All posts by moran

Buying a Used Car? Six Things to Look at First

If you’ve ever put off an oil change, a tune-up or getting your brake pads replaced, you may have well thought, “Well, what’s the big deal, really?”

Maybe it isn’t a big deal, depending on how long you have put off your car maintenance.

But if you’ve ever bought a used car, what’s the first – beyond the price – that you find yourself wondering about? Boy, I hope the person who owned this car before me took good care of it…

That’s something to keep in mind, the next time you ask yourself, “Is it really a big deal that I’m putting off getting my tires rotated and that I’m going to hold off on the oil change I’ve been putting off for a while now?”

Yeah, it kind of is. It’s a big deal for your car, and you’ll likely be able to sell or trade in your car someday, if it is well maintained – rather than have to someday drive it, or have it towed, into a salvage yard.

Are you buying a used car? Well, you’re in luck. We happen to have a few ideas on what you should look for, before you fork over your credit card and sign the papers and buy a new used car.

Look at the tires. Even at a trusted dealership, the tires might be relatively threadbare. You’ve heard of people kicking the tires before buying a car – well, no need to do that, but that’s the premise behind doing it. The dealership is likely going to give you a car with tires that are full and have adequate tire pressure, but check the thread. You can always do the famous penny test, where you stick a penny, with Lincoln’s hair downward into the grooves of the tread at the top of the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you’re buying a car with tires that aren’t going to last long. Now, if the car is otherwise awesome, that may not be a big deal to you – buy the car and then buy some new tires.

But whatever you do, it would be nice to buy a car that doesn’t have a tire go flat a few hours after you drive off the lot.

Look under the hood. Even if you don’t know a spark plug from an oil filter, take a look at the engine. If you see corrosion, or oil leaks or a crack in the radiator, those would be bad signs. Most dealerships are going to have the engine looking just fine, so there’s no guarantee that a bright and shiny engine means that this is a great car. But take a look, anyway, just for your own peace of mind. And if you have time, as we’ve said before, feel free to test drive the car over to Milex Complete Auto Care, and we’ll tell you if we think you have a winner or a possible lemon.

Check out the Car Fax. Those CarFax reports, which come free with used cars, really are handy. If it looks like your used car has been to the shop for regular maintenance, like oil changes and tune-ups, or maybe a new set of tires, that’s a good sign. The previous owner has been taking care of this car. If the car has barely ever been taken in, and especially if the mileage is high, that could be a sign that the previous owner drove the car a lot but rarely, if ever, did any maintenance. You still may want to buy the car, but that would make it even more smart to drive the car over to Milex Complete Auto Care beforehand, so our mechanics can tell you if everything looks good or a car that will need a new head gasket soon. Or, if you feel good about buying the car, you still may want to bring it in soon for a tune-up, unless the dealership has made it clear that the car has been checked out by its mechanics.

Careful about buying an “as is” car. That means you’re buying the car with any potential mechanical problems. You probably aren’t going to get a warranty, in other words, and of course if you’re purchasing it from an individual, you definitely won’t receive one. So it’s all the more important to get your car checked out before you buy it. Yes, all states have “lemon laws,” but most of those laws apply towards people buying new cars. Only a handful of states actually have lemon laws that involved used cars.

Check to make sure the car hasn’t been recalled. If you really want to be safe, all used cars (as long as you’re buying something manufactured in 1981 or newer) should have a VIN (vehicle identification number). The VIN has 17 numbers and letters. With the VIN, go to, and you can see if the vehicle has been recalled. For instance, you don’t want to end up buying a car that was involved in that air bag recall (unless, of course, the air bag problem was fixed).

Take a test drive. It’s obvious, so we won’t spend much time on this, and we’ve already suggested you take a test drive. But it’s definitely not something you want to skip. If you are buying a used car, drive it around for a little while – don’t assume that just because it looks shiny and new that everything is right with the car. For instance, maybe the car’s engine light will be on during the entire test drive. That’s a pretty good warning right there that this isn’t necessarily a car you want to buy.

