halloween

More Ways To Save Money On Gas

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First of all, check your gas cap! Believe it or not, it’s been estimated that nearly 17% of cars on the road have broken or missing gas caps. What’s the big deal? Escaping fumes not only hurt fuel economy but release smog-causing compounds into the air.

While you’re at it, slow down. For every 5 mph you reduce highway speed, you can reduce fuel consumption by 7%. Avoiding jack-rabbit starts and stops will improve fuel economy as well. Don’t believe it? Lousy driving on the highway can add as much as one-third to your gas bill.

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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.

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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?”

Have You Been in an Accident?

An auto collision can be an emotional and exhausting experience. Many motorists drive defensively, take driver education courses and prepare for stressful driving situations, but unfortunately vehicle collisions still occur.

A driver is responsible for knowing what to do if they are involved in a collision. Even the most prepared and competent drivers sometimes find themselves involved in a crash. It does not matter who is at fault, the most important thing to do first is make sure everyone is OK, then seek medical and law enforcement help and know what to do to protect yourself from legal or financial problems down the road. 455684081-640x426

The best defense to avoid any problems after a crash is to be prepared. Keeping a pen and paper, disposable camera or cell phone camera, and copy of your insurance card easily accessible at all times will help keep you organized and decrease stress moments after a collision.

1. Assist the Injured. Quickly check with those involved in the collision to determine if there are any injuries. If medical attention is needed, call 9-1-1. If medical attention is not needed, make sure you are not in imminent danger at the roadside.

2. Control the Scene. Before taking time to exchange information, get to a safe place.  If there are no injuries and the vehicle is drivable, safely move to the right or left emergency lane.  Some state laws require drivable vehicles to be removed from the roadway to avoid traffic congestion. Turn on your hazard lights and set out warning flares or reflective triangles. Do not leave the scene of the crash, but find a safe place to remain until emergency services arrive.

3. Notify the Police and Submit a Report. The law requires you notify the police. No matter what either party says, call the police and file a report. If the police do not come to the scene to open an investigation, you can file a report by visiting a local police department or automobile insurance agency in the days after a crash. Having a report on file may help later if a liability claim is filed.

4. Document the Scene and Exchange Information. It is important to exchange and gather information with all parties involved in the crash, including witnesses. Having this on file will help complete any future paperwork or address potential problems. We suggests that you document:

  • Names
  • Addresses/email address
  • Vehicle Information including makes, models and years for all cars involved
  • Vehicle identification/license plate numbers
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Insurance carriers and policy numbers
  • Take photos of the location, people involved and damaged vehicles

5. Notify Your Insurance Carrier. Your insurance carrier will need to be notified following a crash to start the proper claim filingMany insurance companies have staff available 24/7 and can assist immediately. Having proof of insurance in your vehicle is required by law and makes filing a claim easier if not at home.

6. Unattended Vehicle or Property. If you are involved in a crash that involves an unattended vehicle or property, take action to inform the owner. If you cannot locate the owner, attach a written notice of the collision to the vehicle or property, being sure to include your contact information and information listed above.

Drivers and owners of motor vehicles must be prepared to assume legal and financial responsibility if involved in a crash, do not to let your emotions and feelings get in the way of deciding who is at fault. Never allow yourself to be pressured into admitting fault or giving an opinion about the cause of a crash. If you wish, you can consult with an attorney before giving a statement.

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).

Holiday Road-Trip Survival Tips

Are you and your family planning to drive to a holiday get-together this year? Whether you’re heading to Grandma’s cottage or a favorite vacation spot to celebrate holidays with family or friends, AAA has simple tips to help make your drive a smooth one, so you can arrive at your destination safely and without incident. 2016-12-01

  •  Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained. If maintenance is not up to date, have your car and tires inspected before you take a long drive.
  • Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads during the most popular times of the year. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.
  • Keep anything of value in the trunk or covered storage area.
  • If you’re traveling with children, remind them not to talk to strangers. Go with them on bathroom breaks and give them whistles to be used only if the family gets separated.
  • Have roadside assistance contact information on hand, in case an incident occurs on the road.
  • In case of an emergency, keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times. AAA and many other companies offer smartphone applications that enable motorists to request help without making a phone call.

With a little prep, you can leave the road-trip stress at home and enjoy your holiday with family and friends.

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.

 

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Get The Most Out Of Your Battery

Is your car battery always dying? While many assume its cold weather that kills batteries, they are actually more adversely affected by heat. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, thus damaging the internal structure of the battery. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your battery as the seasons change from hotter to cooler or if you’ve been driving in a hot part of the country.

To get the most life out of a battery, be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging. Also, keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals, it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow.

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