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What To Do If Your Car Overheats

vanFew things can equal the dread you feel when you are sitting at a stoplight and you notice that your car is beginning to overheat. You glance back and forth from the light to the temperature gauge just waiting for the chance to get rolling so that the breeze can drop the temperature or at least keep it from rising. You probably know the consequences of an overheated engine. It could stop running while you are in a traffic jam, or it might catch on fire. Sometimes, the radiator cap blows off from the pressure. If you hear a loud pop and then notice steam coming out from under the hood, you need to stop at a Houston auto glass repair shop or any other safe spot immediately to let the vehicle cool down.

If you find that your car tends to overheat, you need to have the problem corrected. A Houston mobile auto glass repair service should have a list of mechanics who can help you. Occasionally, the force of a radiator cap explosion can damage your windshield. In that case, you can have a Houston mobile windshield repair company replace your windshield and get a mechanic to fill your coolant and check for other problems that may be causing the chronic overheating.

Possible Causes for Overheating

Your vehicle can overheat for several reasons.

  • The cooling fan has stopped working. That can be caused by frayed wiring to the fan or a burned-out blower motor. The radiator switch could be bad, which keeps the fan from turning on when it should. Your mechanic can discern the cause quickly in either case.
  • You might have a leak in the radiator or the reservoir. Usually, you will get a warning light on the instrument panel if that is the case. If you notice that the coolant is low, add some. You should always carry coolant just to be safe.
  • The thermostat is not opening. Once the temperature of your vehicle reaches a certain point, the thermostat opens to allow more coolant to flow.
  • The fan belt has broken, which causes your car to overheat rapidly. A quick look under the hood will tell you if that is the problem.
  • The radiator is clogged, and coolant cannot circulate. Flushing the radiator will solve that.

What You Should Do If Your Car Overheats

If you notice the temperature gauge going up, take action immediately.

  • First of all, turn off the air conditioner if it is running. This reduces the load on the engine and can buy you some extra time to get to a safe location or a mechanic.
  • Turn on the heater. This may seem counterintuitive, but your heater draws heat from the engine. Turning it on could lower the temperature enough to get you out of harm’s way.
  • Pull over, and turn off the engine. To be safe, wait at least half an hour for the engine to cool down before you open the hood.
  • If you have coolant in the car, add it after the engine has cooled. Never add cold water to a hot engine. That could cause the engine block to crack.

If you notice steam or smoke coming from beneath the hood, pull over, and get out of the car. A fire may be starting, so do not open the hood and give it air. If you see flames, call 911.

Never drive your car if the gauge is all the way in the red. The engine might freeze up, which is catastrophic.

Whatever you do, stay calm and follow these tips, and you will get through this emergency with as little bother and expense as possible.

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Maintaining and Restoring Exterior Vinyl Auto Trim

carsVinyl trim improves a vehicle’s appearance, but it can turn a showpiece into a beater if it is not properly maintained. What good is beautiful, glossy paint on a car that is framed in dull, dingy molding? When it comes to trim deterioration, weather is a car’s main enemy. Talk to any Houston mobile windshield repair specialist and you will learn that the Texas sun and heat are merciless on cars. Fortunately, there are simple ways to keep your vinyl auto trim looking awesome.

Washing the Molding and Trim

Road dust, dirt, car polish and wax products will work into the pores of textured vinyl trim. To scrub away the grime, use some mineral spirits, vinegar or vinyl cleaner along with a small detailing brush or wheel brush. Only use soft-bristled brushes on smooth vinyl to prevent scratches. You can also rub out the contaminants with a microfiber cloth. If wax or polish has made the vinyl chalky, you will need to use a solvent to dissolve the buildup.

Undressing the Surface

Protective vinyl dressing products enhance the appearance of vinyl trim and molding, but they should be cleaned off between applications. Layering the dressing discolors the surface. This is because the additional layers only rest on each other instead of on the plastic. It is better to wash off the dressings every couple of months. Using an exterior trim cleanser and a microfiber pad or towel, wipe the trim until the sheen returns. The cleaner’s effects should last for at least two months.

