Talking About Car Builds

Five Mistakes Parents Make When Buying Their Teen’s First Car

Posted by on Jun 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Five Mistakes Parents Make When Buying Their Teen’s First Car

It is probably with mixed emotions that you embark on the journey to buy your teen’s first car. While you probably share some of your son or daughter’s excitement about his or her first auto, you’re also certain to worry about letting your child loose on the roads. If you set about the car-buying process correctly, you can quickly quell some of these anxieties. Make sure you buy your son or daughter the right car, and avoid the following common buyers’ mistakes.

Failure to set expectations

Even though it’s a first car, your son or daughter will almost certainly expect to drive away in his or her dream machine. Unless you are a multi-millionaire, your budget probably won’t stretch to this, so it’s important to set expectations up front.

Tell your teen how much you are willing to spend. If you have a fixed budget, make sure he or she understand there is no wriggle room around this, so you don’t start arguing over price. What’s more, you should set clear expectations about the makes and models you don’t want to buy. For example, if you don’t want your teen to have a cabriolet or an SUV, make sure he or she knows this from the outset.

Lack of research

You can’t always expect your teen to make a sensible decision about a new car, so it’s up to mom or dad to gather the facts before you start visiting used car sales dealerships. With so many types of car on the market, it’s important to do some research up-front, so you can start to exclude or aim for particular makes and models.

Facts and figures to look for include:

  • Gas efficiency
  • Safety ratings
  • Insurance costs

You can find plenty of sources for this information online. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publishes detailed safety information about every make and model on the market. Armed with the right technical information, you should also check online pricing tools to find out how much you can reasonably expect to pay for certain cars.

Assuming a small car is best

Safety is a prime concern for parents. Indeed, teens between the age of 16 and 19 are four times more likely to crash than their older counterparts. As such, many parents believe that the perfect answer is to buy their teen a small, slow car that doesn’t allow excessive speeds.

In fact, small cars aren’t always the safest choice you can make. In some cases, city cars don’t have the same safety features as larger cars like sedans. For example, a small car may not have six airbags, anti-lock brakes or stability control. All these features can make it safer for your teen to drive, so it’s often worth considering a larger car that has a better safety specification.

Excluding your teen from test drives

If you expect your teen to drive a car safely and responsibly, you cannot exclude him or her from the buying process. Many teens end up with cars that their parents chose without any consultation, and this isn’t a great way to encourage responsible driving.

Include your son or daughter in each part of the process, including any test drives. It’s vital that he or she finds the car comfortable and easy to drive. Don’t just take a quick tour round the block. Take the car on the highway and find some challenging driving conditions, so you can see how your son or daughter copes with the car.

Having no long-term plan

You should always have a long-term plan for your teen’s car, so he or she knows what to expect next. For example, you may decide that your teen can upgrade to a better car in two years’ time, as long as he or she looks after the car and doesn’t have a crash.

Similarly, you may also need to make your teen understand that you won’t pay for the next car in full. This decision gives your son or daughter time to save up ready for the next upgrade.

Your teen’s first car is an important milestone in his or her life. Make sure you remember this purchase for the right reasons, and take time to choose the right car with your son or daughter.

2 Symptoms Of Low Or Oxidized Brake Fluid

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Symptoms Of Low Or Oxidized Brake Fluid

Just like every other driver, you’ve regularly replaced your brake pads and rotors when your brakes began causing performance issues. However, you’ve failed to also flush and replace your brake fluid. The brake fluid that flows throughout your vehicle is the lifeblood of your braking system. When your brake fluid is low or oxidized, these three issues will hinder your braking performance:

Soft Brake Pedal

When you first drove your vehicle, your brake pedal could bring you to a stop with almost no pressure. However, as you continued to use your brakes over the last several months or years, you’ve had to apply slightly more pressure to your pedal to achieve the same stopping performance.

Although many people attribute this issue to worn brake pads or rotors (which are also capable of causing this issue), the extra pressure required to bring your vehicle to a stop will be partially caused by your aging brake fluid. Although topping off your brake fluid reservoir will partially fix your soft, squishy brake pedal, you’ll need to completely flush and refill your brake system to get your pedal back to normal.

Decreased Stopping Power

When you activate your brakes, you aren’t just pressing your foot down on your pedal—you’re pumping your master cylinder and sending brake fluid through your brake lines and into your brake assemblies. However, this hydraulic process is even more complex than it sounds. When your master cylinder pumps brake fluid throughout your lines, it increases the pressure of the fluid.

If you vehicle is low on brake fluid, then your master cylinder won’t fully pressurize your fluid when you press on your pedal since there’s empty space in your lines or fluid reservoir. As a result, you’ll have to apply more pressure to your brake pedal to slow or stop your vehicle.

If your brake fluid is oxidized, which occurs when it experiences significant temperature fluctuations or absorbs moisture in the air, then it simply cannot be compressed as well as it could when it was new. Even though your fluid reservoir may be full, the stopping power of oxidized fluid simply doesn’t compare to new fluid.

