3 Tips for a Stress Free Family Road Trip

3 Tips for a Stress Free Family Road Trip | Spirit Lake, IA

Hitting the road with the family for a vacation is supposed to be fun, not stressful! These tips will help you focus on the fun and leave the worry behind. It’s time to buckle up for a stress free family road trip!

Enjoy the journey

Traveling with multiple people, especially children, can take much longer than if you were driving solo. Prepare yourself for extra stops and the slower pace that comes with a family road trip.

Focus on nutrition

Road trips and fatty, salty, and sweet snacks are traditional companions. When you are traveling with your family, though, you need to focus on healthy, nutritious options. Too much sugary treats will cause mood swings and irritability, but healthy snacks like fruits and veggies will keep everyone’s energy up without the unhealthy sugar crashes.

Take advantage of rest stops

Since you have thrown out the “schedule,” you can maximize the benefits of a rest stop. Instead of rushing in and out, use the necessary break to enjoy some fresh air either with a little walk, jump rope, or ball toss. The time you spend out of the car, even if it is only for a few minutes of stretching, will help make the time inside the car more enjoyable for everyone.

If you need to upgrade your family’s ride, visit Motor Inn of Spirit Lake and check out our incredible inventory of family-friendly vehicles. Or, schedule a maintenance check with our service department to get your current vehicle road-trip ready.

Are strange smells coming from your car’s air conditioner?

Are strange smells coming from your car's air conditioner? | Spirit Lake, IA

Temperatures are rising, so it’s time to turn on the AC again. If you notice odd smells coming from the air vent, it’s time to have your car’s air conditioning system checked as part of your maintenance routine.  

Foul Odors and Their Meanings

The smell of summer is in the air, but that doesn’t mean things are necessarily fragrant inside your car. Dirty filters, bacteria, and debris can all cause foul odors in the air conditioning system. Changing filters when you organize and tidy up your car is a good habit to get into.

Unwashed Socks

A sour smell can mean it is time to change the cabin air filter. The filter’s job is to trap dirt and debris and keep them from getting into the cabin, but they need to be changed periodically.

Dampness

A strong smell of mildew when you turn on the AC can mean that it is time to change the other air filter. The engine air filter also traps dust and debris and needs to be changed a couple of times a year, depending upon where you live and how much you drive.

Chemical Odor

If your AC is exuding a chemical smell, that can be a sign of a more serious problem, such as leaking refrigerant. Take your vehicle in for service if you smell something toxic.

Maple Syrup Smell

Maple syrup smells good on pancakes but it doesn’t belong in your car’s air conditioning. If you detect a sweet smell, it could be a sign of a leaky heater core, so get your vehicle into the dealership for a check-up.

Can’t find the source of that strange odor? Bring your vehicle to the service center at Motor Inn of Spirit Lake, proudly serving Spirit Lake, Knoxville, Estherville, Carroll, and Algona, Iowa.

Try These Car-Related New Year’s Resolutions

Car-Related New Year's Resolutions | Spirit Lake, IA

As the end of 2020 approaches, it’s time to start thinking about your New Year’s resolutions. This time, why not focus on making resolutions related to your vehicle? These car-related New Year’s Resolutions will help you start 2021 the right way.

Remember routine maintenance

Sometimes, when life gets busy, it can be difficult to remember when your vehicle is due an oil change, tire rotation, or brake check. In 2021, make sure you don’t miss out on your vehicle’s regular service items.

Learn how to change a tire

You don’t want to get stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with a flat. So, why not learn how to change a tire? Doing so means you won’t have to wait for help when you find yourself stranded.

Learn how to jump-start a car. Dead batteries are a real hazard, especially during harsh Iowa winters. Help yourself and others by learning how to jump-start a vehicle. 

Check your tire pressure regularly

Your tires are what keep you connected to the road, so it’s important to take care of them. This year, make sure you check your tire pressure regularly and that you keep track of your tires’ tread — after all, worn tires can decrease the amount of traction you have in inclement weather.

To make sure your vehicle runs smoothly throughout the coming year, contact our service department at Motor Inn of Spirit Lake to set up an appointment.

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.