Preventative Car Maintenance

Let’s talk about  maintenance that needs to be done regularly to help maintain your car’s performance and help to combat the need for costly repairs.  In fact the tasks associated with preventative maintenance are relatively easy and can be done by you at home. We have compiled a list of the MOST important maintenance measures to take when it comes to keeping your car on the road.

Preventative Maintenance

 

  • Do a monthly inspection- That’s right every month or two do a complete once over on your car.  Listen to the engine, check your tire pressure & tread, check your oil, fluids, that all of your lights and signals are working properly.
  • Fluids, Fluids, Fluids- We cannot stress this enough!  Checking and maintaining ALL of your car’s fluid and fluid levels is extremely important.  Why? The fluids in your car are there for a reason.  Keeping them full and clean allows for the different parts of the engine that need these fluids to stay running efficiently and without stress on themselves or surrounding parts.
  • Oil Changes- Ok, ok we know that this is considered a fluid but it may be the most important fluid, even though they are all important. Oil is what lubricates our engine parts and allows are car to run. No oil in your car? Your engine will seize and there is no turning back after that. Dirty oil is up there as well.  Clean engine oil free of debris will help engine to run more efficiently.
  • Filters- We are talking engine filters, air filters, anywhere you have a filter in your car, change them in a regimated time frame.
  • Wiper Blades- When  your wiper blades start to leave streaks on your windshield it’s time to change them.  Visibility is key when you are driving down the road at any speed.
  • Tires Rotated & Balanced- Not only will this help with fuel efficiency, it also will create a longer life for your tires.  Unbalanced tires can lead to uneven wear and tear and create alignment issues.
  • Alignment…… Perhaps one of the biggest safety hazards, an unaligned car can make for a dangerous driving situation, as well as uneven wear on your tires.  Alignments are not exactly cheap, but they usually come with a year warranty, meaning you can go back anytime within the year to have your car realigned for free.  Having an alignment done consistently can definitely save you the cost of other more expensive repairs or having to buy 4 new tires which isn’t exactly cheap either.

 

 

Establishing a preventative maintenance routine that you can responsibly keep up with is based on the individual.  While there is still more you can do to help maintain your automobile, we suggest starting with at least these 7, being that they are probably of the most importance.  We also suggest establishing a relationship with a trusted garage service or mechanic that you will feel confident with to work on your car as well as give you fair market prices.  We rely on our automobiles to help us navigate day to day in all of our errands, work needs, family transporting and for recreational activities.  Giving your car a little extra care on a regular basis will help to keep your car performing at its best and save you on money spent on repairs that may have been prevented.

New Garage & Single Garage Conversions

For the avid automobile lover, and those vehicle owners that just want to help protect their car from theft, break ins, and the weather elements (especially those in snowy winter climates) parking your car in your garage is the best bet.  In fact keeping your car in the garage will also help to keep it cooler or warmer depending on the weather outside.  But what happens if you don’t have a garage?  Or you have multiple cars and only a single car garage?   When people think of converting a single car garage into a space that can hold at least two cars they think of the expense.  Afterall, it sounds like somewhat of a big project!  Or what about building a garage to even just store a single car within?  That sounds like a big and expensive project as well!!  Is it worth it in the end?  And what about the rumor that while you think your garage is the safest place for your vehicle, it’s actually the space where your car is more likely to get dents and dings from excessive clutter, sports equipment, and other stored items that always seems to take over your garage space?  Well we decided to get some advice from a garage door/conversion specialist and have the low down on pricing of a conversion, pros and cons etc!  In fact Rusty from Parkerdoorsaz.com was able to give us some great insight and information on just what it takes to convert your carport or single car garage into a safe space to park and protect your car.  

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Electric/Hybrid Vs. Gas Powered

We are all aware of the hype surrounding electric and hybrid vehicles.  We see the plug in around our towns and cities at multiple locations which is all part of the going green concept. Although we know that going green and choosing eco friendly alternatives is better for our environment how do we know if hybrid/electric cars are safer and a better choice for ourselves and our families?  We decided that a little research was needed on the debate of hybrid/electric VS gas powered automobiles.  Well here’s the dish on the matter!

