7 Fall Driving Safety Tips

20 Oct

by Muriel Vega (@murielvega) for SafeBEE

Stay safe on the road this season with these smart driving tips.

Don’t brake on leaves. Wet leaves can be as slippery as ice. Drive slowly through them and avoid hard braking. Leaves may obscure lane lines and other road markers, so pay attention to the edge of the road and take care to stay in your lane.

Avoid sun glare. On and near the autumnal equinox, the first 15 to 45 minutes after sunrise and before sunset can make for more difficult driving due to sun glare. The sun perfectly aligns with east/west roadways during this time. Grab a pair of sunglasses for the daytime, keep your windshield clean and use north/south streets or streets with tree cover when possible, says the National Weather Service.

Use your rain smarts. During fall, many cities see increased rainfall. When it’s raining, be sure to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you, as the wet roads may be more slippery than usual and you may be at higher risk of hydroplaning. Use your low beams or fog lights (never high beams) in fog conditions.

Be careful on bridges. As the temperature begins to drop, morning frost can leave icy patches on bridges, overpasses and shaded spots on the road. Slow down.

Adjust your eyes. We lose 1 to 2 minutes of daylight daily after the autumnal equinox according to the National Weather Service. After leaving home or the office and before hitting the gas petal, give your eyes time to adjust to the dark. It takes them between 2 and 5 minutes to start adjusting.

Watch out for deer. Autumn marks the beginning of deer breeding season and they will be more active in areas near the road. Deer are most active during sunset and sunrise so be extra watchful when driving near the woods and near deer crossing signs.

Wash you car like a boss!

10 Oct

From Nationwide

Dirt and grime can build up fast in your car. Luckily, with a few cleaning tools and a little know-how, you can get the same sparkling results as you would with a professional detail job.

  1. Between the Seats. Dirt and grime collect between the seats and the center console. Use canned air to blast the dirt out of these hard to reach places.
  2. Floor Mats. Soak them in water and laundry detergent.Then scrub with a stiff bristled brush and rinse clean.
  3. Dashboard and Door Panels. Loosen dirt and debris by scrubbing them with a firm toothbrush. Follow up with a vacuum and wipe down with a damp cloth.
  4. Seats. Fabric seats collect crumbs, hair and more. Use a lint roller to pick up the dirt and follow up with a vacuum.
  5. Seat Belts. Create a cleaning solution by mixing warm water, dish detergent and vinegar. Wipe down the seat belts using a cotton cloth damp with the cleaning solution.
  6. Tires. Bring back your tire shine by using a tire brush or soft paint brush. Use a non-acid based cleaner and then rinse with water.
  7. Headlights. Apply a small amount of toothpaste on a cloth and rub the headlight in a gentle circular motion. Rinse with water.
  8. Trunk. Remove everything from your trunk. Vacuum and use a carpet cleaner to remove any stains.
  9. Windows and Mirrors. Clean these last. Use a glass cleaner and microfiber cloth.

Subaru Homelink instructions

3 Oct

Car Show 101: How to Get the Most Out of Your Car Show Experience

26 Sep

The history of car shows

“In the not-so-distant past, car shows were just ‘wipe your car down and put it on display,’” says Mark Lambert, a Nashville-based auto historian and car restorer. “They weren’t highly organized or judged types of shows.”

All that changed in the 1980s and 1990s, he says, splintering car shows into a few different trends. At the high end of the scale were events that lasted for several days and drew large crowds, culminating with the cars being judged by an expert and proclaiming a winner.

Another model rose from car clubs, where owners of certain marques – such as Austin Healey or Triumph – would congregate for the sole purpose of looking at and discussing cars. They might meet at a diner, in a park or a parking lot and spend a few hours swapping stories and sharing insights.

The third kind of show, Lambert says, is the cruise-in. “That’s where car owners have a get-together with a certain kind of car [such as muscle cars or classic cars], and people can just drop in over a period of time,” Lambert explains. “That’s become a huge part of the collector culture.”

What to know before you go

Picking the right car show for you depends on what you’re seeking. “People who are new to it might just want to go see some old cars,” says Lambert. “It’s a chance to look at real driven, active cars. You can talk to the owner and learn about the car.” So if you’re interested in cars, you can spend a lot of time just looking at them and learning more about them.”

Regardless of which type of event you’re attending, whether it’s a concours, a car club show or a cruise-in, Lambert says, the car community is extremely welcoming to fellow automotive admirers and can be a great resource for learning more about certain cars or what’s going on within the local car community.

“Car shows are such a vibrant, organic part of the car community,” Lambert says. “If you know you’re interested in cars, it’s a great way to spend time with them. You can seek out different kinds of shows and decide which kinds of cars are most compelling to you. It is a fun adventure.”

Finding your road map

With so much to choose from, the Internet has become an invaluable resource for seeking out different types of shows. You can find them in your area or look for larger, national shows. Online publications such as the Gearhead Gazette can keep you up to date on car shows in your area. Lambert advises joining a car club as well, whether it’s a local, state or national one, to help keep you looped in. It will also add to your knowledge and enjoyment of the cars you see.

“I recommend that people join the Antique Automobile Club of America; it’s the biggest car club in the world, and it has something for everyone, no matter what you’re into,” Lambert says. “It’s a good way to get plugged into what is going on in the car world and see what’s out there. And you’re going to connect with a lot of other people who are just as interested in cars as you are.”

Thinking of joining in with your very own classic car? Make sure your vintage ride is protected with Nationwide’s classic car insurance.

Expert Tips on How to Use a Bike Rack Safely

19 Sep

Here are some tips to ensure no harm is done to the bicycle or to your vehicle during the trip:

Consider the type of bike rack you have

Depending upon the type of bike rack you have, there can be different issues with which to contend. Most motorists use trunk-mounted carriers. These fit a wide variety of cars and offer easy access to the bikes, although they can impede entry into the trunk. Before mounting these, make sure there’s no dirt that may scratch your car paint.

Review the installation instructions

Make certain you read the installation directions thoroughly so the device is safely installed and you understand precisely how to use the straps. You want to be careful not to inadvertently nick the car paint with the ends of the straps. When you’re done loading, make sure to test and tighten the straps again, since these may give during the process.

Spin the bicycle pedal

To avoid scraping the car paint, try spinning the pedal of the first bicycle so it rests safely against the license plate. If you have several bikes, you may want to secure padding in between these since they can bounce around while you drive, which can cause damage to one or both bikes.

Ensure bike is at a good height

Make sure the bikes are situated high enough off of the ground so if you’re going up a steep hill these won’t drag. Likewise, make certain the wheels are not near the car’s exhaust pipe because this could melt the rubber or plastic and ruin the tires or any accessories near there.

Types of bike racks

Using a hitch rack

If you’re using a hitch rack, which can work if you have a hitch attachment welded on the back of your car, you have other options for carrying your bikes. With this kind of rack, the bikes are not flush against the back of the car so you don’t have to worry about the paint scraping. However, you do have to allow for the fact that you are now driving a significantly longer vehicle. This is particularly important when you’re backing up. You don’t want to forget the bikes are in the rear.

Keep in mind that, even though bikes on a hitch rack may seem as though they will stay in place with the aid of gravity alone, they could come loose and fly off the rack or bump into each other when you’re jostling along the road. To avoid this, be sure the Velcro straps are tightened to keep the bikes in place.

Using a roof rack

When it comes to roof racks, these have the advantage of offering easy access to the back of the vehicle. However, it can be difficult to get the bikes on and off the rack since they’re so high up. What’s more, it can be all too easy, particularly on a long trip, to forget they’re even up there, which can spell big trouble in low-clearance areas. It can be helpful to leave reminders to yourself in the car, perhaps on the dashboard and on the garage remote, that your bikes are on top. Otherwise, you may end up smashing the bike and the garage as well as damage your vehicle.

