Friday, September 23, 2016

What to do when there's an animal in the road...



So there's an animal in the road, while driving, and your first instinct is to swerve out of the way…But that could lead to serious repercussions.


While most of us do not want to hit the animal, swerving out of the way could damage you, your car, your surroundings or other people. As bad as it may sound, it's better to hit the smaller animal than swerve around it.


Swerving/Stopping


If it happens that you aren't near any other drivers or close surroundings and are driving at a slower speed, maybe you can swerve slightly to avoid the animal. But if there is a ditch or the roadway is busy, then it's best not to.


If you decide to swerve, try to slow down a bit before gently turning the wheel towards where the animal came from, since they usually keep going in their path. Make sure there is no one behind you too.  If you brake hard and jerk the wheel, you could do some serious damage and quite possibly still hit the animal, since they get very panicy in he road.


If you are able to stop the car, don't brake hard and make sure no one is behind you. Also, make sure you are not on a highway or other major roadway. You stopping to avoid an animal, could be an accident and/or death.


There have been numerous reports on the news about people who swerve out of the road, for likely an animal, that end up dead in a ditch; don't be that statistic.


Larger animal

Now for larger animals, you should probably swerve out of the way, but be mindful if you swerve and jerk the car, it could roll. A large deer, livestock or animals of that size can do major damage to you, your car and possible surroundings. They could go through the windshield and thrash around due to a panic state. I know we have all heard that a deer could kick someone to death in a car accident, so try to avoid that. If you do find yourself in an unavoidable collision with  a large animal, duck down and lower your seat, if possible, to avoid trauma to head and body from the animal.

So, the same goes with swerving for small animals: brake slowly and gently turn the wheel. If possible, stop the vehicle and wait for the animal to continue on it's way before proceeding.




If you hit someone's pet

If you accidently hit someone's pet, stop and get out of the car if it's safe, then see if the pet is okay, at a safe distance. A lot of pets will get erratic and dangerous if they are injured. If you are close enough to see their tags or know who it belongs to, make an effort to contact the owner as soon as possible. If you can' get a hold of the owner, for any reason, call the police and let them know the situation and description of the animal; it may be registered.


If you are not able to stop the car and/or get out to check on the pet, call the police and let them know what happened and as much of a description as possible.


Some people offer to pay for the medical bills as a nice gesture, but it is not required. However, sometimes these accidents can end up in court.





If you car gets damaged

Call your insurance company if the damage seems bad, but if it's just a headlight, you can just go to an auto body shop (like MEDFORD AUTO BODY) and get an estimate. If the damage is more than you thought, you can call your insurance company afterward. Just be prompt with getting the estimate and calling the insurance company.



Insurance companies will always look for animal fur and other body parts all along the side of the car, in the grills, on the headlights and possibly under the hood. Basically anywhere you have damage.





If you do get into an accident


Regain control if your car as soon as possible and pull over, then check to see if the roadway is clear. If it's clear, assess the damage to see if you are able to drive again, then see if the animal or other people or cars involved are around. If it is, don't go near the animal and see if everyone is okay. If necessary, call an ambulance, then the police to notify them of the accident and if the animal is in the road. Then follow THESE PROCEDURES  to follow through with the accident.




What to do with a dead or injured animal

If the animal is injured, some people take it upon themselves to nurse the animal back to health or take it to some sort of shelter or hospital.  If you cannot or do not want to, you can either leave it alone or call the police if it's a large animal blocking the roadway.




  • Nowadays the roads are becoming more and more overpopulated with the growing housing and commercial properties.

  • If you notice an area that is popular with animal crossings, drive a bit slower than usual.

  • Use your high beams at night on unpopulated areas to have a visual on any stray animals on the road.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Tailgating and it's dangers!

I know everyone has had a run in with a tailgater... Maybe you were going too slow, or in the wrong lane or just the wrong place at the wrong time. Either way, we all know it's pretty frustrating. Here are some tips to deal with them and how to avoid being one.





Tailgating: When someone drives too closely behind another vehicle.







It’s a territorial thing, as humans, we become very concerned about our space. Plus people are running late and think that it may get them there faster. There are a bunch of reasons why people do it, but it's wrong and dangerous no matter what.


