4 Super-Easy Car Maintenance Tasks

4 super-easy car maintenance tasks

One of the most stressful things about owning a car is the constant maintenance they require to make sure things are running smoothly and that it remains reliable and safe to drive. You absolutely want to know that when you wake up in the morning, already 10 minutes late for work that your car will 100% start on the first click.

Unfortunately, that means forking out a not-insignificant amount of money every 6 months or so. As you probably already know, the costs can soon rack up. But we’re here to tell you there’s a much easier way. In fact, for most people you’ll be surprised at how easy (and ridiculously inexpensive) it is to do some of the maintenance on your vehicle by yourself, at home with supplies that can be bought from any big retailer or gas station.

Let’s run through some of the super-easy car maintenance tasks that you can do yourself:



1. Changing the oil.
This is one of the most important things you can do for your vehicle and it’s probably one of the easiest. Oil is what lubricates the inner engine parts and keeps everything running slick. Running low on oil can cause serious problems and could even damage your engine beyond repair.

This sounds complicated, but it’s really not. On most cars, the first step is to drain the oil by releasing a nut from underneath the engine. This should be easily found and fairly easily undone (on most cars, provided you’ve had your oil regularly). You should drain the oil into an old container of appropriate size (make sure to check the owner’s manual for specs).

Once the oil is drained, simply replace the sump nut underneath the engine, making sure it’s in nice and tight. Then all you have to do is fill the car up with the right oil (there are many different types so make sure to check this link and find the right type of oil). After you’ve done that, leave a little time to allow the oil to settle and then check the level using the dip stick to make sure it’s at the right level and that you don’t need to top up (remember to wipe it off first and then re-dip it).

Simple and yet if done right, you’ll notice absolutely no difference. Except that if you do this regularly (every 6000 miles or so) your car will run for many years to come.


2. Checking the engine coolant.
Engine coolant is a liquid that helps to keep your engine running at an acceptable temperature. However, if this runs low then this can cause problems with your engine overheating, which can cause serious damage to the internal workings and cause irreparable damage.

So, it’s very important and also very simple to check your coolant level and make sure that everything is as it should be. We recommend doing this approximately once a month to ensure that the level doesn’t dip below the minimum. All you have to do is simply top up the liquid if it get’s low, but again make sure you buy the right type of coolant for your car (check here) and then make sure you dilute it with the right amount of water.

Caution: Don’t open the coolant tank or the radiator cap whilst the engine is hot. Wait until the engine is cooled before checking the coolant fluid levels.

 

3.  Changing the engine air filter.

The air filter on a car or truck ensures that your engine is using the cleanest air possible in the combustion process. This prevents particles of dirt entering the sensitive inner workings of the engine and possibly causing damage or clogging up which can cause the engine to run ineffectively.

Yes, if you don’t work with cars, this sounds complicated. Let me tell you now that it absolutely isn’t! In fact, for a lot of cars it’s as simple as undoing a few clips and swapping one filter out for a fresh new one. All you have to do is find out the process for your vehicle (it will be something like this).

Ideally you should change your air filter every 12 months, but if you’re driving along particularly dusty roads you should change the filter every 3 months. Doing this yourself is a really easy way to save a good amount of cash.

 

4. Check the car battery.

The battery of your car is what gives your car a jump start every morning before you head to work. When your car doesn’t start, then this is the first thing to check. However, there are a few simple things you can do at home to ensure that your battery stays in tip-top condition.

The first thing you should do is check the battery visually. The contacts on the top of the battery should be nice and clean. If there is a lot of built up dirt then this can have an effect on how much power the battery can transfer and possibly cause problems at startup.

If this is the case you can easily clean the contacts with a rag, making sure not to let get any on your skin as it is acidic and can cause irritation.

The next step is to check for any leaks. If you see any leaks at all coming from the battery, the battery will need replacing. The same goes for any cracks or other damage to the battery. This can be easily done by simply removing the battery clips from the terminals and putting them onto the new battery before clipping it down.

As you can see, it is very easy to perform basic maintenance on your car, truck or minivan. This will ensure that it’s always running smoothly and is reliable as possible. Of course, if you’re not comfortable performing these tasks, either ask someone to help you or take your car to the garage, sometimes you can cause more damage if you don’t practice caution.

The 4 super-easy car maintenance tasks

The Story of Toyota Land Cruiser

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(via Land Cruiser Downloads )

 

Cutting through rivers, taming the harsh dirt roads and scaling mountain peaks – the Toyota Land Cruiser has been off-road adventuring for over 60 years. Debuting in 1951, the Land Cruiser is the longest produced vehicle in Toyota’s history. It has gone through many different phases in the course of its evolution: as an off-road patrol vehicle, a cross-country four wheel drive vehicle and a recreational family vehicle. The changes that the Land Cruiser has gone through are a testament to its durability and lasting appeal. Here’s an abridged version of the Land Cruiser’s storied history:

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(via Land Cruiser Downloads )

 

In 1951 the Toyota Land Cruiser went by a different name: the Model BJ. The BJ was the embodiment of Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda’s dream of building a low price, high performance vehicle that had a good fuel economy. The BJ was the result of Toyota’s bid to produce a four-wheel drive truck for the U.S. Army. Though the U.S. Army ultimately passed on the BJ, it later went on to climb to the sixth station on the trail to the top of Mt. Fuji. After achieving such an incredible feat – the first vehicle to do so – the BJ became the official patrol vehicle for Japanese police. In 1954 the BJ was renamed “Land Cruiser’ – an accurate moniker that helped launch the vehicle into mass production.

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(via Toyota Vehicle Heritage)

 

1955 marked the year of the second generation Land Cruiser: The Land Cruiser 20-series. The second series of the Land Cruiser was starting to transition from a military to a civilian vehicle. The 20 had a more rounded bodywork, integrated headlights and shorter wheelbase that improved overall maneuverability. The “more civilized” 20-series had a roomier cabin so passenger and driver wouldn’t feel like they were sharing the same seat. Another creature comfort of the 20 was its air-conditioning system – something that wasn’t all that common in 1955. The second Land Cruiser was powered by a cast iron F-series engine, which gave a 23% power increase. The low-compression engine powered Toyota vehicles from 1948 – 1992; the longest running Toyota engine to date.

The success of the 20 lead to a series of milestones for the Land Cruiser over the next few years. In 1956 the Land Cruiser became the first Toyota vehicle to be sold to mass markets such as Brazil, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, South East Asia and South America. 1957 marked the next US military trial for the Land Cruiser. Though the US military once again passed on Toyota’s bid, the durability and sheer power of the Land Cruiser couldn’t be denied and in 1958 the Land Cruiser finally made its way into American and European markets.

The third generation: the 40-series launched in 1960. The 40-series integrated low ratio gearing for better acceleration and off-road performance. Though a third passenger seat was added to the vehicle, it was a bare bones vehicle that only allowed for the bare essentials – it didn’t even have sound insulation. The 40-series was also the first diesel engine Land Cruiser.

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(via Toyota Vehicle Heritage)

 

1967 introduced the 55-series, asserting the Land Cruiser as a cross-country four-wheel drive vehicle. The 55 was essentially the first station wagon, allowing Toyota to expand their horizons in terms of target audience. Not only was the Land Cruiser known for its off-roading ability, but it also met American concerns for safety and highway driving.

The notion of the Land Cruiser as a family vehicle continued to grow with the 60-series, introduced in 1980. Unlike the minimalist approach of prior models, the 60 embraced in customization. The 60 could maintain up to ten-seat formats and its wall-to-wall upholstery – making it appealing for families.

The 80-series was a smash success in 1990. Demand for the 80 was so high that the production line running round the clock for its first six months. The Land Cruiser continued to increase its focus on safety features with the introduction of airbags and anti-lock brakes. The luxury element of the Land Cruiser also met a new standard as the entire vehicle was upholstered in leather, including the steering wheel.

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(via Toyota Vehicle Heritage)

 

1992 saw the release of the 100 series Station Wagon, improving upon the fuel economy of the 80 with the first Toyota V8 engine. The 100 was designed for the 21st Century as a “technology carrier.” Such technological innovations from the 100 include traction and stability controls, a hydropneumatic suspension with adjustable ride height, multi-stage shock absorber settings as well as electronic brake-force distribution.

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(via Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Gallery)

 

The current model of Land Cruiser is the 200-series. After five years in development, the 200 was introduced in 2008. The 200 had the benefits Toyota’s full line electronic driving aids including Smart Entry, Smart Start, off-road cruise control and an optional rear-view camera. The 200’s V8 engine resides in a reworked engine bay that allows for excellent fuel economy and more room in the passenger cell.

The Toyota Land Cruiser has come a long way since 1951’s BJ. It’s become accessible to families across the globe while maintaining its reputation as a cross-country trailblazer. The Land Cruiser has gone from the (not so) little engine that could to the workhorse that has driven the cross country vehicle to up its game as a whole. For over 60 years the Land Cruiser started a global adventure that hasn’t stopped since. The Toyota Land Cruiser has proven time and again that it has the drive to innovate on and off-road: to literally pave the way.

Sources:

History of the Toyota Land Cruiser (Station Wagon models)

Toyota Land Cruiser Vehicle Heritage

Toyota Land Cruiser Chronology

The Story of the Toyota Land Crusier

11 Car Accessories You Can’t Go Without

Copy of Genius Apps You've Need If You Drive

Modern automobiles come equipped with a lot of high-tech gadgets. From Bluetooth functionality to heated seats and backup cameras, you can get your ride with all the frills if you so desire. The problem is the cost of these additional features can really add up, and even after getting every accessory the dealership has to offer, you may find your car is still missing the items you really need to make driving more convenient and comfortable.

Luckily, there are a number of products on the market that can fill these gaps, and for a reasonable fee. Everything on our list of must-have items costs less than $100, so you won’t break the bank when you upgrade your vehicle. We did our research to find practical accessories you won’t want to do without once you have them (hint: not things like headlight lashes and musical horns). So let’s get to it already!

 

Blind Spot Mirrors

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Product shown: Total View 360 Adjustable Blind Spot Mirror

List price: $20

Everyone knows blind spots are very dangerous. Although it’s possible to adjust all your mirrors to eliminate your blind spots, the configuration can be difficult to get used to, and most drivers may prefer to see their own vehicle’s flank in their side mirrors. Fortunately, you can always buy a set of small mirrors that attach to your side mirrors with adhesive and cover that pesky blind spot. No more craning your neck before changing lanes.

 

Dashboard Grip Pad

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Product shown: EasyLifeCare Anti-Slip Car Dash Grip Pad

List price: $25

Sometimes there just isn’t a convenient place in your car to keep things like your cell phone, MP3 player, sunglasses and spare change. Sticky gel pads like this one allow you to put your ample dashboard space to use without the fear of everything sliding off when you brake, accelerate or take a sharp turn. They’re cheap, stylish, and they get the job done while keeping your favorite items close-at-hand.

 

Cell Phone Dashboard Mount

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Product shown: iOttie Easy One Touch 3

List price: $30

This product is perfect for people who like to use their phone’s navigation app while driving (read: everyone). Instead of holding the phone in one hand and steering with the other, which is both annoying and dangerous, invest in a dashboard mount. The model shown is especially luxurious, but you can find simpler, less expensive products if you’re on a tight budget. Take a look at these steering wheel clip mounts if you’d prefer to have your phone held right in front of you.

 

4. Seat Gap Filler

Image courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond

Product shown: Drop Stop 

List price: $20

It turns out that space between your seat and the center console has a name (the Carmuda Triangle), and it turns out there are accessories specially designed for plugging that gap. The Drop Stop is the nicest, most durable product of its kind, but there are also a number of bargain varieties made of cheaper material. The next time you almost drop your phone, wallet or car keys into the crack, you’ll be glad you saved yourself the headache.

 

5. Lumbar Support Pillow

Image courtesy of Walgreens.com

Product shown: HoMedics Thera-P Memory Foam Lumbar Support Pillow

List price: $15

If your lower or middle back hurts after a long drive, then you probably aren’t sitting up straight in your seat, and this item could do you a world of good. By providing support to your lumbar vertebrae, the pillow helps you sit in a position that is more natural for your spine, which reduces chronic back pain. Most pillows also come with a built-in strap to keep it in place on your car seat.

 

 

6. USB Charger

Image courtesy of Anker.com

Product shown: Anker PowerDrive+ 1 with Quick Charge 3.0

List price: $17

An essential accessory for people who are always on the go, a USB charger will plug into your car’s cigarette lighter and allow you to charge your devices while you drive. If you need to charge multiple devices at once (like your phone, tablet and MP3 player), invest in a model with multiple ports.

 

 

7. Bluetooth FM Transmitter

Image courtesy of Rakuten.com

Product shown: iClever IC-F53 Wireless Bluetooth FM Transmitter

List price: $30

If you drive an older car, then your sound system may not have Bluetooth functionality or an audio-in port. Instead of being restricted to always listening to the radio or your old mix CDs, pick up one of these transmitters. Plug it into your power outlet, tune the transmitter and your car’s stereo to an unused FM frequency, and then pair your phone or MP3 player to the transmitter via Bluetooth. You’ll be cruising to your favorite tunes in no time.

 

 

Backup Camera and Display

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Products shown: Esky Foldable Color LCD Monitor

Use with: Esky HD Color Vehicle Camera

List price (combined): $90

Upgrading your new vehicle to a package that contains a backup camera and display screen can cost you a few thousand dollars at the dealership. Why not save a ton of money and buy separate accessories you can install yourself? This approach is also great for older vehicles that were manufactured before this technology became common.

 

 

9. Glove Box Organizer

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Product shown: High Road Auto Document Case and Organizer

List price: $13

You know how annoying it is to rummage around your glove compartment searching for your vehicle owner’s manual, registration, or whatever it is you need out of that mess? Eliminate that hassle forever with a sharp-looking document organizer. Now you’ll just need to remember to put everything back in the pocket where it belongs.

 

 

10. Trash Bin

Product shown: Zone Tech Traveling Car Garbage Can

List price: $20

Stop leaving your garbage on the floor of your car and start putting it in a handy, compact trash bin. The model shown can be hung from the back of your seat or clipped onto your door for convenience. There are also plenty of larger trash bins available for bigger cars and bigger messes.

 

 

11. Auto Pet Barrier

Image courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond

Product shown: Solvit Front Seat Net Pet Barrier

List price: $17

The last item on our list is great if you have a dog who loves to climb up to the front of the car on road trips. Pet barriers are easy to install and typically fit all vehicle types, and they prevent your pet from climbing over the center console and potentially causing you to have an accident while driving.

 

 

What do you think of our list of must-have car accessories? If we forgot your favorite item, be sure to tell us about it in the comments. If you’re looking for even more stuff to fill your car with, take a look at our list of emergency items you should keep in your car. Have a stocked vehicle but nowhere to go? We also have some suggestions for family day trips from Rochester.

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5 Day Trips from Rochester for the Family

5 Day Trips from Rochester for the Family

Though it might not feel like it, Old Man Winter will have come and gone before you know it. Along with the brighter, warmer weather the coming months will also provide an opportunity. Take this opportunity as a family adventure for yourself or (when school is out) for the whole family. If you live in the Rochester area, we’ve compiled a list of five such adventures for you and your family to embark on. As long as your kids can last a couple of hours in the car, you’ll be good to go!

 

1.  The National Museum of Play

Formerly “The Strong National Museum of Play,” this museum is part of an educational institution known as “The Strong” – dedicated to the study and exploration of play. The museum itself is home to the largest collection of materials related to play. There is a regularly rotating array of short-term exhibits such as current highlights featuring Hot Wheels, Nintendo and Pez. In addition there are a slew of mainstay attractions featuring Monopoly, comic books and the Toys Hall of Fame. Your kids might groan when they hear the word “museum” but they definitely won’t find themselves bored here. The best part of this day trip? It’s only a 5 minute drive from the heart of Rochester.

 

2.  Genesee Country Village & Museum

A little less than a half hour drive from Rochester likes the Genesee Country Village & Museum. Unlike The National Museum of Play, this destination will be a little bit more of an educational experience for the kids in the traditional sense. The 700-acre complex is the third-largest collection of historic buildings in America. The village itself is made up of 68 buildings that have been preserved since the 19th-century. Genesee Village is populated by costumed staff members who will train you in the ways of crafts such as weaving, woodwork and gunsmithing. If you’re looking for a day trip that gives your family a historical perspective, look no further!

 

3.  Roseland Water Park

When you’re a kid, summer = swimming. Beat the heat this summer by taking your family to Roseland Water Park – less than an hour drive from Rochester proper. Roseland Waterpark is the largest water park in the Finger Lakes region with everything you could hope for from a water park: lazy rivers, wave pools, rafting and waters slides of all kinds. If you’re drenched to the point of pruning, there’s a beach volleyball court for you to take advantage of as well as a picnic ground where you can barbecue for lunch. A general admission pass for adults guarantees everything that’s mentioned above for around $28. Your kids however get in free!

 

4.  Seneca Park Zoo

If you’re in Rochester, here’s another day trip that isn’t all that very far from home. Seneca Park Zoo is a mainstay of the Rochester community that has been entertaining and educating for nearly 120 years. The Zoo is known for educating many Western New York communities on issues of environmental awareness, recycling and animal conservation. Seneca Park Zoo is home to mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish, and arachnids from over 90 species of animals. Since it is open year-round, the Seneca Park Zoo hosts all sorts of events for children and adults alike including Breakfast with Santa, the Halloween-themed “Zoo Boo” and the more adult-themed “ZooBrew.” A trip to the zoo HAS to be on your list of family day trips, right?

 

5.  Niagara Falls

Who can pass up the opportunity to marvel at the beauty of Mother Nature herself? The area that makes up Niagara Falls consists of three waterfalls that lay between the border of the United States and Canada. Recognizing its inherent beauty Niagara Falls was actually named New York’s first state park in 1885. The American side of Niagara Falls is less than a 2 hour drive from Rochester – which gives you plenty of time to ship the family out, enjoy the beauty and be home by dinner.

So there it is Rochester. We’ve given you a healthy start to plan your family trips this spring/summer. If you’ve been in the area a while, you already know that there are many sights to see in the area. If you’re new to Rochester? You can thank us later. Safe travels

Further Reading

6 Genius Apps You Need If You Drive

Genius Apps You've Need If You Drive

There are approximately 1.6 million (Yes, million) apps on the Android app store and approximately 1.5 million on the Apple app store. Unfortunately, it’s way too easy to waste time trying to filter out all the apps that either don’t work properly, don’t have good reviews or are just plain spam. How can you even begin to wade through the onslaught of useless apps to find the ones that can actually make a difference to your daily life?

Luckily for you, we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most useful apps for drivers that can help make your day a little easier and even save you some extra cash.

Most of these apps are free to download. However, we have included a few that either require you to pay for them on the app store, or that include a paid service (i.e. parking).

 

wazeWaze – [Free] 

Tired of sitting in traffic? Bored of having to “gamble” on which route to work will get you there quicker? Then Waze might be the app you’re looking for. 


At it’s core, Waze is a simple navigation app. However, it’s real benefit comes from the fact that it contains a huge community of drivers all over the country that provides real-time information on the state of the roads and traffic in your local area which serves to save you time and precious gas money.

This one is especially useful if you’re a daily commuter and want to stay ahead of the curve and avoid costly delays (or just don’t want to stay on the boss’ good side!).

It’s a bit like having a huge group of friends constantly looking out for you whilst you’re on the roads!

 

GasBuddyGasBuddy – [Free]

Ever wondered if you’re paying too much for fuel? Or if you drove a couple minutes down the road, could you save yourself a few dollars? Imagine if you could do that every time you fill up? The savings would soon add up!

If that sounds like you, then GasBuddy is the app for you. Gasbuddy is an app designed to help you price shop for fuel prices in your local area in real-time. With a huge community of users regularly updating prices for gas stations all over North America you can quickly find out which gas station in your area is currently offering the best price. Then all you need to do is drive there and fill ‘er up!

The best part about this app is the fact that regular people are updating the app to make the experience better for everyone, if you see a price difference on the app, then be sure to update it yourself so other people can make decisions accurately.

 

ParkWhizParkWhiz – [Free to download – charge for services]

We’ve all experienced it at one point or another. That feeling of driving round in a circle just waiting for a parking space to become available. Are that couple about to pull out? No, they’re just putting something in the trunk of their car…  What about that old man? Is he….no he’s just re-adjusting for the millionth time. What to do?!?

Don’t worry. Forget all that nonsense. ParkWhiz is an app that will let you pre-book a parking space. Yes, you heard it. Pre-book. Feel that relief? And it couldn’t be simpler.

All you do is simply input your destination into the app and you’ll see a list of available spaces in the area, how long they’re available for, on which dates and at what times. Then you simply book the space and show your ParkWhiz pass at the gate.

Change of plans? Don’t worry, ParkWhiz spaces can be cancelled up until the reservation time.

 

ParkingPandaParkingPanda – [Free to download – charge for services]

Similar to ParkWhiz, ParkingPanda focuses on helping you find a parking spot at different events.

ParkingPanda have partnered with sports leagues, stadiums and family attractions so you have one less thing to worry about on your day out.

Again, the process is simple. Type in your destination, find a spot and book it. Done. ParkingPanda even uses a referral program so you can earn free parking by sharing the app with your friends and family.

 

Find my CarFind My Car – [Free]

Once you’ve parked your car and been for a nice lunch with those friends you haven’t seen in forever, you’ve got to find your car again…

Easier said than done if you’re in a new city and simply don’t know your way around. There is a solution, however.


Find My Car is a simple app that lets you store the location of your car when you park. Then when you want to find it again, it will give you directions back to where you parked using GPS location services.

No more wandering aimlessly around the wrong car park on the other side of town, because you “Could’ve sworn this is where I parked…”.

 

TripAlyizerTripAlyizer – [$5.99]

TripAlyizer is an app that gives you a score based on your driving habits. It’s designed to help make you aware of how you drive and what you can do to drive better and more economically so that you can save money on future trips.

It covers lots of different aspects such as speed, distance, miles per gallon. It can even help you work out your CO2 emissions. The app will update you via audio every 4 minutes so that you can adjust your driving habits on-the-go.

As an added bonus, you can also track the amount of fuel you pump at the station and work out how much you’re spending on a weekly or monthly basis. Wish you knew how much your truck really costs to run? Now you can.
Hopefully some of these apps will be useful for you. We suggest that you give them a try and see if they can make a difference to your driving life. You never know, you might wonder how you and your vehicle ever managed without them!

 

6 Genius Apps You Need If You Drive

13 Car Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew about Years Ago

13 Car Hacks You'll Wish You Knew about Years Ago

Sharing “life hacks” on social media sites such as Pinterest and Twitter has become quite popular over the past few years. This is no surprise–who doesn’t like learning cool, unique ways to save time and money, or even just do things differently? It stands to reason that those of us who love our cars will also enjoy hearing about car hacks that make our lives as automobile owners easier.

We’ve scoured the internet and put together a list of simple but genius hacks for your car. Some may surprise you; others will make you smack your forehead and wonder how you never thought of them. The list is separated into a few different categories, from cleaning hacks to hacks designed specifically for the winter months. Read through our tips, learn a few things, and thank us later.

CLEANING HACKS

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Image credit: The Krazy Coupon Lady

Coffee filters are great for dusting your interior because they are made of very fine paper particles, which makes them slightly abrasive. They are also a bit sturdier than paper towels, and they’re cheap. Use them with your favorite cleaning solution, or try a little bit of olive oil or vegetable oil, which will give a beautiful shine to leather seats and your dashboard.

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Image credit: Sarah Lipoff via Popsugar

It turns out the same qualities that make toothpaste great for removing plaque from your teeth also make it great for removing dirt that clouds up your headlights. Apply a small amount to a rag and buff the headlight in a circular motion until no stickiness or residue remains. When you’re done, your headlights will be clear and shine like new.