Because, after all, while we hope to see you around with your car – we want it to be on your terms, when you decide to bring it in to have it services. We’d like you to be able to avoid having to bring in your car every other month or so because something has gone wrong. So, yes, the price of a used car is important, but how it’s been treated by the previous owner or owners may be even more so.


Thinking of Franchising? Pick a Company with a Positive Company Culture

When people consider buying into a franchise, many give considerable thought about the business model more than anything else. After that, they are likely to focus on the franchise fee or study the company’s history and how its future looks.

That’s all important, of course, but arguably, people should be doing a lot of thinking about the company’s culture. Is it positive, or toxic? You don’t have to look all that hard on the internet for complaints from miserable franchise owners who feel that the corporation they work for is less than honest or competent.

At Moran Family of Brands, we think we have a very positive company culture. Every company says that their company culture is the best thing ever, so that’s probably not shocking.

But hear us out. We realize that we are far from the only company that cares about its franchise owners and employees. Many franchises and corporations are wonderful to work for. But we all know that some companies haven’t seemed to have gotten the memo, or to go with an even older cliché, they talk the talk but don’t walk the walk – and so we’re just saying that if you’re looking into buying a franchise, talk to some franchise owners first and ask them, “If you could do it all over again, would you buy into this franchise?” And be sure to ask something along the lines: “Do you think the company culture is a positive, nurturing one?”

Because if it isn’t, you’ll either get an earful – or maybe silence, which can speak volumes, too.

We really do believe in a strong company culture, and we’ve tried to show that to our franchisees through a variety of ways. For instance:

  • We get advice from our franchise owners. Each year, eight owners are elected by their fellow owners to Moran’s Franchisee Advisory Board. They meet on a quarterly basis at our corporate office in Midlothian, Illinois. We don’t pretend that we always have all of the answers, and we know our franchise owners see the business from a different angle, and sometimes it’s an angle with a better view than we have. The advisory board serves all of us, corporate, franchise owners and their employees, and it makes us a stronger company for it.
  • We try to make it clear how much we appreciate our franchise owners. Every year, Moran Family of Brands offers the Franchisee of the Year Award to each of Moran’s franchise brands. The voting is done by Moran franchisees, and franchise owners win by demonstrating Moran’s core values of D.R.I.V.E. (Dedication, Respect, Integrity, Vision, Enthusiasm). They also exhibit outstanding service to their customers and provide support for fellow franchisees and the entire system. The winners receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the International Franchise Association Franchisee of the Year Award Dinner. It is a tremendous recognition for our franchise owners around the country, and we always have a ton of fun during the awards.
  • We strive to make our group of franchise owners inclusive. Moran Family of Brand encourages women to buy into the franchise. Working in car-related businesses may seem like a man’s game, but that’s a 20th century way of thinking. Our CEO and co-founder is Barbara Moran, and we have several successful female franchise owners in our system. We are also members of VetFran and DiversityFran and offer a one-time discount of $5,000 off the franchise fee.

Moran Family of Brands has an excellent business model, feel that our franchise fees are competitive, and our proud of our history and excited about our future. But don’t forget to look at a company’s culture when you consider buying any franchise and try to determine if it’s a corporation that’s going to build you up or tear you down. It’s great if the franchise you’re buying is going to make you a lot of money, but there’s something to be said for happiness, too, and no reason you can’t have both.


Five Things to Teach Your Teen About Car Maintenance

When you are teaching a teenager to drive, you’re naturally focused on some of the most important things about being behind the wheel. Like, maybe you’re constantly shouting, “The brake is on the left. The LEFT!”

But somewhere in the middle of showing your teenager how to drive and handing them the car keys to motor off to who knows where on their own (unless you have a tracking device on their phone), you really should show your teenager how to take care of a car – especially if they have their own wheels. You don’t want to someday pick up your kid, waiting for you on the side of the road, and learn that he’s never had the oil changed.

So, with that in mind, here a few things you might want to remind your teenager to do when taking care of a car.

