[Air Bags] [Air Conditioning] [All-electric vehicles (EVs)] [Alternative Fuels] [Automatic Transmission] [Auto Selling Tips]

[Battery Care] [Brakes 101] [Car Seats] [Catalytic Converter] [Cell Phones] [Checking Engine Oil] [Consumer Bill of Rights]

[Cycling] [Driving Navigation Tip] [Engine Additives] [Engine Belts & Hoses] [Fuel Additives] [Fuel Injection

[Fuel Savings] [Opening the Hood] [Insurance] [Lemon Law] [Maintenance] [Paint finish tips] [Power Steering 101]

 [Pre-Trip Rx] [Radiator 101] [Road Rage] [Road Ready] [Road Safety] [Road Divider lines] [Seat Belts] [Stolen Vehicle]

[Tires] [Tire changing 101] [Tire Pressure] [Traffic Law 101] [Used Car purchasing] [Vehicle Maintenance Basics]

[Wheel Alignment] [Winter Driving]


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Never! mix or store Gasoline/Oil mixtures indoors or in enclosed poorly ventilated areas, where fuel fumes may reach an open flame, spark or pilot light such as on a furnace, water heater, clothes dryer or other appliance.



Keep tires inflated at the recommended pressure listed in your vehicle owner manual.

Does your spare tire have air in it? do you have a spare tire, jack and lug wrench in your trunk?

A few minutes checking now, can save a lot of aggravation later.

Check the air pressure in your car tires "Quarterly" or if they appear low, immediately!

A correct amount of pressure in tires not only increases the lifespan of the tire but also adds to the mileage and derivability of the vehicle. A tire pressure gauge should be used about once every three months to check the air pressure in your tires. After air pressure examination, reinstall the valve cap to prohibit moisture from entering the valve stem mechanism. At all times, a spare inflated tire mounted on a rim and a jack should be carried in the trunk of the vehicle. Usually, the rims of the car last for the lifetime of the car, unless you have a collision and they get bent.

Check the air pressure when the tire is cold. Vehicle tires become hot even after driving just a mile. If you must drive to add air, check your air pressure before you leave. Air pressure changes 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change. Air pressure goes up in warm weather and down in cold weather. Tire pressure must be the same on the tires of each axle, but may be different on the front and rear axle. Use the recommended size tire for your vehicle. Undersized tires can lose 10% of their life and waste gas.

Valve caps must be tightly closed to protect the valve from dust and dirt and prevent it from leaking. Replace missing valve caps



Number 1. Your hood is held down with a primary and secondary latching system.

This is to prevent the hood from flying up into the windshield while driving.

If the primary release is triggered or fails the secondary latch will catch the hood striker and hold it down.

To open the hood both the primary and secondary latches must be released.

The primary release is inside the vehicle usually to the left of the driver and down toward the foot well, visible at the bottom of the dash, it is a two or three finger pull out and it will say "Hood".

The secondary release is harder to find. In most cases the hood will have to be lifted up slightly to see the secondary release and is usually located towards the center of the hood. Sometimes you have to peek up into the void between the grill and the hood and you will see the release.

Most vehicles have hydraulic hood lifts to hold up the hood, but not all. Older cars have an arm that is directly in front of the radiator, it swings up and connects to an oblong hole on the underside of the hood.

If you have your owner’s manual, it will give you exact details to the location and operation of the latches.

Once you open the hood, look around and get familiar with the layout of the things you have no idea what they are.

You will see things like fluid reservoirs, which are clearly labeled and marked. Your owner’s manual has a detailed breakdown of the location of these critical fluid locations and instructions on how to maintain proper safety levels.

Find your washer fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid; coolant reservoirs engine oil dipstick and automatic transmission fluid dipstick.

If you do not have an owner’s manual, go on-line and Google your vehicle model and year. Most likely you will find what you are looking for.

Occassionally spray the release and spring with WD40.


Did you know that running the wrong size tires on your vehicle cost you gas mileage? Your vehicle is geared for a specific tire size. look at your driver’s side door jam, it spells it out for you.




                                                                                                             All-electric vehicles (EVs)
Battery electric vehicles, have an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine. The vehicle uses a large traction battery pack to power the electric motor and must be plugged in to a wall outlet or charging equipment, also called electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). Because it runs on electricity, the vehicle emits no exhaust from a tailpipe and does not contain the typical liquid fuel components.

Key Components of an All-Electric Car

Battery (all-electric auxiliary): In an electric drive vehicle, the auxiliary battery provides electricity to power vehicle accessories.
Charge port: The charge port allows the vehicle to connect to an external power supply in order to charge the traction battery pack.
DC/DC converter: This device converts higher-voltage DC power from the traction battery pack to the lower-voltage DC power needed to run vehicle accessories and recharge the auxiliary battery.
Electric traction motor: Using power from the traction battery pack, this motor drives the vehicle's wheels. Some vehicles use motor generators that perform both the drive and regeneration functions.
Onboard charger: Takes the incoming AC electricity supplied via the charge port and converts it to DC power for charging the traction battery. It also communicates with the charging equipment and monitors battery characteristics such as voltage, current, temperature, and state of charge while charging the pack.
Power electronics controller: This unit manages the flow of electrical energy delivered by the traction battery, controlling the speed of the electric traction motor and the torque it produces.
Thermal system (cooling): This system maintains a proper operating temperature range of the engine, electric motor, power electronics, and other components.
Traction battery pack: Stores electricity for use by the electric traction motor.
Transmission (electric): The transmission transfers mechanical power from the electric traction motor to drive the wheels.
Electric Car Battery Costs

EV batteries undergo cycles of 'discharge' that occur when driving and 'charge' when the car's plugged in. Repeating this process over time affects the amount of charge the battery can hold. This decreases the range and time needed between each journey to charge. Most manufacturers have a five to eight-year warranty on their battery. However, the current prediction is that an electric car battery will last from 10 – 20 years before they need to be replaced.

Eventually, an electric car battery will need replacing eventually, and depending on the size (kWh), they're not exactly cheap! If the EV battery needs replacing and it's outside of warranty, expect to fork out anywhere between $2,000 and $12,000 in 2020 dollars.

Another thing that can diminish batteries' lifespan is using Level 3 fast-charging stations. These stations can charge the battery up to 80% in 30 minutes, but they can also overheat the battery. Carfax warns that this can affect the battery's long-term performance and longevity.

If electricity costs $0.13 per kilowatt-hour at ones home, charging an EV with a 200-mile range (assuming a fully depleted 66 kWh battery) will cost about $9 to reach a full charge.

According to recent studies, 5 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities are clearly caused by automobile maintenance neglect. (tires, brakes, and steering)



Prior to your heading out on the road on your vacation, get your car a physical.

  • Cooling system (radiator coolant)
  • Brakes
  • Lube, oil and oil filter
  • Emission control (if due)
  • Steering/suspension (shocks)
  • Fuel (filters, etc.)
  • Tire condition (do you have a spare tire?)
  • Tune-up (if due)

Also, have the service technician evaluate the engines performance, Heater and Air Conditioning and defroster, windshield wipers in good working order, and is your electrical system (horn/lights and directional) in good working order?

Do you have your safety tote in the trunk for emergencies?




Start with the most obvious. Is the facility neat and clean? Are employees genuinely concerned with your questions and are their answers direct, to the point and reasonable?

-Most repair shops will post educational certifications or accomplishments and professional business affiliations in their waiting areas. Some affiliations to look for include trade association membership, such as the Automotive Service Association (ASA), and membership in the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Look for certification or education offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) and the Automotive Management Institute (AMI).

-Ask about the equipment used to diagnose and perform the service. Is it up-to-date and are the technicians educated in the proper equipment use?

-Make sure a written estimate is provided prior to letting the business begin the repair. A good rule of thumb is to request approval on any changes to the original estimate that exceed 10 percent.

-Ask about the shop's warranty. Most automotive service facilities will warranty their parts and labor either in writing or in shop posted announcements.

Ask family, friends and neighbors for their recommendations. Word-of-mouth referrals are the shop's best form of advertising.


Did you know that a loose or missing gas cap can affect your gas mileage? The vented gas simply vaporizes.




Money Saver (sometimes)

Many insurance company's offer great discounts, relating to the following:

Some companies might discount up to 20% off Personal Injury Protection and Medical Payments coverage if the driver and passenger sides have air bags and automatic seat belts.

Some companies give discounts off the Comprehensive premium when an active anti-theft device, such as a intruder alarm. Some companies may discount more if the alarm arms itself automatically when you turn off the vehicle.

If you have Anti-lock brakes (ABS), This is tied to your Bodily Injury and Property Damage coverage.

Some companies give drivers who have complete a state approved drivers education class a discount their Bodily Injury, Property Damage, Medical Payments, Personal Injury Protection and Collision coverage.

Sometimes if you're a safe driver, usually 3 years with no points, you qualify for additional savings on different types of coverage. The insurance company will let you know. Usually on your insurance bill you'll see something that says "Your premium reflects the maximum discount allowed for safe driver".

If you insure two or more vehicles on the same policy some companies may give you a discount.       

Get a copy of your driver’s license record prior to shopping for insurance. Many have errors in their driving report that run up auto insurance rates. Just like your credit history determines your car loan approval, your driving record determines how expensive your auto insurance will be. Your personal credit history can also have an effect on the price of your Auto Insurance.

Go online to get competitive and accurate pricing from Auto Insurance providers. Make sure that you are accurate about the information you enter. Make certain that you enter the exact same coverage request from each online site you visit, to get a identical quote. These sites will give you quotes to compare before making your final decision. Get quotes from as many sites as possible to get your best price, then when you are ready to buy, call the company you chose and verify the price with them. Usually they will have all of your information already in hand, because, when you did your online inquiry, you provided them with your address, telephone number and driver’s license number.

Raising deductible is the amount you pay when you make a claim before your insurance company pays. The disadvantage of raising your deductible is that when you do make a claim, you will pay more on your end. The advantage is that your annual insurance costs go down. You can raise your deductible on the comprehensive and collision sections of your insurance policy.

Drop your collision and/or comprehensive insurance on older autos. If your car is not worth much to begin with, then it may not be worth paying for collision and comprehensive insurance. That is because the amount you pay for the deductible plus the amount you pay for the insurance may be more than the value of the car itself.


Proof of Insurance:

Always carry a copy of your insurance card in your purse or wallet.


Auto Rental:

Check with your insurance carrier to see if you have insurance coverage when you rent a car. Don't assume you do!


When you have an Accident: "Notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible".

-  Move your vehicle to a safe place, then stop and identify yourself to the other driver. (Some state or local laws may require the vehicle be left as is.) If it can’t be moved, turn on the hazard lights. Seek medical help if you or other parties require it, and notify the police. Tell them who you are, where you are, and about any obvious or claimed injuries.

-You are required by Law in every State, that you must immediately contact the police, if there are injuries.

-Do not assume that you have no injuries from an accident. Sometimes it takes a few months to surface.

-Do not settle immediately with the other parties’ insurance company. Considering that you may initially have unknown injuries.

-Exchange information with the other driver(s) including driver’s license numbers. Get the driver’s name, address, telephone numbers and name of insurance company. Also, list any passengers and witnesses.

-Get names and badge numbers of any police officers who arrive at the scene. If there are injuries or extensive damage, the police should file a report. Ask to get a copy.

-Avoid any extensive discussions at the scene about who is responsible for damage. If the other person admits responsibility, offers a money settlement and you accept, any future claim against the driver may be compromised. You or the other party may later find damage and bodily injury not apparent at first.

- Write a complete description of the accident as soon as possible. Include weather conditions, estimated speeds, and as much precise information as you can observe. Take photographs if a camera is available.

Lock your car:

Recent statistics show that cars stolen in the U.S, 55% were unlocked, 34% left the windows open, 6% left keys in the car!

What is the meaning?

Bodily Injury and Liability Insurance: This insurance protects you from claims made against you which you are obligated to pay if you cause bodily injury to someone in a crash. This also covers your defense costs. Bodily Injury Liability limits usually specify two separate dollar amounts, the first amount limiting payments to a single person per accident and the second amount puts a cap on the total amount of payment for all persons injured per accident.

Collision coverage pays for the damage to your vehicle by collision with another vehicle or fixed objects like trees, signs, buildings, etc. This coverage is what gets invoked when the accident is your fault.

Comprehensive Coverage: This is for fire and theft coverage, and covers damage to your car for anything other than a wreck, such as theft, (usually windshield) floods, etc.

Car Rental: If your vehicle is in the shop for more than a few days for repairs resulting from an insurance claim, many policies with this coverage all or part, for usually up to 30 days, or some maximum value to rent a car while you wait for repairs. Higher limits are available.

Medical Coverage: Covers medical expenses from your crash injuries and covered persons in your car, no matter who was at fault.

No-Fault, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) In most no-fault states, PIP covers medical and rehab, work loss, burial, and other expenses incurred by you, your family, passengers in your vehicle, and pedestrians injured by your vehicle. Not every state has this coverage, and it pays for damages regardless of who is at fault in the accident.

Liability: is similar to Bodily Injury coverage. Liability covers only the damage caused by you to someone's property, car, fence, lawn, telephone pole, house, etc. When you are at fault in a wreck, this coverage is invoked when the other driver makes a claim against your insurance to repair their car.

Towing: If your car breaks down, this coverage will pay for a tow truck or roadside assistance to get your car going again. Normally this includes towing you to the nearest authorized garage.

Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist pays for your injuries up to the policy limit when the other driver either has no insurance, or their lame coverage can't pay for you injuries or property damage. This coverage usually includes hit and run drivers as well.


Do's & Don'ts

Check with your credit card company, personal and auto insurance carrier, and the rental car company itself. You do not have to buy the rental company's insurance. You might already have it covered. Take the time to check your own existing policy first. Note that there could be certain restrictions to your own policy and that certain rental vehicles might not be covered.

If you already paying auto insurance, then your rental might be covered by your own insurance policy. A simple phone call to your insurance agent will provide your answer. If you do not own a car (and therefore not already have auto insurance) then it is a good idea to accept the rental company's insurance policy regarding damage and accidents. If you are using a credit card in your name to rent the car, then the credit card might cover some insurance as well. 

