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Waterless Car Wash

Washing your car without using water? Really?

Many people assume that water is needed to wash their vehicle. While it certainly helps, it isn’t a necessity.  If you live in a condo/apartment or are looking for a more eco-friendly way to wash your car, you’ll be happy to learn that you can clean your vehicle’s exterior without the use of H₂O.  Here are some tips below:

Use microfiber towels

One of the best fabrics to clean your vehicle with are microfiber towels. Unlike other cheaper materials, microfiber towels prevent smudging/smearing and do a terrific job of collecting dirt and debris.

Tip: Never use a dirty towel. While microfiber towels are great at picking up dirt, they won’t work well if the towels are dirty. Buy a large supply so you won’t have to worry about re-using a dirty one.

Use waterless cleaner liberally

Whatever you do, don’t hold back on the amount of waterless cleaner you use. If you’re cleaning your car properly, one bottle should only last you about two-to-three washes. Make sure to use the cleaner on the entire vehicle – not just spots that look dirty.

Wipe in one direction

The best way to avoid scratches is to wipe in one direction and stick with it throughout the wash. Wiping in circles forces you to use a dirty towel to wash a clean area. This could of course create scratches if you’re wiping too hard.

Start spraying at the top and work your way downward. You’ll likely have to spend some extra time near the bottom of your car since the majority of the dirt tends to form there.

Clean your wheels separately

Since your tires tend to pick up a lot of extra dirt and dust, it’s best to use a separate towel to clean your wheels. If you want, you could consider purchasing a special cleaner designed for cleaning tires. It may cost you a few extra bucks, but your car will likely look a lot better when you’re finished.

Clean it regularly

The more often you clean your vehicle, the easier it will be to remove dirt and debris from your vehicle. If you wait a month or more, you will likely have a hard time removing all the dirt and may need to go to a professional to have it washed. Waterless washes can be great, but they won’t work if you wait too long in between washes.

Water doesn’t clean your car

If you’re still skeptical about cleaning your car without water, you should realize that it’s not actually the water that’s doing the dirty work. If you want to test it out, rinse your dirty car with just water and leave it to dry. You’ll soon realize that it’s not that much cleaner than it was just a few hours earlier.

How to get your Vehicle Ready for Spring

Tips for preparing your vehicle for spring driving

It may not seem like April given the recent weather, but springtime is officially upon us, which means you’ll need to prepare your vehicle accordingly. While winter is often considered the most dangerous time to be on the road, spring driving can be just as hazardous, especially when it’s wet and/or foggy outside. Therefore, it’s important to keep your vehicle in the best shape possible.

Here are some tips for getting your car ready for the next few months:

Switch your tires

If your vehicle is equipped with winter tires, you’ll need to switch them in the coming weeks for a set of all-season or summer ones. A general rule of thumb is to wait until the temperature has reached double-digits for at least a week’s time. While it’s natural to worry about the temperature dipping immediately after, all-season tires should be able to handle any quick dip in temperature.

If you’re replacing your tires with your previously used set, make sure to inspect the tread for any wear and tear.

Replace your wiper blades

Everyone knows that April showers bring May flowers, so it’s important that you prepare for the rainy weeks ahead. If you want to ensure you stay as safe as possible when it’s pouring outside, it’s vital that your windshield wipers are in top form.

Wash your undercarriage

If you’ve driven a fair amount this winter, there’s a good chance that a significant amount of salt and sand has accumulated underneath your vehicle over the past several months. In order to avoid erosion, you should have your car’s undercarriage washed by a professional in the coming weeks. You could try to wash it yourself, but you’ll likely have a hard time getting rid of all the grime that has been stuck there for months. Rust is a serious problem in Canada, which is why it’s crucial that you remove any salt as soon as possible.

Clean the interior

If the outside of your car is covered in salt, there’s a good chance the inside is covered too. Use a steam cleaner or rug-cleaning spray to remove all the salt and sand from the interior. If you’ve accumulated a lot of junk and garbage over the last few months, this is a good opportunity to get rid of that as well.

Check your fluids

After a long and cold winter, you’d be wise to take a trip to the mechanic to have your fluids topped off – especially your windshield wiper fluid. While you’re at it, it’s not a bad idea to have your oil changed too.

