AUTOMOTIVE TIP/QUESTION OF THE DAY

We always recommend that certified technician complete your maintenance and/or repairs.  A Plus Auto Care is not responsible for any damage that may occur for repairs and/or maintenance you or any non-certified technician performs.

 

MAY

05/13/2019

Car Maintenance Items/Schedule

15,000-Mile Service
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Engine air filter
  • In-cabin air filter
  • Wiper blade replacement
30,000-Mile Service
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Engine air filter
  • In-cabin air filter
  • Wiper blade replacement
  • Fuel filter
  • Power steering fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Engine coolant
 
45,000-Mile Service
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Engine air filter
  • In-cabin air filter
  • Wiper blade replacement
  • Spark plugs
  • Distributor cap
  • Brake fluid
  • Inspect brake pads/replace if necessary

60,000-Mile Service

 

  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Engine air filter
  • In-cabin air filter
  • Wiper blade replacement
  • Fuel filter
  • Power steering fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Engine coolant
  • Timing belt
  • Battery

 

05/09/2019

Exterior Engine Cleaning

Maintaining all your engine fluids is important, but what about the exterior of your engine?

Does it need to be maintained as well?

At a minimum, it's important to inspect the engine for debris or anything that should be there. One time a worker from Jiffy Lube showed me a coat hanger wire and said it was laying on top of the engine. A mechanic must have used it and forgot to take it out.

While you don't need to dismantle anything, it's a good idea to take a minute to see if everything looks normal. If you do want to clean the engine, there are some options to choose from.This link can show you different engine cleaners available on the market designed specifically for exterior engine cleaning. Do not use damaging equipment like a wire brush or a pressure washer (maybe if you're extra careful) as these can harm the engine and damage components.If you are buying a used car, you can look at the engine number or car vin number, you can know the date, model, specifications, etc. of the car or engine, because most engines was engraved some specific numbers by dot peen marking machine for identification traceability

05/08/2019

Inspect and Replace Serpentine Belts

Thoroughly inspect your serpentine belts for fraying or cracks. If these belts fail, they can cause damage to the other part of your engine, creating a large repair bill.Serpentine belts can be fairly easy to replace yourself by using a tensioner belt tool (Amazon Link) and getting the correct belt type. It is recommended to get it checked every 60,000 miles. Take a look at the owner's manual for guidance for your specific car.

 05/07/2019

Keep it Covered

This may seem like a mundane task, but it has a major impact on maintaining your car. Whether you use a garage, carport, or a car cover, keeping your car out of elements can help save you a ton of money. You'll like need to get a car wash less frequently and there will be less sun damage over time to painted and rubber surfaces. All the parts of your car surface will be better protected. This will help your car look clean and stay in looking new for a longer period. So cover your car when not in use or try to keep it in your garage whenever you can.

 

05/06/2019

Ensure the Working of the Cooling System

The hoses, which carry the engine coolant can damage very quickly as they transport high pressure fluids, which can break if the pressure is too high. Also, the heater hoses face the same problem as they carry hot coolant to the passenger compartment. The best way to achieve an efficiently working AC is to check the parts regularly. And how do you do this? Inspect the fan, the compressor, the condenser, the hoses, and lines.If you don't see any cuts, or leaks, the parts are moving freely, and your AC blows cold air, then your probably fine. If you suspect a problem the smart choice would be to inspect the AC system and get help when needed.

5/03/2019

Create a backseat organizer with a shoe organizer

If you pick up a shoe organizer and some shoe ties, you can fasten the shoe organizer to the back of your front seats. You can then put stuff like maps, coloring supplies for the kids, and even stuff like gloves.

 

 5/02/2019

Use a laundry basket to organize your things

The trunk of your car is probably a mess. I know mine is. If you pick up a laundry basket you have a place to put all of your stuff so it does't go flying everywhere. You can pick up one of these at the dollar store for a couple of bucks and you don't have to worry about stuff being loose and rolling around your trunk!

4/30/2019

Rub out scuffs with toothpaste

Not only can tooth paste rub out the fog of your headlights but it can also remove scuffs from your car. It's simple to do. Just rub the tooth paste where the scuffs are and wipe clean. Your car should be monumentally less scuffed or if the scuff wasn't bad, possibly gone altogether!

4/29/2019

Boost the range of your remote alarm by holding it against your chin

Yes, this really works. The science behind it is actually quite simple. Your head is filled with fluids and fluids make for a good conductor. So when you put your key fob against your skull you turn your head into an antenna that can extend the range of your alarm. It won't be very far and you won't get more than 20ft of range out of it but it does actually work.

