Written by a Guest Blogger
Is that time of year coming up again? If your vehicle is over three years old it will be required by law to take an annual MOT test to determine its safety and roadworthiness. A number of important points will be checked during this examination, including seatbelts, mirrors, exhaust system, windscreens, brakes, fuel lines and oil levels.
Your MOT can be a big expense every year. Not only will you need to pay for the test, but you will also need to shell out for the repairs if your vehicle fails the examination. So how can you save money when it comes to your MOT? Where can you find MOT and car servicing deals? Here are some ideas:
Give Your Car a DIY MOT First
Most MOT tests fail due to small problems that could have easily been fixed in advance, such as a burnt out light bulb. Make sure that you give your car a quick look over first so that you can avoid any issues such as these. If you spot any obvious and easy to fix issues you can have them repaired before the actual test. This includes looking at your brakes, exhaust, lights, suspension and tires.
If you can eliminate these problems you will save a lot of money on your final bill. You will be able to repair these problems yourself and order the replacement parts online for a lot cheaper than it would be at the mechanic’s.
Use a Price Comparison Website
There are price comparison websites out there for MOTs, such as MyCarNeedsA.com, which will allow you to compare a number of different quotes and find the right price for your MOT. You start by entering the details of what you need on the website and your job will be offered to the network of service providers who will be bidding against each other for your MOT.
You can choose the best deal, whether that is the cheapest price or the best value for the overall service offered. You don’t need to pay for this style of website either – the service providers pay because they want the chance to bid to receive your custom.
Get Your Car Tested by the Council
If you take your vehicle to the garage for an MOT, the mechanic has a vested interest in your vehicle failing because it will mean more repair work for them. If you want your car to be tested by an impartial third party, you can get it at your local council instead. They do not perform repairs so they have no vested interest – which means that you will get an honest report of which repairs are really essential. There are local councils all over the UK that have their own MOT testing stations for vans and buses. Take a look online to find out where your nearest MOT council testing centre is located so you know where to take your vehicle.
Save Money on Your Retest
If your vehicle fails the MOT one the repairs have been completed it will need to be retested – so how can you save on this part of the process. The retests may be free or discounted, depending on where you had the vehicle tested in the first place. If you have your car repaired at a test centre and retested within 10 business days, the retest will be free. If you have the repairs done somewhere else the retest will be free if the car is returned to the test centre by the end of the working day.
If you had your MOT carried at the council centre, the retest will be up to half price if the vehicle is brought back to the original test location for a partial retest within 10 working days. In all other situations the retesting fee will be the full maximum rate, so it makes sense to try to ensure you get a free or discounted retest rate.
Getting your MOT carried out is a necessary part of owning a car in the UK – if you are caught driving without one you will be subjected to a fine. However, it can be a major expense every year to pay for the examination and the resulting repairs to your vehicle.
With these tips in mind you will be able to save money on this yearly vehicle check-up. Money can be tight, so any strategy that means you can save your cash by getting your MOT for cheaper will be a major benefit.
For thousands of Americans, the British Isles prove to be a popular vacation destination. The “motherland” as some people call it is small. But in days gone past, the British had somehow managed to control large swathes of the world!
The United Kingdom is rich with history. Brits also have a lot of weird and wonderful customs; at least to us Americans anyway! Although most of Britain has a good public transport network, traveling by car is the preferred method to get around.
You might think to yourself that driving on the streets of Britain is no sweat. There’s just one thing that you might have forgotten; people in the UK drive on the left! Most of the world drives on the right, just like here in the United States.
But certain parts of the world have stuck with the same side of driving their former colonial masters introduced. Such countries include Australia and India. To be honest, it’s pretty straightforward to learn how to steer a right-hand drive car.
There are plenty of other things that you, as an American, need to know before you get behind the wheel of a car in Blighty! Today’s handy guide will tell you everything you need to know about driving in the United Kingdom.
Do you need a car to get around?
If you plan on sticking around central London, the answer will be no. Central London has an excellent public transport network. It includes the world-famous London Underground “tube train” network.
You can use an Oyster card to pay for your fares so that you don’t have to fumble around for cash and change. In fact, London’s bus network no longer accepts cash as a form of payment.
