4 Road Trip Movies With Valuable Car Lessons

Saturday, April 6th, 2019
4 Road Trip Movies With Valuable Car Lessons

Road trip movies are a popular Hollywood trope, and really, what’s not to like? Get a group of likable characters, stuff them in a car, bus or Winnebago, and watch their interpersonal relationships unravel as hours of proximity exposes the rifts between them.

In addition to entertainment, these four classic road trip movies provide lessons you can apply to your day-to-day dealings with your own car. As long as you don’t take things too seriously, you can tap into this cinematic wisdom and be prepared for whatever the road throws at you.

1. ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’

Not all road trips go according to plan, especially in the movies. This classic hit from the ’80s stars John Candy and Steve Martin, and if there’s one lesson about cars to take away, it’s that you should always, always, always get the full insurance when you rent a vehicle. Sure, there’s a chance you won’t set your rental on fire after falling asleep on the highway and then be forced to drive the charred wreck back to town in a major snowstorm — but there’s also a chance you will.

2. ‘Smokey and the Bandit’

If you’re going to drive cross-country with valuable cargo, it’s nice to have a buddy ahead of you in an ultra-flashy muscle car. Burt Reynolds proved to us that the easiest way to solve the “long way to go, short time to get there” problem was to travel with a buddy, preferably in a Trans Am. You never know when you might need help, especially if you are traveling across long stretches out west.

3. ‘Duel’

What started out as a simple commute turned into the world’s worst road trip in Steven Spielberg’s 1971 movie, “Duel.” Although it was filmed 40 years ago, the lessons in the flick still hold true today in a world where road rage can be lethal. Regardless of whether you’ve been cut off, honked at or otherwise disrespected on the highway, it’s always best to just let it go and keep driving. Especially if there’s a homicidal truck driver on your tail.

4. ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

If there’s one lesson that most road trip movies teach, it’s to always be prepared. The post-apocalyptic desert in “Mad Max: Fury Road” is the very definition of an unforgiving environment where you need to bring all the extra gas, water and ammunition you can pack if you want to survive. Of course, the veneer of civilization allows you to replace “ammunition” with “beef jerky” if you so desire, but it’s still sound advice.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on road trips, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The post 4 Road Trip Movies With Valuable Car Lessons appeared first on NAPA Know How Blog.


Monday, March 4th, 2019

Proper filter maintenance is essential for keeping your car in working order and each needs to be changed following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Even following those guidelines, how you use your vehicle might mean you need to change some filters more often.

If you drive in harsh conditions, then your filters may need more frequent attention. Here’s an explanation of what the filters in your car do and when they need to be changed.

Cabin Air Filters

cabin air filterThis filter keeps the cabin air clean and helps minimize dust, smoke and odors. Each manufacturer has guidelines for how often the cabin air filter should be replaced, so start by checking your owner’s manual. Usually, it’s around every 15,000 to 25,000 miles.

If you drive someplace where there’s more dust in the air, like a desert or a city, you may want to change it more often. At a minimum, change your air filter once a year.

Your owner’s manual will tell you where your cabin air filter is located. Checking it is as simple as giving it a good look. If it’s dirty or covered with debris, then it’s time to swap it out for a new one.

Engine Air Filters

Your engine needs air and it runs best with clean air. An engine air filter removes dust particles that would otherwise be sucked into your engine. If your engine air filter is dirty, then it can cause all sorts of problems.

It leads to reduced power, poor performance and lower fuel economy. That’s if you’re lucky. Over time, a dirty air filter lets dirt into your engine, which can cause expensive damage.

There are a variety of filters available at a range of prices. Most are made of a paper-like material folded into pleats, but foam filters are also available, and even some that are soaked in oil to grab more dirt and last longer.

Always check with your owner’s manual to see what is recommended for your vehicle and follow the maintenance schedule suggested. If you drive in heavy traffic, the desert or off-road, then you’ll want to change this filter more often rather than risk having it get clogged with dirt.

Fuel Filters

It’s not just the air coming into your engine that needs to be clean and free of dirt. The fuel coming into your engine also needs to be clean. The fuel filter catches any impurities in your fuel, which otherwise could impact performance.

