Roadside Assistance: What to Do When Your Car Breaks Down

Roadside Assistance What to Do When Your Car Breaks Down

No driver wants to experience the frustration of being stranded on the side of the highway. While this can be a horrifying situation for some drivers, it can be overcome by promptly taking action. Here are some tips on how to handle a breakdown on the road.

Coast to the shoulder of the road
If your vehicle suddenly loses power while on the road, use the car’s momentum to slowly coast to a safe area. After turning on your emergency blinkers, be sure to scan the surrounding area before even attempting to exit the vehicle. Instead of getting overly emotional about the situation, calmly take a deep breath to gather your thoughts.

Investigate the problem
In the event that heavy traffic is on the left of your vehicle, try to exit from the passenger side. The root of the problem may actually be something simple. For example, drivers who have experience in working on cars will be able to quickly re-tighten a loose battery cable. If you lack any mechanical skills or simply do not feel safe getting out of your vehicle, remain inside until help arrives.

Have the vehicle towed
In many instances, having your vehicle towed will be the best solution. Upon contacting your roadside assistance provider, you will need to provide the operator with a few important details. Some of the essential facts include your current location, the make and model of your car, and a callback number. After contacting the driver of the tow truck, the operator should provide an estimated arrival time (Source: Mike’s Auto Towing).

Position road flares
Every driver should keep an emergency roadside assistance kit in the trunk area. While you are waiting for the tow truck to arrive, place two emergency flares behind your vehicle. While the first flare should be positioned relatively close to your car, the second flare should be placed about 200 feet away. This will help to alert the other motorists to steer clear of your vehicle.

Pop open the hood
An open hood is a universal sign of car trouble. Not only will a raised hood help to make your vehicle more noticeable to oncoming traffic, but it will also help the tow truck driver to easily spot your vehicle. While waiting for assistance, be sure to keep the car doors locked at all times.

While there is no overlooking the frustration of being stranded with a disabled vehicle, you will be able to remain safe by taking the appropriate measures.

The Five Most Common Perils of Holiday Driving

The Five Most Common Perils of Holiday Driving

Many distractions make driving on today’s highways a challenge. Especially during the holidays, drivers should use extra caution. The following are five of the most common perils of driving during the holiday season.

Texting While Driving

Particularly among younger drivers, a study done in 2007 by AAA, found as many as 2600 fatalities and 300,000 collisions occurred annually due to texting while driving. Especially during the holidays, drivers want to stay in contact with family and friends to let them know where they are in route. Be safe and pull into a gas station to stop before texting.

Driving Under the Influence

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, nearly 30 people every day die in collisions involving a drunk driver. In 2012, collisions involving drunk driving accounted for a little over a third of all traffic deaths. Eighteen percent of those accidents, according to Orlando DUI Attorneys, involved the use of other drugs in addition to alcohol. If you intend to drink during the holidays, be sure to designate a driver who intends to remain fully sober. Many cities offer free cab rides during the holidays for those unable to drive. If you’re visiting someone, make arrangements to stay until you’re sober.

Weather

Icy or snowy roads can be treacherous. Make sure you have the proper tires on your vehicle. Be prepared before you leave and watch the weather report. If blizzard conditions are predicted, it is better just to stay put until the storm passes.

Heavy rain can cause traffic jams and flash flooding. Don’t ever drive your vehicle into pools of water deep enough that you can’t see the road. Fast moving water up to the top of the wheels is enough to cause a vehicle to be swept away or, at best, flood the engine so it stalls out.

Vehicle Problems

According the U.S. Department of Transportation, the car problem that causes the most collisions is air bags. Since 1996, there have been 17,616 collisions caused by air bag failure. Other problems include speed control, brakes, tires, steering and electrical systems.

Before leaving, get your vehicle thoroughly checked. Make sure the tires are good enough to make the trip safely and have the air bags checked by a reputable dealer.

Traffic

Bumper-to-bumper traffic is usually caused by one of three events:

  • There has been an accident. This could be in the flow of traffic you’re in or it could be in the opposite direction. To avoid drivers who “lollygag,” get in whatever lane seems to be moving the fastest and stay in it.
  • It is rush-hour and everyone is in a hurry to get home. Pick a time to leave that will get you through the city you have to go through when it’s not rush-hour, usually well after 9:00 am and before 5:00 pm. Keep in mind that during the holidays, people often get off work early and you could be heading into mall and shopping traffic.
  • Road construction may be up ahead. Check ahead of time if possible and avoid it.

During the holiday season, we need to be extra observant of those drivers around us because, even if we follow what seems logical, they may not. A texting teen driver, anxious to be home with family and friends, may be lurking ahead of you. Someone who just had one drink too many may swerve over into your lane. Being alert and sober may just save both your life and theirs.

4 Signs You Should Pass on Buying That Used Truck

4 Signs You Should Pass on Buying That Used Truck

Not everyone can afford a new truck as they can run anywhere from $18,000 to well over $40,000, while not including the interest on the payments, insurance, and everything else. This is why many people buy used trucks, but caution should be exercised here. There are at least four signs that you should pass on buying a used truck, and here they are.

No Vehicle History Report

These days, you can get a vehicle history report on most used cars or trucks that you get from a dealer, and you can even get them on vehicles being sold by individuals. If there is not one offered, ask for it. If the owner seems unwilling to provide one or give you the information necessary to get one before you buy, pass on that truck as it is a sure sign that there is something wrong with the vehicle that the owner is trying to hide.

Too Many Miles, Not Enough Years

Either the owner will list the mileage or you can see for yourself when you go to look at the truck. Compare the mileage to the year the truck was made. For example, if the truck has 250,000 miles and it’s a 1995, that is fairly reasonable, but if it has that many miles and it is a 2005, pass on it as it has likely been driven real hard or was once a work truck that was decommissioned for commercial purposes. Pass on that truck.

No Engine

Sure, the asking price may be cheap if it does not have an engine, but this is bad news. The reason is engines are quite expensive, and if you do not have mechanical knowledge, you will have to pay for the labor costs of having a mechanic install the engine for you and this will get expensive. If you have your heart set on restoring a vehicle without an engine, be sure to contact a specialty parts dealer like 99 Truck Parts & Industrial Equipment Ltd. to ensure that your installed engine is correct and that your laborers know the specifics of vintage truck restoration.

Too Many Mechanic Visits

You can find out roughly how many times the truck has been taken to the mechanic. If it has been more than just a few (depending on age), pass on that truck as it will likely nickel and dime you unrelentingly, and reliability is what you need.

Finding a good used truck does not have to be hard, but it can be. Once you have found a good used truck, you will need parts eventually to keep it running. Always check available parts retailers and shop around to find a reputable used parts retailer, rather than always shopping for the cheapest.

Five Big Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Your First Vehicle

Five Big Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Your First Vehicle

Buying your first car is exciting, but it can also be a huge headache if you go about it wrong. The following are five common—and serious—mistakes to watch out for when you decide to buy your first car.

Buying too quickly

Whether you have just gotten your license or you are finally getting your own wheels after having to share mom and dad’s car, buying your first car is an event you don’t want to wait for. However, if you buy the first car that trips your trigger, you could wind up getting ripped off. An over-eager buyer is like a Christmas present to a car salesman.

Not doing your research

With the wealth of automotive resources available on the Internet, it’s almost criminal not to be prepared when you go to buy your first car. Research not only the car you are thinking about buying, but also the dealership. Use resources such as online price guides and also search the web to find out if the car has been subject to a recall or had problems mentioned consistently on social media. Also check with your local Better Business Bureau and your state’s motor vehicle licensing board to learn the dealer’s history.

Spending too much

Unlike a home, which will often increase in value, a car is a commodity that will be worth less than what you paid for it the minute you drive it off the lot. Though it’s tempting to start off fast and buy your dream car right away, it’s better to find a reliable, affordable car and trade up later. If you are young and don’t have a steady job, it’s also not a good idea to get locked into several years’ worth of payments.

Not shopping around for financing

If you do have to finance the car, you need to do your homework to get the best rate possible. Your bank or a credit union are good places to shop for car loans. One place you want to avoid for financing is the dealership itself, especially if you are buying a used car. Dealership financing rates are notoriously high compared to banks.

Not taking other costs into account

The money you spend on a car doesn’t stop with the sale. You’ll have fuel, maintenance and insurance costs. The more expensive the car, the higher your insurance costs will be. Buying an SUV instead of a compact will mean you spend more for gas. If you’re new to driving, a specialist from Valley Driving School recommends keeping the cost of traffic tickets in mind when budgeting for a new car. Inexperienced drivers often run into these and other unexpected expenses once they start driving regularly.

Avoiding these mistakes and others can save you hundreds—even thousands—of dollars on your first car and ensure you have no buyer’s remorse.

Save The Environment, Five Tips To Driving Green Each Day

Save The Environment: Five Tips To Driving Green Each Day

With the amount of driving that the average person performs each day, it can be easy to make a significant impact on the environment. To reduce your carbon footprint and drive green, there are a few ways to save the environment with your driving habits while behind the wheel. By making small changes to your vehicle and changing how you drive, it’s possible to save the earth one step at a time.

Avoid Accelerating Quickly

Make it a point to coast in stop and go traffic or while driving on the highway to preserve your fuel and prevent accelerating quickly. By putting the pedal to the medal, you immediately waste your fuel and do necessarily reach your destination in a shorter period of time.

Drive at a Lower Speed

Drivers often waste up to 33 percent of their fuel just by speeding. Give yourself extra time to reach your destination and avoid changing lanes frequently while preserving your momentum.

Remove Clutter From Your Trunk

One of the easiest ways to waste fuel without changing any driving habits is by loading up your car with unnecessary junk. With every 100 pounds, two percent of the fuel is lost. Remove toys, sporting equipment, or unused items from your trunk to eliminate the extra weight of the vehicle.

Use Synthetic Oil on Your Vehicle

To increase your fuel efficiency, request to have synthetic oil used on your vehicle when it’s time to have the oil changed every three months or 3,000 miles with your local mechanic. You’ll get more horsepower and gas mileage by using a higher quality of oil according to Speedy Apollo Auto Service Centres, a company that provides transmission service in Calgary. You can also use oil that has been partially recycled for a great way to go green.

Participate in Carpooling

You may enjoy your independence and the freedom that comes with driving your own car to work, but the act can equate to thousands of gallons of fuel wasted annually. Find a co-worker or two who live in your local area and are willing to carpool throughout the week to save fuel. You’ll not only reduce your global footprint, but can also increase your savings on gas each month.

To save the planet one step at a time, you can begin by changing your driving habits for subtle ways that will protect the earth. With the right habits formed, you can increase your fuel efficiency and only use your vehicle when necessary for a great way to preserve the earth’s resources.

How to Calm Your Fears Of Having A Teenage Driver

How to Calm Your Fears Of Having A Teenage Driver

For many parents, one of the most common fears of having a teenager is the moment that they get behind the wheel. With a new driver on the road who has a minimal amount of experience, it can be difficult to have peace of mind once with the risk of an accident that can occur. From texting on their phones to speeding, there are many habits that can easily lead to a crash for new drivers. To calm your fears and have more confidence in your teen’s driving skills, there are a few steps to take to make for an easier transition.

Teach Your Teen Defensive Driving

Your teenager may be a cautious and safe driver but there’s always the threat of other vehicles who are reckless on the highways. New drivers should learn defensive driving, which will allow them to scan the road ahead, avoid tailgating, yield to other cars, and expect to encounter cars who abruptly changing lanes.

Enroll Your Teenager in Driving School

To ensure that your teen is safe on the road and learns their driving skills from a professional, enroll them in driving school where they can practice operating a vehicle on a course. Your teenager will be able to learn in both the classroom and behind the wheel with one-on-one lessons and safety techniques that will enhance their skills according to Valley Driving School, a company that provides Vancouver driving lessons.

Purchase a Safe Vehicle

To ensure that your teen stays safe on the road, purchase a vehicle that has high safety ratings. Consider purchasing a model that has good scores in crash tests with front and side airbags that will deploy on impact.

Limit Their Hours on the Road

Auto accidents most commonly occur at night, making it important to establish a curfew that limits the hours that your teenager driver is on the road. In their first year of driving, make it a rule that they are home before it becomes dark and that they do not drive with other passengers until they gain more experience with operating the vehicle.

Although it can be impossible to prevent your teenage driver from learning how to drive and gaining independence, it’s possible to relieve your fears after they get their driver’s license. To ensure that they stay safe, there are a number of steps to take to help them to stay cautious as they drive and avoid common distractions.

Six Questions You Should Ask Before Buying A Used Car

6 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying A Used Car

Everyone is afraid of driving their newly purchased car home only to find they have made a huge mistake. Here are a few questions you should always ask before buying a used car to make sure you are driving away in one that is truly worth the money that you paid for it.

1) Why are you selling this car?

This is the most obvious, and possibly the most important, of any questions you could ask a seller about a used car. Often, there is an underlying reason that the seller wants to get rid of the car, especially if they are trying to sell it quickly. Sometimes that reason is a mechanical issue that the seller does not want to put the time or money into fixing, and you may not want to either. Be careful though, this question opens up room for deception, so take everything the seller says with a grain of salt.

2) How many owners has this car had?

Some resellers may not know the answer to this, but any number over two is an immediate cause for concern, especially with newer models. Multiple owners means a higher probability that one of them did not take proper care of the car, and knowing this up front can help eliminate the need for further investigation.

3) Is this the original paint for this vehicle?

It may seem like an odd question, but refinished cars are typically refinished for a reason. A car that has been repainted has often been in a wreck, or has had damage to its body that made the repaint necessary.

4) Do you have any service records on this car?

The best indicator of a car that has been well taken care of is service records. If the previous owner can prove that the oil was changed regularly, parts were replaced as necessary, and that the car passed a recent inspection, this is a great indication that the car is in good shape mechanically.

5) Do you have the title in hand?

Again, this one may seem obvious, but many sellers will try to deceive buyers into putting a down payment on a car without a title, only to find that the car was stolen, or the seller has sold the title to another buyer and stolen your down payment. Never put money on a car until you can see the title.

6) Do you have a car history report?

If the seller passes all of the above tests, make sure to request a car history report. Not only will this alert you to any deception on the part of the seller, but it will answer other questions that the seller might not want to, or might not be able to, such as whether the car has been wrecked or if it has a salvage title. Always review the car history before purchasing a used car. You can find a vehicle history and title report with a little extra research as well.

Keeping these questions in mind will ensure that your next used car is in excellent condition, without any hiding mechanical, structural, or electrical problems that may jump out at you later. After your initial interrogation, the car history report will guarantee you get the best car you can for your money. Informational credit to Instavin.

Time for a Tune Up? 5 Signs Your Car Needs to See a Mechanic

Most people are guilty of ignoring or avoiding car repair for a number of reasons. While it can be inconvenient and costly to get repairs, it’s always best to catch the problems early while the issue is still small. Early detection of mechanical failures makes the repair easier and less expensive, and will take less of a toll on your vehicle. Here are the five early warning signs that signal you need to make a visit to a mechanic.

6 Essentials To Make Sure The Job Gets Done Right

Engine Noises

As you drive your car on a regular basis, you become familiar with the sound of the engine when it’s fine. The moment you hear any “funny noises” coming from your engine, you need to find out why. Any change from the normal sound of your engine, whether it be grinding noises or knocking noises, needs to be checked out. Any noise out of the norm definitely indicates a problem.

Squeaky Brakes

After your brakes get wet, they can sometimes make squeaking noises. However, if you notice that your brakes make squealing noises whenever you apply your brakes, this could mean that your rotors are bad. If you regularly notice noise when using your brakes, it’s time to get a tune-up.

Car Pulling to One Side

When you are on a highway, cruising along and your vehicle regularly pulls to either the right or left, this means the alignment needs some work. The alignment will not get better without being repaired and if left unattended, will also wear on your tires.

Dashboard Indicators

Many people are very guilty of ignoring their dashboard lighting indicators that say, “check engine”, and assume that it’s a minor issue that will go away. Unfortunately, the longer you wait to learn the reason why your check engine light is on, the more things can go wrong. Never ignore the check engine light; it’s there for a reason.

Smell of Burning Oil or Gas

A vehicle relies more on the lubrication and gasoline than almost anything else. If you smell burning oil or gasoline, not only does this mean there is likely a leak somewhere, it could actually be downright dangerous. Aside from the potential side issues that could come along, such as an overheated engine, you could also be placing yourself at risk for a fire hazard.

You know your car and you should be able to feel when something is amiss, usually. Remember to do regular inspections and maintenance with help from Professional Automotive as they can help with anything that might go unnoticed. Use these indications as a sign that you need to get your engine or vehicle checked right away to keep motoring safely.

3 Major Truck Accessories Your Need for Winter Weather

3 Major Truck Accessories Your Need for Winter Weather

Trucks typically do not perform efficiently during snow or icy weather conditions. However, if you purchase the proper accessories, the process of driving throughout the winter will be much easier.

Snow Chains and Tires

Snow chains give trucks much more traction. They fit around the tires snugly and hold any snow or ice while you travel. As you drive, the metal moves over the ice and breaks it up.

All-season tires are not very reliable in the winter since they typically lock up and skid on slick roads. Snow tires, however, dig deeply in ice and snow, so they perform more safely on the highway (Source: Tonka 4 Wheel Drive Ltd.).

The two basic snow tire options are alloy or steel. Aluminum alloy wheels are agile and light; as a result, they provide responsive handling. However, in the winter, fast handling and agility are not helpful on the road. Since steel wheels are heavier, they are a better choice because the extra weight improves the truck’s suspension system.

Snow Plow

A snow plow will help you move piles and clear paths on roads, driveways, and parking lots. However, if you plan to buy a snow plow for your truck, ensure that your vehicle can handle the load. The truck must have a heavy-duty alternator so that the hydraulic pump can receive electricity. Also, the engine should be dependable and powerful, and the transmission should be bulletproof.

To install the snow plow, you will need a mount kit that is specifically designed for your vehicle. A thick steel bracket will be needed as well; it will provide support for the plow’s hydraulics.

Grill Cover

Most trucks already have a grill cover; however, if your cover is damaged, you should replace it immediately. A cover is important because it keeps salt, snow, and ice from accessing the components under your hood.

Bonus Advice – Winter Weather Preparation Advice

Although buying accessories is helpful, your truck will still gain operational problems if you do not prepare it for the winter.

Check the lead plates in the battery thoroughly. The levels should not be too low; if necessary, refill the plates with distilled water.

To protect the windshield, apply a washer solution that doesn’t freeze.

The wiper blades must be replaced if they are over six months old.

Always remove snow or ice off your windshield before you use your wipers. If you ignore this step, the wiper blades may tear, the fuse may blow, or the wiper motor might damage.

Overall, if you buy good accessories and prep your truck for winter weather, you will have no problems traveling on the highway.

 

Different Types Of Training Your Teen Could Use To Be A Safer Driver

Different Types Of Training Your Teen Could Use To Be A Safer Driver

Different Types Of Training Your Teen Could Use To Be A Safer Driver

Many teenagers look forward to the time when they have their driver’s license and gain freedom and independence by driving a car. Unfortunately, there is a disproportionately high rate of automobile accidents that include injuries and fatalities among the teen age group, but the rate drops as the teenagers mature. There are some steps parents can take to make sure their children are safe drivers.

What They See Is What They Do

Statistics show that most of the teenagers who get into automobile accidents have parents who have poor driving records. In general, children are very observant, and your child may be learning your driving methods much before they are old enough to get a license by observing you drive. This means you don’t drink, text, look for CDs or indulge in road rage in front of your children or at any time.

Have a Graduated Licensing Program

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, teenagers should not drive unrestricted until they are 18 years of age. This means they have been driving under adult supervision for two years. Some states issue a provisional license to teens 16 years old after they pass a road test. They may drive independently during daylight hours, but after dark they must have a licensed adult with them in the car. If they don’t have any accidents or moving violations during the two years, they’ll be awarded a full license.

Attend Driving Instruction Class

Car insurance is usually more expensive for teenage drivers. Many automobile insurance providers give discounts for people who attend driver education classes either connected with their school or private, independent providers. These classes offer a wide range of skills. Students not only learn general driver training but also other skills such as air brake operation, manual and automatic transmission use, and they take practice road tests.

Attend Air Brake Courses

Brake safety is important for any driver, and learning about air brakes can help prepare a teenager to drive an air brake operated vehicle. Air brakes are different than regular brakes, and a government-certified instructor will give comprehensive training that involves pre-trip requirements as well as instructions while driving according to North Shore Driving School Ltd., a company that provides air brake course in Burnaby.

Active Learning Is More Effective

There’s nothing like practice to make a better driver. You should give your teenager all the practice you can. Start in empty parking lots and back roads where there isn’t much traffic. Let them practice all the signals and turns as well as parking and overtaking. You can also help them learn to drive at night, at dusk, when it’s raining and during any other unusual driving conditions.

There’s no reason your teenage child cannot be a careful driver if you make a little effort to give them the chance to learn properly. If this is too nerve-wracking for you, find a good driver education program and let the professionals handle it.