Author: Centennial Leasing & Sales (page 2 of 4)

How hot can the interior of a car get – and how quickly?

Quotes by experts

“Children have died in cars with the temperature as low as 63 degrees. Basically the car becomes a greenhouse. At 70 degrees on a sunny day, after a half hour, the temperature inside a car is 104 degrees. After an hour, it can reach 113 degrees.”

– Jan Null, adjunct professor at San Francisco State University

“When temperatures outside range from 80 degrees to 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130 to 172.”

– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“In terms of heat-rise over time, it makes very little difference whether a car’s windows are closed or partially open. In both cases, a car’s interior temperature can rise approximately 40 degrees within one hour, even when the exterior temperature is only 72°F.”

– American Academy of Pediatrics study (2005)

“Even on a relatively cool day, the temperature inside a parked car can quickly spike to life-threatening levels if the sun is out, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found. They hope their findings will put to rest the misconception that a parked car can be a safe place for a child or pet in mild weather. ‘There are cases of children dying on days as cool as 70 degrees Fahrenheit,’* said lead author Catherine McLaren, MD, clinical instructor in emergency medicine. Though past research has documented the temperature spike inside a car on extremely hot days, this is the first time anyone has looked at cooler days, she added.”

– Stanford University press release: “Parked cars get dangerously hot, even on cool days, Stanford study finds” (2005)

(* Here in Charlottesville, VA, a toddler died of heatstroke after being left in a car, on a day in which the outside temperature did not exceed 66 degrees.)

“Never leave your pet in a parked car when the outside temperature is above 70 degrees. Not even with the windows partway down, not even in the shade, not even for a quick errand. Dogs and cats can’t sweat like humans, so they pant to lower their body temperature. If they’re inside a car, recycling very hot air, panting gives no relief, and heat stroke can happen quickly.”

– Michael Dix DVM, Medical Director, Best Friends Animal Society

“Heat stroke can permanently damage a pet’s health very rapidly. The change of only a few degrees to a dog’s normal body temperature can quickly result in coma, organ dysfunction, permanent brain damage or even death.”

– Jules Benson, DVM, Medical Director, Pet Plan Pet Insurance

How hot does it get in a car, and how quickly?

This chart helps to answer that question:


Also, Dr. Ernie Ward is a veterinarian you should know. He’s spent many years devoting himself to not only treating illnesses in dogs and cats, but in developing better means for preventing them.

Doesn’t leaving the windows cracked an inch or two make a difference? No.

A study conducted by Red Rover demonstrates that the difference in interior temperature between a car with the windows fully closed, and those that are cracked a few inches, is negligible.

Red Rover cracked window study excerpt


When most people think about major natural catastrophes, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes come to mind.

However, there’s one other type of storm that, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (the U.S. government’s climatology branch), causes $1 billion in damage to crops and property each year—hail.

So, how can you avoid being part of that large sum of money, and how can you make sure your coverage is ready in case your car is damaged?

  • Get covered parking

    —Covered parking can save you a lot of hassle and money, especially in the middle of the country. has a map highlighting states that typically receive the most hail. If you live in one of the bright blue states, you should evaluate your parking options.

  • Ride out the hail storm

    —If you don’t have access to covered parking, another option is to find temporary shelter. Local malls, for example, usually have parking garages where you could park if you know a storm is brewing. If you don’t have a covered place to store your vehicle, find those options for the big storms.

  • Use blankets or a hail car cover

    —If you don’t have a shelter option, and you know a storm is coming, get something over your car. Some companies sell car covers specific to this purpose, but you can use your own blankets, as well. Just make sure you duct tape them down—the winds can pick up pretty quickly during hail storms. The tape can leave a sticky residue on your car, but most likely won’t cause any damage to the paint.

    Prepare in advance for this. Opt for personal safety and don’t do this if the storm is happening within a matter of minutes.

  • Get Comprehensive and Rental coverage

    —With insurance, “Comprehensive” doesn’t mean “all encompassing.” Instead, it’s the specific coverage that helps pay for damage caused by things like weather or fire. In most cases, Comprehensive will cover hail damage, too. Also, make sure you have Rental coverage—one in 10 Progressive policyholders who have a total loss (meaning their car is damaged beyond repair) do. And it’s an option that helps pay for a rental car if your car is being fixed or replaced.

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The 1977 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

In 2016, the firm IHS Markit released a report on the lives of American-owned vehicles, and the results were surprising. Of the 264 million light vehicles registered in the U.S., the average age of of each one worked out to be 11.6 years old, with owners keeping their cars an average six and a half years. By 2021, the firm predicts that a full 20 million cars on the road will be over 25 years old. If its projections are accurate, then there will likely be more old cars on the road than ever before.

With so many antique cars on the road — the official designation for cars 25 years or older in most states — preventative maintenance is as important as ever. For people who don’t have the luxury of a bumper-to-bumper warranty, it’s important to keep on top of the basics so that they don’t add up to something bigger and costlier.

The truth of the matter is, there’s really no such thing as a car that runs forever without a little help. So for even the most reliable old cars on the road today, we came up with 10 things you can do to keep your car running like a top for as long as possible.

