Is there any greater humiliation? You’re sitting in your car at a busy intersection during rush hour. You’re at the front of a long line of cars all eager to get home, and you can feel the friction.
As you sit there, you’re thinking of all the things you need to do as soon as you get home. The kids. The shopping. Dinner. Then it happens. Sputter, chug…stop! Your engine quits. Your dash is lit up with glaring red and yellow lights. You panic.
Quickly you turn the key…but nothing happens. Right then, the traffic light turns green. Cars on all sides of you start rushing by. You can feel your hands sweating as you fumble around your controls, trying anything to get your car going.
The car behind you surges forward. He starts to holler obscenities at you, as if you could control what’s happening. Through the glaring of horns, the pressure of people cursing you…you wonder why this happened. You scream at your car as you get out and try to move it to the side of the road or find help.
Most people don’t think about their cars much – until there’s a problem. And they usually surface at the most inappropriate time. Short of filling up the gas tank…perhaps only when it drops below “empty”…some people don’t give their cars a second thought.
But cars are like any other mechanical device. To keep your trusty steed in good shape, experts offer some tips on making sure your ride is dependable. Here’s a list of 10 simple check-ups you can do to avoid those stressful, embarrassing moments when your car decides to die at the most inappropriate time.
Tip #1: First and foremost, change your oil frequently and regularly. Experts say the most important thing you can do to extend the life of your car is to change the oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. A quick stop to a Fast-Lube shop can extend the life of your car by years, and save thousands of dollars in the process.
Tip #2: Once a month, look under the hood. This 15-minute investment can prevent 70% of the problems that lead to embarrassing highway breakdowns. Check the fluid levels of oil, coolant, automatic transmission fluid, power steering fluid, break fluid and windshield washer fluid. If you don’t know where these items are located, ask a service station attendant for help.
Tip #3: Never let your gas tank go to almost empty before filling up. The bottom of your fuel tank is loaded with deposits, dirt, and residue that’s not good for your engine, fuel injectors or carburetor.
Tip #4: Check tire inflation weekly, and alignment every 6 months. Properly inflated and aligned tires last longer, save money, and are safer.
Tip #5: Change your vehicle’s filters. Changing the air, fuel, and oil filters extends the life of your car, and makes it operate more efficiently.
Tip #6: Change your engine coolant at least once a year, preferably every 6 months. But be careful, coolant can be toxic and harmful if ingested by children or pets.
Tip #7: Lubricate moving and rubber parts. This includes windshield wipers, door rubber, and exposed gaskets.
Tip #8: Get rid of rust immediately. Rust will eat away your car, causing a premature demise. If you find a rusty spot, scrape it away and sand the area. Then protect the bare metal with primer and paint.
Tip #9: Wash your car frequently and keep it out of the sun. Driving a clean car (with clean windshield) improves visibility and enhances your safety. Plus, ultraviolet rays can harm paint, especially metallic paints.
Tip #10: Most important: Schedule regular maintenance every 12,000 miles or 1 year, whichever comes first. Scheduled maintenance will keep warranties valid and maximize the value of your warranty. Plus, it prolongs the life of your vehicle, and will increase the value of your automobile when you decide to sell it.
No doubt, frequent auto maintenance can save you thousands, increase your car’s value…and most certainly remove the risk of sudden, embarrassing moments in traffic!
Going on vacation and leaving your trusted pet companion behind can be a traumatic experience – for both of you. And who can bear the sight of sad eyes as your pet watches you walk away from the kennel where you left them.
Well, that doesn’t need to be the case. There’s a new resource for making your vacation as fun for your pet as it is for you. A listing of 25,000 hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, ski resorts and campgrounds that welcome pets can be found at the Petswelcome.com web site. So there’s no need to leave Fido at home during your vacation.The site also offers information on kennels, vets and medical facilities for your pet when you are on the road. Also available are travel and moving tips, and other helpful information to pet owners on the road.
Ø How To Remove Stubborn Burnt-On Food From Your Skillet: To easily remove burnt-on food from a skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, and bring it to a boil on your stove.
Ø Help For Today’s Domestic Baker. When a cake recipe calls for flouring a baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead of flour, and there won’t be any white mess on the outside of the cake.
Ø Easy On That Salt! If you accidentally over-sale a dish while it is still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt.
Ø Soften That Brown Sugar. Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it.
Ø Opening Tuff Jars Made Easy. If you have trouble opening jars, try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.
Real Estate Question Corner…
Q: Could You Give Me A Few Tips For Selling My Home Fast and For Top Dollar?
A: If you’re thinking of selling your home, how you “position” it can mean the difference between getting a fast, top dollar sale, and having it sit on the market for a long time. If you’re thinking of selling soon, you must call and get my Free report, “44 Money-Making Tips For Preparing Your Home To Sell.” Just go to my “Free Insider Resources” page in this issue or call me directly at 815-394-1823. Here are a few quick pointers…
Ø First impressions are lasting. Look at your home as if you were driving up to it for the first time. What does the home look like? The driveway? The lawn or landscaping? Pay particular attention to the entry walk-way and the front door area. Make sure all curtains are open and lights are on.
Ø Get rid of any odors. They’re a big turn-off. Smoking and pets are the most likely cause. Have carpets cleaned and home deodorized before showing it.
Ø A coat of paint in critical areas (kitchen, master bedroom and baths) can do wonders to change the appearance and make the home look more valuable.Get rid of that clutter! The way you live in a home, and the way you SELL a home are two different things. You have to move anyway, so pack up all your clutter and get it out of the way. An uncluttered home looks bigger and more appealing. Make your home look like a model home.