Six Critical Fluids for Your Car

Six Critical Fluids for Your Car

We tend to view our cars as a combination of metal, plastics, cloth, leather, glass and rubber. We often forget the critical role fluids play in the operation of our vehicles. At any given time, our vehicles can easily have 20 or more gallons of liquid in them. Here is a closer look at those liquids, what they do and why they are critical.


Gas is, of course, what creates the energy for your car’s engine to run. The average gas tank in a car holds about 12 gallons; with vans, mini-vans and trucks having larger capacities. Gas is stored in the vehicle’s gas tanks and moves toward the engine through a pipe or flexible tubing known as the fuel line, propelled by the fuel pump. The fuel injector pushes the gas into the engine where it is ignited in a car engine’s cylinder.

Engine Oil

Generally, cars have an oil capacity of about four or five quarts that should be changed every three months or three to six thousand miles. Small pieces of metal and other debris are strained through an oil filter to keep the oil clean. Clean oil is one of the most underestimated ways in which to keep a car engine running efficiently and extending its lifespan.

Anti-Freeze/Engine Coolant

Today, antifreeze and engine coolant frequently comes premixed and can stay in a vehicle’s coolant system year around. Coolant is air cooled through the radiator and circulated through the engine through the water pump. Levels should be checked and systems should be flushed with the coolant changed annually. Coolant capacities for most radiators range from 10 to 28 quarts.

Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid provides multiple benefits to a vehicle’s transmission, serving as a lubricant, hydraulic fluid, and a coolant, all designed to facilitate a smooth shifting transmission. Cars have a greater capacity of transmission fluid than most realize, carrying 12-16 quarts of the fluid.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is a chemical critical to the function of your cars hydraulic braking system. Foot pressure on your car’s brakes creates pressure in your brake lines, causing pads and shoes to apply pressure to the rotors. Without brake fluid, you would need to stop your car in Fred Flintstone fashion. Cars have a brake fluid capacity of about 1 quart.

Windshield Washer Fluid

If you don’t believe windshield washer fluid is critical, you may never have driven on snow covered or slushy streets. Those in the south can get away with water in the fluid containers, while an anti-freeze will need to be included in washer fluid in the north. This fluid is usually a blue color. Car’s have about a one gallon capacity of windshield washer fluid.

It can pay to be fluid about your auto insurance coverage. Compare rates annually and adjust your coverage accordingly. We can help. Contact one of our independent auto insurance today for a free review and price quote.

Automobile Racing in America: A ‘Checkered” Past

Automobile Racing in America: A ‘Checkered” Past

The first recognized automobile race in the world was an 1895 event with a course that went from Paris to Bordeaux, France and back. The race was won with an average speed of just over 24 mph. In comparison, riders in cycling’s Tour de France complete the course with average speeds of over 40 mph.

In the United States, auto racing history began with a race from Chicago to Evanston, Illinois and back on Thanksgiving Day of 1895. An early snow kept average speeds to just over 7 mph.

Many early auto racing tracks also served as horse racing facilities in the 19th century. The first closed-course auto racing event took place in 1896 at the Narragansett Trotting Park; located in Cranston, Rhode Island. Auto racing also began at another horse track, the Milwaukee Mile in 1903 and continues to this day. Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa,is the oldest racing venue, and one of the most prestigious, in the United States. It was built in the late 1800s at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Iowa. Like the Milwaukee Mile, it too was initially built as a horse racing track.

One of the longest-serving and legendary multi-purpose racecourse in the United States is the 2.5 mile track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Constructed over 6 months in mid-1909, when it was completed, it was the largest capacity sports venue in the world. The original surface was bricks, providing the nickname “The Brickyard”. Today a strip of original bricks remains at the start-finish line.

A uniquely American style of racing, stock car racing rapidly gained in popularity with the formation of The National Association for Stock Car Racing in 1948. NASCAR began racing modified cars from the factory on the beaches of Daytona, and rapidly expanded in the 1950s to tracks across the Southeast. The massive Daytona International Speedway, home of the Daytona 500 NASCAR race was built in 1958. Like Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the racetrack is 2.5 miles long.

Of course, automobile racing is dangerous by nature. In NASCAR alone, 28 drivers have been killed while racing, the last of which was Dale Earnhardt in 2001. At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 73 people have lost their lives, 42 of which were drivers. The others included a motorcyclist, ride-along mechanics, pit crew and even track personnel and spectators.

