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Car Seat Safety Guidelines

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

The rules and regulations of toting child passengers have morphed so hugely over the last 20 years or so – as they’ve gone from nearly no federal rules and guidelines to ticketing and, in some cases, arrest if you’re driving a car with a child who is not riding in a FAA approved car seat that meets the height and weight mandates. Sometimes, however, we may not be fully aware of the car seat safety rules and guidelines. For example, even though a child might be under the height requirements, he or she may be at max weight. Or, in another case, you might have a taller toddler who needs to be in a specific forward-facing seat before most kids his or her age. The variation of circumstances are always specific to individual needs and, as with anything else, it’s best to do the research to make sure your child is riding safely. We’ve put together the latest car seat safety guidelines for your review below! kid-in-car-seat-babyfurniturewis-com

Infants & Toddlers: Rear-Facing The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants should ride rear- facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 2 years of age or preferably until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.

Rear-Facing Only Seat:

  • Are used for infants up to 22 to 40 pounds, depending on the model.

  • Are small and have carrying handles (and sometimes come as part of a stroller system). Usually come with a base that can be left in the car.

  • The seat clicks into and out of the base so you don’t have to install the seat each time you use it. Parents can buy more than one base for additional vehicles.

  • Should be used only for travel (not for sleeping, feeding, or other uses outside the vehicle).

Toddlers & Preschoolers: Forward-Facing Any child who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their convertible car seat should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer. It is best for children to ride in a seat with a harness as long as possible, at least to 4 years of age. If your child out-grows his seat before reaching 4 years of age, consider using a seat with a harness approved for higher weights and heights.

Types of Car Safety Restraints:

  • Convertible seats—Seats can “convert” from rear-facing to forward-facing. These include 3-in-1 seats.

  • Forward-facing-only seats— Seats can be used forward-facing with a harness for children who weigh up to 40 to 80 pounds (depending on the model). Although manufacturers are not currently making any forward-facing only seats, many remain in use from previous years.

  • Combination seat with harness—Seats can be used forward-facing with a harness for children who weigh up to 40 to 90 pounds (depending on the model) or without the harness as a booster (up to 80-120 pounds, depending on the model).

  • Built-in seats—Some vehicles come with built-in forward-facing seats. Weight and height limits vary. However, do not use built-in seats until your child  is at least 2 years of age. Read your vehicle owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer for details about how to use these seats.

  • Travel vests—Vests can be worn by children between 20 and 168 pounds and can be an option to traditional forward-facing seats. They are useful for when a vehicle has lap-only seat belts in the rear or for children whose weight has exceeded that allowed by car seats. These vests may require use of a top tether.

School-Aged Children: Booster Seats Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing car seats. All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age. The owner’s manual that comes with your car seat will tell you the height and weight limits for the seat. As a general guideline, a child has outgrown his forward-facing seat when any one of the following is true:

  • He reaches the top weight or height allowed for his seat with a harness. (These limits are listed on the seat and also included in the instruction booklet.)

  • His shoulders are above the top harness slots.

  • His ears have reached the top of the seat.

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Highway Safety Tips: Sharing the Roads With Truckers

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Atlanta commuters, we’re in the throws of the fall season and the days are officially shorter than the evenings and with darkness approaching earlier in the day, the urgency to get home can make us hasty drivers. One can most certainly understand that rush of anxiety one feels when trying to get to home base in a timely fashion, however, one must stay safe – especially considering the trucks come out at night and travel on the same roads and highways as we do. So here’s the deal, we have to stay safe when sharing the roads with truckers and, as a reminder, we’ve put together some highway safety tips for your daily travels throughout the city. Take a look! iStock_000057907662_Large

Rules of the road Driving near and passing an 18-wheeler is different than sharing the road with a standard-sized vehicle. Since the truck is bigger: Their blind spot is bigger They need more space to maneuver They require more time and distance to stop It takes more time to pass them

