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Preparing your Car for the Winter

preparingPreparing for any winter driving is important. Safety must always be a priority when driving in the winters. When commuting on the icy and snowy roads, your car must be equipped with the right equipment. For instance, simple tools such as snow shovels and ice scrapers can prove to be life-saving at particular occasions.

Other items such as snow chains help provide your car with the necessary traction to drive over an icy surface. Equipped with the right resources, along with knowledge over potential hazards will help you deal with all the unwanted situations that you may encounter.

Inspect Battery Health

The snow and cold temperatures are very harsh on battery health. It is important for you to realize that smaller batteries may not have enough CCA to power up your engine in the cold weather. CCA or cold cranking amp is a measure that determines your battery’s ability to crank up power in colder temperatures.

This is not to say that higher CCA is better. Larger batteries not only cost more, but also weigh more. CCA is only a factor that you need to pay close attention to if you happen to reside in a location where the weather touches extreme levels. If your battery is starting to get old, you may want to consider replacing it as it may have lost its CCA rating. Having an efficient battery helps when you are preparing for winter driving.

Inspect your Tires

When driving in the extreme cold conditions, you must prioritize the condition of your tires. As the temperature drops, your tire pressure drops as well. This means that you will need to ensure that the tires are properly inflated. Secondly, summer or even all-seasons tires consist of compounds that become hard in cold temperatures.

Thus, if you are looking to get better traction with your tires, it is important that you switch your summer, or all-season tires to winter ones. Another important inspection regarding car tires is to make sure that the brake pads are in good condition. Oftentimes, brake pads come designed with wear indicators that produce audible screeching noises to ensure that the pad is in need of replacement.

Top Up Engine Oil

This safety measure is one that very few people think about when wintering their car. Everyone however knows about the recommended oil level and grade. What is not as commonly known is that some engines will require different oil viscosity grades. These grades will vary depending on the climate of the region you live in.

Preparing for Winter with the Wiper Blades

You want to ensure that your car wipers are in crisp conditions during the winters. Make sure that your wiper blades are in good condition so that you can have good visibility while driving during snow fall. Also, it is always a good idea to have an ice scraper during the winters. The reasons for this are fairly obvious, as everyone has deal with ice and snow forming on the windshields and windows. As you can see, few simple tools, inspections and resources can help you avoid the hazards that the winter entails.

Winter Snow Storm Survival Tips

winter

Winter is often dangerous for driving, especially when there is too much snow. However, commuting is an important part of our lives and people often have no choice but to drive in the snowy and severe conditions. This often leads to being stuck in a snow storm. In situations like these, knowing some hacks and being prepared for stranded occurrences can be pivotal.

Winter Traction Tips

When stuck in a snowy situation, all you need is to provide your tires with sufficient traction. To do this, you have to be equipped with the traction providing equipment and tools such as chains. However, if you are not in possession of the necessary tools and winter kits, then you can use other items in the car to work similarly.

For instance, if you get stuck in the snow bank, then you can use kitty litter to break free. All you have to do is put it under the car tires and this will help you break free. Another alternative when it comes to providing traction is your car floor mat. If you have a car floor mat, you can stick it right under the wheels for traction.

What should you do when stuck?

Considering that you get stuck in the worst possible manner and no amount of traction providing efforts is helping you get on the road again, then there are a couple of important steps to keep in mind. For one, you must contact a rescue service immediately.

Furthermore, if you are with your family, then the conventional wisdom would suggest that you step out of the vehicle and look for help. However, this is the worst thing that you could do in this instance. Keep in mind that the weather outside is cold, frigid and relentless. If you are not sure where you are going, then you could run the risk of having frostbite or hypothermia.

Staying in your vehicle keeps you warm until the rescuers come looking. When staying inside the car, it is recommended that you run the car for ten minutes each hour to stay warm and then shut it off. This allows you to stay warm, while at the same time conserve fuel. Conserving fuel is very important because you could be stuck for a long time.

Another helpful tip is to always make sure that the exhaust pipe is free from snow so that you do not suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning. Keeping all of these tips in mind, sleeping alone in the car when stuck violates all of them, so make sure that you do not do that.