How To Prevent Brake Fluid Oxidation

Although you can easily tell when your vehicle is running low on brake fluid by checking the line on your brake fluid reservoir (located along the firewall on the driver’s side of your engine bay), detecting dirty or oxidized brake fluid can be an extremely difficult task.

Instead of using only the age of your fluid to determine when you need a brake fluid flush, have your brake fluid electronically tested by your local mechanic every year. If you frequently drive along mountains, tow trailers, or under other conditions that increase the wear on your brake system, then have your fluid tested every six months. By doing so, you’ll be able to detect signs of wear or oxidation well before your fluid causes performance issues.

Additionally, since fluid oxidation occurs as a result of moisture contamination, make sure your brake fluid reservoir’s cap is always properly sealed. If your reservoir cap is slightly loose, then air will enter your reservoir each time you pump the brake pedal. If your cap is partially damaged, missing a gasket, or unable to create an airtight seal, then head to your local auto parts store to purchase a replacement.

If you’re experiencing a soft pedal or a noticeable decrease in stopping performance, then have your fluid tested and replaced if necessary. Don’t wait until these symptoms begin posing a serious threat to your safety to arrange for brake service. If you do, then you’ll risk being involved in a car accident that may cause permanent injury or even death.

5 Conversions To Take Your Class B RV Further

Posted by on Apr 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

You may want a Class B RV because they are generally small enough to store in an unmodified garage, handle well in the city, and get similar gas mileage to a large family vehicle. While downsizing your RV is great for the city and off-season, the compact size of a Class B RV can make it difficult to take on longer vacations or accommodate more than 2-4 people. However, its small size makes it a great option for reaching more rural locations that a Class A or Class C RV might not be able to make it to. With a few modifications, your Class B RV can be ready to take you and your friends far away from the city for weeks at a time. 

Lift Your RV To Reach More Remote Locations 

To achieve a comfortable standing height, manufacturers either lower the floor of the vehicle or extend the roof. If you have a lowered RV, you may consider installing a lift kit to help get you off highways and onto dirt roads. Before you install a lift kit, it is important to take into consideration how your RV will handle with an extra 2-4 inches added. It may be more difficult to drive in strong winds and you may have to take corners more slowly. If you are storing your RV in a smaller garage, you may have clearance issues.

If you decide that an extra bit of under-carriage clearance is necessary, but not worth the handling and storage issues, you may think about installing airbags at the front and rear axles, which can be manipulated to give you a bit of extra space only when you find yourself in deep ruts. 

Attach Walls To Your Awning To Increase Sleeping And Living Space 

If you plan to travel with more than two people in a Class B RV, you may find yourself looking for more living and sleeping space. Sleeping space can easily be extended with a tent and sleeping bags. However, to get the most from your RV, you should consider having custom walls made that can extend from your awning to the ground. This can enclose the area directly next to your RV, extending your living area and providing a safe, cozy sleeping space during warm weather. 

Install A Tankless Water Heater To Increase Usable Space 

In a Class B RV, it is important to utilize every storage space efficiently. You can add extra storage space or living space by installing a tankless water heater as opposed to the standard 6 gallon hot water tank. This will insure that you have plenty of hot water for your daily needs, but you won’t have to haul a full tank of water with you everywhere. 

Collect Rainwater For Bathing And Dishes 

While a tankless hot water heater will save you space, you may find that you need to make regular trips into town to fill up your water. Collecting rainwater can limit how often you need to refill your water tank. The storage barrel may take up extra space in your RV while you are driving, but you can store kitchen supplies or other necessities in it during transportation and then set up your rainwater collection system when you reach your destination. 

Install Solar Panels To Extend Your Off-Grid Trip 

Since most RVs already have a battery that stores electricity, you only have to purchase solar panels and connect them to your current AC converter to get them ready to go. This makes installing solar panels on a RV cheaper and easier than installing them on a house, and the extra power they provide can keep you out of the city for longer periods of time. 

Once you make a few modifications to your Class B RV, you will see that it can be the best way to get out of the city and away from the RV park to enjoy a long vacation. For more information, contact a company like Fretz RV.

Essential Tips For Hauling A Vehicle For First-Timers

Posted by on Apr 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you need to transport a motor vehicle over a long distance due to a long distance move or other circumstance, you will need to rent or buy a trailer. If you have never hauled a vehicle before, the following guide can help you learn the basics of what you need to successfully transport a car or motorcycle.

Determine the Capacity of Your Load and How Much You Can Tow

Trailers and car haulers have maximum load and gross vehicle weight restrictions. If you attempt to haul a load that exceeds these restrictions, the trailer may sway uncontrollably when you are driving, putting you at risk of causing an accident.

Determine the weight of the vehicle you will transport before you rent any trailer equipment. You can find this information in the owner’s manual of the vehicle.

In addition, the vehicle you use to tow the trailer must have a hitch system and a hitch ball that can safely tow your load. Hitch systems are rated by class. The higher the class, the more weight you can tow. The supplier of your trailer should be able to tell you if your existing hitch system is adequate.