First things first electric and hybrid cars are no doubt an eco friendly attractive alternative to traditional gas powered vehicles.  They leave remarkably less of a carbon footprint on our environment and can be somewhat of an financially smarter alternative.  Why do we say “somewhat”?  Because although hybrid/electric cars are definitely more fuel efficient and can save the driver up to $10,000 in a 5 year span compared to those of gas powered vehicles, hybrid cars are definitely a lot more costly initially than gas powered vehicles.  In Fact they cost significantly more than gas powered vehicles of the same size.  And even though these eco friendly cars do not often have mechanical issues, when they do they are a lot more expensive than fixing mechanical issues of their gas powered counterparts.  Because of this fact it is often advised to purchase the extended warranty when buying a hybrid or electric car. On another note however there are some pretty substantial money saving features these cars offer as well.

  • All electric/hybrid cars excluding the Toyota Prius receive a $7500 tax credit upon purchase.  The tax credit is not available when buying a used vehicle or the leasing of one. (If you don’t meet or exceed the tax liability of $7500 the credit you miss out on the credit)
  • Numerous state incentives including cash rebates, state income tax credits, sales tax waivers, utility tax reductions,able to drive in carpool lane even solo, free parking for electric car in metered spots…that’s pretty convenient!
  • Immediate insurance discounts

Another amazing benefit to consider in the debate between gas, electric and hybrid cars is the fact that the eco friendly alternatives automatically stop the engine from running when driving slowly or coming to a complete stop.  This eliminates over use and wear and tear of the engine.  What does this mean for the driver?  Less trips to the mechanic to fix repairs caused by over engine use.   Lastly after a study done on the safety of electric/hybrid cars VS gas powered it was found that the passengers of hybrid cars are indeed a lot safer than those driving in gas powered vehicles!

With many pros and cons to consider in the purchase of either vehicle it all comes down to what is more convenient and efficient as well as safe for you and your passengers.  We all like eco friendly and the use of less gas so the decision can be tough.  We hope we have helped to narrow the scope on extacy what the differences are between these types of automobiles!

Top Rated Cars To Own

There are so many types of cars out there to choose from when looking to upgrade or buy a new car.  Many with top of the line ratings in different areas as well as great consumer feedback.  So how exactly do you narrow it down to find the best performing car with the best safety ratings?  We were wondering the same thing and thus did our research and have the stats to share with you!

2017 Chevy Volt- Fully complies to new headlight standards and is among the top rated hybrid cars.  The great thing about this vehicle is that the gas powered engine works to recharge the battery so that you don’t have to stop at a hybrid plug in.  It gets 53 miles on full electric usage and 367 miles combined with electric/gas usage.

Honda Ridgeline- This automobile comes with top rated crash protection as well as perfect headlight compliance.  It offers interior comfort to all passengers along with a list of tech features.  IT also ranks number 1 among compact trucks.

Hyundai Elantra- This comfortable and roomy compact car offers an extensive array of technology.  It has great fuel mileage with 26 MPG in the city.  At a great price point this car is one of the top rated cars to buy out there. We also have the Hyundai Santa Fe is also up there among the top picks for its powerful V6 engine for a mid size SUV.

Subaru Legacy- The 2016 model was rated among the top picks for it’s high safety rating.  It offers all wheel drive with good fuel efficiency.  Some however feel the engine is a bit underpowered.

Toyota Prius V- This is Toyota’s bigger version of the Prius and takes the top spot for best fuel economy rating. It also boasts a roomy cargo area and is also electric/hybrid.  The downfall is that some say it has a lethargic acceleration.

Volvo XC60- The Volvo is well known for it’s amazing safety reputation and the fact that it has a feature that detects pedestrians and applies the brakes gently.  It is top rated in headlight excellence and many drivers praise the powerful engine.  

Although there are more cars to choose from on the top rated list we thought these were the most outstanding.  Although a lot of the decision when buying a car comes from the drivers preference of features and body style it is safe to say that we all want a well performing car that will take ourselves and our passengers safely from one place to another.  Add in a sound long lasting car with a few great tech features thats good on gas and it’s the perfect car to own.  Although perfect is hard to completely accomplish we do know that these top cars listed above come close to being the perfect car buying choices.

 

Fun & Interesting Car Facts…Did you know…..?

