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How To Clean Your Car - It's All In The Details!

Top Hacks To Clean Your Car Inside & Out

Does your car feel old and tired? The upholstery appears a little tattered, and the formerly gleaming windows are now…well, not so shiny. Sure, you could pay someone to clean your car—or save money by cleaning it yourself.

You can use these tried and true cleaning hacks to get your car clean, both inside and out. After researching we found some great websites that go into great detail. Be sure to visit them for more great tips

How to Clean and Restore Car Headlights

After a few years of usage, the plastic in car headlights oxidizes, causing them to become hazy and yellowish. That film can cause you not to see as well when driving at night. You can use this headlight restoration technique to clean and restore your headlights.

According to Family Handyman there is an easy 4 step process that will restore your headlights

Step 1 - Wash and Sand Horizontally

  • Wash the cloudy headlight with warm soapy water.

  • Rinse with plenty of clear water, then let it dry.

  • Then mask the area around the lens so you don't scratch the paint.

  • Soak the sheets of sandpaper in water, then start with the grit that suits your situation.

Sand in one direction.

With sandpaper, the higher the number, the finer the grit. If the headlight is just dull or yellowed, start with the 1,500 grit and work up to the 2,500 grit. If there are light scratches, start with the 1,000-grit paper.

Step 2 - Rinse and Sand Vertically

Rinse and change direction with the next grit. Keep doing this until you're finished with the 2,500-grit paper.

Step 3 - Buff the Lens with Polish

  • Wash the headlight with plenty of clear, cool water and dry.

  • Wet one corner of the flannel cloth with the polishing compound.

  • Using firm pressure, polish the headlight in a circular pattern until it becomes smooth and clear.

Step 4 - Polish the Lens

  • Allow the polish to dry, then use the clean end of the cloth to buff off any polish residue.

  • Repeat the polishing process.

  • Depending on the damage to the headlamp, small areas may still appear foggy. Try re-polishing only those spots with a polishing compound. Buff the area again and inspect. The lens should look perfectly clear!

  • To keep foggy headlights clear, wash often with a mild detergent and a soft-bristle brush or sponge, flush with plenty of water and dry.

Never clean clear plastic with wax, polish or any chemical that's not formulated for the task. And that is how to clean headlights yourself!

Credit: Family Handyman

 

How To Clean Your Car Windows Streak Free

The key to getting your car windows clean and streak free is all about the tools and techniques you use. The great news is that it's not difficult to do, and once you learn how, you'll be able to get your car windows looking amazing in no time.

  1. Use a clean, soft microfiber cloth or towel to avoid scratches.

  2. When using a cleaning solution, make sure work in small sections

  3. Start at the top and work your way down

  4. Use a quality glass cleaner

  5. Wipe in a circular motion

  6. Use a second clean microfiber cloth to dry

  7. Polish with a third clean microfiber cloth

How To Clean The Dashboard

The best things to clean your car dashboard according to DetailCentralAve are.

  • Vacuum with Attachment

  • Soft Microfiber Cloth

  • Water and Mild Soap

  • Toothbrush or Soft Paint Brush

  • Polish

To begin, use your vacuum with brush attachments to vacuum the dash. Attempt to pick up any dust or debris on the dash.

Next, take a soft microfiber cloth, dipped in water, to wipe down your dash. If the interior of your car is particularly grimy, fill a bowl with warm water and mild soap. Use this to wipe the dashboard, steering wheel, hand brake, and interior plastic of your vehicle.

Likely, it will be difficult to clean in the small crevices and vents. Use a toothbrush, soft paintbrush, or designated dash brush to gently remove dirt. Be careful so you don’t scratch the delicate parts of your car.

Once your dash is clean and dry – you can use another dry microfiber cloth to rub down the dash if needed – you can add shine by polishing it. You can pick up a wide variety of polishes at automotive parts stores. Pick the polish of your choice and put a small amount onto a clean and dry cloth, then rub the cloth over the dash. Repeat until the entire dashboard is polished. You can polish the center console as well. If there is excess polish when you’ve finished, remove with a dry cloth.

Credit: DetailCentralAve

How To Remove Dead Bugs From Your Car's Exterior

The paint on your car's exterior is delicate. When you drive, bugs hit your car and can leave behind stains or etchings in the paint. You may not notice them right away, but over time these can become more visible and difficult to remove.

To remove dead bugs from your car's exterior, start by washing the area with soap and water. Then, using a soft cloth or sponge, gently scrub the affected area in a circular motion. If the stain is still visible, you can try using a mild abrasive cleaner or rubbing alcohol. Be sure to test any cleaner on an inconspicuous area of your car's exterior first to avoid damaging the paint.

Once you've removed the dead bug stains, be sure to wash and wax your car regularly to protect the paint and keep your car looking its best.



Can I Trade My Car With A Cracked Windshield

Yes but...... Should You Have It Repaired First?

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to trade in your car with a cracked windshield. The first is the state in which you live. Some states require insurance companies to replace your windshield if it is cracked, while others will only repair it.

Obviously if your insurance company is going to replace it, that will not cost you anything out of pocket and will help maintain the value of your car. Anytime you trade in your car the dealer is going to evaluate it and give you a lower offer if there are any significant problems. So a cracked windshield would definitely affect how much money you get for your car.

It's always better to repair a cracked windshield as soon as possible. Not only will it help maintain the value of your car, but it's also much safer to drive with a windshield that is not cracked. In order for the dealer to resell your car, they will need to get the windshield repaired anyway.

If you have comprehensive coverage on your insurance policy, then it will likely cover the replacement of your windshield if it needs to be replaced. However, if you only have liability coverage, then you will be responsible for the entire cost of replacing your windshield.

If you have a chipped windshield, don't panic. It can be repaired, but you need to take action quickly. The longer the chip remains unrepaired, the more likely it is to spread and require a full replacement.

Here's what you need to do:

  • Evaluate the chip. If it is smaller than a quarter, it can probably be repaired. If it is larger, or if it cracks when you tap it with your finger, you will need to replace the windshield.

  • Find a reputable glass repair shop. Be sure to get recommendations from friends or family members, and check online reviews.

  • Make an appointment for the repair. The sooner the better, as the chip is more likely to spread if it is not repaired quickly.

The Different Types of Windshield Chips and their Repairs

There are several things that cause your windshield to chip. The most common are small rocks or other objects that hit your windshield while driving. These types of chips are usually no more than 1/4 inch in diameter and can be repaired easily.

Another type of chip is caused by hailstones. These chips are usually much larger, up to an inch in diameter, and can be much more difficult to repair.

The last type of chip is called a crack. Cracks can be caused by any of the above, but are usually much longer, sometimes running the entire length of your windshield. Cracks can be very difficult to repair and often require replacement.

Not only driving with a cracked windshield is dangerous, but it is also illegal in most states. Some states require insurance companies to replace your windshield if it is cracked, while others will only repair it.

There are a few different ways to repair a chipped windshield. The first, and most common, is to use a resin or epoxy to fill the chip. This method is quick and easy, but does not always give the best results. The second way is to use a glass patch. This method is more time consuming, but will usually give a better result.

Are You Ready For A New Ride?

You've just spent the past few years of your life paying on your car. Now you're ready for a new one, but the thought of starting the process over again can feel overwhelming

You're not alone. A lot of people feel the same thing when they're ready to trade-in or sell their car. Don't worry we're here to make the process of trading in your car easy and stress-free. We'll help you figure out what your car is worth, and we'll handle all the paperwork for you. Plus, we have a wide variety of inventory to choose from and very competitive prices.

Call us today or fill out our online form to get started. We can't wait to help you find your next car!



Stuck On The Side Of The Road - You're Not Alone

Emergency Roadside Kits - A Friend When You Need One

We've all been there before. You're driving along, minding your own business, when suddenly you get a flat tire. Or your engine starts making strange noises. Whatever the problem is, it's a pain - and it always seems to happen at the most inconvenient time.

That's where emergency roadside kits come in. A good roadside kit can help you get out of a bind, no matter what kind of trouble you find yourself in. Whether you're on a road trip or just driving to work, it's important to have all of the supplies you need in case of an emergency.

It's not just you who will benefit from an emergency roadside kit. if you ever have to help another driver who is stranded, you'll be glad you have a kit to lend them. They will appreciate the fact that you were prepared and able to help them in their time of need.

What should you include in your emergency roadside kit?

  • Flashlight, flares, and reflective triangles will help other motorists see your car

  • A first aid kit is an essential part of any emergency roadside kit. Be sure to include items such as bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers. Check for expiration dates on your supplies periodically.

