RJS1 – Month 2

a bit delayed. i’m writing this september 19 while i managed to get baby to sleep. surprised i was able to do it. she finally got fooled with the leave shirt technique. it’s actually quite odd that i am able to move around for more than an hour and she is still asleep. i just pray that she still sleeps through the night. had several scare attacks over this month since she had blood on her poop on several occasions. thank god that they were isolated cases. the most recent episode was her having diaper rash, we didn’t know the exact reason but we believe it’s due to the hot temperature at the office and she being worn in a carrier. poor baby. her butt has cuts. we were so worried that we decided that i will stay with her at our bedroom until she heals. cause it’s not like i can be productive anyway if she is not in her carrier. i did several things to try to alleviate the problem, tried removing her diaper completely and wearing only shorts. but it was too messy. we bought some cloth diapers and a larger diaper size. ended up using the larger diaper. it’s her 3rd day of quarantine, her rash is improving. yey!

she managed to surprise us yet again with her weight gain and length gain. so happy that all my efforts in feeding her is being put into good use. she gained from 4.2 to 4.6kg and 3 cm. she became more smiley too, interacts more now, and likes to be carried face front. she looks so curious with her surroundings and appear to like to go out like her mom.

discovered “the happy song”, not sure if this is the reason she is more smiley nowadays. she also put grew most of her clothes and her socks fit her better now. she still has a very adorable crying and happy face. these are my payment when i’m irritable. plus she smells so good! haha. tummy time was good, she cries a lot but can flip on her 3rd try and then afterwards but not consistently.

overall, the second month has been easier since she developed a sleeping pattern already. i only had to wake up around 2 times before really waking up to go to the office. only get to change her 2-4 times at night. we have been able to go out more frequently now since i am getting used to breastfeeding her in a carrier. but she prefers that i stand up cause when i sit she can’t feed properly. i’m too short huhu. still have to train her to use the stroller and car seat. since we travel a lot back and forth, the car seat is a necessity, i pray that she is able to adapt to it soon. still miss having my quality moments with my husband. we haven’t had quality time. my major worry is that we have been doing side sleeping a lot and i see that it is only by doing that she is able to sleep, if i do a cradle hold with her she doesn’t sleep. so it’s always a struggle to attempt to get her to sleep during daytime cause i can’t side sleep with her. i wish for her to be able to adapt to the circumstance whether she sleeps with me or without me… 😞 but more than anything, for her to be a healthy happy baby is my top priority.

lessons this 2nd month:
life will never ever be the same. i have to adapt and accept the fact that reiss is dependent on me. i have to be strong and positive. she is getting bigger and stronger but still fragile, i have to remember that. i need to remember to take care of me and my husband still.

pampers premium

Welcoming RJS 1 – Baby Shower for RJS 1

Last June 10 2017, I was pleasantly surprised by my loved ones. They made a small intimate gathering to pre-welcome baby R into this world. My heart felt full knowing that these people cared for baby R, me and R. It gave me relief that baby R will come into the world knowing she is loved. It was a surprise and I really did not expect any shower since it felt a bit too late for it already and people were busy all the time. I was really glad that people took time off their busy days to celebrate baby R’s coming.

It started when my sister-in-law reached out to R to gather my side of the family and friends. After R got people’s confirmation on the date, it was my sister-in-law and my sister A who did all the planning and kicked R out so that he too will be surprised by the party happenings.

So my sister booked the following suppliers:
Estabillo’s Catering > food: party trays and conceptualization/ items for the party games
Feedback: Customer service was really good according to my sister. They were able to execute her food customization requests (less oily and less sugar), prompt refund since the dessert was left behind, and nice games provided. Food price and quality was also reasonable. They do not use MSG in their dishes and everything is served fresh. She recommends this provider.

The Cake Orchard > chocolate cupcakes and fondant chocolate cake
Feedback: Best seller of the day. Everybody complimented the cupcakes and cake since they were very pretty and the taste was really good. It was very densely made and not too sweet… so you know chocolate was not lessened in exchange for sugar. Very moist and loved by kids/adults/elderly. The cake was too pretty to cut, but it had to be since the chocolate cake is too good to pass.

