4 things to assess when buying a used car
Used cars are more affordable than new ones, but you still need to do your due diligence as a buyer. Here are four things to assess if you’re purchasing a second-hand car.
1. How it looks
Do a thorough inspection. Evaluate the wear on the tires, check the fluid levels and keep an eye out for rust, dents, and scratches. The costs of new tires, fluid changes, repairs and so on should be deducted from the asking price. Inspect the condition of the inside of the car too, from the upholstery to the multimedia system.
2. How it runs
Check the dash lights. All of them should come on when you turn the key to the on/run position and turn off when you start the engine. During the test drive, listen closely for noises that may indicate problems, such as rumbling, rattling or whining in the engine.
3. How it feels
Does the car handle well and does the steering feel easy and natural? Is the interior comfortable and are the controls user-friendly? Ensure that you feel comfortable with the way the car feels and drives. Also, make certain that the brakes are responsive without being too touchy.
4. What you’ve heard
Research any car that you’re considering buying. Find out what past owners say about the model and determine whether or not it commonly has parts that fail, premature rusting or safety defects.
Finally, before purchasing any vehicle, be sure to get it inspected by a trusted mechanic and to ask the owner for all maintenance records. Taking these steps will guarantee that you get a vehicle that’s as reliable as it seems.
Tips for preventing deer collisions
Deer are common across North America and frequently cause motor vehicle accidents. Here are a few tips to minimize the risk of colliding with a deer this summer.
Be extra vigilant
Look for signs indicating deer crossings in the area. Slow down and make sure you scan the road and your surroundings. Be particularly careful on slopes, sharp turns, and in areas of dense vegetation; a deer could unexpectedly jump out of a bush.
Remember that the risk is more significant in October and November, as deer move around more during mating season. Plus, deer often travel in groups. Therefore, if you see one, slow down because there may be more.
Maximize your visibility
Keep your headlights and windows clean. Turn on your high beams when driving at night, except when passing oncoming vehicles. Ideally, avoid driving at dawn and dusk. Deer are more active at these times of day, and the low light can make it hard to see.
Finally, if you see a deer, slow down and try to scare it away — and warn other motorists — by flashing your headlights or honking your horn. Avoid hitting the animal without swerving out of your lane or making a sudden turn at the last second. This could cause a more severe accident.
Get your car ready for summer road trippin’
As winter nesting gives way to summer wanderlust, your plans turn to sunny days on the open road. Before mapping your course, make these checks to ensure your car is highway ready.
• Check your car’s performance with a tune-up. Make an appointment to have your vehicle professionally inspected. They’ll check all essential operating systems so that the only travel surprises will be fun ones.
• Wash your car, inside and out. Thorough cleaning does more for your driving experience than make you look good on the road. A clean interior helps gives you fresh, healthy air to breathe and keeps your spirits high when the drive feels long. A tidy console eliminates dangerous distractions and makes maps, mobile phones, and tasty milkshakes more accessible.
• Stock up on emergency essentials. Put together the gear you’ll need in case of a breakdown. Start with your spare tire and add blankets, flashlights, a water supply, and nonperishable food. Inspect your first aid kit and replace any outdated or missing items.
• Drive in comfort with perfect AC. If you haven’t used your car’s cooling system for several months, give it a go before hitting the road. If it’s not working as well as you remember, have your refrigerant topped up or replaced.
• Back up your GPS with analog maps. Be prepared for off-grid detours or loss of mobile service. Keep a selection of paper maps in the glove box if the situation calls for some old-school navigation.
Finally, don’t forget the fun stuff. Stock up on snacks, compile your playlists, and keep a few car-friendly games within easy reach.
The easiest way to clean your car’s upholstery
Cars can get messy, especially if you have kids and pets. The good news is that there are tried and true methods of removing stains and cleaning your car’s upholstery. Here are a few.
Try this homemade solution to remove stains:
• 2 cups water
• 1 cup vinegar
• 1 tablespoon dish soap
Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and apply them to the stains. Let the solution sit for about 15 minutes, then wipe it clean with a wet cloth. You can also try commercial spot-removing solutions available at your local automotive shop.
If vacuuming doesn’t remove your car’s pet hair, here’s a simple and inexpensive solution. Use a rubber-dipped glove to brush away the fur with your hand. The hair sticks to the glove, and your upholstery will be fur-free.
Eliminate nasty smells by mixing 1 cup of baking soda with 4 or 5 drops of essential oil such as lavender or ylang-ylang. Put the mixture in a sealed plastic bag or glass jar for a day. Then shake up the baking powder and sprinkle it on the floor. After about 20 minutes, vacuum up the powder. The fresh scent will remain for days.
Visit your local automotive shop or hard¬ware store to buy the supplies you need for your DIY car cleaning day.
How to prevent your car windows from fogging up
Driving with foggy windows is dangerous. It obscures your vision, making it difficult to see cyclists, pedestrians, and animals crossing the road. Sometimes blasting your defroster doesn’t clear things up. Try these remedies to prevent your car windows from fogging up.
Keep your glass clean
Condensation forms on oil and dust particles on your auto glass. Use glass cleaner and a newspaper or paper towel to clean your windows with regular wipe-downs to eliminate streaks.
Use anti-fog products
Immediately after cleaning the glass, apply a commercial anti-fog spray. In winter, use a product designed for interior use. Use an exterior-use product in the summer.
Try homemade remedies
Apply old-school shaving foam to the glass and remove it with a clean towel. Alternatively, cut a potato in half and rub the flesh on the glass. The starches and sugars in the potato repel fog.
Turn off the recirculate switch
Most cars have two settings for the heating and cooling systems. One recirculates the interior air, which improves efficiency. The other allows fresh air into the vehicle. If you have foggy windows, turn off the recirculate switch to get fresh air inside the cabin and remove moisture from the air.
Finally, visit an auto repair shop to ensure your cabin air filter is free of dust and particles that could flow into the car and cause a foggy windshield.
Soft-touch vs. touchless car washes
Winter roads are filled with dirt, mud, and road salt. After months of driving in less-than-ideal conditions, you probably want to visit a car wash to make your ride look its best. Here’s a short guide to help you choose between a soft-touch or touchless car wash.
• Soft-touch car washes use foam and cloth applicators filled with soap and water. The materials gently glide across the vehicle, spreading the soapy solution over its surface. The cloth makes physical contact with the car, wiping away the dirt. However, the cloth strips can be applied too forcefully, potentially damaging your vehicle’s mirrors, detailing, antenna, or other loose parts. Small stones and dirt can also get stuck inside the fabric, damaging your vehicle’s finish.
• Touchless car washes are entirely automated. They use sophisticated se¬nsors to guide high-pressure washers along the contours of your vehicle to clean every inch of it effectively. The car isn’t physically touched by anything other than powerful cleaning agents and water. This reduces the risk of your vehicle being damaged during the cleaning process. However, the pressure washers can’t get into every crack, crevice, and hard-to-reach area. Moreover, chemical cleaners can harm your vehicle’s finish.
Lastly, a touchless car wash should work fine if your car is only slightly dirty. If you haven’t washed your car in a while, a soft-touch car wash will provide a more thorough clean.
How to jumpstart your car
Knowing how to jumpstart a car is something every vehicle owner should know how to do. Jumpstarting a car isn’t hard if you have a set of jumper cables. Here’s what to do.
• Pull both cars close enough to each other to connect the jumper cables. Set the parking brakes in each vehicle.
• Open the hood of each vehicle and locate the battery. Identify the positive (red) and negative (black) terminals. If they’re overly corroded, clean them with a wire brush.
• Connect the red clamp of the jumper cable to the red positive terminal on the dead battery.
• Connect the red clamp on the other end of the cable to the working battery.
• Connect the black negative clamp to the black terminal on the working battery.
• Connect the other end of the black clamp to the black terminal on the dead battery or any other unpainted metal surface of the car.
• Start the car with the working battery. Wait a minute or two before starting the vehicle with the dead battery.
Let the car run for a while to recharge the battery if it starts. If your vehicle doesn’t start, you may have an issue with your starter. In this case, you should call your local automotive shop for help.
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