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We're Only Human But Cars Need Healthcare Too!

Who's in Better Health, Your Car Or You?

When was the last time you went in for a checkup? You might not think about it often, but just like our own health, our cars need regular healthcare too!

They need regular tune-ups to keep them running properly. And just like us, if we neglect their needs, they'll eventually break down.

While it may start as a small problem, it can quickly turn into something major if left unchecked. This is why regular car maintenance is so important.

Cars need oil changes, tune-ups, new tires, and other services to keep them running properly. Depending on the make and model of your car, you might need different types of maintenance.

Always reference your manufacturer's owners manual to see what they recommend as well as an expert mechanic to  get the best service for your car.

Get Yourself And Your Car Out Of The House

One of the best ways to keep your car running properly is to take it out of the garage and drive it on a regular basis. This helps to keep all the parts working correctly and prevents them from rusting or seizing up. It’s also a good idea to take your car on a long drive every now and then to keep

Heed The Warning Signs

Your car will usually give you some warning signs that it's time for maintenance before it completely breaks down. For example, the check engine light might come on, or you might hear a strange noise coming from the engine. These are both signs that something is wrong and that you should take your car in to be serviced.

Follow Your Recommend Scheduled Maintenance

Every car is different, and each one has its own specific maintenance schedule. This schedule is put in place by the manufacturer and is based on the car's design and how often it needs various services.

For example, some cars need their oil changed every 3,000 miles while others can go much longer between oil changes when using synthetic oil. This is just one example, but there are many different types of maintenance that need to be performed on a car, and the schedule varies from one make and model to the next.

Get Regular Inspections

In addition to following your car's scheduled maintenance, you should also get regular inspections. These are typically done once a year, but they can be done more often if you drive often or put a lot of miles on your car.

During an inspection, a mechanic will take a close look at all the major components of your car to make sure they're in good shape and working properly. This can help prevent small problems from turning into big ones.

Did The Light Flash Before Your Eyes?

Don't ignore that pesky “Check Engine.” light. It has been known to come on for lots of different reasons, but the best thing to do is not take a chance. It could be something as simple as a loose gas cap, or it could be something more serious like a problem with the engine. Either way, you won't know until you have it looked at

The Road Less Traveled.

Do you ever feel that your car is vibrating more than usual or that the steering isn’t as responsive as it used to be? These could be signs of a problem with the suspension, which is something that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

A car's suspension system is what helps keep the ride smooth, so if it's not working properly, it can make for a very bumpy ride. As a matter of fact, driving on a bad suspension can actually do damage to the tires and other parts of the car, so it's best to get it fixed as soon as possible.

The bottom line is you shouldn't feel like you're going on an off-road trail every time you get into the car.

No Smoking Zone

When it comes to cars , “smoke” is never a good sign. If you see exhaust smoke, it means there's a problem with the engine. The color of the smoke can give you a clue as to what the problem might be.

For example, blue smoke usually indicates an oil leak, while white smoke is usually an indication of a coolant leak. Black smoke is usually due to a problem with the fuel system, such as too much fuel being burned.

If you see any type of smoke coming from your car, it's best to take it in to be checked out as soon as possible.

Be Sensitive And Listen To Your Car's Computer

Cars nowadays have sensors that tell you when to change your oil, as well as other fluids. These are there for a reason, so don't ignore them.

When In Doubt Get Checked Out.

It's funny how your own health  is always the last thing you think about. The same can be said for your car. Just like your body, cars need check-ups to make sure everything is functioning properly.

If you're ever unsure about something, or if something just doesn't feel right, it's best to take your car in to be serviced.

Bad Habits Are Hard To Break

Does your car feel like it's on its last leg? Is the engine making weird noises, or are the brakes squeaking, In your mind you know that you need to replace your car soon, but you don't want to spend the money. 

We'll take your old car off your hands and give you a fair price for it, whether you're buying a new or used car from us. Plus, we'll help you through every step of the process so that trading in your old car is easy and stress-free.

Didn't Recall Notice That Letter In The Mail

Are You At Risk? - It Could Be Dangerous If You Don't Recall

Have you ever gotten a letter in the mail about your vehicle having a recall? You think to yourself oh it's just junk mail and trash it. But what if that letter was legitimate and your vehicle needed a recall because of an issue with the seatbelts or airbags?

If you ignored that letter, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk in the event of an accident. So what is a recall and why do automakers issue them?

If an automaker discovers a safety issue, it will report the problem to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA investigates the issue and if it finds the problem poses a safety risk, it can order the automaker to issue a recall.

