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How to Clean Foggy Headlights

Foggy Headlights
admin 2020-01-15

Foggy headlights are not only a safety hazard on dark roads, but they also make your car look worn out. Luckily, the solution is usually pretty simple. This quick guide walks you through the DIY steps to restoring your car’s shine.

What Causes Foggy Headlights?

The lenses in car headlights used to be made of glass, but today they’re mostly comprised of a thick plastic. This means they’re more durable, but UV rays from the sun eventually degrade the outer layers of plastic, giving foggy headlights that yellowy, opaque look.

What You’ll Need

Auto supply stores sell headlight restoration kits, which provide a bottled cure for foggy headlights. But there are also home remedies that you can use in a pinch. Plus, most people already have these supplies just lying around.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Old towels
  • Toothpaste
  • Disposable gloves
  • Masking Tape
  • Water

Once you’ve gathered supplies, follow these simple steps:

  1. Rinse headlights and pat them dry.
  2. Protect the paint and plastic around your headlights with masking tape.
  3. Put on latex gloves, if you chose to wear them. Scrub foggy headlights with a dab of toothpaste and a little water, using a clean cloth, or soft-bristled brush.
  4. Rinse both headlights, and allow time for them to air dry. If you have it at hand, it’s all right to apply a small amount of car wax to protect your clean headlights.

Overall, this quick tip is a simple process that should only take about ten minutes, and next time you’re out for an evening drive, you’ll definitely notice better visibility.

If you have any further questions about headlight maintenance or replacement options, please contact us at our shop. We can be reached at (925) 284-3390.

How to Make Your Tires Last Longer

make your tires last longer
admin 2019-12-19

New car tires aren’t cheap, but they’re vital to your safety. Before you hit the road, check out these maintenance tips to make your tires last longer.  

  1. Rotate Tires
    Uneven tire wear is common, even with all-wheel drive vehicles. Tires last longer when they’re rotated. The general recommendation is every 4,000 miles. A technician can move them to a new position during a routine oil change. It’s not a bad idea to have this done prior to a long road trip.
  2. Tire Pressure
    Maintaining the correct air pressure is the simplest way to ensure tires last longer. Extreme weather can affect tire pressure. Regardless, they’ll lose at least a pound of pressure per square inch (PSI) every month. This matters because the wrong air pressure can increase wear and breaking times. Additionally, it makes a blowout more likely.
    You’ll also get fewer miles to the gallon if there isn’t enough air in your tires, so check once a month.
  3. Alignment
    You can be sure your alignment is off if your car pulls to one side or the other, or the steering wheel shakes. Sometimes neither of these signs will be present when the alignment is off, though. Little things can shift the alignment, like driving over a pothole, or bumping the curb, so a mechanic should adjust your car’s alignment every six months.
  4. Tread: The Penny Test
    It’s dangerous to drive on bald tires. Check for uneven wear or flat spots, as well as any cuts or cracks. You can use a tread depth gauge. There should be a 2/32 inch tread depth. If you don’t have a gauge, you can use a penny. Slide the coin into the tread upside down and facing you. If you see all of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires.
  5. Balance Tires
    While you’re having your wheels rotated, you might as well get them balanced, too. Your mechanic uses a special machine to do this. Even new tires aren’t perfect. Regularly balancing them will promote even wear.

If you follow these five tips, your vehicle will be safer and handle better, and your tires will last longer. Just remember to keep track of maintenance so you can stay on schedule. If you have any questions, please give us a call at (925) 284-3390 or request an appointment.

Tips for Keeping Your Car in Storage

Car in Storage
admin 2019-11-16

Cars need to be driven on a regular basis or they begin to break down. Issues can range from ruined tires to rodents nesting under the hood. But fortunately, if you plan on placing your car in storage, there are some steps you can take to protect it. Follow these simple tips to secure your car while you’re away.

 

Disconnect the battery

The battery is one of the first things to go when a car is in storage for too long. If there’s no one to periodically start the car, it’s a good idea to just disconnect the battery because otherwise it can leak corrosive acid that damages the engine. In particular, older batteries lose a charge more quickly, but jumper cables can be used when you’re ready to drive your vehicle again.

