Making Summer Travel Safe with These Tips

Is Your Car Road-Worthy This Summer?

Like many Americans who think of ways to beat the summer heat, road trips are fun, family excursions. It’s a chance to hit the road, see the sights and smell the smells of the open spaces. Going by car, van or truck is part of the exhilaration. If so, then it’s essential to take precautions to ensure your vehicle is ready for traveling these warmer months. Here are five simple summer safety tips you should follow before hitting the road.

Better check first for recalls.

Did you know that millions of cars are recalled every year for factory defects? Is your car’s make, model and batch one of them? This thought may make you feel anxious, so before hitting the road, it’s best to check and see if your vehicle is on the recall list. Sign up for recall alerts and do this ahead of summer. Now if you are fortunate not to be included, inspect your car and ready it for repairs, If need be. 

Make repairs on your car.

Inspect your car first. Do a full inspection of your vehicle. Check the tire pressure and condition, the windshield wiper fluid, and oil. Make sure your wiper blades and lights are working. If your car is overdue for an oil change or tune-up, now is the perfect time to get it done so you can avoid any issues on the road.

Be sure you have your emergency roadside kit.

In case of an emergency, you don’t want to get stuck on the side of the road because you forgot your kit or lack certain provisions to deal with a mishap you did not plan for. It will be frustrating just waiting for help to arrive.

Therefore, always keep this emergency kit in your trunk. Your kit should include first-aid, flashlights and extra batteries, flares, reflectors, jumper cables, blankets, and water. Be sure you also have wheel wrench, tripod jack, complete tool set,  a quart or more of motor oil, a gallon of coolant, and a compass among others.

Before you go, practice safety first.

Before hitting the gas, make sure everyone in the car is buckled up. All children and infants should be in car seats. Your focus should be driving. Don’t text and drive. Eliminate all possible distractions so that you and your loved ones get to your destination safely.

Share the road.

On the road, you will meet other cars and trucks, as well as motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Be cautious while driving around them. Keep your distance, stop when needed, maintain speed, and adjust your mirrors so that you can see correctly. Most importantly, have patience. Arrive  safe.


3 of the Best Car Cleaning Tasks for Spring

Top Spring Maintenance Tasks

Did you know that cleaning your car or truck is a simple maintenance task that keeps your vehicle in great shape, saving you time and money down the line? A good cleaning can remove about 70% to 90% of the plugged ash in your truck’s DPF. Here are the best 3 tasks you should be doing regularly, especially in spring. 

Refilling/replacing your fluids.

See that you keep your car in good condition by checking and changing the fluids regularly. Check your engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluids as needed. Serious issues can come out of failure to refill or replace fluids as stated in your vehicle’s manual. Fluids in your car can get dirty and sludge-like. The build-up causes the vehicle to have to work harder to run. 

Get new windshield wipers.

To be able to drive safely, your windshield should be kept clean and clear so you can see properly. Consider not only cleaning but replacing your windshield wipers. Dirt and debris can accumulate on the car’s windshield which can hinder the ability to see. Remove this buildup with the use of a glass cleaner and paper towels. Replace old and ripped windshield wipers. It’s a low-cost and easy task that can make a big difference when you’re on the road.

Keep your engine clean.

Because not all of us can be automotive engineers, or are tech-savvy about cars, you should still keep the exterior of your engine clean and in good condition. While many people focus on keeping the outside of their vehicle looking good, the condition of the exterior of the engine is important, too. Debris like grease and dirt can buildup and can do damage to the engine if not taken care of. So invest in a good cleaner and give your engine a gentle but thorough cleaning.

Even if you have little to no experience in car maintenance, all of the above tasks can be done quickly and easily. So if you have been slacking on your car maintenance, consider completing these tasks to keep your vehicle in good shape.


Ready To Help in Car Maintenance in Seattle

While you might be able to accomplish these three simple tasks, Greenwood Collision says we can always lend you a hand in keeping your car in optimal running condition.

