Parking your car in the sunlight is an inevitability, there’s no way around leaving your car in the sun on a hot summer day but it’s important that you know the adverse effects that prolonged exposure to the sun can have on your vehicle. Constant exposure to the sun can cause oxidation and premature fading to the paint while the effects on the interior can include fading the color of your seats and interior and cracking to the dashboard or leather seats. We know the effects that sun radiation can have on our skin and know the importance of applying sunscreen regularly when going into the sun, think of the following steps as applying sunscreen to your vehicle to avoid damages to the interior and exterior of your car.
Protect the Paint
- Wash your vehicle– washing your car regularly will clean it of pollution and grime. It’s also important to remember that the work isn’t done after you wash your car, drying it evenly and thoroughly will help protect the paint from minerals left behind by evaporation. Waxing your car is still probably the best way to keep the paint looking new while protecting it from roadside pollution and the sun’s rays. Waxing will also keep dirt from sticking to the vehicle that can help keep your paint safe from pit damages.
- Use Paint Protection– Drivers may choose to use an automobile paint protection film kit to protect the car from debris and also the sun’s rays. You can choose a paint protection kit that is do it yourself but most auto body shops also have a service available to purchase as well. No vehicle can be completely safe from the effects of the sun but performing routine maintenance and keeping the car clean will help protect the paint as much as possible.
Protect the Interior
- Sunshades in the Windows– Using a sun visor in the front windshield when you’re parking your vehicle for extended periods of time and shaded or covered areas are unavailable. Even just a simple visor in the window can help reduce the effects of the sun when it comes to the color fading or cracks developing in the seats or dashboard and the other components of the interior.
- Seat and Steering Wheel Covers– If you’re looking to protect your interior to the fullest extent, investing in covers for your steering wheel and seats will protect them constantly from the sun’s radiation. Over time these will fade from the constant exposure but your seats and interior will be kept near perfect condition.
- Clean Your Interior Regularly– Keeping your seats and interior clean and the fabrics or leather well treated and conditioned will keep it more pliable and less susceptible to cracks and fades from the sunlight.
Protect the Internal Components
- Check Fluid Levels Regularly– When it’s hot outside, the fluids
in your car will get used faster than normal so if you’re low on any types of coolant, transmission fluid or oil, then the increased temperature can lead to a higher chance of damage occurring to your vehicle.
- Test Your Battery in the Summer– The sun’s radiation often leads to a higher load being put onto the battery from when you run things like the air conditioning. Testing the battery and your charging system in general will help keep you safe from sudden problems like the air conditioning not working or the car not starting at all on a hot day.
- Check Tire Pressure Monthly– In the hot summer months underinflated tires are more likely to blow out in high temperatures. Regularly checking your tire pressure will keep you safe from blowouts and will also ensure that your gas mileage isn’t being negatively affected either. Heat, trapped air and hot rubber can be an extremely dangerous combination so checking the conditions of your tires will help keep you safer in the hot months.
It’s easy to imagine the effects that the sun’s radiation can have on your paint or seats over prolonged periods of exposure but the sun’s radiation can have even more significant effects when it comes to the internal parts of your car. Knowing the right steps to take to protect your entire car will help keep the costs of repairs down and you traveling safer and more comfortable in even the hottest temperatures.
Under the hood of your car, everything is there with a specific purpose to help your vehicle perform properly. In your exhaust system and helping turn pollutant gas emissions into safer, less harmful emissions is your catalytic converter. It can substantially reduce or even completely eliminate pollutants and is a vital part of your vehicle’s exhaust system, a properly working catalytic converter will mean the difference between whether or not your vehicle can pass a smog check and stay street legal to drive.
Over time your catalytic converter may become worn or faulty and will be in need of service, though there are usually key symptoms to look for to alert you that you may want to seek service for your catalytic converter.
- Rattling Noise– Once your catalytic converter becomes older or damaged from fuel mixtures, the honeycombs on the inside can begin to collapse and/or break apart which will cause a rattle to occur. It may be most noticeable when you first turn your vehicle on and over time and left unattended it will get worse and worse.
- Check Engine Light Turns On– A catalytic converter gone bad can also lead to the check engine light turning on, there are sensors installed in newer model vehicles designed to monitor the levels of gas in the exhaust and the catalytic converter’s efficiency. If your car’s computer detects the converter not operating properly or not catalyzing the exhaust properly then the check engine light will turn on to let you know that there is an issue in need of service. It’s also important to remember that the check engine light could be on for a variety of reasons so if your check engine light turns on, make sure to have a professional mechanic scan for the proper diagnosis code to accurately discover the cause.
