Tips & Tricks
Helpful car maintenance advice and useful tips on all things car-related
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.
I am a pretty sensitive person. I have allergies to animals and dust. My threshold for pain is low. I am the pickiest eater you will ever meet. My eyes can barely tolerate sunshine and a loud noise is enough to make me jump out of my seat. Because of this, you can understand why taking a trip to Denver over the holidays left me feeling a little apprehensive.
Let me assure you ladies and gentleman, this is America and we do have a choice when it comes to maintenance. If you look at your maintenance schedule—you know, that book buried underneath all of the junk in your glove box—you will know exactly what maintenance you need and when you need it.
When you own a car, maintenance and insurance are requirements. Filling up with gas is also the nature of the beast. If you’re on the road a lot, and you cringe every time you have to fill up, I have some great money saving gas tips to help you out. Here are a few things you can do today to get better gas mileage right away. In real estate they say location, location, location. In auto repair, we say maintenance, maintenance, maintenance!
Summer is over—the kids are back at school, the summer clothes are up in the attic, and your vacation days are used up. Now, you’re ready to relax and chill out until the winter holidays get started. Surely there is nothing left for you to do until then … right? Not quite. This is the perfect time of year to start getting your vehicle ready for winter and the unique problems that cold weather brings. Breakdowns and starting issues can be much worse in lower temperatures, so make sure you are ready well before the first snow fall.
There are many wonderful things about living in San Francisco—diversity, good food, and the weather. And of course, there are drawbacks—rent that makes you want to cry, mainly. But one thing that is perpetually bothersome is parking on the street. Since I don’t have an extra $200 for a covered, secure parking space (see: rent), every day I take my chances with street parking.
There is very little people actually agree on these days, but it would be damn near impossible to find anybody who actually likes speed bumps. We wouldn't tolerate that kind of thing in any other area of our lives. Imagine surfing the Internet and coming across virtual bumps that thwarted your progress (well, maybe all of those unwanted, annoying ads serve that purpose).
During my many years of working at a dealership service department, one trend I have observed is that whenever fuel prices go up, complaints about fuel economy also go up. The recent rise in fuel prices has also driven up sales of air filters, spark plugs, and routine maintenance. I must admit, OPEC is certainly getting more of my money these days. Twenty-two years ago, when my trusty Ford Ranger, affectionately named Betsy, was new, the fuel tank took less than 12 dollars to fill. Now, after a recent fill up, Betsy consumed 63 dollars worth—$63! My income has certainly not increased five times over the same period. The shock to my wallet makes me want to shriek.