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Do We Really Need Car Touch Screens

What started out as a way to view your car’s rear view camera soon started displaying everything from your radio, temperature controls and everything in between. They’re in almost every new car on the market, and their prominence is only going to increase in the coming years. But do we really need car touch screens?

The answer, it turns out, is a resounding yes… and no.


On the one hand, car touch screens make it easier than ever to control your car’s various systems. You can change the music, turn on the AC, and even adjust your seats without ever taking your hands off the wheel.


On the other hand, car touch screens can be dangerously distracting. Especially if you are not that familiar with where  all the controls are. It can take your eyes off the road for vital seconds that could mean the difference between life and death.

While touchscreen displays can be distracting, many car manufacturers are trying to design them in a way that minimizes driver distraction. Some features that are being implemented include:


- touch screens that can disappear into the dashboard

- voice controls

- heads-up displays that project images onto the windshield

- gesture controls


Ultimately, it is up to the driver to decide if a car touch screen is right for them. If you can use it without taking your eyes off the road, then it can be a valuable asset. But if you find yourself constantly fumbling with the controls, it might be best to stick with good old-fashioned buttons and knobs.


How To Keep Your Car On The Road Longer

One of the best ways to keep your car on the road longer is to perform regular maintenance. This includes things like oil changes, tire rotations, and engine tune-ups. By keeping up with these simple tasks, you can avoid more serious and expensive problems down the road.

Spark Plugs And Wires

In addition to regular maintenance, changing your spark plugs and wires proactively help extend the life of your car. Over time, these parts can wear out and cause problems with your engine.

Cabin Filter and Air Filter

Change your cabin air filter and engine air filter. One affects the airflow in your car and the other affects the airflow to your engine. Both are important for keeping your car running smoothly.

Fuel Injectors & EGR Valves

Check your fuel injectors.  Although not part of a standard service maintenance schedule, they start to deteriorate. You'll have a check engine light come on. Another major component that a lot of people fail to talk about when they just tune ups is the EGR valve or the exhaust gas recirculation valve. These should be checked and replaced according to your manufacturer's recommendations.

A faulty EGR valve can cause  all sorts of engine performance problems, including a loss of power and fuel economy.

Tires

Most people recognize the importance of having good tires on your car for  traction, safety, and gas mileage. But did you know that the condition of your tires can also have an impact on your electrical components. It's possible to have vibrations from your tires that will loosen battery terminals and other electrical connections. So, not only do you want to have good tread on your tires for safety, but you also want to keep an eye on any loose wires  or terminals.


By following these simple tips, you can keep your car running smoothly for years to come.


What's That Noise - Your Safety Depends On It

Your Brakes Are Telling You Something!

Brakes are an essential part of every car, helping you to slow down and stop when needed. Generally, if your brakes are making a high-pitched squealing noise when you first step on them, it's an indication that the brake pads need to be replaced.

What causes that noise when you brake?

This can be due to a number of different factors - worn or dirty brake pads, issues with the rotors or calipers, or even something as simple as dirt or debris caught in the brakes.

If you're noticing a strange noise coming from your brakes, it's always best to have them checked out by a professional mechanic to ensure there isn't a bigger issue at play.

What are the different types of brakes, and how do they work?

There are many different types of brakes, each designed to perform a specific function and work in a particular way. Some common brake types include disc brakes, drum brakes, and vacuum brakes.

Disc brakes use a system of pads that press against a spinning metal disc to slow or stop the vehicle. Drum brakes consist of two brake shoes that press against the inside of a stationary metal drum. Vacuum brakes use suction to slow or stop a vehicle, drawing air from the atmosphere into chambers

How can you tell if your brakes need to be serviced or replaced?

If your car is making a noise when you brake, there's a good chance that something is wrong with your brakes. There are several things you can do to check your brakes and see if they need to be serviced or replaced.

Another way to tell if your brakes are in need of service is to look at your brake fluid levels. If the fluid is low or dark, it could be a sign that your brakes need to be flushed and refilled.

What does turning the Rotors mean?

If you've ever had your car's brakes serviced, you may have heard the term "turning the rotors." But what does that actually mean?

Rotors are the metal discs that your brake pads press against to slow or stop your car. When they become worn or dirty, they can cause a number of problems with braking performance. Turning the rotors means machining them down so that they are smooth and clean again, allowing for better braking. If they get worn down below a certain point, they will need to be replaced entirely by a mechanic.

 

As a driver, it's important to be aware of any issues with your car's brakes, as this can have serious implications for your safety on the road. Some common symptoms of worn or faulty brakes include a high-pitched squealing noise when braking, low or dark brake fluid levels, vibrations or shuddering when applying the brakes, and poor response time. If you notice any of these issues, be sure to have your brakes checked by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.

Don't Get Burned - Beat The Summer Heat

5 Tips To Keep Your Parked Car Cooler

Summertime is approaching fast, and with it, soaring temperatures. The last thing you want to do is climb into a scorching car and wait for it to cool down.

Did you know "When temperatures outside climb range from 80 degrees to 100 degrees, the internal temperature of your car can reach a scorching 130 to 172" (actionnews)

What Can You Do To Lower The Temperature In Your Car?

• Tip 1: Park in the Shade

If you have the option to park in the shade, take it! In many parking lots they will have trees or other natural shade options, Also try to park so that the sun is not shining on the driver's side. Even a few minutes in the shade can make a big difference.

• Tip 2: Use Your Visor And A Sunshade

You can find a sunshade for your windshield at most auto stores. Sunshades are especially useful if you have to park in the direct sun. They will help keep your car cooler and make it more comfortable to get in. Your windshield visor can also help keep the sun from entering your car

You could also fit a visor to your rear window as well as invest in window vent visors to keep individual passenger windows shaded.

Tip 3: Let Your Car Cool Before Getting In

Does your car have a remote starter? You turn on the air conditioning to full blast, shut all the doors and give your car a few minutes to cool down before driving. The other option is Leave the doors open for a minute to let most of the hot air out before getting in.

Tip 3: Cover Up Steering Wheel

No one wants to try to dive with a hot steering wheel. Consider placing a light-colored terry cloth towel over the steering wheel before you leave the car. This may reduce how much heat it absorbs

Tip 4: Cover Your Seats

This will protect your seats from the sun's rays and reduce how much heat they absorb. If you have leather seats, this is especially important as they can get uncomfortably hot in direct sunlight. You can buy special seat covers designed to reflect the sun's rays, or just use a light-colored towel or blanket

Tip 5: Tint You Windows

One of the best ways to keep your car cool is to tint your windows. This will reduce the amount of heat that comes into the car, making it more comfortable when you get in.

While you may or may not be able to do all of these things, any combination will help make your car more comfortable in the summer heat. Enjoy your summer and stay cool!

Compare Costs Buy New Car vs. Used

Buying used can save you thousands upfront and over cycles of ownership, but buying new has other advantages.

While buying new cars is enticing, you should take a cold, hard look at how much you could save over time by buying used cars instead.

The average person owns 13 cars in a lifetime, each costing an average of $30,000, according to a report by the National Automobile Dealers Association. If each of those cars was 3 years old, instead of new, you could save nearly $130,000 during your lifetime.

The real money-saver in buying a used car is wrapped up in a sinister-sounding financial word: depreciation.

Car buying’s dirty little secret

Once you fully understand how car depreciation sucks money out of your wallet, you’ll learn how to save boatloads of cash over your lifetime. You often hear that a car loses 20% of its value as soon as you buy it. Yes, in just one minute, a $30,000 car will lose $6,000 as you gleefully drive off. By the end of the first year, mileage and wear and tear could bring that to 30%, or $9,000. Why don’t you feel this big hit? Because it takes effect much later, when you sell or trade in your car.

Take a look at two similar cars, one new and one used.

New-car depreciation: You buy the car for $30,000 and sell it three years later for $15,000. The car has cost you $15,000 in depreciation.

used-car depreciation: Now let’s say you buy the same car, but it's 3 years old when you buy it. You could buy the car for $15,000. Three years later you could sell it for $10,000. So the used car depreciation cost you only $5,000.

Now, if you’re paying attention, you would quickly say, “But driving a brand new car is much better!” You’re absolutely right. So, if driving a new car is worth an extra $10,000 to you, go for it. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Forget the old used-car stigmas

It used to be common for people to put down used cars by saying that it was just a way to buy someone else’s problems. That’s not true anymore. Here are two updates on old knocks against used cars of recent vintage.

Reliability: Cars have never been more dependable than they are today. It’s not uncommon for some cars to deliver more than 100,000 miles before needing major repairs.

Maintenance: All cars require regular maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotation, brake jobs. But you can drive today’s cars much farther in between these scheduled maintenance visits. Even tires and brake pads last much longer than before.

More used-car advantages

So it’s pretty clear that buying a used car is much cheaper and that cars in general are more dependable. But take a look at these other advantages:

Lower car insurance rates: When a vehicle is worth less, it costs less to insure it when you're buying collision and comprehensive coverage. You can also drop collision and comprehensive coverage, which pay for repairs to your car, and save even more.

Registry renewals are cheaper: The cost of registering a used car goes down every year.

Move up to a luxury car: Because you can save 30% or more, you can shop in a higher class of cars.

Less stress: Got a ding in the door? Who cares? But when it’s the first dent in your new car, it’s a huge bummer.

New-car advantages

While nearly everything about used cars costs less, buying a new car has its advantages.

New-car shopping is easier: All new cars are assumed to be perfect, so evaluating the condition isn’t a factor. No need to take it to a mechanic. Also, it’s easier to figure out what you should pay for a new car, even if the negotiation process is still a pain.

More used-car options: Automakers offer plenty of incentives to lure buyers, such as cash rebates. New car loans have better interest rates. This means you'll likely pay thousands of dollars less than the frightening sticker price once you negotiate a final price and apply the incentives.

Advanced technology: New features for comfort, performance and safety are introduced in new cars every year. You’ll need to wait several years to get them in used cars.

Peace of mind: A new car will likely be more reliable than a used one, even though pre-owned cars are much more dependable than in the past. If a new car breaks down, you can have it fixed for free under the included factory warranty, at least for the first 36,000 miles or three years that most carmakers offer.

