeds up the defrosting process.

3. Prevention Measures

Prevention is the best remedy for preventing frost. If you park outdoors, then cover the windshield with a piece of cardboard. This shields the glass from moisture that leads to frost once the temperature starts to drop. Alternatively, you can cover the windows with a towel.

Defrost Car Windows to Stay Safe on the Road

Winter is a good time of year to address auto repairs. This is the season when hidden issues tend to arise. Bring your vehicle to Jones Automotive Clinic; we diagnose all car types, especially Subaru and Toyota models. Defrosting your car windows is vital for optimum road visibility.

Winter Vehicle Maintenance

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Posted on November 30, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

How to Spot and Minimize Pothole Damage in Tacoma

pothole damage

Anyone who commutes daily on Tacoma streets can attest to the numerous potholes. This is especially problematic during fall and winter because most potholes are difficult to detect due to leaves and puddling water obscuring them. Learning more about these road imperfections will help you prevent pothole damage.

Why Potholes Form?

Water that puddles on the road during autumn seeps into the cracks in the pavement before freezing and subsequently thawing. As this process repeats itself, it causes the road to contract and bulge. When vehicles drive over the bulge, the weight causes it to crack apart, and the tires dig out the cracked pieces.

How Do Potholes Cause Damage?

Driving through a pothole causes an immediate shift in tire air pressure. In severe cases, this can cause a blowout. Potholes may also cause a bend or crack where the rim meets the tire. Finally, driving over a pothole may lead to a misaligned suspension or uneven wear. If the car starts veering in one direction, then you have an alignment problem. Bring your car to an auto repair ASAP.

How to Avoid a Pothole

If you see a pothole ahead, slow your vehicle to minimize the impact or drive around it if possible. Unfortunately, not all potholes are clearly visible. Pooling water is a strong indicator of a pothole. Also, slow to a crawl when driving through leaf-strewn roads. You can never be certain what the fallen leaves are concealing.

You should also leave ample space between you and the vehicle ahead. Tailgating minimizes reaction time to a pothole if you spot it at all. 

We Repair Cars from Pothole Damage

Our auto service routinely inspects potential vehicle damage from potholes. View our gallery of our technicians in action. Jones Automotive Clinic advises motorists to exercise caution to avoid pothole damage

Fall and Winter Auto Maintenance

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

Posted on October 30, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Safe Driving in Foggy Weather in Tacoma

foggy weather driving, driving in fogTacoma residents know the region is prone to morning fog especially during autumn. This poses a safety hazard you cannot ignore. Nevertheless, life goes on and you still need to get behind the wheel. Here are four tips for foggy weather driving to ensure you arrive at your destination safely.

1. Leave More Distance

The general rule of thumb is to maintain a two-second distance between you and the car ahead. This applies to clear road conditions. If you can see the vehicle in front, increase the distance to four to six seconds. Even in heavy fog, you should still at least be able to see the taillights.

2. Avoid Using the High Beams

Conventional wisdom is to switch to the high beams under low visibility. We don’t recommend this for dense fog. High beam lights reflect off the fog and can worsen visibility.

With respect to old lights, consider replacing the headlights at our auto service. Older bulbs or faded light covers can decrease the lights’ brightness, making it harder to see past the fog.

Continue Reading →

What to Do With a Car Breakdown on a Tacoma Highway

highway breakdownOne of the biggest commuting nightmares is experiencing a car breakdown in the middle of a busy interstate. This is definitely a precarious situation and no doubt a dangerous scenario for you and other motorists. We’ll explain what to do in the event of a highway breakdown.

Pull Over

Your car is still operable even with a blown tire or the engine blowing smoke. Pull over when safe to do so. If a freeway exit is nearby, take the exit and look for a parking area. You can also look for an auto service in the immediate vicinity.

If you must pull over in the middle of a busy road, get out from the right side of the vehicle. Increase your car’s visibility by switching on the hazard lights. Continue Reading →

How to Handle a Tire Blowout in Tacoma

tire blowoutBlowouts occur more often in the summer because heat causes the tire rubber to expand; but who thinks about this? So here you are, going 65 mph+ on the freeway when you hear a pop. The car slows down drastically; you instantly realize you have a tire blowout. What do you do in this dangerous scenario?

