Evan’s Auto Care has some tips and tricks for maintaining your car during the winter months. Maintenance is key anytime of the year, but especially inn the colder months of winter when being stranded can get quite cold and dangerous. In short, be prepared and have a plan.
Have your motor oil changed to a viscosity appropriate for your local temperatures. The lower viscosity oils (noted on the container by number, e.g. 5W−30) flow better and will therefore offer more protection in lower temperatures.
Have your cooling system drained, flushed and refilled with a fresh mixture of 50:50 antifreeze and water. The antifreeze will keep the fluids from freezing up, protecting your engine and its moving parts in cold weather conditions.
Ask for a safety inspection that includes belts, hoses, fluids, tires, lights and battery. Replacing these low−cost parts before it’s an emergency can often save you the much higher cost of inconvenience and repair in the event of a breakdown.
Have your windshield wiper blades replaced and your wiper fluid reservoir filled. These low−cost items can drastically improve your vision in winter conditions, thereby preventing accidents. Wiper blades should be replaced every six months because the rubber hardens over time and becomes ineffective.
Have the following items on hand during the winter months:
- Jumper cables.
- Windshield scrapers..
- A flashlight and spare batteries.
- Emergency flares.
- Traction aids (e.g. chains, sand, gravel).
Don’t try to force−turn a frozen lock, you can break the key off inside the lock. Instead, try one of these tricks:
- Use another door.
- Use a cigarette lighter or match to heat up your key before inserting it into the lock.
- Spray commercial deicer into the key opening.
- Use a hair dryer to shoot warm heat at the lock.
“Some people have no idea how much they’re spending on gas because they’re so disgusted by an increasing expense that they have no control over,” says Dorothy Barrick, group manager and financial counselor for Farmington Hills, Mich.-based credit counseling organization GreenPath Debt Solutions.
While you can’t control what your local gas station charges, here are five steps you can take to save on gas and reduce the amount you spend to fill up at the pump.
Take out your owner’s manual
A lack of familiarity with your car’s owner’s manual could be costing you money. It tells you what octane level of gasoline to use, the type of oil that’s most efficient and your car’s optimal tire pressure.
Very few auto manufacturers recommend premium fuel. “If you put that in, you’re unnecessarily spending money,” says John Nielsen, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Repair.
Proper maintenance, such as regular oil changes and air filter replacements, also can save on gas. In fact, you can increase your gas mileage by about 4 percent if you keep your engine tuned to your owner’s manual’s specifications, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
However, too much maintenance can negate your gas savings. While some people change their oil every 3,000 miles, their owner’s manuals may recommend doing so after 7,500 miles, Nielsen says.
In addition, properly inflated and aligned tires also can lead to savings on gas, potentially adding 3 percent to gas mileage, the FTC says. Check your tire pressure monthly, says Brandy Schaffels, senior editor at TrueCar.com. And you don’t have to get your hands dirty in the process since most tire centers will check it for free, Schaffels adds.
Remove junk from the trunk
One of the easiest ways to save on gas is to get the junk out of the trunk. Take a few minutes to determine what you need to carry around and chuck the rest. The lighter your car, the less work your engine has to do, Schaffels says. The FTC estimates that an additional 100 pounds in the trunk can decrease fuel economy by up to 2 percent.
Avoid using your trunk as a storage unit. “Don’t leave golf clubs in there all week if you only play on weekends,” says Ronnie Kweller, spokeswoman for the Alliance to Save Energy in Washington, D.C. Likewise, a change in seasons could be a natural time to clean house. For example, shovels or bags of salt that you hauled around in the winter should be moved to your garage now that spring is here.
Adjust your driving habits
We live in a fast-moving society, but you should “plan to spend a little bit longer getting to where you need to go because aggressive driving is a tremendous fuel burner,” TrueCar’s Schaffels says. Avoid quick starts and stops. Coasting to a stop is more cost-effective than waiting until you get up to a red light to slam on the brakes. You can improve your fuel economy around town by up to 5 percent by driving more gently, the FTC says.
