Winter Weather Driving Safety Tips

As temperatures dip, it can become harder and less convenient to get through everyday life. But aside from the unpleasant chill in the air, cold weather can mean real road hazards that put your safety at risk. Every year, far too many drivers lose their lives to wintertime accidents. But by taking a few preventive measures and precautions, you can greatly reduce your risk and feel safer behind the wheel, no matter the season.

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Here are the top 10 cold weather driving safety tips you need to know:

    1.Keep your car in top shape. Be sure your battery, tire tread, and windshield wipers are all up to snuff, and put no-freeze fluid in your washer reservoir. Keep your windows clear, check your antifreeze, and always be sure to keep your gas tank at least half full in case you need to run your engine to stay warm in the event of a breakdown.

    2.Pack the right supplies. Everyone should have a flashlight, jumper cables, blankets, and flares on hand, and if you live in a snowy region, your trunk should pack an ice scraper, snow shovel, sand or salt.

    3.Plan your route. Even if you know exactly where you’re going, check weather conditions, traffic, accident reports, and other factors that may impact your trip.

    4.Adjust your speed accordingly. When weather conditions change, it’s important to stay present and in tune with your surroundings; you may need to drive slower than average to stay safe and in control. Remember that posted speed limits apply to dry roads, not those covered in ice or snow, so let your sense dictate your speed; not necessarily the signs.

    5.Keep a safe amount of space between you and other vehicles. Stopping distances are longer on icy roads-driving too close behind another car can result in a rear-end crash.

    6.Know how to get unstuck. If you do get stuck in the snow, avoid spinning your wheels; this will just dig you deeper into the slush. Figure out the simplest way to dig yourself out of the hole and clear the snow in front of and behind all four tires before spreading sand or kitty litter to provide instant traction. As you maneuver the vehicle out, keep your front tires straight so you’ll encounter less resistance.

    7.Be prepared for a skid. Skidding on an icy road can be scary, but it’s important to stay as calm as possible so you can move through the important safety steps: avoid slamming on your brakes, take your foot off the gas, and steer in the direction you want to go. Allow the car to slow down so you can regain control.

    8.Know your brakes. Being aware of the type of brakes you have will dictate how you use them: if you have anti-lock brakes, you can apply steady pressure, but if you have non-anti-lock brakes, you’ll need to pump them gently so you avoid locking them and losing control.

    9.Take on hills the right way. You may be tempted to power up a hill, but using extra gas on a snowy incline can cause your wheels to spin. Instead, gain some inertia on flat road before you reach the hill, and as you reach the peak, reduce your speed (but don’t stop!) so you can head downhill as slowly as possible.

    10.If possible…stay home. The only way to completely eliminate the risk of cold weather driving is to avoid it whenever possible. If you don’t absolutely have to get behind the wheel, don’t-even if you’re an excellent wintertime driver, others on the road may not be as skilled.

Bundle up, stay warm, and be safe out there – and if you haven’t checked out Metromile, get a free quote now.


Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

Snow Tires vs. Chains: Everything You Need to Know

With winter firmly planting her feet in for the next six weeks (thanks, Punxsutawney Phil), it’s time to get serious about your tire choices and how it will affect your ability to travel. Four wheel drive or all-wheel drive: it doesn’t matter how powerful your car is – if the tires have zero traction, then you’ll be on the road to going nowhere fast. If you live somewhere that gets dangerously slick during the winter, having reliable traction is a must. The real question then becomes: snow tires or chains – which form of traction is better?

Snow-Tires-vs.-Chains-Everything-You-Need-to-Know

The debate has been going for years, with both having their benefits and disadvantages. Let’s weigh in on the pros and cons of both to help you make an informed decision this winter!

    Non-Studded Snow Tires:

  • Pros:There’s no doubt about it – snow tires provide excellent traction on snowy and icy road conditions. Non-studded snow tires perform extremely well on ice and packed snow. In particular, non-studded snow tires also perform well on dry roads, making them a great multi-purpose option. Additionally, they won’t cause any damage to dry roadways (which is a feature unique to non-studded snow tires).
  • Cons: They’re pricey. Not only will you have to fork out cash for the tires themselves (and they’re not cheap), but you will also need to front the cost of having them professionally installed and removed at the start and end of the season. Non-studded snow tires also do not provide great traction in deep snow and wear out faster when driven on dry pavement.
  • Studded Snow Tires:

