Category Archives: Tips and HInts

What’s the right Child Safety Seat for your Baby?

Researching information regarding safety for children, I came upon an article written by the American Academy of Pediatrics on car seats and wanted to share it with you.

All parents have the same worry when traveling with children – safety. What happens if I am in a car accident, will my child be safe? Every year we have accidents that injure or kill young children.  It goes with out saying that the proper use and installation of child safety seats have helped keep children safe. Now, the question is, with so many safety seats being sold, which no doubt overwhelms most new parents, which seat is the right one for your child? The article helps with many questions a parent may have regarding safety seats.

The right safety seat for your child depends on several things like child’s size and type of car you have.  Below is a quick guide produced by the American Academy of Pediatrics on the different types of car safety seats to help you start your search.  But you still need to read more about the features and how to use your car safety seat.

Age Group Type of seat General Guidelines
 

Infants

 

Infant seats and rear-facing convertible seats

 

Infants should ride rear-facing until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer. At a minimum, children should ride rear-facing until they have reached at least 1 year of age and weigh at least 20 pounds. When children reach the highest weight or length allowed by the manufacturer of their infant-only seat, they should continue to ride rear-facing in a convertible seat.

 

 

Toddlers/preschoolers

 

Convertible seats and forward-facing seats with harnesses

 

It is best for children to ride rear-facing as long as possible to the highest weight and height allowed by the manufacturer of their convertible seat. When they have outgrown the seat rear-facing, they should use a forward-facing seat with a full harness as long as they fit.

 

 

School-aged children

 

Booster seats

 

Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing car safety seats. Children should stay in a booster seat until adult belts fit correctly (usually when a child reaches about 4′ 9″ in height and is between 8 and 12 years of age).

 

 

Older children

 

Seat belts

 

Children who have outgrown their booster seats should ride in a lap and shoulder seat belt in the back seat until 13 years of age.

 

 

If you have any questions about proper car seat installation, you can always swing by and I’d be more than happy to show you the right way to secure the seat and keep your child safe.

How to Escape a Sinking Car

how to escape a sinking car

This is something we hear on the news from time to time. A car loses control, crashes through a retaining barrier and into a body of water. Would you know what to do if this happened to you?

This type of accident is rare, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you. Thinking back on what you know or what you’ve heard, do you think that you would have the presence of mind to recollect the escape tactics that you’ve “heard” about and not panic? For sake of argument, I’m going to say “no”, you won’t. That’s OK, because until I did a little refresher research, I would have fallen into the same category as you: Knowing the theory of escape, but that’s about it.

Check out the video for a visual refresher:

Here’s a website dedicated to this very subject written from a person who’s experienced being trapped in a submerged car first hand. It’s definitely worth looking at.

The bottom line is that you have to remember to stay calm and memorize this simple course of action:

Here’s one more thing to consider. There are small, inexpensive, and convenient-to-carry tools available to the public that are made specifically to shatter a car window to free a trapped victim. I suggest you look into getting one for your vehicle.

From Saveyourlife.us

One is called a LifeHammer. It is only 7 ½ inches in length and weighs 4.9 ounces. It is shaped like a small hammer but with a dual conical shaped hardened steel point at one end. A strike with medium force will shatter a side window. I had my 10 year old daughter try it and she broke the window on the first try. The LifeHammer also has a seatbelt cutter built into the other end. The LifeHammer should be mounted in the vehicle either on the side of the console or anywhere it can be easily reached in an emergency. You can view one by clicking anywhere you see the word “LifeHammer”.

The other tool is called ResQMe. It performs the same functions as the LifeHammer but it is only 3 inches long, weights just over ½ oz. and easily attaches to your keychain. One advantage of ResQMe is that it can go with you wherever you go as long as you have your keys. You can view one by clicking anywhere you see the word “ResQMe”. The Life Hammer is a little more robust and can be used to clear out some of the shattered glass once the window is broken. I keep ResQMe on my key chain and a LifeHammer in my car.

Be prepared, stay calm and know your escape routes. If you have any questions or comments, let me know. If you’d like to share any experience you may have had that is similar, tell us that too…you may save some one’s life one day with your information.

Everybody, drive safely.

Rain, Rain go away save your hail damage for another day!

Pretty clever title, huh?

Living in Texas, we are all too familiar with “Texas Weather”. To put it simply, it can and usually does change on a dime. Nice and sunny one moment and the next you are being pelted by penny to softball sized hail. I’d go as far as to say that the “Hail Sale” was invented here in Texas.

