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Guide to Selling a Car in Virginia

If you live in the state of Virginia and are ready to upgrade your car, you want to figure out what to do next with your old car. You could always bring it to a dealership and trade it in but that might not be the best option for you financially. It’s convenient but if you want to get the most for your used car, it’s best to sell it on the private market. If you’re wondering about the process, here’s how to sell a car in Virginia.

How to Sell a Car In Virginia | Metromile

Step 1: Organize and clean your vehicle 

You have to do a little prep work as part of selling your car. That includes organizing and cleaning your vehicle. You want to get it ready for a new owner, so you want to:

  • Remove your personal belongings
  • Take out any trash
  • Vacuum the floor mats
  • Get a car wash 
  • Make any minor repairs like buffing out scratches

Once it’s clean and organized, you can take the next step to make sure it’s sell-ready. 

Step 2: Have a car photoshoot

You know the saying a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, it’s true especially when it comes to selling a car. When your car is clean and ready, take photos at various angles and viewpoints. 

Let a prospective buyer see the inside and outside and take any photos of parts of the car that may have some damage. You want to sell your car and make sure your photos look good but you also want to be upfront to avoid wasting anyone’s time. 

Step 3: List your used car on several car marketplaces 

Now that you have the photos to entice prospective buyers, you want to put those pretty photos on various car marketplaces. Put your images up, write a thorough yet succinct description of your car and press publish. Make sure that you include the year, make, and model and be honest about any potential issues with the car. 

You can list your used car on Autotrader, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and other local car sites in your area. 

After hitting publish, you want to respond in a timely manner to prospective buyers and answer their questions. 

Step 4: Get a vehicle history report and inspection, if applicable 

To make the selling process go smoother, you can get a Vehicle History Report from CarFax. This can show a comprehensive vehicle history and include things like any accidents or major repairs, previous sales, and more. The vehicle history report will help the buyer get a good idea of the car’s history and provide info they should know before making the purchase. 

On top of that, a prospective buyer may want to get the car inspected by a mechanic. If that’s the case, they’ll pay for it and likely go somewhere they feel comfortable with. It can add another layer to the process, but it means they’re serious, so be open about getting one scheduled if you’re asked. 

Step 5: Get your vehicle documentation in order 

As part of selling a car in Virginia, you need to have a valid vehicle title. If you lost your vehicle title, you’ll need to get a new one to make the sale happen. 

You can apply for a new title online here or fill out the “Application for Replacement and Substitute Titles” (VSA 67). You’ll also need to pay the replacement title fee of $15 as well. 

It’s important to note that if you have a lien on your car, you won’t be able to get the replacement title as it would go to the lienholder. You also can’t sell your car if you still have a balance on your car loan, so you want to make sure that’s taken care of before making moves to sell. 

Step 6: Accept payment and turn over title to the new owner 

When you have a serious buyer and your title is ready, you can settle on a price and accept payment. Once you do that, you need to sign your vehicle title in the Section A portion and include the full name and address of the buyer. 

You’ll also need to include the odometer reading and include the final price you’re selling the car for as well. The buyer will also need to sign the title and include their information as well. 

Step 7: Create and fill out a car Bill of Sale in Virginia

Though the Virginia DMV makes no mention of a car Bill of Sale in Virginia, you still want to create one yourself and fill it out to make sure you have a record of the transaction. 

To create your own car Bill of Sale in Virginia, you can use a template online and make sure that you and the buyer both fill it out, Make sure to create a copy for yourself. 

Step 8: Remove license plates and report the sale to the Virginia DMV

As the final step in the selling a car in Virginia process, you want to remove the license plates as those belong to you. If you have over six months left on your car registration, you may also be eligible for a partial refund. You can do that by completing the Application for Vehicle Registration Refund Form (FMS-210) and mailing it along with your license plates.

To make sure you’re absolved of all liability, be sure to report the sale of the vehicle to the Virginia DMV. You can do that online or by calling (804) 497-7100. Also, be sure to notify your car insurance that you’ve sold your vehicle as well. 

The bottom line 

Figuring out how to sell a car in Virginia can be a process. Using these eight steps, you can be guided through to make it easier. The most important part is the paperwork, especially the vehicle title, car Bill of Sale Virginia, as well as notifying the DMV. 

If you’re ready to buy a new set of wheels and get affordable car insurance after selling a car in Virginia, you can look at all your options. You may find that pay-per-mile coverage offers you steep savings. If you’re a low-mileage driver, check out Metromile for a free quote and start saving. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Your Guide to Street Cleaning San Francisco

You’re walking to your car and ready to start your day. You realize you’re one of the few cars on the street and then see the dreaded paper on your windshield — a ticket. Getting a ticket is annoying enough, but getting one because you forgot about street cleaning adds an extra layer of aggravation because it could be prevented. If you’re tired of paying for street cleaning tickets in San Francisco, here’s what you need to know about street cleaning in SF.

All You Need to Know About Street Cleaning San Francisco | Metromile

How does street cleaning in San Francisco work? 

Street cleaning is a way to reduce trash and pollutants. And with the case of San Francisco in particular, it’s a way to lower the number of contaminants that get into the sewer as well as in the Pacific Ocean. 

San Francisco Public Works is the entity that manages the street cleaning SF program. According to their website, street cleaning covers 150,000 curb miles and gets rid of 25,000 tons of trash and debris each year. In order to do this, there is a regular street cleaning schedule that is maintained. 

The schedule for street cleaning in SF is typically:

  • Once a week in residential areas 
  • If not once a week in residential areas, at least two times per month
  • Once a week street cleaning in commercial areas 

As part of street cleaning, you must move your vehicle for the streets to be properly cleaned. 

When is street cleaning in my area?

If you live in San Francisco and want to avoid the fate of a ticket, you want to know when street cleaning is so you can actually prepare for it. Here are your options to find out when street cleaning in SF happens. 

  • Look at the signs as you park. Yes, it can be like learning how to read a new language but looking at the data directly as you park is your best bet. Set a calendar reminder on your phone to move your car as you take note of the sweeping street day. 
  • Review the 2021 SF street cleaning schedule. San Francisco Public Works has a 2021 street cleaning schedule that gives you an idea of when street cleaning will happen and lists out SF street cleaning holidays. Check it out here. 
  • Check out SF street cleaning maps. If you want to know about street cleaning in your area or at a specific address, you can check out two different SF street cleaning maps. You can see the street cleaning schedule, parking info, safety rank, and risk level via You can also use this SF Find tool to check out what’s in a particular area, such as libraries and parks, as well as the street cleaning schedule. Simply select a neighborhood or input your specific address and scroll down to see the schedule for street cleaning. 