 

Tires

Jack stands take weight off the tires, which will prevent flat spots from forming. Otherwise, as tires lose air pressure, the weight of the car can create permanent flat spots where tires meet with the ground. This happens more quickly in cold weather.

 

Change the oil

Change the oil before leaving your car in storage for longer than thirty days. Dirty engine oil can thicken, making it difficult to start a vehicle that’s been parked for weeks.

 

Use a car cover

A car cover is an easy precaution. Wash and wax your vehicle to remove any grime that might damage the paint then cover your car for added protection.

 

Top off the tank

A full tank of gas prevents rust from forming while your car is in storage. It will also keep the seals from drying out. A stabilizer can be added to preserve the fuel for up to several months.

Whether you’re traveling for an extended time, or have a spare vehicle that just isn’t suitable for winter roads, carefully planning to put your car in storage will save you time and money later on.

Mysterious Car Sounds What They Might Mean

car sounds, car noises, listening to your car
admin 2019-05-22

A fully operational and working machine is expected to produce some noise. The soft twirl of the motors or a soft hum of the engine should be enough to guarantee that the equipment is working properly. However, when you start hearing something out of the ordinary, it’s time to pay attention. There could be a number of reasons behind noises, and sometimes finding the cause can be difficult.

Following are some of the common vehicle noises that can spell trouble:

Whistling or Rumbling Exhaust Sounds

In most cars, the engine is located in the front but the exhaust of the engine travels the length of the car so noises can be created anywhere along that system through vibration or defect. The further back the sound is heard, the less serious the issue probably is. Apart from this, you might hear high-pitched or low-pitched whistling or rumbling sounds if it’s an exhaust issue. This could be caused by a crack or hole in the exhaust causing the exhaust to leak somewhere throughout the system.

Popping Engine Sounds

A popping sound coming from the tailpipe of your vehicle is a sign that there is something wrong with the engine. It could mean a clogged catalytic converter, a bad power circuit or accelerator pump in your carburetor, bad spark wires, worn or dirty spark plugs, water in your gasoline, a clogged fuel filter, an ignition problem, or a dirty air filter. Similarly, if there is a rattling noise when sitting at a stoplight or stop sign that sounds like a box of rocks shaking, then it could mean that your catalytic converter is bad. A popping sound that comes from the engine or under the hood could mean that a sensor might not be working properly or your car could benefit from a tune-up.

Braking Noises

You will usually hear squeaking, squealing, or screeching noises when you have brake issues. And if there’s a clunking noise, it could indicate a problem with a worn steering system; brake hardware is missing or damaged or the disc brake caliper is mounted improperly. A squealing noise when braking could be various things; brake pads that have overheated and are now glazed, brake pads and/or shoes that are worn, dirt on the brake, disc brake calipers that have come loose, and more.

Pinging or Knocking Sounds

You may hear knocking or pinging. Although rare, it happens, and this generally means a problem with your fuel or ignition system. It could simply mean that your engine needs a tune-up or the fuel in your gas tank could contain water.

Gurgling Noises

Gurgling noises are one of the stranger sounds when it comes to vehicles. Most of the time, you’ll hear this because your cooling system is not doing its job. Boiling coolant can be heard from the hoses as well as the coolant reservoir. In this case, let your engine cool and check the reservoir level to see if you need to add coolant.

 

Mysterious sounds are worth looking into. If your vehicle is doing anything alarming or suspicious, bring it into Lafayette German Car Repair. We’ll see to it you get back on the road safely.

First-Time Driver? Follow These 9 Car Maintenance Tips

German Car Repair
admin 2019-04-14

Getting your very own car for the first time can be exhilarating. You’ll love going on drives to explore wherever it takes you.

Especially as a first-timer, you also need to be aware of things that are important to maintain the condition of your car. Regular maintenance is critical in order to prevent breakdowns and spending big money to fix them later on.

Here are 9 things you need to pay attention to in order to keep your car in optimal condition for the long run.

1. Check and Replace the Air Filter Regularly

Your car has an air filtration system that cleans contaminants and debris, providing clean air in your car. This filter, if not cleaned for a long time, will become clogged with various waste and pollution. This will at least cause two damages to your engine:

  • First, it will increase the risk of reduced airflow due to the blockage of the air filter. This blockage causes the engine to work harder than it should . This can cause inefficiencies and decrease fuel economy.
  • Second, if the debris and other contaminants are not cleared out, they can find their way into the engine. This will cause wearing down on the car’s metal parts. Continuous damage can decrease the engine’s lifespan and cause costly repair fees.

