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By Brandon Griner | November 19, 2018

Radiator Coolant

How to Check Coolant Level:

If you ever find yourself past due for a coolant change there is a good chance that your cooling system has corroded. If this is the case you should take your car for a professional coolant flush, especially if you’ve mixed different types of radiator coolant. Usually you can tell your coolant is bad before even bringing it in for a flush by extracting some of the existing coolant with a baster and examining it. If there is evidence of corrosion or gunk build up, you are in need of a full-service flushing. Providing due diligence by performing routine maintenance, we always suggest to check coolant level, you can essentially save yourself money by negating the need for a full-service flush. The following is a guide of best practices to ensure you’ll never be spending unnecessary money due to neglect of your vehicle’s systems. 

The first steps for dealing with your vehicle’s coolant is simply to buy the type of coolant listed in your owner’s manual. As obvious and redundant as this sounds, many individuals purchase the incorrect type of coolant and are forced to pay for a full-service flush. When you are at the local parts shop to purchase the correct coolant, you will also need to purchase a drain cock. The drain cock is a part used to extract liquid from the lowest part of the tank, as any remaining coolant left behind will have a chance to corrupt the new coolant poured into the tank. If your manual calls for an “extended life” coolant that isn’t available at the auto parts, you can always buy it direct from the dealer. Regardless of where you purchase the coolant from don’t ever purchase a “Universal” coolant fluid. Using the wrong coolant can cause premature component failure and void your warranty.

How to change coolant:

The next step in the process will most certainly become the part where most will disassociate themselves from the repair, but for those inclined enough to proceed you will need to go underneath the car. In perpetration to drain the car you will need to rise, and safely support, the front end of your vehicle with a car jack, and then prop your vehicle on jack stands to ensure stability. At this point you will place a large drain pan (a large bowl will work in place of a drain pan) under the radiator cap. Some radiators may not have a cap, in this case you would just find and remove the pressure cap typically located next to the coolant tank. Then proceed to open the draincock and drain the radiator.

Once all the fluid is drained from the coolant tank and the draincock is out, loosen the lower radiator hose clamp and disconnect the hose from the engine to drain the rest of the coolant. You may need to remove clamps during the process, in this case slip-joint pliers are the best tool to remove clamps, especially spring-loaded clamps. This will then empty out the rest of the coolant and provide you the ability to add new coolant. Lastly, reconnect and clamp the radiator hose and reinstall/replace the draincock after draining.

Now we are onto filling the coolant tank. When performing this procedure leave the car raised while you refill the radiator to reduce the possibility of air pockets forming in the engine. Now that your coolant is drained, make sure to follow the coolant manufacturer’s directions for diluting concentrated coolant. Mix the coolant and water thoroughly in a clean bucket in order to prevent mineral deposits on internal engine and radiator surfaces. When mixing the coolant with water always use distilled water—never tap water, as it may cause mineralization to the coolant. Slowly fill the radiator or coolant tank with fresh coolant until the coolant is one-inch below the neck of the radiator, or a few inches below the full mark on the coolant tank.

Start the engine and let it run in idle, after the engine warms you’ll see the coolant level quickly drop in the radiator/coolant tank. That means the thermostat has opened and it’s time to add more coolant to bring the level to the top of the radiator, or to the “HOT” mark on the coolant tank. Check your owner’s manual or service manual to see if your car requires a special air bleeding procedure. The last steps in the entirety of this process is to check for any leaks, shut off the engine, install the cap, lower the car and go for a drive!



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Car Detailing Near Me

By Brandon Griner | November 15, 2018

Car Detailing Near Me

DriveSmart’s goal is to provide leading automotive industry news, tips and tricks that can benefit everyone! Not many truly know about the worth and process of a car detail service. So, to better understand the many benefits of car detailing, also known as auto-detailing, let’s outline what to expect when you choose to take your vehicle to a car detailing near me.


I.    What Is Car Detailing?
II.  What Is the Difference Between a Car Wash and an Auto Detail?
III. What are the Steps in Auto Detailing?
IV. What are the Benefits of Getting Your Car Detailed?
V.   How Much Does a Car Detail Cost?


I. What is Car Detailing?

Car detailing can be classified in a variety of terms when it comes to the services included in a complete detail. A typical detail package will have two parts:

  1. Exterior Detailing – This involves the vehicle’s body treatment and a high-end wax.
  2. Interior Detailing – This involves removing stains, treating leather upholstery as well as cleaning all the visible surfaces.

A good car detailing service gives your car “fresh” newer look.  A common misconception is that a car wash station is comparable to a car detailing service. Well yes, a car wash is technically a detailing service but, that is not the “detailing service” we will be diving deeper into.

