Carpool Safety Tips

This post is brought to you by Barkaucdjr.com.

Carpool Safety Tips

With moms and dads shuttling kids to event after event it’s no wonder folks have turned to carpooling to help cut down on their time spent on the road.  It’s a great way to make sure the kids get where they need to be without constantly being on the go…or maybe you have another kid’s event to be at and can’t be at two places at once.  Letting kids carpool with friends and family just makes sense for a lot of families but it’s important to make sure it’s done safely.  Here are some tips to help to help you navigate the carpool waters.  See what I did there?  Pool. Water. Ha.  Okay, on to the carpool safety tips…

1.) Know Who Will Be Driving

Statistically the number one cause of death of children ages 1-12 in the US is car crashes.  It’s imperative that you know and trust the people you’re entrusting your children with.  You want someone who practices safe driving habits on a regular basis.  Not only that but you need to make it clear that you don’t want any other individuals driving your children around that you haven’t given express permission to.  There my be circumstances when they need a backup person and it’s a good idea to find out who that is before the occasion arises.

2.) Make Sure Your Child Will Be Properly Secured

Car seat safety is something that I am passionate about!  I would make sure that all individuals who would be driving in the carpool be fully educated about my child’s type of car seat, how to install it, and how to properly restrain them each time they’re in the car.  Whether it’s a car seat or a booster seat all drivers need to know the ins and outs of car seat safety.

3.) Keep Your Kids Informed

Because you won’t be in the car when other adults are driving, it’s essential for your kids to know about what’s going on.  They need to know who is dropping them off, picking them up, and where they’re going.  They need to be responsible to keep up with their belongings.  It’s important that they also know how to behave in a car seat or booster seat.  It’s important that they stay buckled up and sit up when in a booster.  Plus, it’s a good idea to have ongoing conversations with your kids about the people they’re riding with and make sure they don’t feel uncomfortable in any way.

I hope these carpool safety tips will help keep your sweet little ones safe on the roads.

8 Car Care Items from the Dollar Tree

This post is brought to you by Warsawchryslerdodgejeepram.com and contains affiliate links.

Car Care Items from The Dollar Store

I love the Dollar Tree for party supplies, craft supplies, gardening tools, and the occasional odds and ends I don’t realize I need till I see it.  Did you know that the Dollar Tree is also a great place to save on car care items?  Taking care of your car can add up quickly, but before you head to the nearest auto store to buy your supplies, check out these common needs that you can have filled for a dollar at your nearest Dollar Tree.

Here are 8 Car Care Items from the Dollar Tree:

Utility Rope

Utility Ropes
In case of emergency, keeping ropes in your vehicle is a great idea.

Auto Protectant

Auto Protectant
You can really save some dollars here. This solution is for vinyl surfaces to protect and restore shine.

Flashlights

Flashlights
In case of emergency or if you need to do some repair, the flashlights will suit your needs well. Who cares if it gets lost or dirty?

Windshield Washer Fuild

Windshield Washer Fluid
You can save a pretty penny by refilling your own windshield washer fluid… for a dollar. This fluid acts as antifreeze and de-icer, making your car safer.

Steering Wheel Cover

Steering Wheel Cover
Snazz up your car, avoid a dirty steering wheel, and protect your hands with the steering wheel cover.

Funnels

Funnels
Although you’ll find this in the kitchen section, it’s perfect for guiding fluids during routine checks.  Plus, they come in packs of three so you could divide them between your kitchen needs and car needs….just don’t use one for both. 😉

Snow Scraper

Snow Brush with Scrapers
Scraping your windshields is an important step of winter car safety.  Save your credit cards and buy a cheap scraper that can get the job done even quicker.  Keep your car’s paint job safe too with the brush feature.

Brake Fuild

Brake Fluid
If you’re your own mechanic, this deal is sure to impress. Refill your brake fluid for a buck.

Do you have any ways to save on car maintenance?  If so, please share in the comments.

Parking Lot Safety Tips

Parking Lot Safety Tips

I’m hyper-vigilant about parking lot safety….and safety in general as a mom.  Yes, I’m that kind of mom.  Especially when we’re out in public.  There’s just so much that could happen quickly.  There’s too much at stake, in my opinion, to take a relaxed approach.  Because I’m this way my daughter always grabs my arm when we walk across a parking lot, even if my hands are full.  I’ve trained her well and she’s as cautious in parking lots as I am.