Taking these steps can help you get the information you need for your residence, work, or wherever you’re going to hang out.

How much is a street cleaning ticket in San Francisco?

Getting a street cleaning ticket is no fun any way you spin it. But when you see the cost, it can feel even worse. As of July 1, 2021, the cost of a street cleaning ticket in San Francisco is $85, according to the SFMTA. This is up from $83 as of January 1, 2021, and up from $68 from just five years ago (hello inflation!). If you get several street cleaning tickets in a year, that’s a few hundred bucks that can take a bite out of your budget. 

What are the street cleaning holidays? 

If there’s a holiday, you may be off the hook when it comes to street cleaning in SF. But that’s not always the case. The SFMTA website lists all holidays and includes whether parking meters, nightly street sweeping, and other programs are enforced or not enforced. We’ve listed the SF street cleaning holidays that are not enforced. Not on this list? Assume it’s enforced and you should move your car. 

SF Street Cleaning Holidays Status 
New Year’s Day (January 1, 2021, and 2022) Not enforced 
Thanksgiving Day (November 25, 2021)Not enforced 
Christmas Day (December 25th, 2021)Not enforced 

How to avoid getting street cleaning tickets in San Francisco?

If you keep getting hit with street cleaning tickets, you’re probably frustrated with how much money you’ve wasted. It’s not exactly cheap and is a nuisance. In order to avoid street cleaning tickets in San Francisco, be sure to stay on top of the street cleaning schedule. 

Also, Metromile customers can use the Metromile app to get up-to-date street sweeping alerts in San Francisco, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, as well as Chicago. 

Depending on the preference you choose, you’ll get a sweeping street alert 12 hours before by text, push notification, or via email. An additional alert may be sent an hour before the sweeping street begins to help you avoid that dreaded ticket and keep money in your pocket. If you’re not yet a Metromile customer, you can sign up and take advantage of this perk. 

Is it okay to park after the street sweeper passes by? 

If you’ve seen the street sweeper pass by, but it’s still technically within restricted hours, you might wonder if it’s okay to park or if it’s even legal. 

The answer, according to KQED is “yes”. However, don’t get too excited just yet. You may think the process is finished, but it’s not. The KQED article on the matter states there are four steps to street cleaning, which can confuse people:

  1. First, there is a broom support truck that goes by. 
  2. Then the street flusher. 
  3. Next in the queue — your mortal adversary — the citation officer (hey, but they’re just doing their jobs). 
  4. Then the actual street sweeper comes. 

So you might not want to test your luck if it’s still within the restricted parking window.

The bottom line 

Getting a street cleaning ticket is one of life’s greatest annoyances. Using this guide, you can check out the SF street cleaning map and know the SF street cleaning holidays where you can relax a little. Remember, you can sign-up for Metromile to make the process even easier and get alerts in real-time so you can say goodbye to tickets while also potentially saving money on car insurance. Get a free quote and learn more about our app.

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Guide to Street Cleaning Chicago

Getting a parking spot in a big city like Chicago can feel like a big win. But on certain days, if you don’t move your car you could be hit with a ticket, thanks to street cleaning in Chicago. During the brutal winter months in the Windy City, you get a little break from street sweeping, making it even harder to remember what the Chicago street cleaning schedule actually is. Read on to learn everything you need to know about street sweeping in Chicago.

What You Need to Know About Street Cleaning in Chicago | Metromile

How does street cleaning in Chicago work? 

Chicago’s Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) manages many of the city’s non-emergency departments, including the Bureau of Sanitation which oversees street sweeping Chicago. 

The city of Chicago uses mechanical street sweepers that work to clean and sanitize the streets from excess trash and debris. 

Given Chicago’s unique geography and notoriously difficult winters, Chicago has a street sweeping season that starts the first of April and goes to mid-November. 

When does street cleaning Chicago happen in my neighborhood?

In order to avoid pesky street cleaning tickets, you want to know when street cleaning happens in your neighborhood. The way street sweeping Chicago works is by ward. The city of Chicago is divided into 50 wards and offers a street cleaning map and the Chicago street cleaning schedule by ward. 

For example, this link shows you the street cleaning schedule for ward 1. Below is the Chicago street cleaning map for ward 1 as well. 


To find your particular Chicago street cleaning schedule and map, you can find it by ward here. You can also review this street sweeping zones map as well. For even more specificity, during weekdays this Sweeper Tracker Map shows real-time updates between the hours of 9am and 2pm local time. 

How much does a street cleaning ticket in Chicago cost? 

Getting a street cleaning ticket can be an unfortunate setback in your day and it’ll cost you a pretty penny. As of 2021, street cleaning tickets in Chicago cost $60 a pop and it’s the second highest ticket violation in the city. You might not have included paying parking tickets in your budget, so it could set you back. While one parking ticket won’t be the end of the world, it feels like a waste. Get more than one street cleaning ticket? It can add up fast and drain your finances

What are the Chicago street cleaning holidays?

Chicago street cleaning is a bit different in that it has a street sweeping season from April 1 to mid-November. Because of that, it basically skips over major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and MLK Day when it’s technically “off-season”. 

Aside from that, there is no published data on about street sweeping holidays, only the 2021 holidays for garbage collection are listed. So your best bet is to check the street sweeping tracker on any holidays that may fall between April and November such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. 

How do you avoid getting street cleaning tickets in Chicago? 

No one wants to pay $60 because they forgot to move their car for street sweeping. Having that happen more than once can become a real problem. That’s why it’s best to check out the Chicago street cleaning schedule and add those dates as calendar reminders on your phone. 

Metromile customers in Chicago get the added benefit of getting street sweeping alerts by text, email, or push notification both 12 hours before and 1 before the cleaning starts in your area. 

That way you have an extra helping hand to help you avoid another street sweeping ticket. Metromile offers pay-per-mile insurance ideally suited for city-dwellers who might be low mileage drivers. While you save money on car insurance, you can also stay in the know about street sweeping as well. 

Is it okay to park after the street sweeper passes in Chicago?

If you see the street sweeper pass your street in Chicago, you may wonder if you can move your car back and still avoid a ticket. The street sweeper has passed, so no harm, no foul, right? You might want to re-consider to be safe. There have been some reports of Chicagoans getting tickets despite the fact the street sweeper had passed. 