  • Pros: Studded snow tires are also an excellent form of traction in the wintertime. The metal studs on the tire grip the snow and ice even better than non-studded snow tires. Just like non-studded snow tires, they are a very reliable option for navigating treacherous roadways; in addition to providing better traction and handling, the studs provide an additional point of contact on slick surfaces like ice and compacted snow.
  • Cons: Studded snow tires have proven to be quite damaging to dry pavement and should only be used when driving in slippery conditions. These tires may even be illegal in some states – or if they are legal, it’s only during certain months of the year (depending on your region). They are also quite pricey and like non-studded snow tires, you will need to pay to have them professionally installed and removed.
  • Chains:

  • Pros: First, chains are substantially less expensive than snow tires – to some folks, that fact alone may tip the scales in favor of chains. Chains also provide the greatest amount of traction on ice, packed snow, and deep snow (in which snow tires do not have the advantage). Another great feature of chains: you can easily install and remove them yourself! This makes them a fantastic option if you don’t typically need winter weather traction and are only traveling through inclement conditions temporarily.
  • Cons: If you have chains on your tires, you should not (and in some places, cannot) drive on dry pavement. Driving on dry pavement with chains will not only damage the roadway but will be a bone-rattling experience for all inside the vehicle. Some people equate driving with chains on dry pavement to the feeling of driving with square tires – yikes! While in use, you should plan to drive at a very low speed and should only use them when absolutely necessary, to avoid potential damage to your vehicle.

Non-studded, studded, or chains – one size definitely does not fit all! When weighing these options, consider the pros and cons to determine which would best fit into your lifestyle. Also, be sure get a quick free quote with Metromile now. Be safe out there this winter 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 to Prepare Your Car For Winter

Winter is coming? No, my friends (and Game of Thrones fans) – winter is here. From your car door freezing shut to navigating ice-covered roads, there’s no doubt that winter weather can seriously take a toll on the health of your car. If you didn’t get a chance to winterize your vehicle this fall (#nojudgement), there’s no time like the present to remedy that. Before going into hibernation this season with Netflix at Club Couch, make sure your car is in tip-top shape to handle anything the winter weather blasts your way — If for no other reason than you know, to ensure you’ll be able to replenish your Netflix snacks.

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Step One: The Annual Physical

While you were out having fun in the sun and sand this past summer, your car was still working hard for you. Since you make it a priority to get yourself an annual physical, you should absolutely make it a priority that your vehicle gets a checkup as well. Bringing your car in for a tune-up will ensure that all fluid levels are correct and your vehicle’s battery has enough juice – two things that are super important, especially in the wintertime. Without proper fluid levels (antifreeze, oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, and coolant), your vehicle may be in serious trouble; having enough charge in the battery will ensure you’re not stranded with a car that won’t start. Windshield wipers and headlights/taillights should also be checked to ensure the highest quality visibility in winter conditions.

Also, be sure to have the pads on your brakes checked, particularly if you have an older car with a lot of mileage. Two of my previous cars had brake failure, so it’s of the utmost importance to get this checked – especially in older cars and especially during winter when road conditions are poor.

Step Two: The Lincoln Test

Just when you thought pennies were the most useless of all American currency, they come through in the clutch! If you’re opting to keep your current tires on your car throughout the winter season, do the ‘Lincoln Test’ to ensure your treads are up to snuff. Simply place the edge of a penny into the tread of your tire with the top of Lincoln’s head facing toward the car. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head with the penny fully inserted into the tread, then your tires won’t last you through the season. Consider swapping them out for snow tires or all-season tires, which will be much more reliable in winter weather than standard tires.

Step Three: Oil Switch

Depending on where you live, this step may be optional. The general rule of thumb is this: the colder the weather, the thinner your oil should be. The viscosity level of engine oil is noted by the first number in the name – for example, a 5W-30 oil is less viscous than a 10W-30 oil and therefore performs better in the winter months. Switching out your oil for a less-viscous option may be a prudent move if you live somewhere that gets wicked cold (can you tell that I’m a New Englander?). This tip also applies to transmission fluid, so be sure to get both checked out!

Step Four: Wax On, Wax Off

You know the stuff that your city sprinkles on the roads before a snowstorm? That stuff is a magical combination of sand and salt – both of which can desiccate and decimate your vehicle over time! Salt is extremely corrosive, and sand can ruin a paint job, so we recommend getting a fresh coat of wax on your car before the snow flies. Most of the damage can happen on the undercarriage of the car as well, so be sure to look for a wax product that will protect behind the wheels, the quarter panels, and front grille in addition to the body of the car.

Step Five: In Case of Emergency

Keeping an emergency kit in your car is a good idea all year round. However, you will need to make a few modifications during winter months to make sure you’re covered in case you get into an accident or your car breaks down. Winter-specific items to add to your emergency kit include: a snow brush/ice scraper, flashlight, warm hat and winter gloves, a bag of sand (this can help give traction if you get stuck), small shovel, extra coolant, a blanket, jumper cable, road flares, and waterproof matches or a lighter. Always good to throw in some energy bars and bottled water, too!

