Winter driving can be hazardous, but being well-informed can help keep you safe. Here’s a lighthearted quiz that will point you toward the information you need.
1. How often should you change your windshield wipers?
A) Every full moon
B) Annually, in the fall
C) Once per century
2. When should winter tires be installed?
A) Once the outside temperature drops to 45 degrees Fahrenheit
B) Once the birds begin their migration
C) At sunset on a Tuesday
3. How often should you wash your car in winter?
A) About once a month
B) Never: the snow will clean it
C) As often as your neighbor does
4. What should you do if your lock freezes?
A) Force your key to turn the lock and pray that it doesn’t break
B) Blow on the key to heat it up
C) Use a lock de-icer (sold in automotive shops) or heat the key with a lighter
5. What emergency items should you equip your car with in winter?
A) A shovel, windshield washer fluid and warm clothing
B) A blanket, pillow and sleep mask
C) A bikini, sunscreen and flip-flops
6. What should you do if you find yourself behind a snow removal vehicle?
A) Put the pedal to the metal and weave around it
B) Be patient: the road conditions are sure to be better behind the vehicle anyway
C) Wildly honk your horn to show your annoyance
7. What should you do if the back of your vehicle starts to skid on ice?
A) Slam the brakes and scream like a banshee
B) Let go of the wheel and close your eyes so you don’t see what happens next
C) Slowly turn the front wheels in the direction of the rear wheels while looking where you want to go
Congratulations — chances are pretty good you aced it!
1-B, 2-A, 3-A, 4-C, 5-A, 6-B, 7-C
How to get more mileage out of your gasoline
With the cost of gasoline set to spike, using gas efficiently will save money. Follow these tips to help you maximize your vehicle’s fuel economy.
Maintain a quarter tank
Some think that driving to the last drop in the tank saves money since they’re using every drop they buy and not storing it. But that can harm the car and decrease gas mileage.
In fact, according to carID.com, drive with at least a quarter of a tank at all times so that the fuel pump is submerged in gas and stays cool. As gas drops below a quarter tank, condensation forms in the tank, diluting the fuel and causing rust. On an empty tank, the pump can pick up these rusty bits, which can hurt the pump and the motor.
Keep your speed steady
Plan routes that will keep your travel at a steady speed, even if they might be a little longer. This can actually be more fuel-efficient than stop-and-go driving, according to The Next Trip.
When the weather is hot, turn on air conditioning while the car is still plugged in and let it cool, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. This will extend the car’s range.
Windows up on the highway, down in the city
On the highway, keep windows rolled up and air conditioning on to maximize fuel economy, according to the US Department of Energy. Open windows create drag from wind resistance.
But in slow, stop-and-go conditions, turn the AC off and roll the windows down to increase fuel efficiency.
Cruise control on flat roads
Cruise control is great for straight, flat terrain, but in hilly conditions, turn it off. Cruise tends to gulp gas to make the vehicle accelerate up hills. Turn it off and, instead, go steadily up hills, allowing your speed to decrease slightly on the ascent and then increase when you go downhill.
A guide to chrome accessories
If you want to enhance the look of your car without spending a fortune, chrome is an excellent option. Here’s the lowdown on chrome car accessories.
What’s chrome, and how’s it added to a vehicle?
Chrome is created through a process called electroplating. It requires that a coat of chromium be applied to a metal or plastic item.
Car accessories made of chrome can be either overlays or replacements. Overlays are coverings that fit existing vehicle parts and features. Replacements are complete parts, and installing them requires the removal of the old corresponding part.
What are the advantages of chrome?
First and foremost, chrome is stylish. This shiny, silvery material lends cars a polished, classy look. In addition, chrome accessories are generally stronger than the factory parts they replace.
What are the most popular chrome accessories?
Almost any car component can be accentuated with chrome (some auto enthusiasts even chrome-plated engine components). However, these are the most commonly chromed car parts:
• Door handles
• Gas cap
• Tail light trim
• Headlight trim
• Rocker panels
• Post trim
• Hood shield
• Fender trim
Chrome accessories are usually easy to install. However, if you’re looking for quality custom work, make sure to visit an auto body shop.
4 essential car care tips
May is Car Care Month, which makes it a perfect time to highlight the importance of keeping your ride in top shape. Here are four tips for taking care of your car.
1. Wash it regularly
Washing and waxing your car helps prevent the body and paint from getting damaged by corrosive debris such as road salt. Additionally, keeping your windshield, windows, mirrors, and lights spotless improves how well you can see while driving.
