What To Expect When Your Mechanic Makes a House Call

Mechanics have simplified the process of getting car repair services. You no longer need to drive your car to the mechanic to get it fixed. Now, mechanics are going rounds making house calls. Therefore, besides the convenience of having your car fixed right from your doorstep, there’s a lot more you should expect with door-to-door car repair services.

Car Care Made Easy

Driving your vehicle to get it fixed is always a hassle. This sometimes means paying an extra fee to tow it to the nearest service center or a mechanic you trust. With car repair services delivered to your home or office, you will save a lot on additional expenses that you could have alternatively incurred.

Once you book an appointment, the mechanic will arrive with all the required gear to fix your car. You need to provide the mechanic with enough parking space or driveway. To ensure you don’t forget about the appointment, your mechanic or service center will send you a reminder a day before the appointment.

During the specific day when your vehicle should be fixed, your mechanic will send you another reminder that they are on their way. If you’re not around your home or office, you can notify the mechanic where to collect your car keys and fix your car while you’re away.

Your mechanic will strive to keep time, so you should expect them to arrive within the scheduled time. Avoid driving your car during this time so the engine cools down for effective repairs.

If you’re present during the house call, you can use this opportunity to ask your mechanic about any mechanical issues with your car. You also don’t have to worry about disposing of old replaced parts of your car since your mechanic can do this for you.

What You Get

After inspecting your account, your report will be recorded in your account. The report details essential safety items like car engine codes, brakes, filters, fluid levels, tire treads, belts, etc. You can easily access your report at any time. This allows you to maintain your car in good condition to serve you better.

Your mechanic will then bill you for services rendered. You can choose your preferred payment method and won’t be billed until you’re satisfied with the car repair services. Depending on your payment method, your mechanic will send you a digital receipt and update your data on their platform. This helps you to track your car repair expenses and budget for them in the future.

When your mechanic makes a house call, they can send you maintenance reminders from time to time. Plus, you can manage your vehicle online. You get to schedule appointments and review any services your car needs to function at its best.

Car maintenance is easier than ever before, especially now that your mechanic can provide door-to-door services the ‘Uber-style. Therefore, apart from convenience, you can be confident that your car will always be well maintained.

Is Onstar Really Worth it?

Yes, Onstar is worth it. Developed 25 years ago, Onstar offers beginner and seasoned drivers the security and safety they need while driving. As more and more people get their driver’s licenses, the number of road accidents soars. Therefore, having a reliable application or measures to ensure you can easily reach for help is essential.

Below, you will find out how Onstar works and the benefits of having the in-vehicle application. But first, we’ll go over what Onstar is and why you should consider using this system.

What is Onstar?

Onstar is an in-vehicle system offering drivers safety and security assistance in the light of accidents or breakdowns. You can use it to acquire an automatic crash response, road assistance, and locate stolen vehicles. The services are always available 24 hours daily, assuring stakeholders to arrive each time safely.

Benefits of Onstar

There are multiple benefits of having Onstar as your in-app vehicle safety app. Here are some of the perks you can expect to enjoy as an Onstar user.

  1. It boosts safety – You can use Onstar if you are in a crash or emergency to get out or in any vehicle. Drivers rely on the system to unlock doors and obtain emergency assistance. The services will notify police or medical personnel and call you to check on your status.
  2. It helps in security – Suppose you lose your car, you can use Onstar to locate and recover your vehicle. The application comes with an inbuilt Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) and wireless phone technology that helps locate stolen cars.
  3. It’s used in navigation. You cannot get lost if you are using Onstar; its extensive services provide directions to its drivers. You can also use it to make reservations for accommodation hands-free.
  4. For vehicle diagnosis. The system regularly checks your vehicle’s operating systems and provides reports. You can easily pinpoint your car’s issue without going to the garage. In addition, the app will also remind you of routine services with your dealer.
  5. Improve your driving skills. You may not be the next Charles Leclerc; however, you can use the Onstar Smart Driver feature to gain new driving skills.

Onstar Subscription Plans

For only $49.99 per month, you will gain access to Onstar premium features. You can expect an automatic crash response, emergency services, crisis assist, or roadside assistance. Premium drivers also enjoy stolen vehicle assistance, voice services, vehicle status, remote personalization, connected navigation, and on-demand diagnostics.