Protecting the Freshly Cleaned Trim

Adding a protective barrier will prevent vinyl deterioration. You can do so with a special vinyl protectant. UV rays are often the cause of damage, so most Houston auto glass repair technicians will suggest choosing a product that offers UV protection. Look for one that darkens the trim but also creates a natural look. Once a month, evenly spread a coat of protectant across every vinyl surface, including door and window molding, mirror trim and the area at the bottom of your windshield.

Restoring the Luster with Dye

If the molding on your vehicle has already lost some color, you have a couple options for restoring it back to new. One of the easiest ways to create a fresh finish on textured pieces is to use a polymer-based black dye. You will see long-term benefits if you apply it correctly. After testing an inconspicuous spot, evenly spread a thin coat over the vinyl. If you need to apply several coats, allow the dye to dry between applications. Some dyes are formulated to protect the vinyl surface as well, so keep that in mind when making a purchase.

Restoring with Protective Coatings

Certain surfaces just do not play nicely with dye, and many car owners cringe at the thought of permanently coloring their trim. In these cases, you can use a clear coating to restore your vinyl pieces. Thicker formulas will penetrate better and provide a more resilient barrier. Opt for a product that lasts for a few months if you are not a fan of upkeep. Many restorative coatings can be used on textured and smooth exterior plastic.

Once your automobile trim is exposed to heat, sunlight, humidity and pollutants, it can not only lose its rich, dark tone, it can become faded and fragile. Most Houston windshield replacement experts will probably agree that it is essential to preserve the function and durability of exterior trim by regularly cleaning and protecting it. If you maintain the vinyl surfaces on your vehicle and restore any dull finishes, you can prevent future damage while adding long-lasting value.

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Interior Maintenance: Five Keys to a Cleaner Car

windshieldsKeeping the interior of your vehicle neat and clean can provide a more comfortable environment for passengers and increased value at the time of resale. Professional Houston windshield replacement companies can repair cracks and gaps in auto glass that can allow dust and debris to enter your car, truck or SUV. This can significantly reduce the time needed to keep your car’s interior in optimal condition and can improve safety for you and your passengers on the open road. Automotive experts recommend a few basic techniques to ensure that your car stays clean and fresh for mile after mile. These methods can require a good deal of elbow grease, but the like-new results are well worth the effort for most vehicles. Here are five tips for maintaining your car’s interior properly.

Maintain Constant Vigilance

Ensuring that every piece of trash is removed from your car on a regular basis can help to prevent the accumulation of debris and the consequent major cleanup job associated with that buildup. Keeping a bag specifically designated for trash and replacing it often can also prevent the telltale signs of food consumption from damaging leather, vinyl or cloth upholstery and can ensure that your car stays cleaner at all times.

Choose the Right Solutions

Professional detailers maintain a basic kit of products designed to clean and polish every part of your vehicle. For Houston windshields, a commercially available glass cleaning solution can provide streak-free results when combined with a soft, lint-free cloth. Specially formulated cleaners can safely remove stains and dust without damaging fragile leather or fading the dyes used to create the unique colors of your car’s upholstery. For vinyl dashboards and other hard surfaces, select a cleansing product that also includes conditioners to help prevent cracks and other damage to these essential elements of your vehicle’s interior.

Select the Right Tools for the Job

You will need a variety of cleaning tools to produce the best results, including some or all of the following:

  • Soft, durable cloths to clean windshields, dashboards and certain types of upholstery
  • A toothbrush or other small brush to clean crevices and hard to reach spots on doors and on the dashboard
  • Larger brushes to remove stains from cloth upholstery, floors and floor mats
  • A vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from flooring and seating areas
  • Specialty brushes designed specifically to dislodge dirt from floor mats and plush upholstery without damaging delicate fibers

Combined with the right cleaning solutions, these tools can help you remove most stains and create a more pleasant interior environment for yourself and your passengers.

Do Not Neglect the Trunk

Taking time to organize the tools and items kept in your trunk, truck bed or behind the back seat can save time during an unexpected breakdown and can reduce wear and tear on flooring in these areas. Plastic bins, netting and tool boxes can provide easy storage options while reducing the potential for stains and damage to carpeting and other surfaces inside your car, truck, van or SUV.

