Tips And Treats
Car Care Tips
A Car is one of the most important things that a present generation man posses. Life without it becomes a misery. Cars come in various colors and models. The more Sophisticated the car the more expensive it is and along with it the cost of repairs and maintenance.
Here we have put up some useful car care tips that will help you keep your car in Perfect condition and keep your money in your pocket instead of your car mechanic's.
Last Updated - 24th September 2005
High Water Problems
Follow these guidelines to check for damage due to water intrusion or contamination.
- Check interior carpets, upholstery and door and trim panels for dampness. If they are wet then the vehicle will need professional attention. If all you do is let the carpet dry, you will quickly be rewarded by mildew and nasty odors. Seat brackets, motors and modules should also be checked for rust and proper operation.
- Pull the engine oil and transmission fluid dipsticks and differential plug. If the fluid appears milky, diluted, is no longer its original color or is beige in color, then it is likely the pans contain water. The vehicle should be towed to your certified mechanic or repair shop. Driving the vehicle with water present may damage the internal parts and require extensive overhaul or repairs. (NOTE: Some new synthetic differential fluids may appear to be milky but are not water contaminated, when in doubt let a professional make the evaluation.)
- Check the air filter for water. If it is wet, replace the air filter and change the oil.
- Check the undercarriage, bumpers, radiator area and frame for mud, grass, dirt, debris and rust. If any of these are present have the vehicle washed and cleaned as soon as possible.
- Have the brake system checked by a professional.
- Check the exterior lights for moisture and water. Replace headlights and bulbs that contain water.
- Listen for abnormal noises while the engine is running. Make a note of where the noise is coming from and take the vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible. Pay particular attention to the alternator, serpentine belt, starter, power steering unit, air conditioner and wheel bearings.
Inspect the suspension joints and lubricate as necessary. Many newer vehicles are lubricated at the factory for life; however, these joints should be checked for rust.
Interiors of Your Car
Many consumers don't realize that just as they can buy new carpet for their home or refinish and repair furniture, they can also rejuvenate their second largest investment, the automobile. Automotive upholstery and interior repair shops, known as trim shops, can fix a drooping headliner, replace worn carpeting, repair torn upholstery and replace a weathered convertible top.
While leather is still the most popular upscale option for a vehicle's interior, where age shows first, innovative fabrics offer many more customization, repair and restoration options for the average car owner. Today's modern trim shop can replace original materials like seat or door panels to an imperceptible condition.
Serious rust damage, including a hole right through the metal, can begin with a minor scratch in a parking lot from a shopping cart. Steel is strong and lasts a lifetime when it's protected, but when that protection is invaded, the metal is exposed to the elements. That's when rust begins its invasion.
Cover paint chips as quickly as possible. For a quick fix until you can get some touchup supplies, dab a little clear nail polish on the scratch. Touchup paint can be found for virtually every vehicle ever built, including antiques. Use the paint code number shown on the identification plate located on a door jamb, in the glove box, under the hood, in the trunk under the carpet next to the spare or wherever else the car maker has hidden it. The owner's manual will tell you how to find it.
Some uncommon colors will have to be ordered where auto parts are sold or from the Internet. Also available are scratch repair kits including everything needed from preparation to finishing a deep scratch.
Small dents can be fixed with paintless dent repair, a service found either through local automotive suppliers, the classified section of the phone book or on the Internet.
Like so many aspects of car care, preventive maintenance is much easier and beneficial than corrective measures. Maintaining the original integrity of the finish keeps the vehicle in "like new" condition. The basic rules of body and paint maintenance apply:
Avoid parking in the hot sun
It can damage interior surfaces as well as the exterior. Wash the vehicle frequently, including areas underneath, with mild, safe products. Select and use cleaners and waxes carefully. A cleaner that is effective for one type of finish could be disastrous for another. Consult the vehicle owner's manual to be sure.
For New Looking Cars
Keeping our cars looking like the late models is tough, even with today's long-lasting finishes. Dents, dings and cracked glass are several items that age the appearance of a vehicle. Fortunately, technology has helped advance the solutions to these problems, making the fixes quicker and less expensive. With mobile repair units, these items often can be repaired on site at your home or work, adding to the convenience.
Many types of door dents or small dings are fixed without sanding, filler or painting, preserving the integrity of the vehicle's original factory finish. Technicians use specially designed tools that allow them to access the problem and actually massage it out. If paint touchups are required, the technology is available to match your vehicle and repair scratches, minor chips and blemishes on most surfaces.
