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Maintenance

Should You Repair or Replace a Broken Windshield?

It’s illegal to drive with a broken windshield that obstructs your vision, and it can also be incredibly dangerous. Therefore, as soon as the glass breaks, you need to decide if you should just have the break repaired or if you should replace the windshield entirely. There are many factors to consider, including the following.

The Size of the Problem

If it’s just a small chip or crack, perhaps caused by a pebble striking the window on the highway, you can often just have it repaired. Doing so is fast and inexpensive, and it also keeps the crack from spreading out over time. If the crack is substantial, though, perhaps reaching all the way across the windshield or branching out in all directions, the glass likely needs to be replaced.

Whether or Not You Own Your Car

If you bought your car outright with cash, or if you bought it with an auto loan and have since paid it off, you may be able to just repair the damage. You’re simply trying to get your car to last longer now that you don’t have to make monthly payments. If you have not yet paid it off or if you’re just leasing it, though, replacement is the better option. In fact, if it’s leased and you turn it in with significant damage, they’re just going to charge you for it anyway, so you’re best off to do it in advance – when you have more control over the process and the pricing.

Your Budget

Naturally your budget plays into your decision, as does your insurance coverage. With a tight budget, repairing the windshield may be the only realistic option that you can afford on short notice. If you have a pretty flexible budget though, a replacement may be safer for your family. It also pays to check your insurance coverage to see if both repair and replacement are covered and what the deductible is. If it’s low enough that it would be the same either way, replacement may make more sense. You are paying for the insurance after all, so you might as well make use of it!

The Law

Finally, as noted above, you can get a citation for windshield damage that makes driving your car unsafe. If you’ve already been pulled over for a crack that goes up or across the windshield, or if you’re worried that you will be, windshield replacement in Pensacola FL is the best option to avoid tickets and legal issues.

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Maintenance

Hybrid Car Maintenance Tips

he cost of a hybrid car can be pretty expensive, and it gets even more expensive when you consider its insurance as well as maintenance costs. However, there are some ways that you can do to help you save some money. One of these is by making sure that your vehicle is always in tiptop condition.

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Below are some tips on hybrid car maintenance.

Tire Maintenance

Daily use and long distance driving can easily wear the tires down. However, you can prolong the use of your tires by rotating them once in a while. This way, uneven wear will be prevented. The best time to rotate the tires is after every oil change or after every 6,000 miles.

It’s also very important that you check if your tire pressure is right. You need to do it at least once a month. You can use the old coin trick to check the tire pressure, if you want. However, if you want a more accurate reading, then be sure to use a good tire gauge. There are many gauges that you can choose from, but be sure to purchase a trusted and quality tire gauge.

Oil and Filter Change

The best time to do oil changes as well as filter changes is after every 3,000 miles, up to 5,000 miles. If you want to extend the life of your hybrid car, then use synthetic oil. This will give you at least 7,500 miles in between oil changes, maybe even 10,000 miles.

When it comes to air filter replacement, it’s recommended that you change them at least twice a year or after every six months. You don’t want the air filters to get too dirty since this restricts air from flowing into your vehicle’s engine, causing poor vehicle performance. Imagine the air filter as your vehicle’s lungs; now, imagine your vehicle running on very dirty lungs. Can you see how much it’ll affect your hybrid car’s performance?

Engine and Battery Care

It’s very important that you give your hybrid car’s engine as well as battery some time to warm up before you travel. This is especially important during the colder season. If you don’t allow these to warm up, it’ll increase the stress on the engine and the battery, again causing poor vehicle performance. Of note; hybrid cars work better in areas with a warmer climate, so if you live in a colder region and you want it to perform better, then you have to allow some time for the vehicle to fully warm up.

Follow Your Regular Maintenance Schedule

If you want your hybrid car to last a long time, then you have to follow your regular maintenance schedule, even if you don’t see or hear anything wrong with it. There might be something that your eyes and ears have missed, and by bringing it to your trusted mechanic, he can prevent future mishaps.

Of note; choose a car shop and a mechanic who knows hybrid cars though. He can assess your car better and do the necessary repairs as well as replacement of parts. It will do you little good if you bring your hybrid car to a mechanic who knows little about this type of vehicle.

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Maintenance

How To Avoid Expensive Car Repair

There are two reasons on why many opt to handle their own car maintenance needs: to save on cash and to earn the satisfaction of finishing the task yourself.

