Getting your car ready for a Pleasant Road Trip

Getting Your Car Ready for a Pleasant Road Trip

The road trip is usually an anticipated adventure for the entire family. It can be easily ruined, however, if your car misbehaves on the road or if you experience a car accident. This can be avoided if you prepare your car for the road trip. Don’t let your dream holiday turn into a disaster. Here’s how to gear up for the trip.

Getting your car ready for a Pleasant Road Trip

Start with an inspection

The first thing to do prior to setting off on a road trip is to inspect your car. It is advisable to have a mechanic check everything and give you an “a-OK”. If you decide to do it yourself, make sure to have a look at these:

  • Tires – they are a very important part of the trip. So, make sure that you have the appropriate tires for the season, that they are in a good condition, with proper pressure and are not worn out
  • Fluids – check, and refill or replace all the fluids in your car. This includes brake fluid, oil, radiator fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and windshield washer fluid
  • Check the battery and the Make sure that there is no corrosion. Note that batteries are replaced every 3 to 5 years
  • Check and replace, if necessary, shocks, struts, and springs
  • Make sure that all lights work and buy additional bulbs just in case. This includes brakes, turn signals, headlights, and taillights
  • Do an overall maintenance of the car if you haven’t done it recently. Make sure that there are no maintenance lights lit on the dashboard. If there are any, fix the problem before hitting the road

Be prepared while on the road

Even the best car maintenance program cannot guarantee a fault-free road trip. Your car may break while on the road, so you should better be prepared for any accident. You can do this by having a roadside survival kit ready just in case. What you put in your kit is up to you. It can depend on whether you travel with friends or with small kids. In any case, your survival kit should as a minimum contain:

  • a car jack
  • jumper cables
  • a gas can in case you have to walk to get fuel
  • blankets
  • a spare set of clothes
  • rain gear
  • comfortable shoes
  • a flashlight with spare batteries
  • your phone charger
  • first aid kit
  • some packed food
  • water

If you want to be really prepared, take a portable generator to charge your phones and other devices. You can also get a portable battery jumper.

Make sure your spare tire is in good condition and re-inflate/replace it as necessary.

If you have kids, be sure to pack kid-friendly snacks, an activity bag, and small travel pillows.

In addition to that, make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork of your car with you. That includes a copy of the warranty and insurance. If you have roadside assistance as part of your car insurance or you are a member of an auto care club, make sure that you have their contact details as well. Keep all the documents separate in a travel organizer or simply in a plastic pocket to prevent them from occasional spills or other damage.

Last but not the least, take a spare key of your vehicle and keep it in your pocket so that you can avoid locking yourself out of the car in the middle of the road with no assistance nearby.

Follow these simple tips and you will enjoy a safer and more pleasant road trip.

10 tips to Keep the Resale Value of Your Car High

Top 10 tips to Keep the Resale Value of Your Car High

If you are thinking about selling your car, you’ll obviously want to get the maximum sale price. The answer is pretty simple – think like a buyer. If you are to purchase a new vehicle what are the things that will attract you to a certain car, and which drawbacks will turn you off?

10 tips to Keep the Resale Value of Your Car High

1. Keep your car well-maintained

One of the most important expectations is to have your car in the best possible condition. Regular maintenance is important since it guarantees your safety on the road and as a bonus boosts the resale value of the car. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines about checking and replacing fluids and have your car inspected by a mechanic on a regular basis or when you are in doubt.

2. Keep all paperwork

Keeping your car well-maintained is important, however, keeping a record of all the checks and repairs is also very useful. You will be able to show service records to the prospective buyer and increase your chances of getting a good deal.

3. Clean your car regularly

Even if your car is in the best condition, if it looks dirty and sloppy, no buyer will look at it. Clean your car regularly. In warm weather it is advisable to wash your car twice a month – you can do it either by hand with the appropriate car wash detergent or go to a carwash & detailing center. It is also important to wax the car at least twice a year for best results.

