Winter Storm Driving Tips

There’s nothing quite like staying warm and cozy indoors on a warm winter day…and nothing quite like navigating the messy roads and chaotic weather conditions when you just can’t justify a sick day. There are plenty of things to love about winter, but sloshing through storms isn’t one of them. Before you get behind the wheel this season, take heed of these must-know winter storm driving tips:

Never leave the house unprepared. Try to keep at least half a tank of gas and stock your vehicle with cold-weather essentials like extra food, warm clothing, blankets, a flashlight, and any other items you think you might need in the event that you’re stranded. Better to be safe than sorry. 

Slow down. Even if you’re normally tempted to zoom in the fast lane, consider winter storms the time to take your speed down several notches. The season brings ice and snow to the roads, and even if you can’t see any obvious obstacles, slippery patches can make your car skid.

Increase your following distance. Try to stay at least 5-6 seconds behind the car in front of you. That extra little buffer will give you space to brake in case they make a sudden stop.

Keep the exhaust pipe clean. One part of your vehicle that may often be overlooked is the exhaust pipe. But exhaust pipe blockages caused by mud, snow, and ice can be serious — even fatal — as carbon monoxide can build up and leak into the passenger compartment. Be sure to keep an eye on it throughout the season. 

Keep going if you can. Stopping and starting your car during a winter storm can actually be risky since it requires extra inertia to get going again after a full stop. Slow down gradually, speed up gradually, and plan ahead to avoid full stops if you can.

Stay as visible as possible. Before you hit the road, consider tying a bright cloth scrap to your antenna and using your dome light while driving at night. Anything you can do to keep your vehicle easy to see and find in case of emergency may help you escape a scary situation.

If you can, just don’t drive. The very best way to avoid winter storm issues on the road? Avoid the road completely. While you may not be able to get out of work or other necessary obligations, consider canceling any unessential plans and rescheduling for better weather days.Another benefit to driving less? You may be able to save major money with pay-per-mile insurance.

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Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist, UC Berkeley alumna, and Metromile customer.

Should You Drive a Hybrid or Electric Car?

Should an electric car be your new ride?

As my ancient and outdated car reaches the end of her lifespan and I’ve been on the hunt for newer, more tech-savvy, eco-friendly modes of transportation, I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the array of options. Electric cars are better for the environment, but they’re not exactly cheap. Hybrid cars offer dual engine support, but it costs a lot of cash to replace their batteries. There’s a lot to consider when you’re considering the jump from a standard vehicle to a hybrid or electric one; here are the main pros and cons to ponder.

The Pros

They’re generally more environmentally friendly. While the environmental-friendliness of a hybrid vehicle depends on a few factors (how you drive it and how you charge it), electric cars require zero fuel, making them the superior choice when it comes to preserving the environment. Of course, electric cars produce zero greenhouse gas exhaust.

You may qualify for some tax breaks. Electric car owners can benefit from a tax credit just for driving an eco-friendly vehicle (the caveat is, you have to be the original owner of the car to cash in on that break). Depending on the make and model of your car, you may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500, but it’s best to work with a tax specialist to decipher the details for your specific situation. Hybrid owners may be eligible for tax credits too, depending on your state

You may get better mileage or performance in certain settings. Driving in the city more than on the freeway? Unlike standard vehicles, which tend to get better mileage on the highway versus urban environments, hybrid cars do better on city streets. And while electric cars have a shorter driving range than standard vehicles, their motors are smooth and quiet, and actually provide stronger acceleration and require less maintenance.

The Cons

You’ll probably have to pay more upfront. Hybrids tend to cost more than standard cars, and electric cars can cost even more. But that looks like it’s starting to shift a bit: while the median retail price for all vehicles in the U.S. is $36,600, some new hybrids are available in the $25,000 to $30,000 range.

You’ll have to know where to charge them. The amount and availability of charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles is definitely on the rise, but it still takes more time and planning to charge than it does to pop into a standard gas station. Standard hybrid cars can recharge their batteries through a process called regenerative braking (driving on engine power), and still use gas as their primary power source. But plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles have to be charged at a station or at home, so you’ll need to factor that into your trip planning.

Different levels of power. Because hybrid cars have a twin powered engine, the combination of the small gasoline engine and small motor results in less power than one single standard gas-powered engine. Things are a little trickier when it comes to electric cars — some can accelerate faster but their top speeds still can’t reach those of standard vehicles.

