4910 Lima Rd Fort Wayne, IN 46808 260-212-1111

Driving in Winter Weather Tips


Driving in winter weather conditions can be very hazardous. If you live in an area that typically experiences snow and ice in the winter months (like Fort Wayne), you need to be aware of the extra precautions that drivers must take if they plan to drive in these conditions. The following tips will help you navigate snowy or icy road conditions.

1 The best tip for driving in severe winter weather conditions is to avoid it. If you do not have to travel to work or school, try your best to stay off the roads. There is no reason to put yourself in danger if driving in snow and ice is not necessary.

2 If you must drive in winter weather, be sure to allow extra time to drive from one place to another. Make sure that you are not in a rush to get anywhere. You will be forced to drive at slower than normal speeds and are more likely to be stalled by accidents when driving in winter weather conditions. You can’t expect to reach your destination within the same time frame as in summer

3 Slow down. Speeding is never smart but speeding on snowy or icy roads can be deadly. Be prepared to drive significantly slower than you normally would on dry roadways. Reducing your speed will allow you to have more time to react if you encounter a problem.

4 During normal driving conditions, it is recommended to keep 3 seconds between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. However, during snowy & icy conditions, you need to increase that distance to at least 8-9 seconds between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you in order to 
allow proper braking and any unexpected situations.

5 Drive with your lights on, even during the day. Winter weather conditions reduce visibility. Even if it is not snowing, sleeting, or icing now...your headlights will serve as an extra safety precaution.

6 Use a lower gear to provide more traction. Your vehicle will be less likely to accelerate quickly if it begins to slide on an icy road if it is being driven in a lower gear. Also, never use cruise control in winter weather conditions. Cruise control takes vehicle control away from you which is extremely dangerous on slippery roads.

7 Never pass snowplows. This is because when snowplows operate in tandem formation, multiple plows are staggered diagonally to cover all lanes and clear the entire roadway in one sweep. It is extremely dangerous for motorists to try and pass plows in this formation because you could encounter white-out conditions and ridges of snow between lanes. Also, never pass a snowplow on the right as some are equipped with a wing plow on that side. Finally, don't follow too closely behind a snowplow; stay at least 200 feet behind it.

8 Never overestimate your vehicle’s ability to handle winter weather conditions. While 4x4 and All Wheel Drive vehicles give you extra traction, they are still susceptible to loosing traction on snowy and icy roads. If you are skeptical, find another means of transportation.

9 People are often unsure of how to recover control of their vehicle if the wheels lock up because of icy or snowy road conditions. If your rear wheels lock up, take your foot off the accelerator, turn your steering wheel in the direction you want your front wheels to go, apply steady pressure to anti-lock brakes or gently pump standard brakes. If your front wheels lock up, allow the steering wheel to turn freely, remove your foot from the accelerator, shift into neutral, then slowly begin to steer the vehicle as it slows down from turning. The best thing to keep in mind if you lose control of your vehicle on an icy road is the importance of not making any sudden maneuvers. Allow your vehicle to slow down before attempting to regain control.

10. Even if there is no snow or icy to deal with, make sure that you completely defrost your front and back windshields before driving in the winter (you can read another blog from Big City Cars titled “How to Defrost your Windows FAST). Frost significantly reduces your visibility. Wait until it is completely melted before driving.

Again, if it is not necessary that you drive in winter weather conditions, do not get behind the wheel. Drivers who must brave icy roadways need to keep in mind that patience is necessary. Exert extra caution when driving in winter road conditions. It is also a good idea to stay prepared for accidents or stalls by keeping a warm blanket, bottle of water, a snack, and other emergency supplies in your vehicle.

We hope that you find this information useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget.
 

How To Maintain Your Car’s Electrical System


Your car battery can go ignored for days until one chilly morning when you try to start your car and it does nothing but ‘click’. Want to make sure that never happens? Here’s how you go about it.

Drive Your Vehicle Regularly. It’s common sense but sometimes people forget that driving a car regularly keeps the battery charged. Even so, people will leave their car stagnant for weeks without any action, especially during their holiday vacation. If you won’t be driving your vehicle for a while, make sure you start it at least once or twice a week and leave the engine running for 20 to 30 minutes to power the battery. Otherwise, if you’re traveling and there is nobody around to help you out, you can disconnect the battery before you leave.

