towing

3 ways to provide care for you car's appearance and resale value

Often when we think of car care, we think of the maintenance that is required for “under-the-hood” components. But there are other ways that we can practice care for our vehicles that doesn’t require automotive repair skills or maintenance expertise. Some of these things may seem to only benefit the car from a cosmetics standpoint, but there is actually great value to the health of your vehicle from things that can be performed to its exterior. Here are three easy ways to provide maintenance for your car, while also improving its appearance and resell value:

audi-automobile-automotive-237195.jpg

1. Properly washing your vehicle. We all can agree that washing our vehicles certainly makes its appearance look nicer, but we often forget that a good wash can also improve the health of our car. Our cars come in contact with many foreign substances while driving, and regularly washing our vehicles can cleanse away contaminants like pollen, tar, dirt and other pollutants. Also, washing your car helps maintain a fresh look by preventing rust from occurring which adds to the resell value of any vehicle. Most car experts agree that washing your vehicle weekly or bi-weekly is the perfect frequency to properly maintain your car’s look and health.

2. Properly waxing your vehicle. Often times we have the mentality that waxing our cars is the same as the practice of flossing our teeth; an added bonus that is healthy but is not necessary. This is faulty thinking! Waxing our vehicles provides an added layer of protection that can shield our cars from minor dings and scratches. This means that when a rock or gravel kicks up on your car while you’re riding on the highway, the layer of wax protection can mitigate some of the cosmetic damage it may receive. Furthermore, this layer of protection can create a barrier between your car and the outside world to prevent contaminants from seeping in to the mechanical workings of your car. Studies have also shown that cars that are regularly waxed have paint jobs that are more intact with less chippings over time. Car experts recommend waxing your car approximately once every three months.

automobile-bmw-car-100656.jpg

3. Properly cleaning the interior of your vehicle. Let’s face it: from the looks of the insides of our cars, some of us appear to LIVE in our vehicles! Besides just being common courtesy to clean out the junk from your car’s interior, it’s also an important reminder to ensure that all objects are cleared from the driver’s floorboard, to prevent something from sliding beneath the brake pedal and locking up your brakes when trying to stop. Vacuuming your car can also be helpful to prevent a build up of dust particles that can fester in the ventilation system. Perhaps the most crucial aspect of maintaining your car’s interior comes with cleaning the fabrics on the seats. The first step is to identify whether the interior is lined with cloth, leather or vinyl. For a cloth material, you have the freedom to use basic cleaning materials to apply to any stains. Baking soda, salt and seltzer water can also prove a useful concoction for hard to remove stains. For a leather interior, there are special leather cleaners that can be applied using the motion of small circles. Remember to overlap these circles to ensure that all cracks and crevices of the leather are reached. For vinyl interiors, it may be necessary to scrub and stains with a brush before applying a vinyl conditioner with a damp rag. It is recommended that ALL types of interiors be treated with this process 3-4 times a year. This will maintain a fresh look on your car’s interior, and will drastically help with the resell value of the vehicle.

5 Ways to Be Prepared in a Car Emergency

A good rule in life is to expect the unexpected. This is especially true when operating a motor vehicle. Auto emergencies can happen to anyone. A common misconception is that you only need to be prepared for these types of emergencies when taking long trips away from home. Emergencies can happen anywhere to anyone, and it’s important to be prepared should they come your way. Whether it’s due to an accident, inclement weather, or mechanical failure, we’ve listed 5 tips below to help you be prepared before auto emergencies come your way.

1. Have an action plan in place

This means that you, as the driver, know in advance what to do if an emergency should occur. Often times, this means having a roadside assistance service in place. If you do not have this service available to you, it’s important to know what to do in case of common auto emergencies such as a flat tire, a car breakdown, or running out of gas. For some that opt out of a roadside assistance service, this may mean knowing how to change a tire or add coolant to an overheated transmission. Another tip is to have an ICE (in case of emergency) number saved in your phone in case of an unthinkable incident with severe injuries involved.

2. Stock your vehicle

Keep useful items useful in case of unexpected occurrences. Plan for the worst! Imagine being stranded on a desolate road in the cold of winter. Useful items could include a flashlight, a blanket, towels, some water and even a spare phone battery or charger. Having these items stocked in your car can provide peace of mind before an emergency occurs and can provide invaluable comfort during an emergency.

