DIY: How to Change Windshield Wiper Blades

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What Needs To Be Done:

Windshield wiper blades need to be inspected and replaced, if needed, on a regular basis.

Why Do It?

  • Windshield wiper blades are made out of rubber, which can wear even with limited use.
  • By being certain that your windshield wiper blades are in optimum condition, you are ensuring the safety of your vehicle and its passengers.
  • If you are driving your car in pouring rain, snow or sleet, worn-out wiper blades can impede the wipers’ ability to clean the windshield, which can limit your visibility.
  • Making sure your windshield wipers are newly inspected and replaced, if necessary, can help ensure safety.

How Often?

The frequency at which your windshield wiper blades need replacement depends, in part, on the conditions where you live and drive.Some general information is listed below, but always defer to your car owner’s manual and the information that comes with your wiper blades for advice on maintenance.

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Avoiding Traffic Tickets

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In an accompanying story, “Beat your Ticket”, we give you some tips on beating your traffic ticket in court. We now have some overdue advice to offer: It’s far easier to avoid getting tickets in the first place.

In this article, we’ll tell you how to drive so the cops won’t stop you. And we’ll also tell you what to do and say if you are pulled over. Your behavior — and your attitude — could mean the difference between a ticket and a warning.

For answers to these questions, we talked to Walter Meyer, a teacher in a comedy traffic school and a freelance writer living in San Diego, Calif. He has collected a lot of information by studying the traffic laws and doing “ride-alongs” with traffic officers. But he has also gathered interesting anecdotal evidence from his students — harrowing accounts of traffic accidents, police stops and other driving mishaps. Continue reading

A Resolution You Should Keep: Be Car Care Aware

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To be car care aware, incorporate the following service interval schedule items as part of your New Year”s resolution:

  • Perform monthly checks of tire pressure and the condition of tires, lights and windshield washer fluid. The vehicle should also be cleaned monthly.
  • Every three months or per the owner”s manual, check the engine oil and filter, check the levels of other fluids including automatic transmission, power steering and brake, and check the battery and cables, belts and hoses. The exhaust and fuel filter should also be checked at this interval.
  • Every six months or 6,000 miles, the chassis lubrication should be checked and windshield wipers should be replaced.
  • Every 12 months or 12,000 miles, the brakes, spark plugs, coolant and steering and suspension should be checked.

Seeing is Believing When it Comes to Road Safety

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Following a few auto care visibility tips can be illuminating, helping to ensure the safety of you, your passengers and other vehicles around you.

  • Replace any exterior or interior lights that are dimming, rapidly blinking or non-functioning, and be sure headlights are correctly aimed.
  • Make sure that vehicle mirrors are clean and properly positioned.
  • Check windshield washer fluid level and when it gets low, replace it.
  • Replace wiper blades if they show cracking or if they chatter or streak when operating. Don’t forget to check the rear wiper blade.
  • When in doubt, turn your lights on to help you see and help other drivers see you. Some states have laws that require headlights to be on when windshield wipers are operating.
  • Don’t overdrive your headlights. Maintain a speed that will allow you to stop within the illuminated area, otherwise you create a blind crash zone in front of your vehicle.

Holiday Road Trip Three Ps That Won’t Bust the Budget

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With the holiday season upon us, many Americans are stretching their dollars to make a trip home for the holidays. While driving is the thrifty option, unexpected vehicle repairs can bust your budget this time of year. Motorists planning a road trip over the holidays should follow the three Ps – prepare, prevent and plan – to save money and avoid breakdowns.

  • Conduct a pre-trip vehicle inspection. If you find your vehicle needs repairs, be sure to address them in a timely manner so they can be performed by a trusted technician before your journey. While it may be tempting to put off repairs until after the holidays, it is not worth the risk and added expense of more extensive work down the road.
  • The last thing any driver needs is to break down in cold, harsh winter weather. A pre-winter vehicle check is a sensible way to avoid the inconvenience of being stranded out in the cold as well as costly emergency towing and repairs.
  • Before traveling longer distances, plan your route and review the council’s steps to better fuel economyto maximize savings at the pump. Pack a road emergency kit, including jumper cables, a road atlas, first-aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries, water, non-perishable food and blankets, and be sure your cell phone is fully charged.

Taking proactive steps to prepare, prevent and plan in advance of your holiday road trip will help you avoid the hassle and expense of unplanned car trouble away from home.