Written by a Guest Blogger
After a long cold winter, there are many things that you need in order to prepare your car for those warm summer rays. You have the option of taking your vehicle for quite an expensive checkup prior to getting those summer tires put back on, or you can take a few minutes to makes some notes online and save that money for an amazing summer vacation.
As the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (2014) puts it, not only will preparing your vehicle for the summer help extend the life, but it can also put a much higher retail value on the vehicle when it comes to sell.
Before getting started it is important to know what needs to be checked.
Switching the Snow Tires to Summer Tires
This is usually the one thing that most people won’t forget to do. We all know how bad it is on the treads when you’re winding through cobble stone streets with the winter tires still on, so this should be a no brainer when it comes to preparing your car for the summer. Defining the word ‘bad’ in this situation can easily be explained in Transportation Research Board’s Special Report (2006). The amount of funds that go into replacing tires on vehicles reaches over $20 billion in the USA every year. One of the biggest reasons for having to replace your vehicle’s tires is because of overuse or use in the wrong seasons/weather conditions.
Checking the Windshield Wipers
If you have been driving around in slushy road conditions, chances are you may already know how well your windshield wipers work. When you leave your car parked outside in cold weather conditions, they take almost everything nature can throw at it, including snow, sleet, hail, and a whopping amount of road salts. Check out your wipers to make sure they are working properly, they are free of rust and they are tightly secured onto your vehicle.
Get Under the Hood
You may not be an expert mechanic, but before you take your vehicle into a shop and get a hefty bill at the end, try checking into certain parts of your car that may be easier to understand. It’s getting warmer out so pop open that hood! Checking the coolant level is fairly simple, make sure your car is not running, you are standing a clear distance away and opening the cap wearing gloves. Check in on the level of coolant, it may have gone down over the winter months. If this is the case, simply fill it back up to the line. Coolant can be purchased at most gas stations or vehicle shops for little to no money. Next, check your oil. Pull out the dipstick, wipe is clean with a cloth and put it back into the dipstick tube. Again, remove the dipstick and check if it is around the ‘full’ marking. If this isn’t the case, top it up with some oil. If you haven’t had an oil change for a while, now is probably a good time to get this done. While you’re under the hood, just make sure nothing is leaking or looks out of place and don’t forget to top up your windshield washer fluid.
Get in the Car and Run Some Tests
Pretend you are preparing for your first drivers education exam again, hop in that driver’s seat and do a test on everything you can. Get those brakes pumping, have someone stand outside of the car to check your signal lights and brake lights. Turn off the heat you’ve been using all winter and check out your air conditioning (please note: not all vehicles have air conditioning units). In the Belfast Telegraph (2006), they even mention the importance of running your tests. Think about getting ready for the summer, but also do not forget, you could be saving lives. For example, in the Belfast Telegraph (2006) they reported that over 10 people could survive each year in Northern Ireland if we simply checked our lights more often.
The Final Summer Make Over
Last, but certainly not least is the final summer make over! If you know how to do it right, this can be extremely cost effective and can make your car look like new again. Check out the salt stains, the built up rust perhaps building up under the car or the dirt/bust lining your car windows and doors. If you are lucky, you may be able to get away with a quick car wash and call it quits. For most cars, you will need a serious make over to get them ready for the summer sun! So in order to get the most out of your efforts use the following tips:
- Start with a basic car wash, get rid of all the easy dirt and dust lining the cars edges
- Use a car pressure washer for those hard to reach places and that stubborn grease and dirt stuck on the doors, the hood and the tires.
- Don’t forget that harsh sun conditions can also damage your car so make sure to polish it up with some wax to protect the paint and keep your car looking like new
Written by a Guest Blogger
If you have decided it’s time you changed the look of your car but are yet to make up your mind on whether you should go for the traditional paint job or a vinyl wrap, here is a head to head comparison of the two options.
The highest quality vinyl wrap when installed professionally will cost you between $1,500 and $3,000. This includes the cost of custom graphics. A traditional paint job; again depending on the professionalism of the job and both the quality and color of the paint; costs between $5,000 and $15,000, inclusive of any graphics. So at the cost of a single paint job, you may be able to get between two and five vinyl wraps.
If you are planning to sell your car in the future, it might be best to pick a vinyl wrap. That way you’ll have the chance to remove the wrap and return the car to its original color, which often leads to a higher resale price. Cars with original manufacturer paint are easy to resell, but if you apply a new coat of paint your choice of both the color and quality of paint combined with the quality of the job can influence prospective buyers.
Time taken to install
Wraps can be completed within two days, including graphics. Paint jobs on the other hand can take week or more before the job is fully done. If it is custom painting, you may have to wait to for even longer. This can leave you short of transportation options for a substantial amount of time.
