There is good news, and there is bad news. In the past year, the number of vehicles stolen in the US hasn’t increased drastically as it did in the previous years. But the bad news is that now thieves are no longer interested in your car, but in the catalytic converter. This is installed to process the harmful gases from the engine and clean them before they go out the exhaust pipe. Catalytic converter thefts have been growing day by day, which has set many people back thousands of dollars. Here is everything you need to know about catalytic converter thefts in the US.
How Many Catalytic Converters Are Being Stolen?
If you start your car and hear an awfully loud sound coming from beneath the body, you can be assured that your catalytic converter is no longer attached to the car. In fact, it is now lying in a scrap metal dealer’s yard. The number of catalytic converter thefts have increased by up to four times in the past six months, which is an incredibly alarming rate. According to an estimate, 1,200 catalytic converters were stolen per month in the US in 2020. This is drastically higher than 2019, where only 280 catalytic converters were removed from cars and sold to second-hand parts dealers. The trend continues to go upwards in 2021 as well.
Why is a Catalytic Converter Stolen?
One of the major reasons for this theft is that catalytic converters contain precious metals. This includes palladium, rhodium, and platinum, which are responsible for cleaning up the harmful fumes that come from the engine. These precious metals are even more expensive than gold, so you can imagine why any thief would want to steal this device.
However, a catalytic converter is very easy to remove from the car. It is installed close to the exhaust pipe underneath the car. Also, it can be detached within a minute by using a spanner to open all of the bolts. Some thieves simply cut off the pipes to remove the converter. Another reason why they are stolen is because second-hand converters are high in demand, mainly due to the very high prices of new ones.
As you can see, catalytic converter thefts continue to grow at an alarming rate. Most car manufacturers are also working to prevent this from happening. They are installing protective casings on the catalytic converters in new cars. You can also take some precautionary measures to prevent this from happening to your car. One option is installing cameras and alarms in your driveway. You may also want to place a cable locking device on your catalytic converter. Another option includes tagging it with fluorescent paint so that thieves won’t be able to sell it.
A car has many important parts and components that work together and ensure its smooth performance and driving. One of these parts are the windshield wipers, which keep your windshield clean and also ensure proper visibility in every type of weather. However, most people forget to look after their wipers until it is too late, and once they get stuck in heavy rainfall and snow, they realize that they should have replaced them on time. Choosing the right size windshield wipers for your car is another crucial step that you must go through when buying new windshield wipers, and here are some tips to help you make the right choice.
Check the Owner’s Manual
If you are one of the lucky few who still has the owner manual of their car, you can check if it has any mention of the correct windshield wiper size, and most of the owner’s manuals have this information in them already. This way, you will know exactly which product you have to get, thus making the entire process easier for you. However, if you don’t have the owner’s manual or can’t seem to find it at the moment, you can make sure of the other methods in this article.
Consult an Auto Expert
You can also get in touch with a friend or professional who knows their way around cars and their parts. They will be able to correctly guide you as to which size windshield wipers would you need. Otherwise, you can also go to your nearest auto mechanic and ask them if they know the windshield wipers for the make and model of your car. They should know which is the correct size for your car, and this will make things easier for you.
Windshield Wiper Size
If you can’t find the owner’s manual or any information regarding the wiper size for your car, you can always search the manufacturer’s website to see if they give this information. Otherwise, you can scour through different online forums where car enthusiasts can answer your questions regarding the right size wipers for your car. This way, you will be able to get the correct answer, and you can also find out if you can buy the wipers online, so that you don’t have to even go anywhere.
Measure Your Wiper Blades
Last but not least, you can also measure the wiper blades on your car. After taking these measurements, you can go to the nearest auto parts store and share the size with them, asking them if they have windshield wipers that match it. Also note that some cars have differently sized wiper blades, so it is important to measure both blades, so that you have an exact size and can get the correct product from the market. This brings us to the end of our windshield wiper size guide. Hopefully, you will be able to use one of the aforementioned methods and get yourself a pair of high-quality windshield wipers that fit perfectly onto your car.
Winters can be quite hard on you, especially living in an area that experiences below zero temperatures. In such weather, moving around is a major challenge, and so is driving your car. Even if you manage to drive properly, your car suffers the brunt of the harsh weather. This means that it needs a thorough checkup and maintenance when spring comes around.