There are other Onstar subscription plans which cost less than the premium option. However, you will not have access to some of the premium benefits. The essentials subscription plan costs $39.99 per month, while the Safety and Security subscription costs $29.99. The cheapest Onstar subscription plan is the Connected Vehicle is $24.99 per month. It will give you access to the voice service, vehicle status, vehicle locate, remote personalization, Alexa built-in, and connected navigation.

Why You Need a Car Accident Police Report

You need a police report when you’re involved in a car accident because it will help establish a connection between the accident and the damage. In doing so, you’ll be insuring yourself against false claims. This article highlights some of key reasons why you need a car accident police report.

Once you have been involved in a car accident (especially a fatal accident), a police report is demanded. You will have to provide this report to an insurance company for them to determine who’s responsible for the crash and how much financial compensation is equivalent to the damages caused.

Official Details

You also need the report for a court case when you (the motorist) are accused of wrongdoing. The report is often prepared or written by the police on the scene. The report includes the following details: statements of those involved (the eyewitness account), the weather conditions, crash-related details, and other essential information that might help understand how the accident happened.

Even though you don’t need a car accident police report to prove your innocence in a court of law, it will save you a lot of time, especially when the accounts on that report favors you. So, what do I mean by the report favoring you? There have been cases where specific details are omitted in the complete account of the report of what happened.

This can be to your disadvantage; therefore, you will have to prepare a different report of your own, explaining the accurate facts about the accident. It would be best if you took these measures to ensure you can win the case and get total compensation from the insurance company.

Moreover, it is equally important to know the state laws regarding what happens to you when you are involved in an accident. Of course, it might be difficult for you to know all the in-state laws, so that’s when you call your attorney, and with their help, you can handle the whole situation at that particular time.

You must report the accident to the police as soon as possible. Ensure you get statements from eyewitnesses at the scene. You can request a crash report at the scene. Ensure you request the crash report once you have reported the incident. You can also request the crash report through online platforms and search through the website of the police department involved at the scene to obtain the report. It’s a good idea to get a business card from each of the officers at the scene.

In conclusion, you need to obtain the crash report since it provides the legal background or context of what happened. The report is needed by the court of law to investigate who is in the wrong. You have also seen how the crash report plays a role in your compensation process since insurers always demand it. Therefore, the report will save you time and ensure you are justified in wrongdoing.

Note: Apart from reporting the accident to the police, ensure that you brief your attorney about the accident. Let the attorney provide you with the legal guidelines so that you respond correctly to the whole situation. An attorney can be a needless expense or a life saver in accidents and court battles over them. Its so hard to tell in advance if you’ll need an attorney so it’s a good idea to look into something like prepaid legal, which can bring down the cost of consulting an attorney early on. Then if you end up not requiring their services you can decide not to and only be out a couple hundred dollars.

The Ins and Outs of Car Warranties

Whether it’s a new or used car, the cost of maintenance and repairs can be quite high. One way car owners hope to save money is by purchasing an auto warranty. With so many options for warranties, trying to weed through the varying terms and conditions can feel like a daunting task.

With warranties for either new or used vehicles, there are just a few main keywords and options to look out for to make sure you are saving money by the plan covering some costs of repairs but also not losing money by paying for plan options you don’t need.

Types of Warranty Coverages

Regardless of being a factory warranty or one purchased through a third-party vendor, there are certain terms for the plans, that are similar. Check the terms and conditions specific to your plan to ensure you know what you are paying for and what support you can expect when repairs are needed.

Powertrain Warranty

As the name implies, powertrain warranties generally cover everything in the drive-system of the car, from the motor to the wheel axles. These types of warranties most often have a shorter term than others. However, since it covers vital engine components such as seals and gaskets, they may prove to be a wallet-saver if any covered part fails.

Bumper-To-Bumper

The bumper-to-bumper warranty is the most comprehensive of warranty plan types, and is commonly called, an “exclusionary plan.” In short, a bumper-to-bumper warranty covers everything as the name implies, including most mechanical, electrical, and other high-tech components.

The terms of these types of warranties generally list conditions or components that are not covered, rather than what is covered. These exclusions usually include general wear and tear, damage caused by an accident or collision, or any damage or component failure due to the installation or use of aftermarket parts.

