Car Washing is Mandatory

We are not saying that you need to be an expert auto mechanic or a genius with automotive trivia, but there are some things that are non-negotiable with cars and one of them is a car wash (and no, waiting until it rains does not count, especially in California). A thorough and comprehensive car wash/detailing is as essential for the body of your car as an oil change is for your engine.

Really? Or Are You Just Being A Drama Queen?

Really. First of all, we need to look at the purpose of paint. This goes beyond “it’s my favorite color”, “it matches my personality”, or “it’s British racing green”. Paint protects the body of your car. The body is made out of metal, and metal rusts and weakens when exposed to the elements (moisture, in particular), and will eventually compromise the structural integrity of your car. This, plainly and simply, is a safety hazard and absolutely dangerous.

When dust and dirt is left unhindered, it acts like sandpaper. The paint starts to weaken, crack, and chip away. You may think you’re in the clear if it rains, but rain mixed with dirt, dust, and other pollutants can act even faster in terms of damaging your paint job. Now, let’s say you live on a nice tree lined street and park under the tree nearest your house or building. You may avoid sun damage with the regular shade, but what happens when the tree drops sap, or when birds drop… other things? These all accelerate the rate of damage.

Don’t panic. Your paint job will not be ruined overnight (unless it is of ridiculously poor quality and something extraordinary happens). Have your car detailed regularly and it will go the distance with you.

Money Talks

Some people stick with a car for decades while others like to get a new one every 50,000 miles or so. It does not matter which category you fall into because not washing/detailing your car regularly will eat away at your wallet one way or the other.

Let’s say you’re a one and done type of person. As long as your car is still running, you’re still driving it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But, that’s just the thing… it will break, and you will have to fix it, and fix it, and fix it again. Damage to the body of your car is potentially devastating, and you will need to have it repaired repeatedly so as not to compromise its structural integrity.

Are you ready to sell your car and get a new one? Great! There’s just one problem… the resale value of your car has plummeted due to the fact that it is now an ugly rustbucket. It’s an extreme, but nonetheless true. Whether you’re in true rustbucket territory or your car has some paint and body damage, the resale value of your car will take a hit.

Your car is an investment, one way or the other.

What Makes Car Insurance Companies Think You’re a High Risk Driver?

Do you know the difference between a high risk driver and a good one? Chances are, your opinion is a little different from your car insurance provider’s! The question is, what does your insurer have to say about your driving history?

What Makes a High Risk Driver?

High risk drivers are a major concern for everyone. Most of us think of high risk drivers as people who get on the highways and do 70 in a 35, suffer from extreme road rage, like to have a few drinks before getting behind the wheel or have a tendency to doze off at 65 mph. These drivers definitely pose a greater risk to pedestrians, bikers and other drivers than the person that’s never broken the speed limit in their life, but for a car insurance company it’s not just about the risk they pose to others. It’s also about the risk they pose to their insurer.

Car insurance companies are in the business to pay out claims when their drivers are involved in an accident. Seriously-would any of us be paying our insurance premiums if they didn’t? Insurers aren’t philanthropists, however. They’re in the business to make money, and it’s not good business to pay out more in insurance claims than you draw in through premiums every year. That’s why they have to carefully assess the risk of all of their drivers before issuing a policy and do what they can to tip the scales in their favor.

High risk drivers are those that:

a) Are young and inexperienced. (Newly licensed teens and newly licensed adults are going to be judged using the same tape measure.)

b) Have been convicted of multiple traffic violations.

c) Have already caused an accident at some point in the last five years.

d) Are driving a souped up car that begs them to show off and break the rules a little bit.

e) Have been convicted of a DUI or DWI.

How Do You Know if You’re a High Risk Driver?

Chances are, after reading through the list above you’ve got a pretty good idea of what your insurance company thinks about you. If you’re not sure exactly where you fall on the scale of good, bad and ugly go to your friendly neighborhood DMV and ask them how many points you have on your license.

Car insurance companies depend heavily on DMV points to help them determine how big a risk you are behind the wheel. You earn points for being a good driver for five years or more and for completing a driver education or driver improvement course. You lose points for being convicted of a traffic violation or a DUI/DWI.

Yes, you can have negative points on your license. It happens all the time. Check with the DMV to see where your license is sitting.

How to Change Spots on the Naughty and Nice List

If you’re sick of paying ridiculously high premiums for your car insurance coverage, relax. You’re in good company! It’s easier than you might think to clean up your driving record and get back in the game.

Cleaning up your driving record and putting points back on your license isn’t as simple as just paying a few fines. Most traffic violations come off of your driving record after a maximum period of five years, which is why car insurance companies usually offer a five year good driver discount. All you have to do is keep your nose clean that long!

In the meantime, (voluntarily) sign up to take a driver improvement course. This probably won’t help you much if you’ve been court ordered to complete one after a conviction, but if you haven’t voluntarily doing so can definitely work in your favor. Driver improvement courses are offered in most counties and online, making it easy for you to complete a class wherever you happen to live.

Being a high risk driver is no fun, either for you or for your checkbook, but with a little effort you can clean up your record and be enjoying great car insurance rates and the kind of coverage you deserve. No questions asked.

EPS and EPP Foam in Car Seats – What Does That Mean?

In searching for a new car seat, you often encounter terminology that you may not understand. What is this EPS and EPP foam the car seat manufacturer keeps boasting about? And what does it mean for me and my child? It is important to have as much knowledge and understanding of your child’s safety seat as possible. Your child’s life literally depends on it. Here, you will gain a better understanding of some of the most important safety features included in many of today’s car seats.

EPS Foam

EPS stands for Expanded Polystyrene and is most commonly known as Styrofoam. It is often used in items such as portable coolers and bicycle helmets. It is made up of thousands of mini beads that can be molded into various shapes and sizes. EPS foam has the ability to withstand a lot of abuse, but can also snap or tear. EPS is relatively inflexible and breaks easily when compared to EPP.

EPP Foam

EPP stands for Expanded Polypropylene. This is a high-grade engineering foam that has an elastic nature, allowing it to regain its shape when deformed. EPP foam has such extreme strength in fact, that it is often used in automotive bumpers. EPP usually recovers completely from impacts and is harder to tear than EPS.

So what does all of this information mean for you and your kids? Basically, since all car seats must meet certain government regulations for safety, both EPS and EPP foam provide adequate protection in a collision. Many high-end child safety seat companies will use EPP foam, which often costs up to four times that of EPS foam. EPP foam is flexible, which means it may not become permanently damaged as readily as that of EPS. This means that after an accident, the car seat with EPP foam may sustain its original shape better than the one with EPS. Some parents feel more comfortable using safety seats made up of EPP, as it is a higher-end product. However, since any car seat that has been in an accident should be deemed ineffective, it should be replaced, regardless of the type of energy-absorbing material inside of it. This is a personal decision to be considered. The important thing is that you have an understanding of what these different “ingredients” inside your child’s seat mean.

Driving has become such a mundane, every day activity that it is easy to forget how dangerous it can be. When it comes to the safety of your children, it is imperative that they are as protected as possible.