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Battery Terminals

Your car battery is one of the most important parts of your car and regular maintenance. That’s why it’s important to take care of your battery terminals properly. Cleaning them right will ensure your battery lasts longer and keeps working the way it should…

Battery Terminals: Keep Them Clean

Checking the terminals

The first step of maintaining your battery terminals to give them a quick check. The terminals should be on top of the battery itself. Usually, there will be a plastic or rubber cover on top of them which helps to protect the clamps from the outside elements.

What you may see is a buildup of a white, powder-like substance. This residue builds up over time and is what causes so many battery-related issues. As an extra precaution, put on some work gloves and safety glasses to prevent that residue from contacting your skin and eyes.

Disconnect and clean

To remove this residue off your battery terminals, you’ll want to disconnect the battery itself. Loosen the negative clamp first, and then the positive one next. You might need to use a pair of pliers if there’s a lot of built-up corrosion. Avoid touching any metal while doing this, or else you risk shorting out the battery.

Once you’ve disconnected the battery, then you can clean it. Most people like to use an equal mixture of two tablespoons of baking soda and water and use a toothbrush and wire brush to scrub off the residue. You can also use a can of soda which’ll do the job just as well!

Rinse and reconnect

Now that your battery terminals are clean, it’s time to clean off any remaining cleaning paste or soda. All you need is a spray bottle of water and a clean rag. Just spray the terminals and use the rag to rinse and remove anything that’s left on the terminals.

When you’re reconnecting the battery, this time start with the positive clamp, then do the negative clamp. Be sure that the clamps are properly secured and use a wrench if needed. From there, just re-secure the covers and your battery will be good to go.

Car Smells: Sniffing Out Issues

Whether you’re in the kitchen or behind the wheel, what you smell can tell you a lot about a situation. When it comes to car smells in particular, there are a few in particular that you need to watch out for. From sweet to sickly and everything in between, our guide is here to help you be prepared in case something strange wafts up your nose when you’re behind the wheel. Furthermore, consider performing routine maintenance to combat these issues before they ever begin.

Car Smells: What to Watch For

Sweet syrup

The smell of sweet syrup might seem like one of the more pleasant car smells. However, it actually can indicate a major issue. In particular, this sort of smell could indicate a possible problem with your engine’s cooling system.

This sweet smell tends to come from ethylene glycol, which is a crucial component in your engine’s coolant. When you smell this, it may be because your radiator or a hose has sprung a leak. This is something you’ll want to get fixed as soon as you can, and thankfully, it usually isn’t too complicated. You may just need to get a new hose or heater core, and then you’ll be good to go.

Burning smells

 Other car smells to watch for are any burning ones. A constant burning rubber smell probably doesn’t have anything to do with your tires. Rather, it could be due to a shifting drive belt, which may be rubbing up against another engine component. This can be seen just by looking into the engine, just make sure you give it time to cool down first!

A burning carpet smell, on the other hand, may be coming from your brakes. Now, if you’ve been using the brakes a lot, this isn’t something to worry about. However, if it lingers, then you may have a problem with your brake pads and should inspect them to see if they need replacing.

Rancid smells

Rancid car smells are definitely not pleasant. Not only that, but they could indicate some serious issues with your car. For instance, old locker room-like scents could be due to mildew forming in your car’s air filter. Running the fan on high for a few minutes can fix the problem.

A rotten egg-like smell coming from underneath your car might be from a failed catalytic converter. It could be that all you need is to replace your fuel filter. More-serious issues may need you to go even further and have the entire converter itself replaced.

Car Breakdown Management

No one likes to think about what happens when things go wrong while on the road. However, it always helps to be prepared just in case of emergencies. That’s why it’s important to know how to handle a car breakdown. That way, you can keep yourself safe even when on the busier roads…

Car Breakdown Management: Roadside Trouble

Get off the road

The first thing you’ll want to do when handling a car breakdown is to get off the road as soon as you can. You should turn on your hazards lights to let other drivers know something is wrong. That way, they’ll know they should give you some space for you to get off the road. You’ll want to keep your hazards on until your car is either fixed or towed. 

Ideally, you’ll want to pull over on the right shoulder of the road in the event of a car breakdown. This will give you the most space away from the road. If that’s not an option, try and get into the right lane and look for a place to pull off if you can. Only go onto the left shoulder if you have no other options. If you’re in a residential area, then you can try to pull into a parking spot or lot.

Make sure you’re safe

Once you’ve pulled over, your priority should be making sure you’re safe. Make sure that the coast is clear before you get out of your car, especially when on a busy highway. It might be a safer idea to stay in your car instead, for example if the weather is poor. However, if you see any fire or smell smoke during a car breakdown, you should get out of your car quickly.

Once you’re safe, you can give your car a look over. You can try to see if there are any obvious signs of problems. Popping the hood is handy not only for checking your engine, but also as a universal signal to others of a car breakdown.

Call for help

​Once the situation is under control, it’s time to call for help. Much like with other car problems, you won’t want to handle a car breakdown by yourself. If you have a roadside assistance provider, then you’ll want to give them a call. If that’s not an option, then a local towing company or even 911 can help you with getting yourself and your car to safety.

Car Seats: Child Safety

Car seats help to keep your children safe in case of a car accident. However, many people are unaware of what kind of seat is the best choice for their child. Knowing what kind of seat your child should be using can help make sure your child is as safe as possible in the car.

Car Seats: Avoiding Child Injuries in Car Accidents  

Rear-facing seats

Rear-facing car seats are the first kind of seat a child should use. These variations are the recommendation for children who are infants up to 3 years old. These seats help reduce the stress of an accident on the child’s head and spinal cord.

Generally, rear-facing seats are mainly intended for newborns and infants.  

Most children will outgrow these seats at about 8 to 9 months. However, it’s important to not move up to the next type of car seat until a child meets the required height and weight limits.

Forward-facing seats

Forward-facing car seats are the next option available for children. These seats are best for children ages 1 up to 7. These seats also tend to come in convertible variants, which allows you to switch from rear-facing to forward-facing when needed.

Forward-facing seats make use of a harness to keep your child in place. This harness helps to distribute the impact of a crash more evenly over a child’s body. Furthermore, the tethers and anchors help keep the seat in place during an accident.

Booster seats

Finally, the last car seat option is the booster seat. Booster seats are intended for children age 4 all the way up to age 11. As with the forward-facing seat, you should move your child up to a booster seat only when they meet the height and weight requirements.

Booster seats also come in two common variants. Booster seats with backs add more neck and head support for the child. Generally, these are good choices if your car lacks head rests or high seat backs. If your car does have these features, then you can opt for a backless seat instead. Make sure to check your vehicle and make the best decision accordingly.

Good car seats help keep your child safe when in the car…

These seats give added protection to the child’s weaker body that normal seat belts can’t provide yet. Make sure to also follow the manufacture instructions for installing these seats to ensure they’re being used properly.

Animal Accidents: Roadway Obstructions

Driving can already be stressful enough dealing with other drivers. However, you’ll also have to keep an eye out for wild animals too. Animal accidents can be quite scary, as well as costly. That’s why it’s important to know how you can avoid them in the first place…

Animal Accidents: How To Avoid Them

Learn the area

The first step in avoiding animal accidents is to learn what animals are in the area. This is especially important for when you travel. For example, maybe you like to do some fall travelling. However, fall can be a time where there’s more deer around, potentially resulting in more of them on the roads. Knowing this can help you stay alert when you do your driving.

As for your own nearby areas, try to learn the times and areas where animals appear to be the most active. Usually, many are active from dawn and dusk, but many animals are becoming more active at night too. 

Not to mention, roads with woods on both sides tend to be popular crossings for animals. In turn, these areas are at a higher risk for animal accidents. Keep these in mind so you can spot some areas which might be popular with animals next time you drive. 

Avoid distractions

Distracted driving already increases the risk of you getting into an accident with other drivers. So, it makes sense that it also increases the chances of you getting into animal accidents too. If your focus isn’t on the road, then you’ll be setting yourself for danger. 

Many times, animals can quickly run out onto the road unannounced. That gives you just a few seconds to react. However, if you’re distracted, then you’ll end up with very little to no time to react. Therefore, increasing your chance of animal accidents. That’s why it’s best to avoid any distractions as best you can.

Watch your speed

Often times, the speed limit will be lower than usual in areas with heavy animal activity. It can be easy to brush these restrictions off and pay them no mind. However, that’s just setting yourself up for a potential animal accidents.

These restricted speed limits are put in place for good reason. Going slower will give you more time to react to any animals on the road. It’s better to temporarily go slower rather than get into an potentially-avoidable accident.

Courtroom Impressions: Making the Right One

Sometimes, obtaining a lawyer for a traffic ticket means you don’t have to appear in court. Sometimes, even with a lawyer, you do have to appear. Courtroom impressions can go a long way to help or hinder your case. However, there are steps you can take to improve your chances in front of a judge.

Courtroom Impressions: What You Should (& Shouldn’t) Do

What You Should Do:

Be Respectful

Being respectful is a simple way to give good first courtroom impressions. Before it is your turn, you should pay attention to other cases. It’s not a good sign if the judge is bothered by your behavior before it’s your turn. Remain quiet and patient while waiting for your case to be heard.​

Turn Off Your Phone

Some courthouses do not even allow phones past security. For those that do, make sure your phone is off before entering the courtroom. You can ensure good courtroom impressions by not distracting the judge or others with a ringing cellphone during court proceedings.

Dress to Impress

For some it may be obvious to wear proper clothes to court. However, some might not think about it. In addition to the “look good, feel good” mantra that many abide by, dressing in a business casual manner shows you care about the courtroom impressions you make.

What You Shouldn’t Do:

Argue with an Officer

If you have an issue with the behavior of the officer who gave the ticket, do not go in looking for an argument. Arguing can be disrespectful to the officer, the judge, and the court in general. In addition to being respectful, leave the arguing to another day. Courtroom impressions make all the difference when hoping for a reduction.

Ask to Leave

When going to court, you should be prepared to be there for a while. Asking how long it will take or when you can leave will give the judge and other bad courtroom impressions of you. This will make it harder for a dismissal or lessened ticket.

Chew Gum

Sounds simple, but chewing gum can be a giant distraction in the courtroom. For some it might be a nervous habit. Leave the gum out of it and earn the positive courtroom impressions you deserve.