If you are interested in comparing car insurance rates, one of our independent insurance agents can help. Simply contact us, answer a few questions, and you could potentially get a money-saving quote.

What You May Not Know About Road Rage

What You May Not Know About Road Rage

Certainly drivers got angry at each other long before 1988, but if you are looking for a start date for the term road rage, it would be that year. In 1988, the term road rage was first used, but was still only used about three times yearly in news stories until 1994. Use of the term road rage increased dramatically in 1995 when it was utilized over 500 times. From there, road rage and use of the term has escalated.

Road rage is an explosive anger that occurs when driving. An interesting aspect of road rage is that we must feel that road rage is something that happens to us. It is actually our response to a situation, real or perceived, that happens on the road. When someone cuts us off, for example, they may have underestimated their clearance. For them, they will go on their way, not even giving it a second thought. For us, however, we may dwell on it as an act that was done intentionally, stupidly and one that put us in danger. This can trigger anger in us that can last for minutes or longer. Long after the “offending party” has moved on, our blood pressure may still be high.

Road rage is much more common than we may think. Surveys indicate that 90% of us admit to experiencing road rage-style anger within the past 30 days. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of road rage is that about 66% of fatalities have been attributed to aggressive driving.

Part of the problem is that more than half of us believe speeding is the norm. This means while 53% will view excessive speed as a normal part of the driving experience, the other half views it as unnecessary and perhaps even aggressive. This can cause situations where some drivers are weaving in and out of traffic while others are content to stay the course.

Two other statistics should raise flags when it comes to road rage. About half of us will get aggressive during road rage, resulting in horn honking, light flashing or a single-finger salute. In addition, a staggering 37% of road rage incidents are believed to involve firearms.

Experts generally agree there are three steps drivers should take to avoid road rage incidents. The first is to take a deep breath and relax. Avoid the temptation to react.That leads to the second step which is to not react; stare, shake a finger or initiate other contact. Finally, you need to be willing to let them go. Life could change forever in an instant. It is best to make the wiser choice.

Road rage can not only lead to injuries and accidents, it can lead to higher insurance rates. This is something no one wants. If you feel your automobile insurance rate are increasing too quickly, compare. Contact one of our independent agents. They have access to multiple insurance companies and compare rates for you. You may be able to save on your auto insurance rates or even get improved coverage.

Remember, when it comes to road rage, take a breath, don’t engage them and move on. When it comes to insurance rates, contact our agents and compare.


New Car Prices: A Look at the Last 60 Years

New Car Prices: A Look at the Last 60 Years

From the Chevy Corvette and Camaro to the Thunderbird and Mustang, the last sixty years have brought us some exciting vehicles. They also have brought about significant changes in safety features, comforts, technology, fuel efficiency and, of course, prices. Here is a look back at the last sixty years of cars and average new car prices.


This was an exciting time for new cars in the US with the debut of the Mustang, Camaro and Pony and Muscle cars. In the early part of the decade, car prices averaged about $2,700 with cars near the end of the decade topping $4,000. Gas prices through the 1960s hovered around 30 cents per gallon, making fuel mileage an afterthought. Drivers wanted fast, sexy cars.


The 1970s were responsible for some significant changes, as oil shortages transitioned us from muscle cars to more fuel-efficient models. The average gallon of gas rose from about 35 cents to over $1 per gallon through the decade. The average price of a new car in 1975 was about $4,800. For the first time, fuel prices began impacting our choice of new cars.


In the 1980s, car-makers were challenged with making cars that could achieve 20 mpg. The decade also saw average new car prices rise significantly to $7,000-$8,000. We began to see the impact of alternative fuel vehicles in the market, although they were rare.


Average income was rising for American families in the 1990s and so were new car prices. The decade started out with new car prices averaging about $12,000 but by the new Millennium, car prices were touching the $20,000 mark. Electric vehicles started becoming at least a factor in auto sales and pricing.


After the relatively stable gas prices of the 1990s, gas prices soared through the new decade. While the car designs of the new Millennium were relatively mundane, new car prices continued to rise. With trucks and SUVs gaining popularity, average new vehicle prices reached close to $30,000. More electrified cars became common.


