Summer may still be a few months away, but it is time to start thinking about getting your vehicle ready for the warmer months. The first step is to remove snow tires. While snow tires work great in the winter, they’re not much good in the summer months when there’s no snow on the ground. Plus, you’ll wear them out much faster by using them on dry pavement.
Next, check the tire pressure on the tires. Tire pressure is important at all times. It’s critical to have properly inflated tires, as this assures the best possible contact between the tire and the road. roperly inflated tires will also last longer and improve gas mileage.
Get an oil change. Engine oils are sold with different levels of viscosity, and many of them are also multi-viscous, which means the oil’s thickness can change depending on its temperature. Generally speaking, the warmer the oil is, the thinner it will be. If the oil is too thin, the engine might not get the proper lubrication. Determining what type of oil your car should have during the summer is easy. Simply read your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
Inspect the wipers and wiper fluid, spring can be a rainy time of year. The life expectancy of a wiper blade is one year. If your car’s blades are dried out and not making full contact with the windshield, replace them. Also check and fill your wiper fluid reservoir.
Posted by on Mar 1 2011 in Driving Tips
There’s been a lot of press lately about new, extremely fuel-efficient vehicles. But no matter how great your vehicle is at conserving fuel, you probably would like to save even more at the pump.
- Fill up on weekdays – Prices usually rise on the weekend so try filling up on a Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning.
- Track your mileage – Have your car checked if the average miles you get per gallon continues to decrease over time.
- Look for discount gas cards – Many gas companies have rebate programs that offer as much as 5 to 10 percent off the gas you buy.
- Avoid running on empty – When your car is on empty you’re actually using more gas because your vehicle is running less efficiently. Fill your gas tank when you have half a tank or a little less.
- Less is more – For every 100 pounds of weight you carry in your car, fuel economy decreases by one to two percent. Additionally, put heavy items in the trunk instead of on a roof rack, which creates drag and eats up gas.
- Avoid idling – Shut off the engine if you have to sit in your car for more than one minute.
- Check your tire pressure – Under-inflated tires require more energy to roll. More energy means more gas. When it’s time, consider replacing worn tires with low-rolling resistance tires.
- Slow down – Driving at posted speed limits saves fuel. Use cruise control to maintain your speed.
- Avoid gas stations near freeways – Research shows that prices are often higher there.
- Avoid topping off – When you top off your tank, the pump doesn’t have enough time to really activate, resulting in short bursts of fuel that may short change you from the amount of gas that you are purchasing.
- Maintain your car - Change your oil, spark plugs, and air filter on schedule.
- Tighten the gas cap – Tightening the gas cap on your car will prevent gas from evaporating and escaping into the air.
- Combine trips – Several short trips taken from a “cold start” can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
- Choose your route wisely – Take the route with the flattest terrain and fewest stops. Try to avoid traffic jams and stop-and-go traffic.
- Avoid sudden stops and starts – Erratic acceleration and braking can waste up to 50 cents a gallon.
Posted by on Feb 11 2011 in Driving Tips
We all know it gets pretty hectic around the holidays and you’ve got a lot of things on your mind and a lot of things to get done. But now is exactly the right time to refocus on your driving and avoid an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver.
So, what can you do to avoid being a distracted driver? Here are a few tips to avoid the three main types of distracted driving – visual, manual and cognitive:
Avoid using a cell phone while driving unless you have Bluetooth which enables you to talk hands free.
Don’t eat or drink while driving.
Be careful when engaging in conversations with passengers. Don’t let the focus become what you are saying and not what you are doing – driving.
Actions like combing your hair, putting on makeup or checking to see if you have that bit of spinach still stuck in your teeth are best left for when you are in park.
Finally, if you listen to the audio system, take advantage of the steering wheel mounted controls. If you don’t have any, then try not to lean over during driving to change the station or song.
While we’re all guilty of sometimes being a distracted driver, reminding ourselves of driving best practices can help us avoid an accident.
Posted by on Dec 31 2010 in Driving Tips
Any pregnant women wants to do what is best for her unborn baby. But car travel while pregnant definitely has some misconceptions. The most common: that seatbelts and airbags pose big risks and you are better off without them. Studies do show that while seatbelts and airbags can pose risks to a fetus, it’s almost always because the seatbelt wasn’t worn at all, was worn incorrectly or the pregnant driver was positioned too close to the airbag. After all, the leading cause of death to fetuses is the death of pregnant women in crashes. That said it makes since that the primary way to protect the fetus is to protect the driver
To reduce the risk to their unborn child, pregnant women need to drive carefully, of course. But because you can’t avoid all crashes, it’s important to wear the safety belt correctly — with the lap belt under, not across your belly and the shoulder belt between your breasts. Pregnant women who aren’t wearing safety belts and sit so their abdomens are right up against the airbag when it deploys are putting their babies at the most risk. Studies show that using seatbelts properly nearly eliminates the increased risk from airbags in car crashes.
Some other key tips are to move the front seat as far back as possible. Make sure your breastbone is at least 10 inches from the steering wheel. Move the seat back as your abdomen grows to keep as much distance as possible between the steering wheel and the airbag while still operating your vehicle safely. And keep the lap belt below your belly and the shoulder belt between your breasts.
Automakers are starting to pay attention to women’s needs. Since the 1998 model year, cars with upper seatbelts that come out of the B-pillar are also required to have adjustable anchors. This helps everyone to keep belts from cutting into their necks or riding across their breasts. Adjustable steering wheels, particularly ones that telescope in and out, can be especially helpful for drivers of varying stages of pregnancy. Even lower-end models often have manual devices that can help you point the center of the steering wheel away from the belly and toward the chest. Adjustable pedals, now available in many Fords and other models, can help shorter pregnant women drive more easily without sitting too close to the airbag. At least one company has developed a crash test dummy that simulates a pregnant woman that some automakers use to gather research that until recently has not been directed specifically to pregnant women. Furthermore, more education is needed so pregnant women know the keys to seatbelt safety.
Posted by on Mar 23 2010 in Driving Tips