How to look after your car so it doesn’t let you down!

Common mistakes that can do bad things to your vehicle

As a proud car owner, you want your vehicle to last as long as possible. In looking after it, the first rule is ‘do no harm’. Here are some blunders to avoid:

Riding your brakes down a long hill – Brake pads wear faster when they heat up, and a sure way to get them super-hot is to ride them all the way down a long hill. A better method is to alternate between braking and letting off the brake.

This is much easier on your brake pads, which won’t keep you safe if they’re worn down to nothing.

Using a pressure washer on your engine – Pressure washers are great for cleaning the grime off your concrete driveway – but not so great for cleaning your car engine, which is a complex piece of equipment with all sorts of small wires, sensors and components.

A high powered jet of water can dislodge electrical bits, hoses and rubber seals in an instant, and is simply a bad idea.

A few rags and some degreaser fluid is all you really need to clean a grimy engine and you probably only have to do this once or twice a year.

Forgetting to change your oil – This must be the most common mental lapse for car owners – leaving their oil change until the engine’s lubricant looks something like sludgy black molasses.

Old engine oil does your car no good at all, so you should change your oil as often as your car manual suggests (and this frequency varies between models). And don’t forget to change the oil filter now and then too.

Neglecting to use the parking brake – Whether you’re parked on a steep hill or reasonably flat ground, you should always use the parking brake.

Aside from obvious safety reasons, using the park brake takes the strain off your transmission – which is not designed to hold your car steady. Something as simple as getting into the habit of using your park brake can potentially add years to the life of your car.

Ignoring those funny sounds – If you let it, your car can talk to you. And if you listen carefully, you can work out what it’s trying to say. That squeak every time you open the passenger door means you need to oil the door hinges. That thumping sound can mean a loose exhaust pipe.

That whining noise can indicate a worn transmission. And that high-pitched squeal you hear when you put on the brakes is serious – it’s a sure sign your brake pads need replacing. Always listen to your car – it will often give you a clue when something isn’t working right.



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11 innovative car keys taking driving to a whole new level

The BMW 7-series’ key has a full-color touch screen.

The BMW 7-series' key has a full-color touch screen.


It’s only suiting that a car as high-tech as the BMW 7-series would come with a key fob to match it.

It comes with four buttons to lock and unlock the car, pop open the trunk, and panic. But it also comes with a full-color 2.2-inch touch screen that lets you swipe to see information like whether all the doors are locked and your current fuel range.

You can also use the key to control the climate in the car and toggle the lights. But by far the coolest part is that you can use it to park the car remotely.

Tesla’s Model S key can be used to summon the car.

Tesla's Model S key can be used to summon the car.

AP/Carlos Osorio

Tesla’s key fob was actually designed to look like a mini Tesla Model S

In addition to locking and unlocking the car doors, the Tesla key can be used to tell the car to pull forward and backward, all from a semi-remote distance and without anyone inside of the car.

Koenigsegg’s shield fob looks like something a superhero would carry.

Koenigsegg's shield fob looks like something a superhero would carry.


When locking and unlocking the doors of a Koenigsegg, you’ll need something that can make as big of a statement as the car itself.

Koenigsegg’s metal shield key doesn’t have any hugely crazy special features, but what it can give you is the sense of authority and a firm reminder that you drive an insane Swedish supercar.

If driving one of these insane supercars doesn’t give you the thrill or feel of power you were looking for, holding this awesome shield key fob just might.

This Ferrari key may not have any tech-savvy features, but the design is stunning.

This Ferrari key may not have any tech-savvy features, but the design is stunning.

Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

First of all, it’s a key with some weight to it. It’s smooth and big enough that it’s enjoyable to hold without being too clunky. Its functional purpose is hidden on the back, where there are three buttons to lock and unlock the doors as well as pop open the trunk.

To start the car, you stick the key in the ignition and then press a separate button on the steering wheel. In that regard, the key really only has an aesthetic purpose. But hey, with the classic prancing horse and deep red color, it’s not something I would mind lugging around.

Unfortunately, the key only comes with older Ferrari models like the FF. Even Ferrari has given up the traditional key or a fob, but this one is still among our favorites.

Aston Martin’s key fob is topped off with a crystal.

Aston Martin's key fob is topped off with a crystal.

Aston Martin

Though it can only really handle the tasks of an average key fob, the aesthetics of this key make it much more special than most others out there.

Inserting this crystal key into the center of an Aston Martin’s dashboard never gets old.

McLaren’s key reminds you lightness is key.

If crystals aren’t really your thing, maybe lightweight carbon fiber is.

McLaren’s key has three buttons and is backed with a carbon fiber rear.

Because you can never have too much carbon fiber.


It’s a fob with the best of both worlds.

On one had, it has this really neat, smooth packaging so it fits squarely in your palm. It also offers all of the traditional functions of a fob, like the ability to lock, unlock, and pop open the trunk of the car.

But on the other hand, in the fob is still a good ol’ fashion key that swings out.

It’s a fun mix of old and new.

Pagani’s aluminum key does more than just look good.

Though Porsche and Tesla have similar offerings, Pagani’s key fob is the one that truly stands out.

First, it’s the perfect cool looking desk ornament.

Second, it’s also a USB flash drive.

Third, it’s still a key.

How’s that for multi-functional?

Corvette has a great, matte black box of a key.

Most automakers stick to a rounded shape for their key fobs, but Corvette’s black box fits the vibe of the souped-up muscle car.

In addition to the typical fob functions, it also lets you remote start the car.

The Jaguar F-Pace Activity Key is the key to have if you hate using keys.

The Jaguar F-Pace Activity Key is the key to have if you hate using keys.


With the F-Pace’s Activity Key, by holding your wrist up to the Jaguar badge on the rear of the car, you can lock or unlock the vehicle. And it’s waterproof!

The Activity Key is available as a $400 option.

But if you hate even what we consider the crème de la crème of car keys, there’s good news: Volvo is going to start getting rid of keys altogether.

But if you hate even what we consider the crème de la crème of car keys, there's good news: Volvo is going to start getting rid of keys altogether.

Volvo Car Group

Volvo will start selling cars that come with a Bluetooth-enabled digital key that lives on your smartphone. The digital key can lock, unlock, start, and drive the car.

Business Insider’s Aaron Brown wrote a previous version of this article.

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Professional Auto Repair


Professional Auto Repair Shop In Canyon Lake, TX

Hillside Auto provides Canyon Lake, TX with dependable auto repair and maintenance services.We service all makes and models, both foreign and domestic and we have ASE certified technicians to assist you with your needs. We have over 30 years of experience and we offer quality workmanship.

We are family owned and operated and we use the latest diagnostic equipment to guarantee your vehicle is serviced correctly while maintaining your manufacturer’s warranty. We only use quality replacement parts, and our technicians are ASE-certified. Call us at (830) 899-2525 to schedule an appointment or just stop on by. Our friendly and professional staff will be glad to answer any question you may have about our services.

Call us now for all of your Canyon Lake, TX auto repair needs!

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Full Service Auto Repair Center


We Pride Ourselves In Our Knowledge Of Auto Repair And Maintenance To Get Your Car Back On The Road.

At Hillside Auto, our trusted ASE certified technicians have years of experience on handling any auto repair and maintenance service for your vehicle. Located in Canyon Lake, our state-of-the-art auto center is ready to serve all your vehicle repair and maintenance needs.Whether you need service for your car, truck, SUV, or commercial equipment, Hillside Auto is just the place for you. From low-cost oil changes and maintenance to tune-ups, our repair shop offers you quality auto repair and tire service without costing you a fortune.

Call us today for more information on how we can help with all your automotive needs!

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How Can I Tell If My Radiator Is Leaking?


When the temperature gauge on your dashboard reads high or a temperature warning light comes on, you have a cooling system problem that may be caused by a leak — be it in the radiator itself or some other component.

First, make sure it’s coolant that’s leaking, not another fluid. (Coolant is often referred to as antifreeze, but technically coolant is a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water.) You can easily check the coolant level in your see-through overflow tank. If it’s empty or low, the next step should be to check the coolant level in the radiator, but that should be done only when the engine is cool.

Once you know you’re losing coolant, the radiator is a good place to start. Some radiator leaks will be easy to spot — such as a puddle underneath the radiator — but others not so much. It’s best to check the radiator from every angle, not just from above, and pay particular attention to seams and the bottom. Corrosion inside the radiator or holes from road debris also can cause leaks.

Antifreeze comes in different colors — green, yellow and pinkish-red, for example — feels like slimy water and usually has a sweet smell. If you can’t see coolant dripping or seeping, look for rust, tracks or stains on the radiator. Those are telltale signs of where it has leaked.

If the radiator appears to be OK, the cooling system offers several possibilities for leaks, including the hoses from the radiator to the engine, the radiator cap, water pump, engine block, thermostat, overflow tank, heat exchanger (a small radiator that circulates hot coolant into the dashboard for cabin heating) and others. A blown gasket between the cylinder head and engine block is another possibility, allowing coolant inside the combustion chambers — a problem that must be addressed immediately by a mechanic.

If you can’t find a leak, have it checked by a professional. Coolant has a way of escaping only under pressure when the car is running — possibly in the form of steam, which may not leave a trace.

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When to change spark plugs


When to change spark plugs:

1. Engine has a rough idle

Your engine idles when it is a stationary and in this position the engine normally produces around 1000rpm. The sound the engine gives off is constant and smooth but if your spark plugs aren’t performing as they should, your engine will produce a rough and jittery sound while producing larger vibrations through the car. Not having this checked can lead to costly damage being done.

2. Having trouble starting your car?

Many people put their car not starting down to being out of fuel or having a flat battery. One possibility you may overlook is having bad or worn spark plugs. If your spark plugs don’t produce the spark needed to get the vehicle moving, then you’re going nowhere. It is also possible that faulty spark plugs are causing your battery to drain. If so you need to have your battery and spark plugs changed as soon as possible.

3. Your engine misfires

When your engine misfires it causes the vehicle to halt for a fraction of a second and then continues it’s usual movement. This means the vehicle isn’t functioning as smoothly as it should because one or more cylinders aren’t firing properly, which can also lead to higher amounts of emissions.

4. Engine surging

When a vehicle sucks in more air than usual in the combustion process it can cause the vehicle to jerk and then slow down or continually start and stop, which means the vehicles engine is working inefficiently. This is also known as engine hesitation and dangerous situation can arise if this occurs in traffic.

5. High fuel consumption

If your spark plugs have deteriorated you’ll notice that your vehicles fuel economy can decrease by up to 30% due to incomplete combustion. If you notice you’re having to fill up more often than usual it can be caused by deteriorating spark plugs. To get back to your vehicle’s optimum level of fuel consumption all you’ll need to do is have your spark plugs changed.

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Your Tuneup Parts Shopping List


Here is a list of tuneup parts you should consider when performing routine maintenance work on your car:

– Spark Plugs –
– Spark Plug Wires (Ignition Wire Set) –
– Distributor Cap –
– Distributor Rotor –
– Oxygen Sensor (O2 Sensor) –
– Oil Filter –
– Air Filter –
– PCV Breather Filter –
– Fuel Filter –
– Transmission Filter –
– Vacuum Hoses –
– Temperature Sensors –
– Lubricants –
– Coolant Hoses –
– Belts –

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