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4 signs your car needs a little TLC



April is Car Care Month, and as your thoughts turn to summer adventures and road trips, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. Here are a few signs that your car could use a tune-up.

1. You see an engine warning light
If the engine warning lights flash on your dashboard, don’t ignore them. Amber lights will alert you to simple problems, such as a loose spark plug, while red lights indicate more serious issues, such as an oil leak. Engine warning lights may also indicate when your car is due for an oil change.

2. You hear weird noises
Strange sounds coming from your car can signify there’s a problem. Noises may begin quietly and get louder as the problem gets worse. Turn off the stereo while you’re driving and listen for sounds like squeaking or grinding. These noises could indicate that your car has a loose belt, low power steering fluid, or unbalanced tires.

3. You notice strange smells
If you notice an unusual odor, it may mean there’s a problem with your car. An unpleasant smell can indicate there’s an issue with your exhaust system, electrical components, tires, or brakes. All these problems require immediate attention from a mechanic.

4. You see or smell smoke
Smoke coming from your engine or exhaust pipe could be a sign that your radiator is overheating or that you have a problem with your head gasket. These are urgent issues that could ruin your engine.

If you want to be safe on the road, give your car the care and attention it needs. An automotive professional can help you maintain your vehicle and make repairs before they become major problems.

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The ‘big four’ driver distractions



Returning from vacation, you were pretty proud of yourself for negotiating all the interstates without a wrong turn. But then your seatmate engaged you in an interesting conversation, and what happened? You missed your exit.

Distraction. That interesting conversation not only made you miss a turn, it put you and your passengers in danger. If a situation occurred that required fast action, could you have avoided an accident?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission, four distinct types of distraction affect a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.

Auditory distractions include conversations with passengers and listening to music or audiobooks.

Visual distractions include such activities as looking at the scenery and checking out other cars.

Biomechanical distractions are activities such as adjusting the air conditioning, dialing a cellphone, using day planners, making notes, and eating.

Cognitive distractions include whatever is taking your mind off the road and driving. Examples are preoccupation with other thoughts, worrying, and planning what you will do later.

Cell phones, especially texting, are unique in that they encompass all four modes of driver distraction, say experts at Dynamic Science, a private research organization.

Research on cell phone use crashes shows that drivers often run off the road or hit something stopped in front of them, neither of which would happen if they were paying attention.

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How to pack your vehicle for a road trip



Are you going on a long road trip? Here are a few tips on how to organize your luggage.

Load heavy objects lower in your vehicle, and pack larger items at the back and smaller ones near the front. Fill in the gaps with bags and soft pieces. If your trunk isn’t separate from the cab, don’t stack items above the height of the back headrest. This will prevent things from falling over the seat if you suddenly hit the brakes.

Roof rack
Consult the manufacturer’s recommended weight capacity for your vehicle before loading your roof rack. In any case, avoid placing heavy items on the roof of your car. Store them in the trunk instead. Place the heaviest items against the roof bars and ensure the load is well balanced and securely strapped down.

Place heavy items on or close to the floor and as centrally as possible. Store light items on either side of the trailer, taking care not to obstruct your vision. Make sure you don’t exceed the vehicle’s load and towing capacity. Safely secure the items so nothing falls off or gets blown away. If your car’s rear suspension feels saggy, your load isn’t properly balanced and could negatively affect your handling.

Keep your vehicle’s registration, itinerary, tickets, sunglasses, tissues, games, bottled water, and snacks in the cab. Of course, try to leave enough space for everyone to sit comfortably.

Have a great holiday!

If you’re carrying luggage in a roof box, make sure you know the total height of your vehicle with the roof box to avoid getting in an accident.

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How to clean your tires and wheels



Cleaning your vehicle’s tires and wheels does more than make your car look good. Manufacturers recommend cleaning your tires every other week. Cleaning removes brake dust, rotor shavings, and road salt, all of which can shorten the lifespan of your tires. Here’s how to properly clean your car’s tires and wheels.

What you’ll need
Have these products ready to go:

• Bucket and warm water
• Clean cloths
• Hose and spray nozzle
• Medium-bristled brush
• Toothbrush
• Dish soap

Step 1: Rinse
Wash the tires one at a time to keep the surface wet while you work. Get rid of any loose dirt with a quick spray of your hose. Spray from various angles to remove the most debris from the wheels.

Step 2: Wash the tires
Work on the tires first because the dirty water will soil the wheels. Scrub the tires with a brush, warm water, and dish soap. Allow the soapy water to soften the grime on the tires before rinsing. Repeat this step if necessary and rinse out your brush when finished.

Step 3: Wash the rims
Wash the rims using the brush, warm water, and dish soap. Use an old toothbrush to get into tight areas. Repeat if necessary. After rinsing, thoroughly dry the wheel and the tires with a clean cloth.

With shiny tires and wheels, your car is in showroom shape, and you’ll give your tires a few more miles on the road.

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Is it safe for young children to sit in the front seat?



Although it may seem logical to place your young child in the front seat of your car to keep an eye on them, you might want to think again.

The back seat is safest
While legislation varies throughout North America, the safest place for your child is the back seat, away from active airbags. In a head-on collision, the front airbag will restrain the head and abdomen of an adult. When a child sits in the passenger seat, the airbag deploys at head level, potentially causing severe neck and head injuries. The sheer force of airbag deployment is enough to harm a child seriously.

Airbag deactivation
Today, many vehicles are equipped with a mechanism that momentarily deactivates the passenger-side airbag if a child is sitting there. If your car doesn’t have this feature, and you must put your child in the front seat, make sure to move the front seat as far back from the airbag deployment zone as possible. You may also want to consider permanently deactivating the airbag.

Correctly using a car seat is one of the best steps you can take to protect your child in a crash.

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Fleet managers turn to electric cars



Hertz recently inked a deal to buy 65,000 electric vehicles from startup Polestar over five years. The city of Houston, meanwhile, purchased a hundred electrics to replace aging gas autos, and Amazon wants to put 100,000 battery-powered delivery trucks on the road.

Wondering why these cars are so popular with fleets? Let’s take a spin.

Up front, adopting electrical vehicles may boost a company’s sustainability, which, in turn, could help with branding. However, the benefits of EVs for fleets run far deeper than marketing.

Wakefield Research polled 300 fleet managers and found that 44 percent believed that electric vehicles will reduce fuel costs. While charging an electric vehicle isn’t free, it’s currently cheaper to fill a battery than a gas tank.

EVs are potentially easier to maintain. With combustion engines, you have to worry about not just gasoline, but also oil and spark plugs, both non-issues with electric cars. Pretty much all combustion vehicles need transmission fluid, while many (but not all) electric vehicles skip transmissions altogether, making fluid unnecessary.

Moving parts are also prone to breaking down, and repairs can be costly. If a transmission goes out, you’ll have to shell out thousands to replace it. Cracked cylinder heads and rusted exhaust systems, among other things, also cost hefty sums to repair. Ultimately, Wakefield Research reports that 85 percent of current EV owners reported that traditional vehicles are more expensive to maintain.

With fewer moving engine/transmission parts, electric cars can relieve potential headaches. Still, this doesn’t mean that EVs provide a free ride. Upfront costs for electric vehicles are typically higher. And while batteries often last hundreds of thousands of miles, they do lose capacity over time and are expensive to replace. Charging times can also stretch on for hours.

Still, all told, electric cars offer a compelling option for fleet managers.

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What to do when your engine overheats



Your dashboard temperature light is on, and there’s steam coming from under the hood — sure signs that your engine is overheating. When that happens, you need to act quickly to prevent permanent damage to your vehicle. Here’s what to do when your engine overheats.

Turn off the AC and turn up the heat
If your air conditioner is working, turn it off. The AC puts a lot of stress on the engine. Then turn the car’s heater on full blast. The heater will cool the engine by sucking hot air from the motor and blowing it into the cabin. You may sweat a bit, but it could save your car.

Pull over and stop the engine
Find a safe place to pull over and turn your hazard lights on. Stop the engine and wait at least 15 minutes until lifting the hood. Watch the dashboard temperature gauge to determine when the engine has cooled to normal levels.

Add coolant
If you have spare coolant in your vehicle, top up the reservoir. Adding water will do the trick in an emergency, but you’ll have to drive slowly to avoid overheating again.

Get to a mechanic
Start your engine and drive slowly to your nearest automotive repair shop. If the engine overheats again, pull over and let it cool.

An overheating engine needs a professional repair. A mechanic can determine the cause of your problem and get you back on the road.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:


Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

National Media Services

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

St. Luke Community Clinic

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The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

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Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

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Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

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Upcoming Events

9:30 am Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 13 @ 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Picnic Area Join Kim Strader, ANFT Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide, for a gentle walk (no more than a mile or two) where we will wander and sit. Through a series of invitations and[...]
11:00 am Monarch Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Monarch Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 13 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Monarch Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area Habitat loss has caused Monarch butterfly populations to reach dangerously low numbers. Join the Park Naturalist and Virginia Master Naturalists as they set out to collect Monarch caterpillars and[...]
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Pregnancy Center’s Community Bab... @ Living Water Christian Church
Aug 13 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Pregnancy Center's Community Baby Shower @ Living Water Christian Church
The Living Water Christian Church of the Shenandoah Valley is having a “Community Baby Shower” in support of the Pregnancy Center of Front Royal. We are inviting the public to attend and bring wrapped gifts[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Aug 17 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
7:00 pm Appalachian Chamber Music Festiv... @ Barns of Rose Hill
Appalachian Chamber Music Festiv... @ Barns of Rose Hill
Aug 18 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Appalachian Chamber Music Festival - Opening Night @ Barns of Rose Hill
The Appalachian Chamber Music Festival is delighted to be returning to the Barns of Rose Hill on Thursday, August 18, at 7pm, for the opening night concert of our 2022 summer season. The festival celebrates[...]
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Aug 19 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
…and be sure to attend our Fourth of July event!
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National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 20 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area The bees are buzzing at Sky Meadows State Park! Meet the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah as they perform a honey extraction. Learn about beekeeping, honeybees and the art of apiculture. Support beekeeping and[...]
12:00 pm Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 21 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program series examines all aspects[...]
3:00 pm Valley Chorale Audition Day @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Valley Chorale Audition Day @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Aug 23 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Valley Chorale Audition Day @ Calvary Episcopal Church
If you have choral-singing experience, you’re invited to join The Valley Chorale! Rehearsals this fall culminate in our always-popular Christmas concerts in December. This year, we have a truly fantastic Christmas program planned. Auditions are[...]