1. It’s all about good timing

The LT4 V8 found in the 2015 Corvette Z06

Most modern cars have a timing belt or chain, which makes all the moving parts of your engine run smoothly. But when these go wrong, it can kill your engine in a matter of seconds. While chains are more robust and need to be changed far less frequently, belts need to be replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on your car. If you’re going to a mechanic, this isn’t going to be a cheap job, but once you get it over with, you won’t have to worry about another one for years.

2. Play it cool

Check your radiator hoses for cracks

Your engine is making thousands of explosions a day to keep you moving down the road. Understandably, things get pretty hot in there, which is why your car has a cooling system. And while it doesn’t need to be swapped out as often, antifreeze is just as important as oil. Make sure you’re topped off with coolant, and if there are any leaks coming from your radiator or hoses, get them taken care of immediately. A car with no coolant is not long for this world.

3. Find bulletproof suspension upgrades

The 2017 Chevrolet COPO Camaro -- a factory-built drag car

This isn’t universal, but it’s a common enough issue that it’s worth mentioning here. Say you’ve got an older sporty car and are ready to make the jump and modify it to get that nice, low, mean look. There are plenty of easy ways to do this — cheap aftermarket kits on eBay, actually cutting your car’s springs down and reinstalling them, among others — but there are really only a few ways to do it right, and they’re rarely the cheapest options. Your car was designed to drive and handle the way it does by a team of engineers working for years on a multibillion-dollar program, so don’t be surprised if your car drives a lot differently after questionable suspension mods. Stick with performance parts from the manufacturer or upgrades from trusted aftermarket companies that have a relationship with the automaker. After all, if you’re into modifications, you want your car to look as good as it drives.

4. Blood transfusions save lives

An unscrewed engine oil cap

If you can’t remember the last time you changed your oil, go do it now. The key to a healthy car is keeping up with regularly scheduled maintenance, and the easiest and most important of these routines is a regular oil change. Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended type, then take it to a trusted mechanic (quick lube places do the job, but a lot can go wrong too) for some of the fresh stuff. Or if you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty, oil changes are a great way to enter the world of DIY auto repairs.

5. Less is more when it comes to longevity

Production of Lucas Oil additives

There are a whole lot of products out there that promise to make your engine faster, stronger, and more powerful as it gets older. Sound too good to be true? That’s because, by and large, they are. Stick to the stuff that works, like high quality oils and fluids, genuine parts, and common-sense preventative maintenance, and avoid the snake oil altogether.

6. Bi-annual inspections are your friend

An employee of an automobile garage at work

Some states don’t require annual safety inspections. And while the potential for getting slapped with a bill for repairs once a year is tough for anyone to deal with, we think it’s essential to get your older car looked at by a fresh set of eyes — read: a better mechanic than you — at least once a year. The last thing you want is an unexpected problem to pop up at the worst possible time, so do yourself, and other drivers on the road a favor and make sure your ride is safe.

7. Get ready, it’s going to burn oil

Old engines like this rotary found in a Mazda RX-7 will burn oil

Old engines burn oil — they just do. What’s important is to keep an eye on it, watch for any leaks (lower-engine leaks could mean old gaskets, upper-engine could mean head gasket troubles), and make sure to keep it topped off with high quality oil. This is one of those things that may seem like a big deal, but can be managed safely and responsibly.

8. Invest in the best wheels, tires, and brakes

New tires for sale at a tire store

We’ve all been there before: You ran over something on the highway and you shredded a tire. Now you need new ones, and you really don’t feel like spending hundreds of dollars on the best. But going cheap on things like that could cost you more further down the line. Tires are one of the most important parts of a car. They’re the only things connecting you to the road, and are supposed to be able to keep you safe even in the worst driving conditions. Cheap tires can wear faster, or unevenly, throwing your car’s suspension out of whack and causing wear-and-tear on vital components. This rule also applies to replaceable things like wheels and brakes. If you love your car, pay a little more and get the best. It could even save you money over the long haul.

9. Drive it like you own it

An old Mercedes 230 SL

Say you have an older, high-mileage car. Chances are it’s going to have its quirks, but believe it or not, the difference between an aging runner and a basket case usually comes down to how often it’s driven. A warm car is a happy car, and while essential fluids like oil, antifreeze, and brake fluid keep vital metal parts lubricated, they also keep things like hoses and gaskets from drying out. Park an old car for a while, and chances are you’ll start seeing leaks. When you can’t even tell what’s leaking from where anymore, it may already be too late. So do your car a favor, and drive it regularly.

10. When all else fails, conduct a heart transplant

Sometimes you need to do a full engine replacement

Here’s some interesting food for thought: Extensive repairs on an aging engine or transmission can potentially cost you thousands in parts and labor at your local garage and take your car off the road for days, if not weeks, especially if your repair shop is booked solid. So as scary as it may sound, sometimes an entire engine or transmission replacement is the way to go. Ask your garage for help in sourcing a healthy powerplant, and they could have your car running with a brand new heart in a matter of days. If you love your old car and can’t bear to let it go, this may be the easiest way to give it a new lease on life.


