Category Archives: Car Tips

How to Clean Inside Your Car

Road trips can get pretty messy—you’ll probably come home with a backseat full of trash, carpet covered in spilled drinks, and food crushed into the upholstery. So if you’re just getting home and realizing what a mess you have to clean up, follow these tips on how to clean inside your car.

clean inside your car - car wash

Items to clean:

The first thing to do is clean all the trash out of your car, which is the easiest part. Next you’ll want to vacuum the carpets and the seating, especially if you have cloth seats. Buy some cleaning products that are made for whatever kind of interior you have. Cloth, vinyl, and leather all require different products to keep the material in good shape.

If you have stains on your carpet or cloth seats, treat with a stain lifter and follow the instructions on the can. You don’t want to leave stains—they can seep into the carpet or seats and start to smell! Scrub the carpet, dab it dry with a cloth, and vacuum again.

You may also want to clean the dashboard and inside the windshield and windows. Go and grab some glass cleaner and a roll of paper towels. Glass cleaner works on the dash too!

How to Remove Smells from a Car

family car wash - remove smells from a car

Lingering smells can bother everyone, including the driver themselves. Not only can they be bothersome, unwanted smells can also lowered your car’s resale value. Luckily for you, getting rid of unwanted smells is easy if you have some common household items. Here’s how to remove smells from a car from us here at Joseph Auto!

  • Newspaper – As it turns out, not all newspapers are going digital. Physical newspapers may seem outdated, but they happen to be very good as absorbing and removing unwanted smells. Just throw a few crumpled pages into your car, preferably near the source of the smell, and the smell will be gone in a few hours.
  • Cat Litter – If you have a feline companion, odds are you already have cat litter lying around the house. Designed to remove odors, a bowl of cat litter will leave your car virtually odorless relatively quickly.
  • Coffee Grounds – Part of a driver’s morning routine, a cup of coffee can go a long way. Fresh coffee grounds can be just as useful for your car as coffee is for you. Placing a bowl of your favorite coffee grounds for the day will result in a fresh mocha scent before you know it!

Stay Safe with These Winter Driving Tips

winter driving tips - snowy tires

Nearly every region of the United States has already seen a strange and erratic winter in terms of weather, with conditions ranging from balmy 65-degree days when it should be closer to 20 to tornados to ice storms. Whatever the weather, here are a few winter driving tips to keep you and all your passengers safe this season:

 

  • In heavy snow, make sure to accelerate and decelerate gently to avoid skidding and maintain traction.
  • Drive at a slow and steady pace. Nothing increases the chances of an accident like high speeds, and high speeds plus bad weather certainly don’t mix nicely.
  • Make sure you have a safety kit somewhere in your car. Be sure it includes: flares, motor oil, basic tools, a blanket, a small shovel, basic provisions, and jumper cables.
  • Tie a bright cloth to your antenna or roof rack. This could help other motorists spot you during heavy conditions.

 

The last of our winter driving tips might seem obvious, but we think it’s worth stating: if you don’t need to be out on the road, just stay home.

Why You Need to Change Your Oil

Change your oil

Changing your oil can be costly, especially if you’re changing it every 3,000 miles, which is too often. Most automakers recommend changing your oil around every 7,500 miles or six months. That’s better than the 3,000 mile rule (which, again, is obsolete) but it can still cost a pretty penny, for a good reason. We here at Joseph Auto know why you need to change your oil!

Oil plays three roles within the engine, each as important as the last. First, oil lubricates the metal parts that are constantly grinding against one another so they don’t take damage. Second, oil carries away heat generated by the constant explosions within the engine itself. Lastly, oil prevents the buildup of carbon and varnishes.

If you don’t change your oil, you’re going to have a very bad time in the future.

Without fresh oil, your engine will eventually see a lot of carbon and varnishes building up around the cooler parts, like the camshafts and valves. That can lead to sludge coming out of the old oil which can only be cleared out by an expensive engine cleaning.

Even worse, you could have to replace the piston rings, camshafts, or pistons altogether.

Safety Tips to Remember when Traveling with your Dog

Dogs!

It’s February, and if you’re like most, cabin fever is in full swing. One great way to shake off the winter blues is to grab your furry friend and hit the open road. In honor of responsible pet owners’ month, here are a few safety tips to remember when traveling with your dog.

