Category Archives: Car Care Tips

Car check list before a long trip

Travelling long distances and making lengthy journeys proves to be a serious test of your car’s current condition and maintenance level. Minor glitches in a car’s condition may turn your enjoyable trip into a really problematic tour so it is better for drivers to make necessary adjustments and repairs before you plan your journey. The following paragraphs will illustrate some basic procedures to help you deal with some minor faults but it is recommended that you take your to a workshop or mechanic for a thorough check-up. The below-mentioned actions must be made a few days before your trip, do not procrastinate and wait for the last day.

Get information from your Car’s Manual

The owner’s manual contains all needed information about your vehicle. Things like the location of jack, changing a tire. Changing a headlight bulb and a lot more is discussed there. Reading it will definitely help you and give you an idea about what you are going to do.

Start with the Engine Oil

Oil changes are essential for a car’s engine and frequent oil changes reduce chances of any damage to it. If you have not changed your oil for a while, doing it before a long trip will be a good idea.

To check the engine oil, make sure that the car is on a flat surface, then warm the engine and stop. Give it a minute so that the oil pours down the oil pan. Find the oil dipstick, pull it out and wipe it with a clean cloth then insert it back again. Pull it out again and examine the level, it should be full. If the oil appears very black, it needs to be replaced immediately. If the oil seems fine, then simply use the same oil to optimize the level.

Automatic Transmission Fluid

You need to take care of your transmission fluid as well. If you have not replaced it in a long time then do it before your trip. Long journeys are a real test of your car’s overall ability.

Examining the transmission fluid takes some simple steps, Warm the car while parking it on an even surface. Put the car in the parking position and leave the engine idle. Pull out the dipstick and wipe it. Reinsert it completely and pull it out, now check the fluid level and condition. Transmission fluid has a red or pinkish-red colour when new but becomes brownish with time. If the oil seems too dark, change it.

Engine Antifreeze or Coolant

Check the engine coolant level in the tank. The level should be between ‘Min’ and ‘Max’ marks. Check for leaks, lack of coolant can cause the car to overheat and seriously damage the engine. If there are no leaks you are good to go. Simply top the coolant up if it is a little below the optimum. Remember never open your radiator if the engine is hot.

Battery

There is no real method to predict or assume when the battery will die. It can happen suddenly without any prior symptoms. Battery life is usually somewhere in between 2 to 5 years if your battery is 4 to 5 years old, it is recommended that you change it before the trip. Take a look at the battery for acid leaks, cracks or other damages like corroded terminals. Fix them if possible or simply replace it.

Some more items to check

Check the brake fluid, power steering fluid and washer fluid. Also look for any irregularities like a leak, loose clamps and hoses.

Tires

Get the tire pressure balanced. Usually, the recommended pressure is indicated on the manufacturer’s label. Inspect the tread wear as well, if it is too worn out change the tires as they are not safe to drive as is. Wearing of tires can also mean wheel alignment problems.

Steering and Suspension

Suspensions and steering can be inspected properly in a repair shop. If you feel strange noise, vibrations or knocking then there is a problem that needs your attention. If the shock absorbers appear dry or any one of them appears dry then it needs change. If your car meanders from the side at high speed or the steering wheel is out of centre then you need to check the wheel alignment.

Constant Velocity (CV) Joint boots

These joint transfer torque to the front wheels. They are greased from the inner side and enclosed by a rubber boot that can break sometimes. If this rubber breaks, then all the lubricant will leak out causing the CV joint to become inoperative. You can do this by turning your wheels outside, if you see splashes of grease it means the rubber has broken. If not then there is no need for change.

Electrical equipment and lights

The lights, wipers and horns need to be checked. Spare bulbs for headlight and back can be helpful. Wiper blades need to be changed if they are not properly wiping the windshield. Ensure that AC and heater are working.

Jack, Wheel Wrench and spare tire

The pressure of the spare tire should also be balanced as in the other tires. See if the jack is working and wrench too. If your spare tire is placed underneath then make sure it is easily removable. If you have wheel locks installed then make sure you have the keys and wrench to remove them.

