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Car Maintenance

How Long Do Wiper Blades Last?

By | Car Maintenance

Windshield wiper blades are one of the hardest working — yet least durable — parts of your car.

Having fully-functional windshield wipers is an absolute necessity for the safe operation of any motor vehicle. But over time, they can become less effective due to wear and tear.

Most drivers aren’t aware of this until they go to turn their wipers on in the midst of a rainstorm, only to find that their blades have essentially become useless.

So how long do wiper blades actually last–and when should you replace them?

How Long Do Wiper Blades Last?

Obviously, the life of wiper blades is a generalization depending on use and climate, but most cars and trucks will need new wiper blades every two to three years. You may, of course, need to change them more frequently than that if you tend to drive in a lot of really hazardous weather conditions.

How Can I Tell When My Wiper Blades Are Ready To Be Changed?

If you see streaks across your windshield, that means the wipers are falling apart and it’s time to replace them. If your wipers leave paste on the windshield, that means it is definitely time to invest in new blades!

Preserving the Life of Your Wiper Blades

Believe it or not, you can actually extend the lifespan of your wiper blades with a little bit of routine maintenance.

  • Wash your windshield regularly, especially removing things like bird droppings or caked-on dirt and grime.
  • If your car ends up with snow and ice on it, take a minute to scrape away the build-up around your blades. Forcing your blades to try to cut through layers of ice can cause them to become dulled or corroded well before their time.
  • Finally, take a few minutes to rub your blades with a clean cloth dipped in just a bit of rubbing alcohol. This is a small and easy way in which you can care for them and keep them running a bit longer than they might otherwise.

Of course, you will have to replace your wiper blades sooner or later. The good news is that blades are fairly inexpensive and installation is often pretty easy. If you have any questions or uncertainties about your vehicle’s wiper blades you can always consult your local auto professional.

car maintenance schedule

AAMCO Car Maintenance Schedule

By | Car Maintenance

Regular preventive maintenance is probably the single thing you can do as a car owner to keep your ride happy and save money on repairs in the future. But, we understand that it isn’t always easy to remember what you need to do and when you need to do it.

We’ve found that keeping a car maintenance schedule and log is helpful. Find out if your car is in need of any up and coming services with this handy infographic, shared by AAMCO Colorado.

car maintenance schedule

5 Tips To Extend The Life Of Your Vehicle

By | Car Maintenance

5 Tips To Extend The Life Of Your VehicleA typical driver in the United States spends nearly $800 a year on car maintenance, according to AAA’s annual Your Driving Costs study. While that may seem like a lot of money, not maintaining your vehicle can end up costing you way more in the long run!

5 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Vehicle

If you want your car to have a chance at reaching 700,000 miles, you want to make sure that you aren’t ignoring recommended maintenance that can help extend the life of your vehicle:

1. Keep up with oil changes. When oil levels are low, or oil is old, added friction between moving parts can cause wear and tear to the engine. Follow your owner’s manual to determine the best intervals for changing oil. Check the brakes every time the oil is changed.

2. Take care of your tires. Check and maintain proper tire pressure. Tires inflated within five pounds per square inch (PSI) of their recommended level improve gas mileage and general handling of your vehicle. Recommended PSI can be found in the owner’s manual. Rotate tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

3. Check vehicle fluids. Vehicles rely on transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid and properly mixed coolant to run. Fluids need to be topped off for optimal vehicle performance throughout the life of the vehicle.

4. Change air filters regularly. Dust and grime accumulates over time and can negatively impact gas mileage and engine performance.

5. Take care of minor repairs when they arise. New noises or changes in the drivability of a vehicle should be checked out promptly.

The easiest way to stay on top of recommended maintenance is to check your owner’s manual. Don’t be like the other 35% of Americans who skip or delay service/repairs that were recommended by a mechanic. It always ends up costing you more in the long-run.

YourMechanic has put together an easy-to-follow routine maintenance checklist that tracks suggested maintenance by time interval and mileage. Check it out!

rodents in your vehicle

DID YOU KNOW?! – Rodents Can Cause Damage to Your Vehicle

By | Car Maintenance

rodents in your vehicleAs cold weather approaches, rodents like mice, rats, chipmunks and squirrels take shelter wherever they can, perhaps even in your car.

AAA automotive technicians say rodents will take up residence under the hood of a vehicle to get out of the cold, snow and wind. And because some car parts are made from renewable resources, such as soy-based wire coverings or body insulation made of natural products, you may end up looking at expensive repairs, near catastrophic damage, malfunction and even fires.

 

Why Would a Rodent Want to Hiberate Under The Hood?

AAA technicians say they typically see this type of destruction more frequently as the weather gets cooler, especially if a car is not regularly driven. “Gnawed wires cause all sorts of electrical problems, including engine no-starts. Unfortunately, the cost to make repairs can run into hundreds of dollars and is not always covered under the owner’s new car warranty or car insurance,” says Sue Madden, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“Rodent damage is not something a car owner would think of needing protection from, however, our technicians have seen enough cases to say it’s a problem.”