Other Warranty Types

While Bumper-To-Bumper and Powertrain warranties are the most common types, other more miscellaneous coverages might be worth exploring.

Depending on which state you live in, the Department of Motor Vehicles may require yearly or periodic emissions testing. If this is the case, an Emissions Performance or an Emissions Defect warranty may cover you if any emissions-system-related part fails.

For the body of the car, you may have the option of purchasing or adding a Corrosion Warranty. While these generally do not cover damage caused by environmental factors, such as acid rain, they usually cover corrosion of the sheet metal body skin due to material defects.

Warranty Vendors

Along with options for coverage, there are also options for who sells the warranty. This generally is dependent on the age of the vehicle and whether it is new or used.

Factory Warranties

Generally, the easiest route for auto warranties is to have a factory warranty. For both new cars, manufacturers each have their term limits for bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties, with many offering longer terms as a marketing strategy. However, these are generally limited to the first owner of the vehicle.

Even if your car is used, it may be covered by a factory extended warranty, commonly called a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) warranty. Along with the standard factory warranty, each manufacturer will have its own CPO warranty terms.

Independent Extended Warranties

Depending on the age of the vehicle, it might not be eligible for a factory warranty or even a CPO warranty. There is still an option for coverage. Many companies, independent of auto manufacturers, offer extended warranties that may offer similar coverages, with some plans covering up to 250,000 miles.

Cost

If there is an option for a factory warranty when purchasing a car, it is generally a good investment to add on. This is specially true during the break-in period or if it is a new model. However, an independent extended warranty, should be compared to the average annual cost for repairs for your car brand.

YOUR NIGHT DRIVING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HIGH STRESS

Some safety tips to make driving at night easier

How does that scenic drive in the day turn into a blurry, winding nightmare at night?

Your eyes feel like they suddenly got five times worse as you turn onto that familiar side street at night.

Driving at night is uncomfortable for many people. But why?

In this article, you’ll discover why navigating in the dark tends to be difficult for some. And we’ll uncover some obvious and maybe not-so-obvious ways to make it less stressful.

Why is Driving at Night so Hard?

There are three common factors behind your nighttime driving difficulty:

  1. It’s dark – you are not alone in having problems seeing in low-light conditions. Everything is a little less obvious when the sun is not shining. You can’t tell the difference between the road and the ditch at night. The darkness can even create shadows and make the roadway less distinct. Throw some rain on the situation and you’re about to stay home.

This leads to the next issue with night driving:

  • Less time to react – studies have shown there is a connection between tiredness and nighttime driving. The element of sleep deprivation can then lead to higher incidents of accidents on the road because your reflexes or visual reaction time are slower.
  • Glare from bright lights – ironically, the lights that are there to help you see the road ahead are the very same lights that blind you. In fact, the glare when you’re night driving can affect your color recognition and even your peripheral vision. Sometimes the headlights of another car can bounce off your windows and cause blinding reflection.

All of these problems can end in possible accidents and injury.

How to make night driving better

You don’t have to change your plans because it’s dusk already.

Count the following list as your defensive driving checklist. These are techniques to optimize your driving at night, but they also work for severe weather conditions like heavy rain or snowfall.

  • Dim Your Dashboard as low as you can handle. As you move away from urban areas, you will find your eyes will strain less with less light inside the vehicle.
  • Don’t Look at Oncoming Headlights. Other traffic will help you find and stay on the roadway at night. Follow the traffic in front of you to help see further down the road. Also, use your high beams, but switch to low beams for oncoming traffic.
  • Lower Your Speed. Consider your already restricted view and the eye strain from other cars’ headlights as a reason to decrease the speed. Especially as you get onto the main highways or byways where you are relying on your headlights to guide you. Keep it five to eight miles per hour (five to 10 km) under the speed limit. Remember, road markings aren’t going to be so helpful in the dark.
  • Clean Your Windows and Mirrors. Use glass cleaner to remove any dust, debris, and bugs. This will help prevent glare and simply helps you to see better.
  • Focus on street signs. They tend to be reflective which can help you track the roadway better. Also houses that line the roadway can help in the same way. The glow that shines from their front porches or even from inside, can assist in animating the roadway.
  • Don’t bother with “night-driving” glasses. The yellow-tinted glasses are touted as a solution for driving at night because they feature an anti-reflective coating. That coating is meant to decrease reflections from streetlights and oncoming headlights. But, studies show that these special glasses don’t really improve visibility for night drivers and can, in fact, “… slightly worsen performance…” Instead…
  • Get your eyes checked. If you find night-time driving especially bad, you may have astigmatism. It can make lights and objects appear blurry or fuzzy. You may also notice halos around them.  If this is a problem for you, an eye doctor may add a non-glare coating to your lenses to help with astigmatism. This should reduce the light entering your eye, which will result in seeing clearer at night.

