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Drive Safely: Rainy Season in Atlanta is Here!

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Here in Atlanta, the weather system has been delivering quite a bit of rain in these last few weeks and it’s showing no signs of letting up any time soon. While this a quite typical this time of year, it’s always good to be prepared but most importantly preventive. With just a few simple steps, you can rest assuredly that you’ve taken all the necessary step to stay safe of the road! Check them out below. slideshow_1464955_rain.0206_1

Check-up and servicing:  During the rain season, servicing is the most essential thing to do. Your car must have gone through scorching heat during long drives during the summer. Hence, it is important to make it ready to face clogged, watery roads in heavy traffic zones which come naturally with the rains. Ensure safe drive during the monsoons.

Avoid skidding: Replace cracked tires, check air pressure and make sure the wheels are properly balanced and aligned. This will prevent your car from skidding on a wet road. This is all the more necessary when the first shower arrives.

Check the brakes: Make sure that your car brakes are well-oiled and are working properly. You never know when you may have to hit the brakes on a wet, slippery road.

Frame protection from rust and corrosion: Your car’s metal frame protects the internal components from moisture. So keep it clean and scratch-free to avoid corrosion. As you are well aware, water corrodes metal.

Protect your car’s paint: Do get a wax coating done just before the rains hit, to protect your cars’ paint from the rain. Alternate wet and dry spells can cause the paint to fade and peel.

Check your cars’ headlights and taillights: Ensure that these are working properly as during a heavy downpour, visibility is poor, not only for you but also for the driver behind you.

Buying a New Car? Consider Going ‘Green’

Monday, October 19th, 2015

If you’re in the market to buy a new car, going “green” or purchasing a hybrid vehicle could save you loads of cash! While the idea is still somewhat of a novelty since the popularity of  hybrid cars took flight int he early 2000’s, the more we learn, the more it makes “cents” to at least look into it, no? So here’s the deal, we’ve put together a list of reasons why it’s something to consider, take a look! prius-plugin-plugin-mode-desktop-1

What Is a SmartWay Certified Vehicle? A SmartWay Certified Vehicle is simply a car that provides more fuel efficiency and cost savings. In doing so, a smart car may also benefit our environment by generating less air pollution. The SmartWay program certifies the lowest 20 percent of emitting vehicles each year that can save you money and help save the environment.

What Are the benefits of Buying a SmartWay or Green Car? A green car can save you tons of cash in fuel costs, especially over time. According to the EPA, by switching from a car that gets 25 mpg to one that gets 50 mpg, you can save enough money on a daily basis to buy your morning latte or two slices of pizza for lunch. On a yearly basis, you can save enough money to go to the movies with a friend 25 times and purchase a new computer. Over a five-year period, you can potentially save over $5,000. Imagine all of the things that can be done with that kind of money! A green car leaves less of an environmental footprint than non-certified cars. Smog and pollution from auto exhaust has definitely impacted the quality of the air we breathe every day. You can shift a larger portion of your energy production to the vastly more efficient power plants instead of your single, internal combustion motor. Also, modern hybrid cars produce energy from the heat generated in the vehicle breaking system, and that allows you to rely less on gasoline to power the car. By purchasing a green car, you are taking a very easy and important step in reducing pollution.

You can save time driving a green car. Better fuel efficiency means less time spent refueling. We know you love sitting at gas stations, but think of all the other things you could use that time for. Over a five-year period, someone who drives a green car may save 100 trips to a gas station! Driving a green car can potentially let you use HOV lanes (check with your municipality). Depending on the type of fuel-efficient vehicle, you can drive much farther distances compared to a standard motor, and that will reduce the time you spend while taking a road trip.

Driving green is becoming progressively more convenient every day. There are currently over 10,000 alternative refueling stations in the United States with more popping up all the time. Conversely, you may simply refuel at home by plugging their car in. Talk about convenient! There are numerous steps to buying a car, and an auto purchase is an important investment decision. When looking for the best car loan rates, you may qualify for additional cost savings by purchasing a green car.

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Be Prepared: What You Need in Your Car for Your Fall Break Travels

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Being that the school year starts hellishly early in Metro Atlanta, we have adopted what is called a balanced schedule – meaning we get a week off of school in the middle of each semester. Now that it’s fall break in many counties across the city, several of us are going to hit the road and hang ten on the nearest beach one last time before the weather turns cold. While we don’t plan for emergencies, we can certainly be prepared for one should we find ourselves in a bind. So, in order to do that, we’ve compiled a list of what you need in your car for your fall break travels. Take a look!   DSC_0777-001-1024x685

Blankets Even if the weather is nice, you could wind up having to spend several night-time hours in your car. A blanket makes it possible for you to curl up, keep warm, and sleep.

Battery-powered radio (and extra batteries) If weather conditions are atrocious, a battery-powered radio (or, even better, a crank-powered one) can provide you with basic information about what to do.

Bottled water This is necessary for sustenance if you get stuck somewhere and have to wait for a while.

High energy snacks and/or MREs Similar logic to the water; high-energy foods are essential. I usually keep some nuts and some jerky. I know of at least one person who would not go on any trip without a couple MRE (meals ready to eat) in the car – you just pour some water in the pouch and they self-warm and are ready to eat.

Maps Keep a detailed map of the state you’re in in your car at all times – or even a current atlas if you have room. Don’t completely rely on a GPS navigation system.

Booster (jumper) cables These can enable you to get your car started with a dead battery (if a good Samaritan comes along) and also enables you to help someone out in a fix.

First aid kit (and manual) This can be vital if you’re in an accident and someone has injuries. Slowing down bleeding quickly can mean the difference between walking something off and going into shock.

Fix-a-flat If your tire has a pretty rapid leak, Fix-a-flat can often provide just enough to get you to a repair station. I recommend at least two cans.

Tire repair kit If the tire has deflated rapidly, a tire repair kit makes it possible for you to patch up the tire well enough for a short period.

Tire air gauge This one isn’t so vital for emergencies, but is absolutely essential for preventive maintenance – keeping your tires fully inflated not only improves gas mileage, but reduces the risk of tire explosions.

Road flares These are invaluable at night so that others can see you if you need to change a tire or such things.

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Shop Around: Do You Need Extended Car Warranty?

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Atlanta commuters! How many of us have a car that is no longer covered by the manufacturers warranty? How many of us are in a situation where, due to the age and mileage on your car, any car part could decide to go out any day? The better question is, when it does, will you be able to afford the parts and labor to get your wheels back on the road? If not, it might be best to shop around for an extended car warranty and here’s why! extended-warranty

 

Guaranteed Ability to Repair Your Vehicle – As a smart consumer, you probably know that the better you care for your vehicle, the longer it will last. So, you may be committed to the recommended maintenance and routine tune ups the car will need. However, while that commitment will extend the life of the vehicle, it cannot guarantee that repairs will never be needed. Like any machine, all cars eventually need repairs of some sort. With this realization in mind, you are faced with a query: will you be able to afford repairs when they arise? It is a difficult query to answer because there is no way of knowing when most repairs will be needed or how much they will cost. This is the most practical reason to purchase an extended car warranty. Regardless of your financial situation at the time your car needs a repair; the warranty will ensure that you are able to afford to take care of it quickly and easily.

More Comprehensive Coverage At this point you may be thinking, “But the car came with a dealer’s warranty, why should I pay for another one?” While it is true that most dealers offer a used or new car warranty when you purchase a car from them, the used or new car warranty they offer is typically very limited. This means that the majority of repairs you will need are either only covered to a certain amount or not covered at all. In fact many dealers’ warranties only cover the first $2-3,000 per claim; this may seem like adequate coverage, but anyone who has ever had to have two or three repairs at once knows that it can be just a small drop in a very large bucket.

Peace of Mind The security offered by an extended car warranty if another reason many people choose to buy. With most forms of protection, such as life insurance, auto insurance or home owner’s insurance, you hope you will never need the coverage, but when the unexpected occurs, you are glad you invested in the safety net for yourself and your family. The same is true for a new or used car warranty; you do not anticipate the need for an engine overhaul or a new transmission, but if the need presents itself, can you afford thousands of dollars in repair bills? In today’s unstable economy, most consumers are not equipped to handle such a situation and those who are usually prefer to spend their savings elsewhere.

Savings Some consumers simply like the savings an extended auto warranty offers; it is like financing potential repairs at below cost. Additionally, depending on the coverage you choose, there may not be any out of pocket expense to you. Therefore, the cost of your repairs is merely the monthly premium you pay for your warranty. In most cases this is much more reasonable than the charge would be without a new or used car warranty.

