Due to the excessive number of travelers driving during the holiday season, it is important to remember the following to avoid any possible trouble on the road.
• Plan ahead – Plan time preceding your trip to assure your car is tuned up and ready for travel. Plan the route you will take, and leave early to ensure you get to your destination safely.
• Check your oil – Depending on how far you are traveling, it may be necessary to get your oil changed.
• Check your tires – Check the tread, and ensure there is sufficient tire pressure. This helps improve handling and increases your tires’ resistance to damage.
• Buckle up – Passengers have a lower tendency to wear their seatbelts during long road trips. Unfortunately, holidays are one of the most vital times to be buckled up due to the increased amount of cars on the road.
• Stay alert – Pull over and rest or switch drivers every so often. It is imperative to stay refreshed while driving during such a busy time of the year. Plan to make stops along the way.
• Slow down – Speeding can result in a ticket, a car accident, or worse. Slowing down also increases fuel efficiency.
• Avoid distractions – Do not use your cell phone or GPS while driving.
• Bring a safety kit – Include a flashlight, food and drinks, jumper cables, a first aid kit, an ice scraper, and anything else you feel you may need in the case of an emergency.
• Don’t over-indulge – If there will be drinking at your holiday celebration, designate a driver.
The holidays are all about family and friends. By taking a few extra steps when planning your trip, you can prevent any problems regarding travel and enjoy the festivities.
Back to school can be a time of big decisions for parents and students. One of the most difficult is whether or not to take a car away to college. Consider the following when making this decision:
• Responsible use – Has your child done his or her part in taking care of their vehicle so far? Have they driven safely and not had a problem with speeding tickets or accidents? Keep in mind the atmosphere of college inevitably means less supervision and more opportunities for poor decisions, so trust is a major factor.
• School policy – Colleges have varying policies on cars for students. Many universities don’t allow first-year students to bring cars to campus. If your student’s school does allow vehicles, the next thing to look into is parking. Will there be a nearby lot or deck they can park in, or will they have to park further away? If the parking area safe?
• Convenience to family – Does it make sense to the rest of the family that your student’s car be gone for semesters at a time? There could be younger siblings near or of driving age that may need the car.
• Jobs or internships – If your student has a part-time job or internship this fall, especially off-campus, then it is important they have a reliable means of transportation.
• Cost – Does your child have a way to pay for gas, parking permits, etc., or will you be covering that? Come up with a plan, such as you paying a certain percentage if your student maintains a certain GPA.
• Rules – Should you make the decision your student will take their car, establish some ground rules. Classmates will surely ask to borrow or drive the car at some point.
• Alternatives – Should you decide your student won’t take their car, there are several alternatives to having a car on campus to consider.
Wash winter’s grit & road salt away and enjoy the Spring weather in your clean ride!
[one_fourth_last]Spring cleaning checklist
• Undercarriage flush With the onset of spring, all car owners should have their car’s undercarriage flushed.
• De-grunge To remove grunge you need to wash your car with a strong detergent; most car wash solutions do not have the strength to cut through the dirt. Try a solution of 1 ounce of dish-washing detergent to 3 gallons of cool water to wash your car.
• Clean and seal If your car’s paint feels rough, you need a cleaner. If your paint has scuffs and scratches, you need a heavier polish.
• Treat If your car has a leather or vinyl interior, it needs to be treated before the onset of summer’s heat.
• Dashboard Shine the dashboard with a clean fabric softener sheet. The antistatic elements will help repel dust from the dashboard.
• Chrome & Windows To clean chrome & glass, sprinkle Baking Soda on a damp rag, scrub, & rinse clean.
• Hubcaps To clean dirt & grime from hubcaps, spray with Scrubbing Bubbles cleaner. Let sit for 15 seconds and rinse clean.
Battery– Have your battery checked along with the charging system. Most people feel that the cold is tough on a vehicle’s battery, but it is heat that truly wears a battery out!
Tires– Have your tires checked for wear and have them rotated if needed. Teen-agers really do not enjoy changing tires while on vacation. Swimming and boating is a lot more desirable to them then this activity.
Cooling system– Ensure that your coolant can handle the extra heat you will be asking it to absorb and make sure it is still protecting all the different metals in your engine. Have the belts and hoses checked as well. The number one reason for vehicle break down while on the road is a blown heater hose.
Fluids– Make sure that all critical fluids are full and ready to make the long trip with no problems along the way! This list includes engine oil, transmission fluid, brake and power steering fluid, and also differential fluid. Change any of these fluids that are at the end of their useful life.
A/C– No time is the air conditioning system needed more then during a long road trip with the family all on board the vehicle. Cooler inside temperatures usually mean cooler tempers and a lot more enjoyable road trip. The A/C system should be checked for proper performance including compressor operation along with the cooling fans. You need to ensure that vehicle will be properly cooled when the outside heat is 90 plus degrees. Most newer vehicles are now equipped with a cabin filter and this needs checked yearly especially if anyone in the family suffers from allergies. Lastly, the A/C system should be checked for any small leaks so that the A/C does not quit half-way through your fun filled vacation trip.
Click here to get more summer tips specifically for your vehicle.
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No doubt at some point in time you may have heard the ongoing debate about which type of motor oil is best for your motor vehicle. The particular motor oils in question are conventional motor oil and synthetic motor oil. As an owner, or potential owner of a motor vehicle, naturally the topic will interest you. This is because you may have good reason to rethink your current choice in the case of current users, while potential users will know how to proceed. We will briefly explore the subject in an effort to assist with the decision making process.
Functions of Motor Oil
Although the primary function of motor oils is to lubricate all the moving parts of the engine, it carries out a few other functions as well. Motor oils serve to keep the engine cool and provides protection against wear by reducing friction. It also prevents corrosion and keeps the engine free from small pieces of debris.
Conventional Motor Oil
Conventional motor oil has its origins in crude oil, which is pumped from the ground and is processed. A base oil is produced to which additives are added. This changes the properties of the liquid giving it protection properties, improved heat breakdown levels, and viscosity.
Synthetic Motor Oil
Unlike conventional motor oil the base oil of synthetic motor oil comprises artificial or synthesized components, thus its name. Like conventional motor oil however, additives are added to give it properties similar to those of conventional motor oil.
Differences Between Conventional and Synthetic Motor Oil
Although they both carry out the same functions both oils have significant differences in addition to having their pros and cons. Conventional motor oil contains minute amounts of wax, sulfur, and asphaltic material, which are by-products of its manufacturing process. Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, because it is chemically produced, has none of these contaminants. Another difference between the two is that synthetic motor oils will flow at much lower temperatures making it preferable in harsh winter conditions. At these same low temperatures conventional motor oil would freeze. Being more consistent in size and shape, the molecules of synthetic motor oils better withstand extreme temperatures; hence it will take longer to break down under extreme heat than conventional motor oils. Synthetic motor oils have very low viscosity ratings and in some cases have been known to flow up to seven times faster than conventional motor oils. This comes in handy at engine start up time, as that is when the most engine wear is likely to occur.
Making Your Choice
In deciding on which motor oil you will be using there are other factors besides those already mentioned, which will have to be taken into account. One of these is the type of car that will be using the motor oil. A high performance racecar owner will obviously choose the synthetic motor oil, as that is the oil they were specifically made to use. Newer cars with smaller clearances will also lean towards synthetic motor oils. The cost of the motor oil will play a significant role in the decision on which oil to use too, as the cost of synthetic motor oil can be as much as four times that of conventional motor oil. If someone changes their car yearly they may say why bother towaste extra money on synthetic oil. The car’s age could also play a part as waxes and sludge build-up by conventional motor oil could mask worn engine seals. These could come to light with the introduction of synthetic motor oils, which tends to break down and clean away those build-ups, thus possibly causing leaks and creating problems.
For all of your oil change needs be sure to visit Car-X.com The debate is by no means over and the points here by no means exhaustive, but it is hoped that they will at least point you in the right direction when the time comes for you to buy motor oils
It is likely at some point in your life you will get a flat tire. Do you know what to do without having to ask for help?
• It is important to find a flat, level surface on which to change the tire. This will prevent the car from rolling.
• Your vehicle should be in “Park” and should have the parking brake on.
• Place heavy objects in front of both sets of tires.
• Getting out the jack and spare tire, place the jack under the frame of the car, near the tire you will be changing.
• If your car has plastic along the bottom, as most cars do, make sure the jack is in the correct spot based on your owner’s manual. If it is not in the correct spot, it could crack the plastic.
• Raise the jack to a point where it is supporting, not lifting, the car, ensuring it is firmly in place under the vehicle. It should be at a 90 degree angle to the ground.
• To remove the tire, you first need to take off the hubcap and loosen the nuts with a wrench, turning them counterclockwise. They do not need to be taken off completely, just loosened.
• Depending on the jack, pump or crank the jack to lift the tire up off the ground. While doing this, make sure that the car feels stable and the jack is lifting straight up and not at an angle.
• At this point, remove the nuts entirely. Remove the tire, keeping in mind that it may be stuck because of rust buildup. Hitting the tire with any sort of object (such as the spare tire), should loosen it.
• Aligning the rim of the spare tire with the bolts of the wheel, place the new spare tire on and put the nuts on.
• Tighten the nuts first by hand and then with the wrench once they get tighter.
• Lower the jack, but do not yet put the full weight on the tire. Tighten the nuts as much as possible, then lower the car completely to the ground and remove the jack.
• Ensure the nuts are tightened all the way and replace the hubcap.
• If the tire is not destroyed, take it into a mechanic. Tires with smaller holes can typically be repaired for under $20.
• Always refer to your owner’s manual if there are any questions about where things go.
As drivers, there comes that inevitable time in which we are faced with a dilemma: Repair our current car or purchase a new one?
It is at this point in history, coming out of a recession, when we are starting to see more and more used cars on the road. These drivers have the right idea; all evidence points toward going with a used car, repairing and maintaining it as you go along. The Car Care Council (CCC) and Engine Repower Council (ERC) both highly recommend repairing over buying new.
There is a general rule of thumb stating it is better to fix/repair your current car if it is less than ten years old, or has less than 150,000 miles on it.
Why? New cars can be very expensive, while older cars are mostly or fully paid off. An argument against sticking with one’s old car is that repairs are expensive. But the fact is even pricier repairs come out to be about the amount of a year’s worth of payments on a new car. Plus, the cost of auto repair has significantly decreased over the past several years, and some shops even offer financing options. Finally, let’s not forget one of the most attractive reasons to choose a used car over a new car: cheaper car insurance.
Some people’s current car is in dire need of replacement. If this sounds like you and your car is in bad shape, it is best to replace it with a newer, but used car. There are several reasons to go this route. Even routine maintenance costs are much higher for new cars as opposed to older cars. Another thing to keep in mind is that today, automobiles are designed to last much longer than in the past, on average 200,000 miles. This means that even if you are purchasing a newer used car, even though it is used you will still get great usage for thousands of miles. Finally, when purchasing a newer used car, it is best to get needed financing through your bank, not the car dealership, because you will incur lower interest rates.
Having a well-maintained used car and a little extra money in your pocket is a great feeling, and a choice that will continue to grow in popularity.
Teenagers are dangerous enough when they’re on solid ground. Imagine what kind of havoc they can wreak at 45 mph! To calm your (and their) nerves, follow these tips on how to prepare your teen for his summer driving.
The freedom of the open road is exciting, but sometimes it can lead to reckless driving, especially among teens. Vehicle accidents are unfortunately the number one cause of death among teenagers. With this in mind, it is important to learn how you can prepare your teenager and his or her vehicle for a safe summer.
Make sure the driver and all passengers wear seatbelts. In most states, law requires seat belt usage because of its effectiveness.
Check the status of the car battery. If it is an older car, it might require a battery repair or an entirely new one. It is also a good idea to supply your teenager with a set of batter cables and proper instruction on how to jump-start a car.
While it may sound insignificant, the quality of the vehicle’s windshield wipers is crucial to safe driving. Ask anyone who has dealt with faulty wipers during a storm- or even a sprinkle. Having a blurred vision is a hazard to the driver’s safety, as well as to others on the road.
Make sure your teen is aware of the dangers that come from texting while driving. While he or she may feel invincible, the reality is that driving is a privilege that requires full attention. Losing focus can result in a horrible, even fatal, accident. Even talking on the phone can often be a major distraction, and in some states it is illegal for minors to do so behind the wheel. If you are concerned with not being able to communicate to your teen while he is in transit, consider setting this rule: if someone calls once, let it go to voicemail. If someone calls twice in a row, code for “important,” find a place to pull the vehicle over and return the call.
Whether it’s a drive across town to his summer job or a road trip across the state to visit friends, your teen’s experience behind the wheel should be taken seriously, and with absolute caution. A confident driver is a steadier driver, so give him the freedom he desires and the rules he needs to have a fun, safe summer.
We continue to see staggering statistics about texting while driving. A new study conducted by Consumer Reports found eight in ten young drivers admit to talking or texting on their phone while driving. Furthermore, 5,000 people die each year from distracted driving in the United States alone. Studies show texting while driving can impair a driver similarly to being legally intoxicated.
The Consumer Reports study found that forty-eight percent of the young drivers surveyed said they had seen a parent talking on a cell phone while driving and 15 percent said they had seen a parent texting on a cell phone while driving within the last month.
The survey also found that parental and peer pressure can have a genuine influence on such behavior, such as peer passengers asking the driver to delay using a cell phone until they’re done driving. The takeaway from this study is that parents have a greater role than they realize in setting an example for their children’s driving behavior. Additionally, we can all do our part as a passenger to politely ask the driver to hold off on texting or calling while behind the wheel.
At Car-X we recognize the serious danger that comes from texting while driving, which is why Car-X of Champaign teamed up with No Text Illinois. The new program is meant to get all Illinois drivers to pledge never to text while driving. Help us put the brakes on texting and driving. Take the pledge here.