Archive for Emergencies

5 Must-Have Car Wash Items for Pet Owners

If you travel with a dog, cat, or other furry friend in the backseat of your car, chances are you’ve battled some pet hair in your lifetime. Nothing seems to catch on to upholstery and carpets quite like fur, and when you add things like dirt tracked in on paws or the occasional accident, things can quickly start to get messy.

That’s why we recommend that pet owners carry a few regular washing supplies in their vehicle. Although nothing will clean your car like a deep car wash and professional detail, you can spot clean on the road to keep things looking great for longer.

  1. Grooming Wipes: Animal-friendly grooming wipes look (and function) a lot like baby wipes, in that they allow you to quickly and easily clear away dirt and debris from your pet’s paws, face, and other parts. However, because they’re designed for animals, they’re non-toxic and hypoallergenic. A quick wipe-down after a day at the dog park is great for preventative cleaning.
  2. Seat Covers: One quick and easy way to keep your interiors looking great is to protect the seats with pet-friendly covers that can be slipped off and washed separately from the car. Whether you spray them down at the car wash or put them into the laundry, this is an ideal way to increase the longevity and resale value of your vehicle.
  3. Rubber Gloves: If space is an issue, keep a pair of rubber gloves in the glovebox or under a seat. (The yellow kind used for washing dishes works best.) Tapping into the power of static electricity, you can put the gloves on and run your hands over the upholstery in one uniform direction. Most of the hair will adhere to the glove, which you can then rinse clean and re-use.
  4. Baking Soda or Charcoal Air Cleaner: Pets can be very sensitive to smells, which means cleaning the air with chemicals, scented air fresheners, or even vinegar could upset their little noses. If you need to remove animal smells from the car, an open box of baking soda or crumbled charcoal in a bowl both work well to naturally filter the air. Carrying a small bag of either of these items is great when you want to freshen the air in a pinch.
  5. Animal Restraint: Taking your pet to the car wash is perfectly acceptable (and can be fun!), but safety is always important. That’s why you should always use some kind of pet restraint that will keep your pooch in the car. Whether you crate your animal, use an animal harness, put up a safety net for travel, or leash them, choose an option that limits their movement through the car. This will not only be safer, but also keep their hair and messes restricted to one area.

Prepping for a Summer Road Trip

Nothing says summer sun and lifelong memories quite like a road trip. As soon as the weather turns mild and school lets out, thousands of families hit the road for a long-distance vacation that’s equal parts relaxation and adventure. And it doesn’t matter if you’re headed directly to a special destination like a theme park or if you plan on seeing where the road takes you—the days ahead are going to be filled with lots of car time. Read More

All-Weather Emergency Car Kits

Emergency car kit suppliesHere in Salt Lake City, we’re pretty good at prepping our cars for harsh winter weather. We know to top up our fluids, get regular car washes to keep chemicals and salt from harming the undercarriage, and put on snow tires. Many of us even have emergency kits stocked with specialty winter gear.

While none of these are a bad idea, there are also three other seasons to contend with. To be truly prepared for all that life—and the road—throws at you, it’s a good idea to upgrade your emergency car kit to include all-weather and all-season items.

  • Portable Charger/Power Pack: You might get stranded somewhere without cell service, but that doesn’t mean you want your battery to run out. Portable chargers are relatively inexpensive and allow you to charge your device no matter where you are or how long you’ll be stuck there.
  • First Aid Kit: Everyone should have a well-stocked first aid kit in the trunk of their car. Bandages, painkillers, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary anti-allergens (especially those related to mosquitos, bees, and pollen) are just the start of what you might wish to include.
  • Water/Food Supplies: Bottles of water are a must-have (especially in warmer weather), and it doesn’t hurt to have a few protein bars on hand, as well. Although you’ll need to rotate these supplies as expiration dates come and go, you’ll appreciate having snacks nearby—especially if there are kids in your car when you break down.
  • Fix-a-Flat (and Tire Changing Supplies): Not every flat tire needs a complete change. Many times, using a can of foam tire sealant will get you back on the road and to your destination as quickly as possible. They’re small and portable, too.
  • Jumper Cables: Jumper cables are like first aid kits, in that everyone on the road should carry them at all times.
  • Blankets/Rain Poncho/Weather Prep: Although you can rotate these supplies depending on the weather, you can also carry year-round gear that doesn’t require you to regularly restock. Reflective blankets are great for staying warm in winter or creating shade in summer, rain ponchos and/or umbrellas keep you dry in the spring, and sunblock and/or a sunhat will make a summer breakdown more bearable.
  • Shovels and Scrapers: Chances are you won’t need a shovel or an ice scraper to get you out of a bind in summer, but these are definitely winter must-haves. If you travel on roads that aren’t regularly plowed, you’ll also want to carry kitty litter or sand to help you get traction.

Ideally, you should also purchase a plastic bin to hold all of these items. With some careful packing, you can keep your entire emergency car kit in the bin and stow it in your trunk—only pulling it out for emergencies or for your seasonal check to make sure everything is stocked and in order!

How Extreme Heat and Extreme Cold Can Damage Your Car

Winter Car WashAnyone who lives somewhere with seasonal temperatures (hello, Utah!) can tell you how damaging climate extremes are on their vehicles. From the penetrating UV rays of summer that fade the upholstery to the icy roads that kick up chemicals in the winter, the weather can have an impact on your car’s overall value.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help. With a little extra planning and regular trips to the car wash, your car can stay in good condition for years—no matter what the seasons throw at you!

Extreme Heat and Cars

The most damaging issue of extreme heat in terms of your car’s overall appearance comes from UV rays and the sun. Paint can crack, upholstery will fade, and all the rubber and plastic trim will eventually break down. The best way to prevent damage to the outside of your car is to apply (or have a professional apply) a wax, sealant, or other protective coating. Like a kind of sunscreen, the reflective properties of these materials keep the most harmful parts of the sun away while also giving your car a beautiful shine. You may have to find specialty products for things like plastic trim and the rubber of your tires, but these only have to be applied a few times each year, so it’s not too much of a problem.

Other problems related to extreme heat include:

  • Battery issues, which stem from too rapid evaporation of battery fluid and higher rates of corrosion.
  • Overheated engines, which can be prevented by making sure all your coolants and fluids are at full capacity.
  • Poorly inflated tires, which are most dangerous when the road temperatures are so hot they can overheat the rubber.

Extreme Cold and Cars

In the winter weather, your car’s exterior becomes susceptible to both freezing and snow/dirt/chemicals being kicked up from the road. Because most people don’t wash their cars during this time (a big mistake!), these materials build up and cause problems like rust and paint chipping. The best thing you can do is take your car in for regular washing regardless of the temperature outside. Because an automatic car wash is protected by cover, it’s much easier to do than you might think.

Other problems related to extreme cold include:

  • Battery issues, which are once again a problem because the cold can zap the voltage needed to get your car started.
  • Fluids freezing over or thickening to the point they don’t work properly anymore (including everything from transmission fluid to the gasoline in your tank).
  • Tire pressure issues, as tire pressure will drop 1 psi for every 10 degree drop in temperature.
  • Rubber engine parts, including timing belts, which can’t always stand up to long-term cold temperatures.

The best way to prevent long-term damage, regardless of the weather, is to take your car in for regular tune-ups and to hit the car wash a few times every month. Not only will the cleanliness be good for your vehicle, but you can perform a walk-around to ensure that everything is in working order.