Frugal Novice

Why the Subaru Ascent is a Perfect Family Vehicle

This is a sponsored post partnered with Reedman-Toll Subaru of Downington. All opinions are honest and are my own.

We love Subarus in our family. We’ve owned a Forester and loved it. And we own an Impreza that is 11 years old, and that we are saving to be our son’s first car once he’s old enough to drive. Both my mother & mother-in-law bought Foresters at our suggestion. We love the dependability and safety that Subarus provide, along with the top-notch quality of every element that goes into each vehicle.

The one thing we’ve always hoped for is a larger vehicle from Subaru. With three kids, the Impreza, Outback, and Forester would all fit our family, but we really want three rows and a little more space for hauling gear or going on road trips.

Well, our car prayers have been answered – the Subaru has released the Subaru Ascent, and it’s a great vehicle for slightly larger families like ours. Here’s why the Ascent is a perfect family vehicle:

  • It has flexible seating. We really wanted three rows, which the Ascent offers, but it also allows you the opportunity to fold seats down as needed so you can configure it for different situations. You can also pick whether to have captain’s chairs or a bench seat in the second row. I love the idea of the captain’s chairs for our family, because it makes it even easier to get back to the third row.
  • It has Standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. The stability that this provides makes for a safer drive, which we all want especially when our kids are in the car with us, right?
  • It can get up to 27 MPG. I am amazed by this, because a lot of times I think we equate SUVs with lower gas mileage. When you’re a parent, you’re always looking for ways to save money, and gas efficiency is a big part of that.
  • It has available WiFi connectivity and loads of USB ports. It’s just a fact – people want to be able to stay connected on their devices, even while on the road. These features are awesome for day-to-day use, but can you imagine how much more pleasant they’ll make road trips with kids?

We haven’t gotten an Ascent yet but it’s on our wish list – we can’t wait to get one for our family!

Spring Cleaning? Don’t forget your car!

This is a sponsored post partnered with Reedman Toll Chevrolet. All opinions are honest and are my own.

With the popularity of Marie Kondo and “tidying up” people all over the country are paring down – and cleaning up – their homes. I’ve actually been working on our own home, going room by room to purge and freshen up each space.

It’s easy to just focus on our homes for a spring cleaning, but the truth is our cars should be a part of that process too. After all, we’re in our vehicles almost every single day! With three kids, our car can get messy fast but I like to keep it presentable in case someone else rides with us. Plus, doesn’t it just feel better when your car is clean?

Let’s talk about a few tips for tidying and freshening up your vehicle ahead of spring:

1.     Take your car to get washed. You like to go to the spa, right? Think of this as your car’s visit to the spa – it’ll get sparkling clean on the outside, and most places either vacuum for you or provide vacuums for you to do it yourself. When we have company coming, I always take our car to be washed first. 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.     Get into the habit of throwing trash away each time 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. And when we’re on road trips, we make the kids throw trash away at each stop. When you stay on top of things, it’s a lot easier to clean than if you let it all pile up.

3.  Use baskets and tubs to organize.  Go to the dollar store and get some small baskets, or shoebox-sized tubs with lids. Marie Kondo is a big fan of categorizing items in drawers and closets, and this can be just as effective in vehicles. Some ideas for things to keep on hand: first aid kit, changes of clothes, nonperishable snacks, and simple cleaning products.

4.  Even if your kids are grown, keep 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. If you have wipes handy, it’s easy to take a second here and there to clean up messes you see… if not, it’s easy to forget about them and never really get around to cleaning up.

5. Change your cabin air filter. This doesn’t provide a visible effect, but it’s just as important as the other items on this list for keeping your car in tip-top shape for spring. With all the pollen that can be in the air during the spring, you want to be sure you and your family aren’t breathing all that in while you’re driving your car down the road.

Life Insurance Basics: Term vs. Whole Life Insurance

This is a sponsored post partnering with Mason Finance. All opinions are honest and are my own.

When you become an adult, there are a lot of things it feels like you have to learn – how to budget, how to balance your checkbook, how to sign up for all your utilities – but one thing you might not think about right away is life insurance. I’ll admit that it’s not something we thought too heavily about until we had children, but it’s good to be informed early on so you can equip yourself to protect your family.

You might just think all life insurance is kind of the same. You buy a policy, and you’re set, right? While life insurance truly isn’t that complicated, there are different types of life insurance, and it’s good to know what your options are before you make a decision. The two main types are:

  • Term life – a policy that covers you for a certain period of time, usually 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. Once the policy time frame ends, so does the coverage.
  • Whole life – policies that provide permanent coverage; these last a lifetime, have guaranteed premiums, and have a guaranteed cash value.

Term life insurance can seem like an appealing option because it is cheaper than whole life insurance. However, it does become more expensive as the covered party ages, especially after he/she hits age 50. The term must be renewed if you want to extend your coverage beyond the initial term length. This type of insurance provides death benefits only, and the benefits are only paid if the insured passes away while the term of the policy is still in effect.

Whole life insurance covers the insured party for life. You either have to qualify with a health examination or pay a higher rate without a medical exam. It provides death benefits as well as a cash value that accumulates during the life of the policy. Those interested in cashing out whole life insurance policy should know that the cash value is based on how much the return on investment is worth.

Be sure and research which option is best for you – the main thing is to become informed so you can protect your family in the best way possible!

Why Buying a Used Vehicle is the Way to Go

This is a sponsored post partnered with Newark Chrysler Jeep Dodge. All opinions are honest and are my own.

We’ve bought both new and used vehicles in our house, and there are pros and cons to each. My father always said buying used was the smart way to go, though, so in his memory, here are reasons buying used can be a really genius idea:

Less depreciation of value. A new car can depreciate about 30% in value within the first year you own it, but if you buy a one-year-old car you can take advantage of getting a lower price and minimizing your loss of value. This isn’t a detail that you notice when buying a new car, but a few years later (or even just one year later), trying to trade this new vehicle in towards a newer model will most likely affect its value by as much as 30%!

You can afford a better car with more “extras.” Many people buy used luxury brands that they could never afford new, or can get packages in vehicles that would just cost too much for budget in a new car. We have friends who bought a used minivan that came with a great DVD player system, and they never would’ve been able to get that in a new vehicle. By saving on the depreciation mentioned above, you can move your selection criteria up to a new tier of vehicle.

Better insurance rates. Can’t beat that, right? If you have a newer car, it has greater value, and higher insurance costs. On the flip side of that, a lower value vehicle costs less to insure. Not only that, registration renewal rates are cheaper for a used car, going down in price each year.

Broader choice. With used cars, your pool is opened up to makes and models from a variety of years rather than what’s currently out. You’re more likely to be able to find exactly what you’re looking for. It may add to how long the process takes, but you’ll end up completely happy with your find.

How to Save on Gas Purchases

This is a sponsored post partnered with Robert’s Chrysler Dodge RAM Fiat. All opinions are honest and are my own.

The cost of gas can add up quickly, right? Even when we’re not driving our car 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. Drive less! Sounds simple enough, but think about what all you need to do next time you need to drive somewhere, and how you can best plan your route, along with what all you need to do in the near future. Any way to chain together a few errands at once?

5. Purchase your fuel either late in the day or early in the morning. This works especially well in the summer months. When you puchase your gas during the cooler hours of the day, the density is higher, so you will pump more. Also, if you time your fill up in the first part of the week (Sunday-Tuesday), traditionally those are the days with lower pricing. Later in the week/weekend is when prices are raised for more weekend travel.

6. If you are waiting for someone outside in the parking lot, turn off your vehicle. Sitting idle while waiting is another waste of the fuel, not to mention it is just adding more harmful pollution to the atmosphere that can be avoided easily by turning off the engine.

7. Keep an eye on the tire inflation. Driving your vehicle on underinflated tires significantly uses more fuel while driving, not to mention it also adds avoidable wear and tear on your tires, thereby adding yet another cost to your budget that could’ve been avoided.

Be Road Trip Ready!

This is a sponsored post partnered with King Chevy Buick GMC. All opinions are honest and are my own.

