Bad habits that can ruin your car

For those who live in Massachusetts, will know how frightful the Winter weather can be, especially in the mornings driving on the road. It’s important to keep your car in good condition but did you know certain habits that you are doing can potentially cost you and the automobile more money to fix without knowing? Here are some habits you should avoid.

1. Forgetting to change your windshield wipers. One of the easiest changes to make that is often neglected by car owners. If you start to see the wipers not doing their job, it’s a sign to change them right away as it is vital to keep a clear sight when on the road.

2. Warming the car for too long. We get it, you want to climb into your car feeling nice and warm before driving, however, leaving your car running for more than a few minutes can cause buildup on the spark plugs and also waste gas as engines are not designed to idle for long periods of time.

3. Continuing to use Summer tires during Winter. Summer tires are not designed to drive through the winter and when the temperature falls below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the ice on the road will weaken your summer tires which leads to poor handling and braking.

4. Forgetting to check the tire pressure. We constantly remind our clients to check their tires every season as winter will work your tires the most. Carry an emergency kit in the car is the best way to be prepared all year round.

5. Pouring hot water on the windshield. One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to deice their windshield, especially if you have a small crack in the glass as hot water will make the crack expand.

6. Slamming your brakes too hard. Accidents during the cold weather happen when someone loses control of their car from pressing the brake too hard. To avoid a costly accident, stay calm, and remember to gently turn the steering wheel in the direction you are sliding and tap the brake lightly.

7. Speeding. No matter how experienced you may think you are, speeding during the winter is asking for trouble. Overconfidence can potentially cause you a serious crash. Don’t be that person.

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Tips for Driving in the Snow

It’s the middle of fall, and the temperature is slowly dropping, which can only mean one thing, winter is right around the corner. Snow will start falling from the sky before we know it and the roads will begin to get slippery and dangerous. Here are some helpful tips for driving in the snow:

Don’t drive while being fatigued. Be well rested if you’re planning a long drive. Driving through heavy snow requires a lot of attention and awareness.

Warming your car up in an enclosed area could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Always be sure if you are heating your vehicle in a garage, that the door is open.

Be sure that your car tires are fully inflated. Dull or flat tires will reduce the amount of traction and gas usage.

Try keeping your car tank at least half full. If it gets too low, there is an increased chance at gas line freeze-up.
Don’t use your cruise control in any snowy or slippery conditions. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. If you try to accelerate too fast in the snow, you’re at a high chance of skidding. Take your time and drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads so why the rush?

Drive safe and follow these steps to avoid accidents as snow is one of the leading causes of crashes.

 

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Do you have an emergency kit in your car?

You never really think about having a roadside emergency kit until it’s too late. As the weather begins to drop, now will be a great time to start planning ahead for future travels. Breakdowns can occur at any time, anywhere, and unexpected, so you will want to be prepared when it happens. We’ve come up with a list of things that can help keep your stress level down and increase you and your passengers safety.

Batteries. Keep your battery-powered and consider carrying a portable battery charger on hand.

Blanket. Keep yourself and passengers warm especially when the weather starts dropping.

Duct Tape. A handy tape can help you with many things, broken mirror, dragging bumper. This will temporarily help you on the road until you reach to a car maintenance shop.

Extra Clothing/Shoes. There’s nothing worse than fixing your car in the rain. Having spare clothes will make your journey more at ease without feeling discomfort in wet clothes.

First aid kit. The essentials: band-aids, adhesive tape, gauze pads, aspirin, antiseptic wipes, and cream, etc.

Flashlight. In case your car breaks down at night. It’s also ideal to buy a waterproof one.

Gloves/Rags. To keep protect your hands from dirt

Ice Scraper. For the windshield, which will be perfect for long winters in Massachusetts.

Jumper Cables. In case your car batteries fail, and you need to restart the battery from another car.

Poncho. To protect yourself from the rain when exchanging tires.

Roadmaps. Sometimes going old school can benefit you especially if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal.

Small Shovel. In case your car gets stuck in mud or snow.

Small Tool Kit. You never know when a screwdriver, pliers, wrench, etc.

By being prepared for any road emergencies will help reduce your stress levels and focus on keeping yourself and passengers safe.

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How to prepare your car for Winter

As the weather begins to drop, Winter is just around the corner. As you can imagine, the weather can be unpredictable here in Massachusetts, that’s why we highly recommend our clients to always prepare early to avoid any accidents. We’ve come up with a few suggestions that will help you get started.

Put a “Winter supply” box in your car. This is probably the most important thing you should do to get started. Having a box full of winter supplies will make all the difference in case of an emergency while traveling on a cold winter day. Here’s a checklist of things that may help: A flashlight, road flares, first-aid kit, blankets, warm clothes, extra gloves, charged cell phone for emergencies, ice scraper and some snacks (you never know).

Check your engine coolant and antifreeze levels. Antifreeze keeps your engine from freezing during the cold winter which will prevent you having any engine difficulties when winter arrives. An engine coolant is available in almost evert auto supply store. Instructions for engine coolant and antifreeze are pretty straightforward to follow.

Check your tire pressure and tread depth. Preparing your tires for the Winter should be mandatory, as most accidents during the Winter are caused by failing to maintain their tires properly. A gauge can be purchased from a local auto supply store and easy to follow when checking for pressure level. The “Lincoln test” is still a valuable trick to see if your tire needs replacing.

Switch it Winter fluid. Winter fluid is designed to handle severe weather conditions and won’t freeze on your windshield. In fact, it loosens ice and snow from your windshield, making it easier to clean.

By following these suggestions will help keep you safe on the road during the Winter. For more information about our services, please get in touch and contact us at (978) 388-1288

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Car Maintenance Tips for Fall

As you may know, Fall is here and the temperature is slowly starting to drop. Although not many car owners start thinking about car maintenance, you should plan ahead before it gets too late. Here are a few helpful tips that could save you a lot of time.
1. Check belts and hoses for signs of wear before braving the cold. That’s why it makes sense to pay close attention to the details while scanning under the hood. Rubber serpentine belts, for example, can grow a bit rigid when exposed to the winter chill. According to Boston.com, the appearance of cracks and fraying ends is indicative of a belt on its last legs. Forgetting to replace these belts as they wear down or approach 60,0000 miles makes it far more likely they will tear or snap while you’re on the road.
Your cooling system must also be carefully maintained, even if the outside temperature is below freezing. Be sure to check hoses running under the hood for any signs of deterioration or leakage. Like rubber belts, cold weather may cause brittleness to become a problem. If this is the case, you might consider replacing hoses and belts regularly. If you are not comfortable performing these precautions, seek advice from your dealer or local auto repair shop.
2. Proper tire maintenance minimizes accident scenarios. We constantly fix tires that have not been maintained properly. You should be checking your tire pressure at least once a month, a regular check will not only improve your fuel economy, but it also ensures that your car will handle optimally in any emergency maneuvers. A neat trick is doing a “penny test”. If you can see all of Abraham Lincoln’s head, take the car to a tire service center to have your tires checked up.
3. Clear windows and windshields to maintain visibility
Not being able to see out your windows is a major issue during winter, since safe driving through rain and snow depends heavily on your ability to see what’s directly in front your vehicle. A new set of rubber-clad wiper blades, designed for winter usage, and a restocked supply of winter windshield washer fluid will help keep the road ahead in clear view. When it comes to clearing obstructions from your side and rear windows, be sure to keep an ice scraper somewhere in your vehicle.
4. Keep up with battery maintenance to avoid getting stranded
Another component that sometimes goes overlooked during the wintertime is your car’s battery. A dead cell in the middle of the New England winter is not only frustrating but could also turn dangerous if you and your family are stranded far from civilization.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence recommended that drivers perform a bit of maintenance to keep their battery alive and healthy as long as possible. Removing corrosion, tightening wire connections and keeping battery fluid at appropriate levels is key to keeping your car moving during the New England winter.
5. Don’t forget to flush your fluids
Too little coolant will cause serious problems after temperatures take a massive drop. Make sure to flush and refill your engine’s coolant tank as often as recommended. Allow the entire vehicle to cool down after the operation before you start messing around under the hood. Otherwise, you’ll risk injuring yourself or those around you when you twist off the radiator cap.
By following these suggestions and taking care of your vehicle during the winter, you help avoid potential risk or damage that could occur. Again, if you are not comfortable doing so on your own, please make an appointment with your closest dealership or at your local auto repair shop. Stay safe this winter!

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4 Transmission problems you can’t ignore.

If you drive a car with an automatic transmission, you may want to find out what happens when the transmission starts to fail and how to prepared when it does. Here are 4 signs you should not ignore.

1.       Transmission slipping. If you’re experiencing your car changing gears for no apparent reason or your engine is making sudden whining noise, your car could be struggling and will need a professional to inspect and find out where the issue lies.

2.       Rough shifts. Your car feels like it is refusing to change gears as it normally does, or shifting gears do not feel smooth. You may also notice your car having difficulty picking up the speed.

3.       Delayed engagement. You may see your car reacting a lot longer than normal. If you see a long pause when shifting out of “P” to “D”, and the car revs the engine as you give it gas, this is not a good sign for your car and will need to book an appointment with your local car repair shop.

4.       Fluid leak. If you see any leaks coming out of your engine or leak spots on your drive or garage floor, you will notice a bright red light on your dashboard. Do not ignore this as this is a hazard to your car and should be checked right away.

One of the most common mistakes a car owner make is ignoring the warning lights on the dashboard until the car starts to fail on them, which ends up costing them more than it should. Repairing transmission can be as little as $150 but replacing a defective transmission or the entire transmission can add up to $2,500 or more. If you see some of the signs that are listed above, get your car checked as soon as you can. For more information about German AutoSport services, get in touch and contact us at (978) 388-1288

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How to prep your car for summer driving

Getting your car ready for the summer is a lot easier and less expensive than it used to be. There are a few basic steps that can help you enjoy the rest of the summer driving season.

Check tires regularly. You should be checking your tire pressure at least once a month, a regular check will not only improve your fuel economy, but it also ensures that your car will handle optimally in any emergency maneuvers. A neat trick is doing a “penny test”. If you can see all of Abraham Lincoln’s head, take the car to a tire service center to have your tires checked up.

Check cooling and air conditioning systems. One of the most common breakdowns we typically find are any related coolant problems and engines overheating. The cooling system tends to break down due to poor air flow around the radiator. So, before the summer driving season starts, clean out any leaves, pine needles or other debris that may have been collected in the radiator and the air conditioning condenser.

Replacing a radiator cap that is more than five years old can really save your time and money. When a radiator cap is exposed to heat, its internal rubber gasket can end up cracked, deformed, damaged or simply hardened, and the cap’s metal spring also weakens over time.
Changing oil. Be sure to check to check your oil level and add fresh oil whenever necessary. Failure to do so can lead to certain areas of your engine to overheat and break down.

Lighting and visibility. Check your headlights to make sure that everything is in function and there are no wiring problems. Most electrical issues are either worn down or not properly maintained. Lastly, clean the windows and replace old wipers. They are inexpensive but easily neglected.

When it comes to vehicle maintenance, it is better to leave it the pros, especially if you are planning to take your car to a long drive. The last thing you need to ruin your trip is car breaking down on you because of lack of preparation. For more information about our services, please feel free to reach out to us at 978 388-1288

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Common Car Maintenance Mistakes

All vehicles require maintenance in order to last long, however we’ve seen a lot of car owners not taking good care of their cars due to “not having time” or “couldn’t get around to it” which in the long run creates more problems and damages to the car, which evidently cost them more than they had anticipated. Here are the common car maintenance mistakes we always encounter:

1. Ignoring the Check Engine Light. It’s easy to ignore the check engine light. As soon as the light comes on we look around to see if the car is still operating fine and come to a conclusion of “I’ll take care of it soon”. You should find time to see your local mechanic as the earlier you take care of it which could save you’re a lot of money.

2. Not Checking your Tire Pressure. Not many people pay much attention to the tires as we always assume that everything is ok. Looks can be deceiving. Even when tires appear to be properly inflated, they could be low on air. It’s best to check your tire pressure regularly because you never know when it might be low, after all, the last thing you want is a flat tire and/or poor gas mileage.

3. Skipping Oil Changes. In most situations, we often change the car oil every 3,000 miles, with car engine technology, an average oil change can be replaced around 7.800 miles. If motor oil is left in an engine for too long, the oil will start to break down which leads to horrible deposits of sludge in your engine. The most common issue is that the parts in your engine will become too hot, which will slowly certain engine components to warp and wear out.

