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Five Things You Should Always Carry In Your Car

Posted on 09/24/2010

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard the lecture about my gas mileage going down because I carry too much stuff in my trunk. While it’s true that your car should not be used as storage locker, there are some things you absolutely should have in your car in case of a roadside emergency.

  1. Emergency blanket. Even if you live in a warm climate like we do here in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Norfolk, you’ll want to keep warm if you find yourself having to rough it in your car for a night or two. Mylar blankets are inexpensive and will do a fine enough job keeping you warm until help or a tow truck arrives.
  2. First Aid Kit. It seems like a no-brainer but just ask your friends how many of them have a first aid kit in their car and you may be surprised at the answer. You’ll see a lot of first aid kits on shelves around August and September as parents stock up for kids driving to college. In October, those very same kits show up in the discount bin.
  3. Emergency snacks. If you’ve ever been broken down in the middle of nowhere with a child, a pet or a whiny traveling partner you probably already know the value of having some high protein snacks. Try to buy things that have a long shelf and set your calendar to remind you to check the dates from time to time.
  4. Solar powered battery charger and a couple of adapters. The only thing sadder than not having a GPS or cell phone in your car is having one with a dead battery. Solar powered chargers can help you gather and relay important information about where you are.
  5. Roadside kit. This is actually a multi-part answer but worth bundling together since you really should have all the items. No roadside kit worth its salt should be without jumper cables, a can of fix-a-flat, a battery operated flashing light (you can pick one up at a bike store). A flashlight and batteries or a hand-crank version. You might also want to throw in a pair of inexpensive gloves to protect your hands during any emergency work.

These items often come bundled in a neat bag, but if choose to build your own kit you can always pick up a small basket and slide it under a passenger seat. Good luck and don’t forget that the best way to avoid an emergency is to prepare!

How to pick a mechanic

Posted on 05/26/2010

Everyone knows that regular maintenance is necessary to keep your vehicle in top working condition. Even if worked on your own cars as a teenager with your friends you may still be considered an amateur mechanic. It highly recommended that you leave the work to a professional mechanic who knows exactly how to work on your car. This regular service is very important for any car regardless of make and model.

Picking the right mechanic to entrust to work on your car is an important decision and should be taken seriously. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a mechanic.

First, ask the prospective mechanic for some references. If he knows there is potential for long term business he will be more than happy to provide you a list of satisfied clients. If you own multiple cars, let him know - the opportunity to be your destination for auto repairs is what a mechanic likes to know. Let him know that you take your auto maintenance very seriously and that is why you would like to speak to some of his customers. Also ask friends and family who they take their vehicles to, you're bound to find a name that comes up more than once.

The next thing you should be concerned with is his qualifications or certifications. We always recommend using a service station that all employees are ASE certified. Always ask the mechanic about this - if they maintain these credentials they are more than happy and proud to share it.

Finding the right mechanic is important to the longevity of your car, take the time to find a good one.

How to pick a mechanic

Posted on 03/15/2010

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