5 Ways to Save on Gas

filling a car with gasWe all want to save money. And when we’re out on the open road, a little thriftiness can go a long way. Gas can be a major expense, so it’s wise to maximize its efficiency in any small way you can.

The budget-conscious among us know how to alter their driving so that we can keep our money in the bank and out of the tank. Below, you will find our 5 secrets for saving on gas.

Our Top Five Ways to Save Money on Gas

  1. Maintain Your Vehicle: When your vehicle’s running smoothly, it’s using gas efficiently, so keep you engine tuned, filters cleaned, and oil fresh. Monitor your tires, too. Properly inflated tires produce less friction, resulting in better mileage.
  2. Turn Off the Air Conditioning: Parking in the shade and rolling down the windows are much easier on the gas tank.
  3. Use the Cruise Control or a Manual Transmission: Using the cruise control can help you maintain speed consistently, which saves on gas. If you don’t have cruise control, try to maintain a consistent pace. If you drive a manual transmission, that’s even better! Stick shifts are more fuel efficient than automatics. If you’re hunting for a new car with high miles per gallon, this may be something to consider.
  4. Choose Routes Wisely: Stop-and-go traffic wastes gas, so if you can choose between more than one route, choose the one with fewer stop signs and traffic lights.
  5. Plan Ahead on Long Trips: If you are planning a trip across multiple states, do your research. Due to taxes and regulations, certain states have less expensive gas prices, so avoid fueling up in the pricier ones.

5 Tips for Good Posture While Driving

person driving

Many people experience chronic pain in their backs, hips, and shoulders. If you’re one of them, perhaps it’s time to consider the way you sit while you drive.

Whether you commute for 20 minutes or 2 hours, it’s a good idea to check in with your posture and make sure driving isn’t causing you pain.

5 Adjustments for Optimal Driving Posture

  1. Hands: You should always have both hands on the wheel (unless you drive a manual). As your commute goes on, adjust your hand placement frequently. This will help promote healthy circulation.
  2. Knees and Legs: Position your legs in a way that allows you to reach the pedals comfortably. Avoid putting pressure behind your knees, and try to get them level with your hips. If it’s difficult to keep them level, try placing a blanket under your hips.
  3. Lower Back: Many people tend to round their backs while driving. Many new cars have adjustable lower back support to keep your lumbar (lower back) from arching forward. If your car doesn’t have this feature, try placing a small pillow or rolled-up towel behind your back. Don’t go overboard, though. If you feel a jabbing sensation in your lower back, the blanket is likely too thick.
  4. Seat Position: Your seat should be as high as if can comfortably go. Make sure your head doesn’t hit the roof, your feet reach the pedals, and that you have good vision of the road.
  5. Elbows: Some people have a tendency to flare out their elbows, but it’s best to keep them low and close to your body.

Potholes Plaguing Havertown and the Surrounding Area

Pot holeAs we’re sure you’ve noticed, local roads are looking more and more like obstacle courses lately thanks to the myriads of potholes. In some areas, the morning commute follows a zig-zagging pattern within each respective lane. Not only are the potholes inconvenient, but they’re also dangerous. Try your best to avoid them.

If you can’t completely avoid a pothole, drive through as slowly as possible. According to 6 ABC, PennDOT has been patching 60-70 highways every week in order to keep them at bay.

Potholes Can Cause Serious Damage

Even if you’re capable of changing your own tire, you should be aware that potholes can cause much more extensive damage. Other common damages include:

  • Suspension damage
  • Steering misalignment
  • Bent or dented rims
  • Exhaust system issues
  • Engine damage

If you suspect your vehicle has sustained serious damage, bring it to a mechanic right away. Here at Direct Paint, we’re able to handle collision repair.

Seven Things You Shouldn’t Leave in a Cold Car

Heart drawn on icy car windowWinter may be winding down, but it’s likely that we still have several weeks of cold weather before things warm up. We’re certain that, at this point in the winter, you’ve remembered how your car becomes a deep freezer when you’re not driving it.

While there’s little you can do to prevent a frozen steering wheel and bitterly cold seat, you do have control over what you leave in the car. After reading this article in USA Today, we decided to share their list of things not to freeze. Keep reading to learn what 7 things you should never leave in your vehicle during the winter.

