How to Prepare Your Car for a Texas Roadtrip

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Planning a road trip through Texas and not sure if your car will survive the ride? These five tips will help get you through.

Prepare Your Car for a 500 Mile Plus Trip

Don’t underestimate the size of the Lone Star State. The drive from El Paso to Orange will see you cover more than 760 miles. Make sure your car is in good condition before you set off by performing basic safety checks on components such as windshield wipers and fluid levels. Remember when you check your tires to also check that your spare is in good condition. If you don’t feel comfortable doing these checks yourself, it’s worth popping your car into your local garage.   continue reading…

Why The Spurs are Worth The Trip

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Despite their recent championship, the San Antonio Spurs play style remains contentious. Detractors say the Spurs’s “no frills” style of basketball puts them to sleep, while fans describe them as “efficient” or even “ruthless.” Either way, the question that’s floating around your mind — and the one that made you click on this article — is, are the Spurs worth going to see?

Yes, unequivocally yes.

Want to know why? Here are four solid reasons the Spurs are absolutely worth a roadtrip.

1) They Brought Back Their Entire Roster

This is a rare and interesting move. An NBA championship team hasn’t brought their entire roster back since the 1990-1991 Chicago Bulls.

At first this might seem surprising, as it runs against “if it ain’t broke” logic. However, there are many reasons this almost never happens. For example, after a championship run, players tend to want more money, which the team may or may not be willing or able to pay. Players get old, injured, or poached by another team. continue reading…

Best Used Cars for the Money

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When you’re looking for a vehicle, it’s not always the best option to buy new. In some cases, considering used cars is the best option. However, not every used car is made equal. You need to make sure that you find a car that is worth the money you put into it. Take a look at some of the best used cars for the amount of money you put into them.

2011 Ford Focus

The 2011 Ford Focus is known as one of the best options for used cars. The car has a Blue Book value of approximately $11,000, depending on the condition of the car and where you purchase it. This car is dependable, and will last for years to come. It offers a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder, 140 horsepower engine. On top of the great price, the car gets approximately 25 miles per gallon city and 34 miles per gallon highway. The Ford Focus offers traction control, engine immobilizer, and stability control. continue reading…

Great reasons to drive an automatic

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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…

Must Visit Spots in Taylor, TX

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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…

How to Choose Between Foreign and Domestic

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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.

The Body

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…

Great Cities to Visit in Texas

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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…

Hillside Country Sights near Taylor, TX

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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…

How to Choose Between Foreign and Domestic

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…

4 Reasons Your Check Engine Light May Be On

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…