Financially Sensible Car Buying and Owning

Owning a car is very important for many people. Some need it to get to work or around town in a reliable and efficient manner. Others simply love to get behind the wheel and feel powerful engines rumble the seat. You may be a combination of the two. However you feel about cars, if you absolutely need to own one, it’s best to spend the money wisely. Here are a few ways to make car purchasing and ownership as good as possible for your bottom line.

 

You can buy new, used, or old – if you have the right skills. People might claim that it’s always best to buy a used car, but this isn’t true in all situations. It all depends on the needs of the individual buying the car. For example, buying a new car can pay dividends because every aspect is covered under warranty. This is great assurance for a certain kind of driver. What’s more, after a year or two, the car retains much of its value and can be traded in for a new car with a few extra thousand dollars. Used cars, on the other hand, will not depreciate as quickly, resulting in greater equity longer for a longer period of time. If they’re new enough, they will still be reliable. Old cars are great for people who are mechanically minded and can keep them from breaking down. To figure out which kind of buyer you are, check out the top finance blogs for major investments and search within them for car tips.

 

You have much better options if you properly maintain your vehicle. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, you’ll maintain your vehicle with care. If you are able to do this yourself, or are willing to learn from Youtube car repair explanations, you can save a great deal of money and keep your car in tip top shape. You can also rely on the services of a trusted mechanic who can extend the life of your vehicle and save you having to buy a new one. At the end of the day, you should look at your car as an investment. Even though it’s not a true investment like Betterment investing examples, for example, it’s still a way of holding value over which you have a great deal of control. A well maintained car will last longer and sell for more when it’s time to get rid of it.

 

Pay attention to the right opportunity for sale or trade. When the time comes to trade or sell, you should strike while the iron is hot. You’ll get the best value for your trade when your car still retains strong value. If you wait too long, your car might break down and be worth very little, right when you need something new. Don’t be sentimental in this case. Trade or sell at the optimal time!

 

Your car is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime. For this reason, it should be something you think about carefully. Get the most out of your money, and you’ll be happy with a reliable vehicle for a long time to come.

 

Top Tips for Getting the Most from a Trip to the Self-Serve Car Wash

Although it’s quick and easy to run your vehicle through an automatic car wash every time it gets a bit dirty it can also get rather expensive. An often considerably cheaper alternative is making use of a self-service car wash. This offers you a number of advantages over trying to wash your car in your driveway – you are provided with all the tools and gadgets you need, as well as the dedicated space – but it does also involve a little hard work.

If you do choose to go the self-serve route the next time you wash your car there are certain things you can do that will ensure that you get the biggest bang for your buck and the cleanest possible car. So, before you put your cash or card into that car wash point of sale system next time take a look at this quick guide to more efficient self-service car washing.

Park the Right Way – When you pull into the car wash bay make sure that you get as close to the center as possible, as this will give you the space you’ll need to move and actually do a good job.

Vacuum First – A self-service car wash vacuum is a standard feature but it’s usually considered a separate charge from the actual wash itself. You should make use it first though so that your nice clean, freshly washed car is not dirtied again by dust you vacuum out after the fact. As you’ll be charged by the minute remove car mats and garbage before you begin to avoid wasting time and money once it switches on.

Be Prepared – If you want to get the most out of your allotted time – most self-service car washes operate on time limits – you need to be prepared before you begin. Bring your own clean towels to dry off your car and make sure they are close to hand. And as time is money before you pay for the service to begin point the washing wand at your car and set the controls to pre-soak. As you will be charged by the minute in most cases this will save you a few seconds, and therefore few cents, as most machines start up the second your payment has been accepted.

Wash Efficiently – Probably the most efficient way to wash a vehicle in a self-service bay is to do the pre-wash first, followed by the tire cleaner, and then go back and do the soap and rinse. Never used a car wash before and not sure what to do? Check a few videos on YouTube before you head out so that you are not left wondering – and wasting time – once you’re there.