  • Jumper cables. One of the best options is a self contained jump box that doesn't require another car. They typically contain charging cables for phones and other small electronics, too.

  • A tire inflator can help if you have a flat tire. You may also want to include a small can of fix-a-flat.

  • A quart of oil and a gallon of coolant will help if your car starts to overheat

  • Tools like a screwdriver, pliers, and a wrench will come in handy if you need to make minor repairs

  • A blanket. Although you would think this would only be necessary in the winter, a blanket can actually be helpful all year round. If you have a breakdown at night, the blanket will keep you warm until help arrives. Also hypothermia can set in quickly, even on a warm day.

  • Small umbrella. In case you get stranded in the rain, an umbrella will help keep you dry

Emergency roadside kits can be a lifesaver when you find yourself in an emergency on the road. They are perfect for any vehicle, whether it's your own car or someone else who needs help and is stranded by the side of the highway.

Every situation is different, so you'll need to use your best judgment when deciding what to include in your roadside kit. But these items are a good place to start. With a little bit of preparation, you'll be ready for whatever the road throws your way.

Got stuck on the side of the road one too many times? Well, you're certainly not alone. In fact, research shows that 1 in every 4 drivers will experience a car breakdown at some point this year.

Thinking About Trading Your Car?

We have a wide selection of cars, trucks and SUVs to choose from. If you're not sure what you're looking for, our team of experts can help. We'll work with you to find the perfect car for your needs and budget.

Old Car Technology That's Now Considered Standard

Car Technology Advancements That Make Life Easier For Drivers

Are you old enough to remember when air conditioning and powered windows were optional car features? How about when you had to manually unlock your doors? If you are, then you've seen firsthand how far car technology has come in just a few decades.

Nowadays, we can't imagine owning a vehicle without them. In fact, new cars are loaded with all sorts of tech gadgets and creature comforts that make the driving experience more enjoyable. Here are just a few of the car tech advancements that have made life easier for drivers.

Automatic Climate Control

Curbside Classic

"Cadillac released Comfort Control, the world’s first fully automatic climate control system in 1964. This system is an amazing accomplishment and a reminder of how GM and Cadillac really once were the standard of the world"

If you wanted that type of luxury you had to pay a pretty penny for it. Nowadays, you can find automatic climate control in even the most basic of cars. This feature keeps the temperature at a preset level, so you don't have to adjust it every time the weather changes.

Cruise Control

Another oldie but goodie is Cruise Control. Great for long road trips when you don't want to wear your foot out by constantly pressing the gas pedal. It also helps you save on gas. Just set your desired speed and the car will maintain a consistent speed, as long as you keep your foot off the brake.

Wikipedia

"Modern cruise control (also known as a speedostat or tempomat) was invented in 1948 by the blind inventor and mechanical engineer Ralph Teetor.[4][5] He came up with the idea due to being frustrated by his driver's habit of speeding up and slowing down as he talked."

Heated and Cooled Seats

Another comfort feature that has become standard in many new cars are heated and cooled seats. This is a welcome addition for those who live in climates with extreme temperatures. Heated seats warm you up on cold days, while cooled seats keep you cool on hot days.

Backup Cameras

Did you know that backup cameras originated in 1956? Although backup cameras have been around for years they started to become more popular in the early 2000s.

Backup cameras are a lifesaver, literally. They help you avoid accidents by giving you a clear view of what's behind you when you're in reverse.

Wikipedia

"1956 Buick Centurion concept car, presented in January 1956 at the General Motors Motorama. The vehicle had a rear-mounted television camera that sent images to a TV screen in the dashboard in place of the rear-view mirror."

If you've ever tried to parallel park in a tight spot without one then you know what a pain it can be. a backup camera can be a lifesaver.

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018 - The Day Backup Cameras Became Standard

Car And Driver

"If you’re shopping for a new vehicle and it doesn’t have a backup camera or the feature costs extra, then it was built before Tuesday, May 1st, 2018. That’s when the safety device became standard on all vehicles made for the American market."

Although backup cameras have been around for years they started to become more popular in the early 2000s.

Keyless Entry and Start

Just like other car technology , keyless entry and start has been around for a while but it's only recently that it has become standard in new cars. This feature allows you to unlock and start your car without ever having to take your keys out of your pocket.

What Car Technology Is Next To Become A Standard Option?

