National Tire Safety Week – How to Maintain and Inspect Your Tires

How often do you think about your car tires? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly? When you have a blowout? This week, May 29th-June 4th, was designated by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) as National Tire Safety Week. This is a great time to think about tires since Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer driving season. The group coins the slogan “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” to remind you to take 5 minutes during the month to check your tires. The key to remember is that tire maintenance and safety is a something you should think about all year long.

Light vehicles manufactured after September 1st, 2007 were required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to have Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). As a result, vehicles equipped with TPMS have a significant reduction in underinflated tires (See the NHTSA study). But having a vehicle equipped with a TPMS does not replace manually inspecting and checking your tires. According to the RMA “only 17% of drivers are ‘tire smart’ or know how to properly check tire pressure.” Check out their Tire Safety Fact Sheet.

Example TPMS Indicators

Example TPMS Indicators – Image © Rolling Hills Publishing/Auto Upkeep


So let’s look at the RMA acronym PART – Pressure, Alignment, Rotation, Tread. Correct tire pressure is critical to tire wear and vehicle handling. Tire pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) or kilopascals (kPa). Improperly inflated tires can lead to tire failure. Look in your vehicle for the tire placard (usually on the driver’s side door or door post). Use a quality air gauge to check tire pressure at least once a month – and don’t forget about your spare. Note: Some cars no longer come equipped with a spare tire to save weight, manufacturer cost, and cargo space.


Tire Placard Example - Image © Rolling Hills Publishing/Auto Upkeep

Tire Placard Example – Image © Rolling Hills Publishing/Auto Upkeep


Checking Tire Pressure

Checking Tire Pressure – Image © Rolling Hills Publishing/Auto Upkeep


Proper wheel alignment optimizes vehicle handling, maximizes fuel economy, and minimizes tire wear. Have your vehicle’s alignment checked if you have any indication of the vehicle “pulling” in one direction, when specified in your owner’s manual, and when you purchase new tires.


Abnormal Tire Wear

Abnormal Tire Wear – Image © Rolling Hills Publishing/Auto Upkeep

Terms used to describe how a tire aligns with the road are caster, camber, and toe.

Caster as Viewed from the Side

Caster as Viewed from the Side – Image © Rolling Hills Publishing/Auto Upkeep

Camber as Viewed from the Front

Camber as Viewed from the Front – Image © Rolling Hills Publishing/Auto Upkeep

Toe as Viewed from the Front

Toe as Viewed from the Front – Image © Rolling Hills Publishing/Auto Upkeep


Moving tires from one location to another is called tire rotation. The front tires tend to wear faster than the back since they absorb turning forces, carry the engine weight, and support the added weight that shifts forward when braking. Rotating tires improves tire life by evening out tire wear. After rotating tires, check tire pressure according to the tire placard on the vehicle. Follow your owner’s manual for tire rotation intervals (usually 5,000 to 8,000 miles) and recommended rotation patterns. Note: Some tires are directional, designed to roll in only one direction and should not be moved to the other side of the vehicle unless they are dismounted from the wheel, flipped, and remounted.


Example Tire Rotation Patterns

Example Tire Rotation Patterns – Image © Rolling Hills Publishing/Auto Upkeep

It is important to torque lug nuts in a star pattern with a torque wrench. Torque refers to getting all of the lug nuts to the same tightness. Check your owner’s manual for proper torque specifications.

Lug Nut Star Patterns

Lug Nut Star Patterns – Image © Rolling Hills Publishing/Auto Upkeep


A tire with very little tread is more likely to lose traction or hydroplane on wet roads. Tire wear indicator bars run perpendicular to the tread providing a visual, tool free inspection of tread depth. Tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch. A tire is legally worn out when tread reaches 2/32nds of an inch, the same level as the indicator bars. Using the penny test, place the penny upside down into the tread. Lincoln’s head is approximately at 2/32nds of an inch. (See Measuring Tire Tread Depth with a Coin by

Wear Indicator Bars

Wear Indicator Bars – Image © Rolling Hills Publishing/Auto Upkeep

Ideally, you should consider replacing your tires at 4/32nds of an inch – by using a quarter to measure tread depth vs. a penny. A study by Tire Rack showed that stopping distance is significantly reduced when a tire has 4/32nds of inch of tread vs. 2/32nds. (See Car And Driver article New Tire Tests Show the Quarter is the New Penny)

In addition to a quality air gauge (Car Tire Pressure Gauge is less than $10, Truck Tire Pressure Gauge is about $20), consider purchasing a tread depth gauge (buy one for about $5). A tread depth gauge is a simple device to measure the actual amount of tread remaining on your tires.

