Mar 212012

There are a lot of ways to go wrong when you’re driving in a new country, but a few ways of making things a lot easier for yourself. It’s a no-brainer to take some small steps before travelling to make the whole thing a lot better once you arrive. The first thing you can do is know your foreign road signs, and learn some road markings too. In addition you’ll want to brush up on basic driving rules. It might seem like enough to know which side of the road to drive on, but once you get to your first junction you’ll find yourself panicking if you don’t know the guidelines for sure.

Be aware that most accidents occur within the first hour of your arriving in the new country. This is because people are fatigued, and overwhelmed by the combination of new rules and practices, as well as possibly a new car to get to grips with. Give yourself a few moments to get used to the vehicle, adjusting your seat positioning and familiarising yourself with the controls before heading out on the road. If you rush things it can be disastrous.

A good journey plan is half the battle once you’re out on the open road. With so many tools available these days there really is no reason to go astray. You can get apps for your smartphones to tell you where to turn, as well as the usual GPS and map book devices that are tried and tested. Don’t just trust in technology though – know the route from memory as best you can.

Ask yourself honestly if you’re giving yourself enough time to rest and get out of the car between travel. There are too many instances of people getting into trouble because they drive through the night to get from one place to the next. You should take your time and relax.

You might also consider learning enough of the language to get by as a driver. As a minimum you should know the number for the emergency services, and how to report a problem.

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Mar 212012

The idea of venturing out into cold, slippery conditions with the possibility of hugely decreased visibility is daunting for any driver, and driving in very bad winter conditions is of course, best avoided. However, if you really must brave the weather, there are several alterations you can make to your driving style, which can help you reach your destination safely.

If you can’t get your car fully serviced by a professional, then check the following yourself. Make sure your lights are all clean and working and your battery is fully charged. Car batteries have a life of around five years, so if yours is old it might be time to invest in a new one as the darker conditions of winter will put much more strain on your battery than it had to cope with during the summer months.

When driving, use the following advice. Don’t try to keep up to speed limits, in very bad weather these are often much too fast to be safe; if you don’t feel in control of your car, you probably aren’t. To avoid sliding and skidding drive smoothly, allowing up to ten times the normal distance for breaking, avoiding sharp steering and keeping a good distance between yourself and the next car. Braking on an icy or snow covered bend is extremely dangerous. The centrifugal force will continue to pull you outwards and the wheels will not grip very well. This could cause your vehicle to spin. To brake on ice and snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use your brakes gently.

Ideally, a skidpan-driving course should be taken to prepare the driver for icy and slippery conditions, if this is not possible however; here are a few tips for handling ice and snow. Use second gear to start on a slippery surface, not first, this helps stop wheel spin. You may need up to ten times the normal breaking distance to stop or slow down, so apply pressure slowly and gently to minimise the chance of skidding, the same goes for cornering – always drive slowly and gently to avoid losing control.

However experienced you may be at winter driving, don’t take silly risks such as starting off with only a small portion of your windscreen clear, or not allowing adequate extra time to prepare your car and allow for possible delays on route. Be prepared to be late to arrive at your destination, your safety is more important that your punctuality.

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Mar 212012

At some point we’ve all fallen victim to a dead battery or flat tyre disaster, usually when there is the least amount of time available to deal with it. If you find yourself in a similar predicament ensure that next time you know how best to deal with it quickly and efficiently, without having to wait for a time-consuming third party rescue.

If a flat tyre stops you short, secure the car into place with both the handbrake and heavy, sturdy objects like house bricks or something of a similar weight. Wedge them in front and behind the remaining tyres. Remember to alert other drivers of your presence with the hazard warning lights. If you have been driving a while the wheel is likely to be hot, ensure a spare pair of gloves are worn. The car manual will give the correct position of where to put the jack so as not to crack the framework. Before lifting, loosen the wheel nuts. Once the car has been raised fully remove the nuts and extract the flat tyre from the axel. The new tyre should be lined up with the wheel bolts and secured in place. When replacing a tyre it’s often a good idea to replace the tyre located on the opposite side of the axel at the same time. Different tyres can affect the vehicles handling, but if you’re caught off-guard with a flat this likely isn’t an option.

Checking your tyres are in top condition is particularly important as they are one of the crucial parts of the car; poorly fitted or worn tyres can affect the how well it manipulates corners, the braking distance and make the general handling of the car far less responsive. The minimum central tyre tread depth should measure no less than 1.6mm and 3mm for the outer strips. Regularly checking the tyres for glass, nails and debris before your journey will also help to avoid the risk of slow punctures.