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What To Do When Your Car Won’t Pass Emissions

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

If your vehicle is more than 3 model years old in the state of Georgia, you have to pass an emissions test in order to register your vehicle. A lot of us haven’t a clue of what exactly is being tested when you take your car to an emissions garage. Simply put, an emissions test An emissions test is an assessment of a vehicle’s pollution output under simulated driving conditions. In most cases it can only be performed by auto mechanics with certain specialized equipment and training. Car engines can emit a range of dangerous gasses as they burn gasoline, and governments have an interest in minimizing these fumes. The test itself is usually pretty easy to perform and usually only takes a few minutes and results are often automatically reported to government agencies. In a perfect world, you pass your emissions test, register your vehicle and move on with the rest of your day but sometimes, however, it doesn’t work that way so here’s what you need to do when your car won’t pass emissions!

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After failing, you’ll receive a report from the inspection station attendant detailing needed repairs. File this in a safe place. You’ll want to present it to the car repair shop, so as to eliminate any confusion on what needs to be fixed. Many drivers panic when they find out that their vehicle didn’t pass the emissions test. So, they take it to the nearest mechanic only to throw money at the problem. This would be fine if it always worked. However, even expensive repairs might not be enough for your vehicle to pass. Before you take your car to a mechanic, review your options. One option is to qualify for a ‘Waiver’.

A ‘waiver’ is a loophole that allows some vehicles to pass an emissions test even when they can’t meet the applicable requirements. If you cannot afford to make the necessary repairs to your vehicle in order to pass an emissions test, you may qualify for one of these waivers. You will be given credit towards repairs that will fix your vehicle ‘just enough’ so that you can get back on the road. The waiver program varies from state to state, so contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state you reside in and ask plenty of questions.

If you don’t qualify for a waiver and you still think you may be facing serious repairs, find out what needs to be done to pass the emissions test, both at a minimum and at a maximum. While this seems incredibly time-consuming, the effort will be well worth it because you can manage to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the least expensive automotive repairs.

 

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Get Your Car Ready for Winter

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Well Atlanta, it looks like we’re actually going to enjoy a fall season this year and with that means cooler weather that’s going to continue to plummet! Not to mention our mostly unpredictable winter weather that’s clearly on the way with these bizarre temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately. So, here’s the deal, you don’t want to get caught in winter weather without preparing your car for it! Yep, folks! It’s that time to get your car ready for winter and here’s how you do it according to TODAY! battery Get the right kind of oil change. Are you approaching the time for a 30,000-mile full service for your vehicle? If so, don’t procrastinate! Among other things, the service should include an oil change, and the oil used should have the right viscosity, or thickness, for your vehicle at this time of year. Oil tends to thicken as it gets colder, and if it’s too thick it won’t do the best job of keeping your engine lubricated. Make sure you can see. When’s the last time you replaced your windshield wiper blades? They usually work effectively for about one year, so be sure to invest in some new ones if you’re due. Here’s another important step to take before you find yourself struggling to see in a blinding storm: Fill up your windshield washer reservoir with windshield washer fluid. Examine your belts and hoses. When you have that full service done on your vehicle, make sure the belts and hoses get checked for wear and tear — even if you’re driving a modern car. Cold weather can do a number on belts and hoses, so they deserve attention. Check your tire pressure. Your tires must be properly inflated to ensure you’ll have the best possible traction as you drive along — and traction is often severely jeopardized in wet, snowy or icy conditions. The air pressure in your tires has likely dropped as the weather has gotten colder, so it’s important to see where things stand now. Get the antifreeze mixture just right. Aim for having a 50-50 mix of antifreeze (coolant) and water inside your radiator. This will prevent the mixture from freezing even at ridiculously cold temperatures. It’s easy to check the status of the mixture with an inexpensive antifreeze tester, which you can pick up at any auto parts store. Prepare an emergency kit. Store this stuff in your trunk during the winter months, especially if a road trip is in your future:

  • a blanket
  • an extra set of warm clothes
  • extra water and food, including hard candies
  • a flashlight
  • flares
  • jumper cables
  • tire chains
  • a tire gauge
  • a spare tire with air in it
  • tire-changing equipment
  • a first-aid kit

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Don’t Delay: Repair That Windshield Chip!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

