7 Tips for Minimizing Auto Repairs

We rely on our vehicles to get us where we need to be. This means long hours on the road and lots of wear and tear on out vehicles – so by rights, auto repair services must be a part of our anticipated expenses. However, these vehicle repairs don’t have to a constant part of life. There are a number of proactive things we can do to keep the time spent at the mechanic’s shop to a minimum.

If you have never considered being proactive about auto maintenance, then now is the time to do so. Better yet, you don’t have to be an auto repair service specialist or have a huge garage full of tools to do these simple tasks. Rather, just some basic knowledge and tools will suffice. Let’s get started.

Tips for Minimizing Auto Repairs

1. Read the manual. Your vehicle manual will tell you things like how often to change the oil, what to watch for in how your engine is running and many other useful facts. Knowing and following them will save you a great deal of aggravation.

2. As soon as your engine light comes on, take it in for a diagnostic check. Taking care of small problems will prevent larger more costly ones.

3. Change the oil, add water, maintain the anti-freeze and keep up with any other liquids that need to be added to the car. This will keep its performance better and minimize risk of damage to other parts of the vehicle.

4. Keep your tires at the correct weight and amount of air. This information will be listed in your owner’s manual. Also, be sure to get them rotated as recommended. Failing to do any of this can result in a blowout.

5. Pay attention when you drive. Watch out for items on the road that can damage the wheels, or kick up into the workings of your vehicle.

6. Get your transmission serviced. Talk to the people who change the oil to find out how often this is recommended for your particular vehicle.

7. If you notice unusual sounds being made by your vehicle while you are driving, or if it seems to be shaking unnecessarily, take it in for a checkup. It’s always best to be told it is nothing to stress over than to ignore the sounds/shaking and find out there was serious problem or repair that could have been prevented.

When you take the time to maintain your vehicles, then you can minimize the time and money spent on auto repair services. To learn additional ways to get more out of your particular vehicle(s) talk to a local auto repair service team today.

Insider Secret To A Show Car Paint Finish

Have you tried polishing a car by hand lately? If you have, you might think your car polish is defective when the real issue is your vehicle’s paint. That’s because automotive paint finishes have become much harder in the past few years, allowing them to last longer and resist scratching and chipping like never before.

The changes in paint technology, while very beneficial, have introduced a new problem for car owners. While it was possible to maintain automobile paintwork by hand just a few years ago, today’s new paint finishes make it nearly impossible. If your vehicle’s paintwork has minor scratches, swirl marks or water spot etching, you will need a buffer polisher to correct the problem. The good news is that the number one buffing machine for both home and professional use, the Porter Cable 7424, is very effective on even the most modern paint finishes, including the latest ceramic paints used by Mercedes-Benz.

The original Porter Cable Polisher and the new 7424xp are dual-action polishers. What this means is that the polishing head rotates (free-spins on its spindle) and orbits (powered by the motor) around the center spindle. A mass counterweight mechanism on the spindle dampens vibrations. This polishing action, often referred to as “random orbital” or just “orbital,” totally prevents symmetrical buffing marks, paint burns and the other types of automotive finish damage that people associate with high-speed buffing machines. That means if you use the polisher as intended it’s virtually impossible to damage your car, even with no experience.

This type of electric polisher closely mimics the motion of circular hand polishing. Imagine being able to make 2,500 to 6,000 tight hand circles in a single minute. That should give you a pretty good idea of how this machine does its job. Basically it works just like you do, only at super-human speed. Plus, it never gets tired!

If you have previously owned a car waxing machine that made a lot of racket, but did little else to fix the damage and restore shine, you will appreciate the brilliance of one of these buffing machines. It has all of the power needed to get the job done, yet it’s small enough and light enough that it’s easy to use.

The secret to using a dual action polisher with shining results is choosing the right polish and polishing pads for the job. Basically polishing pads come in three grades: cutting, polishing and finishing. A cutting pad is coarse and used to remove damage. A polishing pad has a bit if coarseness, but not much. It’s used to remove very minor damage and restore full gloss. A finishing pad is very soft. It’s used to polish without cutting and to apply waxes and glazes.

You must use an appropriate polish with each type of pad. Like the pads themselves, polishes have different grades of cut. A compound, for example, is a cutting polish. Compounds are rated by the level of sanding scratch they can remove. A compound designed to remove 2000 to 2500 grit sanding scratches will effectively remove swirl marks and water spots, whereas a product that can remove 1200 to 1500 grit sanding marks will remove fine scratches. If you can feel a scratch with your fingernail, you should remove it with 2000 grit wet and dry sandpaper before polishing.

If you’re confused about which polish to use to remove swirl marks, fine scratches and water spots, let me recommend Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound. It’s probably the best consumer grade product available today, and it’s easy to find at your local auto parts store.

After compounding to remove damage, you might think the finish looks great, but I recommend finishing off the job with a fine polish. Most compounds, including the new Meguiar’s product, will leave just a touch of hazing in the clear coat. All it takes to remove the hazing and restore a brilliant shine is a fine paint polish. I prefer and recommend Klasse All-In-One. It’s an amazing product that will produce a final finish that blows you away.

New automotive paints may be too hard to maintain by hand, but the solution is easy. A Porter Cable 7424xp gets the job done faster that you ever could by hand, and it’s a quality machine that will last a lifetime.

Vehicle Detailing Tips

Like many automobile enthusiasts, you probably find yourself wishing you could keep that bright, showroom shine all the time. The problem is, most people do not have the spare time to spend hours each week on their vehicle, and even more people do not have or do not want to spend the money for a detailing company to do the work for them.

The fact of the matter is, there are a handful of secrets, tips, and tricks that can make detailing easier, less time consuming, and longer lasting. You really do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on those 5-hour step-by-step kits you find in stores. With the right knowledge and a few basic items, you can have a professional looking detail job for a fraction of the cost and very little time commitment.

1. The Clay Bar

Clay bars have been a long-time secret employed by almost every detail shop in existence. In fact, it has been such a well-kept secret, that commercial, consumer-level detailing clay had not even seen the shelves until around 2003. This is, for sure, going to be one of your best tools when it comes to detailing your vehicle.

The trick to a solid, long-term detail job is applying polish and wax on the cleanest possible surface. When you wash your car with soap and water, you will notice that, after drying, you can rub your hand across the seemingly clean surface and feel tiny bumps. These are minor bits of road gunk and other imperfections, and that is where clay comes in – to remove this debris.

Detailing clay is used with a spray-on lubricant (usually silicon-based) and rubbed across the surface of the vehicle. The clay will pick up all the little bits of grime that normal washing leaves behind, and also strip away any remaining wax on the vehicle.

2. Multiple Polishes

Most detailing kits come with a single hand-applicable polish. A trick that many detailing shops use is to apply polish at more than one level, in multiple coats.

You will need to select the level of polish right for you, based on the condition of your vehicle. Typical use consists of using a medium-heavy polish that cuts into the clear coat fairly aggressively, and then a second coat with a very light polish to remove even the smallest scratches and marks.

3. Electric Polisher

The biggest, most effective tip in detailing your vehicle is to use an electric polisher. This step alone will greatly reduce the amount of time and arm work required to get the job done. One coat of polish by hand will generally take an experienced detailer about one hour, whereas using an electric polisher, that same coat can be applied in 15 minutes.

Many people never look into using a polisher because of fear of damaging their cars finish. That would be a valid concern with older style rotary buffers, but in the highly technological world of today, it is no longer a concern. Random orbital polishers are very gentle on paint, and can be used by a complete novice safely.

Look into applying these three tips, and your own car detailing can be easier, faster, and can last longer.

Removing Secret Sauce and Catsup from Your Car Interior – Expert Detailing Advice

Cleaning stains from the inside of your car is no easy job. Here are a few Auto Detailing and Onsite Detailing Tips and Secrets of the Trade.

Knowing how to remove stains like Catsup, Mustard and Secret Sauce from Ultimate Cheese Burgers, Whoppers, Big Macs, Famous Stars, Double Doubles and Classic Cheese Burgers is not as simple as it might seem.

First go lose some weight by exercise and the Presidential 30 minutes a day workout. Now you are ready to jump in a car wash or detailing unit and go to hell week.

If you have ever seen the commercials for the SIX DOLLAR Burger or the Super Star where the actress dumps all kinds of stains on her blouse you know this can happen and often does.

As a detailer it is your job to clean it up, make it look new and clean it up perfect for the customer. The first thing you do is take some Folex Spot remover and a terry cloth towel and see if that works, if not use some spray and wash aerosol foam spray and wipe it. If it is leather saddle soap or Lexol works well.

If this does not work try concentrated dove or palm olive dishwashing soap and then mineral spirits and soak it up and wipe it. It may take several wipes to get rid of the concentrated dishwashing soap.

After you are sure the suds are gone put you high powered shop vac hose on the blower side and air dry it, roll down the windows and let it air dry.

Consumer Tip; Saving Money on Car Detailing

With the price of fuel these days we consumers are in a pinch and looking to save more money when it comes to our automobiles. It is important to take care of the exterior of your car and have the paint waxed. Many people like to have their car detailed as well and this is not cheap.

In the United States the average cost for a full detail if you get one and a car wash is just over $150 and so it can set you back a bit. The average cost to have your car detailed at a detail shop is $140, but the average price to have your car detailed by a mobile auto detailer at your home or office is $130.

This means on average you can save over $20 by having your car detailed at your home or office by a mobile detailer. Plus you might find it more convenient, as you do not have to sit and wait at a car wash to have your car detailed or be without your car while it is at an auto detailing shop.

This is your consumer tip saving money on car detailing. If you decide to get an express detail and at car wash you will find at the prices generally about $50 and a mobile detailer will charge you about $40 for the same service. The average price for a simple hand wax is about $40 just about anywhere and about $25-30 with a mobile car wash and detailer.

If you will shop around you may find even better deals at either the car wash or with a mobile car wash and detailing service. It pays to plan ahead, and shop the discounts and shop price. Please consider this in 2006.