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4 things to maintain on your EV

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While electric vehicles (EVs) don’t require as much maintenance as their gas-guzzling counterparts, there are a few components that need regular attention. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

1. Rotate the tires
Every car needs to get its tires rotated, but it’s particularly important for some EVs. This is because the battery pack can be very heavy and consequently exert a lot of pressure on the tires. This can cause them to wear prematurely.

2. Flush the brake fluid
Most EVs rely on regenerative braking, meaning they don’t actually use the mechanical brakes all that often. That said, EVs still have traditional brakes and therefore require hydraulic fluid. If you don’t flush it regularly, it might corrode the brake system’s components.

3. Service the brakes
Brake pads and discs need to be inspected, although the frequency will depend on your driving habits and the conditions in which you usually drive. If you tend to ride the brake, get the pads and discs checked when¬ever you get the fluid flushed.

4. Check the coolant
The battery cooling system is a crucial component that prevents your battery from overheating and potentially catching fire. It’s therefore important that the cooling system is regularly inspected.

Finally, remember to familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual as it’ll tell you when each of these tasks should be carried out. It’ll also provide crucial battery care tips.

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Automotive

Consider assets when buying auto insurance

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We’re inundated with car insurance ads at every turn, each pledging better rates or more personal service. But aside from knowing what your premium is, do you know what your coverage is and whether you have enough?

Your policy will cover liability, bodily injury liability (BIL), property damage, personal injury protection, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, collision, and comprehensive.

Many states require a minimum amount of coverage, but you probably want to consider insuring for more. Medical bills can add up to many thousands in a hurry, and you don’t want to be on the hook.

Liability packages often have three numbers, like 100/300/100. This refers to the amount of coverage for bodily injury per person (100k), per accident (300k), and property damage (100k).

Individuals with higher net worths may want to boost the first two.

The Wall Street Journal says a good rule of thumb is to get coverage for an amount equal to the total value of your assets (house, car, savings, and investments). Those could be seized to cover repairs or medical expenses otherwise.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is also vitally important. This pays for damage to your car and passenger injuries caused by an at-fault driver who doesn’t have liability insurance or a hit-and-run driver. Consumer Reports suggests buying the same limits as on your liability insurance.

Remember also to sign up for the highest deductible you can afford, which will reduce your premiums.

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Winter safety tips: coats and car seats

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Did you know that wearing a puffy coat or snowsuit while sitting in a car seat can put your child in danger? Here’s what you should know about keeping little ones safe and warm in the car this winter.

The risks
A thick winter coat gives the illusion that a car seat’s straps are snug and that your baby is securely fastened. However, that bulky material will compress upon impact in a crash and create a gap between the harness and the child’s body. This space is large enough that your baby can easily slip through the straps or be thrown from the seat entirely.

How to test the seat

Place your child in the car seat while they’re wearing the coat, and tighten the harness until it’s snug. (You shouldn’t be able to pinch the strap at their shoulder). Next, unfasten the straps without loosening them, remove the coat and place your child back in the seat. If the straps need to be tightened more, it means the coat is too bulky.

Safe alternatives
To keep your child warm in the car without compromising their safety, dress them in fitted layers such as a thermal knit sweater and fleece jacket. Once your child is fastened in the car seat, you can cover them with blankets or their coat. Just be sure to leave their face uncovered.

For a baby, you can use a car seat cover, but only if it doesn’t have a layer that goes underneath the infant.

To find everything you need to keep your child safe and warm in the car, visit the stores in your area.

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After an accident, here are the people who’ll be by your side

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A car accident can be traumatic, even if you don’t suffer any physical injuries. Fortunately, a variety of professionals will be by your side every step of the way to ensure that you and your vehicle are in good hands.

Police officers
If a car accident causes an injury or property damage over a certain value, the police must be notified. You should also call the police if you suspect the accident was caused by a violation of the highway safety code.

Doctors

If you sustain a serious injury in the accident, you’ll be taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital. There, you’ll be examined by a team of health-care professionals and given the necessary care.

Tow truck drivers
If you’re injured or your car’s unsafe to drive following the accident, a towing company will be called to bring your vehicle to a nearby mechanic or auto body repair shop.

Insurance agents
Call your insurer as soon as possible to report the accident. They’ll make arrangements with you to assess the damage and, if applicable, guide you through the process of filing a claim.

Car rental agents
While you wait for your car to be repaired, which can take days or even weeks, your local car rental agency can provide you with a temporary set of wheels. This makes it easier to resume your day-to-day activities following an accident.

Finally, be sure to turn to friends and family members for emotional support following an accident. If you experience anxiety, nightmares, or panic attacks following the accident, consider speaking with a mental health professional.

Your responsibilities
It’s important to note that all drivers are obliged to stop if they’re involved in an accident, no matter how minor. If no one is injured, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver and document details about the accident.

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5 unsafe winter driving habits

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When the roads are covered in snow and ice, motorists need to be extra careful to avoid being in an accident. Here are five driving practices that have no place on the roads in winter.

1. Driving too fast
Fast driving and icy road conditions can be a lethal combination. Slow down, especially in bad weather.

2. Following too close

It can take up to 10 times longer to come to a full stop on an icy road. It’s important that you give yourself more braking distance in the winter by leaving ample space between your car and the one in front of you.

3. Using the wrong tires
Driving with summer or all-season tires on winter roads is simply unsafe. Winter tires improve traction and vehicle handling on snow-, ice- and slush-covered roads.

4. Neglecting to clear off your car
Clearing snow and ice off your car can be tedious, but it’s a must if you want to have adequate visibility on the road. Make sure to clear off your car’s headlights and taillights too.

5. Looking at your phone
Distracted driving is always dangerous, but it’s especially hazardous on snowy and icy roads. Drivers must be able to respond quickly to changing road conditions.

Finally, try to limit how often you drive and choose your route carefully. In winter, accidents can happen to even the most careful drivers.

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How to safely brake in winter

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In icy driving conditions, braking suddenly can end in disaster. This is why you should always strive to come to a gradual stop in winter. However, in some cases, you may have no choice but to hit the brakes. Here’s how to come to a quick and safe stop on an icy road.

With anti-lock brakes
Almost all newer cars have an anti-lock braking system (ABS). When engaged, the ABS automatically pumps the brakes and prevents them from locking up. Pumping the brakes is the best way to bring a car to a stop when sliding on ice. To engage the ABS, firmly press down on the brake pedal and don’t let up until your car has come to a stop.

Without anti-lock brakes

If your car isn’t equipped with an ABS, pressing down on the brake pedal is the last thing you want to do on the ice, as this will cause the brakes to lock up and your car to skid. Instead, manually pump the brakes by applying and releasing moderate pressure at a steady rate.

The best way to become comfortable using these braking techniques is to take a winter driving course. Sign up for one in your area if you want to learn how to be safer on the roads.

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A step-by-step guide to reverse parking

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When parking in a busy lot, backing into your space is a smart move. Being able to drive forward when exiting the space affords you better visibility and lowers the risk of colliding with another car or a pedestrian. Here’s how to reverse park using the 90-degree method.

How to do it
The key to parking in reverse is the starting point. If your car is well-positioned when you begin, you’re golden.

As cars are different sizes and have different turning radiuses, drivers need to experiment a little to determine the ideal starting position for reversing their vehicle into a parking spot. For this reason, it’s a good idea to practice in an empty lot.

The following instructions can serve as a basic guide to backing up a regular-sized sedan:

• Slowly drive past the space in which you plan to park, leaving a distance of about four feet between your car and the front of the parking spot (where the end of the painted line).

• Stop your car once it’s lined up with the parking space next to the one you want to pull in to. The middle of your car should be aligned with the middle of that parking space. To gauge this, you can align your mirrors with the painted line separating the second and third parking space.

• Turn your steering wheel all the way and slowly back up, looking over your shoulder to see where you’re going. If your car was well-positioned when you began reversing, it’ll turn into the right spot. You’ll simply need to straighten the car as you enter the available space.

With a little practice, you’ll be able to figure out precisely where you need to position your car to effortlessly reverse into a parking spot.

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