You hear a lot about the importance of wheel alignment, sometimes called tire alignment – mostly from car mechanics. But like a dentist who implores you to brush your teeth regularly, the automobile mechanics of the world are right. Wheel alignment is very important to the health of your vehicle. If your wheels aren’t aligned, it’s a little like ignoring a cold that turns into the full-blown flu. Why wheel alignment is important. If we go with the health and body analogy, think of your wheel alignment as your spine. If your back goes out, it’s hard to walk, bend over or do much of anything. If your vehicle’s suspension system goes out of alignment that can lead to trouble with your tires, your vehicle and even your steering wheel. Wheel alignment is basically your car’s back. Here’s what generally will happen if your wheel alignment is out of sorts. Your tires will become uneven. Maybe not right away, but as you driv ... read more
At some point, if you keep your car long enough, your battery will need to be replaced. It’s just the circle of battery life. You’ll never keep it going indefinitely, past the usual three to five-year time frame that most of them last. Still, there are strategies you can try, if you’re really interested in keeping your battery around as long as possible. Some of those strategies include… Don’t leave your car out in the heat. Sadly, if you live in, say, Phoenix, your car battery probably won’t last as long as if you live in Minnesota. In other words, the heat can take a toll – and so if you park outside on hot, humid summer days, you may be prematurely aging your car battery. Take longer drives. The longer your car drives, the more your battery becomes fully charged. Now, nobody’s suggesting that if you have to run out to get some cold medicine at the pharmacy two miles away that instead you make it a 900-mile road trip ... read more
Have you ever felt like you were driving inside a blender? That is, your car started shaking uncontrollably? If that’s ever happened to you, you probably needed new shock absorbers. Shock absorbers do exactly what they say they do – they absorb shock, which means that you can control your car. Without shock absorbers, your car is going to bounce. It’s going to be hard to steer, especially on turns. When you brake, you may find your car dips downward a bit. Driving a car with shocks that are falling apart is a little like going on a ride at an amusement park, without the amusement. So how can you tell if your shocks are worn and need replacing? Obviously, if your car is shaking uncontrollably, you probably need shock absorbers (or maybe struts, which is similar to a shock absorber but a little more complex of a fix). And if you don’t need shocks, you at least need to take your car to your ... read more
Owning a business isn’t for everyone, but for some, it’s a calling. You know who you are. But if you haven’t started a company but have thought about being a business owner for years, it’s probably because you’ve been thinking, what do I sell? How do I get started? What if I build a business and nobody comes? Those are all good, smart questions. We’ve all read the statistics about how numerous businesses fail. Which is one reason a lot of business owners think about franchising. Of course, franchises can flop, too, for a variety of reasons (Blockbuster never saw Netflix coming…), but generally, if you buy into a good one, you at least have a strong brand name going for you and a business mo ... read more
If you enjoy murder mysteries, here’s one for you. Who is killing your car? And now the surprise ending – the murderer may be you. Unfortunately, even the best car owners can get lax in maintaining their vehicle. It’s very easy to take any vehicle for granted and forget all of the little things we need to do, to keep our cars running well. So, no worries. But if you want to take better care of your car, here are several ways that perfectly well-intentioned people end up hurting their vehicles. Putting off repairs. Nobody wants to hear that they need to replace and alternator or fix a coolant leak, and it’s true that car problems often come at financially inconvenient times, but delaying something in your car that needs fixing could later put you in a real fix. For instance, your car can’t start without an operating alternator, and if your alterna ... read more
So you’ve just paid off your car. It only took a million years, but finally, you can relax and not worry about monthly payments. For at least a week. Because you’re already thinking that you may need to buy a new car. After all, while it didn’t really take a million years to pay it off, it did take awhile, and your odometer shows that you’ve been driving it for well over 100,000 miles now. Isn’t it time to get a new car? Not necessarily -- and especially not if you’d like to hang onto your car for as long as possible. It’s also financially smart to try and keep your car running for as long as you (safely) can. According to Consumer Reports, motorists who have a car that hits 200,000 miles – which generally takes 15 years -- end up savi ... read more
It isn’t a topic anyone likes to think about, but someday, your car battery is going to die. If you’re lucky, it won’t happen to you when you’re in some random parking lot a gazillion miles from home. Fortunately, the car battery isn’t likely to die when you’re driving; the alternator keeps the battery operating. Of course, if something goes wrong with the alternator, you could wind up on the side of the road… But you don’t need to be caught by surprise. There are clues that will alert you that it’s time to change your battery. If being stuck in random parking lots and unexpected places isn’t your idea of fun, and you’d like to head off trouble at the pass, look for these red flags. The car seems to be having trouble starting. The engine seems to be having trouble revving up? Maybe it won’t start until y ... read more
Some easiest-to-ignore things in life are some of the most important to remember. You probably don’t think about your tire pressure much, but arguably, we all should. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tire failure causes about 11,000 crashes a year. And some of those crashes are deadly. Even if they aren’t fatal, you feel may feel like you just lost a few years off your life after having one. A tire blowout can be very scary. For instance, in February 2018, a TV station reported a driver whose tire blew out near Kingsport, Tennessee – the driver (who not injured) lost control of his car, which then went through a median and a cable barried and dragged the tangled cables ... read more
Driving in the fog is a unique experience and it’s far more dangerous to drive in the thick, soupy stuff than you likely realize. According to the Federal Highway Administration’s latest numbers, over 38,700 vehicle crashes occur annually as a result of the fog. Over 600 people killed every year because of it, and 16,300 people are injured. So the next time a fog settles over your community, and you have to go driving out in it, please think about these driving tips. Turn on your low beams. You would think since you can’t see, like, anything, that you’d want to turn on your headlights to the brightest setting possible. But fog is made up of little drops of water, and when you turn on your lights to the brightest setting, the light is reflected on the water. In other words, the light is diffused in a way that can make it harder for other drivers – an ... read more
Among the many things that require routine maintenance on our vehicles are spark plugs. If your mechanic says you need new spark plugs and you don’t understand why, the explanation of their importance may sound like a second language. Maybe you’d like to speak the language of your mechanic and have a sense of what spark plugs are and why they need to be in good working order. So, if you’re of the mindset that it can’t never hurt to learn a little about car maintenance, here’s your spark plug tutorial. Why spark plugs are important.
Your car won’t start without them. Why your car won’t start without spark plugs.
Here’s how the process works. A spark plug sends an electrical signal from the ignition coil. Spark plugs were well named because a spark is created, and that spark ignites the air-fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber – and the engine begins ... read more