Overall, make sure that you have handy tools, applications and other important equipment. Preparing your car for the winters involves maintenance checks, along with equipping the vehicle with a winter survival kit. Other than that, simply adhering to safe driving habits can also be incredibly helpful.

 

Battery Issues to Look out for this Winter

As winter begins along with the holiday season, there is no better time to check the battery. This is needed to make sure that it is functioning well. You want to make sure that your car battery is in good condition to withstand the very cold mornings when you first start your car after leaving it in extreme temperatures over night.

There is a common belief that the winter is the worst time for your car battery. This is not the case. Nonetheless, it is essential that you check your car battery as you start getting into the cooler season. Below, you will find out about some of the things that you need to be on the lookout for. Before you can dive into the winter-related issues, you need to find out about some basics about the battery.

The Car’s Battery and Corrosion

The car’s battery consists of many cells that have a lead acid solution in them. Through chemical reactions in that solution, the battery creates a jolt of electricity. This jolt is enough to start the vehicle. The chemical solution that is inside the batter emits hydrogen gas. This can often time cause corrosion after it reacts to the metal and air under your hood.

Therefore, you can find corrosion near the terminals and the battery cable. To get rid of that corrosion, you can buy commercial washers or anti corrosive gel. Apply it to the terminals to keep corrosion to a minimum. It is very important that you keep the corrosion down as it is a common problem, and can affect battery performance in the winters.

Cold Cranking Amps

With corrosion, your car can also experience disruption in the functioning of the cold cranking amps. The battery’s cold cranking amps or CCA refers to the car’s ability to jolt into ignition at low temperatures. No matter how much corrosion you have, it is important to remove it.

Each battery comes with a cold cranking amp rating, or CCA rating. Each battery also comes with a minimum requirement. For instance, some batteries will have a rating of 800 cold cranking amps at 32 degrees. It may also display a cold cranking amp rating of 700 at zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Therefore, you need to have a minimum requirement setting in place before you start the vehicle. It is also important to realize that a car loses about 60 to 70 percent of its ability to start once the temperature drops below zero. It is critical that you have the right amount of cold cranking amps, along with corrosion free components.

As you can see, removing corrosion can improve your battery. It will help rid you from the troubles of the car poorly starting in winter. Also make sure that you turn off all accessories before you park the car to avoid draining the battery. Doing so can lead to a more efficient start for your car.

Heater Problems and a Guide to Fixing Them

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The heater is an important part of your vehicle. The winter brings a drop in temperature and snowy blizzards blocking the roads. Getting your car to perform optimally in these conditions is necessary if you want to stay safe on the roads. Therefore, you must prepare for all types of scenarios that present themselves in the midst of the winter.

The depth of winter presents many challenges for your car. The car’s engine workers harder as it takes time to charge in the cold. This leads to issues with overheating. These issues can ultimately result in the car’s heater not blowing enough hot air.

As you know, you want your car’s heater to be working with efficiency so that you can survive the excruciatingly cold temperatures while seated safely inside the cabin. There are many reasons why your car’s HVAC system may not be blowing out hot air like it should.

What could be Causing Problems?

If your coolant is warm enough and your heater does not blow as hot heat as it should, then there are a few diagnoses that you should resort to. If you do not have a gauge, then you can use a code reader. A code reader will tell you the engine coolant temperature and so with that information. You can inspect whether the car is blowing out appropriate heat.

Clogged Up Core

The first and most common reasons why your car may not be producing the amount of heat as it should is because of a clogged up heater core. A heater core is just a miniature version of the radiator, and it is one of the main components of the HVAC system. The coolant enters into the heater core with warm coolant and from there the heater core receives fanning. This is how hot air enters into the vents, and inside the passenger compartment.

If the heater core is jammed up with dirt debris and rust, then the coolant is unable to circulate around the car. You have two pipes that are making this happen, one of them goes into the heater core, and the other exits out. The hot coolant goes through the heater core, and the fan blows out hot air through the vents.

If the heater core is clogged up, then you will end up at the receiving end of cold air even if you have cracked up the heater to full.

Other Issues

There are also other issues that may be causing your car to blow cold or less warm air. Much of the problems have to do with the overtime accumulation of rust. Your HVAC system involves metal vents and pipes that are all vulnerable to rust. Therefore, before you take your car to the technician, make sure to run a cleanup and replacement or old components. Make sure that you do not skip out on your car’s HVAC maintenance, as this will only be to your detriment. Timely replacements and checkups are key to a well functioning heater.