Get the oil changed. We’ll start with the easiest and most obvious thing first. You know it’s important. Your teenager probably knows, too, but if you never discuss getting an oil change, your kid may not think about taking it in to a Milex Complete Auto Care to get it changed. And how often to bring it in? That really depends on the car (check the owner’s manual) and how much your teen drives. Of course, if your teenager has a car and brings it into Milex, we can get them on a regular maintenance schedule.

You would also be wise to show your teenager how to check his or her oil level – and suggest to them that they check it at least once a month, especially if it’s an older car. And point out that if they notice a leak, they should get their car checked out right away.

Talk about tune-ups. This is really important, too, and it’s easy to forget since it isn’t a regular maintenance activity in the way that an oil change is. We suggest getting a vehicle tune up every 30,000 miles or as required by the manufacturer (in other words, check the trusty owner’s manual). Also, of course, if you notice your gas mileage is way off, or the car isn’t starting very well, or the engine seems to be acting up, bring it in for a tune-up.

These are all obvious things a veteran driver knows, but a teenager may not. Especially if your son or daughter is driving his or her own car, and it’s a used clunker, maybe the car never started all that well, and if it’s getting worse, they may think that’s normal. In fact, if you do get your kid a used clunker, you’d be smart to get it a tune-up at Milex before he or she drives it. And, of course, if you’re looking to buy a used car for your kid, and you get a chance to bring the car over to Milex before you make a purchase, our mechanics would be glad to look it over and offer our opinion on whether you’re getting a car that seems reliable – or one that will be visiting our shop all the time.

Discuss brakes. Just as you want your teenager to be on alert if the motor sounds weird, or the engine doesn’t start very well, he or she should know the warning signs that the brakes aren’t doing well, like when the brake feels spongy. Or your teen may hear screeching of the brakes, think it’s not a big deal, get used to it and never mention it until the noise is too loud to ignore. You don’t want that. So talk to him or her and tell them that, no, it isn’t normal if you’re pressing down on the brake and the car starts vibrating. Seriously, while plenty of teenagers are whip smart and good drivers, they aren’t born knowing how cars work.

Show him or her the air filter and the battery. It’s a good idea for your teenager to look under the hood every once in awhile and point out the air filter, and how they need to be changed periodically. You also don’t want corrosion on the battery; if it’s caked in dirt, that can drain power from the battery and, of course, weaken the car. It’s a good idea, at any rate. As you likely recognize, people don’t work on their car engines like they used to, now that they’ve become so computerized and complicated. But there are still important components car owners need to be aware of. While you’re at it, you may also want to discuss windshield wipers, and how once they’re ripped or cracked, it’s definitely time to get new ones. It’s far safer driving in the rain, having dependable wipers than ones that barely do the job.

Have a plan for what your teen should do if he or she gets a flat. You could teach them to use a tire jack, or you can pay for a service like AAA they can call in case they run out of gas or have a blowout – you should talk about how to steer and pull off the road in a situation like that, too. Or you just emphasize that they should call you, and you’ll do the rest. There’s a lot to remember when it comes to car maintenance but having a strategy for prevent car problems (and what to do if there something does go wrong) may help reduce some of their panic – and yours.


Back to School Carpool Safety Suggestions

For some of us, it’s that time of year again. Suddenly, we have more passengers in our car than usual. On our way to work, or on our way from work, we’re shuttling our kids – and maybe the neighbor’s kids – to school. That’s right. Back to school doesn’t just mean back to school shopping. For some parents, it means back to school driving and picking up your kids from after school activities.

Well, whatever your situation is, we at Moran Family of Brands think that this is probably a good time to offer some back-to-school carpool safety suggestions. There’s certainly never a bad time to think about car safety. So if your car is more full than ever, remember these safety tips.

Buckle up. You probably don’t need any convincing that seatbelts save lives, but just in case your passengers do, the statistics make a good argument. According to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belt use saved an estimated 14,668 lives in 2016. And something to remember if you’re driving around neighborhood kids, especially teenagers who feel invincible: your kids may know how you feel about seatbelts, but does that neighborhood kid know – the one who lives four houses down and is now in the backseat, squashed in the middle of your kids? Remind everyone – buckle up!