New trucks and SUV sales exceeded that of sedans through the decade fueling the rise of average new vehicle prices to $37,000. Carbon fueled vehicles still dominate, but electric cars are not only becoming more common, but more powerful and have greater ranges.


Shortages of new cars have led to a dazzling increase in both new and used cars. Consumers can expect average new vehicles prices to reach above $40,000 as supply line issues increase. Electric super-cars begin surpassing acceleration speeds of combustion engine super-cars.

While we may complain about our seemingly ever-increasing auto insurance rates, we may not take into consideration that we are purchasing ever increasingly expensive vehicles. These more expensive vehicles are more costly to repair. That doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to save on your auto insurance. Using one of our independent auto insurance agents is a terrific first step. While we can do the shopping for you, the final decision is yours. Contact us for a no obligation car insurance review and quote. You probably price compare when buying a new car. You should do the same when insuring that car. We look forward to assisting you.

The First 60 Years of New Car Prices

The First 60 Years of New Car Prices

If you’ve been out shopping for a new or used car lately, you’ve likely noticed the prices have skyrocketed. This has likely been a complaint throughout the history of automobiles, but looking back, the prices sure look attractive. Here is a quick review of new car prices over the past 100 years.


Before the invention of Henry Ford’s Model T, car prices were out of the reach of most Americans. They were such a luxury item, fewer than 200,000 total cars were on the road.


The Model T revolutionized not only the automobile industry, but manufacturing. Initial Model T’s cost about $825 when they first appeared on the market, making the much more affordable to the average American family. That would amount to about $18,000 in today’s dollars.


The 1920s saw car markets in the United States and Europe explode. Ford continued to dominate through the early half of the decade with the Model T accounting for 47% of all car sales. New car prices actually fell in the 1920s, with new car’s available for less than $300. Now THAT’s a deal, translating to about $3,500 in today’s money.


The Depression impacted the markets for new cars, which, in a chicken and the egg equation, led to layoffs of autoworkers which led to fewer people who could afford a new car. Used cars became increasingly popular. New car prices averaged about $600 through the decade with gas prices at about 10 cents per gallon.


Popular cars of the 1940s included the Pontiac Streamliner, Plymouth Deluxe and the military inspired post-war Willy’s Jeep. Average car prices rose to about $850, and it seemed new models were making debuts each year.


Many consider the 1950s as a benchmark time for automakers as families began buying more vehicles to fit their lifestyle and as status symbols. Cars became increasing stylish with additional options and prices began reaching over $2,000 for well-equipped American made family cars.

Of course, if you have any of these early models, they are very likely to be worth far more than their new car price. Classic and collector car insurance is a specialized product that can be customized for your car and its value. Contact one of our independent insurance agents to discuss your classic car. We can search insurance companies who are knowledgeable in covering such vehicles. Contact us to discuss your vehicle and to get a no obligation quote today.

The Service Station Experience

The Service Station Experience

If you think a service station is where you pump gas and get a soda as big as your head, you likely never had a true service station experience. From the time of the Model T through much of the 1970s, service stations peppered just about every major street corner. There were several pumps for dispensing gasoline, and depending on the service station, one to four stalls for car repairs and even for tires. Many service stations even had their own tow trucks or at least a relationship with a towing company.

Here’s what you could expect from a service station visit in “the day”.

Pulling Up

Your arrival to get gas at a service station would be announced when you drove over well-placed rubber hoses that activated a loud bell to the attendant inside. Shortly, a gas station attendant would be jogging out to your driver’s side-car window, often greeting you with the question “Filler up?”

The Attendant

Often the attendant would be wearing a uniform shirt of the oil company he worked for, with a named engraved above the left pocket. For some reason, it seemed like it was always a three-letter name like Bob, Gus or Ray. Early attendants in the industry would often sport a bow tie. The attendant would then proceed to fill up your tank or dispense the dollar or two worth of fuel you ordered.

The Service in Service Station

The attendant was also responsible for cleaning your windshield and “checking under the hood.” If you needed a quart of oil, he would provide it and add it to your bill, using a unique can opener/spout pourer device that made adding oil from quart cans easy. If you asked, they would check your tire pressure and add “free” air when needed.


Service stations were known for their promotions. “Fill ups” would often be accompanied by a free piece of glassware, collectable coin or trading stamps that could be saved in paper books and later redeemed for prizes.

