Posts Tagged ‘Auto Transport’

10 Mistakes Car Buyers Make

Customer and salesman with car key

A car is the one of the biggest purchases that you will ever make, second to a home. The car buying process can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming. After all, you do not want to end up overpaying for a vehicle. You definitely do not want to get the wrong car, altogether, as the return policy for vehicles works a little differently than any regular store purchase.

You will invest a lot of time, energy, and money into the car buying process, but are you avoiding some of the most common mistakes car shoppers make? We have compiled this list to help you drive off the lot with a smile on your face without any regrets.

Here are some mistakes that many car buyers are currently making:

1. Avoiding Research.

Think of buying a car like preparing for a big exam. You do not want to go in for your big test, blind, because it could cost you. Instead, you need to study up and do your research. The internet is your friend. Use it to search for a car that matches your price range. You can filter your car search by makes, models, years, mileage, and more. It is also smart to read a few reviews about both the car and the dealership you will be potentially be doing business with.

2. Picking The Wrong Car.

Think about what you do on a day-to-day basis. What about on a weekly basis? Maybe, better fuel economy is at the top of your must-have list because of your long commute to work. Also, think about your future plans. If you are planning on starting a family, investing in a sedan or SUV that offers the safety and seating you need may be a good idea.

3. Looking At Only One Place.

If you have found your dream car, there is nothing wrong with signing and driving away without stepping foot on another car lot. However, sometimes, it pays to keep your options open. Travel to different dealerships to see who offers the best deal. For a more convenient search, this can also be done online. When shopping for a dealership, keep customer service in mind, as well. This is just as important as the price and value of the car.

4. Not Looking Up Your Car’s Value.

If you are planning on trading in your car for a new or used vehicle, it would be a smart idea to look up your car’s trade-in value. Keep this number at the back of your head when going to a dealership. If the dealership does not offer you what you want, you can try to negotiate, sell on your own, or go to a private party.

5. Skipping The Test-Drive.

A test-drive is one of the most important factors in determining if a car is right for you. Pictures do not tell the entire story. Therefore, you must sit in the driver’s seat. During the test-drive, consider the following:

  • Seat comfort
  • Controls
  • Visibility
  • Engine noise
  • Technology and features
  • Steering
  • Acceleration

6. Forgetting About The Online Department.

Many people think of buying a car in the traditional way. You walk onto a lot to speak with a salesperson about your interest in a vehicle. In today’s world, most dealerships also have an online department. These departments take the stress out of the negotiation process, creating a totally different car shopping experience.

7. Thinking Dealership Financing Is Your Only Option.

Most people cannot afford to pay for a vehicle in its entirety, so they finance it with a loan. It may seem easier to use the financing options offered through the dealership. However, this is not your only option. You can also get a car loan through a bank, credit union, or online company. Do your homework to decide which financing option is right for you and which one offers you the lowest interest rates.

8. Feeling Forced Into A Buy.

Buying a car is a big decision. If you have any doubts, sleep on your decision. You need to be 100% confident and be in a place where you can financially afford the monthly payments. A salesperson should respect your choice and need for more time, so they should not push you to buy.

9. Thinking New Is Your Only Option.

There are advantages and disadvantages to buying both new and used cars. While new cars offer top-rated technology and features, buying used could save you money, upfront. In addition, requesting a CarFax report is a great way to have peace of mind in the car buying process. You will find out information about the vehicle’s history, such as previous owners, accidents, and more.

10. Breaking The Bank.

One of the first things that you should do when searching for a car is to establish a budget. Stick to that budget. One way to do this is by avoiding looking at any cars that fall outside your price range. This way you do not risk falling in love with a car that you cannot afford.

Auto Transport And Your Car

By avoiding these mistakes, you can save yourself time, money, and stress, making the car buying process much more enjoyable. We, at National Dispatch, are also here to help during the process and anytime in the future.

If you are buying a car out of state, our nationwide auto transport services can make your life easier by shipping your car to you. With our years of experience and trained auto shipping experts, you never have to worry about your car’s safety along the way.

Request a free, instant car shipping quote. No personal information is required to get a car transport rate in seconds. Only four fields are needed: vehicle make, vehicle model, pickup location, and delivery location. If you prefer to speak with an auto transport representative, you can call us at 800-321-2051.

To Drive Or Not To Drive: Road Or Air

Whether you are moving to or taking a vacation in a city across the country, there is always the question about if driving is the best option or not. Driving is often seen as the less expensive alternative to flying, one which provides you with a chance to explore and sight-see on the way to your destination. But, how much is a cross-country road trip really?

While a road trip may be more fun, some people do not like the idea of cramped spaces, road tolls, or vehicle wear and tear. When deciding how to travel, it is important to take into consideration all the factors. Each method, by air or road, has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at how each compare in price, comfort, time, and unexpected problems.

Couple driving convertible

To Drive: The Road

Driving gives you the freedom to go where you please, when you want. You do not have to stick to a specific schedule or itinerary. If you see something that catches your eye, you can stop and explore. However, this freedom comes at a price. This is not just a literal dollar amount, but road trips require a good amount of planning and preparation.


Calculating the cost of road travel may involve more components than air travel, but in the end, your credit card will thank you. Mapping out how much you will spend will require knowing the current cost of gas, the trip’s distance, and your car’s gas mileage.

Gas Prices

A true cross-country road trip is from one coast to another, say New York to California. This trip is about 3,000 miles, or a total of forty-three hours, give or take. Let’s say this trip takes you about a week to complete, depending on how many hours you drive per day.

No matter what kind of car you drive, you will need to stop for gas or to charge up. According to the Dollar Times Road Trip Calculator, you can expect to drop $250 on gas for a car that gets around 30 miles to the gallon. Gas mileage is dependent on your particular vehicle, current gas prices, and your driving habits. To save on gas money, you could download an app, such as Gas Buddy, to see where the cheapest places to fuel up are.