TL;DR – your vehicle needs year-round TLC, but it is especially important during the winter months to keep you safe and get you where you need to go. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Metromile and get a free quote. Stay safe out there and we’ll 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 Tips for Windshield Crack Prevention and What To Do When You Can’t Stop It From Happening

As a car owner and driver, there are many factors outside of your control. From fender benders to a dented door from a runaway shopping cart in a parking lot, car ownership can be an incredibly stressful endeavor. However, if you put in the effort and nurture your car, it will return the favor tenfold and provide you with years of worry-free bliss (almost like life’s best relationships!).

5-Tips-for-Windshield-Crack-Prevention-and-What-To-Do-When-You-Cant-Stop-It-From-Happening

One of the most common car ailments in the United States is a cracked or chipped windshield. Something that starts as the smallest crack can turn much worse over time and end up costing insurance policyholders a ton of money. Did you know that the most frequent vehicle claim submitted to insurance companies is glass damage, at the rate of 7.5 million incidents per year? Additionally, 80 percent of those claims are windshield damage versus side or back glass. All it takes is one small chip in your windshield to lead to total disaster.

The first step in any health endeavor, including the health of your car, is prevention. Preventative car maintenance is akin to preventative medicine. You try and get a flu shot every year, so why not pay the same attention to the health of your car? Take a proactive step and follow our best tips for preventing windshield cracks and chips.

5 Tips for Preventing Windshield Cracks:

    1. Take the road less traveled. Your likelihood of getting a chip or crack while traveling on a highly trafficked highway or freeway is much higher due to the dirt and debris being kicked up by other vehicles. Personally, I’ve had two chips and cracks in the windshield of my current car and both occurred while driving on the highway. If you have the time, try to take a less trafficked route to minimize your chances of your windshield getting damaged by an errant high-velocity pebble!

    2. Keep your distance. If you do have to travel on the highway (sometimes there’s no way around it!), be sure to give yourself plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you – especially if it’s a large semi or dump truck. Four wheels have a higher likelihood of kicking up debris; many large wheels not only kick up more rocks and debris, but throw them further, too. Also, don’t rely on mudflaps to protect you from harm. Even though it is a requirement for large trucks to have them, not all do – and sometimes the mudflaps the trucks do have are ripped or torn.

    3. Take it slow. While it’s obvious that windshield damage occurs when rock or debris hits your windshield, it is actually the forward motion of the car that hits the rock that causes the impact. In addition to keeping your distance behind large vehicles that spin up debris, taking it slow will reduce the chances of a flying rock doing some serious damage to your windshield.

    4. Avoid gravel. This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but hitting a patch of gravel can happen to the best of us. If you live in a cold and snowy climate, take care to notice when the gravel trucks come out before a big storm and proceed with caution. Don’t follow a truck that is throwing down gravel and salt on the roads – try to take a detour if you can!

    5. Made in the shade. A scorching hot day can only exacerbate weakened or brittle places in windshield glass. If you think you have a weak spot or potential crack starting to form in your windshield, try parking in the shade. The cooler temps will keep potential cracks from expanding and protect your windshield from further damage.

So, let’s say you’ve managed to follow all these tips and you still get a crack or chip – it can happen to anyone! When you’ve done all you can and you can’t manage to stop it from happening, here are some tips to help keep it from spreading.

5 Tips for What To Do When You Can’t Stop It From Happening:

    1. Assess the situation. Is the crack small or large? In your line of sight and obstructing your view? If a crack at all interferes with your ability to safely operate your vehicle, tend to the damage right away by taking your car to a repair shop – or better still, call for roadside assistance (which segues nicely into my next point…)

    2. Switch to Metromile. One of the many benefits of switching your car insurance to Metromile is the 24/7 roadside assistance service we provide, which covers windshield and glass repair. If you happen to find yourself in a situation where your windshield is cracked and needs immediate repair, just know that Metromile will be there to help you every step of the way!

    3. Smooth sailing. If you’ve assessed the damage and the crack is smaller than a dollar bill (or the chip is smaller than a quarter) and is not obstructing your view, the integrity of the windshield hasn’t been compromised and probably does not require replacement . However, take it easy on bumpy roads, speed bumps, and even opening and closing your car doors and trunk. Any additional vibrations to the car may cause the windshield crack to spread.

    4. Avoid extremes. Subjecting your cracked or chipped windshield to extreme temperature fluctuations will cause the glass to expand and contract, potentially turning even the smallest crack into a giant issue. Keep your defroster or air conditioner at a moderate temperature instead of blasting hot or cold air onto the windshield problem area.

    5. Hire a professional. Many windshield repair shops will have a technician come to you who can fix the crack or chip on the spot and in under 30 minutes. Contact your insurance company to find out what kinds of repairs are covered under your policy, and they should have you on your way in no time!

Bottom line:

Windshield cracks and chips are dangerous and can lead to much more serious problems if not addressed right away. If you follow our suggestions for crack and chip prevention and yet still manage to get one (it happens!), always assess the situation and know your options for repair. Better yet, contact Metromile to learn more about their windshield repair policy and to get a quote today!

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.

What To Do When You are Locked Out of Your Car

Car lockouts happen all the time, for all sorts of reasons. You might lock your keys in your car or lose them altogether. Your door locks or the key could break suddenly. It doesn’t matter if you are on a road trip or just on your way back from the grocery store, these things can happen with no warning. But when you are locked out of your car, it is important to remain calm and not to do anything that will damage your vehicle or cause you to injure yourself. Instead, take a look at some professionally recommended tips for getting back into your locked car.

    1. Troubleshoot Your Locks

    No matter the reason you have found yourself locked out of your car, you might be able to find a way back in by simply checking all of the doors. If your key is in the car or lost, there might be a door lock that did not close properly. Be sure to check that every door or window was successfully locked. If you do get in this way, be sure to fix the malfunctioning lock once you’ve retrieved your keys, as unlocked cars are the leading causes of car break-ins.

    If you have your keys, but your car door lock is broken or malfunctioning, try the other lock cylinders on your vehicle. Even if you don’t have a hatchback, you might be able to get into your car to unlock the doors through the trunk. Also, be sure to use your physical key (if you have one) to try to unlock the door, as there may be an issue with your car’s remote.

    2. Phone a Friend

    If you are nearby any friends or family, don’t hesitate to give them a call. Being locked out of your car can put you in a vulnerable position, even if it does not seem like a full-blown roadside emergency. You are put at risk by having to potentially get help from strangers or stand by the side of the road, so it is always a good idea to let people in your life know where you are and the situation you are facing.

    Best case scenario: one of the people you contact has a spare key you can use to get the car open without further incident. But even if they do not have a key, they may be able to bring you some supplies to help you manually unlock the door. Some tools that you might find helpful include; shoelaces (or comparable string), a door stop, and a wire coat hanger, to name a few.

    3. Use Your Shoelace

    This method requires your car to have post locks, which are the type of locks that stick straight up on the window-sill. You pull up to unlock them and can clearly see them from outside the car. If you have that style of lock, start by removing your shoelace. Eyeball around 5 inches from the middle of the lace. Tie a slip knot at that point. Work the shoelace between the door and the doorframe of the car at the midpoint, holding one end of the lace at the top of the window, and the other end on the side where the door would open.

    It will take a bit of finesse, but using a flossing motion, you should be able to loop the slip knot around the post lock. Then pull on both ends of the shoelace to grip the post and pull upward while continuing to restrict/tighten the knot. If you don’t have shoes with laces, ask the people you’re with.

    4. Reach Tool Inside

    Out of all the tips for purchasing a car, chances are you did not consider whether your vehicle had post locks or not. If your car doesn’t, don’t worry, you can still use another DIY-friendly method to get back into your locked car. You will need a wedge-shaped object (a rubber door stop will suffice), and a thin, strong, rod-like tool. Create a gap between your door and the door frame with the wedge and then insert the long-reach tool into the gap to try and manipulate the lock.

    You’ll want to place a small piece of fabric over the wedge so that inserting it does not scuff any part of the car. Also, do not make the gap too wide or hold it open too long, as this could damage the door or the window glass. If you can get something like a wire hanger, you might be able to bend the reach tool to work better/faster.

    5. Get Professional Help

    Any of the professionals listed below can come to your location, but you do need to know where your car is. Using the GPS function on your Metromile App, you can locate your car even if you had to leave it to get a signal. For customers with roadside assistance support, help will come to your location and open your car.

    In some areas, the police will respond to non-emergency car lockouts, but it is best not to clog up the line if there nothing pressing about the situation (such as a child locked in the car). For those who do not have roadside assistance, you can contact a car locksmith. They will be able to open your car without causing harm, fix any broken locks that may have led to this predicament, and make you new keys if yours have been lost or broken.

There are a lot of ways to open a locked car and the options listed here are the easiest to execute and present the least amount of risk of harm to yourself and/or your vehicle. I do not recommend breaking the window, as this presents both of these risks. And tools that enter the car door, such as slim jims, are a bit risky nowadays as modern cars have many important wires stored in these spaces. Stick to these five methods and you will be able to get your car open safely.