 

Tips for driving in wet weather

Driving safe on wet roads can be tricky, here are some tips

The winter weather may soon be behind us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that driving conditions will improve significantly over the next couple months. Spring weather is often consistent with warmer temperatures, but it also means a lot more rain, which could make for dangerous driving conditions, particularly at night.

Here are some tips for staying safe in the wet conditions:

Allow your windows to defrost

Your windows tend to fog up when it’s raining.  Fortunately, there are a couple things you can do to avoid this problem. The easiest and quickest way is to just press the defrost button in your car – ohh technology!  If it’s not raining too hard, you can also try rolling down your windows a crack to lower your vehicle’s temperature. This approach should remove some of the humidity in your car which will allow your window to clear up.

Replace your windshield wipers

If there’s one thing you want working when it’s raining hard, it’s your windshield wipers. Many drivers don’t realize, but your windshield wipers should really be replaced every year – especially after a long and cold winter like the one we just experienced.

Clean your windshield regularly

The cleaner your windshield, the easier it will be to see the road ahead when it’s raining outside. Make a habit of cleaning your windshield once a week. This will help to remove any debris or streaks that have accumulated over the previous several days.

Check your tires

If your tires are worn, you’ll have a harder time gripping the road, especially if it’s raining hard or there are puddles on the road. Before switching out your winter tires this spring, check to see if your all-season/summer tires are due for a replacement.

Replacing tires can become quite expensive, but it’s more important that you stay safe when you’re driving in a bad rainstorm.

Turn your headlights on

One of the biggest issues with wet-weather driving is it hinders your ability to see your surroundings. To help counteract that problem, you should turn your low-beam headlights on, even if it’s relatively light outside. Your headlights will help give other drivers a better point of reference and could help prevent an accident.

Avoid puddles whenever possible

You should try to avoid puddles whenever you can. If you absolutely have to drive through them, make sure to slow down. Puddles can often look much shallower than they actually are. If you drive too quickly, you could lose grip of the road which could cause you to slip.

Remember to tap on the brakes once or twice after you’ve driven through a puddle to help dry off the brakes.

 

texting and driving

Some are still tempted to text while driving, here are some tips to avoid this terrible habit

Everyone knows that texting and driving is terribly unsafe and illegal, however many people still struggle to put their phones away when they’re behind the wheel. For some people, just telling them to put their phone away just isn’t enough.  Here are some tips for dropping your texting and driving habit for good:

Put your phone on silent

If you aren’t able to hear your messages come in, you won’t be as likely to carry on a conversation when you’re behind the wheel. While this likely won’t cut out texting and driving entirely, it’s an easy and simple way to reduce the time you spend looking at your phone. Sometimes, it’s better to take baby steps.

If you want, you can even take it a step further and turn off your phone altogether.

Put your phone out of reach

Here’s an idea: place your phone so far away from the driver’s seat that you couldn’t reach it even if you wanted to. While this is likely to cause some level of anxiety at first, like any new habit – it will become easier and easier the more times you do it.

If you really have the urge to check your messages, pull over to the side of the road and do it there. Sure, this may extend your commute by a few extra minutes, but at least you won’t have to worry about putting yourself in harm’s way.

Answer all messages beforehand

Instead of answering important texts and emails when you’re on the road, take a few minutes before you leave and answer them while you’re still in the parking lot.  If you find yourself too rushed in the morning to do this, set your alarm just ten minutes earlier to give yourself ample time.

Have your co-pilot read/reply

If you’re not alone, always ask the person in your passenger’s seat to check your phone for you. If the message is important enough to respond to right away, simply tell them what to type.

There’s an app for that

If you really struggle with texting and driving you could consider downloading an app that blocks messages from coming in when you’re in the car.

Drive Mode, TextNoMore, and Focus can all be set up to block notifications from coming in until you’ve reached your destination. Considering they’re all free, you don’t really have an excuse to not try one out at the very least.

Set up your GPS ahead of time

Sometimes, drivers are constantly checking their phone because they have no idea where they’re going.  Instead of checking Google Maps every two minutes, plug your destination into your GPS before you leave. Even if you don’t own a GPS, you can still have Google Maps run in the background to help you navigate.

If you’re with other people, let them do the navigating.

 

Gap Insurance

What is Gap Insurance, do I need it?

