The First Time Driver’s Problems

A first-time driver should look to own a car that is both inexpensive and easy to maneuver. Although no safe car is truly inexpensive, when you are young it’s still important to get something reasonable.

When to Start Driving

Is 18 the best age to start driving? The most common answer is that it depends on how responsible you are. Not on is operating the vehicle a big responsibility but so is where and when you choose to drive. There’s also the matter of affording it. Gas prices are high, but for your drivers the insurance is the big expense.

Many people don’t have much choice, they land a job and need the transportation. Others might need to drop a younger sibling off at school for a parent that works odd hours.

Again, the insurance is the big cost for young drivers, so maybe you should only start driving when you can afford to do so?

On the Topic of Insurance

It’s always a good idea to have one of your parent’s names on the insurance even if they don’t drive it just to keep the premiums down. Many states require all licenced drivers who live in the same home to be insured on all the vehicles registered to that address. It must be nice to be in an industry where you get to assume things about your client’s behaviour and charge accordingly.

Black Box Insurance

You see insurance companies advertise how you can get a great rate by letting them plug a device into your car that monitors your driving. You may be inclined to try it out, but is “black box” insurance worth it? It depends on how good a driver you are and what time you drive. If you are a bad driver, it can give you feedback on your driving but also penalize you with high premiums. It will give your insurance company information on whether you drive late at night and will penalize you for it. Most students have work nights after school so it doesn’t work out as a good idea.

There are problems too if you exceed your stated mileage for a year this will also mean your premiums increase. Other information gathered by the “black box” is how well or how badly you accelerate, your braking skills and the errors you perform while attempting to park. Skills a young driver may be yet to acquire. It also knows when you speed so to sum up it’s not a good idea for most young drivers.

Taking your Car to College

When you take a car to college it’s so much easier to run errands like filling up the fridge but then again you are spending a sizable amount on gas and maintaining the vehicle. There’s the dilemma over where you park it too. If you are parking on campus, there will almost certainly be a charge.

SmartCar

Finally, onto Types of Cars.

Smart ForFour has the advantage of a turbocharged engine located in the trunk. Another plus point is its turning ability, helpful if attempting this maneuver has ever caused you to stall.

The Mini Hatchback may not be ideal for the first-time driver’s budget unless you are a late starter or have rich parents. Still there are a huge number of customizing options – just more a second or third car really.

Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 has rather a vintage feel, though your fellow students may not like sitting in the back-it feels more like a family car in this respect. There’s a range of pastel hues to choose from, though a student might be interested in red.

When you buy the first car look into such items as emergency braking and how reliable it is. Do you have the option of low-rate finance? As with any car it’s always best to take it for a test drive before you commit, and get it examined by a car inspection service like Tire Kickers.

Why Semi-Truck Turning Is So Hard

For trucks, turning can be one of the hardest things you can do. Why? Read on and find out.

If a truck wants to u-turn (180 degrees) for example, a truck park must allow for a minimum turn path, a truck of 18 wheels needs about 20’ to turn, the rear wheels follow a shorter path than the front wheels.

Because a truck cannot make a turn in a small radius, they need to swing wide, meaning they must start the turn in the second lane to the left. There is an increased risk of a tip over or roll over if a truck tries to turn in too small a radius.

During any turn there is an increased risk of accident, and if there are only two lanes, trucks should avoid turning left. A truck may collide with a vehicle heading toward it from the front or there may be a right turn squeeze play accident from a vehicle trying to turn alongside it.

Squeeze-play Accidents

Squeeze-play accidents can happen in two ways. First because the trailer turns tighter than the cab and cars tend to assume they are safe if the cab isn’t going to hit them. However, the rear tires on the trailer can strike and even climb over a small car that is overtaken on the inside of a turn. It’s never a good idea to attempt a turn at the same time as a truck even when there are two turn lanes.

The second type of squeeze-play happens when drivers are lured into it. Because trucks need to swing right in order to turn left the truck gives the illusion it is turning right. Car drivers see the left blinker on, but assume the driver really meant to go right.

