As we head into the hot summer season, it is important that we take special care of our vehicles. Of course your car needs to be taken care of year-round, but during winter and summer it requires special attention and care due to the extreme weather conditions these seasons tend to bring. Here are a few do’s and don’ts of taking care of your car during the summertime:
Check Your Tires
DON’T: Take a road trip without checking to see if your tire tread will last the trip. The last thing you want to happen is one or more of your tires blowing out, leaving you and your friends stranded on the side of the road.
DO: Check your tire tread by sticking a penny in the tread gaps with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see his entire head, it is time to get new tires. This simple trick can save you from experiencing a tire blowout. It is also important to make sure that your tires are properly inflated, especially if you are going on a road trip. Not only will properly inflated tires help prevent the risk of experiencing a blowout, they can increase your car’s fuel efficiency by up to 3%.
Replace the Air Filter
DON’T: Plan a summer full of hard driving and road trips without at least getting your air filter checked. Aside from the fact that your car’s air filter gets clogged with salt and other thick debris during the winter season, a clogged air filter will lower your fuel efficiency.
DO: Take your car to get the air filter checked and/or replaced BEFORE your first road trip. This will better prepare your car for the trip and increase your gas mileage.
Check the Coolant and Watch for Overheating
DON’T: Just assume your car can withstand the summer heat without checking under the hood to see if its coolant levels are okay. Without a proper working cooling system, your vehicle will most likely overheat, since your engine temperature is increasing under low coolant levels. A recipe for disaster.
DO: Take your vehicle to the service station and get the coolant topped off. During the summer, you’d want to your coolant to be a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water.
Do you need to get your car summer ready? Stop by one of the McCarthy Auto Group service centers! Schedule your next service appointment here.
One of the greatest things about having a car is being able to go on fun road trips with your friends. There’s nothing like venturing down the open road and seeing everything the world has to offer right from the seat in your car. Before you head out on a road trip, I suggest you take a look at some important do’s and don’ts.
Planning the Road Trip
DON’T: Head out on a road trip without precisely planning out the stops and towns you plan to visit. It is especially important to map everything out if you’ve never driven through the area.
DO: Let family and friends that will not accompany you on the trip know where you will be going, and when you expect to be there.
What To Bring
DON’T: Go on a trip without making sure your emergency items are packed and ready to use, should you need them.
DO: Make sure to pack an emergency kit full of things such as medical supplies, car maintenance tools, a flashlight, portable phone charger, and map.
What to Do During the Trip
DON’T: Be afraid to try and experience new things.
DO: Make the most out of your trip! Make your road trip even greater by making a game out of it, such as being the person who tried the most unusual foods during the trip. Silly games like this not only make the trip fun, it helps to make more memories.
In Case of an Emergency
DON’T: Hesitate to alert someone when there is a problem, even if you may have what you need in your emergency kit. Do not expect to be able to handle everything on your own. If you have all of the tools necessary to change a flat tire but find it to be more challenging of a task than you assumed, do not hesitate to call for help.
DO: Stay calm and know that emergencies and accidents happen. Fortunately for you, you will have an emergency kit that should have what is necessary to get you the help you need.
Buying a car, new or used, can be a super exciting time, but also just as stressful. If you are a first time car buyer, there are so many questions you may have, and things you may not know. Believe it or not, there are do’s and don’ts when it comes to buying a car. Here are some do’s and don’ts that will help you during the process of your next car purchase:
Research cars before you even visit a dealership. Take a look at your finances and figure out what you can afford.
DON’T: Try to buy a luxury vehicle if you cannot afford it!
Test drive a vehicle before you purchase it.
DON’T: Be suckered or pressured into purchasing a car if you do not feel 100% about it. It’s okay to wait especially when it comes to making a big purchase like this. Being able to test drive the vehicle you’ve been eyeing is a great way to see if it is really the right one for you.
Calculate if you’re financing to make sure that the terms match the amount you’ve agreed to finance.
DON’T: Purchase unnecessary extras (such as fabric protection and paint sealant), especially if you are on a strict budget. These services are usually still available to you later on.
Research dealerships before you go. Find a place that has great reviews and a good reputation so that you know when you visit it will be a smooth process.
DON’T: Buy from questionable used car lots and/or buy a car that you see for sale on the side of the road.
Check the CarFax of each vehicle you are considering purchasing.
DON’T: Just assume that you are getting every detail from a salesperson. You want to make sure you can ask him or her questions about the vehicle you are interested in, especially if it had a previous owner.