Wrap up

Driving at night is a stressful situation for many people. Issues with reduced visibility can make night driving not only nail-biting but can lead to accidents and injury in worst-case scenarios. But, it doesn’t have to be that way if you can pinpoint what exactly is behind the fear. Then you can make changes to improve the experience so you don’t have to cancel plans when the sun goes down.

Make sure your car is in good condition at all times. Consider getting your car inspected at Tirekickers.Biz.

The Top Three Apps for Teen Driver Safety

And Why They are So Good for Parents

You’re not sure who’s more worried: you or your teen driver.

And it makes sense to worry since teen drivers are not the most reliable on the roadway.

In fact, did you know that crashes involving teen drivers are more often than not due to three critical errors: lack of scanning, speeding, and distractions?  

Fortunately, technology has made it easier for parents to enjoy peace of mind when their teens are behind the wheel. In addition to giving parents some control, driver apps are designed to monitor their children’s driving behaviors.

Let’s look at three of the most useful apps for parents of teen drivers.

1.      Mama Bear

This is the “family safety” app for parents who want those immediate notifications on how fast Stacey’s driving.

  • Free and pay versions – available on Android and IOS

It also features:

  • Driving alerts that tell you when your teenager drives over a particular speed limit that you have set in the app.
  • Location alerts: automatic alerts when kids arrive at school or leave school.
  • Social media monitoring: allows you to see who your child is talking to on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Monitors text messages.
  • Easy check-in buttons along with emoticons including “come get me,” and “emergency.”

2.      Life 360

“Not just a family safety app,” but a comprehensive tool that focuses on the safety of the family unit and allows the teenager to notify parents if they’re in emergency situations.

  • Free and pay versions – available on Android and IOS

It also features:

  • Individual driver reports: get an up-to-date account of what your teen is doing on the road. You’ll be able to check their top speeds, whether they’re texting and driving and if they are “hard-braking.”  
  • crash detection: immediate alerts if there has been an accident.
  • emergency dispatch: the app can send help to anyone that sends an emergency alert.
  • roadside assistance – if your child locks their keys in the car or has a flat tire.
  • Location alerts: find out how far away you are from any of your family members. You’ll also be able to receive alerts if and when your teen enters or leaves a certain designated area.

3.      DriveSmart

Advertised as “much more than an app,” it encourages accountability and responsibility behind the wheel with a rewards system.

  • Free  – available on Android and IOS
  • It also features:
  • Analytics of your child’s driving in five areas: regulations, attention, prudence, adaptation, and dexterity.
  • Set your teen driver’s phone to drive mode which will send incoming calls directly to voicemail. Also mutes incoming texts with an auto-response.
  • DriverSmart certificate – earn coins and discounts.
  • Driver assistance in case of emergency.
  • Tips for driver improvement, so you know what driving skills your teen could use work on.

What you will need to start using a driving app:

All three apps are easy to download and start using.

  1. Find the particular app in Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
  2. Add your family members to your account. Some will send texts or prompts to your family to ask if they want to join.  You will most likely need to set up a profile with each person’s details, including phone numbers and passwords. Some apps also ask for your child’s social media account info.
  3. You may also need to give the app permission to use your location.

Final Thoughts

If you want peace of mind when your teenager is driving, there are apps to make that a reality. The top three, MamaBear, Life360, and DriveSmart, each have unique safety features that allow you as the parent to check in on your child and make sure they’re following the rules of the road as well as the rules of the household. They are simple to use and give your teen the freedom they want while leaving some control in your hands.