Flowershop Express – FlorEx > flower bouquet
Feedback: Customer service was really good and the output was superb. Was able to deliver the bouquet as requested. Very pretty combination and efficient delivery. 

My high school friends did the very cute decors <3 while my college friends acted as hosts for the event. 

Narration of the day
It started with R and I meeting our close friends at Unit 27 Apartment for brunch (very good food, love their interiors and food!!!!). I did not even smell anything suspicious since this was our normal thing with this couple friend of ours. We just talked about our usual stuff and ate good food. I ate their brown rice champorado P250, it was really yummy and thick. It even had kesong puti, chocnut, and tuyo on the side. Lovely! R ate Grilled Chicken Risotto P380, the egg was perfectly poached and the risotto rice was very well coated with pesto. Our couple friend ate bagnet breakfast P395 which was also very good and salpicao main P385 with the beef so tender and tasteful. All of us loved our order. Made us wonder why we were the only customer at that fine establishment. Thank you Booky mobile app for recommending this place and for even giving us a P200 discount and free dessert for booking using the app! <3 booky!

After a happy brunch, we went over to SM North Edsa since R wanted to have some BLK yogurt. I did not notice anything odd since this again is normal for us (sorry, yes we are weird people). So when we got our yogurts, we decided to head back home with our couple friends since they wanted to play some board games. Upon arriving home, I noticed a familiar looking black car that looked like my sisters. It even has a dog figure on the dashboard, but it did not register that it really my sister’s since we did not agree to meet up. So I left that thought alone and went inside. There were a lot of shoes outside and my slippers were kept inside the house which was odd but not too odd to raise suspicion. So inside I went. When I saw everyone at the living room, then I saw the decor and cake. Then that was when I figured what everything was about. 

I was really shocked. Shook hands, kissed and hugged people, I did not expect to be there since it was TOO FAR from them. Anyway, it started off with a game by guessing the size of my tummy using yarn. Nobody got the exact size, everyone thought my tummy was HUGE. hahaha. Then the next game was dressing up a baby drawing with blindfolds on. Both teams did it right so the host just awarded the one who finished first. Merienda break, everyone ate the food and chatted. Then last game was guess what chocolate is in the diaper. Nobody got it right, so the host just chose the group with the nearest answer. Afterwards, it was gift opening and we saw the different stuff people prepared for baby R. It was heartwarming. Awkward goodbyes (for me), it seemed to odd to end the event that way and I did not want to say goodbye yet. But many did bid their farewells as it was on a saturday, and in the end it was just me and my 2 high school friends who went to Mango Tree Bistro to eat dinner. We talked until about 9 PM and it was time to go home.

Thank you to everyone who contributed and participated in this celebration for baby R. We feel so loved. And I personally love the fact that people extended their time for baby R. We will forever cherish this.

The Sexy Chef – Pounds Away Diet Meal Plan

As I have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, I’ve decided to buy myself a BAYER blood sugar monitor worth P3500 with the recommendation of a doctor friend. He told me that its imperative that I know of my sugar levels daily. But little did I know that the bayer blood strips would cost P55 each and the needle P5. T__T So all in all it would cost me P60 each time I prick myself. So with my thrifty genes kicking in, I only check my blood sugar whenever I eat something sweet or too much. I even visited a known diabetes doctor Eunice Tan. She told me to monitor my sugar daily by checking my sugar level Pre Breakfast, Prelunch, Predinner, before bed time — each should be <95, then the next day after an hour of my first bite Post Breakfast, Post lunch, Post dinner, before bed time — each should be <130. So far, praise God I have had 126 as my highest since I ate Smores Snr Pizza. So anyway, please continue to pray for me as I fight this sickness and my own personal sweet tooth. haha.
So the main focus of this entry is my review of my 5 day meal plan with Sexy Chef. I tried their Pounds Away Diet since they have diagnosed it as the best plan for my condition. This diet plan was co-created by Fitness Nutritionist of the stars, Nadine Tengco. Calorie-controlled diet, contains targeted levels of the Fat-Fighting 4 nutrients – Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Fiber, Calcium and Vitamin D. Comes in 1400 calories. P1,035 per day. It includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks delivered daily before consumption date within Metro Manila. They did my diagnosis via email exchanges only (info@thesexychef.ph). After weeks of searching online for the best meal plan for me, I ended up between The Sexy Chef and Paleo Manila. Both looks very promising and cost the same, so decided to go for the one that will avoid traffic. So I booked online and paid P5175 10 days before my intended meal plan start date. 