Be Proactive

Preventing stains and spills before they occur is often the best way to maintain the value and beauty of your vehicle. Investing in sippy cups with lids for toddlers and a durable coffee mug for yourself can significantly reduce the likelihood of a serious spill. Instituting a policy that all items brought out to the car must return to your home at the end of the day can also limit clutter and avoid the trauma of melted crayons and damaged upholstery for you and your children.

Companies that offer Houston mobile windshield repair can often provide accurate advice on the best ways to detail your car and to maintain its resale value. By consulting with these experts at the first sign of a crack or chip in your windshield, you can also obtain professional guidance on caring for your car’s interior and enjoying greater comfort on Texas streets and highways.

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Where the Rubber Meets the Road

carsThe tires on your car can be easy to overlook. They are the only part of your vehicle that comes in direct contact with the road. As a result, they generally take a lot more wear and tear than any other part of your car. Tires affect almost every aspect of your vehicle. Vehicle handling, braking, ride, safety and more are all affected by the condition of those four hunks of rubber. From unblemished Houston windshields that provide good visibility, to safe tires, it is important that you inspect your tires so you will stay safe when the rubber meets the road.

Monthly tire inspections are recommended as an important step toward protecting your automotive investment and your personal safety on the road. To ensure optimum performance, the tires on your vehicle should have proper air pressure, balance, wheel alignment and tread depth. While monthly inspections are recommended, Houston mobile windshield repair experts suggest those who drive in cold climates or areas with a lot of rough terrain, debris or potholes should perform a tire inspection more often. Individuals who regularly drive long distances should also check their tires more often. You should always inspect the tires on your vehicle before leaving on a long trip.

What to Look For

Under inflation – Tires that are under inflated create undo wear on the edges of the tire treads because the outer edges will endure the most contact with the road.

Over inflation – Tires with too much air pressure cause the middle of the treads to endure the most contact with the road, thus wearing down the center of the treads at a faster rate.

Partially raised tread – A tire that has a partially raised tread or sidewall may mean that a belt in the tire carcass has become separated.

Cupping – Cupping, or erratic wear on the treads, could be an indication that the suspension components or shock absorbers need changing. It could also mean the wheels are not aligned properly.

Vibration – While driving, you should also look for a thumping or vibration that could indicate one or more tires that are out of balance.

Pulling – Another thing to keep an eye out for while driving is a pull of the vehicle to one side. This may mean you have a damaged or under inflated tire. Improper wheel alignment or a problem with the brakes may also cause your car to pull to one side.

The Quarter and Penny Tests

While a tread depth gauge obtained from a parts store will provide you with the most accurate measurements, Houston windshield replacement professionals want their customers to be aware of other methods to check tread depth measurements in the event that a gauge in unavailable.

The quarter and penny test methods are simple ways to test your tire tread depth in a fix. Maybe you have lost your gauge or you simply cannot get to it at the moment. No problem. Grab a penny or quarter and simply insert it into one of the grooves on the tire tread. Make sure the top of Lincoln’s head is facing downward. If using a quarter, check Mr. Washington’s head. If the top of his head is not visible, your tires have good tread depth. However, if you see above the top of his head, you should start looking for replacements. The penny test is done the same way. If you see above Mr. Lincoln’s head, however, your tire tread is under the legal limit and should be replaced immediately.

In addition to regular tread inspections, you should also check tire pressure at least once a month with a gauge. Proper maintenance is also important to prevent undo wear and tear on your vehicle and tires. Tire maintenance procedures include tire rotation, balancing and wheel alignment. A few minutes each month is all it takes to help ensure the safety of your family when the rubber meets the road.

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Are Auto Security Systems Worth The Price?

bmwAfter your house, your most expensive purchase is usually your vehicle. Some people need a vehicle for daily transportation to work, so they choose a modest, reliable car. Some folks use their vehicle for their job, like a landscaper employs a pickup truck to carry equipment. Weekend warriors enjoy towing their boats or piling their bicycles onto their SUVs and hitting the state parks. Others collect fancy, expensive cars because they simply love to drive them. No matter how you use your vehicle, it can be stolen. Frequently, a window is broken to gain entry. That is when you will require the services of a Houston auto glass repair company.

