Revealed: Thieves in NYC Are Stealing a Car Part That’s Worth More Than Gold

nycIf you follow the news, you probably know air pollution is a big problem. Some scientists believe air pollution could lead to global warming. Thus, the government mandates clean-air laws that limit the amount of pollution cars can produce.

This is how the catalytic converter was born. Some of the scrap metals used to make this car part are worth more money than gold.

Its theft is becoming a common problem in New York. Continue reading to discover how catalytic converters work. I’ll also share our ways to protect yourself (and your bank account) from thieves.

Auto manufacturers adopted the catalytic converter to comply with regulation introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1975. The function of the catalytic converter is contained within its name. It converts harmful pollutants into less harmful emissions before they exit your car engine.

The nuts and bolts of this process are a bit more complicated, but you get the idea. The catalytic converter consists of scrap metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Platinum is more valuable than gold, so thieves have taken note. According to the New York Times, stolen converters could be sold for $200 at a scrap yard.

It is easy to steal a catalytic converter for three key reasons. First, thieves don’t have to break into the vehicle to access the converter (that means your alarm system won’t make any noise). Second, thieves don’t have to jack up large vehicles like trucks or SUV’s to access the converter (that makes it easy to crawl underneath and saw it off). Third, the theft can be finished in less than a minute.

I don’t mean to scare you, but it is important to be aware. The NYPD offers several safety tips. I will summarize the best ones here. Park in busy, well-lit areas to discourage thieves. Find a parking spot as close to building entrances as you can. If you work in the city, secure a parking spot in a fenced in area (bonus points if there are security guards). You could also find a trusted auto shop on Mechanic Advisor to discuss additional options such as theft deterrent systems and securing that converter to your vehicle with steel.

Please share this article with the women in your life so they can be protected and informed like you.

Mechanically Yours,

Audra Fordin


6 Signs You Suffer from Auto Anxiety

auto anxietyMost people procrastinate when it comes to taking care of their car. This is not okay. You need to know procrastination is the first sign of auto anxiety. If it goes unchecked, it can quickly transform  into a full-blown case of auto anxiety. If you want to be a safe driver, look out for these six signs that you suffer from auto anxiety.

  1. You assume all mechanics are out to get you.

It is completely illogical to believe all mechanics are bad people. Yes, some mechanics might take advantage of  uneducated consumers, but this isn’t a problem specific to the auto industry. It’s just simple human nature. Some people are willing to rip you off and no industry is exempt from this fact. There are dishonest doctors, bankers, and lawyers, too. Have high expectations of the mechanics you choose to hire, but don’t automatically assume they are out to get you.

  1. You get oil changes much later than suggested.

Getting an oil change and necessary maintenance at the recommended time is one of the cheapest ways to protect your vehicle. Complaining about that small cost is a symptom of short-term thinking. Would you rather pay a few dollars for a cheap service now or risk paying a much higher amount for an expensive repair later?

  1. You aren’t prepared to deal with auto-related expenses.

Auto anxiety is often a direct consequence of a failure to prepare. I hate to break it to you, but your car will definitely need to be repaired sometimes. You might as well brace yourself for this reality. If you have more than ten pairs of shoes in your closet, then I am confident in your ability to save enough money for this purpose. Simply save 5-10% of your paycheck every month and put it in a separate account that is difficult to access (hint: this will make it less likely you will be tempted to spend it).

  1. 5You don’t investigate strange noises and dashboard lights.

If you only heard a strange noise one time, then it might not be worth worrying about. If you hear that same noise several times, then you definitely need to get it checked out. Your safety is more important than the amount of money in your bank account. Go see a mechanic as soon as a problem presents itself.

  1. You think a problem will go away if you ignore it long enough.

There is nothing to be gained from ignoring auto issues. I know you might be anxious due to a lack of funds, but procrastinating will only make your problem worse. Neglecting a damaged car part will only result in a more expensive repair. Look at it this way. Is saving $100 today worth doubling your risk of having to pay $1,000 tomorrow?

