washing carAccording to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average American spends 46 minutes a day in their vehicle.

We discard everything from fast food bags to sporting equipment in the back seat as we run from one end of town to the other, and in the winter months, we don’t think too much about washing our vehicles regularly, because they’ll be dirty again 24 hours.
Now that the winter season is behind us and we’re prepping for spring and summer road trips, it’s time to spend some time getting our vehicles in order.

Detailing experts recommend having your vehicle professionally detailed at least twice a year, in the spring and fall. Depending on the service provider, a full professional detailing job can range from $50-$200 and take anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day.

Trust us when we say this is money well-spent. When your vehicle looks and smells clean and fresh, you’re more likely to take better care of it, and that trickles over to your driving and vehicle maintenance habits, too.

To keep your car looking great in between detailing services, follow these tips.

  1. A weekly wash – by hand is best – will keep pollen and dirt from embedding into the clear coat that keeps your car looking shiny and new. A monthly DIY wax will help maintain that showroom shine.
  2. Wipe down the interior surfaces during your weekly washes, but skip the ArmorAll – it can actually attract dust. It’s best to use a clean, damp rag.
  3. Vacuum the interior monthly. This will make it easier to stay on top of the crumbs and hair the kids and dogs leave behind. It will also reduce the amount of dust and dirt that can clog the nooks and crannies in your dashboard. 
  4. Clean the inside of your windows. Stay away from ammonia-based cleaners, which can harm window tint, and mix up your own window cleaning spray.
  5. Address any stains on the upholstery or carpeting immediately, but avoid using household cleaning products, which can damage the fabric. Spray on a mixture of water and vinegar and then blot the area gently with a wet cloth. For oil-based stains, sprinkle on some cornstarch, let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum it away.
    If you’re looking for a great auto detailer, call your local Levin Tire and Service Center for a recommendation!

Fog WindshieldIt’s morning, you’re running late, and when you finally rush to the car you see that the windshield is completely fogged up. Sound familiar? The defrost button just doesn’t get the job done fast enough and now you’re cold AND late. Fear not, we’ve got a quick and easy way to defrost that window.

Youtuber and designer Mark Rober gives a speedy solution to the fogging problem and uses science to back it up. He went through and tested all the combinations of car settings and found the best mix so you don’t have to. The quick rundown is as follows:

1. Turn your car heater on at full blast
2. Make sure the AC is turned on
3. Turn off the in car air circulation – this is usually identified as a button with a car and looped arrow
4. Crack open the windows for a bit to exchange the humid air in your car with the dry air from outside

Watch the full video below for a more in depth look at the process Rober went through to get his results and some additional tricks to give that defroster a kick start. His experiment is informative and fun to watch!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCmgWiEEZwA&feature=youtu.be

Car BeltsThe belts in your vehicle facilitate a variety of important vehicle functions and if yours break, your car won’t be able to drive much further.

There are many reasons a belt could be failing or slipping. This includes pulley misalignment, the belt itself being misaligned on a pulley, a defective tensioner, or excessive wear in the tensioner, idler, or driver accessories.

Common belt problems to look for include:

• Squealing sound, polished belt edges, or glazed belt grooves are typically due to the belt slipping
• Chirping sound or a frayed belt edge can be caused by a misalignment of an accessory drive pulley
• Fluid contamination on the belt means there is an oil, power steering, or coolant leak
• Excessive cracking is typically due to the old age of the belt
• Grinding sounds happen if there are damaged bearings in driver accessories
• Rhythmic noises occurring at engine speed have multiple causes, such as the chunking of belt ridges or a foreign object in belt groove

With a belt out, so are many main functions in your car. The alternator, radiator, cooling fan, water pump, air conditioning compressor, and power steering pump rely on automotive belts to keep your car running.