The good news is that car thefts have been declining over the last few years in the United States. In 2009, fewer than 1 million cars were taken, which is the lowest number in 20 years. That is probably because car security devices have become more sophisticated. Organized gangs are responsible for many of the thefts that do occur, but teenagers who want to joyride are also frequent car thieves. Quite often, they will wreck the vehicles they steal. Luckily, your insurance company will pay for a Houston mobile windshield repair service to replace the windshield if it gets broken.

Many automobile manufacturers offer anti-theft devices. You can also buy theft protection from after-market companies. Some of these gadgets are meant to deter theft, and some effect the recovery of your vehicle if it is stolen. Here is a list of some of the available technologies that can protect your car.

• OnStar is perhaps the best known of the anti-theft devices, but it does more than just track your vehicle via GPS after it has been taken. The OnStar software notifies operators if your vehicle has been involved in an accident, and they are standing by to help you out immediately. You may need a Houston windshield replacement, but you will not be stranded in a wrecked car for long. The operators can also block your car’s ignition or slow it down during a high-speed chase if it is stolen.

• Another anti-theft system is LoJack, which uses radio tracking to locate your vehicle if it gets stolen. A transceiver is hidden inside your car. It can be tracked by tuning into the correct radio frequency. LoJack’s advantage is that it does not require a line-of-sight to zero in on your car like GPS-based systems. LoJack is so effective that it has a 24-hour recovery guarantee.

• BMW Assist is similar to OnStar. A remote operator can help you if you have an accident, or it can open your door if you get locked out of your vehicle. It also provides GPS-based recovery in the event of a theft.

• CarShield uses a small adapter to retrofit older vehicles with technology that is similar to OnStar. The adapter is plugged into the diagnostics port of vehicles made after 1996. CarShield can also monitor your car’s battery level, heat, oil pressure or any tampering with the vehicle. If your car is stolen, you can be notified of its whereabouts by email.

• Commando FM-870 is a theft-protection device masquerading as a key fob. It can lock/unlock your car, start it remotely or detect impacts. It will alert you to forced entry or start-up. You can also use it to remotely trigger an alarm in the vehicle.

• The Cobra 8510 immobilizes certain components of your engine so that car thieves cannot start it. It comes with a pair of keys that you use to disable the system. Without one of those keys, potential thieves cannot hot-wire an ignition to make an easy theft.

The peace of mind these security devices provide is more than worth their cost. Of course, the best prevention is to keep your car locked and secure valuable items so they cannot be seen.

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How To Tell If Your Care Tires Need To Be Replaced

suvPeople searching for Houston auto glass repair should also examine their tires periodically to see if they need new ones. In the same way a person needs good shoes for walking, a car needs good tires to drive smoothly and stop safely. As tires age and drivers put more miles on them, the tread wears down. Nails and sharp objects may make small puncture holes that slowly leak air. If a tire fails while a person is driving, the results may be as minor as realizing a flat and pulling to the side of the road or having the tire fall apart and cause the car to veer off the road. To avoid becoming stranded or causing a serious accident on the road, it is important to know when a car needs new tires and how to determine this.

1. Measure the tread depth. When people refer to bald tires, this means that the tread has worn down enough to make the tires look almost smooth. Bald tires are dangerous to drive on. Monitor the tread to ensure it does not fall below a safe depth. It should never be less than 1/16 of an inch. This is equal to 1.6 millimeters. Keep the depth at twice that amount for optimal performance when driving frequently on wet roads.

2. Look for sidewall cracks. Some of the most dangerous tire problems actually come from cracks in the sidewall and not in the tread. These are usually easy to see by carefully inspecting the tire’s sidewalls. Look for visible grooves and cracks. They may stand alone or encircle lettering on the tire. If they are ignored, the tire may develop a leak or blow out on the road.

3. Examine the tire for bulges. Bulges or blistered areas on the tire are indicators of serious problems. These are caused by a weakened wall in the tire. If they are ignored, the bulges will likely lead to a dangerous tire blowout on the road.

4. Look at the tread wear indicator. Newer tires come with these advantageous colored strips. They are made of rubber and run perpendicular to the tread of the tire. As the tire’s tread wears down, the rubber strips become visible. When one or two of these strips start showing, it is time to have the tires replaced.