Do You Have To Pay For Recall Repairs Yourself?

Another reason people ignore recall letters is because they think they will have to pay for the repairs themselves. But that is not the case, automakers have to foot the bill for all recall-related repairs.

If you get a recall letter in the mail, don't ignore it. Bring your vehicle to a dealer and get it fixed as soon as possible. It could end up saving your life.

Do Recalls On Cars Affect Trade In Value?

According to Motor Biscuit

"A dealer may choose to offer you less for a trade-in with an open recall. But a savvy shopper can have most recalls rectified before trading. This way, recalls won’t hurt the used car’s value. Sometimes, a resolved recall can improve the value of a vehicle on the used car market. However, owning a car with a recent recall that the manufacturer has not yet solved may trap you with a low trade-in value for several months"

Regardless of how a recall notice affects your trade in value, you should still get the recall repaired as it could be a serious safety issue.

How to Check If Your Car Has a Recall

The best way to find out if your car has a recall is to enter your VIN (vehicle identification number) on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website.

How to protect your car from rust

Rust never sleeps: Here's how you can protect your car

No matter what type of automotive rustproofing protection you favour (electronic, one-time spray, factory coating or annual treatments) there are large gaps in warranty coverage from even the best companies out there. First things first; if you operate a vehicle on public roads 12 months of the year, there really is no such thing as rustproofing. About the best we can hope for is to slow down Mother Nature’s ravage of our daily drivers so that the loan payments end before the sheet metal. We really can’t stop rust altogether.

All rustproofing suppliers offer pretty much the same warranty; they will repair or replace outer sheet metal panels if rusted through from inside/out and if all other guarantee conditions have been met (annual inspections, reapplications, etc.). But what about all the other steel and iron on the vehicle? Cast iron and steel suspension and steering components, fuel and brake fluid lines, exhaust systems, fuel tanks and straps can all be affected by rust and can bring major repair bills. Is there anything we can do to extend the life of these components?

1. Park carefully. Parking your vehicle on grass, dirt, snow or poorly drained surfaces is just asking for rust to come and take up permanent residence in your vehicle. As our vehicles spend most of their idle time at our place of residence, tackling the home-parking front can go a long way to keeping rust at bay. If you think investing in a driveway improvement is too expensive, ask your regular repair garage for some cost estimates on replacing brake rotors, exhaust systems, suspension control arms, fuel tank and the like and you’ll quickly find the financial justification. Don’t rest easy if your parking lane is paved. Old cracked asphalt surfaces can provide just as much moisture to the undercarriage of your chariot as a dirt field in spring. Even applying a layer of asphalt sealer can help out.

2. Keep it clean. Most of us like to keep the paint work and interior of our vehicles clean, but what about the underbelly? If you drive on gravel or dirt roads or take an off-road adventure from time to time, the mud and gunk that can collect underneath your vehicle will act as a moisture trap increasing the speed with which your wheels will head to the scrap yard. Check horizontal surfaces under the car/truck such as control arms, skid-plates, axles, etc. from time to time and do a little down-and-dirty cleaning when needed. If you don’t have a pressure washer, a garden hose and stiff brush will do. You may have to jack the vehicle to improve clearance, so make sure you take the necessary precautions with proper jack supports and wheel chocks and have a spotter standing by.

3. Keep it full. One of the most expensive repairs a driver can face because of rust is the replacement of a fuel pump module (the electric fuel pump and level sender unit located in the tank). While the interior parts of this piece (which can range in price from $300-$1500 plus labour) are well protected, its metal top plate and output lines are very exposed and prone to rusting. Fuel tanks and their parts can be attacked from two sources of moisture leading to rust. The first is external and the second is internal condensation caused by the difference between liquid fuel and outside air temperatures in a humid environment. Keeping the fuel tank topped off during the wet seasons can help to reduce the condensation effect. It also provides better traction in snow and on icy surfaces.

4. Blow it clean. On trucks and SUVs with large fuel tanks, the dirt, dust, and road grime that can collect on the top of the tank can lead to premature rusting of the fuel pump module. The labour involved in periodically lowering the tank to inspect and clean off its top can be pricey and can make it hard to justify as a means of extending the life of the pump module. A safe DIY method involves spraying compressed air on top of the tank while it’s mounted in its location to dislodge any debris or gunk. Use safety goggles and go easy on the air nozzle trigger as small stones can hurt when propelled by compressed air.

5. Spray it on. While no rustproofing company will guarantee undercarriage components against rust, that’s not a reason to not have the more vulnerable iron and steel parts treated. You can purchase aerosol cans of rust inhibitors at most auto parts stores, or you can have the pros take care of it for you. If doing it yourself, avoid getting any spray on brake rotors, drums, linings, or calipers. Keep it off hot surfaces such as catalytic converters and exhaust components as well as away from electrical wiring and connectors. Don’t overdo it. It’s better to perform annual touch-ups rather than try to lather on enough protection for the next decade.

Article Originally published driving.ca

Car Maintenance Tips

Properly maintaining your car is key to keeping it in top condition. It can also help ensure your safety, the safety of your passengers and your fellow drivers. Here are some ways to help keep your car running smoothly.

The Car Maintenance Checklist

Consider adding these items to your vehicle maintenance "to do" list:

Inspect and Maintain Tires

Knowing how to maintain your car's tire pressure can help reduce wear on the tires and helps ensure you're getting good gas mileage. Checking your tire pressure includes finding the recommended pressure, checking the PSI and inflating or deflating your tires accordingly.

A flat tire is a hazard that can be dangerous to you and your car. There are several preventative steps you can take to help avoid a blowout, including rotating your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles and watching for tire recalls.

Change the Oil

Routinely checking and changing your car's oil is essential to keeping its engine in running condition. Check your oil each month and change it as directed in the car's owner's manual.

You can change your oil yourself or take it to a service center. If you choose to do it yourself, learn the necessary steps to drain the fluid, set the correct oil level and dispose of old oil.

You should also know which type of motor oil is best for your car, regardless of whether you change the oil yourself or take it to a service center. This generally means considering three things — the oil viscosity, whether to use synthetic versus non-synthetic oil and your car's mileage.

Check the Fluids

There are several fluids that should be kept at the appropriate levels to help keep your car running properly. According to Popular Mechanics, you or your mechanic should check:

  • Engine oil

  • Coolant

  • Power steering fluid

  • Brake fluid

  • Transmission fluid

A leak with any of these fluids can affect the way your car drives. If you spot a leak, you may be able to identify the fluid by its color. This can help you and your mechanic determine where the leak is coming from. It can also help speed up the repair process.

Test the Lights

A broken or burnt-out bulb is a safety hazard and might get you a ticket. Learn how to thoroughly inspect each bulb on your car. If a bulb is out, take your car to an expert to determine whether it's the bulb or the fuse that needs replacing.

Headlights are key safety lights on your car. Consider taking a few extra steps to help keep them shining bright, such as cleaning the lenses and replacing bulbs as they start to dim.

Replace Windshield Wipers

If your wipers aren't working like they used to, don't let the problem linger. Damaged or worn out blades can reduce visibility during a heavy rain or a snowstorm. Knowing how to inspect your wiper blades regularly and replace them when necessary is one way to help keep your car safe.

Change Your Engine Air Filter

A dirty engine air filter can allow dirt and other particulates into your car's engine and reduce its efficiency. Inspect your car's air filter once a year and replace it as needed.

Regular Checkups

Some routine car care tasks can be done at home, but others require trained technicians. Take your car to a technician if the check engine light comes on. Trained technicians can diagnose the problem through the car's on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) port.

A qualified repair shop will also be able to inspect and replace other core components like the alternator and the wheel bearings. Scheduling regular tune-ups will help ensure that your car gets other maintenance items repaired as well.

Have Your Brakes Checked

Your car's brake pads also require regular inspection. While driving, listen for any brake noise and pay attention to shuddering or vibrating from the brake pedal. If any concerns arise, consult a service center as soon as possible

Wash Your Car

Your car is subjected to all sorts of elements, from road salt and ice melt in the winter to tree sap and bird droppings in the summer. Some of these hazards are not only unsightly but can cause damage to paint and the undercarriage, according to AccuWeather.

Keeping your car clean may help prevent long-term damage. Find the car washing method that works for you and regularly wash your car.

Check Belts and Hoses

Keeping your car's belts and hoses in good shape can help keep your car running and may help you avoid a breakdown on the road. For example, if your serpentine belt breaks while you're driving, it may cause many of your car's systems to fail.

Having your belts and hoses checked at every oil change will help ensure that they're in good condition and don't need replacing.

Review Your Car Insurance

Just like regular car checkups, it's a good idea to review your car insurance policy from time to time. This can help ensure your policy's coverages, limits and deductibles are up-to-date and suitable for your current situation.

Keeping your car in good shape can help keep you and your passengers safe. And remember, if you're ever unsure about how to inspect or replace a car part, be sure to contact a local mechanic for help.

Article Originally published allstate.com

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