This filter lasts longer than the cabin air filter, but once again you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for how often it needs to be changed. Wait too long and you risk sluggish performance and engine damage.

Oil Filters

Clean engine oil keeps your engine lubricated. Keeping the oil clean is the job of the oil filter. When oil gets dirty it gets sludgy and this can cause a multitude of engine problems.

This is an easy one to remember. Simply have the oil filter changed whenever you get an oil change. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended intervals for oil changes and you’ll keep your oil clean.

Filter maintenance is an essential part of routine car maintenance. Make sure you check your filters at the recommended intervals to keep your engine running smoothly. When was the last time you checked your filters?

Check out all the filters available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to maintain all of the filters in your car, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr.


Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

When considering winter preparation plans this season, many look for forecasts to get an idea of what to expect. Earlier this year, the NOAA‘s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Climate Prediction Center predicted higher-than-average precipitation across the northern States, including the northern Rocky Mountains, eastern Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.

Interestingly, most NOAA predictions oppose those from the Farmer’s Almanac, another popular guide. Still, people in those northern climes know that if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes, which is why NAPA Know How suggests forgetting the forecast and making winter preparation plans right now. Here’s how.

Snow Tires

Getting caught on a snowy road in summer tires could cost you much more than good all-season or snow tires. Make sure all-season tires have at least 6/32″ tread depth remaining. Summer tires should be replaced with all-season or snow tires, as summer tires offer less traction when temperatures drop.

Charging System

Cold temperatures put a car’s electrical system to the test. A weak battery might start a car in the summer, but winter-cold oil could be too much. Have the battery tested for SOC and SOH (state of charge and state of health), and replace it if it fails the tests. Check the charging system output and the generator drive belt condition and tension, and don’t forget to clean up power-robbing corrosion.

Air Conditioning

Forget, for a moment, that air conditioning cools the air, and remember that it also dries the air. The best way to keep your windshield fog-free is with hot dry air. Have your air-conditioning system checked for proper pressure, cycling and drive belt condition. For the outside, get a pair of winter wiper blades.

Driving Tactics

Driving on dry, sunny roads is different from driving on cold, wet roads, and icy roads can be particularly dangerous. Brush up on winter driving tactics, and maybe practice in an empty parking lot, if there’s snow on it. If it does snow, remember the single best practice is to simply slow down.

Emergency Kit

In case you’re unexpectedly caught in poor conditions, having a winter emergency kit will get you back on the road and could even save your life. Because of the cold, this goes beyond the typical first-aid kit and warning triangles. A battery booster or jumper cables might make up for a weak battery, and a snow shovel and salt can help you get unstuck. Don’t forget blankets, bottled water and trail mix.

Winter preparation is all about getting ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at you and expecting the unexpected. If the NOAA says more snow for your area, but Farmer’s Almanac says less, then prudence demands preparing for the unforeseen. The truth is no one really knows what’s going to happen this winter, so prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on winter preparation, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.


Monday, October 2nd, 2017
Oil barrell

Curious about the bottles of high-mileage oil you’ve seen on shelves or the advertisements you’ve seen on television? Wondering if there’s a real benefit to using this type of oil in your engine, and if there is, when your vehicle crosses the threshold from standard oil to high mileage? We cut through the hype to bring you the straight answers you need to make the right decision.

What’s Inside Your Oil?

Modern engine oil is far more sophisticated than you might think. In addition to the actual petroleum-derived lubricant designed to keep everything rotating safe and smooth inside your engine, each bottle of oil also includes a package of additives. Additives are chemicals designed to further reduce engine wear and prevent corrosion, and detergents that help to keep oil passages clean and clear of sludge. In fact, it’s these additives that wear out over time, not the lubricant itself, requiring you to regularly change your vehicle’s oil.

Special Circumstances, Special Additives

As your engine accumulates miles, the additives required to keep it operating in peak condition can alter. Specifically, as interior seals begin to wear out due to heat and time, and sludge begins to accumulate more aggressively, standard engine oil might not offer the same level of performance as it once did.

