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Fall

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

WHAT’S INSIDE: Better start thinking about winter driving just around the corner .......................................C2 Willands Tech Auto marks its 80th year in business in Ferndale ....................................C4 Get some tips from the pro mechanics on most essential upkeep .................................C6

A supplement of the

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 18, 2017 | Ferndale Record

Fall Drive Whatcom

Get ready for winter driving

The winter season can lead to some difficult driving conditions on local roads. This was a year ago in downtown Lynden. (File photo)

Last year brought conditions that could repeat — prepare now By Ashley Hiruko ashley@lyndentribune.com

   WHATCOM — The winter of 2016-17 was one for the books. Temperatures got to below 20 degrees and stayed there, and schools closed as inches of snow piled up.    Could we have another “Snowmageddon” this winter? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued a La Nina watch for 2017-18, predicting temperatures similar to those experienced a year ago. The

odds of a repeat are put at 55-60 percent, the prediction notice from NOAA states.    But what is a winter wonderland to some can pose a nightmare to commuters to and from work and school, especially drivers who still have to travel serious distances when the roads freeze over. Last winter’s weather situation — approximately 38 inches of snowfall, and 16 days of 22 degrees or colder in north Whatcom — impacted the number of collisions too, said Kevin McFadden, traffic sergeant for the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. According to his data, there were 317 accidents, 78 with injuries, during the 2016-17 winter months, up from 229 accidents, 49 with injuries, in 2015-16. “In the most severe month, crashes were almost double,” McFadden said of

January, a month of heavy snowfall. Many vehicles ended up in ditches along the road. “We typically find in the first couple of days when we first get snow, crashes are higher,” McFadden said. “Then people have either lost their vehicle and don’t drive them and only the people who should be out there with the proper equipment seem to be driving.”    The roads where the most collisions occur during the winter months are the same ones that see the most accidents during the dry season — the heavily trafficked lanes. Count into this category Hannegan, Birch Bay-Lynden, Slater and EversonGoshen roads, all of which are a priority 1 for county snow plows because they are so

heavily relied upon. “People tend to gravitate toward those roads,” McFadden said. Most collisions are a result of people driving too fast, too close behind another vehicle, or being too confident of the capability of a four-wheel-drive vehicle. “They figure they can drive fast, but (four-wheel drive) doesn’t do any good with stopping,” McFadden said. Motorists can allow more room for stopping by following further behind the car in front of them. The typical three seconds of space should be doubled in bad conditions. And if you find yourself in a ditch, drivers are asked to notify of the location, even if it’s non-blocking, so that emergency responders can take note of it. “If it’s not called in, we send someone to check on it,”


Fall Drive Whatcom

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 18, 2017 | Ferndale Record

McFadden said. “It only takes a second to notify 911.” Winter maintenance Before the cold truly kicks in, there are some things that should be done in order to prepare a vehicle, says Ken VanMersbergen, owner of the Lynden Service Center. “Number one thing is to make sure the antifreeze protects to at least 0 degrees,” he said. Another maintenance must-do is to test your car’s battery. “Have your battery tested to make sure it’s still adequate,” VanMersbergen said. “Your engine turns over a lot harder in winter temperatures. If your battery is weak in the summer, it’s not going to do the job in the winter.” VanMersbergen said cold temperatures don’t necessarily require warming up a vehicle in the morning. It used to be the practice with older cars, but newer models don’t need the warm-up ritual. What is often neglected, VanMersbergen said, is looking under the hood. He said drivers will always do well to watch fluid levels of coolant and oil. “Ninety percent of the time it’s not a problem, but that 10 percent of time can do a lot of damage,” he said. “A quart of oil now and then is a lot cheaper than buying a new engine.”

Even when not driving, the snow can present some interesting problems. (File photo)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 18, 2017 | Ferndale Record

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Willands celebrates 80th anniversary Company has been family-owned since 1937 in Ferndale By Brent Lindquist brent@lyndentribune.com

Ron Willand sits in his office in Willands Tech Auto, where he has been the owner since 1963. Facing page: Willands moved to its current location in 1939. (Brent Lindquist/Lynden Tribune)

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FERNDALE — Willands Tech Auto in Ferndale is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, and current owner Ron Willand has seen automotive technology change and adapt in many ways since he took over. “I remember working on my first bad alternator,” Willand said. “I thought, ‘Oh man, what are we getting into?’” That was around 1965, a couple of years after Willand took over for his father, Olve Willand, in 1963.    Olve and Frances Willand owned a garage in Tioga, North Dakota, in 1936. The harsh winter weather there spurred them to move west to Ferndale late that year, and Olve began working at Jewell Motors until May 1937. He then opened Willand’s Services at the corner of Third and Vista where Little Caesar’s Pizza is today.    The business moved to its current location in 1939.    Alternators were just coming into regular use when Ron Willand took over Willands, and his first experience with one was on a Dodge station wagon. Willands Tech Auto today offers tune-ups, driving diagnostics and a wide variety of automotive services. The late 1960s saw more electronic components in cars, along with emission control, the latter becoming even more

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 18, 2017 | Ferndale Record

Fall Drive Whatcom

prevalent in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, computer were introduced in cars, a change that altered everything. “It changed your whole way of thinking,” Willand said. The late 1980s brought fuel injection, and computers only became more sophisticated in the 1990s and 2000s. Looking to the future, Willand said he expects to see even more electronics introduced, a trend he believes could become dangerous. “I see that drivers are going to lose their skills,” he said, referring to selfdriving automated technology present in some cars now.