Great Tips For National Car Care Month

Inside-Out Simple Car Care Tips

Are you getting your car ready for spring-cleaning? April is National Car Care Month, and it’s a great way to remind all car owners of the role you play in maintaining your vehicle. After a long, harsh winter, here are some simple at-home cleaning and maintenance tips to always get you and your car in top form.

Clean the carpeting and upholstery.

Your floor mats take a beating during winter, everything from slush to road salt. Improve the appearance of your interior by removing floor mats and using a power washer to do a deep clean. Vacuum the upholstery, paying special attention to the seams of your seats.

Detail the interior.

A good wash and rinse can prevent deterioration of your interiors. Use a ph-balanced soap if you are hand washing your vehicle. It’s designed to clean without stripping the finish. Then, wax finish your car, which will keep it shiny while strengthening the paint and preventing chipping.

Inspect and replace windshield wipers.

Wiper blades can get damaged and break during winter due to constant contact with ice, snow, and sleet. Clean or, better, replace them especially if you expect significant rainfall in your area in the coming months. 

Replace winter tires.

Swap your heavy-duty winter tires, if any, with the appropriate tires for the season. Winter tires are strictly designed for handling icy roads, so using them in the spring and summer can cause the rubber compound to wear faster. Experts recommend installing all-season tires as soon as spring begins.

Clean under the hood.

Winter’s debris such as dirt and leaves can easily collect on or near the engine, impacting your vehicle’s performance and efficiency. Ensure your safety first by turning off the engine and removing the battery cables. A simple damp cloth is a good cleaning tool to use under the hood. Baking soda can remove any oxidation from the batteries.

Clean out the trunk.

Remove stuff from your trunk that you’ve used in winter – like shovels, window scrapers, boots, etc. Check your emergency kit. See if there are things you need to replace. Examine your spare tire and see if it needs fixing. 


Celebrating National Car Care Month in Seattle

Let your auto body shop in Seattle help your vehicle recover from the rigors of winter. Visit us and we’ll show you how.

Basic Car Care Tips Every Motorist Should Know

Know the Basics of Caring for your Car

Inspect your cooling system. Cooling systems have to cope with the summer heat and cold winters all year long. Look for swelled, chafed, cracked or weeping hoses. If they burst they can leave you stranded. Also make sure there’s enough coolant in the overflow reservoir; add more as required. Your system needs flushing if the antifreeze looks discolored or rusty.

Check your car belt. If it isn’t concealed by layer after layer of plastic shrouds it should be easy to give it a quick look. If the belt shows heavy abrasion, cracking across the grooves, lengthwise tearing or other obvious signs of damage you’ll want to replace it soon. You might need help to get the belt positioned exactly where it needs to be.

Replace your air filter. If it’s clogged with dirt and debris it won’t flow as much as it should, reducing the engine’s output. Without a free-flowing supply of oxygen, internal combustion simply can’t take place. However, it’s easy to replace. Many modern cars and trucks have the air filter often found underneath a large rectangular housing with a lid.

Know how to jump start a vehicle that has a dead battery. It requires a set of cables, a car or truck that’s fully charged (or a portable jump starter) and a little bit of know-how.

Make sure you don’t mix up the leads. A positive terminal must connect to a positive terminal, negative to negative; or the color red is associated with positive and black with negative. In modern vehicles, the negative cable doesn’t necessarily have to connect directly to the battery as the negative side is grounded to the engine and body structure, an engine bracket or metal part of the body will work just as well as a terminal. If in doubt, go for the battery.

Know how to change a flat tire. The ability to jack a vehicle up, remove a flat and install a spare is an important skill to have. That is even as temporary spares have become less and less common, replaced by space-and-weight-saving emergency inflation kits. A process that is time-consuming is rotating the tires. Done right can prolong tire life. You might have to reprogram the tire-pressure monitoring system so it accurately shows which tire is affected. Likewise, check your tire gauge pressure. It is best to maintain the factory-recommended pressure.

Add your oil. You should know if you are low on lube. Locate the filler cap and pour the correct oil consistency down in there, then check the dipstick again. Add small amounts at a time until the correct level is reached to avoid overfilling. Car engines typically take between four and five quarts, with variations. Check the owner’s manual for specific details. It would be great if you are able to also change the oil and filter.