  1. You haven’t even read one page of your vehicle’s instruction manual.

Cars aren’t as complicated as you think. You don’t need to be a car expert. You just need to be mindful and considerate of your vehicle’s needs. Reading your the owner’s manual that came with your vehicle (OMV) will arm you with knowledge. You’ll discover a suggested maintenance schedule, the meaning of dashboard lights, and more. For more general information, browse through this blog to your heart’s content (don’t forget to subscribe for email updates and I’ll make sure you never miss a post!).

It takes time to get over auto anxiety, but any woman can become car smart as long as she is open minded and patient with the learning process. Please click the share button if you’d like to help another woman be safe on the road.


10 Quick Auto Maintenance Tips You Need to Know

No time to read? No problem! Listen to our blog here! 

Top 10

Car maintenance is the best way to preserve the life of your car. Here’s my list of tips to help you save time, money and keep you safe this season and all year long!

Top 10 List:

  1. Check tire inflation regularly: A book should be written on tire pressure alone! This is so important, for optimal braking, improved gas mileage, better ride… the list goes on. Check your manual for your tire pressure (or look on the inside of your drivers door jam – there is a sticker there, too). Make this a habit you do all the time. Use a tire pressure gauge or go to the gas station and check the pressure with their gauge.
  2. Know your engine oil life: A smooth clean engine will give you longer engine life. Keep track of your oil changes so you know how long yours lasts. Learn more about engine oil here.
  3. Maintain proper fluid levels: Check all your fluids regularly – brake, power steering, transmission, motor oil and antifreeze. Yes, seasonal changes are great reminders, but this should be done all year.
  4. Keep your engine tuned: When does your manual say to check and/replace your ignition components? When was the last time you did it? Do you even know what ignition components are? Worn spark plugs, old wires, or a restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent.
  5. Clean out your car to prepare for the upcoming road trips: Take out the picnic basket and beach towels and replace with snow brushes, warm blankets and kitty litter. Don’t forget extra phone chargers, gloves, hats and hand warmers.
  6. Check battery cables and posts: Inspect battery cables and posts for corrosion and clean them as needed. The battery fluid also should be checked and filled if it is low, except in the case of maintenance-free batteries. This is not only easy, it will give you piece of mind.
  7. Inspect engine belts regularly: Belts that run your engine are only made of rubber, they get brittle and crack, potentially leaving you stranded on the side of the road. Now that you’re ready to take that road trip, make sure your belts are healthy for the ride.
  8. Check the air filtration system: You might as well get more for your money and replacing your dirty air filter can give you up to 10% better gas mileage.
  9. Check windshield washer blades: If they are cracked, dry or ripped, replace them. Having clear vision is important during any season. But winter weather, salt and sand can cause further obstruct vision. Keep those blades and wipers clean!
  10. Monitor your vehicle’s maintenance schedule year-round: Keeping your car properly maintained is not a seasonal thing. You should be performing regular maintenance all year long in order to keep overall repair costs down and your car’s performance up!

Happy Travels!

How to Change Wiper Blades

Check your Owner’s Vehicle Manual to find out what size and type of wiper blades are recommended for your vehicle. Once you know, head to the auto parts store and locate them. Most stores have great charts that list exactly what wiper blades will fit your vehicle make and model.

To replace, follow these easy steps:

  1. Lift the wiper arm up and gently pull away from the windshield.
  2. Press the tab on the side of the arm and pull the blade off the wiper arm through the barrel
  3. Take new blade and gently slide through barrel (hook) into place.
  4. Pull the new blade onto the wiper arm snugly. You’ll hear a click when it is properly in place.
  5. Clean the windshield and lower the wiper arm gently back onto the windshield.
  6. Repeat with other side.
  7. Keep old blades in trunk in case of a wiper emergency.
  8. Wash your hands and give yourself a high five!
  9. Now go show your mother, daughter, boss, neighbor, running partner, bff or any other woman how to change her wiper blades.

Remember, you should always consult the owner’s manual to find out the best windshield wipers for your vehicle and best practices for optimal maintenance.

Drying Wet Brakes

With fall comes wet weather and slick roads. When you drive through puddles, your brakes get wet. Make sure you drive slowly through the puddles. After you clear the puddle, apply gentle pressure to your brakes so you can air the brakes out and dry them off. If you come across another puddle or a pothole, don’t slam on your brakes. Coast through them, or slow down before you hit the puddle or pothole.

