Monday, November 28, 2016

Car Dashboard Lights - What Do They Mean?

Know What Your Car Dashboard Lights Are Telling You

dashboard symbols
Today’s cars have many different dashboard lights designed to alert drivers to possible problems and to make sure you can take care of those problems quickly.
Here’s a quick guide to common dashboard warning lights and car symbols.

Check engine

In newer cars, the lit icon will look like an engine. It means the vehicle’s computer has triggered a diagnostic trouble code indicating there’s an issue. If it occasionally turns on and off, it’s an intermittent problem and you’ll just want to have it checked next time you take it in for maintenance.
However, if it stays on, it means there’s an ongoing problem – though it could be as simple as the gas cap not being closed tightly. If the problem continues, get the engine checked out. If the light flashes rapidly, the problem may be serious and you should get to a repair shop immediately.

Low tire pressure light

This dashboard light looks like a tire with an exclamation point in it and means that at least one of your tires is underinflated. You’ll want to check your tire’s air pressure immediately.


This dashboard light stands for Tire Pressure Monitoring System and when it comes on, there’s a problem with the monitoring system – probably a failed sensor in one of the wheels. Some people mistakenly believe this means the air pressure is low in the tires, but the TPMS is responsible for keeping track of air pressure in the tires; when it notices a tire is low, it triggers the low tire pressure light. If the TPMS light remains on, have the sensors checked during regular maintenance – and never rely solely on warning signals. You still should check your tire pressureonce a month.

Oil pressure

If you see a dashboard light that looks like an oil can, you need to pull over at the nearest gas station. This light signals the loss of oil pressure, and you need to check to make sure you aren’t losing oil.

Coolant temperature

A warning dashboard light that looks like a thermometer means the engine’s temperature is beyond the normal limits, and it should be checked immediately to keep your car from overheating. You’ll want to check the coolant level and make sure the radiator cap is properly sealed as well as look for coolant leaks. Always allow time for the engine to cool down before checking the coolant level, however, to avoid getting burned.


When the dashboard light that looks like a battery comes on, your voltage level is below normal. It means the vehicle’s charging system isn’t functioning properly, so you need to have the battery terminals and alternator belt checked. If it’s an older battery, you may need to replace it.

Brake system

The dashboard light that looks like a circle inside a set of parenthesis with an exclamation point in the middle represents your brake system – and if it comes on while driving, you need to pay immediate attention to it. It could be triggered by driving with the parking brake on, but it can also mean you’re losing brake fluid.
If it comes on and off intermittently, and you don’t notice a change in braking ability, you should get it to a repair shop as soon as possible. But if it stays on there’s a problem that needs to be taken care of immediately, and you should have it towed to a repair shop.
In the case that you do need to go to a repair shop and have work done, make sure you have the best coverage. Learn more about how Nationwide auto insurance can protect you and save you money.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Need to save a little money for the Holidays?! Energy efficiency may be one of the ways to do it!

7 Ways to Stop Drafts in Your Home

Drafts, or air leaks, can come into your home through windows, fireplaces and even electrical outlets, making your house feel several degrees colder and driving up your heating bills. The potential energy savings from reducing drafts can range from 5% to 30% per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Here are seven ways to find and fix drafts in your home before winter’s frigid temperatures hit.

Windows and doors

Most people automatically think to check for gaps around their windows and doors, and many will opt to use self-sticking weather stripping or a decorative draft stopper to stop air leakage. Others will caulk around their doors and windows. Caulking, however, isn’t as easy as it sounds.
“Caulking seems easy until it’s coming out of the end of the tube and you can’t control it, it goes all over the place and it doesn’t go where you want it to go,” says Mark Clement, co-host of a home improvement radio show. The problem, he says, is there are so many different types of caulking to choose from. The best choice is to use a high-quality latex caulk that cleans up with water.
You should also check for cracked caulking around your doors and windows. If you find any cracks, you will need to re-caulk those areas to prevent cold air from seeping in. If you want to add an extra barrier between the outside air and your home, you could also install an insulating plastic film over your windows to provide an airtight seal.

