Tag Archives: Maintenance

How to get bugs, tar and tree sap off your car

How to get bugs, tar and tree sap off your car

Summer is winding down, and you may have noticed those months of warm weather have resulted in an accumulation of bugs, tar and/or tree sap on your favorite vehicle that just won't budge in your run-of-the-mill car wash. You can remove the disgusting gunk - with all due respect to the unwilling bugs. Keep in mind, that bug stains are acidic and you can eat into your car's paint job., so it's important to do this as soon as possible. The National Auto Parts Association (NAPA) suggests using a spray bottle full of water (tap water is okay, unless you have well water, then use spring water.) Spray a fresh dryer sheet to wipe off the bugs mess. That also works for tar and tree sap. NAPA cautions that it's also important to follow-up with a car wash cleaner to remove the chemicals from the dryer sheet. Then wax your car. There's another way to remove tar, sap and bugs, and that's using a product made for the job. Road tar is petroleum-based, soap-and-water are ine ... read more

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Maintenance

Three tips for cleaning your car's interior

Three tips for cleaning your car's interior

If your car is smelling a little on the funky side and looks like you've set up your own food truck inside, it's probably time for a little interior cleaning job. Here are three tips to get it spotless and smelling new-car fresh again, or almost. 1. First and foremost: Declutter, removing everything that isn't tied down so that you actually can clean - sports gear, school gear, mail, fast-food cups and wrappers, as well as floor mats. Then start by cleaning you vehicle's carpet and upholstery, vacuuming first. Then use a carpet and upholstery cleaner made just for cars. Most come with their own plastic brush to massage the foam cleaner into grungy carpet and fabric. Then vacuum again when dry to lift nap, if necessary. If you have leather seats, use a leather cleaner, following directions. 2. Clean your central console. Using household or glass cleaner, clean the dashboard and center console, cup holder, inside door pockets and gear shifter, making sure to clean the ... read more

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Maintenance

Should you change your car's power steering fluid?

Should you change your car's power steering fluid?

Your vehicle runs on fluids - oil, transmission, brake, antifreeze. But what about the vastly overlooked power steering fluid? Is it necessary to change it like the others? Simply put, power steering fluid makes it easier to steer your car. Those who ever drove a car with manual steering back in the day can attest to how difficult it was to turn the steering wheel as opposed to today's power steering. But there's more to power steering than ease of turning the wheel. Auto experts say a periodic change of steering fluid can prevent sludge and grit from accumulating, getting into your car's rack and pinion seals and destroying them, according to Angie's List. How do you know when to replace your power steering fluid? Dirty fluid or a moaning sound during steering which signals low fluid level. Both indicate a fluid change is needed. If the fluid level is low, it means there's a leak, which needs to be fixed, since power steering systems are sealed, adds Angie's ... read more

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Maintenance

What to expect when your car hits 100,000 miles

What to expect when your car hits 100,000 miles

So your car has made it to 100,000 miles. Congratulations are in order. And in order to keep it going for another 100,000, there are a number of maintenance procedures you need to follow. Today's cars are built to last way past that milestone, and proper maintenance is like money in the bank compared to buying a new vehicle. It's important to read your owner's manual to review the maintenance for your specific vehicle, and it's a good idea to visit a trusted mechanic for a thorough inspection. So here's what we're looking at at the 100,000 mile mark: Your vehicle's fluids break down the age, so change your oil, coolant, and transmission, brake and power steering fluid. Check your timing belt. At some point in its long life it will begin to wear and crack will eventually break, which can ruin your engine. Replace it before it happens. Likewise, replace your water pump before it fails because if it does, you're looking at a warped cylinder head and an ... read more

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Maintenance

Check your car before a road trip

Check your car before a road trip

Summer is not far away, and if you're planning on taking a road trip, don't wait to get your car in rop running condition to avoid any breakdowns that could ruin your fun. Check your battery to make sure it's connection is not only tight but clean. Does it have a good charge? If it's nearing its life expectancy, buy a new one. Check all your car's fluid levels and top off, if necessary. Do your tires have adequate tread? Check tread by inserting a quarter into the tread with George Washington's head upside down. If you can see the top of Washington's head, it's time to replace your tire. Check tire pressure. The correct pressure is listed on your car's door jam and your owner's manual. Do your brakes squeak? Sounds like it's time for new brake pads. Bring along emergency supplies, adds Consumer Reports. Include a flashlight, jumper cables, extra windshield washer fluid, first-aid kit, a small tool kit, a gallon of water and non-peris ... read more

