Keeping Your Car Ticking Over

 

auto-3582662_1920By Paul Wimsett (our U.K. contributor, so it’s best to read it with an accent)

If you have invested a great amount of your savings into a car it makes sense that you want to make sure it is constantly working, especially if you use it on your commute. Some states require a yearly emissions check. Car inspections are performed at garages marked with the “Official Inspection Station” sign.

Speaking of ticking, there are many noises that can indicate something is wrong with the car (clinking, ticking etc.) and it is a good idea to check them if they continue for a long time. It may just be a lack of oil but it is always worth looking into any problems. It is important to consider that the older a car is the more likely you are to have problems.

One of the best things you can do with most cars is run them, don’t leave them sulking in the garage. Having said that, driving a car for too many miles artificially ages the car reducing it’s value.

Ways to increase performance and reliability include:

One way of making your car work better is to make it lighter. Have an AUX unit instead of a stereo. The unit itself is lighter and so will be your wallet.

It might be a good idea to improve the exhaust. If the exhaust isn’t able to flow from your car as quickly as it’s produced fuel economy suffers.

Fix everything as soon as it goes wrong. The less you drive it broken the less chance of additional wear and tear.

Spark plugs and air filters tend to need replacing and this is two jobs most people don’t get around to doing.

Most people don’t think of using the best oil in their car but the best performance is all about using the best raw materials, many people don’t realize that you can change how well your car operates simply by changing to a better brand of oil.

If your car was made a while ago, you may benefit from polyurethane bushings. This is a relatively recent improved technology, which upgrades your suspension and stops you from having a jolty ride. Not only will you be more comfortable but there’s a little less wear on your car’s parts as well.

audi-rs6-2934125_1920There is a strange idea that cars left alone in the sun actually become harder and in order to test this a piece of aluminum alloy was left in the sun for 6-8 hours reaching temperatures of about 150°. The results seemed to show a marked difference, so if you want to prevent premature aging, you need to make sure it’s in the sun. Of course, most people prefer entering a car which is sitting in the shade.

It makes sense to ensure that your car is the best; it’s safer, more reliable, and better for resale. It is all about making sure your car is efficient, fast and strong. You can come across as an obsessive, but so what? If your car is important to you and you want to prevent breakdown you have to look at these things.

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.