5 Tips for Safely Packing Your Car Before Your Summer Road Trip

An open car trunk full of supplies for a trip

You’re stacking your suitcases in the doorway and packing up snacks for your summer road trip. Now it’s time to throw everything in the back of your car and get headed to your destination, right? Wrong! Packing your car is just as important as paying attention when you’re driving. If you don’t safely and properly pack your vehicle, you could be in serious danger if you need to quickly change lanes, suddenly stop or get into an accident. How can you pack your car in the safest fashion possible?

5 Ways to Pack Like a Pro for Your Summer Road Trip

  1. Load the heaviest items, like coolers and suitcases, on the bottom and toward the center of your vehicle. Any light items, like beach bags, empty coolers or personal items should be placed on top and on the sides of the heavier items. 
  2. Always make sure that you evenly distribute weight in the vehicle. Especially in an SUV or vehicle with a higher center of gravity, too much weight in one part of the car can dramatically increase the likelihood of the car tipping over.
  3. Never pack things too high up in your car. You should never have anything in the way of your view between your rearview mirror and the back window (except for heads!). Items that are packed too high up in your car could suddenly move forward and become projectiles in the event of a crash. 
  4. Are you placing things on top of your car for your summer road trip? Always pay attention to your cargo height so you don’t accidentally drive into an area you don’t have the clearance to enter. If you are using a cargo platform attached to the back of your car, make sure you always remember that it is there when backing up. Make sure you never go over your manufacturer recommendations for the weight on your roof or cargo platform. 
  5. Pack only what you need. While it’s fun to bring along everything that you might want, your car takes longer to stop when it is heavier. Leave plenty of space for souvenirs too!

Have a Safe Summer Road Trip with Maven Motors 

Maven Motors auto body shop is dedicated to making sure that your car is well serviced and properly maintained. From auto body work to other car repairs, we ensure that your car will drive safely and efficiently. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity and always doing what is best for our customers. To learn more about our services, contact us today by calling (410) 358-1114 or come visit our body shop in Baltimore, Maryland. 

What to Do When Your Car’s Engine Overheats

engine warning symbol

When the weather outside is hot, and you’re driving for extended periods of time, the risk of an issue is higher than normal. If you find yourself in Baltimore this summer with car trouble, remember that we are always here to help. Contact us by calling (410) 358-1114, or search for auto body shop near me and navigate to Maven Motors.

Things To Do If Your Engine Is Overheating

  1. Pull over as quickly as possible and turn off the engine. You should never drive with an overheated engine for more than a quarter of a mile. Never open the hood until your car is completely cool or the temperature gauge inside moves from hot to cool. Your safety is not worth trying to “fix” something while your engine overheats!
  2. Start by checking the coolant levels in your radiator once your car has cooled down. If you aren’t sure where the tank is, you can check in your owner’s manual. Check to ensure that the cap is cool. Slowly twist it off using a towel or thick cloth as a buffer. Be very careful, as steam might emerge. If your coolant levels are low, top off the levels in the radiator. Place the cap back on the radiator. 
  3. Check the area around the radiator to make sure that the hoses do not have any cracking. If the heater hoses are damaged, you should have them repaired. 
  4. Once you have checked everything under the hood you can cautiously restart the engine. Once you are back on the road, keep a close eye on the temperature gauge. If it goes past the optimal area, pull over and let your car cool off again. 

The Potential Causes of Overheating

What is the cause of the problem when your engine overheats? While you should always bring your car into a repair shop like Maven Motors, some of the most common causes include:

  • Coolant that isn’t circulating properly through your engine 
  • Low levels of antifreeze
  • A coolant system that has a leak, so antifreeze cannot stay at proper levels
  • A problem with your engine that needs to be taken care of by a mechanic

Stay Safe When Your Engine Overheats with Maven Motors 

Maven Motors is dedicated to helping every customer enjoy a safe and smooth running car. From collision repair to car maintenance we are here for you. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity and always doing what is right for our customers. 

How to Wash Your Car Properly

washing a car

Does your car look like it went off-roading last week? Have your summer recreational activities left a few smudges on your exterior? It’s time to wash your car! While there’s nothing wrong with heading to the car wash to let someone else do the hard work, washing your car at home is not as hard as you think. How can you wash your car properly?

The Right Way to Wash Your Car

  1. Start by parking your car out of the sun. While it might seem like a good way to dry it off rapidly, the hot summer sun can dry up your cleaning solution and water too fast. Make sure that your windows are closed and retract the antenna if you can.
  2. Gather up all of the tools that you need to wash your car. At a minimum, you should have a wash mitt, scrubbing brush, water and detergent that is appropriate for your car and paint. If you aren’t sure what to get, you can ask at your local auto supply store. Fill up a bucket with water and add car soap. Fill up another bucket with water that you can use for rinsing off. 
  3. Hose off the car to soften any dirt and grime sitting on the surface. Never use a rough stream of water to do this step, as you could rub the grit against your paint and damage the clear coat. Aim down when rinsing off the car. 
  4. Wash your wheels first, as they are typically the dirtiest. Then, use a large wash mitt to wash the vehicle. Never use a bristled brush on the body of the vehicle, as this can leave small scratches that damage the paint over time. If you can find one, a mitt with long strands is ideal to avoid pushing too much dirt into the surface.
  5. Wash your car in sections from the top down. That way, soap and water from higher sections will drip down to areas that might need more time to soak. 
  6. Once you’re done washing, rinse off the car with the hose. You never want soap to dry directly on the paint. 
  7. Dry the car with clean microfiber towels. Once you use them one time, put them in the washing machine and clean them before using them again. 

Take Care of Your Car with Maven Motors 

Maven Motors auto body shop is dedicated to serving every customer with honesty and integrity. From auto painting to dent removal, we can fully meet all of your auto body repair needs. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity and always doing what is right for our customers. Learn more about our services by contacting us online, calling (410) 358-1114 or visiting our Baltimore auto body shop

5 Ways to Keep Your Car Cool in the Summer

under the hood of a car

If you’re reading this anywhere in the greater Maryland area, there’s a good chance you’re sweating right now! With temperatures sky high and humidity levels making the air feel even warmer, the fight to keep your car cool is not easy. How can you stay cool on the road or when getting in a parked car? 

5 Ways to Keep Your Car Cool This Summer

  1. Purchase a sun shade or window visor to help keep sun and warmth out of your car. When leaving your vehicle for a long period of time, you should be exceedingly cautious removing the visor, as they can get very warm. If you know that you will be gone from your car all day, you can even add another sun shade for your rear mirror as well. 
  2. Use a hand towel to cover your steering wheel while you are out of the vehicle, or when you first get in the car on a hot day. A towel can help protect your hands from the intense heat of the steering wheel, particularly if you have a leather interior. 
  3. If it’s safe to do so, leave your windows slightly cracked. You should avoid leaving them down so far that someone could potentially reach into your vehicle. Even a small crack on each window can dramatically lower the temperature in the car. 
  4. Do you park right in front of your office or house? About 10 minutes before you plan on entering your vehicle, crack open the doors to let some of the hot air out. When you get inside of the car, roll down the windows and blast the air conditioning for a few minutes. This should rapidly push out all of the hot air and leave you feeling much more comfortable. 
  5. When you’re driving, make sure that your AC vents are open and pointed towards you. If you notice that your air conditioning isn’t cooling your car anymore, you should take it into Maven Motors as soon as possible for an inspection. 

Keep Your Car Cool with Maven Motors 

Maven Motors auto body shop is dedicated to helping our customers have an excellent car repair experience. From air conditioning repairs to auto dent repairs, we can meet all of your auto repair needs. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity and always doing what is right for you. To learn more about our services, call us today at (410) 358-1114 or contact us here.

Your Summer Road Trip Checklist

summer road trip

The open road is calling your name, but is your car ready to take in the sights that America has to offer? Before you take your vacation or road trip this summer, you need to complete these essential maintenance tasks.

Check Your Oil

Is your oil topped off and in good condition? Before you leave, check your oil level and the date that you are due for an oil change. If you are near the interval of time or mileage that your manufacturer suggests for a change, have it completed before you leave. If your oil seems to be old, discolored or dirty, you should be proactive and have it changed immediately.  If you are going to be traveling a long distance, consider using a synthetic motor oil for the best possible performance.

Look for Cracks in Your Hoses

Rubber hoses are prone to cracking, warping and slipping over time. Because cars get so hot during normal usage, and especially on road trips, you should always check your hoses before leaving on your summer road trip. When hoses get hard, they will crack and let hot water flow out. Open up the hood of your car and check the areas where the radiator hoses attach to the engine and radiator. The hoses that run from your engine into the firewall should also be checked. It’s much easier to have hoses replaced now than when you’re on the road!

Top Off Your Coolant

Is your car over 4 years old? You should have your coolant replaced on a regular basis as part of your maintenance. This can be done at the same time that your oil change is completed. If your car is newer, you have coolant that is made to last 100,000-150,000 miles before needing to be replaced. Quickly lift the hood of your car and check underneath to make sure that the coolant is at an appropriate level.

Swap Your Tires

Are your tires due for a change? Check your tire tread to ensure it is deep enough to be safe for travel in rain and sun. Before your summer road trip, you should also check your tire pressure. Since tires are your vehicle’s source of contact with the road, and losing contact means poor car performance, you should always maintain the recommended tire pressure level. On the inside of your driver’s side door, your optimal tire pressure should be posted. Don’t overfill or underfill your tires.

Have a Safe Summer Road Trip with Maven Motors

Maven Motors auto body shop in Baltimore MD is dedicated to helping every customer with the car repairs that they need to drive their cars safely. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity and always doing what is right for you, our customer. To learn more about our services, contact us today by calling (410) 358-1114 or visit our body shop.

4 Signs Your Vehicle Needs Air Conditioning Repairs Before You Hit the Road

car air conditioner

Your car’s air conditioning is what keeps you cool on the road when you can’t roll the windows down and let the wind blow through. However, thanks to how often you need to use it, your car’s AC system could become worn and in need of repair faster than you might expect. If your air conditioning unit isn’t keeping you cool anymore, look for these signs that you should get air conditioning repairs before you hit the open road.  

4 Signs You Need Air Conditioning Repairs

  1. Weak airflow is a common complaint amongst car owners who aren’t getting cool enough during their ride. If the airflow isn’t strong or it is not changing when you turn the dial in the car, there might be something blocking the passage of air. Mold in the evaporator coil, a damaged ventilation fan or a loose blower hose can all be quickly repaired.
  2. If the air coming out of the vents doesn’t feel cool, you should first check to ensure that the dial is turned the correct way and that the AC is turned on. It sounds obvious, but many people panic and don’t realize they failed to turn it on in the first place! If it still does not cool down, you might have a clogged expansion tube, faulty compressor, damaged evaporator, failed fuse or a lack of refrigerant. Depending on what the cause is, a lack of cooling could be a small or large repair.
  3. The refrigerant in your air conditioning system is what makes the air coming out of the vents cold. As a result, if it is leaking and pooling elsewhere in your car or on the ground, it can’t keep you comfortable on the road! This is one of the most common air conditioning repairs, and it arises when the hoses and seals naturally degrade over time. Once the repair has been made, your air conditioning system will be as good as new.
  4. Does your air conditioner first blow out cold air and then follow it with hot air? This could be the result of a clogged valve preventing refrigerant from flowing steadily into the evaporator when the car is moving. It also might be the result of a refrigerant leak or blown fuse.

Get Your Air Conditioning Repairs Completed at Maven Motors

Maven Motors is committed to helping every customer with all of their car repair and auto body work needs. We are known throughout the Baltimore area for the quality of our auto repair services. To learn more about our services, contact us today by calling (410) 358-1114 or visit our auto body shop in Baltimore, Maryland.

Will an Accident Void Your Car Warranty?

Car Warranty

If you drive a new car, there’s a good chance that it is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. This car warranty typically offers protection from any mechanical problems that could arise early in the life of the car. The average powertrain warranty lasts from 60,000 to 100,000 miles or 4 to 6 years, while the typical bumper-to-bumper warranty will offer protection for 30,000 to 50,000 miles or 3 to 5 years. It’s understandable that, in the aftermath of an accident, drivers are concerned about voiding the car warranty!

What Can Void a Car Warranty After Accident?

While the fine print of every car warranty will differ slightly, manufacturers can typically void them whenever a vehicle is damaged due to:

  • Vehicle Abuse: This is a broad term that could refer to using a car for racing or forcing it to undergo excessive wear and tear, like off-roading.
  • Title Salvage Distinction: When a car or truck is in a serious accident, it will be given a “salvage” distinction by your insurance provider. This means that your car insurer deemed the vehicle a total loss, which obviously would also void the car warranty.
  • Natural Disasters: If your car is damaged due to an “act of God,” fire, flood, earthquake, tornado or hurricane, the warranty is no longer valid.
  • Improper Fluid Use: If you use the wrong fluid in your vehicle, like diesel fuel in a gasoline engine, you will no longer be covered by the warranty.
  • Odometer Tampering: If you attempt to roll back the odometer of your car, which is much more common in old cars, you will render the car warranty useless.

What About a Car Accident?

In the majority of cases, if your car is able to be repaired, getting in an accident will not affect the status of the warranty. The only way that an accident would totally void your car warranty is if the vehicle is so damaged that it is given the title salvage distinction because damages would cost more to repair than market value. What would lower your market value?

  • Age
  • Fleet or rental use
  • Condition
  • Color
  • Make and model
  • Mileage
  • Transmission type (automatic or manual)
  • Aftermarket or non-standard features
  • Vehicle history (past repairs, other collisions, maintenance, etc.)

Protect Your Car Warranty with Maven Motors

Maven Motors auto body shop is dedicated to helping every customer find the car of their dreams, and keep the cars that they have in great condition. From auto sales to collision repair, we can meet all of your car buying and maintenance needs. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity and always doing what is right for you. To learn more about our services, contact us today by calling (410) 358-1114 or visit us in Baltimore, Maryland.

Decoding Your Dashboard Warning Lights

car dashboard warning lights

When the dashboard warning lights in your car click on, your car is trying to tell you something. Are you listening? Your car’s dashboard is one of the easiest ways to take a glimpse at the overall health of your vehicle, and it could show you innocuous things like low tire pressure or serious problems with your engine. Decoding your dashboard lights doesn’t have to be hard when you choose Maven Motors.

The Most Common Dashboard Warning Lights

  • Brake Warning Light: This dashboard indicator light indicates an issue with your brakes or your brake fluid. Because your brakes are such a critical part of your car, you shouldn’t sleep on this warning. If the brake warning light starts to flash, you are in immediate danger and should have it checked immediately.
  • Power Steering Light: When this dashboard symbol, that looks like a steering wheel with an exclamation point next to it, kicks on, it’s a sign that your car’s power steering system is having trouble. You can typically feel the difference, as you will need to use much more effort to turn the wheel. It can be almost impossible to turn the wheel at lower speeds, and it will be difficult for you to quickly react to other cars on the road.
  • Airbag Warning: The airbags in your vehicle are vital to your safety in the event that you’re in a car crash. If the airbag light illuminates in your car, there has been a malfunction with one or more of your airbags. If you got into an accident, there’s a good chance that your airbags would not deploy properly.
  • Oil Warning Light: If your car has low levels of oil, low oil pressure or an oil temperature that is too hot, the oil warning light will light up. Oil is vital to the health of your engine, so if it is not present in high enough levels or at the proper temperature, your engine can be seriously damaged.
  • Battery Light: Sometimes the battery light will illuminate when you first turn on your car, which is nothing alarming. However, if the light remains lit after that, it’s a sign that something is not right in the electrical system. It’s good to have this checked out as soon as possible because a dead battery will put an immediate stop to whatever your plans are for the day!
  • Coolant Warning: This dashboard warning light looks like a thermometer submerged in liquid, and it lights up when your engine coolant levels are too low. If you let your coolant get very low or run out entirely, your engine could overheat and lead to a costly, big problem.

Keep Your Car in Excellent Condition with Maven Motors

Maven Motors is dedicated to helping every customer with all of their mechanical and auto body repair needs. Whether it’s dent repair, transmission repair, or brake repairs we take good care of your car. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity and doing what is right for our customers. To learn more about our services, contact us today by calling (410) 358-1114 or visit our body shop in Baltimore.

Why Does Your Car Have Peeling Paint?

Peeling Paint

If you have a car with peeling paint, it can be incredibly frustrating (on top of being an eyesore). While modern cars are engineered to avoid having paint problems, any vehicles from the 80s or 90s are at an elevated risk of peeling paint.

What Causes Peeling Paint?

On most cars, there are three layers of coatings: primer, paint and clear coat. Just like when you paint your home, when you paint your car the primer serves as a base layer for paint through improving adherence, ensuring an even underlying color and protecting the metal underneath. The paint adds color to the vehicle. Finally, a clear coat is placed on top to make a hard shell that stops the paint from small scratches, oxidation and wearing off quickly. Peeling paint most frequently happens when one of the three layers stops adhering to the surface underneath. When one layer stops functioning properly, big sections of paint or small chips can flake off.

So, what causes the bond between primer and car, paint and primer or clear coat and paint to stop? One reason is improper preparation of the car surface. Many major manufacturers had problems in the late 80s and 90s due to alterations in the auto painting process. Another common reason is a chip or scratch that compromises the integrity of the primer, paint or clear coat. Once one barrier has been compromised, debris and moisture can sneak their way into the coating and start the delamination process.  

What Can You Do About Peeling Paint?

Today’s vehicles typically do not struggle with peeling paint, but it can occur. When your car has a paint issue, you should always work with an experienced auto body shop like Maven Motors. We know how to carefully remove all damaged paint, clear coat and primer and build up the area to seamlessly blend into existing paint. From scratches to fading and from peeling paint to delamination, our professionals can ensure your car looks great on the road.

Keep Your Car in Excellent Condition with Maven Motors

Maven Motors auto body shop is dedicated to helping every customer find the car of their dreams, and keep the cars that they have in great shape. From auto sales to collision repair, we can meet all of your car buying and maintenance needs. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity and always doing what is right for you. To learn more about our services, contact us today by calling (410) 358-1114 or visit our body shop in Baltimore.

What’s That Noise? The 4 Car Noises You Should Never Ignore

car noises

As a vehicle ages, it’s normal to start hearing more bumps and thumps than usual. However, some car noises are signs of potentially serious issues that should never be ignored. Learn how to decode the jingles and crunches with these tips from Maven Motors.

4 Car Noises You Shouldn’t Ignore

  1. Brakes that are grinding, growling or squealing should be addressed immediately. This is a sign that your brake shoes or brake pads are near the end of their lifespan and due for a replacement. If your brake pads completely wear out, metal will be directly touching metal, which decreases brake efficiency and can lead to damage to the entire brake system that requires costly repairs.
  2. Have you ever accidentally left a coin in a pocket and left it rolling around in your clothes dryer? If you’re hearing a noise similar to that when you are driving at low speeds that ceases when you accelerate, you might have a loose lug nut on your hub cap. This could mean that your wheels weren’t properly tightened last time your car was serviced or that there’s another issue. Get the nut tightened before your wheel becomes even looser.
  3. A whining or howling sound typically occurs when the small metal balls, or bearings, that help parts rotate with ease are not functioning correctly. If your car has front-wheel drive, the sound will typically occur when you turn left and right. If you have rear-wheel drive and the whining sound increases as you accelerate, it’s a sign that your differential might be the problem.
  4. When your car accelerates or starts, do you hear a squeal coming from underneath the hood? This can occur when your accessory belts become worn down over time, or a problem with your serpentine belt. Thankfully, these car noises are easy to fix with a trip to Maven Motors. We can quickly take a peek under the hood and identify if your power steering, alternator or air conditioner compressor belts need to be repaired or replaced.

Keep Your Car in Excellent Condition with Maven Motors

Maven Motors body shop in Baltimore is dedicated to the needs of our customers. It is important to us that the repair work we do on your cars meets your expectations. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity in business. To learn more about our services, call us today at (410) 358-1114.