Diamond Certified Blog

Category Archives: Auto Tips

Five Ways to Prepare for a Smog Inspection

When bringing in your vehicle for a smog inspection, even a seemingly minor detail can determine whether it passes or fails. Photo: Discount Smog Check Centers (2015)

When bringing in your vehicle for a smog inspection, even a seemingly minor detail can determine whether it passes or fails. Photo: Discount Smog Check Centers (2015)

A vehicle can fail a smog inspection for a variety of reasons, so it’s important to be prepared prior to your appointment. Here are five common issues to address:

1. Warm up your vehicle. Since a smog inspection requires a vehicle’s catalytic converter to be hot, a cool engine can result in an unwarranted test failure. That’s why it’s a good idea to drive your vehicle for at least 20 minutes before bringing it to a smog check facility. If you know your wait time will be more than 30 minutes, keep your engine running to make sure it stays warm. Continue reading “Five Ways to Prepare for a Smog Inspection” »

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The Biggest Auto Recall Ever

Chris Toyota

Chris’ 2003 Toyota was one of millions in a recent recall. Check www.safercar.gov for up-to-date recall information. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

It’s easy to tune out news about automobile recalls—most aren’t serious, and they usually don’t apply to a vehicle you own. However, my ears perked up when my 2003 Toyota was among millions of cars being recalled. Vehicles of many different makes (Honda, BMW, Subaru, Mazda, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Mitsubishi, Nissan) have Japanese-made airbags that could explode upon impact and injure drivers and passengers with flying shrapnel. That’s pretty scary. I called my local Toyota dealership right away to schedule the “fix” specified in the recall. The free repair was completed with minimal hassle earlier this year. Continue reading “The Biggest Auto Recall Ever” »

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Car Seats for Kids: Better Designs and Better Safety Testing

When buying car seats for your kids, make sure to account for their age, weight and height. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

When buying car seats for your kids, make sure to account for their age, weight and height. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

The other day, I was about to hop in the back seat of my friend’s SUV, but I quickly changed my mind. The child safety seats—one for an infant and one for a preschooler—had been carefully installed and appeared to be permanently locked down.

Car seats have improved dramatically in both safety and design since they gained more widespread use in the ’70s. Today, most people know that young children should sit in the back of a car and use some kind of safety seat until they’re about 12 years old, depending on their weight. Continue reading “Car Seats for Kids: Better Designs and Better Safety Testing” »

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Industry Overview: Auto Body Repair 101

Whether or not you’ve recently been in an auto collision, it’s helpful to be familiar with auto body repair industry basics. Photo: Coelho’s Body Repair & Auto Sales, Inc. (2015)

Automotive work is a multifaceted field that consists of many subdivisions, from manufacturing to engine repair. One important segment of the industry is auto body repair, which concerns aspects such as vehicle paint and collision repair. The following article contains useful information to help you get more acquainted with this part of the automotive field, including key terms, DIY tips and answers to frequently asked questions.

Key Terms

Chipping: Auto paint is said to “chip” when stones and other debris cause the colored paint finish to break off in small pieces. Auto body shops can buff out and refill chipped areas with matching paint to make the damage invisible. Continue reading “Industry Overview: Auto Body Repair 101” »

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Auto-Wise: Tips for Making a Smart Vehicle Purchase

Whether you’re looking to buy a new or used vehicle, being proactive will help you secure a wise investment. Photo: Diablo Motors Auto Sales, Brokerage, Consignment, Service (2015)

Whether you’re looking to buy a new or used vehicle, being proactive will help you secure a wise investment. Photo: Diablo Motors Auto Sales, Brokerage, Consignment, Service (2015)

Buying a car is a complex enterprise with several aspects to consider—not to mention a lot of pitfalls to avoid. Whether you’re looking for something that’s new off the lot or simply new to you, it’s important to exercise caution so you can ensure a wise investment.

Buying new
When it comes to purchasing a new car, there are two different routes you can take: visiting a dealership or using an online sales service. While each has its perks, there are also things to watch out for. Continue reading “Auto-Wise: Tips for Making a Smart Vehicle Purchase” »

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Diamond Certified Experts: Car Care Tips

car-care-basics

While easily overlooked, vehicle maintenance steps like monitoring tire pressure can have a considerable impact. Photo: Menlo Park Chevron (2015)

With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s not surprising that our vehicles often get taken for granted. However, considering the vital role they play in our daily routines, ongoing vehicle maintenance should be a top priority. Fortunately, most aspects of maintenance are fairly simple and, in many cases, can be performed independently. Take a minute to review some of these car care basics provided by five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors.

1. Tire maintenance: Walee Gon of Faxon Garage

When a vehicle’s tires are under-inflated, it leads to increases in fuel usage, braking distance and tread wear. For this reason, it’s important to monitor inflation levels on an ongoing basis, which can be done using a hand-held tire pressure gauge. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Car Care Tips” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Saving on Car Rentals

Do you know how to get the best rates on a rental car? Watch this video for some helpful tips.

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Diamond Certified Experts: Essential Vehicle Maintenance for Optimal Performance

By taking a proactive approach to maintenance, you can make the most of your vehicle investment. Photo: Faxon Garage (2014)

By taking a proactive approach to maintenance, you can make the most of your vehicle investment. Photo: Faxon Garage (2014)

Let’s face it: in this day and age, a vehicle is more than just a means of transportation—it’s an investment, and a substantial one at that. From the price of engine repair and body work to ongoing fuel and insurance costs, owning a vehicle constitutes a major financial obligation, which is all the more reason to be proactive about maintenance. With this in mind, we asked five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to weigh in on key areas where maintenance matters most. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Essential Vehicle Maintenance for Optimal Performance” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Dealing with Car Rust

Watch this video to learn how to minimize rust damage to your vehicle.

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Auto Recalls

Watch this video to learn when you should pay attention to automobile recalls.

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