The Worst Disaster in Racing History

June 11, 1955…Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France…

Context

Shown above is the modern track, not the 1955 track.

Le Mans is a famous endurance race that takes place over 24 straight hours. It began in 1923 and is the world’s oldest active endurance racing event. This years event will begin Saturday, June 11th and end Sunday, June 12th.

Most races are fixed distance and the car that arrives first wins. In endurance racing the time is set and the car that drives the longest distance in that time is the winner. The Triple Crown of Motorsports is comprised of the La Mans, the Indie 500, and the Monaco Grand Prix. Unlike the pure speed priority of most races, endurance racing calls on teams to consider both speed and a strategy that avoids mechanical breakdown.

The Background of the 55′ Disaster

Since the Le Mans began in 1923 the track had been shortened a bit and widened a bit, and they’d resurfaced it after WWII. The grandstands and pits had been rebuilt and they’d added a 4 foot wide earthen bank between the track and the stands. That was it. In 1923 the top speed of race cars was 60 MPH. In 1955 it was 170 MPH.

Ferrari, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz had all won before and all brought new cars specially designed for this race. The teams also brought the best drivers of the time, including Pierre Levegh a Frenchman who’d tried to do the Le Mans solo in 52′ but failed in hour 23. Also in the field were Eugenio Castellotti for Ferrari, Mike Hawthorn for Jaguar, and Juan Manuel Fangio for for Mercedes-Benz.

The race began at 4 pm local time with the three favorites building a quick lead while the rest of the teams played more conservatively to preserve their cars. By 5pm Castellotti had dropped back a bit to let team Jag and Merc battle each other for lead–setting new lap records each time around. By lap 35 it was time for the lead cars to take their first pit stop.

The First 3 Things to Go Wrong

If the first problem is that the racers are highly competitive and willing to take risks. This is also what makes racing exciting and is inherent to the nature of the sport. What can be done is making the sport as safe as possible without making it lose its excitement. The only reason to mention it as the first thing to go wrong is that these drivers were particularly keyed up and actively battling for lead.

This matters because one might expect things like driver error late in a 24 hour race when fatigue impairs judgement, but this accident happened early when focus was high–aside from needed to win.

The second issue, as mentioned is that track wasn’t modernized to handle the current speed of racing. The third issue, which is somewhat inseparable from a race like this is advanced technology on cars. Usually tech advantages cause problems like part failure causing a team to lose the race. In this case advanced disc brakes on the Jaguar worked a bit too well.

As Hawthorn rounded the last big corner before the pit he lapped two competitors in rapid succession, Levegh in his Merc and Lance Macklin in his Austin Healey. Macklin moved over to let Hawthorn by putting him directly behind where Hawthorn needed to go to make the pit row.

Problem #4

As Hawthorn jammed in front of Macklin to exit he applied his disk breaks. There wasn’t a designated deceleration lane prior to the pit, in fact their was a bit of a right-hand kink. Hawthorn had to brake hard, Macklin dodged left while braking hard.

Meanwhile Fangio was in process of lapping Levegh. Macklins dodge left connected with Levegh’s front right panel causing both cars to break loose of their tires grip on the road. Levegh, being a veteran of the sport was able to throw his arm up in warning to Fangio, before his car ran up on the back of Macklins car, launching it into the air. Fangio closed his eyes and sailed through the carnage unscathed.

Problem #5

None of the drivers at the time wore seat belts, believing they’d rather be thrown clear of an accident than be burned alive inside should the unthinkable happen. Levegh was thrown clear of the car as it flipped end over end, 260 feet toward and over the crowd. Levegh’s skull was crushed on impact. The car crashed into the stairs for the grandstand and blew apart sending debris out like shrapnel into the stands.

The heavier parts like the engine, radiator, and front suspension continued forward another 330 feet crushing all in the path. The hood spun forward decapitating tightly packed spectators before they could flinch.

Problem #7

What remained of the Levegh’s car landed on the embankment upside down and the gas tank burst into flames. The heat from the fire ignited the composite alloy of the car’s body–which had a high magnesium content. The resulting explosion showered the audience and the track with flaming magnesium which can’t be put out by water. Unfortunately early responders didn’t know that, and the car burned as a fireball for many more hours before it could be put out.