Most people have at least heard of gap insurance, but may not fully understand its purpose. While some assume that gap insurance is an unnecessary fee, it can be very helpful depending on the type of driver you are.  Read ahead to find out if you can benefit from gap insurance:

What is gap insurance?

This may come as a surprise to some, but insurance companies will not reimburse you for the amount you paid for your vehicle, only the amount that it was worth at the time of the theft or collision. Gap insurance can fix that, by paying you the difference between that figure and the total amount you originally paid for your car.

While many drivers don’t like to think of the possibility of their car getting totaled, accidents can happen to anybody, which is why gap insurance can become quite beneficial.

When should I purchase it?

Whether you need gap insurance or not really depends on the type of driver you are. If you drive often, it likely won’t take you long to accumulate a number of kms on your vehicle. This will negatively affect your car’s value, meaning an insurance company would owe you less if you happened to have your vehicle totaled. Of course, if you have gap insurance, you won’t have to worry about tacking on a few extra kms.

You should also consider purchasing gap insurance if your down payment is low or if you’re financing for a longer term. In both instances, you may end up owing more than the vehicle is worth. As a result, if you get into a serious accident, you may have a difficult time repaying what you owe without gap insurance.

Finally, some vehicles just depreciate more quickly than others. Do some research before you buy your next vehicle to see if it tends to depreciate at an abnormally high rate. If it does, you should really consider adding gap insurance to your purchase.

When can I purchase it?

Gap insurance is typically bought at the time that you purchased the vehicle at the dealership. If you go through an insurance company, you’ll likely be given 30 days after your car purchase to buy it.

Is Gap Insurance expensive?

Fortunately, gap insurance doesn’t cost that much, especially considering how valuable it can become.

Is it mandatory?

While most car purchases don’t require gap insurance, others do. If you lease your vehicle or put zero money down, you may be required to purchase gap insurance.

 

Commuting tips

Here are 6 ways to improve your daily commute York Region

For some people, the most stressful part of their job isn’t the work itself, but their trip to and from the office. If you’ve slowly begun to dread your commute, read ahead to learn some of the ways you can make your daily drive a little more enjoyable.

Take the scenic route

Often, the worst part of the commute isn’t the distance itself, but the traffic you’re forced to deal with – especially if you work downtown.

Instead of taking the most direct route home, you should consider taking a more scenic journey to and from work. Sure, it may add a few more minutes to your commute, but it will also make your drive a lot more relaxing. And on those heavy traffic days, it may even be faster at times.

Change your hours

You’ll have to work this out with your boss, but a lot of companies now offer flexible hours to their employees. If you typically work 9-5, try switching your hours to 8-4 or 10-6 to beat some of the morning traffic. The more cars you can avoid, the better.

Leave earlier

If you’re constantly rushing out the door in the morning, there’s a good chance that stress will carry over into your drive to work.

If you know you’re running late, you’re more likely to become more worried at the sight of a traffic jam, which will negatively affect your ability to drive. Leaving early can help ease that stress.

Setting your alarm just 10 minutes earlier can ensure you’re a lot more relaxed when you leave your house in the morning, making for a much more enjoyable commute.

Carpool

If driving itself stresses you out, consider creating a carpool between you and some of your co-workers. Take turns driving to cut down on the number of hours you spend directly behind the wheel. Not only will this help to improve your stress levels, but it will also save you a little extra cash on gas.

Take public transportation

If you want to avoid the stresses of being behind the wheel altogether, you could consider leaving the car in your driveway and take public transportation instead. Sure, trains and buses don’t offer the same level of comfort as your own automobile, but they’re cheap and convenient.

Public transportation can also allow you to become more productive during your commute, as you won’t have the road to worry about.

Discover new music

If you find that you’re constantly switching stations whenever you’re in your car, you may want to consider finding different ways to discover new music. Both Apple Music and Spotify are able to create playlists just for you, so you won’t have to worry about finding the perfect song on the radio.

Music can also be a great way to de-stress, especially after a tough day at the office.

 

why buy a truck

Why your next vehicle should be a pickup truck

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle and aren’t opposed to shaking things up, a truck could be the perfect car for you. There may be a number of preconceived notions associated with trucks, but the reality is that many of the ones on the road today make for pretty incredible vehicles to own.