FYI (rental agency language)

-CDW: Collision Damage Waiver usually covers loss and/or damage to the rental car. CDW releases you from financial responsibility under rental contract if you crash the car. This agreement can be voided if you are caught using the car in an unsafe manner.

-LDW: Loss Damage Waiver. This is similar to CDW, but with some differences.

-SLI: Supplemental Liability Insurance usually pays over and above what your personal or business insurance coverage pays.

-PAI: Personal Accident Insurance provides a one-time payment for you or an accompanying passenger in case of death or injury from a car accident

Automobile Insurance Providers:


  • AIG
  • Allstate
  • American Family Insurance
  • Amica
  • CapitalOne
  • Esurance
  • Farm Bureau Insurance
  • Farmers Insurance
  • GAINSCO Auto Insurance
  • GMAC Insurance
  • Geico Direct
  • The General
  • The Hartford
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Nationwide Insurance
  • Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
  • Pemco
  • Progressive
  • Safeco
  • Shelter Insurance Companies
  • State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
  • The St. Paul Travelers Companies, Inc.


BROKEN ENGINE BELT TIP:   Use a pair of panty hose for a "temporary" fix, or duct tape upside down, utilizing multiple layers, obviously, you don't want the sticky part touching the pulley. (what did we every do, before duct tape?)



Your Vehicle Air Conditioning

-The compressor is the power unit of the A/C system. It is powered by a drive belt connected to the engine's crankshaft. When the A/C system is turned on, the compressor pumps out refrigerant vapor under high pressure and high heat to the condenser.

-The condenser is a device used to change the high-pressure refrigerant vapor to a liquid. It is mounted ahead of the engine's radiator, and it looks very similar to a radiator with its parallel tubing and tiny cooling fins. If you look through the grille of a car and see what you think is a radiator, it is most likely the condenser. As the car moves, air flowing through the condenser removes heat from the refrigerant, changing it to a liquid state.

-Refrigerant moves to the receiver-drier. This is the storage tank for the liquid refrigerant. It also removes moisture from the refrigerant. Moisture in the system can freeze and then act similarly to cholesterol in the human blood stream, causing blockage.

-As the compressor continues to pressurize the system, liquid refrigerant under high pressure is circulated from the receiver-drier to the thermostatic expansion valve. The valve removes pressure from the liquid refrigerant so that it can expand and become refrigerant vapor in the evaporator.

-The evaporator is very similar to the condenser. It consists of tubes and fins and is usually mounted inside the passenger compartment. As the cold low-pressure refrigerant is released into the evaporator, it vaporizes and absorbs heat from the air in the passenger compartment. As the heat is absorbed, cool air will be available for the occupants of the vehicle. A blower fan inside the passenger compartment helps to distribute the cooler air.

-The heat-laden, low-pressure refrigerant vapor is then drawn into the compressor to start another refrigeration cycle.

If your A/C does hiccup, below are a few troubleshooting tips:

No Cool Air

  • Loose or broken drive belt
  • Inoperative compressor or slipping compressor clutch
  • Defective expansion valve
  • Clogged expansion valve, receiver-drier or liquid refrigerant line
  • Blown fuse
  • Leaking component: any of the parts listed above or one of the A/C lines, hoses or seals

  Little Cool Air

  • Low refrigerant charge
  • Loose drive belt
  • Slipping compressor clutch
  • Clogged condenser
  • Clogged evaporator
  • Slow leak in system
  • Partially clogged filter or expansion valve

Make sure to have the system checked regularly according to your vehicle's owner's manual. If you happen to live in a cold climate, it might not make much sense to run the A/C during the winter months, but you should run your A/C system regularly, because it contains a special mineral oil in the refrigerant to keep the compressor properly lubricated. Turn it on one a month for about 5-10 minutes. Some heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems also engage the A/C compressor for defrost mode.

When in doubt, check your owner’s manual.


Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 5 percent.



Is your Proof of Insurance in your car?
Is your signed Vehicle Registration in your car?
Is your Driver’s License in your wallet or purse?
Do not carry your title to your vehicle. This should be kept in a secure location, at home.
If not, you will be issued a (ticket) citation.


When your automobile tires are not inflated properly, it’s like driving with the emergency brake on. Decreasing your gas mileage.



-Signal turns lane changes and stops using hand signals.

-Children passengers under the age of four must ride in a approved bicycle safety
     seat and wear approved safety helmets.

-Most cities, towns and County's now require the use of head protection.

- Cyclist cannot carry a passenger, unless the bicycle is equipped with a passenger seat.

-Bicyclists must use a bicycle lane if available.

-If there is no bicycle lane, they must ride near the right curb, or edge of the road,
     to avoid undue interference with other traffic. (This rule does not apply when
     the cyclist is preparing for a left turn, or is avoiding hazards.)

-Bicyclist must come to a full stop before entering a roadway from a driveway, alley, or from over a curb.

-Bicyclist  cannot ride more than two abreast in a single lane.

-Bicyclist are prohibited from riding on sidewalks in many places, do check with your local authorities.



-If you have problems with your door latches sticking, periodically apply a small amount of lithium grease or stick lubricant. There are also silicone sprays available for door seals to help prevent water from sticking in the winter and freezing the doors shut. A spray lubricant may be used in the door locks for the same purpose

-Drips & Leaks: Take a look under your car

Brown is a sign of an oil leak
Green or Orange is a coolant leak or was overfilled.
Red is an automatic transmission fluid leak or other fluids, such as power steering.
Puddles of water and dripping beneath your car, is usually just condensation from your Air conditioner (which is normal)
Gasoline evaporates quickly, and can be dangerously explosive. If you have gas dripping from your engine or from the fuel injection or carburetor or detect gasoline odor, Beware, you do not want to start your car. Seek immediate professional help. Gasoline evaporates quite quickly.

-Head and Tail lights, Brakes and Turn signals
Check these often, simply have someone move around your automobile and verify that all of these light functions are operable.

Your vehicle lighting should be checked periodically is the light system. With the exception of the bright-white halide-gas headlights on expensive new sports cars, many automotive lights are just bulbs, downsized versions of the ones in your house. As such, they do eventually burn out.

Periodically check the lights to make sure they're all working. Turn on your emergency flasher and see if all four lights flash. Then individually try the right and left turn signal to make sure they are working front and rear. Ask a friend to apply the brakes to see if the brake lights are functioning. Obviously, it's extremely dangerous to drive a car with faulty brake lights.

If any of the lights aren't working, replace that bulb. If the brake lights aren't working first check the bulbs, then the brake switch. If your dash lights are not functioning, check for burned out fuses, or for defective bulbs in older vehicles. For passenger safety, make sure that the courtesy lamps illuminate. Don't forget any under the hood bulbs as well as the trunk lamp.

-Wiper Blades.
Check your wipers for tears, frayed edges or (the rubber blades should be smooth) unusual pattern on the windshield, when driving in the rain. If they are simply dirty with oil or soot. Wipe the blades with soap and water, or use Armor All Vinyl/rubber cleaner. This can significantly extend the life of your wiper blades. There are various products to aid in driving in the rain, such as Rain X, which is applied to the windshield and cause's water to bead up and blow away while driving.

b-Automobile engine Belts:
Before starting any long trip or after every 50,000 miles of use, check all of the engine's accessory belts. Most cars are now equipped with a *serpentine belt that runs all of the accessories, so if that belt breaks, you can lose your power steering, water pump and charging system immediately. Inspect the engine and look at the belt (or belts) to see if there is visible damage, abnormal wear or small hairline cracks. Replace any belt that shows signs of wear. Even if a belt appears to be in good condition, it should be replaced every 50,000 miles as preventative maintenance. If your belts squeal, they are either loose or in bad condition.

-Timing Belt

The timing belt is a notched rubber belt that allows the crankshaft to turn the camshaft.  The camshaft opens and closes the valves in synchronicity with the movement of the pistons.

If your timing belt breaks, your engine will stop working, stranding you wherever you may be.  Worse yet, it can cause major engine damage. 

Generally, timing belts should be replaced every sixty thousand miles.

-Serpentine Belt*

Serpentine belts, also known as drive belts, provide power to the air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, cooling fan, air injection pump, and more.

If your serpentine belt breaks, all of the engine parts it is powering will stop working. Your engine could overheat and be damaged.

-Radiator and heater hoses are also made of rubber. Their condition should be checked periodically. Both the upper and lower radiator hoses can rupture from internal pressure and age without the driver knowing it. When that happens, the coolant flows out, and the engine can freeze from excessive heat buildup.

In general, inspect all hoses for wear, including hairline cracks and soft, bulging spots. Hoses that come in contact with brackets or other metal parts are prone to wear in these areas. Even if the hoses pass visual inspection, Changing all the water hoses every 50,000 miles is the way to go, for preventative maintenance.
When you look under your hood, right behind the radiator, you will see a flat rubber drive belt that is used to turn multiple accessories on the front of an engine. It is called a "serpentine belt" because of the way it snakes around the various pulleys. Many vehicles now have a single serpentine drive belt because it eliminates the need for several separate V-belts. A spring-loaded pulley maintains tension on the serpentine belt. This does away with the need to re-tension the belt when it is replaced. Serpentine belts generally last 25% to 50% longer than conventional V-belts.



If at any time your cars temperature climbs beyond the normal range, the engine is running in the danger zone. Conversely, if the car will not warm up sufficiently, the thermostat is not functioning properly, the culprit; most likely the thermostat is not closing.

The radiator is one of the most important operating parts of your vehicle. It’s task is keeping your automobile's engine at a safe operating temperature, a bad radiator could mean serious trouble for you if you do not seek professional mechanical attention immediately.

Unfortunately, radiator problems can often develop without the owner even knowing it, small particles of dirt and rust clogging up the essential elements, preventing your car radiator from being able to cool your engine properly. If this happens, your vehicle will over heat, potentially leaving you stranded. The best way to avoid such problems, which will inevitably happen with all automotive radiators as they age, is with regular routine maintenance and service. Being vigilant will help you catch minor car radiator problems before they become major ones.

Your vehicle engine runs on heat. Chemical energy in the fuel is transformed into thermal energy when the fuel burns, which produces mechanical energy to push the pistons, spin the crankshaft and drive the vehicle down the road.

As efficient as today's engines are, they still waste a lot of the heat energy they produce. The average gasoline engine is only about 25 percent (depending on your vehicle) efficient. That means over two-thirds of the heat produced by each gallon of fuel either goes out the tailpipe or is soaked up by the engine itself. Diesels provide for a little more bang for the buck, as they provide about 35 percent, but even that leaves a lot of waste heat that must be managed and carried away by the cooling system.

Interestingly, the hotter an engine runs the more efficient it becomes. But there's a limit because aluminum pistons and heads (that is what your engine is mostly composed of) can only get so hot before they start to soften and melt. The same goes for cast iron.

Most engines today are designed to operate within a "normal" temperature range of about 195 to 220 degrees F. A relatively constant operating temperature is absolutely essential for proper emissions control, good fuel economy and performance.

A 50/50 mixture of water and ethylene glycol antifreeze in the cooling system will boil at 225 degrees if the cap is open. But as long as the system is sealed and holds pressure, a radiator cap rated at 15 psi will increase the boiling temperature of a 50/50 coolant blend up to 265 degrees. If the concentration of antifreeze to water is raised to 70/30 (the maximum), the boiling temperature under 15 psi (look on top of your radiator cap) of pressure goes up to 276 degrees.

Signs and consequences if the engine overheats the first thing that will happen is a gasoline engine will start to detonate. The engine will ping and start to lose power under load as the combination of heat and pressure exceed the octane rating of the fuel. If the detonation problem persists, the hammer-like blows may damage the rings, pistons or rod bearings.

Overheating can also cause pre-ignition. Hot spots develop inside the combustion chamber that become a source of ignition for the fuel. The erratic combustion can cause detonation as well as engine run-on in older vehicles with carburetors. Hot spots can also be very damaging and burn holes right through the top of pistons.

Another consequence of overheating may be a blown head gasket. Heat makes aluminum swell almost three times faster than cast iron.

The resulting stress can distort the head and make it swell in areas that are hottest, like those between exhaust valves in adjoining cylinders, and areas that have restricted coolant flow like the narrow area that separates the cylinders. The typical aluminum head swells most in the middle, which can crush the head gasket if the head gets hot enough. This will cause a loss of torque in the gasket allowing coolant and combustion leaks to occur when the head cools.

Overheating can be caused by anything that decreases the cooling system's ability to absorb, transport and dissipate heat, such as a low coolant level, loss of coolant (through internal or external leaks), poor heat conductivity inside the engine because of accumulated deposits in the water jackets, a defective thermostat that doesn't open, poor airflow through the radiator, a slipping fan clutch, an inoperative electric cooling fan, a collapsed lower radiator hose, an eroded or loose water pump impeller or even a defective radiator cap.

Heat always flows from an area of higher temperature to an area of lesser temperature, never the other way around. The only way to cool hot metal, therefore, is to keep it in constant contact with a cooler liquid. And the only way to do that is to keep the coolant in constant circulation. As soon as the circulation stops, either because of a problem with the water pump, thermostat or loss of coolant, temperatures begin to rise and the engine starts to overheat.

The coolant also has to get rid of the heat it soaks up while passing through the block and head(s). So the radiator must be capable of doing its job, which requires the help of an efficient cooling fan at slow speeds.

Finally, the thermostat must be doing its job to keep the engine's average temperature within the normal range. If the thermostat fails to open, it will effectively block the flow of coolant and the engine will overheat.