Once you’re done car shopping, it will be time to shop for insurance. If you’re not already a pay-per-mile car insurance customer, consider taking a look.

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Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist, UC Berkeley alumna, and Metromile customer.

Buying New vs. Buying Used: the Pros and Cons

A few months ago, the 1995 Lexus ES I’ve had for 15 years finally let me know that she’s pretty much done with this driving thing. Despite her major scratches and significant dents, Lexi (yes, of course that’s her name) has continued to serve me well since the early 2000s. She came at an unbelievably good price with next to no mileage; her previous owner had (literally!) been a little old lady who only drove her to and from the supermarket. As far as used cars go, I hit the jackpot with Lexi. But when a number of things started to break down, my mechanic gently broke it to me that my beloved Lexi might be on her last legs. 

While I’ve started making peace with her impending departure, I haven’t been able to bring myself to start car shopping. The main reason? I don’t know where to start. I’ve never owned a new car — is now the time in my life to get one? Or based on my incredible track record with Lexi, is a used car the best bet? I figured the only surefire way to jumpstart my search is to turn it into an article that will hopefully help others in their car buying quest. So here are the pros and cons to new and used vehicles:

The Pros of Buying New

  • It’s a new car! New feels pretty good. Enough said.
  • That warranty though. One of the major perks of buying new is the fact that if anything malfunctions early on, you’ve got paperwork to cover you for a certain amount of time. 
  • The tech is next-level. My poor Lexi was manufactured so long ago, she managed to live through both the introduction and obsolescence of CD players. Her sophisticated tape deck has been defunct since 2011. By comparison, some new car models can parallel park for you!

The Cons of Buying New

  • Depreciation is real and it’s rough. Vehicles are automatically worth less once they’ve been owned and most cars depreciate by about 40 percent during the first three years of ownership — a huge chunk!
  • Insurance costs may be higher. Generally, a more expensive vehicle will mean more expensive premiums.
  • The newness factor wears off fast. It doesn’t take much for that pristine new vehicle to look less than stellar; the initial thrill may not last long. 

The Pros of Buying Used

  • Here’s your chance to be a super saver. For bargain hunters, used car shopping can be exciting. And depreciation takes far less of a bite out of a used car.
  • You’ll know its reputation. You’ll know which models have a history of reliability.
  • You can still get a great warranty. You may be able to find a ride with a warranty still in effect, or buy from a used dealer that includes one.

The Cons of Buying Used

  • The great unknown. You just can’t know how the previous owner treated the vehicle. There’s always a risk of discovering something unpleasant about your car’s history down the line when you buy used. 
  • You can’t always get what you want. When you buy used, you don’t get 100% control over the bells and whistles.
  • You may spend more in other areas. A used car might need attention from a mechanic sooner than a new one will, and used cars are, on average, less fuel efficient than newer models.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the decision is yours. There are potential risks and benefits to buying both new and used cars, so take some time to figure out what matters most to you in your purchase. (Maybe you don’t want that car at all and should switch to a scooter!) No matter what you decide, make sure to choose an insurer who has your back.

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Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist, UC Berkeley alumna, and Metromile customer. 


Drive a Toyota? Here’s Your Personalized Maintenance Checklist

 

Toyota drivers, rejoice! Your patience is being rewarded. Earlier this year, we shared a personalized maintenance checklist for Honda drivers, but today it is all about you. We’re excited to share a personalized maintenance checklist. According to our research, Toyota Corolla, Camry, and Prius are among the top five cars owned by Metromilers.  

 

Since 1957, these reliable, Japanese-made cars have been cruising American roads. In fact, did you know that 80% of Toyotas sold twenty years ago are still on the roads today? That’s a sign that Toyotas are pretty reliable vehicles if you ask us. Toyota makes a vehicle for everyone. Let’s dive into some of our best car care tips for all you Toyota drivers.

 

How To Keep Your Toyota Running Like New


For all Toyota models, performing regular maintenance according to the factory-recommended maintenance schedule is the best way to keep your vehicle running in optimal condition. Take care of your Toyota now and it can be part of the 80% still on the roads twenty years from now.


If you drive a Toyota Prius:
A Toyota Prius is the ultimate commuter car. Great on gas, reliable, and easy-to-drive, the Prius is one of Toyota’s top-sellers. Maintenance schedules for the Toyota Prius can either be calculated with miles or months, depending on which you reach first. If you’re a consistent commuter, you’ll want to schedule your maintenance around a mileage system; if you don’t drive the car as often, you’ll want to follow the month system.

