Mobile Mechanics – 5 Ways to Tell the ‘Hot’ From the ‘Not’

There are plenty of mobile mechanic services available, throughout the world. The reason that many of these operators exist is that they can work out of a home garage, doing car services and repairs with a fraction of the overheads that companies that have a shop have. It can be a little hard to believe that something so convenient is actually worthwhile – and yes, there have been cases where people have been burned by sub-standard operators. So, today we’re looking at how to tell the good mobile mechanics from the bad. Here are the top 5 real, concrete signs that your mobile mechanic is an industry expert and car professional.

1. Willing to provide a written quote up-front

In fact, this is actually a trait of all good mechanics. If your mechanic has a wide experience in major makes and models, doing car repairs and services of all different types, then they can accurately estimate how long a job will take. This gives you the peace of mind of knowing exactly what your liabilities will be at the end of the job, and is a prerequisite of all good mobile mechanics.

2. Good communication skills

By this, we don’t mean that your mechanic tells you his life story in a poetic and dramatic manner … we mean that he is able to clearly communicate the problem to you, and support his diagnosis with visual examples where it’s possible. For example, “Look at how gunky the spark plugs are – the reason it wouldn’t start is because there was no spark to ignite the fuel”. Your mobile mechanic should communicate to you things like:

o Why the problem occurred

o How the problem occurred

o The extent of the damage to your system

o What needs to be done to make your car driveable

o What will need to be done in the short, medium and long term to ensure your car stays in good working order

o How you can fit repairs in with your budget – they will create a priority schedule for you.

3. They offer a warranty

Professional, expert mobile mechanics will always offer a warranty. The best will give an equal warranty on all parts and labour, of up to 12 months or 20,000 kilometres. If you choose a nationwide brand, then your warranty can be honoured no matter what your location if there is ever a problem. Additionally, you know you’ve found a good mobile mechanic when they trust your opinion when you ring for a warranty claim, and remain completely solution-focused (no blame storming!).

Many mobile mechanics can also repair and service new cars without affecting the dealer’s statutory warranty.

4. No travel time charges

Mobile mechanics already save on overheads by not having a workshop – but they necessarily incur travel costs with that business model. A reliable, reputable company won’t charge you for the travel time to get to your vehicle – they’ll include it as part of their business expenses.

5. They offer regular servicing as well as repairs

If your mobile mechanic is there for you in the happy times when all your car needs is a look-over to keep her going, as well as in the stressful breakdown times, you know you’ve found one worth keeping!

Bonus: They’ll tell you how to keep yourself safe before they arrive

A significant proportion of car repairs performed by mobile mechanics are on the side of the road. A good one will give you some pointers on how to keep yourself and the car safe in the time before they arrive, which may include:

o Getting as far off the road as possible

o Locating the nearest cross street to help the mechanic with navigation

o Keep your mobile phone turned on and preserve the battery buy not making calls

o Park your car under a street light if possible, if the breakdown occurs at night.

o Stay with your car

Tips On How To Prevent Car Lockouts

One thing which happens with almost everyone is that they forget their car keys inside the car. People lock their cars and leave the keys in the ignition. This way it is easier for someone to break inside, get the keys and drive away with the vehicle. It is a real pain for you to get back inside the car and get your keys. You cannot go anywhere without getting your car keys back and that is only possible when you try to break in or get the help of a car mechanic or locksmith. In order to prevent lockouts there are few suggestions listed below.

Do not forget to take keys before leaving home-

Once you plan to leave home, take the car keys with you and once you park and leave the car take the keys out of the keyhole and keep them with you. Instead of leaving the car and forgetting the keys in the car ensure that you have them with you all the time. If you forget to take your keys out and leave, someone will do it for you and take your car away. Once you park the car and turn the engines off, if you hear any beeping once you open the door, it means the car keys are still in the ignition. The beeping sound gives you a reminder to take the keys out instead of leaving them behind. You should always keep the keys with you.