- Misfiring Engine– If you use an overly rich fuel mixture, there can be instances of raw fuel entering the catalytic converter and being ignited. This misfiring can cause the catalytic converter to overheat as well. In either of these instances the components in the converter can melt and cause extensive damage to your entire exhaust system.
- Lower Fuel Economy– A catalytic converter that is going bad and failing will cause a drastic and extremely noticeable decrease in fuel efficiency. If you notice yourself needing fuel more and more frequently then have your vehicle looked at as soon as possible to avoid significantly extra costs at the pump.
- Clogged Converter– If your fuel mixture is not right or your exhaust system is having issues, the catalytic converter can become clogged. This can lead to a variety of issues with performance and functionality, unfortunately, auto mechanics sometimes may not be able to diagnose an issue with the catalytic converter without replacing it, which may be an extremely expensive fix.
- Increased Emissions– Sometimes adding substances like motor oil or antifreeze to your engine can cause a contamination in the catalytic converter and prevent it from properly performing. In the event that this happens, you’ll notice a higher level of carbon emissions coming from your exhaust system. If this does happen, you’ll need to replace the converter or have it repaired immediately as extensive damage to your entire exhaust system can occur or your vehicle may even begin emitting an illegally high amount of exhaust into the atmosphere.
- Reduced Vehicle Performance– Exhaust may become trapped in your catalytic converter and if that happens there will be a noticeable drop in performance. There is a buildup of pressure that occurs and affects the running of your engine, stopping it from breathing. A sudden increase of pressure can cause the engine to stall out while you’re driving as well. The car will also jerk or feel like there’s no fuel when you attempt to accelerate due to the vehicle acting as if there is an airlock in the exhaust system.
Try to address issues immediately
Any piece of the exhaust system is vital to your car’s overall performance and in the event of one component going bad, it’s important to make sure that you have your vehicle looked at and repaired immediately as any damages to the exhaust can be costly and lead to further internal damages to your engine. Given the importance of the catalytic converter specifically, knowing what to look and listen for will help you prevent expensive repair costs and preserve the quality and performance of your vehicle.
Learning to drive is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life, it can also be one of the most overwhelming, especially if they’re not too familiar with the layout of a vehicle. In most brands and models of car, the dashboard is pretty similar with a few various design and style choices depending on the make of the vehicle.
Familiarizing yourself with the dashboard and all of the various indicators and lights before driving is a great way to make it feel a little less overwhelming and more manageable. Here are some of the standard displays and indicator lights and what they mean to you and your vehicle.
This is a chart that shows 64 of the most common lights that may appear on your dashboard. The dial on the left shows the RPM gauge, which is the Revolutions Per Minute, which is how many times a minute that the crankshaft is spinning. It is measured in 1000s and as you can see, once you get to a higher RPM, in most vehicles around 6,000, you run the risk of overworking or damaging the crankshaft.
The other dial on the right is the standard speedometer, which monitors the speed in Miles Per Hour of your vehicle. Here are just a few of the most important lights to consider on your dashboard.
Important lights on car dashboard
1- Fog Light (front)– In your vehicle there are likely two types of lights- driving lights and fog lights. Fog lights are, as it sounds, specifically made to handle driving through thick, dense fog. This light indicates that the front fog lights are going out.
2- Power Steering– This means the power steering is experiencing trouble, whether it’s low fluid or another issue. If this light is on, seek an experienced auto mechanic immediately.
3- Fog Light (rear)– Same as the front, except this light indicates that the rear fog lights are out.
4- Washer Fluid Low– This means that your windshield washer fluid is running low, while this may not seem important, clean and clear windshields greatly reduce the chance of accidents.
5- Brake Pad Warning– Usually you’ll begin to hear your vehicle making odd sounds to accompany this light, which indicates that your brake pads are wearing out.
6- Cruise Control– Most vehicles have a cruise control feature which will maintain your speed without needing to push the pedal, this light indicates that cruise control is on.
7- Turn Signals– Whether you’re turning left or right, these arrows indicate to you that the signal is on and visible to drivers.
13- Ignition Switch Warning– This indicates that your generator is not charging your vehicle’s battery.
21- Tire Pressure Low– This alerts you that your tire pressure is running low and you may have trouble gripping the roads.
29- Catalytic Converter Warning– Your catalytic converter is a crucial part of your vehicle’s exhaust system and this light indicates that something is wrong and needs to be addressed immediately.
30- Seat Belt Warning– This will also usually be accompanied with a chime to remind you: always wear your seat belt.
