The heart and soul of any vehicle are under the hood. Unless you’re a car fanatic, you might not pay much attention to your engine outside of checking to see if it’s time for an oil change. But it’s important to check in with this vital area often. Cleaning your engine is a great way to keep it looking great and getting ahead of any necessary repairs early. Here’s why you should consider cleaning your engine regularly.
Benefits of Cleaning Your Engine
Cleaning your engine is beneficial for a number of reasons. The hood of your car only offers so much protection to the engine. Leaves, dirt, moisture, and debris can still collect inside over time. Not only does this affect your engine’s appearance but it can also potentially cause corrosion or wear down the various components that keep your car running.
Although cleaning your engine won’t necessarily enhance your engine’s performance it could help you get ahead of potential damage. Road salt and debris can corrode the metal components over time and could create hazardous “hot spots”. Leaves and oil can be a fire hazard both on the road and in the garage. Cleaning your engine can help extend your engine’s life by removing this debris before it can cause any issues.
Getting under the hood to clean your engine also offers you the opportunity to identify problem areas that could affect your vehicle’s performance. If you’re regularly taking the time to clean your engine, you can catch issues before they get too concerning. When you clean your engine, you could also take this time to find and isolate oil leaks, evaluate the condition of rubber and plastic parts, check the oil level, and examine accessory belts.
Finally, maintaining a clean engine can score you a higher resale value. Unfortunately, the longer you own your car, the more it will depreciate. But there are some proactive measures you can take to help it maintain the highest value possible; keeping your car and its engine clean is a great way to assure you get the best deal possible when it’s time to trade up!
How Often Should I Clean My Engine?
There aren’t any hard and fast rules around how often you should clean your car’s engine. Your environment and climate will dictate how often you should clean it. Also, whatever terrain you take it across normally will determine if it needs a more in-depth cleaning.
If you live in a dry area with little to no debris in the road, you can schedule a cleaning twice a year. But if you live in a dusty area, you should consider cleaning your engine roughly every three months. Those in areas with lots of rain and snow –like Colorado– are encouraged to clean their engine every two months. But again, you can use your own discretion to decide how often you want to clean it.
Can I Perform an Engine Cleaning on My Own?
Yes, but proceed with caution and do your research. Don’t attempt to clean your engine without proper knowledge of how to do it safely. Modern cars have a lot of wires, sensors, and other sensitive engine components that can malfunction if exposed to water. Plus, you don’t want to clean your engine when it’s blistering hot. You can inadvertently cause issues if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Clean the inside of your engine as well as the outside so you get all of the debris and deposits out. If you don’t feel comfortable handling this on your own, consider taking it in for a professional cleaning service.
At Sticklers 4 Details we offer engine degreasing and dressing. We will work to restore and protect the components of your engine bay without damaging any sensitive electrical parts. We also offer a full suite of interior detailing services. Contact us today for a free quote on all of our premium services and packages.
How to Take Care of Your Car for Beginners
Owning a car is a huge milestone for many of us, but it can be intimidating if you don’t feel like you have a solid base of knowledge around car care. Between maintenance and keeping it as beautiful as the day you drove it off the lot, there are many considerations to keep in mind.
Here at Sticklers 4 Details, we have a deep love for all things car care! If you’re a beginner or simply want to learn how to take better care of your vehicle whether it’s to increase the longevity of the car or to keep it looking nice and shiny, enjoy some of our tips and tricks on car maintenance.
Check Oil Levels
One of the most important things a beginner should learn to do is check their oil level. Oil is vital to the function of your vehicle. It’s tasked with lubricating all of the moving parts in the engine. Without it, all the gears and other moving parts within would grind into each other and quickly wear out.
You can check your oil by pulling out the dipstick located under the hood. Be sure to do this with your engine off. You’ll see two lines at the end of the dipstick. Your levels should be between these lines. If it’s lower, add a quart of oil, wait 10 minutes and check oil levels again. Now use a cloth or napkin to wipe off the dipstick. Be sure the oil is an amber color. If it’s darker or lighter that can indicate an issue. Do this every couple of weeks or before a long journey.