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Planning a road trip? Here are 10 tips for improving your car’s fuel efficiency

Gas costs can be a drain on your wallet – especially if you have a long commute.
Here are 10 ways to help improve your car’s fuel efficiency and save you money.


  1. Check the pressure


Check your tire pressure at least once a month. Under-inflated tires burn more fuel. If tires are 8 pounds underinflated, rolling resistance of the tires increases by 5 percent. That added friction results in the engine pumping harder to push the car, and more gas being sucked out of your tank.


  1. Get what you paid for


When you are filling up, keep the hose in the tank until after the pump shuts off and make sure you allow all the fuel to pour out of the nozzle. As much as a quarter of a cup can pour from the hose. That’ll be what gets you to the next pump when the needle is on E.


  1. Use your cruise


When you can, use cruise control. Keeping your vehicle’s speed consistent can save you up to 6 per cent in fuel consumption on the highway.


  1. Clean your battery


Corroded battery cables cause the alternator to work harder, which means you’re using more gas. Have them cleaned with each engine check-up.


  1. Keep it moving

An idling car consumes half-a-gallon to one gallon of gas per hour and pumps needless CO2 into the atmosphere. The modern engine will consume less fuel turning off and re-starting than idling for extended periods.
To effectively warm an engine, simply start the engine, wait for 20 seconds, (this builds the oil pressure,) and drive away.


  1. Change the filter


Change the air filter at least the set number of times outlined in the owners manual, more if you drive in dusty conditions. If you live in an area that gets a lot of pollen, this can also clog up your filter.


  1. Check the sensor


If your car was built since the mid-1980s, it more than likely has an oxygen sensor in its exhaust system. It should be replaced just as you would spark plugs, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
This little device trims the fuel delivery and has a profound effect on fuel economy in the process.


  1. Drive smoothly


With a light touch on the throttle and avoiding heavy braking, you can reduce both fuel consumption and wear and tear. Research suggests driving techniques can influence fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent.


  1. Lighten your load


It doesn’t seem like much, but thinking about what you have in the car (and on the car) can make a big difference.
If you do not need something, do not pack it. Remove roof racks if not needed – they create extra wind drag. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces a typical car’s fuel economy by 1 to 2 per cent. Carrying excess weight wastes gas.


  1. Choose the right octane gas for your car


Check the owner’s manual to find out what octane your engine needs. Octane ratings measure gasoline’s ability to resist engine knock. But the higher the octane, the higher the price.
Only about 6 percent of cars sold need premium gas. Still, premium gas accounts for about 10 per cent of all gas sold. Resist the urge to buy higher octane gas for “premium” performance.


Joshua Trudell, Rare Contributor

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Give your car a clean start to spring with these 6 tips

What better time to clean that salty car of yours than Spring?

There’s no doubt, winter is hard on your vehicle. Salt and slush are destructive elements that can damage your vehicle’s paint, wheels and suspension components.

“Not only can the driving conditions in a Canadian winter be horrible, they are also just brutal on your car,” says Megan Currie, senior marketing manager for Armor All. “The roads are a slushy mess, and all the salt used to melt the ice can be corrosive on the body of your car. What’s worse, you track all that sloppy mess into the car with you, leaving an ugly, crusty residue behind.”

Here are five tips to wash off months of winter neglect, courtesy of Currie.

1. Remove salt

There is nothing more damaging to your car inside and out than winter road salt. An industrial-strength carpet and upholstery cleaner with foaming action is perfect for cleaning the salt from the carpet and car mats in your car. It is also good for lifting ground-in stains from the other three seasons as well, including grease, oil and mud.

2. A clean dash

Get rid of dust with a thorough cleaning of your dash, console and doors. Take care of your dashboard and interior trim with a multi-use auto cleaner or wipes, and keep it clean and safe from UV damage with an interior protectant.

3. Clear windows

You can’t see out of dirty windows, and when your windows start to fog up even a little bit – every streak becomes obvious. Restore the clarity to your windows with a specialized automotive glass cleaner.

4. Preserve your seats

Leather seats are a nice option in a car, and you will want to preserve them as much as possible. Protect the leather in your vehicle from wayward splashes and salt with a restorer and protectant that will rejuvenate and preserve your leather interior.

5. Run it through a wash

When spring rolls around, you will want to ensure your car is free of rust and corrosion so that you can get back to giving it that custom shine car enthusiasts love. Give your car a regular wash, especially the undercarriage, to clean away any salt residue. For an added level of protection against winter’s worst, brave the cold for just a few moments and apply a spray-on wax, which can be applied to a wet or dry vehicle. Simply spray on the carnauba wax and enjoy a high-gloss shine that also protects the clear coat on the paint.