Among all of the maintenance tasks in your car, wheel alignment is highly important. You drive your car over snowy roads with little traction, and the potholes and bumps also play their part in the misalignment. Let’s have a look at why you should get your wheels aligned as soon as springtime is here.
It Keeps Your Car Straight
Wheel alignment depends on the camber, which refers to the angle at which the wheel is placed. If the wheel comes outward from the top, then the camber is positive. The camber is negative when the wheel is tiled inward from the top. The camber gets affected when you drive in the winters, and this can severely impact your wheel alignment. It can also make it difficult to turn the wheels left and right properly.
It Keeps the Passengers Safe this Spring
By carrying out springtime wheel alignment, you can ensure that your car goes straight when you drive it, and doesn’t swerve and cause an accident. It will also prevent any further damages to your car. Mostly, wheels lose their alignment with the passage of time, which is why people don’t notice the impact caused on your car by misalignment. Through alignment, you can enjoy a comfortable drive, and it will also reduce the effects caused by wear and tear.
Spring Tire Care
Your car’s tires experience general wear and tear over time, and it also depends on how much weight is applied on each tire. Front tires wear out more quickly than rear tires, mainly due to the engine’s weight and braking. Due to misalignment, tires wear out quickly and also result in uneven wear and tear. This also means that you will have to replace your tires much earlier than normal. This can be avoided by conducting springtime wheel alignment for your car.
It Helps Save You Money
Periodic maintenance is always important to keep your car and its components in perfect shape. Moreover, it also helps you save a lot of money on repairs and services. If you have misaligned wheels, it will cause a lot of trouble for you in the long run, and you will have to pay a lot of money. Through wheel alignment in the spring, you will be able to keep your car maintained and running smoothly.
In the spring, the snow is finally gone and people can move around freely. It also means that your cars have weathered the harsh winter conditions and it is time for them to carry out their maintenance, including getting the wheel alignment done. Not only does this ensure a comfortable and smooth drive, but also keeps your tires in perfect shape and keeps them running for a long time.
There is a common misconception about a boat trailer that they are a part of the watercraft, when it couldn’t be any further from the truth. That said, boat trailers do play a huge part in the overall experience, whether it is boating or towing. You’d be surprised to see the large number of boat owners who don’t maintain or inspect their boat trailers. This often results in multiple issues when they get their boat ready for the water.
Fortunately, avoiding issues like these is relatively straightforward with some fundamental maintenance tips. Mentioned below are some helpful tips that will help you prepare your boat for spring and summers:
- Inspect your tires for wear and tear along with the PSI levels
- Check the trailer brakes for dirt and debris and clean them thoroughly
- Consider using wheel bearing protectors to prevent the accumulation of dirt
- Examine the trailer lights to ensure they aren’t dim or flickering
- Acquire the services of a professional auto repair service to check your boat trailer’s brake pads
Three things that should be on Your Boat Trailer Maintenance Checklist
While there are plenty of things you should check and inspect in your boat trailer, the three components mentioned below should be on top of your checklist.
If your boat trailer has faulty bearings, there is a good chance that you will face trouble sooner rather than later. Old bearings, in particular, can gather rust along with the wear and tear resulting from years of use. While most boat trailers have bearing protectors, some do not. If your boat trailer doesn’t have a protector for its wheel bearings, consider getting them right away to make sure your trailer remains well-balanced.
The Lights on the trailer
Check your boat trailer’s lights for corrosion, flickering, wear and tear etc. Sometimes, spotting problems with the trailer lights can be quite difficult, which is why you should consider getting a professional auto repair service to analyze them.
Boat trailers, especially most of the modern ones have brakes. Cleaning the brakes is critical to make sure you can take your boat to the water without any inconveniences. Not heeding this advice could lead to corrosion and significantly deteriorate your boat’s looks and overall performance. You should also consider checking your trailer’s brake pads for damage. As you would expect, using trailers on a regular basis can worsen its quality, resulting in poor performance.
Fortunately, a professional repair service knows what it takes to address these issues. What’s more, these pros will also check your boat trailer’s brake fluids and other essential fluids, making sure it is ready for long trips during the spring season.
With summer season almost around the corner, hobby car, classic car, or sports car owners are planning to take their vehicles out of their garages. No matter which type of car you own, you must follow some critical steps to ensure your ride is ready for the road after a long winter time rest period. Mentioned below is a checklist you must remember before taking your vehicle out of storage.
- Get your shocks and brake pads examined
- Clean the interior thoroughly
- Make sure the exhaust pipe is clear and free from mice
- Make sure the blinkers, taillights, brights, and headlights are functional
- Inspect the hoses and wiring. In addition, check for loose connections, cracks, rodent damage etc.
- Inspect hoses and wiring. It would also help if your checked your car for loose connections, cracks and rodent damage
- Ensure your vehicle has normal oil levels. It would also help if you got a professional to change the oil right away
- Check your vehicle for fluid leaks and other signs
- Ensure there your tires have sufficient air and there aren’t any balding areas, cracks, or bulges.
Inspect the Following Areas after having the Car in Storage
Beneath the Hood
Make sure to always check the battery. The terminals should be clean and have good connection to the rest of the of the vehicle. However, if you connected the battery to a low quality trickle charger, there is a good chance that your battery overcharged. Things like these are quite dangerous and can damage your car in more ways than one, especially if it has a lead acid battery (wet cell).
Suspensions and Brakes
Before bringing your vehicle out of winter storage, check its tailpipe to ensure it is clear. It would also help if you gave your car a bit of time for warming up by letting it run for a while. Avoid putting your car into gear until the idle is smooth. Tapping the pedal brakes before setting out is also a critical step as it helps you determine if the car will drive smoothly.
Consider going for a leisurely drive and keep look out for strange noises. Taking a close look at your dashboard for warning signs can also help you determine if there is something wrong with your car.
Tires and Fluids after Storage
As mentioned earlier, checking your car’s air pressure is arguably the most important step before bringing it out from your garage after a long winter. If the PSI is low, fill it up right away to steer clear from trouble while driving.
While you are checking your tires and it wheels, take a look at your car for fluid leaks and other warning signs. It would also help if you took a close look at the power steering and transmission to ensure your vehicle is good to go.
Too many potholes can damage, sever, break, snap or even bend the components of your suspension. They can also cause a tremendous amount of damage to the bushings and rubber that provide cushion to the metal on metal exposure between the various levers, arms , hubs, springs and joints comprising your car’s front end. In addition, they can also deteriorate your vehicle’s poorly maintained components that can bust your wheels within seconds.
As you drive your car around, many parts bolted to several other things underneath it move simultaneously in a particular arrangement. If you feel your riding experience is not as smooth as it used to be, there is a good sign that your car has hit one too many potholes. If you don’t know how to inspect your car for pothole damage, make sure you take it to a professional auto repair service and get it checked right away.
How to Handle Pothole Damage
If your area has too many potholes, being aware of things you can do to maneuver your way around them can be immensely helpful. Start by maintaining a secure distance between your car and the one you are driving. This way, spotting paved roads and potholes will become remarkably easier, helping you prevent damage.
It would also help if you remained extra cautious when getting close to puddles as they often turn out to be hidden potholes. Unfortunately though, there are some situations where avoiding potholes is next to impossible. In cases like these, it would be best to slow your car down and grip your wheels firmly to remain in control.
If you want to minimize a pothole’s impact on your vehicle, make sure your tires are properly inflated and according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. It would also help if you made sure your cars suspension is in excellent condition as it can endure the wear and tear caused by potholes.
Preventing Tire Blowouts from Potholes
Checking rims and tires on a regular basis is important to steer clear from blowouts. Believe it or not, even the smallest of potholes can cause your tire to burst in the middle of the road. Some strikes can even cause lasting damage to your wheel , which often costs a great deal of money in repairs. To ensure your tires can withstand pothole hits, check its inner and outer sidewalls. In case they are weak, consider replacing them without wasting any time.