So here are the food orders I got for 5 days. 

As you can see from the photos, they look quite normal and some looks even many. The taste of the food is actually good that you do not feel like you are eating bland “diet food”. I liked that the food varied daily, the only repeat was the buko pandan (which looked like a blob of green jelly so I did not eat it nor took a photo of it). Overall, I liked the service and creativity of the food. I will definitely try sexy chef’s other meals on some other occasion hopefully not because of health reasons but more for enjoyment. I realized I had a hard time following the “timing” of the food, as I keep consuming more than needed since I get hungry too easily. So I guess the program failed for my particular character. haha. But I recommend Sexy Chef for people who are particular with their food intake (like me), though do be careful with the price…it will take good budgeting to support this kind of lifestyle with their steep pricing. But I think the quality pays for the price. Do check them out. 
You can reach them via:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thesexychef/
Website: http://www.thesexychef.ph
Number: 721-8881 / 721-7399 / 0917-799-2433 Email: info@thesexychef.ph

How to Maintain Working Hood & Trunk Latches

by Dennis Sweet, Cars for Keeps Customer Service Manager

Have you ever heard the old saying “use it or lose it”? Well this applies to working parts on our vehicles! We use the remote to change the channel on our TV, even if we are standing in front of it. We as humans are creatures of habit and convenience.

We use our vehicles’ key fobs to unlock doors and trunks, and while this is convenient for us, it’s not so great for the locks and latches. When the key fob is used to unlock the trunk, the trunk latch unlocks from inside the trunk, but the key cylinder never turns. Rust and corrosion builds up on the key cylinder, and when the time comes that you don’t have the key fob or it stops working and you need to unlock it with the key, it may not work.

It is important that you have your auto service center lubricate the hood and trunk latches as well as the door and trunk lock cylinder with high quality lubricant at when regular oil changes are performed. Or, if your vehicle uses synthetic oil with extended mileage intervals you, can stop in and have Cars for Keeps do this at one of our free Pit Stops.

Routine latch lubrication and maintenance doesn’t only apply to your vehicle’s hood latch; it can be just as important to maintain the rest of the vehicle’s door locks. Proper lubrication and the occasional use of these important vehicle components is the best way to maintain and ensure that they work when you or your service center need them to.

BPI Savings Account With Free Life Insurance

With the spawning of insurance products left and right, it is getting harder to properly decide on what product to get. I personally got influenced at one point (2016) and became an insurance agent who can sell traditional and investment linked products. My drive was to understand the insurance industry better and recommend those to my loved ones + employees. Back in Oct 2016, I got a full equity VUL for our driver costing P18,000 per year premium which covers him P500,000 until age 100 plus fund price appreciation gains if any. This for us was a really great reliever knowing that no matter what happens to our driver, his family will be covered for. This is what life insurance is for. Its for peace of mind, not capital appreciation (for me). I got a life insurance from a friend before and totally regretted it since my focus was capital appreciation which was not what its for. So up until now, the fund chosen is still losing money and I am not happy with it. LIFE INSURANCE IS FOR LIFE COVERAGE emergencies, it is just to ensure that no matter what happens your loved ones’ lives will continue with lesser hardship due to your passing. So if ever you want me to assess your needs or profile, send me an email or comment below. I am still a licensed life insurance agent.

But life insurance products offered by companies have premiums which policy owners pay monthly/yearly/ or on a specific schedule. This can be chaotic if mismanaged since it can balloon and can be big hit in savings since it is still a expense. Plus the ultimate clincher that these premiums technically increases over the years as you age since its more costly to cover an older person… to mitigate this, agents/owners pray that the fund chosen earns enough to maintain the policy paying its premium by itself. Even if your agent tells you that you only have to pay 5/10/15/ limited years, its not the whole truth since to maintain the policy the premiums have to be paid by either the owner or the fund earnings. So it appears as its an endless cycle of payments for me. 