Check lights and wipers. The days are going to be shorter (that is, darker) soon, and eventually, it’ll be colder. If you haven’t done it lately, this would also be a good time to make sure your lights and wipers are working properly. If they aren’t, you’ll want to get replacements. Just think about the last time you drove in the rain without wipers that worked well. Remember how much fun that was?

So, yes, make sure those wipers – and lights – are working well.

Have your brakes inspected. We don’t need to tell you brakes are important. But we will remind you that if you haven’t had them inspected in a long while, you may want to ask someone at Milex Complete Auto Care to take a look. But if nothing else, watch out for the signs that you might have trouble. If your brake pedal feels “spongy,” that can be a clue that your brakes are in need of repair. If your brake pedal vibrates, you will need to get your brakes replaced now. If you’re hearing noise or squeaking when applying the brake, that, too, is a bad sign of things to come. If that’s the case, your brake pads need replacing, and if you don’t replace them soon, you could damage other parts of the brakes.

Check your tires. How’s the tire pressure? You can check the thread by using the old penny in your pocket trick. You take a penny and place it with Lincoln’s head down, in the tread groove. If you can see all of President Lincoln’s head, you should head over to Milex to get your tires replaced.

You may want to get a collision avoidance camera. If you have a lot of little kids in your household or in your neighborhood, and if your car doesn’t already have camera technology that allows you to see what’s behind you, as you back up, you may want to get something like that. Head on over to your local AltaMere the Automotive Outfitters to see the latest collision avoidance technology options for your car.

The start of the school year means more children on sidewalks, by neighborhood bus stops and in drop off lanes by schools.  This is a good time to ensure your car is safe not only for you but others around your vehicle.


Happy Brake Safety Awareness Month!

August is Brake Safety Awareness Month, which is a great time to make sure your car’s brakes are in proper working order.  Although the issue of if your brakes are functioning correctly sounds like an easy question, there are several things to monitor when looking and listening for signs that perhaps you need new brakes.

Are you seeing or hearing the following?

Thin brake pads. You can actually tell by looking at your brakes if you likely are going to have problems. All you need is a ruler. If your brake pads are less than a quarter of an inch thick, you should replace them.

Low brake fluids. If the brake fluid level in the master cylinder is low, you may have a problem. Another red flag that you probably need new breaks is if there’s a copper content of 2000 ppm or greater in your brake fluid.

Scraping or grinding noises when you press down on the brakes. If you hear this, it’s time to get brake pads as soon as possible. If you don’t, you could do enough damage that you’re soon replacing the entire brakes.

Your brake system warning light stays on. That, too, can be a sign that you need new brakes.

The brake pedal feels soft or spongy. When you press it down, if it feels weird to you – again, soft or spongy – that’s a clue that you probably have brake problems.

If you push down on the brake, is the car not slowing down? That is an obvious sign you need to have your brakes checked, and probably replaced.  Again, do this as soon as possible.

While we can do some of these things on our own, others will require a professional with Milex Complete Auto Care to inspect on your next visit for service.

If you have trouble braking and you’re worried about your safety, you’ll want to do the following right away:

Take your foot off the gas. You’ll want to slow down as soon as you can. Try to not instinctively put your foot on the gas.

Downshift to a lower gear. That’ll help slow you down, but don’t go from a high gear to D1. You could slow down too fast, where it becomes dangerous. Downshift gradually.

Activate your emergency flashers. You may want to honk the horn, too, if any drivers appear to not realize you’re in trouble. Obviously, try to pull over to the side of the road, as soon as possible.

Press down on the brake. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, there may be some life left to the brakes. Try pumping the pedal, too.

If you’re moving slowly… you can slowly engage the parking brake. But if you do it too fast and with too much pressure, your wheels could lock up.

Remember the reason we’re talking about brakes.