 

Here’s a quick list of maintenance items for your new Toyota Prius:

 

  • Every 5,000 miles/6 months: Check installation of driver’s floor mat, inspect and adjust all fluid levels, inspect wiper blades, rotate tires, visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs
  • 10,000 miles/12 months: Check installation of driver’s floor mat, inspect and adjust all fluid levels, inspect wiper blades, replace engine oil and oil filter, rotate tires, visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs
  • 15,000 miles/18 months: Check installation of driver’s floor mat, inspect and adjust all fluid levels, inspect wiper blades, rotate tires, visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs, and inspect the following parts: ball joints and dust covers, brake lines and hoses, cabin air filter, drive shaft boots, engine/inverter coolant, exhaust pipes and mountings, radiator, condenser and intercooler, steering gear, steering linkage and boots
  • 20,000 miles/24 months: Check installation of driver’s floor mat, inspect and adjust all fluid levels, inspect wiper blades, replace engine oil and oil filter, rotate tires, visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs
  • 60,000 miles/48 months: Check installation of driver’s floor mat, inspect and adjust all fluid levels, inspect wiper blades, rotate tires, visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs, replace cabin air filter, replace engine air filter, replace engine oil and oil filter
  • 100,000 miles/120 months: Check installation of driver’s floor mat, inspect and adjust all fluid levels, inspect wiper blades, rotate tires, visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs, replace cabin air filter, replace engine oil and oil filter, replace engine coolant


If you drive a Toyota Camry:
The Toyota Camry is an incredibly reliable vehicle, and if well-taken-care-of, can stay on the road for decades. Toyota recommends a routine service appointment about every 5,000 miles for your Toyota Camry. You should also schedule additional special services at other mile intervals as well.

 

Below is a breakdown of all of the services your Camry needs and when they need to be performed:

 

  • Every 5,000 miles: Change oil and filter, check tire pressure and tread, inspect, top off fluid levels, inspect brakes and exterior light bulbs, check wiper blades and replace if needed
  • Every 15,000 miles: Check brake fluid, brake lines, and hoses, inspect steering and suspension components, check cooling system, check air filter, inspect exhaust system, rotate tires
  • Every 30,000 miles: Replace air filter (including cabin air filter), check distributor cap and ignition wires
  • Every 45,000 miles: Replace coolant and brake fluid
  • Every 90,000 miles: Change transmission fluid


It’s important to note that each service appointment should involve an oil change to promote the longevity of your engine.


General Toyota Maintenance Checklist


Low oil levels can have a disastrous effect on your Toyota’s engine, so you’ll need to check that level the most often. Following the guidelines below of items to check (but not necessarily change), you can rest assured that you have all of your bases covered:

 

  • Check the engine oil and coolant levels every time you fill the fuel tank
  • Check the transmission and brake fluid levels about once a month
  • Check your tire pressure every month, since the pressure inside the tire can change when the air temperature outside the car changes
  • Every month, check to make sure all of your lights are working properly

 

Periodic Maintenance Items By Mileage

 

  • Every 5,000 Miles
  • Check installation of driver’s floor mat
    • Inspect and adjust all fluid levels
    • Inspect wiper blades
    • Rotate tires
    • Visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs

 

The following mileage marks are when you should have these items changed, replaced or checked. Take care of these maintenance items when this mileage shows up on your Toyota’s odometer.

 

  • 30,000 Miles
    • Inspect valve clearance
    • Replace spark plugs
    • Replace air filter
    • Inspect or replace drive belts 
  • 45,000 Miles
    • Replace engine coolant
    • Replace brake fluid
  • 60,000 Miles
    • Replace spark plugs
    • Inspect or replace drive belts
  • 75,000 Miles
    • Replace engine coolant
  • 90,000 Miles
    • Change brake fluid
    • Replace air filter
    • Replace spark plugs
    • Replace drive belts
    • Change transmission fluid

 

While it initially may seem like a lot, staying on top of these vehicle maintenance guidelines will keep your Toyota in tip-top shape for years to come.