Trucks also have a larger blind spot than cars which means if they put their left turn signal on a car may feel safe pulling up next to it on the right. When the truck driver turns right to begin his left turn any cars in the way would be crushed, generally at the roof but it can be squeezed against a barrier.

How to Turn a Truck:

If you’re driving the truck, it is important to use signals when turning. It’s important to use windows and mirrors to check what is happening and do not move too quickly. It’s vital that you not put yourself in a position to have to back up the vehicle in the middle of an intersection.

To enter into a right turn, ensure that you have enough space from the curb and do not swing into the far-right lane. Conversely, if a truck makes a left turn it needs to first move right.

Different truck turns can be performed in different gears, right turns should be done in third gear, while left can be done in fourth gear. If it is a big right-hand corner with a turning lane (also known as a slip lane) it may be done in fifth gear. A slower vehicle turns more sharply.

Turn signals need to be up-to-date, mirrors should be correct for the size of the vehicle. The driver needs an adequate level of experience, qualifications and training. Unfamiliarity, such as a new route and different conditions may change things. Or the driver could be distracted which includes being tired.

This is just a simple guide, and it should be noted that you need a considerable amount of training to drive a truck, fortunately for other users of the road!

Avoiding Accidents:

It is vital not to overtake a turning truck.

If you’re driving a vehicle near a truck, to prevent accidents always stay away from a truck’s blind spots, especially if it is an 18-wheel truck. Only pass one when there is a great deal of room and do not pass on the right. Should a truck be indicating, give it a wide berth.

Car drivers shouldn’t think of a truck operating like a regular vehicle and just be more patient.

11% of all crash deaths in 2019 involved trucks but 74% of them involved a large trailer, while 24% involved single unit trucks. It is vital as a car driver to stay a safe distance and only pass when there is a great deal of room, especially if it is indicating.

Altering the Car’s Interior

What can be altered about a car’s interior? Is it even worth it?

People do want their to personalize their car and to express their creativity but there are consequences if you go too far.

1st Reselling

Obviously if they car’s interior is in bad shape then there is nowhere to go but up, however it depends on how you intend to sell your car—should you be thinking of eventually doing so. In the second-hand market, yes, a consumer who looks at a nicely redone interior will prefer it to seeing an original interior with scuffs or holes, even if it’s not a factory color. You would need to do some research to find out what’s desirable based on your make and model.

If you try and sell the car in a mainstream way you may have difficulty selling the vehicle. A car lot will be able to spot customized interiors no matter how well it is done.

Other Factors

The layout of some interiors could mean that the comfort of passengers have been compromised and some changes may even be illegal – please don’t overdo your alterations!

It could make your insurance invalid depending on the changes made. You call it custom, your insurance calls it vandalism. That’s assuming you’ve done it well, which frankly a lot of people don’t. It is hard to do well and highly difficult to change back.

Ways to Customize.

Carpets

One place to start is the car’s carpets as most of them have a dull black or gray pattern and a bit of pattern might make a change.

An alternative is to buy some mats, the more expensive the better value it will give the car. If you bought your car used you might start by having the carpets shampooed. Don’t replace them if they’re simply dulled by soil.

PS grime ads wear to carpets so keeping them clean radically extends their life.

Seats

Moving on to the seats, you can buy what are known as aftermarket seats for instance bucket seats as replacement for the originals. As hinted to above, it is vital that you do this properly which means getting a professional in. You’ll need to inform your insurer in any case.

Alternately you can have the old seats reupholstered in leather or leatherette or just buy some seat covers. Look to see which fabrics you like. Maybe looking at massage seats, especially if you have back problems.

Steering Wheel & Dash

Back in the day one could unbolt a steering wheel from the column and replace it for a unique look that fit the owner…now there are air bags…

When it comes to altering the steering wheel and the dashboard the prices will escalate very quickly. But there are ways to do it without breaking the bank and also not damaging your insurance.

