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While there’s a lot of fun to be had during the winter seasons, especially when you cozy up at night, there are some things that you might have a hard time doing – and that is taking your car out for a spin. Of course, you can drive during winters but there are plenty of hazards that make it quite risky. It is a significant reason why thousands of people park their car in storage for this season, and there is a good chance that you do to.
Now that you don’t have to worry about snowfalls and cold winds, it is finally time to take your car out and enjoy long drives. However, parking your car in storage doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be in driving condition. If anything, there is a good chance that your vehicle may have problems that would prove to be a major obstacle for smooth driving.
Not addressing these issues could lead to major issues down the line, costing you hefty repairs. If you want to steer clear from these issues, following the checklist mentioned below can help you maintain your car before you go out for a spin.
Check the Oil after Storage
The last thing you want to do is driving around with old engine oil. Sure, your car may be running fine for a while, but it will eventually damage. This is why it would be best to replace your engine’s oil to make sure your driving experience is smooth. What’s more, getting your engine and motor oil changed can also significantly improve your vehicle’s life.
Check over Your Tires
Your car’s tires are generally the first parts to take damage after spending a long time in storage. Consider inspecting for punctures, low PSI levels, wear and tear etc. and fix these issues before going out for a ride. You can also get a professional auto repair professional to perform a thorough inspection, making sure your car is good to go.
Storage and how Battery and Fluids are affected
Your car has plenty of other fluids besides your engine oil. Coolants, brake fluid, fuel etc. are just some of the other fluids you must check before driving your car out of winter storage. While checking for leaks and low fluids is relatively easy, it would be best to get a professional to perform a detailed inspection.
And while you’re at it, ask the car maintenance pro to take a look at the battery as well. Leaving your battery inside for long periods, especially during the winters can cause a lot of damage. In most cases, however, merely charging the battery would be enough to ensure your vehicle is ready for spring time driving.
As most of you may know, driving into potholes can damage your vehicle significantly. Sometimes however, spotting this damage can be quite challenging as it may not be visible. Once you drive into a pothole, consider inspecting it as soon as you get home to make sure your car is free from wear and tear. If you have a hard time spotting this problem, it would be best to book an appointment with a reputable auto repair company to identify the damage in your car.
How to Tell if Your Car Has Pothole Damage
Mentioned below are a few telltale signs that can help you spot pothole damage in your vehicle
Vibrations When Steering Your Vehicle
If you notice your steering wheel vibrating excessively while driving, there is a good chance that your wheels are damaged and out of balance. Once again, you may need to book an appointment with a professional auto repair service before the problem gets worse.
The Tires are too Low
Are your tires getting too low? If yes, it could be a sign that they are about to burst or already popped. Not fixing this issue could lead to several other issues and even make your car irreparable.
The Car is Pulling Right or Left after Hitting a Pothole
Your vehicle should not be pulling right or left when you are driving straight. If you notice your car going right or left when driving, there is a good chance that its suspension and tires have been damaged by hitting too many potholes.
You may notice strange noises coming out of your car even if it did not hit a pothole. Things like these are a massive red flag, and it is important to inspect your car right away to steer clear from long term damage.
Dashboard Turns On
If your car’s dashboard light turns on randomly, chances are that it has pothole damage. Problems like these are especially common when the potholes you drive into are quite large.
Bulge in the Sidewall
Bulges in the side walls of your tire are never a good thing. Driving into too many potholes is the number one reason behind these bulges. Fortunately, spotting this problem is quite easy and takes a matter of minutes. While avoiding every pothole you come across is next to impossible, it’s important to be wary of them while driving and slow down if you cannot avoid them. If you think there is something wrong with your car but are unable to spot the issue, enlist a professional auto repair service to take a closer look at the problem.
Car safety is essential for everyone’s protection, including you, the passengers, and the people on the road. People have not been driving as much as they used to before the lockdown, but with things slowly but surely opening up, everybody wants to go out on the road again. Before you take your car out for a spin, it would be best to ensure that it is in running condition.
In many cases, people decide to take their car out for a drive only to learn that it is full of faults. Make sure that you are not one of these people by being proactive and fixing your car before hand. You will need to put your car through detailed vehicle inspection for this to happen. Of course, you can try maintaining your vehicle by yourself, but its better to leave things like these to the professionals.
