6 Smells That You Need to Learn

car maintenance smells
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Understanding these painless ways to diagnosing your vehicle is the first step to learning how to work on your own car. Bypassing the need to disassemble an engine bay to discover a problem well save plenty of time so you can get back to watching Amazing Race. Speaking of, this technique will allow you to repair your car before symptoms get too severe allowing you to get back on the road quicker than your competition. I understand due to space, dexterity, and time constraints, not everyone is cut out to be a grease monkey, but not understanding simple symptoms of vehicle degradation can put you in a lot of trouble. So keep these 6 smells in mind next time you smell something funky coming from your car before you head out on a 6 hour road trip.

5 Historic Sites to Drive to in Alexandria, VA

Alexandria is minutes from Washington, D.C., yet it is a world away. Nationally recognized for its rich history and beautifully preserved architecture, Alexandria is an unforgettable getaway. Here are some historic sites to drive to in Alexandria.

1. Mount Vernon

Mt. Vernon Memorial Highway
Image via Flickr by benclark

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway Mount Vernon, VA 22121

Discover colonial America firsthand at George and Martha Washington’s home and adopted hometown, Mount Vernon. Situated on the banks of the Potomac River eight miles south of Alexandria, this four-acre Pioneer Farm is the most visited historic estate in America. Today, Mount Vernon is a museum filled with documents and items from George Washington and other key people in American history. Mount Vernon is only a short distance from Old Town hotels, shops, and restaurants.

2. Alexandria Black History Museum

902 Wythe St, Alexandria, VA 22314

The Alexandria Black History Museum enriches the lives of residents and visitors, fostering tolerance and understanding across all cultures and promoting appreciation of the African-American experience. The museum provides local and regional history and consists of two exhibition galleries and an environment for learning about African-American cultural traditions. African-American Heritage Park is a nine-acre green space that offers (more…)

Coupe or Sedan: 4 Things to Consider Before You Make Your Choice

Image via Flickr by Axion23
Image via Flickr by Axion23

By definition, the difference between a coupe and a sedan is essentially only determined by size. A sedan needs to have interior space of at least 33 cubic feet, while a coupe has less than 33 cubic feet. Although that is the standard definition, there are other variables that sway a person toward a sedan or a coupe.

Entry Access

Your typical coupe only has two doors while a sedan has four doors. It’s easier to access the back seats in a sedan with the two extra doors, which makes a sedan more appropriate for families. If you have children that no longer use carseats, it may be easier for them to climb in the back; however, teenagers or adults would find it cumbersome to regularly get into the back seat of a coupe and depending on the style, may find their heads bumping up against the roof. When you combine that with the smaller backseat, it is a challenge to have multiple passengers traveling with you for both the driver and the passengers.  (more…)

3 Scenic Locations Worth Driving to in Alexandria, VA

Image via Flickr by freestock.ca dare to share beauty
Image via Flickr by freestock.ca dare to share beauty

Alexandria has interesting historic homes and a vibrant arts scene, but when it comes to scenery it’s a little lacking. If you want to discover something truly beautiful, load up your car and get out of the city to see these superb scenic sights all within driving distance of Alexandria, Virginia.

Skyline Drive: Mountainside Road Through Shenandoah National Park

Skyline Drive is a 105-mile stretch of road cutting through Shenandoah National Park, alongside the Blue Ridge Mountains. Stop to admire the views of the Shenandoah Valley from any of the 75 lookouts along the way, or simply enjoy the scenery as it passes your car window.

Traffic can get heavy during the fall and spring, when people slow to admire the changing leaves and wildflowers, but don’t sweat it. Just remember that traveling at a more leisurely pace will allow you to really take in the beauty that’s around you. Keep your eyes peeled for the animals that call the National Park home, including white-tailed deer, black bear, and raccoons. (more…)

6 Things to Do to Prep Your Car For Fall/Winter

Image via Flickr by OregonDOT
Image via Flickr by OregonDOT

As summer gives way to the crisp winds of fall, it’s important to take a break from pumpkin spiced bliss and address the more mundane concerns of this season. Cold weather presents many challenges for your car, and proper maintenance is essential in this season to prepare for the snow, ice, and dropping temperatures ahead.

Change Your Oil and Filter

Cold weather presents new challenges for your car, and the right fluids are essential for meeting them. Drivers in cold climates need to switch to winter weight oil. This oil has a lower viscosity and moves more freely in cold weather. You should also invest in a new oil filter in preparation for the season. If it’s 20 degrees out, your oil is about as thick as maple syrup. You need a filter that can stand up to the pressure of thicker oil to avoid a blown-our sealing ring or burst canister. (more…)

The Top 4 Proven Strategies to Help Prevent Teen Car Crashes

Image via Flickr by State Farm
Image via Flickr by State Farm

If you’re reading this, chances are you have a teen that is a new driver. It’s a scary subject for all parents. You trust your kids and you want to trust the safety of your neighborhood’s streets and your city’s highways, but you need to stay realistic – accidents happen. However, you can empower your teen with your own knowledge and wisdom as a life-long driver to keep him or her out of harm’s way.