This price will vary depending on if you are eating fast food everyday or going out to fine dining establishments. You may not want to go to Burger King every night, so splurging is not out of the question. If you are looking to save money during your road trip, you may pack a cooler full of snacks before going on your journey. This will greatly influence how much money you spend. Otherwise, you could look at spending around $200 or more for a 7-day trip.


Like most other factors, this will rely on other variables. Are you riding alone or with another driver? If driving with another person, will you be rotating shifts? Although driving with another person may make your trip move along faster, you will still want to stop for lodging. If you are making a cross-country trip on your own, then resting becomes even more important.

Drowsy driving is dangerous to yourself and to other drivers on the road. When you are drowsy, you have a slower reaction time and decreased awareness. If you become sleepy, pull over to take a break. Rest up. Getting to your destination faster is not worth the risk. Consider when you feel most sleepy, in the afternoon or the late hours of the night. Avoid driving during these times.

The cost of lodging will depend on where you stay: hotel, motel, airbnb, or even campsite. The typical cost of a hotel is between $100 and $150 per night, depending on the location. However, you may be able to find cheaper options. Motels offer rates as low as $40 per night.


Even if you own a luxury vehicle, sitting in the same spot, for hours, does not provide for the most comfortable travel experience. Traveling in a confined space is not easy. It can become less comfortable, or rather stressful, especially when you are traveling as a family. Young children need to be entertained with toys, books, and games. Otherwise, they can get fussy, and then everyone in the car will become frustrated, as well. When driving with another passenger, you might want to switch drivers periodically and make frequent stops just to stretch your legs. It will make the trip much more bearable.


Traveling by car is not known for being the fastest method. As we have already mentioned, a cross-country road trip can take a week or more to complete. This depends on how many stops you make along the way. It is important to take into consideration how much time you will need to take off work. Will this trip eat away at your vacation days? Is it worth it?

It is also important to note how much planning it will take to map out a cross-country road trip. You must plan out the path you will take and set a budget.

Unexpected Problems

It is fair to say that life does not always go as planned. This means that road trips may not go as expected. The weather might not be as sunny as you would like it to be. This can make driving difficult or even impossible, if there were extreme weather conditions. What happens if your car gets a flat or needs some other repair? You will need to leave some wiggle room in your budget in case you need to stay a few extra days in a location or take your car to a local auto mechanic.

Passenger Plane

To Fly: The Air

While road travel does offer a beautiful view, sometimes you might be staring out at nothing but trees for miles and miles. There is nothing quite like the view from 35,000 feet in the air. However, the long lines and early arrival time can be quite the headache for some.


Like driving, calculating the cost of flying by plane involves several components, which are greatly influenced by how many people are traveling along. Not only must you purchase a ticket, you must consider what happens if the flight is delayed. Also, you must think about your transportation options.

Airplane Ticket

More travelers means more money, because you will need to buy an extra ticket. Unfortunately, if you bought a ticket on Monday, you might look and see that it is not the same price on Friday. This is due to fluctuation. Ticket prices vary depending on the ordering time, popularity of the destination, and how close the plane is to full capacity.

You can expect to pay around $300 or more for a cross-country ticket. To get a cheaper airline ticket, there are several tips you can try.

  • Book in advance.
  • Search for deals.
  • Find the cheapest day to fly (said to be Wednesday).
  • Fly out early.
  • Get alerts when prices drop.

Delay Costs

As we all know, traveling can be stressful even when everything goes as planned. What if your flight gets delayed or cancelled? When your flight is cancelled, the airline will usually rebook you on the next available flight. What if this flight isn’t until the next day? If the cancellation is due to severe weather, you will have to find lodging and pay for it on your own dime. However, most airlines are more than happy to help you find a nearby hotel.

Rental Car

No matter where you go, you will likely need a way to get around. Rental cars are available, but they can come at a steep price. Additional fees may apply when there is an extra driver, when you are renting from the airport, when there is a different return location, or if you are a young driver (under 25).


Comfort and convenience go hand and hand. Instead of you having to load your luggage, the airline takes over the responsibility. This allows you to sit back and relax. Also, you do not have to worry about traffic, which is a big positive.

Most of the time, the seating on airplanes is not the most comfortable. You do not want the broken seat or the seat near the bathroom. You want a seat that offers an adequate amount of leg room, but airplanes can fall short on meeting our expectations.

Where air travel reigns over road travel is in its freedom to move about. You can stretch your legs or go to the bathroom without slowing down your entire trip.


Flying greatly decreases your travel time, allowing you to get to your destination much faster than by car. The farther you have to travel, the more time you will save. Instead of traveling for 7 days by car, you could be at your destination in 6 hours by plane. This is of great importance if you are taking days off work to travel or if you are moving to a new city for a new position. You might want to get back to work right away. Consider how much your time is worth.

Unexpected Problems

We have already touched on one major problem with airlines. That is delays. As with traveling by car, the weather can impact a trip and cause delays. Another issue is with lost luggage. This can turn your happy vacation into a nightmare. Make sure you fill out a written claim and receive a reference number before leaving the airport.

National Dispatch Truck

To Drive And Fly: Car Shipping

Do you want the best of both worlds? Do you want to be able to drive your own car while on vacation, but avoid the hassle of long road trips or rental car fees? By using a car shipping company, you can fly to your destination and have your car transported anywhere in the country.

Car shipping is a safe, fast, and easy solution for those seeking convenience and peace of mind. A reputable car shipping company comes in handy for more than just vacations and residential moves. These services are also useful for corporate relocations, out-of-state purchases, auto shows, and more.


