Car Batteries: Replacing & Routine Maintenance

Your car battery is an important part for keeping things running properly. However, when it comes to replacing car batteries, many drivers don’t know when the time is right. Knowing the signs and factors of failing batteries can help you replace them before die for good. After all, routine maintenance is what makes a car go a long way…

Replacing Car Batteries: When is it Time?​

Signs of a dying battery

Knowing what a dying battery looks like is an important part of replacing car batteries. There are a few signs that you can check for even without going under the hood. For example, if your car is cranking slower or your check battery light is on, that can indicate that your battery is in need of change.

There are also some more obvious signs of a dying battery as well. A bloated battery case is a sign of an internal issue with the battery. Having battery leaks or residue buildup on the battery are also signs of your battery needing to be changed.

Climate implications

The climate can also have an impact on replacing car batteries. High temperatures can evaporate the water in your battery’s acid, hurting its performance and lifespan. It also can lead to increased corrosion both inside and outside the battery.

However, cold temperatures can be just as harsh on car batteries. Cold weather means your battery has to work harder to keep things running. It also can make your engine oil thicker, adding even more strain on your battery. 

Know your driving habits

How you drive certainly plays a large part in your battery’s life. Constantly taking short trips prevents your battery from having time to recharge. This can lead to an overall decrease in battery life and performance.

Even not driving can lead you to needing to change your battery. Your car batteries will continue to drain even when not in use. If your car hasn’t been used in a while, you might need to check if your battery still has some juice in it.

Driving with a dying battery can be quite risky. You run the risk of being left stranded if it dies while you’re driving. Knowing when and why you might need a battery change is helpful for avoiding this potential outcome.

Rolling Stop: A Small, But Easy to Get Violation

When it comes to traffic laws, we often pick and chose the ones we want to obey. For instance, we may try not to speed but probably don’t worry much about coming to a full stop. Instead, we just roll through the intersection or turn by doing a rolling stop. While this can seem like a small violation, it can actually be a very bad habit. 

Rolling Stop: Why to Avoid

Give Yourself Time to Judge

​The rolling stop can be rather dangerous because you don’t give yourself enough time to judge. When you come to a complete stop, you can assess the intersection or turn. Is another car coming? How far away is it? How fast is the car traveling? Do you have enough time to pull out safely without cutting the car off?

These are all questions that should run through your mind at a stop. Before you make the next, you should answer each one, allowing yourself to judge whether it’s safe. However, if you only do a rolling stop, you don’t give yourself enough time to judge any of these questions.

It May Cost You

The law requires you to come to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign. Therefore, a rolling stop or a failure to stop counts as a traffic violation. That means you could face a ticket if an officer stops you. That ticket will cost you in fines and fees. In some cases, too many violations can lead to an increase in your insurance premium

How to Prevent It

At times, it can be hard to prevent a rolling stop. You check quickly and don’t see anything or feel you have enough time. So, you just keep rolling through without thinking much about it. But coming to a complete stop requires a conscious effort. When you approach a stop sign, give yourself a three second count.

First, allow your tires to completely stop turning. That indicates that your car is at a complete stop. Once your tires stop spinning, count three seconds. During this time, judge any oncoming traffic and assess if you can move safely. If so, after the three seconds you are free to go. When you stick to a three second rule, you can be sure you’re coming to a full stop.

Spring Driving: Seasonal Hazards

With springtime in full swing and the winter weather long gone, you might think driving will be a bit easier. However, spring driving comes with it’s own hazards that you’ll want to watch for. Being mindful of these risks will help keep you safe and enjoy the spring weather while on the road…

Spring Driving: What To Watch For

Rain & floods

If winter is a time for snow, then spring is a time for rain. Springtime rain will make the roads wet and slippery, making your spring driving much more dangerous. Rain itself accounts for almost 50% of weather-related accidents. This rain could even cause flooding, which could completely block off roads and water-log your car. That’s why it’s important to know how to handle this kind of weather. You’ll want to watch your speed and give plenty of following distance when driving in the rain. This will allow you to slow down and stop safely as well, preventing potential hydroplaning. If the rain really bad, it’s probably best to just stay off the roads until it passes.