Dry Off Properly –If you don’t dry your vehicle properly, then a lot of your hard work will be undone. As soon as you are done washing pull out of the bay and find a clear spot on the lot to work. Ensuring that the towels really are dry and clean begin by drying off excess water using gentle, circular motions. Many self-service car wash facilities do offer post car wash waxing tools as well, but that will be a waste of money if the car isn’t dry and smear free before you begin.

6 Tips To Overcome Driving Phobia

Most people do not know this but there is a thing known as driving phobia. Around 10% of people actually suffer from phobias at the moment, including anxiety for driving. Driving phobia is so often irrational, a clear form of anxiousness. In many cases causes are not known and the main signs noticed are panic attacks, depressed feelings, sweats, headaches, pain, nausea, difficulty to swallow, sleeping troubles, nightmares featuring driving and an increased sensitivity to anything.

Obviously, overcoming driving phobia is a necessity before you will drive. If we look at infographics with statistics from sites like Infographics Graphics we can notice that there are more accidents happening than we might believe. Such stats do not help so if you want to get rid of the phobia, you can try the following.

Check Eyes

This is always a necessity. A part of the insecurities you feel may be the fact you will not be able to see some dangerous objects until you hit them. Reading traffic signs is a necessity but if you suffer from driving phobia you will want to see farther away. Check your eyes and be sure that you see well. This offers comfort that you can see what will be in front of you without delays.

Take Safe Driving Courses

Taking such a course should be obligatory according to some and we cannot argue with the fact that it is really useful. Such a course is going to drastically increase confidence because you know everything about what safe driving practices have to be used as you are behind the wheel.

Lower Tensions Before Driving

You want to do all that you can in order to lessen tension before driving. As an example, some people want to jump on a treadmill or perform something that requires concentration. Irrational driving fear bases basically have to be thrown away. You want to reduce thinking about driving and start informal conversations that are about simple topics. The idea is to practically keep the mind diverted.

Do A Car Check

Check the gas tank to be sure it is full, your registration, your toll money and license before you go. Prepare the clothes one night before departure date and use the bathroom as you are ready to go inside the car. The idea is to eliminate various things that you could think about and that would bother you as you are driving. Since you are anxious as you will drive, not bothering about the things mentioned helps.

Plan The Route In Detail

The route that you will take should be planned before you live. This is useful if you use GPS or you do not. If you want to feel ready you can schedule driving times so that traffic is less busy. As an example, leave for work earlier in order to avoid rush hours. See what routes have increased truck traffic and reroute.

See A Psychologist

While most people are afraid of psychologists, you want to go see one that is specialized in dealing with people that have phobias. The truth is that driving phobia can be treated and the work of the psychologists can be so much more helpful than what you may think at first glance. Just make sure the one you choose is experienced with people that are in your situation.

4 Tips for Going on a Road Trip with Your Parents

Road trips are a lot of fun. Experiencing the open road, traveling from city-to-city and passing through historic towns can be unforgettable. But when your parents come along for the trip, things can get very interesting very quickly.

Add old age into the mix, when your parents are elderly, and you’ll find out that you have a lot more planning to do than you expected.

These tips can help you plan a road trip with your parents that is a success.

1. Plan Familiar Stops Along the Way

Elders – no offense to any readers – love familiarity. When things are always different, there seems to be anxiety and chaos. You need to provide some activities and stops along the way that seem familiar to your parents.

For example, if your parents go to Starbucks often, plan a few Starbucks stops along the way.

By adding in a few familiar stops along the way, you’ll be able to keep your parents in a good mood.

2. Get Your Vehicle Maintained Before Your Trip

I know my parents always gaze at the dashboard when a check engine light is on. “Are you going to get that fixed?” is a common question I hear. It’s never fun when you’re on a trip with a paranoid parent who doesn’t seem to trust your vehicle’s longevity.

But your parents may be on to something.

Mobil recommends doing the following before a road trip:

  • Checking and changing your oil
  • Checking and topping off all fluids
  • Inspecting and replacing any worn hoses
  • Inspecting and replacing worn belts
  • Checking and changing engine coolant as needed

Of course, also have any check engine lights diagnosed and major repairs made as needed.

3. Prepare Health and Medical Supplies

Parents, especially fathers, never want to be a burden on their children. Health and medical conditions often go unspoken of because parents don’t want to burden their children. If you know that there are certain health issues that may arise, take a proactive approach.

You can also ask the other parent what mom or dad may need on the trip, like:

  • Adult diapers
  • Bed pads (to cover the seat)
  • Drinking aids
  • Eating aids
  • Bandages
  • Medications
  • Oxygen (if needed)
  • Aspirin

Make a list of medical supplies that your parents might need. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to cover everything, but you’ll be able to bring along a few supplies that are must-haves.

4. Entertainment is a Must

Road trips are bad when there are kids, but matters get even worse when you have a cranky, older parent with you. Legs start to cramp, the heat or air conditioner is changed a hundred times and forget about your music tastes.

A way to avoid these complaints is to bring entertainment along with you.

Smartphones are great because you’ll be able to:

  • Stream parent-friendly music
  • Download movies to watch
  • Bring e-books for your parents to read

You’ll want to download all of your entertainment choices before you leave to save data. If you’re on an unlimited data plan, you might even be able to stream / download on-the-go.

Holidays & The Impaired Driving Crackdown

As Labor Day stands as the second most deadly holiday for motor vehicle fatalities (after Memorial Day), it’s unsurprising that crackdowns are getting more serious. August 16th marked the inception of ‘Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over,’ a national campaign against motorcycling while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The campaign focuses around the end of summer festivities, culminating in the extended Labor Day weekend. But beyond national campaigns and police crackdowns, what can be done to reduce the number of crash fatalities around holidays? Let’s take a look.

What do Statistics Tell Us?

Looking at 2015 crash statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in February 2017, there were over 10,000 crashes involving alcohol that year alone. This summary of crash statistics also followed trends from 2006-2015, seeing the severity of crashes decreasing, while the number of fatal crashes increased by 7%. It is undeniable that a fraction of these crashes were caused by distracted driving, while the others are a combination of other circumstances, including impaired driving.

With this limited information in mind, let’s think about why holidays are more dangerous for drivers. First, there are simply more people on the roads. Lots of driving trips occur for holidays. In 2014, an estimate of almost 35 million Americans were expected to travel more than 50 miles for the extended Labor Day weekend, according to AAA. In addition to more drivers on the road, with holidays come celebrations. This adds distraction, not to mention drugs and alcohol into the mix, therefore more danger.

So What’s to be Done?

There are a few options that individual drivers can do to stay safer on the roads during holidays. The first and most obvious, is to stay closer to home over the holiday weekend. But if you’ve set your sights on a long distance trip, be sure to do a few things. First, avoid all distractions, monitor your alertness, and have a plan if you get into an accident. In the case of an accident, see our piece on what to avoid and know who you’re going to contact if you need help or representation. Larger cities and destinations have plenty of people to turn to. Atlanta, a popular place to visit for Labor Day weekend (curious? Check it out), so having support like www.atlantacaraccidentlawyer.com is optimal if you do end up in a crash.

But first and foremost to avoid crashes during the holidays? Don’t drive while buzzed, high, or intoxicated. That simple. While having a designated driver almost seems like something of the past, given the rise of Uber, if that method works for you, make an effort to stick to it. Otherwise, download the Uber app before you go to parties or have sleeping arrangements set up beforehand. The more drivers who avoid the road will not only prevent crashes and fatalities, but also make the holidays much better for everyone! Impaired Driving Crackdowns are important, but there is more we all can do to make the roads safer this Labor Day weekend.

