Category Archives: Car Care

Dog with sunglasses sitting in the driver's seat of a car

Tips for Keeping Your Car Clean with a Dog

How to Minimize Dog Hairs and Odors in Your Vehicle

Many dog parents love bringing their furry companions along wherever they go. Whether you are taking Fido to the vet or bringing your pet along for a car ride, you’ll eventually come across some dog hair and odors left behind in your car. How do you minimize this? Here’s a few tips you should try to help keep your car clean while owning a dog.

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Mechanic standing in a car shop while holding a tire

When Should I Get My Tires Replaced?

How to Tell When You Need New Tires on Your Vehicle

Regardless of how often you drive your vehicle, your tires will need to get replaced at some point. However, it’s not always obvious when you should get your tires replaced. How much tread should I watch for? What is the recommended amount of time I can go? If I don’t drive my car, can I go even longer without replacing the tires? Here, we will discuss when you should get your tires replaced.

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How To Reduce The Glare Of The Sun While Driving

You’re driving along, and suddenly you are completely blinded by the sun. The car in front of you is blinded also. They stop suddenly, and you must slam on the brakes.

Another scenario is when you’re sitting at a traffic light blocking the sun with your hand just so you can squint enough to see the light change color.

We all enjoy the sun, but it can be hazardous when driving. Here are some tips to enjoy the beautiful weather without being blinded by the sun.

Clean Your Windshield: Dirt and debris reflect light, making it even more difficult to see. Keeping your windshield clean helps to cut down on the glare caused by intense sunlight. If your windshield is cracked or heavily pitted, you may want to consider replacement for the same reason.

Keep the Dashboard Clean: Remove papers, parking passes, and debris from the dashboard before driving. They can reflect onto the windshield and add to the visibility challenges caused by the sun.

Sun Visors: Make sure your sun visors are properly attached to the car and functional. If you use the visor for storage, make sure you have the proper attachment to hold papers, sunglasses, and whatever else you’re keeping up there in one place. The last thing you need is stuff falling on you while you are already having difficulty seeing. If your visor isn’t long enough or doesn’t come down far enough, there are inexpensive extensions that attach easily. A polarized extension is worth the extra few bucks.

Sunglasses: This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is so easy to forget your shades! Take some time to get a pair that fit you well and are dark enough. Polarized lenses, while more expensive, improve visibility and better protect your eyes in the long haul.

Many vehicles come with sunglasses storage compartment in the dash or above the windshield. It’s generally worth it to keep a dedicated pair in the car if you can, even if they’re a less-expensive backup pair.

Hopefully these tips will help to ensure that the beautiful sunshine doesn’t end up putting a damper on your day, or a dent in your US Auto Sales car.

Here’s The Best Way To Take Care Of Your Automobile’s Brakes

“It looks like you need new brakes.” are words no one ever looks forward to hearing because of the expense that comes with those words. We all know that brakes are one of the wear & tear maintenance items you can’t avoid There are some easy ways to extend the life of your brakes.

1. Be a smooth operator – Every time you brake, your brakes break down a bit. (Try saying that three times fast). The way you drive has a huge impact on how quickly your brakes will wear out. Braking from high speeds is much harder on the brakes. Giving yourself more distance between you and the car in front of you will decrease how often you brake, and it will minimize the number of sudden stops, reducing the wear & tear on your brakes. Not only is it much safer not to tailgate, but it is better for your brakes too!
2. Stop, in the name of love – When coming to a stop at a traffic light or stop sign, it is better to come to a complete stop once than to brake slowly and creep forward. Coming to a complete stop reduces the amount of friction on your brakes, increasing their longevity.
3. Lighten up – The more weight in your vehicle the harder the brakes need to work to stop. Take out any unnecessary weight from your vehicle. This will not only help extend the life of your brakes, but it will also improve your fuel efficiency.
4. Make a plan, Stan – Although the scenic route down windy back roads might be your preference when time allows, the amount of braking required will be much higher than the more direct highway route.

We can’t always control how much we need to use our brakes. Be aware and make these adjustments whenever possible to increase the life of your brakes!

What Oil is Best for Your Vehicle?

You stop for gas. You check the oil in your car. You need to add a quart. You go inside the convenience store. You find several options. You leave because you don’t know which one is right for your vehicle.

You go to your local oil change place. You’re asked if you want synthetic oil. You hear the difference in price, and say no immediately. You’re uncertain if you did the right thing.

If you’ve ever been in one of these situations, this blog post is for you.

Every type of oil has a different purpose related to the type of engine, the age of your vehicle, and the climate in which you drive. You might be surprised to know that over the course of time, it might be less expensive and more beneficial to switch to synthetic oil. Here is what you need to know about the different types of motor oils that might help you determine which type is best for your vehicle.

Decoding the label

Look at the label on the oil. There’s usually a number, followed by a W, followed by another number, like 5W-20 or 10W-40. The first number refers to the viscosity rating of the oil, which refers to its ability to flow in colder temperatures. The second number is the weight of the oil in warmer temperatures.

What does this mean to you? Unless you live in an area where temperatures reach extremes, then all you need to do is match the numbers on the bottle with the numbers on your oil filler cap. If your oil filler cap doesn’t have numbers on it, refer to your owner’s manual. This would be unusual, but if your filler cap was replaced, it’s possible.

Your owner’s manual may have a chart with oil recommendations based on temperature ranges, similar to the chart below. If it does, use the oil recommended for the temperatures you drive in most frequently according to the chart in your manual.

Synthetic versus Conventional Motor Oil

Your owner’s manual may have a recommendation here as well. Many modern cars require synthetic oil, and if so, you should follow that requirement in your owner’s manual. If there is no requirement for synthetic oil, you still may want to consider it.

Although synthetic oil is more expensive than conventional oil, it offers better protection for your car’s engine, potentially prolonging engine life. Synthetic oil:

  • Provides better protection from extreme temperatures.
  • Prevents deposits and sludge build-up better than conventional oil.
  • Reduces break down when towing or hauling heavy loads.
  • Requires less frequent changes.
  • Can extend the life of your older vehicle.

If you tend to take shorter trips or do a lot of in town driving, synthetic oil is the better choice. Conventional motor oil may not get warm enough to burn off moisture and impurities.

Switching from conventional to synthetic motor oil will not harm your vehicle, but it is important to stay with the same viscosity and weight. Regardless of which route you choose to go, it is important to get your oil changed as recommended and periodically check your oil level to ensure that your engine is lubricated properly.

Top Rated GPS Apps and Standalone Devices for Your Vehicle

You have your US Auto Sales car, and the road beckons. But how do you get where you’re going? Those roadmaps from the local convenience store aren’t going to cut it anymore. Here are the best mapping apps for your phone, and a few standalone devices that don’t require internet access.

Google Maps – Google Maps is an outstanding GPS navigation system compatible with both Android and iPhone. Not only does it give you accurate information on directions, but it will also automatically reroute you based on live traffic, construction, and accidents. The app also gives many local suggestions for food, activities, events, etc. Bonus – if your vehicle supports Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, you can use it right from the touch screen in your vehicle.

Waze – This app is a favorite among the younger generation. It not only navigates, but warns you about police sightings, hazards, and will reroute you based on traffic, construction, and accidents. It also has a feature that will allow you to record your voice or anyone else’s to use as your navigation, and you can even play music through it.

Sygic GPS Navigation – Heading a little farther off the beaten path? Sygic offers reliable off-line maps as well as real time traffic information. Maps are updated multiple times a year at no additional cost. It keeps track of your speed, warns you when you go over the limit, and has many other safety features as well.

MAPS ME – Another off-line navigation app, MAPS ME keeps up to date with any changes to road conditions. You can use this navigation system anytime and it will also bookmark your favorite locations. Another good option for spotty or non-existent internet.

Standalone GPS Devices

Garmin DriveSmart 55 and Traffic – An excellent entry-level device from a well-known GPS navigation company, the DriveSmart55 has a responsive touchscreen and easily mounts to the windshield. Unfortunately, it only covers 49 states. Maps for other regions must be purchased separately. Starting at $149.99.

Atoto A6 Double Din Android Car Navigation Stereo – This GPS device stands out from the crowd because it is not only a GPS navigation system but also includes popular music apps and radio features and Bluetooth. It’s a little buggy, though, with reviewers reporting occasional screen freezes and audio loss. Starting at $159.99.

Tom Tom GO 620 6-inch GPS Navigation Device – Tom Tom is known for accuracy and fast signal, but some feel that it not as easy to use as other systems. It has 3-D imaging, voice control and hands-free calling. The downside is that it must be linked to a smart phone to access live traffic data. Starting at $209.99.

Keeping it Fresh: Ways to Keep Your Car Smelling Clean

With the amount of time you spend in your car, it can be a challenge to keep it smelling fresh. If you have one car and kids and pets, it can quickly start to smell like a garbage truck. Here are some ways to keep your car smelling clean and fresh.

Little Trees Air Fresheners – If you like the classic hanging tree air freshener, these come in over 36 different aromas. The downside of these fresheners is the overpowering immediate scent that only freshens for a couple of weeks. The plus side is that they are inexpensive, and you can enjoy a different scent every few weeks! Starting at $1.99

Febreze Air Freshener – These small, vent style fresheners come in several different aromas and can be adjusted to control the scent level. Left on the low setting, these can last for up to 45 days. Starting at $2.99

Ozium Vanilla Spray Air Freshener – Originally designed for use in hospitals, Ozium not only smells faintly of vanilla, but can also reduce airborne bacteria. It also works well to eliminate lingering smoke smells. Once sprayed, it almost immediately eliminates any odor and can linger for up to two weeks. Starting at $8.99

Chemical Guys AIR _102 Odor Eliminator – This odor eliminator is specifically for vehicles with leather interiors, restoring the original scent of leather. Use it sparingly, as it can leave a strong, overpowering fragrance if used too frequently. Starting at $9.99

California Home Goods Odor Eliminator – This is a small bag that can hung from the coat hook over the rear door. It contains carbon-activated bamboo charcoal that eliminates odors without a strong perfume scent. It can also help reduce mildew formation. To reactivate this freshener, simply place it in the sun for 2 hours every month. Starting at $13.49

PURGGO Car Air Freshener – This air freshener attaches to back of the front seat and contains no spray, gel, ionizers, plastic or fragrance. It contains 100% bamboo charcoal that acts like a sponge, absorbing odors and trapping them. It works around the clock and can last up to a year! Starting at $19.99

Sununitec Sun-C200 – This round, wooden model mounts to the air conditioner vent. It releases a lemon scent with the accent of wood. Once the scent is gone, this freshener can still be used by adding your favorite essential oil. Starting at $29.95

Top Trunk Organizers of 2019

With holiday shopping season fast approaching, finding ways to organize your trunk or giving the gift of organization to a loved one may be on your list of things to do. Here are some of the top-rated trunk organizers of 2019 to help you maximize your trunk space.

Honey-Can-Do Folding Trunk Organizer – a great, inexpensive option that has two roomy compartments with several pockets around the outside.

Dimensions: 13 x 25.5 x 13.25 inches
Starting at $10.00

Homeve Car Trunk Organizer – Suitable for any size trunk, the Homeve organizer is collapsible and has three inside storage compartment with several different size pockets around the outside. It also comes in several different colors.

Dimensions: 22.5 x 15 x 13.4 inches
Starting at $22.99

Higher Gear Car Trunk Organizer – This organizer was rated easiest to carry making it a great option for transporting items to and from your vehicle.

Dimensions: 23 x 14 x 12 inches
Starting at $24.99

Starling’s Car Trunk Organizer – This option is durable, collapsible and has a nonslip waterproof bottom. It comes in several colors. There are removable dividers inside and 10 pockets outside.

Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.5 x 12 inches
Starting at $29.99

Maid Max Cargo Trunk Organizer with Lid – Like to have your clutter hidden? Need a place to hide that special gift? This organizer is perfect – it has a lid! It comes with adjustable dividers for the inside and has several outside pockets with flaps.

Dimensions: 14 x 23 x 13 inches
Starting at $35.99

Rola M.O.V.E. Rigid-Base Trunk Organizer– This is a solid organizer that is ideal for small, compact cars. The dividers can be adjusted to make the inside compartment any size. This is one of the pricier options, but reviewers state that it is well made and built to last.

Dimensions: 38 x 15 x 7 inches
Starting at $59.99

Ways to Improve Your Gas Mileage

With gas prices constantly fluctuating, it never hurts to know some ways to improve your gas mileage. While you may not be able to practice all of these all the time, here’s a few simple ways to increase your gas mileage whenever possible.

Refuel in the morning – Did you know that a gallon of gas in the morning is not the same as a gallon of gas later in the day? Why? Most large fuel tanks are buried underground. In the morning the ground is colder. As the ground temperature rises, the gasoline expands, making it less dense. If you fill your fuel tank a couple times a week, you could save between $5-$10 each month by refueling first thing in the morning!

Replace your air filter – If the engine air filter is clogged with dust and debris, your engine has to work harder than it should to get enough air to mix with the fuel, causing an increase in fuel consumption. Replacing the air filter can instantly improve your gas mileage up to 15%!

Don’t put the pedal to the metal – Revving the engine or accelerating quickly burns more gas. Accelerating more slowly will not only improve your gas mileage but could also extend the life of your engine.

Watch the weight – Keeping the weight in your vehicle to a minimum when possible can make a big difference in the gas mileage. If you’ve literally got junk in your trunk, time for a clean-out!

Inflate your tires – Keeping your tires inflated to the proper level reduces their rolling resistance, so your vehicle doesn’t have to work so hard. Many newer cars come with tire pressure monitoring systems – if that dash light goes on, don’t ignore it.

Avoid prolonged idling – At idle, you are literally getting zero miles per gallon. If you’re going to be sitting longer than 10 seconds, turn off the engine. Contrary to popular belief, starting doesn’t use more fuel than idling in modern cars.

Use cruise control – If your car is equipped with cruise control, it helps to maintain a consistent speed and can reduce the need to accelerate or brake helping to improve efficiency. If your car has it, adaptive cruise control is even better for this.

Use the Air Conditioning Wisely – Here in the southeast, you need your AC, but whenever possible roll the windows down or reduce the setting on the air conditioning. It makes a big difference on fuel costs over time.

It might be interesting to fill your gas tank and make no immediate changes and calculate the mpg. Then make as many of the above changes as possible and calculate the mpg again and hopefully you will notice a difference!