 

So What Can You Do?

AAA technicians advise that you not park a seldom-used car on the street or in a driveway, but if you must there are ways to limit rodent infestations.

If you have to park a seldom-used car in a driveway or on the street, be sure to start and drive it from time to time. This can chase away mice that might be hibernating under your hood and help keep the battery charged.

While some people advocate using moth balls or pepper spray under the hood, fumes from these products are unhealthy for humans as well. Alternatives include cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil, or more conventional measures such as mouse traps, poisons and ultrasonic repellent devices. A number of non-toxic, plant-based rodent repellents are also available, and copper screening (not plastic or other metals) can be used to seal off air intake openings because rats don’t like its taste.

Keep in mind that what works for one motorist may have no effect for another. Many people fighting this problem try multiple approaches simultaneously. Here is an abbreviated list of some strategies that others have found to be successful:

  1. Clear away hiding places
  2. Clear away food sources
  3. Use bright lighting- open hood
  4. Use traps
  5. Use strong smelling substances
  6. Block entryways
  7. Use electronic devices
  8. Do not let vehicle sit unused

Read the full article.

new year's resolutions for your car

4 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Car

By | Car Maintenance

new year's resolutions for your carIn a recent article from Green Living, they listed 4 New Year’s Resolutions for your car that you can set today to help save money and maintain your investment all throughout 2017. They consisted of:

1. Getting your vehicle’s body into shape
A simple vehicle maintenance regime — including measuring your tire pressure, checking for leaks once a month, taking your vehicle in for regular tune-ups and reading the owner’s manual — will help you save money and fuel, and protect the environment.

2. Being a fuel-efficient driver

Slowing down, giving yourself more time and planning your routes ahead of time are just a few of the many things you can do to save money and fuel, and lower your vehicle’s emissions.

3. Kick the idling habit
Unnecessary idling is bad for your wallet, your vehicle, the environment and the health of people around you. Contrary to popular belief, the best way to warm up your car is to drive it at a moderate speed. Even on the coldest winter days (and as long as your windows are defrosted), today’s electronically controlled engines allow you to drive away 30 seconds after starting the engine.

4. Check your tire pressure

Operating a vehicle with just one tire under-inflated by 8 psi (56 kPa) can reduce the life of the tire by 15 000 kilometres (9,320 miles) and increase the vehicle’s fuel consumption by 4 percent. For improved fuel efficiency and enhanced safety, give your tires the attention they need.

 

Read the full article.

How to Drive More Efficiently

By | Car Maintenance

How to Drive More Efficiently

With gas prices expected to rise all throughout the year, drivers will have to be mindful of their gas mileage. Here are a few ways to spend less money on gas by increasing your car’s efficiency in using it.

1. Drive sensibly.

To put simply, aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) is a waste of gas. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this kind of driving can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town. Plus, aggressive driving puts more that MPG’s at risk. Sensible driving is immensely safer for you and others, while helping you drive more efficiently. That, to me, is a win-win.

2. Keep speeds lower than 50 mph, when possible.

While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. The U.S. Department of Energy states that for each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph, you accumulate an additional $0.15 per gallon for gas.

3. Be mindful of the cargo you’re hauling.

Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by about 1%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

Additionally, hauling cargo on your roof increases aerodynamic drag (wind resistance) and lowers fuel economy. A large, blunt roof-top cargo box, for example, can reduce fuel economy by around 2% to 8% in city driving, 6% to 17% on the highway, and 10% to 25% at Interstate speeds (65 mph to 75 mph).

If you need to use an external cargo container, removing it when it’s not in use will save fuel and money.

4. Avoid excessive idling.

Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use. A good rule of thumb is to turn off your engine when your vehicle is going to be parked/idle for more than 10 seconds, as that’s approximately how much fuel it takes to restart your vehicle.

5. Use cruise control.

Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.

Aside from exercising these fuel efficient driving techniques, keeping your tires properly inflated and following your vehicle’s maintenance schedule will also help you save money on gas.

How to Increase Fuel Mileage on a Car (Before You Even Start Driving)

By | Car Maintenance

How to Increase Fuel Mileage on a Car (Before You Even Start Driving)With gas prices expected to rise all throughout the year, drivers will have to be mindful of their gas mileage. Here are a few ways to spend less money on gas by increasing your car’s efficiency in using it.

1. Make sure you have properly inflated tires.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, properly inflated tires can reduce fuel consumption by up to 3%. On average, your tires lose about 1 PSI per month, and when the tires are cold (e.g., in the winter), their pressure will decrease due to the thermal contraction of the air. For this reason, it’s proactive to check tires at least once a month.

Recommended inflation pressures are for cold tires; it is best to inflate first thing in the morning or you’ve driven less than two miles so your reading will be accurate. If you have been driving around for a while or it is hot outside, add 3 PSI. Inflate to the pressure recommended by your car’s manual or the sticker on your driver-side doorpost. Be aware that the reading stamped on the tire is the maximum tire pressure, not the recommended.

