Your car is a big financial investment, and it’s needed every day for your family to do what they need to do for work, education, and even providing basic needs. So, as necessary as it is for your car to take care of you, it’s just as important for you to take care of your car. But, it’s both easy and common for cars to get damaged while outside, and sometimes in sudden ways which can’t be easily repaired. You want to be able to protect both your investment, and the beauty of your car for years, even decades to come. How can you protect your car from ongoing damage outside?
Keep it in the Garage
The first and easiest solution is to not have it outside, of course! Not everybody is lucky enough to have a garage to park in, and has to park in the open air. However, if you have access to parking where your car can be in a shelter, it helps with general damage signs immensely. It can be tempting to use your garage for a workshop, bonus space for relaxation, or even storage. Those things are also important, of course, but your car is a valuable investment, and worth the protection a shelter affords.
Avoid Parking Under Trees
Parking under a tree for shelter or shade in the summertime can be a temptation to car owners. However, from an insurance actuarial standpoint, lots of damage can be caused by parking under trees. Branches or nuts might fall at random, hurting paint finishes or even breaking windows. Windstorms in particular, or thunderstorms are dangerous times to park under a tree. There are even some tree saps which can cause damage to paint finish!
Wash Your Car
Washing your car makes it look beautiful, but did you know it also helps your car to look newer for longer? Your car gathers dirt and debris as it drives, and each of those pieces of dirt can scrape and scratch at the finish of your car. Over time, it will look older and less cared for. You want your car to maintain its monetary worth, and having a good paint job influences that considerably. Wash your car at least twice monthly. Use products formulated to help increase your car’s UV protection if possible.
Apply a Protective Coating
Application of a protective coating can help your car to stay shiny and healthy looking for longer. It’s easy for a car to get sun damage, and for its finish to begin looking as if it's a peeling sunburn. There are products, though, which can help keep the majority of element related dangers from damaging your car long term. Clear bra protects your car from damage from sap, debris, rocks and other elements. Your local car wash is happy to apply a protective coating after each wash, if you prefer to not need to do it by yourself.
Use a Sun Protector
A protective coating on the outside of the car still does nothing for the inside! Along with using a protective dust cleaning chemical coating on your interior plastics and leathers, using a Sun Protector in the windshield of your car can help prevent damage. They are easy to put in when you park, and will lower the heat of the interior of the car significantly, which makes returning to your car less uncomfortable. However, they also help prevent sunlight from fading all of the important interior fabrics.
Paint Protection Films
There are also films which do the same sort of protection from UV rays as sun protector sprays and waxing a car. They are clear, and won’t hurt your paint job or detail work. In fact, the protection is similar to laminating your car, only with a much fancier layer of protection, to help keep off grime and debris that could also cause issues by scratching your finish, while also protecting from things like UV sunlight damage. Films need to be replaced every few years, but in the meantime are highly effective protection of your investment.
Check Your Sunroof
If your car has a sunroof, the last thing you want is it leaking during a rainstorm while parked outside. Open and close your sunroof to make sure that it is working. There will be a seal, and drainage holes around the seal. To check drainage, make sure that water poured on the roof (with the sunroof closed) drained down and away quickly, out of the bottoms of the front doors. It’s possible for pine needles to get stuck in the drainage holes and make your seal leak. Nobody wants to sit in rainwater! Make sure your sunroof is working effectively before the next rainy season arrives, or you might have an accidental flooding.
Your car’s beauty has been chosen specifically to project the image, style and other aspects of your own personality! It’s chosen to protect your family as it drives, and it’s meant to look amazing while doing it. So, it’s important to look around you when parking. Making sure you look upwards and downwards as well, such as not parking near overhangs, trees, or other hazards that could shorten the life of your paint job or dent your hood with an unfortunate fall. Make sure you check your sunroof to make sure it’s not clogged, and wash your car frequently. Use some sort of sun protection, whether this means protection film, a protective coating, waxing, or coating at your car wash, to protect your car’s finish from UV rays.
And above all, park inside of a garage whenever you are able to do so. Think of it this way: which financial investment is worth more: the hideous old lamp you’re still storing, some sport equipment you forgot to put away, or your beautiful car? If you answered your car, remember which one you’re leaving outside for lack of space. Work to make that space and continue to protect your car from the elements. Safe and sound inside!
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No one wants to get a DUI, but it can be difficult to understand the severity without any experience. The more you know about the potential consequences of driving under the influence, the better prepared you will be to avoid the situation altogether. Here are a few of the consequences you may face and some solutions to help you avoid driving while intoxicated.
In the Moment
The primary issues you will face will occur while you’re driving the car and immediately afterward. When you’re driving under the influence, your decision-making isn’t at its best and your ability to drive safely is significantly reduced. This can put your life in danger and will also put the lives of everyone else on the road at risk. Ideally you would avoid driving intoxicated altogether so you can stay safe and help to protect others on the road. Getting in an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can also cause damage to your car, which can be expensive to repair.
Even if you aren’t in an accident on the road, you can face major legal consequences for drinking and driving. Getting pulled over while intoxicated can result in serious legal trouble that will affect your ability to continue driving and even your criminal record. A DUI conviction carries stiff penalties that could alter the course of your life drastically. It’s much easier to simply avoid a DUI conviction in the first place by making sure that you never drink and drive.
Choosing to never drink and drive is essential to avoiding a DUI and the consequences that may come with it. This doesn’t mean that you can never drink, just that you need to drink responsibly. You can start by making sure that you always have a designated driver if you drink when you’re out, you can also call for a taxi or a rideshare. If you know you will be drinking when you’re out it’s a good idea to make prior arrangements to help you get home, so you don’t get into a situation where you feel you need to drink and drive.
It’s always a good idea to try to prepare for the future, especially when it comes to drinking responsibly. Make plans for yourself so you can avoid difficult situations and never have to deal with the consequences of drinking and driving. That way you will stay safe and keep others safe on the road.
Read this next: How to Know if You Have a Problem With Alcohol
After you’ve been in a car accident, there are several steps you need to follow. As you work through these steps, you will need to negotiate with a lot of people. These negotiations may not always go your way, so it’s important to know what snags you may hit and how to work around them.
The Other Party is Uncooperative
Your troubles may begin immediately following the accident. Sometimes the other party is simply unwilling to cooperate. They may refuse to talk to you or negotiate with you. Perhaps they aren’t even willing to discuss insurance. If the other party is not cooperating, you need to take action to protect yourself. The first thing you should do is protect the evidence of the accident. Try to preserve the scene as much as possible. For example, try not to move the cars unless absolutely necessary. Take pictures and talk with any witnesses. Evidence will help you make an insurance claim. You should also call the police. They can file an official report that will discuss fault and you can use this report when you make your insurance claim.
The Insurance Company Refuses to Pay
Working with insurance companies can also be tricky. This is especially true if you are trying to receive payment from the insurance company of the other driver when they are at fault. Insurance companies will take their time working through a case and they may even refuse payment. An attorney can help you win a settlement from insurance companies that refuse to pay. When you bring in an attorney, this shows the insurance company that you mean business and they are more likely to comply. Additionally, attorneys are well-versed in the tactics insurance companies use and they can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Both Parties Can’t Agree on a Settlement
After an accident, both parties will typically discuss how they will handle the situation moving forward. Typically, this includes agreeing to file an insurance claim. However, there are cases where both parties do not agree to this. For example, the at-fault party may push to leave insurance out of it and instead settle with a cash payment. The other party may prefer to have insurance cover the cost of repairs and injuries. Just remember, that you have the right to file a claim if you wish and you should do your best to get the other party’s insurance information.
