You can never have too many car care tips, right?
You can never have too many car care tips, right?
Forget the number of models available, the number of body styles alone can be overwhelming: coupes, sedans, station wagons, crossovers, SUVs. How do you decide what you need?
Coupe/Convertible: If you want a car that makes a statement about you, coupes and convertibles are typically the most expressive designs, but restricted access to the back seat (if the car you are considering even has one) seriously limits their practicality.
Sedan: If there are kids in the picture or in the near-future plan, four doors are a likely requirement. Even if children are small enough to ride comfortably in the back seat of a coupe with any regularity, consider the difficulty of constantly climbing into and out of the back seat to tend to a child before committing to just two doors.
Hatchback: If you add another door—bringing the total to five—you’re looking at hatchbacks and station wagons, which offer SUV-like space without the dynamic and fuel-economy compromises of heavier vehicles. As manufacturers get increasingly creative and design ever more stylish hatchbacks—their roofs are sleeker than wagons’—the market is warming to the segment.
SUV/Crossover: Jack up the ground clearance of a hatchback or station wagon, and you have a crossover or an SUV. Do you need that ground clearance? Probably not. When was the last time your road didn’t get regularly plowed or cleared? Sure, it happens—most often to those in the northern part of the country, and that’s a few times a winter—but the fuel-economy penalty of opting for a taller and heavier vehicle is something that affects you every time you start the car.
Those who tow regularly already know they need something with that capability. But if you need a truck only to tow a few times a year, perhaps renting in those instances is a better alternative to living year round with the fuel-economy penalties of a truck.
Minivan: Those with large families—or dreams of such—often resist the practicality of the van, but if you routinely haul five or more people, there is no vehicle short of a school bus that will better accommodate six, seven, or eight passengers. A jumbo SUV like a Chevrolet Suburban or Ford Expedition EL has more cargo space, but passengers will find greater comfort in a minivan.
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I drive slower these days. While I used to be a bit of a driving maniac (ask my wife), passing everybody and stepping hard on my accelerator, I would also get increasingly frustrated when people would drive slow and keep me from driving fast, or cut me off. Driving was a stressful experience.
Not anymore. These days, driving is a much more calm, serene experience, and I enjoy it much more.
I look around at other drivers and wonder whether they really need to get to where they’re going so fast, and whether they’ll slow down when they get there. I wonder if it’s really worth burning all that gas and getting so angry and risking so many lives. And then I think about other things, because driving for me has become a time of contemplation.
I heartily recommend driving slower — for many reasons, but one of the best reasons is that it has made me a much happier person. It’s such a simple step to take, but it makes an incredibly big difference.
Recently a reader named Vadim wrote to me with the following comment on speeding:
I have recently acquired a TomTom GPS in car navigator. Amongst its many astonishing features, it has a display on it that shows you your estimated arrival time for the route you are traveling … Now here is the kicker; I used to routinely travel at 130% of the speed limit everywhere … I thought that I was keeping myself alert and saving time. My TomTom, however, disagreed. In fact anywhere I traveled (and I routinely drive more than 100 miles) I would only shave off 5-10 minutes of the estimated arrival time! 5-10minuts of time that is then wasted because I wasn’t late to start off with!
Since then, I adopted a new way of driving, I never speed.
I love this comment, and it inspired me to write this post. People often think they’re saving time by driving faster, but it’s not very much time, and it’s not worth your sanity or safety.
Here are just 5 reasons to drive slower:
OK, assuming that you want to drive slower, here are some of the tips that worked best for me:
Kermit once said that “it’s not easy being green,” but when it comes to your car, the opposite is true.
When it comes to winter car care, many motorists think of antifreeze and batteries, but vehicles need extra attention in winter, especially when a bomb cyclone hits and temperatures drop.
“Most people never heard of ‘bombogenesis” until heavy snow and dangerous cold recently hit many areas of the country, including several states that usually don’t experience this type of severe weather,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Making sure your vehicle is properly prepared for the elements will help you avoid the aggravation of an unplanned road emergency.”
The non-profit Car Care Council offers six quick tips to help your vehicle perform at its best during cold weather months.
Drivers should stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, extra clothes, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication. The Car Care Council also recommends a thorough vehicle inspection by a trusted professional service technician as winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
2016 Nissan Juke SV White Pearl 1.6L I4 DOHC 16V 32/28 Highway/City MPG
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Is improving your fuel efficiency one of your new year’s resolutions? We can help with that.
1. Drive Less
Between the rising cost of gas and the slumping economy, there are a number of reasons why people are driving less today. It’s not so hard to do either. Combine your errands into one trip to avoid repeat drives into town. Consider walking instead of driving for nearby pick-ups, or drag out that bicycle that’s gathering dust in the garage or shed.
2. Warm Up Your Car for Shorter Lengths of Time
If you wake up to a cold morning, don’t warm up the car for longer than 30 seconds (up to one minute if you must). If you idle the engine for more than a minute, you waste fuel and pump nasty greenhouse gas emissions into the air. Engines of modern cars do not require the extensive length of time that older models needed to warm up.
3. Buy Gas Early or Late in the Day
Purchase gas early or late in the day, especially during warm months. Gas is cooler earlier in the day, and more dense. As temperatures rise, gas density falls and you get less of it when you pump.
Also, buy gas early in the week. Prices typically rise between Wednesday and Saturday, but stay lower during the early days of the week.
4. Slow Down and Drive Steady
Driving fast may be fun, but it also increases drag, which increases fuel consumption. Driving just below the speed limit and driving smoothly (not accelerating quickly) uses gas more efficiently, so you may have to fill up a lot less often.
5. Monitor When and How You Brake
Braking excessively wastes gas and causes your brake pads to wear out quickly. Maintain a safe distance between yourself and the car in front of you when you’re in heavy traffic – that way, you won’t need to brake as often as if you were tailgating.
Also, by keeping a bit more distance between you and the car ahead, you can begin braking earlier, especially when approaching a traffic light. By not having to slam on the brakes at the last minute, you’ll improve the efficiency of your car and save gas.