Spring Driving Tips

While spring is a beautiful time of year with flowers and trees in bloom, it comes with a few dangers as well. Here are some spring driving tips to help you along the way.

  • Potholes. Every spring, the potholes of winter make their appearance. The bigger they are, they worse they can affect your car. Drive around potholes, if possible, so you don’t knock your car out of alignment.
  • Tires. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Fully inflated tires can help decrease damage caused by potholes.
  • Puddles. Spring is one of the wettest times of the year due to the rain. This leads to slick road conditions. When the roads are wet, leave more following distance between you and the car ahead of you. In addition, try to avoid driving through large puddles. They could be hiding large potholes and the water could cause you to hydroplane or hamper your braking power.
  • Pedestrians. Warmer temperatures will bring more people out on the road. Be on the lookout for pedestrians as well as motorcyclists and bicyclists.
  • Animals. Along with people, animals become more active in the spring. Watch for animals crossing the roads. Be especially alert at dawn and dusk.

Here at Mama’s Used Cars, we want everyone to travel safely this spring.

Spring driving, wet tire

Tips for Handling Driving Emergencies

driving emergencies

Do you ever look at traffic and think how miraculous it is that the situation is as consistently predictable as it is? The truth is that for the most part, everyone knows what is at stake. And for the most, people practice the golden rule on the road. Yet despite our best efforts, driving emergencies do happen.

# 1 – Tire Blowout

This emergency occurs most often when a tire is underinflated on the highway and the temperature is hot. According to Edmunds.com, “The repeated flexing of an underinflated tire causes the failure.”

The first thing to do is not brake, and then try to get off of the road as quickly as possible. Maintain as much of a straight line as possible while allowing the vehicle to coast toward the side of the road.

# 2 – Going Off the Road

The problem comes about when there is little shoulder and particularly when your left tires are on the pavement, the left tires are off, and the pavement is slightly elevated.

Here’s the plan: “release the accelerator, keep the steering wheel straight, allow the vehicle to slow on its own and smoothly steer back on the road.”

# 3 – Sudden stops

To help you prepare for the time you may need to stop suddenly, you should know more about ABS.

Anti-lock brakes are required by law and have been since 2012. And yet they only work when you use them properly. When a vehicle skids, steering is unavailable. ABS pumps the brakes so you don’t have to, allowing you to also steer as you brake. Here’s another thing: you need to stomp on the brakes to engage the ABS.

The best way to plan for an emergency is to expect them. Then you will never be surprised.

Spring Maintenance Tips

Winter and early spring months can be tough on a vehicle.  It is important to properly inspect the car to make sure all components are working properly.  This will help prepare the vehicle for the warm summer months ahead.

1. Check Brakes

Brakes are one of the most used (and often abused) components. A thin layer of the brake pad disintegrates every time the brakes are applied. It’s vital to replace pads or shoes before drums or rotors become damaged. Check pads, shoes, drums, rotors, calipers, fittings, brake hardware and parking brake to prevent problems.

2. Check Tires

A smooth and safe ride starts when the rubber meets the road. Check air pressure on all tires, including the spare, as improper tire pressure leads to premature wear and a decrease in fuel mileage. The entire surface of the tire, both tread and sidewall, should be inspected for uneven or irregular wear. Excessive edge wear, center wear and shoulder wear may be signs that other maintenance is required.

3. Check Wiper Blades

Be prepared for spring showers and summer storms. Properly functioning wiper blades increase visibility in all conditions.

4. Check Headlamps, Tail lamps, Turn signals and Hazard Lights

Properly functioning headlamps and tail lamps play an important role in safe driving, especially at nighttime, or in rainy or foggy conditions. Inspect and test all exterior lamps and lights, including turn signals and hazard lights to ensure they are in proper working order and alignment.

5. Check Air Filter

The air filter is one of the unsung heroes of a vehicle, as it protects the engine from airborne contaminants. Poor air flow within the engine hinders performance and can lead to greater fuel consumption. Replacing a dirty air filter allows clean, unrestricted air flow into the engine and helps ensure proper performance and longer life.

6. Check Oil

Oil is the lifeblood of the engine. Engine oil level should be checked often, with the oil being changed and replenished regularly. Low or dirty oil may have dire consequences on how the engine and its components perform, especially under the extreme heat and conditions of summer driving.

7. Check All Fluid Levels

With the increase in miles driven during warm-weather months, vehicle fluids and lubricants should be checked often and changed at factory-recommended intervals to make sure they’re fresh and filled. Dirty fluids and low fluids may affect the performance of a vehicle and can lead to breakdowns if not properly monitored and filled.

8. Check Engine Belts, Hoses and Fuel Filter

Belts and hoses under the hood play an important part in the proper function and performance of the engine. Prevent breakdowns or serious engine damage by replacing belts and hoses at recommended intervals. Checking and replacing the fuel filter is also key to ensuring that the engine is running at its optimal level and maximizes fuel economy.

9. Check Battery

Following a winter full of cold-morning starts, definitely check the battery. Having reserve power to run the air conditioning and other vehicle accessories in the summer is priceless. When checking the battery, be sure to look for corroded terminals, and inspect for a bulging or cracked case.

10. Check Shocks & Struts

Following the traditional cold-weather pothole season, shocks and struts should be checked. Shocks and struts are vital to a smooth ride and may also affect a number of related parts on your vehicle.

Car Maintenance Tips

Depending on the age and durability of the vehicle, used cars need a certain level of maintenance in order to receive the highest efficiency from it.  Here are several car maintenance tips that will keep your used car running up to par.

Wheels and tires

  • Rotate tires every 5,000 miles
  • Clean brake dust off regularly with a damp sponge and cold water
  • Check tire pressure frequently to optimize fuel economy, handling and comfort
  • Check tread depth and replace bald tires to prevent possible accidents

Engine

  • Check the belts
    • Get timing belt and accessory drive belt checked every 25,000 miles
    • Preferably replacing it every 50,000 miles
  • Check oil level
    • Engine problems can arise if oil level is too high or to low
    • Pull out dipstick and wipe it clean
    • Enter it back into the tube, pull it back out and compare the line of oil to the high and low markings on the dipstick
  • Check Coolant level
    • Check level relative to the low and high markings on the reservoir.
    • Reservoir is usually a white/transparent bottle on one side of the engine or check the manual if applicable

Fuel

  • Try and fuel the car with the recommended fuel.  If regular is recommended, then use regular.  If premium is recommended for the car, it may be more expensive to fill up, but may save the vehicle problems in the long run

Lights

  • Do not touch glass when changing headlight bulbs.  Traces of oil and dust may get on glass.  When in use, the glass gets hotter than the rest of the bulb.  The traces may cause the bulb to crack