6. Tires and rims need cleaning too

Whether it’s a coin op, or your local car wash, you can easily clean your tires and rims to help prevent salt and road grime from pitting the rims and diminishing the look and moisture in your tires. Before you turn on the water gun, or drive through the car wash, use a touch free tire and rim cleaner like Armor All Quicksilver Tire and Rim Cleaner and have the water do the dirty work for you.

credit: “”

30 Gifts for Car Lovers and Enthusiasts

There are few things better than cruising down the road or working on a classic car. Unfortunately, buying gifts for the car lover in your life can be difficult. No matter what your budget, this list of gifts will make finding the right item a breeze.

Universal Cell Phone Air Vent Car Mount Holder

Phone aren’t just handy to have when calling and texting friends and loved ones, they can also help you navigate with their GPS abilities. Unfortunately, keeping track of your phone can be difficult when driving. This universal cell phone holder is a great gift because it keeps your phone within arm’s reach.



Bluetooth Cassette Adapter

Older cars are great, but they are definitely behind the times when it comes to technology. Update a loved one’s car on the cheap with this Bluetooth cassette adapter. It can be used to play music from a portable Bluetooth enabled device. You can even take calls through the speakers!

Auto Timing Chain and Gears Wall Clock

Have a loved one that loves working on cars? Help him decorate his interior space with this cool gears and wall clock. It is made out of an engine timing gear and chains, making it the perfect accessory for a garage, but its design makes it classy enough to hang in a living room.

Personalized Garage Sign

If the man in your life loves working on cars in the garage, then this personalized garage sign will be the perfect gift. This metal sign can be completely customized. From choosing the recipient’s name, font, and car model, this is truly a one-of-a-kind gift you won’t find anywhere else.

Automatic Cordless Tire Inflator

Properly filled tires can make a big difference when it comes to fuel efficiency and the smoothness of your ride. Unfortunately, filling car tires can be a real pain. Give the gift of perfectly inflated tires with this cordless tire inflator that automatically shuts off when the proper PSI is reached.

Encyclopedia of Classic Cars

The classic car enthusiast in your life is sure to love this book! It contains 1,800 photographs of some of the world’s most famous and fabulous cars. From classic to modern classic and dream cars, this fully illustrated tome contains models from 1945 to 2000.

Car Seat Gap Filler

If you know someone that spends a lot of time in their car, they likely spend a lot of time doing other things in their car too. Help keep their car clean with these seat gap fillers. They squeeze in between the seat and the center console to keep out fries, change, and more.

Pontiac GTO Front 1966 Car Shelf with Lights

There no need to leave your friend or family member’s love of cars in the garage! This cool car shelf is designed to look just like the front of a 1966 Pontiac GTO, but it is designed to hang on the wall instead. It’s perfect for an office, den, or man cave!

Glove Box Car Jump Starter

There are few things worse than finding yourself stranded with a dead battery. If you know someone who loves cool car gadgets, this will soon become their favorite. It is able to fully jumpstart a car using electrical energy, which means no other car is needed.

Car Charger

No arsenal of cool car gear is complete without a car charger. Unfortunately, most car chargers only accommodate one device at a time. This car charger makes the perfect gift because it has three separate ports that allow you to charge multiple devices at the same time.

Car Speedometer Cuff Links

Have a special occasion coming up? Or maybe you’re just looking for a one-of-a-kind gift? Skip the boring gold cufflinks and gift these car speedometer cuff links instead! They are a great functional keepsake and make the perfect graduation, wedding, birthday, or Father’s Day gift.

One Gallon Car Mats

If you know a car lover, you know how important it is for them to keep their cars spotless. Help them do just that with these special one-gallon car mats. They can soak up to a gallon of liquid, which means there isn’t any mess these mats can’t handle.

Ford Mustang Collage Metal Sign

Help a friend or loved one decorate their garage or man cave with this cool metal collage sign. It makes the perfect gift for the car lover in your life because it depicts and labels nine of the most popular and classic Mustangs of the 20th century.

Kick Mats

Preserving a car’s interior is about more than just protecting the floors. Encourage a friend or loved one to take the kids for spin with these kick mats. They fit snugly over the back of the driver and passenger seats so busy, muddy feet can’t damage the car’s interior.

The iPhone Remote Controlled Enzo Ferrari

You may not be able to afford a real Ferrari, but this remote controlled Enzo Ferrari is the next best thing! Instead of using a remote control that requires batteries and can be easily lost, this toy car uses an iPhone to control the Ferrari’s headlights, horn, and speed.

Heated Massage Cushion

Spending a lot of time in an automobile can be a lot of fun, but it isn’t always comfortable, especially if a friend or loved one likes cruising around in a classic car. This seat cushion is heated and has massage capabilities. Plus, it can go from the car to the office easily.

Custom Made Camaro SS Pillow Set

Decorating a man cave with classy, functional items can be a challenge, especially if you’re looking for manly pillows. However, you aren’t likely to find a more manly set of pillows than these custom made marine naugahyde pillows with a Camaro inscription.

1959 Corvette Billiards Table

Looking for an unexpected gift that is sure to knock a car enthusiast off his feet? If you’ve got some money to burn, nothing beats this 1959 Corvette billiards table. Not only is it actually finished in an auto body shop, but also the headlights can even be turned off and on with a remote control!

Industrial Garage Fan

If you have a loved one that spends a lot of time in the garage working on automobiles, this fan is a must-have. It is exclusively designed for high-performance work areas to take care of strong fumes while keeping the area cool. It features a 3-speed motor and tilts 180 degrees.

Hail Protector

Keeping classic cars can be challenging if you don’t have enough garage space. Purchase some peace of mind for the car lover in your life by gifting this hail protector. It is completely inflatable, so it keeps any car safe from severe weather without the need for a garage.

The No Blind Spot Rear View Mirror

Have a friend who’s an amateur racer? Or maybe a family member loves unique car accessories? This no blind spot rear view mirror is a cool and functional gift. Used by police officers and racecar drivers, it offers a field view of 180 degrees, which greatly reduces blind spots.

Racing Car Hard Stand Case For iPhone

Cool car accessories don’t just go in the car! If you know someone with a passion for automobiles, they are sure to love this racing car hard stand case. It comes in multiple color choices and even has a trunk that opens and acts as a kickstand to prop up the phone.

Model A Fords Fine Art Print

Appreciating the beauty and craftsmanship of modern cars means remembering where it all started. This high-quality fine art print features a row of antique Model A Fords that harken back to another time. It makes the perfect gift for any man or woman who appreciates classic cars.

Illuminated Ford Mustang Christmas Tree

Celebrate the holidays in a unique way with this Ford Mustang Christmas tree! It is small enough to fit on a table and sports a variety of ornaments that include Ford Mustang pony-coups, hubcaps, and a hood ornament tree topper. It even makes engine revving noises!=

Volkswagen Seat Buckle Belt

Give the gift of style to the car lover in your life with this Volkswagen seat belt buckle. It is completely functional, but it is made with an authentic replica of a metal seatbelt buckle with classic VW logo and reclaimed webbing.

Nascar Lovers Gift Chest

Get ready for racing season with this Nascar themed gift. A variety of tasty and fun goodies come packed in an ice chest and include longhorn cheese, crackers, a cooler cup, and Hot Tamales racing themed candies. It even includes a book about the history of stock car racing.

Vintage Ah-ooo-Gah Car Horn

Just imagine walking down the road and listening to the ah-ooo-gah of vintage vehicles driving by. This vintage car horn can make that dream a reality. It can easily be placed on a shelf and displayed as a decorative item, or it can be installed with three connecting bolts.

Authentic Morgan Three-Wheeler

Having a passion for cars is all about having fun, and there isn’t anything more fun than this authentic Morgan three-wheeler! Although its price point may make it unattainable for some, it meets U.S. motortricycle classification so it can be driven on the road.

LED Interior Underdash Lighting Kit

Tricking out the exterior of the car is only half of the total project. Help a friend or loved one finish the interior with these cool LED interior underdash lights. They have seven color brightness levels, three strobing modes, three fading modes, and a sound activation mode.

Funny Men’s T-Shirt

Know a man who prefers to spend Sunday afternoons in the garage? This hilarious T-shirt makes the perfect gift for any husband who loves cars. The text is misleading because of the differences in font size, but that’s what makes this T-shirt so hilarious!

DIY Gifts for Car Lovers

Road Runner Trapunto Quilt Pattern

Not all car lovers are adults! If you know a little one who loves vehicles, this quilt pattern is great ways to hand make the perfect gift. It features fun vehicles like cars and trucks, as well road signs and accessories, like stoplights and traffic cones.

Funky Hood Ornaments

Want to play a funny prank on the car lover in your life? Or maybe you just want to jazz up a friend’s beloved vehicle? Simply choose a funny weather-safe item and attach a magnet. From plastic pineapples to disco balls, there’s no limit to the funky hood ornaments you could make!

Car Dice

No car is complete without car dice. Unfortunately, standard car dice can be so boring. Jazz up a friend or family member’s favorite ride with these striped dice that are made out of felt. You can even choose different colors to match the car’s interior and exterior.

Key Fob

True car lovers have multiple vehicles. However, keeping track of all those keys can be a nightmare. Make organizing car keys easy with these homemade key fobs. They can be made in a wide variety of colors and the length can be extended or shortened.

Car Wheel Doorstop

Although this doorstop would look great in a little boy’s room, it also makes a great cushion accessory for a man cave. All you need is a little fabric, a little sewing knowhow, and a big bag of rice. It’s a great gift for all ages!


7 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Car

Car people, you’ve been selfish with your New Year’s resolution-making and you know it. Every year it’s the same resolutions about joining the gym, traveling the world or starting that freshwater fish tank you’ve always dreamed about. Selfish resolutions, with little to no impact on the quality of your car’s life. It’s not too late to change.

Break the bad habit this year by making a resolution that’s not just good for you, but is also good for your car. We’ve assembled seven great examples of goals for 2017 that are achievable, rewarding and realistic.



This doesn’t mean you’ve got to pay someone to perform a professional detailing job. Just keep your trusty ride clean inside and out. You can pick up basic cleaning supplies in any auto parts store at a reasonable price. All it takes after that is a little bit of time and elbow grease. Don’t carry the junk! It’s extra fuel to move it around. Save a buck or two.