Get a bumper-to-bumper inspection done for your car. People have been following lockdown rules for a year and it has taken a toll on a lot of them. Fortunately, as things are getting better, governments are easing the lockdown regulations, giving people an opportunity to get out. As you would expect, everybody is pouncing in this opportunity. Planning to catch up with people, shopping, traveling, and a variety of other outdoor activities. No matter where you are planning to go, one thing is for certain – you will need your car.
Since most people’s cars have been parked for weeks or months, it would be safe to say that they are not in excellent condition. There is a good chance that your car is also not in the best of shape, and it is important that you get it ready for short and long distance traveling.
What is Bumper-to-Bumper Inspection?
Contrary to popular belief, a bumper-to-bumper inspection is vastly different from a regular inspection. Unlike regular car inspection, bumper to bumper inspection takes more time and is more “hands on.” What’s more, this type of inspection is very detailed and should be conducted every three to five thousand miles. This is based on your driving habits and type of vehicle. Now that you know what a bumper-to-bumper inspection is, let us go ahead and discuss the various benefits it offers.
Attention to Detail
While there is nothing wrong with scheduling regular vehicle checks for your car, a bumper-to bumper inspection is remarkably more superior. This is because the technicians check your car with great attention to detail and fix any faults they will come across. As mentioned earlier, bumper to bumper checks take a great deal of time. So, if you want your car to be fault free and in tremendous running condition, opting for this inspection would be a wise choice.
Your Car Won’t Give Up on You Unexpectedly
The last thing anybody wants is their car to give up on them on the middle of the road. Believe it or not, this happens more frequently than you would imagine and causes drivers a lot of inconvenience. One of the best ways to steer clear from this issue is to schedule a bumper-to-bumper maintenance. By choosing a reliable auto repair service, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that your car will run smoothly and will not give up on you on the middle of the road.
Minimizes Maintenance Cost
Sure, you may be paying a decent amount of money for your bumper-to-bumper maintenance, but it will significantly reduce maintenance costs down the line. This is because it will identify your car’s faults and damages before they happen, allowing the technicians to fix the issues before things get worse.
Some of the most hazardous driving conditions you’ll face are snowy road conditions. The slippery surface makes it very difficult to gain traction, so it could be life-saving knowledge to know how to drive on ice. Today, while driving in icy weather, we are going to look at 5 things you need to remember.
Taking your time and going slower than you would usually is the best advice you can take while driving in icy weather. Before you depart, you can consider taking some extra time so you can take your time while still arriving on time at your destination. Driving slowly will reduce the risk of getting into an accident significantly. Not to add, if you do happen to lose track and hit something, this would also minimize the amount of damage your vehicle will get.
Although brakes are commonly used to help stabilize your vehicle and bring you to a stop in and out of emergency situations, if used improperly on ice, they may do more harm than good. Slamming on your brakes will bring your vehicle into an uncontrollable skid in icy conditions. What you want to do is drive slowly enough to allow your car’s weight to bring your vehicle to a halt if necessary. Slowly pump your brakes to stop locking up your tires if you need to use your brakes on ice.
Skidding refers to losing control of your car on ice and slipping without traction around the ice. A number of drivers freeze up or overcorrect during a skid, causing them to spin out of control. To get out of a skid safely, you’ll want to slowly turn into the skid and pump your brakes slowly to try to prevent traction. Slowly shift your steering wheel back into place to drive out of your skid as you feel your car recover traction and start to straighten out. This does not necessarily mean finishing in the same direction, often simply reducing the amount of skidding you would have done if you overcorrected or froze up.
Icy driving conditions arise when, due to a drop in temperature, water on the road freezes. A perfect way to stay on top of changing road conditions is to watch the outdoor temperatures. A smart way to decide where you may need to check for ice patches on the road is to use an in-car monitor showing outdoor temperatures. In order to see what you can expect, you can simply check the temperature changes before leaving the house if your car does not have this feature.
Many people assume that in icy road conditions, winter tires and winter tires can help, similar to how they help on snow-packed highways. The response here is not that no additional traction on ice is applied. Icy roads are too slippery to make a difference to snow tires and tire chains, but if you already have them on your winter driving car, they will probably not hurt.
Maintaining the right tire pressure is critical for every car owner. The last thing you want is getting a deflated tire in the middle of nowhere. So, it would be best if you checked your tires on a regular basis to ensure they remain in excellent condition. Doing so will help you steer clear from inconveniences and may even save you some money. That said, you may have noticed that tires tend to lose pressure when you least expect them to.