Tailgating also makes people very nervous, frustrated, possibly threatened and maybe erratic. This can lead to someone getting nervous about being tailgated and get into another lane without first checking if it's clear. It’s always a serious safety concern, mainly for people with children, animals and elderly. 


You also never know what type of person you may be tailgating or tailgated by: They could be crazy, have a weapon, follow you home...etc. It’s happened before, in the news. People are tailgating, eventually get followed home and shot and killed.




On a road with multiple lanes:


If you feel the need to pull over to let the tailgater pass and take a moment, make sure it’s a safe area with plenty of space for your car. Don’t forget the hazards! Always use your turn signal!

You may be able to avoid a tailgater on the highway if you stay to the right. Generally the left lane is for faster, passing cars. If you are passing a car, get back to the right lane quickly to avoid any problems. And in the same boat, if you are trying to pass someone in the left lane and there is a slow person there, do not tilgate them until they move. It may be wise to get to another lane, if possible, or give them a quick flash of your headlights; they may not know they are in your way or causing any trouble.


People are tailgating cars in the “slow” lane, have no reason. They know they are going slower, thus the lane choice. So you can go around them or slow down with them.

Also, beware of people in the “fast” lane who may be driving slower-near exits.




Dangers:

  • It’s always wise to think about, while tailgating or being tailgated, that it can cause some serious damage to your car as well as others. It may not be worth it to mess with or be a tailgater.


  • While being tailgated, your focus may be shifted from the road and everything around it, to just the rear view mirror. This allows room for error and possible danger.


  • Be aware, that while teaching new drivers, you could give off some of your bad habits.



On a road without multiple lanes, with a tailgater-slow down:

  • Let them pass you. 
  • Make sure you are traveling at the correct speed limit.
  • Slow drivers can be just as hazardous as fast ones. 
  • Do not try to go faster when they are passing you; this usually only causes road rage and can cause an accident.
  • Don't feel like you have to drive faster than your comfort zone (and the speed limit) just to appease the tailgater behind you.





About brake checks:

This may seem like the obvious first thing to do when you notice a tailgater, but it can lead to some serious damage. The driver may not be paying attention when you break check them, then react with panic when they see your brake lights, this could leave to swerving and/or an accident.
They could also ignore your brake lights and slam into the back of your car if you needed to brake for real.



How do you know if you’re too close? 

Use the rules driving school gave you: Keep a car’s length in between yourself and the other car for every ten miles per hour you are driving.
Or you can use the 3 second rule- When the car in front of you drives passed some sort of road marker, it should take your car 3 seconds to reach it. Sometimes it may seem easy to just tailgate the person in front of you and i’m sure a lot of us are guilty of it, but don’t risk it. You should use more if the roads are wet or snowy.

With motorcycles and bikers on the road, it’s better to leave even more space between yourself and them.


Friday, September 9, 2016

Back to school car maintenance!

Back to School Car Maintenance


There is so much to get ready for when your kids are going back to school, but did you think about what you should be getting ready for your car or your new college bound kid’s car? Let Medford Auto Body help you out! 




First, start with the battery, by testing the battery, learning how to jump it and replacing it:


Cleaning the battery: This task will take about 20 minutes and require a few small tools (wrenches, a wire brush, some rags and corrosion removal fluid). Make sure the car is off and not hot. After disconnecting the battery, your radio may need to be reset with a dealers code. The manual will tell you. 


Keeping the car battery clean is essential for a smooth running car that starts every time. The cleaning can be checked/done every few months. If your battery has a white residue on it and the battery posts here's what to do:

First, open the hood and secure with the hood prop. then remove the battery terminals, they are the on the positive and negative cables connecting your battery to your car. They may stick, but you can lightly pry them off with a flat head screw driver. Now you can clean the battery posts. You can purchase a cleaner from an auto store or mix up some baking soda and water. Put the cleaner on the posts and scrub with your brush until free of residue. Rinse with water, dry them and put the battery back together.

Jumping your battery: You can either do this with a 'jump box' or by using another person's car battery.

Using a jump box: (This needs to be charged and ready to go at a moments notice). These are especially handy when there is no one around to help you. Keep this in the trunk of your car for emergencies. Make sure the area is clear of liquid or clear damage, if these are present, it is best to get a tow.


First, open your hood and secure it with the hood prop. Then, with the jump box off, take the red clamp (positive) to the red post on your battery. The black clamp (negative) to a clean piece of metal in your car (ground) or the black post on your battery. Do not let the clamps touch. Make sure the jumper cables are clear of any moving parts in the engine; turn the jump box on. Now, try to to turn the car on. If it starts, remove the black (negative) clamp, then the red(positive). Release the hood prop and close the hood. 
If it does not start, turn the jump box off and re-position the cables until you have success. The jump box may need some resting time in between. If the car will not start after a couple attempts, it is time to call for help.


Using another car battery: This is the most common way to restart your battery. You or the person helping will need to have jumper cables handy. Keep these in the trunk of your car. Make sure the area is clear of liquid or clear damage., if these are present, it is best to get a tow.

Find someone that can assist you first. Have that person position their car so your hoods are facing each other without touching. Make sure their car is turned off. Then take the red clamp(positive) to the red post on your dead battery and the other end to their good positive battery post. Then, take black clamp (negative) to  a clean piece of metal in your car (ground) or the black post on your battery. Now attach the black clamp to their good negative post on the battery.Do not let the clamps touch. Turn their car on and rev the engine a little. Try to start your car now. If it starts, remove the black clamps (negative), then the red clamps (positive). Release the hood prop and close the hood. 


  • Remove the plastic jump post caps by lifting them off by hand. You may also see a similar looking black cap with a - insignia on it for the negative jump post. If not, you can use the frame of the car. If the battery is in the motor cavity, you can attach the jump pack directly to it.
  • Ensure the jump pack power switch is in the off position. Attach the red positive alligator clip of the jump pack to the red positive battery terminal or jump post. Attach the black negative alligator clip to a non moving metal part of the car away from the battery, but within reach of the battery jump pack. A part of the frame would be okay, but do not attach to the painted fender. If you have a jump post option for the negative terminal, you can attach the black negative clamp to that.
  • Locate the power button on the jump pack and turn your head away from the jump pack and battery when you turn it on. This is a safety precaution as batteries have hydrogen gas and lead acid inside them. The hydrogen gas is highly flammable and can explode in certain circumstances. By connecting the black negative clamp to a metal ground and not directly to the battery, you have diminished this risk.
  • Check to make sure the jump pack itself and the cables are not going to interfere with moving engine parts. Go to the car and turn the ignition on and try to start. If the vehicle starts, go directly to the jump pack and turn the power switch to off. Disconnect the negative clamp first and then the positive. If the vehicle does not start, you'll need to shut the power switch of the jump pack off and try to reconnect following the same procedures. A lot of battery corrosion can prohibit a good connection from the jump pack to the battery. Digging the alligator clip into the soft lead compound of the positive terminal with the power switch of the jump pack off might be a way to get a cleaner connection in a hurry. Allow the jump pack to cool down for a couple of minutes in between non-successful start-ups.


  • Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_4809390_use-jump-starter.html

  • Remove the plastic jump post caps by lifting them off by hand. You may also see a similar looking black cap with a - insignia on it for the negative jump post. If not, you can use the frame of the car. If the battery is in the motor cavity, you can attach the jump pack directly to it.
  • Ensure the jump pack power switch is in the off position. Attach the red positive alligator clip of the jump pack to the red positive battery terminal or jump post. Attach the black negative alligator clip to a non moving metal part of the car away from the battery, but within reach of the battery jump pack. A part of the frame would be okay, but do not attach to the painted fender. If you have a jump post option for the negative terminal, you can attach the black negative clamp to that.
  • Locate the power button on the jump pack and turn your head away from the jump pack and battery when you turn it on. This is a safety precaution as batteries have hydrogen gas and lead acid inside them. The hydrogen gas is highly flammable and can explode in certain circumstances. By connecting the black negative clamp to a metal ground and not directly to the battery, you have diminished this risk.
  • Check to make sure the jump pack itself and the cables are not going to interfere with moving engine parts. Go to the car and turn the ignition on and try to start. If the vehicle starts, go directly to the jump pack and turn the power switch to off. Disconnect the negative clamp first and then the positive. If the vehicle does not start, you'll need to shut the power switch of the jump pack off and try to reconnect following the same procedures. A lot of battery corrosion can prohibit a good connection from the jump pack to the battery. Digging the alligator clip into the soft lead compound of the positive terminal with the power switch of the jump pack off might be a way to get a cleaner connection in a hurry. Allow the jump pack to cool down for a couple of minutes in between non-successful start-ups.


  • Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_4809390_use-jump-starter.html


  • Remove the plastic jump post caps by lifting them off by hand. You may also see a similar looking black cap with a - insignia on it for the negative jump post. If not, you can use the frame of the car. If the battery is in the motor cavity, you can attach the jump pack directly to it.
  • Ensure the jump pack power switch is in the off position. Attach the red positive alligator clip of the jump pack to the red positive battery terminal or jump post. Attach the black negative alligator clip to a non moving metal part of the car away from the battery, but within reach of the battery jump pack. A part of the frame would be okay, but do not attach to the painted fender. If you have a jump post option for the negative terminal, you can attach the black negative clamp to that.
  • Locate the power button on the jump pack and turn your head away from the jump pack and battery when you turn it on. This is a safety precaution as batteries have hydrogen gas and lead acid inside them. The hydrogen gas is highly flammable and can explode in certain circumstances. By connecting the black negative clamp to a metal ground and not directly to the battery, you have diminished this risk.
  • Check to make sure the jump pack itself and the cables are not going to interfere with moving engine parts. Go to the car and turn the ignition on and try to start. If the vehicle starts, go directly to the jump pack and turn the power switch to off. Disconnect the negative clamp first and then the positive. If the vehicle does not start, you'll need to shut the power switch of the jump pack off and try to reconnect following the same procedures. A lot of battery corrosion can prohibit a good connection from the jump pack to the battery. Digging the alligator clip into the soft lead compound of the positive terminal with the power switch of the jump pack off might be a way to get a cleaner connection in a hurry. Allow the jump pack to cool down for a couple of minutes in between non-successful start-ups.


  • Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_4809390_use-jump-starter.html



  • Locate the battery. Some car batteries are not in the motor cavity. In these cases you're going to be looking for a red plastic cylindrical cap with a large + sign on it. This is a jump post for the battery. These jump posts can be in a variety of locations depending on the make and model of your vehicle, but most manufacturers place them in conspicuous places for occasions such as this. If all else fails, refer to your owner manual.
  • Remove the plastic jump post caps by lifting them off by hand. You may also see a similar looking black cap with a - insignia on it for the negative jump post. If not, you can use the frame of the car. If the battery is in the motor cavity, you can attach the jump pack directly to it.
  • Ensure the jump pack power switch is in the off position. Attach the red positive alligator clip of the jump pack to the red positive battery terminal or jump post. Attach the black negative alligator clip to a non moving metal part of the car away from the battery, but within reach of the battery jump pack. A part of the frame would be okay, but do not attach to the painted fender. If you have a jump post option for the negative terminal, you can attach the black negative clamp to that.
  • Locate the power button on the jump pack and turn your head away from the jump pack and battery when you turn it on. This is a safety precaution as batteries have hydrogen gas and lead acid inside them. The hydrogen gas is highly flammable and can explode in certain circumstances. By connecting the black negative clamp to a metal ground and not directly to the battery, you have diminished this risk.
  • Check to make sure the jump pack itself and the cables are not going to interfere with moving engine parts. Go to the car and turn the ignition on and try to start. If the vehicle starts, go directly to the jump pack and turn the power switch to off. Disconnect the negative clamp first and then the positive. If the vehicle does not start, you'll need to shut the power switch of the jump pack off and try to reconnect following the same procedures. A lot of battery corrosion can prohibit a good connection from the jump pack to the battery. Digging the alligator clip into the soft lead compound of the positive terminal with the power switch of the jump pack off might be a way to get a cleaner connection in a hurry. Allow the jump pack to cool down for a couple of minutes in between non-successful start-ups




  • Locate the battery. Some car batteries are not in the motor cavity. In these cases you're going to be looking for a red plastic cylindrical cap with a large + sign on it. This is a jump post for the battery. These jump posts can be in a variety of locations depending on the make and model of your vehicle, but most manufacturers place them in conspicuous places for occasions such as this. If all else fails, refer to your owner manual.
  • Remove the plastic jump post caps by lifting them off by hand. You may also see a similar looking black cap with a - insignia on it for the negative jump post. If not, you can use the frame of the car. If the battery is in the motor cavity, you can attach the jump pack directly to it.
  • Ensure the jump pack power switch is in the off position. Attach the red positive alligator clip of the jump pack to the red positive battery terminal or jump post. Attach the black negative alligator clip to a non moving metal part of the car away from the battery, but within reach of the battery jump pack. A part of the frame would be okay, but do not attach to the painted fender. If you have a jump post option for the negative terminal, you can attach the black negative clamp to that.
  • Locate the power button on the jump pack and turn your head away from the jump pack and battery when you turn it on. This is a safety precaution as batteries have hydrogen gas and lead acid inside them. The hydrogen gas is highly flammable and can explode in certain circumstances. By connecting the black negative clamp to a metal ground and not directly to the battery, you have diminished this risk.
  • Check to make sure the jump pack itself and the cables are not going to interfere with moving engine parts. Go to the car and turn the ignition on and try to start. If the vehicle starts, go directly to the jump pack and turn the power switch to off. Disconnect the negative clamp first and then the positive. If the vehicle does not start, you'll need to shut the power switch of the jump pack off and try to reconnect following the same procedures. A lot of battery corrosion can prohibit a good connection from the jump pack to the battery. Digging the alligator clip into the soft lead compound of the positive terminal with the power switch of the jump pack off might be a way to get a cleaner connection in a hurry. Allow the jump pack to cool down for a couple of minutes in between non-successful start-ups


  • If it does not start, turn their car off and re-position the cables until you have success. If the car will not start after a couple attempts, it is time to call for help.


    DO NOT SHUT OFF YOUR CAR RIGHT AFTER YOU GET YOUR BATTERY JUMPED. It does not have enough charge to restart the car. If you have to, drive around for about 20 minutes before turning it off. 




    Then check your fluids

    Fluids should generally be checked when the car/engine is not hot. First, open your hood and secure it with the hood prop. When finished checking your fluids, close your hood carefully. 

    Washer fluid: This is used to clean the windshield of any debris/smudges that may affect driving. Make sure it is alcohol based, especially in the winter, so it works correctly and doesn't freeze and break the tank. The tank is usually white with a windshield/water symbol on top of the cap. There may be another tank for a rear wiper. You can easily see into the tank; check for blue liquid. If it is low, carefully pour the new fluid into the tank and close it.
    Antifreeze: This is used to regulate the temperature in your cooling/heating system. The container is white and usually has a cap that says coolant or engine coolant on it. There is also a MAX and MIN line to look for. You can use water in a pinch, but just like washer fluid tanks, you don't want them to freeze in the winter. Add the appropriate amount carefully and close it. 

    Since, winter will be coming, you'll want to have de-icer handy and have antifreeze in the coolant tank instead of water.


    Checking oil: There is a dipstick that is usually brightly colored and may sometimes have a handle. It might have a picture of an oil can (like the light in your car). Make sure it does not say Transmission Oil. Pull the dipstick out and wipe the whole stick on a clean towel or paper towel and replace it. Take the stick out again and look at the markings, high or low. Keep an eye on the color too. If it is an amber clear color, this is healthy oil. If it is darker brown or black, you will need an oil change soon. If the oil is very low, you may need to top off the oil. Find what type you need in the manual or in stores. (There is usually a book). If the oil comes out with any coloring other than a transparent one, take it to a shop.

    Checking brake fluid: This is used to keep the brake system working smoothly. The tank is white; the cap has a yellow octagon with a circle and two lines around it, some may say brake fluid. There are also a MAX/MIN lines on the tank. If the fluid is low, top it off with the appropriate brake fluid. If you notice a significant amount of loss, there may be a leak. Take it to a shop to sort it out.


    Tires are next:

    It is important to have a good tread on your tire to maintain traction on the road. If the tread is balding, or getting close to the indicators on the tire, it is time to replace the tire(s). This is especially important for driving in the rain, on wet leaves and in the snow.

    You will also want to make sure your spare tire is properly inflated. You don't want to find out the hard way. The spare tire is generally located in the trunk under the trunk mat, on the back door or under the back of the car. Also make sure the fully functional jack is in place with it. Your manual will have the location and parts associated with it. 

    It is very important to check the tire pressure on all tires. This can help with gas mileage and to avoid a flat. You can find how much pressure you need in the tire on the sidewall of the tire, close to the rim. It can be listed on a sticker in your door jam or the manual as well. Always check before inflating your tires. A spare tire may require more air pressure than a normal tire; the average PSI (pounds per square inch) is between 28 and 32 pounds. A tire pressure gauge will be able to measure this for you. They run around $10 and can be found at an auto store.

    To put air in the tires, take the valve stem cap off and check with the tire gauge. The number you see is what the PSI is now. Attach the air pump to the valve stem and push the air in in spurts. Keep checking the PSI on your gauge, so you don't over inflate. If you happen to over inflate, take something like a pen and push in the valve stem until some air comes out.

    Also, make sure you get proper alignments and rotations to ensure a longer life for your tires.


    Replacing a tire: First you will need to turn off your car and make sure it is in park on a flat surface. Try to stay out of the way of traffic and put your hazards on. Then locate your spare tire and jack. Now you will need to loosen the lug nuts, by turning clockwise, with the tire iron (generally a cross shape). Keep them on the wheel until the car is jacked up. 
    The manual will be able to tell you where to place the jack under the car to ensure safety. Placing it in the wrong location can cause damage to your car, yourself and anyone involved. 
     
    Jack the car up slowly until the tire is clear of the ground. Finish removing the lug nuts and place them in safe location. Pull the tire off and replace with the spare. Make sure the tire is all lined up with where the lug nuts go and put the lug nuts on. Tighten them with the tire iron until the wheel is snug, but functional. Lower the jack now and triple check the tightness of the lug nuts. You don;'t want your wheel to fall off! Remember to drive carefully with the spare tire and get a new tire ASAP.


    Then checking on the auto glass and wiper blades:


    You will want to make sure the wipers have no dry rotting or malfunctions. This can easily be checked the next time you use your wiper blades. If the wipers aren't flush with the windshield or there are signs of malfunction, then it's time to switch them out. 

    When you go to the store to buy wiper blades, there is usually a book explaining the size(s) you need for your type of vehicle. Buy whichever wipers you find suitable. 

    To start, you will need to put your mounts in a fixed position (much like when it is about to snow)and pull the old wipers off. There is usually a tab on the underside of the wiper, push that in to pull them off. Get the new wipers, find the ends that line up and place them on in the same fashion that you took them off. Make sure it is secured, straight and tight. Lower them carefully back on the windshield. It may be easier to find a video or the diagram on the packaging to aide you. 


    This is a good time to check the defrost for the future!



    Cleaning auto glass: 
    Keeping your auto glass clean, windows and windshields, is important to keeping clear visibility. It is best not to use a trigger spray, as they streak too much. Foam cleaners and microfiber cloths work best for a streak free clean. You can do both inside and outside windows with this method.



    Changing an air filter: You only need a new air filter (about $10), a couple tools and 10 minutes to swap this out. You will want to change this out about every year or 12-25,000 miles. Having a clean air filter helps with gas mileage and engine performance. Having dust and debris in your engine is not optimal. Your manual will be able to tell you the type you need. You can always spray some compressed air into the filter to extend the life of it.

     Start with a cooled down car, then open the hood and secure with the hood prop. Look to the top of the engine, it is usually enclosed in a large plastic box and has some metal clips. Use a flat head screw driver or a butter knife to pop them off carefully, then unscrew any screws. Make a note of which way the filter is set in the casing and remove. Place the new one in exactly as the old filter was, screw the top back on and place the metal clips back. If the housing is visibly dirty, you can wipe it out. 

    Now check your lights:

    This is for inside lights and headlights. Your manual will tell you what type of bulbs you need for both

    Headlights: Start with a cooled down car, pop the hood and secure with the hood prop. Locate the correct headlight and find the back of it. There will be a plug with three wires coming out. Carefully pull the clip, unscrew or carefully push the catch (depending on your type of car).Remove the old bulb and replace the new one. Try not to touch the new bulbs glass. Replace the wiring the same way you took it out and test the headlights. If the headlight is still out, you may have a separate electrical issue that a shop can help you with. 

    Inside lights: The housing for the lights are located on the ceiling of the car and/or the door edges. There are snap on types that can be taken out with a flat head screwdriver or screw types that require a screw driver. Remove the old bulb and replace with the new one, try not to touch the light bulbs with bare hands. Replace the housing the same way you took it off and check if it works. If the light is still out, you may have a separate electrical issue that a shop can help you with. 



    Here are a few extra tips to ensure a smooth year:

    • It's a really good idea to keep an emergency kit in our car, like this one here.
    • Make sure you keep up with your scheduled maintenance for your car, especially before sending them away with the car! This includes getting any dash lights, especially the check engine light.
    • Get the registration and inspection done before they go.
    • Also, check on the brakes, hoses and any wear and tear parts that can go bad over the school year, since your student may not have time or think about getting the car fixed between classes.
    • Remind them (and yourself) to have a good amount of gas in the car, just in case you're running late or have an emergency.


    Friday, September 2, 2016

    Tailgating games and car care!

    Fall is approaching and that means football season!
    What better way to celebrate than tailgating the games, but is your car up for it? 
    Check out ways to maintain your car to make football season a breeze!





    Here are some things to consider: 



    • You'll want your car to be clean inside and out! check out this detailing blog on ways to clean and keep it clean during the whole football season!


    • Get your car in shape before you go. Check out this blog on how to keep up with your wear and tear items and fluids!


    • Next is the cold weather issue. Make sure you are dressed for the weather, you don't want to use the car’s heat and waste the battery or gas trying to stay warm. Then make sure your car is preheated before leaving again to ensure it runs smoothly all fall and winter.



    • Check your car battery before and during tailgating; there are many reasons and usages for the car’s electric, but you don’t want to leave yourself stranded after the game. Make sure you have jumper cables and/or a jump box that is charged and ready to go, just in case. You could also consider using a generator for tailgating.


    • Then the parking lot is a whole other mess of issues. Just remember to take it slow, pedestrians have the right away and always be ready to stop! There will be a lot of people, vehicles and areas set up for a party. Just be mindful and getting there early might help avoid that.



    Which car is the best to pack up and tailgate from:


    • Usually and traditionally, a truck’s tailgate was used for the party. As it can be a table and the bed can easily tote all of your tailgating needs.

    • Make sure you know how much weight your car can hold before causing a problem; this information can generally be found on the inside of the driver’s door jam. Having a car over it’s weight limit can ruin the brakes, suspension, tires, etc. Then there can be a slew of problems during and after overloading the car (turning, driving slower, tires deflating, accidents, tickets for slow driving), so, just make sure you stay within the guidelines and use another vehicle if needed. Plus, if your insurance finds out your car was overloaded after a claim was placed, they can decide not to pay for it in some cases. Don't forget, a car that os over the weight limit also may block the visibility!

    • If you do have a lot in a car, make sure you evenly distribute the weight. It also might be a good idea to have one vehicle for the goods and another to tote everyone around in.

    • Another idea and popular these days is using an RV. They have enough space to put all your belongings and people and they usually have fridges, cooking space and equipment.

    • Try to get some lessons in before driving it around other vehicles and in tight spaces with a lot of people. 
    • Know the height and width before driving on highways.
    • Have someone help with backing in or practice first, they are large vehicles with a lot of blind spots.





    What you need to keep the grill, the gadgets, the games and coolers good:

    • Make sure you, first, have plenty of ice for your drinks, uncooked food and all the rest. Keep the uncooked meat away from all other cooked and ready to eat food. So this means you will need at least two coolers and the space for them.

    • Next, you need a grill (AND A FIRE EXTINGUISHER) and something to put out the coals before leaving for the game. Maybe this means you need a metal box or something that won’t melt or catch fire. This could be a metal tool box in the back of a truck.

      The grill will have to be at least 6-8 feet away from any vehicles, especially from the gas tank.

    • Of course, no drinking and driving. Wait it out, have a designated driver or call for a ride.

    • If you have a TV and/or speakers there, make sure to secure it the the vehicle or wherever it may stay; you don’t want a busted TV or car in case something happens.


    Have fun, be safe and happy tailgating!



    Thursday, August 25, 2016

    Potholes and the damage it causes!

    So, you hit a pothole and it was loud...
    Did it do any damage? How do you know where to check for damage? Is your tire going to slowly leak until it’s inconvenient for you to get a flat? Let us help you out in this slightly confusing situation!




    What causes a pothole?

    When water droplets get into the pavement (from rain or snow) and the pavement then freezes, which causes the pavement to expand. Then, when it thaws out, the pavement starts to crack and crumble. 

    It’s also possible that potholes can arise from construction projects too.




    How to avoid potholes

    Obviously, drive around them, but most times this isn’t possible due to lack of visibility from other drivers/bikers/pedestrians/animals in the way.

    Keep enough space between yourself and the driver in front of you. This way, you can watch their actions-swerving out of the way, sudden braking (signs of distracted and drunk driving, so keeping a safe distance is probably better anyway). This also allows you more time to spot the potholes (a fun game for your passengers to play too!)

    Reduce your speed, especially in the rain and at night-you can’t see how deep or wide the potholes are with water or darkness in/around them. 

    Drive the roads you know to know where potholes are or lack thereof. Although, potholes can literally form overnight, so still be wary and drive slower.



    How to drive over one when there is no where else to go.

    Keep your tire pressure up to your car manufacturer’s standards (and not too high-this can cause a flat quickly). This can help avoid flats from a pothole.

    Drive slower by braking before you hit the pothole; this can alleviate some of the impact from the pothole to the vehicle

    Try to maintain control of the steering to avoid any further damage.



    What can be affected after hitting a large pothole:

    • Alignment knocked out of whack
    • Tire puncture, damage or wear (apparent). May need a tire rotation and balance.
    • Wheel rim damage (mainly on aluminum rims). Can cause a vibration when driving or the balancing weights can be knocked off.
    • Premature wear on shocks and struts
    • Suspension damage (could be broken)
    • Steering system misalignment and damage
    • Exhaust system damage (can make funny noises post hit)
    • Engine damage
    • Uneven tire wear (long term effect)
    • Early replacement of tires (long term effect)
    • Undercarriage can be dented or punctured, causing fluid leaks and possible rust formation in the future.

    Get your car checked ASAP if you suspect any of this.


    Car inspection post pothole hit:

    • Go for the tires first: Check for bulging, slits, holes or bent and damaged rims
    • Pay attention to the way the car drives after: If it starts pulling to one side, it  could be an alignment problem.
    • If it feels wobbly, squeaks or has vibration issues- it could be the struts or shocks.
    • The breaks feel really touchy- it could be a brake problem or shock problem.
    • If the steering wheel is crooked while going straight, the vehicle has become misaligned.
    • Just get the vehicle checked out in a timely manner of anything seems wonky with your car; better safe than sorry.


    Should you file an insurance claim?

    If you have collision coverage, the insurance company can cover some of the costs...minus your deductible (which can be anywhere from 250$ to 1000$). So you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it to even file a claim; your insurance rates could go up after a claim filed under collision too. However, if the damage is major and seems worth it to file a claim, then go ahead.


    A lot of drivers opt for skipping collision coverage to keep down on costs or they just don’t care enough about their car. However, when leasing or financing a car, it is required to have collision coverage on your policy. You have to check into what type of coverage the insurance company will cover; some will not pay for tire damage, as it may be considered wear and tear.
    Sometimes, there are potholes on major roads and highways, which may cause an immediate flat to your car, leading to an accident. Then the liability coverage would come into play for the other driver(s) and collision would still be for your car. Any tire damage would likely be covered if there was enough damage to to the rest of the car.


    Can the state cover the costs or damage to your vehicle?

    So you hit a pothole and the damage is seemingly going to be expensive, but you don’t want to put a claim through your insurance company...well the state may be of help. 

    First, the state needs to be aware of or notified about the pothole. Hopefully, they already knew about it, but it’s best to let them know via their form for pothole damage on the treasury’s website. But, if the pothole was on the turnpike or expressway type roads, you must make them aware on their personal websites.

    For the damage claim, make sure you have a receipt of repairs, an estimate, a police report (if applicable, location and pictures (if applicable). It also has to be within 90 days of damage.






    For the treasury, they have 3-6 months from date of awareness of said pothole to get back to you and fix it. Sometimes, you may be redirected to whoever is in charge of road construction, if they are the reason for the pothole. 

    Now, your hopes may be up about a reimbursement for that flat tire, the state rarely pays and when they do, it’s not always the full cost of the repair or estimate. There are a  ton of factors that go into deciding who to pay out and who to deny. They generally feel motorists are partially responsible for not swerving around them.




    Pedestrians and bikers watch out too; potholes can cause serious damage to you if you hit, ride or fall into one.