Preparing Your Car for Hurricane Season

mp900401427-001.jpg
  • Maintenance
  • Vehicle Documents
  • Registration
  • Insurance papers
  • Extended Warranty contract, if applicable

The registration, title, and insurance papers are essential to your vehicle. But, so are the warranty documents. If a mechanical breakdown were to happen while you were on the road or away from your home, you will may need you factory warranty or extended warranty documents along with your maintenance records in order to obtain repairs that may be needed. Also, the warranty documentation will have the number to roadside assistance if needed.

If you have more than one vehicle and you decided to leave one at home, then your vehicle needs to stored correctly. Usually, an enclosed garage would be the first option. But if you do not have one, it is best to park your vehicle away from trees and low lying areas. Most damage from a hurricane is caused by wind and flooding. So, if a garage is not an option, find the highest point in your yard, that is away from trees and park your vehicle there.

Hurricane season is a time to prepare. When preparing for an upcoming storm and/or for evacuation don’t forget about your vehicle. Make sure that it has all it is up to date on maintenance, that you have all documentation regarding your vehicle, and if it is staying behind, make sure that it is stored correctly. Doing this can give you one less thing to worry about during a very stressful time.

 


More Tips:

161338480.161338481-001_.jpg
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
See our expert tips!

 

180568319.180569144-1-001_.jpg
Brake Pads and Rotors
There are many components to the breaking system, and while all these components may seem daunting, the braking system is DIY friendly, especially the brake pads and rotors. Brake pads and rotors are two components of the braking system that need changing the most. Brake pads tend to wear down due to the friction that they encounter when the drive presses on the brake pedal. If they wear down enough, they can wear grooves into the rotors which will mean replacing or turning the rotors as well.

DIY Brake Pads

When it is time to change your brake pads, you don’t necessarily have to take the vehicle into the shop. A brake pad replacement is something that you can do yourself. While it may seem a little daunting, it is actually quite easy. Brake pads are easily accessible aren’t a hassle to change. They are the perfect maintenance item for a DIYer to tackle.


DIY Brake Rotor

When brake rotors are damaged by worn brake pads or road debris, they will either need to be turned or replaced. Sometimes turning rotors will be sufficient enough smooth out the grooves within the brake rotors. If the rotors need turning, then the vehicle will have to be taken to a repair shop to have a mechanic turn the rotors. But, if they need changing, then it is a task that you could do yourself. There are no special tools that are needed and as long as you have a jack, they are easily accessible.

By changing the brake pad and rotors yourself, not only can you save tons of money, but you can also help to maintain the validity of your factory warranty and extended auto warranty if applicable. If something within the braking system fails due to the lack of maintenance of your brake pads and brake rotors, then your warranty may not cover the cost of repairs. So, if you are up for the task, then tackle the brake pads and brake rotors and maintain your Do it Yourself (DIY) status.

See our expert tips!

 

180563257.180563275-001_.jpg
Lights, Wipers and Filters
There are many people out there that consider themselves DIYers (Do it Your Self). They would rather do things themselves than pay someone else to do it. Vehicle maintenance is one of those tasks that many of us try to do ourselves. While there are some things that should be left to the professionals, there are certain maintenance items that any DIYer can do.

Windshield Wiper Blades Replacement

Windshield wiper blades and wiper blade inserts are essential to visibility when it is raining. If the wiper blades or inserts don't function properly, they won't remove the water, they can cause streaking, and they can also damage your windshield. Replacing the windshield wiper blade or insert is a simple task to perform. Plus, wiper blades can be found at any automotive store for fairly inexpensive.

Filter Change

There are several filters located on a vehicle. Some, like the fuel filter, may need to be changed by a trained mechanic, but there are others, like the air filter and in-cabin filter, that you can change yourself. The air filter is easily accessible and can be found at most automotive stores. The in-cabin filter can be easily accessible, depending upon the manufacturer of the vehicle. Even if they are little harder to get to, a DIYer can still gain access it to change it. Now, the air filter and the in-cabin filter should be changed at regular intervals. To find out when the filters should be changed, refer to your owner's manual.

Light Replacements

There are several types of lights on a vehicle. The ones that we worry about the most are the headlights, taillights, and brake lights. When one of these goes out, not only could you get a ticket, it could also be dangerous. If a headlight goes out, then it could reduce your visibility. If a tail light goes out, then it could make you less visible to another vehicle. On most vehicles changing a light bulb is a very simple task, but on others it is not so easy. Newer vehicles come with HID lights and once those fail to work properly, then you will need to take it to a repair shop to have the lights replaced.

While these maintenance items may seem simple and within the reach of a DIYer,  they are very important in keeping your vehicle operating properly. Also, if the air filter and in-cabin filter are not changed when recommended, then is could affect the validity of your factory warranty or extended warranty, if applicable.
 
See our expert tips!

 

Back to Tips and Tricks