Are you looking to buy a new car? One of the McCarthy Auto Group dealerships has what you need! Visit the website here
Imagine going wedding dress shopping and never actually trying on the dress before you buy it. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? You’d be taking a gamble with your hard earned money before you even knew if the dress was the right fit! This same rationale rolls over onto car-buying. Don’t buy a car until you know that it’s the perfect fit for you! This is where test driving comes in. Now that you understand the importance of a test drive, here are some simple tips to help you out!
DO: Come prepared! Show up to the dealership knowing what models you’re interested in and what exactly it is that you’re looking for. Do some homework on the cars you want to drive first. That way, your test drive can just confirm or deny your interest!
DON’T: Get distracted. Go into your test drive with a goal, and complete it. Try to eliminate as many distractions as possible. For you, maybe this means driving alone without your entire family chattering in the back seat. Or, maybe bringing a confidant with you to help observe your test drive can help you to stay on track! Stay focused so you can get the most out of your drive!
DO: Inspect the interior AND exterior of the vehicle. More often than not, shoppers get so excited to finally get behind the wheel that they completely bypass inspecting the exterior of the car. Once you’ve inspected the outside, be sure to stay observant of the inside. Make a list ahead of time of what is most important to you, and be sure to take note of it on your drive! Maybe you care about having tons of headroom, or maybe the size of the cupholders is important to you–whatever it is, be sure to inspect it and stay observant throughout your test drive!
DON’T: Rush your test drive. Maybe you talk fast when you get nervous, or perhaps the salesperson is on a tighter timetable than you. This is your hard-earned money you’re gearing up to spend, so take your time! From testing out varying speeds to driving on different terrains, take your time during the drive, and take time to reflect on it.
These do’s and don’ts seem simple, but they are imperative to getting the most out of your test drive! I hope these little tips and tricks help increase your confidence in your car-buying process.
Tires are one of the most important components of your car for many reasons. They are the single connection from your car to the road–essential to you and your car’s safety! Understanding how to know what kind of tires are best for your car and how to maintain them is imperative for any car owner. So, follow these do’s and stay away from the don’ts!
When buying new tires:
DO: Shop around! Your car’s OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) has suggested tires for your car, but don’t assume those are the best fit for you! Your tire’s effectiveness is dependent on many factors. Analyze what type of weather and terrain you most commonly drive in, and let that factor into what type of tires you choose. You want them to be the best fit for your car and where you drive it! Do some research on different deals happening in your area, hence, shop around! Don’t limit yourself to your usual maintenance shop. I promise, you might just save some money this way!
DON’T: Spend too little, or too much! Find that sweet spot in the middle and you’ll find yourself some perfect new tires! If a deal seems too good to be true, that might just be the case. While buying cheap tires is a good temporary fix, you’ll pay for it in the long run. But, don’t feel like buying expensive name brand tires is the other route you have to take. Yes, you’ll probably get higher quality with higher costs, but take into consideration those tires in the middle of the spectrum. There are great, not as well known tire brands that will give you excellent product for a much lower cost–right in that sweet spot I was telling you to find!
Once you have those new tires, maintain them!
DO: Rotate them! It is recommended that tires be rotated, on average, about every six months or every 3,000 – 6,000 miles driven. Rotating your tires is an essential part of their maintenance. Making sure they all wear as evenly as possible helps prolong their life. Do you need more information on the importance of rotating your tires? Don’t worry, I have another blog post here to help you out.
DON’T: Ignore them! Tire neglect can become a huge safety hazard. If a tire alert light pops up on your dash, listen to it. How many times have you seen a blown out tire on the side of the road and become worried that the same accident could spontaneously happen to you? Here’s a good rule of thumb to remember: every time you get your oil changed, consider getting your tires rotated! If you have to ask yourself when the last time was that your tires have had maintenance, the answer is, it’s probably time.
DO: Perform routine tire checks. Don’t count on waiting for the mechanic to do this. Check your tire pressure and tread regularly–at least once a month! A simple trick you can perform during your checks is the penny test! Stick a penny head first into your tire’s tread. If you can still see Abe’s head, it’s time to start shopping for new tires!
DON’T: Forget about the spare tire! Getting a flat tire is miserable. Discovering that your spare tire is also flat, is even worse. No, you’re not having to constantly monitor the tread on your spare, but occasionally checking on it can be beneficial over time. Hopefully you never have to use it, but on the chance that you might need it, you want it to be functioning and dependable! When you check your tires pressure, go ahead and also check the spares.
Do you have more questions about your tires? Learn more here!