6 Tips To Make Your Car More Earth Friendly

Last year marked a turning point in which Earth-friendly alternative-fuel and hybrid vehicles gained major attention and an increasing market share. On top of that, the AAA Great Battery Roundup collected more than 20,000 used vehicle batteries and disposed of them in an environmentally sound manner.

But you don’t need to have old batteries lying around or buy a different vehicle to protect the environment. According to AAA spokesman Michael Calkins, you can make a meaningful contribution by adopting two easy-to-implement strategies: regular vehicle maintenance and better driving habits.

The following tips can put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

* Keep your engine running at peak performance in order to conserve fuel. Perform regular vehicle maintenance at the intervals recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Seek timely service if the “check engine” warning light remains illuminated on the dash.

To find a trustworthy repair facility, ask friends for recommendations or search on www.aaa.com for AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities near you.

* Check the air pressure in your car’s tires regularly. Underinflated tires require your engine to work harder and use more fuel to maintain a given speed.

* Have your vehicle’s air conditioning serviced only by technicians who are certified to properly handle and recycle automotive refrigerants. Older air conditioning systems contain ozone-depleting chemicals that could be released into the atmosphere.

* Some older vehicles use switches that contain highly toxic mercury to activate hood, trunk and glove-box lights. Many organizations, including a number of AAA clubs across the country, now host mercury “switch out” programs in which these environmentally hazardous parts are removed for recycling and replaced with nontoxic mechanical switches.

* Avoid “jack rabbit” starts, sudden acceleration, and speeds above the posted limits; all of these habits guzzle gas.

* Properly dispose of engine fluids and batteries. Call your local government waste management agency to find out how. Never dispose of fluids on the ground or in any manner that might allow them to make their way into groundwater, lakes or streams.

Proper vehicle maintenance and environmentally friendly driving habits conserve natural resources, reduce exhaust emissions and reward you with a vehicle that will last longer and be safer to drive. In other words, when you “go green,” the Earth wins, your car wins — and you are the biggest winner of all!

5 Practical Ways To Check A Used Car

Since its inception, the market of used cars has suddenly escalated at an unprecedented rate for the past few years. In fact, surveys show that the number of people who buy used cars is almost tripled when compared to the number of people who buy new cars.

That is why many people are enticed to buy used cars because it is gradually becoming a trend in the car buying industry.

However, it does not necessarily mean that buyers will just take the process of selecting used cars for granted. Hence, it is important to take note of the ways to check the car prior to the closure of the deal.

Therefore, for people who wish to know the different ways of checking the condition of the used car, here are some pointers:

1. Test drive

There is no better way to check the condition of the car than to do a test drive. In this way, the buyer will be able to know the actual condition of the car and its parts like the brakes, accelerator, etc.

Also, the buyer will be able to detect at once if there are some ìclunksî and rattles on the used car, even if the test drive is just a short trip.

2. Personal inspection

Aside from test-driving, it is also important for the buyer to personally inspect the details of the body makeup and its condition.

In this manner, the buyer will be able to identify any signs of rusts and damages, the condition of the tires, oil leaks, etc.

3. Mileage check

Usually, an average user or driver will consume 12,000 to 15,000 miles in a year. In this way, the buyer will be able to know the approximate age of the car by looking at its mileage.

4. Mechanic check

Another way of checking the condition of a used car prior to its purchase is to seek the help of a mechanic. This may cost the buyer some charges but the money would surely be spent for a good cause. The mechanic is the best person who could instantly assess technically and professionally the condition of a certain car.

5. CARFAX Report

Knowing the history of the car is also one of the best ways to know the real condition of the car. Hence, it is important for the buyer to seek the help of CARFAX report in order to know the full details of the used carís history.

Take the proper steps and research your purchase. Doing so will guarantee a happy car buying experience.

How To Save On Car Insurance For Teens

No matter how well you prepare for it, the cost of insuring a teenage driver can result in major sticker shock. Car insurance for teens can be quite expensive. Adding a single teenage girl can cause your premiums to double immediately, and adding a boy can increase your rates by as much as three times what you’re currently paying. It’s almost enough to make you wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to just put up with another year or two of driving your teen around town.

That’s not to say that there’s no hope, though. There are definitely steps you can take to find affordable car insurance for teens and minimize the effects on your wallet.

Before You Buy:

Choose your teen’s car with insurance in mind. That means striking a careful balance between getting a car that’s new enough to have modern safety features and yet not so new that repairs would be unusually expensive. In general, look for small or mid-sized cars that are a few years old without being brand new. Sporty cars and SUVs will generally cost significantly more to insure.

If you’re not sure what to buy, call your insurance agent and ask for some recommendations. He or she should be able to list numerous makes and models that are known for their affordability when it comes to insurance rates.

As You Approach D(riving) Day:

As your teen approaches driving age, take a close look at his or her academics. Most insurance companies offer some form of good student discount, usually available to all teens with a “B” average or better. If that’s at all attainable, encourage your teen to put in the extra time necessary to do it. Depending on your provider, the discounts can be as high as 20-30%.

Even if you’re not able to benefit from a good student discount, you’ll find that many insurance providers are willing to extend additional discounts if your teen completes extra driver’s education. While private driver’s education classes can be costly in their own right, you’ll also get the satisfaction of knowing that your teen received extra supervised practice. If that’s prohibitively time-consuming or expensive, you can also check out our Online Driver Training Courses Guide for additional alternatives.

Regardless of whether you’re getting discounts, it may also be worthwhile to get quotes from a couple of new companies. Don’t assume that a good rate now means that your existing provider is going to have the best rate once you add new drivers.

You may also find that your agent can offer helpful suggestions about which driver should use each car to realize maximum savings. By listing your teen as an “occasional” driver (if it’s true) or on one of your older cars, you could see significant savings.

Last Resort:

If you absolutely can’t afford the addition of a new teen driver, there are a couple of more extreme alternatives. First, if your teen is driving a fairly old car with a clear title, you can consider purchasing just the minimum legal liability insurance. As a general rule, this is inadvisable due to the fact that it doesn’t provide good coverage in the event of an accident, but it can be done as an absolute last resort.

Even more extreme, you could consider delaying your teen’s license by a few months while you save. Many companies don’t require you to purchase additional insurance for a teen with a learner’s permit.

With proper planning, you should be able to find some way to make your teen’s car insurance rates bearable. Further, by taking cost-reducing measures like purchasing a safer car or taking extra driving classes, you’re also taking steps that reduce the likelihood that your teen will be injured in an accident – and that’s the most important thing of all.

Is Your Radiator Leaking? Check This Simple Guide

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking For A Used Car? Don’t Buy Without These Tips!

Used car advice is easy to come by. Getting a good deal at a used car lot is not that difficult if you know how to approach the negotiation; however, there are some misconceptions about how the negotiation process should be approached.

Take Your Time

When at a used car dealership, never feel like you have to rush into buying the car. Many people feel like they have to negotiate a deal as soon as possible. In fact, the more patient you are the better price you will be able to negotiate for the vehicle. The dealer will always try to convince you that you need to buy the vehicle right away, as it may be gone if you leave and return. However, this is a common sales tactic and one you should not fall for. If the dealer is not willing to offer a price that you can live with, simply leave and make sure they have your phone number before you do. Chances are you will receive a follow-up phone call before you get home.

Don’t Talk about Financing

Even if you have your financing prearranged or are paying cash, never let the dealer know this. Most dealers earn money when they assist you with the financing of the vehicle; therefore, if you tell them you’re paying cash or have your own financing, the dealer won’t be as likely to negotiate a lower selling price as they will not be able to earn on the financing part of the deal. Besides, you should always listen to the dealer’s pitch for financing—sometimes dealer pitches can be quite good.

Throw Out the Hidden Fees

You should always be aware that some dealers charge fees that could add hundreds of dollars to the cost of a used car. For example, many dealers charge prep or cleaning fees before you pick up the car from the lot. Always make sure to ask for all fees in writing and ask questions about each of them. The car should be clean when you buy it and you should not be charged for it. Any fees included in the price of the car should be considered, and the ones that are not truly relevant should be negotiated away.

Don’t Stand In the Sun

The dealer wants you to fall in love with the car and buy it; therefore, he wants you to spend as much time next to the vehicle is possible. You can take away this dealer advantage by asking to sit down in the sales manager’s office and negotiate the price there.

Believe it or not it will help you as well—the longer you stand beside the car you want, the more expensive the price you will be willing to pay for it. Give yourself a little breathing room and ask for discounts and other incentives in the sales manager’s office and not out in the sun by the car.

Avoid Lemons

One of the biggest fears for anyone buying a used car is winding up with a lemon. There are some simple ways to avoid this.

Make sure to examine the car you are looking at thoroughly. Test drive the vehicle, being sure to check the engine, steering, brakes, and transmission for peculiarities. Have a history report done on the car’s vehicle identification number to learn about any previous collisions the car may have been in. Look at the body for signs of mismatched paint on the fenders, and check the odometer for indications of tampering. Generally, a car should average about 10,000 miles for every year on the road. Depending on the age and residual value of the car, it may be a smart idea to purchase a warranty. Some basic car warranty advice is to look for a deal that allows you to use a mechanic of your choosing, check to see what type of mileage restrictions exist and make sure that the warranty claim limit is at least what you would expect to pay for an average repair.

Getting stuck with a lemon can be discouraging and frustrating, but the risk of it happening to you shouldn’t scare you away from buying a used car. If you follow this advice you should be on your way to making your next used car a rewarding experience.