Spring and fall are the best transition times to give your car a thorough cleaning. Spring cleaning gets your car ready for warm days and road trips ahead.
Start Inside Your Car
Time to put away ice scrapers and other items that have accumulated over the winter. 7 Steps To A Beautiful Car Interior will guide you through the process to get your car’s interior looking and smelling good.
If you car needs a little organizing love here are some suggestions:
If you’re a fan of Shark Tank you might have seen the Drop Stop. It’s a creative way to stop food, keys, your phone and other items from falling in the gap between your car seat and the center console. And, the Drop Stop has great reviews on Amazon.
Wash and Wax
The next step is a thorough wash and wax. You want to have the underbody of your car rinsed off to remove chemicals from road treatments during the winter. (The best way we know of to do this is to take your car to a touchless car wash service. (We are fans of The Puddle in Boulder and Black Diamond in Lafayette.) If you prefer the do-it-your-self approach review 5 Steps To a Perfect Wash and Wax.
And Don’t Forget…
- Change out your snow tires. They will wear down quickly on dry, warm roads.
- Have your alignment checked. Bumps and potholes throw it out in a hurry.
- Top off all fluids and have the oil changed.
- Get your car in for a maintenance inspection.
With the increased sensitivity to green issues some repair shops are advertising themselves as green. There is no specific definition of green so we want to share information that will help you make an informed decision when choosing your car service provider. Shops that advertise themselves as green may only meet the basic state guidelines while shops that do not include green in their name may go to great lengths to be environmentally friendly.
To be licensed in the State of Colorado all automotive repair shops must meet basic environmental protection standards including, recycling of oil, containment of hazardous solvents, and safe wastewater disposal practices. (For a fact sheet refer to the Auto Body and Repair Shop regulations here. ) Beyond the basic requirements of our state there are many things your automotive repair shop can do to be more environmentally friendly.
- Basic green business practices. These include buying in bulk, recycling paper, plastic and glass, reducing paperwork, purchasing recycled paper and eco-friendly cleaning products, installing energy-efficient lighting and monitoring water usage.
- Shop cleanliness practices. These include cleaning up spills immediately and using contained floor cleaners. If you are checking out an auto repair service look at their service bays. If they are clean it is an indication that business takes environmental practices seriously.
- Oil & solvents. There is no getting around the fact many products used in car servicing are hazardous. Green practices include purchasing in bulk, proper recycling and disposal and choosing sprays over aerosols when possible.
- Tires. All old tires must be properly disposed of but many still end up in the landfill. Repair shops select a service that comes and collects old tires. Some services send tires in for shredding which becomes the base for athletic fields or mulch. Ask the business what happens to your tires.You can read in detail about our green commitment here.
You might be surprised to learn that going to a car wash can be significantly more eco-friendly than washing your car at home. It is estimated a home wash uses 80-140 gallons of water while a car wash facility typically uses about 45 gallons of water per wash. In addition to the dirt on your car you will be sending oil, gasoline and exhaust residue down the storm drain. Fortunately there are now many good quality touchless car washes available. Here is what to look for:
- Recycled water (many car washes now recycle their water and most advertise this fact, if it does not say so, ask.) In case you are wondering, the recycled water is used for pre-wetting the car and mixing with detergents. The final rinse cycle uses fresh water.
- Use eco-friendly detergents.
- Hand dry and wash car windows with towels.
All car wash facilities in our state are required to dispose of water released to the sewer system according to the regulations of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. For more specific information on cleaning your car see:
5 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Car
#1. Change your oil and oil filter frequently
The #1 thing you can do to extend the life of your car is change the oil (and filter) frequently. Brad likes to call oil changes “the cheapest insurance you’ll ever buy.” A recent survey by the Car Care Council showed 38% of vehicles inspected had low or dirty engine oil.
How it works: Oil works in your engine by keeping everything lubricated. In addition oil catches the dirt, acids and carbon particles that naturally occur every time you drive your car. When oil gets dirty it begins to act like sandpaper, roughing up and wearing down weak points in the engine. As it gets dirtier the oil can’t hold the byproducts in suspension and they start to build up at the same weak points, degrading the seals in your engine and plugging oil passageways.
How often? We recommend every 3 months or 3000-5000 miles. Recently many articles have appeared in the media questioning the necessity of replacing oil this often. At Pellman’s we believe most cars, if taken care of properly, should take you 200,000 miles or more. Frequent oil changes are key to maximizing your car investment. You can learn more about the benefits of regular oil changes here.
#2. Regularly check your car’s other fluids
Transmission fluid, brake fluid and coolant are just some of the fluids that keep your car running well. The Car Care survey found 28% of cars had inadequate coolant levels. Do you know what this means? You could be one of those people sitting on the side of the road with your engine overheating if you don’t take care of your car’s fluids. Clean, regularly changed fluids not only extend the life of your car, they keep you from having annoying, needless breakdowns.
#3. Take care of your tires
It’s easy – rotate your tires and keep them at the correct tire pressure. These two simple actions will make your car safer to drive AND save you money. In the car care survey, 58% of cars inspected had low tire pressure. Incorrect tire pressure impacts your wallet every single time you get behind the wheel because:
- you get fewer miles per gallon
- you’ll have to replace your tires sooner
How often? Check your tire pressure once a month, rotate your tires every 12,000 miles.
#4. Wash your car regularly
Keeping the interior and exterior of your car clean helps your car hold its value. The easiest way to do that is to regularly wash and clean your car. Just as dirty oil acts like sandpaper in your engine, dust and dirt build up on the exterior of your car, and starts to slowly scratch your car’s paint, and works its way into the seals around your windows. The easiest way to prevent this is to wash your car regularly.
Coloradans should know that in the winter our transportation departments put magnesium chloride on the road to prevent ice build up. It’s damaging to the paint job on your car, so be sure to give your car a good rinse after snow storms when the plows have been out. Yes, we know it’s irritating (especially after this winter when we had storm after storm after storm) but it’s good for your car.
#5. Have your car regularly serviced by a trusted repair shop
Like everything else in life prevention is the key to avoiding long-term, expensive problems. For your car this means regular inspections and following the service maintenance schedule recommended by your automaker.
Find an auto repair shop you can trust and regularly take your car there. (We hope you have already found this shop in us.) It’s a huge advantage to have all your car maintenance records in one place. Your technician and service manager have the chance to get to know your car and its quirks (they all have them) and can identify problems early.
Putting it all together
Keep your car young and make it easy on yourself at the same time with a quarterly visit to Pellman’s Automotive. Click here to see the wide range of preventative maintenance services offered at Pellmans.
Most of us are interested in making environmentally friendly choices and that includes our cars. Short of going out and purchasing a hybrid or alternative fuel car, there are several things you can do to go green without having to replace your current car. These include improving your fuel economy, selecting automotive repair businesses that incorporate green practices and using more environmentally friendly products. Click on the topics below to learn more about going green with your car: