Smart Driving: April Showers

April showers may bring May flowers…but it’s not easy driving in a rainstorm. Decreased visibility, slippery pavement and inclement weather create a dangerous environment for driving. Here are some tips to prepare you for smart driving on rainy days.

smart driving
Keep your car weather-ready: Be prepared for the rain by keeping your car in good condition with your regular check-up with a mechanic. They’ll make sure your tire tread is long enough for tough driving conditions and that your windshield wipers are ready for the weather.

Save cruise control for another day. You’ll want to have control to let off the speed immediately if you start to hydroplane.

Remember what you learned in driver’s ed? Keep both hands in a firm grip on the wheel to have stronger control.

Take it slow. No need to rush home in this weather. Give the vehicle in front of you some extra space, and slow your speed down to keep the vehicle in your control.

Stay away from road puddles. Even after the rain, avoid those large puddles – you can’t be sure how deep they are or how slippery the pavement is.

Hide distractions: There’s never a good time to check your phone while driving, but you definitely don’t want to have any temptations near you on a rainy trip. Stow your phone in your bag and put it in the back seat where you can’t access it. (More tips on combating distracting driving here)

Skip the rain boots: Keep a sensible pair of shoes in the car for driving. Stiff boots can make it more difficult to move and press down quickly on the pedals.

If you feel uneasy about driving in the rain, listen to your gut. Take a raincheck from your plans and stay home. Many drivers choose to stay off the roads during a snowstorm, but they often don’t see the danger of driving in a downpour. Can we recommend the Gene Kelly classic movie “Singing in the Rain” for your night in?

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.

Don’t Drive Much? How to Save (and Even Make) Money

Just because you own a car doesn’t mean you are regularly taking it out for a spin. Perhaps you only use it when you are heading on a road trip, grabbing groceries from the store, or rushing to work when you “didn’t hear your alarm”. When you realize you’ve only clocked 5,000 miles in the past year, you might feel pressed to justify such a large investment. But it’s your car, it’s your way of driving your friends to the beach this weekend. We get it, which is why we compiled some easy ways to keep your car running smoothly and maybe even leverage it to earn some extra cash.

drive less car tips

Try pay-per-mile insurance: If you are a low-mileage driver and drive less than 10,000 miles a year (around 200 each week) you could save a lot of money with pay-per-mile insurance. Your monthly bill is based on the miles you drive, so if you don’t drive much, you won’t pay much. Worried about the occasional road trip? Metromile won’t bill you for more than 250 miles a day (150 in certain states)! If you are interested in seeing how much money you could save, try getting a free insurance quote.

Join a carpool: Chances are you aren’t the only person driving a similar route to work — daily traffic is proof of that. Team up with others in your neighborhood and start a weekly carpool to save on gas and sneak in some valuable work time when you aren’t behind the wheel. There are lots of apps that can aid in this endeavor, like Carma, Ride and even a new pilot from Uber.

Know the basics: There’s no need to spend a lot of time on car maintenance when you aren’t driving much, but there are a few tips to remember in order to avoid costly repairs. Know how to deal with a flat tire and keep your tires properly inflated. It’s also important to change your oil on a regular basis as it keeps your car running smoothly and extends the life of the vehicle. Lastly, fix your brakes if they are squeaky because that likely means the brake lining is starting to wear thin.

Be smart about car storage: If you are leaving your car idle for a long time, the ideal place to store it is in a garage because it prevents theft and also protects against the elements like that blazing summer sun. Garage parking can be expensive, especially in the city, so if you don’t need frequent access to your car you should shop around for the cheapest garage space instead of paying a premium to park in the closest garage. If the most viable option is keeping it outside, consider purchasing waterproof car cover to keep it clean to save on long-term costs of wear and tear.

See My Savings

Don’t Drive Much? How to Save (and Even Make) Money

Just because you own a car doesn’t mean you are regularly taking it out for a spin. Perhaps you only use it when you are heading on a road trip, grabbing groceries from the store, or rushing to work when you “didn’t hear your alarm”. When you realize you’ve only clocked 5,000 miles in the past year, you might feel pressed to justify such a large investment. But it’s your car, it’s your way of driving your friends to the beach this weekend. We get it, which is why we compiled some easy ways to keep your car running smoothly and maybe even leverage it to earn some extra cash.

drive less car tips

Know the basics: There’s no need to spend a lot of time on car maintenance when you aren’t driving much, but there are a few tips to remember in order to avoid costly repairs. Know how to deal with a flat tire and keep your tires properly inflated. It’s also important to change your oil on a regular basis as it keeps your car running smoothly and extends the life of the vehicle. Lastly, fix your brakes if they are squeaky because that likely means the brake lining is starting to wear thin.

Be smart about car storage: If you are leaving your car idle for a long time, the ideal place to store it is in a garage because it prevents theft and also protects against the elements like that blazing summer sun. Garage parking can be expensive, especially in the city, so if you don’t need frequent access to your car you should shop around for the cheapest garage space instead of paying a premium to park in the closest garage. If the most viable option is keeping it outside, consider purchasing waterproof car cover to keep it clean to save on long-term costs of wear and tear.

Try pay-per-mile insurance: If you are a low-mileage driver and drive less than 10,000 miles a year (around 200 each week) you could save a lot of money with pay-per-mile insurance. Your monthly bill is based on the miles you drive, so if you don’t drive much, you won’t pay much. Worried about the occasional road trip? Metromile won’t bill you for more than 150 miles a day (250 in WA)! If you are interested in seeing how much money you could save, try getting a free insurance quote.

See My Savings

Don’t Drive Much? How to Save (and Even Make) Money on Your Car

Just because you own a car doesn’t mean you are regularly taking it out for a spin. Perhaps you only use it when you are heading on a road trip, grabbing groceries from the store, or rushing to work when you “didn’t hear your alarm”. When you realize you’ve only clocked 5,000 miles in the past year, you might feel pressed to justify such a large investment. But it’s your car, it’s your way of driving your friends to the beach this weekend. We get it, which is why we compiled some easy ways to keep your car running smoothly and maybe even leverage it to earn some extra cash.

drive less car tips

Know the basics: There’s no need to spend a lot of time and money on car maintenance when you aren’t driving much, but there are a few tips to remember in order to avoid costly repairs. Know how to deal with a flat tire and keep your tires properly inflated. It’s also important to change your oil on a regular basis as it keeps your car running smoothly and extends the life of the vehicle. Lastly, fix your brakes if they are squeaky because that likely means the brake lining is starting to wear thin. There’s no need to stop your car on the side of the road, but you should get them serviced soon after you hear the noise. If you are hungry for more car maintenance advice, we had one of our customer experience advocates share her favorite tips.

Be smart about car storage: If you are leaving your car idle for a long time, the ideal place to store it is in a garage because it prevents theft and also protects against the elements like that blazing summer sun. Garage parking can be expensive, especially in the city, so if you don’t need frequent access to your car you should shop around for the cheapest garage space instead of paying a premium to park in the closest garage. If the most viable option is keeping it outside, consider purchasing waterproof car cover to keep it clean to save on long term costs of wear and tear. Read more in our recent blog post about car storage tips.
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Ask a Customer Experience Expert: Car Ownership 101

 

The following is a post from Isabel Siragusa, a Customer Experience Expert at Metromile.

Dealing with car trouble is never easy. It’s costly, inconvenient, and hard to know who to trust with fixing your car. As a Customer Experience Expert at Metromile and a car owner in a busy city like San Francisco, I feel your pain. I may talk car insurance every day, but when I first started, I realized I knew very little about how my own car works. Since Metromile is all about making car ownership as simple and affordable as possible, I’ve compiled a list of things that I think every car owner should know.

car maintenance

 

Do your homework. Every car works a little differently. Whether you are trying to figure out how much air to put in your tires or where to check your oil, it’s worth doing a little research before calling for help. Many answers can be found with a quick internet search or in your owner’s manual. You might even save some money because mechanics sometimes charge extra if you don’t know what you are talking about. And if you have the Metromile driving app, you can diagnose car troubles right from your smartphone.

Geography matters. According to my mechanic, if you’re living in San Francisco, the hills are going to cut the lifespan of your brakes in half. And if you are in Chicago, cold weather could put a lot of pressure on your car which means your tires and battery won’t last as long. If you can, park the front of your car near to a building to keep it warm.

Know the basics. There are a few car maintenance tips that all owners should know:

Dealing with flat tires. Don’t freak out if your tire looks like it might be losing air, but definitely deal with it or you’ll end up spending more on gas. If you can drive, go to the nearest gas station. Note that tire pressure readers at gas stations are generally inaccurate, so bring your own gauge (Metromile will even send you one for free). And if you’ve driven more than a few miles, the reading might be high because driving increases air pressure. After filling up the tire, check it again in a few hours. If it’s decreasing slowly, find a local tire store. If it’s in the 20s or lower, call a tow truck.

Even if you don’t have a flat, it’s good to still your tires properly inflated. Most cars have an optimal PSI between 30 and 40. If you look on the side of your tire, you’ll find the maximum PSI. Don’t go over that number and ideally stay somewhere slightly below. Make sure all four tires have the same amount of air in them. If you need to let air out, push the pin on the air valve in towards the tire.

Changing your oil on a regular basis. I’ll be perfectly honest. I’ve never done this myself, but you can easily have this done by a mechanic. Changing your oil keeps your car running smoothly and extends the life of the vehicle. Try to get it changed every 5,000 miles, and if you live in a cold climate then you should do it more often. If you want to check your oil level before it gets changed, locate the oil in the front of the engine and pull out the dipstick, wiping it clean. Dip and pull it out again, and you should see two lines. If you don’t, you can buy more oil at the gas station. When you are checking your oil level you can also see if it’s time for the oil to be changed altogether. If you see dirt when you rub the oil between your fingers then its probably time.

Fixing your brakes. Squeaky brakes are never a good sign because they mean the brake lining is starting to wear thin. But how long can you go until you need to get them repaired? The longer you wait, the more expensive it’ll be. If you notice squeaky brakes or your brake light comes on, you don’t need to stop your car on the side of the ride, but you should get them serviced soon. According to my mechanic, you still have 20% of the pad left which could be up to 2000 miles. However, if your brakes start to grind or grumble it means you’ve worn through the pad and it’s definitely time to see a mechanic!

Hope this helps! If you want more tips, send us a tweet @Metromile .

Maintenance Monday: 5 Spring Cleaning Tips for a Healthy Car

 

Hello, Metromile community, Mechanic Matt here! Even if you aren’t driving a ton it’s still important to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. Just in time for spring cleaning, follow these simple steps to ensure your car stays healthy and reliable.

Healthy Car

1. Have your oil changed regularly. This isn’t a ploy for repair shops to make more money. It is important to change oil either at the recommended service interval or every 6 months, whichever is sooner. Engine oil can degrade and collect moisture if the car sits for too long, and moisture inside of an engine can be detrimental.

2. Check your (spare) tire pressure. Most tires will hold air indefinitely, however, some leak very slowly thus creating problems when you embark on a road trip. My advice? Check the spare also. The spare gets overlooked at most garages and is useless if it’s flat when you need it the most. The spare tires are usually in the trunk beneath the carpet.

3. Protect your vehicle from the elements. Spring brings sunshine and birds chirping, but that also means potential damage for your car. Wash it regularly to remove any contaminants that may be harming the paint (such as bird poop) and get it waxed at least once a year for protection. Ultraviolet rays can also degrade both the exterior and the interior. Keep the interior nice and pretty by installing a sunshade to keep direct sun off of the dashboard and lower the interior temperature of the vehicle tremendously.

4. Keep your battery charged. Even while your car is turned off, all vehicles have very small battery drains for the clock, radio presets, and computer memory. If your vehicle sits for long periods of time make sure to unplug cell phone chargers, GPS devices or anything else that uses a power port. If you are planning on storing your vehicle you should look into a battery tender, a small charger that keeps your battery topped off every day. It uses 110 A/C power so keep it close to an outlet.

5. Pay attention. Nobody knows your car quite like you do. You know how it sounds, feels, drives, and smells. When your car sounds, feels, drives or smells different, it is trying to tell you something. If you aren’t sure what an indicator on the dashboard is trying to tell you, check your owners manual. And if you are using the Metromile app it can also give you a diagnosis of your car’s running condition.

These are just a few simple things you can do to keep your vehicle alive and well.

-Mechanic Matt