Do's and don'ts

Here are some key tips for car owners

Avoid driving in flooded areas. Getty Images

Michael Herzing, former president of the Texas Auto Writers Association, will be providing auomotive coverage for SportsMap. His first offering includes key tips for car owners. 

Stay away from high water

Is it my imagination or does it seem that people in Texas lose all their common sense when it is raining? You’re driving along in a heavy rain and you see water over the curb ahead. And you drive right into it? Folks, don’t ever drive in high water. It can damage the brakes, transmission, differential, and the wheel bearings. And if the water gets inside, you can forget it.

Please use common sense during these fall storms. If an area usually floods, don’t drive there. If you drive through curb-deep water and make it through fine, stop by your shop in the next few days and have them check the brakes. The lubrication can be washed off of the brake hardware ,and it corrodes and causes premature brake wear and sometimes failure. Unless you want to spend huge money on brakes and differentials instead of clothes and food, get your car checked out ASAP.

And for heaven's sake, unless you are a mechanic or you are independently wealthy, don’t ever buy a car that has been flooded, even if it is cheap.

Check under the hood

While not as crucial as it used to be, checking under the hood occasionally can head off little problems before they become big ones. Of course, not many people do it — when was the last time you actually looked under your hood? Now that I have reminded you about it, it’s time to figure out how to do it. Check your owner’s manual. There will always be a section on under hood checks. Keep a pair of old gloves and a roll of paper towels in the trunk.  

Read the safety warnings in your owner’s manual and any warning stickers that may be under the hood. Most everything under the hood will be hot, so be careful. Except for checking transmission fluid level, all checks should be done while the engine is turned off. If the engine is running, don’t put your hands near any belts or fans, unless you want to be called “Stubby.” If you are not comfortable with touching a hot or running engine, then just do the checks that can be done with the engine cold, and have someone else do the rest. The secret is to do it.

When is the best time to buy a car?

There are a lot of different answers to this question, but usually, the end of the year is the best time. It all depends on what factors you look at. Dealers hate to pay taxes on their inventory, and if a vehicle is on the lot January 1, taxes must be paid. Since the end of the year has people thinking about other things besides car sales, it is typically the low point of the year for auto sales. Something has to give, and it’s usually the dealer’s prices. If you have the money or the credit, you are in good shape.

If you are in the market for a convertible, buy during the rainy season. Most people buy convertibles as the weather gets nicer, so a convertible that's for sale at a dealership may have been on the lot for some time, and the dealership would want to move it. If you are buying a motorcycle, do it either during the bleakest part of winter or the hottest part of summer. If you are buying a kid's motorcycle, do it just after Christmas.

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Let him cook! Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a rebuild. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr are studs. KPJ just signed a four-year extension with the team. Other guys like Jabari Smith Jr, Kenyon Martin Jr, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, Tari Eason, and Jae'Sean Tate are really good pieces to surround Green and KPJ with. The only issue with this group: they're REALLY young! Tate is the elder statesman at 27 of the young nucleus. Most are barely old enough to buy a drink. Some still aren't old enough! They're a bunch of green bananas waiting to turn yellow to slightly brown and be ripe enough for consumption.

We need to give it time. Just like bananas, they take time to ripen. Coach Stephen Silas is known for developing young players. His most prized student is the star player for that team in South Oklahoma up 45. Number 77 for that team credited Silas with helping him realize his All-Pro potential while Silas was a part of the coaching staff there. To a man, all his former players credit him with being a positive influence on their careers. So why are fans in a rush to get rid of him?

When you look at the Rockets' record over the last few years, it's gross. Sure, they've been a lottery team the last couple of seasons, but that was by design. As part of the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook trades, they gave away pick swap rights. Had they not been that bad, they wouldn't have been able to draft Green or Smith Jr. Those two guys are building blocks for the future, along with KPJ. Giving those picks away would've put this team further down the totem pole of developing themselves into a contender. Losing pays off when you can hit on high lottery picks.

If you give a chef dirt, bread, ham, molded cheese, and spoiled mayo, can you expect anything else but a nasty ham sandwich? How about if the chef was given a steak that is almost rotten, potatoes with root growth, and spoiled butter? Could you expect a better meal than the sandwich? Yes! However, that meal may still cause a stomachache. Now, give said chef a full complement of gourmet groceries and guess what you'll get?

This is why I say let Silas cook. He's the perfect coach for this group of kids. He can teach them all the fundamentals of the game at this level and help them grow into their full potential. If there's a change to be made on the sidelines, move Silas into a front office role, but DO NOT get rid of him! Guys like him are too valuable. Why do you think Mark Cuban hated losing him, but knew he couldn't retain him because he had a head coach already? Cuban knew what he had in Silas and what Silas did for Luka Doncic. He can do something similar for the Rockets if given the time to work his magic.

Should Tilman Fertita find the need to move on, I'd look for a more experienced coach who can guide them from bottom of the playoff ladder into top four in the West and real contenders. For now, Silas is the head chef. Continue giving him the groceries he needs, and he'll continue giving these kids the lessons they need to develop. Changing the coach now could stunt their growth. Let him cook!

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