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Tips for Winterizing Your Car

winter

Even desert dwellers can run in to roadway trouble driving in mild Arizona valley winter weather. But, a few simple steps of prevention can lead to a long road of safe driving.

Begin with a basic tune-up with a GarageFly mechanic. A visit to a trusted repair expert is the best way to check your car’s vitals. They will check your battery, radiator, fluids, hoses and brakes. You can find one close to you in just 10 seconds, here.

Battery
Cold weather can reduce your battery’s power by about half of that in warmer weather. Be aware of hesitations in the car turning over and get it checked at the first sign. As a precaution, carry jumper cables in your car and have the number of roadside assistance handy.

Tires
Check your tires, specifically the tire tread and wear. Minimum tread for adequate traction is 1/16”. {Tip} Turn a penny head down and stick it between your tire tread. If you can see Lincoln’s head fully, your tires likely need replacing.

Wipers
Good visibility is key to safe driving. Streaks can leave you struggling to see out the windshield well. Look for cracking or detached rubber and replace. Keep the wiper reservoir filled with a solution that has anti-freeze agent. Water can freeze in the washer lines when the weather dips down.

Oil
Use the right engine oil. It thickens when it gets cold so using thinner oil helps it move more easily through the engine. Most new cars use multi-weight oil that is suitable for varied temperatures. But make sure you’re using the manufacturer recommended grade.

Let the engine warm up
Most new cars can be turned over and driven away. But, that doesn’t mean you should skip a warm-up. Allowing a short warm-up allows the oil a chance to head up and thin out and flow through the engine more smoothly.

If you head to Northern Arizona, be aware of weather reports. Watch speed and adjust to driving conditions. Avoid quick and sudden movements in driving to avoid sliding. When you brake, do it slowly and deliberately. Don’t slam the brakes. And if you find yourself in a skid, turn in the direction of the skid.

Follow these simple winter prep and prevention tips and you and your car should be safe to handle the chill of the next few months.

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SafetyTrending Automotive News

6 Car Smells Your Nose Needs to Know

eggs

The nose knows. Or so it’s said. So, the next time you smell a strange odor in your car, you’ll want to take note because it could provide a critical clue as to what’s happening with your car.

Some of the more common smells to be in tune to:

  • Rotten eggs
  • Burning carpet
  • Gasoline
  • Smoke

Whatever it may be, ignoring it can wind up doing more damage to your car.

Here are 6 to pay special attention to:

  1. Rotten Eggs: could be the sign of catalytic converter problems
  2. Burning Carpet: could be a clue your brakes are bad
  3. Sweet: could indicate you’re leaking coolant from your engine.
  4. Rubber burning: this scent could mean you have problems with a loose belt or hose rubbing
  5. Hot oil: could mean you’re leaking oil, which you might see on your driveway.
  6. Gasoline: Smelling it after you fill-up is normal. But, if you smell it when you’re driving you likely have a gas leak in a line or the tank. This is potentially a huge fire hazard so take precaution and don’t drive it.
  7. Mildew or Musty: this is often smelled when you turn the air conditioner.   All signs point to an a/c evaporator in this situation.

All of these potential problems range in price. But, finding a trusted mechanic through GarageFly.com can ensure you make a valuable investment in the lifetime of your car.

To find a GarageFly mechanic near you, click, here.

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How-ToTrending Automotive News

Going Green Behind the Wheel

green-car

It’s not just earth day when some people think greener. For some, a more earth conscience approach to transportation is more… a state of mind.   Sure, you can drive an electric car, plug in and go.   But, there are also ways to be kinder to the environment and still stay behind the wheel of the car you currently drive.

Here are 3 simple ways to Drive Greener:

  1. Fill ‘er up with a plan:  When we have hotter months in Arizona, try to refuel during the coolest time of day.   Not only will this keep you from sweating at the pump, but it also cuts down on the amount of evaporative emissions.   That’s important because smog forms during the heat of the day when the emissions are at their peak. And don’t top off the tank. When the shut-off kicks in…call it good!
  1. Plan your day and your drive:  The fewer miles you drive, obviously the fewer emissions that can potentially harm the earth. Consider carpooling, when possible. And when its not, plan your errands to maximize the miles you drive.
  1. Maintain your car well:  Cars that don’t run well pollute the plant more. Additionally, a properly maintained car has a longer life. Engine issues to keep tabs on to drive greener and keep more ‘green’back in your wallet include transmission fluids, oil, and belts, just to name a few.

To find a GarageFly mechanic near you and read validated reviews from other drivers click here.

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SafetyTrending Automotive News

5 Must Do Warm Weather Car Checks

engine

It’s starting to feel like a ‘top down, windows open’ kind of life with warmer temperatures upon us.    But, before the temperature prompts us to raise the windows and turn down the a/c there are 5 car maintenance tips you don’t want to ignore to keep your car cruising straight through the summer – problem free.

Before you think you don’t have time, it should only take 10 minutes to check the basics.  But, there always a GarageFly conveniently located near you to help do the work for you, too! Click here to find a shop near you.

  • Check all fluids.There are several fluids that require attention, including engine oil, power steering, brake, and transmission fluids, windshield washer solvent, and antifreeze/coolant.
    {TIP} Look for appropriate levels or any leaks under your car.
  • Check hoses and belts.A belt that fails can affect the electrical system, air conditioning, and power steering, as well as the cooling system.
    {TIP} Look for cracks in the belts or hoses.
  • Check the tires.Check tire inflation and inspect the tread for uneven wear, indicating the need for wheel alignment. Also look for bulges and bald spots,
    {TIP} Tire pressure changes 1 psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit change in temperature.
  • Check Radiator and Gas Caps –Tight fitting caps on the radiator and gas caps are important. Radiator caps can corrode and deteriorate, so it is a good idea to replace yours as often as you flush the cooling system.
    {TIP} Look for a tight seal and no visible signs of wear.
  • Flush and Fill Cooling System –Consider flushing every 2 years on most vehicles for added insurance against engine failure. Cooling system hoses may be deteriorating from within, so old hoses and clamps in poor condition might need to be replaced. Give them a good squeeze.
    {TIP} If you hear or feel them crack, or see bulges, they need might replacing.
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SafetyTechnologyTrending Automotive News

Cars That Stop Themselves

man-driving

In the 80’s airbags came in to play in the automotive industry, changing the shape of car safety in a way never been seen before. Fast forward more than 3 decades and now comes the next announcement of its kind: the standardization of Automatic Emergency Brake.

This move marks a commitment by 10 major automakers to take a stronger stance on preventative safety, rather than passenger protection during a crash.

Learn more about how this automatic emergency breaking or AEB will become more accessible to drivers in the near future.

To ensure your brakes are performing safely or if you’ve been in an accident and need repairs, find your trusted your GarageFly automotive expert here.

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TechnologyTrending Automotive News

Smart Phones Making Cars Smarter

girls-on-cell-phones

Smart phones don’t usually make you smarter. (Though we’d like to think they can!) But, with some new technology released recently, they can make your car run a little ‘smarter’ now.

Telematics continues to be a front burner issue for car manufacturers and insurance companies.  Yet drivers with older cars or those made by the guys not in the connected car game yet, there hasn’t been an option….until now.

Verizon Telematics, has announced a telematics option, called Hum and by all accounts it’s anything but ‘ho-hum’ for people wanting a bit of telematics peace of mind.

You’re wondering how it works?… yeah, we were too!  Drivers will use a small reader that is plugged into the car’s onboard diagnostic port and use Bluetooth technology, a smartphone app and a monthly subscription to monitor the vehicle, call for help and manage the car’s maintenance.

Makers of the mini-device believe this is a way to prevent breakdowns by tuning into the car’s potential problems before you’re left stranded. But, we still believe the best insurance policy is a trusted GarageFly mechanic who can keep your car running smoothly. Click here to read reviews and find a conveniently located body or repair shop.