A simple way of improving the dashboard region is to look at under dash lighting using LED lights or to add vinyl to the steering wheel or dashboard or perhaps a colorful steering wheel cover. A dash kit will change the finish and is relatively easy to install.

Perhaps the most common car customization involves the dash and is the exception to the rules we’ve been talking about. You radio is virtually built to be replaced if you have the right tools and training. Many stereo stores offer instillation services, and you are wise to take advantage of them. An improved stereo won’t get you much in trade in value, but can make a big difference in the second-hand market, depending on the kind of car you are selling.

Other Changes

Another popular upgrade for young people are racing pedals instead of the regular sort. Maybe a trunk liner to make the most of this region of the car? Again, these are pretty inexpensive ways to improve your vehicle. 

For the music lover you might look into upgrading your speakers. There are car owners who alter the entire trunk by filling it with gigantic speakers, but it does render it unusable.

While you are making all these improvements you may as well add some video screens or a video game console. Depends on the amount of pressure from your children, really.

If your driving is a bit under par you may decide to invest in a collision avoidance kit, particularly if you drive at night. Even if you do drive well, it’s good for your piece of mind and helps your insurance premiums.

Your car is likely the second most costly thing you own after your house. Don’t take chances on totalling your car in the name of self-expression. Or do, the choice is yours.

Buying Convertibles

Spring is in the air and what better way to celebrate than buying a convertible? If you have never owned a convertible before you need to know a couple things first. On the bright side, you have the joy of the open road on a sunny day, but they cost a bit more than an equivalent car and space is a problem.

Wait, they charge more for Convertibles?

Yes, and not just because they can (although they’re desirable and that comes at a premium). Added to that, you must factor in the cost of manufacturing a converting roof and the complex engineering involved.

What do you mean less space?

As with price, they aren’t just being mean, there are legit reasons. You lose space in the trunk due to stowing away the canvas or hard top roof. when you lower the canvas roof it needs to be stowed somewhere.

Okay, so What Else?

Convertibles don’t have as good a visibility as standard cars when the roof is up, which is most of the time. Having a built-in parking or driver assist is a game changer when parking a convertible.

It also takes longer to warm up than a regular car due to less insulation roof.

The roof is easier to damaged and if the roof does break, you’re talking about a huge payout needed to repair it, given the parts involved.

You are also best advised keeping the car somewhere secure as a canvas roof is not the best protection in the world, even if you invest in a steering lock. When not parked at home or at work, lock any valuables in the trunk as thieves will simply cut their way in and take items off the seat.

Enough of the doom mongering, what about the cars themselves?

The Mini Cooper Convertible combines style with build quality. There have been five generations of Mini Convertible to date. They have gas and diesel variants of their convertible with black trim around the wheels. There is a horizontal bar under the licence plate, despite not being needed for the US market. To access the rear seats, the front seats need to be both tilted and slid forwards which seems a bit of a pain.

The Audi A5 comes in a convertible and has two turbocharged engines to pick from. It comes with Apple Car-Play as well as All-wheel handling. Critics may point out the smallness of the trunk and the general lack of legroom in the back seat, but the latter could very well be expected by purchasing a compact.

(Please note the Audi A5 also comes in coupe and sportback versions. Just to be clear; a sportback is a four-door hatchback with a sloping roof, in other words a hatchback that looks like a coupe.)

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has a smallish interior and storage space, but plus points include user friendly safety tech. The suspension is similar to what you’d find in a sports care. It also has rear wheel drive, allowing you to reach 34 MPG on the highway.

Possibly you consider a Ford Mustang as a sports car, but the convertible version is known for having a decent trunk (unusual in a compact car) and the handling is sure-footed. There are powerful engine choices – between 310 and 480 hp. The CoPilot 360 helps with driver assist. It is a pity that the rear seats appear so cramped. The front seats seem worthy of note – they are bucket seats that have an actual curve to them (not all “buckets” do). No doubt this gives them an improved level of comfort.

You really need to live somewhere warm enough and have enough in the bank to take on a convertible. So…

…Now that you know the potential drawbacks to a convertible have you changed your mind about owning one? No, we didn’t think you would.

