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

Spring Car Care Tips

Spring is in the air and it makes for the perfect time to get your car in shape for road trips and weekend getaways. Here are six simple steps to ensure that your vehicle is ready for the road ahead!

Thoroughly Clean your Vehicle, Inside and Out
There’s nothing like a good spring cleaning. After months of bad weather, a thorough wash and wax is the most important thing to do with your vehicle once winter ends. You will most likely discover that a huge amount of road grime, debris, and — worst of all — salt has built-up on your vehicle. A thorough cleaning, including the engine bay and beneath the car, will get rid of this accumulated dirt.

Also take this time to make the interior shine. Get rid of the trash, papers, and junk that tends to accumulate over the winter. A warm day is a great opportunity to take your time and do a thorough cleaning that includes vacuuming and cleaning the windows inside and out. And while you are at it...don’t forget the trunk!

Check Your Tire Pressure
Tire pressure is especially important in the spring. As air temperatures get cooler during the winter, tire pressures decrease, which probably caused you to fill up your tires. But as temperatures get warmer in the spring, tire pressures can rise. If the pressure increases past your manufacturer specification (because you added air during the winter), it can lead to overinflation, which can cause premature tire wear.

When checking the tire pressure, also take a look at the depth of your tread. You can use a penny inserted headfirst into the tread. If you can see any part of the top of Lincoln’s head, it means you should replace your tires. Also inspect the sidewalls for any cuts or damage that could weaken the tire & lead to a potential blowout in hot weather.

Inspect Your Wiper Blades
As spring starts and temperatures warm up, check your wiper blades for any signs of cracking or wear. The wiper itself could wear dramatically over the winter due to ice buildup or other issues on your windshield. Experts recommend changing the blades every six months to a year, depending on use and weather.

Check Under the Hood
Do a thorough check under your hood to make sure your car’s engine made it through the winter without problems. Specifically, check belts and hoses to ensure the cold temperatures haven’t rendered them brittle or heavily worn. Check your coolant to make sure it’s not too old — an important factor for avoiding overheating as temperatures start to climb. If you aren’t comfortable performing these checks on your own, contact your mechanic. Also, make sure that you top off your windshield wiper fluid.

Check Alignment and Suspension
Winter is known for being harsh on roads, which in turn can be harsh on your vehicle. If you find yourself frequently travelling roads with huge potholes or rocks that have emerged from the asphalt, it could ruin your car’s alignment or damage suspension components.
A sure sign that you may need an alignment is if your steering wheel isn’t centered or the car doesn’t track straight. Also, your shocks or struts may need attention if you notice that the vehicle feels like it has a loose or overly soft ride with an extra rebound when going over bumps.

Check the Filters
Spring is also known for pollen and allergies. You can keep them out or minimize their presence in the cabin by replacing the filter in your climate control system. Most manufacturers recommend changing the cabin air filter every 30,000 miles.
Spring is also a good time to check your engine’s air filter to ensure that the old one hasn’t been clogged by dirt or other impurities. A filter contaminated by oil or other fluids can also be a sign of larger engine problems and should be checked by a mechanic.

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.   

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.

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.

Car Warning Lights & What They Mean

We’ve all been there: You’re driving along the freeway, enjoying the views, and suddenly, you hear a beep—you look down, and a symbol appears on your dashboard. You start to wonder what could be wrong. Some symbols on your car’s dashboard are more obvious than others. However, it’s important to know exactly what they mean in case you need to pull over and call for help.