Tread Inspection

Tread Inspection – Image © Rolling Hills Publishing/Auto Upkeep


To learn more about tires, check out RMAs Tire Care & Safety Guide. Are you a visual learner? Check out to watch videos about tire maintenance and safety.

The ultimate guide to specifics about your vehicle is your owner’s manual. Crack it open and read it. To learn more, check out my book Auto Upkeep. Auto Upkeep helps keep you safe and your vehicle reliable by providing easy-to-follow information with detailed pictures and drawings. Discover how to choose a quality repair facility, buy a car, handle roadside emergencies, diagnose common problems, and communicate effectively with technicians – all while saving money. Over 100,000 copies have been sold!

Auto Upkeep

Auto Upkeep – Click to Look Inside the Book that has sold over 100,000 Copies

About the Author

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities.

After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. As an Assistant Supervisor of Career and Technology Education, he supervised over 60 teachers in Career and Technology Education. Currently Mike works full time supporting over 500 teachers and thousands of homeschoolers that use Auto Upkeep.

April is National Car Care Month – What should I do?

Spring is here…well in most places in the United States. While the lakes are still unthawing in Northern Minnesota and the students are returning from sunny Florida’s spring break climate, getting your vehicle ready for the summer travel season may be on your to-do list.

Understanding the Statistics

Did you know that according to the non-profit Car Care Council that approximately 84% of vehicles on the road need parts or service? Some of the more common issues were low or dirty fluids, worn out wiper blades, dirty air filters, and tire inflation or tread issues. Check out the complete list at Did you know that the average age of a vehicle on the road is 11.5 years? With over 250 million vehicles registered in the United States, does your vehicle need some type of maintenance?

Fluids to Check

Review your owner’s manual. Determine when fluids need to be serviced. Become familiar with the fluid locations under your hood. If you are unsure of any fluid locations, don’t guess, as mixing up different types of fluids could be detrimental to vehicle components and could cause a dangerous driving situation. If you are more of a hands-off person, that’s OK, take it to a quality repair facility with ASE Certified Technicians. When adding fluids, more isn’t better. Do not overfill fluids and do not interchange fluid types.

Read Your Owner's Manual

Read Your Owner’s Manual

Oil Change Interval

Back 20 years ago, it used to be accepted to change the oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Today many vehicles use a computer system to determine when the oil should be changed. The computer monitors engine revolutions, engine temperature, and miles driven to calculate the appropriate time for an oil change. Just picking an interval number isn’t that easy. It depends on the type of driving that you do and where you drive (e.g., dusty roads). One of your oil changes may be at 7,500 miles, while another at 5,000 miles. Follow your owner’s manual recommendations. And make sure the computer system is reset properly every time you do have your oil changed. Use the correct viscosity (SAE rating) and service type (API rating). When the oil is changed, grease the steering, suspension, and drivetrain systems that have grease zerks.

Air Filter

Air filters clean dirt and dust that is drawn into the engine. Inspect the air filter at every other oil change. Manufacturers recommend replacement anywhere from 24,000 miles to 45,000 miles. But this again depends where you drive. Below is a common way to check/change the air filter as illustrated in my book, Auto Upkeep.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 12.29.32 PM


Inspect tires for wear and check tire pressure. The correct tire pressure is located on the tire placard on the driver’s door jamb. Rotate tires every 7,500 miles or as recommended by the manufacturer. Follow the rotation placement by the manufacturer. And don’t reverse directional tires (these are tires intended to move in one direction). Directional tires can only be rotated front to back.


Sample Tire Placard


Walk around your vehicle and inspect the all lights – headlights (low and high beam), turn signals, brake lights, and parking lights. Replace as necessary.

Wiper Blades

Visually inspect your vehicle’s wiper blades for cracking, wear, pliability, and tears. Replace in pairs.

