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How to Make an Emergency Car Kit

emergency car kit

A few of the necessary items for an emergency car kit.

Good drivers should prepare for any eventuality on the road. An emergency car kit stands as one item that many drivers miss from their cars. In addition to obvious equipment such as that needed to change a flat, you should have certain other items always on hand as well.

Pre-Made Emergency Car Kit vs. Homemade

Nowadays, you can go into a store and purchase a ready-made emergency car kit. The creation of your own comes with certain benefits, however. For example, you can tailor it to the weather in your area, and include extra blankets or an ice-scraper. You can also pack certain items that appeal more to members of your family.

What to Pack

If your kit only includes one thing, make sure you pack an emergency first-aid kit. Other items to consider include a small fire extinguisher, jumper cables, and road flares. You’ll also want some refreshments, including drinking water and light snacks, along with certain tools like a flashlight, multi-tool, and duct tape. To get prepared for the weather, pack a tarp, a rain poncho, and sunscreen. It also never hurts to include some warm clothing and a blanket.

Additional Tips

Aside from your emergency kit, a few additional items can serve you well in a pinch. A clean, refillable gas jug can stand as a lifesaver, as can some extra cash for gas. A portable cell-phone charger can save you a lot of hassle, and a deck of cards or book can help pass the time as you wait for help.

At European Plus, we’re here to help in the Pennington and Hopewell area. For all of your service needs with European vehicles, give us a call today at (609) 737-7226

Top 4 Common Problems Cars Face During Summer

Photo of summerSummer time is right around the corner! Summer is the time of long vacations, road trips, and getaways to have fun with friends and family. However, during this time of fun in the sun, your car can take a beating from extreme temperatures, high humidity, and long journeys. Is your car ready to take on the summer? There are always a few issues you should have your car inspected for prior to making your trip such as oil changes and wheel alignment. Have your auto mechanic take a look for these four common summer car problems!

Top 4 Summer Car Problems

#1 Overheating

This should come as no surprise. Your car is run by an engine that reaches extreme temperatures. To top that off, summer heat can adversely affect your car. Make sure to keep an eye on your engine and thermometers. If you start to notice any signs of overheating, such as strange smells or steam coming from your engine, be cautious and take your vehicle to your local shop.

#2 Flat Tires

Due to temperature fluctuations tires can lose or gain air pressure. Add to that hot roads and even small, sharp objects scattered on the road itself, and it seems like a flat tire is unavoidable. Always ensure you have a spare in your car in case you find yourself in this situation. A spare tire will allow you to get your vehicle to the shop for repair and replacement of your faulty tire.

#3 Under-performing Air Conditioning

No one likes to be uncomfortable in their car. Its important to get your air conditioner inspected before taking trips and to make sure your car is prepared for the summer in general. Failing blower motors and fuses can make this system function poorly or not at all. Take notice if your car is not cooling down like it was last summer and bring your vehicle to the shop. Remember, sitting in a hot car can adversely affect your health, giving you heat stroke.

#4 Dying or Bad Battery

Everyone worries about their batteries in winter, but summer can wear down a car battery just as quickly. Extreme temperatures cause the battery to wear and humidity can even cause corrosion. Make sure to note the age of your battery and keep an eye on it. If your car is having trouble starting, purchasing a new battery may be just what the doctor ordered.

European Plus is your local auto repair shop, providing expert service your your vehicles. Let our licensed skilled auto mechanics help you get your car road ready. Give us a call today at (609) 737-7226!

Reasons Your Car Won’t Start

Many people automatically assume that a no-start situation is because of a dead battery. However, there are actually several potential causes. Here are a few of the most common reasons your car won’t start.

Woman Starting Car

When Your Car Won’t Start, it Might Not be the Battery Causing the Problem!

Damaged Starter

Do you hear grinding noises when trying to start the engine? Do you smell or see smoke? These are signs sometimes seen when a starter motor fails. You could also have a mechanical or electrical problem causing the starter to not work properly. If you cannot identify the problem, it’s best to see a professional mechanic for help.

Clogged Fuel Filter

Before fuel reaches your engine, it passes through the fuel filter. If the fuel filter is clogged, you will not get the proper amount when you try to start your car. A clogged filter may also exhibit itself through decreased power, especially when going uphill, or the engine light turning on. Depending on your specific vehicle make and model, you should replace your fuel filter every few years or 30,000-40,000 miles.

Bad Alternator

If you have noticed your headlights seem dim or other electrical issues, there’s a chance you could have a bad alternator. Your alternator is an important part of your car’s electrical system and can leave you with a no-start situation if it fails. It actually drains your battery, which can leave you with more than one problem.