Car Repair

At the time, next to your car dealer, your service station was likely your go-to location for car repairs and tires. Your corner service station mechanic could change oil, replace shocks and brakes, replace brakes and even repair exhaust systems. Walls were stacked with tires for sale and getting a new car battery was a breeze.

Cars today are safer, more technologically advanced, and get far better gas mileage then back then, but there is something to be missed about the corner service station.

You can still get one-on-one service when it comes to your auto insurance. Our independent agents will not only help make sure you get every discount available to you, but will shop for the best price from an array of available companies. Contact us today!

Tips for Selling Your Used Car

Tips for Selling Your Used Car

If you have decided to sell your used car on your own, there are some steps you can take to help you get the most from it.

  • Clean or even detail the car. Make your car as spotless as possible including potentially shampooing the seats and carpeting.Clean windows thoroughly and make sure the cars paint and tires shine.
  • Take lots of photos. Take interior and exterior photos including the trunk and engine area. Don’t be afraid to include images of imperfections or damage. Be straightforward. Don’t forget the dashboard and odometer to document mileage.
  • Take time to write a good description. Include all options and highlight the vehicle’s best features. Be sure to tell if the car was used mainly for highway trips and any major repairs that have been made. If you are the original or second time owner, that too, can be valuable to point out.
  • Make it as visible as you can. Market your car online in free classifieds and use social media. Be sure to let friends and family know you are selling your car in case they know someone who may be interested.
  • Gather as much mechanical documentation as possible. Having documentation of any maintenance and repairs you have completed demonstrates you have taken care of the car and can provide more peace of mind for a buyer. Be cautious that any receipts don’t contain any personal information you don’t want the buyer to have.
  • Change the oil. Even if your potential buyer is not mechanically inclined, they probably know the importance of clean, clear oil in car.
  • Take care of inexpensive routine maintenance. Make sure internal and exterior lights work, coolant levels are sufficient and there is washer fluid in the reservoir.
  • Perform due diligence in setting your price. Pricing your car too high may discourage some from even looking at it. Pricing it too low will cost you. Compare like vehicles from a variety of online resources.

If you are replacing your used vehicle with a new or newer vehicle, the best way to save on your automobile insurance is to compare. Our independent insurance agents can do the shopping for you. We have access to multiple companies who can provide competitive pricing. Changing cars likely means changing car insurance premiums. Get more for your money with a call to our independent insurance agents.

Automotive Alphabet Soup – Car Abbreviations Explained

Automotive Alphabet Soup – Car Abbreviations Explained

We use them so often we may not give them much thought. We may not even know exactly what they mean. They are the myriad of initials and acronyms we use to describe the features, products and options on our vehicles. Here are a few.

ABS – This is the anti locking brake system on a vehicle that, in essence, simulates pumping your brakes when the vehicle loses contact with the road.

AWD – All-wheel drive is generally a feature found on SUV’s and all-terrain vehicles that helps maintain traction.

DMV – The Department of Motor Vehicle is where license plates and drivers licenses are issued. It is also where time goes to die.

HP – You may know that HP stands for horsepower, but you may not know that it is equal to 550 foot-pounds per second equaling 745.7 watts.

MPG – A number that indicates fuel efficiency of a vehicle based on miles per gallon. This is the distance a vehicle can travel on a single gallon of gasoline.

PSI – This is a unit of pressure expressed in pounds per square inch. In the automotive world it is most frequently used to measure tire pressure. It is also the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet.

RWD – Rear-wheel drive is a feature of a vehicle whose back wheels provide the power to propel the vehicle forward or backward.

SAE – When you see this on a container of motor oil is means the oil has been graded in accordance with the standards of the Society of Automotive Engineers. The numbers, expressed in the form of 5W-30 or 10W-40 determine the viscosity of the oil.

SUV – This is the abbreviation for a sport utility vehicle, generally with off-road capabilities.

V-6 – A six-cylinder engine with three cylinders on each side configured in a “V” formation.

V-8 – An 8-cylinder engine with four cylinders on each side configured in a “V” formation. Also, a tomato-based vegetable juice.

ZEV – A zero emission vehicle. A bike for example.

The more you know about your car, the better it can serve you. The more you understand about your auto insurance the better value you may find. Our independent automobile insurance agents can help. They can do the shopping for you. Contact us ASAP to get started.

The Ford-Chevy Rivalry Revisited

The Ford-Chevy Rivalry Revisited

There are some great rivalries throughout history. The Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, Ohio State-Michigan, and even Pepsi and Coke. McDonald’s has its Burger King and Apple has Android. In the automotive industry, there was perhaps no bigger rival than the one between Ford and Chevy.

The Ford and Chevy rivalry goes back over a hundred years to the early 1900s. At about the time Henry Ford was revolutionizing the auto industry with the assembly line and the Model T, Will Durant was fired from General Motors and teamed up with a race car driver by the name of Louis Chevrolet.

The Durant/Chevrolet team proved to be so successful and powerful, they actually took over GM and incorporated Chevy into the company. The rivalry really was fueled in 1928 when Chevy debuted a more powerful engine than Ford and promoted it as such. It was a corporate “Nana Booboo” and the rivalry was on.

The rivals were at it again in 1957 when both Ford and Chevy created legendary vehicles with Ford outselling the Chevy. At the time, Chevy had the Corvette and Ford had the T-bird. Ford caught Chevy off balance with the Mustang in 1964, and it wasn’t until 1967 Chevy responded with the Camaro.

In spite of the success of the Mustang, Chevy outsold Ford in the 1960s to continue the rivalry. Rumors swirled that each camp had corporate spies working for the other company. One move was matched by another.

Today, the rivalry has moved into the truck segment with the Ford F-150 still holding on to the lion’s share of the full size truck market.

The Ford-Chevy rivalry had entire families declaring themselves as “Ford families” or “Chevy families”. It led to the expression from Chevy owners that Ford stood for “Fix or repair daily”.

The rivalry isn’t quite as intense today as consumers have more choices from more manufacturers. You will still occasionally see a window sticker, however, declaring a truck owner’s brand loyalty and disdain for the competition.

While the brand of your vehicle will impact insurance rates, it is not the defining factor. See how things like your age, driving record and even credit rating impact car insurance premiums by contacting one of our independent car insurance agents to get a no obligation quote. They can get quotes from multiple companies giving you more options. Contact us today for your quote.

Don’t Get Fooled By These Four Auto Insurance Terms

Don’t Get Fooled By These Four Auto Insurance Terms

There is no doubt insurance, and automobile insurance terminology can be confusing. It is one of the reasons talking to a real person, like one of our independent insurance agents, can be so beneficial. When shopping on your own however, knowing the real meaning behind some terms can be helpful and even vital in keeping you from making expensive mistakes. Here are four insurance terms you should fully understand.

State Minimum Coverage

Every state has some form of financial responsibility law for drivers. This usually means carrying automobile insurance is mandatory. These laws requite “state minimums” for the state you drive in. It is what it is, the MINIMUM your state requires. It is not the suggested amount, the best amount or even the most cost-effective amount. It is the MINIMUM your state requires to operate a vehicle. For most people, this is simply inadequate. Let one of our agents explain affordable options for you that may vastly improve your coverage and benefits.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Some people reject uninsured motorist coverage because somehow they’ve come to believe they are paying to insure someone else. Not true. Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance protects you when another driver has no or too little coverage to fully pay for your injuries. Even if they are taken to court, they may not have the resources to pay your damages. Uninsured motorist property damage coverage is also valuable when you are in a collision with someone that does not have insurance and you do not have collision coverage on your vehicle. Many attorneys recommend the acquisition of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

No-Fault Insurance

No-fault insurance doesn’t mean someone isn’t to blame for the responsibility of an accident. It does mean each person involved should have minimum coverage to pay for their own injuries. In no-fault insurance states, these injuries are covered by PIP (Personal Injury Policy).

Full or Comprehensive Coverage

The terms “full” or “comprehensive” coverage may lead you to believe you are covered for anything at anytime. These are more general terms describing the type of coverage not the amount of coverage or features like car rentals. Make sure you understand all the provisions and limits of your policy.

You may also believe that buying DIY insurance online may be able to save you money. The best way to save is to compare. That is where our independent insurance agents can help. They have relationships with a network of insurance companies who can deliver exceptional coverage at a price you can be comfortable with. Give them a try. Contact one of our independent automobile insurance agents today.