Serpentine Engine Drive Belt

The engine’s crankshaft transfers motion to engine components such as the water pump, alternator, air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, and mechanical fan. If this belt breaks, your vehicle is stuck on the side of the road. And with most newer serpentine belts, they may not show any visible damage but may be completely worn out. The rubber on belts wears away similar to a tire, losing rubber, but not necessarily cracking. Use a belt wear gauge or app to inspect your vehicle’s belt.


Inspect hoses for cracks and leaks or if they are excessively stiff or real spongy.


Coolant is as important in the summer as it is in the winter. A coolant’s boiling point and freezing should be determined. A 50% water to 50% antifreeze mixture is commonly recommended. This will yield a -34 degrees F freezing point and a boiling point of about 226 degrees F. Many extended life coolants last over 100,000 miles. Follow the change intervals in your owner’s manual. You can also use coolant test strips to test coolant effectiveness. To learn more about your cooling system, check out these videos at

Cabin Air Filter

The cabin air filter cleans the air that you and your passengers breathe. The purpose of this is similar to the filter in your home’s HVAC system. Check your owner’s manual for the location and interval change requirements. These commonly last two years – but again this is dependent on where the vehicle is driven.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid should be replaced according to your owner’s manual. Unfortunately it is commonly neglected. Many manufacturers recommend replacing the fluid anywhere between 2 to 4 years. Brake fluid can be tested for contaminants. Considering how important your brakes are to safe operation, this maintenance item should not be overlooked. You can also use brake fluid test strips to test for fluid contamination.

Battery Load Test

A battery can be as much of a problem in the summer as it is in the winter. Stop by a local parts store or service center and have your battery load tested. The load test simulates the load your starter and accessories put on your battery. It can provide an early warning sign to determine when to replace it. Many shops and parts stores will do this for free. For example, O’Reilly Auto Parts will test it. Batteries commonly last 5 years or so.

Spark Plugs

In the “old” days, spark plugs were changed every year. Today’s plugs commonly last over 100,000 miles. Follow your owner’s manual recommendations.

Interior and Exterior Care

Vacuum out all that dirt that has accumulated over the winter. Use only properly formulated car wash soap to wash the vehicle and find a wax that is safe for your finish.


The ultimate guide to specifics about your vehicle is your owner’s manual. Crack it open and read it. To learn more, check out my book Auto Upkeep. Auto Upkeep helps keep you safe and your vehicle reliable by providing easy-to-follow information with detailed pictures and drawings. Discover how to choose a quality repair facility, buy a car, handle roadside emergencies, diagnose common problems, and communicate effectively with technicians – all while saving money. Over 100,000 copies have been sold!






Time to Change Your Spark Plugs?

Whether you have a Honda Civic or Chevrolet Corvette or anything in between, you will need to change your vehicle’s spark plugs eventually. Check your owner’s manual to see when the manufacturer recommends replacing. I remember back in the 1980s and 1990s changing plugs every 10,000 to 25,000 miles. The technology that DENSO has created allows plugs to go over 100,000 miles. If you want to get the maximum economy, power, and endurance out of your engine then it is time to start shopping for spark plugs. Are all spark plugs created equal? No!


Spark Plug Basics

At the end of the spark plug wires are the spark plugs. Spark plugs are screwed into the cylinder head, exposing the tip in the combustion chamber. The tip of a spark plug has a ground electrode and a center electrode. These electrodes have to withstand thousands of volts and extreme heat. The center electrode on a spark plug is commonly made of copper, platinum, or iridium. On standard spark plugs the ground electrode is just a flat bar. DENSO has taken the spark plug to a whole new level.

Photo - Denso - Iridium TT Spark Plug - Spark Plug Profile

What Make’s the DENSO Iridium TT so Special?

Instead of just a flat grounding bar, DENSO scientists and engineers put Iridium and Rhodium into the DENSO Iridium TT. Iridium, a chemical element, is considered the most corrosion-resistant metal known on earth. Rhodium, another chemical element, is an extremely durable metal. Rhodium is an extremely rare element and is inert against corrosion and most aggressive chemicals. The combination of these two elements causes the Iridium TT spark plug to resist oxidation and voltage wear – even in the most severe engine temperatures and conditions.