If the parking sign says no parking within specific hours, it’s best to stay away during that time frame. 

The bottom line 

If you live in Chicago and mostly take public transportation, you might forget about your car and the parking rules. But one you want to stay on top of is the street sweeping in Chicago to avoid unwanted parking tickets. Using Metromile, you can get alerts for free if you sign-up for pay-per-mile car insurance. You can save money on car insurance and get help staying on top of street sweeping alerts. Get your free quote to see how much you could save. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How to Sell a Car in Illinois in 6 Steps

If you live in the Windy City or the Illinois suburbs, you may consider either opting for public transportation or upgrading your vehicle. That may mean getting rid of the car you have now. You could go to a dealership and trade it in, but you may find you can get even more money by selling your car via a private car sale in Illinois. The used car market is still pretty hot and you can take advantage of this time to get even more for your vehicle. Here’s how to sell a car in Illinois and get started.

How to Sell a Car in Illinois | Metromile

Step 1: Get your car ready for selling 

The first thing you need to do is get your car ready for selling. When it’s your personal car you can do as you please and keep your favorite things in your car. It doesn’t matter if that Starbucks cup has been sitting there for a week. But when you’re getting ready to sell, it does. 

To get started selling a car in Illinois, take these steps to get it ready:

  1. Remove all trash from the vehicle. 
  2. Get a car wash. 
  3. Buff out any scratches. 
  4. Take out all personal belongings. 
  5. Take alluring pictures of your car. 

Taking these steps will help you get the car ready to sell and for prospective buyers to look at. People want to imagine themselves as the new owner and if you still have your own stuff in there, it’s tough to do that. So remove all of your stuff and get it nice and spiffy, ready for a new home. 

Step 2: Post the car for sale in various places 

Once your car is sale-ready, take your photos of your vehicle at various angles (with good lighting!) and post your car sale advertisement on various marketplaces. In addition to photos, you want to include a comprehensive description of the car including make, model, year, and condition. You want to avoid any “gotcha” moments with buyers so be upfront in the description. 

You can post the vehicle on places such as:

  • OfferUp
  • AutoTrader
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Any other local sites or publications

Once you hit publish, it’s time to sit back and wait for the buyers to roll in. 

Step 3: Agree to a vehicle inspection if asked 

Selling a car in Illinois means playing message ping pong with prospective buyers. Some people may be flaky and not that serious, while others might be serious and want to move forward. Typically serious buyers will want a vehicle inspection to make sure the car is good and as you described. 

If the buyer requests a vehicle inspection, agree to it and coordinate with them to make it happen. Buyers usually pay the price for that so you don’t necessarily have to worry about that but you want to be a willing participant if the buyer wants to take the next step to get the car checked. 

Step 4: Get your vehicle documents in order 

If the car selling process is getting serious, you want to make sure to get your vehicle documents in order. You’ll need the following as part of selling a car in Illinois, per the Illinois Secretary of State. 

When dealing with a private car sale in Illinois, you want to make sure you have all your vehicle documents ready to make the car selling process smoother. 

Step 5: Accept payment and hand over the signed title 

Once you have a serious buyer and you agree on a price, it’s time to accept payment and transfer the vehicle title. Get your money and hand over your vehicle title with your signature and the date. The buyer will need to sign and date as well. 

You also want to get the buyer’s info such as full name, address, and contact information in case there are problems down the road. 

You’ll need to submit an odometer disclosure as part of the title transfer. Give the buyer a Bill of Sale and keep one for your records as well. Lastly, you want to remove the license plates before handing over the vehicle to the new buyer. Your plates stay with you. 

Step 6: Mail the Notice of Sale form 

Once the car is no longer legally yours, you want to let the state of Illinois know that so you’re not on the hook for it anymore. 

You can use the Notice of Sale at the bottom of your title or use this Seller’s Report of Sale form and mail to:

Secretary of State 

Vehicle Services Department 

Record Inquiry Section 501 S. Second St., Rm. 408 

Springfield, IL 62756

On top of that, be sure to either update or cancel your car insurance. Your part will be done, but be aware that the buyer also needs to send title and tax info to the state of Illinois within 20 days. When the buyer does that, the whole process of selling a car will be complete. 

The bottom line 

If you’re wondering how to sell a car in Illinois follow these steps so that you have everything in order and you’re no longer liable for the vehicle. 

Once you’ve completed a private car sale in Illinois you might consider buying a new car. As part of buying a new car, you can also look into getting new insurance as well. You can get affordable car insurance with pay-per-mile coverage using Metromile and save big. Why pay for miles you aren’t driving, when you can get more accurate and appropriate coverage and pay a base rate and only for the miles you drive? Get a free quote to see if it’s a good fit for you. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

All you Need to Know About Street Sweeping in Los Angeles

Have you ever woken up in a cold sweat, filled with anxiety that you missed street sweeping in Los Angeles, again? Whether you’ve racked up a number of street sweeping tickets already or just want to avoid them and keep your budget intact, it’s important to be aware of street cleaning Los Angeles times and dates. Whether you live, work, or hang out in downtown, Koreatown, Hollywood, or elsewhere, you want to arm yourself with knowledge and be prepared to avoid those pesky tickets. Read on to learn more about how to prepare for street sweeping in Los Angeles as well as Los Angeles street sweeping holidays.

Guide to Street Cleaning Los Angeles | Metromile

How does street cleaning in Los Angeles work? 

Street cleaning in Los Angeles is managed by the Public Works department of Los Angeles County. According to the Bureau of Street Services in Los Angeles, there are 4,700 curb miles that have restricted parking areas in order to maintain street cleaning. 

The street sweeping process effectively removes trash and various types of pollutants from the streets, making areas of the city cleaner and more hygienic. Plus, it helps unwanted materials from getting into the storm drains and ultimately in the ocean. Given that LA’s beaches are one of the top perks of the city, it’s a win-win and a much-needed service. 

In Los Angeles, some areas have specific signs that denote when street sweeping is and that you shouldn’t park there. It can be a bit confusing as in other areas there aren’t signs but are still designated street sweeping times. That’s why it’s key to review the street sweeping map for your area (more on that later). 

Many areas have 1 to 2-hour blocks of time where you’re unable to park there due to street cleaning. 

If you don’t end up moving your car in time for street cleaning, you may get hit with a ticket and have to pay a fine. 