This past week she was helping her younger brother remember to look both ways before crossing the parking lot lane.  She said, “this is a lot like a street so you have to be very safe.  I wish someone would create a safer parking lot where you didn’t have to be so careful.”  I told her that she was absolutely correct in her assessment.  We also had fun trying to brainstorm different types of parking systems where people could park and safely walk to the building without fear of oncoming traffic.  The closest we could come up with would be some sort of tunnel system and we agreed that didn’t seem practical.  So, for the moment, until someone creates something better, it’s a good idea to be safe in parking lots and I have some tips to share with you on how to do just that.  This post is brought to you by Thunderchrysler.com.

I have to tell you that I wanted to look up some stats to write this post and include some handy information and what I found was a treasure trove of information.  The Pedestrian and Traffic Safety in Parking Lots at SNL/NM: Audit Background Report is a 57 page pdf that has more information than you ever wanted to know about parking lot safety.  If you want more information after you read my article please check it out!

-Drivers Are Distracted In Parking Lots

The NSC.org website says, “In an NSC public opinion poll, 66% of drivers nationwide said they would make phone calls while driving through parking lots. Respondents also said they would:

  • Program GPS systems (63%)
  • Text (56%)
  • Use social media (52%)
  • Send or receive emails (50%)
  • Take photos or watch videos (49%)

NSC found teen drivers (59%) were more likely to engage in personal grooming than adults (53%) while driving in parking lots, but less likely to be on the phone (60% vs. 66%).”

-Pedestrian Parking Lot Safety

  • -Be hyper-aware of your surroundings when walking across parking lots.  Like my daughter says, look both ways as if it were a busy street.
  • -Always make eye contact and wait for the driver to signal you across.  Don’t just walk and assume that they’ll see you and stop for you.  Drivers are distracted in parking lots, remember?  Don’t assume.
  • -Walk on sidewalks and crosswalks when possible.  Make it easy for drivers to see you.
  • -If the weather is bad wear the appropriate shoes.  You don’t want to slip and fall and not be seen by a driver.  I personally know someone who accidentally ran over a man’s legs who was knelt down in a dark parking lot.  He ended up surviving and making a full recovery but it was a terrible ordeal just the same.
  • -Many accidents happen when cars are backing up and don’t see people behind them.  I like to walk quickly behind running cars juuuust in case they back up suddenly without looking first.
  • -Get off your cell phone.  I am constantly amazed by the number of people looking at their phones while walking through parking lots.  It’s not smart.

-Driver Parking Lot Safety

  • -When possible choose a pull through spot to avoid having to back up.
  • -When you have to back up double check that there isn’t anything or anyone behind you before driving in reverse.
  • -Avoid driving through a parking lot and stick to the driving lanes.
  • -Slow down.  Parking lots have 10-15 MPH speed limits for a good reason.
  • -Keep an eye out for kids.  Please keep an eye out for little ones that may dart away from their mother’s grip.
  • -This is the same advice that I listed above for pedestrian safety and in my Tips for Teen Drivers, leave your phone alone.  Leave it in your bag.  Don’t drive distracted.  If it’s so urgent that you need to attend to something, pull into a parking spot for a moment before driving on.

What are some things you implement to try and stay safe in parking lots?

Safe Driving Tips for Teens

Safe Driving Tips for Teens

It’s is a known fact that teenage drivers account for more cat accidents than folks in any other age group.  Here are 5 tips that can help keep your teen safe while on the road.  This post is brought to you by Kingbgmc.com.

1.) Choose a Safe Car

When looking for a new (to us) car I cared about the safety of the of the car first and foremost.  Check the crash safety record before you look into the latest features.  As a side note, this is a great thing to do with car seats too.  You want a car with the latest anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and air bags.  The new back up cameras are a nice feature too but it wouldn’t be on my must have list.

2.) Put Down Your Cell Phone Off

There are studies that relate driving with a cell phone (even hands-free) to driving drunk.  That’s awful.  Distracted driving is  dangerous for anyone and increasingly so for new drivers who need to concentrate.

3.) Don’t Text (Even voice to text)

An average text takes 5 seconds to type and send.  That seems quick enough, right?  Wrong. Even if only traveling at 55 mph, that would take your care the the length of an entire football field without looking at the road.  A lot can go wrong in those few seconds.

Studies have found that voice to text can be just as dangerous.  AAA released a study that confirmed this. They said, “as mental workload and distractions increase, reaction time slows, brain function is compromised, drivers scan the road less and miss visual cues, potentially resulting in drivers not seeing items right in front of them including stop signs and pedestrians.”

4.) Obey the Speed Limit

This seems like a given, right?  Speeding is a major contributor to teen accidents.  This is especially true in unfamiliar areas or when there is a lot of traffic.  Even if everyone is speeding by, keep a safe speed.  It can not only keep you safer but will help you avoid costly tickets and sky rocketing auto insurance premiums.

5.) Minimize Distractions

Being a distracted driver is possible even if you leave your phone in your bag.  Drinking (anything), eating, playing with the radio, can all cause your mind or vision to wander.  Try and arrive somewhere a few minutes early if you need to reapply your make up, eat your lunch, or whatever else you’re tempted to do in the car.  Chances are, whatever it is you’re doing, isn’t worth risking your life for.

There you have it, 5 tips to help you stay focused and safe on the road.

Car Related New Year’s Resolutions

Car Related New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s is a great time to evaluate your life and replace your bad habits with new ones.  Keep in better contact with family, live in the moment, prioritize your health, and the list goes on and on.  There are hundreds of ways that you can improve your life but what about the life of your car?  If you would like to see your car live a good long and healthy life read on for some New Year’s Resolution ideas.

This post is brought to you by Thompson Toyota.

Car Related New Year’s Resolutions for Drivers

  • -Get your oil changed regularly (mark it on your calendar)
  • -Research how to be fuel-efficient (click here for a good place to start your research)
  • -Save money on gas by using apps to find the cheapest gas (see my full list of gas apps here)
  • -Use the Waze app to carpool with others (see my full list of map apps here)
  • -Be more patient with other drivers
  • -Practice being a courteous driver more
  • -Check your tire pressure monthly
  • -Change your wiper blades before they’re unusable (this is a good one for me)
  • -Keep your car’s interior clean (you might want to check out our list of 7 ways to remove car odors)
  • -Get a monthly plan for the car wash (we started that this year and love it!)
  • -Stop leaving your vehicle idling
  • -Start locking your car when you leave it
  • -Stop speeding
  • -Take your car in for regular maintenance (see how to winterize your vehicle here)
  • -Start saving for upcoming repairs/service and for your next vehicle!

What car related New Year’s resolution could you add to the list?  Personally, I want to add write down which CDs are in the CD changer.  Yes, we have an old van but I love it dearly.  …but for the life of me I can’t keep which CD is in which spot straight.  It’s always the last one I check.  Always.  Happy New Year’s, everyone!!

How to Pack a Winter Car Emergency Kit

Tips on Financing a Car

This sponsored post on financing a car is written by me and brought to you by Mr.Ed Auto Approved Loans.

Financing a Car

The aroma of a new car smell, the soft seats, the clean nooks and crannies are only a few of the benefits of a new car.  What? Clean crevices aren’t what excite you about a new car?  lol  Be it the engine, or the fresh start on keeping crumbs at bay it’s important to be well armed with knowledge before buying a car.  Here are some tips to keep in mind when financing a car…

Car Shopping

Research Your Auto Loan Financing Options

 

While I can guarantee that you’ve probably spent hours online researching potential car options and polling friends on Facebook about which van to buy (What? Just me again?), did you do the same thing on getting your loan?  Dealers are allowed to make money on a loan so it’s important to do your homework.  Everyone should do this but especially if you’re young or you have bad credit you need to check online lenders to get the best rate possible.  Dealers, credit unions, and even your auto insurer may offer a competitive rate.

Check all around and choose the best option for you.  Once you’re prequalified elsewhere it’s a different scenario at the dealership.  You can go in and tell them the rate you’re prequalified at and see if they can meet or beat your rate.

Car Financing

Know the Worth of The Car

 

I’m not good at negotiations, I’m not. If I want it and can afford it, I’ll pay what they’re asking. If I don’t, I won’t.  I can’t be this way when it comes to cars so I always take someone else with me who can handle the negotiation process.