Avoid Distractions

This may seem like a relatively new phenomenon, yet distracted drivers have existed for years. Before mobile phones, morning commuters could be spotted in traffic applying makeup, shaving, eating food, reading newspapers, and performing other absurd tasks from behind the steering wheel. Today’s distractions are more likely to include phone calls and texting. Demonstrate the power of a driver’s attention to your teen while you’re out driving, preferably in a safe setting like an empty parking lot.

Put Away the Smartphones

Today, smartphones are a ubiquitous part of our culture. They are your teen’s primary point of contact for friends and family. Unfortunately, smartphones are detrimental while driving as they create major distractions. (more…)

4 Museums to Drive the Whole Family to in Alexandria, VA

Image via Flickr by Joe Geranio
Image via Flickr by Joe Geranio

Alexandria, Virgina has a rich culture, full of educational sites and history. Residents and tourists alike should set aside time to visit the many historical sites and explore the beauty of the waterside town, but residents of Alexandria are able to appreciate the culture and background of their hometown. Packed with museums that explore just about every aspect of the town’s history, Alexandria is the perfect place for the whole family.

Alexandria Archaeology Museum

A perfect museum for the family is the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. Here they demonstrate how the city’s archaeologists handle and research any resources that give insight into the city’s past. The museum features large exhibits such as “city blocks” and table top exhibits that display the findings of scientists. Events are held to give an exclusive look into the science such as the museums frequent Family Dig Days, where all ages are welcome to sift through a mock archaeological site and recover artifacts. (more…)

How to Repair a Leaking Sunroof Yourself

Image via Flickr by gosheshe
Image via Flickr by gosheshe

There is nothing worse than a leaking sunroof. It makes a mess and it is never fun to sit in a wet seat, but a leaking sun roof can also permanently mar your car’s interior. You risk staining and even mold. Depending on the location of the leak, electrical components could short out. In other words, there is no reason to wait on taking care of the issue. Luckily, whether you have a slow leak or a roof that spills gallons of water, the steps you need to take to repair a leaking sunroof yourself are the same and surprisingly easy.

User Error

First, make sure that the leak isn’t due to user error. Always allow the sun roof to slide along its track and close completely rather than trying to time its close. The sunroof motor with stop automatically once the sun roof is completely closed.

Locate the Drain Tubes

Once you have ruled out user error, the most common reason for a leaking sun roof is a clogged drain tube. Small debris collects in the drain holes causing the water to collect instead of drain, and before you know it it’s “raining” in your car. Check this first by opening your sunroof and checking along the edges for the drain holes. These are commonly in the front corners of the sun roof but some cars do vary from this.   (more…)

5 D.C. Spots to See and Be Seen in Your Luxury Car

Washington D.C. is known for its politics, but no one will be debating the fine lines of your luxury ride when you drive up to these hip locations. Whether you’re dining, schmoozing at a bar and lounge, or attending a party or corporate event, you’re sure to have plenty of eyes on your ride, not to mention have a great time.

Mari Vanna

1141 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

This restaurant and bar serving Russian fare may seem quaint at first, but it’s actually a prime spot for seeing celebrity politicians. Next door to the Mayflower Hotel and only blocks from the White House, this restaurant boasts its own private secret service entrance for its more discreet customers. Don’t worry, you can still drive up to the front entrance to show off your wheels.

Blue Duck Tavern

Duck Confit
Image via Flickr by cdorobek

1201 24th St NW, Washington, DC 20037

Long touted as one of the best restaurants in the district, this classy hotspot offers traditional American fare with a creative spin. The decor reflects the warm country kitchen vibe with wood furniture and blue burlap lavishly patterned on the walls like brickwork. The exclusive Chef’s Table provides a private dining experience with a customized menu for up to 20 guests. Drive up to the curb in style before an (more…)

5 Tips to Help You Drive Safely at Night

Night Time Driving Tips
Image via Flickr by likeaduck

Despite there being less traffic, more car accidents occur at night than at any other time. This is due to several factors, such as decreased visibility and an increased number of tired and otherwise impaired drivers. Protect yourself from falling into nighttime driving traps by following these five simple rules for driving at night.

Watch Your Lights

Many cars have headlights that turn on and off automatically, but you should still be aware of your lights for times when you may need to turn them on or off manually. Some cars have daytime running lights that turn on automatically but have manual headlights for nighttime use, which the driver needs to turn on. When using your brights, you’ll need to dim your lights when meeting or closely following traffic.

If your headlights are not illuminating the road properly, they could be out of alignment or need cleaning. Make sure to regularly clean and service your headlights.

During times of heavy fog, you may want to use fog lights to reduce glare. It’s worth investing (more…)