When is street cleaning in my area?

If you’re an LA resident, you want to know when street cleaning is happening in your area. The first thing to note is that as of May 1, 2021, the street sweeping schedule in Los Angeles changed to twice a month in residential areas, however many major streets still have street cleaning once a week. 

To check the street cleaning schedule in Los Angeles, you can look at the Los Angeles map here. 

Street Cleaning Los Angeles Map

Source/credit: LA County Department of Public Works website 

You can also review this calendar by the Bureau of Street Services to see the 2021 Los Angeles street sweeping schedule. You can also view this Los Angeles County Public Works Residential Street Sweeping Calendar for 2021 all the way up until 2026. 

You can also check out this street sweeping routes in Los Angeles map. Additionally, you can check out specific addresses here and even sign up for notifications in your area about street cleaning. 

How much is a street cleaning ticket in Los Angeles?

Getting a street cleaning ticket in Los Angeles isn’t exactly cheap at $73 a pop. That means every time you miss street sweeping and don’t move your car, you could get hit with a $73 ticket. If you get a ticket every few months, that’s several hundred dollars a year. 

What are the Los Angeles street sweeping holidays?

There are certain Los Angeles street sweeping holidays that can offer you a break from having to move your car. According to the Public Works of LA County website, the following are observed holidays:

  • New Year Day* – January 1
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day – Third Monday in January
  • President’s Day – Third Monday in February
  • Memorial Day – Last Monday in May
  • Cesar Chavez Day – Last Monday in March
  • Independence Day* – July 4
  • Labor Day – First Monday in September
  • Indigenous People Day – Second Monday in October
  • Veteran’s Day – November 11
  • Thanksgiving Day – Fourth Thursday in November
  • Day After Thanksgiving – Fourth Friday in November
  • Christmas Day* – December 25

The asterisks refer to when the holidays are observed based on the day they fall on. The holidays with asterisks that occur on a Saturday are observed on the previous Friday. If it happens to fall on a Sunday, the holiday is observed on the Monday after. 

How to avoid getting street cleaning tickets in Los Angeles?

Getting a street cleaning ticket is no one’s idea of a good time and can turn a perfectly fine day into an annoying one. If you want to avoid street cleaning tickets in Los Angeles, you can:

  • Put calendar reminders in your phone
  • Sign-up for street sweeping notifications
  • Use the Metromile app to get alerts about street sweeping in your area. Metromile customers get the added benefit of getting text, email, or push notifications about street sweeping 12 hours ahead of time and also 1 hour ahead, to make sure you move that car and avoid that ticket! Metromile has your back and uses local data to ensure you’re alerted when the street sweeper is on its way. As a customer, you get to pay for only the miles you drive plus a low base rate and get reminders for street sweeping to keep money in your pocket. 

Is it okay to park after the street sweeper passes? 

If you’re waiting until the street sweeper passes to move your car back, you might want to think again. According to the Public Works site, a parking enforcement officer is within their rights to give you a citation during the no parking period whether the street sweeper has passed or not. The best way to avoid a street sweeping ticket in Los Angeles is to not park during the restricted hours. 

The bottom line 

If you live in the City of Angels, you’re well aware of the importance of becoming fluent in reading parking signs and understanding when street sweeping in Los Angeles occurs. The street sweepers come and the officers can be ruthless, so you want to do your part to avoid a ticket and move your car on time. Using Metromile, you can get alerts without all the hassle and also may get more affordable coverage depending on how much you drive. Get a free quote today and consider making the switch. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How to Get Into a Locked Car

You go to your car and you have the unfortunate realization that you’re locked out. Maybe you locked your keys in the car or the keys are lost or in a mere moment, the keys break in what feels like a freak accident. You want to scream internally, but you try to remain calm. What do you do? It doesn’t matter if you’re on a road trip or just on your way back from the grocery store, these things can happen with no warning at all. Though it can be annoying and frustrating, here are some tips for how to get into a locked car.

Locked Keys In Car? Here’s What To Do Next | Metromile

1. Troubleshoot Your Locks

If you realize, “OMG, I locked my keys in my car” and are starting to freak out, the first step is to breathe. The next step is to troubleshoot your locks. The good news is you might be able to find a way back in by simply checking all of your car doors. 

If you locked keys in car or lost them, there might be a door lock that did not close properly. Try all of the car doors and windows to see if you can get in. If you’re successful and do get in this way, great! Just be sure to fix the malfunctioning lock once you’ve retrieved your car keys, as unlocked cars are one of the top causes of car break-ins.

If you have your keys on you, but your car door lock is broken or malfunctioning, you can try getting into the car through your trunk. 

Even if you don’t have a hatchback, you might be able to get into your car to unlock the doors through the trunk. Once you have your physical key (if you have one) try to unlock the door, as there may be an issue with your car’s remote that is preventing you from entering the vehicle. 

2. Phone a Friend or Family Member

If you locked keys in car, it’s natural to panic a bit and wonder how the issue will get fixed. 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. That’s why it’s crucial to call a friend or family member if there’s one nearby. 

You’re 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’re facing. If they can’t help you figure out how to get into a locked car, they can provide some much-needed emotional support, and also it can be a good safety measure to know your whereabouts. 

In the absolute best-case scenario, your family member or friend has a spare key you can use to unlock your car and remedy the issue. But even if they don’t have a key, they may be able to help out by bringing you some supplies to help you manually unlock the door. Some tools that you might find helpful include: shoelaces (or comparable string), a doorstop, and a wire coat hanger, to name a few (more on that later).

3. Use Your Shoelace

If you’re trying to figure out how to get into a locked car, you’re probably not thinking that your shoes might come to the rescue. In fact, your shoelace may be able to help you unlock your car. 

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work with every type of car lock. In order for this to work, your car has 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 type of car lock, here’s what to do:

  • Start by removing your shoelace from one of your shoes. 
  • 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.
  • Use a flossing motion to loop the slip knot around the post lock. 
  • Pull on both ends of the shoelace to grip the post and pull upward while continuing to restrict/tighten the knot. 

Hopefully, that will help unlock your car. If you’re wearing slip-on shoes or sandals and don’t have shoes with laces, if you’re with someone else see if you can borrow their shoelaces. 

4. Use DIY Tools to Reach Inside

When it comes to tips for purchasing a car, chances are you didn’t consider whether your vehicle had post locks or not. If your car doesn’t have those types of locks, the good news is there are many DIY-friendly methods to get back into your locked car. Here are some tools you can use:

A coat hanger

If you have horizontal locks, you may be able to use a coat hanger by untwisting and molding it into a hook shape. Once you do that, try to use the car door and maneuver the hook around the lock. Then pull to see if it unlocks. 

A screwdriver and metal rod 

If you have a screwdriver and a metal rod, you can try to get your car door unlocked as well if you don’t have the keys. Use the screwdriver to open some space and then take the metal rod and push into the lock to see if it opens. Just be careful as these tools can damage the vehicle. 


You might even find kitchen tools like a spatula may help if you’re trying to figure out how to get into a locked car. Take a spatula and place it between the car door to create space and pry the door open. If you can get the door to open with the spatula you can unlock it from the inside. 

An air bag pump wedge

You can also get an air bag pump wedge that can be used to open your car door. Using this tool, the air is pushed between the car doors to make a door opening that is big enough to use tools so that you can effectively unlock the car. 


If you have a strip of plastic, you can fold the plastic into a U-shape, and then with the bottom closed portion you can place it between the door jamb and lift it up. 

5. Get Professional Help

Having locked keys in car is stressful enough. Sometimes you don’t have the time or energy to DIY it or your DIY attempts simply don’t work. If you’ve tried to figure out how to get into a locked car to no avail, it’s time to call the professionals. 

Roadside assistance 

You can get roadside assistance to help you with your car lock situation. These professionals can come to your location, but you do need to know where your car is. The good news is you can use the GPS function on your Metromile App, so 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 for you (one of the added perks of being a Metromile customer). 


If you don’t have roadside assistance, you’ll want to contact a car locksmith to help you get into your locked car. They’ll be able to open your car without causing any damage and fix any broken locks that may have led to this predicament. On top of that, a car locksmith can make you new keys if yours have been lost or broken.

The bottom line 

If you’ve locked keys in car and are trying to figure out how to get into a locked car, follow these steps. Whether it’s DIY or calling a professional, there are a lot of ways to open a locked car. Just be sure to avoid potentially dangerous options like breaking the window or using tools such as slim jims as they are a bit risky nowadays as modern cars have important wires stored in these spaces. Using the options listed above, you can get into your car safely. 
If you want to get the added bonus of roadside assistance and affordable car insurance, check out pay-per-mile insurance with Metromile. It’s a smarter, more affordable way to pay for coverage based on the miles you actually drive. Pay a low base rate plus per-mile, so if you drive less, you can save more. Get your free quote using Metromile.

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,, CIO and Safewise.

7 Ways to Prevent Car Break-Ins

If you’ve ever arrived at your car and seen glass shattered, you feel it in the pit of your stomach as you realize you’ve been a victim of a car break-in. Worse, you may realize your car is completely gone and has been stolen. Dealing with car burglary can be unsettling. Having your items taken from you and replacing broken windows or more can be frustrating too. 

If you live in a major city, you probably know the obvious tips of how to prevent your car from being broken into or stolen. You know that leaving a bag visible is thief bait, and a rogue phone is even more enticing. But with break-ins on the rise, it’s probably a smart idea to take extra precautions. In fact, in San Francisco alone, there was a staggering 753% increase in car break-ins from May 2020 to May 2021 according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Given the fact that cars may be staying in place longer due to people driving less while working from home, you want to make moves to protect your car. Here is how to prevent car break-ins.


1. Lock the car doors and make sure your windows are completely closed 

The first thing you want to do to prevent car break-ins is to double-check that your car is actually locked and that your windows are completely closed. Although this may seem obvious, up to 25% of vehicle thefts are from unlocked cars. Similarly, an open window invites the same fate. Even if you’re doing a quick run inside a gas station, that’s still enough time for a thief to make moves. 

2. Invest in an anti-theft device 

If you want to take your car burglary prevention to the next level, you want to invest in an anti-theft device. A car alarm is the first level of thief-deterrent, but there are many other preventive measures you can take. For example, there are several anti-theft devices you can choose from:

Using one or more of these options can help you take steps to prevent car break-ins and car burglary. On top of that, using an anti-theft device can help lower your car insurance rate, too. 

3. Park in populated areas with lots of light

If you leave your car on a dark, lonely street there may be a higher chance of a car break-in without anyone around to notice. That’s why it’s best to park in populated areas with lots of other people and cars and in areas with lots of lighting as well. 

Parking directly under a street lamp is a good idea when possible. Those who break into cars and also steal thrive on darkness and having no one around, so take these steps to help mitigate risk. 

4. Hide all of your belongings 

The common advice to avoid car break-ins is to hide your valuables. But to go even further, you should hide all of your belongings, whether they’re truly valuable to you or not. Why? Because a car thief or burglar doesn’t know the difference until they break into your car and find out. 

I once left a bottle of shampoo and conditioner in a bag in my car. The next morning I went to my car, the window was broken and the bag was gone. I couldn’t care less about those items being gone, but having to get the window replaced was a hassle and extra money. Your best bet is to keep next to nothing in your car. Your second-best bet is to keep things in the trunk or glove compartment, so they’re out of sight for any potential intruders. 

5. Get your windows tinted 

Given the fact that car break-ins can happen after nosy intruders see something they potentially want in your window, it can also be a good idea to get your windows tinted. Adding a darker hue to your window can make it difficult to see through the windows, acting as a barrier to would-be car thieves. 

Just be sure to check the local state guidelines and laws about window tinting to make sure you’re in compliance. 

6. Make inside and outside less appealing 

If you want to know how to prevent car break-ins, you need to make the inside and outside of your car less appealing. That means no flashy signs or decals, expensive gear, or even an upgraded stereo. While a really good stereo while driving can make listening to tunes fun as you drive down the road, a really sweet stereo system is just asking to be stolen. 

If you have a faceplate, you might want to remove it when you’re not in the vehicle just to be safe. Though an NPR article in 2009 noted that car stereo theft was on the decline and cut in half from the previous 15 years, you still want to be careful. 

The key is to make sure your car looks basic and minimal on the inside and outside to attract less attention. Also, don’t think you’re off the hook if you have an older vehicle. 

Older and stereotypical “family cars” are more desirable to a thief because of the demand and resale value of the car parts and the fact that they may be easier to steal. In fact, as of 2017 in Spokane, the car stolen the most was a 90s Subaru Legacy, according to this article from King5.

7. Avoid leaving the car unattended 

Think you’ll just double park and leave your car unattended and running, while you hop into your apartment to get the gym bag you forgot? Think again. At all costs, avoid leaving your car running and unsupervised. That’s an invitation for trouble and in a way that makes it super easy to do a car break-in or just straight-up steal your car. 

The bottom line 

Figuring out how to prevent car break-ins can take some work but it’s worth the extra precautions. If you’ve had a car break-in or car burglary, check your auto insurance coverage. If you have comprehensive coverage on your policy, that could cover you in the event that your car is damaged during a robbery. You want to check your policy for specific details, but if you only have liability insurance, you won’t be covered. 

In the unfortunate event that your car is stolen, you can follow these steps. If you’re a pay-per-mile insurance customer with Metromile, your Metromile Pulse device doubles as a car locator. We’ve used it to recover stolen cars in the past!

Not a Metromile customer but want added car break-in protection? Get that and potentially a lower car insurance premium. Get your free quote and pay only for the miles you drive plus a low base rate. 

How to Sell a Car In Oregon in 7 Steps

Whether you live in the City of Roses or in the ‘burbs in Oregon, if you have a car you want to get rid of you want to get the most out of selling it. Right now the used car market is booming. Instead of going the easy route and trading it in at a dealership, you may be able to get more money selling on the private market. Here’s how to sell a car in Oregon and what you should know.

How to Sell a Car in Oregon | Metromile

Step 1: Prepare your vehicle 

The first thing you want to do is prepare your vehicle for selling. That means cleaning out your car and removing your belongings and any trash. Getting a car wash, buffing out any scratches, and putting in a car air freshener. While you may not be able to replicate the new car smell, you can freshen it up and prepare it for a new home. Getting your car prepared ahead of time and nice and clean can help you sell your vehicle faster and get a better deal. 

Step 2: Take pretty photos of your car 

After your car is clean and organized, it’s time to take pretty photos of your car. Your car’s photos are the first impression a buyer gets. You need to give them enough incentive to even want to see the car. 

Think of it like a dating app, but for cars. You don’t join a dating app and put up just any photos. You put up photos that make you look good and represent you well. Do the same for your car. Take full interior photos and exterior photos and remember, it’s all about angles and lighting! 

Step 3: List your vehicle on various car marketplaces 

Now that you have photos, it’s time to list your vehicle on various car marketplaces. You can place car ads on:

  • Facebook Marketplace
  • OfferUp
  • AutoTrader

Be sure to write compelling copy about the car and the more detail the better! Think like a dating app, but instead of selling yourself, you’re selling a car. Also, like a dating app, expect that many people will waste your time with one-off messages or questions that are already answered in your listing. But be patient and entertain serious buyers by replying in a timely fashion and with details as needed. 

Step 4: Say yes to an inspection if asked 

How do you separate the flakes and the serious buyers when it comes to selling a car in Oregon? Well, the serious buyers typically want an inspection. The buyer is usually on the hook for this and may bring the car to a mechanic of their choice, but you still want to be a willing participant and help out with the coordination. While it’s an added step, it means they’re serious.

Step 5: Get your documents in order 

If you have a buyer that’s interested, to start selling a car in Oregon you want to get your documents in order first. Get the owner’s manual ready, any vehicle history records, etc. You also want to gather your title, get the Oregon DMV selling a car Bill of Sale Form and the Statement of Lien Satisfaction form, if you’ve paid off your car loan. 

If you don’t have your car title, you’ll need to get a replacement title and can fill out an Application for Replacement. It’ll take about a week to get a replacement title and you’ll have to pay a fee, based on your car. 

Step 6: Sign the back of the title or the Bill of Sale to transfer ownership 

As part of selling a car in Oregon, you need to officially transfer ownership in one of two ways, per the Oregon DMV:

  1. Sign the back of your vehicle title. 
  2. Sign the Bill of Sale Form. 

You also want to make sure your lienholder signs the front of the title if you had a loan on the vehicle. It needs to be paid off and signed off by the lienholder in order to sell. 

Additionally, if the car is less than 10 years old both you and the buyer will need to report the mileage on the odometer on the back of the title or on the Secure Odometer Disclosure form, which you must request to be mailed to you here. If it’s older than 10 years, you don’t need to do this part. 

Doing one of these two steps is integral to complete the Oregon DMV selling a car process. 

Step 7: Report the sale using DMV2U within 10 days

After accepting the money and transferring the title, you need to report the sale of the vehicle using DMV2U online within 10 days. You’ll need the VIN number to make that happen. 

If you’d rather have a paper trail, you can fill out the Notice of Sale Form and mail it here:

1905 Lana Ave NE 
Salem, OR 97314 

This is important as it releases you of any liability with the car. So if there is any type of infraction with the vehicle, the DMV knows you’re not the owner anymore. The buyer also needs to do their part in transferring the title to make it all official. 

The bottom line 

If you’re interested in figuring out how to sell a car in Oregon, take these seven steps to get started. Once you complete the seven steps, make sure to report the sale to finalize the Oregon DMV selling a car process. After selling a car in Oregon, it might be time to buy a new car and get affordable car insurance. You can check out rates and providers like Metromile, which offers pay-per-mile insurance so you don’t pay more than you need to, ever. You pay for utilities based on usage, and gas by the gallon. Why not pay for insurance by the miles you actually drive? Grab your free quote today. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Your Guide to Washington State Vehicle Registration

There are certain big life changes that come with a lot of paperwork. Two examples are moving and also buying a car. In both instances, you’ll have to deal with updating your records. If you recently made the move to Washington or purchased a vehicle there, you’ll want to update your vehicle registration and make sure you’re in good standing. Read on to learn how to register a car in Washington and why it’s important.

How to Register a Car in Washington | Metromile

Do you have to register a car in Washington? 

You may think that you just need your driver’s license to legally drive but that’s not exactly true. While you do need your license, you also need to register the car you’re driving as well and likely have car insurance as well. 

In fact, all states legally require that drivers register their car within the state they live in. When you register your car, you’re creating a paper trail that shows that you own your specific vehicle. 

It’s used if you get pulled over and need to verify your identity and prove your ownership of the vehicle. Registering a car also is a way for local transportation authorities to collect fees related to you driving on the road. 

Who needs to register car in Washington? 

If you recently made the move to Washington, you’ll need to update to Washington state vehicle registration. Just like you need to update your address with the post office, your shipping and billing address when you shop online, and your health insurance, you’ll also need to update your car registration. 

