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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What to check for before buying a car

According to a survey by Cox Automotive, only 32% of consumers know the exact vehicle they want when they car shop, but 55% of the test drive only one vehicle. With technology increasingly growing, it should be imperative for any consumers who are looking to buy a car to test drive beforehand. So, what should I look out for when I test drive? We have you covered!

Tips for the test drive.

1. Research. Note down everything you need in your car and do your homework. Dig around on other consumer reviews and see if that will affect your choice of car. Maybe the car you were really hoping to buy may have many flaws.

2. Schedule an appointment with car dealers. Yes, car dealers. Not only will this help you test drive other cars available but a great way to excuse yourself when dealing with a dealership. Remember, you are just testing not buying!

3. Bring a friend. There’s nothing more tempting to buy something than going on your own, bringing a family member or a friend will keep you grounded. Sometimes we need another opinion and not just the car dealer.

4. Bring required documents. If you’re looking to test drive, you will need to bring a copy of your license. Bring two just in case, and don’t be afraid to ask the dealer for the documents back and destroy the copies. Identity theft is on the rise, don’t let this happen to you.

5. Ask questions while inspecting the car. There is no limit in asking questions, especially when checking around the car for scratches, rust, missing pieces, etc. Vehicles can be damaged during shipping so always be prepared for the unexpected.

6. Comfort and drive the car. Make the most of your drive and commute on the highway or bumpy roads whatever it takes to test the comfort of the car.

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How to keep your BMW running like new

According to Berkley news, an average American spends 101 minutes per day driving, or 37,935 hours over their lifetime, which is incredible as this clearly shows how much we depend on our vehicle from running errands to getting to work. For most people, having a car is convenient to have in their daily lives. However, for BMW owners, this is a prize possession, something to be proud of. Car maintenance is extremely important in keeping your car running like new. Here are some useful car care tips for BMW owners.

Most Important Services.

Bringing your car for maintenance can be time-consuming, but having your BMW for a regular repair by a professional will keep your vehicle running faster, better and longer and most importantly help avoid costly emergency services later.
1. Engine. The engine is considered the heart of the car; therefore, it needs a lot of attention! We highly recommend having your car checked a few times a year. The last thing you need is your car breaking down on you in the middle of the highway.
2. Brakes. You should be checking your brakes as part of your regular necessary car maintenance. Our experts at German AutoSports recommends flushing the brake system every two years or so as strong brakes are key to your safety.
3. Tires. One of the most important safety system of your care. Being able to slow down the car or stopping from any sudden incident or accident. Improper working brakes will prevent you from doing so and cause more danger than your car but others on the road.
4. Cooling system. With BMW cars, the cooling system is a critical part of your car as it needs to be kept cooled and ideal operating temperature. To prevent your car from overheating, consider flushing your system with engine coolant as this will help protect the water pump, thermostat, and other internal components from frying up.
6. Oil. The BMW owner manual recommends changing oil every 12,000 to 15,000 miles as your car’s health is vital when it comes to keeping your vehicle stay in tip-top shape.

If you are unsure about your car’s condition, schedule an appointment and allow us to provide you the best solutions to your car needs.

 

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Driving Tips In The Rain

Spring in Massachusetts can be unpredictable. We tend to see a lot of rainy days which can be hard to drive on the road at times because we’re not used to the amount of the rain. That being said, as drivers, we should do our best for ourselves and others on the road, and stay cautious at all times. Here are five things you should avoid while driving in the rain.

  1. Stay Away From Sides Of Roads: Roads are constructed so that the highest point is in the middle. While it may not be a significant difference, this does cause for water to drain towards the edges of the road. Standing water can be dangerous while driving in the rain which means staying towards the center of the road will keep you safest.
  2. Keep Your Headlights On But Not Too Bright: Headlights believe it or not are not only used for our benefit. They are extremely beneficial to other drivers as it helps them see us. In harder conditions of a rainstorm, headlights help everyone stay aware of there surroundings.
  3. Stop Driving If You Can’t See: If you’ve ever driven in a rainstorm to the point where it is coming down so hard, you can see then you should not be driving. It may be a no-brainer, but people continue to drive in these situations. As soon as possible, pull off the road when safe.
  4. Stay Away From Flooded Areas: If you notice water flowing across the street from one side to the other, don’t try and cross. People continue to get swept away by stronger and deeper water then they have anticipated.
  5. Slow Down: While possibly the most obvious of them all is to slow down when driving. Drive well under speed limits,  as one of the worst dangers of driving fast in rainy conditions is hydroplaning.

We can only do our best and take proper cautions when driving on the road. If you’ve recently been in a car accident, please get in touch and allow us to evaluate your car so we can get it back on the road again!

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Car Cleaning Tips and Mistakes You Might Be Making

Spring cleaning to do list can mean many things to people; home, room, closet, or even cars! We’ve experienced many occasions where car owners did not think carefully when cleaning their car. Here are the common mistakes we find out when we ask our clients.

1. Washing when it is hot.

We understand, it just seems like the perfect way to get started, nice weather, music to the side to get in the mood, but a sunny day could dry your car too quickly, which in result turns into water spots. We recommend cleaning your car in the morning or evening when the sun is not directly on your car.

2. Using Dish Soap.

Yep, you heard right. Whatever you do, do not use dish detergent as this can be harsh on your car’s paint. Use the appropriate care products as the it specializes in specific car exterior paint.

3. Separate soapy water and rising with buckets.

It may seem like a lot of work, but it makes sense. Keeping your buckets apart will prevent any used soapy water from scratching the paint with dirt.

4. Forgetting the tires.

It’s quite common to see clean cars with dirty tires, but it is essential to get everything done right. Tires collect mud and dirt on the road and fail to clean them properly may get onto other parts of the vehicle too.

5. Neglecting your antenna.

Modern cars will have their antennas retracting into the car once the car is switched off. It may come unnoticed, but when retracted, antennas can drag gunk into your interior. Use wax paper for best results as it gives it a protective coat to repel dirt.

6. Cup Holders.

Extremely handy for your morning coffees, but when was the last time you cleaned out your cup holders? After all, drinks tend to spill when driving through rough roads and such. Bacteria’s accumulate which creates an unhealthy environment to your car interior.

7. Floor Mats.

This should be one of the top priorities when cleaning the inside of the car because it’s where your shoes rub any dirt or debris on. We recommend removing floor mats and vacuum thoroughly and dirt left underneath to give it a good clean.

Car cleaning may sound simple to do, but careless mistakes can lead to further damages to your car without you knowing it. For more information about our services, please feel free to get in touch with our experts at German AutoSports at (978) 388-1288

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