6 Ways To Prepare Your Car For Winter

Zimbabwe’s climate and the modern Toyota models don’t require extra maintenance to turn on in the coldest months. Sometimes you can even start your car with a remote from the warmth of your kitchen. There are still a few things that you can do to make sure that your automobile is in top shape this winter.

Many of these tips you can handle on your own, but a few may want you to leave them to one of your trained mechanics.

  1. Check your battery.

Cold weather can affect your car’s battery. The reactions needed to generate power in a car battery slow down as temperatures drop. Your car requires more battery current to start when it’s cold, which means that you need to make sure that your battery is in top shape.

  1. Change your wiper blades and refill your wiper fluid (antifreeze type).

Driving in the cold is bad especially when it’s foggy.  Dirt and salt from the road and other vehicles are constantly splashing on your windshield and keeping it clean become a top priority. Working windshield wipers and supply of wiper fluid can mean the difference between clear visibility and a potential accident. Wiper blades are only good for one year, so making a habit of changing them each fall is good practice. If yours look frayed or worn, it is definitely time for a change. 

  1. Check your tire pressure.

If you decide not to replace your tires, then you should regularly check your tire pressure to ensure that they are properly inflated. Since cold weather can cause air pressure to drop, your tires may not be as full as you thought. For every drop in temperature, the pressure in your tires could drop about one psi. Tires are made to meet the road fully when filled to the proper pressure; when the road is wet you’ll want the best possible traction.

  1. Create an emergency supply kit for your car.

You never know when an emergency may occur that can strand you roadside. Whether something breaks down, or someone slides into your vehicle, you want to be prepared. Pack an emergency supply kit that includes first aid materials, jumper cables, warm blankets, water, and food that has a long shelf life. With proper preparation, you can be prepared to wait out a tow truck even in cold weather.

  1. Change your oil.

Cold weather can reduce the effectiveness of your car’s oil, making it thicker and more difficult to circulate through your engine. If your engine doesn’t get the lubrication that thin oil provides, it may not start on those bitterly cold mornings. When the cold season hits, bring your car in, and we will check your oil’s viscosity (the thickness of your oil) to ensure that it meets with the proper level for your vehicle and climate.

  1. Check your belts and hoses.

Before the winter weather hits, check your belts and hoses for signs of wear and have them replaced. Cold temperatures can weaken them, which means a belt could snap or hose could loosen or pop-off while driving. A simple check could prevent you from sitting on the side of the road during the bitter cold. 

Give us a call today and we’ll ensure your vehicle is well prepared for this winter!


Six mistakes to avoid that harm your car

Owning that top of the range-Toyota vehicle that you’ve always wanted can be a dream or nightmare depending on how well you take care of it. Unfortunately, there are six major mistakes that all drivers tend to make and should avoid if they are to keep their dream car in good repair. These common vehicle maintenance mistakes are:

  1. Ignoring the check engine light

Ignoring an illuminated check engine light can result in serious engine trouble and costly repairs which unfortunately may gobble a lot of money in this current economic situation.  At the very least, this warning light could alert you to an engine problem that is negatively impacting your car’s fuel economy.

  1. Failing to change fluids and filters.

Many fluids are required for the operation and protection of your vehicle systems and components. Checking fluid levels regularly, along with your filters, helps ensure that your vehicle runs well and extends its end of life.

  1. Neglecting your tires.

Your vehicle’s tires should be checked frequently for inflation and tread depth. Underinflated tires can wear out more quickly, needing to be replaced sooner, which could be very costly and can negatively impact safety, your fuel mileage and the performance of your vehicle.

  1. Not following a service schedule.

This is the most important factor because many Zimbabweans do not follow a servicing schedule at all. Many car parts and components wear out or become damaged over time, high end vehicles need to be routinely serviced in order to perform optimally. Routine inspections and timely repairs will help keep your car running efficiently and will help you avoid more expensive repairs down the road. Why not make your secretary or assistant keep a record and remind you of the service schedule.

  1. Keeping a dirty car.

Allowing your car to go too long without a wash leads to the buildup of damaging chemicals and dirt, especially when you take that long dusty road that leads to a farm. This dirt increases the potential for rust from road salt and interferes with proper visibility needed for safe driving.

  1. Being a severe driver.

Whether it’s stop and go traffic, extreme weather, rough roads or heavy loads, it can sometimes be difficult to limit severe driving conditions. However, you can drive smart and improve fuel economy by observing the speed limits. Avoiding aggressive driving, including quick starts and stops; not hauling unnecessary items, and keeping your vehicle properly tuned.

Because auto care isn’t always a top priority for car owners, you might not realize you are doing things that adversely affect the performance, safety and value of their car, Routine maintenance can go a long way toward saving money, avoiding headaches and protecting your vehicle investment.


Your Nose Knows: Six Vehicle Warning Signs You Can Smell

Most vehicles start out with a “new car smell,” but there are other tell-tale odours that drivers should never ignore. Identifying these suspect smells early can help you be car-care aware and avoid the hassle and expense of an unexpected breakdown.

Unusual smells can be a sign of serious, and potentially costly, trouble for your vehicle. By acting quickly and making necessary repairs, you’ll be able to breathe easy knowing there is no harmful damage to your car.

Vehicle specialists recommend doing a sniff test of your vehicle to identify any unusual smells, including the following six warning signs:

  1. The smell of burnt rubber could be slipping drive belts or misplaced loose hoses that might be rubbing against rotating accessory drive pulleys. Do not reach in if the engine compartment is hot.
  2. The smell of hot oil could mean that oil is leaking onto the exhaust system. To verify the leak, look for oil on the pavement or smoke coming from the engine area.
  3. The smell of diesel/petrol is likely the sign of a fuel leak in some area of the vehicle such as a fuel injector line or the fuel tank. Any smell of fuel can result in a possible fire hazard, so immediate attention should be given. 
  4. The sweet smell of syrup may be a sign that your car is leaking engine coolant from a leaky component related to the car’s cooling system. Do not open the radiator cap when it is hot.
  5. The smell of burning carpet could be a sign of brake trouble and a safety hazard. Have your brakes checked right away, especially if this smell is happening during normal driving conditions.
  6. The smell of rotten eggs is never a good one and, if you smell it coming from your vehicle, it could mean a problem with your catalytic converter not converting the hydrogen sulfide in the exhaust to sulfur dioxide properly. This smell can also be attributed to a poor running engine, causing the catalytic converter to become overloaded and fail due to meltdown.

When you smell any peculiar odour, you should not ignore it. Instead, take your vehicle to a professional service technician that you trust to get an informed opinion on the nature of the odour.