Autumn is just around the corner, and with it arrive a new set of unique challenges for your vehicle. As the temperature gets colder and the days grow shorter, you’ll want to start taking the steps to prep your vehicle for fall driving ahead.
Get a new set of windshield wipers
A beautiful as fall foliage can be, it’s a bit of a hassle when those leaves fall from the trees and end up on your windshield. As such, you’ll want to have a good set of windshield wipers at the ready to keep your field of vision clear.
Take care of your tires
Those leaves can also make things quite slick on the road, which is why it is important to have a quality set of tires on your vehicle. Rapid temperature changes can also affect your tire pressure, so keep that in mind during the autumnal season. As winter approaches rapidly once the fall season comes to an end, you might want to invest in a set of winter tires.
Check your headlights
Autumn nights set in a lot earlier than those during the summer, so you’ll have to activate your headlights a lot earlier as well. Check to make sure your headlights are in top shape, especially as you may need them more than ever during foggy fall mornings.
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We’ve all been there: a mysterious, pungent odor is in your car and refusing to leave. Nothing ruins an otherwise great driving experience more than a bad smell, especially if you’re headed out of Paducah on a long road trip. If you want to ensure that your car is always as fresh and clean as possible, follow these simple and helpful tips on how to remove common car smells.
The first thing you should do when you smell a bad odor is to find the source. Look under seats, in pockets, and even in the glove compartment for anything that could be stinking up your vehicle. Once you find the cause, you’ll have a better idea of how to address it. If it’s food that’s been left behind, for example, you may only need to roll the windows down and air out the cabin for a while.
Smells from under the hood
It’s important to remember that bad smells can be an indicator of larger problems with a vehicle. If you smell oil or the sweet, almost syrup-like smell of antifreeze, it could mean that you have a leak that needs to be addressed immediately. Any smells that seem to emanate from beneath the hood should demand your immediate attention and the diagnosis of a professional.
How to Clean
In a lot of cases, vacuuming is the surest way to defeat unwanted odors. Take the occasion of a warm day to vacuum your upholstery and carpet thoroughly and you’ll likely find yourself dealing with less of a stink. If you have a more pronounced smell that comes from something like vomit, you can use a solution that’s one part water and one part vinegar. Soak the solution into the affected areas and then get it out with a wet-dry vac.
If all else fails, you can also consider leaving a bag of charcoal or cat litter under your seat or on the floorboards. These substances soak up odors with ease.
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The only things touching the road every time you drive are your tires, so proper and proactive tire maintenance should be near the top of any car owner’s list. Checking your tires on a frequent and consistent basis will help keep them as healthy as possible, and following these tire maintenance tips will help better safeguard you from unwanted flats and blowouts.
The surest way to keep your tires lasting longer is to make sure they’re properly inflated. Take your tire gauge out once every couple of weeks or so and make sure your tires are all at the manufacturer’s recommended PSI levels. When the temperature fluctuates during winter and summer, you’ll want to check more regularly as these conditions can lead to sudden leaps and losses.
Keep an eye on the rubber
In many cases, just looking at your tires can tell you the story of how well they’re doing. When you do your occasional vehicle walkaround, take a gander at all four tires for signs of wear like bumps and cracking. You’ll also want to keep an eye on tread depth and, if the tread appears lower, perform the penny test to see if you’re in need of a replacement.
Regularly rotating your tires will ensure that all tires wear equally, helping extend their lives as long as possible. You’ll want to rotate your tires in the intervals recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, but as a general rule, you should have a rotation done every six months or 6,000-8,000 miles.
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There’s a lot of maintenance on your car that would be better off left to a professional. But there are plenty of areas that you can work yourself with relative ease. Changing out the windshield wipers is a quick DIY that provides a better driving experience.
But when it comes time to buy new wipers, have you noticed that you have to buy two different sizes? To maximize the surface area covered by the windshield wipers, automakers designed the blades to sit in an off-center position on the hood.
Older cars had centralized wipers that left a lot of the bottom and edges of the windshield untouched. With the newer design, when the driver’s side wiper swipes across, it stops at a 90 degree angle. More of the surface area gets cleared with this setup than if both blades sat centrally. But with these angles, one blade needs to be shorter to be able to fit the off-center position.
Depending on the vehicle you drive, the driver’s side could be longer than the passenger’s and vice versa. To figure out which blades to get when buying new, consult the owner’s manual. If the manual is not available, getting assistance from a car parts store or local dealership will help you find the correct size.
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One of the most important safety features on your car is your tires. This is the only part that keeps your car in contact with the road. If they fail, you won’t be going anywhere. If your tires are getting old and worn down, here are a few tips for buying tires to get you started.
Check the Owner’s Manual
Your owner’s manual will have all the information you need on your car, including what size tires you need. Unless you have modified your vehicle, make sure the tire’s sidewall code matches what is recommended in the manual.
Buy a Full Set
While you might be tempted to just replace the most worn tires, your car will operate the best with a matching set of four.
Check Your Spare
Give your spare tire a thorough inspection. If it is a full-size tire, consider saving the best of your old tires for a new spare.
Break in Your New Tires
New tires may come with a residue that can lessen their grip on the road. This will gradually wear off as your drive. Allow about 500 miles for this to happen. During that time, allow for greater braking distances and don’t try any fast cornering.
