Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Are Touch Screens in Cars Too Distracting? Yes!

Touch screens aren’t just for laptops, smartphones and tablets.

 They have also made their way into new vehicles. Computerized controls now replace traditional buttons and knobs for heating, A/C, side windows, radio and other functions. A touch keyboard is built right into the computer screen. To touch it accurately, you have to look at it carefully  -- which is hard to do when you are trying to drive carefully.

Why are auto makers using touchscreens?
The auto makers are trying to find ways to build ever more functions into the limited space that’s available on a dashboard or centre console. Touch screens are an impressive technology; they look terrific and can display a massive amount of information.  But they shouldn’t be the only controls on a dash.

If we like touch screens on our mobile devices, what’s wrong with having them on our dashboards?
The problem has to do more with the "screen" than with the "touch." On your smartphone, you look at the screen and interact with it directly; the visual feedback is necessary for operating the interface.
When you're driving, however, you're supposed to be looking through the front window, operating most of the controls with only a quick glance. But with controls shifted to the touch screen, you have to take your eyes off the road to look at the screen.
Touch screens, unlike knobs with various shapes, don't allow that kind of “eyes on the road” operation.  Small buttons on smooth glass surfaces demand your visual attention, and that could cause an accident.

How much visual attention is needed?
It can be considerable.  For a significant part of the day, it’s hard to even see what’s on the screen, as sunlight streams in from the rear--if you’re driving west in the morning or east in the afternoon.  Finger smudges accumulate on the screen too, and make it opaque. 

Since most touch screens are very sensitive, it’s especially easy to activate a function that you don’t want. Then you have to take your eyes off the road for an even longer time just to return to where you started.

How serious is this problem?
The touch screens are so complex, and sometimes operate so poorly, that they have lowered the auto industry's overall quality score in the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 initial quality survey.  Also, touch screens are a major source of frustration for buyers of new models.

General Motors is even training customers in the use of the touch screen when they’re at the dealers and then offering help after the sale. The auto maker calls customers after a car purchase to see if they are having difficulty with the technology and may even make house calls.  Touch screens are a classic case of a “solution” looking for a problem—and creating one. 

For information about PRUDENT VALUE CARS, visit


Monday, November 19, 2012

Buying a Used Car? Everything You Should Know about Safety Certification and Emission Testing!

Each year, over one million used vehicles gain new owners in Ontario. While the used auto you’re about to buy may have been emission-tested and safety-certified, that doesn’t guarantee it’s in tip-top condition.

What is a Safety Standard Certificate (SSC)?

An SSC is a certificate issued by a Ministry of Transportation-approved Motor Vehicle Inspection Station (MVIS) once a vehicle has passed a safety inspection. However, this inspection covers only the minimum safety requirements for vehicles in Ontario.

Is an SSC a warranty on my vehicle purchase?

No, an SSC is not a warranty or guarantee on the general condition of the vehicle. The SSC simply means that on the date the certificate was issued, the vehicle met the minimum safety standards required under Regulation 611 of Ontario's Highway Traffic Act (HTA).

What might not be covered?

The vehicle may not be outfitted with new brakes or new tires. But even when they are, many dealers provide only the lowest cost brakes and tires with their vehicles.

Go to a dealer such as Prudent Value Cars who uses premium brakes and new  tires.  It is safer and more economical to pay a bit more and be assured that over the next two years your maintenance costs won’t amount to anymore than the price of an oil change.

What should I do?

You should take the vehicle to a certified mechanic that you trust and have that mechanic inspect the vehicle before you buy it. Also, be sure to ask the dealer if there is a warranty over a period of time --  like a  a couple of weeks or a month -- in which you can see if there are any mechanical problems. A few dealers, such as Prudent Value Cars, offer a month warranty on all mechanicals.

What about the Ontario emissions standards program, Drive Clean?

This is Ontario's mandatory vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance program. It was established because vehicles are a major source of smog and several other toxic contaminants. The e-test definitely helps protect your health. It is essential to pass before you are able to renew your registration and licence plates. You’re required to have an emissions test every two years if the vehicle is seven years or older based on the model year (Pre-1988 models are exempt.)

An emissions test is also required when buying or selling used vehicles that have a model year older than the current calendar year. This helps ensure that consumers do not end up buying a used auto with emissions problems.

The test usually includes your carburetor, spark plugs, air filter, PCV valve, fuel filter and ignition system. So, in order to pass the e-test, be very sure that your auto is well maintained.