If you’re already living this way, right on. If not, this is the resolution for you. The one possible exception worth noting is if you make the commitment to get a hands-free device and forgo standard texting entirely. If you really need that level of connectivity, it’s probably an improvement on whatever you’ve been doing.



Fresh oil has the same mythical power as washing your car – you honestly believe it’s faster when you’re done. Contrary to all our hopes and dreams, a change of oil pretty much never unlocks the kind of dormant horsepower we’d swear it did. Even so, the outcome is much better when you keep fresh oil in a car than when you leave the old stuff in. Perform the oil change yourself for added difficulty and street cred.


If you suspect there’s something wrong with your car’s engine, taking action now could ensure you continue to enjoy a running car. Signs of major problems, such as a leaky head gasket, can be mitigated at a reasonable price if you make the choice to act now.



Facing up to the cost of body repairs is never fun, particularly if the particular scar or dent has been with a car long enough that you’ve become numb to it. You might be surprised, though, at how affordable paintless dent repair can be. Of course, for larger repairs, you will still need to repaint.


It’s easy to let tires go unattended for a few miles longer than you should. Even easier is letting old tires remain mounted on a vehicle that isn’t frequently driven. While you might not have exceeded a tire’s mileage limit, don’t forget that age can affect performance and integrity.


For those who already keep up with the big items in terms of cleanliness, here’s a fix you can do for a small amount of cash that makes a big difference in cars with faded headlights. You can pick up a kit with a simple buffing wheel and headlight compound. Follow instructions so you don’t damage your lenses and you’ll be amazed at how much newer your car looks.

Did your car have the 2016 it deserved? If you’re like most of us, it’s feeling unsure of exactly what the hell will transpire over the next 12 months. Be a good car parent and promise to follow through on one of these seven good deeds.

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15 Must-Have Car Gadget Gifts

Hunting for a gift for the car-lover with everything? We have you covered.

By Automotive Editors


Scissor Lift

Scissor Lift

Price: $1000

Lying on your back on cold concrete gets old pretty fast. This scissor lift will lift a car or truck plenty high to work on the suspension, brakes or body, even inside most residential garages.

Swift Hitch Portable Back-Up Camera

Swift Hitch Portable Back-Up Camera

Price: $239

Make one-person trailer hookup easy with a portable backup camera. Simply magnetically affix the camera to your tailgate and view the action from the driver’s seat on the handheld 2.5-inch color screen. It even has night vision.

GearWrench Ratcheting Box Wrenches

GearWrench Ratcheting Box Wrenches

Price: $50

Who wants to deal with sockets in tight places? This seven-piece set of SAE ratcheting combination wrenches needs as little as 5 degrees to move a fastener, versus 30 degrees for standard box-end wrenches. And it’s virtually impossible to round a fastener using one of these chrome-plated tools, which come in seven standard sizes.

Stanley Portable Battery Jump-Starter

Stanley Portable Battery Jump-Starter

Price: $70

Stop worrying about dead batteries. With 500 amps of continuous power (and up to 1000 amps of peak power), the Stanley J5C09 Jump Starter can get your car, truck, boat or RV back in service. You can even inflate your tires with the 120-psi air compressor, and a powerful LED illuminates the dark spaces where batteries typically reside. This jump-starter includes a 120-volt AC charger that lets you recharge from a standard household extension cord.

Car MD

Car MD

Price: $70

It won’t turn off your Check Engine light, but this easy-to-use gadget will capture a trouble code, then take you to a website that explains your problem in plain English—and suggests solutions specific to your vehicle.

Accutire Digital Pressure Gauge

Accutire Digital Pressure Gauge

Price: $15

Maintaining the right tire pressure lengthens tire life, saves fuel and enhances safety. Check yours every month. We use this digital tire pressure gauge that we’ve found is as accurate as much high-priced models.

GoLink iPod Cable

GoLink iPod Cable

Price: $99

This cable, your Apple handheld device and a free app provide a picture of your car’s computer. Users can check and rest trouble codes, monitor various parameters and diagnose problems.

Snell SA2010 Helmet

Snell SA2010 Helmet

Price: $250 to 1000

The Snell foundation has updated its helmet specification, and the new lids are just now becoming available. Many racing organizations require either SA2010 or SA2005, so check the rules before heading to the track.

Piloti Driving Shoes

Piloti Driving Shoes

Price: $$75 to $180

Piloti may be Italian for racing drivers, but even amateur driving enthusiasts will appreciate the rounded heels on these shoes that facilitate a well-executed heel-and-toe downshift. Prices range from $75 for the original Spyder to $180 for the Corsa, a professional racing shoe that’s available in suede with a fire-resistant Nomex liner.

Craftsman Cordless Impact Driver

Craftsman Cordless Impact Driver

Price: $100

The 19.2-volt motor in the C3 impact wrench weighs just four and a half pounds, but it really packs a punch, developing 200 lb-ft of torque, and generating up to 3000 impacts per minute. It breaks through even the tightest lug nuts.