So what do you do of your poor new car gets pelted by an unexpected deluge ice nuggets and ends up looking like a golf ball? One of two things. You can watch the video below for a look at what it takes to get your ride back to it’s unblemished self. It shows the tools you’ll need and how you might want to go about prepping your dent removal project.

To keep it interesting, they challenged the tech to do 6 dents in under a minute. As a novice, I’d plan for a much longer amount of time for your project. Also keep in mind that this is just the hood. Chances are if you’ve sustained hail damage it will probably be on your roof and trunk as well…as this point, I’d really consider bringing it in to have a professional take a crack at it.

Check out the video:

As you can see, if you know what you are doing, restoring your car after a hail storm takes a little patience, the right tools and some mechanical ability (removing hoods, liners, paneling etc.).

If you’ve sustained any hail damage (it’s crazy weather season in Texas) and don’t want to tackle a dent removal project yourself, then don’t hesitate to give me a call and I’d be happy to help you get your pride and joy back too showroom condition.

 

What do you do after an accident?

First let me say that I hope you never get into an accident of any kind. They are monetarily and emotionally stressful. It’s not something that anyone looks forward to, let alone really prepares for. So what do you do, Fort Worth, if you get into an accident? I found a short, yet concise video you should take a look at. You might think, “Ozzie, it’s obvious what to do after and accident” that is until you actually get into one. Staying calm and keeping your wits isn’t always the easiest thing to do in that traumatic situation.

Here are 11 things to remember after you’ve been involved in a car accident I found here.

  1. Make sure everyone is ok – before concerning yourself with vehicle damage and exchanging insurance information, make sure that all parties to the accident are ok. If not, call 911.
  2. Save the apologies for another time – yes, politeness is an admirable trait, but in this situation, a simple “I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention,” can be seen as an admission of liability.
  3. Start talking – to witnesses, that is. Get all the relevant contact information of any bystanders that may have seen the accident.
  4. Call Your Insurance Company – report the incident to your insurance company, even if you are completely at fault. Also, keep track of the time and money spent pursuing your claim.
  5. Take Pictures – having proof of the damage to the car will help with insurance, and serve as evidence if there is a dispute down the line. One helpful tip is to always keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment for these situations.
  6. Take Notes – similar to pictures, detailing the accident and the nature of your injuries as soon as possible can serve to expedite the process.
  7. Get a Property Damage Figure from your Insurance Company – this valuation will serve as the amount you can recover or replace your car. If you are not happy with the figure from your insurance company, seek outside quotes.
  8. Careful Who You Talk To – if the other party’s insurance company contacts you, your best response is to get in touch with your insurance company or attorney. Why? Because they are better equipped to handle the situation.
  9. Don’t automatically accept the first estimate or offer you get – jumping the gun on the settlement can be a costly mistake.
  10. Get an attorney – if there is a dispute with your insurance company, or the seemingly simple car accident suddenly turns complicated, then seeking legal counsel is your best bet.
  11. Take a deep breath, everything is going to be ok.

Does anyone have any other advice to give? Remember if you need a little help after an accident, give us a call and we can walk you through the steps it takes to get you back out on the road again in a flash.

How Do You React When Pulled Over By The Police?

If you get pulled over for any reason, know your rights. What you say and what you do matters and can mean the difference between a routine traffic stop or something much worse.

I found a couple of videos that I wanted to share that give really great example of what to do and what not to do during a traffic stop. Remember, you may have had a bad day, you may be really angry, but that Officer is already on edge, don’t give him any reason to be more wary of you than he should be.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Basically what it boils down to is common sense. Use your head, be polite, be cordial, be willing to cooperate, but don’t forget your inalienable rights. The burden of proof always is on your side. Good luck.

Can anyone give us any pointers for an experiences you may have had?

Why Is Car Buying So Hard? Part 2: Trades.

In my previous blog, I discussed the three parts of buying a car price, trade and finance. The last time I talked about how negotiating the price really is the easy part.  What I’ll cover today in this post is trading in your car.

It goes without say, if you trade in a vehicle, your gonna want the best price for it. They key points to take into consideration is the year, make, model, mileage and condition of the vehicle you are looking to trade in. There are a couple of great resources for looking checking the value of your vehicle on sites like Kelly Blue Book or NADA guides to get a rough estimate before bringing it to their dealer. One thing to remember is that this is not an exact science, that these sites do have the tendency too mislead you into thinking your trade is worth more than it really is. Most dealers will assess your car and look for signs of any body repair, painting, misalignment, and flooding. Dealers often also run a car history check accidents.

Other aspects that affect trade-in value include whether the dealership has a strong used car operation, or if they have to sell the vehicle at whole sale.  This matters because a dealership that has a good used car operation will often need a wide variety of makes and models. This usually leads to a better price for the consumer market of the vehicle.  Fort Worth, if the dealer has to sell the vehicle for wholesale, it may be because the cost to repair the vehicle is not worth paying, or simply have no demand for the brand and model.

As I said, the negotiation of your vehicle is more difficult than pricing. When you buy a new car, do you trade your old car or sell yourself? How was your experience? What do you think the dealer could have done better?

We’re always trying to improve the value for our customers, so your feed back would be great!

Diagnose the 9 Most Common New Car Electrical Problems

I know, “It’s a new car, how can it have electrical problems?” Well, either that new car probably really isn’t as new as you think, or you have a valid issue. So, how can you tell the difference and what do you do about it?

The electrical systems in new cars have definitely made driving a lot easier over the decades. The seemingly endless innovations in electrical systems have helped us enjoy a more comfortable and easier drive. However, for every Yin, there’s a Yang.

Yin & Yang

Let’s say, you have problems starting your car and notice other problems with the electrical system. Let’s cover some of the issues that you could face with your new  vehicle’s electrical system:

Common Automobile Electrical System Problems Are : Car’s Battery Is Dead – This is the most common problem…and most obvious. Check your battery by engaging your headlights and judge by the illumination.

No Power Stored in the Battery – When you turn the key, what do you hear? A little click? Does it sound like it want’s to turn over? It is possible that your car’s battery does not have ample power to crank the starter. You need a new battery.

Alternator is Not Working – A damaged or broken alternator could be the culprit. No alternator? No battery recharge. If your car suddenly start to lose “juice” while drive, you’ll know it could be your new car’s alternator.

Problem with Starter or Solenoid – Good parts gone bad parts. If it’s the starter, it won’t turn over. If you have Solenoid issues, you might find it harder to brake.

Battery Cables Might Be The Problem – A loose cable might be the root of the problem…give them a wiggle before you run out and buy a replacement.

Electrical Fuses – Check for any blown fuses in your fuse box. Also, feel around for any loose wires.

Cracks In Alternator Belt – Too much or too little tension, as well as cracks in the alternator belt cause trouble.

Ignition System Has Problems – You have a busted ignition switch. Give your mechanic a call.

Loose Spark Plugs – Loose or old plugs will certainly affect the operation of your vehicle. Are you loosing power as gears change? Does it lurch as if the gears aren’t engaging? It might be the internal combustion and the culprit is usually the plugs and cables.

Now these are just guidelines you can crosscheck any issue you might have experienced. I you can talk with your mechanic about your new car logically by doing a little research, you help him help you even faster. If you have any questions, or you might think that you might need a great mechanic, I know where to find one.

Take active defense against car thieves

Nothing is fool proof. The bottom line is that if a car thief wants to get into your car, he’s going to get it.  Your responsibility is to make your vehicle less inviting to the opportunistic nature of the average car thief.

Watch the video below. You might feel that some of the advice is a no-brainer, like leaving your purse or wallet on the seat. Take a look at the video below for a quick reminder of what not to do and some hints on how you can make your car less attractive to a thief.

It’s not brain surgery. Take all valuables inside or put them out of sight. If you think you need alarm system, you should probably get one. The more  warning you can put on your vehicle to deter thieves, the more of a chance you have at dissuading a break in.

Your New Car…and an Indispensable Item

Let’s face it, if you drive you need insurance. There are no “if, and’s or but’s”At some point in your driving career, you are going to need it for a fender bender, cracked windshield or total car loss.

People spend a lot on new cars and they require proper care, maintenance and PROTECTION. Here is where new car insurance comes into play. New car insurance helps safeguard  you against costly vehicle repairs, most of which you probably never saw coming in the first place.

Insurance is a no brainer. Get it. Stay Protected…besides, it’s the Law. What does everyone else think about insurance? Has it paid off for you? Have you ever had to use it? Let me know!

How to Install an Infant Car Seat

The best way to learn is by example. I can give you all sorts of statistics about the mortality rate of children who are not properly secured in their car seats. Instead though, I think I’ll just make this a “How To…” post and focus on saving your child’s life rather than use fear to help you realize the importance of securing your child in your car properly. Remember, most accidents happen within 5 miles of your house, so buckle them up EVERY time they are in the car.

Watch the video below, it contained a surprising installation technique that I didn’t think about.

If you have any questions, or want step by step installation instruction, Freeman Grapevine Service would be happy to walk you though it.