How to Choose a Car Rack or Carrier

A car rack is primarily used to transport bikes and other outdoor equipment, although a roof rack can be used to secure a wider assortment of gear. A car carrier, on the other hand, encloses your belongings inside a container, which is then mounted to the roof or back of the vehicle. A car carrier allows you to transport belongings that you can't fit in the car as well as wet or smelly clothing and sports gear that you don't want to put in the passenger area. Here's how to choose a car rack or carrier.

Method 1 of 2: Choosing a Car Rack

1.       Choose a car rack that's compatible with your type of vehicle. Most car racks have mounting requirements. For example, hitch rack requires a trailer hitch, a spare tire rack only attaches to SUVs with a spare tire mounted on the rear of the vehicle and a trunk rack may not work with cars with a spoiler.

2.       Select a car rack that will accommodate the equipment you want to transport. Trunk racks, hitch racks and spare-tire racks transport bikes, but the number of bikes vary depending on the type of rack and model. A roof rack is more versatile, giving you the option of transporting skis and snowboards, a kayak, a surfboard, a cargo container and even a Christmas tree.

3.       Decide whether you want the flexibility of removing the rack and attaching it to another vehicle. Trunk racks are lightweight and portable, while hitch racks are easy to attach and remove. Spare-tire racks and roof racks are often installed permanently.

4.       Consider the pros and cons of each type of car rack.

·         In addition to being versatile, roof racks offer more stability for transporting bikes. Bikes on other types of car racks are likely to sway against each other during transport. The height of a roof rack on a SUV or van can make it difficult to hoist gear onto the roof and secure it.

·         Trunk racks are an economical choice for people who only need to transport bikes once in a while. Some care must be taken when installing it to avoid scratching the car's paint. The main downside is the trunk cannot be opened when the rack is installed. Also, the straps can be cut, so bikes are less secure from theft.

·         Hitch racks require a Class II hitch or higher. Because hitch racks can hold up to 5 bikes, it can be the ideal choice for a family of bikers. The main downside is it may block access to a rear hatch, although more expensive models swing out of the way.

·         Spare-tire racks don't inhibit rear-door access, and they can be adapted to accommodate other gear and carriers. However, they are limited to vehicles with a spare tire mounted on the back.

Method 2 of 2: Choosing a Car Carrier

1.       Choose a cargo box if security is your utmost concern. These containers are lockable and have hard sides that can't be cut through. The downside is they are expensive and bulky to store when not in use.

2.       Select a soft-sided cargo bag if you don't want to spend a lot. These lightweight bags can be rolled up and tucked into a small storage space. Cargo bags with thicker UV material and sturdy zippers will last longer. Look for a bag with a vinyl backing if you want it to be waterproof.

3.       Look at the wind-resistance, which will affect gas mileage and noise on the highway. Cargo boxes usually have a more aerodynamic shape than cargo bags and won't be flapping in the wind like cargo bags. A car back carrier, which attaches to a luggage rack on the back of a SUV or van, has the benefit of no aerodynamic drag.

4.       Make sure the cargo box length is right for your vehicle. You don't want it to be so long that the rear hatch hits it when lifted opened. If the cargo box extends past the front windshield, it can catch updraft and affect steering.

5.       Consider the color. Light-colored cargo boxes are usually priced higher as they will absorb less heat than black.

How to Buy Car Seat Covers

Whether you have a new car or just want your current vehicle to look good for years, car seat covers can be a smart purchase. They protect car seats from stains, rips, and general wear and tear. To avoid feeling overwhelmed at the wide variety, consider some tips on how to buy car seat covers.

Method 1 of 3: Determine the Practical Details

1.       Decide how many car seat covers you need. You can put one on every seat, or you can save money by only placing them on the ones that are used most often, such as the front seats.

2.       Take your area's weather into consideration and choose car seat covers best suited for your climate. Sheepskin is ideal for cold climates, while cotton fiber is usually good for keeping heat at bay in warmer areas. Neoprene is water-resistant, which means that this material is good for rainy areas and can protect the seats in case rain leaks through the windows.

3.       Fit the car seat covers to your vehicle. Most manufacturers make covers that fit specific vehicles, so make sure you know the make, model and year of your car.

Method 2 of 3: Choose the Fabric Features

1.       Select a fabric for your car seat covers that best meets your needs. If you primarily seek durability, saddle blanket seat covers are known for being tough, so your money goes a long way. If you want seat covers that can be thrown in the washing machine in the event of stains, a polyester-cotton blend may be best.

2.       Pick a color. The color can be different from the shade of your original car seats, but it should complement the exterior of your car. Keep in mind that lighter covers tend to show stains easily, while black covers may feel particularly hot on warm days.

3.       Consider fabrics with patterns or designs. This is an ideal way to show some personality in your car. For example, a Hawaiian pattern can display your fun side, while camouflage can provide your car with a masculine look.

Method 3 of 3: Make Your Purchase

1.       Research where to buy seat covers. Most Internet sites feature wide selections, but they may require you to pay shipping costs and wait weeks for your car seat covers to arrive. Brick and mortar stores may offer smaller selections and higher prices, but they allow you to get the covers immediately without a shipping charge.

2.       Set a budget for car seat covers. One of the main functions of car seat covers is to protect the original seats in your car, but if the current seating is already old and damaged, it may not be worth it to purchase top of the line covers.

3.       Find out if you can get discounts when you buy more than one car seat cover at a time. Many retailers lower the price you pay per cover when you buy a certain amount, especially when you buy seat covers online.

How to Change a Car Battery

Automotive batteries don't last forever. If you notice your headlights dimming, or if it's been 3-7 years since you got a new battery, or the car needs a jump-start, it might be time for a change. You can bring your vehicle to an experienced and trusted auto mechanic, or you can get the job done yourself. Changing a batteryis a quick and easy job in most cars and vans and can be done with minimal tools.

Method 1 of 5: Do You Need a New Battery?

1.       Make sure the battery needs to be replaced. You don't want to spend time and money installing a new battery if the problem is not with the battery itself. Take the following three things into consideration:

·         Look for sulfate build-up in the form of a whitish or blue residue around the terminal - removing this can sometimes solve issues with a faulty battery. Note: do not touch this powder with your bare hands, as it can often contain dried out sulfuric acid which will begin to corrode your skin.

·         Verify that the battery has been given the chance to recharge properly by driving constantly for 30 minutes (with minimal electrical usage, including the air conditioner).

·         Finally, you should check the alternator. Some cars also have a battery meter, with the engine running, the alternator usually maintains a charge close to 13.8-14.2 volts in a properly functioning charging system. The battery should have 12.4-12.8 volts with the engine off, and with no accessory load.

2.       Buy the correct replacement battery. Find out what kind of battery you're replacing (Or the dimensions of your battery) and bring this, your car's make, model and engine size information to a local auto parts store. This is important because automotive batteries vary in size,and electrical capacity and you will want to purchase a battery which matches the size of the battery tray/support in your vehicle.

·         In some areas of the US, you will be charged a "core" fee when you purchase a new battery, if you bring in your old battery after or when purchasing your new battery you will not get charged this fee.

Method 2 of 5: 3 Things to do Before Removing the Battery

1.       Number 1: Set up a secure working environment. Park on a flat, level surface at a safe distance from traffic, sparks or open flames. Put on the parking brake. Don't smoke, and make sure any smokers in proximity to the working area know not to smoke as well. Remember that electricity is not the only danger; batteries contain a sulfuric acid electrolyte solution, which is highly corrosive (i.e. can burn your skin) and produces a flammable gas. Put on gloves and safety goggles.

2.       Number 2: Remove the cigarette lighter and plug the memory keeper into the lighter socket. A Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) will keep the PIN codes and settings for radios and navigation systems from getting erased when you disconnect the battery. If you don't have a memory keeper make sure you have all the PINs for your electronic equipment before you start. You may wish to check your car manual to see what devices may be affected.

3.       Number 3: - After opening your hood, use the prop rod to keep your hood open (Most newer cars have hoods that hold themselves up.

Method 3 of 5: Remove the Old Battery

1.       Locate the battery - The battery should be located in an accessible part on either side of the car's frame. The battery is a rectangular box with two cables attached to it. Some European cars (some BMW's) have the battery under the matting in the trunk, or inside the fender of the wheel well (some Chrysler's). The latter is often very difficult to remove.

2.       Identify battery terminals - Locate the positive and the negative terminals of the old car battery. The positive terminal will have a plus sign and the negative terminal will have a minus sign.

3.       Disconnect the negative terminal - Loosen the negative cable clamp with a wrench (Usually 8mm or 10mm) and slide it off of the terminal. If the cables are unmarked, label them so that they don't get mixed up (otherwise you may ruin your car's electric system later on). It is also important that you disconnect the negative terminal socket before the positive terminal socket. Otherwise, you may short circuit the positive terminal to a grounded part of the car.

4.       Disconnect the positive terminal.

5.       Remove the car battery - Unfasten the battery holder and remove any screws, clamps or bars holding the battery in place. Carefully lift the battery out of the car. Remember that a battery can weigh 30 to 60 pounds, or 13.5 to 27 kilos, so if you have any back problems, get a helping hand.

Method 4 of 5: Put in the New Battery

1.       Clean the terminal clamps and the battery tray. You can use a baking soda solution and a wire brush. If there's any severe corrosion, consider replacement by a mechanic. Otherwise, let the area dry before moving onto the next step.

2.       Replace the battery - Place the new battery where you just took the old battery out, with the positive and negative terminals on the correct sides. Connect all the screws, clamps or bars that may hold the battery in place.

3.       Reconnect the positive terminal - Tighten the clamps using a wrench.

4.       Reconnect the negative terminal - Tighten the clamp with the wrench.

5.       Apply battery lithium grease - Spray the terminals with lithium grease to prevent corrosion.

6.       Close the hood - Shut the hood of your car firmly and start your car. Check that all the electronic devices are working properly.

Method 5 of 5: Properly Dispose of the Old Battery

1.       Dispose of the used battery at service garages, auto supply stores, and recycling centers. There may be a small fee for the service, but throwing the battery away as normal garbage is not an option.