Passing a truck When passing a truck, maintain a safe and steady speed, keeping the cab of the truck in your rear-view mirror before pulling in front of it. Pass on the left to maximize visibility and ensure there’s enough space between your car and the truck when you merge back over. Getting passed by a Truck If a truck attempts to pass you, reduce your speed slightly to make it easier for the truck to get around your vehicle. When a truck is backing up Never pass behind a truck preparing to back up or is backing up. Otherwise, you may enter a blind spot for you and the trucker. When a truck is making a wide turn When turning right, some trucks must first swing left to negotiate the turn. As a result, they can’t see cars directly behind or beside them, so cutting to the right of the turning truck can cause an accident.

When you’re driving near a truck When driving near a truck, don’t use your bright headlights. The truck’s large side mirrors reflect brights into the driver’s eyes causing temporary blindness. Top unsafe driving habits

The U.S. Department of Transportation ranked the most unsafe driving acts for car drivers to engage in when trucks are nearby: Distracted driving (texting, fatigue, etc.) Improper merging into traffic, causing a truck to maneuver or brake quickly Failure to stop at a light or stop sign Failure to slow down in a construction zone Driving at unsafe speeds (misjudging truck’s speed or approaching too fast from the rear) Following a truck too closely Failure to slow down in inclement weather Changing lanes too abruptly in front of a truck Driving in a truck’s “no zones” – left rear quarter, right front quarter and directly behind Unsafe turning, primarily turning with insufficient headway When you share the road with a big rig, knowing dangers and how to address them can ease your fears and reduce your odds of an accident.

The safest solution is to stay a reasonable distance from trucks plus a little extra especially when weather conditions aren’t the greatest. If you are hit or injured by a truck, it is important to know that truck cases are largely different and you would need a specialized attorney to manage the legal proceedings to follow. Here at The Law Office of Neil Flit, we have a legal team that is well versed in handling truck accidents in Atlanta.

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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Buyer’s Tips: Be Prepared for Car Buying

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

As the fall months set in, many of us are wondering if our beloved roadster is going to make it through another cold winter. Whether it’s the radiator or the transmission that’s on it’s way out, chances are the cost to repair the car is going to cost more than the car is even worth! Yes, true, you’ve gone years without an car not and sure enough the idea of shelling out hundreds of dollars a month an taking out insurance on a brand new car will make you think more than twice but you can’t put a price on peace of mind and reliable travel! Simply put, it might be best to go ahead and trade in your vehicle before it’s too far gone to collect a substantial amount to put down! If you’re in the market to purchase a new vehicle now is a perfect time because those dealerships are looking to move units off the lot before the first of the year!

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According to United Services Automobile Association, time for car buying is now and here are a few pointers:

Best Time to Buy

Automotive pricing and information website TrueCar’s statistics show the winter months offer the greatest potential discounts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should wait until then to buy a new car. Remember, as the year wanes, inventories become more limited, so even though great discounts may be available, they might not necessarily be on the exact model you’re shopping for.

So if you have your heart set on something, think about whether the extra savings is worth potentially missing out on the car you really want.

Steve Harrison, executive director of USAA’s Auto Circle®, also suggests these four time tips to sway the buying process in your favor:

  • Shop early in the week. On weekends, salespeople typically have their hands full with a large number of shoppers. Shopping on Monday or Tuesday can get you more personal attention.
  • Shop at the end of the month or quarter. Salespeople are judged on their sales performance. At the end of the month or quarter, any sale might help them keep their jobs. A hungry or desperate salesperson can be your best ally when making the deal.
  • Make your offer later in the day. If a salesperson hasn’t racked up a sale all day, he or she may be more amenable as the minutes tick down to closing time.
  • Look at outgoing models. Shop for last year’s models when the new ones are due or just rolling into the showroom. The dealership wants to sell new cars and will be more willing to make deals on older models to get them off the lot.