Accidents can be stressful even after they’ve happened. Dealing with the repercussions through negotiations can take quite some time, especially if problems arise. Make sure you understand common problems so you know how to work through them.
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You have just gotten in a wreck. While not fatal, you are shaken up and feel nervous. All of a sudden, the other driver comes out of their car and sheepishly apologizes for the trauma. While the events that happen after a wreck can be hard to recall, you must do at least three things after you get into a car accident.
Inform the Police
Here’s the obvious one: call the police. Even though nobody technically committed a crime, the police need to get the accident on the books. Additionally, the police can help you get into contact with the right people afterward. You can also prevent yourself from being held liable for the wreck by filling out the report accurately.
In some cases, the other driver will try to abandon the wreck. Whenever a car accident occurs, always snap their license plate so you can inform the police. After you make sure everyone is all right, getting the other driver’s information should be one of the first things you do.
Assess Your Injuries
Now that the police are on their way, you need to analyze your party’s well-being. There are many different types of injuries that come from car crashes. In fender benders and other minor wrecks, your party might walk away with just a few bruises and some whiplash.
In deadlier accidents, you could be facing some potentially fatal injuries. Always keep a first aid kit in your car for this reason. While you might not be able to fix them completely, you can delay death and help the wounded feel a little better by keeping some equipment in your car.
Of course, you also want to be compensated for the accident. In this case, you must contact the other person’s insurance company. Trade insurance information, and reach out to your own to ensure that you are covered. This is why you pay for the service.
While certainly not as important as receiving justice and keeping your group alive, this can reduce the stress of heavy financial loss. This makes you better able to take care of everyone once it’s accomplished. Insurance companies can ensure that you don’t pay a cent if you aren’t responsible for the incident (or at the very least you’ll get a great deal).
While getting in a car accident can be shocking, you can’t let it get the best of you. Keep these three steps ingrained in your mind. If the time ever comes that you need to use the steps, you will be ready.
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4 things to consider when buying a vehicle
(BPT) - The pandemic changed our travel habits considerably, and forced us to reconsider how we get around safely. For example, the latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index found that three-quarters of Americans don’t feel comfortable taking public transportation because of the coronavirus pandemic, leading more people to get behind the wheel.
This increase in drivers is having an impact on our car buying decisions: Data showed that 44% of Americans have already considered a new vehicle purchase. Many are likely to be first-time car buyers, too, as over half of Gen Z and millennials are thinking about a new vehicle purchase.
In addition to the usual considerations when buying a vehicle — cost, performance, safety and reliability — the events of 2020 have raised new questions. After a year of significant change, here are four things to consider when buying a new vehicle.
Your vehicle is just as much about comfort as it is mobility
We’re spending more time in our cars, even when we’re not going places — waiting in parking lots for grocery orders, lining up at drive-thrus, or even taking a conference call when home gets a little too noisy! So a vehicle’s interior should be a nice place to spend your time.
The good news is that there are plenty of standard features and affordable options to make that possible. The Gauge Index found that Americans consider everything from Bluetooth connectivity (62%) and in-dash navigation (57%), to remote and keyless start tech (56%) as important factors when choosing their vehicles.
Self-healing tire technology was also rated as an important feature by 56% of Americans — a useful feature at any time, and crucial when one may not want to come into close contact with others for an emergency tire change!
Is it finally time to plug in?
With increased range, lower prices and expansions in charging infrastructure, electric vehicles (EVs) are increasingly becoming a choice for drivers, with 62% of Americans likely to consider an EV.
Deciding if it’s time to go electric means considering a few important factors. The first is range: What do you anticipate to be your regular mileage between charges? The average range of today’s electric vehicles should be more than enough for daily commuting, errands and even the occasional afternoon road trip.
Then, make sure you have access to charging infrastructure at home and at your frequent destinations. And calculate the true financial benefit, taking into account rebates, credits and a newfound freedom from the petrol pump.
Take time to kick the tires.
When buying a new vehicle, check the tires it comes with to ensure they’re best suited for the weather conditions where you live. This is especially important when driving regularly in inclement weather where an all-weather tire like the Hankook Kinergy 4S2 can save you money down the road. Less than half (47%) of Americans can accurately identify the difference between all-weather and all-season tires, so here’s the cheat sheet: All-weather tires manage rain and snow while also delivering year-round performance; all-season tires prioritize comfort and fuel economy over ice and snow traction.
If you’re switching to electric, your tire choice could impact your ride comfort, mileage and road noise. These are already important for a regular vehicle but for an EV, where range is key and there’s just the quiet hum of the electric motor, you’ll want to pay extra attention to these features on your tires.
Looking ahead, post-pandemic.
With a new year on the horizon and the hope of restrictions easing in 2021, it’s important to ask if your vehicle needs now will be the same in six to 12 months’ time.
That’s because a vehicle purchase isn’t just for a few months; it’s a lengthy investment that brings insurance, registration and maintenance responsibilities. If a new vehicle purchase only serves your needs now, it may be worth managing with what you have for a few more months.
The past year has been one of change and upheaval. So if that means it’s time for a new set of wheels, these questions will help you not only choose the vehicle you need, but the driving experience you want, for the years ahead.
“Should I buy or lease?” That’s a question most everyone has dealt with while searching for their perfect car. While there can be some hidden risks associated with leasing, there are also a lot of benefits depending upon your chosen lifestyle. Here are several things you should consider before making the decision to lease your new automobile.
Negotiating Your Lease Contract
Leasing a car is nothing like grocery shopping. When you go grocery shopping, there is no way you could negotiate with the cashier for a dollar off of your carton of eggs. However, when you are negotiating a lease contract, you can negotiate all you want. Here are some tips and tricks to become a pro haggler:
First, you will want to collect several different quotes for the same car ahead of time. That way, you can get a good idea of the true worth of the car, so you aren’t scammed. Second, do everything you can to bring someone you trust along with you. That way, your buddy can keep you in check in case you begin to fall for any sweet-talk. However, whenever you discuss the lease on the phone or in person, always talk negatively. Say things like, “I don’t know if we can afford it,” or “maybe we should keep looking.” That way, the sales associate will feel more obligated to haggle.
It is common wisdom that, if it seems too good to be true, it probably. You can end up being swindled into paying more than you think for your new car. Before you sign any contract, make sure that you know about all upfront fees and hidden fees throughout the term of your lease. For example, many people who lease cars fall victim to down payment fees, termination fees, and even interest and taxes.
Your insurance rates usually depend upon your driving record, but they can also change depending on your choice of leasing versus buying. Since leasing is higher risk than buying, you will most likely want to purchase gap insurance to protect you while you lease. This may increase your insurance costs by 3–10%.
Furthermore, if you are trying to decide between several different models or years, the cost of your insurance can also fluctuate even further. Make sure you research ahead of time if there would be an increase in insurance costs for your desired car or else you may get trapped into riding something past your monthly budget.
The great thing about leasing is that it can give you an opportunity to have a car that you would not normally purchase yourself. So, in a way, you get the chance to have more bang for your buck. This is because, when you lease a car, you are paying for the car’s depreciation and taxes rather than its actual cost to own. So, if you’ve been really wanting a luxury car but buying isn’t in the budget, you should consider leasing instead.
For example, there are several European car models you can choose from if you want to drive something other than what you’re used to. Yep, that could include Mercedes and Ferrari—and who wouldn’t want to ride one of those beauties for a time?
Taking Care of a Leased Car
As a general rule of thumb, take care of your leased car like you would take care of a rental car. In other words, you must remember that you are leasing your car, and that it does not actually belong to you. This means that you need to take very good care of it, especially if it is a luxury car, or else you could be hit with heavy reparation fees. Make sure that you clean the inside and outside often (that includes waxing!), and remember to check your tires and oil frequently.
While leasing may not have many adverse effects on your insurance costs, they do have the potential to drag down your credit score. When you lease out a car, you are taking out an installment loan. Fortunately, installment loans are treated differently than credit card debt; therefore, your credit card company will not see your car lease as adversely as credit card debt.
However, if you skip payments on your lease, your credit score will decline. So, make sure you keep this in mind as you go through the leasing process. You will want to ensure that you have the funds to pay your lease or else there will be consequences.
Want to Leave?
Unfortunately, ending your lease contract early is not an easy process. If it was easy, then your car lender would run the risk of people coming in to borrow a car for special occasions rather than for long term—which doesn’t make them any money. So, while it is a sticky business for the lessee to turn in their car before the end of their contract, it makes sense. Basically, if you decide to end your contract early, you will most likely have to negotiate a buyout price and your credit will probably take a hit. That is definitely something to remember before deciding to lease.
Benefits to Leasing
While there are always additional risks and costs to leasing, there are also a lot of benefits. Depending on your chosen lifestyle, leasing might just be the right idea for you. Those who tend to benefit most from leasing are usually those who enjoy trying out new vehicles or get bored of riding the same ride every year. If this sounds like you, then the monthly lease and extra fees may be worth a nicer car and greater flexibility.
Do Your Research
In the end, the best thing you can do before leasing a car is to do your research ahead of time. Nobody wants to get roped into a contract that they can’t keep. Make sure that you are aware of all the pros and cons associated with leasing. Don’t be the naïve customer who ends up losing more money than necessary.
Deciding to buy versus lease can be a tricky choice. However, if you take the time to consider all the points discussed, you will be adequately prepared to haggle like a pro, plan wisely, and make the right decision. Doing so will—hopefully—land you the car of your dreams.
Read this next: Fix It Good: Regular Vehicle Maintenance That Can Extend the Life of Your Car
Did you know that one in four Americans keep their cars for an average of seven years or more? Nearly another third (29%) say they typically own their car for three to four years. With Americans keeping their vehicles on the road for the better part of a decade, it’s important to implement consistent maintenance habits to ensure a smooth ride.
A car is often a person's second most expensive purchase, right after their home. Therefore, it only makes sense to be proactive and protect your investment. Vehicles take a lot of work to keep them running smoothly. Often these are done by professional repairmen. However, repairs can quickly accumulate and burn a hole right through your pocket. So, here is some regular vehicle maintenance that can help you extend the life of your car.
Unless you have a lemon car, maintaining your engine and fixing any needed repairs can help prevent further damage and keep your car running for years. The motor is the most expensive thing to replace and fix. Thus, it is crucial to make sure that everything is running smoothly. Don't worry; you don't have to make complicated repairs. One of the best ways to keep your engine looking and running healthy is to clean it at least once a year. Things like dirt, grime, and bugs get trapped down there throughout the year. This can lead to the engine overheating little by little until it either starts smoking or completely shuts off on you. In addition, keeping your engine clean will allow you to see any issues such as leaks or damaged parts better.
Leaks are very common and can be quickly defined by their color, texture, and location. You might be thinking that every car leak, what's the harm? Leaking of any type is something that should never be ignored. Besides the loss of fluids in your car, leaks such as oil can quickly become dangerous if flames are introduced. The most common of these leaks are oil leaks caused by a break in the gasket. This is located in the engine and can pose a dangerous risk to the longevity of your car.
Tires go through a lot of abuse. After a while, they begin to lose air and lose pressure. Although not directly tied to the car's performance, it can lead to you paying for brand new tires over and over again. Therefore, it is incredibly important to check your tire's air pressure every few months. This can be easily done at any gas station that offers air services.
Your vehicle is one of the most expensive things you'll purchase. Thus, it is important to keep it running for as long as possible. Utilize the tips listed above to prevent these common issues from arising within your own car.
Here’s another article you might like: Get Your Car Spring Ready
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