As aggravating as it is to need a tow or roadside assistance service, the only thing more aggravating is knowing that you could have avoided the situation all together. That’s the case for most drivers who run out of gas while on the road. But let’s face it, some of us are daring individuals, risking our sanity to get to where we need to be without having to refill.

Brace yourselves: summer is here. That means more barbecues and more beach days, but it also means more strain on your car. The scorching sun can affect your car in many ways. Whether it’s hotter road surfaces hurting your tires or the sun’s rays belting your cars exterior, there are things you can do to help keep your car in tip-top shape during the summer months.

We’ve all seen it in the movies: steam pouring out a car’s engine while the driver frantically opens his the hood and stares in bewilderment at the smoke billowing out. While movies tend dramatize a lot of things, reality in this case isn’t too far off.

If your engine’s overheating, you may very well see steam coming from it. That or you may just see your engine temperature gauge creep dangerously into the “red zone.” Whatever the case, it’s important to know what to do if your engine overheats. If you happen to come across that situation, here’s what you should do:

Every vehicle owner has to eventually struggle with going to the mechanic and paying for repairs. In fact, Consumer Reports estimates that over five years 4% of the total cost of your vehicle will be spent on repairs and maintenance. So before you go into a shop, it is important to be aware of what the mechanic you are about to talk to wants you to know. Smyth Automotive of Cincinnati, Ohio has come up with some information that you might want to look over before your next trip to the mechanic.

Printable Jump Start Guide

Most of us learned the basics of jumpstarting a car with a dead battery when we first learned to drive. And thankfully, some of us haven’t had to put those skills to use in quite some time. That’s no excuse to forget everything you ever knew about properly — and safely — jumping a car, so we put together a reminder guide you can print at home and keep with your jumper cables if the time comes to put them to use. Download the how-to-jump-start PDF.   Be sure to share or print one for your teen driver, too!

Lock your keys in your car again? Sure, you could go to Google and find a ton of articles giving you step-by-step instructions on how to break into your own car. TV and Youtube make it look easy, so how hard could it really be, right? Time, money and pride can be pretty convincing when you’re in a pinch.

On one hand, you could turn to the Internet and try get back into your car without calling for help. On the other hand, you could damage your car by trying to break in yourself, which could likely cost even more than if you had just called a professional in the first place. And that’s assuming no one calls the authorities on your break-in attempt. The positives don’t outweigh the negatives in this situation, and here’s why:

The auto industry loves to use acronyms, which may abbreviate the term as well as increase the confusion for every day drivers. But knowing what a FP is or how many MPGs your car gets is important. We put together this handy list of terms to know for just those occasions. Bookmark now, and thank us later.

Owning and operating a vehicle can be an expensive responsibility, requiring a lot of our hard earned money for maintenance to ensure it stays up and running. According to AAA, the annual cost to own and operate a vehicle is $8,698, $900 of which is spent on maintenance alone. The upside? A good amount of that general maintenance can actually be done ourselves for a much lower cost than taking it to the shop, which can put a nice chunk of cash back in our pockets.

Here are some of the most basic DIY tune-ups to bring out your inner mechanic and save you a pretty penny.

A head gasket is located between the engine block and the cylinder head. If you’re not a mechanic or car DIY-er, you might not know much about what this part of your car does. In short, its purpose is to seal in the internal combustion process and prevent coolant and oil from mixing together as they travel from the engine block to the cylinder head. Pretty important stuff!

Because the head gasket is exposed to hot and cold temperatures over time, it’s not uncommon for yours to develop leaks. Fortunately, there are telltale signs that point to problems with the head gasket.

Spring cleaning isn’t just for homes – it’s for cars too. After all, the things we care about deserve a good sprucing up every once in a while. So, whether you experienced a mild winter or one filled with harsh weather, here are some steps to improve your car’s condition.