Author Archives: kevin

how long do car brakes last

How Long Do Car Brakes Last? Maybe An Extra 20k Miles w/ These Tips

You know that you can’t afford to have unreliable brakes, but this begs a very important question: how long do brakes last?

Automotive engineers have not defined a firm lifespan for our brakes, presumably because there are a lot of variables involved.

Evidence of this frustratingly vague guidance is evident in a study from Toyota, estimating their brake pads can last anywhere from 25,000 miles to 70,000 miles, with an average lifespan of 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

*Thanks a lot. That 30k difference between the low and high estimate is more than the circumference of the Earth!

However, how long your brakes last depend on the type of car you drive and how you drive as well. Maybe you can’t trade in your jalopy for a new Mercedes, but there are plenty of things you can do on your own to improve the lifespan of your brakes.

Specific brands and makes of brakes will reveal more specific estimates for how long they will last, but a lot of it has to do with the driver. In fact, some motorists have made their 30k+ mile brakes last for 90,000 miles and more with conscientious driving highlighted in the following tips and tricks!

Make Your Brakes Last Longer: Slow Down

speedometerAttention: your need for speed is killing your brake pads! 

The higher your speed, the shorter your reaction time, and the longer it takes to fully stop your car. Not only is speeding dangerous, but it puts massive of wear and tear on your brake pads.

The physics behind our brakes shows that car brakes turn their kinetic (motion) energy into heat. So, when you stop your car at high speeds, your brakes expend more heat energy, wearing down your brake pads more.

Try these tips for easing up on the road:

  • Stay within the speed limit (*Not to mention that a single speeding ticket can cost you more than new brakes!) 
  • Coast when you can, especially downhill
  • Don’t tailgate: Keep a safe distance between yourself and other cars to avoid any sudden braking. Tailgating is murder on your brakes, as you’re giving yourself very little reaction time to slow down or stop
  • Refrain from road rage. If you are out of control, your car will suffer too!
  • Look ahead and anticipate upcoming traffic lights: This is a great time to coast to a smooth stop

how long brakes last cheap car

Remove Any Excess Weight From Your Car

How long do brakes last for heavy cars? Well, not as long as lighter cars! The heavier your car is, the more stress is put on your brakes.

You learned that your car and brakes operate on kinetic energy, which is simply energy derived from motion.

The amount of kinetic energy is dictated by the overall weight of your vehicle, so, the more excess weight your car has the more kinetic energy it needs to generate to function properly. In layman’s terms: the heavier your car is, the the shorter your brakes will last.

This weight only puts more pressure on your brakes and brake pads, and that wear and tear is worsened with continuous speeding or reckless driving.

Check your car to see if you’re lugging around extra weight you don’t need, such as exercise equipment, gallons of water, power tools, and other heavy items. The extra weight is straining your fuel efficiency, too!

Don’t Use Your LEFT Foot for the Brake Pedal!

This is something you need to make a habit of.

When you break with your left foot, you’re more inclined to have pressure on both pedals at the same time. Even if your right foot is just lightly resting on the accelerator while you brake, you’re fighting against your braking system.

It’s like having the AC and the heat on at the same time in your house, and this just turns up the pressure even more on your car and brake pads.

brakes last harsh weather

How Long Do Brakes Last in Harsh Weather?

Not as long as in good weather! If you live somewhere with long winters, you’re probably looking at the lower end of the estimate for how long your brakes will last. Extreme temperatures are hard on your brakes, and the salt on winter roads is brutal on brake pads and drums, and rotors, shortening their lifespan.

You can’t mess around with driving in bad weather. You need a reliable car to last through blizzards, icy roads, and trips to the mountains. The money you are saving by trying to stretch out your tires or brake pads is nothing compared to the cost of a single accident.

When driving up and over snowy hills, make sure your car is in the right gear for safe incline driving while periodically putting minor pressure on your brake pads.

Another important thing to remember is to fill and flush your brake fluid periodically to extend the life of your brakes.

When your brakes create too much heat energy, it depletes your brake fluid supply. On the flip side, if you don’t change your brake fluid enough, it will eventually dilute with moisture and lose its effectiveness.

Also, if you notice that your brake pedal feel “spongy,” or soft, it means there’s air in the line, and needs attention. “Bleeding” the brakes / brake fluid change costs about $80-100, but it will fix both of these issues, and will extend the life of your brakes.

Don’t Try to Save a Buck & Get Cheap Brakes

If you’re trying to decide between Wearever Gold brakes and something made in China that has a blurry photo of Michael Jackson on the packaging, you need to stop being stingy.

Spend the extra money on a trusted brand name, and consider researching reviews and ratings from trusted sites like Consumer Reports.

If you do want to save money, get the good brakes, and use a coupon at these top auto parts stores:

Also, doing your own brake check-ups, or getting them done for free at a local Advance Auto Parts or AutoZone is all you need to make sure they’re operating and stopping properly all year round. Follow these simple tips to keep your brakes working longer and your time in the car safer.

Photo credit: Pixabay.com

vintage pin up featured

18 Pin Up Girls With Cars and Tools: Vintage Ads and Art

motorcycle pin up girl with wrench

oops. can I borrow your tool?

Classic vintage pin ups with cars – I believe it was Sir-Mix-A-Lot who once wisely said, “To hell with romancin’ she’s sweat, wet, got it goin’ like a turbo ‘Vette.”

Ah, yes… What goes together better than beautiful, curvy women and classic cars? These vintage pin ups and auto parts advertisements by artists like Gil Elvgren from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s were pretty racy for their day. Even though they’re over half a century old, they can still get your motor running.

Pin Up girls + Cars: a winning advertising formula

You know how those crazy college girls are always putting on high heels and changing you car’s oil? Maybe not in this world, but it happened in the fantasy world of pin-ups in the 1940’s and 1950’s, and 1960’s. Besides, since advertising first began, we’ve known that most direct route to a man’s mind and wallet is though his genitals.

Anyway, enjoy, and click on a thumbnail to view larger:

Pin Up Girls With Carsvintage pin up car girl corvette

After seeing one of these pin-ups, a man was probably more likely to choose NAPA auto parts (or whatever brand was featured with one of these pretty girls) Even though there was a limit to what they could get away with before the Sexual Revolution, they still manage to pour on the cheeky innuendo, even though these are tame by today’s standards.

Notice the not so subtle elements like tools, updrafts of air, and a even sign for “lubrication.” In one or two of the later ads, you actually have to look to find the car in the background. These are the best pin-ups of girls with cars that I could find during an exhaustive international (online) search.

Actually, it was these ads that still inspire modern advertising, like the recent Carl’s Jr. commercial with Kate Upton:

Don’t forget to use a coupon for auto parts online!

By the way, saving money is a close runner-up to beautiful women, so please use one of our coupons for auto parts online from top stores like Advance Auto and AutoZone! We also are going to be offering free stickers of these pin up girls and cars!

amc pacer vintage ad bardot

AMC Pacer a Sexy Car? Their Vintage Magazine Ads Featuring Brigitte Bardot

The Marketing Genius of the AMC Pacer: Brigitte Bardot: If you were to make a list of the least sexy cars of the past 50 years, you might include the AMC Pacer. Developed in the 1970’s when global change was roiling the average American, AMC (American Motor Cars) attempted to bring people gently (and early) into the 80’s, while conforming to all of the new regulations & emissions standards imposed on the auto industry.

So, how would they market this new family-friendly, ugly, futuristic car? Why, with blonde bombshell Brigitte Bardot, of course. This is advertising, baby!

brigitte bardot amc pacer ad

Brigitte Bardot and the AMC Pacer: Mmmm…

“I’m tired of magazines,
Sayin’ flat butts are the thing.
Take the average black man and ask him that,
She gotta pack much back!” – Baby Got Back, Sir Mix-a-Lot

So, the funny thing is that Brigitte Bardot actually owned a Pacer, and reportedly loved the iconic car. (probably given to her for doing this ad.) Besides blatant use of sex in advertising, I’m not sure how her ass relates to the actual car, except that they were both wide and bubble-icious?

Personally, I think she could be advertising Harry and David pears with that sweet, well-maintained hiney. Sorry, back to cars.

“You Only Ride Like a Pacer If You’re Wide Like a Pacer”

amc pacer magazine ad

bardot amc pacerThat was one of the Pacer’s mottos, along with, “The first wide small car,” so maybe there is a tie in there? Of course, the Pacer would go on to be an iconic design, especially after being featured in movies like Wayne’s World, and Pixar’s “Cars.”

Unless they hired a body-double, I’m pretty sure that’s Brigitte again riding on the hood of another pacer on the cover of AMC’s “auto club” magazine.

To tell you the truth, putting a blonde on, or next to a car really is marketing genius.

Check out some other old-school vintage pin-up models with cars from the 40’s here!

The AMC Pacer: Not As Sexy Without Brigitte Bardot

Having a blonde bombshell bend over by a car is a good marketing strategy, but as you can see, putting some average white people next to a Pacer isn’t nearly as captivating:

amc pacer car vintage ad

In fact, now that Brigitte is gone, I’m starting to think that maybe the Pacer is one of the ugliest cars of the 70’s!

brigitte bardot car rear

Hey, there’s Brigitte again! But, that’s not an AMC Pacer that she’s crawling into! Still, I feel the need to buy one of THOSE cars now… (marketing 101, I guess) 

*Recommended: 40 Years of the AMC Pacer – The Fishbowl that saved the World

emergency prepare kit car noah

Make a DIY Roadside Car Emergency Kit: Prep Like a Suburban Noah

jumper cables carIt wasn’t Raining when Noah Built the Ark: Out here in Pennsylvania we’ve been blessed with some great weather lately; so nice that it made me forget how awful last winter was. (Can you say, “polar vortex”?) However, check out this recent headline:

The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts that this winter will be another arctic blast with above-normal snowfall throughout much of the nation. The extreme weather will continue into the Summer.”

try imagining a few scenarios that you might face unexpectedly in your car, like being stranded roadside, or stuck in gridlock traffic in various weather. If it happened tomorrow, would you be prepared?

While Noah had a pretty big task set before him, the good news is that yours will be simple. (And no animals needed!) While this list may be altered due to the season, your geographic location, or whether you travel with kids or others, here is a basic list of what you should have for an emergency kit for your car:

noah ark prep car

other drives won’t be so lucky

  • Flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Jumper cables and/or a charged jump starter
  • Extra fuses (often fix electrical problems)
  • wool blanket
  • first aid kit
  • Road flares
  • rain poncho / umbrella
  • auto fire extinguisher
  • Ice scraper (seasonal)
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable snacks (like granola or energy bars)
  • Paper and pen (to make a sign, or write down information)

Many of the items above will fit into a backpack or plastic storage bin, and not take up too much room in your car. You can certainly add to this list, and the emergency lists can get pretty long and intimidating. You can grab most of these items at your local Advance Auto Parts (click for coupons) Walmart, or AutoZone. Personally, I think some of the recommendations from Consumer Reports and Edmunds can get a little intense; like quarts of motor oil, antifreeze, tire chains, etc.

*Tip: Know how to jump start a car!

A better alternative might be to join AAA for 24 hour roadside assistance for auto / mechanical problems. Unless you have an inner-MacGyver, you might just want to get towed to the nearest service station.

car emergency kit winter

Shoes: If you do a lot of driving in heels or fancy dress shoes, also consider having some backup shoes or rain boots in case you need to do any walking in bad weather. (*see mightyshoes.com for great footwear coupons)

Kitty litter: I thought you said, “no animals?!” True, but you can pour kitty litter under your tires if you are stuck in icy weather for traction. It’s a nice winter addition to the list, and more practical than tire chains.

Also, please consider these tips:

  • Don’t drive your car on “empty” – Keep at least a quarter tank of gas in your car
  • Check your car battery – Have your battery checked free at Advance Auto Parts to see if you need a new one
  • Keep up with oil changes (at least every 5000 miles or so)
  • Check your tires – Have them rotated when you get your oil changed, and check your tire pressure
  • Consider joining AAA, or have a premium roadside assistance program in place. It costs a lot to call them and join when you are stranded!
  • Keep your cell phone charged, and have a car charger
  • Know how to jump start your car
  • Keep an emergency $20 bill in your glove compartment – Lots of reasons that might make sense. And if the power is out, you might need it!

While driving in remote, rural areas or extreme conditions may present more potential for emergencies, the list above will greatly prepare most suburban drivers and commuters for the most common suburban emergencies. The good thing is that you can always find coupons for at least 20% off your order at Advance Auto Parts, and you can even pick them up for free in 30 minutes from your nearest store.

Think you have nothing to worry about? Remember the Chinese proverb, “when men speak of the future, the gods laugh.” Hey, if Noah can build an ark bigger than a football field at age 600 to prep, you can do this! Not only did I make a car emergency kit, I got a backup generator installed in my house as well! (I’ve already been through a 3-day power outage with three kids once)

If you think it might be helpful to a friend, please share this post!

monthly flyer specials advance auto

Advance Auto Parts Monthly FLYER: View the In-Store Circular Online

advance auto parts logoMonthly Flyer / In-Store Circular: Advance Auto Parts – is a convenient way to view all of their in-store deals in one place online. Each month they feature about 10 pages or so of unbeatable low prices on automotive parts, oil change specials, coupons, rebates, and promotions. These deals vary slightly by store, so enter your zip code at advanceautoparts.com to view your store.


instore ad circular for advance auto

auto parts in store flyer guyAdvance Auto stocks thousands of discount automotive parts, so the monthly flyer is an exciting way to get even lower prices on their featured products. Set up as a PDF file, it’s basically like being able to virtually flip through an in-store circular and view all sale items in one place online. As an extra incentive, each month they also tend to include an exclusive coupon for their website that you can only find in the flyer.

Tips for viewing the monthly flyer / sale circular

Because the deals offered in each flyer can vary based on store locations, the first thing you’ll be prompted to do is enter your zip code. (see below) After doing so, you’ll be able to virtually flip through the flyer online, with no messy ink from cheap newsprint on your fingers!

