Weekly Tip

Here are my weekly tips to help you get through the week.

September 24, 2017: Fall Check-Up
Fall is here and eventhough the weather is summer-like, now is the time to start checking the basics before the cold sets in. Have your battery checked, tires checked and replaced if the tread is low. Check your coolant/anti freeze level. Make sure there are no leaks and that your heating system is working properly. If you have not had one in a while, see if you need a tune-up. If your car is running like junk now, it will only get worse once it's cold out. Have your brakes checked as well. No matter how new or good your tires are, what's the use if you can't stop. Have your lights checked and wiper blades. Opt for a pair of the flat styled ones as all the snow and ice doesn't get stuck in between the spaces in the blades. I think I have pretty much touched on everything that you should have checked but if I missed something, oh well ;) Just get your car ready for fall.

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September 17, 2017: TPMS Sensors
Alright, most vehicles 2008 and up have TPMS sensors(some earlier than that). From the outside, they look like regular tire valves on some vehicles, other vehicles they look like metal valves so to speak. These can go bad over time for one because of the age (they have batteries in them) and secondly as they can become damaged from you hitting a curb or just because of the elements. It is an item that will eventually have to be replaced. They cost anywhere from $70 on up depending on where you go. You won't like it but guess what, it's there and you have to keep an eye on it. They tell you when your tire pressure is getting low and they are mandatory because sooooo many people used to NOT check their air pressure or tires for that matter and were having tons of blow outs because their air pressure was too low or even too high. I don't think I need to say how important your tires are since they are the connection between your vehicle and the road, so, yeah. Make sure they're working properly and when they need to be replaced, replace it...

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September 10, 2017: Batteries
I will keep this short and sweet. If your car is more than three years old, you should have your battery checked twice per year. Right before the weather gets cold and right before the weather gets hot. I say this because both of these conditions affect your battery. The cold weather weather makes it harder to crank your car while the heat can make it swell and work just as hard as well. If you have your battery tested and it says good but recharge, it's starting to lose some of it's cranking power and you should plan on replacing it soon. If it says recharge, replace it and have your charging system checked just to make sure the alternator is not on its way out. If your battery is within that 3-5 year range of age, more than likely, it's only the battery. So with that said and with the cold weather about to rear it's ugly head, get your battery checked. You don't want to find out that you need a new one when you're on your way to work and it's zero degrees out. (I did keep it short right?)

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September 03, 2017: Floor Mats
Silly topic right? Not at all. Floor mats no only help to keep the carpet covered and clean but it also helps from the actual bottom of your vehicle from premature rust. The carpet in your vehicle is only but so thick, so adding a good quality floor mat can help from future damage like rusting or even from wires getting shorted out. With all of the electronics and technology vehicles now have, there are all kids of vires and cables running right under your feet. Why not protect all that with floor mats. Yes, a ton of water spilled inside the vehicle won't be stopped by a couple little floor mats but at least there is some type of barrier there to slow down the mess. Good quality floor mats, whether carpet or rubber should cost areound $30 bucks. You also have the option of custom fitted mats that can be ordered and delivered in only a coupple week. Now, go out to your vehicle and see what your floor mats look like!

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August 27, 2017: Interior Upkeep
Keeping up your Interior is just as important as keeping up your exterior. One thing I always use are window shades. This helps keep down the temperature in the car by 25% and it saves your dash from getting faded by sunlight. They have the accordion type and ones that are two seperate shades (which I prefer). Another thing is cleaning up spills and stains. You want to keep a good carpet and upholstery cleaner on hand as well as a soft cloth. Some of the cans of cleaner have a little scrubbie on top. I recommend getting those for cleaning stains that need a little more elbow grease to get out. A good all around surface cleaner/protectant is also suggested to wipe surfaces down and keep thigs clean and fresh. If you have leather, PLEASE use a quality leather cleaner, it matters. Do not use Armor All or other types of cleaners as it will stain the leather and ruin it. They have liquid leather cleaners as well as leather wipes that are good for quick clean ups and touch ups. Taking care of your interior is an all aroung part of vehicle maintenance.

