Five Tire Maintenance Tips for Safety and Savings

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Follow these five simple tire maintenance tips to protect yourself and your wallet.   1. Tire pressure Proper tire pressure is the most important part of maintaining your tires. It affects safety, their durability, and your fuel consumption. Check the pressure of all tires, including your spare, at least once a month when the tires are “cold,” meaning that the car hasn’t be driven for at least three hours. Your tires’ proper tire inflation pressure—measured in both kilopascals (kPA) and pounds per square inch (PSI or psi)—can be found on the Tire and Loading Information Label on the driver’s side door edge or in your owner’s manual. Keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle. A tire can suddenly lose pressure if you drive over a pothole or bump into a curb when you park. Newer vehicles have Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, but these only activate a warning when a tire is significantly underinflated. You should still conduct a monthly tire pressure check to ensure your tires are always properly inflated. 2. Tire tread Tire tread provides the gripping action and traction that prevents your car or truck from slipping and sliding, especially when the road is icy or wet. Tires are not safe and should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch. Check your tire’s tread at least once a month when you’re checking their pressure. Tires have built-in “treadwear indicators,” which are raised sections that run in between the tire’s tread. When the tread is worn down so that it’s level with the tread indicator, it’s time to replace your tires. You can also check your tread by placing a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, replace your tires.   3. Balance and alignment Having your tires balanced and a wheel alignment performed by a qualified technician is important for the safety of your vehicle and to maximize the life of your tires. Tire balancing ensures your wheels rotate properly and don’t cause the vehicle to shake or vibrate. New tires should always be balanced when installed. A wheel alignment maximizes the life of your tires and prevents your car from veering to the right or left when driving on a straight, level road.   4. Tire rotation Rotating your tires can help reduce irregular wear, which will help your tires last longer and maintain the fuel efficiency of your tires. Check your owner’s manual for information on how frequently the tires on your vehicle should be rotated and the best pattern for rotation. If recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, rotate tires every 5,000 to 8,000...

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How to Buy a House When You Already Own One

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Whether you are looking at purchasing a second home for investment purposes, as a permanent vacation destination, or as housing for an aging parent or grandparent, owning more than one home presents its own set of unique challenges and concerns. Some people own more than one home because they are waiting for housing prices to recover before putting their old residence on the market. Whatever your reasons, there is help in navigating these unknown waters. Life Changes Sometimes, families outgrow their primary residence, and need a bigger home. On the flip side, empty nesters and retirees sometimes look for a smaller home, but don’t want to lose their primary home. If your individual situation lends itself to needing a smaller or larger home based on life changes, be sure to weigh the need for space vs. costs. Decide which rooms you need, and which rooms you can do without. Each room in the house will consume utilities, so make sure to consider that cost when coming up with a budget. Those looking to decrease their space might want to consider a condo, townhome or apartment. These types of residences offer the convenience of privacy and space, with the perks of landscaping, security and maintenance. Purchasing a townhome or a condo gives you the benefit of a set mortgage payment, while the rent for the nonowned units rises. Additionally, some families purchase an additional home to help with the care of a loved one.  If this situation applies to you, be sure to budget out the cost of care in a facility vs. the cost of care in a home. If you do not plan on keeping both residences, you need to decide if you should sell your first home before taking on a second mortgage, or if you can afford to pay the loans on both. Vacation Homes Vacation home purchases are on the rise. Home owners who take vacations may get tired of paying the equivalent of a mortgage payment for a week’s vacation. If you do not plan to use the home very often, you may want to consider renting it out to other vacation-bound families throughout the year, which may help the home pay for itself. Many popular vacation spots are prime locales for natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes, so be sure that you have sufficient coverage for events like these. Many other properties are located near lakes or rivers, which has an impact on the amount of property taxes you will pay and the rates you’ll find for insurance coverage. Also keep in mind that insurance and property taxes on vacation homes will be more expensive than those for your primary residence, as a...

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5 Classic Car Insurance Facts You Need to Know

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  Classic car insurance is a nonstandard type of auto coverage that is designed to meet the insurance needs of specialty or vintage car collectors. Since this type of insurance is highly specialized, there are certain considerations and criteria that you need to be aware of before you can get one to cover your car. Here are some of the essential facts you need to know about this kind of car insurance coverage.   1. Types of Vehicles In order for your vehicle to be qualified for classic car insurance, it needs to fall under any of three categories, namely: Veterans (cars created on or before December 1904), Edwardian (vehicles manufactured between January 1905 and December 1918), and Limited (rare, special interest or limited editions). Since there was a significant rise in the number of vehicles produced in the 1970s, not all cars built before 1974 can be considered classic cars. Only convertibles, foreign sports cars, 2-door sports cars, vehicles with big block V8 engines or unique body shapes, and certain 4-door sedans can be considered collectibles.   2. Age Limitations In most states, a car should be at least 15 years of age before it can be considered a classic car and, hence, eligible to get classic auto insurance coverage. In other states, which include Massachusetts, the minimum age required for a vehicle to qualify as classic or vintage is 25 years. However, there are some car insurance providers that are willing to offer classic auto coverage to cars that are under 15 years of age, provided that such cars are considered as cherished vehicles or are extremely rare or exotic.   3. Driver Background If you want your car to be eligible for classic car collector insurance, you should know that, aside from the age of the car, there is also an age restriction when it comes to the driver. Only people who have reached the age of majority can get this type of auto coverage. Furthermore, insurance companies are very strict when it comes to the driving history and experience of the declared drivers who use the classic vehicle.   4. Storage Requirements Classic car insurance providers also have strict storage requirements for vintage or classic vehicles. If you want your car to be covered by classic auto insurance, you have to make sure that your car is not parked outside your home and that it has a designated and highly secure garage. In fact, insurance companies even encourage vintage car owners to park their classic cars in car storage facilities specifically designed for storing and securing car collections.   5. Usage In order for your classic vehicle to qualify for classic collector coverage, it should...

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