To learn more about how this works, specific features and how much it will cost click here.

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SafetyTechnologyTrending Automotive News

Telematics 4-1-1

tesla

Telematic use is accelerating, but it’s leaving many drivers wondering if they should hit the brakes. So we’re here to break it down, providing an overview of thia technology making its way into most cars if not now…then down the road.

Formula One teams have been using telematics for years to tell exactly where opponents are on the racetrack and insurance companies have been collecting millions of miles of data if not more. As drivers prepare turn the corner on this technology, here’s what you need to know.

WHAT IS IT?
Telematics is emerging and evolving automotive technology that monitors your vehicle and allows for vehicle information sharing.

  • Formula One teams have been using telematics for years to tell drivers where their opponents are on the racetracks.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
Telematics is a small device, generally the size of your hand, which is plugged into your car’s on-board diagnostic port. (located near your steering wheel and under your dashboard) It marries GPS with on-board diagnostics to record and report driving behaviors like:

  • Speed
  • Location
  • Mechanical and engine activity
  • When used with cellular networks, it can relay information between cars and a central management system.

Other uses:

  • Live weather
  • Traffic
  • Parking information
  • Apps
  • Driving directions
  • Social media
  • Tracking stolen cars
  • Trip and distance tracking
  • Teenage driver tracking
  • Fleet tracking for companies

TELEMATICS = INSURANCE = ???
Insurance companies are arguably the greatest stakeholder in telematics. They are able to use the automotive and driver data in a variety of ways, some already identified and others yet to be seen. Among them:  looking for a way to categorize a driver’s risk can use the data. (User Based Insurance or UBI)

  • Rate accuracy based on calculated risk
  • Personalized and specific rewards for ‘good’ drivers, higher premiums for ‘bad’ drivers
  • Determining fault or cause in accidents
  • Claims reporting
  • Theft prevention
  • Automotive Analysis

LOVE IT OR HATE IT?
While drivers have the potential to see a savings on insurance premiums, there is discussion as to whether the savings is worth sacrificing privacy. Additionally, analysts have raised questions as to whether the so-called black box or spyware could ultimately penalize drivers who don’t want the tracking. Still, advocates of telematics argue today’s society is already conditioned to embrace social media which can offer far more personal information than a telematics device.

How do you feel about telematics? We’d love to hear your thoughts and welcome you to weigh in with comments.

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How-ToLifeStyleTravelTrending Automotive News

5 Ways to Save You $$$ at the Pump

pumping-gas

Maybe you’re planning on hitting the road this summer, or you just want to put more money in your pocket before then, there’s an ever-present rally cry to save some money on gas.  I mean, when’s the last time you heard someone complain they saved money at the pump?

But, until you can single-handedly dictate the price you pay to fill your tank, because we’re guessing that could take a while, we’ve got 5 tips to reduce the amount of gas you use and in the process save you money at the pump.

5 ways to save you money at the pump:

  1. Keep your car running well.
    Don’t skip out on routine maintenance.  Keep fuel pumps, hoses and belts in check can ensure the most efficient drive, which can save you money.  To find, a GarageFly.com mechanic near you click here.
  1. Watch your speed.
    The most economical speed is 55-65mph. Any faster, and fuel efficiency falls rapidly.  For example, driving at 85mph uses 40% more fuel than at 70mph.
  1. Check your tire pressure.
    Under-inflated car tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 3%, so check their pressure on a regular basis.
  1. Get a gas app.
    Search for gas apps on your phone to help you find the gas station with lowest prices near you.  Then consider a route which will take you near it to fill up for less.  Lastly, don’t drive till you’re on E.  An empty tank forces you to get gas at any price, not the lowest.
  1. Make your miles count.
    As you plan your day and week ahead, plan your errands and trips to include necessary stops along your route.  Avoiding individual or last minute trips for groceries or other errands can help reduce your miles and save you money.
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