Garmin 665

Price: $1000

Whether it’s on your motorcycle, snowmobile, boat or bicycle, this weatherproof GPS keeps you on course. With real-time weather, Bluetooth and XM satellite radio built-in, it’s also a great gadget for use in your car.

Eastwood Glass Polishing Kit

Price: $47

Don’t put up with a scratched or sandblasted, pitted windshield. This kit will let you and a drill polish your windshield back to its original glossy finish.

WeatherTech Floor Mats

Price: $100 and Up

These days, it’s hard to find anything that’s not made in China. What’s interesting about MacNeil Automotive—maker of WeatherTech all-weather floor mats—is not the fact that it supplies floor mats to all three German automakers, but that its products are entirely made in America. MacNeil not only designs and manufactures its products in the good old U.S.A,, it sources its rubber compounds, and most of its machinery, from North America.

Ram Drink Cup Mount

Price: $37

Okay, the drink cup is great for caffeine addicts, but Ram Mounts also makes one of these articulated mounts adaptable to virtually any vehicle and any device you might need ready at hand.

CG Lock

Price: $50

This easily installed device maintains seatbelt tension, which holds the driver in place. You’d be surprised how much something so simple can improve your driving. It also enhances the safety of kids in booster seats.

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How To Winterize Your Car

Image result for winterizing car

Climate changes don’t affect just you―they also affect your car. In regions that don’t enjoy mild winters, you wouldn’t dream of heading outside without a heavy coat if the wind chill brought the temperature below freezing. Don’t expect your car to function properly without some attention to its winter needs, too.

Engine Oil in the Winter

The oil in your engine changes depending on how hot or cold the engine is running. Because the outside temperatures will influence the internal temperature of your engine, you need to make sure you’re using the proper oil for the conditions.

During the winter months, if you live where temperatures get below freezing, you’ll want to switch over to thinner―less viscous―oil. If you run a 10W-30 in the summer, for example, try moving to a 5W-30 when changing your oil in the fall or winter. If you are in doubt, refer to your manual or the manufacturer.

Engine Coolant

You car’s coolant system is not intended only to keep your engine from overheating. It is also responsible for protecting your valuable engine against corrosion. Before the weather gets too cold, make sure you are using coolant with ethylene glycol to help protect your engine.

Every vehicle requires a certain ratio of coolant to water, and your owner’s manual or repair technician can explain what your engine needs. For most vehicles, a winter ratio is 60% coolant to 40% water. Adjusting this ratio is an important step in winterizing your car, so if you need help, ask someone who is experienced and knowledgeable.

Additionally, some engines can only take specific types of coolant. Be sure to check with you vehicle manual to make sure you are putting the right type of coolant into your car.


Cold Weather and Battery Capacity

It isn’t only your engine that doesn’t like to start in the winter. Your battery capacity is reduced by the cold weather, too. A thorough inspection of your battery, cables, terminals, and fluid will help you make sure your car is ready for the winter.

Check over the battery cables for cracks and breaks. The terminals should fit snugly with no loose connections. You can check your battery fluid by uncovering the refill hole (or sometimes holes). If the level is below the bottom of the cap, refill with distilled water.

To read the level of charge in your battery, you will need to turn the engine off. Some batteries have a built-in hydrometer eye that tells you the amount of voltage remaining in the battery. If you prefer, a handheld hydrometer can be used to collect the same information.

While you’re inspecting your battery, look around for the manufacture date. Knowing how old your battery is can clue you in to when it will begin to lose charge. Shopping for a new battery? Never buy one with a six-month-old manufacture date.

Snow Tires

When it comes to really dealing with winter weather, your tires are out there mixing with the snow, sleet, and ice. Driving in snow can be very difficult and sometimes dangerous; still, the reality is you need to get to work.

Mounting the right tires on your car or truck can give you a huge advantage when trekking through snow. Many car makers and tire manufacturers recommend changing all four tires to snow tires in the winter. If you don’t swap all four, the difference between snow and summer tires can cause other problems for your vehicle.

If you live off the beaten path, you can even buy snow tires with studs to help you get where you’re going all winter long. When spring comes, though, you’ll be glad to get out of the heavy winter tires because your fuel efficiency and handling will improve with a less aggressive tire.

Another option is all-season tires that you drive year-round―winter and summer. The advantage of all-season tires is that you don’t change the tires before winter or need to keep two sets of rims. Of course, the disadvantage is that you don’t get all the great features of a specialized seasonal tire.

Windshield Treatment

An easily overlooked part of your winterizing program is your windshield. If you have ever driven behind another vehicle kicking up wet, dirty road snow, then you already have a true appreciation for windshield washer fluid.

For best results in clearing off cold, heavy grime, select a washer fluid with an antifreeze solution. But beware―some washer fluids can be harsh and damage your car’s paint.

Frozen Out

Door locks can freeze in cold weather and break your key if you try to force them open. The old fashion cure was warm water, but what if you’re not at home and don’t have any warm water nearby? Discount stores, auto parts stores, and even hardware stores sell glycerine you can use for de-icing. Think about where you keep it, however, because if the de-icer is in the glove box of your frozen-shut car, then it won’t help you any.

