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Archive for May, 2018

Efficiency at the Pump – How to Save Money at the Gas Station

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

With gas prices on the rise, learning to save money at the gas station is one thing savvy drivers can do to help take some of the sting out of their wallets. Use these tips to maximize your savings and get more out of every mile.

From the time you fill up your tank, to what you do after you fill it, there are several ways you can save a few bucks at the pump.

Fill Up Early

Gas expands and contracts about 1% for every 15 degree change in air temperature. What this means for you is that when you fill up your tank when the gas is warm, you’re actually getting less than you think, because the gas is expanding to fill more space. Once the gas in your tank cools, it contracts and shrinks.

Gas tanks get progressively warmer as the day goes by, so to make sure you are getting the densest gas, fill up early in the day while the tanks are the coolest.

Avoid Delivery Times

If you can’t fill up right when the gas station opens, the next best thing to do is to avoid filling up right after a station has taken a delivery of new gas. Gas delivered right from the refinery is much hotter than it is even sitting in a tank on a hot day, which means if you purchase at this time you’ll be paying for a lot more than you receive.

Don’t Top Off

Topping off your gas tank – or continuing to pump after the nozzle has automatically stopped – can really add a lot of unnecessary costs to your fill up. This is because most nozzles are fitted to take up any extra gas and cycle it back to the pump. Unfortunately, this happens after the meter has recorded the sale, so you’re paying for gas you don’t even get. Instead, once the pump stops put the nozzle back on the tank to ensure you only pay for what you receive.

Tighten Your Gas Cap

Gas not only expands at higher temperatures, a portion of it also turns into a gas or vapor that escapes into the air. A loosely fitting gas cap means that those vapors are escaping out of your tank, rather than condensing back into gasoline once the temperatures drops. Taking the time to tighten up your cap after each fill up ensures you’re getting the chance to use the gas you paid for.

Pump a Little Slower

Most nozzles are set to pump gas at three speeds – slow, medium, and fast. Pumping at high speeds releases more gasoline vapors, which your nozzle pulls back in with a vapor recovery system most pumps are outfitted with. This means you could be paying for more gas than you receive. Pumping at a slower rate releases fewer vapors, which means you’re receiving more of the gas that you paid for.

Use Regular Gas

If you’ve been filling up with premium gas because your owner’s manual recommends it, your car could do just as well on regular, letting you pocket the difference. Premium gas really only burns better in hot, high performance engines, while most cars run just fine on regular. If your owner’s manual says that premium is required then by all means use it; if it’s only recommended, however, you probably won’t notice a difference if you switch.

In addition to the ways you can save money at the pump, there are a few other things you can do to help maximize your car’s gas mileage and save money in the long run:

  • Keep your tires filled: Low tire pressure decreases your gas mileage making you fill up more often.
  • Get frequent tune ups: If your engine isn’t performing optimally, it could be using more gas than it needs.
  • Change your air filter: If your car is older, a dirty air filter could cause it to burn more fuel. Newer cars can adjust for this, however, so check your manual to see if it’s necessary.

Gas prices aren’t dropping any time soon, so make sure you’re getting your money’s worth every time you fill up. Follow these tips to save money at the gas station, and know you are maximizing how far your car – and your money – can go.

Source: Northern Virginia Roofing

What to Do If Your Car Overheats: 5 Must-Know Steps

Monday, May 21st, 2018

When the mercury begins to rise outside, it’s common for car engines to get overly toasty too. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure a temporary jump in temperature doesn’t lead to long-lasting trouble. To help you know what to do if your car overheats, here are 5 easy steps.

  1. First, always carry an extra bottle of coolant (also called antifreeze) in your car, as well as a jug of water. Engines typically overheat because the coolant’s low, so topping it off will usually solve the problem. Failing that, water will also temporarily do the trick. Plus, that water could be a lifesaver on long, sweltering summer drives. Just don’t drink it all.
  2. When you see the temperature gauge creeping into the red or a notification light glowing, immediately turn off your air conditioner (since the AC puts a lot of strain on your engine).
  3. If the problem persists, crank your heater up to full blast. It could make the next few miles a pretty brutal experience, but the transfer of heat away from the engine might just save its life.
  4. Should the preceding steps fail, pull over as soon as you can. Turn off the engine. If you can pop the hood from the driver’s seat, do so — but don’t risk opening it by hand until the engine has cooled, especially if you see steam wafting off the engine. It typically takes a solid 30 minutes for an engine to cool down enough for it to be safe to handle. If you’d rather let a professional handle the problem, it’s time to call for a tow truck.
  5. Once the engine has cooled, check the coolant tank. It’s usually a translucent plastic tank near the radiator. If the coolant tank is empty, you may have sprung a leak. Take a quick look under the car. If you notice a drip or puddle, chances are the coolant tank is leaking.

If you do have a leak, carefully open the radiator cap. Place a cloth over the radiator cap to protect your hand, and tilt the cap away from you as it opens. Refill the cooled radiator with your spare coolant or water. Do not pour cold water into a still-hot radiator — it could cause the engine block to crack due to the sudden change in temperature. If you absolutely have to add water while the engine is still warm, pour slowly while the engine is running in neutral or park.

Note that most cars require a 50/50 mix of coolant with water to prevent overheating, so you won’t be able to drive indefinitely with nothing but water. If you don’t have coolant on hand when your car overheats, make sure to add a comparable amount of coolant as soon as possible.

If the coolant tank is full, the problem may be electrical or mechanical in nature, in which case a tow to the nearest repair shop is definitely in order. A leaking hose, worn or broken fan belt, bad water pump, or malfunctioning thermostat may be the culprit.

What to do if you’re in traffic

Being in traffic when your car begins to overheat can make the situation that much more stressful. But it’s important that you let your cooler head prevail and follow these tips:

  • If you’re stopped in traffic, put the car in neutral or park and rev the engine a bit. This will encourage water and air flow through the radiator, helping to cool it.
  • If you’re in stop-and-go traffic, aim to creep rather than alternating between braking and accelerating. Braking generates a lot of friction, which will only turn up the heat.

If the needle’s in the red

It’s not common for contemporary cars to overheat, and it’s never a good thing, regardless of your vehicle’s age. If you find that your car often gets a little hot under the hood, it’s probably an indication of a larger problem, so consult your repair shop or trusted auto expert.

In the summertime …

Keep the livin’ easy by watching the temperature gauge, storing bottles of water and coolant in the back, and maybe even stashing this list in your glove compartment. You don’t want a volcanically hot engine ruining your summer road trip — or worse yet, your engine.

Source: John Moore Williams (esurance)