How to Remove Common Car Smells

One of the best scents ever is the smell of a new car; but what do you do when your car, well, doesn’t smell so new anymore? There are ways you can get rid of the most common car smells.

This post is sponsored by Wyatt Johnson Kia.

Check for Hidden Odors.
Most parents already know how to do this – but you have to play a little bit of detective. Check around for what could be causing the smell – pockets, under seats, on the floor mats, the glove compartment, lost baby bottles, moldy fruit forgotten in a bag, weird blobs of ick that you have no idea where it comes from, etc. Be sure to remove the source immediately and open the doors and windows so you the odor can dissipate. Also keep in mind that sometimes a funky smell can be something in the car itself, like being in need of an oil change.

Clean Carpet and Upholstery.
If you can’t find a source – vacuum. Sometimes carpet or fabric can trap odors. Be sure to sweep everywhere, even the crevices. If that doesn’t work, you may need to deep clean them. Replace floor mats (that may help) and buy plastic covers for the floor mats to prevent issues in the future.

Removing Cigarette Smell.
If you are a smoker – or has a passenger who is – empty ashtrays on a regular basis. Smoke gets everywhere – including in the vents! Get a spray deodorizer and spray it into the vents as well into the intake valve under the hood. . and always air out! Open the doors and windows! Smoke does leave behind tar, which is sticky. Wipe down the interior with a water/vinegar solution and maybe add some dish soap as well, then wipe dry.

So sometimes kids or pets get car sick – and that can definitely leave a icky smell behind. Even if you cleaned it up right away, you probably need to do a deeper clean. Use a water/vinegar solution  on the area and use a wet/dry vac to get it up. You can also spread kitty litter on the area or baking soda, to help absorb the odors.

Mildew is an awful odor to deal with! A rainstorm with a partially opened window or a small leak can cause mildew. Removing mildew smells in cars is pretty easily taken care of. A wet/dry vac will help remove water from carpets and upholstery, but you could use a hair dryer as well if needed. Be sure to check all areas such as under the mats and in the trunk for condensation and even where the spare tire is stored!

After finding the source of the odors and cleaning them and treating them, your car should be as fresh and almost as good as new, if not, go ahead and get a air freshner or some air freshener – can get you there. the source of car odors and treating them, your car should smell great.


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The Most Useful Items to Keep in Your Glove Box

Most people know you keep important paperwork in your glove compartment – your insurance card, your registration, the manual, maybe receipts for work you’ve had done. But there are a few more things you may want to have within an arms reach of the drivers seat:

This post is sponsored by Carson Market.

Important Numbers.
Even though we have these great things called smart phones that are little computers that travel around in our pockets, its always a good idea to keep important numbers somewhere easily accessible. Not everyone saves local tow companies in their contacts (or do you??) There are times your phone could be dead, you forgot it at home, or you can’t use your data because of where you are (that’s happen to me more than once). Keep your roadside assistance service phone numbers on the list. The claims number for your insurance company or your Agent in case you are involved in an accident, emergency contacts for you and your family in case something happens, so police or paramedics can contact your family.

Cell Phone Charger.
Obviously a cell phone is important and keeping a charger handy will make sure it’s always charged when you need it.  Keep it in the glove box for easy access, and it’s easier to plug in your phone while you are driving.

An umbrella in the trunk isn’t going to help you if it’s pouring when you get out of your car – keeping it in the glove box will at least keep your hair from being completely ruined.

Small First Aid Kit.
Again – a full size first aid kit is great to keep in the trunk. But sometimes you need something from it in a hurry. Keep the important stuff that may be needed right away; such as band aids, tissues, pain relievers, etc.

Window Breaker.
Breaking your car window isn’t something someone plans to do – but it’s nice to have if there is an emergency like having an accident and getting into a body of water. Having that tool handy could actually save your life.
They say that if your car ends up in water you should quickly roll down your windows and swim to safety, but if you can’t (sometimes water can short out the electric windows) you’ll need to shatter them. It’s a lot easier said than done, so they make tools specifically for this purpose. There are ones that include a blade to cut jammed seat belts, and metal head to break the window. Sure it’s probably not likely – but accidents are just that (accidents) so it’s always a good idea to be prepared.