Car Explosions – Fact & Fiction

Op-Ed from Editors (Wimsett & Bunch)

I think my mom watched too many episodes of chips in the 80’s. She’s pretty sure that if you hit a curb at 25 MPH the car will flip into the air, roll three times and land on its top, only to explode instantly. Try as I might, nothing seems to change her beliefs around cars and explosions. (The following post contains references to some of the ways in which journalists have reported car explosions, which have mislead the public into believing they’re driving about in a bomb.)

The Truth

When a car explodes, something is definitely wrong. It’s reassuring that a car can’t simply blow up, something needs to happen first.

Cars do catch fire, in fact, they’re quite flammable and they burn quickly. But an explosion tends to be a slow process which always starts with a fire. Even when the flames hit the gas tank it doesn’t always explode. As long as you attempt to remove yourself from the car as quickly as possible before calling 911 you should be fine.

But they can explode, right?

Okay, so cars are rarely explosive, but it does happen, only not like it happens in movies. A car hit by bullets for instance wouldn’t necessarily explode.

When the battery blows up it looks like the car explodes. An oil leak can cause fires, as can faulty wiring in items like car stereos. It’s important that a mechanic deals with all of these as well as making sure any seals are secure. Shoddy work is more likely to lead to a fire.

The problem is that journalists aren’t explosive experts or mechanics, they don’t always come up with the real reason a car explodes.

This explains reports in the media of items like car fresheners causing explosions, when in fact only the front window was blown out (which may have had more to do with the heat). Whatever the real cause a blown-out window is not an “explosion.”

Can a car explode by hitting a lamp post? Reports seem to suggest so, but it may well have had more to do with the gas leak.

A car may also explode if it should crash through a house and hit the natural gas line. Sometimes explosions are a complete mystery, or at least according to the reporter.

Obviously, cars can be exploded.

Some cars are the victims of controlled explosions if they are in the wrong place or believed to have something explosive in it.

It is possible to trigger an explosion by attempting to unlock a door by laser if there is an acetylene tank in the car. Fortunately, not many people carry acetylene tanks in their car.

So, what does it take for a car to explode on it’s own?

A build-up of pressure inside a gas cylinder leads to a gas explosion. It may shatter nearby windows.

Sometimes the car explodes from the gas in gas stations. But the flames around petrol do not always lead to an explosion. The fumes from gas are more explosive than the liquid gas, however the pressure needs to reach a certain point.

It’s more dangerous when an electric car catches fire. So, it’s especially important to keep away from these types of fires.

On screen Explosions

It should come as no surprise that when a car explodes on-screen things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes it’s only a plastic shell with nothing inside it. Or it may be swapped for a much older model just before the explosion.

Alternatively, a car could look pristine outside but suffer from some kind of damage inside (water damage, no seating and so on).

There are some explosions which aren’t explosions at all – it’s pure CGI (computer generated imagery), allowing the car to look as photogenic as possible despite exploding into bits.

This goes to show that what films well in the movies isn’t really like real life, but at least in this instance it should put our minds at ease.

The Various Types of Carports

We think that a carport is a fairly recent invention, but the first carport was built for Sloane House in Illinois by Walter Burley in 1909. It wasn’t technically called a carport by name, instead Burley called it an auto-space.

The first carport to be known by that name was created in Madison, Wisconsin by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Draw a picture in your mind of a Model T and it makes sense to keep these early cars undercover—not exactly water-tight. What you may not know is that they could also be damaged by the cold or even by too much heat.

Types of Carports

This is by no means an encyclopaedia of carports and their designers (and who wants to read that anyway) but this short guide focuses on different types of carport on the market.

If you live in cold, even snowy, areas it makes sense to have a full garage where the space is closed off.

Wood carports are less expensive than steel or aluminium but it can be affected by the elements. Steel and aluminium carports do have the disadvantage that they take longer to install, but they are worth it if you can handle the hassle.