Get a spare key-

In order to avoid any bad event on your way out, make sure you have an extra pair of keys at home. People who have this problem of forgetting things and leaving car keys behind should get an extra pair of keys. This way you can avoid lockouts. You can use this key to unlock your car and get inside easily. But people usually keep this key in their houses; under doormats etc. you need to carry this key with you all the time. Just keep it inside your wallet without any key ring attached to it.

Get your lock fixed-

Car lockouts not always happen because of leaving your keys inside, sometimes it occur due to a defaulted lock. To avoid such thing you should contact a locksmith or car mechanic or else you have to face this issue every time you try to lock your car. There is another option of leaving your car without locking it, but then you do not want to risk losing your car. If someone finds your car unlocked he might try to get inside and steal it. Do not waste time and get the lock fix before it’s too late.

Attach a noisy key ring-

Do attach some noisy key rings with your spare keys and even with your original car keys in order to avoid losing them. If incase, your keys ever fall to the ground you will be able to notice it immediately due to the noise they make.

Recheck your keys-

Keep on checking your keys after every few hours, if they are still on you or not. Keep them in a fixed spot so you know where they are.

Car Dents Can Be Easy to Take Out of Your Car – Here’s Some DIY Tips

Car dents are an unsightly looking thing. Most of us take great pride in the car we own and drive even if it’s not the most modern compared to the new Mercedes going past you. So it still hurts when someone bangs a shopping trolley into you, or, you suffer a minor road collision, or, are even hit by large hailstones which does happen from time to time.

Depending on the size of the dent you’ve either just got on your car or just noticed on your car, you may have to visit your local panel beater or auto body shop for them to take a look at it. Or, if it’s small enough then you may be able to undertake this repair yourself with just a few DIY tools.

You’ll first have to have a good hard careful look at the damage. If you’ve got ripples or a line or crease in this dent then unless you’ve had some kind of experience at this, you are going to have to take it to a panel beater for them to access it and come up with a price. It’s unfortunate if you do end up here for what may look like something quite small and cheap to fix but even the very small does take time, especially if there’s a crease in the dent to take out. However, if you have something simple that has dented your car like a large hailstone, then you may be able to carefully tap it back out. If it’s a whole panel that has taken a beating in a minor road accident then if you are a competent welder, you could just buy another panel, remove the dented panel and just replace with the new.

One handy tip for dents with no creases is to use the household plumbers plunger. You’ll have to be extremely careful here. The technique is to very, very slowly apply pressure on the dent with the plunger being over the top, just like if you were about to clear a blockage. So, gently but forcefully push the plunger down until there’s no more air in the plunger. The best result here is to apply a little water or grease around the rubber edge of the plunger to keep it as airtight as possible, Next, with a very steady grip, pull the plunger back and you should release the dent. This is hard work and probably impossible to do on corner dents, but ideal for side dents, roof dents and bonnet and boot dents on flat panels that because of the interior trim which is difficult to remove, can be a quick and easy fix.

Another dent repair method is to use a block of wood, an old towel and a rubber mallet. This is good for dents larger than the surface area of the plumbers plunger. The towel is to protect the edges of the block of wood. So, wrap the towel around the block and make certain that the block has no hidden sharp edge left as if it has you are likely to cause even greater damage. This is great for bonnets and roofs and boots/trunks. If the dent is on your bonnet, open the bonnet and hold the block of clothed wood against the underside of the dent, then gently tap away until the dent has disappeared.

The Generac Gas Generator Line is Simply the Best Home and Work Electric Power Generator Available

Specific problems beget specific solutions. And specific solutions require the help of specialists, highly professional individuals trained to handle specific issues. Got a problem with your car? Turn to an auto repair specialist. Want to enhance your house’s interior? Contact an interior design specialist. Problem with constant power outages? Get a Generac gas generator.

For more than 50 years, Generac is known as one of the most reliable providers of emergency power systems in the US. That is not surprising considering the fact that Generac was the first to produce affordable standby home generators.

Home Power by Generac:

A specialist in resolving back-up power issues, Generac is a premiere source of quality standby generators for residential use, particularly gas generators. Generac has three main series of residential gas generators: CorePower System, Guardian Series, and QuietSource Series.

