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5 Ways You’re Probably Wrecking Your Car

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Big man hugging small car

Considering how mission-critical a working car is, you would be surprised at how poorly some people treat theirs. In fact, there are some things that even you could be doing that shorten your car’s running life.

We sat down with the Service Manager at , to discuss the many different ways one can ruin their car if they don’t take good care of it. Let us know if anything on the list is new to you:

tires-pile

1. Ignore tire wear

If one side of each of your tires is wearing out and not the other, chances are you need a wheel alignment. The condition of your tires have a big impact on the safety, fuel economy and overall performance of your vehicle, so this is something you don’t want to put off.

Tires are also expensive and it doesn’t take log for them to be ruined when there is a misalignment. Make sure to stop by your local mechanic or dealer and have yours checked if you suspect odd wear patterns,

Car engine coolant

2. Put pure water in the radiator

In addition to cooling your engine, your car’s engine coolant also prevents cooling system corrosion. The metals in your engine are usually of different elemental types (iron, alloys, aluminum, etc.) and, as a result, react with each other, leading to “galvanic corrosion”.

Galvanic corrosion can wreck an engine over time, necessitating quality antifreeze with special corrosion inhibitors that stop such corrosion. Rather than the cheap stuff, make sure you’re pouring good antifreeze in your cooling system. Your owner’s manual might say otherwise, but a 50/50 mix of water and coolant is typically recommended.

Cold climate, frozen car

3. Don’t give your vehicle enough time to warm up

People often underestimate the importance of engine oil, which is needed to prevent wear between the moving components. When it’s cold outside, the oil becomes thick / sluggish and doesn’t work as intended, undermining your engine’s durability.

The solution to this problem is as simple as it is obvious: allow your engine to warm up for a few minutes when you start it, especially in cold weather. Doing so can add thousands of miles onto your car’s life.

Check engine light

4. Ignoring the Check Engine Light (CEL)

A common misconception about cars is that a glowing Check Engine light (CEL) isn’t serious, but that . Sometimes, the CEL indicates a minor issue that, if ignored, could worsen to become something more serious and costly to fix.

The best and most prudent thing to do when the CEL comes on is to take your vehicle to a competent mechanic and obtain an official diagnosis.

car-driving-over-pothole

5. Don’t drive slow for potholes

This might come as a surprise to you but the components in the front end of your car are aligned to each other for optimal performance. When you run into a deep pothole or over a speedbump, this alignment can become disrupted.

Steering could be affected, which can cause the vehicle to pull to one side or your tires to start wearing asymmetrically. It’s in your best interest to avoid these road hazards as best you can and slow down if you are driving on less-that-ideal road surfaces.

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3 Sneaky Auto Insurance Practices You Should Look Out For

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Signing car insurance papers

No one likes insurance scams, and you definitely wouldn’t want to fall for one.

If you’re in the market for a new car, you’ll of course need a good insurance policy. Per usual, the first course of action is to figure out what to do with your previous vehicle (assuming you have one).

There are usually four primary options available to you: trade the car in, sell it, junk it, or give it away (for instance, if you lived along the California coast, you could look for ways to ).

After considering your options, you can move forward with choosing a new vehicle and deciding what to do about your insurance policy. Stay with your current provider? Switch and get a new one? Either way, it’s crucial that you use this transitioning stage to re-examine your policy, identify any red flags, and learn more about the industry. There are many tricks that auto insurance companies use to avoid paying for claims, so the more educated you are about these types of tricks, the better you’ll be able to react if you’re being targeted.

With that in mind, here are three sneaky auto insurance tactics to keep an eye out for:

1) Outrageous Claim Denials

The auto insurance industry is riddled with outrageous claim denial stories. In these cases, a person who deserves to receive funds for medical expenses or other claims are denied for ridiculous reasons. There’s a reason for this. Although all auto insurance companies have a public-facing side that frames their company as on the side of their policyholders, the truth is that many companies reward their employees for their ability to deny claims and sneak their way out of paying for claims rightfully. In fact, Tom Wilson, the CEO of AllState, was as saying, “Our obligation is to earn a return for our shareholders.”

One of the most famous examples of outrageous claim denials is the , who was wound up in a coma for 9 days after a bad car accident. After she came out of her coma, not only was she confined to a wheelchair, but awoke to an incredibly high medical bill. As she worked to get her bill paid for through her insurance agency, she was shockingly denied because Farmers Insurance claimed that the other driver hit her intentionally, and therefore she was not actually involved in an “accident.”

This case exploded in the media, and Farmers Insurance eventually paid out the claim after much public outcry. If you ever find yourself in a similar position, the best thing to do is to try and get as much exposure as you can; talk about it on social media, encourage others to share it, and call up your local newspapers and television stations.

2) Delay Policy Claims

Delaying policy claims is the one of the oldest tricks in the auto insurance book. With this tactic, the auto insurance company purposely delays a claim in the hopes that the policyholder will simply give up. And there are many different ways auto insurance companies will delay a claim. They might leave the policy holder on the phone for hours at a time, giving them the runaround.

One insurance company, Conesco, who bundled auto and life insurance policies, received bad press when they started sending the wrong forms to their policyholders, forcing them past the deadline. One profiled the story of Mary Rose Derks, who was denied her claims to move into an assisted living home multiple times, each time for a different reason.

“Interviews by The New York Times and confidential depositions indicate that some long-term-care insurers have developed procedures that make it difficult — if not impossible — for policyholders to get paid,” the article states. “A review of more than 400 of the thousands of grievances and lawsuits filed in recent years shows elderly policyholders confronting unnecessary delays and overwhelming bureaucracies. In California alone, nearly one in every four long-term-care claims was denied in 2005, according to the state.”

3) Too Much Fine Print

Like every other agreement you might sign, there’s a lot to be said in the fine print. And unfortunately, the majority of people don’t read the fine print… ever. In fact, one found that 91% of Americans agree to the Terms of Service without ever actually reading it. And the fine print can completely ruin your claim and hurt your ability to take care of yourself and your property after an accident.

It’s important to go through the fine print in your policy, and to stay up to date with any changes that may occur in your policy. If you have legal representation, have them take a look at it and point out any potential issues that may arise.

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Advice

Follow These 5 Tips Before Heading Out With Your Car In Winter

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New-Nissan-X-Trail-Rogue-snow

Severe weather conditions can be really dreadful for travelers of all walks.

Driving should never be taken lightly. Winter storms and other bad weather conditions in particular can prove difficult for any driver or vehicle, so if you are planning a trip during the winter months, it’s crucial that you check the condition of your car beforehand.

In this article, we look at five important car checks you must make to ensure a safe drive during winter.

Tekmetrics Auto Shop Software

1. Get Your Car Serviced

One of the most important things is to have your car serviced before you heading out with it. Regular servicing and maintenance checks can be very helpful in detecting any sort of issues, and if you’re in the United Kingdom or any other country with a similar requirement, the annual MOT test to assess vehicle safety, exhaust emissions levels and other aspects of roadworthiness will bolster your peace of mind.

Needless to say, from a reliable car service centre should be a mandatory part of your check list.

Car engine coolant

2. Top Up Engine Coolant With Antifreeze

The engine coolant should be a mix of 50/50 water and antifreeze. Antifreeze becomes diluted over time, so you need to top it up every now and then.

People often make the mistake of topping the antifreeze with water, which makes it over diluted and causes it to freeze during very cold weather. This could potentially lead to you engine overheating and, consequently, a huge repair bill. Don’t be that guy or gal!

Car Floor Mats

3. Install Floor Mats Correctly

Driver-side floor mats that are installed improperly could interfere with the operation of a vehicle. The can jam the brake pedal, accelerator or the clutch, possibly leading to an accident.

To minimize or even eliminate this risk, use properly-sized floor mats that fit your vehicle, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation, and make sure they are secured with any applicable retention clips.

4. Check Condition Of The Tyres

Like the steering wheel and brakes, car tyres play a critical role in operating your car safely, so it’s important to ensure that they are in good condition.

Check tyre condition for the right air pressure and tread depth. Compared to the minimum of 1.6mm for any other season, a minimum depth of 3mm is required for sufficient grip during winter. Ideally, you should replace your summer and even all-season tires with winter tyres for superior grip in slushy or icy roads.

5. Keep A Safe Distance

One of the most important driving tips to follow regardless of season but especially during winter is to leave plenty of stopping distances (#StoppingDistance ) between you and the car in front to ensure that there is enough room to stop when the road is slippery and / or the snow and slush start flying onto your windshield.

You must also accelerate and decelerate slowly to avoid spinning your wheels, which requires that you understand your car’s driving characteristics (e.g. is it front wheel drive, rear wheel or a all-wheel drive?). And don’t forget to clean your lights, wash the windscreen and wipers, and check the condition of the battery before beginning your journey.

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Advice

5 Car Warning Signs That You Shouldn’t Ignore

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Man inspecting car breakdown

Ignoring these car warning signs could cause you a lot of money and your peace of mind.

We’ve all been there — one day you’re driving along worry-free when suddenly you notice a small problem with your car. Everything else seems to be fine though and you don’t really have the time or money to have the issue addressed, so ignore it, hoping that the problem isn’t big enough to warrant immediate attention.

However, what may seem like a small problem could actually be a large one. If you notice any of the signs mentioned in this article, it’s better to get your car checked out sooner rather than later. Doing so can help prevent further problems and even save you money in the long run.

1. The Check Engine Light is On

One of the most commonly ignored problems is the check engine light. This little light seems to turn on in the instrument cluster even though everything with the car seems to be fine, so we leave it alone and hope that it turns itself back off, which usually doesn’t happen.

If your check engine light is on, it’s imperative that you figure out the cause as soon as possible. You can do it yourself by buying an engine code scanner and then looking up the retrieved code online, or you can take your car to the shop. Many places will read engine codes for free or allow you to borrow a tool to .

Once you figure out why the light is on, you can decide on an appropriate course of action to take to repair the issue and get that light off.

The check engine light could be on for something minor or the first warning sign of a major issue, but you wouldn’t know without looking into it. Don’t put this off once the light turns on.

2. There’s An Odd Smell

Next, if your nose picks up any odd smells from the car, this is typically a sign that something is wrong. The type of odor you detect will help you to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with the car.

For instance, if you smell something sweet, this could mean that you’re leaking antifreeze. If the smell is more like burning rubber, there might be an oil leak.
All leaks are bad, so , have a professional figure out the issue to have it addressed pronto.

3. You Hear A Loud Squeaking

Besides using your nose to detect problems, you can also use your ears. If, while driving along, you hear a loud squeaking sound, this is often an indicator that you have a problem with your brakes.

According to this “Your vehicle’s brake pads may be equipped with a small, thin piece of metal to act as a warning indicator when the pad material is getting low and the brake pads should be replaced. This device makes a high-pitched sound on brake application, letting you know it’s time for brake service.”

The sound may be audible while you’re driving and disappear when you apply the brakes, or vice versa. Either way, you don’t want to drive along past the point where your brakes are no longer working, so get yourself some new brake pads as soon as you can.

4. Black Smoke Coming From The Car

A major sign that there’s an issue with your car is when you see and/or smell smoke. The smoke could come from the exhaust, from under the car, or from inside the hood, but no matter the source, it’s an indication of a major problem.

The best course of action when you smell smoke i.s to stop driving and get the problem taken care of. Not doing so could result in your car catching fire, posing a risk to everyone inside the vehicle and even in close proximity to it.

While the appearance of smoke could result from simply needing an oil change, the problem is usually more severe. The only way to know is to have a mechanic check it out.

5. Difficulty Starting The Car

Finally, if you’re having trouble starting your car, this is often a warning sign that one or more of its components are failing. If it takes your car a few tries to start up, but it eventually does, you may be tempted to ignore the problem and assume it’s just a one time thing. However, there’s a good chance that the next time you turn on the ignition, it won’t turn over.

A car may have difficulty starting for a number of reasons. Maybe the battery is dying or there isn’t enough gas. May a major component like the distributor or starter is failing. Regardless of the cause, trouble starting up is a symptom that should never be ignored. It’s better to get it taken care of right away before your trusted car dies for good.

Don’t Wait for Problems To Get Worse

While it may be an inconvenience now, driving around a car with problems will only make your life more difficult in the long run. Putting aside time for proper car maintenance could save you some money, keep safer on the road, and provide you with peace of mind.

The next time you detect one of the warning signs above, don’t wait — get it taken care of right away. You’ll be happy that you did.

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