One way to keep the costs down is to look for a self-assembly carport. To ensure that the carport is at the right level having a carport with adjustable height is a must.

You need to make sure the site is level before you can build a carport.

Roof Options

In sunny climates it’s not unusual to see flat roof carports to keep the sun from damaging paint and interior, and also to keep the car from being too hot when you go to start it up.

Some carports have a diagonal roof which is much better in snow and rain, and can allow you to place a number of cars underneath.

Expenses

The biggest expense in a carport is the steel understructure, some businesses offer a galvanised steel choice—a worthwhile upgrade when available.

Other expenses involve the site excavation, installation, electricity and painting. Electricity is optional, but again, its wise to do. Paint is not optional on wood structures as it protects the structure.

As you may guess, the expenses soon add up so coming up with a budget is vital.

You may have restrictions on carport building in a specific area. If you don’t have a concrete base already, it will cost more, and likely more to maintain as they need to hold up against the strengths of the storms and it is rust free.

What style of frame do you require?

A cantilever relies on a curved frame system which touches the ground only on one side (but may be supported by something like an out-building) and then there’s post and purlin which is a single slope design.

Canopies

It is vital that the canopy is load bearing. Some are made of metal, others are shingled wood. The idea is usually to match a nearby house, but often apartment complexes will do something entirely different for carports than they do for the buildings. It may come down to how close the carport is to your other structures.

You may need to consider rubber sealing for the roof and some form of drainage, otherwise the canopy will not protect the car for that long.

A solar carport has a solar canopy over the car. The canopy has a surface from where solar energy is derived. The plus point is that you may not need to run house power out to your car port in order to have lights or even a charging station for your EV. Solar canopies can produce more energy than a rooftop solar panel. Massachusetts and various other states provide a cash incentive for buying a solar panel. You will also receive a reduction in your electricity bills.

In Conclusion

If the job is done well, it will protect your pride and joy for several years and may mean you don’t need to spend as much time waxing and polishing your car. Though having said that, all cars benefit from some attention now and again.

Wheel Balance and Alignment

Wheel balance is how the weight is distributed around the wheel. This can be rather fiddly to achieve; it is done by adding weights to the rims of the tires. In order for it to be balanced, you will need to add a number of weights to the other side. If you leave it unbalanced the tire will lean to one side. You can only achieve a comfortable ride in a car with balanced wheels. There may also be a feeling of nausea if you travel at high speeds in an unbalanced car.

Types of Alignment

There are a number of alignments to consider when you balance your tires – sorry but it now becomes rather complicated! – the front caster, the front and rear camber, the front and rear toe and finally the thrust angle. How these relate to each other is the amount of balance a vehicle has as a whole.

The Front Caster – is all about the stability of the front tire vertically; this should be as straight as possible; the front camber is how vertically upright the front wheel stands; surprisingly this is a negative number as the top of the wheel is meant to lean in rather than out, towards the center of the vehicle.

The Front Toe – The final variable of the front wheel is called the front toe which determines how straight your wheel is when it pulls forwards. (Think pigeon toe.)

The Rear Camber – Now to the back wheels…the rear camber is similar to the front camber, but in order to keep the vehicle stable the camber at the back should be greater (It’s in order to keep the car’s center of gravity).

The Rear Toe – is how much the back wheels point forward; unlike the front toe this doesn’t alter that much during driving.

The Thrust Angle – describes the angle of the rear axle to the vehicle. If this is off you may have to oversteer or understeer in order to achieve the desired effect.

This type of thing is also known as breaking and tracking and the idea is to keep the wheel as “straight and true” as possible. In adjusting the tire’s angle you are affecting how the wheel makes contact to the ground. It’s important to get the wheels back to factory settings, but also to make sure that they are aligned with each other.

What a Layman Needs to Know!