I’ve heard it said though that the worst time to negotiate the price of a car is after you’ve test-driven the vehicle and given it a good inspection.  Rumor has it that the salesperson will leave and pretend to haggle for a better price for you and come back saying that the manager couldn’t budge on the price.  The salesmen hope you’ll agree to paying more than it’s worth.  When it comes to buying a car, they have the home field advantage.  They sell cars for a living while you may have only bought a handful of cars in your whole life.  They know what “fees” are baloney.  They’ve mastered the best sales techniques.  They can read you.

It may appear that you’re hopeless but here’s what you can do…know the worth of the car you’re looking at.  Get an honest, direct, no hassle, no strings attached price online at websites such as TrueCar.comOverstock.com,CarsDirect.com, and USAA.

Once you have that price quote in hand make a promise to yourself to not pay a higher price at a dealership.  Tell the dealer your price and see if they can offer a competitive price.  Make them play in your field and not in theirs.

Car Downpayment

Don’t Finance More Than 42 Months

 

Money guru’s say that you shouldn’t take out a car loan longer than 42 months.  If you can’t afford the payment on a 42 month car loan then you should probably buy a cheaper car.  That’s what the financial genius’ say so who am I to argue.

I prefer to pay cash for a used car by saving but sometimes cars may break down suddenly and paying for a brand new car in cash would probably be challenging for most people (I think I remember reading somewhere that only 1% of Americans are able to do so).  However, even if you’re buying a new car, saving for a down payment can shorten your loan length and will save you on interest in the long haul.

There you have it, my three tops on financing a car.  I hope it will help save you money as you spend your hard earned money on a new ride.

Fall Car Maintenance

These fall car maintenance tips are brought to you by Phil Smith Kia.

Car Maintenance

Car Maintenance Checklist

 

 

Remove Car Odors

(See our 7 Ways to Remove Car Odors)

 

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Pin this on Pinterest so you’ll always have it close by.

Fall Car Maintenance

Why You Shouldn’t Top Off Your Gas Tank

This post on why you shouldn’t top off your gas tank is brought to you by Fred Martin Superstore.

Top Off Your Gas

I just heard that you shouldn’t top off your gas tank.  Did you know that?  I’ve never heard of that before so I did some digging on the internet and it turns out they were right!  To think that I was the one who converted my husband into my topping off the gas tank ways.  Oops!  I just love seeing $40.00 even or $23.45.  It always gave me a little high to hit the number right on the mark.  Well, it turns our that it’s not only bad for your wallet and your vehicle but also for the environment!  Oh boy!

It’s Bad for Your Wallet

 

BP’s website says, “Gas nozzles automatically click off when your gas tank is full, so topping off the gas tank can cause you to pay for gasoline that’s fed back into the station’s tanks. In some areas, gas station pumps are required to recover gas vapors to prevent them from contributing to air pollution. In these cases, any additional gas you try to pump after the first click may be drawn into the vapor recovery line. Source: www.epa.gov.”

It’s Bad for Your Vehicle

 

Freep.com says, “Joel Carruso, owner of Caruso’s Auto Repair in Schenectady, N.Y., adds that these systems manage fuel vapor.

Overfilling the gas tank can cause liquid gas to enter the charcoal canister, or carbon filter, which is designed only for vapor. Gas in the system can affect your car’s performance by causing it to run poorly, and damage the engine, he says.

“When we overfill the tank, it sends all of the excessive fuel to the evaporation/charcoal canister and kills the life of that canister,” Carruso says.

Huddleston adds replacing a charcoal canister can cost anywhere from $200 up to $1,500.”

It’s Bad for the Environment

 

EPA.Ohio.gov says, “Gasoline that spills, as well as fumes that escape, react with nitrogen oxides and sunlight and create smog.”

DriveCleanTexas.org says, “This will help keep fumes from escaping and absorbing into the air. Tighten your vehicle’s gas cap all the way to prevent gasoline and pollutants from evaporating and damaging the air.”

Yosimite.epa.gov has an article (you can find it by clicking here) that was written by Catherine Magliocchetti, who at the time the article was published, was a chemical engineer of the federal agency.  She says, “Topping off is a loser three ways.