It’s a safety issue. Yes, it can save you money to stay on top of the health of your brakes since ignoring them and having to replace brakes is far more expensive than having to replace brake pads. But above all, good working brakes means that your car is a far more safe vehicle to drive. You don’t want to injure your passengers, strangers or yourself, and so do yourself a favor as we celebrate Brake Safety Awareness Month.  The next time you get in your car, take a few seconds to take a look at your brake pads – and listen as you brake for any troubling signs. Or if it’s been awhile since you’ve had your car serviced, it wouldn’t be bad to take your car in to have your brake fluids (and all of your car’s fluids) checked.

Sure, it’s hard to find the time to pause what you’re doing and think about car maintenance. But better to stop what you’re doing now and take a look at your brakes, than get behind the wheel later and realize that you can’t stop.


Why Invent the Wheel? Franchise It, Instead

If you’ve thought many times about starting a business but quickly dismissed the idea, there are probably some logical reasons holding you back.  Fear of failure, having the proper guidance and being able to market and sell your product or service could all be reasons why you hesitate in starting your own business.

One possible solution to overcoming many of these fears is by looking into franchising.

That is, running a business that is part of a regional or nationwide company. As you presumably know, McDonald’s is a franchise. So is Subway, Ace Hardware and Circle K. In fact, there are over 3,000 types of franchise brands in a wide range of industries.

When you own a franchise, you’re the business owner – but it’s a little similar to being a condominium owner. In that situation, you own the property and have a lot of leeway in how you live there, but you have to follow the basic rules of the condo community. Which is fine. The rules are why people like to move into these communities.

Being a franchise owner is similar. You own your business, but you have to follow the basic rules of the franchise system. And many business owners love the rules. The rules, or formula, is what increases the odds that the business will be a success.

Here at Moran Family of Brands, we have a developed a very successful formula for our franchise owners, whether it be with Milex Complete Auto CareMr. Transmission or Alta Mere The Automotive Outfitters.  We also offer co-branded franchise ownership opportunities to run two businesses in one location.

Now, sure, a lot of franchises will say that they have a successful formula, and many do. But we think we can make a strong case for joining the Moran Family of Brands.

For instance, when you join the Moran family, you get…

Instant credibility with customers. This is obviously a major attraction for any brand. If you go into a McDonald’s or Subway, you know what you’re going to get. But the stakes are much higher when you’re talking auto care versus what sandwich you’re going to have for lunch. People sometimes like experimenting with a restaurant. If it doesn’t turn out well, maybe they’ve wasted $5, or $12.

But if your car is making a clunking sound, and you’re worried that something is seriously wrong? Or maybe your car is humming along just fine, but you want to keep it that way? People tend to not just blindly go to any mechanic they can find. They’re choosy. They go somewhere they trust. And Moran franchise owners have worked hard over the years to build that trust with our customers. If you become part of the Moran family, you immediately gain that stellar reputation the moment you put up our signage and open your doors. If you make your customers happy, you’re going to keep them.

Access to a network of people who have encountered the problems you’re experiencing. Every business runs into some sort of trouble – a dip in customers, or difficulty with scheduling employees or whatever you can imagine. When you run into these issues as a stand-alone business owner, you tackle them alone. If this happens as a Moran Family of Brands franchise owner, you can get virtually instant access to numerous other franchise owners who have seen this exact problem many times over and will be more than happy to help you.

As a new franchisee, will be assigned with an experienced owner in the system who you can turn to immediately – and who will be happy to coach you, discuss challenges, share best practices and offer advice.

In other words, when you’re part of the Moran Family, you are never alone.

The ability to save money. Buying into any franchise involves a financial investment. There’s no pretending otherwise. But there are financial advantages that come with investing in a franchise beyond having an incredible brand that attracts customers through your doors. For instance, when you belong to Moran Family of Brands, you’re part of a company that has a lot of buying power behind it, which means we can make supply deals that smaller businesses can’t make. Because of the volume of items we’re purchasing, you’re going to get discounts that independent mechanics simply can’t get. And so your startup costs – and your maintenance expenses – are going to be dramatically reduced.

