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Car Care

Take Tailgating to the Next Level

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL? Thanks to the tips in this sponsored post you’ll be the best tailgater in the lot.

It won’t be long until we’re in the middle of prime tailgating season! You can make tailgating even more fun if you’re prepared – check out these great tips for how to ramp up your tailgating game:

1.  Pack a kit. A toolbox with all its various compartments can be the perfect vessel for housing all the things you might need, like: spatulas, a bottle opener, a can opener, tongs, plastic ware, trash bags, paper towels, baggies, wipes, hand cleaner, and any seasonings you might use often when grilling.

2. Use a six-pack box to house all your sauces. Keep your A-1, Tabasco and BBQ sauce from spilling out in your car by putting a bottle in each compartment. It’ll also make it easy for you to cart the sauces around!

3. Make it easy for people to find your car. Get some helium balloons and float them high up so your friends can easily find you among all the other cars around.

4. Think smart with which vehicle you bring. A compact car isn’t going to have as much room for storage. A minivan can work well (try adding plastic drawers to the back to organize all your supplies) and then of course trucks are optimal with all the surface area a truck bed provides! Find the perfect tailgating vehicle at Three Rivers Chrysler Jeep Dodge.

5. Create a disposable cooler. Another use for your drink boxes is to line them with trash bags (use at least two layers to prevent leaks), fill them with ice, and voila! You’ve got an instant cooler that you can easily toss when you’re done with it.

Get Your Car Ready for Back-to-School

Do you have your car ready for back-to-school? Check out these tips in this sponsored post and you’ll be ready in no time!

It’s just about a month until kids go back to school (has summer flown by for ayone else?) and it’s a great time to start thinking about how to get organized. We often focus on the home – having things ready for lunches, making it easy for the kids to pick out their clothes, and creating a space for working on homework.

One often-overlooked space for back-to-school readiness is the car. If you organize your car the right way it can make drop-offs easier and pick-ups more pleasant. Here are three tips for getting your car in A+ shape before the new school year arrives:

1. Use seat organizers. I’m sure you’ve seen these before – they hang down the back of car seats and have various-sized pockets for housing different items. This can be a great way to make sure you have all the things your kids might need. Kids forget breakfast? No problem – keep granola bars or small cereal boxes in some of the pockets! Have a four-year-old with a boo-boo that threatens to derail your morning? Have Neosporin spray and band-aids at the ready. Think about what you wish you’d had on hand this past school year and make a list to stock your car well.

2. Use shower caddies to make for neater eating. You can find these at the dollar store, and they’re an amazing way to let kids eat in the car without making a huge mess. Just place all the components of their breakfast (or dinner, if you’re out running errands – last minute school supply shopping, anyone?) and it keeps everything contained.

3. Get a cooler for your car. If you’re often carting your kids around to soccer practice a car cooler can make your life so much easier! It plugs right in to your car’s cigarette lighter and allows you to have cold drinks on hand. It’s also a great way to keep fresh fruit, carrots, or cheese sticks around for healthy snacks.

If a new car is on your school supply list, check out Junction Auto Sales in Chardon, Ohio!

Get More Money For Your Vehicle Trade-In

Have you ever traded in your vehicle when you purchase a new one? It can be an intimidating process, but if you’re equipped with tools like the ones in this sponsored post you can feel more confident going in to the dealership.

When you’re purchasing a new car, that usually means you are getting rid of an old one. We’ve sold a car on our own before and it ended up being a lot of work, so we decided going forward we’d always try to do trade-ins with a dealership – like Lakeland Chrysler Jeep Dodge – instead. It’s much less stressful and takes much less time, so it’s worth it to us. It’s also really nice to get your sale and purchase over with in one day!

We want to get the most for our trade-in, of course, so I thought I’d share a few tips with you that we use to make sure we get the best offer:

1. Research the value. Look on sites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds to get a rough idea of the value of your vehicle. Be honest about the condition when you’re taking the questionnaire – it’s easy to get attached to a vehicle but you’ve got to be objective when figuring out how much your car is worth.