Car Inspection Benefits and Importance
Vehicle inspection is essential before you take your car out for a drive after a long time. Choosing a professional to make a quick visual and physical inspection offers the following advantages:
It Reduces Maintenance Costs
Inspecting your vehicle on a regular basis can indirectly minimize maintenance costs, and the reason behind it is simple. Car checks help you identify whether the components of your car are in good shape or not. This helps you save your vehicle from any unforeseen damages, making sure you don’t have to worry about costly repairs or replacements.
You need to prioritize car maintenance if you want it to last long. With regular vehicle inspection, you can find out which components of your vehicle require maintenance and how you can care for them. It is a major reason why every car owner should take car inspection seriously, as it can significantly increase your vehicle’s longevity.
Once you make these inspections a regular part of your maintenance routine, you will improve your car’s life.
Importance of Reduced Carbon Footprint
The gases and fumes that your vehicle emits are extremely dangerous for the environment. You must ensure that your car has a well-functioning exhaust to minimize carbon footprint and play your part in improving the environment.
Smooth Brakes and the Importance
You must perform routine checks to see whether your brakes are working properly. If they aren’t consider repairing them right away, as they play a critical part in stopping your car on time. In addition, smooth brakes will prevent your vehicle from slipping and skidding.
One of the most unsafe driving conditions you’ll face are frozen road conditions. The slippery surface makes it very difficult to gain traction, but it can be life-saving knowledge to learn how to drive on ice. Today, while driving in slippery weather, we are going to look at 5 things that you need to remember.
Taking your time and going slower than you can usually is the best advice you can take while driving in icy conditions. Before you depart, you can consider taking some extra time so you can take your time while still being on time at your destination. Driving slow will reduce the risk of getting into an accident significantly. Not to mention, if you do happen to lose control and hit something, this would also minimize the amount of damage your vehicle will get.
Although brakes are commonly used to help stabilize the car and bring you to a stop in and out of emergency situations, if used inappropriately on ice, they will do more damage than good. Slamming on the brakes will bring your car into an uncontrollable skid in icy conditions. What you want to do is drive slowly enough to cause your car’s weight to bring your vehicle to a halt if necessary. Slowly pump your brakes to stop freezing up your tires if you need to use your brakes on ice.
Skidding leads to losing control of a vehicle on ice and sliding through the ice without grip. During a skid, drivers frequently freeze up or over-correct, which allows them to spin out of control. You’ll want to gently turn towards the skid and pump the brakes slowly to try to avoid momentum in order to get out of the skid safely. Turn the steering wheel back into position slowly and speed out of the skid before you see the car regaining equilibrium to continue straightening out. This does not always mean finishing in the same direction, whether you over-corrected or froze up, it could often potentially minimize the amount of skidding you might have done.
Ice road conditions occur as water on the road freezes owing to a drop in temperature. Watching outdoor temperatures is a clever way to stay on top of shifting road conditions. Having an in-car display that indicates exterior temperatures is a great way to discern where you will need to look for ice patches on the lane. To see what you can get, if your car does not have this option, you should simply check the temperature changes before leaving the home.
Many folks think that snow tires and snow chains can assist in icy road situations, similar to how they assist on snow-packed highways. The solution here is not because there is no additional traction added to the ice. Icy roads are too slippery for snow tires and tire chains to make a difference, but if you have them in your winter vehicle, they won’t hurt for sure.
There’s nothing more angering than opening your garage just to find out that your tires lose air and are completely worn out and deflated. Thousands of people face this issue and wonder what the problem could be. Well, PSI loss is a very common issue that has been plaguing car owners for years. In many cases, temperature changes are the main reasons behind decreased PSI in your tires and merely pumping some air can resolve the problem.
However, there could be plenty of other causes behind your tire’s pressure loss, and that is precisely what we will be discussing in this piece.
Damage in Tire Beads
In many cases, a defective sealing surface present between the tire can and wheel could be the reason behind tire damage and pressure loss. Sometimes this could be because of wheel corrosion, while on others, it could be due to excessive debris inside the sealing gap. Whenever things like this happen, your tire becomes visibly deflated. A broken seal could also be the reason behind poor elasticity and diminished rubber quality.
Whatever the case, tire damage can be quite costly and it would be best to keep them in check before there is no other option but to replace them.
Curbs or Potholes
No matter where you’re from, you are bound to find potholes or curbs somewhere or the other. Some of them may not affect your tires that much, but others will deflate them right away. Hitting a curb, especially a damaged one can ruin your tire’s sidewalls, resulting in pressure loss each time. Sure, you can refill your tires whenever you want, but it’s also important to steer clear from these common issues.
That said, it would also help if you looked for signs of damage as soon as you hit a curb or pot hole. These could include things like bulging sidewall, poor sealing, or even slashes. If you are having a hard time finding out the reason why your tire is losing air, it would be best to get in touch with a professional tire repair service to resolve your issue.
Tires lose air from Tread Puncture
Merely running your vehicle over a sharp object or nail can severely puncture your tire’s tread and its inner liner, causing significant air loss. Some of the nails can stay in a straight line without having an affect on the PSI. However, it would be best to remove it as not doing so could cause your tire to become flat or even lead to tread separation.
In cases like these, using a patch or tire plug, along with a sealant and repair kit could come in quite handy.
Every car owner should prioritize tire maintenance and one of the best things to do it would be to use a tire pressure monitoring system. Why? Because it is incredibly accurate and can help you stay updated about your tires condition, ensuring you can prevent long term damage.
Driving in the winter can present it’s own challenges. Stopping distance, which some people also refer to as braking distance is the distance required for your car to completely stop after you press your brakes. The faster your car’s speed, the more time it will take to stop completely. Stopping your car as quickly as possible whenever you need it is a tremendous thing. When driving, remember to leave plenty of space ahead of you.
Sure, you may see speed limits on the highway, main road or any other area you drive in. However, following them during the winter season may not be the best idea. Instead, it would be better if you slowed down to remain safe. No matter how good of a driver you are, you must make a habit of driving slowly and increasing your braking distance when there is too much ice, water or snow on the road.
As you would expect, slippery roads have less traction making it immensely difficult to drive, and there is a significantly higher chance of your tires losing grip.
It’s More than Your Brake Pedal
While being aware of when you should and shouldn’t hit your brakes is an excellent thing, it is not the only thing you should keep in mind. You require a decent amount of time to watch and react in order to pump your brakes at just the right time. Doing so will help you slow down at the right time, preventing any kind of accident.
If you see a hazard while driving, you will need around three to four quarters of one second to decide when your should stop. That is not all though, as you will need an extra three seconds to pump your brake. It is the only way to slow your vehicle down on slippery roads.
Driving and Braking Distance – Important Things to Consider
Be mindful of your surroundings whenever you plan to increase your vehicle’s speed. As mentioned earlier, there is always a risk of your car skidding or slipping and hitting others if you are not extra careful. The tips mentioned below will help keep you and others safe, ensuring your braking distance and speed is ideal for icy roads:
- Be aware of the various risks caused by winter driving. This could include things like rain, darkness etc
- Slow your car down on poor weather conditions, uneven or wet roads
- Always carry an emergency kit in your car along with an extra pair of winter tires
- Don’t get carried away with your speed if you are in a rush to go somewhere. It would be wise to have realistic expectations about your traveling time. Driving can be a complicated task during winters, and the more cautious you are, the safer you will be.
In addition to following the tips discussed in this piece, you should also prepare your car for snowy seasons by showing it to a professional auto repair service. They will take a thorough look at your car and get it ready for driving this winter.
An average battery can last as long as 5 years. However, entering a snow covered truck or car only to find out that its battery is dead, can be a frustrating experience. Things like this happen to most people, but why does this mostly happen during the winter season? Let us find out.
Your Car’s Battery Has a Life
If you have been a car owner for a long while, you will be well aware that most car batteries contain lead acid, as they are quite dependable and cost-friendly. Lead acid batteries have a plastic case housing that contains lead plates dipped in a mix of sulfuric acid and water.
Contrary to popular belief, the lead acid battery itself does not produce the charge. Instead, it acquires and stores the initial charge with the help of a chemical reaction that occurs between the electrolyte and the lead plates of the cell. As the chemical reaction takes place, the negative and positive lead plats accumulate a lead sulfate coating. This process is also referred to as sulfation. Sulfation diminishes the battery’s power to charge the engine.