There are many cool and interesting facts to be found about automobiles.  From little trinkets of information to some really interesting ones pertaining to the history of the automobile itself.  Being the car enthusiast I am I always love hearing or finding a new fact about cars that I did not previously know.  For a little fun to be had I have compiled a list of my favorite car facts that I have heard over the years. Some may be a bit silly but others are pretty interesting!

There are 1 billion cars that are in use on Earth as of today.  To add to that number there are 165,000 cars that are produced everyday!  To break it down a bit more the average car has a whopping 30,000 parts piecing it together!  75% of the cras that have been produced or manufactured by Rolls Royce are still driving on our roads today.  Now that’s quality!  Out of the new cars sold in Brazil 92% of them use ethanol as fuel which is made from sugar cane.  It is a criminal offense in Russia to drive around in a dirty car!  The Average American spends 38 hours a year stuck in traffic.  In 1891 the very first car accident ever occurred.  When the car radio was first invented and released to the public, some states wanted to ban them from cars fearing that they caused a distraction to the driver. Can you imagine long trips with no music!??? To make the “new car” air freshener smell 50 different disgusting organic compounds are used.  So what is it we are really inhaling?  Volkswagen owns a lot of the top high end luxury cars out there!  Including Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Audi, Ducati, and Porsche. In fact the fastest street legal car out there is a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport hitting top speeds of 267 mph.  Way to go Volkswagen!  The person who invented cruise control was actually blind and the car with the most amount of miles traveled ever recorded at a grand total of 2,850,000 on it’s speedometer.

In 1941 Henry Ford made a car out of soybeans, paving the way for sustainable cars?  Which an interesting fact is that in the 20th century horses were causing so much pollution with their poop that cars were actually viewed as the “green alternative”!  How crazy is that. For potential being the green alternative, maintaining a car on average every year costs a total of about $8,876!  However, in 2012 Nevada was the first state to give licenses to self driving cars.  

I could go on forever with all of the interesting facts I have gained on automobiles.  It’s kind of crazy to view the history of these fine machines through the years according to facts that can be found.  I’ll never get bored of finding and learning new facts or pieces of history about cars.  I hope you have all enjoyed these facts as much as I do.

Vinyl Wraps VS. Traditiona Paint

As technology continues to change and become more and more in depth, so does a lot of other techniques and applications used in everyday life.  One very impressive and great alternative to painting your vehicle has in fact began to spread like wildfire.  Vinyl vehicle wraps for your car are taking over the traditional ways of painting your car and has allowed for less of a color commitment as well as a price break.

Vinyl wraps not only can change the color and finish of your car’s exterior paint it can also aid in advertising and marketing your business.  More and more larger scale companies and those on a smaller scale as well have turned to vinyl wrapping their company’s cars or fleets with the company logo and brand embolized.  

For those just looking to change the color or appearance of their vehicle others are using these wraps to create a matte finish or showcase other intricate art and design.  Looking around at the different types of wraps out there I came across #201Wrap vinyl wraps and they are incredible!! From patterns and colors to chrome finishes and simple accents added to cars it’s a new form of artwork that is amazing to see!!  Curious to learn a bit more about this interesting technique I started gathering more information and definitely see why choosing to wrap your car is probably the better option over traditional paint.  

The first pro is that you can create a one of a kind look that no one else will have.  It allows you to really be unique and show some individuality.  Another great thing about vinyl wraps is that it doesn’t lower the resale value of your car like that of a paint job can.  Why?  Because vinyl wraps are 100% removable allowing your car to be restored to it’s original color with no harm done.  It thus also protects the OEM paint  as well as does not void the warranties and lease agreements in place that permanently altering your car with paint can.  Probably one of the greatest advantages of vinyl wraps is also the cost.  Wraps are considerably less expense than that of a paint job.  So much so they are generally about half the cost once everything is said and done.  So not only are you saving money but you are also freshen your car’s appearance and hiding any dings or scratches you may have acquired over the months or years.  The fact that any graphic you pretty much want can be done is even better. It allows for you to be creative and get more in depth with your design.  The fact that you can use it as a marketing tool for your business and customize your fleet of cars is a great option as well.

One thing that you want to be sure of before proceeding to get your car or truck vinyl wrapped is that the business or person doing the job is EXPERIENCED.  Ever heard of the term you get what you pay for?  Well it is definitely true in the vinyl wrap world.  You want to make sure that the printing done for the wrap is done in high quality and with a well maintained printing machine.  You also want to make sure the technician doing the wrap is tuned into detail and is experienced.  Air bubbles and uneven wrapping can really be an eyesore and can be expensive to have to fix.  Make sure you are thoroughly happy with the job done prior to leaving the shop.  It’s also advised to look at the person or company’s previous work to kind of get an idea of what to expect for your vehicle.

I definitely think that vinyl wraps will continue to prosper and grow to an even bigger and bigger industry.  Boats are able to wrapped as well as mopeds, and trailers etc.  With the pros outweighing any of the cons if there are really any to begin with, this is a lucrative industry that is arising and  a great and affordable option for all vehicle owners.

High Mileage Maintenance For Older Vehicles

As with preserving the quality and life of just about anything in this world, it’s all about maintenance.  Whether it be your own health, your home or your car, properly maintaining something can help go along way in terms of lifespan and quality.  We know that maintaining our cars and keeping up with regular care will help our car run and perform more efficiently.  That is even more true for our older high mileage vehicles.  In fact the maintenance and care on these high mileage vehicles may even be more important and beneficial to us than on that done to newer vehicles.  

You can help to extend the life of your high mileage vehicle even more and with less issues when you follow these basic guidelines for the upkeep of older cars.

First experts recommend that monthly you check tire pressure, oil levels(using high mileage special oil helps) coolant levels, and if you have a back up camera make sure the lense is clean.  Older cars have had more wear and tear in general and thus may lose coolant or oil faster.  Staying aware and up to date on these levels will help to combat any engine issues from lack of fluids.

Every 3,000 miles it is recommended to change the oil and replace the oil filter.  It is also suggested that you add a fuel injector cleaner to fuel as to help maintain build up or deposits from chemicals. Every 5,000 miles to 10,000 miles you  should be adjusting the clutch for those of you that have manual transmissions and not self adjusting clutches.   Every 6 months it is recommended to check power steering fluids as to make sure that your steering column stays properly lubricated.  It is also suggested that you wax your car twice a year to help protect the paint and to win the fight against rust.

On a yearly basis it is important to inspect brakes, clear battery connections, check brake fluid levels, check manual transmission fluid, coolant strength,and back flush the radiator with the help of a garden hose..  It is also important to rinse off the AC condenser and to buff plastic headlights as to keep them free of fog and cloudiness that will exclude the sharpness of your headlights light projection.

Lastly it is important every two years to flush the coolant system completely and check your battery electrolyte levels.

While there are many other maintenance tips and suggestions that can be followed to help with the longevity of your high mileage vehicle, we feel that these are some of the most important.  We want our vehicles to last us and also be a safe ride for those we put in our cars including ourselves.

 

Car Washing Do’s & Dont’s

Most times people will take their automobiles through drive through car washes or even to a professional detailer.  While both save you time they don’t necessarily save you money, especially the professional detailer.  Not only that but it has been found that washing our own cars/trucks by hand in our own driveways is therapeutic and benefits the person’s state of mind.  You are doing something productive out doors and will have a clean automobile when done!  However, there are Do’s and Dont’s that come with washing our own cars.

First thing’s first most people reach for dish soap or laundry detergent to wash their automobiles.  They figure it’s soap it cleans my dishes or clothes so it has to work for my car too right?  Wrong household soaps and cleaners are incredibly harsh on your car’s finish and paint.  When used it can strip your car of it’s protective wax .  It is best to use a soap dedicated to cleaning your car’s exterior.  These are made with milder chemicals as to not strip your car’s finish or harm it’s paint.

Next we have sponges.  The best sponge to use on your car is either a soft natural sponge or a lamb’s wool mitt.  These help to reduce small hairline scratches that can be created from too harsh of sponges. Often sand dirt, and brake dust can be spread around as well creating more visible scratches.  That is why for cleaning wheels, and the lower portion of our cars where grease, tar, rubber and bugs seem to accumulate it is suggested to use a different sponge than the one you use on the body of your car.  Using a different sponge will help you from spreading this gunk onto your car and creating scratches.  

In that light it is also suggested to use a bug and tar removal cleaning product made for cars or a wheel cleaner.  It is important still yet to make sure that the wheel cleaner is compatible with the finish on your wheels, paint, chrome etc.  To reduce the risk of ruining these finishes or creating any other scratches it is suggested to use a wheel cleaner that is marked as ok for ALL wheels!