Enter high-mileage oil, which contains unique additives such as seal conditioners that can rejuvenate gaskets and help prevent leakage, as well as stronger detergents designed to scour passages of sludge more effectively than a “normal” oil. This unique additives package is also why high-mileage oil is often a mix of synthetic and standard oil, as synthetic can offer a better anti-wear barrier between metal components that may no longer be in perfect factory-spec alignment inside an engine.

When to Make The Switch

Don’t assume that just because your car has passed its warranty period that it’s automatically time to make the switch to high-mileage oil. While some bottles might advertise the lubricant as being intended for vehicles with 75,000 miles or more, if you don’t see any oil leaks or drips or notice any blue smoke in the exhaust system that could indicate a seal problem, there’s probably no need to purchase this special oil. If you are well over the 100,000-mile mark, however, or have noticed evidence of leaks, then it’s probably worth talking to your mechanic about its benefits.

Making the right engine oil choice doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow these tips, and your high-mileage car will stay healthier.

Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on high mileage oil, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.


Friday, September 1st, 2017

Finally. The car is packed, swimsuits safely stowed in the luggage, salty snacks at the ready in the red food bag, and 24 cans of that oh-so-good soda are chilling in the cooler. Your mind is off of work for the next 10 days, nothing but sun, family, friends, and open road for you. The engine roars to life and off you go. As Murphy’s Law would have it, halfway to your fun-filled destination, that little red needle has crept up on the temperature gauge. As your engine sputters and wheezes you pull over to the side of the road  and it hits you – you prepared for all the fun, but forgot to prepare for your transportation.

We have all passed by some sad sap on the side of the road, hood up, steam rolling out, driver just standing there with a hand on their head wondering how they got there. Usually, we just think to ourselves “phew, glad that isn’t me” as we glance at the gauges just to check and make sure they are all good. While breakdowns happen, there are things you can do to help make sure that you are less likely to experience one.

To assist with your summer road trip, we have assembled a group of products that can help you prep your car for summer travel and make sure that if you do have a problem, you have what you need to get you back on the road so you can get a permanent repair.


Make sure that your cooling system is properly filled and functional. Before you head out for that road trip, now is a good time to flush your coolant system and refill it with the correct coolant. There are some concerns when it comes to engine coolant, the main one is that you must have the right stuff for your vehicle. Some GM vehicles used Dex-Cool, which is orange antifreeze. If you mix non-universal green antifreeze with Dex-Cool, it turns into gel and basically ruins your engine’s cooling system. Don’t make that mistake, check with your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store on which type you need.

NAPA RTU1DEX is the perfect solution for GM vehicles with Dex-Cool coolant. This is a pre-mixed coolant, so you don’t need water. Make sure you have a gallon or two in your trunk before you head out on the road.

For every other vehicle on the road, and including GM Dex-Cool vehicle, NAPA’s universal coolant RTU1EXT is formulated for compatibility with all makes and models, regardless of the coolant color. This is also a pre-mix coolant, so you don’t need any additional water. An additional benefit of this coolant is the fact that it is extended life, so it will last up to 150k miles or five years, whichever comes first when a flush and fill is performed on the cooling system.

Emergency Service

OK, so you prepped but life happened and now you have a problem. You noticed the small green puddle at the gas station. You know what it is, don’t try to fool yourself into thinking it is nothing. It probably isn’t, and ignoring it very well could leave you on the side of the road. Open your trunk, console, or glove box and grab one of the following products that you bought with this problem in mind. You will be glad you did. Remember that any time you have a leak in the coolant system, you must replace the lost coolant, hence keeping a gallon or two of 50/50 mix coolant in your vehicle at all times.

Coolant System Sealer

Once the engine cools, open the radiator cap or reservoir and pour it into the radiator. You may never need it, but you will be glad you had it on hand when you do. There are many products available to do this job, we have selected the following four products for you to consider.

Blue Devil Radiator and Block Sealer – This product bonds with plastic, cast iron, aluminum, and other alloys and metals. It is compatible with gas or diesel engines. This product does not have any solids or fibers and is guaranteed to make a permanent repair (until you can get a proper repair that is). BlueDevil radiator and block sealer guarantees a permanent repair of your leaking cooling system.

K-Seal – If you just had a major engine cooling failure, K-Seal is there to help fix it so you can get down the road to the nearest NAPA AutoCare Center. K-Seal repairs cracked heads, blown head gaskets, cracked blocks, radiators, heater cores, and water pumps. It is compatible with all coolant types and you don’t have to flush the coolant system before or after use. If your issue is in the head gasket, engine block, or radiator, then K-Seal can treat it so you can get on down the road.

Prestone Stop Leak – If you have big hole, you need Prestone Stop Leak. This stuff repairs leaks as small as .016” and up to 1/2”. If your radiator has a hole bigger than a half-inch, you will probably be needing a tow truck. Formulated with Kevlar fibers, Prestone Stop Leak will fix leaks without obstructing coolant flow. Since 1927 Prestone has been making quality oils and fluids for vehicles. That same quality goes into their Radiator Stop Leak

Valvoline Zerex Super Sealer – The only product authorized by Cummins to repair Cummins Diesel engine cooling systems, Zerex Super Sealer is a must for any diesel-powered vehicle. The water based formula seals your cooling system leak within one hour while the engine is running using all natural components (plant fiber, clay, and water) and is non-clogging. If you are working with a Diesel engine cooling leak, then Zerex Super Sealer is what you need. It works for all Diesel and gas engines alike.

With your leak sealed, you can get back on the road. Make sure that you have the damaged assessed by a NAPA AutoCare Center to determine whether you can make it back home or if you need to have repairs made while on your vacation. Nobody wants to have a breakdown, but if you do, NAPA AUTO PARTS is there to help you get back on the road as soon as possible.

For more information on how to avoid engine overheating, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Check out all the heating & cooling parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to avoid engine overheating, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.


Monday, October 31st, 2016

Today more than ever, cars are extra stylish and fun to drive. They have extraordinary technology and performance far beyond what many people ever dreamed possible. While many people drive cars that are great looking and handle like a dream, most leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the horn. If your vehicle has a weak or less intimidating horn or you just want to upgrade, here’s a few things to know about car horn replacement before you dive in.

The Wimp Horn

Cute high pitch horns aren’t as disruptive and when you need to warn another driver that you’re in his blind spot, that little squeaky horn just doesn’t get the job done. The standard horn that most people are accustomed to is actually a combination of high pitch and low pitch horns that sound at the same time.

As a clever cost cutting method, many car makers today only install the high pitch horn — but don’t fret. You can pick up a low pitch horn and add it along side the factory unit for a more commanding tone. Simply mount the new low pitch horn near the factory unit and follow the included wiring instructions.

The Broken Horn

For a number of reasons, your car’s horn may simply not be functioning properly. If your vehicle’s horn has ever been submerged in a flood or deep puddle or even if it’s just old and worn out, it may emit a less powerful sound or no sound at all. Replacement horns are available and can be easily installed by removing the old unit, plugging the wires into the new one and then mounting it in the stock location.

Going Custom

Who could ever forget that novelty horn from your favorite movie or perhaps that truck that you saw on YouTube with a freight train-style air horn installed? If you’ve ever wanted to customize your vehicle’s horn there are tons of options available. Everything from train horns, to songs and even just different tones are available, and most come as a kit with everything you’ll need to swap it out easily. Just make sure to check your local laws first before going too crazy.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Sometimes when horns fail they can get stuck open. Either the horn itself fails and creates the problem or the trigger in the steering wheel could be the problem as well. If you ever find that your horn gets stuck sounding, there’s a quick fix until you can get it to the shop. Go find your the fuse panel, locate the fuse for the horn and remove it. Pulling the fuse out cuts the circuit from the battery to the horn and renders it nonfunctional. This way you don’t have to drive across town to pick up the kids or to the store with the horn blasting the entire time.