31- Parking Brake– This shows you that your parking brake is still set, which will grind and overwork your vehicle if you try to drive with it engaged.
39- Airbag Warning– Any issue with your airbag will be indicated by this light, there is also a light (42) that indicates the airbag is deactivated.
49- ABS– Another light that signals a trip to the mechanic is needed immediately, this is referring to your Anti-Lock Brakes.
51- Door Open– Even if it seems closed, your door needs to be properly closed for this light to turn off.
52- Hood– This light will show that your hood has been popped and is opened.
53- Gas light– This won’t come on until you’re running low on and need gas. Every vehicle has a different threshold so be sure to learn the limits of your car.
57- Oil Pressure Low– If your oil pressure dips, it can be extremely damaging to your engine so check your oil and see an auto mechanic for any repairs needed.
58- Defroster– Used in cold weather, this will help clear the windows of cold air and frost to make visibility easier for you.
62- Check Engine– The light nobody wants to see, check engine can mean just about anything so seek an immediate diagnosis to solve the problem, whatever it is, as fast as possible.
These are just some of the lights found on most vehicle dashboards; with so many alerts and notifications now it can be overwhelming to new drivers. Familiarizing yourself with these though is a great place to start to help you understand your vehicle’s functions and also what to look for in case you may need service or have an issue.
You will see the advertisements on television and hear them on the radio. Tire centers are pushing high-performance tires on consumers. All the qualities of the high-performance tire are explained, the features that can help a driver magnified, and discount sales prices are all over the place. This is all very well and good, but a major question arises. Do you really need high performance tires? There is a very obvious herd mentality that is encouraged by advertising, and everybody wants to have the best tires. What is more important, however, is that you have the tires that you need. Anything more than that is money
poured down the drain. You have to be cost-efficient.
Advantages of high performance tires
To be sure, there are some advantages to having platforms times these include the following:
- Better Handling. Soft rubber high-performance tires allow the tire to better hug the road.
- Exceptional Traction. This happens because high-performance wide stance. Additional service allows greater connection to the road. This helps when the weather is bad.
- Better Stopping. The extra space of the high performance tire means you can stop quicker, and use less distance to bring your car to a halt.
These are some of the major advantages of high performance tires but you really pay a price for these qualities.
If you do not mind doing that, fine, but there are alternatives that costs less and have equally attractive features. All-season tires come to mind immediately. The traction is good on an all-season tire. They’re extremely valuable in the wintertime, and have been known to provide superior traction as the snow is falling. Granted, all-season tires might not have the same grip as a summer tire but they have longer tread lives than ordinary tires. All-season tires also provide a very comfortable ride, and are highly affordable. Unlike the high-performance tires it does take longer to stop the car.
Which tire to choose?
It becomes a challenge of deciding which tire is going to be the best for your needs. If you have a sports car, the high-performance tires will probably be your best bet. These allow the driver to better explore the capabilities of his or her automobile. Then again, the all-season tire is cheaper with a longer tread life. You also want to consider if a comfortable ride is more important than the thrill of riding on tires with better handling.
When you look at all of the pros and cons, it boils down to there being no one best tire. Much depends on what you expect out of those four rubber wheels you are driving on. If you need something that is going to be gripping the road, and you will be often driving in conditions such as heavy rain, the preference can point towards the high-performance tire. The average driver should be looking at tires as if he or she is looking at sensible shoes, which is not a bad idea.
Because when you choose shoes, the rule of thumb is to buy the best quality which you can afford. That plays well with tire selection. You can check the treads on the tire, at the same time deciding whether performance is going to critical. If speed is not a major wish, high-performance tires will be a big waste of money. Also keep in mind your driving. All-season tires may be better for the family. What is essential is not to simply follow the crowd as you go out and purchase tires. You have to keep in mind what is best for you and the automobile. Buying a tire just for the sake of saying that you have an ultra-high-performance tire is a little bit silly. There are many other brands of out there that provide the kind of performance you want to have, and the comfort you would like. You can take a look at those other wheels as well. Remember that you don’t necessarily need a high-performance tire unless it fits certain criteria. You can do just as well with something that is a little less expensive, even though it might not have the super traction or the performance. The less expensive tire might do the job for you, and not cost nearly as much as high performance rubber wheels.
Many parts of USA have recently faced severe cold & snow fall that blocked the normal life for few days. Pollution or whatever the cause behind this; one thing for sure that winter with its cold blow will continue for rest of the season. And we may expect to get some rough weather. Is your car ready for the season? Here are some things you should consider to get the automobile ready for the rest of the cold weeks.