2. Clean the interior
It doesn’t take long for dust, dirt, and crumbs to collect inside your car. In addition to causing odors, contaminants can lead to bacteria growth and compromise the air quality in your car’s cabin. Keep the interior of your vehicle tidy by regularly vacuuming the seats and carpets, wiping down surfaces with a disinfectant cloth, and replacing the cabin air filter as needed.
3. Keep up with routine care
To prevent breakdowns, make sure to get your car regularly serviced. Refer to the user’s manual to determine the recommended maintenance schedule for your type of car. Even better, find a reliable mechanic who can suggest a maintenance timeline after inspecting and servicing your vehicle.
4. Look out for problems
Is your car making weird noises? Does it handle differently? Or maybe a dashboard warning light has come on? Addressing issues right away, even if they seem minor, can help you avoid costly repairs and keep you safe on the road.
Last but not least, make sure to practice safe driving to protect your car as well as yourself, your passengers and other road users.
4 medical conditions that can affect your driving
A variety of medical conditions can affect your ability to drive. Depending on the severity of your ailment, your license may be suspended or conditions may be added to it. Here are four medical conditions you should report to the driving authority in your state since they may lead to unsafe driving.
1. Sleep apnea
This disorder can cause drowsiness, make it difficult to concentrate, and slow down your reaction time. You should avoid driving alone until your condition can effectively be managed.
Stiffness, swelling, and joint pain can make it difficult to do certain things like checking your blind spots and use the brakes. To ensure you can drive safely, you should undergo a medical exam or consult with an occupational therapist.
3. Macular degeneration
This eye disease can prevent you from seeing things like road signs and painted markings on the highway. At its onset, you may be able to continue driving. However, as the disease progresses, you’ll be required to regularly meet with an optometrist.
This condition must be taken seriously as it can cause confusion and blurred vision. If you’re diabetic, make sure to regularly check your blood glucose level and never drive if you’re hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic.
If you don’t feel fit to drive, ask someone to accompany you, call a cab, take public transit or use a volunteer transportation service.
What to include in an emergency kit for your car
If a natural disaster strikes, having an emergency preparedness kit in your car could help keep you safe. This year for National Hurricane Preparedness Week, which takes place from May 9 to 15, consider keeping essential emergency supplies in your trunk. Though you may wish to customize your kit further, these are the items you should make sure to include:
• High-calorie, non-perishable food
• Toilet paper and paper towels
• Warm blankets
• Extra clothing and shoes
• Candles and matches
• A battery-operated or crank flashlight and radio
• A cell phone charger and extra battery
• A whistle
• A compass
• A first-aid kit
Additionally, you should keep these items in your trunk:
• Sand, salt, or cat litter
• Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid
• A small shovel, scraper, and snow brush
• A tow-rope
• Jumper cables
• A fire extinguisher
• Warning lights or road flares
Remember to restock or replace any expired items in your emergency car kit every six months.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to keep some extra cash in your kit. This way, you’ll be able to buy last-minute essentials if the power goes out and the ATMs and banks aren’t operating.
Regular, plus or premium: what should you fill up your car with?
There are three kinds of gas: regular, plus, and premium. Here’s a brief look at the different types and how you can determine which is best for your car.
Understanding the three fuel grades
The various types of gas have different octane ratings, which are a measurement of fuel stability. These ratings are based on the pressure at which a fuel will spontaneously combust in a test engine. The higher the number, the more stable the fuel. Regular gas has an octane rating of 87; plus gas has an octane rating that’s between 88 and 90, and premium gas has an octane rating that’s between 91 and 94.
Selecting the right type of gas for your car
The owner’s manual for your car will indicate what you should fill it up with. Always follow your car manufacturer’s recommendations.
If your car requires premium gas, this means that its engine has a high compression ratio and requires higher-octane fuel. Using regular fuel in a car that takes premium gas can affect engine performance, decrease fuel economy and even cause engine damage.
For cars that take regular fuel, however, there’s no need to fill up with a higher grade than advised. It costs more, and using it offers no benefits.
If your car manufacturer says that premium gas is recommended but not required, this means that the engine runs best on premium gas but can take a lower-grade fuel without the risk of engine damage.
If you aren’t sure which fuel grade to choose or can’t find this information in your owner’s manual, ask a qualified mechanic in your area.