Honda Car Maintenance Checklist

Chances are, if you’re a Metromile policyholder, you drive a Honda. How do we know? Since 2017, the top 2 cars that Metromile has sold policies for are the Honda Civic and Honda Accord. Eagle-eyed readers know that we’ve already shared our top tips for car maintenance if you’re a low mileage driver and our guide to Metromile Roadside assistance, so today we’re diving into something special for all you Honda drivers.

Honda SUV overlooking a cliff full of clouds

Did you know that Honda is the largest engine manufacturer in the world? Honda sure knows their way around a car engine! In 2011, Joe Cicero from Maine became the first person to ever to reach 1 million miles on the original engine and transmission (a 1990 Accord!). To celebrate his accomplishment, Honda gave him a parade and a new 2012 Accord. By taking great care of your Honda engine today, you could become the next Joe Cicero! Let’s dive into some of our best car care tips for all you Honda drivers.

How To Keep Your Honda Running Like New

For all Honda models, performing regular maintenance according to the factory-recommended maintenance schedule is the best way to keep your vehicle running in optimal condition. Take care of your Honda now and it will give you miles and miles of worry-free driving in the future.

If you drive a Honda Civic

Maintenance schedules can either be calculated with miles or months, depending on which you reach first. If you’re a consistent commuter, you’ll want to schedule your maintenance around a mileage system; if you don’t drive the car as often, you’ll want to follow the month system.

Here’s a quick list of maintenance items for your new Honda Civic:

  1. Every 7,500 miles/12 months: Get your oil changed
  2. 15,000 miles/12 months: Replace the engine oil filter, inspect front and rear brakes, check parking brake adjustment, and visually inspect elements such as brake hoses, fluids, cooling systems, exhaust systems, etc.
  3. 30,000 miles/24 months: Replace the engine oil filter, replace air cleaner element, inspect front and rear brakes, check parking brake adjustment, replace spark plugs, inspect and adjust drive belts, and inspect valve clearance
  4. 45,000 miles/36 months: Replace the engine oil filter, inspect front and rear brakes, check parking brake adjustment, replace brake fluid, and replace engine coolant
  5. 60,000 miles/48 months: Replace spark plugs, replace the engine oil filter, inspect front and rear brakes, check parking brake adjustment, inspect and adjust drive belts, and replace air cleaner element

If you drive a Honda Accord:

If you take care of it, your Accord can keep going, and going, and going…. Honda recommends a routine service appointment about every 5,000 miles for your Honda Accord. You should also schedule additional special services at other mile intervals as well.

Below is a breakdown of all of the services your Accord needs and when they need to be performed:

  1. Every 5,000 miles: Change oil and filter, rotate tires, inspect brakes, and top off fluid levels
  2. Every 30,000 miles: Replace spark plugs and air filter and inspect and adjust drive belts
  3. Every 45,000 miles: Replace coolant and brake fluid
  4. Every 90,000 miles: Change transmission fluid
It’s important to note that each service appointment should involve an oil change to promote the longevity of your engine.

General Honda Maintenance Checklist

Low oil can have a disastrous effect on your Honda’s engine, so you’ll need to check that level the most often. Following the guidelines below of items to check (but not necessarily change), you can rest assured that you have all of your bases covered:

  • Check the engine oil and coolant levels every time you fill the fuel tank
  • Check the transmission and brake fluid levels about once a month
  • Check your tire pressure every month, since the pressure inside the tire can change when the air temperature outside the car changes
  • Every month, check to make sure all of your lights are working properly

Periodic Maintenance Items By Mileage:

Every 5,000 Miles
  1. Change the engine oil and oil filter
  2. Rotate the tires
  3. Inspect the front and rear brakes
  4. Check all fluid levels and conditions
  5. Inspect the suspension and exhaust system
  6. Check brake lines and hoses, cooling system hoses and connections and fuel line hoses

The following mileage marks are when you should have these items changed, replaced or checked. Do these maintenance items when this mileage shows up on your Honda’s odometer.

30,000 Miles
  1. Inspect valve clearance
  2. Replace spark plugs
  3. Replace air cleaner element
  4. Inspect or replace drive belts
45,000 Miles
  1. Replace engine coolant
  2. Replace brake fluid
60,000 Miles
  1. Replace spark plugs
  2. Inspect or replace drive belts
75,000 Miles
  1. Replace engine coolant
90,000 Miles
  1. Change brake fluid
  2. Replace air cleaner element
  3. Replace spark plugs
  4. Replace drive belts
  5. Change transmission fluid

While it initially may seem like a lot, staying on top of these vehicle maintenance guidelines will keep your Honda in tip-top shape for years to come. Who knows – maybe Honda will even throw a parade in your honor!