TrueCar also has studied the trends and found certain types of cars are better to buy in different months and worse in others. Consumers tend to get better deals on midsize cars in June, for example, while they may grab a better deal on a subcompact in December.

“Do the research,” Harrison says. “A prepared buyer is ahead of the game.”

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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!

Tailgating Tips: Football Season is Here!

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Who doesn’t love a good SEC tailgate on a sunny Atlanta afternoon? There’s nothing like packing up the grill, food, beverages and lawn chairs to head towards the stadium with the guys! Food, friends and football – just can’t beat it! When all of these factors exist from beginning to end without any upset, we can call it a successful tailgate and being prepared for all things could be mean the difference between a minor incident and a catastrophe. Just a quick example, let’s say you’re the guy that always brings the fire extinguisher and a grill just a few yards away catches fire – everyone will be thank you for saving the entire tailgate for hundreds of Georgia fans! If you and, say, 3 of your buddies get together, take a look at this list and make sure that between the 4-5 of you, you’ve got the following covered because football season is here!

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Grilling Guidelines

Your guests are hungry and begging for your famous barbeque chicken; it’s tempting to take it off the grill before it’s done but doing so is a recipe for disaster. Although meat will continue to cook for a short while after it’s removed from the flame, you should follow well established guidelines to be sure it’s fit for consumption.
Keep a Fire Extinguisher and First Aid Kit on Hand

You never think it will happen to you. After all, you’re a grill master that’s been tailgating for decades. But even veteran tailgaters need to be prepared for the worst. When you’re grilling, make sure you have a fire extinguisher in close proximity (not packed in your truck). If you don’t need it, another tailgater might. Packing a first aid kit is always a good idea. You never know when a friendly game of Frisbee or a sharp knife might lead to a cut or injury.

Count on a Designated Driver

Let’s face it, tailgaters are notorious for having too much to drink. If your tailgating party includes alcohol, be sure to have one or more DDs. Offer to buy the DD non alcoholic drinks during the game and maybe pitch in for a few snacks to say thanks for their duty. Always offer your tailgating companions non alcoholic choices, including bottled water.

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Party in Numbers

Tailgating and socializing are nearly synonymous, but avoid gallivanting through crowds of rowdy tailgaters alone. Because alcohol impairs decision making, it’s especially important to sick with a buddy if you have been consuming alcohol. If you do head off on your own, make sure your friends know where you’re going and when you plan to be back.

Sun Protection and Hydration

The sun might not be sizzling like it was during summer, but even under a cloud covered sky it’s easy to get scorched while tailgating. If you’re hosting a tailgating bash, have plenty of sunscreen on hand for your guests and don’t forget to protect yourself. Dehydration is another potential tailgating villain. Mild dehydration symptoms include headache, dizziness, sleepiness, strong smelling urine and thirst. Drink water to battle dehydration, not soda, juice or alcohol.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry so do be sure you and the crew have everything covered so you can enjoy a good game with good friends and have good times!

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Be Sure to Take Advantage of Your Auto Insurance Discounts

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Having a reliable car and maintaining liability insurance are absolute necessities in the city of Atlanta where the streets and highways are so congested with traffic on any given day, at any given hour. Surely many of us can attest to having been involved in a minor non-injurious fender bender at least once in this town! If you were at fault and officially cited as the wrongdoer, you’re going to feel that in your pockets when your insurance policy renews. Then, there are others who somehow manage to have gone several years without having even been written a ticket, let alone be at fault for an auto collision and for being a flawless, one should be awarded with saving on their insurance policy.

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Truth be told, there are several discounts with several different requirements that a family policy could easily be sliced by upwards of 25-40%. When a policy holder begins to add their teen drivers to the policy, the monthly premium skyrockets! Even if you do feel like you’re getting the best deal available, there could be some saving lurking around in the fine print so be sure to take advantage of your auto insurance discounts!