Ralph Goodman is a security expert and lead writer for the Lock Blog, the #1 locksmith blog on the Internet. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about locks, safety and security. They offer tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, homeowners, locksmiths, and security professionals. Ralph has been featured widely throughout the web on sites such as Business Insider, Zillow, Bluetooth, Apartments.com, CIO and Safewise.

10 Ingenious Car Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier

While everyone around you is hyper-focused on doing things bigger, better, and bolder in the new year, why not commit to doing things smarter — at least when it comes to your car? Enter the life hack: a simple, straightforward shortcut to tackling everyday activities in a more efficient, effective way. You probably already punctuate your regular routine with life hacks (tip: keep an ice tray full of coffee cubes in your freezer and your iced lattes will never taste watered down again), but did you know there are tons of ways to improve your life behind the wheel? Car hacks can save you time and money, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite for the new year.

Ingenious Car Hacks

You spend a fair amount of time in your car, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep it in top shape. Here are 10 ingenious car hacks to rev up your life in 2018:

    1. Clean dirty headlights with toothpaste. Skip the pricey car wash and scrub down dingy lights with an old toothbrush. Let the suds sit for a bit, then rinse the foam away with clean water. You’ll have shiny, bright lights to lead you through the night — no overpriced wash required.

    2. Spot-treat dings with nail polish. There’s nothing worse than finding a sizeable scratch on a pristine paint job. But there’s no reason to shell out cash for a touch-up. Simply grab a similar shade of nail polish at your local drug store and camouflage the issue.

    3. Use a toilet plunger to remove dents. Seriously! This may not fix major damage, but if you have a small dent in one of the door panels, the suction of the plunger might be enough to pull things back into place.

    4. Keep your food warm in the passenger seat. You may not think of your vehicle as a hot plate, but why not maximize its uses? The next time you pick up a pizza, turn on your seat warmers to keep the contents toasty.

    5. Cool down without blasting the A/C. If you’re trying to conserve gas, the last thing you want to do is run the air conditioning nonstop. If it’s sweltering inside your car, try rolling down one window and opening and closing the opposite side door a few times. You’ll let the heat out and fan in cooler air — for free.

    6. Hold your key fob to your chin to find your car. Okay, if this one sounds like you’re being punk’d, bear with us: it turns out that holding the metal key part of the fob against your chin while pressing the remote button turns your fluid-filled head into an antenna. You’ll gain a few more feet of signal range to reach your car door.

    7. Defrost your windshield with kitchen ingredients. Mix up a solution that’s two parts vinegar, one part water and spray it on your icy windshield. You’ll defrost the glass; no scraping required.

    8. And use hand sanitizer for keyholes. Carry a tiny bottle of alcohol-heavy hand sanitizer to instantly melt icy door locks.

    9. Use a tennis ball for perfect parking. If you can never quite seem to intuitively guide your car into the right spot in your garage, try hanging a tennis ball from the ceiling. Fix the string so the ball sits lightly in middle of your windshield when you’re perfectly aligned, and use the ball as a parking guide each time.

    10. Tidy up with a cereal container. If you spend a decent amount of time behind the wheel, trash can pile up. Rather than letting food wrappers line your floors, invest in a plastic cereal container that you can store on the passenger side so you can store scraps in one (easily emptied) receptacle.

At Metromile, we’re all about car hacks to simplify and streamline your life. That’s why we created our smart driving app to optimize your trips, help you stay on top of your car’s health, and even give you street sweeping alerts in select cities. What other car hacks have you used that have worked? Share below in the comments! Not a Metromile customer yet? Get a free quote now!


Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

Away From Your Car? Here’s How to Keep it Protected

This week in preparation for holiday travels we wanted to share some car tips about keeping your car in the best shape when you aren’t using it at all. If you have a car, and don’t use it very much, you could save big on car insurance with Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance. Get a free quote now!

Mercedes Benz at Airport Parking Lot. Car Tips

Cars are wonderful instruments of convenience. They allow us to live freely, save time and stay connected to the people we’re closest to. That’s why it’s ironic the troubles a car can cause you if you’re leaving for an extended amount of time. There are plenty of reasons why a person might leave their car. We all have demanding responsibilities to our families and work that might demand unique things from us. Vacations, moving between states – the list goes on and on.

But cars aren’t meant to be neglected. Leaving without preparing and securing your car could give you fits once you return. A new battery is nearly a given and you might even run into more severe issues like engine trouble. You can save yourself that headache with a little know-how. Here are our top car tips for keeping your car in tip-top shape when it isn’t being used.

    Car Tips: Storage

    The first issue is pretty simple: Where can I safely store my car? Many people opt to leave their car with a friend or family who can keep an eye on it and potentially drive it around a bit. This is a great solution if you can find something so convenient.
    There are still issues, however. A car that’s parked on a street for prolonged periods of time is always at risk of being towed. And if your car-sitter cannot make the time to give your vehicle’s engine a chance to heat up and work a bit, you’ll still need to make some precautions.
    Another option is a vehicle storage facility. This can include outdoor parking – like at an airport – or even something indoors. These facilities will provide you a secure location for your car with constant supervision. Depending on your needs and how long you’ll be gone, these are a great place to start.

    Car Tips: Security

    We all leave things in our cars that we use regularly. To save on the hassle of emptying your car and locking everything up tightly, picking the right place to monitor your car will be another major convenience.
    Take the time to look up local laws on parking and car ownership as well. It’s good to double check that sort of thing to prevent any issues. Especially considering you won’t be in town to fix any troubles that may arise.

    Car Tips: Preparing Your Car

    Sitting for prolonged periods of time isn’t healthy – and that’s just as true for cars. The battery will bleed away it’s charge, the gas can breakdown and moisture can damage car parts. But there’s plenty you can do to keep your car running smoothly once you return.

    • Disconnect the battery: By unplugging the negative charge of your battery, you’ll save yourself the trouble of needing a new battery once you return. The electronic parts of your car drain you battery slowly even when the car’s not being used. This is especially an issue in newer cars. Be sure to wrap the negative end in a thick cloth so it will not touch anything else.
      Note: If you are a Metromile customer we do not recommend unplugging your car battery as this will cause the Pulse device to stop sending us your mileage data. We do recommend you call us to let us know your travel plans so we can assist.
    • Top off your fluids: One of the biggest dangers to your car when you’re gone is moisture. Outside moisture can get into your gas tank, your engine, and plenty other placed where it can wreak havoc on your car over a prolonged time. By going to get your car serviced and your fuels topped off before leaving, moisture will have a more difficult time getting to the places where it can hurt your car the most. Another issue here is that impurities can leak to the engine. By putting in new fluids, you remove the possibilities of impurities that can hurt your car.
    • Get a full tank of gas and a fuel stabilizer : Remember that fluids thing? Same issue here. A full tank will repel outside moisture. Adding a fuel stabilizer is another great tip if you’ll be gone for a longer period of time.
    • Put the car on a jack :If you’re going to be gone for months, putting your car on a jack will save the tires. Tires can develop flat spots that render them faulty if left in one place for too long.
    • Cover it : Finally, make sure to cover your vehicle’s exterior. This is especially vital if you’re storing it outside. Dirt and other debris can leave stains on your paint if left for prolonged periods.

The easiest solution really is having a friend or family member help you with your car. But if you’ll be gone for longer than just a few weeks, it’s not always feasible. It’s always better to know how to treat your car and keep it safe.

Alex Briggs is a contributing writer for Ship a Car Direct.

4 Great Ways to Find the Best Mechanic

We use our cars to go pretty much everywhere. It’s our country’s lifestyle. Whether you need to visit the supermarket, friends, family, or any other need you might have, chances are you’re using your car. And that means we need our cars to work. Your vehicle gathers bumps and bruises from use just like you; the only problem is that these issues are much harder to diagnose in a car or truck. That’s why everyone needs the right mechanic to save them money, hassle, and heartache.

man working under VW bug. 4 Great Ways to Find the Best Mechanic

Not everyone’s a car part prodigy but finding right mechanic means you won’t ever have to be one. A skilled mechanic can teach you all the telltale signs to look for that require attention. Mechanics can be extremely helpful – so long as you know where to find the right one.

    1. Find the Best Mechanic: Look Around Online

    To start, look at review sites of mechanic shops. You can narrow in before you even begin searching in earnest by only researching shops where the staffs have all the certifications and accreditations for automotive repair work.

    It is also not a bad idea to investigate social media pages for mechanics, either. Social media has become an extremely valuable resource for businesses; a shop’s social media page will usually give a genuine feel for the people who work in the shop.

    Look for a shop that seems personable, friendly and at ease. You want a shop that’s comfortable with any and all questions you might have.

    2. Choose the Best Mechanic: Do They Have Enthusiasm for the Job?

    We’ve all seen people who were clearly unenthused about their job. In auto repair, that’s a kiss of death. Excitement and earnestness are crucial when you consider the job. A mechanic cannot just go through the motions; they must be thorough in searching for any and all issues with a car. Many vehicle issues are subtle or show only the barest signs of an issue before they become disastrous. If your mechanic’s simply plodding through their day, that won’t do at all.

