When springtime rolls around, you don’t want a dusty, dirty, car. If you’re a do-it-yourself type of person, here are some tips on washing your own car.
Okay, so you know you’ll need water, but what other products should you use to wash your car? What you don’t want to use are household cleaners, dishwashing detergent, or glass cleaner. These are a little too harsh for the paint on cars. Instead, use a product that’s specifically for cars, like a wash & wax product from an auto store.
Use a sponge or lamb’s wool mitt. Why lamb’s wool? It’s soft and gentle on your car’s paint. Make sure to use a separate sponge on your tires because you don’t want to carry the grit and dirt from the tires to the paint.
When you actually get to washing your car, avoid moving the sponge or mitt in circles. Try moving it lengthwise across the hood and body. Be sure to rinse all car surfaces with water first before using soap.
Drying the Car
Be careful not to the let the car air dry. This can leave watermarks and streaks on your car. Instead, use terry towels or a chamois to try your car and blot up the water with them.
If you need extra, serious body work done to your vehicle, bring it to Capital Toyota’s service department!
Winter is finally fading away, which means there’s plenty of time to start preparing your car for spring. Waving goodbye to the cold means saying hello to warmer weather. Unfortunately, that warmer weather can cause some problems of its own. Take some time to prepare properly with these spring car care tips from us at Capital Toyota!
- Lights – Spring may bring warmer weather to the region, but it also brings heavy rains. Properly working lights are a necessity in normal driving conditions, let alone in heavy rains. Take the time to do a quick walk around your vehicle to make sure the headlights, taillights, and turn signals are all functioning properly. Replace any burnt bulbs as necessary.
- Wipers – If you’re like most drivers, odds are you found yourself using your windshield wipers frequently through the winter season. Snow, ice, and cold can do a number on wipers, which means you’re likely due for a new set. A new set is pretty inexpensive and your owner’s manual can provide installation instructions for your specific vehicle.
- Engine – Even if it wasn’t an issue in winter, your engine could have problems in warmer weather. Listen for odd sounds, rough idling, or anything else out of the ordinary. Have anything strange checked out by a professional before spring really arrives to avoid any potential problems.
If you’re having trouble starting your car, a number of issues could be at play. Different symptoms mean different things, so follow these tips on figuring out why your car won’t start and how to fix it. In any of these cases, it’s a good idea to have your vehicle inspected afterward, even if you get your car started!
If the car is silent when you turn the key, your battery cables may be corroding and need to replaced. You can check this by forcing a screwdriver between the connector and terminal post and lodge it in, then try to start the car. If it starts, the cables are bad.
If you can hear the car crank but it won’t start, you may have bad spark plugs or a problem with your fuel line. A clicking noise when you turn the key means a dead battery or loose wiring, so if you have jumper cables and a friend whose car you can use, try to jump it.
When you go to jump a car, you have to follow specific steps to avoid messing up both batteries. Get the cars close enough together, nose to nose, for the cables to reach, and attach the cables like so: Clip the red cable to your positive terminal. Clip the other end of the red cable to other car’s positive terminal. Clip the black cable to other car’s negative terminal. Clip the other end of black cable to a metal spot on your car away from the battery.
Try to start the car. Once it’s started, detach the cables in reverse order and drive the car around a bit to recharge the battery.
Don’t forget to come into the dealership to get it inspected for any additional issues!
Summer has come and gone, and the blazing heat will soon be replaced by the bone-aching cold. Like in summer, winter requires some preparation in order to keep your car in working order and prevent an accident. Here are a few ways you can get your car ready for winter from us here at Capital Toyota!
- Tires – The winter roads are known for being slick and dangerous. Tires with low tread simply won’t be able to deliver the maximum traction and safety. Check your tires and if there’s little tread left, replace them before winter strikes. Doing so could save more than just your car.
- Battery – Your car’s battery has to work hard year-round, making it one of the most vital components of your vehicle. That’s why it’s important to make sure it can hold a charge. Since a car requires more current to start in winter, an old or weak battery simply won’t do. Check your battery and replace it if it’s a few years old or has any obvious signs of damage.
- Oil – The oil is responsible for protecting the engine and that’s just as true in winter as it is in summer. For the most part, getting an oil change in winter is a sensible precaution in modern cars. Older cars, however, might need different oils in summer and in winter due to different requirements in oil viscosity.
Going through the car wash is definitely the least time-consuming way to get your car clean (not to mention it’s totally fun), but the best way to take care of its body and paint job is to hand-wash your car. Here are some tips on the best ways to clean your car without damaging the paint!
How Often Should You Wash Your Car?
First of all, ideally you should wash your car about once a week. This isn’t realistic for everyone, but even if you live in an apartment without access to a hose, you can fill up a couple of buckets of water and take them out to your car. Try to wash your car once a week regardless, but if you get bird droppings, tree sap, or dead bugs on your car, wash them off as soon as possible.
Which Products Should You Use on Your Car?
When choosing what products to use, pick a product that’s designed for car washing, not a household cleaner. Have a couple of sponges and use one to clean the wheels and tires, then others to clean the rest of the car.
How Should I Wash My Car?
