What to Watch Out For On Car Rental Services

Convenience is the name of the game, even on traveling in a foreign land. While some travelers opt the more adventurous route by exploring the neighborhood on foot, most could not afford that luxury. Thus, they would rather rent a car to navigate the roads, or simply to get from point A to point B.
Car rental agencies have customers ranging from wealthy businesspeople flying solo to families who have babies or small kiddos in tow. By renting a car, they can decrease the inconveniences of having to lug around their excess baggage.

Here are the things to know before you avail of the car rental service:

You can scrimp on as many aspects of the whole process without jeopardizing the entire trip. From the reservation, refueling, off-airport pickup, to the number of drivers, you can avoid the additional costs car rental may incur on your trip expenses.

Reservation
For one, reservation is free—unless the car rental agency employs a down payment scheme. In which case, they cannot return your money once you cancel.
Refueling
Some agencies charge as much as $8 if you want to have a full tank as soon as you get it, even though the current fuel price range of around $2-$4 depending on the state. Refueling the car yourself would be a far cheaper option; just research on the gas stations nearest your pickup locations.
Off-airport Pickups
Speaking of pickup, opting to do the transaction off the airport grounds is also a cheaper alternative. Agencies, whether car rental, taxi hailing, or any food establishments, pay exorbitant fees just to operate at the airport. When you do an off-airport pickup, that fee would be shouldered mostly by you. To avoid incurring more, hail a taxi to bring you to the pickup point or take a walk if it is only a couple of blocks away from the exit.
Number of Drivers
Finally, the number of drivers is necessary for the agency to know, especially if the one holding the wheel is someone below 25 years old. This may sound biased, but teenagers are most likely to be involved in a car accident than any other age group. Aside from that, having more than one person responsible for driving would mean double the possibility of incurring damages. Bottom line, have at most two adults behind the wheel alternating between long road trips.

A credit card is the best (and usually only) way to go.
If you want to avoid the hassle of the car rental company poking around your finances to see if you can pay them, have this rectangular plastic ready. And do not fret, because paying via credit card works in your favor as well. Most of these companies provide auto insurances usually not covered by your car insurance (if you already have one).
If you do not have one yet, ask your favored insurance company about it and avail for one at least a week before the car rental period. After choosing your auto insurance package, let the credit card company cover the rest of it. Having your auto insurance instead of purchasing it in-store is another way to cut back on charges.

Make sure to read the car rental agreement terms.
Yes, reading for some may not be a fun activity, but knowing the boundaries of your freedom to use the vehicle lets you enjoy the benefits of it without crossing any lines. It is in the terms that you can see whether the car you are renting is allowed to be taken on off-paved roads, what damage is considered “damaged” by the company, how much are the penalty fees when you return the car too early or too late, among others. Knowing your boundaries requires you to be extra careful when handling their property.

Always, ALWAYS have the car rental agent before and after accepting the car keys.
Before skipping around with the car keys in tow, make sure that the car rental agency would bring an agent that would ensure that the transaction goes smoothly. Have the agent check the car beforehand—the exterior finishes, the interiors, the engine, and odometers—before accepting the car to avoid incurring damage fees that are not actually your fault.
To double the security, take pictures during the inspection so that when the time comes that it is your word against theirs, you have proof of what commenced.

It never hurts to ask.
Finally, asking is not a crime especially if it is not stated in the agreement terms. After all, your money and your trip are at stake here. It also helps you in preparing beforehand. For example, do they have GPS installed on their vehicles? Are you allowed to take it across different states or countries? As previously mentioned, knowing these things help you to handle the car with care.

Car rentals need not be as stressful as your work, life, and other stuff that you are taking a vacation from. By knowing what works and what are the things you can do to save both money and your time, your holiday may not become so bad after all.

Does Marijuana Make You a Better Driver?

Ostensibly, no. Driving under the influence of any intoxicant will not make you a better driver. You’re more prone to accidents, and of course, are liable for any accidents when intoxicated. However, studies have shown that traffic fatalities have significantly reduced, in places where marijuana is legal recreationally. How is this possible, if marijuana doesn’t make you a better driver? In this article, we will take a look at some of the links between decreased fatalities, and marijuana consumption.