3. Know proper roadside safety during an auto emergency

When you're able, pull far off on to the shoulder of the road with your hazard lights on. It’s vital to be pulled as far off the road as possible especially if on the highway. Immediately call a friend or family member to let them know your location as it’s always possible that other motorists will be stopping, and you as the driver will never know their intentions.

pexels-photo-1046397.jpg

 

4. Know what to do in inclement weather

Sometimes auto emergencies present themselves because of inclement weather. Whether it’s heavy rain, ice, snow, fog or thunderstorms, the weather can prove menacing to drivers. One of the best tips that can be offered for inclement weather is to educate yourself on how to navigate these conditions. There are many helpful videos and reputable articles that teach how to best drive in a specific type of weather.

 

5. Familiarize yourself with what to do in case of an accident or a police stop

It’s always a good tip to routinely confirm that your license and registration are with you. Remember that if you are being pulled by an officer, you have the right to put your hazard lights on and cruise into the nearest business with lights on; this is for YOUR safety. Also remember to document any accidents with pictures and a police report before moving your vehicle.

5 Tips to Pass your Vehicle Inspection

Currently in the U.S., there are nearly 20 states that require an annual vehicle inspection. Failing an auto inspection means more of your time and energy goes to waste. Here’s what the next steps look like if your car fails: make another appointment to correct the issue and this is followed by an additional appointment to pass your vehicle inspection. Not only is this tedious and time consuming, it may also cause you to miss your state’s inspection deadline. Hero has compiled 5 simple tips you can do as a vehicle owner to ensure a passing grade for your inspection. The following tips not only are easy fixes that can be done by anyone, but they will also help you avoid the headache of scheduling multiple inspection appointments for issues that could have been easily prevented:

1. Cosmetic check

Walk around your car to ensure there are no obvious areas of need that would prevent a passing grade. Verify that windows aren’t cracked and also make sure that your license plate is securely attached. An often overlooked area inside the car are the seatbelts. Make sure that the holsters are properly working and that each seatbelt is able to be securely fastened.

2. Exterior lights

Grab a family member or friend to help you out to make sure all of the car’s exterior lights are working. This includes your brake lights, headlights, taillights, and high beams. Also, remember to check the lights that illuminate your license plate because they are also required for passing inspection.

3. Internal dash lights

Your car cannot pass inspection with a service engine light on. While fixing this issue might not be something you personally can do, it’s important to know that your car will need to complete a “drive cycle” before the internal computer resets and will register a passing grade on your inspection. This drive cycle can be anywhere from 50-75 miles, so knowing this in advance can be a major time-saving help.

 4. Tires

Most states require tires to have at least 1/16 inch of tread to pass inspection. An easy way to check this is with the penny tire tread trick. According to Bridgestone Tires, a person can place a U.S. penny upside down in the groove of the tire tread and if you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires. This trick takes no more than a minute and can really help you plan your inspection in advance.

5. Brakes

You don’t need to be a car expert to determine when your brakes need replacing. According to J.D. Power & Associates, one of the best ways to know when your brakes need to be replaced is by listening carefully to them while applying heavy brake pressure. While driving, turn off the radio and listen to see if you hear a high pitched screeching sound during the application of pressing your brakes. This sound is called a metal shim. Even the faint noise of a metal shim is an indicator that your brakes need to be replaced. Having your brakes replaced can take some serious time, so knowing to check for them in advance can assist you in scheduling a brake replacement appointment to guarantee you meet your inspection on time.

For all of the latest car tips and hacks, make sure to check out the rest of Hero's blog

Summer can kill your car's battery

It’s safe to say that all of us have been there. In a rush to get to an important meeting at work, running out the door and jumping in the car. You sit down, stick the keys into the ignition, and turn to get it started… Instead of hearing the engine start up, all you hear are some soft clicking noises. Your car is refusing to start.Traditional wisdom suggests that dead batteries are the product of frigid winters, but did you know that the heat of summer months can be equally, if not more, damaging to your car’s battery?

A little known fact is that studies indicate that car batteries in colder areas have a life expectancy of around 60 months. On the other hand, those in hot regions, average only around 30 months. This is mostly due to chemistry inside the car batteries. In hot climates, the battery starts to discharge spontaneously within 24 hours. This same process takes place in colder climates, but it takes considerably longer – few days. A dead battery in hot weather is thus, a distinct possibility. Here are five ways to improve your changes and keep your battery alive in even the hottest climate.