Another important factor when it comes to washing your car is to never wash it when the body is hot.  This means right after driving it or when it has been sitting in the sun for a period of time. Why is this a don’t when it comes to car washing?  Heat speeds up the drying process which means soap and water can dry leaving spots and allowing deposits to form.

When scrubbing your car it is also suggested to not use a circular motion.  Circular motion scrubbing can cause small noticeable scratches and swirl marks.  Nobody wants patches or  circular scratches on their car’s finish!!! Instead move sponge lengthwise across the body of your vehicle.  

Make sure to also rinse car thoroughly with water before starting the washing process.  This allows for excess dirt and debris to be removed from your car prior to scrubbing it which again reduces the risk of scratching your car’s paint.

As with drying your car it is suggested to stay away from coarse towels.  It is best to use a chamois and blot the car dry rather than trying to scrub off excess water!

 

Winter Care for Your Vehicle

Winter is fast approaching and for some of us that means cool to extreme weather conditions.  Just like we need to be bundled up during these  months to protect ourselves from these elements and to keep us healthy, so do our vehicles.

With Winter weather being extremely hard on cars and weather conditions making driving a little less safe it is best to keep your vehicle in tip top shape!  For starters keeping your fluids full to their recommended capacity is always recommended, but more so in winter months.  When fluids become low your car does not run as efficiently which can lead to engine problems.  Keeping them full helps to ensure optimal performance creating a safer car ride.

Regular car washes are also recommended to help your automobile from rusting.  Salt used on slick roads can lead to corrosion and cause rust.  Regularly washing your car helps to diminish salt deposits thus keeping your car rust free.

Changing your air filter is a low cost, semi easy task and can definitely go a long way for your automobile.  A clean air filter maintains gas efficiency as well as protects dust and debris from entering the inside of your engine.  When your engine is free of these materials it can run smoother and with less force on the engine.  It is recommended that you replace your air filter every 12,000 miles or every year depending on which comes first.

An important thing to maintain on your car especially in the winter months when driving conditions and roads can be hazardous is the wear on your tires.  Tires should be rotated with every oil change done to ensure there is even wear on the tires creating a better balance.  Balanced tires can handle road conditions better and help prevent tire blow outs as well as help reduce the strain on your vehicle’s suspension.

Probably the simplest of all to maintain is regular oil changes.  Although making time may be an issue when you have a packed schedule it will go a long way.  Keeping your oil clean and full will protect your car’s engine for years to come.  The lubricants in oil help to protect and coat the internal parts of your engine that are subjected to heat, friction and other types of combustion.   

Lastly it is important to monitor and maintain that your battery cables are connected properly.  Engine debris and battery corrosion can interfere with your battery’s connection making it hard on the engine when starting and hard to start at all!  The last thing anyone needs is to have a dead battery in any weather extremes!

Take a little time this Winter season to give your car a little TLC. These quick easy maintenance techniques will leave your vehicle running and performing in tip top shape.  Besides we all know the Holidays can be expensive why add another cost in with the repair of your car!

How To Fix Hail Damage

There are many things out there that can damage our automobiles or cause scratches, dents, dings and knicks.  Most times these types of damages occur from a stray shopping cart hitting your car in the grocery store parking lot.  Or perhaps it is from the rude person who parked way to close to you and opened their door right into the side of your car.  Or still maybe it’s from a minor fender bender in the intersection near work or scratches from falling branches etc. However what most of us never think about is the damage that severe weather like hail storms can do to our car.  Infact there are probably more insurance claims for dent removal due to hail damage then you would ever really expect.  Hail in fact is one of the leading causes of dents and one cause that we unfortunately can’t guard ourselves against.  Afterall Mother Nature has a mind of her own and does what she pleases!

So what is to be done in the event you suffer dents and damage from a hail storm?  Does your insurance make you jump through loopholes to get it fixed, and how spendy of a process is dent removal when you can’t use a DIY hack?

First let’s start with the fact that there is traditional dent removal and then there is paintless dent removal. Our pick between the two is paintless dent removal.  Not only is it a fast growing alternative to traditional dent removal but it often is more affordable choice while also taking a fraction of the time.  You need to first find a reputable Paintless Dent Repair Company that will not only guarantee their work but also be proactive in having your insurance cover the small cost.

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