How Dirty is Your Cabin Air Filter?

Ever notice that no matter how often you clean your house, there’s always dust?  Why?  Because our furnace/air conditioner is constantly blowing air around the house…and that air has dust in it.  Simple right?  Duh!

Why do you think your car is any different?  We’ve been driving around for 5-6 months with our windows up….trying to keep every degree of heat INSIDE the car.  The air we circulate in the car (yeah….out of those little vents on the dash) comes from outside.

Think about it.  As you sit at a light and you’re a foot away from that guy’s bumper in front of you…the exhaust from HIS car is somehow finding its way inside YOUR car.  Ok…don’t panic.  Most of that air gets sucked into your engine but that’s a different story.

Let’s talk about the air that actually gets into your car.  Whether you live in the city, out in suburbia…or even farther out yet, the air coming into your car sucks.  There’s pollen, dust, bits of leaves, twigs, bugs & God knows what else…and you’re going to breathe it in.

Now…if your car is a 2000 or newer model, chances are good that you have a “Cabin Air Filter”.  This simply filters the air before it gets inside your car.


Sure – great.  Chances are….if your car is a 2000, your cabin air filter is now 11 years old.  Would you let the air filter on your furnace go 11 years?  Ugh!!

Here’s the difference between a new cabin air filter and an air filter that is 2 yrs old.  Guess which is which….go ahead….they are sooooo close.

Here is a DIRTY air filter!

Don’t panic.  So you’re driving around breathing in dirt and dust from 2000.  No big deal right?  Well…if you factor-in the amount of mold that may be growing on that filter…it might be a big deal now.

Mold is serious business.

  • musty smell in the car (like a wet basement)
  • your sinuses / congestion gets worse in the car
  • your eyes itch / burn when you’re in the car

These could all be signs that your cabin air filter is WAY PAST DUE for a change.

This item is on the monthly safety inspection…the filters are usually less than $20 and I think it’s important enough to replace them yearly!

Contact me via the Order Page if you’d like me to take a look at yours!  If your car is more than 2 yrs old…and you can’t remember having it replaced, let’s just replace it.

Ready to breathe better??

Posted in General Maintenance, Safety | 2 Comments

Replacing a Mirror (Lexus RX350)

Mirrors take a beating around Buffalo and there’s a variety of reasons.

  • snow plows
  • street parking (ever had your car clipped??)
  • and….sometimes we hit stuff (take a look at all the pretty colors on the wall at the next drive-up ATM you go to….those colors came off of mirrors & bumpers)

So, your mirror gets cracked, broken…or ripped right off!  Whenever I’m called out to do a mirror replacement, people are often fascinated by the process.  They want to watch.

Recently, I was called about a 2009 Lexus RX350 with a broken mirror and a rapidly expiring NYS Inspection (yes…you need your mirrors for that).  Beautiful truck – busted mirror.  I thought it would be a good opportunity to show everyone the work that goes into replacing a mirror!  Granted, cars are assembled differently but this gives you a sense of what happens.

* Oh yeah, if you’re using this as a DIY, be VERY careful you don’t scratch-up your interior or break any trim pieces…The parts for this truck were marked “Toyota” but were definitely priced “Lexus”.

Here's the poor truck with it's "bagged" mirror.(FYI, there's a shiny new mirror in that box!)

After popping-off the corner trim piece ( pic of that), this fastener needs to come out by pushing-in the middle of the pin, then prying-out the outer ring.

Next, this trim piece comes-off by prying-out between the trim and door lock rocker button.

Once out, you reveal a fastener screw...remove that.

Next, remove the power window/door lock panel. Start prying-up from the back where the arrow is and move along the side closest to the passenger seat.

*Next remove the piece of felt inside the door handle to reveal this screw....and remove it. *Now you can start prying along the edges of the door panel, starting at the corner by the mirror, work your way along the bottom & up the other side. *Then, lift the panel out at almost 90 degrees to unhook (2) alignment pins from the door. This is a pain. Then lift straight up to release the panel from the door by the window trim.

Once the door panel is removed, unhook these two cables. They are for your door lock and door handle.

Now disconnect your power mirror cable

Finally, remove these (3) mounting bolts for your broken mirror!

Now, simply take your new mirror out of the box and reverse the entire process!

Like I said before, not every car is assembled (or disassembled) the same way.  Some are easier, some are more complex.  I hope this sheds some light on what’s involved.

Got a broken mirror?  Drop me a line using the handy Order Form – I’m happy to help!

Posted in Behind the Scenes | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

GPS safety

A GPS unit is a WONDERFUL thing!  What did we ever do before we were told, “Turn left in 500 feet” and shown a little map of where we are??

Here’s a hitch….thieves.

Today, a customer of yours truly posted that their GPS was stolen out of their car.  This immediately set-off a warning bell in my head!  I was genuinely concerned for their safety!

Here’s what happens:

  1. Thief cruises the mall parking lot looking for a car that
    1. is easy to break into
    2. has a GPS unit stuck to the windshield
  2. Thief steals GPS
  3. Thief presses <HOME> on the unit and is given turn-by turn directions to YOUR HOUSE (which is empty…since you’re shopping at the mall)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What can I do?

  1. When you park somewhere, take your GPS unit down and toss it in the glove box
    1. I know…it’s a pain…but then again, so are insurance claims
  2. When you program your <HOME> address, use the intersection closest to your house or, if there is a business/restaurant/anything commercial down the street, use that!
    1. I know…you don’t live there.  You just want something close so your GPS will still route you home correctly when you press <HOME>…you should be able to get there from the intersection less than a block away.

For instance, I live on N. Forest Rd. in Williamsville.  However, if you press <HOME> on either of our GPS units, they take you to the Sunoco station at Maple Rd & N. Forest Rd.  That’s close enough for us.

Stay safe out there!  I care!!

Posted in GPS, Safety | Leave a comment

How are your tires?

Those grooves on your tires are there to help your car stay on the road (rather than sliding around).

Within reason, deeper groove = less sliding

Winter driving calls for deeper grooves than any other time of the year and us Buffalonians get plenty of winter driving!

You need to make sure your tires will do their job!

Wanna check them yourself? Easy!

1) Take a penny (yes, those little coins with Abe Lincoln on them)
2) Turn it so you are looking at the back
3) Hold it by the words “ONE CENT”
4) Put the penny into one of your grooves
5) At LEAST the top part of the Lincoln Memorial should disappear into the groove
6) If not, you should really think about getting new tires before winter….

Posted in Tire Safety, Winter Stuff | Leave a comment