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Your Car Maintenance Guide After a Long Road Trip

German Car Repair
admin 2020-09-15

Taking a road trip is a fun way to sightsee and spend time together with friends and family. You may even find yourself preferring to travel by car, especially during times when flying is inconvenient. But while road trips almost always result in treasured memories, they can also result in wear and tear on your vehicle. Read on to discover what kind of car maintenance you should perform after a long road trip to keep your vehicle in optimal working condition.  

Clean Inside and Out

After a few weeks or days on the road, your vehicle will likely be due for a cleaning. Interior cleaning may consist of removing debris and trash. A vacuuming of the upholstery and carpeting may also be required. Wiping down hard fixtures and console parts with a damp cloth is also recommended. As for exterior cleaning, be sure to wash your car and undercarriage if you’ve come into contact with road salt. This substance can erode the metal parts of your car, and should be removed as soon as possible.

Check Tires

If your car has been driven a long distance, it’s a good idea to make sure that your tires have held up. First, see how the tread looks. If the tread is significantly worn down, your tires are not as safe and efficient as they should be. Here’s a simple test. To check the tread level, insert a penny, head down, into a groove of the tire. If Lincoln’s entire head remains visible, it’s time to get new tires. 

Change the Oil… Maybe

It used to be that car owners were advised to have their oil changed every 3,000 miles. With the advent of synthetic oil, this threshold has increased. It’s now suggested that most cars have their oil changed at either 7,500 or 10,000 miles. In fact, the interval can go as high as 15,000 miles. If you’ve traveled a significant distance, it’s likely a good idea to have your oil changed, but it’s only really necessary if your vehicle needs it. Different cars have different oil change requirements. Consult your car’s manual if you’re unsure of the proper interval. 

Run a Checkup

After a long journey, it’s a good idea to run a checkup on your car. A good auto mechanic will be able to inspect your vehicle for any overlooked wear and tear it may have sustained. Breaks should be checked, as well as tire alignment and air pressure. The dashboard should also be checked for any service light indicators. After your post-road trip car maintenance, you’re all set for another adventure! 

Schedule Car Maintenance With Us

When your car is ready for maintenance, contact us. At Lafayette German Car Repair, we help you keep your vehicle in excellent working order. We take pride in providing you with expert advice and high-quality service. Call (925) 284-3390 to schedule your car maintenance appointment today!

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.

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.

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.

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.