If you purchased a vehicle in Washington and live there, your registration is likely taken care of for you if you bought it at a dealership. However, if you bought used from a private party, you likely need to take care of registering the car yourself. 

How to register a car in Washington?

If you need to register a car in Washington, the process will vary slightly depending if you moved or purchased a vehicle — though the processes in Washington for registering after a move and registering after a car purchase are pretty similar. 

If you’re new to the Evergreen State, you’ll need to get a Washington driver’s license first then register your car in the state and update your license plates. New residents are required to do this within 30 days of establishing residency. You’ll also need:

  • To submit your Vehicle Title Application (if mailed, will need to be signed in front of a notary) 
  • To fill out an Odometer Disclosure Statement, depending on your car model (models from 2010 or older aren’t required to do this but models from 2011 or newer are)
  • To fill out and submit a Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale, if you’ve been living in another state and the car has been registered and owned for less than 90 days 
  • To bring your current Certificate of Title (if you financed your car and are making payments, the lender should fax a copy of the title to the licensing office. Once it’s paid in full, you can apply for a Washington title.) 
  • To submit payment for registration 
  • To get your Washington license plate (in the office will be right away, by mail will take up to three weeks) 
  • To create a License eXpress account 
  • To consider creating a Good to Go! Account, if you travel on bridges or certain routes that require tolls, 

If you purchase a car from a dealership, typically they’ll handle title and registration for you. But if you purchased a used car from a private party, here’s how to register your car:

  • Fill out and submit the Vehicle Title Application (either at an office or in front of a notary) 
  • Fill out and submit the Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale which you and the seller will fill out 
  • Have your current vehicle title ready
  • Fill out and submit an Odometer Disclosure Statement, if the car is from 2011 or newer 
  • Submit payment for registration fees 
  • Get brand new license plates to reflect the new ownership 
  • Add this current vehicle to your License eXpress account 

After purchasing a vehicle from a private party, you have 15 days to transfer the ownership and get your records updated. If not, you could face penalty fees amounting to $50 on the 16th day and $2 per day every day after that, up to a maximum of $125. 

How much does it cost to register a car in Washington? 

Registering a car costs money but each state and each situation will vary. According to the Department of Licensing (DOL) site, “Fees are different for every situation and are calculated many ways. Everyone starts with the basic fees of $43.25 and things like vehicle weight, location, and taxes determine your final amount.”

The breakdown of registration fees is: 

  • Basic renewal fee = $30 
  • County filing fee = $4.50 
  • License service fee = $0.75
  • Service fee = $8 

You then pay that $43.25 on top of whatever fee is associated with the weight of your vehicle. Vehicle weight fees are:

  • $25 for cars up to 4,000 pounds
  • $45 for cars between 4,001 and 6,000 pounds
  • $65 for cars between 6,001 and 8,000 pounds
  • $72 for cars 8,001 pounds and over 

You also may have to pay a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) fee if you live in the following cities:

  • Seattle, $80+
  • Spokane, $20+
  • Wenatchee, $20+
  • Olympia, $40+

Lastly, you may need to pay additional fees if you live in King, Pierce, or Snohomish counties in the form of a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Tax. This is calculated based on the MSRP and a specific depreciation schedule set by the law. The equation to calculate the RTA tax based on DOL info is: 

Current year – year of vehicle + 1 = years of service (value decreases each year in service) Original MSRP x depreciated percentage = Depreciated value (based on years in service) Depreciated value x 1.1% (current RTA rate) = RTA amount due.

Is proof of insurance required to register car in Washington? 

If you have a vehicle that needs to be updated with a Washington state vehicle registration, you need to have proof of insurance, self insurance, certificate of deposit, or a liability bond. A 2019 law mandated that Washington drivers carry some form of minimum liability coverage. The requirements are: 

  • $25,000 to cover injury or death to another person
  • $50,000 to cover injuries or death for multiple people
  • $10,000 to cover damage to another party’s property 

Getting car insurance is one of the easiest ways to cover this requirement. If you’re on the road and caught driving without insurance you may be hit with a fine of $550 or more. If you get into an accident, you may be on the hook for any damages and your license could be suspended. 

The bottom line 

Moving or buying a car can be a big life milestone. It can also mean doing additional paperwork to make sure you’re all set. By using this guide, you can learn how to register a car in Washington and make sure you get all your records updated to Washington state car registration. 

If you’ve recently moved or just want to shop around, now is a great time to check your car insurance rate. If you don’t drive that often, you may be a low-mileage driver and get the most out of pay-per-mile insurance where you pay a nominal base rate and several cents each mile you drive. Check out your rate with Metromile to see if it’s the right fit for you. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Car Maintenance for the Low-Mileage Driver

If you’re already a Metromile customer, there’s a great chance that you’re a low-mileage driver. 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 driving less? You might be able to keep the time and money spent on car maintenance down to a reasonable amount.

Have you ever brought your car to the mechanic for one thing, only for them to give you a list of problems you weren’t aware of? You might even wonder if they’re trying to take advantage of you.

But here’s the thing: Because you don’t drive as often, your car might not need maintenance as frequently as more heavy drivers. So you might be able to get away with things like fewer oil changes. You might also save time on other things like flushing the transmission fluid or replacing the coolant and antifreeze.

Let’s take a closer look at what you might be able to skip and what you might still want to do to keep your vehicle in good shape.

How to Maintain Your Vehicle When You Don’t Drive Often | Metromile

Are you a low-mileage driver?

First, let’s start off with something important — what being a low-mileage driver actually means. If you don’t drive that often, you’re likely considered a low-mileage driver, but how is that defined? While there are no hard and fast rules, as a general rule of thumb, you are most likely a low-mileage driver if you are clocking fewer than 40 miles per day or fall into the following categories:

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 vehicle serviced.

What low-mileage drivers can do in the short term

If you don’t drive that often, here are six tips for what you can do in the short term within the next six months. 

1. Change the oil as needed 

If you don’t drive that often, you might have a conundrum on your hands and wonder about oil change time vs mileage. Should you get an oil change every six months or every 7,500 miles? 

If you don’t drive that much, you might want to focus more on the time equation and do periodic check-ins with your oil. Your best bet is to look at your car manual and if you have a newer car, only change your oil when you get an alert. 

2. Get regular check-ups for your vehicle. 

You’ll still want to take the car to your auto repair shop at least every six months to monitor the condition of your vehicle. Surprised? Things can go wrong if your car isn’t driven regularly (yep, even if it’s garaged!).