Tyres that aren’t fully inflated will use up more fuel per mile, which can be costly in itself, but over-inflated tyres can be equally as harmful, reducing grip and again hindering the cars handling with an unstable ride. Ensure the tyres are cold before attempting to check their pressure; the heat caused by long journeys leading to increased tyre pressure. If leaving it overnight isn’t possible, spare at least a few hours before attempting to use a pressure gauge. Not forgetting to regularly check the spare, if you have one.

Every couple of weeks, or before long journeys, take time to pop the bonnet and have a quick check that everything is functioning inside. The brake fluid keeps the brake pedal working properly. A brake fluid reservoir that empties too frequently can sometimes indicate a leak. If the oil is below the minimum line on the dipstick, fill it up a small amount at a time. The owner’s manual should specify the correct variety of oil to use, but if you’re unsure a good quality engine oil like Castrol will be sufficient. Another port of call under the bonnet is the coolant tank. Checking it before long journeys or once a fortnight is a good rule of thumb, in the colder months adding a little anti-freeze to the tank.

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Feb 152012

Towing a Jeep is a thing that each Jeep enthusiast has had to do at some point. Some Jeep owners tow their Jeeps in order to get them to their off-roading destination whilst others tow them out of necessity just after a breakdown has occurred. Whatever the reason behind your need to tow your Jeep we are going to offer you you some useful ideas to maintain the approach secure.

The main concern amongst Jeep owners who need to have to have their automobile towed is avoiding harm throughout the method. When carried out improperly your Jeep might expertise damage to costly parts and accessories, the much more you know about the towing method the better equipped you will be when the time comes that your Jeep wants to be towed. The two towing approaches we are going to discuss is flat towing and trailer towing.

Flat towing is a term employed to describe towing your automobile without having working with a trailer. The most prevalent strategy of flat towing is to hook the front finish of your Jeep to the vehicle being utilized to tow it. But for those of you who have under no circumstances accomplished this before we are going to give some valuable recommendations to make the procedure less complicated for each you and the individual towing your Jeep.

Ahead of flat towing your Jeep you ought to disconnect the rear driveshaft of your Jeep. If left engaged it can damage the gears. Make sure that all of your lug nuts are tight. To prevent damage to your driveshaft you must wire it up underneath the Jeep and wrap duct tape around the U-joint to hold it in spot.

Prior to flat towing your Jeep you must also remove the front hubs. When they are removed you can then use duct tape to shield them from the components even though you are towing. Working with a trailer to tow your Jeep is a considerably much easier approach than flat towing. To adequately tow your Jeep working with a trailer all you need to have to do is securely attach the trailer to your towing vehicle and then drive the Jeep up onto the trailer.

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Oct 072011

Spring is the perfect time to get your vehicle all set for the busy summer time driving season in advance. It’s wise to have your automobile checked out before summer’s large vacation traffic as well as stop-and-go conditions begin in earnest.

The experts at the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offer the following tips on having your vehicle ready:

* See the owner’s manual and continue with the recommended service schedules. Focus on “regular” vs. “severe” schedules listed, and determine which is right for your driving situations and habits.

* Seek out an orderly restore facility with modern-day equipment in the service coves and qualified automotive technicians on staff, as proved by trade university diplomas, certificates of advanced course work and training, as well as national certification of the baby technicians by ASE.

* Flush and refill the cooling system (rad) according to the service manual’s recommendations. The particular level, condition and power of the coolant should be looked at periodically. Make sure the engine provides cooled down before treatment of radiator cap. Engine overheating is the most frequent summer season breakdown.

* Have engine efficiency problems corrected, including hard starts, hard idling and stalling. You’re going to get better gasoline miles, and you could stop more expensive repairs.

* Do not neglect your transmission and brakes. Expensive repairs can be averted by routine service. Forgotten brakes can create issues of safety, too.

* Seek out a certified auto technician to check the healthiness of belts, clamps and tubes, but be practical by looking for signs of wear, cracking as well as fraying.

* Have a marginally running air conditioner system served by a technician capable of handle refrigerants. Older units often contain ozone-depleting chemicals that could be unveiled into the air by means of improper or incompetent service.

* Change the oil and also oil filter since specified in the user guide. This simple, inexpensive service may increase the life of your automobile.

* Replace other filtration (air, fuel, PCV) as encouraged in the service manual.

* Check the healthiness of tires, including the spare. Let the tires “cool down” prior to checking their force. Uneven wear, “cupping,In . vibrations or “pulling” to a single side indicates issues with your tires or perhaps suspension system.

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