Don’t Leave Car Electrical Components on Without the Engine Running. If the engine is not running, don’t leave electrical accessories like the lights or the radio turned on for a long period. Doing so will only suck the battery charge and probably leave you stranded. Another thing: don’t leave the car key in the ignition or else you will kill your battery in a few hours.  

Keep the Battery Case Clean. It’s a fact, excess dirt and moisture can spoil your battery to the extent of disrupting the charge. In fact, it can even cause corrosion or acid to leak on the battery terminals. It should only take you about 30 minutes to clean the battery with water and apply grease to keep off the dirt and dampness.  

Properly Secure the Battery in the Engine Bay. The car battery is a very fragile part of the engine; if you don’t secure it, the engine vibration can disorient the battery plates. Moreover, the vibrations can also damage the terminals prompting the car to stop. All that trouble can be avoided just by locking the battery in the engine bay.  

Don’t Jump-Start A Flat Battery. Admittedly, most drivers break this rule. Now it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek help from a friend when your battery is dead but sometimes a flat battery can get overwhelmed with excessive current enough to spoil the electronics. If you must do it, leave your headlights on to absorb any excess electrical current. Most importantly, read the user’s manual to know how it should be done on your car.  

Park Inside A Garage in Winter. Do you know that car batteries discharge faster during winter? It’s even worse when there is water that freezes when you leave your car exposed in extremely cold weather. The most effective method of protecting your car battery during winter is to park it inside an insulated garage.   

Cut Down on Short Trips. Okay, you know that driving your vehicle regularly helps to charge your battery, but you would be doing yourself a disservice if you take short trips. If you really want to make it worth it, go out on a long trip, especially after jump starting and resurrecting your dead battery.  

Change the Battery Every 3 or 4 Years. Naturally, all car batteries dwindle with time and eventually die (just like the batteries in your TV remote control). Most car batteries should be scheduled for a replacement after 3 to 4 years of service. However, the average battery lifespan is dictated by the weather, driving habits and charge capacity.  

We hope that you find this information useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget.   

Is Driving with Low Fuel Bad for your Car


We’ve all been there. You’re driving down the road and the low gas light comes on. Time to fill up! But have you ever stopped to think if driving with low fuel is bad for your vehicle? The answer is: YES!

Experts say you should always keep your gas tank at least a quarter of the way full. But why? Obviously, doing so will keep you from getting in a dangerous situation where you're low on gas and too far from a gas station to fill up, leaving you stranded on the side of the road. But there are other; less obvious, reasons to keep a little gas in your tank. Simply, driving on an empty tank can cause damage to your vehicle in several ways.  

You won't get very far driving on empty; but in the moments before you do stall out your car's catalytic converter, which is part of the exhaust system, can be damaged. You could also get debris stuck in your fuel pump by running your tank too low. That's because any tiny particles that find their way into the gas tank settle at the bottom, and they tend to stay there until your car is trying to grab the last bit of fuel it can. When the fuel pump sucks up the last of your gas, any debris in your tank will go along with it, and the particles can get stuck in your pump or in your fuel filter.

But getting nasty sediments stuck in your fuel pump isn't the only way that you could be damaging it. In some cars, the fuel pump is located in the gas tank, and the gas acts like insulation and a lubricant as it flows around the pump. If you're constantly running your gas tank dry, the fuel pump could be overheating, which will cause it to wear out prematurely.

So, now the BIG question. How far can you go when the gas gauge hits E? Well, that depends on your vehicle. Different vehicles have the gas light configured in different ways. Most cars will illuminate the light when there are about 2 or 3 gallons left. Some bigger vehicles, like trucks and SUVs, light up the empty indicator when there are about 4 gallons left in the tank. How far those amounts can get you is another variable that depends on your car's efficiency, your driving style, & whether you're in the city, on the highway, or stuck in a traffic jam.

We hope that you find this information useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget. 