Longevity and safety or removal
The life spans of both vinyl wraps and paint jobs depend on exposure to environmental factors. Nonetheless, vinyl still comes out on top. High quality vinyl-wraps last longer, and are safe and easy to remove. If a car was to be wrapped in quality vinyl and garaged, its life span would increase by between five and seven years. Even after that long, you’ll still be able to safely and easily remove the wrap. Paint jobs generally last between three and five years, but painting also permanently changes the appearance of the car.
Unlike traditional paint, vinyl wraps also protect your car. For example, all surfaces covered by the wrap will be protected from direct, prolonged exposure to the sun. The wrap also protects the paint underneath from rock chips, debris and bug stains.
Ease of maintenance
Vinyl wraps are quite easy to clean; you will never have to wax your car again. With water and soap, you can hand-wash vinyl wrap to a sparkling new look. If there is any tough dirt, simply get a microfiber rag and a 70% alcohol solution and your wrap will look new again.
While paint jobs are actually quite popular, vinyl wraps easily win this race. Not only are they cheaper, they are much more cost effective in the long run and help maintain the resale value of your car. Wraps also give a wide range of options to choose from and are very environmentally friendly.
Owning a minibus can be great fun; they can be excellent to take on road trips, and may even be helpful for large families. While they aren’t as large as a full coach, they are often big enough to carry 15+ individuals. They are also exceptionally useful for those who require group transportation for a business. This makes them an ideal choice for schools, daycares, residential care centres, hospitals, and more. Proper maintenance of these vehicles requires an understanding of how they work, and how they differ from a car or truck. Both seasonal maintenance and regular maintenance tasks are required for these vehicles.
In the United Kingdom, the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA) outlines guidelines for maintaining a minibus correctly. It is vital that you follow their outlines to ensure safety and legal status of your minibus. You should engage in regular checks–in fact, your minibus should be checked on a daily basis at a surface level if it is used each and every day.
Periodic Maintenance Checks
You should run periodic maintenance checks on your minibus. Special attention should be paid to certain areas to ensure that they are in ideal shape each and every day. You should:
- Check all first aid kits to ensure that they contain all items
- Ensure fire extinguishers are on the minibus and charged
- Verify that passenger lifts are in working order
- Check all passenger restraint systems
- Check wheelchair clamps
- Review webbing restraints
- Verify that each seat is in working order
- Check the heating, cooling, or air conditioning systems
In addition to these points, you should also check mirrors, oil and window fluid levels, and transmission fluid levels weekly.
Change Your Oil Periodically
Changing your oil is just as important on a minibus as it is on a car. Your oil should be changed every three to four months, or every 3,000 to 7,000 kilometres. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, most garages should be able to handle the job in just a few hours. If you do decide to change your own oil, make sure that you have thoroughly reviewed the process, and check within your owner’s manual or service manual for model-specific issues. Also remember that used engine oil needs to be recycled.
If your minibus is used regularly, you should evaluate the tyres at least once per week. This will ensure that your tyres are properly filled with air and free of holes. Monitor for issues while driving; it’s common to feel a slight bump on one side if you’ve got a flat. A tyre gauge can be kept in the dash or within your tool kit for quick verifications.
When Your Minibus Breaks Down
When your minibus breaks down, it’s important to visit a certified garage who knows how to deal with these larger machines. Be sure to ask whether the company handles minibus and coach vehicles. Repairs are typically fast, but may take a few days. If you need a coach to provide you with transportation while your minibus is being repaired, Coach Hire.
Written by a Guest Blogger
For the typical Jeep owner, the vehicle is a dependable everyday runabout and also a great off-roader that offers excellent ruggedness for the occasional camping trip. This is the kind of all-purpose use that the Jeep is built for. Some people, though, need their Jeeps for very rough terrain.
When you drive a stock Jeep over extremely rugged ground, the travel of the suspension can be so great that it causes the wheels to bump against their wheel wells. In such cases, modifications to the vehicle may be called for — you may need to get suspension lifts that have the effect of raising the suspension and making the vehicle sit higher on top of the wheels. Jeeps kitted out with extreme lifts become capable of unbelievable levels of punishment. Their suspensions are so tall that they can have their wheels independently twist in wild angles to grip the terrain.
Jeeps kitted out with lifts help with more than just suspension travel – they also allow the use of larger tires than come with the stock Jeep. Larger tires can mean smoother travel over rough terrain.
To be sure, not every Jeep lift enthusiast goes for lifts to be able to use his vehicle in harsh conditions. Sometimes, people just get them for the way they give their Jeeps an aggressive look.