Given the rising fees of service stations, a good number of drivers are taking on the role of mechanic in an effort to save. While there are certain auto maintenance tasks that are best left to the hands of experts, you can do quite a few tasks yourself. That is…if you are willing to learn.

To start you off, here are 3 of the easiest yet most essential car repair tips that you can take charge of.

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1. Replacing Air Filters

Your air filter should be replaced at least once a year or after every 12,000 miles to ensure your car’s smooth and uncompromised acceleration. Recent studies also suggest that regularly replacing your air filters can boost your speed time by up to 11%.

Steps:

1.Pop the hood open and prop it up.
2.Look for the filter housing that typically appears as a black plastic tube or canister.
3.Unscrew the wing nuts, if any and with a flat head screwdriver, carefully unclip the filter housing.
4.Slowly remove the old filter and make sure to study how it is placed in the housing before doing so.
5.Slide in and secure the new filter by thrusting it down the gasket.
6.Place the casing, flick the attached clips and tighten the wing nuts before closing the hood of your car.
2. Changing Car Batteries

If you are persistently troubled by loud snapping noises each time you turn your car’s ignition or by headlights that slowly dim in the middle of a dark highway then you are past time to change your battery.

Just like all other types of batteries, your car batteries will eventually run out and before you find yourself stuck in the middle of a deserted road, it is best to power up your car with a new battery.

Steps:

a.Turn off your car’s engine before propping your hood open.
b.As it is a central part of your engine, your car battery will be very easy to find.
c.Once located, loosen out the nut connecting the black or negative (-) cable to disconnect it.
d.Using a screwdriver, pry open the end of the black cable.
e.Follow the same steps for the red or positive (+) cable.
f.Take out any other clamps holding the battery in its place.
g.Carefully grab the battery and pull it out from its socket.
h.Before placing in the new battery make sure to first clean any sulfate deposits that may have been left behind by the old one using a wire brush.
i.Insert the new battery, restore the clamps and re-connect the black and red cables.
3. Replacing Wiper Blades

Before the rainy season sets in, it is best to replace your wiper blades to make sure that they will be strong enough to fend off any torrential downpour. Inspection stations charge as much as $20 dollars to replace wipers that you can find for $5 at any automotive store. Don’t thrown that money away!

Steps:

1.Prop your wipers up much like you would when cleaning them.
2.Using your other hand, push down the wiper tab that will allow you to slide the old blades off its arms (make sure to make a mental note of how it was originally positioned).
3.Slowly insert the new blade onto the wiper until you hear a snapping sound to signal that it is securely in place.
These 3 simple maintenance items can save you $100 a year on your auto expenses, and this is just cracking the surface of what you can do yourself. Keep your hard earned money and learn a few handy tricks to keep your truck in smooth running condition.

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Maintenance

Tips To Get Your Car To Use Less Gas

Gas prices seem to be raising everyday, and the option of cycling fifty miles to work everyday is appearing more and more appealing. Most people have been forced to wave a sad goodbye to family road trips and all other fun car-related activities, because they just cannot afford it. However, what if there was a way to get your car to use less fuel, without having to get a new expensive hybrid?

Well there is a way, and it is not too hard to make your car more fuel-efficient. Just follow these simple steps and you will be amazed at how much more you will be able to get from your car for less fuel.

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  • Less aggressiveness please

It may feel fun and you may think you are getting to your destination faster by speeding, but not only is this dangerous and illegal; it greatly increases your fuel consumption thus, reducing your fuel economy. Research has shown that most cars are at the peak of their fuel efficiency when being driven at 55 miles per hour.

Any faster and you begin to waste. A recent study on the Toyota Camry showed a speed increase up to 65mph from 55mph resulting in a drop in fuel economy by up to 5mpg (miles per gallon).

Rapid acceleration and sudden braking will also not do you much good. It can lower your fuel economy by up to 33%. Get your foot off the gas peddle and set your car on cruise control the next time you hit the freeway for a long journey; you will be surprised by how much fuel you will be able to save by just allowing your car to be.

  • Get some clean air in there

You might not have known this, but there is a very big connection between your air filter and your fuel economy. The air filter is essentially designed to keep particles such as dirt and other materials from getting into the engine’s cylinders as they can cause massive havoc in there, resulting in lower engine performance.

Simply replacing a clogged filter and thus avoiding these particle problems has been proved to help you save on your gas mileage by 10%. Considering it would only cost you, about $20 to do yourself, this is an investment well worth your while.

  • Inflate your tires right

Having your tires inflated to the proper level should save you about 12 cents per gallon of fuel. It is recommended that you do a check on your car’s tire pressure once every month at least.

Wait until your car has not been used for at least 1 hour and the tires are cool then check the tire pressure. You should find a sticker at the driver’s door, which will specify the correct pressure needed for your vehicle’s tires.

  • Oil matters

You need to get the right oil, not only to ensure your engine remains in tip top shape but also because using the specified oil in your engine can enhance your fuel efficiency by up to 3%.

Never use oil of a lower density than that which has been specified by the car manufacturers as this can damage the engine. You can find out the right type of oil to use by checking out the manual or the gas cap if the car is a newer model.

An oil change as frequently as specified by the manufacturer is also essential to keep things flowing smoothly, resulting into optimum engine performance and thus optimum fuel efficiency.

  • Shed off the extra weight

Stop wasting gas by hauling along unnecessary stuff in the trunk of your car. Every extra 100 pounds that you carry, has been proven to reduce your fuel economy by up to 2%. Simply ease off the load, this includes anything being carried on the roof rack, you could save up to 8 cents on every gallon.

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Maintenance

Maintaining Electric Cars

The maintenance of electric cars has been debated many a time by car enthusiasts and the commoners alike. There are different notions among the public about the same. Some think that maintaining an electric car will be a heinous task, while some argue that it is far easier than a regular petrol/diesel car. Some say that the availability of mechanics who have expertise in servicing electric cars are rarely found, while some others say that the companies themselves provide such services and hence there is no headache. All in all, this is one major issue when people consider buying a car that runs on electricity. What is the truth? Let us dig in deeper.

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Car mechanic fixing a broken engine at the garage

The major maintenance associated with electric cars is the maintenance of the battery pack. It isn’t a scary task. You’ll have to recharge the battery regularly, as you would for any other electric device. When the battery dies out, you’ll have to replace it. The other maintenance tasks to be taken care of are mostly the regular ones associated with any other car.

First of all, an electric car never turns out to be a trouble maker. The belief is that they are neat, non-messy vehicles. That isn’t a wrong notion. The engine isn’t cluttered and has fewer parts. This places everything in a well-arranged position.

Electric cars are charged using vehicle chargers. You can charge your car at home. Isn’t that an advantage when you think of having to take your non-electric car to a gas station to fill gas every time? Most of the cars can be plugged to the standard electrical outlets. The higher the outlet voltage is, the lesser the time it takes for charging. Another viable option is to charge the car using a vehicle charging station. It can be bought and kept at home. Most companies promote this option, since it is capable of a more quick and efficient charging. The vehicle charging station is designed solely for this purpose and it’ll hence provide a higher voltage. This will reduce the charging time drastically. A one-time investment for the charging station will be worth the buy.

The range that can be covered by an electric car depends on many factors like the battery pack, curb weight and so on. When the charge decreases and reaches a low level, the drive will start becoming rough. This serves as an indication that the car needs to be recharged. Gauges and similar instruments help you keep track of the energy of the vehicle.

When it comes to regular maintenance of an electric car, there isn’t much to be done. The batteries have to be checked regularly, say, once in a month. Check if the batteries need water. Also see that the connections are held tight in place. There aren’t issues that cause too much trouble. Apart from the battery pack, all the maintenance is the regular works like checking for air in the tires, proper working of the brake, clutch and suspension, etc.

If there happens to be some major trouble with your car and if it is out of your league to fix it, take it to a mechanic. In most cases, electric cars come with a good service period. If that is the case, you don’t have to worry about whether the local mechanics will know to fix the problem or not. Electric car companies have experts specialized in servicing electric cars. Even otherwise, since the number of people using electric or hybrid cars is on the rise, more mechanics next door are gaining expertise in maintaining and repairing them. In the worst case, if you are not able to find any mechanic in your neighborhood, you can call up any of the electric car companies that provide service. These companies have a fleet of mechanics trained specially for servicing these cars. This is important to them too, since they have to promote the concept of these cars and establish a strong foothold in the market. But you should realize that this task shall not be as easy as it is for your normal car. If you are not staying anywhere near a city or if you are in an area where electric cars aren’t popular at all, then you might be at risk. Just like the fact that electric cars aren’t available in every other shop out there, the mechanics won’t be found in every nook. You can also insure your car like you do for any other car. Manycar dealers have growing options for buying or selling electric cars. This highlights the increasing popularity of these eco-friendly cars.

On the whole, maintaining electric cars is a manageable task. Charging the car regularly and replacing batteries can be done by any one. If you travel only short distances regularly, you can definitely think of going green. At the least, you don’t have to avoid buying one, thinking that maintaining it will be troublesome.

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Maintenance

How To Paint a Classic Car

It can be intimidating to take on an automobile paint job, but with a plan of action in place, you can get the look you want and spend a lot less than what you would pay for someone else to do it.

Get Rid of the Old: In order to restore your classic car and paint with any success, you will first need to create a smooth surface. It is not suggested that you paint over the existing paint, unless you are just touching up a small area. Even then, that area will need to be prepared to accept the new paint. For this step and all that follow, you will want to ensure that all glass is covered, tires are protected, and all chrome components have been removed from the vehicle. In order to prepare the car to receive an all-over paint job, you will need an etching primer. Keep in mind that the most effective varieties will include an acid component, which means that they should be handled with great care to ensure your safety.

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Prime The Surface : Now that the surface of the vehicle is ready to receive paint, the next step is to prime it. This will give the paint a much truer, bolder color in the end and will also reduce the amount of paint needed to get the surface that you desire. Choose a primer that is a two-part urethane high-build variety and cover the surface to be painted four or five times, allowing drying time between each coat.

Time For Hard Labor : The next step will require some “elbow grease.” That is to say that you will have to put forth some manual effort to block sand the surface once it has been properly coated in primer. It is recommended, by most professionals, that you start with rougher sandpaper (220 grit) and work to a finer sandpaper (320 grit) to achieve a smooth surface. This will create a smoother finished surface as well.

Hose and Bucket : When the sanding is complete, the residual dust will need to be removed. That means a sponge and soapy water. You may want to use a high pressure blow gun to dispel some of the dust before you begin, then clean the surface well.

Prepare Better Cover : There are a lot of places that you don’t want paint to be. Those areas need to be covered with a reliable plastic to ensure that no paint is allowed to enter and no dirt that may be covering those surfaces can mingle with the wet paint. While you have likely covered this step earlier in the process, this is a good time to check that it has been done well and you might also want to cover the walls and floor around the vehicle. This, again, will prevent paint coverage and flying dust.

Double-Check the Clean : You’ve removed the residual dust of sanding, but a clean surface is absolutely essential to a good paint job. Use a solvent-based cleaner to go over the surface once more.

Time to Paint : Finally the surface has been fully prepared to receive the paint. You will want to be prepared ahead of time and have all of your auto paint supplies ready to go. When the sprayer has been loaded, set the paint gun between 25 and 30 psi, or consult the manufacturer guidelines regarding the recommended pressure for your gun. It doesn’t matter where you begin painting; however, it is highly recommended that you pick a point that is easily remembered. Once a surface is covered, you will want to return to the starting point to work in the other direction. The goal is to spray wet paint beside wet paint, so it blends well. If you allow an area to dry and paint beside it, you are likely to find the appearance of a “seam” when all is completed.

Accents : If you are adding pin striping or some other detail, wait until the base coat is dry before painting the accents. Be sure to protect the rest of the vehicle from overspray by laying out the lines, taping, and then covering all other surfaces. Remove this tape and covering approximately 20 minutes after completing the painting.

Clear Coating : When the painted surface is dry, you are free to apply a clear coat. Be sure to use a tack rag to remove any dust that may have fallen on the surface, load the gun, and set the psi to a higher psi. Check the recommendations of the manufacturer to be sure you are at the proper pressure. Spray the surface with three coats, waiting 15 minutes between each.

The Final Product : Two days after the clear coat is applied, it is time to enjoy your accomplishments. That means quick wet sand and buffing to reveal the true beauty of the brand new surface. Choose a very fine sand paper (1000 grit down to 2000 grit) and be sure to keep it wet. Work this over small areas at a time until the haziness has evaporated.

When all is said and done, you will feel even more pride riding around in the restored vehicle because you will know that it is your hard work that the world is witnessing.