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Maintenance

Check out these winter safety driving tips

Check out these winter safety driving tips

It’s been a cold, snowy winter so far in the Midwest, and unfortunately, there’s plenty of time left for more. With that in mind, the following tips can help you stay safe when you have to venture out in your vehicle in not-so-friendly weather. When you park your car overnight or for an extended period, make sure your windshield wipers are turned off. In other words, don’t just turn off the car with the wipers running. Cold temps and precipitation can freeze them to the windshield and they’ll try to work when you start the engine, which can damage the wiper mechanism. If you expect foul weather, stand your wiper blades upright, away from the glass. Likewise, to prevent damage to the blades, and so that you can see to drive safely, scrape your windows before you head out. Don’t have your car washed when the temperature dips down to the low teens or below. This can freeze the doors closed or freeze door locks. A winter driving checklist should includ ... read more

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Winter

Best Car Advice Comes From Shop Owners

Best Car Advice Comes From Shop Owners

I've had a lot of calls lately from my clients either looking to buy or sell a car or truck. Have you considered speaking to your repair shop when you are in the market to purchase a replacement vehicle or sell your existing one? It's a great place to go for either of these transactions. When you are looking to buy, your shop may not only know of a client who is looking to sell, but you will be able to buy with confidence knowing no one will know the car or truck better than those at the shop who serviced it. They will have records for when various services were performed and would most likely pass any service guarantees on to you as the new owner. When you are looking to sell your car, no one knows it better than your shop and staff may just have a buyer looking for a car like yours. Everybody wins and the new owner can drive away with confidence. I always encourage my clients who are purchasing a replacement vehicle, if they don't know anything about it, to bring it i ... read more

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Douglas Q&A

Don't Cut Corners on Brake Lines

Don't Cut Corners on Brake Lines

Q: I have a 2001 Ford Pickup Truck that I am getting ready to sell, and I noticed that the brake line going to the rear is wet with fluid. Is there a way to splice in a line or is there a cheaper way to repair than to replace the line? A: Unfortunately, you will need to replace the line. Anytime you are dealing with the hydraulic side of the brake system, you don’t want to cut any corners. If you have a brake line blow out on braking, it could be catastrophic. The proper repair would be to replace all rusted brake lines as well as flushing out the system with new brake fluid. This type of repair can run between $500 - $1000 depending on how much of the systems will need to be replaced. On some vehicles, the brake lines and the fuel lines are bundled together; the minute you touch one of those lines, the others can be compromised and begin to leak, so be prepared. We have a big problem with this on older cars as they have been exposed to so many winter seasons with all the road s ... read more

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Brakes

Keep that Light Shining Bright - Headlight Restoration

Keep that Light Shining Bright - Headlight Restoration

The headlight lenses on my 2001 Honda Odyssey have clouded over the years, and I have had them professionally restored/polished to make them clear. I have also done the restoration polishing twice myself. While I have been successful in restoring the lenses to almost new condition each time, my questions are: 1) What causes the lenses to cloud over time—is it UV exposure, chemical exposure or something else? 2) Is there something I can do to prevent, reduce or mitigate the cause of the plastic getting cloudy? 3) Since the headlight restoration product I use (Rain-X Headlight Restorer) acts like a mild abrasive, is there a limit to how many times I can use this product until I wear out or damage the headlight lens to the point where polishing will not work anymore? I have two newer cars in the family that have not shown any headlight lens clouding yet, and I would like to do what I can to avoid having to keep on polishing the lenses. What do you suggest?   Doug:  Gre ... read more

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Headlights

Don't Forget: Inspecting Your Trailer is Important Too

Don't Forget: Inspecting Your Trailer is Important Too

As you start thinking about summertime, now that it’s finally arriving, you might want to get your trailer inspected before the summer trailering season begins. Whether it be a boat, Jet Ski, camper or just a utility trailer, they can get neglected. It is easy to forget that the lights, tires, brakes and wheel bearings should be serviced at least once per year. Boat and Jet Ski trailers especially get abused because of being backed into the water to launch the watercraft. This can be very hard on the wheel bearings and the lighting. The wheel bearings should be cleaned thoroughly and inspected for pitting. If they are good, they should be repacked and reinstalled with new grease seals. If there is any pitting on the bearing, it should be replaced with a new bearing and race. If the trailer has brakes, make sure they are cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. You will want to check all the lighting and wiring, and make any repairs that are needed; every light should work. Finally, in ... read more

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Trailer
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