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August 20, 2017: Air and Cabin Air Filters
Make sure to check your air and cabin air filters on a regular basis. Your air filter is located under your hood. This filter helps your engine breathe better and keeps the air flow moving through the system. When this filter gets clogged, your engine is not breathing properly. Think of it as a stuffy nose. You can still breathe through your nose, just not that well. So when a technician/mechanic suggests replacing it, replace it. Especially if it's been at least a year or 10,000 miles since you replaced it. Same goes for your cabin air filter. This filter is what brings fresh air into the cabin or inside of the vehicle. This filter can last a little longer than the air filter as the elements are not as bad but again, replace it regularly. Just a side note: Replacing the cabin air filter can be costly as some vehicles require more steps to get to it. So don't let the cost be a factor of not replacing it.

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August 13, 2017: Required Oil Type
Know what type of oil your vehicle requires. Key word, REQUIRES! The vehicles of today are not like your 1999 Corolla where you could dump anything into and it still runs. Newer vehicles are calibrated to run on a specific oil, so when you downgrade that, you could potentially face engine damage. An engine is like the heart, so if the heart is not running right, nothing else will. So, if your newer vehicle requires Full Synthetic Oil, use Full Synthetic oil. You say it costs more tho...not really. If a regular oil change is, lets say, $35 and you get one every three months, thats $140 per year. If a full synthetic oil change is $70 and you get one every six months, thats $140 per year. Doing what is required will save you heartache down the road. If you have engine trouble and think its warrantied, the first thing they will ask for is oil change receipts. As soon as they see that you used oil that was not requried or recommended, you're out of luck. The manufacturer knows what's best so listen to them, they built it!

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August 6, 2017: Check Engine Light and Emissions Inspection
Just as a reminder. If you live in PA and need to have your vehicle inspected, make sure you DO NOT have a check engine light on. You will automatically fail. There are a couple exceptions but mainly, you will automatically fail. Two of the exceptions are: 1.You have not traveled more than 5,000 miles since your last inspection and 2.Your vehcle is 1995 or older. A suggestion is that you have the vehicle checked PRIOR to go in for the inspection. Also, don't let someone disconnect your battery to get the light out. The light will be out but your system will not be ready for testing. Got it? Good!

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July 30, 2017: Wash and Wax
To keep your ride looking brand new, wash and WAX it once per month. Washing is great to get rid of all the dirt and grime. But waxing acts as a protectant for the clear coat which in return protects your paint. I have seen cars that are 10 years old look better than cars 5 years old just because they are taken care of. Think of it like sunscreen. Without sunscreen, over time your skin gets damaged, why? Because it is not being protected. And I won't go through all the different types of waxes but as long as you use it is what matters.

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July 23, 2017: Tire Rotations
This is really simple. Rotate your tires every 6 months or twice per year. This helps them wear evenly as the two front tires tend to wear faster because you have more weight in the front of a vehicle (engine, trans, etc.) One easy way to remember is to do them with your oil changes. If you use conventional/standard oil rotate them every other oil change (if you change oil every 3 months, then month 6 and month 12). Or if you use full synthetic and go 6,000 miles in between, then every oil change...easy right?

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July 16, 2017: HIDs
Hi there, do you have HID headlights? HIDs? Not sure what they are? The technical term is High Intensity Discharge...a fancy way of saying super bright and long lasting. They are also primarily used with projector styled/incorporated headlights. Look at your headlights and if you see a round, smaller lens that sort of resembles a magnifying glass, that's it. But back to the HIDs. These bulbs also sually emit blue/purple-ish light. These bulbs also cost way more than your standard, halogen bulb. HIDs range anywhere from $80 and up, EACH. So if one goes out, replace the other. If you want, you can ask for the one that didn't blow to use as a back up in case the place where you have your car services doesn't have them readily available. Or, if you are like me, you can put it in yourself if you need to order a set and don't want to have the one eyeball look as I call it.