There are a lot of understandable reasons to be nervous about starting a new business.

But if you do want to go into business for yourself, if you feel it’s a calling and something you have to do, we hope you’ll consider doing it in one of the safest ways you can – as a franchise owner with Moran Family of Brands. Not only will we never hold you back – we’ll always have your back.


Why Your Car Needs Oil

Everyone knows a car needs oil. But you may not know why your car needs oil, and if you don’t know, it becomes easier to put it off. After all, the thought is you’ll get around to it sooner or later.

A little later may not hurt your car – too much. But again, there are good reasons to take your car’s oil needs very seriously.

Your oil keeps your engine working smoothly. We at Milex Complete Auto Care aren’t just talking figuratively but also literally. Your engine has a lot of metal parts that move and rub against each other. When your car engine is properly lubricated, the metal against metal isn’t an issue. Everything works, and your car moves. But without oil – if you just stopped getting oil – eventually, those metal components would rub up against each other, create friction, heat and a lot of trouble. Things in your engine would break. This leads to your car having a breakdown and possibly leaving you stranded on the side of the road.

Your oil keeps your engine cool. Your probably know that coolant in your radiator is important because it keeps your car cool. Well, oil keeps your car engine cool as well. If your car engine doesn’t have oil, as those metal parts press against each other, the friction starts to create heat. You can have all the coolant in the world, but if your car lacks oil, you could still find your car overheating.

Your oil gets rid of sludge. You’ve probably noticed that there are different kinds of oil for cars.  The reason manufacturers offer different priced oils is that the more expensive brands (that is, synthetic oils versus conventional oil) work on not just making sure the oil is keeping the engine lubricated, but that dirt particles and sludge are being removed. What’s with this “sludge” word, again? Your oil, as it gets old and worn, can actually turn into sludge, which is basically a consistency as thick as mud or tar.  Obviously, having this thicker substance in your car’s engine will have a negative overall impact on the performance of your vehicle.

Your oil keeps expensive repairs at bay. Not always, of course. You could get your oil changed every day, and a tire could blow out. But as you can imagine, sludge in a car can wear your car parts down. Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid engine failure, allowing sludge to build up can mean you’re suddenly replacing a gasket or your timing belt.

We all know the proper amount and type of oil for your car is important. But now, maybe we know why it’s important. Making sure your car gets regular oil changes is an important part of ensuring both the short-term and long-term viability of your vehicle.


The Benefits of Blind Spot Indicators in Cars

What you don’t know can’t hurt you.

It’s a ridiculous statement, of course. If you don’t know you have an illness, you won’t go to the doctor, and so that can hurt you. If you don’t know – to go with a comical, nonsensical example – that an Acme safe is falling from the sky and about to fall on you, that, too, can hurt you. What you don’t know can hurt you when taking a test.

And, of course, when driving, we’re taught immediately that what we don’t know can hurt everyone.

In other words, beware of the blind spot, the areas around your car that you can’t see despite looking out of all your side view and rear-view mirrors. For most of automotive history, the blind spot has been something drivers have had to contend and co-exist with. Drivers have always been able to try to do what they can to help their vision, but the options have never been great – like glancing over their shoulder before a lane change, which is fine, except that for a moment you aren’t looking at the road ahead.

Collision avoidance cameras have, of course, helped out with the blind spots that come when backing out of a driveway or a parking spot. But they can’t help when making those lane changes on a highway. For those, you need a blind spot indicator, one of Alta Mere’s most popular driver safety products.

It might be easy to think that this is some car device that sounds nice and impressive, but it’s one that you don’t really need. Still, before you take that mindset, there is some evidence that suggests the blind spot indicator is actually almost as important a development in car safety as the seat belt. A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that came out last year found that collision avoidance technology, of which blind spot indicators are a part of, cut the rates of single-vehicle sideswipe and head-on crashes by 11 percent. That resulted in 21 percent fewer injuries – and if all passengers had been equipped with collision avoidance technology in 2015, the year this data was collected, more than 55,000 injuries wouldn’t have occurred.