Park in Shade

Because the high heat is so damaging to you car’s battery, always try to park in a cool, shaded parking spot. Of course, this one’s common sense. It’s a no brainer that parking in the shade will keep the interior of the car significantly cooler!

sunflower-sun-summer-yellow.jpg

Do Not Drive Short Distances

Always plan your trips accordingly. Taking longer trips will increase your driving time. You should opt for bicycle or walking for the shorter trips because short distance driving will destroy your car battery much quicker. The science behind this is that while driving, the alternator charges the battery. This process is takes a relatively long time which means that increasing your driving time will give the alternator more time. Short trips with many stops and starts don’t allow sufficient time to charge the battery.

Decrease the Demand on Car Battery

Our cars have become our second homes or offices. It seems like there’s always five things going on at once. Almost everything in our cars demand electricity, which of course, comes from the battery. Between satellite navigation systems, DVD screens, phone chargers, car’s own computer and electrical systems, we ask a lot of our car’s battery. Keep this in mind when you’re adding new devices or plugging new things into car’s charging sockets. Only use what you really need and this will lower the demand on your car battery, and in result, greatly prolong its life.

Keep Battery Clean

The battery is typically located within the engine compartment and this typically isn’t too pretty… It’s common to find this compartment covered in dirt, oil, and grease. These substances can build up on your battery’s terminals and act like insulators. This will potentially even lower the charging capacity of your battery even more which ends up in shortening its life. The build up of dirt and grease can also act like a heat trap; keeping the battery even hotter. It’s vital to clean this area regularly.

Use a Charger

It might be a good idea to invest in a car battery charger. When the car is parked for a long period of time, an external charger can help keep the battery topped up. Having this will assist in keep the battery from getting completely drained while it is not being used. In result, this will help extend its life and keep you from having to buy a new battery sooner than necessary.

Top 5 Fuel Efficient Cars in the USA

pexels-photo-1051397.jpg

With today’s ever increasing gasoline prices, a question must be asked: which cars, currently sold in the United States, are the most fuel efficient? In other words, which top five gasoline powered cars (including hybrids but not plug ins) provide the most bang for you buck? It should be noted that this list excludes electric cars which tend to be the most efficient. Therefore, if buyers are strictly looking for efficiency, electric cars should take priority. However, if range is also important, this list will be very helpful.

1. 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Blue (Hybrid) - 58 MPG combined

This is the number one, most efficient car currently for sale in the US. Its price starts at around $22,000. This is the lowest available trim level for this model. This  models amazing fuel efficiency is mostly due to its incredibly low weight. It also features an extremely low drag coefficient of just 0.24 an ultra low weight 12V battery and regenerative braking. All this is supported by a 1.56 KW lithium polymer battery pack.

2. 2018 Toyota Prius Eco Hybrid - 56 MPG combined

Starting price for this model is $26,165. The Prius is the forerunner of hybrids and by far the most famous and popular model, which at least partially explains its higher price range.

3. 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid — 55 MPG combined

Another top five entry is from Hyundai. Pricing for this model starts at $23,950. This is basically a more feature rich version of the Hyundai Ioniq Blue, adding a bit more luxury and connectivity, while retaining most of the efficiency features.

4. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime — 54 MPG combined

This model starts at $27 100. It is a plug in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) which includes a heavier battery and on board charging system. The gas engine is DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 1.8-liter inline-4, 95 hp, 105 lb-ft. The electric motor used is permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors with an 8.8 kWh lithium ion battery pack. It should be noted that this efficiency rating, for the purposes of this list, does not take into consideration the plug in option. Using PHEV would basically turn this car into an electric car, which is not part of this list.

5. 2018 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV – 52 MPG combined

This is a similar model to Toyota Prius Prime in that it is also a plug in hybrid vehicle (PHEV). If this feature were taken into consideration, the efficiency would be even higher. This model feature a massive 8.9 kWh battery pack. The gas engine is DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 1.6-liter inline-4, 104 hp, 109 lb-ft , whereas the electric motor is permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor, 60 hp, 125 lb-ft. Starting price for this hatchback is $27,000.

 

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.

 

road-sky-clouds-cloudy.jpg

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!