  Maintaining your Auto Radiator:

  • Thermostat - Severe overheating can often damage a good thermostat. If the engine has overheated because of another problem, the thermostat should be tested or replaced before the engine is returned to service.
    The hose should not feel uncomfortably hot until the engine has warmed-up and the thermostat opens. If the hose does not get hot, it means the thermostat is not opening.
    If the thermostat needs to be replaced, install one with the same temperature rating as the original. On newer vehicles with computerized engine controls, the wrong thermostat can prevent the computer system from going into closed loop resulting in major performance and emission problems if the engine fails to reach its normal operating temperature.
  • Cooling system leaks - Loss of coolant because of a leak is probably the most common cause of overheating. Possible leak points include hoses, the radiator, heater core, water pump, thermostat housing, head gasket, freeze plugs, automatic transmission oil cooler, cylinder head(s) and block.
    the radiator cap could be weak  (or one with too low a pressure rating for the application) will lower the coolant's boiling point and can allow coolant to escape from the radiator.
  • Fan - With mechanical fans, most overheating problems are caused by a faulty fan clutch - though a missing fan shroud (covers the fan blade) can reduce the fan's cooling effectiveness by as much as 50 percent (depending on the fan's distance from the radiator), which may be enough to cause the engine to overheat in hot weather or when working hard.
    Defective fan clutches are a common and often overlooked cause of overheating. the life of a fan clutch is about the same as a water pump.
  • Water pump - Any wobble in the pump shaft or seepage would call for replacement. In some instances, a pump can cause an engine to overheat if the impeller vanes are badly eroded due to corrosion or if the impeller has come loose from the shaft. (Note: Some engines with serpentine drive belts require a special water pump that turns in the opposite direction of those used on the same engine with ordinary V-belts)
  • Belts & hoses - Check belt tension and condition. A loose belt that slips may prevent the water pump from circulating coolant fast enough and/or the fan from turning fast for proper cooling.
    The condition of the hoses should also be checked. Recommend new hoses if the old ones are over 5 years old.
    Sometimes a lower radiator hose will collapse under vacuum at high speed and restrict the flow of coolant from the radiator into the engine. This can happen if the reinforcing spring inside the hose is missing or damaged.
  • Radiator - The most common problems radiators is clogging and leaks. Dirt, bugs and debris can block air flow through the core and reduce the radiator's ability to dissipate heat.

Coolant should be changed at least every two years or 30,000 miles or it will lose its effectiveness, and the mixture of antifreeze and water should always be 50/50.



Oil Additives:

When auto manufactures design engines, they are not thinking about the necessity of having to use additives. Your engine is a engineering marvel, designed to run for a long time. With a good maintenance program on the owner’s part, today's automobile engines can run over 200,000 miles.

Most automobile engines are adequately protected from wear at start-up when they use motor oil as recommended in the owner's manual. Moreover, it is uncommon for engines to experience premature failure caused by wear, whether they have been treated with any oil additive or not.

Although there is argument on both sides on the use of oil additives, some are apparently worthy of consideration. There are about 50 products on the market that state that their treated engines sustained 50 percent less wear than test engines run with premium motor oil alone. Many of them being just duplicate products under different names from the same company. The price for a pint or quart of these engine oil additives runs from a few dollars to much more. As to whether these products really work, or do harm, is up in the air.

There are many champions on the side of using additives. They use them often and swear by them. One simply cannot ignore the success some of them have had, using various oil additives. Those that participate in the racing circuit, be it car, motorcycle or boat, would not run a damaging product in their very high dollar engines.

Most, but not all oil additives consist of 50 weight engine oil blended with Polytetrafluoroethylene or zinc (Zinc D) dialkyldithiophosphates. Interestingly oil companies have been decreasing the amount of zinc-d because evidence indicates that zinc-d causes deterioration of catalytic converters.

Note: If you use a synthetic oil, such as Mobil 1(It is a "fully synthetic" formulation that helps extend engine life, reduce oil breakdown and minimize engine wear), you are advised "not to use any engine treatments or additives". Mobil claims that the use of an engine oil additive is not recommended, either by Mobil or by virtually any vehicle manufacturer. In fact, it may void your new-car warranty.

Fuel Additives:

STP (there are many others) Gas Treatment is the most well know, used in your gas tank it will dry up any water (Dehydrating) in the tank. It will also keep the fuel line from freezing up in the winter. Your engine will run more smoothly and start more reliably with its use in the winter. You will want to add one entire container just before filling up. Do this about every other fill up in the winter or any cold months. A little water, even a few drops, can do a lot of harm to your engine performance. 

You can also use what is called *dry gas for this same purpose, it is an ethanol-based additive used in automobiles to prevent any water in the fuel from freezing, or to restore combustive power to gasoline spoiled by water. It is a liquid that is added in to the fuel tank, that absorbs the water and keeps it in solution. (Some brands contain methanol and some contain isopropyl alcohol).

If you already have ethanol in your fuel, there is no point in adding dry gas to fuel that already contains a significant percentage of ethanol.

*DO NOT use it around heat or flame or while the engine is running, as it is flammable.

Fuel Injection Cleaner:

Clean fuel injectors are a necessity for peak engine performance, fuel economy and emissions. If the injectors are dirty and can't deliver their specific dose of fuel, performance, fuel economy and emissions are all going to suffer. Dirty injectors can't flow as much fuel as clean ones, nor can they deliver the correct spray pattern that is so essential for clean, efficient combustion.

Rather than spending your money on fuel injector cleaners, spend the money on a new fuel filter every few years. That's the single best thing you can do to protect your injectors. And if you have an older, fuel injected car that ran for a long time on gasoline without detergents, the injectors might be causing it to run poorly, then you can try some fuel injector cleaner. The stuff does work. If you are determined to do some preventive maintenance on your Fuel Injection system, One of the best additives is polyether amine. It keeps injectors, valves and combustion chambers clean without the help of any additional fluidizers, keep in mind that it costs more than twice as much as the other commonly used additives.

Unfortunately, some of the cause of injector systems getting clogged is that some gas suppliers have cut back on the amount of detergent they add to their fuel or have switched to cheaper and less effective additives.

Engines using fuel injection do require some slightly different fuel system maintenance! The normal wear and tear with today's engine temperatures and changes in gasoline quality suggests some buildup of olefin wax, dirt, water and many other additives. In this case, you should visit your dealer or garage and have them clean your fuel injection system. High-mileage engines as well as engines that are used mostly for short stop-and-go driving are the most likely in need of injector cleaning.

The benefits realized by injector cleaning obviously will vary depending on the condition of the injectors prior to cleaning and how badly they were clogged. Injectors that are very dirty will show a more noticeable improvement in performance than ones that have only a light accumulation of deposits. Either way, performance, fuel economy and emissions should all be better after a cleaning.




The following information is designed to aide you in the repair of your damaged vehicle. The material is intended to be general in nature. Before obtaining repairs, you should contact your attorney to ensure that the information complies with your state laws and regulations. This material has been prepared by the Automotive Service Association (ASA).


Must I obtain three estimates?

Answer: Generally, no. Unless your policy states otherwise, no one can tell you to obtain more than one estimate. You, as the car owner, may do so, should this be your desire.

I was told that I must take my car to a certain repair shop. Must I do this?

Answer: Generally, no. No one can force you to go to a certain repair shop unless your policy states otherwise.

What is the best procedure for me to get quality repairs and quickly get my vehicle back on the road?

Answer: Take your vehicle to a reputable repair shop. Leave it with the manager. Instruct the manager to contact your insurance company and advise them as to the damage. You should then call your insurance company and advise them of the vehicle's location.

I don't believe I was at fault in the accident. Should I use my own collision policy or try to collect from the other party?

Answer: Try to collect from the other party because you will not have to pay a deductible. Also, if you use the other person's policy, you may be entitled to a rental car while yours is being repaired, and no accident should be charged against your policy.

Who is responsible to the repair shop for my repair bill - the insurance company or me?

Answer: You are. You may direct your insurance company to pay the repair shop, but the payment must be in the hands of the repair agency when you pick up your vehicle. Keep in mind, you are the customer and the insured. The repair shop owner looks to you for payment and you look to the insurance company for payment.

Who is responsible for the safety, workmanship and guarantee of my auto repairs - insurance company or repair shop?

Answer: Generally, the repair shop is responsible.

I am sure that the other driver is at fault, but no one has made any effort to see to the repairs of my auto. What can I do?

Answer: You are the owner of the automobile. Only you have the legal right to make arrangements for the repair of your automobile, not the insurance company.

Do I have to take my vehicle to a drive-in claims service?

Answer: Generally, no. Unless your policy provides otherwise, it is not mandatory to take your vehicle to a drive-in claims service. Usually it will suffice for you to call your insurance company and tell them where the vehicle can be examined by a claim’s person.

If I go to a drive-in claims service, do I have to take the car to its preferred shop?

Answer: Generally, no. However, if you decide to take your car to the preferred shop, ask your insurance company to implement its "elects to repair" clause (check your insurance policy). This may cause the insurance company to be responsible for, among other things, the quality of repairs.

I am having a problem with the insurance company. Can the state insurance commissioner's office help me?

Answer: Perhaps, yes, but the commissioner's authority is limited! The commissioner's office in your state can describe the scope of authority for you.

Can the insurance company and service shop make an adjustment and start repair on the auto without the owner's consent?

Answer: Generally, no. You should be presented an estimate to know what is being repaired on your vehicle before repairs are made, unless your policy states otherwise.

A Final Word...

Most state laws make it unlawful for any person to operate any motor vehicle that is unsafe or has defective equipment. Insist on having your vehicle restored to its pre-accident condition. Do not be pressured into having repair work done by a specific shop simply because of lower price.

The owners of some repair shops have pledged their shops to a rigid code of ethics. This code is designed to protect you and your property. Seek out these shops.




Preparing your car for sale.

First impressions work. The most important thing is to clean the car inside and out, If the vehicle is older, a though wash and wax on the exterior and vacuum of the interior is probably adequate. The extent of the detail will vary depending on the age of the vehicle. 

A clean, shiny car gives the impression that you care about the car and have maintained it in good condition. On the other hand, a dirty car does exactly the opposite, and may devalue your car in the eyes of a potential buyer. If the car is nearly new, you may want to take it to a professional detailed and have them clean the interior, exterior and engine.

You should fix any broken items that are easy to replace, such as lenses and headlights, you don't want to give a buyer a reason to not buy your car. The better the car looks the broader of an appeal the car has, even if you don't get more money for it, you will probably sell it quicker.

Cosmetic detailing is important when selling your vehicle, a few dollars invested can increase your sale price. 
Consider using the services of those who do Paint-less dent repair, this can be a good alternative to traditional body shop repairs for small dents and dings. These specialists use special tools to remove the dented metal back to its original position without the need of painting the car, the work usually are done in a day. If you have multiple dents to repair, you can negotiate a deal to repair several dents at the same time for less than it would cost to repair each of the dents individually.

If the windshield is cracked, you may need to replace it, depending on the location of the crack and how large it is, this could be a turn-off from potential buyers, a 4 inch crack near the driver's line of sight, which is also a potential traffic citation. If it is within reason, you might want to consult with windshield repair shop about whether a particular crack can be economically repaired. If you are trading your car in, the dealer will deduct this amount from the trade-in amount he is offering you. Bear in mind, that he most likely can have the crack or replace the entire window for less than you can. Usually your insurance policy will only cover $200.00 of the cost to replace. Also, consider the tires. If they are lacking tread, the dealer will have to replace them.

Sell your car "as is." You are not a dealer and you are not required to provide any type of warranty on the car. But be careful that you don't intentionally misrepresent the vehicle's condition, or the buyer "may have some legal recourse".

Include a statement in your bill of sale that the car is sold "as is," and keep a copy of the bill of sale for your records. The bill of sale will establish the date of sale and help protect you from any further liability.

Always ask for payment in the form of a cashier's check or money order to avoid any problems that can result from a personal check. Cash is ok, but provides no actual proof of exchange of monies. If you do, make out a receipt and both of you sign and date it.

The convenience of trading in your car is obvious, you encounter no advertising cost, no test drives to arrange, and no potential legal actions, if your recently sold car breaks down. Once a car is in the dealer's hands, it's the dealer's responsibility to prepare it and handle the resale. Trading in your old car is the easiest way to go. In fact, because even dealers of used cars generally want your trade-in, they make the procedure as easy as possible. Trading in a car is usually a same day transaction with minimal stress. The dealer assesses the condition of your car, its age, and other factors and determines its worth (trade in value)

Trade-in value is generally lower than the amount you could sell the car for yourself, but by trading in you save time, effort and potential after sale headaches. When you trade in your car to a dealer, you walk away, your task done!

Selling a car on your own is the best way to obtain high dollar, and it may be your only option if you are buying your next vehicle through a private-party sale. But be aware of the work involved. Preparing your vehicle for sale will take time, and depending on its condition may also cost you some money. Be sure to fix things well enough to avoid running into possible legal problems later on from your buyer, rare but always a possibility.

Take the time to examine both the trade-in and suggested retail values listed in the (Kelley Blue Book) for your car, you can determine an asking price somewhere between them. Also check your local newspaper's classifieds, car trader magazines and on-line sales containing used-car ads in order to determine local market pricing. Look for listings of vehicles similar to yours and compare their asking prices. Using multiple sources helps assure that you arrive at a fair and realistic asking price.

The next step is to advertise and field phone calls. Since most private party vehicles are sold through local classifieds or used car publications, start by placing ads in those but be prepared to advertise in multiple sources. Remember to calculate the costs involved. Consider that, sometimes a takes a week or months to sell your car. Other times, the first day.

To save a lot of trouble, set a realistic price, pre-set the lowest amount you will settle for. It is best to sell the car in the evenings or on week-ends. Set up your advertising in that manner.

Selling your car on Consignment is another option. You leave your car on a consignment lot, the dealer charges you about 10% (usually, there are also other fee's) commission. another trouble-free way to sell your car is through dealer consignment. They assume the responsibility with regard to detailing, display, and the sale of your vehicle for a price you determine. This arrangement frees hassles of selling the car on your own. More often than not, you will receive more for your car, than simply trading it in.

When you finally sell your car, you must sign the title over to them, and notify your insurance company of your actions, as well as a state required pertaining to the sale of an auto.



Shocks and struts are not easy to inspect, despite the fact that critical are highly susceptible to everyday wear and tear, that which effects the ride and handling. Most people do not even know what to look for, or where they are located (you will find them behind your tires, approximately in the middle of the tire). A visit to your local tire shop will solve your questions in a few minutes. It is recommend that you have them checked at 50,000 miles, This maintenance time that helps owners improve ride and handling performance and ensure adequate steering, handling and braking response in emergency situations, sooner if you are experience an unusual ride, stability or your car is diving forward when you are slowing or stopping.