4. Not Inspecting the Brakes. This is one of the most important maintenance that will need attention right away. If they are worn down or not working properly, your vehicle becomes unsafe for you, your passengers, and cars on the road.

5. Using the Wrong Products on your Car. Most home glass cleaners use ammonia which over time will break down the heating element in your rear car windshield. The thin lines you typically see at the back of the car are designed to produce heat and assist with defrosting. It is much safer to use appropriate window cleaning products. You may not see it now, but you could be surprised to see the effect it has when Winter arrives.

We understand that life can get in the way of things that prevent us getting our cars checked but if you manage to find time to handle the issue right away. It will help save you time and money and avoid troubles being stuck on the side road. If you have any issues with your cars or questions, please feel free to get in contact with us at (978) 388-1288 today.

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How To Check Your Car Before a Road Trip?

Are you planning to go on a road trip for the Memorial Day long weekend? Before you do, you should check on your car to make sure you don’t encounter any mechanical issues. It is one of the last problems you need after planning your short vacation you’ve been looking forward to all week! We have come up with some quick DIY step for you to follow.

1.       Check the fluids in your car. Make sure you to check the oil, coolant, brake fluid, and windscreen wash levels. This will help prevent any small accident that can affect your car in the long run. For extra help where these are located, check your user manual book in your car.

2.       Check your air tire pressure. You should find the “recommended level” printed in the owner’s manual, sticker on the body where the driver’s door shuts or inside the car flap where you put gas into the car. The recommended level should be the max, do not exceed. Also, in preparation for the worst-case scenario, add air into your spare tire.

3.       Get your oil changed. Even when it’s getting closer to the time to change your oil, get it changed. Driving to a long destination can additional stress to the motor. Adding oil yourself does seem ideal and easy to do but in fact, it is not. Consistently adding new oil will not get rid of the sludge from old oil used. Let the professionals do it, you want to keep the car maintained and longer lasting. Don’t risk it.

4.       Check your tire wear. Often drivers do not pay much attention to their tires, especially when planning on a long trip tires can heat up and can cause blowouts on worn out tires. Use the tread depth gauge to measure the tread depth. It should be 1/16th” or 1.6mm.

5.       Check all lights and signals are functioning. This is very important to check if you are planning to drive at night. Ask a friend or family member to help assist you on this one. Go through each light and signal to make sure the other person can confirm is working accordingly. You may want to carry extra car replacement bulbs, just to be safe. Unless you are a “handy with tools” kind of person, it is best to allow the professional this.

6.       Emergency equipment kit. Any emergency kit can come in handy, this could include an up to date map, cell phone, spare tire or emergency tools like flashlight, screwdriver, pliers, an adjustable spanner or medical kit can prepare you for the worst-case scenario, it may sound excessive but it is always better to be overprepared than underprepared.

Following these quick steps will help keep you prepared for any road trips you plan ahead. At German AutoSport, we advise you to take safety seriously. Don’t put your loved ones at risk for something you should check before your trip. Contact us at (978) 388-1288, and we will be more than happy to assist your car maintenance needs at Amesbury, Boxford, Haverhill, Lawrence, and Newburyport MA.

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Summer Car Maintenance Tips

While driving in the summer might not seem like the most grueling experience for your car, it certainly can cause its issues. German Auto Sport has come up with a few tips that will help keep your car running smoothly during the continued summer months.

  1. Tire Checks: Tire pressure directly changes due to the temperature outside. The PSI of your tires often increase between 1-2 psi for every 10 degree increase. Be sure your tire pressure is at the recommended value. You can check this by reading your cars owners manual. An under inflated tire puts pressure on the sidewalls of the tire while an over inflated tire will make less contact with the road which can potentially lead to hydroplaning during rainy weather.
  2. Air Conditioning Malfunction: Air Conditioning gets worked alot during the summer months and it isn’t uncommon to have your unit stop working. While there could be many causes for this, with the most common being a low level of refrigerant, it may be best to have an expert check it out.
  3. Windshield Wipers:Windshield wipers are crucial to work during the winter but are also important during the summer. Be sure to check them once in a while to make sure they work. Violent and sudden thunderstorms will bring unexpected rain and you need to be sure your wipers work 100%.

If you are to run into any problems with the problems listed about, German Auto Sport is happy to help.

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