If you notice these or any other other reasons your car won’t start, call European Plus for help! Our mechanics specialize in all types of import car repair in Pennington, NJ. Call us at (609) 737-7226 today!

Tips to Build a Car Emergency Kit

You never know when something will go wrong, so the best option is to be prepared. Keeping a car emergency kit in your vehicle can help you make minor repairs, stay hydrated in case of an emergency, and more. Here are some tips on what to pack in your car emergency kit.

The Essentials

car emergency kitNo matter what kind of car you drive or where you live, there are some universally essential items to include in your car your emergency kit. Be sure that all supplies are in good shape and you know how to use them before throwing them in your trunk or glove box!

  • Jumper cables
  • Tire changing supplies (tire iron, tire jack, spare tire)
  • Car manual
  • Emergency contact info and car insurance
  • WD-40
  • Duct tape
  • Jug or bottles of water
  • Non-perishable, high calorie food (energy bars, fruit snacks, etc.)
  • Gloves
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit

Other Items

The best part of building your own car emergency kit is you can customize it however you want. Think about where you drive, what time of year it is, and who rides with you often. If you have a pet or child, pack them some food and something to drink. If you’re going somewhere you are not familiar with, bring a recently updated paper map. In the winter, keep an ice scraper and blanket in your vehicle.

Other items you might want to include are a weather radio, emergency flares, a change of clothes, spare change or cash, and an extra battery or charging cable for your phone.

If you need help from a professional mechanic, call European Plus at (609) 737-7226! We provide expert import car repair in Pennington, NJ!

Is Factory Scheduled Maintenance Necessary?

You have heard the term “Factory Scheduled Maintenance” before. Many believe that these services are not necessary and completely pointless. After all, with all the hustle and bustle of daily life, where can one fit in trips to the auto shop for service? While it may seem easy to write this service off, factory maintenance can do more for your vehicle than you may know. 

What is Factory Scheduled Maintenance?

Photo of maintenanceWhen your vehicle rolls off the line and ends up in your possession, there are recommended servicing dates for its components. These are written and designed by the factory to give you the most service and life for your car. These services keep all components running well and smoothly on the road and prevent expensive repairs down the line.

Like many of the mechanical systems, we use in our daily lives, having routine maintenance can take care of problems early. To get these services taken care of, you will need to reference your factory scheduled maintenance recommendations. 

Where To Find This Information?

While your schedule may be available online or from the dealership, the easiest way to find this information is to check your owners manual. There, factories detail the needs, specifications, and service schedule for all components of your car. This makes it very simple on both you and your auto mechanic to plan ahead for future service needs.

Factory scheduled service is very important for the life and usability of your vehicle. Need maintenance services here in Pennington, NJ? Call European Plus today at (609) 737-7226 for your auto repair service. 

Winter Car Myths

Photo of winterWith winter in full swing and a storm fast approaching, it is time to make sure your car is ready for anything that may be thrown its way. Many people have different ways of dealing with the colder temperatures and poor weather. However, some of the winter car myths can be dangerous for not only your car but you. At European Plus, we have compiled a short list of some of these myths to share.

Top Winter Myths

Myth #1: Pouring Hot Water to Remove Ice on Your Windshield

Some mornings you just don’t feel like scraping off all that ice. Hot water seems like a safe and easy alternative to scraping. This can be dangerous. First, when the hot water heats the ice, it can break or crack your windshield. Another problem could arise depending on how cold it is outside as it could cause the water to freeze on your windshield quickly. To be safe, scrape off your windshield.

Myth #2: Winter Tires are Pointless; Deflating Your Tires Slightly is Better

It may sound like a racket, but seasonal tires, such as winter tires are actually highly beneficial to your vehicle. They are designed specifically to work in snowy weather. People believe by relieving some of the air in your tires, it gives your car a greater surface area to work with and works better in snow. This is not necessarily true, as it gives you less control.

Myth #3 Warming Up My Car is Unnecessary

People have really taken to the idea that it is not necessary to heat up your car or let it idle in the morning. However, warming up your car is more beneficial than one may think. Allowing your car the time to warm up can remove that annoying ice on your windshield, warm up the interior for you, and allow the gas and oil to cycle through. If you cannot help but jump in the car and go, try a steady drive to allow your car to run optimally.

Of course, it is always a good idea to ensure your vehicle is ready for all that winter may bring. Have your fluids checked and a tune-up performed. Call European Plus today at (609) 737-7226!

Signs You Need Suspension Repair

We often forget about our car’s suspension, though it takes a lot of wear, tear, and damage. Watch for these signs that you need suspension repair and avoid serious problems down the road!

