Bye Bye Salt Stains, Hello Spring!

After the winter we’ve had, more than likely your car floor is covered in salt stains. And with Pittsburgh getting a small covering of what we’re hoping is the last snow of the season this past weekend, we’re glad we decided to hold off on our car spring cleaning. But with temperatures picking back up, we decided to get in the spring cleaning mood and give you a 3 step how-to on getting rid of those salt stains once and for all!

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To start, you need some water, vinegar, a brush, absorbent rags, a vacuum and a little TLC.

1. Vacuum the area carefully, getting as much dirt and dry salt out as possible. Do not press too hard as this will force the salt further into the carpet and perhaps damage the fibers.

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2. Spray and soak again, this time using an absorbent cloth to wipe the area. If you have a wet/dry vacuum use it to remove the remaining moisture. (Do not use the family household vacuum – there will be expensive results from ingesting the salty water!) If you do not have a wet/dry vacuum use absorbent towels. Press down on the damp area with as much weight as possible.

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3. Repeat as necessary, the salt will eventually come off and the vinegar smell will go away as well. Leave the windows open and enjoy the Pittsburgh spring air!

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Ways You May Be Prematurely Aging Your Car

We all know that the winter weather takes a tool on your car, but bad habits could be making it worse. Here are the most common habits that may be increasing the wear and tear on your car.

Warming your car up or leaving it idling
It’s been an urban legend for many years – you must warm you car up in the winter before driving. But today’s cars have been proven to bust that myth, since their engines have enough lubrication that they don’t need to be warmed up. If you heat your car up just to get the inside nice and toasty before heading out in the brisk morning, just keep it to a minimum. Engines aren’t designed to sit idling for long periods of time. Keeping it idling for too long can cause a buildup on your spark plugs, which can make them less efficient, which wastes gas.

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Poor tire maintenance
Driving a car with improperly inflated tires wastes fuel and wears down your tires’ tread. Check out Master Technician, Johnathan, as he demonstrates how to check your tire tread depth.

Putting the pedal to the metal
The speed limit signs you see on the side of the row are there for a reason! When you driving over the speed limit, you are forced to break hard, fast and abruptly, which cant take a toll on your tires’ tread. Allow some space between your car and the car in front so you don’t have to brake as hard, and scan the road far ahead so you can react with plenty of time.

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Baking the dashboard
Those sunshades you see in windshields isn’t just to keep the car cooler inside for those hot days, but to keep the dashboard from blistering, cracking, fading or getting otherwise damaged by the harsh rays of the sun.

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Winter Weather Fuel Economy

The Jim Shorkey Auto Group has an ample collection of vehicles with a fantastic fuel economy, including the best-in-class Mitsubishi Mirage, both the Kia Optima and the Kia Optima Hybrid, the Chrysler 200, and any Ford vehicle with Ecoboost (and even some Ford vehicles without).

And as far as we can tell, there’s only one thing that puts these fuel-efficient cars to the test: cold weather.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fuel economy tests show that, in short-trip city driving, a conventional car’s gas mileage is about 12% lower at 20°F than it would be at 77°F. It can even drop as much as 22% for very short trips, lasting about 3 to 4 miles.

But why?

Cold engine oil and other drive-line fluids cause engine and transmission friction to increase in cold temperatures. Also, it takes longer for your engine to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature when starting from a much lower temperature. This affects shorter trips more, since your car spends more of your trip at less-than-optimal temperatures. And don’t forget—those heated seats, window defrosters, and heater fans that you LOVE use additional power. Finally, colder air is denser, increasing aerodynamic drag on your vehicle, especially at highway speeds, causing it to work harder.

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What can you do?

Park your car in a warmer place, such as your garage, to increase the initial temperature of your engine and cabin. Try carpooling or combining trips when possible so that you drive less often with a cold engine. As much as we hate to say it, don’t use seat warmers or defrosters more than necessary. Check your tire pressure regularly to ensure proper inflation. Additionally, remove accessories that increase wind resistance, like roof racks, when not in use. Finally (and maybe most harshly), minimize idling your car to warm it up. Most manufacturers recommend driving off gently after about 30 seconds. The engine will warm up faster being driven, which will allow the heat to turn on sooner, decrease your fuel costs, and reduce emissions.

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