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When buying a car, few things matter more than the transmission. Some people swear that they’ll only drive cars with manual transmissions. Before you agree with them, learn more about these four reasons to buy and drive an automatic car.
1. It’s Easier to Learn How to Drive an Automatic
If you’re learning how to drive a car, you’ll almost certainly have an easier experience with an automatic. New drivers have a lot of things to learn. They have to watch for obstacles, figure out how much pressure to use on the gas and brake pedals, and remember to follow the rules of the road.
After driving for several years, these things become so ingrained that drivers don’t think about them. When you’re just starting out, though, a manual transmission adds complications that interfere with safe driving.
Considering that distractions cause most vehicle accidents, it’s best to learn on an automatic so you don’t have to fiddle with a clutch and gear shift. continue reading…
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Taylor, Texas is one of those small Texan towns that you’ll rarely find in a guidebook. Located less than 30 miles from Austin, Taylor is an often overlooked gem. The town was established in 1879 when the Texas Land Company auctioned off land in anticipation of the International and Great Northern Railroad. Once the railroad was finished, immigrants from Czechoslovakia, Germany, and Austria began settling there, and quickly a booming town was born.
By the middle of the 1980s, Taylor was a hub of cotton, maize, and cattle production. Still, it held on to its small town roots. Today, a visit to Taylor is like taking a step back in time to a quieter, slower-paced life. Although the local economy has struggled recently, city-weary people from Austin are looking at Taylor as an attractive option due to its small town atmosphere, great schools, low crime rate, and low cost of living.
Here are four reasons to load the car and visit this Texan town. continue reading…
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Financial experts say that buying a car used is a smart-money decision that will save you a lot of cash. Since used cars are cheaper than new cars, that’s certainly true. However, you could just be inheriting someone else’s costly problems. Read on to find out how to make sure you don’t get a lemon.
Arrange to see the car during the day when visibility is the best. Start with a walk around the car and note any dents and rust you see. Next, do the Magnet Test: Stick a magnet on one fender or the door. If it doesn’t stick, it’s evidence of poor body work in the past. Now, crouch down beside each of the front fenders and look down the length of the car’s sides. If the sides appear wavy, this is in an indicator of body repairs. Lastly, check the tires for tread, bald patches, and uneven wear. Uneven wear can indicate problems with the alignment, and worn tires will need to be replaced soon. continue reading…
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Big cities in Texas like Austin and Houston get a lot of love, but it’s the small towns that embody the true spirit of the state. With fascinating histories and friendly locals, check out these Texas small towns that are worth the drive.
The oldest city in Texas, Nacogdoches is home to approximately 32,000 people and is steeped in history. Originally a Spanish settlement, it’s filled with historical attractions, including the Stone Fort Museum, an interesting piece of history that has held a saloon, trading post, church, and jail — but was never actually used as a fort.
Other attractions include the Oak Grove Cemetery, Camp Tonkawa, and the Durst Taylor House. Enjoy southern hospitality alongside centuries-old Spanish culture that makes this town such an interesting stop. continue reading…
Image via Flickr by Corey Leopold
While Texas is known for its steaks, cowboys, and rough and tumble attitude, there’s a softer side to the Lone Star State. Set to the backdrop of some of the most impressive sights and locations this side of the Colorado river, it’s the perfect opportunity to see a new side of the state. Driving through Texas Hill Country is a tranquil experience for drivers and passengers alike. With these delightful routes, you’ll see the best that’s offered.
From San Antonio to Bandera
Starting in San Antonio, take Highway 16 northwest to the self-proclaimed “Cowboy Capital of the World,” Bandera. While here, you can order a juicy chicken-fried steak and dance to some live country tunes. Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar Saloon is a popular hot spot, where you’ll notice a line of pickup trucks outside the front door. If you want a bit of an education experience in Bandera, head to the Frontier Times Museum. It has a collection of prehistoric arrowheads, bells, and mounted animals. With plenty of family restaurants in town, you won’t go hungry here. continue reading…
Image via Flickr by emilio labrador
When it comes to choosing which style of car you want, you have many options. However, when it comes to where your car is manufactured, you only have two choices. You can either buy a car made in a foreign country, or you can buy a domestic car. When you’re trying to decide which type of manufacturer you should go with, keep these factors in mind.
If You’re Looking for an Affordable Car
For the most part, domestic cars are cheaper to buy than foreign cars. This is especially true when dealers offer incentives and rebates that add up to significant savings. When thinking about the total cost of your car, also consider the cost of insuring your car. Mike Gould, of Advanced Insurance Services, says that foreign cars cost more to insure than domestic cars. As an example, he says that a Honda with a similar price tag to a Ford will cost about 10 percent more to insure.
If You Need a Dependable Car
Even a cheap car becomes expensive if you have to constantly take it to the mechanic for repairs. When deciding between foreign or domestic, you also need to consider which one makes a more dependable car. Many mechanics say that when people are looking for overall quality, they always recommend Toyota or Honda. Indeed, Consumer Reports states that the Honda Fit is the cheapest car to maintain with 5-year total service costs coming in at $2,937. Toyota, whose Corolla has sold 1.7 million cars in the United States, comes in second on the Consumer Reports lists with a 5-year total cost of $2,991. continue reading…
Image via Flickr Jim Larrison
Something is wrong with your car. You know this because your “Check Engine” light just came on. The problem is, you haven’t the foggiest idea what the problem could be. Here are four typical reasons a car’s Check Engine light comes on.
You Need a New Oxygen Sensor
Your car has two to four oxygen sensors. When one of them fails, your mileage plummets and harmful emissions increase. You have two choices: take the car to the shop and pay $200 or more, or buy the part and replace it yourself for under $100.
In the case of a malfunctioning oxygen sensor, the adage about an ounce of prevention is painfully true. A defunct oxygen sensor is a cheap and easy fix, but if you let it wallow in dirty oil ash for too long, you just might end up with a $2,000 catalytic converter bill. continue reading…
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Taylor, Texas is in Williamson County, almost right in the center of the state. It has a small population, around 15,000. However, because of its central location, this little town is the perfect starting place for a host of exciting road trips, including the following.
1. Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi is 236 miles from Taylor, which translates into a three and half hour ride in a car. That is three and a half hours of fun on the road, followed by even more fun when you reach your destination.
The USS Lexington, or as it is often called, the Museum on the Bay, is an amazing exhibit the whole family will enjoy. This aircraft carrier from WWII offers self guided tours full of information. There is a movie feature, interactive flights, a mess hall to buy some chow, and a gift shop for mementos.
The Enchanted Rock State Nature Area and the Pedernales Falls State Park are just a little farther drive to the west, and there you will find excellent views and hiking.
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When searching for something in the used car market it is generally a good idea to keep your options open. Bargains can be found in the most unlikely of places, including the dreaded former rental car section. Used rental cars have a stigma attached which makes buyers reluctant to take them into consideration. As with any other type of vehicle, however, purchasing an ex-rental has its pros and cons.
The State of Affairs
Tell someone to consider buying a used rental car and they might look at you as if you have devil horns protruding from your skull. But the truth is that they have probably already considered several ex-rentals in their quest for a used car; they might even be driving around in one.
Every year thousands of cars are passed on from rental fleets to car dealers across the nation. Car dealers often pick these cars up at auctions and from third party sellers, unaware that the vehicles are ex-rentals. If you’ve purchased a used car, you might have purchased a former rental without even knowing it.
Image via Flickr by Arup Malakar
Camping around Taylor, TX, is an affordable way to get back to nature and appreciate all the beauty Williamson County (the area surrounding the city) has to offer. But before loading up the car, make sure you plan your trip carefully.
Decide Where to Camp
If you love camping with a few creature comforts, then check out Four Winds RV Park, just off Highway 79. As well as electricity and running water, guests can enjoy on-site bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities, WiFi internet, and even cable TV access. It’s family-friendly and pet-friendly, so feel free to load up the car with the entire clan.
Folks who prefer to leave technology far behind will find just what they’re looking for at Taylor Campground on the banks of picturesque Granger Lake. On-site flush toilets and showers will make your visit to this pet-friendly campground comfortable, but a stay here is really about getting back to nature.