Cabin Air Filter and When to Change It

The cabin air filter is important for keeping the air quality the best it can be. When you dive deep into the various systems of your car, you learn more about their function. Not only that, you also get to learn about the crucial role that they play.

You air filter cabin is directly responsible for the air you breathe in the car. This includes the heating, cooling, and ventilation inside the cabin of the car.

For this reason, you must stay on top of all maintenance measures pertaining to the car’s cabin air filter system. We will discuss its importance more thoroughly and why replacing the air filter can be the best thing you do.

Importance of the Filter

If the air quality inside your car is making you sneeze or causing sickness, then the filter may be clogged. You must try to clear out the contaminants that suspend trapped inside your car’s cabin. Doing so can help have the best quality air in your car as possible.

How Does the cabin air filter Work?

Many of you may be thinking that the car’s HVAC system works by filtering the air from outside into the car by some sort of a venting system. Even though this is not a technically wrong, there is plenty more that goes into the mechanisms of the car than just a simple venting system.

The car’s venting system is strategically designed to filter out specific harmful emissions. Furthermore, the climate control system of your car is designed to heat or cool the environment you are in, along with providing fresh air to the passengers of the vehicle.

Every passenger has two choices for passenger air flow. The first option is fresh air, and the second is re-circulated air. The climate control system of your vehicle pulls fresh air from vents that locate under the hood and near the engine bay.

Typically, these vents are in the rain tray or otherwise separated in some kind of rain barrier, so that they can have protection from the heat, dirt, debris, or oil residue of the engine. This position near the base of the windshield is an area of very high air pressure, this way the system can utilize a high supply of air from the environment. Inside the climate control systems, you find the air filter that plays a role in filtering out that high pressure air.

The performance of the cabin air filter will likely decrease dramatically without regular maintenance. If you do not replace it in time, the efficiency for the HVAC system for capturing smaller particles will also reduce. Therefore, car owners must realize that they have to make timely air filter replacements.

Best Ways to Improve Your Car’s Visibility this Winter

As winter approaches, daytime brightness will shorten. In the middle of the winter season, the days tend to get significantly shorter, and the nights get longer. The wintertime, therefore, imposes new challenges for the daily commuters that make their journey using cars. One of the challenges is the decreased visibility on the roads.

Proper Visibility

Driving on foggy roads and misty streets puts you at a high risk of accidents. In these instances, having well-functioning lights can be critical, as they not only help make the car visible for other drivers on the road but also improve the driver’s vision.

Therefore, the best preparation and car maintenance you can do is to make sure that all the important car lights are in good condition. If you notice any issues in the car lights, such as delayed responses, dimness, or poor brightness, you must have it checked by a technician before the road conditions get dire.

Visibility & Fog Lights

Most modern cars come with front fog lights and rear fog lights. These lights can be essential when driving in the fog. To switch on these lights, you have to turn the button indicating the fog light signal. It is advisable only to use the lamps once the visibility is less than half a mile. This is largely because their main purpose is to increase visibility in foggy conditions. If you turn them on regardless, you run the risk of dazzling other drivers and blinding them to a potential accident. Hence, you must turn them off once you find that the visibility has improved. Also, make sure to address any faults in the fog lamps before it is too late.

Cornering Lights

Many modern cars come with cornering lights. Drivers will often ignore these lights and leave them unnoticed when driving. However, as nighttime start to get longer, it is time that people give more importance to them as they play the critical role of increasing visible surface area at night when making turns.

When you drive with dimmed headlights on, and you are about to make a turn, the car senses that turn with the steering wheel motion and the turn indicators. By doing so, it turns on the individual cornering lights and gives you a wider area of view as you are making the turn.

Hence, make sure that the cornering lights in your car are in good working condition.

Reverse Lights

The reverse lights are on the rear end of the car, and they turn on automatically when you hit the reverse gear. These are useful for reversing at nighttime because they send a clear indication to other drivers about your intent to reverse the car. Reverse lights, corner lights, brake lights, fog lights, and others are essential components of a car. They are most important in the winters when visibility is at its lowest.