Here are some other options that are starting to move their way from the luxury category into the mainstream. The average car buyer may not be able to afford all of these features right now, but eventually, they may become standard.

1. Automatic braking

2. Lane departure warning

3. Blind spot monitoring

4. Park assist systems

5. Adaptive cruise control

6. Heads-up displays

One of the most popular car technology trends is the inclusion of hands-free capabilities, such as Bluetooth and voice-activated controls. This allows drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while still being able to control.

Do you have a car with outdated technology?

It might be time to trade it in. You deserve the latest technology in your car – and we can help make that happen. We have a huge selection of cars to choose from, and we’ll make sure the process is easy for you.

Reliable Auto Sales - Best Midsize Sedans

Please Read Reliable Auto Sales - Best Midsize Sedans

Content provided by MotorTrend

MotorTrend tests more than 200 vehicles at the track every year. We rate cars using the same factors you do, including how they drive, interior space, efficiency, tech, value, and safety. Ratings are only applicable within each respective segment.

  1. 2022 Honda Accord - 9.1/10 - After a midcycle refresh for 2021, we're not expecting any major changes to the Accord for 2022. Barring any significant revisions, it will carry forward with two gas engines and a hybrid option. The Accord competes with other affordable four-doors including the Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry, Kia K5, and Subaru Legacy.

  2. 2022 Subaru Legacy - 8.6/10 - Subaru knows its buyers and delivers on their priorities with the Legacy. The midsize sedan offers a compelling blend of technology, safety, and performance in a roomy and comfortable vessel. Middling style and a vexing CVT are the Legacy's greatest Achilles heels.

  3. 2022 Hyundai Sonata - 8.5/10 - Hyundai has been selling the Sonata here in the U.S. for more than 30 years, and the current eighth generation is the best version yet. Redesigned for the 2020 model year, the Hyundai Sonata is among the better midsize sedans on the market. It's mechanically related to the Kia K5.

  4. 2022 Kia K5 - 8.3/10 - The midsize sedan once known as the Kia Optima has transformed into the K5. Introduced for 2021, the K5 stands out in the segment with evocative exterior styling. Yet despite those looks it remains a relatively normal car in terms of features and capabilities. The K5 is offered with a choice of turbocharged engines and available AWD. Like the Optima before it, the K5 targets sedan stalwarts like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and mechanically related Hyundai Sonata. The K5 is built in West Point, Georgia, alongside the Kia Telluride.

  5. 2022 Toyota Camry - 8/10 - Although it's no longer Toyota's best-selling model (that title now goes to the RAV4), the venerable Camry remains a go-to choice for those seeking a dependable midsize sedan. The current-gen Camry was introduced for the 2018 model year and sees a mild face-lift for 2021. The Camry sits squarely in the center of Toyota's lineup of sedans between the compact Corolla and full-size Avalon. Besides its longtime rival, the Honda Accord, the Camry also competes with midsize four-doors including the Subaru Legacy, Nissan Altima, and Hyundai Sonata.

  6. 2021 Nissan Altima - 7.7/10 - Positioned above the compact Sentra and below the full-size Maxima, the Altima is the middle child of Nissan's sedan lineup. Nissan issued a full redesign of the Altima for the 2019 model year, and the family sedan has been relatively unchanged since. The Altima competes in the midsize sedan segment alongside cars such as the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry, and Subaru Legacy.

  7. 2022 Volkswagen Passat - 7.1/10 - Once one of Volkswagen's most successful cars in the United States, the Passat enters its final year of production with a Limited Edition trim. It rides on the platform that's been on sale in the United States since 2012, the same year it won our MotorTrend Car of the Year award. The Passat last received a major refresh in 2020. Although this midsize sedan no longer feels like a fresh offering, it comes with the traditional advantages of its segment, namely a comfortable ride, a large trunk, and spacious interior.

  8. 2021 Chevrolet Malibu - One of the longest-running nameplates in the Chevrolet lineup, the Malibu has been a mainstay in the midsize sedan segment for decades. Since its inception, the Malibu has evolved from a rear-drive car that's available in multiple flavors to a front-drive model offered only one body style. Chevrolet even offered a hybrid Malibu for a short time to lure eco-minded consumers to the brand. With only a short time left before it's discontinued, the Malibu lineup has been streamlined. A number of cosmetic packages are also offered.