Seven Things to Never Leave in a Cold Car

  1. Loved Ones: This may be unnecessary to point out, but leaving your loved ones in an ice-cold car isn’t a good idea. It’s worth saying that children and the elderly are more susceptible to hypothermia. So no matter if you’re just running into the store for one moment, don’t leave family members behind.
  2. Cell Phones: Both Apple and Samsung advise against storing cell phones at temperatures below -4 degrees, and they say not to use them in temperatures lower than 32. The part of your phone that’s most vulnerable to chilly temperatures? Your lithium battery. It can stop working when it becomes chilled. While it should go back to normal at room temperature, repeated exposure to cold can lead to lasting damage.
  3. Beer or Soda: Since water expands when it freezes, this can be a recipe for disaster with bottled drinks. Coke freezes at 30 degrees, and 5% alcohol beer freezes at 27. As the water turns to ice and expands, this can lead to explosions.
  4. Canned Foods: Since these have high water content, allowing canned goods to freeze can lead to similar problems as can happen with beer or soda. When food expands inside the can, it can break the seal. If you’re caught in a jam with a frozen can, allow it to thaw in the fridge. If it doesn’t look or smell normal, dispose of it. Don’t taste it! Also, throw out cans that are rusted or burst. When you dispose of the can, take care to ensure that no one, including animals, can get to it.
  5. Musical Instruments: Unlike water, most things contract when the freeze. If you leave an instrument in your car and it shrinks as a result of the cold, it could lead to serious damage, especially with wooden instruments.
  6. Eggs: If you leave eggs behind and they freeze in their shells, dispose of any cracked eggs, and refrigerate uncracked ones before use. You will be hard-pressed to do anything with the egg other than hard boil it. Frozen and then thawed eggs have a different texture since frozen yolks become thick and syrupy.
  7. A Dwindling Gas Tank: Keep your tank at least half-full in chilly temps. This prevents your fuel lines from freezing. Keep an eye on your other fluids and your tires while you’re at it. The pressure change from the cold can affect these.

Keep warm and safe as we head into the last weeks of winter!

Tips to Avoid Skidding on the Ice

winter drivingNow that it’s getting colder, you’re undoubtedly pulling out the gloves and ice scrapers to prepare for winter driving. If you haven’t, you should consider it. However, there is one thing that all of the shoveling and scraping can’t save you from — skidding on ice.

It would be nice if road salt worked 100% of the time, but that just isn’t the case. Icy roads are one of the biggest hazards of the winter season. While it’s not always easy to see the ice before it’s too late, there are a few precautions you can take to skip the skidding altogether. Here are a few tips from AAA:

  • Avoid using cruise control in wet weather driving conditions
  • Look farther ahead and pay particular attention to “hot spots”: bridges, culverts, on and off ramps and elevated highways. Be alert for “Black Ice.”
  • Avoid unusual driving maneuvers that could induce a skid
  • If you find yourself beginning to skid, ease up on the accelerator, keep a firm grip on the wheel, and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.

For more safety advice, be sure to check out our tips from our past post. Stay safe and warm!

Five Impairments Other Than Alcohol That Affect Your Driving

We all know that drinking and driving is a recipe for disaster. Not only is it illegal, but there are countless promotions, billboards, and commercials warning us of its dangers.

This is certainly a good thing. Alcohol impairs our judgment, clouds our senses, and slows our reaction time. If you’ve been drinking, you’re in no position to get behind the wheel.

However, there are a number of other factors that can impair your driving significantly that get little attention. In fact, many of them are perfectly legal. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of factors, other than drinking, that impair your driving.

Five Factors Other Than Drinking that Impair Your Driving Ability

water jugsDehydration: A 2015 study found that drivers who were mildly dehydrated made as many errors as drunk drivers. They were likely to make mistakes like crossing rumble strips, late braking, and lane drifting. So drink up! If you’re on a long trip, make frequent stops for bathroom breaks and bottle fill-ups.

Drowsiness: Stay alert, stay alive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue. Since right now it’s difficult to connect fatigue to crashes, the actual number is likely much higher.

Distraction: Distracted driving is anything that takes away attention from the road. That could mean texting or talking on the phone, talking to passengers, eating or drinking, or adjusting the stereo or GPS system. When you text, your eyes are off the road for at least 5 seconds. That means at 55 mph, you will drive the length of a football field by the time you look back at the road. So pay attention!

Emotions: If you are overcome with an emotionally-charged thought or event, it can be difficult to focus on much else. At the drop of a hat, your mood can change, affecting your driving without you even realizing it. And it isn’t just negative emotions–positive feelings can distract you just as much. So be aware of how you feel, and if you need a moment to work through your emotions, there isn’t any shame in pulling over.

OTC and Prescription Drugs: Everyone is different, so OTC medicines like antihistamines and cold pills could make you sleepy, even if their label says nondrowsy. If you just started a new prescription, be alert. Until you know how your medication effects you, it’s a good idea to refrain from driving.

We hope these tips make our roads a bit safer this holiday season!

Animal Strikes High in October and November

deerDeer mating season is officially upon us, and unfortunately, it’s also the worst time of your vehicle collisions with deer. According to State Farm’s annual report, PA drivers are more likely than drivers in all but one other state to hit a deer. It’s estimated that 1 in 71 PA drivers will hit a deer within the next year.

From now until December, deer will be more active than usual — especially at dusk and dawn. According to PennDOT, there were 3,696 reportable crashes last year involving deer or other animals, resulting in 11 fatalities. Follow the following tips from AAA to prevent an accident or reduce damage from a collision:

  • Use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic.
  • If you see a deer, look for others following close.
  • Always wear a seat belt.
  • Try your horn to scare away animals.
  • Use your brakes in an imminent collision, don’t swerve.
  • Never approach a wounded animal. Call 911.

Check out some PA driving statistics from 2013

PA Crashes with Roadside Objects

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Maintenance Tips for College Drivers

driverAs parents, many of us get into the habit of catering to our college-age children while they are home. This might mean doing their laundry, cleaning their dishes, or even performing regular maintenance on their cars. While this is a very kind gesture, you need to make sure your son or daughter is capable of performing these maintenance tasks while they are on their own. According to AAA, the following are great tips for before classes start:

  • Make sure they know how to check tire pressure, inflate tires, and identify any tire abnormalities that could signify something dangerous.
  • Refresh on basic maintenance skills to keep the car running in the best condition and avoid high repair costs.
  • Go over the owner’s manual with your college student. Show them where to find the maintenance schedule and discuss the importance of following that schedule.
  • After you’ve toured all of the dorms and cafeterias, try and find a local repair shop with some good reviews. This way, both you and your child can rest assured that there is a trustworthy mechanic in the area if needed.
  • Stock up the car with all of the emergency essentials. These include a snow shovel, windshield scraper, empty fuel container, jumper cables, flash light, road flares, as well as a first aid kit.

At the very least, following this advice will bring you peace of mind while your baby is away. For more information on how to prepare for cars at college, check out our previous post on common mistakes made by college students.

How to Get Sand Out of Your Car

Sandy Sandals

When most of us think of bringing back a souvenir from the beach, sandy floor mats aren’t what we have in mind.

But sandy shoes, towels, and feet can leave your car’s interior looking a little worse for wear. When you return from your ocean getaway, you’re faced with the task of removing sand from your car.

Luckily, Direct Paint has put together this list of helpful methods for cleaning out your car, so the sand can return to the outside of your car where it belongs.

Tips for Removing Sand From Your Vehicle

  1. Move Quickly: For best results, get to work as soon as you can. The longer sand sits on the interior, the better chance it has of becoming ground into the carpet and upholstery, making it more difficult to remove.
  2. Just Beat It: Remove your floor mats and suspend them from a clothesline or  over a railing. Take the end of a broom and hit the mats to get the loose sand to fall off.
  3. Comb it Over: Take a wire bristle brush and rake it over the areas where the sand has set in. This will help release any more stubborn particles.
  4. Bring Out the Vacuum: Now, it’s time to whip out the trusty vacuum. As you vacuum, continue using your wire brush to bring out more sand. Keep going this way until all the sand is gone.

We hope our tips help you to leave the sand behind and finish out the rest of the summer with a clean car!

We Service a Variety of Manufacturers

In the wake of an accident, the most important thing to do is choose an auto body shop you trust.

A common misconception is that you can only use a body shop that your insurance recommends. This is not the case, the choice is yours. Click here to learn more.

Direct Paint is certified to repair a number of vehicle manufacturers, including Nissan. Click here to see the full list of auto makes we service.