Macklins car, rebounded off the left side wall of the track and veered back across the track and through the pit lane wall, almost scraping down the side of every car and crew that was already in the pit. It did hit a police man, a photographer and two race officials seriously injuring all.

The Fallout

Hawthorn overshot his pit so he stopped his Jag and got out, his crew demanded he get back in for another lap, trying to get him away from the chaos. When he pulled in on the next lap he was devastated and taking responsibility. Although track layout was ultimately blamed for the disaster.

John Michael Hawthorn

American driver John Fitch was suited up and ready to take Levegh’s place when they pitted in, he watched the accident with Levegh’s wife. After half an hour he realized he should call his family to tell them he wasn’t one of 84 dead or 120 injured.

They Kept Racing

Surprisingly they continued the race. Director Charles Faroux didn’t stop the race. He later justified his decision saying that the crowds leaving all at once would only clog up roads needed for emergency vehicles. He also didn’t want to get sued by every major car company involved for breach of contract. Sadly, there was reason to believe that might happen based on similar tragedies.

Team Mercedes-Benz fought to pull out of the race, but it took until midnight to get team owners in Germany to agree to it. At 1:45 AM they quietly pulled their cars into the pit, and packed up. The were running 1st and 3rd.

With the Merc’s out of the race and the Ferrari’s all destroyed of broken, team Jag won by five laps. There was no victory celebration, partly due to rain, but they got a picture of Hawthorn on his car sipping his victory Champaign. That didn’t play well in the French press. Although it should be noted that when several countries suspended Motorsports, including France, the lifted the ban prior to the next running of Le Mans.

Enough countries did’t ban motorsports, (America for one) or lifted the ban later in the year, that the world sportscar championship season could finish and crown Mercedes-Benz ultimate victor. Merc then withdrew from racing until the 80’s. A number of drivers retired as well, some at the end of the season. Macklin after another fatal crash later that year.

Modern Pits in daylight

Hawthorn took a lot of blame from the press, claiming he’d cut in front of Macklin and slammed on his brakes. Team Jag tried to question Levegh and Macklin’s reflexes. It took until 1975 for Road & Track Magazine and Paul Fre’re (second place finisher at the 55 Le Mans) to clear up what had happened. By converting still pics of the carnage into video it was clear that the last minute jog in the track before the straight away lined the drivers up with the stands and gave little room to exit to the pit lane at 120 plus miles per hour. Hawthorn would have had to wait to lap any of the cars well before the pits were visible in order to go slow enough to exit without hard breaking. He knew what his car could do, but not what the other cars could do in response.

As it turns out the government inquiry cleared all the drivers, and the teams, but found that the track design caused the spectator death.

A Sad Footnote

In publishing his autobiography, Challenge Me the Race, Hawthorn took no responsibility for the accident on himself or his equipment, leaving Macklin feeling blamed as the only other principle involved. He sued for libel. The action went unresolved when Macklin died in a non-racing car accident on the Guildford bypass (1959) while overtaking a Merc in his Jag.

The Track, who’s problems had been pointed out by drivers since 1953, was fixed.

7 Things Every New Car Owner Needs

Taking a set of keys from a dealer or seller and stepping into a new car is an exciting moment. That first time you start the engine, the bond is set, and the car is now yours. You drive it home and that’s it, right?

It very well could be. But many things would not only make your car more personalized but can be essential in providing a much better driving or riding experience in the years ahead.

Roadside Emergency Kit

The last thing that someone wants to think about when driving away in a new car is dealing with a roadside breakdown. They might be uncommon, but they happen. One of the best ways to help keep some peace of mind and reduce the worry is to be prepared with a roadside assistance kit or a car-specific. Most of these are no larger than a small backpack and, sometimes, can be stored with your spare tire.

Car First Aid Kit

Chances are, you have some sort of first aid kit somewhere in your house or your outdoor equipment. If you don’t, you need to. Just like the roadside kit, this small pouch can be stored out of the way. However, if you ever need any of its contents, it might be the only place it’s available. Plus, keeping one specifically for the car means the inventory of band-aids and supplies won’t be out when you need them since they were used at home.