To make matters worse, lead acid batteries also lose their charge with the passage of time – a process known as self-discharge. If you leave your battery for too long without charging it, it could lose its power beyond repair.
Why do Most Car Batteries die in winter?
Excessive cold or heat can expand a battery’s discharge rate. Cold weather will especially pose a massive threat for your battery. Over exposure to the scorching heat of the summer vaporizes the water and increases sulfation. So, when winter comes around the chemical reactions occurring in the lead acid battery become slower due to the freezing temperatures. This reduces your car battery’s capacity to perform even further.
To make things even more difficult, sluggish oil and cold engine require extra power. Meanwhile power heavy features such as defrost and heat place extra strain on your battery. While most lead acid batteries can last for three to four years on average, the wrong conditions could drain them a lot sooner.
Common Signs of Battery Failure during winter
In many cases, batteries tend to fail before a warning sign. However, there are some telltale signs that can help you determine whether your battery is about to fail.
– Smell of rotten eggs or sulfur
– Cracked or swollen battery case
– Dim Dome Lights
– The head lights become yellow rather than white
– The car’s horn does not sound the same
– Failure in any of the car’s issues
Extreme weather can be very uncertain and unpleasant for your car, especially its battery. Make sure that your battery is in tiptop condition by getting a professional service to check it. If you live in Cottage Grove and Maplewood, the auto repair professionals at Calson Auto have been servicing car batteries for many years, and can resolve your battery’s problems.
Your brake fluid is indispensable. Without it, your brakes wouldn’t function at all. Sadly, it often gets ignored. In this article, we’ll talk about what brake fluid does and why it’s so important. We’ll also discuss what steps you should take to properly maintain your vehicle’s brake fluid.
What is brake fluid, and why is it important?
Brake fluid is a hydraulic liquid that flows throughout your braking system and engine. Since
it’s incompressible, it can move force from the brake pedal to the calipers. This pressure causes
the calipers to clamp down onto the rotors, applying the brakes. Simply put, your brakes
wouldn’t function without the fluid.
Modern fluids for the brake system have many beneficial qualities. Since fluid circulates throughout the
engine, it can stand up to high temperatures. To prevent it from vaporizing, it has a very high
boiling point. This helps ensure your system has the proper amount of fluid in it. This fluid is
also designed to keep a constant viscosity, no matter what extreme temperature it’s exposed to.
Since engines have intricate passages and valving, the fluid needs to be able to flow
smoothly. Additionally, fluid contains anti-corrosive chemicals that help preserve the
metal components of the engine. All these features of fluid make it a vital part of the
engine and braking system.
There are several different types of fluid. Most of them are glycol-ether-based, a formula
that can absorb moisture from its atmosphere. The moisture absorbed by the fluid can
gradually reduce its boiling point, which can lead to decreased stopping ability. Too much
moisture in the fluid can also damage metal engine components, causing them to rust. To
avoid these issues, your fluid should be tested regularly and replaced periodically.
How often does brake fluid need to be changed?
Different types of fluids have different changing intervals. Your owner’s manual may
have information specific to your make and model regarding brake fluid and its maintenance. At
Carlson Automotive, we typically suggest brake fluid replacement at least every year or two.
To get more information on the status of your fluid, take a look at it. Your brake fluid’s
appearance changes as it gets older. Most fluid starts as clear or amber-colored. Over
time, it becomes contaminated with rust particles and debris from the engine. This changes the
appearance to a cloudy, brown fluid. This is a good indicator that your brake fluid needs
replacing. Additionally, pay attention to your fluid levels. An occasional decrease in brake fluid
is perfectly normal, as long as it’s a small quantity. If you always need to top off your brake
fluid, it could indicate an issue that needs repair.
We also suggest getting your fluid tested for its moisture content. This helps determine its
composition and quality. Most shops will do this on request when you get your oil changed.
This test can help you decide what steps you need to take for your brake fluid maintenance.
Do you need your fluid replaced or tested? Our experienced technicians at Carlson
Automotive are here for you. Give us a call today at (651) 458-5158 for our Cottage Grove
location, or (651) 578-0885 for our Maplewood location. You can also request an appointment
Transmission Fluid 101: Why It’s Important and How to Maintain It
You may or may not know this, but taking care of your transmission fluid is equally as important as routine oil changes. It keeps your transmission healthy, which saves you money on big repairs in the long run. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about your transmission fluid. We’ll also talk about how to check the status of your transmission fluid to ensure it’s in top condition. Let’s dive in.