Here are just a few reasons why you should consider owning one:

You’ll have a better view

One of the greatest benefits of owning a truck is having a better view of the road in front of you. This can be great for highway driving, as you’ll have a better sense of where traffic is moving and may be able to shave a few extra minutes off your commute.

They’re not as bad on gas as you’d think

If there’s one reason that many drivers stay away from trucks, it’s the belief that they’ll end up costing them a fortune in gas. While this may have been true in the past, a lot of today’s trucks are much lighter and incorporate technology that allows them to burn fuel at a much more efficient rate.

Sure, they’ll never be as gas-friendly as a high-end sedan, but you also won’t be going to the gas station every other day if you drive a truck.

You’ll be more prepared

How many times have you seen a piece of furniture or wanted to take your junk to the dump, but weren’t able to because your vehicle wasn’t big enough?

While many assume that they’ll never need to use a truck for its intended use, you’d be surprised just how many times it can come in handy.

If you have children that plan to go off to school, a truck can be convenient for when they move in and out of student housing. By owning a truck, you’ll be ready for anything.

They’re smooth

When you think of a truck, you probably think of a loud, clunky vehicle. In reality, they’re actually quite smooth to drive.

They’re safe

Fortunately, many trucks are equipped with the exact same features that many consumers look for in cars and SUVs.

They’re great in the winter

If you live in a small town or in an area that doesn’t get plowed often, a truck can be a lifesaver during your morning commute. Even if there’s fresh snow on the ground, a truck with winter tires should have the capacity to get from point A to point B with little trouble.

Owning a truck can also come in handy if you drive up to your cottage in the winter.

They’re affordable

While it ultimately depends on the make and model, many of the trucks on the market today start at incredibly affordable prices.

Since many are built to last for years and years, you can rest assured that your money is going towards a quality investment.

 

common winter accidents

For many drivers, it can be somewhat nerve-wracking to get behind the wheel during the wintertime. While everyone wants to feel safe and comfortable when they’re driving, that can become more difficult when it’s snowy and icy outside.

To help your confidence with winter driving, here are a few ways you can lower the chances of getting into an accident this winter:

Sliding through intersections

Having difficulty braking can be a huge problem for drivers when the roads are slippery, especially if your vehicle isn’t equipped with winter tires.

You’ve likely heard it many times before, but winter tires are crucial for staying safe in the winter, especially given the harsh conditions we’re accustomed to in Canada. Not only can driving without winter tires be unsafe for you, but it can also be a hazard to everyone else around you, as the reduced traction could cause you to hit a nearby car or pedestrian.

Even if you have winter tires, they won’t do you much good if they’re worn out. Make sure you maintain your winter tires and have them checked by a professional before you put them on to ensure they’ll last for the entire winter.

As the saying goes… All-Season tires may get you going, but winter tires will help you turn and stop.

Winter Tire Maintenance

Lane drifting collisions

If it’s snowy outside and the roads aren’t clear, it can become quite difficult to see the lane markers ahead of you. This can be quite dangerous if you’re driving down a windy road, especially if the drivers on the other side of the road are running into the same problem.

In order to increase your visibility, it’s important that both your windshield wipers and defrosters are operating properly. This problem can also arise at night, so it’s important that your headlights are fully functioning.  If you’re having difficulty seeing the lane markers, make sure to slow down and give ample room for the car ahead of you.

Quick Tip: Have a windshield cleaning squeegee and bucket with winter windshield fluid in it in your garage loaded and ready. After pulling into your garage after a long day on the road, give your windows a good cleaning so you’re ready to take on the next drive when it comes. It’s also a great time to refill your windshield washer fluid – running out of that stuff on the highway can be extremely dangerous.

Winter driving habits

Spin-out collisions

No matter how careful you are, driving on a slippery road is far from ideal. If you’re behind the wheel when the roads are icy, make sure to take your time! Braking hard could cause you to spin-out and collide with another vehicle or a nearby object or building.

If you begin to spin, it’s important that you stay as calm as possible and steer in the direction you’re sliding.

As mentioned earlier, owning winter tires can help to avoid such an event from occurring.

Rear-end collisions

If you’re the type of driver who often finds themselves braking at the last possible second, you could find yourself in a rear-end collision if you’re not careful.

