Emergency Car Kit Essentials

Once you purchase a vehicle from Mike Albert Direct, you’re almost ready to head out on a road trip. Before you leave, make sure you have everything you need, including an emergency kit. An emergency kit is helpful if you become stranded due to weather or other reason – or even if you find yourself unexpectedly spending an extra night out on your trip.

Image by State Farm via Flickr Creative Commons

Emergency Items: You should have an extensive first aid kit, especially if your trips involve camping, hunting and fishing. The kit should contain:

  • Several sizes of self-stick bandages for cuts and scrapes
  • A roll of gauze
  • Gauze pads
  • Medical tape in various sizes
  • Anti-bacterial creme
  • Burn creme
  • Eye wash
  • Small pair of scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needle and medical thread
  • Super Glue
  • Rubber gloves
  • Jumper cables
  • Caution signs

If you or a family member is a diabetic, you should bring a special diabetic kit with you whenever you travel in the vehicle. Pack your blood glucose meter, extra needles and an extra bottle of Insulin. If your Insulin requires refrigeration, pack it with gel-pacs in a small Styrofoam cooler.

Other emergency items that you should have in your kit include:

  • Extra blankets for each person in the vehicle
  • An extra jacket – if it is spring or summer, you may want to keep a light jacket and rain jacket in the kit. If it is fall and winter, keep a heavy jacket in the kit.
  • Tissues
  • Pen/pencil and paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Skin lotion
  • Chapstick (Keep this in a kit that you keep inside if it is hot – it tends to melt.)
  • Knife
  • Hatchet
  • Hand saw

Use a large tote to store things that can be left in the vehicle. For things that cannot be left in the vehicle due to heat or safety reasons, keep them packed in a small carry bag with a long shoulder strap. You’ll have it nearby in the vehicle and can easily carry it over your shoulder while in the woods or hiking.

As always, be sure to have your vehicle serviced at Mike Albert Direct before you go on a long trip.

Keep Your Kids Safe on the Road

Those of us at the Superior Auto Group would like to take some time to discuss how you can keep your kids safe on the road. Road safety isn’t just about paying attention to the road; you should also know how to buckle your child in correctly, know the safety features of your vehicle, and be able to have a safety plan in place if you do have an accident.

For instance, did you know that nearly 3 out of 4 car seats are put into place incorrectly? Safercar.gov reports that vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children between 1 and 13, so it’s worth making sure to place your children in car seats and belts correctly. The NHTSA has provided booklets that can help parents keep their children safe, which you can find here at Safercar.gov

You may want to consider the car you’re purchasing as well as its safety rating. Child safety scores report how safe the car is in a crash, as well as the way the design of the car impacts child safety. Some of the things that can impact the safety include:

  • Automatic locks
  • Push down and pull-up window switches
  • Advanced airbags
  • Anti-pinch windows
  • Side-impact air bags

Each of these can help prevent injury during accidents or while driving. For instance, the automatic locks engage when the car is at a certain speed, maybe 10 or 20 mph, and they help prevent ejection from the car and promote the integrity of the car’s body in case of an accident. Anti-pinch windows recognize when there is something in the way of it closing, so your child’s fingers or arms won’t accidentally get pinched during drives.

Advanced airbags can be turned on or off and may be able to be altered for the weight of a passenger, which makes it easier to keep your small child safe in case of an accident.

How To Know When Your Brakes Need Re-Adjustment

Your car’s brakes are an important part of your vehicle. Without properly working brakes your car could end up skidding dangerously or fail to stop, resulting in an accident. It’s too late to wait until this happens to fix your breaks, and waiting to have your brakes checked until you bring your new car in for a regularly scheduled checkup may be too late as well . That’s why its important to know the signs that your brakes need adjusted by a certified car mechanic so you can have peace of mind.

The most obvious sign that your brakes need re-adjustment is if you notice that your car does not have as much stopping power as it used to. If you drive the same vehicle often, this can be done just by a matter of feel. Over time parts wear down and become loosened, and you may find that it takes longer to stop than it used to.

If you can’t judge by feel, either because you don’t drive your car often or you can do some simple tests to determine if the car has the same amount of stopping power. These tests will have to be done under the same conditions over a period of time. With another person, take time tests periodically, when you first get the car, after a few weeks, and so on. If your car gradually takes longer than it used to, this may be a sign that your car’s brakes should be readjusted, and you should get them checked.

Another important indicator that your brakes may need re-adjusted or replaced is by listening to the sound they make when you stop. If they make little or no sound, your good to go, and your brakes are fine. If they make a high pitched squealing noise you should have them checked because the break pads have been worn down and they will need to be replaced soon. Another indicator that you can listen for is a harsh grinding sound, which means that you have completely worn through your brake pads and the calipers are grinding the rotors.

If your car is pulling to the left or the right when you try to make a turn, this may mean that your calipers are stuck and need adjusted. It could also be caused by a collapsed break hose or unevenly worn break pads.

A good mechanic, like the one at your New Car Dealership in Cincinnati, can help by checking your brakes and getting you back on the road safely.

New Car Vs Used Car: Which Is Best For You?

It’s time to get a car as your old clunker has breathed its last exhaust fumes. As you head out to your Cincinnati car dealer, one question on your mind is whether you should buy a new car or a used car.

This eternal debate plagues almost every car buyer. In the end, choosing the right vehicle for yourself will be based on a number of different factors.

Budget: It goes without saying that you should buy a vehicle that fits into your budget and financing loan. Most people on tight budgets go for used cars since they are normally cheaper than new. But, nowadays, don’t be surprised if you find a new car that is actually cheaper than some used cars. If you are looking at average-sized used cars, check out the new subcompacts as you can find a small car costing $10,000 less than a larger used model.

Safety: New technologies and stringent vehicle safety laws have ensured that new vehicles are equipped with the latest safety features. If you are worried about keeping your family safe behind the wheel, go for a new car. If your budget only allows for a used car, pick one that is less than 5 years old so you will still have some of the same important safety features.

Maintenance: If you are the type of person who doesn’t mind getting under the hood and puttering around to fix your vehicle when something minor happens, then go for a used car that you can customize to your preferences. But if you aren’t car-savvy and don’t want to spend time sitting at a mechanic’s shop, go for the new car that will require less maintenance except for the regular service tune-up.

Warranties: Most warranties cover new vehicles for up to three years, and extended warranties will cover a few extra years or miles driven. You’ll also have the luxury of protection for certain parts and maintenance for new cars. If you choose to purchase a used vehicle, you may be able to get the original warranty if buying a certified pre-owned or you may get a lesser warranty and add to it. It’s better to go through used car dealerships in Cincinnati to have a better chance of getting some type of warranty versus just buying a car directly from the owner.

In the end, both a new car and used car will get you to your destination if you shop around and find the best vehicle for your budget. Keep your options open and select the vehicle that has the features you want.


How To Change A Flat Tire

Imagine you are driving along the open road, when all of a sudden you hear a strange noise, and your car starts shaking and just feels weird. You pull over and discover that you have a flat tire. But you don’t know how to change it, so you have to wait hours for a friend or roadside assistance to come help you. Or maybe get up to go to work or school in the morning and discover that your tire has gone flat again. This time you have to take the bus, because you still don’t know how to change a flat tire. Wouldn’t you rather learn how to change a flat?

Get Your Tools Together

In order to change a flat tire, you need a jack, a spare tire, a pump to inflate the tire, and the proper lug wrench. If it is dark, you may need a flashlight. New cars come with all of these, but they may be missing or in the wrong place. Go check now.

Find A Safe Spot

If you are in your driveway or garage, simply make sure you have enough space. If you are on the highway, pull over to a flat, level place on the side of the road. If you pull onto an incline, you will not be able to jack up the car. Turn on your hazard lights (the ones that blink red) to let other drivers know you are stopped.

Loosen The Lug Nuts

If you need to, remove the hubcap first. Not all cars have one, so you may be able to skip this step. You can then begin to loosen the lug nuts with the right lug wrench. If you have the one that came with your car this should be easy to figure out. Do not take the nuts comepletely off.

Jack Up Your Car

Following the manufacturers directions, place the jack directly under the car. Turn the crank until its under a sturdy part of the frame. Check to make sure it is in the right place, and then continue to jack up the car until it is about six inches off the ground.

Remove the Old Tire and Replace It

If the car is properly off the ground and the lug nuts are sufficently loosened this should be easy. Before you put the new tire on, make sure it is properly inflated. Then you can easily put the tire on. Re-tighten the lug nuts. Then lower your car, by lowering the jack using the reverse motion you used to raise it.