To make a highly technological spark plug, DENSO’s scientists and engineers had to create a special 360-degree laser welding process. This process allows the precise manufacturing to take place – to create a twin-tip spark plug with the world’s smallest diameter center electrode. The combination of Iridium, Rhodium, and the twin tip maximizes firing, improves combustion performance, and increases plug life. If you want to change your spark plugs only once about every 100,000 miles – then you need to consider DENSO Iridium TT Spark Plug. Watch the video below to learn more.

What to do next?

Check out the DENSO website to locate where you can purchase these advanced spark plugs. Either install them yourself or locate a quality repair facility and request they use a plug that will deliver the horsepower, torque, fuel economy, and that will last 100,000+ miles – the DENSO Iridium TT. And best yet…DENSO is offering up to a $16 rebate on their Iridium TT until March 31st, 2016. Check out the rebate at:

Where to Buy

DENSO Auto Parts are located at quality retailers around the country. To locate a brick and mortar or online retailer, go here:

About the Blogger
Michael Gray is the co-author and publisher of Auto Upkeep – a textbook used by over 500 schools in North America to teach Intro to Auto, Basic Auto, and Car Care courses.

About the Post
This is a sponsored blog; while the views expressed here were genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me by DENSO to review this product.

Is Your Car Ready for the Polar Vortex

The Polar Vortex is moving into the Northeast. Is your car ready for these cold temperatures?

Maintenance Schedule

First and foremost follow your manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. Make sure you use the correct viscosity of oil. Many vehicles today use SAE 0W20 or SAE 5W20, but always check your owner’s manual.


Have the antifreeze (coolant) tested for freeze protection (don’t open a hot radiator cap). You can buy an inexpensive antifreeze tester for about $10. A 50/50 mixture of antifreeze/water mix is good to -34 degrees F.

Wiper Blades

Inspect and test your vehicle’s wiper blades. You can install bracketless wiper blades or ones that are rated as winter wiper blades. These types of wipers are not affected as much by snow and ice.

Gas Lines Freezing

Keep your gas tank full to avoid condensation. If condensation occurs inside the tank, you may have a gas line freeze.


Check the tire pressure and tread depth. The minimum tread depth is 2/32nd of an inch…but 4/32nds is more realistic – the deeper the tread the better. Make sure you follow the pressure requirements that are listed on the tire placard (inside the driver’s door). Tire pressure decreases 1 psi for every 10 degrees F drop in temperature. If you live in an area that gets lots of snow, consider true snow tires. Winter/snow tires have special deeper tread designs, are more flexible than all-season tires, and are made to better handle snow and ice. Look for tires that have a “snowflake on the mountain” symbol. The key here is that you need to put your all-season tires back on when winter is over. Consider purchasing a used set of wheels from a salvage yard so you can keep your winter tires mounted on those wheels (rims). Then you would just need to swap out the wheel assembly during the winter months. Always replace snow tires in a complete set of 4. If you need additional traction for extreme situations you can consider purchasing tire chains or tire traction socks.


Have your battery load tested. Did you know that many parts stores and service centers will load test your battery for free? According to Interstate Batteries, a battery loses 33% of its starting power at 32 degrees F and about 50% when the temperatures go below Zero. When buying a new battery compare apples to apples. Some batteries are rated at Cranking Amps, while others at Cold Cranking Amps. When batteries are rated at Cranking Amps they have been tested to deliver a specified number of amps at 32 degrees F. Cold Cranking Amp rated batteries have been tested to deliver a specified number of amps at 0 degrees F.

Battery Blankets

A way to boost the energy of the battery is to keep it warm. Battery blankets are available from about $40. Don’t use the battery heater when temps are above freezing.

Block Heater

If you live in an area where the permafrost is a part of your life, consider having a block heater installed. A block heater element when plugged into a standard outlet will keep the engine warm – resulting in easier startups and less emissions.

Winter Survival Kits

Consider purchasing a prepackaged kit or make one on your own. Keep a flashlight with batteries, gloves, winter clothing, first-aid kit, ice-scraper, small can of sand for traction, energy bars, bottled water, and jumper cables. Make sure you buy quality jumper cables. The gauge of wire makes a big difference in transferring the needed amps from one vehicle to another. Jumper cables with 4 gauge wire run about $30 as opposed to 10 gauge cables that cost about $10 – the lower the number the better/bigger the wire size.


Don’t drive if you don’t have to when the weather is dangerously cold or roads are slick. Telecommute if possible. Don’t drive faster just because you have 4WD. Add a local tow truck company’s number to your cell phone contact list for emergencies. Having a AAA card or towing on your insurance is also a plus.

Oil Glut = Cheap Gas. What does this mean for Tesla Motors?


I live near Springfield, Missouri. Today I saw gas prices as low as $1.16 a gallon. That is cheap gas. Possibly too cheap for growth in the alternative fueled industry. Tesla Motors stock has been getting hammered this year…recently hitting a low of $141.05. The 52 week high was $286.65. What is driving this volatility? Is it $30 a barrel oil? Is it Tesla’s inability to post a profit (or at least a small loss)? Or is it just the characteristics of a complicated automotive startup looking to change the automotive industry?

Earnings Report February 10th, 2016

Tesla reported a loss… Read the CNBC article. The electric automaker continues to ramp up efforts to deliver its new Model 3 in 2017. In the meantime, Tesla looks to deliver up to 90,000 Model S and Model X vehicles this year. If it can, in the midst of an oil glut, it would be impressive. In addition to vehicles, remember that Tesla has another iron in the fire…the battery production facility – “Gigafactory”.

Electric Vehicle Demand

So what will drive consumers to electric vehicles if gasoline stays between $1.00 to $1.50. According to the Tesla Fourth Quarter & Full Year 2015 Update, Tesla Motors plans to increase Model X (their new SUV) production to 1,000 a week in the 2nd Quarter of this year. Does cheap gas impact sales of Tesla Models? According to the report, Tesla stated “our customers tell us they value a Tesla vehicle more for its superior performance, technology, safety, lower environmental impact and style than for its ability to save money on fuel.” Tesla is probably right. If someone is going to spend over $70,000 on a Model S or X, gas prices probably don’t matter. The key question is…will that philosophy continue to work when they sell the less expensive Model 3 in 2017?

The Ultimate cheat sheet on tyre brands this 2016

Written by a Guest Blogger

Every car lover would agree that for the ultimate driving experience, the car should be equipped with the right kind of tyres. Without the right tyres, even the most expensive or luxury car would offer a poor ride. Most of us do not give a second thought to the kind of tyres on the car when we buy a new car. However, when it comes to replacing the worn out tyres, things may not be as easy as it should’ve been. There are plenty of options from several tyre brands making it hard to choose.


Image Credit

Yokohama Tyres: Yokohama is a well-known brand that has performed consistently over the years. Their tyres are impressive and come with excellent features to suit dry and wet conditions. Responsive handling, better tread and good grip make these tyres suitable for summer conditions too. The makers offer tyres for all kinds of vehicles, including family cars, making them a favourite choice of people around the globe. The brand could find favour among the buyers this year too.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 8.18.26 AMImage Credit

Hankook tyres – Equally impressive are the tyres from Hankook. They have been around for many years now and offer good tyres that offer balanced grip on both dry and wet roads.

Cooper Tyres – This brand has a strong presence in the truck tyre line-up. Cooper offers all-terrain tyres with good grip to suit all weather conditions. The company also offers all-season tyres for cars, which have earned great customer confidence.

Michelin Tyres – A well-known brand, the Michelin tyres are preferred for their perfect combination of great handling, better fuel economy, a good grip and long tread life among others. Another attraction is the tread wear warranties on all replacement tires. However, these tyres aren’t cheap and hence people with a low budget may prefer a rival brand.

Continental Tyres – A worthy contender for Michelin tyres, this brand offers great handling and impressive grip on dry and wet roads alike. Adding to the charm is the affordable pricing.

Goodyear Tyres – Goodyear is one of the most preferred tyre brands for trucks. High-performance tyres with triple tread feature, the all-season tyres from Goodyear is remarkable. If you are looking for an all-season tyre with snow traction, this could be the best brand for you.

Pirelli Tyres – This brand supplies tyres primarily for sports cars. Although the tread life is not something the company can take pride in, Pirelli offers reasonably good tyres with dry and wet grip as well as good handling. These tyres are offered for ordinary cars too.


Image Credit

Although many more brands of tyres are available to choose from, it is always advisable to choose a tyre that suits your vehicle. Don’t go for a trendy brand but choose according to your need. Refer to the tire placard in the driver’s door jamb for the proper tyre size. Furthermore, for a good driving experience, make sure that the tyres are correctly inflated (refer to the tire placard) and the wheels are properly aligned.

How to Stay Safe in Your Car

Written by a Guest Blogger

Car accidents are frequent, for a reason. Driving a vehicle is a very dangerous practice. This is where there are so many strict laws about driving in our country. Staying safe in your car means following a certain set of rules. So here’s what you need to know!


Keeping you car tyres right and in good knick is super important. Your wheels are just one sharp object away from a puncture, and potentially, a nasty accident! So, be sure to give your tyres a once over before driving, especially on long journeys. Equally, your tyres must be pumped (inflated) to the correct air pressure in order to function properly. If one tyre is more deflated than the other, then your steering will be affected, which is less than ideal. Likewise, you don’t want to over inflate your tyres. Follow the tyre pressure recommendations on the tyre placard posted on the driver’s door jamb.

Eyes On The Road

It may sound simple, and it’s probably the first thing you got told on your first ever driving lesson, but it’s true! Keeping your eyes on the road is the thing that will keep you safest when driving your car. Avoid texting or using your phone to make calls while driving at all costs! This is not only illegal but also incredibly unsafe – hence, why it is law in some locations! Similarly, don’t fiddle with SatNav systems, in car stereos or similar when the vehicle is moving. These things can all be done when you are stationary. Furthermore, you must not eat or drink at the wheel, this can be incredibly distracting and horribly messy too!

LED Headlights

If you do a lot of night driving, then it may be worth investing in some LED headlights. These are incredibly bright in comparison to their halogen equivalents and are sure to keep you safer on the road. You will be able to see road signs and markings a lot easier. Plus, if you do a lot of overtaking, oncoming traffic will be far more visible. This is due to the increased reach of LED headlights as opposed to that of halogen ones. Give them a go!

Wear Your Seatbelt

Another basic, but not something that everybody remembers to do! Always wear your seatbelt whenever you drive your vehicle. Even if you’re just heading around the corner! Notably, you are also responsible for the safety of everybody else travelling in your car. So, be sure to enforce the wearing of seatbelts amongst all of your passengers. It’ll keep both you and them safe in case of the worst!

Things to Consider Before Buying a Used Car

Written by a Guest Blogger

Buying a used car is an affordable option for motorists who don’t want to spend large sums of money on a new model or want the opportunity to purchase a high quality car for less. There are many bargains out there because most new cars lose their value quickly, even though they’re still in excellent condition.

However, used cars for sale come with certain risks. You need to be aware of these risks so that you don’t suffer the same fate as many people who have spent their hard earned money on used cars that broke down or had other problems shortly after being purchased. These are some of the most important things you should consider before purchasing a used car.

Check the Condition of the Car

Many things can go wrong with a car. When someone is selling a used car, they often hide these car problems in order to get a higher price for their vehicle. Rust, mechanical problems, poor fuel efficiency and damage to the body work are just some of these problems which can have serious consequences for a car buyer later.

Check for signs of damage or other problems with a used car. If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of a car bring a mechanic with you when you’re viewing a car. These professionals know what to look out for and will let you know if the car you’re interested in has any problems and is worth the money the seller is asking for it. If possible, get your mechanic to test drive the car for you too. They will notice any problems with a car when it’s actually operating.


Most buying decisions are determined by the price of the item being sold. Buying a used car is no different. The good news is it’s never been easier to compare used car prices and find out what price a car should be selling at. Most car dealers like have their own websites with an inbuilt used car search facility. Other marketplace websites list used cars from various dealerships and private sellers. This makes it much easier to compare prices and know how much a car should be selling for.

History of a Used Car

Some used cars are not always what they seem. A seller may tell you one thing about a cars history, but the truth may be totally different. Before parting with your money, make sure the seller gives you all the necessary documentation and service records for the car you’re buying. If you’re not sure, bring someone involved in the motor industry with you to make sure everything’s above board before make a final decision about purchasing a particular vehicle.

With so many different used cars on the market, it’s difficult to know which vehicle to choose. However, taking your time, researching the market and getting the proper advice will prevent you from making a serious mistake and making a buying decision you’ll regret in the future.

Eliminate or Reduce Depreciation on your Car – the Choice is Yours

Written by a Guest Blogger

Running a car is an expensive business; first you have the cost of actually buying a car, then you have maintenance costs, insurance, fuel and the list goes on. So why do you do it? Well, most of us have little or no choice in the matter; you need a car to travel to and from work, to visit family and friends or to ferry the children from one place to the next.

This begs the question, if you have to run a car, then what measures can you take to reduce its depreciation and save money in the long term. Here’s some practical advice on how to get the most out of your hard-earned cash.

One way to avoid losing money through depreciation altogether is to go down the car leasing option. Leasing a car is becoming more and more popular because you get a brand new car without any hefty upfront costs and because it’s a brand new car it will have a warranty that will cover the costs of breakdown repairs. Also, new cars don’t need MOTs and are unlikely to need money spending on them due to wear and tear. And of course when your contract runs out, you simply hand the car back to the lease company without having to worry about selling it on.

If leasing is not for you, then there are several ways in which you can help reduce the depreciation on your car.

What to do

First, before you purchase a car check online to see if the car you have in mind is reliable. Once you have a car look after your car properly, this means regular servicing and upkeep of the service history and trying not to run up the mileage too quickly. Keeping your car for longer, depreciation occurs most quickly in the first three years and then slows down. Finally, buy a car with some green credentials, these are lower on fuel costs and cost less to tax.

What not to do

Don’t buy a car in an unpopular colour, it will depreciate quicker than a car in a popular colour like white or black. Avoid unpopular makes and models, they are cheaper for a reason and don’t pay over the odds for a car that has lots of fancy gadgetry and technology as these quickly go out of date.

It is difficult to avoid spending more money than you would like to on motoring, but being sensible and considering your options carefully will help you get the best value for money.

On and Off the Road Again: Winter Safety Tips Just for Truckers

Written by a Guest Blogger

Truckers have no choice but to drive in the winter. So, if you’re in this unenviable position, here’s what you need to do to stay safe during the winter season.

Monitor The Weather

If you have a smartphone, this should be easy. Just keep an eye on the weather. Download a weather app, and have it send you alerts before your trip. If you have a screen in the cab, or a way to project the smartphone’s screen onto a larger, fixed, screen, you should do that so you can monitor the weather while you’re on the road.

Knowing about bad weather in advance can help you make plans to either reroute yourself or stop in somewhere until the weather clears up (if possible).

Plan Out Your Trip

Plan out your trip and route yourself around bad weather. It you know a storm is coming through, for example, you can avoid it if you’re willing to take a different route than the one the company had originally planned out for you.

Of course, you don’t want to go too far out of your way, but a slight detour might let you drive ahead or to the side of it, completely eliminating, or mitigating, the danger.

Check your Equipment

Check your equipment before you hit the road. When winter weather strikes, make sure that all your lights are working, that air is drained from the trailer and the truck’s tanks, and that there are no contaminants in the brake lines. Check your tire pressure too.

If you’re driving through snow, you may need to stop periodically to knock off the tire flaps and undercarriages. This could prevent damage to your rig, but also prevent an accident on the road if packed ice manages to break loose.

Carry Extra Equipment

During winter months, carry extra equipment with you, like chains, bungees, reflective tape or vests, kneeling pads, a non-battery-powered flashlight, waterproof gloves, boots with good traction, extra warm clothing, anti-gel, and extra windshield washer fluid.

Know A Good Lawyer

You’ll also want to know a good lawyer, as truck accident lawyers can be very helpful if you’re involved in a crash on the road.

Keep It Slow

Drive slow. While you do have deadlines, you shouldn’t risk your life to meet them and your trucking company shouldn’t expect you to.

Know Evasive Maneuvers

If you feel the back of your truck start to slide, and the trailer breaks loose, you probably know what’s about to happen: jackknife. It’s a situation no trucker wants to find themselves in – especially newbies.

But, there are ways to correct it and get yourself out of trouble. While there’s no foolproof way to avoid losing traction in bad weather, you can minimize the risks by never using the clutch or engine brake when the traction is lost. Let your foot off the pedal slightly and steer into wherever the trailer is headed. So, if she’s breaking to the right, you turn into it, for example.

This should get you out of a precarious situation and save your life as well as those around you.

About the Blogger

Jamie Dean works at a large haulage company. During his 10 years of working around trucks and truckers he has picked up some tips which he shares through his writing. His articles appear on trucking/haulage sites and business blogs.