Ron Willand said adapting to change takes a lot of effort, from ongoing education to simply reading books in the evening. “It’s been a real fun road to go down,” he said. As for the now-famous radio jingle featuring the shop’s phone number, Willand attributes it to Hook & Pan Productions. He said people often sing the jingle aloud to him, everywhere from the shop to the grocery store. The high post was about seven years ago. Willands Tech Auto is located at 2040 Vista Dr. in Ferndale. Visit www.Willands. com.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 18, 2017 | Ferndale Record

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How to keep your vehicle running like new, even through winter Local auto shops give advice on most essential upkeep tactics By Nick Elges sports@lyndentribune.com

Checking a car's oil and keeping it full is essential to making sure it runs smooth all year.

(Ashley Hiruko/Lynden Tribune)

LYNDEN — Cars are expensive — it’s no secret. When you spend tens of thousands of dollars on a new vehicle to safely get you from point A to point B, it’s likely that you do so with the expectation that the machine will be one you can rely on for years to come.    Without knowing the most essential upkeep tips, however, you could find yourself shopping for another new vehicle sooner than you want.    Luckily, local auto shops have the practical and simple advice, coupled with the knowledge and experience, to help you stay on top of your car’s routine and fundamental maintenance.    Almost any mechanic will tell you the most important thing, regardless of time of year, when it comes to getting the full life out of your vehicle, is to keep up with factory-recommended services, as per your owner’s manual. This includes everything from getting oil changes on time or early to flushing fluids when necessary.    Ken VanMersbergen of the Lynden Service Center echoes that advice, adding to “never throw your owner’s manual away.”    “Follow the (manual) to the T and you’re going to make your car last longer,” VanMersbergen said. “All fluids need to be changed at a certain interval according to factory recommendations.”    Looking under the hood and checking oil levels every couple of weeks is some-

“Get Ready for Fall & Winter” • Flushing Cooling System • New Antifreeze • Tune-ups • Schedule Maintenance - 30, 60, 90,000

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 18, 2017 | Ferndale Record

Fall Drive Whatcom thing most people don’t do, instead relying on oil change appointments every few months to diagnose any potential issues with their vehicle that could be lingering and causing serious damage to the internal workings of the engine.    However, “the easiest thing to do is to (self) check your oil,” VanMersbergen said, by just checking the dipstick in the engine to see if oil levels are at the appropriate level.    “It sounds pretty simple, but most people don’t do it,” VanMersbergen said. “You would be surprised how many vehicles come through our door and there will be no oil on the dipstick. You’re really doing damage if you are running your engine low on oil.”    Other important upkeep tips range from obvious to not so obvious. Replacing worn tires, keeping air filters clean and maintaining the battery are all critical services. Adding a bug deflector, having protection for your dashboard and keeping the interior clean can also help to keep your ride in near stock condition.    “Check your tire pressure when you get your oil changed,” Bob Rude of Rude’s Auto Repair said of his advice to customers. “Check for leaks.”    With the wet, winter months now

ahead, Rude said it’s a good idea “to check the coolant and see what the freeze point is and what the acidity is” as the weather gets colder. “It’s just a good time to do a winter check-over (of the vehicle).”    It’s also important to “think about your wiper blades and headlights,” Rude added. Windshield wiper blades can crack or rot after sitting in the sun all summer and, as a critical safety component of any car, it’s vital to make sure they are ready for the unpredictable weather.    When it comes to “winterizing” your vehicle, though, your car shouldn’t need any special treatment and is likely to be ready to go after a regular checkup.    “Every fall we get people coming in and asking us to ‘winterize’ their vehicle,” VanMersbergen said. “Antifreeze, which is part of the cooling system, never wears out, as far as freezing goes. What wears out is the additives.    “Most cars have extended-life antifreeze, so it’s good for about five years (or 100,000 miles) before needing to be flushed.”    Also, think about the condition of your tires as you prepare to travel during the winter months, as they will need good tread to handle hazardous road conditions.

Most cars' antifreeze is good for five years before needing to be flushed by a mechanic. (Courtesy photo)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 18, 2017 | Ferndale Record

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