Driving in Hazardous Conditions

While the best thing to do when hazardous conditions present themselves is to stay home, sometimes that’s not always an option. When snow, heavy rain, thick fog, or other elements make driving difficult, take these tips to help keep yourself safe in hazardous driving conditions.

Be Prepared!

One of the best things you can do to fight of hazardous driving conditions is to fight them off before they get here! Be prepared! Keep a first aid kit in your car for emergencies. Things like a large towel, cloth bandages, cotton swabs, bandages, antibacterial ointment, pain reliever, and a CPR guide are useful items to keep on hand in case of an accident that causes injury.

Bring blankets and rain gain when traveling in colder wetter conditions to stay warm and dry in case you get stranded.
With extreme heat, make sure you have plenty of water to drink. You never know if the AC might fail on you!

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Storms can bring high wind and down trees or power lines. Pay close attention to what is going on around you. If it starts to get too bad, pull over in a safe place and ride it out.

Drive Safely

Use common sense! Slow down, take your time, and leave more travel time to reach your destination. Again, if conditions get so bad that your visibility is too low and you can only see a short distance in front of your car, then find a safe area to pull off the road and wait out the storm.

Test the Conditions

Find a safe place on the road with no oncoming traffic and no traffic behind you and test the conditions. Try to brake quickly and controlled to see how much time it takes to stop. This will give you some practice in the conditions and also give you a feel for how far back you need to be from the cars in front of you to avoid a collision.

Practice Safe Speeds and Following Distance

Slow down and keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. There are a lot of unknowns that can happen and these unknowns are heightened when hazardous conditions are present. Back off, slow down, and stay safe, you’ll be glad you did!

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New Year’s Resolutions Every Car Owner Should Have

Owning a car is a wonderful experience!  But, let’s face it, sometimes we don’t always do things like we are supposed to when it comes to our cars.  Here are some new years resolutions that every car owner should have:

Properly Maintain Your Car

It’s really easy to get lax on performing routine maintenance on your cars.  However, if you keep up with this routine maintenance, you’ll lessen the chances of costly repairs later on down the road.

Keep up with oil changes, brakes, tires, and air filter changes, as well as any other routine service recommended by your manufacturer.  Complete these on schedule to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on more costly components of your vehicle, like your engine!

Learn to Do It Yourself

Like the first one, routine maintenance needs to be completed as scheduled, but you can save yourself some money and learn a little bit more about your car by performing some of the basic maintenance tasks yourself.  Checking your tire pressure and keeping your tires properly inflated, changing your air filter, flushing your engine coolant, and even changing the oil are relatively easy tasks to perform and can save you some money along the way.

Leave the major repairs to the professionals though!

Clean Your Car!

For some of us, keeping the car clean is just a natural habit, but for others, there are always empty bottles and loose trash on the floorboards and a coating of dust on the outside of the car.  Do one deep clean, declutter and remove all of the stuff that doesn’t need to be in your car, and put in a small trash can to collect trash.  Keeping the outside of your car clean will also help your paint last longer and prevent rusting!

Take these tips, make them into resolutions for yourself, and drive happily into the new year!

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Benefit of Getting a Car Tune Up

Car maintenance is something that seems to be a never-ending task, but keeping up with the necessary preventative routine maintenance is the easiest way to avoid costly unexpected repairs. Getting a car tune-up is one of the more in-depth routine maintenance services your car needs, but just how important is it? Knowing the answer to that question comes easily when you understand the many benefits that come with getting a car tune-up!

Less Unexpected Repairs

During a regular tune-up, all of the important aspects of your vehicle will be checked and maintained as needed. That means improving the lifespan and dependability of your vehicle. Having the peace of mind that your car won’t leave you stranded or searching for cash to pay for an unexpected repair is something that many car owners think is impossible, but that’s exactly what a tune-up does!

Improved Fuel Efficiency

Everybody wants their vehicle to get the best gas mileage it possibly can. With a tune-up, all aspects of your vehicle that could be reducing your fuel efficiency will be returned to top-notch performance. Your wallet and the environment will thank you!

Saving Money

Many car owners fail to get a tune-up for their vehicle because of the upfront cost, but that’s a big mistake. The cost of a tune-up will save you hundreds on gas and unexpected brake repairs. Not to mention, more severe engine and transmission problems. In fact, the money saved form regular tune-ups will make the cost of the tune-up itself appear small in the long run!

Bringing your car in for a tune-up is a fast and effective way to help yourself later down the road. To find out more about scheduling and cost of a tune-up for your car, give one of our expert mechanics a call. We want to get you in and get you back out on the road, all while saving you money!

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Automobile Fluid Color Guide

If you’ve ever moved your vehicle, only to see a puddle of fluid where it was sitting, you know the sinking feeling that comes with knowing you’re probably going to have to pay for car repairs soon. However, it is essential to know whether or not the fluid leaking out of your vehicle needs immediate attention or not. This automobile fluid color guide is meant to make things easier for you.

Light brown to black fluid. Any fluid that is light brown to black in color is probably motor oil. If your vehicle is leaking light brown fluid that has a sulfurous odor, you likely have a lube oil leak. Leaking oil isn’t necessarily going to cause serious damage to your car right away, but you should have the problem repaired as soon as possible.

Light yellow to dark brown fluid. Yellow fluid is almost always braked fluid, but as it gets older, it can turn brown, making it look like oil. An easy way to distinguish between the two is to check its texture; if it is quite slippery, it likely isn’t motor oil. A brake fluid leak can lead to severe problems, and you should call a trustworthy mechanic right away if you are worried this is your car’s issue. You should not drive until you’ve spoken to a professional.

Red fluid. Typically, any vehicle fluid with a red tint is power steering fluid, which likely means there is a problem with your power steering pump. Although it is possible to drive without power steering, it is quite difficult. Therefore, it’s best to have this issue looked at and repaired soon after you notice any reddish puddles.

Bright yellow, pink, or green fluids. Neon colored vehicle fluids are nearly always the result of coolant issues. The older your automobile is, the more likely it is to have some kind of non-serious coolant leak. If you have a newer car that seems to be leaking coolant, however, it’s a good idea to have it checked out, as it should be recycling any coolant blow-off, not leaking it out.

If your vehicle has been leaking any fluid, we would be happy to take a look at it for you. We are proud of our team’s trustworthiness and skill and look forward to helping you get back on the road with no worries soon. Give us a call today to set-up an appointment!

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Preparing Your Car for Fall

Fall and winter is a time filled with holiday joy and cold weather, but it should also be a time filled with car preparations. The cold weather and harsh conditions make your car much more susceptible to damages that could lead to costly repairs. With some simple fall preparations, you can ensure your vehicle drives smoothly and safely throughout the winter months. Let’s take a closer look at some of the preparation steps you should start taking.

Check Everything

This may sound a little broad spectrum, but it’s true. You should be checking tire pressure, oil and fluid levels, belts and hoses, battery, lights, and heat before winter to protect your safety. If you’re unsure of how to check these things, many mechanics offer a winter preparation service where they inspect all aspects of your vehicle and let you know what should be fixed. Tires and brakes should be a top priority for you to fix to prevent improper stopping in poor road conditions. Certain things, such as your battery or hoses, are much more likely to fail during the winter months and you don’t want to end up stranded in the cold.

Make a Cold Weather Kit

Once you’ve prepared your car mechanically, it’s time to prepare it practically. This means preparing for the worst situation to ensure your safety and wellbeing. Consider making a winter safety kit for your car that includes the following:

  • Ice scraper
  • Blanket
  • Gloves
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight or flares
  • Basic medical supplies

With these basic preparation tips your car will be much more likely to make it through the harsh winter months, and so will you! Putting off this preventative maintenance this winter will lead to more costly repairs down the road and possibly a very serious accident.

 

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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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Problems and solutions for cars in the rains

After a scorching summer in Massachusetts comes with heavy thunderstorms. Heavy rain is expected to fall where it comes to a hazard for drivers on the road. Here are the common problems we encounter and how to fix them.

Windscreen wiper is making noise and causing streaks.

It is recommended to replace your wipers once every year for maintenance to do its job properly.  Wiper blades go through all types of elements through the cold winter followed by the blazing hot summers which cause the rubber blades to tear and expose metal which can create damages to your windows

Car paint is looking dull after the rain, some areas may even rust.

We get it. You can never be prepared for the thunderstorm. However, applying a good coat of wax polish once a month on the body to protect it.

How to prevent my windscreen from misting up.

Most cars should have a windshield demister setting in the air-conditioning system. For other cars with manual HVAC, move the temperature control from extreme cold to a more moderate setting and switch on the AC.

Tires tend to lose pressure in the rains and often skid.

The weather can be the reason for tire pressure to drop. However, for good practice it is best to check your tires often! If you come across high wet road surface, do not speed up!

Water splashed into the engine and car has stalled.

This can be a big issue to your engine, if water falls on the ignition components, it can cause your car to stall. You need to get your car to a dry area and blow dry the engine with high pressure are if possible and have it checked out from the local car repair shop.

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How To Protect Your Car This Summer

Spring is finally here and summer is right around the corner! Time to drive with the top down and enjoy the great weather to come. As you enjoy the good climate, there are somethings to look out for with your car as the temperatures rise and the sun is beaming down. You may be asking, why do I need to watch out for good weather and sun for my car? Well, higher temperatures and sun rays can alter parts of vehicles that make performance change and even need repairs. To make sure you are protecting your car this summer, here are some tips to follow.

  • Check Fluids - During hotter climate, fluids in your car can be used up more frequently then normal weather conditions. Make sure to check your fluids, transmission fluid, coolant, etc periodically to make sure they are not low. If they are low that and the hotter temperature can cause damage to your car.
  • Use reflective panels on your dashboard –  They may look weird but these panels help in the long run when used during the summertime. They reduce the temperature inside the car which is makes is more pleasant for you as well as not using air conditioning less. These panels also prevent bleaching the sun can do to the interior of your car.
  • Check Tires Monthly -  Under inflated tires are more likely to blow in the summer as the higher temperatures. They are more likely to flex which causes more heat on top of the outside climate which will eventually lead to a blow out. Make sure to check your tires once a month to prevent any blowout and in the morning. Checking in the morning gives the most accurate pressure read as temperatures are not too hot in the morning.
  • Clean the Inside of Your Car - Sun and dust can cause a bad combination in the summer. They can cause caking grime on to your dash and other interior surfaces. Clean the inside with automobile cleaners at least once a month.
  • Park Smart - Much of the issues that can happen in the summer time can be prevented by just reducing the amount of sun and heat going to your car. To make sure you are helping and not harming your car, make sure to park in the shade. Whenever there is any hint of shade when parking, grab the spot. This is will help prevent interior damage as well as lessen exterior heat on the car.

For more information on car protection and upgrades, please feel free to reach out. We can be contacted over the phone at (978) 388-1288.

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How To Check Your Car Before a Road Trip?

Are you planning to go on a road trip for the  Summer breaks and long weekends? 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

Summer is around the corner! You know what that means, mini weekend breaks, taking the kids out, and road trips! But before you start making any further plans, there are still important factors you need to prepare. Just like Winter, Summer is crucial when taking your car out in the heat. Here are some quick tips to look out for.

1. Tires
We highly recommend checking your tires all year round. Keeping your tires in good condition will prevent you the trouble from the long road trips. It’s also recommended checking your spare wheel for any emergencies.

2. Fluids.
Oil, brake, power steering, and windshield washer should all be checked regularly. Some liquids may require more attention than others depending on how well you’ve maintained your car and the car model. If you noticed anything unusual with the brake, you should get in touch with your local mechanic right away.

3. Wipers.
Yes, wipers. Often neglected by car owners but it can cause an issue as worn wipers can create horrible streaks across the windshield which affects your vision while driving.

4. Air-Conditioning System
Air-conditioning is a must when it comes to summer essential. If the system has not been active during the winter, now is the time to have it fixed right away. Any leak that is left untouched will only cause more problem in the near future.

5. Dashboard Sunshade
Even when you’re not driving the car about it’s still important to protect the vehicle when being exposed to the sun during the day. A cover is inexpensive and will help protect the dashboard and keep the car to remain cool. Don’t forget the read windows for passengers and the kids.

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