So which brings me to an old product offered by BPI which I just recently read about. Its called BPI Getting Started > BPI Save Up / BPI Pamana. It’s first version was BPI Getting Started which has higher and longer insurance coverage. But upon checking today, only BPI Save Up and BPI Pamana are available in the market. So how does this work?

Basically both functions like a regular savings deposit account which can earn 0.25% interest per year plus has premium-free life insurance which is based on your account’s Average Month-to-Date Average Daily Balance (MTD-ADB) of the past three calendar months prior to Insured’s demise. This for me is really amazing since it removes an unnecessary expense from my mind. BUT of course, BPI will not offer a product to which it will openly lose. Limitations of these products: Maximum of 2 Million Pesos coverage regardless of the number of accounts you open AND you are only insured until age 60. So this is still not a perfect product for all, since it would depend on why you need the insurance. I think its perfect for those people (like me) who want to have a peace of mind now that I do not incapacitate my loved ones at their young age… but once we get older, I think they can manage if something happens to me (or I want them to be responsible for themselves haha). A tactic that me and my husband apply is that since we have an emergency fund which just seats in a typical deposit account, we think it is best to put some of them in these kinds of products which serves multi-purpose. 

But these two are not the same even though they are similar, you can check the links for all details. But in summary:
BPI Save Up (need constant top up – x5 of ADB)


> Comes with an Info Card which must be enrolled online

> Need to have regular (weekly/monthly) automatic debit to Save Up account, at least P250
> Minimum maintaining balance of P1000
> Minimum balance of P5000 to earn 0.25% interest per year
> No medical check-ups required (subject to only 1 year contestability period)
> Insurance takes effect on the same day of account opening
> Applicable to individuals 15 – 60 years old
> Basic Life: 5x the account’s average MTD-ADB** up to PHP 2 million
> Accidental Death: additional 5x the account’s average MTD-ADB** up to PHP 2 million
> Accidental Dismemberment up to PHP 2 million
BPI Pamana (no need for top up – x3 of ADB)

> Comes in either ATM (maintaining P25000) or passbook (maintaining P75000)
> No need for top ups
> Minimum balance of P25000 (ATM) or P75000 (passbook) to earn 0.25% interest per year
> Insurance Coverage worth 3x the average account balance* up to Php2 million
> No medical check-ups required (subject to only 1 year contestability period)
> Insurance takes effect on the same day of account opening
> Applicable to individuals 15 – 60 years old
> Covered by PDIC
Related links worth visiting:
Contestability on Illnesses
Contestability on Restricted Areas
Terms and Conditions of the Free Life Insurance (BPI)

Overall, I think these two are good products which I recommend for emergency funds. They are both easily accessible and can be withdrawn like a normal bank account. I suggest that you check these out. I opened mine in just 30 minutes, they just asked for 2 government IDs and my existing online account. Here is to peace of mind at no cost. ^____^

RJS1 – Month 3

Writing this with an aching back. Baby R is getting big and heavy fast. It is amazing that she is only consuming my milk. Current date October 7 2017. I was able to do 2 job interviews today, while most of my day was about feeding RJS1. Lately, work has been pretty manageable since I put RJS1 in a carrier and do my business. I am getting used to having RJS1 being carried by her yaya while I work. I am also getting to understand her cues and behavior, so going out and traveling around has been more manageable. But diaper changing still remains to be a problem for me. I still do not see how I can change her diaper by myself in a mall, too many hazards. But let us see, late this month will be our first international trip and no maids… So R and I will have to do all the changing ourselves. Exciting and scary times.

Basically her 3rd month, we learned about how she smiles back actively to you when you smile. She also likes human actions rather than her toys. She still has rashes huhu, we will start to use Desitin as per pedia advice. She can also carry her neck, tummy time is about 5 mins I think. She can hold her neck high and can flip herself. She likes to be carried around and does not like being laid in bed without bubu beside her. She still eats a lot, every time she cries (all the time if she is not sleeping) I feed her. She is also very stylish now on her 3rd month, she wears a lot of different clothing lately. Her grandparents and aunts/uncles can now carry her and interact with her. She handled pedia shots well. She even had her first gown fitting for a baguio wedding we will be attending.

I pray that she continues to grow happy and healthy. I hope that my “bitter” genes were not passed onto her. I pray that I can see her smile more. I cannot wait to understand her. I wish that we can be her best friends. 

The biggest story that happened this month was about a crazy investment that I did. I honestly do not know why I allowed myself to be so stupid and greedy, risking my family like that. I invested in a startup farm without the approval of my husband. I thought the farm is legitimate since the owner had a business, she had public aired interviews, and she appears to be in the middle class… it was a real investment deal that I am entering. I always meet with the person I am investing on and the “office/farm/workplace” of what I am investing on, but in this case with RJS1 around, I do not want to risk her traveling far nor going to a farm… so I never met the actual owner not saw the farm. I based my trust on social media updates. So I started to invest in her farm from July to the last day of September 2017. It was really stupid, I went “all in” since she showed contracts with big company clients that I know will not turn back on their word. I got too greedy on the idea that I can provide for my family more especially with christmas around the corner. Little did I know, that the farm owner just photoshopped the contract and placed her name. It was really disgusting. She really planned to scam people from the start of her farm. It was never about helping farmers and OFWs get back here. She has no soul and God will deal with her accordingly. So anyway, I found out too late that she was a fraud, I gave away our money our liquidity on her promises. I risked my family’s financial state to her … someone I did not personally know. Amazingly… by God’s grace, my husband forgave me and gave me just consequences to deal with. I am so blessed to be forgiven by my husband in a heartbeat. I am so embarrassed and grateful that my husband sees above material things. All the hardwork and happiness that my investments earned before, went out the window. It is amazing really, God just merely took away the earnings of my investments since He knew I became too cocky of my skills. When in fact, it was all His gift. God wanted me to see this and save my family which is why He allowed it to happen. He wanted a fresh start, he needed to intervene with my “addiction”. My intentions were good but my heart was not right with my husband so it was bound to fail. The reason I am sharing this is for me to remember the promise I made to God and my husband. I will never bypass this hierarchy in marriage. We will always be a singular unit. Be content and do not do short cuts. We will get there with my husband’s leading. I do not need to worry cause he has me under his care. God takes because He cares. Though I am grateful for God and my husband for this wake up call, it still breaks my heart to see my family saving every cent again. But we will get through this, as promised. Money is not everything. Its values that matter.

Annual Auto Maintenance Schedule: What to Do & When to Do It!

 by Rob, Cars for Keeps

So, you understand the importance of routine auto maintenance, you’re ready to start treating your vehicle like the potential investment it is, but you don’t know where – or when – to start. What exactly IS routine maintenance, and how often does it need to be performed?

Because not all auto components wear down at the same rate, true “routine maintenance” is a little more complicated than it seems. Routine maintenance for a timing belt, for example, is having it changed every 60-70,000 miles, while routine maintenance for your engine oil requires changing it every 4-7,000 miles. That’s a big difference!

To make understanding routine auto maintenance a little easier on drivers, we’ve put together the following schedule.

Monthly Auto Maintenance

Brake, power steering, transmission, antifreeze and windshield washer fluids. While none of these may need to be changed each month, it’s a good idea to have them checked to make sure they’re not dirty, sludgy or running low. These fluids – particularly brake, power steering and transmission – are important to your vehicle’s safety, and making sure they’re clean and topped up can prevent far more serious problems down the road.

Tire air pressure. Did you know that under inflated tires can cause your vehicle to not only run less efficiently, but also have unsafe “splashy” steering? Checking your tires for proper inflation is fast, simple and free, so monthly checkups are definitely worth it!

Head & tail lights. Sure, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to check to make sure all your vehicle’s lights are working properly – but it still needs to be done! Faulty lights pose safety risks – not to mention the risk of getting ticketed – so it’s a good idea to either check or have these checked monthly.

The Free Cars for Keeps Pit Stop takes care of these whenever you need it.

3 Month Maintenance

Oil changes. Three months is a general guideline, and necessary intervals can vary from vehicle to vehicle. Older autos often require oil changes more often – every 3,000 miles or so – while some newer vehicles may be able to go as far as 7,000 miles before an oil change is necessary. Check your vehicle’s manual, or ask your auto technician about your vehicle model. Of course, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have your oil changed every 3 months – just ask our High Mile Club members!

Chassis lubrication. Again, it may not be necessary to have this performed as often as three months, but it depends on your vehicle’s model and age. Many newer autos are “lubed for life”, while some older cars still require it. The chassis’ steering and suspension components may, however, require periodic replacement to prevent further damage, so it’s a good idea to have the chassis inspected every 3 months just in case.

Battery maintenance and cleaning. Just because your battery isn’t dead doesn’t mean something isn’t wrong. Dirty or corroded batter cable posts can create a poor connection, causing faulty ignition start or inefficient power use.

6 Month Maintenance

Air filters. Air filters essentially help vehicles “breathe” clean air. When these filters become dirty or clogged over time, they make it more difficult for engines to get the oxygen they need, causing inefficient mileage and poor performance. Different air filter brands last for different periods of time, so it’s best to have them checked at least twice every year.

Wiper Blades. Do we need to say it?! Wiper blades inevitably become stiff and cracked over time – typically about six months – causing chattering and streaking, which can cause dangerously poor visibility during inclement weather. Have these replaced twice each year.
Yearly Maintenance

Engine tuning. Faulty spark plugs and gummed up fuel injectors – both engine components – can reduce fuel efficiency as much as thirty percent. Most people won’t notice the change because today’s computers keep things adjusted right up to the point of failure (when the computer can no longer adjust for them) the best way to make sure all spark plugs and engine components are working properly is to have them checked every one year.

Engine belts. While most engine belts don’t need to be replaced each year, it’s a good idea to have an auto technician take a look at those that are accessible, and to keep tabs on how long less accessible belts have been installed. V-belts typically need to be replaced every four years or 35,000 miles, serpentine belts every four years or 50,000 (or sooner), and timing belts every five years or 60,000 miles – whichever comes first. Over time, these belts become stiff, loose and cracked or worn, and if they break while your vehicle is running, they can cause serious damage.

Shock absorbers and struts. Worn shock absorbers and struts can not only make for a bumpier ride, but they can cause fuel inefficiency, misalignment and a host of other safety problems. For best performance, have these inspected by an auto technician each year.
Wheel Alignment. The average price of a newly mounted and balanced tire with a new valve stem is roughly $125 per tire. That’s $500 for the set of four. If your wheel alignment is out, you could lose that $500 in short order. That’s why you should, at the very least, check wheel alignment before venturing out on a new set of tires. So how could you lose money by not having an alignment done? By significantly decreasing the life of your new tires. The steering and suspension of your vehicle has wear points. They are bushings, ball & socket joints, and miscellaneous mechanical links. When the steering and suspension system is new and adjusted according to factory specs, the rate at which the tires wear is minimized and the vehicle corners and handles smoothly. Over time, the steering and suspension systems are jostled and hammered (compliments of America’s highways). This produces wear in the parts listed above, causing the alignment to go out from factory specs. This results in poor cornering and handling, and a significant increase in tire wear.

Cabin Air Filter(s). The filter in your dashboard is much like your furnace filter… If you drove your furnace through bugs & other road debris. Gross. If it’s plugged, the passenger compartment might as well be a sealed cabin—and with a carload of friends the glass will fog in minutes. Filter life depends on the air quality in your area, but a year, or 12,000 to 15,000 miles, typically is the recommended replacement interval.

Of course, the best way to make sure all your vehicle’s routine maintenance needs are taken care of is to sit down with your auto technician(s) and create an annual auto maintenance schedule. We can help you by scheduling maintenance at intervals which are customized to your vehicle’s age and specific maintenance needs.

Why is Timing Belt Replacement So Important?

If you’ve ever worked with us – or any other highly accredited repair shop, for that matter – before, you probably have been asked at your car’s first visit when the last time its timing belt was changed. Auto technicians who emphasize preventive car maintenance pay special attention to timing belt maintenance, and for good reason. Imagine the following scenario…

Your six-year-old vehicle is starting to show a bit of wear and tear, but everything mechanical still works fine, so maintenance gets pushed to the back burner. Until it doesn’t. Specifically, the engine suddenly goes dead silent one fine day, and you find that your vehicles timing belt failed!

Due to the damage the broken timing belt has caused, not only do you have to pay for the tow and the belt replacement, but also a costly valve job, because there’s no compression on two cylinders. You’re one of the unfortunate car owners with an “interference engine” — an engine that can leave one or more valves still propped open far enough to contact a piston when the belt parts. Sadly, car sales brochures don’t list whether or not an engine might suffer catastrophic damage if the belt goes.

In most cases, this bit of unpleasantness could have been prevented with timely maintenance. It’s best to replace the timing belt according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended schedule. Some rarer engines — like those in more expensive models — still use timing chains, rather than belts, like they did back in the day before the popularity of overhead camshafts. Unlike belts, timing chains usually don’t have a routine replacement interval, but for most car owners, regular timing belt replacement is critical.

The timing belt (or chain) is the sole component that keeps the camshaft (make that camshafts on a DOHC or V-type OHC engine) and crankshaft in sync. So replacing this cogged reinforced-rubber belt at regular intervals — generally every 60,000 miles unless the car manufacturer specifies longer — is a lot less expensive and aggravating than having it break first. To find out what your car’s maintenance schedule is, consult with us here at Cars for Keeps or read the owner’s manual.

My steering wheel isn’t straight, Whats wrong?

The image above shows some of the common tire wear issues and causes along with defining the different angles addressed in wheel alignment.

Your car may feel like it drives fine, steers straight & handles OK, all while the vehicle is out of alignment. Most drivers can’t tell when the alignment is slightly off. As a matter of fact, we see drivers that driving cars that can ruin tires in a matter of 5,000 miles. So, good for you, you’re paying attention!

One of the most common indicators of misalignment is a steering wheel that isn’t straight. Another is that the vehicle drifts or “pulls” to one side or the other.

Research shows that with toe alignment just 0.34 degrees (0.17 inches) out of specifications, the average car has dragged its tires sideways for over 68 miles by the end of the year! That’s considering the average car is driven about 12,000 miles per year.

Many manufacturers recommend that you have your vehicle’s tires checked every 10,000 miles or at least once a year. Proper wheel alignment can add thousands of miles to the life of your tires.

Other benefits to proper wheel alignment include:

  • Better gas mileage due to reduced rolling resistance
  • Improved handling as steering improves and vibration eases as your rides become smoother
  • Safer driving, especially when suspension problems are detected and repaired.
  • Less fatigue from the driver fighting (consciously or unconsciously) an ill handling vehicle.

At Cars for Keeps, We offer a simple alignment inspection for less than $25.00 that measures the alignment settings to either confirm that everything is within manufacturers specifications or show issues that need to be addressed.

The 5th Wheel: Spare Tire Dos and Don’ts

by Rob Hopp, Cars for Keeps Owner

The concept of the spare tire seems pretty basic, but it’s surprising how often they’re used improperly – or not at all. For those car owners out there who are “mechanically challenged”, we’ve put together a few simple suggestions for maintaining and using your spare tire to ensure it’s there when you need it most.

Do: Learn how to install the spare on your vehicle – before you have to! Locate where the spare tire, jack, lug wrench and wheel lock key (if equipped) are located and ensure the components needed are actually there. The jack is almost always intended to engage the vehicle in several specific areas to safely lift it without damage. Practice changing a tire. This will make it a lot easier on that cold, dark rainy night when your vehicle has a real flat.

Do: Check the spare tire’s air pressure with a tire pressure gauge on a monthly basis, when you check all other tires on the vehicle. There’s nothing more aggravating than a flat spare when you have a flat tire. (This is performed at Cars for keeps whenever we perform our Free Pit Stop or other scheduled maintenance). All temporary (compact) spare tires are designed for short-term use only; they are not designed with the same capabilities as full size spare tires in terms of load capacity, speed capability, or all-weather traction. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual and a temporary spare’s sidewall for instructions on proper use.

Do: If your vehicle’s spare is located under the vehicle, understand how it is lowered or released. This type of location leaves the assembly exposed to all the debris, salt and moisture you drive through day after day. Cars for Keeps will help you ensure the assembly is lubricated and functional when you need it.

Don’t: Forget the spare when you are preparing for winter, a road trip or sending a loved one off on their own.

Cars for Keeps can help when it comes to keeping the car safe, reliable and ready for life!