How do you pick a lift kit?
Successfully lifting a vehicle requires attention paid in three areas – the wheels, the tires and the drivetrain. The lifts that you get need to work well with all three areas of your vehicle. Before you begin the process of shopping for a lift kit, you need to ask yourself 4 questions.
. Do you know the exact purpose you will use your lifted Jeep for?
. Have you made up your mind about the tires you will use?
. Are you clear about how much you’re willing to spend?
. Do you know enough about working on cars to carry out a complex modification such as a lift, yourself?
A Jeep lift is a major project – you will need to spend hours under your vehicle, patiently rebuild the suspension and repeatedly make tests and tweaks to make sure that everything works correctly. You need to be up to this kind of work. If you aren’t, you’d be much better off finding a professional to perform your lift for you. A trusted outlet selling Jeep Wrangler accessories should be able to give you advice you in this area.
Picking the right kind of lift for your Jeep
Going with a small lift: If this is your first lifting project, you’ll do well to get a small lift – something that raises the level of your Jeep by no more than 2 inches. Small lifts are inexpensive and easy to install. There is very little room for mechanical complications when you pick a small lift. This kind of lift is a good idea if all you want is a slightly aggressive look on your vehicle and the ability to run bigger, 31-inch tires. All you will need are a few spacers under your stock springs and long shackles at the back.
Picking a medium lift: Medium lifts work well for most Jeeps. You choose them when you need to use tires as large as 34 inches. While these lifts require a slightly more involved installation process than small lifts, they still don’t need too many additional parts. You’ll need a longer break line, wheel spacers and a new driveshaft. A medium lift can achieve 3.5 inches of additional clearance.
Getting a big lift: The biggest lift kits can be extremely expensive and can require a huge set of parts. Since changes to the front end geometry are required, you should expect to come up against a few complications during the installation process and be willing to research possible solutions. Nevertheless, you’ll get spectacular off-road performance and the ability to install 35-inch tires.
About the Blogger
Jeremy S is always fussing over his Jeep Wrangler. An avid blogger, he likes to share what he learns with others online and his articles mainly appear on motoring and off road blogs.
Written by a Guest Blogger
Your car is something that you rely on heavily and it is very valuable, and this is why you will want a decent car insurance package. Car insurance is a legal requirement and something that could save you a fortune, and there is a good chance that you will need it at some point when you are out and about. The roads are a dangerous place for any motorist, and as well as this automobiles are incredibly complex bits of machinery which means that they will break down from time to time, and this is why insurance is so essential for anyone out on the roads. The idea of finding the right quote from the right provider may cause some stress though, and this is because there are so many providers all claiming to have the best premiums and level of cover.
Get Advice and Quotes from Car Insurance Specialists
Whether you have just passed your test or if you are looking for a new provider then you will want some expert advice from a specialist, and this is the best way to find exactly what you need. Ideally you will want a car insurance package that saves you money, meets all of your requirements and has a host of benefits too. Trying to find this yourself could take forever, and the majority of people simply do not have the time to spend hours on end in search of the right provider. This is why it is best to talk to a car insurance specialist, as they will be able to give you the best advice and deals, making it a simple and stress free process.
Look for Quotes Online to Alleviate Stress
Some car insurance companies, including ones like Autoline and other similar teams, will allow you to get a quote online so you will easily be able to see how much money you could save. When you go with specialist teams it is the easiest and best way to get covered, and this will alleviate a lot of stress that finding insurance usually brings. With a good level of cover at an affordable rate it means that you will be fully protected whilst out on the roads, and if you were to encounter any problems such as an accident or breaking down then you do not need to panic as you will be properly looked after by your insurance company.
Written by a Guest Blogger
Check out another great Infographic – “To Hybrid or Not To Hybrid”
Written by a Guest Blogger
Should You Modify Your Car?
If you’ve bought a car on a budget and you’re planning on modifying it to make it look better, sound better, and perform better, then there are a few things that you ought to know first. While modifications can improve your car in certain areas, there are areas that you need to seek advice on too. Take a look at this short guide to modifications.
Some car modifications can compromise the safety and legality of the car. If you install too many, or do it incorrectly, it can affect the way your car handles, and make your car not road safe. This could make you liable for prosecution, as well as get you in trouble with your insurance company. You must tell your insurance company, as it will affect your insurance premiums too.
In-car entertainment is one of the most popular modifications for young drivers. Whether you’re planning on installing a Bose speaker system or a TV screen, there are a few things that you must remember. Firstly, your most important job as the driver is to drive safely, so getting distracted by trying to find a song on your mp3 player is not a good idea. Secondly, moving images within view of the driver whilst driving are illegal, so you mustn’t place screens so you can see them in any of your mirrors. And thirdly, if you install expensive in-car entertainment, then it means your car is more of a target for thieves, particularly if you haven’t upped any of the security features.
