Winter can do a number on your car.
Slush, salt and cold temperatures take a toll on everything from the tires to the wiper blades. So, with spring finally here, it’s a good idea to give your car a thorough once-over to undo winter’s damage.
It won’t cost a lot. You can the work yourself or visit a car wash and a garage. Goodyear, Firestone and other car care centers will rotate your tires, change your oil and fluids and inspect your vehicle for winter damage for $35 or less.
Here are five things you can do to shake off winter and get your car in shape for spring:
- Wash the underbody
Wintertime driving will coat the bottom of your car with salt, sand and other grime that can cause corrosion. Corrosion can lead to rust problems, which can make your car much harder to resell or even dangerous to drive.
Spend a few extra dollars for the undercarriage power wash at the local car wash or spray the car’s bottom with your own hose. If possible, use a car jack to raise the vehicle for a more thorough cleaning, advises Bill Kropelnicki, president and owner of Rambling River Repair in Farmington, Minn. There’s no need to use soap or any other cleaner.
While you’re at it, open the hood and wipe down the engine with a soft mitt and soapy water. And remove all the leaves and debris that can find their way into the car, says Cliff Weathers, deputy autos editor for Consumer Reports. And remove any crusty white residue off the battery with a toothbrush, baking soda and water. The residue — caused by corrosion — can eventually prevent your car from starting. The cleaning also helps prepare the battery for the stress of warmer temperatures.
- Scrub inside and out.
Salt and sand can damage the car’s paint. Give your car a thorough cleaning and wax it with a paste or liquid wax, Weathers said. He cautions that sprays don’t clean as well. Scrub the bottoms of doors, which can get coated with grime, Kropelnicki says. He also urges car owners to clean the window channels, Also apply a silicone spray, which repels dirt and lubricates the surfaces so the windows will operate smoothly, he says.Use a steam cleaner — you can rent one for $20 at Home Depot — or apply a rug-cleaning spray to remove all the salt from the car’s inside. Salt can break down some fabrics and cause rips or tears when feet grind against them.
And don’t forget to take bags of salt and ice scrapers out of the trunk.
- Replace wiper blades
Wiper blades get a workout during the winter months. Weathers advises changing them each spring and fall.
- Check tires
Some garages recommend a wheel alignment — which can cost around $80 — or a tire rotation as part of your spring maintenance. Weathers doesn’t think it’s necessary as long as you’re following the car’s regular maintenance schedule and doing normal winter driving.
Check your tire pressure. Cold weather can cause tires to be underinflated and the onset of warm weather can overinflate them. Also, visually inspect your tires to make sure they’re wearing evenly and have plenty of tread for the rainy spring weather ahead. Driving on properly inflated tires can save you money. It can cost anywhere from $50 to $250 to replace a blown tire, depending on the kind of tire you need.
5. Check your fluids
Winter weather can deplete some fluids — especially windshield wiper fluid — more quickly, so top them off yourself if they’re too low. A service station will also do the job for $25 or so. You should change your oil around every 5,000 miles regardless of season, Weathers says. Brake and transmission fluids should be checked as well.
Half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school. The more you know, the more you can do to prevent these crashes.
Laws Aren’t Enough – But Household Rules Can Come Close
No state has laws strong enough to fully protect new teen drivers. Household rules about passengers, nighttime driving and cell phone use can fill gaps in state laws.
A Contract to Drive
A written, signed agreement (some call it a contract) with your teen is a great way to help to reduce crash risk. Make sure you set clear expectations and that you both understand how these expectations can change over time. Restrictions should be set early in the process and relaxed later as your teen gains more experience.
NEW DRIVER DEAL
Top of Form
I, _______, agree to discuss and follow the rules below. I understand there will be consequences if the rules are broken.
Every three months, I, ________, may gradually relax these rules as _________, continues on the road to full driving privileges, if I decide it is safe to do so.
- I will always tell an adult where I am going and when I expect to return. I understand I will not be allowed to have any passengers at first, but when I earn the right to drive with passengers or as allowed by law, I will tell the adult who they are.
- I will always use a seatbelt, whether I’m a driver or a passenger. I will not drive a car if my passengers (when I am allowed to drive them) are not wearing seatbelts.
- I will always obey speed limits and all traffic laws and signs. If I break the law, I will be responsible for any traffic or parking tickets and any court costs.
- I will never use a phone—either hand-held or hands-free—while driving.
- I will never eat while driving.
- I will never drive unless I am alcohol and drug free, and I will never allow alcohol or illegal drugs in the car. I will not drive if I am taking prescription or over-the-counter medication that could impair my driving.
- I will never drive anyone else’s car unless I have an adult’s permission.
- I will never drive if I am angry, upset or tired.
- I will contribute to the cost of operating the car as agreed (insurance, gas and maintenance).
- I will invite an adult to ride with me once each week to see how my driving skills are improving and/or to practice specific driving skills with me.