Run your floor mats through the washing machine. Shutterstock image:

Your floor mats get dirtier faster than any other part of your car’s interior–especially during the winter months–and they’re also one of the more difficult parts to thoroughly clean. Instead of scrubbing them with carpet cleaner and a stiff brush, try running them through your clothes washer. Shake off any loose dirt and apply some commercial stain remover to any problem areas, and then toss them in the washer. If you’re lucky, they’ll come out totally clean; if not, then it will at least be that much easier to scrub out the remaining stains by hand.

ORGANIZATION HACKS

Hang a shoe organizer over the back of your seat.

Image credit: Pinlavie

You’ll want to use a hanging fabric organizer that you can secure below the headrest with strong twine or zip ties. This creates a handy place to store the things you have sitting around in your car–maps, pamphlets, electronic devices or emergency items. You’ll get even more use out of this idea if you have young kids for whom you keep toys, books and snacks in your vehicle.

Keep spare change in a pill bottle.

Image credit: Emily Co via Popsugar

If you need a convenient container for storing loose change, try recycling a prescription drug bottle for the purpose. The typical tall-and-thin size is especially well-suited for quarters. Keep it in your glove compartment or your center console for easy access.

MISCELLANEOUS HACKS

Thread a rubber band through your A/C vent to create a makeshift cellphone holder.

Image credit: Reddit user juririm via Imgur

Do you have trouble driving and using a navigation app on your phone at the same time? Instead of buying a dashboard mount, try running a rubber band through one of your A/C vents and using it to hold your cellphone. Say hello to hands-free navigation.

Use your seat warmer to keep food warm.

If you have seat warmers in your vehicle, you can use them to your advantage when you get carry-out from your favorite restaurant. Place the food in your passenger seat and turn on the warmer. Now there’s no need to hurry home before your food gets cold.

Use an old candle as an air freshener.

Image credit: The Krazy Coupon Lady

If you have leftover wax in a small glass candle holder (or a brand-new candle), place it in one of your cup holders. The wax will release a faint odor to freshen up your interior, especially on hot days.

Use WD-40 and Goo Gone to remove bumper stickers.

Do you have old bumper stickers on your car that you want to get rid of? Spray some WD-40 or another aerosol lubricant along the top edge of the sticker and let the solution sit for several seconds. This should make the sticker much easier to remove. If any adhesive remains, use a little Goo Gone or another adhesive remover.

Check your tire tread depth with a penny.

Image credit: wikiHow

Here’s an easy way to check if your tires have enough tread: hold a penny between your fingers, with your fingers on Lincoln’s body, and insert the opposite side into the tread of your tire. If the raised part of the tire obscures any part of Lincoln’s head, then your tread is deep enough. Be sure to check multiple points on all four tires to determine whether or not they are wearing evenly.

WINTER HACKS

Thaw a frozen lock with hand sanitizer.

Image credit: Yellowpages

If the locks on your car doors freeze during an exceptionally cold night, apply a little hand sanitizer to your key and then insert it into the lock. The alcohol in the hand sanitizer will melt the ice because alcohol has a lower freezing point than water. Alternatively, you can briefly heat your car key with a lighter before putting it in the lock.

Use shaving cream to prevent your windows from fogging.

Image credit: Jessica Probus via Buzzfeed

When it’s cold outside, airborne water molecules inside your car sometimes condense on the cold windows, causing them fog up. To prevent this, spray a little bit of shaving cream onto a rag and apply it to the inside of your windows, then wipe them clean. The chemicals in the shaving cream create a protective film that prevents the fogging effect.

Use cooking spray to keep your doors from freezing shut.

Image credit: Jessica Probus via Buzzfeed

A frozen lock is bad; a door frozen shut can be worse. Your doors can freeze closed when water collects on the rubber seals around your doors and then freezes. Before the temperature drops, spray some non-stick cooking spray all along the weatherstrip and rub it in with a rag. The spray will repel water, thereby preventing it from freezing on the door seals.

We’re just scratching the surface with this list, so don’t stop here in your quest for car-hacking supremacy. There are tons of cool ideas on Pinterest, and maybe you can even use your imagination to put a unique twist on someone else’s idea. The possibilities are endless; you just need to look at the familiar from a new perspective.

And don’t forget to share your newfound knowledge with your friends, family and coworkers! Everyone appreciates little tips for saving time and money, and if you found this list useful, then they will, too.