Don’t Miss an Oil Change
Maintaining oil levels isn’t the only consideration car owners should stay on top of. You should also be sure to change it out regularly. Most mechanics recommend changing it every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, or every 6 months. Your vehicle’s manual will have the suggested oil change timeline and/or mileage.
Over time, the oil will wear out and lose its ability to withstand heat and properly lubricate your engine. Changing it out frequently will help keep your car running in top condition and improve your mileage.
Monitor Your Tire Pressure & Tread
Maintaining your tires is another important piece of car care. A big part of this is monitoring your tire pressure monthly. Every car will have slightly different standards on how full the tires should be but most experts recommend that they should be somewhere around 32 psi to 35 psi. You can check the specs on your car in your manual or on the sticker located on the inside of your driver’s side door.
While you’re taking a look at the tire pressure, look at your tread. Cracked or worn-down rubber are signs that you might need to replace your tires. If there is balding on the outside of your tires (the circumference) you could be cornering a bit too hard and therefore are striping the rubber right off the tires.
Things to keep in mind when replacing your tires:
For a front-wheel or rear-wheel drive vehicle, you might not need to replace all 4 tires. If one of the rear tires or front tires looks to be in bad condition, you may only need to replace the set of 2. But if you’ve put a lot of miles on all of the tires, you’ll need to replace all of them.
For AWD and 4WD vehicles, you must replace all 4 tires since they mostly wear down at the same consistency. Replacing just 1-3 means the other wheel(s) that haven’t been replaced will make the vehicle’s driving feel different and could lead to an accident. The tread must stay the same across all tires.
Remember to Rotate Your Tires
Another important aspect of tire maintenance is rotating them regularly. Your car might unevenly wear down your tires over time – especially when the roads are snowy or wet. The tires situated on the rear axle will wear differently than the ones on the front axle. Switching their positions about every 6,000 to 8,000 miles will help increase the longevity of your tires.
Change Out Your Engine & Cabin Air Filters
A car’s engine air filter is tasked with feeding clean air into the combustion chamber. It prevents dirt, leaves, and debris from entering your engine. Over time, it will get dirty and won’t be able to do its job as effectively. Mechanics recommend changing it every 12,000 to 30,000 miles. Luckily, changing out your air filter is a fairly easy, quick task you can complete on your own.
First, figure out what type of filter your car needs. Now locate where your air filter is under the hood (while the ignition is turned off). It will usually sit on top of your engine or off to the side. You can find out where yours is with your manual if you can’t immediately locate it, or just look up a how-to guide on YouTube. Unlatch or unscrew the housing unit and remove the old filter. Clean the housing unit with a damp rag. Now simply slip in the new one and reattach the lid and you’re good to go!
Newer vehicles will typically have a cabin air filter, which is different from the engine air filter. The cabin air filter is used for the airflow of the car’s interior. These can get filled with dust, pollen, and pet hair on the regular. You’ll need to use your vehicle’s manual or look up on YouTube how to find and replace this component. It’s a very easy replacement and shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.
Replace Your Brake Pads
Brake pads will wear down over time too. It goes without saying that it is absolutely essential to have brake pads that are up to the task of stopping your car properly. You should get your brake pads replaced around every 25,000 miles or sooner if they seem to be wearing down. If you hear a grinding noise when you stop, it might be time to get your pads replaced.
Prep Your Car For Cold Weather
Cold weather can be especially difficult on your car for a number of reasons. We already discussed how snow can unevenly wear down your tires, but cold weather can also change your tire pressure, reduce your car battery’s ability to charge, and more. One way you can prep for cold weather is to be sure your car’s heating and defrosting units are functioning properly. You can also invest in snow tires or snow chains.
Wash Car Exterior Often
We all love the look of a shimmering, freshly cleaned exterior, but looking nice isn’t the only benefit of keeping up with regularly cleaning your car’s exterior components. If you leave your car to collect dirt and grime for too long it can actually damage your topcoat and paint over time. We recommend cleaning your vehicle’s exterior at least once a month if not more often. We also suggest waxing it every three months or applying a ceramic coating every two to five years.
