DIY Wheel Maintenance Tips for Your Alloy Rims

Yes, you can DIY wheel maintenance.

Alloy wheels may be stronger than the typical steel wheel but they are still affected by the same everyday roadway wear and tear. Elements such as brake pad dust, road salt and tar, can damage your wheels and cause permanent damage to your rims. Most Automobile manufacturers will recommend using soap and water as your go-to wheel cleaning method. Sometimes it can be difficult to choose the right wheel-cleaning product for your rims. So, let’s talk about how to do your own wheel maintenance.

Here are several options for you to get back that new wheel shine:

• The Lemon Juice technique is an effective method for cutting through dirt and dust on wheels that are still in fairly new shape. Just apply an even coating of lemon juice to your rims and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing
• If your rims are coated in grease, try soaking wheels in a tub of white or cider vinegar
• A great option for cutting through the tough grime is to use Oxy-Gel kitchen cleaner. However, it is an oxygenated bleach so be careful
• Avoid using the more abrasive cleaners and polishing compounds to clean your alloy wheels. Please use a wheel brush that is made specific for alloy wheels
• Another thing to remember when choosing to clean your rims is to avoid automatic car washes. They sometimes use acid-based cleaners in combination with abrasive brushes, which can permanently damage your wheels. So please check with your local car wash to avoid running your rims

Remember to protect your rims from future harm after using these cleaning methods, by applying an even coat of wax to your rims every two to three months. The best way to maintain a long-lasting and great looking wheel is to follow these tips on a consistent basis. If you’re worried your rims aren’t holding up as they should, call us and we can find the right solution for you.

Signs Your Car is Ready for a Tune Up

Sure you’ve heard of a Tune Up. But do you truly know when its necessary to get one?

Of course it is better to be pro-active with your vehicle, which means getting regular service and tune ups. However, most of us are guilty of not having regular maintenance performed on our cars. If you are one of those people who waits until the last minute to get service on your vehicle, then you have probably seen or felt the signs that your car is not performing at its best. Not Sure? Here are several indications that your car may be ready for a tune up.

1. A misfiring engine
When your spark plugs ignite at inopportune times either from excessive wear or faulty equipment it is considered to be misfiring.

2. A dirty or clogged air filter
This will greatly reduce acceleration. Filters will get dirty over time, but you will notice your car gradually getting slower.

3. Engine deposits
Low-quality or contaminated gasoline create issues causing the vehicle not to drive properly, which could be an indication that your vehicle needs a thorough fuel system cleaning.

4. Check Engine Light
The most common of them all is the infamous Check Engine Light. When something isn’t right within the emissions control system it will trigger this light to tell you there is a problem. Don’t ignore this!

5. An old oxygen (O2) sensor
Even if it has yet to trigger the Check Engine Light, an Oxygen sensor can still be hurting your fuel economy. Not to mention, the wear this puts on your engine and it’s performance.

Due to the fact that there are so many of the same signals that could be coming from different problems, it is best to bring your vehicle in for a thorough diagnosis or a tune up. Having your car checked could prevent you from costly maintenance down the road, or from having to purchase a new vehicle completely.

2017 Vehicle Recall Alert Update

Beware when purchasing your new car. Vehicle Recall Alert List of 2017 has been released.

Cars.com has recently published the 2017 Vehicle Recall Alert List and it is shocking! Here is a snippet of the list including the ones with a higher number of faulty vehicles. Is your car on the list?

2017 Buick LaCrosse:

Approximately 2,000 vehicles affected

Recall Alert- Electrical  connectors for the electronic power steering system improperly sealed. This may cause corrosion due to exposure to water. This may cause the vehicle to lose power steering and greatly increasing risk for an accident.

2016-2017 Chevrolet Cruze

Approximately 17,200 vehicles affected

Recall Alert- Possible welding issue on seatback recliner bracket. This may cause head restraints to malfunction and seatbacks to break during an accident increasing the risk of serious injury.

