Are EV’s (Electric Vehicles) the Future?

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By Staff

At the Kicker, we’ve given a lot of attention to AV’s (Autonomous Vehicles) and touched upon EV’s (Electronic Vehicles) a little in passing because the two types of car are closely aligned in our minds.

Perhaps its time to dig into EV’s a bit deeper by themselves. Let’s start with a little clarification. In the mind of most consumers EV’s and Hybrids sort of run together, but there’s a difference and it matters.

car-engine-231213_1920.jpgHybrids use a gas engine to assist an electronic engine. This gives a sort of best of both worlds experience. When an electric engine would be adequate, ie the around town stuff, then you have that. On long trips, the gas engine kicks in to top off the batteries. The gas engine also assists when power is needed, not because you can’t get good power from an electric engine but because you don’t really need a big electric engine just for a few occasions when it’s needed and the gas engine is just sitting there.

EV’s don’t carry a way to generate power unless you count regenerative braking systems (which turn forward velocity back into power to slow the car and recapture electricity). EV’s rely on batteries to store power from a source.

EV’s comes with some advantages and some disadvantages. One potential advantage is that electric power can be generated by multiple fuel sources, which in theory allows each area to use the most cost-effective source to power your car. It’s certainly true that most electricity is created locally, unlike oil which is bought as crude, often from nations that don’t align perfectly with US ideology. However, the fact remains that some source of power is required and you can’t really find a generation source that’s truly free of controversy.

Another advantage to EV’s is that without gallons of flammable, even combustible, fuel on board, the risk of fire and explosion is cut way down. Making them safer to operate and cheaper to insure.

electric-car-734573_1920Another controversy is the batteries themselves which are hazardous to dispose of and rely on material that’s mined in places that don’t really align with US ideology.

For whatever reason, consumers haven’t taken to EV’s as enthusiastically as manufacturers and environmentalists had hoped. Laws are coming soon to force the issue, essentially banning new car sales of petroleum powered vehicles. This would include hybrids depending on which version of which countries bill you’re referring to.

This article by DriveTribe identifies potential sources of consumer resistance:

Range Anxiety – EV’s top out at or below 300 miles, which wouldn’t be a big deal if you could charge them as quickly as you can fill up at a gas station.

Investment Anxiety – As with any new technology we’ve yet to see if EV’s are more or less reliable mechanically, but we’re pretty sure they will cost more to fix. We do know how long we can use a cell phone before we need to trade it in or buy a new battery…about a year…and most of us don’t want to get caught up in that racket with something a pricey as a car.

Just Not A Proper Vehicle – Which doesn’t seem quite rational because anything that gets you around is a vehicle. If we stop to think about it, nuclear subs are pretty cool and they don’t run on gas. But as we’ve mentioned many times at the Kicker, there is a certain romance around cars, which is fading, but not as quickly as many folks expected.

Side Note about the fading romance with cars: For much of the car’s existence it represented freedom. Cars expanded our range the way horses let the Tartars build a vast empire. A teenager couldn’t wait to get a vehicle because it uncoupled him/her from their parents. However, clogged freeways, mass transit, online shopping, social media and cheap rideshare companies have eroded our desire to sit many hours a day in a car.

So what would overcome these concerns, and the others too numerous to list here?

Well, not all disadvantages are created equal. One key is going to be infrastructure. We will need enough charging stations to meet our anxiety level and we’ll need them to charge in about the same time frame we can refuel. This isn’t too far away, at least in the U.K. where shell and the National Grid have invested in creating dozens of charge stations capable of fast charging your car in as little as ten minutes. electric-car-2728143_1920

Cost is another huge factor. The reality for most Americans is that we lack the money to invest. Assuming an EV’s low of fuel costs are enough to make them overall cheaper to operate than fuel engines, then you’re exchanging a higher upfront cost in the hopes of making it up over the lifetime you own the vehicle. This may not be a reality until we start seeing more EV’s on the used car market.

The final ingredient that might nudge the American consumer sentiment towards EV’s is to conquer the range issue. A range over 400 miles would be more needed in a place like America than it is in the UK or Europe due simply to the amount to road and sprawl we have and the lack of an alternative transportation in the 400-mile to 800-mile range. Unless you get a smoke’n deal from an airline it’s cheaper and easier to drive your personal vehicle to the in-laws (and the train is just as expensive but the slowest option of all).

One hopes that a market solution is used to push consumers toward EV’s, if in fact, they are cheaper, safer, and more environmentally friendly. The laws banning new combustion engine sales prior to fixing the issues listed above seems like the kind of laws that work some places and not others.

Calming the Road Rage

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The phrase, “road rage,” originated when it was used to describe a pattern of tragic shootings between 1987 and 1988 in LA by local news station KTLA. In the time since the phrase has meaning has both grown and diluted to the point that it is now used for every piece of driving that seems out of order, such as tailgating, swerving and long horn-honks. However, it is still used for more violent acts.

But why did incidents of “road rage” come to light during 1987 and 1988? At least part of the reason people took notice is the use of guns, which seemed exotic compared to simply running someone off the road. Probably the big reason these instances caught our national attention would have something to do with dashcam footage which found its way on T.V.

A similar phrase – highway hostility – which was also used at the time didn’t catch on.

Likely factors which may have led to the problems in LA include:

  • The general sprawl of the city’s highways
  • The congestion
  • The hot weather

Many would credit the hysteria and paranoia of the media for heightening the situation, but there was genuine fear by some.

Ironically the year when road rage became a thing may also have statistically had the most cautious and polite drivers. The phrase didn’t really catch on at the time. Maybe the media were worried about starting at an epidemic.

angry-man-274175_1920However, the phrase was reborn when the streets of Paris began to show similar rage activity in the 1990s.

There are 1,200 incidents a year of what might be described as “road rage”, the average age of offenders is 33 and 96.6% of all cases are by males.

Your typical road rager is a 19-year-old male with bumper stickers on his car. (No we’re not kidding.)

To counter the stereotype though, go to YouTube and search for “road rage females.” There are plenty of incidences of road rage caused by Moms on the school run.

66% of all fatalities involving any sort of traffic is caused by aggression and 33% of all cases involve a firearm. More concerning is that 2% of road rage victims will try to drive an aggressive driver off the road. This is not recommended!

According to the DSM5, road ragers may be suffering from IED or Intermittent Explosive Disorder which symptoms include both angry and violent outbursts as well as twitching and palpitations. Treatment may be possible through cognitive behavior therapy as well as antidepressants and an inhibitor drug, though presumably care should be taken when taking prescribed drugs while driving.

Other ways to counter road rage is listening to soothing music, not staring at other drivers and not using what might be described as obscene gestures at them. Simply put, staying out of a negative headspace.

So calm down, and be aware of your fellow drivers. Nothing is worth getting too overstressed over.

 

Stuck? It’s all in the manual.

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For most cars, there is a manual that shows you how to keep them ticking. I’m speaking of a car repair manual, not an owner’s manual. The car repair manual shouldn’t be confused with the manual that comes from the manufacturer which is usually kept in the glove compartment, forgotten until you get a light on your dash. I’m speaking of a book to consult because you own that type of car—even before something has had a chance to go wrong.

The goal is to be thorough:

  • How to take the car apart and put it back right
  • How to figure out what might be wrong
  • Give you the information to decide if you can take it on yourself or should seek a professional

One of the big names in the car manual arena is Haynes, covering 300 different makes of car and 130 makes of motorcycle. While there are technical manuals aimed at professional and semi-pro mechanics, Haines targets the amateur, do it yourself, owner.

Haines manuals began with the humblest of starts—when he bought an Austin 7 for £15, the equivalent of $160 today and wrote his first article about it. In that first article, Haynes wrote more about building special parts for the car rather than maintenance as such. For his first actual guide, Haynes chose not to write about the Austin Healey Sprite; an open top sports car which ceased being made in 1971. Clearly, he was our type of car guy.

John Haynes wrote yet one more car book while doing National Service with the Royal Airforce. National Service was a common occurrence for people in their 20s during the early 1950s. He didn’t launch his publishing house, J. H. Haynes & Co. Limited, until 1960.

The books concerned themselves with covering the whole process of repair step by step. The original work was created using a steel duplicator, also known as a mimeograph, which is similar to what you might find in a teachers resource room at a local grade school. A useful bit of kit, but not created for manufacturing of books. As they became more commercially successful, more conventional means of printing were found.

The Haines manuals have been written in 15 different languages. If this seems quite small, think about trying to translate a technical manual, especially if techniques of service and maintenance differ in the countries involved. Another problem is that some components may be unavailable in specific areas. Haynes is now owned by the Chilton Company, who started their business writing cycling magazines and is now one of the largest publishing companies in the world.