Your car’s belts should be inspected regularly for signs of age and wear. About 20% of vehicles on the road today need an automotive belt replacement. Typically, higher-mileage vehicles tend to have more damaged automotive belts. It’s necessary to have your belts inspected regularly so you can address any wear and tear before it leads to a breakdown. A good rule of thumb is to change your belts about every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. However, check your owner’s manual or consult your local Levin Tire & Service Center to see what the recommended time between belt changes for your vehicle should be.

Every time you bring your vehicle into Levin Tire & Service Center, we’ll check your belts as part of our customary 32-point inspection. Don’t get stranded on the side of the road – let us at Levin Tire keep you safe and on the road!

Gas SavingsThough gas prices are lower today than they were years ago, many people are still interested in getting the most out of every gallon. After all, fewer stops at the gas pump means more money in your pocket. The following tips can help to maximize the fuel economy of your vehicle and save a little money while you’re at it.

• Keep Tires Inflated – Regularly check your tire pressure and maintain the level recommended for your vehicle. The lower the tire pressure, the more friction is created when driving. This means your tires are working harder to do their job and you’re burning more fuel. Make sure to check your tire pressure during changes in temperature, especially when the temperature drops. Tires lose air pressure in colder temperatures.

• Easy Does It – Aggressive driving wastes gas, so go easy on the accelerator and brakes. You can actually drain your gas tank quicker by hitting the gas pedal hard whenever the light turns green and making a habit of hard stops. Studies show that moderate acceleration and gradual braking can increase your fuel economy by 20%. When driving on the highway, use your cruise control. Driving at a steady speed over long distances maximizes fuel economy, too.

• Using Air Conditioning vs. Windows Down – The air conditioner puts additional work on the engine, which uses more fuel. Use your A/C sparingly when you’re driving in the city or in stop-and-go traffic. It’s better to roll your windows down in these conditions. However, when driving on the highway in normal traffic, keep your windows up and the A/C on. Driving at highway speeds with your windows open increases wind resistance, which burns through more gas.

• Watch Your Speed - Speeding, even 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit, can decrease your fuel economy. Observing the speed limit is not only safer, studies show that gas mileage tends to decrease rapidly at speeds above 50mph.

• Cut Some Weight – Avoid carrying heavier loads in your vehicle than you need to. This can be achieved by cleaning out your car regularly. Random items added here and there don’t weigh much on their own, but they add up. This also helps keep your trunk and back seat uncluttered.

• Keep Up With Car Maintenance - Most functions in your car run more smoothly with regular maintenance, and fuel economy is no different. Bring your car in for a tune-up at Levin Tire & Service Center and we’ll get you on your way to better fuel efficiency.

PotholeYou’re driving down the road and suddenly hit a pothole. Your tire hits the ground hard, and you cringe at the jolt. Sound familiar?

There’s a good reason for that cringe – potholes can cause a lot of damage to your vehicle, especially to the tire alignment and the rims. If you encounter a particularly nasty pothole, swing into a convenient Levin Tire & Service Center location so we can check things out.

Misaligned tires can cause wobbly steering and uneven tread wear, and bent rims can cause slow leaks.

Here are some of the symptoms of a bad tire alignment to look out for:
• Steering seems off-center
• Vehicle pulls to one side
• Uneven wear in your tires
• Vibration as the car drives
• Crooked steering wheel when the car is pointed straight ahead

If possible, avoid driving over potholes. Drive cautiously in areas where you know potholes are present. Avoid tailgating to improve your view of the road and allow for proper response time. Puddles can obscure a deep pothole, so be especially careful driving in wet weather. If you see a pothole that can’t be safely avoided, slow your speed, keep a firm grip on the wheel, and hit it straight on. Hitting a pothole at an angle can actually cause more damage to your alignment.

You can report a pothole to INDOT 24/7. If a pothole damages your car, get in touch with the city government where it happened. Some cities and towns allow you to make a claim and help with costs of repair. You can find more information about making these claims in Indiana by visiting the INDOT website.

Whether you’ve hit potholes or not, a good rule of thumb is to get your alignment checked every other time you have your oil changed.