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If you’re an Atlanta commuter, chances ares you know full well the array of vehicles you share the roads and highways with! From concrete pouring trucks, to landscaping rigs and truck beds filled with dirt and debris that love to jump from the back of those truck beds onto our windshields leaving those chips and cracks for us to repair. Ugh! Well, here’s the deal and chip or ding can very well turn into a crack that will take your repair to a replacement! Let’s do some math – a chip can be repaired spending less $150 but without repairs, the small blemish can turn into a deep crack inches long with a change in the weather. So, please, don’t delay, repair that windshield chip because no only is it unsafe to ride around with a less than stable windshield, it’s also illegal and you will be ticketed if you’re pulled over!

The folks over at A+ Windshield Repair in Atlanta explain how easy and affordable it is to repair your windshield –

It’s effective, convenient, and in most cases takes less than 30 minutes to complete. A windshield repair will restore the structural integrity of the windshield, prevent the damage from spreading, and make the blemish much less visible without removing and replacing the glass.

To repair the damage, our windshield repair technician will inject an optically matched acrylic resin into the damaged area of the windshield. The resin replaces the air trapped within the damaged area and is then cured, creating a molecular bond that strengthens the glass and keeps the damage from spreading.Once cured, the resin is leveled to the glass surface and polished to a glass-like finish. When performed properly, the repair will be nearly invisible and not detectable by touch.Repairing your glass not only enhances your vehicles cosmetic appearance, but more importantly, provides safety to the vehicles occupants by restoring the windshields structural integrity.The concept of going green is spreading across the world with industries and consumers opting for more environmentally friendly options.Windshield Repair is environment friendly, eliminates costly replacements, enhances the appearance, and increases the resale value of any vehicle.

Benefits of Windshield Repair
• Restores structural integrity of the glass
• 99.9% success rate
• Cost effective
• Free. Most insurance companies waive comprehensive
deductibles
• Fast. Usually a windshield repair takes 15 to 30 minutes
• Environment friendly

If you’ve got a windshield in need of repair and are in the Atlanta area, A+ will come to you! Click here for their contact information!

Why You Need to Keep Your Tires Balanced and Aligned

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Is your steering wheel gyrating when your highway speed exceeds 50mph? Do you feel your car “pulling” or drifting to the left or right when you’re trying to drive straight? Is your steering wheel off center when your driving straight? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, chances are you need to have your tires aligned and rotated. If you do not make the time to get your car balanced and aligned, you run the risk of wearing out your tires to a point where the cost of a full set of tires far outweighs the balancing and alignment cost.

Wheel-Alignment

According to HowStuffWorks, the reasons why you need to keep your car balanced and aligned are as follows:

An out-of-alignment car is a common result of everyday driving. But the term alignment doesn’t really refer to your car’s wheels but rather to the suspension. As part of normal driving, parts of your car’s suspension may become worn, and springs can be stretched out. Even a small accident or bumping a curb can disrupt your suspension, knocking some of the highly calibrated components off-kilter, making your wheels sit at improper angles. An alignment restores these angles to their correct measurements, making sure that your wheels sit straight.

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The most visible benefit of an alignment is less tire wear. And when tires do wear down, they’ll do so evenly on a properly aligned suspension. Tires can be quite expensive — easily $100 or more per tire — whereas an alignment often costs $50 to $100, making it a cost-effective procedure that should be part of regular car maintenance.

An alignment will ensure that your car drives straight and handles properly, making your ride safer. You’ll also get better gas mileage because your tires will be properly aligned with the road, decreasing resistance.

 

Do Not Drive Through Flood Waters From Heavy Rain

Friday, September 11th, 2015

In true Atlanta fashion, these last few weeks of summer are quite unpredictable as far as the weather is concerned. We’ve had a few cool days, some really hot ones and then there’s the rain! The rain has been all but torrential during certain pockets of the afternoon, late night downpours and it just wouldn’t be Atlanta if we didn’t get multi-directional monsoon-like rain during rush hour traffic, right? The “shower” that floods the streets and highways to a point of entrapment  for many motorists. Well, here’s the deal about all this rain water, even if you feel like you can get through it, you should think twice regardless of how big and tall your SUV is – and this is why you do not drive though flood waters from heavy rain:

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  • The water may be hiding a sinkhole, debris or a washed-out road,  all of which could halt your progress mid-way.
  • Cars today have little ground clearance before water interferes with the exhaust system or seeps into the passenger cabin.
  • Water can cause severe engine or electrical system damage. Once it hits the fan or rotating belt, water is thrown everywhere inside the engine compartment.
  • African safari-type vehicles, with a roof-height snorkel for the engine air intake, can withstand deep water. But most regular vehicles risk extensive damage if water is sucked into the engine.
  • Flowing water is extremely dangerous. A small trickle over the road may be a precursor to an oncoming torrent after you start crossing.
  • Vehicles may begin to float in just 30 cm of water, causing loss of control. Most autos, including SUVs, can float away in just 60 cm of fast-flowing water.
  • Hydroplaning can occur with even the slightest bit of water cover on paved roads.
  • Driving at speed into 15 cm of water feels much like a crash, as you decelerate instantaneously on impact, which can cause loss of control.

Don’t attempt to cross if water reaches above your door bottom. Also, keep in mind that brakes don’t work well, or may fail, if wheels are immersed.

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If you insist on driving through regardless of the hazards, do it one car at a time. Don’t get trapped behind another car in case it stalls or gets stuck mid-way. Also, don’t cross while an oncoming vehicle is making the attempt, since steering is haphazard at best.

Once on the other side, your troubles may have just begun. Water in the cylinders may have to be drained and you should change your oil and tranny fluid as a precaution. Water contamination in either fluid can cause severe damage.

If your vehicle has been sitting in, or driven through, deep water, it’s a good idea to have it checked by your mechanic. Running it, or even just trying to start it, may cause severe damage if water has gone anywhere it shouldn’t.

If the interior was compromised by flood waters, have it cleaned and dried out as soon as possible to prevent mold growth and a resulting in a swamp smell.

Car Safety: Be Sure To Check Your Brakes

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

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Okay car drivers, while it serves as a friendly reminder, it must be said: maintaining your car is vital to it’s performance and, as some of us have learned the hard way, when it rains it pours when it comes to car repairs. It’s like a domino affect – one repair leads to another and the next thing you know you’re shelling out hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars on things you might have to been able to catch earlier if you knew what to look for! We’ll be dissecting the parts of your car that deserve maintenance attention and the signs to look for when you’re car is talking at you. Today, we cover car safety: be sure to check your brakes!

Worn Pads – over time, as you can imagine, the pads will begin to wear thin, which means they’ll become less effective at slowing and stopping your car. Fortunately, checking the thickness of your brake pads — those that squeeze down on the calipers — is a straightforward procedure. All you need to do is look between the spokes of your wheel to spot the shiny metal rotor inside. When you find it, look around the outer edge where you’ll see the metal caliper. Between the caliper and rotor, you’ll see the pad. You’ll have to estimate, but generally, your pads should be at least one-quarter of an inch thick.

Squealing Sounds – warning signs that your brakes need servicing can come from a small indicator in your braking system that emits a high-pitched squeal when your pads need replacing. And, while this sound is loud enough to be heard even when the windows are up, it might be tough to hear with music blaring from the stereo. In addition to the squeal from the sensor, you’ll also want to listen for a harsh grinding sound.

 

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Pulling – has your car ever felt like it has a mind of its own? As if it wants to make right- or left-hand turns while driving or braking? If so, this could indicate a problem with the braking system. The cause of this pulling might be a stuck caliper. Because such a scenario would cause friction on one wheel and not the others, your car can pull to the side where the caliper is stuck.

Vibrating Brake Petal – generally, a vibrating brake pedal indicates warped rotors. Their uneven surfaces will thrum against the brake pads, and you’ll feel the feedback through the brake pedal.Rotors usually only warp when they’re under extreme stress for an extended period. The friction-generated heat caused by driving down steep mountainsides or by stopping frequently while towing something heavy, for example, can cause the metal of the rotors to change shape.

Temperamental Pedal –
In addition to thrumming, your brake pedal can give you other indications that your car’s braking system might need examining. A mushy pedal, one that goes practically to the floor before engaging the brakes, could indicate worn pads or a problem with the hydraulic system, such as air in the line, an air leak or a brake fluid leak. To check for a fluid leak, put an old white sheet or piece of light cardboard under the car overnight. In the morning, examine any fluid that collects. Brake fluid will be practically clear and the consistency of cooking oil.

 

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