4. Take good care of the interior

It is important to keep your interior clean. Use special cleaning solutions depending on the material used in your car – textile or leather. Avoid eating and drinking in the car as some stains are close to impossible to remove. Never smoke in the car – the smell may stay for a long time and it will be unpleasant for potential buyers, whether they are smokers or not.

5. Protect your car from freezing and overheating

Adverse weather takes a toll on your car. Therefore, you need to protect it both from freezing and overheating. The best way is to find a covered parking, preferably a garage, and keep your car there. The overall maintenance and cleaning also help the car cope better with heat or cold.

6. Mind the mileage

If you are planning to sell your car, try to keep your mileage as low as possible. A lower figure will attract much more buyers. And if you are reaching 100,000 miles better stop driving your car before hitting this figure as psychologically it is regarded higher… unlike 98,000 for example.

7. Fix all dents and scratches

Dents, dings, and scratches appear as a result of the everyday use of the car. Fix them immediately after you notice them as it will cost you less and will help get a better resale price.

8. Make minor repairs on time

If there are minor problems that need to be repaired, it is better to fix them before selling the vehicle. Check with your mechanic how much it will cost you and decide if it is worth the investment compared to the resale value you get after the fix. Besides, minor problems are cheaper to fix.

9. Check your tires and buy a second set of wheels

Always check the condition of your tires, keep them clean and maintain the right pressure. The car will behave better on the road. It is also advisable to buy yourself a second pair of wheels to use in the winter. It will be a plus when selling the car as it will be yet another proof that you have taken good care of your vehicle.

10. Drive carefully

Last but not least, drive carefully. Any car that has been in a road accident has a lower resale value compared to the others. Therefore, for your own sake and for the benefit of the future buyer, follow all road signs and pay extra attention while driving.

Maintaining your car well will also help you get a higher title loan, should you ever need to use that option. Fast Money Loan is a title loan company in California with offices across the area, offers quick cash loans on your car title with no credit check. Need cash? Own your car? Find the office nearest to you here:

Preventing Sun & Heat damage to your car | Car Care

Preventing sun & heat damage to your car

You may believe that winter is the worst enemy of the vehicle because of its freezing temperatures or the salt and other chemicals used on the roads. And while it is true that the cold takes its toll on the car, the heat is no lesser enemy. The sun and heat can damage the paint on your car, ruin its exterior and interior and cause trouble under the hood. Here are a few tips to help you take proper care of your vehicle during the summer months.

Preventing Sun & Heat damage to your car

Prevent sun and heat damage to the exterior of your car

The exterior of your car is the first thing that will get damaged by the scorching temperatures and the long stay under the sun.

  • Prevent paint damage: The paint is one of the most sensitive elements that you need to take good care of during summer. Wash your car regularly and use auto paint protection kits to make sure that it is well protected. Waxing your car is also a good recommendation. Even though it may require some time and effort, it will protect the exterior from further damage and make its cleaning and maintenance easier.
  • Wash your car properly. It is important to wash your car regularly, especially in the summer heat; however, you need to do it properly. Use appropriate cleaning products to remove road oils, tar, dead bugs and overall pollution. Avoid dish detergent or harsh soaps as they may damage the paint. It is also very important to dry the car afterward using a soft cloth or towel in order to remove any minerals and avoid water spots.
  • Wax your car. We already mentioned that this is an important step in protecting your car exterior from the sun rays. In addition, it will prevent the accumulation of dirt and will make the next washing much easier and quicker. You can purchase a buffer that will make the entire waxing process much more pleasant.
  • Take special care of your convertible top. If you are driving a convertible, make sure to take proper care of the top according to its type. There are special cleaning and protection products for both canvas/cloth and vinyl tops. Always buy the appropriate ones and follow the instructions on how to use them if you want your top to have a longer

How to protect the interior from sun and heat damage

The interior of your vehicle is equally endangered by the heat and sun during the summer months. Do not forget the greenhouse effect, which means that the temperature inside your car is much higher than the temperature outside. Here are a few tricks:

  • Garage your car whenever possible.
  • Park in the shade.
  • Make sure to park with your rear facing the sun so that you can reduce the UV damage to your dashboard.
  • Use reflectorized panels on your windshields.
  • Install tinted windows.
  • Use seat covers—they will both protect the interior and increase your comfort level.
  • Keep your interior clean. Vacuum and wash it regularly, and apply protectant or conditioner in accordance with the type of interior you have: leather, vinyl or cloth.

On the hottest days, given that your car is parked in a safe place: leave your windows slightly open so that the temperature inside doesn’t rise that much. Do not do this if you have parked in an unsafe neighborhood or unfamiliar place.

How to protect engines and tires from sun and heat damage

The sun is equally dangerous for all the parts hidden under the hood of your vehicle and for its tires. The best advice is to have your car checked by a mechanic who can make sure that everything is okay. If you are good at doing this yourself, then do not forget to check the following:

  • Make sure that your cooling system is working properly. All belts and hoses should be in good condition and without cracks. Check that you have sufficient coolant and that it was replaced accordingly.
  • Check all the fluids. Make sure that motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid are at the recommended level.
  • Make sure your battery and charging system is functioning properly since high temperatures can wear it out quicker and even make the battery fail.
  • Check the air conditioning. It is very important that you stay cool while driving in the heat.
  • Check tire pressure. Under-inflated tires are very dangerous in hot weather. Since there is more friction with the heated pavement, the tires may blowout. Always make sure that you are following the manufacturer’s recommendations in terms of tire pressure.  It is also important to keep your tires and rims clean.

Do not underestimate the damage that sun and heat can cause. If possible, have your car checked by a mechanic at the start of the summer so that you can be calm while driving.

9 crazy car hacks everyone should know

Interior Car Hacks

9 Crazy Car Hacks everyone should know

Cereal container for a trashcan

When we finally take the time to gather all the trash and throw it away, we can find receipts, gum packs, coffee cups, tissues and so much more trash in our vehicles. It would be so much cleaner if we only had a trashcan in the car. Cars might not have trashcans but you can definitely make one yourself. All you need is a cereal container and a plastic bag. Put the bag in the container and put the container on the floor of the front passenger seat. Then simply collect all the trash in it and throw away the plastic bag once it is full.

Silicone muffin cups to protect your cup holder

Cup holders are somehow always difficult to keep clean. Being sticky from spilled coffee or juice is just the beginning. Whenever there is no cup in there, we tend to make use of the space by putting all kinds of things there such as change, chopsticks, and even open cereal bars that leave crumbs. After a while, the cup holders become very dirty.

An easy way to fix this is to put silicone muffin cups at the bottom of your cup holders. Cleaning would be as easy as taking out the muffin cups and washing them.

Shoe organizer for additional storage

You might not have pockets on the back of the two front seats, which means less storage space for you. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can simply attach shoe organizers to the back of the front seats and make use of the many pockets. It might be even better than the typical seat pocket as things would be organized.

Gum container to keep your change

Everyone keeps spare change somewhere in their car, usually thrown in the cup holders and other small places. A more convenient way to keep change would be in a gum container.


Exterior Car Hacks


Use toothpaste as headlights cleaner

Headlights get foggy and it can get annoying when driving at night. The solution to this inconvenience is simply to use toothpaste to clean your headlights.

Park facing east

In the winter, we often have problems with ice all over the car. Park your car facing east can be a solution. The sun rises in the east, so you will be using the sun’s warmth to defrost the ice formed on your windshield. Depending on the weather, maybe not all ice will be melted before having to leave in the morning, but it would definitely save some time.

Plunger will “repair” dents

Plungers are usually used for unclogging the toilet, but you can use it in another way as well. Save yourself some time and money by using it to get rid of any small dents on your car. When pulling the plunger back, the suction formed will pull the dents forward and back into place.