II. What is the difference between a Car Wash and an Auto Detail?

Aside from cost which typically ranges anywhere from $10-$40, the average car wash only covers a fraction of the cleaning that you can get from a detail and can only achieve a fraction of the result that you would receive from a car detailing service.

Most car washes take between ten-to-twenty minutes to go from washing to drying. A car wash can be done by hand or by machines (a drive thru car wash) that run bristles, soap, and water to clean your car’s exterior. As a result, it will get a nice shine and sleek look.

However, this is not true exterior car detailing!  The word ‘detail’ is what matters in auto detailing.  A car wash tends to be a superficial cleanse while an auto detail is more thorough and restorative. Putting it into perspective, having your car detailed means a top-to-bottom thorough cleaning of your vehicle using specialized tools and products.


III. What are the steps in Auto Detailing?

As stated above, car detailing is broken down into two main phases: exterior detailing and interior detailing.

Exterior Detailing

An exterior detail will usually start with an extensive wash to remove as much dirt as possible. The special soap used will lift dirt and mud off the surface. This is usually immediately followed up with the use of special brushes and a wheel cleaning product.

Good detailers will take off all the filth from the wheels, including the brake calipers, lug nuts and anything else visible. The wheels are usually the dirtiest portion of the car and will always give a “wow” effect when clean.

After the wheels have been cleaned, they shift focus to the paintwork after carefully washing and drying the vehicle’s body from top to bottom (most often using washing mitts and soft microfiber towels). Once the car is dried off, the detailer will conduct a clay bar buffing. Any clear coat imperfections will be filled in in order to make them virtually vanish all together.

If required, the paint will be polished to diminish any light scratches, oxidation, and swirl-marks. The paint can be polished by hand or by a polishing machine. This step is usually the longest step for detailing services depending on the car.

Finally, the paint is waxed to give it an additional protective layer using high-quality paste wax. This added protection results in a recognizable shine – the one you saw when you first bought it!

Interior Detailing

For interior detailing, the service depends on the vehicle’s upholstery. However, the process is usually a standard one which entails thoroughly vacuuming and shampooing the interior in order to remove stains, smells, and dirt.

If the vehicle has leather work, extra care goes into the conditioning and scrubbing to remove dirt that is deeply ingrained.  Leather interior must be handled in a specific delicate manner in order to avoid scratching the leather with any dust, dirt or other debris that may be sitting within the wedges.  Plastics and vinyl are also properly cleaned and dressed along with the interior glass, which is cleaned and polished.

IV. What are the benefits of getting your car detailed?

A complete car detail will bring your car to its best-current-condition. You can then perform mini touch-ups to keep your car looking as good as new.  Keeping your car in good condition will help maintain or restore the value of your car to the fair market value.

This is particularly true for older or classic cars. It is especially important if you’re looking to sell your car in the future. You simply cannot get the same results from car washes. A good detailer will bring your car to its original beauty and increase its resale value. Having a regular exterior and interior detail can increase your car’s resale value by ten percent!


V. How much does a car detail cost?

When you go for an auto detail quote in order to find out the actual cost of an auto detail, you can expect to pay between $75-$150 for a standard sized vehicle and between $100-$200 for an SUV or van. These essential detailing services should include everything mentioned above. Depending on the service provider, there may be an upgraded package with extra detail services such as engine bay cleaning.

These packages will typically include a higher quality cleaning along with specialized equipment for vintage cars, boats, motorcycles or RVs. Always feel free to ask your detailer service specialist any questions about their process!  Most of them are proud of their process and will explain it. Simply having someone explain the differences between packages should give you an idea of what to expect.

Learn: how to detail a car.

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Transmission Fluid

By Brandon Griner | November 13, 2018

Time to Change Transmission Fluid?

Checking this every so often is good practice. However, if you ever notice that the vehicle hesitates when your automatic transmission shifts gears, be sure to give the transmission fluid level a check before you let any mechanic start talking about servicing your transmission. Simply adding transmission fluid is cheaper than having your transmission looked over. Before just grabbing any oil transmission fluid bottle laying around. There are several types of transmission fluid; each kind is made for a specific type of  transmission(automatic or manual). Newer transmissions from the major automakers require different fluid than older ones(this is because fluid viscosity has evolved since then), this is important to know because there are many different kinds of transmissions; Therefore,  it is always best to check your vehicle’s owners manual for which type of fluid your vehicle requires.

Locating your dip-stick:

If your vehicle has front-wheel drive, the transmission fluid dipstick is will be located around the trans axle as shown on the right, else the transmission fluid dipstick location will default like the left picture.

As discussed earlier, the owner’s manual knows best, by that we mean the vehicle may require extra steps like: does the the gearshift to be in neutral or park, does the parking brake need to be on, or do we have to have the engine running. Following these procedures, ensures that the levels are at their ideal location for making a manufacture’s recommended owners check that will give you a clean optimal read.


How to Check Transmission Fluid

After locating your dipstick, have a lint free rag on hand then remove the dipstick. Clean off the dipstick with the rag and reinsert, just to remove one more time and observe the fluid marking line. Additionally, were going to do a consistency check, get a sample from the dipstick and apply some friction with the fluid between our fingers(if you don’t feel anything present like grit then all is well). Manual transmission fluid and Automatic transmission fluid should be an almost clear pink color; Be sure to notice any burnt smells, -the burning smell is caused by extra friction being created from the gears, which causes them to overheat and burn- chances are if you smell burnt fluid, you will see that there are particles in it. This means the fluid is losing its effectiveness and the fluid needs to be changed. Driving with bad transmission fluid will cause many harmful consequences for the future, and inevitably lead you to a breakdown topped with a repair bill. If a simple monthly check-list is what keeps a car healthy and in-line with it’s warranty, why not take the extra time.

Furthermore, if you notice your transmission fluid isn’t where or what it should be, go and have a mechanic drain and change the fluid to avoid any further exposure for the transmission. Not doing so would be completely void any warranty if failure were to occur. It is important to regularly check your vehicle to avoid any preventable problems. The purpose of these articles is to inspire drivers who may have skipped out on keeping an eye on their car’s condition. DriveSmart’s goal is to become an industry leader in information, by providing helpful everyday knowledge that is essential to smart and safe driving.


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Power Steering Fluid

By Brandon Griner | November 7, 2018

Power steering systems are something that most of us take for granted.  Many of us usually give our vehicle’s power steering no thought at all, until we experience exactly how difficult it can be driving without it that is.

What Is Power Steering?

Patented in 1876 and introduced commercially in 1951, power steering has come a long way and has changed the way that our vehicles operate forever.  Power steering systems are typically located on or near the engine and are made up of several different components such as:

  • Pressure feeding tubes
  • Power steering fluid reservoirs
  • Drive belts
  • Oil pressure switches

All of these components and more work together to make up your vehicle’s power steering system, which allows you to comfortably steer your vehicle with little effort.  Those who have experienced a power steering system failure will definitely be able to tell you just how difficult it is to comfortably and safely steer their vehicle.

How to check Power Steering Fluid

Power steering systems utilize power steering fluid, which is hydraulic, in order to transmit power to each side of a piston mounted to a rack, thus helping you to turn the wheels with little to no effort.  Neglecting to regularly check your vehicle’s power steering fluid puts yourself at risk of losing control of your vehicle.

While functioning, a Power steering pump will have a large amount of pressure always flowing through their transport hoses and power steering systems.  If your power steering system has a leak, you will begin to feel a significant difference in how your steering operates.  As the reservoir continues to leak out, eventually resulting in an empty reservoir, your vehicle’s steering will be extremely difficult to operate with two hands, never mind only one.


Maintaining Your Power Steering System

Your vehicle’s manual is the best source out there when it comes to researching information and learning about how to maintain the vehicle.  For example, if you were to look up power steering in your manual, you will probably find a visual diagram with specific instructions on where to look and what to look for underneath your vehicle’s hood.

Additionally, the manual will be able to tell you what type of power steering fluid is appropriate for your vehicle’s power steering system.  Be sure to take note of other details outlined, such as if your vehicle’s engine should be running or turned off as you maintain the system.  It will also explain whether your steering wheel should be turned at an angle or not as you fill the power steering system’s reservoir with power steering fluid.

Locating the Reservoir Cylinder

Given that you have an appropriate amount of lighting, you should be able to spot and identify the power steering system’s reservoir cylinder.  As stated earlier, this cylinder is typically located on or around the vehicle’s engine.  Your vehicle’s manual will be able to confirm the cylinder’s location and any physical characteristics that can be used to help identify it.

Check Power Steering Fluid Often

Once found you will be able to check the system’s power steering fluid level and determine whether it needs to be replenished or not.  In the event that your reservoir cylinder is metal, you will need to locate the dipstick, a metal stalk used to gauge fluid levels within the cylinder.  The dipstick is normally attached to the cylinder’s cap, but its location can vary depending on what type of vehicle you have.

Once the dipstick has been located, remove the cap on the pump and dip it into the cylinder.  Once you remove it you should then be able to see how much fluid remains within the system, if any.  After confirming the power steering fluid level, observe the dipstick and take note of what color the fluid is.  It is possible that bits of rubber from the hoses or seals contaminated the fluid, thus rendering it both less efficient and less safe.

Bad power steering fluid will appear brown or black in color, while good power steering fluid will appear clear and/or pink in color.


How to Add Power Steering Fluid to Your Vehicle

  1. Start your vehicle’s engine and let it run until the temperature gauge reaches the normal operating temperature measurement.
  2. With the engine idling, turn the steering wheel all the way to full lock, then turn it the other way to the opposite lock. Do this several times before continuing.
  3. Turn off the engine and open the hood of the vehicle.
  4. Locate the power steering reservoir. Most vehicles have a white or yellow reservoir and a black cap on top.
  5. Check the level of power steering fluid within the reservoir. Depending on the type of reservoir you have, you will either need to utilize a dipstick to gauge the level or take a look at the “MIN” and “MAX” lines on the exterior of the reservoir.
  6. If the level of fluid falls between the MIN/MAX label on either the dipstick or exterior casing, it isn’t necessary to add fluid to your reservoir.
  7. If the fluid is below the MIN line, remove the cap/dipstick and pour power steering fluid into the reservoir in small amounts. Check the level after each small pour.*
  8. Replace the cap/dipstick and verify it is sealed tight.

*IMPORTANT: You should never overfill the reservoir with power steering fluid.  This is a hazard to both the power steering system and your safety.

Always Consult the Manual

While the procedure to maintain a vehicle’s power steering system is typically universal, there are always exceptions and not all vehicle models will be made the same as one another.  With that said, you should always consult your vehicle’s manual to ensure you are aware of the exact type of procedure necessary for your vehicle.

If you lost the manual or have trouble making sense of it, your vehicle’s manufacturer will have it available on their website.  If you still feel uncomfortable opening up your vehicle’s hood and making any changes, take your vehicle to your local vehicle maintenance shop and allow certified professionals to perform the maintenance for you.



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Engine Oil

By Brandon Griner | November 5, 2018

The Purpose of Engine Oil:

Although it may seem straightforward, many people find the procedure quite difficult and end up damaging their engine quite seriously.  DriveSmart understands how proper oil maintenance can make an engine last a lifetime, so allow us to explore and master the process of changing an engine’s oil together. It’s likely that we’ve all been exposed to the process of changing an engine’s oil at one point or another in our lives.  Whether we watched our parents change it on their car, our friends change it on theirs, our mechanic changing it on ours, or even if we changed it our self – changing the engine’s oil is inevitable.

With that said, it’s safe to assume that we’re all very much aware that our engines require an oil change.  However, most of us have little to no understanding of what the oil is used for and why it needs to be replaced.

The engine’s oil has many vital purposes, with the main one being that of keeping the engine running smoothly.  Our engines contain many moving parts that all have the potential to rub up against one another, thus creating friction and heat.  This friction can severely damage the parts that make up your engine and cause your engine to likely break down altogether.

Engine oil is used in order to keep these parts lubricated in order to reduce the friction and heat generated by the engine’s operation.  Engines that overheat are a huge risk to both the vehicle and those inside, as it’s possible that the car can catch fire from the said heat.

Aside from reducing friction and heat within an engine, engine oil is also used in order to keep the engine clean and protect the engine’s parts from corrosion. Interestingly, engine oil also is used in order to improve the engine’s fuel efficiency – something we all could appreciate these days. With that said it is best if all drivers conduct an engine oil check.

How to Check Engine Oil

Most cars have the ability to show you the remaining life of the oil within your engine in a percentage.  If you’re like most drivers, you’ll probably decide that taking your car to a certified mechanic to perform the oil change is the best option.  However, prices seem to be rising when it comes to the maintenance of a car, and an engine oil change is no different.  With that said, it may be in your best interest to change your engine’s oil on your own in order to start saving some bucks!

Consult Your Manual

While the process of changing engine oil is typically a universal one, not all cars will be guaranteed to follow the same procedure that other vehicles follow.  Your vehicle’s manual should explain how to locate and identify the oil filter, how to drain and ultimately replenish the oil within the vehicle.

Follow the Instructions Step-by-Step

If your vehicle’s manual instructs that you change the engine oil filter after every 3K-6K miles, you must change the engine oil filter, which is a crucial component.  Failure to do so may end up in poor engine performance, or complete engine failure.  If your vehicle’s manual instructs only a specific oil type be installed, install only that type of oil.  Failure to follow the manual’s instructions can result in a huge repair cost.

Tools You’ll Need

Ensure that you are equipped with the following tools generally required to change your vehicle’s engine oil:

  • Container to capture used oil
  • New engine oil*
  • Oil filter
  • Oil filter gasket
  • Clean rags
  • Rubber mallet
  • Wrench set
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Funnel
  • Oil Pan
  • Safety glasses

*Refer to the “Synthetic vs Conventional Engine Oil” section to understand which type of oil to install into your vehicle.

Beginning the Process

Changing the engine oil typically takes around 20 minutes or so.  You should begin by spreading plastic sheets on the ground in order to avoid oil dripping on the surface below your vehicle.

  1. Remove the drain plug and begin draining the old oil
  2. Remove the old oil filter and install the new one
  3. Install a new gasket on the plug once the oil is down to a trickle by tapping the box-end wrench with the rubber mallet in order to tighten it
  4. Wipe down any dripping oil with a rag before coming out from below the vehicle

Synthetic vs Conventional Engine Oil

As you will soon discover from your vehicle’s manual, there is a specific type of oil that your engine requires and should always be filled with.  As you make your way to the shop, you will have to decide whether to choose a synthetic oil or a conventional oil.

Synthetic Oil

Synthetic engine oil is made for high-tech engines that are typically found in luxury vehicles such as a Mercedes-Benz or BMW.  This type of oil is required to pass intensive quality tests in order to provide a longer lasting performance that is superior when compared to conventional oil.  This type of oil is able to flow better at low temperatures and it’s able to maintain high lubricity at high temperatures.

Conventional Oil

This is the type of oil that most people use, as it’s standard for typical commercial vehicles.  5W-20 and 5W-30 oils are usually recommended by manufacturers, as this type of conventional oil performs well at low temperatures.  This type of oil needs to be replaced more often than synthetic oil, with 3,000 miles being the most accepted limit before performing the change.

Viscosity and Weight

The viscosity of an engine oil is very important as well.  Viscosity is simply defined as the state of being thick, sticky, and consistently semifluid, due to internal friction.  Your engine will require a specific level of viscosity and weight from the engine oil in order to function both safely and efficiently.

Viscosity and weight used to be less important for the universal oils of the old days.  Read more about how automotive engineering has advanced in engines, where oil pressure is used to regulate valve timing and apply the proper tension to the timing belt or chain.

Again, substituting the manufacturer’s recommendations with your personal preference can result in engine damage, poor performance, and even a “Check Engine” warning.  Disregarding the owner’s manual and substituting a different oil for the engine will void any sort of warning, leaving you with a large repair bill for such a silly mistake.

Keep Your Vehicle Running Smoothly

With everything said, it’s no wonder why the processes for changing engine oil are the “driving” reason for people taking their cars in for a professional oil change rather than do it on their own.  It should be noted that certified vehicle workshops are liable for the work that they perform and will follow the instructions necessary for your car.  To learn how to get all your future oil changes paid for, check out DriveSmart’s Auto Saver’s Club.


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Car Care

By Brandon Griner | November 2, 2018

Car Care:

Proper car care is what it takes to keep your vehicle running forever!  The purpose of these articles is to inspire drivers who may have skipped out on keeping an eye on their car’s condition. DriveSmart has a goal to become the car care center of information, by providing helpful everyday knowledge that is essential to smart and safe driving. When it comes to regular car maintenance check-ups , it is all to often forgotten. Whether it is because of hectic mornings or crazy evenings, it’s safe to say the checking the car’s condition is generally overlooked.

The thing is, we don’t check the cars condition because we have this expectation of  “if there is something wrong, the car will tell us” else something happens, like a: sound, vibration, or smell. Most will argue having a new car means there is no urgency to check-up with the vehicles condition, since its new (built to last) and not have supposed to have any problems in its current state.

Maintaining a car can simply be broken down by staying on top of all the conditions it could experience. The last thing we want in our day, is to have our primary life line of commuting to have a break down on the side of the road (while on our way to something we planned for). The worst part is if it could have been avoided. So, we have a great idiom for the best complete car care.

Check Your Six (Vehicle Fluids!):

1.) Engine oil:

Maintaining your engine’s oil is a necessity, and its something everyone is well capable of doing. Although it may seem straight forward, people are still getting the process wrong and making silly mistakes that cause unnecessary damage to their vehicle’s engine. Proper oil maintenance can make an engine last a life time, so we’ll teach you how to check and change your oil.
How to check engine oil

2.) Transmission Fluid:

Checking this every so often is good practice. However, if you ever notice that the vehicle hesitates when your automatic transmission shifts gears, be sure to give the transmission fluid level a check before you let any mechanic start talking about servicing your transmission.
How to check transmission fluid

3.) Radiator Coolant:

In the case of being past due for a coolant change, there is a good chance that your cooling system is corroded, and you should take your car for a professional coolant flush. This is also true if you’ve mixed different types of coolant in your radiator.
How to check coolant level

4.) Power Steering Fluid:

Neglecting to regularly check your vehicle’s power steering fluid puts yourself at risk of losing control of your vehicle.  It takes seconds to check on your car’s power steering system, take the extra minute.
How to check power steering fluid

5.) Brake Fluid:

Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid used in hydraulic braking systems as well as hydraulic clutch applications in generally all vehicles. This is one of the most overlooked fluids but holds the complete control of stopping your vehicle at a comfortable rate.
How to check brake fluid.

6.Windshield washer fluid:

This is the most overlooked fluid, usually no-one checks this until their washer system won’t spray.  It’s important to keep your windshield clean (seeing the road while driving is essential) a dirty windshield that catches sun glare can completely impede your sight of the road. This is typically at its worst during the winter months.
How to check washer fluid.

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Extended Auto Warranty

By Kyle Loreti | October 28, 2018

Extended Auto Warranty

An extended auto warranty also known as a vehicle service contract, will provide repair coverage for your vehicle after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. All you do is pay a monthly premium. Not sure if you need one? DriveSmart’s Auto Warranty Solutions can be tailored to fit your specific budget and coverage needs!

There are many extended auto warranty providers, however most have a cookie cutter plan that can’t always be tailored to fit your specific financial needs. A good example would be if your car’s powertrain warranty is longer than your bumper-to-bumper coverage in which you can extend only the shorter warranty (powertrain in this case). Having some sort of extra coverage provides benefits to a vehicle. DriveSmart Extended Auto Warranty offers the most affordable plans in the entire industry. The biggest benefit of an extended auto warranty, is that you can transfer it with the car (This will give the car an added value when you go to sell it). For any driver with a car over Seven years old, should have an extended auto warranty. Typically the seven year mark is when a vehicle will have 75,000+ miles. An intermediate inspection should be conducted to assess the vehicle’s most worn-and-torn areas.

Ware and tare is inevitable, so manufacture warranties exist for the outlying faulty parts. However, the issue with manufacture warranties is that they are fundamentally designed to expire before the vehicle needs it. All vehicles are tested and put through durability tests(one way or another) before they are shipped-out-to-be sold. Yes, granting recalls can happen at any time although, its extremely unlikely that you will use your manufacture warranty after buying a new vehicle. Manufacture warranties are polices for the failures of parts. Lets face it, new car parts aren’t designed to last its life time –that is why they are called “parts”  these components exist to serve until replacement — until any unexpected repairs/replacements are needed. This is why a lot of drivers like to sell their car at the 100,000 mark and move on to their next. As cars age, more things tend to break, the more things that break the more money that comes out of pocket for repairs.

DriveSmart Warranty is an extended warranty provider that will offer additional perks with the purchase of a vehicle service contract.  This could include: 24-hour roadside assistance, complementary rental car, or trip interruption to help pay food and lodging expenses if you break down away from home. The service portion of an auto warranty is used at the time of a contracted vehicle’s failure, it can be serviced at any dealership or any ASE-licensed mechanic. Your provider’s administrator will deal with the repair shop directly and take care of the paperwork. All you have to do is make a phone call, and start the claim process.

If you’re still on the fence about purchasing an extended auto warranty, just think about the peace of mind you’re going to receive. All vehicles are prone to have failures, which will becomes costly. With an extended auto warranty, you can sleep peacefully at night knowing that in the event your car breaks down, you won’t have to pay out of pocket for the expensive repairs.

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What is Powertrain?

By Brandon Griner | October 27, 2018

The standard drivers in 2018, are not familiar with the sophisticated parts that operate with-in their motor vehicle; Let alone know “what is powertrain on a car.” Powertrain is listed as one of the most important components in any automobile. This is what generates power and delivers it to the road. This includes the engine, transmission, drive shafts, differentials, and the final drive. Powertrain fault tends to happen to older or higher mileage vehicles. The four most expensive car problems are the engine, transmission, head gasket, and air conditioning compressor. Three of the four mechanical breakdowns are directly connected to the powertrain, therefore, what is powertrain malfunction?

A powertrain malfunction also know as drivetrain malfunction causes the powertrain warning light to illuminate when a vehicle is experiencing a concerning condition; If the vehicle is driven, chances are that there will be damage to the engine, transmission or drivetrain. The powertrain malfunction will reduce the power and speed of your automobile. The powertrain warning lamp is a indication to decrease your vehicle’s work load. For example: if you pull a trailer on the back of your truck and you’re experiencing this, you must remove the trailer before any additional damage occurs. Powertrain failure may also cause your vehicle to overheat. If you ignore these warnings your vehicle may operate in a safe mode until the issue has been resolved.

Properly maintaining the powertrain system is simple, important, and cost effective. The obvious benefit is power! Your vehicle especially truck, will be stronger in the sense that you can tow another motor vehicle, plow snow off the road, and even drive up a hill. The well-treated powertrain system will perform better providing efficiency. It will also consume less oil which saves you time and money on regular maintenance. Your vehicle will sound quiet and drive smoothly. Symptoms of a malfunctioning differential include whining and growling noises. The louder your vehicle is, the more concerned you should be.

An extended warranty would give you the ability to save or invest your money into something other than your car. A commonly used term to describe what you get from buying a protection plan is “peace of mind”. Most consumers choose to go with a reputable company, like Drivesmart, who will always put the customers’ needs first. They’re often compared to another successful company, Amazon, who has a similar customer obsession that dedicates value and convenience around customer needs. By putting the customers’ needs first, consumers are always being informed and educated while they’re shopping for a car, in the market to refinance, or enroll in a protection plan. What really separates DriveSmart from the rest of the industry is their revolutionary Car Payment Reimbursement program. If your vehicle is in the shop for 7 days or longer, DriveSmart will pay up to 300% of your car payment. Now customers don’t have to make car payments on a vehicle they can’t drive because it’s in the shop.

Having an extended warranty relieves the financial stress from overwhelming repair bills. Powertrain failures are among the most expensive repair bills in the auto industry. The transmission can cost $2,186 and the engine alone can cost $3,675 or more. One day in the shop can easily exceed the entire cost of a protection plan that would cover virtually everything in your vehicle for 5 years or 100,000 miles. A mechanic would have to take your engine apart or rebuild it, which would be time consuming. And with labor costs constantly increasing, there’s more of a reason to have someone else accountable for your mechanical breakdowns rather than paying out of your own pocket. A powertrain warranty would protect the internal lubricated components, pretty much everything the oil runs through as well as all the major components under the hood of your vehicle.

DriveSmart has a program designed to protect older and higher mileage vehicles from the high cost of repair bills. The protection plan is called Mileage+ and includes: your engine, transmission, transaxle, drive axels, electrical, air conditioning, cooling, fuel system, seals, and gaskets. It also comes with 24-hour emergency roadside assistance for towing, lock out, and a travel reimbursement allowance for meals and lodging if you break down away from home. This is very helpful considering that most folks between the ages of 45 and 65 buy a vehicle and plan on keeping it whether it’s paid off or still being financed.

The protection is made simple. Here are three easy steps on how to use the coverage. All you have to do is drop your vehicle off at your local dealership or your favorite licensed repair facility. Pay the deductible and your DriveSmart plan will pay the bill for the covered repairs directly to the shop. You pick up your car and drive away. This service can be used in the United States and Canada with any licensed mechanic of your choice. When it comes to major components, like your drive axels, you’re going to want the best service and the best parts. As your vehicle ages, it becomes worth less and less because it’s a depreciating asset. With a DriveSmart extended warranty, you’ll protect the value of your vehicle making it worth more. The policy is transferable, so you can sell your car including the extended warranty to the next owner and expect more in return.

Powertrain failure is among the most expensive of repair bills in the auto industry. They can cause your car to make weird noises, smoke, and overheat. Things to pay attention to are unfamiliar sounds and losing power in your car, causing it to under perform. To avoid these stressful repair bills, DriveSmart has a protection plan designed to pay your licensed repair facility 100% of the parts, labor, and diagnostics on all covered parts. One day in the shop can cost more than the entire price of a Drive Smart Warranty. With more and more folks buying cars with the intention of keeping them, it only makes sense for consumers to protect their largest investment next to their home and save as much money as possible instead of paying for a repair bill in full. Next time you need help with a powertrain malfunction or a even a ford wrench light we can be there for you!

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No Cars Allowed in Love Valley, NC: Town That Banned All Cars?

By Tom Kowalewski | October 22, 2018
love valley

Have You Heard of the American Town That Banned All Cars!

With an impressive population of ~108 people, Love Valley of North Carolina has been able to pop up on many tourists’ radars for one reason – all cars are banned from entering the town.  Founded in 1954 by Andy Barker, Love Valley was built to serve as both a Christian community & a cowboy community.  Today, Love Valley exists to bring the feelings and culture of the ‘Wild West’ to the East Coast, where people can ride horses, light fires and celebrate Western styled festivals.

Since its founding, cars have been banned from the town.  Love Valley was incorporated in 1963, 9 years after Barker has originally founded it.

Love Valley features a general store, a saloon, hitching posts, and rodeos as a way to model the Old West towns featured in many Hollywood films!

The town had gained popularity during the 1960s and 1970s, when it hosted its “Love Valley Rock Festival”, which many complained attracted drug addicts and other types of troublemakers to the area.

Today, with a population consisting of 17 households, and 9 families residing in the town, Love Valley’s reputation had significantly improved.  People now consider it one of the best spots for horse-lovers, as it offers many horseback riding trails in the surrounding Brushy Mountains!

Does Love Valley Prove We Can Survive Without Cars?

While it surely isn’t the lifestyle that many of us would choose to live, Love Valley definitely does prove that some Americans can definitely live their everyday lives without the assistance of a vehicle.  According to statistics by the US Department of State, 85% of American households own a car that they use as their main method of daily transportation.  We as Americans have become extremely accustomed to our means of transportation, and it’s likely that many Americans would consider living without one “impossible”.

While a car-free lifestyle is definitely simpler, it’s also much more difficult when you take into consideration the amount of care and maintenance that needs to be provided to horses.  In addition to the amount of care horses need, it becomes even more difficult once the weather is taken into consideration as well.

If You Love Horses & the Wild West – Valley of Love Is for You.

Leave your cars behind and get ready to rely on horses to bring you down the hundreds of miles of trails that surround the town.  The residents of Long Valley definitely don’t want nor need cars and subscribe to a simpler way of life.  A huge benefit of this life style is that it is very environmentally friendly(this town encourages the roots of their heritage, they value their environment and will continue to up hold this tradition for many years to come).  With that said, the fuels that cars burn are absent from both Long Valley’s air and its resident’s lungs.

While it will definitely be quite the transition, most tourists will be able to reunite with their cars once their trip to Love Valley, NC  is over.

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How to Deal With Road Rage

By Brandon Griner |

Let’s face it, everyone gets frustrated behind the wheel. And it’s understandable; between traffic, construction, aggressive drivers and bad weather, it’s easy to become annoyed while driving. However, for too many people, these slight annoyances can escalate to dangerous levels of anger.

Defined as “aggressive or violent behavior stemming from a driver’s uncontrolled anger at the actions of another motorist,” road rage can range in seriousness and severity. Maybe you have been a victim of it yourself, maybe you been the instigator, or maybe you have been both, but hopefully you’ve never had to deal with the more extreme effects of road rage. Over the past seven years, over 200 people have been killed because of road rage, and over 12,000 have been injured.

Here are a few things to look out for on the road. Although some of these seem like small signs of aggravation, they are all capable of escalating quickly.

  • Honking and holding the horn for an extended amount of time
  • Tailgating (not maintaining a safe distance between vehicles)
  • Speeding
  • Weaving through traffic
  • Slamming breaks
  • Obscene gestures
  • Screaming/cursing
  • Making fists/slamming the dashboard or wheel
  • Racing
  • Cutting off other cars
  • Unsafe/erratic merging

When you notice either yourself or another driver display signs of road rage, the best thing to do is to diffuse it as quickly as possible. If you notice someone becoming aggressive and driving erratically, get out of their way, slow down, and let them drive away. Do not make eye contact with them if they are next to you, and don’t retaliate if they yell or make an obscene gesture, as it will only escalate things further. If the driver starts exhibiting signs of violence, such as driving in front of you and slamming their brakes, getting out of their vehicle, displaying a firearm or making physical threats, you should get away from them immediately and call 911.

If you’re the one getting angry, you can turn the music down, stop talking to passengers, and try to re-focus your attention on the road ahead. You should distance yourself from other drivers, and if you feel especially aggressive, you should pull over and take a rest. And most importantly, realize that hurting someone, hurting yourself, getting a ticket, or causing damage to your vehicle is never worth a few seconds of losing your temper.

Still not sure if you have road rage? Find out if you have road rage in Road Rage Shooting for a better mindset!

Sources: DMV, Safe Motorist

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Disclosure: DriveSmart offers Protection Plans or Vehicle Service Contracts (VSC) may be referred as “extended car warranty”, or “auto warranty”. A VSC is not a warranty but provides repair coverage for your vehicle after your manufacturer’s vehicle warranty has expired. The VSC contract is with you and the vehicles owner and the VSC provider or administrator that will state what is covered in each plan.