How to Recognize a Tire Blowout

Not everyone recognizes the signs of a blowout right away. You may hear a banging pop and feel a reverberation inside the car. Expect repeated flopping and flapping as the flat tire smacks the road.

Other signs to bear in mind:

  • The car may pull to one side.
  • Expect rougher steering if a front tire blows out.
  • Expect vibrations and bumpiness in the seat if a rear tire blows out.

Driving Through a Tire Blowout Continue Reading →

Four Common Car Air Conditioning Problems in Tacoma

car air conditioning problems, car AC problemsWith the peak of summer, expect to become reacquainted with your car’s AC. You may notice, though, that something about the air coming out the vent just feels off. Car air conditioning problems are actually quite commonplace. Our auto service can get to the root of the problem.

1. Moisture

Does the air from the AC feel stuffy? This may be a sign of trapped moisture or solid particles in the AC system. If a musty odor accompanies the damp feeling, then you may also have bacteria or fungi forming inside the AC vent. Not only are you not receiving cold air but the vent is also emitting illness-inducing mold spores.

2. Little Cool Air

Do you switch the AC on the max setting but only feel air that’s mildly cool? You may have a clogged cabin air filter or worn condenser. If you’re more mechanically inclined, then check the condenser and cooling fan while the car is running. You should also inspect the condenser for signs of obstructions, such as leaves or insect remains. Continue Reading →

Why Summer Car Care Matters in Tacoma

summer car care, air filterIs your car ready for the summer? Your car undergoes added stress during operation under hot and humid weather. This is why summer car care matters to responsible vehicle owners across Tacoma.

Inspect Your Tires

According to the Rubber Manufacturer Association, only one in 10 car owners routinely check the tire pressure. You absolutely cannot disregard tire pressure checks in the summer. Factors like under-inflation, misalignment, and worn treads all elevate the risk of a blowout. For every 10-degree increase in temperature, tire pressure rises by about 2 psi. This increases over-inflation, which can cause the rubber to rupture.

Replace the Air Filter

The air filter collected a lot of debris and contaminants over the winter and spring. A dirty air filter reduces fuel efficiency by as much as 10%. Unless the vehicle manual specifies otherwise, we suggest an air filter change every 12,000-miles. Continue Reading →

How to Recognize Dirty Car Air Filter Symptoms in Tacoma

dirty car air filter, dirty air filter, car air filterAll living things require oxygen. The car, while not exactly alive, also requires oxygen. If the air filter is dirty, then the engine won’t get sufficient oxygen. Here’s how to recognize the symptoms of a dirty car air filter. Taking subsequent action will prolong your car’s life.

1. Air Filter Looks Dirty

New filters are supposed to be pearly white. If it’s badly blackened, then it’s time for a cleaning or a replacement. You can also hold the filter to a light source; if the light doesn’t penetrate, then the filter is beyond worn.

2. Engine Misfires

Does the engine have a hard time starting? Does it take multiple attempts to successfully rev the engine? This is a sign the car is not getting enough air. Oxygen is not getting through because the filter is too dirty to let the air pass.

3. Odd Engine Sounds

Pay attention to how the engine sounds when the car is in idle. A healthy engine is supposed to have an even and smooth roar. If the engine sounds uneven or if there is extensive vibration, then you probably have a dirty spark plug. This is often due to a dirty air filter. Bring your car to an auto service to have both checked.

4. Horsepower Reduction

Does the car seem sluggish during acceleration? This is a telltale sign of low oxygen flow. This warrants a checkup from an auto repair technician. If acceleration is slow, then you’re probably getting poor fuel economy as well.

Don’t Ignore the Dirty Car Air Filter Symptoms

It doesn’t matter whether you drive a modern or a classic car. If the filter is in bad shape, the engine isn’t going to perform reliably. Bring your car to Jones Automotive Clinic if you detect any of the symptoms of a dirty car air filter; other damage may also have occurred as a result.

Air Filter Check and Replacement

Serving Customers in Tacoma, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Federal Way, Des Moines, Gig Harbor, University Place, Fircrest and Ruston

04/24/2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business