Invest in a Car Detailing Package
The interior of your car can collect a lot of clutter and grime. Not only is this just plain messy, but it can also reduce your car’s value. Maintaining a tidy car will score you a higher resale rate when it comes time to trade up and it could also reduce your daily stress. Try to get into the habit of cleaning out the interior of your car regularly. We recommend cleaning it out at least once a month.
You can only accomplish so much on your own when it comes to cleaning your interior. Get your car professionally detailed every 4 to 6 months to maintain optimal value. Your technician will go deep into the cracks and crevices of your vehicle to provide a deeper clean than most of us can achieve on our own without the proper tools. They can also steam clean, provide conditional leather detailing, polish up your exterior, and so much more.
If you’re ready to bring your car in for a detailing service, get in touch with Sticklers 4 Details today! We service Fort Collins and the Greater Northern Colorado area!
Car Smells: 9 Ways on How You Can Remove Odors
We spend a lot of time in our vehicles. After a while, all that usage will lead to dirty upholstery, a messy backseat, and probably an unpleasant odor. Every commute to work, cross-country road trip, fast food, and soccer game carpool can add to the untidy chaos. While cleaning up crumbs and dust is pretty intuitive, getting rid of bad smells can be a little more tricky.
If you’re dealing with a smelly car, you’re probably looking for a good way to get rid of the stench once and for all. Good news! You can do this.
1. Clean Out Tight Spaces
From long-lost fries underneath the seats to sticky coffee left behind in cup holders, there can be a lot of messes to find in the nooks and crannies of your vehicle. Leave no stone unturned when hunting down a potential source of the odor. Check the compartments on your car doors, the pockets behind the seats, and underneath the floor mats. If you find any old food or other smelly culprits, throw them away immediately. If there’s still an odor, leave your windows open for a few hours to let the car air out.
This is just a starting point to removing the stench.
2. Clear Out the Duct System
If you or a previous car owner smoked cigarettes in the vehicle, the smell can be extremely persistent. Not only can smoke stick to the upholstery, but it might also sneak its way into your air conditioning system and the ducts within. The smoke will leave a sticky layer of tar inside of these ducts. The best way to reduce the smell is to spray a car odor eliminator into the vents and intake valve under the hood.
Mildew can also find its way into your air conditioning system ducts too. If you smell a musty scent when you crank up the A/C you might need to switch out the filter. You can also vacuum out your vents to remove any dust and mold spores.
Truthfully, it’s hard to eradicate a smell such as smoke from the duct system. We suggest hiring a professional odor removal technician to get all of the smoke smell out. They’ve worked with vehicles for quite some time and know a thing or two about getting rid of the staunchest of smells.
3. Wipe Down Interior Panels
Cigarette smoke can stick to the panels and dashboard in your car too. The sticky tar can cling to just about any surface in the vehicle. Use a car-specific cleaner or a half water, half vinegar solution to wipe down all the panels. If the odor is really stubborn, you can add a small amount of dish soap to the vinegar cleanser. Once you’re finished, wipe the paneling dry.
Strong odors tend to absorb into the flooring and upholstery of a car. It can be tricky to get them out. Vacuuming can do wonders for a smelly car. This can be a good way to pick up any hidden food particles in tight spaces as well. Switch between the upholstery attachment and extension wand so you can vacuum up anything under the seats and between the car seats.
5. Try Baking Soda
Baking soda can pack an added punch to your vacuuming job. It does an amazon job capturing odors stuck deep in the upholstery and flooring. Simply sprinkle it anywhere you want some added odor control, let it sit for 24 hours, and vacuum it up.
6. Steam Clean the Fabrics in the Car
The natural next step after a thorough vacuuming is to steam clean the carpet and upholstery. Steam cleaning is a great way to lift out odors stuck deep in your flooring and seats. It works by forcing pressurized steam through an attachment to clean and sanitize a surface. The hot vapor can kill pathogens and mold spores while also lifting out stubborn dirt and grime.
It may seem counterintuitive, but rest assured that it works.
7. Stash an Air Freshener In Your Car
If you have a mild odor issue to address, some good old-fashioned air freshener should do the trick to mask it. But what you really need to do is find the culprit of the smell. It can be helpful to roll the window down for a few hours to get the air flowing and use the spray afterward to freshen it up. Keep an air freshener in your glove department for the occasional touch-up.
8. Use Charcoal
Charcoal is praised for its versatile utilities. From fueling our grills to whitening our teeth, this amazing substance is helpful in a slew of areas. It can even absorb odors! If you have a smelly car on your hands, fill a cup with charcoal pellets or powder and leave it in your car overnight or up to a few days. Over time, the charcoal should absorb any foul smells lingering in your car.
9. Get a Car Detailing Odor Elimination Package
Yes, all of these tactics work for getting rid of noxious odors. Are they completely effective? Not quite.
By and large, the best way to get strong odors out of your car is to schedule a car detailing service with your top-rated auto detailer in town. Scent can stick to just about any surface. You may simply not have the time or proper equipment to get the smell out on your own. A detailer can clean your car at a granular level, restoring your vehicle to a state it probably hasn’t been in since the day you purchased it.
If you’re looking for a reliable expert in automotive detailing in NoCo, Sticklers 4 Details is at your service! Not only can we lift out tough odors, but we can also provide added value to your vehicle. Detailing can help you get ahead of depreciation by slowing down deterioration. With regular detailing, you’ll have a lot more to offer if and when you decide to upgrade your vehicle. In the meantime, you’ll have a car that smells like it just drove off the dealership lot!
Getting your car professionally detailed isn’t simply a frivolous luxury as some might assume. It’s a worthwhile investment for countless practical reasons. Regular detailing is a great way to protect your vehicle from the elements and maintain its value. And, of course, you’re left with a sparkling, clean car as well.
In this blog, we’re going to further break down why getting your car detailed is worth it and what is involved in the process.
What’s Included In a Car Detailing Package?
A basic car detailing package will essentially provide a deep clean to the interior and exterior of your vehicle. Whereas your typical drive-through car wash experience only provides a baseline brush-up, a detailing gets into the nooks and crannies of your car to give it a “like-new” gleam. A basic detailing will run you anywhere from $150 to $250 depending on the size of your car and what shop you take it to.
Here are some examples of what a basic car detailing package will include:
A basic detailing will leave your car looking beautiful. But you can take it a step further with add-ons such as a premium European steam or odor removal. Other premium offerings can include paint sealant, leather treatment, UV protectant for vinyl surfaces, scratch removal, and more.
Why Is It Worth It To Detail My Car?
There are ample reasons to invest in getting your car detailed. From stain removal to odor elimination, detailing can give your vehicle a new lot on life. But there are quite a few less apparent reasons you might want to consider sending your car in for a deep-cleaning.
Here are a couple of reasons it’s worth it to professionally detail your car:
Protects Your Exterior
The exterior of your car takes on the elements day after day. Its clear topcoat acts as a protective barrier against UV rays, dust, dirt, and moisture. But over time, it can fade and crack without proper maintenance. Just like a weathered roof with missing shingles, contaminants from the outside world can start to seep into places they don’t belong. This can lead to other problems such as rust and pitting.
The weather elements will obviously vary from region to region. Vehicle owners in Colorado will experience harsher weather conditions like extreme UV rays from the sun year-round and even hail storms. Some damages are more preventable than others, which detailing can aid with.
Regular exterior detailing can protect your topcoat and extend its life. Wax or sealant acts as a protective barrier, conditioning your topcoat to better combat the elements. Furthermore, waxing will prevent dirt and grime from collecting on your car’s surface as easily.
Keeps Your Car Sanitary
Did you know that the inside of your vehicle is dirtier than a public toilet? It’s true. According to CarRentals, your steering wheel is four times dirtier than a public toilet seat. They also found that only ⅓ of drivers clean the inside of their car on a yearly basis. This can lead to extremely unsanitary conditions.
Detailing goes beyond a simple surface clean. From high-touch surfaces such as your steering wheel to the sticky cup holders in your back seat, your detailer will leave no germ unaccounted for. Once you come to pick it up, you can breathe easy knowing you're driving home in a much more sanitary vehicle.
Higher Resale Value
It’s no secret that your car depreciated in value with every passing year you own it. Neglecting to properly clean it will only reduce its value further. Detailing is a great way to assure your asset remains as valuable as possible. Even if you don’t plan on selling any time soon, waxing will protect your vehicle’s exterior so it can maintain its sharp appearance for when you do. A well-maintained interior can also score you a higher value when you do finally decide to upgrade.
How Often Should I Detail My Car?
This answer will ultimately come down to personal preference. We recommend getting your vehicle detailed every 4 to 6 months. But you may need to come in more or less depending on how often you use your car and what you use it for. Oftentimes a good visual inspection will tell you what you need to know. Has your wax job lost its luster? Are there crumbs caked into your cup holders? Does the paint on your vehicle have scratches? If so, it may be time to come in for a detailing service.
Get the Sticklers 4 Details Treatment
Here at Sticklers 4 Details, we know life events happen in your car. From road trips to your daily commute, your car is, in many ways, an extension of your dwelling space. All that regular usage can result in some serious wear and tear over time. That’s why we provide a range of detailing services perfect for your unique situation.
For your convenience, we offer all our clients a free custom quote. Detailing isn’t a one-size-fits-all service. We’ll provide you a quote based on the size and condition of your vehicle. Servicing all types of vehicles from sedans to sports cars to trucks!
If you’re looking for a sleek, protective shield for the exterior of your vehicle, ceramic coating might be a fitting option for you. This liquid treatment is an automotive solution meant to keep your car looking pristine day in and day out. Not only does it combat dirt and grime build-up, but it also boasts superior paint protection. Many car aficionados are turning toward ceramic coating as a means to keep their vehicles looking fresh off the sales floor for years to come.
Still on the fence about ceramic coating? Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about ceramic coatings and why you might want to consider installing one on your car or truck.
What is a Ceramic Coating?
A ceramic coating is a treatment and protectant applied in a liquid form on the exterior of a car. As it cures, a chemical bond forms between the coating and the factory paint of the vehicle. Typically, the solution is comprised of silica and titanium dioxide. Together, these ingredients form a hydrophobic layer directly above the car’s clear coat.
Unlike traditional wax or a paint sealant, this nano-ceramic exterior coating goes beyond a simple temporary fix. Ceramic coating is built to last. There’s no need to invest time in labor-intensive reapplication once your coating is installed.
There is a range of ceramic coating options on the market today. Depending on what your needs are, you could opt for a cheaper do-it-yourself kit or spring for a professional install. But before you make a decision, consider what each option has to offer.
DIY Home Kit
DIY home kits are a beginner-friendly option you can achieve right in your own garage. This is the cheapest way to take advantage of the superior protective qualities of ceramic coating. But a disclaimer: that low price tag does come with reduced durability. It can also be a challenging undertaking so keep that in mind before you decide to go the DIY home kit route.
Of course, as auto detailing professionals, we don’t ever recommend installing a ceramic coating by yourself unless you are somehow knowledgeable with car paint installations and have the necessary tools at your disposal. Spots can get missed and the proper layering is very difficult.
Another option on the cheaper end of the spectrum, spray coating is a quick, easy method to apply a ceramic coating. It’s essentially a diluted solution you can spray on to the paint surface of a vehicle. Next, you simply let it cure and enjoy a shiny, new ceramic coating.
There are two main types of spray coatings:
Teflon-Based Sprays: Made from Teflon and Silicones, this spray coating aims to replicate more high-grade products at a lower price point. It does maintain hydrophobic properties and an enhanced shine but it’s prone to swirl marks due to the softer materials used to make it.
SiO2 Boost Sprays: This option goes a step above Teflon-based spray. It contains around 20% SiO2 (Silicon Dioxide) and TiO2 (Titanium Dioxide) to create a stronger coating. It’s sprayed on the paint surface and left to cure for 24-48 hours. It offers better UV protection than its Teflon counterpart but still isn’t as strong as a professional-grade coating.