  1. Stay Current! – Anytime your pet leaves the house, it’s important to have their shots and ID tags up to date. On road trips, we also recommend taking a current picture of your pet just in case you get separated.
  1. Keep them Comfy – Pack along a few of their favorite things like treats, a blanket, dog bed, bone, or toy to make them comfortable. You may also want to bring a jacket for your furry friend. For the colder winter days, some short-hair or coarse-hair dogs need an extra layer of warmth.
  1. Keep them Contained – On the road, it is recommended to keep your little buddy from roaming around the car to prevent driver distractions, but a car crate is not always necessary. Purchasing a seat belt harness ensures that your dog will not roam the car and will be safe in case of a collision.

Whether exploring, hiking, or off-roading with your K-9 companion, we at Joseph Auto wish you a happy Responsible Pet Owners’ Month filled with safe and happy adventures!

Clever Tricks for Keeping Ice off Your Car

Keeping Ice off Your CarThe soft, pearl-white blanket draped over the world outside looks beautiful when you peer outside your window in the morning, but scraping it off your windshield after a cold, snowy night isn’t so lovely. To save you time, body heat, and a headache, we at Joseph Auto suggest you follow these tips from Reader’s Digest for keeping ice off your car:

If you have an icy windshield, drape a tarp or rubber bath mats over it the night before snow falls. Or try something different and slice a raw onion in half. Rubbing it across the windows and windshield the night before will keep frost from forming on the glass.

Sticky wiper blades are useless in winter when you’re trying to clear your windshield, so soak a cloth in full-strength rubbing alcohol. Wiping each blade with the solution will prevent them from sticking or freezing.

You’ve got three options for a car door lock covered in ice, depending on what items you have available. Heat the key with a match or lighter to melt ice within the lock; insert a drinking straw in the hole and blow your warm breath; or spray some rubbing alcohol inside the lock.

Foggy windows can get you in trouble, so if you’re looking for a quick clean, don’t use your coat sleeve. Keep an untarnished chalkboard eraser to avoid leaving smudges as your defrost kicks in.

One last thing Reader’s Digest suggests: side mirrors with plastic bags rubber-banded over them will avoid becoming iced over.

Best Cars for Tall or Short Drivers

Subaru Outback
Subaru Outback

Let’s face it, when you’re exceptionally tall or short, not all cars are created equal. Finally, Consumer Reports hears our frustration, and to help ease our car-shopping woes, has released a list of the best cars for tall or short drivers.

In order to find out which vehicles were better or worse for each scenario, Consumer Reports tested vehicles for seat comfort, driving position, access, and the outward view with the help of testers ranging from five feet one inch on the shorter side to six feet two inches on the tall side.

Some cars turned out to be incredibly versatile and were righted highly by both tall and short drivers. If your family has both tall and short drivers, consider a Subaru Forrester, which managed to be comfortable and accommodating for people of all heights.

For those of you who are taller, the Toyota Highlander, Audi A8, and Subaru Forrester are just a few of the top-scoring vehicles. These cars offer plenty of head and leg room and an array of steering wheel and seat adjustments allowing drivers to get comfortable.

If you’re a bit on the shorter side, check out the Subaru Forester, Acura RLX, or Subaru Outback. These have seat and steering wheel adjustments that allow drivers to easily reach pedals and see clearly through the front windshield.

For the full list, check out autos.aol.com.

Ready to find a car that feels good to drive? Stop by Joseph Auto today!

Lease or Buy? Tips on finding your next new car

Lease or BuyThe decision to lease or buy is one of the most fundamental decisions you can make about new car ownership. Depending on your personal tastes, both offer certain advantages that might make one better for your lifestyle over the other. Consider the points below to help you make your decision.

 

Lease

There are many advantages of leasing a car. Perhaps the main benefit is the reduced level of commitment: the terms are agreed upon at the beginning so you don’t have to worry about negotiating a trade-in or selling the car if you want to get a new one. This makes it easy to get a new car every two or three years.

The other considerable benefit is lower monthly payments compared to an auto loan. This allows you to drive a nicer car for the same amount of money compared to buying a car. Leasing a car also has less sales tax and you don’t have to worry about repairs since the vehicle is always covered under the factory warranty.

What are the downsides to leasing? If you like to customize or modify your cars, that isn’t possible when you’re leasing a car. It’s also more expensive in the long run compared to buying a car, and if you want to get rid of it before the end of the term, there are costly fees.

 

Buy

Buying a car has several advantages. Although it is more expensive in the short term, after the loan is paid off, the vehicle is yours. Since it’s yours, you can modify it and drive it as much as you’d like. You can also sell the vehicle at any time because you are not bound by a contract or lease agreement.