Plan your trips, so you can string multiple stops together and avoid driving during rush hour, Nielsen says. Also, it’s more cost-effective to turn your car off and on than to idle for a long time, so if you’re waiting at a drive-through, consider turning the ignition off. Warming a car for an extensive period of time is also unnecessary. If you’re spending more than 30 seconds warming your car, you’re wasting money, Nielsen says.
And when you drive faster than 60 miles per hour, your gas mileage decreases. “Every five miles over 60 mph is like paying another 20 cents per gallon for gas,” Kweller says.
Take advantage of gasoline apps
Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to pay less at the pump. A number of smartphone apps can show you maps of gas stations in your area and let you sort by price and location. Among those recommended by Schaffels are the free GasBuddy, the free AAA TripTik Mobile and the $2.99 Fuel Finder.
However, price isn’t the only thing you should consider when using these apps.
“Costco gas might be 10 cents or 15 cents cheaper, but if you’re going to wait in line a half hour to pay that, what’s the value of your time versus what you’re going to save?” Schaffels asks.
The same applies if the station with the lowest-priced gas is miles away. “It might be worth paying a couple pennies more per gallon for the gas station that’s around the corner as opposed to driving a couple of miles to save,” Schaffels says.
Cash in on rewards and loyalty programs
Some credit cards offer cash back on gas purchases. Likewise, some retailers reward spending with discounts at affiliated gas stations. These offerings can potentially save you money as long as you recognize they’re not always the ideal choice.
Many gas stations offer a lower price per gallon if you pay in cash so compare the rewards or loyalty discount to the cash option to see which is a better deal.
In the case of loyalty programs, make sure the gas station that’s offering the program is close enough to justify the savings. When it comes to credit card rewards, keep your card in your pocket, and use cash if you carry a balance on the card, GreenPath’s Barrick says. If you’re paying interest on the card, that’s just adding to your gas budget, Barrick says.
Anyone can cut their spending on gas with a little forethought and planning. “Very small incremental items add up to make a larger difference,” Schaffels says.
Article by Tamara Homes, Bankrate.com, 05/11/2012.
In a previous issue of this newsletter, we began examining the major differences between credit unions and banks. In this issue, we will continue the discussion.
Membership requirements also set credit unions apart from banks. As mandated by the Credit Union Membership Access Act of 1998, credit unions cannot serve the general public. Banks, of course, can offer services to everyone who walks through their doors.
In order to join a credit union, potential members must be part of a field of membership, which is typically based on your employment, the community you live in, or membership in an association or organization.
There are, however, a number of ways that banks and credit unions are similar. The deposits of both entities, up to $250,000, are insured by one of two federal agencies: the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
It’s important to note that not all credit unions offer government-backed insurance, so be sure to verify that your credit union is a member of the NCUA.
Banks and credit unions are subject to periodic regulatory and federal insurance examination.
Additionally, credit unions and banks are both required to operate under federal or state charters.
Both credit unions and banks are required by federal law to verify the identity of their applicants.
Finally, banks and credit unions alike offer a variety of financial services, from checking and savings accounts, to consumer and business loans, to mortgages and credit cards, and more.
The contrasts between credit unions and banks may seem subtle at first glance, but their variations can make a big difference in your experience as a customer. To learn if credit union membership is right for you, contact Emery Federal Credit Union.
Proper insurance for your car and proper maintenance for your home are key. It’s recommended that you do your research on insurance providers and home improvement and repair contractors. We’ve done the work for you when it comes to home improvement contractors. So any time that you need repairs or improvements to your home, contact Home Services Link. We’re your home improvement connection in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, so if you need a plumber, electrician, landscaper, handyman, general contractor, flooring specialist, painter or even a personal assistant, HomeServicesLink is here to help.
Car Insurance 101
Car insurance is one of the biggest expenses we have in our annual budgets, but it’s also one of the most important. The right car insurance policy can protect us in the event of an accident, and also help us get back on the road and recover quickly. If you are searching for car insurance rates, be sure to consider all of these car insurance tips. Each can help you consider different factors of the industry.
Research and Compare Car Insurance Providers
It’s very wise to do your homework and consider several different car insurance companies. This is so you not only save money, but also so you can verify that you’re working with a reputable and trusted insurance company. There are several different consumer-friendly Web sites that provide reviews of insurance carriers. You also can ask friends and colleague about their insurance providers and their feelings about them. No mater what, be sure to use a service that will help you get competitive quotes from several companies at once. This allows you to compare, contrast and make an educated decision.
Understand the Different Coverage Types
There are so many terms related to car insurance – property damage liability, bodily injury liability, uninsured motorist protection, collision coverage. Make sure you understand the phrases and terms in your policy, and how they relate to your overall benefit. Most states, for example, will have set rules about property damage liability and bodily injury liability coverage. Some other types of coverage, such as uninsured motorist protection, might be up to you to purchase. Ask your carrier to explain these if they are not clear.
Determine How Much Coverage You Need
As you go about getting car insurance quotes, it’s important to think about exactly how much insurance you should get. While each state prescribes a minimum amount of coverage that is necessary, you will definitely need more than the state minimum. But figuring out exactly how much can be a challenge.
One of the most important pieces of car insurance information is the overall value of your vehicle. Quite simply, if your car isn’t worth a ton then you probably don’t need to have the most expensive auto insurance policy out there. But if your car does have a lot of value, then you’ll probably want a pretty comprehensive policy. Regardless, be sure to get enough coverage to protect you in the event that you’re in an accident. Remember, insurance covers not only your vehicle, but also any health care costs, lost wages, and property damage that could result from an accident.
Perhaps the best car insurance advice you can receive is to always receive competitive quotes. By doing this, you’re making sure that you’re getting the type of coverage you need and also at the best price. Look at not only the premiums quotes, but also the deductibles, the coverage ranges, and the limits of the policy’s benefits. Look at the policies side-by-side, and decide which one offers you the best overall coverage for the dollar.
Take Advantage of Possible Discounts
Discounts? On car insurance? You bet. As you go about getting competitive quotes, don’t forget to ask about any ways you can save overall on your car insurance costs. One of the most common types of car insurance discounts is a “multi-policy discount,” in which your insurance company will reduce your overall premium when you add another policy – such as your homeowner’s insurance policy. You also could receive discounts if you attend driver’s education courses (or if your teenager does) and if your car is equipped with safety features. Be sure to ask your agent whether you are eligible for any discounts before you take out a policy.
Article courtesy of InsuranceRate.com.
We all want the best value for our money whether it’s for home improvements or car repairs and maintenance. So how do you save money, do what’s right for the environment and help business owners continue to operate? It’s simple, follow the recommended maintenance for your car and your home. HomeServicesLink can help Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homeowners locate screened, insured and quality home improvement contractors.
We also want to help you take care of your other large investment, you automobile, so we’ve shred this recent article from TrueCar (Brandy Schaffels, Senior Editor).
Do you change your oil every 3,000 miles? The majority of drivers on the road have been bombarded by advertising that recommends changing their car’s oil every 3,000 miles, but the truth is that interval is no longer really necessary. Yes, engine oil does get dirty, and when that happens, it can clog engine parts, but if you’re driving a car that’s less than five years old, you’re probably wasting money — and oil — if you change it as frequently as that. Yes, knowing when to change oil is not as simple as some ad campaigns would have you believe.
