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3 Surprisingly Simple Tips That Can Save You Money On Car Repairs

Posted by on Jun 8, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If you’re a car owner, you have to budget for occasional car repairs. It doesn’t matter how carefully you treat your vehicle, parts will wear out and need to be fixed or replaced. It can be expensive, but you may be paying more than you really have to. There are a few tricks that can help you save money on routine car repairs, and they’re easier than you may think. All it really takes is a little knowledge and preparation on your part. Take a look at a few of the very simple tips that can save you big bucks on your car repairs. Cut Down on Diagnostics When an engine is leaking oil, the problem is pretty obvious. However, when you bring the car in because you’re hearing a squealing or knocking sound in the engine, or because of some other hard to identify problem, part of what you’re going to pay for is the time the mechanics spend looking for the source of the problem. You can knock down the price by doing your part to diagnose the problem before you bring it in. An easy, low-tech way to do this is to keep a good record of all of the previous repairs and maintenance work you’ve had done on the car. Knowing what you have and haven’t had done on your car can help your mechanic narrow down the problem much more quickly. Get a folder or envelope to save the records of previous repairs and maintenance tasks and keep it someplace easily accessible, like your glove box. If you don’t mind investing some money into diagnosing your own car problems, you might also consider buying your own on-board diagnostics scanner. This is a device you can plug into your car that interprets signals from your car’s computer and lets you know what the problem is. You can buy the scanners from a number of online retailers. Or, for a less expensive option, you can buy a Bluetooth-enabled dongle and download a smartphone app that serves the same function as an on-board diagnostics scanner. With one of these devices you’ll be able to tell your mechanic exactly what the problem is. Suggest a Price Everyone’s heard stories about mechanics who blatantly overcharge their customers for their services. Maybe you’ve even had a similar experience yourself. Most mechanics are honest, but sometimes when you’re unprepared, it’s simply too easy to end up agreeing to an unnecessary upsell. The best thing that you can do to avoid needless upselling and overcharging is to suggest the price yourself. Studies have shown when customers of either gender quote a price to the mechanic, they end up receiving the same offer from the mechanic. This may be because, when you walk in with a price in mind, you’re showing that you’re already informed about your car repair, and therefore less likely to be talked into paying any more than you should. Avoid Double Charges Often, when one part of your engine needs to repaired, several other parts need to be removed in order to reach the part that needs repairs. The smaller the car and the more compact the engine, the more the parts tend to be in each others’ way. This can significantly add to your labor costs, but you...

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What New And Innovative Truck Features Do You Need?

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Competition in the full-sized truck market is heating up like never before. Anxious to grab market share, truck manufacturers are increasing towing power, enhancing fuel economy, and providing a luxurious and technologically advanced ride, like some features in the new F-150. With so many new features to choose from, how can you decide which you need — and which you can live without? Read on to learn more about some of the changes that have come (and are coming) to the truck industry, as well as which may hold some advantage for you. All-aluminum bodies In the past, trucks have often advertised the strength of their steel-bodied design — with commercials demonstrating rocks, mallets, and other heavy implements striking the truck and bouncing off without even the hint of a mark. However, federal guidelines governing fuel economy have required truck manufacturers to look outside the box for ways to help minimize the weight (and therefore the energy needed to move) these vehicles. One such innovation is an entirely aluminum body. While certain sportscars and high-performance vehicles have taken advantage of this strong but lightweight metal for years, trucks have only entered this market recently. However, in addition to providing increased fuel economy and handling ability, these aluminum bodies may also be safer than comparable steel-bodied trucks.  If safety and fuel economy are important qualities for your next vehicle, you may want to investigate those that have recently released their first aluminum-bodied design. Exterior cameras Another innovative safety feature is the installation of multiple exterior cameras around the perimeter of the truck. While rear-view or backup cameras have been commonplace for the last several model years of most full-sized pickups, some manufacturers have expanded these cameras to include bird’s eye cameras that will allow you to merge into traffic or make tight turns with ease. Some new trucks even have cameras that include a “guide line” to help you line up and place your truck’s hitch underneath a trailer (without requiring an extra set of hands and a guide spotter). For those who often find it necessary to hook up a trailer while traveling solo, or at night, these cameras can be invaluable.  Tailgate steps and other assistive devices If you dread climbing into the bed of your truck, help is on the way — in the form of retractable tailgate steps and kick-down side steps. These steps fold neatly under the rear of your truck when not in use, but can be kicked down with a toe (helpful in situations when you simply don’t have a free hand). These steps can provide you with an easy and simple path to the bed of your truck that won’t require you to crouch, hoist, or risk tearing your pants. These steps can also be handy if you’re actually tailgating, by providing a sturdy additional surface on which to place drinks or do prep work. Cargo and bed lighting If you’ve ever accidentally left your lights on overnight, draining your battery by morning, fear no more — today’s LED lights not only sip (rather than guzzle) energy, nearly all are on automatic timers to help avoid the inadvertent battery drain. Your new vehicle should beep at you upon your exit if you’ve accidentally left a light on. These energy-sipping LED lights are...

