Car Care For Spring

 

While your immediate focus will likely be on restoring your car, van, SUV or truck’s exterior and interior to pristine condition, make sure you also give its mechanical systems a careful once-over to ensure they’re ready to deal with the hot summer weather ahead, particularly if its an older or high mileage vehicle.

You can have your service technician do this for you – and many service shops offer spring service special deals – but by following some basic procedures you can spot potential problem areas yourself and then have them dealt with if necessary by a pro.

You should have been keeping your vehicle washed regularly to help keep rust at bay, but if you haven’t you need to do so before checking it over as it will be easier to spot damage or problems. A do-it-yourself spring cleaning process also allows you to flush out salt and sand deposits from areas that a quick run through the car wash often misses.

Don’t forget the radiator, which may have become partially clogged with debris. A fine spray and a fairly soft brush with long bristles can help here, but don’t be too aggressive and damage the thin fins. Visually check it for corrosion or leaks.

With the engine stopped and cool you can clean the compartment with an engine specific spray cleaner, followed by a rinse (avoiding high-pressure spray on electrical parts). This will not only make this area look good but often reveal problems.

Hoses should feel firm, not mushy, be free of obvious cracks and show no evidence of leaking at connections. Belts shouldn’t be cracked, frayed, brittle or glazed looking and should be firmly, but not too tightly tensioned.

Make sure the engine is completely cool before you check coolant levels. This can usually be done by looking at the reservoir which is marked with maximum and minimum levels. Never remove the radiator cap of a hot engine. If your coolant level is low you can add a 50/50 mixture of anti-freeze and water, but make sure you check it again in a few days and if it is down, or you notice fluid under the vehicle, you probably have a leak that will require attention. Car Care Canada recommends flushing your cooling system and refilling with fresh coolant every two years as the beneficial chemicals in the coolant break down with age.

 

Getting Your Car Ready For Spring

It is hard to even think about spring when the temperatures have been nearing zero but it will be here before we know it! When spring arrives it will be time to wash all that salt off and get your car ready to hit the road! There are plenty of places to see in Richmond and you want to be able to drive there knowing your car is ready!

Getting Your Car Ready For Spring

  1. Alignment – Potholes and less than optimum driving conditions can throw your vehicle out of alignment. If your vehicle is pulling to one side or displays any signs of veering off to one side, you should have your alignment checked and readjusted once spring arrives.
  2. Tires – Potholes and rough driving surfaces during winter months can take a toll on your vehicle’s tires. If you have a tire gauge, check tire pressure against the recommended pressure for your vehicle and particular type of tire. If you maintain the ideal pressure, you will save money at the pump and prolong the life of your tires. You might also want to consider a tire rotation.
  3. Brake Check – Spring is also a great time to check your brakes. Brakes generally lose performance slowly, over a longer period of time, so we might not notice if they are not functioning properly.
  4.  Oil Change – For a typical driver, you generally change the oil every 3 or 4 months, which corresponds perfectly with the change in seasons. Once Spring is here, get an oil change, that includes topping off of fluids. Proper fluid levels are critical for your vehicle’s best performance.
  5. Wiper Blades – Although people use wiper blades often, they are often something easily forgotten. Once winter is gone, you should replace old blades or clean newer ones that have been punished by icy and uneven windshields, salt and grime. Don’t forget the rear blade if you have one.
  6. Hoses and Belts – Cold weather can be especially tough on your vehicles many hoses and belts. They should all be inspected thoroughly.
  7. Check your Battery – Winter weather can cause problems for your battery’s connections. Check posts and connections and make sure they are free from any dirt, grime or corrosion. If the posts are dirty, remove the cables, negative cable first. Your local dealer, mechanic or auto parts store will have advice on cleaning battery posts. Or if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself, allow them to do it.
  8. Car Wash – Wash your vehicle thoroughly. The salt, sand and debris from winter driving can damage your vehicle’s exterior, so wash it as soon as temperatures rise and stay above freezing. Be sure to hit the underside of your vehicle, as well. That is where corrosive elements can do the most damage – even though you never see it. Spring is also a good time to check your entire vehicle for rust, which can worsen during the winter months.
  9. Paint Touch Up – You might have spent much of the last few months with your vehicle covered with snow, dirt or road grime. After you wash your vehicle, your vehicle might have small scratches or blemishes that need a paint touch-up. Buy a small amount of matching vehicle paint to do it yourself, or consult your local body shop for a touchup.
  10. Wax – Late March or early April is a good time to give your car a good wax. Spring rains will roll right off and your vehicle will be much easier to clean the next time you decide to wash it.
  11. Interior – Your floor mats and carpets have probably seen better days after snow, salt, grime and winter debris are constantly brought into your vehicle. If you have special all-weather floor mats, a simple hosing off will do wonders. If your floor mats are carpeted, vacuum them and clean any stains. With the floor mats out of the car, vacuum the interior carpets and around the various cracks and crevices of your vehicle’s floor.