Jumper Cables

The modern batteries in cars, especially with new cars, are incredibly reliable. Most times, if you are mindful of not using your climate controls and radio with the engine off, you may go years without needing a replacement or jump. However, when you do, having your own set of jumper cables will help switch your search for help from who has cables to just someone who would be willing to help.

Window Tinting

For some, this can be a controversial one. But if your car did not come with any tinting on the windows, it will not take long for the sun to heat the inside of the car when it’s parked or even while driving. This may make the difference between having a cool interior without needing to have the fan on high. Be sure to check local laws on window tinting and be aware that going too dark (even within the legal limit), may make night driving difficult. Why suffer waiting for your car to cool down when you can reduce the heat before it starts. Tinting also reduces the fading on the interior and by reducing the heat issue, it saves on gas.

“Climate” Bag

Depending on where you live, this might involve some modification throughout the year, but consider the general climate you live in, and what sorts of things you at some point wished you had, but forgot to bring with you. Having a bag set aside for just such conditions can make the difference between staying happy and dry, or wet and miserable. This can be as simple as a packable rain poncho and towels for rainy seasons, or sunglasses and a few bottles of water for the summertime.

Car Wash Membership

One of the most often neglected parts of a car is the exterior and specifically, the paint. It is easy to believe the paint and clearcoat add some force field to keep dirt and grime from damaging the body. However, keeping the car clean and waxing it often, will keep the road particles from penetrating through the clear coat and potentially causing issues down the road. A membership to a car wash will likely save you money if you plan to keep your car in its pristine condition. If you go too long, you might need a deeper and more expensive clean, such as a clay bar wash, to get out all of the grit and grime. 

Sunshade

Regardless of the season outside, a sunshade can make a world of difference in keeping the temperature inside your car at a reasonable level when parked. Even in the winter, the sunlight can make the inside of your car stifling and create quite a temperature shock when you step in. Without a sunshade in the summer, you may be at your destination by the time you can cool off the interior to a comfortable level.

Warning Lights You Shouldn’t Ignore

Seeing a warning light come on in your vehicle’s instrument cluster can cause an uneasy feeling. Whether you are just about home from a daily commute or halfway through a cross-country road trip, these indicator lights get your heart racing, and you wonder just how much it will cost to repair whatever caused the light to come on.

However, not all indicator lights are the same. Some are alerting you to temporary conditions of the vehicle that will go away after a few more miles. Others are giving you a head’s up that a service is needed to maintain the best functioning of your car’s engine.

Some fit neither of these categories. These indications must be taken care of immediately to prevent potentially irreparable damage to your vehicle and its power train.

Cautionary Indicator Lights (think “yellow”)

Depending on your particular vehicle, several indicator lights are common across brands and others are not. Regardless, there are some of these lights that, while they show something is wrong or abnormal, are more friendly reminders, suggestions, or things to add to your list of things to do. These include tire pressure, service interval, and traction control system lights. These usually show temporary conditions where driving can continue until a convenient time for a more thorough inspection. Along with walking around the vehicle each time before driving, and doing a short pre-drive check, paying attention to these and taking care of them when you can, may save you money.

Warning Lights (almost always red)

As the color would show, if you see one of these lights, it is almost assuredly a good idea to stop as soon as safely practical. There still is a chance it is just a temporary condition that might resolve itself. The alternatives and what might happen if these are ignored are far worse and much more costly than the inconvenience of stopping and a tow to the nearest mechanic.

In each of these, the best course of action is to stop when you are able and have it checked out. As with every electronic indicator, there is a chance of a malfunction in the indicator itself. Only a check by a mechanic will you know for sure.

Oil-Pressure Warning

Your engine oil not only provides the proper lubrication between parts, some moving at thousands of rotations each minute, but it also provides an essential layer of thermal cooling to the piston and cylinders. Without the proper flow around these critical parts, the metal would heat to the point of possibly fusing once stopped, if not develop catastrophic cracking beforehand.

Whether a red image of an old-fashioned oil can, or red letters reading “OIL”, this light shows the oil is not flowing as it should. This light could mean you’re overdue for an oil change but it could indicate you’re leaking oil which will very soon ruin your engine.

Transmission Temperature

Not unlike your car’s engine, the transmission has many small parts moving rapidly with extremely small tolerances. All the same potential issues apply within the contained until of your transmission. Although the movement of the transmission components themselves is enough to circulate the transmission fluid without added pressure, issues with the supply, or leaks in the system itself, can create high temperature and pose similar risks of part fusion or thermal fatigue.

An engine that gets too hot has the potential to crack and, if extreme, requires complete replacement.

Engine Temperature

Issues with your engine temperature are usually indicated by a red light of a thermometer in a wavy liquid. This means your engine is overheating and attempts should be made to cool it as soon as possible. There are several reasons this might occur, but the main goal to prevent catastrophic damage to your car’s engine is to remove the heat from the engine area and get the motor turned off as soon as possible. As you look for a safe place to pull off, turn off your air-conditioner (if on) and crank the heat to the passenger compartment. This will help to draw the heat from the engine bay.

Once you pull over and turn off the motor, wait at least 15 minutes, if not more, to open the hood. This will help prevent scalding hot coolant or other fluids from splashing on your hands or face.

A punctured radiator is a likely culprit and not a terrible expensive fix compared to replacing the engine, which is required if it overheats too much or too long. However, there are many other reasons a car might overheat so have a professional check it.

5 Things To Test on Your Test Drive

Probably don’t try this on your next test drive…

Test-driving many automobiles is recommended before deciding on your first or next car purchase. You may usually take a brief test drive in any vehicle at a dealership. In a test drive, you’ll be able to visualize yourself in the driver’s seat of that specific vehicle. Taking a test drive may benefit both you as a consumer and the dealership.

However, if this is your first car, you may not know what you should be looking for or testing on the test drive. It’s not just learning the feel of the car or how well it drives on the road; there is a lot more to it. This is the time you will gain first-hand experience with the car, and you can make the best choice based on comfort and lifestyle. Here are a few things to keep in mind when test driving your first few cars.

Things To Consider On Your Test Drive

Before getting in the car, it is essential to look at each car thoroughly. You will need to inspect the body for any dents, scrapes, or scratches. This will be how you first pick out the vehicles to test drive.

Test The Turn Signals

As soon as you get into the car, make sure you know where the turn signals are and if they actually work. This will help you understand the car better and avoid potential trouble when testing the vehicle.

Let It Idle

When you first turn it on, leave it on for a few minutes before driving. During these few minutes, you’ll be able to tell if there is anything wrong with the engine. If it makes any abnormal noises for cars, it may be a sign there are already problems with the car. This can be especially important for anyone shopping for used vehicles.

Use Stop and Go Traffic To Your Advantage

No one likes stop-and-go traffic, but this is one of the best ways to test your potential new car. If the brakes feel clunky, you will feel it during the ride multiple times. You will need to listen to grinding or squealing that also happens during the stop-and-go traffic. Paying attention to how this car responds will be essential to making the right choice.

Take It On The Highway

You should always take it on the highways and drive it above 55 MPH to see how well it goes from slow to fast. The transition to highway speed is crucial in everyday life. You will understand if the car accelerates quickly or if it is slow to speed up. Going fast will also help you know the steering wheel better, ensuring it doesn’t pull to one side or the other.

Test Out Parallel Parking

Another good way to test out the steering wheel is to parallel park. If it is too stiff to move, you will have difficulty parking well. This test will also allow you to see how well the car shifts from reverse to drive. Understanding how efficient the car will be in the future is a huge bonus.

How To Pick The Best Fit

Once you’ve tested several cars, you will want to pick something based on your everyday driving habits. If you dislike manual transmissions, go for an automatic car. Other drivers may park a lot depending on where they work and live, so they will need to pay close attention to the steering wheel.

When you start test driving cars, it is to find the best fit for you. Buying a car that is not practical for everyday use will be the wrong choice for you. Keep in mind that you may have to test drive many cars before finding the perfect one for you.

The Best Answer

While you need to test drive a car yourself for many reasons, like personal taste and leg room, etc. If you aren’t sure you can detect mechanical issues by a 5 minute loop around the neighborhood you should contact a pre-purchase inspection service like our sponsor Tire Kickers. They will test drive it and look up the history, check under the hood and under the car. They’ll compare it to other cars of that type and establish the value based on similar cars in similar condition in your area. It’s the only way to be certain you have the information you need to make a good car buying decision.