Stock a tube at home in the garage and also in your desk at work. That way whenever your locks freeze up, you’ll be able to solve the problem.

Emergency Kit

If you don’t already have an emergency kit in your car, consider putting together a few basics and stowing them in the trunk. Naturally, you’ll want to be sure your spare tire is in good shape with all the tools to change it out. But you might also want a few other emergency items in case you slide off the road and get stuck in a snow bank:

  • Flares
  • Blankets
  • Boots
  • Radio
  • Engine oil
  • Washer fluid
  • Coolant
  • Flashlight

When you take the time to winterize your car, you become more comfortable driving in cold, snowy climates. A short commute quickly becomes difficult when your vehicle isn’t equipped to handle snow and ice. By planning ahead, you can make winterizing your vehicle an annual ritual in the name of safety and vehicle reliability.

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5 Easy DIY Car Maintenance Moves for Fall

Change your Wiper Blades

Change your wiper blades

“Wiper blades should be replaced annually every fall,” says Tony Molla, spokesman for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence in Leesburg, Va. “You generally use your wipers more frequently in the fall and winter. They’ll also be taking a lot more abuse from road grime and windshield-washer solvent, so it’s best to have a fresh set then.”

Fortunately, replacing wiper blades as part of car maintenance is very easy and requires no tools. They cost from $10 to $20. Be aware that some cars will require same-sized blades for the driver and passenger sides, while others will require a longer blade for the driver-side wiper. So, be sure to consult the in-store sizing guide to buy the right ones. And don’t forget to buy a third blade if you own a hatchback, station wagon or SUV, with a wiper for the rear window.

Check your Spare Tire

Check your spare tire

“Autumn is also a good time to check your spare tire to ensure that it is properly inflated,” says Jim Travers, associate editor for autos at Consumer Reports and familiar with car maintenance. The typical space-saver spare tire found in most cars must be inflated to the inflation pressure listed on the side of the tire. A tire pressure gauge costs $7 to $20.

“Spare tires on pickup trucks and sport utilities are suspended underneath the vehicle on a cable, and that mechanism requires regular attention,” says Pat Goss, master technician of PBS’s “MotorWeek.” Lower and raise that under-car spare to check if the cable mechanism works freely. In fall, spray it with a rust penetrant like WD-40 and then lube with white lithium grease. If the mechanism has seized, repair it immediately.

Tire pressure drops one PSI, or pound per square inch, for every 10-degree drop in temperature, according to the AAA, so check your tires on a weekly basis. The proper inflation pressure will generally be listed in your vehicle’s owner manual and/or noted on a sticker located on the driver’s doorjamb.

Check and Top off Fluids

Check and top off fluids
“In fall, windshield-washer fluid needs to be replaced with a solvent that is suited for use in cold weather,” says Molla. The washer fluid costs $2 to $4 per gallon, depending on the brand and whether it has antifreeze mixed in.

Travers says autumn is also a good time to check your level of antifreeze ($10 to $16 per gallon) in the coolant recovery reservoir. In this car maintenance move, if you find that you are below the required minimum stamped onto the side of that opaque container, add the appropriate quantity of properly diluted fluid to that reservoir and not to the radiator. Make sure that you use the correct fluid because green and orange antifreeze/coolant cannot be mixed.

Checking the brake-fluid reservoir is also a good idea. If the level is low, top it off with the appropriate type of brake fluid ($3.50 to $17 per container, depending on the type). “As your brakes wear, it’s normal for the fluid to go down a bit,” says Molla. “However, if you notice a bigger decrease, that could be an indication that you have a leak or other issue in the braking system.”

Replace the Air Filter

Replace the air filter

At a minimum, engine air filters ($11.50 to $53 per filter, depending on brand) should be replaced twice per year as part of car maintenance. So, if you haven’t done so already, replacing your car’s air filter is a good idea. When an air filter reaches the point where it causes enough of a pressure drop to restrict airflow, the car’s fuel economy, performance and emissions begin to deteriorate, getting progressively worse until the dirty filter is replaced.

“Fortunately, it’s easy to replace an engine air filter and, again, it’s a job anyone can do without tools,” says Travers.

Check Battery Terminals and Lights

Check battery terminals and lights
Many electrical issues and ignition problems stem from loose or corroded battery connections,” says Travers. “If you notice corrosion on the posts or cable connectors, use an appropriate brush ($4 per brush.) This is a very inexpensive, yet handy tool that you can get at any auto parts store. And clean both (posts) completely, and then reconnect everything snuggly and securely.”

As part of regular car maintenance, and for safety, make sure all of the car’s lights are working; it’s important for you to see, as well as be seen, during autumn’s longer and darker nights, adds Molla. “Replacement bulbs will typically cost a dollar or two, with the exception of headlight bulbs, of course. They’re considerably more expensive, but you can replace them all quite easily on your own without tools and save yourself a hefty labor charge in the process.”

Headlight bulbs range in price from $14 to $27 for a single bulb to $25 to $50 for a dual pack.


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