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Winters are rough on our vehicles—rougher than any other time of year. Make sure your vehicle survives it through another cold and snowy season by following these winter car care tips:
Regularly check your tire pressure: Tires lose pressure quickly in the winter—about a pound of pressure for every 10-degree decrease. Manually check your tire pressure each week and pump them up as necessary. Also, test your tread depth while you’re down there to ensure you have enough tread to handle snowy and icy roads.
Or just put on snow tires: We can get a fair amount of snow here in Kentucky. Consider investing in snow tires this winter season.
Check all your exterior lights: It gets dark much sooner in the winter, which means more “nighttime driving.” Make sure you can see and be seen by testing your exterior lights once a week, including headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals.
Leave up your wiper blades: If you park outside, raise your windshield wiper arms up so they don’t get stuck to your windshield with ice.
Don’t let your fuel drop below half a tank: Always having half a tank of gas is a safe bet in the winter in case you get stranded and need to run your heat until help arrives.
If you’re worried about your vehicle or need help getting it ready for ice or snow, make sure to find a repair shop now before you get in trouble down the line.
Check their certifications: Mechanics can earn multiple certifications. The most important is the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, or ASE, but some shops may also carry AAA or Automotive Service Association certification.
Choose a make-specific mechanic: Often, dealerships have service departments with technicians trained specifically on the very makes they sell, making them more familiar with cars of that make.
Read reviews: The internet is your friend when it comes to choosing a mechanic. Research potential mechanics and see how customers have felt about their experiences.
But also check the Better Business Bureau: Go to bbb.org to see what formal complaints have been filed about mechanics you are considering.
Ask around: Most of your family and friends probably own cars and get them serviced regularly. Ask if they have a mechanic they highly recommend; you could even post on social media asking for recommendations from your wider network of acquaintances.
And don’t forget convenience: The world’s best mechanic probably doesn’t live right next door to you. Aim for a quality mechanic, but don’t force yourself to drive over an hour to see him or her.
If you’re car is beyond the help of a mechanic, contact us at Chip Wynn Motors and take a look at our inventory of affordable used cars.
We have had an unseasonably warm winter in Paducah thus far, but we’re just getting started now that we’re into January. There is still time to have some crucial winter maintenance done to your car before the temperatures drop any further.
Change your oil now before it gets too cold to spend time outside under your car.
Have your tires rotated. Replace them if the tread is worn and you notice them sliding on wet pavement.
Test your battery. Battery performance suffers in the winter, so you’ll want a top-performing battery when temperatures drop.
Check your lights: Visibility decreases in the winter time, so it is more crucial than ever to make sure your headlights, taillights, brake lights, etc., are all operating. Replace any bulbs that have burnt out.
Ask a professional to inspect your engine for any work that might need to be done.
Replace your windshield wiper blades to make sure you can remove snow during a blizzard.
Pack an emergency kit in the trunk of your car. Your car should always have an emergency kit, but in the winter, it is important to add coats, hats, gloves, and blankets.
Are you concerned your current daily driver won’t survive the winter? Browse our used car inventory at Chip Wynn Motors.
The more consistently you take care of your car, the better it will run and the longer it will last. Sounds like a good deal doesn’t it? There are actually plenty of simple maintenance tasks that owners can perform on their own, like changing your air filter. And remember, if you ever need help with your car maintenance, Chip Wynn Motors is here to answer your questions.
Why Changing Your Air Filter is Necessary
Your engine needs air to run, but the air that gets pulled into the engine is often full of debris, like dirt, pollen, or even bird feathers. How would you like breathing that in? Your engine doesn’t like it either, which is why vehicles contain air filters. These filters keep the bad stuff out. But once they get too dirty, they can no longer do an efficient job. With a dirty air filter, you don’t get the best fuel economy, and you end up putting out more emissions. Plus, dirty air is bad for your engine’s longevity.
How to Change Your Air Filter
In order to change your air filter, all you need is the correct replacement. You can get this at your local auto parts store and use your owner’s manual to help you find the right fit. Changing your air filter will only take a few minutes. Start by locating your air filter under the hood. The filter is stored in a black box near the engine. Open this box and make a note of how the current filter is installed so that you can mimic its orientation. Remove the old filter and replace it with the new, then close up the box and shut the hood. That’s all it takes to change your air filter and keep your engine clean and happy.
Your brakes are one of the most important features on your car. But, how much do you really know about them? Here is a quick comparison of drum vs. disc brakes.
Drum brakes are called that because the braking components are housed inside a drum-shaped cylinder attached to the wheel. Inside the drum are braking shoes. When the brake pedal is pressed, it pushes these shoes against the inside of the drum causing the wheels to slow down. Because the shoes are kept within the drum, it can cause excess heat to build up inside the drum under heavy braking conditions, causing the brakes to lose some of their stopping power.
The majority of brakes used on vehicles today are disc brakes. Their design and ultimate stopping power are superior to drum brakes. As opposed to having the components inside a drum, disc brakes use a rotor, caliper, and brake pads. The caliper has two brake pads, one on each side of the rotor, that squeeze together when the brakes are engaged. Since all components are exposed to the air, they are much less likely to overheat.
We at Chip Wynn Motors want you and your vehicle to be safe, so if you have any questions about your vehicle’s braking system, be sure to have it checked out.