For more information about  PRUDENT VALUE CARS,  visit our web site:
There’s a big difference between PRUDENT VALUE CARS and most other dealers.  PRUDENT goes well beyond the minimum safety standards in Ontario.  PRUDENT installs new premium-quality brakes and new all-season tires. 


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Use Cruise Control Safely When Driving Long Distance

Cruise control has improved driver comfort and convenience. When activated, the system enables a driver to automatically maintain a minimum speed of 40 km/h or faster without having to keep a foot on the accelerator. It's an easy way to control speed on the highway, making the driver less likely to go over the speed limit inadvertently. Cruise control is also useful for long trips as it often results in higher fuel efficiency and reduces driver fatigue.

When used improperly, however, cruise control can cause accidents. Here are some safety tips on when and how to use the system.

Stay Alert!  Be ready to brake. Keep your feet flat. Scan the road ahead.
 Although controlling the vehicle’s speed on cruise control allows you to take your foot off the accelerator and rest it, you still control the steering and braking. Keep both feet flat on the driver’s side floor and ready for braking or maneuvering if you have to slow down or suddenly stop. Don’t lounge or curl your foot up underneath you as you drive.

Above all, it’s important to remain alert. A false sense of security could lead to inattention and an accident. Keep your mind on your driving; scan the road ahead for traffic, obstacles, and changing road conditions.

Not on winding, icy or slippery roads.  Not in heavy traffic.
Cruise control can be dangerous when the driver can’t drive safely at a steady speed.  Also, it should not be used while on winding roads or in heavy traffic. Cruise control may also be dangerous on slippery roads. The system is designed for perfect road conditions, but on slippery surfaces it can cause the vehicle to go into a skid.

This is, of course, a special concern during the winter months, when the roads are icy. The only way to avoid a skid in this environment is to immediately reduce power. But with cruise control engaged, the wheels continue spinning and the driver may lose control of the car.

Not during heavy summer rain.  Avoid slamming on the brakes.
It's not only a winter problem. Using cruise control during a heavy summer rain can cause the car to hydroplane - a loss of control owing to a layer of water between the tires and the road. The risk is particularly high when driving across a patch of deep water.

If you begin to lose control, it's vital to remember how to react.  Avoid slamming on the brakes.  That puts the driver at even greater risk of a collision. Instead, stay calm and brake steadily, look where you wish to go and steer in that direction.

Don't use on roads where many speed adjustments are necessary.
These include winding roads, those with heavy traffic and urban and suburban streets.

Using cruise control in traffic and on city streets with lights and stop signs is an unsafe practice. You would have to reset the cruise control every time you brake and you’re not likely to be driving at the minimum speeds appropriate for it. Instead, you should manually control your car in traffic and on city streets, saving cruise control for the highway.

Turn cruise control off when not in use.
Do not simply disengage it with the brake. If you leave it on when not using cruise, you might hit a button and go into cruise inadvertently.  You could be startled and even lose control of the car.

Cruise control can make your drive more pleasurable and fuel-efficient, but you have to use it as intended.

How Better Driving Can Save You Money?

For information about PRUDENT VALUE CARS, visit our web site:

Monday, October 1, 2012

Car Washes can be very scary for young children

I recently watched a video on YouTube under “Funny car wash video kids” as key words. But after watching this, I would say that this is a must-watch video for all parents taking young children to the car wash for the first time.
We are all captivated by all the wonderful expression of children, even the silliest ones! However, what may seem funny to us may not be the case for young children.

This video showed a toddler going through a car wash. Her horrified big brown eyes as she watched the bubbles and brushes were anything but funny.  She did not know what was happening.  She felt she was being attacked.  The mother was trying her best to comfort her from the front seat but the expression on her child's face showed that she was terrified.

I believe parents should give their kids some information about what is going on and what to expect  before they bring their kids to a carwash.  It may sound silly, but after watching other videos of terrified toddlers during a car wash, parents should be forewarned about the effects on young children -- especially if they are not told about what happens.

How To Save Money On Gas By Improving Driving Skills?

Better Driving Tips to Pile Up Sizable Savings over Time

High gas prices are a constant gripe of car owners these days, with many eager to trade in their gas guzzler for a fuel-efficient model. That’s certainly not a bad idea, but even if you keep your gas guzzler, there are some easy ways – both driving techniques and maintenance -- to improve its fuel economy.  By squeezing a few extra kilometers out of every tank of gas that you use, you can pile up sizable savings over time.