If you are feeling adventurous, you might want to do a road trip of Britain. While it’s possible to use buses and trains throughout most of the UK, driving to many destinations is more convenient.
Before you travel to the UK, plan a rough itinerary of where you want to go. That way, you can research whether you need to hire a car or not.
Renting a car
Renting or “hiring” a car is essential if you need a car in the UK. Many of the familiar rental car companies like Enterprise and Avis exist in the UK just like they do at home. If you’ve rented a car in the United States before, the process is similar in the UK.
You choose what class of car you want to rent, how long for, and you pay the rental costs when you bring the car back. To save money on your rental car costs, I recommend prepaying for your rental online.
In the UK, all cars that drive on public roads and highways must have valid insurance cover. Comprehensive insurance covers cars in the event of an accident. It will also cover accidental damage, vandalism and theft.
As you might already know, car rental companies will take a deposit on your credit card. That deposit can be anything from £200 ($330) to £700 ($1,140). It all depends on what class of car you hire. Small to medium cars will be at the lower end of the scale. Anything “premium” like a BMW or Mercedes-Benz will be at the higher end.
At the rental counter, they will always ask you if you’d like to buy an extra “waiver” to reduce your car’s insurance excess. That insurance excess is often around £700 ($1,140). Refuse to take it, and buy insurance excess cover from a third-party supplier instead. If you buy it from the rental company, you could double the cost of your rental!
Always give way to your right
In Britain, there are lots of these curious road structures called roundabouts. At home, we are all used to intersections with traffic lights at each end. But someone in the 1960s thought it would be a great idea to use them everywhere in the United Kingdom!
Of course, there are plenty of roads with traffic lights. So when you approach a roundabout, what should you do? The golden rule here is to give way to traffic to your right. You should also determine which lane to be in before you approach it.
For example, if you are driving ahead you should stick to one of the left-hand lanes on your approach. But if you need to turn right, stay on the right-hand lane and merge into the center or left lanes as you approach your exit.
Right turn on red is illegal
Americans take for granted the benefit of right turn on red. In the UK, it would get called a “left turn on red” – if it were legal!
In the UK, it is illegal to turn left at a set of traffic lights if they are on red. The only exception is if there is a “filter” light for the left, and that light turns green. If you forget about this rule, you are likely to get involved in an accident!
Know your roads
Britain has a comprehensive road network, and it can often be confusing to drivers from the United States. Scott from harratts.co.uk was kind enough to write in and offer this information for our readers:
- A lot of standard roads are often prefixed with “A” or “B.” For instance, the A40, B443 and so forth. Smaller roads and streets only have names;
- Major trunk roads connecting some towns and cities together are motorways. They get prefixed with “M.” For instance, the M40 and the M5 are two motorways;
- Dual carriageways are roads with two lanes in each direction. Motorways usually have three lanes in each direction, but some can have two while others have four or even five lanes.
At some point, you will need to stop driving and park your car. Avoid parking your car on a road with yellow or red lines. You are not allowed to park on such roads, and your car could get clamped or towed away.
I hope you enjoy your trip to the UK. Good luck with your driving adventures there!
Written by a Guest Blogger
It’s not a matter of which trailer, bumper pull or gooseneck, is better, yet you want to choose a product that fits your specific needs.
Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each product allows you to make the best decision.
Bumper Pull Trailer Advantages
Bumper pulls are smaller, so they cost less than a gooseneck model. Yet, that does not mean that a bumper model cannot be more elite in features.
Secondly, most can pull this type of trailer with their current vehicle. So, you won’t have to rent a pickup or hauling van.
Third, the attachment is different with the cab following along in the same direction as the tow vehicle. Turns are easier to make.
Next, being smaller, purchasing a bumper model does not necessitate added storage space, which can eat away at costs.
Lastly, these vehicles do not necessitate licensing as “commercial.” The weight of the horses, trailer, and supplies usually does not exceed 10,001 pounds.
Bumper Pull Trailer Disadvantages
Though bumper pull models follow tow vehicles better, they are prone to swerving and ‘fishtailing’ on curvy roads. In addition, due to limited dimensions, most models are not sufficient in towing more than two horses.