Car emergency kit

It should include; jumper wires, tire gauge, tire sealer-inflater can flashlight and a simple tool kit which contains screwdrivers, pliers and other common tools.

Do not forget the first aid kit and items like blankets, extra water and energy bars.

Preserving your car’s interior and exterior features

Like people, cars also need to look inspiring and this does not mean you need to have a new car; older cars can also look great and attractive. All you need to do is spend on the repair and refurbishment of your car’s interior and exterior to make it look elegant again.

People spend more on their vehicles and drive more miles each year, thus they end up spending more on comfort, appearance and leisure. Most car owners do not realize that just the way they renovate their houses; they can also rejuvenate their vehicles.  There are various automotive repair shops which can make this job terrifically easy.

People do not just sell their houses if they get damaged or need repairs; instead, they go for house renovation but the car faces a different scenario. People often trade off their vehicles just for the sake of a new look even though there is a cheaper alternative. Restoring and repairing is a very cost-effective alternative to buying a new car.

The interior of a vehicle starts wearing first, so the repairs must start from here. When renovating the interior, ‘leather’ is a very popular choice but there are other alternatives like innovative fabrics which are more customizable and attractive for an average car owner.

Our recommendation to you is that if you are really serious about preserving your car, truck, SUV or van etc. then it will be better to search for good upholstery and trim shops which specialize in the enhancement and repair of interior and exterior features of vehicles.

Dangerous mistakes young drivers make

Young and teen-aged drivers are at more risk of accidents than older drivers and adults primarily because of the inability to deal with emergency situations. It is not just this but there is a host of different factors as well that affect the driving skills of individuals. It has been estimated that there is about 4 times more risk of an accident amongst the youth as compared to adults. Following are some of the problems that youngsters commonly make while driving, by listing these down we expect the reader to avoid making such driving errors in the near future.

Distracted Driving

Young drivers tend to be busy behind the wheel with all sorts of distractions such as text messaging, cell phones and edibles. Majority of accidents that take place are due to certain distractions. Remember no distraction is small; keep your eyes off the road.

Risky Driving

Distractions are normally tag-lined as ignorance while risky driving is deliberate such that it can easily be avoided. Ignoring traffic lights or changing lanes without noticing blind spots could prove extremely dangerous. Researchers have shown that teenagers show twice more activity in the area that deals with impulsive actions when they face risky choices.

Speeding

Teens have this habit of speeding just for enjoyment or showing off, what they do not understand is how their response time shrinks with an increase in speed. They speed up without realizing the major risk they are putting themselves in and the people around them.

Overcrowding the vehicle

Studies have shown that cramming the car, with many passengers, which are meant for four or five results in teens driving more callously and aggressively. Encouraged by their passengers, the young driver drives dangerously and carelessly putting everyone in and outside the car at risk.

Drug Influence

Driving under the influence of drugs is also a big problem. Many young people drink and drive which leads to accidents as well. Alcohol is not the only problem other drugs such as marijuana are also a constant nuisance.

Driving too close

Young drivers often follow too closely behind vehicles even if at speeds higher than 60 mph. If a person travels at that speed then sufficient space is required between vehicles to avoid any mishaps; an average car requires 120 to 140 feet to come to a stop at that speed. Teenagers do not realize this and consider driving in such fashion as fun and aggressive which actually a very naïve and dangerous idea.

Avoiding the seatbelt

Teenager consider driving without seatbelts as daring, they feel that they are invincible. This misplaced sense of invincibility leads youngsters to perform unnecessary stunts and speeding as well. Even though these seat belts seem annoying, you must wear them to keep you safe in case of any unforeseen situation.

Poor handling of emergencies

Handling emergency situations comes with valuable driving experience. Most teenaged drivers do not know how to handle emergency situations and even if they do, putting that knowledge to practical use is something they do not know. Thus, the lack of experience accompanied by reckless driving proves to be a safety hazard.

Driving when sleepy

Driving when drowsy is responsible for many crashes and sometimes deaths. Fatigue and sleeplessness can compromise your reaction time thus proving to be another dangerous situation to be driving in.