Pricing varies depending on the particular services that you need and how far the driver must travel. There are important factors to take into consideration. Are you shipping via an enclosed carrier or open carrier? Does the car run? Is the destination located across the country? The best way to determine the cost of a car transport rate is to use an online quote calculator. National Dispatch offers a free, instant, and easy-to-use quote form that requires no personal information.


You can request these services from the comfort of your own couch with a quick call or click of a button. With door-to-door auto transport services, the driver will come directly to your home or as close as possible for pickup. Then, hop on a plane, and your car will be delivered, safely and quickly. It is that easy.


How long does it take to ship a car? Auto transporters are governed by regulations. Therefore, they are only permitted to travel a certain distance per day. This is to ensure a safe delivery. The delivery time also depends on which shipping method you choose. You can expect your car to arrive in a timely manner, but it is important to order in advance.

Unexpected Problems

Auto transport can have many of the same unexpected problems as with other transportation options, such as weather delays. However, a professional company does everything possible to ensure that your vehicle arrives on time, while keeping safety a top priority.

Making A Decision

At the end of the day, the decision is yours. Each person has unique needs and a different situation. Maybe, you are retiree moving to Florida or a recent graduate moving to a large city for greater job prospects. Whatever the case, consider how you are going to get there. How will your car get there?

If you are in need of car transport services, contact National Dispatch. We are a leading provider of nationwide car shipping services. Request a free quote in seconds or call us at 800-321-2051.

5 Car Maintenance Jobs You Can Do Yourself

A car is a machine with thousands of moving parts that work together as a system to get you where you need to go. Eventually, various parts of the machine will need to be serviced so that the entire unit functions properly. Routine car maintenance is crucial to reduce expensive and unnecessary large repairs in the future, increase the vehicle’s performance, and extend the car’s longevity.

There are two main options when it comes to car maintenance. You can either perform a Car Maintenance DIY (Do-It-Yourself), or take your car to a mechanic. There are some jobs that are better left to the professionals. However, other car maintenance tasks require little equipment, time, money, or skill.

Beyond saving you money, performing general Car Maintenance DIY jobs present you with the opportunity to gain new skills and knowledge. You will come away from a first-time DIY project with the confidence and courage to attempt future undertakings. If nothing else, tinkering under your car’s hood will help you develop a greater appreciation for automotive professionals.

We have created for you a list of 5 car maintenance tasks that you can do yourself. These tasks include replacing wiper blades, diagnosing fuses, changing lights, replacing engine air filter, and changing engine oil. For more tips on maintaining your vehicle, check out our Car Maintenance Guide.

These vehicle maintenance jobs are relatively easy to perform. Therefore, no matter your experience level, we are confident that you are capable of successfully completing these tasks. If you do not feel comfortable in your abilities, take your vehicle to your local mechanic to be serviced.

In this post, all of your questions will be answered. This would include questions revolving around the required tools and time needed to perform the maintenance job. In addition, we will discuss how you know when the parts need to be serviced. Let’s get started.

1. Replacing Wiper Blades

Why DIY?

Replacing Wiper Blades is a very simplistic task. Wiper blades are located on the exterior of the vehicle, making them easy to get to. In addition, instructions on how to replace the wiper blades are often printed on the package of the product, which can be purchased from any local auto parts store for $5 to $15. No tools are required, but sometimes individuals utilize pliers. The entire job will only take between five and ten minutes to complete. Overall, you will save time and money replacing wiper blades yourself.

When To Replace:

Wiper blades typically need to be replaced every six months to one year. However, you should inspect wiper blades every few months, especially at the change of the seasons. The rubber portion of the windshield wiper is the part that usually degrades over time. Signs that it may be time for a replacement include streaks on the windshield, as well as any visible cracks, bending, or splitting of the rubber portion. Weather conditions, such as ice and snow, can cause the blade to become weak and bend. Therefore, if the blade is not making contact with the windshield or having problems with chatter, it is time for a new one.

How To Replace:

  1. Place a towel on your windshield if you fear that the wiper might snap back and cause damages.
  2. Press the release mechanism on the wiper arm.
  3. Pull, and push the old one off. It will either be a hook or pin system.
  4. Hook – Put the new wiper blade on. You should hear a click. Pivot around.
  5. Pin – Insert the the wiper blade arm on the pin. Push down on the tab until secure.

Helpful Tips:

  • Wiper Blades are sold by length. You can refer to your manual, measure the blades yourself, or consult your local auto parts store for assistance. Some vehicles have different size blades on the passenger and driver side. Therefore, if you are measuring yourself, be sure to obtain the length of both sides.
  • Take care of your windshield. Clean your windshield frequently to keep dirt, grime, and bugs from building up. A clear windshield is crucial for seeing potential hazards on the road. To improve visibility in bad weather conditions, try a windshield water repellent.
  • Do not forget about your rear windshield. Many vans and SUVs have a rear windshield wiper, so do not forget to replace this one, as well. It is best to replace all wiper blades together.
  • Refill windshield washer fluid. Check to ensure that your car has windshield washer fluid. If the system has fluid and does not work, locate the sprayer nozzles. Look for a blockage from dirt and debris. Use a needle or thumbtack to clear any blockages. Check for leaks in the washer fluid tank and tubes, as well.  If you cannot resolve the problem, take your vehicle to a professional.

2. Diagnosing Fuses

Why DIY?

Checking and changing car fuses is not rocket science. Everything is labelled for you in the fuse box cover. In addition, the fuses are color-coded according to amps. The hardest part is locating the fuse box. You can use your owner’s manual or conduct an internet search of your vehicle’s year, make, and model. Many vehicles have two fuse boxes, which may be located in a panel under the dash, in the trunk, on the side of the dash, under the rear seat, or under the hood. Fuses are cheap to purchase, but many cars have spares in the fuse box. You can complete this job in under ten minutes.

