Car Care

What Not To Do To Your Car in Winter

By amber.

5 Car Hacks You Should Avoid in Winter

Frozen Car

1. Don't use hot water to defrost your windshield! 

A windshield that's frozen over can crack if hot water is used to de-ice it. For that matter, any window or rubber seal that's frozen could crack and break. Instead, turn your car on and use its heating system to slowly melt any ice and snow. Alternatively, you can simply cover your car with an inexpensive tarp when parking it outside overnight. If you can't get into your car, and you left it uncovered, use lukewarm/cool water to de-ice your windshield without the risk of cracking it.

2. Don't leave your wiper blades raised!

Wind can easily snap your wiper blades down on your windshield hard, causing it to crack! It's much better to leave them in their normal position and stop them icing over in the first place. You can wrap each blade and arm in a plastic bag, or simply put a tarp over the top of your car. If you didn't cover your car, and ice has formed around your windshield wipers and the bottom of your windshield, you can use lukewarm/cool water to start de-icing it. Make sure to clear out any debris from around the base of the blades and windshield using a brush or your hand.  

3. Don't charge a cold, dead battery with high voltage! 

Charging a dead battery in cold weather with high voltage, such as from revving a large engine or the full-power setting on your battery charger, can damage the cells and connectors. The power from a running smaller vehicle might also be too much. Instead, charge your battery with a medium or low setting battery charger for a few hours or bring it to an autobody or mechanic shop if you don't have one. If your battery is frozen, bring it into a warm place to defrost before attempting to charge it. Any bulging of the battery casing indicates that the liquid electrolyte has frozen and the battery mostly likely needs to be replaced.

4. Don't use a lighter to unfreeze frozen windows, locks and doors!

Using a lighter can damage newer keys that have sensors and other electronics embedded in them. Not to mention it's just impractical and dangerous to use a lighter for unfreeze anything else! It's much better to used a blow dryer, lukewarm/cool water or de-icing fluid if your car has frozen over. A trick to unstick a car door is to push against it to break the seal, chip away at any remaining ice and use lukewarm/cool water to melt it. If your locks are frozen, try a spray lubricant, a de-icing spray and a hair dryer. For frozen windows, the same techniques will work. To prevent these things from freezing in the first place, put garbage bags between the doors and the frame, and cover your car with a tarp.

5. Don't use your wiper blades to remove snow and ice from your windshield!

The arms of wiper blades are delicate, easily broken and very costly to replace. To prevent any damage, make sure your windshield wipers are turned off as you park your car. Use a proper brush and scraper to remove ice and snow from the windshield, or any of the techniques above, instead of your wiper blades. Be careful to avoid the windshield washer jets with the brush/snow scraper, as these little jets are easily damaged.

Top 10 car maintenance mistakes

By amber.

Here are the top 10 car maintenance mistakes and what you can do to avoid them:

1. Mistake: Not getting someone to check your tires at least 2x a year.

Solution: Check your owner's manual for suggested pressure and rotation check periods.

2. Mistake: Not replacing your wiper blades when the rubber has hardened and makes squeaking noises.

Solution: Replacing your wiper blades very fall is ideal, and more frequently in certain climates.

3. Mistake: Not changing your spark plugs every 100,000 miles.

Solution: Check and replace your spark plugs, coolant and timing belt every 60, 000 and 120, 000 miles all together to save you time and effort.

4. Mistake: Filling up your car with higher-than-required octane.

Solution: Use the correct octane for your engine's rating ONLY. Not doing so wastes your money, and does not improve your engine's performance.

How to save money on gas

By amber.

We're over the mid-week hump again! That means two more days of driving in rush hour traffic, for most of us, to get to work.

Here are some tips to help you drive more efficiently to save gas:

1. Drive sensibly, not aggressively. Speeding, braking and rapid acceleration wastes gas and can lower your fuel economy by 33% at highway speeds and 5% in the city.

2. Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage usually decreases above speeds of 50 mph. Observing the speed limit is also safer.

3. Remove excess weight. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle. This usually affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones, at a rate of 1%-2%/100 lbs reduction of your MPG.

4. Avoid excessive idling. Idling can use up 1/4 to 1/2 a gallon of gas per hour depending on the size of your engine and whether you have an a/c.

5. Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain your speed, and saves you money on gas.

Drive smart, and have a nice car!

Say NO! to vinegar...

By amber.

Don't use a vinegar-water solution to de-ice your windows and mirrors.

A common consensus among car detailers is that if the vinegar solution is not removed properly, it could remove the wax from your car and damage the paint, the seals and any chrome surfaces it comes into contact with.

Use commercial products instead, and follow the instructions closely on the packaging.

Stock Footage Scraping Off The Ice On A Car S Windshield On A Cold Winter Morning

Don't wait for winter tires...

By amber.

We're over the mid-week hump, and a little bit closer to the long weekend. Use this time to put winter tires on your car. Don't wait! Otherwise, you risk waiting a long time for an appointment and paying a lot more than you need to.

Have a nice car!