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RepairPal Blog:

Tips & Tricks

Helpful car maintenance advice and useful tips on all things car-related

Going to the auto repair shop can raise stressful questions, regardless of whether it is your first visit or your 20th. What's wrong with my car? Does this repair or service really need to be done today? How much should the work cost? Is my repair or service going to be done correctly the first time? Out of all of the questions you may have about repairing and servicing your car, answering the questions below will do the most to help give you confidence in your shop and ensure that you have a hassle-free experience.

By Tom Torbjornsen, Host of America's Car Show

Wintertime is hard on vehicles, period. There are common vehicular failures that are winter-related, and they typically settle into six distinct categories:

  • Undercarriage
  • Steering and Suspension
  • Engine Cooling System
  • Transmission and Drivetrain
  • Starting and Charging Systems
  • Body and Wipers
  •  

There are some people who like to push things to the limit—I am not one of those people. I pay my bills as soon as I get them. I do my taxes the first week of February. I do my Christmas shopping in November. Even as a kid, I usually finished my homework before I even left school. I hate to feel anxious, and putting things off to the last second is just too uncomfortable for me.

That said, sometimes mistakes happen. Life gets too busy. Something gets lost in the mail. Maybe you lose your job and barely have enough money to cover rent. You never know when the universe is going to throw you a curveball. So, even if you are a hyper-prepared worrywart like me, you might find yourself facing a situation you never thought you would—a lapse in your auto insurance.

It is interesting that 80 percent of vehicle accidents are contributed to poor visibility and yet the average driver gets their wipers replaced every two and a half years. They should be replaced every six months or at most every year. Think of what your windshield encounters!

Driving with a blind spot is something we don’t think about too often until we realize we narrowly missed having an accident when a nearby vehicle swerves around us to avoid contact! Whew! Saved again. We may be shaken up for a minute or two but then we get busy and time passes and we don’t think of it until it happens next time. 

Some of you are too young to remember “back in the day” when you went to the gas station to fill up. Back then, a nice attendant would come running out, pump the gas for you, lift the hood, take a look around, and check your oil. If you were a little low on oil, he would fill it up. 

Hopefully, you will never need any of the following advice, but the fact is 1 in 100 people will be involved in a car accident at some point in their lives. While hoping for the best though, it’s still good to prepare for the worst. Though not an exhaustive list, here are some things to remember if you are in a car crash.

Black ice is not really black—it’s a transparent layer of ice that looks black because it’s so thin that you can see the road surface below it. Any ice is dangerous to drive on, but black ice is especially bad because it fools you into thinking the road is only wet, not icy.

Due to safety and fuel mileage concerns, in the early 2000s, the Federal government began to look into mandating on-board vehicle systems that would monitor tire pressure and alert the driver when one or more tires dropped 25 percent below the recommended inflation pressure. By 2008, this mandate went into full effect for all cars and light trucks.

Over the holiday break, I finally had enough time to do the little chores I’ve been putting off. My car was utterly filthy, and so cleaning it was on the top of the list. I generally use this one random brand of soap my father has in his garage, but this time I put my big boy shoes on and went to the store to purchase my own.