Automobiles are expensive to own and operate. But if you are thinking of skipping the step of insuring your vehicle so you can put gas in it, think again. You risk getting fined, your license suspended, vehicle impounded, or even jail time if you don’t comply with your state’s law. Minimum insurance coverage levels vary by state, so you’ll need to find out what the minimum requirements are in your area and purchase at LEAST that coverage.
How to Read Liability Insurance Numbers
Insurance numbers are listed in a series. For example, one policy might be listed as 20/40/10. What do these mean? The first number in a liability policy indicates the bodily injury coverage level. In this example, the policy would cover up to $20,000 per person. The second number identifies the total limit of bodily injury for the accident for all the occupants in the vehicle combined. In this example, the policy would cover up to a total of $40,000. The last number indicates the property damage limit. In this example, the policy would cover a total of $10,000 in property damage per accident.
How Much Auto Insurance is Enough?
The amount of insurance that you purchase is totally up to you, as long as you meet the minimum state coverage. If your budget is tight and you need to get by month to month with the lowest premium possible, then purchasing the minimum coverage may be right for you. But remember, if you get into an accident and you are found at-fault, you will be held responsible for any amount that exceeds your minimum policy. To find out the minimum required in your state, complete an internet search with the keywords “minimum motor vehicle insurance coverage in _______” – and insert your state’s name in the search. Be sure to look for the official Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) state site to get the most up-to-date info. Or call you local DMV office to find what the minimum requirements are.
Are You a High Risk Driver?
Insurance policy costs can vary dramatically between low risk drivers and high risk drivers. What constitutes whether or not you are a “high risk driver”? Understandably, having a DUI/DWI on your record can increase your policy. Another risk factor is your age. While this may seem unfair, if you are a teen or elderly driver you may be put into a high risk category. The key is to keep your driving record clean, don’t get traffic violations, stay out of accidents, and keep at least the minimum motor vehicle coverage.
OK, I am High Risk…Now What Do I Do?
If you are classified as a high risk driver and have a limited budget, you should research auto insurance companies that specialize in providing minimum car insurance costs at a discounted rate. Some auto insurance companies specialize in providing coverage in specific states. For example, Good2Go Auto Insurance offers policies in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
Look at your finances and develop a budget. If you don’t want a fine or possibly jail time, then you need the minimum state coverage. Increase your liability insurance numbers as your budget allows if you want even less risk. Some insurance companies allow you to pay either monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or annually to meet your specific budget. Insurance is just as important as motor vehicle registration, gas in the tank, and oil in the engine.
School’s out! Guess what this means? Road trips! But before you jump in the car and hit the road, check your tires thoroughly. An improperly inflated tire can lead to a blowout. Insufficient tread on your tire can make you hydroplane. And if your tire is reaching its useful age limit, you might have a sleeping hazard awaiting you. Whether you are in a part of the world that spells car tires with an “i” or car tyres with a “y”, tires (tyres) are your only link to a rural road, interstate highway, expressway, or autobahn.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Follow these steps from the Auto Upkeep text and any specific procedures in your owner’s manual to properly inflate your tires. Important: Always check tires when they are cold and when you have access to an air compressor.
Measure the Tread Depth
If your tires are properly inflated, but don’t have sufficient tread on them, you are putting you and your family in danger. Go to an auto parts store or online and purchase an inexpensive tread depth gauge. Tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch or in millimeters (mm), depending what part of the world you live. If you have anywhere close to (or less than) 2/32nds of an inch or 1.6 mm, you need to purchase new tires. New tires commonly come with 11/32nds (or 8.73 mm) of tread. You may have read about methods of using a US penny to measure tire tread. This may be OK in a pinch, but it is best to purchase a quality tire pressure gauge and tread depth gauge and put them in your glove box so you always have them. As a last resort, tires also have “wear indicator bars” manufactured into and that run perpendicular to the tread. When the tread reaches these indicator bars, it is essential that you replace the tires.
Find Out When Your Tires Were Manufactured
Checking your tires’ birthday is another critical (but often overlooked) important check before you get on the road for vacation. As a tire ages, they begin to degrade. ABC 20/20 did an outstanding investigative piece on the dangers of old tires. It is your job as the car owner and driver to check this date code. Look on your tire’s sidewall for the DOT code (see picture). If your tires are older than 6 years but still have significant tread on them, you should still consider replacing them. And remember, when you purchase new tires check the code too! A tire reseller may be selling you a new “old” tire!
Written by a Guest Blogger
I’m often asked how it’s possible to pro-form high quality SMART repairs where others often fail, giving the industry a bad name. Experience helps, being 40 something and having been in the trade since leaving school is a benefit.
However, the truth to success is very simple and applicable all walks of life. Attention to detail!
When I access any repair I always ask myself whether I would pro-form this on my car or use a bodyshop? Recently I sent my partner’s car to Furrows bodyshop due to damage being beyond my abilities when done outside.
Knowing your limitations will serve you well.
So, I’ve accessed the damage and confident the repair will be good. Next, I find the paint code on the car and check the paint manufacturers paint swatch to determine the correct variant.
In this example, the car had a large dent in the rear quarter. I removed the paint and welded 6 pins to the bare metal and carefully lifted the dent using a slide hammer. Once I was happy with the basic shape I sanded the surrounding area down with 80 grit sand paper, blow away any debris and degreased with panel wipe and a clean tissue. Body filler was carefully applied and allowed to dry thoroughly before being sanded back into shape using 80 grit and a 30cm ‘Dura’ block to ensure the shape was correct. Again, the area was cleaned and finishing glaze was applied over the repair. This time I used 240 grit, followed by 320 grit and a light dusting of black aerosol paint so expose any defects such as high/low points, pin holes or scratch marks.
Next step was to ‘scotch’ the repair area and thoroughly degrease the area requiring paint and mask off the car. Primer was applied and allowed to cure before guide coating was applied. The repair was then 600 grit wet and dry blocked before again cleaning, drying and degreasing and finally tack clothed.
Paint was applied, using an Iwata LPH 50 1.0ml E4 gun in the usual way. Warmed to c 20 degrees, gripper coat followed by several slightly heavier coats, dried and tacked in between applications until the repair was properly covered. A drift coat was then applied over and beyond the repair area to ensure the repair is well hidden and no colour issues could be noticed. I’m now happy with the repair and all that sands in my way of a excellent repair is the clear coating.
Clear coat and panel should be warmed to c 20 degrees before application, gripper to half coat with 5 minute interval before applying the final wet coat. Allow to ‘flow out’ for a further 10 minutes before adding infra red red heat at 70 degrees for required time, allow to cool and de nib with 2000 grit wet and dry before a light compound and final polish. De mask, job done.
Paint Medic provides mobile car repairs and scratch repairs in and around Shrewsbury, UK
Michael and Linda Gray, authors of Auto Upkeep, were interviewed for the Advance Auto Parts DIY Garage. You can read the full article HERE.
Written by a Guest Blogger
Whether you want to save money or you can’t afford to purchase a new auto parts form a retailer, it’s often possible to find a quality car part at a low price. In some instances, this may mean purchasing used car parts or from an individual dealers, but buyers should have caution when shopping to ensure they’re getting the parts that best suit to their cars. In order to avoid troubles when shopping, consider the following guidelines.
Although in most cases the difference isn’t great, rates for some auto parts usually vary from one dealer to another. Generally, there are a lot of regional or national chain parts dealers in most areas. Before purchasing a car part, you should contact each dealer in the area to know the price offered. Most car part stores usually ship parts to your home address, so you can shop from those stores that don’t have a retail presence in your area.
Online Part Dealers
In addition to the car parts dealers with brick-and-mortar stores, there are also a lot of dealers that trade online. Try to check these online stores for a price quote. However, you must have caution when dealing with these online stores as there are a lot of online scams and con artists nowadays. When dealing with unknown retailers, you could verify their reputation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Junk and Salvage Yards
The most common source for cheap car parts is the local salvage or junk yards. In addition, you can check the directory of yards nationwide with the use of online database or part finder websites. Always have caution when buying electronic parts, such as fuel pumps, ignition modules, etc., as the retailer may accidentally sell a part that doesn’t work from a junk car. It may be a hassle for you to return the product for a refund.
Similar to a large newspaper classified, most areas have also a publication where people can list car items for sale. For most common vehicles and parts, these listings can be a good source of cheap auto parts. However, auto parts from these listings may be used, so you should have caution when buying. Moreover, Ebay, Craigslist, or online listings like the parts section of ISeeCars are potential sources of cheap auto parts. These online stores list both new and used parts from dealers as well as individuals. Although not perfect, these stores provide tools that help consumers make sure they’re buying the right car part.
Snow and ice are just around the corner. Whether you like it or not, winter weather will be here before you know it. How can you get better traction in the snow and ice? The folks at McGee Company has a solution for you. Instead of putting heavy and cumbersome chains on your tires, just put on the easy to install AutoSock.
The AutoSock is a textile cover that is installed over tires when snow and ice are encountered. It increases traction and installation is a breeze. This alternative traction device even works on vehicles with very little space around the wheel well.
Since the AutoSock is soft, it does not damage road surfaces. And unlike chains, it emits virtually no noise when driving. Another significant benefit is that the AutoSock weighs significantly less than chains, resulting in lower fuel consumption and less carbon dioxide emissions. If you do ever wear them out, they are also recyclable.
How to Use the AutoSock
- Before purchasing the AutoSock, you will need to know your tire size. Tire dimensions are on the sidewall of the tire. An example tire size is P205/55R16.
- When using the AutoSock, don’t put the “pedal to the metal”. Use a light foot so the tire doesn’t spin and avoid using excessive speeds.
- Once you get out of the snow or ice, remove the AutoSock to increase its longevity.
- Before parking your vehicle at night, remove the AutoSock so it doesn’t freeze.