1. Check the Pressure in Your Tires. You’ll be glad, you did this as you go out
onto icy roads. Pressure in the tires goes down in cold weather and you need to maintain the proper amount of air pressure in tires. It is not just to keep things safe because properly inflated tires can save money on gasoline. You may also want to think of using snow tires if you happen to live in areas with a lot of hills.
2. Check All the Fluids in Your Car. Winter is no time to get stuck on the road because of problems with the oil and transmission fluid. Oil in particular is going to thicken in cold weather, and you should be sure that you have the right oil for your model of car. Other fluids can also get thicker in subzero weather, so be sure that they are at the right levels and do the necessary fluid changes.
3. Clean Up the Battery. The posts and the connection of the battery need to be cleaned and brushed. You also have to make sure the battery has the proper level of water. A battery which is getting old ought to be checked by a professional repair shop to see if it can still charge. By all means have jumper cables in your trunk, or means of contacting emergency road assistance. You need to be safe in the event you are caught out on the open road in a major storm.
4. Inspect The Belts and Cables in the Car. Cold weather can cause cracking and considerable amount of wear on the belts. The cables should be in good order, and mended if there happens to be a crack in the insulation. Once again, this is for safety on the open road. If the belt snaps in the middle of a blizzard, you are going to be more than sorry.
5. Take A Look at the Defroster and Heater. These have to be working properly in subzero weather. If they are not, you could be facing a major safety hazard if you are stalled in a blizzard. The repair work could be a little expensive but it is well worth the price you will pay.
6. The Windshield Wiper and Washer Fluid. There needs to be new wiper blades installed so that you can see effectively. Vision problems are not always caused by snow and ice. Debris is sprayed onto windshield by other cars and can dirty up the windshield. This is why your washer fluid should be at the proper level.
7. The Anti-Freeze in Your Car Should Be at the Right Level. Your engine is going to have antifreeze ordinarily at a ratio of 50/50 to the water. Wintertime makes things a little bit different. That ratio should be more 60/40 to compensate for the freezing weather.
You probably noticed by now that safety is the major concern in getting the car ready for the winter months. Storms can happen suddenly and drop the temperature as much as 20° in the space of an hour. Strong winds can also play a major factor. You have to be ready for any emergency in winter. Your tires should be able to grip the road firmly and the brakes must work well. This perhaps a good time to have an overall tune up to be done on the car. While it should’ve been done before Thanksgiving, it is still not too late to see to it the car is ready for the weather.
We will probably have a few more weeks of nasty weather. The good news is that spring is not that far away. If your car is properly maintained and ready for the storms, you will not have a problem at all. A final thing to remember is trying to drive a little bit slower in the ice and snow. Things can get slick and you do not want to be in an accident.
Your automobile is your pride and joy if you really love cars. It is your little baby, and you do not want anybody else detailing or cleaning it. This is good do-it-yourself project but you have to be careful about a few things. you need to be mindful and do certain steps and avoid other mistakes as well.
1. Wear Soft Clothes and Do Not Wear Jewelry. The reason why is you don’t want to accidentally scratch the car surface. Zippers and jewelry could leave a scratch you do not want on your car.
2. Do not use a Sponge. A sponge is a great device to use on the kitchen floor but it has an abrasive surface. You are better off using a surface mitt, or something else that is made of gentle cloth.
3. Be Careful About the Water. You should never use dirty water on the surface of your car. If you are doing the entire vehicle, you would wash the wheels and tires first, and then dispose of the water. When you are working on the body, you can have one bucket for the car shampoo/water mixture, and another filled with clean water. Once you have finished cleaning, you would use clean water to remove any soap suds. The car has to be completely dry before you apply any polish
4. Do the Work in a Cool and Shady Spot. The hot sun can evaporate the water while you are working and leave water spots that don’t look too good. It is better to do the cleaning when the weather is cool outside, and in the shade of a tree or house. The surface of the car must be cool as well. If hot the temperature will force the evaporation that will leave water spots. A good rule of thumb about temperature is to do the work in the morning.
5. Never Use Dish or Laundry Detergent. Dish and laundry detergent contain chemicals that may not work well with the paint on your car. The car wash shampoo is what you need, because it has the ingredients that you need to have to do the cleaning without damaging the finish.
6. Use a Buffer Instead of Polishing by Hand. You may feel that you are adding a special touch when you polish your car by hand, but what happens is that you may get an uneven result. You might also accidentally produce streaks. A buffer applies the right amount of pressure to the car wax and can make the body sparkle. Think of it as what you do when you polish your shoes. A buffer always makes the shine stand out. The car polish should be done in wide circular counterclockwise motion.
7. Go Easy on Car Wax. A thin sheet of wax is all you are going to need, The biggest problem with applying too much wax is that it can cause streaks and leaves an unsightly appearance which you have to fix.
8. Pay Attention to the Bird Droppings and Other Debris. This is part of the cleaning which has to be done as soon as it is noticed. Bird droppings contain acid that can eat into the paint of the car. The same may be true in any other debris and sticking to the surface. You do not want to be in a situation where you have to use a sander to get rid of these eyesores. Water can be applied to eliminate them.
9. Use a Soft Towel to Dry Your Car. Having the car dry in the sun runs the risk of having watermarks appear. You want to drive the servers off of the soft towel. Always be careful that something which is abrasive does not touch what you’ve just completed doing.
You should also clean your car in winter, to remove salt that may have come from the road. Be careful doing this in cold climate, and you may want to do most of the work in your garage. You really do not want to have dirt and debris accumulate on your car. The matter how good it looked when it was first purchase, the paint job is going to dull over the years if proper attention is not paid.
“It’s 5’o Clock Somewhere”
Our cars that we drive day in/day out deal with our crazy lifestyles. The daily routines, unannounced weather conditions, lane-switching, music-blasting, brake-slamming behavior is just a “snapchat” of what our babies have to endure. Although they do not show their emotional breakdowns as we do, they are machines that have their good and bad days too. When your car is running outstandingly smooth it just makes you want to cruise down A1A, windows down, music up, and appreciate the moment. However, when your car is a bit cranky and not running as it should, it is probably because you need to pour her a good ole’ drink!
We all know that staying hydrated helps keeps our body feeling and acting healthy. I have also heard in recent studies that one glass of red wine every night can help prevent heart disease (thank you to whomever performed that experiment). Like humans, our cars have several ways to prevent the unexpected doctor’s visit.
Like water (or wine), oil in cars is used to keep the engine functioning properly. The moving parts included in a car’s engine need to be hydrated and lubricated for free movement. In turn, when the oil filters start to collect too much grime, varnish, and carbon it can unfortunately cause engine failure. Therefore, we need to keep our vehicles hydrated and even treat them to a nice happy hour once in awhile.
For luxury cars like mine, the average oil change is expected every 10,000 miles or about six months (depending on how much you drive), although your vehicle manual will most likely dictate the recommended time frame. Remember: Prevention is preparation. Clogged oil filters can result in a worn-out piston or an engine cleaning, both too costly while you splurge on your next Tory Burch bag.
My Car’s Time of the Year
As a woman, I must say we have so many schedules and updates we live by . From “it’s that time of the year”…to ” that time of the month”… to “time of the week”…and even “time of the days”. If you know what I am talking about, we are all on the same boat. There are those “times” that we can call ourselves pros when it comes to self-maintenance, such as scheduling your regular mani-pedi or highlight touch-ups. However, there are those other “times” that we dread just because after all the years, we perhaps still feel like rookies.
The other day I noticed it is nearly time for my baby (2013 6-Speed Mini Cooper S) to receive maintenance. Being that my father has always taken care of my car needs for as long as I can remember, I can embarrassingly admit that I am a rookie in this game field, just like many others. For that reason, I did my research to earn a self-degree with specialization in Motherhood of my Mini Cooper.
The Importance of Car Maintenance
Here in West Palm Beach we all know about and are familiar with hurricane damage. When you are looking to buy used car make sure you don’t get stuck buying one that has hurricane damage.
Whenever there is hurricane flooding, there is sure to be someone trying to sell a used car that has been ruined by hurricane damage. Used car buyers in Florida need to be aware that some used car dealerships may try to sell used cars that have hurricane damage. Foreign Affairs would like to share some tips with you so you know what to look for so you don’t get stuck buying a used car that has hurricane damage.
Here are some signs that a car may have been flooded by hurricane damage. Read the rest of this entry »
The 2011 BMW 535i at Foreign Affairs Auto is a great choice for a used BMW in West Palm Beach. The BMW 5-Series is a mid-sized sport sedan that was redesigned for the 2011 model and it’s a true driver’s car when you compare it to other mid-sized luxury sedans. The 2011 BMW 5-Series feels sportier and is more impressive than the previous model it’s replacing and gives you a sports sedan that will impress you and your passengers. A quality used BMW in West Palm Beach is a great choice for luxury sports sedan.
When you see this used BMW in West Palm Beach at Foreign Affairs Auto you will love it. The lower roofline and stretched wheel base have combined nicely to give the 2011 BMW 535i in West Palm Beach a markedly sleeker appearance.