Easy on the gas pedal

Don’t floor the gas pedal forcefully whenever you want to accelerate.  Every time you make an abrupt, quick or sudden movement, you’re throwing away money.  Instead, opt for a smoother driving style. Use light, smooth throttle inputs, not deep throttle blips and full-throttle moves.

Easy on the brake

Keep your eyes focused further down the road. If you spot traffic congestion ahead, don’t immediately hit the brake pedal. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and coast until you need to brake. When you do brake, ease on the pedal and maintain as much forward motion as possible. It takes more fuel — and, therefore, money — to get a car up to speed than to maintain that speed.

Keep your cruising speed low

Wind resistance increases sharply at higher speeds, so keeping your cruising speed below 105 km/hr will make your gas dollars go further. Use cruise control on highways..

Plan Your Day Smartly

Arrange your daily errands so that you make as many stops as possible in one trip. This approach is especially important in rural areas where you may have to travel long distances to reach your destinations. In more congested environments, also consider the time of day so as to avoid stop-and-go traffic. Idling wastes fuel. 

Tune up the engine

A tune-up of your car’s engine can improve its fuel efficiency by 4 percent.  A tune-up that fixes a faulty oxygen sensor can result in an improvement of up to 40 percent. Basic maintenance can also affect fuel efficiency. Even something as ordinary as the grade of oil you use can be a big factor.  It’s always best to use the manufacturer's recommended oil.

Inflate your tires

Be sure to keep your tires properly inflated if you want to get the best fuel efficiency. Tires that are under-inflated have more drag and need more energy in order to move, Check the tire pressures once a month, because leaks and temperature changes will deflate them. An estimated 17 percent of vehicles on the road have under-inflated treads. Properly inflated tires can boost fuel efficiency by as much as 3.3 percent, plus they are safer and will last longer.

 Reduce travel weight

Be sure not to keep heavy items in the trunk of your car when you travel.  By reducing the weight by 45 kilograms, you will gain up to a 2 percent increase in fuel efficiency. Rooftop racks are a bad idea, too.  Even when they are empty, they increase wind resistance, lowering fuel efficiency by 5 percent.

Follow these tips and you will benefit from less fuel consumption no matter what kind of vehicle you drive.

For information about PRUDENT VALUE CARS, visit our web site:

Friday, September 21, 2012

How To Avoid - A School Zone Ticket ?

I read this great article about, just by staying alert how you can avoid being ticketed on school zone and also increase safety among the pedestrians on the school zone during school hours.
After the summer school break, our road conditions as well as the driving conditions change. The roads get busier with school kids and teachers as pedestrians. Also not to mention school buses and parents who are dropping thier kids at school.
So what can we do to keep our roads safe inside school zone?

• Prepare early for a longer commute-  Leave at least 10 minutes earlier, this way you will stay stress free when driving.

• Stay Alert! Yes, keep your eyes open for children walking on the street as they can be very unpredictable. Many kids tend to wear ear-phones or text as they walk. Some kids are very irresponsible and do not even look when they are crossing the road. It’s also our responsibility as drivers to stay alert while driving for any unexpected occurence of any pedestrians. 

• Be patient- well, this is a tricky one to follow. However, make sure you have enough time and well-prepared.

• Use extra care while driving on school zone- watch for cyclists, novice drivers.

• Be prepared what to do when encountering a school bus. Refer to section 175 of the highway act as not following specific guideline may incorporate severe penalties.
For more safety tips and advice please visit


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Car Title Loans or borrow with your car in Toronto

Next time you’re in need of some fast emergency funding, consider applying for a Vehicle Title Loan.

A Vehicle Title Loan is a loan for which your vehicle is used as collateral or security. Cars, vans, trucks and SUVs are also acceptable. It also must be fully paid off -- no liens or leases. And it must be fully insured.
Ownership and insurance have to be in your name only. If the vehicle is in another name, then the owner must come in to co-sign the loan. If the vehicle is in the name of your company, you need to provide proof of ownership.

