In many parts of North America, winter can sneak up on you. Before you know it, temperatures are dipping, and harsh weather is setting in with snow, ice, sleet and wind. It’s crucial to get up to speed on winter car maintenance before the elements get the best of your vehicle.
To keep your car on the road and out of the repair shop, avoid making these four common winter car care mistakes:
1. Extended Engine Warm-Ups
It’s true, a cold engine provides uneven and poor combustion. The best way to warm it up is to let it idle for about 30 seconds before putting it in gear, then gently driving your car for a few blocks until everything is running smoothly.
One of the most common winter car maintenance mistakes is to let the engine idle for a prolonged period of time. This winter warm-up routine can do more harm than good, as it negatively impacts the catalytic converter. Leaving your car idling wastes fuel, is terrible for the environment and can diminish fuel efficiency.
2. Taking Tire Pressure for Granted
Cold temperatures compress air, resulting in reduced pressure in your tires. One of the first rules of winter car maintenance is to check your tire pressure regularly — at least every week and always before driving a long distance.
Consult your owner’s manual for factory recommended PSI levels for front and back tires, and remember to gauge the PSI when the tires are cold. If you’ve been driving, the air heats up and expands to elevate the pressure level temporarily. While you’re there, check the tires to make sure you have enough tread. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, it’s wise to switch to snow tires that have wider gaps in the tread design for better traction on slick winter roads.
3. Clearing Your Windshield the Wrong Way
When it’s cold and snowing, you want to get out of the elements and into your car as quickly as possible. However, take the time to properly remove snow and ice from your vehicle, especially the windshield. Use a scraper and clear the glass entirely from top to bottom.
Don’t try to remove snow and ice with your windshield wipers. This can damage your blades and potentially overload the motor. You also want to avoid using hot water to de-ice car windows. The sudden, dramatic change in temperature can result in fractures and cracks in the glass.
4. Letting Your Gas Gauge Dip
It’s never a good idea to run on empty, but that’s especially true in the winter. The emptier the tank, the more air that can get in, introducing moisture that can freeze. It’s also wise to winterize your gasoline engine with a fuel additive designed to keep the system dry and remove existing water.
Learn More About Winter Car Maintenance
Get in touch with Hy-per Lube for additional information on how to take care of your car in the winter, and use our store locator to find a store nearest you that carries our oil and coolant products.
Posted on: Feb 15 2020
We get this question all the time on our tech support lines and on Facebook.
For most of us, gasoline never seems to sit around for very long. But when you do store gas or go a long time without using it, the question arises: does gas go bad? Let’s take a closer look at the shelf life of gasoline and what can happen when you store it for too long.
Does Gasoline Expire?
The answer is yes. How long does gas last? That depends on a variety of factors, such as what type of fuel it is and how and where it is stored. Heat, oxygen and humidity all have an impact on the condition of stored fuel.
In general, pure gas begins to degrade and lose its combustibility as a result of oxidation and evaporation in three to six months, if stored in a sealed and labeled metal or plastic container. Ethanol-gasoline blends have a shorter shelf life of two to three months. Fuel stabilized gasoline can last between one and three years under optimal conditions. Gas stored in a car tank begins to degrade in just about a month.
The Dangers of Using Old Gas
Old gas does not become contaminated necessarily, but rather loses its combustible properties and volatile compounds. When you use gasoline that’s too old, it can damage internal engine components. It may also start to form a gum residue that could cause blockages. If there’s ethanol in the fuel, it may draw water vapor into your fuel line, which could result in internal corrosion.
How to Properly Store Gas to Make It Last
Gasoline should be kept in an airtight container. You should always label when the gas was purchased and stored. Keep gas in a cool, low-oxygen environment. If your stored gas becomes exposed to high heat and humidity, it can increase the volatility and potential for fire and explosion. For this reason, having a container with more than five gallons of fuel is not recommended.
When you have an automobile, machine or piece of equipment with a full tank that’s idle for a prolonged period, using a fuel stabilizer additive is the easiest, most efficient way to help keep its potency.
Identifying Old Gas
Labeling, properly storing and knowing how long it takes for gasoline to go bad is your first line of defense against using fuel that’s too old. When in question, check the color of the gas compared to fresh fuel. As gasoline ages, it tends to darken in color. The smell of gas can also be a dead giveaway that it’s past its prime. If you detect a sour scent or it smells spoiled, it’s an indicator that the gas has gone bad.
Learn More About Making Gas Last in Your Vehicle
Contact the experts at Hy-per Lube for additional insight into how long gas lasts, and use our store locator to find the store nearest you with our line of high-end, stress-tested lubricants, coolant treatments and fuel system cleaners.
Posted on: Feb 1 2020
There are many different types of fluids necessary to keep your car running safely, smoothly and efficiently. We all are aware of that. The engine oil, air conditioning coolant, brake, washer, transmission, power steering and radiator fluids all need changing at various intervals. If you’re servicing your car or truck yourself, it’s crucial to know what to do with your old fluids – and it’s something many people don’t think about.
Can You Throw Away Old Car Fluids?
Used car fluids cannot be thrown away or treated like a common waste product. They contain toxins that will contaminate the environment and contribute to health hazards. Throwing away old fluids is unethical, and there are rules and regulations in place in most areas that mandate the safe handling of this type of hazardous waste.
How Can You Safely Dispose of Different Fluids?
You have a variety of disposal options depending on the type of fluid. If you’re wondering how to dispose of brake or transmission fluid, where to recycle antifreeze, and what to do with engine oil and AC coolant, use the following tips to make sure you do it right:
- Burn: Burning off oil-based fluids is a viable option that protects against contamination. It can burn as a fuel for energy recovery. However, you should take it to an appropriate burning facility where it will be utilized in a manner that meets federal standards for used oil disposal. Do not try this at home.
- Recycle: Many auto shops will accept used oil, but there are other fluids that they may not accept. To recycle antifreeze, it’s best to find a recycling center or your local household hazardous waste program that accepts it. For transmission fluid disposal, pour fluid into a leak-proof container and drop it off at the nearest automotive fluid collection site.
- Reuse: Some car fluids can be reused at a later time. Before you research where to recycle antifreeze or engine coolant, consider if you can use it in the future. If so, keep it in a sealed, labeled container stored in a safe place. In most cases a fluid such as antifreeze can be kept and reused for multiple years, depending on the type.
- Store: If you can’t get to a recycling facility, you can store transmission and brake fluid until you have the opportunity to dispose of it safely. Make sure your storage vessel is leak-proof and kept in a cool, dry location out of the reach of children and pets.
Protect the Environment When Disposing of Car Fluids
Car fluids are among the most recycled materials in the world, but they are also the cause of a variety of environmental concerns due to improper handling. Do your part to protect the planet by always following safe handling procedures for hazardous materials.
For more information on how to dispose of brake fluid and other toxic materials used in cars, get in touch with the experts at Hy-per Lube today. Contact us online or find the location in your area to speak with a live representative.
Posted on: Jan 15 2020
Car engines have changed dramatically over the years, and so has the oil we use to keep them lubricated and protected. One significant difference in the composition of engine oil today, compared to a few decades ago, is that it contains much lower levels of zinc and phosphorus.
Modern motor oil is suitable for servicing and maintaining most automobiles built since the 1980s. But it does not provide the necessary level of protection for most classic cars, hot rods and other engines put under extreme stress of heavy-duty applications.
Do you need zinc in your car’s oil? It depends on how old your engine is and how you use it. A zinc oil additive will provide improved wear protection for just about any engine, and is an absolute necessity when it comes to older models, especially those with flat-tappet camshafts.
Why Put Zinc in Oil for Old Engines?
Zinc or zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP) in motor oil creates a protective coating on metal surfaces in the engine so it can stand up to the stress put on the camshaft and other components. Your average oil produced today provides enough protection for most cars used in normal operating conditions. Older classic automobiles, high performance engines and almost all non-roller cam-designed models need a more robust line of defense. That’s where zinc comes in.
High zinc oil or zinc oil additives deliver the extreme pressure wear protection to get the best performance and longevity out of your engine. It protects and eliminates wear problems with the cams, lifters and rocker arms. Zinc in oil also helps older engines start smoother in cold temperatures and maintain peak horsepower and fuel efficiency.
Choosing a Zinc Oil Additive
High zinc oil has many positives, as well as a few cons to keep in mind. The reason why engine manufacturers started asking motor oil companies to reduce ZDDP levels is because it can create build-up in the catalytic converter, which can have a negative impact over time. Oil with lower levels of zinc is also better for the environment.
Rather than finding out which motor oil has the most zinc, a smarter solution is to choose a zinc oil additive that gives you everything ZDDP does, but does not contain zinc or phosphorous. Zinc Replacement Additive from Hy-per Lube is a top-performing product that’s reliable, effective and affordable. Formulated and made in the USA, our innovative ZDDP replacement is environmentally friendly and safe for use with virtually any type of engine.
Get the Engine Protection You Need Today
At Hy-per Lube, we’ve been providing our customers with high-end, stress-tested coolant treatments, lubricants and fuel system cleaners for over 50 years. We’re focused on helping you find the products you need to quickly and inexpensively solve issues with your cars and engines.
For more information on zinc in oil for old engines and our Zinc Replacement Additive, get in touch through our online contact form or use our store locator to find the Hy-per Lube in your area today.
Posted on: Jan 2 2020
Oil additives have always been a subject of controversy among automotive enthusiasts and mechanics. While some say that oil additives are not worth the hype, others swear by these products to improve the performance and lifespan of their engine. Those who use oil additives boast numerous benefits such as better fuel mileage, longer service intervals and reduced engine noise. But are engine oil additives worth it?
In this article, we will take a closer look at how oil additives work and the different types of oil additives available. By considering the potential benefits of using oil additives in your vehicle, you can decide if engine oil additives are the right choice for you.
Posted on: Oct 1 2019
If you have a passing familiarity with your car, you know there are many fluids it needs to run correctly. Gas is one, of course, and oil. But also, your vehicle needs coolant to run correctly. If all you know about coolant is that you need to add more when your mechanic says it is low, you may be interested to learn why coolant is so essential to your car.
What Is Coolant, and What Does It Do?
You may have heard coolant referred to more commonly as antifreeze. It consists of a mixture of alcohol and distilled water that gives it the property of being able to absorb and dissipate heat. This is very important because your car’s engine, like any powerful, fast-moving machine, generates a lot of it. Your car’s engine runs at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, in fact.
That kind of heat, when applied to the various rubber and metal components surrounding your engine, can do serious damage, which is why you need something to constantly cool that engine down. That something is your coolant. It is called antifreeze because while it is very good at getting cool, it does not freeze at sub-zero temperatures the way water does. If it did, it would freeze up and crack your car engine block or other components during a cold winter.
Your coolant works with a radiator attached to your engine. The radiator has a reservoir of coolant that flows into the engine block and circulates around the engine, absorbing the heat the engine gives off. It then circles back into the radiator where it is air-cooled so it can go back into the engine and repeat the process.
What Will Happen to My Car Without Coolant?
As you might imagine, a car without coolant is not likely to get you very far. Without something to dissipate the great heat of the engine, your car could overheat and fail. Other vital components under the hood will melt or blow, and you will have a costly repair on your hands.
Which components could be adversely affected by an overheated engine that isn’t cooled down? Just about everything else under the hood, including the head gasket, water pump, cylinder head and cylinder or piston timing. Not only will your car not function correctly without any of these things, but these items can cost hundreds of dollars to replace, so you are strongly advised to protect your coolant and make sure your coolant reservoir stays full.
What Are Signs That My Coolant Is Low?
There are several signs that your coolant is low, and you need to stop driving and refill it as soon as possible. If your dashboard is functioning properly, it should provide an early warning that you have a coolant issue. Pay attention to it. If you do not see a specific warning light indicating low coolant, a temperature gauge in or approaching the red is usually another strong clue.
If the dashboard is not cooperating, other signs to watch for are the internal heat of the car rising uncontrollably, a burning smell or the sweet smell of leaking antifreeze, a hood that is too hot to touch and, of course, the telltale sign of smoke or steam rising from the hood.
Why Is My Coolant Low?
If your coolant is too low, the most likely culprit is a leak somewhere in the system. Radiator hoses springing leaks are not uncommon, which is why you should change these when indicated as part of your car maintenance plan. If you have too much rust in your radiator, this can lead to holes which can also cause your coolant to leak.
One way to help protect yourself from coolant issues is to do a coolant flush every 30,000 miles or every few years. A coolant flush clears everything out of your radiator, including mineral deposits or rust that could interfere with your radiator’s ability to function or could damage the radiator itself, and allows you to replace it with fresh, clean coolant.
The cost of a coolant flush is only a fraction of what it would cost to replace internal components if your engine overheats, especially if you do the coolant flush yourself rather than taking it to a mechanic.
How Do Modern Engines Prevent Overheating?
In an older car, if you had a coolant leak or your coolant was not functioning for some other reason, there is a good chance that you would not find out about it until smoke started rising from your hood, and it was too late. There would be signs, to be sure, but if you were distracted and not paying attention to the dashboard, sound or smell, your car could end up in real trouble.
Fortunately, most of today’s cars have an automatic cut-off feature. This feature automatically shuts the engine down if the engine gets too hot. You’ll have to stop driving immediately, of course, and won’t be able to go again until the car reaches a safer temperature, but this is a lot better than having your car’s insides melted.
Some modern luxury cars have what you may think is an even better response to the problem of coolant loss. These cars have an engine control unit which can flip your car into safe mode when it is in danger of overheating. In safe mode, the car changes the way the cylinders fire to get some of the cylinders to cool down while the others fire. This is a temporary solution, but it should allow you to keep control of the car long enough to get to a garage or somewhere where you can refill the coolant.
If your car is running too hot, your coolant may need a little help. However, standard coolants cannot always easily stand up to the heat generated by high-performance automobiles. If you are concerned about overheating, we recommend you add Hy-per Lube Super Coolant to your coolant tank. This product is compatible with virtually every type of antifreeze, lowers engine temperatures up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit and improves engine warm-up operating even in the coldest environments.
For more information about how coolant additive can protect your car, visit Hy-per Lube today.
Posted on: Sep 15 2019
Your radiator is one of those parts of your car that you don’t think about much until there is a problem with it. But when it wants to, it usually has no problem getting your attention. The radiator, thermostat and water pump make up your car’s cooling system, and if there’s a problem with it, the extremely high temperatures of your running engine will cause the car to overheat and likely fail. Your engine runs hot — around 200 degrees Fahrenheit — and without something cooling it down, that heat can wreak havoc on the other components under the hood.
The radiator prevents overheating by cooling the fluid that flows around the engine block to dissipates the engine’s heat. When you see smoke coming from the radiator, it is an indicator that the radiator has not been able to do this job and the car is overheating as a result.
For this reason, it’s important to know what some of the more common radiator problems are, how to avoid them and how to fix them to keep your car as healthy as possible.
Posted on: Sep 1 2019
You might think about it every time you pull up to the gas pump. What grade fuel should I use? Can I just go for the 87-octane the lowest price option? Is there really a difference in gas grade? Here’s what you need to know.
Posted on: Aug 15 2019
Negotiation is a huge part of buying a used car. The seller expects it, and most buyers do it. The first price a used car seller offers is rarely his rock-bottom offer. Also, when it comes to used cars, while there are some guidelines as to what different models are worth, each vehicle is different with respect to the amount of use and wear. So, knowing that negotiation is part of the process, what are some useful ideas on how to get the best deal on a used car?
Posted on: Aug 1 2019
The black box. You have probably heard of it in reference to airplanes usually, unfortunately, after the plane has crashed. Perhaps you are wondering if there is such a thing as a land vehicle black box — specifically, do cars have black boxes? Here’s what you need to know.
Posted on: Jul 15 2019