Archive for March, 2013

5 Tips to Prevent Your Car from Rusting

Preventing rust on your car is one of the most important things you can do to extend your car’s life and maintain its resale value.  While many new vehicles come with rust warranties, no car is immune to the effects of environmental elements and simple science.  When metal comes in contact with oxygen and water, there is rust.  The bad news is that once rust starts, it’s hard to stop.  The good news is that preventing rust from starting takes a minimal amount of time and money.  Ensure a long rust-free life for your car by following our simple tips:

1.    Keep your car clean:   Regular car washes shouldn’t be considered a luxury just for visual appeal but rather a necessity for car health.   Your car’s paint job is the first line of defense against rust, so it is important to keep it free of elements that can cause corrosion in the paint, which will eventually lead to rust.  Wash your car twice per month to remove dirt and road salts, and pay special attention to your car’s undercarriage and wheel wells where elements can easily build up.  Salt poses an extra risk for rust, so during winter months, take extra care to keep your car clean.

2.    Apply a wax twice a year:  Along with regular car washes, applying a wax to your car can go the extra mile in protecting your vehicle’s exterior.  Waxing your car applies an additional layer of protection between your vehicle and the elements, and can greatly extend the life of your paint job and prevent rust.

3.    Fix paint chips promptly:  A small nick in your paint job might seem like more trouble than it’s worth to deal with, but leaving your car’s metal exposed to air and water will lead to rust before too long.  Keep a bottle of touch-up paint handy, and use a reputable body shop for larger repairs.  Tending to problems quickly will save you from rust in the long run.

4.    Protect your floors:  Rust isn’t just a problem for your car’s exterior; it can begin on the inside as well.  Slushy snow and salt on your shoes can seep into your floor mats and start rust on the floorboards where you can’t even see it.  Make a small investment into heavy rubber floor mats to add a solid layer of protection for your vehicle’s floors.

5.    Park inside:  While this isn’t an option for everyone, storing your vehicle indoors is one of the best ways to protect it from rust.  Removing your vehicle from outdoor elements like sun, extreme temperatures and precipitation puts it at less risk to rust.

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7 Ways to Drive Safer at Night

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities on the road occur at a rate three times greater at night than during the day. Even more telling is that even though one quarter of all driving is done at night, more than half of all driving deaths occur then.  While you might already be an overall safe driver, taking extra precautions at night can help your odds of ending up as one of these grim statistics.  Check out our safety tips below to help keep the evening roads safe for you as well as other drivers.

1.    Maintain your headlights:  Keep your headlights clean for better visibility by wiping down your lens covers on a regular basis.  Even better, make sure your headlights are properly aimed so that you can see the road and other drivers won’t be blinded.  If you notice a light out, whether it’s a headlight or taillight, get it replaced immediately.

2.    Use your lights smartly:  Be sure to turn on your headlights even at dusk.  While it might not help you see any better, it will make it easier for other drivers to see you.  When nightfall fully settles in, do not hesitate to use your high beams for best visibility when other drivers are not around, but be mindful about turning them off appropriately.  Your exterior lights aren’t the only ones to help with visibility.  Dim your instrument panel and dashboard lights to give your eyes the best visibility, and use your reading/map lights sparingly.

3.    Allow room for error:  For safest nighttime driving, it’s best to make adjustments to account for decreased visibility.  Drive slower and leave more room between you and the car in front of you than you would during the daytime.  Typical low beams illuminate 160 to 250 feet in front of your car, but it takes more than 200 feet to completely stop a vehicle traveling 60 miles per hour.

4.    Clean windshields and mirrors:  Give your windshield a cleaning every time you fill up at the gas station, and don’t forget about your rearview mirrors too.  Dirty mirrors can produce glare from cars behind you and make it harder to see what’s behind you.

5.    Don’t stare at oncoming lights:  Locking a gaze with the headlights of an oncoming vehicle is not only distracting but it can affect your vision, even after the vehicle has passed you.  If it’s safe to do so, avert your gaze toward the white line on the shoulder of the road until the car has passed you.

6.    Watch for fatigued and drunk drivers:  Even if you are being safe, you can’t count on other drivers to do the same.  If you’re traveling late at night, look out for drivers who might be impaired and exercise extra caution.

7.    Stay alert:  Just as you should watch out for other impaired drivers, don’t forget to watch out for yourself!  If you feel fatigued, get off the road to avoid endangering yourself and others.  Fresh air, stretching your legs, and coffee are good remedies, but don’t get back behind the wheel if you are still sleepy.

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