Whether you’re a Honda driver or not, this handy maintenance checklist is valuable to any car owner. Want to join the Metromile fam and save hundreds on your car insurance? Click here to grab a free quote. To our Metromile family members, we love and appreciate you every day – you are the reason we do what we do! Refer a friend to Metromile and get $25. Everyone likes a little extra cash in their pocket this holiday season! Be safe out there and see you on the roads.

Car Maintenance for the Low-Mileage Driver

If you’re already a Metromile customer, chances are that you’re a low-mileage driver. Only paying for the miles you drive is just one of the perks of being a Metromile customer and low-mileage driver. Another major perk of being a low-mileage driver? Getting away with less-often car maintenance.

Car-Maintenance-for-the-Low-Mileage-Driver

Are you Low-Mileage?

Wondering if you are a low mileage driver? As a general rule of thumb, you are most likely a low-mileage driver if you are clocking less than 600 miles per month or fall into the following categories:

  • You’re retired and no longer commute to and from work
  • You work from home and/or live close to work
  • You regularly use public transportation
  • You utilize a carpool
  • You have an extra vehicle that doesn’t get driven much

If you fall into one of these camps and realize that you don’t drive your car very often, there are some things you can do to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when having your car serviced. So, without further ado… here are our best car maintenance tips for the low-mileage driver.

Car Maintenance Tips for Low-Mileage Drivers

    1. First things first: You’ll still want to take the car to your auto repair shop at least every 6 months to monitor the condition of your vehicle. Surprised? Things can go wrong if your car isn’t being driven regularly (yep, even if it’s garaged!).
    1. Only change dirty oil: Despite popular belief, oil only needs to be changed when it’s dirty. Check your oil dipstick once a month to keep tabs on the status of the oil. If it starts to look black (instead of a golden color), it’s time for an oil change.
    1. Drive the car at least once a month: At a minimum, you should be starting up your engine and driving your car on the highway for at least 15 miles once a month. This will ensure all fluids are flowing properly and keep your car running smoothly for years to come.
    1. Check for furry visitors: Car engines make yummy little homes for furry creatures like mice, squirrels, and rats, especially during the colder months. Check the condition of the fuel lines and other rubber components under the car to make sure they are not being chewed or eaten.
    1. Install a carbon eliminator: Add a carbon eliminator to your gas tank yearly to avoid carbon build-up. What is a carbon eliminator, you ask? It removes tough carbon deposits from rings, valves, ports and combustion chambers to improve engine performance, reduce fuel consumption, restore power and extend engine life.
  1. Do the following every six months:
      1. Have your car placed on a lift for a tire inspection. This ensures your safety every time you hop in the car. While your car us up on the lift, check the undercarriage and tires for dry rot, damage, etc.
      1. Check the air filter and ventilation system. In addition to the engine, both the air filter and the ventilation system can make great homes for all sorts of furry creatures.
    1. Check all the fluids. In cars, both the antifreeze and brake fluid deteriorate with age. Checking these every six months ensures that everything is in working order.

Things You Don’t Actually Need to Do

As it turns out, there are things that a low-mileage driver like you just doesn’t need to do very often (or at all). You should just about never need to use nitrogen in your tires (which will save you an extra $5 per tire). You also will never need to flush your transmission fluid, because most car manufacturers now use 100,000-mile (or “lifetime”) fluid. Additionally, modern coolant and antifreeze is also meant to last for the lifetime of the car and will save you about $50 to $100 in changes.

An example of unnecessary car maintenance for the low-mileage driver is changing the engine oil too often. As a car owner, it used to be the norm to schedule in an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, with modern lubricants, most newer engines have recommended oil change intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles. If your engine requires full-synthetic motor oil, it might go as far as 15,000 miles between services. For us low-mileage drivers, that means an oil change once every two years or so!

Maybe when you were reading this article, you realized that you might be a low-mileage driver. Awesome! Hopefully, you found these car maintenance tips useful and be sure to grab a free quote from us (if you’re not already a part of the Metromile fam!). If you are already a member of the Metromile fam, share us with all of your friends and family and get $25! As always, stay safe out there and see you on the roads.

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

How Much Should a New Car Really Cost, and How Do You Know If You Can Afford One?

The time has come. You’re finally ready to trade in your old beater and treat yourself to a brand new car. You have an idea of what kind of car you want to get, but with every car dealership advertising their latest “deal,” it can be easy to get suckered into paying more than you should for your new whip. Because of this, it’s important to do your research and have a solid plan in place before ever stepping through the front door of the dealership.

New Car - How Much Should it Cost?

So: how do you know how much your new car should cost? Then, with all the down payments, warranties, and dealership fees, how to do you if you can actually afford the car you want without blowing your budget? Don’t worry, we’ve got the scoop. Step into your future-new-car negotiation with confidence using our fool-proof tips.

How Much Should a New Car Really Cost, and How Do You Know If You Can Afford One?

Assess Your Assets

Before kicking your clunker to the curb, find out if the car has any trade-in value. Most car dealerships will take your old car as a trade-in, which will, in turn, knock the price of your new car down. The ol’ trade-in deal is a bit of a double-edged sword, however, because the car dealership will try to lowball you. Since most people are not in much of a position to negotiate the trade-in value of their current car, they are likely to take the deal presented to them.

Putting the trade-in deal firmly in the “pro” category is the fact that the dealer does all the paperwork. After you and the dealer settle on an acceptable price, all you have to do is sign the vehicle over to the dealership and be done with it. However – the price you pay for the convenience of being relieved of your vehicle will likely be less money for you than if you sold it yourself. The dealer will not give the full retail value of the vehicle and people are often disappointed by the offers presented to them. To avoid any surprises, be sure to get the Kelley Blue Book® Trade-in value of your vehicle before you step foot in the dealership.

Your Credit: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Next up: addressing how you will be paying for your new vehicle. If you plan on financing your new car (90% of people take this route), your credit score will come into play. See, car dealerships assess how likely it is that you will pay your loan on time every month if you’re likely to skip payments, and more based on your credit history. If your credit score is looking less than stellar (above 700 is considered “good”), you’ll definitely need to factor that into your new potential payments. Your monthly payments may increase if your credit score has been looking a little worse-for-wear.

Calculate How Much You Can Afford

There’s no perfect formula to calculate how much you can afford, but our short answer is that your car payment should be no more than 15% of your monthly take-home pay. If you’re leasing, it should be no more than 10%. There are many online calculators that will help you crunch the numbers.

Did you know that the average new car payment is $499/month for 68 months? Most car loans come in well over $30,000, which is absurd considering the median household income is around $56,000/year. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to figure out how much you can truly afford to spend on a car. No matter what, don’t leave it up to the car salesman to decide how much you can borrow. Why? Because, according to their facts and figures, your credit and income may qualify you to buy just about anything on the lot.

In addition to the price of your new vehicle, remember that you’ll also need to cover license plates, insurance, and any additional taxes required by your state. Additionally, you’ll need to pay sales tax on your vehicle, although your lender may roll your taxes into your loan (if you ask).

In Conclusion

The reality is that true affordability is never dictated by lenders or big banks. At the end of the day, only you know how much you can afford to spend on a new car payment and your other bills.

Once you have an idea of how your monthly income and expenses look, you can shop for your new car with confidence. When decide to pull the trigger on your new ride, we’ll be here to take care of all of your car insurance needs! Be sure to grab a free quote from us – and happy car shopping.

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

Do You Fly More Than You Drive?

When contemplating potential savings opportunities for vacation, it can be easy to default to taking a road trip rather than booking air travel. However – recent fluctuating gas prices have thrown that assumption for a loop. Now, the comparative costs of flying and driving depend on more elements than just gas prices (such as how much you’re paying for car insurance!).

Do-You-Fly-More-Than-You-Drive

Maybe you travel a lot for work. Maybe you live in the city and take public transportation or use ride-sharing apps. Whatever the case may be (and maybe without even realizing it), it is possible that you decide to fly or take other forms of transportation more often than you decide to drive. Of course, there are pros and cons to all forms of transportation, but here’s a checklist you can use to find out if your frequent flier miles are racking up faster than your odometer.