  • Your loan is approved faster than an unsecured personal loan would be.
  • You enjoy full use of your car during the loan period provided that you make regular payments.
  • You are usually eligible for larger loans and lower interest rates than with unsecured personal loans.
  • The loan can usually be paid off over longer periods of time depending on the lender.
  • You can qualify for the loan even if you are in a bankruptcy, in a proposal or have a bad credit history.
  • You may qualify if you are self-employed, a pensioner or earn your income based on commissions or tips.
Defaulting on payments: What happens and what to do?

If you default on your payments without communicating with your lenders you may jeopardize possession of your car. If there is a problem making payments on time promptly contact your lenders. The lenders can suggest alternative re-payment options.

What to Look For?
Make sure your loan is open, so that you have the option of paying it off early.
Be sure the lender reports to Equifax regularly so that your payments can help you rebuild your creditworthy status.
Make sure that the lender will work with you in the event of an illness, a job loss or other unforeseen misfortune that impacts your ability to repay.

For same-day approval with the lowest rates in the GTA for bad credit Vehicle Title Loans.
Visit Prudent Financial Services at

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Traffic Violations and Insurance Rates

Traffic violations in Ontario can be major, minor or criminal offences.  The severity of the infraction can make a significant difference in how your insurance rates are affected, as well as in the legal consequences.  Minor offences are the less serious ones and usually result in a fine. Major offences can be much more serious, resulting in heavy fines, license suspensions and possible jail sentences.

Minor violations

Minor violations are the most frequent kind of traffic offences, and have less impact both legally and on the driver’s insurance rates.  They are chargeable on your insurance for three years from the date you are convicted (not from the date you are ticketed), and some carry a sizeable fine, too.

The most frequent minor infractions are speeding—though when exceeding the speed limit by over 50 kph, it becomes major--running red lights or stop signs, failure to obey traffic signs, and tailgating.  Others include improper turning, improper passing, obstruction of traffic, unnecessarily slow driving and driving with your view obstructed.

Minor offences differ in their impact on your insurance premiums. Not all will result in a rate hike, but that varies from insurer to insurer. It’s useful to contact your insurance agent after you’ve been ticketed to find out what to expect on your premiums. But if you are hit with an increase, it won’t take effect until you renew your coverage.

Parking violations and driving with a broken taillight are minor offences that are unlikely to affect insurance rates, as they are not usually regarded as moving violations and therefore do not concern the insurer.

Major violations

Major violations are considered to be more serious, as they are more likely to result in an injury to another driver or a pedestrian.  They include speeding (when driving above 50 km/h), speeding in a school zone, passing a school bus, failing to report an accident and driving without auto insurance coverage.

Insurers take a dim view of major violations.  They show that a driver is a higher claims risk and should, accordingly, pay higher premiums.  A major offence remains on a driver’s record just as long--three years--as a minor one when it comes to insurance premiums.   However, the premium rise is generally higher in the case of a major violation.

Major offences also have more severe legal repercussions. The offender could be hit with heavier fines and in some cases may even face a possible jail sentence.  Offences that carry a criminal record include driving with a blood alcohol level over .08, careless driving, criminal negligence, dangerous driving, driving with a suspended license, racing and motor manslaughter.  

For these types of convictions, the Facility Association of Ontario, which provides coverage to drivers who can’t qualify in the voluntary insurance market, will increase premiums by 100%.

Avoiding rate hikes

Keep in mind that being cited for more than one violation is a sure way to have your auto insurance rates rise.  Two minor violations can be more damaging than one major violation.  Statistically, if you have received a speeding ticket, there is a 20% chance that you will receive another ticket within the three year period. If you’re hit with three speeding tickets, you will be charged "high risk insurance rates" of thousands of dollars per year, for at least three years.  So it’s best to learn from the error and not repeat it.

To check which offences are considered major, minor and criminal, consult

For information about PRUDENT VALUE CARS, visit our web site:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Driving Safely in Summer

Summer is the season for taking your car on the road.  But you’ll find increased traffic on those roads, including both locals and tourists. Taking extra care to drive safely will help you get through the summer accident-free.  Here are some tips on how to do that.

Have your vehicle checked

Summer driving conditions are often hot and stressful on equipment. So, preventive maintenance for the mechanical systems of your car or light truck is definitely a good idea.  The to-do list should include:

● Check your tire pressure before a long trip -- including the spare -- and keep it at the level recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Check tire tread depth for excessive and uneven wear.
● In extreme summer heat, it may be necessary to change the grade of the engine oil.
● Check the cooling system, both hoses and radiator, for leaks. Check the coolant recovery reservoir under the car’s hood when the engine is cold. Add the coolant recommended in the owner's manual,
● Check the air conditioning system.