5. Watch for excessive vibration. It is normal to feel some vibration while driving on bad roads or on dirt roads. However, unusual vibration that is noticeable on roads where it should not exist is a sign that something is wrong. The problem may be that the tires need to be rotated or that one needs to be replaced. It may also be due to bad shock absorbers or a more serious problem with the vehicle. Always have unusual vibrations examined by a mechanic immediately.

How To Test Tires

It is important to test tires regularly to ensure they are roadworthy. One easy way to conduct a tread measurement test is to use a Lincoln penny. Insert it with Lincoln’s head facing downward into the tread. If the entire head of Lincoln is visible, the tread is too thin and it is time to replace the tire. It is also possible to use a quarter with Washington’s head and the same placement method. Be sure to place the coin in several tread sections throughout the tire since tires can wear unevenly.

People who are searching for Houston mobile auto glass repair or Houston windshield replacement should ensure their tires are also in good working order. Being able to see clearly and drive safely are both very important.

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How Often Should You Really Change Your Oil?

toyotaFor many years, car owners who have taken advantage of Houston auto glass repair have also dutifully ensured that their oil was changed every 3,000 miles. This was the general recommendation for quite some time and was a valid guideline for vehicles built in the 1970s and earlier. However, many believe that this is still the case today, and this myth has been propagated by many people, especially those responsible for changing your oil as they want to see you as often as possible.

Your vehicle will likely be able to go between 7,500 to 10,000 miles between oil changes. The mileage necessary from one oil change to another for almost all 2013 cars exceeds 5,000 miles with the lone exceptions being a small number of the vehicles that were manufactured by Toyota, Kia and Hyundai that year. Impressively, all Jaguars being made today can go 15,000 miles before another oil change is necessary.

Make sure to read your owner’s manual to see how long you should drive your car before getting an oil change. Or you can use a convenient tool that CalRecycle has on its website: www.calrecycle.ca.gov/UsedOil/OilChange/FindInterval/. As long as your car is from 2000-14, you can simply enter the details for it there and receive information related to how soon you should change its oil.

The type of driving that you generally do has an impact as well. For example, those engaged in a lot of stop-and-go driving, short trips or traversing over rough roads or in significantly cold, hot or humid conditions will need to get their oil changed more often others. Of course, those who have taken advantage of Houston mobile auto glass repair know all about driving in the hot, sticky conditions that this area is known for and should account for regularly putting their cars through those experiences.

What damage are you causing by changing your oil too often? As far as your car goes, you are not causing any damage. However, you are wasting quite a bit of oil, which is not good for the environment or your pocketbook.

Unnecessarily changed motor oil has become a significant problem. For example, this insoluble product and its toxic chemicals and heavy metals regularly end up in a variety of bodies of water such as lakes, rivers and oceans. In fact, 1 million gallons of water can be fouled by a single gallon of used motor oil. Of course, there will always be used motor oil, but the less of it that is out there the better.

Also, getting oil changes more often than you need to is like repeatedly throwing out a perfectly good gallon container of milk in order to buy a new one, an act that wastes valuable resources and unnecessarily hits to your pocketbook. This money could instead be set aside for more important tasks like Houston windshield replacement.

Fortunately, more cars being manufactured nowadays take all of the guesswork out of the equation as they have oil-life monitors. These monitor how quickly oil is being used as a result of conditions such as how many miles have been driven, what type of driving is usually undertaken and how long it has been since an oil change was last performed.

Of course, the quality and robustness of the oil being used also plays a significant factor in the longevity of its use. In fact, Mobil 1 Extended Performance “provides protection for up to 15,000 miles between oil changes.”

So, there may be some variety in regards to how often you should change your oil as compared to others you know, but one thing is clear: it is going to be less often than once every 3,000 miles and has been for quite some time.

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Which Windshield Wipers Are The Best?

sports-carsWe have noticed something odd about car information. There are plenty of articles about things like car models and tire quality. There is almost nothing about windshield wipers. As Houston windshield replacement experts, we found that surprising. After all, it is important to see where you are going?

After digging around, we did find a couple of reliable sources. Here is the gist of what they said, along with links back to the sources so you can do your own research.

Science in Action

In 2008, Consumer Reports published the results of their scientific test of wiper blades. Writer Ed Grabianowski, of The Sweet Home, was intrigued by this, and wanted to know more. He learned that testing wiper blades accurately is really hard to do; so much so that Consumer Reports has no plans to do it again.