2. Get your car detailed (or detail it yourself). We have done this each time we’ve traded in a vehicle and I honestly feel like it makes a big difference. It allows you to put your car’s best foot (errr…. tire?) forward. Just like you’d stage a home for sale, make your car look its best before you take it to the dealership. A sloppy car might give the impression you don’t take good care of it in general.

3. Have your maintenance records ready to show. Keep a folder of maintenance and repair records on your car, and when it’s time for trading it in you’ll be glad! Giving the dealership your repair and maintenance records shows you’ve been a responsible car owner and it lets the dealership get a better idea of what kind of shape your vehicle is in.

Best Car Accessories for Moms

If you’ve got kids, you’ll love this sponsored post with some amazing car gadgets that will make your life easier.

I’m a big fan of things that make life easier – as a mom to three kids, and as someone who also works full-time, I feel like we’re constantly on the go (side note: I love our minivan – find your own at Humes Chrysler Jeep Dodge). So if I can find something that simplifies any part of my day, I’m all about it! Since we’re out and about so much, I thought I’d share with you some car accessories that are sanity savers. Here are the best gadgets for moms & families:

1. Proximo. Y’all, I forget where I park ALL THE TIME. I’m serious. If I’m alone I really do just fine, but how often does that happen? Never! I’m usually with the family or with a friend – or on the phone with someone – and I’m completely distracted as I park and enter a store. This means that when I exit the store I’m left wandering the lot and pressing my car lock button over and over again hoping to hear it beep to guide me the right way.  Proximo lets you use an app on your phone to track your car in the parking lot so you’re not meandering around – and bonus: you can also use it to track your keys in the house!

2. Zubie. This is a device you plug into your vehicle and it will provide all sorts of great services, like information on how safely you’re driving (how great would this be if you have a teenage driver?) how your car is doing.  My favorite aspect, though? You can also set it up so a text message is automatically sent to your the recipient of your choice when you get to a certain location or come home. This, again, would be really awesome for peace of mind with teenage drivers. You’ll know when they’ve made it to school or the house safely without having to bug them with a text checking in on them.

3. ChildMinder Smart Clip System. This thing is awesome with the safety it provides for our little ones. Have you ever started to drive off without buckling your baby’s car seat completely? The ChildMinder clips right on to the car seat strap and alerts you if the strap becomes detached, too loose, or if you forget to buckle the straps altogether. And this next safety feature it provides is crucial: it will trigger an alarm if you move more than 15 feet away from baby, keeping you from ever accidentally leaving baby in the car unattended – this is especially important during hot weather, which we have a LOT of in Texas!

Tips for Saving Money on Gas

Have you gone on any road trips this summer? Whether you’re driving across country or around your city, this sponsored post will show you how to make your money go further. 

The cost of gas can add up quickly, right? Even when we’re not traveling out of town we can blow through a tank of gas way more quickly than seems possible. You can’t always help how much you’re driving, of course, but you can take steps to make your dollar stretch just a little bit further. Try these tips today to see a difference in your spending on gas!

1. Don’t have a lead foot. Rapidly accelerating your car can guzzle gas quickly. Many vehicles now have a light that turns on when you’re driving in a way that uses gas economically. If you press on the gas pedal to speed up, you’ll notice that light turn off. Try to drive at a consistent speed and not accelerate quickly at lights or on the freeway to pass someone, and your tank of gas will last longer.

2. Avoid unnecessary idling. I’m guilty of this often, especially during the school year! When I’m waiting to pick up the kids from school I sit for 10-15 minutes with the car – and air conditioner – on. Idling can use a quarter to a half a gallon of fuel per hour, and if you’re using your air conditioner while you sit like I do it can use even more fuel. Turn your engine off when you’re parked, and roll down your windows. If it’s the fall and a little chilly, keep a jacket in the car  rather than keeping your heater running.