There are a couple of factors that have an effect on the success of this process:
- The location of the dent on the car is important. For example, a dent on the edge of a door, trunk or hood probably can't be fixed using this process.
- If there is paint damage or scrapes across multiple panels, this may indicate that the damage is too severe, as the paint may crack as the dent is removed.
- Like dents and dings, chipped cracked glass can also diminish the value of a car. However, the fix is not necessarily a new windshield. Seventy percent of all glass damage is repairable. Using resins that are constantly being improved, technicians not only can fix your glass, but also make it stronger. In addition, the resin can create a repair that is difficult to detect. This technology can be used to repair the following types of glass damage in automobiles: star breaks, combination breaks, bulls-eyes and cracks of any length.Keeping the Car Clean
- While it's the most basic procedure in car care, it does deserve some thought. The first step in cleaning the car is to wash it. Give it a good rinsing from top to bottom, including the wheels and inside the fenders. Always clean the tires and wheels before washing the body, and don't use the same mitt for both. This way you'll avoid contaminating the vehicle's paint with debris from the wheels and tires.
- Use a good tire cleaner with a stiff brush, to improve your tires' appearance even if you don't have white sidewalls or white letter tires.
- Next, clean the wheels with a wheel cleaner that removes the brake dust, which often blackens the front wheels. Application of these cleaners vary, so be sure and follow the directions on the container.
- Now it's time to wash the body. Use a product sold specifically for automobiles. (Household cleaners can strip the wax from the paint and damage the finish.) Starting at the top, wash one section at a time, thoroughly rinsing away the soap. Work your way down toward the front, sides, and rear of the vehicle. Clean the rear last since it usually has the largest accumulation of dirt and grime, which can contaminate the wash mitt. Wash the inside door jams about once a month.
- To rinse, remove the spray nozzle from the hose. Starting at the top, let the water cascade down the surfaces of the vehicle.
- Then, to avoid water spotting, dry with a chamois or other product made for this purpose.
- Now is an excellent time for waxing, which not only protects the finish but also makes subsequent washing easier. Before proceeding, look for foreign particles on the paint. Use a car cleaner, available at auto supply stores, to remove contaminants imbedded in the paint.
- Once the surface is clean, apply the wax, following the manufacturer's instructions for application of the product. Often they recommend not using the product in direct sunlight..
- Keeping your vehicle clean, while it doesn't require a lot of effort, says the Council, it does foster a feeling of pride and accomplishment
Proper Washing And Waxing Add Value To Vehicle
- More than one-third of car owners use damaging non-automotive products when washing their cars-products that could contain harmful detergents, abrasives and additives. And almost half of motorists don't ever wax their vehicles.
- Waxing at least twice a year is recommended for maximum protection.
- Motorists should avoid dish detergent, which contains harsh chemicals that, intended to cut through grease, will strip away the wax finish on your car. Some are hard to rinse off and leave streaks. For best results, a formulated automotive wash is recommended, one that gently lifts the dirt and grime while protecting the finish.
- Washing an automobile on a regular basis protects it from the natural elements that harm the finish.Dos and Don'ts when it comes to a do-it-yourself car wash :
- Don't wash cars in direct sunlight. Do wash cars in shade or in cooler temperatures in the early morning or late afternoon.
- Don't use dish detergent. Do use a formulated car wash.
- Do fill your bucket with warm water.
- Do use a soft terrycloth towel or washing mitt.
- Do spray the car often with water.
- Don't scrub the car all at once. Do complete one section at a time, rinsing repeatedly to prevent the soap from drying on the paint.
- Do use soft terrycloth towels or scratch-free fabric to dry the vehicle.
- Don't neglect waxing the vehicle. Do prep the car for waxing using cleaner/polish to remove contaminants.
Take Control of Rising Gas Prices
Most motorists don't realize that it's the little things that don't take a lot of time or cost much that can really make a difference when it comes to saving money at the pump
- Loose or missing gas caps, underinflated tires, worn spark plugs and dirty air filters all contribute to poor fuel economy
- Vehicle gas caps - About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
- Underinflated tires - When tires aren't inflated properly it's like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon.
- Worn spark plugs - A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plus causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.
- Dirty air filters - An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a "rich" mixture - too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 15 cents a gallon.Fuel-saving driving tips include:
- Don't be an aggressive driver - Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets.