Cost is a top concern when it comes to buying a back-up power system. Generac knows this. So they have engineered a new high-quality yet affordable standby gas generator for budget-conscious customers. Generac’s 7 KW Standby Generator from its CorePower System series would not drain your wallet. It uses either natural gas or liquefied petroleum fuel, so it is efficient and clean. Its tough and all weather construction ensure customers that this small gas generator would last for a long time. The compact design of this generator makes it the perfect choice for an already crammed residence. For added convenience, this generator comes with LED light status, fault indicators, and digital controller.

When it comes to reliability, the Guardian Series of Generac is on top of the list. This is the number 1 selling home standby generator and four out of five families in the US already have Guardian Series generators in their residences. Generac’s Guadian Series features small 8 KW generators to large 60 KW sets. These hands-free generators start upon sensing about 10 seconds of power loss. That means that you do not have to labor to make it run-it is automatic. The Guardian Series is equipped with the OHVI engine which is designed to last up to four times longer than other engines. Generac’s Guardian Series generators come with mounting pads and are very easy to install. What is more, the Guardian Series generators are designed to consume less gas and release less emission.

Worried that a standby generator may disturb your neighborhood’s serenity? Well, you do not have to. You can get Generac’s QuietSource Series standby gas generators. Equipped with slow speed engines that run at 1800 rpm, these generators are so quiet that you would not notice that it is running.

Portable Power by Generac:

Of course, we all know that we also need power outside the house. That is why Generac also has portable gas generators that are perfect for outdoor use. Generac’s portable gas generators have a strong built, so you can be sure that they would not get damaged easily outdoors. Also, Generac portable gas generators are equipped with the OHVI engine and have a run time up to four times longer than other generators.

Whether you are looking for a reliable back-up residential power or a portable source of power outdoors, Generac’s gas generators are among the best.

Lock Installation And Repair Services

Locksmiths are very important to both residential and commercial properties and even automobiles. They offer services which ensure that the security of your premises or car is not compromised. You can enjoy installation services, repair services and even lock upgrades and maintenance services in your areas. Whether you are going for new lock installations or repairs, you should ensure that you choose a professional company or experienced and qualified locksmiths to handle the process and fetch you the best results in the end.

Installation Services

Your needs can result from a need to have a new brand of lock installed or simply have a missing lock installed in an area you feel should have enhanced security. When you choose professionals for your installation needs, you can get help in choosing the best lock brands with security deadbolts and other features that will enhance your security. It can be hard to decide which deadbolt is best because there is single cylinder, electric deadbolt and double cylinder but with the help of the locksmiths, you will get all formation and help to choose the best for your security needs.

When choosing the installation services, however, you want to choose locksmiths that can handle any type of lock. You might have your own preferences and your professional should handle your project and even supply you with the locks that you need. The services rendered to you should be excellent. A company offering insured and guaranteed installation services is best. Apart from a new installation for your business center home, office or auto, you should access other important services such as lock out services, key duplication and lock re-keying whenever the need arises. Consider what other services your locksmith offers before hiring.

Repair Services

Locks should be repaired as soon as they show problems. Taking too long to have the locks repaired can compromise the security of your property. Luckily, locksmiths do offer good repair services for all kinds of locks for your home, business or car. Repairs are cheaper compared to replacements and installation and should be done before the problem develops to a level where the repairs are no longer helpful for the situation. Some of the repair services offered by locksmiths include the following.

  • Car lock repairs that take care of broken car locks even for complex automobile doors. You can have your child safety locks, power locks and manual locks repaired by the professionals easily. Some of the best offer roadside assistance for emergency locksmith services that ensure your problem is solved whenever and wherever it occurs.
  • Residential door lock repairs are offered for any lock model and security types including handle sets, passage door knobs, keyed entrance locks, privacy locks and dead locks. Quick repairs will save you from higher replacement costs.
  • Commercial lock repairs cover card readers rim locks, alarmed rim, file cabinet locks and even exit control locks. When choosing a locksmith, ensure that he can handle any of your repair needs and at a reasonable price for that matter.