Prestige: Let’s put it this way: You don’t hear many people bragging about the used car they just bought.

An exception to the rule

Not all cars depreciate at the same rate. Some brands are known for holding their value exceptionally well. When you add in possible new-car incentives and low-interest used-car, there are times when buying a new car doesn’t cost much more than buying a 1- or 2-year-old car.

You can find how much cars depreciate on several automotive websites, such as Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own or Consumer Reports’ Cost of Vehicle Ownership.

What it means for you

Depreciation is a silent killer to your automotive budget. But by buying cars that hold their value, you can minimize the effects. If you’re still on the fence, use a car loan calculator to see how much less your monthly payment would be if you bought used instead of new.

Article Originally published on Nerdwallet.comBy Philip Reed

Car maintenance Tips

Properly maintaining your car is key to keeping it in top condition. It can also help ensure your safety, the safety of your passengers and your fellow drivers. Here are some ways to help keep your car running smoothly.

THE CAR maintenance CHECKLIST

Consider adding these items to your vehicle maintenance "to do" list:

INSPECT AND MAINTAIN TIRES

Knowing how to maintain your car's tire pressure can help reduce wear on the tires and helps ensure you're getting good gas mileage. Checking your tire pressure includes finding the recommended pressure, checking the PSI and inflating or deflating your tires accordingly.

A flat tire is a hazard that can be dangerous to you and your car. There are several preventative steps you can take to help avoid a blowout, including rotating your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles and watching for tire recalls.

CHANGE THE OIL

Routinely checking and changing your car's oil is essential to keeping its engine in running condition. Check your oil each month and change it as directed in the car's owner's manual.

You can change your oil yourself or take it to a service center. If you choose to do it yourself, learn the necessary steps to drain the fluid, set the correct oil level and dispose of old oil.

You should also know which type of motor oil is best for your car, regardless of whether you change the oil yourself or take it to a service center. This generally means considering three things — the oil viscosity, whether to use synthetic versus non-synthetic oil and your car's mileage.

CHECK THE FLUIDS

There are several fluids that should be kept at the appropriate levels to help keep your car running properly. According to Popular Mechanics, you or your mechanic should check:

  • Engine oil
  • Coolant
  • Power steering fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Transmission fluid
A leak with any of these fluids can affect the way your car drives. If you spot a leak, you may be able to identify the fluid by its color. This can help you and your mechanic determine where the leak is coming from. It can also help speed up the repair process.

TEST THE LIGHTS

A broken or burnt-out bulb is a safety hazard and might get you a ticket. Learn how to thoroughly inspect each bulb on your car. If a bulb is out, take your car to an expert to determine whether it's the bulb or the fuse that needs replacing.

Headlights are key safety lights on your car. Consider taking a few extra steps to help keep them shining bright, such as cleaning the lenses and replacing bulbs as they start to dim.

REPLACE WINDSHIELD WIPERS

If your wipers aren't working like they used to, don't let the problem linger. Damaged or worn out blades can reduce visibility during a heavy rain or a snowstorm. Knowing how to inspect your wiper blades regularly and replace them when necessary is one way to help keep your car safe.

CHANGE YOUR ENGINE AIR FILTER

A dirty engine air filter can allow dirt and other particulates into your car's engine and reduce its efficiency. Inspect your car's air filter once a year and replace it as needed.

REGULAR CHECKUPS

Some routine car care tasks can be done at home, but others require trained technicians. Take your car to a technician if the check engine light comes on. Trained technicians can diagnose the problem through the car's on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) port.

A qualified repair shop will also be able to inspect and replace other core components like the alternator and the wheel bearings. Scheduling regular tune-ups will help ensure that your car gets other maintenance items repaired as well.

HAVE YOUR BRAKES CHECKED

Your car's brake pads also require regular inspection. While driving, listen for any brake noise and pay attention to shuddering or vibrating from the brake pedal. If any concerns arise, consult a service center as soon as possible

WASH YOUR CAR

Your car is subjected to all sorts of elements, from road salt and ice melt in the winter to tree sap and bird droppings in the summer. Some of these hazards are not only unsightly but can cause damage to paint and the undercarriage, according to AccuWeather.

Keeping your car clean may help prevent long-term damage. Find the car washing method that works for you and regularly wash your car.

CHECK BELTS AND HOSES

Keeping your car's belts and hoses in good shape can help keep your car running and may help you avoid a breakdown on the road. For example, if your serpentine belt breaks while you're driving, it may cause many of your car's systems to fail.

Having your belts and hoses checked at every oil change will help ensure that they're in good condition and don't need replacing.

REVIEW YOUR CAR INSURANCE

Just like regular car checkups, it's a good idea to review your car insurance policy from time to time. This can help ensure your policy's coverages, limits and deductibles are up-to-date and suitable for your current situation.

Keeping your car in good shape can help keep you and your passengers safe. And remember, if you're ever unsure about how to inspect or replace a car part, be sure to contact a local mechanic for help.

Article Originally published maintenance-tips.aspx">allstate.com
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