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Car Care Feed

March 29, 2011

Emergency Car Kit Must Haves

Breakdown-header 

If you’ve never broken down in your car, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. But keep in mind luck has a tendency to run out, usually at the most inopportune times. Winter months and dark country roads seem to be when Lady Luck takes her vacation. Cold weather, road salt and mud, ice and slush can all cause a plethora of surprises, even if you take care of you car. Be prepared.

The first thing you need to understand and accept is that this can happen to you. Don’t allow yourself to fall into that false sense of security that it won’t because you take your car to the shop for all its maintenance check-ups right on schedule. That’s hogwash. Sure, as long as you keep the car on clean roads in mild weather you can be relatively confident you won’t get stuck. But that’s not reality for most Americans. We’re a nation of active people who go places and do things with our cars.

Before we get into the list of what to always keep in your trunk or back of your SUV, here are a few scenarios of what can go wrong that might cause you to get stuck and have to wait for help. First, there are the traditional challenges such as flat tires, engine overheating, running out of gas, or an electric failure. You may be able to fix or prevent some of these things yourself; others will require you to wait for help. All will have you stranded by the roadside for at least an hour.

Next are weather-related problems such as running off the road on slippery roads, an accident, windows too dirty to see through, mud sucked up into your engine, heavy rain, blizzard, tornado; weather that would force you off the road until it passes. Any one of these situations could detain you for hours.

Most of these things are preventable, however, impossible to predict. Think back into your own driving history or that of someone close to you. Has this happened to you or them? [Full Story]

March 22, 2011

Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Car

Spring Cleaning  Car Care

After a long winter, it's important to get your car back in tip-top shape. Here are some car care tips to help you out.

  • A good hand wash of your vehicle is very important in the spring. Take the time to check out the condition of your paint while you're washing and make note of any chips or scratches.

  • If you do find some minor damage to your paint job, buy some touch-up paint as soon as possible. It's important to prevent rust from forming!

  • Spray the salt and dirt out of your wheel wells ( a favorite hiding spot for rust) and repair any rust if necessary.

  • A good waxing is great for your paint job after winter.

  • Check the windshield for stone chips or cracks. It often isn't necessary to replace the entire windshield, just repair the chips.

  • This is also a good time to replace worn out wiper blades

The INTERIOR - Click here for more tips.

March 04, 2011

15 Car Cleaning Tips for Spring

Woman-cleaning-car There's nothing worse than buying a new car, and weeks later, it looks more lived-in than a 100-year-old house. Drive-thru food and drinks, kids with sticky candy, and drooling Fido also do their fair share toward making your car's interior — be it leather, cloth, or carpet — look beaten and worn. By maintaining the appearance of the vehicle inside as well as out, you retain the value of the car, which will help you when it's time to trade it in or sell it. Here are a few helpful hints to help you tackle the spills and spots...[Full Story]

April 02, 2010

7 Things For Your Car

87731288[1] Many drivers believe that a car comes complete with a set of keys and a full tank of gas. It isn't so - and a first encounter with emergency will teach even the best driver how prepared they aren't.

There are a few small things you can carry to make life on the road easier. Most can be had for less than ten dollars, too. If you're going to be on the road every day, these seven items will prove themselves useful in the long haul.

First-aid kit: It's an obvious one, but how many drivers actually carry a first-aid kit? In the critical minutes before emergency care arrives, you could give an accident victim the care they need. Many luxury vehicles come with well-equipped kits, so check before you buy.

Blanket: This one goes hand-in-hand with the first-aid kit. A victim at an accident scene may need to be kept warm to prevent shock. And if you're broken down in unexpected weather, the blanket may keep you warm when your vehicle cannot.

 A well-maintained spare tire and jack can mean the difference between a fifteen-minute inconvenience and an hour-long, $75 ordeal. While other drivers are waiting to be towed to the near tire depot, you can change your own and roll for more than fifty miles to the shop of your choice. Make sure to check the condition of your spare each month or so.

Spare wiper blades: Foul weather can wear down wiper blades more quickly than you think - especially in wintry climates with snowy, salted roads. Keep them on hand and change when the windshield gets bleary. Most blades can be refilled in less than a minute; the replacements are available, usually for less than $5, at local car-parts stores or from your dealer.

Jumper cables: You can always find another driver to give you a jump-start - but can you always find a set of cables? A good set of cables costs less than $20, and offers instructions on how to jump your car if you're not sure. Most major department stores, such as Kmart and Target, stock these in addition to the car-parts stores.

Tire pressure gauge: Your car needs properly inflated tires for better fuel economy, even tire wear, and for ride comfort. How can you keep track of the pressure without one? You can't. A good $10 tire-pressure gauge can be had at any of the car-parts emporiums. Throw it in the glovebox and use it every time you fill up.

Pen and paper: How many times have you wanted to jot down a phone number? Sign a credit-card receipt? A handful of disposable pens in the console or glovebox will make your day go more smoothly - especially if you consider them gifts for strangers.

 For more articles on RTM auto advice and tips, click here.

For more information from Autotrader.com's Lifestyle Center, click here 

March 26, 2010

Driving Habits That Save You Money

Uniroyal Tire is excited to be partnering with the Road & Travel Magazine blog as part of our “More Mileage for Your Money” campaign. Uniroyal’s posts will help you save money on everything from gas to vacations. Enjoy our first post!

 

Have you ever thought about how your driving habits affect your wallet? The way you drive can significantly decrease your gas mileage or cause other costly problems for your vehicle.

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Here are some tips to make sure you are getting “More Mileage for Your Money”:

  • Drive the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour.
  • Don’t be an aggressive driver. Aggressive driving (excessive speeds, accelerating quickly, abrupt stops/braking) can lower gas mileage and wastes fuel.
  • Go easy on the air conditioning. Roll down your car’s windows and let in the summer breeze. Using the gas-hogging air conditioning as sparingly as possible will give your car’s fuel economy a real boost.
  • Clean out your trunk. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones.
  • Park in the first spot you find. If you wander all over the parking lot looking for the closest parking space, you’ll use more gas. Even if you have to walk a little, it’s good exercise.

For more information on Uniroyal Tires, click here.

 

For more articles on RTM auto advice and tips, click here.

March 18, 2010

Tips for Selling a Used Car

Are you ready to be out with the old and in with the new? Here are a few general tips for getting the most out of your used vehicle.

Car Be prepared. Know what you old car is worth, know how much you want to get for it, and stand firm. Before you go in, set a baseline in your mind that you're not willing to break. If the deal isn't right, go somewhere else.

Flatter your car. Give it a good scrubbing inside and out. Spend some time polishing with a good car wax and run through the inside with a vacuum. Stale French fries lodged between the seat cushions might not be a fair indicator of the car's condition - but it's quite a turnoff nonetheless.

Keep the motor clean. Consider hosing off the engine with a degreasing agent.

Perform a general maintenance check. Change the oil and make sure all other fluids are topped off. Make sure the tire pressure is at the level outlined in the owner's manual.

Change the spark plugs. Many buyers request to pull a spark plug to check for deposits of oil, and to assess the condition of the engine. And if they don't ask, pull the new sparkplugs for them.

Get all your paperwork in order. Prepare a folder containing a list of all maintenance records, the owner's manual, registration and title. The more organized you appear, the more confident a potential buyer will be that you've taken good care of the car.

Show it off. If you choose the online route, or even if you decide to pay to run a photo in a printed classified listing, photograph your meticulously cleaned car with a flattering backdrop. Shooting it in an appealing location near a coastline, some mountains or in front of some greenery will look more impressive than standing next to a dumpster.

March 07, 2010

Get your Car Ready for Spring

By Erin Marquis

Maintenance Spring and summer is right around the corner, even if you live in a state that sees warm weather all year round, there are still a few things you can do to keep your car running smooth.

1. Change your Oil: Not just and oil change. In warmer weather your car should use thicker oil, since warm weather will thin it out more than cold weather. Too thin an oil can cause engine damage.

2. Remove snow tires: Snow tires wear out quickly on dry pavement, so it’s a good idea to put a normal set of tires on once the snow melts.

3. Check your windshield wipers: Wipers can dry out and get damaged by salt in the winter months and should be replaced every year or so. Also, switch to a warm weather windshield fluid to make sure you have maximum visibility.

4. Check belts and hoses: Before starting out for that long awaited road trip make sure none of the belts in your engine are worn out. Also check your hoses and make sure they are sealed tightly and not cracked.

5. Check you tire pressure: The warmer months can make tire pressure rise as the air inside gets hot. Make sure your tires aren’t over inflated or under inflated, as that can lead to a blow out.

6.Check for Rust : If your car comes into contact with salt, whether from the road or ocean, you need to check regularly for rust damage.

Click here for more maintenance tips from Road & Travel Magazine.

March 03, 2010

Tips for a Budget Road Trip

When planning a family vacation, how can travelers stretch their budgets and maximize just a few vacation days? The answer for an increasing number of families is: Take a road trip close to home! Roadtrip

Here are some common-sense tips for saving even more while on a camping vacation:

Tune up for the Trip. Vehicles that are well maintained reduce fuel consumption. While you're on the road, conserve fuel by driving at a steady speed, ensuring that tires are properly inflated and reducing the use of your air conditioner.

Kiss the Cook. Plan to cook many of your own meals rather than always dining at restaurants. Not only does this strategy save money, but it also allows children to participate. Use this as an opportunity to come up with some creative campfire recipes that are fun for all.

• Pack the Pet. Most campgrounds welcome four-legged friends and even offer designated "dog walk" areas. Pets are part of the family, and bringing them along saves on boarding costs. Keep your pet's safety in mind while on the road, and be sure not to leave pets unattended or inside hot vehicles.

• Take a Hike. Rather than pay for costly entertainment, stop at a state park or national monument. Ask the experts to recommend a day hike that matches your interests and fitness level. Get your entertainment and your exercise!

• Rent an RV. This is an excellent suggestion for those who don't own RVs but may enjoy this method of travel. Many of North America's resort areas are accessible by RV and can be enjoyed at a lesser per-night cost.

Click here for more advice and tips from Road & Travel Magazine.

December 14, 2009

How To Prepare Your Car For Winter Weather!

By Liz Kaadou

Carinsnow It's about that time of year when most of the world tranforms itself into a white and whimsical winter wonderland. Soft snowflakes fall from the sky and cling to everything from bare tree branches to rock-solid roads, and this can make for a pretty slick and slippery situation. Whether you drive a hefty SUV or smaller sedan, it is extremely important to make sure your vehicle is prepared for the worst of winter's wrath.

1) Replace your windshield washer fluid with a wintertime mixture to ensure crystal clear driving visibility

2) During cold weather always keep your gas tank at least halfway full to avoid ice buildup in the tank and fuel lines

2) Have your brakes checked!

3) Replace any worn tires or windshield wipers

4) Check the antifreeze levels in your car

5) Always keep extra blankets, water, snack foods, a cell phone charger, a shovel, a battery-powered radio, a windshield scraper, tire chains, jumper cables and a first aid kit in your car for emergency weather situations

6) Keep a compass and roadmaps in your glove compartment

7) Be prepared for any driving disaster by investing in the ultimate emergency survivial kit

For more auto safety advice from Road & Travel Magazine, visit our Safety & Security section.

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November 16, 2009

Proactively Prepare For That Dreaded Flat Tire

By Liz Kaadou

Flattire You are driving down a winding three-lane highway, hands gripped tightly to your leather-clad steering wheel, the sun is shining through your crystal clear windows, and a light breeze is wispily blowing through your hair. Sounds like the perfect way to start off your morning…until with no warning at all, you feel a sudden pop and your car seems completely off balance.  The dreaded flat tire has veered itself directly into your once tranquil driving path.  This could be cause for immediate concern and panic, especially if you are woman. But before you find yourself stranded on the side of the freeway with nothing in your trunk but a box of Kleenex and some mouth-watering mints, you may want to follow these practical steps to make sure you are always proactively prepared.

 

1) Make sure you always have a spare tire that is adequately filled with air.

 

2) Buy yourself a drill that can be plugged into your car lighter.  Make sure and also buy a tip for the drill that will fit the lug nuts on your car.  This way, you will be prepared in the event that the lug nuts are too tight for you to loosen.

 

3) Keep a ramp in your car so you will be able to lift the tire into the air during your tire changing extravaganza.  You can purchase a small ramp at any auto supply store.

 

4) Stash a pair of work gloves and and a set of disposable paper coveralls in your trunk.

 

5) Keep a small jack and tire iron in your trunk.

 

For more auto safety advice from Road & Travel Magazine, visit our Safety & Security section.

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