How Often Should you Flush out Your Coolant?

often

Flush the coolant for your vehicle based on our schedule. We can inspect your vehicle and advise you for when the coolant or other fluids should be changed or flushed.

When the vehicle starts, it will produce hot gas that is constantly cooled. It is blown and circulated through a tube located on the rear side of the vehicle. With all of these exothermic reactions occurring, our cooling systems stand as one of the sole component that prevents vehicles from overheating.

Thus, to maintain the optimum balance of heat inside a vehicle, it is essential that you keep the cooling system in good shape. To keep the cooling system in optimum condition, make sure to check the radiator often.

Radiator Inspection Often

Inspecting the radiator on a daily basis means that you have to check for the coolant levels. Not only that, you also have to check whether the coolant system is showing any kind of discoloration or emitting any kind of odor. If that is the case, you have to ensure that you flush out the coolant and replace it with a new coolant.

Why Does Coolant Matter in the Winter?

The cooling system in your car involves three primary components. The first component is the anti-freeze and water mixture, or the coolants. The second involves the multiple tubes that run across different parts of the car, and the third includes the radiator.

This coolant flows through the tubes all around the car and rubs against the walls of the engine that is emitting heat. This allows the fluid to absorb heat from that part of the engine. Once it successfully absorbs a certain amount of heat, it then flows to the radiator, or heat exchange.

The heat from the engine, when passed to the radiator dissipates into the air with the help of the fans, or it can also enter inside the cabin when you turn on the heater. People drive their vehicles even in the most extreme winter conditions. This requires a coolant that absorbs heat to keep the car functioning, while remaining in liquid form in the most extreme temperatures.

Water is an excellent heat absorber, however, it is quick to freeze at temperatures below 10 degrees. Commercial anti-freeze is designed to remain liquid at extraordinary temperatures and at freezing conditions. Thus, make sure that you have the right type of coolant for the winters.

Having a coolant that is aging will clog up the hoses and water pump often. It will also lead to overheating problems in the winter. To combat this problem, make sure that you resort to a regular coolant flush before winter arrives. Bring your vehicle in, and we will be able to inspect it for you.

Tire Inspection for your Car

A tire inspection is important. Tires perform the toughest job out of all car components. For one, they support the weight of the car including the passenger and pay load. Secondly, they have to adhere to all kinds of road surfaces and undergo an incredible amount of stress. In the modern times, you can find many tires that have the highest quality material and technologically advanced mechanics so that they can last a long time.

Despite the amount of money you spend on the manufacturing process of the tires, none of it can stand against the gradual seasonal impacts on the tire. The only thing that will help your car tires withstand the environmental damage is frequent inspection and maintenance by the car owner. If the car tires are not up to par with their condition, it can lead to threatening and fatal accidents.

Tire Inspection and Air Pressure

If you tire is not inflated enough, then it can cause serious problems. The air pressure inside the tires is what supports the weight of the car and vehicles. When the air pressure is optimum, the ride quality of your car will be just the way it was suppose to be when it was manufactured.

Under inflated tires also deform the contact patch of the tires, and this will lessen the contact with the road surface. This will rise the tire temperatures dramatically, making it difficult for the driver to handle and stop the car.   Under inflation became a serious cause of concern, and this lead to the mandates of the tread act.

Keep in mind the tires pressures can increase with temperature, and therefore, the car pressure can increase when it is actually under inflated. This is why you should not check tire pressure instantly after driving the car for over one mile. Instead, you should wait at least an hour before you can check the tire pressure.

Check for Wear and Damage

Lifting the car up and closely looking for any abnormal wear or damage can also be very important opens you to wear that is hidden on the inside of the tire. This is why it is important to keep a keen eye on the tires and check all areas of the rubber thoroughly.

One of the most important inspections for wear or damage has to do with tread depth. Often times, seasonal changes such as high temperatures will critically damage tire treads. These refer to the grooves and design on the tires that are responsible for giving your car grip and breaking power.

You can use a quarter to check the tread depth, and if you feel the coin is not inserting in between grooves then this is a sign that you need to replace your tires.

 

How to Inspect a Used Car

When purchasing a used car, it is essential that you sign up to a good deal. If the previous owner of the car has repainted the car or if the car has underwent repairs, then it is highly likely that you are paying more than what the car is actually worth. This is why it is essential that you know how to inspect a car thoroughly.

Look for Dirt Spots

When spotting signs for a repaint, you need to inspect the car’s paint job with a careful eye. Spotting signs of previous damage or wear can however be very difficult. Hence, prior to buying a used car, it is better to resort to a professional technician as they are better suited to spot subtle indications that can be challenging for you to notice.

The first indicator of a repaint is dirt spots. The reason why you should look for them to judge a repaint is because they are very common. A factory paint job is distinguishable because it displays absolutely zero dirt spots because of the clean environment of a manufacturing unit. Hence, it is impossible to get a dirt spot in it.

On the other hand, when you take your car to a local body shop, you can expect its environment to be full of dirt, debris, sanding, road grimes and other contaminants. Therefore, it can be very difficult to not have a few dust spots on the new paint job.

Inspect any Loosened Trim

When a manufacturing unit is painting a car, they essentially have to paint a blank metal frame before they can install its specific trim and installations. This is however not the case for when a body shop is performing a car’s paint job. Instead, they have to paint the car over the trims, such as rubber linings and plastic covers.

When doing so, they will often tape those components to keep the paint from touching them. This can often lead to clear lines when you paint the car. Hence, the trims that are aligned across the edge of doors can reveal plenty about the car’s paint history. Thus, you can check the trim for any signs of paint, damage, or faded masking tapes.

Look for a Solvent Pop

If you happen to spot a solvent pop on a vehicle, then you can confirm with complete certainty that the car is repainted for resale. What is Solvent Pop? In every component of the paint job, there is always going to be an addition of solvent. This solvent contains vapors that will often burst out of the paint’s bottom coat or layer. This will often time cause a dotted region on the car which can guarantee that the car underwent a re-paint.

The car’s company paint-job and color is very valuable to the car. Any change in its original paint decreases the value of a car by a significant amount.

Catalytic Converters and Thefts on the Rise

Catalytic converters

Catalytic converters are a piece of metal that attaches to your exhaust pipe. Its function is to work as a catalyst in the combustion process and refine the emissions that come out of your car’s exhaust. It does this by reacting to the emission inside your car and filtering out most of the pollutants that the emission holds. The reason why this auto part has value in the eyes of the criminal is not that it is expensive, instead, thieves are more interested in the metals inside a catalytic converter.

To filter the gasses that launch out of your exhaust pipe, manufacturers need to install precious metal deposits that can cause a chemical reaction with the pollutant, resulting in the conversion of most harmful components into less harmful forms, hence the name, converter. These precious metals inside a catalytic converter are in very low quantities.

Despite metals such as Rhodium, Platinum, and Palladium being in scarce amounts, thieves can accumulate many catalytic converters and extract these metals to make a decent amount. These metals can sell for thousands of dollars even in low quantities. The price of an ounce of Rhodium, according to today’s market is close to 2000 dollars, which accounts for the rise in catalytic converter theft.

In this hostile environment, you must take certain protective steps to avoid suffering from a loss.

Park Your Car at Safe Spots

You must be very careful about where you choose to park your car. Ultimately, there will come a time when you will have to leave your car unsupervised for a long period of time. This is when you will have to make the important decision of picking out a parking spot that is the safest option.

Ideally, you should look to park your car at a spot that is not secluded, or dark. Thieves find isolated, dark, and quiet spots to be the best stealing grounds. You have to, therefore, pick a spot that puts your car within your sight, or select a spot that is the busiest.

Install a Metal Grill or Plate

Installation of a metallic plate or grill can be expensive, however, it is one of the best preventative steps against catalytic converter theft. This step requires you to purchase a protective steel grill and also hire technicians for installing it. Nonetheless, keep in mind that if a thief has to choose between a car with a grill/plate and one without, they will always find it easier to steal a converter that is easily reachable.

Steel Cables

Cables are the cheaper alternatives to a metallic plate installation. You can find them at any store for fewer than 10 dollars, and you can wrap them around the converter underneath your car without any assistance. You can take many steps to prevent criminals from getting to your converter. The best one however is to take multiple steps at once. This way, you can leave them no chance of carrying out the crime.

 

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