How to Prepare Your Car for Summer

The following is a guest blog by Brian Shreckengast, a writer at SelfStorage.com.

Now that summer is here, you might think that you no longer have to worry so much about weather proofing your car. And while it’s true that warmer weather is generally easier on your motor vehicle, you’ll still want to take certain precautions to keep your car in tip-top shape – otherwise, you could end up with peeling paint or a blown radiator. There are really three big dangers to your car during the summer: heat, sunlight, and humidity. The following steps will help keep your car protected against these elements.

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Problem: overheating. Solution: radiator checkup
One of the biggest causes of breakdowns during the summer is overheating engines. The risk of overheating is worse if your car is older and if you live in an area with high temperatures. The intense summer heat can put a lot of strain on your cooling system. Give your radiator a check-up, making sure that there are no damages to the radiator or hoses. It’s important for your radiator to receive good air flow, so clean up any dirt or debris that may be blocking it, and make sure the cap isn’t damaged.

Problem: overheating. Solution: refill coolant
After checking up on your radiator’s condition, make sure that you’re using the proper amount of coolant. Radiator coolant should be flushed and changed every two years. Ensure that you keep a 50/50 mix between distilled water and coolant.

Problem: battery damage. Solution: refill fluids
Battery fluid can evaporate in the summer heat and internal parts can be damaged. Check that the water level in each of the battery’s cells comes up to just below the cell’s inspection hole. If levels are low, carefully add more distilled water. Clean off the battery, as dirt can be a conductor and drain power. Pay attention to the terminals, as dirt or corrosion can weaken the power feeding into your car. (more…)

5 Ways Technology Makes Your Life Easier

New technology has made it easier (and cheaper) to tackle chores and daily pains – from a long commute to work to splitting a check between 10 people at dinner. Below are some of our favorite modern conveniences.

pay-per-mile insurance

  • Spring Cleaning: Is your laundry piling up? Try Washio or Rinse to have your laundry picked up, cleaned and delivered without a second thought. And if you need a deep clean or your furniture assembled, book a cleaner or handyman instantly with Handy.
  • Transportation: Not only can you request a car to your door via Uber or Lyft, you can also access personal driving data and trends from your phone! For pay-per-mile car insurance customers, Metromile has a free app that gives drivers access to their data such as trips and trends, fuel level, car location and car health. We even issue street sweeping alerts in select markets.
  • Pets: If you have a dog in a city, chances are you’ll need a walker to let your dog out during the day. Wag! Has dog walkers on-demand ready to walk your pup, and they’ll even deliver a free lockbox to your apartment.
  • Payment: With mobile payment apps such as Venmo and Apple Pay, you can pay or charge people with the click of the button. You can even pay for your groceries with your phone!
  • Meals: Options for food delivery are no longer limited to pizza and pad thai from the store next door, you can now have a fresh meal delivered to your door! If you’d like to cook the meal yourself, try Blue Apron who delivers recipes and exact amounts of ingredients to your door. But if you’d like a warm home-cooked meal at your door, check out Munchery.

If you find yourself using a ride-share to get to work, or putting more miles on your bike than car, pay-per-mile insurance might be the right modern convenience for you! Not only will you have access to your trip data, but you can view your bill in real time on the app. Learn more about Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance offering here.

Spring Clean Your Car With These Household Items

Spring is here! We’re enjoying the newly blossomed flowers and fresh air, but we’ve got some important tasks to complete at home. It’s time for spring cleaning, and that includes car maintenance.

car maintenance

Keeping your car clean will not only keep it looking great, it will also help the car maintain its value. Don’t want to spend the big bucks to have it cleaned at a car wash? We’ve sourced some of the best household items you can clean your car with from across the interwebs.* We recommend testing these in a small spot on your car before cleaning the full area. Check them out:

 

  • Use a hair conditioner that includes lanolin to wash your car and give it a freshly waxed shine.
  • After it rains, pour a cola over the windshield to get rid of streaks and blotches, then wash off with water. Be sure to put a towel along the bottom of the windshield to protect hood paint.
  • Spray shaving foam on your mirrors and wipe to see more clearly.
  • After your dust your dashboard, add more shine by rubbing a little olive oil in with a clean cloth.
  • If you have leather seats, use a damp cloth and neutral detergent to clean, then dry with soft washcloth. For fabric seats, spray water mixed with a neutral detergent and wipe down with a damp cloth, then a dry cloth. Leave your windows open to allow your car to dry completely.
  • Lost the new car smell? Cut a lemon in half and leave it in the car for 24 hours to freshen up your car’s scent.
  • Don’t air dry after washing your car: use a soft terrycloth and a squeegee to soak up any excess water and avoid streaking.

 

Mechanic Matt also recommends you keep your car in tip-top shape to keep it healthy and reliable. Check out his tips here. Metromile is dedicated to keeping your car in its’ best possible condition, and even offers an “Ask a Mechanic” tool through our app to help decode check engine lights. Sound interesting? Learn more about Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance offering here.

*These suggestions are ideas found from different blog posts and news sites across the internet, and have not been tested or endorsed by Metromile. Be sure to test (or ask your dealer) what works best on your car before trying these at-home remedies.

Embrace the Chill With These Fall Driving Tips

We typically don’t associate fall with many extreme weather conditions, but as (the hopefully resurrected) Jon Snow would say in Game of Thrones, winter is coming. So when the leaves start to change outside, some of your driving habits might need to change as well. We aren’t talking anything drastic, but by being aware of the changing weather and traffic conditions, you can potentially avoid costly mishaps.

fall driving tips

Be mindful of the littering of leaves.
We often marvel at the vivid colors of fall foliage, but they can actually be quite hazardous. Admiring the changing leaves while behind the wheel means you are a distracted driver and don’t have full focus on the road. When it rains, wet leaves can become almost as dangerous as ice, causing cars to skid and lose control. Even when it isn’t raining, fallen leaves can mask important road markings, potholes and more. We aren’t suggesting that you place a bulk order for leaf blowers, but it’s probably a good idea to have a heightened sense of your surroundings.

Adjust to new traffic patterns.
Even if you aren’t heading back-to-school, there is still a chance you will be affected by those who are. Not only could there be more cars on the road during rush hour, but you will have to be aware of new obstacles such as children running into the street or a school bus making frequent stops. And come Halloween, you should be mindful of an onslaught of ghosts, skeletons and mini-Elsas. (more…)

Break These “Bad Car Habits” Before They Start

For the last post in our new car owner series, we are going to shake things up a bit and focus on the things you shouldn’t do. If you recently purchased a new car (congrats!), there are a few habits you should avoid from the get-go so you can maintain your car’s value if you ever decide to sell. While it might sound counterintuitive to start thinking about selling your car soon after buying it, you will get the most bang for your buck when you take good care of your valuable investment from day one.

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Ditch the dirt.
There’s no harm in becoming borderline-obsessed with keeping your new ride squeaky clean. While it’s totally fine to skip a wash or two, don’t let it become a habit. Things like sunlight, rain and even bird poop can wear away at a new car’s finish. Stay mindful of the dirt that can build up and have your car washed a couple times each month, either at your local carwash or at home if you have space (a great way to save money). If you are living in California amidst the drought, check out this article about how to wash your car with a single cup of water. It is also recommended that you get a full detail a few times a year, which is likely offered at the carwash as well.

Avoid aftermarket accessories.
It’s tempting to personalize your car to truly make it “yours”, but be weary of tweaks that can’t be undone. Avoid any add-ons that alter powertrain or safety equipment – this can interfere with your car’s warranty. Even things like bumper stickers can leave residue and reduce your car’s value. Stick to things that can be easily switched out like an air freshener or the classic fuzzy steering wheel cover.

Control the mess.
It’s your car, so you can do whatever you want in there. But do keep in mind that every time you take your dog for a spin, light a cigarette or chow down on a burger, there is a chance you could damage the interior. Plus, eating while driving is considered distracted driving and unsafe. Be mindful of how you treat your car’s interior and you’ll be proud to give your friends a ride instead of trying to mask a lingering stench. (more…)

Maintenance Monday: How to Keep Your New Car in Tip-Top Shape

Purchasing a new car can be very exciting. From the initial research to negotiating with the dealership to showing it off to all of our friends, it feels good to have finally bought a new car. But after the purchase you need to focus on keeping that new car looking and driving like new. Let’s face it, your car will never look the same as it did when you drove it off the lot. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your new ride in pristine condition.

Maintenance Monday

1. Have the exterior waxed. The paint on your vehicle will have to deal with some pretty harsh conditions over the years such as extreme heat, UV rays, rock chips, bird droppings, and even snow and salt. Having the exterior professionally waxed every year will create a protective layer on the exterior surfaces that will help in minimizing the effects of the elements, keeping your new ride looking sharp for many years to come.

2. Avoid the temptation to apply a bunch of shiny protectants to the interior. Although these products will make things look shiny and smell good, they can actually remove the plasticizers out of the interior finishes, increasing the likelihood of age or sun related cracking. There are products that are designed to clean interior surfaces with a Ph-balanced solution but use them sparingly.

3. Regular preventive maintenance is probably the most important thing you can do as a new car owner to keep your car healthy. Anyone who’s spent a ton of money on repairs will warn you not to ignore preventive maintenance. The basics, such as changing your oil, checking your tire pressure and getting scheduled inspections and are like getting regular checkups at the doctor. This keeps your car healthy and also gives a chance to catch anything serious before it becomes a major problem. That could save you thousands down the road.

4. Pay attention to recalls. We have all seen small problems turn into major ones when the dealerships sell products that have safety defects. Some of these problems do not become apparent until years after the vehicle was made. Manufacturers are proactive these days in alerting the consumer of these issues, so pay attention to them. You may receive a voluntary recall notice in the mail years after the purchase, so make sure you take the necessary steps as soon as possible so that your car stays safe and reliable for years to come.

These are just a few simple things that you can do to keep your new ride looking good and running smooth.