  9. 2021 Mazda Mazda6 - As we wait for the rumored RWD, inline-six-powered, next-gen 6, Mazda adds some polish to its midsize sedan for 2021. The current-generation model debuted for the 2014 model year and saw a mid-cycle facelift for 2018, adding a turbocharged engine option. The 2021 Mazda 6 competes with other affordable midsize sedans including the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Hyundai Sonata.

Original Source: https://www.motortrend.com/style/sedan/

Reliable Auto Sales - Best Full-Size Pickup Truck

Please Read Reliable Auto Sales - Best Full-Size Pickup Truck

Content provided by CarAndDriver.com

Turn any friendly neighborhood barbecue into a backyard wrestling match with this simple trick: declare your pickup king. Well guess what, brother? Being the best isn’t about who has the biggest Calvin and Hobbes sticker on the rear window. Full-size pickup trucks are America’s best-selling vehicles, and the fight among them is closer than ever.

Trucks today are capable of accelerating quicker than sports cars like the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and can tow up to seven tons using conventional towing. That’s a lot of folding chairs and steel cages. The truck is the backbone of America. In 2019, pickups represented over 3.1 million vehicle sales in the U.S., or more than the entire population of Iowa. Each of these trucks can handle classic pickup needs with ease, and if you haven’t already sorted yourself into the Toyota, Nissan, Ram, Chevy, or Ford camps, we’ve ranked the segment's players from worst to best to help you in your search.

  1. Ram 1500 - The Ram 1500 is king of the mountain, having bested its biggest rivals from Detroit in our latest three-truck comparison test and won another 10Best Full-size Pickup award for 2021. We’d let those accolades do the heavy lifting for us in explaining why we dig the Ram, but here are a few more reasons: The available EcoDiesel V-6 engine has the most power and torque among all light-duty diesel pickups and is fuel efficient; the interior is a step or three above the competition; and it just plain drives well. Fans of the all-black Dodge Ram can carry the dark baton with a new for 2020 Night Edition, which offers all-black exterior trim along with your choice of paint. We’d suggest, um, black.

  2. Ram 1500 TRX - The nearly 3.5-ton Ram 1500 TRX is a lot of truck, but it knows how to use it. The 702-horsepower Hellcat engine is a screamer, and despite its heft, the TRX gets to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, making it the quickest truck we've ever tested. Bilstein dampers underneath provide more than a foot of suspension travel, allowing its 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler AT's to droop. It's beefy too, measuring 5.9 inches wider and 3.3 inches taller than the regular Ram 1500, but inside it's just as luxurious. A 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard, and a head-up display, heated and ventilated front seats, and carbon-fiber accents are available options. Many aspects of the TRX make it the greatest truck as nothing else can cruise to, climb up, and fly over whatever's ahead of it quite like this.

  3. Ford F-150 Raptor - Packed with a powerful 450-hp twin-turbo V-6 and an off-road-ready suspension with adaptive shocks to soak up potholes and landings off of sweet jumps, the Ford F-150 Raptor is just plain rad. But this is no one-trick brute—it’s nearly everything you might never need in a truck and useful. The SuperCrew is rated to tow up to 8000 pounds, so the Raptor can haul more than just ass. Its wide fenders and large off-road tires can make navigating parking lots and narrow streets a challenge; we prefer to think of them as reminders as to where the Raptor truly belongs.

  4. Ford F-150 - The Ford F-150 has been a full-size favorite for decades, and nearly 1 million F-150 pickups were sold last year. So it’s little wonder why the Ford has become ubiquitous and familiar. The fourteenth-generation Ford debuted for 2021 with a new 430-hp hybrid powertrain with 570 lb-ft of torque. That's a 30 horsepower and 70 lb-ft improvement verses the nonhybrid twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 for those keeping track. The hybrid powered pickup gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg for both city and highway travel, putting it fourth overall in fuel efficiency for the segment behind diesel-powered Chevy Silverado and Ram 1500. The interior is also improved in terms of materials and ease of use. An optional Work Surface allows you to transform the front row into a work table. New variable-assist steering, standard on the higher trim King Ranch model and above, is tight and direct, and even on lower trims the ride is quiet and composed.

  5. GMC Sierra 1500 - If you can swing the new GMC Sierra 1500’s price premium over its mechanically identical, Chevrolet-badged sibling (the Silverado), do so. The GMC is simply more attractive than the Chevy. We’ve ranked the Sierra above it because the extra money seems worth it when staring both trucks right in the eyes. Like the Silverado, the Sierra has five different engines, three different transmissions, and is available in either rear- or all-wheel drive. Although there's no high-flying off-roader option like the Ram TRX or Ford F-150 Raptor, a Sierra AT4 model is available with 2.0-inches of suspension lift and other off-road equipment. Unfortunately, the pricier GMC suffers from the same unimpressive interior styling and firm ride quality as the Silverado, but the extra chrome does wonders for GM's half-ton pickup design.

  6. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - After a full redesign, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 doesn't feel quite as new as you'd expect. Its new body bears only a face a mother could love, the interior is mediocre, and the suspension isn’t terribly refined. Those whiffs are offset by its new 6.2-liter V-8 that can deactivate up to six cylinders for fuel savings, as well as the available turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder that can tow up to 9300 pounds. The brakes offer stellar stopping power, and the four-door crew cab has superior rear-seat headroom. Chevy's also added the Multi-Flex tailgate as an option for 2021 models, making the bed of the Silverado more useable than ever. Silverados with the 277-hp turbodiesel engine in 2WD are the most fuel efficient in the segment with an EPA-estimated 33 mpg highway rating.

  7. Nissan Titan - The Nissan Titan, like the Toyota Tundra, exists slightly outside of the mainstream in this segment. It lacks engine choices—there is but one 400-hp V-8 option—which severely limits configurability relative to its competitors, and the Titan’s overall execution seems lacking. Its ride quality is poor and the steering lacks sharpness; look to the Pro-4X trim for off-road capability, but look everywhere else in terms of towing capacity as the Titan has the lowest in the light-duty class. Every model now has a 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is something fleet versions of its domestic competitors don’t have.

  8. Toyota Tundra - The Toyota Tundra has been around in pretty much the same form since 2007—that’s pre-Instagram if you need a cultural reference point. So, it’s old. But the Tundra offers a spacious cabin and a decent roster of standard features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone integration functionality for most models. A 5.7-liter V-8 is the only engine option, an oddity among full-size pickups, which generally offer a plethora of engine choices. The Toyota’s V-8 engine delivers mediocre fuel economy and towing performance, but the truck itself at least shines in off-road capability even in base form. The Tundra TRD Pro model adds to that dexterity with new Fox 2.5-inch internal-bypass shocks and lighter-weight 18-inch BBS wheels.

Original Source: caranddriver.com (Austin Irwin - Dec 5, 2020)

Car Maintenance Tips

Properly maintaining your car is key to keeping it in top condition. It can also help ensure your safety, the safety of your passengers and your fellow drivers. Here are some ways to help keep your car running smoothly.

The Car Maintenance Checklist

Consider adding these items to your vehicle maintenance "to do" list:

Inspect and Maintain Tires

Knowing how to maintain your car's tire pressure can help reduce wear on the tires and helps ensure you're getting good gas mileage. Checking your tire pressure includes finding the recommended pressure, checking the PSI and inflating or deflating your tires accordingly.

A flat tire is a hazard that can be dangerous to you and your car. There are several preventative steps you can take to help avoid a blowout, including rotating your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles and watching for tire recalls.

Change the Oil

Routinely checking and changing your car's oil is essential to keeping its engine in running condition. Check your oil each month and change it as directed in the car's owner's manual.

You can change your oil yourself or take it to a service center. If you choose to do it yourself, learn the necessary steps to drain the fluid, set the correct oil level and dispose of old oil.

You should also know which type of motor oil is best for your car, regardless of whether you change the oil yourself or take it to a service center. This generally means considering three things — the oil viscosity, whether to use synthetic versus non-synthetic oil and your car's mileage.

Check the Fluids

There are several fluids that should be kept at the appropriate levels to help keep your car running properly. According to Popular Mechanics, you or your mechanic should check:

  • Engine oil
  • Coolant
  • Power steering fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Transmission fluid
A leak with any of these fluids can affect the way your car drives. If you spot a leak, you may be able to identify the fluid by its color. This can help you and your mechanic determine where the leak is coming from. It can also help speed up the repair process.

Test the Lights

A broken or burnt-out bulb is a safety hazard and might get you a ticket. Learn how to thoroughly inspect each bulb on your car. If a bulb is out, take your car to an expert to determine whether it's the bulb or the fuse that needs replacing.

Headlights are key safety lights on your car. Consider taking a few extra steps to help keep them shining bright, such as cleaning the lenses and replacing bulbs as they start to dim.

Replace Windshield Wipers

If your wipers aren't working like they used to, don't let the problem linger. Damaged or worn out blades can reduce visibility during a heavy rain or a snowstorm. Knowing how to inspect your wiper blades regularly and replace them when necessary is one way to help keep your car safe.

Change Your Engine Air Filter

A dirty engine air filter can allow dirt and other particulates into your car's engine and reduce its efficiency. Inspect your car's air filter once a year and replace it as needed.

Regular Checkups

Some routine car care tasks can be done at home, but others require trained technicians. Take your car to a technician if the check engine light comes on. Trained technicians can diagnose the problem through the car's on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) port.

A qualified repair shop will also be able to inspect and replace other core components like the alternator and the wheel bearings. Scheduling regular tune-ups will help ensure that your car gets other maintenance items repaired as well.

Have Your Brakes Checked

Your car's brake pads also require regular inspection. While driving, listen for any brake noise and pay attention to shuddering or vibrating from the brake pedal. If any concerns arise, consult a service center as soon as possible

Wash Your Car

Your car is subjected to all sorts of elements, from road salt and ice melt in the winter to tree sap and bird droppings in the summer. Some of these hazards are not only unsightly but can cause damage to paint and the undercarriage, according to AccuWeather.

Keeping your car clean may help prevent long-term damage. Find the car washing method that works for you and regularly wash your car.

Check Belts and Hoses

Keeping your car's belts and hoses in good shape can help keep your car running and may help you avoid a breakdown on the road. For example, if your serpentine belt breaks while you're driving, it may cause many of your car's systems to fail.

Having your belts and hoses checked at every oil change will help ensure that they're in good condition and don't need replacing.

Review Your Car Insurance

Just like regular car checkups, it's a good idea to review your car insurance policy from time to time. This can help ensure your policy's coverages, limits and deductibles are up-to-date and suitable for your current situation.

Keeping your car in good shape can help keep you and your passengers safe. And remember, if you're ever unsure about how to inspect or replace a car part, be sure to contact a local mechanic for help.

Article Originally published allstate.com

How to Protect Your Car From Rust

Rust never sleeps: Here's how you can protect your car

No matter what type of automotive rustproofing protection you favour (electronic, one-time spray, factory coating or annual treatments) there are large gaps in warranty coverage from even the best companies out there. First things first; if you operate a vehicle on public roads 12 months of the year, there really is no such thing as rustproofing. About the best we can hope for is to slow down Mother Nature’s ravage of our daily drivers so that the loan payments end before the sheet metal. We really can’t stop rust altogether.

All rustproofing suppliers offer pretty much the same warranty; they will repair or replace outer sheet metal panels if rusted through from inside/out and if all other guarantee conditions have been met (annual inspections, reapplications, etc.). But what about all the other steel and iron on the vehicle? Cast iron and steel suspension and steering components, fuel and brake fluid lines, exhaust systems, fuel tanks and straps can all be affected by rust and can bring major repair bills. Is there anything we can do to extend the life of these components?

1. Park carefully. Parking your vehicle on grass, dirt, snow or poorly drained surfaces is just asking for rust to come and take up permanent residence in your vehicle. As our vehicles spend most of their idle time at our place of residence, tackling the home-parking front can go a long way to keeping rust at bay. If you think investing in a driveway improvement is too expensive, ask your regular repair garage for some cost estimates on replacing brake rotors, exhaust systems, suspension control arms, fuel tank and the like and you’ll quickly find the financial justification. Don’t rest easy if your parking lane is paved. Old cracked asphalt surfaces can provide just as much moisture to the undercarriage of your chariot as a dirt field in spring. Even applying a layer of asphalt sealer can help out.

2. Keep it clean. Most of us like to keep the paint work and interior of our vehicles clean, but what about the underbelly? If you drive on gravel or dirt roads or take an off-road adventure from time to time, the mud and gunk that can collect underneath your vehicle will act as a moisture trap increasing the speed with which your wheels will head to the scrap yard. Check horizontal surfaces under the car/truck such as control arms, skid-plates, axles, etc. from time to time and do a little down-and-dirty cleaning when needed. If you don’t have a pressure washer, a garden hose and stiff brush will do. You may have to jack the vehicle to improve clearance, so make sure you take the necessary precautions with proper jack supports and wheel chocks and have a spotter standing by.

3. Keep it full. One of the most expensive repairs a driver can face because of rust is the replacement of a fuel pump module (the electric fuel pump and level sender unit located in the tank). While the interior parts of this piece (which can range in price from $300-$1500 plus labour) are well protected, its metal top plate and output lines are very exposed and prone to rusting. Fuel tanks and their parts can be attacked from two sources of moisture leading to rust. The first is external and the second is internal condensation caused by the difference between liquid fuel and outside air temperatures in a humid environment. Keeping the fuel tank topped off during the wet seasons can help to reduce the condensation effect. It also provides better traction in snow and on icy surfaces.

4. Blow it clean. On trucks and SUVs with large fuel tanks, the dirt, dust, and road grime that can collect on the top of the tank can lead to premature rusting of the fuel pump module. The labour involved in periodically lowering the tank to inspect and clean off its top can be pricey and can make it hard to justify as a means of extending the life of the pump module. A safe DIY method involves spraying compressed air on top of the tank while it’s mounted in its location to dislodge any debris or gunk. Use safety goggles and go easy on the air nozzle trigger as small stones can hurt when propelled by compressed air.

5. Spray it on. While no rustproofing company will guarantee undercarriage components against rust, that’s not a reason to not have the more vulnerable iron and steel parts treated. You can purchase aerosol cans of rust inhibitors at most auto parts stores, or you can have the pros take care of it for you. If doing it yourself, avoid getting any spray on brake rotors, drums, linings, or calipers. Keep it off hot surfaces such as catalytic converters and exhaust components as well as away from electrical wiring and connectors. Don’t overdo it. It’s better to perform annual touch-ups rather than try to lather on enough protection for the next decade.

Article Originally published driving.ca

Buying Used Pickup Trucks What To Look For

Buying Used Pickup Trucks: What Should You Look For?

Buying a used pickup truck is a lot harder than buying a used car. Used pickup trucks have often lived a harder workhorse-style life, which means there’s more to consider when you’re buying a truck than when you’re buying a normal family sedan or minivan. So just what should you look for? We have some answers that can help you when you’re checking out a used truck.

Towing and Hauling

One thing you’ll have to consider when buying a used truck is just how much towing and hauling the previous owner has done. Obviously, this isn’t something you’ll need to think about if you’re buying a hatchback or a convertible, but trucks are different. If a truck has spent 50,000 miles hooked up to a trailer, it may have caused more than normal wear on the truck’s mechanical components.

Of course, one way to find out just how much towing and hauling a truck has done is to simply ask the owner. But since you can’t always count on the truth from someone selling a used car — and since you can’t always count on a dealer to know the whole story — we recommend taking the truck for a mechanical inspection before you buy it. We especially recommend this if you see evidence of a lot of towing, such as a well-worn tow hitch, a severely bent rear license plate or a cable for wiring a trailer’s brake lights.

Off-Road Use

Another thing you’ll need to consider when buying a truck is exactly how it’s been used. Many used pickup trucks lead pampered in-town lives, but some are used in fields, on farms or on ranches — exactly as they were intended to be. The problem with this sort of use, however, is that it can cause a lot of wear to a truck’s suspension, chassis and other components. To check for off-road use, get under the truck and take a look around. If you see a lot of scratches, scrapes and bent parts on the truck’s underside, it may have had a rough life off-road. While this isn’t necessarily a reason to avoid a truck, it’s certainly a red flag that may warrant a mechanical inspection by a professional.

Commercial Use?

Many trucks are bought by businesses and used as workhorses in a wide variety of applications, including shuttling around the foreman and hauling serious debris and heavy goods. Because so many trucks are used by businesses, we wouldn’t tell you to avoid a truck that’s had commercial use, but we do suggest paying a mechanic to check it over before you buy it. Businesses aren’t always as careful with maintenance as private owners, and you’ll want to be sure that no important services were skipped. Buying a used pickup truck is hard, since used trucks have often had a rough life. But if you follow our suggestions and thoroughly check out any truck before you buy it, you’ll probably end up with a used pickup that serves you well for years to come.

This article by Doug Demuro was originally published on AutoTrader.com
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