The Smart Woman’s Guide to Planning for Retirement by Mary Hunt – Personal Finance Book Review

Money maven, Mary Hunt, returns with a new book, “The Smart Woman’s Guide to Planning for Retirement,” to help women prosper financially in the New Year and beyond. While geared toward females, men can also benefit from Hunt’s money knowledge, honed after she amassed over $100,000 in debt earlier in life; and took 13 years to erase.

“Have you had a retirement wake-up call?” Hunt asks early in the book. “I can promise you they intensify with age.”

Hunt sites a 2012 survey that found that 92 percent of women of all ages do not feel educated enough to reach their retirement savings goals.

Saving for retirement requires determination and hard work; and Hunt believes women can succeed. “If we lack confidence, it’s because we lack knowledge and desire, certainly not because we lack intelligence and ability,” Hunt says.

Time trumps all factors when saving for retirement. The sooner you start, the better. But, Hunt emphasizes, regardless of what stage you are in life, you must begin now. “It’s only too late if you don’t start now. No matter where you are or how little you think you have, start now. Today. Start. Saving.” Take baby steps to produce long-term results.

Hunt’s teachings feature:

Retirement Savings Plan. Hunt promotes a six-step Retirement Savings Plan, which includes:

Build an emergency fund. Also known as a Contingency Fund. Save money for life’s unexpected expenses (car repairs, home repairs, etc.) This money needs to be liquid (easily accessible within two or three days), safe from erosion (build in a risk-free savings account) and able to fund at least six months of living expenses should a job loss or other compromised income event occur.

Get out of debt. Eliminate all unsecured debt (credit card debt, student loans, personal loans). Hunt says they’re like cancer stealing your future. Incorporate Hunt’s Rapid Debt-Repayment Plan (RDRP) to abolish the debt.

Own your home outright. Buy half as much house as your mortgage approval. Make monthly mortgage payments equal to the full approval amount to own your residence in half the time. Fiercely protect your home equity (the difference between your home’s market value and mortgage balance). Avoid taking a home equity loan or line of credit, which resets the clock on a thirty-year mortgage.

Consider hiring a financial planner once debt is eradicated or managed, a respectable amount in savings is amassed, retirement funds are growing, or an IRA inheritance or other cash windfall appears.

Hunt describes three types of financial planners:

  1. Commission-based. This planner doesn’t charge based on time, but by selling investment products. He or she earns commissions on those sales.
  2. Fee-based. This planner works on a fixed fee or charges by the hour. Fees are stated up front and the planner is a registered investment advisor (RIA). They’re required by law to meet fiduciary standards, making them responsible for putting the best interests of their clients first.
  3. Combo. This planner is a combination of the first two. Clients pay a fee, fixed or hourly and the planner earns commissions when the client buys financial products based on their recommendations.

Choose a financial planner with at least five years experience Hunt suggests. Ensure they act in your best interests, and can explain financial concepts on your level. Be wary of any planner who claims to be able to beat the market. Ultimately, collaborate with a planner; yet make your own investment decisions. Hunt underscores that, “An advisor’s or planner’s primary loyalty will be to the hand that feeds her. That is simply human nature.”

Hunt educates in a conversational tone, avoiding jargon, charts and mind-numbing data, which makes for an engaging read. A Christian, she teaches faith-based money management. Hunt believes that God is the source of all life’s blessings, including money. An employer, spouse, investments, trust account, parents or any other entity are the channels through which money flows, but not the ultimate source. She’s making reasonable preparations for retirement without obsession; and trusting God for the outcome.

While having a retirement nest egg is important, Hunt reminds readers there is more to life than money. Health, spirituality, nurturing relationships, staying active, continual learning and volunteering are some attributes of a well-balanced existence.

Decade-by-decade financial planning, the five necessary tools for a money management system, investment basics (automate all payments to avoid not making monthly contributions (out-of-sight, out-of-mind), reverse mortgages, and parents paying for their children’s college education (not required), are other money-saving/building topics addressed in the book.

Anyone committed to improving their financial fitness in 2014, will reap life treasures, beyond the bounds of cash, by inheriting Mary Hunt’s money practices.

To establish your baseline financial status, and/or monitor your progress, order your free credit reports from the three big credit companies: Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, visit: Annual Credit Report.