So if you’re wondering whether you should get a blind spot indicator, obviously that’s an answer that only you can come up with, but there are two main ways they’ll benefit you.

Blind spot indicators are following traffic even when you aren’t. Mostly when you’re driving on a freeway or in traffic with several lanes, you’re looking ahead at the road and not thinking, for the most part, about blind spots. But blind spot detection technology, which uses sensors on the side and back of the car, tracks the traffic just behind you along with what’s coming alongside your car – all the time.

Blind spot indicators alert you, in two ways. When a car is in your blind spot, you’ll receive a light on the outside door mirror. That should be all you need to know not to make the lane change. You look in the mirror, and, oh, there’s a light. Thanks. Great. I’ll stay put.

But if somehow you don’t notice it, and assuming you’ve turned on your turn signal, you’ll get another alert, in effect telling you  – Do. Not. Make. This. Lane. Change.

If you’re diligent enough to get a blind spot indictor, you’re probably the sort of driver who will pay attention to the signals it releases. In any case, having one can’t hurt, and with all the distractions on the road, and inside the car, with kids squealing and playing computer games, a blind spot indicator will probably only help.

For more information on blind spot indicators and other driver safety products, visit your local Alta Mere The Automotive Outfitters.


Why You Shouldn’t Put off Repairs and Replacements

“It’s time to get that replaced.”

Those are words that no car owner wants to hear. After all, replacing – or repairing — a car part means that you’re going to spend money, and if you’re short on cash, you may understandably be tempted to put off getting something fixed. After all, if your car is fully functioning, and money is tight, why not wait a little while longer?

Indeed, sometimes the answer is, “Why not?”

But, take it from us, at Milex Complete Auto Care, unfortunately, sometimes the answer is: “It better not be much longer.”

That’s because some car parts, when they start weakening, can set off a chain reaction and cause other problems with your vehicle. Sometimes trying to save a $60 repair job can translate into a few months from now, or in even a few days, having a $600 problem. Putting off a car repair or delaying in getting a car part replaced is often akin to having not going to the dentist when you have an aching tooth. If you went to the dentist, you’d pay for the visit and for the cavity to be filled, and you wouldn’t exactly have a blast doing it. But it’s a lot better than waiting and later paying for a root canal.

Want us to be more specific about what sort of car repairs can be dangerous, financially and safety-wise, to put off? We can do that. These are just some of the problems you could experience, if you put off your car repairs.

Don’t delay: replacing your brake pads. You may well think, “So what? Brake pads aren’t brakes. I can still stop the car. Other than having my car screech every time I stop or slow down, what’s the harm? I’ll get used to the noise.”

Why that can be a problem: The brake pads protect the rotor, one of the mechanical parts of your brake. The pads press on the rotor and create friction that allows the car to slow down. If your brake pads start to fall apart, what’s left is basically metal grinding onto the rotor, which can than bend or break. Other pieces in the brakes, the calipers and pistons can be damaged, too. Basically, if your brake pads go, and you ignore it, you could be looking at having to eventually replace your entire braking system.

Don’t delay: your timing belt or serpentine belt. If you’re told your belts need replacing, you may easily figure that you can wait. After all, you drove the car into the garage perfectly fine. Why wouldn’t you be able to drive out?

Why that can be a problem: You probably can drive the car away – but you’ll be driving on borrowed time. If your timing belt breaks, your engine will stop working, which means you’ll stop driving, and, well, there goes your afternoon. But you’ll lose more than an afternoon. You could have some serious engine damage. Fortunately, a lot of newer cars don’t have timing belts – they have timing chains, that will last the entire lifetime of your car as long as you keep getting oil regularly (yeah, there’s always a catch).

But your car, new or old, does have a serpentine belt. Now, the good news is that newer cars have very good serpentine belts. Yours may last 60,000 to 100,000 miles, and if you sell your car before it gets too along in years, you may never have to replace it. If it is suggested you need a new one, you should probably get it. Your serpentine belt keeps your alternator humming, your power steering pump operating, your air-conditioning and possibly your water pump running efficiently. If your serpentine belt snaps, your car may stop driving – and if you’re really unlucky, instead of an inexpensive replacement, you may be looking at replacing your entire engine.

Don’t delay: getting your muffler replaced. “Who cares?” you might think. “So the car is a little loud? I can handle it.”

Why that can be a problem: No, paying for a new muffler isn’t fun – but paying for an entire exhaust system is even less so. And you may not need a new muffler. Maybe it just needs a quick fix. But if you wait and put off taking your car to at least be checked out, your muffler problems can damage other parts of your car. But there are other dangers, too, financial and a safety one. When your exhaust system is damaged, that affects your fuel – so you might find yourself spending money at the gas pump more and more – and far more worse – fumes could start coming into your car.

Don’t delay: getting your oil changed. Now, first of all, yes, you can drive awhile without getting your oil changed. If your car manual suggests getting your oil changed every 3,000 miles, you’re probably not risking trouble if you go 3,300 miles. Maybe you can go 5,000 miles.

Why that can be a problem: What you don’t want to do is become too lax about regular oil changes or forget them all together. Rarely to never getting oil for your car is a little like allowing yourself to become dehydrated on a hot day. Everyone needs water. Without it, we pass out. We eventually would die. Your car needs oil. In fact, instead of water, if you want an even better analogy, think of oil as your car’s blood. It’s, yes, that important.

Can you put off an oil change for a little while until your bank account is a little more robust? Sure, probably — as long as you haven’t already put it off forever. Replacing your oil is relatively inexpensive; replacing a car is not.


Do Your Car and Your Passengers a Favor — Tint Your Car Windows

If you’ve ever considered window tinting for your cars, now is the best time to do it.

Why?  With the start of the summer approaching, temperatures across the country will rise to uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous levels.  And there’s probably almost nowhere on earth, where it can get more scorching than in a parked car.

Just take a look at some of the facts on rising temperatures inside a car and the safety concerns the pose for passengers:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the temperature inside cars can rise almost 20 degrees within ten minutes even if windows are open.
  • Studies show parked cars can quickly become greenhouses on wheels.  Infrared rays the enter the car are unable to get out, quickly warming the interior.  Inside temperatures – Even if it’s just 70 degrees outside, a car in sunlight can easily reach 122 degrees.
  • This means parked cars can be lethal for young children, whose bodies warm five times faster than adults, and furry pets, such as dogs and cats, that can’t sweat to cool themselves when they get too hot.

One way to beat the heat is through installing custom window tinting for your car.  The professionals at Alta Mere can get you set up with the preferred level of window tint for your vehicle for your safety and comfort.

Here are some of the reasons window tinting installation for a vehicle is beneficial to you, particularly as we reach the peak of the heat of summer:

  • Heat reduction – Window tint can block up to 80 percent of the sun’s heat and has been proven to greatly reduce interior surface temperatures of a car.  The service is especially popular this time of year as drivers look to combat the heat and keep their cars cooler and more comfortable during the hottest days of the summer.
  • Interior protection – Window tint reduces the sun’s UV rays that can fade and crack leather seats and dashboards. This protection keeps the car’s interior in better condition for longer, reducing costs to maintain the interior.
  • Protects passengers from harmful UV rays – UV rays can cause sunburn and skin damage to a car’s passengers exposed to sunlight.  Window film protects passengers by reducing up to 99 percent of those harmful UV rays. Window tint is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as part of a comprehensive skin care program.
  • Privacy and safety – A professionally applied window tint deters thieves from targeting a vehicle as personal belongings left inside are less visible.  Most thieves know that a vehicle with properly installed window tint makes it more difficult to break through the glass and make a quick getaway.

In addition to keeping your car cooler and protecting the interior of the vehicle, you will reduce how much you need to run your air-condition, saving you gas and money and helping the environment.  Visit your local Alta Mere store and see what type of window tint works best for you this summer!