Spring Time Is Clean Your Car Time!

Many of us live a significant portion of our lives in the car, so we might as well consider it a mobile living room. Except it’s a living room that comes in constant contact with the germs and grit of the outside world. When considered as an extension of your home, you’d hope it would benefit from the same cleaning routine. But, we know this isn’t always the case.

If it’s been a while since the inside of car has seen a vacuum, there is evidence to suggest that your car may be carrying some unwanted passengers – of the microscopic variety. Freshen up the inside of your ride by trying out some of our clean-car tips below.

Conquer clutter.

It’s difficult to do a deep-clean of your vehicle with a vacuum and scrub brush when clutter is in the way. Clutter not only gives dirt and bacteria more surfaces to live on, but it can be distracting to drivers. And stressful. Removing excess clutter is the very first step to taking pride in your ride.

Resist the road snacks.

We can all appreciate the value of a good car snack. And with your eyes on the road, you may not notice just how many crumbs are getting lost in your car. These crumbs, and yesterday’s half-finished coffee (it’s ok, you don’t have to admit it), fuel the growth of bacteria. If you can’t resist the road snacks, try to minimize the evidence. Remove food wrappers or trash right away, make sure drink containers are spill-proof, and vacuum in the deep cracks and crevices with a thin, telescoping vacuum attachment.

Keep your child seats clean.

Fun fact: those iconic fish-shaped crackers are the number one item found in children’s car seats. On a smaller scale, car seats also carry an average of 100 different types of microscopic passengers. Always check with the car seat manufacturer prior to cleaning, and pick a time when it won’t be needed for 12-24 hours, so it has ample time to dry. Take a picture of the set-up before removing from your vehicle, and rely on the manufacturer’s guide and your picture to be sure the car seat is re-installed correctly.

Let the fresh air in.

When your cabin air filter is dirty or clogged, it actually makes the air quality inside your car worse than the air outside. A dirty filter traps dust, pollen, and exhaust fumes inside your vehicle. What’s more, over time a restricted air filter can cause issues with the vehicle’s HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning) system. Ask your dealership or take a look at your owner’s manual to determine how often your cabin air filter should be replaced. Most should function well for 12,000 to 15,000 miles. Make an appointment with your dealership to get a new filter installed.

Tips On Buying A Car With Bad Credit

If you have previous credit problems on your record and need to purchase a car, you may need to apply for what is called a bad credit used car loan. A bad credit used car loan will allow you to purchase a vehicle, but you will usually be expected to pay it off in a shorter time frame and at a higher rate of interest.

Today many traditional car lenders are offering extended payment terms; some allow you up to seven years to pay off the vehicle. A bad credit used car loan usually must be repaid within a 48-month time frame. Since the vehicle you are buying is used and your amount financed will be less, the lender expects the loan to be paid off in a shorter amount of time.

Research the Prices of Used Cars

Before making an offer on a used car, you should research the average price value. By doing this you will know if a dealer has inflated the price in order to make an excessive profit. You will want to make sure you are purchasing the car from a reputable dealership.

There are a lot of companies who do most of their business with customers who have less than perfect credit scores. Some of these dealers may try to take advantage of customers. Just because you have had credit problems in the past, this does not mean you should pay an outrageous amount in interest rates or other fees.

Shop Online For a Lender

Online auto loan lenders make applying for a loan quick and convenient. By applying online you will have access to several lenders and their rates. Applications for online auto loans can be filled out in just a short time and the approval is almost always granted the same day.

An important point to remember when applying for a used car loan on bad credit is that banks have limits to how old of a vehicle you can purchase. The majority of banks will not grant loans to vehicles more than four or five years old. You should also try to make a substantial down payment when purchasing a used car. This will lower both the interest rate you are charged and the length of the loan.

Ultimate Checklist for Buying A New Car

If you are thinking about buying a new car you need to know what to look for so you don’t buy a lemon. Buying a used car should be easy and a pleasant experience. Below is a quick checklist of things you should look for when you buy a new or used car.

 

☐ Electrical components- Check the AC, radio, heat, and other components in the vehicle. That way there are no surprises when you get it home.

 

☐ Engine Oil Cap -Open the engine oil cap and look inside for oil sludge-the thick black build-up on internal parts.

 

☐ Battery- Check for acid wear and tear around the battery as this indicates that the car has not been maintained properly.

 

☐ Leaks – After the test drive, park the car on a clean surface for at least 30 minutes. Check that there are no oil leaks from the engine or gearbox.

 

☐ Engine- The engine should purr and not make any spluttering or knocking noises, especially while changing gears.

☐ Brakes- Apply brakes at the speed of 30-40 mph to check that the car stops in a straight line. Take the car on a slope and apply the handbrake to ensure that it’s working properly.

☐ Tires- Look for wear and tear as well as the alignment. If tyres are not in a good condition, there is a chance of bargaining for up to Rs 1,000.

☐ Exhaust- Emission of blue smoke when you start the car may indicate engine problems. Black smoke means the engine consumes too much fuel, which could be due to a problem with the fuel injection.

☐ Paint – Any deviation in the paint work of the body of the car indicates that it had been in an accident and had required repair work.

Make sure to print out this checklist and take it to the dealership with you. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and forget important details.

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.