- Avoid excessive idling - Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
- Observe the speed limit - Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mpg driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, cruise control is recommended.
- Combining errands into one trip saves gas and time. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance.
- Avoid carrying unneeded heavy items in the truck. An extra 100 pounds can cut fuel efficiency by a percent or two.
Auto Glass Decisions
Everybody loves a bargain but, being "penny wise" is "pound foolish" when selecting an auto glass service provider. Like anything else, you get what you pay for and 'cheap' is not what you want when replacing auto glass. Quality and professional competency should be the top priorities for every person in need of auto glass service.
The fact is that most automotive safety experts rank the windshield as the third most important safety component in today's cars and trucks. Seatbelts and airbags rank first and second. All three components are part of what automotive engineers refer to as a vehicle's safety restraint system (SRS).
The SRS is intended to keep vehicle occupants within the relative safety of the passenger compartment during a collision or roll over. SRS components work together. The windshield provides virtually all the support a passenger side airbag needs to deploy properly. If the windshield falls out in a collision, that particular air bag is all but useless. Similarly, the windshield provides much of the roof support for most cars, especially mini-vans. If the windshield is displaced, much of that structural support is lost along with most of the crush resistance designed into the vehicle.
During the installation of a windshield, watch to see if the technician :
- Checks for a passenger side airbag and, if present, uses urethane rated for that type of installation;
- Removes the old sealant leaving approximately 1/16" bonding surface;
- Wears gloves to avoid contaminating the bonding surfaces;
- Cleans and primes both the glass and the area on the vehicle (known as the pinchweld) where the glass is to be set.
- After the installation is complete, inspect the work carefully. You do not need to be an auto glass expert to identify the "tell-tale" signs of improper installation.From outside the vehicle, check to see if:
- The windshield is perfectly centered on the car. The distance between the left side and the right side of the windshield and the auto body should be the same.
- Inspect the molding to be sure it fits around the circumference of the windshield and there are no visible gaps.
- The molding should be flat and not look like a roller coaster.
- Most importantly, the glass should be flush to the vehicle's body.
- When shopping for auto glass repair and / or replacement services, people need to be quality conscious to a fault. To be done properly, windshield replacement requires the use of the best materials technology can provide and the skills of highly trained, experienced and, above all, detail conscious technicians.Shop For A Battery
- If your car battery is dead or even weak. It is the leading cause of starting trouble, whether because of lights left on, a charging system problem or other cause.
- Sometimes it is just that the battery has outlived its usefulness. But even at best, a healthy battery in 80-degree weather has only half of its output when the thermometer dips to zero.
- When shopping, remember that a battery is rated by cold cranking amps (CCA), indicating its power and the reserve capacity rating (RC), which indicates how long your car's accessories can run and still have enough power to start the engine.
- Since starting a car in cold weather can take up to twice as much current to turn over a cold engine, cars in colder climates would benefit from a higher CCA rating. Check your owner's manual for the original equipment manufacturer's (OEM) minimum requirements needed for your car and select the battery adequate for you needs. Buying one with an excessive CCA rating may be a waste of money.
- In every situation, more RC (reserve) is better, like a little extra in the checking account. The size and number of plates in a battery determine how many amps it can deliver. By having more and/or large plates, you can increase the normal life of the battery. This is what distinguishes a three-year from a five-year warranty battery.
- Battery manufacturers build their products to an internationally adopted Battery Council International (BCI) group number based on the physical size, terminal placement (where you connect the cables to the battery) and terminal polarity. BCI and the battery manufacturers offer application guidelines that contain the OEM cranking amperage requirements and group number replacement recommendations by make, model and year of car and battery size, CCA and RC specifications.
Replace old wiper blades and be sure your washers are working. Carry spare washer solvent in your vehicle.
A vehicle's antifreeze should be changed annually, or as recommended in the owner's manual. Flush the cooling system every 24 months. The recommended mixture is 50/50 antifreeze and distilled water. Have the system pressure tested for leaks and check hoses and drive belt(s) for tension and condition.
Inspect, balance, check inflation and rotate tires. Check inflation on the spare and make sure the jack is in place.
Check all lights and replace burned out bulbs
Have the vehicle put on a lift for an inspection of the exhaust system. Leaking exhaust fumes can be deadly. .
Disclaimer: The Car Care Tips / Information presented and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Tips And Treats . com and/or its partners.
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