With all of this in mind, you’ll be able to peacefully cycle with the sun on your shoulders and the wind at your back after reaching your destination, and again upon returning home, with all of your property fully intact.

Things to Keep in Mind when Shopping for a Used Car

12 Sep

Finding a great deal is part of the satisfaction of buying a used car.

But it’s best to ensure you understand what you’re buying, says Christopher Basso of CarFax Corporate. Some who have bought vehicles from private sellers have been shocked to discover their “bargain” cars were flood-, storm-, or crash-damaged and generally unsafe.

“It seems to be a problem across the United States,” says Basso. “These are cars that were in floods, hurricanes, major crashes. These are previously damaged vehicles that may have had their air bags deployed and not properly replaced, had frame damage that puts people’s safety at risk. These are cars that have had major damage that isn’t disclosed.”

Be aware of curbstoning

Such sellers are called “curbstoners,” and they peddle cars with what Car and Driver calls “troubled pasts.” Writes Car and Driver’s Paul Duchene: “Salvage titles, odometer rollbacks, cars that won’t pass inspections, flood-damaged cars and even stolen cars can be flipped onto unsuspecting buyers who believe the seller’s untruths. “’It’s a great car, I’ve had it for years,’ they might say.”

Curbstoning can be a big business. Many people who sell such cars may actually meet the threshold that takes them from private seller to auto dealer. That doesn’t mean your local auto dealer does shady deals on the side. Legally, an auto dealer is defined as one who sells a certain number of cars in a year.

The number varies per state. For example, anyone in Ohio who sells more than five vehicles – even privately – in a period of 12 months is required to obtain a dealer’s license, notes DMV.org.

One major reason dealers’ licenses are required is to protect consumers. Private sellers aren’t bound by the same state and federal laws as dealerships and can sell vehicles “as is” without any warranty, says DMV.org.

“Buying a used vehicle through a private sales transaction can pose several risks,” says Charles Cyrill, National Automobile Dealers Association, of McLean, Va. He said such sales put an extra burden on the buyer, who wants to know: “Is the vehicle safe to drive? Has the vehicle been damaged by a flood? Is it salvaged? Is it under an open recall? Do you know the seller?”

Car buyers receive all of these answers and competitive financing rates, access to factory trained technicians and more when they buy from licensed automobile dealers, notes Cyrill.

The New York Times recently reported that even car buyers in states far from floods, hurricanes and other disasters should proceed with caution when buying from a private seller.

Heavy rains and flooding in the first half of last year damaged an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 insured cars in Texas, according to the Times. There’s no immediate estimate on the number of uninsured cars damaged in those extreme conditions.

All the cars that were affected, however, are at risk for a myriad of mechanical, electrical and computerized damages that may make them unsafe to drive. That damage might not become obvious until months or years later.

Some owners of such cars clean them up and ship them out of the areas where they were damaged and sell them “as is.” Some sellers use illegal actions to obtain clean titles for the cars or even swap vehicle identification numbers with another car to hide the damage.

So does that mean you shouldn’t ever buy a car from a private dealer? No, but due diligence is needed.

What to look for when used car shopping

Check the car’s repair history through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. You can also obtain reports on sites such as CarFax that detail damage.

Don’t stop there, though. Look at the car. Do you see mismatched paint, mud in unusual places or a lack of bolts or screws? Does the car smell moldy or damp?

“We don’t want to discourage anybody from buying a car from a private seller and getting a great deal,” says Bosso. “You just need to make sure you know from whom you are buying. This underscores the fact that where you choose to shop and from whom you buy are just as important as what you are buying.”

In addition to making sure your new car is in good condition, it’s important that you have the right coverage to protect yourself and your vehicle on the road. Find out about Nationwide’s car insurance options to find the right fit for you.


Ride for a Cause

5 Sep

Autism Ride 2016