Five Easy Auto Fixes

161338480.161338481-001_.jpg
Even with the advanced technology and computerized automotive systems that most vehicles come equipped with, there are still simple maintenance tasks that you can do that will save you time and money.

This list of DIY car maintenance projects requires few tools and no experience. If you've hung a picture or pounded a nail, you can tackle any one of them. By doing these jobs yourself, not only save money, but there are added benefits. And who knows, you just might like the hands-on experience enough that you'll move on to other DIY projects.

Check Your Tire Pressure and Properly Inflate Your Tires

The average consumer doesn’t realize the importance of properly inflated tires. If your tires are under-inflated, it can decrease your fuel economy, costing you hundreds of dollars. Take 15 minutes, once a month and make sure your tires are properly inflated. All you need is a tire pressure gauge and an air pump. If you don’t have an air pump, you can usually find one at a gas station.

Reducing fuel cost should not be the only reason you keep your tires properly inflated. Doing so can improve safety by improving handling during emergency braking and cornering, prolong tire life.

Tire Rotation

Tires tend to wear differently depending upon where they are on the vehicle. Front tires often wear faster than rear tires because braking and cornering is more demanding on them. Plus, you can save approximately $120 a year and all you need is an jack stand, tire iron, car jack, and about an hour of your time.

When rotating your tires, be sure to follow the rotation pattern laid out in your owners manual. Also, check for defects and premature wear. You may be able to spot a foreign object in your tire that is causing a leak.

Change Your Air Filter

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.

Replace Bulbs and Fuses

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.

Engine Oil and Filter Change

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:

  • A Car jack
  • Oil pan for Catching the Old Oil
  • Socket Wrench
  • Oil-filter Wrench
  • Recycling Bottles for the Oil
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Plenty of Rags
  • Engine Oil
  • Oil Filter

 


More Tips:

mp900401427-001.jpg
Preparing Your Car for Hurricane Season
  • Maintenance
  • Vehicle Documents
  • Registration
  • Insurance papers
  • Extended Warranty contract, if applicable

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.

See our expert tips!

 

bts-vaden-cares-.jpg
Road Safety for Back to School and More Back to School Tips

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 aschool 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!






 
See our expert tips!

 

180563257.180563275-001_.jpg
Lights, Wipers and Filters
There are many people out there that consider themselves DIYers (Do it Your Self). They would rather do things themselves than pay someone else to do it. Vehicle maintenance is one of those tasks that many of us try to do ourselves. While there are some things that should be left to the professionals, there are certain maintenance items that any DIYer can do.

Windshield Wiper Blades Replacement

Windshield wiper blades and wiper blade inserts are essential to visibility when it is raining. If the wiper blades or inserts don't function properly, they won't remove the water, they can cause streaking, and they can also damage your windshield. Replacing the windshield wiper blade or insert is a simple task to perform. Plus, wiper blades can be found at any automotive store for fairly inexpensive.

Filter Change

There are several filters located on a vehicle. Some, like the fuel filter, may need to be changed by a trained mechanic, but there are others, like the air filter and in-cabin filter, that you can change yourself. The air filter is easily accessible and can be found at most automotive stores. The in-cabin filter can be easily accessible, depending upon the manufacturer of the vehicle. Even if they are little harder to get to, a DIYer can still gain access it to change it. Now, the air filter and the in-cabin filter should be changed at regular intervals. To find out when the filters should be changed, refer to your owner's manual.

Light Replacements

There are several types of lights on a vehicle. The ones that we worry about the most are the headlights, taillights, and brake lights. When one of these goes out, not only could you get a ticket, it could also be dangerous. If a headlight goes out, then it could reduce your visibility. If a tail light goes out, then it could make you less visible to another vehicle. On most vehicles changing a light bulb is a very simple task, but on others it is not so easy. Newer vehicles come with HID lights and once those fail to work properly, then you will need to take it to a repair shop to have the lights replaced.

While these maintenance items may seem simple and within the reach of a DIYer,  they are very important in keeping your vehicle operating properly. Also, if the air filter and in-cabin filter are not changed when recommended, then is could affect the validity of your factory warranty or extended warranty, if applicable.
 
See our expert tips!

 

Back to Tips and Tricks