If you’re pulling two horses with a smaller model, you’re really pushing the ability to meet the demands of horses. You’ll need enough food for both horses, along with the tack and supplies needed to keep them happy and safe.
Gooseneck Trailer Advantages
The towing is more stable with a gooseneck model. Featuring a ball and coupler mating, the gooseneck trailer (actually) attaches to the tow vehicle. It won’t sway or fishtail away from the lead vehicle.
Secondly, the models are optimal for longer journeys due to the large cabins and added comfort of horses within.
Thirdly, it’s easier to align the ball on the back of a lead vehicle. This makes loading and unloading much easier and time effective.
Next, the hitch is more secure. You don’t have to worry about the trailer becoming detached, potentially injuring or killing the horses inside or creating a major accident.
Gooseneck Trailer Disadvantages
To start, gooseneck models are more expensive. Of course, this is relative and depends on each vendor. Search for a 2 horse gooseneck trailer for sale online using a major search engine. In addition, the hitch system is more expensive and possibly more inconvenient (You must remove your camper top to connect the hitch system and get in the back of truck bed to attach.)
Because you cannot pull a gooseneck trailer with (just) any vehicle, you’ll need a pickup or large van that can accommodate the hitch system. In addition, you’ll need to ensure you have the proper papers to use this ‘commercial’ grade product.
Listen to Horses and Veterinarians
Sometimes, it’s not entirely the decision of owners, trainers, and transporters as to what product is optimal. Due to a horrible experience, horses may be reluctant or downright defiant regarding boarding a particular trailer.
In addition, depending on the needs of particular horse (They need a lot of space, do not prefer close quarters with other animals, or require extra food.) you may need to invest in a larger model, despite your budget or storage location.
Listen to veterinarian suggestion regarding temperament of horses as well as observe particular behaviors, making a distinction between hesitation and a more serious horse behavior problem.
Speak to Those with Experience
Speak to those with experience in driving, hosting, and renting trailers. Peruse online forums and ask questions about particular models. In addition, speak to vendors about your particular situation; good salespeople can align buyers with optimal choices.
Lastly, remember both types of trailers are premier products; it’s not about which one is better. It’s important to purchase or rent a product that best suits your needs and is a responsible choice when it comes to the health of the animals involved.
About the Blogger
Estela Cooper’s experience in her family stables stretches back decades. With a heart for horses and a mind for training and care, she often blogs about her insights into the best care horse owners can provide.
It’s no secret; Ford is one of the world’s biggest auto manufacturers! The company has been in business since the early 20th century. Its founder, Henry Ford, will always be the person that brought mass-produced car assembly to the world.
He was a well-revered but sometimes controversial man. One thing’s for certain; he will always remain a memorable part of automotive history!
In today’s blog post, I want to share with you some strange but true facts about Ford. These facts include the brand and the man behind it. Check them out:
- Henry Ford didn’t invent the auto assembly line
For some reason, a lot of people think that Henry Ford was the individual responsible for the world’s first auto assembly line. Little do they know that the person credited with building the world’s first auto assembly line was a guy called Ransom E. Olds. Back in 1901, the “Curved Dash” Oldsmobile got built using an assembly line. Henry Ford’s Model T got produced seven years later. Ford used a much-improved assembly line for the Model T.
- American-market cars are all left-hand drive thanks to Ford
One interesting fact about Ford’s Model T car is that the steering wheel is on the left-hand side of the car. Other car makers in the United States soon followed suit, and so everyone drove left-hand drive cars! Across the Atlantic, people in the British Isles drive right-hand drive cars – unlike the rest of Europe. Of course, there are other reasons why Americans drive on the right instead of on the left. Time Magazine has a theory about this. It reckons that teamsters in the 18th century used to ride their horse and carts on the right rather than the left.
- Ford has a long history of being eco-friendly
I came across a little-known part of Ford history in the United Kingdom. As you might know, Ford have a production center in Dagenham, Essex. Until the 1930s, the Dagenham plant was, in part, powered by burning a few tons of London’s waste each day! Burning trash presents one obvious benefit: not sending it to landfill sites. The downside to that approach is that carbon emissions rose. These days, cleaner energy gets used at the Dagenham plant. Wind turbines got installed a few years ago.
- The Model T only cost $825
As you know, Ford’s first motor car, the Model T, got unveiled in 1908. It was on sale for just $825, which is around $20,000 in today’s money. It was a car that many people could afford to buy, and is perhaps the catalyst for today’s popularity in motor cars. By 1914, Ford had sold 250,000 Model T cars. And by 1916, one could buy a Model T for just $360 (or $8,000 in today’s money)! Thanks to Henry Ford, people all over the world could afford to enjoy the benefits that automobiles offer.
- The Model T didn’t just come in black
One urban myth that surrounds Ford’s Model T is its color. A lot of folks believe that it was only ever available in the color black. But here’s the thing; you could buy the Model T in a variety of colors between 1908 and 1912! It was only after 1912 that Henry Ford sold the car in black only. Black is a color that dries quicker than others, as it absorbs the heat more. According to the GK Group, that fact meant that Henry Ford could make cars quicker and sell them cheaper.
- Henry Ford believed in rewarding good workers
Henry Ford was a person that had a lust for efficiency. He didn’t believe in hiring more workers than he needed to. A pioneer of “welfare capitalism,” Ford paid his workers five bucks a day. That is the equivalent of $120 in today’s money. In the early part of the 20th century, $5 was more than double the amount that workers usually got paid. The result was that his turnover of workers was low, and he only hired the best people for the job.
- Thomas Edison was Henry Ford’s best buddy
Thomas Edison is the person credited with inventing the world’s mass-produced light bulb. He also invented a whole heap of other cool stuff. It turns out that Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were good friends during their latter years on Earth. The photo above is of a Model T that Ford gave to Edison as a gift. Like Ford, Edison was an industrious man and made his money through mass-production.
- Ford made planes (and engines for them)
As with other car makers at the time, Ford made engines for planes during World War I. In 1925, Henry Ford bought a plane company he had shares in. That company was the Stout Metal Airplane Company. The planes produced carried passengers, but they could also get converted into cargo planes. One of the most-famous Ford planes is the Trimotor model shown in the photograph above. Ford’s foray into plane manufacturing only lasted until 1933. But the planes he produced were in use well beyond the 1960s. That was despite the appearance of modern commercial airliner jets. Today, some of Ford’s planes are in museums. And some are even used for sightseeing tours over the Grand Canyon!
- The world’s first monster truck was a Ford
Lots of people love monster trucks! The original monster truck, “Bigfoot,” used to be a 1974 Ford F-250 pickup truck. The pickup truck in question is currently owned by Bob Chandler, who runs a company called Bigfoot 4×4, Inc. These days, there are thousands of monster trucks in use around the world by various people. But the original monster truck was and always will be, a Ford! I hope you have enjoyed reading today’s blog post. Have you got any historical Ford stories you’d like to share with us? Feel free to post up in the comments section. Thanks for reading!
Written by Stuart
Written by a Guest Blogger
You’re heading out on the beaches of Australia. This is awesome, but how do you manage it in your vehicle? If you’re not careful, the rocks will defeat you. So, before you head out, take some tips from the pros.
Check Your Tyre Pressure
When you’re out on the paved roads in your 4×4 truck, you want optimal tyre pressure. That means making sure your tyres are inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications. But, in the sand, you actually want to reduce pressure, since this will spread the weight of your truck out across a greater surface area. You’re essentially increasing the contact patch of your tyre.
You wouldn’t do this on normal roads because it increases wear while decreasing gas mileage. It also increases your risk for a blowout. In sand, however, it means that you’ll get more traction and reduce your risk of getting stuck.
Use Momentum To Your Advantage
Think of your truck like you would a boat in water. When you slow down, the boat sinks a little and the motor has to work harder. It’s the same in the sand. When you’re moving slower, you have to use more petrol and your engine has to work much harder to get you over the dunes.
Use momentum – keep your speed up, when appropriate, and keep moving. This will help you stay higher up on the sand. It’s also a lot of fun avoiding the brakes.
The one thing you have to be careful of are the drop-offs. Bright sunshine will make these harder to see, and driving too close to the edge may cause the sand to give way, pulling you down into water or over a steep cliff. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Never drive too fast. Never take sharp turns (it could separate the bead of the tyre from your wheel, causing the wheel to deflate). Always try to avoid getting bogged down. It’s easier to avoid a bog than it is to dig yourself out of one.
Make Sure Your Vehicle Has Good Clearance
If you’re going out into the wild yellow (or white) sand, make sure your vehicle has enough clearance. Ditto for rocks. Rocks present a special challenge. If your vehicle isn’t high enough off the ground, you might end up smashing up the fuel lines, undercarriage, and other important stuff, like the oil pan and fuel tank.
A small dent in the oil pan will probably damage the oil pickup – a pump that pulls oil through your engine and lubricates it. You’ll never know until your engine seizes up on you one day. Of course, you’ll probably feel a small bump under your vehicle. When in doubt, avoid rocks.
Don’t Use Traction Control
Traction control is usually a good thing. When one of your drive wheels starts slipping, the traction control mechanism sends power from the wheels that are slipping to the wheels that still have grip.
It does this through a computerised program. However, on the sand, you don’t necessarily want to have this feature engaged. Why not?
It can get you bogged down in the sand. The traction control’s job it to increase torque at the drive wheels based on how much traction you have at any given moment. But, in the sand, you’re going to slip on a regular basis. The problem is that the traction control will slow you down to try to gain traction. But, momentum is your friend in the sand. So, keeping it on is a recipe for disaster.
Bring a Winch and a Friend
It’s a good idea to bring a friend along with you in another vehicle, if possible. Getting stuck is part of the fun – sometimes. It’s also a reality. At some point, it’s going to happen. Bringing a winch and another truck that can haul you out of a sand trap will make sure that the whole trip doesn’t become a disaster.
About the Blogger
Anthony Meudell is an avid outdoorsman and writer. When he’s not travelling the Australian highways and byways, he’s writing about them. Read his posts on various websites, including travel and outdoor living.
Written by a Guest Blogger
A lot of motorists have a fairly basic knowledge about how their car works but many would not really know what they were looking for if they lifted up the bonnet (hood).
When you get in your car each day and the engine starts up, that is probably all you need to know and you can drive away without any problems, but what if the car doesn’t feel right when you are driving along?
Diagnosing car problems yourself might seem beyond your basic skills but when it comes to things like transmission trouble, there are tell-tale signs you should be able to notice and take heed of.
Even if you don’t have a great deal of car knowledge, you can still apply a degree of logical thinking and keep an eye and ear out for anything that doesn’t look or feel right on your car.
It would be far better to service an auto transmission and get it checked out at the first signs of trouble rather than leave it to chance and risk a mechanical breakdown, which could be a lot more expensive to solve.
Getting in gear
A lot of cars have automatic transmission these days but there also plenty of vehicles on the road with a manual gearbox.
A common sign that there is a potential problem with your manual gearbox is when you try to get the car into first gear from a starting stop or when you are travelling along and you experience resistance when you are trying to work your way either up or down the gears.
If this happens to you, it could be that you are low on transmission fluid or you have the wrong viscosity in there. It could also be that the clutch cable needs adjusting or replacing.
A burning smell coming from your car is never a positive sign and it could be that you are getting the scent of burning transmission oil hitting your nostrils.
That could be a sure sign that your transmission is overheating. Transmission fluid serves two purposes, it keeps all the moving parts well lubricated and able to move freely and it also helps to keep gearbox unit cool.
If you get a burning smell coming from your car, check to see if any fluid is leaking out and also consider getting the fluid changed as it may simply be dirty and not as effective as it once was.
You should always pay attention to any warning lights that appear on your dashboard. The check engine light is designed to provide you with an early-warning system that all is not well.
This warning light can come on for a variety of different reasons and one of them is to indicate that you could have a problem with your transmission. A lot of newer cars are equipped with sensors that are placed in various parts of the engine, so that any irregularities are detected and a warning sign sent to the driver.
These sensors can pick up small vibrations and other signs that even an experienced DIY motor enthusiast might not pick up immediately, and there may even be a code that comes up on the screen to tell you where it thinks the fault may be.
Not as smooth
There are different warning signs to look out for depending on whether you have a manual or automatic transmission.
With a manual transmission, an obvious sign of trouble is when you feel the car grinding and shaking, which could be a worn clutch plate or something more serious. If you have an automatic car, it may be that you actually feel the car changing through the gears rather than the smooth transition that you are used to.
Use all your senses as an in-built warning system and any sounds, smells or sights that don’t seem right or if the car doesn’t feel as smooth as it used to be. Get it checked out as soon as possible.
About the Blogger
Hudson Estell has been working on cars since he could grasp a wrench. He thinks everyone should understand the basics of auto repair and he likes to blog about it online.
Written by a Guest Blogger
Drivers would and should check their vehicles on regular bases to see if there are any low tires, burned out lightbulbs, or low fluid levels. When you see there is a problem you should get it fixed or you attend to it yourself. Another way you get warnings or find out about possible problems is by listening to your auto.
If you listen carefully you will hear that your automobile is making an urgent call to you at times. You will hear a noise that wasn’t there before and certainly it isn’t part of the usual sounds an auto makes. You need to pay attention to these noises and deal with them in a timely manner. Otherwise, you could end up in a mechanical failure related accident and have to deal with car insurance claims.
Here are some of the noises to listen out for:
You need to be aware of a few different noises to detect them in time before they cause much bigger problems or sudden stops. They may be coming from under the hood like hissing noise or smoke coming out of the bonnet (hood). This may mean the coolant is leaking. There is a high chance it may spray hot water (coolant). You need to be careful when opening the bonnet (hood) to avoid burns.
Hissing or sizzling noises may be due to simple pipe (hose) burst. That can be solved by changing it or it can be a sign of a much bigger problem. If you keep driving the automobile you may cause much bigger problems that cost you a lot more money.
Another common problem is knocking sounds coming from the engine. If you still have the warranty you can report these issues to manufacturer or their approved repair shops and get it sorted. They normally need special attention and can be costly for you to pay out of the pocket.
Furthermore, it is important these problems are repaired properly to avoid reoccurring and resulting in engine failure. Hence, your better option would be to take it to a manufacturer approved mechanic regardless of having a valid warranty or not.
Loud Bangs and Flapping Noises
A load sound with difficulties in steering the wheel and overall imbalance are signs of a problem with tires. You should slow down without braking hard and try to get to the safety to inspect it. Braking hard can further disturb the balance of the vehicle and cause accidents. It is essential that you always keep a spare tire in good condition. Otherwise, the towing charges will probably double the costs if you don’t have an independent or insurance company provided recovery service.
Surely, you know that brakes are one of the most important parts in the control of the auto. They are not expensive to maintain in good condition and highly advisable to get them checked regularly. Brake failures are known to be one of the major causes of accidents reported by crash investigators. And they result in large damages and injuries claims that will increase your auto insurance rates.
A squeaking sound generally means that brake pads are worn out. You need replace them as soon as practically possible. Otherwise the brake pads will ruin the brake rotors. This can be costly.
Rattling sounds under cars may sound like coming from engine but it is more likely to be exhaust problem. This could be due to loose or worn exhaust components. They are common issues that can be repaired by either fixing the bolts or replacing the exhaust and usually don’t cost a lot.
You may notice this sound when you are shifting the gears in a manual transmission. It is something motorists are worried about since it can cost a lot of money. There may not be a quick fix and changing the whole gear box may be necessary. If you have an older car this is the time to think about getting it repaired or spending the money to buy another automobile.
Generally, costs are several folds especially if the problems cause accidents. One of the first things you will see when you make a claim is increase in your premium at the next renewal. If you don’t want to pay high auto insurance premiums you should get quotes from comparison websites like Cheap Auto Insurance .net and compare. You may be surprised how low your rates can go down.
In this aspect car maintenance plays an important role to avoid crashes in the same way. In fact, a good mechanic should be able to notice imminent troubles, check exhaust, tires, brakes, oil and filters. They have advanced computerized equipment to detect problems or gauge engine performance. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to cars.
Written by a Guest Blogger
Place your key in the door and ignition and turn. Or, better yet, hit a remote entry button. It seems simple enough, yet things get complicated for car owners when it comes to lost, stolen, and damaged keys.
What happens when a key breaks in a lock or ignition? Can you replace a transponder chip online? What are your options if you lose a key on the road- can you get in your car another way?
Know the Types of Keys
Modern automobile keys feature three components. A mechanical component addresses the steering lock; a transponder chip sends signals to a car’s system, igniting the engine; and, a third remote component unlocks doors and operates alarms. Transponder chips send unique signals from the key to a car’s engine system.
What are common key mishaps and how can you fix them?
Stolen While Away
Modern keys are complicated because it became so easy for thieves to steal. Potentially, a thief could swipe keys for a brief period, head to the hardware store and make a copy, then return keys undetected, later picking the best time to access your car.
Remote entry prevents thieves from copying a key’s grooves; thieves now must ‘hack’ a given automobile’s computer to start it.
Remote Won’t Work
Key technology got better, with dealerships offering remote entry. If remote entry or alarm button won’t work, check if the battery is damaged or flat. If you’re in a populated area, radio frequency could be the problem; get closer to your vehicle.
In some emergency cases, tow trucks move parked cars to a different location for remote entry to work.
Forgot to Ask About Master Key
Keys (along with spare sets) get lost, but older cars have ‘master keys’ mechanics use to program new sets. However, regarding newer cars, manufacturers have since stopped using master keys, maintaining information within databases.
Replacing a master key or needing to address an engine management system gets costly. If you’re buying a used car, check the handbook and ask the salespeople for the master key when applicable.
Key Was Broken Off
On rare occasions, keys break in doors and ignitions. Don’t make matters worse by damaging a door lock or ignition components. Call roadside assistance and check your car’s manual for associated instructions.
On-site assistants, like AutoLocks Ltd., are able to gain access and start most cars.
Don’t make a deal with online vendors without checking manufacturer literature. Despite promises of advertising, some third-party replicated transponder chips won’t work with specific makes and models.
Ensure your model’s transponder chip can be replicated. In some cases, you have no alternatives but to buy a new set from your dealership.
Can’t thieves break a window and tamper with a car’s ignition system? Sure, that happens often, but manufacturers like Mercedes use rolling codes in transponder chips.
If a thief attempted to‘hack’ a car’s code (as some due regarding fixed codes), it would be increasingly difficult if not impossible to start the engine.
Some owners raise their brows at the price of a spare set of keys, especially for sets using transponder chip technology.
However, consider the cost of finding yourself stranded or needing to replace all the locks of your car because you hadn’t made or reserved copies. It can cost more money in the future for avoiding a minimal expense now.
About the Blogger
Sam Matthews has loved cars since his first peek at a malfunctioning engine as a young child. With years of professional experience and a deep passion for all things automotive, he frequently blogs about car care, legal questions, and other usual concerns.
Written by a Guest Blogger
Everyone experiences an auto breakdown at some point. Whether it’s a flat tire, an empty gas tank or a problem under the hood, roadside safety is essential. The first rule of roadside safety is to not panic.
Panicking can make the situation worse and increase the odds that you’ll have an accident. Instead, focus on keeping your breathing calm. There are five steps you’ll want to follow if you happen to find yourself stranded by a roadside emergency.
Step #1: Pull over.
As soon as you realize your vehicle is having trouble, try to pull off the road. Getting out of the way of other motorists will keep you and other travelers safe. If traffic is heavy and it’s difficult to get off the road, put your hazard lights on. This will alert the drivers behind you that your vehicle is having difficulty or that your tire is flat.
Once you’ve pulled over, you have to decide whether to go for help or stay put. Don’t go for help if you’re in a bad area with little to no traffic. Also avoid leaving your vehicle if the weather is bad. This includes severe thunderstorms or snow fall. In these situations, it’s best to wait for help to come.
If you opt to leave your vehicle, lock the doors and put valuables (like electronic gadgets) out of sight. A full purse or an MP3 play left on your seat could be temptation for a thief. Protect yourself by hiding gadgets or taking them with you.
Step #2: Help other motorists spot your vehicle.
Good warning signs include triangle lights, flares or a warning light. If you’re able, set up triangle lights or other warning lights several feet behind your vehicle. This will give other motorists advanced warning about your flat tire or other auto problem.
Step #3: Let drivers know you need assistance.
You can let other drivers know you need assistance by raising the hood of your vehicle. You can also get attention by wrapping a white cloth around a door handle or the radio antenna. If you have a cellphone, you can use it to dial 911. The 911 operator may not be able to detect your location so it’s important that you give accurate information about nearby landmarks or signs.
In the event that a tire goes flat, you may be able to change it on your own without help. There are instructional videos that can guide you through the process and make it easier for you. You can even use a service like YTD to play or download a video tutorial on changing a tire.
Step #4: Be wary of accepting help.
Good Samaritans do still exist. But you want to be careful that you don’t accept help from someone pretending to be a Good Samaritan. If someone approaches your vehicle, keep the doors locked. Lower the window only enough to speak to the person. Ask them to call for help but don’t invite them into your vehicle.
Step #5: Keep your seat belt on.
When you’re stuck in your car, your first instinct may be to take off your seat belt. While seat belts can be uncomfortable to wear for a prolonged period of time, keep yours on anyway. In the event that another motorist hits your vehicle, you could be injured. This is why it’s important that you stay buckled up even if your vehicle isn’t running.
Roadside safety is an important part of being a good citizen. Many experts advise preparing an emergency roadside kit and keeping it in your trunk. This can come in handy if you become stranded on the road.
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About the Blogger
Lisa Harold is a veteran mechanic. She often blogs about common car troubles and how to stay safe with your car.
Written by a Guest Blogger
Are you a defensive driver? Have you never been in an accident? Chances are you have some of the skills needed to be a great defensive driver. One who travels through lanes with the greatest of ease, and avoids accidents ahead, behind and to the side. But did you know that there are many ways to prevent car accidents?
Proper vehicle maintenance is one of the most common reasons for accidents on the road today, besides distracted drivers of course. Truck accidents are common due to malfunctioning equipment and cargo shifting due to improper loading. Cars with underinflated or bald tires can cause accidents during sudden losses of tire pressure too. Vehicle lighting is also a contributing factor in accidents. In rain, snow, or fog proper lighting is essential to keeping your vehicle on the road. So what can you do to help prevent these accidents?
- Do a vehicle check before you go on a trip. Check for leaks, low tires, replace wiper blades, test lights and ensure all check engine lights are addressed.
- Ensure your vehicle is worked on by certified professionals.
- Take your tires seriously! Check tire pressure at least once per month.
- If you are loading cargo ask a professional to review your packing and securing method before you get on the road.
- Check out the cars around you and watch for vehicles that do not appear to have taken these steps to keep themselves safe. Keep your distance from these vehicles.
Additionally there are defensive driving techniques which go above and beyond vehicle maintenance. There’s no way to ensure other cars on the road are performing their own proper vehicle maintenance, so use these defensive driving tips to read a vehicles “body language” and avoid accidents which may ultimately save your life. You don’t want to find yourself in a vehicle accident anytime soon.
A large part of avoiding an accident is planning ahead. Think about how you will react to a car suddenly entering your lane, or an out of control vehicle speeds by you. Put yourself in these hypothetical situations and think through how you would reach in that situation. Being prepared for the unexpected is key to your survival in the car.
Read Car Body Language
Just like with people you can read body language from a car. You may observe a car that is swerving slightly into one lane or the other, signaling they will eventually need to get into that lane. You may observe a car increasing its rate of speed as it enters the freeway, make room for them because you know they will need to get over – regardless if they see you or not. Look for these signs as they can help aid in understanding where a neighboring car will soon go, which may affect your driving.
It’s important for teens and individuals in their 20s to work on their defensive driving skills such as reading car body language. In the state of Illinois in 2011 the incidence of individuals fatally injured in car crashes was highest for individuals 19-29 than any other age group as reported by the DOT. Car accident lawyers in Chicago are adamant that defensive driving is essential for Chicagoans and other drivers in large metro areas.
Be Alert and Avoid Distractions at All Times
Texting while driving is a huge no-no. So is eating while driving and any other distraction while on the road. Limit your distractions and pay attention at all times. There’s no excuse for being distracted on the road, and proper defensive driving does not allow for distractions. Stay alert and you’ll stay safe.
Don’t make assumptions about other drivers while on the road and their intentions. Don’t expect parked cars to stay parked all the time. Don’t’ expect people to yield at interactions all the time or remain in the same lane when they are supposed to. When you’re on the road you risk being caught off guard and should prepare for that at all times.
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