Treating Your Car As An Investment: Some Tips For Car Care

For many people a car is an investment in their job as it either has to deal directly with their work or it helps them get to and from work. More people are making extra money by using ridesharing apps like Uber or Lyft so many people depend on their car to live a higher quality of life. A lot of people know a person who does not take care of their car whether it is mechanically or on the aesthetic side. A car can be seen as a representation of youself so take care of it and avoid huge problems in the future as many automobile mechanical problems tend to compound is not addressed. The following are a few tips to help you take care of the investment that is your car.

Aim To Have a Garage

The fact is that many apartments and townhomes do not have the option for anything but a covered parking spot. Having a garage can help protect your car from the wear and tear that extreme climates can have on a vehicle. The added security also gives a person a peace of mind that is unrivaled especially if they consider their car as another family member. Upgrading to a home with a garage does not have to be difficult as sites like Ready Steady Sell have qualified buyers ready to invest in another property. The garage is something that can be used for storage as well as a place to complete some DIY projects.

Take Time To Warm The Car Up

There are going to be climates whether your car is in a garage connected to the home or not that it will be necessary to warm up your car. Not only does it make it much more comfortable to sit in after a few minutes, it avoids any unnecessary strain on the car. You do not want to try to rev up the car too much and take it easy pulling out of the driveway. For those people who can start their car with a button you will not even have to brave the elements as you can watch the car warm up from the comfort of your home while sipping on a warm coffee. If your car has been sitting after a vacation for a while or an extended vacation you should warm the car up and possibly change the oil as time might have made it congeal.

Take The Check Engine Light Seriously

Plenty of people ignore the check engine light on their dash simply because they do not want to deal with any problems. Many issues with a car like low or no oil can have much more catastrophic impacts like issues with transmission which are traditionally extremely expensive to repair. Things like alignment might not seem important but this can make a car go through tires quite quickly and tires depending on a vehicle can be costly.

As you can see there are plenty of big and small things to take care of so your car will last for as long as possible. Comment additional ways you take care of your care on a regular basis.

 

The Power of Technology in Fighting DUI

Technology has literally saved and extended millions of lives. As technology advances, this becomes more and more true. From medical technologies to safety devices, often we take these life-saving gifts for granted. Now there is a new technology that could aid in the war against drunk driving fatalities. Imagine if we could reduce the number of DUI fatalities each year in the US from close to 10,000 to zero! Maybe that just isn’t possible right now, but if the technology that the DADSS program is working on becomes a reality and is eventually integrated with every new car that number could be reduced by a significant amount.

The DADSS program, or the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety program, operates in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS), which represents the leading automakers. This partnership, made up of players from both the public and private sector, is one of the most important in recent years. The effort has the support of Congress and safety advocates across the nation and represents a unique coalition that could reduce and eventually eliminate drunk driving. All of the research for this technology is overseen by independent engineers and scientists and will include further testing in real-world scenarios prior to being made available as an option for consumers.

This new technology would be seamlessly integrated with automobiles and involved two different types of options. The first, is a sort of onboard breathalyzer, which automatically picks up the alcohol content of from the driver’s natural breathing patterns. The driver does not have to blow into a tube or voluntarily submit to some sort of pre-driving breath test, the car would do this automatically. If the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit of .08, the car would not operate. The system would also be able to distinguish between the breath of the passengers and the driver and specifically test only the driver’s BAC.

The second type of system in this research is a touch-based system. This would also be integrated with the car and involve infrared light that can measure BAC through the fingertip. Sensors would be placed on steering wheels or start buttons and could take multiple readings on BAC in less than a second.

It’s hard to imagine that there could be any opponents to such a promising technology that could absolutely save the lives of thousands. The program began back in 2008 and has been progressing forward to the point of taking prototypes into real-world scenarios. If the technology is successful, perhaps there will also be a way to achieve integration older cars as well, further decreasing the incidences of deaths related to this epidemic. For now, the focus is getting the technology approved and integrated with new automobiles. Hopefully there will be minimal roadblocks in getting the necessary approvals and funding to make this happen.  

There is much testing to still be done, but this promises to be a revolutionary advance in the fight against drunk driving.

What the Internet of Things Means to You

In Denver, Colorado, Comcast has announced the launching of its Internet of Things network, which they are calling machineQ, in the next few months — it will then go live in eleven more cities.

The Motley Fool is finally advising its clients that investing in the Internet of Things is getting to be a good idea for those who want to see a quick turnover in profits.

MarketWatch has jumped on the bandwagon, as well — labeling the IoT industry ‘something to keep an eye on.’

And last month Forbes ran a detailed article on the White House American Technology Council’s deepening interest in and study of the Internet of Things.

So there’s plenty of interest right now in the IoT. Still, it’s not a term that brings instant recognition to most people outside of Silicon Valley and a few other high end financial and technological enclaves. Part of the problem, of course, is the psuedo-generic name ‘Internet of Things.’ Whoever was on Naming Duty the day that came up was asleep at the wheel. It’s not the most descriptive or concise terminology invented by the cyber sages in the past decade.

‘Thing’ is the kind of word that can have so many meanings, none of them very specific, that the average person cannot grasp just what it may mean. Dictionaries define the word ‘thing’ as, among other things — “Any item that a person either cannot or does not want to give a concrete name to” or  “A material object that is inanimate, and completely discrete from any form of common notice.” Which doesn’t do much to clear things up, does it?  As a descriptive word, as a noun, ‘thing’ remains an ambiguous and opaque term when clarity and specificity is wanted. A ‘thing’ can be a device, a manifestation of the physical world, or a plain everyday object. But unless there are specific nouns and adverbs included, it’s impossible to say just exactly what the ‘thing’ being mentioned is!

But the techies that apparently make the naming rules for such things have been enamored of the term ever since it was coined by a P&G marketer named Kevin Ashton back in the 90’s. So, like it or not, we are stuck with using the term “Internet of Things.”

Perhaps the best way to put it is that the Internet of Things mostly resembles all other great technology innovations in that it is built on intuition and insight — the insight that people are limited by their resources and their time when it comes to running and using technology. But since technology is becoming more and more of an essential part of our lives, at some point we have to let the technology start making the mundane, everyday decisions that are usually called ‘no-brainers’ but that take up so much time and effort, leaving us burned out and exhausted at the end of the day. In industries as varied as manufacturing to refrigeration, there are 1,000s of tasks that connected devices like those from Datawave Wireless are taking control of via IoT.

As Ashton himself has noted, the time humans have to spend on tracking deadlines and due dates could be put to much better use — so why not let the Internet of Things handle all that and spare workers and homebodies alike the time and effort?

Science fiction writers like Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov had already dreamed up the concept of an Internet of Things long before Ashton glommed onto it in the 90’s. Their robots and space stations were so interconnected that they accidentally ‘came alive’ and began reacting to their surroundings and masters as sentient beings. And who can forget the cartoon series “The Jetsons” from the Hanna Barbera studios? Good old George Jetson did virtually nothing while his space car, his home, even his robot maid Rosie, foresaw his every need and wish. THAT is what the Internet of Things is all about!

This coming year looks to be the time when the IoT comes into its own. Already, at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, there were a host of interactive and interconnected devices on display — everything from interconnected wearables that monitored your vitals and sent them to your doctor in real time to air conditioners that could be turned on and off remotely from miles away, so people could come home to a house already cooled to a comfortable temperature. It seems that every major industry and technology now recognizes the rising significance of the Internet of Things, and wants to start using it for product and service improvement and for customer impact.

To seal the deal, monolithic IBM has trumpeted the fact that they too are now on the IoT bandwagon. They will be ploughing over three billion greenbacks into IoT technology over the next four years in an effort to corner a small part of the interconnectivity market — which is where the smart seed money is now flowing to entrepreneurs who are not afraid to take this embryonic technology and concept for a wild ride into the cloud and beyond!

Google, Amazon, and Apple are all acquiring subsidiaries in the IoT field as well. Interconnected technology and devices can only help these Goliaths improve their bottom lines while raising efficiency and customer service.