Dear Heloise: I recently moved to Arkansas and was very surprised to learn that regular auto inspections are not required here. I have always felt that regular inspections help ensure the safe operation of a vehicle -- checking running lights, brake function, etc. To my dismay, I've noticed many drivers here who have brake lights or taillights out.
So, I would like you to ask your readers to check their taillights regularly (you'll need a second person). And people need to make sure their brakes are in good shape as well! Kathleen Wong, via e-mail
Thank you for writing about this important safety information! After doing some research, Heloise Central found that the state of Arkansas discontinued vehicle-safety inspections as of Jan. 1, 1998. At present, only 19 states and the District of Columbia require safety inspections. So it is very important to regularly check brake lights, turn signals and headlights. Heloise
P.S. Here is an additional comment from a good friend, Lauren Fix, The Car Coach:
"Dear Heloise: I agree that regular inspections help ensure that your vehicle is in safe operating condition. Having a car comes with responsibilities, such as checking your tire pressure once per month (and do it when the tires are cold). Always use the number in your driver's door, as it is the correct tire pressure for the specific combination of your tires. Never use the number on the tire -- that tire fits many different types of cars.
"The best way to be on top of all that maintenance is to use that book in your glove box. The owner's manual will tell you what is your responsibility when it comes to keeping your car in proper order. This service schedule includes when to change your air filter, wiper blades, oil and coolant, and other major and minor maintenance issues.
"Look at it this way: This is the second most expensive item you will buy, after your home. Take care of it, and the resale will pay off, as will the long life of the car, but most importantly, this is what carries your most precious cargo -- you, your family, friends and pets."
Lauren, you are the expert this expert relies on. Thanks! Heloise
Dear Readers: If there's not another person handy to help you check your auto lights and turn signals, each time you find an opportunity to pull into a parking space in front of a glass-front building or large window, run a safety check. You can view the reflection in the glass as you turn your headlights and blinkers on. Just back into the space to view the back lights of your vehicle.
Dear Heloise: My husband and I just returned from a three-week vacation/family reunion. As I was picking up a roll of film at a one-hour processor, I bought a photograph album. When I went to our hotel room, I put the processed prints into the album, and for the rest of the trip, I processed and added the photos to the album as I found time.
When we arrived home, only the last roll of developed film had to be added to the album -- it was painless! Antoinette Jackson, Bullard, Texas
King Features Syndicate