Rent the Right Trailer

Trailers vary in size and shape depending on what type of vehicle you plan to tow. For a motorcycle or scooter, you can rent a lightweight trailer that will hold the bike upright during your trip. The trailer should include tie-down rings, a chock to secure the wheels of the bike and a ramp.

Any trailer for towing a car or truck should include the following features.

  • Automatic brakes
  • Loading ramp
  • Security chains
  • Tilt out fenders
  • Brake lights
  • Taillights and turn signals

The trailer supplier should be able to help you choose the appropriate device based on the type of car or truck you plan to haul.

The width of trailers varies. Your state may have restrictions on towing trailer width. Contact the department of motor vehicles (DMV) in your state to make sure you purchase a trailer that is legal to haul on highways.

Purchase Accessories

In addition to renting or purchasing a trailer, you should also invest in a few essential accessories. The place where you acquired your trailer should stock these items. Accessories you should definitely buy include:

  • Extra tie downs
  • Clearance lights for wide trailers
  • License plate lights
  • Reflectors
  • Flares
  • Trailer jack and stand

Some of these devices may be required for trailers in our state. Your state’s DMV can let you know what accessories you must have to haul a trailer load.

If you are not used to hauling loads, you can also invest in a wireless backup camera kit. You can attach a small camera to the back of the vehicle being towed. The camera communicates with an LCD screen that you can mount in your car.

Get Insurance

Before you get on the road with your trailer load, make sure that you have trailer towing insurance. Check the fine print of your insurance policy to see if it includes coverage for trailers or call your agent for assistance.

If you do not have coverage, some trailer rental companies offer damage coverage. You can choose from different coverage limits. Standard trailer rental policies include collision damage, medical life coverage and towed property coverage.

Heed Safety Measures

When you transport a vehicle, it should be completely empty. Do not load any items inside the car as the extra weight may cause the trailer to sway or whip on the road.

Do not try to drive at the same speed you normally would without a trailer. Furthermore, make sure to follow the trailer rental company’s instructions for suggested highway speeds for your type of trailer.

If you do not choose the right type of trailer, ignore instructions for attaching the hitch properly and drive as if you are a standalone vehicle, you put your safety and the well-being of other drivers on the road at risk.

5 Semi Truck Sleeper Features To Make Summer Trips More Comfortable

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Driving semi-trucks during the summer includes long days, hot nights, and a lot of warm temperatures on the open road. While shopping for commercial trucks for sale, it’s important to consider the main season that you’ll be driving in. Getting a good night’s rest is important for hitting the open road and there are many features to consider in the sleeper cab that you purchase.

The following five semi truck sleeper upgrades can help you get through the summer trucking months with ease.

Battery Powered Air Conditioner

When the truck is not running, the cab can quickly get hot and uncomfortable. Instead of wasting gas or killing the semi-truck’s battery power, you can purchase a used semi truck that has a battery powered air conditioner in the sleeper cab. This air conditioner runs on its own high-powered battery system. This means that while your truck is parked, the sleeper cab can be comfortably cooled. The batteries can typically run for 12 hours without being charged.

Semi Truck Mini-Fridge

Things can get crowded in the sleeper cab of a semi truck, so you will want to look for items that are as small as possible. A semi-truck mini-fridge features enough storage for a few drinks and some food. This is great for storing fresh snacks while on the road.

The typical size of a standard mini-fridge is around 4.0 cubic feet. For a semi-truck fridges are available in smaller sizes and range from 1.7 to 3.8 cubic feet.  These smaller sizes can cut down on the weight of the truck and use less power to keep the fridge cooled.

Drawer Freezers

A drawer freezer is an ideal companion to a semi truck mini-fridge. These freezers are typically stored under the bed or a sink area of the sleeping cab. During the summer, these drawers can help many advantages for storing food and drinks.

  • Ice Cream: Have fresh access to cooled off snacks like ice cream and frozen yogurt.
  • Ice: Cool off drinks with fresh access to cubed ice.
  • Frozen Meals: Easily store and prepare frozen meals in the drawer freezer. This offers a great alternative to rest stop food locations.

Top Bunks

As you shop through semi truck sales, you may want to consider sleeper cabs that feature a top bunk. During the summer months, the top bunk of a sleeper has many benefits including the ability to block out extra sunlight. The summer is filled with long days, and it may be harder to sleep with slivers of light shining through on the sleeper cab. A top bunk can give you more privacy and move you away from extra sunlight.

While you look for top bunk features, ensure that there are no skylights or upper cab windows that can let additional light in.

Semi Truck Air Purifier

As summer rolls in and temperatures rise, so do the pollutants in the air. Driving down highways and through cities will only increase your exposure to these pollutants. Instead of breathing in the dirty air, you can purchase a semi truck with an air purifier built into the sleeping cab. This purifier runs on battery power so you do not have to idle or run the truck while you use the purifier.

The purifiers can be installed into the wall of the cab or directly above the bed where you sleep. Depending on the model, some may need disposable filter changes for each new season that you use the air purifier.

Even if you cannot find these upgrades in a semi truck you love, it’s a good idea to work with the truck dealer to find out about having these upgrades installed.