Wrong car selection and Poor maintenance

Teens go for fame, popularity and flashy vehicles which catch the eye of their peers, friends and bystanders. They pass on with safety features in cars for trending car accessories. It is also seen that they buy cars too expensive for their budget and thus end up not maintaining it.

Prevent your car from being stolen

Simply take care of your car and remember to take the following steps to prevent your car from being stolen.

  1. Always remember to take your keys when you leave the car.
  2. Lock your car and recheck if it is.
  3. Spare keys do not need to be in the car, they can easily be found if a thief finds the time.
  4. Car theft occurs usually in darkness, try to park your vehicle in well-lit areas.
  5. Try to leave your car in attended and secure parking lots.
  6. Just to be extra cautious, have different keys for door/ignition, trunk and the glove box. Give the parking lot attendant only the door/ignition key and check your car for any missing stuff upon return.
  7. Even if you are going for a very short time, do not leave your car running. Cars are generally stolen from gas stations, ATMs and other locations where we are gone only for a few moments.
  8. Make sure that all your windows are properly closed and that no gaps remain.
  9. Do not leave valuable items in your car when parked. This will make your car a likely target.
  10. Whenever you park your vehicle turn your wheels to the side. It will make it difficult to tow your car away.
  11. Front-wheel drive vehicles should be parked front end in first, while rear-wheel drives should be backed in.
  12. For more security, use the emergency brake when parked. Towing your car would become very difficult.
  13. If there is a garage available, use it. Do not leave your car outside.
  14. Even when parking in a garage, do not forget to lock your car.
  15. Never leave the registration in the car. These can be used by the thief to sell your car. Keep registration in your wallet or purse.
  16. If you are going somewhere for a long time (such as on a vacation), remove the electronic fuse, coil wire and rotor distributor to disable your vehicle.
  17. There are vehicles which have lock assemblies at window level, these form T-shape locks which should be replaced with straight locks. A thief can use tools to unlock T-shape locks which are like knobs. Straight locks disallow this.
  18. Engrave a personal name or ID numbers on expensive car accessories.
  19. Invest in vehicle protection.
  20. Install an inexpensive toggle switch or ignition kill switch into the ignition wire. Expensive immobilizers and passkeys can also be used.
  21. Have a fuel kill switch that halts the fuel supply.
  22. Have a visible steering wheel lock to stop the steering wheel from turning.
  23. If you need, you can install floorboard, gear shift, wheel and hood locks.
  24. Protect the column and ignition by an armoured collar around the steering column.
  25. Install electronic security systems for further protection.  Audio alarms that go off if someone tries to tamper with your car are helpful. Automatic engine disables features are also recommended.
  26. Get your car tracked. Have a transmitter hidden in the car so that the police can track your vehicle at all times.

We hope that you never face such a situation and that these precautions are never tested by any thief or burglar. Happy driving.

Driving in summer

Temperature changes tend to produce different effects on cars. Steps need to be taken if cars are to remain reliable at high temperatures. Following are well-known guidelines you can pursue to prepare your vehicle for the soaring summers.

  1. Inspect the tires, check whether the tread wear is excessive or uneven; see if all tires, including the spare, are inflated appropriately.
  2. While the car is off, take a look around to check for worn-out, damaged or soft hoses. Examine the coolant level, make sure that the correct ratio of 50/50 water and coolant is present.
  3. It is part of the routine procedure as well. Check the engine oil level and state. In extremely hot temperatures, it is a good idea to switch to the oil of higher viscosity.
  4. Beat the heat with a well-serviced air conditioner. This will help keep cool in hot summers. Get the air conditioner serviced by a professional technician, use proper and approved refrigerants. R-134a for new ACs and R-12 for older ones.
  5. There is always a chance of having a bad day and a well-maintained vehicle may also breakdown. It is essential that you have an emergency kit available in your car. The kit should include; flashlight, jumper cables, first aid kit and a cell phone for emergency assistance.

