The top 10 things every car owner should know!

Whether you have a car for rideshare or for personal use, being a car owner means you need to have a general understanding of some car care basics.  

CarMundi has a list of the top 10 things every car owner should know. Of those 10, I have picked the top 3 items I believe most drivers tend to overlook..

  1. Spare tire – When was the last time you looked at your spare tire? You may know where it is but have you ever checked its tire pressure? The site also suggests you “make sure to familiarize yourself with where it is (including your jack and other tools) so you don’t have to look for anything when you need to change your tire.”
  2. Headlight and Tail Lights – Many of us drive our cars everyday and don’t give a second thought to its lights. They play an important role in car safety and should be checked. According to CarMundi, “Headlights and taillights go dimmer as time goes by, so inspect them from time to time. Checking them is more than a safe preventive measure. It gives you a way to avoid getting pulled over by the cops. Generally, it’s recommended to change headlights couple of years.”
  3. Air Filter – Operating a vehicle is expensive and no one wants to throw away money needlessly. This site says, “It’s important to change your air filters every six months. When engines get dirty, they can get clogged, making them work harder. This can increase your fuel consumption and cost you more money.”

The site also lists other important points like car fluids, shocks and struts, an emergency roadside kit and more. Being an informed car owner isn’t just a good idea, it can save you money and maybe even save your life!

Tomorrow: 3 tips on dealing with customer service at both Uber and Lyft or any corporation

3 super cool gadgets for your car!

Between apps and gadgets there is always something new that has people talking. Who doesn’t love something that makes our lives easy? Travel Awayor Amazon has a wide range of new gadgets for your car that are all pretty cool. I’ve chosen the top 3 that I believe every rideshare driver would love.

Handpresso Auto Hybrid Coffee Maker – Coffee makes the world go round and this is especially true for drivers. According to the site, “Designed for car use, this coffee maker plugs into the cigarette lighter, delivering a perfect barista-quality espresso in just 2 minutes. The product is compact enough to fit in the cup holder and works with both ESE pods and ground coffee.” As we all know, coffee isn’t cheap and neither is this gadget, cost – $199.00.

AutoXscape Life-Saving Tool – We are concerned about safety and this device can give anyone who drives peace of mind. “Made of military-grade aluminum, this emergency 3-in-1 car tool serves as a window breaker, seatbelt cutter, and emergency flashlight – all of which can be vital in desperate situations.” Cost – $49.99. This gadget would easily fit in your glove box for quick access.

Alexa-Enabled Roav VIVA Car Charger – Many new cars come with voice activated smart devices but yours may not. That however doesn’t mean you have to go without. According to Travel Away, “The first Alexa-enabled car charger, this dual-port USB device plugs into your cigarette lighter, juicing your stuff while also offering access to over 25,000 Alexa skills. In addition to voice-controlled navigation, hands-free calling, and music streaming, it also offers you the opportunity to remotely control smart devices in your home.” Cost – $28.80

Things aren’t easy right now but having anyone or all 3 can make your life just a little bit better!

Tomorrow: The top 10 things every car owner should know!

How to find a mechanic you can trust!

Our cars have become extremely complicated machines and are full of all sorts of technology and added safety features. All of these great advances also mean there are more things than ever that can go wrong with our cars. 

If it’s still under your manufacturer’s warranty, then finding a mechanic is easy. But if that is not the case, finding one you can trust can be a challenge.

Money talks News lists 11 key things to finding a mechanic you can trust.  Here are 3 of the best tips:

  1. Don’t wait for a breakdown – You don’t want to be at the mercy of a tow truck driver taking your car to a mechanic where they receive a kick-back for bringing your car to them.
  2. Don’t shop by price alone – The lowest price does not always mean the best deal – and the highest price does not guarantee the best job. Get recommendations from from family and friends and check out reviews when choosing a repair shop.
  3. Ask for a warranty of the repair – Any good mechanic should stand behind their work but the kind of warranty offered and its length can vary. Make sure to get it in writing.

Take number one to heart. Finding a mechanic you can trust will lower your stress level the next time your car is in need of repair.

Tomorrow: How clean is your rideshare car?

Your check engine light just came on, now what?

When your check engine light comes on, you can feel your heart sink into your stomach! It is so easy for your mind to go off into worst case scenarios of how much the repair is going to cost! 

But hold on, just because this light came on does not always mean an expensive trip to your mechanic. According to Edmunds, a common reason is simply forgetting to tighten your gas cap or the cap itself may need to be replaced. Another common reason is the oxygen sensor is out and needs to be replaced. Although this would require a trip to your mechanics, you shouldn’t be out for more than $200. However there are plenty of other reasons and 24/7 Wall St has a list of the top 25. 

The most important thing you can do after checking your gas cap is to take your car to a mechanic you can trust. Ignoring the light could cause additional problems to your car so don’t delay. The old phrase,”You can pay me now or you can pay me later,” rings so true!

Tomorrow: How to find a mechanic you can trust!

What are the three most popular car color choices and what does your favorite say about you?

Whether you are purchasing a new or used vehicle, its color is often one of the most important factors in the decision making process. No one wants to drive a car in a color they dislike. So what are the three most popular colors for cars and what does your color choice say about you?

According to the Balance, the most popular colors in order are white, black and silver. That in itself may not be surprising but what your choice says about you is interesting.

Nerdwalert says the following:

White car buyers – They can handle a million details and are often asked to take on more than is expected of others. They are also seen as diligent, hardworking and someone who can be depended on.

Black car buyers – They want to portray confidence and sophistication, and often love being in control. It can also signify a driver who is defined and strong – or at least wants to be perceived that way.

Silver car buyers – They are tuned in to modern styling. Silver lovers tend to be business-savvy, upbeat and energetic individuals.

Just in case you were curious about Red, Nerwallet says they love attention and have energetic personalities that attract others.

So the next time you are purchasing a car, you may want to choose a color that best represents your personality or the image you want to portray to the world!

Tomorrow: Your check engine light just came on, now what?

When was the last time you had your transmission fluid checked?

Car repairs are always unnerving and prices keep going up. We rideshare drivers rack up the miles and that is why we need to regularly check the transmission fluid. I typically have it checked with each oil change to make sure the transmission fluid is topped off. This is important because according to Car Talk, letting your car run low on transmission fluid can cause the transmission to shift improperly — or not at all. It also can harm the internal parts of your transmission, which will not be properly lubricated. Unfortunately, you may not hear any noises or have other clues that your transmission is low on fluid, until it’s too late. So it’s important to get it checked.

It is also important to have the transmission fluid changed out every 30,000 – 60,000 miles based on your vehicle type, driving habits and according to your car’s owner manual. Changing the fluid will flush out small particles of the transmission that break off over time and can cause damage. The cost for a transmission flush is typically between $125 and $250 according to the Transmission Cost Repair Guide. Putting off maintenance can be a costly mistake! According to their analysis, if you need to replace your transmission,

  • A new transmission ranges from $1,800 to $3,400
  • A used/salvage transmission ranges from $800 to $1,500
  • A rebuilt transmission from $1,100 to $2,800
  • A remanufactured from $1,300 to $3,400

Based on this information, it is easy to see why paying a little right now can prevent a huge expense later on.  

Previously posted June 26th, 2020

Tomorrow: Today’s CannonBall Run

Time to talk about tires

As rideshare drivers, our cars are our money makers! Vehicle maintenance is an important part of what we do. One key component of our cars is its tires. They don’t just provide a smooth ride – their upkeep is also an important part of our safety and the safety of our riders.

Keeping your tires inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendations will provide optimal gas mileage, better tire wear, and help with maintaining your car’s wheel alignment. Tire pressure information can be found on the sidewall of your tires and as well as the sticker on your car’s door jam. It is usually between 30psi to 35psi but check to be sure you’ve got it right.

Rotating your tires will extend their life and save you money. According to Michelin Man you should have your tires rotated every 6000 – 8000 miles or every 6 months for optimal performance. A good way to remember to do this with every other oil change.

