Tag Archives: Car

Blizzard Coming? 2 Things to Remember

When a blizzard or winter storm warning is in the forecast, it’s a good thing to know the emergency response plan for your workplace, your children’s school or child care center, as well as other places where your family spends time (i.e. church, gym, rec center).

If you need to go get a child, friend or family member, be sure your car emergency kit is ready. Include water, first aid, and a way to signal need for help, flashlight & batteries, warm blankets, a shovel, and a battery-operated radio.

More here.

‘Kids and Cars’ Safety Tips

With the kids back in school, you’re probably driving a car load of kids to soccer practice, ballet classes, baseball games and more.

Here are some kids and casr safety tips to share with all of the kids you’re taking around town.

  1. Never start the car until EVERYONE, including yourself, are buckled up.
  2. Remind children not to distract the driver while the vehicle is in motion.
  3. “Everyone must buckle up, no matter how short the trip,” says Jennifer Huebner from the AAA’s Traffic Safety Programs. Setting a consistent message each and every time reinforces the safety habit.
  4. “Everyone should have their own seat belt,” says Amanda Giruzzi, a representative of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Children should also be reminded to never sit in the car unless there is a seat belt for them. If there are only three seat belts in the back seat then only three kids should sit back there.”
  5. “Even if they’re riding in someone else’s car, they need to buckle up,” says Huebner. If kids feel like they are in an unsafe vehicle, like being asked to ride in the bed of a pickup, or if the driver seems unfit to drive, “your child should never get into a vehicle if they feel unsafe.”

Here are more tips on kids and car safety.

Road Trip: Money and Luggage

Here are a couple of nifty ideas from friends who have traveled on road trips:

Tag the Bag

Even though you’re not flying, here are a couple of labeling tips in your bags are somehow lost or stolen.

  1. Put on a luggage tag on the bag with your home address
  2. Put a label inside your bags (tape a card or a piece of paper to the inside) as a backup

Call for Credit

  1. Call credit card companies and let them know the dates you’ll be traveling and the cities you’ll be visiting. Why? Because if they see activity outside of your normal routine and they don’t know you’re traveling, they may put a security alert on your account, which means your credit card will be rejected.
  2. Reader Input: Letting the credit card company know travel dates was helpful for Mark, one of your fellow readers. His credit card company saw a charge AFTER he’d returned from Mexico and called to ask him about it.  Turns out they caught the fraud before he did!

Makin’ Copies

  1. Remember to make photocopies of all the credit cards (front and back) you’re taking with you.
  2. Give one copy to a friend or family member (who is not traveling with you…)
  3. Keep your copies in a different area from your wallet (i.e. luggage, locked glove compartment) in case you need to call and cancel your card.
  4. Bonus Tip: Write down the phone number you need to call your credit card company in case it’s lost or stolen.

– Susan

Find a Good Mechanic

Finding a mechanic you trust is harder than one would think. First, you need to trust this person because they are taking care of one your most expensive assets, and secondly – you’re giving them lots of money.  Here’s some good advice from around the country on finding a good mechanic….

  1. Read your owner’s manual to become familiar with your vehicle and follow the manufacturer’s suggested service schedule.
  2. Look for a mechanic before you need repairs.
  3. Make a list of mechanics and repair shops in your area (look in a phone book or online). You may want to choose a facility close to a public transportation line, your home or work. Imagine what you would need to get around if you didn’t have your car.
  4. Consider what type of business you would prefer: dealership, retail chain stores or an independently-owned business.
  5. Ask friends and associates for recommendations before choosing a facility.
    • Ask about the mechanic’s competence, reliability and honesty.
    • Ask about the quality of the work.
    • Ask about the cost of the prices.
  6. Check with the Better Business Bureau, local consumer organizations or online rankings to find out about a mechanic’s reputation.  Ask about past complaints and how they were resolved.
  7. Check to see if the auto repairs shop is ASE Certified.  ASE stands for The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, which is a professional certification testing organization for mechanics. 
    • ASE Certified mechanics must undergo training and testing every five years to keep their certification.
    • This is a handy site from the ASE that helps you find a certified service professional near you.
  8. Once you’ve narrowed down your list, check out a few shops. It is important, if possible, to get estimates from a few different mechanics.

We have more on what to ask the mechanic when you’re at the shop here.


Better Gas Mileage, Gas is Going Up $$

We get a variety of questions here at the site.  When gas prices start to go up – and MSNBC is reporting that gas prices are on track to surpass summer’s peak – everyone wants to know how to save on gas.