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How To Turn A Commercial Truck Into A Home

Posted by on Apr 9, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Are you interested in joining the tiny house movement? It is growing in popularity, and is an excellent choice if you want to live more simply, have fewer bills, and reduce your impact on the environment. The tiny house movement is so popular that there is even a reality TV show about people who live in tiny houses. There are a lot of different materials you can use to make tiny houses. Most of them are very inexpensive and allow you to live mortgage-free. You can also make the inside of your tiny house as luxurious as you want it, regardless of what you used to build it. One method of building tiny houses that is popular among those who like to travel is using a commercial truck. A commercial truck can easily be converted into an RV, which is essentially a tiny house on wheels. Here’s how to build your own mobile tiny house out of a used commercial truck. 1. Get a Used Commercial Truck in Good Condition Call around to used commercial truck dealers or look at online classified ads for commercial trucks for sale. A semi truck makes an excellent tiny house. It has plenty of space inside, a tall ceiling, and can be driven nearly anywhere. It can also be parked for extended periods of time in campgrounds and other public places that allow it. With a few additions like retractable steps to the front door and an awning, a semi truck can look quite attractive when it’s parked. Just make sure the truck is in good condition with no rust, no mechanical problems, and no dents you can’t pop out with ease, and you’ve found the framework for your new tiny home. 2. Add Electricity and Plumbing If you want to use traditional electricity run by a generator or the truck’s engine, get a professional electrician to install it for you. According to OffGridWorld,com, you can also choose to use solar panels on the roof of the truck for power. Plumbing should be traditional RV plumbing that connects to a water tank under the truck that you can empty and re-fill as needed. Be sure to install the electrics and plumbing before doing anything else to the interior, because you will be building walls over those parts to hide them. 3. Cut Out a Front Door and as Many Windows as You Like Using welding tools, cut out the outline for a front door and windows in the sides of the truck. You can add a skylight to the roof if you want one, too. You’re limited only by your imagination here. Once you have the holes for the doors and windows cut out, add glass and frames for the windows and install a door. The door should be on the side of the truck to make it look more like a real house. Get a retractable set of steps from the front door that you can use to enter and exit your home. 4. Decorate the Inside of Your New House Once you’ve got the basics set up, make the inside look as nice as you want it. Put wood frames up on the existing walls around the wiring and plumbing, and build interior walls to make individual rooms. Add insulation, then...

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8 Unlikely Places To Inspect On A Used Car Before Purchasing