Wheels and Tyres
Changes to tyres and wheels can change your car’s performance on the road. Though you may argue that it improves the performance, you need to make sure that the new wheels and tyres are approved by the vehicle manufacturer and that they provide enough clearance between the tyre and body.
Suspension and Brakes
Modifications to your car’s suspension or brakes should only be done by a professional. It shouldn’t interfere with the car’s handling on the road, because this could potentially be very dangerous. It is advisable that you check with your vehicle manufacturer and independent suppliers before you fit new brakes to make sure that the model is approved. You should avoid any major modification of existing mounting points.
Changing out your exhaust system for a louder one is a popular modification that’s actually illegal. You can also get in trouble if your vehicle’s silencer has been changed too.
Written by a Guest Blogger
Your car is a large investment and you want to make sure that investment is super safe. Your house if you own one may be your largest investment but next to that if you’re like most people your car is the second.
There are many kinds of insurances out there and the agent is usually on commission and so of course wants to sell you more. But is more always better, or is less better in some cases? You don’t want to over pay for insurance you’ll never use or that doesn’t even come close to fitting your needs.
What Is Comprehensive Insurance?
In a nutshell, comprehensive insurance protects you from loss and damages to your vehicle that are events not related to a collision. This type of insurance covers things like theft, vandalism, natural disasters like floods or tornadoes, fire, falling objects like trees and riots where people roll your car over or set it on fire.
So, how do you get the insurance comprehensive or otherwise that’s best for you? In the following section I’ll go over some of the things your insurance agent might just leave off when helping you choose a policy.
Covering Your Insurance Needs
1. Where do you live and how is your car stored when you aren’t driving it? Let’s face it if you leave a nice car out at night in an area where there is high auto theft or smash and grabs you might want to consider comprehensive insurance as a good idea.
If your car is garaged and there is ample security you might want to have this weigh in on your consideration as well.
2. If you live in an area where there are tornados, serious hail, super high winds that knock over trees and various other acts of God then full on comprehensive might just be money well spent. The reason being that if you don’t have comprehensive insurance companies won’t cover this type of damage.
3. Do you live in an area where there is a lot of civil unrest and or vandalism? If yes, you will want to consider whether or not your car could become a casualty in such events. If your car is garaged at work with security provided and garaged at night at your home then this one factor may not carry much weight because your risk of exposure might be low.
4. If you’re in an auto loan for your car with the bank or another lending institution then you will need to check with them to see if you’re required to carry comprehensive or not. Many require it especially on new cars or newer used cars.
5. How old is your car and what is your car worth? If you’re driving a car that doesn’t really have that much value then comprehensive may not be the way to go.
However, if you’re driving a nicer car or newer car that would have a high replacement value then it’s likely a good idea.
It all boils down to this; if your insurance company doesn’t require you to carry comprehensive auto insurance and you have plenty of money so that when you care gets damaged from anything we’ve discussed above and many more things we haven’t you can just pay for it out of pocket then you may not need it.
However, if your car would cost more to fix than you are willing to cough up in cash all at one time then you should strongly take purchasing it under consideration. Because with auto damage, it’s not a matter of if but more a matter of when.
About the Blogger
Toni King is an insurance agent for over 10 years and very experienced in car insurance. Being a comprehensive agent Toni deals in American and Mexican insurance as well. As you can see Toni is one of those that will actually tell you everything you need to know.
Written by a Guest Blogger
This winter has been rumoured to be one of the worst for over 60 years with a lot of snow, ice and cold temperatures heading our way. This means it’s time to take action and make sure that your car is in full working order and prepared for the conditions that could soon be occurring.
There are a number of checks that you should carry out and ones that could actually be lifesaving during times of severe weather, and we’ve listed some of the most important ones below.
With ice and snow around your brakes are essential as, although you could still slide and skid on the roads, you are at a much lower risk of damaging your car or yourself if you have fully working brakes. Check as to whether the pads and the discs are worn as this can often be the case over time. If they are visibly in bad condition you may want to replace the pads or discs and these can come much cheaper than you may think.
Also pay attention when driving as if you are noticing that you have to apply a lot more force to your brakes to get them to react, this is a big sign that something isn’t as it should be.
Head lights, fog lights, full beams and side lights are all needed throughout the winter months as the darkness draws in. While parked outside your home, check that these are all in working order and also make sure your hazards work correctly.
