Spring Cleaning For Your Car.

Spring has sprung, and we are all starting our coming out of hibernation projects. For many, spring cleaning is a household chore but it is important not to forget about our vehicles.  Here is a short spring cleaning list for your car to help keep it going all through the summer.

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Check the air filter and fluids under the hood. 

It is recommended to replace (or clean and oil if it is a reusable kind) every 12 months or 12,000 miles.  The air filter is responsible for keeping contaminants out of your engine.  A dirty air filter will hurt the fuel efficiency and can lead to running issues.  Most air filters are easily accessible and right up front under the hood.  Be sure to pull the dipsticks on the oil and transmission/trans-axle and check fluid levels, too.  Brake and power steering reservoirs usually have min max lines and only need a quick peek.  Make sure the radiator has coolant (only when it is cold) and top off the overflow tank as needed.

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Tire rotation and care.

A tire rotation not only extends the longevity of your tires, but it is the perfect time to take a peek at the brakes. While the wheel is off, it is easy to spot uneven wear in the tire treads or see a nail or other puncture causing objects.  Setting and maintaining tire pressure is a great compliment to a rotation for tire care.

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Wipers and fluid.

Winter can take a toll on a vehicle, and wipers are no exception.  After a winter of clearing snow and ice off the windshield as well as keeping salt spray from obstructing your vision, wiper blades are subjected to a lot of ware and tear.  Inspect the blades for signs of drying or separation.  Add wiper fluid to the reservoir as well.

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Exterior lighting and headlights.

Being long summer days are still a little time away, now is the perfect time to check the exterior lighting on your vehicle. Filament and halogen bulbs are still used in many places on a car.  Even as LED and other long life bulbs are taking over, inspect the operation and housing of the bulb. Water intrusion and physical defects or damage to the protective lens are no match for even the newest of technologies in headlamps and taillights.

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Check the climate control.

With winter wearing off, we are going to be using the air conditioning much more. The hottest of hot days is not the right time to have an issue with the climate control.  Weak air conditioning is usually fixed by adding refrigerant to the cooling system.  Be sure to only use refrigerant if you do it yourself.  “Recharge kits” that contain sealants do more harm than good.

 

The owners manual and most manufacturers websites will have information specific to your vehicle. It is a good idea to review the service schedule periodically and make sure you are up to date on maintenance. A good once through the interior and a nice wash and wax on the exterior wraps up spring cleaning care for your vehicle.

Gullwing Barn Find Headed Back To Germany

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A 1954 300 SL Gullwing Coupe with 35,408 miles is going back to Stuttgart, Germany.  This vehicle was sold back to Mercedes-Benz after sitting in storage for the last six decades or more. This particular one was sanded and primed with intention of being restored.  All the chrome parts were inside the vehicle.03081912

From 1954 to 1963, only 1,400 were made.  As production number 43, this one was originally medium blue metallic.  At this time, it is unclear whether or not Mercedes-Benz plans on restoring it or preserving it. In restored condition, the Gullwing can sell for $1.25-$1.5 million.

Shopping for a Used Vehicle Online: Tip #1

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Shopping for a vehicle online nowadays is difficult.

There is so much information out there on the internet and much of it is misleading or just flat out incorrect.

Some dealers purposely mis-advertise the options on their vehicles, they mis-quote the sales price and most dealers are now adding in all kinds of extra dealer fees and hide them until it’s time for your final paperwork.

We’ve written many articles in the past about these hidden fees and the steps you can take to try to avoid paying them (you can refer to our blog for some of those tips).

For today’s blog, let’s focus on the basics of shopping for a car online:

Comparing Apples to Apples:

After you’ve decided on the make and model of vehicle that you’d like to own and you’ve found a few examples that are currently available for sale online, this is how to move the process forward and begin the decision process:

  1. Run both the Carfax and the Autocheck reports. These reports are different and both very helpful in eliminating bad cars quickly so you can narrow your list. Don’t cheap out on this part and just hope for the best or hope for the dealer to do it all for you. Most dealers do not use both reports. If you really want to buy a nice car and the history is important to you, buy your own subscription to Carfax and Autocheck and do your homework.
  2. Check the options carefully. We sell mainly premium brands of cars here at eimports4Less and we regularly see the same year, make and model of cars that have a window sticker as much as $20,000 different when new. Always compare the exact options so you know what cars to focus on. The more features the better; not only will you enjoy the car more while you own it and drive it,  but selling it will be much easier when you’re ready to move onto the next car.
  3. Call the dealer to check availability once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few candidates. Google catalogs old ads for years and you could be looking at a car online that looks like it’s currently for sale…but it was sold year ago. Call to be sure.

