See our expert advice on how to get the most from your car!
When your teenager finally gets behind the wheel of a car, their main concern is driving without the supervision of an adult. As a parent, your main concern is their safety on the road. It is important for your teen to know that with the freedom of driving also comes significant responsibility. Here are some basic driving tips that parents and new drivers should keep in mind.
Keep Your Hands on the Wheel
Many drivers, new and old, have trouble following this simple suggestion. Before you even leave the driveway, check and adjust your mirrors, seat, and anything else you may have to before taking off. Doing these steps before you even leave the driveway will prevent you from having to make these adjustments while driving, which can easily take your eyes off of the road and create a dangerous situation.
Turn Your Cell Phone Off
Like oil and water, texting and driving do not mix. Studies have shown that driving while trying to send out a text message is just as dangerous as driving drunk. Do everyone a favor and turn your phone off or on silent. Turning it off or putting it in silent will help you to avoid distractions from incoming calls or messages. If you should need to use your phone in an emergency situation, pull over first. Not only is talking on the phone while driving distracting, in some states, it is illegal and a ticketable offense.Wear Your Seat belt
Wearing a seat belt has been scientifically proven to help prevent injury in an accident. Plus, not wearing your seat belt is a ticketable offense in 49 states. Save yourself the hassle and just wear your seat belt- it could save your life.Obey the Speed Limit
Nowadays, it seems like everyone is in a hurry. It’s no wonder that speeding is a major cause of traffic crashes. Plus, more drivers are convicted of speeding than any other offense. Always obey the posted speed limit and slow down in rain, fog, snow and ice.Stay in Your Lane
Drifting into the other lane can cause several problems. You could run into another car, cause an accident by cutting another person off, or even backup traffic. Make sure you pay close attention to what lane you are driving in and cars in other lanes to avoid these issues. Also, be sure to check your blind spots before you switch lanes.
Give Yourself Enough Time
Plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to arrive to your destination safely. You’ll be safe and save money on traffic tickets and car insurance.Be Prepared
You should always be prepared for a roadside emergency. Have a well stocked emergency kit in your car at all times. You should also make sure that you have an inflated spare tire and jack, and know how to safely change a flat.
It's that time again! The children of our community are on their way back to school, which means we have to be extra cautious on the roads in the mornings and afternoons.To help you prepare for the season ahead, we have a few driving and general tips to make the first days of school run smoothly. Here’s to an A+ in Back to School Readiness!
Driving Tip #1: Get an Early Start
If you are rushed in the morning, you may want to leave a few minutes early, especially if you pass through a school zone. Or you may want to find an alternate route to avoid traffic congestion.
Driving Tip #2: Take a Second Look
Look twice before backing out of driveways and parking spaces, and go slowly.
Driving Tip #3: Watch for “School Zone” signs
Watch for signs indicating schools zones and obey posted speed limits.
Driving Tip #4: No Texting or Talking in the School Zone
Don't talk on the phone or text while driving.
Driving Tip #5: Maintain a Safe Distance from School Buses
Keep your distance behind school buses, and never pass a bus when it's loading or unloading.
Driving Tip #6: Watch for Children at Intersections
Take an extra moment to look for children at intersections, crosswalks and bus stops.
Driving Tip #7: No Tailgating!
In heavy traffic, maintain a safe distance - at least three seconds - behind other cars.
The following are general tips to make sure that both you and your children are prepared for a successful school year.
Tip #1: Re-establish School Year Routines
Use the last few weeks of summer to get used to the school-year schedule. Re-establish bed times and practice getting up and getting dressed at the same time each day. Start eating meals on a “school day” schedule as well. If possible, plan an early morning trip or two to get the kids accustomed to getting out of the door in a hurry.
Tip #2: Nurture Independence
Your child will need to manage a lot of things on her own while in school, so prepare her by giving her age-appropriate responsibilities. These can include organizing school materials, bringing home homework, etc. A younger child can practice tying his own shoes or writing his name.
Tip #3: Create a Launch Pad
Designate a space in your home where backpacks and lunchboxes are kept so that they can easily be located. A list of things to take to school each day can be posted in the same location.
Tip #4: Set Up a Time and Place for Homework
Establish a time and place for studying at home and make yourself available to monitor your child’s progress, as your schedule allows.
Tip #5: After-School Plans
Since most children finish school before their parents get off of work, determine where they will spend the hours immediately following school.
Tip #6: Make a Sick-Day Game Plan
Before the school year begins, line up a trusted babysitter, family member or parental group to assist when your child gets sick. You may have to sign forms ahead of time listing the people who have permission to pick up your child.
Tip #7: Attend Orientations to Meet and Greet
Attend the orientation and information sessions that your children’s school hosts at the beginning of the year. This is a prime opportunity to meet the teachers, administrators and front desk personnel that are responsible for your child(ren) during the day.
Tip #8: Talk to the Teachers
When you talk to your child’s teachers, ask about their approach to homework: Is it given as a means of practicing skills or will the assignments be factored into the child’s grade? Ask for a schedule of tests and major tasks so that you can help your son or daughter to manage his or her time.
Tip #9: Make it a Family Affair
Involve your child in preparing for his success in school. Work together to create a routine chart or schedule: After school, will she engage in recreational activities or homework first? The more input your child has in the planning process, the more likely he is to succeed.
Tip #10: Create Calendar Central
Create a centralized space in your home for all family calendars and schedules. This is a great way to coordinate school events, after school programs, volunteer work, medical appointments and more.
Tip #11: Plan Before You Shop
Take a day and assess each child’s clothing needs before shopping for new uniforms or outfits. Have a super laundry day (or two) to make sure that everything is clean and ready to go. If there are items that can be recycle from an older child to a younger child, do that as well. As for school supplies, make sure that you have an up-to-date list from the school and shop early!
Tip #12: Gather Your Papers
Be sure to have your immunization and medical records in a convenient location. Also keep a copy of your child’s birth certificate handy, just in case it’s needed for school registration.
Tip #13: Make a Practice Run
Before school begins, make a practice run to get kids ready and out the door on time. If they are walking to school, be sure they know the the route that they need to take. If they are a part of a car-pool, be sure to leave enough time to account for rush-hour traffic. If they will be riding a bus, make sure they know the location of the bus stop and when it is scheduled to pick them up.
Tip #14: Spiff Up Household Systems
The laid-back days of summer are a thing of the past, so it’s time to get better organized in general. Work on discovering ways to clean fast, get healthy meals on the table in record time, and stay on top of the paper overload that usually occurs when children start bringing assignments home. A little preparation time now will save you lots of time later.
Here’s to an awesome school year, both on the road and at home!
With summer coming to a close and cool weather approaching, now is the time to think about getting your vehicles prepared for winter. While we don't see a lot of snow in the Savannah, GA area, it can still get down right chilly. The colder weather is hard on your engine and your vehicle in general. Vaden Automotive Group wants to make sure that your vehicle is prepared for the up coming winter. Here are a few items that should be checked when getting your car ready for winter.
In order for your vehicle to start properly in colder weather, your motor needs to be fully charged. When looking over the condition of your battery, make sure that your battery post are cleaned and have it tested. Also check the charging system and belts to make sure they are all working properly.
Checking your ignition system is just as important as having your battery checked. The last thing you want to to go to work on a cold morning and not have your vehicle start. Be sure to check the ignition wires, spark plugs, and the distributor cap.
Your lights are something that should be checked year round, but it gets darker sooner during the winter months. Plus there’s the snow that reduces visibility as well. So to endure that you can see properly, have all your lights checked.
While it may snow every 10 years in the Low Country and Coastal Empire, it is important that your brakes work properly. Check your brakes to ensure even braking. Pulling, change in pedal feel, or unusual squealing or grinding may mean they need repair.
When the weather turns cold it begins to rain or snow. You will want to make sure that your wipers are working correctly. Rain and snow will restrict visibility. Check the wipers to make sure that no streaking occurs.
To prevent a sudden breakdown in the cooler months, be sure to check your radiator hoses and drive belts for cracks and leaks. Plus, make sure the radiator cap, water pump and thermostat work properly. Also, test the strength and level of the coolant/anti-freeze. To keep yourself toasty warm in the vehicle, you will need to make sure that the heater and defroster work properly.
Checking your tires may be the most important step to getting your vehicle ready for winter. The tire pressure should be checked, this includes the spare tire. Properly inflated tires will give you best traction on winter roads and increase fuel efficiency. Plus, the tire should be checked for the proper amount of tread and any possible damage to the tire.
Since the dawn of the gas powered vehicle, there have been myths about fueling your vehicle. They range from what type of fuel to how much gas to put in your vehicle. With gas prices continually on the rise, why would you want to spend more money than you have to? The average price for regular gas in the Savannah, GA area is $3.30 a gallon while high octane fuel, or premium gas, is $3.77 a gallon.
So, what about the myths? Is there any truth to them or are the just that, myths? Vaden Automotive Group in Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas care about informing our community on what is the truth and what is hearsay. Following is a list, put together by Cars.com, of their favorite fuel myths and the truth behind them.