Rinse your car with water before you start washing with soap. Avoid washing your car when it’s hot, as it will make the soap dry out faster, which can be bad for your paint job. When washing with the sponge, don’t rub it in circles but instead move it in straight lines. Rinse the sponge often!
How Should I Dry My Car After Washing?
Don’t let your car air dry. Dry with soft terrycloth towels and blot at the water instead of wiping.
Every year, we tend to make the same New Year’s resolutions: lose weight, read more, etc. So this year, why not switch it up – and do something nice for your car?
Here are a few New Year’s resolutions for your car to inspire:
- Purchase a quality tire pressure gauge, memorize the ideal tire pressure for your tires, and regularly inspect your tires/inflate them as necessary.
- Keep your car clean this year – both inside and out – by keeping a written “car cleaning” log in the glove compartment.
- This year, don’t idle your car when the weather is cold to “warm it up.” This wastes gasoline, damages your vehicle, and isn’t necessary.
- Get all of your oil changes on time, and keep a sharp eye on other fluids, such as coolant and antifreeze, as well.
- Lastly – be safe, and stop texting and driving once and for all.
What’s your New Year’s resolution? Let us know in the comments, and visit us anytime at Capital Toyota to check out our enormous selection of winter-weather-ready Toyota models!
If you’re leaving on a trip to see your family or enjoy warmer climates, you aren’t the only one—December is, after all, a month of holiday travels.
Unfortunately, it’s also a month of hazardous driving conditions. Before you head out on a trip, it helps to be prepared. Here are a few safe driving tips for the holidays!
- Make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape. You don’t want to drive over snow and slush in a car that isn’t in pristine condition. Get it checked out today at Capital Toyota!
- Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads. If you intend to go somewhere specifically on Christmas Eve or New Year’s, you should consider leaving early.
- Stay fresh and alert. Long trips are exhausting. Let someone else drive when you get tired, or pull over at a rest stop if no one can.
- Use a designated driver. Even the most conservative of us find themselves drinking during the holidays, and unless you plan to stay the night, not having a designated driver is a recipe for disaster when it’s time to head home.
From all of us here at Capital Toyota, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season!
For many, Halloween is what makes October such a wonderful month. Friends and families can carve jack-o’-lanterns, go on hay rides, and even visit a corn maze or haunted house. For children, it all culminates in trick-or-treating near the end of the month. While it is important to stress safety tips with your children if they are trick-or-treating, it is also important to practice some safety tips of your own if you will be out driving.
Check out these five Halloween safety tips for drivers, courtesy of Capital Toyota:
- Research trick-or-treat times in your city. Make sure you know when and where children will be out in any neighborhoods you will be visiting so that you know when to be extra cautious.
- Turn your lights on. Even if it’s still light out, it will make you more visible to children. It will also help you catch the safety reflectors that many parents attach to their children’s costumes.
- Drive slowly. Neighborhood speeds are usually posted at 25 mph. Slow down to 20 or even 15 during trick-or-treat times. Remember—kids might not follow all pedestrian rules, like crossing at crosswalks only.
- Put away your phone. Whether you are making a phone call, playing music, or trying to text, put that phone down. These are things that offer dangerous distractions at all times, but be especially cautious of things that cause distractions (phone, radio, food) during trick-or-treat times.
- Be aware of danger zones. Drive slowly around parked cars, as children might dart out from behind them. Also be extra careful at intersections, where children may cross out of turn. Always signal your intentions to drivers and pedestrians, and keep your eyes alert all night.
Halloween is a fun night for all—just make sure you are being safe however you celebrate!
It’s important to keep your car clean—both inside and out. Here are some car cleaning tips to ensure that both the interior and exterior of your vehicle stay looking good.
1. Clean the inside window surfaces to prevent surface smog formation.
2. If you have cloth or vinyl car seats, vacuum and shampoo them (and the carpet). For leather seating, use a cleaner and preservative.
3. Dust (or purchase auto care wipes for) the dashboard, console, and interior door panels.
4. For the exterior, buy a quality concentrated car wash and follow the instructions, being sure to use a sponge or mitt rather than rags, which can scratch your car.
5. If you wax your car, don’t do it when its still hot from running or sitting in direct sunlight—the heat will make the wax hard to remove and leave a streaky finish.
Follow these tips, and you can keep your car looking like new! For more car cleaning tips, contact us today at Capital Toyota and we’d be glad to help.
Spring is finally here, and though it may seem that the upcoming months are some of the safest of the year, especially compared to this year’s harsh winter, it’s important to remember that spring has its own challenges.
And although we’ve shared a few of our top tips last month, we thought we’d share a few more spring car maintenance tips in honor of National Car Care Month:
- Schedule an overall check-up to make sure that nothing was damaged by harsh weather and that all fluid levels are as they should be.
- Check the tire pressure, an important task that should be completed frequently; always consult the vehicle owner’s manual for details.
- Evaluate the suspension and wheel alignment, as winter weather frequently causes imbalances and uneven wear on tires.
- Lastly, give your car a good clean – inside and out – in honor of spring cleaning. Who knows what has accumulated under those seats.
Do you have any spring maintenance tips we have forgotten about? Let us know in the comments, and have a safe spring from all of us at Capital Toyota Scion!