The shock absorber is not a weight supporting device, and serves only as a damping device for the spring or torsion bar suspension system. The shocks keep the springs from oscillating freely after the wheels roll over road irregularities.
The strut shaft is also the shock absorber shaft, so it must be able to handle both vertical and horizontal load. It is a structural suspension member that takes the place of the upper control arm bushings and upper ball joint. They are not used to hold up loads in your automobile, that is the job of the springs.

Your Shocks and Struts play key roles in maintaining consistent, firm tire-to-road contact by absorbing impacts and reducing vehicle pitching and rolling. Without fully functional shocks and struts, your car tires can easily lose traction, leading to reduced steering and braking control.

Worn out shock absorbers can cause your vehicle to need more distance to brake, than those that are in good condition. Unfortunately, shocks and struts wear out gradual, the drive might not notice any change in handling, only when they are advised of the problem, does one notice the difference in ride and handling.

A light film of oil on the upper portion of the shock absorber & tube body is ok. If your shock absorber is dripping fluid, that is a sign of leakage, and the unit should be replaced. Do make sure that the leak or drip is coming from the shock and not something else.

Having your shocks replaced, takes less than an hour. Interestingly, they are not terribly expensive, considering what they do towards road worthiness and safety for your car.

Many small (not sport models, which are designed with handling in mind) autos lack quality and handling performance. The low mass of the vehicle combined with a lightweight strut suspension and rack & pinion steering means there is little comfort built in. Many small cars also fail to handle extra weight well, and bottom out when loaded with additional passengers and any cargo one can squeeze in. Also, the inability to haul much extra weight is one of the most common complaints from small car owners.

Occasionally, when a vehicle is in an accident or simply by riding up on the curb, the strut can get bent, you have no option but replace it.

When replacing shock absorbers, you will find that there are different ones suited for different purposes. Some for off road, some for sturdy ride and some for a real comfortable ride. Make sure you have the shop you purchase from explain the different applications, and which one is best for your car. Most often, you simply want to replace that which came with your vehicle.



1. Turn off your engine
2.Set your emergency brake.
3. lift your hood, if in doubt how to, it is listed at the top of this auto page.
4. Do not check the motor oil when the engine is running!
5. Locate the dip stick. If you don't have a owner’s manual handy, look on both sides of the engine. You will notice a protruding stick raising up with a finger pull or a "T" shape at the top. It will usually state "Oil", but not always. If your car has a automatic transmission, there will be another protruding stick, this one is for checking your Automatic Transmission. If in doubt which one is which, look at the appropriate "dip stick" and it will say whether it is for checking your Oil or Automatic (ATF) transmission fluid. Do not confuse the two!. They are totally different. The Oil in your engine is light amber brown in color; the automatic transmission fluid is Red in color.

Both containers are clearly identified as to which one is motor Oil or Automatic Transmission fluid, so look carefully. A mistake could be very costly!

Upon removing the dip stick for which everyone you are checking, wipe the dip stick with a rag or paper towel and put back into the tube, and then pull out again, you want a clean reading.

If, upon examining the oil dip stick, it reads "Low" or "add Oil", you will notice on top or on one of the sides of the engine valve covers a round 2 1/2" threaded knob, this is the oil filler hole, you will unscrew it counter-clock wise, there you will carefully pour in your needed oil. Do not overfill and avoid spilling it by using a funnel (many oil containers now come with a funnel top), if it gets on the exhaust pipe, it will smoke and smell for a while. Put in 1/4 of the quart and then re-check the level on the dip stick. The typical engine requires 4 to 5 quarts of motor Oil, when empty.

When it comes to adding Automatic Transmission fluid, you will check the level on the dip stick, only this time for the Automatic Transmission. You will observe, that when looking at the dipstick, it will say to check the transmission when the engine is running and to have the car in "park", It also makes a difference if the engine is warm or cold, as this will make a difference. The Automatic Transmission fluid is almost always poured directly into the tube that houses the automatic transmission dip stick. It is a little more difficult to pour the ATF in the tube. When in doubt, check your owner’s manual.

The next time you have your vehicle service, ask the technician to show you the procedure on checking both.



Excessive heat and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, this damaging the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, generator or alternator, allows too high a charging rate.

Inadequate charging can make even the best battery too weak to start your car, a few preventive measures will go a long way toward keeping a battery in good condition. The main safety concerns with batteries are the possibilities of severe shock and of explosion, with a consequent spray of sulfuric acid and battery disintegration (blowing up). A auto battery creates hydrogen gas, which is explosive and can be ignited by a spark. Always wear eye protection—safety glasses or goggles, when working with a battery.

Maintenance: Keep the cable connections clean and tight. If the battery has caps (many newer batteries have sealed tops, so you do not have to add water) that let you check the water level, keep it an inch down from the top of the cell. Your battery should be tightly clamped down, so it can't move.

Keep in mind that colder temperatures increase thickness of the engine oil, making the engine harder to turn over. The battery is not dead, it is simply having to work harder.

Note: If you place the jumper cables on the wrong terminals, your battery or the battery from the vehicle providing the jump-start, could very possibly explode. VERY DANGEROUS!!!

Jump-starting: If the battery is sound but too weak to start your car, the alternator will probably be able to recharge it as you drive. The first thing is to attempt jump-starting, this will often do the job. Before you get out the cables for jump starting, check your vehicle's owner's manual. Various manufactures advise against jump-starting to protect the car's electronics from a power surge.

In addition, some batteries have a "state of charge" indicator. A fully charged battery has a colored indicator, usually green (sometimes red). Black or clear means the battery is completely discharged and you should not try to recharge or jump-start it. Also, never try a jump-start if the battery's frozen. If your battery is deformed (bulging), it must be replaced.

Make sure to follow the procedure below, EXACTLY!

-Locate the battery. It has two terminals, each marked with a symbol: - for the negative and + for the positive. In some cars, the battery is difficult to reach, so there is often a more accessible remote positive terminal in the engine compartment.

-The good battery must be similar to the one in the car that won't start. The battery you use to jump start your car, must have a 12-volt system, years ago, many older cars may have six-volt systems. Move the car with the good battery close enough for the cables (many cables are 12' long) to reach the car needing a start.

-Turn off the ignition and all accessories on both cars; set parking brakes; put transmissions in park (automatic) or neutral (manual).

-Connect the cables in this sequence!

1. Connect one cable to the positive terminal of the weak or dead battery.
2. Connect that cable's other end to the positive (+) terminal of the good battery.
3. Connect another cable to the negative (-) terminal of the good battery.
4. Connect the other end of that cable to a ground on the car that won't start. ("Do not attach the cable to the negative (-) terminal of the dead battery") the engine block is a good ground. If in doubt, check your owner’s manual for a recommended ground.

A. -Start the engine of the car with the "good battery" and let it idle. It is best to allow it to charge the dead battery at least two minutes before attempting to start the car with the low or dead battery.

B. -Start the car with the bad battery.

-After you jumped start the car and it is running, disconnect the negative cable from its ground connection, then from the terminal on the good battery. Next, disconnect the positive cable from both batteries. If the charging system warning lamp stays lit and the engine dies, your alternator or battery are in need of replacement. If the light on the dash panel goes out, there's a pretty good chance the battery will recharge as you drive.

Replacing your Battery:

A healthy battery in 80-degree weather has only half of its output when the thermometer dips to zero.

When shopping, remember that a battery is rated by cold cranking amps (CCA), indicating its power and the reserve capacity rating (RC), which indicates how long your car's accessories can run and still have enough power to start the engine.

Since starting a car in cold weather can take up to twice as much current to turn over a cold engine, cars in colder climates would benefit from a higher CCA rating. Check your owner's manual for the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) minimum requirements needed for your car and select the battery adequate for you needs. Buying one with an excessive CCA rating may be a waste of money.

The more RC (reserve) the new battery has, the better, like a little extra shot of juice. The size and number of plates in a battery determine how many amps it can deliver. By having more and/or large plates, you can increase the normal life of the battery. This is what distinguishes a three-year from a five-year warranty battery.

If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it regularly, especially in hot weather



Automotive batteries need little attention. If your battery has removable vents, check the water level and add good drinking-quality water (distilled water is preferred) as necessary to maintain the level just below, but not touching the bottom of the vent (just below filling caps) wells. This will help extend the life of the battery. The green light (look down into a 1/4'" hole) on top of your battery indicates a healthy charged battery.



The first step to properly buying tires is knowing when your tires need to be replaced. The “penny test” is the most common method: insert a penny into the tire’s tread, and the top of Lincoln’s head should disappear. If it does not, the tread is low and the tires need to be replaced. When using the penny test, check each tire in the center of the tread as well as on both the interior and exterior edges to check for uneven wear.

Tire makers usually emphasize one quality or another for each product line. Some tires deliver superior traction on dry or wet roads. Others bite into snow. Still others are noted for excellent steering response, a smooth ride, or long tread life. Which to choose still depends largely on what you drive, where you live.

Another indication that it is time to buy tires is to note any uneven wear, particularly on the sides of the tire where the interior belts may poke through in extreme cases. If tires are uneven, the car may pull to the side or there may be excessive vibrations or other handling difficulties. Most new tires come with wear indicator bumps – small threads of rubber along the tread. When these bumps have worn off, it is time to consider purchasing new tires.

It is best to purchase new car tires in the fall, before the wet, slippery winter weather sets in. As tires wear, the surface area of the tread increases, which gives tires better traction in dry conditions but makes them more hazardous in wet or icy weather. Newer tires will provide better traction and control during the winter.

It is important to know what types of tires to buy when replacing worn tires. Always choose tires that meet or exceed the load capacity and safety ratings of your original tires, and be sure to choose tires that are a suitable fit for the size of the wheel and type of vehicle. There are more than a dozen basic types of tires to choose from, and it is vital to select a style that matches you’re driving needs. The most popular types of tires are:

-All season or all-weather tires. These are some of the most affordable tires and are engineered to perform well in all types of weather to a moderate degree, though extreme weather conditions (regular flooding, frequent snowstorms, etc.) may require specialized tires

Winter tires: Winter tires are the new name for snow tires. They feature tread designs and special rubber compounds made to grip well in deep snow and on ice. But the trade-off is often quick wear and compromised ride and handling on dry roads. Use winter tires during winter month’s only

-Heavy duty or heavy load tires. These are typically more durable than regular tires and are meant for vehicles undergoing considerable stress, such as rough roads, heavy hauling, or changing terrain.

-Performance or touring tires. These tires are engineered not only for exemplary performance, but also for aesthetic appeal and style. They are often chosen for sports cars or luxury vehicles.

  • Think about the terrain you cover frequently as well as the weather in your area. For most cars, all season or all-weather tires are a great choice. Keeping in mind that if you drive in an area with a lot of rain or snow, you want tires that provide good traction
  • Try to replace tires with the same ones that came with your car. You will find design, size, and brand information printed on your current tires, including the height, width, diameter, speed rating, load rating, and other crucial measurements.
  • Always have tires professionally installed. This is also the perfect time to have the tires balanced and aligned (rarely required, unless of an accident) if necessary. Be sure that if you are buying tires from someplace other than your dealer that you are not voiding warranties or other protection programs covering your car.
  • Care for tires by regularly checking the inflation to extend the life of our tires, as well as it helps with gas mileage.

If you purchase mismatched tires you may get an uneven ride and excessive wear on different tires, as well as possible handling difficulties.

Tire Rotation:

Tire rotation is switching the position of the four tires tire on the car. It helps to maintain equal tread wear and is critical to gain the maximum life for your tires.

Your owner’s manual states the recommended rotation interval and pattern; generally a rotation interval of 6,000 miles is recommended. The rotation pattern varies with different makes and models, which shows the tire locations during rotation. Some vehicles have different size tires on the front and back or directional tires. This limits the locations that a tire may take on the vehicle. When in doubt, check the owner’s manual. During tire rotation provides an excellent opportunity to have the tires and wheels balanced, as well as checking your brakes.

Spare Tire:
Many spare tires on today's cars are "much smaller" than your regular tires. They are meant to be used only in case of flat and only to be driven about 50 miles at low speeds. There primary function is to save trunk space, weight and get you to the nearing location for tire repair. They cannot be utilized in your tire rotation, as that is not their intended function.


Oil Stain Tip: When you want to get rid of oil stains and drops on your concrete garage or concrete driveway. Wipe up as best you can, and sprinkle Portland cement on it. Do not sweep off. After about two weeks, the stain(s) will fade or diminish.



Do not park your car over tall grass or piles of dry leaves. Your catalytic converter gets very hot (which is normal), and it is hot enough to start a fire in the dry grass and leaves.

The catalytic converter beneath your car is part of the automobile exhaust system. It converts harmful compounds in exhaust into harmless compounds. In a typical passenger car, the catalytic converter, which is similar in shape to your muffler, is between the engine and the muffler. The unit relies on receiving the proper mix of exhaust gases at the proper temperature. Any additives or malfunctions that cause the mixture or the temperature of the exhaust gases to change reduce the effectiveness and life of the catalytic converter.

Catalytic converters have been standard on U.S. automobiles since the mid-1970s. The catalytic converter helped push toward the exclusive use of "unleaded gasoline". Leaded gasoline contaminates the catalyst used inside a catalytic converter, destroying its usefulness and leading to a clogged converter.

After the engine exhaust gases pass through the catalytic converter, the gases go through the muffler. Some vehicles use a pre-converter as well, to perform a similar function. The catalytic converter generally lasts the life of the vehicle, actually it is rare to experience a problem with it being clogged or plugged or poisoned, during its lifetime.

The inside of the catalytic converter resembles a bee hive with tunnels and passage ways coated with catalysts. There are many passages for the exhaust gases to flow, allowing for a maximum amount of surface area for the hot gases to pass.

Catalytic converters become useless in the presence of lead due to catalyst poisoning. Catalytic converters must only be run on unleaded gasoline. Catalyst poisoning occurs when a chemical in the engine exhaust coats the surface of the catalyst, preventing further exhaust access to the catalytic materials. Poisoning can sometimes be reversed by running the engine under a very heavy load for an extended period of time to raise exhaust gas temperature Common catalyst poisons are lead, sulfur, zinc, manganese, silicon and phosphorus.

