The winter season is typically one of the busiest times of the year for travelers. While millions prepare to hit the road to visit family and see sights they may never have seen before, there’s one essential travel tip that cannot be overlooked: the proper tires. Learn the best time to install your winter tires and how to keep them in safe condition with these guidelines.
6 Steps to Safer Winter Driving
(Family Features) The winter season is typically one of the busiest times of the year for travelers. While millions prepare to hit the road to visit family and see sights they may never have seen before, there’s one essential travel tip that cannot be overlooked: the proper tires.
Winter tires are an essential safety feature for drivers and deliver as much as a 25-50 percent increase in traction over all-season tires, which could be the margin you need to brake in time to avoid trouble.
Winter tire tread design uses thousands of extra traction edges for added grip, and the softer rubber of the tire surface allows the tires to stay pliable in colder temperatures to maintain contact with the road. In addition, winter tires feature aggressive groove patterns for more confident grip on ice, slush and snow.
Learn the best time to install your winter tires and how to keep them in safe condition with these guidelines from the experts at Discount Tire:
Plan ahead. A good rule of thumb: if you can see your breath, you should think about winter tires for all four wheels, even if your area isn’t often affected by ice or snow. When the temperature drops to 45 F and below, all-season tires can start to lose traction and grip.
Keep tabs on pressure. Check your tire pressure at least once a month. For every 10-degree drop in temperature, your tires lose one pound of pressure (PSI). Use a tire pressure gauge to get the proper reading or stop by a tire store, such as your local Discount Tire, for a free air check.
Check your tread with the penny test. Tread depth determines a vehicle’s safe stopping distance. To check your tread depth, stick a penny upside-down in a tread groove. It’s time to replace your tires if Lincoln’s head is visible.
Know the limitations of all-wheel drive. Drivers often mistake all-wheel drive as sufficient for driving in sleet or snow. In reality, all-wheel drive only helps you start from a stop. It doesn’t function in the stopping or steering of a vehicle.
Designate a winter set of wheels, too. Having a set of wheels specifically for your set of winter tires can save you money in the long run. A second set of wheels eliminates the cost of changeover and spares nicer wheels from the wear and tear of ice, slush, snow and salt.
Extend your winter tires’ use. Rotate your tires at least every 6,000 miles, or earlier if irregular or uneven wear develops. Change out your winter tires around tax season. This can help avoid wearing out the rubber in hot months and increase the tires’ lifespans.
As you prepare for winter travel season, visit discounttire.com to find a tire store near you, or search for winter tires specific to your vehicle’s make and model.SOURCE:
Purchasing a new vehicle, while exciting, can be a burden for many shoppers. A variety of options and considerations for each make and model can turn the decision-making process into a stressful situation. These vehicle options offer a multitude of benefits, each with its own strengths, for car buyers shopping in the new year.
Cars to Consider for 2019
(Family Features) Purchasing a new vehicle, while exciting, can be a burden for many shoppers. A variety of options and considerations for each make and model can turn the decision-making process into a stressful situation.
To help make that part of the car-buying process a little less difficult, consider these podium finalists for Motor Trend’s Car of the Year, Truck of the Year and SUV of the Year. Each finalist is evaluated using six criteria: safety, efficiency, value, advancement in design, engineering excellence and performance of intended function.
These podium finalists offer a multitude of benefits, each with its own strengths, for car buyers shopping in the new year. Learn more about 2019 cars to consider at motortrendawards.com.
Sporty and Stylish – For a fun yet serious sedan, the Genesis G70 features punchy powertrains that support an agile, sporty chassis wrapped in classy exterior styling with strong graphics and a well-appointed interior. As the first sports sedan from Hyundai’s luxury line, this sleek model packs power.
Excellent Efficiency – Cruise the roads with 50 miles-per-gallon efficiency in the Honda Insight, a smartly packaged hybrid featuring thoughtful style and storage solutions, plus seamless and silent adaptive cruise control performance. With lane-keeping assist that rates among the industry’s best, its smooth ride competes with luxury vehicles while combining efficiency and style.
A Craving for Variety – If deciding between vehicle models is causing fits, consider these options from Volvo. For a fresh, modern interior with comfortable seating, the S60 sedan and V60 wagon deliver all-round performance with base 2.0-liter turbos, meaning you don’t have to pay extra for power. Or, for stylish appeal with a familiar turbo-four engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, the XC40 compact crossover provides quick acceleration and spirited steering response.
Electric Excitement – Power and torque don’t go by the wayside with Jaguar’s I-Pace, the maker’s first electric car and first all-electric SUV which boasts about 200 miles of real-world battery range. Add the adjustable ride-height for added off-road capability and one of the most original automotive designs in years, and this set of wheels can have you riding in unique style.
Rethinking an Iconic Ride – Configured to equally suit the ambitions of the off-roading newbie and expert alike, 2019’s thoughtful, thorough rework of the Jeep Wrangler features significant tech updates for the American original.
Time for a Truck – Featuring a new design, cylinder deactivation and an automatic trailer light test, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado offers more versions, more space and more options. Rear bumper corner steps and three cargo hooks at each bed corner deliver functionality, while a smooth High Country 10-speed automatic transmission makes for a smoother ride for truck buyers.
Go Ahead and Haul – If you’re in the market for a workhorse truck combined with plush luxury and tech-forward thinking, the GMC Sierra fits as a versatile cargo-hauler. This truck differentiates itself with the MultiPro tailgate, adaptive ride control and a carbon-fiber bed. The powerful drive of a 6.2-liter engine combined with a 10-speed transmission and overall body control while towing makes this truck a key asset for long-distance hauls.
Work or Play – The best-in-class styling of the Ram 1500 – sophisticated and well-executed without going over the top – packs an interior outfitted with the tools needed for activities ranging from fun to function. A 48-volt mild hybrid system saves fuel while coil-spring dampers and an optional air suspension provide a luxury car-like ride.SOURCE:
If you are one of the millions of Americans looking to buy a car, here are the five things you need to know before you step foot on a dealer’s lot.
(BPT) - Car buying - It's crucial to know how to navigate what can be an overwhelming and exhausting process.
“USAA helps members find, finance and insure vehicles that are right for their personal needs and financial goals,” says Heather Pollard, vice president of Auto Experience at USAA. “We want to avoid you ever having to regret your purchase decision, or worse, lead to financial hardships where you can no longer afford to keep your vehicle.”
If you are one of the millions of Americans looking to buy a car, here are the five things you need to know before you step foot on a dealer’s lot.
Know what you can afford.
The first and most important question to answer before launching into the car-buying process is “how much can I afford?” Figuring this out will help you determine whether you are in the market for a new or used vehicle. A good starting point is to use 15-18 percent of your take-home pay as a gauge for your total vehicle budget including the loan, insurance, gas and maintenance.
Next decision, how will you pay for it? There are numerous ways to manage the financial burden for purchasing a new car, including taking out a loan. If you have decided to go the loan route, determine how much you can afford in monthly payments. Banks or another financial institution might offer lower interest rates than a car dealer. Aim to pay off the loan within three to five years.
“Get pre-approved for an auto loan amount and interest rate so you know where you stand before you begin shopping,” says Renée Horne, vice president of Consumer Lending at USAA Bank. “Look for low loan rates and flexible terms to fit your budget needs versus being steered by dealers into a decision solely based on monthly payment, which often results in paying more in interest for the overall loan term.”
Another idea is to sell or trade in your new graduate’s current vehicle. If you plan to do this, factor in the cash value of that car and then add your planned down payment, typically 15-20 percent. You can use online tools such as USAA’s Auto Loan Calculator to get an estimate of what the end price tag will be.
Determine the total cost of ownership.
It is important to understand the total cost of ownership before surprising your graduate with the car of their dreams. Everything from gas to auto insurance will be an extra expense added on to the monthly cost for a new or used car and something everyone in the family needs to consider.
When receiving an auto insurance quote, note that collision and comprehensive coverage generally cost less for used cars. If purchasing an older car, consider getting pricing for Extended Vehicle Protection coverage before you go to the dealer.
Keep an open mind.
Once you have established what you can afford and the total cost of ownership, it is time to discover what features and styles you or your teen want in a car. Prioritize a list of the features you would like to see. For the teen in your life, safety is usually at the top. Next, assess how much they will be using this car and what for. Are they commuting to school or a job? Remember to keep an open mind and be flexible — stay open to two or three models that would meet your teen driver’s needs and your or their budget.
Do your research.
Everyone can agree that dealerships can be overwhelming and intimidating. Research your market first. Try the USAA Car Buying Service to see what’s out there and find vehicles that come with exclusive member discounts.
If you are looking into the used car market, always run a background check. You can get a vehicle history report from Carfax, which can help verify ownership history, mileage and accident history. Also, make sure the used vehicle has never been salvaged by entering the vehicle identification number into the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s system.
Go for a test drive.
After picking out a few of your top favorites, it is time to see how the car operates on the real road. Hit the highway to properly gauge a car’s performance, and inspect the car for mileage, tread, etc. If possible, run the car by a trusted mechanic for an under-the-hood inspection to forecast longevity and maintenance needs. Remember, factory warranties usually transfer depending on the mileage.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 20,000 people require medical attention every year as a result of crashes involving trailers towed by passenger vehicles. These recreational outings don’t need to go sideways — nor does whatever you may be towing. Here’s a safety checklist to ensure you are towing the right way.
(BPT) - The onset of warmer weather means taking to the outdoors, be it boating, camping or simply tackling big jobs in the backyard. The result is a heavy increase in traffic on the roads — and often tagging along with the extra vehicles are the trailers, boats and campers that can put motorists at risk.
In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 20,000 people require medical attention every year as a result of crashes involving trailers towed by passenger vehicles.
These recreational outings don’t need to go sideways — nor does whatever you may be towing. Here’s a safety checklist to ensure you are towing the right way:
Get hitched: A starting point to towing is knowing the pulling capacity of your vehicle, as too much weight can cause a load of problems, no matter how much power your engine has.
When it comes to connecting a trailer to the towing vehicle, a critical component, of course, is the coupler — the part of the hitch system that is attached to the trailer. The coupler needs to be secured, tight and locked.
On the towing vehicle, avoid using a ball mount and hitch that is rusted, cracked, corroded or poorly designed — anything that can compromise its integrity. A safe answer is applying a new hitch, like the Ultra-Tow Complete Tow Kit, which is a durable and easy solution to pull whatever you’re towing.
Bottom line: Always reference the “coupling to tow vehicle” section of your vehicle manual to make sure it is done right.
Feel the (tire) pressure: An often forgotten element on the trailer towing checklist is making sure the trailer’s tire pressure is at the right level. In addition, inspect tires for wear or trauma — and be sure to have a spare.
Be a chain agent: Once you place and pop in the coupler over the ball mount, the next step is applying the safety chains, which need to be rigged to the tow vehicle. Avoid the common mistake of rigging the safety chains to the hitch or ball mount itself. Safety chains are federal law and will keep the trailer from drifting in the event the trailer coupling separates from the ball mount.
Light it up: No matter what you’re driving, communicating with other vehicles is paramount to safety — and that means having properly working brake, tail and turn signal lights. Before departing, sync up the trailer lights with the tow vehicle and test it out so that other motorists will know your actions.
Locked down and loaded: Once everything is hitched, it’s time to load up the cargo. It’s best to be balanced with weight distribution, but put heavier cargo in the front of the trailer. And of course, do not overload.
This pre-departure checklist is only a start. Once on the road, remember the basic safe driving practices when towing a trailer: Drive at moderate speeds, avoid sudden stops, don’t use cruise control and allow more distance for stopping.
No matter how much of a rush you are in to hit the road this summer, don’t take any shortcuts when it comes to towing safely.
You can celebrate springtime by spending some time enjoying the fresh outdoor air and showing your car some love ahead of upcoming family vacations and summer road trips with friends. Start with these smart and simple tips to improve your ride.
(BPT) - The colder weather is fleeting, flowers are blossoming and the grass is just a little greener, which means spring is finally here. While most of your time will be spent preparing your home, clothes and family calendars for the warmer weather, it’s important not to forget about your car.
In fact, you can celebrate springtime by spending some time enjoying the fresh outdoor air and showing your car some love ahead of upcoming family vacations and summer road trips with friends. Start with these smart and simple tips to improve your ride:
Freshen up the interior
Interior and exterior cleaning makes a big difference in keeping a car looking and driving its best, but that doesn’t solve odor issues. To finalize spring car prep and maintenance, make sure to use a product that will leave the car smelling as good as it looks. Innovative and discrete vent sticks and mini diffusers from Refresh Your Car! come in a wide variety of scents, like Lemon Lime Sunshine, and are an affordable, long-lasting way to keep a car smelling great!
Clean and protect your interior
The interior, especially leather, is the most used and abused part of a car. Over time, constant use and sun damage can result in you leather interior drying out, causing it to fade, crack and rip. A quick and trusted way to address this issue is to use Lexol Leather Cleaner & Conditioner. The easy two-step process will help clean, restore and protect a car’s interior, keeping it looking and feeling like new.
Check your battery
The colder the weather, the harder a battery and charging system need to work in a car. Start by making sure the battery is mounted correctly and the connections are free from corrosion. Also, consider replacing the battery if it’s older than five years, which will ensure you don’t get stranded out on the road.
Check and replace basic car items
Before heading out on any lengthy adventures, make sure the car is up-to-date on oil changes. During the oil change a technician should also check and replenish other fluids like the brake, transmission, windshield wiper and power steering fluids, as well as your coolant. This often forgotten about maintenance will help a car run smoothly for months to come.
Wash and wax
No matter the season, a car that is driven daily is constantly battling the elements, which can cause damage to its exterior. Washing regularly and waxing at least twice a year is an easy way to keep a car looking its best, protecting it from damaging UV rays, road debris, tree sap and rusting. When washing and protecting, don’t forget about tires and wheels. The Eagle One A2Z All Wheel & Tire Cleaner is an affordable, easy-to-use spray that clings to the dirt on the surface of most wheels and tires, easily removing brake dust, grime and grease; giving your wheels and tires a spotless, professional look.
These simple tips can keep a car clean, fresh and running smoothly throughout the hectic summer driving season.
Summer is a time for sunshine and road trips. No matter the length of the trip, you’ll want your car safe and functional, especially with your family and friends in the passenger seats. No matter if you’re worried about safety or showing off your ride in style, there are specific steps you can take to prep your car for warmer temperatures.
Prepare Your Car for Summer
(Family Features) Summer is a time for sunshine and road trips. No matter the length of the trip, you’ll want your car safe and functional, especially with your family and friends in the passenger seats.
With summer weather approaching, it can be a great time to inspect your vehicle and make sure everything is up to par. No matter if you’re worried about safety or showing off your ride in style, there are specific steps you can take to prep your car for warmer temperatures:
Inspect your brakes and tires
Check your oil level
Wash your ride
Check your fluids
Test the air conditioning
Add safety essentials
Install new windshield wipers
Look at the coolant
For more tips to prepare for summer fun, visit eLivingToday.com.
5 Tips for Summer Road Trips
For many people, summer means setting out on a road trip in search of bucket-list-worthy excitement or a relaxing vacation.
Whether you’re going down the road to visit family or across the country to see a national monument, it is important to prepare your vehicle – and its tires – before you pull out of the driveway.
These five safety tips can help get your family ready to hit the road this summer:
1. Check Your Tread – A tire’s tread depth can determine a vehicle’s safe stopping distance. You can check your tread depth by sticking a penny upside-down in a tread groove. If you can see President Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.
2. Ensure Proper Tire Pressure – Low tire pressure can lead to poor handling and gas mileage, excessive wear and overloading. Drivers should check their tire pressure at least once a month, and especially before any long trip. Use a dependable air gauge or stop by an automotive store like Discount Tire or America’s Tire to take advantage of complimentary air checks.
3. Rotate Often – Tires should be rotated at least every 6,000 miles or earlier if irregular or uneven wear develops.
5. Don’t Overload – The combination of heat and overloading a vehicle, which can be common during summer travel, is one of the most dangerous conditions for a vehicle’s tires as overloaded tires can overheat and possibly fail.
When it comes to summer driving safety, it can be imperative to check your tires early and often. Knowing the condition of your tires can keep your family safe and your vehicle in quality condition.
To learn more about tire safety before a summer road trip, or to schedule an appointment for a tire safety check, visit tires.com.
Photos courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
(BPT) - The idea of a new car or truck is exciting. What’s even more exciting is making that new vehicle your own.
There are countless ways to personalize a vehicle, but one of the easiest ways to spruce up a vehicle is by adding a new set of wheels. In fact, wheels are typically the first thing vehicle owners upgrade on a car or truck after purchasing it from the dealership.
According to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) in its 2017 Market Research Report, wheels are among the most purchased items by consumers in the $42 billion aftermarket industry. Because there are many wheel options, SEMA recommends researching the various wheel types available for your specific vehicle and learning about the different wheel finish options, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages.
Here are basics about wheel finishes to keep in mind:
Painted: Opting for painted wheels will give you an endless amount of options when it comes to colors and effects, allowing you to personalize your vehicle exactly how you desire. Painted wheels are typically primed before wet paint is applied, and they are finalized with a clear topcoat to protect the paint. To minimize damage or discoloration due to heat or dust brought about by daily use, painted wheels should be cleaned with a non-acidic and non-abrasive soap that should not be allowed to dry onto the wheel.
Polished: Polished wheels are great if you want a wheel with a shiny look or mirror-like finish that is not heavy, which could aid in fuel economy. The wheel is polished to a high luster by buffing it using a machine or by hand before being protected with a high-gloss clear coat. Polished wheels can be cleaned with mild soap and dried with a microfiber towel, then coated and hand-polished with a non-abrasive wax to help it maintain its luster.
Chrome: If you want the shiniest look possible, opt for a chrome wheel. This popular and classic type of wheel finish is achieved by adding layers of metals, such as copper, nickel and chromium, to create a very reflective finish. You can easily clean chrome wheels with soap and water, then dry them with a soft cloth. To prevent dirt and dust from sticking to the wheels, add a layer of wax after cleaning them.
Powder-coated: For an extremely durable wheel finish that is resistant to scratches and fading and comes in many color options, go with a powder-coated wheel. To achieve this finish, a wheel is grounded and sprayed with a powder-coat (usually a polyester or epoxy), then exposed to heat (usually in a heating oven), essentially baking on the smooth finish. Like their painted counterparts, powder-coated wheels can be cleaned with a mild soap that should not be allowed to dry on the wheel finish. You can further protect the finish by applying a wheel sealant or coating solution.
These are but a few of the many types of finishes available in the wheel segment of the automotive aftermarket industry that can help give your vehicle an updated look. Every type of wheel finish provides variations in shine, color and required maintenance, so take the time to research what’s available. Regardless of the wheel you decide to go with, it will surely help get you on the road to creating a vehicle that meets your unique, individual needs.
Manufacturers introduce new wheels and many other products annually at the SEMA Show, the leading trade-only show for businesses in the automotive industry. Consumers can connect with some of these businesses at the official SEMA Show after-party, also known as SEMA Ignited, where one-of-a-kind custom vehicle builds featuring the newest aftermarket products, including wheels, parade out of the convention center before making their way to the ultimate car show open to the public. For more information, visit www.semaignited.com.
(BPT) - As winter progresses, we are likely to see more visibility-reducing weather. Heavy rain, frost, ice and snow can all impair visibility while driving, including reducing the performance of windshield wipers.
Reduced visibility can quickly turn your drive into a stressful situation, especially when you have your precious cargo in the backseat. The notoriously unpredictable weather during the colder months also adds to driver anxiety, with rain and winter weather posing a challenge while behind the wheel. Ultimately, almost 90 percent of driving decisions are based upon vision, according to the official New Jersey Driving Manual, making it a top priority to have properly functioning windshield wipers.
* Inspect regularly: Whether you’re shuttling the kids to practice or running errands, safety is of the utmost importance. A quick maintenance check in your own driveway could help you and your family avoid issues down the road. To make sure windshield wipers are in good condition, check for tears, excessive noise or streaking on the windshield. These are all signs that windshield wipers have reached the end of their lifespan and must be replaced as soon as possible to ensure proper vision.
* Choose wipers for extreme weather: When looking to replace windshield wipers, consider blades that are specially developed to resist cracks from ozone exposure so you’ll have the clearest visibility when driving around town. These windshield wipers will work better in extreme weather while being more durable, providing an even and uniform wipe across the windshield. Bosch ICON beam windshield wipers are one option designed to help sharpen visibility while providing extreme weather safety.
It is important to ensure you are taking the necessary precautions for the best visibility behind the wheel. A simple maintenance check of your windshield wipers will help to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.
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