Do You Fly More Than You Drive?: A Checklist

  • Have you taken more than 5 air travel trips this year?
  • Do you average less than 1,000 miles driven per month?
  • Do you take frequent 2 hour (or less) flights?
  • Do you usually reserve a rental car at your destination?
  • Do you find yourself relying on public transportation (i.e. subway, bus, train, etc.) or using ridesharing apps to get to your destination?
  • Does cost-savings on a trip matter to you?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, you probably fly more than you drive. This checklist is not an exact science, however – to truly calculate it, you will have to do some number-crunching of your own. If you have a suspicion that you fly more than you drive, then it might be worthwhile to do the math.

Thanks to the Internet, there are some handy tools you can use to figure it out. With these online calculators, all you need to do is enter some basic information that you probably know off the top of your head. Keep in mind: these sites typically say that they are for information purposes only, so don’t blame them (or us) if their answers don’t match up to the ones you produced using your own formulas. BeFrugal lets you enter your vehicle make, model, and travel information and then compares the calculated cost with current airline prices. BeFrugal also lets you compare carbon dioxide emissions for each mode of travel. CostToDrive calculates how much you’ll pay to drive from one U.S. city to another based on your vehicle model. AAA offers its online Fuel Cost Calculator to members and non-members alike – for free.

Also, don’t forget that your car insurance is an additional cost to factor into your flying vs. driving calculations. If you’re calculating monthly expenditures (rather than yearly), be sure to divide your yearly premium payment by 12 to get your monthly car insurance cost.

This brings me to my final point and the pinnacle of our discussion: if you’ve realized that you fly more than you drive, then Metromile could be a great option for your car insurance! We structure our monthly billing cycles on the pay-per-mile model – therefore, the less you drive, the less you pay each month. Why pay exorbitant car insurance premiums if you find yourself flying (or taking other forms of transportation) more than you drive?

Even if you haven’t yet done the math, click on over to grab a free quote from Metromile. It will only take a few minutes and may potentially save you hundreds of $$$ this year! That’s a few hundred more in your bank account to book your next trip, so what are you waiting for? As always, be safe out there and see you on the roads!

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

5 Basic Car Maintenance Tips for a DIY Car Safety Check

Summer has arrived and it is full of road trips, drives to the beach or pool, and campfires with delicious s’mores. It also means the dog days are here and your car can start to feel like a mini sauna when left outside. Your vehicle might not be used as much in the summer, which may mean the sun is beating down on it all day long while it sits in the driveway. That can’t be good for it – right?

DIY-Car-Safety-Checks

It is never fun dealing with a break-down when you and your loved ones are on the way to somewhere fun and adventurous. Regardless of what season it is, you should regularly check your car to make sure it is in good running condition.

5 DIY Car Safety Checks to Perform Regularly

  1. Tire pressure: This is a regular check you won’t want to miss completing. Luckily, most newer cars will alert you if your tire’s pressure is running lower – #blessed. But, if you have an older vehicle, this is something you will want to check regularly especially when the weather changes. Grab a pneumatic gauge and read up on what your tires recommend air pressure is. If it is running low, take it to the nearest air pump to fill it up to the right level. Do not exceed the max air pressure your tire can hold. Also, don’t neglect your spare tire.
  2. Battery Life: The threshold for a car’s battery is around three years, but it can run out even quicker in the heat of summer. If you start your car and you hear a slow cranking noise, then it might be time to replace it. Try your best to keep your battery clean. Having dirt and grease build-up acts as a conductor which can drain the battery quicker. If you are parked for prolonged periods of time, be sure to start your car every so often to keep the battery level up. Checking your battery is a good to do, especially right before hitting the road for a long trip.
  3. Engine Cooling System: Do a quick look to see if your engine coolant level is full and the liquid doesn’t look dirty. If the coolant level is below the marked line or the fluid isn’t green or orange, then your car can overheat. It is always good to replenish the coolant every so often, especially during these summer months.
  4. Lights and Signals: Make sure that all your headlights and signal lights are working and shining brightly. This is a good way to check to make sure the alignment of your lights is spot on. Do a good cleaning of your headlight covers every once in awhile so they can shine bright like a diamond.
  5. Air Filters: No one wants to breathe in gross air, especially in a confined place like a car. Clean both your engine air filter and your car’s cabin filter. Depending on your air filter type (dry v. oiled) you can use either a vacuum to get the dust and dirt or use a cleaning solution to rinse it off. Having a clean air filter will improve your vehicle’s performance and efficiency.

Say hello to summer and feel confident when driving your car. Performing regular safety checks on it will keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. If you find that your car is parked in the driveaway during these hot days, more than it’s driving around then pay-per-mile auto insurance might be the perfect fit for you. Our low-mileage customers save on avg. $611 a year when switching to Metromile. Get a free quote now.

Kelsey Glynn is a blogger and owner of Social Graces, a business to support others in their social media needs. She is a contributing blog writer for East Valley Moms Blog, a social media content creator, and an avid photo taker. She is Metromile’s Senior Social Media Advocate and helps to maintain our online communities. You can catch her adventuring around AZ and living the mom life on Instagram.

The Complete Guide to Adapting Your Vehicle

Whether you have a disabled family member or you yourself are living with a disability, you know that disabilities come with their own set of challenges. However, being disabled doesn’t automatically mean that you need to give up your freedom and hand over your car keys. Now more than ever, there are technologies available to adapt vehicles to meet your specific needs. These new technologies will continue to broaden opportunities for people with disabilities to drive safely and comfortably. Your vehicle should act as a workhorse in your life, and the good news is that adapting your vehicle to suit your disability is now simpler than ever.

The-Complete-Guide-to-Adapting-Your-Vehicle

Don’t know where to start? Here at Metromile, we believe that all of our customers should feel empowered to take to the open road with confidence. That’s why we’re here to answer questions you didn’t even know you had about adapting your vehicle to fit your needs. Here’s a breakdown of what types of tools, technology, etc., that you’ll need to adapt your vehicle. Let’s get into it!

Evaluate Your Needs

The first step in this process is evaluating what your needs are. A driver rehabilitation specialist will perform a comprehensive evaluation and will determine the adaptive equipment that best fits your needs. See how to get in touch with a specialist here!

Here’s what you can expect the specialist to evaluate:

  • Vision
  • Coordination and reaction time
  • Muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion
  • Judgement and decision-making abilities

The specialist will also assess your ability to drive with the adaptive equipment and how the equipment will wear on your body over time. Once finished with the evaluation, the specialist will provide a comprehensive report containing driving requirements/restrictions, as well as specific recommendations for future adaptive equipment.

Finding the Right Vehicle

Now comes the fun part – car shopping! Finding the right vehicle to meet your needs doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Keep the following in mind when you’re car shopping and you’ll be good as gold.

Here are the questions to ask when shopping for a vehicle:

  • Does the vehicle have the cargo capacity to accommodate and carry the equipment you require?
  • Does the vehicle have the space and capacity to accommodate your family members or other passengers when it is loaded/modified with the equipment you require?
  • Will there be adequate parking space at home and work to fit the vehicle? How about when you’re loading/unloading a wheelchair? What if you use a walker?
  • Are there any additional options that are necessary for the vehicle to be safely operated?

There are also some features that you can look for in a potential vehicle, such as:

  • High or extra-wide doors
  • Large interior door handles
  • Adjustable foot pedals
  • Large/oversized knobs with clearly marked labels
  • Support handles to assist with entering and exiting the vehicle (there are even handy tools that fit in most car door jambs!)
  • Seat adjusters that can move in all directions
    • Specifically, a seat adjuster that can raise the seat so the driver’s line of sight is 3 inches above the adjusted steering wheel
  • Dashboard-mounted ignition (rather than steering column-mounted ignition)

Remember that your mobility equipment dealer and your driver rehabilitation specialist are qualified to ensure the vehicle you select can be modified to meet your adaptive equipment needs.

Safety Tips

As a rule of thumb: both new and advanced drivers will need safety training on how to use the new adaptive equipment. Literature and off-road training will not be sufficient, as most types of adaptive equipment are quite complex. It is important to meet with your driver rehabilitation specialist for on-the-road training of your new equipment because they have the expertise and extensive knowledge of adaptive technologies.

Additionally, make sure that your vehicle is always in tip-top condition before hitting the road. Keep a running checklist and be sure to check it often for things such as:

  • Proper tire pressure
  • Frequent oil changes
  • Fluid levels (power steering, brake fluid, and engine coolant)

Keep in mind that your adaptive equipment may need more frequent check-ups or special attention than the rest of your regular vehicle maintenance!

Remember: just because life handed you or a family member a disability does not mean that you have to give up all of your freedom. There are so many great adaptive technologies available now, the key is figuring out with ones are right for you. Be sure to check out Metromile to get a free quote – it only takes a moment and could end up saving you a pretty penny! Be safe and see you on the roads!

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram