Auto Gadget of the Week: MagnoGrip Wristband

Decided to get grimey and tinker under the hood? Accessorize with a bracelet that will keep all your loose nuts and bolts at hand. The $16 MagnoGrip Wristband is equipped with a magnetic panel that holds fasteners, nuts and bolts in place while working on your ride. And it also comes in red, for those chicks who aren’t trying to girlify their toolchest.


Teen Reporter Gives Tips On Winterizing Our Rides

Teen writer Shelby Fix published an article in The Buffalo News on winterizing your ride this week. Here are some of her tips:

• Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual or more often (every 5,000 miles or so), and spend the extra money for full synthetic oil to keep your engine alive longer.

• The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended.

• Engine drive belts and hoses should be checked by a certified auto technician, as these parts wear and could leave you stranded.

• Replace old blades with winter blades, as they have a jacket on them to keep the ice off and allow you to see when it’s snowing.

• If you have trouble starting your car, have your battery checked. They usually fail on colder days, and that could leave you stranded at school or elsewhere.

• Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned-out bulbs or replace every two years. Eighty percent of your driving decisions are based on visibility, so make sure you can see at night.

• If your engine sounds unusually loud, the exhaust system may have a leak. Exhaust fumes can be deadly, so fix it immediately.

• Once a month, check the tire pressure and tread.

• Be prepared for emergencies. Carry gloves, boots, blankets, jumper cables, flares, flashlight, cell phone charger, first-aid kit and protein bars.

More info on getting your car winter (or summer) ready can also be found in the book In The Driver’s Seat: A Girl’s Guide To Her First Car.

Click here for Shelby’s full article.

Stocking-Sized Car Gadgets To Give You a Light and Keep it Tight

NW Autos, The Seattle Times auto source, has put together a car-centric gift guide that includes a couple of cool new gadgets. They say:

Striker Magnetic LED Lights are golf-ball-size lights covered in magnets that you can stick in any of your car’s metal nooks and crannies.

**These would be great for much-needed hands-free lighting when changing a tire after dark–or for festooning your car in party lights while tailgating. (Find ’em  for $7 at the Home Depot or RadioShack).

TiePods are powerful suction cups with steel rings that accept rope or bungee cords — perfect for securing large loads in a hurry with no scratches or dents.

**TiePods are $20, which seems kinda steep, but knowing that your stuff is secure (achieving the super-strong knot can be iffy, no matter how many years we spent learning knot tying in Girl Scouts!) is sometimes worth every cent.

The guide also calls In The Driver’s Seat the perfect gift for the new driver! Woot!

Check out the entire gift-giving list here.

How Severe Are Your Driving Conditions?

Are you following your car manual’s maintenance guide? Awesome. But the latest AAA Car Care Month study raises the following question: Are you following the rightmaintenance schedule based on the conditions you drive in?

Manuals have two maintenance schedules–one for normal driving conditions and one for severe driving conditions. The schedule you should follow depends on how you drive your car.

The study found that  62 percent of drivers who are driving under severe conditions don’t even realize they’re doing it–they think the short trips, driving off-road and motoring through stop-and-go traffic in the heat is normal stuff that leads to normal wear and tear. Not so, says AAA. These conditions are considered severe and demand a more rigorous maintenance schedule.

Are you one of the majority who doesn’t recognize the beating you’re giving your car? To find out, take the AAA survey yourself:

Do you frequently:

  • Drive on short trips of less than 5 miles in normal temperatures or less than 10 miles in freezing temperatures?
  • Drive in  stop-and-go traffic when it’s hot outside?
  • Drive at less than 50 miles per hour for long distances?
  • Drive on dusty, muddy, sandy or gravel or salt-covered roads?
  • Tow a trailer or camper or carry stuff in a roof rack or car-top carrier?

If you’re rockin’ a “yes” to most of these questions, then you’re driving in severe conditions. And severe driving conditions call for more frequent fluid and filter changes. For deets on what to do, check your manual.