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

While you shop for used car sales, it’s always important to check out the basics like the engine, transmission, and vehicle history report. There are also places that you may never think about inspecting. By taking an extra close look at the car you are about to purchase, you can ensure that the car you’re getting is the one you expect. As you shop through used car sales, it’s important to keep the following inspection options in mind. When talking with a used car dealer, they can often help you with a majority of these small tasks. Spare Tire The tread and air pressure on the car is a given inspection priority, but it’s also important to consider the fifth wheel of the car. If your used car is supplied with a spare tire, ensure that it is fully operational in case of an emergency. It’s fine to pull the tire out and make sure it’s in the best condition possible. While you look at the spare, check for the proper car jack tools to switch out flat tires. If the car has a tire patch kit instead of a spare, ensure that you have enough liquid goo to fill up the tire if there is a flat. Special Lights Along with checking the brake lights and headlights, ensure that the vehicle has properly working high beams and reverse lights. It’s nearly impossible to check reverse lights on your own, so this is where a little extra help from the dealer can come in. As you check for lights that are completely out, check for dim lights too. By replacing them early, you can drive safely and prevent any tickets for improper lights. Vents Working heat and air conditioning is important, but all of the vents in the vehicle can become an attraction to pests if it’s been sitting on the lot for a while. Use a bright flashlight to examine the vents and look for any possible mice or rat nests. It’s also a good idea to look under the hood and between components.  If anything is found, an air compressor can help remove the nests and debris. Gas Cap A loose or worn down gas cap can cause a check engine light and reduction in gas mileage. Ensure that the gas cap can secure tightly. Look for rust and worn areas on the actual part of the car where the gas cap goes in. Luckily this is an easy fix if there’s a problem. Seat Covers If the car has seat covers, it’s a good idea to remove them to check the condition of the real seat underneath. This can help you ensure that there are no major tears, cigarette burns, or other damage to the car seat. Glove Box Do a double check of the glove box to make sure no personal belongings were left behind. In many cars, there is a gap behind the glove box where small items may fall. Check this area for any important documents, CDs, or other small objects. Child Seat Gear Transporting children is important. Check the back seats of a used vehicle to make sure that all of the safety harnesses and latches are in place. If you currently own a car seat, it’s a good idea to bring...

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5 Reasons NOT To Warm Up Your Car During Winter

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Most people warm up their car in the winter time before driving it. Aside from the obvious reason, making the car warm inside, many people claim it is better for the health of the engine. If you warm up your car every morning, do you know why you do it? Probably not. In fact, warming up your engine isn’t necessary it all. Here are 5 reasons why you should NOT warm up your car before driving it. Your car will warm up faster while you driving. It’s not fun to get in a freezing car to drive to work. However, your car will warm up faster while you drive. Letting your car idle for a half hour won’t warm it up as much as driving it for only 5-10 minutes. The reason cars need to be “warmed up” for the health of the engine is because the fluids should completely lubricate the engine before driving it. According to the EPA, that only takes 30 seconds. Any longer than 30 seconds is unnecessary. You waste fuel. Another reason why some people idle their vehicle before driving it is to save on fuel costs. Cars get worse gas mileage in the winter time than they do in warmer weather. An experiment was done by Natural Resources Canada to see if warming up your car will actually save you gas. Three cars were driven the same length. One wasn’t warmed up, one was warmed up for five minutes, and another was warmed up for 10. The results showed that the car that wasn’t warmed up burned the least amount of gas. The car that was warmed up for five minutes burned 7-14% more fuel, while the car that was warmed up for 10 minutes burned 12-19% more. You hurt the environment. Hybrid, electric, and even solar vehicles are built all the time to reduce CO2 emissions. Even if you don’t have a “green” vehicle, you can still do your part by minimizing how much CO2 your car is producing. Eliminating 5 minutes of voluntary idling each day will have a huge impact on the environment. If every American cut 5 minutes off of their idling time they, as a whole, would save 3.8 million gallons of gas and 40,000 tons of CO2 each day. In one year that would add up to 1.4 billion gallons of gas and 13 million tons of CO2. You risk car theft.  It’s obvious that letting your car run unattended can invite criminals to steal it. What you may not know however, is how common it is actually becoming. Indianapolis, Indiana had a particularly high volume of winter car thefts just this last 2014/2015 winter. In one day 11 cars were stolen while people warmed them up before going to work. One car was even stolen with a child inside of it. Luckily, the car thief brought the child back safely to her mother, unfortunately, he kept the car. Considering these facts show how unnecessary it is to warm up your vehicle in the winter time, it definitely isn’t worth the risk of getting your car stolen. It’s bad for your health. Car exhaust pathogens include carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, polycyclic hydrocarbons, benzene, and more. All of these things are as bad as they sound...

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