5 Windshield Wiper Tips for Better Driving


Windshield wipers are vital necessities that help keep you safe on the road. When neglected, dull wiper blades can cause problems during a sudden downpour (or snowstorm), which is why keeping them properly maintained is so important. Here are a few windshield wiper care tips to help ensure your wipers are always ready to go. 

Defrost and Scrape Before Using the Wipers. Windshield wipers tend to stick when there’s been heavy snow or ice, causing them to snap if you turn them on before defrosting the windshield. In freezing temperatures, run the defroster first and scrape away any snow or ice, if necessary. It’s helpful if you warm up the car ahead of time with the defroster on high, especially if you have an early morning commute. 

Reposition the Blades During the Winter Months. Dealing with frozen windshield wipers is the last thing you want to be doing before work on a cold winter morning. To prevent this problem, pull the wiper blades away from the windshield the night before a freeze. This keeps the rubber squeegee part of the blades from freezing to the glass, and it makes it easier to scrape away any ice and snow. 

Replace the Blades at Least Twice a Year. Wiper blades are only designed to last about six months. After that, you’ll start to notice a decline in your driving visibility. To help combat this problem, buy replacements every six months and change them on time. You’ll also need to keep an eye on the blades for signs of early wear, such as smearing, skipping, or squeaking across the glass. Replacing wiper blades is really easy after a little bit of practice.   

Keep the Windshield Clean. Your car’s wiper blades are going to wear more quickly if they’re wiping across filthy glass. To help prolong their longevity, clean your windshield every time you stop to fill up at a gas station. Most stations provide a squeegee specifically for this use, so take advantage of it! Just be sure to inspect the sponge before use and wipe it with a paper towel when needed, as communal squeegees can harbor small rocks and other debris that can scratch your windshield. 

Never Run the Wipers on a Dry Windshield. Windshield wipers are designed to be used when the windshield is wet. Operating them on a dry surface can cause the wipers to wear out much more quickly than they would normally, which only causes extras headaches. When you do need to clean a dry windshield, such as when there’s pollen buildup on the glass, press the washer button first. This will require you to keep your car topped up on windshield washer fluid, which is another thing to remember as part of your wipers’ routine maintenance. 

Taking care of your car requires paying attention to the little things. When it comes to your windshield wipers, getting into a routine and being vigilant can ensure they’re always ready to go when you need them. 

We hope that you find these tips useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget. 

 

How to Defog & Defrost Your Windows Fast!


Running out to your car in the nick of time only to discover frosted and fogged up window glass is not a fun way to start the day (and explaining the reason why you are late to work to your boss is not very fun either). With the unpredictable fall weather and winter lurking just behind...it’s time to stop pressing your luck. But never fear! We’ve got a few tips on how to fight that fog and frost and get you back on your way fast this fall & winter season. 

How to Defog Your Windshield When It's Raining 

  • Turn Off Recirculate Air. When your windows are foggy, you need to get fresh air to quickly take care of the issue. Known as “Fresh Air Mode”, this button located on your dashboard is one of the easiest and quickest ways to defog your windshield in cold temperatures. The button has a car with an arrow that points into the car. Once turned on, this feature pulls in fresh air from outside but does not lower the temperature inside the car. Rather, the temperature is gradually balanced and the fog across your windshield will disappear. You will have to make sure that the “Recirculation Mode” is turned off which is the button with a car and a circular arrow inside it. This function recirculates the air inside the vehicle by closing the air ducts in front. 
  • Decreasing the Temperature Inside the Car. This might not be the best option, especially for those who try and stay away from the cold. But, if your windows are fogged up, you can simply lower the temperature inside the car to match the temperature outside. You can do this by either decreasing the air-condition temperature or by increasing the fan speed to lower the temperature inside. Once the temperature is reduced, the fogged-up glass windows and windshield should clear out. However, you will need to carry an extra layer of clothing to keep yourself warm
If you want to assist the above-mentioned methods and help prevent fogging up in the future, one of the best things you can use is a dehumidifier bag (or a couple of them) and place it on your dashboard near the windshield. These bags are filled with silica balls that absorb moisture from the air. If you can’t find a dehumidifier bag, you can put a handful of silica balls in a sock and place it in your car. 