Driving at night
I agree I will not drive after 9 p.m. (or earlier if specified by state law). I may earn the right to add an hour to that limit every three months at an adult’s discretion (and as allowed by state law). Reassess after.
I agree I will not text or use my phone while driving. I agree I will not use headphones or play loud music. I agree my music playlists or GPS destinations may be set only when the car is parked.
I agree I will not drive with any passengers. I may earn the right to add a passenger under certain conditions, and if state law permits, after six months. Reassess after.
I agree I will spend the first three months after I get my license driving in optimal conditions. More challenging weather conditions may be added gradually after three months of driving. Reassess after.
I agree to limit my driving to roads I am familiar with in my town, and after three months, I may earn the right to drive regionally and later on highways. Reassess after.
I agree if I break any part of this agreement may limit my right to drive by a period of week(s).
Teens Crash Because They Are Inexperienced Drivers. Contrary to popular belief, teens crash most often because they are inexperienced. They struggle judging gaps in traffic, driving the right speed for conditions and turning safely, among other things.
Understanding the basics of car insurance can be difficult enough, let alone understanding the lesser-known intricacies involved with the guidelines, policies and procedures of today’s insurance providers. Below, we’ve outlined some important, yet oftentimes obscure, insurance facts, so you’re “in-the-know” when you’re on-the-go.
Fact #1: Your credit may impact your insurance rates
Fact #2: Brand loyalty can cost you
Fact #3: Stopping payment? You’ll pay in the long run
Fact #4: Your car insurance company can cancel or non-renew at any time
Fact #5: You could save money by paying your car insurance premium in full
- Speak to a licensed agent at Florey Insurance Agency and we can guide you through all these concerns.
Some of the most common discounts are:
- Being married
- Having AAA insurance (Triple A)
- Renting an Apartment
- Being insured for more than 5 years
- There are Companies that will not cancel your policy regardless of claims
- Driver Training
- Over 55 Driver Training
- New Home Construction
- Group Enrollment
- Discount for Pleasure Use of Vehicle
- Discount for Limited Tort
Many people are unaware of the large number of savings and discounts available when shopping for car insurance in Pennsylvania. We will present you with 36 easy tips that can potentially save you hundreds on your insurance premium.
1. Make sure you know how far you drive per year. Some companies offer discounted rates if you travel under a certain mileage annually.
2. A good credit score often gives a discount. Although, many companies rate credit scores different ways.
3. Many companies offer a discount for maintaining active insurance coverage prior to switching to another carrier.
4. Some insurance companies give a discount for carrying prior Bodily Injury (BI) Limits of 100/300 or higher.
5. Many companies offer a discount for simply owning a home. With some, you may get this credit for owning a home even if it is not written with the same company as your auto insurance.
6. Insurance companies also may offer a discount if you put your home and auto policies together with one company. This is what’s called the “multi-policy discount”.
7. Some companies may offer a discount for owning a manufactured home and combining it with your auto policy.
8. Companies often offer what’s called a “multi-car” discount on an auto policy. This discount can be given if you insure 2 or more cars on the same policy.
9. Some companies offer a discount for combining your mobile home and car together on the same policy.
10. Many companies offer an advanced quoting discount if you get an insurance quote 8 or more days before the renewal date on your insurance policy.
11. Some insurance companies give a discount for insuring both a car and a motorcycle with the same company.
12. Some companies offer a discount if you insure a boat and a car with the same company.
13. Several companies offer a discount for student drivers with a GPA at or above a certain average, depending on the company.
14. Some companies offer a discount if you’re a teacher.
15. Some offer a discount for firemen.
16. Others offer a discount for being a policeman.
17. You may be able to get a discount if you put your other insurance policies with your auto insurance.
18. Most companies give discounts for paying the insurance premium on a policy in full.
19. Many companies give a discount if you pay your insurance through a checking account or credit card, also referred to as paying through EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer).
20. You may also be able to get a discount if you are a single parent.
21. Some companies may also offer the option of doing business over the internet. This can be an additional discount.
22. There is a discount with many companies for being accident free.
23. Discounts can also be given if you have anti-theft devices such as an alarm system on your car.
24. There is a discount for high deductibles. In fact, the higher the deductible you choose, the lower your total premium will be.
25. Discounts can also be applied if you live in certain areas.
26. A discount may be possible for putting a youthful driver on the policy as the operator of certain cars.
27. You may also be entitled to a discount if you watch a video given by the company.
28. A discount is also given if your son or daughter took driver training.
29. You may also get a discount for being in the military.
30. Other companies offer discounts for lower limits.
31. Some carriers offer discounts if you work for certain companies.
32. You can get a discount if you are a farmer.
33. There is also a discount for full coverage, which means you carry coverage for the other person in an accident and your own car too.
34. You can get big discounts for insuring antique or classic cars.
35. Different companies offer discounts if you drive certain types of cars.
36. There is a discount for long-distance student drivers. Usually to qualify, the student must go to school >100 miles from their residence address.
NOTE: Discounts vary from company to company. Not all discounts listed are applicable to all insurance companies.