2. Keep your engine properly tuned.

A properly tuned engine maximizes power and can greatly enhance fuel efficiency. Beware, though, that many tuners will disable efficiency measures when tuning for power.

  • Be sure you are keeping good spark plugs in the engine, changing the oil on time, making sure the air filter is clean, etc.

3. Use the proper grade of motor oil.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can improve your gas mileage by 1%–2% by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Also, you can look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.

 

Above all, keeping a MPG log can help track your fuel economy by noting the odometer reading and the number of gallons purchased each time you fill up. To calculate your gas mileage, divide the number of miles traveled between fill-ups by the number of gallons purchased.

Most hybrid cars and even some conventional gas vehicles have special gauges that make it even easier to keep track of your fuel economy in real-time, so you can see how your driving habits are impacting your fuel efficiency.

Car Care Steps to Take Before the First Snowfall

Car Care Steps to Take Before the First Snowfall

By | Car Maintenance, Winter Maintenance

Car Care Steps to Take Before the First SnowfallThe following winter car care steps should be taken before the first snowfall of the winter season:

  • Give your vehicle a good waxing in the fall to protect the finish. It will also help the snow slide off better for easier cleaning.
  • Visit your vehicle maintenance provider and have the belts and hoses checked. They should all fit snugly and should not be cracked, glazed or frayed. It may also be a good idea to change your oil to one made specifically for sub-zero temperatures, as this type of oil makes it easier to start-up the vehicle in the winter and typically causes less wear and tear on the engine in the first few minutes after starting it up.
  • Keep track of the wear on your tires. Most accidents in the winter are caused by driver error and worn tires. If you are due for new tires, don’t wait until the middle of winter; get them replaced before the snow falls. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and that your spare is in good condition.

Also, check to see if your spark plugs and battery need replacing. You don’t want to have a stalled car in the dead of winter. If your battery is more than two years old, take it to your maintenance provider to have the charging system completely checked. Keep in mind that older car batteries are less likely to start in winter temperatures than newer ones.

how to drive in the snow

Winterizing Your Car’s Exterior

By | Car Maintenance, Winter Maintenance

winterizing your car's exteriorSnow and ice, as well as the scraping it takes to remove them, can be as rough on your vehicle as they are on you. This article will walk you through a few products and procedures that will give your vehicle just what it needs to weather the winter storm.

The Paint

Because of how often cars get dirty in the winter months, car owners tend to wash their car less- the opposite of what your car needs! Thanks to all the grit, salt and slush on the roads, it’s even more important to keep your car clean during the winter.

But it’s not too late.. there is still a lot you can do to retain your car’s value. A quality wax or sealant combined with correct maintenance will get your paint finish through the winter.

The Wheels & Tires

Tire protection is two-fold. For starters, the rubber needs to be kept supple in freezing temperatures to prevent cracking. Secondly, make sure your tires are properly inflated. The air inside tires shrinks in cold temperatures. If they become under-inflated, the tread will not make enough contact with the road to maneuver on icy asphalt.

There are also protective waxes which acts as a snow and ice repellent. It does require regular reapplications to maintain a high level of protection but the results are well worth the effort.

The Windshield & Wipers

In preparation for winter, we recommend changing your windshield wiper fluid with one that has antifreeze added to it. That way, your windshield can stay clean and frost-free. Also, Fall’s a great time to inspect windshield wipers and replace them if they are worn or have become hardened.

If you have a garage, use it for sheltering your car. This will help protect your paint job, guard against ice on the windshield and guard against the fluids and/or water in your radiator from freezing. If you do not have shelter for your car, invest in a car cover. While it won’t save you from freezing fluids, it will keep snow and ice off the windshield and your paint, and help protect your car from salts that might be used on the streets in your community.

When Is It Too Cold For a Car Wash?

When Is It Too Cold for a Car Wash?

By | Car Maintenance, Winter Maintenance | One Comment

When Is It Too Cold For a Car Wash?As we all know, water freezes at 32 degrees. Anytime the temperature falls below this you run the risk of things freezing.

In a Q&A held by the Chicago Tribune, Bob Weber answered one of the most frequently asked car wash questions: When Is It Too Cold for a Car Wash?

“Unless there is already a crack or chip in the windshield, and the weather is extraordinarily cold, this is really not an issue for carwashes,” said Eric Wulf, CEO.

“The issue of freezing locks is one that many people are worried about, but it almost never happens. The keyhole is covered, and unless water is poured into the door and/or air is blown straight into that keyhole, this is also not really a risk. Plus, most drivers hardly ever use their keys anymore, with the advent of keyless entry.”

But, there are a few simple things you can do to help prevent freezing when it’s cold:

  •  Park in a garage whenever possible.
  •  Leave your car running or drive for several minutes after going thru the carwash.
  •  Spray lock deicer in your locks after you exit the wash.
  •  Put your key in every lock and turn it back and forth a number of times. This helps to displace any water that might be present.
  •  Take the time to dry off your doorjambs.

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