How to Defrost Your Windshield Fast 

Obviously, one of the best ways to defrost your windshield is to turn on the defrost setting on high heat in your vehicle. But what else can you do to quickly defrost your windshields?   

  • Press the A/C Button. This may sound counterintuitive to the whole heater thing, but really what you’re doing is activating a setting on your car’s A/C system that helps dry the air within your vehicle faster with the help of the coils in your A/C system. 
  • Turn Air Recirculation Off. Just like with foggy windows, you need fresh air to enter the car as well to help with defrosting your windows. Winter air is cold, and as it does not hold much moisture, it is dry. Bringing it into your car ups absorption capacity to more quickly dry the saturated air trapped within.  
  • Crack your windows. This helps exchange the humid air in your car with dryer outside air, speeding up the defrosting process (this is a similar method to turning off the air recirculation mode in your vehicle).   
We have one last tip for defrosting your windows. This one takes a bit of pre-planning; but it is well worth it! All you do is take a simple mixture of 2/3 cup Isopropyl or Rubbing alcohol mixed with 1/3 cup cold water (DO NOT USE HOT WATER). Simply pour this mixture into a spray bottle and mist your windshield & windows with it & watch the frost clear up! And here is the best part. You can use this method ANYWHERE because the solution will not freeze (rubbing alcohol has a freezing point of -128 degrees Fahrenheit). This mixture can easily be stored in your car, allowing you to spray away windshield ice anyplace, anytime of day! 

We hope that you find these tips useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget. 

Cold Weather Battery Tips


Car batteries don’t like the cold. And the colder the weather gets, the weaker the battery gets. Even a strong, fully charged battery won’t feel 100% if the temperatures drop enough. And if your battery is only half-charged, it’ll freeze solid at just -10 F.

And here’s the problem, you may only discover a dead battery the very moment when you want to get going. Let’s talk about what you can do to avoid a dead battery this winter.

GET YOUR BATTERY CHECKED. It’s simple and easy — and usually free at repair shops & service centers. The service technician will test your battery and let you know if your battery is good, needs to be replaced immediately, or let you know a time frame for replacing your battery. Knowing this information will help you decide when and where to replace your battery versus finding out the hard way (with your vehicle not starting).

DRIVING. Driving every day keeps the cold at bay. Your engine warms the battery when you drive (as long as you’re doing daily drives that are not short drives, like a mile or two and then you stop). A minimum of a ten to 20-minute drive will keep the acid moving and you will get a charge going into your battery. Here’s a rule of thumb: Drive the length of your commute every day, even if you’re on a holiday break. And the moment your start-up seems to slow down, get to a repair shop. That’s an early sign your battery is going to die...and driving won’t help bring a dead battery back to life.

PARK YOUR CAR INSIDE, IF POSSIBLE. Ambient temperatures can kill your battery if they drop too low. Instead, park in these places: in your garage, in parking garages with a lot of come-and-go traffic, near heated equipment, close to warm buildings, in spaces with lots of direct sunlight - which will warm the body of the car, or anywhere that can be warmer than a shaded area.

WRAP YOUR CAR BATTERY IN A THERMAL BLANKET. Battery warmers, insulators, electric battery blankets, thermal wrap — they go by many names, but they’re all a corrosion-resistant heat blanket for your battery. They’re available online or in stores. In a pinch, you can throw a dry, thick bath towel on the battery after you’ve driven enough to warm the engine. As soon as you park, pack the towel onto the battery — and the extra coating will retain the engine heat. Just be sure to remove the towel before you start the engine again!

IF YOU HAVE A FROZEN BATTERY, HERE'S WHAT YOU SHOULD DO. What if the worst happens? Batteries aren’t as easy to freeze as ice cubes in a tray, but it’s still possible. What happens then? And what should you do about it?  First, remember that water expands as it freezes. There’s only so much space inside the plastic battery case. As water expands into ice, it’ll warp the lead plates and crack open the case. Even when the battery and its inner liquids thaw out, the battery has probably already formed into a short circuit. After all, it’s frozen solid, and the negative and positive plates have most likely joined. In that instance, you need to replace your battery immediately!  At the end of the day, don’t try to crank or jump-start your battery if it shows bulges, cracks, icicles, or frost on the terminals or plastic case.

Following these guidelines will help ensure that your battery is winter-ready!

We hope that you find these tips useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget.
 

Fall Car Care Tips


Fall is here! And seasonal changes can affect your vehicle in a multitude of ways. Therefore, it’s important to prepare for the transition to the cooler (and cold) weather ahead. You’ll want to keep up on regular vehicle maintenance, while also paying close attention to season-specific car care tasks.

Here are some essential fall vehicle maintenance tips to make sure your vehicle is ready for the rest of fall and the approaching winter weather.

  1. Check the Fluids. Checking your vehicle’s fluids is one of the most critical car care routines. The various fluids lubricate, cool, and perform other vital functions that help keep your car running and driving. Take a few minutes to check your vehicles fluids each month. If you have any questions or concerns regarding how to check your vehicles fluids, you can read an article that we published on October 5th titled "How to Check the 6 Essential Fluids in Your Car."
  2. Inspect the Tires. We get it — tires are about as exciting as an afternoon watching paint dry. However, that doesn’t mean they can be ignored. Tires are super important because they affect the braking ability, handling performance, and overall safety of your vehicle. Take a few moments to inspect your vehicle’s tires to ensure they’re in good condition. You will want to look for any damage to the tread & sidewall, check your tread depth, as well as the tire pressure.
  3. Make Sure All of the Lights Work. Sadly, the long summer days have come to an end...and it’s getting darker earlier each day. The best way to check your lights is to get a friend (spouse, neighbor, etc.) to help you make sure all of your car’s exterior lights (including the brake lights, head lights, and your reverse lights) are working correctly. A non-functional light usually indicates a burnt-out bulb. You will want to replace your light bulbs in pairs (if one has gone out, the other is sure to go out soon!).
  4. Check the Wiper Blades. The fall season often brings rain and sometimes even snow. You’ll want to make sure your car’s wiper blades are in good shape to deal with these conditions. A good set of blades should produce a streak-free sweep and leave the windshield clear. Replace the wiper blades if they do not perform well. You’ll also want to consider the washer fluid. There are winter blends, which are designed to resist freezing, and summer blends for warmer weather. When the temperatures start to drop, you’ll want to make sure you have a winter blend in your car’s washer fluid reservoir.
  5. Inspect the Brakes. You (or your mechanic) should check the brakes a least twice a year to ensure they’re in good condition. Right now, before the snow starts to fly, is the perfect time to take a peek! How do you know when your brake pads are worn out? When there’s 4mm of friction material remaining, most professionals recommend replacing the brake pads (and usually replacing or resurfacing the brake discs). A reading of 3mm or less indicates the brake pads are a safety hazard and should be replaced immediately.
  6. Make Sure the Heater is Working. If you’re like most drivers, you didn’t turn your car’s heater on at all during the summer. With the cooler weather we have been having, you probably have been using your heater (at least in the morning). But if you haven’t tested in yet this season...please do so NOW!  If your heater is on; but you are not getting any hot air, it’s time to see a mechanic to address the issue sooner rather than later.
  7. Take Care of Any Outstanding Maintenance. Is your car due (or overdue) for service? Then take care of it now. Lack of maintenance is one of the most common—if not the most common—reasons for mechanical breakdowns.
  8. Address Any Known Problems. Car problems left ignored often snowball into big-time concerns. For example, a leaking radiator hose can lead to a low coolant level, overheating, and catastrophic engine damage. Ignoring issues can also leave you stranded on a chilly fall morning. Address any known problems now to prevent further headaches.
Right now, it is also a good time to get your vehicle accessorized for the approaching winter with new floor mats and seat covers. You should also keep an emergency kit in your vehicle just in case it breaks down and include such items as a warm blanket, an extra coat, scarf, hat, gloves, emergency road flares, and a flashlight (just to name a few items).

We hope that you find these tips useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget.
 

Fall Driving Tips


Fall is a time for hayrides, pumpkin spiced drinks, and of course cooler weather. It’s also a time when road and weather conditions make driving a little tougher. Stay safe on the road this fall with these smart driving tips.