Why Is The Batter Light On?

If the battery warning light (a light in the shape of a battery) comes on while you’re driving, that means the charging system isn’t working, but the fault may lie in something other than the battery.

The cause could be a loose or corroded battery cable or other wire connecting components of the charging system, or it might be a problem with the alternator or voltage regulator. The alternator generates the power that is stored in the battery. If the alternator fails, or the accessory belt that drives the alternator is loose or broken, then your battery isn’t being recharged.

The battery itself may be the cause if it has corroded cable terminals, damaged cells or plates inside or if it is leaking electrolyte.

The charging system warning light should come on for a few seconds when you start the car, but if it turns on while you’re driving, that signals a problem. Among other signs that the charging system isn’t working are dim headlights or if the clock loses time.

If the light comes on, you might be able to make it home or to a service facility. The car will continue running as long as some juice is left in the battery, but if the charging system isn’t working, your car will stop running once the battery is drained. If you turn off the engine, you won’t be able to restart it if the battery doesn’t have enough power left to run the starter motor.

If the light is on, and you’re still driving, turn off as many electrical accessories as you can, such as the stereo, air conditioning or heater, and avoid using electrically operated controls such as power windows. Reducing the amount of electricity the car is consuming will increase the distance you can drive before the battery is discharged. Get to a mechanic as quickly as possible, and have the charging system checked out to find the cause of your problem.

Know Your Auto Service Contract

Today, buying car is not just simply buying a car. This is because when a person wants to buy a car, there are many additional services that tag along. One great example of these so-called extras is the auto service contract.

These auto service contracts are not necessarily required by most car dealers. However, most car buyers are enticed to get one in order to protect themselves against unforeseen circumstances such as expensive car repairs.

Generally, auto service contracts are pledges made by the agency, usually the car dealer, responsible to provide the necessary services or repairs that the buyer or the contract holder is entitled to.

The problem with some people is that they categorize auto service contract as the same with extended car warranties. What they do not know is that car warranties are normally included in the price of the new car bought while auto service contracts can be obtained any time even if the person did not buy a new car. Moreover, auto service contracts are always an additional cost for the car buyer meaning he may or may not obtain an auto service contract.

However, just like the other financial decisions, careful deliberation is extremely important before making some final decisions. This is because not all auto service contracts are made equal.

Here is a list of the factors that need to be considered when getting an auto service contract:

1. Buyers should be aware of the terms and conditions stipulated in the auto service contract.

In every agency or company that provides auto service contracts, each has its own terms and conditions. Hence, it is important for every buyer to know first the terms as stipulated in the contract so as to know what kinds of details are included and what are those that are not included.

2. Buyers should know the specific entity who will perform the required services.

In this way, the buyer would know what goes on when a certain service is required. In this way, the contract holder would know where to ask for the repairs and to whom they should ask for the needed services.

3. Know the reputation of those who will provide auto service contracts.

It is extremely important to know how long the company or the dealer has been in the business. Along with it comes the reputation that has been built for so many years of reliable services and performances that the customers were able to testify.

The important thing here is that people should be aware of what they are paying for. After all, itís their money that is at risk.

Accessories To Improve Your Ride

 

Simple add-on accessories can change the feel and function of your vehicle. This article focuses mainly on the lower priced parts that can be found in larger auto parts stores, big department stores, online, and electronic stores that are under 50$.

The 12 volt heated mug has a plug for power from the cigarette lighter socket. It keeps coffee and other liquids hot as long as the car is running. Some models even have a thermostat to set the temperature.

The 12-volt coolers can hold 2 cans of soda or can even be as big as a full-size refrigerator for recreational vehicles.

The cooler/warmer gives you the choice of keeping food or drinks either hot or cold. There are many sizes ranging from a can of soda to even hold a six-pack. The cell phone charger plugs into the cigarette socket to charge your cell phone.

Multipurpose lights can be incandescent, fluorescent or led. They can be plugged into the cigarette lighter, can be wired in the carís power circuits, or be battery operated or portable. Thought the led lights tend to produce less light if youíre going to have the lights on without the car running the led lights drain less power from your battery.

The power inverter can be plugged into the cigarette lighter, clips to the battery or can be wired in. To change the 12-volt dc to 120 volts to power things like laptops and computers, coffee makers, cell phones, and many other small appliances. But you shouldnít go over 400 watts; high power devices drain the battery of the car quickly and could even fry the alternator if your engine is running.

There are so many accessories that can change your cars, like seat covers, floor mats, steering wheel covers, sun shades, GPS and much more.

So if you’re in the mood the spice up your car it can be done with a few changes. You just have to pick and go for it.