Table of Contents
- Alternatives to Selling Your Car
- Features of Car Title Loans
- How You Can Use Your Car Title Loan for Repairs
- Repair Car Lights
- Repair a Wheel Alignment
- Repair an Accessory Drive Belt
- Differences Between Windshield Wipers and When to Change Them
- Replacing the Battery on Your Car
- Repair a Catalytic Converter and Keep it from Breaking
- What is the Best Way to Repair My Cloth Car Seats?
- Why Do Cars Need an Oil Change?
- Car Maintenance Timeline: Let’s Break it Down
- Why Are Extended Warranties Not Normally Worth the Cost?
- Driving Habits to Increase Your Car’s MPG
- Manual Transmission and Saving Gas
- What is a “Smog Inspection” and How to Pass One Successfully
- How to Maintain Your Motorcycle
- Motorcycles Tire Pressure: How It Can Save Your Life
- How Do You Get a Car Title Loan?
We all have a relationship with our car, and that relationship definitely has its good days and bad days. On a good day your car can take you to work or school, it can keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and it has the ability to play music, so you can keep a level head in traffic. You probably have some pretty good memories with your car on these kinds of days.
But on a bad day, oh boy. On a bad day your car can blow a tire, leak oil, catch the paint-chipping excrement of every bird in your neighborhood, and cause you many other problems that can ruin your day and hurt your wallet big time. What are you supposed to do when your car springs these expensive surprises at you?
Alternatives to Selling Your Car
When your car is in need of repair and you don’t have the emergency cash for it, you might be tempted to just make do with how it is for the moment until you are able to save the money to get it fixed. The risk, however, is that you allow your car to further deteriorate since it will be forced to perform despite its compromised condition.
The good news is that you do not have to resort to letting your car run in the condition that it is just because you do not have the means to have it repaired.
Look at some logical and feasible alternatives to selling your vehicle.
A Second or Third Job
There are several ways to get back on track financially, even if working your fingers to the bone and breaking your back all day isn’t paying off. Here are a few jobs that could throw a few hundred dollars in your back account every month:
Whether you’re current occupation is in a restaurant or you’ve waited tables in the past, catering to guests as a waiter or bartender is one of the most significant occupations in the United States for time and volume of workload versus payout, in that you could possibly make the most money while working only a short period of time.
Working Retail/Seasonal Retail
Even though retail and department stores usually have more employees, their longer hours tend to give restaurants and bars the edge in the most sought after second job. However, it is widely known that several stores tend to offer employment during the holidays from November to January. This trial run could also turn into a full-time position.
Not everyone is artistic in nature, but it is possible to gain a few extra dollars on the side by doing some sort of freelance work. If you’re a writer, use technical writer or blog writing to practice your craft in a different way. If you’re a photographer, try to stay within the bounds of what a client wants versus thinking outside the box. If you’re not as artistic, see what you can find—mowing lawns, being a lifeguard, training a person at a gym—the possibilities could be endless.
Selling off your vehicle may not be the best solution to your money problems, especially if you’re not obtaining anything in return, but what most certainly will help you is to clear out space and get rid of some sparingly used items that could potentially bring in a few dollars.
By no means should you sell off an antique item that your grandmother gave you, or a sentimental teddy bear from your birth, but rather things that could be gotten back if you should ever need it again. Video games, appliances, televisions and computers. Maybe even some clothes could be traded in for a few dollars.
The old fashion way of doing this is the yard sale, but sites like Craigslist and apps like Let-Go can give you an extra angle to sell your old items for the extra cash you need.
At first it may seem like a good idea to sell your vehicle away, but think about everything that your car can supply you with, all in the form of transportation unit. Groceries. The Gym. Weekend Getaways. Job Interviews. Dates. Extra Storage. Try out one of these alternatives and hopefully you get back on the right track. Good Luck!
If you find yourself in a position where you can’t afford your engine repairs, then perhaps you should consider getting a personal loan. With a personal loan, you could receive emergency funds to repair a blown engine.
A personal loan is great way to pay for auto repairs because they have decent interest rates—depending on your credit score. Personal loans also don’t really have a limit, so you could receive a high loan amount if your credit score is high enough.
The issue with personal loans, is that getting one can be difficult, and it could take some time to acquire funds. When opting to get a personal loan to fund your car repair, you may be required to possess a decent credit score to even be considered. Without a decent score, chances are you may be deemed ineligible.
When it comes to receiving funding, the process may take up to a week. Typically, you may receive funds within one business day, but depending on the company you choose, that time frame can be much longer.
If you don’t want to spend time applying for a loan, you could consider using a credit card to pay for your vehicle repair. Using a credit card can actually be a great option, especially if the interest rate on your credit card is low and affordable.
While paying for a car repair with a credit card might be the best option for some, it may not be best option for others, especially if you are trying to repair a blown engine. The cost to repair a blown engine will vary, as costs will depend on what needs to be fixed and the time it takes to fix it. But on the low end, a driver may be looking at $2,500 to $4,000 in costs, which is a lot to put on your credit card(s).
Before you use your credit card to repair your blown engine, be sure do some research to find out if using a credit card is the best option.
A Car Title Loan
While getting a personal loan can be great if your credit is in good shape, there is may be an alternative if you are ineligible: a title loan. Title loans are based around the equity of a person’s drivable motor vehicle and their ability to repay the loan.
This means two things:
- Your vehicle’s title is used as collateral to secure the loan
- Your credit score is not a big factor during the qualification process
With these flexible factors, just about anyone with a vehicle title can get title loans1. And since your vehicle’s title is being used as collateral, your vehicle can be in the shop when you take out the loan.
On top of that, title loans generally have fast approval processes, so you could receive your money the same day you apply3! Though just like personal loans, there are some details to be aware of.
The first thing you should know, is that the funds you may receive will be determined by the value of your vehicle and your ability to repay the loan. So, you may not receive enough money to cover the repair cost yourself.
Next, you need to be aware that title loans are not available in every state. If you are considering applying for car title loans and many other cities, make sure your state allows them in the first place.
Features of Car Title Loans
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Title loans are a very useful type of loan because of a number of features that it is known for:
- Short term. For people who are looking for a quick solution that will not require them a lifetime to pay off, car title loans are a good idea to try.
- Small but significant loan amounts. The maximum loanable amount you can get from a car title loan would be the maximum value that the loan officer would have assessed your car to have.
- Require only a few documents. Car title loans are easy to prepare for and process because they will not ask you for your entire life’s documents in order to be approved. The usual requirements for car title loans include: the car’s lien or title, proof of identification, proof of residence, and proof of capacity to pay like an income statement. While there might be cases wherein additional documents may be needed (especially for applicants who are unable to show their capacity to pay right off the bat), these are the usual requirements for most people.
- Short processing time. Because car title loan applications require only a few documents, it is easier to go over and attend to the rest of the processing steps with each client. In fact, you can expect a call back within minutes in most cases after submitting your application.
- Efficient ways to claim your money. Once your car title loan has been approved, you get to decide how you want to claim your money.
- The freedom to use your car. When you apply for a car title loan, one of the benefits that you get is being able to drive your car even when the loan period is active. This is even true for people who are planning to apply for a car title loan with a vehicle that they are still paying for.
- Good working relationships. One of the things that make people hesitate when it comes to applying for a car title loan is the fear that they will have to deal with a ruthless loan officer who is only after their money. The loan officers work with you until you are able to arrive at an amount, monthly payment total, and payment period that you find to be the most manageable. To make the long story short, the kind of loan you will get would be the best possible option taking into consideration your personal circumstances.
How You Can Use Your Car Title Loan for Repairs
As you can see, it is very easy to muster up the courage to apply for a car title loan – especially if the money will be used for something urgent and necessary, like seeing to your car repairs. There are many things you can do with your loan amount, car repair-wise:
Repair Car Lights
Properly working vehicle lights are an important and necessary security feature. Lights ensure other drivers on the road are made aware of your intentions to turn or slow down, and that your car is visible during low visibility hours.
Traffic laws in all states require working vehicles to repair dead lights as quickly as possible. If not, drivers may be pulled over and issued a mechanical violation or “fix-it” ticket. This is meant as a safety measure to protect drivers on the road.
If your lights aren’t working properly, fix them as soon as you are able. Check out this list of most common car light problems and how you may go about repairing them.
There are a lot of interior lights, and equally as many interior light problems that could arise. Three of the most common problems include dimming, flickering lights, and lights that won’t turn off.
- Dim Lights
If interior lights are continuously getting dimmer, it could mean battery or alternator problems. One way to check is to use a multimeter, also known as a multitester. A multimeter is an electronic measuring instrument that takes several types of measurements. They can measure voltage, current, and resistance. Attach one to your vehicle’s battery terminal while the car is on. If the voltage level is low, then the alternator may have to be replaced. For instructions on how to replace the alternator yourself, watch this helpful video. If the voltage measure reads normal, the car’s battery may be dying. Replacing a car battery can be easy, check out this article on how to replace the battery yourself.
- Flickering Lights
If interior lights are flickering, there may be a few different causes: ground wire problems, dying battery, or a failing voltage regulator. To test for ground wire faults, you will have to use a multimeter to test the voltage. Watch this video on how to detect ground wiring problems. If the problem is loose wiring, it is best to have an auto mechanic safely resolve the issue. Using a multimeter, check for low voltage. If the reading is low, the alternator may need to be replaced. A failing voltage regulator is also a common cause of flickering lights. Using the multimeter, have a friend rev the engine while you keep an eye on the multimeter. If the voltage reads anything above 14 volts, replace the voltage regulator.
- Shining Light
If the interior light won’t turn off at all, check the switch. Sometimes the switch gets bumped and the lights go in the “on” position. If the light still won’t turn off after being placed in the “door” or “off” position, consult a mechanic.
While malfunctioning interior lights could cause strain on the car battery, they most likely will not immediately impact driving safety. But failing exterior lights should be repaired as soon as they are detected. Not just for your safety on the road, but for other drivers as well. So check out these common exterior light problems, and discover how to fix them.
- Burnt Out Bulb
If the blinkers blink excessively quickly or simply don’t turn on, then you will have to replace the bulb. Thankfully, this is pretty easy to do. The car manual will let you know which type of bulb you need for the exact type of exterior lamp that is failing. The manual will also give detailed instructions on how to replace the bulb. If dealing with high intensity discharge (HID) lights, visit a mechanic as dealing with these bulbs can be dangerous due to their high voltage.
- Bad Brake Light Switch
Analog switches are responsible for sending a signal that turn the brake lights on. If two or more brake lights are out at the same time, the problem is most likely a bad brake light switch. More often than not, the brake light switch is going to be located under the dashboard. To verify the brake switch location, refer to the car manual. Remove any covers in the way with screwdrivers or a socket wrench. Once the switch is in view and easily accessible, disconnect the power cable connector. Then connect the cable to the new replacement switch, verify it’s secure, and place the switch back in its original location. Replace the covers and you’re done!
- Blown Fuse
After checking the exterior light illumination and the light switch, the problem may be that the light fuse is blown. Discover where the fuse box is located on your vehicle, and using the fuse diagram found in the car manual, pinpoint the brake circuit. If the fuse is blown, insert a replacement fuse of the same amperage. Easy peasy.
- Bad Socket
If you only have a single light out, and the bulb is not the problem, check the light socket. If the socket looks dirty or shows signs of corrosion, clean the socket with an electrical contact cleaner. If the wiring is worn, replace the faulty wire.
With the right tools and instruction, you can fix common car light problems yourself. But depending on the problem, it may be beneficial to your safety to have the problem resolved by a proper mechanic.
Repair a Wheel Alignment
Wheel alignment is how straight the wheels on your vehicle are in comparison to one another. You want your vehicle wheels to be parallel and balanced, so you have the smoothest, safest driving experience possible. Without maintaining your wheels alignment, you are more prone to damages, accidents, and other pricey and dangerous problems.
Essentially, your vehicle’s wheel alignment depends on two factors: camber and caster. Working with a “lean with it, rock with it,” metaphor—the camber is the lean while the caster is the rock. For those of you born after 2001 let me break that down for you: first off, camber is how much your car wheels lean towards or away from your car. You want your wheels to be balanced in the middle, but if their camber is off they might slant inwards towards your car with a negative camber or away from your car with a positive camber.
Caster is how much your tires slant forwards towards the hood of your car or backwards towards the trunk. If your wheels jet forwards, they can begin to shred due to the disproportioned weight while driving. If your wheels lag backwards, you will have less control in maneuvering your car, which is never a position you want to be in as a driver.
You Need a Wheel Alignment Because It Could be Life Saving
Just like your car runs better when it has had a fresh oil change, your car will drive smoother when your wheels are aligned. Not only does maintaining wheel alignment make for a more pleasant driving experience, it could save your life as well. When your wheels are not properly aligned, your car is more vulnerable to severe weather conditions such as snow, ice, and rain. If your wheels have an overly negative camber, your car will react more sharply to slippery snow, ice, or rain on the road. What could have been a little slide on the road can lead to your car spiraling-out—threatening your life and those around you.
Uneven terrains such as mountains, bumpy or graveled roads could also affect your car if the wheels are not properly aligned. When you are driving up the side of a mountain, you definitely want to make sure that you have full control of your vehicle, unaligned tires are not your friend in this (or any) situation.
Getting your wheels aligned could also prevent your car from flipping over if you are ever in an accident or even just taking a turn too sharply. If your tires lean more on one side, it might not take too much more force to tip it all the way over. Get your wheels regularly aligned and skip the potential disaster.
While wheel alignment can help save your life, it can save your wallet too. When your wheels are not properly aligned, you will use up more fuel every time you drive. Your life is definitely more important, but it doesn’t hurt to help out your wallet as well.
Red Flag Signs That You Need to Check Your Wheel Alignment
Keeping your tires rotated is a good way to make sure they are aligned. When you get your wheels professionally rotated, your mechanic will obviously make sure they are aligned. While some say you should rotate your tires every 5,000 miles, there are some surefire signs you might need to do so sooner.
The bane of every driver’s existence—potholes. One minute you’re driving along the road, and everything is perfectly fine and the next thing you know you hear that awful *DA-KLUNK* that means you just ran over a massive pothole in the road. You pull over hoping for the best but preparing for the worst, only to find out that the worst has happened, and a pothole has claimed your tire. This is bound to happen to you often if your wheels are not aligned. Be safe and check the alignment if your tires whenever you drive over a nasty pothole just to make sure everything stayed put.
Sometimes when we take a turn too sharply we may clip the side of the curb with our wheels. It happens to us all. But what doesn’t have to happen to us all is the major damage that can happen to your car if you hit a curb when your wheels are unaligned. If you have wheels with an overly positive camber you might even catch curbs more easily as you drive past them, no thanks! Save yourself the hassle and get your wheels aligned regularly, also give them a check when you happen to bump a curb.
- Driving Quickly Over Speed Bumps
If bumping into curbs is bad for your wheel alignment, zooming over speed bumps is catastrophic. Speed bumps are made of hard concrete, which is made for your car to drive on top of, not in to. The force from driving over a speed bump quickly can be enough to knock your wheels out of alignment, or cause you to swerve if they are already out of line. Do yourself a favor and just drive slowly over speed bumps, but be sure to give your wheels a check if one happens to sneak up on you.
- Getting in an Accident
Whenever your car is in ANY kind of accident, you should get the wheel alignment, as well as everything else, checked out by your mechanic. When a car is hit with any kind of force, have it be a small fender-bender or a full-out collision, there is a chance that the vehicle was internally damaged. While your car may look fine after a small accident, you should always get it approved by a mechanic just to make sure everything inside is straightened out too.
Repair an Accessory Drive Belt
Automobiles have hundreds of parts and things that work together that make it function properly. Knowing the function and purpose of all of them is quite difficult, unless you are trained in the area. However, there are some things you just need to know for the longevity of your vehicle: when to get an oil change, when to change a belt, and even when to purchase new tires, for instance.
An accessory drive belt is a belt that drives all of the accessories that are in the engine of your vehicle. These accessories include the alternator, the water pump, the air conditioner compressor, and the power steering pump. Without the drive belt, none of the aforementioned accessories would work properly.
You may also hear an accessory drive belt referred to as a serpentine belt, an alternator belt, a fan belt, or simply just a drive belt. Don’t let the terminology confuse you, they are all the same thing.
Some vehicles have 2 accessory drive belts, while some only have 1 belt. The number of belts depends on the size and use of the vehicle.
Dirt, oil, and water will cause your accessory drive belt to deteriorate overtime, quicker than it normally would.
Who Invented the Accessory Drive Belt?
A company called Dayco invented the 1st accessory drive belt in the 1970s. Since then, they have invented so many belts for different vehicles and designs. Dayco is a leader in manufacturing automotive parts for construction, agriculture, and other industry vehicles.
What is an Accessory Belt Made of?
An accessory drive belt is made of very strong rubber. The rubber is purposed to be extremely durable, withstand a lot of friction, and be oil resistant.
How Long Does an Accessory Drive Belt Last?
Typically, these belts will last you about 45,000 to 75,000 miles depending on your driving habits. Some vehicle’s belts last longer—but consult your vehicle’s manual to look at the appropriate time tables for vehicle maintenance.
How Often Should My Accessory Drive Belt be Inspected?
The accessory belt is in use each and every time you turn on your vehicle and for the entire time that it is running. It gets a lot of use and needs to be cared for properly. Therefore, an accessory drive belt should be inspected during routine maintenance, as often as every oil change.
How Do I Know if My Accessory Drive Belt Needs to be Replaced?
- Damaged sidewalls– If the sidewalls of your belt are frayed, it can be pulled into the mechanism and cause a major malfunction. This can also cause the belt to look really shiny and will cause your vehicle to make noise.
- Uneven wear– If one of the ridges on the belt has more wear than the others, it will cause a thumping noise under the hood. This can be caused by an unsuspected object in the in the pulley or in the belt.
- Random cracking– Random cracks in the belt can be caused by high temperature changes. Going from really hot to really cold temperatures, or vice versa, can cause small random cracks throughout the belt, in addition to the pulleys.
- Chunks missing– Big chunks missing from the belt, can cause the belt to fail, and your car to stop at any moment. It is caused by several small random cracks happen in one centralized location. This cracking is also caused by weather changes, age of the belt itself and stress from the movement of the pulleys.
Just because the visible side of a drive belt does not look worn or frayed, does not mean that the underside is in good condition.
If you hear squeaking, squealing, or chirping noises coming from your vehicle, it is likely that somehow dirt, oil, or water, has gotten onto the belt. You should immediately have your vehicle looked at when you start to hear these noises. If you wait to take your vehicle in, you will run the risk of the belt breaking. Once it breaks, you will not be able to drive your vehicle. A broken drive belt can cause your engine to overheat, your alternator to stop working, and your wheel not to turn.
How Much is it to Replace My Accessory Drive Belt?
The replacement of an accessory drive belt depends on the type of vehicle that you have, and your mechanic’s prices. The total cost of the replacement can range from $80-$315. Now, it is very possible for you to replace the belt yourself; however, not all vehicles are the same. So, you may want to do some research for guides to get it done. You can go into any auto parts store and tell them what you need and the type of vehicle you drive, and they will be able to match your vehicle with the appropriate belt.
Differences Between Windshield Wipers and When to Change Them
Wind shield wipers are an important part of car safety and car maintenance. There are differences between windshield wipers, and it is important to understand those differences when trying to find windshield wipers that will work best with your car.
It is also important to think about when it is time to change windshield wipers to keep them working properly and keep yourself safe while driving. There are a few things to look out for when looking at windshield wipers and things to look at when it is time to change them.
The Differences Between Windshield Wipers
There are many differences that exist when looking at windshield wipers. Here are the few major differences to really pay attention to when looking for the best one that suits your vehicle:
The Type of Movement
Most people may not think of this when looking at windshield wipers. But the movement of a vehicle’s windshield wipers actually vary from car to car. So before picking blades out, it is important to know which blade movement goes with your car. For example, there are different movements for the back of vehicles and different ones for the front of a car.
The Frame Style
When it comes to windshield wipers, there are many different frame styles to consider. Here are the major frame types:
- Traditional Frame Types: These are the most common types of wipers out there. They are also the most affordable and the most commonly used. Usually they are made up of several parts.
- Winter Wipers: These are specially made to withstand harsh weather. Although they are more expensive than traditional wipers, they are built equipped with the necessary durability to make it through harsh weather conditions. For those who drive through a ton of rain and snow, these should be an essential part of car safety.
- Premium Beam Wipers: These wipers are usually offered as alternatives to any other type of windshield wipers available. These are usually made better and tend to last longer. For those who prefer low maintenance on their vehicle, these wipers may be a good choice.
Cars come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and so do windshield wipers. Each car has certain dimensions for the fit of wipers that are compatible with their car. Finding what size fits your car can be done fairly easily; look through your car’s manual or go to a car repair shop for help.
The Different Signs it is Time to Change Wiper Blades
Because windshield wipers vary so much throughout the industry, there really isn’t a recommended time that wipers should be changed—such as an oil change. But it is recommended to check wipers every six months or so. When it comes time to change your wiper blades, here are some things to look for:
- Any Sounds the Wiper is Making: If a windshield wiper is having any issues, then it will probably make some type of squeaking or screeching sounds when used. This often is a sign of them needing to be replaced.
- Visibility Issues: If windshield wipers leave any streaks or do not clean all parts of a windshield, then it may be time to get new ones.
- Look for Broken Parts: Traditional windshield wipers have a few parts that could fall off, break, or chip away. Pay attention to those components as they can be helpful in determining when they need to be changed.
- Any Corrosion: Like most parts of a car, windshield wipers can be a victim to corrosion. When they begin to rust, it is a good time to change them.
- Loss in Flexibility: A good test that can be done on wipers is to flex them a bit, if they feel stiff it is probably time to change them.
- Look for Other Signs of Weathering: Everything from sunshine to tree sap could damage a vehicle’s wipers. If they show any signs of not working like they should, it is time to replace them.
Things to do to Increase the Life of Your Windshield Wipers
There are a few simple things that can be done to extend the life span of your windshield wipers, here are a few tips:
- Clean Your Wipers Often—This is a really easy way to prevent weather damage, clean those wipers every time you fill up gas.
- Don’t Use with Ice—On those cold mornings, while defrosting your car, it may be tempting to wipe away ice with your windshield wipers—but don’t! Ice can do real damage to wipers.
- Keep Windshield Washer Fluid Filled—This fluid can help so that wipers aren’t doing all the heavy lifting when cleaning the windshield.
- Stick Your Wiper Up in Cold Weather—If you live in a region where it snows, remember to stick your wipers up so they don’t stick to the vehicle and damage the rubber.
Windshield wipers are an important part of car safety and are one of the basics of car maintenance. By picking the right windshield type and changing them when necessary, a person could make sure they have the best visibility while driving. Generally, it is recommended that windshield wipers be checked out every six months or so. In between those intervals, there are many preventative measures that can be taken to help prolong the life of your windshield wipers.
Replacing the Battery on Your Car
For battery maintenance, it is recommended to check your car’s battery at least once every three to five years. When it is time to find a new battery for your car, the car’s manual will be your best friend. The manual contains major information on certain factors that are important when replacing a battery. Here are a few factors to look at when replacing it:
The Type of Battery
Generally there are two types of car batteries out there:
- Lead Acid Batteries: These require some maintenance from the driver, and do not last as long as their counterpart, but they generally cost less. This is best for people who don’t mind/ have experience with car maintenance and are primarily looking to save money.
- Absorbed Glass Mat: These batteries do not require regular maintenance from the driver and hold more charge than lead acid batteries. They also have features such as the ability to withstand recharges and fuel efficiency. These batteries cost more money than their counterpart, but offer more benefits. These are best for those who don’t use their vehicle for long stretches of time and prefer a hands-off approach with their car.
The Size of the Car’s Battery
This is an important part of knowing what battery to pick. Car batteries come in different sizes; in the battery world this is also known as group size. Each group size will have a different sized length and width, which fits a certain car’s battery tray (the place where the battery sits in your car). In a car’s manual, many retailers provide their customers with reference guides for the variety of cars out there.
The Age of the Car’s Battery
When looking at batteries, it is important to know that it is not safe to reuse an old battery—and so a brand new, unused battery must be used for the replacement. When it comes to new batteries they all have a manufacturer’s date code of when they were made, stamped on them. Pay attention to the date code, as generally it is best to pick a battery that is no older than six months from the date of manufacturing.
The Brand of the Car’s Battery
This is another important factor when determining what battery to pick. The car’s manual should have a recommended brand to go with; it is often best to follow the recommendation. If wanting to cut costs the manual should also have battery requirements in it, so a person can move forward with those. There are many brands out there, some more expensive than others. The cost should be balanced with reliability.
Other Things to Consider When Picking the Right Battery for Your Car
Other than the basic elements that make up a battery, there are other factors—that occur outside of the car engine itself—to consider:
The Weather Outside the Car
If you live or constantly travel in an area that has cold weather, pay attention to the cold-cranking amps (CCA)—this is a feature that measures a batteries ability to start in cold weather. For people who use their car every day for their commute in cold weather, a high CCA is crucial to the reliability of their car.
For hot weather, it is important to find a battery with a high constant charge (CC)—essentially the life of the battery. Hot weather can cause wear damage to a battery quicker than a moderate or cold climate. Here is a battery-life test to help consumers.
It is important to check a car’s manual for CCA and CA info and to stay at—or closely above—whatever rating is recommended for a car.
Your Car’s Warranty
If a car is still on a warranty, a person may be able to get their battery changed for free or with some type of discount. Usually this repair is made straight from the dealership—who have knowledgeable staff to do the searching work for you. So before looking to change the battery of your car, check up on its warranty (if any).
The Car Servicer
Because the battery of a car is so crucial to its function and life, make sure you find a reputable servicer to work on your vehicle. Check out reviews or customer complaints before handing off your vehicle to a servicer.
Who Manufactures Car Batteries?
In the United States, there are three major companies that build batteries; Johnson Controls, Exide, and East Penn. The major car battery brands out there are built by them. These manufacturers pay attention to car sizing and power requirements to produce batteries that fit all sorts of vehicles. So as long as you stick to these major brands, there shouldn’t be a huge difference between them.
When picking a new battery, it is important to consider the different variables that are involved both inside and outside of the engine. When it comes time to pick the right battery, your car’s manual will be an important tool in guiding you. Additionally, being knowledgeable about the different variables to consider can be extremely helpful in making sure you find the right battery for your car.
Repair a Catalytic Converter and Keep it from Breaking
A catalytic converter is an essential part in most cars that takes the toxic gasses emitted by a vehicle and converts them into non-toxic gasses.
Think about how often you drive your own car. What if every time you drove somewhere you emitted toxic gasses into the air? Now think about all the cars you see on the road each day when you drive. Think of all the toxic gasses that would be emitted into the air. No thanks!
Vehicles that run on petroleum and were manufactured after 1993 have a catalytic converter installed. Petroleum is the liquid mixture that is refined to produce gasoline, kerosene, and diesel oil. Nowadays most cars run on petroleum.
Catalytic converters used to be placed under a car’s hood right next to the engine. This is because a catalytic converter requires an 800-degree temperature to convert gasses from harmful to inert, and the heat given off by a running car engine would heat up the catalytic converter faster. However, this caused some vehicle problems, like vapor lock.
The next solution was to keep catalytic converters under the hood, but farther away from the engine–but this still caused some problems. Now, catalytic converters are kept underneath the vehicle, so they can still absorb heat produced by the vehicle without causing lots of problems.
What Kinds of Catalytic Converters are There?
There are 2 kinds of catalytic converters; a two-way and a three-way. A two-way catalytic converter oxidizes carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and oxidizes hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water. A three-way catalytic converter does everything as a two-way converter, but also controls the emissions of nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide, which are harmful substances.
Three-way catalytic converters can be less common because there is somewhat of a risk in using them. Sometimes three-way catalytic converters can have an unwanted chemical reaction and produce hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. While precautions have been taken to prevent the production of these harmful substances, eliminating the byproducts entirely is extremely difficult.
How Much Do Catalytic Converters Cost?
If you have ever had to replace a catalytic converter, you know how expensive they can be.
Catalytic converters can be expensive because they need to be made from a mixture of precious metals. Platinum, palladium, and rhodium are some of the main precious metals required to make a catalytic converter. Since these metals cannot be externally produced and need to be used in their naturally occurring state, construction of catalytic converts can be tricky, and expensive.
The average cost to fix a catalytic converter can be between $1,317 and $1,594. If you need to replace your catalytic converter but don’t have the immediate funds to do so, there are things you can do to help offset the initial cost, but there is no getting around having this essential piece of equipment installed in your car.
How to Keep a Catalytic Converter in Good Condition
If you want to maintain your catalytic converter for as long as possible, there are some car care precautions you want to take.
First off, you want to make sure your catalytic converter is always clean, so that it is functioning properly, and it doesn’t get muddled up and clogged. There are products you can purchase from auto stores that can clean your catalytic converter, or you can take your car to your trusted mechanic and have them take care of it.
You should also be aware of the signs that occur when your catalytic converter starts slipping up in performance, that way you can know when to get it looked at right away. If you notice blue smoke coming out of your tailpipe, this probably means that there is oil burning inside of your car’s engine which can have a negative effect on the catalytic converter. While blue smoke coming out of your car may look cool, you want to stop this when it happens as soon as possible.
You can also soak your catalytic converter to get it clean. Use a mixture of hot water and degreaser, and let your catalytic converter sit in the mixture for a while, then wipe it off with a rag and any unwanted debris should be gone.
What is the Best Way to Repair My Cloth Car Seats?
Taking your car to get detailed can cost you a lot of money, and why spend all that money when there are ways that you can clean your upholstery without spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Whether you need a quick overall cleaning, need to remove stains, are looking for an alternative to fabric cleaner, or you want to know how to maintain cloth car seats, here are some of the best ways you can clean your cloth car seats without the need of a professional.
The Best Way to Quick Clean Your Car Upholstery
To quick clean your car, you can create your own solution using:
- 2 tablespoons of dish soap
- 2 tablespoons of washing soda
- 2 cups of hot water
You will also want to have a cleaning brush and linen spray.
- The first thing you want to do is vacuum out your car from any excess debris or crumbs. To release any crumbs hiding in the stitching or cracks, use the dry, cleaning brush to push it out.
- Mix your solution together and dip your brush in the solution. Work the brush in circular motions, lightly dampening the upholstery. Soaking it too much will cause mold to grow as it settles in the cushion.
- Wipe the seat with a towel to make sure you remove any of the dirt suds left behind. Once you’ve finished wiping the dirt away, lower your windows to help the seats dry.
- Finish up by vacuuming everything one more time and spritzing the car with some linen spray.
The Best Way to Remove Stains from Your Car Upholstery
Stains can be a pain, especially if they’re on our car seats. It might take a little work to get them out, but once you do your car will look new again.
- Similar to quickly cleaning, you want to vacuum out your car’s upholstery. Make sure you’re getting in the seams to vacuum any debris out.
- Lightly spray a coat of a fabric cleaning product over the areas you want to remove stains. You can spray around 4-5 spritz over the area, but don’t soak it.
- Use an interior brush to work the stain. Stick to one area at a time before spraying another spot. Don’t use a stiff brush because it can damage the fabric, but a soft to medium brush will work.
- Wipe the dirty suds with a microfiber towel. Massaging the area can bring the dirt to the surface, which is important to do before it dries and leads to mold.
- Repeat these steps in every area you need to until it’s clean. This could take about 3-6 coats to remove a stain, depending on how long it’s been there and how bad it is.
- Once you’ve finished, vacuum the upholstery again.
The Best Way to Clean Your Car Upholstery Using an Alternative to Fabric Cleaner
Whether you or someone in your family is sensitive to harsher chemicals, or you don’t want to go out to find one, you can use common household items to clean the upholstery in your car.
- Laundry detergent – Mix the detergent with hot water and either place it in a spray bottle or damp a sponge. To rinse it out, wet a microfiber towel with cold water, squeezing any excess out and scrubbing the seat.
- Vinegar – Mix 1 cup of vinegar, a few drops of dish soap, and a gallon of water. Dab it on the seat and use a brush to clean it. To remove suds, soak a microfiber towel in clean water.
- Baking soda – This solution works great for unpleasant smells and cleansing. Use ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 cup of warm water. Coat your stain with a light layer and scrub with a tissue. Leave on for 30 minutes for tougher stains, blotting away with a cloth.
- Club soda – To get rid of cloth seat stains, coat a light layer and use a brush to scrub it in. Reapply as needed to remove the stain completely.
The Best Way to Maintain Clean Car Upholstery
There are many easy tips to follow if you want to maintain the upholstery of your car. By vacuuming often, it can help keep dirt and debris from getting trapped in the seams of the seats. Depending on the weather that you live in and how much time you spend in your car, you should vacuum your car out every 1-2 weeks.
If you happen to have a spill, try and clean it up as fast as you can. Clean up any debris that you notice because some can cause grease stains. If you do happen to come across a spill or stain, soak up the mess using a cloth or towel, especially mud, food, or makeup. Clean it up with fabric cleaner the minute you can.
Another great way to maintain the cleanliness of your car is by setting rules for those who go in your car. Make it clear what you will be allowing like no food or drinks. If someone has muddy or dirty shoes, maybe offer them a bag to put them in or put them in the trunk.
Why Do Cars Need an Oil Change?
The oil in a car is very important because a car is a machine, made up of many parts. These parts move and rub together, causing a lot of friction. A lot of friction creates heat, heat is okay in moderation. Too much heat can result in your car catching on fire. The oil lubricates the moving parts, contains the heat, and minimizes the friction.
The oil needs to be changed as part of your car’s routine maintenance. Most professional mechanics will recommend that you get your oil changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Whatever you do, do not wait on your oil light to come onto your dashboard. At that point, it is as good as gone, and can do some serious damage.
Oil types are distinguished by their viscosity. Viscosity is another word for thickness, which is measured by temperature. After being cycled through the engine keeping everything well lubricated, oil loses its viscosity. Thin oil doesn’t perform its job as well. Therefore, you should get your oil changed before it loses its viscosity and messes up your engine. When the oil is too old, it gets really thin. This thinness, can cause a buildup of dirt and other particles, which are too small to be grabbed by the engine oil filter. Thus, speeding up the process of deterioration of the engine.
Why Oil Changes Are Important:
- Upholds the life of your car.
- Lubricates the engine.
- Prevents overheating.
- Improves gas mileage.
- Gets rid of dirt particles.
There are several different types of oils on the market, because there are several different types of cars on the market. To ensure that they all run as smoothly as they were envisioned, you have to put the correct kind of oil in your car. It is imperative that you only use the type of oil recommended for your car. You can find this information in your car’s owner’s manual, you can ask the service agent at the lube shop, or you can ask a representative at your dealership. Putting the wrong oil in your car, because it’s cheaper can be detrimental to your car’s engine life. Saving a few dollars on oil, is not worth it when you have to replace the entire engine.
Because viscosity is measured by temperature, that accounts for hot and cold. This is why there are 2 numbers on oil bottles to distinguish the grade type. The “W” signifies winter, the lower the number, the thinner the oil will be. The second number tells of how thick the oil is at normal temperature. If the second number is high, the oil will be thicker.
- Full synthetic
Synthetic motor oil is chemically made motor oil. Synthetic motor oil has fewer contaminations than conventional motor oil has. It has high performance at extremely high and low temperatures.
- Synthetic blend
Synthetic blend motor oil is a mix between the full synthetic and the conventional types. It has a high performance in particularly low temperatures.
- High mileage
High mileage motor oil should only be used for older cars, or cars that have over 75,000 miles on them. This formula helps to prevent oil leaks, and other issues associated with older cars.
Conventional motor oil is for cars with a basic engine. If you do not drive a lot or make your car do a lot of work, this is a good motor oil for you.
- Premium conventional
Premium conventional motor oil is specifically for turbo charged engines. This formula improves gas mileage, while reducing thickness. It is for people who drive a lot and pushes their engine.
Professional oil changes can cost anywhere from $35-$70, depending on the type of motor oil that your car requires. You may get lucky, and find a great deal out there or a coupon, but be prepared to pay full price just in case. In addition to your oil change, most places offer a free oil filter replacement and a tire rotation, with your purchase!
Most oil change/lube shops, will post a sticker in your window on the driver’s side, which denotes when your next oil change should be. Pay attention to the sticker, set a reminder in your phone or, write it down in your planner. The health of your vehicle depends on it. There is no real harm done by getting your car’s oil changed too often, but why fix what isn’t broken? Save yourself some time and some money, by only taking it in for routine maintenance when it’s due.
Car Maintenance Timeline: Let’s Break it Down
Keeping up with the basic maintenance on your car can seem like a hassle—why fix something if it isn’t broken? But you shouldn’t wait until your car starts giving you problems before you start thinking about repair and maintenance.
If you want to help ensure the longevity of your car or vehicle, you want to keep up with maintenance on a regular basis. Here’s a breakdown of how often you should check the general functionality of your vehicle to keep it with you for as long as you need it.
Read the Car Owner’s Manual
Not many car owners can say they’ve read the owner’s manual. It’s usually a book you wind up sticking in your glove compartment without a thought. In reality, there is a lot of information in the owner’s manual that helps you optimize the performance and functioning of your vehicle. It can tell you:
- Things that need to be checked
- How they should be checked
- What signs or symptoms mean
- When you need to perform checks
Many cars even give you a maintenance checklist in the manual for things like when it needs to be done based on your mileage. You can learn a lot about your car from reading just a few pages.
Inspect Your Car Regularly
Inspect your vehicle regularly by following the checklist in your owner’s manual. Most of the time, you don’t need to be an expert or mechanic to simply inspect your car. All you need to do is assess different parts and components of your vehicle, so you know what to do next.
Sometimes the required action to adjust or fix something can be done by you. If you are unsure about something that could be wrong, make note of what you would like your trusted mechanic to check and bring it to them. That way, even if it turns out to be nothing, you’ll know for sure.
Problems can be silent, and once they start making noise it winds up being more expensive than it should be. Inspecting your vehicle can help you notice if the tire is a little flat, if it is time to schedule a brake pad change, if something is hanging from underneath your car that shouldn’t be. Expensive problems may be avoided by just looking.
Check Often – Every month or so you want to make sure the following features are functioning properly in your vehicle:
- Dashboard Indicator Lights– Along with the various gauges on a car’s dashboard, there are also some symbols that may light up on the dash as well. While you definitely want to take care of any issues as soon as possible, not all the indicator lights that can appear on your dash require immediate attention. If you see a symbol on your dashboard and don’t know what it means, Auto Zone has a helpful list of dashboard symbols and what they mean that you can reference.
- Lights – The more a car is driven, the dirtier it can get. Over time, the headlights and brake lights on a car collect dust, bug guts, and other general road debris that can dim the brightness of the lights. Every now and then give your headlights and brake lights a quick wipe down to make sure they are working at their full potential.
- Tires-Have you ever walked a long distance in shoes that hurt your feet? It can be painful, and even damaging to the body. Well, when your car is driving on wheels that are in poor condition, the car is also more susceptible to damage. Make sure your tires are properly rotated and have enough air so your car can drive happily and comfortably.
- Windshield Washer Fluid-If you have ever run out of windshield wiper fluid before, you know what an inconvenience it can be to not have a way of cleaning the main window of your vehicle. Avoid the inconvenience, and the potential danger of running out of windshield washer fluid by checking how much you have regularly.
Check Approximately Every 3 Months, or 3,000 Miles
- Automatic Transmission Fluid –transmission fluid helps a car when it automatically changes gears when driving in different conditions—such as uphill and downhill. Keeping up with the automatic transmission fluid will help a vehicle run as smooth as possible.
- Engine Oil Level –Have you ever been low on oil and noticed that your car runs differently? Having the proper amount of oil in your car helps the parts work together so the vehicle runs as efficiently as it can.
- Battery and Cables –The battery and cables of a car aid the electronic functionality of a vehicle—which can be important when it comes to the synchronization of features and functions of a car.
Check Approximately Every 6 Months, or 6,000 Miles
- Chassis Lubrication –this prevents the different parts of your car from rubbing together and creating friction, which can deteriorate the parts of a car over time. Keep your car parts well lubricated so they can work together smoothly.
- Wiper Blades –Just as the fluid of your windshield wipers is important, so is the functionality of the blades themselves. Make sure they are straight and intact, so you aren’t left with any distracting streaks when you go to use them.
- Belts and Hoses –When you check the lubrication of your car parts, you might as well check the functionality of the belts and hoses in your car as well. As you make sure they are well lubricated, make sure they appear unscathed—especially if they haven’t been lubricated in a while.
Check Approximately Every 12 Months, 12,000 Miles
- Air filters –Overtime, the various filters of a vehicle can collect dust and debris, and if we don’t clean it out—we can end up breathing those particles in when we turn on the heating or air conditioning in the car. Prevent this unwanted hazard by making sure the air filters in your car are clean and clear.
- Coolant (antifreeze) –When your car runs, the parts can get hot in temperature due to the consistent motion, friction, and movement of the vehicle. Coolant, or antifreeze helps keep the car at a normal temperature, so it doesn’t overheat. Most cars have a coolant, or temperature gauge on the dashboard—keep an eye on this and fill up your car with coolant when its low.
- Brakes – Brakes are definitely one of the most important features on your car—it can be literally life threatening to you or cars around you if your brakes are not functioning properly. Get them checked regularly, or immediately if you feel a change in how efficiently they stop the motion of your car.
Maintain the Car Exterior
Nobody wants their car to look bad. If you ever plan on selling your car, the exterior will be just as important as the function of the car. Make paint last as long as you can, change the lightbulbs when necessary, replace windshield wipers, and clean your car. All these things can help you keep your car maintained as well as make you feel better about driving it.
Overall, taking pride in what you own should be important to you. Not only will it help the function of your car, but it may help how you feel while driving it. Think about driving a car that’s always clean, in order, and looking sharp. It makes you feel good, regardless of how old the car might be.
Maintaining your car will help you save money and help it function properly for a longer amount of time. Buying a brand-new car or even a used car can be expensive if you have to do so every few years because it breaks down. Keep the value of your car by maintaining it internally and externally.
Why Are Extended Warranties Not Normally Worth the Cost?
If you read comments on the internet, people seem to agree that extended warranties are not worth the cost. But is that really true? The value of extended warranties has decreased in the last several decades—in part—because companies are manufacturing more reliable products. That said, there may actually be some instances where it makes sense to purchase an extended warranty. What are these situations? Keep reading to find out.
Why Do Dealers Sell Extended Warranties?
Extended warranties are becoming a more and more important source of revenue for merchants—like car dealers. In some industries, sellers may be in a position where they hardly make anything off of the initial sale. Some products even get sold at a loss on the hopes that the merchant will be able to upsell the customer on other products.
Extended warranties provide sellers with an advantage over other upsells because, depending on the terms of the warranty, the likelihood of them actually being used by the consumer is not especially high—meaning they profit. Even if a claim is made against the warranty, it may end up being less than the cost of the warranty. Still a win for the seller.
Why Do Warranties Cost So Much?
The real cost of a warranty should be figured based on the cost of the item and the likelihood that the product will fail within the duration of the warranty. Extended warranties are always more expensive than this, however. This is because the company selling the warranty needs to make money off the cost.
What Does an Extended Warranty Cover?
This varies from warranty to warranty. Generally though, they cover product failure up to a certain length of time past any original warranty. They rarely cover normal wear and tear or regular maintenance items.
There are two major types of extended warranties, inclusive and exclusive. Inclusive covers everything, except things that are specifically excluded. The exclusive warranty covers only that which is explicitly stated. There’s going to be quite a price difference between these types of warranties. And warranties that list exclusions will be easier for you to understand when compared to ones that only list inclusions.
If I Want to Buy an Extended Warranty, What Do I Need to Know?
If you wish to get an extended warranty, there are ways to make sure you get the best deal possible. You’ll want to do things like:
- Shop Around: You don’t need to buy the extended warranty from the merchant that you purchased your product from. For products like cars, you may be able to find a number of companies offering third-party extended warranties. You’ll also need to compare extended warranties with an eye towards things like how you’ll be reimbursed for the repairs, if you’ll be reimbursed at all. Some warranty issuers work directly with the shop to handle payment.
- Wait to Buy: You may be able to buy extended warranties for your products a little further down the road. Generally, this is cheaper than buying the extended warranty when you first purchase the item. As the product gets older, the warranty normally gets cheaper.
When You May Want an Extended Warranty
There are actually a few places where you may want to purchase an extended warranty. For example, if you’re purchasing a product that has a reputation for failing, the extended warranty may be worth it. Just be sure it will cover the parts of the product that are likely to fail. You should also be sure you verify exactly where your product can be serviced. If you must haul it 200 miles to an approved service station, you may want to reconsider going with that seller’s extended warranty.
Alternatives to Buying an Extended Warranty
As an alternative to extended warranties, you could put away half the money you would’ve spent on the warranty. Then, that money will be available for repairs down the road. And if you can invest the money in the meantime, you’ll even earn interest on it! This can save your bacon if the service company you bought the extended warranty from goes belly up. That’s another issue with extended warranties; if you get them from a third-party, you’ll be out of luck if the company goes out of business.
Now that you know a little more about extended warranties, you can decide if they’re not worth the cost, or if it would be a good investment for you. Extended warranties are used by dealers as a way to potentially get a good upsell out of a customer. That said, it’s possible that they could really save your bacon one day. If you aren’t sold on an extended warranty, you can certainly purchase one down the road. Or simply take the money it would’ve cost you and store it away in case you do have a major failure of your product.
Driving Habits to Increase Your Car’s MPG
Owning a car and saving money isn’t easy. Look at these simple tips you can do today to save money on your cars gas mileage.
There are all kinds of ways we can improve our car’s MPG. With gas prices always fluctuating, it is important to know how we can get the most out of our fuel. Check out these tips on how you can save on your cars gas mileage.
Befriend The Cruise Control to Increase Your Car’s MPG
Using the cruise control to drive the speed limit will not only save you money on inconvenient speeding tickets, it will also increase your car’s MPG.
Aggressive driving such as speeding, and sudden braking or acceleration can lower gas mileage by about 15%-30% on the highway and 10%-40% in heavy traffic. As if sitting in traffic isn’t bad enough, now it actually costs us money. But when you use cruise control you cut down on aggressive driving because your car is going at a consistent speed.
Also, despite popular belief, it is wise to use your cruise control on roads with lots of hills. According to a study in the International Journal of Transportation Science and Technology, using your cruise control in hilly areas will save you about 3.3% of fuel as opposed to driving manually in these kinds of conditions. That may not seem like much, but when you are traveling long distances on sloping terrains you will be grateful for every ounce of fuel saved. Can you imagine being stranded in the middle of a mountain road? No thank you!
Increase MPG by Getting Rid of the Cargo on Your Roof
Sometimes driving with a rooftop cargo carrier or bike rack is inevitable, especially when traveling with lots of large equipment or going on vacation. What we can prevent is keeping that carrier attached to the roof for another three months with nothing inside because we couldn’t be bothered to remove it.
Everybody is guilty of it. The last thing you want to do after vacation is spend the time to climb on top of your car and use tools to unscrew a big, bulky container that is going to go God-knows-where when you take it down. But this habit ends up costing us money in the end.
Rooftop cargo carriers can reduce gas mileage by 6%-17% on the highway, while rear-mounted carriers come with about a 1%-5% mileage reduction on the highway. Cars are built with aerodynamics in mind, they are made to drive against the wind with as little resistance as possible. But when we drive with extra bulk around the car, it is less wind resistant. This force causes the car to use more fuel just to move forward.
You can save up $.05-$.44 a gallon by removing these awkward boxes from your vehicle when you are not using them.
Lighten Your Travel Load and Save on Gas
Just like having bulky stuff around your car reduces the gas mileage, any extra weight inside your car affects the gas mileage as well.
If we aren’t all guilty of leaving rooftop carriers on the car for too long we are certainly all culprits of using our car like a moving suitcase. Shoes, spare clothes, fast food containers, water bottles, and any other random item we may need or use in our life (or even anticipate we may need or use), somehow finds its way into the back seat or trunk of the car. While this can be convenient for early morning coffee spills, it isn’t so beneficial to your budget.
When we are constantly traveling with everything we own, our cars work extra hard to move us, our things, and the weight of the car itself along the road. You can save an extra $.03 per gallon when you take a few minutes to clean all the unused junk out of your car.
Keep essentials such as a first-aid kit, basic car fluids and tools, and maybe one change of clothes (just one!), in your car always. You need some stuff with you, but you don’t always need all your stuff with you.
Keep Your Car Moving and Increase the Gas Mileage
Cars were built to move, so don’t leave yours to idle. You might be letting your car idle more than you think, and it’s probably costing you money and undoubtedly ruining your cars gas mileage.
How often do you sit in an idling car? When we wait to pick up a friend, sit in traffic, go through a drive-thru, or warm-up our cars in the winter we are letting precious gas money blow out the exhaust pipe.
It is particularly bad to leave your car idling in cold areas during the winter. Like many, I used to think you were supposed to leave your car running for a while in the winter before you started driving it. Wrong. For every hour a car idles, it loses between a quarter and a half-gallon of fuel.
Next time you are waiting to pick up a sluggish friend, drive slowly around their neighborhood instead of sitting in their parking lot or drive way. Go inside fast-food restaurants instead of using the drive-thru, you will save the gas and your order will probably come out faster. And in the winter, let your car run for about 20 seconds before putting it in drive, then drive it around slowly for a few minutes before you leave for your destination.
Check Your Tire Pressure to Improve Your Car’s MPG
We all know driving your car on a flat tire is absolutely horrible. If you have ever had the unpleasant experience of driving on a flat tire you probably remember having to push down a bit harder on the gas pedal in order to make the car move forward. Ah, the memories.
Tires can begin to affect how we drive even before they go flat. If the pressure of your car’s tires is low, their slight flatness will make act as resistance for the car moving forward. This will significantly reduce your car’s gas mileage, so take a few minutes every week to check up on the pressure of your tires.
Many gas stations offer the use of tire gauges and air to pump into your tire for free. Scope out some locations like this in your area and make a habit of keeping tabs on your tire pressure. Your wallet will thank you later.
The best way to increase your car’s MPG is to keep it moving. Your car will use up more gas if it is making up for another part that isn’t working as efficiently as it should. Find a mechanic you trust and take your car in for periodic check-ups. The better your car runs the easier it will be for you to maintain.
Manual Transmission and Saving Gas
Generally, when it comes to transmissions, there are two major kinds: automatic and manual transmission. No matter what kind of transmission a person drives, they may be wondering how to save gas. For those driving with an automatic transmission, saving gas while driving is fairly simple; laying off the accelerator when possible.
For those driving a car with a manual transmission, knowing how to save gas while driving may not be as obvious. However, there are subtle connections between a manual transmission and saving gas.
Is a Manual Transmission Better than an Automatic Transmission at Saving Gas?
No matter what kind of car transmission a person buys, there are ways to save fuel—whether through buying a fuel-efficient car, or through using tips and tricks while driving. A manual transmission could be better at saving gas versus an automatic transmission.
There are a few reasons for this, but there are two main reasons. Manual transmissions come with shift able gears—so there’s more flexibility while driving, and the second reason is because the work of shifting goes to the driver. Many people who drive stick shift can easily adjust gears to make driving more fuel efficient.
How to Save Gas with Manual Transmission
There are many ways to save gas while using a manual transmission:
- Smart Shifting with a Manual Transmission to Save Gas
When driving a manual car, it may be useful to understand how the different gears work with the amount of gas used. The different gears in the transmission have different fuel efficiencies attached to them. Generally, the higher the gear the less fuel is used—but there is more to this. When looking to save gas, a person should maintain the right gear for the speed they are trying to maintain while driving a stick shift. For example, if a car’s engine is revving faster than necessary—it is time to shift to a higher gear to save gas. In addition, it is important to understand that skipping gears while shifting is possible, and offers savings.
- Working with RPM with a Manual Transmission and Saving Gas
The RPM stands for the revolutions per minute a car’s crankshaft makes. In other words, the amount of work the engine is doing affects the amount of fuel being used. Drivers who drive a manual transmission have the advantage of controlling their RPM through shifting. A driver should keep in mind that the lower the gear, the higher the RPM will be. While the higher the RPM, the more gas is used while driving. To get the most fuel efficiency from their manual car a driver can use the knowledge of RPM to their advantage,
- Paying Attention to the Upshift Light to Save Gas
Many cars with manual transmissions come with an upshift light—a light that uses signals from the engine, accelerator, and engine to determine the optimum shifting time—and then lights up to show when it is time to shift. Using the recommendation from the upshift light could help save gas, and help get the best performance from your car.
- Paying Attention to the Tachometer to Save Gas
The tachometer in a car measures the RPM of a car. Nowadays, it comes standard in most cars. The tachometer is usually around the gauge the covers speed of a vehicle. This gives the driver the ability to determine the best speed for RPM. When looking to save the most gas, it is advised to stay above a value of 1,500 RPM while driving.
What is a “Smog Inspection” and How to Pass One Successfully
Smog inspections are necessary to ensure we are doing the best we can to create a better environment and are safe in our vehicles. In our modern world, there are several environmental issues that are so vital to consider. Smog is a major one that affects metropolitan areas and surrounding towns as well as other aspects of the global climate.
What is a smog inspection? A smog check is an emissions test that can be done on your vehicle. It is a test that is usually performed by well trained professionals versed in car engine maintenance. It looks at how gas is emitted when the engines are in use.
The main reason why this test is done is so that the public might be protected from harmful emissions from the use of vehicles. This is an initiative that is regulated by the US government through the Environmental Protection Agency. This agency was made active in the year 1990 by the Clean Air Act. The EPA was given the authority to oversee emissions and designed the smog test to address the challenges of maintaining vehicle efficiency.
What is An Emission?
An emission is anything that is produced and then expelled, like gas, radiation, and other pollutants. These emissions, in large quantities, can have a really bad effect on the quality of air that we breathe every second of our lives.
What Types of Emissions Tests Are There?
- On-board diagnostics tests
- Gas cap pressure checks
- Inspection and maintenance tests
The most popular of the three tests is the diagnostic test. This test uses a machine to gather the digital information from your vehicle’s computers to check for emission’s issues and malfunctions. The emissions tester can print out a form right then and there and tell you what needs to be addressed in your vehicle.
If you have ever wondered about the process that takes place during a smog check, then you are in the right place. Here are the processes that are followed when a smog check is done on your car:
- Emissions inspections: This is the stage that involves the measurement of gas emissions that include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and oxides of nitrogen. This can be simply put as the stage where emissions are monitored. If there is something wrong with the emissions on your car, you can find out with an emissions inspection. It’s a good idea to fix the emissions as soon as possible.
- Visual inspections and functional inspections: After you are done with the gas emissions check, the visual and functional inspections follow next. This is the part that is always so vital to proper ongoing maintenance. Sometimes when you have a problem with your car and the way it is emitting gases, the problem might be with your equipment. In some cases, it might be dysfunctional. This inspection is to ensure that the pollutants from the car’s exhaust pipes decrease to the lowest amount possible.
As technology continues to advance every day, there are more methods that are used to perform this operation. In most cases, there are a lot of methods used to carry out smog inspections. Here are the current smog check methods that may be done on your car:
- Two-Speed Idle (TSI) This test analyzes exhaust emissions from the tailpipe as the engine idles. This is a method of smog checking that has been popularized for working with older versions of cars especially that were registered in the 1990s.
- Acceleration Simulation Mode (ASM): In most cases, it is often reserved for older vehicles from before 1995. The Acceleration Simulation Mode test usually measures emissions under simulated driving conditions using an equipment called a drive-on dynamometer. It’s kind of like a treadmill for your car.
- On-Board Diagnostics (OBDI): During this test, information is usually downloaded from a car’s system that has an onboard diagnostic computer.
Will I be Notified When My Vehicle is Due for an Emissions Test?
Most states send out notices to each applicable vehicle owner when his/her vehicle is due for an emissions test. It will generally be sent out 45-90 days prior to the date the test needs to be completed. This notice will be sent to the address on the current registration card. If you have moved, you will need to notify your state’s motor vehicle department of the changes.
What Happens During a Smog test?
This is a question that most people are intrigued by. If you are wondering what usually happens, here is a rundown:
- Record: For example, if you are living in the state of California, records are the measurement that are taken. The data is immediately shared and transmitted to the state agency that is responsible for smog emissions.
- Results: This is the process that comes immediately after the record is taken. You are given a copy of your results called a Vehicle Inspection Report. This is usually accompanied by a payment receipt.
- Pass or fail: This is where it is so essential to know how your car did. If you got a pass, then you are good to go, and it is legally acceptable to drive your car in your state until the next smog check. However, if it does not pass, you will be given a set of instructions on how to repair it.
Before going in for the emissions test, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of passing. These simple strategies could make the difference between a pass and a fail.
How to Pass a Smog Inspection Carefully (Tips to a Successful Smog Check)
- Running right: This is the most important concept because there is just no way that you are going to be successful in the smog inspection if your car is not in the right condition. If the car is not running right on the road, there is a chance that the car will fail the test, hence losing your inspection fee. That is why it’s advisable to seek repair assistance.
- Take a drive: Drive your vehicle for at least 20 minutes prior to arriving at the smog inspection station. This will ensure your vehicle is properly warmed up and is running at the optimum level. Remember your engine is a fuel burning machine. To ensure proper combustion it needs to have sufficient time to warm-up and this can be accomplished by driving for at least 10 to 15 miles. This should help contribute to a successful smog check.
- Change oil: Contaminated oils are high in Hydrocarbons and will present a rich mixture to the engine chambers. Avoiding oil changes not only causes pre-mature engine wear but can also cause your vehicle to fail the smog inspection. Change the engine oil to limit these issues.
- Use additives: The use of fuel additives can be very helpful in lowering emission levels and helping your car, truck, or van pass the emissions inspection. Fuel additives are generally poured into a vehicle’s gas tank during refueling. The additive is mixed with your vehicle’s fuel. The purpose is to clean carbon deposits within your engine’s intake and exhaust paths, allowing for both fuel and air to flow freely within its passages, thus lowering emission levels, improving combustion, increasing overall engine performance, and helping you pass the emission test. These types of products offer helpful solutions to various vehicle emission and smog test problems.
These are just some ways to help you pass the smog inspection. By learning about your vehicle and understanding how it currently performs, you can find out the best way to maximize the performance of your car over time. There are a lot of ways to succeed with your emissions test. It is important that your vehicle has meets the minimum standards of your state to be compliant with the law. Getting a smog emissions test is a great way to do your part to facilitate a better environment.
What Happens if I Avoid Emissions Testing?
The longer you avoid emissions testing, your vehicle may cease to run smoothly and properly. The longer you wait to get your vehicle tested, you’re also putting yourself at risk of getting tickets, if your vehicle’s registration has not been renewed. Once the tickets start piling up, you will have three things to worry about: the fines, passing the emissions test, and getting the necessary repairs made.
What if I Fail an Emissions Test?
If you fail your emissions test, the testing technician will typically give you a list of codes. You can take the list to a licensed mechanic, or repair technician and have them read the codes and fix the issues. Generally, once you already pay the emissions test fee, if there is one associated with your state, you will not have to pay it again to retake the test.
Your vehicle will need to pass its emissions test in order renew its registration. The motor vehicle departments of most states do also offer extensions on emissions tests to give you time to get your vehicle up to code. However, if your vehicle cannot pass the emissions test, it cannot be on the road. Some states will give you a waiver, if you spend a certain amount of money on vehicle repairs, and still cannot pass the emissions test.
How to Maintain Your Motorcycle
Unlike the many parts of car, motorcycles are simply two wheels and a loose bolt away from a breakdown or crash. Learning how to maintain your motorcycle is important to keeping it running and allowing it to last you longer. Always make sure you are:
- Cleaning your bike
- Changing the oil
- Checking the chain
- Taking care of the tires
- Checking the cables
- Maintaining the hardware
- Taking care of the battery
- Bleed the brakes
Owning a motorcycle can be a fun and unique adventure. Regular maintenance will not only keep your bike running, but it will keep you safe. Follow these importance maintenance tips for your motorcycle.
When cleaning your bike, make sure you’re using cleaner made for motorcycles or car surfaces. They could have harsh detergents or chemical solvents that could damage the bike’s metal, paint, and plastic. Make sure the bike has completely cooled off before tackling the task.
When washing, avoid high-pressure water sprays because they can damage parts. Once you’ve finished, let it run for a couple minutes and test the brakes. You might need to pump them for normal performance.
Routine cleaning not only makes your bike look its best, but it gives you a chance to inspect the different parts of the bike as you clean. If you don’t ride it too often, be careful how often you wash it because it could wash away important lubricants. If you ride it and you come back dirty, then it’s okay to wash it.
Change the Oil
Just like a car, a motorcycle needs regular oil changes to run properly and stay healthy. The basic rule of thumb for a motorcycle is to change the oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles, but always follow the manufacturers instructions because it could be different.
Check the Chain
The chain’s tension on your bike is one of the most important things, as well as the lubrication. Most riders will check the chain before every ride, allowing them to inspect chain rollers and the sprocket.
When inspecting the chain, make sure it’s not too tight. If it is, it can cause undue wear of the chain and sprocket. If the chain is too loose, it can cause poor performance and breakdown. At the minimum, you should check your chain every 600 miles. Like with changing the oil, follow the manufacturer instructions to adjust it correctly.
Inspecting the tires and maintaining the proper tire pressure is very important. It should be a habit before every ride to check for cuts, abrasions, or uneven wear, all signs of improper tire pressure. Check the spokes and the rim while you are looking. If there is one important motorcycle accessory, it will be investing in a high-quality air pressure gauge.
Check the Cables
Make sure you check the cables and controls to ensure smooth and proper movement. Look for frayed cables and make sure they are replaced immediately. Per the manufacturer instructions, lubricate the cables on a regular basis.
It should be a regular habit to check the nuts, bolts, and pins for tightness and security. Don’t just rely on looking but take a wrench and really ensure it’s tight. Because of the vibration alone, nuts can work themselves loose or bolts can back themselves out. One good trick is to coat important bolts with bathroom caulk and retighten which reduces the effect of vibration on the bolt.
Take Care of the Battery
Every time you get an oil change, you should be checking the battery. Make sure the electrolytes are up on the proper level, and check for cracks or other problems with the vibration. Sometimes, if you have all the extra accessories like lights, it uses the charging system on your bike, so you should keep an eye on the battery.
Bleed the Brakes
Clean brake fluid will help keep your brakes running smoothly – an important characteristic for a motorcycle. Dirty brake fluid can cause a lot of problems like corroding the engine cylinders and compromising brake performance. You should bleed your brakes annually, which is simply replacing the brake fluid.
After you’ve replaced the brake fluid, hold the brakes to make sure they hold and check below the bike for leaks.
Other Tips for Motorcycle Maintenance
Motorcycle maintenance isn’t just about cleaning it and updating the parts. Protecting your vehicle will also protect the parts and help them last longer. Whenever you’re not riding it, you want to protect it from the elements like wind, rain, and snow.
Keep it in a garage or other shelter or shed that you can rent. On top of that, you’ll want to cover the motorcycle with a cover, ensuring it’s long enough to cover the bike and be waterproof. If you have it sitting in the driveway or on the street during the nicer seasons, you may also want to get a cloth motorcycle cover to keep it protected from rain, dirt splashes, and bugs.
Motorcycles Tire Pressure: How It Can Save Your Life
From dirt bikes to cruisers to sports bikes, there’s one thing that they all have in common that determines the ride – motorcycle tire pressure. Regardless of the bike, tires transmit every throttle, steer, and brake input to the ground. While inflating our tires is something we try to stay on top of, around 50% of all the bikes on the road have under-inflated tires. Under-inflated/Over-inflated tires can cause:
- Poor handling
- Loss of fuel economy
- Poor braking performance
- Excess heat
- Uneven tire wear
- And worse!
The “Right” Motorcycle Tire Pressure
When adjusting to the right tire pressure, following the owner’s manual is important to an extent. Tire pressure is something that should be adjusted depending on your riding conditions. If you are a performance rider on track or in the dirt, the idea of dropping your PSI a few pounds when riding hard isn’t a new concept. It softens the tire, which expands the contact patch and gives a better grip.
Riding with a heavy load means you need to bump up your tire pressure. The difference in your bike with or without fully loaded saddlebags, a hefty rider, or equally hefty passenger can mean a few hundred pounds – this situation also calls for proper adjustment to your motorcycle’s suspension.
Be cautious about not overloading your tires. This can lead to tire failure, which can be catastrophic on a motorcycle. Unfortunately, people do this all too often and it leads to accidents. Keep this in mind – for every 1 PSI a tire is under-inflated, it’s carrying capacity drops by about 20 pounds per tire.
- Don’t be afraid to adjust your tire pressure up or down by a few PSI based on riding conditions and load accommodation.
What to Know About Motorcycle Tire Pressure
Tire pressure can be easily adjusted. It’s one of the most crucial parts to your bike, yet the majority of riders are guilty of neglecting it. Even if we check it regularly, you can still skip adjusting it. Tire pressure has a huge effect on the handling of your vehicle, which is why it’s so important. Here are some things to remember about your motorcycle tire pressure.
Check Pressure Regularly
Read your manufacturers guide to know for sure, but most manufacturers suggest checking once a week or even every day. Factors to consider are:
- How often do you ride it?
- In what kind of weather?
- How are you using it?
Most of the time, once a week is fine. If you’re on a long trip with varying road conditions and loads on the bike, you may want to boost it up to even twice a day.
Check Tires When Cold
The suggested pressure that’s listed in your owner’s manual is for cold tire pressures. Heating up your tired by riding on them can increase your tire pressure by 10% or more. The MSF recommends waiting three hours from your last ride before attempting to measure a correct cold pressure. Use your judgement, though – sometimes 20 minutes or more is fine.
Use a High-Quality Gauge
Gauges at the gas stations can sometimes be off by up to 30 PSI. As mentioned, even a variance in a few PSIs can alter your motorcycles handling and braking abilities. Even a high-quality gauge isn’t too expensive.
Worst Case Scenarios
What can happen if your tire is under inflated? The tire could ultimately come off the rim if there isn’t enough pressure to force the bead into the wheel. More than likely, you’ll experience sluggish, unstable handling, and slow steering. These can still damage your wheel, especially riding off-road. Underinflation can lead to things like: poor handling, loss of fuel economy, poor braking performance, excess heat, uneven tire wear.
If it’s over inflated, the size of the contact patch is reduced, and the ride worsens. Too much pressure can cause the tire to overheat and reduce traction. Over inflation is more uncomfortable than hazardous. Both are bad, but under-inflation is worse.
Adjusting the PSI
Adjust your PSI based on:
- On-Road: It’s safer to stick to the manufacturer recommended pressures. Even if you spend all day riding and messing around, dropping the pressure will slow down the steering.
- Off-Track: If you’re on road rubber, start your PSI at 30 for front and rear. Monitor the tire wear. They should look scrubbed and, if the sides of the tread begin to marble, reduce the pressures a few PSI.
- Off–Road: While lower pressures mean more traction for off-roading, you could be compromising yourself and the bike. You could cause potential damage to your rims or the pinch flats because the tube is getting “pinched” between the tire and rim. Experiment to see what works for you. Don’t forget to pump them back up when you go back on the road.
Some Car Title Loan Usage Tips
When you finally decide to get a car title loan to see to the repairs of your vehicle, don’t forget to:
- Get the best quotation for the job. The amount from a car title loan will depend on your vehicle’s market value, which is why you should scout around for car repair rates that will fit your budget while meeting your expectations in terms of quality.
- Make a habit to pay your monthly payment on time. Missing a month or two can extend your payment period or have you forking up some more for added interest rates or penalties.
- Choose a monthly payment amount that will not totally disrupt your regular monthly budget. If you can, try to pick the monthly payment that you know you can afford with your paycheck so you are more confident about paying for it.
How Do You Get a Car Title Loan?
Getting an auto title loan is fast, efficient, and simple. Our 3-step process has worked for people throughout the United States. Here’s how it goes:
- Submit Your Information– When you begin applying for your auto title loan you have many different options. Choose between going online to our home page, calling us over the phone at 1-855-422-7412, texting us at 1-818-315-8741, or by even by emailing us.
- Get Approved– Once we have received your initial information your title loan agent will contact you to discuss your quote and some of the details of your loan contract. There are no fees and there is no obligation at this time. We want you to have all the facts before you make your decision.
Once you are approved, we will then ask you for a few documents before you get a final approval. These will include:
- Government-issued photo ID – Forms of ID such as a driver’s license or a state-issued ID are perfect.
- Proof of residence – You can use a piece of mail, like a utility bill for example.
- Proof of Income – Something like a paystub or your bank statement would work.
- Title to your vehicle with your name on it – Don’t worry if you have someone else’s name on your title, we still may be able to help you.
- Get Your MONEY! Once you have turned in your documents, you can sign your loan contract.
The entire process could be completed in as little as one business day3, so you can get the funding you need WHEN you need it.
Now that you know all of these things about car title loans used for car repairs, what are you waiting for? Start gathering your documents and submit them soon!