3. Make sure your tires stay in good shape. 

If you don’t drive that often, you want to keep your tires in good shape. Tires can lose air from lack of movement and create low tire pressure. You want to maintain appropriate tire pressure as noted in your vehicle’s owner manual. Also, check for any damages, cracks, or punctures if your car is being stored and not driven for a period of time. 

4. Drive the car at least once a month. 

Your car is literally a well-oiled machine and a modern marvel of technology. It’s not meant to be stored away without moving at all for long periods of time. Think of the phrase “use it or lose it” when it comes to your car. If you don’t drive that often, make sure you start your car and drive on the highway for at least 15 miles once a month. Doing so will make sure the juices are flowing correctly and keep your car running smoothly for years to come.

5. Check for furry visitors or other stowaways in your vehicle. 

Have you ever noticed how animals love to hide in small, tight quarters? Well, your car can become home to a furry stowaway. Car engines make nice little homes for furry creatures like mice, squirrels, and rats, especially during the colder months as they look for warm places to stay. Be sure to check your exhaust pipe and other crevices. 

Check the condition of the fuel lines and other rubber components under the car to make sure little critters haven’t chewed through anything or created any damage. 

6. Install a carbon eliminator. 

Another thing you can do in the short term is to add a carbon eliminator to your gas tank yearly to avoid any 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.

What low-mileage drivers can do in the long-term 

If you don’t drive that often, there are also some actions you can take in the long term. These are things you should do every six months to a year. 

1. Check your air filter 

Your air filter is an important protective measure to keep any extraneous debris or matter from hitting the engine. Making sure the air filter is working properly helps lower emissions while also boosting fuel efficiency. You can also review your owner’s manual to see how often you should replace your air filter. But if it looks filthy or broken, it’s time to make a change. 

Checking the air filter and ventilation system can also help you find any unwanted stowaways that may be hiding as well. 

2. Review your fluid levels 

While you might want to check your oil in the short term, in the long term you also want to review your other fluid levels. For example, check the antifreeze levels as well as brake fluid. These things can deteriorate with age and not be at optimal levels. Checking every six months or so should help keep your car in good condition. 

3. Consider checking your spark plugs 

When it comes to powering your vehicle, your spark plugs play an important role. These plugs activate the gas and air to get your car going and if they’re not working well your car could end up losing power. Check your owner’s manual to see if and when this is needed. If you feel your engine power is wearing off, consult a professional for help. 

4. Look at your car battery 

If you don’t drive that often, your car battery may not be used that often either. A car battery is an integral part of a car and is responsible for getting things started and moving. In certain weather conditions or lack of use, your car battery may have a weak signal so it’s always good to test the car battery and make sure it’s good to go. 

5. Scan your serpentine belt 

Your serpentine belt is a long, snake-like belt (hence the name) that keeps many parts of your car functioning. These parts include AC, power conditioning pump, the vehicle’s alternator, and more. Scan the belt to make sure there is no damage like any cracks or breaks. If there is damage, you want to get it replaced ASAP. 

Some things you may not need to do as a low-mileage driver 

There are some actions you might not need to take as a low-mileage driver that might surprise you. As it turns out, there are things that a low-mileage driver like you doesn’t need to do very often (or at all). 

You might not need to flush your transmission fluid 

You may rarely need to flush your transmission fluid because most car manufacturers now use fluid good enough for 100,000 miles or more, what they sometimes call a “lifetime.” You can do a check-up and review your owner’s manual to check, but this may not be needed. 

You might not need to change your oil as much as you think 

If you’re reviewing oil change time vs mileage as part of your car maintenance it’ll depend on how much you drive. You may want to change your oil twice a year, but depending on how much you drive and the type of car you have, and oil you use, you may be able to get away with less. 

An example of unnecessary car maintenance for the low-mileage driver is changing the engine oil too often

It used to be the norm for vehicle owners to schedule 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 low-mileage drivers, you might need an oil change once a year or less often!

Switching out windshield wipers 

Unless your windshield wipers are actually broken, there’s no need to replace them just because you don’t drive that much. Make sure they’re functioning properly, but beyond that, they don’t need to be replaced unless there’s an issue. 

Replacing tires 

If you don’t drive that often, you may lose tire pressure and need a refill of air but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace the tires completely. Check your owner’s manual. If there’s a hole or a flat, of course, replace the tires. But it’s not something you may need to do all the time just because you don’t drive that often. 

Why is maintenance important for a car’s health?

Car maintenance is important. It’s like going to the doctor for preventative care. If you’re a healthy person, you might not need to go to the doctor as often as someone who gets sick all the time. But doctors still recommend you go in for an annual exam to make sure nothing has changed. The same is true with your car.

Regardless of how often you drive, it’s still essential to get your car checked out now and then to make sure things are running smoothly. In the long run, routine car maintenance can help you avoid car troubles down the road.

But it’s just a matter of how often you need to bring your car into the auto shop for a tune-up. For low-mileage drivers, you might be able to go longer in-between visits without risking damage to your vehicle.

How can low-mileage drivers save money with pay-per-mile car insurance?

If you don’t drive that often, you may be considered a low-mileage driver and may be able to save money with pay-per-mile car insurance. 

As a low-mileage driver, not only could your car need less frequent maintenance, but you could also save money with a pay-as-you-go auto insurance policy that charges you based on how many miles you drive. 

At Metromile, you end up paying a small base rate every month, regardless of how much you drive, to help keep your vehicle covered, plus a few cents per mile. But typically, most of your premium is based on the actual number of miles you drive. So the less you drive, the more you could save. Why pay for more miles than you actually drive? 

Take a look at the average annual car insurance savings enjoyed by new Metromile customers:

Miles Driven Per YearPer MonthPer WeekSavings*
10,000 miles833 miles192 miles$541
6,000 miles500 miles115 miles$741
2,500 miles208 miles48 miles$947

The bottom line

If you don’t drive very often, you want to maintain your vehicle and keep it in good shape. You also want to save money where you can. 

To find out just how much you could save, get a free auto insurance quote from Metromile to see how much you could save with pay-per-mile auto insurance.

You can also try Ride Along™ for free to get a more accurate rate. Ride Along is a free feature (not insurance coverage) on the Metromile app, which considers your actual driving, including how many miles you drive, to show you how much you could save before purchasing a policy and switching to Metromile.

* Average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Metromile in 2018.