According to DMV.org, “there are plenty of auto insurance discounts out there to help you lower your car insurance rates.” Check out some discounts below!

Safety Equipment Car Insurance Discounts

Driving a safe vehicle not only protects you and your passengers; it also protects your wallet. Car insurance companies often offer discounts to drivers whose vehicles are equipped with certain safety features.

Car Insurance Renewal Discounts

When it comes to your car insurance, being a loyal customer can pay off big. Many companies offer auto insurance renewal discounts to thank long-time customers for keeping their car insurance policy with the same insurance company.

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Multivehicle and Bundling Discounts
Car insurance companies often offer discounts to customers who give them more business, meaning those who insure multiple vehicles or even combine multiple lines of insurance, such as homeowners insurance, with their auto insurance.

Read below to find out how you can save money and simplify your life by taking advantage of multivehicle and/or multi-line discounts.

Car Insurance Payment Discounts
Auto insurance discounts come in many forms. For example, you can get reduced rates for having a good driving record, taking driver training, having low mileage, and more.

One of the most overlooked ways to save money on insurance, however, is by paying your car insurance premium in a way that your insurance provider prefers – on time, in full, or via automatic or paperless billing.

Good Student Car Insurance Discounts

Younger drivers often face paying higher car insurance premiums than more experienced drivers because they are more prone to accidents and, as such, statistically present a higher risk to their insurance companies.

Fortunately, if you are a young driver (or the parent of a young driver), you do have options to offset these costs. Good student discounts can be a great way to save money on car insurance coverage for drivers in their teens or early twenties.

Senior Driver Car Insurance Discounts
One of the benefits of getting older is that you begin qualifying for senior discounts. Car insurance companies are no different from any other company that offers a financial break to customers who’ve reached a certain age (generally 50 years old). However, you might not realize that you may be able to tap into several other car insurance discounts as a “mature driver.”

Defensive Driving and Driver Training Discounts

Car insurance discounts are often provided to drivers who take active steps to improve their driving skills and safe driving behaviors, because safer driving means fewer claims.

Young drivers can often save money by completing an approved driver training (or driver’s education) course, while older drivers are often offered a discount for defensive driving training.

 

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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.

 

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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Slow Turnover? Might Be Time for a Tuneup

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Cars – they are an absolute necessity for all Atlanta motorists and the fact of the matter is, you probably do so much driving from one end of town to another on such a regular basis, you might not even realize the toll all your commuting takes on your car. If you have a not-so-new car with a good amount of miles on it, your car might be due for a tuneup.

According to WiseGeek, a tune up generally includes replacement of several parts on your car. These parts may seem superficial, but failing to replace them regularly can cause decreased performance in your car, and may even lead to other problems. For example, an air filter should be replaced at least once a year; failing to replace it when it’s dirty will cause your engine to get less and less of the air it needs to run properly. If the problem is left unattended, the air-fuel mixture will continue to run richer and richer —- meaning that there will be too much fuel and not enough air in the mixture —- and eventually cause other parts to fail.

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While there are no telltale signs your car is in desperate need of a tuneup, there are a few things to listen and look for, like slow turnover, for example, is an indicator that it might be time for a tuneup.  We’ve compiled a list for your review below, take a look:

 

Warning Lights – those little indicators on your dashboard that light up when starting the car and that sometimes stay illuminated are there for a reason – to indicate a problem or potential problem with a vehicle system or component.
Stalling – if your vehicle suddenly begins stalling at intersections, when you try to accelerate, or at other times, not only is this a warning sign of trouble lurking but it also can put you in a dangerous situation. Engines are designed to deliver reliable performance, particularly when you need it most, such as merging onto a highway.
Hard Starts – you’re allowed to be a little sluggish first thing in the morning. Your vehicle isn’t. If it won’t start when you need it to, if it takes several turns of the key before it does start, or if it starts but won’t stay running, you’ve got a problem.