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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 basic car 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.

3 Questions to Ask an Auto Body Repair Shop

auto body repair shop
admin 2019-09-26

Lafayette German Car is a state-of-the-art, full service auto body repair shop. We’ve been in business for many years and have the experience and expertise to get it done right.

It’s stressful when your car needs collision repairs, but you’re not sure which business to trust. It’s also inconvenient to be without wheels. “How long will it take?” is the first thing we want to know, but as you search for a reputable auto body shop, keep these other questions in mind.

Lafayette German Car is a full service auto body repair shop walnut creek that specializes in repairs.

What credentials should a reputable auto body shop have?

Most reputable auto body shops will display certifications from associations in the industry, such as the Independent Auto Body Association (IABA), AAA, or the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS).

It requires considerable skill and knowledge to repair a vehicle. Not all technicians regularly work with classic models, or certain foreign cars. Some specialize. Consider how long they’ve been in business, and ask if they have experience with your vehicle, as well as the type of repairs that are needed.

Is there a warranty for repairs?

A reputable body shop will offer a written warranty that guarantees the repair work and parts used for a minimum of one year. Make sure to ask what their warranty policy is, and how long it’s valid for. This can tell you everything you need to know about a business. If they don’t trust in the lasting quality of their work, neither should you.

What will it cost?

Most shops will provide a free quote. Your insurance company may have standing agreements with certain businesses, but to find a reputable auto body shop, it’s a good idea to get a few estimates. This process of elimination prevents you from being overcharged, although the lowest quote is not necessarily ideal. We tend to get what we pay for in quality. A technician should explain your options in detail, and put the estimate in writing.

Upon completion of repairs, request an itemized bill. Compare the statement to the original quote you were offered, and question any discrepancies.

It’s worth taking the extra time to find a reputable walnut auto body shop. Asking the right questions will give you confidence in your decision. You can also check reviews online to find out if other customers are satisfied. Hopefully you never need their  car services again, but you’ll know where to send friends and family if they do.

We’re not just your average auto body repair shop. Our team has decades of experience in the industry, working with both domestic and imported vehicles. We are passionate about cars and we’ll be sure to take care of yours too!

Brake Fluid Flush – Are They needed?

brake fluid flush, brake fluid check, brake check
admin 2019-08-16

Period brake fluid flushes are one of the big debates in car maintenance. Some car manufacturers say it’s every two years while others may see its annual.  A good rule of thumb is to do it every 30,000 miles.

What is a Brake Fluid Flush?

The fluid absorbs the moisture in the air so it can quickly go bad.   The purpose of such flushes is to cleanse the brake fluid system.   This is done by removing all the fluid from the vehicle and then inject it with a whole new set of fluids.  A partial replacement of brake fluid due to air bubbles is called brake bleeding. 

How to Identify you Need a Flush?

Despite the controversy among manufacturers and mechanics, an easy sign of problems is when your car feels like it does not stop as well.  If you feel that you are having to push your hardest and not getting the results you expect.  Your car should should then be flushed soon thereafter.  You can also tell it’s going bad based on the color of the fluid.  

Contaminated brake fluid may cause brake issues and/or cause your brakes not to work as efficiently.  The bad fluid boils at a lower temperature.  Beyond the above, poor brake fluid will also impact other aspects of your vehicle.  Your hydraulic system could begin to rust.  Rubber portions in the valves in the cylinder and calipers could deteriorate.  Particles of it could go into the fluid.  These pieces could clog the braking system and permanently damage your vehicle.

Is a brake fluid flush really necessary? 

A brake fluid flush ensures that your car’s brakes work properly at all times by removing any contaminants from the system and replacing them with new, clean fluids. That way you can always drive safely!

Other Brake Warning Signs

– Check the thickness of the brake pads.
– Squealing sound coming from the brakes.
– Your car feels like it’s pulling.
– Should your brake pedal vibrate when you use it.
– Loose brake pedal that takes a lot to stop.

Should have questions about your braking system, we strongly recommend contacting Lafayette Car Repair for an appointment.

How Your Car’s Suspension System Works

suspension system, car maintenance, vehicle stability
admin 2019-06-25

It is your car’s suspension system that allows you to have a smooth ride. Through the system, the bumpy road is manageable while you are driving. In fact, you can still maintain control, accelerate and brake despite the hurdles since the mechanism maintains car tire contact with the surface. If you want to sustain the quality of car rides, you will need to understand how the car suspension system works. 

Car Suspension System 

All the components in the car, like frame, tires or steering wheel, play an important role in your car’s workability. The stability system in the car is made of dampers and springs. Usually, an average suspension features four coil springs in each wheel. The purpose of them is to compress and expand in case of contact with a bump. This quality of springs make the car rides shock-resistant and stabilize the car.

When the spring coils absorb the vertical movement, dampers come into play next. They further diffuse any remaining motion which might have been left behind by the springs. This systematic cooperation of springs and dampers is vital for reducing the bouncy effect when the road is bumpy.

A third addition to the components of suspension system of car is the anti-roll bar. This is the component that will enforce movement of the vehicle in order to move swiftly along the uneven road. It makes the car rise or lower according to the height of the bumps.   Furthermore, it decreases the vehicle’s tendency to tilt or roll to the sides when it is driving on sharp corners.

All three of these parts are what make the car suspension system efficient. On the other hand, you can tell that it is not working when the vehicle starts to feel less smooth during the rides. It will become easily vulnerable to the lumps and uneven surfaces.

In other words, a car’s suspension system is the main factor which impacts the quality of your rides. Without a high-quality suspension system, the degree of smooth rides will automatically drop. If the system is not maintained, you can get into accidents and may have to pay a heavy price for replacements too. Therefore, you have to be careful about the suspension system of your vehicle. You should know that when the system wears out, it will also reduce the efficiency of the stopping distance by a whopping 20%. You should never risk that and always keep the suspension system maintained through regular checkups at the workshop.