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Top 8 things to check when getting a used car

Many people consider buying a used car as a way to save some money. Used cars are usually much cheaper than a brand new car. Buying a used car is also more economically conscious because over time, the car will lose less of it’s value. However, buying a new car is not always easy. There are numerous things that you have to look out for. Here are a list of the top 8 things to check when getting a used car.

 

1. Take a test drive

Test driving a car is important regardless of whether you are buying a new or a used car. A test drive allows you to get a feel for the car and see how it handles in the real world. With a used car, a test drive allows you to quickly spot any main issues with the car. These could be things like problems with the brakes or problems with the engine.

2. Look at the exterior and interior

Take a walk around the car and look for any noticeable dents or scratches. If there are any then they could significantly reduce the cost of the car. Dents and scratches are also an indicator that the previous owner didn’t take good care of the car. Take a look at the interior of the car as well. A dirty or messy interior is another place where you could get the owner to reduce the price of the car.

3. Check for a recall

Go online and check the make and model of the car you are considering buying and make sure that it hasn’t been recalled. Some owners may try to sell a car that has been recalled which is a safety issue and is very dangerous. If the make and model has been recalled, get proof from the owner that the car as been repaired and that the issue has been fixed. If the owner cannot provide proof, do not purchase the car.

4. Ask for service records

Service records are important because they tell you how the previous owner has taken care of the car. If the service records show regular maintenance then it is a good sign that the car has been well taken care of. If the records show no or very little maintenance then it is likely that you will have issues with the car in the future.

5. Have a mechanic perform an inspection

Take the car to a mechanic for an inspection. The mechanic will be able to find any issues with the car that are not obvious from the outside. If there are issues try to get the owner to cover the repair costs. If the owner is not willing to pay for the entire repair costs see if they will split the costs with you or of they will consider lowering the price of the car.

6. Check for a warranty

Check if the car has any warranty on it that could be transferred over to you. The warranty could come in handy if there are issues with the car in the future. If the owner bought the car when it was new then it is likely that there is some warranty on the car. As the owner if it is possible for them to transfer it over to you.

7. Check for any leaks

Park the car in a dry place and let it sit there for around 30 minutes. After that time move the car and check if there were any fluid leaks in the spot where it was parked. Leaks indicate that there is something wrong with the car and that it needs maintenance. If a leak is found, ask the owner if they are aware of it and if they know what is causing it.

8. Read reviews online

Buying a car is no different than buying any other item. Do your research online and read reviews about the car. See what other owners of the car have to say about it. If they think it’s a good car or if they regret purchasing it. Reviews can also tell you about possible issues with the car that you may face in the future.

or more of the latest car hacks and tips, check out our other blogs.

Oil Changing Essentials

Changing your car’s oil is one of the most basic and critically important car maintenance activities. At its core, changing oil in a car consists of removing the old, spent oil from the car’s engine and replacing it with a new oil. It is typical to replace the car’s oil filter at the same time.

 

When?

With time and as the car’s engine operates, oil breaks down and wears out. It loses its viscosity and becomes much less capable of lubricating all of the engine’s moving parts. Furthermore, oil loses its ability to absorb and dissipate heat as it ages. This can all lead to engine parts being less protected and eventually to a break down. The goal of very vehicle owner is to replace the engine oil, before this costly break down occurs.

How?

How often should oil be changed? This depends on numerous factors: make of the car, the way the car is driven, the age of the car and even your geographical location. A typical rule of thumb, recommended by most mechanics, is to replace your oil every 3000 miles. This may be slightly too aggressive. Most newer automobile manufacturers recommend longer intervals, for example, 5000 miles. Using special synthetic oil will allow you to extend this interval up to 10000 miles.

 

Where?

Engine oil can be replaced at almost any auto mechanic garage, anything from a large car manufacturer’s dealership to a small family run shop. It depends on a person preference convenience and budget. One recommendation that should be made is that oil change be done a reputable location, especially if the vehicle is still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. Always have your oil changed by a trusted professional. And yes, changing oil at a registered car mechanics business will not void the warranty, despite a common myth it is not necessary to take the car back to the original dealer who sold it. There is always an option to do it yourself. Changing oil is not a complicated maintenance process and it is an easy project for anyone to do at home.

How?