What is transmission fluid, and why is it important?
Your vehicle’s transmission is responsible for shifting into different gears, such as reverse, park, or drive. All this shifting involves a lot of work in the transmission. That’s where transmission fluid comes in. The fluid’s job is to lubricate the metal transmission components. Its goal is to reduce damage and wear on these parts. Transmission fluid also functions as a coolant so the transmission stays at an optimal temperature.
Types of transmission fluid
There are several types of transmission fluids out there. The type needed for your vehicle depends on the make and model of your vehicle. Most transmission fluids are classified as either automatic or manual transmission fluid. There are also specialty fluids for specified transmissions.
Manual transmission fluid is the less common of the two main types of fluid. It’s typically only used in older models with manual transmissions. These days, most newly-manufactured manual transmission vehicles require automatic transmission fluid.
Automatic transmission fluid is thinner than its manual counterpart. This makes it easier to shift in and out of gear, especially in colder climates. Automatic transmission fluid helps with lots of engine functions, such as:
- Gear lubrication
- Transmission coolant
- Brake band friction
- Torque converter operation
- Valve body operation
- Clutch operation
Another consideration for transmission fluid is synthetic versus traditional transmission fluid. Synthetic fluid is prepared to stand up to the high temperatures inside the engine. On the other
hand, traditional transmission fluid is made of crude oil that can oxidize at high temperatures. The type of transmission fluid you need depends on the make and model of your vehicle. Consult a transmission expert or your owner’s manual to point you in the right direction.
How to check your transmission fluid
Transmission fluid needs to be replaced periodically. Regularly checking it will help you know whether maintenance is necessary. This can be done by locating the transmission dipstick. It’s important to note that some modern vehicles have sealed transmissions, which don’t require maintenance at all. If that’s the case, consult your manufacturer or owner’s manual for more information.
If the transmission isn’t sealed, you can find the dipstick in the engine compartment beneath the hood. To check your fluid level, take the dipstick out, and wipe it clean. Then, slowly put it backandremoveitagain. Once you’ve done this, you can read your current fluid level by using the markings on the dipstick. A frequent issue with low fluid indicates a leak somewhere in your engine. In this case, it’s a good idea to bring your car to a service provider for diagnostics.
After assessing the fluid level, examine its color. Healthy transmission fluid has a pinkish-red color. If it’s slightly darker and looks more brownish-red, it means it’s time to get your fluid replaced. If your fluid is dark brown or black, it suggests a more serious problem that requires prompt attention.
Regular maintenance of your transmission fluid helps ensure a healthy transmission. This helps you avoid major costs down the road. Do you have questions about your transmission fluid? Our certified technicians at Carlson Automotive can help. Give us a call today at (651) 458-5158 for our Cottage Grove location, or (651) 578-0885 for our Maplewood location.
Chances are you’ve seen a car stopped on the side of the road with smoke coming out of the hood. That’s what happens when your engine overheats. Your vehicle’s cooling system helps prevent this from happening. To make sure your cooling system stays healthy, it’s necessary to schedule a coolant flush. In this article, we’ll discuss what this entails and how often you need it done.
How does the cooling system work?
It’s no surprise that your engine produces lots of heat. If this heat isn’t kept under control, it could ruin the entire engine. That’s what the cooling system is for. Its job is to manage the heat and keep everything running smoothly.
The cooling system includes the following components:
- Head gaskets
- Intake manifold gaskets
- Pressure cap and reserve tank
- Water pump
- Temperature sensor
- Radiator cooling fans
- Heater core
- Bypass system
- Freeze plugs
In addition to these parts, liquid coolant is circulated throughout the engine to ensure the engine stays cool.
What is a coolant flush?
Eventually, rust particles pollute your engine’s coolant. The purpose of a coolant flush is to replace the contaminated coolant with fresh fluids. A cleaning fluid is also added to help flush out excess debris.
A coolant flush is sometimes confused with topping off the coolant. Topping off your coolant means making sure there’s enough coolant in your engine. A coolant flush is done to clean out cooling fluid in your system.
Why is it important to get a coolant flush?
There are many benefits to routine coolant flushes. For one, they remove rust and other particles from the coolant. These deposits can cause your engine to overheat if they’re not dealt with.
Coolant flushes also protect your water pump by keeping it properly lubricated and preventing debris from clogging it up. Additionally, old coolant becomes acidic over time. This acidity can cause damage to your engine if it’s not replaced. Old antifreeze also loses its ability to prevent corrosion over time, making it less effective. Routine coolant flushes can prevent these problems and extend the lifespan of your engine.
How often does it need to be done?
As with other forms of car maintenance, your owner’s manual can point you in the right direction for service guidelines. Our licensed technicians at Carlson Automotive can also help you figure out a maintenance plan that’s best for you. Not all coolants are the same. Some long-lasting types will work well for up to 5 years, but others might need to be replaced every 2 years.
At a minimum, we advise a cooling system inspection every two years. This check-up should include:
- Visual inspection of all cooling system parts
- System power flush and coolant refill
- Internal leak check
- Pressure test
- System pressure level check
- Engine fan test
- Thermostat check
Is it time for your coolant flush? Give Carlson Automotive a call today at (651) 458-5158 for our Cottage Grove location, or (651) 578-0885 for our Maplewood location. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Today’s cars can come equipped with any luxury and comfort feature imaginable. But, this wasn’t always the case. In this article, we’ll discuss how technology transformed automotive interiors. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for your car’s interior.
The early 1900s
In a lot of ways, the earliest automobiles were quite similar to carriages. Both were open-air vehicles, so drivers and passengers were exposed to the elements. Unless you had perfect weather, chances are you’d be too hot, too cold, or too wet. That all changed in 1910, when Cadillac came out with the first closed body car. With this invention, automakers started looking for ways to make interiors more comfortable.
This brought about a few important innovations. Cadillac released the Model Thirty in 1912, which came with an electronic self-starter, ignition, and lighting. In 1914, luxury Scripps-Booth cars were equipped with power door locks. 1929 saw the first interior heating system from Ford. These inventions were all significant because they paved the way for more advancements in auto interiors.
The focus on interiors brought advancements to car radios and sound systems. In the late 1920s, the first AM radios were installed. By the 1930s, these were standard in most cars. The first AM/FM radio didn’t appear until 1950. In 1966, the Ford Mustang came equipped with an 8-track player. These were ultimately phased out in favor of cassette players. The cutting-edge technology of the 1980s was the car CD player. These were popular through the 1990s and early 2000s. At this point, compact digital storage media took off. These days, it’s easy to stream music from your personal device to your vehicle. Automotive sound systems have certainly come a long way!
Climate control comfort
In 1940, Packard Motor Car Company had two huge breakthroughs. These were in-car air conditioners and power windows. Both made it possible to manage the interior temperature of the car. Building on these ideas, Cadillac developed an automatic climate control system in 1960. This let people set the temperature inside their cars. By 1980, Cadillac came out with an all-electronic version of this system. This is the basis for what automakers use today.
Seat improvements and comfort
The 1966 Cadillac DeVille was the first car to feature heated seats. Since then, manufacturers have created many other heated features, from steering wheels to side panels. Ventilated seats were invented in 1998 by Saab, creating a cooling experience for drivers. The ultimate luxury seat comes from Mercedes, who created a massaging car seat in the 2000s. I don’t know if anything can top that.
Modern technology and human machine interfaces
Modern cars have smart interfaces that allow for integration of your smartphone or personal device. This technology is called HMI, or “human machine interface”. With HMI technology, you can adjust lots of interior features, including:
- Touch interfaces
- Internet and cloud connectivity
- Wireless communication
- Seat comfort and interior temperature
- Advanced lighting and sound systems
HMI technology gives drivers control of luxury interior features with the tap of a screen.
We’ve sure come a long way since the open-air autos of the early 1900s. Early automakers couldn’t have fathomed the features we have today, not to mention the ease with which we can control them. Do you have questions about the interior features in your vehicle? Our experienced technicians at Carlson Automotive have answers. Give us a call today at (651) 458-5158 for our Cottage Grove Location, or (651) 578-0885 for our Maplewood location. You can also request an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you.
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8799 E Point Douglas Rd S
275 Century Ave N
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