If any of the bulbs are broken, new ones are not expensive or hard to come by. They can be fitted within minutes and it’s just a matter of unscrewing the old, and replacing with the new.
It is a legal requirement that the tread on your tyres should be a minimum depth of 1.6mm the entire way round across the central ¾ of the surface. They can easily become worn in hard conditions as well as if your wheel alignment is off. Have a professional check that the alignment is correct as if not this could wear down your tread significantly quicker.
Check your tyre pressure along with the car manual and make sure that the correct measurements are adhered to. This will also improve the overall performance of the car and save you money on petrol.
As the rain starts to lash down and storms become more frequent, wipers are essential to be able to maintain your visibility. Take a look at the wiper closely to be sure that it is properly intact and is not about to come apart. These are extremely simple to replace and cost a small amount, so if you notice that they are at risk of becoming less effective take action.
Any chips can soon turn to cracks during the winter which can be a great deal of expense. If water gets into a chip and then freezes, the expansion of the water as it turns to ice can force the glass to break. It is a quick process to fill in chips and can often be done without claiming on your insurance policy.
With grit also being spread on the roads when ice and snow is due to occur, this can cause damage to your windscreen. Keep an eye on any chips that occur and take action as soon as possible if you notice any.
You can prepare as much as possible for the winter weather, but sometimes accidents do happen and your car could break down. If this happens, call help immediately and wait for assistance. Due to the cold weather conditions, do not try to walk miles for help if not needed so always make sure your car has the essentials for this situation.
Pack a blanket to keep warm, a shovel to help you if you are stuck, and some snacks and water to make sure you are fed and watered while waiting.
Even though these checks are essential, common sense and good driving are still of paramount importance. Make sure that, in extreme conditions, you only drive when needed and avoid any unnecessary journeys.
This post was written by Amy Bennett who has recently carried out a full winter preparation on her car. She replaced lights and brake parts to make sure that they were in full working order. She purchased these at bargain prices thanks to Dunmow Motor Factors.
Written by a Guest Blogger
The state of the UK roads is a constant source of concern for road users and now the Government is weighing in on the issue, attempting to establish ways to increase road safety. Young drivers are at the heart of the debate as 20% of accidents involve drivers aged between 17 and 24.
Over the years, car manufacturers and vehicle accessory makers such as brigade-electronics.com, have strived to produce and implement features that improve the overall safety of a vehicle. They have worked to reduce the number of accidents as well as the damage that is caused to both the car and the occupants should an accident take place.
The New Age
As young drivers are often to blame for the high number of accidents and road incidents, the Government is proposing an increase in the amount of learning, which takes place.
As it stands, drivers are able to apply for a provisional license at the age of 16 with the view of passing a driving test and gaining a full driving license when they have turned 17. This is set to change and drivers will not be entitled to a full license until they are 18 years old and cannot apply for a provisional license until they are 17, but the changes do not stop there…
Implementing a Curfew
When a driver first passes their test, they are keen to be out on the road as much as possible, carrying multiple passengers and embracing the independence and freedom, which comes with the ability to drive. New drivers need to build confidence and an understanding of how to drive competently and safely.
The Government is considering the prospect of a curfew which restricts driving times and will prevent the common occurrence of new drivers travelling late at night, under the influence, or under immense pressure, all of which result in accidents. Young people are more likely to die as a result of a car accident than they are from drink or drug related complications.
Driving will be prohibited between the hours of 10pm and 5am unless a passenger over the age of 30 accompanies them.
The Government has considered a number of different factors that contribute to the high number of road accidents that involve young drivers and produced a full proposal that could be passed in the coming months.
Below is a thorough overview of the proposed changes…
- Drivers can apply for a provisional license at the age of 17 but are unable to attain a full license until they are 18
- They must complete 100 hours of daytime practice
- They must complete 20 hours of nighttime practice
- Once the driving test has been passed at 18, a green ‘P’ will be attached to their vehicle to let other drivers know they are a new driver
- A driving curfew will be in place to prevent driving between the hours of 10pm and 5am
- There will be a ban on all mobile phones, even hands free devices whilst driving
- They are banned from carrying passengers under the age of 30
- The legal alcohol limit will be reduced for young drivers
- After a 12 month probation, drivers will attain a full license and all restrictions will be lifted
A fifth of all UK deaths on the roads involve those aged between 17 and 24 and the Government and campaigners are frantically trying to reduce the number of people that are killed in preventable circumstances.
Although the proposed changes are yet to take effect and it is uncertain whether they will, the new structure for young drivers could certainly significantly increase road safety.
This article was written by freelance writer and mother of three, Kathryn Thompson. Follow her on Twitter: @katht35