    A good mechanic is one who enjoys working with machines on a daily basis. They’re passionate about their own vehicle and will talk cars all day long with you. Manual labor and grease are simply bonus perks that come with the job. If you find a passionate mechanic, stick with them and let them know you appreciate them.

    3. Understand your Mechanic: They Go Beyond Stating Problems

    There are many repair shops where you sit in your car and they’ll briefly run down the repairs before telling you how much to pay.

    But why are you paying? Didn’t they fix that thing last time? Why does it need repairing again?

    A good mechanic will actually explain these issues. They’ll go over the causes and help you plan to avoid the sorts of damage that you may be unwittingly afflicting to your vehicle. Some recurring problems are simply common with certain models. The best mechanics will stop to explain these issues and help you plan to prevent issues in the future.

    4. Love your Mechanic: They’ll Teach You Something About Your Car

    When you put yourself around people who are passionate about what they do, you’re bound to learn something.

    Experienced mechanics who enjoy their job and are usually happy to chatter about cars. Some mechanics may even bring you into the shop to show you the workings of your own vehicle. Don’t be surprised after a few visits to the right mechanic if you’re starting to pick up on some really technical details of car repair.

    That knowledge will only help you in taking better care of your car and doing the things that will allow it to run for a long time.

Visiting your mechanic shouldn’t feel like visiting the dentist. It should be a fun journey where most costs are offset by learning. A good mechanic won’t cost you money, after all. They’ll save it, instead.

Looking for other ways to save money on your vehicle? Metromile is excited to offer low mileage drivers a better option on car insurance with pay-per-mile. If you are driving 10,000 miles or less a year you could potentially see great savings with Metromile. To get a quote go to www.metromile.com/insurance and start by typing in your zip code.

Alex Briggs is a contributing writer for Newroadsautoloans.com.

10 Ways to Save on Your Vehicle

Buying – and running – a car is expensive, but it doesn’t have to leave you eating instant ramen for the next few years. While there are a lot of expenses that come with owning a car, like gas and insurance, there are also ways to shave down on these costs. Here are my top ten vehicle money-saving tips:

White convertible in parking lot overlooking view with dog in passenger seat. vehicle money-saving tips

    1. Save on gas

    It goes without saying that you shouldn’t drive like you’re in a “Fast and Furious” movie, right? Aggressively braking and accelerating really does eat into your gas. If you’re stuck in traffic often, something as simple as turning off your engine while you wait, or trying to drive less by using public transportation a few times per week, can save you a ton of money (and time!) in the long run.

    2. Make use of the apps out there

    There are a number of apps out there that tell you the prices of all the gas stations near you – use them to your advantage! GasBuddy is one of the most well-known apps, which uses crowdsourced data. Others include Gas Guru and Dash. Dash also tracks things like your fuel efficiency, too!

    Other apps like Repair P , Car Minder and the Metromile smart driving app can help keep your car in tip top shape. Repair Pal offers free estimates on car repairs and can help you find a local repair shop. Car Minder makes car maintenance easy with service reminders; the app also logs all service and repairs. Metromile’s smart driving app tracks your trip data, offers street sweeping alerts in select cities and can function as a vehicle health decoder – meaning no more pesky trips to the mechanic just to be told your tire pressure was low.

    3. Take up a side hustle

    Who can say no to a little bit of extra money coming in on the side? Side hustles are becoming popular, and for good reason. It can be anything from tutoring students, freelancing on sites like upwork or TaskRabbit, or even renting out a spare bedroom through sites like VRBO or AirBnB. If animals are more your thing, sites like Rover and Wag let you sign up to walk or watch fluffy companions for some extra cash. Putting that money toward your car will take a serious load off.

    4. Opt for pay-per-mile insurance

    Expensive insurance is a complete waste if you only use your car for short drives. Select a policy that is suited to how you use your car for huge money savings. Metromile, for example, caters perfectly to low-mileage drivers with pay-per-mile coverage that saves drivers an average of $500 per year!

    5. Rotate your tires

    Did you know that rotating your tires will make them last longer? A new tire is going to set you back around $80 – minimum – and that’s not even looking at the other three you’ll need! You want them to last as long as possible, right? Right.

    Front tires tend to wear down faster than back ones, and sometimes one side will be worse than the other. All you need to do is switch them around to even out the wear. Your owner’s manual should have the recommended tire rotation schedule, but it’s generally around 5,000 miles. You can do it yourself to really save money, or add it on during a service.

    6. See what repairs you can do yourself

    Thanks to YouTube, we now have millions of handy videos at our fingertips. Why not give being handy a try? Repairs like changing the battery, brake pads, windshield wipers, or replacing a headlight can be done by yourself. If you’re like me, it’s easier seeing it done in an instructional video than trying to decipher the written word. The Mechanic OC updates his page weekly and offers how-to’s for everything from replacing cracked spark plugs to checking wheel bearings. Forum sites like Reddit and Quora can also be great resources for expert level advice.

    7. When buying a car, don’t go for the cheapest one

    In the same way that buying cheap clothing means poor quality, buying a low-priced car isn’t always a good option. In the long run, you’ll end up paying more in repairs and may have to replace it after a shorter amount of time. A good quality car should last you at least six years (but hopefully more!).

    8. Think hard about new or used

    A study we conducted found that when you use an auto loan to buy a used car, you may save only $500 in interest when compared to buying new. This means that, in the long run, buying new may actually stretch your dollar further. Before making any decisions, weigh out the pros and cons of a new car or a used car for you. Everyone’s situation is unique so be sure to make the best financial choice for your wallet.

    9. Carpool when you can

    Sharing the driving with just one other person ultimately leads to savings. Do you have a colleague that lives close to you? A friend from school? Easy – carpool! Not only can you share gas, but you’ll save on the general wear and tear your car goes through. It’ll also reduce the mileage on your car.

    10. Keep up the maintenance!

    When your car is running fine, it can be hard to see the need for regular check-ups. However, skipping an oil change or ignoring that minor issue that could’ve been easily solved in one of these tune-ups could end up costing you a whole lot more down the road! Shop around to find a mechanic that won’t put you too much out of pocket.

Jennifer McDermott is the Consumer Advocate at personal finance comparison website finder.com. She has more than 12 years’ experience under her belt, where she’s analyzed consumer trends in the finance, lifestyle and travel industries. Jennifer loves to uncover interesting insights and issues to help people make better decisions with their money.

How to Prepare for a Roadside Emergency

It is a typical day. You are driving down Interstate 5 on your way back from work one evening when suddenly, something feels off. The steering wheel feels funny between your hands and the car begins to vibrate in a strange fashion. You find a safe location to pull over on the side of the road, only to realize your tire is going flat. What do you do?

Flat tires and other roadside mishaps aren’t all that uncommon, but preparing before you ever get behind the wheel can help alleviate the stress and potential dangers of a roadside emergency. The first step to help ensure your safety and get back on the road quickly is to secure a 24/7 roadside assistance program, like the one offered by Metromile that helps when you’re locked out, have a flat tire, or need a tow.

In addition, assembling a roadside emergency kit to keep in your car at all times means that you have the right tools at your fingertips to stay safe and get back on the road sooner, rather than later.

Here is a list of what you will need to prepare your own roadside emergency kit:

  • Jumper Cables – When your car doesn’t start a dead battery is likely the cause and a jumpstart can get you back on the road quickly. Make sure you know the steps to jump-starting a vehicle for safe operation of the equipment.
  • Triangle Reflectors – Safety is of the utmost importance and triangle reflectors help to warn other drivers of your presence on the side of the road in the instance of a breakdown. These warning triangles are collapsible, reducing the amount of space they take up in your car.
  • Spare Tire or Repair Kit – It is important to know if your car comes with a spare tire or a tire repair kit. If your car still has a spare tire, you should check that it is also stocked with a jack and lug wrench, which are necessary to install the spare. Make sure you know where your spare tire or repair kit is located by checking the owner’s manual.
  • Flashlight – A breakdown or other car emergency can occur at any time of the day or night. When it’s dark, a flashlight is crucial to being able to perform any work on your car. Make sure the flashlight has working batteries and even stock an extra pair for safe measure.
  • Tool Kit – The toolkit should include screwdrivers, pliers, and an adjustable wrench. These are all useful in fixing a roadside problem.
  • Ice Scraper – Depending on where you live, this may or may not be necessary, but if you live in a colder climate, it’s a good idea to keep an ice scraper in your vehicle to make sure you have a clear view of your surroundings from inside the car.

Take some time to educate yourself before encountering an actual roadside emergency. Gather supplies and read up on tasks and easy fixes, such as how to change a flat tire, to be better prepared. With proper planning and organization, a roadside assistance program (like Metromile’s optional roadside assistance add-on), an emergency kit will leave you with peace of mind. Learn more about Metromile’s Pay-Per-Mile insurance offering here.

This was a guest blog post contributed by National Dispatch. We rely on our cars daily for our transportation needs. However, in some cases, such as residential moves, corporate moves, and extended vacations, auto shipping is a better solution. National Dispatch is a nationwide auto transport company. Check out more information here: https://www.nationaldispatch.com