Remember that it takes longer to brake in the winter, especially if the roads are slippery. Pay attention to your surroundings and react ahead of time instead of panicking and slamming on the brakes.

 

Winter Tire Maintenance

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your winter tires

Winter tires don’t come cheap, which is why it’s crucial that you take care of them over the next several months. Depending on how long the cold weather lasts, you could be using your winter tires for close to half the year, making it worthwhile to maintain them on a consistent basis.

Here are some quick and easy tips to ensure your winter tires last:

REGULAR CHECK UPS

It should really go without saying, but the best way to maintain your winter tires is to inspect them frequently. Cold weather will typically reduce the air pressure in your tires, so it’s important that you check them on a consistent basis to ensure they’re properly inflated.

Driving with under-inflated tires will not only hurt your fuel economy, but it will also increase tread wear and negatively affect your handling – which kind of defeats the purpose of having winter tires in the first place.

COMPLETE SETS

This may be surprising to some, but there are some drivers who believe they only need two winter tires if their vehicle has front-wheel drive. While this may sound like an easy way to save a few extra bucks, it’s dangerous.

If you have mismatched tires, each tire will handle the road differently which can be unsafe. While it may cost more up front, it’s always in your best interest to purchase a full set.

STORAGE

Once the roads begin to thaw, it’s important to keep your winter tires in a safe place once they’ve been removed.  Make sure to store your tires in a dry environment away from any direct sunlight. If they’re in the sun for too long, the tires could begin to overheat, causing the rubber to crack.

A garage is typically the best place to store them away from the harmful outdoor elements. Make sure to lay them flat on the ground. If you want, you can lay them on top of one another. Just make sure that they don’t sit on their tread, as this can leave flat spots.

Finally, consider investing in a set of tire covers. This will help to ensure your tires stay fresh for next winter.

REPLACEMENT

While you can do everything in your power to extend the life of your tires, they still won’t last forever. To ensure you’re not driving with worn tires, you should have them inspected by a professional before putting them on each winter.

Buying a new set may be a little pricey, but it’s crucial that you do everything in your power to stay safe on the road – especially in the winter.

 

Distracted Driving Tips

Here are 6 tips to avoid becoming a distracted driver

If you weren’t already aware, the Ontario government reiterated its commitment towards cracking down on distracted driving by implementing new rules and harsher fines for 2018.  While it was always in the best interest of drivers to pay close attention when they’re behind the wheel, the new laws and regulations should only create extra incentive to avoid driving carelessly.

Here are six tips to avoid getting distracted behind the wheel:

Take a cell break

First and most obvious, ditch your phone.  The average driver is well aware of the dangers of texting behind the wheel, yet many continue to do so on a regular basis.

If you’re someone who is somewhat addicted to their smartphone, you should take away the temptation of checking your messages by placing it in the backseat or glove box whenever you’re driving. If something is urgent, you can always pull over to the side of the road to make a call.

Prep the kids

While kids can be a blessing, they can also be a bit of a handful at times. While this is usually nothing more than an annoyance for parents, it can be quite dangerous if they begin to distract you behind the wheel.

Make sure your children are buckled up and settled in before you start the engine. Having your kids happy and comfortable is key to a safe drive.

Make sure you’re awake

No matter how hard you try, it’s hard to concentrate on the road ahead if you’re having difficulty staying awake. Driving tired is sometimes unavoidable – particularly if you have a long commute. Avoid driving late at night or for a long period of time. Ask others to take turns if you’re with other licensed drivers.

Don’t let your temper get the best of you

If you find yourself getting angry at another driver, take the time to take a deep breath and relax. Sure, this person may be frustrating you in the heat of the moment, but it’s not worth risking your life or the lives of others in order to get back at someone else.

Eat or drink beforehand

It’s no secret that drivers can run into trouble when they begin to multi-task behind the wheel. If you’re someone who gets hungry or thirsty fairly easily, try to eat or drink before you begin your commute. This way, you’ll have satisfied your cravings and avoided the temptation to do both when you’re driving.

Don’t fiddle with the radio

Far too many drivers get restless when they listen to the radio, switching the channel seemingly every other minute.

If you’re a channel switcher, consider making your own playlist on Spotify or Apple Music and play that during your morning commute. Not only will you get to listen to what you actually want to listen to, but you’ll also be less distracted.