Manufacturers usually recommend you replace the car’s air filter every 6,000 miles.

2. Check On the Car’s Battery

Car batteries commonly last for 3 to 5 years. This lifespan varies on driving habits and the temperature of the environment. Schedule regular battery charge tests after your battery reaches three years old. Many mechanics will even notify you when they expect your battery to need changing later on, once they know where it stands. This is important to prevent a sudden breakdown. Keeping a healthy battery means increasing the efficiency of your car’s engine and reducing pollution as an engine that runs on steady power will release fewer chemicals into the atmosphere.

3. Replace Old Spark Plugs

Spark plugs in a car are responsible for the ignition of your engine. As you turn your key in the ignition and press the gas, this tiny element will ignite a mixture of fuel and air that makes it possible to move the pistons in the car engine. However, spark plugs burn out over time. That’s why it’s critical to change them every once in a while. Worn out spark plugs cause the engine to work harder and results in lower efficiency of the engine. If your car is pushing to do extra work, its lifespan will become shorter. You need to check your spark plugs regularly and have them changed before they completely burnt out.

4. Check Hoses and Belts Regularly

As your car engine works, it emits heat. This heat is monitored by the engine and prevented from becoming too hot by the cooling system. But over time, the exposure to heat damage increases the risk to belts and hoses. They can become dry and cracked, and even break. These belts are what move various elements of the engine and the hoses help carry fluids from one part to another. If they crack and break, this will severely damage your engine. During your scheduled maintenance, make sure that the technician checks belts and hoses specifically.

5. Replace the Wiper Blades

Wiper blades are partly made from rubber. Heat will degrade this rubber part over time. During summer or in places with higher temperatures, keep an eye on your wiper blades. Experts’ recommendation is to replace your wiper blades every 6 to 12 months. If rain or snow starts smudging and smearing under the blades rather than being wiped clean, it’s time for new blades.

6. Change Oil Regularly

An appropriate analogy for motor oil is that it’s the car’s blood. The oil, like blood, picks up and carries away any debris it encounters. Oil also helps lubricate the engine and protects the moving parts from heat and friction. As the oil collects debris and heats and cools repeatedly, the effectiveness of your oil degrades. Dirty, thick oil hurts your engine. This is why oil should be changed about every 3,000 miles or 3 months. Check your owners’ manual for the recommended interval for your specific car. The older your car is, the more frequent oil change required.

7. Replace Brake Pads

Brake pads are what stop your car from moving. They utilize a high amount of friction in their daily use, which can mean they break down fast. It will be extremely dangerous to drive a car with worn-down brake pads. Thus, it is critical to have your brake pads replaced annually to avoid damage to the engine, high repairing cost, and most importantly- accidents.

8. Take Care of Your Tires

Your tires are rolling on all kinds of surfaces, at various angles and in different weather, with ideal air pressure sometimes, but not all the time. All this variety leads to uneven wear & tear on your tires and slight changes in their alignment over time. If your tires are rotated and aligned ever 6 to 12 months, you can keep them wearing evenly, and enjoy greater safety and longer lasting tread.

To ensure good longevity of your tires, you have to keep up with proper tire inflation. This will also reduce the risk of tire blowouts at high speeds and possibly save you from experiencing car accidents. Improper tire pressure will also affect your fuel economy. Find the recommended tire pressure written on the sidewall of your tire in PSI and follow that guideline.

9. Know a Good Mechanic

Once you suspect something is wrong with your car, it’s almost too late to do your research and find the best place to take it. Not knowing where to go or who to trust can dangerously delay your taking action. So, when you get your first car, it’s important to schedule an inspection with a reliable shop near you, like Lafayette German Car Repair, and establish a relationship that may come in handy in the future. Knowing where to go when you need help makes driving much more relaxing, like it was meant to be.

Being a good driver is one thing, but it is even more important to pay attention to the quality of your car as a whole. And regular preventive maintenance will save you a lot of repair costs and increase the lifespan of your vehicle.