Try to use the above-mentioned steps to keep your up and running in hot temperatures. These steps will ensure that you remain mentally at ease and trouble-free when driving your vehicle in extremely warm weathers.

Safety First When Driving

Many people take joy in driving their vehicles and enjoy even more when they travel on longer routes but it is a must for everyone to take care of their vehicles and make sure that the trips they make are safe.

There are a few prerequisites a person should take into account before driving on long routes. These prerequisites will help you ensure that your trip is trouble-free and completely safe. Change your car’s oil if needed; get belts and engine checked along with the windshield if they were ever replaced.

Every country has laws regarding the use of seatbelts. There are laws that prohibit messing or disengaging the airbags but there is not much stress on how a windshield is replaced. Studies have shown that inappropriately replaced windshields could prove dangerous. Such windshields may become detached from the vehicle during the deployment of airbags from the intensity of a crash or when the car rolls over. If the windshield is not properly attached or disabled then the efficiency of the vehicle’s safety system is badly affected.

The big dilemma that surrounds this problem is that the layman will not be able to ascertain whether the windshield was improperly changed before it is too late. There are many different companies and workshops that are performing safe and secure windshield replacement. But you need to be aware of the procedure, just to make sure.

There are certain questions that a person should the before replacement takes place. The first and obvious question to ask is whether the windshield needs to be replaced or not. Chips, cracks or dings that are not big and can be covered by a currency note are normally repairable without the removal of the factory seal.

If decide to go for a repair, then ask the technician to;

1. Remove the old sealant leaving approximately 1/16 inch bonding surface.
2. Clean and prime the glass and the vehicle pinch weld.
3. Wear gloves so as not to contaminate the clean glass.
4. Use urethane adhesive (not butyl tape or silicone).
5. Check for a passenger side airbag and, if present, use urethane rated for that type of installation.
6. Discuss how long before the vehicle can be driven.
7. Tell you the “do’s and don’ts” of operation during adhesive curing.

Once everything is set, check the work carefully. It is not rocket science to check whether the installation is flawed or not. Check from the outside of the vehicle if the windshield is centred and the distance from left to right is perfect.

Lastly, check if the moulding fits seamlessly around the circumference of the windshield. See if the moulding is broken, flat, or like a roller coaster. Most importantly, inspect whether the glass is flushed with the body. If any of these problems are present then you have every right to suspect the installation; otherwise, your car is safe and ready to drive.

When you plan on making an auto glass repair, you need to opt for quality and it is not a product to be compromised on. People need to use the best materials, science has to offer.

Be careful and drive safe.

Driving in Winter

The chilly winter brings different set problems for your vehicle. Bear in mind that transportation accidents are leading cause of death during winter especially in blizzards or storms. Prepare your vehicle for the winter to ensure driving safety and readiness to face any unforeseen situation.

  1. Ensure brakes, windshield wipers, defrosters, heaters and exhaust systems are in excellent running condition.
  2. Examine the antifreeze; keep it ready for the cold. Add special solvents to windshield washer reservoir to avoid icing.
  3. Make sure that the tires are correctly inflated and the tread is in a neat condition.
  4. Carry chains of appropriate size for your tires; ensure that they are in a working condition. Keep a flashlight and chain repair links at all times. Chains are to be installed on the drive wheels so be sure which wheels to chain; the front wheels or the rear.
  5. Also try to keep an ice scraper, a shovel, sand or burlap, first aid kit and an old towel just in case.
  6. It will prove to be a helpful idea to keep water, food, warm blankets and extra apparel. You will happy you had them if stuck in long delays.
  7. Always keep a spare key with you. Many drivers have locked themselves out while putting on chains etc.
  8. Trips to hilly or higher areas may take longer in winter than at any other times, this is due to the stormy conditions or icy roads. For this reason, plan an early start and plenty of time to reach your destination.
  9. Change routes or return from your journey if stuck in traffic or storm.
  10. Keep the windshield and windows clean. Use an ice scraper, car defroster and a cloth to keep windows and windshields fog free.
  11.  In normal conditions, speeds of 50 miles an hour on the highway may be safe but in snowy or icy conditions it is like calling for trouble. Keep more distance from vehicles than usual and avoid sudden turns and brakes.
  12. Keep an eye out as visibility is compromised in winter by misty or foggy weather. Drive slowly and look out for other vehicles and obstructions.
  13. Although snow removing vehicles have proper lighting which can be seen from long distances; In stormy circumstances, the lights may not be visible. Be careful.
  14. If stuck, stay with your car and try to save fuel while maintaining warmth.