How Does Marijuana Affect Driving?

Compared to alcohol, those intoxicated on marijuana are far less aggressive, drive slower, and follow farther behind vehicles. So, one may technically argue that marijuana is far safer than alcohol – when it comes to driving. Though, this doesn’t mean you’re a better driver. Marijuana slows your reaction time, and you are still prone to mistakes – but it also makes you particularly cautious, which allows sober drivers to compensate for your errors.
Drivers impaired by marijuana are more likely to weave in their own lane – but not into oncoming traffic, or passing lanes, than their sober counterparts. Those on Alcohol are likely to weave into all three.
While marijuana reduces your cognitive ability, that reduction leads to only a modest impairment in skill. You aren’t likely to become more aggressive, or make major mistakes, though your over cautiousness may cause problems. People with alcohol in their system are more likely to get into accidents, even fatal ones. People with both marijuana and alcohol in their system are much more likely to participate in a deadly crash.

How Does Legalisation Lead to Decreased Fatalities?

Medical marijuana legalization lead to a decrease in accidents, similar to raising the drinking age to 21 did. This doesn’t mean there are more intoxicated drivers on the streets. In fact – the opposite. Marijuana legalization has led to the decreased consumption and sale of alcohol, which in turn has led to less alcohol-impaired drivers on the roads. Furthermore, alcohol has the effect of making you less inhibited – while marijuana, on the other hand, may increase caution, not just on the road, but before you even decide to drive.
That is – people who are generally responsible in the first place, will not become intoxicated to the point where they are willing to or don’t care about, breaking the law.
Some would argue that aggressive drivers, or those who suffer road rage and stress when driving, may even benefit from smoking before driving, even though impaired driving remains illegal. They argue that the potential stress-relieving effects may leave typically angry drivers in a more introspective mindset and that infractions by other drivers bother them less. This level of ‘anger’ frequently felt would distract drivers, and lead to accidents. At the same time – People may be less prone to road rage if the person in front of them wasn’t high.

Another aspect of road safety is medicinal. Those who suffer chronic pain and drive are more likely to get into an accident. When used as a painkiller, marijuana is far less inebriating than it’s opioid counterparts.
In a perfect world there would be no impaired driving, be it on alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. In the real world – positing the choice of “would you rather” is unfair and dangerous. What we have instead, is a harm reduction strategy – and the math shows those who smoke marijuana when driving are the least likely to cause harm or death – when compared to other intoxicants.

Getting The Best Out Of Your Car Engine

Most times, we pay less interest to our engines as we are only concerned with starting the engine and zooming off. It is only when the engine makes a sound we are not accustomed to hearing or the car feels in an unusual way that we notice the engine. The engine is the power plant of the car. It powers the vehicle, determines the speed and the overall fuel efficiency of the car. Basically, engines are categorized by the number of cylinders in the engine and the motors overall displacement in litres. It is pertinent to closely monitor the performance of your car engine and carry out check up every now and then. Your car engine needs to be maintained regularly to keep it in good condition and to get optimum performance out of it. Described below are a couple of ways to get the best out of your car engine

REGULAR OIL CHANGE: Changing the oil in your car regularly is one of the most important things you can do to enhance the performance of your car engine. The oil in your engine keeps the vital engine parts well lubricated so that they won’t overheat. Your car engine can perform without the oil and permanent damages may be caused to your engines if the oil is not changed in time. The time for changing the oil varies for each vehicle but modern cars stipulate that you change the oil in your engine after every 8,000 km. It is advisable to go through your car manual or consult your car manufacturer or dealer to know the specific oil change interval.

Changing the oil is one thing, using a quality and approved engine oil in another. the quality of the engine oil will also affect the performance of the engine. The oil filter should also be changed regularly. The oil filter is responsible for catching the dirt and debris floating in your car engine and preventing them from flowing back into the engine.