Replace windshield wipers and add washer fluid. A fresh set of windshield wipers is commendable. It’s easy to swap them as they essentially clip into place. To release a blade, you can push a small button or slide it into a hook on the end of the arm. Do this simple task when you see that instead of your blades wiping, they are smearing your windshield. It’s simple to keep the reservoir filled with plenty of this windshield wiper fluid. Look for a cap with a windshield icon on it, usually blue or yellow for easy spotting. Then, just pop it off and pour your liquid.


Know More Car Care Tips and Be A Pro in Seattle

If you need to fix up your car, come by our auto shop in Seattle. We’re conveniently located in Greenwood.

Money-Saving Car Care Tips After Winter

Care Tips Best Done in Spring

When it’s spring, not too hot or too cold, it’s the best time to have a car care maintenance. Service centers aren’t packed with too many people getting their vehicles checked up. But did you know that this is a misconception of most motorists – most people prepare for winter driving, but forget about spring and summer just because the weather is better. 

Here are the best tips to help you save money.

Get your battery tested because heat is actually harder on your battery than the cold is. A lot of people think during winter time they need to have their battery checked. While that is true, but the heat during summer is actually worse on your battery than the cold.

Spring car checks are about more than the oil. Make sure the belts are in good shape, no chunks missing and they are not glazed. Be sure there are no bubbles in the hoses. Check all fluid levels. Above the hood, check the wipe blades, especially their shapes. 

A simple wash and wax is important after winter. Give your vehicle a great underbody wash. Know that salt from the road gets up inside and underneath the car and it can rust out your vehicle.

Be sure to check all your exterior lights. Your turn signals, brake lights, fog lights, and headlights are working. Other systems to be checked may not seem vital until they stop working. 

Your air conditioning should be working this time of year. 

Another is proper tire inflation. Under-inflated or over-inflated tires can make a big difference in the quality of your ride and the longevity of the tires. Under-inflated tires can impact your fuel economy and wear out the outsides. Over-inflated tires wear out more on the center. Check your sidewalls to make sure there are no bubbles or any kind of damage from hitting potholes. 

Hence, take care of your car so it takes care of you.


Getting Your Car’s Best Maintenance in Spring

After winter time, think about the best maintenance care you can give your car or truck. Visit Greenwood Collision in Seattle and save more money for the year.

Making Your Car Spring-Ready: Top 3 Maintenance Tips

Easy Spring Car Care Tips

Spring is a great time for most car and truck owners to keep their vehicles clean and properly maintained. There are simple maintenance tasks you can do yourself to help you keep your car or truck in pristine shape, saving you time and money down the line.

Did you know that a good cleaning can remove about 70% to 90% of the plugged ash in your truck’s diesel particulate filter?

Here are the top three tips to get your wheels spring-ready. 

Keep your engine clean. It’s not just the exterior of your car that you keep clean but your engine as well. The engine is the life of your car. Though you leave the inner workings of your engine to expert mechanics and cleaners, you can still keep the exterior of your engine clean and in good condition. Debris like grease and dirt can buildup and can do quite a bit of damage if not taken care of. Do invest in a good cleaning product  and give your engine a gentle but thorough cleaning a couple of times this spring. 

Check your fluids. One of the easiest things you can do to keep your car in good condition is checking and changing the fluids regularly. Look into the following – your engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluids – and see if they are still within normal limits. They should be refilled or replaced as stated in your vehicle’s manual. You can have serious issues if you neglect your fluids, as they can accumulate dirt and sludge, causing the vehicle to have to work harder to run. So changing the fluids regularly will ensure your car can run smoothly.

Replace your windshield wipers. Consider not only cleaning your windshield, but replacing your windshield wipers, too. If you have old and ripped windshield wipers, you’re not going to be able to properly see when it’s raining or snowing. Replacing your wipers is a low-cost and easy task that can make a big difference when you’re on the road.