Replacing the engine oil includes the following steps:

  • Buy new oil filter and sufficient quantity of new oil

  • Warm up your car

  • Park the care on a flat surface

  • Open hood, removed oil filler cap

  • Remove oil plug (under the car, see owner’s manual for details)

  • Drain the old oil into a collection pen

  • Remove old oil filter (see owner’s manual for location)

  • Install new oil filter

  • Reinstall the oil plug

  • Refill the engine with new oil

8 Ways to Protect Your Car's Exterior in the Summer

We often think that winter would be the hardest time for our cars and take extra precautions to protects our beloved cars. However, we forget that summer takes its toll as well.  Since it's right around the corner, here are 8 steps to protects your car's exterior in the summer:

 

1.  Tint your windows

If you tend to leave your car parked outside during the summer under direct sunlight, try investing in getting your windows and windscreen tinted. This helps protect the inside of your car from the sun's ray. It also helps protects yourself when you are driving under the sunlight.

 

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2. Find shade

There's only one real way to protect your car from any sun ray damage which is by parking it under a physical barrier because this blocks 100% of UV rays from damaging your car. Sun protectors are useful and affordable, so it might be best to invest in some as they can be easily folded up and put neatly in the trunk when not in use.

3. Wax

The Sunscreen For Cars Wax is the ultimate protection when it comes to cars. Choose a brand that you feel is suitable according to your time and cast investment. Although most wax usually last for only up to 2 months, the good news is that it's really easy to reapply another new coating of wax to the take on the brunt of the sunlight. One thing to take note is that price does not equal protection. Just because you spend more on a coating that claims to last for years doesn't mean that it gives you more protection from the sun compared to other products on the market.

4. Keep it clean!

Always wash your vehicle regularly! I usually wash my car at least once every week to ensure that all the stuck-on road grime is removed. For examples, bird droppings can permanently damage not only the paint but also the clear coat that you've applied.

5. Don't forget the small things

Use plastic polish to prevent hazing or cracked plastics keeping those parts fresh like you just bought it. Rubber protectants help prevent important rubber parts from going brittle. There are also sunlight shielding films which can be used to protect your headlights as they even come with spray-on versions making is easier to apply.

6. Test & clean battery frequently

The heat has been known to drain your car's batteries quite quickly and shortens the lifespans of them. Frequent testing and cleaning will help prevent yourself from getting stranded somewhere in the middle of the highway.

7. Check tire pressure

Hot pavements and under-inflated tires make a deadly combination during the summer which may lead to a burst tire while driving. Always remember to check it frequently to ensure that the pressure is optimum.

 

8. Wipe dashboard with microfiber cloth

Dust and dirt are usually the main cause of tiny scratches that become worse over time. Wipe the dashboard frequently to clean all particles. A low-gloss detailing product is more than enough to protect and reduce glare.

For more car tips and hacks, be sure to check out our other blogs here

5 Tips to Keep Your Car Battery Running Longer

Most of us have been there. You're ready to go, put the keys in the ignition, try to start the car, and there's nothing but dead silence. Then, you're often left with no other option besides paying for a new battery or roadside assistance. HERO has put together a few ways to get the most out of your vehicle's battery.

1. Keep the battery charged

This seems like a no brainer, right? Many fail to think about how a car battery gets charged. It charges while the car is running. It's best to drive your car regularly. If you have a car that you don't drive often or only use it for short trips, it might be best to get a charger.

2. Turn off lights

This doesn't apply to just head and tail lights. Make sure you're shutting off interior lights. Forgetting to do so is an easy way to drain the battery. Also, be sure to not leave any electronics charging in your car because this will use the car's battery even if it isn't on.

3. Keep the battery's connection clean

Corrosion is a very common problem that could interfere with the battery's ability to charge. It's best to check the battery and connection. If it needs cleaning, you can use a mixture of baking soda and water to give the terminal a good scrub. Use one part water to three parts baking soda. Clean as needed or every few months.

4. Determine the problem before replacing or charging the battery

It's important to identify the problem before dropping (potentially) hundreds of dollars replacing a battery that could easily be repaired or recharged. We already covered the common problems that cause a dead battery. It's most likely leaving lights on, not driving the car often, or maybe even the temperature. Car professionals say car batteries can lose over 30% of their charge when temperature decreases drastically. 

5. Find the right, trusted car care professional

Regular maintenance is important when it comes to cars. A good vehicle professional will be able to identify problems such as battery failure as well as more complex problems. Going with someone you trust and who knows what they're doing can save you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on car repairs and maintenance. Identifying the problem and being proactive goes a long way in regards to your car. Visit www.herocarcare.com to download our app and receive on demand car care!

