Thursday, February 8, 2018

Go to a licensed mechanic

When you are in your car, you don’t want to have it malfunction. Unfortunately, it will probably happen to you at some point. It could be anything from a flat tire to a serious engine problem. Let’s face it, car repairs can be expensive. It can be tempting to have a friend fix it for you. They may charge you a meal or for a fraction of the price.  

Depending on the repair, you might be better off taking your car to a dealership. If you need something simple like an oil change, then go ahead and do it yourself if you know how to do it. I have heard horror stories of people trusting their used cars to a friend of a friend and ended up with more damage. You wouldn’t let your friend or their friend operate on you, so why would you let them operate on your car? You might be thinking, it’s just a car, it’s not a living thing. While that is true, you and your family ride in your car. It’s important to leave it up to a professional who knows what they are doing. 

Don’t look for mechanics on Craigslist or Facebook. It doesn’t matter how many references they have or how much less it would cost. You have no idea who they are let alone if they know what they are doing. Remember that the cheap comes out expensive. If you use someone who isn’t qualified, you will likely pay more in the long run. It could end up voiding your warranty by having someone who isn’t licensed work on your car. Warranties are important to have. It’s not worth the risk. 

Dealerships hire qualified and certified mechanics who know the car you drive. I don’t believe that all cars are the same inside. Each manufacturer builds their cars a specific way. It’s best to go to the service department of a local dealership. They also order lots of parts and probably have a relationship with a supplier. Parts might end up being cheaper. You also don’t have to hunt online for parts and wonder about the condition of the part you are ordering. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Driving in the snow

I grew up in Indiana, so the thought of people not knowing how to drive in the snow baffles me. One of my best friends lived in North Carolina. I remember they had an inch of snow and everything shut down. My friend’s parents also thought it was kind of ridiculous as they lived in Indiana and were very familiar with the white stuff. 

As an adult, I understand how some people don’t know how to drive their car in snow. When you live somewhere where it doesn’t snow but once in forty years, it can be very scary. It hasn’t snowed in Tampa in like forty years. My mom’s students asked her to bring back some snow for them to touch. She obviously told them it wouldn’t last that long. I can’t fathom not knowing what snow feels like or even tastes like. 

Here are a few tips for driving in the snow:
Drive slowly and brake slowly. Start the brakes earlier. You have a smoother stop. 

Make more space between the car in front of you. If they have to stop suddenly, you are less likely to crash in to them. 

Stay off bridges and overpasses if possible. 

Listen to the weather and traffic conditions before and while you are driving. 

If you don’t need to go somewhere, don’t. In bad weather it can cause problems for law enforcement. 

Sometimes surface roads are better than the highways. Check with friends who live in the area to see how the roads are. 

Obey all orders from law enforcement and road workers. They are there to keep you safe. 

Have a full tank of gas and a fully charged phone and your car safety kit ready and accessible in your car. 

I feel like people need to be prepared to drive in the snow. There show be a course offered or a section on everyone’s written drivers test.  I think if you are far enough south, it’s worth taking a snow day. My mom’s students don’t get snow days, they get hurricane days. They missed seven days of school during Irma. 

I know last year Noah had no snow days and just a couple delays due to cold weather. I think it was the same way the school year before with no snow days that when they were making the school calendar for this school year, they removed one of the flex days. This year we only have one, we missed two days so far this winter. It’s been really cold this winter. 

We sometimes go see my mom during Presidents Day because it’s usually a four day week. I almost bought tickets for this year but I had a funny feeling. His first make up day is the day after Presidents Day. I honestly prefer delays. I can sleep in but still be able to work later. We usually spend time playing on a snow day but it’s always too cold to play out in the snow. 

Pothole Problems

With Winter comes potholes. No one likes potholes. They can damage your car or tires. With all the snow, slush and salt it’s common to see new potholes popping up all over your town. If you see a pothole, contact the city’s department of transportation with the location. It’s hard to patch potholes in the winter because of the snow, slush and salt. There are two types of patch: Cold patch and hot patch. Cold patch is used in cold weather and doesn’t work as well as hot patch. 

If you drive over a pothole it can cause tire damage and it could make your tire go flat. It could also cause other damages.  It’s very important to drive carefully when you spot a pothole. Make sure you do report it. Don’t think someone else will do it. Salt is also bad for your car. It’s like a double edged sword. You need the salt on the roads to help you drive but it can be harmful for your car. An occasional car wash is a good idea. just to keep the salt from eroding your paint job or worse. You should go to a car wash that dries your used car. I know they tend to be more expensive. You won’t have to worry about your car being frozen. The windshield doesn’t work well when it’s frozen. Trust me I know from experience. 

Remember to drive safely and stay at a safe distance from the car behind you. It might take longer, but it’s better to be late than be hurt in an accident.