You can find repair manuals on various items of automobile equipment such as battery chargers, GPS and even trailers. There are a number of websites you can search for the right manual, which kinds of begs the question why you shouldn’t just search for what is going wrong with your car. Still, people like manuals and many can be obtained for free, sometimes in the form of PDFs.

Due to the amount of litigation involved, car manuals have become larger and larger. This may be a problem if you want to find the information quickly.

It would be a shame if the manual, whether the manufacturer’s manual or one created by aficionados of the car were suddenly removed. The act of publishing a manual kind of shows that people are taking interest in the “technical feat” of building a car, much more than several pages on the internet.

If it weren’t adding something to the owner’s experience manufacturers would surely give up on producing their owner’s manual just to save the money. As for Haynes, the aficionado’s manual is like a nice set of tools. It says you care about your vehicle enough to be personally involved with it. Hopefully car lovers continue to buy them, and hopefully, guys like Haines keep making them.

Auto Testing

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When you hear the words new car testing, what probably flashes to mind are dramatic videos of cars deliberately smashed against walls in a closed facility with a number of dummies inside. In reality, this is only one of the many tests cars go through before entering the market.

Post premarket auto tests are carried out in “the real world” to see how the car, including its components (paintwork, engine, etc) cope with the vigorous conditions; mud, fording streams, icy conditions and so on.

car-1242080_1920The actual number of tests that a manufacturer takes a car on is a closely guarded secret, but it is known that they use places like Death Valley or a test track in the mountains of Germany in order to see how the car operates. The testers are interested in how the car accelerates and, perhaps more importantly to us as drivers, how it brakes. Generally, they are looking for how the car handles on these extreme roads and this driving routine.

Driving smoothness in what most people might feel are unsmooth conditions is important. Although it would be impossible to remove all the bumps and jolts it is up to the designers the minimize discomfort.

Comfort is another aspect that people tend to need to think about. If the front seats or the back seats do not feel right some redesigning might be needed. Then there’s the problem of leaks, either air leaks or fluid leaks might need to be looked at. Is there a likelihood of something further along the line? Your prototype is your opportunity to address problems before they get truly expensive, which is when it’s gone into production.

Although unfamiliar to most of us, the industry refers to this as “rig and component level testing.” Think of the rig as another name for the chassis or body and the components as everything else. More precisely, rig testing works out exactly how durable and sensitive the chassis is to certain stimuli, and component testing focuses on individual elements and how they work together.

Some tests require the car to be built but others can be accomplished through computer simulations. Jaguar, for instance, uses computer simulation as a good way to save money. Why build a car that will be considered unsafe? Many people have heard of Computer Aided Design or CAD but the car industry is more reliant on CAE or Computer Aided Engineering. Simulation is hardly a new use of computers but as technology increases the number of virtual tests also increases.

Perhaps the single most important car feature, after safety, is fuel economy. Despite all the projections about miles per gallon, someone has to actually drive the car far enough to establish the actual number. Until recently, cars haven’t been very efficient in this respect, but car buyers are starting demand better efficiency even in luxury sedans and trucks. The need to save energy and fuel prices changes things.

There is so much testing involved in automobile manufacturing that is a wonder that any car ever goes into production at all. Perhaps more startling is the number of high profile recalls of cars in recent years given the rigorous testing designed to make the cars safer. Still, with all the money involved, and all the possibilities of what could go wrong, testing is an important step in the process.

 

Dangers of a Flood Car

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After the flood waters of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy retreated, a flood of another kind began–the flood of brand new vehicles that were totaled by insurance as a result of flood damage hitting the car auctions.

“Flood cars” flood the market (literally) following most natural disasters. Unfortunately, it can be pretty tough to spot a flood car without a trained eye. It takes not only inspection but a bit of detective work. After collecting an insurance payout, or sometimes while waiting months for insurance to do the right thing, dealerships can accept a settlement for a totaled vehicle and “buy” it back from the insurance company. The title will have a salvaged title, aka rebuilt title. Sometimes it won’t and we’ll come back to that.

Local Disasters

First, let’s address localized flood incidents. As a general rule of thumb, avoid vehicles which are being sold close to recent disaster sites and always trace the origin back to the previous owner’s address. Chances are if you buy a car that was recently registered near a massive flood, it sustained some damage that’s invisible to the naked eye.

After Big Disasters

Disasters on the scale of Katrina leave entire lots full of brand new vehicles totaled. Insurance companies are overwhelmed and slow to respond. These are cars with hardly a scratch and less than ten miles on the odometer. The temptation is to dry them out and clean them up, then sell them at auction and write off the loss. Unprincipled middlemen will snap them up and transport them to a part of the country far from the flood where they auction them again for large profit.

It’s important to note that auctions allow almost no pre-bid inspection. Most large dealerships that accidentally buy a “bad” car simply re-auction them. It keeps there name clean but creates a glut of cheap cars that go to other dealerships that don’t care about reputation.

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The Good News

The good news is that flood damage isn’t always invisible, but you might need to check some otherwise strange locations. The upholstery is going to be the first place water damage is noticeable, with rot, mold or mildew being present. You may have to lift some of the upholstery to get a peek, but remember that a good cleaning (from a shoddy dealership) can temporarily keep visible signs of water damage at bay.

Here’s how to avoid a flood car and why you should never take a gamble.

 

Only Use Honest Dealers (Trust but Verify)

 If you buy a car from an owner, they can stretch the truth as much as they like with no real repercussions. However, a car doesn’t need to be in a disaster zone in order to get flood damage. If you’re considering a car from an owner in an area you’re unfamiliar with, do a brief search of recent floods in the area to see what the odds are of ending up with a flood car. If the car has been auctioned repeatedly in a short period of time that’s a warning sign. If the asking price is too good to be true, it’s for a reason.rolls-royce-3366960_1920

Otherwise, research dealerships, check testimonials and trust your gut. If there are high-pressure sales, a sudden influx of cars or other red flags, it’s best to stay clear.

No matter what, rely on a third party such as a lemon busting company to do a full inspection. When you’re paying the inspector, their allegiance is to you. You’re mechanic is often to busy to do an inspection at the drop of a hat when you find the right car for you and they may not do the online legwork to get a good picture of the cars history.

Bottom line, don’t depend on a dealership to provide comprehensive information; they should welcome a third party unless they have something to hide.

Flood car dangers

 When talking about device failures it’s important to note three things:

  1. What’s likely to fail?
  2. How catastrophic the results of the failure?
  3. How expensive it is to fix (to prevent or repair damage)?

The full impact of flood damage might not come to light until weeks, months, or even a couple of years later. However, the internal damage can be severe and not noticeable even to a skilled mechanic.

One of the most common dangers is brakes that suddenly go out months after flood damage from rust. Obviously, a vehicle is made up largely of metal parts which are prone to rust. Brakes can fail with no sign if they were submerged in water.

Other common flood car problems are electrical issues (and resulting fire hazards) as well as black mold which hides in hard to reach spaces and can be fatal to humans.

So the issue here is less about what could fail, it’s about how bad the results are when they do. There’s no point in risking the purchase of a flood car. They’re simply unsafe and unpredictable.

Slow Down There, Speed Racer

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Make Sure Truck Insurance is Protecting Precious Cargo

            You might be souping up rides for weekend warrior activities, or to show off at the upcoming auto show, but either way, protection is crucial. Make sure your car insurance is as solid as your ride. You can save cash by taking a defensive driver course that is state approved. This is a relatively easy way to lower costs and can help prevent an accident during those winter months when roads are icy. Drivers can also get a discount by combining policies and having house, vehicle, and even ATV coverage handled all in one place.

Disaster Isn’t Just on the Speedway

A lot of people grew up watching high-speed races on television, and it seems like that has extended to daily commutes, too. Almost 20 percent of all accidents are speed related and some people mistakenly assume things are safe in a heavy truck. Bigger vehicles might offer more protection, but there is still plenty of room for injuries and extensive damages. That custom ride deserves custom coverage to make sure that all of the bells and whistles are safeguarded should an accident happen.

pickup-truck-1700954_1920Weekends are often spent giving that prized possession the attention she deserves with tune-ups, modifications, and careful detailing. Make sure the same care is paid to protecting her on the road, whether it is a simple weekend trip or en route to the auto show. Low riders and big rigs alike need special defenses that only an expert truck insurance agent can provide.

Keep in mind that not all insurance packages are created equal, and some do not offer enhanced towing and labor which means the truck might be stranded on the side of the road. Towing fees are expensive, but adding this option on is a nominal fee. Situations are already stressful enough when a vehicle breaks down or is in an accident without worrying over how to get it to the shop.

Trouble does not end when vehicles are parked at home because there is always criminal mischief around. Grand theft auto is a serious threat and modified automobiles are even more at risk. Some thieves just cannot resist all of that custom work or high tech stereo equipment that is so easily accessible.

Who’s Checking Out Your Ride?

truck-956246_1920Sure, drivers expect some admiring glances after putting in all that elbow grease to modify the vehicle. However, remember that thieves are also taking a look at the goods and might be planning to ride off into the sunset in the lifted Jeep or restored Chevy. Take some precautions to make things more difficult for aspiring thieves.

People might remember “the club” from the 1990’s and fortunately, there have been some major improvements in terms of safeguarding automobiles. Installing a noise or motion sensor alarm is a good way to deter thieves. Simple stickers warning of an alarm might be enough to make criminals move on.

Families work hard to make a living, and investing some of that dough into high horse-powered machines is a rewarding hobby. Think about all of the time and money spent on the rig and how easily it can all be taken away. As you gear up for summer car shows, make sure you keep your ride and yourself well protected.

 

Budgeting Car Maintenance

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Cars require a lot of upkeep, and just like your own body the more TLC and preventative care that’s provided, the longer it will keep running. However, keeping up with the costs of car maintenance can be a challenge. This is especially true of many luxury cars and foreign-made cars in which parts might come at a high price. How can you enjoy the car of your dreams while making sure there’s money in the budget for routine maintenance?

Start by considering the upsides of different manufacturers. For example, BMW parts might be more expensive than Ford parts, but the manufacturer warranties and upkeep programs might more than make up for this disparity. Customer service is a cornerstone of every business, including car manufacturers. Make sure you read the fine print and know exactly what maintenance perks may be included.

Sage advice

You’ve probably heard countless times that oils needs to be changed every three months, but that’s not necessarily true. That’s what many mechanics may want you to believe, but it all depends on the make and model of the car. Read the owner’s manual in detail, because the company that makes the car has the best advice on care. Not all machines are created equally.automotive-1159508_1920

At the same time, consider dedicating a bank account solely to vehicle maintenance. Just like you put a certain amount of each paycheck towards savings, retirement, or a vacation fund, make sure you’re not caught by surprise in case a car emergency pops up. Something like a popped tire or clutch going out can cause big problems if you’re not prepared. Budgeting for big ticket items is always smart, and if you don’t need the funds, that’s just extra savings.

Do your research

Before buying a car, look beyond the fuel economy and safety ratings. What do owners say are the most common problems? How often is routine maintenance recommended, and will you be the one paying for it or will the manufacturer? Some vehicles are more demanding than others, and you need to compare those figures with your own maintenance budget (in other words, an old Delorean may be your dream car, but it’s also a financial black hole).

A fully functioning car isn’t just a convenience, but a requirement for many. It’s how you get to the office, escape to your weekend warrior activities and shuttle the kids to soccer games. Don’t skimp on maintenance; make sure you’re prepared and financially ready to take care of your freedom on wheels.

 

 

New Car Smell

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It’s one of life’s great mysteries, why the new car smell is so appealing. But what exactly is it?

Maybe the smell is just newness in general? If a car hasn’t been used it doesn’t have that “lived in” feel? It’s an unfamiliar situation which might be reacting with our noses? Okay, that’s not very scientific talk. So then – let’s get scientific.

You’d think it would be a simple question to answer, like “the leather” or “the paintwork” but the answer is a great deal more complex than that. Any salesperson will tell you that consumers are rational but not logical, which means we care about the features of the car like gas mileage, safety, and reliability but our decision is ultimately an emotional one.

Our five senses heavily influence our answers to questions like:
How does it run?
How does it look?
How does it feel?

We may not consciously be aware that we’re asking, “how does it smell?”

And ‘smell’ is the best description, right? It’s a pleasant odor, but not perfume. Its fresh like ozone more than sweet like air freshener. It can be hard to put your finger on, and one reason could be that it’s a complex cocktail of other odors.

 

 

So what does a new car smell of?

Well, it could remind you of a newly washed sweatshirt, a bath sponge or an escalator. This is because the most active ingredients are both polymers found in those two items; polyester (sweatshirt) and polyurethane (the sponge or an escalator). Not really connecting the two odors? As appealing as you may find the smell of sweatshirt/sponge/ escalator, there’s a big difference in intensity. Escalators are in big rooms and we’re not usually closely confined with our sweaters and sponges. The odor doesn’t collect and stagnate the way it does in a car. The complexity of the molecules in a car is greater too.

 

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The scent of polymers comes from something called “outgassing” or releasing their raw materials. Fortunately, vehicles are not as insulated as houses because continued exposure to polymers it can cause headaches or dizziness. Despite the innocuousness of these materials, compared to exhaust fumes or cigarette smoke it may also lead to lung cancer if you have too much exposure to these types of materials.

 

Some simple chemicals come into play as well, which don’t account for as much volume but due to their volatile state put our more scent.  And not all the chemicals are simple. A number of more complex ones include benzene and formaldehyde. Benzene is found in gasoline while formaldehyde is a disinfectant type substance.

Most likely the compelling odor comes from all these substances coming in “one big hit” which would be a happy accident for car sellers, at least at first. Used car dealers quickly adapted and the industry has managed to bottle the scent so they can spray it in any freshly cleaned vehicle to add that special zing.

While the bottled smell fades rapidly after purchase a truly new car smell is hard to remove quickly. If you are one of the folks who doesn’t enjoy the smell of a fresh new car, don’t bother trying to mask it with a car air freshener—they’re not up to the task. The best thing is just to avoid taking the car on too many long journeys and if you do take some long breaks park in the shade. Sun and warmth just exacerbate the problem.

So to sum up, the new car smell, while pleasant is only mostly harmless. The problem is of course that people generally like a new car smell and it’s one of the reasons people buy a new car. There has been some attempt to remove some of the more volatile substances but the actual smell won’t be going anywhere for a long time.

 

The Car Lover’s Guide to Long-Term Vehicle Storage

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You wouldn’t leave your child with a suspect babysitter or drop your dog off at a subpar doggie daycare, would you? Don’t do the equivalent with your car. Whether you’re buying a classic car that needs constant protection or you’re simply heading out of town for a long stretch and want to ensure your ride is cared for, how you store your car is just as important as where. Any time your car will be sitting more than two weeks, there are best practices to follow and make sure it’s safeguarded.

And if you don’t? You might be signing up for a lot of mechanical issues. Start by getting a filter and oil change—specifically, make sure additive-free oils are used. Caustic detergents are often fine when you’re driving a car, but can be damaging if it’s just sitting there. Next, fill up the tank. Yes, it sounds counterintuitive, but filling it with premium fuel prevents condensation in the tank. To play it extra safe, add some gas stabilizers (often sold for lawnmowers) and seek out premium fuel without ethanol if possible.

Check, Check

Have your mechanic check all fluids and oils in the car, including the coolant levels. Also, take a look at the tires—how is the pressure? Was there a patched leak that could really do with a tire replacement? This is especially crucial for those in regions with rough winters. A slight overinflation can be helpful, and remember to thump tires every ten miles once a car is taken out of storage.parking-932921_1920

Next, wash and wax your car even if you know it’ll collect dust. Clean thoroughly under the hood and in the wheel wells. The interior also requires some TLC, especially when cleaning up food scraps which can lure in pests. However, steer clear of any products with water (such as Armor All) since it can trap moisture.

Prep Work

Some people put a piece of plastic beneath the car’s floor just in case there are leaps or buildup of vapor. If you’re storing your car indoors (as you should when possible), crack the windows slightly. Convertibles should have tops up with a rag in the air intake/exhaust to keep animals out. Metal screens are also useful for all types of cars. It’s also a good idea to pick up a battery maintainer so you don’t need to hunt down someone to jump your car when taken out of storage.

Along with that plastic used under the car, put a sheet between the windshield and wiper blades to prevent sticking (another option is just taking the blades off). Removing the spark plugs yourself (if you’re comfortable) is a good idea to stop rusting. You can also jack it up on axle stands in order to prevent flat tires. However, the less mechanically inclined owners can simply release parking brakes so pads don’t cling to the rotors.

Finally, leave a note on the driver’s seat with everything you’ve done so you know where you stand when you return. Lock the doors, and remember that a car cover is only appropriate for cars stored outdoors.