our family car #WalmartAuto

We drive a bit as a family. Actually, I laugh about it now, but when we bought our Elantra back in January of 2011 the salesman asked if we wanted to do their lease program. I, not a fan of leasing, asked (already sure I knew the answer) if the lease option had unlimited miles. The salesman giggled naively and said, “Oh, not unlimited. It comes with a gracious 12,000 miles per year until you have to worry about any type of overage. Don't worry, you'll never go that far in a year.” Exactly one year later, I walked back into the dealership for our 12-month check up. I asked the nice young man who first greeted me to find “Hugh,” our salesman.

Hugh walked up and stuck out his hand, “How you liking the car?” I smiled, shook his hand and walked him directly to the driver's side door. With both a happy and mocking grin, I pointed at the odometer which beamed a 22,000 mile freshman year. “I'm loving it.”

ready to embark #WalmartAuto

The Elantra was launched for the generation we purchased as being a 40 MPG highway vehicle. We were starting our family and I was literally starting my career the next day, so the small car was perfect. One class action suit later, Hyundai had some MPG marketing issues to fix and some annual checks to write…but we still love our starter car.

The family is a bit larger and still growing (in December we will have filled every seat in the Elantra). I make sure that our familiy travel middle weight stays in good health. One of the first improvements I made was changing the air filter to a higher capacity one. Easy novice fix and with the click and clack of metal snap latches, we were cruisin'.

Elantra gas cap #WalmartAuto

Southern California, however, is never as simple as a wam bam fix. California – as well as its people – complicate things. Weather varying from freezing to triple digit heats (in some places perpetually) and roads as windy as the stock market charts.

Nate taking care of car #WalmartAuto

So I make sure I take care of our car in other ways as well. Tire rotation and maintenance is one way to help our trekking car run great. Treating fuel every now and then helps cover our bases when just air intake can't handle all the issues. In May, we left our little road rocket for over a month. Just sitting there for weeks while we took our new road beast (2014 F350 4×4) on its own maiden voyage to Yellowstone.

STA-BIL #WalmartAuto

This is a time when using a product like our sponsor STA-BIL should be considered to treat fuel and prevent corrosion. It keeps fuel fresh for up to 12 months and is good for all gas engines so you don't need to worry about draining fuel that's been sitting while you've been away. It's not hard to find, as you can easily pick it up in Walmart's automotive department (right after you pick up diapers, extra large coolers, and all those other family travel essentials). Or if you don't want to load the kids up, you can just order online at Walmart.com.

car in dust storm #WalmartAuto

We also recently took the Elantra into a sandstorm in Anza Borrego, the desert portion of San Diego. That much blowing sand and dust should weigh on the mind of a car owner (not leaser…because, um…you'll never go over 12,000 miles). With all the little parts and tubes in your car, you want to make sure they stay free of debris and gunk. Yes, that's the technical term.

Explore your world

What's even better, with the limited rainfall in this region of America, my lawn mower does a lot more sitting in the garage than mowing in the field. STA-BIL is also a great product to use when storing valuable equipment and even push mowers when you know they're most likely going to be sitting for a while.

So you can keep your home base stable and confidently wander the world.