How To Install a Child Safety Seat

Child safety seats greatly reduce the risks of fatal injury in infants and toddlers riding in motor vehicles, according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Just as you would click your own seatbelt to keep yourself safe, you should always buckle your child into the right car seat for their age and size. Below we’ll help you find the right seat and install it safely.

For detailed state-specific information and guidelines for your child’s safety seat, you can also jump over to our Safety Laws section.

Choosing the Right Child Safety Seat
Choosing the safest seat for your child can be confusing . The NHTSA has set some guidelines to help you understand the best way to keep your child safe, and also provides an interactive tool to help you choose the best car seat for your child’s age, weight, and height.

General guidelines are as follows:

  • Infant rear-facing:
    = Children under 1 year old.
    – Features a harness strap system and a cradle design to protect a child’s neck and spine in a crash.
  • Child rear-facing:
    – Children 1 to 3 years old.
    – Keep seat in a rear-facing position until child has reached height or weight maximum recommended by seat manufacturer.
  • Front-facing:
    – Children 4 to 7 years old, OR children under 4 years old who have outgrown their seat’s height and weight maximum.
    – Feature a tether strap system that is much safer than a standard seatbelt for young children.
  • Booster seat:
    – Children 8 to 12 years old, OR children under 8 years old who have outgrown their seat’s height and weight maximum.
    – Designed to add extra height so the car’s seat belt fits your child properly.



Most Reliable Cars: Cars That Last Forever


Toyota Highlander Hybrid
One good way to measure a vehicle’s longevity is to find out how long the typical owner keeps it. By that metric, there is no more reliable vehicle on the market than the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. To top it off, it was the winner of the 2017 U.S. News Best Hybrid SUV for Families award.

Nearly a third (32.1 percent) of original Highlander Hybrid owners kept their vehicle for at least 10 years, a higher percentage than any other vehicle. That figure dropped only slightly (29 percent) for owners of the non-hybrid Highlander.




Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester has never had particularly good reliability ratings from J.D. Power and Associates, and yet, 10 years down the line, 24.2 percent of Subaru Forester buyers still have the same Forester. Of the top 10 vehicles on’s list, the Forester is the only one that isn’t made by Honda or Toyota. For one reason or another, people tend to drive their Subarus for years and years.

The 2017 Subaru Forester ranks in the top half of our compact SUV category. It has the largest cargo capacity in its class, and test drivers like its roomy back seats, standard all-wheel drive, and safety features.



How to Buy Your First New or Used Car

What Can You Afford?
It’s critical for teens and their parents to establish a reasonable budget. Money available for a down payment and for making monthly installments on a loan will determine the range of car choices.

One key consideration is whether the car is meant to see a teen through high school or college and beyond. That will determine how new and reliable it needs to be.

The best way to save money is to buy used. A new car loses almost half its value in the first five years, so go for one that’s a few years old yet still has contemporary safety features and many useful years ahead of it. Buying used also means a nicer car.

Financing is usually a challenge for a teen buyer. Lenders often look for adults with a good credit score to co-sign or buy the car outright.

The good news is that many finance companies have specific programs for college students and graduates that ease some credit requirements and even offer special rebates.

Do Your Homework
With a budget in mind, you can start on the fun part: creating a short list of vehicles. You should focus on practical choices, cars that minimize ownership costs and suit the teen’s needs.

Parents should resist the temptation to get a sporty, luxury, or large vehicle. A high-horsepower car or one with the latest high-tech features isn’t practical.

Insurance companies penalize young drivers with sporty cars, big engines cost more to fuel and maintain, and extra features tend to carry reliability risks. Car insurance will already be a major expense; don’t make it worse.

For a car loan, most banks require full-coverage insurance. Families should get an insurance quote ahead of time to get a full picture of costs.

To reduce the risk of buying a lemon (a car with never-ending problems), identify models with a good reliability record. for survey-based insights that can point you to cars that have been shown to hold up well over time.




Can Brake Fluid Go Bad? The Short Answer is Yes!


CARS.COM — Can brake fluid go bad? Indeed it can, and you might not be able to tell if it has just by looking. Most cars have see-through master cylinder reservoirs for brake fluid under the hood so owners can check at a glance to make sure it’s at the proper level. That, however, tells you nothing about the condition of the fluid.


Braking systems are hydraulic and filled with fluid. Brake fluid absorbs water over time, particularly in areas with high humidity, when moisture seeps through a car’s rubber hoses and seals. Water reduces the boiling point of brake fluid, and in situations that put high demands on your brakes — such as mountain driving, towing or making repeated hard stops — the fluid can become so hot that it impairs stopping ability or causes temporary loss of braking power. Gas bubbles are introduced to the brake lines and calipers when brake fluid boils, and because gas is compressible and brake fluid shouldn’t be, the brake pedal travels farther, feels spongier and braking is less effective.


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