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Tips for Attaching a Tree to Your Car

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Before you can gather around the Christmas tree and enjoy the holiday spirit, it’s necessary to get the tree home from the lot. Unless they deliver, you’ll find it necessary to transport the tree in your car.

Rather than having a Grinch experience that results in damage when attaching a tree to your car, keep the following tree hauling tips in mind.

  • Plan ahead. Prepare before attaching a tree to your car by gathering necessary items. You will need blankets, tarps or plastic sheeting to protect the interior and exterior of your car from sap and needles. A blanket placed between your tree and the roof of the car can prevent scratching. In order to secure the tree to your car, bring rope, bungee cording or straps that are soft enough not to scratch your car’s surface.
  • Protect your auto with a car wax. Prior to transporting your tree, it’s a good idea to get a car wax. A high-quality waxing will provide a buffer between your car and the tree and hauling materials. Wax provides a valuable layer of protection.
  • Consider size. Aim for buying a Christmas tree that will fit inside of your vehicle or on your car’s roof rack, if you have one. The smaller the tree, generally the easier it will be to transport without damaging your car.
  • Have your tree netted. If the service is available, have the tree netted before leaving the lot. This provides an added layer of protection between the tree and your auto and helps to preserve the tree. Netted trees are also less likely to sustain damage to the limbs and lose fewer needles during transport.
  • Secure the tree well and in the right direction. Avoid wind damage to your tree by attaching it to your car so that the stump end faces the front of your vehicle. When you drive, the wind will push the limbs and needles in the tree’s natural direction of growth. Before leaving the Christmas tree lot, tug on your tree to make certain it is secure. If you inadequately attach a tree to your car, you risk creating dangerous debris while driving. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 200,000 auto crashes occurred between 2011 and 2014 because of debris on U.S. roads. This resulted in about 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths. Drive home slowly, and avoid the highway or freeway.
  • Have your car cleaned promptly. Ensure that troublesome staining from sap is removed and stray needles are vacuumed up as soon as possible after hauling your Christmas tree home. The sooner you have your car detailed, the less long-lasting damage your auto is likely to sustain. Click here for valuable discounts on car detailing.

Winter Maintenance Tips to Avoid Engine Repairs

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

With Old Man Winter soon on his way, it’s a good idea to ready your car for his arrival with some winter maintenance. Here at Mr. Clean Car Wash, we offer a variety of winter maintenance services that can make your cold weather driving experience a more pleasant one. Here are some good reasons to come visit us today to prepare your engine for winter’s fluctuating temperatures:

  1. High-Quality Oil Change: Even if you had an oil change recently, it’s important to ensure that your car is running on the proper oil. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the oil in your car’s engine changes in response to the temperature at which the engine is running, which is tied to outside temperatures. During winter, thinner, less viscous oil is required. Mr. Clean Car Wash will figure out the details and determine the best oil for your car. Even better, oil changes come with a free interior and exterior wash. Our service also never includes any shop or oil disposal fees.
  2. Engine Coolant/Anti-Freeze Service: Despite its deceptive name, your car’s engine coolant doesn’t just keep your engine from overheating in the summertime. This important additive helps prevent your engine from freezing or corroding. The DMV recommends that during winter, vehicles run on a combination of 60 percent coolant and 40 percent water. Making this adjustment to your coolant is something we do for you, as well as recommend the best coolant for your auto.
  3. Car Battery Check: Avoid getting stuck in inclement weather because your car won’t start thanks to a failing battery. We check the fluid level in your car battery, which may evaporate over time, and fill when necessary.
  4. Brake Fluid Level Inspection: Brake problems with your vehicle can be extremely dangerous—especially in slippery, freezing conditions common during winter. Our winter maintenance services include checking your auto’s brake fluid levels.
  5. Check Inflation of Tires: Navigating the potentially hazardous conditions that winter can cause is easier and safer when your tire pressure is correct. Not to mention that proper tire pressure is the key to good gas mileage.
  6. Inspect and Fill Transmission and Differential Fluids: A properly working transmission is critical to your safety and the integrity of your car’s engine when you’re out and about this winter. We check transmission fluid levels, as well as differential fluids, the latter of which are responsible for transferring power from the transmission to the wheels.
  7. Steering Fluid Check and Fill: As you navigate rough weather, it makes it easier and safer when your steering wheel has the proper amount of fluid and is working well.
  8. Check Windshield Fluid and Wiper Blades: Keeping your windshield as clear as possible during wet and snowy weather is imperative to a safe winter driving experience. We check windshield wiper fluids and top them off when necessary. We also inspect your wiper blades to see that they are working efficiently and safely.

Visit Mr. Clean Car Wash today for your winter maintenance checkup. Every one of our oil and lube services includes an important 15 Point Inspection Oil Change and a FREE Full Service Carwash!

Mr. Clean Car Wash: Common Terms Glossary

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

We at Mr. Clean Car Wash, wanted to make sure that when you hear us say one of these common car terms, you understand what we are talking about.

  1. Detailing– A detail is a specific procedure that deep cleans a specific area. There are usually two main types of detailing, internal and external. External detailing generally includes washing, waxing, and polishing the vehicle. It also includes headlight restoration, clay bar to remove paint contaminants or External Vinyl Conditioning that dresses the black vinyl trim many vehicles have today. Internal detailing includes when a technician shampoos carpets or cloth seats, cleans and conditions leather seats or interior plastic and vinyl surfaces. Both of these types of detailing are important because deep cleaning helps to keep a vehicle in top shape and reduces the effects of weather and other elements that keeps up its appearance and helps to maintain value for resale.
  2. Oil Change The replacement of dirty oil and oil filter to clean oil and a new oil filter in a vehicle’s engine. It is recommended for a vehicle to get its oil changed every 3 months or 3,000-5,000 miles depending on the make and model as specified by the manufacturer’s recommendation. Oil changes are important for the longevity of a vehicle. The key to a great car is a great engine, and an oil change helps maintain a great engine.
  3. Clay Bar– A compound used to smooth the painted surfaces on a vehicle and remove any contaminants. Can be used on multiple surfaces, such as glass, metal and paint. This detailing process is important to clean microscopic contamination from painted surfaces to give a smooth cleaning to paint before waxing.
  4. Express Wash An express car wash is great for a quick run through when a customer is short on time and wants a quick exterior cleaning. It is an exterior only tunnel only wash that does not include a technician drying the vehicle or doing any other finishing process. In many cases, customers that get an express wash will dry and vacuum their car themselves in the self service vacuum area of the carwash.
  5. Full Service Wash Best described as wash that includes interior and exterior cleaning. A full service wash includes interior cleaning such as vacuuming, windows, wiping dash and console by a carwash associate after being washed by the carwash tunnel. Mr. Clean Carwash has several levels of full service washes that add additional tunnel applied features to the wash without adding any time.
  6. Throttle plate A valve that controls the amount of air flow allowed in the engine of a vehicle. It is important to keep a throttle plate clean in order to keep a vehicle from breaking down and running the way that it should.
  7. Emissions Test A test that is required by most states that checks the amount of exhaust waste that a vehicle transmits into the air. The test is usually required once a year and can include a check of other safety features including brakes. Without an emissions test a car owner will not be able to get their vehicle registration renewed as well as get insurance in some cases.

Read more in depth definitions of any unfamiliar terms on Mr. Clean Car Wash’s blog.

Demystifying Car Maintenance Terms

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Between shuttling the kids to school on the way to the office to completing errands on the way home, people’s days are often packed, and more than a little chaotic. Drivers begin to think about an oil change as the miles accumulate, and eventually they swing by the auto shop and check that item off the list.

Proper car maintenance is more than just an oil change every few thousand miles and a car wash, though. To keep the car functioning, drivers need to have regular maintenance service. Think of it like a checkup. The car does the heavy lifting and shuttles people around a lot, and it experiences quite a bit of daily wear. It won’t be in optimal shape if its components are grimy and its systems are clogged. Here are some important terms and their services that will help vehicles take people where they need to be:

Throttle Plate Cleaning
The throttle plate, a small swiveling component of the engine, controls the flow of air and fuel vapor that passes through the engine’s cylinders when the accelerator is pressed. It can be susceptible to grime buildup, which will affect the engine’s operability and peak performance. A grimy plate will lead to a sluggish uptake, which is the last thing people want when they’re late for the office or an appointment. Throttle plate cleaning is available in the 30, 60 and 90K Services, as well as the Fuel System Package.

Transfer Case Service
Transfer case refers to the specialized box next to the transmission that controls power sent to the front and rear axles, and when engaging or disengaging the 4WD. The transfer case houses gears or chains, and it is found in all-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles, which make up the majority of new vehicles today. The transfer case relies on lubricated components, and the fluid can become dirty and contaminated easily. What might happen? Drivers might notice harsh resistance when shifting, or they might experience fluid leaks. Costlier repairs could even affect the transmission itself. Transfer case service is handled in the 4WD Transmission Package.