When To Replace:

What are fuses for? Why do they blow? First off, there are fuses corresponding to a wide array of your car’s features, including the horn, radio, and lights. Fuses carry a flow of electricity, and when that current becomes too strong, fuses may blow. If one of your car’s accessories suddenly stops working, it may be as a result of a blown fuse.

Tools Needed:

  • Flashlight (For better visualization)
  • Screwdriver
  • Voltmeter, Multimeter, or Automotive light
  • Fuse puller or needle-nose pliers
  • Replacement fuses

How To Replace:

  1. Locate fuse box.
  2. Remove covering panel (may need screwdriver). The back of the fuse box cover shows the location of each fuse.
  3. Locate the suspected blown fuse. Use a fuse puller to remove and inspect the fuse.
  4. If the inside connections of the fuse are broken or black, replace with a new fuse of the same amperage.
  5. If you do not know which fuse is bad, you can use a voltmeter, multimeter, or automotive light to test the fuse while it is still in place.
  6. Start the car to see if it worked. If the new fuse blows immediately after install, there may be a circuit problem.

Helpful Tips:

  • Be careful when removing or replacing fuses. Do not inspect or change fuses with the vehicle on. Some cars have glass tubular fuses, which are easily breakable, so exercise caution when handling.
  • Replace old fuses with fuses of the same amperage. If you replace an old fuse with a fuse of lesser or greater amperage, then it could blow before it should or cause damage to the system.

3. Changing Lights

Why DIY?

Changing a light in your automobile is similar to replacing a bulb in your house. Although changing a car light requires a few extra steps, it remains an inexpensive, straightforward process. The task will only require approximately ten minutes or less of your time. The only tools that you may need are a screwdriver, gloves, and cloths.

When To Replace:

Car lights, like all parts, will eventually burnout and need replacing. A burnt-out headlight or taillight is dangerous, and you run into the possibility of getting a ticket. It also interferes with visibility by decreasing light output. Lights also line the interior of the car’s roof and door edges. These interior lights illuminate the car in the dark. Car lights can last up to two years before they need to be replaced.

How To Replace:


  1. Open the car hood.
  2. Locate the headlight, which will be in a bulb holder (Look for 3 wires attached to the plug at the base of the headlight held by a a plastic catch, metal clip, or screw cap).
  3. Remove old bulb, and replace with new one.
  4. Put headlight holder back in, along with wires.
  5. Test the bulb.


  1. Remove the taillight cover (It may include screws, tabs, or knobs).
  2. Unscrew the bulb, and replace with a new bulb.
  3. Replace the housing.
  4. Test the bulb.

Interior Light:

  1. Remove the light cover (A screwdriver may be necessary; Otherwise, it will just pop off).
  2. Use a clean cloth or gloves to remove the bulb.
  3. Clean off the light cover.
  4. Replace the old bulb with a new bulb, and replace the cover.
  5. Test the bulb.

Helpful Tips:

  • Do not forget about your other lights. There are more lights on your car than the headlights, taillights, and interior cabin lights. Do not forget that the fog lights and license plate light may also need to replaced.
  • Replace both lights at the same time. Replacing both headlights at the same time is important for symmetry and balance. This ensures that both of your lights are producing the same amount of light. It also keeps you on a schedule, so that you do not have to change one light before the other.
  • Use gloves when handling. Wear gloves when handling halogen light bulbs, as skin oils can affect the brightness or cause damage to the bulbs.

4. Replacing Engine Air Filter

Why DIY?

Like many of the other Car Maintenance DIY jobs we have listed, replacing the engine air filter will save you money and time waiting at an automotive repair shop. You can easily find an air filter that suits your car at your local auto parts store. The entire process will take you fifteen minutes or less. In addition, the task does not require any tools, but maybe a screwdriver.

When To Replace:

The engine air filter is like your car’s lungs. It keeps the inside of the engine free of debris, dust, dirt, and insects. This part should be changed every 25,000 miles, because it becomes brittle and dirty with age. An engine air filter should be changed more frequently if the automobile is in frequent stop-and-go conditions or travels on unpaved roads often. Proper maintenance of the engine air filter is important for fuel efficiency, engine performance, and acceleration. A dirty air filter could cause damage to the spark plugs, which are important in starting your vehicle.

How To Replace:

  1. Locate the engine air filter (It is located under the hood near the driver’s side top of the engine compartment in a rectangular or cylindrical shaped housing).
  2. Remove the housing, which may snap on or contain latches or screws.
  3. Remove the filter.
  4. Clean air filter housing with a shop towel or vacuum.
  5. Replace with a new filter. Insert into housing with rubber rim facing up. Edges should be sealed by rubber.
  6. Replace cover.

Helpful Tips:

  • Old versus New Models. Older vehicles feature a bulky, round housing made of plastic or metal. On the other hand, newer cars feature square or rectangular housing compartments for the engine air filter.

5. Changing Engine Oil

Why DIY?

This task may not save you a lot of money, but it is simple and saves on drive time going back and forth from home to the mechanic. It is also a crucial part of vehicle maintenance, so it must be completed. Although it does not save you much in expenses, changing your oil is always good to know how to do. This job typically takes about thirty minutes. However, it may require more time your first go-around.

When To Replace:

There is a dashboard indicator light for oil pressure. Rather than relying on this system to tell you when you need an oil change, consult your vehicle manual or car manufacturer for recommendations. The time range varies from every 3,000 miles to every 10,000 miles or more depending on your driving habits and the type of oil (Conventional, Synthetic, High Mileage) that you use. More frequent oil changes are required if you drive under the following conditions: extreme temperatures, stop-and-go traffic, frequent short trips, or towing.