Here is what was involved: Thirteen models of wipers were tested. They were installed on 185 cars owned by Consumer Reports staff. A special statistical program was used to make sure the testing would be fair. Each car got two models of wiper blade, so they could be compared against each other in real time over a period of nine months.

If that sounds complicated and expensive, consider this: when The Sweet Home contacted a third party lab about running their own tests, they got a bad case of sticker shock. The lab could not share any existing data they had from running tests for manufacturers, but they could offer a selection of a la cart tests which would run into five figures.

The Sweet Home opted to run their own, less scientific test. It provides a pretty good basis for selecting the best wiper blades.

The Test

The Sweet Home ran a test with drivers using specific wiper blades over a period of time. Their testers used the wipers in a range of climates and weather conditions. After a year, they determined that the Rain-X and Valeo wipers were roughly equal in quality and durability. Both lasted between nine and twelve months. Any unusual problems could be attributed to environmental conditions such as parking under messy trees or having huge clumps of ice form around the wipers when parked. The Rain-X wipers did better in snowy conditions, probably because they had beam construction. The blades from Valeo used the older bracket construction, which allows snow and ice to build up around the blades.

The Verdict

For general use, the Rain-X Latitude took the top spot. The Sweet Home liked the beam design, which uses a curved steel beam inside a rubber casing to keep the wiper blade pressed firmly against the windshield. Rain-X wipers also showed superior durability in the Consumer Reports test. Users reported good performance in snowy conditions, with little to no streaking and a very long product life.

The Valeo 600 was the overall choice for budget wipers. This model works well in areas with no snow, since the bracket design will allow ice clumps to form.

For a more high-end solution, the SI-Tech from PIAA did very well. This is a silicon wiper blade with beam construction. It is a step down from PIAA’s Forza Hybrid, which is a top choice of rally car drivers. The SI-Tech offers good performance for most drivers, along with the potential for longer blade life in sunny conditions.

Conclusion

Depending on your budget, the best wiper blades for most cars are the Rain-X Latitude, Valeo’s 600 model or the PIAA SI-Tech. Houston auto glass is exposed to different environmental challenges than windshields in other parts of the country, so be sure to keep your wipers free of oil, grit or other debris such as tree sap or bird droppings. You can expect most wiper blades to last about a year. Check them frequently for signs of wear; worn blades damage your windshield.

If old windshield wipers have left you peering through lines of scratches, contact S Delta Auto Glass for the best in Houston auto glass repair. We also provide Houston mobile auto glass repair. We come to your home or where you work to repair or replace your auto glass.

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The Best Car to Buy for Your Teenage Driver

driverIf there is one thing that puts most Houston parents on edge, it is when their teenage children start driving. Without question, the best way to keep your teen safe behind the wheel is by taking as many opportunities as you can to talk about — and demonstrate — safety on the road. With that being said, the type of vehicle your teen operates plays a role in keeping them safe too. If you are planning to buy your teen a car, it pays to keep certain things in mind to ensure that you get the safest vehicle possible. A solid, safe vehicle will reduce the risk of injuries in the event of an accident and can even keep accidents from happening in the first place. After all, paying for Houston mobile windshield repair on a safe vehicle is far better than winding up with a hospitalized child — or worse.

Things to Consider When Shopping for a Vehicle for Your Teenager

Buying a car for a teenager is a daunting proposition. The decision should rest almost entirely with the parents. Sure, teens have preferences; they usually want a car with a good sound system, for instance, and appearance matters a great deal. Naturally, music and outward appearances do not do a whole lot in terms of safety, so the best course of action is to find a few vehicles that fill the bill in that department then let your teen pick their favorite.

Keep the following points in mind to find a safe, reliable vehicle for your teenager:

Size – A mid-sized vehicle like a four-door sedan is a good choice for teenage drivers. It is large enough to offer good crash protection but small enough to avoid being unwieldy for inexperienced drivers to handle. Late-model SUVs with electronic stability control are good options as well.

Age – Sure, brand-new cars have the latest safety features. However, they cost a fortune to insure. Extremely old cars lack crucial safety features, break down a lot and do not tend to handle very well. With these points in mind, choose a car that is near the middle of its typical lifespan.