Maintain Your Old Car to Keep It New

People who drive a lot and travel over 200 miles in a month need to take extra care of their car to make sure that their vehicle remains in a running and safe condition. The more you drive the more miles you travel, adds more responsibility on your shoulders to keep that lovely old car of yours as well maintained as possible.

There are few people in this world who want to replace their cars every now and then. As for most of us, we want to keep our vehicles up and running for as long as possible, this is because most of us dislike the replacement expense of cars. According to surveys, a person on average keeps his cars for approximately 9 years gratefully to the excellent build quality of cars. People refrain from buying new vehicles because of the high average price of cars. As a result, they are forced or happy to maintain their old cars efficiently and properly so that they can keep their cars longer. It is seen that with proper maintenance, cars can show excellent performance and can travel 200,000 miles or more without any major overhauls or repairs.

It is necessary and essential to understanding that although old cars can go on with proper maintenance, they do surface some needs that are different from new vehicles. Cars that have been on the road for a long time experience wear in engine parts, deposits accumulate on the metal surfaces and the seal may get dry. The engine is the centre of all attention when it comes to maintaining your car. Older engines require a specific focus and lubrication to operate effectively.

There are many different products that have entered the market with the aim of increasing engine life and durability. This is because of the increase in people who prefer to keep and maintain their old cars inefficient running condition. These different products give engines extra protection by the help of additional cleansing agents for engine parts and seals which help reduce the risk of oil leaks and valve deposits.

Tips for Car Cleaning

The most beautiful and elegant cars may start to look displeasing if not cleaned properly overtime. For this reason, we have compiled the following tips so that you can keep your car clean and shiny.

The following tips will provide you with a stepwise guide so that you can properly clean your car and give it the perfect look it deserves.

Moisten and rinse the car with regular tap water:

A high-pressure hose or hosepipe with a powerful jet is best for serving this purpose as it will remove all the grit that has accumulated on the car’s body. Please be careful not to use a sponge when wetting the car because it acts like sandpaper once grit gets stuck to it. Leave the car wet, allow the water to do the work that is to loosen the dirt and then remove it.

Note: It may be a good option to start with cleaning the interior once you have wet the car.

The Interior: 

Start by picking up all packets, wrappers and other useless trash from your car. Temporarily discard the mats and vacuum them along with the rest of the interior. Clean the dashboard and other plastic with a damp cloth. Try to avoid using silicon-based products as they a slippery residue which can prove lethal if overused on the pedals. Polishing the dashboard is not recommended as it may cause a disturbing glare on sunny days. Wipe the sills, boot or trunk and seams with a moist sponge. Carpets can be cleaned by using products like Car Plan Interior Valet which can easily remove grease stains.

Return to cleaning the exterior body: 

Make sure that the car is still wet, hose one more time to get the car ready for the initial wash. Firstly, we need to remove all grit granules from the entire car. To do this, gently wipe the surface of the car with a soft sponge or wool mitt. Work your way through the surface of the car in circles and make sure to wipe the sills and bumpers last because they are usually the filthiest.

Initial Wash: 

Begin by using a bucket of clean or filtered water and a car wash product. Try to use a car wash product that does not form a lot of lather or bubbles. Stay clear of using shampoos with polish as this would effectively stick down the dirt and stains under a layer of wax which will make the cleaning job a lot more tenuous. Also, it will cause the windows to get hazy every time you use your wipers. Use tar and bug removing stains for the most difficult stains.

Main Wash. 

Use a good quality car shampoo along with a harder cleaning pad or sponge and start cleaning in circles. Use a scrub pad for the most stubborn stains but be careful and use them on areas with hardened paintworks like the sills and lower front bumper. Try to be gentle and careful; nobody wants to see scratches caused by poor cleaning methods.

Now the wheels and tires:

Scrape the tires with a brush first to remove the excess dirt and then further clean it with a sponge or scrub pad. The sponge used for cleaning the wheels should be disposed of after being used since it would be very filthy and using it on the body may lead to scratches. You will need chemical brake dust and alloy wheel cleaner to get rid of the brake dust. Apply the cleaner and leave it for a while before sponging it. Be careful when using these products as they are combinations of some nasty chemicals.

Rinsing Time:

Fetch some clean water and get ready to rinse. Rinsing can be done with the help of a watering can fill with water. For best results use filtered water.

Note: Systematically rinse the car, moving from one portion to another. Start with the roof and then move towards other parts. Use more than one fill of water to avoid any leftover dirt.

Drying the car:

Use chamois leather for drying the car. People hasten with this part but actually, it is this part which requires the most patience. The leather acts more like a wiper than a sponge, it does not absorb water but in fact, it forms a thin layer of water on the surface which dries off naturally with time.

Cleaning the Glass:

Use a suitable glass cleaning product to clean the windows from the inner and outer surfaces. Do this in a circular fashion to get good results. This is also the ideal time to get to removing stone chips.

Note: Do not use house glass cleaner.

Polishing:

Use a cloth to apply the polish, remember to rub it in straight lines, not circles. Spread it evenly with another cloth and finally use another soft cloth to buff up the polish to give the car an amazing and shiny look. Remember not to use and apply excessive polish as most of it goes to waste and the results are also not nearly as good.

Note: You can use an electronic buffer to save time but it is not recommended as car paint is delicate and can get damaged by excess pressure. It is suggested you stick to soft cloths.

The Quick Method: 

  1. Wash the car with water and rub it.
  2. Add polish to a litre of water and start applying this mixture on the paintwork; be careful and don’t do this to the windows.
  3. Pour water with a hosepipe or other means to rinse the car. Take a sponge and rub the car throughout with fresh water.
  4. Spray water on the windscreen and turn on your wipers.
  5. Take your car for a drive to dry it off.
  6. Lastly, buff the damp polish with a chamois leather to give a shiny look to your car.

Changing Brake Fluid: An Important Maintenance Procedure

All changes may not be as good as others but if certain modifications seem fruitful then one must not waste time and should accept it. Same is the case for vehicles.

Altering fluids in a vehicle is a change for the better. If a car is running on dirty engine oil, transmission fluid or anti-freeze; it is much likely to cause poor fuel economy, lower performance and overall harm to the vehicle.

Wait a minute. We forgot to mention brake fluid. Changing brake fluid is an important maintenance procedure. According to Car Junction experts, brake fluid of a typical vehicle becomes unclean and dirty in two years or less. This happens because the fluid absorbs moisture which later works its way through the hydraulic system.

If you are driving in heavy braking, hilly or mountainous conditions or when towing a trailer; the moisture in the overheated fluid evaporates which results in reduced braking efficiency. This is because the boiling point of water is lower than that of brake fluid. If the fluid is contaminated, this can happen under normal driving conditions as well. Contaminated fluid is vulnerable to vaporizing and freezing.

Brake fluid should maintain a stable viscosity throughout its operating temperature range. If it’s too thin or too thick, braking action is harmed. Beyond the vaporization hazard, moisture creates an extra dilemma for owners of vehicles equipped with anti-lock braking (ABS) systems. Rusted and corroded ABS components are very expensive to replace.

People have questions regarding the right time to change brake fluid. It is recommended that a normal replacement should be made every two years or after driving around 24,000 miles. It should be included with brake pad or shoe replacement, as a preventive measure. If it is possible, a professional brake technician should test the condition of the fluid with an accurate fluid test safety meter, which he inserts into the master cylinder reservoir to record the fluid’s boiling point.

Maintenance procedures are for the car’s overall betterment and essential for the safety of the people driving it. Try to be thorough when performing these measures to see improvements in car performance and braking.