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Be wary of orange parts under the hood of your hybrid car

danger orange parts hybrid car
Those orange electrical parts under the hood of your hybrid car are not to
play with. But, if you're careful, you don't have to worry.

But, there's no need to worry if you're careful

You purchased your hybrid car for the fuel efficiency. You purchased to reduce the emissions that your driving added to the atmosphere. You purchased your hybrid car because you felt it was a wise and economical decision. There’s a good chance that it was but there is also a warning you need to hear and take seriously about your hybrid car.

If you lift the hood on your hybrid car, you’ll find plastic pieces colored orange. These plastic pieces are insulators covering electrical parts. All cars have electrical parts. Hybrid cars, however, have electrical connections that can seriously hurt you, if you touch them wrong. This is why these parts are covered with orange insulators.

Under those orange insulators are electrical parts that are transmitting high voltage. Electrocution is actually a serious risk if you touch these parts. The orange insulators should protect you but why tempt fate?

It’s good to know, however, that the risks aren’t as bad as some assume. For instance, if the 12-volt battery is disconnected, you should be safe. Disconnecting the 12-volt battery disables the car’s high-voltage controller.

The high-voltage associated with hybrid cars is also a concern for first responders and emergency personnel. These professionals are in the process of learning about safely handling hybrid vehicles since, in a crash situation, electrocution could also be a risk for the emergency personnel. They’re also in the process of dispelling myths related to hybrid cars and the risk of electrocution.

An article in the www.firerescue1.com Website refers to fire departments that say they call the local power company when they have to deal with a hybrid in an accident situation. The story says that “is just ridiculous.”

You won’t get electrocuted touching the car. You can even stand in a puddle and touch the car without fear of electrocution.

It’s really very simple; when dealing with a hybrid car, if you open the hood, watch out for parts covered with orange insulation. Otherwise, enjoy your hybrid car and the benefits and savings you may experience driving that car.

Do you have engine insurance for your car, truck or SUV

Oil change is engine insurance

oil change engine insurance
Timely oil changes are the best insurance
you can buy for your engine.
OK, the title has kind of let the topic out of the bag, hasn’t it? You have auto insurance – the kind of insurance you need if you have an accident or someone steals your car, truck or SUV. You have homeowners insurance or renters insurance. You may have insurance for your business. But, do you have insurance for your engine.

Yes, there are companies out there offering auto repair insurance but that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about oil changes as insurance for your engine.

Engine oil is the lifeblood of your car, truck or SUV’s engine. It reduces friction, which reduces heat, and it carries away heat. It also gathers up little bits of dirt and metal fibers and carries them away so that your oil filter will remove them from the engine’s lifeblood – engine oil.

Considering how important engine oil is to the vitality and durability of your engine, the only question is the cost of this form of engine insurance. That’s another great thing about engine oil; an oil change is inexpensive. In fact, considering its value, an oil change is downright economical.

One difference between engine insurance (an oil change) and other kinds of insurance is that, with the other kinds of insurance, they’re designed to protect you if something bad does happen. With engine insurance (an oil change), it’s not a question of ‘if’ but a question of ‘when.’

This doesn’t mean that, if you don’t change your oil by the scheduled date for your next oil change, your engine will explode the next day. What it does mean is that, the more you miss having your car, truck or SUV’s oil changed on schedule, the more wear your engine will experience.

Engine wear doesn’t generally come all at once. Oh, there is that occasional catastrophe where an engine overheats dramatically and locks up, or an internal part of your engine breaks, which may cause other parts to break. Rather, wear occurs little by little.

Even if you take care of your car, truck or SUV engine, wear happens. The question is ‘How much wear will your car, truck or SUV engine have?’ With more wear, you’re all-but sure to have more repair costs. Your engine will have a shorter life. And, when you go to sell your vehicle, the wear is almost sure to show to the extent that you won’t get as much for your car, truck or SUV – i.e., you’ll have diminished resale value.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry about this because, as stated above, engine insurance (an oil change) is inexpensive.

Don’t spoil that Blackhawks game with a dead battery this winter

battery is dead after Blackhawks game
This is not the way to finish your night after watching the
Blackhawks win a game at the United Center. Make sure
your battery is ready for winter and it won't let you down
Imagine you’re a Blackhawks fan and you’ve scored a couple tickets to a Hawk’s game this coming January. As it happens, this day in January is bitterly cold – so cold you contemplate not going to the game. But, your love of the Blackhawks is enough that you and your spouse brave the elements to drive from McHenry down to the United Center.

It’s a great game where the Hawks pull out a victory on a short-handed goal by Marian Hossa in the second period of OT. You’ve really enjoyed the game, even if you did spend the game in the nosebleed section.

Now, as you’re leaving, your spouse insists they have to get a T-shirt and you need to find a bathroom. By the time your spouse gives up on the T-shirt, and you finish in the bathroom, the crowd has dissipated. In fact, by the time you get out, and back to the parking lot where you left your car, the lot is almost empty and the attendant is long gone. It’s also very cold as that bitterly cold day has turned into a dangerously cold night.

You and your spouse rush to the car eager to start the car and to feel the heat as the car warms up. You expectantly slide the key into the ignition and turn. Nothing. Not a sound. Not a single indication that the car noticed you’ve initiated the starting process.

You try again. And, again, nothing. And again, and again and again. Each time, nothing.

The unpleasant reality begins to sink in; your car won’t start.

Once, it would have made sense to see if you left the headlights on, but most cars these days shut the headlights off on their own after you’ve left the car for a while. Still, you check the headlights anyhow knowing full well that it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the parking lot is now completely empty and the two of you are completely alone.

Hopefully, you have your cell phone. Hopefully, your cell phone is charged and has reception. If you’re remotely prepared, you have a motor club membership and can call for a truck to come out and give you a jump start. Otherwise, you’ll need to do a search on your smartphone to find a service on your own. But, be careful you don’t run down the cell-phone battery searching.

If you are prepared enough to have a motor club membership, hopefully, you’re prepared enough that, with winter coming, you also had your battery, charging and starting systems checked. Of course, if you were that prepared, you’re probably not sitting in a parking lot in downtown Chicago near the United Center; you’re in your car driving back to McHenry.

Are you ready to scrape the frost, ice and snow off your car this winter?

Here are some tips to get your windshield clear and keep it clear

What is that they're using to scrape the frost off their
windshield? Is that a credit card or something? More
importantly, are you ready to clean the frost, snow and ice
from your windshield this winter?
Now that the weather is beginning to cool off a little, those who were holding out hope to the contrary, are probably coming around to admit that another McHenry winter is approaching. That means cold, snow and ice. It means you’ll need to spend time sweeping snow, and scraping ice and frost from the windows of your car.

Actually, we are probably only weeks, or days, away from that first morning when you’ll need to break out your window scrapper. YOU DO HAVE A WINDOW SCRAPPER IN YOUR CAR?!!!

We apologize if we panicked but the thought that you might not have a window scraper ready for that first frosted-windshield morning is disconcerting. It’s not the end of the world. This time of year, you probably won’t have to heat the car too long before the defrosters have a chance to soften the frost so the wipers can sweep them away. But, until you warm up the windshield enough, you won’t get too far clearing the frost from your windshield.

You could try using your fingernails to scrape the frost away. Be prepared, however. Those little digits will get darn cold in the process.

You might think to use a substitute ice scrapper. Be careful if you decide to go down this path. For instance, if you tried to clear the frost off your windshield with a putty knife you’re liable to discover that you’ve scratched the glass beyond repair. You might as well clear the frost off your windshield by busting the glass out with a hammer; either way, you’re going to need a new windshield. Depending on the car, the cost could range to almost $1,000, though most installed windshields will cost considerably less than that.

A good window scrapper is the first step in reducing the aggravation of clearing ice and frost from your car’s windows. Make sure it has a good hand grip and a long enough arm that you can reach to the center of the windshield. This is particularly important if you’re car is actually a pickup truck with big tires and a lift kit; getting at the windshield may require a ladder.

You’ll also want a snowbrush. You may purchase a dual window scraper/snowbrush for the job. One end has the scrapper and the other the brush. If you do, just make sure you can still get a firm grip on the tool when you’re trying to scrape stubborn ice and frost.

Another essential tool in the war to keep your windows and windshield clear in the winter is the defroster. You want to make sure your car will produce enough heat to soften ice and frost in a relatively short period of time. You may feel the temptation to test your defrosters yourself. You’ll go out to the car tomorrow, turn on the heat and defrosters, wait a little while and then put your hand up above the dashboard. Even if the air coming out feels good and hot, remember that it’s still warm out.

If you want to be sure that the heater will be up to the challenge in the winter, you may want to bring your car to a professional to have it checked. You don’t want to find out, one cold winter morning, that your defroster doesn’t work as well as you thought it did.

Another tip is to warm the engine before you go. Even if the defrosters can put out some serious heat on a 20-degree-below morning, it takes the car a little while to warm up the coolant/antifreeze.

It’s also a good idea not to recirculate the air in the car. You’ll probably have a button or control that looks like an arrow making a U-turn on your climate-control console. If this button is engaged, the car circulates the air that’s in the car and this, when combined with your own breath, tends to add humidity to the air that can condense, and even frost up, on your windshield.

Finally, once you’ve got the frost and ice off your windshield, you’ll want the ability to keep your windshield clear while driving. This means that you’ll want plenty of windshield solvent in the reservoir and a good set of wiper blades that operate properly.

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