It’s complex for a layman but like so many things it’s not that bad if you do it every day. What you need to know is this:

  • You will damage your tires if you don’t regularly add air or rotate your tires. If your suspension has been changed or parts have been replaced it may affect the state of the tires.
  • If the suspension is damaged or you constantly hit potholes you should have your alignment looked at.
  • With the wrong alignment the fuel consumption is worse, thanks to drag or the rolling resistance. It will mean you will probably have to fork out for new tires, and you will take longer to brake.

Okay, there has been a great deal of jargon here but it does go to show how so many variables keep a car operating to the best of its ability and how much balance and alignment play a part.

Dealing with an emergency vehicle

So, who is in charge when you are on a driving exam? Even though the person grading you on your exam is giving instructions and even though they hold your fate in their hands, you are ultimately responsible for the vehicle because you are the driver.

Actually, the law always takes precedent over the exam proctor during a driving test. They won’t tell you things like, “the speed on this road is 45MPH.” However, the most stressful thing that can happen during a driving test is when an emergency vehicle enters your route. Sometimes an exam proctor will give you instructions in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances but many times they simply wait to see how you react to it.

One of the challenges is that many drivers on the road don’t know what to do when an emergency vehicle comes on the scene. Other vehicles on the road may not behave exactly as you think they should.

So, when you see an emergency vehicle what do you do?

Well, its simple really; pull over. If you don’t pull over and it was safe to do so you will fail your driving test. A police car on the scene can site you for failing to yield but they generally don’t have time.

If you are stuck somewhere where it’s impossible to pull over, you may have to pull over as far as possible for the emergency vehicle to get through. You should also beware that another emergency vehicle isn’t following it (it may not be the same type by the way, for instance if you have an ambulance you may get a police car following on behind).

Remember though it is always advisable only to stop if the situation isn’t hazardous; do not put yourself in danger.

The Toughest Thing About Emergency Vehicles!

Because the sirens are generally on it should give you plenty of time to respond, though you might have initial confusion on where the emergency vehicle is coming from. As with all times on a driving test it is essential not to panic. If you aren’t on a driving test and you were listening to music turn it off until the emergency vehicle has passed.

It is always a good idea to stay especially alert in a situation such as this.

Although you might be tempted to follow an emergency vehicle through traffic, especially if its an ambulance carrying a loved one, do NOT do this. You should be more than 500 feet away from the emergency vehicle at all times.

When you overtake an Emergency Vehicle.

When you see an emergency vehicle at the side of the road you should reduce your speed slightly and change lanes if it is safe enough to do so. If you can’t change lanes you should proceed with caution.

Emergency Vehicles from Different Directions

How exactly you deal with an emergency vehicle depends on where they approach from. If they approach from behind (that is, if you see one in your rear view mirrors) you must attempt to pull over, staying as close to the curb as you can.

If they are approaching from the front you must still stop and pull over. This is in case the drivers in the opposite lane cannot pull over fully.

The difficulty with emergency vehicles may reveal itself at intersections. Ideally, no part of your car should be impeding the emergency vehicle’s progress.

This specific law is known as the “Move Over” law, but it also known as the “Steer Clear” law in Pennsylvania. There may be a specific speed limit for cars that cannot get out of the way of an emergency vehicle, for instance in Texas it is 20 mph below the advertised speed limit.

According to information released by Taylor & Francis Online more firefighters die in traffic accidents than the fire itself, though it does refer to these vehicles being a hazard to other road users. It’s difficult to think of a solution to this problem as a fire engine must get to the incident as quickly as possible.

Winter Car Care

There are so many difficulties with the cold weather. Here are a few tips from your friends at The Kicker.

Dirt!

The salt on the road makes cars become dirty quicker. It is recommended that you constantly wipe your lights with a cloth – 40% of luminosity is lost on gritted roads, according to a road safety charity. It may also mean that your registration plate becomes obscured. So it is important to wipe it down before you leave your house.

Battery

Is your battery fairly new? Cold is hard on batteries and it’s also the worst time to get stranded in a car that won’t start. The battery should be changed every three years. If your car battery is beginning to age it means your car will take longer to start or not start at all.