How can you tell if it’s time to replace your tires? One of the best ways is with a penny! Take the penny and grab by Lincoln’s neck and insert it into your tires tread, head first. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires. Cars.com has a video that shows exactly how to do this if you are unsure. If you do need new tires I recommend tirerack.com. I have found their prices to be very competitive. Once they are shipped to you, take them to your local tire shop for installation. Even with the added installation charge I still find I can save money.

Whether it is tires or other car maintenance, keeping our vehicle running smoothly is important for all of us rideshare drivers.

Previously posted June 17th, 2020

Tomorrow: When was the last time you had your transmission fluid checked?

Dividers in your car?

The Coronavirus has changed so many aspects of our lives. We’re washing our hands more thoroughly than ever, wearing a mask is the new norm, and staying six feet away from the next person is the recommendation. But what about in your car?

Uber’s new policy has both rider and driver wearing a mask. Also, the passenger can only sit in the back seat and the windows are rolled down. Is there anything else we can do?

A lot of drivers are looking to install a partition between the front and back seats for additional protection. While it is up to you if you want to go this extra step, I’ve done some internet searches to see what’s available. I’ve seen everything from dividers made from plastic shower curtains to perfectly cut plexiglass that was professionally installed. Amazon has a wide range of products to choose from with price points to match. Here is the link for the one pictured above in this blog and is available from Amazon.

The challenge with Amazon is going to be to try and find one that fits, looks good, and protects you and your rider from the virus. Furthermore, you want to make sure that the divider won’t become a hazard should you get into an accident. Because each car’s interior design is different, I believe it will be difficult to find one that fits your car through an online purchase. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try but be prepared to make several purchases and returns.

Of course, Amazon is not the only retailer offering partitions. You can also try companies like Rideshare Safety Partition – they are selling dividers as well and are worth a look.

This is your safety at stake so I suggest you spend some money and do it the right way. Have it cut and installed by a professional. Check with an auto repair shop that deals with the Limousine Industry. Limousine operators have been ramping up for their return and they have been installing these dividers in their fleets of cars with great success. 

One last thing to remember is that this installation is for your business. Business expenses are a tax write-off so save your receipts!

Previously posted June 11th, 2020

Tomorrow: Time to talk about tires

How often should you get an oil change?

Getting an oil change is an important part of keeping your car in good operating order. Most late model cars require that we use synthetic oil because it has fewer impurities. Each car requires a specific grade of synthetic for its make and model. This information can usually be found in your owner’s manual but your oil change service center will also know.

According to AAA, most cars now come with an oil maintenance monitoring system that will notify you when it’s time for a change. Some systems operate simply on mileage but more advanced systems look at the degradation of the oil-based on driving habits. With all of the heavy driving we do, lots of stops and starts and driving short trips means we need to change the oil more frequently than most. Putting off an oil change can be costly. Firestone Complete Auto Care says that if you go long enough without an oil change, it could eventually cost you your car. Once motor oil becomes sludge, it no longer draws heat from the engine. The engine might overheat and either blow a gasket or seize up. So do not ignore that service required/oil maintenance light when it comes on! 

With fewer oil changes we are less likely to check the oil level in our cars. AAA also recommends checking the oil level every 600 or 700 miles to be safe. Your car may be burning quicker than you think.

Simply put, checking your oil as well as changing it out regularly, is one of the least expensive car maintenance tasks we can do, saving you from some really expensive auto repairs or even the loss of your car!

Previously posted on June 2nd, 2020

Tomorrow: Dividers in your car?

How do I disinfect my car?

Our cars are our offices, and we are always inviting other people into our workspaces. More contact with more people means more opportunities for viral spread, unfortunately – but we can reduce the risks by cleaning our vehicles frequently.

However, every car is made up of multiple types of surfaces, and cleaning the wrong way – especially using something like bleach-based cleaners – may damage surfaces in the long run. Since your car is your office, you don’t want to damage your workspace.

In general, you want to be especially careful of any touch screens and leather or cloth interiors. These materials require special care to keep clean, especially over the lifetime of your vehicle. 

This may be the time to look into vinyl seat covers if your car has a leather or cloth interior. Because the care instructions for vinyl are less intense compared to cloth or leather, it may be easier to clean, protecting both you and your rider.

Previous posted on April 2nd, 2020

Tomorrow: How often should you get an oil change?