Archive for May, 2019

How to Increase Your Car’s Gas Mileage

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

As gas prices increase, improving your car’s mileage is crucial. By stretching a tank of gas further, you can reduce the amount of times you must fill up, which can help you save quite a bit of money in the long run.

Basic Tips

  1. Reduce Excess Weight
    If your car has front-wheel drive, putting extra weight on the rear axle means the front wheels aren’t getting as good a grip as they could be, which reduces your gas mileage. Furthermore, extra weight means the engine has to work a little harder to move the car, which also reduces your gas mileage. If you’re carrying a lot of weight, lightening the load can help you get a mile or two more per gallon.
  2. Properly Inflate Tires
    To put it simply, under-inflated tires cause your engine to use more gas. Make sure your tires are inflated to the pressure indicated in your owner’s manual for the best balance between gas mileage and traction.
  3. Replace Air Filter and Spark Plugs
    Replacing the air filter and spark plugs during a routine auto checkup not only helps your car last longer, but it can help your engine burn gas more efficiently.
  4. Use the Recommended Motor Oil
    Don’t think that using any old type of motor oil will work for your car; your engine is actually designed to work best with a specific type. If you use a heavier weight oil than is recommended, this could create too much friction and cause the engine to work harder and burn more fuel. Check your owner’s manual to see what’s recommended for your car, and utilize only that type of oil.
  5. Check Your Gas Cap Seal
    Over time, the rubber seal on your gas cap will start to break down, allowing oxygen to leak into the gas tank. This causes an overabundance of air to enter the engine as it pulls gasoline from the tank, and in turn the engine burns more gas.
  6. Drive at the Speed Limit or Below
    Most cars burn gas less efficiently at speeds of 60 miles per hour or higher. Driving slower has an immediate effect on your gas mileage, and it also keeps you from getting costly speeding tickets. Cars vary at which speeds they are most efficient, but none have a top-efficiency speed greater than 60 miles per hour.
  7. Use Cruise Control
    Using cruise control helps maintain a safe, legal, and gas-efficient speed. Using cruise control also helps reduce the need to accelerate and brake, which makes travel more gas-efficient.

There is plenty you can do to increase your gas mileage, and using these tips will help you save a lot of money, especially if you drive a lot or have multiple cars draining your family’s monthly budget. Keep in mind that taking your car in for regular checkups and maintenance can also save you money. A car that doesn’t run at its optimum performance level can cost you a lot in the long run. To schedule a maintenance with our Drive Casa service department, click here.

What other tips do you use to increase your gas mileage? Tell us in the comments below.

How to Change a Flat Tire

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

Knowing how to change a tire is a necessary skill for all drivers. If you rely on a cell phone to save you in a roadside emergency, there’s always that chance you will forget to charge it, be out of range, or leave it at home. Flat tires can happen anywhere, and a cell phone is no substitute for knowing how to change a flat tire.

Thankfully, changing a tire isn’t all that hard! Just adhere to the following guidelines to be prepared in case you have a flat.

Items You Need to Fix a Flat Tire:

These are the items you need to change a flat tire:

  • Jack
  • Lug wrench
  • Fully inflated spare tire
  • Vehicle owner’s manual

If you have misplaced any of these items, or if your car did not come with these items, you should purchase new ones right away. Also, be sure you regularly inflate the spare tire.

Here are some items that don’t come with your vehicle that you should stow in your trunk or glove box in case you have to change a flat tire:

  • Flashlight with working batteries
  • Rain poncho
  • Small cut of wood to secure the jack
  • Gloves
  • Wheel wedges
  • Can of “Fix a Flat” just incase.

How to Change a Flat Tire:

1. Find a safe location

As soon as you realize you have a flat tire, do not abruptly brake or turn. Slowly reduce your speed and scan your surroundings for a level, straight stretch of road with a wide shoulder. An empty parking lot with level ground is an ideal place because it will prevent your vehicle from rolling. Also, straight stretches of road are better than curves because oncoming traffic will be more likely to see you.

Never attempt to change your tire on a narrow shoulder near oncoming traffic. Keep moving (slowly) until you find a safer spot. While driving on a flat risks ruining your rim, replacing a rim is better than being hit by an inattentive driver.

2.Turn on your hazard lights

Your hazard lights or “flashers” will help other drivers see you on the side of the road. To avoid an accident, turn them on as soon as you realize you need to pull over.

3. Use the emergency brake

Once stopped, always use the parking brake when preparing to replace a flat tire. This will minimize the possibility of your vehicle rolling.

4. Apply wheel wedges

Wheel wedges go in front of or behind the tire to ensure the vehicle doesn’t roll. If you’re changing a rear tire, place the wedges in front of the front tires. If your flat tire is at the front, put the wheel wedges behind the rear tires.

Bricks or large stones will work just as well as wedges, just be sure they’re large enough to stop the car from rolling.

5. Remove the hubcap

If your vehicle has a hubcap covering the lug nuts, it’s easier to remove the hubcap before lifting the vehicle with the jack. If your lug nuts are exposed, you can skip ahead to Step 6.

Use the flat end of your lug wrench to remove the hubcap. This will work for most vehicles, but some hubcaps require a different tool.

6. Loosen the lug nuts

Using the lug wrench, turn the lug nuts counterclockwise until you break their resistance. You may have to use force to do so. If this is the case, use your foot or all of your body weight if necessary.

Loosen the lug nuts about ¼ to ½ of a turn, but don’t remove them completely.

7. Place the jack under the vehicle

Place the jack beneath the vehicle frame, alongside the tire that’s flat. Many vehicle frames have molded plastic on the bottom with a cleared area of exposed metal specifically for the jack. To safely lift and avoid damage to the vehicle, follow the instructions for jack placement in your vehicle owner’s manual.

8. Raise the vehicle with the jack

To prevent the jack from settling under the weight of your vehicle and coming off balance, place a small cut of wood beneath it before attempting to raise your vehicle. This tactic is especially helpful on asphalt.

With the jack properly positioned, raise the vehicle until the flat tire is about six inches above the ground.

Never put any part of your body under the vehicle during or after raising the vehicle with the jack.

9. Unscrew the lug nuts

Now, remove the lug nuts all the way. Since you’ve already loosened them, you should be able to unscrew them mostly by hand.

10. Remove the flat tire

Gripping the tire by the treads, pull it gently toward you until it’s completely free from the hub behind it. Set it on its side to ensure it doesn’t roll away.

11. Mount the spare tire on the lug bolts

Place the spare on the hub by lining up the rim with the lug bolts. Push gently until the lug bolts show through the rim.

12. Tighten the lug nuts by hand

Put the lug nuts back on the lug bolts and tighten them all the way by hand. Once they are all on, check each one again, tightening as much as possible.  You will tighten them with the wrench after lowering the vehicle to the ground.

13. Lower the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts again

Use the jack to lower the vehicle so that the spare tire is resting on the ground but the full weight of the vehicle isn’t fully on the tire. At this point, you should tighten the lug nuts with the wrench, turning clockwise, as much as you can. Push down on the lug wrench with the full weight of your body.

14. Lower the vehicle completely

Bring the vehicle all the way to the ground and remove the jack. Give the lug nuts another pull with the wrench to ensure they’re as tight as possible.

15. Replace the hubcap

If the hubcap you took from the flat tire will fit your spare, put it in place the same way you removed it initially. If it doesn’t fit, stow it away in your trunk.

16. Check the pressure in the spare tire

You should check the tire pressure of the spare tire to make sure that it is safe to drive on. “T-Type” temporary spares, also called “mini-spares,” require 60 psi (420 kPa).  If the tire needs pressure, drive (slowly) to a service station immediately.

18. Take your flat tire to a technician

Temporary spare tires aren’t made to drive long distances or at high speeds, so drive cautiously until you’re able to visit a tire technician. A professional should be able to determine whether your tire needs a repair or if it’s time to replace it.

Tired of your vehicle and are looking to upgrade? Drive Casa has your back! Browse our inventory today!

8 Tips to Lower Your Monthly Car Insurance Bill

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

Having car insurance coverage is important to keep you protected in case of an accident. It is also illegal if you do not have car insurance. If you feel like your monthly insurance fee is too much for your budget, there are actually a few ways that you can reduce it!

 

8 Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance Bill:

  • Raise the deductible: Deductibles are what you pay before your insurance policy kicks in. By requesting higher deductibles, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive coverage cost by 15-30%. Paying a $1,000 deductible can save you 40% or more.
  • Reduce coverage on older vehicles: Consider dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverages on older cars. If your car is worth less than 10 times the premium, purchasing the coverage may not be cost effective. Auto dealers like Drive Casa can tell you the worth of your car, or you can look it up online at Kelley’s Blue Book.
  • Low Mileage Discounts: If you drive less than the typical driver you might be able to take advantage of low mileage discounts. Talk with your insurance provider to see if your driving is eligible.
  • Buy in Bulk: Many insurers will give you a break if you buy two or more types of insurance, like property and auto insurance. You may also get a reduction if you have more than one vehicle insured with the same company. Some insurers reduce the rates for long-time customers. Despite this, you may save money buying from different insurance companies, compared with a multi policy discount.
  • Keep a Good Credit Record: Credit information and history often influence the pricing of your auto insurance. By maintaining good credit, you can save money each month on your auto insurance bill. If you don’t have great credit, Drive Casa can help! Financing a vehicle with us can actually improve your credit score!
  • Compare Costs: If you are in the market for a new car, compare different insurance rates of different cars before picking one out. The cost of your vehicle plays a role in insurance premiums, as well as how much it is to repair it, the safety record, and more. You might even be eligible for discounts if your vehicle is equipped with certain safety features.
  • Ask about group insurance: Some companies offer reductions to drivers who get insurance through a group plan from their employers, through professional, business and alumni groups or from other associations. Ask your employer and inquire with groups or clubs you are a member of to see if this is possible.
  • Seek out other discounts: Companies offer discounts to policyholders who have not had any accidents or moving violations for a number of years. You may also get a discount if you take a defensive driving course. If there is a young driver on the policy who is a good student, has taken a driver education course or is away at college without a car, you may also qualify for a lower rate.

Insurance coverage is important to have, but the bills shouldn’t make or break your finances each month. Use this guide from Drive Casa to save money on insurance each month!

 

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