Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Creating a Healthy Relationship Between Your Pet and Your Car

Our pets. We love them. They’re apart of our family. In fact, in many cases we treat them better than certain human members of our families and we’re perfectly fine with that. So with this extreme love for our pets, is there any wonder that we want them with us at all times, including on road trips? The question is how do we keep both our two and four legged family members safe and comfortable while taking a trip. 

Short trips to the store or to complete other errands may be perfectly fine for your pet, but it’s the longer road trips that have the potential for trouble. As a pet owner, you should be fully aware of your pets travel tendencies and plan accordingly for long trips.

Yes, animals can experience motion sickness or stress from being in a moving vehicle, resulting in vomiting or other accidents in the car. Animals experiencing travel anxiety may attempt to jump into the front seat with you in search of comfort.  This can cause a distraction, which could potentially lead to an accident. 

The best thing owners can do in order to avoid problems on longer trips is to acclimate their pets to traveling in a car. The ASPCA recommends you do this using a number of steps. First, let your pet sit inside of your parked car to get used the environment.  Then gradually progress to short trips around the neighborhood, being sure to pay special attention to how your pet reacts to being inside a car.

As a pet acclimates to longer trips, vary the route and subject pets to different sights, sounds and smells. Animals that are particularly skittish or simply do not do well in the car should not be forced to make road trips. Veterinarians can prescribe tranquilizers or motion sickness medication to make car rides tolerable.

Keep the temperature cool and open the window to allow fresh air to flow in for maximum pet comfort. Do not let your pet hang his or her head out of the window. This could lead to injury of your pet’s eyes or ears or your pet may be tempted to jump out while the car is moving.

When traveling, properly secure your pet to prevent injury to drivers, their passengers and even the pet itself. If a dog or cat finds comfort in a crate, use that during the ride. Otherwise, dog seat belts and other restraint systems are very helpful. The safest place for pets to travel is in the back seat where they are also less likely to distract drivers. Though tough, drivers should resist the urge to have small pets sit on their lap while driving. Should an accident happen, a deployed airbag could injure or kill a pet that's sitting on a driver's lap.

Reward your pet for surviving a long trip by choosing a final destination that is fun for them. If you only put the cat or dog in the car to go to the vet or groomer, your pet may begin to associate the car with bad experiences and never truly adapt to trips in the car.

Remember, the ultimate goal is an enjoyable trip for everyone.  Though it may take a little time, preparing your pet for the road is very beneficial. So go ahead and take the steps for a better road trip for you and every member of your family, even the human ones.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014



You pull up to the pump and you see the numbers, but what do they mean? Sure, your manufacturer told you which one to use, but you’re still curious as to what’s the difference between 87 and 92 octane. Hopefully, this will help.

Let’s start off with a brief discussion of how gas works in your car. Most cars use four-stroke engines. The compression stroke is where the engine compresses a cylinder-full of air and gas into a much smaller volume before igniting it with a spark plug. The amount of compression is called the compression ratio of the engine. A typical engine compression ratio is 8-to-1.

The gasoline octane rating tells you how much the fuel can be compressed before it spontaneously ignites. When gas ignites by compression rather than because of the spark from the spark plug, it causes knocking in the engine, which causes damage. Lower-octane gas (like "regular" 87-octane gasoline) can handle the least amount of compression before igniting.

The compression ratio of your engine determines the octane rating of the gas you must use in the car. In order to increase the horsepower of an engine, increase its compression ratio. In other words, the higher compression ratio the higher-octane fuel that is required. This is why they call the “high performance” engines. While higher compression rates mean higher performance and probably a little more fun behind the wheel, the disadvantage is that the gasoline for your engine costs more.

So unless your vehicle manufacturer requests a higher grade of fuel, you probably don’t need it and can save yourself a little money. Then there’s always the matter of preference. If you feel that your vehicle runs better with a higher grade of fuel, then by all means do what feels right to you. Just be sure to check with your vehicle manufacturer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


6 Tips for Improved Fuel Economy

Still letting high gas prices keep you from taking a road trip to your favorite destination? Why? Just following a few simple and inexpensive vehicle maintenance steps can stretch your dollar and give you more power at the pump.

Fuel consumption is directly related to auto care and has a significant impact on how much gas you use.  Gas prices may rise quickly, but you no longer have to be a victim and just take it. Properly maintaining your vehicle can improve fuel economy as well as save you money.