Uneven Tire Wear

suspension repairYour tires can tell you a lot about your vehicle. Because they bear the weight of your vehicle, they will wear unevenly if your suspension is wearing down. Watch for signs of “cupping” or scalloping, which appears like hills and valleys. This often indicates excessive bouncing and worn suspension components. You may also need a wheel alignment.

Rough Ride

One of the first things we often think of when our car rides rough is that we need new shocks or struts. This is usually true, but a rough ride can also point to other suspension problems. If you start to notice every little bump in the road, bring your car in to your local auto shop.

Pulls When Turning

With worn shocks or struts, you may also notice your vehicle pulling or drifting when your turn. This can increase your chances of a rollover, which is major cause for concern for trucks and SUVs.

Nosedives When Stopping

When you brake firmly, does your car lurch forward or “nosedive?” This can indicate worn shocks or struts and is actually quite dangerous. When this happens, your stopping ability decreases, increasing your chances or rear ending someone. Call a mechanic right away to have this problem addressed!

If you notice any of these problems, call European Plus for professional European car suspension repair in Hopewell/Pennington, NJ at (609) 737-7226!

Do I Need New Brake Pads?

Ybrakesour brakes are one of the most important components on your vehicle. It has the sole responsibility of enabling you to come to a stop when necessary. Sadly, this is also one of the most overlooked components as well. But it is very important to make sure that you keep an eye out for any issues that may be occurring with your brakes. Here are some red flags to keep in mind.

The brake pedal is pulsating. This is referring to the vibrating or grabbing motion that your brake pedal does when you depress it. Pulsating is normally caused by worn down brake pads or pads. In some cases, the pads are able to be re-machined to fix the problem. If not, a replacement will need to be arranged.

There is a clicking noise. All manufacturers install a device that prevents your brakes from rattling or clicking when you apply pressure to your brake pedal. When you hear this sound, that indicates that you need a replacement.

Your brake pads have become too thin. If you look through the spokes of your wheel, you will be able to see your brake pads, which should be at least 1/4 of an inch thick. If you notice that it’s measuring anything bellow that, new brake pads may be something you should look into.

If you’ve noticed any of these things happening with your vehicle, be sure to contact European Auto Repair now. Dial (609) 737-7226 when you need new brake pads in Pennington, NJ.

 

Prepping for Your Road Trip

 

Anytime is a good time for a road trip, whether it be long one to another state or a shorter one heading up the highway. Either way, it’s always a good idea to make sure that your vehicle is in the best condition for the road to avoid any potential issues. Here are a few things that you should do.

Check your brakes

Having brakes that operate correctly is critical in any situation. Listen out for any type of scraping or grinding noises. This is a red flag that there are issues with your pads or rotors.

Check your fluidsroad trip

The fluids in your vehicle are like its bloodline. It regulates the temperature, ensures you have adequate visibility, and keeps the engine lubricated. So make sure that you top off all of your fluids, including, wiper fluid, oil, and antifreeze.

Regular maintenance and repairs

You should have your car checked out on a regular basis. This will help address any smaller issues that may be affecting your vehicle. Repairing problems during the earlier stage can potentially save you a headache and a lot of money in the future.

No one wants to end up on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. So if this is something that you want to avoid, be sure that you are proactive and come in to European Plus. Our mechanics will be able to get your vehicle ready for the road. To make an appointment, simply dial (609) 737-7226 or contact us online.

Essential Car Maintenance: Oil Changes

Oil ChangeGetting the oil changed in your car is one of the best ways to keep your vehicle’s performance in top condition. If the oil isn’t changed regularly, you risk damaging the engine which will cause many internal issues with the vehicle.

The oil should be changed based on the recommended mileage listed in your owner’s manual. You will typically find the recommended time frame is every 3,000 miles but there are some vehicles that can go without an oil change for up to 10,000 miles.

After a while, the oil will begin to break down and turn into a sludge that can cause severe damage if it starts to build up inside the engine block. Replacing the oil regularly will prevent this build up from ever starting. If too much solidified oil collects inside the engine, it may require professional cleaning or replacement if it has become damaged.

Every time you have the oil changed, the filter should be replaced as well. The filter helps keep sediment from circulating through the system. The cleaner your oil is the better your engine will perform. The motor oil is what keeps your engine running cool and keeps all the working pieces of the engine running smoothly.

If your vehicle needs an oil changed, contact the team of automotive professionals at Europeans Plus today! We are available for automotive preventative maintenance in Pennington, NJ. Call us today at (609) 737-7226 for more information.