Don’t overload

When packing up the car for a road trip, keep safety in mind. Don’t sacrifice your field of vision to squeeze in extra items. If you really do need extra space for supplies, consider using additional space on your car’s exterior or even towing a small utility trailer.  Both are safe options, provided all items are properly secured.

Buckle Up

The best way to increase your chances of survival in a road accident is to wear your seat belt. This applies not only to the driver, but to every passenger in your car, too.  Not wearing a seat belt leaves you more exposed for severe injuries or even death in the event of an accident.  Remember that any passenger below 16 years of age who isn’t properly buckled up is your responsibility, too.

Construction ahead

Summer is construction season, so heavier traffic flows are being squeezed onto roads that are being narrowed due to maintenance and construction. Watch out for road workers and stay alert in construction zones.  Speed limits often are reduced, and traffic can come to a halt without much notice.

Bikers are back

Watch for cyclists and motorcyclists, too.  As a motorist you may not be expecting these smaller vehicles, and their drivers may be rusty on the roads if they’ve had their bikes parked all winter.

Weekend warning

Unlike other seasons (when rush hour is the busiest time on the roads), summer brings traffic congestion on the weekends, as families drive to the cottage and back. These leisure drivers may actually be more of a danger: they’re revved up to reach their destination, and often are carrying more passengers and more stuff than a regular commuter. It’s best to stay calm and be polite to other drivers in order not to trigger road rage and put everyone at risk.

Carry emergency gear

Winter isn't the only season when car trouble can happen, so  carry emergency gear all year round.  In summer, along with the usual emergency items of a blanket, flashlight, rags, a red cloth or flag and reflective warning signs, you also should bring bottled water, extra coolant and oil and, of course, a cell phone.

Follow the above safety tips and you should have a safe summer on the road.

For information about PRUDENT VALUE CARS, visit our web site:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The trade-offs of a trade-in

When a car owner decides to buy a new auto, they usually wish to sell their current model.  They can do a private transaction, which requires some effort, patience and risk, or they can trade it in at a dealership. A trade-in occurs when a car owner sells their existing model to the dealership as part of a deal to buy another car (new or used).
The advantages of a trade-in (versus a private sale) are the efficiency and ease of buying and selling at the same location, as well as significant tax savings.  The disadvantage is getting a lower price for the trade-in vehicle than you’d get in a private sale.  Let’s look at the trade-offs in more detail.

Since even dealers of used cars usually want your trade-in, they tend to make the deal as painless as possible. Trading in a car is usually a same-day affair, with a minimum of procedures.  The dealer assesses your car’s condition, its age and other factors, and then sets its trade-in value.

The emphasis is on convenience.  Unlike a private transaction, you don’t have to place ads, arrange test drives or face legal repercussions if the car breaks down soon after the new owner drives away in it.  (Once a car is traded in at the dealer, it's their responsibility to handle the resale.)

Then there are the potential tax savings. Since the trade-in’s value is deducted from the selling price of the car you’re acquiring, this lowers the tax that you’ll have to pay on the new car.  For example, if you buy a new car worth $40,000, and your trade-in is valued at $20,000, this effectively lowers the new vehicle’s selling price to $20,000.  Instead of paying HST of $5,200, you would pay $2,600—a saving of $2,600.

The downside is that most dealerships will offer less than your car is worth. The dealer incurs costs in cleaning the car and fixing any problems and still must be able to sell it at a profit. So you should expect a low offer.  If the offer for your used model sounds too good to be true, it probably is: the dealer is likely making up for it in the negotiated price of your new car.
However, knowing the true market value of your trade-in vehicle will give you a stronger hand when negotiating.  It pays to study the market in order to get a realistic idea of your existing car’s value. Canadian Black Book ( is considered the industry Bible for providing market values for cars, trucks and SUVs at the wholesale level.
Also, find out the current market demand for your make and model, and whether the dealership is oversupplied with that model. How much the dealership is willing to offer for your trade-in depends on supply and demand.

Assemble all your car’s service records. If you can demonstrate that you’ve looked after your car with recommended maintenance, it will fetch a higher trade-in price (whether at a dealership or privately).  Whichever route you go, it’s important to weigh the trade-offs when considering how to sell your current vehicle and buy another. 
For information about PRUDENT VALUE CARS, visit our web site: