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Tips for Sub-Zero Temperature Car Care

When the temperatures drop into the single digits, you most likely want to curl up with a good book or binge-watch the latest show – whatever you can to just stay indoors. Chances are, at some point you’ll still need to go out. When you do, you’re going to want to make sure that car starts and keeps running.

Here are 7 tips to make sure your car starts right up no matter how cold it gets:

Battery: The most common car problem when the temperatures drop is the battery not starting. Perform a volt test on your battery to get a new one if it’s needed prior to the bad weather hitting. If the car doesn’t start on the first try, let the car sit for a couple of minutes before trying again. If it still doesn’t start, you’ll likely need to get the jumper cables out to get it going.

Wipers: Even though you may be bundled so only your eyeballs are showing, you still need to make sure you can see clearly. If you are noticing that your wiper blades just aren’t cleaning the way they used to, they’re not going to do any better in the snow. You may want to consider picking up a pair of winter wipers which aren’t very expensive and will give you much better visibility when you’re on the road.

Idling: We all like to have the car toasty when we get in, but is idling the engine a good idea? In general, no. It can cause damage to your engine over time and it’s bad for the environment. When it’s below zero though, many professionals recommend idling for a minute or two just to get the fluids moving. Not for 10 minutes or more though as we mentioned before, idling is bad for your engine and it wastes gas!

Tires: Did you know a temperature change of just 10 degrees can cause a 10 percent reduction of air in your tires? So, bundle up and regularly check your tire pressure during severely cold weather. If you don’t know, you should double-check your car’s optimal tire pressure in your owner’s manual or on the sticker inside the driver’s side door.

Gas: We’ve all heard it – “It’s going to be cold out, did you put gas in the car?” You should make sure that your gas tank is at least half-filled because it will help prevent the car’s fuel line from freezing.

Frozen locks and doors: Ever get out to the car and your door won’t unlock because it’s frozen? For frozen locks, you may want to have a de-icer ready. Don’t have any? In a pinch you could try a squirt of hand sanitizer on the key. The alcohol in it can help dissolve the ice. A way to prevent your entire door from getting frozen shut to the frame is to lubricate the door’s rubber gasket with silicone. Door already frozen shut? You could try pouring lukewarm water around the seal of the door to thaw the ice. Once the door is open, make sure to dry off the inside of the seal with a towel so it doesn’t refreeze. Never ever use hot water…the temperature difference could shatter your window glass!

At Lydon & Murphy Insurance Agency, your road safety is very important to us. Call us at 781.762.4280 or visit our website at https://www.lydonmurphyinsurance.com/ to discuss your auto insurance needs.

Source: https://www.mapfreinsurance.com/blog/sub-zero-temperature-car-care/

How to Jump Start a Car

Trouble happens. You left your lights on and now you’re stuck with a dead car battery. While learning how to jump start a car can be easy, there are risks in it if done so incorrectly. As your insurance agent, we care about your safety so we put together the following guide on how to properly get you and your car charged and back on the road.

What do you need to jump start a car?

Before you can recharge and get going, you need a few basics: jumper cables and a power source – either a portable jump battery (a jump box) or another vehicle.

Jumper cables are long, thickly insulated cables with toothy clips on one or both ends. These clips are called alligator clips. The clips are distinguished by color, usually red and black, to indicate positive and negative polarity. The red clip is positive. The black clip is negative. 

Jump boxes are portable batteries used to jump start a vehicle without connecting to another vehicle and come with special jump cables. These cables connect the jump battery directly to the dead car battery. Road side assistance usually uses a jump box when helping stalled vehicles. 

What do you need to know about car batteries to jump start a car?

Car batteries have two larger nubs, called terminals. There is a positive terminal and a negative terminal. Each should be clearly marked. Connecting cables to the right terminal is important to completing the circuit and gives power to the dead battery. 

  • Positive terminal – The positive terminal is usually the bigger of the two terminals. It is marked with “POS” or “+”. It will connect to the positive clip on the jumper cable, which is usually red. 
  • Negative terminal – The negative terminal on the battery is usually marked with “NEG” or “-“. This will attach to the other clip, which is usually black. 

CAUTIONS WHEN JUMP STARTING A CAR: 

  • READ THE OWNER’S MANUAL. Some cars are not recommended for jump starting because they have sensitive circuitry
  • DO NOT JUMP corroded, cracked, leaking, or visibly damaged batteries
  • DO NOT JUMP frozen batteries
  • DO NOT JUMP dry batteries
  • DO NOT TOUCH CLIPS together. This is true when connected, but get in the habit by never touching the clips together.

Protect the donor battery

A quick test that there is enough voltage for the donor, be sure that the car giving the jump start headlights are steady and bright when the car is started. If the headlights dim, that can signal that the battery is low.

How do you use jumper cables to jump start a car from another vehicle?

  1. CHECK BATTERIES: Make sure that the battery giving the jump has enough voltage and is a matching voltage system type (12V, 6V, etc.) 
  2. READY CARS: Put both cars in park or neutral, turn the ignitions off, and put on the parking brake.
  3. OPEN THE HOOD of each car. 
  4. ATTACH ALLIGATOR CLIPS to the terminals in the following order: 
    • Red to Dead – Connect red, or positive, clip to the positive terminal on the battery of the dead car. 
    • Red to Donor – Connect the red, positive, clip to the positive terminal on the donor battery on the other car. 
    • Black to Donor – Connect the black clip to the negative terminal of the donor car. 
    • Black to Metal – Connect the black clip to an unpainted metal part of the dead car that is not directly next to the battery. One of the metal struts that hold the hood open is a good place to clip the second black, or negative, clip. 
  5. START THE DONOR CAR so that the battery can supply power to the dead battery. 
  6. IDLE the donor car, allowing it to run for a few minutes. 
  7. TEST the interior light of the car being jump started. If it goes on, there may be enough power.
  8. START the dead car.

After the car is jump started: 

Unclip the clips in the reverse order you connected them:

  1. The black clip on the unpainted metal
  2. The black clip from the negative terminal
  3. Red clip from the donor car 
  4. Red clip from the dead car’s battery

If the jump works and your car starts, don’t shut off your engine! Drive around for at least 15 minutes to recharge your battery. If the car won’t start the next time you use it, the battery isn’t holding a charge and needs to be replaced.

Watch these steps for jump starting a car from Safe2Drive

At Lydon & Murphy Insurance Agency, your road safety is very important to us. Call us at 781.762.4280 or visit our website at https://www.lydonmurphyinsurance.com/ to discuss your auto insurance needs. We can provide coverage from many insurance carriers so you receive the insurance for your budget and needs!

Source: https://www.idrivesafely.com/defensive-driving/trending/how-jump-car-simple-steps-bring-your-car-battery-back-life and https://www.dummies.com/home-garden/car-repair/how-to-jump-start-a-car/

Christmas Light Safety Do’s and Don’ts

Strands of sparkling holiday lighting make your home feel merry and bright, especially on a gloomy December day. However, if installed incorrectly, they have the potential to damage your home or electrical system. Before you grab your ladder and boxes of lights, review our list of do’s and don’ts for hanging holiday lighting strands safely.

DO’s:

EXAMINE LIGHTS BEFORE HANGING – Return or throw away any holiday lighting sets with cracked or broken sockets, loose connections or frayed or bare wires. Replace burned-out bulbs promptly with bulbs of the same wattage. Hanging lights with damaged electrical wiring leads to a potentially flammable short.

USE VERIFIED LIGHTING AND APPROPRIATE OUTDOOR OUTLETS TO SUPPORT ELECTRICAL WIRING – Only use lights tested, rated, and approved by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or Intertek (ETL Semko) for outside use. These safety ratings should be clearly marked, both on the packaging and with labels attached to the electrical cords. Plug in all outdoor electrical decorations into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). This safety outlet is designed to cut the power if electricity comes into contact with water, which is common outside.

CONSIDER USING LEDS OVER INCANDESCENT BULBS – LED lights are about 75 percent more efficient than conventional incandescent lights. This makes your electrical load more than seven times smaller. If you don’t have LED lights, consider the cooler-burning “mini” holiday lights instead of the traditional larger bulbs, which burn much hotter.

ASK FOR HELP – If installed incorrectly, holiday lighting can damage your home. Additionally, outdoor lights are often dangerous to install, especially if your roof has steep pitches or multiple levels. If you don’t feel comfortable, it is important to seek assistance. Find a friend to help you install your lights.

DON’Ts:

POWER TOO MANY LIGHTS WITH THE SAME OUTLET OR EXTENSION CORD – Each standard circuit breaker is able to handle about 15 amps of current. Light strings only draw a few milliamps individually. However, when you add too many strings together, it is easy to overdraw power. This has the potential to cause some serious damage to your electrical wiring. Plus, the more lights you connect end to end, the further the power must travel, leading to not-so-bright lights.

NEVER USE STAPLES, TACKS OR NAILS – THEY CAN DAMAGE YOUR ELECTRICAL WIRING – It’s fairly common for a string of holiday lights to have exposed electrical wiring in some areas. Unfortunately, if you use metal fasteners like staples, tacks, or nails, it creates a circuit and generates heat that could set your home on fire. Additionally, if metal components come in contact with a live string of holiday lighting and then the current touches the metal components of your home, such as your gutters or downspouts, it creates an electrocution hazard. Always use insulated holders or plastic roof clips designed especially for hanging outside lights

CONNECT LEDS AND INCANDESCENT LIGHTS TOGETHER – Because incandescent light strings require a larger power current than LEDs, connecting them together one after the other causes the power drawn by the incandescent lights to overload — and then fry — the LED strings. It’s better to keep holiday lighting strands completely separate, running each out of a different outlet to avoid frying your electrical wiring.

Every year 150 home fires start with holiday lights and other decorative lighting. And another 260 home fires begin with Christmas trees. Follow these do’s and don’ts to cut down on your chances of a home insurance claim. At Lydon & Murphy Insurance Agency, we want you to stay safe this holiday season. Call us at 781.762.4280 or visit our website at https://www.lydonmurphyinsurance.com/ to discuss your home insurance needs. We can provide coverage from many insurance carriers so you receive the insurance for your budget and needs! Source: https://apollohome.com/blog/christmas-light-safety/ and https://www.eversource.com/content/general/residential/safety/electric-safety/holiday-light-safety

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

 

Fall is a beautiful time of year. The air is cool and crisp, and the leaves are changing colors. As homeowners, it can also be a very busy time of year! Take advantage of the moderate weather to repair any damages to your home before the first frost sets in.

Taking the time to care for the exterior of your home in the fall will help your home last through the winter. Check the foundation for cracks. If you have cracks in your foundation repair them before it’s too late. Caulking around windows, door frames, and where pipes and wires enter, your home can help prevent heat escaping in the colder months. Install storm windows and doors and remove screens. Check exterior walls for peeling or blistering paint. If left untreated, the siding itself will deteriorate. Ensure your roof is in good shape. If there are some missing or loose shingles, get them repaired or replaced!

Interior maintenance is just as important. Properly sealing and insulating your home can save you up to 10% on your annual energy bill. Applying weather stripping and caulk to windows and doors is a simple and easy way to help keep the heat in and the cold out – don’t forget about the basement windows! Have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor. Properly working heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems. Change the direction of your ceiling fans to redistribute warm air from the ceiling. Test and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and keep extra batteries on hand.

Now that the house is taken care of, it’s time to move back out into the yard. Prepare your yard equipment for storage by draining the fuel from all gas-operated equipment. Check to see if all your snow equipment is in proper working order and ready for the first snowfall. Drain garden hoses and store them inside. Also shut off outdoor water valves to keep them from freezing. Take some time to organize your garage. Clean and store your summer garden tools, and move your rakes, gloves, and winter equipment within easy reach.

If you are a homeowner, keeping up with home maintenance is important! This is just a short list of maintenance items that should be completed during the fall. Take the time to call Lydon & Murphy Insurance at 781-762-4280 or visit us online at https://www.lydonmurphyinsurance.com/ to review your homeowners insurance policy so you know your home is fully protected for the next season! 

Source: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/1499-fall-home-maintenance-checklist/