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We’ve all dealt with the occasional flat tire, a bad battery, or another of a thousand things that could go wrong while cruising down the highway, touring country roads, or crossing the nation on a four-day road trip. And for whatever reason, issues crop up when it’s least convenient. I’ve found myself stranded on a Kansas highway with a failed alternator. And I’ve blown a radiator on a thousand-mile road trip from Colorado to Wisconsin. Oh, and there was that one time I had a flat coming over a switchback on Wolf Creek Pass in the middle of winter.
While cool heads may prevail, it’s preparedness that has truly proven helpful in my travels. Whether you’re an everyday commuter or a fan of the coast-to-coast road trip, you should keep your vehicle stocked with items that you may need to get you out of a pinch while you’re traversing the tarmac. When you find yourself stranded on the shoulder of a dark road, you never know what will come in handy. That’s why I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of items that you can collect to create the ultimate emergency preparedness kit. And once you’re back on the road, you can stop by our shop in Denver to repair your vehicle and to give it the maintenance it requires for your next journey. Check out our checklist, and create a kit that you can keep in the trunk for those unexpected roadside events:
Duct tape is the ultimate layman’s tool, and it can be used for just about everything. Tear off a few yards to hold up a busted bumper. Or use a big swath of duct tape to make a makeshift window when your car decides that the window should conveniently stick in the down position while a blizzard rolls through.
Jumper Cables or Remote Battery Charger
A dead battery is always a possibility, especially if you neglect to turn off your lights when you shut off your car (like I tend to do). Invest in a remote battery charger to make a quick start easy, no matter where you are. Or at the very least, throw in jumper cables to syphon off some power from a friendly stranger.
Flares, Cones, & Reflective Clothes
When you’re stuck on the side of a busy road, you want to ensure that you, your car, and its passengers are highly visible, so the odds of a collision are mitigated. Buy roadside flares, reflective cones or triangle stands, and high-vis vests to stay safe while you wait for help.
Whether you need an EpiPen® for an accidental ingestion of peanuts from the gas station, or you need a tourniquet to help a fellow hiker who slipped on the trail, you should keep a first-aid kit in the trunk. Keep a kit filled with aspirin, bandages, gauze, sunscreen, and other items to make on-the-spot treatments easy. Check out SureFire CPR for a comprehensive car first-aid kit checklist.
Your phone may prove to be the most valuable tool in your vehicle, as long as it’s charged. You can call for help, find information on the internet, and navigate with your phone, so long as you have a charger to keep juice in the device.
Space blankets are lightweight and inexpensive, and they may just save your life. Invest in a few space blankets (enough for you and your passengers). These reflective, thermal blankets can keep you warm in the most trying conditions, even when the heat is off in your car.
Keep a gallon of water or a few bottles of bottled water handy. If you’re stuck on the road for days on end, this is the first commodity you’ll need to survive. Plus, if you’re in a pinch, you can use water in your radiator to keep your engine cool until you can reach a mechanic to fix that leak.
Alongside extra water you should stock your trunk with non-perishable snacks to make sure that you don’t go hungry. Even a jar of peanut butter can be a lifesaver. If you’re opting to include canned non-perishables, be sure to keep a can opener in the vehicle as well!
Rain Poncho & Umbrella
Whether you have to stand outside to flag down a passing stranger, or you need to replace a flat in the middle of a thunderstorm, a rain poncho will can keep you dry and comfortable, and it may be sufficient to stave off hypothermia in colder conditions. Keep an umbrella handy too, in case you have to hoof it somewhere in the rain.
If you’re headed for a snowy climate, you should prep by gathering the following snow gear: a brush, a scraper, and a snow shovel. Also, it’s wise to include an extra set of warm clothes, as well as gloves and hats.
Kitty litter can give your wheels traction if you’re stuck in mud, snow, or ice. Toss a bag of kitty litter in the back, and lay it down under your tires to get unstuck.
Local Maps & Compass
While we’re often reliant on our smartphones these days, an old-school map may prove to be important if your phone dies, if you lose cell service, or if you’re in an area that hasn’t yet been mapped out online. When you’re really out in the woods, you can rely on a map, local landmarks, and a compass to get you to the nearest town or busy road. Remember, the red end of the needle should point north!
Spare Tire, Tools, & Instant Inflatable Canister
When’s the last time you checked the pressure of your spare tire? Or do you even have a donut in the trunk?! Be sure that you have a spare and a full tool set so that you can get out of a pickle and limp your car to the nearest auto shop. You can also invest in an inflatable canister (like Fix-a-Flat) to remedy a flat for the time being.
Speaking of tires, you should keep a pressure gage on hand to ensure that your vehicle’s tires are full and balanced. If you notice that your wheel is pulling to one side, your car feels extra bouncy, or it’s difficult to steer, then you may have a tire that is low on pressure. If you can limp your car along the road, you can fill up at the next gas station that has a compressor. Otherwise, pull out the spare tire or that Fix-a-Flat.
Flag down passing cars, search through your trunk, or send an S.O.S. signal (if you’re really in trouble) with a flashlight. Be sure to check the charge of your flashlight from time to time, and keep an extra set of batteries in your kit while you’re at it.
Cars rarely catch fire, but when they do it’s just about the most alarming event you can experience. Keep a fire extinguisher in the trunk or a small extinguisher in the cab to quickly put out a fire. If a fire springs up, pull over as quickly and safely as possible. Have all passengers vacate and move to a safe distance. If you’re certain that you’re not in danger of an explosion (if the fire is not near the gas tank (which is usually in the rear of the vehicle) or near gas struts or shock absorbers (which aren’t in most vehicles), you can try to use a fire extinguisher. If flames are near these areas, call 911 and clear away from the vehicle. If the fire is in the engine compartment, crack the hood (do not open it all the way), and spray the extinguisher under the hood. If you have a fire in the interior of the vehicle, spray the source of the flame with the extinguisher. If you are uncomfortable or hesitant to use the extinguisher, call 911 and clear away from your vehicle.
Oil, Coolant, & Windshield Washer Fluid
You should keep a few essential fluids in your kit in case you spring a leak or run out of fluid in your lines. Keep motor oil, coolant, and windshield washer fluid handy. You can also keep transmission fluid in the vehicle if the reservoir is accessible (some transmissions are self-contained and cannot be filled without the proper tools).
Build a tool kit with a few of the most common tools that are used to fix minor car troubles. Toss in a set of screwdrivers, some versatile pliers (I prefer Vise-Grips and needle-nose pliers), an adjustable wrench, and a multi-tool to remedy little issues that can crop up.
When you lose a headlight or taillight, your vehicle will be less visible, and it may be more difficult to see the road. At the very least, you should keep spare headlights and taillights in your car. Consider keeping blinker lights, interior lights, and other spare lights as well, since you never know when a bulb will go out.
Keep That Car Running With Avalon Motorsports
Whether you have to tow your vehicle into the shop, limp it in, or you just need a quick oil change, we’re always here to ensure that your car is running for the next few thousand miles. We hope you’re always safe out there on the roads, wherever they may take you. And as always, you can bring your vehicle in to our Denver auto shop for repairs and regular maintenance. Schedule an appointment today, or stop by at 6950 East Colfax Ave!
When you first purchased your brand new, beautifully designed German-made vehicle, you likely ooh’d and ah’d over the stunning interior. German-made vehicles are well known for their gorgeous interior designs. Whether you opted for that custom leather interior or choose a simple but elegant style, you want to keep the interior of your car looking nice for many years to come.
As a German auto repair shop in Denver, we specialize in helping our clients keep their vehicles in tip-top shape. We know how much pride you take in your vehicle and we work hard to ensure our quality of work always meets and exceeds your expectations. To help you ensure your vehicle stays looking as nice as it runs, we have compiled this list of tips and tricks for keeping your car’s interior in tip-top condition.
Remove Stains Right Away
While ideally you will never slip up and spill your morning coffee all over your front seat or be the host to a child who throws their food across the back seat, accidents do happen. If you spill something in your car, it is important that you take care of the stain right away. The longer you leave stains to set, the harder they will be to ever fully remove.
The moment a spill happens, take the time to sop up any liquid. You can use a clean cloth to dab the area dry. Next, use a cleaning solution that is specifically designed for the type of interior you have. For example, if you have a leather interior, don’t utilize the same spot cleaner you would use on your laundry. Make sure you buy a specific cleaner that will safely remove stains from the interior.
If you are in the middle of traffic and you can’t attend to a spill right away, try to get to it as soon as possible. This is particularly true during the summer as the hot sun will cook stains into your interior. Leaving a stain even for one full workday can make it extremely difficult to:
Cover Your Seats When Needed
When you know your car’s interior will be at risk for extra spills and damage, it can be worthwhile to cover the seats. You can utilize an old blanket or fitted sheet to stretch over the back seats or beach towels to cover individual seats. This can be extremely helpful when you are going to be transporting animals or kids.
While your friend’s dog might not look like it sheds much, it might leave behind more fur than you anticipate. Dog fur can be extremely difficult to get out of your interior once it weaves its way into the fabric of your seats. And your friend’s child might also seem angelic but small kids have a knack for spilling things in any scenario. By taking the time to protect your seats, you can make clean up as simple as throwing towels and sheets into the wash. This way there is no harm and no stress while you transport everyone around town.
Vacuum & Dust Frequently
Sometimes, it is the simple day-to-day maintenance that goes the longest way in protecting your vehicle. Just like you would never skip your oil service on your BMW, don’t skip out on frequently cleaning your vehicle’s interior. Grab your small hand-held vacuum at least once a week and clean up any dirt or other debris. Even when you don’t think your car’s interior looks particularly dirty, it can be helpful to remove the grime that slowly builds up.
You should also use a damp cleaning cloth to dust the interior of your car each week. Over time, dust can build up on your dash, knobs, vents, and other areas. By doing a quick dusting each week, you can cut down on how much dirt permanently cakes onto the interior.
Add A Trash Bin
Similar to the above point about keeping up with frequent cleaning maintenance, you should implement systems that help you keep your car free of debris. Something as simple as adding a trash bin can go a long way in keeping rubbage from piling up on your floorboards
While tossing your empty coffee cup on the floor might not seem like a big deal, this can lead to coffee stains and stickiness on your floor mats. This can then, in turn, attract dust which will cake onto the spot and lead to a difficult-to-remove stain. Prevent this by not allowing trash to float around your car. A trash bin is not only good for keeping debris from building up in your car, it will encourage passengers to also contribute to the cleanliness of the vehicle. Make sure that every few days you empty out the trash bin to ensure your car does not develop any less than desirable odors.
Pay For Deep Cleaning
If you follow the above tips, your car’s interior will stay fairly clean. However, over time grime can start to build up in hard to reach areas. Paying for a car detailing a few times a year can go a long way in preserving the interior of your vehicle and will prevent long-term damage.
Repair Any Tears Right Away
When you notice a crack or tear on your car’s seats or other interior components, make sure you attend to them right away. The longer you leave a tear or crack, the worse the damage will become. You can even purchase your own repair kits to take care of a rip or tear right away. Keep in mind that many do-it-yourself kits will not provide the same level of quality as having the tear professionally repaired. Be sure you know what you are doing before you attempt to repair any major tears.
Here at Avalon Motorsports, we are passionate about helping our clients keep their German-made vehicles in tip-top shape. Make sure you start by taking good care of your interior and continue the love for your car by bringing it into our shop for frequent maintenance. We can help you keep your vehicle running in tip-top shape.
When summer rolls around and you gear up for long road trips and fun, local excursions, one of your main goals is to keep your gas costs down as much as possible. If you are looking to improve your fuel efficiency, there are some simple steps you can take to improve your vehicle’s gas mileage. The first step is to bring your vehicle in to the German car specialists as Avalon Motorsports in Denver. We can help you ensure your vehicle is operating at its very best.
To learn more about how you can improve your fuel efficiency, read on for our top tips on improving gas mileage. Also, feel free to stop by anytime to talk to a member of our European auto repair team about your vehicle’s unique needs.
Air Up Or Replace Old Tires
If your vehicle has a set of old tires, they could be the cause of your decreased gas mileage. When your tires are not fully inflated or are simply past their prime, it can cause your vehicle to operate inefficiently. Improve your gas mileage by ensuring each tire is aired up to the proper pressure. Think about it like this — if you were riding a bicycle that had tires with low pressure, you would expend far more energy to power your bike. In the same way, your engine works harder when your tire pressure is low.
If your tires will no longer hold the proper air pressure, it might be time to replace them with a new set. Not only will new tires provide you with better gas mileage this summer, they will be safer. Whether you are driving during heavy rainstorms or you are taking a long road trip, new tires will ensure you have the proper traction needed to keep you and your family safe.
Listen To Sensors
If you have a check engine light on, it is important to pay attention to this sensor. It could be an indication of another problem that will cause you to lose out on fuel efficiency. For example, many older cars suffer from oxygen sensor malfunctions. If you were to replace your oxygen sensor and solve the problem, you could improve your gas mileage by up to 40 percent.
This is just one example of how a sensor malfunction might lead to the inefficiency of your vehicle. Make sure that your car is operating at its prime by taking it to a trusted car mechanic the moment your check engine light comes on.
Replace Spark Plugs
If you have old spark plugs that are misfiring, this can lead to a decrease in fuel economy. When you notice that your vehicle is no longer providing its promised highway efficiency, take it into a mechanic for a quick tune-up. During this tune-up, your spark plugs should be replaced, along with your fuel filter. This can help improve fuel efficiency, which can pay back the cost of the tune-up in no time at all.
A sure-fire way to burn through fuel unnecessarily is to spend a large amount of your commute with your vehicle idling. Try to avoid idling whenever it is possible. For example, if you are stuck waiting for a train to pass through and you know you will be sitting there for a while, turn your car off, rather than idling needlessly. Not only will cutting down on idling save you gas money, it is better for the environment as well.
Drive Slowly And Steadily
Have you ever witnessed a driver who accelerates rapidly from stoplight to stoplight? Not only can this reckless driving lead to an accident, it will also destroy your fuel efficiency. To ensure you get the most out of each gallon of gas, drive slowly and steadily. Speeds of less than 55 MPH will provide the best value and accelerating slowly will prevent you from burning gasoline around town unnecessarily.
The small amount of time you might sacrifice by driving more conservatively will be saved when you spend less time and money at the fuel pump. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to fuel efficiency.
Remove Excess Weight
Weighing down your car can quickly ruin your vehicle’s fuel economy. If you are carrying around boxes and excess belongings, consider purging your car and cutting back on the weight you are toting around town. The less you can transport in your vehicle, the better for gas economy. When you are going on long road trips and you need to pack a large amount of stuff, take the extra weight into consideration when budgeting for gasoline.
Visit Your Trusted Car Mechanics
If you feel like your vehicle is no longer getting the best fuel economy, talk to our expert team of mechanics. We can work with you to ensure your vehicle is operating at its finest. Whether you need to have your tires replaced or you are looking to overhaul an entire engine, we can work with you to get your vehicle back into the condition you want. Fuel efficiency can be greatly improved by simply taking care of your import vehicle.
We understand that as gas prices rise, you want your vehicle to be as efficient as possible. Don’t let the gas pump prices scare you away from your family vacation this summer. We can take the steps needed to ensure your German-made auto is ready to go this summer season. Come visit us today at our German auto repair shop in Denver.