If you’re like many other people, you’re likely planning a road trip of some kind or another for the upcoming holidays. Before you get on the road, make sure you’re prepared with an emergency kit in your vehicle. It’s easy to put one together, and you’ll sure be glad you did – as my mother would say, it’s better to have one and not need it than the other way around! You can buy pre-assembled kits at many big-box stores, but you can save money by purchasing just what you really need – and then you have something that fits your family perfectly, so you’re more likely to have what’s crucial rather than extraneous items. Consider including these items when you’re putting your kit together:

First-aid kit. You might be thinking “duh!” but the majority of you reading this post now probably don’t already have one in your car, do you? It’s one of those things we know we need, but we never get around to purchasing. Do it now before you get on the road! You can find really basic first aid kits, or – like this emergency kit we’re putting together – you can assemble your own. Neosporin, band-aids, antiseptic wipes, gauze, adhesive tape, and aspirin are all great things to include. Think about kids’ versions of medicines, and consider any medical needs specific to members of your family. 

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.

• Jumper cables.  This is one of the most basic must-haves for any vehicle; even when NOT on a road trip we’ve had to use these to jump our vehicle or to help other people out. Jumper cables are inexpensive and compact, so it makes sense to have these in your vehicle.

Blankets and water. 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. Blankets can be used to cover expensive items in your car, too. Water is important to have if you get stranded on the side of the road (you don’t want to get dehydrated)!

Foam tire sealant, a spare tire, and all the necessary tools for changing a tire. Foam tire sealant is an inexpensive temporary solution when you get a flat, and it could mean the difference in you being stranded in the middle of nowhere or making it to the nearest town for help. We’ve had several flat tire issues on road trips over the years, so I can’t stress the importance of this one enough. Make sure someone on the trip knows how to change a tire, too!

Five Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Used Vehicle

This is a sponsored post partnered with Mullahey Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. All opinions are honest and are my own.

It can be intimidating making a car purchase of any kind, but when you’re purchasing a used vehicle there’s the added uncertainty of what has happened to the car before your purchase. We’ve bought several used vehicles, and here are a few questions you can ask to make sure you’re making a good choice with your purchase:

Was the vehicle ever involved in an accident? This is probably my number one question; if it has that can mean there are underlying problems as a result. Small fender benders wouldn’t scare me away, but a major crash in a car’s history could spell trouble. Not only that, some damage to the car could render it undrivable legally, so its best to know before you go.

Can I see service records? Find out if the car received regular oil changes and tune-ups; if any parts that wear down over time have been replaced. You want to make sure the used car you’re purchasing has been taken care of so you don’t have unforeseen problems down the road. You might also ask what work has been done on it since the dealership/person selling it prepped it for sale.

What’s the mileage? An average of 12,000 miles per year is considered the norm, so break down the total mileage by the age of the car to figure out if the car has a low or high average. Its always good to also ask what the majority of the miles on a vehicle are from, be it city traffic or longer road trips. 12,000 miles on the highway affects a vehicle much differently from 12,000 city miles.

Is this a certified pre-owned vehicle? Many dealerships offer these, and it can definitely bring peace of mind; it means that it’s been through an extensive & detailed inspection. Ask if you can see the inspection. Typically these require the vehicle only be a certain amount of years old, meet a maximum number of miles on the vehicle, free of any issues on the history report, and a clean title.

How many previous owners has the vehicle had? The more owners, the more likely it is that there is some problem with the car causing people to want to get it off their hands. And if the vehicle has had multiple owners, you might question why its been passed to new owners so many times?

Always be prepared before negotiating towards a new (to you) vehicle. By having the right questions prepared to ask, you are showing the seller you mean business in this transaction, and that you are serious about this process. 

Gift Idea: World Travel

This is a sponsored post with Luxury Retreat. All opinions are honest and are my own.

It’s that time of year again – everyone is out shopping for gifts for their loved ones. We’ve tried to get started shopping earlier this year, but there are still quite a few gifts left on our list.

Sometimes shopping for your spouse or significant other can be the hardest hurdle to get over for the holidays. If you’re scratching your head at what to get for your spouse, why not consider travel? 

Here are some locations to consider for great destinations that would make a special gift for someone special in your life:

Saadian pavilion, Menara gardens and Atlas in Marrakech, Morocco at sunset. 
  • Morocco: Find Marrakech rentals online and you’ll be all set for your visit. When people think of world travel, their minds often jump straight to Europe. Morocco is a place filled with beautiful sights and loads of cultural opportunities. Jardin Majorelle and Menara gardens are both beautiful gardens that are perfect for strolling and relaxing – what a perfect way to start (or end) your day of sightseeing? Jemaa el-Fnaa is another must-do. There are tons of shops, you can take a private food tour, and you can even have a cooking lesson while you’re there. Food is such a great window into another culture, and learning to cook a culture’s food would be a really fun activity. There are also Hammams & Turkish baths that would provide a really unique experience.
Old town square in Prague, Czech Republic
  • Czech Republic: Prague is another beautiful city filled with Renaissance architecture, world-class museums, and more. The Prague Castle is a must-see. The old town square is another place to add to your list. It has remained relatively untouched since the 10th century, letting you feel almost like you’ve stepped back in time. There are many charming restaurants providing alfresco dining opportunities. You’ll also see lots of street performers, musicians and merchants along the streets. And if you’re a Beatles fan, you’ve got to stop and see the Lennon wall. It is covered in John Lennon and The Beatles graffiti, lyrics and quotations since the (dating back to the 1980s) and is a very popular tourist site.
Aerial view of Mt. Fuji, Tokyo Tower and modern skyscrapers in Tokyo.
  • Japan: Tokyo was named by Time Magazine as one of the 20 best places to visit this year. This city is a great mix of sci-fi looking architecture and traditional experiences. Did you know that Tokyo has more Michelin stars than any other city? You can also find amazing sushi for less than $8 – and you won’t want to miss Robot Restaurant, so be sure and book tickets in advance. You can watch sumo wrestlers practice, and if you want something truly out of this world you can try out one of many virtual reality venues. If you like to shop, be sure and visit Don Quijote (also called Donki). You’ll find a little bit of everything: snacks & sweets, clothes, electronic products, household goods, souvenirs, and more. Don Quijote stores can be found at many locations but the biggest branch is located in Shibuya, which has 7 stories and is open 24 hours a day. This would be a great place to shop for souvenirs.
Tbilisi – the capital of Georgia
  • Georgia: The country, not the state! This is one location that wouldn’t typically be on my radar, but just look at the photo of Tbilisi above – isn’t that a gorgeous vista? Tbilisi is the largest city in Georgia (with roughly 1.5 million citizens) and is the capital. There are many things worth seeing and doing in this city, like visiting the famous sulphur baths in the middle of the old town. The sulphur baths are unique and are an amazing spot to relax for an hour or even for a whole afternoon. Mtatsminda Park is another must-do location. It’s not only the highest point surrounding Tbilisi; it also has a small amusement park, a ferris wheel, restaurants and bars. 
Santorini sunset at dawn village of Oia Greece
  • Greece: Even if you don’t read the rest of this text, the photo alone would be enough to convince most people they need to visit. Santorini’s volcanic history has led to the formation of some unique and beautiful beaches like Kamari. Go and soak up some sun and enjoy the beautiful views! When you think of wine, you probably think of France or Italy, but Santorini has a lot to offer when it comes to wine, too. The soil in Santorini, which is partially composed of volcanic sediment, creates a unique flavor in the wine from grapes grown there that is difficult to find anywhere else. So go visit a winery and grab a bottle to enjoy on your trip to the beach!
Alice Springs, Australia
  • Australia: Alice Springs isn’t a city most people think of initially when they’re planning a trip to Australia, but it has a lot to offer. For one thing – you can visit a kangaroo sanctuary! The Alice Springs sanctuary is the location of the famous Kangaroo Dundee documentary series (BBC UK / National Geographic USA) When visiting the sanctuary, you can interact with kangaroos in their natural habitat on a guided sunset tour. Another location that’s worth a visit is Desert Park. This location has a wide variety of plants, birds, animals and people of our arid regions within one location. There are also opportunities to take hot air balloon rides. The Araluen Arts Centre on the edge of town is another spot worth visiting. It has several galleries of Central Australian Aboriginal art and much more. 

No matter where you end up traveling, the gift of the experience is something your loved one will adore, and you’ll make memories you can cherish together for a lifetime. 

Tex-Mex Pico De Gallo Featuring NatureSweet Eclipses Tomatoes

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of NatureSweet for IZEA Worldwide. All opinions are 100% mine.

We’re in Texas, and we eat a TON of Tex-Mex food here. Quesadillas, fajitas, nachos, enchiladas – these are all staple meals in our household. And y’all, you know queso is a part of that, too, right? I think I might pick queso over chocolate.

With our love of Tex-Mex, we consistently have certain ingredients on hand. Cilantro, limes, jalapeños, and tomatoes are all items that come into play in many recipes we make. 

As you may know, a classic side in Tex-Mex cuisine is pico de gallo. We’ve eaten it often, but had never made it from scratch. I decided we should give it a try, so I gathered the ingredients. Tomatoes are the cornerstone of the recipe, and I knew I wanted really flavorful tomatoes to make the pico de gallo really great. NatureSweet Eclipses were perfect – they’re deeper-colored tomatoes, and the deeper color means a richer flavor. 

NatureSweet Tomatoes in Packaging

NatureSweet Tomatoes

I do want to add this – as you can see in my photos, the Eclipses tomatoes are a darker color and aren’t the typical red tomato. This is a classic, oh-so-accurate case of not judging a book by its cover, friends. Think outside the box and go for these amazingly flavorful tomatoes – you’ll be so glad you did.

NatureSweet Tomatoes Sliced

Pico de gallo is a great, easy dish you’ll love. It’s perfect to add to fajitas or to mix in to guacamole or black beans. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 NatureSweet Eclipses tomatoes
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 lime 
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of salt 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Dice up the tomatoes. You can adjust how finely you dice based on your personal preference, which is one reason we love making our own pico de gallo versus buying store-bought concoctions.
  2. Chop onions (side note: did you know you can wear goggles while you do this to prevent tearing up? My husband makes fun of me but my eyes are dry when I’m done, thank you very much!). 
  3. Chop cilantro. Here’s a tip: if you have trouble cutting herbs with a knife, using kitchen shears can be an easy workaround.
  4. Combine tomatoes, onion, and cilantro in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of at least half a lime into the mix, and stir. You can add more lime juice if you prefer a more citrus-y taste to your pico de gallo.
  5. Stir in garlic powder and salt. 
  6. Enjoy! 

(Side note: I’m working with my daughter, who loves to cook,  on knife safety skills and she loved getting to help cut the tomato!)

PicoDeGallo

NatureSweet Eclipses tomatoes would also be awesome in a marinara, salsa, or any other tomato-based recipe you love. I just keep thinking of all the recipes I could really punch up with richer flavor! Find NatureSweet Eclipses near you so you can try out my pico de gallo recipe for yourself – and here are a few other recipes you’ll want to add to your repertoire:

Visit Sponsors Site

Gorgeous Custom Wall Art with Canvas on the Cheap

We received canvases for review to facilitate this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

We’ve lived in our house for several years now, but there are still some spots that aren’t decorated quite how I’d like for them to be. I’m sure you know how it is. Some spaces just get pushed to the bottom of the priority list (master bedroom, am I right?) and some are just tricky spots to work with.

Our living room has a skinny wall space next to the window, and I’ve always struggled a bit with what to put in that spot. I like to hang things that have meaning or are special to us – we have a really fun gumball “machine” my husband made hanging on the left side of the window, which adds a fun pop of color… but I love it most of all because of who made it.

We had family photos we love taken in December and I still hadn’t placed any around the house (whoops!) so I knew I wanted to incorporate those somehow… and then I knew – canvases would be perfect. I didn’t want to do frames for such a skinny space, because then the frame would take up more of the space than the actual image. I went to the Canvases on the Cheap website and used their easy interface to upload my photo and create my custom canvas.

Notice those prices? Y’all, these aren’t special one-time-offer deals. Canvas on the Cheap has, well, cheap canvases all the time. These make perfect gifts for loved ones without breaking the bank. I did three 12″x12″ canvases, which would end up ringing in at under $35. Amazing.

The canvases arrived quickly and well-packaged. I couldn’t wait to get them on the wall – and they fit perfectly in the space. I love them!

The quality of the photo canvases is really great, too – the image extends around the edges (I’m not a fan of canvases where the image stops on the front and just has black around the edges – wrapped images look so much better in my opinion).

And you can see in this close-up shot that the quality of the printing is top-notch, too. The plaid in my son’s shirt is nice and crisp.

We’re so pleased with our Canvas on the Cheap purchase and will definitely be using them again in the future! Go check out their site today – why not treat yourself to a canvas (or more than one… I mean, why not at these prices?). Ahh, I love a good deal!

Easy Ways to Reduce Pollution Inside Your Vehicle

This sponsored post will help you keep your family healthier by giving you tips to reduce pollution inside your vehicle.

You always are aware of the pollution outside your vehicle, but what about once you are inside? Even though you are closed off from the air outside, it can be just as hazardous, especially if you are in slow traffic or bumper to bumper driving.

Of course the first tip would be to regularly change out any air filters your vehicle has. Keeping on top of their maintenance schedule helps to ensure less toxins inside your car. In addition to that, keeping your vehicle regularly maintained will reduce both the pollution it produces (helping others around you) and the pollution you are closely exposed to.

What about how you drive? Doing things like driving in the carpool lane can help, since less traffic is typically in that lane. Also if you are in less traffic areas or open areas, keeping the windows cracked can help with air circulation and can keep carbon dioxide from building up in your vehicle. If you are stopped at a light, roll the windows back up so that you won’t be stuck breathing in the exhaust from any vehicles in front of you. Also try to keep some distance from the car in front of you, at least enough so that if it stalls, you can easily turn around it.

Try restraining from using air fresheners or deodorizers in the vehicle, and definitely don’t smoke while inside the car. Also keeping your car clean will help dust particles from combining with any potential pollutants in the vehicle, which can eventually be breathed in by passengers.

Hopefully these tips will help keep your vehicle a safe breathable area. If you have difficulty changing out the air filters in particular, taking the car to the dealership will guarantee its replaced correctly. Places such as the Len Stoler Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership in Baltimore MD offer services such as this, so you can get back on the road and breathing freely without worry!

How To: Change the Wiper Blades on Your Vehicle

This sponsored post will save you money by teaching you how to change your own wiper blades! 

One item on your vehicle that you don’t necessarily think about replacing on a regular basis, but perhaps should, is your wiper blades. What good is your vehicle in the rain, if you can’t see adequately through the windshield?

First, here are some signs that your wiper blades might need replacing. If you are using them and an audible sound is emitted each time they pass by. If you notice visible streaks when in use. If you see obvious cracks in the rubber material on inspection. Typically, every 6 months is a good practice for replacing the blades.

Be sure to check at the store that you are purchasing the correct size. You will need your vehicle’s make and model info to check the database on which blades to get. You don’t want to spend money on a set of blades and get to the vehicle only to find out they are either too long or too short, thereby forcing you to return again and potentially lose out on a set (if the store doesn’t accept a return).

So once you have a new set to install, its time to remove the old ones. Lift your blades off the windshield, making sure to pivot them correctly.

When you are about to remove the old ones, take care to note how they are attached to the metal arm. You will need to replicate the process once you have placed the new ones onto the arm.

Sometimes there is a locking tab underneath the wiper. Push the tab before removing the old blade, so that you don’t damage the arm. Typically then you can slide the old blade off.

Once the old blade is removed, repeat the steps used in reverse order. Once you have slid the new blade on, lock it in place and confirm its solidly attached. Be sure to gently place the wiper back down on the windshield, you don’t want to push the arm back down so that the blade slams against the windshield. Otherwise you could potentially damage the new blade and nullify replacing it, or even worse, damage the windshield!

If you notice any damage to your vehicle, be sure to drop by your local dealership to have a check on your ride. If you stop by a place like Reedman Toll in North Bethesda MD, they offer a FREE vehicle check and car wash with any oil change purchase!