Pay attention to your brakes, especially when you drive downhill. Any constant pressure on your brakes can cause unnecessary wear. And remember, your tires are your car’s shoes. In order to work best, they need to have good tread, be in balance and road ready at all times!


How to Jump Start Your Battery

Follow these simple instructions IN ORDER to correctly and safely jump start your battery:

  1. Park healthy car with engine as close to the engine of dead car as possible
  2. Pop hood and of both cars and extinguish any cigarettes before jumping
  3. Place Red Clamp on Red (+) Terminal on your dead car
  4. Place Red Clamp on Red (+) Terminal on the booster car
  5. Place Black Clamp on Black (-) Terminal on the booster car
  6. Place Black Clamp on Black (-) Terminal on your dead car
  7. Start dead car and once it runs for about 5 minutes, disconnect cables.
  8. Disconnect Black Clamp from Black (-) Terminal on your dead car
  9. Disconnect Black Clamp from Black (-) Terminal on the booster car
  10. Disconnect Red Clamp from Red (+) Terminal on the booster car
  11. Disconnect Red Clamp from Red (+) Terminal on your dead car
  12. Keep your car running for at least 20 minutes before shutting off to give the battery time to charge adequately. If it the battery continues to die, check battery terminals for corrosion or loose connections or replace the battery.

Power Steering Fluid Basics

Power steering fluid helps you drive your car smoothly. It provides hydraulic pressure so it is easy to steer the car and turn the wheel. Without it, the car won’t be able turn. Driving with little or no power steering fluid can also damage the fluid pump.

Your power steering reservoir is usually a clear container and labeled. Open the cap and pull the dipstick out, clean it and replace. Pull it out again and check the level. The dipstick will have one side that reads HOT level and one that reads COLD level, because levels change under different temperatures.

Clean power steering fluid is pink, and dirty fluid is dark red or almost black. If your fluid is low, add more and always inspect the hoses and pump while you’re at it. If the fluid is dark, you may need to change it. Power steering fluid usually requires changing every 3 to 5 years. If you notice any tightness in your steering wheel, or if it becomes difficult to turn the wheel, check the power steering fluid first.




Did You Blow a Fuse?! (How to Fix It)

Change it in 8 easy steps!

  1. Turn off the car.
  2. Find your fuse block, usually under dash on driver’s side. Check owner’s manual if you can’t locate.
  3. Open cover. You will find fuses and maybe extra fuses and a fuse removal tool. Inside the panel will also be a map letting you know what system each fuse controls.
  4. Find the blown fuse. It will have a broken wire as opposed to a solid wire.
  5. Replace blown fuse with one of the same rating (they’re color coded).
  6. Start your car and test the system that wasn’t working.
  7. Replace the fuse block cover.
  8. Get a spare fuse from an auto parts store so you have an extra should it blow again.

Now, share this info with a friend and empower another woman!



“Why Does My Car Stink?” Change the Cabin Air Filter!

The interior of your car traps all sorts of scents. The lingering aromas of yesterday’s lunch or this morning’s caramel mocha latte don’t mix well with condensation and moisture from your ventilation system or damp floor mats. Even if you have leather interior, the headliner, visors and trim inside your car can absorb smells and recirculate them in your cabin. The cabin air filter removes odors not only from the heating and air conditioning systems, but also from the interior vehicle surfaces, keeping your car smelling fresh and fabulous! Check your vehicle owner manual to find locate yours and then simply replace with a new one.

Sun Screen for Your Car?

You put it on yourself. So why wouldn’t you put it on your baby to protect its skin? You don’t want premature aging, sun spots or, dare I say it, WRINKLES in the fine epidermis of your precious four wheeled baby! So slap on some good old automotive sunscreen – aka: WAX!

First, wash your car with automotive detergent when it is cool and do it in the shade. Dry with a soft cloth or even a leaf blower. Next, use a detailing clay bar to get out stuck on debris, like bug guts or sap. Finally, add a nice coat of high quality car wax to protect your car from the elements. Now you and your baby can look hot without showing any damage of the strong summer sun!