3 Car Care Tips to Help You Weather an Iowa Winter

Winter Care Tips | Spirit Lake, IA

Winter is coming to Iowa, and you need to make sure your vehicle is prepped and ready for the challenges that come with it. From icy roads and salted streets to freezing temperatures and heavy snow, here are some winter car care tips so you can keep your ride in top shape.

Test the Battery

Your car battery might have difficulty operating during the winter, since cold weather is worse for cars than warm weather. To combat the possibility of a dead battery during the winter, you should perform a volt test on your battery before freezing temperatures hit. If the battery isn’t in good condition, buy a new car battery to ensure you won’t end up stranded in a cold parking lot when your car won’t start.

Check the Tires

With snow and ice on the roads, you’ll want to make sure your car tires have good traction. Especially if the temperature drops below 45 degrees frequently, you should equip your car with winter tires. Better tires mean increased confidence when you are accelerating, braking, and turning on cold pavement. You should also check your tire pressure, since it can drop along with air temperature. If your tires have low pressure, fill them to the recommended levels.

Replace Faulty Lights

Winter means less daylight, so you want your car lights to be in excellent shape. Replace any bulbs that may be out. If your headlights are foggy or yellow, it’s time to have them replaced.

For assistance with any of these winter car care tasks, be sure to contact our service department here at Motor Inn of Spirit Lake.

How to Care for Your Idle Vehicle

Caring For Your Idle Vehicle | Spirit Lake, IA

If you have been staying at home more than usual lately, you’re probably leaving your car parked for longer periods of time, too. While you may be saving money on gas, there are still a few things you need to do to care for your idle vehicle.

Drive it

Every couple of weeks, take your car out for a drive. This could be a 20-minute drive down the highway or a more adventurous afternoon seeing new sights in Iowa. This keeps all the fluids moving and recharges the battery.

Check your tires

The longer your car sits in one spot, the more likely its tires are to develop flat spots. While this likely won’t happen after just a few weeks, problems could start to appear within a month. Moving or driving your car occasionally is the best way to avoid this. While you’re at it, make sure your tire pressure is at the recommended level, too.

Fill up the tank

You aren’t using as much gas as you used to, but you should still keep the tank full. When a vehicle sits for a while with a low tank, condensation can start to form in the fuel tank. This can potentially lead to rust. If the tank is full, condensation can’t form.

If your vehicle develops a problem while it sits idle or requires more serious care, we invite you to schedule a service appointment at one of our Motor Inn Auto Group dealerships throughout Iowa.

Important Tips for Sanitizing Your Car

Tips For Sanitizing Your Car | Spirit Lake, IA

In today’s world, sanitizing your car is more important than ever. Proper sanitization is a great way to protect yourself and your passengers — and it can also help preserve resale value and maintain the interior of your vehicle. From sanitizing high-touch surfaces to treating cloth and leather, here are the tips to keep in mind when cleaning your car.

Start by washing the hard surfaces with soapy water or disinfectant wipes. Most hand soap and dishwashing soap will work well if you wring out the cloth thoroughly. Wipe down high-touch surfaces, such as the door handles, the steering wheel, shifter, center console, turn signal, and seat belts.

For electronics and more delicate areas, spray a microfiber cloth with disinfectant or alcohol-based cleaner and then wipe the surface. Be wary of using ammonia-based products on screens and buttons, as these can degrade anti-glare coatings.

Treat fabrics by first vacuuming to remove any lose dirt. Upholstery shampoo is especially suitable for cloth fabrics on the seat and the carpet, while leather cleaner and conditioner will keep your leather surfaces smooth and well preserved. Avoid bleach-based cleaner so you don’t accidentally discolor fabric, and don’t forget about the headliner.

Finally, you can keep the interior especially clean by removing any garbage under the seats, and also pay attention to the HVAC system. Replace the cabin air filter if you haven’t in the past couple years, and spray compressed air into the vents to help clear out any dust and mold and to keep the cabin smelling fresh.

To learn more about safely and effectively sanitizing your car, contact one of our Motor Inn Auto Group service departments here in Iowa.

Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Car

Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Car | Spirit Lake, IA

As the days get longer and warmer, many drivers get the urge to do some spring cleaning. This is a good time to give your car a spiffing up, as well as take care of some routine maintenance. From your friends at Motor Inn of Spirit Lake, here a few helpful tips for spring cleaning your car.

On the inside

The first thing to do is remove everything loose from the inside of the car, including trash like fast-food containers and empty coffee cups, and important things like your snow brush and floor mats. Run a vacuum over all of the inside surfaces to remove crumbs and dust. Give the floor mats a good scrubbing with a stiff brush and then vacuum them when they dry. Wipe down the dashboard, door panels, center console, and any other hard materials in the car with a soft rag and a mild cleaner. Use a special product for screens to clean the information panels.

On the outside

Wash the exterior of the car with a product that is formulated to protect the finish. Rinse well and remove water with a squeegee to avoid streaking. Clean the tires with a stiff brush and a toothbrush to get into tight spaces. Use a microfiber cloth and a non-ammonia cleaner to give the windows a good shine.

Regular maintenance

Spring is also a good time to schedule things like oil changes, tire rotations, battery checks and more. Be sure to check your tire pressure, fluid levels, and underside for leaks and rust damage.

For any maintenance you might need, don’t hesitate to contact us at Motor Inn of Spirit Lake and schedule a checkup!

Three Important Tips for Driving Safely

Important tips for driving safely | Spirit Lake, IA

Driving can be a dangerous task if you are not careful. That’s why it’s important to keep these important tips for driving safely in mind while navigating the streets of Spirit Lake, Iowa, during your commute.

Create a buffer between you and the car ahead of you

You need enough space to come to a complete stop should the vehicle in front of you suddenly do the same. While automatic emergency braking features on vehicles from Ford and Chrysler may assist with these sudden stops, it’s important to create a buffer between you and the car ahead of you to stay as safe as possible.

Keep your blind spots in mind

Many modern vehicles from brands like Dodge and Ford have blind-spot monitoring systems to help you see what you normally can’t while on the highway. While these systems are helpful, you should also be constantly keeping your blind spots in mind while changing lanes.

Adjust your driving for weather

Weather like rain and snow can force you to alter your usual driving habits to stay safe. If the ground is slick, be sure to slow down. That will give you more space and time to come to a complete stop.

For more driving safety tips or to explore the safety technologies currently available from some of the industry’s top brands, be sure to visit our staff at a Motor Inn Auto Group location!