First, you lose money when you top off because you pay for gasoline that you don’t get. When the gas pump automatically shuts off, a vapor lock blocks more gas from entering your car. After the tank is full, the gas you pump gets sucked back through an outer “vapor-return” hose into the station’s underground storage tank. The meter may be running, but your not getting the gas.

Secondly, you personally pollute the air because topping off clogs the vapor-return hose with liquid gasoline, so it can no longer return excess vapors. It works on the same principle as the water-filled trap on your kitchen sink, except at the pump, you want gasoline vapors to float back down the hose, not get stopped by a liquid-filled trap that you created by topping off.

Even worse, once you plug up the vapor-return hose, it stays plugged up until someone clears it by lifting it overhead to drain all the liquid back into the underground storage tank.

And thirdly, a gasoline-filled vapor-return pretty much guarantees that you and everyone after you will be breathing in a cloud of volatile gasoline molecules — invisible but harmful — while you pump gas. Excess molecules under pressure can’t float back down the return hose, so they get forced out around the nozzle and into the air. That’s when you smell gas.”

Yikes!  Know better, do better, right?  It looks like some good reasons not to top off your gas but even if it’s wrong, I’d rather err on the side of caution.  I guess from now on I’ll try and resist the urge to get an even dollar amount!  In the past, did you top off your gas tank?

7 Easy Ways to Remove Car Odors

This post is brought to you by Lustine Toyota.

Remove Car Odors

Scent is a powerful thing and is often one of the first things people notice when entering a new place.  For drivers that can be bad news.  Some odors can be easily avoided by not smoking or leaving food in the car.  However, other spills, especially with kids, are harder to avoid.  Take hope though, I have some suggestions to help keep you remove car odors to leave your car smelling fresh and clean.

-The easiest way to keep a car smelling good is surprisingly easy.  Grab a pack of dryer sheets, poke a few holes in a baggy, throw them in, and toss them under the seats.  They’re out of sight and will cost only a few dollars a year.  Easy peasy!

-If you’re not a fan of chemicals and want to take a natural approach I’ve heard that you can use fresh herbs to make your car smell lovely.  Buy a few sprigs of basil, lay it on some newspaper, and set it in the car’s back window.  There it will receive sunlight and will dry out.  Other aromatic herbs can work too.  Mint and thyme come to mind as good options to try.

-The next step isn’t too hard as long as you have nice sunny day and a water hose.  Clean your car mats.  The mud and muck can build up and make your car smellier than it needs to be.  A quick rinse and maybe a scrub will help keep your car fresh.

-If you still have a funky smell you can sprinkle baking soda over the seats and carpeted flooring.  Baking soda is one of the world’s best natural fresheners.  Plus, it’s incredibly cheap too!  Leave the baking soda sit for a few hours and simply vacuum it up.

-One unsuspecting place that can hold bacteria and mold is your car’s air conditioning system.  Fortunately, there is a $10 fix that’s easy to implement. Simply buy a can of air conditioner odor treatment spray, turn the air conditioning on high (with the re-circulation button off), and spray the treatment into the exterior air intakes (at the base of the windshield).  Wait ten minutes or so and turn the re-circulation button on and spray the treatment again into the interior vents.  Leave running to another ten minutes or so.

-One of my favorite cleaning products for inside the house can also be beneficial inside the car – vinegar!  White vinegar is super cheap and it works as a great cleaner and deodorizer.  We buy it buy the gallon for roughly $4 a gallon.  Mix equal parts water and vinegar to a spray bottle and go to town.  The temporary smell will dissipate leaving your car cleaner and fresher than before.  It can clean upholstery, windows, and hard surfaces alike.

-This next tip is one that we learned how to do when my husband accidentally left a gallon of milk in the car…for a couple of days.  Oops! He thought he just forgot to buy it.  If you’re a coffee drinker this will be an easy fix for you…and better yet, if you’re like me and continually accidentally buy bags of beans instead of coffee grounds you already have a good supply of coffee on hand. 🙂  Fill a tin or plastic container with about 6-8 ounces of coffee grounds or beans (beans are less messy) and poke holes in the top of the lid.  Simply leave it in the car overnight (or in our extreme case for a couple of nights!)  The oils from the coffee beans absorb and eliminate the odors and leaves a faint delicious coffee smell behind.

There you have it folks, seven ways to remove smelly odors from your car so you and others can enjoy a fresh ride around town.