Changing the oil in your car every 3,000 miles was necessary in the 1970s, when most cars used 10W-40 oil, which tended to wear out within about 3,000 miles. Thanks to improvements in high-quality lubricants and tighter tolerances in the assembly of automotive engines, the 3,000-mile baseline simply does not apply to many cars on the road today; in fact, automakers now recommend you change oil at 5,000, 7,000, 10,000 or even as high as 15,000 miles for newer models under ideal driving conditions. For example, Toyota recommends you change oil at 5,000 miles for a 2005 Tacoma pickup, Honda recommends 7,500 miles for its 2002 Odyssey, General Motors suggests 7,500 miles for its 2007 Chevrolet Malibu, and Ford recommends 10,000 miles for its 2011 Fiesta. A 2008 Porsche Boxster can go 12,000 miles between changes, and a 2010 BMW 3 Series can go up to 15,000 miles before you change oil under ideal conditions; with this kind of complexity, it’s easy for consumers to be confused.
Almost 15 million Californians change their motor oil every 3,000 miles or more often, using more than 150 million gallons of motor oil each year – enough oil to fill 255 Olympic-sized swimming pools, according to a recent study by CalRecycle. CalRecycle spokesperson Jeff Danzinger says their studies indicate the state could reduce total motor oil consumption by as much as 10 million gallons per year if motorists were to change oil according to manufacturer recommendations. “If you’re changing your oil too soon, you’re needlessly creating waste oil and putting a strain on the system and supply,” Danzinger explains.
And that’s just California — wonder how much oil is being wasted across the entire United States by people who have fallen victim to advertising and don’t follow the intervals recommended in their owner’s manual? Across the country, reprocessors treat about 1.1 billion gallons of used oil yearly according to the American Petroleum Institute (API).
Unless you’re driving a car that’s more than ten years old, or under super extreme conditions, there’s really no reason to change your oil at 3000 miles anymore. Let’s put that amount into dollars: Changing motor oil according to manufacturer specifications would reduce motor oil demand in California by approximately 10 million gallons per year, and could halve the amount of money those drivers spend on oil changes, which average about $25 at quick-change facilities and can cost significantly more if your vehicle uses long-life synthetic oil. Under normal driving conditions, following the automaker’s recommended intervals will not affect your car’s engine, its performance, or your warranty.
What Is Considered Severe Use?
Severe use involves extensive idling or driving frequently in stop-and-go traffic; operating in cold temperatures below
10 degrees or extreme temperatures above 90 degrees; extreme humidity; repeated short-distance trips of less than five miles; towing a trailer or hauling heavy materials; or using E85 fuel more than 50 percent of the time. If you do drive in any one of these conditions in a typical week, you are driving in severe conditions, and may need to change oil more often.
What Happens if you Don’t Change Oil in Your Car?
As Alina Tugend of the New York Times says, “It just gets dirtier and dirtier. It’s like mopping the floor with a bucket of water and detergent. The water starts out clean, but the more you use it, the filthier it gets. Eventually, you’re making the floor dirtier if you don’t change the water.” Dirty oil no longer lubricates properly, increasing friction, operating temperature, and causing the engine to wear faster.
Do You Know When to Change Oil?
Your vehicle’s owners manual will tell you how often you need to change your oil. If you drive a newer model, the car may just tell you when you need to change your oil. Since 2003, General Motors has equipped nearly its entire North American lineup with the GM Oil Life System; in fact, since the 2010 model year, nearly half of American carmakers now offer Oil Life Monitoring Systems to tell drivers when their car actually needs its oil changed, including Acura, BMW, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, and Mini. These Oil Life Monitoring systems automatically monitor engine characteristics, driving habits, cold starts, short-distance trips, and the climate in which the vehicle is operated, and then notify the driver when it is time to get an engine oil change with an signal on the dash indicating it’s time for service.
If you are an extremely low-mileage driver you should change oil at least once a year. Otherwise, if your vehicle is equipped with an oil life monitoring system, you can trust the info/alert in your dashboard to tell you more accurately when you need a change. Don’t have an Oil Life Monitoring System? Consult your owner’s manual, your auto manufacturer’s official website, or authorized dealer for more information. Curious about your car right now but don’t have an owner’s manual handy? You can find suggested oil change intervals for many makes and models all the way back to the 2000 model year on the nifty widget at www.checkyournumber.org.