2015-2017 Mercedes-Benz Cars, Wagons and SUVs:

Approximately 354,000 vehicles affected

Recall Alert- In the event the engine or transmission can’t turn over, repeated attempts to start the vehicle could result in a fire from the starting current limiter overheating.

2016-2017 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, 2017 Continental:

Approximately 27,500 vehicles affected

Recall Alert- Frontal airbags may be faulty and may not inflate or detach from the module during an accident, due to a misalignment of components within. This could increase the chances of fatality or serious injury.

2014-2017 Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300:

Approximately 69,000 vehicles affected

Recall Alert- Front driveshaft bolts have the potential to come loose possibly causing the driveshaft to disconnect. This could result in a loss of motive power and increasing the risk for an accident.

2014-2017 BMW i3:

Approximately 19,000 vehicles affected

Recall Alert- Fuel tank vent line could rub against the wire protection sleeve of the positive battery cable. This may cause a fuel vapor leak and pose a potential fire hazard.

2017 Hyundai Elantra

Approximately 34,000 vehicles affected

Recall Alert- Brake booster has the potential to fail and could result in a loss of power brake assist. This could result in a longer breaking distance and increases the risk of an accident.

The list continues on for over 160 pages. Be sure to check on manufacturer recalls regularly to ensure your vehicle is safe for the road.

hazardous conditions

Drive Safely in Hazardous Conditions

Driving in hazardous conditions does not require Nascar-grade driving skills. There is no class to train you to drive better in the fog, snow, rain or sleet. The only requirement in to be aware of hazardous driving conditions and adjust yourself accordingly. Plus, be aware that other drivers will most likely not adjust properly to the poor conditions and continue as if everything were a beautiful sunny day. Slow down, don’t follow other vehicles closely and know that the vehicles around you are more than likely going to do something completely unsuitable for hazardous driving conditions.

Rainfall is very dangerous for driving. However, most drivers don’t take it as seriously as they should. It is incredibly easy to hydroplane. It doesn’t take much at all—even with good tires you can hydroplane. It occurs when you drive too fast on rain-covered roads. It can also occur when your tires are worn down, even just a little. If a puddle is deep enough to fill in the grooves of your tires you can hydroplane. If you notice that your car is now surfing on the road, slow down. Your tires will regain traction. With anti-lock brakes, braking lightly is safe to do.

Driving in sleet, snow or ice is highly precarious. Each storm presents differently, so it’s even more difficult to drive in than rain. Furthermore, as more cars drive over the snow-covered roads, the conditions change. Just be aware of a few things when driving in the sleet, snow or ice:

• Bridges will freeze
• Change lanes only when necessary
• Stay in the far right lane
• Drive through the tire tracks of the vehicle in front of you
• Test your brakes when you first begin driving to gauge necessary reaction times
• Black ice: It’s nearly impossible to see, and incredibly dangerous. All you can do is take your foot off the brake and hope your vehicle stays straight.

Fog is also a hazardous driving condition. If thick enough, you won’t be able to see even 10 feet in front of you. It’s best to just avoid driving in fog altogether. But if you absolutely have to, treat it like any other hazardous condition and drive slowly. Do yourself a favor and turn off the radio, too. You’re going to need your ears to indicate what’s going on around you. The only other precaution is to turn on your fog lights. High beams will further obscure your vision. The fog just refracts the bright light and reduces the distance that you can see clearly. If you’re preparing to brake, tap them first to alert the driver behind you. And as with snow, stay in the far right lane. The less lane changes you have to make the better. Plan out your turns ahead of time and give yourself and other vehicles plenty of notice.

In conclusion, the best practice is to drive slowly and increase your following distance. Some accidents are unavoidable especially in hazardous conditions. Recognize less than optimal driving conditions, and adjust accordingly.