An easy way to stop air leakage, says Clement, is to lock your windows. Sometimes a window will look closed but, until it is locked, it’s hard to tell if the window is shut tight, he says. If you can’t lock your window, try opening it all the way and closing it again to make sure the window is still on its track. If that doesn’t work, you might need to call a professional to check your window.


If you have an unfinished basement, there is a good chance your floors feel cold when you walk around in bare feet and even when you wear socks, Clement says. The best way to stop cold air from penetrating the floor is to add insulation under the flooring.

Cable lines and wires

Anywhere a cable, wire or pipe goes from inside to out, there is typically an air leak. If the hole around the wire or pipe is a quarter of an inch or less, you can use caulk to seal it, Clement says. If it is larger, use foam insulation to close the hole.

Electrical devices

Contractors often under-insulate light switches and plugs, says Clement. As a result, they can become wind tunnels. If you remove the electrical wall plate around your light switch or plug, you may see a gap between the device and the wall. You can fill up the cavity with low-expanding foam insulation. This video explains how to do it (but when in doubt, consult a professional).


Make sure your attic is properly insulated. It’s important to seal areas where exhaust fans, attic stairs and small holes allow cool air to seep into your home. Foam insulation and weather stripping can be added to the plywood or drywall in your attic to help seal up those areas.


The damper inside your chimney is meant to keep the cold air out but since dampers are typically made of cast iron, they don’t entirely keep the cold away. One way to stop drafts from fireplaces is to insert a piece of thick foam insulation covered with decorative fabric at the fireplace opening when you aren’t using the fireplace.

Buffer your home with landscaping

Shrubs and trees planted around your home can help protect it from the wind in the winter and provide shade in the summer. For instance, says Clement, if you plant an evergreen tree in front of your house it will protect your home from the wind, keeping the cold air from hitting your house and windows directly.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

5 Tips for Windshield Crack Prevention and Repair

5 Tips for Windshield Crack Prevention and Repair

All it takes is one small chip in the windshield before it becomes a full-fledged crack. Small yes, but you want to be safe. Here’s how to prevent a windshield crack from interfering with your safety.

1. Decide if it needs immediate attention

First, where’s the crack located? Is it off to the side or is it obscuring your view? If it interferes with your ability to see the road, you should deal with even a small crack immediately by taking your car to the repair shop. However, if it’s not really impairing your ability to see the road, grab a ruler.

2. Determine whether it needs repaired or replaced

If the crack is less than 12 inches long, or the chip is smaller than the size of a quarter, the integrity of the windshield hasn’t been compromised and probably doesn’t require replacing, according to But every crack or chip is different, and it’s important to consult an expert. The goal is to ensure a crack from getting bigger or in any way compromising safety.

3. Avoid dirt and debris

One of the biggest things to guard against is dirt. If dirt gets into the crack, it can make a simple repair much more complicated. But that doesn’t mean you should head for the car wash or reach for a bucket. If water seeps into the crack, what began as a small repair has now become a complete replacement. Instead, keep dirt and moisture away from the crack with a piece of clear packing tape, which is strong but won’t obscure your view.

4. Park indoors to avoid the sun

If possible, park the car inside, where it will be protected against rain as well as the sun, which can cause the windshield to heat up and allow the crack to expand. If you don’t have a garage, try parking in a shaded spot.

5. Avoid temperature extremes

Likewise, keep in mind that extreme cold is not good for the cracked windshield. Refrain from putting your air conditioner or defroster on high. If necessary, use the heater moderately to gradually defrost the windows.

6. Drive carefully

Another way to keep the crack from getting larger is to drive with extra caution. That means steering clear of potholes and staying away from rough roads. Jostling the car is the last thing that you need when driving with a crack, and you also want to be careful when getting in and out of the car and avoid slamming the doors or the trunk.
Above all, keep safety in mind at all times; the sooner you get the windshield in for replacement or repair, the better. Beyond repairing a cracked windshield, performing regular car maintenance is key to sustaining your car in the long term. Check out the ultimate car maintenance schedule and keep your ride up to date.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

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