What to Consider When Picking an Auto Repair Shop

Picking an auto repair shop for your vehicle’s needs is essential. For most who have a car, the convenience of mobility is simply non-negotiable. When something happens to your car, having the right pair of hands to get your car running again is important.

When picking a shop, it is important to have one that is near your place of residence.

That way, anytime your car is having issues, repairs are easy to come by; not to mention if you are in a car accident the proximity to your house makes it easier to get your car back home. Further, with a shop that is near your garage, you are more likely to have your car checked for regular preventive maintenance. You can have your oil changed and your car checked more often. Also, if your shop is near you, you are more likely to have access to promos; such as free brake service and free general car checkups. With preventive car maintenance within reach, you are likely to spend less on major car repairs.

When it comes to cars, most only want skilled maintenance workers to fix their car. For your peace of mind, look for auto repair shops that have ASE-certified mechanics on board. This certification will let you know if the mechanic is qualified to do specific car services such as oil changes, tune-ups for manual cars, brake repairs and everything else under the hood. The certification they have will put you at ease knowing that the repairs that are being carried out are being done correctly and efficiently. You may also want to check the Better Business Bureau and see the number of filed complaints for that particular shop. This data can lend insight on the nature of work that you can expect from the auto repair shop you want to work with.

When choosing an auto shop for services, it is important to check that your car warranty will not be voided in the process. Some maintenance repair shops are not certified to do repairs, thus voiding your manufactures warranty. There are shops that are duly recognized by your car manufacturer, and it is important to go to an auto repair shop that is authorized to do car repairs within the clauses of your warranty. Ask your car manufacturer for authorized repair shops that are near your area.

Further, consider the labor costs that the auto repair shop offers. Doing price comparisons between 2 or 3 shops can help you narrow down your decision and will also help you keep on budget for your car. Aside from choosing the best labor cost, choose an auto shop that offer guaranteed services and warranties. Knowing that an auto repair shop guarantees their work also removes a lot of stress when it comes to ensuring your vehicle is in the best hands possible.

Finding the best shop can be a daunting challenge, however if you ensure the items above are covered, you will be successful in your quest for a reliable repair shop.

Car Window Repair Or Replacement At Your Fingertips

Even for the safest and most observant drivers accidents happen. A cracked or broken windshield can happen in traffic or in front of your home. There are precautions that can be taken but even with all those there is still a probability that you will have the need of a car window repair or replacement eventually.

With all the big named and highly respected companies around that are experts in the field it will be no problem to find one who can recommend the best route to take for the repair job. They will often give a free estimate for you while you wait and often over the phone.

If you want to attempt to do the repair by yourself that is also an option you can explore. There are many places, auto recyclers and also glass manufacturers who will have the right part for you that you can pull yourself or they can pull it for you. If you choose this route it is highly recommended that you always wear gloves. Even with safety glass which is installed in most cars today there remains a possibility that it will shatter or shard leaving open a danger to you.

Some shops have mobile replacement trucks. They will receive your information and bring the parts to your home or office and do the job right there while you are at work or having dinner with family. The install takes only a short time and they guarantee their work. You will be required to let it set for at least an hour but after that you are free to go.

It is recommended to fix the break as soon as possible. When there is a broken window the entire structural integrity has been breached. Leaving it for too long can cause issues with the sealing technique that goes with the windows installation itself.

You will be in good hands with anyone you choose as long as you do the necessary research before you buy. No matter which way you go, getting the job done will take a load of stress off your mind.

Learn Fixer-Upper Skills – Part 2 – Learn From The Past And Build A Repair Book Library

In a previous article I discussed learning fix-up skills by 1) trying to do repairs as you encounter them and using your investment fixer-upper house as a “practice” house; and, 2) by taking community college classes in the construction trades.

Two more ways to learn repair skills are: 1) reflect on past experiences and on persons who were good examples, and 2) put together your own repair book reference library.

1.) Reflecting on the Past

After I got more involved in doing repair work of my investment houses, I thought back about how my father had taught me a lot by example. I recall seeing him construct screened-in porches on various houses that we had lived in. I was too young to help out much at the time, or to appreciate what he was doing. Looking back I realize that it required a strong desire to learn the basic principals, and a sense of self-confidence to build it. He had no formal training in construction, and did not have reference books like I do but he learned by observing other porches that had been built in the neighborhood and by talking to people.

I also have a friend who has made a career out of living frugally. He does virtually all of his own house repair and car repair work. If he gets stuck, he goes to the library and finds books to help him. It helps that he has a background in teaching vocational education. We have helped each other with house repair projects over the years, and he is a reliable source of practical advice when I need help.

There may be people around you who can teach you a lot about home repair. This is the kind of person who can be an invaluable resource for you. Be sure to take them out to lunch once in awhile.

2.) Put Together a House Repair Book Library

I like to scour the fix-up book areas at used book stores for good buys. I buy a book as soon as I see it if I know that it has valuable information. If you wait to purchase the book you may return later and find that the book I had wanted is gone. The price you pay will literally be a drop in the bucket compared to the money you will save. I have books on almost every possible repair topic, including electrical wiring, plumbing, flooring, you name it. Some books offer information on a wide variety of repairs. Reader’ Digest Fix-it Yourself Manual and Better Home and Gardens Complete Guide to Home Repair, are good books to start with. From there, you may need to go to a more focused book on electricity or plumbing. The Home Depot books are generally good choices to include in your library. I have several.

When a book is not enough, you can usually get good advice on specific jobs at hardware stores, like Ace Hardware. And, you can often get good advice on difficult repairs by doing a Google search.

Repairing Automotive Paint Damage Caused by Bird Poop in 5 Minutes

Every time you take your car out of the garage it’s exposed to potential paint damage hazards. Some of the most common issues are acid rain, insects, battery acid and road stones. There is another hazard that’s particularly messy and harmful, and that’s bird poop.

Bird poop is essentially an acid. It can have a pH level between 3.5 and 4.5. That means it will burn delicate surfaces unless it’s removed relatively quickly. On car paint, in particular clear coat finishes, bird droppings burn the surface, causing a permanent etch mark.

It’s not at all uncommon for a large dropping to cause paint damage that’s 2 mils deep, or more. To understand what that means to your car’s clear coat, good laser printer paper is about 2 mils thick. More importantly, a quality clear coat finish is typically 4 to 6 mils. That means a heavy-duty bird bomb won’t leave a lot of clear coat in the area that needs to be repaired. The good news is that paint etching from hard water spots and bird droppings is an easy repair you can make at home. Most repairs like this take less than 5 minutes.

Fixing Bird Poop Paint Damage

The only way to repair the paint damage caused by a bird is to polish the affected area with a fine cut rubbing compound. The basic procedure is to use the compound to cut away the damage and re-polish the surface so it looks new again. This is exactly the step taken by professionals and the factory when they remove painting defects. Your only concern is over-polishing. Be careful that you don’t over do it and polish all the way through the top coat.

The best car polish to use is one that’s formulated for removing paint scratches or restoring oxidized paint. The product I highly recommend is Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound. It’s available in most auto parts stores, and it works great by hand or with an electric car polisher.

If the damage covers an area larger than about 1 square inch, a polishing compound alone might not do the trick. For larger areas of damage you can make the repair faster and easier by first removing the damaged paint with 2000 or 3000 grit wet sanding paper, then re-polish the area with the compound. This may sound severe, but it’s not. It’s a safe procedure used by paint and body shop professionals.

Preventing Bird Damage

Although it’s difficult to avoid being splattered with bird waste, it’s not at all difficult to prevent the damage. The sooner you remove the mess, the less likely it will be that your paint will be damaged. Conversely, the longer the mess remains on your vehicle’s paint the more damage it will create.

If you live in an area where you are prone to getting pooped on, I highly recommend keeping a small bottle of car detailing spray and a microfiber cloth or two in your vehicle. It will come in handy for all kinds of spills and emergency cleanups. The Meguiar’s Quik Detailer product is very inexpensive and easy to find. When you need to clean up a bird mess, simply give the bird droppings a few shots of the spray, allow it to soak for a moment or two, then wipe it away.