Now you know how to change your tire. Congratulate yourself.

Tips For A New Driver

I remember when I got my first car: The excitement of driving, the freedom, no more riding the bus, the popularity, the chance to finally prove I was maturing. Well those are all great feelings, but let’s face it I didn’t know the first thing about taking care of my car. Had it not been for my parents I would not have known when I needed new tries, or an oil change.

The first thing you should do is get insurance on your vehicle! Shop a few different insurance companies. I would shop at least 3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do your research. So you can get the plan that is right for you and the price that best fits you.

The next thing to remember is that keeping your new or used car properly maintained is key. You should never forget to get your oil changed regularly. You should get your oil changed at least every 3,000 miles. It’ll keep your engine running properly and keep your car out of the shop.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on those tires. Proper tire inflation is key to keeping your car in good shape. It can also help reduce the cost of fuel. Keep an eye out for any wear and tear, under inflation, nails, screws etc. Make sure that you are getting your tires rotated on a regular schedule. Usually every other oil change is a good way of timing it out.

Can you think of anything else that’ll help first time drivers? Have any good stories from your first new car?

The Best Things You Will Learn in Defensive Driving

Defensive driving is an important skill that can help keep you, your loved ones and your vehicle safe and injury and damage free. Taking a class in defensive driving teaches you a number of essential skills that you can apply in your daily life. These skills are some of the most important you will learn.

Avoid Road Rage

This seems fairly obvious, but in heated moments it is easy to let your temper get the best of you. One of the biggest things that defensive driving teaches you is that you need to let the small stuff go- and it is all small stuff. Drivers who pull out in front of you may be annoying, and dangerous, but even more dangerous things happen when you try to retaliate against dangerous drivers.

Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

Driving takes a large amount of concentration, yet many people eat, talk on their cell phones, put on makeup and even read while driving. Any one of these things can cause a serious accident. Even more important than making sure you pay attention while driving, it is important that you are aware of what the other drivers are doing on the road. Be aware of drivers that are not paying attention.

Stay Away from Dangerous Drivers

The most important thing about defensive driving is learning how to defend you against bad and dangerous drivers. The easiest and the safest way to do this is to avoid dangerous drivers. For example, if a car is careening into your lane for whatever reason, the best thing to do is to move into a clear adjacent lane, or to slow down. If necessary, pull over your new Hyundai to the side of the road.

Dangerous Weather Conditions

Bad weather is also very dangerous for drivers. Defensive driving teaches drivers how to drive safely in all types of weather. For example, it is very important to drive slowly while it is raining. Snow and ice are also dangerous conditions to drive in. Many drivers have difficulty driving on icy conditions. One thing that defensive driving teaches people is to drive into a skid if the car careens out of control because of icy roads or other causes

Defensive driving can help you keep safe and keep your vehicle from your Cincinnati Car Dealer in good working condition. By learning how to drive defensively you can greatly reduce your chances of ending up in and accident, and lessen the severity of the accident if you do have one.

What To Do When The Check Engine Light Comes On

The check engine light tells the driver that there is something wrong with the emissions system. It does not have anything to do with the mechanical operation of the engine. A check engine light means that any one of the sensors is either bad or is giving the computer an erroneous reading. A Cincinnati Acura, Hyundai, Honda or Kia dealer uses computers to query the vehicle’s computer. The vehicle’s computer sends the codes to the dealer’s diagnostic computer so that the dealer can figure out the problem.

Keep in mind that the sensors use wiring, so just because a code points to a specific sensor, it doesn’t mean that the sensor is bad – it could mean the wiring to or from the sensor is bad, which is rare; or it could mean that the sensor is giving erroneous readings because of the malfunction of another part in the vehicle.

When the engine light comes on, that means the vehicle’s computer – the PCM or ECM – has stored a code. The code could be a hard or a soft code. A soft code will turn the check engine light on and off. A hard code will not allow the check engine light to go out until the code is cleared by a diagnostic computer. If the problem is not repaired, but the code is erased, the computer will reset the code and turn the check engine light on once again.