Performing these simple maintenance tips, will improve fuel economy allowing you to spend more time on the road and less at the pump.

       Tune-Up: Keep your car properly tuned to improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.
       Tire Pressure: Keep tires properly inflated and improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent.
       Motor Oil: Improve gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent by using the grade of motor oil recommended by the manufacturer.
       Air Filters: Replacing clogged air filters on older vehicles can improve fuel economy and will improve performance and acceleration on all vehicles.
       Gas Cap: Damaged, loose or missing gas caps allow gas to vaporize into the air.
       Fix It: Addressing a serious maintenance problem, like a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve mileage by as much as 40 percent, according to www.fueleconomy.gov.

Modifying driving habits, such as driving the speed limit and avoiding quick stops and starts, can also increase fuel efficiency. Consolidating trips, avoiding excessive idling and removing unnecessary items from the trunk are also easy ways to lower fuel consumption.

Friday, July 18, 2014



Sure, many of us say that we know and understand how important it is to wash and wax our vehicles, but do we really? Do we truly understand that waxing our vehicle can not only protect the paint of the car but its resale value as well? For some reason most of us wash our vehicles, but often neglect the second step of waxing. Is it because we think it’s overly time consuming, don’t understand the value of doing so or maybe we just don’t want to. Whatever the reason, it’s time to take a look at the importance of waxing your vehicle.

Wax helps protect your car’s paint, which in turn helps protect the coating for your cars metal body. Whether it’s rain, sun, hail, or wind your car is constantly subjected to the elements. All of these elements can have damaging effects to your vehicle, which makes waxing your vehicle extremely important. It can also keep dirt from settling on your car and make it much easier.

Let’s face it. When your car looks good, you look good. Wax keeps your car looking shiny and new. With no wax on your car oxidation can occur. Oxidation is a chemical process where oxygen interacts with different elements, causing the paint on your car to become dull. No one wants his or her car to have dull, lifeless paint! A simple coat of wax can prevent this from happening because wax protects the elements on the car from reacting with oxygen.

Understanding the importance of washing and waxing your vehicle is key to keeping your car looking as good as ever. It will vastly improve the health of your vehicle over time. So go ahead. Get your vehicle washed and waxed today.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What Not To Do at a Stoplight.

Remember the days when you stopped at a traffic light, not a care in the world, before we all felt the need to be doing multiple things during every moment?  These days, we’re all guilty of trying squeeze in every little thing at a stoplight. The truth is, it may not be saving us time. A lot of people are focused on anything but the road. When you become so engrossed in something else that you forget to be aware of your surroundings it can cause time loss, create traffic problems and jeopardize safety. 

Whatever is distracting you can’t be that important that you forget you’re behind the wheel. Driving is a privilege and a responsibility to yourself and to others around you.  There’s a lot of precious cargo travelling around daily.

Being alert to where you are in line and the traffic patterns is helpful. Don’t be the person everyone’s honking at because the green arrow expired while you completed that Facebook status update. So when you’re in a hurry and you’re behind “that person” and the tables are turned, remember to set an example by changing your behavior and not be mad. People are more likely to mimic what they see rather than what their told.

Some of the examples that follow are more common and familiar offenders while some are plain ridiculous. You know who you are. There are usual suspects like texting, posting, playing video games and tearing the car apart in search of something that fell between the seats. Then there are those who change clothes, get out and rifle through the trunk, put on make up, dry shave, give over zealous affection, read, watch a movie on an overhead DVD player, cut their toe nails, paint their toes or try to figure out directions. What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen?

It’s ok to do certain things at a red light so long as you’re not oblivious to everything else around you. So if you must do it, glance up and around you frequently so you’re ready when the light changes. Kind of like checking your rear view mirror when you’re driving. It will eventually become a good habit.

If something is really so important that it’s distracting you from driving, it’s probably in everyone’s best interest that you pull over and resolve the issue before continuing on. A little preparation before departing can alleviate much of the strange behavior we observe at traffic lights.

People tend to think things won’t happen to him or her.  Until it does.  That’s when the resolution is made NOT to do whatever caused a problem again. Don’t let it happen at all. Let’s all try to be more courteous and aware on the road. Together we can improve our environment and interactions while arriving safely and happily at each destination.