Removal of sulfur from a catalyst surface by running heated exhaust gases over the catalyst surface is often successful; however, removal of lead deposits in this manner is usually not possible because of lead's high boiling point. In particularly bad cases of catalyst poisoning by lead, the catalytic converter can actually become completely plugged with lead residue.

Of late, the theft of converters has skyrocketed, due to the precious (Platinum, Palladium and Rhodium) metals used in the production of the converters. Unfortunately, the units are easily removed, especially on SUV's, which are easy to crawl underneath for quick removal of the unit.

As to being able to tell of your catalytic converter is functioning properly, the only way to find out if a catalytic converter is malfunctioning (plugged) is to remove it and check the change in engine performance, this of course being done by a mechanic. Although, sometimes you can tell that a converter is clogged because your car will not go any faster when you push the gas pedal. Also, there usually is a noticeable drop in gas mileage associated with a clogged catalytic converter



To check the fluid in your automobile Power steering. Opening the hood, you will usually find the unit on the driver’s side, near the front with a rubber belt wrapped around the pulley on it. On top you will see a screw cap that says "Power Steering Fluid" Turn the cap counter-clockwise and lift up. You will note a short dip-stick coming out of it. Look closely and you will see the marks on it, which depict the level it is at. If it shows full or almost full, it is ok, if not, and it shows "add" pour in the required fluid. If you have your automobile regularly serviced, the technician should always check this off on the services performed sheet they provide you, when making payment. If you are not in possession of the proper fluid, visit your local quick-lube location and they will top it off for you, of course, for a charge. It is rare for a power steering unit to be low on fluid, so be on the look-out for a leak.

Allowing your power steering fluid to run low, can necessitate your having to replace, it due to excessive wear. When the pump stops functioning, the pressure drops and the power steering system loses its hydraulic pressure. Also, allow contaminants to get into your reservoir and pump assembly can allow small bits of the rapidly disintegrating metal to lodge themselves in the system and cause even more potentially expensive problems.

Although there are different types of power steering pump, they all require the hydraulic pressure of the power steering fluid to give you the strength to almost effortlessly turn the wheels Whether it is rack-and-pinion, recalculating ball, or some other new version. No matter which one, the power steering system will fail if the pump cannot generate the pressure required to push the steering mechanism back and forth.

Since the power steering fluid is constantly getting mashed around by pump and piston alike it requires regular attention. Checking the fluid level and changing and flushing at intervals recommended by the manufacturer will bring long life to the hoses, pistons, valves, seals, and power steering pump itself. Sight and smell are your allies when it comes to determining the condition of power steering fluid. The fluid should be clear, not cloudy, and should not smell burnt or toasted.  A power steering pump usually announces it beginning demise with sounds of groans and growls, as you turn the steering wheel left and right. 
These low groaning noises are particularly apparent when the system is under heavy load, such as parallel parking, this is where the power steering is at its peak of stress. While a small amount of noise at the very end of the steering travel is normal, continual groaning is not. Should your noise from the hood be moderate howling, this could merely be a sign of low power steering fluid level. When checking and topping off the power steering fluid, be sure to consult the vehicle owner's or service manual as to which type of fluid is the right one. Pouring in the wrong fluid or overfilling the system can cause serious damage. If the fluid is low? check the units’ hoses, fittings, clamps, since there should be no sign of fluid. Bear in mind, that if it is howling and not low on fluid, "the end is relatively near".

If so, it is either time for you to replace the pump, or have a new one installed by your mechanic. It is not necessary to replace you power steering unit with a new factory replacement, those from the secondary market are just as good, and cost significantly less. Do check that it comes with a warranty, the one advantage to having your unit installed at a automobile agency shop and a new factory replacement unit, is that they will replace the new unit if it is defective, at no charge, usually!




Gasoline pumps are commonly labeled regular, mid-grade, or premium. The difference in the fuel is the octane number. Regular is usually 87, mid-grade 89, and premium 92-93. The higher the octane number the more the fuel resists combusting under compression. If the octane rating is too low for your engine, the engine may “ping” due to the fuel igniting prematurely. It is wise to use the recommended octane number that is listed in your owner’s manual. Use higher octane fuel only if your engine “pings” or “knocks”. If your engine runs fine on the recommended octane number, stay with that grade of fuel and not waste money on a premium fuel.

Use Lower-octane gasoline: Buy the lowest grade or octane of gasoline that is appropriate for your car. Unless your car requires premium gasoline, filling up your car with high-octane fuel is a waste of money. That pricey premium fuel won't boost your car's fuel economy or performance in the least, so skip it.

If you're not sure what grade of fuel works best for your car, open up your owner's manual and take a look. As long as your engine doesn't knock or ping when you fuel up with regular unleaded, you're good to drive on this much cheaper gas. Passing on pricey premium gasoline could save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Don't top off: when filling your car's gas tank. Any additional gas is just going to slop around or seep out. Stop pumping at the first indication that your tank is full when the automatic nozzle clicks off. Also, gas will evaporate from your car's gas tank if it has an escape. Be sure to tighten up that gas cap each time you fuel up your car.

-Accelerate more gradually. Start off slowly, "the pedal to the metal"  just cause's the use of more fuel.

-Anticipate your stops. Watch ahead of you by a half a block or so, you can see a light changing red and take your foot off the gas earlier. By coasting instead of driving under power, you're burning less fuel.

-Drive a little more slowly. Going 5 or 10 miles per hour lower than the highway speed saves lots of gas, and probably won't add much time to your trip. (ever notice the car that flew past you, and a few miles later, that car was waiting at the next light)

-Warming up your vehicle in the driveway wastes gas, but, do drive slowly for the first few minutes instead to bring your engine to optimal driving temperature.

-Smooth, gradual acceleration increases fuel mileage; rapid starts waste gas. Try to maintain a steady rate of speed and take advantage of timed traffic lights.

-Avoid high speeds on the highway. As your speed increases, the aerodynamic drag increases in exponential fashion, so the engine has to work harder - and use more fuel- to maintain your speed and move the car through the atmosphere. Driving 62 mph instead of 75 mph can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 15%. If you have it, cruise control is a great way to maintain a safe, fuel-efficient highway speed while cutting down on fuel-burning deceleration/acceleration.

-Proper tire inflation and wheel alignment decrease road resistance and increase mileage. Check tire pressure monthly and rotate tires using your vehicles specific maintenance schedule.

-Drive less by planning ahead. Try to do all your errands in one trip and plan the most efficient route.

-Keeping your engine properly tuned can save you big bucks. DOE says fixing a car that's noticeably out of tune can improve gas mileage by 4 percent.

-You should check and replace air filters regularly. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car's gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.

Do not fill up at a gas station when they are getting fuel. Water is present in underground tanks and generally does not cause a problem since the fuel pick up for the gas pumps is several inches from the bottom. But when a semi-tanker is “dropping fuel” the water at the bottom of the underground tanks mixes with the gas. If you are pumping gas in your vehicle at that time, you may get excessive moisture in your tank.



Normal wear and road conditions can take their toll on your car’s steering and suspension system, possibly throwing the alignment settings out of specifications. Seek a reliable alignment shop to perform a four-wheel alignment on your car. Alignments have always been associated with only the front wheels, but this is no longer true. The vehicles rear wheels set the direction of vehicle travel; the front wheels steer the vehicle. Having all four wheels checked ensures directional harmony as your car goes down the road. Some common symptoms of your car needing an alignment include uneven tire tread wear, pulling to one side, and wandering.

While having your car’s alignment checked, it also the perfect opportunity to balance your car’s wheels.

Tire Wear and Directional Control

Camber, toe and toe-out on turns are tire-wear angles. If out of alignment, the tires will wear unevenly and faster than normal. Because camber is related to steering axis inclination, inclination can be considered a tire wearing angle. All alignment angles are directional control angles, which means they affect steering and vehicle control, such as the car traveling to the left or right, you having to always compensate for its pull.

Caster is the tilt of the steering axis of each front wheel as viewed from the side of the vehicle. Caster is measured in degrees of an angle. If the steering axis tilts backward-that is, the upper ball joint or strut mounting point is behind the lower ball joint-the caster angle is positive. If the steering axis tilts forward, the caster angle is negative. Caster is not measured for rear wheels.

Caster affects straight-line stability and steering wheel return. High positive caster makes the front wheels want to go straight ahead. A normal amount of positive caster provides stability and makes the steering wheel straighten out after turning. On the other hand, positive caster increases the effort needed to turn the wheel. Power steering allows the use of more positive caster than would be acceptable with manual steering.

Too little caster can make steering unstable and cause wheel shimmy. Extremely negative caster and the related shimmy can contribute to cupped wear of the front tires. If caster is unequal from side to side, the vehicle will pull toward the side with less positive caster.

Camber is the tilt of the wheel from true vertical as viewed from the front of the vehicle. Like caster, camber is measured in degrees of an angle. If the tire appears to tilt outward at the top, the camber angle is positive. If the top of the tire tilts inward, the camber angle is negative. You will not have uneven wear on your tires.

Zero camber-a perfectly vertical wheel and tire-causes the least tire wear. Positive camber causes the outer tread of the tire to wear more than the inner tread; negative camber has the opposite effect. Your car is designed with small amounts of positive or negative camber into vehicle suspensions to aid handling and steering. Normal camber angles have little visible effect on tire wear, but extreme camber causes irregular tire wear and shortens tire life.

Positive camber, like positive caster, affects straight-ahead stability and steering wheel return. As the vehicle turns, the outside suspension tends to rise on the wheel because of positive camber. When the wheel returns to straight ahead, the vehicle's weight presses down on the steering axis and helps straighten the wheel.

Negative camber resists the tendency of the tire to slip sideways during cornering. It also can increase steering effort. Most cars and light trucks are designed with positive camber, but many race cars and some high-performance street vehicles have negative camber.

Rear wheels usually have zero camber, but some independent rear suspensions are designed with some amount of (usually negative) camber angle. If front camber angles are unequal side to side, the vehicle pulls toward the side with the greater positive camber. Unequal rear camber also can affect vehicle handling.

Toe is how the wheels are aimed, as viewed from above. A pair of front or rear wheels aimed inward at the forward edges has toe-in; wheels aimed outward have toe-out. The toe angle for front or rear wheels is measured in fractions of an inch, millimeters or fractions of a degree.

Zero toe-wheels aimed straight ahead causes the least tire wear. Extreme toe-in or toe-out causes feather-- edged wear across the tire tread. Too much toe-in wears the outside tread edges, with feathered edges on the inside of each tread row. Too much toe-- out has the opposite effect.

Front wheels are usually toed in on rear drive vehicles and toed out on front drives to compensate for changes in the steering linkage and tires when the vehicle is moving. When the vehicle is moving, toe decreases because the wheels straighten out under acceleration and the steering linkage slightly moves.






They are convenient, they are time servers, they are wonderful in an emergency and they are a DEATHLY DISTRACTION, while driving. The number of accidents now due to Texting and Cell phone use while driving, is exponential in causing accidents. Hands free are an improvement, but it still a serious distraction to safe driving. But, at least your hands are free and you are not providing blind spots.

As to Test Messaging, which has now become a common practice, it is a disaster in the waiting
 There is
"NO WAY" you can safely drive a vehicle and do Text Messaging!

Should you consider yourself a prudent user of your cell phone, while driving, ask yourself next time, what occurred in traffic while you were on the phone. Do you have any memory of the traffic and conditions? No, you don't! You cannot perform two functions adequately. You are using the same portion of our brain, when driving or talking on the phone. You are simply driving by instinct.


Always dim your high-beam lights, when approaching other vehicles. “Your inaction", could very well cause an accident, with you!





Even if your vehicle is equipped with air bags, always wear your seat belt. If you don't, you may not be in the right position to benefit from the protection air bags provide. Remember, air bags do not protect you in a roll-over or side impact collision. Seat Belts are required in every state; otherwise, you will be cited.

Safety belts must be worn by all drivers and front-seat passengers age 8 and over even if the vehicle has air bags. It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that all front-seat passengers ages 8 to 16 obey this law. Anyone found guilty of disobeying this law is subject to a fine and court costs. Children under age 16 are covered by the Child Passenger Protection Act. A child up to age 16 not in a safety seat must wear safety belts regardless of the location in the vehicle.

Drivers under age 18 are required to limit passengers to one in the front seat and the number of seat belts in the back seat. However, during the first six months of their license (or until they reach age 18, whichever occurs first) they are limited to only one passenger under age 20 (except immediate family, including siblings or children of the driver). All passengers under age 18, with a driver under age 18, regardless of location in the vehicle must be belted. Exceptions are motorcycles and second division vehicles with only a front seat. In a second division vehicle, more than one passenger is allowed, provided that each passenger is in properly secured safety belts.

-Always wear your seat belt, and insist that your passengers do the same. One non-restrained passenger can seriously injure others in the vehicle

-Seat belts help prevent internal injuries by spreading the force of a collision across two of the human body's strongest areas: the pelvis and upper chest. To ensure the proper distribution of force, the lap belt should be positioned across the upper thighs, and the diagonal belt across the chest.

-Never slip the diagonal belt behind your body — the lap belt alone cannot prevent you from being thrown forward or out of the vehicle. Use the lap belt at all times, as well. Without this restraint, your body would be thrown under the diagonal belt and into the dashboard or steering wheel.

-Make sure your belt fits snugly against your body. If it is too loose, you could be injured by being thrown against the belt itself.

Child Passenger Protection Act

The Child Passenger Protection Act requires the use of an appropriate safety restraint system for children under age 16. Any person transporting a child under age 16 is responsible for that child’s safety. Children under age 8 must be secured appropriately in an approved child restraint system, which includes a booster seat. A child weighing more than 40 pounds may be transported in the back seat of a motor vehicle while wearing only a lap belt if the back seat is not equipped with a combination lap and shoulder belt.

Air Bag Safety Alert

Air bags must be used along with lap and shoulder safety belts. All children through the age of 12 should ride buckled up in the back seat. Child safety seats should never be installed in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger-side air bag. Drivers should sit as far away from the steering wheel as possible at least 10 to 12. Hold the steering wheel from the sides so that arms do not come between the air bag cover and the chest. Sit as though you were aiming the module toward your chest, not your face. Front passenger seats should be pushed back from the air bag, and passengers should avoid leaning toward the dashboard.

About every twelve minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from a motor vehicle crash. Trying to prevent these crashes is one part of motor vehicle safety. Here are some things you can do to be safer on the road: Most deaths in traffic accidents are due to the occupants being thrown from the vehicle. BECAUSE they were not wearing their seat belt.

-Avoid distractions
Don't drive after drinking alcohol or doing drugs
Don't drive when you are tired
on't exceed the speed limit
se car seats for children
Wear your seat belt


Never use your cruise control when driving in wet weather. If your auto begins to hydroplane, it will speed up and you will be further out of control.



The Single Broken line, The solid line with no break, The large lines separated by a large gap or wide solid line(s).
Do you know what these mean?
The Single broken line means that vehicle traffic moving in either direction can pass a slower vehicle.
The solid Line, means, NO PASSING
The Large solid lines about a foot or more apart, very solid in appearance, mean NO TURNING ACROSS THEM.
The lines on the road are there for a purpose (Specifically, to keep you from wondering, stay in the middle of them), straying over them, you could collide with the on-coming traffic or hit a pedestrian or cyclist on the other side.



If the cruise control is on when your car begins to hydro-plane and your tires lose contact   
with the pavement, your car will accelerate to a higher rate of speed making you take off   
like an airplane



Poor brake it may be difficult for you to stop the car. Brake related defects pose serious problem to your car. You should properly maintain your brakes. A complete and thorough annual inspection of your brakes is very important as well-maintained brakes will increase your safety when you are driving on highways.

The sound of metal scraping is a sure sign that you have a brake problem. Brakes have varying types of problems, almost always coming from the lack of lining to pads or problems with the calipers. Sometimes you can sense a problem because your car will pull to the left or right (not always a brake condition, sometimes front-end alignment or tire problem.) when you apply the brakes. Whenever you have an irregular feel while driving have your brakes inspected.

Your brakes can become weak due to overuse. The brake lining becomes hardened and they lose their power to grab or stop the rotation of the brake drum or rotor. If you experience a brake fluid lead, your brakes will be soaked up the fluid; you can also have a problem with oil or grease, which causes your brakes to become weak. If you have worn or glazed brake pads you will get grinding noises from the brakes. Sometimes it may happen that your emergency brakes are frozen due to rust. If such things occur the brakes will not release when they are supposed to. As a result, you will feel a drag during acceleration.

Have a annual brake inspection performed by your mechanic. He is going to check the brake pads from outside the front tire or through the openings of the wheel or rim. If the mechanic notes a pad depth less than ¼ inch, he will suggest that you change it immediately. You also need to change the brake pad if you hear a screeching sound on applying the brakes. If you see any fluid leakage or uneven pad wear know that you have to change the disk brake calipers.




· Don’t drink and drive. Don't drive when you're taking medication that will
     affect your driving.

  Always wear your seat belt.

  Obey the speed limits. Slow down when road and weather conditions are

  Don't take risks: don't cut people off in traffic, make sudden lane changes
     or run yellow lights.

  Don't drive when you’re tired, upset or sick.

  If you're in doubt, let the other driver go first — yield the right-of-way.

  keep a two-second space between your vehicle and the one ahead. To
     check your distance: start counting when the vehicle ahead passes a fixed
     object, stop counting when your vehicle reaches the same spot.

  Cut the distractions: don’t overcrowd the vehicle or play loud music.

  Always check your blind spot: look in your mirror and over your shoulder before you change lanes.     Check traffic in all directions before going into an intersection.

The Legal Speed Limit

Rural Areas:

55 mph. (unless otherwise posted)

City/Town Areas:

30 mph (unless otherwise posted)

Alleys/back streets:

15 mph

School Zones:

20 mph (school days between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
when children are present and signs are posted)

Highways  and Freeways:

65 mph is the maximum in almost every state for automobiles
and 60 mph for trucks.



Know these:
The vehicle's description, make, model, color.
The license number & VIN number.
Where the keys were in the car.
What personal property was in the vehicle.



FUELING TIP: Do not purchase gasoline when the tanker trucks are filling the stations tanks.
( the sediment in the stations tanks are stirred up and mix with the fuel, you are about to buy)



This is not the time to change the air temperature settings or adjust the radio.
Be weary of vehicles stopping for pedestrians or abruptly changing lanes.
Watch out for pedestrians and cyclist in all directions before making a turn at an intersection.
Watch for brake lights and turn signals of vehicles ahead of you, not just the one ahead.
Always stop behind the market stop line or crosswalk.
Make a complete stop at the stop sign.
Don't race a yellow light, and don't run a red light. Red-light running is the leading cause of intersection crashes.
Treat an inoperable traffic light as an all-way stop. "Stop", then proceed.
The vehicle on the right has the right-of-way.
Never pass a stopped School Bus, if the red flasher is blinking. This includes traffic in both directions.


Quick Tip: When polishing aluminum or chrome wheels on your car,

it is unnecessary to buy expensive wheel polish. You may

find that ordinary, white toothpaste works just as well.

Purchase it at the


Maintain the proper air pressure in your automobile tires, it aids in better gas mileage, better ride, tire life and safety. To prolong tire life, check air pressure monthly. Keep tires inflated to the recommended (found in your owner’s manual) PSI.

Detergent Oil
All modern multi-weight oils are detergent oils. this type of oil cleans the soot of the internal engine parts and suspends the soot particles in the oil. The particles are too small to be trapped by the oil filter and stay in the oil until you change it. These particles are what makes the oil turn darker. These tiny particles do not harm your engine. When the oil becomes saturated with soot particles and is unable to suspend any more, the particles remain on the engine parts. Fortunately, with the current oil change intervals the oil is changed long before the oil is saturated.

Non-detergent oil:
SAE 30, is not used in modern passenger vehicle engines. It is still used in some gasoline engines, such as lawnmowers.

Have your vehicle serviced (Lube, Oil and Oil filter) every 3,000 miles.

Have Fuel filters changed every two years or 24,000 miles.

Newer vehicles also have "cabin filters" filters for the air in your vehicle. They should be changed annually.

Rotate your tires at least every 8,000 miles, you will achieve longer tire life and even tire wear.

As a general rule, the belts and hoses on your vehicle, will last about four years or 40,000 miles.
(cracked or is glazed belts are a sign that they need replacement. Preventative maintenance now, beats broken down on the road).

Depending on your vehicle, Tune-up intervals range from 30,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on your car.
A out-of-tune engine will waste gas and may eventually stall or have starting problems)

Inspect the brake pads, linings and drums and rotors with each oil change. Squeaking can indicate worn brake pads.

Most vehicle manufacturers recommend changing the oil once a year or every 7,500 miles in passenger car and light truck gasoline engines. For diesel engines and turbocharged gasoline engines, the usual recommendation is every 3,000 miles or six months.

"Normal" driving is actually "severe service" driving. This includes frequent short trips, stop-and-go city traffic driving, driving in dusty conditions, and driving at sustained highway speeds during hot weather. For this type of driving, which is actually "severe service: driving, the recommendation is to change the oil every 3,000 miles or six months.

For maximum protection, most oil companies say to change the oil every 3,000 miles or three to six months regardless of what type of driving you do.

A new engine with little or no wear can probably get by on 7,500-mile oil changes. But as an engine accumulates miles it should be done more often.

To reduce the costs of vehicle ownership and maintenance, many car makers suggest the oil filter needs to be replaced at every other oil change. If you ask a mechanic, he will tell you every time you change the oil.

The oil filters on most engines today have been downsized, so they are not large, as they once were. Obviously, one can deduce that a smaller filter has less total filtering capacity. Even so, the little filters should be adequate for a 3,000-mile oil change. intervals -- but may run out of capacity long before a second oil change at 6,000 or 15,000 miles. Therefore, replacing the oil filter every time the oil is changed, therefore, is highly recommended.

The best way to dispose of used motor oil is to take it to your local parts store or other county run facility for recycling. Your old oil will either be refined into other lubricants or petroleum products, or burned as fuel.

Do not dump used motor oil on the ground, down a drain, into a storm sewer or place it in the trash. Many landfills will not accept used motor oil even if it is in a sealed container because it will eventually leak out into the ground.

-Follow the manufacturer's recommended change interval for severe service or have an oil analysis performed to see if you can use the normal service interval

-If you do the oil changes yourself then buy the oil and filters near the date of the oil change and keep a maintenance log with receipts

-Use an API certified 5W30 or 10W30 oil (whatever your manual says is preferred) and watch out for oil change places that force 10W30 on you

-Don't use oil additives

-Synthetic oil is a good choice if you have a high-performance engine or if you live in an extremely cold climate, otherwise it provides no benefit (but no harm either).

-Avoid engine flushes

-Check your oil after every other fill-up.

OIL FACTS 10W30 Vs 5W30:
Owner's manuals and service manuals will specify the acceptable oil to use at various temperatures. In warm climates, 10W30 is usually an acceptable alternative to the preferred 5W30 and may be used without measurable adverse effects. In the olden days, before multi-weight oils, it was common to have winter oil and summer oil. This is no longer necessary, but if you normally use 10W30 because you live in a warm climate then be sure to switch to 5W30 if you plan on using the vehicle in very cold weather. Vehicles sold in the U.S. use either 5W30 or 10W30 oil. The difference between the two is that the 5W30 flows better when cold, so if you live in a cold climate or operate your vehicle in a cold climate during the winter months, you should use 5W30 if it is the preferred oil for your vehicle. If you live in a sub-tropical climate and don't operate your vehicle in cold climates, then 10W30 is acceptable as long as the manufacturer specifies that it is permissible to use it.

10W30 is a one size fits all oil. Many older vehicles need 10W30, and most newer vehicles are okay with it in warmer climates. Many fast lube centers do not want to carry every type of oil, so many choose to carry only 10W30, which is ok, as long as it is does not violate your automotive warranty. (check your owner’s manual)

A clogged air filter affects your car's performance on a number of levels. It robs your car of power, as well as the effect a clogged air filter has on your gas mileage. It cost about $20.00 and takes about 10-15 10 minutes to change, depending on your car. This is a small investment for such an important engine function.


The cabin air filters in the cars or in the other vehicles of that type is a typical pleated filter that is placed at the outside of the area from where the air is intake in the car or the vehicle to the passengers compartment.

Some of the cabin air filters which are used in the vehicles are rectangular in shape of the consumption air filters. But some cabin air filters are also designed in the different shape and they are particularly designed to fit the available area of a particular vehicles air intake.

These cabin air filters in automobile have the function to stop the clog or dirt in the main cabin air stream. And they can significantly reduce the airflow with dust to the passenger’s compartment and from the cabin vents.

Consult your owner’s manual for the location of your filter, usually located under the dashboard, as well as the specific type and identifying part number, for replacement.


Carry a roll of duct tape in your trunk to fix a broken hose




Driving in the winter means snow, sleet, and ice that can lead to slower traffic, hazardous road conditions, hot tempers and unforeseen dangers. To help you make it safely through winter, here are some suggestions from the National Safety Council to make sure that you and your vehicle are prepared.

-Antilock brakes. The key is to let antilock brakes do its work, and that’s accomplished by applying to the pedal constant and firm pressure. That should prevent brake lockup and loss of steering. There is no need to pump antilock brakes multiple times, as is the case with older cars.

-Don't use your cruise control or overdrive when it's raining or freezing, or on icy roads.

-Wait out bad weather. The most difficult time to operate any vehicle is in snow and icy road conditions. If possible, wait out the bad weather until the roads are clear.

-Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you. That 16-foot truck in front or back of you, requires up to three times more distance to stop on a slick road. Larger trucks take even more. Always leave extra stopping space between the vehicles around yours on slick or dry roads.

-Don't get overconfident and assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four wheel and front wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

-Check all fluids and replenish, if necessary

-Have your tire tread depth and tire pressure check at your local tire retailer.

-Check to see that all lights and headlights are working and  properly aimed.

-Is your heater and defroster working properly?

-Change your windshield wiper blades; this should be done twice a year. Also, if they break, the metal holders can scratch your windshield.

-Keep your gas tank full to minimize condensation. This is also wise, in case of delay due to weather.

-Do not cut in front of trucks, they take much longer to stop.

-If you drive a four-wheel vehicle,

-Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.

-Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.

-Keep your lights and windshield clean.

-Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.

-Do practice careful driving on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might enter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.

-Don't pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you're likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.



Biodiesel and ethanol may be two alternative fuels you’ve already heard about. Biodiesel is largely used in commercial applications, while ethanol is most often used in passenger vehicles. Both fuels can only be used in vehicles with engines specifically designed to run on them. Ethanol-gasoline blends, however, are more versatile. More gas stations across the country are beginning to offer ethanol blends, like E85 and E10.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, E85 is a blend of 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol. While E85 can’t be used in conventional gas-only engines, Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) can run on ethanol, gasoline or any blend of the two. There are more than 6 million FFVs already on the road, and many automakers have announced plans to increase production and the variety of FFVs, according to the EPA. If you’re unsure whether you’re driving an FFV, look inside your gas tank door for an identification sticker.

E10 is a blend of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol and virtually every car built after 1980 can run on it. If you haven’t already seen it offered at gas stations in your area, chances are you’ll be seeing it soon.

Alternative fuels are made from renewable resources grown on farms; consequently, farmers have an immediate benefit. The second major economic benefit is reduced dependency on foreign oil.




Has Your Car’s Safety Net Been Compromised?


(ARA) – Are you driving around in a vehicle that’s an accident waiting to happen? If you have chips or cracks in your windshield, the answer may be “Yes.”

A lot of people ignore chips and cracks that are not in the driver’s line of sight because they figure they are no big deal, but that’s a big mistake. The windshield is a critical safety component in your vehicle and if it’s compromised in any way, it could fail you when you need it the most.

According to the National Glass Association, a trade group representing the glass industry, a vehicle’s windshield has three basic functions: to prevent passengers from being ejected from the vehicle in an accident, to absorb the impact when an airbag deploys and to support the roof. In fact, industry experts have estimated that windshields provide up to 70 percent of the structural integrity in a rollover accident, and if left unchecked, damage caused by rocks and flying debris could ultimately cause them to crumble rather than protect the passengers.

There’s also the issue of the approaching season change. Winter, and the cold weather that comes with it, is a compromised windshield’s worst enemy. If moisture gets into a crack, the constant cooling and heating of the glass can cause that crack to expand all the way across the windshield. And once a crack enters the driver’s line of sight, by law, the entire windshield needs to be replaced at a cost sometimes in excess of $500.

“It’s crazy to let that happen when there’s a simple solution that will only cost you a fraction of that amount,” says Brent Deines of Delta Kits, Inc., a leading manufacturer of professional windshield repair equipment and supplies, who estimates the average windshield repair job costs just $50 to $75. There’s also the convenience factor. Because the tools needed are so compact, repair services can be performed pretty much anywhere -- at glass shops, oil and lube shops, automobile dealerships, and even in the driveway of your home or business.

Here’s how it works. The service tech injects an optically matched acrylic resin into the damaged area of the windshield. The resin replaces air trapped within the damaged area, and is then cured (hardened), creating a molecular bond that strengthens the glass and keeps the damage from spreading. Once cured, the resin is leveled to be flush with the glass surface, and polished to a glass-like finish. When executed properly, the repair will be nearly invisible and unable to detect by running your finger over it.

“One of the best things about repairing versus replacing the windshield is that you don’t have to compromise the factory-installed seal,” says Deines. In addition, windshield repair is a more environmentally friendly service. The waste produced fits in the palm of your hand and weighs less than an ounce versus the waste from a windshield replacement which in addition to the damaged glass includes adhesive containers, primers, moldings and other non-bio-degradable materials -- well over 25 pounds worth!

It is estimated that 1 in 100 windshields on the road today receives repairable damage in a given year, which has made auto glass repair a growing industry and has also created a growing demand for windshield repair technicians. Depending on the system and techniques used, just about anyone can complete professional quality repairs with just a few hours of practice, so business opportunities abound.

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  • Examine the car using an inspection checklist. These are available in magazines and books and on web sites that deal with used cars;
  • Is the car value and price right, start negotiating from the beginning?
  • When buying from a private party, the warranty ends when you drive off. You have very little legal recourse.
  • Caution, no matter how good the vehicle looks, keep in mind that detail shops can do wonders to the appearance, beware.
  • Buying a car that needs some "minor" repairs. This usually results in spending a lot for repairs that never seem to end.
  • Don't buy a flooded car; it may look good and still be drivable but later a flooded car may develop many expensive to fix problems: corrosion, electrical, electronics, wheel bearings, transmission, etc.
  • Test drive the car under all types of road conditions. Listen carefully for noises. A noise means something is not right. Not something to be ignored.
  • Ask for the car’s maintenance record from the owner, dealer, or repair shop;
  • Hire a mechanic to inspect the car. It is well worth the cost, if the car is a lemon.
  • It is well worth the money to check the automobile for past accident history. Find out how to check the history using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This will provide you with past damage caused by previous accidents or a rolled back odometer. There are various web sites that can provide you with this information.

(ARA) - When it comes to buying a used car, you should not only bring in outside, professional expertise, but make a professional out of yourself, too.

By combining a physical inspection from a licensed mechanic (which you should always try to do), with the information directly available to you as a consumer, such as vehicle history reports, you can empower yourself with the knowledge and confidence you need to make the best decision possible.

No one will dispute that fact that uncertainty is the most prominent and unwelcome part of the used car-buying process. Since the first Model T rolled off the line, people have been fixing and selling vehicles without disclosing their full, and sometimes checkered, pasts. And, be it your first or 14th used car purchase, the questions always loom: Am I buying a problem vehicle? Has it been in an accident? How do I know this isn’t a lemon?

In this information age, you can arm yourself with the same information and techniques professionals use to answer these questions, and make an educated and confident used car purchase. These techniques include:

1.) Pedals and Steering: Examine the pedals for wear. While the paint and interior are often updated to make a car appear less worn, sellers rarely replace pedals. Also, with the engine off, jiggle the steering wheel back and forth. There should be less than 1 inch of play and no clunking noises. If there are, the car may need a steering gearbox, rack or other front suspension repair such as tie rod ends.

2.) Frame Damage: Never buy a frame-damaged car. Check the radiator core support, which connects the front fenders and holds the top of the radiator and includes the hood latch. It should be bolted, not welded on either side. Inspect the bolt heads at the top of the fenders inside the hood; scratch marks indicate that the fenders have been replaced or realigned after a crash.

Uneven tire wear is another indication of possible frame damage. When cars are involved in a major collision and frame damage occurs, the frame often remains slightly off keel and the tires will show this hidden problem.

3.) Paint: Carefully check the paint job, taking note of any rust spots, dents or scratches. Look at the sides of the car from end-on for waviness, which indicates paint work. Run your finger along the edges of the joints between panels; roughness indicates residue left from masking tape, uneven gaps between door, hood, and trunk panels and their openings indicate possibility of a major repair. Consider bringing a small magnet with you. If the body of the car is steel, then a failure of the magnet to stick can indicate the extensive use of body compound to conduct a repair. When using this trick however, keep in mind that many newer models use fiberglass for certain body panels.

4.) Fluids: Remove the oil filler cap. Check for signs of thick, dark sludge, which may indicate the vehicle didn’t receive frequent oil changes. Look at the condition of the coolant in the overflow tank; filthy brown coolant means a rusted cooling system and possibly a leaky head gasket. Pull the transmission dipstick; the fluid should be pink or red. An old car may have dark transmission fluid, but the oil should not look or smell burnt. Check underneath the vehicle for fluid leaks.

5.) Vehicle History Report: Beyond your own firsthand detective work, checking a car’s vehicle history is one of the most important things you can do before making a purchase. Vehicle history reports like Experian’s Auto Check ( pull data from various sources, including state department of motor vehicle records, auto auctions and dealers.

Auto Check now features the Auto Check Score, which assigns each vehicle a numeric score based on that vehicle’s specific history. In much the same way as a credit score distills large amounts of information into a simple, easy-to-understand numeric score, this first-ever vehicle score makes it easier to understand the vehicle’s full history and compare that car against the average score of similar vehicles.

Vehicle history reports factor in reported events such as title and registration information, accident, auction data, the vehicle’s emission history, whether it’s ever been repossessed or stolen, whether the vehicle has ever been a government car, police car or taxi and whether it’s ever been leased. The Auto Check Score does the analysis for you, helping you easily understand what a vehicle history report really says about that used car.

Becoming a savvier car buyer will not only allow you to make a better investment, but it can also protect you and your family from an unsafe vehicle. Gone are the days of simply kicking tires and staring blankly under the hood. With a little research and some careful inspection, you can steer clear of problem used vehicles.

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Under Lemon Law legislation, most states allow new vehicle purchasers to choose either a replacement or a refund if the vehicle can't be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts.  Lemon laws apply only to new vehicles, ignoring used vehicles are entirely void of any inclusion. If you have a leased lemon, you'll need to talk to your leasing company, as most state's lemon laws do not apply to leased vehicles.  You may need to contact the state's Attorney General's Office in addition to your own attorney if the dealership and manufacturer remain uncooperative.  

 Keep in mind, even if your car is a lemon, you are responsible for paying back your loan, no matter what happens to the vehicle. The manufacturer or dealer/seller is legally responsible for any problems you encounter, not the lender. 

After you purchase your vehicle from your friendly and honest dealer, legally their obligation is over, and yours begins, when you sign the sales purchase agreement and drive away.  In most states’ consumer products are covered by 3-day Right to Rescind (buyer's remorse) laws.  Unfortunately, motor vehicle sales and leasing contracts usually aren't covered.  Contact your state's Attorney General's Office for more information on buyer's-remorse law in your state.  If you find you don't like the car you bought, you're generally out of luck. If you bought a car from a private party, you have no recourse other than through your attorney or small-claims court.  Returning a leased vehicle is virtually impossible due to the amount of depreciation, paperwork, and fees involved.  If you believe you've been misled by a dealer, and have documentation to prove it, contact your state's Attorney General's Office and Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  If either feels you have a case, you'll need an attorney as well.  

Licensed dealers in all states are required to transfer title, registration and tags within a reasonable period of time, this is normally 7 to 45 days depending on your state.  If a month has passed since your vehicle's delivery and you haven't received your registration or title in the mail, call the dealer and ask for an explanation. If they cannot provide you with a satisfactory answer, call your state Attorney General, and ask for their intervention.



Aggressive driving has become a serious problem on our roadways. It is often caused by frustration, impatience and irritability. Drivers in this state of mind sometimes speed, follow other vehicles too closely, change lanes frequently or abruptly without signaling, pass on the shoulder or other unpaved areas next to the roadway, and in general drive recklessly.

All should take steps to avoid road rage, but by being courteous and treating other you share the road with, you make the roads safer for everyone.
Avoid talking on your phone, not to mention the fact that it is a distraction and causes blind spots in your ability to see all around you.
Tailgating is very dangerous.
Failing to use the turn signals, is not only neglectful, but can cause a head on collision, with the on-coming traffic, as well as the traffic behind you having to perform evasive action, usually into the next lane of traffic.
Not letting someone merge or change lanes. What is the rush? Is a few seconds really that important to you?
"Living" in the left lane. This lane is for passing, not for constant driving.
Speeding around vehicles in front. Because they are following the speed limit. Did you ever notice that nine times out of ten, that speeding vehicle that sped around you, "is at the signal, when you arrive".


Quick Tip: Your front wheel brakes wear out twice as fast as your rear brakes. Front brakes should last about 35,000 miles



Store your emergency supplies in a see-through plastic tote, in your trunk.

Be prepared for unexpected emergencies.
Be sure your car has

A spare tire and full of air.

A car jack and lug wrench
A flashlight with extra batteries.
A first aid kit.
Tire chocks (used to keep your car from rolling. One is placed in front of a tire and the other behind another).
Screwdriver and Pliers
Tow rope
2 or 3 large trash bags
Can (Flat tire temporary fix)
Tarp (at least 4X8)
Road Flares (at least 2 sticks)
A small shovel (military fold-up, is ideal)
Fire extinguisher

Sports Whistle in the glove box (you never know)
Matches ( in a waterproof container), or BIC lighter
Jumper cables ( a decent type, not flimsy and cheap).
Old Towel (2)
Bottled water and snacks, such as energy bars.
Always be aware of how much gas is in your tank, and how far to the next gas source.


Obey the Laws, Driving is not a right, it is a Privilege

(Recall Database)


"Over 80 percent of everything we consume, wear or drive, travels by truck. At any given time, there is only approximately 72 hours of food on our grocery shelves". Be ready



TIP: Copy this procedure and place in your glove box. It could come in very handy. You may not always have access to a cell phone.

Take the time to learn how to change a flat tire. You will never regret it. Because, when it happens, you could be stranded for hours.

Occasionally, a tire isn't completely destroyed when it goes flat. If the flat is caused by a nail or other sharp object, and you can't (due to danger) or don't want to change your tire on the side of the road, you could possibly gain yourself a few miles of by using a flat-fix spray. Follow the directions on the bottle carefully. In ideal circumstances, the spray foam will allow you to at least find a close by off-ramp and pull into a service station or a rest stop, before you have to change your tire, hopefully.


  1. Find a safe spot to pull over. If you're on the freeway, getting off is the safest bet, even if you have to drive on a blown tire. If at all possible? do not pull over in the medium of the fast lane, Unless, you have no choice. Otherwise, pull as far onto the shoulder as possible. Don't park in the middle of a curve, where approaching cars can't see you. Also choose a flat spot; you do not want to jack up your car on a hill, this is an accident/disaster in the making. If you have a manual transmission, leave your car in gear, and be sure to set your emergency brake!
  2. Turn on your hazard lights. Get the jack, wrench, and spare tire from the trunk of the car and bring them over to the tire that is flat.
  3. While the car is in gear (park, if you have a automatic transmission) Use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts. You may need to remove the hubcap (note, your lug wrench has one end, that resembles a screw driver, this is to pry under the hubcap and pop IT off). Do not totally remove the lug nuts at this point; simply loosen them by turning the wrench to the left (counter-clockwise). If the lug nuts are really tight, try placing the wrench on the nut and standing on the wrench arm to use your full weight (your hands on the car, for balance) on it. If that does not work, carefully try hitting the lug wrench arm with a rock or whatever is at hand (2X4)? A great aid is the use of a (breaker bar) 18-24" hollow pipe with a hole large enough to fit over the end of the lug wrench.
  4. Use the jack to lift the vehicle off the ground. Different car models may have different places to put the jack; consult your owner's manual for specific locations. Once the jack is securely in the correct spot, jack up the car until the tire is about four to six inches off the ground (you will need this additional space to replace the flat tire with an inflated tire).
  5. Remove the lug nuts and pull the tire off the car. Make sure to place the lug nuts in a pile that won't get scattered, and pull the tire straight toward yourself to remove it from the wheel base.
  6. Place the spare on the car. Line up the lug nut posts with the holes in the spare, and push the spare all the way onto the wheel base until it can't go any farther.
  7. Put on the lug nuts. Don't put them on tightly, just snug enough for the spare to stay on the car for a moment.
  8. Lower the car back to the ground. lower the jack to bring the car back down to ground level.
  9. Make sure the lug nuts are tightened. With the car back on the ground, you can now tighten the lug nuts. Rather than tightening them one by one in a circle order, start with one lug nut, tighten it about 50%, move to the "opposite" nut (across the circle) and tighten that one about the same amount. Keep tightening opposite lug nuts gradually in turn until each lug nut is as tight as it can be. Now, remove the jack from underneath the car.
  10. Place the flat tire and tools back in your trunk. Make sure you don't leave anything on the side of the road.



Infant-only seats are designed to protect babies from birth until they reach 20 to 22 pounds (about 10 kilograms) - sometimes more, depending on the model. Infant car seats should always be installed to face the rear of the car because in a crash an infant's soft spinal column can stretch and the spinal cord can be damaged if he or she is riding facing forward. When a baby rides facing the rear, the whole body - head, neck, and torso - is cradled by the back of the safety seat.

Infant-only seats often fit a newborn baby best and can be the optimal choice if you have the resources to buy another seat when your child grows larger. Many infant-only safety seats are also very convenient because they are designed to double as carriers, chairs, or rockers when not used in the car. Many models detach right from the base, allowing you to leave the base installed in the car.

A baby who weighs 20 pounds (about 10 kilograms) but has not yet reached 1 year of age should still ride in a rear-facing seat, because the baby's neck is typically not strong enough to support the baby's head in the event of a crash. It's a good idea to follow the height and weight guidelines on the child safety seat and you will want to keep your child in a seat that faces the rear as long as it's possible and the seat still fits.

This is where most parents turn their infants to the forward-facing position and switch to an infant seat designed for larger babies or a convertible seat for infants and toddlers. However, smaller children are simply better protected in rear-facing seats.

Convertible seats are designed to protect children from birth up to 40 pounds (19 kilograms). Convertible seats are the only type of seats that are placed in different positions depending on your child's age: They face toward the rear until your baby is 20 to 35 pounds (10 to 16 kilograms) and at least 1 year old and can be turned to face forward after that. However, many of the convertible seats on the market allow a child to remain rear-facing up to 30 to 35 pounds (14 to 16 kilograms). It is recommended that you use the seat rear-facing as long as the instructions allow.

Convertible seats are heavy and not very portable. Yet these types of seats can be economical because it may not be necessary to buy a separate infant-only seat. If using a convertible seat, make sure it fits your child correctly - a small child in a large seat may not be the best option. Models with tray shields should not be used for newborns - the shield comes up too high on infants and in a crash, the baby's face could hit the tray.

Upgrade to Booster Seats (40-80 pounds) When your child reaches the maximum weight allowed for the car seat or your child's ears have reached the top of the car seat; you'll need to switch to a booster seat. Booster seats are designed for children who have outgrown convertible safety seats but are still too small to be properly restrained by the vehicle's seat belts. Many states have passed laws requiring booster seats for children up to 8 years old and 80 pounds (37 kilograms), or 4 feet 9 inches (about 150 centimeters) tall.

Booster seats come in many styles. Belt-positioning boosters raise your child to a height where he or she can safely use the car's lap and shoulder belts. They come in high-back or backless models: High-back boosters are recommended when the car has low seat backs, and backless boosters may be used if the child's head is supported up to the top of his or her ears by the vehicle's back seat or head support.

Combination seats contain built-in harnesses that may be used up to 40 pounds (19 kilograms), but must be removed when the child weighs between 40 and 80 to 100 pounds (19 and 37 to 46 kilograms), depending on the seat.

Shield boosters (with no back and a shield tray in front of the child) are designed for cars with lap-only belts, but they do not provide adequate upper body protection for your child. If your car doesn't have shoulder belts in the back seat, consider having shoulder belts installed by the dealer. If that's not possible, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping any child who is older than 1 year and between 20 and 40 pounds (10 and 19 kilograms) in a convertible or forward-facing seat. Children who weigh more than 40 pounds (19 kilograms) should never use shield boosters unless the shield is removed and the seat is used as a belt-positioning seat with the vehicle's lap and shoulder belts.



Do not use any polish or wax on the car’s paint surface before checking your owner’s manual regarding recommended treatment.

-Always use wet cloth for wiping the car, after rinsing the paint surface with water first

-Never wipe dust off your car with a dry cloth or duster

-Wax your car after it's been washed, to avoid sealing in the dirt

-Do not wash, polish or wax your car in the sun when the sun is hot. It could streak or stain the paint surface

-For car covers use natural fabrics that breathe, like cotton. Make sure the car cover is secure

-Never use vinyl or plastic car covers in humid conditions. They trap moisture and could cause fungus.

-Always use soft (normal) water to wash your car.

-Do not use hard water (which contains minerals). It will leave a film on paint surface.

-Use car shampoos or polishes to wash your car.

-Never use laundry detergents or similar harsh soaps to wash your car. Harsh soaps will remove any protective wax plus the paints oil, which will dry out the paint and make it look flat.

-For acrylic finishes, use non-abrasive liquid polishes specifically designed for such finishes.

-Never use polishing or rubbing compounds on paints with a clear acrylic coating, the coating will become dull.

-Use rubbing compounds only when the paint surface is extremely oxidized (chalky) and does not shine, even after wax has been applied.
-Abrasive cleaners are extremely dangerous and can easily remove the paint & primer, leaving bare metal.

-Choose light colors, they retain their brilliance over the years than dark colors do.

-Dark colors are more susceptible to oxidation from the sun.


-To remove smudges and other small paint scratches (from shopping carts, etc., try using Goof off, it is a great product.

-Use covered parking or shade wherever possible.

-Avoid parking the car in the sun for an extended period of time. It will cause the paint to blister.

Cover paint chips as quickly as possible. For a quick fix until you can get some touchup supplies, dab a little clear nail polish on the scratch. Touchup paint can be found for virtually every vehicle ever built, including antiques. Use the paint code number shown on the identification plate located on a door jamb, in the glove box, under the hood, in the trunk under the carpet next to the spare or wherever else the car maker has hidden it. The owner's manual will tell you how to find it.

Serious rust damage, including a hole right through the metal, can begin with a minor scratch in a parking lot from a shopping cart. Steel is strong and lasts a lifetime when it's protected, but when that protection is invaded, the metal is exposed to the elements. That's when rust begins its invasion.

NOTE: Be careful about using silicone-based wax. The wax penetrates all layers of paint. Paint touch ups are more difficult in this case.


Quick Tip:  Install new windshield wipers, annually, or more often, if necessary.



You think you have found an honest mechanic? call around to check out the prices for certain jobs. A second opinion never hurts.

How about some preventative medicine? Keep your gas tank filled.  Also, driving on a very low tank allows little pieces of dirt at the bottom of your gas tank to run through the fuel lines with the last drops of gas. This debris clogs up the fuel filter and can cause carburetor damage as well.

Sometimes a problem with your car’s electrical system results from a simple blown fuse. Look in your owner’s manual for the location of your fuse box. Check to see if you have any blown fuses. Chances are, you will also find a spare fuse in the box.

If your vehicle starts to use a lot more oil than usual, it is best to visit a agency or your local mechanic, to find out the problem.

Did you know? That for every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.12 per gallon for gas.

Save your brakes by having your brake fluid changed every 30,000 miles.

If you only use your car for short trips. Stop and go traffic is hard on vehicles. Take it out for a ride on the highway at about 55 mph for about a half hour, this get the bugs out, as well as charging up your battery.

If your car is an older model, you might want to drop collision coverage to save money. But, remember there are consequences, if it is damaged, you get nothing.

If your automobile has anti-lock brakes, car alarms, air bags, drivers with few tickets and no accidents, as well as good students, contact your Insurance agent to see if you qualify for a lower premium, it certainly does not hurt to ask.

Many Katrina vehicles are out there, as well as others that have been damaged by floods and hurricanes. These once damaged vehicles are usually a terrible experience, about to happen, to you. Beware of new carpet in used cars. If the vehicle does, smell under the seats and be more thorough in your pre-purchase examination.

If you are uncertain of the car you are looking for, or have suspicions, contact They share information on inspecting a used car.



-The impact of a crash generates an electric signal, which ignites an explosive. That heat sets off a chemical reaction, which produces gas to fill the air bag. The entire process takes place in 1/20 of a second, that is less than the blink of an eye..

-When fully inflated, a driver-side air bag is about the size of a large beach ball. Passenger side bags being two or more times larger. Hitting a curb hard can activate an air bag. Since the sensors measure deceleration, anything that suddenly and unexpectedly significantly slows down or stops your vehicle, can activate the bag. But even the hardest braking generates only a fraction of the force necessary to activate an air bag.

The Bags deployment and subsequent impact on the driver, is similar to that of a punch in the face.

Air bags were designed with adults in mind: They need to open at up to 200 miles per hour to protect an average-sized, 165-pound male from injury. While this force is appropriate for adults and bigger kids, it can be dangerous for smaller passengers, possibly resulting in head and neck injuries. Protect your child from air bag injury by following these rules:
All children 12 years old and younger should always ride in the back seat, and in the middle of the back seat whenever possible. All passengers must have their seat belts buckled.

Air bags present a serious danger for babies riding in rear-facing car seats. Never place a rear-facing infant seat in the front seat of a car that is equipped with a passenger-side air bag. The safest position for a child seat is wherever it fits securely in the back seat.

A convertible car seat or booster seat should be placed in the back seat. If you have no choice and must place a car seat in the front, push the seat as far back as it will go.

Note: Congress passed a law in 1995, which allowed car manufacturers to install a manual cut-off switch that temporarily disables a passenger-side air bag. As recommended by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if you must place a car seat in the front seat (that is, if your car is a two-seater or if the car seat will not fit in the back seat) and your car has this cut-off switch, disable the air bag for the duration of the ride. Be sure to switch the air bag back on when you remove the car seat.



Cars vs. Trucks---"REALIZE THE SIZE"

They are not created equal. A loaded semitrailer weighs more than 26 times as much as a passenger vehicle. The semi also needs 30 yards more stopping distance than your car, when you are both traveling 55 mph. As speeds increase, so does the need for extra stopping distance.
Over 5,000 people die each year in crashes involving large trucks. And a majority- more than 70 percent those fatalities are passenger vehicle occupants. The passenger car drivers being responsible for the majority of these fatal encounters.

The "No" ZONE is the restricted sight experienced by a semi. Be aware of them.

When you can't see the truck's side mirrors, the driver can't see you. On the sides, along either side of the cab almost to the middle of the trailer. Anywhere from directly below the windshield up to 20 feet in front of the semi.

Your Teenagers and Driving:
Teach your young drivers the basics about their cars before they get the keys. If you don't know much about automotive maintenance/ repair, do yourself a favor and learn it along with your kids. Here are a few tips:

  • Explain that all cars, new and old, need regular attention. Make sure your teenager knows and follows the maintenance schedule for his/her car. In addition to making a car safe to drive, preventive maintenance can save a lot of dollars during their lifetime of driving. What you teach your child today, will be with them the rest of their life.
  • Teach your teenager that, the only way to drive is the safe way!
  • Bad grades and the keys are gone. Grades, miraculously go with without wheels.
  • Your teen driver (up to 18 Yrs.) cannot drive with more than one occupant in the car.
  • Make sure that your teen knows the laws. One ticket and they are off the road for at least 6 months.
  • Familiarize your child with the owner’s manual, it is a must read. It is full of information about the car that your young driver may never know unless he/she is familiar with your automobile.
  • Up to age 18, you are responsible for your teen’s actions. They do damage and you are liable for all.
  • Take your future driver to a agency, the tire store, the body shop and wherever you have automotive work performed. This is a great way for them to familiarize themselves with the mechanics of cars.
  • Have a emergency plan with your young driver? Discuss what to do if the car breaks down, they are involved in an accident, who to call in case of emergency, if the parent(s) are not available.



Your automatic transmission is a marvel in engineering, dating back to early 1900. The main difference between a manual and an automatic transmission is that the manual transmission locks and unlocks different sets of gears to the shaft to achieve the various gear ratios, while in an automatic transmission, the same set of gears produces all of the different gear ratios. The transmission uses gears to make more effective use of the engine's torque, and to keep the engine operating at an appropriate unbroken speed.

Driving a vehicle with Automatic Transmission demands little effort, you simply place the shift lever in drive and your off. Also, your transmission requires very little attention and minimal maintenance through its life. The main maintenance task being to make certain that is always is full of Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF). Upon reading your owner’s manual, it will state the service frequency for maintenance to be performed on the filter/screen maintained by a transmission shop or auto agency.

Your transmission should shift smoothly and quietly under normal increased acceleration. The higher the increased acceleration will produce firmer shifts at higher speeds.  If shift points are erratic or you hear noises when shifting, you should have it checked out immediately.  Whining noises coming from the floorboard are also a cause for concern. Have it checked out ASAP.

There are a few things though to watch out for that will provide telltale signs of impending trouble.

-If you spot red oil leak on the floor, the color of Red that is coming from your car, you should have your check to see if it is coming from your transmission or possibly from your power steering system (most power steering systems also use transmission fluid and leaks can appear on the ground in roughly the same areas as transmission leaks. You do want to watch a leak closely, because should the transmission fluid levels get below minimum levels serious transmission damage can occur.

-You should check transmission fluid levels when the vehicle is running. Remove the transmission dip stick (look in your owner’s manual for its location) and check the fluid for color and odor. Transmission fluid is Red in color. If the fluid is cloudy or muddy, or it has a burned odor, you should have it checked by your lube and oil technician. (It is best when dealing with Automatic Transmission, that you have your problem looked at by a specialist in automatics. In the case as outlined above, your specialist will most likely recommend that you have the transmission drained (In most cases during these transmission services, only about half the oil can be removed from the unit. This is because much of the oil is in the torque converter and cooler lines and cannot be drained without (if you’re this far down, it won't hurt to have them drain the converter, while accessible, it does hold quite a lot of fluid) major disassembly of lines. The fluid change intervals are based on the fact that some old fluid remains in the system.

It is not recommended that you perform repairs to yourself (this is not week-ended project for the beginner, as well as it is messy). The service is performed by a technician with know-how, tools, and requires the car on a hoist for the removal of sections of the lower assembly of the transmission for access to the screen/filter and torque converter.

When these above circumstances occur, it might be wise to have your transmission serviced while there. This way you know that it will most likely be trouble free for the next 25,000 miles. When the pan is down, the technician can check for metal shavings and other debris which are indicators of impending transmission problems. Hope for none.

Each manufacturer of transmissions recommends a specific fluid designed in conjunction with their model, addressing their own formula. Some automatic transmission fluids will not work properly with incorrect formulas. Be sure to look at your owner’s manual as it will tell you which fluid is required for their transmission. If the you purchase aftermarket transmission fluid, do check on the specifications on the container, making sure that they meet or exceed your particular transmission. If it says that it meets the criteria, then is is generally safe to use.


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