13 Car Hacks You'll Wish You Knew about Years Ago

How to Negotiate Better Auto Insurance

How to Negotiate Better Auto Insurance

The end of the month is always a nice kick-in-the-pants reminder of exactly what bills you are paying and how much you are paying for them. Some of these payments might lead you to label them as unnecessary and inevitably drop them altogether. If you’re a driver however, auto insurance should never be one of these expendable payments. And while car insurance can become one of our more expensive routine payments, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Here are some tips on how to better ensure that you’re not paying more for auto insurance than you need to.

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The type of car insurance that you need depends on a couple of factors. Frist off, you need to figure out what the minimum requirements are in your state. Most states in the US require drivers to have a minimum amount of liability insurance in case they damage another vehicle. Another factor to consider is how much your vehicle is worth. If your car isn’t worth all that much, it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to have full coverage. If your car is somewhat of a lemon, you might want to opt for collision coverage over comprehensive coverage.   

Compare insurance rates

A big part of negotiating a better rate comes down to shopping around. That means if you want to save a decent amount of money month to month then you’re gonna want to compare rates from different insurance companies. Auto insurance rates should be readily available online, but you may want to talk to an insurance representative over the phone to get some of the rates and deals that aren’t present on the company’s website.

Get to the actual negotiating

After you’ve done some price comparing and other research, you should be ready to talk through some actual negotiating. Before you talk to a representative, make sure you have a list of questions prepared to ask. A big part of the negotiating process will be mentioning the price comparisons you noted between insurance companies. The insurance company wants your business, so they will listen to what you have to say and potentially lower the rate based on what you present them.  

Drop optional coverages

When you are talking to the insurance representative you should get the full story on what their plans cover. Odds are you won’t need the complete coverage that they offer and can also pick and choose some of the coverage your vehicle gets under their plan. A couple of examples of coverage that may not be completely necessary include: roadside assistance, full-glass replacement or rental car use. While these are important, you might not need them based on your driving record. A better use of that money might be by putting into savings on the off chance that you do need one of those services.    

Negotiate the deductible

When you decide on an insurance provider it’s time to decide on a particular plan. Part of this includes talking through your deductible – you could save a lot of money on the back end depending on the deductible you choose. By setting a higher deductible you can lower your comprehensive coverage anywhere from 15 to 30 percent, depending. Before you make any of these decision however, you should make sure you have enough money set aside to pay said deductible.

Know what discounts are available

Another essential part of the negotiating process is knowing what discounts are available to you. There are all sorts of discounts based on where you work, your grades (if you’re in school), your age and even your travel habits. Believe it or not, some insurance companies will take into account how often you use public transit – driving less miles puts them less at risk after all.

Don’t let your policy lapse

After all of the legwork you did finding the perfect insurance policy for your car for the perfect price, don’t let it slip away. If you let your insurance policy lapse you are guaranteeing a higher premium on your next auto insurance purchase. That particular paper trail will follow you and future potential insurance providers will note the noticeable lack of responsibility on your part. Stay on top of it!

Drive Safely

This may be the easiest piece of advice to give but the hardest one to actually put into practice. Besides all of the negotiating, the discount finding and the price comparing, your driving record is the most important thing when you are looking for auto insurance. Car accidents and multiple speeding infractions lead to raises in premiums. To be frank: being a safe driver saves the insurance company money, which in turn saves you money. If you are a responsible driver, you will be rewarded for it.

So there you have it folks! Being completely without auto insurance would be completely unwise, but that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank for it. If you are aware of your driving history and personal needs, it’s not hard at all to find an auto insurance plan that is both affordable and accommodating. Go forth and be bold, insurance shoppers!


Further Reading

  1. How To Negotiate A Better Rate On Auto Insurance
  2. How To Negotiate A Better Rate On Auto Insurance
  3. How to negotiate lower car insurance
  4. Money Saving Phone Calls: How to Optimize Your Car Insurance Rate
  5. Negotiating Cheaper Car Insurance Rates – Auto Insurance Quotes Are A Powerful Tool!
  6. How to Reduce the Cost of Auto Insurance

 

How to Negotiate Better Auto Insurance