Fuel Injection Cleaning
Fuel injectors are responsible for pressurizing the engine’s incoming fuel, turning it into a mist that will burn more easily. As with other parts of the engine that rely on fluid, sludge can build up along crevices and block the injector’s nozzle, leading to reduced flow and choppy engine start up. Newer models are designed better, and they don’t build up sludge as quickly. However, no engine is ever immune, and it will benefit from the service provided in the Fuel System Package.

Rear Differential Service
The rear differential is similar to the transfer case, in that it controls the speeds of the wheels via the transmission, but this time the control is restricted to the rear axle. The gears it contains require fluid, and they can be damaged if the fluid is too low or is dirty. The 4WD Transmission Package, as well as the 30, 60 and 90K Service, can replace the fluid to keep any car content.

Breather
The breather is the duct reserved for engine air flow, and it’s connected to the engine crankcase and contains filters and baffles to block vapors and fumes. Now, why is a clean breather important? Without proper air flow, the engine can build up engine sludge rapidly, leading to potential malfunctions like leaking oil, faulty components and costly repairs. Drivers can help prevent these repairs when they get the 30, 60 and 90K Service, which includes inspecting the breather.

When was the last time you had your car serviced? Mr. Clean Car Wash can help keep your car in great condition, inside and out, with our car maintenance packages and car wash services. Swing by for friendly service today.

Image Source: Flickr

All-Weather 4WD: Four Wheel Drive Care

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

If you’re a 4WD vehicle owner, you probably know the importance of keeping it clean in the winter time. All that caked-on mud, snow and ice can trap moisture against the body, frame and other parts and cause rust. That’s why a thorough cleaning after every big adventure, no matter how cold and cloudy the weather may be, is a very good idea.

Summer 4WD fun involves different activities (beach trips, off-roading, often more sand and dust than mud) that require different types of maintenance. Keeping the outside and interior clean is important year-round, but summer’s the right time to focus on the inner workings of your 4WD vehicle, too.

There are more moving parts in a 4WD, so a thorough approach is best. For example, Mr. Clean Car Wash & Oil Change Plus offers a 4WD transmission service package. It includes a full-service oil change and automatic transmission service but adds service for the transfer case, which takes the power from your engine and transmission and distributes it to your 4WD vehicle’s front and rear axles.

There’s also service for the front and rear differential. Those are the gearboxes that let the outer drive wheels to roll faster than the inner drive wheels when you’re making a turn. When you get right down to it, the transfer case and front and rear differential are what make your vehicle a 4WD vehicle. Inside the transfer case and the front and rear differential is fluid. Over time, and especially when exposed to the elements that are common in summer such as four-wheeling, that fluid can get dirty, break down and provide less of the protection against heat and friction your 4WD vehicle needs. Keeping those fluids fresh and topped off can mean many thousands more fun-filled miles at the wheel of your 4WD vehicle.

Combine that maintenance with thorough cleaning and the regular service you’d give any vehicle and you’ll be enjoying the kind of fun and freedom only a 4WD vehicle can give for years to come. Come to Mr. Clean Car Wash today to prepare for all your summer adventures!

Summer Car Maintenance: Creating A Specific Program Tailored To Your Car’s Travel Needs

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

No two drivers use and care for their vehicles the exact same way. That is why car care is different with every driver and their vehicle. Because of this, your car needs maintenance tailored to its specific wear and tear. When you call up the pros at Mr. Clean Car Wash, be specific about your summer driving habits and any upcoming road trips that you may have planned. This will help individualize your car care service experience so you get the most value for your dollar. Here are a few packages that you’ll want to ask about.

Tire Care When Traveling

If you think you’re ready for the road just because you bought a new set of tires, you’re wrong. A specialist at Mr. Clean Car Wash, will make sure your tires are filled properly and safely ready to move down the road. This reduces your risk of tire blow out and ensures that your tires will last well beyond a long, summer road trip.

Transmission Servicing

Planning on pulling an RV along with a lot of travel equipment? Suddenly placing a lot of weight behind your truck, can place stress on wheel axles and the rear differentials. Not only that, your truck’s transmission will face additional stress. You can avoid your transmission slipping or failing while you are far away from home by having your transmission serviced. The car care team will hone in on your truck’s transmission and service accordingly by performing a 4WD Transmission servicing. This includes:

  • A transfer case servicing
  • Front and Rear differential service
  • Auto transmission service and fluid top up

Fuel System Specifics

If you plan on traveling during the hot months of summer, you’ll need to take special care of your vehicle’s fuel system. Protect vital engine parts with a full-service fuel system inspection. Cleaning out the fuel system and adding fuel additives will help your car get better fuel mileage and improve overall performance.Services available at Mr. Clean Car Wash and Oil Change Plus are:

  • Fuel Filter Replacement
  • Fuel Injection Cleaning
  • Throttle Plate Cleaning

Total Engine System Package

Using your vehicle daily in the city with stop and go traffic, can affect brakes and also the temperature control components of your vehicle. Having a total engine system package will help target major areas of possible concern. Mr. Clean’s technicians can do a radiator flush and an oil system cleaner to help keep your car’s engine cool during a hot July road trip.

Call today and talk to a Mr. Clean Car Wash technician about existing and expected wear and tear on your vehicle’s engine. Prevention will help reduce your risk for a breakdown as you drive to your summer vacation destination.

WSB’s Mark Arum & His Jeep Cherokee

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Of all the cars I’ve ever owned – from sports cars, to trucks to SUV’s— my favorite is my 1998 Jeep Cherokee. I still own it and will probably always own it. It is a beast. It has a five-speed manual transmission and it has seen and driven through it all. Ice storms, snow storms, floods: This fiend of a car has tamed them all.

My 1998 Jeep Cherokee has taken me on long trips up mountains and over sandy beaches. It has never let me down. That being said, it has certainly seen better days. There is a huge dent on the back left fender (don’t ask). There are various nicks and dings all along the body. The interior is disintegrating. There are holes on the cloth seats, the steering wheel padding is long gone and the interior lining of the roof is shedding like big furry dog. Yes, it is actually shedding. The radio works, though— when it wants to.

The good news? It runs great. I never have to worry when I crank my baby up and head out on the roads. Despite my car’s haggard appearance, I still try to treat her well. My baby deserves to be pampered with frequent oil changes, tune-ups and of course, Mr. Clean Car Wash’s Signature Shine Car Washes.

However, a couple of weeks ago when I brought my car in for her wash it occurred to me: Despite my car’s age and appearance, I still ask for the “new car” air freshener. Forget the fact the Bill Clinton was President when my beast was a new car—I always insist on “new car”. Why do I do that? Who am I fooling? No one on the planet would think for one second that my ’98 Cherokee is a new car. I even laughed out loud when I realized I was asking for “new car” scent for my now 18-year-old automobile.

I’ve asked some of my male friends what scents they get when they get their cars cleaned. A lot choose “leather” or “neutral”. Some prefer “strawberry”, “cherry” or “vanilla”. Not me though. I know a floral or fruity aroma wouldn’t fit my well-weathered SUV. I guess of all of the scents, “neutral” or “leather” are the closest to my preference (even though there is not one stitch of leather in my Jeep since the steering wheel cover disappeared years ago.).

Though I find what these dudes like to have their car smell like very interesting– I’m still going to get “new car” for my baby. Why? Though my car might not look like a new car, she sure deserves to smell like a new car given all we’ve been through. After all, she is my favorite—and I want nothing but the best for my beast.

When Car Maintenance Goes Wrong During Winter Travel

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

It was a dark and stormy night. Snowy, too. And cold. Add those elements up and you have the perfect formula for a real-life horror story. That’s because the risks of winter driving are all too real. A breakdown that would be an annoyance in mild weather can become life-threatening in winter. Since staying home in front of the fire isn’t an option for most people, it’s important to know what could go wrong and what to do about it. Here are a few tips for staying safe on the roads this winter through proper car maintenance:

Running out of gas
Running out of gas is inconvenient – and embarrassing. But fixing it is usually no more complicated than using a smartphone to call for help. But winter weather changes everything. Sometimes drivers get stranded for hours and have to choose between saving gas and staying warm.

Solution: Always keep the tank, at least, half full during the winter months.

Dead battery
At zero degrees, a battery has only about half of the cranking power it has at 80 degrees. In addition, engine oil thickens when it gets cold, making the car harder to start and putting additional strain on the battery.

Solution: Inspect the battery to make sure it’s in good shape: no cracks, no loose cables, and a full charge.

Carbon monoxide poisoning
When drivers get stranded during snow storms, they typically worry about staying warm. But there’s actually a bigger concern: carbon monoxide poisoning. When drifting snow piles up around the exhaust pipe, the results can be catastrophic.

Solution: Stranded drivers who keep their cars running for warmth need to regularly clear snow away from the exhaust pipe.

Limited visibility
Driving through snow and ice is hard enough without being unable to see the road ahead. Drivers might not have any control over how fast the snow is coming down, but they can control other factors that affect visibility – like wiper blades that freeze and become stuck to the windshield.

Solution:

  • Remove all snow from the car before leaving. Snow on the roof can fall onto the windshield, blocking visibility at a crucial moment.
  • Make sure wipers are in good shape and that wiper fluid (which also needs to be rated for cold weather) is topped off.
  • Keep an ice scraper in the car, even if it’s usually parked in a garage.
  • Verify that the car’s defroster is working properly.
  • For frozen wipers, running the defroster for a few minutes usually solves the problem. Be patient: Don’t try to force the wipers when they’re still frozen.


Frozen coolant system
Although it seems counterintuitive, a car’s coolant system is still important during winter months. An improper antifreeze/water ratio can cause a car’s system to lock up, leading to costly and time-consuming repairs.

Solution: Check the owner’s manual for the proper antifreeze/water ratio.

Flat tires
Tires lose one to two pounds of pressure for every 10-degree temperature drop, and low tire pressure can lead to blowouts

Solution: Monitor tire pressure closely during frigid temperatures.

Driving during winter weather always carries risks. But proper preparation can minimize those risks. Mr. Clean Car Wash and Oil Change Plus is ready to help keep you and your family as safe as possible during your winter travels. Visit the location nearest you today to find out more about the car maintenance services available to help keep your car running and you safe in winter weather or to take advantage of current promotions.

WSB’s Mark Arum & His Clean Car

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

I’ve been working in the media business, specifically in television, radio and in newspaper, for over 25 years. One of the best parts of my job remains being invited to talk to students in high school and college that are interested in a career in media.

I’m often asked what my best advice is for young, aspiring journalists just entering the job market. My answer is always the same: Never be late to work, never call in sick, live close to the office and always keep your car clean. That last piece of advice often receives bewildered looks and head tilts from the audience.

Why is it important to keep your car clean?

My first job out of college was working an entry level position at a major-market radio station. I was a good employee, and was always willing to go above and beyond. I was approaching my six-month review when my boss scheduled a meeting with me to go over my work to date. I expected a quick, “you’re doing fine buddy” meeting in his office. Instead, he suggested we go out for a cup of coffee to discuss things. Sounded good to me until he said, “Lets jump in your car and head to the diner down the street.”

I immediately broke out in a flop sweat. I panicked. My car was an absolute mess. I had an older Mazda 626. While it was a very solid, very reliable car— both the inside and outside of it were disgusting. That 90-foot walk through the work parking garage was the longest, most agonizing walk I’ve ever taken in my life. I ran ahead of my boss to try and clear out some of the junk I’d had stashed on the passenger seat. I opened the door and quickly tossed papers, old fast food bags, soda cans, etc. into the back seat so my boss would have somewhere to sit.

I will never forget the look of disgust on his face. The two mile drive to the diner felt like three hours. We hit every stoplight on the way to the restaurant, prolonging my agony.

When we finally got to the diner, my normally jovial boss seemed gruff and cold. We had a cup of coffee and he quickly reviewed my performance—providing mostly positive comments. Yet, we drove back to the station in silence. My boss’ perception of me had changed and I could feel it. His disappointment was palpable.

Weeks later I applied for a promotion inside the company and was denied. Months later, I applied again—but this time for a better job within the station. I didn’t get it. My career hit a brick wall and I firmly believe it was because of my dirty car.

After that fateful drive to the diner, I made sure to always keep my car spotless inside and out.

Luckily, that boss moved on to another station later that year. When my new boss was hired, you better believe that my car was clean everyday.

Throttle Plates and 30k Service

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

As vehicles get older, parts become more and more dirty. The dirtier a part gets, the more it becomes vulnerable to wear and tear— or even a breakdown. The hardest parts of a vehicle to maintain are the ones that a vehicle owner cannot see with the naked eye (especially those invisible parts that protect the engine). One of the parts that is crucial to keep clean (and is also small) is the throttle plate.

A throttle plate is a valve that regulates the amount of vaporized fuel that enters an engine’s cylinders. The throttle plate is very important when it comes to how a vehicle runs, and it also maintains airflow to the engine. Throttle plates can be victim to build up that may reduce acceleration. This build up can also impact the miles per gallon (or fuel economy) of the vehicle.

Another common problem associated with a dirty throttle plate is that they become sticky. Sometimes, it may take an extra push on the gas to get throttle plates to open. A clean throttle helps keep a vehicle running smoothly as it gets older. Not only will it produce better gas mileage, it will also help with acceleration frustrations.

Make sure you’re getting your vehicle’s mechanics checked out as it reaches certain milestones. This way, you’ll know that the car is safe and effective. Don’t wait until a major milestone, like 100,000 miles as getting a full 30k service on a vehicle is essential to your car’s health and safety.

At Mr. Clean Car Wash, every 30k service includes a throttle plate cleaning as well as a fuel injection cleaning, coolant service, and oil system cleaning. Why wait until there is a problem? Make sure the inside and the outside of your vehicle is washed, maintained and running.