4/26/2019

Use hand sanitizer to de-ice key holes

The title pretty much says it all. The alcohol in hand sanitizer will melt ice very well and getting a bottle lets you spray it directly into the keyhole for the lock. Many people carry this stuff around anyway and really you should too. It doesn't just clean your hands in a jiff but it also de-ices keyholes. Two birds, one stone.

4/25/2019

Park facing east

This one can be a little tricky but it's so awesome when you do it. When you park your car, make sure you park facing east. Since the sun rises in the east, it will be radiating its warm goodness all over the windshield of your car long before you need to get in it to go to work. This can dramatically decrease the defrosting time and it may even help you avoid getting back out to scrape it off manually.

 

4/24/2019

Mesh bungie net can add extra storage

This one can be a little tricky but it's so awesome when you do it. When you park your car, make sure you park facing east. Since the sun rises in the east, it will be radiating its warm goodness all over the windshield of your car long before you need to get in it to go to work. This can dramatically decrease the defrosting time and it may even help you avoid getting back out to scrape it off manually. 

4/15/2019

Use tinted plastic sheets for shade anywhere

A fun little trick that pilots use is to attach plastic sheets to their windshields to avoid glare from the sun. By using that same trick you can achieve much the same effect. The sheets stick on your window using static from the windshield so there is no messy stickers or anything to clean up. When you need relief from sunlight to your face and the visor isn't doing it's job, you can always try this instead.

4/11/2019

Use a plastic cereal container as a trash can

 Those little trash receptacles on the driver and passenger side doors are a joke. You can never fit anything of substance in there and cleaning them out is a pain. Fix both problems at one by picking up a plastic cereal container. If you get one with a big enough hole you can stuff anything in there and you can even put a trash can liner in there so you can empty it out easier. They only cost a couple of bucks and can make your car look less like a dumpster.

4/10/2019

Use your seat warmer to keep food warm

Not all cars come with seat warmers but the ones that do can be used for a really useful function. When you pick up food, turn on your seat warmer and put the food on the seat. It won't keep food piping hot but it'll definitely help slow the process of cooling so your food stays warmer longer.

4/9/2019

Use a staple remover to add keys to the key ring

Getting keys onto a king ring can be a real pain in the rear end. If you don't have nails it can be even worse. New key rings are also really stiff from not being used and some are just huge and cumbersome. Don't break a nail or hurt yourself anymore! Use a staple remover to open the key ring to put keys on!

4/8/2019

Use a shoe for a cup holder

Pretty much all cars come with cup holders but not all cup holders are good. Sometimes you need something a little more secure to hold that 32oz drink than a flimsy piece of plastic or a cup holder that isn't deep enough to hold it properly. The answer is a shoe! Use a tennis show to put your drink in. since the opening is adjustable it fits nearly every cup. It's also deeper than many cup holders and the shoe itself is bottom-heavy to help prevent spills. This is also a great trick when you're in the great outdoors and need a cup holder.

4/5/2019

Fight sludge: 

There's a big downside to short trips, stop-and-go traffic, as well as long trips when there is a heavy load on the engine, for example, pulling a trailer. The enemy: Sludge. Sludge is a petroleum byproduct that is a gooey, black-colored substance that builds up in an engine. It is a major contributor to engine problems. Changing the engine oil at prescribed intervals or more frequently will reduce the probability of sludge buildup and extend the life of the engine. Specific driving conditions can cause sludge. It can come from oil solidifying on a long trip at engine temperatures generally above 210 degrees Fahrenheit. Other culprits are short trips that prevent the engine from reaching its proper operating temperature and water in the oil caused by condensation. “It accumulates everywhere in the engine. Sludge drops to the bottom of the oil pan. But when the engine warms up, the oil mixes with the goo and is pumped through the whole engine,” Moritz said. “Sludge does not burn away.” To avoid sludge, follow the owner's manual for oil and filter changes or switch to synthetic oil, which is not petroleum based. Many fleets use synthetic oil.

 

4/2/2019

Skip the DIY Car Wash 

Washing a car at home uses five to 20 times more water than a professional car wash. You also aren't doing your car any favors: A recent study at the University of Texas proved that a single DIY wash can leave scratches as deep as a tenth of the paint's total thickness. 

 

4/01/2019

Rainproof Your Windshield

Manufacturers recommend replacing your blades every three months. Keep a spare set in your trunk. A product such as Rain Clear can also help minimize the work of your wipers; spray it onto the glass every few weeks. In some light rains, it makes the wipers almost unnecessary.

MARCH

3/28/2019

Change your Spark Plugs

If you noticed that your engine is running effeciently, then the reason could possibly be the spark plugs. If not checked, they wear out easily and could be covered in a build up. They usually last for 30,000 miles. Check your owners manual and/or take to your automotive repair shop.

 

3/27/2019

CHECK YOUR BATTERY

We all have had our car battery run out when we need it the most. We all faced the situation where we are left stranded on the road in the middle of the nights with just the lights of our cell phones. It isn't a pretty situation, is it?To avoid this never ignore your low battery sign and always get it checked regularly. Check for leakage or any mineral build up around it. Clean it with a battery cleaning brush and do this whenever necessary.

3/26/2019

Check your Air Filter

Many car problems are due to faulty air filters attached to them and the wear caused by them. You should get your filters changed every 12 months or after 12000 miles, whichever comes fast. Don't ignore this maintenance as it will lead to problems in your AC and you are breathing unhealthy air in your car.

 

3/25/2019

As you go about cleaning the carpets in your car, keep in mind that you are going to basically be using the same steps whether you are cleaning the mat, or the carpet themselves. The biggest difference is that if you are cleaning the mats, you want to remove them from the car, simply because it is easier to clean that way. After you have gathered all of your materials, you are ready to begin.

Your first step is to remove any residue from the stains. If the stain is fairly fresh, meaning still wet, then you should try to use your paper towels to try removing the stain by using a blotting motion. In the event that it is a little older, then use your spatula as a scraper. Do not scrape too hard, so that you don't tear or rip the fabric.

Next, you are going to start with the gentlest possible cleaning solution first. Harsher solvents, or cleaning solutions may bleach, or fade, the carpet in your car, so it is always better to try the gentler one first, and work your way up. Begin with some soapy water, and spray it onto the stained area of the carpet. Let the water and soap sit for about 15 minutes, then wipe away with either a damp sponge or wash cloth. If your carpet is stained with something that is oil-based, like crayons, use your solvent cleaner. If you do use your solvent cleaner, make sure that you follow the directions closely. If you would rather use a home made cleaner, a good one is to use ? cup of hydrogen peroxide mixed with 3 cups of water. Spray it on to the stain, being sure to let it sit for ten minutes. Rinse away with a mixture of ? cup white vinegar, and ? cup water.

For those really tough, ground in stains, why not try to use something like the Rug Doctor machine. Follow the directions, and you are going to get professional results. Whatever method that you use, you are going to want to make sure that the carpets are completely dry, since you do not want to have any mildew or mold infestations grow in your car. The best way to make sure that everything gets completely dry is to use either a fan or a hair dryer.

 

3/22/2019

FIGURE OUT WHERE YOUR SPARE TIRE IS

No matter how safe you drive or how expensive your tires were, everyone will experience a flat at some point.  Because of this, one of the most important things that every car owner needs to know involves exactly where their spare tire is, or even if they have one in the firtst place.  Again, this information is going to be in your manual - some keep the spare tire in the trunk, others have them located underneath the car and still others put them on the back hatch (this is common in SUVs).

If your car has a spare you need to not only find it but know how to remove it from its housing and know how to swap it out for your flat should the need arise.

 

3/21/2019

CHECK YOUR FLUID LEVEL-ALL OF THEM

One of the most important things that any car owner should know-even if you don't consider yourself a "gear head"- invoves how to check/change your fluids.  Not just your windshield washer fluid, because everyone knows how to find the clearly labled container this is usually right under the hood of your car. No, you need to know how to check/change ALL of your fluids-because there's nothning worse than getting stuck on the side of the road somewhere because of a problem that you should have been able to easily fix yourself.

Take a look at your manual that came with your car to find our the appropriate locations and levels of your oil, coolant, power steering fluid and your brake fluid.  You don't have to know how to tear a car apart and put it back together again, but you should at least know how to check and change these fluids if the going gets tough.  The locations vary depending on the model of car you drive, which is why it's always important to learn spcecifically based on the vehicle you're actually driving.  When the going gets tough- and rest assured, it occasionally will-you'll be very glad you did.

If you should realize you don't have a maual stop by your friendly automotive shop and they will certainly be glad to help.

 

3/20/19

ESCAPING A SINKING CAR

A sinking car is one of the most frightening situations you can find yourself in. Staying calm and following simple steps, however, can make all the difference in the world. First, you will want to quickly roll down at least one window before the car is completely submerged so that you can climb out or open a door. Secondly, you want to make sure that you can quickly access your seat belt releaseso yu can free yourself easily. If you're not able to foll down a window, you can use the ROADSIDE HERO talked about on the 2/22/2019 automotive tip.Make sure to hit the corner of the window rather than the center. You will hopefully never have to do this,but it is always better to be prepared.