Crash Test Scores – While researching cars for your teen, always consult vehicle safety ratings and crash test scores from IIHS and NHTSA. At a glance, you will know how much crash protection you can expect from any given vehicle and can avoid cars that may not be as safe as they are cracked up to be.

Power – Do not tempt fate by purchasing a car with excessive horsepower or an extremely powerful engine. Rather, stick with 4-cylinder models to reduce the risk of on-the-road hijinks. Besides, most modern 4-cylinder vehicles have more than enough oomph for the vast majority of drivers.

Safety Features – Although there is no need to buy a late-model car with the fanciest safety features, insist on one that has airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control at the very least. Knowing your teen is protected by top-notch safety features will help you breathe a little easier.

Cost – Pricier vehicles tend to be performance-driven, which increases the risk of reckless driving and other issues. Also, of course, they cost a fortune to insure. Stick with reasonably priced vehicles instead.

If you buy a used car, invest a little extra money fixing it up as needed. Houston mobile auto glass repair services are a convenient option for cracks, chips and other minor damage. Some parts and components may need to be replaced too. If the windshield is cracked beyond repair, for instance, find a reputable Houston windshield replacement company to have the matter resolved. Finally, regardless of which vehicle you buy, take plenty of time showing your teen all of the safety features, and place restrictions on when, where and how often they can drive to ease them into driving.

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Springtime Car Maintenance Tips

carsMany of those taking advantage of Houston mobile windshield repair this spring for winter auto glass damage should also use this time to ensure that the rest of their car is in tip-top shape. Doing so is especially important because of the hot humid summer weather Houston experiences every year. Here is a short list of springtime auto maintenance tips.

Air Filters

A dirty filter really hampers the ability of clean air to flow into the engine and help it run at its peak performance level. Regularly replacing them will also help your engine last longer.

Battery

The last thing you want is to be stranded by the side of the road during a hot Houston day because your battery died. You should use this time to ensure that it has plenty of power, fluid levels are topped off and that there are no corroded terminals. A swollen case or a rotten egg smell emanating from the battery is also a cause for concern.

Belts and Hoses

Springtime is also a good time to check your belts and hoses as broken belts can cause major engine damage and cracked hoses can burst and cause the engine to overheat. Note that cooling system hoses may actually look fine on the outside while being badly deteriorated on the inside.

Brakes

This is one of the most used parts of the car, and the brake pads actually disintegrate just a little bit every time you press the brake pedal. The brake pedals themselves should also be looked it as they have the potential to become soft and sticky and not respond as quickly as they should during hot humid summers. Also make sure to check the drums, rotors and brake linings at this time.

Lights

Every light in your vehicle should be inspected and tested at this time as well. These include exterior lights such as brake lights, turn signals and headlights as well as interior lighting such as those on the dashboard.

Oil

When oil levels are low or the oil is dirty, the engine can be badly damaged or even ruined in a worse-case scenario. Gears will grind, and the engine will seize up if there is little or no oil to allow internal parts to smoothly glide against each other. Now is also a good time to consider getting your oil filter changed. Especially if it has not been changed for 3,000 or more miles.

Shocks and Struts

Shocks and struts are essential to enjoying a smooth steady ride around Houston, and now is a great time to see if yours need to be replaced. Worn suspension parts can also cause your tires, joints and springs to wear at a much quicker rate than would otherwise be the case.

Tires

Since tire quality deteriorates much more quickly during Houston summers than other times of the year, it is important to ensure that they have an appropriate amount of tread. The best way to do this is to have the entire surface of every tire, including the spare, checked. Many will simply place a penny into the tire tread and see if Abraham Lincoln’s head disappears into it when rotated. If his head remains completely visible, the tire needs to be replaced as your car may hydroplane when traveling at high speeds during a rainstorm because there is not enough tread.

Wiper Blades

Many getting their Houston windshields replaced also should get new wiper blades. However, wiper blades should be replaced at least every six months, so you should not wait until you get a Houston windshield replacement if you need new blades now. Of course, torn, cracked or chattering blades should also be replaced immediately.

 

Springtime auto maintenance is critical for a safe and uneventful summer of local and vacation driving. Being proactive about auto maintenance helps avoid unpleasant surprises.

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