Actions to Take When the Check Engine Light Comes On

The check engine light should always come on for a few seconds when you start the vehicle. This is to alert you that the light is working. If the light does not go out, take notice of any irregularities with the way your vehicle is running. Check to see if black smoke is pouring out of the exhaust. Check to see if the vehicle runs rough or if it doesn’t seem to have enough power to get out of its own way.

If your vehicle is drivable, take it to your Cincinnati car dealer to have it checked. The dealer will be able to tell you what is wrong and will be able to repair the problem.

When certain sensor s malfunction or are caused to throw a code because of another problem, the vehicle may go into “limp home mode.” This means that the vehicle will get you a short distance so you are not stranded. It may not start once you shut it off. If the vehicle is not running smoothly, it is best to not take a chance and to call a tow truck to get you to a certified car technician for repairs.

Understanding Air Bag Safety

Air bags are one of the most important safety features found on any of the new cars in Cincinnati. These inflatable bags cushion the blow of a high speed crash and can keep passengers from being ejected through the windshield. However, they can cause more harm then good if they deploy at the wrong moment. Teaching all of your passengers the right way to ride in the vehicle will ensure your air bags protect your life rather than threatening your health.

Age Restrictions

The air bags found in front of the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat are the largest and feature the most forceful ejections. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that passengers under the age of 12 should not ride in the front seat, but should stick to the back seats instead. Car seats for toddlers and infants should also be installed in the rear seats to prevent injury. These front air bags are designed for adults, and the force of the ejection can injure a small child. Some vehicles simply don’t have a back seat for small passengers. In these cases, the NHTSA recommends using a booster seat and proper restraints while moving the seat as far back as possible.

Seat Belt

The three point safety harness used in most consumer vehicles is the single best tool for preventing air bag injuries. The air bag only provides proper cushioning and protection when the passenger is already staying close to the seat thanks to their selt belt. A minor impact can through you forward with considerable force, and hitting the air bag won’t necessarily leave you free from bruises and contusions if you aren’t properly restrained by a safety harness. Anyone too short or small to properly wear the lap and shoulder belt should invest in a different type of safety harness.


Nearly all vehicles feature hidden switches to turn the front air bags on and off. If you have a child regularly riding in the front seat, the Safer Car organization recommends turning off their air bag. This will eliminate potential issues with injuries in an accident. Be sure to turn the switch back on when your passengers grow up or change to an adult rider.

Inspection & Replacement

The system that manages air bag deployment can become damaged by electrical issues and deploy the bags when they aren’t needed. Having your air bag system checked as part of a routine annual inspection is the best way to protect yourself. Always have your air bags professionally replaced by your  car dealer in Cincinnati after they deploy.

Knowing Your Blind Spot Can Save Your Life

The open road can be dangerous. Every day there are an average of 17,589 auto accidents and 3,700 die each day as a result of these crashes. It is estimated that one person dies every 13 minutes as a result of automobile accidents. But by knowing and being aware of your blind spot and learning how to compensate for it, you can avoid being a part of these static.

With rearview cameras and special mirrors, most drivers tend to believe that the infamously dangerous blind spot has been eliminated. But the truth is that most cars still have a blind spot, even if it is a tiny one. Each car has a different blind spots, which is why it is important to check for them every time you get into the car.

What most people don’t know is that your blind spot isn’t something you have only when you are driving. Because of the way your eyes are positioned, people naturally have two blind spots in their vision. This means that if you are staring straight ahead, and someone walks in front of you, their will be two different points when they will be invisible to you. If you keep this in mind while you are driving, you can reduce your chance of having a vehicle literally sneak up on you and blindsided you.

The first thing you need to do is to take a good look around the car before you get in. Make a mental note of all the scenery and objects around the car. Then get in the car and check for all the things you observed before. Adjust your mirrors so that you can see behind you and to the side. Try to to eliminate as much of your blind spot as possible. If you are too short to see properly over the vehicle raise your seat as necessary.

If you have a rearview camera, learn to use it. The camera is no good if you find it disorientating. You should also remember to adjust your mirrors properly, even with the camera. While the camera can be a helpful addition, it is not a replacement for your mirrors.

By properly adjusting the mirrors in the car, and your seat height you can all but eliminate your blind spot while driving. However, you still need to be careful when driving. Make sure to turn your head and look for cars in every direction when making a turn or merging into lane or onto the road.

If you faollow these steps, you can be a good safe driver, and help reduce your chances of being in a dangerous accident.