In the US, most battery retailers charge a deposit on the battery, which will be refunded with the return of an old battery.

How to Customize a Car

Customizing a car runs the gamut from adding simple accessories such as wheel covers to more extensive modifications, such as lowering the vehicle to the ground or chopping its top. New paint, interior upgrades and a myriad of other aftermarket accessories can help you to create the car of your dreams.

Method 1 of 4: Body Modifications

1.      Modify the body for a one-of-a-kind look. Some of the most dramatic car customization options stem from body modifications. Changing the look of a stock car quickly sets it apart from the pack.

·        Chop the roof. Create a dramatic change to a car's profile by removing a few inches of height from the roof area. Typically, the window posts are cut to remove the roof, then a few inches of the posts are removed and the roof is welded back in place.

·        Upgrade the doors. Add panache to your vehicle by modifying your stock doors into show-stopping suicide-style, gull-wing or flip-up doors. For added effect, "shave" the door handles off the vehicle and install an electronic opening system so everyone will wonder how you get into your custom car.

·        Modify body features. On older hot rods, try installing the car's bumper upside down. This simple hot rod trick gives a new look to an old vehicle. You can also remove the bolts from the bumpers and grind them smooth and re-chrome. Re-install the bumper using hidden bolts. Other options include installing a custom grill, relocating or changing the style of your car's headlights and taillights, and modifying the antennae to a French, hidden or a power model.

Method 2 of 4: Accessories

1.      Add a variety of accessories to complete your car's new look. You have the option of making changes all at once, or if budget dictates, little by little.

·        Install aftermarket accessories. Add a custom steering wheel, light-up shifter knob and window tint for a truly custom look. Acid-etch windows or have the glass machine-etched with flowers, designs or the name of your car club.

·        Update your interior by changing out bench seats for bucket seats, replacing your vehicle's carpet and installing a custom-made tuck-and-roll interior. To further enhance your car's interior, install a sunroof or moon roof, and a high-tech audio system.

Method 3 of 4: Wheels, Tires and Suspension

1.      Add custom wheels and change the diameter and width of the stock tires. Choose low-profile or wide tires, and sizes which will raise or lower the vehicle's stance.

·        For a more dramatic effect, add airbags or hydraulics to raise and lower the vehicle's suspension.

Method 4 of 4: Paint

1.      Change the stock color of your vehicle to one not offered by the manufacturer. Top it off with custom graphics, flames and pinstriping. Whether you choose a black satin finish or bright red with silver metal flake, custom paint will make your vehicle stand out.

·        Add graphics, pinstripes or flames to further customize your car.

How to Use Guard Dogs on the Sims 3 Pets (PC)

Dogs also have a very important function in a household. Dogs can be Guard Animals, and help to protect Sims and their Sim property.

1.      Know how much guarding a certain dog can do. Dogs can choose to guard the whole house, or certain objects in it. Sims, child or older, can also direct the dog to guard the entire house. Dogs can guard: Pet bed, Pet house, Pet bowl, Plants you can harvest, Cat Condo, Parked Car and loads of other everyday objects.

2.      Know what dogs will do, in order to guard the object. If a non-household or low-long term relationship Sims or pets try to approach the guarded object, the dog will bark or growl. Sim generally back away from a guard dog, and coward Sims will flee. When commanded to guard the house dogs patrol around, barking at any Sims or dogs walking by, or any cars driving past.

3.      Know what a Guard dog can do, when the dog burglar approaches the dog. Burglars are actually more likely to try robbing the home, which is more fun because the dog is more likely to catch him in the act! Genius pets can sense the burglar from farther away, While clueless pets have a harder time noticing him unless he is right nearby. Aggressive pets will always catch the burglar, while lazy pets will often fall asleep and not notice.

·        If a guard dog detects the burglar, he runs up to the bad guy and barks. This wakes up the household Sims, who automatically call the cops. The burglar might freak out, run away or ignore the dog and steal something anyway. Otherwise the cops come and that is one less malefactor in Appaloosa Plains (or wherever), thanks to that valiant Guard dog!

4.      Have multiple pets patrol the house. Getting them to guard expensive objects is recommended because burglars take the most expensive.

5.      Have an aggressive and loyal pet. Aggressive and loyal pets do better. If your Sims have guests around, they may try to hold the baby or toddler. On some occasions, other Sims take the baby. If your Sims do, and you don't want your baby lost, click the crib and select Command to Guard. Your pet should guard the baby.

6.      Know some of the disadvantages to keeping a guard dog in Sims 3:Pets. Sometimes, if your pet has a low relationship with other Sims or pets in the family, they go for them. They also chase cars going by sometimes. Since Mysterious Mr Gnomes cost loads, get pets to guard them. Burglars have a 45 percent chance of stealing them, so get pets to guard them.

7.      Try to make the house well guarded. Place burglar alarms outside the door, and anywhere where burglars get in.

8.      Get your Sims to go to bed at 1:00. Burglars come at 2:30 to 4:00, pets should be guarding the house by then.