 

3/19/2019

ALL ABOUT ENGINE TEMPERATURE

Another essential tip that every car owner should know involves your engine temperature-meaning its current status and what temperature it SHOULD be operating at.  Never assume that the fuel temperature warning light is qoing to save you in the event of an emergency, as usually by the time it pops on you've already got a major problem on your hands. Knowing what your optimal engine temperature is will not onlhy help guarantee the best possible performance out of your vehicle at all times, but it can also help immediately clue you into small problems before they become much bigger and more expensive ones down the road (pun absolutely intended)

 

3/18/20199

YOU SHOULD BE KEEPING A MAINTENANCE LOG (LIKE UNDER THE TABS MY GARAGE ABOVE)

If you're not already keeping a maintenance log for your vehicle, now would be an excellent time to start.  This is  great way to view the health and history of your car in one easy-to-access document.  You  should never have to wonder when the last time you changed your tires was, or when you last checked your coolant and other fluids.  You should know beyond the shadow of a doubt and keeping a regular and accurate maintenance log is the perfect way to do just that.

 

3/15/2019

USE A PLUNGER TO REMOVE DENTS

Tiny dents can also be a problem, attracting dirt, dust and debris and also often encourage rust growth.  Often times you can remove tiny dings and dents with a plunger. When pulled back, the suction of the plumger also pulls the dented part of the panel forward and back into place.

 

3/14/2019

REMOVE PAINT SCRATCHES ON CARS WITH NAIL POLISH

some people may only know nail polish as something women put on their nails as a form of an accessory.  However, nail polish has a lot of uses, and one of the these uses includes being a great scratch mover.  As you can tell with the other DIY fixes, you will need to buff and sand.  However, with nail polish, you will just need to clean the area before applying it.

 

3/13/2019

RENEW AND REFRESH YOUR WINDSHIELD WIPERS WITH ALCOHOL

No, we're not suggesting that your wipers take shots, but clean windshield wipers are a must to avoid streaks and scratches on your windshield.  Cleaning your wipers with a little rubbing alcohol on a microfiber cloth is a cheap, but effective way to keep them in great shape.

 

3/12/2019

YOUR GLOVE BOX IS FOR MORE THAN JUST YOUR MANUAL

One of the most important tips that every car owner needs to know involves exactly what to keep in your glove box. Most people tend to keep their manual and other documentation inside, but it really does serve a much more important purpose. A small survival kit is a must.  This kit should consist of compass, small flash, whistle, pen, paper, kleenox, bandaids, wet wipes and toilet tissue.

3/11/2019

CLEAN CRUMBS, LINT AND DUST WITH SLIME

Because if the slime's natural malleability, it can clean otherwise hadr to reach crevices and crannies without making a mess,

 

3/8/2019

GET RID OF NASTY ODORS USING BAKING SODA

If your car smells bad, it ruins the whole driving experience, plus it's embarrassing when you're giving someone a lift.  Use the baking soda to absorb and neutralize the nasty smells and be proud of your fresh-smelling vehicle again.

3/7/2019

USE A COFFEE FILTER TO DUST INTERIOR

The lint free material of the coffee filter is perfect for wioing car dashboards, the center console and other parts.  Coffee filters are cheap, and you can buy huge packages at the dollar store.  Even if you don't brew drip, use can use them for other for other things, lilke keeping the interiorof your car clean and freee of lint splatters and stains.

 

3/4/2019

KNOW WHAT YOUR CAR IS TRYING TO TELL YOU

The "Check Engine" light is proably one of the most inportant warning indicators in your car.  There is a multitudepf reasons why the check engine light an aome on.  While many of these reasons can be rather harmless, you can risk serious damage to your engine if you continue driving not knowing what it is for.  One of the best decisions you could make is to have a "Certifided Tech" diagnose the problem.

3/1/2019

LEARN HOW TO CHANGE YOUR FILTER

Another important tip that every car owner needs to know involves not only where you filter is located, but how exactly you need to change it. Once again, this information will vary slightly depending on which car you drive. Knowing how to both locate and change your filter is a great way to improve the overall fuel efficiency of your vehicle, as when your filter has to work hard it pulls in more gasoline-dramatically cutting down on your average miles per gallon as a result.

We as always recommend you take your vehicle to a certified automotive technician.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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