New batteries can hold their temperature thanks to a substance called “liquid electrolyte solution.” A battery will only totally freeze when the temperature becomes really icy but the colder temperatures mean that transfer of power that occurs in a battery is slowed down and as a result you will have difficulty in starting up.

Also, because people tend to use their lights more at this time of year the battery is drained more; using the windshield wipers and the radio can also have an effect.

Signs of a Bad Battery:

There will be noticeable signs that you have a flat battery when you start the engine up such as not hearing anything when you place the key in the ignition or hearing a whining sound but no motor. Other signs may be that the ignition lights fail to work, or the central locking fails to unlock.

Your engine may be started by jump leads if there is no other way, but it should only be used if there is no other way. You might also carry a portable battery this time of year which allows you to jump you car or the car of a stranger in need.

Be prepared:

It may be life or death to ensure that the tires aren’t worn. If you drive on country roads more than average you may need some snow tires.

What’s important too is to have a survival kit in your car, such a blanket, hot thermos and so on in case you break down. You will need warm clothing for you and all the passengers in the car as well as a shovel and a torch.

Do you need to change the coolant? The coolant needs to be changed every 2-5 years, the exact time is dependent on the coolant used and the type of car.

Another vital part of winter car care is checking the car has been serviced recently. Although most cars need a service every twelve months all cars are different. It’s best to have your car serviced before the worst of winter occurs, if you can.

Wipers

Make sure your wipers work effectively – maybe wipe them with a clean cloth. But if the wipers seem to be stuck it is best to heat the car up. Applying water, which is too hot may crack your windows, so take care. It’s important by law to ensure the windshield washer is full of fluid.

If your car is cold all the time it means that your car will consume more fuel. The car should take 30 seconds to a minute to warm up. If your car takes longer to warm up it should possibly be kept in a garage.

Hopefully these tips can protect you from the worst of the wintry harm out there.

Driver’s Costs and Expenses

Many new drivers underestimate the various car costs they have to shell out for, whether they be fixed (standing charges at certain points of the year) or ones that may be altered. We often put ourselves in debt by buying a car but sometimes expenses get out of hand—we get “car poor.”

It’s worth shopping around on comparison sites to obtain the best value for items like insurance or other costs which vary from vendor to vendor.

Most people are aware of the running costs – fuel, maintenance, parking and fines, as well as insurance but there are other payments to consider. The car itself may not be paid off in one lump sum but you need to be fairly soluble finance-wise in order to afford it.

Let’s face it, the individual costs are a headache, so it is well worth creating a check-list so you make sure you don’t miss anything and don’t receive any nasty surprises.

Every vehicle in the US needs its own certificate of ownership. It shows the owner’s name and address, the registration number and various other details.

The applications need to be made to the state office, which may be the Department of Motor Vehicles. When selling the vehicle, the seller should endorse the certificate of title. Another thing the seller should do is notify the office which issued the certificate that a sale has been made.

As well as this (hopefully endorsed) certificate of title you also need…

  • Proof of ownership, which may be the certificate of sale
  • Proof of your identity including your date of birth
  • Proof of insurance
  • Sales tax clearance
  • An emission inspection certificate if needed
  • The completed registration form and the fee itself. This may be a flat fee or could be based on such variables as age, value or even weight of the car. (If you wish a personalised plate you will need to pay more.)

If you are wishing to move to another state, you will need to re-register your vehicle pretty soonish. You may need to apply for a visitor’s permit if you have to drive in an unregistered car while waiting for registration to take place.

There are special municipalities in the US which charge a particular tax rate. Trucks or buses in contrast have to pay a heavy use tax, though vans and pick-up trucks pay the normal amount. If you travel more than 5,000 miles by the truck you don’t have to pay this tax.

In addition to these taxes New York has a Highway Use Tax which is similar to the congestion charge found in several foreign cities.

There are numerous other costs to consider, items such as car seats if you happen to have young children, a sat nav if your car doesn’t have one in-built, and various products to help with day-to-day running such as a de-icer or car polish.

But there’s so much pleasure in the open road, it must be worth all the expense? Right?