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Spring Car Care

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The weather is finally starting to break and the sun is being a little bit more friendly.  It is safe to say that the spring season we have been longing for has finally arrived.  In preparation for the season, some of us have already began spring cleaning and swapping out some spring/summer clothing items (but keep those hoodies handy)  However, don’t forget that now is a great time to get spring maintenance done on your car.

Back in December, we posted winter safety tips about winter-proofing your car in the occasion of inclement weather.  Now that old man winter is fading away, it is ideal that a routine check-up be done on your car to ensure the harsh winter did no harm.

Here’s what to check:

As mentioned in the previous post,  winter can be very harsh on both your car battery and tires.  Make it a priority to check the battery and tires to ensure they haven’t taken too much of a beating.  Next, you want to check the condition of your brakes.  Snow and ice of the winter must be driven in cautiously, which puts some additional wear and tear on your brakes.  Inspecting the back and rear brakes is advised.  Third,  pay attention to your belts and hoses.  These consist of the serpentine and timing belts and the radiator hoses.  Any cracking, peeling or splitting of the belts or hardening and bulging of the hoses may be causes for replacement.  While you have the hood up,  check that the coolant/anti-freeze being used complied with car specifications and is at proper levels.  Last, make sure all of your fluids are topped off.   These include windshield washing fluid, motor oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid and/or transmission fluid.

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As the season progresses and the weather begins to warm up, make sure your A/C unit is functioning with a clean air filter.  It is wise to check this ahead of time so you’re not unpleasantly surprised in the midst of the amazing blazing St. Louis summer weather!

Keep in mind that a lot of these can be DIY tasks with little to no assistance.  However, if you’d prefer the help of a trained eye, you can contact you local Lou Fusz dealership or auto care facility.

My Top 5 Road Pet Peeves

So, there you are on the road…cruising along…window down….good music on the radio…not a care in the world…and then it happens.  Someone comes through and interrupts your feel good mood with the driving skills of a toddler.  Oblivious to their careless and sometimes dangerous actions, you have now been summoned into a slight fit of road rage.  Everyone’s tolerance is different, but we all have little quirks while driving that really get under our skin.

Here are my top 5 pet peeves on the road:

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5. Mr./Ms. Show Off

This is the wonderful individual who decides that they are the superstar of the road and wants everyone to know about it.  Typically this person has some fancy car with a loud motor, limo tents and can be seen weaving in and out of traffic at ridiculous speeds.  Their mission is to let you know that they have somewhere to be and you are obviously in their way!  On the street, this is the person that decides they are now in the Indy 500 and peels off when the light turns green.  Ironically, after hustling to be first, you usually see them sitting at the next red light.  Better luck next time.

4. Brake-r, Brake-r

Not only is this irritating, it is a TOTAL distraction.  This person may not really be driving at turtle speeds, but for some reason, they find it necessary to brake-check every 10 seconds and the constant flashing of their brake light is so annoying.  But it gets worse.  This is also the person slowing down or coming to a COMPLETE stop at a green light for no reason.  No one in front of them.  No car trouble.  Just a blatant disregard for traffic awareness.

3. The Speed Demon

This one is pretty self-explanatory.  Have you ever been on the highway and someone is driving past you so fast, YOU slow down?  Yeah, THAT’S the Speed Demon.  Times like this, I wish I were a cop.

2. Car in the Back Seat

Initially, this driver claimed the number one spot, but got bumped down to 2.  However, my fury with them is still unparalleled.  So, what exactly is the car in the back seat?  It is the car that is driving so close behind you, when you look in your rearview mirror, you would swear that you brought them along for the ride.  Here’s the issue, driving that close behind someone is dangerous and in the event of a quick brake, an accident will occur.  Also, this violates the law and could result in a citation.  As a rule of thumb, you should always allow about 3 seconds of space between you and the car in front of you, NOT a millisecond.  It’s just plain RUDE!

1. The Phantom Blinker

It was really a coin toss to see who would get the number one spot, but this tops my list because it grinds my gears to no end.  In the past few weeks, it is uncanny how many incidents I’ve had with the phantom blinker.   This is the driver that refuses to use a blinker and expects you to know their next move.  You usually find this person when traffic is horrendous and they decide to switch lanes at the same time that you do.  While you made sure to signal to move around the congestion, they just pull out very swiftly and sometimes totally unaware of the oncoming traffic, putting others at risk of a collision.  This may also be the person that is preparing to make a left or right turn, but decides that no one else needs to know that.  As they approach their turn slow to a near stop and turn, all without so much as a tap on the signal indicator.  SO ANNOYING! Let the road rage begin!

At some point, we have all been victims (and culprits) of these behaviors and I know that there are a lot more that didn’t make the list.  Which ones top your list?

Memory Lane: The First Set of Wheels

Today is a day that I like to call “Feel Good Friday”.  It puts me in a good mood so I’m posting some feel good content.  Ready??

Do you remember your first car?

Ahh, wasn’t that a great day?

The day when you finally had wheels of your own and you didn’t have to depend on your parents to cart you around.   You felt a sense of liberation and independence.  And if you had a car before the rest of your friends, you were SUPER COOL!   Be honest, you weren’t really concerned with the responsibility that came with the car (insurance, maintenance etc.), you just knew that you had to wash it every now and then, gas it, round up the posse and GO!

As for my first car, it was the pinnacle of pristine automotive invention.   It was the epitome of luxury on wheels!  I’m talking a silver 1996 Chevrolet Corsica.  The car belonged to my friend’s grandfather and it was in very good condition to have been 8 years old at the time.  When the topic of buying the car came up, he went from grandfather to Godfather, declaring for me to “make him an offer he can’t refuse”…and I did.

The craziest thing about my first car (dubbed “The Bucket”) was that I got it and my license in the same week and I was nineteen at the time.  Yep, NINETEEN and I was just getting my license.  However, that’s another story for another post.  Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that car did and seen A LOT of things.  Through accidents, tickets, taking me back and forth to college, and a little recreational mischief, the bucket was there for it ALL.  Unfortunately, the bucket has gone on to that big tow yard in the sky, but it had a long and semi-healthy 5 years.

I often wonder how things would have been if I had a different car back then.  What if I would have purchased a brand new car or my dream car (which I can’t recall right now)?  Would I have been in some of the situations that I was in with the bucket?  What would I have named it?  Ah, heck…this could go on all night.  Let’s just say that if the car had been newer, I would have definitely taken better care of it.

As of now, my 1999 Chevy Malibu (dubbed “The Bu”) is still kicking.  It may not look the best, but it RUNS!  However, I would not object to a new car, especially a 2013 GMC Terrain or 2013 Buick Regal (just a couple of my personal faves).

So what about you guys?  What are your first car memories?  Are they good?  Are they bad?  Was it a new car or a clunker?  I want to hear ALL about it.  Keep this “Feel Good Friday” going by sounding off and sharing your stories below.

Thanks for another week of reading and liking!

Until next time…I’m OUT!