Having Problems with Your Shocks & Struts?

shocks

How to Know When to Replace Your Shocks & Struts

The shocks and struts in your vehicle are part of your suspension system. Your suspension’s job is to maximize the friction between the road’s surface and your tires. This provides stability when you’re steering. If the road were flat with no inconsistencies at all, a suspension system wouldn’t be necessary. These irregularities in the road apply forces to your wheels. Without a suspension system, your car would lose contact with the road completely when faced with an irregularity in the road. Your suspension is made up of many parts, but your shocks and struts in particular absorb the energy and force to give you a smoother ride. It also ensures good handling and comfort for you and your passengers. So, it should be obvious when you need to replace your shocks and struts, right? Not necessarily. Here are some signs to look out for:

• Poor steering response with noise or stiffness when steering
• Experiencing a “nose dive” or instability when applying the brakes
• Vehicle swaying or leaning on turns or when changing lanes
• Excessive vehicle “bounce”

There are other visual signs that you can look out for, such as:
• Dented or generally damaged looking shock or strut bodies
• Fluid leaks from your shocks or struts
• Uneven, cupped tire wear
• Damaged, corroded or broken mounts or bushings

If you experience a generally bumpy or uncomfortable ride, poor steering response, noise or stiffness when steering, instability upon braking or vehicle swaying you definitely need new struts or shocks. Testing has also shown that generally vehicles will need these parts replaced around 50,000 miles. If you’re still not sure, check for the visual signs. But don’t delay in getting a repair. It’s the kind of job that can’t wait. If you think you need new suspension parts, come on in to Courthouse Automotive and we’ll give you an honest quote.

Top 10 Car Maintenance Mistakes

car maintenance mistakes

Avoid these Car Maintenance Mistakes

Car maintenance is a necessary part of owning a vehicle. We tend to avoid certain tasks. But if you really love your vehicle, it’s time to prioritize. Here is a list of top 10 car maintenance mistakes you should avoid.

1. Skipping Oil Changes
Every vehicle has a different schedule for oil changes. Check your owner’s manual to make sure that you’re scheduling your oil changes properly. Changing your oil is number one on the preventative maintenance list. It can ensure a long and healthy engine life.

2. Ignoring the Dreaded Check Engine Light
Sometimes your check engine light can come on for something that’s not that urgent. You’re driving along and your car seems to be operating normally, so you ignore it. However, this can lead to major engine damage or failure. The longer you wait, the worse the damage can get. Thus, more costly repairs.

3. Not Checking your Tire Pressure
Looks can be deceiving. Your tires can look like they’re properly inflated, but they can in fact be low or even overinflated. Checking your tire pressure against the recommended PSI regularly can prolong the life of your tires as well as alignment and suspension. It is also essential in preventing a blowout and providing optimum gas mileage.

4. Neglecting Fluid Checks
The longer you’ve had your vehicle, the more likely that there will be a leak. Checking the proper levels of your fluids can prevent a major engine issue in the future. Be sure to check your brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid and power steering regularly.

5. Driving when the Engine is Overheating
If your engine is overheating, stop wherever you are and call a tow truck. Because if you push it, your car will be toast. Out of all the car maintenance mistakes, this is number one.

6. Not Rotating Your Tires/Ignoring Wheel Alignment Issues
Check your owner’s manual for the perfect time to rotate your tires. Most vehicles require this particular maintenance every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. Coupled with rotating your tires is getting your alignment checked. This seems like a minor aspect of car maintenance, but it’s necessary for your vehicle’s performance.

7. Using Household Glass Cleaner on your Rear Window
Regular household glass cleaner can actually affect the defrost wiring on your rear window. The ammonia will break down the heating elements. It’s best to use automotive glass cleaner for this job.

8. Not Inspecting your Brakes
If your brakes are squealing, it’s time to get them serviced. The longer you ignore the squeal, the worse of you are and you could be putting yourself and others in danger.

9. Not Using Filters as Recommended
Air filters prevent particles and other contaminants from reaching your engine, fuel and A/C systems. If your filter is dirty or clogged, it will allow these particles to get through. Check your owner’s manual for a maintenance schedule.

10. Servicing your Vehicle without Knowing How
There are certain car maintenance tasks that you can perform on your own. But, everything has a proper procedure. If you don’t have the know-how or the proper tools, you could be doing some serious damage. If you’re uncertain about a particular maintenance task, leave it to Courthouse Automotive. We would be more than happy to assist you.