Hillmuth Blog

Should I run the A/C during the Winter?

After reading that title, you might be thinking, “Are you crazy?! It’s freezing out here!” But this type of thinking is based on a common misconception that the only purpose of a car air conditioner is to cool things down. In reality, this is not correct.


The A/C is also designed to dehumidfy the air, which pulls moisture out of the air inside your car. When temperatures outside of your car are lower than the temperatures inside, there is a chance that condensation or fog could form on your windows. This can make driving much harder and even dangerous. Fortunatly, if you flip on the A/C, this should solve your problem by lowering your humidity and unfogging your windows.

Keeping Warm

“But won’t I get cold?”. Nope. Just make sure that your temperature control is set to heat and you should feel the expected hot air jetting out at you. You may not want to run the A/C all of the time, however, as it isn’t energy efficient to do so. Just switch it on when you notice your windows are fogging up or if the air feels uncomfortable.

Climate Control

If you have climate control, this should automatically be taken care of for you. When you turn the heating on, the air conditioning compressor should kick on as needed. If you aren’t noticing a difference or your windows remain fogged, you may want to get your cliamte control checked by a mechanic.

Keep Your Car Functioning Well

In addition to giving you a more comfortable ride, running your A/C during the winter will also help to maintain it. Running your air conditioning will prevent deterioration of its components during the cold months. It will prevent loss of refrigerant and expensive repairs ultimately saving you money in the long run.

My A/C isn’t working…what now?

It’s the middle of the winter and you’ve realized that your A/C is on the fritz. Don’t panic! Just bring it in to a mechanic who can diagnose and repair the problem. It’s good you’ve caught it now – finding out in the summer when you really need it would have been disastrous! The mechanics at Hillmuth Certified Automotive have the experience and expertise to get your air conditioning working again – give us a call today for more information.

How to Winterize your Car

If you live in an area where the weather falls below freezing, preparing your car for winter is just as important as getting out your parka and snow shovels. Always make sure you’re using the right kind of oil and engine coolant, that your tires are ready to take on snowdrifts, and that your emergency kit is in place in the event of trouble out on the icy roads.

Preparing Your Engine

There are several aspects to preparing your car’s engine for winter weather. First, make sure you have the right type of oil in your engine. During the colder months, less viscous oil is necessary to keep your engine running smoothly. This means that even if you haven’t hit the mileage mark for an oil change, you should still swap out oils come November. Similarly, having the right kind of engine coolant is important during the winter months because engine coolant works to prevent corrosion within your car’s engine, not just to keep it cool in the summer months. Check the ingredients in your coolant and look for ethylene glycol to protect against the ice and cold.

Low Batteries

Just like any appliance, a low battery is going to turn out poor performance when it comes to your car. Colder weather reduces your battery capacity, so make sure to give it a full inspection before the weather hits. Any signs of loose connections or cracks in the battery should be addressed before trying to start up your car.

Your Tires and Windshield

It’s not only folks who live in areas that get a heavy snowfall that need to worry about proper winter tires. Ice can strike anywhere, making the roads treacherous and slick, leading to an increase in accidents during the winter months. Some people think they can simply rely on their four-wheel drive in the snow, but making the swap to snow tires is absolutely necessary. Make sure to change all four because mixing summer and winter tires can cause problems for your car. All-season tires can help eliminate this problem, but they may not be enough to handle winter roads, especially if you live in a more rural area.

Don’t forget about your windshield when winterizing your car. Try using a windshield washer fluid that contains antifreeze to keep ice and snow from building up on your car’s windshield. Also keep a close eye out for any cracks in the glass – cold weather can make these worse and leave you with a messy windshield situation.

While all of this is important, it’s a lot to remember. Hillmuth Certified Automotive has years of experience winterizing vehicles and can ensure that things are done the right way and nothing gets missed. This will help to ensure safety and long life for your vehicle. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

There is No Substitute for Experience

A well known proverb states, “There is no substitute for experience.” At Hillmuth Certified Automotive, we know that this is true. When it comes to the choice of your care, there truly is no substitute for experience. Think about it – if given the choice between a brand new doctor who has been to the top medical school in the country and a doctor who went to a so-so school but has been practicing medicine successfully for 30 years, whom would you choose? Of course, you would choose the experienced doctor. Why should that choice be any different for your car?

Experience Means Knowledge

The first reason why there is no substitute for experience is because experience means knowledge. If you have experience in a certain field, it means that you have developed a knowledge base within that field throughout the many experiences you have had. Knowledge, as we know, is power. With knowledge in the automotive industry, we are able to diagnose and treat car problems more quickly and effectively.

Experience Means Expertise

Along with knowledge, experience means expertise. For those of us with experience in the automotive industry, we have been working and honing our skills for many, many years. This means that over time, we have developed serious expertise in our field. With this expertise, we are able to provide you with the most accurate information when it comes to your car. We are also able to find the best solutions for any problems.

Experience Means We’ve Seen It Before

Finally, experience means that we have seen it before. Years of experience in the automotive industry means that we have seen it all – from simple oil changes to complex engine problems. Because we have seen these situations before, we are able to know what is going on with your car more quickly and find solutions that are proven to work. Our experience gives us the power to understand your vehicle and the problems it is having better than anyone else in the field.

Hillmuth Certified Automotive: 35 Years of Experience

At Hillmuth Certified Automotive, we have 35 years of experience in the automotive industry. Since 1978, we have been providing auto repairs in Maryland. Our experienced mechanics and technicians are capable of providing your vehicle with the best service in the industry. If your vehicle requires service, trust Hillmuth Certified Automotive to find a solution that you can trust at an affordable price. Schedule an appointment for service with us online today.

Maintaining a Hybrid Vehicle

Maintaining any car, especially its fuel system, can be tricky. Maintaining a hybrid vehicle is inherently even trickier. If you’re a proud owner of an environmentally friendly hybrid, here are some things you should know about hybrid maintenance and preventive care.

Typically, hybrid batteries last 7-10 years, a product lifespan that can be shortened by other untreated fuel system, engine, or drivetrain performance problems. Battery replacement can be relatively expensive compared to preventive maintenance, so it’s best to have your hybrid car regularly checked and tuned up to stay ahead of the game and prolong the life of the battery, and possibly other auto parts.

One unfortunate and misguided myth is that you need to go to the dealership for hybrid battery maintenance. On the contrary, taking it to the dealer can be quite expensive and taking it to Hillmuth won’t void your manufacturer’s warranty. To boot, since our mechanics are trained in the maintenance and repair of all sorts of hybrids, they can offer additional, well-rounded expertise that equates to better service for your hybrid car.

Another myth is that problems with the hybrid battery always end in replacement. That’s not always true. Regenerating your hybrid’s battery is often a viable solution in lieu of a more expensive replacement.

There are many more nuances of working with hybrid vehicles. Bring yours to a convenient Hillmuth Automotive location near you to ensure that your hybrid has the proper care it deserves. Swing by or schedule an appointment today!

Why You Need Wheel Alignment

Knowing when to get a wheel alignment can be tricky because it is not generally listed in the recommended maintenance for your car. However, many daily aspects of driving can cause your car to lose its wheel alignment. Not getting your wheels properly aligned can also lead to problems in the future. At Hillmuth Certified Automotive, we are very experienced in providing wheel alignments to all different vehicle makes and models. Learn more about what signs will tell you if you need an alignment and when to seek services from Hillmuth Certified Automotive.

What Causes Alignment Problems

There are a few key factors that can cause your car to lose its wheel alignment. First, hitting potholes or the curb can cause a problem with your alignment. If you bump into another hard surface with your wheels, such as parking stalls made of concrete, you may also find that your wheels are out of alignment. Finally, normal wear and tear over time will also cause your wheels to lose alignment. As your car grows older, the rubber in your tires can lose its elasticity and the socket joints in your wheels can become loose, gradually causing your wheels to become more and more out of alignment.

Signs You Need an Alignment

How do you know when you need an alignment? Here are a few common indicators:

  • Wear: When your tires show uneven wear, this usually indicates that your wheels are out of alignment.
  • Drifting: If you car drifts to one side when you believe that you are driving straight, this likely means that your wheels need an alignment.
  • De-centering: Finally, if you are driving in a straight line but your steering wheel is de-centered, this means that your wheels are out of alignment.

Benefits & Consequences

Getting an alignment brings you important benefits, while avoiding an alignment can bring serious consequences. First, if your wheels are aligned, your tires will wear more evenly and at a slower pace. This will save you money in the long run because replacing tires can be quite expensive. In addition, getting an alignment makes your care safer because it will drive straight and handle correctly in terms of steering. Finally, your car will get better gas mileage with an alignment. Not getting an alignment carries both the consequences of lost money and decreased safety. Contact Hillmuth Certified Automotive today to schedule your appointment for service.