Your car’s horn may not get used nearly as much as other features but it still speaks to the character of your ride. If you’re horn isn’t functioning, is too gentle for your preferences or if you’d simply like something that stands out, there are plenty of options.

For more information on car horn replacement, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.


Monday, October 3rd, 2016


If you’ve ever experienced a car crash, you know how stressful and upsetting it can be for a driver. Even without serious injuries or worse, the situation is typically troublesome. Dealing with law enforcement, traffic court, insurance companies and collision repairers is no one’s idea of a fun time. And if you’re not at fault in causing an accident, you may still have to commit significant time and resources to dealing with its consequences.

A dash cam could help. This compact and lightweight video camera—designed specifically for documenting your drive—is a simple and affordable way to help you in the aftermath of an accident. We installed and tested the Pilot HD Dash Cam available from NAPA AUTO PARTS to see how it works. In the process, we discovered it could be helpful not only in the case of an accident but in everyday driving, too.

Installing the dash cam took less than five minutes. A suction cup mount secures it to the windshield and the 12-volt power adapter plugs into the vehicle’s outlet. Start the car and the dash cam powers on. We spent another five minutes setting the time and date and browsing the video setting menus. The process was quick and easy.


Included with the unit is a micro SD card to store the video recordings or still photos (depending on the setting you choose.) Once the card reaches its memory capacity, the dash cam loops back and starts recording over the previous video.

So how can you be certain the video you need will not get deleted? You can manually lock the recording with the push of a button, but get your settings right and you won’t have to. The G-shock mode automatically locks a video into memory when the sensor in the dash cam detects the force of an impact.

In addition to preparing you and your vehicle for the unfortunate circumstances of a collision, below are six more reasons to use a dash cam.

Traffic Ticket Witness
The men and women in uniform that enforce our traffic laws are not perfect. Drivers can—and do—receive tickets for offenses they did not commit or could reasonably argue as unwarranted. In such situations, video proof could be your ally.

Traffic cops cannot be everywhere at once. Your viewpoint, or the view from your dash cam, may provide some evidence that sheds new light on a situation.

Teen Drivers & New Drivers
A dash cam is a good educational tool for new drivers. If you have a teen driver or other new driver in your household, consider a dash cam to improve their driving skills while providing a watchful eye.

Protecting young drivers and their passengers is important; crash rates for inexperienced drivers are significantly higher than for those with more miles under their belts. The message from parents can be a simple one: safety, not spying. Even if parents never play videos back, drivers who know their actions are being recorded may be more inclined to use caution and avoid dangerous behavior like speeding or texting while driving.


The Shop Truck
Business owners and managers that use vehicles to get the job done can add a layer of protection with a dash cam for the company car or truck. As with teen drivers, employee drivers may be encouraged to drive carefully with a dash cam in place.

The liability factor with business vehicles is a great reason to use a dash cam, too. Even if your employee is at fault in a crash, video evidence could help support an argument that the driver practiced safe driving and was not negligent in his or her actions leading up to the incident.

Good Samaritan
Your dash cam could help others out, too. If you spot an erratic driver but missed the vehicle type or license plate number, the information recorded by your dash cam could help you alert authorities.

Most of us have witnessed crashes of other vehicles, too. Your video could provide evidence to help law enforcement as well as crash victims.

Self Improvement
Studies show most Americans think they’re great drivers. Is it true? Can we all be above average behind the wheel?

No, but even the best drivers among us could probably do even better. Just as the presence of a dash cam could influence a teen driver or an employee wheeling the company truck, it can help experienced drivers to become more conscious of their own driving patterns. With your dash cam watching, you may be inclined to break bad habits like following too closely or weaving through traffic.

Fireball in the Sky
Occasionally, spectacular things happen around us. Witnessing a rare fireball hurdling across Earth’s atmosphere is highly unlikely, but dash cams often record exciting moments, traffic-related or otherwise. Just search YouTube for hours of crazy dash cam clips. If your dash cam records something out of the ordinary, you can share it with the world.


The Pilot HD Dash Cam is on available now at NAPA AUTO PARTS. Reserve one online or pick one up the Pilot HD Dash Cam at a NAPA location near you.