Pepper Spray.  
If you don’t have a conceal and carry, go for the next best option – pepper spray. Keep it close enough to get to in case there is an attacker and you can grab it in a hurry.

GPS /Map. 
I say have both – as great as GPS’s are, sometimes they don’t work if you are out in the middle of nowhere. A good old fashioned map will at least help get you to a main road, or get ‘un-lost’.




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Keeping Your Car Clean and Efficient for Daily Life

A lot of us spend as much time in our car each week as we do our living rooms -running errands, driving to work, running kids around- but do we keep them as organized and clean? There are some ways you can improve and keep your car clean and efficient for your daily life.

Running errands don’t have to exhaust you – take these few tips to help make them a bit more bearable:

This post is sponsored by Neuwirth Motors.

*Put together a list of all your errands before leaving – just a few minutes of planning ahead can help you avoid backtracking and save you time and money.
*Keep some reusable grocery shopping bags in your car all the time – if you include some insulated bags, you can run your other errands without worrying about melting or spoiling groceries.
*If you are running errands for birthdays, redecorating, or other events, be sure to keep a list of everything you need, colors, measurements, etc so that you have the information that you need if you find something you’ve been looking for.

Always Try to be Prepared

*Keep a small plastic folio (similar to what people use to keep coupons in) to use as an organizer for your vehicle. Keep your insurance card, registration information so it’s protected and easy to find. You can also keep your manual, warranty info, and any receipts for repairs that you’ve made so it’s all in one easy to find place (like the glove compartment).
*We’ve talked about it before, but your emergency kit is important to have as well. The biggest things to have is a First Aid Kit, jumper cables, flares, fix-a-flat, gloves, tire gauge, flashlight, batteries and a multipurpose tool. Keep them in your truck area in an organized bin or tote so you can easily find them.
*Keep a thick blanket in the trunk as well – in case of an emergency, but also to use for a picnic, sporting event, or protect your car seats if you are picking up something could damage your seats.
*Emergency Money is always a good idea to keep hidden in your car too – I normally keep some cash as well as an old change purse with quarters for parking meters or even tolls as I travel.
*A backseat car organizer is one of the best accessories you can have – you can fasten it to the back of your front seat which will give you pockets for toys, tissues, garage bags, paper, pencils and whatever else you may need. You could buy one for each seat for each kid to use individually if needed.

Keep at It.

The biggest part of keeping your car organized and clean – is to keep at it. Just like cleaning your home, you need to continue to do things on a regular basis. If you can start a regular routine, it’ll be easier to keep up.
Each time you get gas – make sure you get rid of all the trash in your vehicle. There are always trash cans next to the gas pumps, so take time to remove ALL garbage while you wait for the tank to fill. (Remember to check the backseat as well!)
Even if you keep a nice tote in the trunk, or car organizer on the back of your seat, or a folder of info in your glove box – you have to be sure to make a habit of clearing out any extra items that were left behind. Kids have a tendency to leave extra toys and books and such behind – and even as adults we may put receipts or paperwork ‘until later’ and forget. Just be sure to keep up with it, so it doesn’t get out of hand again.


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The Do’s and Don’ts of Proper Car Care

Most of us probably don’t give a second thought to what or how we wash our cars – we just need to get the dirty and grime off right? But there are a lot of myths regarding the best way to wash and care for your car, and if you aren’t careful it can actually be harmful. So I’ve put together a list of a few do’s and don’ts of proper car care.

This post is sponsored by Don Vance Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep & Ram.

Don’t Use Dishwasher/or Laundry Detergent. In essence soap is soap, and most will get the dirt and grime off of your vehicle, you could be removing an important protective coating off the paint surface and dry out your paint on your car! Dish soap and laundry detergent are counterproductive – it speeds up the oxidation process and shortens the life of your car paint. Ouch!

Don’t Use Leather Products on Your Dashboard! Leather products are NOT designed to be used on synthetic materials. This type of product could cause your dashboard to dry out and age faster, causing cracking, and overall ugliness. Be sure to use interior conditioners that are designed specifically for synthetic materials.

Do Get an Automatic Wash/Undercarriage Cleaning at the “Do it Yourself” Car Wash. The modern automated car wash (you know when you drive through or get out and do it yourself type of car washes) are a pretty great option for washing your car, especially for those who may not have access to a hose and driveway. it’s gentler on a car’s finish than hand washing, and it uses just the right amount of soap, washing method, water pressure and timing. While you are there, get the undercarriage wash – especially after bad weather. For example in winter salt and brine can build up and can be destructive to your car if you don’t take care of it. It also helps eliminate corrosion and rust

Do a Safety Check While You’re at it. Since you are up close and personal with your car as you are getting it clean, do some safety spot checks. Use a quarter to check the tire tread wear. Check your tire pressure (you should have one on hand!) Check your oil and other fluids and even your headlights to make sure they aren’t foggy or yellow – or dimming.

Do Make Sure to Wax.  Yes it’s time consuming -yes it’s kind of a pain. But waxing your car actually helps clean and protect the finish and acts like a barrier for everyday wear and tear. Waxing your car also makes it easier to wash because it prevents things from sticking to your paint!

Don’t Just Use Anything as a Cleaning Cloth. While cloths like t-shirts, paper towels or kitchen towels seem like they would be clean and absorb water, they actually can scratch the paint surface and damage your car. Invest in a premium terrycloth microfiber towel – it will help pick up leftover dirt and not scratch your car!





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Tips to Keep Your Car on the Road for Years

Anytime anyone has had the same car for 10 plus years, I always like to ask what they do to keep their vehicle running. The most popular answer I seem to get is preventative maintenance. Just like you go to the Doctor for annual physicals to see what you need to do to stay healthy, or prevent issues from arising – the same goes for your car. Most car manufacturers will provide you with a list of recommended maintenance tasks based on the age/mileage of your vehicle. They will usually say something about checking battery fluid a few times a year, the engines timing belt needs replaced within 100,000 miles, and when you need a tune up. Find your recommended list in the book that comes with your car and stick to it. Spending money now will most likely save you a lot of money (not to mention headache) in the future.

This post is sponsored by Williams Brothers Dundee.

Check and Replace Fluids. Probably one of the most important preventative maintenance you can do is check and replace fluids in your vehicle. Engine oil usually needs to be changed every 5,000 or 6 months, and engine coolant needs to be checked at least twice a year and flushed and replaced when necessary. Transmission fluid also needs to be flushed every 2 years, or 30,000 miles, as well as the power steering fluid and differential lubricant. Brake fluid is extremely important as it can attract and absorb moisture which over time can really reek some havoc on your anti-lock braking system. It needs to be flushed every two years no matter how many miles you may have on it.

Slow Down, and Chill. I have to admit, I am guilty of having a bit of a lead foot and when someone ticks me off I tend to push my vehicle to the max to speed off past them. But if you can drive gently – and keep your speed down, this could help reduce the wear and tear on your car. Slow down for bumps and potholes, don’t take corners on 2 wheels and don’t put the petal to the metal. Driving hard puts a lot of stress and strain on your car – and speeding makes your car work a lot harder, wearing it down a lot quicker. So just take a chill pill!

Consider a Warranty. No matter what you do, things happen. Cars are not built to last forever (and if they were, we couldn’t afford them anyway!) Parts break, they wear out and stuff happens. One way to help protect yourself and not break the bank is to invest in an extended warranty. It can help ensure that your vehicle is in good condition, and fix what isn’t – helping you avoid expensive repair bills.




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