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July 9, 2017: Wheel Lock Key
Do you know where your wheel lock key is? Do you even know what I'm talking about? No? Okay...some car companies place wheel lock keys on your wheels so they cannot easily be stolen. If you look at your wheels and look in the center, you will notice that one lug nut is different. This cannot be taken off with a regular socket. Therefore, you need the wheel lock to remove it. Normally, it is in your glove box or with the spare tire/jack in the trunk. Leave this wheel lock key in the the vehicle at ALL TIMES and make sure you get it back after every tire rotation/repair/replacement. It's a nuisance when you lose it because wether you have to get another one from the dealer (not free) or you have to get the locks removed (not free), it's not free. Also, if you don't want to worry about losing the lock, you can just take them off and put a regular lug nut on and you're good to go.

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July 2, 2017: Tires/Tire Sizes
Alright, it seem like I can't talk enough about tires but it's a topic many people don't pay attention to so here we go. Your vehicle comes from the factory with a SPECIFIC tire size. Look on the plate on the driver's side door to see the OEM tire size. You want to replace your tires with the same size tire that came with the vehicle. Unless you are changing the size because you are upsizing the rim or are sure of the performance specs, stick with what they suggest. Many people say, oh, I want wider tires or oh I want taller tires. You can't always slap a different tire on the same rim. Sometimes the rim isn't wide enough to add a wider tire so you have to get wider rims. There's a lot that goes into switching them out so stay with what they suggest. They know what they are talking about since, you know, they built the car ;)

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June 25, 2017: Pricing For Parts
I hear this everyday where people ask why this costs so much and they can get it cheaper online and all that yadda yadda. The first part of this is and most people don't like it: Sometimes, parts are just expensive. There is no way around it. A part for Jenny's 1989 Toyota will NOT cost the same as Jackie's 2014 328i. Forget it, don't even compare it. Once you get past that, we can understand and move forward. There are specifications that certain parts have and the way they are engineered makes it expensive from the beginning. Next, yes, you can get it cheaper online...here's the other side to that: you have to wait for the part to arrive. Secondly, if there are any warranty issues, you have to send it back and wait for replacement OR buy another one and wait for the refund. If you are doing the work yourself, this is great (and great for me since I have an online business). But when your vehicle is in need of repair, that is just not the best bet. PLUS, there's just too much back and forth especially when you only have one vehicle and NEED it for work/everyday life.

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As you can see, there is a break in Weekly Tips. I must have deleted the page with the actual updates so as I find them, I will add them back!

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November 27, 2016: Serpentine Belts
What the hell is that squeaking coming from the engine bay? Oh, your serpentine belt. It's literally a belt that wraps aroung the pulleys attached to your alternator, power steering pump (if it's not electronic) and ac compressor. Although these parts are electric, they still run off of the engine. It should be replaced when it shows signs of wear which is usually after 50,000 miles. You don't want to wait until it starts making noise to replace it beacuse by then it's already past the time. Another thing is that Serpentine belt spray is junk. You're just spraying lubricant on something that's already dried out so even if it quites down for a minute, it'll make noise again. Best thing to do? Replace it.

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November 20, 2016: Check Lights
One thing I like to do at least once per week is check my bulbs. There are so many bulbs now that it may seem hard to keep up. You can't just focus on headlight and tail lights. There are also parking lights (usually sidemarkers) and courtesy lights in addition to turn signals, brake AND tail lights as well as high beams. This is also good to check often because as I found out AND it has happened to me before that certain lights go out at the same time. A friend was driving behind me and noticed that both my brake lights were out. Yup, had to have gone out at the same time. Good thing is I still had a working 3rd brake light, but the fact that I just had the car inspected and they both went out a month after. Bulbs can work one minute and out the next. Oh and by the way, even if one goes out, replace the other one...:/

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November 13, 2016: Wiper Blades
Wiper Blades. You know what they are and what they do, yet you ignore them until the rubber is hanging off of them and screeching across your windshield. If you go to clean your winshield and they leave streaks, replace them...BOTH!!! Do not replace one without replacing the other. And by the way, most of them are TWO different sizes (unless you have a truck), So don't get all flustered when one costs more than the other. One more thing, some of them have a special hook from the manufacturer so the $3 ones Walmart sells, won't fit. You MAY even have to get them from the dealer. So, paying $35 bucks for a pair of wiper blades is not an unheard of thing.

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November 6, 2016: Brakes
The ability to stop your vehicle is not something that you want to cheap out on BUT I still get customers who just want to replace the pads. Truth is, you can just have your pads replaced BUT not forever! Rotors get worn down a little every time the brake pads connect. Keeping up on this as well as not riding your brakes allow you to replace the pads about two times before having to replace the rotors. No one really cuts rotors anymore because of the various braking systems manufacturers have developed as well as the material brake pads are made up of. Oh and you luxury vehicle drivers who want pads cut? Forget that. They don't even keep a brake lathe to cut them and would look at you sideways if you asked. But long story short, do it right and replace the pads sooner than later and you can get more out of the rotors.

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October 30, 2016: Heating System
Your heating system is very important to the overall function of your vehicle. The main function that you're most familiar with is providing you with heat. Your car's manufacturer has specific intervals that you should have the coolant replaced so keep on schedule. Also make sure that the coolant is at the right level. A few things to remember which are VITAL are NEVER remove a radiator cap or coolant bottle cap when the car is hot. It MUST be cooled down. Make sure NEVER to let your car run hot as it could cause engine damage. Lastly, put in the correct coolant/antifreeze. There is a specific type/color for your vehicle so use that. ONLY use the All Makes and Models type when it's an emergency just to get you to a service center or home.

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October 23, 2016: Alignments
Getting your alignment checked at least twice per year or every six months is a great way to keep your ride handling smoothly. Not only does it keep your ride steady but you can catch suspension problems before they get out of hand. Alignment problems can cause your vehicle to drift left or right. It can also cause your tires to wear unevenly which results in them needing to replaced sooner than later. Try and avoid potholes as much as possible because even after getting an alignment, hitting a pothole can knock it right back out of place.

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October 16, 2016: Oil Changes
Make sure to do you oil changes on a REGULAR basis. Oil is as important as blood is to your body. If you use standard/conventional oil, every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Synthetic blend, you can go up to 4 months or 4,500 miles. Full synthetic oil, every 5 months or 5,000 miles. That's about 2 oil changes per year. Keep in mind that even if you don't drive the vehicle that much or that far, you still want to change the oil on some type of regular basis. Consider switching to full synthetic if you don't remember to schedule your oil changes on a regular basis. Also, if your vehicle REQUIRES a specific type oil, USE THAT OIL. Not doing so may void your engine's warranty and you would be on the hook for any repairs.

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October 9, 2016: TPMS/Tire Pressure
It's starting to get a little chilly overnight so a lot of you are going to wake up to TPMS/Tire Pressure lights. Do not freak out! Easiest thing to do is to grab a digital tire gauge and check the actual pressure. If the tire pressure in one tire is super low, like under 20psi, take it to a garage to have it checked. You may need the tire repaired or replaced. You may also need a new TPMS sensor. Sensors can go bad so keep that in mind. Otherwise, if the pressure is slightly low, take it to your nearest gas station and fill it to the proper level. You will find the proper psi on a plate on the driver side door.

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Have a horror story from this week or last week or any week? Email me HERE with the Subject: Weekly Horror Story and you may just see them in a Weekly Tip Update!

 

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