Road wear & tear

Winter weather can cause some serious damage to roads. Ice can cause cracks and holes to form in the asphalt, which remain well after the ice is gone. Snowplows, salt, and sand can also tear up the roads, causing potholes and other problems. As a result, your spring driving could be taking place on some pretty worn-out roads. Due to these less-than-ideal roads, you’ll want to pay extra attention to the roads ahead. Try to be on the look for any potholes or cracks which could cause problems for you. If you can, try to avoid these hazards. When you can’t, slow down and drive over them slowly to avoid serious damage to your tires and suspension.

Increased activity

​Spring also brings about some increased activity on the roads. Bikers, cyclists, and even animals will be much more common on the roads now. That’s why you’re going to want to be extra attentive when doing your spring driving. Make sure to share the roads properly, and avoid any distractions which could lead to accidents.

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.

Carpooling Benefits: Traveling Green

These days, carpooling has become something that many workers do on their commutes. In fact, you might know someone who carpools themselves. But what are the benefits attached to this? As it turns out, there are a good amount of reasons for why people choose to carpool…

Carpooling: What Are the Benefits?

Safer roads

One of the nice effects of carpooling is that it makes the roads safer. The more people who are in a carpool, the less number of cars there are on the road. Of course, when there’s less drivers on the road, they become safer as the risk of accidents is reduced.

Not only are the roads safer, but carpools also help reduce traffic congestion. Overall, not only do they reduce the risk of accidents and stress levels of other drivers, they also help speed up you commute as well. Plus, they also help keep your insurance rates down as you lessen the chance of your car ending up in an accident. 

Save money on gas

Another benefit to carpooling is how it helps you save money. Paying for gas for your commute can get pretty pricey, especially if your workplace is far from your house. However, if you carpool, your gas costs will go down quite considerably.

Most carpools will have everyone chip in a bit to cover the gas costs for the person whose car they’re using. Still, this will tend to end up being a lot less than you would pay on your own. Therefore, carpools are a great way to save a bit of extra money every week.

Better for the environment

Another great benefit of carpooling is how it helps the environment. An unfortunate side-effect of driving is the carbon dioxide it creates through the exhaust. In fact, a typical car emits about 4.6 tons of it a year! With how important cars are in our society, that all adds up quite quickly. 

However, when you carpool, those emissions go down considerably. A carpool can get multiple people to a place while only giving off the emissions of a single car. That’s why carpools are great if you’re trying to cut down on your carbon footprint.

Fuel Conservation Tips

We all can use fuel conservation tips to help when it comes to driving. You might be living off campus now, the kids are in school, and let’s face it— you might be looking to take an extra drive through those newly Fall-colored mountains. However, you might be looking for ways to keep those fuel costs to a minimum while still enjoying yourself

Fuel Conservation Tips: Saving Your Savings 

Carpool

If you and the neighbors have children attending the same day camps, try alternating days in a carpool. Similarly, you could suggest dropping them off if they pick the kids up. Carpooling works for all sorts of activities. You can also utilize carpooling for work and social events for additional fuel conservation.

Make a Single Trip

If you can, try to run all of your errands in one trip. For ideal fuel conservation, try to run them on your way home from work since you’ll already be out. If you can, park in one spot and walk to each place you need to get things. Turning the engine on and off for short spurts of time can begin to reduce your gas. Don’t use your trunk to store your belongings for too long, though! A heavier car will use more fuel.

Maintain Your Vehicle 

With clean air filters and recommended tire pressure, your fuel conservation will add up. Dirty filters and low tire pressure can reduce fuel economy. Keeping your gas tank at a quarter full will aid in getting the most out of your gas. In addition to maintaining your vehicle, you should drive with more anticipation. 

Stopping and accelerating with force will reduce your fuel conservation. Accelerate gradually and stop slowly. Driving the speed limit will also help save your gas! You should warm your vehicle too, but not for too long. Long warm ups are a waste of gas.

If Possible…

It’s not possible for everyone to get a smaller, lighter car. However, if it is for you, try to get a smaller car for long trips. Even day to day, a smaller car will save you money. If you can work from home, try to do that to reach your goal of fuel conservation.