Lauren Fix, The Car Coach from the TODAY Show, has this advice from preview blog.

  • Change your engine air filter – this is the lungs of your car, dirty air filters are easy to replace = SAVINGS 10%

  • Gas cap: Broken missing or loose gas is just a waste. Last year 147 million gallons of gas evaporated. Tighten your gas cap – CLICK, CLICK

Other gas-guzzlers include

  • Dirty oil  = 1 mile per gallon
  • Slipping automatic transmission = 1 mile per gallon
  • Cooling system thermostat that causes the engine to run too cold =  2 miles per gallon.

Driving Habits to that Improve Fuel Efficiency

  • Avoid quick or “jackrabbit” starts and stops.
  • Aggressive driving wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33% on the highway and 5% in the city.
  • Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60 miles per hour.
  • Avoid excessive idling. Idling gets 0 miles per gallon.
  • Don’t sit in the drive thru, go inside
As always, Lauren has terrific advice.
- Susan

Quick Tip: Two Things to Remember If Car Is Stolen

While there are a lot of things to remember if your car has been stolen we have two tips from policemen that are top of the list:

1. Know your license plate number. Why? It’s harder to find a ‘blue Honda civic’ than a blue Honda civic license plate number WHN 123.

2. Dents and Dings. Know the unique features on your car (location of dents, cracks, bumper stickers, etc). This helps distinguish your car from others that are the same make, model.

– Susan

The Car is Not a Dog Park

OK, so Lauren Fix, the Car Coach (you’ve seen her on the TODAY show), writes for us now and then.  She sent us a great article on Pet Safety and Your Car.

We looked through this and saw that our dog, Lovey, probably believes that our car is a dog park.  We let her do everything in the car she shouldn’t – sit in my lap, move from front to back seat, and we let her hang out her window (though I hang on to her).

So, we’re revising our car routine for Lovey so everyone is safe.

Thanks for the tips Lauren!

– Susan

Auto Mechanic Advice for Teens

If you’re a teenager and are in charge of a car, or if your teen has just started driving; it’s time to look for a mechanic you trust and time to take care of the car.  And yes, we mean that mom and dad need to let the kids do this.  If they are old enough to drive, they are old enough to make car-related decisions.

Shelby Fix, Teen Car Coach and the newest member of the Car Coach team, has some advice for the younger drivers on the road.

  1. Always look for a mechanic or technician that is ASE Certified (Automotive Service Excellence) – this means that they are actually tested and know how to work on your car.
  2. If the price of the repair is over $200 get a second quote.
  3. Ask the mechanic to show you the old and the new part so you can understand what is being done.  Even if you don’t understand – ask lots of questions.
  4. Don’t wait too long to repair something – it will just end up costing more than.
  5. Check your tire pressure once a month in the morning – always use the correct tire pressure found inside your drivers door and save 2-3 miles per gallon and the life of the tires.

If you want to see more advice from Shelby, check out her advice here.

Thanks Shelby!

Drive and Keep Pets Safe!

Lauren Fix, the Car Coach has passed on smart tips for traveling in the car with your dog or cat. Here are a few …

Don't drive with your pet's head out of the window!
Driving this way is wrong


Animal safety in cars is critical to your best friend’s safety.

  1. Restraints and Airbags
    Airbags deployed in the front seat could harm your pet. And, an unrestricted pet will be thrown about and possibly injured, or injure a passenger during panic braking or in a collision. Pets should be restrained in the rear seat in pet harnesses or pet carriers that are secured by seat belts.
  2. No Running
    Don’t let your cat or dog run around in the car – it’s dangerous for both of you. Cats who don’t like the car may go berserk and try to claw their way out, or claw at you, or at the very worst, climb under your pedals. Always cage cats and place the cage on the rear floor.
  3. Heads Out the Window? No!
    See that picture with the dog’s head out of the window? Don’t do it! Do not let your dog hang his head out the window! He loves it, but it’s an easy way to get eye damage from flying dust and dirt.
  4. No Smoking, Please
    Don’t smoke in the car. This can increase feelings of nausea in humans, so most likely it would do the same to your pet.
  5. No Laps
    Don’t let your dog or cat sit on your lap while you are in the driver’s seat. It can be dangerous in a panic situation to try to maneuver around your pet.
  6. Too Hot? Too Cold? Not in the Car!
    Never, EVER leave an animal inside a car on a very cold or hot day. Every year, hundreds of animals are killed this way.

Read more of her advice – scroll down to  Safe and Secure in this article.