Don’t Brake on Leaves. Wet leaves can be as slippery as ice. Drive slowly through them and avoid hard braking. Leaves may also obscure lane lines and other road markers, so pay attention to the edge of the road and take care to stay in your lane.

Avoid Sun Glare. The first 15-45 minutes after sunrise and before sunset can make for more difficult driving due to sun glare. This is because the sun perfectly aligns with east/west roadways during this time. Make sure you have a good pair of sunglasses for the daytime, use your vehicles sun visor, and keep your windshield clean to minimize the sun’s blinding effects.

Use Your Rain Smarts. During fall, we typically see an increase in rainfall. When it’s raining, be sure to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you as the wet roads may be more slippery than usual causing an increase in stopping distance for your vehicle, or worse, cause you to hydroplane.

Be Careful on Bridges. As the temperate begins to drop, morning frost can leave icy patches on bridges, overpasses, and shaded spots on the road. Take care while driving & slow down.

Adjust Your Eyes. We lose 1 to 2 minutes of daylight daily after the fall equinox. After leaving home or the office (and before hitting the gas pedal), give your eyes time to adjust to the dark. Your eyes can take anywhere between 2-5 minutes to fully adjust to lighting conditions.

Watch Out for Deer. Fall marks the beginning of deer breeding season and they will be more active in areas near the road. Deer are most active during sunset and sunrise, so be extra watchful when driving near the woods & near deer crossing signs.

Make Sure Your Vehicle is Up to the Task. That means you should regularly check your vehicles tire pressure, replace your windshield wipers, and make sure your headlights are properly aligned. If it has been some time since you have taken your vehicle to a mechanic for a full inspection, now might be a good time as well to help ensure against a vehicle break down.

We hope that you find these tips useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget. 

How to Take Care of Your Car's Headlights


The days are getting shorter...and the nights longer. Now with fall and winter weather approaching it is time to make sure that your headlights are in the best working order. Your headlights need to help you see at night and during foggy weather (without being a distraction to other drivers on the road). Here are some helpful tips you need to take proper care of your lights to keep up the standards.

Clean Them Regularly. It’s quite common for dirt and dust to pile up on your headlights and negatively affecting the visibility. Unlike dirt on the windshield, which is immediately noticed, most folks can drive for miles with no idea the low illumination is due to building up dirt. In fact, you should clean your headlights with a damp microfiber towel every week.

Address Clouding & Yellowing. One sure way potential buyers judge a used car to determine if the price is worth it is by looking at the headlights. If the headlights are cloudy or yellowed, people assume your vehicle is as old as the dinosaurs and throw it in the ‘meh’ category. But you can restore those headlights to default settings using headlight restoration systems. If it doesn’t work out, there is always the option of replacing it.
Check Illumination. Occasionally, one headlight can dim or it completely malfunctions leaving its twin sibling working just fine. The result is a reduced illumination that interferes with visibility. Sure, some people would notice it immediately but it’s possible not to tell when you’re behind the wheel. In case you’ve noticed something is a bit off, park your car, get out and check the illumination. Alternatively, you can park in front of an obstacle and switch both headlights on and off to evaluate the status.

Check Alignment. It’s not just tires that can get misaligned but headlights too. Quite often, misaligned headlights are triggered by accidents or driving through rough terrains over a long period. Again, you would have to park the car in front of an obstacle like a wall or a garage door to confirm if the headlights are aligned. If you observe any issue (even a slight misalignment), consult a mechanic.

Replace Bulbs in Pairs. When you’re seeking to replace one faulty headlight, it is better to buy both bulbs in pairs. Why? It’s common for a new headlight to be brighter than an older headlight. However, if you buy both bulbs in pairs, the brightness intensity will be the same. Not to mention, the remaining light bulbs could be on their deathbed even if they’re working just fine.

We hope that you find these tips useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget. 

How to Check the 6 Essential Fluids in Your Car

Fluids play a huge role in almost every facet of your car, including fuel economy and longevity. Keeping them at the proper level will help your car last longer and drive better, something we can all get behind. Here's how to check the six essential fluids in your car.