Bonus: Garage Hacks


Pool noodle to protect your door

If your garage is small and you always have to be careful not to hit the wall when opening your door this is the solution you have been looking for.

At the specific height where the car door and garage wall meet, fix a cut-in-half pool noodle. You can glue, nail or bolt the noodle. Thus, your car door is safe from scratches.

Tennis ball as a parking guide

This tip is for those who have difficulty estimating the distance between the front or back of your car and the garage wall when parking. To solve this problem use a tennis ball as a parking guide. Simply hang the ball from the roof directly above the middle of your windshield, so you would know how far in to go and when to stop.

Car Problems

10 Preventable Car Problems

If you own a car, you know how important it is to keep up with regular maintenance. While you should take your car in for scheduled maintenance, day-to-day “check-ups” don’t always have be done by professionals. If you pay attention to some signals that your car is sending you, you will be able to prevent a bigger breakdown and even an accident. Here are ten most common problems and how you can prevent or fix them in no time.

Preventable Car Problems

  1. Flat tire

This is perhaps one of the most common problems a driver can experience. If you hear a loud thumping noise or your car is tilting while you are driving, then you need to pull over and change your flat tire. Quite often the pressure is the cause of the problem, therefore adjust the tire pressure in accordance with the car manual. Since a flat tire can be caused by external factors that you cannot prevent, such as holes on the road, it is advisable to check that your spare tire, the jack and other tools are in place and in good condition.

  1. Bad belts

If you start hearing a creaking sound coming from your belts every minute or two, this is a sign that something is going on and your belts are already worn-off. It is better to go and have them replaced before they tear while you’re on the road.

  1. Dead battery

You know that your battery is dead because your car doesn’t start. Buying a tester and/or charger is the way to solve this problem. The battery dies if it is not recharged regularly and surely, at some point you need to replace it with a new one. Make sure to check for corrosion and clear it immediately as this decreases the lifespan of your battery.

  1. Damaged/bad spark plugs

You know that you have faulty spark plugs if there is a hard start, problems with starting or slower acceleration. To avoid problems, make sure that you replace them regularly according to the manufacturer instructions.

  1. Problems with the alternator

If you have continuous battery problems, you are not able to start the car or the gadgets inside your car don’t even lighten up, then it means your alternator is dead. The best way to solve these problems is to go and have your car checked by a mechanic and have the alternator replaced.

  1. Insufficient oil in the car engine

Do not let your engine run out of oil. Always change it on time – every 3,000 miles or once in three months, depending on the type of oil you use and the make of your car. Checking oil levels regularly and changing it on time will prevent many issues.

  1. Overheating engine

In scorching temperatures, your engine is threatened from overheating, which may entail much greater problems. To prevent them, keep an eye on the car’s temperature gauge. This way, you will know the status of your cooling system. When you see that it reaches critical limits, pull over and let the engine cool down for about 30 minutes before you continue.

  1. Head or tail lights not working

Check your car lights before hitting the road. Keep a spare bulb handy so that you can change it in case any of the head or tail lights are off.

  1. Missing/broken side-view mirror

If all of the sudden your blind spot grew bigger, it means that something has happened to your side-view mirror. Since replacing this part is fairly easy, do not embarrass yourself by driving with broken, missing, hanging or make-up replacement mirror.

  1. Damaged or worn brakes

If you hear loud squeaking sound every time you step on the breaks or it takes you forever to stop, then it is high time to have your brake pads and rotors checked. If there is any corrosion, distortion or excessive wear on the brakes the results may be fatal. To prevent accidents, visit a mechanic and replace the necessary brake system parts.

Key tools to help you diagnose and repair minor car problems on the go:

  • A set of service manuals to help you troubleshoot
  • A garage toolkit that includes the basic instruments such as a car jack, set of screw drivers and wrenches, and support stands
  • A multimeter to test the electrical current
  • An OBD code reader that you can plug in and check what the problem with your car is. It can be easily connected to your smartphone for more convenient operation
  • A portable battery charger and jumper cables to help you revive a dead battery.