Convertible Top Care

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While, convertible tops look great when a car is new, without proper care they won’t look nice for long. Material like fabric, clear plastic and vinyl are far more delicate and vulnerable to the elements than painted surfaces. Sunshine can be especially damaging. Here are some tips on to keep your convertible top looking like new.

You should thoroughly clean your convertible top at least twice a year, but more frequently if the car is parked outside. Make sure that you use a cleaning product that is specifically designed for convertible tops and, if possible, bio-degradable. Do not use detergents or powders that contain chlorine-based bleaching agents. These cleaners can remove essential oils in vinyl tops that are essential in protecting the vinyl against the sun’s UV rays.

Before you even wet the top, try to move the car out of the direct sunlight and make sure the top is cool. Once the top is wet, spray a light coating of top cleaner evenly across the top and gently work the cleaner using a soft sponge to remove dirt. Once the top is cleaned, rinse of the cleaner while brushing a using lots of water. You want to continue to until the water runs clear.

Now, you don’t need to use a top cleaner every time you wash your car. Usually you can keep it clean with water. But if it is dirty, just use a pH neutral car wash and make sure that you rinse it thoroughly.

When you are cleaning the window, you do not want to use ordinary glass cleaners if the window is plastic. They can cause damage to the plastic. You want to use cleaners and polishes that are specifically designed for plastic windows. They will remove minor scratches and dirt while helping to prevent the plastic from discoloring.

After the top has been cleaned, use a top protectant to preserve the color and texture of the top material. This will prevent fading and cracking, and help repel dirt, grease and oil. Should you get bird dropping on your top, remove them immediately. They are very acidic and can quickly damage tops.

Once the top is thoroughly cleaned, you want to let it dry before folding it down to prevent mold and mildew.

Here are a few extra tips to make your convertible top last:
  • If possible, park your convertible in a garage or carport. If not, then use a high quality, breathable car cover.
  • To prevent creasing and scratching plastic windows, place a soft towel or baby blanket over the plastic rear window before folding down the top.
  • Use a lint roller to remove dust and lint from the top and clean the plastic window without scratching.

 


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Fuel Myths Debunked

Since the dawn of the gas powered vehicle, there have been myths about fueling your vehicle. They range from what type of fuel to how much gas to put in your vehicle. With gas prices continually on the rise, why would you want to spend more money than you have to? The average price for regular gas in the Savannah, GA area is $3.30 a gallon while high octane fuel, or premium gas, is $3.77 a gallon.

So, what about the myths? Is there any truth to them or are the just that, myths? Vaden Automotive Group in Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas care about informing our community on what is the truth and what is hearsay. Following is a list, put together by Cars.com, of their favorite fuel myths and the truth behind them.

Using premium gas will enhance my car's performance

Putting premium gas in your vehicle is not going to make your vehicle perform better. There are are instances where you should consider using premium in your car, but nowadays, most vehicles can adjust the engine’s performance in a majority of conditions. Some people may report a pinging or knocking sound if they do not use premium. Typically, modern knock sensors will detect a pinging noise before you hear it. Basically, if your vehicle’s manufacturer does not recommend the use of high octane fuel, then you’re safe saving some money by using regular gas.

It's better to fill up in the morning or at night because you'll get more fuel.

The reasoning behind this myth is that when the fuel is cooler it is denser and a denser fuel will pack more energy in the same amount of space. While density may change with the temperature, the fuel is stored in underground tanks that maintain a temperature of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. So, no matter the weather outside, the fuel temperature will remain the same.

It's OK to top off your gas tank after the nozzle automatically shuts off.

We all know people who are guilty of this one. While you may feel like you are getting more gas, you may not be. The extra fuel may just be rerouted into the station’s storage tanks. Also, you may potentially harm your vehicle’s evaporative control system. The system is designed to re-burn vapors, not liquid gasoline. If you overfill your tank, these vapors will get pushed out of your gas tank and can cause damage.   

Not fully pressing the gas nozzle will make you pay for gas you don't get.

This is a new one and lives up to it’s title as a myth. Gas dispensers use volumetric measures that gauge whether they are pumping fuel slow or fast. It is not an on/off nozzle that can only tell when the fuel is being pumped out at maximum speed. So whether or not you press the nozzle half way, it can still measure how much fuel is being pumped and charge you accordingly.  

Using the wrong octane fuel will void my warranty.

This one may have some truth to it. Some automakers claim that by using regular gas, you can do damage to your vehicle’s engine. This is why you should always read your owner’s manual. It may seem daunting, but there is some really useful information in there. Will you void your warranty if you use regular gas one time? No. Many automakers that require a higher octane fuel acknowledge that regular fuel can be used in an emergency, but premium fuel should be used on a regular basis.

See our expert tips!

 

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Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter
 

With summer coming to a close and cool weather approaching, now is the time to think about getting your vehicles prepared for winter. While we don't see a lot of snow in the Savannah, GA area, it can still get down right chilly. The colder weather is hard on your engine and your vehicle in general. Vaden Automotive Group wants to make sure that your vehicle is prepared for the up coming winter. Here are a few items that should be checked when getting your car ready for winter.
 

Battery

 
In order for your vehicle to start properly in colder weather, your motor needs to be fully charged. When looking over the condition of your battery, make sure that your battery post are cleaned and have it tested. Also check the charging system and belts to make sure they are all working properly.
 

Ignition system

 
Checking your ignition system is just as important as having your battery checked. The last thing you want to to go to work on a cold morning and not have your vehicle start. Be sure to check the ignition wires, spark plugs, and the distributor cap.
 

Lights

 
Your lights are something that should be checked year round, but it gets darker sooner during the winter months. Plus there’s the snow that reduces visibility as well. So to endure that you can see properly, have all your lights checked.
 

Brakes

While it may snow every 10 years in the Low Country and Coastal Empire, it is important that your brakes work properly. Check your brakes to ensure even braking. Pulling, change in pedal feel, or unusual squealing or grinding may mean they need repair.
 

Windshield Wipers
 

When the weather turns cold it begins to rain or snow. You will want to make sure that your wipers are working correctly. Rain and snow will restrict visibility. Check the wipers to make sure that no streaking occurs.

Heating and cooling system

 
To prevent a sudden breakdown in the cooler months, be sure to check your radiator hoses and drive belts for cracks and leaks. Plus, make sure the radiator cap, water pump and thermostat work properly. Also, test the strength and level of the coolant/anti-freeze. To keep yourself toasty warm in the vehicle, you will need to make sure that the heater and defroster work properly.
 

Tires

 
Checking your tires may be the most important step to getting your vehicle ready for winter. The tire pressure should be checked, this includes the spare tire. Properly inflated tires will give you best traction on winter roads and increase fuel efficiency. Plus, the tire should be checked for the proper amount of tread and any possible damage to the tire.
 

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Five Easy Auto Fixes
Even with the advanced technology and computerized automotive systems that most vehicles come equipped with, there are still simple maintenance tasks that you can do that will save you time and money.

This list of DIY car maintenance projects requires few tools and no experience. If you've hung a picture or pounded a nail, you can tackle any one of them. By doing these jobs yourself, not only save money, but there are added benefits. And who knows, you just might like the hands-on experience enough that you'll move on to other DIY projects.

Check Your Tire Pressure and Properly Inflate Your Tires

The average consumer doesn’t realize the importance of properly inflated tires. If your tires are under-inflated, it can decrease your fuel economy, costing you hundreds of dollars. Take 15 minutes, once a month and make sure your tires are properly inflated. All you need is a tire pressure gauge and an air pump. If you don’t have an air pump, you can usually find one at a gas station.

Reducing fuel cost should not be the only reason you keep your tires properly inflated. Doing so can improve safety by improving handling during emergency braking and cornering, prolong tire life.

Tire Rotation

Tires tend to wear differently depending upon where they are on the vehicle. Front tires often wear faster than rear tires because braking and cornering is more demanding on them. Plus, you can save approximately $120 a year and all you need is an jack stand, tire iron, car jack, and about an hour of your time.

When rotating your tires, be sure to follow the rotation pattern laid out in your owners manual. Also, check for defects and premature wear. You may be able to spot a foreign object in your tire that is causing a leak.

Change Your Air Filter

Changing your air filter only takes five minutes and will keep dirt out of your engine and improve fuel economy. Plus, it can save you $60 in labor costs. All you will need is an air filter, which you can pick up at any parts store, and a screwdriver. To find out how often to change your air filter, refer to your owners manual. If you live in an area with lots of dust, you will need to change your air filter more often.

Replace Bulbs and Fuses

While it may not cost much for a mechanic to change a bulb or fuse, many shops markup the price for the part. Plus, you have to drive to the garage and wait around. Instead, just pick up the bulbs and fuses from you local automotive parts store and look at refer to your owners manual.

Before you begin changing any bulb, review the instructions and take a look at the access point first. If it looks a little too tight, then take your car to the pros and let them change the headlight or taillight bulb for you. On the other hand, the fuse compartment in easy to reach. You may have to look at the electrical chart in your owner’s manual in order to find the right fuse.

Engine Oil and Filter Change

An oil change is one of the more advanced item on this list, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Anyone with a little mechanical knowledge and the right tools can change their own oil. Plus, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars a year by doing it yourself. All you need is:

  • A Car jack
  • Oil pan for Catching the Old Oil
  • Socket Wrench
  • Oil-filter Wrench
  • Recycling Bottles for the Oil
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Plenty of Rags
  • Engine Oil
  • Oil Filter
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