Tag Archives: carwash

10 Quick Tips

10 Quick Tips For a Healthier Ride

Thanks to technological advancements and mobile connectivity the world seems to be moving at a faster pace than ever before.  According to a Gallup data collected from 2013 and 2014 nearly the average full-time employee works 47 hours a week.  Chalk up another 3.7 hours each day spent on social media, along with all the time spent running errands, eating, sleeping, hanging out with family/friends and countless other things going on day after day…and suddenly we’re surprised when our vehicle develops an odd noise, blows out a tire or the check-engine light comes on.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Don’t be too hard on yourself if it does.  Life is legitimately busy and full of distractions that constantly compete for our attention, so we often adopt the mantra “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Unfortunately, when it comes to automobiles, neglecting routine maintenance can turn into an expensive game.  For example, on average, vehicles need 3-4 oil changes annually to maintain optimal engine performance.  At $30 per change, we could expect to spend $90-120 per year on this service alone.  If, on the other hand, we just drove the vehicle until the engine burned up (no oil changes), our $100-200 short-term savings would suddenly become either a $4,000-6,000 expense to swap out the engine or a $250 monthly payment toward a new ride. Ouch, right?

Our suggestion: If you own any type of vehicle, set aside a little time to become familiar with more than just the fuel tank.  Here are 10 things you can do to help extend the life of your vehicle.

Every Week

  1. Check the tire pressure.  Most pressure gauges are the size of a pen and fit conveniently in the glove box. This 5 minute task will help your tires wear evenly, extending their useful life and giving you better stopping distances.
  2. Check for pooling oil and other fluids on the driveway or in the garage where you park.  Really, this is a daily type of thing and doesn’t require you to do anything other than be observant.
  3. Pay attention to the trouble-lights. Vehicles today are set up with some pretty awesome technology that is programmed to notify you when something is not working properly.  When your check-engine light or any other trouble light comes on, get it checked out by a professional asap.
  4. Check/Top off windshield fluid. Driver visibility is a vital component to safe driving and while we can’t speak for every windshield, ours certainly seem to collect dust, pollen and bug guts that all need to be washed off.  Checking the windshield fluid should take less than 2 minutes once you know what you are looking for under the hood.
  5. Clean out the interior.  Did you know that clean vehicles can last 25-30% longer than messy ones?  Drivers who take time to de-clutter their vehicle are more likely to notice when things do not sound, smell or feel right…like having enhanced “spider senses.”

 

Every Month

  1. Check your oil once a month. Even though that sticker says you don’t have to get an oil change for another 8 weeks, go ahead and check your engine oil anyway. It only takes 4-5 minutes and can let you know if your engine is burning oil or how serious a leak may be. The dipstick handle to check this is typically yellow.
  2. Check transmission fluid levels.  Next time you go for a drive, try counting how many times your vehicle shifts gears. In order to work properly, those gears require a specific type of transmission fluid.  The transmission dipstick handle is typically red and not always convenient, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic to point you in the right direction.
  3. Check coolant levels.  Just like people, engines don’t run for very long when temperatures get too high.  Metal expands when it gets hot, and at about 245 degrees Fahrenheit different parts of an engine can begin to distort.  Coolant, also called anti-freeze helps to regulate temperatures inside the engine so you cave dependable performance.
  4. Visually inspect turn signals and other exterior lighting. External lighting doesn’t have an impact on engine performance, but it can increase your visibility to other drivers and they only take a minute or two to check.
  5. Give your vehicle a bath at least once a month depending on the season.  Dirt, debris and especially salt buildup on your vehicle create an ideal environment for corrosion to take root. And by corrosion, we mean rust, which could easily be prevented with a 10 minute trip to the local car wash.

We’ve noticed that if these simple things don’t get put on the ‘To do’ list, they just won’t happen.  So what we’re suggesting is, put down your smart phone or your tablet and take 20-30 minutes, once a week to become a little more familiar with your car, truck, Jeep, SUV, boat, motorcycle, train or whatever you drive.  Social media and the internet will still be there when you get back (maybe)…and this will give you something interesting to share with all your Facebook friends.  Brb gtg chk my oil, u shd chk urs 2.

Road Salt vs. Vehicle

The Good

With snow and ice come salt, chemicals and sand.  Placing salt and other chemicals on the roadways helps to lower the freezing point of water, effectively melting ice despite freezing temperatures.  Adding sand to the mix provides temporary traction, and also helps to keep salt in place.

The Bad

According to the DMV, “While road salting helps people travel safely, it has drawbacks. It can cause major body and undercarriage damage to your vehicles unless you take extra care and precaution.”  Salt buildup damages the clear-coat finish on paint, it fuels body corrosion and it can eventually lead to the breakdown of a vehicles mechanical parts.

In the St. Louis area, it is nearly impossible to avoid driving through salt-rich sludge that forms on the roadways in winter. So what can be done to prevent vehicular corrosion?  The DMV suggests that keeping your vehicle clean is the best solution to reduce damage that may be caused by salt and sand.

The Not-So-Ugly

The most effective way to keep a vehicle clean is to use the car wash as often as possible.  Most automated car wash bays in the St. Louis area offer undercarriage cleaning and wax coating which helps to remove saline buildup and then protect against future accumulation of salt and dirt.  Following a carwash, consider taking a little extra time to hand-dry the edges of the vehicle doors and trunk to prevent them from freezing shut overnight.

 

Now through through the end of February, Axleboy Automotive is giving away a free car wash with every service over $50.