Making Your Car Spring-Ready: Top 3 Maintenance Tips

Easy Spring Car Care Tips

Spring is a great time for most car and truck owners to keep their vehicles clean and properly maintained. There are simple maintenance tasks you can do yourself to help you keep your car or truck in pristine shape, saving you time and money down the line.

Did you know that a good cleaning can remove about 70% to 90% of the plugged ash in your truck’s diesel particulate filter?

Here are the top three tips to get your wheels spring-ready. 

Keep your engine clean. It’s not just the exterior of your car that you keep clean but your engine as well. The engine is the life of your car. Though you leave the inner workings of your engine to expert mechanics and cleaners, you can still keep the exterior of your engine clean and in good condition. Debris like grease and dirt can buildup and can do quite a bit of damage if not taken care of. Do invest in a good cleaning product  and give your engine a gentle but thorough cleaning a couple of times this spring. 

Check your fluids. One of the easiest things you can do to keep your car in good condition is checking and changing the fluids regularly. Look into the following – your engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluids – and see if they are still within normal limits. They should be refilled or replaced as stated in your vehicle’s manual. You can have serious issues if you neglect your fluids, as they can accumulate dirt and sludge, causing the vehicle to have to work harder to run. So changing the fluids regularly will ensure your car can run smoothly.

Replace your windshield wipers. Consider not only cleaning your windshield, but replacing your windshield wipers, too. If you have old and ripped windshield wipers, you’re not going to be able to properly see when it’s raining or snowing. Replacing your wipers is a low-cost and easy task that can make a big difference when you’re on the road.

All Seasons Car Care Tips in Seattle

When you think you need us at Greenwood Collision Auto Shop to do your maintenance stuff, drop by and we’ll show you more helpful tips.

Don’t Make These Winter Driving Errors: Part Two

Worst Winter Driving Errors

Stopping in the middle of an incline. Drivers must leave plenty of room between their own car and the vehicle ahead of them. It’s important to keep the momentum going while traveling uphill. Stopping in the middle of an incline may cause you to become stuck or start sliding backward.

Not staying in your lane. Unnecessary lane changes may cause your car to hit a patch of black ice or force you to plow through a strip of deep snow. Instead, stay safe by staying straight in your lane until you must turn off the road.

Having a panic attack. In the event that you find yourself in a skidding situation, stay calm and maintain steady pressure on the brake. If your car has anti-lock brake system (ABS), it will automatically pump the brakes for you. Hold the brake pedal down and steer smoothly, looking in the direction you want the car to go. 

Using the cruise control. Don’t use cruise control with slick road conditions. Your car’s cruise control doesn’t have a feel for loose road conditions and will often add more power when you don’t need it, leading to a loss of control. Instead, retain full control of the gas pedal, brakes, and steering to ensure a safe drive during harsh winter conditions.

Trying to power your way out. Some cars with 4×4 system plus a good ground clearance can help get you up and moving in deeper snow. If you’re stuck in snow, clear the area around the front wheels and turn off any traction system. Then, gently shift back and forth between reverse and a low forward gear, spinning the wheels as little as possible. Call for help if your attempts fail.

Stuck and still running? After clearing the snow from the base of the vehicle and any snow blocking the exhaust pipe, turn engine on periodically to keep the interior of your car warm. You could run out of gas and potentially risk carbon monoxide poisoning  if you just let the engine run. You can open the window about 2 inches down and keep warm with a blanket. 

Speeding on overpasses. Speeding on a bridge or overpass in winter? Do you know the weather’s impact on bridges and overpasses – that’s where icy conditions develop first because of the different exposure to air. Surface conditions can be worse on a bridge than on the approach road just before it, so expect less traction. Slow down before you reach all bridges and overpasses; lower speeds allow for better reaction time.


Don’t Make These Winter Driving Errors: Part One

Minding Avoids Mishaps

See what winter driving experts are saying about the worst winter driving errors that could put you, your family and your car in danger. Minding the danger can help avoid accidents and emergencies.

Not preparing your car for the trip. So you will not forget, have your car dealer’s service department prep your ride for winter. Remember to ‘Put on the BRAKES’ (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe), encourages a thorough battery check because extreme cold requires more energy to start your car. Have the following checked: your lights, wiper blades, fluids, and the tire pressure, which can drop along with the temperature.

Driving on a quarter tank. Avoid the mistake of running on or close to empty. Keep your gas tank at least half full when driving in winter. Always have a charged cell phone in case of emergency. 

Are you ignoring the owner’s manual? Dig out that owner’s manual and brush up on your car’s anti-lock brakes, traction control system, and four- or all-wheel-drive (if equipped) to make sure you are comfortable with how it all works. 

Forgetting to change your tires. Winter tires provide added traction in snow and ice, even for vehicles already equipped with four- or all-wheel drive. Winter tires use special rubber compounds that stay flexible in the cold, providing better grip and improved braking even in extreme weather.

No emergency supplies. These are must-haves in any winter trip – standard snow brush and ice scraper, snow shovel and a container of cat litter, jumper cables, flashlight, emergency flares, and a bright piece of clothing that can be seen in a storm. Have an extra set of cold-weather clothing, blankets, and spare phone chargers. Keeping some high-calorie, non-perishable snacks and bottled water in the trunk, too.

Are you sitting too low? When you must drive in winter weather, raise your driver’s seat up higher. Sitting taller in your vehicle will provide better visibility of the road conditions and potentially dangerous obstacles that may be in front of and around your car.


Being Safe in Winter in Seattle

You can have a hassle-free and safe road trip in winter time if all drivers are just a bit more cautious in driving. Keeping these potential errors in mind can make a huge difference.

Traveling for The Holidays: Driving Smooth

Driving Tips for The Winter

Travelers who prepare themselves and their vehicles well for winter trips expect minimum trouble and maximum enjoyment on their journeys. Since we’d expect millions of US travelers to hit the road in the coming cold days, we are sharing a list of ‘must-dos’ for your safe and successful winter travel.

Be sure you have your car checked for winter readiness. Inspect your tires, including your spares, the oil, timing belt, battery, lights, windshield wipers, among others. Pay particular attention to your headlights and taillights, as well as your defrosters. Keep windows, exhaust pipe and defrosters clean. Remove all snow build-up before you go.

Bring along some extra items in your car, like extra clothing and emergency items. These will be handy if you break down in cold weather. Have a basic kit including a pair of gloves, weather-resistant pants and/or coat, an old pair of boots, blanket, jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries, and a windshield scraper. Toss in a few nutrition bars in, heavy with calories or other foods that won’t spoil. Important in cases of emergencies.

In bad weather conditions,  some SUVs and four-wheel-drive vehicles may have better traction when the vehicle is under way, but the four-wheel drive won’t help you stop any faster. Also, you may have the cruise control feature that may accelerate when you don’t need to, such as when you are climbing an icy bridge. So better skip the cruise control.  You can also put a bag of kitty litter in the trunk, both for added ballast to offer better traction, and to put under the wheels to get out of a slippery spot.

Stranded and you have to stay in your car? Run the engine for heat. Or if not, close the windows to keep heat in, and run the car for 10 minutes every hour, opening a front window when you do so.

Slow down by about 50% in bad weather as recommended by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In case of slippery roads, always keep distance from the car in front. 

When available, always opt for indoor parking when you stay in hotels or other establishments.


Need to fix up your car?

So when you find yourself among the unfortunate many who will need to call upon a collision specialist, seek out the auto body professionals at Greenwood Collision.

Car Maintenance: All You Need To Know Tips

You Can Do These Tips

If you want your most-prized car to last as long as it should, you obviously need to have the know-how in order to maintain it in top form. While you may be able to send your vehicle off to the repair and maintenance shop if the need arises, it’s good to keep tab of the more important essentials in car maintenance. Here are the top tips.

Inspect your car’s cooling system. Inspect for swelled, chafed, cracked or weeping hoses. A burst hose can leave you stranded. Make sure there’s enough coolant in the overflow reservoir. Add more as required. Your system should need flushing out if the antifreeze looks discolored or rusty. That’s a sign it is long overdue.

Check your car’s timing belt. If you notice heavy abrasions on the belt, cracking across the grooves, lengthwise tearing or other obvious signs of damage there’s the need to replace it as soon as you can.
Examine your car’s air filter. Your engine’s output can be reduced if your air filter is clogged with dirt and debris because it won’t flow as much as it should. Without a free-flowing supply of oxygen, internal combustion simply can’t take place.

Change your flat tire. Every driver should be able to change a flat tire, though, unfortunately, temporary spares have become less and less common. The ability to jack a vehicle up, remove a flat and install a spare is an important skill to have. Also, be able to rotate those tires, a bit more time consuming, though the payoff is prolonged tire life. Reprogram the tire-pressure monitoring system so it accurately shows which tire is where. And also, check your tire pressure.

Add oil regularly. If the engine is low on lube, every driver should also be able to top off the crankcase. Pour your oil and make sure it’s the correct viscosity. To avoid overfilling, add small amounts until the correct level is achieved. Car engines typically take between four and five quarts. Further, you could also change the oil and filter.

Replace your windshield wipers. Occasionally, you’ll need a fresh set of windshield wipers. Look for tears, warped edges or if the blades smear already rather than wipe the glass. Helping ensure your vehicle’s windshield is clear of precipitation and road grime is washer fluid. Unobstructed visibility is critical to safe driving.

More Car Maintenance Tips in Seattle

Get more car maintenance tips from your local auto repair shop in Seattle at Greenwood Collision. If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.