 

 

5 Essential Car Care Tips Many Drivers Ignore

What's the big deal about car maintenance? Having your car serviced and taken care of regularly helps to improve safety, prevents any damage from worsening, minimizes breakdowns, and results in a higher resale value. People don't often think about it, but hundreds of people die every day from accidents caused by break failure, worn out belts in their car, or worn down tire tread. Performing regular maintenance on your car not only keeps you and your family safe, but also saves you money. If your car doesn't get regular TLC, there may be issues under the hood that you aren't aware of. The longer the issues are left alone, the more likely it is to raise the cost of repair due to the problem growing worse and worse. Car maintenance doesn't need to be hard or something you dread. Here are five simple car care tips that will help your car tremendously:

1. Regular Self Inspections

The vehicle's owner manual will be key for this if you're not familiar with car inspections. The manual will get you familiar with the parts and the way things should look. If something looks or seems off, it will most likely require some extra professional help. 

2. Know what the warning lights mean

It's important to know what the warning lights on your dashboard mean. Most modern cars have sensors that can indicate when something is wrong. The most common lights are the check engine, brake warning, coolant warning, and oil warning light. We touch on this topic a little more here

3. Check tire tread depth

You can check your car's tread depth by performing the "penny test". Grab a penny and insert it into the tire tread with Lincoln's head facing down. If you're able to see the top of his head, it's time for new tires... Immediately! If you perform the penny test and still aren't sure, just have a professional check it out. It's better to be safe than sorry and end up blowing out a tire. 

4. Get your alignment checked and tires rotated

Both the alignment and tires influence your car's fuel economy. Most people say that the basic principle is to have your tires rotated every 5,000 miles driven. However, you can always check your car's owner manual to be sure.

5. Check oil 

Oil is crucial for smooth execution for a car since it involves so much friction in all of the different part that make it go. Checking your oil is fairly simple. Make sure your car is not parked on any elevation; the ground should be level. Remove the dipstick, wipe it off with a clean towel, and then put the oil dipstick back in. Pull the stick out once more and you will be able to see exactly where the oil level is. Typically, there are two notches at the end of the dipstick. Make sure the oil is in between these two notches or marks. If not, your oil level is low and it's time to get your vehicle serviced. It's also important to not the consistency and color of the oil. If it is dark in color, this might indicate overheating or contaminants. 

For more helpful hints and tips, be sure to check out our other blog posts here.

6 Signs of Car Damage You Can Recognize with Your Nose

Cars can be complicated. There's no way for you to know exactly when and where there is a problem occurring. However, your nose can help sniff out the problem. Funny smells coming from your vehicle can indicate specific issues that may need attention ASAP. Here are six different smells that indicate issues in your car:

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1. Maple Syrup

Most likely the culprit is antifreeze. Pay attention to when you smell this odor. It would be when the heat is turned on, the engine has been running for a while, or it could even occur once you've turned the car off. There could be antifreeze leaking in your car or from the core of the heater.

2. Rotten eggs or Sulfur

The smell of rotten eggs usually comes from the compound hydrogen sulfide. This compound is a byproduct from sulfur found in fuel. This smell could indicate engine or catalyst converter issues. It's possible that the converter or fuel system is not functioning properly. This needs to be checked out by a professional immediately. 

3. Sweaty Locker Room

Yes. As strange as it sounds, many people face the problem of their car smelling like a musty gym locker room. This unpleasant odor most likely indicates that there is mold or mildew inside your air conditioning vents. It's important to dry out your vents by turning off the A/C and blowing air through the system. If this still doesn't solve the problem, have a professional take care of it for you.

4. Gasoline

Don't be alarmed if you just filled up your tank and smell the odor of gas. However, if you haven't just refueled and still smell it, you should be aware that there might be a problem. The smell of gas might indicate that there's a leak. This leak is most likely in the fuel injector line or the vehicle's gas tank. You need to get this examined as soon as you can because a gas leak poses a serious fire hazard.

5. Hot or Burning Oil

If you smell oil when your engine is hot, it might be an oil leak into the exhaust. Look for oil dripping on the ground underneath your car. It's important to note that it is possible for the leak to not be visible on the ground if it all drips onto the exhaust. Another indication could be thick smoke if the leak persists and gets bad enough. 

6. Burning Carpet

The odor of burning carpet typically is a result of overheating brakes. Riding your brakes downhill may create this odor. However, if you're driving normally, your parking brake might be on. Check your parking brake and if it isn't engaged, it's possible that your brakes are not functioning as they should be. This poses a hazard and they are at risk of malfunctioning. 

Don't wait until it's too late. Get your car serviced regularly and as soon as you think there might be an issue.

Don't wait until it's too late. Get your car serviced regularly and as soon as you think there might be an issue.

You don't have to be a car expert to be able to spot (or smell) when something is wrong with your vehicle. Always pay attention to your car. Funny smells and noises can indicate major problems under the hood. Train your nose to recognize odd smells and what they mean so that you can describe what's going on when your car gets checked out by a professional. 

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