Engine Oil. After fuel, oil is your car's most important fluid. Engines components spin thousands of times a minute, and it is oil that keeps everything moving smoothly. Most cars have a dipstick in the engine bay which lets you quickly inspect the oil. It's best to check your oil after your engine has been turned off for at least 10 minutes so the oil can settle at the bottom and cool off. First, pull the dipstick out and wipe it clean with a towel or rag. Then, reinsert it and pull it back out. The dipstick is marked with maximum and minimum indicators that show how much oil is in your engine. The oil on the dipstick should be near maximum. If it's at or below the minimum, add more immediately. A low reading could indicate your engine is leaking or burning oil, which can cause damage if left untreated.

Oil level is one thing, but its condition is equally important. To check it, you're going to have to get your hands dirty. Smear the oil on the dipstick between your fingers. It should feel slick and smooth – if you notice any particles or grittiness, components are likely wearing down, which is a major issue. Also look at the color of the oil. If it's a yellow or amber color, you're good to go. If it's a darker coffee color or black, it's time for an oil change.

Coolant. With all the combustion & friction that happens in an engine, it produces a lot of heat. Coolant (also known as antifreeze) works to keep everything, well, cool, by absorbing engine heat and dissipating it through the radiator. Maintaining the correct coolant level prevents your vehicle from overheating. You only have to check this fluid every 50,000 miles or so, but if there's a leak or other issue it's important to know how to top it off. Warning: Never check your coolant while the engine is hot. Pressurized coolant can spray and cause burns.

The process to check coolant varies from car to car. If your car has a coolant expansion tank, look to see if the coolant falls between the minimum and maximum indicators on the tank. If it doesn't, open the radiator cap to see if the coolant is filled up to the top. Before you add coolant, make sure it's a type approved for your vehicle and give the radiator a few minutes to "burp" out any trapped air bubbles before you put the cap back on.

Power Steering Fluid. Like with other fluids, look for either a dipstick or reservoir in the engine bay. The process is similar in that you'll remove the dipstick or check the markings on the reservoir. If the fluid is low just top it off, but it's essential to use the type specified for your vehicle to avoid damage. If you find that you're frequently adding fluid, it's likely there is a leak, and your car will become increasingly difficult to steer if it isn't addressed.

Brake Fluid. The importance of your car's brakes needs no explanation. Most cars have a brake fluid reservoir in the engine bay, and checking it is as simple as looking at its level and color. Like with other fluids, make sure the level falls between the minimum and maximum indicators. Add more if it's below the minimum, but make sure it's a type compatible with your car. Brake fluid comes in several varieties with their own distinct colors, but all should be translucent, not cloudy or dark. If you can’t see through your brake fluid, it’s time to have it replaced.

Transmission Fluid. Transmission fluid serves a similar purpose as oil in the engine, it lubricates and cools the components inside your transmission. If you experience any transmission issues, check the fluid first. Some cars have a dipstick, however others require a professional mechanic to inspect the fluid condition. If your car has a dipstick, the process is the same as above, though you'll need to have the engine turned on and the transmission in Park or Neutral to get an accurate read. Inspect the fluid level, as well as its condition. It should be amber or red in color and feel smooth. Like with other fluids, if it's dark, cloudy, or gritty, it means there is a problem that needs to be inspected.
To add transmission fluid, pour it into the fill tube if your vehicle has one. After verifying the fluid level on the dipstick, move the gear selector through the gears with your foot on the brake to help the new fluid flow through the transmission.

Windshield Washer Fluid. Windshield washer fluid doesn't have any effect on your car's performance, but it's still vital to safe driving. After all, if you can't see where you're going, you won't get very far. Fortunately, it's the easiest fluid to maintain. You can buy jugs of it at gas stations or auto supply stores. Simply pour the fluid into the reservoir until it's full, close the cap, and be on your way.

Fuel is what your car uses the most, but don't neglect the other fluids. Make a schedule so you don't miss oil changes, and always watch out for unusual noises, odors, or vibrations. These fluids might not stop you like an empty tank of gas, but they're equally important in keeping your car in great working order.

We hope that you find these tips useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget.
 
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