You may have pumped air into your tires a few days ago, but found out that they are deflating within a couple of days. In some cases, you may even notice PSI drops at night, even if it was okay earlier in the day. In most cases, the decrease of tire pressure or PSI does not necessarily mean that you have punctured tires. There could be plenty of other things instead. So without further ado, let us discuss some of the main reasons why tires tend to lose air out of the blue.
You’d be surprised to learn that merely hitting a brake out of the blue can deflate your tires. Taking extra care when maneuvering your car or parking it could do you a world of good. When parking your vehicle, ensure you don’t hit your tires to the cement. Why? Because this habit often leads to drivers hitting impact brakes, which can reduce your tire’s lifespan.
Changes in the Temperature affect Tire Pressure
You may have noticed a little bit of difference in the PSI during cold and sunny days. This is because temperature plays a massive role in the behavior of air molecules. For instance, if you expose your tire to too much heat or drive in it for a very long period, there is a chance the air molecules could cause it to expand. On the other hand, molecules tend to become compressed during colder weather, lowering the PSI at night.
Driving in high altitude often leads to increased tire pressure. Once of the main reasons behind it is the air present inside your tire and the atmospheric pressure outside it. The pressure tends to drop when a vehicle is on higher areas because the altitude is quite low. Whenever gas molecules are trapped inside, they tend to move around constantly, and collide with each other. This process, after a long period, deflates your tires.
How a Tire Pressure Monitoring System Can Help You
Checking your tire pressure on an ongoing basis is important. Many people leave tire maintenance for too late, only to find out that their tires are beyond repair. It would be best if you took advantage of an auto tire pressure monitoring system to keep your tire pressure in check, filling it with air whenever necessary. A TPMS is a vastly better option than various other pressure checking instruments as it is highly accurate and will notify you whenever your tire has low pressure.
Diminished visibility and poor traction are arguably the two main problems drivers face during winter. However, there are some other hazards that you should also be aware of as they can be equally dangerous, if not more. Let us discuss these dangers below.
As you would expect, driving on snowy or icy roads can be quite difficult. So much so, that you need to increase your stopping distance by about ten to twelve times. Despite that however, there are hundreds of car collisions during winter. When driving on slippery roads, consider slowing your vehicle down to make sure you can stop it with maximum safety. You’d be surprised to learn that temperatures can have a massive impact on stopping and starting. It affects your traction and braking distance, increasing the probability of collisions.
Not being able to pull your car away from an icy road, driving upwards on slippery hills etc can be quite aggravating for drivers. Not only does it leads to delays, but also causes your tires to burn in a shorter period. You will require high quality tire treads to improve your vehicle’s traction on slippery roads. It would also help if you slow down, no matter how much of a rush you are in. Doing so will ensure prevent your wheels from spinning and prevent accidents.
Getting stuck in deep snow is also a common problem drivers face during winter. A good trick to prevent this issue would be to keep moving your wheels from one side to the other for pushing debris and snow away. Moving your car back and forth five or six feet prior to shutting down could also be helpful. Also, avoid using a heavy foot on your accelerator – keep it light and gentle instead.
Reduced Visibility when Driving
While there are plenty of tricks to avoid hazards that occur during winter, sometimes seeing them can be difficult. Snowfall, hail, fog and too much wind can reduce a driver’s visibility and result in terrible crashes. Things get worse if you are driving with unclean rear view mirrors, windshield and windows. Consider wiping off the tail lights, brake, turn signals and headlights to ensure others can see you. This may specially prove to be handy during heavy storms. Sure, it may be time consuming but it’s a lifesaver.
Also, run your defroster and heater a few minutes prior to your drive. This will help you steer clear from the fogging that makes your windshield all blurry. Clean your wiper’s arms and blades thoroughly to ensure you can wipe the windshield whenever you please.
Being aware of the hazards discussed in this piece will significantly improve your safety. However, you should also prepare your car for winter seasons a month or two before the season arrives. Consider showing your car to an established auto repair service, making sure they fix any pre-existing problems in your car and get it ready for snowy days.