Tools Needed:

  • Latex globes
  • Oil filter
  • Oil filter gasket
  • Engine oil
  • Wrench set (including oil filter wrench)
  • Funnel
  • Drain pan
  • Jack/Jack stands
  • Plastic container (for used oil)

How To Replace:

  1. Place plastic sheet on ground to eliminate worry associated with oil spills. Drive car on it.
  2. Jack up the car. Set the jack stands in place, and lower the car.
  3. Open the hood, remove the oil cap.
  4. Place a drain pan underneath the car. Under the car, unscrew the drain plug.
  5. Remove the oil filter (Use a filter wrench to loosen, then complete with hand).
  6. Install a new filter.
  7. Once the old oil has flowed out, install a new gasket (coasted with oil) on the plug.
  8. Wipe drips with a rag.
  9. Under the hood, refill the engine oil (4-6 quarts) with a funnel.
  10. Check the dipstick to assure the appropriate amount and level is obtained.
  11. Recycle the old oil in a sealed plastic container. Take to a local PepBoys, O’Reilly Auto Parts, or AutoZone location.

Helpful Tips:

  • Let your car run idle for a few minutes before changing oil. Cold oil will not not drain properly, but you do not want hot oil either.
  • Get the proper filter. There are economy oil filters which get approximately 3,000 miles and high quality oil filters which get more than 3,000 miles.

Importance of Car Maintenance:

There are many parts to a car that must be cared for regularly, so wherever you can spare a buck or two will greatly help. Car maintenance is important so that you can keep your car running smooth for as long as possible. You rely on your car as a necessary means of transport, so it must be reliable.

We are going to take a step back for a moment. If you are a car collector, vacationer, military personnel, corporate businessman, or simply an individual who owns a vehicle, you may be in need of our services, so we are talking to you. Have you ever thought about shipping your vehicle? Well, car maintenance is involved in the auto transport process, as well.

Think about it. The whole purpose of hiring an auto transport company is to get your car where it needs to go so that you can drive it. However, if your car is not properly maintained, it will not be ready for you when you need it the most.

Why use an auto transport company? Why National Dispatch?

  • Simple, fast, and reliable. Door-to-door service is provided, so an auto transport professional will come direct to you. By hiring National Dispatch, you can rest easy knowing that your car will reach its destination without incident-free.
  • Saves you time and stress. Using an auto transport company means no unnecessary drive time and a stress-free experience.
  • Caters to your needs. Whether you need enclosed or open auto transport services, we have got you covered. In addition, National Dispatch is capable of transporting your non-running vehicle.

For a free, instant, online shipping car shipping quote using our online quote calculator go to You can also call us at 800-321-2051 to speak with one of our auto transport specialists. They are happy to answer any and all of your questions concerning auto transport.

Car Maintenance Guide: Tips To Keep Your Car Running Smoothly, Longer

Why is Preventative Car Maintenance Important?

Having a car requires that you take care of it through routine car maintenance. All parts of the vehicle, including the engine, brakes, lights, tires, and much more, must be repaired overtime. Why is upkeep so important?

Preventative car maintenance is necessary for a multitude of reasons. Below you will find a list outlining a few these reasons:

  • Longevity of your automobile. Routine car maintenance extends the life of your vehicle, ensuring that the car lasts you a long time. Periodically checking fluids, getting regular oil changes, and caring for minor repairs are just a few ways to keep your car running smoothly for as long as possible.
  • Safety and reliability. Driving can be dangerous. Therefore, periodic fixes help avoid an engine misfiring due to a worn spark plug or decreased visibility from a burnt-out headlight. It also assures you that you can rely on your car to get you where you need to go.
  • Increased fuel efficiency. There are many factors that influence fuel economy. Some major causes of decreased gas mileage result from not getting regular oil changes or tire rotations, as well as not checking tire pressure frequently.
  • Saves you money.  Servicing your automobile, as you should, will save you money in the long run. Routine vehicle upkeep will reduce your chances of serious car trouble in the future that result when problems go unresolved.

A car has many parts, all of which require special attention and care, to ensure that the machine functions properly. We will discuss all of the various parts of your vehicle that need maintenance. In addition, we will review the warning signs and timeline associated with maintaining these components.

General Car Maintenance

It is apparent that routine car maintenance is important in keeping your car running like new, longer. According to a survey completed by the Car Care Council, eighty-nine percent of the reviewed drivers had vehicles that were in need of at least one maintenance repair. This suggests that many individuals do not care for their automobile like they are supposed to.

Are you giving your vehicle the TLC it deserves? Our hope, through this post, is to make more people aware of the importance of regular car maintenance. We have assembled a list of car features that need to be addressed when caring for your vehicle.

Car Care Guideline:

This list is to be treated as a guideline for general car maintenance. It does not include all of the components of a vehicle, as a car is composed of thousands of parts. You can easily complete some of these maintenance tasks yourself, while others require the work of a trained professional.

Car Interior/Exterior

  • Dashboard Indicator Lights: There are over 150 different indicator lights on a car’s dashboard. Lights indicating to check the engine, oil pressure, and tire pressure are just a few of the numerous possibilities you may see illuminated. These lights can notify you of a problem before you are aware that one even exists. Check your dash frequently to ensure that your vehicle does not sense any complications. Although a “Check Engine” light may simply be caused from a loose gas cap, it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Headlights: A car’s headlights can last up to two years. However, these parts will eventually burnout and need replacing. Proper headlight maintenance is important, so that drivers can see in hazardous conditions, such as at night and in stormy weather. Visibility is crucial, because if you cannot see, then you cannot react to possible dangers on the road.
  • Tires: Every three months, you should inspect the wear, tread, and pressure of your tires. Check for bald spots when assessing the tread. Uneven wear on the tires indicates the need for a wheel alignment. Use the penny trick to evaluate a tire’s tread. Place a penny face down, so Abraham Lincoln’s head is in one of the grooves. If any part of Lincoln’s head is hidden, your tire’s tread is within a safe range. However, if you can see above Lincoln’s head where it reads “In God We Trust”, then it is time to replace the tire. Also, ensure that the tires contain the appropriate amount of air. Under-inflated tires can lead to lower fuel efficiency, paying up to five cents more per gallon.
  • Wiper Blades and Windshield:  It is recommended that windshield wipers be replaced approximately every six months to a year. Wiper blades are flexible, made of rubber, and endure extreme temperatures and conditions. Therefore, windshield wipers are prone to cracking after extended use. Neglecting to change wiper blades can result in damages to the windshield and obstructions to vision. When checking your windshield wipers, you should also inspect the windshield for chips that could grow into large cracks.
  • Brakes: Brake pads are vital for safety and vehicle performance. These parts should be inspected and changed every 45,000 miles. Hearing screeching, grinding, squealing, or rubbing noises are all indicators of a possible brake problem.
  • Proper Cleaning: Washing the exterior of your car is essential in preserving the paint job. Dirt, dust, and grime can build up on a automobile’s surface. Without regular cleaning, these materials will chip away at the car’s paint. It is also important to take care of your car’s interior. Steering wheels, dashboards, and leather seats are capable of cracking and fading from the sun’s harsh rays. For more information, check out our blog post on How to Clean Your Car Properly: Inside and Out.

Under the Hood

  • Fluids:  Check the fluid levels in your vehicle. This would include antifreeze and coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, oil, windshield washer fluid, and power steering fluid. These fluids are all important for different reasons. Antifreeze and coolant are necessary to keep the engine from getting too hot, while windshield washer fluid is critical in maintaining a clear line of vision. Many of these fluids do not need to replaced until one to two years. However, it is best to check levels monthly. How often a vehicle’s oil needs to be changed is dependent upon driving habits and the type of oil used. Typically, a car will need an oil change every 3,000 to 10,000 miles, but it is best to check the manual.
  • Engine/Cabin Air Filter:  An engine air filter prevents harmful contaminants from entering the engine. A cabin air filter performs similar duties but for the interior of the automobile. It is in charge of filtering the air that comes through the car’s HVAC System to prevent dust, pollen, and smog from seeping in. These air filters should be replaced every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. Overtime, they will become extremely dirty and brittle. Signs of a possible dirty engine air filter include unusual engine sounds, smoke from exhaust, and misfiring engine.
  • HVAC System: As Summer is quickly approaching, you will become strongly reliant on your vehicle’s air conditioning system. A car’s HVAC System is critical for maintaining comfortable driving conditions and visibility through the defrost function. Without this system, your drive to work would be miserable. Ensure that the vents are blowing out air as they should and at the appropriate temperature.
  • Hoses and Belts: Hoses and belts are valuable vehicle parts. Without them, engine failure is a possibility. Check these pieces of equipment to ensure that they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, or showing any signs of extensive wear. As a rule of thumb, you should replace these parts every three to five years or every 50,000 miles.
  • Battery: An automotive battery provides the energy needed to start the engine. After continued use, the battery will lose juice. You do not want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery. Keep this from happening by asking your mechanic to check the battery every time you bring your automobile in. Batteries usually need to be replaced every three to four years.
  • Spark plugs: Spark plugs ensure engine performance and longevity. Carelessness in spark plug maintenance can lead to engine misfires. Replacement means smoother starts rather than jerky ones, as well as less harmful emissions. Be on the look-out for rattling sounds, trouble starting, or reduced performance. These are all warning signs that a spark plug needs to be replaced. Replace spark plugs approximately every four to six years

How to Make Car Maintenance Easier

With car maintenance, there is a lot to keep up with. Although not everything needs to be done at one time, it still requires an immense amount of work. You must remember what needs to be done and at what time. How do you accomplish this?

There are many different ways to stay organized. Here are a few ways to take the headache out of maintaining your automobile:

  • Use Mobile Apps. There are numerous apps available on your mobile phone that can be used to manage car maintenance needs. You can find both paid and free apps. These include apps such as CarMinderPlus, myCARFAX car maintenance, Car Care, BitKar, and many more. They can be utilized to track fuel economy and countdown time to repairs.
  • Mark it on a Calendar.  Track your upcoming vehicle maintenance appointments on your calendar. You can use your phone to receive notification reminders as the date approaches.
  • Make a Car Maintenance Checklist. If you are crafty and skilled with Microsoft Office Suites, make a checklist on your own to stay on top of necessary maintenance tasks. Otherwise, use the internet to find a free printable checklist to make your life easier. Pinterest is a good resource to use for free print-outs.

Importance of Car Maintenance in Auto Transport

If you are a car collector, vacationer, military personnel, or individual moving across the country, you may use an auto transport company to move your automobile. Utilizing auto transport services saves you time, energy, and stress. A long trip means thousands of miles on the vehicle, so auto transport saves you the accumulation of miles and the wear that comes with it.

Vehicle maintenance is crucial before, during, and after the auto transport process. Here is why:

  • Your car may be positioned on a two-level auto transport carrier. Why is this important? If your automobile goes without service and is positioned on the top level, it could leak oil on to a vehicle below it. You would not want this to happen to your car if the situation was reversed. Therefore, you should make sure that your vehicle is up to date on all the required services before auto transport.
  • You want your automobile to be ready when you arrive. Upon moving across the country, it would be a hassle to have to complete a long list of car maintenance tasks before being able to safely drive your vehicle. It is better to take care of everything before auto transport. This way you can drive your car as soon as it is delivered.

You put in a great deal of time into preserving the life of your automobile. Preventative vehicle maintenance involves caring for all the components of the car.  This includes monitoring the lights, tires, brakes, windshield, fluids, filters, spark plugs, and more. It may seem like a hassle to complete everything, but these parts are all important in retaining a safe and reliable vehicle.

To make your life easier, why not consider hiring an auto transport company? In the future, let a professional take your car where it needs to go. National Dispatch is dedicated to providing excellent customer service, answering any questions or concerns you may have and serving each individual’s unique needs. We always ship the vehicle in a safe and secure manner, because we understand how much your car means to you.

For a free, instant car shipping quote go to to use our online quote calculator. No personal information is required, just four simple fields. You can also call 800-321-2051 to talk with one of our auto transport professionals.

How To Clean Your Car Properly: Inside and Out

Not Cleaning Your Car Will Cost You

April is National Car Care Month! An important topic of discussion in the care of your vehicle is the cleaning of the interior and exterior. A regular car wash protects the body of the car from a variety of environmental elements and other material, such as splattering bugs, bird droppings, and dirt. If the automobile goes without a wash for months on end, these materials could build up on the car’s surface and damage the paint. Just as the exterior of the vehicle needs regular care, the interior of the car requires routine attention, as well.

You may already perform an entire wash and wax service on your car, but are you using the correct car care products? Furthermore, are you using the proper washing technique to avoid swirl marks and scratches? Not only does this article include instructions on how to clean the body of your vehicle, it also contains tips on how to get your wheels, grill, and headlights spotless.

Exterior Car Wash: Using the Proper Materials and Techniques

As the seasons have just changed, it is just that more important to hand wash your vehicle to remove salt, grime, and elements of the road associated with the winter. Not washing the car properly can create swirl marks and scratches. In addition, not using the proper materials can damage the vehicle’s exterior, causing you to invest more time, energy, and money.

It is recommended that you clean your wheels and tires, first. If you wash and rinse your car first, then the water must sit on the car’s surface as you clean four tires. While you are cleaning the tires, water spots could accumulate where you just washed. These spots are not very appealing, so it creates more work for you. Another reason for washing the wheels and tires before the body of the car is in case of splashes.

Helpful Tips: Washing Wheels and Tires

  • Clean each tire one at a time. Wash, rinse, dry, and move on to the next one. This process will prevent clean tires from air-drying before you have time to get back around to them. Designate one towel for drying your wheels and tires and another for the body of the car.
  • Use the proper cleaners for the job. Use a cleaner designed specifically for the type of wheels that you have. There are cleaners on the market that work for both wheels and tires to remove brake dust, dirt, and grime. If there are a lot of impurities built up on the surface, consider using a stronger cleaner.
  • Get the right scrubbing brushes. For the wheels, use a brush with feathered bristles that will not scratch the surface. You may also want to look for a long, slender brush for the inner areas of the wheels, such as behind the spokes. Since the tires are made of rubber, use a stiff brush.
  • Polish your wheels. Waxing your wheels helps create a barrier against dust, dirt, grime, and other elements. Upkeep will be much easier. The next time that your wheels need cleaning, a quick rinse may suffice.

Now that your tires and wheels are clean, let’s take a look at the proper technique and materials needed to wash the body of your car.

Steps for Washing Your Car

  1. Park the vehicle in the the shade. Do not wash in direct sunlight. Heat speeds up the drying process, which creates a risk for water spots. This will also help keep the cleaning solution from drying on the car’s surface before you have time to rinse it off.
  2. Rinse the car to remove loose dirt. The first step in the washing of your car is a pre-rinse to remove any dirt that may be laying on the car’s surface. This will save you time in the long-run.
  3. Use two buckets, one for the cleaning solution and the other for clean water. The purpose of using two buckets is so that you can rinse out and remove dirt from your washing mitt or sponge before filling it with soap again. Do not use dish detergents or hand soap, as these are not made specifically for use on car paint. Grit guards can be inserted into the bottom of each bucket to help keep clean water at the top and dirt at the bottom.
  4. Start at the top, and work your way down. The dirtiest parts of the car are typically those found towards the bottom. If you work bottom to top, you would be moving that dirt and grime onto your car’s surface. Do not move the sponge or mitt in circles, but wash in lines, instead.
  5. Rinse, and dry the car. Rinse frequently, if working in hot weather, to avoid water spots. Use microfiber towels to dry the surface of the vehicle. Do not forget to wipe down door jambs, as well as trunk and hood jambs. Once one towel is saturated, grab another.
  6. Feel the surface, consider using a clay bar if needed. A clay bar removes contaminants from a car’s surface that washing cannot. Therefore, if the surface feels rough to the touch, consider using a clay bar to extract the embedded material. Check out this video from Chemical Guys on How to Properly Clay Bar Your Car.
  7. Wax your car. Not only does waxing add to the shine of the car, but it protects the paint. Wax adds a protective layer, so that you are not directly rubbing the paint when removing dirt.

Headlights and Grills: To DIY or Not to DIY?

When you look at your car’s headlights, do they appear to be foggy, yellow, or hazy? Overtime, environmental factors, including the sun’s harsh rays, can dull that once shiny coat. Many individuals may assume that this is solely a cosmetic issue. However, having foggy headlights can contribute to diminished light production. Dim lights can present a hazard for driving in a variety of conditions, such as at night or in stormy weather.

There are many options for fixing a headlight problem. When you search the internet for “how to fix a foggy headlight”, you will come across many DIY remedies. Just like many home remedies, some people found success, while others did not. Even when individuals found success, sometimes it was short-lived, meaning the problem came back up again in a month or so.

Headlight DIYs

  • Toothpaste – Use a dry cloth or a toothbrush to apply a nickel-size amount of whitening toothpaste to the headlight. Let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse, and wipe off.
  • Homemade paste solution – Make a paste from baking soda and water/vinegar. Apply to the headlight. Let sit for a few minutes, and wipe off. Do not get any solution on your surrounding paint, as the baking soda could dull the paint.
  • Sanding – In some cases, the best solution to get rid of the outer layer of haze is to sand and polish. The entire process can be lengthy, so check it out on FamilyHandyman. It lists step-by-step how to complete the process.
  • Headlight restoration kits – If you would rather go to the store and purchase a headlight restoration kit, there are plenty on the market to choose from. The kit will only cost you $10 or so.

If you would prefer to leave the work to the professionals, take your car to an auto shop. It may cost you more, but you won’t have to worry if the headlight DIY solution will treat your problem or not.

Similar to how hazy headlights create a problem in terms of aesthetic appeal, bug-splattered car grills are not the most attractive. The longer bugs and other material sit on the car’s grill, the harder it will be to remove. As Summer begins to creep up on us, nights will begin to get warmer and bugs will become more prominent. Below, you will find a few solutions to your bug problem.

How to Get Bugs Off Your Car

  • Dryer sheets – Soak the dryer sheets in warm water, and wipe the bugs off. You can also soak the dryer sheets in water that is in a spray bottle. Then, spray on the solution.
  • WD-40 – Spray on affected area. Let sit, and wipe off. Be careful not to spray directly on the car’s paint.
  • Bug remover spray – There are numerous sprays on the market, just for getting bugs off the front of your vehicle. Choose the right one for you. Use it along with a bug sponge.

With these solutions, hopefully, you will be bug-free in no time!

Interior Car Cleaning

Although a car’s interior is not exposed to the weather, the dashboard, steering wheel, and seats are still prone to cracking, peeling, and fading from the sun’s rays. Therefore, it is important to regularly care for your car’s interior. Different products are required depending on whether you have leather or fabric seats, so let’s see what it takes to clean each one.

Leather Seats Versus Fabric Seats

  1. Vacuum the seats. No matter what kind of seats you have, you will want to remove the dirt and crumbs from between the seat cracks. If you do not own a car vacuum with attachments, go to a local car wash or gas station where you can find a coin-operated vacuum for use. A toothbrush can also be used to scrape out debris that is embedded in the crevices.
  2. Use a cleaning solution. Apply a homemade cleaning solution or a commercial cleaner. When using your own homemade solution for the first time, perform a spot test on a small area. For leather seats, do not use a cleaning solution with ammonia or bleach, as it may damage the leather. You can use a bristle brush to agitate the dirt, and wipe clean with a microfiber towel.
  3. For leather seats, apply a conditioner. A leather conditioner will help replenish the natural oils in the leather and prevent cracking and fading. After applying the conditioner, park the car in the shade for twelve hours so that the seats will not be exposed to UV light.

To prevent stains, clean up messes as soon as they occur. It is recommended that you clean your seats once a month. A windshield sun shade can help protect not only your seats, but also your steering wheel and dashboard. The seats are not the only item in the car’s interior that needs routine cleaning. Below, you will find a few additional tips for the inside of your vehicle.

Tips on Caring for Your Car:

  • Clean in and around all the nooks and crannies. Use a cloth to clean around the trimlines and radio buttons. You can use a paintbrush or foam brush to clean out the air vents.
  • Get trash out from underneath the seats. Remove the floor mats, and shake them off. Move the seats up to remove trash and debris that could be hiding beneath them.
  • Remove unnecessary items from the trunk. Take out any items that you do not need from your trunk. Not only will this make room for space when you need it, but it will save on gas mileage.
  • Organize your belongings. There are multiple products that aid in car organization, such as visor organizers, dash caddies, trunk organizers, and seat organizers. By purchasing one of these products, you will keep items off of the floor.

Cleaning for Auto Transport

The purpose of National Car Care Month is to bring about awareness of the importance of vehicle maintenance. Cleaning your car’s interior and exterior may pale by comparison to other maintenance tasks. However, it is not to be overlooked. Avoiding regular cleanings can result in costly expenses due to the buildup of dirt, dust, and grime. If you are considering transporting your vehicle, you will be putting these newly learned cleaning practices to good use. Cleaning your car’s interior and exterior is not only a good routine to get into, but it is crucial in the shipment of your car.

It is clear that cleaning your car is important for more than just aesthetic purposes. When shipping your vehicle, it also becomes a necessary step both before and after auto transport. Interior cleaning is crucial before shipping your vehicle. This is because the auto transport company cannot transport any of your personal belongings, so these possessions must be removed from the car. The exterior cleaning process may vary slightly depending on the type of auto transport service that you are using. There are two main types of services provided by National Dispatch, which are open auto transport and enclosed auto transport. For more information on preparing your car to be shipped, check out last month’s blog post, Preparing Your Car for Shipping in 10 Easy Steps

When using enclosed auto transport, the vehicle will be shipped in a trailer, unexposed to the outside elements. Since it will not be exposed to weather and natural elements of the road, it is reasonable to suggest washing the exterior before transport. If you do this, then the car will be ready for a drive around the new neighborhood upon delivery. In open auto transport, the vehicle is shipped on an open-air trailer. Therefore, it may pick up dirt, dust, and other natural elements of the road. You may want to give the car a quick wash before transport, but it is best to wait until after transport to perform a deep cleaning.

National Dispatch is a leading provider in the auto transport industry. We provide quality service, ensuring that your car reaches its destination in a safe and timely manner. Go to our website at for a free, instant car shipping quote. The vehicle shipping quote calculator requires no personal information, just four simple fields. You can also call us at 800-321-2051.