EFFECTIVE COOLING SYSTEM: One of the easiest ways to protect your car engine from overheating is by making sure that a proper amount of coolant flows throughout your engine cooling system. The cooling system consists of the radiator, thermostat, water pump and coolant. The cooling system works in this sequence, first, the thermostat detects excess heat in the engine block and the need to cool it down. Then the water pump pulls coolant from the radiator and sends it into the engine blocks and then back into the radiator to be cooled back down.
It is pertinent that you check the level of coolant in your coolant tank regularly and fill it up when the mark is below the minimum mark. When the filling the coolant, ensure that it remains at a level above the minimum mark and below the maximum mark.

EFFECTIVE AIR FILTER: Aside from fuel, air is an essential ingredient in keeping the engine running. To keep the engine running, air needs to flow into the engine continuously without restriction. The function of the air filter keeps all the dirt and debris outside the engine and overtime, this filters can be blocked with dirt and needs to be replaced. It is important to regularly check the condition of the air filter and see it is clean. A clogged air filter can either starve the engine of oxygen; allow the inflow of dirt or both.

CHANGING THE SPARK PLUG AND WIRES: This is one of the major ways of getting the best out of your engine. The wires running from the distributor send an electrical current to the spark –plug which then generates a spark to ignite the fuel and the air mixture in the engine cylinders. There are in constant use and as such are required to be changed constantly usually after the recommended 48,000km. It is recommended that you change the wires too when the spark plugs are being changed. This guarantees you an optimum engine performance.

Other steps include:

  • Checking for leakage of fluids
  • Filling your gas tank before it gets low
  • Checking your engine belt
  • Taking action when a warning light is displayed
  • Checking and replacing the fuel filter

If you notice any sign of malfunction in your engine when all the necessary systems are in place, take your car to an auto mechanic and have them run a system check. The cost of finding and rectifying a problem in a system outweighs the cost of fixing and replacing such system after the damage is done.

Easy Tips For Selecting The Right Engine Oil

One of the safest ways to keep your engine running for a long time is by constantly changing the oil. Whether you change the oil in your engine yourself or have an auto mechanic change it for you, choosing the right oil is an even more challenging task. Following the oil type and viscosity recommendation in your vehicle manual does not even guarantee ease. You still have dozens of oil filter to choose from and know the change interval of oil.

FUNCTION OF ENGINE OIL

  • The function of oil in the engine is to create an extremely thin cushioning film to separate metal components and prevent contacts as the parts rotate and bang against one another.
  • The oil also forms a film that acts as a sealant to close the gap between the piston rings and the cylinder wall in the combustion chamber.
  • Oil also function as a coolant for the metal parts and transporter of the heat created by friction that occurs when the metal parts are sliding, pounding and moving against each other.
  • It also functions as a neutralizer for acids and prevent metal from corroding and foams continuously as whirling part whips air into it.
  • In addition, the oil cleans the engine and carries dust, dirt and combustion by-products and the residue of degraded oil off to the filter to be captured.

TIPS TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT ENGINE OIL

FOLLOW THE MANUFACTURER’S VISCOSITY RECOMMENDATION: Viscosity refers to a fluid’s resistance to flow. It is denoted with the common “XW-XX”. The letter “X” preceding the letter “w” rates the oil’s flow at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The “w” stands for winter not weight as many people say. The lower the number, the lesser the oil thickens in cold. The “xx” after the “w” indicates the oil’s viscosity measured at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This number represents the oil resistance to thinning at high temperature or when it is heated. The lesser the number the faster the oil will thin out in high temperature.

Most vehicle manufacturers recommend multi-grade oils which are thinner at a cooler temperature to allow fast circulation in the engine and thicker at a higher temperature to protect the car engine. It is essential to always follow the manufacturer’s viscosity recommendation because it prevents premature wear and tear of parts in your engine. This recommendation can be seen in the manual or on the oil filler cap. Never second-guess the manufacturer’s recommendation even if expert say different viscosity oil will work better.

FREQUENT OIL CHANGE: changing the oil in your engine regularly means there is less tendency to need other types of oil other than the conventional oil. However, some vehicle manufacturers specify the type of oil to be used in your engine.

CHOOSE RECOGNIZED OIL BRAND: choosing the recognized oil brand guarantees you top quality oil and ensure that you get the value for your money. Although unknown oil brands might be cheaper, you might be getting an inferior quality which will only spell doom for your car engine.

CHECK THE DATE OF PRODUCTIONS AND EXPIRATION: Engine oils have a shelf life of about five years after which it is deemed expired. Expired oil may look okay to the eye but a closer will show you separated constituent which cannot be seen with the naked eye. Expired oils will have reduced effectiveness when it gets to the engine.

TYPES OF OIL
There various types of car engine oil to choose from but it is recommended to use one specified by the vehicle manufacturer. The types of car engine oil are;

CONVENTIONAL OIL: This is the most available and widely used oil in a car dealership. It is the cheapest in the auto store. The conventional oil is of the API and SAE standard and contains little additive packages

PREMIUM CONVENTIONAL OIL: this is the standard new car oil. The premium conventional oil is available in common viscosity such as 5W-20, 5W-30 OR 10W-30 oil.

FULL SYNTHETIC OIL: These oils are made for high-tech engines. They offer superior and long-lasting performance in all the critical areas from viscosity index to protection against engine deposits. This type of flows better at low temperature and maintain peak lubrication at high temperatures. The downside is that the full synthetic oil cost as much as three times the conventional oil.

SYNTHETIC BASED OIL: this is the essential conventional oil enhanced with a dose of synthetic. They are formulated to offer better protection during heavier engine loads and the associated higher engine temperature.
HIGH MILEAGE OIL: This is the essential conventional or synthetic oil enhanced with seal conditioner to increase the flexibility of the engine.

How to Drive Safely: 5 Tips to Protect Your Pet

A pet is basically a part of the family for pet lovers. Regardless of this, many pet owners don’t consider their pet’s wellbeing when they are in the vehicle. You wouldn’t want your relatives to ride around without safety belts or abandon them in a hot car, however many pet owners precisely do this to their pet.

These 5 simple tips will help you in securing and driving safely with pets.

1. Get a Crash-Tested Crate
Your pet probably loves the freedom of wandering around the vehicle and sticking his head out the window, but the truth is that it is not ok for your pet or any other person in the car doing this. Unexpected stops and accidents can make your pet fly around like a rocket which can truly harm them or anybody else in the car.
The most secure approach to transport your pet in the vehicle is to place them into a crash-tried case. These cases are intended to withstand hard braking and mishaps, giving your pet the likelihood of making through any occurrence. In case you don’t know where to find the best crash-tried carton, the Center for Pet Safety has performed a research on the best boxes for pet transport that features which containers you should purchase.

2. Don’t Leave Them Alone
Your pet won’t like being taken for a car ride if you consistently leave them in the vehicle alone. On hot days, cars heat up instantly, regardless of the possibility that windows are down. This can prompt heat stroke or even death, so don’t go out taking the risks for your pet. In the colder months, the inverse impact works in your car making it like an icebox for pets. Your most secure alternative is to just not leave your pet in the auto alone no matter what happens.

3. Watch Your Windows
Be sure that the windows are bolted in the event that you allow your pet to roam around the car and stick their head out the window. Power windows make it easy for pets to inadvertently roll them up or down. This can prompt completely open windows that overstimulated pooches may hop out or windows move up on your puppy’s head. This is not a good outcome in any case, so secure those windows are locked.

4. Bring Supplies
Anything can happen when you’re out and about in the vehicle. That’s the reason you need to constantly bring the basic supply of pets to ensure they are comfortable. The primary thing you must bring is water and a bowl. Dogs particularly need regular access to water so it’s great to have some in case they get thirsty. This is an absolute necessity on long outings.

A leash is another thing to bring. You can take them out of the vehicle, a bed, so that they can be comfortable in their crate. Bring one of their most loved toys so they can have a ton of fun while they are out of the town. Moreover, bring them few treats to have something to eat throughout the trip. Also, it never hurts to get some clean up supplies when they want to go to the bathroom.

5. Give Them a Break
Lastly, it’s necessary to allow your pet to have a break at regular interims. Pets are like youngsters and despite the fact that you have the capacity to drive longer, your furry companions will appreciate taking a break every 1 or 2 hours to get some air, extend their legs, have some water, and go to the bathrooms. Remember that car rides are exciting and unnerving for your pets than for you, so they’ll need more breaks than a man would.