Putting premium gas in your vehicle is not going to make your vehicle perform better. There are are instances where you should consider using premium in your car, but nowadays, most vehicles can adjust the engine’s performance in a majority of conditions. Some people may report a pinging or knocking sound if they do not use premium. Typically, modern knock sensors will detect a pinging noise before you hear it. Basically, if your vehicle’s manufacturer does not recommend the use of high octane fuel, then you’re safe saving some money by using regular gas.
The reasoning behind this myth is that when the fuel is cooler it is denser and a denser fuel will pack more energy in the same amount of space. While density may change with the temperature, the fuel is stored in underground tanks that maintain a temperature of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. So, no matter the weather outside, the fuel temperature will remain the same.
We all know people who are guilty of this one. While you may feel like you are getting more gas, you may not be. The extra fuel may just be rerouted into the station’s storage tanks. Also, you may potentially harm your vehicle’s evaporative control system. The system is designed to re-burn vapors, not liquid gasoline. If you overfill your tank, these vapors will get pushed out of your gas tank and can cause damage.
This is a new one and lives up to it’s title as a myth. Gas dispensers use volumetric measures that gauge whether they are pumping fuel slow or fast. It is not an on/off nozzle that can only tell when the fuel is being pumped out at maximum speed. So whether or not you press the nozzle half way, it can still measure how much fuel is being pumped and charge you accordingly.
This one may have some truth to it. Some automakers claim that by using regular gas, you can do damage to your vehicle’s engine. This is why you should always read your owner’s manual. It may seem daunting, but there is some really useful information in there. Will you void your warranty if you use regular gas one time? No. Many automakers that require a higher octane fuel acknowledge that regular fuel can be used in an emergency, but premium fuel should be used on a regular basis.
The registration, title, and insurance papers are essential to your vehicle. But, so are the warranty documents. If a mechanical breakdown were to happen while you were on the road or away from your home, you will may need you factory warranty or extended warranty documents along with your maintenance records in order to obtain repairs that may be needed. Also, the warranty documentation will have the number to roadside assistance if needed.
If you have more than one vehicle and you decided to leave one at home, then your vehicle needs to stored correctly. Usually, an enclosed garage would be the first option. But if you do not have one, it is best to park your vehicle away from trees and low lying areas. Most damage from a hurricane is caused by wind and flooding. So, if a garage is not an option, find the highest point in your yard, that is away from trees and park your vehicle there.
Hurricane season is a time to prepare. When preparing for an upcoming storm and/or for evacuation don’t forget about your vehicle. Make sure that it has all it is up to date on maintenance, that you have all documentation regarding your vehicle, and if it is staying behind, make sure that it is stored correctly. Doing this can give you one less thing to worry about during a very stressful time.
When it is time to change your brake pads, you don’t necessarily have to take the vehicle into the shop. A brake pad replacement is something that you can do yourself. While it may seem a little daunting, it is actually quite easy. Brake pads are easily accessible aren’t a hassle to change. They are the perfect maintenance item for a DIYer to tackle.
When brake rotors are damaged by worn brake pads or road debris, they will either need to be turned or replaced. Sometimes turning rotors will be sufficient enough smooth out the grooves within the brake rotors. If the rotors need turning, then the vehicle will have to be taken to a repair shop to have a mechanic turn the rotors. But, if they need changing, then it is a task that you could do yourself. There are no special tools that are needed and as long as you have a jack, they are easily accessible.
By changing the brake pad and rotors yourself, not only can you save tons of money, but you can also help to maintain the validity of your factory warranty and extended auto warranty if applicable. If something within the braking system fails due to the lack of maintenance of your brake pads and brake rotors, then your warranty may not cover the cost of repairs. So, if you are up for the task, then tackle the brake pads and brake rotors and maintain your Do it Yourself (DIY) status.
Changing your air filter only takes five minutes and will keep dirt out of your engine and improve fuel economy. Plus, it can save you $60 in labor costs. All you will need is an air filter, which you can pick up at any parts store, and a screwdriver. To find out how often to change your air filter, refer to your owners manual. If you live in an area with lots of dust, you will need to change your air filter more often.
While it may not cost much for a mechanic to change a bulb or fuse, many shops markup the price for the part. Plus, you have to drive to the garage and wait around. Instead, just pick up the bulbs and fuses from you local automotive parts store and look at refer to your owners manual.
Before you begin changing any bulb, review the instructions and take a look at the access point first. If it looks a little too tight, then take your car to the pros and let them change the headlight or taillight bulb for you. On the other hand, the fuse compartment in easy to reach. You may have to look at the electrical chart in your owner’s manual in order to find the right fuse.
An oil change is one of the more advanced item on this list, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Anyone with a little mechanical knowledge and the right tools can change their own oil. Plus, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars a year by doing it yourself. All you need is: