google+

Avoid Surprise, Winterize

The non-profit Car Care Council recommends that motorists perform a six-point winter maintenance check of areas that have direct impact on winter driving.

“Harsh winter weather can stress out a vehicle, as well as its driver,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A vehicle that is properly prepared for the elements can help you avoid an unplanned road emergency when the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse.”

  1. Battery – Cold weather is hard on batteries, so it’s wise to check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Because batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail, it is advisable to replace batteries that are more than three years old.
  2. Antifreeze – Antifreeze (coolant) should be flushed and refilled at least every two years in most vehicles. As a reminder, do not add 100 percent antifreeze as full-strength antifreeze actually has a lower freeze point than when mixed with water.
  3. Brakes – Have the brake system checked. Brakes are critical to vehicle safety and particularly important when driving on icy or snow-covered roads.
  4. Tires – Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure, including the spare. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly as tires lose pressure when temperatures drop.
  5. Oil – Be diligent about changing the oil at recommended intervals and check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time. Consider changing to low-viscosity oil in winter, as it will flow more easily between moving parts when cold. In sub-zero driving temperatures, drop oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.
  6. Lights & Wipers – Make sure all exterior and interior lights are working so you can see and be seen. Check the fluid level in the windshield washer reservoir and replace wiper blades that are torn, cracked or don’t properly clean your windshield.

Nighttime Driving Worries: Do You Want to See Better At Night?

Are you someone, or do you know someone who doesn’t enjoy driving once the sun has gone down? You’re not alone. A recent survey from SYLVANIA Automotive found that 62 percent of motorists avoid driving during evening hours. However, for many drivers avoidance is simply not realistic – you still need to get home from work, your children still need to get to and from after-school activities, and plans must go on. So, what to do? In order to increase visibility on the road and make you more comfortable when driving at night, it is essential that high-performance headlights are installed on your vehicle.

The same survey found that while 28 percent of drivers have difficulty seeing hazards and other drivers on the road at night, 34 percent of drivers have never changed out their headlights.

When asked the question:  “Do you want to see better when driving at night?” – The answer should always be yes.  This is a no brainer – we all want to see better when given the option. Improving a vehicle’s headlights can affect the lives of drivers and their overall experience on the road. Better headlights can help improve down road visibility and increase chances of seeing objects sooner in the event of an accident or hazardous road conditions. This is a simple maintenance check that drivers of all ages should prioritize when it comes to overall road safety.

sylvaniainfographic-768x573

Five-star safety

awards_nhtsa-overall-5-star-safety-kia-1920x-jpg

For example, five stars do not always add up to six or more airbags. Some car makers provide only enough (four) airbags to earn the five-star rating.

For complete peace of mind, be sure to check there are two front, two side (usually in the outer cushion of the front seats) and two head-protecting “curtain” airbags that drop down from the roof above the side windows – front and rear.

Some cars have knee-protecting airbags under the steering column and near the glovebox, while others also have rear-seat airbags.

Shopping for a New Vehicle

When shopping for a new vehicle, the world is your oyster. Every vehicle in every automaker’s lineup is available for your perusal. You can purchase a fully loaded minivan for those big family vacations, a sleek new sports coupe for your next mid-life crisis toy or a stripped down compact for your new college graduate. The sky is quite seriously the limit. With hundreds of different models of sedans, sports cars, trucks and SUVs on the market right now, it’s up to you to pick out which type of vehicle suits you best. This isn’t as tricky as it sounds. Once you know what size vehicle you’re looking for, you can do research online to figure out which ones you’d like to test drive. To help you out, here are some things you should consider when narrowing down your list of new cars.

Features
Automakers offer just about every feature imaginable on their newest model year vehicles. Some will make your car more comfortable, others make it more attractive and some will even make it safer. Depending on your price range, some of these features like heated seats and darkness-detecting lights may come standard. In other cases, you’ll have to pay extra for anything above the baseline. Since some of these features are worth more than others, we’ve created a rundown of everything you’ll be able to add to a new car accompanied by our opinion on their values.

Backup Cameras backupcamera
Backup cameras can be incredibly useful gadgets if you find yourself needing to Parallel Park regularly. They can make squeezing into a space easy for even the shakiest parkers. And the technology they use is constantly becoming more advanced. The only downside is that these cameras are usually included as part of a “premium” package on midrange cars, making them a bit pricey for some budgets.

Remote Entry
Remote entry has come a long way in the last couple of years. Every new model comes with a remote key fob these days and you can unlock many of them simply by approaching the car with the key in your pocket. The newest models of the Ford Escape and Mercedes-Benz SUVs offer hands-free access not only to the doors, but also to the back hatch as well. Just wave your foot under the bumper and the door will open on its. If you have to haul a lot of things around, this will definitely be a useful investment.

Inductive Charging
Those power mats that charge your electronic devices just by touching them have finally made their way to vehicles like the new Dodge Dart. Unfortunately, these mats are often more trouble than they’re worth – you have to install an accessory onto every device you wish to charge plus you need to pay the dealership a premium to install the mats in the first place. In our opinion, you should just stick to the good old fashioned outlet chargers that you can buy for about $10.

Heated Seats
Nothing feels better than a warm seat after you’ve just come in from the rain or snow. However, their utility is limited unless you live in area that sees a significant amount of inclement weather. Luckily, most vehicles that offer heated seats include them as a standard feature. If your vehicle requires you to upgrade to heated seats, you may not t be missing much by skipping them.

Make sure your windshield wipers are in good shape

Winter wipers – with the rubber coverings that keep ice from collecting on the blade – winter-windshield-wipershave become very popular. They’re great in the winter, but make sure you take them off in the spring. Winter wipers are heavy, and if you use them all summer, you’ll wear out the wiper motor prematurely.

And when using your wipers in the winter, remember to turn them off BEFORE shutting off the engine. Why? Water frequently freezes overnight during the winter. And if your blades freeze to the windshield, when you go to start your car, the wiper motor may burn out trying to get them back to the “rest position,” while you’re sitting there wondering, “What’s that burning smell?”

Always Have Your Headlights On

According to a recent study, you can reduce your risk of being involved in an accident by up to 32 percent simply by driving with your headlights on at all times. This seems like common sense — obviously something that is lit up is going to be more visible, regardless of the time of day. And as long as other cars are driven by tired, distracted human beings, greater visibility equals less chance of having a hood ornament embedded in your skull. Yet almost nobody  july-3-adjusting-your-headlightsdrives with their lights on during the day (and cars with automatic lights won’t flick on until the sun goes down). Other drivers are simply less likely to pull out in front of you if they can instantly see the glare of your headlights in a quick glance (unless they were planning to cut you off, in which case they are shitheads and the accident was unavoidable).

This also counts for pedestrians and cyclists, who statistically will sometimes miss their own oncoming death unless there are bright lights attached to it. In countries like Canada, Sweden and Finland, all new cars are required to have automatic running lights that stay on at all times, and you can get them on some new car models in the U.S. But the majority of drivers still have dusty old manual headlights, so if you’re one of those people, you’ll just have to dig deep and flick your lights on and off every time you drive (we know, we know — it hardly seems worth all the effort, but trust us, you’ll be much safer).

Do you have an emergency kit?

Although we never suspect it would happen to us, vehicle breakdowns do happen and can really put you in a bind if you’re not prepared. It’s recommended to, at a minimum, keep jumper cables, a quart of motor oil and a small tool kit. It’s also a good idea to keep triangle reflectors or flares in the instance you are stranded in the dark. You never know when something is going to happen to your car, so it’s best to be prepared.

 

41fd05fee35cb4fc25ba2f526c4fe389x

Freeze!

cold-climate-frozen-car

Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is tremendously important to your car, as it keeps the engine from freezing in cold temperatures. Before you head into winter, make sure your car isn’t low on coolant and that there aren’t any leaks in your vehicle’s engine that could cause coolant to drain out. Many mechanics recommend drivers use a 50/50-mix of coolant and water in their radiators, which usually results in a lower engine freezing point than just coolant.