3. Look for fuel savings opportunities. Our grocery store lets us accumulate points, and we can earn up to $1.00 off per gallon. There are other savings card programs through gas stations and credit cards, too! My in-laws use points they earn on their credit cards to buy Sam’s Club gift cards and get “free” gas that way. So smart!

4. Buy a vehicle that is fuel-efficient. Newer vehicles are more efficient than older ones, so it might be time to trade in your old car for something new. Visit Savage Chrysler to find many great options.

Take Your Test Drive to the Next Level

Have you taken many test drives? Before you take your next one check out this sponsored tips for making the most of your trial time in a vehicle.

Whenever we’ve bought a car, there’s been one common element – the test drive. It can make or break a car purchase, but it can end up being less helpful if you don’t fully take advantage of the time you’ve got to try out the car you’re thinking of buying (speaking of car shopping – visit Legacy Dodge Jeep Chrysler RAM. Check out these tips for making the most of your test drive so you can feel confident in your car choice:

1. Make a list of your priorities before you drive. It can be easy to get swept up in luxurious touches on a car, losing sight of what you’re really wanting. Seat warmers may be pretty awesome, but if your car doesn’t have the cargo space you need for family road trips you’ll be regretting your purchase down the road. If you have a checklist, you can make sure you don’t overlook anything – and you can even jot down notes for the various cars you test drive to make it easy to compare them when you’re ready to make a decision.

2. Bring a friend with you. No, it’s not for moral support (although that’s a great perk!). Have your friend sit in the passenger seat during part of the test drive, then stop during the drive and have them sit in the back seat as well (and definitely have them try out 3rd-row seating if that’s applicable – you want to make sure there’s plenty of leg room.

3. Park it. Don’t just drive down the road – try parking (and backing out of) a spot in a crowded parking lot. Is the car easy to maneuver? Are there any blind spots that make it difficult to back up? If you think about how many different places you park your vehicle each week this is a crucial test that every car should be able to pass before it’s purchased.

DIY Detailing Gives You the Feel of a New Car!

love having my car detailed; it gives me the feeling that I’m driving a brand-new vehicle, which is always fun! There’s just something nice about having a pristine-feeling car. No matter what your circumstance, detailing your vehicle is a way to pamper yourself – and your car. If you’re not willing, or able, to shell out the money for someone else to detail your car, don’t worry! Here are some steps to do it yourself and save money.

1.     Buff your paint. A good car wash goes a long way, but use an oscillating buffer with some polish to really make your car gleam. Follow up by waxing your car and you’ll get a great shine to your car’s exterior that will definitely make it feel new!

2.     Use an air compressor. There are lots of nooks and crannies you just can’t reach with a vacuum, so an air compressor can really make a difference in the depth of cleaning you’re able to achieve. Borrow one, rent one, or invest in one – regardless of how you acquire one, you’ll be glad you did. An air compressor loosens dirt from the carpet and seats, making it easier for you to clean.

3.      Remove all mats from your vehicle before vacuuming. Vacuum the interior well (after using the air compressor, of course) and take care of the mats while they’re outside of the car. While the mats are out, go ahead and wash them with a steam cleaner to get them looking great before you put them back in your vehicle.

4.     Use glass cleaner inside and out. You might not really think about cleaning the insides of your windows, but that’s where all the fingerprints are (or, if you’re like us, nose prints from your dogs that ride in the vehicle). Get your windows sparkling by using glass cleaner (a spray or wipes) on the interior and exterior of your windows.

5.     Wipe down all hard surfaces with a cleaner. You’ll remove any grime or dust settled on the car, and then you can finish off the job with something like Armor All to give a little added shine. Wipe your dashboard, of course, but also think about wiping off other hard surface areas you might not typically consider like around the doors where people put their hands, or on area where you clip your seatbelt in.

A Kid-Friendly Plan for Keeping Your Car Clean

I have three children, ages 9, 7, and 4. We are on the go quite a bit, and each of my children brings items into the car as we’re out and about. They like to bring toys and books, which is all good and well until we have the equivalent of a toy store in the back of our vehicle!

It doesn’t always happen, but it’s a goal of mine to keep our car presentable; my standard is having it clean enough that we wouldn’t be embarrassed to offer someone a ride. Here are a few ways I’ve learned to manage the mess, even with kids!

1.     Schedule car washes. Taking the car to be washed just wasn’t on my radar, but now it’s something we do at least twice a month. When we get it washed we always follow it up with cleaning out and vacuuming the interior, so this ensures that we have an opportunity for deeper cleaning every couple of weeks. If you’re adverse to spending money on a car wash, you can schedule a weekend day to do it yourself at home – or better yet, make the kids do it! It can be a fun task that they might actually enjoy.

2.     Make smart car food choices. I think most parents will agree it’s pretty unrealistic to suggest a no-eating rule in the car. I have instituted this rule on occasion, and it definitely makes life harder. When we’re running late in the morning, it’s easier to let the kids eat breakfast on the drive to school. I’ve learned that we have to pick the right types of food – granola bars work well; cereal with lots of small pieces does not – and that we need to package food in the right way to help keep crumbs at bay.  When the children do bring cereal, we put it in a larger baggie, filling it only about ¼ of the way. You don’t want leftovers, because those will inevitably be spilled. I prefer to give the kids drinks in cups with lids because juice boxes often get unintentionally squeezed and make a big mess.

3.     Always throw trash away when you get gas. You’re standing around waiting for the gas to pump anyway – why not be productive? This will help keep trash from piling up and seeming like a daunting task to tackle.

4.     Provide a basket for each child in the car.  Go to the dollar store and get each of your children a small basket. Every so often have the kids bring their basket in and purge the car of various toys and items that have made their way into the vehicle over the past week.

5.     Keep baby wipes on hand. These are great for cleaning spills, wiping down the hard surfaces in the car, and cleaning up the kids, too. Quick wipe-ups help prevent stains from setting in and can curtail a sticky mess before it spreads.

Be Prepared in 2017 – Make an Emergency Kit for Your Vehicle!

The start of a new year is a perfect time to get organized. When it comes to being on the road, it can be crucial that you have a proper emergency kit stashed away in the trunk of your car – you definitely want to be prepared! It’s really simple to put together a kit of materials you might need in various situations, and you’ll sure be glad you did! You can buy pre-assembled kits, but if you make your own you can save money and end up with a kit that’s custom for your needs. Here are five things to include in a vehicle emergency kit:

1Fire extinguisher. This might not be something you think of automatically to have in your car, but think about how many times you’ve seen vehicles on fire on the side of the road. It’s good to be prepared! Make sure you get one rated for Class B (those that involve flammable/combustible liquids, like gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene) or C (those involving electrical equipment like switches and batteries) fires.

2First-aid kit. You probably have one of these in your home (and if you don’t, add that to your shopping list, too!) and it’s just as important to have one in your car. This can be one of those things we knowwe need, but we never get around to purchasing. Neosporin, band-aids, antiseptic wipes, gauze, adhesive tape, and aspirin are all great things to include. Your family might have specific medical needs that you want to consider, too. We have been really glad to have band-aids in the car on several occasions!

3Jumper cables. We have these, and just recently were able to help a friend whose battery had died. If our car dies, it’ll make it a lot easier for us to get help by already having jumper cables. They’re inexpensive and compact, so it makes sense to have these on hand.

4Blankets. While it’s still cold these can be especially important to have. In winter, if you get stranded you’ll be thankful for the warmth. In the summer, if you get caught in a hail storm a blanket might be your only line of defense between you and the hail. If you have to fix a flat tire and are surrounded by rough terrain, you could lay the blanket down underneath you while you work.

5Foam tire sealant.  This is an inexpensive, temporary solution when you get a flat tire, and I think everyone should own a can. It could mean the difference in you being stranded in the middle of nowhere or making it to the nearest town for help!

While you’re assembling your kit, try and think of any other items you might need – and feel good about getting prepared for 2017 travel!

Don’t Forget to Make New Year’s Resolutions for your Vehicle!

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is already here! If you’re like me, you’ve probably made resolutions to get healthier this year. Add your vehicle’s health to your resolution list while you’re at it! Maintaining your vehicle will make you – and your wallet – happier when you look back on the year.

1.     Schedule regular tune-ups for your vehicle. Make sure your filters aren’t too dirty, that your fluid levels are where they need to be, and that everything is running smoothly. Our auto place even offers free check-ups in between oil changes, because they recognize that it’s a great way to keep your car in tip-top shape.

2.     Keep up with oil changes for your vehicle when needed. If you think you’re saving money by stretching out the time between oil changes, you’re not doing yourself any favors. It can actually end up costing you more in the long run because it can end up causing damage to your vehicle. Skipping an oil change leads to a less-efficient car with more potential for problems. Keep all your fluids topped off – most oil change places will tell you if your other fluid levels are too low.

3.     Declutter your car every day. I have three kids, so clutter is king in our car. I have to make a conscious effort to clean up as we exit the car each day or the clutter piles up before I know it! It’s easy to think that you’ll throw that coffee cup away tomorrow, but I promise that if you get into the habit it’s just as easy to go ahead and throw it away today. It only takes a minute to work on it a little each day, and then you don’t end up with a monumental task. If you have children like I do, make them clean up their trash – and bring in toys – every day, too. You’ll all feel better traveling in a clean car, and then you won’t be embarrassed to give someone a ride.

4.     Listen and look for things that are out of the ordinary for your vehicle. You’re with your car day in and day out, so you are familiar with what sounds and behaviors are normal. If you notice a weird clanking, buzzing, or humming, it’s worth getting it looked at. Right now it might be a minor problem, but if you put off taking care of the issue now it can turn into something big – and expensive.

5.     Maintain your tires and have them rotated regularly. Tire blowouts are not fun, but they can happen easily if your tires are worn or if you have nail in the tire that you’re not aware of. Keep an eye out for the condition of your tires, and look for things that might be stuck in them. Check your air pressure, too. Most cars now have a warning if your air pressure gets too low, but a simple tire gauge is a great tool to have around. Rotate the tires so they wear evenly.

Make the resolution to take great care of your car for the coming year with these five simple steps!

2016: New Year’s Resolutions – For Your Car

2016 push button. Concept of new year, two thousand sixteen.

We’re a month in to 2016. Have you made any resolutions this year – and more importantly, have you followed through?

I hope you’ll take a minute and consider making a few more resolutions… but not for eating healthier or saving money (although do those too, for sure!)… for your car. You’ll be glad you did, and your car will be thankful, too.

Here’s one resolution to start you off:

Take your car for regular tune-ups. Many oil change places even offers free check-ups in between oil changes, because they recognize that it’s a great way to keep your car in tip-top shape.

For other car-related resolutions, visit my guest post over on the Dulles Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership blog.

Be Prepared When You Get on the Road

EmergencyKit

Will you be getting on the road in the coming weeks for a road trip? If so, I’m sure you’ve probably started thinking about what all to pack. Don’t forget Christmas gifts for the grandparents, blankets for napping on the road, or things to keep your kids occupied while you drive. And definitely remember to pack an emergency kit for your car.

It’s always a good idea to be prepared with some important basics. You can buy a pre-made kit, but if you assemble your own you know you’ll have exactly what you need when the situation arises. One thing you want to be sure and have is a fire extinguisher. Make sure you get one rated for Class B (those that involve flammable/combustible liquids, like gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene) or C (those involving electrical equipment like switches and batteries) fires. If your engine catches on fire, you’ll be glad to have this on hand.

For other tips on what to include in your car’s emergency kit, check out my guest post over on the Antioch Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram blog.