Here are 15 Common Warning Lights on Your Car’s Dashboard
  1. Oil Pressure Light. This old-fashioned oil can image indicates that there is an issue with your car’s oil pressure system. Either you’re running low on oil or your oil pump isn’t circulating enough fluid to properly lubricate the surfaces inside your vehicle. This should be addressed as soon as possible, as your engine can wear quickly without proper lubrication.
  2. Tire Pressure Warning Light. Also known as the TPMS symbol, this image signals that the pressure in one or more of your tires is too low or too high and needs to be addressed. Driving on low- or high-pressure tires is unsafe and can cause additional damage to your vehicle. Usually, tire pressure should be between 30 and 35 psi (pounds per square inch).  
  3. Engine Temperature Warning. If you see this symbol pop up, it means that your engine is overheated. This most likely has to do with your coolant (also called antifreeze), but it can happen for a variety of reasons. It’s important to address this immediately to avoid further damage.  
  4. Traction Control Light. This indicates that your vehicle’s traction control system is activated. The traction control system utilizes your anti-lock brake system to determine if one wheel is spinning faster than another. If it detects that a wheel is slipping, it applies the brakes until it regains traction. This is most helpful if you’re driving in rain or snow.
  5. Anti-lock Brake Warning Light. Speaking of your anti-lock brakes, if this “ABS” warning lights up while you’re driving, it means that something is wrong with the system. As you know, your anti-lock brakes work to keep your car in contact with the road safely, so it’s important to diagnose the issue as soon as possible. Keep in mind, every time you turn on your vehicle, the system does a self-check, and may light up for just a few seconds. If it goes away immediately, your system is in working order.  
  6. Traction Control Malfunction. This light indicates that your vehicle’s traction control system might have a broken or damaged sensor or some other malfunction. In some cars, the same control module operates the anti-lock brakes and the traction control system, so the light sometimes comes on when there are problems with your ABS.  
  7. Engine Warning (Check Engine Light). Your check engine light may appear for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it can indicate a serious issue and require you to pull over immediately. This could indicate low oil pressure or overheating. Other times, this light will appear if your gas cap is open, loose, or cracked, causing fuel to evaporate. If this light appears, it’s wise to pull over and check your gas cap and other systems in your vehicle. If it’s flashing, you should stop driving! In most vehicles, a flashing check engine light signals that you have a serious problem that could cause serious damage if ignored.  
  8. Battery Alert. This symbol indicates that there is an issue with the vehicle’s charging system. The culprit might not be your battery though. While it might indicate that you have a loose or damaged battery cable, it can also signal that your alternator belt is broken. If it is your battery, occasionally you’ll notice that your clock is fading, or your headlights are dimming. If you wait too long, your vehicle can completely conk out. This is what has happened when you see fellow drivers “jumping” each other’s cars.  
  9. Low Fuel Indicator. Most drivers are very familiar with this symbol. It simply means you’re running low on gas. It’s not a good idea to see if you can make it home if you have a way to go. You never know how weather or traffic patterns will play out, so it’s best to stop at the nearest gas station and fill up!  
  10. Automatic Shift Lock or Engine Start Indicator. If you see this symbol, you’re most likely trying to shift gears or start your ignition without engaging the brake. The automatic shift lock will lock your vehicle in park or neutral until you engage the brake.  
  11. Seat Belt Reminder. This symbol is simply reminding you or your passenger to buckle up!   
  12. Airbag Indicator. The airbag indicator signals that something is wrong with one of your airbags or the system. Your car’s airbags keep you safe during accidents, so it’s important to address this issue immediately.  
  13. Security Light. If your vehicle has an anti-theft system, this image means that something could be malfunctioning. This symbol also briefly lights up when you turn your vehicle on, which isn’t an indicator that something is wrong.  
  14. Fog Lamp Indicator. This symbol is telling you that your fog lights are on. Fog lights should only be used if your visibility is less than 100 meters. If you turn them on unnecessarily, this can be detrimental to other drivers on the road.  
  15. Washer Fluid Indicator. Imitating the motion of your windshield wipers, this symbol means that you’re low on washer fluid. You’ll want to fill up the reservoir with fluid as soon as you can.
Keep in mind that every car is different, so the symbols on your dashboard may vary slightly from the 15 we’ve mentioned. If in doubt, consult your vehicles owner's manual! 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. 

Why Regular Maintenance is Important

Keeping up with your vehicle’s maintenance services is an extremely important part of keeping your car running right. But oftentimes it’s these maintenance services that seem to get the backseat! “Life” just seems to get in the way.   The truth of the matter is, however, that a good car owner knows getting regular auto maintenance services performed is the best thing that you can do for your vehicle – and for your busy schedule! On average, maintenance services take much less time, and cost much less, than a major auto repair service. Still need more convincing for how keeping up with your car’s maintenance services can make your life easier? Check out these great reasons below.     

Longevity: You’ve probably seen a car that is older than, well, dirt. But surprisingly, it doesn’t look like it. I’ve seen vehicles with over 400,000 miles on them that run & look great! In fact, a well-maintained old car can outlive a newer car that’s been neglected without proper care. Quite often, it’s the little things like regularly checking your tire pressure, brakes, fluid level, battery and lights that make the big difference in the long run.

Boost Your Safety: Did you know that some road accidents are directly caused by poor car maintenance? For instance, you can forget to service your brake system and when you need to slow down, it malfunctions causing an accident. Another scenario would be a worn-out tire that was supposed to be changed that bursts when you’re driving at high speed. You get the picture, right? Anyway, maintaining your car can improve your safety and potentially save your life.

Enhances Reliability & Performance: If you drive a car for long enough without maintenance, you start to notice a decline in the performance. It could be that it doesn’t accelerate fast like it did when it was fresh out of the dealership. Maybe the fuel economy worsened, or it coughs when you start it. This happens because it is normal for car components to wear out if they aren’t serviced or replaced on a regular basis.

Increases the Resale Value of Your Vehicle: Ever wondered why some classic cars are auctioned at a higher resale value decades later after they were purchased? This is usually quite common among rare limited car models that are out of the market, but the owners kept them in mint condition. However, even if your vehicle is not one of those scarce types, ensuring that it is well-maintained will increase its resale value when you go to trade it in at a dealership or sell to a private buyer.

Saves You Expensive Repair Costs: Prevention is better than cure! Regular maintenance of your vehicle ensures that little issues are caught before they become BIG issues. It’s like going to the doctor for an annual exam. You can take care of your body...take care of your vehicle in the same way.

Minimizes Roadside Emergencies: It can be annoying when your car engine won’t start on a cold winter morning or it suddenly breaks down on the roadside due to overheating problems. It’s even more frustrating when you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with no strong network signal and you have no choice but to abandon your vehicle to go seek help. You can minimize the risk of roadside emergencies if you take good care of your vehicle.

We hope that you found these auto tips useful...and that if your vehicle to the “doctor” lately, we hope that you schedule an appointment soon! 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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