One of the most significant purchases you will make in life is a car, so it’s no surprise that it deserves the utmost of meticulous care.
Fortunately, owning a car doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. In fact, maintaining a car can be inexpensive so long as you know what procedures are worth the investment and those that are downright unnecessary. Here are 5 car maintenance procedures you shouldn’t pay for:
1. Preparing The Car For Every Season
Your car does not need to be optimized for every season of the year, except in areas that require snow chains on tires. Instead of catering it to the hot summer sun or cool fall temperatures, only take it in for routine maintenance checks to ensure tire pressure is optimal and prevent any potential from undermining your safety.
2. Premium Gas
While it seems logical to fill your tank with premium gas, it’s actually an unnecessary expense for most cars despite being the highest quality gasoline at the pump. A car only requires premium gas if the owner’s manual explicitly says so. Otherwise, premium gas is mainly reserved for the high performance engines found in luxury cars and exotic sports cars.
Save yourself the extra cents and opt for the regular gasoline — your vehicle will run just fine!
3. An Oil Change Every 3000 Miles
“Change your oil ever 3,000 miles” was a classic piece of advice given to all car owners, but that ‘3,000’ figure has no significant value nowadays unless otherwise stated by your car’s manufacturer. Every car is different which therefore, makes it incorrect to assume that each one must perform exactly the same.
Look at this way: you wouldn’t take care of a four-wheel drive vehicle that’s used specifically for snowy terrains exactly like an everyday car that’s used to commute to work on paved roads.
4. Gasoline Additives And Enhancers
Gasoline additives could potentially increase the fuel efficiency of your car, but they’re not necessarily a smart investment. They are usually advertised when gas prices go up to trick consumers into feeling they are saving money from the increased efficiency and reduced emissions supposedly offered — , in other words.
According to the FTC, any product that claims to improve your gas mileage should be used with caution, or not at all. In fact, one study found that very few additives actually work and many could potentially to damage your engine.
5. Automobile Repairs At Dealership
The auto repairs done at a dealership will undoubtedly be more expensive than those of an independent service shop or mechanic, some of which usually charge a fraction of the dealership price. Ultimately, if someone is certified for fixing cars or has ample experience, you can rest assured knowing your vehicle is in good and reliable hands.
We are always bombarded with information on what our car needs or doesn’t need, but not all of it can be trusted. It’s actually just best to follow your manufacturer’s recommendations and keep in mind that any other advertisement or advice on taking care of your vehicle will most likely be a ploy to encourage you to spend more money than you need to.
Your Beginner’s Guide To Off-Roading
Having a four-wheel drive car provides peace of mind when navigating winter weather or the back roads, but why stop there? If you own a capable 4WD SUV or truck, there’s a whole world of off-road adventures waiting for you!
Never been off-roading? Not sure how to get started? You’re in luck! We have collaborated with the SUV and truck experts at to bring you a beginner’s guide to off-roading that we hope will help you better experience the full potential of your 4WD vehicle!
Step One: Get To Know Your Vehicle’s Off-Road Potential
If you already own a 4WD truck or SUV, it’s probably capable of traveling off-road. Knowing exactly which off-road friendly mechanisms your vehicle has, however, is important before tackling the trails. about your vehicle’s make, model, trim level and model year, and find out if you need to make any modifications before heading out. You may want to invest in off-road tires, underbody protection plates, some additional lighting, or a vehicle lift.
As an added bonus, if you bring your vehicle in for service and modifications, you’ll get access to expertise from a professional who knows about off-road vehicles and their mechanisms. Don’t be afraid to ask your mechanic questions!
Step Two: Find An Off-Road Community
Do you know any friends, family members or acquaintances who have off-road experience? If so, reach out to them and ask if they would be interested in showing you the ropes! Even if you don’t have any personal relationships with an off-roader, you can always find a online.
There are plenty of forums dedicated to off-roading, some dedicated to specific areas. Finding a community will make off-roading safer and more enjoyable, and is a great way to make new friends with similar interests.
Step Three: Learn The Lingo
The world of off-roading has its own set of terms and jargon, and it’s a good idea to read up on them before getting started. Not only will speaking the jargon make it easier for you to communicate with other off-roaders, but it will also give you a good foundation for understanding your vehicle’s mechanisms and capabilities.
Important terms to become familiar with include approach and breakover angle, locking differential, and 4WD high vs 4WD low. Hitting up Google or any other search engine will reveal many “Off-Road Dictionaries” that you can learn from.
Step Four: Go For It!
Ultimately, the best way to learn is by doing. But make sure you’ve done all of your homework and that your vehicle is prepared for the journey before hitting the trails. Bringing along someone with off-road experience is helpful, but if you can’t find anyone, just make sure to bring along a friend to assist with any trouble that may arise. Two hands are better than one, right?
Don’t have a capable 4WD vehicle but still want to start off-roading? Get in touch with professionals like those at Texan Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram to show you their incredible selection of trucks and SUVs and advise you on the best vehicle to with! Once you have one, try to find a private facility with beginner trails or a local area with low difficulty to ease yourself into off-roading before taking on more challenging trails.
No matter what you do, make sure to stay safe and have fun!
Your Guide To Shopping For A Used Car
Shopping for a car can be stressful, and not everyone knows what to look for. This gets even more complicated when shopping for a used car, especially when buying “as seen, as is” or from a private seller.
If you’re heading out to kick some tires and check out used vehicles, take a few minutes to go over this list of things you should keep an eye out for. Remember these rules of thumb on the lot, and you can feel confident that you’ll be making a wiser, better-thought-out investment.
1. Look Out For Body Imperfections
Chances are, unless the vehicle you’re considering is lightly used or has been taken perfect care of, there may be a few scratches, dings, or small dents. This is okay. What you really want to look out for is anything that might such as significant body damage or sections of the body not matching up perfectly, which is likely the result of subpar repairs. Look at body panels from an angle instead of head on, as this will make imperfections more pronounced.
2. Make Sure All Power Accessories Work
If the vehicle you’re looking at has power locks, windows, and/or mirrors, check to make sure they all work. Power mirrors and locks can be moved manually if they don’t work (although this will be inconvenient) but power windows that don’t work can be a huge problem. In many states, windows that can’t be rolled down, particularly the driver’s window, can be grounds for a vehicle to fail inspection.
3. Check The Tires For Wear And Tear
Be sure to check out the tires for wear. For starters, it’s good to see whether or not the tires will still pass inspection. If they look like they’re too worn down, and new ones will be needed for the car to be road-worthy, you can use it as a bargaining chip to negotiate a lower price.
Another important thing to consider is how even the wear is. If tires have worn down unevenly and seem to be barer in some spots than others, this could indicate that the vehicle is in need of an alignment.
4. Inspect Windshield For Cracks
Carefully inspect the windshield and windows for cracks and chips. These can be very small, and may not seem like a big deal, but our sources with tell us that they can become bigger over time. Particularly in extreme temperatures, glass may expand or contract, and this can cause a tiny crack to spread across your entire windshield.
Considering that windshields are usually designed to withstands during a rollover accident, it leaves all occupants at risk of harm if weak or compromised in any way, shape or form.
5. Check Oil Quality And Level
Bring along a clean white rag or roll of paper towels, and check the oil. Pay attention not only to the oil level (if it’s low, that could be a sign of a leak) but also the color and smell of the fluid. Dark or dirty looking oil, or oil that has a burnt smell, shows that the vehicle may not have been maintained as well as it should have been, or that it’s been burning the oil.
6. Assess Condition Of Interior Materials
Check out the interior for stains, rips or other blemishes. Discolored and even slightly ripped upholstery can always be covered up (if that’s something you want to commit to) but keep a lookout for burn marks on the seats, near the windows, and on the cloth ceiling. If someone has smoked in the car, the smell can be very difficult to remove, and even if it’s been covered up by an air freshener, you may never be able to get a truly clean smell back into the vehicle.
7. When In Doubt, Get The CarFax
If you follow these guidelines, you should have a good shot at getting a vehicle that you can count on. If you’re still unsure, though, if a price seems to be too good to be true, or if you’re investing in a used vehicle that’s still fairly expensive (like a used luxury model), you can always get a . In a private sale, you’ll have to pay for it yourself, but some dealers will cover the cost.
6 Tips And Tricks For Driving With Dogs
If you are a dog owner, you will eventually need to take your four-legged friend out of the house and into the car for a cruise. Whether it’s taking your usual daily trip to the dog park or traveling long distance to the cottage, you could probably benefit from brushing up on your doggy driving etiquette.
With the help from the professionals at , we have compiled a list of tips and tricks to make driving with your dog safe and stress-free while keeping the inside of your car clean!
1. First Things First, Prepare Your Vehicle.
Getting your vehicle ready before you start driving with your dog or any other pet is as important as getting your house ready before bringing a pet home for the first time. Just as you would want to have a dish, water and food for your pet in the house, your car should be equipped with those things just in case Bella needs nourishment. It can also be beneficial to have a bed or blanket to help them get comfortable and relaxed.
Similarly, keep a toy or two in the car. If doggy has all of the same things in the car that it does in your home, they will eventually start to see the vehicle as an extension of the home.
2. Train Your Dog To Like The Car
Yes, this is possible! Just as Pavlov taught his dogs to associate a whistle with food, you can train your dog to associate the car with good things. Instead of only taking your dog in the car when going to stressful places like the vet or groomers, make it a point to drive to places it can associate with food, treats, affection or play. You can start with trips to the dog park or walking trail.
Another idea is to drive to a nearby friend or family member’s home, and have someone waiting with a treat and plenty of belly rubs! Before doing any of this, though, you can start slowly by simply allowing your dog to spend some time in the car while parked in the garage (with the engine off, of course, so as to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning) that way they can get comfortable with the vehicle within the safety of your home and without the added stressor of movement.
3. Make Sure Your Dog Is Secure
Just like you wouldn’t want your family or friends to ride without a seatbelt, to drive with your pet unsecured. There are many different methods for securing your pup depending on the kind of car you have and the size of your pet. Harnesses that attach to you car’s existing seatbelts can be found in a variety of styles and sizes, allowing either the passenger or rear seats to safely accommodate your pet.
If you have a larger dog and drive a hatchback, SUV or minivan, you can opt for a gate that separates the cargo bay from the rest of the vehicle. Your pet will will be safely contained while still being able to see you and move around in the cargo area.
4. Keep Your Windows Rolled Up
Just about everyone is familiar with the cliche image of a happy dog riding in the car, head out of the window and the wind blowing back its tongue and ears. Unfortunately, what a lot of people don’t realize that, in addition to putting them at risk of being hit by something, having their head out can ultimately be bad for their health. The rush of air can have a negative effect on a dog’s respiratory system, even at relatively low speeds.
It’s okay to leave the windows open a crack so that your dog can still enjoy some fresh air and all of the exciting new smells you’ll encounter on the road without being able to stick their head or whole nose out.
5. Find Locations To Take Breaks
Long car trips can be a train not just for you or any other human passenger, but also for our canine companions. Short breaks along the way will provide them with a chance to stretch, run and play.
Expert tip: Before you leave, find the nicest forest trails or dog-friendly rest areas where your dog can get out and run, and to offer plenty of water at every break.
6. Don’t Leave Your Dog In The Car
You don’t need statistics to know that dogs die in hot cars. You wouldn’t leave your child in the car with no water on a 100-degree day, so why treat your do any differently? And the fact that dogs have fur puts them at an even of heatstroke.
In the cold, they will freeze despite their fur, so the best and smartest thing you can do on extremely hot or cold days is to keep your pet at home where it can remain comfortable.