If you want to reap the ultimate benefits of a ceramic coating, you might consider going the professional route. Auto detail companies can provide top-tier service with a guarantee that your coating will last. They’ll likely use SiO2 infused ceramic products to assure the most high-grade UV protection, durability, and overall quality. With a facility full of all the best tools and resources for the job, a professional installation will always yield better results than a DIY home kit.
On top of this, the price tag for a professional to install a ceramic coating isn’t as high as you’d think. Call several of your local auto detailers to get quotes and compare pricing.
Benefits of Ceramic Coating
Ceramic coating is one of the best options for keeping your vehicle looking pristine for years to come. But its benefits also go beyond simple aesthetics to protect your car too. Here are some of the key advantages of a ceramic coating:
Regular cleaning becomes easier. As we mentioned earlier, a ceramic coating is hydrophobic meaning it naturally repels water. This allows it to wick away moisture making it harder for mud to cake onto your vehicle. When it’s time to clean your exterior, the coating makes it easier to remove any lingering grime.
It will protect your car from UV damage. Over time, sun exposure can result in dull, faded paint. This process is called oxidization. Ceramic coatings prevent the damaging rays of the sun from oxidizing your paint as much. Coloradans are particularly aware of the harsh rays of the sun pounding down on our vehicles.
Your exterior will have a lasting shine. Traditionally, maintaining that fresh-off-the-sales-floor shine required diligent waxing. A ceramic coating is a one-time application that provides an enhanced gloss you can enjoy for years.
It will protect your exterior from scratches, etching, and swirl marks. With its chemically resistant, durable surface, a ceramic coating can prevent damage from debris and acidic contaminants. Of course, damage can still occur but it gives you a greater line of defense against it.
How Long Does a Ceramic Coating Last?
This depends on the type of coating you choose and the upkeep you put in post-installation. Your ceramic coating could last two to five years in most cases. But some professional installations can last a lifetime.
What to Consider Before Choosing a Ceramic Coating
Just like any product, a ceramic coating does have its limitations. Be sure you go in with realistic expectations before you invest in this add-on. Here are some things to consider before you choose to pursue a ceramic coating installation for your vehicle:
It can’t protect against all scratches and abrasions. Rock chips or parking lot scratches are still a possibility. But there are other scratch protection options you can explore.
It won’t eliminate water spotting all together. Water contains trace amounts of dirt or minerals in every drop. The hydrophobic qualities of the coating can’t prevent all mineral build-up but it will reduce it significantly.
You will still need to wash your car, just not as much. Your ceramic coating will help extend the time between washes but you will still need to do upkeep to maintain that freshly-installed, glossy shine.
Are You Ready to Install a Ceramic Coating?
If you’re in the Fort Collins, CO area and you’re ready to get a professional ceramic coating applied, Sticklers 4 Details is happy to welcome you into our garage! We pride ourselves on helping car and truck owners in Northern Colorado restore their vehicles to “like-new” condition.
North Forty News: Fort Collins Detailer Chosen For 15th Anniversary, Air Force One Detailing Team at Seattle’s Museum of Flight
July 10, 2018 North Forty News by Theresa Rose
Newly Acquired B52 Bomber & WWII B29 Bomber Also on Agenda
Fort Collins detailer, Nicholas Vecchio of Sticklers 4 Details, Inc. has been handpicked by Master detailer Renny Doyle to the 2018 Air Force One Detailing Team. It is the 15th Anniversary of the historic restoration and preservation event of America’s most iconic and treasured aircraft. Vecchio and 64 other professional detailers from around the nation hit Seattle’s Museum of Flight July 15–22. In addition to the first presidential jet Air Force One, there is a new airplane on the agenda this year!
North Forty News: Fort Collins Detailer Earns Advanced Certifications from IDA & Detailer of Air Force One
December 1, 2017: North Forty News by Theresa Rose - Nicholas Vecchio, owner of Fort Collins’ Sticklers 4 Details Automobile Detailing has been awarded a Detailing Business, Paint Correction, Headlight Repair, and Ceramic Coatings Certification from The Detailer of Air Force One, Renny Doyle of Detailing Success. Nick also now holds a dual certification (CD SV) from the International Detailing Association (IDA).