Keep in mind that with each page you’ll be able to zoom in, move the pages around (by clicking and dragging) and apply discount filters by moving the slider. This is a neat feature if you are looking to view all of their best deals in one place, organized by the percentage of discount.

monthly flyer features advance

If you decide on a promotion, there is a feature to quickly print the page that you’re viewing, or download the whole flyer as a PDF. This can be a valuable feature, as you can bring the promotion with you to your local store without depending on an internet connection. It’s not necessary to do so, but it’s convenient to have a hard copy of the deal, along with any terms or conditions that apply. If you do so, you won’t have to flip through a weekly flyer at the store when you arrive.

Also, with a digital or hard copy you won’t be blind-sided at the register, realizing that a minimum purchase was required, or that you bought the wrong size of an item. You can also view the flyer on your smartphone if you’d rather conserve printer ink.

View the flyer and be prepared

“If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” Viewing the circular online lets you see what all of the in-store deals are for this month without showing up to a store unprepared. The promotions vary slightly bases on location, but after you enter your zip code the in-store flyer for your local Advance Auto Parts location will load instantly.

In-Store Coupons & Promotions in their Monthly flyer ad

Remember that when you order online, you can choose to pick it up at your closest Advance Auto Parts location. If you have an order over $75, and don’t need your parts today, definitely consider opting for their free shipping coupon.

reese tow trailer hitch discount

REESE Towpower: 20% Off Coupon from AutoZone

reese hitch logoCoupons for REESE Brand Auto Parts: REESE has been a legendary brand in towing products for over 50 years. Best known for their trailer hitches including ball mounts, custom fit, gooseneck, & 5th wheel hitches their parts are incredibly strong and exceed all industry safety standards. Use a coupon below for up to a 20% discount site-wide including REESE brand parts:


autozone logoAutoZone.com: REESE

  • View couponsnew20% off $100+ including REESE towing, trailer hitches, trailer lighting & accessories. Get free in-store pickup or free shipping with minimum purchase
  • Using one of our coupons? see all Reese parts at autozone.comnew plus today’s featured on-site promotion.

logo advance autoAdvance Auto Parts:

  • View promo codes – Up to a 30% discount site-wide, good towards REESE parts. Free same-day in-store pickup.
  • Advance Auto doesn’t have a good selection of Reese tow products & hitches. They only currently have REESE Carry Power ratchet tie-downs & straps

Use a coupon for up to a 30% discount site-wide including Reese automotive parts, towing accessories, & trailer hitches!

reese towpower trailer hitch coupon

REESE Towpower: Towing Hitches for Any Size Job, For Sale at AutoZone: 5th Wheel & More

Whether you are looking to haul supplies to a construction site, hitching a car to an RV, or towing a trailer carrying livestock, REESE has the receiver hitches and to meet all of your towing needs. REESE products are solid, all-welded construction for legendary strength, weight distribution, and safety that exceeds industry standards.

Their exclusive paint finishes fight corrosion and rust, and look pretty sleek too! Every REESE hitch comes with a lifetime guarantee. In fact, they’ve recently been honored for their fifth wheel hatch by Trailer Life Magazine.

Popular REESE Towpower products include: 

  • Custom Fit Hitches – Receiver hitches built according to your car or trucks specific make, model, year, and weight specifications for a perfect fit
  • Multi-Fit Hitches – Universal fit for cars, SUVs, vans, and light trucks. Multi-fit receiver hitches are less expensive than custom-fit!
  • Front Mount Hitches – Attach a cargo carrier or bike to the front of your car or truck
  • Gooseneck & 5th Wheel hitches – For any heavy haul, a gooseneck of fifth wheel hitch is anchored through your truck bed, offering extra strength and a better turning radius than hitches that connect off the back.
  • Ball mounts including carbon forged, standard welded, heavy duty, & class V
  • Towing accessories
  • Trailer & hitch accessories
  • Trailer electrical & lighting

The Best Prices for REESE Hitch Parts & Ball Mounts Are at AutoZone When You Use a Coupon!

We’ve compared prices, and the best deals for REESE Towpower automotive products (including their legendary trailer hitches and tonneau covers) are at AutoZone.com.

Of course, that’s when you use one of their featured coupons including their popular 20% off promo code with a minimum $100 order. Most of their popular trailer hitches start at about $120, so their products usually qualify for the discount.

Installing a Trailer Hitch

Wondering how long it takes to install one of these hitches? See how to install a trailer hitch in under 2 minutes!

Free Shipping on Trailer Hitches Including REESE

All $75+ orders ship free at AutoZone.com, which includes their popular “Towpower” towing products and trailer hitches. For less expensive products, look for their “free shipping no minimum” coupons which are available about half of the time, and check out CURT trailer hitches at Advance Auto for even bigger discounts! We’ll also be adding REESE products from AutoAnything soon, as well.