Tips n Advice on cars Tips n Advice @
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Choosing the right car color
The color of your car reflects your personality to an extent. Choose it carefully.
  • Black signifies those wanting to throw an attitude on the road.
  • Silver, and its various shades in lead and other tinges, is for those wanting to flaunt a corporate look.
  • Golden reflects a more mature look and is not considered as one of the 'younger looking colors'.
  • White is hardly visible in privately owned cars as this is a neutral color, and therefore suits commercial vehicles more. However a newly purchased white car, aided with a proper glass tinge, makes for a great looker.
  • Red a powerful color, but has a romantic touch, too.
  • Blue is supposed to be the 'common man's' color. But new shades of blue are very popular among girls.
  • Fluorescent green and bright red are more preferred by girls.
  • Yellow, orange and bright green suits sporty car models.
While color depends entirely upon your personal choice, do think the other factors too. Like the weather, a darker color will result in your car heating up easily. Also, some shades look worse than others with scratches and dirt on, so avoid them.

Tips for your brand new car (break-in period)
You’ve bought your dream car and now you want to make it last at long as possible in top condition. Here are some things to remember as you pull it out of the dealer’s lot:
  • During the break-in period, typically the first 1,600 km, keep your speed under 80 kmph or to the speed recommended by your car’s manufacturer.
  • Avoid heavy loads on the drive train, such as loading the roof rack or boot with heavy materials.
  • Do not allow your new car to idle for long periods — this is good advice for the life of your car, but especially during break-in. The oil pressure generated by doing so may not be sending oil to every part of your engine.
  • Use only light to medium acceleration, keeping the engine rpm below 3,000 for the first few hours of driving.

Smart Driving Tips
Being car considerate shouldn’t stop after the break-in period. Drive with care every day and your car will reward you with longer intervals without repair.
  • Do not race your car’s engine during start-up. This is a quick way to add years of wear to your engine, especially if it’s cold outside.
  • Accelerate slowly when you begin your drive. The most wear to the engine and drive train occurs in the first ten to twenty minutes of operation.
  • Warming the engine by letting it idle in the driveway is not a smart idea. The engine doesn’t operate at its peak temperature, resulting in incomplete fuel combustion, soot deposits on cylinder walls, oil contamination, and ultimately damaged components.
  • Put less strain on your engine and automatic transmission by shifting to neutral at red lights. Otherwise, the engine is still working to push the car even while it’s stopped.
  • Avoid driving at high speeds and accelerating quickly, especially when it’s very hot or very cold outside. Such driving behavior will result in more frequent repairs.
  • Extend the life of your tires with careful driving. Observe posted speed limits. Avoid fast starts, stops, and turns. Avoid potholes and objects on the road. Don’t run over curbs or hit the tire against the curb when parking. And, of course, don’t burn rubber.
  • When turning your steering wheel, don’t hold it in an extreme right or left position for more than a few seconds. Doing so can damage the power-steering pump.
  • Consolidate your short driving trips. Most of the wear and tear — as well as the pollution your car generates — take place in the first few minutes of driving. Doing several errands at once, during low traffic hours if possible, will keep your engine happier longer.

Incase you stuck in mud
When stuck in mud, don’t make the problem worse by damaging an expensive component. Gently rocking in an attempt to free the car is fine. But if it looks as though you’re really stuck, don’t keep at it. Throwing your car from forward to reverse repeatedly, as well as spinning tires at high speeds, can generate lots of heat and spell trouble for transmissions, clutches, and differentials. It may be cheaper in the long run to call the tow truck rather than risk big repair bills down the road. It’s a good idea to carry a traction aid in the boot, such as sand, gravel, or cat litter.

Selecting your key chain
You think key-chain is for style and not to do with technical’s at all, you are wrong.
Does your car key share a chain with a dozen or more other keys? That’s a pretty heavy load hanging off the car key when it’s in the ignition. The weight, combined with bouncing while you drive, can wear out the tumblers inside the ignition and eventually lead to ignition switch failure. To add years of service to your ignition switch, purchase a lightweight key chain that allows you to separate your ignition key from the others. Drive with only the ignition key in your ignition. If your ignition key “sticks” when you try to turn on the car, it’s a warning that your ignition switch is about to fail. Replace it before you get stranded.

Car Cleaning
Take a regular care of cleanliness of your car, to keep it new as showroom condition.

  • Car dusting
    Dust out the dust on car surface you take it out. But remember do not apply pressure on a cloth over surface this will lead to minute scratches over surface due to dust particles, rather just dust the sand out.

  • Car washing Wash your car regularly atleast twice a month with the recommended products. Do not ever use home detergents, they are good for your cloths but not for your car and may damage paint finish in long run. Use car detergents and shampoos with a sponge or soft duster.

  • Wax to protect your car’s paint job  
    No way around it! Waxing your car is work. But it’s satisfying work that will help keep your car looking new. Car wax preserves paint by slowing oxidation and forming a barrier against bird droppings, sap, and pollution. Plus driving a nice shiny car is just plain fun.
    Here’s what to do to ensure the maximum in protection:
    • Liquid and spray waxes are tempting to use — they make the car shiny with less work than rubbing in paste wax. But there’s still no beating paste wax for the hardest, longest-lasting finish. Look for paste with high carnauba wax content.
    • Apply a thin, even coat of wax to the car’s surfaces with a damp sponge. Avoid applying too much, or it will be difficult to remove and some residue will inevitably mar your finish.
    • To avoid fine scratches, use a clean, soft cotton or microfiber cloth to remove wax once it has dried.
    • Apply an extra coat of wax to the nose and hood. The wax film in these areas wears away quickly.

  • Clean the inside, too
    Vacuum and sponge your interior every time you wash your car. Dirt particles are abrasive, and spilled liquids, such as soda, can be corrosive. Vacuum your interior thoroughly with a powerful vacuum (small cordless models are generally too weak). Use the appropriate wand heads when vacuuming. The bare metal wand can mar and scratch surfaces. Sponge vinyl surfaces clean with a solution of mild detergent and water.

  • Clean dash gauges carefully
    Use a soft damp cloth to lightly wipe dust from the clear plastic lenses on your dashboard. Too much pressure will scratch them. Too many scratches can make it difficult to read your gauges under certain lighting conditions.

  • Blast mats with the hose When washing your car, drag out the rubber or carpet floor mats and blast them with the hose. This will dislodge dirt particles that, if allowed to build up, will grind holes in your mats. Let the mats dry thoroughly in the sun before reinstalling them.

  • For stubborn carpet or mat stains
    After vacuuming floor mats or interior carpeting, apply foam rug cleaner to resistant stains as directed by the maker. Work the foam into a few square feet at a time, using a wet sponge or brush. Vacuum when dry.

  • Preserve door and window seals
    Wipe a rubber protectant on door and window weather-stripping to keep it in good condition. Don’t use an oil based product, because the oil will damage the rubber. Regular cleaning and treatment of your car’s weather-stripping will also lessen the likelihood of your door sticking to its rubber seal in cold weather, a common cause of damage to the rubber.

  • Keep leather from drying out and cracking
    Leather cars seats and other Leather wrapped components are durable and don’t require a lot of maintenance. After a few years, however, the seats can become soiled. Use leather cleaner to remove dirt and stains. Then apply a leather protectant formulated for pigmented or top-coated grain leather (the leather used for most leather car upholstery). Protectants will resist stains and make the upholstery easier to clean in the future. Choose a protectant that includes conditioners to keep your leather supple.

  • Use upholstery cleaners on soiled seats
    The same upholstery cleaners you use at home can be used on your car’s upholstery. Use them sparingly, however, to avoid saturating the fabric. Use a clean cloth to wipe away the foam. On velour seats, brush the fibers gently to avoid matting them and to preserve the original texture of the fabric.

  • Place a towel under baby seats
    All manner of food bits and liquids can accumulate under a baby seat, where they can permanently stain the upholstery. Place a sheet of heavy plastic and an absorbent towel under the seat to prevent damage, and re-secure the seat according to the manufacturer’s directions.

  • Use wheel cleaner
    Your car’s wheels are down there on the road, taking the brunt of road dirt. Add in the dust that wears off your brake pads and you’ve got a formula for stains that are tough to remove when you wash your vehicle. Car-washing liquid won’t do the job. You need a wheel cleaner specifically formulated to remove such stains. Be sure to buy the correct formulation. Some cleaners are designed for metal wheels, and others for painted or clear-coated wheels. The metal wheel cleaners come in various formulations as well, depending upon whether your metal wheel has a satin, aluminum, or chrome finish. Protect metal wheels with wheel polish, painted wheels with a coat of wax.

  • Clean your engine
    There are several reasons to wash your engine at least every year or two. A clean engine will run cooler than a dirty one. A clean engine will also make it much easier to spot leaks and to service components. Remember to protect sensitive engine components — including the air intake, distributor, and electrical parts — with plastic bags before getting started. Use dishwashing liquid or other grease-cutting detergents and a bristle brush to scrub engine and components surfaces. Rinse thoroughly. Heavy-duty engine cleaning products are available at automotive parts stores. Follow the directions carefully. You may also have your engine professionally steam cleaned.

Caring for Exteriors
  • Protect car paint from the sun
    Paint does more than make your vehicle look great. It’s also the first line of defense against rusted body panels. Of course, the best way to protect the paint is to park the car in a garage. If that is not possible, park in the shade or purchase a car cover. The sun’s ultraviolet rays break down paint and cause it to fade. Some car covers protect your car from more than sun, moisture, bird droppings, and dust — they also have a thin layer of cushioning that will guard against light impact, such as from a tipped bicycle or small falling tree branch.

  • Touch up nicks sooner rather than later
    Touch-up paint won’t adhere well to rust. So be sure to keep some matching touch-up paint on hand so you can touch up any minor nicks, often found around door edges, bumpers, before rust has a chance to form.

  • Tape saves light covers
    A cracked taillight or turn-signal cover, if left alone, may allow your light compartment to fill with water and cause some real damage. A good short-term fix is to tape over the crack. Use the red or orange tape that’s made for this purpose. You can purchase it at many automotive parts stores.

  • Fix small windshield chips
    Got a rock chip, crack, or ding in your windshield? Bring your car to a windshield repair shop. For far less cost than replacing the windshield, they can fix chips and cracks, even quite long ones. The repairs not only keep the chips and cracks from spreading and restore structural integrity, they also improve clarity.

  • Fill with washer fluid only
    Don’t add water to the windshield washer reservoir. It won’t clean as well as may damage your windshield. Don’t try to run your windshield washer system once you suspect there’s no more fluid in the tank, or you may damage the washer fluid pump.

Caring for Interiors
  • Park in the shade
    Of course, a garage is always the ideal place to park your car. But if one isn’t available, minimize interior damage from UV sunlight and heat by always trying to park your car in the shade. If no shade is available or if you find parking under a tree results in bird droppings, use a car shade to minimize the sun’s impact. As a bonus, you’ll have a cooler car to step into on hot sunny days. Car shades come in two basic types: those that you unfold and place on the front windshield and rear window, or pleated types that attach to the windshield posts (with adhesive), or the windows themselves (with suction cups).

  • Fix bad weather-stripping immediately
    If your weather-stripping is letting rainwater leak into the interior of your car, take a look at it and decide if you can repair it or if it needs to be replaced. Small leaks can be handled with brush-on seam sealers. Resecure loose sections, not otherwise damaged, with trim adhesive. Torn sections may be repaired with special caulking available at auto parts stores. You may also be able to extend the life of worn-but-intact sections by inserting foam rods, available at automotive stores, into the hollow section of the weather-stripping. If you decide to replace entire sections of gasket, don’t simply buy generic stuff such as you’d use around the house.

  • Secure loads to avoid tears and scratches
    The beginning of the end for the finish on many cars interiors is an improperly stowed load. Keep proper care when loading luggage, bicycles, cargo, and other materials.

Caring for Tyres, Wheels, and Brakes
  • Maintain proper inflation
    Under-inflated tyres are a tyre salesman’s best friend. They create excessive heat and stress that can lead to tyre failure. If you want to get every last mile out of your tyres, get yourself a tyre pressure gauge or get it checked at station at least once a month (more in hot weather) to keep your tyres inflated to the recommendation in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Check tyres when they are cold (driven for less than 3 km) for an accurate reading.

  • Keep the caps on
    You step out into driveway ready to start your morning commute only to discover a flat tyre. How in the heck did that happen overnight? If the tyre valve is missing its cap, the culprit might be a leaky valve. Those little caps keep out dirt and moisture that can cause leaks, so be sure to keep caps on all your tyre valves.

  • Check for uneven wear
    Check tyres for uneven wear. If you’ve maintained tyre inflation properly, uneven wear may indicate the need for wheel realignment. It can also mean improperly operating brakes or shocks, a bent wheel, internal tyre damage, or worn bushings.

  • Check tread for safety
    Tires need to be replaced when they have worn down to 1/16-inch (1.5 mm) of remaining tyre depth. However, if you’ll be driving in the rain, you should change your tyres when there is 1/8-inch (3 mm) of tread left. Otherwise, water may not escape from under your tyres fast enough and you risk hydroplaning — a dangerous situation in which your car loses traction and literally floats on the water.

  • Rotate your tyres
    Rotating your tyres helps to distribute tyre wear evenly and ensures that you’ll get the maximum road life out of them. The first rotation is especially important. Your owner’s manual should specify both rotation period and pattern. If not, rotate your tyres every 9,700 to 12,000 km — your tyre dealer should know the correct pattern of tyre rotation.

  • Have wheel alignment checked
    Have your car’s wheel alignment checked every 50,000 km, or as recommended in your owner’s manual. Also have it checked after buying new tyres and when you replace a rack-and-pinion steering unit or other steering parts. Improper tyre alignment will shorten the life of your tyres as well as cause poor handling. If your steering is stiffer than normal or the vehicle pulls to one side, you probably have an alignment problem.

  • Top off your brake fluid
    Check brake fluid monthly. Wipe dirt from the master cylinder lid before you open it. If you need fluid, add the type recommended by your car’s maker. Never substitute other fluids, such as transmission or power-steering fluid. And don’t use brake fluid from a previously opened container. Once exposed to air, brake fluid absorbs moisture and contaminates easily.

Caring for Car Engine and Other Systems
  • Check engine oil at every other fill-up
    For an accurate reading, follow this procedure:
    • Run or drive your car for about 15 minutes to warm the oil; then park the car in a level place. Turn off the engine and wait 15 minutes to allow the oil in the engine to drain back to the oil pan.
    • Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean with a paper towel or rag. Reinsert the dipstick, being sure to push it in all the way, and then pull it out again to check the oil level. It should be somewhere between the hash marks on the dipstick.
    Add the type and amount of oil as specified in your owner’s manual, if necessary.

  • Change oil frequently
    Change the engine oil at the intervals mentioned by the car manual. And while owner’s manuals for today’s cars recommend increasing long intervals between oil changes, the fact remains — frequent changes flush abrasive dirt and metal particles out of the engine, prolonging its life. Most owners’ manuals recommend a more frequent interval for “severe conditions.” To maximize the life of your engine, follow the severe intervals recommendations, especially if drive regularly in stop-and-go traffic.

  • Don’t forget the filters
    There are several filters (the main ones are oil, fuel, transmission, and air) important to preserving your car engine, and they should be changed according to the schedule in your owner’s manual or as follows:
    • Change the oil filter at least at every other oil change — every change is even better because the old filter contains nearly a quart of dirty oil that will remain with the new, clean oil. If you change your oil yourself, wipe the filter threads with an anti-seize lubricant, available at auto supply stores.
    • Check the air filter every two months and replace it when dirty or as part of a tune-up. Air filters are generally easier to get to than oil filters. You find them under the big metal lid in a carbureted engine or in a rectangular box in a fuel injected engine — check your owner’s manual for the exact location. Extend the life of air filters by blowing them clean with compressed air.
    • Despite claims by makers and dealers that some newer fuel filters never need changing, it’s smart to have it done once a year. A clogged fuel filter will cause poor engine performance (hesitation and starting difficulties) and is an early warning that there may be corrosion in your gas tank.
    • Change your transmission fluid filter after the first 8,000 km of driving and every 25,000 40,000 km or two year thereafter.

  • Maintain your transmission
    Change automatic transmission fluid and filter after the first 8,000 km and after every 40,000 km or two years thereafter, or as recommended in your owner’s manual. If you use your vehicle for towing, change the fluid and filter every year. For manual transmissions, change the lubricant (motor oil or gear oil, depending on the car) after the first 10000km and after every 80,000 km thereafter. Use synthetic motor oil or gear lube for longer transmission life unless the manufacturer recommends otherwise.

  • Spark plugs do need changing
    The advent of electronic ignition and on-board computers has eliminated the need for regular tune-ups, but you still need to change your spark plugs. Many manufacturers recommend changing plugs every 48,000 or 64,000 km to ensure good fuel mileage and engine performance. Some new cars come with long-life plugs (sometimes called double platinum plugs) that can last for 160,000 km. The extra cost is only a few bucks per spark plug.

  • Don’t forget the timing belt
    On many cars, it’s the belt you can’t see that is the most critical. If your manual says, as many do, that you should replace the timing belt at 80,000 km do it! A failed timing belt can, depending on engine type, cause big damage to your engine.

  • Coolant
    • Check the coolant level weekly that shows on the translucent coolant overflow tank. If low, fill to the maximum fill mark on the tank with a 50-50 solution of coolant and water. Some coolant manufacturers now sell premixed coolant and water for the motorist who wants a quick and easy way to top off.
    • Your cooling system needs both coolant and water, so don’t pour undiluted coolant into your cooling system. Dilute it with water to the commonly recommended 50-50 ratio. Similarly, don’t use straight water in your system either. The coolant protect against corrosion and freezing. The water ensures good heat transfer from the coolant to the radiator.
    • Coolant eventually degrades and becomes contaminated. Flush it from your cooling system as recommended in your manual (typically every two years; every five years for newer coolants). Failing to do so can damage your radiator, clog your heater core, and cause the thermostat and water pump to fail.
    • Avoid mixing coolants that are different in color. If your coolant is pink, don’t add a green formulation to it. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a thick solution that won’t do its job. Use only the coolant specified in your owner’s manual.

  • Check power-steering fluid
    Check the power-steering fluid once a month with the car warmed up. If the level is low, have the hoses and pump inspected for leaks. In addition to making your car difficult to steer, low power-steering fluid will damage the power-steering pump. Be sure to use the power-steering fluid recommended for you car.

Car Air-Conditioniner (AC)
To keep your car’s air-conditioning system fit for the next warm season, run it a few times throughout the winter. This will prevent moving parts in the compressor from seizing. Also, circulating the refrigerant will help keep the seals soft and pliant.

Car Battery
To keep your car’s air-conditioning system fit for the next warm season, run it a few times throughout the winter. This will prevent moving parts in the compressor from seizing. Also, circulating the refrigerant will help keep the seals soft and pliant.
  • Maintain your car’s battery
    Maybe the manufacturer says your battery is maintenance free, but don’t you believe it!
    Check your battery regularly to extend its life and avoid the hassle of being stranded with a dead battery.
    • Begin with the simple: keeping your battery clean. A dirty case can actually cause current to drain. Wipe with a damp rag. Use a mild detergent if necessary.
    • Next, clean the battery posts or terminals. Loosen and remove the negative cable (black or minus sign) first, then the red positive cable. Use a brass wire battery brush dipped in a paste made from a few tablespoons of baking soda and a little water.
    • Inspect the battery case for damage, such as cracks or bulges — signs that a battery needs to be replaced.
    • Reinstall the cables, positive first, and coat the terminals and clamps with a thin coating of grease to prevent new corrosion.

  • Some batteries need water
    If your battery has vent caps; remove them to check the level of the electrolyte. It should rise 1/2 inch (13 mm) above the battery’s top plates. If it doesn’t, use distilled water to raise the level to 1/4 or 3/8 inch (6 or 10 mm) below the bottom of the vent cap. Don’t use tap water, as it may contain minerals that can damage your battery. Mechanics should check your battery as a part of your regularly scheduled maintenance, but they often skip the procedure. Be sure to ask to have it done.

  • Be kind to your battery
    If you inadvertently leave your lights on and drain your battery, take the following precautions to prevent damage to the battery and the starter when jump-starting your car:
    • With both cars off, connect a positive cable end to the positive battery terminal of the dead battery.
    • Connect the other positive cable end to the positive terminal of the source battery.
    • Connect a negative cable end to the negative terminal of the source battery.
    • Attach the remaining negative cable to unpainted metal on the car engine (as far from the dead battery as possible).
    • Wait a few minutes and try to start the disabled car. If it doesn’t start, start the source car and then try starting the dead one again.
    • When the car starts, be careful to disconnect the cables in the reverse order.
    • If the car still doesn’t start, don’t keep trying to charge it or you are liable to damage the starter. Bring the battery to an automotive shop to see if it can be recharged.
    • Even if you’re successful, ensure a full recharge by hooking up the battery to a charger overnight or by driving the car for 8 to 16 km.

Preserve your car during long-term storage
If you are not going to use your car for more than a month, store it properly to prevent unnecessary damage and repairs upon your return.
  • Wash and wax the car thoroughly to protect the finish.
  • Disengage the hand brake to help avoid brake corrosion.
  • If possible, put the car on jack stands to take the weight of the vehicle off the wheels and tires.
  • Disconnect and remove the battery to keep it from draining.
  • Fill the gas tank to help prevent condensation from accumulating in the gas tank (incase using CNG/LPG fuel). Add a fuel stabilizer and drive the car around a bit to distribute the additive to engine parts.
  • Put a full body cover on your car.