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Get your car spring ready

Car care tips for safe driving in seasonal weather

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features)

Spring breezes may be blowing, but before you put those windows down and settle in for a leisurely drive to soak up that fresh air, your car needs some seasonal freshening of its own.

Regular car care helps ensure that your vehicle looks and runs its best, and timing your car care to the seasons can help ensure all of your equipment is in top condition to protect your safety in seasonal weather conditions.

One of the most common threats in spring is stormy weather, which can affect your visibility and traction. Ensure you and your car are well-protected and ready for spring with this spring car care checklist.

Give your car a checkup

An all-over maintenance checkup is a good starting point to get a pulse on your car’s condition. A multi-point inspection can help alert you to signs of wear or damage on parts such as your belts, which can weaken as a result of cold winter weather, and your brakes, which are critical for safe driving.

Your engine relies on clean oil for smooth operation, so if it’s time for a change (usually every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on manufacturer recommendations) you can schedule a change to coincide with your service appointment.

CAR-WipersKeep your view safe and clear

Keeping your windshield clear is an obvious necessity for everyday visibility, but the quality of your wiper blades is even more important in inclement weather. Old or damaged blades may not be up to the task of keeping your line of sight clear during a heavy spring downpour. When it comes to choosing new blades, give careful attention to performance.

Traditional metal wiper blades, installed on many new cars, have exposed suspension components that can become damaged with exposure to extreme weather. Newer vehicles may include beam blades, with a pre-sprung steel beam designed specifically for that vehicle. However, many replacement beam blade designs are compromised to fit a large array of vehicle models and do not properly adapt to the varying curvature of windshields. This results in reduced wrap and contact pressure on the windshield, as well as poor wiping performance.

A better option is hybrid blades, such as Michelin Stealth Hybrid wiper blades, which feature an exclusive Smart Flex technology that automatically adjusts wiper blade contact pressure across the curvature of the windshield for improved wiping performance. Engineered for durable wiping in extreme weather conditions, the wiper frame and suspension system are completely covered to protect the blades from weather-related damage. The Michelin EZ-Lok Connector System allows for a quick and simple blade replacement. Learn more at MichelinWipers.com.

If your vehicle has a rear wiper, remember to replace it, too.

Check your traction

Your tires are another of your car’s essential safety features. Excess or uneven tire wear can be extremely dangerous in wet and slick road conditions. If your tires can’t get adequate traction, you may find yourself hydroplaning or losing control. What’s more, tires are an expensive investment, so before embarking on your next road trip, make sure your tires are properly inflated, balanced and rotated. This can help ensure you get the most mileage out of your tires before needing to replace them.

CAR-ShiningShow your shine 

Sound operations aside, you’ll get more enjoyment out of your car when it looks as great as it runs. A thorough cleaning of the exterior after the harsh winter months helps whisk away any damaging substances, such as the salt used to melt ice and snow.

Protect and preserve your vehicle with products, such as Barrett-Jackson Auto Care’s full line of interior and exterior products. Liquid Wax, a signature product in the line, is specially designed with Carnauba wax to achieve a long-lasting, deep shine with no powdery residue. Barrett-Jackson Wash & Wax saves time by lifting away dirt and enhancing shine in one step, while the rapid detailer is great for those in between touch ups. For an all-over shine to complete the freshly cleaned look, Tire Shine is a quick, no-hassle way to maintain sleek, wet-look tires. Make sure to select a tire shine that will not sling off on your car when driving. Find more information about these and other products designed to keep your car looking flawless at barrett-jacksonautocare.com.

Once the exterior is complete, turn your attention inside. Pick up any trash or debris, vacuum and wipe down all interior surfaces. A moisturizing treatment will help clean and condition leather, preventing it from drying out and cracking. Also give interior glass a wipe down for the clearest visibility possible and be sure to pick an interior protectant that doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue to help renew and protect all interior surfaces, including plastic, vinyl, rubber and trim.

Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments Off on Get your car spring ready

Save time and money with easy DIY auto maintenance tips


(BPT) – Vehicles are a big investment for families – usually the second highest valued item in a household after the home itself. While the purchase price for cars, trucks and SUVs keeps going up, the cost of maintenance is holding steady or even dropping for most vehicles. Better materials, sophisticated computers and other advances increase reliability and allow less frequent oil changes, tune-ups and other service.

Owners can do some of the work themselves to lower maintenance costs even further. Anyone interested in saving money and increasing pride of ownership by doing their own work can spend just a few minutes and accomplish the following four maintenance tasks easily, without any expensive tools or training.

* Cabin air filter replacement – The air conditioner is cranked up on those hot summer days. The cabin air filter keeps the air blowing through the heat and air conditioning ventilation system clean, and it should be replaced at least once a year. But in areas of the country where there is a lot of pollen or dust – from dirt roads, construction projects or even arid conditions – it’s a good idea to replace this filter more frequently.

“Cabin air filters are usually easy to install, but installation will vary between cars,” says Tom Taylor, engineer and vice president of RockAuto.com, an online auto parts retailer. “Some filters are behind the glove box, and others are accessed through the cowl panel below the windshield.”

Check your owner’s manual to see if there is information on replacing the cabin air filter, or visit RockAuto.com to find installation instructions provided by filter manufacturers.

* Headlamps and tail lights – When a headlamp or tail light burns out, you may be surprised to discover how easy it is to replace these bulbs. For most vehicles, installation of headlamps is from the engine compartment. Just unplug the electrical connector on the back of the bulb, unscrew the large plastic ring that holds the bulb in place and pull the bulb out. Because headlamps are usually halogen lights, be sure to wear gloves or use a cloth to avoid getting fingerprints on the bulb. Oils from your hands can shorten the life of the bulb.

Tail lights are similar – usually you can gain access through the trunk of the vehicle underneath the trim material.

CAR-DIY-Auto-maintenance2* Wiper blades – Trying to see the road through a streaky window is almost as bad as trying to see the road in a heavy rain shower. The quality of the blade purchased will determine how long the blade will last and how well it will perform in clearing the windshield of rain.

“It is now easy to choose wipers that are better than what originally came on the car,” Taylor says. “There are longer-lasting blades, winter blades that resist freezing to the windshield and beam-type wiper arms that hold the blade more firmly on the glass.”

Higher quality blades tend to cost more, but drivers will appreciate the durability and clarity they provide.-RockAuto.com is promoting a wiper wholesaler closeout for top-quality blades at extremely low prices. Once you have your blades purchased, just follow the included directions on how to install them.

* Engine air filter – These air filters keep the oxygen supplied to the engine’s combustion chambers free of dirt and other contaminants. Clean air is needed to optimize the engine’s performance and extend its life. Manufacturers recommend replacing an engine air filter every 12,000 miles driven.- However, it will also depend on the car’s model and how dusty the environment is. This filter is typically located under the hood in a large, rectangular, plastic air filter housing. Remove the four bolts or clips around the edges and then lift the dirty filter out.

These maintenance tasks are ongoing, but they become even easier with repetition. DIYers save money and time when they handle them at home.




Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments Off on Save time and money with easy DIY auto maintenance tips