All Seasons Car Care Tips in Seattle

When you think you need us at Greenwood Collision Auto Shop to do your maintenance stuff, drop by and we’ll show you more helpful tips.

Don’t Make These Winter Driving Errors: Part Two

Worst Winter Driving Errors

Stopping in the middle of an incline. Drivers must leave plenty of room between their own car and the vehicle ahead of them. It’s important to keep the momentum going while traveling uphill. Stopping in the middle of an incline may cause you to become stuck or start sliding backward.

Not staying in your lane. Unnecessary lane changes may cause your car to hit a patch of black ice or force you to plow through a strip of deep snow. Instead, stay safe by staying straight in your lane until you must turn off the road.

Having a panic attack. In the event that you find yourself in a skidding situation, stay calm and maintain steady pressure on the brake. If your car has anti-lock brake system (ABS), it will automatically pump the brakes for you. Hold the brake pedal down and steer smoothly, looking in the direction you want the car to go. 

Using the cruise control. Don’t use cruise control with slick road conditions. Your car’s cruise control doesn’t have a feel for loose road conditions and will often add more power when you don’t need it, leading to a loss of control. Instead, retain full control of the gas pedal, brakes, and steering to ensure a safe drive during harsh winter conditions.

Trying to power your way out. Some cars with 4×4 system plus a good ground clearance can help get you up and moving in deeper snow. If you’re stuck in snow, clear the area around the front wheels and turn off any traction system. Then, gently shift back and forth between reverse and a low forward gear, spinning the wheels as little as possible. Call for help if your attempts fail.

Stuck and still running? After clearing the snow from the base of the vehicle and any snow blocking the exhaust pipe, turn engine on periodically to keep the interior of your car warm. You could run out of gas and potentially risk carbon monoxide poisoning  if you just let the engine run. You can open the window about 2 inches down and keep warm with a blanket. 

Speeding on overpasses. Speeding on a bridge or overpass in winter? Do you know the weather’s impact on bridges and overpasses – that’s where icy conditions develop first because of the different exposure to air. Surface conditions can be worse on a bridge than on the approach road just before it, so expect less traction. Slow down before you reach all bridges and overpasses; lower speeds allow for better reaction time.


Don’t Make These Winter Driving Errors: Part One

Minding Avoids Mishaps

See what winter driving experts are saying about the worst winter driving errors that could put you, your family and your car in danger. Minding the danger can help avoid accidents and emergencies.

Not preparing your car for the trip. So you will not forget, have your car dealer’s service department prep your ride for winter. Remember to ‘Put on the BRAKES’ (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe), encourages a thorough battery check because extreme cold requires more energy to start your car. Have the following checked: your lights, wiper blades, fluids, and the tire pressure, which can drop along with the temperature.

Driving on a quarter tank. Avoid the mistake of running on or close to empty. Keep your gas tank at least half full when driving in winter. Always have a charged cell phone in case of emergency. 

Are you ignoring the owner’s manual? Dig out that owner’s manual and brush up on your car’s anti-lock brakes, traction control system, and four- or all-wheel-drive (if equipped) to make sure you are comfortable with how it all works. 

Forgetting to change your tires. Winter tires provide added traction in snow and ice, even for vehicles already equipped with four- or all-wheel drive. Winter tires use special rubber compounds that stay flexible in the cold, providing better grip and improved braking even in extreme weather.

No emergency supplies. These are must-haves in any winter trip – standard snow brush and ice scraper, snow shovel and a container of cat litter, jumper cables, flashlight, emergency flares, and a bright piece of clothing that can be seen in a storm. Have an extra set of cold-weather clothing, blankets, and spare phone chargers. Keeping some high-calorie, non-perishable snacks and bottled water in the trunk, too.

Are you sitting too low? When you must drive in winter weather, raise your driver’s seat up higher. Sitting taller in your vehicle will provide better visibility of the road conditions and potentially dangerous obstacles that may be in front of and around your car.


Being Safe in Winter in Seattle

You can have a hassle-free and safe road trip in winter time if all drivers are just a bit more cautious in driving. Keeping these potential errors in mind can make a huge difference.

Traveling for The Holidays: Driving Smooth

Driving Tips for The Winter

Travelers who prepare themselves and their vehicles well for winter trips expect minimum trouble and maximum enjoyment on their journeys. Since we’d expect millions of US travelers to hit the road in the coming cold days, we are sharing a list of ‘must-dos’ for your safe and successful winter travel.

Be sure you have your car checked for winter readiness. Inspect your tires, including your spares, the oil, timing belt, battery, lights, windshield wipers, among others. Pay particular attention to your headlights and taillights, as well as your defrosters. Keep windows, exhaust pipe and defrosters clean. Remove all snow build-up before you go.

Bring along some extra items in your car, like extra clothing and emergency items. These will be handy if you break down in cold weather. Have a basic kit including a pair of gloves, weather-resistant pants and/or coat, an old pair of boots, blanket, jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries, and a windshield scraper. Toss in a few nutrition bars in, heavy with calories or other foods that won’t spoil. Important in cases of emergencies.

In bad weather conditions,  some SUVs and four-wheel-drive vehicles may have better traction when the vehicle is under way, but the four-wheel drive won’t help you stop any faster. Also, you may have the cruise control feature that may accelerate when you don’t need to, such as when you are climbing an icy bridge. So better skip the cruise control.  You can also put a bag of kitty litter in the trunk, both for added ballast to offer better traction, and to put under the wheels to get out of a slippery spot.

Stranded and you have to stay in your car? Run the engine for heat. Or if not, close the windows to keep heat in, and run the car for 10 minutes every hour, opening a front window when you do so.

Slow down by about 50% in bad weather as recommended by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In case of slippery roads, always keep distance from the car in front. 

When available, always opt for indoor parking when you stay in hotels or other establishments.


Need to fix up your car?

So when you find yourself among the unfortunate many who will need to call upon a collision specialist, seek out the auto body professionals at Greenwood Collision.

Car Maintenance: All You Need To Know Tips

You Can Do These Tips

If you want your most-prized car to last as long as it should, you obviously need to have the know-how in order to maintain it in top form. While you may be able to send your vehicle off to the repair and maintenance shop if the need arises, it’s good to keep tab of the more important essentials in car maintenance. Here are the top tips.

Inspect your car’s cooling system. Inspect for swelled, chafed, cracked or weeping hoses. A burst hose can leave you stranded. Make sure there’s enough coolant in the overflow reservoir. Add more as required. Your system should need flushing out if the antifreeze looks discolored or rusty. That’s a sign it is long overdue.

Check your car’s timing belt. If you notice heavy abrasions on the belt, cracking across the grooves, lengthwise tearing or other obvious signs of damage there’s the need to replace it as soon as you can.
Examine your car’s air filter. Your engine’s output can be reduced if your air filter is clogged with dirt and debris because it won’t flow as much as it should. Without a free-flowing supply of oxygen, internal combustion simply can’t take place.

Change your flat tire. Every driver should be able to change a flat tire, though, unfortunately, temporary spares have become less and less common. The ability to jack a vehicle up, remove a flat and install a spare is an important skill to have. Also, be able to rotate those tires, a bit more time consuming, though the payoff is prolonged tire life. Reprogram the tire-pressure monitoring system so it accurately shows which tire is where. And also, check your tire pressure.

Add oil regularly. If the engine is low on lube, every driver should also be able to top off the crankcase. Pour your oil and make sure it’s the correct viscosity. To avoid overfilling, add small amounts until the correct level is achieved. Car engines typically take between four and five quarts. Further, you could also change the oil and filter.

Replace your windshield wipers. Occasionally, you’ll need a fresh set of windshield wipers. Look for tears, warped edges or if the blades smear already rather than wipe the glass. Helping ensure your vehicle’s windshield is clear of precipitation and road grime is washer fluid. Unobstructed visibility is critical to safe driving.

More Car Maintenance Tips in Seattle

Get more car maintenance tips from your local auto repair shop in Seattle at Greenwood Collision. If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.