This “Car Buying Tips” topic will be a regular series here on our blog so check back in the near future to read about the next steps in your online car buying journey.

Some future topics that we’ll tackle include car dealer fees, checking out vehicles in person, doing the proper research on the dealership itself, vehicle transportation and more.

 

 

Lego Releases New Ford Mustang Kit

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This iteration the the famed pony car comes in at just under 1,500 pieces and features a slick dark blue paint scheme contrasted by white stripes.  Features include operable hood, doors, and trunk in addition to a functioning steering wheel.0308193 Some included options are exhaust, supercharged blown motor, front and rear spoilers and adjustable rear suspension.0308195

This model is available at local Lego dealerships , as well as factory direct from shop.lego.com and has a sticker price around $150

What Is The Best Way To Protect Your Car’s Paint?

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Ever wonder how to keep your car looking showroom new? The weather finally warmed up and it’s time to rinse off the winter, but how do we keep it looking great?  A quick clean will do wonders for appearance, but to maintain that look we have to go further than just a wash.  Appearances account for about 30% of a car’s value. Protecting the paint is a big part of it, and there are a few options.

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Applying wax has been the standard for many years.  The process, albeit time consuming, is relatively simply.  Once finished, waxes leave a high gloss finish. Water will bead off quickly after rain.  However there are a few down sides to wax.  The finish wears off quickly, lasting one to three months before needing another application.  Wax offers little, if any physical protection to the paint.

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Ceramic or nano coatings have similar results to waxes, but the longevity of the finish lasts years.  These coatings work by bonding with the clearcoat and preventing environmental contaminants from reaching the paint.  These coatings have a small amount of scratch protection, but will not prevent rock chips. Ceramic coatings are growing on the scene and DIY kits are on the market.

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Paint protection films were originally developed for use with the military.  These films offer superior resistance to scratches and rock chips but are not infallible.  Generally, the TPU that the films are constructed of offer some “self healing” properties but major damage to the film will need to be replaced.  Films are available in various thicknesses of the material. Installation options include full hood or half hood applications, as well as bumper, fender, and mirror caps.

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Before any of this is possible, a real good exterior cleaning is necessary.  We have seen a growing trend of ceramic coating paired with paint protection films being used as an investment in the long term appearance of a vehicle.

How To Care For Your Convertible Top

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Properly caring for and maintaining your soft top will help the longevity of driving with the top down.  At the beginning and end of the season, a thorough cleaning and inspection of the fabric and frame is in order.  Checking on the operation of the hinges and joints as well as making sure the seals make tight contact are the main goals.  Now is the perfect time to treat the soft top, being sure to match the recommendations for the material its made of.  Fabric tops will appear to soak up a little bit of water, where as vinyl tops will bead the water on its surface.  Household cleaners, bleach, and ammonia are too harsh for the top, many “car wash” detergents contain gloss enhancers and waxes that are not meant for a ragtop.  A specific cleaner for convertible tops will help safeguard the fabric from the elements while preventing premature wear and excessive drying of the material.   Be sure to look over the owner’s manual for operation specifics.  The last thing you want to do is rush through the process and do something that could compromise the integrity of the top.  A manual folding soft top with a clear plastic or vinyl “rear window” is easily susceptible to damage from being creased.

Vehicle Dependability Reaches New Highs

12397     According to J.D. Power, the quality of 3 year old vehicles have increased 4% from last year. Overall vehicle dependability continues to improve.  The most problematic areas have been voice recognition, transmission shifting, and battery failure.  Strong dependability scores contribute to higher residual values.  AAA says a majority of calls for roadside assistance come from vehicles older that 10 years.  Common problems are battery, engine cooling, and tire related.  With the U.S. average car aged at 12 years old, the chances of a brake down are twice as likely in vehicles over 10 years old compared to newer vehicles.  While maintenance will help your vehicle prolong its lifespan, new cars are simply being made better.  The BMW 5 series and BMW X3 are leaders in their segments, while German brands as a whole are all above industry standard.02261914