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Technology and Driving: A Love/Hate Relationship

texting-behind-wheel

If you’re like most people, you have a love/hate relationship with technology. The undeniable positives being the endless information found on the Web, and the ability to stay in touch with friends and family all over the world. On the other hand, it becomes all too easy to get sucked into the pages of apps on our device, causing us to pay little to no attention to the people right in front of us.

The relationship between technology and cars is no exception to this love/hate dynamic. While technology has allowed us to make cars safer with additions such as automated emergency braking and air bag detection, it has also made it near impossible to focus on the one reason you’re actually in the car—to drive.

Back in 2011, NHTSA found that at any given moment, nearly 660,000 individuals were using their smartphones while driving. Given the fact that our obsession with smartphones and related technology has rapidly increased over the years, it’s safe to say that number is significantly higher now. We’ve become so accustom to having our phones in our hands that when it comes time to drive, we find it difficult to disconnect.

The good news is, different campaigns and even technological inventions have allowed us to turn the focus back to safe driving. Here are a few of our favorites:

  1. Bluetooth. These days you’d be hard pressed to find a vehicle without Bluetooth. With buttons on the steering wheel allowing you to place and end calls, Bluetooth allows you to stay connected while driving without ever taking your hands off the steering wheel.
  1. It Can Wait Campaign. Launched in 2010, AT&T had a simple idea behind their ‘It Can Wait’ campaign: Keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone. With over 10 million people signing the pledge since then, this is a great way to motivate yourself to put your phone away when driving. You can sign up here: http://www.itcanwait.com/all
  1. Anti-texting apps. One of the biggest issues facing drivers today is the temptation to text while driving. You may be surprised to learn that there are tons of apps that prevent drivers from doing just that. Apps such Textecution and OneProtect don’t allow you to send or receive texts if the car (and thus the phone) is moving faster than 10 MPH. Other apps such as DriveMode and SafeCell send automated responses to texts and calls letting them know you are currently driving. While often utilized by parents, these are great for anyone tempted to text and drive.
  1. If you ever watch Shark Tank, you may already know about this one. To cut down on distracted driving, a group of young students created the SMARTwheel. The steering wheel cover detects if both hands aren’t on the wheel, and notifies a parent or loved one of how often, and for how long, one or both hands is removed.
  1. Education. Some of us operate with the mentality that a car accident could never happen to us. But in reality, 35,092 people were killed on public roads in 2015. Understanding the risks you take when you text and drive, or how dangerous distracting driving can be, is crucial to becoming a safer driver. Videos like the one below can be a great way to educate yourself and make a lasting impact on how you drive.

While distracted driving is sometimes unavoidable, we can all make the road safer by taking care of the aspects of distracted driving we do have control over.

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SafetyTrending Automotive News

3 Common Car Seat Safety Mistakes

car-seat

Take a look at the cars whizzing by you. Many of them have children on board. Not a particularly shocking observation. However, what is surprising is that for every 10 of those cars, 7 have child safety restraints installed incorrectly or being used wrong. 70% is a chilling number. The good news is, a little education and the safety of the young passengers can be dramatically improved. Here are some commonly overlooked dangers:

The LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children)
This system is intended to make it easier to install car seats properly. But, many people make the mistake of using both the LATCH and the seatbelt. It’s also intended to be used only in certain seats. Here’s a little known fact according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, LATCH has not been proven to be a safer option than a properly installed seat belt on a child restraint.

SWITCHING CAR SEATS TOO SOON
This happens when parents take their 1 year olds and turn them forward facing in the car seat. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics started recommending that kids stay sitting backwards for at least two years.   This is despite the child’s weight or height. The concern is that in the event of an accident which might only cause serious whiplash for an adult, it could actually have fatal consequences for a young child.

The same is also true for moving to the next stage of child restraints. Often, parents will eagerly anticipate the day they can move to a booster seat instead of a larger 5 point harness car seat. It’s viewed by some parents as “easier”, but according to safety experts, not safer.

EXPIRED OR RECALLED SAFETY SEATS
Your cheese has an expiration date and guess what? So does your car seat.   You can find it on the bottom of the seat. As a general rule, it’s about 6 years. So, if you have gaps in ages of your children, you may not be able to pass them down all the way to your family’s caboose. Primary reason for expirations are the plastic and other parts of it can wear out and be compromised by extreme temperatures. You also need to replace seats which haven’t expired if you have been in a car crash. Your insurance company will usually take care of the cost.

With a few of these safety tips in mind, you should also consider visiting a fire department if you have questions about installation. Generally, they have trained staff on proper installation. The most important thing to remember is that even the most expensive child safety seat can’t protect your child if it’s not properly installed.

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How-ToTrending Automotive News

Keeping It Cool With Your Car AC

ac

Our summer heat arrived later than usual this year in Arizona. The result? Cool mornings and evening and tolerable afternoons. Just maybe you still had your windows open at the end of May. But, the extreme head is headed our way. Hot, sweaty summer months when your car turns into a mobile oven and everyone chimes in declaring, ‘it’s a dry heat’. Dry or not, keeping your car’s a/c running well in the sweltering summer requires a bit more attention in our extreme heat.

Here are 3 tips to keep cool in your car.

  1. Refrigerant is the main factor to keeping you’re a/c blowing cool air. Like other parts of your car, the A/C can get old and ‘wear out’. A repair expert can replace refrigerant and many times this will correct the problem of air blowing out cool, instead of cold.
  1. Maximize the cold air you’re A/C turns out by using the “fresh air/outside air” setting. This brings the outside air in and the A/C system cools the dry heat. If it’s monsoon in Arizona use your “recirculate” setting. In this case your car will reuse existing air instead of bringing in more humid air.
  1. If you get to the point of hot air blowing out you might have a more significant problem with your compressor. That’s the main element in your car’s A/C system. This can be checked by a GarageFly repair expert. Find one here.

If you’re having trouble staying cool behind the wheel, don’t wait until the boiling point. Try the tips & tricks above, or give us a call today.

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Auto RepairSafetyTrending Automotive News

5 Tips to Keep Your Tires ‘Summer Safe’

tires

The scorching summer months in the southwest can turn any perfectly paved roadway into a heat street with potentially dangerous results for you and the only part of your vehicle that touches the road.   Heat related tire blow-outs and flats are the cause of more than 11,000 crashes per year, a number the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says can be reduced if drivers properly care for the tires on their vehicles.

Taking cues from the NHTSA, Here are some simple maintenance measures that can go a long way to protect your safety and those sharing the road with you.

Inflation
Check air pressure when tires are not hot. Let your car sit for at least 3 hours out of the sun, in the early morning if you don’t have a shaded parking area or when the car has been driven less than a mile. Keep it inflated to the recommendations for the car listed in the manual.

Tread
Tires should be replaced when less than 1/16th of tread is left. Remember that front tires of a front-wheel-drive vehicle will wear more quickly than those on the rear axle.

Road damage
Remove foreign objects imbedded in the tire. Glass, gravel and other debris can work deeper in to the tread and cause a flat. But, if you find a nail or other sharp object stuck in your tire, have a professional remove it and seal the puncture.

Valve and rim
Each valve stem should have a cap to keep out moisture and dirt and to keep the valve core from being accidentally depressed, thus leaking air. Also check valve stems for cuts and scrapes which could cause leaks. Check the rim for dents and rust which can lead to leaks or blowouts.

Spare tire and tools
Be sure the spare is properly inflated. The temporary tire should not be used at speeds of more than 50 miles per hour and its tread life is only about 3,000 miles. Be sure all the parts for your jack are in place and you know how to use them.

Keeping your tires in good shape can be good for your wallet too. Proper tire maintenance can increase gas mileage and decrease wear and tear to your tires and car. If you need to purchase new tires, some of our GarageFly shops sell them. A look through shop detail pages can let you know if a shop near you offers this service.

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Auto RepairHow-ToTrending Automotive News

5 Tips to Check Your Oil

oil

Oil keeps your vehicle’s engine running smoothly by reducing the friction. Proper oil levels will help you get a smoother running engine. Check it regularly, as often as once a month, to prevent future problems.

Here’s how to do it on most cars:

  1. Check in the morning when oil has completely drained from the engine.
  2. Lift your hood. Locate the dipstick. (Unscrew it, if necessary.) Have wiping towel ready. Pull dipstick out.
  3. Wipe the dipstick clean and familiarize yourself with the markings. There should be two marks; one for minimum and one for maximum oil levels.
  4. Completely reinsert the entire dipstick so you get a good reading.
  5. Pull out the dipstick a second time. Compare the oil level to the marks. The oil level should be at or near the maximum oil mark. If the oil level is near or below the minimum oil mark, schedule and oil change.

If smells like gasoline, it should be changed. But, just because oil looks dirty doesn’t mean it’s not doing the trick. Here’s how to know if it needs to be replaced. Rub a little between your thumb and index finger, and if it leaves a dirty smudge, it probably needs to be changed.

When it’s time to schedule an oil change, finding a mechanic is easy through GarageFly.com.   And once you’ve gotten the work done, don’t forget to help other drivers looking for a trusted auto expert, by writing a review.

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SafetyTrending Automotive News

The ‘Light’er Side of Things

cars-in-tunnel

When you think of car care, you likely think about a lot of things; tires, fluids, air conditioning, engines, and brakes. But, believe it or not, the lights on your car contribute to keeping safe when driving.

Sure, if a taillight goes out you’re not going to get stranded, but you could risk getting hit from behind. So, drivers should pay particular attention to maintaining the lights to keep their car in great shape.

There is no specific time to get your lights replaced. Often times, it’s simply when a headlamp or taillight goes out. Still, there are many other lights needed to drive your car safely.

Take a look:

  • Headlamps
  • Taillights
  • Reverse lights
  • Brake lights
  • High beams
  • Blinkers
  • License plate light
  • Emergency flashers

Another consideration to have the safest lights possible is to have clean, bright lights.   There are plenty of good products on the market to clean clouded light covers.

The best time to address your car’s lighting system is when you do your routine maintenance on your car.

To schedule an appointment with a GarageFly shop nearest you, visit our website.

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LifeStyleTechnologyTrending Automotive News

5 Car Care Apps for Drivers

guy-on-phone

You probably spend far more time traveling in your car than you really want to. But, with busy lives and people on the go, it’s a necessary evil. We tracked down 5 popular Apps that help keep you on top of everything you need to know and do for your car.

AccuFuel
This 99-cent app will help you track your fuel usage and determine which of your cars is the biggest gas-guzzler. It also works to see if your hybrid is saving you money.

GasBuddy Free
This free app helps you locate the cheapest gas near you and report gas prices to other drivers. You also get the chance to win $100 free in daily gas.

Auto Care Free
This app helps track your car’s service and gas fill-ups. It also helps remind you when you are due for service and keep track of your maintenance history. This app will cost you $5.99

GreenMeter
This $5.99 app featured in NY Times, LA Times and other national publications, measures your vehicle’s power and fuel usage to show you how efficiently you are driving your car.

Speedometer Free Speed Box
This is a free app that is a speedometer, compass and odometer for your iPhone. It also tracks your speed and distance for you. It’s free, but there is also a version for $3.99 with a few more features.

We don’t know exactly how well these apps will work for your particular make or model, but for those who like to try out new apps and also keep close tabs on their car, there might be a match in one of these for you.

Regardless, GarageFly’s mission is to help you find a shop to help you in all areas of your car care. To find the closest shop to you in 10 seconds, visit our website.

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How-ToLifeStyleTrending Automotive News

Keeping Old Cars Running Well

old-engine

If you’re looking at 2,000 miles on your odometer you’re not likely to worry much about what it takes to keep your car running well. But, if it’s 200,000 miles you’re riding around with, your best bet is to give your car a little extra care to prolong the life of it.

Even the strongest engines marketed as built to last will only run for a few years without proper care.  Here are 3 key tips to keep older cars running:

  1. Drain and refill fluids regularly

Good, clean fluids help your car run efficiently. To minimize stress on your car’s engine components, make sure that you change the oil regularly. Flushing old coolant and adding a fresh refill will reduce the risk of corrosion and ensure that your cooling system can do its job. Brake fluid can collect moisture over the years; so make sure that yours is in good condition.

  1. Know the parts to replace before you ‘need’ to

Every car has a few components that are not designed to last as long as the car itself, so you will need to replace these in time. Belts and hoses are the most common and both are critical to keeping your car running well and in some cases, running at all. If you are not sure how long you have had the same set of belts or hoses, it is best to replace them before something goes wrong. Cracked coolant hoses could lead to overheating in the middle of nowhere, and a belt failure could cause irreparable engine damage.

  1. Develop a relationship with your mechanic

You may be able to perform some maintenance on your own vehicle, but there is no substitute for professional care. An older car needs all the help it can get, so find a mechanic who is familiar with your car’s make and model. Visiting a good auto repair shop regularly will allow you to catch small problems before they put your car out of commission, and will even prevent some problems entirely.

To ensure that your high-mileage vehicle stays on the road for many more years and many more miles find a trusted automotive expert at www.GarageFly.com

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Auto RepairHow-ToTrending Automotive News

Tips For Finding a Good Mechanic

man-with-wrench

It’s never convenient. Ever. When your car breaks down there’s a dreaded shuffle to keep life moving. But, with the proper prep, it doesn’t have to leave you stranded and scrambling.  A little advance work now can help you eliminate some of the immediate stress later.

Here are 6 recommendations from GarageFly shops, to help you find a trusted mechanic.

  1. Check online reviews. Reviews offer an insider’s opinion of their experience. But, keep in mind not all reviews sites can be trusted. Validated reviews that confirm the review is based on an actual repair give you a reasonable opinion. Also, look for an overall impression of the experiences and their confidence in the team and their service over the driver specific.
  2. Consider various automotive certifications. Many good auto mechanics will be ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) Certified. What this means a consumer is they have certification indicating what areas he is proficient in.   But, use your intuition. A shop could not have certification but still have decades or generations of automotive experience. This is when when reviews can support the good work and offer peace of mind.
  3. Balance price and convenience.  Any mechanic should work honestly, effectively, efficiently and avoid big surprises on cost or time. Going to bigger shop alone doesn’t guarantee anything and by the same token, a smaller scale shop doesn’t mean inferior service.
  4. Test the relationship first.  Before you’re in a need of major repair, test the relationship by taking your car in for an oil chance to see how you like the shop, its employees and your overall experience.
  5. Ask about warranties.  Warranties can vary between shops. Do your due diligence and ask this question in advance of the work. Know what you’re agreeing to, to ensure your best chance at satisfaction.
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SafetyTrending Automotive News

Straight Talk About DUI Penalties

drink-and-drive

As we kick off the summer season, this is the prime time for enjoying parties and celebrations with friends and family. A cocktail or drink may seem harmless at the time, but alcohol can lead to tragedy when you don’t have a plan to get home safely.

Plans can include a designated driver, a taxi, Uber or when possible, spending the night over at the location of the party or celebration.

To complete your picture of how serious driving under the influence is, here is a general overview (individual cases may vary) of some of the penalties of a DUI conviction in Arizona.

The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in Arizona is .08. However, you can be arrested with a blood alcohol content of less than the legal limit.   The reason behind this is because Arizona is referred to as a ‘no tolerance state’ for DUIS, meaning you can still be arrested under .08.

There three types of DUIs.

  • Standard: .08+
  • Extreme: .15+
  • Super Extreme: .20+

Aside from the inherent disregard for the safety others and yourself, there are other penalties to consider when you drink and drive. There are a variety of factors which contribute to your ultimate conviction and penalty, including previous convictions and if there were minors in the car. But, as an extremely loose guideline you can consider the following:

STANDARD DUI

1st Offense

  • Jail up to 10 days
  • Fines about $1500, plus jail/home detention costs
  • MVD Suspension: 90 day suspension or 1 year revocation

2nd Offense

  • Jail up to 90 days
  • Fines around $3500 plus jail/ home detention costs.
  • MVD Suspension: 1 year revocation

EXTREME DUI

  • Jail up to 30 days
  • Fines about $2780, plus jail/home detention costs
  • MVD Suspension: 90 days

2nd Offense

  • Jail: Up to 120 days
  • Fines about $3740 plus jail/home detention costs
  • MVD Suspension: 1 year revocation

SUPER EXTREME DUI

1st Offense

  • Jail: 45 days
  • Fines about $3240 plus jail/home detention costs
  • MVD : Suspension 90 days

For more information on preventing driving under the influence, you can visit Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

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