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Ross's Car Maintenance Tips

Read up on various car maintenance tips you can follow to protect your investment and save money.

Saving on Gas

  • Keep your car clean. Mud on the undercarriage can weigh a significant amount and slow you down.
  • Consolidate your daily trips and errands. This will also save you the cost of restarting your engine, which uses a lot of gas.
  • Avoid air conditioning when possible. However, when driving at higher speeds, having your windows open also creates drag.
  • Don’t throttle the gas or brake! Sudden starts or stops use more gas than gradual changes of speed.
  • Don’t idle for too long. Turn off the engine if you anticipate a lengthy wait.
  • Limit car warm-ups in winter.
  • Clear out the trunk. More weight, more drag.
  • Avoid high speeds. We know this is almost impossible to resist but you can improve your gas mileage about 15 percent by driving at 55 mph rather than 65 mph.
  • Use overdrive. If your car is equipped with overdrive gearing use it as soon as your speed is high enough.
  • Use cruise control. Keeping a constant speed is ideal for improving your gas mileage.

What should I do if I’m in a car accident?

If you're involved in an accident, first make sure no one in the car is injured. Next, check on the passengers in the other vehicle; or, if necessary, make certain that no pedestrians are hurt.

Then, take these several things into account:

Stay at the scene. Leaving can result in additional violations or fines.
Call 911 or the police as soon as possible. They'll dispatch medical personnel and a police officer immediately to the scene of the accident. Wait for the police to complete an accident report.

If you're on a busy highway, stay inside the car and wait for the police or an ambulance. It's dangerous if passengers stand along a busy street.

Don't get into an argument or a fight with the other driver. Simply exchange contact and insurance information. If possible, also get the name and phone numbers of witnesses.

Call your insurance provider to report the claim. Your agent will ask you to send any paperwork you receive regarding the accident and will advise you on your next step.

Ross Thuente, owner of Slim n' Hanks also wants you to know that you do not have to get multiple estimates in order to use a particular collision specialist, but you are certainly welcome to do so.

Driving tips for winter conditions

First of all, buckle up. Basic car safety encourages the use of seat belts and car seats at all times. They're one of your best defenses in a crash. And it's the law.

Winter can bring snow, freezing rain and slush, which all make driving hazardous. Use extra caution in areas that ice up quickly, especially intersections, shaded areas, bridges and overpasses. When driving in these conditions, it is better not to use your cruise control. Slow down and make adjustments to allow for longer trips. Please don't hurry.

Since the winter season can bring all sorts of weather surprises, regularly check weather reports on TV or radio so you can prepare for bad weather. On severe weather days, schools and workplaces might close or delay opening. Consider staying at home if you don't need to be on the road.

Make sure you keep an emergency kit in the trunk of your car, including blankets, a first aid kit, a tow strap and jumper cables. Include some food and water in your emergency kit, make sure your cell phone is fully charged and that your car always has a full tank of gas.

A bag of sand or kitty litter can be helpful to keep weigh in the rear of the vehilce as well as usable for traction if needed.