Thaw Out Your Car For Spring

Are you sick of winter yet? I know I am! But the end is almost near and soon it will be time for those glorious road trips. The windows rolled down, some good music playing on the radio, and a long stretch of highway in front of you. Hurry up spring, we miss you!

 

Of course you can’t go on those long road trips without getting your car prepared. Here are some quick tips to make sure you get to where you’re going and not sitting on the side of the road.

 

Check Your Tire Tread

Checking your tread is pretty easy. To check the depth simply place the edge of a penny into the tread of each tire. If the tread covers Abe Lincoln’s head you are good to go. If not, then you need new tires.

 

Check Your Battery

If your battery is more than four years old and sometimes takes a few seconds to start your motor, you should take it to your local auto parts supplier to get tested and, if necessary, replaced.

 

Top Off Your Coolant

Make sure your coolant is at the proper level. Most cars have a fluid level gauge, so consult your owner’s manual to find out how to check the level on your particular model. Make sure you only open the coolant cap when your car is cool. Opening the cap when your car has been driven can be very dangerous.

 

Check Your Brakes

Make sure your brakes are in good working order. If you they are not “catching” properly, scrub, or take longer to stop than they should take your car to a mechanic to get them checked. It may be a good idea to do it anyway just to be extra safe.

 

Change Your Oil

Regular oil changes can make all the difference in making sure your car has a long, healthy life. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for oil change intervals and oil viscosity, and make sure to change the oil filter as well. Some car shops offer fluid top offs, tire checks, battery checks, and even tire rotation included their oil change prices, so you can take care of almost all of your spring maintenance in just one stop.

Safe Driving Tips To Share With Your Teen

Driving a car is a lot of responsibility. Teens do not always comprehend how important these responsibilities are to their own safety as well as that of the other drivers around them.

Parents need to not only talk to their teen about these responsibilities. You can show your teen what each responsibility means while teaching them to drive.

Tips for Teaching Your Teen the Responsibilities of Driving

Car Maintenance

Encourage your teen to be involved with the maintenance of the vehicle they drive.

  • They should know when the car does not sound normal and when to pull into the garage to seek help.
  • If they feel it is a minor problem, they should tell you as soon as possible.
  • Have them read the car manual and understand the basic functions of the car’s parts.
  • Have your teen keep the car clean and gassed up.
  • New drivers should know how to put air in the tires, gas in the tank and check the oil.

Follow the Law

Require your teen to follow the laws of your state for permit, graduated driving and other licensing requirements. Each state will be different and your teen should follow all of the laws that apply to them without fail.

This may include:

  • Logging all practice hours required before taking their driver’s road test.
  • Driving only to and from school or an after school job.
  • Restrictions for driving past a certain time at night or with unlicensed passengers in the car.

If you allow your teen to slide in any of these areas, you are modeling to them that the rules of the road do not matter.

Financial Responsibility

Generally, when teenagers have to put out their own money they take responsibility a little more seriously.

If your teen has a job, considering allowing them to pay for their own car insurance.

In the least, make them pay for their own gas and the occasional oil change or car wash.

It is okay to help them out, but you should not pay for everything. Spending money is part of driving and owning a car!

Passenger Safety

Explain to your teen the responsibility they have for the passengers in their car.

While accidents happen, many are preventable by simply following the traffic laws. The guilt of having an accident when you are fooling around behind the wheel is not something that anyone wants to live with. Your teen will understand that.

They may think you are making too much out of it. This is normal immaturity and why many graduated licensing programs include a rule about no friends being in the car for the first couple of months.

Other Drivers

Explain to your teen the responsibility they have to other drivers on the road. Teens need to know that the road is a shared place. Remind your teen of this fact often.

When you are weaving in and out of the traffic, talking on your cell phone or texting while driving, not paying attention to street signs or speeding, you are not being considerate of other drivers.

Have the Responsible Driver Conversation Often

Driving is one of the biggest steps toward maturity and independence for teens. Continue to talk to them about safe driving even as they get older. More experienced seventeen- and eighteen-year-old teens need reminders too and you will continue doing your best to keep your teenager safe on the road.

Looking To Test Drive A Car This Winter? Here Are Some Useful Tips

There will be a lot of bad decisions in your life, choosing a car shouldn’t be one of them. Test driving a car be a nerve wrecking experience. How do you know it is the right car? What if you like it on the lot and drive, but hate it when you get home? Here are some tips to help you make a sound decision while test driving a new vehicle.

Do Your Homework– If you have a certain model in mind research your choice online. What is the gas mileage? What size is the engine? What options are standard and which ones do you have to pay for? These are all questions you should have answers to before test driving.

 

Do Try Different Roads– If the dealership will allow it try different roadways. Especially the highway. You should also try it on country roads so you can test the car’s suspension and handling.

 

Do Test The Brakes– Make sure they are functioning and not pulling to the side. Also there shouldn’t be any noises like crunching or squeaking.

 

Do Inspect The Interior– Check the radio, windows, wipers, and lights. While these may not keep you from buying the car they are things that should be fixed before purchasing. You shouldn’t have to fork money out to fix things after driving off the lot.

 

Don’t Forget To Ask Questions– If possible have a list of questions with you. If you are buying a used car you will definitely want to ask if it was in an auto accident and when the last upkeep was done. There is a big difference between a little old lady driving it on Sundays and a speed demon driving it all day. Ask questions!

 

Don’t Rush Your Test Drive– You are going to have this vehicle for at least two years so make sure it is definitely what you want. Some recommend that a test drive should be at least 45 minutes.

 

With these tips your test drive should go a lot smoother and your car buying experience even better. Know what you want and what you are willing to pay before even stepping on the lot.

New Year, New Car-Tips For New (or Newly Used) Car Owners-2019

 

Buying a new or used car is a big decision for most people. You try them out, weigh all the options, and in the end, you choose the perfect car for you. There is more to owning a car than driving it off the lot. What is the best way to keep it looking new or at the very least extend its life? Well, I have more tips for you and hopefully with a whole lot of love and care your car will last a long time!

Read the car manual

Most drivers never pull it out of the glove compartment, unless needed on where to find car jack. The manual provides vital maintenance information, including when to schedule important fluid changes.

Change the oil every 3000-5000 miles

The oil is your vehicle’s life’s blood. Keeping it clean, free from dirt and grime, extends the life of the engine.

Rotate your tires every 6000 to 7500 miles

This prevents uneven tread wear and extends the life of the tires.Keep the tires properly inflated to the tire’s recommended air pressure. Underinflation causes tread wear and reduces the vehicle’s gas mileage.

Park in garage or under a tree for shade

Extended UV sunlight can cause the dashboard to crack and fade interior seating. If you don’t have access to shade, use a sunshield over the windshield when parked.

Flush the radiator every 2 years

This helps remove dirt and rust particles, extending the life of the engine and radiator.

Wash the vehicle regularly

If you don’t rusting can oc

Staying Visible While Driving This Winter

Heavy-Traffic-On-Snowy-Road

From blowing snow to driving sleet and rain, winter weather conditions can make driving a challenge. Maintaining visibility no matter what the weather throws at you goes a long way to keeping you and your passengers safe on the road.

Being able to see and having others see you takes on increased importance with the types of inclement weather that winter brings. Read on to learn what you can do to keep your lights shining bright all winter long.

BE PREPARED

The time to prepare your vehicle for winter driving is before a single snowflake falls. This means checking your lights on a regular basis to ensure that they are in working condition. Before you pull out of your garage in the morning or when you pull into the garage at night, take a few moments to check your lights.

Your headlights and front turn signals will be reflected on the wall in front of you while taillights, brake lights and rear turn signals will be reflected on the door behind you. Promptly replace any burned out bulbs.

CLEAN YOUR COVERS

Dirt and debris can become caked on your headlights and taillights, reducing their brightness. Take a moment to clean off the headlight and taillight covers with a damp soft rag. During snowstorms, be sure to clear off any snow or ice that may have built up on the headlights or taillights.

Also, over time your covers may become cloudy or yellowed which can diminish the effectiveness of your lights. You may be able to restore them to showroom shine with the help of some common household products like dish soap, baking soda, vinegar or toothpaste.

UPGRADE YOUR HEADLIGHTS

To get a better view of the road, consider upgrading your headlights from the standard bulbs that came on your vehicle. Most vehicles on the road today come standard with halogen headlights. Cost effective, a typical halogen bulb has a lifespan of about 1,000 hours. However, halogen bulbs can be dim as compared to other options. You might think about replacing your headlamps with HID or LED headlights.

High intensity discharge (HID) bulbs are approximately two to three times brighter than standard halogen bulbs. That can make a big difference when you are driving in a snowstorm. HID bulbs not only use less power than halogen bulbs, but they also have a longer lifespan. On average, you can expect to get about 2,000 hours from an HID bulb. Although they cost more than halogen bulbs, they could be a worthy upgrade for your vehicle.

Many car manufacturers are offering a choice between HID light and LED headlights on some models. LED headlights are brighter, have a longer lifespan that can be over 25,000 hours and consume less power than HID headlights. However, they’re much more expensive than HID lights. As prices decrease, expect to see more vehicles come standard with LED headlights. Note that aftermarket LED conversion kits are available, but beware of cheap, low-quality kits.

SWITCH TO LED TAILLIGHTS

Make sure other drivers can see you from behind by replacing your standard taillight and brake light bulbs with LED bulbs. In low-visibility situations, the brighter light that LED bulbs emit can help approaching drivers see you sooner.

As with LED headlights, LED taillights are energy-efficient and use less power. They also have an impressive lifespan of up to 10 years. Because LED bulbs light up faster than traditional bulbs, they can give that driver behind you a little extra time and distance to avoid an accident if you have to suddenly hit the brakes.