Spring is here, and if you happen to have a summer vehicle tucked away, now’s the time to take it out of storage. Here are five essential steps to take before you hit the road.
1. Check the fluids. If you didn’t change the oil before putting your car into storage for the winter, do it now. You should also check the other fluids, including your coolant, brake, transmission, and windshield wa¬sher fluids. Top these up if necessary.
2. Inspect the tires. Even if they look fine, check the pressure in your tires as it may have dropped over the winter. If necessary, inflate them to the manufacturer’s requirements. Visually inspect them for wear, cracks and bulges, and repair or replace them if necessary.
3. Connect the battery. If your battery wasn’t connected to a maintainer or tender over the winter, charge it fully. Before reconnecting it, check the wires and terminals for corrosion.
4. Perform a visual inspection. Check all visible electric wires and hoses for damage. Ensure that there are no foreign objects or signs of pest infestation under the hood, in the trunk and in the cabin. Finally, look for signs of damage to the paint and body.
5. Replace worn out parts. Air filters can accumulate dust over the winter and windshield wipers can become dry and cracked from disuse. If necessary, install replacements before driving.
When driving your car for the first time after an extended period in storage, it’s normal for the wheels to vibrate for a few minutes until any flat spots have rounded out. Similarly, the brakes may be noisy the first time you use them. If these things don’t go away after driving for about half an hour, or you notice other irregularities, bring your car to a professional to have it inspected.
Five things to consider before driving abroad
Are you planning a trip abroad and thinking of renting a car while you’re there? Follow these tips to ensure you’re prepared.
1. Driver’s license. Depending on your destination, you may need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive on the roads legally.
2. Rules of the road. Find out about speed limits, tolls, and alcohol regulations in the country you’re visiting. If you have to drive on the left-hand side, watch a few videos on the internet. This will help you anticipate the maneuvers you may need to make in the opposite direction, such as changing lanes and going through roundabouts.
3. Signage. You may have difficulty interpreting the road signs if you’re not visiting an English-speaking country. Do your research so you know what to expect.
4. Child car seats. If you’re traveling with young children, ask the car rental agency to provide you with car seats. Some American models don’t meet the safety standards in every country.
5. Insurance. Determine if your insurance provides overseas coverage or if you need to purchase insurance through the car rental agency. Also, make sure you have sufficient liability coverage.
Visit travel.state.gov and talk to a travel agent for valuable advice. They’ll tell you what to look for and what vehicle is best for the region you’re visiting. Have a good trip!
The average Virginian admits to exceeding 100mph on 4 occasions over the past month
Full Speed Ahead? The average Virginian admits to exceeding 100mph on 4 occasions over the past month.
- 60% of drivers do not know the penalties for speeding in Virginia.
- 1 in 10 do not think highways should have speed limits at all.
- 46% would prefer that each state’s traffic violation data should not be shared with each other.
- Over half admit they would speed more if speed cameras didn’t exist.
- An infographic showing the no. of times drivers have exceeded 100mph across America.
These days, everyone always seems to be in a hurry. We want to get to where we’re going – fast. But are we doing that at the expense of breaking the law? Here in the U.S., the maximum speed limit on rural interstate highways is broadly 70mph; on four-lane divided highways, it’s 65mph, and on all other highways, it’s 55mph (although each state sets their own limits, with some allowing up to 85mph).
So how many of us obey the rules? Gunther Volkswagen Daytona Beach carried out an anonymous survey of 3,500 drivers and found that, over the past month, the average Virginia driver admits to having exceeded 100mph on 4 occasions – and if that trend were backdated, that would mean they sped over 100mph 48 times over the past year. This makes them one of the second most guilty drivers, who have gone over 100mph four times over the past month, along with Hawaii, Kansas, Missouri, and Connecticut.
That obviously raises the risk of accidents; in the U.S., of the more than 37,000 fatal accidents that occur yearly, around 1 in 3 collisions involve a driver going above the legal speed limit. Shockingly, Gunther Volkswagen Daytona Beach found that the drivers who’d gone over 100mph the most times over the past month – a scary six times – were from Utah. The second most guilty drivers, who have gone over 100mph four times over the past month, were from Hawaii, Kansas, Missouri, and Virginia.
Those who are the least likely to speed and who only exceeded 100mph once are from Nebraska, South Carolina, and South Dakota – which is encouraging, but they could still do better. After all, speeding can increase the risk of an accident if the road conditions are poor – for example, due to bad weather (particularly now in January), needing repair, or in badly lit areas at night.
Gunther Volkswagen Daytona Beach also found that 60% of drivers do not know what the penalties are for speeding in their own state, which can be anything from a fine and points on their record to a license suspension and even jail time if it’s elevated to the status of a misdemeanor. Two-thirds (60%) of those interviewed do not think the penalty is harsh enough for drivers who are caught speeding at 100mph (fines generally start at around $25).
Strangely, and considering the risks, over 1 in 10 drivers (13%) do not think highways should have speed limits at all, as is the case on Germany’s autobahns (a recent New York Times report found that the number of deadly accidents on stretches of autobahn that have a speed limit was 26 percent lower than on those without).
The findings also revealed that 58% of drivers admit they would speed more if speed cameras didn’t exist. And half (49%) somewhat hypocritically admit to condemning people who speed, even if they speed themselves.
Finally, 46% would prefer that each state’s traffic violation data should not be shared so that if they incur a penalty out of state, they would not incur a penalty.
New year, new world: Flying cars offer new social challenges
Meet George Jetson! He’s not just a cartoon character — he might be real now that flying cars are closer to becoming reality.
It’s a tempting prospect for people who live in high-traffic areas. Imagine being able to lift your car over a traffic jam. So long, drivers!
Dozens of companies are already deeply involved in flying car research. In 2022, the Slovak Transport Authority certified the Klein-Vision AirCar as airworthy. The car takes about two minutes to transform from a ground vehicle to an air vehicle and flies 100 mph up to 8,000 feet of elevation.
What will a flying car mean for transportation and safety? The answer is that it would challenge every known legal, financial, and licensing system and regulation, including air space, insurance, safety, and policing. It would challenge every social and privacy restriction, perhaps rendering fencing useless for privacy, and create a separate class of citizens.
It would challenge public safety. One can easily imagine the destruction a flying car could create if it crashed into houses or crowded areas. Parachute-type devices are being considered, according to Science Direct Assets.
Law enforcement might need the ability to remotely shut off flying car engines without harming property and people on the ground. Firefighting, rescue, border, and coastal security would be affected.
Challenges aside, flying vehicles are already here. The AirCar may be available for purchase this year for a salty $1 million. Currently, only licensed pilots are eligible to fly it.
A small single-engine airplane costs from $15,000 to $100,000. You’ll need to get a lift from the airport.
How to prepare your car’s sunroof for winter
Your sunroof probably won’t get much use throughout the cold season. However, it’s important to take the following steps to ensure it remains in good condition.
• Clean the glass and wipe down the gasket around the sunroof with a soft cloth, automotive cleaner, and toothbrush.
• Clean the sunroof’s slides and tracks and lubricate all moving parts with white lithium grease.
• Clear the sunroof trough with a canister of compressed air. Then, insert a skinny, flexible, non-puncturing wire into the drains to remove stubborn dirt and debris.
• Look for jagged edges or cracks along the sunroof’s seal and assess the area for any accumulated water or mold. If you notice any leaks, fix them before the cold weather sets in.
Over the winter, carefully remove snow and ice from your sunroof using a soft brush or gloved hand. Don’t use an ice scraper or hard-bristled brush.
Four advantages of using a block heater
A block heater is a must-have if you can’t park your car in a heated garage in winter. These devices preheat coolant and allow specific powertrain components to reach an optimal temperature before starting. Here are four additional benefits of using a block heater.
1. Increased comfort
When the coolant inside your vehicle is warm, the inside of your car heats up 40 percent faster. This also ensures your windows defrost quickly.
2. Improved mechanical performance
A block heater makes it easier to start your car when it’s cold. Consequently, using one can help increase the lifespan of your ride. The battery, for example, doesn’t have to use as much energy. Plus, combustion becomes much more efficient, meaning you won’t have to change your oil as often.
3. Fuel savings
Vehicles connected to block heaters consume up to 15 percent less fuel during the first 12 miles of driving. This allows you to save at the gas pump
4. Reduced emissions
Warming up your engine minimizes exhaust emissions produced when you start your vehicle. Using a block heater is also much less polluting than idling. However, to avoid wasting electricity, you should plug in your car no more than three to four hours before driving. Your engine won’t get any warmer after this point.
If your car doesn’t have a block heater, you can install an aftermarket model on almost any vehicle. Ask your mechanic about the various options.
Three indispensable automotive inventions
Modern vehicles are more technologically advanced than ever before. However, some of the tech you take for granted didn’t always exist. Here are three inventions that revolutionized the automotive industry.
1. Winter tires
Winter tires improve grip and handling on snowy and icy roads. The very first ones were invented in Finland in 1934. Designed by Nokian Tyres, they were initially intended for large transport trucks. However, two years later, they were adapted to passenger vehicles. Modern winter tires were invented in the 1970s.
2. Seat belts
Seat belts significantly reduce the risk of being killed or seriously injured in a car accident. The precursor to the seat belt can be traced back to a harness designed by an aeronautical expert in the early 19th century. However, the first patent for automobile seat belts was filed in 1885 by Nils Bohlin of Volvo.
The modern two-strap belt was introduced in 1959. In 1968, the federal government mandated that all new cars in the United States include seatbelts at all seating positions.
3. Windshield wipers
If you’ve driven in the rain, snow, mud, or slush, you understand the importance of windshield wipers. This innovation was patented in 1903 by Mary Anderson, who designed a swing arm with a manually operated rubber blade. In 1917, Charlotte Bridgwood created the first electric wiper blades. Automatic wipers were patented in 1964 by Robert Kearns.
It goes without saying that driving would be a lot more difficult without these inventions.